This Marriage

I’m in our kitchen and realise, have realised for some time now, that neither Steve nor I have been writing on this blog.  But that’s OK.  Other things are happening.

I came across this song tonight.  It is a setting of ‘This Marriage’ a poem by written by Rumi (13th century) to music composed by Eric Whitacre (21st century).  This poem was in a book of poetry by Rumi given to us by a friend and well wisher on our Soul Wedding day.  It felt good to become re-acquainted with it in song tonight and to be looking forward to celebrating our second wedding anniversary in a couple of weeks.

This Marriage

May these vows and this marriage be blessed.
May it be sweet milk, this marriage, like wine and halvah.
May this marriage offer fruit and shade like the date palm.
May this marriage be full of laughter, our every day a day in paradise.
May this marriage be a sign of compassion,
a seal of happiness here and hereafter.
May this marriage have a fair face and a good name,
an omen as welcomes the moon in a clear blue sky.
I am out of words to describe how spirit mingles in this marriage.


Fly Me to the Moon

We went to the South of France in May to celebrate our first wedding anniversary and flew into Nice especially to visit the Musée National Marc Chagall.

The Bay of Angels, 1962

This was a once in a lifetime experience for me as Chagall is one of my favourite artists.  One room was filled with huge canvases illustrating the Song of Songs, paintings that he dedicated to his second wife Vava.

Le Cantique des Cantiques III, 1960

We stayed for about a week in Arles at the elegant Grand Hotel Nord-Pinus, decorated with terracotta tiles, carved furniture, vintage bullfighting posters, wrought iron, beautiful textiles and photos of the luminaries who’ve stayed there over the years:  Jean Cocteau, Pablo Picasso and scores of famous toreros.

Charlotte Rampling, 1973 by Helmut Newton

Grand Hotel Nord-Pinus, staircase

My best souvenir of the entire trip was found at a flea market in Aix-en-Provence.  Aix is a supposedly gracious city filled with fountains.  It was a bit touristy and traffic-filled so we walked around town, visited the flea market and went onto Marseilles.

One of the “thousand fountains” of Aix

My prize was a pair of Luna Moths in a frame.  The price was €20 and I was offered to take them for €15.  So I did.

Actias luna is found in North America. When the adult Luna Moth leaves its coccoon, it is not ready to fly.  It usually hatches in mid-morning and climbs a tree trunk to hang its wings, so they can fill with blood. Once the wings are inflated, the adult moth will wait until nightfall to fly off to find a mate. Adult Luna Moths don’t eat; in fact, they don’t even have a mouth. They only live for about a week, and their only purpose is to mate.  They are lime green when alive and dry to a beautiful cream colour when they have died.  I think that if any creature could fly to the moon, it has to be a Luna Moth.

Male luna moth and coccoon

Female luna moth and coccoon

I cleaned the glass, re-gilt the frame and wrote a letter in French to Steve about my experience of our trip, which I collaged onto the sides of the box.


Slow Wedding

Love is about giving each other the space to find what each finds beautiful in the other.

In other words, sometimes it takes time – sometimes – to find the right words, the right pictures, the right tone of voice, to get across exactly how we feel about something.

And when that something is the marriage of Melinda and Steve that feeling is enormous.  For us, the soul wedding especially was an enchanted day in which we were at the heart of a kaleidoscope of images, sounds and emotions.

So, it might take a few weeks or so for us to absorb the enormity of what we have begun. And it might take some time to share the photos and our thoughts…but we will share those images and thoughts with you.  We’ve also invited the family and friends who were at our wedding celebrations to share their feelings, impressions, reactions…anything, in fact, about the days so that we can have our wedding mirrored back to us

We have the most beautiful marriage in the world. We want you to share it with us.

While you think about that, here’s some music about longing and loneliness. It’s wonderful music, but not a lesson in life. Enjoy…and then do something different.

Minnie the Moocher’s Wedding Day

Here’s another song from our wedding reception playlist, performed here by Cab Calloway and His Orchestra on May 20, 1932.  Still great after 80 years!

Minnie the Moocher’s Wedding Day

Here’s some news that’ll get you,
It’s made to order for you.
I just bet it’ll fit you,
Follow up these red hot blues.

Grab a taxi and go down,
Chinatown’s on a spree;
Let me give you the lowdown,
This is really history.

Whenever folks in Chinatown start acting gay
There’s something in the air that makes them feel that way.
Yeah, man, I heard somebody say
It’s Minnie the Moocher’s wedding day!

Old Smoky Joe’s so happy he can hardly wait,
He’s spent a million dollars for his wedding date,
Yeah, man, they’re gonna celebrate,
It’s Minnie the Moocher’s wedding day.

You better come on down,
Way down in Chinatown,
Oh, let me take you down
To see them kick the gong around.

A million cokies shouting, “Hay-de-hay-de-hay!”
The king of Sweden’s gonna give the bride away,
Yeah, man, I heard somebody say,
It’s Minnie the Moocher’s wedding day!

The king and queen of every nation
Were glad to get an invitation;
The prince of Wales said he would get away
For Minnie the Moocher’s wedding day!

They said a hundred thousand hoppies
Went over to China picking poppies,
They’re gonna put them all in one bouquet
For Minnie the Moocher’s wedding day!

It’s Minnie the Moocher’s wedding day!

Yeah, man! Why, what’s that them boys say?
It’s Minnie the Moocher’s wedding day!

Songwriters: H. Arlen & T. Koehler

Now is the Month of Maying

Wow, it’s great that May has arrived.  Our wedding month!  When I look at the calendar, I can see the weeks and days leading right up to our wedding.

I’ve had a burst of energy in the past few days and have finished one of our four elements table runners today – Air.  I’ve also done quite a bit of quilting on Cleaved.

Now is the Month of Maying is is one of the most famous of the English madrigals, by Thomas Morley published in 1595.  It is one of a few that will be sung prior to our wedding ceremony.

Now is the Month of Maying

“Now is the month of maying,
When merry lads are playing, fa la,
Each with his bonny lass
Upon the greeny grass. Fa la.

The Spring, clad all in gladness,
Doth laugh at Winter’s sadness, fa la,
And to the bagpipe’s sound
The nymphs tread out their ground. Fa la.

Fie then! why sit we musing,
Youth’s sweet delight refusing? Fa la.
Say, dainty nymphs, and speak,
Shall we play at barley-break? Fa la.

Barley-Break is an old English country game frequently mentioned by the poets of the 17th and 18th centuries. It was played by three pairs, each composed of a man and a woman, who were stationed in three bases or plots, contiguous to each other. The couple occupying the middle base, called hell or prison, endeavoured to catch the other two, who, when chased, might break to avoid being caught. If one was overtaken, he and his companion were condemned to hell. From this game was taken the expression “the last couple in hell,” often used in old plays.

Its use in literature usually has sexual connotations. The best known example is in Thomas Middleton and William Rowley’s play The Changeling, in which an adulterer tells his cuckold “I coupled with your mate at barley-break; now we are left in hell”. The use of the phrase in Thomas Morley’s madrigal Now is the Month of Maying probably means something similar to the idiom “roll in the hay”.

Source – Wikipedia

Words of Love

Love can be expressed in a myriad of different methods, but the most timeless and most treasured will always remain the classic love letter.

Sometimes letters are preferable to face-to-face contact because they can be written as the thoughts come to the author’s mind. This may allow feelings to be more easily expressed than if the writer were in the beloved’s presence. Further, expressing strong emotional feelings to paper or some other permanent form can be an expression within itself of desire and the importance of the beloved and the lover’s emotions. The expression of feelings may be made to an existing love or in the hope of establishing a new relationship. The increasing rarity and consequent emotional charm of personal mail may also serve to emphasize the emotional importance of the message.

Other times, especially in the past before the wide use of telecommunications, letters were one of the few ways for a couple to remain in contact. When one of them lived some distance from the other, the “being apart” often intensified emotions and many times a desired normal communication could lead to a letter expressing love, longing and desires .

In the weeks after Steve and I met, since we lived 200 miles apart, we communicated via email, text messages, instant messaging and the written word.

love letters

I surfaced designed the fabric for the back of our wedding quilt using a feather stencil, a vine stamp and screens made from some of our handwritten and emailed love letters.

I pieced and stitched them together with a photo of Cleaved, printed onto silk, at the place where they intersect.  I wrote in depth about the process here.

‘Words of Love’ was written by Buddy Holly and recorded by him on April 8 1957. Holly harmonized for himself, by tape-recording each part and combining them.  This version features him singing in harmony with himself, being one of the first tracks by a major artist to feature vocal overdubbing.

Buddy Holly

The Beatles covered this song in 1964 for the album Beatles For Sale.  John Lennon and George Harrison, who were fans of Holly, harmonized on their version, holding to the vocal and instrumental sound of Holly’s original as well as they could.  Ringo Starr played a packing case on this song as well as drums.

The Beatles

My Baby Just Cares for Me

Designing our wedding invitation was pretty easy.  It followed that we had lots of decisions to make for all of the details that will make up our wedding day, so we’ve been really busy the past couple of weeks.  Besides who will be there, what we’ll eat and what gifts we might like to receive,  we’ve thought about what music (live and recorded) we’ll have as the soundtrack to our wedding.

Our wedding ceremony and reception venue, The White Horse Inn has a great sound system and we’ve started compiling a playlist for the reception.  One of the songs that we chose is this one, sung by the great Nina Simone and animated here by Nick Park of Aardman Animation.