I always forget the date of my anniversary.

You might say, ‘But you’ve only been married for a year and a half, Larissa. How can you have forgotten already? Surely you’re exaggerating for comedic effect.’

Well, anonymous voice of questioning integrity, I do, in fact, always forget the date of my anniversary. Whenever someone asks about it (which, oddly, is more often than one would think), I inevitably get it wrong.

Take, for example, a conversation Red and I were having with our favourite recently engaged couple over dinner the other night:

Them: So how long have you been married now?
Red: About a year and a half. It’ll be two years in December.
Them: What day?
Me: December 18th. I’m always forgetting the date of our anniversary, but I’ve come up with a method for remembering it, and it’s the 18th.
Red: It’s actually the 19th.
Me: Shit.

Now, I don’t know if me never remembering the exact date of our wedding makes me an incredibly modern married woman who doesn’t put a lot of stock in the day itself, because, after all, it’s just a day on which nothing actually happens from that point on. I mean, birthdays are way better. I can get behind birthdays. I get to eat cake!

Christmas? Presents!
Easter? Chocolate!
Guy Fawkes night? Fireworks!!

In contrast, anniversaries are kind of lame.

I don’t know what Red and I did last December 19th. Probably nothing.

Or, I don’t know if me never remembering the exact date of our wedding makes me a terribly unthoughtful person.

Maybe a bit of both.

And I’m fine with that.


For those of you wondering what my method of remembering the exact date of our anniversary is, I’ll tell you. It’s very simple. I always THINK that our anniversary is on the 18th of December, so I really KNOW that it’s on the 19th, because I know that I always think it’s on the wrong date. Except, well, it always ends up going a little like this: I always THINK that our anniversary is on the 18th of December, so I really KNOW that it’s on the 18th of December.

Kind of a shitty memory aid, you say. Yes, I know.

I suspect that I always think our anniversary is on the 18th because my very dear sister’s birthday is on the 18th (of September), so it’s a number that’s in the forefront of my memory.

Or it suggests a rather worryingly creepy incestuous thing going on in my mind.



Anti-wedding Wedding Pictures

Since I’m on the topic, our wedding was cool.

Cool music, cool venue, cool open bar all. night. long (yeah, that’s right.  we saved so much money by simply not caring about the conventional wedding things that we actually got to throw a great party for our friends and family.  you should try it.), cool board games, cool table football.  Downright cool.

Here’s the flickr stream (they start at the end and go backwards, for some reason.)

We didn’t buy flowers (but I did buy silk flowers at the last minute online for the wedding party).  We didn’t buy a cake (but we did buy a £9.99 cake at the last minute at Costco that everyone loved).  We didn’t hire a DJ.  We didn’t hire a wedding photographer (we got an amateur photographer for £100 that gave us full rights to the digital images and did a pretty all right job of it).  We didn’t choose a conventional ‘wedding venue’ (instead we got a medieval deconsecrated church that had been turned into an arts centre that came fully equipped with a sound system, a front-of-house manager, a door man, bar staff and fully stocked bar, electrical guys, tables and chairs and disco lights for a whopping £700.  And by ‘whopping’ I mean unbelievably cheap).  We didn’t have the reception catered (instead buying buffet party food from M&S, which everyone loved).  We didn’t buy chair covers to make the chairs match ‘our colour scheme’ (and no one cared.  trust me).  I made the decorations myself.  We used black and red paper napkins and table cloths and foil platters covered in said napkins for the buffet spread and funky black plastic dishes for guests at the buffet (seriously, hiring tableware and linen is for suckers).





Anti-Wedding Songs

Okay, so a while back I posted something about how the wedding songs Red and I chose for the ‘important’ songs at our wedding were pretty anti-wedding when it came to their lyrics.  But I thought the post was a bit out of place and perhaps not really that interesting, so I took it down.

But it would seem that, of the page hits I get from Google, more often than not people are linking to my blog looking for anti-wedding songs.  So, for you random internet people who are probably looking for anti-wedding inspiration for your own weddings, I give you the songs from my wedding.

Starting with the main events:

Pre-ceremony music: Heartbeats by Jose González (chosen mostly because I love The Knife’s original Heartbeats but it wasn’t mellow enough for pre-ceremony music)

Song that played immediately after the ceremony ended: Just Like Honey by The Jesus and Mary Chain

First dance: First Day of my Life by Bright Eyes (chosen because it sounds like a nice and appropriate-enough song, but when you look at the lyrics they’re pretty awesome in the anti-wedding way)

Now, I say ‘anti-wedding’ because we didn’t want ABBA.  We didn’t want stupid love songs.  Basically we didn’t want anything that a wedding DJ would have played.  It’s not that we were anti-love.  We were just anti-wedding stupidery. Sure, the older women amongst the wedding guests were disappointed and didn’t end up dancing all that much, but I liked the music that played at the wedding.  I danced.  I had fun.  That’s all that matters.  For those people who were upset by the music and didn’t feel like dancing to it, we provided table football, Jenga, Hungry Hungry Hippos, Kerplunk, and a poker table.

And here’s a sampling of the music that played at the beginning of the reception:

  • Hey Joe by Jimi Hendrix
  • Coffee & TV by Blur
  • Kaze Wo Atsumete by Happy End
  • Brick by Ben Folds Five (about an abortion)
  • Friday I’m in Love by The Cure
  • Enjoy the Silence by Depeche Mode
  • Needle in the Hay by Elliott Smith (everyone knows Elliott Smith isn’t all that uplifting; we love him anyway.)
  • Going the Distance by Bill Conti (from Rocky soundtrack)
  • Lover’s Spit by Broken Social Scene (about gay fellatio)
  • Anthems for a Seventeen-Year-Old Girl by Broken Social Scene
  • Mighty Wings by Cheap Trick
  • I Ran (So Far Away) by Flock of Seagulls
  • St. Elmo’s Fire by John Parr
  • Amie by Damien Rice

And a sampling of songs during the dance party section of the reception

  • More than This by Bill Murray, karaoke (from Lost in Translation Soundtrack)
  • Mr. Blue Sky by Electric Light Orchestra
  • Now that I Miss Her by Elefant
  • Love Will Tear Us Apart by Joy Division
  • Polite Dance Song by Bird and the Bee (mostly because I couldn’t choose Fucking Boyfriend, as it was a little too inappropriate)
  • Life on Mars by David Bowie
  • Take My Breath Away by Berlin (mostly because it is Top Gun)
  • Feel Good Inc. by Gorillaz
  • Little Bit by Lykke Li
  • Top Ranking by Blonde Redhead
  • A Forest by The Cure
  • My Sharona by The Ramones
  • SexyBack by Justin Timberlake
  • Billie Jean by Michael Jackson
  • Ignition (remix) by R Kelly (yes!)
  • Music is my Hot Hot Sex by CSS
  • Heartbeats by The Knife (here it is!)
  • I Want You Back by the Jackson Five
  • Eye of the Tiger by Survivor (another Rocky song)
  • Hearts on Fire by John Cafferty (Rocky again)
  • The Boys of Summer by Don Henley
  • Pretty in Pink by The Psychedelic Furs
  • Geek U.S.A by The Smashing Pumpkins
  • Plug in Baby by Muse
  • Cherub Rock by The Smashing Pumpkins
  • Beat It by Michael Jackson
  • Maneater by Nelly Furtado
  • When Doves Cry by Prince
  • Don’t Stop Me Now by Queen
  • True by Spandau Ballet
  • Send Me an Angel by Pet Shop Boys
  • Don’t You (forget about me) by Simple Minds
  • Time to Pretend by MGMT
  • Like I Love You by Justin Timberlake
  • Buddy Holly by Weezer
  • Too Young by Phoenix
  • Whoo! Alright – Yeah… Uh huh by The Rapture
  • Gigantic by Pixies (I’m pretty sure this one’s about liking big penis.)
  • New Year’s Day by U2
  • Baba O’Riley by The Who
  • Maps by Yeah Yeah Yeahs
  • Everlong by Foo Fighters
  • Panic by The Smiths

and the 80s power ballads that only those who stayed to the very end got the pleasure of hearing:

  • I Want to Know What Love Is (and I want you to show me) by Foreigner
  • November Rain by Guns ‘n’ Roses (Aside from the woman in the wedding dress in the music video, I think it’s safe to say this one’s not a wedding song.)
  • (I just) Died in Your Arms Tonight by Cutting Crew
  • The Power of Love by Huey Lewis and the News
  • The Final Countdown by Europe
  • Burning Heart by Survivor
  • Rocket Man by Elton John


Freebird by Lynyrd Skynyrd



Although, perhaps one of my absolute favourite wedding songs that we played was Is This Love by White Snake.  I don’t think there could possibly be a better ironic anti-wedding song than that.  Somewhere, someone has a video of me and my sister singing this song loudly and enthusiastically while performing that classic ’80s eyes-clenched-closed-hands-balled-into-fists-and-waved-around-with-an-almost-pained-emotion move.  Sort of like this, actually.


Winning at Life: a How-To Guide

Okay, so rather than hash out everything that’s happened between now and October of last year, here’s the really brief recap.  Brevity, it’s my new thing.  (But don’t hold me to that.)


a) I got married.  Lots of you weren’t there.  Including my father.  In case you’re wondering, no, I won’t ever get over that.

b) It snowed here.  A lot.

c) I got merits on both of my essays from last term.  Apparently, that’s really good at this level.

d) I discovered there’s probably more of a chance of an iceberg thriving in hell than of me getting funding let alone a studentship for a PhD next year because of the economy and my ‘International’ fee status despite proven ability.  I am jaded and in huge amounts of student loan debt.

e) I am currently an illegal immigrant held hostage in the UK.  The Home Office has my passport, and I’m still waiting to hear back about my visa.

f) The elevator has been mostly not working for the last two months or so.  Probably three at this point.  I’ve stopped keeping track.  I live on the fifth floor.  That’s the sixth floor to you Americans.  This has so many levels of awesome-in-the-completely-unawesome-way that I can’t even enumerate them all.


Those are the highlights.  


I have just come home from one of my seminars.  There’s one more in the term, and then I have to write some essays.  I find that I get less schoolwork done now than I ever did back in Orlando when I worked nearly full-time hours and also went to school full time.  This is sad.  I cannot account for the paradox involved.  I wish I could get a job to see if maybe I begin spending my spare time more wisely (instead of watching really bad television programming at night), but, alas, see e) above.


See, look at me here.  Not spending my time so wisely now, am I?  


I suppose I’ve been feeling a bit worn down by my attempts to translate the Anglo-Saxon Genesis A into modern English.  It is taking forever.  I seriously have spent at least 4 hours on it to date, and I’ve only translated 64 lines.  64 LINES!  For those of you who like to feel accomplished in the tasks that you undertake, you should forgo translating one of the oldest Old English poems into Modern English when you have comparatively little formal training in this art.


You want to hear something funny, though?  I’ve chosen to focus my dissertation on Genesis A, thinking it would get me as familiar with Old English as I am with Middle English for my PhD topic proposal that spans the entire medieval period from the Anglo-Saxon to the late-medieval times.  And, this poem, it’s nearly 3000 lines long.  




I win at life.


I suppose I could just rely heavily on reading the text in translation, but that’s just all sorts of academic cheating, isn’t it.  Plus, it’s not really handy for how I work, inspired frequently if not wholly on the philological moves of texts.  And it doesn’t help that the last translation of the entire text of Genesis A was in fucking 1915.  Christ alive, I don’t even want to think of the implications this has on the ‘modern’ rendering of the text.


And I’ve been eating a lot here, and despite f) above, I seem to have gained at least five pounds.  I know I shouldn’t care about this, but I think about it more than I should.  This hasn’t stopped me from eating chocolate on a normal basis, so I suppose that’s something.  (For the record, I don’t think I’m categorizing this paragraph under the ‘failing at life’ heading of this blog entry, because weight should never have anything to do with life FAIL!s.)


And I’ve been sucked into the world of internet memes more frequently than I otherwise would have liked.  (Also for the record, this is a life fail.)


I’m sick for the second time in a month.  It’s pretty unbelievably awesome.  In the completely un-awesome sort of way.

I had plans in my diary (date book) to go to a play with Faye and some other MA students.  I still plan to go, but I feel pretty awful.  Furthermore, I don’t really want to make everyone else sick and distract everyone with my persistent coughing filled with phlegmy goodness.

Since I’ve started my course, I haven’t been particularly social, since technically I’m part of a group of three and the medievalists apparently marginalize themselves (or are marginalized) within the English department.  I met Faye during the induction week and haven’t really seen much of her since.  I blame this solely on the fact that the medievalists have no opportunity to interact with others.

Although, I went to a dissertation workshop that included some early modern students.  (Or, more accurately, an early modernist dissertation workshop that included the three medievalists because some other period had to subsume us and early modern was the closest.)  That life-sapping two hours was enough to convince me that I don’t really like some MA students.  At all.  I won’t delve into it here, but suffice it to say it had something to do with an amateur grammar nazi sounding foolish, offering criticism when criticism was not called for and not even accurate.

Also, I hate undergraduates.  A lot.  Mostly the ones that stand around in the hallways after their lectures, blocking them completely and then looking at you as if you are invading their space as you push past them muttering obscenities under your breath, suppressing the impulse to push with a bit more aggressive force.  Every. Day.

Okay, so basically I haven’t made any friends because I’m incorrigible.  And there you have it.

Oh yeah, and I guess I should mention my wedding-planning weekend.  It went pretty well.  I’d say we got everything in order.  I like how laid-back our wedding is going to be.  Nevertheless, I’m finding it difficult talking to people about the wedding.  New people, that is.  When people find out that I’m getting married, they react in the usual manner.  “Oh, that’s so exciting!” “I bet you’re so excited!” et cetera.  I am excited, sure, but it’s just not that big of a deal.  When I say, “Yeah . . . I guess,” I get that weird look that’s difficult to describe.  That look that reads, “Why aren’t you speaking in a high-pitched voice whilst gushing about the details of the place cards you’re having custom made for $400?”  So when I say, “We’re getting married partly because of political reasons,” I get a look that reads, “. . . ?”  So when I say, “I don’t feel that getting married legitimizes my relationship in any way, so, at the end of the day, it’s just not that big of a deal,” I get a look that makes me feel like a serial puppy killer.

Wow, I really do sound incorrigible.

Another belated update

I told Betsy before she went on vacation that I would update my blog.  I didn’t update my blog.  Betsy is back from vacation.

So now I am updating my blog.

It’s not that I don’t have enough time to update my blog.  I mean, if I can laze around in bed watching British reality television at night, I have enough time to write something about my day.  I think it’s just more a matter of getting in the habit of writing about my days that is the problem.  The fact that I would like to write compelling prose and often feel that all I can muster is drivel doesn’t help.

In any event, I almost got hit in the head by a pigeon the other day.  The pigeons seem to fly quite low here.  It came out of nowhere and flew right at me!  After an awkward duck-and-dart maneuver into oncoming traffic, I escaped pigeon decapitation. I arrived home and got a text from Red saying a pigeon pooped on him.  I guess his pigeon experience trumps mine.

I have started going to yoga every morning.  I managed to haggle down the cost of going to a posh ashtanga studio in Camden that does Mysore style yoga.  It’s really refreshing, and after so long of not going to yoga I really appreciate it.  The yogi there is really genuine; he so obviously cares about all of his students.  Everyone works at their own pace, so upon first glance it might look like absolute chaos inside the studio, with people in different asanas and at varying degrees of sweatiness, but this creates a buzzing atmosphere that I have been enjoying.

I still haven’t made any actual friends here.  It’s a bit lame, but I’m sure friends will come in time.  A PhD student is on exchange from UPenn for the year (traveling with undergraduate junior-year-abroad students) and she’s auditing one of my classes.  We discovered that we actually both live in International Hall, and she was due to come over last night for drinks and to meet Red.  The thing is, I gave her my telephone number, but I gave her the wrong number.  I’m pretty awesome.  We’ll probably do drinks over at my flat next week sometime.

None of the family has made any plans yet to come over for my wedding in December.  This is slightly disconcerting.  Danica and mom still don’t have passports.


This weekend, Red and I are going back to Essex to do a bunch of wedding planning.  His mother suggested we do this – come back for a weekend and just do all the planning we need to do and get it out of the way so we (read: I) don’t have to worry about it.  It’s a good idea.  I had a dream the other day that it was the day of the wedding and we hadn’t arranged any food for the reception.

My subconscious is obviously trying to tell me something.