I mentioned that I gave Jennifer her ring within a book; when she saw it she said I must love her a lot to desecrate a book for her! I do, and I bought a backup copy anyway. When we first moved in together, I used to read her poetry in the evening before we went to bed (still do sometimes when we're in the same place at night!), so I thought a book of love poems would be perfect. I took a while to search for just the right book: a poet we both liked (although Duffy was a new addition to our repertoire, since I really discovered her work over here); hardcover so it would withstand cutting a hole into its pages; and beautiful cover design so it would be aesthetically pleasing as well! I started searching probably around a year ago, when I began planning the proposal, and found the perfect book late fall of last year.
We plan to use the book as a mini-scrapbook of our engagement day; we'll include all of our instax mini photos (shown on last post) along with pressed flowers, the business card from The Winding Stair, and other whatsits from the day.
So, my brief blogging hiatus has been for a very good reason: Jennifer's ten-day visit to Dublin! We touristed, we ate, we shopped, and...we got engaged! We're waiting to make any official plans until we're in the same country again, but the big day will probably be sometime in the next two years. It's rather A Very Long Engagement, just without the Nazis and shell-shock. Despite the lack of definite plans so far, we're both very excited!
I had already 'claimed' the right to do the asking - I love planning grand romantic gestures and knew that Ireland would be the perfect place, since we did meet over here and all. I had already hinted to Jennifer to expect it in the spring, but miraculously managed to keep all the details to myself. Seriously, it is a miracle, as I tell Jennifer absolutely everything exciting (and mundane) in my life.
Luckily, the day I had chosen came around and it was glorious out - sunny, warm(ish), dry. I convinced Jennifer it would be a great day for a picnic and we headed out to get supplies. After stocking up on cheese at Sheridans, we headed over to Merrion Square Park, my favorite park in Dublin due to its famous resident, Oscar Wilde. I suggested that we visit the statue of Oscar before eating and Jennifer agreed.
St. Oscar was smiling down on us, because when we got there no other tourists were loitering, so we had the little corner to ourselves. Jennifer started to pull out her camera but I pulled her aside and said I wanted to give her something first. I pulled out Love Poems by Carol Ann Duffy, tied with a ribbon, and gave it to her. I don't really remember everything I said, but there was something about Jennifer being my girl and my partner and that I wanted her to be that forever. Jennifer said 'hi' back, which is what she does when she's not sure what else to say. So cute. Then I told her to open the book, where I had stashed a photo of my favorite neon in Dublin as a bookmark:
The photo marked the spot of my favorite Carol Ann Duffy poem for us, "Words, Wide Night,"* and the spot where I had cut out an opening and tied in her ring. My legs we shaking by this point and I think I was just whispering what I wanted to say. I asked if she would marry me and she said yes! I put her ring on and got out mine (yeah, I bought rings for both of us, I definitely didn't want to be left out!) to put on as well.
We canoodled around Oscar for a bit (another tourist had shown up partway through but I think we were both in out own worlds enough not to be bothered) then finally went to find a cozy spot for our picnic.
My next surprise was a reservation at the Trinity Capital Hotel, this fantastically trippy hotel just a few minutes' walk from Merrion Square. I wouldn't tell Jennifer where we were going, so she got a bit of a surprise when I walked into the lobby and checked us in!
We later had dinner reservations for a lovely wee restaurant above a tiny bookstore, The Winding Stair. It's tight (and noisy!) but the food is amazing. Plus, there are full bookshelves on the walls and huge chalkboards with the day's specials and wine lists.
That's our engagement day (3.24.11) story!
Jennifer wore Heidi braids; I wore a Cecily sweater.
*Words, Wide Night
Somewhere on the other side of this wide night
and the distance between us, I am thinking of you.
The room is turning slowly away from the moon.
This is pleasurable. Or shall I cross that out and say
it is sad? In one of the tenses I singing
an impossible song of desire that you cannot hear.
Happy St. Patrick's Day from bonnie Ireland! As far as my experience goes, St. Paddy's in Dublin consists of silly hats and a lot of vomit in the streets. I celebrated by going to see a National Theatre Live production of Frankenstein, with Jonny Lee Miller as Dr. Frankenstein and Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock Holmes himself) as the Creature, directed by Danny Boyle. I wasn't sure what to expect, but it was beyond amazing. The sets were steampunk fantasticness, Jonny Lee Miller's Frankenstein vacillated between desperation and pain and scientific pride in his own genius, despite the horrific consequences. Benedict Cumberbatch's Creature stole the show, though. He was intensely physical and really expressed the existential pain and loneliness of his existence. I really wish I could see it again with the leads switched (Miller and Cumberbatch switch roles every night! Dedication).
I love this dress + sweater combo (seen before here). Target recently re-released some of its most popular GO International dresses, and this one in black is one of them. I adore the silhouette so I am tempted. I was gratified to see that my bunny dress is already sold out again; it's nice to see my good taste reinforced!
I made a beeline for this top in the store because of its absolutely pitch-perfect 40s floral print. It also has fabulous ruffled sleeves, but today was cold and rainy so I just wanted to be bundled up.
Happy International Women's Day! Title is in honor of one of my fav Irish feminists, Constance Markievicz, who, according to one of the Women's Day speakers I heard today, gave that advice to her fellow Irish suffragettes. She also fought in the Easter Rising, was imprisoned but not sentenced to death because she was female, and complained: "I do wish your lot had the decency to shoot me." Oh, and on top of that she was the first woman elected to Britain's House of Commons (although she didn't take her seat) and helped form Ireland's first Dàil (lower house of Parliament), and fought on the republican side in the Civil War.
I did not even want to make an effort today, as I was up late last night finishing up an essay. It's done and turned in now, though, yay. So, I threw on an easy outfit and added my new bling necklace. It must have worked because nearly everyone I saw today complimented me on it. It's a keeper! And, my boots are newly re-heeled so I don't feel guilty wearing them all the time anymore.