I haven’t written for a few days, as things have been very hectic. E arrived on Wednesday! Dad and I collected her from the airport. I also sent out the wedding invitations that day via Greenvelope. Thankfully, only one bounced due to an outdated address, although my Mum’s failed to arrive and we don’t know why. I generally sent only one invitation to couples (I usually only had one address for them anyway), but for close family, I sent individual invitations. Dad’s arrived, but Mum’s didn’t and we don’t know why as the system failed to register it as unsent. It wasn’t in her spam folder. Aside from that, we’ve received a lot of replies already and I’m glad that my rabbi mentor is definitely coming, although sadly his wife is not. My oldest friend is coming without his wife too, in both cases, due to work commitments they can’t get out of.
On Thursday E and I had our marriage authorisation meeting at the United Synagogue. I’m not going to re-open debate on whether this is a good thing; I don’t have a problem with it, although E didn’t like the process, although she found the meeting OK. Anyway, it went without a hitch, although I was quite anxious beforehand. My Mum had told me in advance that she thought I was at kindergarten with the rabbi we were going to speak to. I was tempted to spiral into comparison, but decided I would not devalue myself that way any more. I don’t know how well I will manage to continue this attitude in the future.
The meeting went better than expected, but afterwards we went to Brent Cross Shopping Centre to get a wedding ring, which went a lot worse than expected. The service in the jewellers we went to was very poor. E wanted to discuss rings with an assistant, especially for advice on matching the wedding ring with her engagement ring (which used to be my grandmother’s and is a family heirloom). In the end, we didn’t get a ring. We’re going to speak to one of my Dad’s friends, who is a jeweller, after Pesach (Passover). Hopefully he will give us some more personal advice.
We spent some time in John Lewis looking for things for our gift registry. It was actually OK doing this with E, even a bit fun. I think with anyone else, I would have been bored rigid. I guess that’s true love.
On the way home, I wanted to cheer E up after the ring problem, so suggested we do a detour to the free bookshelf in the hope she would find something good. She didn’t, but I ended up with three books: a translation of Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales (which I may not read from cover to cover, but is good to have), the Sherlock Holmes-themed mystery novel Moriarty by Anthony Horowitz and a Bill Bryson travelogue A Walk in the Woods (which E may read, so I guess that was a partial success for her). I have a lot of light books to read at the moment, which I should be reading now at this time of stress, but I’m some way into Children of Dune and don’t want to stop now I’ve started. The problem is I rarely have the time or concentration for it right now.
I’m actually reading a different Bill Bryson book at lunch at work and on the Tube home, as The Great Dune Trilogy, which includes Children of Dune, is too big to take with. This is The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid, about growing up in small-town America in the 1950s, part memoir, part social history. I’m enjoying it a lot, for all that I find Bryson’s sense of humour a little off-putting at times, in terms of childhood anecdotes involving bodily functions and the like. It’s certainly an easier read than Children of Dune!
I’ve been feeling very tired this week, even more so than usual. I’ve had to get up early most days, not just by my standards, but by most standards, and I’ve been going to bed late so that I can catch up on things for the wedding and/or Pesach (mostly wedding, I am not doing much for Pesach this year, I just don’t have the time or energy). I wake up most days at the moment with a stress headache. It usually goes once I get up, but it makes getting up harder, and sometimes (like today), it doesn’t go entirely, even with medication. E has also been tired with jet-lag so we haven’t done much more than we need to, it’s just difficult that we’ve needed to do a lot. We’re having a quieter day today and Shabbat (the Sabbath) should be quiet too, although next week will be very intensive in the days immediately before Pesach. I haven’t had any real time or energy for reading or even TV and the lack of relaxation has made it hard to fall asleep at times. When I do, I have weird dreams and wake up more tired than I went to sleep (still no news on the sleep study results. I can’t even find a number to chase). I’ve noticed that marriage conversations can start suddenly and go on for a while, admittedly more with my parents than E, and this can take quite big chunks of unscheduled time from the day too.
I also find balancing the very different personalities of E and my parents a bit tricky, as well as developing my relationships with them. They don’t get on badly, I just need to adjust to the new family dynamic. It’s hard for E and me staying with my parents too. It makes sense to stay before the wedding, but in an ideal world, E and I would move out straight afterwards, but we’ll probably be staying here for some months after the wedding, given that it’s unlikely that we’ll have time to look at flats before the wedding and the process of buying property can itself take months even after finding somewhere.
That said, I’m really glad E is here and the wedding seems closer now, although I would like Pesach to be out of the way as it’s a whole other load of worries, despite my being less anxious and OCD about it than I was a couple of years ago. Actually, my raised anxiety level generally has probably made my Pesach anxiety worse than it was last year and the year before, but not significantly so.
I don’t really want to get political, but I do want to say something about the arrest of Donald Trump. I don’t like him and don’t want him to be president again, but the charges brought against him seem too trivial and politically-motivated, like Al Capone being arrested for tax evasion. They should either have tried to arrest him for the Capitol Riot, which was significant enough to need follow-through, or just left things to the ballot box. This will just inflame his already conspiracy-minded followers and I think it will backfire badly on the Democratic Party. I don’t know if the Democratic leadership actually want this prosecution, but it will reflect badly on them all the same.
It also represents a trend in American politics to disparage election results and try to involve the judiciary in politics in a dangerous way. There was Trump’s riot in 2021, Trump was impeached twice during his term in office, before that was the Florida Recount in 2000 and before that was Ken Starr’s attempts to impeach Bill Clinton in the 1990s. I think these things lead a distrust of the electoral system and an impatience with it that does neither party any good in the long-run and will just lead to further erosion of support for democracy. Except in exceptional cases, bad presidents should be removed by the voters, not the judiciary.