The Wedding Vows

These have been requested numerous times so here are the vows from the wedding:

Daniel’s Vows

Tia, my love,

Perhaps there was a time when we weren’t together.  It doesn’t feel real, but it seems I remember such a time.  I also have a memory that there was also a time when my contentment with life was mixed with restlessness and a sense of incompleteness.  But that memory too is distant.


Fundamentally, that is why I choose to be here with you today.  Some things are easier, some harder, but you’re part of the context in which everything in my life happens — a context that makes me feel at ease, complete and happy, regardless of the day-to-day details.


You are, as you know, a most unusual person, in many ways.


Sometimes that shows up in the decisions that you make, such as the decision to be very open and honest with me from the day we met, when you are usually more guarded.  Sometimes it shows up in the things that you do, such as when you had a particularly bad few days and realized how hard that was on me, and wrote a series of letters and love notes, both to make me feel loved and rewarded for caring for you, and to tell me what you need.  And every day, how unusual you are is apparent in the ways you are able to understand me, your ability and willingness to work with my quirks, and the generosity you bring to our relationship.


As I’ve mentioned many times, you’re crazy — crazier than most, but far saner about your crazy than the rest of the world


And so I give myself to you, and make these vows to you.


For the rest of our lives, I will work with you to make our lives great, and to make us happy.  I will be open and honest with you, and express my emotions, challenging myself to continue to be more expressive and more vulnerable.  I will always be growing and learning, including in any ways needed for our relationship to thrive.  And I will always be worthy of your trust, always deepening the safety, joy and love that feeds our relationship.


And I promise to grow old together with you, but never to grow up, at least not too much.


I love you.

For the most part, you and I don’t care about the traditional symbols and rituals associated with marriage, just about the substance of our relationship.


And yet, somehow it is unimaginable for us not to exchange rings to solemnize our marriage.  These rings, which we’ve designed together, represent the simple, subtle-but-not-too-subtle way we tell the world of our commitment to each other and share a glimmer of the beauty we create together.


And so I give this ring to you, to provide one more link between us at those times when we are not together, to fidget with endlessly, and to wear on your finger for ever and ever and ever.


My Vows

My Daniel,

I look back at my life before you, and it doesn’t seem real. The memories seem incomplete without you, I was incomplete. For fourteen years, I have been an incomplete Tia who was afraid to truly love, trust, and need anyone else. I lost the ability to be myself.


You know what the best part of today is (Besides the karaoke and my hair colour)? The best part of today is that we get to finally be complete, as a duo.


You are by far, the most compassionate, honest, intelligent, and dorky person I have ever had the pleasure of falling in love with. When I am with you, nothing can go wrong. Even when things are getting tough, I’m still with you. You have the patience of a Saint, every day I am in awe of the things you put up with around me.


It makes me intensely pleased every time you laugh at some stupid and dorky comment or random sound effect I make. Every time I hear that laugh, I’m reminded how of right you are for me and how much more I love life with you and being able to be myself entirely.


You always keep surprising me in ways that you work with me, compromise with me, and be understanding. You listen to me and understand me greater than any other human on the planet.  This is right  I know it is, because when I look at you, I can feel it. And I look at you, and I… I’m home.


My mnhei’sahe is unfulfilled without you. That is why give myself to you. I vow this to you:


For the rest of our lives, I swear to be your partner in everything. To journey with you through life and create the adventure of a lifetime. I work to remedy my mistakes, grow as a person, and live to be old; so that you can keep your promise to grow old with me. I promise to continue to grow, be worthy of your love and trust. Most importantly, I promise to continue being sane about my crazy.


Mi volas esti kun vi por ĉiam. Mi amas vin.

Do you wanna come with me? ‘Cause if you do, then I should warn you – you’re gonna see all sorts of things. It won’t be quiet, it won’t be safe, and it won’t be calm. But I’ll tell you what it will be: The trip of a lifetime!


It’s dangerous to go alone.

[get ring]

Take this.

[give ring]

Trekkies Unite: Be part of the USS Gygax’s Crew

Trekkies Unite: Be part of the USS Gygax’s Crew

Lieutenant Commander Tia Marie here, Chief Operations Officer & founding member of the USS Gygax NCC-63545, a correspondence chapter in the Starfleet International (an international Star Trek fan association). I became a part of founding the USS Gygax with Otaking and many others from a Star Trek themed LambdaMOO called Where No One Has Gone Before.

Since its inception almost a year ago, being a member of the USS Gygax has been a great deal of fun and most importantly at my own pace. I’ve participated in charity events, gaming events, and even cosplaying at Star Trek events. Being a member of SFI had really helped me gain a deeper enjoyment of Star Trek through it’s rich and wonderful fan community.

That’s why I want you right here with me. Lets enjoy Star Trek together and join me as a member of the USS Gygax’s crew. There is a $15 a year membership fee (email if you’re interested but the fee is a problem) and since we are a correspondence chapter there isn’t much of your RL time you have to put into being a member. We are in Region 4 (R4) but that doesn’t limit you to join if you are elsewhere in the world.

As a crew, we engage on WNOHGB and on our forums. We have regular gaming nights online and even do some local stuff where members live near each other. I’ve known most of the folks in the crew for about 4 years and they are a blast!

You can register for membership here:

Make sure to select USS GYGAX – R4 in the chapter drop down. Additionally, I’ll sponsor the fee for up to 4 people if you are interested in joining!

Give me a shout on Twitter or introduce yourself on the USS Gygax forums once you’ve applied for membership of SFI and we’ll introduce you to the crew. You can also feel free to ask questions about membership.

Hope to see you aboard!

Confession: Tia’s Had Plastic Surgery


I want you to watch the video above, really watch this.  I found this video really by accident and I wasn’t going to make a post about this until I started reading some of the comments like:

“Fuck that parent for buying her kid new ears.”

“her mom is crazy for putting her daughter into dat dreadful process.”

I have a confession to make.  I had the exact same surgery as this little girl and I was 8 years old.  Yup, that’s right.  Let me show you the results of the plastic surgery before I tell you why.

22 years later, I’m still exceptionally thrilled with the way my ears look.  I really wish I had some pictures of my original ears, but there aren’t many pictures of my childhood.  What I do remember is getting bullied, verbally and physically.  My ears were tugged on (very painfully) and I was repeatedly called names.  I didn’t mind the verbal bullying much as getting my ears flicked, pulled, tugged, and drawn on in class.  Trust me, the teachers did NOTHING.  Not a single thing.  I remember having my ear flicked so hard it started bleeding.

I didn’t want to go to school, and I begged my mom to do something about it.  After it became obvious that dealing with the school wouldn’t work and hiding my ears with my hair didn’t work… we did the next thing we could think of.  Otoplasty.  It was a quick and easy surgery where they cut open my ears, took out some cartilage and stitched my ears to my head.

The worst of it was really getting the stitches taken out after a couple of weeks… That and my older brother telling me they shaved my head and I’d be as bald as ET after the head wrapping came off.  I was convinced I’d be bald. I got my brother back for that by revealing the “under the dryer” hiding spot to my mom.  We’ll just leave it at that. (PS: <3 Big Brother)

Anyhow, I’m glad my parents did this for me.  I know they didn’t have a lot of money and this was “just plastic surgery for a child” – but it made a difference.  So did the braces. I still got bullied over other things as I grew older, but people stopped screwing with my ears.  At that school, a few kids even started sticking up for me once they found out I was willing to have surgery to get people to stop picking on me about my ears.  Some kids didn’t realise how seriously I was picked on and others didn’t realise how badly it made me feel.

Anyhow, thought I’d share.  More than willing to answer any questions about this (as I remember, it was 22 years ago).


Tia doesn’t comprehend malice

As I age, I realise more and more that I don’t comprehend malice. Intellectually I understand the premise, I have done malicious things in my life. I’m sure few people can say they’ve never intended to be mean ever, revenge and spite are too easily justified in society.

I understand when people are mean towards others who have done bad things. I don’t understand how other people come to the conclusion that the acts were bad and are bad enough that the person who committed the act deserves malice in return.

The vast majority of topics that become interesting enough for me to research, usually involve situations of malice. I might blog an example of an interest, but to make this post shorter, I will procrastinate.

That’s really it. Might elaborate more later. Yes, Tia is a sappy loser that wishes everybody just get along.

My Luke warm affair with femininity

Good news, everybody!

Tonight, I have turned in enough XP to level up more in my woman class. Sit down and I will tell you the the story of my progression up the skill chain and coming even closer to class proficiency.

It might come as a surprise to you to hear this, but I never really had the competence in being girly. I didn’t hate it, but I was so clumsily female, it was a daunting feat. In my mind, mastery of femininity was something accomplished by Demetyr, Aphrodite, and Helen of Troy embodied in a single goddess.

This was no effort that I could ever hope to achieve. At some point I gave in to my phobias and accepted only putting forth enough effort and appear ambitious and capable.

I went through one phase of my youth wearing pink dresses and pretty hair at the behest of my mother. Since she provided the parts and labour, this was of little pain for me. As I grew more bold, I would request more reasonable attire that did not require effort to wear not have repercussions if they were soiled. Finally, I came to the point in my life where I could wear practical and comfortable clothes. Ah, those were the days. It was tadpoles and Legos by day, books and Johnny Carson by night.

Those were the simpler days. It was only remembered I should be an adorable little girl on Easter Sunday, and the rest of the year was comfort. I got teased in school a bit, but mostly for my name and weirdness. Boy did hormones ever ruin that silver lining from my childhood.

Suddenly it became urgent to me that I looked pretty. I was sending a peace envoy to my old nemesis. I bravely waited, hoping to receive favourable terms. I watched with longing as my Barbie collecting gender peers were becoming more pretty and less cherubic.

After so long, I became rather ambivalent with my unanswered petitions to my inner goddess. I decided to be comfortably novel instead. I got picked on a great deal, and it was certainly difficult to remain apathetic and self deprecating enough about it. I became an expert at being the most mundane bullying target ever.

My unrequited inner high school crushes were comforted by the eternal friend zone status I had obtained. The love sick teenager in me was kept occupied by Anne Rice novels and the objects of my juvenile affections also being my eternally platonic buddies. Some of them exceptionally competent at fitting in and not standing out. I learned a great deal. It was like I had just bought into a comfortable low risk stock.

Somewhere after high school, I became aware of her majesty, the essence of femininity again. I decided it was easier and less risky to attempt an attractive enough imitation of a female than try to fully master the art. I learned many skills and costume tips. For a while I did a pretty good job. A child and full time military employment quickly changed that ambition for me.

During my years in the military it was pretty easy to want to be lazy about hair and makeup. It also made me apathetic again about clothing and girliness. It was futile to want to be more feminine while wearing unflattering and boring camouflage uniform. BDUs (battle dress uniforms), were so unflattering that they could negate any benefit makeup would have.

It was once again kind of nice to be rewarded for competence and skill. There was zero social impacts from being unapologetically dull in one’s relationship with being a woman. So long as I appeared competent and content with myself, that was all that mattered. There was some bullying. I didn’t quite fit in every social group, but I always managed to find some peers who were good to be around.

Over the past few years, my inner goddess and I became estranged. As I aged, I became sentimental of my applaudable attempts at being feminine. I remembered a time when I would have come in with at least an honourable mention in the sport. I was more confident to make a comeback attempt.

Today, I am comfortably tomboyish with moments of feminine ambition. I think I have become too old to be concerned with mastery. I have once again returned to that utopia of novelty. Except this time, my little garden of Eden will remain even if I were to bite into the forbidden fruit.

I have rationed small bites of the Apple of Female Wisdom. It was deliciously acceptable. Today, I wore a vulgar programmer male shirt (that was printed on a girly tee) with the pants and jacket from my suitjamas, my Mary Jane vibram shoes (which strangers have compared to driving gloves on my feet), all finished off by a rather well done decoration of eyeliner and mascara.

All of this is why, I presently revel in the irony of the evening I spent tonight. I had a lovely time sharing my female DIY knowledge. The sort of corners and hacks I have learned about makeup. Even some factoids and instructions to accomplish things I fail miserably at.

I have come a long way from tadpoles and Legos. I have opera gowns and play with filled server racks! That’s uh, gotta count for something?

My Most Treasured Memory of My Mom

Today is Mother's day and I've been sitting down watching cartoons with my son, @the_clone and it made me think of the ways my mother and I spent time together.  I have so many fond memories of my mother, when I was a kid, I don't think there was a single person I admired more than my mother.  In my mind, my mother could do anything.  

I like to describe my mom as the best combination of Bob Villa, Bob Ross, and Martha Stewart. It seemed like she knew how to do everything!  I remember when my mom inherited her mother's house and my parents decided to remodel it.  I can't remember having contractors around, but what I do remember is seeing my mom working on almost every piece of the project: Putting up sheetrock, laying carpet, replumbing and wiring the house, putting in new windows, installing vinyl siding, and even doing roofing work.  She also loved to paint, I remember her watching epidoes of Bob Ross' shows all the time to hone her oil painting skills.  She used to love to paint landscape scenes, rivers with forests near by, ocean scenes with sailing ships and seagulls, and various other things.  

I remember her sitting me down with this old art books that had a tutorial on drawing a covered bridge over a lake with trees in the background.  She was so proud of me when I finally got the hang of drawing perspectives and my covered bridge looked just like the tutorial.  She had quite an eye for design too, when I was in my early teens, she had a thing for stenciling. She wanted to stencil the walls of the house with ivy and various other designs.  

image from upload.wikimedia.orgThere was so much more to my mom than just that though, she showed interest in the things that I liked.  My family got by with a modest income but I always remember when something was really important to me, somehow I got it.  Some time in the late 80s, our family got an NES.  Our very first games were Mario Brothers and Legend of Zelda.  I remember watching my mom play the original Legend of Zelda very frequently.  She knew every bush to burn, rock to push, gravestone to push, and every other hidden item in both the 1st and 2nd quest.  Back in those days, they didn't really publish game guides, but Nintendo published a magazine called "Nintendo Power" which would occasionally have full coloured maps and such for the most popular Nintendo titles.

Our modest living didn't quite allow the room to have a regular subscription to this magazine and so my mom's solution was to get multiple sheets of graph paper and square by square she mapped out the entire world of Legend of Zelda both the 1st and 2nd world.  She marked every hidden spot she knew of and when she was finished it spanned mulitple pieces of graph paper.  She even loaned the map out to close friends and family who didn't have a Nintendo Power subscription.  If there is one thing I wish I could have more than anything, it would be my mom's Legend of Zelda map. I'd frame it and put it up on my livingroom wall.  She put so much attention to detail into that map.  

She never stopped gaming during the entire time I knew her.  She and I would play boardgames, card games, and video games all the time.  When I got into Magic: The Gathering, she humoured me by learning how to play.  I still remember the very first game we played, I had a mono blue permission deck (a deck composed of cards intended to primarily counter spells) and I let her use a Green sapling deck of mine.  Every time I'd play an instant or an interrupt, she'd accuse me of cheating and laugh as I would explain the individual rules to her.

Now that I've told you the absolute happy memories of my mom, I want to share a very private story that is both sad and happy which took place when I was 16 years old.  It's the story of the last time my mother and I gamed together ever. July 19th 1998 (a Sunday), a date I'll remember for the rest of my life. 

image from upload.wikimedia.orgOne of my mom's new favourite games was the original Diablo.  She'd beaten the game repeatedly and I was more interested in playing with the character hacker and being an asshole PKer.  That night, I had convinced my mom to play on Battlenet with me on my character (which had been hacked to be unreasonably stronger than most other characters).  Her job was to control the character and my job was to type/talk to other players on BattleNet and we even used my hacked character.  

We were going through the first dungeon to take down The Butcher with other people online and I turned to her and said, "Hey mom.  Attack that player.  Just do it."  She turned and looked at me aghast. 

She said to me, "That's mean!" and gave me a rather incredulous look, but did it.  The player died and dropped an ear, they cursed at us and I (being a jerk teenager) taunted them (playfully) over chat.  For the next few hours, my mother was on a player killing spree.  She was laughing so hard that tears had welled in her eyes and I couldn't remember ever having as much fun playing video games with my mom before in my life.  

It was nearly impossible to drag either of us away, but I had work in the morning and she had a doctor's appointment.  That Friday, my mom had experienced headaches and chest pains.  Her doctor wasn't concerned enough to have her to go the ER, so she had a doctor's appointment that Monday while I was at work.

I'm incredibly lucky to have had such an amazing time with my mother.  It was the last time I'd play a video game with my mom ever.  Some time around midday Monday July 20th 1998, my mother died at home.  I never got a chance to game with her again.  

I know this story must sound incredibly sad, and writing it brings tears to my eyes, but I couldn't have asked for a better "last moments" with my mom.  The woman who could do anything, was stronger than anyone else's mom I knew, could devour books in mere hours, and was my best friend.  

I feel so lucky that my last memories of my mom were so happy, both of us were intensely happy that night.  We laughed until we cried and I could be as silly as I wanted around her (at 16, not many girls probably liked being incredibly silly).  

I've never shared this story in such depth except for with a few close friends. It's my most treasured memory of my mother ever.  I couldn't have asked for a better last moment with my mom.  That moment was the penultimate expression of exactly why my mother was my best friend in life. 

Thank you all for letting me share this memory with you.  

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