Married life rocks

We returned from a fabulous time in Big Sky, Montana to amazing Spring weather (I keep looking out the window expecting to see snow). We did a whole lot of nothing yesterday as it was our last day of rest before going back to the grind.

The wedding went off without a hitch, exceeded our expectations as a fun, low key event and we couldn’t be happier. Here are some photos of the event itself:

Cory and John’s Wedding

These were mostly taken by Evan Young who is a mighty talented individual in a whole lot of ways as well as a really nice guy.  It was amazing to see so many friends and family in one place. My biggest fear was that I wouldn’t be able to absorb them enough to make it worth their [and my] while to make the trip. That never happened. It was amazing to see everyone and spend such quality time together. It was also great to be able to introduce all my peeps to all of J’s peeps at one time. The reception was a blur as everyone had told me but hopefully it was a fun time had by all. J had to withhold beer to get folks to actually leave. I think it would have been a very early drunken morning otherwise.


T minus 9 days

At the moment I’m fussing with music. Entry music, mood music, background music, etc. I finally decided to walk “in” for my grand entrance to Israel Kamakawiwo’ole’s “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” as that’s the song J used to propose and it makes me misty eyed. I thought of using a Foo Fighter’s song but its a bit too difficult.

Priority one this week is to put the house back together post dry wall repair and window painting. The guest room has been disassembled for a while now and its completed but now needs finishing touches [curtains, sheets, light, etc.]. I’ve never been good at hanging curtains and I can’t even imagine asking J for assistance but he did manage to hang the ones in the master bedroom and the living room so at one time, he had to have experience. The front hose bib finally got done so it is possible to initiate and complete a project. I can’t ever anticipate a completion date though. It might be a few years before our house numbers get installed. Who am I to criticize…I have flower bulbs that need to be planted or we won’t have nice summer flowers this year. I get bored easily and after digging 4 holes, I’m done. Also the squirrels tend to steal them so I never know if I’ve just wasted money on “rodent” food.

We’re still working out the details of the actual wedding ceremony. I suppose that since most people hire a seasoned officiant, they usually don’t have to fuss to much with it as its kind of set ahead of time. We have to figure out the order, the script, the readings, and the vows…in just over a week. I am responsible for remembering the license and J’s wedding ring.

We have guests coming from all over; Sweden (my roommate from college), San Diego (friend from my study abroad in Denmark), LA (BF from elementary school), Seattle (close friend from tris), New Orleans (J’s friends from Habitat), Oakland, and Minneapolis (my dad, step-mother, step sister and her husband). So many people, so little time.

My mother has generously offered to create all the flower arrangements for the ceremony and reception. I have all the vessels and she’s going to fill and transport them. I will be attempting to create my own bouquet from wholesale flowers. It will be a mix of mini calla lilies [in garnet] and violet roses with ivory ribbon around the stems. Simple, yet elegant.

Despite our efforts to disuade friends and relatives from buying us stuff [since our agreement is that an equal number of things have to leave as come in] we have received a number of really nice and thoughtful gifts. I used one the other day for hummus and pita, very nice. One of the more generous and amazing gifts is a 4 night, 5 day trip to Costa Rica. Actually, its a sweet house, 4 br, infinity edge pool, overlooking the Pacific which is part of the Exclusive Resorts time share. Its insane. We’re trying to hammer out flight details and I really just need to step away from the process and allow J to work his airline magic since he can do this rather well. I am queen of rental cars, while he is good at the flight info. The quintessential bargain hunters. I do have my license. The property has 4 bedrooms so rather than sleep in a different room each night, we invited 3 other couples to go along with us; more fun with company, right? I’m pretty excited, I’ve never been to Central America and have heard great things about Costa Rica. Jungle tours, snorkeling, zip line canopy tours, more wild life than you can shake a stick at (some of it poisonous) and great scenery. Despite May being the rainy season, I’m sure it will be a great adventure. Other location options were the Grand Cayman islands, Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands, and the Bahamas. I thought for the opportunity, Costa Rica seemed most exotic.

Now to sort out how to provide coffee to 130 people without blowing a circuit.

I am again obsessed with wedding details

Its President’s Day and I just learned from the DCist that I missed the opportunity to see a portrait of our 44th President with our 16th President….done in cupcakes. It took 5,600 cupcakes to make up the portrait. I’m all about fun art and art as food [or in this case, food as art] hits two favorite things.

However, we did have an excellent food tasting with a very talented self taught cook who I think will do an excellent job on the cocktail reception. See if this menu doesn’t make your mouth water: mini crab cakes, beef brisket with a home-made pickle, shrimp cocktail, asparagus wrapped in mozzarella cheese and prosciutto, artichoke dip, spinach balls, and tomato stack [kind of like a bruscetta], along with the usual fruit and cheese platters and some antipasto. Mmmmm….all sounds tasty to me and I hope you all like it.

I may have given up on the idea of getting a bunch of wholesale flowers and doing a bunch of arrangements [and my own bouquet] myself to save money. I went to visit a new flow shop on H Street, Nouveau Fleur, and I might just bite the bullet and losen the purse and have her do the flowers. I like to support local businesses and seriously, I don’t exactly have a lot of free time.

I went to Frager’s Hardware to rent a few bistro tables and a coffee maker for the fete and I’m trying to check off all sorts of other things that need to get done. My focus has been rather thin since its also hockey season and with about 3 games per week its tough to pay attention to much else.

As we’ve crossed into March, the count down seems more on top of me and we still don’t have a ceremony worked out. I think since my friend Mer offered her husband’s boat as a place to get ready, I’ll be taking her up on that offer. Fun to get all dolled up for the ceremony on a boat [hopefully I won’t fall off of it as I’m getting off of it in the dress and all] and if the weather is nice enough, maybe we’ll just hoof it from the City Dock to the ceremony. Fun times.

We were in NYC yesterday for the day for my defacto bachelorette party. Bummer that I was feeling much under the weather and since I haven’t been sick in a long time, it hit me harder than average. All I wanted to do was curl up in bed and drink hot tea. But, given that we’d planned this for a while and 3 close friends had made the trip, I sucked it up and made the best of the trip. It was fun but I wish it hadn’t been so cold and that I felt better.

We started out at 6:20 a.m. with a departure from Union Station for the train to NYC [Penn Station] where we hoped to check out one of many flea markets, hang out at Grand Central station and bunches of other stuff. I had underestimated the weather and while I have tones of hats and scarves at home, I didn’t bother to bring them. First stop was a Kmart [who knew?] for a hat, scarf, gloves, and some very cheap sunglasses. All set with fortifications, we set off to the Hell’s Kitchen Flea market. It was a blustery day and while there were a few vendors I really wasn’t into it as much as I’d have liked…it was cold, I felt like crap and there wasn’t a whole lot to look at.

Julie and I wove our way through the Fashion District, popping into stores now and then to get warm, went through Time Square [so many PEOPLE] and on to Grand Central Station where we wandered about, had a nibble [tasty coffee cake] and waited for Wendy and Maureen to arrive [they took a later train].

Lunch at the Oyster Bar [Manhattan Clam Chowder and raw oysters…yumm] was splendid, a quick trip to Kenneth Cole to review their 50% off sale on their shoes and then we walked to MOMA where we started at the top and worked our way down through all the lovely modern art. It had to have been one of the noisiest museums I’ve ever experienced. A quick perusal of the design shop and then into a cab to meet J9  and Carrie at Salt where we had an excellent meal, tasty wine and great company. From there we moved on to Madam X searching for Absolute Ruby [Grapefruit] but found only Mandarin flavor … not a bad substitute. Since Julie and I were catching the 9:05 train back to DC, we had one drink and then hopped into a cab back to Penn Station. I have no real concept of where things are in NYC and how long it takes to get from point A to point B. I’m so accustomed to the easy access of DC and the relative closeness of everything to everything else.

One long train ride back to DC and I arrive at home at 1 a.m. exhausted and feeling pretty crappy but glad to have had an excellent adventure in NYC with friends.

T minus 44 days (actually 38 now)

So here it is, the first week of February, cold, snow flurries, and I have very little inspiration to start a training plan. However, I’m trying to tie up any wedding loose ends, like hammering down a caterer, trying not to hound J about designing and mailing out invites for the Big Bash (for anyone out there who may be checking their mailboxes daily, don’t let the hope fade, there is a real live invite that will eventually make its way to YOU). I go next week for a fitting for the dress and despite my best intentions to slim down, it just isn’t happening. I think I’m resistant to modifying my eating habits, although for a while, I was pretty good. It just doesn’t stick. I seem to have acquired a spare tire along my travels…anyone need a spare tire? I’d be happy to give you mine. Its an odd thing though since I don’t remember being “thick waisted” in the past. Maybe that’s what turning 40 does for you.

The ceremony invitations went out about a week ago and I was pretty happy about that. They look amazing thanks to J’s sister who is a graphic designer. I found a design I liked on Wedding Divas and she modified it and we used that. Thanks to a very creative color coordinated friend, I discovered the Mecca that is The Paper-Source and all the fantastic color combinations that you can create to have your very own unique look. I was pleased and they’re pretty simple and hopefully reflective of US.

I wonder if everything will come together as imagined or planned. I really still don’t have a concept of how things should go…I just hope to stay calm and focused and have a sense of humor about the whole thing. It should be fun, right? If its not fun, then its not worth doing.

[resumed writing on Feb 11, 6 days after I began]

We’ve been experiencing a Spring teaser for the past few days and I know it will get cold again but this taste makes me want to run barefoot through a field of wild flowers and take a nap outside in a sunny patch of grass. We’re supposed to go back to cold and February-like soon but I’ll absorb the sun and warm for the moment for those near future crappy days. However, the light is coming back which is always a good thing. I think we get 2 min per day of sunlight … welcome back, we’ve missed you.

We’re doing a food tasting (our first) this weekend and I hope it turns out well because frankly I’m at my wits end where food for the Big Bash is concerned. I get a good vibe from this guy and he’s a friend of one of J’s co-workers and we share an interest in unique food, urban adventures and respect for locally grown ingredients.

I found out that my roommate from college will be coming for the big bash. She’s coming from Sweden! I haven’t seen her for several years so it will be a quick visit as she has two young children who will be spending a few days with her mother. It  should be a rip roaring time for all. The crowd will be diverse and ecclectic and I hope I’ll get to see and talk to nearly everyone. It will be tough but with proper time mangement and controlled alcohol consumption, I should be able to do it.

Looking forward to seeing everyone in 38 days.

Its the Big 4-0 time!!

So today is the big day, the birthday that everyone usually dreads but frankly I don’t know what all the fuss is about. I turn 40 today and I always look forward to my birthday as a new beginning, a time to start fresh, and plan new adventures.

[okay, so I started writing that a few weeks ago…and got side tracked]

Today is Jan 18, 2009, it happens to be Toby’s (my dog) birthday (he’s 10) and the day that the National Mall was filled to the brim with spectators for the “We Are One” concert at the Lincoln Memorial. This town has caught Obamamania, and me along with it. I can’t say that I was an earlier supporter since I am slightly jaded and have spent the last 8 years in a Bush-dominated executive branch and my sense of hope and optimism. However now that I pay close attention to his speeches, his mannerisms, his integrity I now see what my 20 something friends have seen all along. I admit that I still have that sense of “it seems too good to be true” but I am hopeful that it is exactly what it seems…a great Change for the U.S. and the World.

J just pointed out that the guy who sang the National Anthem at today’s concert is the very same dude who sings at the Caps games (and does such an amazing job unaccompanied). I didn’t believe him at all but it was the same Master Sargent Caleb Green who often sings the National Anthem at Caps games. Next time he sings, I’ll be sure to shake his hand, tell him he does a great job and that I saw him at the Mall. He and all the other anthem singers often sit one section over from us during the games.

I rode my fixie down to the Mall to see all the action, not knowing what to expect. It was mass chaos but I did manage to catch a few musical acts like Stevie Wonder, Jack Black, U2 and the speech from Obama himself. I was able to see one of the Jumbotrons at a weird angle but it was something and I did happen to hear it live. Kind of cool and going by bike was really the way to go. The streets were mostly closed around the area and as long as I dodged inattentive tourists I was okay. The tour buses were out in force, clogging the streets and making it tough to breathe along the Mall. But I made it down, took a few photos of the crowd, and home in less than 2 hrs. Not too shabby for an afternoon.

So back to the birthday and the turning 40. It sort of happened without much fanfare. We went duck pin bowling and on the actual birthday I had a facial (so nice) and had lunch with my sister. J cooked dinner for us and we had a lovely bottle of Merry Edwards wine. It is what it is and no one thinks I look (or act) 40. So I’ll soldier on and stop counting.

This morning I was listening to NPR while walking the dog and heard the Sunday version of “This I Believe” and heard the most remarkable 7 year old tell of his top 30 things that he believes. Tarak McLain recited his “Thirty Things I Believe” and sounded much more mature and self actualized than most adults I know. He sounds like a very interesting and very wise young man. He is a beautiful child and I hope that whomever else out there heard his list was as touched by it as I was.

We’re moving right along on the wedding front. Evan and I went to scope out the venues on Friday and he found some great spots in Annapolis to do portraits. We had lunch at Chick and Ruth’s Deli on Main Street and I’d love to have our photos taken in there post ceremony…its such an institution. Speaking of institution, what’s with the crazy application to get a marriage license? Its harder to get a library card or adopt a cat from the shelter. A social security number, a place of birth and proper spelling of all names is all that’s required. Oh and $55 in cash or charge. Wait 48 hrs, find someone who’s recognized by any religious organization anywhere or a sitting or retired judge OR a ship captain and you’re good to go. I meet with a caterer on Jan 30th to see the layout and set up of the gallery. I’m hopeful that this will work out as I’m at a loss for a plan B.

J also found this great link where you can create your own Obamaesque poster of yourself. I thought it might make a great wedding invite…with Change as the caption below. A friend passed along info about sending your wedding invite to the White House office of correspondence, you’ll receive a signed letter of decline from the Pres and Mrs. Pres as a “keepsake”. I think I’ll do it.

2009 is shaping up to be a good year all around. I hope yours is going well!