Thursday, June 30, 2011

New York State of Mind: Part 1, The Wedding

Just a few days after I returned from a work trip to Baltimore, I turned around and packed up my bags and was off again. This time, Husband got to tag along. We've been together for almost a decade, but we had never traveled on a plane together before. He had never been to the state of New York, and I had never been to New York City proper. We were in for an adventure.

After two hours of sleep, we were up and out the door by 3 a.m. to catch an early morning flight, with a layover in the Airplane Mall of America, also known as Detroit. This is where I obtained my first blister.

We reached Middletown, NY around noon, and my sistercousin and her husband, who drove out for a cruise to Canada the week before, kindly carted us around for the whole weekend. We were exhausted. Exhibit A:
I can still smile, even while semiconscious!

That night we had dinner with the impending newlyweds at my aunt's home, somehow managing not to fall asleep in our plates of lasagna.

The next day, we went to see my cousin (the groom's brother), his wife, and his two adorable boys at their home, just across the border in Pennsylvania. We wandered around their subdivision's wonderful lakeside beach and then had a picnic on the lawn of their adorable home. We had only ever met the oldest boy, who was just a few months shy of one year old at Husband and my wedding almost four years ago!
Sistercousin and Brother of the Groom Cousin.
Sistercousin and me.
Possibly still semiconscious.

After lunch, sistercousin, cousin's wife, and I got our nails done in town. Our husbands got lost on their way to pick us up (*cue Deliverance banjo music*). Eventually, we were all reunited, and we ventured into Middletown for the rehearsal dinner where we saw the most spectacular display of stereotypical New York/New Jersey guido behavior. It was beyond our wildest, delighted dreams.

As we approached the pub where the rehearsal dinner was to be held, a giant, rather unattractive man pushed a very tiny, mincing man out of the front doors and commenced screaming at him. "You disrespectin' me?" he asked. "No! I wasn't disrespectin' you, Tony," the mincing man replied fearfully (I don't remember if the guy's name was really "Tony," but I can only assume that, yes, every guy with that brand of accent is named Tony). They went back inside, and we followed. But, unfortunately, there was a second set of double doors in the foyer of the pub, which the pair set up shop right in front of, continuing to argue in a lopsided fashion. We eventually edged our way around them without taking any elbows to the face.

It. Was. Awesome. And became the running joke for the rest of the trip (ok, we're still reliving it. Often).

The next day we had to check out of our hotel before the wedding, so eight adults got dressed and primped in my aunt's house (note: one bathroom). It worked out well, though, and I even did my aunt's make-up. Then we made our way to the church for the Catholic Lite wedding (no communion, easy on the kneeling, and the bride and groom didn't even sit, phew!).
My cousins are handsome blokes.
The bride looked just beautiful.
It was a wonderful ceremony.
Eww, stop that!
And they done got hitched.
Upon our exit of the church, we were greeted by a bagpipe player. So unique!

After the ceremony, we drove an hour or so up a mountain to the Ardmore Mansion, the reception site.
We took pictures, partook of the hospitalities provided, and danced the night away. I am so happy for my cousin and his gorgeous bride. Watching them wed was worth the long journey there. It was a whirlwind weekend, but we got to spend time with everyone we'd hoped to see, and we made some lovely memories. I wish you all the best in the world, Mr. and Mrs. H!
Stay tuned for Part 2: The City

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

One reason why I love my parents

This weekend Husband and I went black raspberry picking with my parents and cousin in a little woods that my dad owns. It was one of the best black raspberry picking experiences of my life, because it wasn't 800 degrees outside, miraculously. Husband and I trekked off by ourselves to find a patch on the far side of the woods, next to a small graveyard, dotted with family and local townspeople whose dates of birth and death stretch two centuries past. It is a peaceful, lovely place, one with which I've always been enchanted.

As we walked along the fenceline that encases the graveyard, we heard meowing, and a little calico cat with golden eyes sauntered out of the undergrowth. She was the friendliest cat I've ever met, and she immediately rolled on her back so we could scratch her belly. She was a little skinny, but her coat was glossy, so we assumed she belonged to one of the closest neighbors to the woods. Husband and I forged through the dense weeds and bushes in search of black raspberries, and the little cat followed us for an hour or more, picking her way gingerly around stickers and tall grass.

She followed us back to the truck, and I gave her a small bowl of water, which she eventually lapped up. I hated to leave her, but I hoped she really did belong to someone close by.

The next morning, however, I got a phone call from my dad. It began as many conversations with my parents begin, a preface to some crazy thing they'd gotten themselves into, "Well, you'll never guess what we did..." My dad has a wonderfully soft heart when it comes to animals. I've never seen him be cruel to any living creature, and he never turned away the various animals that were dumped off at our old farmhouse (a common occurrence in the country).

He told me that he was thinking about that little cat all night long. He finally decided he just couldn't believe the cat belonged to someone, appearing in the woods all alone. Late that night he had told mom that he thought they should return and look for the cat. They almost went that night, but they doubted the cat would be found in pitch black, so they ventured out bright and early the next morning, skipping church to look for the lost little soul. And they found her, exactly where we'd left her the day before. They brought her home (into their house, an unusual occurrence given the cat allergy of their daughter *cough* me *cough*) and gave her food and water and many cuddles. Then they found a good home for her, with a neighbor just down the road. My parents already have nine outside cats, and they didn't want the dominant male to reject her, risking her running away.

So she has a new home and my dad can sleep easy and I can remember why my parents are really, truly wonderful people. He suggested naming her "Raspberry."

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Boxing up the past (cont'd)

Three years and eleven months after Husband and I wed, the process of boxing up that last giant, fluffy, millstone little piece of our special day has finally been dealt with. I took The Dress to the adorable shop where I bought it (as well as both of my prom dresses). It is such a wonderful place, and I frequented there so often, that the owner even began to recognize me whenever I popped in. Not an insignificant feat, I imagine, considering the number of women that patronize her shop.

The shop took my dress and dealt with sending it off to be boxed and cleaned and returned safely and conveniently. I'm pleased with the results and, more than anything, happy to have it out of my closet and off of my mind. It was something that has needed to be done for a long time, and it is finally finished.

The company that boxed the dress, Wedding Dress Preservation Co., isn't only available through specialty shops. You can send your dress there directly and "preserve the memory" as their site suggests. I'm happy it is finished.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Radio Silence

Three weekends ago I was in Baltimore. Two weekends ago I was in New York City. Last weekend I was in Chicago. I will put together many, many posts from the most recent trips very soon. In the meantime, in the middle of all the Crazy Traveling, Father's Day passed us by, and I don't want to miss it. Happy Father's Day, Daddy.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Daily Eye Candy

So, here's a new one to me: NewlyMaid. You mail in an old bridesmaid dress, and you receive credit (good for 18 months) toward a LBD (little black dress). The organization apparently only carries six styles of LBDs, but the site indicates that these styles are changed out intermittently. These are my top two current faves:
The old bridesmaid dresses that are turned in are either recycled or distributed to charitable organizations.

I haven't used this service, but I have a closet full of old bridesmaid dresses that I would love to pass on! And I have a wedding in October that just happens to require me to wear a for thought!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Memorial Day

On Monday, for the first time in years, my Dad and I went fishing together. Whats more, Husband joined us, his second fishing trip in his lifetime.

For me, it was the perfect afternoon, and the culmination of several years of uncertainty. When Dad's infection first left him in agonizing pain, when he lay in hospital beds looking so gray and fragile, when he suddenly grew old within a few months' time, when he slipped to the floor of his makeshift bedroom because his legs no longer worked, when he lay on the operating table with a deflated lung and metal pinning his back together, when he struggled to stand upright for just a few moment in the nursing home, when he returned home relying heavily upon a walker - when I didn't know if life would ever be even a shadow of what he left behind.

The sun burned the air, but a breeze made the morning bearable. Dad sat in a folding chair on the bank and baited my hook with fat nightcrawlers, just like he has for my entire life.

I didn't take a camera with me. I don't think I would have needed one to remember the day, which was so precious to me. I got to relive old memories, watching Dad cast and reel, and I got to experience new memories, looking over to see my husband bent close to my father, learning to bait and cast and even catch his first fish ever (and the only fish of the day), a meaty little bluegill that I slipped back into the water.