weddings

The long road home

Ooh, but it’s felt like a very long time since I’ve had time to sit about and do nothing. First there was a trip to DC to help move my brother and his wife into their lovely new home in Washington, DC. Then there was a week-long trip to Wisconsin and Chicago to see a friend get married and to visit with friends.

Then there was a friend moving back home–cause for great fanfare on that count–and then there was The Weekend, and now it is Monday again. I am too tired to do anything but photodump, so I’ll do that.

In related news, there were 479 photos on my Blackberry when I finally purged it this morning. I’ve noted it elsewhere, but I’ll say it again–when you’ve been staring at a photo on a very small screen for ages, it is somewhat of a shock to see it on big screen. The results can either be good, or shockingly bad, or just kind of annoying. (“I never noticed my lens was smudgy before!”)

Here are some photos from the trip. Our friend Kim got married in Wisconsin, and the reception was at the Harley Davidson museum. Peeps, if you’ve never been, go. It is truly an extraordinary archive of everything machine-related, and that includes marketing materials. For a word nerd like me, it was heaven. Here:

Love this fantastic copy.

And this great poster, a collaboration between Harley Davidson and the National Coalition for Safety, whatever that is.

and this.

The bridal party, from afar.

Kim hired the Milwaukee Brewers racing sausages. There were 5, and they did the Conga line and the Chicken dance. Only in Milwaukee.

Here's a photo of a 1936 Harley. Love the sweeping lines.

Just look at the gorgeous marchinery that goes into a bike.

This lovely sidecar is called a "chummy car." Wonderful.

If I had a motorbike, I'd want this one. It was created in '74, the year I was born. Must be a sign.

I shall close with this photo. Kim had these little LED lights that substituted for candles. When I turned my back,…well, this is what happened.

I see a remarkable resemblance to these creatures:

Hopefully the next time I post I’ll have less fuzzy photos and more interesting things to say. Sigh.

Writer, editor, general crazy-pants.

Kickstart My Heart, Part II

So. While I was headed down to the gym earlier tonight (at 10:30! What a joke!) I was struck with the most certain terrifying thought that if I didn’t write down all of the wedding weekend festivities, I’d just…forget.
I mean, hey, we all say things like, “It was a night we’d never forget,” but…well, a girl gets old. Stuff falls out and between the cracks. And besides, I want to share this with peeps who weren’t able to go.
So I’ll give you the rundown of the weekend now. But in the interest of space and your own sanity, I’ll save the rumination for later. There’s a lot to think about.
Got that? Boring timeline now; potentially boring reflections later.
Okay. So when last we left this blog, it was Wednesday afternoon and Lara and I were picking up Ms. Jody. We collected a bizarrely baggage-less girl, and although gullible me just shrugged when Jody waved her small carryon backpack at me and said, cheerfully, “dress and shoes, that’s all I need!” it proved to be that the airline had lost Jody’s luggage.
So we spent part of the trip out of Vegas trying to find mobile phone spots in which Jody could bark at the airline, trying to figure out when her luggage was going to get to Death Valley. We had a minor detour during which we stopped at WalMart and Michael’s to pick up some odds and ends*, and then it was finally, finally off to Death Valley. We checked into our individual rooms, said hi to Jim and Scott and Nichole (Jim’s best man and our officiant, respectively), and then, delight of delights, got a text that Peter was already at the resort, family in tow.
We met Peter for drinks and some light eats at the Corkscrew Salon, and then hot-footed it back to my suite to put together gift bags. This included some small disappointments: The letters I’d had the resort print out came out in a different, decidedly non-1920s font, despite my spending some time having chosen a specific look, and I forgot to add the location of the post-race BBQ to said letter, so Jody spent some precious time and energy writing the location on each of the 52 gift bags. Nuts. This might be why the scene in our room looked like this:

[photo: Jody]
In the end, though, everything looked OK.
photo: cousin Rachel, wicked w a camera
It felt a little bit surreal. I’ve never undertaken such a large-scale “craft” job, unless you count the time I made all those bracelets for Terry, and that was just with Jim helping. This time, having two of my closest friends nearby, felt strange, especially with Kim Kardashian yammering in the background. I still don’t know why Lara chose that channel. But I said I wouldn’t ruminate.
Okay. So. The next morning we gathered for breakfast and then showed Lara and Roj (he’d arrived earlier that morning) and Jody around the ceremony and reception site, and then, with Scott and Nichole and our friends Kathy and Jeff in tow, we finally set off a little after lunchtime for a trip to the nearest sites available to us, Badwater Basin, the Artist’s Palette, and…something I can’t remember right now. Oh, right, the Natural Bridge.
Here’s Badwater.

Photo: Lara


Yes, yes, that’s me and Roj tasting the water. I daresay, I think my plank is better than Roj’s, although I will confess I had a dangerous time of actually getting up from the dip that was required if I was going to taste the wine of the desert.
Here, I like this photo:

Photo: Lara


And here’s a photo from Lara’s camera of our group. Lookit all the friends!

Jody and Lara and Roj and I went back to the Inn, where Jody and I went to sit by the pool and chatted up the race director, and then we ended up deciding that it was a good time to head up to the bar with Lara. The text messages started coming in then; Jen and Ken; Kara Andersen, and Jim stopped by, and I know there were one or two others, but I cannot remember now.**
Dan and Audrey arrived then, and we had drinks up in my room, and then eventually my parents and my brother and sister-in-law pulled in, and after getting them all settled in, we went out to dinner down at the Ranch, where we ran into a whole bunch of other friends, like Ed and Kathleen and Peggy and Amalia and some other people*** and it began to sink in just a little bit that everyone was gathered here for a reason.
It was a most delicious sensation. But I digress.
The next day was race day. We got up and dragged ourselves down to race start, where, oh! joy of joys! My parents AND Kara’s were waiting, to take pictures of the race start, and we heard that Lara had indeed decided to undertake the marathon with Jody and Jim’s brother Jon and his trainer TJ. The half-marathoners were me, Roj, Kathy, Jeff, Kara, Rachel, Ed, Kathleen, Peter, and Dustin. And Jim decided he was going to do the 10K. Here’s this lovely lovely race photo!

Kathleen and I ran almost all the way together. I’m sure I was holding her back, but by mile ten my hamstring was seriously jacked up and I told Kath to go on. We had a nice run together, anyway, and I enjoyed the company and stopping to take photos and the scenery and all of it. I do love that race.
I came in nowhere near where I wanted my time, but there’s not a whole lot you can do about crap training.
Roj won his age group, and Jody won her age group in the marathon, and and and … well.
After that, we stumbled back to the hotel and did stuff I can’t remember, like…ummmmm. Gosh. I really don’t know. This is awful. I know I was with Jim. Maybe we were looking for my parents. Maybe we hung out with my brother? Maybe we hung out by the pool again. Or maybe I went down to the Ranch to hang out with Jody. No, that’s not right, cos I was back at the Inn in time for rehearsal.
Yes, rehearsal!!
Here was our wedding site, pretty much:

Photo: Alan


If you look real closely you can see all the chairs set up for the ceremony in the upper right hand corner of the photo.
So rehearsal happened, and then there was a post-race BBQ where there was a ton of roasting and a ton of laughs and just some really good times and apparently the cameras didn’t come out until, at 8PM, it got windy and we all repaired to the bar at the Ranch.
Oh. My.
It was crazy buffoonery and there was rather too much drinking for the night before a wedding, but hey, what the heck. You only live once.
Jim went to stay in another room (why? why? I will never understand this), so when I woke up hungover then next morning at 5:45, having been awakened by the howling whistling wind, I totally freaked out. And I called Jim.**** This is the problem with outdoor weddings, you see. Things could Go Wrong.
Well, they didn’t go wrong. The wind died down, we took our pre-wedding photos, which included a little bit of this:

Photo: Nichole Donje


and some of this:

Photo: Scott Allinson


and finally some of this:

and then we went back to the Inn and put our feet up for a wee bit, and then there was a ceremony and some vows and then there was this:

Photo: Matt Siber

Photo: Scott Allinson


And then there was an Epic Fricken Party with the best friends in the world and a pretty good after-party, and that’s all I have to say about that for now, cos this post is SO LONG.
But I will risk a bit of rumination and just say here that it was one of the two best weekends of my life, for a few reasons. One, everyone who was there mattered. Really, really mattered. And two, it was the best ever for its normalcy. Think about it: We had drinks and dinner, we ran a race; we had a post-race BBQ, and then we had a big event and everyone went home happy.
This is the way every weekend should be.
Next post, some Deep Thoughts. Well…some thoughts, anyway.

*these included some gift bags and an item of clothing which I will er, reflect on later.
**See? How awful is that? I’ve already started to forget! If someone out there is reading this and was there, could you remind me?
***Seriously, brain is for shit.
****It would have been so much easier if we had been together, so I could have just pounced on him and yelled, “MAKE IT STOP!” instead of doing it over the phone.

Writer, editor, general crazy-pants.

Kickstart My Heart

Last night, one of the students in the class I’m teaching on the essay wrote about one of the moments that she’ll never forget in her life. She relived the two days leading up to her wedding, and how special they were, in part because of her father’s cancer’s remission and the homespun nature of her wedding. These things combined allowed her to experience her father as if they were just leading casual normal lives, instead of prepping for a major life event on the heels of a narrow scrape with death.

Her recounting prompted me to recount my own wedding week, although I’m not one to air things like planning details and information on color choices and whatnot. After all, Jim and I have been together for so many years; it seemed almost a superfluous task, to tell everyone we know and love that we’reĀ  together and committed. It’s hardly a newsflash.

But that’s another story, another argument, and the fact is, when we set out to plan this event, we did it with the full knowledge that what we were planning was an event to honor our friends and family, and the role they’ve played in our lives. What we got was so much more than that, and so quintessentially us, that I fear we’ll never be able to plan a better event.

The whole thing started, as do so many, with a sporting event. I’d run the Death Valley Marathon two years ago, and been rapidly enamoured of the place and of the event; it’s a low-key gig with no starting gun, no big finish banner, no TV coverage. The landscape is ridiculously gorgeous, the entire venue, indeed, perfect, and we wanted all of our nearest and dearest to experience it.

So we planned our wedding around the race and around the Furnace Creek Inn and Ranch.

Lemme tell you, there is something tangibly delicious about sharing something you love with people you know will appreciate it. As always, there was some worry, because Hello! Death Valley?? Even the name is off-putting. But whatever.

Wedding week started off with insanity. I didn’t know if I’d make my flight out because of a massive storm that was brewing and threatening to cancel a ton of flights, so I left twelve hours early. That was interesting in and of itself, and if I needed any more proof that Jim’s practice of making lists was the way to go, well, let’s just say that if I hadn’t made the list, I’d probably have forgotten everything that mattered. It turns out I didn’t forget anything–quite the reverse! I had so much stuff that we couldn’t find one or two things.

I got into Vegas, where Jim was already spending time with Scott, his best man, only three hours late. Not bad. Crashed into bed and slept for a whole three hours before I had to get up for a 7AM conference call; then went back to bed. Vegas was CHILLY. So not cool. I mean, cool, but not in the way I wanted.

Jim left the next morning to get to Death Valley, and I was left with a nice quiet day with which to wander around our hotel, get to know it, book appointments and hunt down various needs, and then, after an hour or two of work, Lara arrived. Oh, joy!! We’re in touch quite a bit via things like chat and Twitter, but we only get to see each other once a year, so it was nice nice to have her in person. Our suite at the Hard Rock had a wet bar and some nice stereo system, so we chilled with a beer, and then, just as Lara was needing to really get to sleep (it was 4 AM UK time), we went out for dinner.

There is something really heartbreaking about watching a friend fall asleep in her salad. We each had a margarita and then crashed into bed at around 9:15. Yes, yes, we did.

And if that doesn’t sound very Vegas to you, guess what we did the next morning? We ordered room service, admired the view of the parking lot from our hotel room, finally tottered off to our manicure appointments, and then spent the rest of the day in the strip malls looking for things like craft supplies and outlet malls.

We did, however, find a gorgeous dress for Lara and a really cool top for me, and then it was back to our suite for a quick change and a civilised glass of wine, and then off to see “O” at the Bellagio. Dinner later at Noodles, and then back to our suite again, where we sat up and chatted until midnight.

How lovely!

Do you want to know why there are no pictures of our brief time in Vegas? I’m convinced it’s because we were too busy taking advantage of the proximity of good friends. That, and the combination of too many things to do and the need, for me, at least, to preserve the memory in my head and heart rather than on film nullified the desire for photos.

We did room service yet again the next day, quite happy to be lolling about in our big fluffy beds with pillows all around and the weak February sunlight filtering through the screens, meandering from room to room when we felt like it. It was lovely. Really and truly lovely. And then, before we knew it, and after a lot of messy packing on my part, we had just enough time to scoot over to the Bodies exhibit at the Luxor.

So here’s what I’m saying about experience vs. photographic evidence. Obviously, photos are meant as memory aids. Some really skilled photographers can produce evocative evidence of the things that happened. But in some cases, the photo just can’t even come close to the actual experience, and it’s even depressing to think of how do try and capture, at least for a lumpily unskilled sort like me.

Case in point? The Bodies exhibit. Obviously we weren’t allowed to take photos in there. But I’ll never ever forget discovering it with Lara, each pointing out the sheer wonder of the things, and marveling at the beauty and work of some of it. I also will never forget me sniff-sniff-sniffing, faucet-head-o-rama, and Lara going, “Do you want a tissue?” I don’t know why. It was a particularly tender moment, only underscored by the fact that Lara didn’t, in fact, have a tissue to offer.

Eventually we went to go pick up Ms. Jody at the airport. And I’ll leave the rest of the trip for another post, because the rest of my day beckons.

Writer, editor, general crazy-pants.

The Weekend that Started Early and Would Not End

Egads. It feels like I’ve been running on weekend time forever. It sounds like a good thing, doesn’t it? Except, see, for us, in these peak weeks of Ironman training, well, the weekends are when we do our long workouts: five-hour bike rides on Saturday; three-hour runs on Sunday. After that, there’s not much to do but sleep and eat. There’s not much we’re capable of, really.
This weekend, we had a wedding to go to, so our long run was moved to Friday, leaving our Saturday free to travel. We also had a friend in town, apartment-hunting, although she wasn’t staying with us. And there were a few occurrences that made things feel as happy as weekends used to feel, before the days of long workouts that leave no time for regular life.
My sense of time is all screwed up. I know we only have a few weeks left until the Ironman, but it still feels a long way away. I guess we do have to get there, after all. At any rate, all of this is a round-about way of saying that I have a ton of impressions that are weighing with various pressures on my mind. In order of “weight,” then:
First, the wedding: My first-ever New York roommate got married. She also graduated as a Doctor of Osteopathy. Very, very cool. It was really nice to see her and participate in the wedding. (She had me do a reading. Yes, I got all weepy.)
p6130090
Second, the awesome guys at Braithwaite Wallets donated a fairly large amount of money to ShelterBox by way of supporting me, one of their first clients, and my Ironman effort. I’d say something about how great their wallets are, and, in particular, how the one I bought from them has made my life easier, but all of that pales next to the the donation they made, and the level of gratitude I feel at their generosity.
Third, an old friend from junior high school has found an apartment in Brooklyn and will be moving here mid-summer. It will be nice to have her in the same state–we haven’t lived in the same state since college, really, and we weren’t really in touch then–and interesting to discover Brooklyn with someone who’s interested in some of the same things.
Third, I took this picture of Sprocket recently. I think he looks very thoughtful: “What am I going to make for dinner tonight?”
p6090072
Fourth: I had a workdate yesterday with a new friend. I don’t think it was as successful for him as it was for me, but I’m grateful that he let me hang out with him. It’s always nice to get out of the house.
Fifth: I went to my friend John’s cafe to meet Tim for lunch. It was a really nice experience. Zanny’s Cafe is the result of a lot of hard work and I’m really proud of John for making it happen. I think it’s so awesome to have tangible proof of something you built and worked on.
Sixth: We saw another old friend on our way up to the wedding. Matt and Karla and their little boy Korbin are fascinating people. I love seeing them and I’m happy we’re on the same coast again, even if we’re not likely to see them more than a couple of times a year. The northeast is so much smaller than the midwest, and there is such a concentration of reasonably large cities (New York, Boston, Washington D.C., Philadelphia, for instance), that the act of going to visit a friend in another state does not immediately pack an entire weekend. I mean, obviously, it’s nicer if one can spend an entire weekend with friends, but it’s not as prohibitive as, say, driving to Indianapolis was. Here are Matt, Karla, and Korbin in front of their awesome little condo. p6130082
And here is the awesome radiator re-seller that we saw on the way to Matt and Karla’s (we passed it twice, looping around and around the Somerville streets). p6130078
What else? Oh, yes. We had a massive surf-and-turf dinner at Sarah’s wedding. She is not one to skimp on food, and she is also one to ensure that her guests are very, very happy. This combination leads to fat, happy guests. p6130087
Okay, fine, one more. Here is Sprocket’s poor hedgehog toy. I stitched up one of his eyes after Sprocket ripped it out, but I think it is finally beyond repair. Sigh. p6090075

Writer, editor, general crazy-pants.