These pics are the abridged version of last weekend. It's been a while since I really blogged. Sorry - life has been a job of catch-up and I'm not there yet. Let's see, last Friday, we left early for our flight out to Arizona. It was a nice flight - one of our flight attendants was this lovely woman who was originally from Texas and had the accent to prove it. She was very funny and nice as anything. She now lives in Arizona and we caught her on her homebound flight, so naturally, she was feeling good:)! I did something I've never done before - had a Bloody Mary at 10 in the morning (I don't know whose time it was - it felt like 10 a.m.). Don't get me wrong: I've had Blood Mary's before at a brunch or two in my time, but never have I done that on a plane. It felt so deliciously wicked:). If I had to be rushing from one far away place and back again, I was determined to have FUN!
And we did. John got us a mini-suite at a Marriott Residence Inn in Scotsdale - no more than a mile from the wedding site. I guess all those years of waiting up nights for John to come home from a LONNNNGGGG day (and night) of work at the hotel has paid off:) The room was lovely - just what we needed. Before we checked in, however, we went to the Camelback Resort - another Marriott Hotel - to have lunch. And lunch was delicious! The wine was out of this world - I think the name was Ghost Pines??? It was a cabernet. (I'm just writing this here so I can look for it in this area, LOL!) I don't know if I've ever said this here, but I LOVE red wine - especially a good cabernet. I'm not much of a boozehound otherwise - red wine is enough, thank you very much, LOL:)
OK, after lunch, we were both ready to crash, but it was time to get showered and ready for the rehearsal dinner. John's brother's and sisters were there, save one (she had fallen and fractured her foot - but we'll see her next weekend). John's nephew and his bride looked wonderful and were very happy. We got to meet the bride's family - and her sister who lives - you guessed in Bawlmer, Merlin! That's amurika for you! Travel 2,000 miles and meet up with someone from home!
It was really good to see John's family - they live all over the place, so getting together is more and more at a premium. I grew up with these folks, so it's like a hometown reunion of sorts for me, too. After all, when you've been married as long as we have, his family really becomes your family and vice versa.
The next morning, we had the day to play in Phoenix/Scotsdale before we had the wedding festivities, so I talked John into going to (you guessed it) a local yarn shop. We went to Arizona Knitting and Needlepoint. (Gee, ya think the sign gives it away?) Try not to look too closely at the chubby lady in the front, no matter how cute and adorable she may be (NOT). But I was happy - in my element! It was a very nice store - lots of everything and the owner kindly let me take a couple of inside shots. She had quite a nice book collection as you can see. I actually got out of there with three balls of yarn - yep, that's right THREE balls of yarn - superwash aran white
for an aran scarf I'm knitting for John. That's what he said he wants and that's what he's getting for his birthday (well, not only that, but that's what I'm knitting him). More on that later.
After yarn shopping (bless John's heart!), we went siteseeing and then to lunch at another Marriott restaurant (It was outstanding and John has a discount which makes it even nicer!). Then back to the Inn to sit outside by the pool and read, then onward to the wedding. You couldn't have asked for a nicer day - the sun was just about to go down and the brown/beige of the desert made the beautiful colors of the desert flowers stand out all the more. The ceremony was thoughtful and moving; the music was exquisite - classical pieces played by a harpist who played beautifully. The bride and groom come from two different religious traditions and so the ceremony was a meaningful mix of both. After the ceremony, which took place at the same location as the wedding, we all had a brief cocktail hour while the wedding party and families took pictures. Then the reception. We had a great time. John and I danced - and I also danced with the groom's mother's boyfriend - good opportunity to have a nice conversation and get to know him better than we did before. The groom's parents are divorced - his dad is remarried to a lovely woman (their wedding is highlighted a couple of years ago on my companion blog) and his mom I've also known for over 30 years and am still friendly with. They both did well - you have to believe that when you see the wonderful children their marriage produced.
In fact, that's one of the best things about seeing one's children grow up: they become decent human beings who treat each other well. What in the world is better than that when you get right down to it?
I digress.... In the middle of the reception, John, his sister GG and BIL, Bob, and I snuck out of the reception to one of the hotel bars. Yes, we were getting enough to drink at the reception, LOL! However, our son, Danny's, acting gig with America's Most Wanted was airing that night and we wanted to see it. You can see him here. His is the second segment - he plays the guy who's missing his top front teeth and uses dental floss to get out of prison. I thought it was only going to be a cameo appearance - sort of a re-enactment without spoken lines - but he actually had about 10-15 minutes with spoken lines! Amazing! The bartender could not understand why a bunch of middle-aged people where standing around a bar, cheering on this convict for breaking out of jail.
Then back to the reception. By eleven, we were saying our goodbyes and toddling off to bed - early wakeup and a rush back to Merlin.
Our plane made it five minutes early. John (again, bless his heart!) went for the luggage and I ran outside and there was our daughter, S, with my car. K was coming later to pick up John and the luggage and bring him home. Another advantage of having more than one wonderful grown offspring. I made it to St. John's in 25 minutes - already dressed since boarding the plane in concert black and whites - and in 35 minutes to spare for the concert. The first-ever concert of the Orchestra of St. John's, Howard County, Merlin's first professional chamber orchestra - and how they lived up to their name! Concertmaster and at times conductor Ron Mutchnik (who keeps telling me he's not world famous and I don't believe him) was SUPERB, his solo viruosity in Vaughn Williams' A Lark Ascending brought tears to my otherwise cynical eyes. That piece was admirably conducted by Dr. Dale Krider, of College Park. Ron also conducted the other Vaughn Williams' piece, Fantasy on a Theme by Thomas Tallis, which was also out of this world. Did I tell you I'm a big fan of Ralph Vaughn Williams? Well now you know.
We of the bells, accompanied by Nancy, played the prelude, Vaughn Williams' Prelude to "Rhosymedre" and I gotta say, we weren't half bad:). Finally, Dr. Krider and the choirs of St. John's, St. Andrews and the Baltimore (Episcopal) Cathedral sang Morton Lauridsen's Lux Aeterna. As a tenor, I think the women's voices and the orchestra carried the day on that one. Afterwards, I had dinner and drinks with some friends from choir and then homeward to CRASH! When I got home, I found all of this waiting for me - how wonderful, some knitting and some reading to catch up on! Don't you just hate when that happens (NOT?) I admit my addiction to the Isabelle Dalhousie series by Alexander McColl Smith, too:)
Monday was thankfully, a quiet day of catching up and paperwork and returning phone calls. That evening I had Stephen Ministry training. I am getting to know these people and am really enjoying them. It's nice to be involved in an ecumenical enterprise with others - it's hard to really put it into words, but it gives one hope.
Tuesday, was a court holiday and hence a holiday for my office as well. I spent the better part of the day with my best friend:). It was really interesting getting together with others involved in the Orchestra's development and fund raising to see what they thought about the concert. It was a good meeting and I am hopeful things will continue to grow. I helped Nancy a little with erasing rented music to prepare to get it back to the publisher. You never really know how much work goes on behind the scenes for one of these things - that was just one example. That evening was bell practice - I feel like such a newbie still, but I'm happy to be playing:)
Wednesday I had court in the morning, a meeting at DSS in the afternoon, quick trip to the office, then home to babysit the grand girls. We had such a lovely time! They get cuter every day and John is so wonderful with Mads - and this "crazy Gram" is glad.
Thursday was court and then choir at which time we started our Christmas music. Cool!
Friday was a quiet evening at home. Saturday was babysitting the grands again. Spent a good part of the day working on this: The error on the left side is readily apparent, but I decided to leave it in, like a Persian rug maker would. But now I have to be careful to make no more errors!
Saturday evening (yesterday) John and I went to see Dan's GF Casie in her play, The Lieutenant of Inishmore - violent as hell for a comedy - so much so that one of the audience had to leave because (I think) he was having flashbacks. But the cast handled that admirably and the show went on. Casie was stellar - she got great reviews by the Washington Post , the Washington Times, and a Baltimore webzine. And we thought she was fabulous, too:)! We went out to dinner afterward - Dan met us there after his play was done (it was closing night for him). It was great catching up with them - Dan doesn't get home much - work schedule is crazy. We stayed overnight at a Marriott in DC - good idea given the amount of libation that was poured!
This morning, it was up and out early for choir. Nancy was back from her visit with her son and DDIL out in OH - and I thought I had a rough ride back this morning! We had a few Christmas music practices - a totally fun morning for me, but probably a LOT of work for Nancy! Did a bit of birthday and wedding card shopping this afternoon, and now I'm finally home.
Well that's all the news I have from my neck of the Merlin woods. Tomorrow I start the week off with a visit and get ready for a heck of an interesting week (as in the Chinese curse interesting).
And next Friday we leave for New Jersey for another nephew's wedding! (John has 16 of them; I have eight - he can win, it's ok). Luckily "joysey" is only about three hours away, but I won't be back for singing on Sunday because it will be John's birthday and we want to take our time coming back - hopefully to something with the kids:)
OK, I'm tired just reading this stuff, LOL! But I doubt I'm as tired as John is now - at work!
I will write again soon - in the meantime, dear 2.5 readers, God be with you 'til we meet again!