Tuesday, October 02, 2007

First, we went to California...

Hi. I still exist. Actually, I'm taking the day off work because I had my permanent crown put on this morning (yeah, 2 hours in the dentist's chair) and afterward had to indulge in a little retail therapy at Cross Dress for Less and TJ Maxx (I was down to one pair of jeans that fit right and didn't have the crotch worn through). But now I'm home, and I think the whole tooth thing is actually going to work out OK, so now I'm going to blog about our trip to California. Which was, um, like 10 days ago.

Thursday evening we got to the airport and had plenty of time to spare before boarding (unlike last time; this time there was no running sans shoes). Our flight was relatively uneventful, though my cold hadn't gone away and so the last 15 minutes of the flight I was in horrible pain, the likes of which I hadn't felt since my eardrum burst when I was 12. Somehow, all my tricks to relieve the pressure didn't work, and the pain only started to subside when I started dry swallowing. Hey, it worked. We got the rental car (a pontiac vibe, not too shabby) and drove to QIR's house. She had made us an awesome meal consisting of basil broth and veggie soup, individual spinach lasagnes, steamed broccoli with compound butter, and sauteed shrimp. YUM. After dinner, we attempted to make some sort of fancy chocolate pudding but it broke (boo!) so we couldn't eat it. We stayed up for a while talking and then got to sleep on the best sheets known to man.

Next day, before anyone else was up, I took some photos in QIR's backyard. Then everyone else got up and we had breakfast at Lois the Pie Queen, which is a couple of blocks from the Big House (the house my ex and his friends (and I, sort of) lived for a few years in college). Lois the Pie Queen has been around for a really long time, and lots of famous people have eaten there and taken photos with the people who own the place. We didn't have any pie (though the pie is good!) but breakfast was yummy. After a stroll through IKEA (our best purchase was called SNAR), we met up with my sisters in order to transport some luggage that wouldn't fit in the Prius they were driving, bought some groceries at Trader Joe's, and headed up north to meet with our caterer and the site coordinator at the club where we're getting married. Things went fine and we were there for a couple of hours, making plans and arrangements and taking more pictures.

We went to my mom's and hung out there for the evening. My sisters and FBIL showed up around 7 and Dan made dinner for everyone on the barbeque while the rest of us chatted about stuff. My sister made a pie for her fiance's birthday and my other sister and I talked about bridesmaids dresses. It wasn't terribly exciting, but it was nice to have everyone there when it wasn't a holiday. Saturday after breakfast Dan and I headed to the next town over to do a little shopping (book, for aforementioned FBIL birthday) and a little tasting of cake (we were stealthy about it and just ordered a piece of tiramisu and a cupcake with ganache frosting, so now we know what their tiramisu, their white cake, and their ganache tastes like! BWAHAHA.) We stopped in at a winery on the way back to buy a bottle of wine as part of our wedding gift to my cousin, then arrived back at my mom's in time to get gussied up for the wedding.

The five of us headed south in our finery, a little snug in the Prius. We ran a quick errand along the way and made it to the ceremony just in time. It had been rainy and foggy and just kind of gross all day long, but somehow the clouds parted (just a bit) just long enough for the outdoor ceremony on the campus by a pond. Behind the wedding party was a pond, and on the pond were some ducks. One of them looked to be wearing a hat. It was a little odd. The bride and bridesmaids were beautiful, the groom and groomsmen were dashing, and the ring bearer made it through the ceremony without barking (it was their dog). My favorite parts were the tree planting (curses, we'll have to think of something else; that was one of my ideas!) and the one-clawed crawdad that showed up just as the ceremony was over.

We hopped back in the car and drove north a bit to the reception. I tried to pay attention to some of the details; my cousin had told me that their reception venue was all inclusive (food, rentals, etc.) and they got to provide their own wine. There were some snacky things and an open bar with beer/wine. We had to wait a good hour and a half before the wedding party showed up and announced by the DJ, but soon after we got there everyone was eating. Unfortunately, the food wasn't especially good, and also unfortunately the five of us were at a table with the cousin who got married last year and her husband. They're both quite religious and don't drink, so we five felt a little strange drinking wine in front of them. We got over it.

I got to spend some time cooing over the bun that was in the oven of another cousin a year ago (she's very small, but very cute), and generally caught up with other relatives. There was some weirdness surrounding my dad, but I don't need to go into that. After dinner, we all started dancing, and the DJ actually played good music for dancin'. At one point, I had a tipsy discussion with the only boy cousin I know (I have three, but two I haven't seen since I was 4 years old. Long story.) - turns out he's not nearly as into Jesus as his family. He smokes and drinks and smokes other stuff and would like to move up to Northern CA to finish school up there (he lives in San Diego). It was nice to have an actual, real life conversation with him since now he's 19 and not a little kid anymore. We all danced like dancin' fools with our cousins, the bride, the maid of honor, and everyone else who was having a great time. I thought the cake was fabulously tasty, but Dan didn't like it because it had cream cheese frosting. Pah, I say.

Sunday Dan and I got up and he took some photos of the yard for his photography class (my mom has a really cool yard). We drove back down to the East Bay and met up with Leah and Simon, who had suggested visiting the Albany Bulb. Leah's already done a great job writing up the experience (and her photos are, of course, far more fabulous than mine) but I was glad I went. I'd heard about the place when I lived there, but I never went, and from what I understand it was our last possible day to ever be able to see it the way it was as they brought in bulldozers the next day. Highlights for me were the "library," balancing on a log with Simon, and rock hopping through the bay to get to the other spit of land.

After our trip through the bulb, we went up to the Telegraph area of Berkeley and had some tasty Indian food. Then we left for the airport, successfully returned the rental car, and had an interesting experience going through security and waiting for our flight as the Raiders game had just let out and at least half the people in the airport had gone to the game and were flying home (I assume to Southern California) on Southwest. My faith in humanity left something to be desired, though perhaps it was just the particular population of Raiders fans from LA. But I gotta say, if your pockets are hanging out of the back of your cutoff shorts and I can see your buttcheeks, your shorts are TOO SHORT. Now get off my lawn.

The flight home was far less painful for me and our kitties were very happy to see us. It was a great trip, much less eventful than last time (woohoo!) and nice to spend time with family and friends without feeling like we had to stick to so much of a schedule. Our next trip out there won't be until Christmastime.

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