Thursday, August 28, 2008
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Kaiya is a graphic designer and Lee is an artist, so there was no question that their wedding would be beautiful. They wanted a very intimate celebration that would include all of the people they loved best, so the guest list was a VIP affair (I believe there were only twenty or so people, total, in attendance). It had to be small; the entire thing was going to take place in a treehouse, albeit a very special treehouse. It's the only one of its kind in the state.
The ceiling of the gazebo had plenty of skylights to let the sunshine in.
She had said she wanted a ceremony that everyone they loved could be an active part of, so at this point, the officiant asked all of us to come and add our respective stems to Kaiya and Lee's in the vase. Then she asked the two mothers to come and tie the whole bunch together and make Kaiya's bouquet. I got tearier.
High Contrast only had a few cherry tomatoes and a piece of lettuce on his plate, and he was fidgeting nonstop. He was clearly still nervous about his toast, and couldn't wait until it was over and done with so he could finally relax. I kept reassuring him that all would be well* and joked that should he falter, he could have his cousin on speakerphone to prompt him (she practically memorized the thing, he had practiced so many times in front of her). He laughed his nervous laugh and kept shifting around. And then he was up.
The fitting issue had come from the flowy fabric being stretchy and the ribbon at the bodice being taut; a tricky situation that was probably much trickier when the model was living 135 miles away. I think Lee's mom handled it like a pro.
We said our goodbyes and the happy couple were off to a swanky hotel for a massage and some much-needed rest. They will continue the celebration with a reception next month and a honeymoon in Taiwan next year. But I doubt those will top such a sweet ceremony. As we left, I noticed a mark someone left on a railing in the gazebo:
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
So I went on wordle.net and made this:
Basically you put in your URL and it comes up with a graphic interpretation of the stuff it finds on there.
Apparently, I use the words "going," "just," and "Highcon" quite a bit.
Tomorrow I will have a recap of Kaiya's wedding.
Saturday, August 23, 2008
It's 11:52 p.m. I've been coaching Highcon on his best-man speech over the phone all day. Now High Contrast is totally the type to freak out. Royally. He will leave things to the last possible hour, and then squander 55 minutes of that hour hysterically pacing and complaining about how he has no time left and so much pressure. And then in those last five minutes, he will come up with something brilliant and shrug it off as no big deal when he's patted on the back about it. That's just how he rolls. But it's one hell of a rollercoaster if you're along for the ride.
Currently, he is transposing the speech he'd written out, word for word, into outline form so that he doesn't get up there in front of the guests and read from a paper. No, wait--he just accidentally saved over all that word-for-word so now he HAS to write the outline. While he's working, I checked my gmail-chat and see that Kaiya's online. It's a little late for someone who needs her rest for the big day, so I wish her luck and ask how everything is going.
Apparently the dress the mother of her husband-to-be hand made for her doesn't fit quite right. So she's freaking out, saying she had a plan B for everything, but not the dress. And bemoaning the tragedy that it would be if she had to walk down the aisle in anything other than THE dress.
I try and try to calm her down, but after awhile I realize she needs this freak-out release because she's been so very placid this whole time. I'm positive that the dress will fit tomorrow; that Lee's mom wasn't going to have spent all these months making it just to have it not go down the aisle to meet her son.
11:58 a.m: I am simultaneously reassuring Highcon that his speech is both appropriately funny and touching, and that he should watch how many times he uses "You know" instead of "um" (but that's a much better word than "um" anyway), and at the same time gmail-chatting to Kaiya that there is no way in hell she won't have a dress to wear tomorrow for the ceremony.
12:02 a.m.: Kaiya has apparently checked out. I hope she gets some sleep tonight. Highcon is going strong, on his third speech rehearsal. It sounds good. He is still worried about it.
12:36 a.m.: I'm worried about having to get up at the bootycrack of dawn tomorrow to catch a train to southwest suburbia to get my car to drive to northwest suburbia. Yet I continue to talk with Highcon.
1:02 a.m.: Reminiscing about high school with Highcon, how we procrastinated on our Cry, The Beloved Country papers in Essay Writing. Both of us stayed home "sick" to work on them, but spent the entire day on the phone talking about nonsense like '70s Hindi Disco songs and what Strawberry Shortcake albums his sister and I both had. We didn't turn in our papers until two weeks after the deadline (senioritis) and I was so angry because he nonchalantly slipped it into Mrs. Dabrowski's pile while I handed it to her sheepisly in person. But I was vindicated because Mrs. Dabrowski wasn't stupid and we both got the same amount of points knocked off. We're wondering how the heck we passed after pulling that kind of crap and where we found the gall to try a stunt like that in the first place.
1:20 a.m.: REALLY thinking I'm not going to be freshfaced tomorrow. Highcon and I are discussing Obama/Biden and who McCain might choose as Vice President runningmate. Highcon cannot figure out how to set the alarm at his parents' house. I just remembered I forgot to put away the leftovers from dinner.
1:44 a.m.: Can't. Break. Away. From. This. Conversation. It's always been this way with this kid.
1:48 a.m.: Talking about how one of our nicknames for Kaiya is not going to apply anymore, as she's going to change her last name. Sad. What's sadder is that I'm going to be SO TIRED. Perhaps we can get a ride with Ri and C tomorrow? Yes, I really hope so. Because otherwise I am screwed. Highcon is starting to fall asleep. I'm finally able to hang up.
All this counseling, and I'm wired instead of tired. And all the while, H has been sleeping like a baby.
Friday, August 22, 2008
Of course, I didn't realize today was status until I had already lollygagged around at home, chewing my Crispix while watching the episode of NewsRadio that I fell asleep to last night. So I rushed out and was about 200 yards from the front door to the building when a group of beefy Euro/club looking guys with spiky hair walked past, taking up nearly all of the sidewalk. I flattened myself against the brick walk and squeezed past. But then one of them called to me.
UGH, I wish I had kept going! While I looked at my watch every 30 seconds, the guy pitched me some really *awesome* deal at a shi-shi salon in the Gold Coast, and if I paid for this gift certificate, I'd get two visits of all kinds of luxurious blablablas for a FRACTION of the cost I'd normally pay.
If I were smarter/more alert/not so flustered I would have said Sorry, my mom still cuts my hair (what would he know, it was in a bun) and be on my way. But what did I do instead? Hemmed and hawed until he threw in two for a reduced price of one and wrote a check, thinking Hell, at least I have an excuse for being late to the status meeting.
When I got to work, not only did I look bad for missing the meeting entirely, I looked stupid for giving some random guy money for services at a salon I'd never even heard of. When I got to work I checked, and it's legitimate, but seriously, this is one of the dumbest things I've done in a really long time.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Unfortunately, when I got home and tried to describe just what it was that made it so amazing, I couldn't find the words. But one thing I couldn't stop talking about in my newly acquired Andalusian accent was The Alhambra. It's what the town is known for all over the world and, in my opinion, it lives up to the hype. (When you live somewhere for nearly half a year, it's hard not to feel a small sense of ownership.) So I'm a little biased.
Basically, way back in the day when the Islamic Moors ruled what is now southern Spain, they built the intricate and elaborate fortress/gardens to serve as their palatial home base. But as Chris Columbus' pals King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella started gaining ground, they attacked and took over—in 1492, of course—and proceeded to build over some of the original work in their own style. The result is an intricate mix of styles at the top of a hill overlooking the city. We went there numerous times during the semester I was there, and I still feel like there was stuff I didn't get to see.
So this year, for my big 3-0, my peeps took me to Alhambra Palace restaurant in Chicago's West Loop. It is HUGE, and the intricate details reminded me a lot of the real thing. Plus there were flamenco performances, and the group's leader called me out and wished me a happy birthday in that accent I hadn't heard in such a long time. I just wish I had enough wits about me to bust out my own accent and thank him properly, but I just smiled and then for some reason I sort of curtsied.
Afterward, we went to a wine bar called The Tasting Room, where I spent the night catching up with friends I haven't seen in a long time instead of sampling vintages. But High Contrast fixed all that, right at the end. But let's start at the beginning:
The fountain at the foot of the stairs. The blue thing is a mini waterway that follows down the length of the stairs. My non-expert guess is that it's a shout out to the Alhambra's acequias (water conduit technology system the Arabs brought, making a lush garden with fountains like the Generalife at the top of the hill possible).
Highcon ordered a round, then a second round, and then a third one just for me. As you can see, those are more like double shots, so essentially I had six Lemon Drops in a row. Fortunately for me, my stomach was full of absorbent rice and couscous, and directly after The Tasting Room we went somewhere for a thick, cheesy slice of pizza. And when I got home, H made sure I drank plenty of water and took an Advil. So no hangover!
It was a good day.
Thursday, August 14, 2008
"Hello, this is Duuuaaane at AARP, calling to confirm your registration."
"Har har, brother. You couldn't even say that without a smile in your voice."
"Happy Birthday, old lady."
"I think you need a new, elderly-ish name to mark your entrance into your twilight years."
"Yeah, something like Ethel. Nah, Ethel's the name of Tony's dog."
"Something like Gertrude?"
"Nah, that's a little too old. If your name is Gertrude, you might as well be dead. Something not too oldish, that still has spunk... I got it! Beverly! Still youthful, but yet—you're old. Yeah, BEVERLY!"
"Ugh, isn't the name of that chipmunk-looking girl on Seventh Heaven that you thought was hot?"
"She was cute when she got older!"
"I cannot believe you're going to call me that."
"Now, Beverly, aging is a part of life. I just want to remind you that shuffleboard starts at 3..."
"Why, I never—"
"And it's Lights Out promptly at 6:30!"
"Shut it. What are you doing today, pretending to go to the office?"
"Nah, I worked the weekend, so I have today and Friday off."
"Lucky! What are you going to do?"
"We're driving to Atlanta to see the Cubs game."
"Sounds fun. Well, if you're drinking, have one for me."
"I'm pretty sure they don't sell prune juice at Turner Field."
"I was talking about ALCOHOL."
"You know, they might have milk, but I'm going to need a microwave."
Sunday, August 10, 2008
When we pulled into the subdivision/village/whatsit of West Clay and parked the car, it really seemed as though we had arrived in some back-lot movie set. Everything was idyllic in the way it only looks on Wisteria Lane. There was a lush park of green grass in the center with a gazebo, and all around were perfect little houses with perfect white picket fences; everything so gleamingly new (or so it seemed). I kept looking around for the Truman Show-cameras. Even the stores looked like modern-day market streets with perfect signage that all went together like an old-time movie.
Seriously, though, it was a lovely wedding. The bridal party walked up a long carpet of fluffy grass and the ceremony was sweet (and pretty short; thank goodness, because I could feel my skin cooking in the 90+ degree heat. Times like those I really wish wearing hats was still in fashion).
The white building is where the festivities took place. If you look closely at the set of pastel storefronts on the left, you'll see what I mean about it looking like a movie lot—all the shops and restaurants were untarnished and uniform, give or take a paint shade.
Sadly, things did start to wind down shortly after that. But one of H's sisters, his dad and myself didn't want to head back so soon, so we closed out the bar on Pleasantville row with some of their extended family. And even after that we didn't feel like going to sleep, so H's sister and I dipped our feet in the hotel pool and talked a lot of smack about H (just kidding). I had a good time.