Friday, November 23, 2007

Because getting engaged deserves its own post and visual

Us, "basking," as Andrew puts it.


I'm been bad with updating, but to a purpose.

On Nov. 9th, I led my section (on Macbeth) and then quickly biked home for my luggage and headed to SFO for a direct flight to Boston for Andrew's brother's wedding. Andrew & I both arrived at the same time -- and then realized that we were in different terminals of Logan. Luckily, Andrew did eventually find me. It was *cold.* Luckily, Andrew also had brought my coat from Wisconsin. We took a cab to Jon & Jen's -- I hadn't seen them in probably a year and a half, so it was exciting to catch up & meet their cat (Simon).

Saturday, the craziness began: Jon had to drop Jen off at the hotel (with the dress, which took up the entire back seat apparently!), Andrew needed to pick up his tux, everyone was arriving (Andrew's dad & Anne arrived right in front of us at the hotel), rehearsal & dinner were scheduled for the afternoon, etc... The hotel was beautiful -- I decided that it was very French Rococo inspired: huge gilded mirrors, patterned moldings, marble-like sink, heavy curtains, framed prints over the beds invoking Paris, pale green on the walls & furniture, rounded, curved dressers... And the French-brand toiletries (which I actively collected, and because of which I refused to banish housekeeping in the hopes of acquiring more). We *did* enjoy the bathrobes and having chocolates left on the beds in the evening.

Anyways, back to Saturday: we hung out with Andrew's dad & Anne as we waited for our room to be ready... went for coffee & donuts... I waited for Andrew as he went off to the rehearsal... and then we took a very wayward cab to the North end for the rehearsal dinner. Live music, huge amounts of food (served at intervals), and everyone taking pictures. I ate prodigious amounts of antipasto, spinach lasagna, and cannoli. Back at the hotel, we ended up drinking champagne & visiting the hotel bar. Andrew & I were ready to sleep (finally) when the fire alarm went off -- so we trooped out with everyone, made a loop outside the building, and were herded back in. So why, exactly, did we have to go out at all?!

Sunday morning we met up with Julia & Korisha for brunch in Cambridge (reunion!), which was a welcome escape -- finally saw Korisha's apartment, and again realized how much I miss hardwood floors & unique buildings. Andrew continued to worry about his wedding reading & toast. Then we were off to Jon & Jen's apartment to drop off gifts and feed Simon -- then back to the hotel to prepare for the wedding. Andrew had to leave first, so I ended up going with some of Jon & Jen's friends (and unfortunately I ruined the perfect number for one cab). The wedding was in "the castle," and it was *beautiful.* A perfect old Boston mansion -- the ceremony was in the front room, with the wedding party on the grand staircase. A simple, personal, ceremony. Then the doors to our right were opened for drinks, and every permutation of relatives and friends were photographed for the next 45 mins-hour in front of the fireplace. I ended up visiting with others as Andrew was in many of the photos, but we reunited for dinner (which was in the rooms to the left), and for dancing afterwards. The music was *amazing.* I'm still hoping to get the soundtrack to their wedding -- "Like a Prayer," Fleetwood Mac's "Everywhere," "When the Doves Cry," some techno & hip hop.

After waiting for a cab, we finally made it back to the hotel -- one last get together with Jon & Jen & their friends, and then we had the evening to ourselves.

The next morning we had brunch with Andrew's family and dropped off the tuxes, and then made our way toward the Pioneer Valley. Very grey day -- but still a nice drive. We checked into our hotel (the Lord Jeffrey), and found that we had an absolutely charming suite with views of the Amherst square. Then we were off to Fresh Side for lunch, which had relocated to a larger place, and now actually takes your order as you sit. Some new additions to the menu (which we tried), but (thankfully) the same place we love. We then decided to head out toward Mount Holyoke, which also has some changes -- the new green dorm building is going up! After finding a safe place to park (Gorse), we walked below the Delles and around Lower Lake to the benches facing 1837. Andrew suggested that we sit down for a bit. Despite the fact that it was f-ing freezing, I agreed. We sat for a moment, Andrew said something about our having met four years ago, we kissed, and Andrew said he "had something for me." At which point I was suspicious, but thought we should continue on -- and then he was suddenly on one knee, I said "yes" (as Andrew likes to note, *before* seeing the ring), and we were hugging, and I was still in shock and asking *how* he had kept this such a secret, and demanding the full backstory. Which I got, as we continued walking around the lake, taking pictures over the bridge, and then headed toward the Village Commons (where we first met for coffee) to walk around the stores & the library. It was getting dark, and now the little things (like Jon's friend saying that I should get used to drinking champagne, and Andrew saying we should get a bottle ourselves) made sense, and we headed to Noho for dinner. Got there, I wasn't hungry, and I thought, well, we forgot to go to Big Y, so let's continue our drive, and we bought my favorite cookies ever from the Big Y bakery, and something for Andrew's cough (which seems to have flared up with the anxiety over getting everything perfect), and fruit to hit my five a day. We began the search for champagne in Puritanical MA: not Big Y, not Trader Joe's, but Whole Foods. And then back to downtown Noho for Osaka -- which was good as always -- seaweed salad & sushi & tempura & udon noodles (Andrew sees something in the last that I don't). Then I had a kiddie size burnt sugar & butter ice cream at Herrell's (no visit would be complete without --), and we headed back to Amherst for an evening of celebrating and relaxing. (We watched tv on the sofa of the additional room in the suite just to use the space, and then moved to the tv in the other room. It rained at some point. I ate cookies.)

The next morning we packed up, breakfasted at Rao's (still the best coffee), and looked for a jeweler to resize the ring. (The trade-off for a complete surprise: it was too big for my ring finger.) Then decided that I'd have it done in Oregon. Took a walking tour of the Amherst campus, revisited the library. Got our "bagged lunch" from Fresh Side. Drove on the backroads to our old picnicking site, enjoyed the view (warm, sunny day), and continued into Boston, where we met with Jon & Jen (all secrets out now), and then had to go to the airport (sad).

Back in California, I had many things to do on Wednesday to prep for Thursday... planning section, organizing a film screening with pizza that night, reading response papers, etc. And news to break! Thursday I celebrated with Jill by going to the 750 for a neighborhood event. Friday I had one more section (very small with everyone skipping out early for our long Thanksgiving break), and then I had to get ready to fly to Oregon (busy busy).

Saturday I took a walk in the rain, visited Grammy, went to the jeweler's for resizing, helped a bit with dinner (venison roast), and played Scrabble with Mum.

Sunday we visited Merrie in Corvallis despite the unrelenting rain -- went to Interzone (reminded me of Mother Fool's in Madison), Fred Meyer's, and American Dream for pizza. Met the beautiful creature that is Shitaya, the husky (and belongs to Mer's roommate). Then I drove home with Mum, as I did want to see the snow that Tim said was falling in Mt. Hood. On the way home, I had a craving for a peanut butter cup blizzard, but Mum and I were thwarted at every opportunity, and I ended up resorting to a "flurry." NOT THE SAME THING, let me tell you.

Monday I read a good chunk of The Woman in White... I tried out Mum's cross country skis (which was hilarious -- I ended up squatting down because then at least when I fell, I didn't have far to go), we made tacos...

Tuesday: Mer got home, finally! I finished my book. Caught up, listened to music, watched SVU...

Weds: Mer & I went to town to get my ring (still a bit big, but went for a ring guard, and we'll see if I can't grow into it, because having anything smaller than a 3.75 seems *kind of ridiculous*), and a peanut butter cup blizzard (which she mentioned of her own accord). While at DQ, we were also offered samples of this pumpkin ice cream cake... complete with hard frozen candy corn. Then it was back home for lunch & a hike up on an old logging trail in the iced over snow. Dinner -- meatloaf that I've missed for so long! Made with elk.

Thursday: Thanksgiving! I did some reading. Mer & I went for a long walk along the ditch. Ate appetizers. Then made our game plan for dinner: I did the mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, and kale w/ cranberries. Mer did the biscuits. Mom handled the turkey and gravy. The oven's lower element caught on fire and died right before we were doing the biscuits -- so we just barely got those baked. A wild success, overall. And with us on clean up, we were soon free to drink wine & play hearts. Tons of time in the evening when you eat before 5 pm, so we had a moonlit walk in the snowy fields, a second helping of dessert, and plenty sitting on the couch and watching tv.


Sunday, November 04, 2007

"so shines a good deed in a naughty world"

I am finally -- finally! -- done with grading midterms.

I hope I never again have to read an in class essay on the gender play in Twelfth Night.