Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Friendly Inspiration

At the end of last week, Dave and I schlepped down to Massachusetts for the wedding of our friends, John and Danielle. Oops, let me clarify - Dave was the officiant, so he actually MARRIED them! Apparently, in Mass., any ol' person off the street can apply to be, essentially, a justice of the peace for 24 hours. Pretty cool, huh?

Other than the fabulous, special wedding, we were lucky enough to see (and stay with) our awesome friends Josh and Melissa. Dave's known them since...well, for plenty of years...and I'm lucky that they've become dear to me, as well. Seriously, it was like love at first sight when I met them. They had arrived early for an overnight visit last year and I scrambled to meet them at the house, admittedly nervous about greeting them solo (since Dave was at work). But, after showing them into the house, we all started talking, and several hours later when Dave arrived, he still couldn't shut us up. They. Are. Awesome.

And so is their new apartment. I won't show any pictures that indicate where they live or any crazy thing like that, but I MUST share the inspiration that struck me while staying with them. They very, very recently moved into a new place, but you could definitely feel their sense of style and awareness of space (mostly brought about by their years living in NYC...and because they're truly artistic souls). My faves:

Awesome pillow.
I believe Melissa made this with Ikea fabric.

Rustic kitchen table - with storage underneath!

Sorry, gentlemen. Just loving the colors in that quilt.

Another incredible handmade pillow.
(On a slipcover couch. WANT ONE!)

Pay no attention to my chatting husband.
DO, however, notice the spray-painted lamp. Gorg.
And the beautiful Crate & Barrel trunk coffee table.
Chunkiness. Storage. Rusticity. Room for wine. Perfect!
(And see the red entertainment center in the back?? :-D)
I should admit that the inspiration that Dave and I come away from Mass. and seeing his/our friends is clearly more than decorative (although we hit up their Christmas Tree Shop on the way home - way more stylish than ours! I went a little nuts). It's almost like our perspectives on everything are reset. We return home feeling jubilant, ready to conquer any challenge, inspired (of course)...but also missing the heck out of the folks we'd just left.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


So, it's no secret that I'm a bit of a history buff, particularly interested in American history - the Revolution and the Civil War...and anything I can relate to through ancestry, such as the Great Depression and our involvement in WWI and WWII. While watching "The States" on History International this evening [it's strange how much American history can be seen on this station whereas the majority of the original "History" (no longer "History Channel"...weird) has lots of non-historical series], I saw this ad...public service announcement...well, I suppose it is an ad, it's asking for money. (Sorry, there's no way to embed it here.)

I'll wait while you watch...

Okay, so in case you're not watching it, the most impacting statement in the short video is that Civil War battle sites are being lost at an acre an hour. This is IIIINNNSAAAANE.

I recall a recent re-viewing of Ken Burns' "The Civil War". At the end of every episode, I found myself overwhelmed by uncontrollable tears and melancholy. So much loss of life. So much fierce belief in their causes (unless they had been fighting for years and were losing sight of their cause for the more common sense "I've seen too much death and destruction, I don't want to die" perspectives). So much unthinkable horror that the slaves were put through.

Why do I care so much? My connection to the war goes back to my grandfather's grandfather. John Cunningham joined up on the Union side as, I believe, a drummer in his early teens. He survived the entire war after being bumped up the ranks to soldier (not sure how far up the ranks). After the war, he stayed on in the army to travel out west for the Indian wars. I'm not sure if he had moral reasons for signing up for either, but my guess is not - he didn't seem to be the most moral and upstanding of men, unfortunately. Fortunately for us, my grandfather and his siblings turned out to be some of the best ilk of human you could happen upon. (Grandpa was a Marine who served in the Pacific during WWII; his dad served overseas during WWI, and it was his small veteran allowance of rice or what was available for the week that helped the family survive the Great Depression. Side note, sorry.)

For some reason, regardless of whether or not John Cunningham had a good reason for signing up, I have a huge emotional connection to the Civil War. My favorite childhood vacation was our trip to Gettysburg (where I bought a Union cap that I wore the hell out of); second favorite was our trip to Vermont where we visited the Lincoln family summer home, Hildene, where I got to see a hat that Lincoln actually wore. As a child, I had a romanticized ideal in my head about longing to live during that time and couldn't learn enough about Abe Lincoln. In my early-20s, I even considered becoming a Civil War reenactor (not sure if that's what women are called, though). Yeah. I love my '30s, '40s and '60s, but my heart belongs to the 1860s.

If you feel the same at all and would consider it, please go to and donate what you can - $1.50, $15, $150 or "other". Your donation will be matched. How can you go wrong? Even if we all donated $1.50, it could make a significant difference. Otherwise, please just consider the lives who were handed over, duty-bound to the ages, upon the 150th anniversary of oh so many horrible atrocities and history-making events. 

"History is a kind of introduction to more interesting people than we can possibly meet in our restricted lives; let us not neglect the opportunity.  ~Dexter Perkins"

Monday, April 18, 2011

She Speaks!

Sorry, after I finished shooting this video, I was reminded of the whole rigmarole over Greta Garbo's appearance in her first talking picture. Random.

Anyhoo, just for fun, I thought I'd give you all a glimpse into our home to give you a visual of things that I talk about, the cats in motion (or not, which is generally the case with Beardslee), and so forth. After watching the lengthy clip, I'm reminded as to why I'm much better at typing my thoughts than ad-libbing them. We'll see what you think. Here's a tour of our home, in segments...

I'm pretty critical of myself, but a couple of fun, shall we say, reflections upon what I could possibly do better. ;-)

- First of all...I will say that my uniform on weekends, unless we've got something pretty snazzy happening, is a sweatshirt. So, for that, I won't apologize, although I somehow feel underdressed just watching it. Oye. However, I do think that I should've at least done my makeup. In the future, I shall. :-P
- That lisp. The dreaded lisp. It's back! It haunted me as a child, and only seems to pop up when I'm drinking. I swear I wasn't drinking during the making of this video.
- When did I start sounding remarkably like my sister?
- Who cares about a door?
- Apologies to anyone who might have experienced motion sickness while watching.
- Those random boxes belong to the cats. They won't allow us to be rid of them.
- How many Beatles items can you spot?
- How many superheroes can you spot?
- Yeah, I said "plethora"...

- I don't remember actually waving at George across the way...
- Do you NEED to now about my migraines?
- OMG I forgot to show the fish!!
- Those silicone mats are Martha Stewart. Spoiled kitties.
- this a little long-winded to anyone else? Just checking...
- "Kinda got along". Yeah, I was mean to him. We were nice, but not friends by any means.
- I do kinda like when I get Dave's text.
- "I'm a really bad wife that I don't remember all this stuff." Hee hee.
- Antique driving gloves. Why do I have them? Weird gift. Cool, but weird.
- Mommy's talking to...himself?
- Lamp. It's a lamp. How hard is it to think of that word? Same with dresser. Sheesh.
- Seriously, can someone come up with a sign-off for me or something? What a weirdo.

But, after watching it again, I realized that I actually had some fun making it. Hope it wasn't too much of a waste of time for you to watch!

Zero Trash - Too Much or Perfect Life?

Having spring break, you get to see things that you normally wouldn't. For example, this going green segment on the Today Show:

While I was proud to see attention being paid to such an admirable cause, I was at first skeptical. To me, it seemed extreme, impractical, and kind of weird. No, very weird.

But, then I looked the family up. The mother has her own blog, and THIS video helped me to look at it a little differently:

It's all about perspective, isn't it? I found the second video more uplifting. While I highly doubt I'll ever be able to take on this lifestyle completely (my husband is incredibly flexible and willing, but THAT much?), I can certainly use their example (and tips from their web site) to make attempts towards lessening our environmental impact. 

The challenges that most of us face, even when we mean well, is our environment itself. How many of us have bulk options in our areas with soaps and shampoos available for filling our own bottles? I certainly think it would be awesome, but can you think of one? Also, if I were to walk into Hannaford and ask the fish guy to throw the salmon in a glass jar...well, who do you think would be the talk of the dinner table that night? *weird chick who requested it be placed in a glass jar, that's who* I know the first step MUST be to cast off the shackles of judgment, but even our families would undoubtedly be rolling their eyes...if they don't already. ;-) We'd be "that couple" or "that family". I've always agreed with moderation in life, and this is an extreme that I'm not sure I could handle. I, apparently, care too much about what others think.

However, who would much care if I brought a mesh bag into the store for my fruit 'n veg? Hell, they REALLY wouldn't care at the farmers' markets (although, strangely, most farmers' markets that we attend provide lots of plastic bags, since they know that that's what their consumers are used to).

This woman's from France. I believe that this movement would be more socially acceptable in Europe, or the more urban/eco-chic areas of the U.S.. Europeans, in particular, while modern in styling are incredibly traditional in lifestyle - that is, their histories have incredibly deep roots compared to our new American seedlings. They have residents who have made cheese for 600 or more years, or baked bread for the village as long as anyone can remember. They have a step up on utopia. Too bad they also have helped, just as much as Americans, to evolve our world into a spiraling consumerist, gas-guzzling society...but, they've taken responsibility and are moving toward fixing the environment a heck of a lot better than we stubborn Americans. 

The Transcendentalist Movement with its own attempts at creating utopia (physical, philosophical, religious) can give one plenty of hope and gumption, but its ultimate failure makes one resistant. I've always been fascinated by different times; the challenge is integrated old-fashioned ideas and methods into the modern world, with its even greater ideas (such as true freedom and equality). Heck, we're already the weird couple on the street that uses an old-fashioned push lawn mower, why not go for gold?

So, final thoughts? We're already changing our mindsets to create a more simplified lifestyle, mostly by purging. I feel that once we both feel that we've purged to the point of, well, a) knowing where everything is in the house (shouldn't that be a clue that you've got too much crap?), b) being happy with the possessions we have leftover, rather than feeling choked by them, and c) have storage space, lots of it, I think that we could turn our attention towards further simplifying...and maybe, just maybe, one day our cupboards will be filled with those cool French canning jars.

What do you think? Extreme and crazy, or the only way of the future?

Friday, April 15, 2011

Fortunately, Everybody Drinks Water

That's a partial quote from Mark Twain, a hero of mine: "My books are like water; those of the great genuises are wine. (Fortunately) everybody drinks water."

Unfortunately, this post isn't like a Mark Twain book. Nope, just me, writing about a new water filter I installed. Too bad for you guys that I'm no Twain!

Anyhoo, during a recent "Get It Together" Saturday (rather than our usual "Put Off Lots" or "Good Enough" Saturdays), we hit up Lowe's to figure out some of our most important to-do's. One just happens to be something I've been meaning to do for quite awhile - find a new filter for our old, cruddy water filtration system.

I had purchased the thing when we bought our house a couple of years ago in order to do away with the plastic Brita jug that we hardly ever used. It was a weird brand, as far as those things are concerned, but worked just fine. However, with our going to Walmart less and less (and, now, not at all), it became impossible to find a filter for the thing. I'd looked at Lowe's before, with no luck.

This time, I looked over the filters and things and noticed one that not only looked cool and less cheap than the others, but actually WAS cheaper than all the others. So, I bought it (for the price of one normal filter) to bring home and replace the old one, which I'll sell for next to nothing at our next garage sale.

Here's how it went down...
My kitchen sink...from hell. (Need new base cabinetry!)
But, relatively neat.

Close-up of sink, old filter, our eco-friendly cleaning products,
and, most importantly, my grandma's recipe (R) &
Dave's grandma's duckie geesie measuring cups (L).

Grooosssssss!!!! And peely.

So much cuter.

Easy, you just take this thingamajig off...

Tighten this on...realize you missed a step, then repeat...

There we go, now we're on track...

These...align with those....

Easy peasy!
Winston NEEDED to be involved.
Ah. Better.

So, how about you guys? Do you filter your water, or prefer good ol' fashioned municipal tastiness? While I know I don't drink as much as I should, I try to take a full glass to bed with me...which undoubtedly unnerves my husband, who knows quite well that Winston will attempt to jump on my nightstand during the night at some point.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Something Feels Off

So, I've been feeling incredibly melancholy lately. It could be the magnetic poles and their realignment. Perhaps it's the new spring weather. More likely than not, it's the fact that I lost my first student to death recently. Yes, definitely, that's it.

Alicia's death has affected countless people, for attending a school district with slightly over 200 students, total. I'm no longer a faculty member of that school, although I will forever be a part of the family I shared while working there. It's a close-knit group, to put it mildly. So, with this death happening so suddenly, so tragically fast, without even Alicia herself knowing it was coming, many of us have been shaken to the core.

While I want to escape the melancholy, the everyday monotony and stress fractures of life has only compounded it and made it near impossible the escape. The only thing that really makes me feel better is the thought of pushing headlong into some home projects during vacation.

I know that I'll never forget Alicia and her wry sense of humor; the energy that she brought to the classes I taught her and her other unforgettable classmates in the library; the silly drama that she divulged to me so willingly during afternoon study halls on a daily basis. I was told today by a sage, 30+ year educator that I'll never forget losing her - so, instead, I will remember those memories, and attempt to remember the good memories that I'm being gifted everyday by students in a completely different, but somehow comfortably similar school. I'm off to a funeral.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Position Paradox - Perfection?

During our last Cooperstown trip, we got to chatting about our "status", as it were. We tend not to think much about this topic. We came from two incredibly hard-working, at times completely broke (financially) families. We have never found ourselves likely to snub anyone for any reason. It's not that we have to work at keeping our attitudes towards others and their socioeconomic statuses fair and unbiased; we were simply not raised to even consider those differences. Besides, if you look at both of our career fields, bias truly is a four-letter word.

Art by Dylan Taylor - "I'm Better Than You"
But, while eating breakfast at one of our favorite cafes, a walking paradox showed itself to me in the form of several fellow patrons. "Holy crap! Are we like these folks? Do we think we're better than others because we're similar to these people?? Wait, do I think that I'm better than THESE people," I thought. I found myself equally ashamed, repulsed, proud, and confused, simultaneously.

There was a mildly mixed bag of individuals as far as age and occupation is concerned. Local, hard-working folks. Green, obnoxious students. Sage, snooty professionals. Rustic farmers. Young parents raising self-righteous toddlers. 

While Dave and I work hard (I'd easily admit that he, simply based on the makeup of his job, is a harder worker), we're madly lucky. He may get home later than some out there, but he's HOME. It's not like either of us has to travel or be away from family for months or years at a time. We don't have permanent blisters or grime covering our hands. Our type of work is real, but not always hard. We're lucky, but we don't always recognize it. I guess everyone's like that.

Well, maybe not. I looked at all these individuals. Usually, when I'm surrounded by people, I feel safe and warm, if not a bit socially awkward. I take for granted that every individual has some bit of good in them. I've always thought this and have even argued it (for example, what about a criminal? Hitler?). But, while sitting there, I felt anxious and uncomfortable. It's my favorite cafe in the area, but I didn't feel necessarily welcomed. The staff was wonderful, it wasn't them at all -- as a matter of fact, they seemed to have the same awareness about the ridiculousness surrounding them as I did.

It was the others. Most of them. The ones I remember; the parents, the older "smart" couple, the teens, the locals. They seemed completely in tune with who they were being and projecting it as if in a well-rehearsed play. It was strange, and I grew concerned that I had missed rehearsals.

But, then I asked Dave, out of the blue, what he thought. Were we like these folks? Do we buy our organics and use our reusable grocery bags and shop at farmers' markets and try to conserve and live portray something? I've always known the stigma that comes from our life philosophies (live more simply, eat real food, buy locally), but found a way to transcend them. I always felt that our reasons were as pure as anyone's; that we could easily be questioned on them and defend politely. Suddenly, I fell face-first into them, and it smelled like manure. And not good manure for fertilizing.

We discussed this, and I've thought on my own about it further. I think that I've made clear in my posts and my conversations with others that I'm not perfect. No blogger or HUMAN really is. We do our best to portray enough perfection to appease our friends, co-workers, bosses, etc in order to make it through life. We try to make the perfect choices. Pick the perfect mate. Choose the perfect turnip. Buy the perfect house. Raise perfect children. But, all in all, we're none of us perfect. And none of those coffeehouse individuals were.

Now, I smile to think about the nameless, seemingly class-less folks that I failed to study enough in that coffee shop. The two middle-aged ladies who politely fought over which would pay for their coffees and scones, who sat nearby to us and didn't stop smiling or laughing together from the moment they stepped in. The woman in an old ragged sweatshirt and jeans who went out of her way to greet that snide mother, whom she clearly knew, and after being snubbed just grinned to herself and returned to her coffee and no one else. The quiet old man who watched everyone intently, getting as much news from his surroundings as he was getting from the local paper in front of him.

I think that I will go back. Besides, their muffins are the size of your head, and I didn't get to try one. And since I'll be with Dave, he already knows I'm greatly flawed. No need for pretense, as usual.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Six Months

It didn't occur to me until late yesterday that today would mark six months since our wedding. I instantly got excited about the fact, and memories of the day flooded my thoughts. The easiest way to share those thoughts, emotions and memories with you? Pics. It's taken me long enough, right?

Please just remember that these are owned by a) Sarah Beck, our friggin' incredible (and fairly priced!) photographer and b) me. So hands off. That being said... For those of you who weren't there or for those of you who'd like to relive it, got an hour? Here we no particular order, here are some favorite memories...

I completely forgot, until the news that night, that the photogs at Dave's work were busy with weddings that day...

 The feeling of accomplishment and relief that everything had gone well, all of our planning went great, and that we were finally ready to start our lives together. Legally.

 Doesn't every bride and groom air guitar at their wedding?
 Entrance music for the reception? Austin Powers.
Speaking of "reception", ours was at Beardslee Castle. So much history, so much spirit (literally). How could you not celebrate a day of life-long love here?

My father-daughter dance was actually a grandfather-brothers-stepfather-mother-daughter dance. Not all at once. Here's my oldest brother, Bill. I'll always remember how emotional he was that day. What a sweetheart.

Bill also performed a reading at the wedding. Talk about emotional! So glad he did it, and so glad to have him as a special part of the day.
This is Bill's fun, gorgeous family. Yep, that tall stud on the right's my nephew...and that little girl's a bit of a mini-me. Ah, I love family.

I was as nervous about the "father-daughter" dance and the second "surprise" I had for Dave as I was for the ceremony itself. I'm actually getting bustled here.

We put a lot of personal details into our day - such as our donation to the ACS to remember those who couldn't be with us - specifically, my dad.

Fire? What fire? I've got free champagne. (So glad Dave will always have my back, even when I'm distracted and unable to help.)

All three charms I handmade. We needed our loved ones to be remembered in our own, quiet way. Dave's grandmother adorned his bout.

Everyone's surprisingly calm. What's there to worry about, anyway?

Some of our close friends cut loose big-time at our reception -- which we LOVED. It was a joyous, unforgettable time (reminded me a bit of their wedding!). Not like a lot of weddings, though -- possibly thanks to our small guest list (only truly close friends and family). Here's our friend, Christine (or Christina, depends on the day, hee hee) doing her best John Travolta.

 Chuck, Professional Party Starter
 So much love surrounding us that day. Look at all the lovebirds!
Sweetest. Cupcakes. Ever. Deliciousness. Plus, the 2nd surprise - a homemade apple pie (made by my mom). Dave's not a big cake eater, so we cut and shared this instead.

Another silent show of respect and love to Dad - a burning candle (homemade square beeswax, very masculine and plain, like, I didn't make it, but I searched high and low for it) in his Remington Arms candle holder (he worked there) on an antique stand that my uncle gave to my mother. Surrounded by his kids...

The speeches. Perfect, concise, funny but respectful. Here's Dan, Dave's brother and best man. I had a maid and matron of honor - my best friend, Beth, and my sister/best friend, Mary.

I started my "father-daughter" with Grandpa. He's my hero, and acted in place of a father throughout my childhood.

Dancing soul mates. Dave's proud to break out his Arrested Development chicken impersonation. We <3 Safety Dance.
Will always remember the sweet tears of Dave's parents, and the mother-son dance to Cyndi Lauper.

 One reason he doesn't break out the dance moves very all....You keep trying, buddy.

The look Dave gave me down the aisle. Nervous, but confident and happy. It helped me reach the end without losing it.

Dave picking up the slack upon hearing about the guest list catching fire. Let's see, who was at the Classic Hollywood table? (Oh, and the kind folks at Beardslee framed the singed list and gave it to us with a sweet note. It's hanging in our dining room.)

I'm part of their family now!
 What an eclectic mix of awesome guests we had.
 Our iiiiinnnnccrrreeedible DJ, Bill T, checking in. Such a personalized playlist!
And his fun dollar-drink game. Tee hee. People knew they were in for some fun times.

My dress. How much work we ladies put into it...and the perfect veil...and everything. I felt that Grandma was with me throughout the day...along with a few long-dead actresses.

The Dungeon. AKA After-party. AKA Our favorite pub (in Beardslee's basement). If you come visit, we'll go!

How beautiful Sarah made me feel. Seriously, she's unbelievable. And how nervous my mother was when she showed up wearing Chucks - which didn't matter a bit in the long run (and I love that she wore them; we went to high school together and couldn't picture her wearing anything BUT). Part of me wishes I'd worn them, too.

 Our first dance was to the Beatles/John Lennon's "Real Love". Look up the lyrics. Now. Seriously.
Did I mention personalized details? We provided a Flipcam for folks to leave greetings on. Man, were they fun! Other stuff - a scrapbook showing Dave and I at stages throughout life (then together), M&Ms with our faces, a chocolate fountain with tons of fruit via my wonderful MIL, and personalized table names ("Classic Hollywood", "Mrs. Shake", "Beardslee Castle", "Ilion Little Theater", etc.) according to our interests.

My bouquet. Perfectly classic, old-fashioned and modern simultaneously. My something blue- the ribbon on my homemade charms.

 This motley crew. What better way to end the day? (Well, that and booze.)
The fact that this picture makes my fam look like the mafia. Love it.
 That we could laugh like it was any other day - which it kind of was. Plus a wedding.
 The girls helping each other. I couldn't have had cooler, more relaxed ladies in my par-tay.
Pics in the street in front of my parents' house. Luckily, no one had to head up Putts Hill that morning. It was a perfect autumn day.

Throwing on my rehearsal dinner dress and running over to my dad's headstone. I left him a calla lily that was still as fresh as new a week later. That tree has watched me grow.

 The wedding party, relaxed. Love them all.
 Still being a dork, making unelegant hand gestures while Dave puts the ring on.

Here are some of the perfect pictures of perfect loves, people who we can look to to model strong relationships upon (other than, of course, our parents):
 Alex and Abby
 Rob and Cara (now engaged!)
 Sara and Michael
Sharon and Ken
(So weird calling them that - Mr. and Mrs. Palmer; she played the organ at the ceremony, and is practically family. My brother and I took piano lessons from her for several years.)
 Paul and Ambi
 Holly and Bill (sweetest moment ever!)
 Debbie and John
 Danielle and Jon (now engaged! Something in the water...or Beardslee)

 I knew Mom was happy this day. Man, did that make me happy.
Have I mentioned how much I <3 Sarah, our photog? And have I mentioned how much I <3 this guy?

I do believe this was either "Let Me Clear My Throat" or "Don't Stop Believin'". Either way, how could you have a reception without them? Look at 'em. Always performing.
 Awesome. Moment. (Albeit staged.)
Thinking: "We're allowed to touch up here, right?" He seemed to need a hand-holding. We both did. Strange, we're not usual hand-holding types.
 Wedding day hugs are the BEST.

 Finally, no tears! Just happiness all around. I couldn't be luckier in-law.
Before the 1st surprise. Even after we were sitting in it, he couldn't quite understand. See, we'd planned quite meticulously whose car we'd be riding where. (No, we didn't do limos. We didn't do a videographer. We didn't do a lot of very expensive things. There was no need; it was perfect the way it was.)

My stepdad, Jerry, who didn't stop talking during our "father-daughter" time. He's always been a part of our family in different capacities, but when he finally became a part of our family, for-real, I gave him hell. Lots of teenage hell for several years. He's, luckily, since forgiven me, and has been a shot in the arm of strength, humor and calm for our family. He's given my mother a new life, and I'll always appreciate that. I love that he considers me one of his children and speaks of me proudly to people. There couldn't be a kinder man.

Our theater buddy, Jim, who also happens to be the father of my dear friend, Kelly. Strange how life revolves like that. Regardless, he helped make the day so memorable - in a great way!

My sister's husband, John, had a permasmile like this all day. He was an usher, but he's, simply put, a brother. I love my other brothers and would do anything for them, but he was the more "present" brother during my teen years and beyond. I love that guy as much as I love that girl, and that's saying a lot.

 Josh called. He insisted the party get started.
 The most jubilant emotions can be found while people jump.

Our final dance - "All You Need Is Love". Surrounded by every guest. The best moment of our lives.

 Always there to lean on, especially at a cemetery on your wedding day.

 ...or to get Uncle Bob (Dad's baby brother, who was very good to us kids growing up) shakin' his boo-tay. Yes, I just wrote that. Embarrassing side note: Mom was known to dance on our local version of American Bandstand. I guess the guys liked her because they could easily throw her around, being tiny.

 ...or to share the final part of the "father-daughter" dance with. And, no offense to the guys, but she was the best dancer. Maybe I'm just used to shorter guys.

Mom, holding my charms. I love how you can see how tenderly and gently she's holding them with her time-worn hands. There's a lot of love in those hands, and for those people. (Her mom and first husband.)
 More dancing soul mates who had never met before.
 The job is done. Make 'er last.

This perfect shot was suggested when inspiration struck...our very own Chuck Carr. He's got a damn fine eye. (Wish my hair wasn't loose, but s'all good.)
 Cutting the pie.
My brother, sister and stepdad enjoying the first posed shots of the day. Nothing like standing in the middle of a street in a wedding dress. No, seriously, you should try it some time. Fun!!

Man, I worked hours on those darn things. Downloaded the perfect font (eventually), reworked it to the perfect design (eventually), had them printed and folded at Staples. And, yet, I highly advise that people looking to a) have complete design control and b) save a bundle, design your own stationery, programs, seating chart, table names/labels, etc. It's fun (in a sick way) and whenever I look at our invitation, I can say, "I did that! And Dave had approval of them!" There were definite DIY parts of the wedding. Oh! Maybe I should share those sometime, if anyone would be interested.

Some random, unrehearsed moments...

 A touching moment. Oh, wait. Wrong one.
 This one. That's better. We get along like peanut butter and jelly.
 In disarray. Love this picture - relaxed, fun. But, wait. Where is my sister's hand?! That can't be right.
My makeup artist! Couldn't have had a wedding without my brother, seriously. He made me look perfect. Huge task. Then, he helped out my ladies, which he didn't need to do. There's a big heart in there, even if his way of showing it is with impeccable sarcasm and brutal honesty. ;-)

Not one to be unpleasantly surprised by being forced to publicly dance in front of dozens of people, he threw ME a curveball...that could've gone badly! But was fun, instead.

We kept expecting him to do something naughty. Like swear. Or perhaps say "Mawwaige. Mawwaige is what bwings us...togethahhh." He behaved...although I was slightly disappointed that he didn't mix it up.
The scrapbook I decided to undertake shortly before the big day. Idle hands... It did actually help calm me, and I love the outcome. Better than the technical glitches of Powerpoint.
I wore flats. Took awhile to get champagne ones, though. Our colors were black and white...with a hint of champagne.
 Straightening up our act.

 See? So much love!

Very special church decor.
Our table frames.

 And, yet, I thought there'd be more tears that day.

Mom, showing her friend Joanne's hubby, Terry (whose birthday I share!) how to cut a rug. He taught me how to throw a ball and swing a bat, just like Dad would've wanted me to know. He was the first person called the day I was born, and I was honored that they could be here for the wedding.

 What a gentleman! My husband, drinking champagne, while Chuck lifts my train.
 One look I get regularly...especially whilst fixing a tie or what have you.
Another look I get regularly. "I try to be annoyed with you, but it doesn't last long." (I'm grateful for my goofy grin, it does wonders.)

 Fire? Eh, no big.

 Tom looks ready for a the parking lot.
 I knew Tonya could handle two men! (We're not traditional; we had 4 guys, 3 girls.)
 I <3 My Train. What other day can you get away with one?
Uncle Mark, schooling the crowd and making us laugh. Oh, he's the priest, BTW.

 Walking like Egyptians. This song holds so many memories for me as a child, we just had to dance to it. We had to teach it to my niece.

Drinking water - the bride way. "Don't spill, don't spill!" (Side note: I didn't pee until I was home and out of my dress, so never had to have the "3 ladies, 1 stall" scenario.)

What a wacky bunch!

So, there you have it. The day. The months since then have been up and down, but mostly quite good. No huge speed bumps, although I'm sure we'll inevitably hit some. I think that we're currently in a state of "realistic thinking" as far as marriage is concerned -- and we're happily not looking back.

You received "thank you" notes, but I'd like to, once again, thank all those who came to our wedding and who helped to make it so damn special. Seriously, Dave and I still pinch ourselves over how wonderful and perfect it was. And, now, for those friends who WEREN'T at the wedding, I thank you for spending the time to peruse through our day. You're officially a McCoy-Dellecese guest of honor.