Monday, May 31, 2010

New England, Take 2

J and I spent Memorial Day Weekend 2010 apart. Purposely. We do that sometimes. Take separate vacations.

This time, J headed to a weekend music festival in NY (The Mighty High Mountain Fest) with Uncle SlickG and a high school friend he recently reconnected with (and he didn't even need Facebook for that!!). The big draw about the festival was a performance by From Good Homes. J will go anywhere where FGH is, just so you know.I, on the other hand, had a visitor. Rockstar from Arizona! She had an agenda because when she came back in 2008, we explored Boston and Maine. This time, she returned to the Boston area (while I was working on Thursday and Friday), then we hit all the other spots she hasn't been, like Vermont and northern NH.

Our trip to Vermont can be summed by cows. Well, not really cows, but what cows contribute to. We toured the Cabot Cheese Factory and Ben & Jerry's Factory. MMMM, cheese and ice cream.We also went to the Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe, Vt. Doesn't it look like we are in Austria? (If you ignore the American flag)And we hit up Church Street and Lake Champlain in Burlington. Had to be done. I never tire of Btown.On Saturday, we took the touring to the skies of NH. This was the first time for both of us. Very fun and highly recommended. Even I—with my fear of heights—survived.Afterwards, we went to a nearby Chowderfest (Rockstar has an exceptional love for seafood). And to work off the yummy chowder, we took a hike to some beautiful waterfalls.Rockstar is adventurous (as evidenced by her ziplining), but she does not love bugs or getting dirty. I think I need new friends ... Not to mention she kept wondering why people were swimming in the lakes and rivers. This is understandable since in Arizona, every other house has a clear-blue swimming pool. I think she was kind of grossed out that I grew up swimming in a lake.

The Chowderfest was not the only seafood Rockstar ate this weekend. Meet Henry I and Henry II.

Friday, May 28, 2010

North to Alaska

I think everyone knows that J loves Alaska. It's in his top 3 (Me, Music & Alaska-in no particular order of course!). Part of the reason he married me was because I had family that live in Alaska. Last weekend while we were in Jersey for the awesome Indian wedding, so was my family from Alaska (minus one daughter). We were able to squeeze in a lunch and J hopes the next time we see them, it will be in Alaska!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

In the running for best wedding (for someone else) ever, definitely most memorable

So the Hindu wedding this past weekend. OMG. So so awesome. I was holding off on my blog post because I was hoping to get some video up, but my play by play will have to do for now because figuring out technology just kills me. So here is an education on Indian weddings, if you will.

J & I left NH Sat at 6am to drive down to NJ. 5 hours and 30 minutes later, we were there. Had a short rendezvous with family (but I will post that some other time), then the ceremonies started at 2ish. I did not mistype ceremonieS. Hindu wedding ceremonies normally extend for several days, but this took place during one day only.

It started with Mr. Clean (the groom & J's friend) clad in a sherwani (long jacket), churidars (fitted trousers) and a sehra (turban) getting on a horse to meet the bride's family. Since we were not used to seeing him in such outfits, we had to chuckle and call him Aladdin. I know, so immature and disrespectful, but you have to know this group of friends to know it was inevitable.
I heard he was supposed to come in on an elephant, but the big white decorated horse was still fine. He mounted and we all bollywooded our way to the bride's family. No, really, we bollywooded, I swear. The bride's family poked and proded Mr. Clean to see if he was fit for their daughter. Apparently he was because we moved on to the next step.

The rest of the Hindu ceremonies were extremely fascinating and confusing at the same time. A lot of oooommms and words we did not understand. A lot of "now place your hand at a 45 degree angle on the bride's elbow." Something about an auspicious day. Seven steps. Tying of the hands. Applying paste to a forehead. Circling the fire a number of times. Pouring water on each other. Practically every unique thing you can think of happened during this time. I'm happy to have witnessed it all, even though I am still perplexed by it.

During the course of the ceremonies, the bride changed 3 times. She started in a beautiful red and gold sari draped over her head, then a white wedding gown and then back into the red and gold sari (it might have been a different sari than the first actually). Side note, the bride's family went to India to pick out the traditional colorful outfits for the entire wedding party.At the reception, I continued to see things I've never seen or heard of. The sister of the bride and her husband did a dance performance for the bride and groom (QuickQuestion & Yankee, you owe us one). The mother sang a song to her daughter. There were a lot of performances. Not as many bollywood performances as I would have liked, but they had a pre-wedding celebration full of this dancing on Thursday and unfortunately, we missed it. The reception also involved a lot of speeches from family members and friends. 90 minutes of speeches to be exact. We were fully expecting that every single person was going to end up standing and giving a speech.

The food was all Indian, of course, and family style at the table. I do like Indian food, thankfully, but there were definitely some items I never want to try again. None of us really knew what we were eating and acknowledged the fact we'd be drinking a whole bottle of Pepto later, so most of the conversation went like this: "Can you pass the stuff that looks like refried beans?" At least there was naan. Who doesn't like naan bread? That was the fail safe.

Then there were 8 dessert tables. You know my love for desserts. Except for the desserts were mostly Indian. I would have been in heaven if there were 8 tables of chocolate varieties, but they were 8 tables of curry, coconut and cream.

The whole thing was so memorable. There were over 400 people there, so I actually never got to meet the bride. J either. I can only interpret all the parts of the lavish ceremonies and reception, the performances and the speeches as an incredible showing of support for the bride and groom and awesome tradition that is clear in the Hindu culture. It actually puts our "American" wedding celebrations to shame. I am glad to have checked this off my bucket list and of course it was great that we were there with so many good friends.

Friday, May 21, 2010

I'm making up for the loss

I know, twice in one day, even one hour! But since I don't have FB or Twitter, I had to share ... if you want to lose some serious productivity, go to Google right now. I went there to do a search for work and I got sucked in! High score 453!

PacMan baby!!!!!! Here's the article about it.

TGIF

I checked the Life Less Ordinary blog the other day to see if that chick updated it and what a slacker, she hasn't! After getting a harsh reprimand about the issue from her husband last night, she decided it was time.

So what's been going on guys? Last weekend was busy with J's work events (including an evening where his car died in the middle of a soccer field at 10 pm).

Then Sunday, we took a little road trip to meet up with the rug rats and see the Titanic exhibit at Foxwoods. It was pretty cool and in true living history fashion, we each got an identity. All of us died except for J and QuickQuestion.On our way to the exhibit, J & I stopped to bag the Rhode Island peak. At 812 feet, we needed oxygen tanks and crampons. Kidding of course. Once again, the hardest part was finding the parking area for the high peak, not climbing it. But we have goals people, goals.This week flew by, mostly because there were lots of meetings, soccer and bike-riding (for Bike to Work Week--did you bike????). Oh, and can't forget the 2 Carbon Leaf concerts!!! One was last night (rescheduled from the winter) and one is tonight. Shows #5 and 6 for us. Definitely a groupie. J made a special request to Barry for his favorite song, Blue Ridge Laughing, so we'll see if he comes through tonight.

Tomorrow we head to NJ for approximately 24 hours. May see some family, but more importantly, I am getting to cross something off my bucket list. "Attend an Indian wedding." Have I told you all I am obsessed with the Indian culture?? This along with my obsessions with the Holocaust, the Titanic and unicorns. Okay, I made up the unicorns part. And I can't really claim as much of an obsession with the Indian culture because what I know about it could fit into a fortune cookie. But I do love the dance! And the clothing! And the elephants! So boo-ya I can't wait.

When we return, we have visitors coming. In masses. 10 people in 10 days. Some people by themselves, some people at all once. We heart visitors, but I'd be lying if I didn't say it's making me hyperventilate a little bit. Help me Julia Child! Or Martha Stewart! Or Rhonda!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Monday, May 10, 2010

How the WINDY city got its name

Chicago was windy and chilly. J asked me the expected temps before we left and I told him it would be 50s/60s at best, to which he wrongly assumed was shorts and t-shirts weather. So this is why you see him wearing pretty much the same outfit in every single picture.Anyways, the annual Mother's Day trip was a blast! MamaF and SILMeow (and her boyfriend Napolean Dynamite) live out in Chicago and for the last 5 or so years, we've been meeting up for Mother's Day with them, SILAdventure and Grandma (from the other side, ironically enough).

Despite not being able to get to the high point of IL as planned, we had a fulfilling Thursday. We (I) successfully navigated the "L" and explored Michigan Avenue.
This is where we ran into these two:

Mike Isabella and Kevin Gillespie (runner-up and fan favorite) on BRAVO's Top Chef Tour

Don't know who they are? It's okay, we didn't either. But we still watched the demo, got some autographs and ate the food they made. Maybe with our on-and-off again relationship with cable, we'll start watching Top Chef.Besides the Top Chef demo, the weekend involved lots of other eating. Experiencing new restaurants is one of my favorite parts of traveling!

The lineup included Weiner Circle (famous hot dog place in Chicago), Flub A Dub Chub, Potbelly's and Duke of Perth (this was a repeat from last year because we love it so much). Okay, we didn't just eat, I promise.

We drank. At a home wine tasting! How cool is that???We went on a guided sailing trip. Hey, we had to make good use of the wind!And after the annual Saturday night cookout at SILMeow's, we debated going out to the bars and realized we were all 30 and lame (SILAdventure and Napolean Dynamite, not yet 30, were the only ones raring to go). Instead, we had a SNL Betty White watch party. Did any of you watch? If not, try to watch some of the clips. I've been a fan of Betty since the G.G. and she was on fire at 88 years old.

The end.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

CT High Point

On our way home Sunday, J & I hiked to the highest point in CT, which is on the way up Mt. Frissell (in Mass) at a whopping 2,380 feet.This was a nice, short hike (3ish miles), but it was hotter than hell. This was our 10th high point. Sometimes finding the trailhead to the high point is the hardest part and this was no exception. The trailhead was tucked deep in the woods of CT (so much so that you didn't even know you were still in CT) and did not have any signage. So it took some guesswork. But it all worked out.

Here's another example about difficulty in getting to a high point. J & I are flying out to Chi-town tomorrow. We booked the annual Mother's Day trip with one extra day so we could hit Charles Mound, the "high" point of IL. We started planning the specific logistics this week and found out the property owners (the high point is on private property) have restricted access to only 8 days a year. Do you think those 8 days include Thursday, May 6? Nope.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Take this bread ...

Bones is growing up fast. I guess kids do that. He made his Communion this weekend! Made us all so proud.
Bones is getting old and smart. He said to me, "I don't know if this is rude, Aunt Pay, but your butt kind of sticks out." Well, at least we know he is very observant.

And CurlyLocks is getting old too. She just learned to ride a 2-wheeler. But watch out. She has yet to learn how to brake or steer. Wild child on the loose!