Thursday, August 23, 2012

One Year: An Amazing Way to Celebrate

Left to Right: Carlos, Ketlynne, Abbie, Matt, Adam, Katie, Kris, Kat

When I called the Omni Parker House last week to book a room, they asked my reason for the one-night stay. It was probably more than they actually wanted when I responded- A friend is getting married in Providence and it happens to be the same weekend as our one year wedding anniversary, which took place at the Omni, so the day after their their wedding, we'll be there to celebrate ours.

There was a long pause before the lady responded, "So it's your anniversary?"

I told her that it was and she asked if I minded if she took note. I was hoping she would.

All of the above plus Steve, Nick and I.

 So late Friday night, Nick and I flew into Boston. The flight was fun as we got free beer and watched this dumb, funny show. We landed at 11:30pm, rented a car, and drove to my parents house. My Mom got out of bed to spend a few minutes chatting with us and then we all went to sleep.

Nick and I were out of the house by 9am and driving to Providence. We walked into our first hotel at 10:15am to find our buddy Adam walking his baby girl around the lobby.  The first baby in our ever growing OZ04 family.

The wedding was for my friends, Carlos and Katie. Carlos and I went to college together but did not meet until we were driving around on a bus in Australia. That's right, the same bus where I met him and her. It was an eventful time. 

Carlos quickly became one of my best friends. He is kind and sweet and funny. He can dance really well and even though he's a very successful adult, he is young at heart. He is a romantic, he loves superheros and Disney movies, and he would do anything for his family and friends.

Nick, Carlos, and Katie in Boston a few years ago.

In August of 2005 when I packed up my life and drove to Minnesota, Carlos came with me. I owe a lot to him for that. It was the craziest thing I have ever done, more so than skydive or bungee jump. (Though, he was there for those adventures too.)


So the woman taking my reservation at the hotel was spared from details of truly how significant this weekend actually was. 

The wedding was so much fun! we laughed and danced and reminisced and took a million pictures and laughed even more.

Congratulations Carlos and Katie!!

 The next day after tears by me and lots of hugs, Nick and I were on our own to celebrate our anniversary. We arrived at the Omni to discover that we had been upgraded to a suite like the one we had for our wedding. Champagne and chocolate covered strawberries waiting for us. (A+) It helped me dry my tears and we set off for dinner in the North End.

The next day was our actual anniversary and we toured downtown Boston on my signature walk before meeting up with my family. We went to dinner at the restaurant where we had our rehearsal dinner. We sat outside and I could not help but think about sitting in this very spot the year before. It was perfect.

At 6:15 the next morning, we were on a plane back to Minneapolis. It was a whirlwind. It seems almost like a dream now. Did I really just see all those people? Did we really just have our first wedding anniversary? It doesn't seem possible. I feel so lucky. And the cherry on this tale is that our next adventure is right around the corner.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Like a Real Adult: Dinner with Friends

I spent most of yesterday like a 1950's housewife. I grocery shopped, cooked, and cleaned all day. I watched the clock, wanting to have dinner ready by 6pm. The hours passed quickly and there was no time for a break. A muscle that I did not know I had, hurts today from all of the vegetable peeling.

I am sure for many people, this is normal. For me, it is not. I live primarily off of toast. Nick cooks much more often than I do. Now that I am the one home during the day, I am making an effort to be more active in the kitchen.

Another change with being home is that I do not see my friends unless I actually make plans. So last night I invited three of my favorite girls over for dinner.  It seemed a great way to knock two birds with one frying pan.

It also gave me a chance to use some of the fancier serving items that we got for our wedding. You know something does not get used enough when there are cobwebs. So after hand-washing all of the fancy dishes, as to not serve my friends dusty food, I set the table and began cooking.

The menu was compiled via Pinterest. The day before the dinner, I must have looked at my Bite To Eat page for an hour trying to decide what I wanted to attempt. I compiled a list and then modified it yesterday, opting to make a vegetarian meal after watching Forks Over Knives. We ended up with:
Paired with a variety of wines and cheesecake for dessert.

 It was delicious and so fun! Nick ended up sneaking in and joining us for dinner. The work he had to get done was put on hold as he tried to soak up his wife as the chef. It is a lot of work and I do not see myself doing this every week but it was nice and I love having leftovers. My friend Theresa and I joked that next time we hang out, we are keeping our houses messy and ordering pizza. Maybe I'll put the pizza on a fancy plate, just to keep it classy. 

I keep thinking about how much your interests change as you get older. If anybody had ever told me that I would care about dish sets or napkin holders, I would not have believed them. I remember as a kid thinking that home depot was the most boring store in the world. Now, I could wonder around there for hours. As I wrote that, the six-year-old boy next door ran by my window dressed in a knight costume with a cape flowing behind him. Yes!!

I will end this with a link to the song that is stuck in my head. Have a good weekend!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Transition: Cape Cod

In the mid 1970's my grandparents bought a small plot of land across the street from a quiet beach in Cape Cod. It has always been a place for my family to gather A place to swim in the ocean, eat seafood, and sit on the deck and listen to the waves.

When I was twenty, I lived at the house for the summer with my grandmother. During the day, I laid on the beach and at night, I was a waitress at a local restaurant. My Nana would join me on the beach with her fishing hat and water shoes. We would sit and chat and watch the tides move in and out. After a few hours, She would excuse herself to go back up to the house to make tapioca pudding or angel food cake. We would go out to dinner at 4:30 and she would comment on the enormous portions of food. We would sit up at night and watch the Tonight Show and she would doze sitting up in a chair. In the morning, she would read the entire newspaper. Her vision was fading so she used a magnifying glass to be able to see the words clearly. Her memory would slip occasionally but she would laugh about it once she realized and we would move on. It is hard to believe that was nine years ago.

My father is retired now and because he knows how much it means to her, he is spending the summer at the beach house with my Nana. It is no longer the lazy days of summer that I remember. Caring for my Nana has become a full time job as she is in the advanced stages of dementia. When it is my Mom and Dad together, they are an amazing care team. My Mother is a nurse and able to carry out tasks that the rest of us cannot. My Mom is wonderful with her and it seems that deep in her mind, Nana recognizes her as a nurse and listens to her instructions. My Dad spent his career in a number of leadership roles so he knows how to organize and oversee: medicine schedules, doctors appointments, nurses visits, and ensures that Nana is well cared for by the people that love her.


Work schedules being what they are, my Mom had to leave her post as Nana's nurse for eight days so she could go to her paying job. To keep my Dad company, I offered to fill her space for that time. The last day at my job was on a Friday, on the Tuesday, I flew to Cape Cod.

It was nice spending that time with my family. For most of the trip it was just Nana, Dad, and me. Every time I walked into the room, I introduced myself to Nana and was received with varying degrees of recognition. I would sit with her for hours and play music that she knew. It was so rewarding to see her laugh and smile in response to The Sound of Music.

My first day there, Nana had a moment of clarity. I told her who I was and that we are on the deck at her Cape house. In response she said, "Grandpa and I got this house so that the family could come and go and come and go."

On the weekend, my sisters, brother-in-law, niece, cousin, aunt, and sister's dog came to stay. It was fun to all be together. As hard as it is to see Nana, a woman so full of grace, go through this awful disease, she has done something right in her life to be so surrounded by love. She naps on the couch with the ocean crashing outside and her family comes and goes and comes and goes.