Friday, July 30, 2010

Honeymoon Day Five: Travel up the Coast

We started off the day with breakfast at our normal spot. It was my last time eating the strawberry pancakes, so I made the most of it. We then went back to the room to regroup and pack up our stuff. At 11:30, we went to check out of the Motel 6, a process which should have taken a second but some how took twenty minutes due to incompetence. Finally we were able to catch the shuttle to the Amtrak station, and made it just in time to catch our 12:48 trip on the Coastal Starlight train.

Once aboard, Seth went to get us some lunch - a garden Burger for me, and a cheeseburger for Seth. During our trip, we were wedged between the ocean on our left and the mountains on our right; the view was amazing!

We passed through mostly farm country and the back of beyond. There was an air force base that we also passed which looked like it used to launch satellites into orbit, probably during the Cold War. There was a Titan II launch pad. The whole thing was rather abandoned and a bit creepy with an X-Files feel. Apart from that it was mostly lovely views of farm land or nothing in the mountains after we turned inland about two hours into our trip.

We had dinner the dining car and met a lovely couple, Jewels and Alan, both resident of Arizona and formerly of England, Jewels being English. They were delighted to talk with some like minded Democrats from New England and were wonderful dinner companions.

We also spent some time in the Sightseers lounge. This area has huge floor to ceiling windows which allow you to get the gets views. We talked with a local who told us a bit about what we were passing. There were also some volunteers called rail guides who were indicating some of the highlights to the people seated in the lounge.

The train arrived, blessedly, on time in Oakland and we took a cab the short ride to our hotel, the Washington Inn. The hotel is a very cool historical building that, I believe, is Victorian. When we arrived there was an awesome anniversary party in the main room with Indian music blaring. I was dancing as we checked in. Then it was off to bed before crossing the bridge to San Francisco in the morning.

Honeymoon Day Four: Final Day in Santa Barbara

We began our last full day in Santa Barbara much as we did the previous days with breakfast at the East Beach Grill. Today was not as cold as the previous day, so we were quite comfortable sitting on the beach and having our pancakes.

The plans for the day included a trip to the Mission and then the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History. We took the shuttle downtown to State Street to get the 22 bus from the stop in front of the Museum of Art. Here we realized, as the bus was arriving, that we did not have exact change. The bus only came every hour -- this was a problem. Our hero of the day was the bus driver, Jim, a wonderful man who let us on the bus and helped us break our twenty through the money in his wallet and some bus transfers. Jim, you are a most amazing man and your help was much appreciated.

Our first stop was the Old Mission. The Santa Barbara Mission was Spanish mission, naturally, and is still in use in a way as a location of religious and ecumenical retreats. It was an absolutely beautiful building and must have been a very wealthy mission in it's day.

When it was founded, it was also a place for the conversion of the native peoples many of whom worked at the Mission and are buried there.

The chapel was an especially lovely location. We would have loved to sit Mass there, but the only one was at seven thirty in the morning.

The Mission was a very nice stop as it gave us a good feel of the history of the area, which is so very different from New England. The Spanish influence is very strongly felt in this part of California. The architecture of the Mission reflected this. As an interesting fact, the Bishop of California was once in residence at the Mission -- this of course being before California was a state.

After the Mission, we walked down the street to the Museum of Natural History. The museum was a bit more for a younger crowd, but the exhibit on the native peoples of Santa Barbara was very interesting and provided more information than what we had learned at the Mission.

Also of interest was the Pigmy Mammoth, a creature that evolved in isolation in only three locations, one of them, the Channel Islands off the coast of Santa Barbara. (The other two locations are a set of islands in the Mediterranean and an island north of Siberia.)

There was also a mammals exhibit which featured local animals, some of which, like the Channel Island fox, we do not see in New England.

After the museum and a wait of forty minutes, we caught the bus back into town for a very belated lunch. We had Mexican at a place called Chicho's and following that I got my first Pinkberry frozen yogurt. It was watermelon and coconut with any toppings I wanted. Seth got some blueberry Coldstone.

We walked back to the motel along the beach getting totally soaked by the incoming water, which was fine because it was in the upper sixties. We also saw four weddings; the first was in the middle, the second had ended and people had left, the last two were just finishing and we got to see everyone.

We settled back at the hotel for the balance of the evening. We enjoyed the cable television and watched a lot of HGTV. The previous night we had watched a bunch of Say Yes to the Dress on TLC. There were a variety of compelling programs from House Hunters to Curb Appeal. I never understood the appeal of HGTV until Seth and I purchased our condo. We also enjoyed fulfilling Seth's lifelong dream of getting room service at a hotel -- we ordered some Dominos Pizza.

Honeymoon Day Three: Seeing of the Santa Barbara Sights

We decided to eat at the East Beach grill again and then following breakfast to head to the zoo.

The zoo had a snow leopard that Seth really liked. There were also a pair of lions, elephants, giraffes, and gorillas. The animals were in decent habitats, although I wished they all had more space (or were not in the zoo).

We finished up at the zoo in a few hours and took the shuttle bus back to State Street for some lunch at State and A, which was delightful. Seth said that it was one of the best hamburgers that he had ever had out. I had a lovely spinach salad and a local sauvignon blanc.

After lunch we headed over to the courthouse, which was said to be a must see. The sunken gardens looked more like a sunken lawn to us, and it wasn't really our thing. We headed over to the manuscript museum after that.

The museum, which was free, was amazing! They had documents from Conan Doyle en mass. They also had many items by famous composers, most of which were their copies of works by other composers. They also had writings by Einstein, Lincoln, Darwin, and Ian Fleming (the author of James Bond). They had a page of the first edition Gutenberg bible. They also had some religious documents including Torah pages. In addition to print works, there were some Egyptian artifacts and items from early space flight from both Russia and the US.

Following the museum we picked up a few items in town and got some sandwiches to eat back at the hotel for dinner. We then returned, tired, to the motel. The entire day had been quite cold out and we were drained.

After a quiet dinner at the hotel. We decided to brave the weather and go out to the beach, albeit completely clothed, to wade in the surf. We did this until we were too cold and returned back to watch some television and just relax.

Honeymoon Day Two: First Day in Santa Barbara

We woke up very hungry and decided to go to a the closest location, the East Beach Grill, for breakfast. It was around a five minute walk and was right on the beach. We had delicious pancakes, strawberry for me and blueberry for Seth.

We then walked on the beach a little. The weather was beautiful - in the upper sixties. We waded in the Pacific, which was a lot of fun because it was Seth's first time. We then went back go the motel and cleaned up and then took the bus into town.

The main street, State Street, basically has everything on it or directly off of it.

We did a bunch of shopping including in my favorite store, Lush. We also explored a tea store, Teavana, where Seth got me some tea that I am very excited to try. We also had a lovely lunch at an Italian restaurant, Pascucci's. We got a delicious tiramisu.

We also went to explore the wharf at the end of the street, Stearns Wharf. There were shops and restaurants. The view was amazing. The town is situated between the ocean and the mountains, so everywhere you look there are rolling hills in the near distance.

We had dinner at Moby Dick, a restaurant on the wharf. Seth was able to get some seafood there, and I had a nice grilled cheese. We'd had a big lunch, so this was perfect.

We had a nice walk back to the motel along the path that runs along the beach for biking, skating, and walking. We the spent the evening relaxing and making plans for the next day.

Honeymoon Day One: In Which Our Heros Travel a Great Deal

Author's note: Seth and I went on a nine day honeymoon to Santa Barbara and San Francisco. As I have a great deal of information to report (there are over seven pages in the journal I kept on the iPad) and loads of pictures (over 400), I am going to post about the honeymoon in installments.

We began the day in a bit of a panic. It seems that I did not set the alarm properly, and it did it go off at five a.m. as planned to wake us for our five thirty departure to the airport. Luckily, Seth happened to wake up at five thirty, and we were able to get on the road at the speed of light and made it to the park and ride and then to the airport in enough time to have a nice breakfast before we departed.

The two plane flights went well. We had an hour layover in Nashville. For both of us this was our first time in Tennessee. The airport of a given location is not a god way to judge it, I am sure, but if I were to judge in that manner, I would say that Tennessee is all about country music and Harley Davidsons.

When our second flight landed in LA, we found the Flyaway bus headed to the train station. The bus ride took around an hour, thirty minutes of which was spent going to all the other terminals at LAX to pick up passengers.

Union Station in LA is a lovely building and a location where we spent an absurd amount of time.

By the time we arrived at the train station, we had been traveling for well over twelve hours. We had some time, around four and a half hours, until our train was scheduled to leave for Santa Barbara. We figured this wasn't quite enough time to head to Hollywood, plus we were tired, so we planned to explore the area around the train station. This turned out to be a bad idea. That was nothing but this ares called Olivera street, which as a faux Mexican village of seriously sketchy leanings. I had a sub par cookie there. We then got a quick bite to eat and spent the rest of our time at the train station just waiting because we were so tired.

The Pacific Surliner train departed around ten minutes late and almost immediately there were problems. At around thirty minutes into our journey, we were stopped because of police activity on the track ahead. (I think that three was an unfortunate accident.) Regardless, we were delayed over an hour and a half. At this point we were very tired from almost twenty four hours of traveling, and I was pretty upset. Seth got some wine and cheese and crackers from the cafe car to help, which was super nice. I then tried to sleep a bit curled against his leg and succeeded for most of the two hours to Santa Barbara, once we finally got moving again.

One highlight of the train was the conductor, who we dubbed speed of sound man. From the moment that we first met him in the LA train station he was rapidly on the move. He talked so fast that it was almost a blur!We checked into the hotel, the first Motel 6 in existence, at midnight local time and promptly fell asleep.

The Motel is perfectly average and serviceable although lacking in any amenities.

We slept an exhausted sleep hoping for a better day tomorrow.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Rehearsal

But wait, you say, didn't she just post the wedding post? Aren't these out of order. Well, yes, but I wanted to post the most important first.

The rehearsal was great. We all gathered at Abbey where the Sexton and Deacon helped us make sure that everything was very organized. Everything went smoothly (and I ordered people about a bit as I am wont to do).

We were able to depart on time to head to Fresh Side for the dinner. We had rented out half the restaurant and had everything ready for us buffet style when we got there. It was delicious (with days worth of leftovers that we took home), and I got to spend time with my friends who I don't see nearly enough!

After dinner, Clela, Molly, Melanie, Sarah, and I headed over to Amherst Brewing Company and sat upstairs and had drinks at the bar. It was a great time! I miss seeing my friends since Clela is at law school in New York and Molly, Melanie, and Sarah are all around a two hour drive out
East. Hey, everyone, move back!

After a bunch of time hanging out and chatting, I headed home to get ready for the big day on the morrow!

The Wedding

July 17, 2010. Our wedding day. Seth and I got up at a respectably early hour. Seth wanted to get to Greenfield for the mid-morning to hangout with the groomsmen before heading to South Hadley for our 4:30 p.m. ceremony. He packed up his suit and headed out. Lily decided to make her contribution for the day by sitting on the garment bag.

I relaxed a bit and had a nice breakfast. I had been planning to exercise but realized that my Uncle Moe and Aunt Judi were in town from Pennsylvania and that I would have lots of time to exercise but did not often get to visit with them. I gave a call over to my mom who was staying with my Aunt and Uncle over at the Amherst Inn to invite them over since I was just hanging out. They spent some nice time visiting and kept me company while I ate an early lunch before heading out to Salon Herdis in Noho for my noon time hair and make up appointments.

I had a great time at the Salon. Marisol, my amazing stylist, did a beautiful style with retro style waves for the wedding. It still looked like me but a bit special. I also had my make up done. Marisol was very nice to keep me company. The lovely young woman who did my make up did a great job. It looked natural, which was just what I wanted since I hardly ever wear make up.

I headed home and gave Greg a call to pick me up at the condo and bring me to the Amherst Inn where he was with Mom and Grace. Mom had my dress and our condo driveway was a construction zone, so I was planning to get ready at the B&B.

I got there a bit early and was able to have a snack, a wonderful chocolate croissant and some fruit salad. This was key because I had an early lunch and would be eating, for me, a late dinner at 7:00. Everyone got dressed. Grace was very kind and helped me get my veil into place. Mom did the buttons on the back of my dress. Mom and Grace then headed out with Uncle Moe and Aunt Judi. Greg and I waited a little and then went down to meet the Town Car that was to convey us to Abbey Chapel for the ceremony.

We got to Abbey and I headed into spend time in the side chapel with my friends and close family. We picked up our flowers which were lovely and included succulents -- my one request. (Thanks, Aunt Geraldine!) Seth was inside the main chapel where the ceremony was to take place. The groomsmen were either outside directing people to parking or ushering inside. When they wrapped up their duties, they came to line up with the bridesmaids and we began. Everyone (including me) processed to "Romeo and Juliet" by Nino Rota. After the wedding party got out. The doors were closed and Greg, Dad, and I got ready. Greg walked out right before me then Dad and I followed. Seth said that he loved my dress and that it was quite exciting seeing me walk up. I think that the procession was one of the most exciting parts of the day! I was really calm the entire time and just enjoyed myself. I had said that I wouldn't cry and get overwhelmed at the wedding and this was the case. I felt really relaxed the whole day, after all, I love Seth very much and had no reason to be nervous. I knew right away when I met him and he had to have his pen perfectly parallel to his paper that he was the perfect person for me! The past four and a half years have well reinforced this as I have come to learn more and more about him and love him increasingly.

Seth and I had written our ceremony to be a co-Jewish/Catholic wedding. The Deacon from Seth's church, Joe Bete, and my Uncle Moe co-officiated. Everything went off very well. It was all quite exciting, and a lovely moment. It was very nice to have our close family involved. Our parents were included in the ceremony, which I think was a nice touch. Seth had been nervous about smashing the glass right at the end, but he did an admirable job. We recessed to the main theme from Final Fantasy, which was very celebratory.

After the ceremony and a quite receiving line, we took pictures in front of the chapel as a group. We were able to get a shot of all of the people who came to the wedding, which was lovely. There were also pictures for the wedding party and both families. I think that everyone is looking forward to seeing these pictures when V & R post them in a week or two. (Note: There are no pictures on this post because I am waiting for the official ones. My mom had posted some on Facebook and some of Seth's family sent us some nice ones then took, but I didn't want to steal.)

After the wedding party and guests headed out to the cocktail hour at The Eric Carle Museum, Seth and I took some pictures with just the two of us in the garden next to the chapel. This was cut a bit short as it started to drizzle. As we got into the car, it began to pour. It poured for the balance of the drive to the Carle and then stopped right as we arrived. When the rain passed, it was a bit cooler. It had been in the high eighties all day. The rain cut a bit of the humidity and brought down the temperature by maybe five degrees.

Seth and I had planned to enter after the cocktail hour was over but were at the Carle early, so we decided to get announced early so we could mingle and say hello to everyone. This worked very well. The people at the Carle graciously opened both doors to the main entrance for us so that we could make quite the impressive entrance ourselves.

The reception was delightful! Seth and I visited during the cocktail hour and quickly swung through the exhibits. We then sat down for toasts. Sean gave a lovely, very nicely planned out toast. Greg gave a lovely, spur of the moment toast. Seth and I then said some words of thanks and had dinner. The meal was reported to be great, but I did not get to eat a lot because we went to take a few extra pictures and then it was time for the first dance.

For the first dance, we used the recording that Seth made for me for my 21st birthday of "Your Song" from Moulin Rouge. It was wonderful! I then danced with Dad and Seth danced with his mom. As befits us, Dad and I talked about his morning misadventures of his bike trip and as befits Seth and his mom, Seth's mom cried to the very emotional song she had picked.

We then cut the cake, which was slightly delayed by the lack of knife. After that the floor opened to dancing and that was where I was for the rest of the night. If someone wanted to see me, they had to be on the dance floor. I had so much fun dancing with Seth and my friends and family! As I had said, the dancing was what I was looking most forward to at the reception, and it did not disappoint. I was very glad I had gotten sensible flats! Somehow, Seth and I were so busy with the dancing and goings-on that we missed getting to eat our cake.

The dancing went well into the night. We had planned to have "Here Without You" as the last song, as it is significant to us. For some reason the DJ played it and then decided to add a "bonus" of "Cotton-Eyed Joe" which was especially horrifying because I hate that song and had specifically asked him not to play it or any other songs with dance moves. Oh, well....

Seth and I said goodbye to our friends and family and headed back home, where Sean and Missy helped us get everything sorted out. We opened wedding gifts and collapsed into bed at 2:00 a.m. after a most wonderful day!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Amazing Work Shower

This past Thursday, my co-workers, Barb and Maddy, threw me an amazing shower at Barb's house. All my other co-workers and work friends came. It was a great time!

(Left to right: Barb, Chris, and me)

(Left to right: Chris, me, and Maddy -- who just got promoted to be the other Phonathon Program Coordinator. Yay, Maddy!)

The party was a tea party. There were amazing tea sandwiches and scones.

My favorite was the pina colada sandwich. Everyone loved it so much that Maddy send us all the recipe.

I got lovely gifts, including many items that Seth and I had wanted from our registry and other items that people super thoughtfully found on their own. Sandy and Karen collected the ribbons from the gifts and made me a hat, since I had a bouquet from the shower at Mom's. They took my picture in the hat in front of Barb's deer heads.

Maddy and Barb even though to have favors and games. We played a bridal word scramble and tried to think of the second half of famous couples.

The tea was from Tease, one of my favorite tea vendors.

Barb's dogs were excellent company at the shower. They got to play after for all their good behavior.

The party was an amazing time. I am so lucky to work with so many wonderful people. A special thanks to Barb and Maddy who put together a party that was fun, thoughtful, and with great attention to detail. I had a great day!