Tuesday at Noon: She’s for Mitt.

I take yoga once a week at a community center [big ole' middle school gym] in my neighborhood.

Last week it was raining hard and very chilly when I got to class early.  I was glad to be there alone for fifteen minutes as I was reading a book I could not put down.

When I sat in the gym with my back against the brick wall and my bottom on the wood floor and cracked open my book, a very cute older lady with her hair tied out of her face and off her neck in a sweet purple bandanna walked in with her cleaning cart and a broom.  I looked up.

“Don’t worry, hon’,” she said.  ”I already swept!  I’m just going to clean up around the doors and I’ll be out of here.”

“Take your time,” I told her and settled into my spot.

She squirted and wiped and scrubbed.  Then her cell phone rang.  She took her gloves off and put them on the cart, opened her phone and held it up to her ear.

“Hello?”  she asked.

And after a minute.

“Oh, hello there.”

And one more moment.

“Oh yes for Romney, of course!”

And then after some quiet a smile spread across her face.

“Well aren’t you cute.  I think you’re smart too!”


St. Augustine and A1A.

We drove back to Jacksonville by way of Saint Augustine and up A1A along the Atlantic Ocean.

Saint Augustine was a lovely town that smelled like the sea.  Our favorite part of our brief visit was the Castillo de San Marcos, a historic Spanish fort large and beautiful and full of ghost stories.

We were able to stop for a 20-minute swim as we drove north toward the airport through beach and forest preserves and small cottages next to large homes facing the wide ocean.

Our swim was quick but lovely and warm and very wave-y.  We laughed a lot in the water. There is NOTHING like the sea.

C loves swimming in the ocean so much you’d think he was born on the coast in a seashell.

The beach was very lightly dotted with people’s clothes and towels and everyone was in the water.  It was a perfect day.  We could have used RIO beach chairs and six more hours in the sunshine at the water.

So long for now, happy Florida!

Florida Dream Wedding.

We had an incredible time in Florida at Devon and Patrick’s wedding.  The weather was beautiful and the whole scene was just plain welcoming and relaxed.

Devon is C’s very good friend from his days living in D.C.  She was the property manager of the building C lived in at 14th and P.  C told me that when he went for a visit to choose a place to rent before moving, he was in a unit in the building with Devon and said to her, “Well, I’ll continue looking around and see what else is out there.”  Devon looked at him and said, “This building is one in a million.  This unit will be gone tomorrow.”  He wrote her a check for the deposit 10 minutes later.

On Friday afternoon we arrived in Jacksonville.  After a long drive through Ocala National Park, we arrived at the rehearsal at the plantation house where the wedding was held and where we were lucky enough to be staying with other wedding guests and the bride (and eventually groom, after all the vows were delivered)!

We got dressed and headed to Devon’s mother’s home for the rehearsal dinner.  Two weeks before the dinner their contract with the barbecue company who was supposed to cook was broken and Devon’s mother threw herself into a frenzy, cooking an INCREDIBLE Italian meal for 45 people.  She did an amazing job.

Devon’s mother’s house is just adorable.  It’s a little camp built in 1915 across a country road from a lake.  There are very large trees in the yard covered in Spanish moss and a big, comfortable porch with lots of wicker furniture.

The inside is just as lovely.  The cottage is rustic and homey at the same time.  Devon’s mom and late father bought the place nine years ago in the hopes of restoring it together.  They did quite a bit of work — peeling off bell-bottom era paneling, shoring up the foundation, moving a staircase and replacing windows.  There’s more to be done now that Devon’s father has passed away — enter the newest member of the family, Patrick,who has already built some shelving in the kitchen.  The newlyweds are moving into the tiny guest house on the property and sweet grandma is moving in with Devon’s mother in the main house.

The next morning, back at the plantation house, from our large bed up on the second floor, we woke to the BeeGees playing somewhere downstairs.

When we walked into the dining room, Devon was sitting at the table, calmly sipping tea and reading the news online.  She had set out breakfast on the buffet and asked us if she could get us anything.  She was so relaxed.

We walked for a bit out in the yard with mugs of coffee.

And then we saw a little ‘gator swimming in the lake.  He was just a tiny thing, as people kept telling us, only ’bout five foot.

I set to work on a banner for the photo booth for the reception and Rob helped me “improve” it.

Then outside folks started arriving — hair and makeup and photographers and family members.  The girls showered and got dressed on the third floor.  Devon’s darling [precocious] niece was charged with “watching the baby” – her brother – to make sure he didn’t roll off the bed.  This also ensured she wouldn’t continue to muss her makeup and princess hair.  After she was caught in the backyard being pushed on the swing by C, she was immediately called upstairs.

“I don’t care to watch him,” she said.  ”Can’t a girl just play?  I want to swing on the swing outside with Mr. Chris!  I want to watch the ‘gator!”  It was pouty and so cute.  Her mother just thought it was pouty.

The sun was bright and beautiful by the time Devon and Patrick became Mr. and Mrs.

The cocktail hour was in the front of the house and there were lawn games and lots of cocktails.

I love this photo of Devon and C!  Hooray for good pals!

After dinner we danced.  A lot. The band played all our favorites.

The sky got dark and the party kept going.

By the time the night came to an end with sparklers, my flip flops were on and my hair was a disaster.  Humidity and swing dancing will do that to a Yankee.

Cheers to the happy couple, Devon and Patrick!




Denver Does Vegas.

We loved Las Vegas.  I guess I should say I loved Las Vegas…because C had already made it clear that it’s totally fun long before we booked our trip.

We arrived late Thursday night and had already missed dinner because our plane was delayed by monster rainstorms in Nevada.  Luckily, by the time we arrived at 10:30 p.m., it was perfect timing to get on our dance clothes and head out on the town.

The night ended the next day after a lot of dancing.  At 2:30 a.m. I ate the largest piece of quiche I’ve ever laid eyes on and was satisfied until second breakfast at 10.

We took all of Friday to explore the strip.

It was just beautiful.

We spent nearly the entire day walking.  We rode the roller coaster at New York, New York, walked through the Luxor, Bellagio, Cesar’s Palace and Paris.  I played tourist very well.

That night we had dinner at Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville.  It was like I had stepped into someone’s demented dream.  Every hour there was a show at the restaurant that consisted of a bikini-clad woman climbing a large plaster volcano.  When she got to the top, she slipped and fell in, causing it to erupt!

The woman toppled out of the volcano right into a blender large enough to be a hot tub.  Then a giant fish hook came down from the ceiling and she grabbed a hold of it and it pulled her out.  The whole time this was happening, Margaritaville was playing over loudspeakers and there were characters on stilts walking around to people’s tables making them balloon hats.  The first time I saw the show I thought it was silly, the third time, I thought it was pretty fantastic.

We attempted to walk off dinner and caught the fountain show at the Bellagio.

After being caught in Paris for a while, we headed down to Fremont Street, or Old Las Vegas.  It was kitschy and loud and bright and I loved it.

Friends started leaving early Saturday morning and I found myself a little place on the “beach” at Mandalay Bay.  I fell asleep for a solid hour before realizing there was a party going on around me.

Of course, there’s a lot more to our story.  But what happens in Vegas…

Tuesday at Noon: Big Sky Country

I have been working on a construction project at work for the past two years.  It’s been long and drawn out due to the location of the project – on the remote northern border of the U.S. and Canada in Montana and North Dakota.  We are managing the project mainly from Denver, so I have not met many of the people who are on the project team.

The hired contractors who are working the project are absolute characters.  They’re cheerful and funny and say the darndest things on our conference calls.

They are a brother/sister team and it’s definitely a family affair in their office, which we’ve deduced is located in their home.  We’ve also figured their mom is involved in the business as well.

On one of the first conference calls we had, the brother contractor, let’s call him Ronnie, was talking about getting estimates for some gates we are installing at one of the sites.  Mid-sentence, he stopped what he was saying, covered the receiver with his hand (we imagined) and asked his mom to save him some of the sandwich she was eating.  The project manager and I made wide-eye contact with each other and smiled at each other.

Soon after that, on another call, Ronnie was not on mute and yelled to someone in the room with him, “Can someone get this dog off ‘a me?  I’m on an important call here!”  More smiles across the meeting table.  Hilarious.

Our third Ronnie story comes from last week.  Unfortunately, he was unable to join the call when we started.  One of the fencing contractors was on the line as well as Ronnie’s sister [we'll call her] Jenny.

The project manager on my team asked if Ronnie was able to give a status update and the fencing contractor said, “Uh, got some bad news, Denver team. Ronnie’s not here.  He’s at the vet with his dear dog.  Seems the dog swallowed a razor blade.”*

It is absolutely not funny.  Of course.  But we could not help but put the phone on mute and laugh anyway. “Only Ronnie!”

*The happy end to this story is that the dog did indeed swallow the razor blade which happened to be attached to a disposable plastic shaver.  But he’s a big dog and he’ll be just fine.


Tuesday at Noon: Backyard figs.

At the supermarket a few weeks ago I had the pleasure of having a darling older gentleman with white hair and heavy-looking glasses as the bagger in my checkout lane.  I was in a super rush through the market, preparing to host a ladies night for the gals on our floor in the building.

I was picking up lots of last-minute snacks – brie, bread, crackers, veggies and mmmm, Dalmatia fig spread.  I can’t get enough of this stuff.  It’s basically delicious with everything.  Anyway.

The gentleman bagger was sorting items to place in the bags and he picked up the fig spread.  I was swiping my loyalty card and making small talk with the cashier.

“How do you like this?”  he asked me.

“Oh, the fig spread?  I love it,”  I said.  He was just really friendly looking and I was touched by his interest in my groceries.

“You know, my mother, when she was a little girl, she lived in a house with a fig tree in the backyard.  And she just loved eating those figs off the tree.  She just loved it.”

I wondered where this conversation was going…or even if it was a conversation.

“I wonder if she’d like this,” he said, looking at the spread.  ”You know, my mother is in her late nineties.  I may bring her some of this when I see her next.”  He looked sweet while imagining how happy his mother may be if he were to visit her with some fig spread.

I said she would probably love it.  It wouldn’t compare to a fresh fig off a tree in a backyard, but it may just make her day.  I thanked him for bagging and quickly rushed out to my car and drove home to play hostess.

Looking back on this small slice of a day in my life and his, I wish I had taken a moment to breathe and forget about the time ticking away and the ladies coming over for after-dinner wine and nosh.  I wish I’d gone back and bought that man some fig spread for his mother.

But maybe just listening was good enough.

Takeoff for Sin City.

“Tighter and shorter than what you normally wear is the rule of thumb,” C said a few weeks ago when I asked him what I should wear to Las Vegas.

I don’t know if that’s necessarily a “rule of thumb,” but I am ready to go with it and have packed both kinds.

We get on a plane to Sin City this evening for my first time and our first time as a couple with some really fun friends.  We’re celebrating October birthdays, a weekend of fun, and the luck of October 11, 2012 – 10/11/12.

Shorter, tighter and here we go!