“I want to see what I’m eating”

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‘Let there be light. Very bright light.’

We were about to introduce “Tell No One,” a really great multi-watchable movie (I’ve seen it at least a dozen times) to our multi-Thanksgivingable pals Jim and Phyllis (they’ve been Turkey Guests at least 20 times) when Jim says, “I think we could dim those lights, can’t we?”

Jim, bless his dimmer-loving heart, just secured a Thanksgiving invitation for at least the next 20 years. Or as long as I can lift a 20-pound turkey. (Probably not 20 years, but one can hope.)

That’s Jim (in red shirt) describing a cheese. (Note turned-off ceiling lights) Of course, it is still daytime. Barely

See, I hate bright lights. Especially bright ceiling lights. In fact, if it were up to me, there would be no ceiling lights. Just discreetly placed table lamps. Maybe a standing lamp here and there.

I am particularly fond of cabinet lighting, like this in the Ken & Barbie House *sigh*

But guess who loves lights, the brighter the better? Three guesses, and the first two don’t count.

A rare shot of Dude Man experiencing light that is too bright

Yes, Dude Man cranks up every light in the joint, mostly ceiling lights. Oh, I made sure there are plenty of tasteful lighting options in the Ken & Barbie House as well as in Amagansett. But The Dude prefers to just reach inside a doorway and flip on a ceiling-light switch. After he’s been in a room I consider it my mission to go around adjusting the dimmers on said ceiling lights to the lowest setting I can get away with. If I hear, “Who turned those lights down?!? I’m trying to work at the computer/play the piano/read my book here!!!” — then I know I wasn’t subtle enough.

In fact, in the shot at the top of this post, taken at last year’s T. Day Festivities (yes, Jim was there; right next to me, in fact) I swear Dude Man did not leave his chair to take this photo — he was really sneaking to the doorway to turn on that ceiling light.

The one ceiling light I absolutely adore. Mainly because it’s hardly ever turned on

I usually don’t mind his bright-light obsession too much. After all, that’s why god made Separate Rooms. With doors. It’s usually only a Major Issue when we are dining. He turns on the blaring ceiling light, muttering “I want to see what I’m eating.” I turn it off and switch on a couple of dimmable options, muttering in reply “You’re eating, not performing brain surgery.

My own kind of little lighting. In my own little room

Which leads me to the logical question: Why is it that bright-light-lovers are always matched with dimmer-lovers? In fact, I have never met two like-light-minded people. Let me know if you are the rare Lucky One who is half of such a couple. Or maybe not.

Amagansett, New York. November 2022

 

 

Stuffing and Nonsense

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‘Nothing’s on the back burner this week’

My cart at the IGA this morning actually inspired comment from my fellow shoppers. “Wow, you sure have a lot of cooking to do!” (“That I do, that I do.”) “You must be expecting a crowd!” (“Not so many. But they’re young!”) And my favorite: “Such gorgeous short ribs. So meaty!” (Sage nod.)

What happens to 15 nice meaty short ribs. I have a batch cooling right now. This is what I serve Friday when everyone’s sick and tired of turkey

See, not only did I have a twenty-pound turkey propped up in the cart’s kiddie seat, but I had a Saran-Wrapped slab of fifteen big old beef short ribs balanced on top. The rest of the cart was filled with various and sundry: Granny Smith apples (for the pies), cranberries (for the sauce and the pies), plus breads, milks, tons of deli meats and loads of snacks to keep the Young’ns at bay. (Note: this was just the perishable stuff. I’d shopped for all the nonperishable stuff on Sunday.)

Shopping was somewhat more complicated than usual this year because some of those Near and Dear to Moi have (ahem) dietary issues. Real dietary issues, not trendy ones like in that New Yorker cartoon where the woman tells her friend she’s “only been gluten-free for a week and already she’s tiresome.”

Some of my treasured recipes. Written in longhand on Kaskaskia College stationery by none other than My Mom

So I had to hunt down special foods for special needs and tweak my recipes. (Gonna give that Mr. Turkey an olive-oil rubdown this year instead of a butter one. And nope, I did not shake those short ribs in flour before browning them.)

I’ve been so busy shopping and chopping and browning and braising that I almost skipped this week’s post.

My never-ending Pie Crust Quest has not ended. And never will

But then I remembered what a wise woman (Hi, Becca!) wrote in my comments last week when I was whining about my birthday. First, she asked for my secrets to my “youthfulness” and then she encouraged me to “blog on a regular basis.” I replied that “staying regular” is no doubt a secret to youthfulness — if not just plain ole happiness — so I’m going to try not to skip my weekly posts from now on.

Well. We’ll see how well that goes. In the meantime, that’s it for this week — I still have turkey necks and giblets to simmer — but here’s a little parting treat: my very favorite Thanksgiving photo.

Yup. This is from my post, “Flipping the Bird.” See you next week! (I hope)

Amagansett, New York. November 2022

 

The birthdays just fly on by

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‘What happened to “You sure don’t look it!”?’

I’ve whined (er, written) about birthdays before. (Thank you, Loyal Readers, for your patience with my elderly musings: “Sixteen Candles. Plus Another Sixteen. Or So.” “All Saints’ (Birth)Day.”  “Skirting the Issue.” There are way too many — kind of like the number of candles on my cake.)

A scene from one of many random birthday celebrations. I believe this one was not actually mine — I was just trying on the tiara for size

I’m actually grateful for reaching the astounding age that I have reached — especially when I consider the alternative. One of our friends, even older than I, has a motto: “Every day above ground is a good day,” with which I heartily concur.

Having a very nice time above ground with a tiara and a glam group

Last year I celebrated a Landmark Birthday — seventy, it was, for heaven’s sakes — with a fancy party and all the glam trimmings. I was riding high on birthday glory when — about a week later, it felt like — I turned seventy-one.

Last year’s seventieth birthday. Which feels, I swear, like it happened just last week

See, that’s the trouble with birthdays. If they keep on coming — which, thank goodness, they have been, like clockwork every November — they keep on coming faster and faster. Golly. It seems like I just finished writing my thank-you notes when I’ve gotta dust off that Dempsey & Carroll all over again.

Getting ready to break out the thank-you stationery — again

Well, I’ve already written about turning seventy and how it means that you start doing the math. (See “Doing the Math.” Duh.) Here’s a summary for those who hate clicking links in posts: After 70, you start making decisions based on numbers. Like, I’m not getting a New Kitty to replace the Late Lamented Wombat since a kitty could live to be twenty and…well, you do the math.

I’ve also already written about birthdays flying by waay too fast. (See any of the above-mentioned birthday posts.) Repeating one’s self, is, after all, a privilege of Getting Older.

But here’s a new Birthday Wrinkle. So to speak. At my birthday party last week, when people asked how old I was — which, by the way, only gets asked of children and the very old — when I responded, “Seventy-one,” I was met with a chorus of “Congratulations!” and “Happy Birthday!” I think there was even a “Best wishes!” in there somewhere.

Another Brazilian Birthday years ago. When I was still getting “You sure don’t look it!”

But no one — repeat, no one — said, “Omigosh! You certainly don’t look seventy-one!” Nope. Not one single person. No “How can that possibly be?!” Or even a “What’s your secret?!” Just, “Happy Birthday” or its non-surprised equivalent.

This is kind of an adjustment for a person who used to round up the numbers in an effort to appear older. Oh well. I’ll get used to it. I guess.

Back when I used to round my age up in a desperate attempt to appear older

The thing I’m having a harder time getting used to now that I am Post-Seventy is getting mistaken for my mother’s sister.

A Doppelganger sandwich, featuring Moms and Sisters, some real, some imagined

Granted, Mom and I do resemble one another. (A lot.) And, no, it’s not that I don’t think my mother is a good-looking person. (I do. She is.) But, well, she is my mother — and 22 years older than me. Though she doesn’t look it, darn her young-looking hide.

Since I’m almost 40 years older than The Child, I doubt that anyone will ever mistake us for sisters. Though one can always hope

Oh well. So much for the Birthday Whine. In a little while I’ll switch to the other kind. Cheers!

Amagansett, New York. November 2022

 

 

 

Jury duty, only with feathers

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‘What those crazy birding trips are like’

I just flew back from a birding trip to Brazil, and boy are my arms tired.

The jury is in: Birthdays are Birddays on trips like this one. Here we celebrate my latest at Itatiaia National Park

People often ask me what these trips are like. Well, here’s how I often describe them. Picture yourself thrown together with eleven random strangers from all walks of life. For several days you spend nearly every waking moment with these people.

Our team of twelve doing a bit of problem-solving together

You eat every meal together, you take breaks together, you even spend the night together. (Well, sort of.) You consult, you deliberate, you draw conclusions.

Which owl was this? Group conclusion: Tawny-browed owl — a baby one

You form bonds and promise to stay in touch. Then, when it’s all over, you go home — and never see each other again. Jury duty, right?

Twelve Angry Birders on the hunt for the Gray-Winged Cotinga. Well, not all twelve. And definitely not angry. Cold, maybe. But worth it, because yes, we found the cotinga

Well, this trip was a tad different. For one thing, there were two people on it that Dude Man knew already.

Bird Nerds of a Feather: One of the two already-Dude-known peeps on this tour. Known to me, too, after 17 days of close contact

Before I get to the other difference, let’s talk a little about that eating together deal. The tour company we use (and which I highly recommend and plug shamelessly whenever possible), Field Guides, has been spreading their wings, so to speak. They’ve been marketing tours to wider audiences by enticing birders with Extra Added Attractions. Like, they have birding/wine tours. (See their “Birds and Wines of Chile and Argentina” for just one example.)

Birds and Buddhas? Guess which gets the most attention here at the site of the largest Buddha in Brazil

Next to the buddha: the largest cat box (er, Zen garden) in South America

They have tours that combine birds and art, too. Like this one with Dutch birds and Dutch masters.

Sometimes the birds ARE the artwork. Check out this extremely rare — only about a dozen are known to exist — Cherry-Throated Tanager. Which, yes, we saw. Our guide took this photo. (So did The Dude, tho his shot is still trapped inside his camera)

Well. I wanted to call this trip “Brazil and Buffets” because practically every meal we ate was one. A buffet, that is. Some were at the hotels, natch. But others were pretty fancy places — like the one pictured at the top of this post — where you’d fill your plate with all kinds of goodies, then waiters would go around and offer you meats they’d carve right for you from big ole skewers. (Or, in one place, offer you pieces of freshly-baked pizzas from big ole platters.)

Dude Man meets some meat

My favorites, though, were the by-the-kilo places. You’d fill your plate, then place it on a scale. You’re charged by how much it weighs. My suggestion that each diner be weighed before and after eating and charged accordingly wasn’t exactly a hit, especially later in the tour.)

Our trip itinerary. Dude Man and I only had time for the top half — Linhares Reserve to Sao Paulo — who knows how much more bonding would have occured had we done the whole thing (!)

Oh, the other thing that was different about this trip is that we were missing The One. You know, the person in the group — whether jury or birding trip — who is difficult or annoying or sometimes even a full-fledged pain in the tuchus. Oh, there was this one guy we dubbed “Mr. Sunshine” because he had a darkish streak. But he turned out to be too darned lovable to be a full-fledged One.

A dead end — at a graveyard. Maybe The One is in there somewhere

In fact, everyone on this trip turned out to be loveable. So goldarned lovable that we made sincere promises to get together in our future nonbirding lives. Will this really happen?

The jury is still out.

Amagansett, New York. November 2022

 

 

 

Garbage in, garbage out

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‘You meet the nicest people at the dump’

I just have to say that my family has way too much fun on our weekly Family FaceTime calls. We started them during the pandemic — and for a couple of years now we’ve been gathering round the ole iPad or iPhone every Sunday at 3PM Pacific Mom Time.

Checking in with Mom and the Sibs on a random Sunday. Jealous of Doug’s Dilly Bar

It doesn’t hurt that every one of my sibs is pretty darned funny. (Those of you who know me in person may be surprised to learn that, in my family, it is not I who is the “Funny One” — or even the “Chatty One.”)

Roger shows off the latest headgear on another random Sunday

To say that we discuss a wide range of topics on these calls would be putting things mildly. Sometimes we’re serious (sort of). Like, this Sunday Youngest Younger Bro Doug reported on the soggy aftermath of a Maine Nor’Easter. (He lost power and his dock got dunked.)

Doug calls this “Submerged Dock at Sunset”

Speaking of soggy, on one of these calls I demonstrated how the lyrics to “The Walloping Windowblind” were stuck in my head. I had been reminded of the song by a line in a Kurt Vonnegut book, Galapagos, that I read because, well, we had just been to the Galapagos. (See “Galapagone” for trip deets.) “I’m off to my love with a boxing glove” is one choice phrase of many. Check out a version of this earworm below. And if anyone can figure out how this song got stuck in my head, please let me know. My Mom swears it wasn’t one of hers.

Mom’s tastes run more to faves like “Attila the Hun” and “The Shiekh of Araby (with No Pants On)” — Try it; it’s fun. Just put “with no pants on” after every line, and you’ve got it.

How we much prefer our FaceTime. This was at The Child’s wedding, which you can check out at “Two Weddings are Better than One”

Like I say, we talk about a whole bunch of stuff. This week we went on for some time about the dumb new name for the Cleveland Indians. Some genius named the team the Cleveland Guardians. Guardians? Just try that in a cheer: “Gimme a ‘G!’…a ‘U!’…an ‘A!’ (etc.) What’s that spell?!? Heck if I know.” Oldest Younger Brother said they could have gone with the Cleveland Rockers. (Because, you know, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.) Much better.

But, you might justifiably be asking, what’s this have to do with a dump? Well, Doug was saying how he has to haul his sunken dock out of the water for the season and how he’s not going to pay somebody to do it; he’ll handle it himself. And we chimed in with stuff we do ourselves. I said I haul my own stuff to the dump. Not only do I save big bucks, but I run into nice people there. Like this guy Craig, who used to be a windsurfing buddy.

One time a whole bunch of nice people — we were on a birding trip in Texas — made a trip to the Brownsville Dump. But not to haul trash. We were there to search for the elusive Tamaulipas Crow, who was otherwise engaged, since we didn’t see him. Maybe he was at the IGA. (See below.)

The good news about Instacart: someone gets your groceries for you. The bad news? Often, that someone gets them wrong

Actually, my current dump-going is tied in with my grocery-going and post-office visiting. Since I have to get in the car to get my mail — there is no postal delivery in Amagansett — I figure in for a penny, in for a pound, as far as car errands go. I get rid of a load at the dump, then tootle over to the IGA to fill it up again. Plus get the mail. One car trip, three errands. Four, if I also make a wine store run. Which, of course, I always do.

New York City. October 2022

 

Tawking the Tawk

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‘”New York” as a second language’

I once worked with a fabulous art director named Jayne. (Hi, Jayne!) She was — and probably still is — not only visually talented, but verbally funny.

I forget now where she grew up, but she was living in New Jersey when we were working together and she was concerned that her daughter was picking up the accent.

“Mommy, Mommy,” the Little Cherub cried while playing on their outdoor deck. “I have a splintah!” It says something about Jayne’s devotion to good diction that she corrected her daughter’s pronunciation before extracting the “splin-ter.

My boss Harvey, the master of New Yorkese. Read about him in the ever-popular and hilarious “Harvey and the Grilled Half Goat Head”

Speaking of accents, you may have a good idea of what a New York accent sounds like even if you’ve never spent time here in the City. (Note: New Yorkers never refer to their town as the Big Apple; it is “the City.” But, yes, some do refer to it as “New Yawk.”)

Well, I’m here to tell you that it isn’t the intonation that is the “tell” that gives away a New Yorker. Nope. It’s this little construction.

To speak like an authentic died-in-the-boroughs New Yorker, all you have to do is put a “So” on the front of a sentence, and an “or what?” on the end.

Examples.

Normal person: “Are you going to park there?”

New Yorker: “So. Are you going to park there, or what?”

Normal person: “Are you going to eat that apple?”

New Yorker: “So. Are you gonna eat that apple, or what?”

Nope, not a golden delicious apple, but a prize gourd. Prize or no prize, I’m not gonna eat it

Notice how, with these two simple additions — “so” and “or what?” — you have turned an innocent question into a query that is, well, slightly intimidating. Pure “New York.”

Here are some more:

Normal person: “Do you like this dress?”

New Yorker: “So. Do you like this dress, or what?”

The Child sent me photos while she tried on wedding dresses

Normal person: “Will you marry me?”

New Yorker: “So. Will you marry me, or what?”

Hmmm. In the New Yorker case, I guess she’d better.

And so she did: pick that dress and get married in it. Twice. Get the deets on both weddings in “Runaway Bride” and “Two Weddings are Better than One”

Now I could go on, but I bet you’d like to try some of your own. Oh okay. I can’t help myself. Here’s one more:

Normal person: “Is that your mother?”

New Yorker: “So. Is that your mother, or what?”

No “or what?” about it. That’s my mother all right

New York City. October 2022

 

 

Cleaning is a nightmare.

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‘Cobwebs in my brain, dust devils under my bed’

There’s an old saying, scary-biblical in nature, that goes something like “we come from dust, and to dust we shall return.” Which reminds me of the old joke about the kid who asks his mom if that saying is true and then cracks, “Well, gosh Mom. It looks like somebody’s either coming or going under my bed.”

Not sure what was under my bed. But there sure was a lot of cat hair up top. Miss you, Wommie!

I’m glad that smart-alecky kid isn’t anywhere near my house these days because it looks like I’m saying hello or goodbye to a whole Henry Reunion.

What a whole Henry Reunion looks like

See, my theory on cleaning, which you can read about in detail in “To Clean, Or Not To Clean?” is, in a nutshell, that you don’t clean before company arrives — you clean after they leave. My wise Middle Younger Brother Roger is the one who wised me up, pointing out that cleaning thoroughly in advance of guests makes you, the host, uptight. As in “I just Windexed that coffee table, and he’s putting a wet glass on it.

No, that’s not a loaf. It is a Giant Crumb Machine

Besides, if you wait to clean after guests are gone, you can simultaneously banish all traces of their visit — “Her precious little head was just sleeping on that pillow” — and get things ready for the next set of intruders. Er, guests.

This cleaning plan works pretty well if you have guests a lot of the time. But, because we’ve been gone a bunch (See “Galapagone” and “Two Weddings Are Better Than One” for what we’ve been up to), there’s been rather a guest dry spell.

Dude Man’s Brother Bill visited a couple of weeks ago, but stayed on his boat. So it didn’t count. Not for cleaning, anyway

Which means there’s been a rather long time since the house has seen its last between-guests cleaning. It’s dirty enough around here now to inspire nightmares. The kind where I’m trying to tackle the dust and debris but keep being thwarted. I wake myself up trying to find the missing Lysol.

*sniff* Of course I clean their room the second the car leaves the driveway

Last night I had a doozy. See, I’ve been catching up with The Crown on Netflix in honor of Her Late Great Majesty. I’m up to the part where Charles has met Diana and asked her to Balmoral for the weekend. His Dad is walking through a field, chatting with (er, grilling) Diana. “What do you do?” he asks. “I clean,” she answers, and proceeds to tell him she does housecleaning for her older sister. “Are you good at that?” “I actually like it,” she admits.

I like helping make a mess a whole lot more than I like cleaning up after one. Good thing there was plenty of wine

Well, I’m very good at cleaning too. In fact, once when I was unemployed, I seriously considered starting a business called Executive Cleaning. (Because I was an executive who cleans.) My selling point? You can read about it in “I Love The Smell of Soft Scrub in The Morning,” but basically, I would charge not by the hour or the day but by how clean you wanted it. The cheapest being “Lick and a Promise.” The priciest? “Mother-In-Law Visit.”

Sometimes guests track in sand from their hands

So if I’m so all-fired good at cleaning, why don’t I just haul myself up off this couch and do it? Well, for one thing I’m not sure if the timing’s good. We’re going to be away again soon. Do I clean before we go, so it’s nice and clean when we get back? Or will it just get dirty again while we’re gone?

Decisions, decisions.

Let’s see how I feel after I make a dump run.

Amagansett, New York. October 2022

 

Technical difficulties

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‘On leaving the blogosphere for good. Almost.’

Those of you who have been reading my stories for a while (bless you) know that I try to publish fresh nonsense every week, usually on a Tuesday. If I miss a Tuesday, I’d better have a darned good reason — like going to a wedding or visiting my mom or roaming around in the jungle dodging leeches and internet holes.

The wedding, as the story appeared in the East Hampton Star. (No, don’t squint. You can read it by clicking here)

Well. The pretty good reason was that none of my subscribers got my last post. And if you write a post and your subscribers don’t get it, that’s kind of like dressing up in your fanciest duds just to hang out at home. You express yourself, sure. But what’s the point?

And, darn it, that last post was pretty good too — a story about a person I knew who actually met the Queen. If you’re one of the hundreds who missed it — yes, I (ahem) have hundreds of subscribers now — just scroll on down. Or, if you’re balancing a cup of coffee, just click right here to read “She’d Better Put a Bell on It.” 

Speaking of Mom visits, here she is with her trusty chariot during my last one

Anyway, if you’re reading this now, I got the glitch fixed. But this glitch-fixing involved lots of back and forth with India. (Thank you, Mr. Kandani!) I’d send Mr. K a pleading Help Me Email, and, because of the time difference, it would be the next morning before I would get a reply. I’d try his suggestion, watch it not work, gnash my teeth, send him a screenshot along with another plea, then go get a coffee and tackle my morning round of Spelling Bee. (Honestly, coffee got me through this crisis; read “The Breakfast of Champions” for my ode to this beverage; or “Time is Indeed Fluid,” for that matter.)

Our leech-dodging Borneo group, masked — not against Covid, but against breathing bat shit

This back-and-forth went on for two weeks before I realized what was wrong: a doohickey on my dashboard that was supposed to be toggled somehow got untoggled. Heavy *sigh* (and yet another coffee) goes here. I retoggled it; fingers crossed.

Another reason to skip blogging: going to see “Top Gun” with The Kids

So. I’m not cashing in my blogging chips. Not just yet. (Though I did come up with a dandy of a title for my last post: “That’s All She Wrote.”) But I’m awfully tech-tired right now. I’ll end with a sweet little wedding video and a promise to be wittier and more entertaining next week.

New York City. September 2022

“She’d better put a bell on it”

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‘A story about Queen Elizabeth’

It’s been a while since I wrote a piece that qualifies for my ‘Brushes with Fame’ category. I’ve got some pretty juicy stories parked there. About Steve Martin, Vladimir Horowitz, Karl Malden, Willem De Kooning, Malcolm Forbes and even Elvis.

This week the long-expected-but-still-shocking passing of HRH Queen Elizabeth reminds me that I have one about her, too. No, I never personally met the Queen, but I knew somebody who did — and here’s his story. (Oh, that person in the crown at the top of this story? That’s me with two regal pals — hi, T! hi E! — channeling queenhood on a recent birthday.)

Here’s another birthday shot — this one taken in honor of my mom’s 90th. Because, why not? Mom’s a real queen in my book

The person I knew who met Elizabeth the Queen was, in fact, pretty famous himself. His name was George Shearing, and he was a celebrated jazz pianist. He not only played at Birdland, he wrote  “Lullaby of Birdland,” a song I bet you know, even if you don’t think you do. But I bet you haven’t heard it played on a massive pipe organ in St. Thomas Church. (Which I did, at the funeral of Sir George.) Continue reading

Sitting Pretty

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‘And pretty much just sitting. Thank goodness.’

Perhaps you recall my saying that I had a couple of good excuses for going Blog-AWOL back in August. One, of course, was the much-anticipated wedding celebration of The Child and the SIL. Read all about it — and see lots more pretty pictures — in “Two Weddings Are Better Than One” and “No, I Didn’t Skinny-Dip At That Canadian Wedding.”

Oldest Younger Bro Scott captured this image of the Happy Couple

The other excuse?

Me and my other excuse

I was visiting my Mom. Where, thank goodness, we pretty much just sat around talking. Oh, sometimes we’d drink coffee and talk. Other times we’d drink wine and talk. But sitting around was our preferred activity.

Sitting around having lunch at Beaches, our favorite riverside restaurant

There were two reasons for this. One was that I was all tuckered out from the wedding. No, not from helping with the wedding. As I told many of my friends who asked, “How are plans going for the wedding?” I had absolutely nothing to do with it. Nothing to do with the flowers, the food, the music. Not even the guest list. This summer, in a show of mother-of-the-bridely concern, I asked The Child what her colors were, and she looked at me like I had grown another head. “Colors? My colors? I don’t know.”

Colors? Who needs colors? What you want are scads of adoring friends and family. All picked by The Child and the SIL

Nope. All I had to do for this wedding was show up. I didn’t even need to buy a dress. When I asked about that, I was told to just pick out something from my closet.

The winning dress? This little navy number I’ve had for about 20 years. Those gorgeous accessories? I’ve had them even longer — all 3 of my brothers and my one and only sister

No, the wedding was exhausting because there was a whole week’s worth of activities leading up to it. And not activities like shopping or having tea or touring stately homes. These were activities like hiking mountains. Scree was involved. So were grizzly bears.

Why, there was even a hike the morning of the wedding. Here I am being supported by a strapping young grand-niece

The wedding itself wasn’t too exhausting. Not for me, anyway. There was a bit of stress involving hair and makeup. And I had to give a toast. Though I think the fact that I was giving a toast was more stressful for The Child than for me. She was terrified that I’d riff on her old boyfriends. “Me? Make fun of your old boyfriends?” “Well, you have made fun of them. Lots of times.” “Not at your wedding. That would be tacky.” Meaningful silence.

Appreciating a hilarious toast by either the bro or the dad of the SIL. (Neither made fun of The Child’s old BFs.) At least we got to sit down

Oh, and after dinner there was lots of dancing. Some moves were fairly strenuous. Thank goodness my twirling days are over.

Even the dancing was strenuous

So. After all of this activity I was really looking forward to a week of recreational sitting. And, lo and behold, Mom’s place was perfect for it. My sister had scouted out the perfect furniture for Mom’s previously-underutilized balcony. And, trust me, we gave it a workout. The only time we went inside was to watch Cubs’ games. Oh, and to get more coffee and/or wine.

We even engaged in some rock-related activities at Mom’s: arranging these Maine specimens sent by Youngest Bro Doug. No scree, as you can see. And yes, Mom is watching a Cubs game

I was truly and duly relaxed after a week at Mom’s. Why, so relaxed I almost forgot about the wedding. Kidding.

One more wedding photo (thank you, Joanna!) taken after the freak thunderstorm, but before the ceremony. Happily ever after, folks!

Oh! Here’s one last photo, for this week anyway. Taken from my plane window on my way home:

Saying bye-bye to Mt. Hood. I am sitting (of course) and sipping wine. Airplane wine, but still

Amagansett, New York. September 2022