Mom and Dad bought me a new MacBook Pro with a seventeen inch monitor for Christmas. I was not expecting this: I had asked for a robe. And when mom prompted me with a "that's it?" I thought for a moment and went "oh, and slippers. Slippers would be nice." When I got home from the funeral, a box of Christmas presents was waiting for me...I unpacked it and set them all under the tree to await Christmas morning. I thought the funny thin heavy box with a handle on the top was maybe a toolkit...possibly for my car? And ironically that was the last box I opened. Jeff had moved on to discussing how we were going to handle food for our party that evening when the look of shock on my face cut him off...I couldn't believe it. Sitting here now, wearing my new robe and slippers, typing on keys as smooth as butter, I still can't believe this beautiful machine is mine. THANK YOU MOM AND DAD. So much potential opens up before me. I can actually take this laptop places, since it actually holds a charge. There's plenty of room for music, movies and writing. So far all I've done with it is surf the internet...next weekend I'm going to take it down to the Apple Store in Norfolk and have them give me some tutorials. It's like having a Mustang in your garage...you need someone to show you how to shift properly. LOVE IT SO MUCH.
I feel like I owe everyone a big ol' blog post to get you all up to date. Recently, a blog I follow didn't update for nearly a month and I panicked, thinking the writer had died in a horrible fiery car crash...turns out she was busy. I know the feeling. So where to begin? Let's not go back to the funeral, even though now that I'm here in Williamsburg I keep forgetting Grandma is gone. Keep thinking "oh, I have to tell her about this" or write her name down on my Christmas card list...then I catch myself. I guess this will continue to happen for a little while. But that's okay.
Christmas Day was spent with Jeff and his family. We went over to his godparent's house for Christmas dinner, Virginia-style, with turkey AND ham, collard greens, cornbread stuffing, cranberry relish, sweet potato casserole, mashed potatoes, dozens of other dishes I can't remember and three kinds of pie to finish. I was stuffed. We couldn't linger too long, however, because we were planning on hosting a little party of our own. Only seven adults here, but I had instructed my guests to come hungry and we had made enough food for a regiment. Jeff made his rum balls and salmon dip, I made mom's meatballs and whiskey weiners, and our guests brought over their Christmas specialties, padded out by chips, veggies, and a big ol' crockpot full of wassail. We finally had to kick them out around midnight. I had a bridesmaid dress to finish.
Boxing Day was a laaaazy day. Jeff and I worked our way through the six-disk set of Monty Python I had bought him for Christmas while I frantically tried to finish my 1930's bridesmaid dress and attach buttons to my coat. I also had to pack. It was luxurious, being able to throw as much stuff as I wanted into the car, including most of our Christmas leftovers. But alas!! Apparently Gladware isn't waterproof!!! Oh, how sad was I to get down to Florida and discover my whiskey weiners and meatballs were completely saturated with ice!!! The saddest day ever...
But I'm getting ahead of my story. December 27th, four-thirty AM, I jump in Chi-Chi and begin the drive down to Florida. I stop and pick up Erin and her husband Mike, who are also in the wedding, and we begin the trek. Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, all pass by in a blur as the sun comes up and begins to slide down. We are in holiday traffic, occasionally slowing and stopping. Then we hit our biggest slowdown yet--for two hours we are creeping until we finally pass by a horrific traffic accident. We are thankful for our safe journey and take it easy, arriving two hours late, but in one piece.
Nicole and Evan's wedding took place at the Beach Club Resort, which is one of the Disney hotel properties. It sits on a little lagoon with the Yacht Club on one side and the Boardwalk on the other. It is huge. Airy, blue with white trim, it really looks like a giant version of a nineteenth century seaside resort. We check in and are promptly whisked off to Disney Downtown (what used to be Paradise Island) and have a late, late supper. The next day I am awoken at seven-thirty and by nine-thirty I am on Big Thunder Railroad at the Magic Kingdom. I seem to recall Big Thunder Railroad being a lot more intense when I was ten years old, but I scream and throw up my hands anyway. Magic Kingdom is brilliant when you're an adult. We make fun of the animatronic animals on Splash Mountain, squeal like girls when the water from Pirates of the Caribbean splashes us and run to the Adventure River to catch Princess Tiana's Showboat Spectacular, knocking over several small children on the way. Magic Kingdom is hellaciously busy. After the eleven o'clock parade the park is suddenly overrun with parents pushing strollers and little kids wandering hither and yon. Little kids meaning kids under two years old who are never going to remember this, and are only going to exhaust their parents with their nap-deprived demands for toys and food. Disney has a new thing called Fastpass, which allows you to scan your ticket at certain rides and receive a time when you can skip the line and get straight on the ride. A one-thirty scan for Space Mountain spits out a Fastpass time of eleven-fifteen at night. We opt for dinner.
Dinner is at O'hana's, at the Polynesian, another Disney resort. It is a set menu: BBQ chicken and potstickers, salad, steamed broccoli and noodles, then skewers of steak, turkey, pork and shrimp, with pineapple bread pudding to finish. We all overeat and stagger back to the hotel at nine-thirty.
The next day the only one up and perky at seven is the bride. I manage to stay in bed until nine. Then we pop over to the gazebo to scout out where the ceremony will be held before Erin and I head over to the salon and get our hair done up for the wedding. A nineteen-thirties hairstyle that leaves me looking like Eva Peron's mom from the movie Evita takes two and a half hours. I hurry back and get into my dress and shoes. I have been worried about these heels for weeks, but anything less than two inches is not an option. Somehow I manage to stay upright for the walk over to the gazebo, the brief but beautiful ceremony (I cried), and the pictures afterward. Nicole arrived at the pavilion in a 1958 white Rolls Royce...Erin and I enjoy a brief ride down the boardwalk to the spot where we're taking more pictures, earning more than one double take as people notice the "Just Married" sticker in the window. We take a boat back to the Yacht Club and the shoes come off. Dinner is a small, intimate affair...with less than thirty people at the wedding, including the wedding party, it is easy to get to know everyone. Not much dancing (not that my legs would be in any sort of shape for dancing), and by nine-thirty we've sent the couple off to start their honeymoon. The wedding party changes and takes one last walk around the lagoon. A brief walk...never seen Florida so frosty.
Then home again. This time it's the traffic what cooperates and the road-trippers who are dallying. We turn off the main path and have lunch in Saint Augustine, which is a tiny little town, the oldest one in a America, full of cute little stores, cobblestone streets and farby pirates. And good pizza. The rest of the drive home is uneventful. I am in bed by two-forty five, so I get nearly four hours of sleep before I have to go to work.
But it's only one day and I have a three day weekend. Jeff comes up to Williamsburg, bearing a freshly-washed Kismet, and we watch movies until it's time for the ball to drop. I finally have someone to smooch on New Year's Eve, and it's wonderful. The next day I meet up with him down in Norfolk and we go see The Real Pirates exhibit at Nauticus in Norfolk. It is wonderful. There are chests overflowing with silver, guns, tools, pieces of clothing and even smells floating around. You can tell it was put on by National Geographic--it's done incredibly well. Some of Jeff's friends are there, guys who rent themselves out as pirates occasionally, and they add to the atmosphere by doing demonstrations and letting kids handle their reproduction guns. I have to correct a small child who attempts to cock a flintlock by making a modern "chk-chk" sound.
We go see Sherlock Holmes, which was pretty good. Not quite sure how I felt about the story, but the acting was good and London was pretty underneath all its dirt...the same could be said for Jude Law and Robert Downey Jr. of course.
Now it is noon. January 3rd, 2010. It is freezing: the temperature is probably in the teens with the windchill and the wind is howling. Kismet is bugging to go out, so we'll probably head to the dogpark this afternoon. (His chomping of a pork bone seems to have affected him not at all, little stinker) Life is good. I will put up some pictures of the wedding as soon as I get any...and I promise to post more liberally in the new year.