Well, we've had many fabulous weekends (including a long one in Niagara Falls to celebrate our 6th anniversary of dating) since I last posted, but I never seem to have any spare time. But, here I am today. Funny what sermon procrastination can make you do!
This weekend, we went to Pittsburgh for my dear friend Jess' wedding. Jess and I met when she applied for a job at the bookstore where I worked back in 1994. I thought she seemed cool, so I put a note with her application telling our HR manager that I thought she'd be a great part of our bookselling team. I was thrilled when she turned up for our morning meeting a few weeks later. She turned out to be every bit as cool as I'd suspected and we became great friends. We have remained so, even separated by varying states over the years. She met Jon in the first year J and I were dating, but I had never met him until this weekend. I knew, though, that if Jess was willing to marry him, he must be a truly good guy.
So, we dropped off Pie at his father's Friday evening, made a stop at our favorite lushly-scented bakery for cream puffs and then drove down to the designated Pittsburgh suburb. After checking into our hotel, we grabbed dinner at Lone Star, where I had a terrific filet and J had a steak salad. Then, we headed back to the room and relaxed.
In the morning, we had the hotel's complimentary continental breakfast (served up with a crappy attitude) and people-watched in the lobby. Then, we went shopping for shoes to match J's outfit. She hasn't worn a skirt in ages, so I'd been really surprised when she bought one for the wedding. When we got back from shopping, we had fun painting finger & toe nails and primping for the wedding. J's shoes were really cute, little straw flip-flops with straw flowers adorning the thong.
When we arrived for the 3 p.m. wedding, we found nearly everyone else clad in chic black, while we were dressed as though for a garden party. I figured an afternoon wedding in spring called for spring-y clothes. I also didn't figure we'd be fed dinner, though, so I was mistaken on two counts. The wedding was lovely. Jess looked beautiful in an elegant white gown with filigree and a long veil. Jon seemed very nice and very sincere and both of them smiled throughout. I had never been to a Catholic wedding or even a Catholic mass, so that was fun for me, too. I much preferred it to the Assembly of God hootenanny I went to last weekend!
As we stood in the receiving line, Jess said to Jon, "Hurry up & say hi to Daria, so I can!" We hadn't seen each other since my birthday tea party a few years back, so it was great to see each other again! She looks as beautiful as ever & her eyes were shining with happiness. I am thrilled that she finally seems to have found someone worthy of her. Her sister told me he writes her love letters and is very sentimental & romantic. Fabulous!
The reception was nearby and we found it easily. We carried in our gift, a picnic basket filled with scone mix, clotted cream, lemon curd, Passion tea, beignet mix and chicory coffee. The hall was so pretty, with low lights and garlands of flowers along the tables. The centerpieces were simple and gorgeous, wide ribbons that matched the bridesmaids' light green dresses, with a row of votives interspersed with delicate flowers. We found our seats and got settled in with drinks and munchies. Each place setting had a cookie decorated to look like the stunning cake, 3 layers of white fondant iced white cake with layers of fruit inside, bedecked with icing filigree, to mirror Jess' dress, and the monograms of the bridal pair. Very classy. The cake was topped with a layer of hot pink roses, too. Just lush and gorgeous!
We had a wonderful time at the reception. Our table mates were the dates of the bridesmaids, along with the darling 6-year-old daughter of one of the bridesmaids. She looked like a fairy child and was utterly charming. She spent much of the night playing with a gaggle of other girls, spinning on the dance floor and hiding under tables. One of her companions, the toddler flower girl, spent ages just spinning in circles, stopping only long enough to center herself before resuming her twirls and playing with her dress and the flashing dance floor lights.
After dinner, we spent a decent chunk of time on the dance floor, too, both slow dancing & bopping around to the Violent Femmes and Van Morrison. It was a little intimidating because Jon is a dance instructor and all his friends are, too. It was wonderful to watch them dance, though. It was just like being in a movie, with all these amazing dancers gliding around the floor so artfully. Jess & Jon looked like movie stars, too. We had a delightful time & even got in a brief visit with the bride, during which we got some very exciting news! They might be moving here! That would be so very much fun! We've decided we will take dance lessons from him if they do end up here.
The reception wound down at 9 o'clock, with the bride and groom needing some rest before a 7 a.m. flight to a Mexico honeymoon. We went straight back to the hotel & I was in my nightgown by 9:30. We laughed about what wild lesbians we are and J promptly fell asleep, leaving me to my book.
In the morning, we checked out fairly early, with the best intentions of attending mass so I could report on it for one of my classes. However, when we got to the church, the parking lot was full and there was no parking on the street, either. Figuring it must be First Communion weekend, we decided to catch a Saturday evening mass here next weekend instead.
We stopped at First Watch for a fabulous brunch. J had the bacado omelet (bacon & avocado) with a banana granola pancake (adding chocolate chips at the suggestion of our waitress) & I had a Monterey Club sandwich. We both love avocado. After brunch, we decided we should head Erie way. J drove while I read Dante's Paradiso aloud to her. She says she finds Inferno, with the demons blowing trumpet blasts out their asses, much more interesting.
We stopped at a huge outlet mall, with J looking for more professional clothes for work and me not planning to buy anything. However, I found a black skirt, just like the grey one I favor, for only $19. I also picked up another pair of cropped jeans and another pair of flip flops, this pair teal blue and sequined. J found a top to go with some of her dress pants. I also got 4 new crème brûlée dishes, shallow like I prefer them to be, and we found some peach lotion and shower gel to send her mom for Mother's Day. We arrived early in Erie, so we stopped at the bookstore for coffee and browsing. J left with a new werewolf novel and I with a couple of magazines, as well as a Mom's Day gift for my mom.
After we picked up Pie and he had conked out, J was browsing through my Girlfriend Getaways magazine. We were both drooling over beach vacations, spa vacations, all kinds of vacations. I need to win the lottery soon! LOL. She read one story about a group of women who have "cruise names" and as soon as they board the ship, they start using those names. J and I had a great time giggling over our plans for vacation names.
We tried to talk Pie into going with us to dinner, but he just wanted to be home. We dropped him off and had dinner on the patio at Blake's. It is wonderful to be able to eat outdoors again! We had been to Blake's with the kids on one of my weekend visits up here before the kids and I could move. I had been unimpressed with the food, annoyed by the service and horrified at the prices. This time, though, the prices seemed lower (maybe because we just got our tax return, perhaps because there were only two of us dining), the service was charming and the food was delicious. But, sitting outside was the best part of it all. I love to be in the evening breezes and love to people-watch. Their location is perfect for both. We got to watch the first evening star come out and the sky deepen to inky blue. We also got to watch the valets dash by and people embrace upon parting after dinner at the various restaurants. We split the fried calamari with hot & sweet Thai sauce for our appetizer. J ordered me a Flirtini. I rarely order drinks out, for a couple of reasons. I'm just not much of a drinker for one. The prices always seem like highway robbery, too. For our main courses, J had grilled salmon with tomato, garlic & herb sauce, accompanied by steamed veggies and grilled asparagus. I had grilled blue marlin with lemon-lime butter, accompanied by the veggies and "island" rice. No dessert necessary.
Once home, we fed Pie his cheeseburger and then all tumbled into our respective beds. Pie had testing today, J a big run of one of her products and I have that pesky sermon to write, so early to bed seemed wise. I ended up staying up far too late, though, working on dinner menus for May. Oh, well.