Thursday, June 29, 2006

Classic Wedding Photos

No descriptions are needed, I think.






Some Toasts

No wedding dinner would be complete without wishing the newlyweds all the best.




Anastasia's Family

Anastasia comes from a small family. Her parents, Jacqueline and Keith Landis, live near Chicago where she plays and teaches oboe and English horn and he works as a speech pathologist. Very conveniently, Anastasia's brother, Andrew Jellison, is married to her best friend, Heidi O'Gara Jellison, another harpist. These are pictures of Anastasia's family.





The Virginia House, Inside

I loved the inside of the house. We were in the Great Hall which was opulent and seemed to be the perfect setting for a princess bride. These pictures were taken inside the Great Hall.





The Virginia House, Outside


Anastasia and Tom chose to have their wedding dinner at a historic house in Richmond. The Virginia House was constructed from the materials of a sixteenth century manor house in England, although it was built here in the USA in the late 1920s. The original part of the building dates back to around 1119, and a Elizabeth I was once a guest. Here is a link that tells a lot more about the house: http://www.vahistorical.org/vh/virginia_house01.htm
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Initially we were scheduled to have dinner on the back veranda which overlooked beautiful gardens. When we arrived at the Virginia House, there was a bar set up under the back cupola, and there were two people playing guitars quietly while waiters strolled around offering us wonderful hors d'oeuvres.
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The table was beautifully set and was large and square. We walked around for a little while, sipping our drinks and nibbling on the goodies, and then it began to rain. The bride looked nervous for a moment and then someone distracted her. The hospitality team sprang into action and within just a few moments a butler came out to invite us inside where everything had been set up in the Great Room.

The Stevens Family

These pictures are of Tom's side of the family at the wedding. For those who don't know us up close and personal, Sherry is wearing a navy blue dress and her husband Chris has short blond hair and is wearing glasses. Andrew is wearing a dark suit and Amy a lovely aqua creation.





The Wedding


Sunday, June 25, 5:00 p.m. Tom and Anastasia are married. Only their parents, siblings, and nephew are present. How does one say that one's child's wedding was perfect without offending one's other children? Each child is unique, each wedding is unique, each wedding has been perfect. For Tom and Anastasia, this intimate gathering of two small families who had spent the past three days turning into one medium-sized family, was perfect.
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Anastasia looked like a princess; Tom was proud and radiant. In the setting of St. James's chapel, we were all close enough to see, to hear everything.
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Dana, the Pastor, seemed so happy to be part of our joy. During the premarital counseling, she had asked Tom and Anastasia to write each other letters, telling what they loved about each other. She asked them not to show the letters to each other, but rather to give them to her. She read excerpts from these letters as part of her homily.
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The groom's sister and the bride's brother each did a reading. Sherry read a beautiful passage from the Book of Tobit, an apocryphal text. Andrew's reading was a poem by e. e. cummings.
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The flowers, both decorating the chapel, and those carried or worn, were many different colors; they reminded me of the mixed bouquet that Honna had carried when Joe and I were married. The cellist played lovely Bach pieces. Everyone except Sam stayed awake.

Hanging Out, Shopping, Touring, and the Rehearsal


On Saturday we did some shopping on Cary Street, the wonderful "happening place" within walking distance of where Tom and Anastasia live. I found a two-person version of the Settlers of Catan and Chris and I spent some time familiarizing ourselves with it. Other people shopped, toured, and hung out.
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Joe and I visited one quilt shop; I was looking for some Civil War Gray Repros for the basket swap my friend Molly is running. Surely one would expect to find Civil War Repros in abundance in a Richmond Quilt Shop. This place had a lot of batiks and other lovelies, but not what I needed. Not to worry; there will be another quilt shop!
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The rehearsal was very casual. Dana, the pastor/celebrant, is just the nicest person! We all took to her right away and she put everyone at ease. Since the cellist wasn't available for the rehearsal, Keith sat over in the place where he would be and intoned the Bach piece for us. Anastasia carried her ribbon bouquet.
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After the rehearsal, Joe and I took the group to dinner at La Grotta, a terrific Italian place that T and A had suggested. Unfortunately, Amy and Andrew weren't with us; he was struggling on and off all day with a migraine and she elected to stay at the hotel to help him recover. The rest of us had a five-course Italian dinner in the wine cellar. The food was good and, of course, there was way too much!
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On Sunday morning, Andrew was completely recovered and the Stevens clan all went to Aunt Sarah's Pancake House for a late breakfast. We then split up -- Tom had a last-minute errand, T and A had shopping in mind; Sherry, Chris and Sam did some history exploration; Joe and I visited Agecroft Hall, a huge manor originally built in the 15th century and later moved to this country. Here's a link: http://www.agecrofthall.com/

Friday: Getting Acquainted


The weekend surrounding June 25, 2006, was just wonderful. The entire family gathered in Richmond with Anastasia's entire family. Quickly the twelve of us became one family. Anastasia's parents, brother, and sister-in-law were so easy to be with!
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On Friday night, Tom and Anastasia took us all out to dinner. The food was delicious but a little slow coming, so we had a few drinks while we waited! Heidi looks rather prim and like the Designated Driver. Do not, however, be misled.
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After dinner, we went back to the Holiday Inn where all of us were staying. I'd brought along some wedding gifts that folks at home had asked me to deliver. So we took over the lobby and the gifts were opened. Aunt Bonnie had just returned from Russia where she had found a dear little box shaped like a viola; she used this to enclose her gift.
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Joe and I were delighted to find bronze figurines of a harpist and a violist. T and A seemed pleased with them, too.
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We were all felt that the weekend was off to a very good start!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

More Resumes with Fascinating Qualifications


After this morning's horrible news about the two U.S. servicemen, I was actually glad to deal with the stack of incoming resumes in response to my ad for a lower school secretary. Surely they have brightened my day, to wit:


Among the current resumes is one who has been "responsible for the enlightenment of new members." Methinks she’s a proselytizer for a little-known sect.
And how can we not consider Ted, the retired Army Captain, specializing in military intelligence? Picture him dealing with alleged gum chewers from the second grade.
Or Arnetha with her impeccable interpersonal skills who worked at traffic court and "acted as liaison between violator and Judge" -- does this mean she comes wearing a bulletproof vest?
We dare not overlook Barbara who finds it important for us to know she has a 12-year-old son and four cats.
Kevin is familiar with medical gas safety policies and served as an anesthesia technician -- maybe he and the bartender from yesterday could do a job share?
I can't resist Arlisa who worked at a hospice and was responsible for the input of time-sheets into the "Beyond Now" system!
Hurong L. (peanut 9204@. . .) previously was in the Navy, stationed at Gitmo and then went into floral design.
Susahamma is fluent in the Malayalam (WHAT?) language and has a civilian driver's license.
Marielovestommy@. . . wants to work here, but I'm afraid her relationship would get in the way . . . .
And, finally, Sister2Sister@. . . is a graduate of Rosemont College; she appears qualified but what if she has a Vocation that lures her away from here and back to the convent?

Lives Cut Short


When I read in this morning's paper about the two young American soldiers who were missing, I noticed right away that Thomas Tucker was from Madras, Oregon. Madras is the home of my cyberfriend Lori. I wondered if Thomas was a friend of her daughter. I wondered if Thomas shopped at her auto parts store. Or perhaps he sang in the choir at her church. Maybe he was the guy nextdoor. I said a prayer for him, and for his fellow soldier, Kristian Menchaca, and thought I'd write to Lori later today to see if she knows the Tucker family. My sense is that Madras isn't a huge place.
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Then I came to work and booted up the computer. As it does everyday, it opened at the CNN website. And there I saw their photos and the news that their bodies had been found.
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Some weeks ago I had begun to believe that I'd become dulled to the news of Iraq. That there had been just too much awfulness to feel the impact. It was only when I'd talk to Sherron and hear about her friend's daughter Julie, a West Point graduate, who I last saw as a 6-year-old, going back for her second -- or was it third -- tour in the Middle East, that the reality of it all would zoom in.
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I look at the photos of Thomas and Kristian and realize that although they are younger than my sons, they and the other soldiers serving our country in Iraq, might well have been friends of my sons. Or my daughter. It could be Dan or Ryan or Ken, Matt, Petie or Tim over there; it could be Kathy or Joanna or Rebecca. Had we been unable to help our children with college, it could be Sherry, Andrew, or Tom.
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And it all hits home. Thomas and Kristian are somebody's neighbors, somebody's children's friends, somebody's sons. In their early twenties, their lives cut short. Cut short -- for what?
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Mr. Bush, these young men could have been friends of Jenna and Barbara. Does that realization have any impact on your thinking?
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Please, Mr. Bush. We've sacrificed way too many of our young people already. This war needs to stop.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Looking for a Way Out OR What Were They Thinking?



One of the parts of my job that is usually very time-consuming but sometimes a lot of fun is receiving, logging, and acknowledging resumes that arrive in response to advertisements that I've run. Sometimes I get literally a hundred or more resumes, some from people who are very well-qualified. And then there are the others.
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The others always make me think of the time that Joe, who has a small architecture practice here in town, ran an ad for a draftsman. This was many years ago, before I was in the resume-receiving position, and I offered to help him screen them. He warned me that there would be many that would be inappropriate. Boy, was he right! The best was the one from the guy who sold hotdogs in Buffalo. He said he didn't have experience as a draftsman, but could probably learn. When I wondered aloud why a hotdog seller in Buffalo would apply to be a draftsman in Philadelphia, Sherry replied, "Mom, he's looking for a Way Out."
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There apparently are many people looking for a way out. The ad I ran yesterday was for a secretary for our lower school (Pre-K through grade 5) office. One man who responded has been working for four years in the fur vault at Bloomingdales. Clearly, he is looking for a way out. Another desperate soul has spent the past four years working as a bartender; prior to that he functioned as a waiter, valet, and caddy. I wanted to picture him having been employed at a wonderful manor house somewhere in England, in an "Upstairs, Downstairs" kind of setting. But I suspect that is far from the case. He did admit to having spent one summer working for the U.S. Government as an "enumerator." I was puzzled by that until I saw that it had been the summer of 2000, so apparently he was a census-taker. I don't think we'll interview this guy, despite the need to keep accurate count of our students. Although his facility as a mixologist might come in handy in the case of worked-up parents.
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The newspaper where I ran my ad makes it too easy for people to send in resumes and too hard to receive and sort them. They can do it directly on line, so it doesn't even cost them a stamp. Surely Mr. Fur Vault wouldn't have invested thirty-nine cents in applying to be a school secretary, would he?
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The other point I want to touch on here has to do with "What Were They Thinking?" It's about their e-mail addresses. Don't they realize that some of their personal addys are all wrong for a serious job hunt? Do tigerbarbara@ . . . . and cutietasha@ . . . . believe the persona they are presenting would be the sort we'd want to run an office where 4-year-olds come in for band-aids when the nurse is at lunch? Why would they not consider getting an alternate, grown-up and non-suggestive email address at a free place like yahoo? (You notice I didn't suggest Hotmail.)
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Here's a list of some of the more amazing addresses in today's mail, people who are hoping my school will employ them. I've omitted the final portion to protect whatever is left of their privacy:
  • luvzmusicluvz2dance@ . . . .
  • angelface51801@. . . .
  • twhandsomeguy@ . . . .
  • mamasita1114@ . . . .
  • poohfan1981@. . . .
and my personal favorite of the day: loveztosin@. . . .
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He makes me wish I'd hear from the weiner vendor.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

My Main Man with His Daddy


A classic case of a picture's being worth a thousand words.
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The past couple of weeks have shown tremendous change in our little guy. He's reaching for things and sometimes successfully grabbing them. He loves it when his Grandpop puts him high up on the shoulder and takes him out on the deck to see the hanging baskets. He's become very good at the "raspberries" sound effect. But best of all, he's developed this wonderful, deep belly laugh that just makes us all melt.

Sam is Baptized


Two weeks ago Sam was baptized. Sherry and Chris belong to a different Lutheran church than Joe and I do. Their church isn't very far away from our house. Sherry was scheduled to return to work following her four-month maternity leave the very next day, and I didn't want her to have to do all of the work for the brunch following the baptism, so I offered to have it at our house. She ended up doing half of the cooking anyway, but she likes to cook, and we had fun working on it together. My niece/Sherry's cousin Susan was the first one, I think, to call him "Sam-I-Am" when he was just a day old. We have a terrific cake lady in our neighborhood, and when I phoned her to get her to make the cake, I knew exactly what I wanted on it. She was delighted to make it and we were delighted with how it turned out. Tasted yummy, too.
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Sam was so good in church that day, and he looked terrific. We didn't take pictures inside the church -- Joe and I find that a little bit rude to have flashes going off during a worship service -- but I did get this pic of Sammy with his Daddy later that day, after the brunch.

UFOs No Longer


With thanks to my friend Branky, the machine-quilter in Hoosick Falls, New York, I'm making a dent in my list of UFO quilt projects. I'd sent her four quilts a few weeks ago and they've all come back and been bound! I'm really tickled to have made such progress. This first one is a graduation gift. My wonderful friend Polly's wonderful son Mark graduated from Abington Friends ten days ago, and I thought he should have a warm quilt to take away to college with him. This quilt is made from flannel; the blocks came from a swap that I participated in almost more years ago than I can count (something like nine!). I'd put the blocks together with the lattice and cornerstones and felt like it needed something else, so I hand-buttonhole stitched the stars in place. The top was finished and tucked away for just the right recipient. When Mark's graduation came around, it seemed he was the one. Branky quilted shooting stars and loops all over the quilt and I was delighted!
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The blocks for this quilt came from a swap that was called "Almost Amish." Again, I have had the blocks for about seven years. Five years ago I put them all together in just these plain rows and tucked the finished top away until the right recipient came along.
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My girlfriends, the Good Guys, have been together for more than twenty years. At one point Dottie suggested that when our daughters married, we should have Good Guys showers with just us, and the daughters, and no one else. Dottie hosted the first shower for Laura M. and Katie. Cessie and her daughter Caeli held a lovely tea for Sherry when she married. And so on. Donna's daughter Laura S. is being married next month and the brunch for her was held yesterday. I wasn't able to attend, and won't be at the wedding either. I hardly know Laura and really knew nothing about her taste. But it seemed to me that most people like the Amish look of solid colors on black, and so off to Branky the top went. She quilted it in a bright blue thread and I found the perfect confetti fabric to bind it.
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Another group of blocks were farm animals from two swaps. The first one was run by Desertsky about eight or more years ago; the second one was run through my own swap list. I had 18 very nice farm blocks hanging around and decided that they would make a pair of cute baby quilts. I need to have three baby quilts ready before September, two for friends at work, and one for a cousin. So I put the tops together using some terrific chicken fabric left from another project. Branky did some wonderful quilting on them. I had thought this particular quilt was going to be for someone at work, but once it was finished and bound, I knew I couldn't part with it yet, so it is going into the chest for the next grandchild, whenever he or she appears.