Tag Archives: East Coast

The First Big Trip — Part Two

Can it even be called “Part Two” when “Part One” was two months ago?  I don’t want to think about it.

Let’s instead focus on the wedding of the year.  This wedding was spectacular for a myriad of reasons: it was the marriage of one of my best, closest friends I’ve known since I was 13, it took place at an extraordinary farm on the same road as the farm my parents lived on during their first year of marriage (I mean, seriously!), and it was on July 26 — the twins’ first birthday!  All of this just further reinforces our life-long friendship connection.

Plus it was gorgeous.  But when this lady is the star of the show, isn’t that obvious?

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The ceremony was a Catholic mass, which was beautiful and solemn and celebratory all at once.  The bride’s brother sang, her sister served as maid of honor, and her parents radiated joy the entire day (that’s her happy mom Anne to the left in the photo).

Plus this was the jaw-dropping cathedral.

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Amy married Brian, who you may remember from Italy, and he is one of the funniest and most generous people I know.  Now, he’s also one of the luckiest.

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Side note: that dress.  I cannot even.  It is exquisite.

During the ceremony my family took care of the babies, one of whom fell fast asleep.  Hint: it wasn’t the one in the tiny tan suit, it was the one in the tiny Parisian dress.

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Their bridal party was top-notch — entirely supportive, hugely fun, and, if I may say, uncommonly attractive — check us out just working it during the photo sesh:

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They couldn’t have been more welcoming to this lone bridesmaid from the west, to the point that I’m keeping in touch with a few of them…this bride has great taste in friends.

Plus we really excelled at kicking back.

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The reception site was a completely updated and renovated farm.  It had a gorgeous hundreds-year-old farmhouse where the ladies got ready, a refurbished barn for the dinner and dancing, and picture-perfect grounds with lush weeping willows and a peaceful pond.

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I mean, look at that magazine-worthy barn.

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Amy is probably the most thoughtful bride I’ve ever encountered.  She told her photographer in advance to take family photos of us because it was the twins’ birthday.  We couldn’t believe it and we’re so thrilled with these priceless memories we’ll always treasure.

A little back story: last year, the babies were scheduled for induction on July 25, and I was so wrapped up in that it didn’t even occur to me that the following day was the one-year-prior-to-the-wedding day.  Once the babies were born on that day instead, I think it took a full day afterward, in my drug-addled state, to turn to my mom and say, “Wait, what day is Amy’s wedding?  Is it today next year?  Were the babies born on her wedding day?”  And as I said it I knew.  And I felt a mix of new-mom joy and anxiety, with an exclamation-ridden thought train that looked like this:

“Oh my gosh Amy and Brian and the twins are going to share this day forever!!”

“Amy will be with the twins on their birthday!”

“I’m a bridesmaid so I will be busy the whole day…away from my babies on their first birthday…I had these children hours ago and I’m already feeling like the worst mom ever for missing their birthday!”

“It doesn’t matter, this is her WEDDING day!  FAR more important than a million birthdays!”

“We can just have their birthday party the week before!  This isn’t a big deal at all!”

“I can’t be away from them on their first birthday!  I am just going to pretend this isn’t happening until it is.”

“I hope this doesn’t occur to Amy so she doesn’t worry about it!  It’s NOT her problem, she’s the BRIDE!”

You can see I didn’t over-think it at all.

Well, I shouldn’t have given it any thought.  Amy humbled me to my knees with a mini-birthday party right in the middle of the reception.

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Her parents announced that it was Henry and Arden’s birthday and out came custom cupcakes and the entire room of guests sang happy birthday.  I was so moved, so totally overwhelmed, I did a lot of the thrilled-while-half-crying face.  A lot.

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Who’s the luckiest boy in the room?  Usually the groom.  In this moment, Henry.

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In a moment I’ll always remember, Mike lifted Arden high in his arms and she did what she always does when he does that — she kicked her legs in unison and we yelled “swim swim swim!” while she went crazy with happiness.  To our surprise, everyone started yelling “swim swim swim!” and she just kicked her little heart out.

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My heart was so full.  Standing next to the new Mrs. Fuga, surrounded by her wonderful family and mine, amazed that we’ve been friends since she was 12 and I was 13 — and here she was yielding the spotlight on her biggest day to celebrate my precious babies.  It was just overwhelming and so undeserved.

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After dinner…the dancing, which was phenomenal.  It may be worth your time to inquire about this DJ.  He killed it.

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(Bridal party entrances are key.)

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Weddings with family are everything.

What a spectacular wedding filled with an enormous amount of love.

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And I have this girl to thank.  Seventeen years and counting, my friend!  Cheers to you on marrying the love of your life.  Thank you for allowing us to share in your joy.

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The First Big Trip — Part One

The motivation to get us on our first plane ride with the twins was a wedding; a glorious wedding, as it turned out, one that happened to fall on the twins’ birthday.  And this wedding was a non-negotiable because it was the nuptials of one of my greatest friends of all time, and I was in it.  It’s always good to show up when you’re a bridesmaid.

I did my fair share of fingernail chewing about having two infants on a plane, but it wasn’t nearly the endeavor it could have been because my entire family was traveling with us.  They adore Amy and Brian too, so they were every bit as committed to getting there as we were.

Off we flew to Philadelphia (direct, of course.  There IS no other way to fly with babies.)

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Fun Twin Flying Fact: one cannot have two lap-babies in a row.  Not just on one side, but all six seats across.  So at any given moment, all seven of us had to ensure that we passed the babies forward and backward so as not to break this rule.  Believe me, the stewardesses caught us more than once when we weren’t paying attention and the babies were adjusted accordingly.

Shocking no one more than me and Mike, the twins were virtually silent on the plane.  Perfectly content, happy with the novelty of the new sights (and snacks).  They didn’t cry once.  It was some sort of air travel nirvana.

Once we arrived, we had the joy of introducing the babies to their extended family, some of whom they’d already met (thank you aunties and uncle for visiting!).  The most important introduction was to my grandpa, the husband of Arden Charlotte’s namesake.  I had been anticipating their meeting since the day they were born.  I’m very close with my grandpa, so him meeting them was enormously emotional for me — it was like introducing the babies to a piece of my heart.

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They also got to meet little Avery, the newest addition to the family, daughter of my cousins Amy and Joel.  She’s so precious, and her hair makes my children green with envy — I mean, Arden won’t even acknowledge her.

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We had so much fun with them all together.  We plunged them into the pool in little floaties, because well, how could we resist this?

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This was the twins’ first real swimming experience, and they were timid but grew to love it.  Arden’s swim trick (Mike always holds her in the air and says “Swim swim swim!” and she does a perfect breaststroke that you wouldn’t believe) translated beautifully to actual swimming.

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Feel free to stop me if you feel your heart giving out.

Since the babies cleared their first bite of cake at their birthday party the previous week, we felt it was only fair that they try the local specialty: a Dunkin Donut.  Dunkin Donuts are sacred terrority in my family, with multiple runs to DD’s being made for breakfast in each visit east.  They didn’t get a whole donut, just a bite or two each, but it was all that they dreamed, I’m sure of it.

Their favorite place in the house was the kitchen, rustling up Great Grandpa’s pots and pans.  They never get to be in the kitchen at home, so this was like a theme park.

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Mostly we just soaked up time with loved ones we don’t see often enough.  It’s so amazing to be thirty years old and realize your heart is still feeling new emotions — this trip afforded me the joy of sharing my children with the family I’ve treasured my entire life.  My cousin Allie, pictured below, being silly with Arden, is a perfect example.

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It’s a joy coupled with pain, I soon realized, because Henry and Arden don’t get to see their wonderful great-grandpa and great aunts and uncles nearly enough.  I would love so much for them to grow up seeing each other every week.

I mean, look at the joy in these faces.

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My generous aunt Beth threw a birthday party for the babies, and it was so adorable — the accessories were everything.

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Henry!  Your eyes.  I could faint.  Arden, your cheeks!  It’s too much.

*Side note: Henry’s hat had to be cut at the side to fit over his head.  Further proof it’s larger than the average one year old.  Don’t worry, it’s just holding your huge brain, Hank!

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I know.  I can’t talk about my hair here either.  All I can say is: humidity + growing out bangs = lethal.

If you’re just dazzled by their enthusiasm, it’s because it was about 8PM and their bedtime is 7PM.  They were, shall we say, less than agreeable.

But we partied on!

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You’d think we’d just told them their cupcakes were made of quinoa and stuffed with spinach.  Or maybe they misunderstood what birthdays are and they think people arrive with packages to take your toys away?

We had some deja vu with the cake rejection here too.

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Henry: “Don’t you people learn?”

Arden: “No means no.”

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After several relaxing days spent with the family, we headed off to Lancaster for the wedding of the year.  Wait until you see this gorgeous couple and their wedding locale.  Oh, and Henry in a suit and Arden in a Parisian dress.  I can hear your toe tapping so I’ll get right on that.

Part Two coming soon!

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Snow Daze

A funny thing happens when it snows in Seattle like it has in the last week:  everything stops.

Plans, commitments, meetings, driving, working (except for me).  This sounds terribly inconvenient, but in fact, it is glorious.

Nothing excites me more than normal life coming to an absolute halt.  Do I have appointments that I wish I could have kept?  Of course.  But do I love that we all have to hunker down and do nothing more than be at home?  Absolutely.

In the last five days it has snowed off and on, accumulating to about four inches in Kirkland, two in Seattle, and many more further north and south of us.  That is not a significant amount of snow.  But when you live in a city that operates approximately three snow plows and sits on more hills than I can count, there is a lockdown situation.

And I couldn’t be happier.

I have the privilege of wielding a double-edged sword called “I Get to Work from Home.”  I am grateful that I get paid to sit at home with my laptop, but I am a little bummed that a “snow day” for me doesn’t mean I can frolic outside for six hours.

And I am fully aware of how obnoxious that attitude is for those who can’t work from home and have to take a vacation day or who just won’t get paid.  Three cheers for whining about blessings!

One of the funniest parts of witnessing a Seattle snowstorm is watching the residents’ reactions.  For those of you who inhabit a colder climate than ours, you would find yourself wishing you could bottle Seattleites’ hollers of terror and drink them later for a nice buzz.

Facebook is always the first thing to explode. 

“Weatherman says 2 – 4 inches!  OMG how am I going to get to work!?!?”

“I just stocked up on enough food and water for a year!!”

“I purchased tire chains and can’t freaking figure out how to put them on!”

“I just drove home from the store and it was the CRAZIEST SCARIEST ride of my life!!!  Don’t do it!!”

And then the one jaded Northeast native always chimes in, “Seriously?  You call this snow?”

Listen, I am a Northeast native, and despite the snows of my childhood being measured in feet rather than inches, I can honestly say that my feelings for Seattle snow run deep.  I love that any amount of snow in Seattle means that my days will stretch from one relaxing evening to the next.  I love that when I go to the store, half the aisles are empty because people are planning for the apocalypse.  I love that no one so much as questions your inability to get anywhere.  I love that people take to the streets like gold is floating down from the sky instead of snowflakes.

I also love it because of what it forces us to do — slow down.  Mike’s classes were canceled for the week, I work from home every day, and every afternoon we take a walk to enjoy the winter wonderland.  We stay home at night, we eat in, we have silly meals to celebrate a special week (last night: a Parisian picnic in the living room, with cheese, a baguette, olives, salami and wine).  We both look at each other like “Why do we ever make mid-week plans?”

Snow in Seattle also easily shaves about fifteen years off your life.  Immediately you’re throwing on hats, gloves, heavy boots that are used once a year (and usually then it’s at a local ski slope), and heading out the door to smile at every person you see as you all converge to marvel at the transformed landscape. 

That and make snow angels like it’s your job. 

Mike and Phil decided that the pristine layer of snow on our building’s second story patio needed their impressions.  Shortly after that, they spotted a friend of ours on his deck in the condo building across from us, and a snowball fight ensued — from building to building.

Seattle snow days — yes, I’m all for Seattle snow days.

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New York State of Mind

Sometimes in life one feels compelled to do things that are so extravagant they are absurd.

In November, with only six weeks to plan, Mike and I decided to surprise some of our best friends in New York City at Christmastime.  It was Sarah’s 29th birthday, and we thought it would be brilliant to go over-the-top on the birthday before her 30th, because she wouldn’t be expecting anything.  We wanted to surprise Amy for no reason other than to show her we love her with a Christmas surprise she would never forget.  See above: extravagant.

Obviously we couldn’t have planned this without the integral help of their significant others.  I use “significant” very purposefully here.  We literally could not have done this without Casey and Brian, nor would we have wanted to.  Their company was as crucial as their planning.

We schemed over email for weeks, finally choosing where each surprise would take place.  Due to logistics and complications, we didn’t nail down each location until the day of each surprise.

Mike and I flew into NYC on Thursday, Dec 8, checked into our hotel and walked straight to the Empire State Building.  On our way we were furiously texting instructions to Casey, who was driving Siri into the city from D.C.

We had all purchased tickets in advance, so there was no line to get to the Observation Deck on the 86th floor.  Mike and I scoped the scene, knowing we needed good lighting to catch the moment on video.  Once we found the perfect spot, we texted Casey and told him how to get there.

Mike and I hid behind a pillar until we saw them exit the correct door, and then sprinted after them.  I tapped Sarah on the shoulder and said, “Excuse me, miss, you dropped something,” so that she would turn around.

Her reaction was priceless:  http://youtu.be/qE4gb-cuceY.

As was the view.


And the company.

After the great surprise, we went to dinner at an upscale Irish restaurant named Brendan’s.  Afterward, we were so overwhelmed with bar options that we naturally chose…karaoke.

Mike and Casey sang “Don’t Stop Believin'” and Sarah and I sang “Man in the Mirror.”  The former kind of made sense for our trip.  The latter made no sense at all.

Shall we discuss the Charlie Chaplin statue?  Let’s not.

A huge part of the reason for us coming to NYC in the first place was that I hadn’t been since I was 12, and Mike hadn’t been since he was 22.  We’d always wanted to visit for the magic of Christmas in New York, so it was a major bucket list item.

We were not disappointed.

From the minute we arrived, we began a long parade of “I can’t believe this” that didn’t really end until we left four days later.  Stepping out of Grand Central Terminal after taking the train from Newark through Penn Station, we both gasped at the immediacy of our awe.  I stared at the Chrysler Building like I had flown in from another planet, rather than from across the country.

To my delight, I was mistaken for a local almost immediately.  A woman walked up to me and asked where Penn Station was.  I couldn’t believe my luck that the one person who asked me for directions was looking for the one place in the city I could actually point her to.

On second thought, the luggage I was dragging down the street may have been her reason for approaching me.  But I digress.

The next day was a smorgasbord of tourist activity that fulfilled my inner need to traverse an entire city in hours.  We brunched, we went to Central Park, we went to the Upper West Side, the Upper East Side, the Shake Shack, the Guggenheim, the Belvedere Castle…until we couldn’t take anymore.

Then we went to dinner at a French bistro called Rue 57, which is the kind of place that makes you glad to be alive just so you can eat there.

I mean, we’re seated in a wine cellar decorated for Christmas in New York City.  Please slap me across the face.

The rest of the evening is burned into my brain as one of the highlights of my year: we windowshopped on 5th Avenue at Christmastime.  There are no words.

I didn’t even notice when Mike took this picture, but it is exactly my expression for six blocks of eye candy.  I don’t think I held a conversation with any of my three companions.  Why would I, when my new friends Tiffany, Bergdorf, Bloomingdale and Van Cleef were waiting to greet me?

It was spectacular.

We went to The Plaza and Rockefeller to see the tree, and made a drive-by at Serendipity and Dylan’s Candy, but really, after the day we’d had, it was all beginning to feel like saying yes to your fourth dessert.

The next morning we were refreshed by the excitement of surprise number two — the Amy reveal!  We went to SoHo to shop until Brian and Amy arrived into the city from Philadelphia.  We agreed to meet at Katz’s Delicatessen, of “When Harry Met Sally” fame.  It was providential because the previous day Amy had mentioned how excited she was that Katz’s was going to start shipping their meat to Philly.  We couldn’t believe our luck.

Of course, the line outside of Katz’s was half a block, so our timing was way off on this surprise.  Brian was texting us that they were practically done eating so we needed to get inside pronto.  We rushed to order and then walked back to their table for the reveal: http://youtu.be/liZMRcRzA54.

Her reaction is classic Amy — no visible shock, just a huge smile and a question: “How did you get here?”  We filled her in on all the details and then watched her relieved face as she realized that yes, we had an agenda for the weekend.  Brian’s face was equally relieved, since he had been sweating bullets for 45 minutes.

First we walked to Greenwich via Washington Square Park.

I wasn’t at all embarrassed to insist on a “Sex and the City” walk-by.

After catching up over a couple of pints at a 150 year-old pub…

…we went to 50 Commerce for a grown-up New York drink.  It had the kindest bartender and the lighting of dreams.

We did a quick change for dinner at 10 Downing (yes, apparently all NY restaurants decline choosing a name and instead just name their address) which was perfect for a 29th birthday feast.

Amy blew our minds by having a friend in the city celebrating her birthday at a fabulous underground club, so we bypassed the velvet rope and walked right in.  I have to admit it felt impossibly cooler than entering any bar in the greater Seattle area.

We decided to check out 230 Fifth, a rooftop bar that I’d read good things about.  On our way there, we saw this fantastic sight.

It never gets old.

After a brief wait we made it to the top and took in the fabulous views and astronomical drink prices to match.

We found a seat, but it was brief because we were informed that in order to sit anywhere, we had to buy a bottle.  This does not happen in Seattle, and I was equally indignant and mortified.  Since the cheapest bottle was $225, we chose to leave.

In the words of Carrie Bradshaw: I couldn’t help but wonder…how often does one have three redheads in one’s establishment?  Why wouldn’t one welcome such a rare occurrence?

Oh well.

We finished the evening at a much lower-key bar, happy to have a place to sit and drinks that didn’t need to be mortgaged.

Our final day together was spent at the Central Park ice rink, Times Square, Magnolia Bakery, and the Village.  It was perfect.

After our friends left Sunday evening, Mike and I had a final date night at the World Trade Center Memorial.

It was a sobering end to the weekend, and it made us more emotional than we expected.  We didn’t realize that going at night would be so impactful; the glow from the fountain surrounded by the lights of the city was overwhelming.  Couple that with the roar of the water drowning out all other sound, and the effect was intense.  The memorial reminded us of the horror of that day, but also made us appreciate the freedom we enjoy to visit the stellar city in which it’s housed.

To recover, we had a quiet dinner at Mercer Kitchen in SoHo, where we talked about the weekend and relished a date night like no other.

As I flew back to Seattle, the phrase Amy and Sarah said all weekend wouldn’t leave my thoughts, “Is this really happening?”

Yes, ladies, it happened.  And I couldn’t be happier.

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Tragedy or Rescue?

Last week I flew to Bethlehem, PA for my grandma’s memorial service (I will post about that when I’m finished writing it).  Oddly enough, both flights were easy and on time, which I can’t say has happened often in recent memory.  Nice work, Delta.

The sticky widget was the connection.  The layover in Detroit was only 30 minutes.  Perhaps they were just being kind by moving me out of Detroit as quickly as humanly possible.  If that was their intention, then I tip my hat to them.

For the flight out of Seattle, I was seated next to an outspoken woman in her sixties, and an outspoken woman in her thirties.   They had managed to bond in the ten seconds before my arrival and welcomed me into their sisterhood, even though I usually make a point of ignoring all people on planes.

They had just switched seats out of mutual preference, and when I took my seat in the middle (imagine, no one wanting to trade my seat) they were quick to cheerily ask each other and me, “Which would you rather be?  The person who is inconvenienced, or the person who is inconveniencing others?  I’d rather be inconvenienced.  Definitely!”  They each nodded in agreement, affirming their mutual self-sacrifice.

What is this, I asked myself, Girl Scout tryouts?

Before I could respond, the older lady turned to me and said the usual, “Where are you traveling?”  After I replied, like clockwork, she exclaimed, “Me too!”

Fantastic.

“Weren’t you thrilled by the fares?  I mean, what a steal.  Isn’t Delta the absolute best?” she inquired further.

Maybe it’s just me, but one does not typically compare airfare once airfare has been purchased, because most people understand that ticket prices fluctuate by the hour, and one is sure to either feel terrible about her own price or make someone else feel terrible about their price.  This woman did not know this.

“Actually,” I replied (because why not make her feel a little remorse for starting this conversation?) “I am traveling for a funeral, so I had to purchase my ticket just last night, and I paid three times as much as you.”

“Oh!” she gasped.  “Oh I’m sorry.  Well did you at least take advantage of Delta’s fantastic bereavement program?”

Again, why ask this question when the opportunity for me to take advantage of it has already passed?  What could possibly be gained?

“Um no, I’m afraid not,” I replied.  “I called another airline who said they don’t offer those types of discounts, so I didn’t bother calling for Delta’s.”

“Oh that’s such a shame, because they do.  They do!” she said.

I reached for my People magazine.

Four hours later we were about to land, and she turned to me and said, “We only have thirty minutes to make it to our gate, and I’ve already checked the map of the Detroit airport and it’s going to be quite a haul.  So we’re really going to have to make a run for it.”

We?  Did I fall unconscious at some point during the flight and say in my sleep that I needed a travel partner?  I smiled sweetly and agreed that it would be close.  As soon as the plane landed, she barked at me to get my bags, and then we filed out of the plane.  I didn’t see her for a moment, and thought I’d be able to navigate the airport in peace, when I looked ahead and saw her up the galley waiting for me.

The walk that followed was ten different kinds of awkward.  Since she set the standard by waiting for me, I had no choice but to stick with her the rest of the journey.   And it was a journey.  Long walk, moving walkway, escalator, air tram, escalator, moving walkway, escalator.

At every escalator or moving walkway, we’d do this horrifically awkward shuffle of not knowing whether we should get on side-by-side and openly acknowledge each other, or whether we should split up and each take our own, pretending we were not really together.  Please don’t forget that in this whole “traveling companion” exchange we had not even learned each other’s names.

To add to the unbearable awkwardness, we had to keep up this fake I’m-waiting-for-you-but-I’m-acting-like-I’m-not charade.  She’d fall behind, and I’d walk like a sloth until she caught up.  We had to navigate the tram system together, with each of us telling the other where we thought we should get off and where it would lead.

One doesn’t realize how intimate these minute traveling decisions are until one has to perform them with a stranger.  We’re actually pretty vulnerable when we’re in an unfamiliar place, and suggesting the wrong route or acting more calm than you feel is something we usually only share with those in our inner circles.

After about a ten minute walk/ride/sprint through the Detroit airport, we approached the last escalator.  After doing what was by now our practiced dance of choosing which escalator to ride, we chose separate ones.  We couldn’t see the top of the staircases, and there was only one major sign that said the escalators lead to our B gates.

All of a sudden, the few men in front of me started getting shorter.  That’s weird, I thought.  Are they all bending down…no, instantly I realized my escalator ride was ending much too soon.

I looked over to my traveling companion and she was already ten feet above me.  She saw what was happening too, and shouted, “I’ll turn around!  I’ll come back down for you!”

Suddenly all of our faking and subtlety and aloof attitudes were proven to be the lie that they were, and I was shouting back, “No!  You go!  I’ll find my way!  It’ll be OK!”  Desperately, she yelled in response, “I’ll hold the plane for you!”

At this point everyone around us knew for sure that I was an absolute idiot.  Who doesn’t realize the escalator only goes two floors?  To which I might reply, how often does this happen?  When on earth are two escalators literally side-by-side, and one stops halfway up?

Immediately it was quiet and I was left standing in a much smaller space than the one I was sure my friend was walking onto, and I searched to no avail for a down escalator.  I found an elevator and it opened to reveal several handicapped people.  I felt like an absolute jerk as I interrupted their ride for my one floor gain.

As I exited the elevator and walked toward my gate, I realized my view of my seatmate hand changed.  I couldn’t believe a stranger would embarrass herself by shouting in a public place, all for my comfort.  Sure, she probably knew that I could find my way to the gate alone, but she acknowledged that together we’d gone ninety percent of the way there, and she didn’t want to let me walk that last ten percent alone.

After I arrived at the gate with minutes to spare, she found me and said, “You made it!  Terrific.  I’m going to go get a snack.”

And that was that.  Our journey had ended.  I sighed with relief that she probably wouldn’t be sitting next to me on the ride to Bethlehem.  We would no longer have to overcome Lewis and Clark-esque challenges.  I also realized, a little sadly, that no one would be by my side the rest of the way.

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The Lights Are Turned Way (WAY) Down Low…

I wonder if I’m the only one watching the torrential snowstorm in New York City, the one where all transportation has ceased, cars are 90% buried and snowflake-churning wind is accosting overly-bundled walkers, and thinking “I’m jealous.”

Perhaps I have this feeling because as I sat around the Christmas tree with my family and unwrapped presents two days ago, the only weather gracing the landscape out the window were raindrops. 

Raindrops in spring, yes.  Raindrops on roses, yes.  Raindrops on Christmas morning, no.

Despite having spent the last 13 years in Seattle Christmases, my first 13 were spent in mostly pristine white on the East Coast.  And once you’ve had it, it’s hard for anything else to satisfy.

I’ll admit, it’s nice being able to head home after Christmas dinner and not have to attach tire chains.  But it’s even nicer getting snowed in and not being able to go home.  In my opinion, anyway.

Maybe this is all the more irritating because our Christmas two years ago was a virtual snow heaven.  Giant white cottonballs fell from the sky all day that Christmas, so much so that our power went out.  Being the careful Northwesterners that my parents are, they had a generator for backup.  However, this generator only kept certain things running, like heat, and a few appliances.  The one appliance not included?  The oven.

It didn’t take long for us to realize that no oven meant no Christmas prime rib.  We called our neighbors who had invested in the Generator 10X 3000 (I’m inventing this name, but it may as well have been), which had enough power to light the Space Needle.  They generously decided they could spare some wattage to cook us a Christmas meal.

That meal proved so enjoyable, a delight born of a near-disaster, that we have continued the tradition with them every year since (minus the power-outage; no need to reenact exact details).

Thanks to La Nina, this year is of a decidedly different climate.  I don’t think it’s dropped below 45 degrees in weeks. 

Which is why it didn’t take long for us to say “yes” when our dear friend, Laura, and her parents invited us to their condo in Whistler for New Year’s.  Guaranteed snowflakes that fall on my nose and eyelashes!

It’s possible that no amount of snow this year could compare with our Olympic trip to Whistler last year, but who cares?  In fact, this year will be so much sweeter in different ways because we won’t be racing around to events and trying to catch medal ceremonies.  This year we can just walk through the Village, sip hot cocoa in woodsy lodges, and soak in the hottub after a day on the slopes.

In other words, enjoy walking in a winter wonderland.

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Filed under One WORD (Current Events)

Don’t Wear Gortex to Dinner in D.C.

I am excited to announce the publication of my first guest piece on an etiquette blog, Clise Etiquette!

The author of the blog, Arden Clise, is the well-known Seattle authority on business etiquette.  As the founder of Clise Etiquette, Arden works as an etiquette consultant, speaker and business etiquette columnist for the Puget Sound Business Journal. 

Arden and I share a passion for all matters of decorum, from table manners to thank-you notes, so when she asked me to write about navigating the differences between East Coast and West Coast etiquette, I didn’t hesitate. 

Special thanks to Arden for this privilege.

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Filed under Good WORD (Etiquette)