What a terrific weekend! John and I went to San Francisco (actually Tiburon) to his brother, Avery’s, wedding to Lo-Ping, his fiancee’. We started out very very early Thursday morning for a 7:30 AM flight (up at 4:30, on the road by 5:15, at the airport by 5:45), stopped, after circling for an hour above, Kansas City, MO (and I still don’t know what the city looks like!) and finally, after eight hours of trying to sit still, made it to the Oakland airport. Our nephew “J.T.” picked us up – he and his wife Angela are expecting their first in just a couple of months. To the Marriott to check in, bit of a rest, and then off to a little cocktail party at Avery’s house. It was great to see everybody from the family who was there – John’s sisters Kate, Holli and his brothers Avery (of course), Tom and Jim and their respective spouses. Donald, Brian, Lo-Ping, Judy and Jackie. (There’ll be a quiz in the morning, we told everyone…)
The weather was breathtakingly wonderful! The views of the city, the San Francisco Bay and the hills of the mainland were amazing! I would probably get into about 50 fenderbenders a day if I had to drive there:) One terrific view after another. It was a bit unusual not to have the usual fog around the Golden Gate Bridge, but the clear skies made the cool weather all the more enjoyable.
On Friday, John and I took the cable car down to the tourist areas of Market Street and the piers. We ended up on Pier 39, where we did a little shopping and had a nice lunch. I walked so much, but it was so enjoyable, the exercise actually felt good, despite my sore thunder thighs:)
If there was a choice between indoors and out – I was out! The air even felt cleaner and fresher! My face cleared up, for heaven’s sake! I cannot imagine wanting to leave that place for anyone who lives there! Friday evening was the wedding rehearsal (John was one of Avery’s groomsmen; his sons J.T. and Paul were his best men and his daughter Stephanie was a bridesmaid. It was nice to see all the brothers together. That night was the rehearsal dinner – a reception before the reception of sorts. We saw a lot of Avery and Lo-Ping’s friends who had attended J.T.’s wedding and caught up with them – a nice couple from Toronto, one from the Bay area, and another from Arizona. The family traded stories about our children, what’s happening, empty nesting, etc. (not that we’re there yet, LOL!). We had far too much to eat and didn’t eat too much, but did cheat a little on the no carb rule;).
The next day was the wedding. It went off beautifully. There was a lovely string trio playing a lot of really nice classical/romantic selections. The bridal procession was accompanied by Pachelbel’s Canon and the traditional wedding march from Lohengrin if I’ve spelt that correctly! A very good mezzo soprano sang two selections: the Ave Maria (not the Bach-Gounod one, I’m having a brain cramp here…) and another Wagner selection in English.
A friend of Avery and Lo-Ping, a minister – performed the ceremony which consisted of a reading from Romans (read by Holli, Avery’s sister) a beautiful Chinese poem, read by the bride’s brother, Danny, and an essay on married love, read by Holli and Brian’s son, Jamie (who is BTW, a Philadelphia broadcaster:)).
One sad note was the absence of the one remaining (living) sister: Gail. There was speculation about her absence, but I won’t speculate. She had her reasons, but I hope it won’t be an occasion for a split within the family.
After the reception, there was an “after party” hosted by Paul, Avery’s younger son, but John and I were too exhausted and tipsy to stick around. I did my fair share of dancing and I really enjoyed myself. John did, too, but kept saying that getting drunk was his job, LOL!
Sunday, we slept in a bit and then went to a cocktail party/cookout at Avery and Lo-Ping’s house. It was a nice mellow afternoon. I told them both what a terrific time we had and thanked them for allowing us to share this wonderful time with them. They are honeymooning in Bali beginning today:)
John and I went back to San Francisco, to the hotel, where John changed into a suit. We then went to Mass around the corner. Funny how I still remembered the responses! I even received communion. I asked John if he would mind. Though I do not want to offend any Catholics, I believe in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, be it a Catholic or Episcopal one, and do not believe I offended Christ. Ironically, it was at this Mass that I had the realization that although I still harbor much love and affection for my brother and sister Catholics, I am not Catholic any more. (As my kids would say, NO DUH) We then went off to the hotel where some of John’s sibs were staying and had (yet another, well two) drinks with them and with Kathy, Avery’s ex-wife. Hey, it’s weird, but we weren’t going to go all the way to CA and not see everyone we could while we were there. It was a nice visit. We then went out to the Cliff House on the Pacific side of San Francisco to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary. We had a lovely time. We actually hooked up with a taxi driver who took us around to all of our stops that evening. He was a nice fellow from Nigeria – his mother had died 2 weeks earlier and he was trying to save enough money to get to her funeral by working a lot of overtime. He brought us back into town to the hotel and we parted with well wishes.
Then we just crashed! At 3:30 came the wake-up call and then packing, showers, getting dressed and off to the airport shuttle by 4:30. On the plane at 7:15 and in Baltimore at 3:05 PM – a half hour EARLY! (Jet stream was working with us). Although I slept much of the trip, I did get to see a bit of the mountains, Montana and probably Minnesota/Wisconsin/Michigan.
Home to unpack, clean the house (what else is new?) went to the supermarket, and had a salad and wine for dinner. Of course, John and I had some stupid argument because we are both as cranky as two-year-olds from the lack of sleep/excess wine/excess sugar and what I think is the beginning of a chest cold for me.
Funny thing: amidst all this partying and sightseeing, I actually got ahold of the Tallis Scholars’ William Byrd Mass for Four Voices!! Whoo Hoo! Better than chocolate. And, miracle of miracles, John even let me practice the Sanctus (which has been bedeviling me no end) in our room, which (thank you Marriott) has a CD player!!!
In the week to come, some momentous events and the usual:
3 visits need to be done
catch up on last week
Thursday, my last opportunity to practice the Byrd before All Saints’ services
Friday, EFM retreat and Vicki arrives to spend the night (Joey’s lending her her room)
Saturday, National Cathedral and the installation of Katharine Jefferts Schori
Sunday, All Saints’ Services and singing the Byrd in the choir; Vicki departs for CT (after all, she is low woman on the clergy totem pole)
I don’t know how I’ll ever get back to “normal” after this week!
The hell with normal:)
Here are some pics of our time there – again, apologies for the “phone camera!”
String trio and singer.
A view from the front to the back of the church –
Avery and his brothers and Rev. Jeff awaiting the arrival of the bridesmaids and bride….
Bridesmaids here – awaiting bride!
And here they all are!
Garden in the city!
Views of the San Francisco bay from Avery’s condo – whew!
And some inside views (portrait of their late father hangs in Avery’s home office – Kate had it for a while. Now Avery does.) Avery looks most like John’s dad, I think.
A shot of the happy couple and family members during the get together on Sunday:)