Monday, June 30, 2008

Trip to..... Cincinnati

This is the first of the "Trip to...." blogs. Don won't chime in because he didn't make any of these "Trip to...." I don't suppose any of you will be surprised when I tell you that he was working- in San Fran or Cinti- while I was "moving". Don did drop me off at the airport here in San Fran and I flew to San Diego where Marianne and babies met me. We went straight to the Outlet Mall- that also won't surprise any of you either. Of course Reeder and Hayes needed to be outfitted for this trip home to Cinti- and even Marianne was able to find a thing or two (a rare event when I'm shopping with her and the babies). Then it was home to get the kiddos ready for our trip. I hadn't seen Hayes since he was almost brand new- and now he is a big boy- big enough to have such fun with the bath. What fun for Grama Max to watch!

Notice how Hayes is successfully finding his thumb- I might add though that he usually doesn't find it when he really needs it! So much for "self soothing".
But we were up EARLY the next morning- and for all of you "doubting Thomases" I was ON TIME! and we walked out the door I think around 6:30 or so for the train. Clint was also avoiding this leg of the trip- but he did take us to the train station.

And we're off. I stayed by the track waiting for the train- while Marianne RAN to the Starbuck's that was a couple of blocks away- she did make it back in record time- And we did make the train!
We stretched out in two pairs of chairs facing each other- and watched the ocean pass us by-

We arrived in San Diego...

Notice the baggage- all ours- we were not traveling light!
But notice the absolutely beautiful train station!

And then we crossed to street to the bus.

We loaded the bags - and a baby (or rather Marianne loaded the bags- I'm pretty useless in the heavy lifting department)- I watch her carry around both Reeder and Hayes (at the same time I might add)- And am amazed!

We got to the airport on time- but our plane wasn't- so we found a place to "camp out" and wait.

But we finally boarded- an almost empty plane. Because of the bad weather in Cinti our plane had been delayed so many of the passengers had found alternative routes- not us- So we stretched out over the two back seats.

Now we did have THE WORST LANDING THROUGH AN AWFUL THUNDER LIGHTENING STORM! But it's been a while now- so just suffice it to say I (and every single person on that plane) was awfully glad to stop- abruptly at the end of the runway.

An Arborist in the Family

Max has indicated that there are more blogs to come reporting on our trip to Cincinnati. Most of those are going to be about her excursions on trains, buses and planes, trips to the zoo, parks and the bakery and seeing Amber in Chicago. I didn't do any of those things with her, so I will leave them to her. Below is what I have responsibility for reporting which Max has referred to as "The Bride in a Tree".

For those of you who attended the reception in Cincinnati, you got to see Sharon wearing flowers and a beautiful dress. What you didn't see was her in what she would like to be her real element (OK, not her car which is also an Element, but rather her passion). Sharon attended college in NYC with a desire to develop a career in the digital world. And in fact that digital world is her current source of income. Sharon is the person that makes all of those famous people in magazines look so good. No she doesn't do fashion or make-up, she fixes all of those digital photographs so those famous people don't appear to have blemishes, wrinkles, those few extra pounds, or a hair out of place. Through the magic of computers she makes people look "better" than they really are. Now I've been leading you on down a path that might have you assuming Sharon is into photography or computer technology, but that's not the case. If you read the title of this blog you know that her passion is in nature and specifically in trees. She started out by volunteering at the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens and then took classes to become a certified Arborist. The botanical gardens made a big mistake by not hiring her, but that's another story not necessary for this blog.

Matthew and Sharon drove to Cincinnati from NYC on Tuesday, June 10. On Wednesday, I went to the airport to pick up my Mom from her flight from Tulsa and when I got home I found Matthew and Sharon in the back yard. Well, kind of in the back yard. Sharon was about 10 feet above the yard in my Honey Locust tree.

Last summer before Max and I left for San Francisco, Cincinnati had one of the hottest and driest summers we have experienced. In August we had over 25 days with temperatures above 90 and 5 above 100, but no rain. In fact we didn't have rain until later in the fall. Those of you that have seen my yard know that I have lot of trees. I lost several from the drought and quite of few of the others suffered showing lots of dead limbs. Sharon brought her tools and was trimming out the dead wood from my poor trees. I wish I could have taken before and after pictures, but I just didn't think about it at the time. I have to tell you that after she finished they look great.

And I would be remiss to not give acknowledgement to Matthew. After all, he did stand on the ground and collected the branches as they fell. He even hauled them to the brush pile, mostly on the same day.
And finally, my apologies to Sharon for these pictures. If I were better at using Photoshop, I would have fixed the stray hairs that were out of place, improved the lighting and contrast in the photos, but I don't think I could have made her any more beautiful.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Celebrating Matthew and Sharon, Cincinnati

The party in Cincinnati for Matthew and Sharon was on Saturday, June 14 and we had a great time. Both Amber ( and Lucas ( have already posted their reflection in their respective blogs along with some wonderful pictures.
But wedding/elopement parties are about family- our family- and the welcome of our new member (not by the way the newest member-- by the time the party rolled around Anthony had arrived in December, Hayes in March and Samantha just 4 days before the party). This family began 14 years ago with Don and me and 4 daughters and 3 sons for a total of 9. We've grown! And now we are 4 daughters, 3 sons, 3 daughter-in-laws, 3 son-in-laws, 3 granddaughters and 3 grandsons for 21! S0 now you just might say we are propelled from one celebration of family to another.

So this party was to welcome Sharon- our newest daughter-in-law to our family!
This party was a bit different from the one we had in NY. We planned this one as very casual in our house with home made sangria, (Sangria is a new learned skill from San Francisco- it is amazing what we are learning in San Fran) and a BBQ dinner (The barbecue was prepared by an old friend of Don's from P&G- who would have guessed the career options available to a retired microbiologist!). The weather was delightful and folks were able to spend time on the screened porch, outside, or through out the house.
Max decided to expand on the fact that Matthew and Sharon were married in Hawaii, consequently, the flowers were all tropical including leis for Matthew and Sharon and the double chocolate cake from Wyoming Pastry Shop.

I'm not sure that it would have been so smooth to plan this party if we hadn't been able to call on our friends- Don called Jim about the Barbecue- I called Mary at Wyoming Florist- And Kim at Wyoming Pastry Shop- And they did all the work! And what a wonderful job they did!
But like I said this party was about family in general- and the celebration of our family in particular.

So there was Matthew, Sharon, Uncle Sam and of course the Grand Matriarch of our family- Grandma Lucas!

And of course our special niece Kelly and her wonderful brood- Shelby, Bailey, Darby and Lucas!

And Aunt Jan, Uncle Sam, Grandma Lucas, Don and me!

Uncle Fouad, Aunt Mary and Anthony! Fouad is a friend I met when I first started at P&G. He and Mary started as wonderful friends and soon became family.

And the dearest of friends, Aunt Gay and Aunt Sue!

Our niece and nephew, Amy and Shawn! These two were a great surprise. We had hoped that Amy might make it if she could get on a flight. She did, but then Shawn also came in later in the day and surprised not only us, but also Amy who didn't think he was coming.

Me and Sam!

Darby and her Uncle Shawn!

Amber and Jason!

Matthew and Jason!

Matthew and Kelly!

Darby and Deseree eating Graeter's Ice Cream- the absolute best Ice Cream in the World!

Grandma Lucas and Sarah!

Sharon and Clint!

Me and Amber!

Matthew and Sharon!

Sharon, Matthew and Gay!

And our pretty girls!

Mary- just 4 day's after "birthin' Samantha Opal!



Amy behind her camera!

And our beautiful BRIDE!

But I do believe the highlight was the chocolate on chocolate to die for CHOCOLATE CAKE!
It was just so tempting sitting there in it's glory all through the party. So the tiniest of our family started asking for the cake before we'd even had the barbecue- but they just had to wait. Finally the moment arrived...

With the rapt tiny audience...
The reward was worth the wait!

And of course our BRIDE and GROOM!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Celebrating Matthew and Sharon NY

Our trip to Ohio was for a special purpose, to celebrate with our friends and family the October marriage of Matthew and Sharon. But since Sharon's family and hers and Matthew's friends are all from New York or New Jersey, we needed a party in New York too. Matthew and Sharon (and her parents) planned the one in NY and we planned the one in Cincinnati. So upon our arrival in Ohio, Max and I left the next day to drive to New York. Just give some perspective of the craziness of this trip here's the itinerary- Tuesday fly to San Diego, Wednesday take train, bus and plane with Marianne and children to Cincinnati (Don declined this leg of the trip and just flew straight to Cinti from San Fran) then Thursday we drove midway through Pennsylvania- Harrisburg- they still smoke- a lot- in Harrisburg. Reminded Don of a restaurant he went to earlier and asked for nonsmoking- when he called the waitress over to complain that he was not in non smoking- she said "oh sorry" and removed the ash tray from the table and walked off! Well think that might have been in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania still today. Anyway- then we drove into Jersey City on Friday to board a PATH train for Manhattan to meet Sharon and Matthew and Sharon's parents. Saturday we took the train again to and from Jersey City and Manhattan. for the BIG PARTY! (Are you getting tired yet-- I am- just from retelling it!) Then Sunday we drove back to Cincinnati. Tuesday I hopped in the car again and drove to Chicago to see Amber's new apartment and neighborhood and then she returned with on Wednesday in time for dinner with Great Grandma Lucas and Uncle Sam et al. We all stayed in Cincinnati then for 4 days before we then returned to San Fran on Tuesday (and of course then Don flew off to San Diego). I think it is safe to say that for a while we'll still feel a bit confused about where we really are! We started the weekend with a dinner on Friday night with Sharon's parents so that we could all get acquainted. Then on Saturday the party was started in earnest. The Party was held at held at a friend of Matthew and Sharon's (Molly) preschool that is located in the Village in lower Manhattan. Molly is a great friend (Max and I always love to see her when we visit NYC) and her school made just the perfect place for a party. It helped of course that school was out of sessions so the party didn't disrupt the primary business.
Note that the school did have some activities for the younger guests.

And Matthew and Sharon had decided to decorate the rather small commodes with arrays of flowers so as to discourage the larger adults from mistakenly using them, even though they were pretty much right in the open. I don't think I've ever seen toilets quite this small. They seats were about 12 inches off the floor.

The table decorations were very nice origami flowers and vases done by the bride (mostly) and her friends- don't think the groom helped much- though he did get the credit for the decorated toilets.

And of course Matthew and Sharon were enjoying the party.

Since it didn't seem a wedding cake was necessarily appropriate since the wedding was 9 months earlier, they provided a great selection of very tasty cupcakes including appropriate bride and groom rubber ducks at the top.

The food was catered from a Moroccan restaurant a few doors away from Matthew and Sharon's apartment. It was wonderful with Tagine chicken and lamb plus a variety of other dishes.
And there were a few of our friends there. Claire and Oliver were already in New Jersey because of other reasons and they came along with Joe, Claire's brother who seems to know all the good restaurants in NY. Fouad and Mary were also in NJ, but Fouad had a bad cold and decided not to come.

As the party continued, champagne was poured and toasts were drank to the newly weds. Sharon's sister did the first toast and just before she started, Matthew asked me if I wanted to also do a toast. Well, I hadn't really thought about it, but figured what harm could it do. I can always come up with something to say. And I guess I did. I tend to ramble during these occasions and as I was rambling I mentioned that the couple told us about their elopement plans when they visited us on their way to Hawaii. Oops!! It seems that We were the only ones that knew (at least before this toast) as Sharon and Matthew hadn't told any of Sharon's family. Well, I spilled the beans on that one and now Sharon's mother knows that we knew but she didn't. That was a big oops. But hey, what do they expect when they only give me a few minutes to think about these things. I saw it coming... One of those "oh no Don don't go there moments". But I couldn't think of anyway to stop him short of tackling him in the middle of the toast- or fainting- or breaking into song. It was like everything was in slow motion and I try to communicate with mental telepathy- but I just knew it wouldn't work and that Don was going there and that Sharon would have one of those "moments" that all of us who know and love Don have from time to time. And he did go there- and she did have one of the moments as I watched the color drain from her face and a soft gasp escape the lips of her mother and father. Now Matthew and Sharon were very clear that we were not to ever, ever, ever spill the beans with her folks- but you know- information such as that is just wasted on Don- he just doesn't get it. But I want to be very, very clear. The reason Sharon and Matthew could "confide" in us- is because somehow they knew that we would be delighted- But also that we were especially delighted that our Sharon wouldn't have any opportunity to change her mind during any long time in coming wedding planning. She is one special girl we didn't want to get away. The picture below was taken before my major faux pas. Note how Matthew and Sharon are still somewhat relaxed.

After the toasts Sharon did a traditional dance with her father and most of her family hopefully forgot about my toast.

As the party progressed some of the other pre-school items were put to use. Here is Sharon riding one of the of numerous tricycles that were supposedly "put away" for the event. But when there are opportunities for recreation, who's to say that we shouldn't recreate especially at a party to celebrate such a happy occasion.

This was a great party! And it was so much fun watching everyone- but especially Sharon and Matthew have such a good time! All you need for a great party is good food, good friends, good wine (Trader Joe's 2 buck chuck I think was the wine of choice at this particular party) and lots of laughter.