October 24th, 2011


Day of the Wed

My nephew and his One True Love™ are married. Finally. I have been looking forward to the wedding for a long time, especially when my British cousins announced they would be there. And from Israel, instead of just my sister and her husband, my #2 niece and her two brothers came too. Two other nieces were either busy with work or babies or both.

Also good to see were three of my four surviving first cousins and my only remaining aunt & uncle.

And I got to know the husband of one of my sisters' oldest childhood friends, who was packing a Nikon D2, and knew how to use it. I had the D300, which is significantly lighter artillery. There was also an official photographer, who was impressive in his politeness and ability to organize posed photos which looked almost candid. He had a super telephoto plus a standard zoom, on two separate cameras. I'll be looking forward to seeing what pix the newlyweds pick out.

The wedding was supposed to start at 5 o'clock sharp, but was maybe 15 minutes late. It was outdoors on the lawn in perfect weather.  It was a traditional Jewish wedding, except the rabbi indulged in more Hebrew prayer than is strictly required. His cantor voice is strong and confident, and annoyingly high and nasal. I was tempted to yell out "don't quit your day job" but then realized this is his day job. His speech about the couple was articulate and touching, and there were even a couple of laughs.

As the couple exited up the aisle, the little bubble makers came out and most everyone made a stream of bubbles for them. My usually staid Israeli sister had a blast with that, and one of her sons told her "enough already" in Hebrew. :-) She kept blowing bubbles though.

After the ceremony my sister wanted me to take some photos of the happy couple, but the bride got sick, so that didn't happen, and the reception was delayed a bit as she rehydrated and got back to semi-consciousness.

The attendees were seven kinds of reunions, relatives from all four sides who had not seen each other in years, friends of the bride and of the groom, ditto. So instead of everyone going to their not completely intelligently assigned tables, the center aisle became a cocktail party. That took a while to fix. Then the principles made their grand entrances, toasts were made by the matron of honor, the best man and the fathers of the couple. Well, not really toasts, because they did not include the obligatory  "raise your glasses" line at the end of each speech, so most of the champagne went untouched.

Dinner was a buffet, traffic jam style. Not too bad, except once again people wanted to stand & chat and eat their food where they got it instead of clearing the way for the next folks in line.

The music was constant during the meal, which was STOOOPID, it pretty much prevented cross-table conversation, and seriously maimed chat between people sitting next to each other. Nice choice of tunes, though.

There was dancing, and lots of places outside the dining hall to chat, so I was able to re-connect with cousins who are really quite amazing people who were very close when we were growing up, before my family moved to Seattle. My UK cousin was my big sister's pen pal through childhood, and he arranged for me to write to a little red-haired girl down the street, whom he later married. She and I have kept in touch on FB, as well as their son & daughter. The daughter was at the wedding too, overcoming MS and an ear infection to be here. She drives a mean scooter. Son and his wife volunteered to stay home and keep an eye on their grandfather, whom I think is 93. You wouldn't know it by talking to him, though.

We were among the last to leave - in fact we were the last to leave except for the groom. Mostly blame my baby sister, who claims to be non-social but put her in front of people she knows and she can chat forever.

I took a lot of photos and was surprised that I didn't need to change batteries despite using the internal flash for half the shots.

So that Big Adventure is over, and was worth full price.Maybe more.
  • Current Mood
    exhausted exhausted
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Shortened Tourism

I thought I had all morning to kill before the wedding, so I went down to light rail. One of my NYC cousins called while I was waiting for the train asking if I had any plans, he wanted to come over with his parents (and maybe his brother too) and chat at my hotel. I would have wanted to do that an hour earlier, but was more interested in taking advantage of the bright clear day for photos downtown.

Got off at Camden yard, took lots of pix, they have built a sports museum on the grounds which looks like a knock-off of Faneuil Hall in Boston. There is a plaza at Eutaw street which has a huge chrome number 42 in it, which caught my eye for obvious reasons. Upon closer inspection, that was Jackie Robinson's number, which was retired. The next two numbers in the plaza also had belonged to a Robinson. There's a statue of Babe Ruth in the corner, but no number because, well, he was born in Baltimore but played for Boston and then the Yankees.

Somewhere in there my baby sister messaged me that I should ride with her to the wedding, leaving at 3:45 instead of taking the 4:30 shuttle. So I cut my touring short - skipped having lunch at the harbor.

Wandered around heading vaguely for the harbor, stopped off at BofA for cash, got to the USS Constellation, sat down and people watched for a bit, then noticed the Occupy Baltimore tents across the street, pretty much in the shadow of BofA. Took lots of photos. There was some interesting art work, and they had a staffed table for media relations, one for first aid, and a food table for both providing food and taking donations. Not over-organized but not chaos. There's a fountain at the base of the plaza which was turned off, possibly because the city did not want it used as a shower (or worse).

Walked back to light rail, there was a shuttle waiting for me - the driver said that sometimes they wait for the train without having to be called.

I was in plenty of time, could have stayed for lunch in town after all, but bought some soup and goodies at the hotel mini-mart and ate in my room while reading Smallworld on the Kindle. Free download, pretty well written and the author has come up with a unique way to name his characters which makes me chuckle a lot.

Put on my tux, discovered the pants were not designed to take a belt, they had suspender buttons, and I had no suspenders. But they fit well enough without either, so I jettisoned my wallet to blow ballast, and hoped the two spare camera batteries in my pocket would not make my pants fall down.

Down in the lobbv at 3:15, no sister. She finally showed up at 4, we just barely got out before the shuttle loaded. Sigh.

The wedding is an earlier post

Plans for tomorow:
Play tourist, this time with baby sister and her husband, which will start with a trip to Mother Of The Groom's work to pick up tickets to the aquarium, a trip to said aquarium, and then some walking around Inner harbor and ending the day with a drive out to Annapolis. Both of them are ocean sciences engineers, which makes an aquarium trip a lot more interesting.


Tourist Day Sorta

The plan was to go with my baby sister & her hubby to the Aquarium, then to Annapolis for dinner. Instead we got caught till noon in the mother of all family reunions, all my Israeli nieces and nephews brought their children (who had been banned from the wedding) and all the other relatives showed up to goo goo and gaa gaa, and talk among themselves. I was able to avoid the babies pretty much, and somewhere out there on several different cameras is a group photo. One or my grand nephews refused to be in it, and it is not surprising he looks a lot like I did at that age. I'll have to find out which one he is and encourage him. I think he belongs to my oldest nephew.

Mother of the groom had arranged for us to get free passes to the Aquarium, she works for a company which helped fund it, you see. So we got to her work but it was lunchtime and the woman with the passes was out, so we walked to the inner harbor and had lunch at Uno, which is billed as Chicago grill,  unlike the CA marketing which is a pizza place. On our way we took some photos of sis in front of the USS Constellation, it seems her commanding officer (she is a civilian engineer at a Navy base) had come to them from special duty on this tall ship.

She went back to get the passes while husband & I sat outside and took in the view.

We walked through the entire place. It is more than an aquarium, it has a massive rain forest exhibit and another big Australian flora/fauna section. The aquarium part pretty much sucks for photography, and does not hold a candle to Monterey Bay.

We returned the passes just in time, 4:45, and the nice lady came down to the lobby to claim them. She can model for me any time. Gorgeous eyes & complexion.

We had expected to be out much earlier, we were all fading and it was a longer drive to Annapolis than they thought so we went back the hotel for naps, then went to dinner at the same place I'd gone Friday. They had the crab cakes, loved them. I had something resembling cioppino on linguine. Dessert was chocolate cake, which was kind of dry but the dark chocolate icing was good.

Back at the hotel, Big sister and her husband were at the computer in the lobby, I had a chat with them, mostly with my sister, who seriously does not understand that 23 grandchildren growing up in poverty is not God's Plan. It annoys me because other than her religious beliefs she is a brilliant person.

Up to my room,  I am as packed as I can be, just have the last minute stuff left.

And I found a cable, so am backing up my photos from the camera to the netbook. I'll convert them to JPG and upload some to FB to share with family. The cable was with the external DVD player I brought but have not used.

Plans for tomorrow:
Breakfast, maybe with two of my sisters.
Complete packing.
Check out before noon
Shuttle to airport
Fly home.