The Shortest Vacation (in Photographs) & Buckets of Bliss (Of the Wedding and Spring Flower Variety)

And so we have returned to our tiny, humble abode, after a fleeting yet immensely-packed weekend of driving to-and-fro Sacramento and San Francisco.

An important thing to do upon returning home: Walk by the flower shop and find two of my favorite things! Anemones and mini gerber daisies to brighten our neglected apartment.

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And they smell as lovely as they look!

Floral diversion complete. Resuming the news from this weekend.

WOW. What a weekend it was! My beyond beauteous friend, Clare, married her best friend, Michael at the Holy Virgin Russian Orthodox Cathedral (the old one) in San Francisco. I was honored to be a bridesmaid and had the absolute best time being there in support of her. It was, of course, quite a struggle physically, and I unfortunately could not participate in every single event. Such is life when your Crohn’s Disease is out of control and unmanageable. (Let’s not forget, however, that my first Remicade infusion is on Friday).

It is positively official that I could not be more elated for Clare and Michael. There are couples out there that just give you a certain feeling. That feeling of: God, you’ve proven yet again that You know what You’re doing. This couple is meant to be. And it’s awesome.

The wedding was breath-taking, and I had such fun being with the other bridesmaids and Clare’s family. And Adam did too! He hung with the girls all weekend and served as our bag-carrier, valet, and concierge. (You had to be there). And he was always good for a laugh. What an angel that man is.

As much as I am dying to share photos of the wedding, I think I will wait for the professionals. (Fun fact, the photographer was the same one who shot Adam’s and my wedding. He and his wife are just the dearest people and we had a blast seeing them again. Anyone need a fantastic Orthodox wedding photographer? I’ve got a referral for you.)

It was also an especially enchanting trip because it was Adam’s first to San Francisco! (Which just so happens to be basically my favorite city.) He was blown away by both cathedrals (particularly the new one, of course, with Saint John the Wonderworker’s relics). But that part was a given! We knew he’d love all the Orthodox activities. But you know what else? He dug the city. He really did. In his words: “I have to admit, San Francisco is a pretty cool place.” Says the Montana country boy! Love love love it.

Saturday night, before the wedding, we stayed at The Chateau Tivoli Bed & Breakfast, which is an absolutely stunning (albeit, somewhat creepy) old Victorian mansion in the heart of San Francisco, just a couple blocks from the Old Cathedral. Gee whiz, this place was nifty. Adam and I stayed in the Isadora Duncan room. We were on top of the world with excitement. It was our first stay in an exciting new place since our honeymoon! We took some Clue-esque photographs and laughed an awful lot. (Being married is so much fun.)

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It was hard to see an end to the wedding festivities. It meant leaving San Francisco, saying goodbye to new friends, and saying goodbye to my dearest Clare. But alas, the reception was over and it was time to go….
….to my parent’s house outside of Sacramento!

It was such a quick “hi and goodbye” kind of a visit, but even that is better than nothing. We just barely got to spend time with my little sister, Teresa, and my dad. And we spent only slightly more time than that with my mom. But it was a merry and welcomed visit, nonetheless.

Here is a short summary of our visit, in photos.

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My mom is growing some stunning roses.

And it was so good to be back with Teresa’s charming and hilarious goats.

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And the cats.

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And especially my mom.

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And I gotta say, there’s still something so magical and surreal about having Adam in California.

And last but not least, let’s not ignore my dad’s shenanigans and his rebellious (and conscious) choice to proudly hang the California Republic flag, without an American flag.

I will never stop appreciating my family’s eccentricity.

Adam and I are now back in Washington with our beloved kitty who seems to truly be as overjoyed to see us as we are to see him.

No matter how short and how enchanting a trip is, it always always always feels good to come home.

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The Loveliest of Flowers, or “How My Husband Won Valentine’s Day”

Good afternoon and happy two-days-after-Valentine’s-Day!

How are your flowers holding up? Mine are doing splendidly.
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This Saturday was Valentine’s Day. I shall be a normal girl for a second and say Valentine’s Day is amazing when you have a Valentine. Who was mine? Well, my husband of course.

In the morning, Adam and I were getting ready to head off to church (Saint Innocent’s Orthodox Church) for the Saturday of Soul’s Liturgy, in which we pray for loved ones who have died. Adam zipped up his coat, 30 minutes early, and said “I have an errand to run.” Or something like that. I gave him a look, and he departed. He returned in 10 minutes with the absolute most lovely arrangement of flowers. Peach, pink, orange, white, and green. Roses, daisies, baby’s breath, and lamb’s ear. Oh how I nearly died over the lamb’s ear. My husband knows his stuff.

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We went to Liturgy, which was beautiful and haunting and quite an interesting juxtaposition to the day. Valentine’s Day is a man-made day to celebrate the love and pretty things of life. But what’s even more important is that we remember death and that Christ came to destroy death! That is more beautiful than anything in this world. Glory to God–Adam and I are married and that extends beyond death. If we keep God at the center of our lives, we will have each other for all of eternity.

After Liturgy, we got bagels from the best bagel-spot in Bellingham (the appropriately named “The Bagelry“), lattes, and headed back to our studio. There, Adam presented me with THE MOST exquisite heart-shaped box of luscious chocolates, and *drumroll please* humpback whale paintings, made by an incredibly talented young man from our church. Clever Adam said “I may not be able to make you art, but I can commission other people to do it for me.” Hehehe, silly rabbit!

Enjoy this eye candy. I can’t wait to find the right frames for these fellows.

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Many people, though not everyone, know that I have a strange attachment to humpback whales. It began from watching National Geographic, and it was a completely solidified obsession after I went to Southeast Alaska with my grandmother for my 18th birthday and we went whale watching in Juneau. In college, I got a tattoo of a humpback on my forearm (see photo in my “About” page). And last Valentine’s Day, Adam took me to a restaurant in Anchorage called “Ginger”, where I was totally shocked to find a rather large origami whale sitting on our table when we arrived. Adam had written it under “special requests” when he made the reservation, and lo and behold. the entire Ginger wait-staff ended up competing to see who could make the best origami whale for me. My goodness! What a guy that Adam is.

I gave my sweetie a few odds and ends of things. A couple Marvel comics (one old, one new), a bouquet of Cow Tales (his favorite old-timey candy), a card from the cat (along with real-Juvenaly paw prints and a photo of him I took with my awesome Fujifilm Instax camera), and a wood plaque with one of our wedding photos and a silly little poem I wrote on the back.

I took this photo the day before with my iPhone, so it’s a little lame and blurry.

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The silly poem:

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After we ate our bagels and exchanged gifts, we made a mockery of poor, adorable little Juvenaly. We put the bow from my box of chocolates around him, in various positions, and took photos, of course.

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Oh Juvenaly, why did you let us do this to you?

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He’s such a trooper. And don’t worry, we gave him his own special Valentine’s Day treats too.

When our antics came to an end, my thoughtful husband (who knows how much I love going to new places) said “Where do you want to go today? Let’s go someplace we’ve never been before.” Woohoo! So we went to Anacortes, which is going to get it’s own blog post, filled with odd photos. Stay tuned!

And to end the sweetest of Valentine’s Days, we had dinner in Bellingham at a quite-fancy Italian restaurant. Which, in itself, was a new adventure because Adam and I have NEVER gone to an Italian restaurant together. We’re Indian food, sushi, and food trucks kind of people.

But it was magical.

See you next time with a menagerie of strange people-murals and other things of Anacortes!