May 28, 2007

A Holiday Wedding and Birthday Weekend

I had my first day of no billing in 18 days on Friday. It was glorious. It was a Friday, but since I'd worked both days of the last two weekends, the actual name of the day didn't interest me in the slightest. I kept up my strike for 4 days straight and will return to the office tomorrow to work for the first time since Thursday evening, when I received a heartfelt email from one of my supervising partners encouraging me to enjoy a much-needed vacation.

You don't have to tell me twice.

On Friday, after checking into our hotel in New Jersey post red-eye around 8 AM EST, I slept in. I roused myself for lunch with E at the hotel. Then, I walked across the street to treat myself to a pedicure and manicure. Next, I indulged in some time by the pool reading. Then, we were treated to a rehearsal dinner where we met extended family, enjoyed good food, and entirely too much alcohol was consumed. Then sleep. Glorious sleep.

Saturday was more of the same. I, well, in fairness, we, slept in so long that we had to order room service in order to be ready for the wedding in time. I sat through a Catholic wedding and said the words upon instinct. It was my first visit to a church since the oath. Six months and there I was again, in a church to attend another big, emotional event: H's wedding. It was gorgeous.

The party was as it should have been. Rowdy. Crazy like only a half-Polish-Greek-New-Jerseyite and half-Irish wedding could be. Fun. Lucky_girl talked some 15-year-old golf-cart attendant boys into racing with us as their passengers throughout the golf course during the dinner. A and I danced together like the crazy girls we are because B's knee was hurt and E did his obligatory I-hate-dancing-but-I'm-married-so-I'll-let-you-have-a-slow-dance-or-two bit. The food was amazing. The after party was long and wild. I called it a night at 4:30 AM and people were still going strong. I heard the next day that the maid of honor called it at 6 AM and people were still going. I wonder what time it finally ended?

On Sunday, E and I headed to Brooklyn for his grandfather's 90th birthday. It was such an amazing party. Grandchildren flew in from all over the country. Old people came to celebrate and share their wisdom. E's grandpa, his namesake, was standing by me at the end of the night and when I thanked him for including me, and all he could do was tell me how lucky he had been in life to have such a wonderful family and to have fallen in love with and married the right girl, E's grandma. I was charmed and made a silent wish that I will be able to attend E's 90th birthday just as his grandma attended her husband's and that he will say and feel such complimentary things towards me.

After snacks on the porch in Brooklyn, the party consisted of a proper 4-hour multi-course Italian meal with vino, prosecco, and espresso. Imagine enough antipasti to make 3 meals (not the least of which were arancini di riso, a treat I hadn't had since I was last in Italy), a pasta course, a main course of chicken and veal, and, of course, canoli cake, just like E's parents had at their wedding. The owner of the the restaurant and his wife punctuated the meal with arias. In English and Italian.

Family gathered from afar who has welcomed me into their embrace with open arms. My favorite type of food, and too much of it, with an invitation to eat to excess. Laughter. Opera. Hearing servers speak Italian. I was in heaven.

Today, we slept in, and returned, just 6 weeks later, back to our favorite NYC (well, the only one we've visited) dim sum with E's parents and sister. This time, it was gorgeous weather and we walked from our hotel enjoying the views of chinatown, little italy, the bridges, and wall street. Plus, it was fun to go to dim sum with people who have never had it (E's parents). After two visits, I can highly recommend this place. Delicious. Excellent value ($45 with tip for brunch for 5 people). Authentic. And, unlike home where we tend to have someone who speaks mandarin or shanghainese(?) with us when we go, this place has pictures and english labels on the carts, which helps enourmously if you don't speak any Chinese languages.

Finally, we're home and the low down is simple. I haven't run nearly enough miles (did you notice there was lots of reports of sleep and no reports of running this weekend?) to do next weekend's race. But, we have no plans to leave our hometown for 5 weekends, which for us, is unheard of. So, I'll hope for a more reasonable work schedule. And, I'll research my options and find a nearby weekend race in the near future that I can properly train for.

Because the 18-day work-binge plus the holiday weekend of gluttony combined with being home, summer associate season and barbeque season mean I need to get some mileage in before my clothes all stop fitting.

Last, but not least, I leave you with a quote from the trashy novel I read on the plane back. After the juxtaposition of many hours at work, which I loved, against a memory-full, but expensive, tiring, and time-consuming trip to celebrate major occasions with friends and family, this quote struck me as very wise.

The trick to life is working out what the important things are, Nat. Some things aren't worth the compromise or sacrifice--other things are worth giving up everything for.

May I learn to let the unimportant things roll off my back.

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