Monday, September 30, 2013

Best friends, tube tops and the hidden romance of Viking helmets

 She's going to be pissed at me for posting a photo that reveals her to be sub-5'4".*
*(I'm not a giant, though; I just hadn't given up on my shoes yet.)

Yesterday was the first anniversary of the wedding of my very best friend on earth - I hope you guys all have a friend like this. If she's a friend from college, she's the one where the entire first year you knew each other is a blur of irresponsibly late-night (and in our case, inexcusably sober, because we were both too square to drink) conversations about everything and nothing. The one with whom you have so many inside jokes that you have to remind each other where half of them originated from. Even if you haven't lived in the same place in years, she's your first phone call when you're twisting in circles over a crisis that nobody else will understand. She's the only person on earth who calls you by that appalling nickname (the only person permitted to do it, for that matter). And even if you have a partner by now, and even if that partner of yours is as steady and strong as we all dream they will be, this friend's presence in your life will always be the very definition of the phrase "having your back."

I do have a shirt on in this photo. It was a tube top.
It was not one of my better decisions.
You may have heard what they say about flat-chested girls, strapless items, and gravity.

So, a year ago yesterday she married the love of her life. All the usual things were true when they got together - after 12 or 13 years of growling at stories about asshats, I could hear the difference in the way she talked about him, and I could see the difference in the way he treated her. Unlike the asshats, he actually deserves her. He is steady and strong, and kind, but also ridiculous in a completely essential way. KT and I do not last long around people who behave like normal adults.

This is from my wedding, which was two weeks after theirs.
He is wearing a dinner napkin and a Viking hat that he stole from the photobooth. She is gazing at him adoringly.
That should really tell you everything you need to know.

Looking back, I especially love this photo of the two of us, from 2005:

We were in LA for another friend's bachelorette party, and we spent the afternoon driving at random through the Hollywood Hills. We stopped at this lookout point to admire the view, and decided to take pictures of ourselves against the backdrop. I don't even remember what cracked us up, but I love that we were laughing so hard that we totally could not pull it together for this photo. We were 26/27 and didn't have the faintest idea what would happen with the guys we were dating at the time (I married mine, a long-ass time later; she kept looking for a few more years before she met Viking Helmet), but it really didn't seem to matter all that much. Whatever did or didn't happen with the guys, we'd always have each other.

Still, I'm so deeply heart-glad that she found him. That helmet wouldn't look the same on anybody else.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Summer's Last Hurrah: Woodstock and Saugerties

I honestly can't believe it took me as long as it did. I'm a country girl, I grew up in the mountains, and yet somehow I didn't make it to the Catskills region, or the middle Hudson Valley just to the east of it, until 2008. But that, as they say, was that. I'm hooked. I'm in love. For life. Everybody else in NYC can have their Hamptons, and their Jersey Shore; I will head for the hills.

So that is where my husband and I headed, for what turned out to be a depressingly damp weekend. But a fun weekend nonetheless. Largely because our priorities, as usual, revolved around food and drink. Our first stop upon arriving Friday night was dinner at Cucina - a new spot for us, and a delicious one. We had a lovely summery dinner on the wide front porch - delightful.

Photo via Cucina Woodstock

On Saturday morning, our destination was clear: Love Bites. Love Bites, in the impossibly quaint-yet-hip riverside town of Saugerties, is one of the most delicious breakfast spots I've ever visited. Phenomenal coffee, delicious house-made sausage, bacon so flavorful you stop chewing for a moment just so you can savor the taste in your mouth. Heavenly. Here is my husband doing the ritual drink photo at Love Bites (maybe one day I will explain about our ritual drink photos):

 Then followed our usual ramble along the sleepy main drag of Saugerties, Partition Street. We bought wine and cider at the Partition Street Wine Shop:

And ogled midcentury furniture and housewares that we cannot afford at Green:

Fun bonus: online home decor mecca One Kings Lane featured my photo above, of a pile of gorgeous vintage Navajo rugs at Green, in their #FeelingFall Instagram campaign. I have been spamming them for days. And I'm obsessed with fall, so I've got lots more where that came from. Sorry, guys.

We rambled over to the Saugerties Farmers Market, where we made a new friend:

And we picked up a copy of the local arts & culture magazine, Chronogram. We are bemused yet obsessed by this cover artwork. The artist discusses her inspiration and process here, and I implore you to read the article. Internet cat memes were one of her major influences. Related: god, I love Woodstock. 

Cosmic Chrono Cat, by artist Becky Todd

Sunday, we kayaked! We rented a couple of kayaks and some matching oars and we paddled down the little inlet of the Esopus Creek and out into the Hudson. 

My husband wanted to cross to the east side of the river, and about halfway across, it hit us that we were bobbing in two tiny plastic shells right bang in the middle of the mighty Hudson - it was both awesome and slightly scary. We crossed, we crossed back, we tooled around a little, and then we took a look at the stormclouds massing over the horizon behind the Saugerties Lighthouse, and we decided it might not be our worst decision of the day to head home.

photos via the Saugerties Lighthouse

And then, it rained. And it rained and it rained and it rained. In between rainstorms we made it out to dinner at the Bear Cafe, forever sacred as our wedding spot, and then it rained some more.


Monday, I asked to take a drive up along the bottom of Overlook Mountain even though it looked like this, and sure enough the skies opened up again in full force:

So we gave up and came home. An anticlimactic ending to our lovely weekend. The only reason I wasn't more bummed: we're heading back next month. :)