Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Hey! Pictures!

So it's been ages since I've posted pictures, and you know what that means:

Lots. Lots and lots in a long, long post. Hope you're not busy! Hope you have nothing to do this summer!


Did I mention that my youngest sister Lauren got married to her excellent boyfriend, Wes? In January? In Detroit? Michigan in January? During one of the snowiest winters in recent memory? In a city that's broke so it can't pay for snow plows? Not sure if I mentioned that.

It turned out really lovely. Yes, there was a major snowstorm, but Detroiters are not fazed by much, and one thing they're not fazed by is weather. Everybody showed up to the ceremony on time, dressed to the nines.

Saturday morning just as the snow hit, we went to the salon to get our hair and makeup done. The Nephew came.

Alex was so unbelievably well behaved. We were there for hours, and he just checked everyone out, looking all handsome while we got made purdy, and then passed out from milk-drunkenness. He slept the whole slippery ride back to my parents' house.

Jennifer, Stephanie and I were just about an hour late getting to the hotel for pictures (see: lack of snow plows), so when we got to Lauren's suite, we found this:

It was surreal. I kept telling Lauren that I really loved her Halloween costume because there was no way my baby sister was getting married. More to the point, there was no way my baby sister was having The Sex. Here's the age difference between the four of us:

Jennifer, born December 1971: 37
Me, born June 1974: 35
Stephanie, born October 1977: 31
Lauren, born July 1984: 25

So we pretty much all had a hand in raising her. When she walked down the aisle, we all just looked at each other, totally flabbergasted, because it felt like five of us were her parents. (For the record, Lauren was not an oops baby, although we have spent years enjoying showing her pictures of the family before she was born and saying, "See this one? This was taken before you came along. When we were happy.")

Lauren felt her wedding was the perfect time to reenact The Sound of Music. Because when else would be a better time?

The wedding was beautiful. The cake was the best wedding cake I've ever tasted. Ever. Anywhere.

This is my cousin Michelle:

Michelle is six weeks older than me, so we grew up together. When we joined ski camp in sixth grade, we realized we hated skiing and spent every Saturday sitting in the lodge eating french fries and drinking hot cocoa. When we went to summer camp together, Michelle would be homesick and try to get sent home by sitting on a chair, propping her feet on another chair across from her and then asking me to jump on her legs to break them. I'd be all, "Um, we're going home in three days. How about maybe sticking it out for a bit longer?" We lived together our freshman year at Michigan State and spent the entire weekend before midterms writing private jokes all over our wood loft in our dorm room. Michelle has always been the most organized person I've ever known, one of the funniest people I've ever known, has the biggest heart, and lets me exaggerate stories for dramatic effect even though she knows the real, less embellished version. She now has three beautiful kids, married her high school sweetheart and is just dreamy. I love her desperately.

(Note: This being the last of the Garfield weddings, I walked into the salon and told them to do whatever they wanted with me. I always find that hairdressers and makeup artists do a better job and have more fun if they can just go to town and be creative. I told them I didn't want to look like myself and to just go with it. Then I thought for a second and said, "Wait. Now I'm thinking Old French Whore. Can you do that?" This picture was taken long after Old French Whore was mingled and danced out, my eye makeup, which had been excellent, was a bit worn, the lip gloss muted, the earrings removed from my sore lobes and put into my purse, but you get the idea. I think they did a great job. The back was all nice and messy, and they really went with the whole "slutty and festooned with pearls" look. I was pleased.)

Later in January, as you all know, was the inauguration. This still makes me laugh:

Maybe it's the angle of my TV, but did you notice something about Biden and Obama?

Aren't their hands tiny? They look like Barbie hands! Obama's hand looks like it's actually the hand of the guy standing behind him! And did they ever say who the guy is behind the not-Obama's-hand guy who looks like James Cromwell?

On their way to their honeymoon cruise, which left from a port in Bayonne, New Jersey, Lauren and Wes stayed with us in Brooklyn. Wes had never been to New York, and this excited me to no end. I am always unreasonably thrilled to show people around the city for the first time because I remember what it was like my first time and I still maintain it's the most exciting place in the world. But they only had one full day to do it, so I packed that Saturday full of touristy goodness. The idea is, you want to give the visitor an excellent overview of the city, see most of the main attractions even if it's only a glimpse, and that way, on their second visit they can spend more time at the places that really interested them, and then on subsequent visits, they can get into the nitty gritty of New York and not have to worry about the touristy bits and just do fun bits and see how New Yorkers live. So we got up in the morning and headed to the Brooklyn Heights Promenade, which offers the best view of Manhattan across the East River, south from the Statue of Liberty to north past the Empire State Building.

This is Wes's first glimpse:

It was unbearably cold. There were some days this past winter when it was so cold I tied two scarves together and wrapped them around my upper half, very Nanook of the North. Josh and I wanted to take a picture together but couldn't move closer to each other, we were so frozen.

Me: We look like old-timey immigrant ancestors. Like, we're just off the boat from Poland. The Statue of Liberty is somewhere behind us and we're not really touching.
Josh: Yeah, but we're smiling. So not exactly.

We had some delicious breakfast and then made our way into Manhattan to grab a double-decker bus tour. As cheesy as they are, they're the best way to see a large part of a city in a very short period of time. And you can get on and off if you want to walk around a neighborhood or site, so in the span of a couple hours, Wes saw Times Square, the Empire State Building, the Garment District, the Flatiron Building, the Chrysler Building and the West Village. We got off at Ground Zero, then walked through the Financial District to the New York Stock Exchange, which I'd never seen.

Here was the problem: We had the shittiest tour bus guide. He punctuated every single sentence with, "DO YOU UNDERSTAND?" and littered his tour with name-droppings instead of actual facts about the city: "See that apartment building there? Rob Lowe used to live there. Yeah, I knew him because I'm an artist, and he came into my class one day, and he lived right there." Josh was beside himself because a lot of the city facts the guy did manage to spew were not fully accurate, and here's my research-nerd husband saying under his breath, "It was 1983, not 1981."

So I flipped the guy off.

We very easily could have hopped off the bus and waited for another to come, hopefully with a better guide, but it was so freakin' cold. When we did get onto a different bus after walking around Ground Zero, the guide was immeasurably better. We finished the tour driving past South Street Seaport, the East Village and Rockefeller Center, where we got off, walked up Fifth Avenue past Tiffany's, then across Central Park, caught the subway and had an amazing dinner at Josh and my favorite soul-food restaurant in Harlem, Amy Ruth's, and then went back down to the West Village for dessert at an old bakery. Needless to say, we were exhausted and cold, but it was a great, great I Heart NY day.

The next day, I went with my horror-film-junkie husband to see My Bloody Valentine 3D. The movie was, of course, terrible, but check out the glasses!

So much more high-tech than back in my day. [waving fist, crotchety] In my day, we had cardboard glasses! They bent before we used 'em! They didn't actually work! They just made you look stupid! We didn't need no stinkin' functional plastic Vuarnet-lookin' 3D glasses! The fanciest we got were the ones at Captain EO because they were purple, dammit!

In February, Josh and I went to Boston to babysit Alex while Stephanie and her husband, Josh (I know; confusing), spent a romantic Valentine's Day night in a hotel. This is the gist of our night with Alex:

The kid is a dream. He's good-natured, so cute it's ridiculous, undeterred by colds and teething, laughs easily, loves nothing more than being upside down. My sister made the perfect baby.

Wait, Johnny Galecki is on Craig Ferguson right now. Why does he look like that? Where did his adorability go?


In March, my friend Amy asked me if I'd ever seen the "little doors."

"Little doors?"

"I'll take you to see the little doors."

Here's Amy at the little doors:

It's a very short street called Dennet Place, a block between four main roads, tucked away in the reaches of my old neighborhood in Brooklyn. Nobody seems to know the story behind the four- to five-feet-high doors — they may have just been access doors to staircases going into basements — but people live behind the little doors. It's a very quaint street, very neighborhood-y. The doors sit beneath outdoor stairs leading to full-length doors and the main entrances to the buildings.

After wandering up and down Dennet Place, Amy and I walked around Carroll Gardens. We found a great vintage knickknack store.

During Passover, we had lunch at a kosher for Passover restaurant with Josh's brother, Adam, and Adam's wife, Rachel. They observe Passover more religiously than we do, so after lunch, we stopped off at a kosher grocery store so they could pick up a few things.

Now, I'm not a terribly religious person — I'm more of a cultural Jew than a regular synagogue-goer — but I went to Hebrew school through twelfth grade, had a bat mitzvah, I can read and write Hebrew, I went to Jewish summer camp, I know how to pray, I know from my peoples. But this, this I've never seen before:

Mishpacha means family. A family of mushrooms.

It was a gorgeous spring day, so we went for a walk in Central Park.

The short white building on the left is the Guggenheim Museum:


April 18 was International Record Store Day, Josh's favorite day of the year, so we puttered around Manhattan and bought some music. I paid $5 for an Oasis CD. I have no idea what I was thinking. I've never liked Oasis. International Record Store day clearly made me a terrible judge of my own taste.

I love this:

A garden center with a clear view of a parking structure. Yay, nature!

This is Other Music. Josh has been shopping here for 100 years. He used to have his own record label, and then worked in the business for other labels until he went back to school a few years ago. These are his people.

In May, I went with some friends to our friend Marisa's country house up in Columbia County. It was just beautiful, and I hadn't had a girlie weekend in forever. So we ate a lot. We also spent an afternoon in Hudson, one of the more very charming, very old towns in New York State. There's a main drag there with really beautiful little mom-and-pop shops and a firehouse.

In Hudson, many shuttered business had this taped to their windows:

I love how these salt and pepper shakers look like they're doing "I'm a Little Teapot." Well, that's just a different item of kitchenware entirely.

I have truly wondered what the person who created this is trying to say:

Are they saying that Sarah Jessica Parker looks like Bea Arthur? That Sarah Jessica Parker wishes she were as talented as Bea Arthur? That Sarah Jessica Parker is the second coming of Bea Arthur? That Sarah Jessica Parker idolizes Bea Arthur? That Sex and the City is this generation's Golden Girls? So many questions, graffiti artist!

I just want to take this opportunity to say that I miss Bea Arthur. That is all.

In front of the firehouse.

Memorial Day weekend, I headed back to Boston. My parents came too, and we had a whole Alexfest all weekend. Because so many people were descending on Stephanie's house, I spent the first night in a hotel. I've been over-reading about the bedbug problem infesting the East Coast, so naturally I was struggling to convince myself that my hotel room would not be crawling with bugs that would then jump into my suitcase that I would then bring home and, as a result, be forced to spend thousands of dollars I didn't have to get rid of the problem. Once I convinced myself of this, I got to the hotel, and this was the pattern on the bedspread:

It did not help.

The next morning, I took Alex to his swim lesson. We had some time to kill before it started, so Steph, my mom and I took him to a nearby park to try out the swings. The best word I can think of to describe his reaction to the swings is: suspicious.

He could not seem to get his head around the whole sensation of dangling in the air without a person attached to him in some way. He reacted the same way to being in the pool. He didn't squirm, he didn't cry, he didn't freak out. He just looked around with that furrowed brow, sort of like, "I'm just not sure about this, and I don't know why all of you people seem to be." Except for when we did the Hokey Pokey. The kid loves the Hokey Pokey.

This is the view from Stephanie's gym. That is mean.

A pirate canoeing along the Charles River. Arrrrr.

Alex and my dad looking jaunty.

OK, I just spent four hours trying to load a video of a bunch of adults making humiliating noises to Alex while he looks at us like we're insane, and then it failed to load and error-messaged, and I'm gonna sign off now so I can pull my hair out. But just wait! Coming up next: A former Army base! Lawn chairs! Spiky phalluses! Christ candles!

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