There's too much entry for a sidebar today.
So, because I live here now, and also because I don't have a job, I was able to hop in my car on Friday afternoon and return to Philadelphia to attend Melissa and Greg's wedding reception.
Melissa and I ran some errands on Friday night, which included a stop at Bed Bath and Beyond, where I had to place a phone call to my mother regarding what has become a Holy Grail-like search for slipcovers for my couch and chair. I also spoke to my mother later that evening, when Melissa and I decided to make chicken salad for the party but couldn't find decent instructions on how to boil chicken.
(You laugh, as boiling chicken sounds like a pretty straightforward operation, but it isn't. You bring a pot of water to a rapid boil, drop in the chicken, cover the pot, and wait for it to come to a boil again, then turn it off and let it sit for 40 minutes. See? We'd never have come up with that on our own. My mom rocks.)
Saturday morning was more errand-running, including stops at the farmer's market (where we pooled all the cash we had left in order to buy the most delicious-looking Key Lime Pie and Triple Chocolate Cake from the Amish), the bakery (for a pre-ordered Chocolate Chiffon cake and an impluse-buy Strawberry Shortcake), and every single grocery store in town, for the right fresh flowers (and it was worth it, because we ended up with gorgeous ones).
Saturday afternoon was the final stretch of food preparation. We pared vegetables. We mixed dips. We arranged platters. A friend of Greg's came by early and fixed up the beverage table. We made little name cards for the dishes, so Melissa wouldn't have to spend the party saying things like, "Yes, that is hummus, actually."
And then, we got the party started.
At the risk of seeming horrendously insular, I have to admit that I spent most of the evening in the company of certain guests of the journaling persuasion. They included...
...Corina and Wes, who arrived bearing a beautiful hand-made guest book for the newlyweds and the entire season of "24" on tape for me, and then promptly spent an hour valiantly cleaning up the mess Melissa and I had spent the day making in the kitchen;
...Kymm, who was repeating her performance as photographer extraordinaire, and who also banished me to the couch in the basement on Saturday night with her cunning use of "scissors" during our battle for the guest room;
...Tracing and her husband, who I was so looking forward to meeting and who I did not get nearly enough time to talk to;
...Amanda and her husband, who I also did not get enough time to talk to, especially because I was looking forward to reliving our stunning victory in a game of Cranium lo these many years ago;
...Kate, who rushed in from rehearsals in New York and then positively refused to stay over, which meant I had no one to stay up and giggle with in the basement;
...and finally Schuyler, accompanied by her father, who followed her around like nothing so much as a movie star's personal assistant.
And quite the movie star she was. She cruised around as if she owned the place, relatively nonplussed by all the giant strangers milling about in the house and yard. She primped and preened in front of every available reflective surface. When I took over her security detail in an effort to give Rob the chance to grab at least a bite of food, I followed her up to the second floor, where she was perfectly content to stand on a windowsill and look for some adoring fans to wave at.
All right, I admit it. I was slightly taken with her. While I haven't quite accepted the fact that I could be alone for the rest of my life, I have been getting used to the idea that I might never have children, so I've started trying to convince myself that I don't even want them. I thought I was making progress until I spent about five minutes hanging out with this monkey of a two-and-a-half year old, because suddenly I was hatching a kidnap plot, and I'm not kidding. (See how much she wanted to come with me?)
Lest we forget the person responsible for chauffeuring Schuyler to guest appearances such as this, it was really good to spend some time with Rob. Developing a friendship with another online journaler is kind of a strange thing, in that meeting the person, which is ordinarily a prerequisite to the existence of an actual friendship, becomes more of a bonus. I've been reading Rob's journal for years, and he's been reading mine, and we e-mail on a pretty regular basis, so we became friends, despite not even meeting for the first time until last October at JournalCon. So the cool thing about that is when you finally do get to hang out together, there's no initial new-person awkwardness to get over -- it's totally comfortable, like you've known each other for years, because you have.
(I also have to say this: Rob is known to occasionally deride his abilities as a father, but even after a short amount of time seeing them together, it is clear that he would cut off his own arms without hesitation if it would keep Schuyler from harm. So the next time he says anything about them taking away his Dad card, just know that it's never going to happen.)
I did mingle a little with some non-journaling folk, some of Greg's colleagues, some of Melissa's theater friends, all of whom were absolutely charming and only a few of whom looked somewhat puzzled when faced with an explanation of how we know each other. The weather cooperated beautifully, which was very fortunate, as it allowed people to mingle outside among lanterns and tree lights. All of the food both looked and tasted delicious, an incredible feat considering that probably 80% of it was homemade.
(Melissa's going to kill me, but I must point out the absence of one particular appetizer. While she was getting her hair done Saturday afternoon, I busied myself creating Roquefort Grapes, which are grapes covered in a bleu and cream cheese mixture, then rolled in chopped walnuts. I mixed the cheese, chopped the nuts, and covered the grapes, by which time Melissa was home and took over rolling them in the walnuts. She arranged them all quite beautifully on a tray, which then went into the freezer in the garage. A couple of hours later, Melissa went to said freezer to retrieve ice, and failed to notice the tray of grapes when she pulled two bags out from underneath it, sending the grapes to the floor of the garage.)
Melissa, by the way, looked gorgeous in a 1950's-era red and white dress, and Greg looked -- well, Greg looked like Wes, as both men were in pale-green short-sleeved shirts and black flat-front pants. (Both men looked very handsome, though.)
Towards the end of the evening, a few of us adjourned to the cooler climate of the basement. Corina and Wes watched the end of the Phillies game, Rob and Greg swapped stories of New Haven, Kate and I glugged wine from the bottle.
I feel it is safe to say that a good time was had by all.
And suddenly it was two in the morning and everyone was gone except the bride, the groom, the photographer, and me. We gazed in wonder at the food that remained, and did our best to reduce the amount we'd have to pack up in Tupperware by simply eating it ourselves, particularly the desserts. Toward the end of the clean-up process, Melissa attempted to pawn off the three remaining lemon bars, but none of us could eat another bite.
At some ridiculous hour, we finally shuffled off to our respective sleeping quarters, and I doubt if an earthquake could have roused any of us. Around 11 the next morning, I wandered upstairs to find Melissa lazing on the couch. We discovered that lemon bars left out overnight are still pretty good, and I checked out her bounty of gifts, and we giggled for what can only be considered an insane amount of time over the fact that the Salad Spinner had a brake. Kymm soon came downstairs, triumphantly displaying her newly cast-off scarf. We talked about how we missed Athena and Colleen and Eliza and Jessamyn and Mo and how it would have been a veritable JournalCon right there in Melissa's house if they had been able to make it. We lazed some more and snacked some more (two things we're all quite good at) until finally I summoned the energy to pack up my car and bid my adieus.
It was a wonderful weekend. And the coolest thing is that I'm going to see Melissa and Greg again in five days, when they come to DC for the weekend.
I live here now. And I'm so, so glad.