My oldest friend, Nikole, got married. She and I have known each other since we were four. Our families were matched in pre-school for carpool and we have all grown up together: parents and children. She married Dan in a lovely ceremony in a small historic church.
And in true Nikole fashion, she picked up her dress from the seamstress (she had her add some more ruching) at 12:30 pm on Saturday. The day she was getting married-- at 5:30. Ahem. Not to be outdone, Marnie (Nikole's mother) received her dress in the mail at 3:30 pm on Saturday. But they got the dresses, and got to the chapel on time, and got married!
The reception was at Nikole's parents' house, in their backyard. My parents and their friends helped set up the twinkle-lights in the trees, weed the garden, make pathways. It was a perfect place for a reception.
And underneath the dress/tux, a little color for the event...
At the Washington Nationals Stadium, Kate, Susie, and I (plus about11,000 other folks--including Ms. Green M&M) went to the Washington National Opera's free "Opera in the Outfield." It was a gorgeous afternoon, so why not stretch out on the outfield, have a picnic, and listen to a few arias?
Simulcasted on the big Jumbotron from the Kennedy Center was Verdi's "Un Ballo in Maschera"--a story about the Swedish King Gustav and his love for Amelia, the wife of his best friend. Love, dark magic, death scenes--it had everything a good opera should have. Placido Domingo welcomed everyone, setting the stage for the opera, and then "Play Ballo!"
We giggled at the thought of always having to sing (and repeat the lines) your conversations to each other. We attempted to have an aria about sausages and cheese... not sure Verdi would have approved. Three acts and 4 hours later, the King has died, the friend pardoned, and the Swedish nation redeemed. Plus, at the end of the opera, the singers came on stage to take their bows with Nats ball caps on--a perfect ending!
We watched Biscuit for the day and we took the girls to local park (Battery Kimble, if you must know). They romped for more than two hours! This is towards the end, when they were slightly tired out, but not fully exhausted....
Don't you love how Stirling mauls Biscuit while wagging her tail?
Will and I are looking at the last bits of fresh produce in our garden: very small watermelons and a butternut squash. It has been a tough summer for veggies. Everyone I know (including Matie!) has had difficulty in getting big, ripe tomatoes: the summer heat was too much for them. Lots of folks were saying that their corn--all 6 stalks, cuz we are urban farmers here-- dried out. We gave up on corn years ago for that very reason. Our 5 or 6 pepper plants only produced two peppers, one of which didn't bother to turn red before the branch broke. We have had a good year with carrots and figs and lettuce (early on in the season, but now they have pretty much gone to seed). We are hopeful that we keep the squash and the watermelons growing, so keep those fingers crossed!
Our sweet peas are finally in bloom! These flowers are some of Sylvia's favorite and her garden in Edinburgh is full of these pretty little flowers. I had them in my wedding bouquet (coming from her garden).
The plan for successful growing included planting them from seeds, forgetting about them, and then delighted to see that they trellised up the side of the garage. It was hard work for us, as you can see.
Today is my mom's birthday. I came home to surprise her and to help Caroline get ready for dinner: ribs! tomato cucumber salad! fresh bread! broccoli! Mom and Dad arrived and when Mom saw me, she cried. Just a little bit. I am sure that they were tears of joy.
We had a lovely table set... some bubbly to toast... and chan tart made by Matie-- the best person to make the best chan tart. Fresh peaches, meringue, and whipped deliciousness. Mom made her wish and I devoured the chan tart... And then Mom opened her present from her kids: pearl and sapphire earrings and pendant that matches the pearl and sapphire ring that Dad gave her.
Meanwhile, up in the mystery garden, hidden in the armpits of this undetermined plant was... ...the beginnings of Brussels sprouts! The nubs are sever-so small but should keep growing into those delicious mini-cabbage heads that Will (and now me) love so much. All summer, we have pretty much ignored the mystery garden, waiting to see what was revealed in time. We thought we had broccoli. We determined we have numerous carrots. We devoured all the lettuce leaves. And now, I guess it is safe to say that yet another mystery of the mystery garden is now solved: Brussels sprouts identified!
Will, left unsupervised in the garden and enjoying a whole weekend of digging in the dirt, surprised me yesterday. I could hear him grunting and moving and sawing and digging, but paid no attention as I was busy wiping and cleaning and scrubing and organizing my kitchen cabinets and drawers. Finally, I took a break and went outside to see what Will was doing.
He was building a path in the Victory Garden:
He had edged it with the wood left over from the fence that was replaced three years ago that, to my chagrin, he saved. And if you are counting, he has reused that wood thusly: 1. to make trellis for our peas & beans (currently in use in the Victory Garden), 2. redoing the brick patio by using it for edging, 3. edging down along the flower bed by the other side of the house, 4. built shelves with it that currently are holding lots of potting materials, 5. the supports for the terraced herb garden, and now a sixth reuse of the wood. Not that the constant reusing of the wood has not be pointed out to me again and again.... Ahem. I think I learned my lesson, that saving wood can be very useful in deed.
Stirling helped with the laying out of the weed control mats. And Dali, visiting for the week, supervised the whole operation. Being a poodle, she did so without getting dirty.
The path goes around the vegetable patch we have. Will edged in the roses, the lilies, the raspberries & blueberries, and the terraced herb garden. We went to Lowe's and got 15 bags of decorative pebbles (each 40 lbs!) to dump into the path and then a few spare flagstones that Will also had laying about were added. The finished path is quite fantastic! It looks so nice and, now, all the plants down there are easily accessible--very important when wanting fresh golden raspberries or basil.
And you wanna know something else? There is plenty of wood left for Will to build me a trellis for the roses to go over the steps into the victory garden. Use number 7 for the old fence. He tells me that will be a while in coming. In the meantime, we will just enjoy taking short walks on our new path.
I have had that children's rhyme in my head all day long... Will decided to have an organization of the kindling pile. He snipped, snapped, and separated it into one pile and three buckets of varying size bark and sticks-- all the perfect size for starting a fire.
Now we know for sure that there is nothing living in the wood pile and we have plenty of kindling for the winter.
Will brought me coffee and one of our roses as a good morning wake-up call. It was a lovely way to start a holiday weekend. You will have to believe me about the coffee, since you can only see the rose in the photo. I was drinking it at the time of the photo...
Being an incredibly hot day at the arboretum, we did not need to convince Stirling that cooling down in the lake was a good idea. She basically ran down the banks practically jumping into the lake, not caring that there was a small child feeding the fishes with Saltines. She, in fact, tried to also eat the Saltines. Or, at least, I hope she was after the cracker and not the fish....
With all that black fur, you could see steam rising off her as she got in and out of the water.
And who needs a towel when you have unmowed grass?
We drove home with wet dog. Stinky wet dog, to be exact, since that water was not exactly fresh. We had to dip into our baby pool when she got home to get rid of the lake smell. Um, lake smell. Delicious.
We took Riise to the National Arboretum over the weekend.... and it was hot. Baking hot. We still powered through the bonsai exhibits. The dog, not allowed in the with the bonsais, waited out front with Will.
We wondered around looking for trees that have been in training since our birth years. I about cried when Riise pipes up: "I was born in 1990." What? I was in high school. Man, I felt instantly old. Maybe not as old as some of the trees, but close.
We decided not to walk to the columns that originally were on one of the wings of the Capitol Building. From a distance, they were prettier, and we had more important things to do.