Saturday, July 24, 2010

Weekend Working Girl

Today I'm working! It's just a one-day fill-in job, but still, I'm happy to be earning a bit of money. And it's fun because I'm at the art gallery where I used to work, literally a jewel box in the middle of Durham. Before I moved to New York and before the gallery moved to Durham, I used to work at the gallery in Chapel Hill. I worked there for 6 and a half years before making a life change and moving to NYC to get my master's degree. Then, of course, fate brought me back to NC, and here I am. This gallery is where I fell in love with C. We used to work together in the old days, at the old place. But this new gallery, so gorgeous, is where we met one cold December blue moon night and fell in love in front of a cozy fire, surrounded by gorgeous art, the place to ourselves. So of course, it holds special memories. This morning, when C dropped me off for work (my lunchbox all packed with treats from him), we sat in front of the fireplace and said a little prayer of thanks together, and were amazed again at the circumstances that brought us together.

The gallery is quiet today: construction outside and a 100-degree day are conspiring against us, but I've sold a few things so far. It's fun to talk to customers again, to model jewelry, to handle objects d'art. I'm happy to be inside on such a hot day, and immersed in beauty. Nevertheless, it will be nice to see C pull up at the end of the day and take me home. Working is all well and good, but... it's Saturday!

Thursday, July 22, 2010


Well, I have not been able to blog as much, because the Internet connexion at my house is very unreliable. I've been borrowing signal from the public school across the street, but it's very weak and sometimes on the weekends it doesn't work at all. Eventually C and I will get DSL, but probably not until I get a job. Things are insecure right now with his job, so we are trying not to spend any money that we don't have to spend.

So, eventually I want to start blogging more about the improvements we're making to our home, the interesting features of Durham, my art projects, my garden, etc. But right now... I'm just trying to be patient! And C is trying to be patient with me. He's not used to having someone come into his home and want to rearrange everything, even someone with impeccable taste. :)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Our Travels, Continued

Sorry I have not been blogging more. I really have a lot to write about, but just haven't found the spare moments. Also, my internet connection at home is not the greatest...

Anyway, to pick up where I left off, C and I spent four days on Ocracoke Island, which was fantastic. I recommend it to anyone looking for an interesting and fun place to vacation. There are miles of beautiful beach, and just enough interesting shops and restaurants to keep one busy during the time not spent parasailing, boating, kayaking, fishing, birdwatching, or whatever sort of island thing you like to do. C and I spent our time looking at historical things (the British Cemetery, where four British casualties of WW1 are buried), going to art galleries (the decoy shop counts as one), swimming (in the ocean and in the swimming pool where we stayed) and going in the sauna (my first time in a sauna, and I didn't like it very much), eating seafood at the island restaurants, going to the surf shop, buying candy (salt water taffy--hello!), and hanging out at our rented house, where we liked to play cards on the deck overlooking the bay and watch the boats and birds and people.

"Let's live here!" said C, and I agreed. But when it came time to leave, we were kind of excited to get on the road and see some more places.

The first place we went was Belhaven, where there is a museum made of all the random objects that one woman collected during her lifetime. In a cluttered and dimly lit room over the town hall, a collection of dusty Victorian clothing, dolls, rocks, bones, Samoan fans, lightbulbs, Victrola records, buttons, furniture, things in jars (!!!), etc. is on display for free to anyone who can decipher the ancient hand-written scotch-taped-on labels. A donation of spare change helps maintain the collection, or at least pays for the lunch of the equally dusty old man keeping an eye on the place. My favorite things there were the whale skull, a random but super-cute teddy bear, the canned vegetables from the Victorian times, and a jar with a label that said "The foot of the last bear that Aunt May caught."

The other fun thing about Belhaven is that they were getting ready for their Independence Day celebration, which seems to be a big deal for them, and everyone was participating in the decoration contest, so every single house and business was entirely decked out in bunting. C and I decided we're going to put bunting on our house next July.

By the late afternoon we found ourselves in Bath, NC. Once a thriving and bustling port town, it is now just a sleepy farm village, with a few historic buildings to draw a few dozen tourists each year. As we drove through the dusky tree-lined streets, we found the one bed & breakfast place in town and secured lodging for the night. The place had bicycles for its guests, and we took full advantage of them, cruising down to the river, over to the historic church, and from one end of the town to the other. Bath has two restaurants, and we rode to one and looked at it, then to the other and looked at it, and then we picked the one that had outdoor seating so we could watch the sun set as we ate our meal. Then we rode around some more as darkness fell, and spotted things like a fake pirate illuminated in the upper story window of an old Victorian house. Both Ocracoke and Bath have historic ties to Blackbeard the Pirate, and play it up.

"Let's live here," said C. In the morning we rode around on bikes some more, and tried to decide which house we would buy, and there were several nice ones for sale, including the B&B where we stayed. We started thinking about how fun it would be to run a B&B, but decided that maybe it would be better to have one in a place a little less sleepy than Bath. We hardly saw any people the whole time we were there. But Bath does have a very interesting old house, the Palmer-Marsh house. Callie, our teenage tour-guide, gave us the history of the place, including the story of the young woman buried behind it, who apparently died of a broken heart when her sailor was lost at sea.

After seeing all the historic sights of Bath, C and I hit the road once again, shunning the freeways and keeping to the "blue highways," the small-town routes, which led us through fields of tobacco, soybeans, field corn, and peanuts, and whistle-stop towns with crumbling Victorian houses and abandoned train depots. We'd stop every now and then to take a picture of something funny or gorgeous, and then continue on our way.

By mid-day we crossed the Albemarle Sound and reached Edenton...

(To be continued, and pictures added soon!)

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Church in Swan Quarter

My love of churches is such that wherever I go they are the buildings that I am most aware of, and drawn to. I love to study the architecture, to look at the variations in structure that still keep the traditional church character. The arched windows, stained glass, pointed gables, etc. C loves churches and old buildings in general, too, and so we were perfectly happy to spend our honeymoon driving from town to little town, looking at old, often crumbling, buildings.

This is the first church we encountered, located in the tiny town of Swan Quarter, where we arrived on the first day of our honeymoon, with several hours to kill before we could catch the ferry over to Ocracoke Island. We busied ourselves "touring" the town, which consisted of this crumbling church, a couple of newer churches, an old and sketchy sort of restaurant, plenty of farmhouses, a decrepit dock full of old fishing boats, and a "wildlife viewing area." We ate lunch in the center of town, where someone had built a two-level gazebo, and then wandered about looking at all the interesting things like

this old car (extra credit to those who can name the make, model, and year!):

this pile of crab traps that looked like some sort of contemporary art sculpture:

these boats:

each other:Most of all we liked the old church, which was very mysterious with its gray paintless wood and equally abandoned looking semi trailer and boat parked alongside it. Bees nested in an upper story, gaining access through a broken windowpane. Key blanks were scattered around the front steps. The heavy summer heat of the South and the general lack of passersby added to the mystery of the place.

But soon it was time to catch the ferry, and soon C and I were off to our island getaway. After a 2 hour ride, which we thoroughly enjoyed--watching diving pelicans and passing sailboats--we arrived on the small island and easily found the place that would be our home for the next 4 days, a charming and spacious house right on the water of the island's bay, or Silver Lake as they call it. There we had a gorgeous view of the boats coming in and out, and all the water activities, which we could watch from a deck overlooking the harbor. Soon I was frying up pancakes and we were watching the sunset. A wonderful way to start the honeymoon!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Wedding Reception

After the wedding ended, C and I got in his car and started driving out to Hillsborough, to Joe's house, where our reception was being held. We couldn't believe we were finally married! Smiling, still in a daze, we recounted our feelings from the ceremony, sharing our favorite parts. We took some deep breaths and began to relax. The business was done--now all we had to do was go to a party!

Joe's house is like a romantic European villa at the top of a hill surrounded by rolling farmland. Full of art and oddities, it's like an extension of his art gallery, but with personal details. Comfortable and spacious, it was the ideal place for a wedding reception, where people could lounge inside, out on the extensive veranda, or down by the pool. We used Joe's ten-foot long dining room table for the food--sandwiches and salads from The Catering Company--with the cakes on small tables at either end.

Guests were already started to arrive when C and I got there, and we were soon mingling with them all, talking, laughing, just having an excellent time. It was so good to talk to friends I hadn't seen in a long time, as well as with C's family. Everyone seemed to have such a great time, and I enjoyed wandering around and observing the conviviality, all the while being the belle of the ball. Mostly, I was thankful to have such wonderful friends! They all pitched in and helped make sure everything ran like clockwork, while still managing to enjoy themselves.

The usual wedding rituals were followed: C and I danced our first dance, Moonlight Serenade. He is a fabulous dancer, by the way. Then my parents danced to Elvis' Can't Help Falling in Love With You, and we cut the cake, while the paparazzi snapped away. Later, outside on the lawn, I threw my bouquet to all the single ladies, and despite the 98-degree weather, C and I posed for romantic pictures with each other against the gorgeous backdrop of green fields and blue skies. It was only a two-hour reception, and the time just flew by. Before I knew it, the cd was on it's last song, "Thank You Friends" by Big Star, and people were leaving. But a few friends lingered, and we relaxed on the porch chairs, drinking Diet Cokes and feeling blissful. C and I danced a little more. I can't remember ever feeling so completely happy. It was just a glorious day.

Some of my favorite memories of the day are: my little sister K dancing with C's dad to a Glenn Miller song, seeing my mom and dad dancing, spotting my nieces and nephews smiling and pointing at me whenever they saw me, feeling so pretty in my wedding dress, the kind and loving toast that Joe gave us... and at the very end my friends serenading C and I as we walked out to the car to drive away. My three friends from New York, my mom, my sisters and brother all followed us out, singing and dancing with joy, and sent us off with a show-biz goodbye. I opened the sunroof on C's car and stuck myself out of it, waving goodbye to them, as we drove off toward the setting sun.

But first, because we were hot and happy and in love, C and I stopped at Maple View Dairy for some ice cream! Then, refreshed, happy, heart-full, and married, we drove home.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Wedding

I remember being nervous the morning of the wedding, but then going for a swim and then feeling calm and peaceful. Still, my hands shook as I dressed and put on makeup. E came to the church early with me to get ready, and as we prepared downstairs, my heart skipped a few beats thinking about C and what he might be doing or thinking about. I thought of my family, too, and wondered what each one was thinking as they all prepared to come see me be married. My sisters all came downstairs to see me in my wedding dress, and some friends also popped in for a few pictures and well wishes. When it was finally time to begin, I carefully made my way up the stairs and took my father's arm. Then, all eyes were on me as the organ played a fanfare and we began to walk down the aisle toward my waiting husband-to-be. He had the most wonderful smile, and that look of gratitude and amazement that he gets sometimes which makes my heart turn flips. I remember everyone in the pews watching me and smiling, and I returned their smiles with a huge one of my own. I felt beautiful, special, and thankful to have so many kind people there to see me.

All the details were perfect. The flowers in the church were white, and everyone wore corsages of white roses. My bouquet was similar, but with pink peonies and pale pink roses from the garden. My veil stayed in place, and my knees didn't buckle--I was actually able to stand and sing with gusto all the hymns that C and I chose. The ceremony opened with C's favorite hymn, How Great Thou Art, which moved us both. Then a friend read the poem, "How Like an Arch This Marriage" by John Ciardi, which describes how the two sides of an arch lean inward and upward to greater strength. Two ladies then sang "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing" like angels. Next, my dad spoke the sweetest words of praise, admiration, and fatherly counsel, and I felt amazed to have such wonderful parents. "On This Day of Joy and Gladness" was the next hymn, and then it was the moment for Chris and I to step forward. The bishop's words were doctrinal, wise, full of promise and hope for our eternal future. C and I shared long looks, full of meaning and emotion, but our words were both strong and clear as we said, "I do," and as we exchanged rings, promising to one another a pledge of faithfulness and abiding love. My hands were sweaty and my ring stuck, so there was a slightly awkward moment as C wriggled the ring slowly onto my finger, but other than that there was nothing to mar the incomparable moments of being officially knitted together as husband and wife.

The service ended with "Now Thank We All Our God" and my own heart swelled with thankfulness and joy. As C and I made our way down the aisle together, my smile was even larger than it had been before, and C also could not help beaming. We stood in the back of the church as our guests filed out and we greeted each one with more smiles and thanks. There I was reunited with my roommates from New York, friends from near and far, and more joyful greetings from family members. Never have I felt so happy, so entirely at peace with the world, so heart-full. Like a beautiful dream, or heaven, I was surrounded by all my friends and family, partnered beside the best and most wonderful man I have ever known. But it wasn't a dream, and as the reality sunk in, if it is even possible, I just became happier and happier.

My Wedding

Sometimes I would get so excited talking about the wedding plans that I would forget that the whole world didn't revolve around me. I mean, I wasn't a bridezilla (I don't think), but sometimes I would be talking to C and I'd say something like, "oh, this is a card from so-and-so. They can't make it to my wedding, but they send their love" or "guess what? we're going to have little bottles of martinelli's at my wedding!" C would then gently remind me that it was his wedding too. And what a wedding it was. I'll tell you about it soon.

I apologize for being so absent from the blog world this week, but I've been on my honeymoon, a.k.a. the best week of my life. There is no way I can possibly recap everything all in this one post, so I'm going to take it day by day and catch up with posts about each day, beginning with the wedding day.