Just got back from Arizona a few hours ago. It was a really terrific trip, and I'm feeling good about the whole thing.
It was really great to get to hang out with Jeremy. I know that must sound silly considering he lives a few blocks away from me here in Delaware, but we rarely get to hang out, and it was just cool being in Arizona with him. Jeremy really is aces, and I treasure our friendship more than almost anything. We understand each other so intuitively, and we have this weird way of communication that onlookers interpret as bickering, but it SO isn't... it's just fast, direct banter and instruction with no need for pleasantries and flowers and kindness, because that's all "you: (understood)". Anyhoo, because he flies so often, he instantly gets upgraded to first class if there's a seat available, and he surprised me by redeeming some of his frequent flier miles and had my seat upgraded to first class, too. What a doll! :-)
And let me just save you some brain cycles, because I know you're thinkin' it: No, we are not getting back together (mutual ick gross blecch cooties, said lovingly, of course) so just get that out of your little head there. :-)
We landed in AZ on Friday afternoon and by the time we got the rental car and figured out where Jerm's hotel was, it was time to meet Mark and head up to this place where he had booked us massages and stuff. Jerm and Mark both got massages, and I got a pedicure and a facial. My poor tootsies have been hiding under thick wool socks and boots for months now, so they needed some love. :-) We finished up there around 6:15 and then checked Jerm into his hotel. I hadn't slept the night before (or really, for like what, two weeks), and by the time dinner rolled around I was downright unpleasant. Nothing like the sweet combination of a lack of sleep and a fat helping of worry combined with low blood sugar and 4 messages on my voicemail from people all needing stuff to make me really schitzy. We wrangled up Danielle and the four of us went to the Mongolian BBQ on Southern and McClintock (love that intersection!). During the course of the meal, I ran the gamut of emotions... happy, excited, giddy, grumpy, silent, starey, cloudy, giggly, sarcastic... I just really needed a good kick in the ass and a long night's sleep. And that's what I got, baby.
Jerm got himself a hotel so I decided to stay with Mark. I slept like the dead for almost solid 12 hours, I think. Got up a few times in the night to regulate my ol' body temperature (was freezing cold one second, and an hour later had the bed soaked in sweat), but either way, solid REM sleep was attained for many hours, and I woke up a new woman.
On Saturday I spent a fantastic afternoon with Mike Wyckoff. We grabbed lunch at Haji Baba and then adjourned to Starbucks for a few cups of coffee where we philosophized and advised the afternoon away. I love Mike-- the guy has such amazing energy, and his view on the world is wise and magical. Just hanging out with him inspires and rejuvenates me-- his energy is infectious, and you can't help thinking you can conquer the world after basking in the glow of his majestic presence. That voice, that perspective, that guru-like inner peace, that self-assurance, that HUGE SMILE, and now that cool-ass hair... (which should not be confused with "that cool ass-hair." I would know nothing about that), Mike is an amazing guy. Why the hell is he still single? (In my opinion, because there is no woman remotely worthy.)
Saturday afternoon was the wedding rehearsal which was held at Stefan's school. It was very cool to see his classroom-- the school has a real neat vibe to it, and you can tell the students love him (there were some students milling about that afternoon). Stefco gave his outline of the next day's preceedings, Jerm wrote it down and ran it a few times until it was smooth, and soon we were a well-oiled machine! I had never met Stef's family before, but you can see this wacky resemblance in his folks and his brothers. I think it's more of a mannerism thing than a physical thing, but I suppose you can see some physical similarities as well. A fun gang, nonetheless.
For the occasion, Stef assembled a swell group of Bart Faire and CapSon folks to play the ceremony music. I was supah-flattered when Stef asked me to play the lead on All in a Garden Green and Wolsey's Wilde considering I hadn't picked up a recorder since I lived in Arizona, and also considering he's got a full-time recorder player (Irene) who kicks my pants around the planet 47 times in recorder skill. Alas, the tunes came back easily and it was very nice having a front seat in the musicians' balcony there. As for the reception, Stef and Heather stole my idea (ha) where instead of hiring a DJ or a band, I'd just have my cool musician-friends play. I think Jerm and I might have tried to over-organize the reception music, because we didn't get much response from the performers in the previous weeks, but I felt in The Force that people were going to have tons of music prepared, so I really wasn't worried about it molecularly. I mean, let's face it, musicians are exhibitionists for the most part, so any opportunity to do yer thang in front of appreciative people is never passed up. :-)
Speaking of the reception music, Heather asked me to sing Dream a Little Dream of Me as a father-daughter dance/seranade kind of thing... I was SO flattered and happy to do it. It's such a cute little song, it's in a sweet spot vocally, and best of all, Stef would be accompanying me on guitar. I also arranged a 3-part version of You Are the New Day for women's voices. I'm really proud of the arrangement-- lots of voicepart crossing, some open 5ths in places where I like them, some sparse voicings (10ths and such) which I also like, and dare I say I even threw in (GASP!) parallel 5ths in one passage because I thought they sounded cool (Bach, be damned!). The challenge, of course, was to find a key that three women can sing in that also can encompass the voicings I wanted, so I picked F# Major. I think women's voices do funny things on a high G, so I wanted to avoid that dreaded note by choosing a lower key; but putting it in F was just wrong... it needs to be a sharp key to get the color I heard. The bottom voice (moi) gets to blatt out low D#s, and the top part tops out on a high F#. The line-up was supposed to be Renee, Danielle and me, but Renee was cursed with laryngitis and couldn't do it at the last minute. In a panic I sent out an APB to the musicians list and Valarie, Irene and Debbie responded pronto-- it was awesome! So, I e-mailed the music to Valarie as a Windows Metafile, but I guess it needed some special wackoid font to print, so her music looked like some Penderecki thing. :-) But she rocks entirely and was able to pretty much sightread the thing down from the good copy I handed her in person on Saturday. Debbie asked if she could sing and of course I said yes (Debbie rules), so we had Deb and Valarie on top, Danielle in the middle and me on the bottom. I think it balanced quite nicely; I was psyched at how we could just pick up the song after running it sight-unseen only a few times. My God, I have the most talented friends in the world, across many states. Yeeesh, I am so lucky!
Other highlights of the reception were the original Musica Ficta lineup singing our cheezoid doo-wop version of "Dead" (which frankly, I think we did better here after not singing it for 1000 years than we did for the They Might Be Giants tribute album), Danielle crooning out Etta James, Jim and Robin doing their tune from A Mighty Wind (complete with auto-harp for Robin and extra facial hair and glasses for Jim), Jeff singing Stef some manly advice on women, Harry and Irene playing some Bach recorder/harpischord duets (at A415 no less), and The Time Warp (which sadly I missed, but I heard it was a riot thanks to Stef's dad gettin' down with some bridesmaids). Anyhoo, as soon as Jerm gets back east, I'll post the pictures and the sound files we captured.
I also made a mix CD of cool songs for the wedding, in the event there was a lull and people didn't feel like playing. The CD pretty much went unused, but I gave Stef and Heather a copy, and kept one for myself. Here's the track listing, thanks to ChrisTurner, my mix-tape muse:
01- California Dreamin' (Mammas and the Papas)
02- Never My Love (The Association)
03-Something Tells Me I'm into Something Good (Herman's Hermits)
04-The Way You Look Tonight (Tony Bennett)
05-I'm Getting Sentimental Over You (Tommy Dorsey)
06-You are My Sunshine (off of the O Brother soundtrack)
07-Oh What a World (Rufus Wainwright)
08-Very Best Years (The Grays)
09-When You're Smiling (Louie Prima)
10-If I Fell (The Beatles)
11-She's an Angel (They Might Be Giants)
12-Track 12: Happy Magical Track
13-The Longest Time (Billy Joel)
14-Where the Story Ends (The Sundays)
15-Turn Me On (Norah Jones)
16-Beautiful Girl (Pete Droge)
17-Ring of Fire (June Carter Cash)
18-Le Petit Mort (Erin McKeown)
19-The Luckiest (Ben Folds)
20-A Nightengale Sang in Berkely Square (arr. Northern Lights (an a cappella men's group from Penn State, I think...))
21-What a Wonderful World (Louis Armstrong)
22-We'll Meet Again (Johnny Cash)
I'm pretty proud of it, though I gotta give da propz to Turnizzle. (thanks, beb!)
In other news, all went well with the good doctah. I still haven't concluded what I want out of this (cordial hi/bye pseudo-pals, cut everything off completely, cultivate a real friendship, etc.), but at least now I know I can talk to the guy and not want to gouge out anyone's eyes with forks (mine own included), so at least there's some data that I needed for me, there, then, there. I think the only thing I can do is simply be true to myself. If I'm feeling pissed, then I will feel pissed. If I'm feeling friendly and like I have space in my heart in that moment for him, then it will be extended graciously. If I'm feeling the null-set, then I will be the null-set. I can't do what people expect me to do; I gotta do what I gotta do; and if it winds up being convenient for someone else in the process, then mazel tov.
Oh whoops, I realized I got ahead of myself here chronologically... Saturday night after the rehearsal was the rehearsal dinner, and we enjoyed some super-good pizza at NYPD at the Colonnade. We got a huuuuge table; at our end was Jeff and Debbie, Mark and me, Danielle, Valarie, Robin, Jim and weeeee Mariella... and Renee was within waving distance. We chowed down on 'za and salads and appetizers and drank ourselves smiley (I ordered shots of Sambuca and Washington Apples for anyone who wanted 'em) and we were all enjoying the warm glow. :-) Afterwards, we detoxed at Borders at the Biltmore. Back at Chez Kooy, we nullified said detoxification and hijinks ensued. We probably got to sleep around 3-ish, and I woke up around 7am to use the little girls room and I was definitely still spinny. Alas, no hangover (never had one yet, knock on wood), so that was a good thing.
The next morning we got up around 11:30 or so, and I got dressed for the wedding. Jerm and I had to pick up some last-minute stuff at Target and we got to the Kerr Center at around 2:15, which was perfect timing. We were able to run the pieces we needed to, we set everything up, and all was well.
Stefan and Heather looked absolutely fabulous; Heather's dress was so elegant. There was a little time between when the wedding ended and when the caterers were done setting up the tables and ready to serve, so a bunch of us walked over to the Borgata next door for some coffee. It was an absolutely perfect day outside, so we enjoyed sitting out there immensely-- it was really cool just to bum around with my buddies. I rarely get to do that anymore. Anyhoo, we went back to the Kerr center and the jamming began, as did the food (YUM! Catered by India Palace!). We chowed down, sang our tunes, enjoyed the day, relaxed, laughed... it was absolutely lovely. I loved the fact that it had this totally casual feel to it... no assigned seats (yeeeha!) no worries about what fork to use, etc. Instead of a wedding cake, Stef got about 87628761 Krispy Kreme donuts and arranged them artfully into a cake-like scuplture, and topped them with Ralph Wiggum and Lisa Simpson figurines... it was really great. Totally original, and best of all, no dry wedding cake. :-D
We got home around 10:30 I guess, and I packed up my stuff and collapsed into bed, as Jerm was to be waiting at Mark's at 8:00am. Yes, I was late. No, that's not a surprise... though we got out the door around 8:20, so it could have been worse.
The airport was a mob scene due to spring break and spring training, and the lines even for the e-check-in computer thingers were around the building. Jeremy's flight was at 11:00 and mine was at 10, so we stood in line together as long as we could until they called the people whose flights were leaving within 20 minutes or so and let us cut in front of everyone else. Needless to say I got on the plane and the flight was smooth and fine and always a little bittersweet. (Planes always make me pensive/reflective.)
On the plane I flipped through the America West magazine and in the little Geography Quiz in there, Rob's friend's research about how Iowa is actually flatter than a pancake was mentioned-- pretty funny. I listened to some of the DAT from the wedding and it came out really well, near as I can tell. I also read my road trip planning guide; I'm really wanting to get this road trip planned and ready to go-- I'm thinking early June, as soon as choir is over. I really have to start thinking about getting a new car, that's first and foremost. I don't think the ol' Grandma-mobile is gonna survive a 3000-mile beating; but ya never know. Anyway, it's late, so I'll save the roadtrip planning stuff for another entry. I'm sure you just can't wait.
On a final note: Tonight was a "Congrats on Your New Job" party my boss and co-workers threw for Spare and me, it wound up being at Scrimmages for pool, beer and eats. Rah.
Okeedoke... I'm outta here.... my bed calls!