Coming to you LIVE from 35,000 feet!

17 12 2010

This is a great day. Not only am I en route to Portland for a good old-fashioned Grbavac Family Christmas (6 for 6 ZG’s this year!!!), but I’m actually EN ROUTE as we speak… type… whatever. Delta flights have free onboard wi-fi for the holiday season. Merry Christmas to ME! This little nugget of free-ness feels like such an incredible luxury! I’m getting spoiled… I’ll probably have to budget some extra cash into my travel plans to accommodate my new onboard wi-fi addiction!

The Portland itinerary is definitely coming together… arrive late-ish Friday night to an already full Grba-house (Mom, Dad, Scott, Mark, Cousin Mike, and Cousin Katie)… Saturday will very likely bring a trek to the DuckShop for pictures with Santa Duck! (how can I pass that up this year?!)… Saturday night is the always epic Glug Party… Sunday night a new Cousin Christmas tradition will be born: Cousin Bar Night!… There’s Grbavac family Christmas supper at Mary Ann’s and a Ladies Day lunch and Nutcracker matinée downtown and meet-ups with friends and tons of great sibling togetherness time.

THIS is what Christmas looks like.

Advertisements




Best. Family. Ever.

30 06 2010

No one is as lucky as I am when it comes to familes… except for maybe Jill and Scott and Mark, but that’s because they have the same one that I do! Perhaps THEY are the REALLY lucky ones, because I’M their sister?! 🙂

It was truly a Family-themed trip to Portland last week. There wasn’t any singular occasion that made this a Not To Be Missed weekend in Portland, but a multi-event, multi-city, uber-happy Zarosinski-Grbavac love-fest in the Pacific Northwest!

Event #1: Grbavac Late-Night Happy Hour – Ashdale Drive – Thursday, June 10

My flight left Atlanta at 7:30 p.m. and arrived in Portland at 9:30 p.m. I love flying West! Of course I checked in online (including the $23 checked bag fee… essentially airline piracy) and could drop my bag off at the curb without waiting on a single line! And we all know how I feel about waiting for things! I had a direct flight, which to me is a serious luxury. It took awhile to get off the plane (as usual) but as soon as I came down the escalator to the PDX baggage claim, I saw my bag coming around the carousel! Sweet! Dad and Jill picked me up and we went straight home where Mark and Scott and Isabella were waiting for us. It was SO GOOD to see and hug my brothers again! It’s been 2 years since I’ve seen Scott, and I couldn’t wait to spend the next 6 days catching up. We had cocktails and sat around the kitchen table chatting for a couple of hours, laughing and making our plans for Friday. It felt like a very late night for me, but I like to drop-kick my Circadian rhythms into West Coast time as soon as possible!

Event #2: Grba-Siblings Hiking Adventures – Columbia River Gorge – Friday, June 11

Friday plans included hiking to the top of Multnomah Falls and the Horsetail Falls trail and making handmade pizzas on the grill for dinner. But first, I needed a pair of hiking shoes. And to borrow some hike-worthy clothes. Obviously I was unprepared. We packed a nice picnic lunch and filled the water bottles and were on our way. The Columbia River Gorge is one of the most beautiful stretches of river-side highway in the US. Despite wishing for some whiter clouds in bluer skies, the weather could not have been better for us.

Over a month straight of rain makes for one raging waterfall! I don’t think I’ve ever seen it look like this before! Nor have I (or any of us) ever been to the top of the Falls. But today is the day! It’s not a long hike (probably 1.2 miles) but nearly 1.1 of those miles ascend at nearly a 45 degree angle.

Scott had to be in charge of the camera at this point. The observation platform dangles over the edge of The Falls, and I’m not really a fan of dangling over the edge of anything. The return trip down the now -45 degree angles was fairly frightening due to some painful knees and tired quads. Poor little ACLs!

A few preemptive bandaids and short drive farther out the Gorge later, we were back on the trails to see a few more Falls. First was Horsetail Falls – aptly named!

Next up, Ponytail Falls. I always feel a little bit Last-of-the-Mohicans when I get to walk behind a waterfall!

Finally we made our way to Triple Falls – also appropriately (if not very creatively) named.

Triple Siblings at Triple Falls!

This made a great snack spot for the remainder of our picnic lunch: string cheese, hardboiled eggs, and apples for everyone!

After a delicious dinner of homemade (even the dough, thanks to our amazing Mom!) pizzas on the grill that we ate outside on the new deck, the Siblings headed across the river to meet up with cousins and friends and 25-cent Skee Ball at East Burn. As if there wasn’t going to be enough family-bonding going on downstairs in the TapRoom, another Central Catholic family dynasty was amassing as well. By 11 p.m. or so, it looked like a Harrington-Rice vs. Zarosinski-Grbavac Mafia War Council. *side note: the Zarosinski-Grbavac faction emerged as the clear and decisive winner… They had cleared out by midnight… WE closed the bar down. Bam.

Event #3: Mark’s Graduation from OSU – Corvallis, OR – Saturday, June 12

Closing the bar down at 2:30 a.m. hurt a little bit more when the alarm clock rang the next morning to rouse us for our 8 a.m. departure for Corvaillis. *sigh. But knowing that Grandma and Papa and Dona and Katie and DeAnna and Mary Ann were all going to be there made it slightly easier to get up and going. The weather was PERFECT. Sunny and warm and breezy and simply fantastic!

After the ceremony, we high-tailed it back to Mark’s house in hopes of catching the end of the US World Cup game… we got there in time for the inspiring music and the slow-motion highlight reel. Draw, USA! We soon assembled at King Tin’s Chinese restaurant for a smorgasbord of rice and meat and veggies and delicious extravagance!

A quick stop at the Woodburn Outlets proved fruitful as I found a light-weight, rain-resistant, wind-breaker type jacket. I was in need of something to protect me (read: my hair) from the sudden summer storms of the South. And it’s bright lime green, which makes me smile every time I see it! Yay for Columbia Sportswear!

Event #4: Portland’s Saturday Market – Sunday, June 13

Portland’s Saturday Market actually runs Saturdays AND Sundays in its new location at the Pavillion on the Waterfront.

The Siblings met up with Cousin Katie to spend a relaxing sunny morning/afternoon perusing the booths and taking in the sights of The Market prior to making our way up to Vancouver for the Zarosinski Family Graduation(s) Party.

There just isn’t a nicer or more beautiful place on earth than Portland on a warm, sunny, summer-y day!

Stay tuned for more stories….





Homecoming

8 06 2010

It is T-minus 44 hours until I’m leaving on a jet plane, heading home to Portland for a multi-event extended weekend – if you count Thursday to Wednesday as “extended weekend.

Any guesses as to the current completion level of my packing…

In my defense, there IS a suitcase on the floor… in the-opposite-of-my-defense, it’s still half-full of the remnants of last weekend’s trek to Charlotte. Tomorrow evening would not appear to rank high on the Fun Scale.

But ready or not (and I WILL be ready – just at the eleventh-hour as usual!) Thursday night will find me heading West. HOORAY!





End of the Hiatus

23 01 2010

Not that there was ever a conscious beginning to said hiatus. Regardless… I’M BACK! Back from where, one may query? Back FROM the internalization of the (sometimes) rambling thoughts and commentary on the goings-on of my days, and back TO the e-spilling of those self-same ramblings.

I honestly can’t come up with a reason for the months of silence… perhaps I talked more (telephone calls, text messages, Facebook posts) or had more personal interaction (West Coast Road Trip, multiple NC escapes) and so I didn’t focus so much (or at all) on the transcription of the events of the past six-plus months.

Here’s a Cliff’s Notes version of the last half of 2009… according to Kristen, of course!

August…

Thus began the first full-month of my “new” job. Not new in the sense that I changed locations or careers, but new in that the fifteen months of working and planning and presenting my (brilliant) ideas to The Powers That Be at work finally paid off. I am now the Lead Orthopedic Therapist at Piedmont Hospital. This role enables me to work full-time on the Orthopedic units of the hospital, which is truly where I am at my best, therapeutically. (if, for no other reason, because of the short lengths-of-stay for even the most challenging patients!) Instant gratification abounds! *It is important to note that this has NOT been the case for several patients in the past two weeks who have essentially taken up residency on the unit.

Not only does this job keep me on the Ortho unit, but it also enables me to make the (long, drawn out, sometimes painful) transition into a “leadership” role – at least as far as the orthopedic realm is concerned. I’m working on a multi-disciplinary team that is creating a Total Joint Replacement Bible (my own working title) that will outline the course of events from “You’ve decided to have your hip/knee replaced” to “Yes, you ARE getting out of bed with the Physical Therapist today” to “No, you can’t stay in the hospital one more night because your wife doesn’t want to make the 27-minute drive after 4:30 p.m.” (in so many words) In addition to the patient-information guide, Piedmont Hospital is looking to become an Orthopedic Center of Excellence, a quest I have sought to be a part of since the day I started working here, and one that I am currently contributing to on the planning committee.

September…

This month brought about a long-anticipated vacation! I flew to Portland and took off the next morning for Ashland to visit my friend Paula who was about to start Nursing school at OHSU’s Southern Oregon campus. The timing of my drive put me smack-dab in the middle of Game Day traffic – for both Oregon and Oregon State had home games. Oregon hosted 6th-ranked Cal, and made very short work of them, I must say! Despite my distaste for traffic – especially on 2-lane I-5 – it was great fun to be in the midst of the pre-game merriment. And Paula was such a good sport, ducking (!) into a dive-y pub in downtown Ashland to let me watch the 4th quarter… little did either one of us know, it was the hub for the Ashland chapter of U of O alumni! Go Ducks!

Ashland was lovely, and the company couldn’t be beat! We went wine-tasting and to the SOU bookstore (of course!) and wandered around little Talent, Oregon. Then it was off on the next leg of my journey: to Eureka!

Now, I’ve made the trip through the Redwood National Forest once before, en route to Arcata for Jill’s graduation several years ago. But I must have been asleep for that portion of the car ride, because I was FLOORED at the majesty of these botanical Giants! Could hardly get enough of them. Wow.

Seeing Jill was awesome and getting to spend time in her own town and life was fabulous! I even had the privilege to attend Hot Chick Night! Theme: Goddesses.

We took a day-trip to Petrolia, on the Lost Coast of California where Jill spent three years working for AmeriCorps and the Mattole Salmon Group. It was a stunning drive of cliffs and hairpin turns, gravelly roads and then a sprawling ocean-side highway. It’s totally where you find “Happy Cows are from California!”

We ate lunch on the banks of the (sadly dry) Mattole River after the wind cancelled our attempt to picnic at Strawberry Rock. The wind would NOT deter a photo-op, though!

From Eureka, I headed north along the Oregon Coast Highway. A longer route, but also one of much richer views. I was going back to my old stomping ground in Eugene, Oregon, to meet up with my dear friends Jeff and Laura.

We had a lovely time catching up that evening, and the next morning after tea with Laura and a send-off from Jeff, I went about re-exploring the U of O campus. I couldn’t have asked for better weather. The sun was shining and the breeze was light… reaffirming my stance that there is no nicer place on earth than Eugene when the sun shines in September!

I parked and walked around on 13th, popped into the bookstore (of course!) and got a bagel sandwich that I sat and ate on the Autzen footbridge, just soaking in the sights and sounds of the river and the passers-by.

Go Ducks!

From Eugene, I back-roaded it up to Corvallis to spend some time with Mark before continuing north to Kaiser where I stopped in to see my friend Tiffany (whom I had recently met up with in Charlotte, NC, of all places!) That was my final pre-Portland stop on the West Coast Road Trip. Once back in town, I was lucky enough to reconnect with some of my special lifelong friends. So much “life” has happened since we were all together the last time (a new career, a wedding, a sweet baby boy, a new state of residence) but by some stroke of fate, we were all in the same room again. And (it may sound cliché, but there’s no other way to put it) it felt like we had been apart for no longer than a weekend. So much laughter and fun times recalled – which only served to incite NEW laughter in this fun time. I am so glad that we were able to share that evening together.

October…

There was definitely a transition-period for me coming back to my real life after such an amazing vacation. But then I got an invite from my writing instructor (from my freelance writing class last summer) for a Writers’ Workshop. So I was back in the swing-of-things, Atlanta-wise.

Jocelyn was in town for her birthday, and there was quite the celebration that ensued. So much celebrating on her part, in fact, that I am completely absolved from all back-lash of the now infamous Ruining of Jocelyn’s Birthday in Paris, circa 2006. Let’s just say that while she had Friday off from work, I (the uber-patient and ever-conscientious designated driver for the evening’s events) did NOT. So the 2:45 a.m. return to my house was all-too-quickly followed by my 6:30 a.m. wake-up call. Best. Friend. Ever.

November…

This month brought another self-improvement opportunity: guitar lessons! Well, I took a beginning guitar class with 9 other people, so I suppose “lessons” is a bit of a stretch. I’m not very good, but I think I want to give it another try. Probably in a remedial beginning guitar class.

My friend Laura was inducted into Western Carolina’s Athletic Hall of Fame this year! She’s pretty much all-everything as far as Lady Catamount basketball goes. I was the rope-holder on Lily-patrol so that her family could bask in the glory and honor of the occasion. Lily and I wandered around the facilities, watching the Pride of the Smokies (WCU’s marching band) practice, the football team’s indoor warmups, and a basketball shoot-around, and still made it back for Dad’s introduction and Laura’s acceptance speeches. Way to go, Aunt K!

I’m really starting to believe that Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday – behind my Birthday/New Years, naturally! I had to work T-giving day and the day after, as did several of my friends. After work, we went over to Sunni and Brian’s for “Friends Thanksgiving II.” The first edition being 2 years ago, on the day after then closed on their new house. This year was a far cry from that “first” Thanksgiving when we sat on plastic chairs around a “beer pong” table in an otherwise completely empty house! Their home is absolutely lovely, and this was the first time Sunni got to set out her wedding china! I couldn’t be more grateful for the “family” I’ve found here in Atlanta.

December…

The last month of the year opened with a first for me… Jury Duty! I imagine there aren’t too many people who would put an elated exclamation point at the end of that sentence, but I am definitely one of them! It was a very interesting day. Definitely didn’t do much to make “lawyer” look like a trustworthy and noble career path. I just don’t like the idea of your whole purpose being to trick and undermine people and to make them look foolish or wrong. It left a very sour taste in my mouth and I just don’t like it.

My holiday season progressed rapidly after seeing one of my dear friends take the stage in The Santaland Diaries! Stuart was a brilliant Crumpet, and I’m already looking very much forward to seeing him in his next role, the lead in the musical “Parade” next month.

It sort of feels like I spent most of December in North Carolina! I drove up surreptitiously for my friend Allison’s surprise 30th Birthday dinner party, and made my way to Charlotte on Christmas Eve to spend Christmas with Jocelyn and Hans and the Marshall family. I even had my very own stocking!

It was the first time that I hadn’t woken up at Mom and Dad’s house on Christmas morning. The whole weekend felt just a little bit… off. Sort of like Christmas wasn’t even happening. I mean, there were 6 stockings up on the mantle, just like at home… there were wonderful, thoughtful gifts, just like we do… delicious food and a beautiful tree… everything that said “family Christmas”… except for MY family. Now, don’t get me wrong – I had a great time and a marvelous Christmas. I couldn’t have asked for a better substitute. But I did so miss Zarosinski-Grbavac Christmas this year.

And with that, I put to rest 2009. This new month/year/decade has reinspired me to do the things I enjoy (writing, traveling), restart things I don’t yet enjoy (working out, limiting coffee intake), and learning new things that I hope to enjoy (sewing, guitar).

2010 has been good to me so far! Mom, Dad, Jill and Mark all came to Atlanta for my 20-10th Birthday Party! Everyone stayed at my house (which, if you haven’t seen it, is quite quaint and cozy!) and we had just such a wonderful time together! We took a field trip to Stone Mountain and the siblings went to an Avett Brothers concert, courtesy of Jill. Scott’s Christmas box arrived on New Years Eve! We got to Skype with Scott on my birthday, and (thanks to the wonders of modern technology) took a fairly impressive Family Photo.

2010 looks to be a great year. After all (thanks, Jocelyn!), it’s The Year of Kristen!





My First Friend’s Wedding

6 07 2008

It may surprise some of you, but I have never actually thought about or pretend-planned or even day-dreamed about what my wedding might be like. No magazine clippings of cakes or flowers, no little notes-to-self about dress colors or centerpieces. And in all honesty, I don’t even have the first idea of what The Dress might look like. But after attending the wedding of my very first friend in my whole life, I now know with absolute certainty what I want my own wedding to FEEL like. I mentioned this to my Dad as were were leaving, being quick to add that I did not necessarily need it to LOOK like this wedding, but simply to feel like it – I think he was relieved!

Mom and Dad and Jill and I all descended upon LAX on that Thursday night within about 90 minutes of each other. Interestingly enough, all three of our flights (from Atlanta, from Portland, and from Eureka, CA by way of San Francisco) happened to sustain delays of what I would consider significant amounts of time. We arrived at our hotel sometime after 1 o’clock in the morning… and Dad had to be on a commuter-jet to Las Vegas at 7:30 a.m. Ouch.

With Dad temporarily out-of-state (he ended up catching an earlier flight back, so he didn’t even miss Friday night’s festivities!) Mom and Jill and I got to spend a fabulous day together. We drove out to try to see Sister John-Ellen, Mom’s first principal at St Callistus (which we also drove past!) and also the first person besides my parents to ever meet and hold me! *Side note, but it’s too great of a story to skip – Sr John-Ellen came to the hospital the day I was born (New Year’s Day 1980) but visitors were being restricted. When the nurse told her that only family would be allowed to see Mom or Baby Me, she simply said, “well, I’m her Sister.” What a great lady! I would never  have enough time to recount all the other trillions of reasons why she’s so amazing.* Oh, p.s. we didn’t get to see her, but we did have a wonderful time recounting some favorite stories and memories during the drive. Jill forgot her swimsuit – which, coincidentally was the FIRST thing I packed in my suitcase, seeing as how we were going to Southern California! So naturally our next stop was Target. Jill found a suit, I got a cute, fun dress, and Mom got a suit AND a cute, fun dress! We then turned west-ward, cruising through our old grocery store (Vons) for sandwiches and water – and a couple reusable shopping totes that say “Vons” for old times sake! Next was a quick drive-by past the house formerly known as the “abandoned beach giant” on Kiowa Lane. And would you believe it, the people who bought the house from us in 1986 still live there! (like any sane person would have ever left… oh wait, that was us!) She even let us come in for awhile, which was so fun! Then it was finally time to hit the beach. Instead of paying the $10 user fee, we parked the car outside our old neighborhood and walked the 0.4 miles to the ocean. (yes, I used to live 0.4 miles from OCEAN… *sigh*) We just laid in the sand and ate our Vons-sandwiches and enjoyed the day and each other. Plus, Jill spotted a SHARK – well, for at least 10 minutes it was a shark. Then it turned into a pod of dolphins, or porpoises (porp-eye?) instead. Whew!

The wedding itself was a multi-day event in Southern California. Thursday night was Rehearsal Dinner – a small affair with only parents and members of the wedding party with their respective significant others, which totaled approximately 52 people! (to get some idea of the type of people involved in this wedding, take a peek at Carie and Steve’s wedding website– definitely check out the “Wedding Party” section – it’s sure make you smile, if not laugh out loud!) Friday brought a barbecue on the grandest scale I’ve ever seen! I believe I heard that there had been upwards of 200 invitations sent out to attend this pre-wedding bash… I’m pretty sure there weren’t many “regrets” RSVP’ed. The wedding was Saturday afternoon at a gorgeous church atop a hill overlooking the beautiful Pacific Ocean.

Like they did for brother-Danny’s wedding last year, there was a several-hour break between the ceremony and reception. Originally we had planned to head back toward the hotel and catch a quick snooze, in preparation for the debauchery that was sure to come (and surely DID come, I’ll have you know!) later at the reception. Instead we joined a group of our favorite old crew at Javier’s where we had a lovely little private “cabana” to enjoy margaritas and various Mexican dishes. We talked and laughed and reminisced for hours, and got caught up on each others’ lives… it ended up being one of  my favorite highlights of the weekend. When the time came, we made our way over to the reception, to be held on the grounds at the Centennial Heritage Museum.

The building itself was merely a backdrop for the gorgeous scenery. Meticulously groomed tiers of lawn and beautiful rose gardens, wine-grape vines twisting along a pergola-covered walkway leading back to the little gazebo. The grounds accommodated dozens of tables, some adorned with incredible centerpieces: tall, cylinder vases with water, river rocks and large lilies inside and topped with a beautiful flower arrangement, all designed by Carie’s mom.

It was just the perfect setting to celebrate this perfect day!

The food was great – how do you go wrong with a side of macaroni-and-cheese?!?! And of course the beer and wine were served in bottomless glasses. Which may begin to explain the groomsmen breaking into a rousing 20-minute topless calisthenics routine, their shirts and ties slung over the lanterns above the dance floor. Yes that happened. No, I don’t expect you to believe me – which is why I will be posting a photo of proof as soon as Dad emails it to me! For now, here’s the non-groomsmen-shirt-slung dance floor.

The whole evening was just spectacular.  From the meal to the Father-Daughter dance to the toasts (especially Alison’s, which was so beautiful) to Carie and Steve’s first dance choreographed wonderfully to “Can’t Get Enough of Your Love.” I caught it on video, but of course I have yet to figure out how to upload moving-pictures on this website. Suffice it to say, if you weren’t there to see The Dance first-hand, you missed out. I suppose the same could be said for the grooms-men’s Chippendale-esque showcase, but I think that goes without saying!

Carie was absolutely stunning. There’s just not a word big enough to describe how beautiful and happy she looked all weekend.

She wore her mother’s dress, which is so incredible! They had the top re-made from the 1970’s lace-and-long-sleeves to the gorgeous modern and very “Carie” deep-V neckline, mimicked on the back of the dress as well. She also wore her Mom’s long mantilla-style veil. As my sister said, “I just love tasteful lace!” She was just beautiful. And Steve wasn’t so bad himself!

I’m running out of demonstrative descriptive words. Amazing… Wonderful… Beautiful… Gorgeous… Lovely… none of them seem to capture the day’s feel, or that of the entire weekend for that matter. I guess that’s just it, it’s a FEELING. There was so much love and joy and craziness and fun and adoration… And these are things that I pray will accompany my friends and family every day, not just at a wedding. Unless we’re talking about mine, of course!





I have a thing for ferry boats…

13 06 2008

Car… check. Plane… check. Train… check. Boat… check. I definitely hit for the cycle when it comes to transportation options this past weekend! I did not hop a lift on Seattle’s monorail – which as I understand it, would fall into a category separate from the more familiar two-rail (bi-rail? duo-rail?) trains, so I suppose there is still room for improvement in this new vacation check-list.

 

This year has been one in which I am determined to change my long-held bad attitude toward trying new things. It’s been an ongoing challenging for me, mostly because I just don’t like doing things that I’m not good at already!

 

So far my self-improvement tasks include playing the guitar – which is very difficult, and I’m VERY not-good at it – and researching fly-fishing lessons – though I was not able to actually partake in said lessons due to scheduling conflicts on their part and other travel endeavors of my own. The newest try-new-things challenge will be another stab at water sports. More specifically, sailing. As in, I want to learn how to do it.

 

My interest in sailing knowledge and experience was reinvigorated this past weekend when I went on a lovely ferry boat ride to and from Bainbridge Island in Seattle with my parents. It was one of those gorgeous Seattle days that makes you want to up-and-quit your current job (in stiflingly hot and sticky Atlanta), sell your little house with the jungle-esque backyard, and move out to the Sound to work at a shop that rents kayaks or perhaps wait tables or tend bar at a waterfront pub. My imagination quickly concocts a wonderful little life on Bainbridge Island, complete with my condo overlooking the Sound (we definitely walked through several open houses on Sunday afternoon!) and my calm commute into the city aboard Puyallup or any of the other ferry boats that connect the Island to the mainland-city of Seattle, motoring gently over the waters, basking in the breath-taking view of Mt Rainier. Even Dad said the water and the peaceful commute would do wonders for my psyche. Of course, experience (especially those very recent ones, as in the past 3 days in Seattle) jumped in too quickly to remind me of those other Seattle days – the ones where you can’t actually see the Seattle skyline from Bainbridge, let alone Mt Rainier, and that easy ferry ride is actually more akin to a carnival ride at a sketchy county fair. And we ALL know how I feel about carnivals. *shudder*

 

But I digress. Sailing. It’s so beautiful and at the same time quite physically demanding, I would imagine. I’m not trying to sail to New Zealand or anything, I just want to attain some skills so when I move to an area with fabulous water-ways, I will be ready to partake in the sea-worthiness of it all. Now, I did happen to notice one particular sailboat (that was far too close to the much larger ferry boat, if you ask me) was making a helluva left turn – I realize there are more appropriate nautical terminology, but seriously, I’m just a beginner! – and was tipped waaaaaaay over on its side. Yikes. That’s something I can get used to, right???

 

So, I would assume that it’s understood that I spent some time in Seattle last weekend? You know, what with all the ferry boat talk and such. I was in my friends’ wedding this past Saturday at the Woodmark Hotel on Lake Washington. (side note for those who are unfamiliar with this are: Bill Gates of heralded Microsoft fame lives on Lake Washington… it’s a nice place!) It was a 3-day marathon of events, appointments, program-assembly, crises, solutions to crises, and Starbucks runs… sometimes several times a day.

 

But before getting up to Seattle, there was quite a whirlwind of activity down in P-town. After spending the night in Tacoma with one of Mom’s friends (who so graciously picked me up from the Sea-Tac Airport at 10 at night, and took me to the Amtrak station at 7:15 the next morning) I arrived into Portland’s Union Station right before 11:30 a.m.I’m a much bigger fan of going by train than I would have thought. It was lovely! Four big seats all to myself, a movie – “Mad Money” (I didn’t say it was a good movie) – and a 3-ish-hour leisurely tour through the SW Washington/NW Oregon countryside. And all for the bargain price of $22. Just putting enough gas in a car to make the trip would have cost nearly double that!

 

Portland-time was (as usual) full and quite frenzied. There were wedding programs to design, print, create, and shop for. There was a bridesmaid dress that needed a little surgery (aka: sewing up about an inch or so of the keyhole opening in a not-so-flattering part of the dress). Breakfast Club with the St. V’s gang, which lead into a wonderful orthopedics-unit reunion tour, and I even got to meet Katie’s (brand!) new little Drew! My parents and I had dinner with my super-cool cousin fresh out of her interview (which she just happened to have TOTALLY rocked!) at Wieden+Kennedy – an advertising agency whose clients you may have heard of before: Target, Starbucks, Nike, Coca-Cola, Visa, and ESPN… to name just a few! I met Mom at her school to use the industrial-strength paper cutter to create the black and peach squares that would frame a photo of Paula and Jayson on the cover of their wedding program. We had a big Zarosinski-Grbavac barbeque get-together. And I got to see my genius brother’s amazing final Architecture project mere minutes after he received a rave review! I created and assembled Wedding Weekend Itineraries complete with our daily to-do’s and various appointments and reservations as well as an inclusive address and phone number section for all salons, restaurants, hotels, and cell phone numbers. Oh, by the way, all of this happened between the hours of 12:00 noon on Tuesday and 9:45 a.m. on Thursday. That’s less than 46 hours. Go, Kristen.

 

Which brings me back to Seattle. Stories about which will have to wait until my exhausted brain can remember how to attach photos into this blog. And there are definitely photos! Only one of the girls has uploaded her digital images onto our group photo-site, but I’m hoping the others will do so very soon. I will unfortunately NOT be able to participate in the shared uploading of photos.

 

Reason being that my own camera is somewhere between California and Atlanta – I do realize that’s a very non-specific description. You see, brilliant Me left my camera in the way-backseat of the 15-passenger “party van” in St. Louis, Missouri, over Memorial Day weekend. Do not be alarmed. My fabulous St. Louis posse of girlfriends regained control of my camera (in addition to several articles of clothing and the gallons of wine that were purchased from the winery earlier that day) and the next thing I knew, it was on its way across the country to sunny Southern California. Since learning of its new location, I initially had entertained the thought of having the Cali-crew send it on up The-5 to Portland, which in theory would have allowed me to bring it to Seattle to capture all the wonderous wedding moments. Unfortunately, California has been a busy place. So instead, the new plan is for the camera to backtrack eastward and arrive (hopefully unscathed) on my doorstep in Atlanta. I have not heard mention of the camera since coming to this conclusion last week. I hope the camera and I do not pass quietly in the night as I head to LA myself in a mere 13 sleeps. After that (short) long-weekend trip, I’d like to think that I’ll stay close to home for awhile… if only that little travel bug didn’t bite me so often!

 

Stay tuned for the Seattle Wedding Weekend Adventures!





Travel Trials and Tribulations: Part III

18 12 2007

Portland MUST be fantastic. The reason for this deduction stems from the fact that EVERYONE, every last person in the greater Seattle area wants to go to Portland… TONIGHT. The Horizon Airlines terminal is packed, there are people sitting on any surface available, sleeping in corners, pacing wildly back and forth across the hallway… oh, wait, that last one was me. I serpentined my way from gate to gate, trying to figure out if there was any possibility of getting on an earlier flight. All I got was some serious ‘tude from not one, but THREE separate Horizon Airlines desk people. Let’s just say, today is NOT the day to be flinging that sort of thing my direction, girls.

Oh, HELL no. There is an f-ing mandolin. Anyone who knows me well, is well-acquainted with the reason for my current ire. Someone is sitting in the midst of this already stressful, crazy madhouse of pre-holiday travel… and they have the nerve to start wailing on the one instrument that actually makes me want to rip my ears off my own head. I. HATE. THE. MANDOLIN. I may need to get up and move somewhere out of earshot – especially if I have any hope of not de-stringing the blasted mini-guitar banjo-wannabe in a most hysterical fashion.

I took a little walk to calm myself down… no need to be thrown in Airport Jail for strangling the life from three Horizon Airlines employees. As my rage began to melt into zombie-like exhaustion, I was finally able to take in a little bit of my surroundings. Apparently, Seattle is a veritable HOTBED of untapped resource. Everywhere I turn in the Sea-Tac Airport, I’m inundated by young, tall, great-looking guys! A smorgasboard of eye candy! And the best part… they’re all SOLO. No elbow-jewelry, no kids in tow. Just ruggedly handsome, nicely dressed, cute-CUTE boys all over the place. The Seattle airport just became my favorite place to be stuck for a few hours!

Bitch-bitch-bitch-moan-moan-moan. Some people just don’t seem to have as good “thought-bubble” control as I do. Now, I do realize that with my very recent Ranting on a Mandolin (*shudder* – oh, how I despise those things) I may be more than a little hypocritical on this particular subject. But at least I was able to find a silver lining in my extended Seattle experience. As opposed to Mr. No Thought Bubble Buffer over there, who did not utter a single positive comment the entire time we spent in Seattle.

As I’m trying to decide whether packing up all my carry-on stuff and moving away from Mr. Negative, I glance up to see one of my former high school basketball teammates! She’s making her way home from Pamplona, Spain. We had a lovely little catch-up session, which did wonders to both pass the time pleasantly and drown out the griping of you-know-who across the way.

My 9:30 p.m. arrival in Portland was stretched into the wee hours of morning. Cancellations and delays at every stop along the way sure do make for a long day of traveling. And there’s no rest for the weary, as our Christmas in Portland schedule kicks off first thing in the morning with a family field trip to Mass at Central Catholic High School.