November Wrap-Up: Two Weddings, a festival, Thanksgiving and a High School Reunion

9 Dec

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We did more than watch Tom Hanks movies in November, we swear*. We fully planned on writing about our adventures at Fun Fun Fun fest, a very Texas wedding in Mason, a super fancy wedding at the Driskill, and our trip to Chicago for Thanksgiving and my high school reunion. The issue is that pretty much all of these events fell into that lovely boring middle ground. We didn’t take great pictures, everything went more or less as planned and was just lovely, but not something we were in a rush to share. But if we combine six posts worth of events into one? Well, now we’ve got something to talk about.

*Even if the photo above would suggest otherwise. It still cracks me up that Zack got so many of Hanks’ films on VHS. And I still look for them any time we’re in a Half Priced Books or thrift store.

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Once we put our Halloween costumes away* until April’s Arcade Fire concert, we started gearing up for my birthday and Fun Fun Fun Fest weekend. Caitlin treated me to dinner at  Second Bar + Kitchen, and also got me our traditional Kerbey Lane Cafe brownie sundae. For the festival, the big draw for me this year was comedy** and we really took advantage. We saw two great Doug Benson sets***, including a late nite show with Sarah Silverman and Kyle Dunnigan, and I saw Tenacious D, Kyle Kinane, Patton Oswalt and Craig Robinson. Considering that Caitlin had to work during the day Friday and I had to work Sunday, we still got a solid amount of overlap in together and saw an always fun Cut Copy show, an impressive M.I.A. performance, despite the naysayers****, and enjoyed a more laid back festival atmosphere.

*We’re displaying my ribbons, however, for the foreseeable future, because they are AMAZING.

**For me, it was M.I.A. and not much else. I had to work part of the weekend and really didn’t utilize the pass I bought myself all that much. I got sick on day three so I spent that day at home, in pajamas, nursing soup and gatorades.

***Definitely the comedy highlight for me. I was nearly crying laughing at a few of his bits.

****I’m glad Zack agrees with me on this. I’m not trying to be all fangirl about it and blind to the show’s problems — it definitely felt like Maya was tired onstage and lacked the chemistry with the crowd I’ve seen her have before — but ultimately, her stage show was gorgeous, her dancers and DJ were on point, and her songs are just dynamite. The Orange stage that she performed on had sound troubles all day, which I think affected the show to a degree. But most of all, I think people just expect her to put on some kind of over-the-top pop performance like Katy Perry or Lady Gaga, but M.I.A. is a rapper and should be compared more with a Kanye or Jay-Z than a pop act. I think it’s because she’s a woman that we can’t all just accept that she’s up there, rapping, which is what she does. I may write a more in-depth think piece on this later, but I’ll step off of my soapbox for now.

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We attended back-to-back weddings for our friends, and the weddings were both really lovely. Our pals Melissa and Nick got married out in Mason, Texas, which led to a beautiful Texas drive as the sun was just going down, followed by a gorgeous ceremony, and some delicious food and dancing at Mason’s community center. Nick and Melissa are genuinely sweet and kind-hearted people, so it was great to be invited to celebrate their love for each other. I love when a couple captures their personality in their wedding and this was such a great example of that. They had a charming backyard setting in small town Mason, served brisket and bbq and had Nick’s awesome soul revue band play. It was the kind of Texas wedding I’d always pictured, but now feel lucky to have been a part of.

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Next, I got to live out a dream and go to a wedding at the Driskill, Austin’s very upscale hotel downtown at 6th and Congress. As expected, it was a dreamy, swanky affair, with a coat check, hors d’oeuvres, and some excellent live music. Zack and I hardly knew anybody at this wedding, since it was for Zack’s college friend who grew up in Texas, but Bennett and Riley have been very good friends to us here in Austin and they looked so great at their ceremony. The food was divine, the open bar kept everyone smiling, and while I was annoyed that Zack and I never got a color photo in the photo booth (Zack chose black & white before I could tell him to stop), it was a very romantic evening that put smiles on our faces and allowed us to meet new friends while standing in line and sitting around at the dining tables.

It was a really lovely wedding. I love that Caitlin pointed out coat check and hors d’ouerves when the real fancy stuff was someone hand-rolling cigars, top-shelf liquor and a vinyl cake! It was a mixed faith ceremony, so we had rabbi jokes about how the glass smashing would be the last time Bennett got to put his foot down and also had some bible action mixed in. The Horah was amazing and we had a great time (pic I snapped of us).

yamWe’ve never been back to Chicago for the holidays. My 10-year high school reunion seemed as good a reason as any to head north for Thanksgiving. We had a lovely Thanksgiving with my dad. We flew in Wednesday night with an unbelievably easy trek through security*. Thursday was spent gathering a feast, eating it, and watching football. We picked up turkey, corn, cornbread, creamed spinach and green bean casserole from Boston Market, a pumpkin and apple pie from Bakers Square and Caitlin and I made the rest. I mashed up potatoes, Caitlin made stuffing and incredible yams with marshmallows and we toasted up some brown and serve rolls. Everything turned out great, but Caitlin’s yams and stuffing were the highlights**. After dinner we visited my friend Eric at his new-ish house a few blocks away from my dad and met his baby, who was adorable. His baby mama gave us a hula hoop show.

*Seriously, I had major concerns about this going well and it was SO SMOOTH. Kudos to all airports involved.

**This is very kind of Zack to say. I was definitely pleased with the outcome, and tried to force my foods on all of Zack’s friends.

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Somewhat predictably, the reunion itself was my least favorite part of the weekend. Jordy and Andy came over for Buff Joes and Thanksgiving leftovers Friday afternoon*, we had a quick visit with Sam, Brittany and their dog Treat** and by 5:15 we were heading to the train to meet some other suburban friends to ride down to a 16-person dinner before the big reunion. It was great to see Danny & Nikki, Alex and Whitney and her fiancee on the train ride. The theme for the night started at the station though, as we saw a group of NT ’03 grads at the train station and decided not to talk to them. Gotta love indifference. The dinner was solid. Decent Mexican food and nice ambiance and good to catch up with some friends***. The reunion itself was really not enjoyable. It was an extremely loud, crowded bar with a 20 minute wait in the cold to get in****. Most of the friends I actually hung out with in high school didn’t come and though it was fine to see a few people from my childhood, I felt the same indifference I felt toward most of these people in high school. I don’t regret going, and Caitlin was a great sport and made more of it than I did, but it was certainly nothing to write home about.

*This part was fun. I love spending time with our friends from other states! It’s far too rare.

**Way too quick. We were in and out in breakneck time. We’re excited to see them again next year in Indiana!

***I ended up sitting at the end of the table near Jonathan W. and Alex S. and they were sweet to engage me in conversation – I know you don’t really attend a high school reunion to hang out with your high school buddy’s girlfriend, but Jonathan and Alex have always been super warm to me. All of the friend-of-boyfriend points to them.

****This part KILLED me. What are you trying to do, making a bar hosting a HIGH SCHOOL REUNION look all hopping with a long line?! Like…you have guaranteed guests. Let us in, why dontcha.

And, last and probably least, I finally, finally joined everyone in this century and purchased myself an iPhone this past week. At this point, I have taken lots of Scooby photos, including the one, below, where his eyes are rolled back in his head as he is resting on me and I’m petting his belly, and his teeth are just barely showing because he is the cutest dog in all the land. I suppose if anyone still plays Words With Friends, I can play you now! Mostly, I’ll probably just sit around rating things I’ve purchased on ModCloth (yes, they have an app, god help me) and watching goofy vines. I’m glad someone else is posting Scooby pics on Instagram all the time and understands getting lost in a Vine black hole. And our phones finally seem to want to connect, huzzah!

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