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Athens Marathon Recap

21 Nov

Last week, I joined the ranks of people crazy enough to run 26.2 miles just for the fun of it. The day didn’t turn out quite how I hoped it would, but the thing about the marathon is that you spend a tremendous amount of time and energy preparing for a single day wherein dozens of crucial details will be out of your control … Which is to say that the day probably won’t go how you hope it will. We don’t get to choose the frame our hard work gets hung in.

The trip to Greece was fairly uneventful. MrKef was thrilled to have 6 hours of in-flight entertainment, while I was content to watch Girls’ Trip on rapid repeat for the duration of the flight.

My aunt and uncle picked us up from the airport and a three-day Greek feast commenced. My aunt was so thoughtful and prepared all kinds of perfect-for-running meals– pasta, salmon, salads, and I considered more than once declaring a new marathon event: eating 26.2 pieces of my aunt’s cheese pie. But that wouldn’t be hard so everyone would do it.

And then it was race day! JetSet jaunted in from Dublin (as one does), and we headed to the expo. It was superwell organized and, despite being forced to walk through all the vendors, we managed to have some fun.

Afterward, we met my cousins at the spectacular new Stavros Niarchos Cultural Center, which is a spectacular building and worth a visit.

One tram ride later that nearly ended my running days for good (because when the tram comes but you still have no tickets, you stick your leg in the door until your brother gets the ticket machine to work), and MrKef and I were settled into the hotel. For the first time in my life, I actually chose to eat in the hotel restaurant because they were serving salmon and that’s what I like to eat the night before a run. We enjoyed a surprise date night– we were the only ones in the restaurant for most of the meal and got to dine by candlelight with the whole place to ourselves.

I got my things ready for the morning and settled in for a good night’s sleep. That lasted for about 2 hours, after which I woke up and was totally unable to fall back to sleep. MrKef came back from some revelry with JetSet around 3, and there I was… wide awake. I must have fallen asleep again sometime around 430, and when my alarm went off at 515, transferring to the eating race crossed my mind once again.

Despite my lack of sleep, I was feeling great. I ate an RX bar,  blasted my feel-good playlist, and headed out to the bus. My bus experience was seamless– I got on about 640 and was at the race start by 730 or so. I was hoping to sleep but, alas, it eluded me. There’s a short walk to the stadium, and there are tons of portapotties (but inside the dugout there are flush toilets whose lines are shorter and faster–a win!).

Here’s where the fun started. We were supposed to use the track at the Marathon Stadium to warm up, but the portapotties were lined up in the outer lane of the track, so of course the lines formed around the track. Undeterred, a group of guys in Spartan costumes started doing laps in the center, so there was a hilarious layered effect of portapottie lines, then people stretching and lounging about, and then the inner circle of Spartans and their growing ring of joggers.

And that’s also when the heat started– temps called for 65F with 98% humidity at the start. I knew the day would get hotter as the race went on, but also knew that the cloud cover would be my best friend. Well, my BFF was nowhere to be seen at the start, and I was already sweating before the race for underway. I was not thrilled by this turn of events, but was still feeling jazzed to get this show on the road. The race started promptly at 9, and I was off by 920 or so.

Things started off well enough.

My race plan was to keep things around 9:30 effort, knowing that the opening and closing 6ish miles were downhill, so I’d be able to bank some time in the beginning  before heading into 12 middle miles of hills. I kept to that perfectly for the first ~4 miles and felt good, but realized I was getting HOT quickly. I slowed down a bit for the next two miles and poured water over myself every water stop, but I just could.not.cool.down. The sun was definitely strong and I could tell other people were struggling as well, but it became clear pretty quickly that overheating was how the lack of sleep was going to manifest itself. I started to feel exhausted around mile 5- not muscle or mind fatigue, just get-me-to-my-damn bed tired. With 21 miles to go, this was not a good sign.

Luckily for me, we entered the first big town since Marathon right around then. Whole families were out to cheer, and people lined the street blasting traditional music, performing Greek dances, and cheering us on. I got a second wind, high fived everyone I could, and took in every “Bravo, kouritsimou!” that came my way.

At that point, I thought my tired troubles were over. The promised clouds showed up and I felt slightly less hot. I got a huge boost when I passed the first of my family members who came out to cheer — it was so special to have them out there. I was starting to feel pretty good. Maybe I had run through the fatigue.

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Or maybe not. Just when I was starting to cool off and feel better, the hills started. And continued. And kept on going. These hills went straight up Elizabeth Warren on me and frigging persisted. 

I got to a water station somewhere around mile 12 or 13 and suddenly knew what it meant to “hit the wall.” I struggled to open my Nuun packet to refill my water bottle and was starting to feel dejected. I slowed down to a walk and just tried to focus on getting the damn Nuun open. And then all the Greek Gods smiled upon me from Mt Olympus– I heard my aunt calling my name and my uncle reached out, ripped open the Nuun and poured it in my water bottle before sending me back off on my way.

I passed JetSet somewhere between miles 16 and 17  — a good brother will fly to across the world for ~30 hours to watch you run, but the BEST brother will BRING YOU A SPINACH PIE AND OFFER IT TO YOU DURING SAID RUN.

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I was all smiles there, but I knew I was sunk — I was feeling so crappy by that point I even refused the spanakopita.  I can’t even revisit such a low point in life. So let’s keep going.

No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t find any energy to pull it together. There were maybe 30 seconds after seeing my aunt and uncle where I felt like I could finish the race running. I ended up run-walking the rest of the way, sometimes using long time intervals to break up the running with walking, and other times just trying to run until the next telephone pole. I was on track to finish under 4:10 until about mile 15, and then it was a never-ending descent into “I have no idea WHEN the hell I am going to finish.” The distance  between kilometer markers stretched on so long that I convinced myself that someone had messed up and used kilometer signs to mark off miles. Not good stuff.

The crowds only got bigger as we entered the city. The downhill felt good for about 3 kilometers, and then the wall I had been pushing since the halfway point became The Great Wall. After what seemed like 10,495 hours, I finally made the left turn and could see the stadium in the distance. The crowds were huge at this point, and all the excitement and adrenaline I had been hoping for finally kicked in and I made a mad dash for the finish. Running through the original Olympic Stadium was incredible.

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4:42:36. Certainly not the time I had trained or hoped for. I eeked into the top 40ish% for total participants, gender and age group– so that’s something. About 4,000 people who started the race didn’t finish. Everyone was hot, most people were doing at least some walking, and the last 6 miles were filled with  many audible promises of “never again.”

I’m disappointed about my time, but I really meant it when I said the other day that the amazing 22-mile run was validation enough for a training cycle of hard work. I wish things had gone differently performance-wise, but I’m not too hung up on that.

The biggest disappointment to me is that I wasn’t in a good enough place to really enjoy myself. I wanted to finish the race exhausted but exhilarated, feeling proud of myself and filled with all the warm and fuzzies of having done some certifiably awesome. There were definitely times when I could appreciate how special this race is: running through an entire town of people dancing the Syrtaki, kids giving out Laurel leaves and olive branches throughout the course, couples in their 70s and 80s cheering on runners, seeing my family throughout the race and at the finish line, a cadence-quickening percussion troupe in a tunnel near mile 24, and — of course — that historic finish in an Olympic Stadium. But I was just too tired for too much of the race to really savor any of those moments.

There are definitely things that I’m proud of. Despite feeling like crap physically and knowing that I just didn’t have what I needed to run the race I wanted, I was never actually in a bad mental place. I realized pretty quickly that I wasn’t going to have a great day and can say for sure that I made the very best of it that I could. I finished the damn thing, despite being out in the hot sun 30 minutes longer than I thought I was going to be, and despite the fact that I wanted to quit pretty much every step of the way after mile 12. I’m hoping that, with a little time, the disappointments fade and make some space for the special memories of the day.

When everything goes wrong, what a joy to test your soul and see if it has endurance and courage! –Nikos Kazantzakis

I am so, so grateful to my family, who cooked runner-friendly meals, watched thousands of people run by just for a sweaty mid-race hug from me, flew across the world and then made the ultimate sacrifice and ate my spinach pie for me, waited for hours at the finish line (and then almost an hour more when I messed up the post-race meet-up point…), and congratulated me as if I had won the whole damn thing. Plus, they made sure I had the headgear of a champion, and I am now the proud owner of TWO στεφάνια, the famous leaf wreaths:

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AND DID I MENTION THE POST-RACE FEAST???

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That’s right, people– TWO kinds of wreaths, and TWO kinds of cheese pie. Our Greekness is your weakness.

And, of course, I can never say enough about my incredible husband — who cheered me on throughout the training, delayed his summer vacation until November, and only complained about the months of early-to-bed Friday and/or Saturday nights when it meant he had to go alone to see whatever new superhero movie was out.

I don’t know if I’ll run another marathon. Of course, a part of me would love to go back to Athens next November and show that course what this Spartan woman is made of … but another part of me would be happy to never, ever, ever run farther than 22 miles ever again. I’ve known for some time now that I strongly prefer training to racing — so I might train for a spring marathon without signing up for one to keep mileage high and pressure low. But who knows– I may get the itch to try my legs at this beast of a race again. Only time will tell.

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12 Jul

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My grandfather died last week at the age of 91. I count among my greatest gifts my relationships with each of my grandparents. Grandpa Joe was the last living grandparent I had, and it’s difficult to imagine my life without him.

Most summers, my siblings and I would happily ship off to Grandma Ann and Papa Joe’s house, where we would spend the first leg of our summer vacation. I hold the memories of these trips so closely that their physicality remains with me–the sharpness of just-cut grass on my skin as I rolled down the front hill, the smooth pine of the wooden swingset he built for us by hand, and the cold sensation of rainbow sherbert against my teeth after church on a hot Saturday night.

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I have often said of my grandfather that they “just don’t make them like they used to.” He was a member of the first graduating class of King’s College, and would go on to work there for the next 70 years. He was a man who did the right thing without so much as a thought toward cutting corners for convenience or popularity. His contributions to the community where he spent his entire life are too many to count, but among them is a long history of service to his church, alma mater, and country.

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His was an absolutely unconditional love of and loyalty to his wife, so much so that he often joked he would list the slides of he and my grandmother’s “trip of a lifetime” to Ireland among his assets in his will. In 51 years of marriage they never spent more than 3 consecutive nights apart; when my grandmother was helping to take care of a sick family member, he would drive 45 minutes to visit her through a screen window and then drive back home, as he had a cold and couldn’t risk passing it to my cousin. I once joked that my grandmother’s only downfall had been that she didn’t like beets. He looked at me over his glasses and said simply, “Your grandmother had no flaws.”  I knew that, in his eyes, she truly hadn’t.

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Even as the world’s most upstanding citizen, he had a wry sense of humor and a wonderful capacity for sentimentality.  When I mailed him an absurd glamour shot of my brother and I snorkeling in Sharm El Sheikh, he emailed me in response, “Thanks for the great snapshot, Chrissy. That’ll make the wall.”  He loved all sports (except the NBA), often bragged that he had been diagnosed with a “football fetish,” and had one word for Philadelphia sports fans: “crude.” He loved sweets unabashedly, and was known to meet a dessert menu with a joyful “Oh, boy!” The first Christmas after my grandmother died, I gave him a box engraved with her name for his keepsakes, and he called me later to tell me that it was the best gift he had ever been given.

EK_0015DSC00675_edited_1There are a million stories I could tell– that he taught me how to bowl, listened to me read Charlotte’s Web in its entirety over the phone for my 2nd grade read-a-thon, and once brought my husband to “a little place with great chicken noodle soup” called Bob Evans. I have the lucky distinction of getting him to pose for his first selfie, taken during the visit we revived our root beer float tradition after a two-decade hiatus.IMG-20130908-WA0000And, hilariously, he was wearing the same shirt 4 years later when I introduced him to Facetime. He was less impressed by technology served without a side of ice cream.IMG_7972But his life spoke for itself — the longer I go on here, the more I realize I’ll never capture how extraordinary he was. A friend shared the idea that we only die when our work is done, and my grandfather left this world complete with i’s dotted, t’s crossed, and ledger balanced. I’ll think of him often– in small moments like when I see a beautiful cardinal or blue jay, and in large moments when I hear his voice in my head as my moral compass. It’s terribly sad to know I’ll never visit him on Cherry Lane again, but I take some solace in knowing that the lessons I learned from my grandparents in the past will serve me well into my future and that, one of these days, I’ll get to make memories with my own grandkids as happy as the ones I have with my grandparents.

If, like me, you just can’t get enough Grandpa Joe, you can read his obituary here.

 

 

 

Watermelon Prosecco Slushies

13 Jun

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Summer 2017 has officially begun– and how better to ring it in than sipping a refreshing champagne slushie with your favorite people? We did a little celebrating this weekend up at the Kef Family Homestead, and these were just the beverages to get the party started.

The company didn’t hurt, either:

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And just in case frozen drinks and great people weren’t enough, we had a knee-high magnum of Rose. Gotta have back up.

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Watermelon Prosecco Slushies To Celebrate Summer

Ingredients

  • 4 c seedless watermelon, frozen and cubed
  • 1-3 c ice
  • 3/4 c limoncello (optional– we made batches with and without it)
  • 3/4 c sparkling white wine
  • Fresh mint and lemon slices for garnish, if you’re into garnish

Assembly

  1. Throw your cubed watermelon in the freezer for at least 2 hours.
  2. Once frozen, combine all ingredients EXCEPT PROSECCO in blender. Blend just until ice is mostly blended, ~45 seconds.
  3. Pour blended watermelon into glasses, top each off with prosecco. Swirl with a fancy straw and top off with a mint leaf and/or lemon slice.

FERRAGOSTO 2016: New Orleans

4 Apr

I only just barely qualify as a Millennial (and even then only because the state of Pennsylvania wouldn’t change my birth certificate so I could refute that title forevermore), so while I don’t have the “if it’s not on Instagram, it didn’t happen” mindset, I do suffer from “if it’s not on your blog, you’ll never recall it” syndrome. Being on the border of  today’s annoying younguns means that I’ll be old pretty much by tomorrow– so although the 9th annual FERRAGOSTO, happened 8 months ago, we’re talking about it now before JetSet and I reach the age where we can’t remember whether or not we brushed our teeth in the morning.

And this is truly one year not to forget: for years, JetSet and I have debated inviting others to our bizarre, tradition-driven little jaunts, and this year we finally found just the right beta tester–none other than the beloved DonQuixoteKef! Since you will see him only in the same teeshirt and cargo shorts from here on out, here’s what he looks like when he’s not in his trademarked travelwear:

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Alright then, on to it: wouldn’t be FERRAGOSTO if the shenanigans didn’t start off right off the bat. Immediately upon landing in the Big Easy, we had to find an urgent care that was still open because I had fallen while running in DC that morning, went to work all day, and then decided that our first order of business in New Orleans would be seeking out someone to stitch me up. As one does.

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Seven sutures later (3 internal, 4 external, for the curious among us), we were on Frenchman Street, where the beignets were frying and the brass bands were playing:

After eating more fried food than was healthy, we strolled the French Quarter, which was made infinitely better when we realized we could get our craft cocktails to go. Feeling the itis and the time change, we decided to call it an early night. We headed back to our beautiful and well-located AirBnB, but not before one more stop at our soon-to-be favorite take out bar, The Franklin. This is when I realized that I had become the third-wheel on my own vacation.

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Toasting the age old question: why ARE there so many songs about rainbows?

The next morning, JetSet took off an a hot, humid, long run and DonQuixoteKef and I took a pilgrimage to find the brick memorializing his grandfather at the World War II Museum  Along the way, we made the obligatory stop at Cafe du Monde, enjoyed the beautiful architecture, and popped into the Lafayette Cemetery. The great news about wandering around a new place with DonQuixoteKef is that he stops to read all the plaques, and then generously summarizes the interesting parts for you. That’s service with a smile, people.

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Just before lunch, we caught up with JetSet post-run and set off across the Mighty Mississippi to the 15th Ward, Algiers.

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We poked about, ate lunch at the super sweet Tout de Suite Cafe, and headed back across the river. We were having a great walk along the river, when a torrential downpour came out of nowhere and we had to go all Esmeralda and claim sanctuary in the St Louis Cathedral.

…but first, we took a selfie.

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We walked between raindrops, NOLA style–which is to say we followed the awnings from bar to bar. This was the perfect time to be in a group of three, as at any given stop only two of us really felt like a beverage so we could keep the afternoon under control by alternating drinking and seltzering without anyone feeling left out. And to think, just ten years ago I was partnered with DonQuixoteKef so he could help me finish off the second 40 taping our hands together, and now we needed each other for the sobriety triangle. #ReallyNotMillennials

After witnessing a strange Porsche Parade complete with police escort (no, really…) we continued our rainy walk through Louis Armstrong Park and into the Treme.

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We swung by the storied Kermit’s Treme Mother in Law Lounge, where we instantly killed the vibe a few regulars had going at 4pm on a Saturday afternoon.

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On the upside, we did learn a ton about a the eponymous New Orleans Jazz legend, thanks to the 30For30 style documentary they had playing on loop.

Finally, we stopped by St. Augustine Catholic Church, which houses the Tomb of the Unknown Slave.

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On this October 30, 2004, we, the Faith Community of St. Augustine Catholic Church, dedicate this shrine consisting of grave crosses, chains and shackles to the memory of the nameless, faceless, turfless Africans who met an untimely death in Faubourg Treme. The Tomb of the Unknown Slave is commemorated here in this garden plot of St. Augustine Church, the only parish in the United States whose free people of color bought two outer rows of pews exclusively for slaves to use for worship. This St. Augustine/Treme shrine honors all slaves buried throughout the United States and those slaves in particular who lie beneath the ground of Treme in unmarked, unknown graves. There is no doubt that the campus of St. Augustine Church sits astride the blood, sweat, tears and some of the mortal remains of unknown slaves from Africa and local American Indian slaves who either met with fatal treachery, and were therefore buried quickly and secretly, or were buried hastily and at random because of yellow fever and other plagues.

Even now, some Treme locals have childhood memories of salvage/restoration workers unearthing various human bones, sometimes in concentrated areas such as wells. In other words, The Tomb of the Unknown Slave is a constant reminder that we are walking on holy ground. Thus, we cannot consecrate this tomb, because it is already consecrated by many slaves’ inglorious deaths bereft of any acknowledgement, dignity or respect, but ultimately glorious by their blood, sweat, tears, faith, prayers and deep worship of our Creator.

A humbling reminder of the power of taking responsibility for our country’s dark history and the tremendous amount of work left to be done to undo the oppressive systems left in its wake. End rant.

We headed back to home base, took a nap and a shower, then headed to dinner… of course with a stopover to see our friends at the Franklin. For the record, I am generally a woman who drinks about one glass of wine per week… but when I realized I could strut about with my champagne, I was just bubbling over with excitement (har har har). We ate a delicious meal at Peche, then went for cocktails at Arnaud’s French 75.  Anyone keeping track realizes that, by this point, my whopping four drinks in 24 hours had me feeling like a million bucks, so I abstained when JetSet and DonQuixote stopped by Franklin’s for one more roadie.

And yet, somehow, I still participated (instigated?) this late night selfie stick session

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which devolved into my brother and I DEMANDING that Don Quixote join, in a ruckus very similar to an entire amphitheater full of fans chanting “one more song!” that didn’t end until the man himself appeared

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and finally agreed to “snuggle and selfie” with us

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two of these people are related by blood, and one of them is sorry he ever set eyes on the FamiliaKef. You do the math.

 

And then, like a rockstar who suddenly realizes the groupies he thought were hottie-patotties are actually thirty-something siblings, DonQuixote was gone as quickly as he came.

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Suddenly, it was morning, and we decided to be industrious grown ups again. A quick trip to the oddly all-inclusive convenience store down the street for provisions revealed the sign JetSet hopes one day to hang on his office door:

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It was our last day in the Big Easy and we were on two missions: get to the Audobon Zoo, and find a muffuletta on the way. We achieved the latter first, which gave DonQuixote just the boost he needed to rebound from the night before and trek across the city, plus all the calories he needed for the next four days of non-travel detox:

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Luckily, we were greeted with perfect weather for our final hours, and we managed to squeeze in the Zoo as well as mini-campus tours of Loyola and Tulane, plus an attempted-but-ultimately-barred jaunt through one of New Orleans’ most exclusive gated communities.

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We zoomed home on by streetcar, and snapped this lovely shot:

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And that, friends, wraps up FERRAGOSTO 2016. No word on where we’ll head this year (or whether DonQuixote’s Stolkholm Syndrome is severe enough to agree to join us again), but as it is the TENTH ANNIVERSARY, we have some exciting possbilities in the mix.

It won’t, however, be Cleveland:

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22 May

Chrissy grandmaYesterday, this world lost one of the greats: my sassy, vivacious, tough-as-nails Grandma Rita.

Her love of dogs, gambling, and gossip (though she maintained she was merely “sharing information”) are well documented, but my most cherished memories of her will be how much she supported my writing–she read every word I ever published in The Hoya, bought every copy of Newsweek in Sugar Notch the summer I worked there (even when I didn’t have a byline), and always laughed at the jokes no one else found funny on this little blog. Even after I became a nurse and writing was no longer in my career path, there was almost never a phone call that went by without her reminding me, “You are a tremendous writer, you know,” and then, a crescendoing giggle, “And funny as hell.”

She was also the first person outside of the immediate family to meet MrKef, and I’ll always be grateful for how immediately and warmly she embraced him as part of the family. They bonded over paczkis and poodles, and he was an admitted and unabashed favorite of hers.

Here we are on our sort-of-secret first wedding day with her, because I couldn’t imagine getting married without her:

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And while I could go on and on about her, I’ll leave you with this absolutely-typical email she once wrote me, after she saw on the Facebook that I had gone to a shooting range, subject line: Annie Oakley:

chrissy—-so pleased that you have taken up the fine art of target shooting.  I told Jeannie and she was thrilled–she and I in our younger years were on rifle teams we competed every sunday.  Jeannie was a sharpshooter and all the guys wanted her on their team.  she never missed a target…….. she was one lady not to tangle with.  It is a great way to spend a day/////  hope all is well with you….the puppy is teething and driving this ole lady nuts.  To date he has eaten/chewed my new boots , the electric wire on my fan,one of Rose!s throw blankets last night he was very quiet, I was thrilled, after awhile I checked him he had my cell phone, chewed all the leather from the case top and bottom===we checked he did not make any calls.  Have a great day.  Love you                       rita and ryley

Wedding Wednesday Finale, Straight Outta Wedding Central

27 Jan

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If it had been up to me, MrKef and I would have rented a rec center and had an awesome wedding and party without a single centerpiece or place setting. But it turns out that 99.9% of the world is more formal than I am, and I was flatly overruled pretty much every time I asked, “But do we really NEED that?” Luckily, I have a mother who is the reigning queen of Pinterest’s Budget Weddings for Stubborn and Cheap Daughters scene, and she came to the rescue in a big way.

For about a year, MamaKef referred to her dining room as “Wedding Central” (and sometimes even answered the phone, “Wedding Central, how can I help you?” which gave me particular joy). Let’s review some of her amazing work!

My favorite detail: my bouquet. When I mentioned I really didn’t care to carry a bouquet, MamaKef actually recoiled in horror. But she knows the way to my heart: sentimentality. She doctored up the silk flower arrangement that she carried at her wedding to make this beautiful bouquet that I was thrilled to carry down the aisle with me.

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And she also made sure my beloved Grandma Ann was represented, and included this handkerchief in the 2016 version of her bouquet:

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Welcome bags were a MUST-have for MamaKef and the out of town guests, so she did up these super cute little inserts and added them to a basket of black & white cookies, a map of DC, and water bottles

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She also designed and printed the entirety of our ceremony’s program:

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All those amazing photos taken in foam board frames? 100% the work of the parentals, who spent a weekend perfecting these awesome props.

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Plus she commissioned this amazing, surprise step-and-repeat for us, which KMBGSKef tells me was quite a feat of engineering to assemble…

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But the fun didn’t stop there! She fashioned some beautiful decorations for cocktail hour:

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Which included pictures of both our families, because MamaKef is the official family historian:0674

And even made my ultimate cheap-as-anything-bride move look super cute with the help of ChampagneOnlyKef’s perfect penmanship:

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MrKef is a proud alumnus of Posse, and they have a tradition of “Warm and Fuzzies” that MrKef wanted to try and recreate for our guest book. So, we made these little note papers on VistaPrint and MamaKef found a creative way to display them

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Our seating chart was also a MamaKef original (with a little help from KMBGSKef’s fine hand)–this was a repurposed foam board of my grandmother’s with little tags designed by (who else!) MamaKef:

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… and that was all before you entered the reception room! As mentioned above, centerpieces were very low on my priority list, but MamaKef came to the rescue.

 

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The pictures don’t actually do them justice–the venue gave us the cylinders and mirrors (for free!) and MamaKef came up with this brilliant glitter-sticks-fake-tea-light arrangement. They gave off this beautiful sparkling low light that looked so pretty as the sun set over the Potomac.

… but low-cost don’t mean low-stress… this was the scene until about 1130am the day of the wedding (not pictured but should be: KMBGSKef, ChampagneOnlyKef, CafeKef, BabyKef and TresParisienneKef as WeddingCentralMinions).

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One of my other favorite details: the table numbers! We decided to do pictures of each of us at ages that corresponded to the table number. MamaKef and HomeBrewKef tag-teamed to make these amazing placards:

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Finally, MamaKef bequeathed us what was 100% the most appreciated detail of the wedding– flipflops! 0808

And that, good people, is the work of the world’s Best Mom, with only minimal input from the world’s Worst Bride.0693

And now, I leave with with just a few moments from the Kef Wedding After Dark:

THE BIGGEST THANK YOU TO EVERYONE AT THE KEY BRIDGE MARRIOTT, who were awesome. Especially our Captain, Cristina– obrigada!

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So many favorites in one spot:

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MrKef’s mom served beignets during the after party, village style:IMG_4422

while DoJobKef entertained my side of the family with her discovery that my dad’s best friend bears an uncanny resemblance to her OB:

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There is a video of my parents, my dad’s best friend, and KMBGSKef belting out some Irish Drinking Songs… but I will spare you that and give you a blurry picture, instead:FullSizeRender (1)

At about 2:00 am, we piled into two huge Ubers and headed–where else?–to Korean BBQ:

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…and THAT, my friends, is how I woke up looking like this:

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How better for the anti bride to end this seemingly-endless blog series?

(Almost The Last) Wedding Wednesday: Reception Kings and Prancing Dads

20 Jan

Today we’re gonna finish up the party pics I couldn’t get posted last week, next week it’s all about the amazing work MamaKef put into this life event, and then its honeymoon in Croatia time. Sharing all these fun wedding moments has been great, but I’m ready to move on. (Part I ; Part II ; Part III ; Part IV)

First things first, I have to crown a King of the Reception. I’d like to think everyone had a great time at our little fiesta, but there was one guest who stood out in a sea of really fun people as the person having the MOST fun: RussianBearKef himself! There was not one single scene the photographer caught without him in, having a blast. A smattering of the many snapshots of one of my dearest friends getting down with pretty much every woman I know:

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Impossibly, we have known each other for TEN years– so because I can, I think we need a before-and-after comparison:

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I rather think we’re getting better with age (and less Russian Bear!).

It was an extremely tough decision. The runner up goes to SummitKef, for cheering us on SO wholeheartedly as we fed each other beignets and baklava. The whole photo series is priceless, but here’s just one to wet your whistle:

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Back to the party:  the FamiliaKef really knows how it’s done:1503

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FINALLY, JetSet learns how to Wobble.

While my family was dancing, MrKef and co were up to some very-usual antics

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#posselove #brandeis

Naturally, FlailKef, SpeakToSomeoneAboutThatKef and I were picking some apples and putting them in our pocket:

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It was just a room full of dancing fools!

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The most beautiful couple on the planet, clearly.

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I think this is me “dancing” to Makossa

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Countless cool points were won and lost that night.

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Partying like we should have in 1999.

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Things reached a fever pitch when MamaKef’s cocktail hour props made their way to the dancefloor:

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Not in a frame, but they’re two of my most beloved, so I’m going Blogzilla and throwing it in there, anyway.

In case there was ANY wonder whether this whole night had been worth it, a miracle happened. Our last song of the night was “New York, NY.” Everyone was swaying in a circle, minding their own business and belting it out along with the original Bl’italian when…

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… SUDDENLY MRKEF’S DAD AND MY DAD ENTERED THE CENTER OF THE CIRLCE HOLDING HANDS AND PRANCING:

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It cannot be understated how happy this made me– my father does NOT dance, does not like attention, and does not touch other humans. My reaction was pretty much the same as KPopKef’s, captured wonderfully in the background to the right.

Once we got over the shock, everyone piled through the dads to form a bridge.

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1589 I honestly think this is the happiest moment of my whole life. I bemoaned the process of putting together a wedding for a price below the Federal Poverty Line for an entire year, but  I would happily pay twice the cost of the wedding just for this amazing memory!

Beautiful MakeUp and Emergency Hair Touchups: Colleen the Stylist
Amazing photography provided by: RMN Photography
Venue and gracious coordinators of logistics: Key Bridge Marriott
White dress the bride could live with: BHLDN
Alterations that kept the bride IN said dress: G2G Couture
Perfect party music played by: DJ StereoFaith

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