Sunday, December 6, 2009

Snow Riding

November was incredibly mild, but over the last few days the temperature has dropped and we've had a dusting of snow, so it's beginning to feel like winter. I'm trying to get in as much riding as I can before the snow starts to fly and the trail is groomed for cross-county skiers.

After weeks in the shop awaiting her new tires, Turtle finally came home yesterday. The cream Delta Cruisers look amazing, and I'm so happy I held out for them. I also added a new brass bell, and gave the Brooks saddle a deep conditioning. She looks wonderful.
Aaron and I decided to take advantage of the sunshine and go for a short ride this afternoon. I let him ride Turtle, as we're still looking for a bike for him and I think he's getting a little tired of riding my sister's Trek. I think they make a very handsome pair.

I rode my new Raleigh Grand Prix. I've been admiring mixte frames and couldn't resist when this one popped up on Craigslist. I named her Juno, because of the little red road bike the title character rides in the film Juno (one of my favorite movies).
I've never ridden a bike so late in the year. I love riding through the light, dry snow over of the trail and seeing the variety of animal and tire tracks. It gives me the sense that even though the river valley seems so quiet and still, it is full of life and activity. In a car, we miss these little details.
If you look closely, there is nothing barren about a winter landscape.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Fall Collage

Tree reflections.

It was beautiful, sunny, and mild. There can't be very many days this nice left in the year.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

For her birthday, she asked for a bicycle

Last month I began riding my bike to work as a way to be more environmentally friendly, active, and neighborly while saving a little money. In the process, I've discovered a new passion for cycling and the cycle chic movement. I also became enamored with the idea of owning a vintage English 3-speed. Just a few days later, a gorgeous Raleigh Superbe showed up on our local Craigslist. I think we were meant to be together.

She still has her original Brooks leather saddle, air pump and DynoHub lighting. She was ridden so infrequently that she also still has an original Raleigh tire on the front. I'll replace her tires soon (as well as send her in for a tune-up), but as the old ones still hold air I took a chance on taking her for a ride into work yesterday. Aaron borrowed my sister's Trek so he could ride along, and he waited patiently while I took a few photos.

A lovely commute.

Snow! (You'll have to excuse the slight blurriness - I was pedaling one-handed.)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Barn

Our wedding made me feel grateful for so many things. We are so lucky to have this beautiful barn on our property. The warm light, the flowers, and the sounds of our friends and family brought it a new life. It is a space I'll never again take for granted.

Monday, August 17, 2009


I have mentioned several times the astounding number of desserts that my dear friend baked, dipped, and frosted for us. I hope one day I'll be able to do something just as generous for her.

Even though she had never tested most of the recipes, we only had one disaster.
That is our wedding to-do list in the background, much of which was happily ignored as the evening approached. I was too busy bumbling around the house. I was so full of joy and nerves that I kept forgetting what I was supposed to be doing, which meant I would often walk into a room and stand there looking lost. So Erin set me up dipping truffles and peppermint patties. For HOURS.
It was an incredible mess, but that time I spent with her in our kitchen is something I'll always treasure.

In the days leading up to the wedding, the kitchen was our gathering place. If you had two legs to stand on, you had two arms to lend. To see all of our friends together in that space was incredible. It filled me with joy.

I indulged in a slice of wedding cake before the wedding even began, as our dear officiant and I sat in the sleeping-bag filled living room and finalized our ceremony script.
I will never forget them, not only because they were beautiful and delicious, but because of the community that made them and the love, frustration, patience, and time they put into them. For that, Erin, I can never thank you enough.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Post Wedding Joy

It's been two weeks now since our beautiful wedding, and life is beginning to return to normal. Yesterday we had a picnic with extended family and friends at Aaron's parents' farm, and I was officially welcomed into the fold with a taste of two traditional Luxembourg dishes: Trèipen, or blood sausage and Stäerzelen, or buckwheat dumplings with pork.

In all honesty I had been kind of dreading the event because I'm so shy and I worry about making a good first impression. But everyone was so friendly and generous, and I truly enjoyed myself. As the picnic wound down I spent a lot of time chasing flies with Aaron's little cousin Sarah, who is four and a half and quite the princess. We're pretty good at keeping each other entertained.

I still feel a little jolt whenever someone refers to Aaron as my husband, or me as his wife. It's an incredibly good feeling.

Our wedding was so amazing, so perfect for us, and such a wonderful start to our married life. There are so many things I never want to forget. Beautiful flowers and unseasonably cool weather. Helping Erin dip hundreds of peppermint patties in chocolate. Eating coconut cake as we looked over the ceremony script one last time. The look on my grandma's face when she saw me all gussied up, like she was going to break into tears. The way the wind died down right before we all gathered around Mom's perennial garden. Looking over Aaron's shoulder and seeing my sister crying as Jaret read our ceremony. Aaron squeezing my fingers. Watching one of our cats wind his way through the legs of our guests. Taking a deep breath and centering myself as I read my vows (the one moment when I thought my tears were really going to get the better of me!). Annie dropping the pole she had been supporting when she reached out to hug me, and laughing when Aaron had to catch it. Making faces with my sisters after the ceremony. The beautiful lights in the barn. Losing power when we tried to plug in a second coffee maker.

I will remember everyone who was there with their love. I'll remember Neal playing a diddy on his banjo. I'll remember the elation I felt when two dear friends broke out into one of my favorite bluegrass songs. My mom, grandpa and aunt Suzi yodeling, and hearing the voices of my grandma and uncle Bob joining them from their table, and the sound of the coins circling the bowls. A piece read by Aaron's grandma about how god loves love stories, a love poem read by his aunt. Shane stepping up first and reading William Carlos Williams, Jaret reading a valentine poem he had copied down that evening. My dear sisters singing, and later, Laura belting out the lyrics of "Hallelujah." Annie and the alp horn. Hot coffee in my rosy tea cup and laughter. Standing up and "singing" for my college girls after they surprised me with the chant, "We love you Katie..." The desserts. Dear god, the desserts.

I've never felt a moment of post wedding blues. Never believe someone who tells you that your wedding will be the best day of your life. I never wanted that of our wedding - I just wanted a happy, meaningful start to our marriage. Our wedding was incredible, but when it was done we were both ready to move on to other things. What a wonderful feeling to be moving forward together.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Another Month

As our wedding day rapidly approaches, I find myself thinking more and more about what our relationship will be like after marriage. Will it change? Couples who have already gotten married are fairly quick to answer yes or no, but I think ours will, if only because I feel a little change in me already. I feel a little calmer and more secure. I read recently from one newlywed that marriage made her feel more independent, which sounds a little strange at first, but it's a feeling I understand.

I feel like so much of my relationship with Aaron has had a measure of anxiety sewn in that came from living far apart from each other. During visits I couldn't help thinking how little time we had together, how we should spend that time, how it was already slipping away, and how long it would be until we saw each other again. I felt pressure to spend every possible moment interacting directly with him - time taken to do other things was time taken away from us.

Now we are both grounded in the same place, and while it has taken longer than I thought it would, I've finally begun to kiss that anxiety goodbye. And I just feel so much better. I feel more secure and more independent - I can do my own things whether or not he's in the house, and so can he. I mowed the lawn, he helped sweep out the barn. He spent the hot afternoon hours studying fonts, I spent them studying Jersey cows. We enjoyed time spent with a friend and we made pizzas together. It was wonderful.

This change has affected other things too. Aaron is so gentle, easy going and patient, where I can be very impatient and therefore a little demanding at times. I used to feel incredibly frustrated because he would take so long to answer a question, and I like quick answers. When I didn't get one, I felt like he wasn't listening or didn't care. But he does listen and he does care, he just likes to mull things over. I'm only beginning to realize the significance of our different communication styles, and I've made special efforts to just take a breath and relax after I pose a question. He always answers. Its just a simple change in my behavior that makes me feel so much better.

I anticipate more changes like this are on the way, and I'm so excited to experience them. This wedding planning business has been fun, but really, I just can't wait to be married.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

He said I could get a cow...

Can you see why I'm marrying him?

Did mention that I love cows? They have such a gentle spirit. We went to our little town fair today, and a beautiful Red Angus wrapped its sandpaper tongue around my fingers and tried to bring my hand to its mouth. It let me touch its wet nose and scratch its ears.

A small Jersey or Guernsey is in my near future. But I should probably wait until this wedding business is over...

*photo via the English Guernsey Cattle Society

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Some Lace

The dress came back to me at the end of May. It fits. It's pretty. And I get to rock it in four weeks.

Invites are sent, dress is hanging near the bed, suit is being tailored, flowers are planted, hay is (almost) cleared out of the barn, marriage license is tucked safely away, and my room is wonderfully full of thrifted tableware, milk glass vases, ball jars, and little birds.

There is still so much to do, but I can see it all coming together, and that's incredibly exciting. We're getting married!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Dress

Trying on wedding dresses is something I put off during our engagement - I had this vision of walking in to a salon and being descended upon by aggressive staff and poofy white ballgowns. Therefore, I didn't start my dress search until quite late by wedding industry standards - a mere four months before my wedding.

My dress was important to me. I wanted it to feel personal and I wanted to feel like the best of myself when I was wearing it. I searched for a fabulous vintage dress without much luck. Inspired by brides who made their own beautiful, unique dresses, I visited a fine fabric store in the Cities but could not find a pattern I loved, partly because I didn't know what I wanted - I didn't even know what styles would flatter my figure. So I plucked up my courage and decided to visit a few bridal stores, at the very least to gain a little dress experience.

It was not at all the horrible experience I imagined it would be. We started at David's Bridal, and while they had some pretty dresses in my price range, but when I pulled them on I felt like I was wearing someone else's clothes - it just wasn't me. So we drove on Brides of France in Edina, which sells consignment as well as new wedding dresses. They were kind and helpful, but they also had an incredibly small floor space, a very limited number of preowned dresses, and a collection of new dresses I couldn't afford and which would take 5 months to order.

Mom and I decided to break for the day and visit Brides of France's Uptown location, which had a much larger selection, another day. So we scooted across the street to visit one of our favorite consignment stores in the immediate area and promptly got lost.

I saw the Priscilla of Boston salon as I was calling Aaron to get the address for Fashion Avenue. Thank goodness I had never paid much attention to designers, or I wouldn't have even walked in because I would have known I couldn't have afforded any of their dresses. But I only saw some pretty wedding dresses in the window and thought, oh, let's go see if they'll take us without an appointment.

We quickly found out that their dresses started at a price way above what I could afford, but just as we were turning to leave, one of the consultants stopped us and said they had just finished a sample sale, and they still had quite a few dresses left over if I'd like to try those. They paired me up with the nicest helper in the world, and off they went.

Not only were the dresses gorgeous, but the staff was incredibly friendly and did everything they could to find me a dress I loved. When I kept coming back a beautiful lace tea-length dress by Melissa Sweet that was just too small, they said, well, let's see what we can do. Not only did they manage to zip me into it (a miracle in itself), they also discovered that there was about an inch and a half of extra fabric along the zipper that they could let out. I'm a little embarrassed to say that when they found that I cried a little!

So I have my beautiful dress after my first day of dress shopping. It's beautiful, it's sweet, it feels warm and vintage-y and one of a kind, and it feels like me.

Mom and I later found out that we had stopped one store away from Fashion Avenue when we turned around thinking we were going in the wrong direction, took a right, and walked into Priscilla. Talk about serendipity!