Thursday, November 11, 2010

I ♥ (Upstate) NY Part I

So here I am in upstate New York on a chilly November night. Day two of The Great Wedding Adventure. My cousin Jenny Jo (or Jen, as she now prefers...evs...she is perpetually six years old in my head and therefore perpetually Jenny Jo till one of us kicks it) is getting married to Kevin on Saturday. The entire fam, from all corners of the U.S., have made the exodus to good ole Fulton County, NY (which I've referred to in the past as "The Armpit of the World" -- it's cleaned up quite a bit of late) to celebrate. And I mean CELEBRATE. Open bar, people. As my sister Jodianne said, "BIG mistake. HUGE." We haven't been together as an entire family since the LAST cousin's wedding, which was over a decade ago.

It's so on.

I have been blessed. I don't say that in the way that everyone overuses these days cuz it's "hip" to be "blessed," but I say that really wondering how I got so stupid lucky. I come from a bunch of really intelligent, hard-working, proud, upstanding, athletic, creative and HILARIOUS people. Okay some are more athletic than others...and some of us get to sing. But overall, our family has never had - as far as I can tell - any huge falling out or family squabble or vile hatred of each other, etc. Divorces have happened, sure. Near divorces too, no doubt. But that's the extent of any incivility (is that a word? It is now, anyway). I can't imagine a family where this sister doesn't talk to that brother or Aunt X can't be in the room with Uncle Y or having screaming matches about who Mom liked best...or god forbid, plotting a family member's demise (I watch a lot of Law & Order). In fact, my Dad and his new wife are attending this wedding...and so is my mom. We'll all be together all day. And it's just not that big of a deal.

That said, I got a little taste of the fun we'll be having on Saturday already. The bride-to-be stopped by yesterday afternoon (we don't know where she found the time!) and had a nice visit with me, my sisters and Mom. We laugh a lot when Jenny's around...she laughs at everything we say, but she's pretty hysterical herself and doesn't give herself enough credit for it. She also informed us that she's told people that "the entertainment has arrived." She wasn't just referring to me singing at the wedding. She meant "my crazy cousins from California are here - wait till you meet THEM!" No feeling blue that day, I guess! The show must go on! Not that we would be feeling blue...Jenny's getting married to a very nice man and she's gonna be the prettiest of brides, ever. And no doubt the smiliest. Cuz her smile is 1000 watts even on her bad days.

Today my and seester Mandi's friend Nan drove all the way down from Burlington VT (about 3 1/2 hours) just to have lunch with us! Nan is a friend from L.A. who is an upstate NY native and moved back east a few years ago. We haven't seen her in a couple of those years, I think. So it was not only delightful to see her, but impressive that she would make that trip down and back in one day just for US. We didn't have nearly enough time to catch up, but I'm grateful for the time we did get. And she brought us Vermont treats. We love Nan. ♥

After returning from lunch, Dad and new wife Linda stopped by (*surprise!*), as they'd just got off the plane and had a little time to kill. This is my first time meeting Linda, even though she was apparently the nurse at my elementary school (I have no recollection!). There wasn't much of a chance to really get to know her in that half hour, but she seems very nice so far. The real litmus test will be how she handles family dinner on Sunday afternoon. Dad has been known to play "war" with the remains of his surf-n-turf on his plate. Does she know THAT Dad? I hope so. And I hope she loves that Dad.

After that, we raced off to Uncle Steve (Mom's twin) and Aunt Penny's to hang with them, his daughter (Cousin Lindsey), my grandmother Mima and Aunt Micki and "Uncle" (dude's my age) C.B., who'd just gotten in from Colorado. Cousin Bill unfortunately had to work. Aunt Penny can COOOOOOOK, peeps. Lasagna, meatballs, an unbelievable salad, wine, wine and more wine...and sooooooo much laughter! I was so tired (cuz I flew in on a red eye Tuesday night/Wednesday morning and between that and the time zone change my clock is all whacked out), but not nearly ready to go when Mom called time (early work in the morning for her). I was glad to know more was to come on Saturday.

So far so good. Tomorrow breakfast with dad, pre-rehearsal with the pianist, wedding rehearsal, rehearsal dinner, then my baby brother comes in from Boston. I guess I'd better rest these cords as I'm on the job tomorrow. Who says there are no jobs out there? There's always work for a singer. :-) be cont'd...

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