Sunday, November 27, 2011

fun at the fair

For Doug's birthday, we went to the Broward County Fair. We went right around golden hour and stayed until dusk. Truthfully, there weren't a lot of rides I could go on. (I mean, there's a weight limit on the swings and Kaylee put me over. Let's not even get started on the heart.) If I hadn't brought my camera, it might have been a disappointment.
Broward County Fair 1

My favorite part was looking at the animals. We may have walked away, scheming about what we can have when we build the hobbit house.
Broward County Fair 2
Broward County Fair 3
Broward County Fair 4

Some things haven't changed since I was a kid. I still love the look and the smell of the fair.
Broward County Fair 5
Broward County Fair 6
Broward County Fair 7
Broward County Fair 8
And I always leave, having made a few new friends. These two were rescues and I wish there could have been mine. There's just something about being loved on by a sheep that makes everything wonderful. And being 'kissed' like crazy by a goat is just as joyful.
Broward County Fair 9
Broward County Fair 10

The only rides we cared about: the swings and the Ferris wheel. One out of two isn't bad; we rode the Ferris wheel and the Flying Bob's (backwards bobsled).
Broward County Fair 11
Broward County Fair 12

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

"I always wish for you..."

I needed some time to think this through and figure out what I wanted to say. Those of you who are Facebook friends with me know that I got engaged last Friday. A few of you asked for the story and I just wasn't ready to tell it. I still don't know if I am but I think more time won't help me.

We've known since we first started dating that we wanted to spend our lives together. I don't think it was ever in question. I mean, he decided within a month of dating me that he wanted me to meet his entire family (in Ohio!). We were dating 4 months when he designed the engagement ring he wanted me to have.
ring sketch

About a year into our relationship, we went on a trip to Universal Studios. I ended up having a REALLY bad day and Doug would have done anything he could to make me smile. In an effort to cheer myself up, I put a quarter in one of the machines and out came a star ring. Doug decided to propose. I should really let him tell this part.

Brenda Heather: "When did you decide [you wanted to marry me]?"
Douglas Alexander: "When you told me that you loved me.
And again when you said no to my offering of the plastic ring, because you wanted to be smiling when you accepted a ring from me."

So he waited and schemed. He called every jeweler he could find that would do custom jewelry and no one would do what we wanted. Almost every night over the summer, while he was interning in Crestview and I was at home, we'd discuss the ring. One night, I got so frustrated with the jewelers being unwilling or unable to do what we wanted--or even to call us back--and I asked whether he'd rather push us the wedding tattoos and make them engagement tattoos instead. So we decided to put the majority of the ring budget into the tattoos, buy a tasteful ring for the proposal, and spend the rest on video games. I came up the end of July and we got our matching ampersand tattoos. [Pardon the cell phone photo.]

The day after I came home, the ring arrived. But I had to wait 3 1/2 months until I could have it.

We used to joke that we were going to elope on 11-11-11 before I got sick. Maybe if our lives had turned out differently, we would have. Probably not. Our compromise was to get engaged. I'm not very good with surprises so I'm impressed that I didn't see the ring beforehand. I sort of knew what it was going to look like because I suggested it to Doug and then magically, Etsy said it was no longer for sale. (I am really bad at surprises.) But I could not have imagined how much I love it.

The actual proposal isn't one of those Hollywood-style big deal proposals. I think if Doug had tried something like that, I would have run away and hid. We went to the beach, the same way we've done so many nights before. I love to stare at the sky and watch for shooting stars. We talked about how fabulous the harvest moon is and how perfectly the sea reflected it. We watched airplanes fly through the clouds and I kept my eyes peeled for a shooting star. And then he asked me. I can't remember exactly what he said; all I know is that it was simple and truthful. He wanted me to do him the honor of being his wife and I love that idea. I said yes and as I did, I think I saw a shooting star. But I can't be sure because it happened so fast. Plus, what more do I have to wish for? This was my wish and it came true.
engagement ring
My ring is a shooting star. It's silver and has a message hand-stamped on it. "And into Faerie..." The line from Stardust (my favorite love story) in which Tristran Thorn steps out of his everyday life and into an adventure. When we posted a picture on Facebook and I explained what it said, a friend of ours pointed out the secret meaning.

Brenda Heather: the ring reads "and into Faerie..." it's from Stardust, one of my favorite love stories ever.
Christie: in that case, you must be the shooting star represented on your ring

I hope that wasn't a spoiler for anyone.

After, we celebrated the way Team Sandcastle celebrates everything: with Tijuana Flats. (He let me pick. We did something fancy the next night.) What more did I need? I have my "always, forever, and a moose"; then I got hot sauce.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

"...and all the lines we cast will bring us home"

I was sad to leave Salt Lake City. I could have spent a week there and *still* felt like I needed more time to photograph everything. Heck, I needed more time just to breathe in the tranquility and the autumn-ness. But as it is, you're getting 4 blog posts from 2 days. I was so in my element.

I spent most of the flight home alternating between reading and taking pictures out the window. I think I'll always be amazed by the way everything looks from way up high and how different things are once I'm out of Florida/away from the ocean.
airplane window 21
airplane window diptych 7
airplane window 22
airplane window 24
airplane window diptych 8
airplane window 25
airplane window 26
airplane window diptych 9
My connecting flight from Denver was delayed because of snow. But there was no snow by the window I was sitting at.
airplane window 27
My last look at Denver. I could get used to views like this.
purple snow sunset

I knew before I even left which song would describe my trip. Obviously it's a Jack's Mannequin song. It conveys my wanderlust and my sense of home being where the people I love are perfectly.

"And we're still coming home, A thread through the unknown. All the lines we cast into forever got tangled like some wreckage in the road. A road we walked alone. But all the time that's passed held us together and all the lines we cast will bring us home." -Jack's Mannequin, "Casting Lines"

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

my whirlwind tour of Salt Lake City

In hindsight, I may have been a tad insane to try to do this in 36 hours. We last left off with my first view of the mountains from the airport. From there, Aunt Terri picked me up and we went to the office for about an hour and then we were on our way to meet Andrew.
Salt Lake City 3
Of course, we had to park next to the photo collective.
Salt Lake City 4

The meet-and-greet with Andrew McMahon was phenomenal. If this was all I got out of the trip, I would be able to call it a success.
Jack's Mannequin meet and greet 2
But there was more adventure to be had.

In between the meet-and-greet and the show, we went home to drop off my stuff and to let me see some more breathtaking views.
Salt Lake City 5
Salt Lake City 6
I also got to have the deliciousness that is Cafe Rio. (What can I say? She knows my taste in food.)

On our way to the show, we went a slightly longer way so I could see Temple Square lit up at night. It was beautiful. I *almost* (but not quite) wanted to skip the show to take more photos.
Salt Lake City LDS temple

The next morning, I woke up bright and early. When I was planning the trip, I asked if there would be snow and Aunt Terri said if I got up early, we could drive up into the mountains for a little snow. I don't think I slept at all in anticipation.
We drove up through Big Cottonwood Canyon and all you could hear from the passenger seat was the *beep* of my autofocus, the click of the shutter, and me making excited sounds.
Salt Lake City canyon 1
Salt Lake City canyon 2
Salt Lake City canyon diptych 1
As we got closer to the top, I could see other mountains in the distance and it was wonderful.
Salt Lake City 7
Salt Lake City 8
But the best part had to be seeing snow on the ground as we drove by. The higher we got, the more visible the snow was. There wasn't a lot but it was enough for what I wanted.

As soon as we pulled into the parking lot of the ski lodge, I was out of the car and had my gloves on. If you look carefully, you can see a perfect snowflake on my glove.
Salt Lake City snow hands
Once I had the calm, peaceful, powdery shot, I decided to throw some up in the air and make it snow on myself.
Salt Lake City snow diptych 1
We posed in front of the mountains and then we had to turn around and drive back down.
Salt Lake City snow 1
Salt Lake City snow 2

On the way down, we were talking about how the last time she was up that way, Aunt Terri saw a moose.
Salt Lake City canyon 5
Then, I saw movement off in the grass on the other side of the road. So we pulled over and I sprinted across the road to photograph the moose. I didn't even change to my telephoto; I just ran.
Salt Lake City canyon moose 1
Salt Lake City canyon moose 2
Apparently we had a good idea because someone else pulled over to photograph the moose.
Salt Lake City canyon 6
The rest of the ride back down was calm and pretty.
Salt Lake City canyon diptych 2
Salt Lake City canyon 7
Salt Lake City canyon diptych 3
Salt Lake City canyon 10

In honor of the moose and/or because we were always planning it, we went to the Red Moose for breakfast burritos and coffee.
Salt Lake City Red Moose diptych
Salt Lake City Red Moose 3

Then all too soon, it was time to go back to the airport to fly home.
Salt Lake City 11