Last weekend we headed up to Omaha for a couple of days. Joe has been a second photographer at a couple of weddings for the amazing Janine McClintock. He's working steadily at starting his own professional photography business and Janine generously gives great advice and opportunities to work alongside her, partly because we've got good connections, she's our sister-in-law Katy's great friend. So last Saturday Joe had the chance to shoot alongside Janine at a beautiful wedding at the Magnolia Hotel in downtown Omaha. So I tagged along for the weekend, I didn't crash the wedding though, I promise.
We stayed at Joe's parents house (in the Wizard of Oz guest suite, above is just one of four choices of ruby slipper striped tight statuary that I could have taken a photo of, yes four) and got the chance to hang out with Joe's stepdad, John. John and Sherry are a fantastic team but it was kind of nice to have time just talking and sitting around with John. And eating his light fluffy blueberry pancakes, but really just chatting was nice. Joe's mom Sherry was up in Madison visiting the brand new Sands baby girl, Miss Tierney Elizabeth! She arrived early and perfect. Sherry arrived back in Omaha on Saturday afternoon after a long a delightful visit spent taking care of Tierney's two big brothers punctuated with frequent visits to see Katy and Tierney at the hospital. We get to meet Tierney and run around and play with our nephews, and Jim and Katy, in a just a couple of weeks. We can't wait. But now, back to Omaha.
Joe had to be downtown by early afternoon on Saturday for the wedding, so we ran some errands in the morning. We hit Wenninghoffs to buy an abundance of sweet corn to freeze and store over the winter and some peaches and mostly to just stand around and see how pretty all the produce looks all laid out. I like Wenninghoffs, everything we buy there tastes better than produce at the grocery store. Afterward we hit Marshalls, I bought a shirt with both ruffles and puffed sleeves which I somehow actually like and I should have bought this coffee. But it didn't smell great. And shouldn't coffee smell great?
After lunch, Joe dropped me off at a Starbucks in town where I killed a couple of hours before my afternoon date. The day was surprisingly mild and sunny for August, probably 80 degrees with a cool northerly breeze. I sat on the front deck at Starbucks and sipped my iced coffee and read a book that I alternated liking and feeling oddly ambiguous about, and then my date picked me up at 3:30 sharp.
The lovely Katrina took time out of her busy schedule to spend the afternoon and most of the evening running around town stirring up trouble with me. Katrina is the mom of three 7 year old boys and when we were making plans for Saturday, trying to figure out exactly what we were up for between painting pottery, a movie and dinner, she said "Is that too much? :) Someone with triplets may try to jam in too much on a day out. Just saying." While we crammed in a lot in a few hours, it flew by. Katrina was one of Joe's best friends in high school and I don't think we've ever spent time together just the two of us. It was delightful. We've known each other for a long time, but we always talk about the kinds of things that come up when couples or groups of friends spend time together. Hanging out one-on-one the conversation goes in different directions and I realized how much Katrina and I have in common.
We painted pottery for a few hours, spending so much time talking about the challenges of family and work, that we didn't even notice that it was closing time. I quickly wrapped up my punctuation mug, it should be a dark blue mug with black punctuation symbols around the bottom, a lime green interior thanks to Katrina's advice and teal handle. And Katrina whipped up an adorable little dottery salt and pepper shaker and tray set that she didn't even get a chance to finish.
It was so cute, our dottery teacher Bethany would be proud. After pottery we headed out for an early dinner at Paradise Cafe. Like a homier version of Panera Bread, we had soups and salads and a discussion of whether we were "grass is always greener" people. After dinner we walked over to the movie theater and sat down to enjoy The Help, like nearly every other middle class white woman between ages 25 and 65, and their vaguely unwilling spouses, excited book club members or giddy friends did last weekend. It was a funny, frustrating and ultimately satisfying adaptation of the book. I liked the book version of The Help a lot. I thought the writing was decent but it was the story, characters and setting that shone. And the movie made some minor changes to the book but they were all beneficial in my opinion. The changes helped to bring more of a focus to the African American maids and less so on the young white writer who compiles their stories. The acting, writing and production values all combined to create a strong movie, even if it did downplay the violence and terror for African American people during that time in the civil rights movement.
After the movie Katrina drove me back out to Joe's parents' house and we drove right up the busiest teenage cruising road I've been on since 1992 when we would go "cruisin' the Fe" (driving up and down Santa Fe Blvd in Olathe, KS, smoking cigarettes and waving at boys from my friend's enormous Buick.) Except now we are two old married women driving entirely too slowly for the guys with a Chucky Doll sticking out of their sunroof or the monster truck that seemed willing run us off the road if they hadn't had the chance to pass us instead. We also drove past what I can only assume were the preparations for a drag race. Lots of yellow mid level sports cars, gangs of teenagers, several video cameras and an empty country road, with two cars lined up ready to go. All they needed was Cha Cha DiGregorio and her neck scarf to set the race in motion.
Sunday afternoon, after catching up with the newly returned Sherry, we headed out for a little August birthday lunch celebration with Joe's parents and grandparents. We enjoyed some delicious seafood, lobster rolls, shrimp and oyster Po' boys, and other tasty treats. It was really nice to spend time with Joe's grandparents too. Joe's grandfather had a serious health scare in June and has been recovering nicely over the last few weeks so it was great to see him up and around and looking stronger. He had his old sense of humor and a healthy portion of fried shrimp. Always a good sign.
This is Dad eating a spider roll. For some reason the spider roll, fried soft shell crab, always freaks me out a bit. All those legs and the nearly flavorless mildly seafood taste just doesn't work for me. But I do my best to encourage Dad to pretend he is eating a living crab, and for some reason it's always funny. I think his facial expression sells it. After dinner we walked around the mall. The guys spotted a collection of Ferraris, many of them bright yellow naturally, and wandered over to take a look. Mason checked out the cars and might have flirted with the pack of girls in the background of this photo. I say might have, I wasn't there so I don't know for sure, but you hear rumors. We ate ice cream, sat around, discussed the dangers of deep v-neck t-shirts, tried on the douchey $200 sunglasses that someone left outside of the ice cream shop, we turned them into lost and found, we took random pictures of a praying mantis and just enjoyed our summer tradition. I hope those boys can find a couple of days to come back next summer. Otherwise we may just have to go see them.
So that was our weekend. Filled with family and friends, ten sweaty hours shooting a wedding, six plus hours on the road and a completely charming 48 hours. How's your weekend going?