It's been ages since I've blogged, but I literally haven't had time. I am back in the States, and to those of you who were dying to see me at the blogger meetup (I know you were, don't tell me otherwise, I won't believe it!), I let you down. Friends planned a dinner for me that night, so while Cara was able to stop in and say hi, I was not. I'm sorry.
So, let's see, where did I leave off? I believe I told you I made it home. Before I left, we spent time in Munich, which was awesome. A lovely city I would be happy to live in or visit again. Amsterdam's airport was nice, but they have bulldogs for security...I suppose that's a good thing, but when you just want to get on the damn plane, getting hauled over to a little desk and being questioned about your trip, about why you're traveling alone, about why you have no supporting documentation for living in another country is the last thing you really want to deal with.
The Memphis airport is pretty big. The last time I used it, I was flying out of the country, and I didn't really notice how big it was; this time, it felt like a very long, straight maze to get to baggage claim. Customs took all of five minutes; then it was waiting for the bags that took forever...about 40 minutes or so. Then there was the line to put it back on the belt so it could go to baggage claim. Then there was the security line. As one guy put it, "You're not in Memphis until you're past security." Thanks, man. So after taking off my coat, shoes, taking the computer out of the bag, making sure I didn't crush the glass ornament from Vienna, I get to walk through security. Oh, but the iPod is still in the bag, so I had to go back and put it in its own big-ass container, and then all was peachy. Walking, walking, walking through the airport to baggage claim, I am ready to get out of there. Finally, I spot Wiley's dad, and then his stepmom, and then we get the bags. One ended up being 56 pounds, the other 42 or something like that. Do you think they checked in Munich? Nope! The agent even gave me the exit row seat from Munich to Amsterdam, but clearly he could tell I was as short as a tomato plant. See what a little smiling can do for you? Turn on the charm, peeps, I tell ya, it works wonders.
Blah blah blah....so onto Arkansas, where the wedding will be, and on Saturday we headed out around 8 am for some breakfast at the dining hall, then a meeting with people from said dining hall. Everything goes off without a hitch, and I breathe much easier because the hall is simply stunning. Hardly any decorations will be needed to spruce it up because nature is all around, and during fall, it's nature's time to shine...well, me too, but Nature is ok with that. After that meeting, we headed to Little Rock for some dress shopping. I am so good at the squat n' pray, I could do it all day. The owner of the shop helped me into these ginormous dresses. I put my hands up above my head in the prayer position, then hunkered down so she could get the dress over me. Some dresses looked awful, especially the ones where half your back can be seen because the dress is too small and can't be zipped up. That was slightly irritating, as you had to go out in front of strangers milling about, and all could see and comment. But I got the choices narrowed down, and that was that. Then it was off to talk to the florists, which was a bit of a let-down because they were no longer independent, so it seems I can get most flowers from them, but not all flowers. No big deal, just something to deal with. Then it was off to talk to the photographer, who I think is a doll. He has a really creative spirit, so I think we're going to get along just fine, and I'm excited to have him shoot the pictures. A little while after that, we went back to the hall to see how it was lit at night and to hear the music. The hall at night is spectacular. The fun thing is that there are floor to ceiling windows. During the ceremony, it'll be light, and during the dancing, it'll be dark. The lights illuminate the tables, and the whole effect reminds me of candlelight, so I was very happy. The next day was pretty quiet - I stayed home and talked to Wiley's stepsister about decorations and invitations. She is a whiz at scrapbooking and making cards, so we asked her if she'd be available and willing to make our invitations. She's a lot of fun to talk to because she can go a mile a minute and not get winded. And I can keep up!
Monday saw me leaving Arkansas, and of course, I got lost. I took a wrong turn on the bypass - but hey, when you want to go north, you follow the signs that say north! After an hour, I got a little worried that I hadn't hit the main highway yet, and sure enough, I goofed, but I was able to correct it pretty easily. I ended up going through Mountain View, which was one of the towns that got hit by the tornado. The fire station was gone, the hospital roof was gone, centuries-old trees were torn out by their roots and on their side....I've never seen such devastation, and it was creepy seeing just where the tornado's path was because everything else around it looked fine. So after winding my way around the hills in Arkansas, I finally made it to KC, where I got to see my Dixiebella kitty and see my friend Cara! The night was pretty uneventful. Tuesday was the day that I ran around all over the place...another dress shopping experience, where I finally decided on the dress I'm getting, and then over to talk to the jeweler about my ring. Guess what? The price of gold rose to $950 an ounce. Guess what that does to platinum? Makes the price of that go up too. In between his talking to Wiley and me, which was about a month, the price of platinum doubled. Doubled!!! But I was able to get the setting I wanted, and now he's looking at stones for me. Phew!
In between the dress and ring shopping, we stopped by Oak Park Mall to do a little browsing, and I realized, with a bit of horror, that I hate shopping with people when I'm shopping for something for myself. It was an awful realization. I used to enjoy shopping greatly, and yesterday I walked around Zona Rosa for just a bit to get a few things, but I don't want people with me now when I shop. Nor do I want to go for hours and hours. I think it's bizarre...perhaps it's culture shock.
Since then, things have slowed just a tiny bit. I seem to have caught the KC Cold, and if you've been reading me for awhile, then you know that I have a deviated septum that acted up in Sarajevo and am now terrified I'm going to get another sinus infection, so I try to keep it clear all the time. With a cold, that proves difficult. Sleep has been a little hard, but today I'm feeling better than I did yesterday.
Tomorrow I leave for the cold bitter north of Iowa to visit more friends and family. My eldest niece informed me she bought a house, so I'm very excited to see it. And I get to help her with the curtains! I will eat Maid-Rites, and we will go cheese curd hunting as well as shopping, which could be interesting, considering I don't like shopping with people...but that's really only for myself. So we'll see how that goes. So that's why I've been absent. But I see all of you have been writing away...I only had about 170 posts to read! Now I'm going to watch the Golden Girls and sip more tea and have something to eat. It's hard to eat when you have a cold. Nothing really sounds good.