Sunday, June 29, 2008

I'd marry you all over again...

To the couple that rocked the Hindu Ceremony is the western version that occurred Saturday. Absolutely amazing is all I can say.
What an honor it has been to see this couple go through this blessed milestone and to be a part of such tremendous celebrations spanning East and West traditions. I wrote about Suzanne earlier so let's talk a little about Sam. I have known Sam (who is Sumeer now that he's all 'grows' up) since the WSU days and through all of my Seattle-based life. Scared of nothing, Sam has pursued acting in LA, saved natural disaster victims in Sri Lanka, attended law school, dabbled in politics and fearlessly dared to call Ken and I on our wedding night to invite us to a raging after-party in his "suite." As the story goes, my bridesmaids stared wide-eyed at him while he dialed the phone saying, "What???? I'm not scared of Kali." Luckily he went straight to voice mail and we didn't have to test that theory. But this match between Suzanne & Sam is better than anything I could have hoped for him. Obviously a good friend, I have at times regarded him as a pseudo younger brother. I've probably given him a great deal of advice through the years, of which he has heeded maybe 15%. (Kind of like my actual brother.) But the one thing I have always admired about him is his love of life and love of people. He gets a hard time from his friends because he is relentlessly optimistic. It's because you just don't meet people like that--unless they are selling something--but the difference is that Sam's absolutely sincere. So I hope he never loses that and with his lovely wife, I don't think he ever will. Ken and I left the party at the very "late" hour of 11pm (I know it's lame but we're still time adjusted to the East Coast). All that cool Bollywood dancing wore us out. I just want to take a second to say Sam & Suzanne performed a Bollywood dance by themselves to get things started and it brought down the house. Both are excellent dancers, of course, but the sheer excitement and spirit by which both performed would give those folks on Dancing with the Stars something to aspire to.

Before we left, I managed to tell Sam what a moving experience it had been for me personally to see him surrounded by his family, bathed in Indian music and dancing. It's like I saw my friend as a complete person for the first time and, now that he's happily married to one of the coolest ladies on the planet, he really is.


Here's more pictures from yesterday's festivities.

Friday, June 27, 2008

More pictures from the Hindu Ceremony

Here's the rest of the Hindu Ceremony pics:

Great day for a Hindu wedding

Here are a few pics from Suzanne & Sumeer's Hindu wedding today. What a way to celebrate the marriage of two such extraordinary people. I have known Suzanne since middle school and separately I have known Sam (Sumeer) since the salad days of college at WSU. Who knew these strangers would strike up a conversation at a BBQ (not mine) and Sam would recognize that Suzanne grew up in the same town I did? Now flash forward two years and here we are. The depth of ritual involved in this event are so intricate and numerous that I cannot begin to describe all of the elements. But from an outsider's point of view, the pageantry and traditions give an idea of just how big of a deal weddings are in the Hindu/Indian culture. For example, Sam (Sumeer) arrived at the front door of the temple escorted by family & friends dancing and clapping to Indian music. Suzanne wore a gorgeous red sari and had intricate Henna work her hands and feet. The ceremony itself involved lots of chanting in Sanskrit and lots of symbolic gestures involving food, fire and flowers. One notably fun aspect is that friends of the bride have to steal the groom's shoes (which is fairly easy since you have to leave them at the door of the temple) and not give them back until he gives them cash or presents. But friends of the groom are supposed to try and get them back. In this instance, a car chase and "mission impossible" tactics were necessary for Jo-jo & Deepali to secure and hide the shoes. This resulted in them missing most of the festivities to take care of this issue. But thank whomever you'd thank in the Hindu religion that there'll be a video of the ceremony. And yes, that's me wearing a borrowed sari. I like wearing the bindi best of all. Congratulations Sumeer & Suzanne!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Aqua Follies

We're enjoying a quick-by-past-standards visit with Ken's family on the East Coast and packing in a lot of fun. This photo was from yesterday when my father-in-law Duke took us and our step-nephews out on the boat. Ken is proud to say that he fended off not one, not two but three able-bodied aqua interlopers--the third one is hidden behind Ken in the picture. (I was just happy he didn't hurt himself.) But he's still got it and can hang with these youngsters. I'll have more pictures and stories but like Ken, I'm going to try and take a vacation from the electronics this next week so blogging/twittering may be light.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

You've Come a Long Way, Baby

(No tobacco products endorsed in this blog entry.)

A very amazing lady who I have had the pleasure of knowing her whole life, my cousin Angela, graduated from Western Oregon University last weekend. It represented the sheer determination and humbling sacrifice of a dream achieved. She has always wanted to be an elementary school teacher and she is now one giant step closer to that goal. Naturally, nothing would come between me and participating in this long anticipated event. Not even a relentless head cold. But despite that, the entire weekend felt so monumental. It's as if the world paused for a second, the sun shined and like a blossoming flower on high speed film, Angela's true possibilities open up before her. We are so proud of you, Congratulations!

Here is a short video of the commencement ceremony that I edited together with AVS Video editing software. Unfortunately, You Tube tends to 'crush' the video so it's not as clear as it could be but you get the idea.

Here is a mix of my mother's and my pictures from the commencement, dinner & family party.

Monday, June 16, 2008

The Fall

Last Wednesday, I saw a pretty cool indie movie with the Sarah & Mika called The Fall. It's unbelievably opulent. Done by the same director who did The Cell with Jennifer Lopez--you know, back when she acted--it's richly colored and textured with engaging characters and haunting music. Truly, a spectacle to behold. The story is pretty good, I think they could have simplified things a bit and cut 20-30 minutes out of the film but I do recommend it. Inspired by an image in the movie, I tried to recreate it at home... Ah well.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Monday, June 02, 2008

Celebrating the Smart Bride

Dancer, school chum and amazing human being, Suzanne, is going to be a June bride. All of us who joined her for a bachelorette party on Saturday had gone to (at least) middle and high school with her. It was really neat because I have known all of these girls for many years. It's not often that we are all together but it was a non-stop riot. Suzanne lamented that she was an "old bride," Heidi corrected her and said no, she was a "smart bride." Indeed, there are a small number of people who are fortunate enough to meet their true spouse at a very young age, but for the rest of us, it's important to have had the chance to spend money on frivolous things, travel, get a career going and figure ourselves out before getting married.

So we could not allow Suzanne to cross over into matrimony without observing and commemorating the event properly. That meant: going out for drinkies, non-stop laughter and scaring street-crossing pedestrians in downtown Portland. Suzanne wore a special hat with veil but was not the only bride when we arrived at Oba's in Portland's ultra-swank Pearl District. Two other bachelorette parties were there too. And no, we didn't see strippers or make her wear a shirt with candy stuck on it. She simply wanted a night out with her friends that she wouldn't forget. In a "let's-reclaim-our-youth-moment", some of us did enormous tequila shots which are now served in glasses the size of candle votive holders--when did that change? Thankfully I am married to a Photoshop expert and he toned down the alarming hue of red that my face becomes when drinking. (Asian Flush) Suzanne showed us some Bollywood moves because we're all doing that at the wedding--cannot wait. And driving/navigating with Heidi and Jeanene was a madcap adventure I'll never forget.

Bachelorette Party

So the next day we all attended her Bridal Shower Brunch. Yeah, everyone was feeling a bit dodgy--especially since most of the gals have young children who wake them at 5 am regardless if mommy has been out drinking 'til midnight. But that's what coffee is for. Lovely shower hosted by Suzy, Jo-jo and their mom. Suzanne made off with some good wedding loot and we got to go to Burgerville before we returned to Seattle. It doesn't get much better than that.