Audrey and Patrick’s Montana Wedding Spectacular

Wound up back out West a week after leaving Colorado. En route to the Bozeman, MT airport I changed planes in Denver and landed at the gate across the walking escalator from the one I left a week ago. This time, I traveled sans husband and baby, which meant such a light load that I kept feeling like I was a bag (or six) short.

The Beam, Andy, The Nurse and I joined forces and shared a cabin in Big Sky for the nuptials of our friend, Audrey, to her sweet man, Patrick. You may remember Audrey from the time we went to Honduras and got attacked by sand flies. Audrey is a spirited adventure seeker from Houston-by-way-of-Austin-and-Berkeley whose mind runs 800 miles a minute and none of us can quite comprehend. But we love her for the candor, authenticity and joy she brings to all situations.

Audrey spent a few years as a scuba divemaster in Australia and the Caribbean before settling down and getting two masters degrees and moving to DC to work for the Defense Department in sustainability issues. Patrick is a phD whose heart is in the mountains and one of the most talented amateur skiiers any of us know. So we knew they’d pick somewhere beautiful and outdoorsy, and as soon as they chose Montana, we committed to being there.

And what a place. They wed at the 320 Ranch, just miles away from Yellowstone National Park, where there were a couple grizzly bear attacks on humans this week, so everyone brought bear spray on their hikes. The weather was dry and beautiful, we walked along babbling brooks to get to and fro, got lifts from Belgian horses to picnics by the Gallatin River, made smores in a shared firepit, took long and interesting hikes, met the couple’s favorite people from all parts of their lives and all over the world, heard their stories in a rehearsal dinner evening of lovely and hilarious speeches, and on Saturday, watched them wed against the stunning mountain vista. They are enchanted with one another, and we were enchanted by the weekend.

Some other trip notes:

On the flight there I got seated next to a couple trying to soothe their crying four-month-old. The father joked about lethal injection. I told them I didn’t mind and that the baby would be a great traveler — turned out, I was right, and I soon learned that he was a fellow journalist: a Reuters correspondent based in New Delhi, India.

While waiting for a third wedding guest to arrive at the Bozeman airport, The Beam and I decided to check out downtown Bozeman and somehow wandered into a college bar full of bros. We were the oldest people there by at least a decade. The whole scene was rather humorous, watching young women twerking on the dance floor and the fratty Montana boys acting like big men on campus and what not. We are old.

Huckleberry everything! Huckleberry vodka, as pictured in my hand in one of those photos, was my favorite huckleberry concoction. But huckleberry bars were also quite delicious.

Wildlife: Saw a ram getting a snack on the side of the road, plus a fox, a few horses and many, many, many flies. Beam, who drove into Yellowstone, saw a lot more.

In Big Sky, which we visited briefly on wedding day, there was a CrossFit Convention or something at the Big Sky Resort. For people who love CrossFit so much that they traveled to a resort to be with other CrossFitters to do their CrossFit workouts together. No comment.

Catching Up Since I’ve Been Away

At the Paul McCartney concert, every seat at Nats stadium was filled.
At the Paul McCartney concert, every seat at Nats stadium was filled.

The bosses at NPR handed me the keys to our ‘All Tech Considered’ blog, which requires a lot of considering. So I’ve spent what time I have left on the important things: binge-watching Orange is the New Black, meeting up with friends at bars (naturally), and forgetting to blog on HeyElise.

Have I mentioned Orange is the New Black? I love, love, LOVE this show. So much to love. Last night I started a Twitter friendship with one of its actors (the dude you plays Bennett). He’s a hottie, but that’s not what makes OITNB so great. I don’t want to say anything else because you should just go watch it on Netflix.

Let’s see… what else? Between the Air Sex Championship and the fire-starting, I made a quick trip to Cambridge, where I reported a story on MIT’s folding cars (hasn’t aired yet) and attended the Knight/Civic Media confab. The Knight team was kind enough to let me curate and moderate the final panel of the conference, about disrupting newsrooms. You can read about it or watch the video here, though I didn’t bother to run a brush through my hair before going on stage and it’s painfully obvious.

At work, we had to say goodbye to NPR’s irreplaceable Director of Design, Dave Wright. Twitter (perhaps you’ve heard of it) lured him to San Francisco. Dave also happens to be one of the handful of people who made Washington so fun for us over these last two years. He’s such a special talent and hilarious human — I’m going to miss our long venting sessions and fast lunches and just general shenanigans together. To see just how much he meant to us, check out the quick video that Friend Claire and I made for Dave’s goodbye shindig at work. (Password: dwjr)

Oh, and thanks to a last minute invite from my bestie The Beam, I got to check off a bucket list item by seeing Paul McCartney. Just me, the Beam, and about 50,000 people under the stars.

My friends and I have hit “peak baby,” or whatever you want to call that time in your life when all your gal pals are pregnant and having babies. My BFF April came to DC a few weeks ago and announced she was pregnant (she’s the one whose Texas wedding I was willing to leave newborn Eva for). So is Friend Judy. And today, a bunch of us girls went out to Virgnia to celebrate the entrance of Baby Bob IV into the world. He’s the new son of one of my personal heroes, Angie Goff, and he’s a great cuddler. I love snuggling with these wee humans.

Snuggling with OhMyGoff's little prince, Baby Bob IV, at eight weeks old.
Snuggling with OhMyGoff’s little prince, Baby Bob IV, at eight weeks old.

Now we head into August (already?!), which will be a big travel month for me and the spouse and the spawn. Off to Ann Arbor tomorrow…

We Graduated This Weekend, 10 Years Ago

All these fellow Mizzou grads live in Washington and were on my porch. Awesome.
All these fellow Mizzou grads live in Washington and were on my porch. Awesome.

From my Xanga blog, May 19, 2003 (Xanga was a blogging platform back then, okay?):

“So, I’m graduated, and it didn’t feel strange except high school graduation seemed a lot bigger.

My parents had a “So, what are you going to do with your life” talk with me, which means, I should probably get on that at some point. I’ve decided to chill for a few months and then go crazy job hunting in August. Because I like life chapters to be marked by a definitive start and end, I will begin the job hunt phase with a trip to San Diego for a job fair. Fitting, eh?”

This weekend brought back so many crazy wonderful memories about 2003, which marked the end of college and the beginning of whatever this “adult” life I should be leading now. A line from The Office‘s recent series finale actually summed up my thoughts much better than I could:  “I wish there was a way to know you’re in the good ol’ days, before you’ve actually left them. Someone should write a song about that.”

The rest of summer of 2003 played out exactly as I described back on my Xanga... we really just partied and chilled for a few months, and it was such a sublime period of zero responsibility that we call it The Lost Summer. I did go to a job fair in San Diego, and most of us found jobs and dispersed by August. I never would have dreamt back then that the last 10 years would be as surprising, interesting and fulfilling as they played out. Or that I’d wind up living and drinking in DC, at least weekly, with so many of the people I loved from college.

Today, I and two of my college besties Beam and Terp (who, fortuitously, also live in Washington now) hosted our fellow Mizzou alumni and other DC pals in a cookout celebrating our Class of 2003 graduation. Everyone got in on the Missouri theme: Friend Joey, who is a master griller, mixed up a signature rub for St. Louis Style ribs. Me and Matty made Jungle Juice, a big hit from my sorority days (which was often made in a bathtub, but we classed it up and made it in a large plastic party tub instead). My dad brought me toasted ravioli (a Missouri fave) from St. Louis to share. Friend Kate made Missouri-shaped cookies but the bootheels kept wanting to break off. Friend Doris brought wine from the Les Bourgeois winery in Rocheport, MO. Friend Patrick got us graduation cards. <grin>

In the spirit of college, we acted a fool, day-drinking to drunkeness, attempting to squeeze through the dog door, singing karaoke from the on-demand karaoke channel and, in proof that we are in 2013 and not 2003, we flew our family drone around in the front yard.

Matty's drone didn't stay up in the air for long. The battery wasn't charged.
Matty’s drone didn’t stay up in the air for long. The battery wasn’t charged.

Please Prepare The Fetus For Arrival: The DC Shower

The Fetus has yet to arrive, but he/she is pretty lucky to have so many aunties and uncles around. Not to be outdone by the Texas BBQ Shower, my old friends Sudeep, Beam, Fiscus and Andrew (some of those are not their legal names, natch) hosted a travel-themed fete in our new hometown of DC to prepare our future jetsetter for all his (or her) adventures. This was fun times, y’all. And it’s already earned many superlatives, like “the most irreverent/funny/inappropriate” shower that guests had ever been to.

Instead of the traditional all-girl affair, my closest gay pals joined the gal pals in this fete for Fetus. So we were DQ-treated to such entertainment as Friend Dave, a veteran DQ employee, explaining the art of making a Buster or Dilly bar from scratch (it’s all in the wrist), internationally-themed cupcakes and food, lots of Mommy-Loves-Vodka jokes, airline mini-bottles for party favors, and raucous debate about the ethics of circumcision. (And apparently there are different ways to cut — the “bald eagle” versus the “shaggy dog.” Yep.)

As an added bonus, Friend Denise is not only a friggin awesome baker (her German chocolate cake was a huge hit), but a talented photographer. She took some pics to show off all the detail these hosts and hostesses put into throwing a truly fun, boozy afternoon. Thanks again my friends. We’re so grateful.