A couple of weeks ago, John and I headed to Lake Tahoe, California/Nevada for my cousin Corey's wedding. Between our wedding and Corey's we were able to see my dad's side of the family twice in one summer - a new record, since his siblings are kind of scattered. For instance: Corey's mom, my Aunt Clare, lives in Seattle; his brother, Uncle Russ, lives in Albuquerque, NM; his other sister lives in a small town in PA. And now my cousins and I are even further apart, with my brother in L.A., us in Canada, and Corey and his new wife moving to San Diego.
They settled on Lake Tahoe since many of their friends and relatives were out West, and it's more tourist friendly than the bride's small hometown.
We flew out of Detroit, where I saw what might be the world's saddest, most ironic key chain for sale:
We flew to Vegas and transfered to Reno, then drove to Lake Tahoe. That meant we got to fly over some pretty scenery.
John was impressed with the slot machines in the Vegas airport. Later on, he and my brother and sister in law tried their luck at some video poker, and John won $90!! Then, when we returned to the airport to go home, he won another $25! Apparently John found his lucky game. Of course, when my parents each handed him $3 and told him to turn it into more, his luck ran out. Still, his net winnings covered our parking at the Detroit Airport.
On our first day, John went on a 20-ish mile long run in the mountains that were practically across the street from our hotel.* After he returned and I finished worrying about why on EARTH he was gone so long in a place we'd never been, with terrain and wildlife we're not accustomed to, we had lunch. Uncle Russ (shown here, to the right of my dad) took all of us out for pizza.
South Lake Tahoe is pretty resort-oriented. Heavenly Ski Resort pretty much dominates the town. It was only a few minutes walk from our hotel, with restaurants and shops, and of course, skiing in the winter.
Corey and Amanda asked me to sing in the wedding, so I attended the rehearsal that afternoon. Here they are miming the tea ceremony that they incorporated into the service. And in case anyone's interested, I ended up singing Widmung and Caro Mio Ben with accompaniments I found on itunes for $.99 each.
Next we headed to the reception at Stateline Brewery. Here Corey and Amanda listen during the many toasts, speeches, and blessings given by their friends and family. The restaurant had several pitchers of beer set up with tasting glasses during the hors d'oeuvre portion of the evening so I got to try a few of the Stateline brews.
The next morning, still on east coast time, we set off with my parents to explore the lake itself. We drove until we found an access point that looked interesting: Camp Richardson. If I were staying in Lake Tahoe for a while, and if money were no object, I'd rent a cabin at that camp, since they have little vacations houses, a hotel, a general store, ice cream store, cafe, etc. The lake was beautiful and very clean, but also freezing cold.
We were all surprised by how much the temperature swings in Tahoe; highs around 88, lows around 37! The staff said they found ice on the docks that morning - in August! It was also amazing how quickly it warmed up. By 10:00, the water was warm enough for me to get in without loosing the feeling in my legs.
I tried to run a bit since the sand was so soft, not very rocky, and my foot was pretty sore.*
Next we drove a little further up the highway to find a look out point. Between the steep drops, lack of guard rails, and my motion sickness, the curvy roads scared me and John from going any further. But we did find a place to get out and look at a scenic mountain lake.
That afternoon we hung out with my brother a bit and relaxed until the wedding started. It was a beautiful ceremony, and it was fun to sing. By that time of day, the sun had started to set and the wind picked up, to the point that I shivered from the cold until after the ceremony was over. We stood for pictures with the happy couple, and then took our cocktails down to the beach for small-scale family photos.
Andrew and Nora:
Another one of John's GQ photos.
Me and my brother. We look so unlike one another, how can anyone tell we're related?
Dad stood back during the photos and enjoyed a cigar.
We also had some fun during cocktail hour with the props in the photo booth.
The reception was lovely. The bride's mother made amazing flower arrangements and so many other detailed, personal touches. I took a picture of the favors the next day. Each place setting had a tea cup, and those pink flowers are tissue wrapped around a serving of Korean green tea. Corey and Amanda both spent the last year teaching English in Korea, so all the tea references in the ceremony and reception acknowledged their time there.
Corey warned me in advance that they wouldn't have any veg entrees at the reception, but I had more than enough to eat: big green salad, au gratin potato casserole, broccolini, and a great pasta salad. And of course I suffered through some wedding cake while John ate some pie.
Once the dancing started, John jumped up to express himself physically, and I danced for a bit, until my foot hurt too much.* They had fun glow sticks and necklaces/bracelets for the dance portion.
Earlier in the weekend, my mom bought tie die sweatshirts that say "Lake Tahoe, CA" for me, my Aunt Clare, and herself. So after the send off (with sparklers!), we put on our sweatshirts (good for evening Tahoe temps) and took a few, finale photos before heading back to the hotel.
We had such a nice time on this trip. It's been great having excuses to see all our relatives so often in the same year. But who knows - maybe John and I will get jobs in the Pacific northwest and we'll see Clare and family more often! I'm still trying to convince Corey's younger brother Zach, a senior in high school, that he should go to IU next year.
*I injured my foot not long before we left for Tahoe. I'm still waiting to hear back about exactly what's wrong, but it looks like I may have taken a trip down stress fracture lane. More on that later.