Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Inaugural Excitement--the pics!

A (sort of) Golden Ticket!!

Section 12 was the lower left part of the orange area above.  Essentially, we were on the lawn of the Capitol.  We weren't ridiculously close, but you felt like you might be when there were so many people behind you!!

To say the least, it was a teensy bit crowded on the Metro...

Nate with Super Bowl winning coach Tony Dungee.
This is how close we were--we had better seats than Jaime Foxx!!

And Linda Carter!

But Halle was there before us.
And Forrest had better seats than us--section 10.

But we were better off than a lot.
Yes there are literally people holding flags as far as the eye can see.
Can you see Aretha?
Or Obama?   The white column in the center of the stage is where all the action took place.
He's a little speck-y (and this pic is very crooked!).

And the ceremony was over.  We spent about four hours in 12-14 degree weather.  Brr!

My favorite moment of the day!  
President Uchtdorf and Elder Ballard, both Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  These are church celebs, if we have such a thing--way cooler for us than anyone else we saw or heard that day (sorry O).

One last shot, from the orchestra pit directly under the podium.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inaugural Excitement

For most of you that know us well, the Gattens are pretty big "Rs".  But when you live in DC, sometimes you have to cross party lines & celebrate w/your friends across the aisle.  So we did! Not without help though--many many thanks to Akiko for manning the home front--it was really nice to know the kids were having fun & it wasn't costing us a mint to be out of the house w/out them.  We owe ya!

The day was cold, the Metro crowded, but the spirit that was in the hearts of the attendees was strong.  Crowds were singing on the Metro, chanting occasionally--generally having a good time.  Everyone was chatty and smiling and we were all friendly, something you don't really see in a big city.  We were lucky enough to have decent tickets to the swearing in ceremony and escaped the crowds.  I actually felt pretty bad when the line for the blue & silver tickets snaked around worse than the line for Space Mountain at Disney....and we walked right through security.  We left our house at 720 and were in our seats by 915.   Our section was at the foot at the Capitol, and our seats ended up being towards the front of the section, about 1/4 of the way back. 

On our way to our seats (hooray for seats!!), I saw a tall dude who looked familiar & nudged Nate--who's that?  Turns out that Tony Dungee, former coach of Super Bowl Champs the Indy Colts, is a really nice guy who let our group snap a few pics w/him.  We were in our seats when Jaime Foxx went by--didn't have my camera out :( but then I heard that Halle Berry was sitting 20 rows ahead of us and I decided to become a celeb stalker!!  On my way up there I ran into Lynda Carter aka Wonderwoman, and then found Halle.  A supernice woman motioned for me to hand her my camera when the crowd around Halle was a bit thick--she took a really great shot for me (to be posted later--the camera went to a ball).

So then I was hooked & wandered around trying to see what/who I could see.  I ran into some friends of ours from DC that used to live in NY & now live in Chicago--the Daleys, which was fun & then I tried to find Alicia Keyes but didn't.  I did see Forrest Whittaker though.  

The ceremony was good, the crowds didn't boo Bush--surprise there--and my feet got really really cold.  I've decided feeling them was overrated.  Obama's speech was good, but the prayer that wrapped it all up was the icing on the ceremonial cake.  He prayed that the races would be kind to one another w/admonitions like "yellow, let it mellow" and "white, get it right" to which everyone cheered, laughed and amened.  It was a hoot.

BUT THE HIGHLIGHT OF MY DAY WAS---on the way out we ran into the head of the Church's National Affairs office, with none other than President Uchtdorf and Elder Ballard (fyi: numbers 3& 8 in leadership of a church of 15 million--not bad, after seeing the newest leader of our country be sworn in.).  I've not met any of the Twelve Apostles in person (okay, I saw Pres Hinckley speak and President Monson too a few years back, but not handshaking, picture-taking met) and it was AWESOME!  I took their picture in front of the Capitol (and almost didn't give President Uchtdorf his camera back hee hee) and then Nate and I got our picture with them.  Elder Ballard apologized that he put his hat back on for our picture, but it was so cold we didn't mind.  President Uchtdorf asked where we were from, and Nate managed to talk to him, but I was speechless--regrettably now, of course.  But it was an unexpected delight and I was thrilled to talk to my children about it when we got home.  

When my camera's back from the ball, I'll post my pics!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Soooo...  I just updated my reading list, and I realize just where all my time is going.  Eh--you love what you love!!

I'd like to say the holidays have me behind on my blogging.  But that wouldn't really be true.  It's life (and the fun trips I took over the past few months--hee hee)...  Here's an update--

Thanksgiving--Went on a cruise to the Caribbean w/my folks, my older brother Cory and younger bro Rob and his girlfriend Amanda.  Super fun!!  

The kids were super excited to see the ship...

And we were super excited to finally get on it & sail away!
My mom & me :)
Cory, Nate & Dad.
We had a great time at all of our stops--Roatan, Honduras (top), for snorkeling, a random island in Belize for beaching.  There was a water trampoline at our little cay that the kids had dreamt about for weeks before we left.  The loved it.  Cache collected a million seashells & Zach fell in love with strong Hawaiian punch, thanks to him & Grandma hitting the bar regularly.  What a mustache!!  Jay was brave enough to go snorkeling, and took to it like a fish.  No hesitation about sticking his face in the water.  Not a lot to see there, but his next opportunity was where there was lots of fish and he went crazy.  He's generally not the brave one, so that was really fun for he & I to share.
Cozumel, Mexico (top), was AWESOME because my parents watched the kids and Nate & I went diving.  No pictures of the cool fishies we saw--rays, barracuda, turtles, lobsters, etc--sorry.  Drift diving along a crazy steep drop off was something else.  That whole abyss thing--wow.  I learned what it really means to swim against the current--and I don't recommend. 

The Bahamas were pretty--and the notion of the "ship's private island" was cute, until we realized everyone from our ship (all 2800 of us) was going to be on the same beach.  Not so cute.  But we made the most of it :)  --Jay was having fun being a goofball, away from the crowds.

More to pics to come, when less bloggers are blogging...

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

You never know what the Lord has in store for you...

When I was blog-stalking (instead of doing my dishes & laundry), I read an interesting entry on Andrea Schultz's blog about a friend of  hers who had passed away--young, vibrant mother of four young children who left this world v. unexpectedly.  Andrea had the link to her blog, which was more than a little surreal to read, and I found myself needing to learn more about this amazing woman.  So I found one of her sister's blogs--wow.  If you have a minute, see Ginger's blog--her final entry is ...I can't put it into words really.  Then see her sister's blog to get the back story.  If you need a little reassurance that the Lord knows each of his children and guides their lives each day--these will give you a fat dose, I promise.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Bollywood, part II

So Jenny (my date) and I stepped a little outside of our comfort zone, and dressed to the nines for the wedding/anniversary celebration.  Sudha offered us some of her traditional clothes when I mentioned I was bringing Jenny.  It was very kind of her, but I so didn't think I could talk Jenny into it (she's a little preppy).  Needless to say, these were not outfits you'd find at Gap.  To her credit, she was totally enthusiastic (maybe even more than me!!) and got way into it.  We were a little nervous when we pulled up to the reception (we felt a teensy bit out of place in Georgetown on a Sat night), but then we just went for it.  And it was great!!

I'm wearing an embroidered silk tunic over pants, and Jenny has a skirt, matching top and a long layering top.  Both were beautifully made, with great attention to detail.  The embroidery on my tunic was made with gold thread, sequins and beading.  Jenny's "vest" was a metallic lace, with beading and embroidery.   We decided to wait until after the drive to put on the shoulder-scarves that went w/our outfits.  You can see mine over the lamp!

Sudha was excited to see us, and we fit right in.  The other members of our ward that were there were surprised at our bold fashion choices and more than a little jealous!
The Bride & Groom
Neha's sari was encrusted (literally) with jewels, metal embroidery, the works.  I whispered it her ear "Is your dress heavy?"  Her reply was one of an exhausted woman, "Oh my goodness, it is so heavy!!" in her delightful accent.  

The evening was wonderful.  I can't remember being so entertained at a wedding.  There were a series of performances by friends and family members where they danced and lip-synched to music, acting out the story of Neha & Kart's courtship and engagement.  The songs were in Indian, so I couldn't tell you much of the story.  But it was beautiful!

The food was all Indian.  I had fun trying different things, Jenny not so much.  But she may have been proved the smarter woman; my stomach was not happy the next day.  Much grumbling! 

Then the dancing began.  It was amazing and intimidating--these folks could bust a move, even the men my dad's age!  These were the cutest sisters; I think they were six and eight.  Adorable!  And could they dance!
We were having a great time, laughing about I don't remember what.  But this is generally what happens w/Jenny and me.  We get a little giddy and act tipsy.  

Then we got just plain goofy.

I couldn't resist this shot of my hennaed hand and the embroidery.  

Monday, September 29, 2008

Bollywood in DC

So my friend Sudha (from Church) sent us an invite to her son's wedding last year, which was in India.  Needless to say, we didn't make it.  This summer, they were kind enough to invite us to the state-side festivities: the "anniversary party".  I think it's a great idea--have a far-flung wedding, then invite all the friends & family that couldn't make it to a huge party a year later.  As a bride, you'd actually enjoy it!

Then Sudha invited to me to a ceremony that's traditionally held the night before the wedding, called Mehndi.  The women all get together & have henna applied to the palms of their hands, and the bride's designs stretch from fingertip to elbow.  The bride's feet and calves can be decorated too, but since this was not the real wedding, they didn't go that far.  It was fun to meet the bride and groom (Neha and Kart), and some of their friends and family.  

The henna goes on like frosting from little tubes, and you have to leave it on for six hours before you wash it off.  It takes awhile to set, so everyone was walking around the suite with their hands in "arrest" mode.  All of the bride's family kept offering to feed her; it was really cute.  The henna artist did the backs of my hands because she thought it would last longer there.  So a little non-traditional, but I loved looking at them.  My neighbor had gone to India for her sister's wedding & warned me her henna stayed for months (!).  Luckily, the state-side version is watered down.  Mine lasted a little more than a week.  It might have lasted longer, but I was paranoid of it breaking up in the night and staining my sheets, so I scraped it off with a butter knife before I went to bed.  It hurt!!

Sudha and her d-i-l Neha.

Sudha's palms are hennaed v. the backs of my hands.  The black is the dye; when it comes off, the markings are brown.