I left New York City on Thursday morning. Because Eric was in India, I dropped Achilles off at "camp" then took the bus out to LaGuardia to catch my flight. I arrived at the airport in plenty of time, even though there was quite a line at security.
Can we talk briefly about how all sense of personal space seems to go out the window in the airport security line? I just do not understand this. I don't understand why people seem to think that riding piggyback on my shoulders is going to get them through security any faster. This time, there was a woman and her teenage daughter behind me. They kept crowding out the man who was actually between us in line, complaining about how the other security line was moving so much faster, and walking into my suitcase. It was all I could do to keep from turning around and reminding them that this was not in fact a bumper cars ride, and could they please quit walking into my belongings? They were just the kind of personal-space-challenged people that when I would take another step forward to try to put some space between my bags and their feet, they would immediately move forward to fill the space, bumping into me again. Sigh.
Of course, probably the worst personal space offender I have experienced in the airport security line was on one of my other recent trips, also out of LaGuardia. This woman behind me was getting so close to me that I kept running over her foot with my rolling suitcase. Yes, she was so close to me that her foot kept getting between me and my luggage. People! Get your lives together.
Okay, vent over.
Sadly, there are no direct flights between NYC and Bloomington, IL, so I had layovers in Atlanta both ways. (Don't even get me started on how I hate layovers that are "out of the way." I understand hub airports and all that, but it just seems so inefficient.) I had about a 2-3 hour layover on the way there, but it passed quickly. Remarkably, all four of my flights over the course of the weekend arrived early! Has that ever happened before in the history of air travel?
I arrived in Bloomington around 5 p.m. (central time) and Molly was there to pick me up. We went to Buffalo Wild Wings for dinner and had a couple beers while we waited for Arturo to get off work and meet us. We did some chatting and catching up, and Molly gave me a gift to thank me for all my help with her wedding planning:
Molly and Arturo gave me an iPod Touch! Can you believe that? It's such a wonderful gift, and I've been having a great time playing with it. I was so touched (no pun intended) to receive this gift, and the beautiful "thank you" card that accompanied it. I love all things wedding-related, so emailing with Molly about things like chair bows or flowers or hairstyles or whatever for the past year has been just plain fun for me, no thanks required. I'm happy to help, Molly!
Arturo joined us a bit later for dinner, then we went back to their apartment for a bit. Molly has moved since I visited her last year, and their new place is awesome. It's so spacious (hello, roomy kitchen!) and even has a fireplace! I loved it.
We only had a little while to hang out at the apartment before we had to head back out to the airport to pick up Aunt Debbie at 11 p.m. We brought her back to the apartment and had some wine (of course) before calling it a night. Poor Molly had to get up early to work the next morning!
By the time Aunt Debbie and I woke up on Friday, Molly and Arturo were off to work. AD and I had some breakfast (and by "breakfast," I really mean "mimosas") and worked out a game plan for the day: we needed to hit the grocery store, party store, liquor store, and possibly Target. One thing I didn't mention about Molly's awesome apartment is that she lives within walking distance of a grocery store, Dairy Queen and Target. Talk about an awesome location! So, we were pretty set to get around for the day.
Heather-on-a-Stick and Zita-on-Chopsticks helping us with our mimosas on Friday morning
We made our shopping lists then got to work. We hit the grocery store first, then dragged all the groceries home on foot. The timing worked out perfectly that right as we got the groceries unloaded, Arturo was able to stop home on his lunch break to give us a ride to Party City and the liquor store. We got the rest of what we needed at those places, and got home just in time to unload everything before Molly arrived home for the day.
After having some lunch, Molly and I did some work on wedding-related projects while Aunt Debbie started on food prep in the kitchen. After a while, I abandoned poor Molly to help Aunt Debbie. (Don't worry, Molly had Glee Season 1 DVDs to keep her company!) We ended up being very glad we started prep Friday night because we had a couple disasters: my first batch of margarita cupcakes came out looking like little rocks instead of beautiful, fluffy cupcakes, and Molly's blender bit the dust while we were trying to get the margarita dip to set up. And by "bit the dust," I mean "the bottom detached from the rest of the blender," creating this mess:
This is not how you want your margarita dip to look, nor is this the ideal way to serve said dip.
Poor Molly was probably scared to death about what would be waiting for her at her shower, given that all she could hear was blending then screaming and shouting ("Oh no! It's everywhere! Arturo, we need trash bags!!!").
We did take a break from destroying Molly's kitchen appliances so I could give Molly and Arturo their wedding gift from Eric and me. I had ordered three vintage maps on Etsy: one of Bloomington, IL (where Molly and Arturo met), one of Barcelona (where they got engaged) and one of Zihuatanejo (where they will be married). Each city was outlined on the map with an embroidered heart. I put all the maps in a frame, and ta-da! I thought it turned out very well. They seemed to really like it, so I was pleased.
Molly and Arturo opening their gift
Yay! They like it!
We also took a break for a girls' night out at the movies, thanks to Molly! We saw Life As We Know It, starring Katherine Heigl and Josh Duhamel (who is uncomfortably good-looking, I decided). We thought it was very cute and it was a great break from the crazy kitchen fiascoes! After the movie we stopped by Walmart to pick up a new blender for Molly (I mean, we were throwing a margarita party the next day, and we had no blender!) and a new box of cake mix so I could try my margarita cupcakes once more. We did a little more prep before bed, then it was lights out to rest up for shower day.
On Saturday Aunt Debbie and I got right to work as soon as we woke up, and I recounted the outcome of our efforts in great detail in my last post. After the shower, we all had some chili and spent the night watching Glee and working on wedding projects. What a successful day!
Sunday we got our morning started with the most awesome breakfast ever: mixed fruit, mimosas, apple cider donuts and margarita cupcakes. I'm telling you, those cupcakes are so amazing. I mean, they're perfect for all times of the day, not just dessert! They even make great breakfast! In case you missed the recipe in my last post, click here and make these cupcakes immediately.
Cheers to a fun weekend!
After breakfast, we got dressed and went out to run some errands. Then Molly treated us to lunch at Qdoba (my first Qdoba experience!), and then we drove out to Tanners Orchard for some fall fun. We had such a good time there last year, we wanted to go again!
Welcome to Tanners!
When we arrived, the line for the store was super long so Aunt Debbie got in line for us while Molly and I wandered around. They had all sorts of pumpkin people, awesome goats, adorable bunnies, and a corn maze (that we did not go in, much to Eric's dismay). Fun times.
Pumpkin man, with HOAS and ZOC
This goat is chewing on metal bars. Hence, I shall call him Achilles.
I want a bunny.
On a school bus with HOAS and ZOC
Cute little kid tractor ride thing going into the orchard
I have to say, all this fall farm festivity really seems to "fit" better in Illinois than it does in Queens, New York - somehow the backdrop of actual legitimate cornfields and wind generators just seems more authentic.
By the time Molly and I had checked everything out around the farm, Aunt Debbie was at the front of the line for the shop, so we joined her there. We got our free sample of apple cider (yum) then spent some time perusing the various goods in the store. We had some fun with Heather-on-a-Stick and Zita-on-Chopsticks, and came home with some goodies. I brought a half dozen apple cider donuts home to Eric, along with a couple little decor things including an adorable fall decoration (thanks to Aunt Debbie!) and a precious little Nativity figurine (my favorite type of Christmas decoration).
Apples for sale in the market
HOAS and ZOC hanging out in some gourds
We are family! I got all my sisters with me! (I'm singing. Does that translate?)
Perfect ornament for Heather!
ZOC hanging out with our national bird
Aunt Debbie and Molly admiring some fall decor
Heading back to the car after a fun outing!
On the way home from Tanners, we made a much-anticipated stop at Dairy Queen. You see, I live in a Dairy-Queen-less area, which is a travesty in and of itself. Add to that fact that I have certain friends on Facebook and Twitter who go on and on about how awesome Dairy Queen's Pumpkin Pie Blizzard is, I have been dying to try one but have been unable to do so. Molly was kind enough to stop and treat for three mini Blizzards on our way home, which was AWESOME. And the Pumpkin Pie did not disappoint - very tasty! Ah, I got my DQ fix. Between that and the pretty sunset sky out the window, the trip back to Bloomington was very enjoyable.
When we got home, Molly and I did a trial run of her wedding day hair and watched more Glee, then it was time for bed. Monday morning we left very early to catch our 6:45 a.m. flights out of Bloomington, and that was that! I was back in New York in time to have lunch with Eric.
Thanks, Molly, for a wonderful weekend! It was a great time, as always. Can't wait for more good times in Mexico!