Thursday, June 28, 2007

Free tickets

Free tickets are not always free. They may start out that way, but life somehow gets in the way.

Last night Joel and I travelled down to the Twins game--not arriving quite as early as usual (I like to soak up the atmosphere and get my Twins' vibe on...o.k. I know, I always have my Twins' vibe on). Anyways, we found our super deal $4 parking space and got out of the car to head over to the dome. As we're walking from the car, I noticed that the car seemed to still be humming. I looked at Joel and posed the question, "You have the keys, right?"

Well, you all know the answer to that one. Not a big problem, at least it wouldn't have been if I had brought along my set of keys as I normally do. Nope, last night I had decided to lighten my load so I could handle the weight of our new digital camera. That extra 4 ounces was sure to weigh me down.

It gets better. After surveying the situation and making a brief attempt to get a rusty hanger through the edge of the window, we decided the best move was to call AAA. I pull out my trusty cell phone, which is nearing the end of its 2-year contract and of course, acting like it's on its way out. I attempt to place the call and get the "No Network coverage" message.

Not a big problem, at least it wouldn't have been if Joel had brought along his cell phone as he normally does. Nope, last night Joel had decided to lighten his load so he could bring that 20 oz. of mountain dew. So off Joel tread to HCMC to place the call to AAA.

I watched the trek of Twins' fans to the dome. Damn, free tickets and I was going to miss the beginning of the game. And they were good tickets. $29 a pop. $58 for the pair.

Joel returned with the news that someone would be out by 7:15 (the game started at 7:10). O.K. that's not so bad...and actually they arrived by 7 p.m. In less than 5 minutes our car door was popped open. To a tune of about $58.

I missed the introduction of the players and T.C. Bear wiggling his behind on the four wheeler as he's waiting for the players to come running out on the field. I love that stuff, but I got my weekly fix the night before. Midway through the first inning we made our way to our seats in a sold-out section (Sec 117, just past the first base line).

By this time I'm over the whole "free part" of these tickets. In fact, I have to say, these are the worst seats I've been in all season. The seats are close to the field, but at a horrible angle. The dome was, after all, built as a football stadium. To make matters worse, a rather hefty gentleman is sitting next to me and is encroaching about a quarter into my seat. I am having a hard time getting my Twins' vibe going.

In the end, Joel and I decide to relocate to the other side of the stadium--in the half-empty seats of the Home Run porch section. We joyfully had the row to ourselves. Here, I was able to get my Twin's vibe going full-swing.

The Twins' weren't swinging. Somehow we lost a game where the other team had 4 errors. Pitiful. But the loss seemed to be fitting for how the evening started. Still I got to enjoy the evening with my honey watching the great game of baseball. Nothing wrong with that.
(Note: After coming home from the game, Joel showed me the lovely piece he wrote for our baseball blog--about meeting me. You'll see why I fell in love with him. It's not just about baseball! He's a romantic too!!!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


I'm a little groggy. You see last night I went to the ballgame and it went 12 innings. Not that I'm complaining, mind you. The Twins pitched great and we DID win. It was a good crowd and most folks stayed till the end.

The really good news is that I won tickets to tonight's game! When we arrived on the Metrodome plaza the line for a spin at the KSTP prize wheel was very, very short. I gave it a whirl and came up with tickets for tonight's game. Sweet!

So, excuse me, I will probably be groggy tomorrow as well. (But if you want to catch a more complete replay of the game-- I know it's another shameless plug for my baseball blog)

Monday, June 25, 2007


Once upon a time I adopted a dog named Niko. My son, nephew, and I made a trip to a shelter and rescued him from the kennel he had lived in for 4 months. He was full of spirit and lots of love. Like his owner (me), he had a love for chocolate. Fortunately, he also had a strong tolerance for chocolate...because dogs aren't supposed to eat chocolate. One day my son called to tell me that Niko had gotten sick...and that it was making him sick (so of course, the mess was left for me!) Niko had eaten one of my bras! He survived that without even a visit to the vet...probably because he somehow managed to discard the underwires before ingesting the rest of it. Yes, Niko was a spirited pup, but also full of love. Niko could make me melt with just one look from those soulful eyes. I'll admit, most nights he slept beside me. If I was home, he was by my side. I loved him something fierce.
But then about 16 months ago I had to move and couldn't take Niko with me. It was just one of those hard decisions where finding a home for my family had to take priority. But it did tear me apart. I managed to find a loving home for him--by placing a flyer at the Y. Occasionally I would see his new owner and hear how he was doing. I missed him more than I thought I could miss a dog. I just think that, like people, a pet can come into your life and have a special connection with you. Niko was that pet for me. I did know that he had a good home and found some solace in that knowledge. But truthfully there is still a special place in my heart for Niko.
Tonight I got a call from Niko's "new" owners. They are likely moving to California and will likely be living in an apartment that will not allow keeping Niko a possibility. They wanted to check with me first to see if my situation has changed to enable me to re-adopt Niko.
I wish it was so. While dogs are allowed in our building, they are supposed to be small dogs. It's not about the space in the apartment, it's about the lack of proper space outdoors for a dog of Niko's size and breed to run and stretch.
So, if anyone out there is looking for a GREAT dog, I think Niko will be needing a new home. He is almost 4 years old now (a great age), has been neutered and is microchipped. He will make your heart melt. He did mine.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Change is good

I apologize for being a little slow on the blogging side. I did start my baseball blog this past week (check it out: But I think I've also been "catching up" with all the BIG changes in my life these past few months.

In the past 3 months, I have 1) moved into Joel's place (now "our" place); 2) gotten married; and 3) changed jobs. Change is good and all that...but it's still change. Even good change (and it's all been good!) is exhausting. This weekend, I'm sure due in part to hormonal shifts that are similar in nature to the tremors or whatever that precede earthquakes, I have been close to tears more times than I would like to count.

Let me just say, Joel has been super. This morning we went down to the Farmer's Market and Joel signed me up for a short chair massage. The massage therapist asked me where I wanted her to work and I told her that she would be able to tell. Umm, start with the rocks that are my shoulder blades. (It did help. So did the flowers that Joel bought me at the market on Saturday).

I think it's this-- that even with everything good that you gain with change, you are still giving up something to make room for that change. It's about loss. Even if it's things I'm ready to give up, it's still something I'm giving up.

So, going back to Change #1: I LOVE living in "our" place. For the most part, I feel at home here. I certainly love being here with Joel and creating our new home. But in order to make this change, I gave up being a live-in mom. It was time for that change to happen. Time for me and time for my kids. But I am a mom. When Joel's kids are here during the weekend, I'm more aware of missing my kids and missing "mothering" them. I miss having them spend time hanging with me at home. I miss cooking for them; including making their favorite foods and hearing their appreciation for fixing the things they like. I miss the easiness of our relatioships. The really annoying thing about mothering from "afar" is that it really doesn't mean you worry about them any less. I hate that. In a sense, I feel less able to care for and protect them. I know--they're adults. How DID that happen?

Change #2: Getting married. I think this is the easy one. 3 weeks today. I know, we're still newlyweds and it will get harder. But I'm confident we will be able to weather the changes that will keep coming our way. I like our lives together.

Change #3: Changing jobs. I think this change has already led to reduced stress. But today I was aware that I was also missing my "Y kids". Some of my staff were my children's ages, but plenty were actually my age or close to it. But in a sense, they were my kids. Given how I left my job, I don't feel like I can just drop in to say "hi". I hope they're all doing well. I think about them more than they can imagine.

So, I'll just keep plugging along. I think as my "new life" becomes more routine, the changes will feel...well, less like change. I'll be able to appreciate more and more all the new things my life now taking off with Joel on Saturday mornings to visit multiple Farmer's Markets (which we did this weekend).

Yes, change is good.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Saying good-bye

It feels like I'm slipping into the routine at Southside rather easily. I guess that should come as no big surprise since I worked there for 9 years before I left for the Y. While I feel "at home" at Southside, I am still working through the process of saying good-bye to the Y.

This past Friday night I met up with a bunch of my former Y buddies. I guess in a sense it was a "good-bye party". There are now more than a few of us that have left the Y more than a little unhappy with how things are being run. We've started calling ourselves the "Y Misfits R Us". Friday night's gathering included the growing number of "misfits", as well as current Y folks who are holding on.

It was a good time. It was good to laugh (and shed a few tears) with these folks who are former co-workers. I hope they remain friends. By far the hardest part about my departure from the Y was leaving behind some good folks. What I enjoyed the most about my job at the Y was working with my staff and the relationships I built with them. I was the 7th membership coordinator in as many years. The membership staff had seen a number of changes and was in the midst of another organizational change when I came on board. I'd like to think we navigated that change together. And as we navigated that change and the changes that have come since, we grew closer as a group.

Although I knew it was what I needed to do, it was hard for me to leave my Y team. I still want to be there working beside them, leading them through the changes that are happening now. There is much about my old job that I don't miss. But I do miss the joking amongst the membership team and the sense of family that was there. They are a feisty, passionate group of people.

You'll hear me say it here more than once I'm sure--I think there are two big reasons why people work for nonprofits (god knows, it's not about the money!)--First, people work at nonprofits because they are passionate about the mission statement of the organization. It's important to them that their work not only be valued, but also be valuable to society. I'm not saying that people who work in the corporate world don't care about these things. I'm just saying that people who get hooked into working in the nonprofit world are willing to sacrifice personal gain to support the mission of whatever organization they are working for. My membership staff at the Y are those types of folks--they are living the mission statement. And they are willing to challenge the management when they feel they are not living the mission statement. That has caught them some heat. But I have no doubt they will continue to challenge. GO TEAM!

Second, people work at nonprofits because of the relationships they have with fellow staff and their clientele. Nonprofit folks are people folks. Relationships, at work and at home, are important to them. In a sense, they get "fed" (or paid) by the relationships they build at work. A sense of community, of family even, exists at work.

I have worked at several nonprofits in my adult life. I have been fortunate to work at two nonprofits that have fostered this sense of community.

I just left one of them. I have returned to the other.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Wedding pics 2

Here I am following the ceremony with my mom

The dining area

Wedding guests enjoying the terrace

Joel seems to be enjoying removing my garter!

I just got a CD with wedding pics taken by my brother, Denny. Here's a sample of a few!

Wedding pics 1

Joel with his Best Man, Dave

My kids, Ana & Cyrus before the ceremony

Julie making sure I was making it done the stairs safely. Too plush of carpet for heels!

The ceremony with Reverend Maverick

Post ceremony with all the kids; Noel & Bree on the left, Ana & Cy on the right

I couldn't load all the pics with one entry--hence two separate posts. These pics should actually come first, but you can get the idea.

Thursday, June 14, 2007


It didn't look like they were going to do it. Santana had a good game, but not his best. Hudson was better. And the Twin bats were silent. That is till the bottom of the 9th.

The Twins came back from a 2-0 deficit to win the ballgame in the 9th. Yes, my dream of a sweep came true. I never sat down in the bottom of the 9th. I screamed till my throat was raw.

Oh so sweet--SWEEP!

Back with family

Joel & I are attending the game tonight. Santana's pitching, there's a possibility of a sweep...I just have to go. I shouldn't be greedy though...we already have taken the series and I'm pretty damn happy about that. Santana needs (& deserves) a win though...and I think tonight's the night. I'll be screaming my lungs out!

Baseball has been a welcome diversion this week. It's been another week filled with big changes. Just a little over a week following my wedding, I have changed jobs. This past Monday I went into my job at the Y and gave my resignation--effective immediately. It had become a very difficult work situation in recent months. At some point, I'll probably write about that. For now, I just need to spend some time recovering from the whole situation. In my entire adult life, I have never quit a job and left without giving a notice...but this situation called for it. As a friend and former co-worker there said, "You can't be honorable, when they have not been honorable." When you have a nightmare about work on your honeymoon, you know it's time to leave.

Fortunately, I have been able to return to my old agency (Southside Family Nurturing Center)...another nonprofit that does incredible work with families at-risk for abuse or neglect ( I worked for Southside for 9 years, prior to leaving for the Y for 18 months.

It feels good to be back with "family". I started with Southside in 1996 when my kids were still fairly young. At times Southside nurtured my family as well. Even though this work is hard and sometimes draining, Southside folks take care of one another. Laughter is heard rolling down the halls on a daily basis. We used to joke that when someone at Southside got married there were 3 sides--the bride's side, groom's side and Southside.

It's feels good to be some place where I know my work is valued--and valuable. I'm not going home with a fat paycheck, but I know I'm making a difference. That is so much more important to me. I may not leave this world having obtained a lot of material goods, but I will leave it knowing I have changed lives. I have seen kids start in our programs before they are even walking--and leave filled with promise. I have seen parents struggle with limited resources to give their children greater opportunities than they were given as children. That's not always easy to do when some days you are struggling just to figure out a way to feed your children. We live in a county rich with resources, but we don't always do a good job at spreading that wealth around.

So as I struggle to come to terms with the abrupt ending of one job and the beginning of a "new" one, baseball is my solace, my escape, my "happy place".


Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Silva pitches complete game shutout!

Perhaps the Twins have heard my's the bottom of the 3rd inning (with only 1 out) and the Twins have a 6-0 lead. Morneau and Hunter just hit back to back home runs (Lew Ford hit one in the 2nd inning). It's early in the game and I plan to be rooting on my Twins till the very end.

following the game...

Silva just pitched a complete game...and a shutout at that (6-0)! Yes, the baseball gods must be smiling down on me tonight!

Life is good.


The Twins won a BIG game last a re-match of the '91 World Series the Twins beat the Atlanta Braves 7-3. Joel & I were in attendance, sitting in the Home Run Porch seats with way too many Braves fans around us (what's up with that?). Fortunately, we had the upper hand. There were some pretty sweet Torii scoring after stealing 3rd and a wild throw allowed him to take home as well, or Cuddy's throwing out speedy Harris at second base for his 14th assist (leading the majors), not too mention some outstanding defensive plays by Castillo that always get overlooked. Slowey also pitched a decent game for his second win.

Some days you just need a win. I wanted this win BAD. I just quit working for someone who is a huge Braves fan. Let me just say, it was not an easy work relationship (more on that topic soon). Even though I won't be able to "rub" this win in, it's still extremely satisfying knowing after all his bragging, this guy has to swallow a loss.

Oh beloved Twins, is it too much to ask for a SWEEP?


Monday, June 11, 2007

The Honeymoon

We enjoyed our honeymoon in Red Wing, MN--home of Red Wing boots.

Pics from our room at Moondance Inn. Here's a shot of the "fainting couch".

The whirlpool, where we spent most of our time.

Oh ya, we spent some time here.

Proof that we left the room. Here I am on the front porch.

Joel on the front porch.

Joel and I enjoyed our honeymoon in Red Wing, MN--we wanted to go somewhere not too far away, where we could take it easy and relax. We enjoyed the drive on Highway 61, cruising through Minnesota countryside. Travelling through farmland reminds me of my childhood. When we first got to Red Wing we made our first stop at probably the nicest antique store I've ever been to--Memory Makers. Located on Main Street, it was very well organized and had great stuff.

We found the perfect bed & breakfast in Moondance Inn. (Check them out at It was incredible. The home was built in 1874 and much of the original fixtures and woodwork are still in place. We decided to stay in the Queen's room--which was very romantic and filled with great light. Moondance has 5 rooms--but we had the place to ourselves the first night. We were able to see all the other rooms--all of them gorgeous--and also enjoy the common areas as if we were the only occupants. For one night we were. (On the second night we were joined by 3 other couples).

As much fun as it was to explore the house, we also enjoyed spending a lot of time by ourselves in our room. Hey, it was our honeymoon! We loved the whirlpool. It was a little bit like heaven sitting in the tub and letting the cool wind breeze through the windows and over our bodies. Yes, we did leave the room and explore Red Wing on a few occasions. We enjoyed the riverfront and more antique shopping.

Unfortunately, the good times had to come to an end. We headed back to the cities on Wednesday. Originally we had planned to made a side trip to Stockholm, WI after we left Moondance, but the pouring rain that day changed our plans. We did, however, enjoy a day trip to Stockholm this past Saturday--a beautiful, sunny day. It was a nice ending to our "honeymoon week".

I think there will be a lot of trips to B & B's in our future.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

The Wedding Day Revisited

I thought it was time to write about the wedding day, before too much time has elapsed. Here's my recount of the wedding day--

Despite lack of sleep, I woke up early in the morning to start final preparations for the big day. I think before I was even truly awake, I made a trip to the window to check on weather. General grayness. Definitely potential for rain, but it didn't look like there was going to be a downpour either. Could be worse, I'll take it.

I hopped into the shower to wash my hair...then ate breakfast and drank some diet coke (the fuel to get me through the day). Around 9 Julie came over from the guest apartment. The few hours at the apartment were a blur of final preparations & gathering up all the stuff to take to Forepaughs. I spent a good amount of time preparing the vases of flowers for the ceremony and reception. I know some might have thought it was crazy that I was doing that stuff...but really it kept me sane (reasonably). Joel kept the mood light by coming out in his red clown's nose, hawaiian shirt & suspenders, saying he was ready for the ceremony (Julie took a pic--I'll be sure to post!)

Of course, we headed to Forepaughs a little later than I had wanted. No one's fault--it was just busy! Joel & I were a bundle of nerves and I think both of us were wondering if we would be able to repeat our vows! We got to Forepaughs about an hour before the ceremony! Julie and I quickly set up flowers in the lower level room where we were holding the ceremony. Since the weather threatened rain, we decided to not risk it and so we held the ceremony indoors. In the end, I think that was the best decision...staying indoors made it easier for Joel's parents to attend the ceremony and it was probably easier for everyone to hear the ceremony. The peonies on the mantle made it look wonderful.

After we dressed up the mantle, Julie & I scurried upstairs to set up flowers, placecards, and favors at the tables. When Reverend Maverick showed up close to 11:30, I think he was a little surprised to see the bride still not in a wedding dress!

We had our hair and make-up done (we're low-maintenance women), but Julie & I still had to get into our dresses. Forepaughs was wonderful and gave us a room on the third floor to dress in. My first really emotional moment came when my daughter Ana arrived. She looked so beautiful. It was sort of one of those reverse moments. For me as a single mom, it's knowing my kids are ready to be on their own, that makes starting this new life more possible. I know they don't need me in the same way. It's a bittersweet realization. It was also fun in those final moments...just the girls--Ana, Hannah, Mary, and then Julie & myself--all together making sure I was ready. At some point, Joel came upstairs (but wasn't allowed past the curtain/screen) to get the rings I think and let us know the guests had all arrived. Show time!

Since the ceremony was taking place on the first floor, I got to make my entrance down a staircase...I had to keep my wits about me, because my dress was long and my heels were not made to go down stairs with plush carpeting. I didn't want to make my entrance by taking a tumble! But my eyes teared up (again) when I looked down and saw both my children at the foot of the stairs. It was the first time I saw Cyrus that day. My entrance was really simple--no music. The important part was having both my kids walk me in. I have to say, I'm tearing up just remembering it.

The ceremony itself is a bit of a blur...lots of nervous energy and emotion swirling around. The Rev started out with a little baseball talk and then read parts of a poem (titled "The Invitation") that I wanted to include as part of the service. Throughout the ceremony, Joel & I would look at each other and we would both be tearing up. Somehow, we managed not to completely break into tears. I knew that if I broke into tears, I would have a hard time reciting my vows. Joel did a wonderful job reciting his vows. My voice cracked, I'm sure, as I spoke these words--

"What have I to give you, Joel? The promise to take you as my only love from this day forward, to stand by your side, to listen when you speak, to comfort you when you cry, and to join your laughter with my own. Take this ring, and be my husband."

The best part came at the end when The Reverend declared,

"By the power vested in me by the Great State of Minnesota, I am honored to declared you as husband and wife. Joel, you may kiss your bride."

Fortunately for my nerves, it was a short ceremony. Once it was done, we were able to relax with our guests, take pictures, and enjoy the day. We were able to go upstairs and enjoy the 2nd floor patio. The space was beautiful and very intimate. Although Forepaughs was open for business, I felt like we were the only ones there. The brunch was delicious. The tables looked great. It was a good time.

Before the day ended, I got to take part in two time-honored traditions. First, I tossed my bridal bouquet. Then Joel removed my garter (with his teeth!) and tossed it to the single men. I was thrilled that my daughter, Ana, caught the bouquet and Adam, her boyfriend, caught the garter. Hmm...

After everyone was gone, my kids went with Joel & I to nearby Irvine Park to take a few more pics (see previous entry) and then we headed home for a quiet afternoon. In the evening, we headed to Loring Cafe for a romantic dinner. Our server was excited when she heard we had just been married and finished our meal with a free dessert. Thank god, I no longer have to fit into that wedding dress.

It was the day that I wanted. Right now, I only have pictures post-ceremony. I can't wait to see the pics that my brothers took during the ceremony and reception. I'll be sure to post them soon!

So far, it's been a week of wedded bliss!

Thursday, June 7, 2007

First wedding pics

Joel & Risa--at Irvine Park post-ceremony

Mary ("adopted" daughter), Adam (Ana's boyfriend), Ana, & Cyrus
Ana & Adam
Here are a few pictures taken following the ceremony when we went to Irvine Park. Keep in mind they were taken with disposable cameras.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

The Honeymooners Return

We just got back. I'll write more later, but just wanted to jump on to say we had a great time. I wish vacation could last a little was fun being pampered!

It's nice to be home too. I think I'm going to make this vacation thing last a little longer, by being a slug for the rest of the day.


Sunday, June 3, 2007

Wedding Day

We're married!!! I'll write more later, but just wanted to say that everything went great! It was a very nice ceremony and the reception/brunch was wonderful.

Joel & I are just enjoying a quiet afternoon at home, relaxing, kicking back. It may be nap time soon!

Are brides able to sleep?

It's the day...but I should be sleeping (it's 2:30 in the morning!). Hopefully, when the wedding is over, I'll get back to a more normal sleep schedule.

I will be up early in the a.m. to prepare. Anxious to see what the weather will be like. Joel, Julie and I will go to Forepaugh's early to set some things set up. Getting married at 11:45 a.m. is a bit on the early side for a wedding ceremony. But we both liked the idea of a brunch following the ceremony.

We haven't quite figured out what we will be doing after the ceremony/brunch. Perhaps we'll do something with my kids in the afternoon....I don't know. I have visions of being so exhausted that I'll be crashing and taking a nap at 4 in the afternoon. We do plan to go out for a romantic dinner in the evening.

Monday we're heading out of town for a few days of R & R. We're both anxious to get away and just enjoy some quiet time to ourselves.

As husband and wife.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Just a day away

Despite lack of sleep (I got about 4 hours), I got up this morning to head down to the Farmer's Market to get flowers for the wedding. Last week I saw the most incredible deep pink peonies at the market and I was hoping there would be more this week. I found the same vendor and bought several bunches of flowers. From another vendor I bought some other flowers. The apartment is filled with flowers!

Julie and Hannah came over later in the morning to enjoy the Farmer's Market. Julie bought a few plants and is going to try and get them home to New York. Hopefully airport security won't have issues. The Market is beautiful this time of year--rows and rows of flowers, perennials, herbs... The first veggies--radishes, green onions, lettuce--are now showing up. There are also the vendors that come every week selling eggs, meat, handmade soaps, and chocolate. A trip to the Market is a treat for all your senses. I bought raspberry chocolate truffles from the "Chocolate Lady" (from River Chocolate Company) as part of our wedding favors. She makes thee best chocolate truffles. When we started dating, Joel would bring me her chocolate truffles. Joel & I agreed that the chocolates needed to be a part of the wedding.

It's been a fairly low-key day...we did last-minute errands. I took a short nap so I wouldn't "lose it". Now I'm working on the favors and placecards as I watch the Twins game. I'm hoping that I'll be able to sleep tonight!

Pamper Day

Well, according to the clock it's Saturday (2:30 a.m.) and that means that tomorrow I'm getting married. It is less than 36 hours away. Unreal.

Today--or Friday--was Girls' Pamper Day. Ana, Hannah, Julie & myself went to Aveda Institute and had manicures. Julie & I splurged and had pedicures as well. It was great to spend the time with my best friend and our daughters.

Julie and I became friends just after Ana was born and Julie was expecting her first child. At the time, we both worked at the University libraries. Our lives were similar in that we both worked for the library and that we were starting our families; however, the similarities ran much deeper than that...we both majored in Studio Arts. Our values and view on life were/are remarkably similar...we are both Saggitarians. Although we have not lived near one another now for over 20 years, our connection continues to deepen. We both went through ugly divorces from our children's fathers at about the same time (almost 20 years ago). We both raised our children as single parents. We are both now in healthy relationships that I think will carry us through the rest of our lives. She is my best friend and my chosen sister. The fact that she is here for my wedding means the world to me.

So, it was very satisfying to spend this day not only with Julie, but our daughters as well. We not only survived raising our children on our own, but our children have grown into interesting, responsible young adults (save a piercing now and then). And as our children are ready to embark on their own lives, we are ready as well to embark on our new lives.

It doesn't get much better than that.