Thursday, September 25, 2014

My California Wedding Adventure (by Katja)

Dear George,
Recently my sister Ami and I flew from New York and Cincinnati, respectively, to attend our nephew Tyler’s and his fiancĂ© Amelia’s wedding near Los Angeles.  It was the first wedding in our family’s younger generation.  It was also my first trip ever to Southern California.  We flew initially to Sacramento where my brother David met us and brought us to his and Susan’s home about 30 minutes away. Tyler is David and Susan’s “first-born” child, and, though it has been too many years since I saw him, it was a wonderful opportunity to get together with the whole family.

This is the front of David and Susan’s house.  It’s truly an estate with many many rooms, an enormous amount of indoor Victorian wood carving and architectural details, and filled with Susan’s artwork.  We sat on the porch till late at night, talking and drinking and having fun.  David is quite the baker, and he got up in the early morning and baked cinnamon bread, and made smoothies for the family . Best of all, he made wonderful cups of espresso on his super-duper espresso machine. I have rarely felt so pampered in my life.  I slept late and watched the U.S. Open for hours at a time. Although the matches didn’t turn out the way I would have liked, I had my own big screen TV to enjoy the tournament.

Compared to Cincinnati, California’s flora is very exotic.  This enormous palm tree is in the front yard.  Each year a man climbs up to the top of the palm trees and trims their huge leaves at a cost of about $2000.  David trims all the topiary bushes by hand. The house is surrounded by wonderful landscaping – citrus bushes, flowering bushes, trees and flowers.  Susan has done a magnificent job in the landscape department.

David and Susan have completed all sorts of renovation since we were last there.  They’ve put in new walls of Venetian plaster themselves all through the house, and it’s magnificent.  Everything is in a Victorian style but with up-to-date appliances. 

This is a dining room view.  The huge oval dining table seats 12 or more.

The bathroom floors are all retiled with beautiful white tiles, and there are mammoth Victorian bathtubs with their original hardware.

There are patios at the front, back, and sides of the house.  This one is brand new.  There are chairs, umbrellas, grills – everything you need for California living. 

This is the newly renovated swimming pool.  We lounged by its side in the morning and late afternoons, drinking martinis and white wine and eating brie and crackers.  It was like being movie stars.  The only thing missing was a butler. 

On Thursday David, Susan, Ami, and I drove down to Los Angeles, an 8-hour trip through a largely desert-like inland countryside.  Here’s our group on the magnificent beach in Malibu (from the left, David, Ami, Susan).  It was amazing to be standing at the edge of the Pacific Ocean.  We poked our toes in the water and surprisingly it was warm.  I  felt like I was in a Ray Donovan episode on Showtime, although nobody else knew who Ray Donovan was.

Ami and I are enjoying our drinks at the bar of Loew’s Hotel on the beach in Santa Monica.  

Here are the proud parents of the groom the day before the wedding.  

The sunset over the Santa Monica pier was beautiful.

The wedding was at a ranch high high up in the San  Gabriel mountains, 100 miles east of L.A.  Here is Tyler’s sister Mandy (left) and one of the other bridesmaids.  Mandy was exquisite.  David looked very chic in his new suit, black shirt and black sunglasses. Susan was elegant in her flowy Eileen Fischer outfit – absolutely perfect for the occasion -- and Ami brought a wonderful touch of New York to the wedding with polka dots and leggings.  Jonny looked wonderful in his groomsman  tuxedo – tall, dark, handsome, and full of fun. What a great family!

Tyler and Amelia are exchanging their vows.  Amelia was absolutely stunning.  She looked like a Rosetti painting.  Tyler looked manly, proud, and happy.  It was simply a beautiful ceremony.  

Tyler and Amelia enjoy their first dance together as a newly married couple.

Here’s Susan with her two sons, Jonny and Tyler.

I have lots of good memories, as you can see.  I’m happy for Tyler and Amelia, who I’m sure will enjoy a rich and exciting life together.  It’s wonderful for David and Susan too.  All in all, this is the sort of event that is a major marker in our lives.

G-mail Comments
Linda C (9-26): What a great wonderful time you must have had, looks just beautiful.  You look so lovely Katja , and  also your sister,  fun time.
-Susan and David W. (9-25):  Thanks, Katja! What beautiful memories is right!  We loved seeing you and Ami at our son's wedding.  Our visit all together was a lovely family reunion.  Thanks again so much for being with us all.  Susan and David

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