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Some years have a theme. For me, 2013 has been a year of weddings. Briefly here, I’d like to wish the best for my five friends and their new spouses who have decided to make the big plunge of lifelong commitment.

Laura and Nat

Tied the know in Lexington, VA. Laura and I met in 2nd grade, and I’m so glad she went to the puppet show where she met the wonderful Nat who was visiting NYC from Australia. I was so happy to get to sing “Today” at the wedding. Yes, those are wombats on top of the cake. Haven’t you heard of the hit single “Wombat Wiggle” written by our esteemed couple?

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(c) 2013 Kathryn Pharr

Laura and Matt

The first of the Nicholas crew said “I do” in St. Bede’s where we’d sang in folk group mass so many times. It was truly magical to be part of the music there once again. Even the Williamsburg rain was in character. The only thing better than Laura getting Matt is that he finally got the dinosaur pillows his mother had been promising to make since he was a kid. Laura and Matt spontaneously did some break dancing during their couple’s song but were perfectly in sync, as always.

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(c) 2013 Kathryn Pharr

Kylie and Matt

Fittingly, I had two college roommates get married in back-to-back weekends. When Kylie called to tell me that Matt proposed during a kayak trip, I knew he good for her. When I found out at the wedding that the honeymoon would be Montana, which she’s talked about visiting since we lived together in 2005, I considered the deal sealed.

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(c) 2013 Kathryn Pharr

Chris and Mona

I think Chris knew immediately that he’d met his soulmate in saying hello to Mona. They’ve already traveled to Costa Rica, the Galapagos  Islands, and now they are taking a lifetime journey.

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Elizabeth and Matt

Not everyone manages to marry their high school sweetheart. So glad I’ve gotten to know both of you since moving to D.C. It was so much fun to explore Atlanta (which I’d never been to) where they had grown up before the wedding. Just hours before the wedding, our group saw an underwater proposal at the Atlanta aquarium. Talk about putting you in the mood for a wedding!

the happy couple

Photo by Becky Barnes

 

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I watched the last presidential inauguration from a small house in Galilee with other American volunteers, some of whom had been part of the Civil Rights Movement. This year was the first time I was in Washington, D.C. for an inauguration. Even  if it wasn’t the “milestone” that 2009 was, it was impressive to witness firsthand the number of people who come from all across the United States and even

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(c) 2013 Kathryn Pharr

One of my friends secured tickets for the inauguration itself. We spent quite a bit of time wandering around the “green section” in front of the Capitol,  trying to find a spot that would enable us to see something of the stage or one of the screens. As is often the case, being close actually meant that we had a hard time obtaining a view. It was quite cold, and my feet were frozen before the ceremony started. For me, one of the most exciting parts of the ceremony was that my rector, Luis Leon, of St. John’s at Lafayette Square gave the benediction. This might be a good time to be honest and admit that I have never made it through listening to a full inaugural speech (but with Bush could you blame me?) or ceremony.

As important of a symbol of our republic as the inauguration ceremony is, I will freely declare that my favorite part of the weekend was going to one of the many inaugural balls. I’ve been trying to figure out a “black tie” event to dress up for ever since I moved to the nation’s capital. There are of course the two official balls by the White House, but many other societies also throw balls; the tickets to some can cost a thousand dollars. Our group settled on the one given by the Society of South Carolina.

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(c) 2013 Chris Kagy

Not only was this ball on my metro line (my criteria) and given by a certain state (this made Ali happy), the venue location was the Natural History Museum. Who doesn’t want to dance the night away around a stuffed elephant?! The clincher to be honest was the amazing value: $150 for open bar and heavy hors d’oeurves, a great venue, and a live band. Many of the balls had tickets from $300 to over $1,000–mind-blowing our group agreed.

Our cohort were thrilled to pull out college or bridesmaid dresses. We decided to order pizza and drink champagne while “doing hair.” A few lessons learned: 1) never expect to get a cab during inauguration weekend, 2) do not wear your fancy heels while metroing to swanky event, and 3) do not believe the Society of South Carolina when they tell you you should eat dinner beforehand. They served catfish, collard greens that were actually yummy, and some of the best mac ‘n cheese I have ever had. The band played beach music, and frankly, nothing could have made the event better.

It was surreal to walk by the Hope Diamond and other famous jewels dressed up with a glass of champagne in hand, that I was half waiting for a heist like in Entrapment. For better or worse, no Catherine Zeta-Jones character materialized.

The one small drawback to the ball was that since it was the night before the inauguration (the series of balls starts on Friday and goes through Monday), I was pretty tired when I had to wake up early to go to the actual inauguration the following morning.

Special thanks to Chris Kagy who did a photo shoot for us before the ball.

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(c) 2013 Chris Kagy

 

Sometimes everyone thinks that nothing interesting is going on at home. Not true. My work purse (with my life in it) got stolen at the end of March. Weeks later I was still buying stuff and processing paperwork. I don’t intend to have such a thing happen again (who starts out the day thinking, “I’d like to get robbed today”?). However, I’ve created a list of steps to make the process easier and thought I’d share them just in case.

RIGHT NOW:
1. Create a Google spreadsheet with the types of all your electrical appliances (eReaders, cell phone type, computer, TV, etc) and important valuables.*

2. Create a document that is secure that contains your driver’s license number, a copy of your insurance and any other important cards you carry in your wallet.

3. Get home or renter’s insurance. This will usually cover stolen items in cars or purses, but read the policy carefully to be sure and remember you’re still responsible for the deductible.

4. Register your devices like your camera, etc. This information has been used to find stolen goods. (Something you’ll want to provide to the police.) IN DC, REGISTER YOUR SMARTTRIP CARD NOW!!

WHEN YOU’VE BEEN ROBBED:
1. Call your banks and all credit cards to cancel cards and report fraud.**
2. Call the police and file a report (this is a necessary step in getting your insurance claim filed).
3. Call your insurance and follow their procedures.
4. Don’t forget checks: you can write yourself a check and get cash from your bank branch as you wait for your cards to arrive.
5. Make a list of everything that was stolen. This is required for the insurance and is a good way of prioritizing what you need to do next, i.e. what can you live without for a week? two? need immediately?
6. Locks: if your keys were stolen, go to Lowes to buy new house locks or call a locksmith. If your car keys were stolen, try to get new door locks. With your driver’s license, the robber will know where you live.
7. Email Equifax or Transunion to put a 90 day Fraud Alert on your credit report. Contacting one of the three agencies will put the alert on all of them.
8. Treat yourself. Do something nice for yourself and take time off of work if necessary to get everything in order.

*The great thing about Google documents is that you can access them on any computer and you don’t have to worry about losing them.

**If your phone’s been stolen but you still have a computer and wifi, use Skype to make these calls.

I’m excited about joining Overdue Fines online book club. I’ll respond to what I thought of Waiting on the club’s blogspot. Equally excited to be able to pick the book to read for February, and don’t worry, it’s not a love story. At least I can’t imagine that it is. I’ve been on a non-fiction kick for over a year. I let Kate pick which of the many non-fic books on my list would be honored. The winner is The Devil in the White City.