Raindrops on hosta leaves

The past few days have been drizzly in Massachusetts, with an almost continual mist that intermittently, without warning, erupts into downpours. I don’t mind walking in mist even though it eventually soaks you through, and I enjoy the challenge of photographing raindrops. Apparently I enjoy photographing raindrops on hosta leaves so much, I took (and blogged) nearly the exact same photos last May as I did this past weekend. April showers might bring May flowers, but apparently May showers bring deja view all over again.

Hosta in bloom

I haven’t been blogging much this month because I’ve been occupied by wedding details. J and I are having a small, simple wedding: about two dozen friends and family members who are willing to fly to San Diego to see us get married. A small wedding is definitely easier to plan than a big one, but still…with just over a month before the ceremony, I still have a healthy to-do list of things to plan, prepare, and oversee.

Variagated hosta leaves

Or perhaps I should say I had a healthy to-do list of preparations, as I’ve spent the past few weeks duly checking things off my list. In the past week or so, I’ve finalized our guest list, sorting through RSVPs and figuring out who is eating what at our reception. I’ve researched, inquired after, and selected a restaurant for our rehearsal dinner (and sent out Evites for same). I’ve assembled party favors, gone to a handful of stationery stores looking for just the right guest-book, printed place-cards for the reception, and shipped all of these to our event planner in San Diego, so we won’t have to carry them on the plane. I’ve researched and ordered wedding rings without J ever having set foot in a jewelry store (here’s hoping those online ring sizers offer a “close enough” fit). And I finally sat down and planned our wedding ceremony, picking and choosing various components from the book our officiant kindly put together: a kind of liturgical menu with enough ceremonial appetizers, entrees, and side-dishes to suit any “appetite.”

Hosta leaves

In a word, almost everything is planned, and I’m starting to get excited. I don’t remember what it felt like to get married the first time around: in retrospect, all I remember about getting married the first time is the stress I felt having to fight various family members over the specific details of a wedding I wanted to keep small and simple. When you marry young, it’s easy to get swept away by other people’s expectations of “your” wedding, especially if those other people are paying for all or part of the festivities. This time around, J and I are paying our own way, so we’re calling our own shots. Instead of fighting my future in-laws about the length of my guest-list, for this wedding J and I get to make intentional decisions about what we do and don’t want from our “special day.”

This time around, I’m looking forward to the “family and friends” aspect of our wedding. Instead of throwing a fancy, highbrow wedding, we’ve decided to throw an fun, family-friendly one: I’m really happy that a bunch of our wedding guests will be going to a ballgame together, and gathering for a bluesy dinner, and wandering around with wild animals. I think the first time I got married, I thought my wedding day was about “me”: that’s certainly the impression you get if you browse any bride’s magazine or watch any of a slew of bridal reality shows. This time around, J and I have made a conscious effort to make our wedding less about “us” and more about our guests: those two dozen friends and family members who are willing to fly to San Diego to see us get married. Knowing I’m putting all our ducks in a row for a select handful of our favorite people makes the preparation that much sweeter.

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Raindrops on hosta

On Tuesday, I spent most of the day collecting take-home final exams and essay portfolios from my classes at Keene State, where an almost-constant sound of chainsaws chronicled the final cleanup of the Silver Maple that had fallen on Monday. As much as I hated to see the rest of Old Silver fall to the chainsaw, I knew it was coming: once the cable snapped that held his four trunks together, there was nothing but brittle wood supporting the rest of him. Having half a tree leaning precariously close to a classroom building is too risky for even a tree-loving campus, so we either watched or kept one another informed as Old Silver was incrementally reduced to a big fat stump. There but for the grace of Gravity go us all.

Raindrops on hosta

Now that I’ve collected those take-home exams and essay portfolios from my Keene State classes, I’ve spent the rest of the week either grading these assignments or keeping up with my SNHU Online classes, which are in the second week of their term: as usual, as one of my semesters is ending, another is just beginning. At this time every year, I automatically slip into Grading Mode, a hyper-focused state which is an effective way to read lots of student papers but isn’t very conducive to social interaction or having much of interest to say on-blog. This afternoon, I submitted two batches of final grades, and I have one last pile of student portfolios between me and Tuesday’s grading deadline, when my summer officially begins. While I continue with my nose to the grading grindstone, here are a handful of pictures from the rain-dotted Hostas in our backyard, which I shot this afternoon while taking a break from my paper-piles: a visual break from the grading-grind.