Saturday, November 15, 2014

One last day of Sightseeing

The day after the wedding we deposited Janice at the train station ....

...with all her luggage and a very bad cold.   

Albert came along to say  goodbye to his walking partner.

The rest of the day we took a drive to visit some of the quaint little towns within an hour or two of Santa Barbara.

Visiting the little shops and wine tasting rooms in Santa Ynez with your new in-laws seems a strange honeymoon to me but these two appeared to be enjoying themselves anyway.

Then on to the Danish town of Solvang for some pastry and more touristy things...

How many thousands of photos have been taken in front of this telephone booth? 

(Lily, Vanessa, Loretta, Ron, Jo, Albert, and John)

Friday morning we all met at the IHOP (at one time known as The Fig Tree) for breakfast then said our final goodbyes....

and finally, one more drive out onto Stearns Wharf for old times sake.

 Sigh Me and I pursued as many backroads as we could find trying to stretch this last few days out as far as possible.  The windy, twisty, narrow little road that first climbs then drops into the Ojai Valley is a hidden jewel.  This valley is the antithesis of Solvang and Santa Ynez with agriculture as its core.

The centerpiece of the valley, Lake Casitas, is showing the extreme effects of the drought.

But the valley with its many citrus, avocado and almond orchards....

...reminded me that water is everything and, somehow, we need to become better stewards.

We spent a night at a truck stop, another in Joshua Tree National Park then on to Tucson where the future is very uncertain.  But the weather is great.

Monday, November 10, 2014

The Reception on Stearns Wharf

If anyone is looking for a memorable setting for a wedding reception let me recommend the Conway Family Wine tasting room on Stern's Wharf in Santa Barbara.

The wharf is always interesting...

But the view of the city is really lovely.

It was a perfect afternoon with very calm water and lots of boaters. 

The reception was upstairs at the winery and dinner would be served on the balcony.

There were lots of interesting shops to explore before the bride and groom made their appearance.

The tables were set...

and a few intruders began to arrive.

Christine volunteered to keep the interlopers at bay.  

It was a great party, with delicious food, great friends, a caring family and two happy lovebirds.

Robin, Loretta, Renee

Christine, Raymond and Ron

Jenna and Christine

Some warm toasts...

Loretta and her father, Albert

and some smooth dancing.

I wish you both a life filled with happiness and health, joy and love.  
from MOM

Sunday, November 9, 2014

The Ceremony

(At the very moment Loretta started up the aisle, the battery died on my camera!  Crucial moments in my great photo-taking career have been punctuated by dead batteries.  Thankfully, I had a spare in my purse so, 15 minutes into the ceremony, I resumed the clicking....)

The setting was perfect...

A special reading by Sophie and Sasha..(if you look closely you will see a very proud father in the background)

They are a very striking couple (even if I do say so myself).

Loretta was absolutely beautiful and clearly Ron agrees.

(The Clooneys would be so envious)

Two dolls...

Loretta's family--Vanessa, Ron, Loretta, Albert, Lily and John

Ron's family--Janice, Loretta, Ron, Me and Jo

Jenna, Sasha, Loretta, Ron, Sophie and Joe

Bride, groom, Robin and John

Raymond, Christine, Loretta, Ron, Elva and Don

(For readers of this blog who may not know the relationships-- Ron was age 7, and his sister Janice was 6 when they joined my husband Roger, our son Tom, and myself through adoption.  The above picture includes another sibling, Christine, with her son, Raymond; but also, Ron's and Janice's 'birth' mother, Elva and her husband, Don. This event was the first opportunity I have had to meet Elva in all these 40+ years.)

Next:  The Reception

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Wedding day

This wedding was a long time coming and there were times I thought it would not happen at all.  Ron met Loretta D'Angelo when he worked, for 6 years, in Perth Australia.  They became engaged after he returned to the US and that was followed by the very long and frustrating process of acquiring a 'Green Card' for her.  

(sitting--Ron,  Loretta, Albert;  standing--me, John and Lily)

The emigration process took several years, plus lots of Skype calls back and forth between California and Perth, but finally--success.  The party was on!

Due to some very generous friends of Ron's, we had the use of a four bedroom house  in the center of Santa Barbara for the week, and we used the opportunity for two families to become better acquainted.
Staying in the house:  Albert--Loretta's very Italian dad.  He is having to say 'goodbye' to Loretta, a daughter who has lived with him (and his departed wife) for all of Loretta's life.  But I am sure Albert will make many trips to the US to visit her.
Also staying there-- me, Aunt Jo, and Ron's sister, Janice.
Staying at the hotel but spending lots of time with us:  Loretta's brother, John, his wife, Lily, and Loretta's niece and maid-of-honor, Vanessa--all Italians from Perth.

Warning:  The exuberance of a family of Italians who all talk at once, and often accentuate the conversations with lots of waving hand movements, can lead to very lively get togethers. (Of course, I am very quiet, shy and subdued) Above, Janice and Albert hide out in the back yard patio where it is somewhat quieter.

Ron and Janice's sibling, Christine, drove up from San Diego for the wedding along with her son, Raymond....

(Vanessa and Christine)
There were hours of primping.

Sister, Jo, did not need a lot of primping...

and who would have believed that Ron knew how to knot a tie?

A makeup artist wielded her magic with Loretta...

...and again with Vanessa.

We all oohed and aahed over the dress.

Friend Paul would drive the bride and her father to the chapel.  Best man, Joe, would make sure Ron didn't get cold feet.

Friends and family began arriving for the ceremony.  

(King of Spain)
The location for the ceremony was El Presidio de Santa Barbara, State Historic Park.  The restored buildings from the fort that was built by the Spanish in 1785 include a lovely and very intimate chapel.    
(Robin and Ron)

Ron was very relaxed and was clearly enjoying this day as he greeted friends and family.

Father Jeremy Bellamy would be officiating the service.

Ron with sisters, Christine and Janice

Father Bellamy had to remind us all to take our places.  It was time!


and the procession begins with Maid of Honor, Vanessa....

followed by the most adorable flower girl ever, Luna Morancey.

To be continued....