a week from today...

One week from today, Nick and I are getting hitched! We're getting married in my hometown (Tulsa) and we are ecstatic! It's been a short engagement but not when one calculates all the years we've known each other (it will be 7 years the day after we get married!). I've pretty much spent my whole summer planning the wedding and now it's just a waiting game of anxiety wondering if we've covered all the bases - list upon list upon list. It'll be extremely sad that Nick's parents will never get to see him married and that they aren't here anymore, but life goes on, always mixed with pain and happiness, and now it's time for us to sally forth and start the next chapter, together.

Upon returning from Oklahoma, I have a week off to mentally prepare for another long semester at GCC which begins on August 27th. I'm enrolled in 4 classes - Algebra 2, Intro to Logic (Philosophy), Developmental Psychology, and of course the Baroque Ensemble. The Pasadena Master Chorale '18-'19 season begins the week after that, and for the first time in 3 years, I will not be Christmas caroling as it's just too much to balance with school, PMC, and the church job. PMC will be doing 4 concerts this season: A Mother's Christmas, In The Beginning by Copland, Bach's St. John Passion, and our 4th annual Listening to the Future concert. This time, all the solos will go out to choir members so, I may just audition for some. I'll of course keep everyone updated.

The church gig is still going strong and I adore singing there every Sunday. It definitely feels like a church home and that means a lot to me. Summers are pretty music-lite at the church so I'm looking forward to diving into our normal rehearsal schedule again and finding out what all we'll be singing for the holidays. Nick and I have toyed around with the idea of preparing a Holiday duo act. It may be biting off more than we can chew but we'll see. It would definitely be fun.

My longtime student (of 10 years!) just graduated high school in June and is off to college in a few weeks at Gallatin at NYU. We have one final lesson left when we return from the wedding and I'm sure there will be some ugly crying involved. My little chicken is flying the nest (probably should start calling her a bird that can actually fly - a sparrow, perhaps?).

Nick is busy with all the usual things - teaching, gigging all over the place, writing new songs every day, and he'll be traveling to Europe - The Netherlands, Finland, Austria - in October for a small tour! He released a new album last month called "Frames". You can listen to a sample of it and then perhaps purchase it here: FRAMES

I'm sad to report that we had to put sweet Coconut down. She was 18 years old and her kidneys had stopped functioning. It was a pretty rapid decline - she probably would have passed on her own that day. It was a terribly sad and emotionally difficult day but, we were so happy to have spent the last 4 months with her, letting her wake us up every morning at 7am, by licking our foreheads to let us know it was time for her breakfast, watching her intimidate the other cats, hearing her sound off her bizarre meow (sounded like "buhgowmph!"), and overall, enjoying her presence and cuddles. It was the final end of an era for Nick. That cat represented a past life for Nick; perhaps his most defining chapter of early adulthood. We will inter her ashes in the church pet memorial when we arrive back in town. About a month before she passed, we made sure to have her blessed by Mother Andrea at the church with the prayer of St. Francis. We actually brought her to the church and up to the alter in the sanctuary. She was an incredible creature and is so missed.

So much has changed and is changing. All one can do is keep venturing forth and I am just so humbled and thankful that I get to do that with Nick. He is so generous and loving and keeps me entertained at every turn. He is my best friend and one of the most incredible people I've ever known. I could not be more proud of the relationship we've built and fostered over the years. I believe the key to a good relationship is to be able to grow with each other, always tell each other the truth, and after that, have the courage to stand by each other. It's not easy, but it is so worth it.

I want to leave you with our wonderful engagement photos that were shot by our multi-talented friend, Keith Woolf. We retraced the steps of our relationship - our old apartment, Nick's old apartment, and the laundromat where we would meet to do our laundry. It was a fun day and we're so grateful Keith was able to do them for us.

As always, thanks for reading and taking interest in our endeavors. In the immortal words of Lionel Richie, "let the music play on!"

- af

 Sweet Coconut

Sweet Coconut