Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Happy Awareniversary, Chuck!

A drizzling rain spotted my windshield after I backed out of the garage, and my headlights lit up the closing garage door. We were getting an early morning start, just after six; Chuck heading to work, and I, to the grocery store.

Today is the anniversary of my becoming aware of the fascinating creature, Chuck Bennorth. I had tagged him in a post on Facebook, wishing him a Happy Anniversary of the Piqued Interest, and totally didn't get it when our friend Jane sent us a congratulatory "H.A.O.T.P.I." Duh. As I said, we started early today; perhaps a little more sleep is in order.

While I was pushing a wobbly-wheeled cart at Walmart, Chuck and I chatted on the phone. "Sounds like you picked a great cart," he teased. Yeah, it was loud enough for my phone mic to pick up. Every morning since we met on Facebook a year ago, we have spent most of Chuck's 75 minute commutes to and from work, talking on the phone. After my grocery cart was full of food, my eyes were drawn to an orange paisley, ├╝ber-soft blanket on an end cap, he told me it better get in my cart so it could come home with me. He knows of my weakness for all things orange, and especially things orange and SOFT.

Next I wandered over to get new lighters for our candles, and some more fall-scented candles. We're going on vacation to look at the fall foliage around the Great Lakes at the end of the week, and ever since our first getaway to the Great Smoky Mountains, Chuck has always made sure we take candles with us. I love the romantic streak in that man. It is a very wide streak, indeed.

May I tell you that this honeymoon is still going strong, in part because of his amazing sense of all things romantic. After dinner last night, for example, he did the dishes, and then told me we were going out for a little surprise. I knew exactly what my surprise was going to be because he had tried to treat me to this very thing Sunday afternoon, but Cracker Barrel was all out of Pumpkin Custard 'N' Ginger Snaps, unless we wanted to hang out in the Country Store for three hours when they would have more available. The custard is so good, but not "wait for three hours" good.

Amazon Ordering Info
So, last night, we drove the thirty minutes to Naperville to pick up my treat, and while we traveled, I read to Chuck. The book we're currently reading is Wired for Love by Stan Tatkin. How many husbands are legitimately interested in working on communication to keep the love alive in marriage? I am so blessed, and I know it.

One year ago today, we became aware of each other, and things snowballed from there. It was a whirlwind courtship, and after only five days of being together, we were engaged, and just less than three months from the day our interests were piqued, we were married. 

Thank you, Chuck, for taking a chance on me, and for asking me to marry you. I would do it all again, just the way we did, changing nothing. Well, except I still wish I had found you earlier, but we are making up for lost time now!

October 2014
Great Smoky Mountains

Stories about our beginning:

Friday, September 11, 2015

Yeah, We're THAT Couple

Each weekend we were together this summer, my husband and I would rise early on Saturday or Sunday, and when we were lucky, BOTH days, to drive to Wisconsin to photograph the Bristol Renaissance Faire.

If you've never been to a Renaissance Faire, you are missing out. The Bristol faire is exceptional in every way. Once you pass through the gates, you are swept into the magical town of Bristol in the Middle Ages. You meet the townspeople and performers, and if you are lucky enough, you may even meet HRH, the Queen herself. It is a photographer's paradise, complete with quaint scenery, beautiful costumes, and friendly faces. Reenactors and guests of the faire generously stop to pose for our cameras.
Shootout at Shakespeare's Meadow

The photographers enjoy a friendly camaraderie, and more than once, we have enjoyed seeing our photos on Facebook, posted by our friends. Anyone who knows us, knows to look for the couple in the matching shirts. Yep, that would be us. Whenever we are going out together, we coordinate our shirts, whether we're going out to dinner, or to church, and yes, to the faire. 

Is that silly? Well, we are silly. And we are a couple, in every sense of the word. (A couple of WHAT? I know what you're thinking...) We are THAT couple who does everything together, even wear color-coordinated shirts.

People often comment on our clothes. It was a good conversation starter, in some cases. Occasionally, strangers would do a double-take, and say, "Hey, you guys match!" More than once we heard the comment, "Did you guys do that on purpose?"

Some of the photographers liked to tease us about it, and a few of them shared photos of us on Facebook, tagging the pictures with fun comments like "Matching." (Thank you, John.) 

Photo credit: John Karpinsky

During the Labor Day weekend, one of the shopkeepers came outside to talk to us. She said she'd seen us all three days, and had noticed our matching shirts. She thought it was cute. 

After we said our goodbyes to her, Chuck and I were dumbfounded. There are easily 24,000 people in attendance each day at the faire, and she noticed US, three days in a row. I guess you could say matching shirts have become our trademark.

Chuck always tells people that it helps him remember what I'm wearing if we ever get separated. He looks down at his shirt, and tugs on the fabric for emphasis in his explanation, and says it makes it easier to find me.

Photo credit: Linda Robinson at Robinson Photography

Photo credit: Brian Schultz
We were excited when our friend John showed up in a coordinating shirt one of the days we were at Bristol. Maybe this will be the start of something big. Well, kind of big. Think how fun it would be for all of the photographers to wear matching shirts with us. Or not...
Photo Credit: TG Davison Photography

Adorable, or ADORKABLE? We'll let you decide, but either way, it's just something we do. We're THAT couple.

Photo Credit: TG Davison Photography

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Sunrise, Interrupted

"Shrink!" The loudly whispered word startled me in the dark hallway. My nickname was familiar, but  hearing it hissed in the predawn hours was a little unsettling.

"What?" I said into the darkness, not sure which of my sons I was addressing.

"Want to go shoot the sunrise?"

Ah, it was Dylan, the older. Of course, it was. The sun was not yet up, which means that of course, the younger son was not up either. He likes to prolong his sleep as long as possible. Dylan and I are light sleepers, and welcome the early morning hours.

"Of course, I do. I'll hurry and get ready." One of the blessings of being a low-maintenance kind of gal is that I can be ready in a moment's notice. I sent off a hurried text to Chuck, brushed my teeth, and threw on some shorts and a shirt. I think I brushed my hair. Maybe.

Dylan already had coffee waiting for me, and was loading our gear in the car. That guy is amazing, I tell ya. We spoke in hushed tones to let his wife and Bridger sleep. It wasn't long before we were heading west above Saint George to shoot the eastern sky.

Dylan and I are both pretty new to photography, and I was wishing my husband, the veteran shooter, were with us. After watching the night sky turn from black to grey to a soft blue, and noticing the hints of peach and pink on the distant horizon, neither one of us were very satisfied with what we were seeing through our lens. We downed the rest of our coffee, and packed up the tripods and cameras.

"Sorry we didn't do better," I said.

"Ah, it's okay. It was a good excuse to get up early and spend some time with you." That boy knows how to make his mama's heart happy.

As we were driving around a nearby neighborhood, Dylan pointed out some of his clients' homes. Then we noticed the sky was glowing. We were actually missing the sunrise! We sped back up the hill, slid to a stop in the loose gravel on the side of the road, and hurriedly grabbed our gear to set up again. I used the top of the car as a makeshift tripod, not wanting to waste any more time.

"You missed it!" said an old guy sitting on a rock on the edge of the overlook. The sun had just peeked over the distant mountain. Well, we might have missed the first glimpse of the sun, but we weren't going to miss the rest of it arguing with a pessimist on a rock.

As it turns out, we had a great time, playing with the settings on our cameras, and getting a few decent shots.

"I feel kind of silly that we left before the sun was actually up," I said. "DUH. I was assuming since the colors had dulled to a bland sky, we'd missed the colors for the day. Boy, was I wrong."

We had a good laugh, and went home to see what we'd gotten. Even if we'd totally missed the sunrise, the time with Dylan was priceless. The pictures were simply a bonus of that memorable morning.