Bloomington Love

Erin and I left for Bloomington, Indiana really early in the morning on Friday, April 6.  Although the rehearsal dinner for our friends Rob and Holly wasn’t to begin until 6:30pm we wanted to get there early to enjoy a lunch and get settled in.

Erin first met Rob and Holly in 2009 when I took her to Bloomington for the first time.  Not surprisingly, Erin fell in love with Bloomington instantly.  We’ve been back to visit them again between 2009 and now, and also to Madison, WI to visit them again and help them move.  Our return to Bloomington was most welcome.  We were excited to celebrate the love that Rob and Holly share, and we were excited to indulge in our own love of B-Town.

Scotty’s Brewhouse was our lunch stop where Erin and I shared 12 Mo’ Fo’ wings and a Mo’ Fo’ Cluck over her pint of Loose Cannon Hop3 IPA and my pint of Flat 12 Half Cycle IPA.  There is something about the Mo’ Fo’ sauce that make my taste buds dance.  Nothing spells love like sharing some of those super hot morsels of burning fire with my inferno flavor loving spouse.

Handsome Men at Founders in Michigan

 Once we checked in to the Courtyard at Marriott and dropped off our stuff we drove to Upland Brewery. What we thought was a late arrival turned out to be an early one.  They were already serving an Upland Pilsner, Wheat, Pale, and the Dragonfly (an IPA).  Erin and I opted for the Dragonfly.  Duh.  It was great seeing Rob and Brian again, even though we had just spent some quality time together in Michigan in January during our Michigan Brewery tour.  In fact, here is a good time to show off how much weight I’ve lost since January.

Extremely Handsome Men in Bloomington, IN

It was a real treat to catch up with my Indiana graduate school colleagues.  My wife finally was able to meet Justin Mazur, whom I’ve talked about a lot since we’ve been together.  I found out he is happy working with an oil company writing algorithms that assess the quality of oil pipelines.  His work has him traveling to Germany a lot right now.  He lives in Texas where he says everyone’s life long dream is to own a really huge truck.

As a night with these kind of people would go in Bloomington, it did not end at Upland.  We rendezvoused at The Vid where we played some darts and enjoyed pitchers of Two Hearted Ale.  I remember playing with Steve Morrow and kicking some ass, but then losing to Brian and his teammate at the end of the night.

For some reason, Brian’s wife Kelly thought that 9am was not too early to meet for breakfast.  Boy, was she wrong.  This was my major downer of the trip, because I was really excited for the coffee, breakfast, and mimosas at Runcible Spoon.  It didn’t stop me from ordering coffee, eggs Benedict, and mimosas.  However, my belly said, “if you think you’re going to eat more than two bites of those Eggs Benedict, you, and the people with you, and the rest of the people in the restaurant, are in for a big surprise.”  I got down some coffee, some water, and some mimosas, but those Eggs Benedict didn’t go anywhere.

I absolutely had to have a nap afterwards.  Erin and I got a nice nap in at the hotel, but she woke up before I did eager to go shopping for some Dansko shoes on the square.  She had some fun shopping and bought some really cool stuff, including a crafty journal for me to write in.  How thoughtful.

Roots on the Square

I finally got up and was really hungry (since I didn’t get much substance for breakfast) and met Erin up at Roots on the Square.  I had some more coffee and a Peanut Pad Thai dish at the spiciest level they could make it.  It was awesome, and got me well prepared for the amazing wedding that was about to ensue. 

Believe me, before we arrived, I knew this was going to be an awesome wedding.  But when I found my table, and saw a brochure with “Don’t Panic” written on the front cover, it was then I knew Rob and Holly’s wedding would join the ranks of “epic,” second only to Erin and my wedding.  Grown men got teary eyed, a tell tale sign that the wedding was a legendary one indeed. 

Use Ctrl and + to increase the size of your screen to read the finer print

The ceremony was very well done with this beautiful reading from Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez:

“To him she seemed so beautiful, so seductive, so different from ordinary people, that he could not understand why no one was as disturbed as he by the clicking of her heels on the paving stones, why no one else’s heart was wild with the breeze stirred by the sighs of her veils, why everyone did not go mad with the movements of her braid, the flight of her hands, the gold of her laughter.”

Kelly, Erin, Jason at the Farm

Other kick ass parts of their ceremony included a reenactment of a Calvin and Hobbes strip, The Book of Love by Stephen Merritt, and Dr. Seuss’s Oh, the Places You’ll Go!  Holly and Rob’s wedding truly rocked, and gave us something to exuberantly celebrate 2 hours later.  The 2 hour delay was a perfect way to let guests optimize the resources downtown Bloomington had to offer while the wedding party had to get their pictures taken (those poor souls).  Here you see Kelly, Erin, and me sipping on some Framboise Lambic, a delicious and now traditional pre-reception warm-up (to go along with the morning pre-wedding mimosas).

It is probably a good time (before I get into the reception) to let those of you know who missed the wedding and were invited that you have lost a paramount moment of your life that you will never get back.  Although you have no concept or frame of reference, believe me when I tell you that your life sucks worse for having missed this joyous beginning of the joining of two wonderful people about to embark on one of the greatest love sagas planet Earth has ever been graced with.  Really, you missed a sense of elevation and such a life enhancing experience that I feel terribly sorry for you.

It really helps when the couple are foodies and everything edible is not only that, but a mouth watering orgasm for your taste buds. The food was fantastic, and the table arrangement (at least on my end) was great.  Our table was a mixture of beer makers (Brian, Ryan, Erin and myself), and trouble makers (Mazur and myself).  The continuous stream of Dragonfly IPA, the conversation, the occasional distraction the couple had to offer doing their wedding day stuff, all put fuel into everyone’s dance and party engines.  Someone mentioned a photo booth and then started playing music, and before a lamb could give a few shakes of its tail, the craziness began.

The Efficient Officiant (with tie on head)

You know when you are in a crowd of beer drinkers when the Dragonfly IPA keg gets cashed before the Upland Wheat.  Their wedding needs to be recognized by some elite wedding award giving organization just for this accomplishment alone, even though it would deserve it for so much more.  I’m not sure in what order some of these highlights go in, but here are a few.  The shirtless man you see in the photo with a tie on his head; that is the officiant of the wedding.  His name is Kyle Riggs and he is awesome.  As you can see in the photo, much dancing took place.  In fact, at one point in the evening, I helped Mazur resurrect the famous “Mazur dance” that we have all come to know and love.

1: Erin & Me 2: Erin & Kelly 3: Me & Holly 4: Brian & Me

The photo booth was a hit.  Each photo shoot consisted of four shots, which produced two copies: one for the couple and one for yourself.  I’m a little leery showing you these photos, but I can’t help it.  I feel the fourth strip including Brian and I needs explanation.  It is difficult to come up with four different and unique shots in the photo booth, and so the idea of making out comes naturally (especially after several Dragonfly IPAs).  What made the moment even funnier was Erin opened the curtain at that precise moment.  Back on the dance floor, I felt an extreme high whenever I requested a song.  Why?  Because it was played next each time.  I’m more proud of the second one I requested because it was one of the last songs of the night: “Tonight’s going to be a good, good night.”  Rob danced in the middle to cheering and praise.  Everyone got goosebumps in that beautiful moment of intense rave.  Holly announced that the party would continue at The Vid.  Everyone met up there for a few more drinks and darts to start the slow cool down.  It was a good, good night indeed.

Rob and Holly’s wedding will always be remembered.  It brought back fond and loving memories of my time with wonderful people while I was a graduate student at IU.  My love of Bloomington has not diminished, and if anything, grows with the distance and time I spend away.  After sharing Bloomington with Erin, she has fallen in love with it perhaps more than me.  My lack of great writing hinders me from coming up with a clever way to tie in all the love that happened in Bloomington that weekend, but that was my goal when I titled it Bloomington Love. 

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