We’re picking a jury for a month-long civil trial. I just watched “Flags of Our Fathers” so that when we swear in our jury and begin our trial, I could follow better. I’m not one to handle violence well, and although the war violence depicted in this movie was on the subtle side and nowhere near the red fountainous phantasms in “Kill Bill” or “Ninja Assassin” (the latter of which some friends wanted to watch after my July 4th shindig — photos forthcoming [of the shindig, not the gross movie] — and I spent much of the time memorizing the way our ceiling looked as these friends made sounds of horror and disgust every 20 seconds), I’m still left perturbed. So I need to do this light post to settle my stomach.

The evening of Friday June 18th, Mr. W and I drove up to Northern California for Eddie & Michelle’s Calistoga wedding ceremony. We left at 3:30p hoping to get to Sunnyvale around 10:30p to visit with college roommie Diana and stay overnight. We didn’t get out of Los Angeles in time and hit nasty rush hour traffic, so we didn’t actually arrive in NorCal until almost midnight, having made one stop for gas along the way (I drove as Mr. W napped). After arriving, we did our usual — we all chatted in Diana’s living room for awhile and then Mr. W and Diana’s fiance Eric went to bed, and Diana and I stayed up and chatted some more until past 3 in the morning. Then we went to bed only because we’d planned to hit up their local Farmer’s Market first thing Saturday. On Saturday, Mr. W woke up early as normal, I got up soon after and since Diana and Eric were still sleeping, Mr. W and I went to the Farmer’s Market. I bought a string of colored pearls and matching earrings to go with my dress. Diana and Eric soon biked over and met us, and then we all went out for brunch at a nice restaurant on Santana Row. I don’t remember the name of the restaurant, but here’s a picture of me and Diana there.

I know, the drinks look yummy, but the martini in front of me is actually staged. It belongs to Mr. W; I wasn’t drinking. After brunch, Diana and I went to her bridal boutique for her final decision on her bridal gown. Her friends Caroline and Melanie met us there. (Mr. W hung out at a nearby Starbucks.) Diana tried on the 3 dresses she’d narrowed it down to. All 3 have the same simple A-line silhouette that she’d already decided she looked best in. The first had stitchwork and lines in a chevron that drew attention to the smallness of her waist and was very flattering, and when she walked out of the dressing room I had to hold back tears. I knew this wasn’t her favorite, but I couldn’t imagine how another dress could top how beautiful she looked in that one. She popped back into the dressing room and came out in her favorite, dress #2. If I didn’t cry seeing this, it was only because I was in shock that she found a dress that topped dress #1. Dress #2’s design had embellishments and embroidery around the ribs but left the top and bottom simple, and not only was the dress itself impressive, but it seemed taylored to showcase Diana’s figure. SHE looked beautiful in Dress #2. I wish I could post a photo I took on my cell, but her fiance Eric may read this and he’s not allowed to see the dress (which makes me really wish I had photos of the other 2 dresses so that I could post them). Dress #3 was gorgeous and had a jeweled bodice and jeweled skirt and intricate beadwork everywhere, but it was way fancier than Diana would normally be, and certainly not as simple as the wedding she was now planning. It also took the attention off Diana and focused it on all the bling. She finalized her pick for #2, said, “Yay, that was easy,” made the transaction, and was done.

Mr. W and I left from there to Napa Valley for Eddie and Michelle’s pre-wedding dinner at Cole’s Chophouse. We got there early and explored the quaint small town, did a little winetasting at a local bar, and walked to the restaurant to meet the couple and the other guests. Here’s the couple of the weekend at the restaurant:

After dinner, Mr. W drove through miles of dark windy forest roads (much to his aggravation) and checked in at our hotel in Santa Rosa, The Fountaingrove Inn. I liked the place and the restaurant where we had 2 mornings of breakfast. Loved the zen of the lobby. The next morning (Sunday), we drove to Calistoga’s Hans Fahden Vineyards for the wedding. What a gorgeous location! I took a lot of photos, but I’ll hold off posting them without the couple’s permission. 🙂 The ceremony was short, sweet, fun, pretty, and they even incorporated some wine drinking into the symbolism. When in Rome…
After the ceremony and a dessert reception with delicious dulce de leche cake, we all left the vineyard and met up in town for lunch. As it was father’s day, I made sure to call my dad and wish him a happy daddy’s day after I ordered. Cuz I’m thoughtful like that. =) Of course, this is the first year I recall doing that. I’d even forgotten to wish Mr. W a happy father’s day that morning as we were in a rush trying to eat and get ready to go to the wedding. His kids didn’t forget to text him, tho. Most of the wedding guests left to fly or drive home after this lunch, but we had reserved our hotel until Monday, knowing we couldn’t drive back in time after the festivities and get enough rest before having to go to work, so the four of us hung out and had dessert and coffee in town.

The above photo convinced me that 1.) I need to go back to the gym, and 2.) I need a haircut and new style. Just for fun, I’m gonna post something Michelle recently emailed me…a photo when the 4 of us hung out for dinner at a boutique hotel in Newport Beach the evening after their official wedding at our courthouse in February, cuz they’re sort of identical situations.

We said our goodbyes to Eddie and Michelle after that as they were driving to San Francisco later that evening. We went back to the hotel and went to bed early.
Monday, Mr. W and I went back to Calistoga. We couldn’t leave the city without doing the 2 most touristy things there. The first is the hot springs mineral mud bath. We booked a combination thing for couples at Golden Haven.

For a set price, we were first immersed in our own tubs of mud enriched with the local natural hot springs water (“hot” is an understatement; the guy had to dump ice cubes over the spot where my feet were so that I could manage to submerge them)…

…and then we rinsed the mud off in a large shower area that was in our private mud room. Of course these showers used the hot mineral spring water. Next we got to soak in a mineral spa at the other side of the same private room. Lastly, we were taken to a massage room where we were wrapped in blankets to help the body have a slow cool-down. I fell asleep there.

The 2nd thing we couldn’t leave Calistoga without doing is, of course, wine tasting at a vineyard. We weren’t big wine people, so some other wedding peeps recommended we visit Sterling Vineyards.

For a reasonable price, we were put in an aerial tram…

…and taken up into the mountain where the factory (are wine places called factories?) is located, and we get a self-guided tour of the place, learn about how wine is made…

…and get 5 samples of wines at areas throughout the tour. It beats just sitting at a counter and drinking a bunch of red stuff.

What a picturesque area! This is the view from the terrace of the building.

We did end up buying a pack of wine, which we didn’t expect we’d do…but of course it was the sweet pack with all the dessert wines and stuff. Haha! It was a great first visit for both of us to Calistoga and Napa.

OH. I need to add that all photos except for the two “foursome” photos were taken with my new LG Ally cell phone. Pretty decent, huh?