I had mentioned it before, but the Alameda Antique Fair has been on my bucket list for probably 10 years now.
I'm not even quite sure why I waited so long to go...Maybe because I didn't want to spring for the cost of a hotel? Maybe because I didn't have anyone to go with? Maybe because I always figured there would be a 'better' time in my schedule?
But then my friend/past student (Michelle) offered me a place to stay and someone to go with.
So we put it on the calendar.
And last Friday, I made the six-hour drive to her place.
I had visions of a leisurely drive down I-5, with tons of photo-stops along the way, but then my morning got a little crazy and I found myself leaving town at 11:00 a.m., when I had originally planned on leaving by 9:00 a.m. (at the very latest.)
So my leisurely drive turned into a rushed drive, with no stops other than to fuel up once on gas and to fuel up once on food.
I did manage to cram in a speaker-phone conversation with a friend I hadn't talked to in awhile, my first-ever trip to In-N-Out Burger and a six-hour sermon marathon (thanks to podcasts from Tim Keller and Ben Courson) before arriving at Michelle's house.
We talked non-stop while she cooked dinner and dessert.
I met her kids and her husband.
We stayed up late having one of the most enjoyable dinner conversations I've ever had.
And then Michelle's husband made us ice cream with espresso poured over it while we sat in the den and talked some more.
And when I put my head on the pillow in her guest room that night, I laid there for a few minute, wishing that I had taken the time to photograph it all.
We slept in a bit the next morning, took showers and then sat on her back porch drinking home-made lattes that her husband had made for us and eating Greek Yogurt and fruit (my favorite) for breakfast.
We were planning a day of antique shopping and waiting for another friend/past student (Aurora) to arrive. So when the door bell rang and Michelle opened it, I was caught off guard to see that it wasn't Aurora, but another friend/past student (Deneen!) instead. (They had planned the whole thing, but apparently, I wasn't in on that secret.)
And then Aurora (and her 4 year-old daughter, Halia) showed up and after sitting around, talking for awhile, I finally couldn't take it anymore and grabbed my camera.
That's Halia and her momma, Aurora.
That's my new BFF, Megan. (Michelle's 9 year-old daughter.)
That's Max (who barks incessantly, licks reflections and shadows non-stop and sometimes snuggles up next to you and then barfs on your toes without any warning.)
He seemed willing to overlook my many flaws though, so I decided to overlook his as well.
And that's Michelle (closest to me) and Deneen (in the background.)
And a few more of Halia (because for some reason, I couldn't quit pointing my camera at her cuteness.)
And then we went to lunch.
And then we went to some junk shops.
I've got an old camera with a waist-level viewfinder like this at home and I'm totally going to do some more experimenting with shooting through it. (I saw some other photographer do this somewhere and am feeling bad because I can't remember the source to give her credit.)
I had forgotten how hard it is to shoot a lightening-fast, easily-distracted 4 year-old though. (I was trying to get a shot of her with her face poking through that fairy-face hole, but there was no way she was going to hold still long enough for that to happen.)
And while Michelle and Deneen are quite lovely, it was really the white corner-cabinet that I was trying to photograph in that last shot. (It was only $100...but I couldn't bring it home because I have no place to put it.)
I did leave with a new garbage can though, only to find out that it doubles as a great drum set when you put a four-year old behind it.
And then we went for ice cream.
I know there's a lot going on in that last shot, but there's just something I love about it.
And then we headed to the bookstore.
And then we took the only group shot of the day outside in the parking lot of Barnes & Nobles (I think that was on Michelle's camera though.) before parting ways.
And then Michelle's husband cooked us dinner and made us drinks. (Vodka, Sprite, cranberry and lime - my favorite.)
And then we all watched Top Gun in 3-D, with 3-D glasses on (I've never watched a 3-D television before.) which resulted in Michelle and I reminiscing about how old we were when we fell in love with Top Gun and all of us laughing through a few awkward moments (like Tom Cruise's stance while talking to Ice Man in the shower) and me pulling the blanket over my new BFF's eyes during another awkward moment. (You know the one.)
And then, when we called it a night once again, I kicked myself in the butt for not pulling out my camera all night (and fell asleep trying to think of a corner in my house or Michelle's house where that corner cabinet could fit.)
We woke up bright and early the next morning because that was the morning of the Alameda Antique Fair.
Michelle and I talked for a bit about whether or not we wanted to bring our cameras and eventually decided that shopping was higher on our priority lists than shooting, so we left them at home and headed out to Michelle's friend's house (Her name is Karen also.) to change cars (We needed a van big enough for five of us girls; me, Michelle, Michelle's cute mom, Carol, Michelle's funny friend, Stephanie and Michelle's wonderful friend, Karen and everything the five of us hoped to buy at the antique fair.)
And then we spent the entire day in heaven (aka, the Alameda Antique Fair) walking down isle after isle after isle of magical junk finds.
I got an old (but still in the box) red Coleman ice-chest from a guy who ironically lives just a few miles from me in Oregon, two red bedside tables ($55 for both of them.), a red metal dust-pan, a red metal recipe box ($5!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!), a white metal shelf and a really cute, turquoise jewelry-box.
I also got a sunburn, the best lunch ever (falafel salad) and a lot of exercise. (Michelle was wearing a Fitbit and said we clocked in just under 6-miles of walking/shopping and still didn't make it down every isle.)
And then we strategically packed the car (which in addition to my stuff included a metal shopping cart, a ladder, a side-table and a whole bunch of other little odds and ends) and headed to FudRuckers (I had never been before, but had a really great chicken sandwich and some fries.) for dinner.
And then Michelle and I sat on the couch, eating the best home-made peanut-butter brownies in the world while watching The Notebook, which pretty much felt like Heaven too - but since I already compared the Alameda Antique Fair to Heaven, we'll just call sitting on the couch, eating home-made peanut butter brownies while watching The Notebook after spending the entire day antique shopping, Heaven on steroids.
Went to bed that night with the same nagging feeling that I should have taken pictures (and that I was sure there was a corner in my house that I was overlooking where that corner cabinet could fit.)
And then we woke up the next morning, took Michelle's kids to school (I miss you BFF.), got coffee (where we were briefly asked questions and had our photos taken by someone from a local newspaper), ran by WinCo (so I could purchase some wide-mouth Ball jars to use as drinking glasses and food storage containers...because I want to be just like Michelle.), hung out on Michelle's back porch and waited for her step-dad to show up with jumper-cables (because I accidentally left a light on in the back of my car for three days.)
And then we loaded up my car and said our good-byes.
And then about 20 minutes into my drive-home, Michelle called me to say that I had forgotten my new wide-mouth Ball jars/drinking glasses/food-storage containers in the back of her car and that she was leaving the house to meet me with them.
And lucky me, she brought a plate full of her (Heaven on Steroids) home-made peanut-butter brownies for me to eat on the way home.
Or maybe she mentioned something about taking them home to my family???
I'm not quite sure.
Thanks Michelle and Daryl and Trevor and Megan and Deneen and Aurora and Halia and Carol and Karen and Stephanie for making it such a great weekend.
Count me in for a 2014 do-over.