Paul and Katy :)

Over the Thanksgiving break, I was lucky enough to fly out to Florida (Captiva island off the Western coast, to be specific) to go see a really good friend and his fiance (also a wonderful person and friend) get married. :) The experience turned out to be absolutely amazing. The entire trip was packed with moment after moment of fun, family and a beautiful environment. Starting off with a beachside house to wonderful family and friends getting together each night, all culminating in an absolutely breathtaking wedding by the sea with a sunset so amazing it was hard to believe you were really there. Absolutely astonishing. It's been so long since I've had a chance to get out of the city, and this was the perfect way to do it - surrounded by friends and fun people :)

Which, honestly, is what make the whole experience. It really was a very small get together (I believe right at around 50 people), most of whom were family. Paul even convinced me to come up a few days before to have Thanksgiving dinner with thier two families. Needless to say, the potential for it to be a weird situation for me and the few other non-family members there. But I must say that never in my life have I ever felt so much that I belonged there because of how welcoming each and every one of the people there were. Immediately when I came to the Drake's home for the first day, her entire family was so welcoming that it felt like I wasn't staying with people I didn't know well, I felt like I was staying with people I had grown up with. I had the exact same experience with each of the people I met from Paul's family when we went over for Thanksgiving dinner. Each person there was totally welcoming, and to put it simply, treated me as if I were family. So much so that at the end of the trip I had to remind myself that I wasn't the one gaining a family that weekend, Paul and Katy each were! :) After meeting both your families, it's very apparent where you both get your open and welcoming personalities from. I now know what it feels like to be welcomed with open arms. :) Thank you to every single person I met over the trip. You made an outsider feel like family.

And of course - anyone that knows me knows that I was going around with a camera in hand practically every moment of the trip. O:-) Well, I did, and I took tons and tons of pictures. Now, I realize that it's been 2 weeks since this happened, but I had a bunch of annoyances pop up in getting the pics from my camera, through some processing and up to the web in a timely manner. Every shoot is always a learning experience, and aside from a lot of photography techniques, one thing I've really realized is that when you've got an emotional backing in the situation you're shooting, it's really really difficult (maybe this is just for me) to get the dynamic, artistic shots out of the situation. Instead, it's hard to break away from the things that are there - so there are tons of pictures of happy people, Paul and Katy, and just family. That's the heart of what was there. So most of my pictures are of the "Awww... they're so cute" or "Look at the baby!" mentality. Anyways, I'm just glad that they're up now ;) I would love it if you would take a look at them and comment away (especially if you were there, but everyone is welcome to comment) on the pictures about your happy memories from each of the events. :) You can find them here, on flickr:

Thanksgiving 11-23-06
The Day Before 11-24-06
The Wedding 11-25-06
The Reception 11-25-06
The Day After 11-26-06

Paul, Katy, I am absolutely honored that I could be there for such a special time for both of you, marking the beginning of your lives together. I absolutely can't wait to see your futures unfold. In the short time I've known you both, I'm amazed at how many people's lives you have touched and improved with your prescences. I have no doubt that list of people inspired by you both will grow with each passing day.

I know you can put me on that list. And for that I thank you both.


I'm dreaming of a white...

... November? ... Thanksgiving? ... No, that's not right.

But sure enough, yesterday, the last day of November, we got a nice coat of snow up here in Dallas. I've even got a few shots that I need to post up of snow packed up around the house. :p

Also, got a chance to go to a cozy (probably Blue October at the Lakewood Theater here. Turned out to be a pretty spectacular show. The opening band Wide Awake was pretty awesome, and gave some pretty sincere props to Blue October at the end of their set. Very cool. (I've gotta say that Blue October is another band that performs spectacularly. Especially since the lead singer was doing the concert with a broken leg, but also in a suit. Nice ;) I didn't even realize how good some of their music was, so now I've got one headphone in listening to their new CD. Some damn impressive stuff. And for some reason, their encore was one of the best I've ever seen. I think they played one song from each style they represent. And they did it damn well. They opened up with 18th Floor Balcony. Awesome. :'-)

Also, I swung by the shirt stand and felt like I was back in High School - $15 - 20 for concert tees! Jeez! Some people still do sell their stuff for a decent price. I'm used to $30-40! So I picked up a shirt that I really liked. Simple, and has a set of lyrics on the back:

I'm reaching farther than I ever have before
leaving all who broke your heart upon the shore
I may be some sort of crazy
We may be some sort of crazy
But I swear on everything I have and more