Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Sweet Lorraine Goes by Another Name

I still intend to finish posting about our wedding here (reception and other fun things to come!) as well as "real life" beyond the nuptials, but at the moment, I'm a little busy getting my dedicated photography blog off the ground.

See, besides being a newlywed, a student and a (sort of) mild-mannered barista, I also moonlight as a portrait and event photographer 'round about the Dallas area. You can follow my adventures in starting my business over at Mary Cyrus Photography.

Charles & Alyssa

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


We debated for a little while as to whether we ought to have champagne for the toast or not. We wound up just toasting with whatever we had in hand at the time, and I think it was perfectly appropriate for the occasion.

When I was my sister's Maid of Honor at age 15, I had no idea that I was supposed to give a speech. So.. I just didn't. Whoops. Opie kind of forgot to plan one for his best man Justin's wedding, so apparently his speech was pretty weak. Weeeell, we love them both, but Justin's and Jessie's speeches weren't particularly planned or eloquent, so we both feel a lot better now. Just sayin'.

All photos by Jenna Cole. I purchased a disc of unedited high resolution photos from Jenna, so all photos by her have been edited by me for the purpose of sharing them with you.

*Slainte, for those who may not know, is a gaelic drinking toast to health.

Friday, December 11, 2009

In Memory of my Grandfather

I feel the need to pause in my recollections of our wedding day to pay a small tribute to my grandfather, who passed away on Wednesday.

I find it hard to put into words exactly what my grandfather was to me.

When I was very young, I stayed with my grandparents every afternoon after pre-school. My grandfather, known to me as Papa Daddy, built me this sweet little play table predominately from plywood, with a pull-out drawer to stow my drawings, and the top neatly covered in wallpaper in a farm animal theme. It still sits at one end of their kitchen, exactly where he placed it when I was 3.

Together, we'd dig small red potatoes from a raised bed bordered by railroad ties, in their plentiful backyard garden. I wanted to take home all the potatoes I dug up (after all, I found them!) but that was a no go. I definitely took home my fair share then, and later, of the harvests of their garden.

When I was older, and my visits were no longer daily, my grandparents bought a pool table and plopped it down in the middle of their upstairs living area. The TV where we used to watch Wheel of Fortune (which I was mighty good at as a 3 and 4 year old) got moved downstairs. I played many a game of pool with my grandfather, with Bob Wills, Hank Williams, and a little creole and Dixie Chicks thrown in for good measure. My pool game is always off if there's not old-timey country blasting in the background.

I also had the pleasure of going on many a fishing trip with my grandparents. We'd load up in one of the many extended bed, extended cab F-150s that he owned in his lifetime, with me either sitting in the tiny seat between them, or more often in one of the little red hard plastic pull down seats behind them. My grandmother would make sandwiches so we wouldn't have to stop (they never stopped on road trips, no matter how long) and we'd truck out to Canton. We'd fish all day and then stay in their friends' mansion on the same property. We were roughin' it.

I have so many wonderful memories of my grandfather. It's been difficult watching him decline these last few months since his stroke this summer. It's been hard seeing him in that state, when he's always been this monumental, strong, proud man in my life. We all will miss him so, but no one could accuse him of having not lived life to its fullest. In an attempt to demonstrate just how well my grandfather seized the day, I've included the obituary my Aunt Laura wrote for him.

I love you and I miss you, Papa Daddy.

Charles Allen Richardson
July 12, 1923 – December 9, 2009

Dr. Charles A. Richardson died at home with his wife of 65 years at his side on Wednesday, Dec. 9, from complications of longstanding heart disease and a recent stroke.

A resident of Richardson for 54 years, Richardson was a community and business leader whose legacy includes service to the city’s schools, library, hospital, parks and recreation facilities. In the early 1950s, Richardson worked for the Dallas County Health Department and taught at Baylor Dental School, then began 25 years of private orthodontic practice in Richardson. In middle age he returned to school and took a degree in finance, then in 1974 organized Richardson National Bank, and later established one of the earliest of Texas’ bank holding companies.

Richardson was elected to the board of the Richardson Independent School District in 1968 and served throughout the 1970s. In the early 1960s he also served on the city’s parks and recreation board and on the local hospital board. In later years he was a member of the board of directors of H&R Block. A 32nd degree Mason and a Hella Temple Shriner who worked with DeMolay, he was also active in other civic and professional service organizations.

In his private life he was a man of boundless curiosity and fierce intelligence. He had played football in high school and boxed in college, and always maintained an imposing physical presence and a high degree of athleticism. He took up downhill skiing after his 70th birthday, when he became eligible for free lift tickets: he was thrifty all his life. He was a passionate outdoorsman, a hunter and fisherman who passed on his enthusiasm and skill to his children, grandchildren, and many friends. A master gardener, he shared the harvests of his fruit trees and vegetable gardens with friends, family, and the local food bank. He loved to barbecue, choosing his smoking woods with care and creating delicious, spicy feasts to serve his many guests.

He had a tender heart for animals and was unfailingly kind to the numerous, occasionally bizarre, creatures that his four children brought home. He especially loved the Labrador dogs, Count and Kate, that shared his old age.

Richardson was born July 12, 1923 in Saratoga, Texas, the youngest of the five children—two girls and three boys-- of Lemuel Archibald and Sally Lee (Wright) Richardson. His boyhood in Cleveland was marked by poverty and hard work, as well as by dangerous, unsupervised adventures in the Big Thicket of East Texas, which became the stories with which he regaled his children and grandchildren. He went to work at the age of five, washing dishes in his mother’s café, and by age eight was an employee of wide experience. He was, variously, a bootlegger's runner (hiding the prepaid "orders" at designated spots around town and hidey-holes near railroad tracks), a carpenter's helper, short-order cook, and postal worker. In late adolescence he ran a few slot machines and rode the rails around the state.

A regular student at the University of Texas at Austin, he met Gene Marie Davis in 1942 on the first day of summer school physics class at Sam Houston State in Huntsville. Drafted into the Army and sent to dental school under the accelerated program to meet war demand for medical personnel, Richardson married Davis in August 1944 before he was shipped overseas.

Stationed in Saipan, he formed warm friendships with his Chinese Army colleague Dr. Zhang (also part of the occupying force) and with Chamorro fishermen, who took him and his young wife along on numerous expeditions. Here begin his intense, lifelong interest in Asia, which led him in his 70s to begin learning Mandarin and to travel to Shanghai to study. When China reopened to the west with the end of the Chinese Cultural Revolution in 1976, he reconnected with his friend Zhang. Eventually he sponsored the immigration to the US of Zhang’s god-daughter, Qiu Ping, who became an integral member of the Richardson family.

He and his wife traveled extensively in the US and in Latin America, and made extended visits to friends and family in South and East Asia, Europe, Turkey, Egypt, and New Zealand. They rode hard sleepers across China, and drove from New Delhi across Pakistan to the Chinese border. Everywhere they went, Richardson met the unexpected with interest and aplomb. At one point, visiting friends working in a leprosy hospital in Nepal, he was asked to perform emergency oral surgery without anesthetic or even a proper drill, which he did. Successfully.

He is survived by his wife, Gene; four children-- Linda (James Gillespie), Laura (Rone Tempest), Will (Teresa Kanan) and Dee (Rob McManamy); his god-daughter Qiu Ping (Ning Ling); five grandsons, six granddaughters, two great-grandchildren; two nieces, three nephews, and many grand and great-grand nieces and nephews.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Om nom nom

Time to focus on one of the real stars of the wedding: the food. Oh yes, we took a simple route. We had no (fancy or otherwise) appetizers, no soup or salad courses, no champagne, and no signature cocktails (or any cocktails at all).

Nope, we had a plain ol' hamburger buffet with baked beans, chips and potato salad, 2 kegs, some wine, and enough pie and cake to go around. We're simple folk, and there was no need to pretend otherwise on our wedding day. Plus, for our money, that's some darn good eatin'. I mean, vegetarians aside, who doesn't like hamburgers?! Communists. That's who.

That is one excited bride. Now if only her photographers would leave her in peace to eat her hamburger. ;)

Although family made the special pie that we cut, the rest of our tasty, tasty beautiful wedding pie came from Central Market. We had 2 peach pies, 2 apple pies, 2 blueberry pies, 2 cherry pies, and 2 pecan pies. I'm salivating a little just thinking about it. My mom went to pick them up from the store, and opening her car trunk full of pies was nothing short of magical. I just stood there for a few minutes and breathed in the amazing smells of pie. Mmmmm. I hope another occasion arises someday to have that many pies at once.

Mmmm, blueberry pie. I never got a taste of that one, but I've heard it was particularly good.

In case you didn't know, pie is serious business.

See? Serious business.

All photos by Jenna Cole, unless otherwise denoted by watermark as Lynn Nguyen's.
I purchased a disc of unedited high resolution photos from Jenna, so all photos by her have been edited by me for the purpose of sharing them with you.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Pie Time!

Opie and I make time for "pie time" on many special days (and many days made special by pie time), so it's only fitting that we had pie on our wedding day! It was a delicious pecan pie made by my sister-in-law Melissa.

Yuuuum. Sadly, we only got the one piece of the pie that we cut ourselves. I never thought to ask anyone to set aside the rest of this special pie for us, and while it didn't get served to the guests, it went back to my parents' house and got devoured by everyone staying there. I've never made a public complaint about this before, but hey! That's like eating the top tier of our wedding cake! Sadness.

There's Opie's groom's cake. A very moist and deeelicious carrot cake from Paradise Bakery.

While we're looking at the carrot cake, let's take a closer look. Do those carrots look sort of.. suspect.. to anyone else? No? Just me? I think they go well with these stamps. :P
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Let's cut into that tasty pie!

You can tell I am seriously stoked about this pie. Look at that grin.

The anticipation. It's killing me.

Aaaaand we fed each other pie and cake and stuff and then kissed. But the one photo we have of feeding each other looks weird. So let's skip to the kissing. But to make up for skipping that one awkward photo, I provide a far funnier awkward photo:

What is even going on here? I do not know. I think Opie miiight be assuring people that there are about 12 pies and 2 more cakes in the other room awaiting them. Or maybe he's leaning with it and rocking with it. And lord knows what I'm up to. We're so photogenic!

All photos by Jenna Cole, unless otherwise denoted by watermark as Lynn Nguyen's, or unless marked as a guest photo.
I purchased a disc of unedited high resolution photos from Jenna, so all photos by her have been edited by me for the purpose of sharing them with you.

Friday, December 4, 2009

A Simple Man

I'm really not the one to write this, given that I was just an observer of the event, so I'll mostly allow the photos to speak for themselves. Opie and his mom danced to "Simple Man" by Lynyrd Skynyrd after my dad and I finished our dance. It was very sweet watching them share this moment. Opie is an only child and his mother stayed at home with him when he was young, so they were very close as he was growing up. The song choice seemed quite apropos.

Mama told me when I was young
Come sit beside me, my only son
And listen closely to what I say.
And if you do this
It will help you some sunny day.
Take your time... Don't live too fast,
Troubles will come and they will pass.
Go find a woman and you'll find love,
And don't forget son,
There is someone up above.

And be a simple kind of man.
Be something you love and understand.
Be a simple kind of man.
Won't you do this for me son,
If you can?

Forget your lust for the rich man's gold
All that you need is in your soul,
And you can do this if you try.
All that I want for you my son,
Is to be satisfied.

Boy, don't you worry... you'll find yourself.
Follow you heart and nothing else.
And you can do this if you try.
All I want for you my son,
Is to be satisfied.

Baby be a simple, be a simple man
Be something you love and understand
Baby be a simple kind of man

All photos by Jenna Cole, unless otherwise denoted by watermark as Lynn Nguyen's.
I purchased a disc of unedited high resolution photos from Jenna, so all photos by her have been edited by me for the purpose of sharing them with you.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Mairi's Wedding

My dad and I tentatively selected the song "Marie's Wedding" (though I personally think Mairi would be the more accurate spelling, Van Morrison and the Chieftains are welcome to spell their country's traditional songs as they please) a week or two before the big day. It wasn't until the night of the rehearsal dinner that we ever determined if we could even dance to it. It's a pretty speedy little tune, but our 10 second rehearsal reassured us that we could probably wing something for it.

It's not a song I would attempt dancing with just anyone, but my dad is quite the dancer. He's got excellent rhythm and leads really well, so I just followed him and everything worked out quite dandy.

It was quite a tumultuous time for my family leading up to the wedding, so it was really indescribably special to dance with my dad at my wedding. I was never a child that daydreamed about my future wedding, but I was addicted to the Chieftains album from which this hails (to the extent that you can probably credit it for me ever picking up the fiddle), and I did always imagine it would be featured in some way in my own wedding. Dancing to this tune with my dad, the only person I know who loves celtic music as much as I do, was a perfect moment in a wonderful day.

I think you can see from these photos that I'm still his little girl despite my new marital status.

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Step we gaily on we go,
Heel and heel
And toe for toe
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Arm and arm
And row and row,
All for Marie's wedding
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Over hillways, up and down,
Myrtle green and bracken brown,
Past the sheilings through the town
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All for the sake of Marie

Red her cheeks as Rowan's are,
Bright her eyes as any star

Fairest of them all by far,
Is our darlin' Marie

Plenty herring, plenty meal,
Plenty peat to fill her kreel

Plenty bonnie bairns as well,
That's the toast for Marie

All photos by Jenna Cole, unless otherwise denoted by watermark as Lynn Nguyen's, or unless marked as a guest photo.
I purchased a disc of unedited high resolution photos from Jenna, so all photos by her have been edited by me for the purpose of sharing them with you.