Little did she or I know, that Michael was planning to propose to me later (just about two hours after getting the tattoos) that very night, on our three-year anniversary, with the dogs (witnesses!) on a walk at sunset, at the spot we had our first picnic (the place and time we nicknamed one another Applesauce [me] and Cinnamon [him]). I never thought I'd be the married type. I won't change my name, of course (because I find it archaic and my name is part of my identity--I've been Stephanie Cope for 26+ years...it's who I am). Above, you'll see the engagement ring. It used to belong to Michael's stepmother, Christy. It's white gold with rubies and a faux diamond. Diamonds aren't my thing (faux or no), so I'm getting this stone replaced with an ametrine (or another purple stone) as soon as I can find a good jeweler, stone, etc. I HAVE to make it my own; just like I'll do with marriage, just like I do with everything. I'm excited. Some details have been hashed, and they are as follows: The wedding will take place the first day of spring some year in the future (at LEAST 2012, after I graduate). I will have co-maids of honor (Jill and my LOOOONGtime BFF Kim, whose only responsibility will be being my photographer). Sagan (my brutha-from-anutha-mutha) will either be my Gay of Honor or officiate. Jonathan Balfour has already volunteered to serenade us. My grandpa will walk me down the aisle, as he gave permission to Michael to ask me (I think it's totally cute that he asked him). Then again, it would make sense if my mom walked me down the aisle, too. Ok, that detail's NOT hashed yet. It will be extravagantly planned and styled weirdly/meticulously to our tastes. I am in no hurry to DO the deed, but knowing it will be done is actually kind of cool. Me + Michael = 4eva!
Saturday (July 25th) Michael and I left on a ginormous trek across half the US to visit his gparents in Massachusetts and begin my 16 days off work!! These are our "embarking-upon-the-journey-excitement" faces as we were leaving Joplin's Dillon's parking lot.
First stop: St Louis Zoo. Zoos really aren't my thing, but it was interesting to see animals up close that I was never meant to see in person (unless I happened to be in Africa or some crazy rainforest in South America). This is a free zoo and we bought no (zero/zilch/nada) souvenirs, so, we did not at all contribute (unless it's paid for through state taxes) to the captivity of animals in a zoo, which I am against. Above you'll see a zebra-butted animal, whose species I forgot the name of. My favorite was the gazelles; SEXY. Not pictured: a nasty motel we stayed later in the evening. SOOO gross!
The above eleven shots are of Gloucester, Massachusetts, near Michael's fam on the 27th. We got our feet in the sand, walked around town, and then had some freakin' fish straight from the see. You'll notice Michael's excitement at having fish in his belly (shot 10) and my alcoholic peach iced tea (shot 11). Oh yeah, it's as good as it looks! Tell me if you don't think this is the most charming thing ever: Michael's grandparents go to this diner/coffee shop every morning at 930am. They know everyone there (lots of other older couples). Michael's grandmother even works there occasionally! You know we took home coffee mugs! Shot directly above is of Michael's cous' Kate and his gparents (and us, of course).
Total relaxation at Crane Beach Tuesday, July 28th. I don't get to the ocean often enough. This was the perfect beach experience (national park-like, good shower/snack facilities, no bug attacks), except we didn't get to swim because of our new tattoos.
Tuesday, after beach awesomeness, Michael's cousin Kate and her bf Peter took us to Salem, Massachusetts. Here's Michael kissing Samantha.
Here's what Kate called my artsy fartsy shot. I call it "Coffee in Salem". Little does Kate know that all my shots are artsy fartsy.
Kate said, "Well, there's a cardboard witch around the corner you can put your head through"-reluctantly-"do you want to do that?" Me: "Uhhhhh, frick yeah I do!"
Salem is a goth dream. Cemeteries, witch-lore, spooky merchandise everywhere, haunted tours every night (unfortunately we didn't get to attend any of the ghost tours). So awesome. I loved it. I want to go back.
Outside of one of the shops/museums were these maiden/mother/crone murals. Homage to me, my mom, my sis, and my tattoo on the back of my neck.These witch museum stickers were EVERYWHERE. HAD to take another artsy fartsy shot!Kate in a lobster hat at an Army Surplus store (Peter to the right of her). Is that regulation?
Couple of pics of things in Michael's gparent's casa.
Michael loves grocery stores. He had a hummus-gasm at the one in Byfield, Massachusetts.
On the 29th we wandered around Georgetown (above pics of gparent's casa, grocery store, park, elementary school, old ice cream haunt, which I also have a wicked video of, btw!). Above is a picture from within the coolest antique store I've ever been in. It was inside this HUGE antique house and it was creepy and awesome.
Another example of creepy awesomeness...it was like a maze. Some floors/rooms (such as the above picture) were completely devoid of artificial light and no one was in them. As far as I could tell, there was ONE woman manning the entire store and she could, at any time, be three floors/six rooms away from potential customers. It was so much fun exploring this giant creepy place.
Kate took us to an AMAZING sushi place in her town of residence (can't remember the name) Wednesday night, where we preceded to imbibe fish for the third night in a row (Tuesday night Michael's uncle treated us to a very elegantly expensive fish dinner overlooking the sea--I had rainbow bass).
Day 2 of the road home, Michael decided he HAD to have Mexican food. So we stopped in Terre Haute (Indiana? Illinois?) and asked someone. Yum. I look a little exhausted, 'cause I am. Michael looks a little overexcited about Mexican food, 'cause he was. Upon arrival home at about 4pm on the 1st, we went straight to JPL to see Mark's photo show! Lots of pictures of me and Jill! Check it out. It's up all month in the Post Library, which is INSIDE the Joplin Public Library, if you've never been there.
Sunday after having lunch with my gparents and Aunt Mimi and Uncle Don, Michael and I immediately rushed out and got two cute, male, Pisces, chubby ferrets. The one in the red bedding (shots 2 and 4) is Beefy Tundra and the one in the green bedding (shots 1 and 3) is Alfonzo la Gordita (yes, we know that's femme Spanish-ness and he's a male, but we did that on purpose). New roommies.....that bounce!
Tonight, I will go to a show where my Jonathan and my Jill are playing. Tomorrow, I get another tattoo! Saturday, I visit my little sis in Tulsa. Exciting vacay. Will post more as necessary.