Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The New House! November edition (6 months in)

(by the way, you can click on any of the pictures to see them enlarged.  enjoy.)
 one thing we loved about the house right away was the open, spaceous floor plan.  you walk in to the living room, with small dining area, and kitchen in the alcove under the upstairs loft.  for not a huge house there is a ton of light and it feels very big.
 we've already had a number of great dinners and gatherings at the table, and here you can see the front entry and stairs up to the loft and what will become the master bedroom.
 one of the things that really sold us was the kitchen.  with seemingly new appliances and sturdy-enough cabinets we knew that even though other rooms needed work we could move in and cook a decent meal right away before getting to work.  the island was one of our first additions and as is fitting for us, we spend a lot of time in the kitchen and love the vast improvement of space compared to our last apartment in Queens.
 the loft upstairs has become our bedroom while we fix the adjacent room that will become the master bedroom.

 the master was originally just an unfinished room.  we had it insulated and sheetrocked and soon we will finish it with a good cleanup, trim, and the finer details.  it is a good-sized room and behind the door is another space that we will turn into a closet for all our hanging clothes.
 we haven't had a lot of time to work on this part of the house so we are looking forward to making this winter project, well one of our winter projects at least.  for now it's housing the bulk of the houseplants and various odds and ends but we will be in here certainly by next spring.
 back downstairs off the living room and kitchen is a little hallway with a full bath and two bedrooms, which luckily needed little to make them acceptable upon moving in.  we have paint and plans for the bath, yet another project for the winter months to come.
 the two bedrooms downstairs were not in bad shape, but did need new paint and carpet (no hardwood floors underneath unfortunately) so we took care of that right away. 
 this is the yellow room which is my office for now, and we figure ultimately it will become a kids room, you know, whenever we finally get around to that!

 the other bedroom, the blue room, is our guest bedroom and Krissy's office.  it is a really comfy room and we have already had a bunch of visitors make the trek east and stay with us.  so fabulous to be able to have people to our place for once - we love it!

 and then of course there is the outside.  it is a perfect half-acre rectangle, on a street not too busy which gets us to the ocean and into town in only a few minutes.  the front porch, even now in fall, still gets a lot of use.  right from the get-go we knew this was going to be a part of the house we would use a lot, and we have.
 looking from the drive it is simply the perfect first house for us, the right amount of space, and with all the potential in the world. the Japanese wisteria was in full, glorious bloom mid-May when we closed on the house.  we need a new roof soon as this one is original to the house (built in 1989), and all the landscaping needs to be revamped and improved upon, but again, it's a comfortable and manageable sized place so we are up to the challenges ahead of us.
 looking from the porch we have this little "scenic easement" with a great stand of oaks and various evergreens - the perfect woodland garden to be.
 the back yard is big and open, again, full of potential.  those are a couple fab American beeches and otherwise the yard is very much a blank canvas, which of course I was instantly thrilled about. 
 I have already begun some thoughtful screening in the back and foundation plantings, but obviously a lot more to be done.  ...again, all in due time - enjoying the process of making the place our own.

so there you have it - our new house!  I will try and keep updates and photos coming as things progress.  Cheers,

Sunday, September 26, 2010

YAY! We Did It! We're married!!!

Sunday, September 26th was a cool and windy day in Montauk, New York. In the presence of our most amazing family and dearest friends we descended down the stairs to the ocean's edge and were married. The ceremony at 3:30pm was officiated by the honorable Judge James Ketcham, with readings by brother Timothy R. Feleppa and friend Megan Franzen. Gian Carlo Feleppa played the sitar, his own compositions, and his own variation of "Ode to Joy" as Krissy processed. The flower girls were our nieces, Janaya Marshall and Ea Feleppa. Kate Dunkle was Krissy's Maid of Honor and Alex's Best Man was his father, Richard A. Feleppa. Surrounded by 100 adults, 10 children, and close to 10 babies we exchanged personal vows and rings before the Judge announced us as husband and wife.

We want to thank everyone who came to join us and everyone who has been so supportive through this whole extraordinary rite of passage. Celebrating love and marriage with you all really meant the world to us. We love and thank you all!

Lucky for us, all of our hard work payed off and we had the best wedding weekend possible. As much as we can we will post links to give proper kudos to all our vendors who took such wonderful care of us and did such amazing work. They include: Gurney's Inn, Kleinfeld's, Paul Stuart, Rossa Cole Photography, Judge James Ketcham (ret.), Strawberry Fields, Angel Plants, Lindy's Taxi, and others. Not to mention people have asked us to post things like our vows which people thought were so touching, speeches, etc, and you can scroll down to find all of that.

From the cool beach we ascended to the sun deck for raw bar and cocktails before stepping into the Discovery Room for the dinner and dancing portion of our reception. The night was seamless and we know people partied into the wee hours of the morn. A perfect adventure for all. We'll try and get more posts up soon. For now we are still celebrating going to nearly-weds to newly weds!
Alex & Krissy Feleppa

"Oyster Love" and "The Lovely Couple" (above) both photographed by Rossa Cole Photography, with All Rights Reserved (Copyright 2010). Rossa Cole and his assistant Flo Lunn shot our wedding and they did the most fabulous job and we are still spilling through the hundreds and hundreds of pics they took! If you need a wedding photographer for NYC or The Hamptons, contact Rossa Cole.

The Ceremony: the officiant and personal vows

Our wedding was officiated by the honorable James Ketcham. A retired East Hampton town justice, Judge Ketcham was recommended to us by Ginny at Gurney's, yet another spot-on suggestion. The Judge not only had great sincerity and delivery, but his wit and sense of humor really made it a special ceremony, very "us". If others might see this and be in need of a wedding officiant out on the east end, we highly recommend James Ketcham.
As part of the ceremony we were urged by the Judge and Ginny to exchange personal vows before the ring exchange. Afterward people mentioned how touched they were, how well written they thought the vows were, and asked if we could post them. Here they are. Alex began and Krissy followed.
"I'll always remember the night we first met and the excitement in the air. We didn't know what to expect but we brought an open mind, positive attitude, a sense of self, and left a little bit to chance. The corduroy hat, the bright red ponytail, that beautiful smile coming towards me, I could never forget that.

Right from the get-go we shared everything, openly, honestly, lovingly. We've shared with each other our pasts and how we got to who we are, we always cherish the time we spend together, and we've never hesitated to share our dreams and goals for the future.

I don't remember when we first began to finish each others sentences, or read each other's mind, but somewhere in there it happened. We realized our lives have changed, our love has changed, but that excitement it's always been just as strong as ever.

Krissy, you provide me with a calmness I don't know anywhere else. When I am with you I relax, slow down and enjoy life, live in the moment, and strive to make it the best moment possible. We adventure to uncharted territory, we eat well and remember to laugh often, we have a killer soundtrack playing at all times. We are in fact perfect complements to one another.

I promise to always be true to our sense of adventure, to challenging ourselves and each other to never sit idle but to create the best life possible. We will go far and at the end of the day I vow to provide a comfy home, a sacred space for us to reflect on the day, the good and the bad, and move forward to be excited about the days to come.

I am looking forward to sharing everything that we haven't realized yet. The schemes are going to be big and impressive and genius. From camping trips with the fam to surf trips in the tropics, from buying a home to building a home, to starting our family in that home, I vow to love you and be true through it all.

There is one song that has always made me think about this day, this love, and you. The part that always gets me goes like this...

Love me like a song
Sweet as a melody
Learn all the words to me
And sing along
Find the harmony
The rhythm and the rhyme to me
On and on, all night long
Love me like a song"

"What I remember most about the night we met is the big warm hug you gave me, like I was already an old friend, and something in me melted. I felt completely at ease with you. After that first night I kept trying to convince myself that I didn't really like you that much so that if things didn't work out it wouldn't matter. But the truth was, I liked you more and more every day and, even so early on in our relationship, I could no longer imagine my life without you being a part of it. And I guess fate was on my side because we became inseparable almost instantly and when, a few weeks later, you looked at me and said, "Maybe we should be an 'us'" I knew that something good was about to begin. And before long I fell in love. And it was wonderful.

I feel like we fell in love quietly, and honestly, and sincerely. It was unlike anything I have ever experienced. There was no need for grand gestures or bold declarations because it was so true and so real. It was simple and easy. It was the two of us moving forward at the same pace intertwining our separate lives to create what has become one, very good life.

People have asked me what our secret is, how do we get along so well, and the best answer I can give them is that we balance each other. We don't strive for perfection but rather harmony. We are not two halves making a whole but two complete people whose edges seem to fit together seamlessly. We may not always see eye to eye, and we may get crabby when our bellies are empty but that's simply part of our life together, a small part that seems to pale in comparison to the fun that we have, the silliness that we find, and the love that we share.

I can't recall one specific moment when I knew that you were the man I was going to marry. I just know that at some point being without you was not an option anymore.

There is no one like you, Alex Feleppa. You are kind and warm, charming and loving. I know that you are exactly who I want to be with for the rest of my life and, as I always say, I know everything."

All photography by Rossa Cole, with All Rights Reserved (Copyright 2010).

The Ceremony: a reading by Tim

"The Art of Marriage" by Wilferd A. Peterson
(read by Tim Feleppa, brother of the groom)

Happiness in marriage is not something that just happens.

a good marriage must be created.
In marriage the little things are the big things...

It is never being too old to hold hands.

It is remembering to say "I love you" at least once a day.

It is never going to sleep angry.

It is at no time taking the other for granted;
the courtship should not end with the honeymoon,
it should continue through all the years.

It is having a mutual sense of values and common objectives.
It is standing together facing the world.

It is forming a circle of love that gathers in the whole family.

It is doing things for each other, not in the attitude
of duty or sacrifice, but in the spirit of joy.

It is speaking words of appreciation
and demonstrating gratitude in thoughtful ways.

It is not looking for perfection in each other.
It is cultivating flexibility, patience,
understanding and a sense of humor.

It is having the capacity to forgive and forget.

It is giving each other an atmosphere in which each can grow.

It is finding room for the things of the spirit.
It is a common search for the good and the beautiful.

It is establishing a relationship in which the independence is equal,
dependence is mutual and the obligation is reciprocal.

It is not only marrying the right partner, it is being the right partner.
It is discovering what marriage can be, at its best.

The Ceremony: an intro and reading by Megan

(Megan Franzen is a close friend of both the bride and groom)

I’ve known Krissy and Alex since before they knew each other, yet I did not introduce them. This is a very rare phenomenon if you’re not familiar with the NYC scene. But looking back, it’s only natural that two people this fantastic would be cosmically destined to come together. In the fall of 2003, I met Krissy when we were working in a now-defunct mid-town restaurant called Texas Texas, slinging D-quality burgers, steaks, ribs and barbeque chicken to Midwesterners and the occasional Japanese tourist. At that time Krissy was vegetarian and I was in nutrition school, studying the benefits of a plant-based diet. But everybody’s got to pay the rent. Right? Krissy and I became good friends as non-New Yorkers who both had a background in the performing arts. We shared boyfriend drama, probably drank too much and generally made the best out of a pretty seedy job.

Shortly after that, I started attending a business networking organization, called BNI. I was a member of a mid-town chapter that met weekly at 7:00am for runny scrambled eggs and bacon so greasy and limp it could easily slide off the plate. Most of the other members were at least 20 years my senior and included a hodge-podge of weird people who owned their own businesses. To my complete astonishment, one morning as I was scooping some of the breakfast goo on to my plate, I saw a guy who looked about my age. He seemed enthusiastic and friendly as we all exchanged business cards at this crack of dawn meeting. His name was Alex and he was a horticulturist. I had no idea what that meant, but since he seemed to know a lot about plants, so I assumed he was a florist. He was subbing for another member and after that, I always turned up at BNI, hoping that member would have sent Alex in his place.

Fast forward to spring of 2005. Texas Texas had kicked the bucket and I finally realized that I got more satisfaction from another hour of sleep than attending the BNI meetings. Krissy invited me to see some live music on a lazy Sunday afternoon and I was eager to see her, as her voice had a buoyancy which can only mean one thing: A boy. At some point in the afternoon, she received a call from someone who was on his way back from the island and was supposed to meet up with her at the Beer Garden. As a friend, it was my duty to pry. Sparkly-eyed, she confided that she had met a boy on MySpace. Of course, I pressed for details.

“His name is Alex.”

“OK, and what does he do?”

“He’s in school for horticulture.”

My first thought was, “there’s that weird word again” and my second thought was, “Hey, I know an Alex who’s in Horticulture. How many Alexes in horticulture can there be in this city?”

Holy moley! It was the same guy.

Since then, Krissy and Alex’s relationship reminds me of an early 80’s power ballad. It’s sweet, fun, kinda rockin’ and you always want to come back to it when you’re looking to get grounded. They’re kind, genuine people who are supportive no matter what. They work miracles in their crock pot and know how to throw a great party. They are eager to help a sister out of a jam and I have the utmost respect for their bond. I am impressed by these two beautiful people who have one very solid friendship. Their love is steadfast and unquestionable.

I wish Krissy and Alex the most amazing journey, wherever it leads them. And by the looks of it, I think there’s plenty of good stuff in store for you two crazy kids!

They gave me the honor of selecting a passage to read to you today and I think you’ll see why I thought this one was apropos to this occasion…

This is from "Captain Corelli's Mandolin" by Louis de Bernieres

"Love is a temporary madness, it erupts like volcanoes and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of eternal passion. That is just being "in love" which any fool can do. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident. Those that truly love, have roots that grow towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossom have fallen from their branches, they find that they are one tree and not two."

Music: Gian Carlo Feleppa

Gian Carlo Feleppa, photo by Emma Woods

Lucky for us Gian Carlo Feleppa, Alex's older brother, has a love and knowledge of music few others possess. Starting at the age of 6, Gian Carlo has over the years mastered more instruments than one can fathom. We asked Gian if he would play the sitar for us on the beach at Gurney's Inn for our wedding ceremony and lucky for us he was thrilled to accept. Gian played his own sensational compositions as people climbed down to the wedding location at the ocean's edge. Our friend Erika reflected, "as we descended the stairs to be met by the wind and the wailing of the sitar, I literally felt my consciousness rise. What a way to usher you and Krissy in!" When Krissy processed Gian played his own variation of "Ode to Joy" at Krissy's request and it was so moving and lovely, a perfect complement to Krissy's radiance. It was the best.

The Reception: the toasts

After our entrance as Alex and Krissy Feleppa into the Discovery Room at Gurney's and a little bit of dancing, we asked those closest to us if they might like to say a few words. Krissy's sister Kate Dunkle, the Maid of Honor, led the first toast to honor the happy couple.
Dick Dunkle, the father of the bride, followed and spoke entirely from the heart. By the end of his address you'd be hard pressed to find a dry eye in the place.
And on the chance that there were a few stoic mugs remaining in the crowd we asked Rich Feleppa, father of the groom and Best Man, to deliver the third and final toast. Due to the length Rich omitted some parts of it on the spot, so here it is in it's entirety. Enjoy.
"For those who don’t know me, I’m Alex’s Dad.

Those who do know me know I have a tendency to digress.

Quite honestly, a poem by Philip Schultz who lives near us in East Hampton --- about a city almost as far as you can get from here ---struck a nerve and I hope it gets these remarks off to a decent start.

Of course, I could dedicate the poem, “San Francisco Remembered,” to thank Cathy Feleppa Camenga my goddaughter who traveled all the way from San Francisco, or Uncle Whoop Bill Worth and his family from LA, family and friends from Tennessee, Minnesota, Texas, New Jersey, God knows where, in fact let’s raise a glass to all of you who made the trek, long and short, to be with our family, old and new.

Thank you. And thanks for your generous gifts.

Oh yes, “San Francisco Remembered” by Philip Schultz.

(Clear throat)

In summer the polleny light bounces off the white buildings

& you can see their spines & nerves & where the joints knot.

You’ve never seen such polleny light. The whole city shining

& the women wearing dresses so thin you could see their wing-tipped hips

& their tall silvery legs alone can knock your eye out.

But this isn’t about women. It’s about the city of blue waters

& fog so thick it wraps round your legs & leaves glistening trails

along the dark winding streets. Once I followed such a trail

& wound up beside this redheaded woman who looked up & smiled

& let me tell you you don’t see smiles like that in Jersey City.

She was wearing a black raincoat with two hundred pockets

& I wanted to put my hands in each one. But forget about her.

I was talking about the fog which steps up & taps your shoulder

like a panhandler who wants bus fare to a joint called The Paradise

& where else could this happen? On Sundays Golden Gate Park

is filled with young girls strolling the transplanted palms

& imported rhododendron beds. You should see the sunset

in their eyes & the sway, the proud sway of their young shoulders.

Believe me, it takes a day of two to recover. Or the trolleys clanking

down the steep hills – why you see legs flashing like mirrors!

Please, Lord, please let me talk about San Francisco. How

that gorilla of a bridge twists in the ocean wind & the earth

turns under your feet & at any moment the whole works can crack

& slip back into the sea like a giant being kicked off his raft

& now, if it’s all right, I would like to talk about women …

Women, without whom, we wouldn’t be here today:

Front and center, the beautiful young woman and bride Krissy for taking Alex’s hand.

Carole Good Dunkle for having Krissy.

Sue Worth Feleppa for having Alex.

Carol’s Mom: Hilda Good and Sue’s Mom: Ann Worth and on and on. Going back and back. And the young moms, Kate and her Janaya, and Jen and her Ea, taking us forward.

In fact, let’s raise a glass to all the women, all the moms and daughters here!

Words cannot describe how honored and touched I am to have been asked by my son to be his Best Man.

Notwithstanding the fact that BM means something so totally different to those of us from the Silent Generation.

Aptly put by George Burns who said, “You know you’re old when you bend over to tie your shoelace and you say to yourself, ‘What else can I do while I’m down here.’”

In fact I would like to honor the gentleman who has us all beat hands down when it comes to hanging in there! That would be Howard Good, Krissy’s grandpa, who is God Bless him 94 years of age. Along with his wife Hilda, who are one month away from celebrating their 73rd wedding anniversary. Let’s give them a rousing cheer.

The Best Man tradition they say originated with the German Goths (I’m sure my brother Ed watching over us today would heartedly agree). Also many wedding customs are thanks to the warring clans of Scotsmen (perhaps Brennie Feleppa’s Stuart Clan started it all!) during a time when the Best Man carried a weapon and not just rings to the altar because you never knew when the bride’s family would decide to take her back home. Thankfully a mute point today when I noticed Dick Dunkle walked Krissy down to the sandy beach without a firearm in his holster. Let’s raise a glass to the Feleppas and the Dunkles.

I’m most happy to say I’ve known Alex all his 33 years. Working at home most of the time allowed me to share every part of the day. I have the rare distinction of knowing Alex very, very well – except of course for his Mom Sue who knows him inside and out – and now Krissy who has a great understanding and grasp of the man we love.

We all have a lot of nicknames; unsurprisingly, Alex has had his share. Flipper, during his water polo years at Loomis Chaffee, The Legend during his tag along years with brothers Gian Carlo and Tim. And of course, Pete Mike Sam Henry George, compliments of his Mom.

Of course, my names for my son are my favorites. Rapscallion, sometimes shortened to Scal, for that tilted-head-to-the-side querying look and winning smile that started almost at infancy -– and Scalumente because an Italian name seemed appropriate for that blond haired blue-eyed little boy, new proof of the barbaric Lombard strain in we Benevento Feleppas. Sometimes my name for Alex was Alexahente, because it combined his given name with “having the right beans.”

In addition to being from the same line as Annibale Feleppa, Carlo Feleppa, and Dr. Edward Ernest Feleppa, we have another thing in common: They say that Alex looks like Leonardo DeCaprio. They used to say I resembled Wally Cox as Mr. Peepers.

You might say Alex has had a checkered cloth career. Nursed as an infant in the mud room of The Royale Fish. Babysat by waitresses, bus boys and chefs. Before long, he was hurling pizza dough in Colorado Springs, serving steamy cappuccinos in Hanover New Hampshire, and running a B&B in Half Moon Bay, California.

He’s always been on the run. Who else but Alex would get some space as a youngster by riding his bike hell-bent for election for miles on Town Lane in Amagansett?

Perhaps because he grew up out here, he knows the importance of things sensory: the squish of sand between your toes, the smell of sunrise and sunset at the ocean’s edge, the sound of the grasses, the incredibly unique patterns found in plants, and shrubs, and trees. These and more are all very important to him and in a way his best relaxation after a day well spent.

The quality of the man is multi-faceted and shows in what he does for others.

He’s most loyal! There’s no better friend for the long term. Ask Rory Knight his kindergarten chum (table 8). Or Courtney Van Leight McCarthy, his Parisian travel buddy during high school (table 12). Or McB Smith McManus, Jodie Melrose, Bob Pokorney, and Custom, fellow artists & buddies at Colorado College (also table 8).

Adventuresome too! Sure he’s traveled a lot with the family. But he was quick to find a way his own way to bike Nova Scotia, study in China, trek the mountains & sleep with the rats in Tibet.

Determined too! You absolutely had to admire his grit when he broke his hip. Alex has researched, sought, and achieved those goals that he set for himself: The Loomis Chaffee School, The Mountain School of Milton Academy, The School for International Training in China, Horticulturist Training at the New York Botanical Garden, and now Senior Zone Gardener and Coordinator of Volunteers at The Conservatory Garden in Central Park at Fifth Avenue and 105th Street. Plus his own fledgling consulting business.

On our ritualistic grammar school morning drives from Amagansett to Most Holy Trinity in East Hampton, he noticed the grass not cut, the privet not pruned. He was paying attention to things green way before Al Gore.

Diligent too. If a job had to be done, too often Alex was asked by one of us to help do it. Move the mattress from this house to that house. From that house and back to this house. Heft that furniture up the rickety stairs of the Livery Stable barn. Draw that floorplan. Unload that 40-ft container. Help Gian & Jen & Tim move into Bushwick. Learn Quick Books & set up an inventory. Do a little bookkeeping. Do a lot of bookkeeping.

Also a risk taker. Snowboarding or skiing or surfboarding for example, all skills that I have yet to master. Who else would want to climb trees several stories high for a living -- confident that some rope and a few clamps would safeguard him?

Trusting. Sending cold hard cash to Costa Rica with the belief that somewhere near the white picket fence with blue tips would be the man he doesn’t know and the house he hoped to rent.

Alex is precise. True enough, he doesn’t like to be wrong. But his carefulness stems more from his analytical and exacting nature. He actually loves knowing the Latin names for most flora.

Artistic. This is person whose toddler year drawings employed triangles, compasses, t-squares, and a French curve. His woodcuts and art installations at Colorado College added another dimension to his art. And today a Central Park Conservatory Gardens, he helps create garden planting overviews.

In this family of ours, it‘s easy to make fun of Alex because he is so straight. But it is his being there and his strength of character that we all know we can call on when needed.

Alex knows what he wants and better yet what’s good for him --caring, smart, playful, adventuresome Krissy for example.

There’s a cherry tree on Hedges Lane in Amagansett that was planted the year Alex was born. Its bark is solid, its limbs are broad, and it bears a snowstorm of happy smiling blossoms each spring.

Best of all, it is the feeling that he gives each one of us, his friends and his family, when he shares some fun, some good times, some laughs and hugs. Hopefully speaking for all of us here, it’s like you’re in the water. It feels good. You’re doing something you love. A blip in the distance a minute ago starts to swell. You push off and go like hell. You’re getting a good ride. And you look over and there he is next to you. Thrilled you both caught it.

It was Alex’s brother Gian Carlo the other day who reminded me of that great knock knock joke: Who’s there? Sam & Janet. Sam & Janet who? Sam & Janet evening you will meet a stranger, across a crowded room & somehow you’ll know.

Alex and Krissy from the first enchanted evening of your days may you have as many wonderful years together… May your love endure thru the push-pulls, the gives & takes… May you weather the ups and downs for as long as Hilda & Howard, Hank & Amy, Ann & Bud, Doc & Flo, Brennie & Ed, Jim & Katie, Carol & Al, Howie & Sue, Carolyn & Gino, and Sue and me, and so many of the couples here tonight… May you be healthy, wealthy, and wise… May you learn to cope with what life deals you… May you try desperately not to trade something that might be for something you already have… May you continue to find adventure and companionship and love… May you carve out your own special place, and if you’re really fortunate may you have bright, interesting, respectful, unique and caring children.

May you both remain as lighthearted as the bubbly white water that keeps the sand pipers skipping and playing at the water’s edge.

In the great words of Bertold Brecht: 'Here’s to the Happy Couple!'"