Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Totally alternative

As many of you are aware, I attended the University of California at Berkeley - a great school, to be sure, and one with a very interesting history. Even people who don't know much about Northern California or about the University probably have at least heard of the Free Speech Movement, the student protests during Vietnam (people's park), leading to this idea that all Berkeley students are hippies - which couldn't be farther than the truth, particularly in this day and age. But one thing that came out of all the craziness of the 60s at Berkeley was a program affectionately known as DeCal, which stands for Democratic Education at Cal.

As an incoming freshman, I learned very quickly about the DeCal list, and why it was so interesting and exciting to people. DeCal is a program where students can earn university credit by teaching classes for other students based around a particular subject, as long as they have a faculty advisor willing to sign on to the class. Students must come up with a legitimate topic, syllabus, and assignments, and students taking DeCal classes earn what is essentially one or two units of elective credit for taking them. The list of typical topics range from Female Sexuality to All About Garbage to Edit the Literary Journal to The Poetry of Tupac Shakur. The DeCal list was sometimes 10 pages long, four classes to a page, and you got into a given class (generally) by showing up on the first day and hoping there were enough spots for you to get in. I took a DeCal class one semester called The Erotic As Power, which was all about things like porn and erotica and female empowerment and stuff - a mind-opening class, one during which I met a real-life porn star (Nina Hartley) and visited a strip club in San Francisco (full nude). Some of the classes gained strong reputations and followings; Female Sexuality, for example, ended up with multiple people teaching in multiple sections because there were too many people to fit in one classroom. I never did take that one.

My college boyfriend was interested in many things. He was particularly interested in religions and spirituality (he ended up being a Religious Studies major), but also in just about anything that might be considered unusual or different. Our junior year, he asked me to take a DeCal class with him (one of only two we took together) called Complementary Medicine. This class, held in a large lecture hall, pretty much consited of different guest lecturers discussing their particular alternative therapy each week, with a quiz at the end to show we'd attended class and could earn credit. I've always been interested in less-than-traditional things myself, including alternative medicine. Heck, my uncle is a chiropractor and I've been receiving chiropractic treatment (at different times in my life) since I was quite young. Also, my dad was convinced of the cold-warding and -improving properties of echinacea long before you could buy it in pill form, and I was treated to the disgusting flavor of an echinacea tincture in childhood. College Boyfriend went to massage therapy school and earned his certification while attending UCB, and I was his favorite subject to use to earn his required practice hours. The whole process was fascinating to me, and every week he'd tell me what he'd learned about the musculoskeletal system, or about the different types of pressures and strokes used in massage (my favorite one to say remains depotement, that quick karate-chop style that makes the recipient want to make noise that sounds like Tarzan).

Anyhow, when the DeCal list for that semester came out and College Boyfriend proposed that we take the class together, it didn't take much convincing. I showed up even when he didn't, and learned about all kinds of things - about biofeedback and how it was just starting to be used to help patients regulate their own pain management, about beesting therapy and why it could be a successful treatment for some types of arthritis, about accupuncture and aromatherapy (lavendar? Calming. Citrus? Energizing) and craniosacral therapy and osteopathy. I learned that altertative medicine wasn't just for hippies and didn't just mean taking tinctures of herbs that didn't taste very good. Mainstream medicine was just starting to embrace some of the ideas of alternative medicine, that Western, traditional medicine wasn't necessarily the be-all and end-all of what was good for patients. Since I took this class, many alternative therapies have become far more mainstream and accepted into our culture. I myself have had accupuncture (done over the course of many months at the clinic run by accupuncture students in Berkeley, and quite helpful), Chinese herbal therapy, massage therapy, and used things like cranberry extract to ward off bladder infections.

Back in the middle of February (that's two and a half months ago), I started developing bumps on my face. I thought they were hives. They itched and were red and rashy looking, and I really didn't want to look like that for the wedding. Luckily I'd already made a dermatologist appointment for an unrelated issue that resolved itself by the time the appointment came around. But I went in to the derm. anyway to ask them what the bumps were and how to get rid of them. I'd already changed all of my body products, detergents, etc. to see if I was suddenly allergic to something, and it continued, and benadryl made me so sleepy I could only take it at night (and it still only helped a little). The dermatologist told me it was some sort of acne, and pulled in another derm. while I was there to confirm. She put me on doxycycline. I was dubious that this was acne, even if it was stress-related, because it didn't FEEL like acne. I've had acne, off and on (mostly on until a couple of years ago) since I was 12 years old, so I know from acne. But they insisted, so I started taking the drugs. It didn't get any better. It got a little worse. I started taking two benadryl at night which helped a little more, but also made me groggy all day long.

It came time for the wedding and my face didn't look any better. I slapped on some makeup and prayed nobody stared too closely at my cheese grater-textured skin. I joked with people about how the day after the wedding I was going to wake up and my skin would look fine. But it didn't. It was actually worse, and the bumps spread down my neck and chest and to my upper back. When we got back from California, I looked and felt awful, and seriously considered wearing makeup all the time (I normally don't wear any) just to spare people from having to see it. But I was worried that would give me actual acne on top of whatever the weird bumps were. I knew I couldn't afford another derm. visit (I gave up on the doxycycline because 1. it wasn't doing anything positive, and 2. it had negative side effects) and couldn't afford the $30 for another primary care visit plus a 3 months wait and another $50 for the allergist (have to do PCP before I can get any referrals, thanks HMO!) I started talking to my friend Julie about it, who is a big proponent of alternative therapies. She recommended I visit an apothecary she'd had a lot of good experience with. So I went in, told them my symptoms and what I'd already done to try to correct the issue, and they sold me two products, a tincture for liver/skin and a topical essential oil.

I started using them. Then I stopped using the essential oil (blue chamomile), because it just irritated my skin more and smelled bad. The more consistently I took the tincture (60 drops 4 times a day in a little water, and MAN is it gross), the better my skin started to get. After two months of getting creeped out every time I touched my face because of how it DIDN'T FEEL LIKE SKIN, ACK the skin on my face is finally starting to feel less bumpy, less red, less itchy and rashy. It's not smooth yet by any stretch of the imagination, and my neck is still not quite there, but it's SO MUCH BETTER than it was just two weeks ago. I don't know if it's actually the tincture I'm taking, or if it's just finally de-stressing from wedding stuff, or if I'm getting over some sort of allergic reaction that's taking forever to go away, or if it's just a placebo effect. Whatever it is, my face is starting to look and feel normal again. I'm going to take that stuff until the bottle is empty, and maybe next time I have some sort of health issue that isn't bothersome enough to pay a copay to see the doctor (ie, not anything infectious or health threatening), I'll go back in to the apothecary. I seem to have good luck with alternative medicine.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Happy Birthday, Superdan!

Here are some reasons why I love my husband. Go over and tell him happy birthday for me, will you?

1. He gives me hugs and kisses whenever I need/want them.

2. He makes dinner for me nearly every night.

3. He totally doesn't get weirded out by my toes.

4. He is extremely talented in many ways

5. He can draw, write, cook, and make me laugh

6. He ate a poo log on a stick in China

7. He also ate bugs - namely, beetles and grasshoppers.

8. He reads aloud to me in bed to help me fall asleep even when he's really tired or doesn't want to.

9. He doesn't make fun of me for watching America's Next Top Model or So You Think You Can Dance.

10. He can answer most questions on Jeopardy and reads Ken Jennings' Tuesday Trivia to me most Tuesday mornings.

11. He is far more intelligent than he gives himself credit for.

12. He kisses my forehead even when it has gross bumps all over it.

13. He loves to use tools and gadgets and will pull out our industrial fancy mandoline to slice two bits of red onion to put on a sandwich.

14. He folds and puts my clothes away for me sometimes because he knows how much I hate it.

15. He ran a marathon about six months after getting hit by a truck (and hadn't run before that for years and years)

16. He has interesting habits when it comes to food consumption. For example, if eating a burger and fries, he will take one bite of the burger, eat all the fries, and then eat the burger. When we make weekend breakfast, he makes coffee and brings it to the table, eats all of his breakfast, and then drinks his coffee in the living room.

17. He always lets me eat some of his french fries.

18. He loves our kitties to distraction.

19. He knows the words to at least as many show tunes as I do.

20. Sometimes he'll spend hours trying to explain things to me, like why an original Star Wars poster (Revenge of the Jedi, anyone?) is worth paying a ton of money for even when there are reproductions that are the same thing, only made more recently.

21. He has even more books than I do.

22. He feels that anything one cannot do wearing Chuck Taylor All Stars is not worth doing, which is why he wore them with his kilt for the wedding.

23. He makes up songs to sing to me and the kitties.

24. He gets up when the alarm goes off and takes the first shower so I get an extra 15 minutes or so to sleep.

25. He always comes up with the best presents and surprises.

26. He is very ticklish and doesn't mind too much when I tickle him.

27. He is very patient and kind.

28. He'll save the children, but not the British children.

29. He lets me sniff his beer and even taste it even though he knows I'm always going to make a face and tell him it smells/tastes like beer.

30. He drove all the way to California twice by himself, the second time to move me to Colorado, and spent the week driving back to Colorado with a foam pilates roller shoved behind his seat (and therefore in his back) and only complained about it like twice.

31. He loves me, and what more could I possibly ask for?

Happy birthday, Mr. Stryker. Life is wonderful because you are in the world.



Internet, I have a confession to make. I am an unabashed packrat.

There, I feel much better for having admitted it. I am one of those people who saves things "just in case," who keeps cards far longer than I should, who saves old calendars for years (though that came in handy for making all those cranes!), who keeps moving the same clothes into and out of the old trunk every change of seasons. When I moved to Denver I learned that it's important to have clothing that is warm for winter and loose/cool for summer, as temperatures can vary from zero degrees to over one hundred throughout the year. But I don't have enough room in my pseudo-dresser or closet to have all of my clothing accessible year-round. So I use my old steamer trunk as clothing storage, and twice a year switch out winter stuff for summer, and vice-versa. Quite a bit of clothing does stay out year-round, but I don't need thick warm sweaters in the summer or sundresses in the winter.

This weekend we started spring cleaning the house, and by spring cleaning I mean thoroughly going through everything and figuring out what we wanted to keep, what to toss, and what to give away. This time of year always makes me want to clean and organize, since the cold weather seems to have finally lifted and given way to sun and grass and flowering trees. Recently we had a major influx of new stuff (getting married will do that, go figure) and we don't have enough room for everything, so we're reorganizing and rethinking what we have, deciding what to keep and what we no longer need. Most of this is kitchen-related items, but I decided yesterday when I was doing laundry, folding and putting clothes away, and hanging clothes up (my least favorite chore in the whole world, seriously, HAAAATE), that I'd go through everything and ask the same questions of each item - keep? toss? give away?

Now, we'd gotten rid of a few bags of unwanted stuff during the last clothing changeover in the fall. I didn't think there would be much left to purge, but I decided that my wardrobe needed a serious pruning, rather than the regular surface-area mow. It was time to get down and dirty and just GET RID OF STUFF. It was painful at times and thoroughly annoying, but I did it. I threw away at least 15 pairs of underwear and 2 bras that were no longer functional and/or had serious holes. Nobody needs to keep holey underpants. I filled two large garbage bags full of clothing that doesn't fit or I don't like or is really dated or something I just never wear. There were a few things that I'd brought with me from California that I realized I'd NEVER WORN since moving here. If I haven't worn it in five years, it's not something I'm going to wear again. In the bag it goes. I got rid of stuff with stains, and stuff that looked much better on me when I bought it, some of it ten years ago or more, when I weighed 20 pounds less than I do now.

And that's where I started to get hung up. It actually made me a little sad, to be getting rid of these clothes from college, each item something that I had specific memories about. The shorts I wore through Europe. The skirt I wore to at least half the parties at the house where my college boyfriend lived. Things that don't fit and probably never will again because I've got more muscle than I did then, so even if I lost a bunch of weight they wouldn't fit right. Things that were just plain worn out because I wore them so much. The dress I wore to DC in 2002, which still fits but is now much tighter, shorter, and younger than my current style. I decided to get real with myself, during this purge, and vowed to get rid of anything that doesn't fit right now. Because while it's possible I might lose a little bit of weight, judging by the difficulty I had in losing just a few pounds for my high school reunion back in 2006, my body's just bigger now, and I have more muscle, and I'm not ever going to be a size four again barring some freak accident that makes my legs atrophy or something. Better not to keep hanging onto things that are tight and uncomfortable and make me feel bad about the way I look. Because I don't look bad! I look pretty good right now! I eat well, I go to the gym five days a week (sometimes twice in a day), and I'd rather not starve myself again for such small gain. Or loss, as the case may be. So all those clothes I've been hanging onto for years, clothes far past their expiration date, waiting for me to get back to a size I'll never achieve again, those clothes went in the bag.

When it was all finished, I put my remaining winter clothing into the trunk. It took up less than half the space it did last year. I'm going to have to find something else to store in the trunk, as it's a good amount of space, and we've still got more stuff than we can fit in our house. And I still have to go through all my socks and get rid of the Loki-fied ones. And put away the last loads of clean laundry. And start saving my pennies, because do you know how much it's going to cost me to replace 15 pairs of underpants? A whole mess of pennies, that's how much.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Reasons Fridays are good

At least, this particular Friday.

1. I am wearing jeans at work. I enjoy this immensely.

2. Hardly anybody is here.

3. We've got some good stuff going on this weekend that I can't wait for!

4. Best of all, the photographer has finished putting up the proofs. If you'd like to see them, go here, click on proofing, enter the password (stryker), and click on the different galleries. We have to pick a bunch to go in our album, so if you see any that strike your fancies, let me know! I really could not be happier with what we got from our photographer, especially since this is only the second wedding he's ever shot on his own (and the first where it isn't good friends he already knew getting married!) Not every shot is great, but there are a whole lot of really good ones. Hooray! (Warning: music, so turn off the sound if you're somewhere that might be an issue!)

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Wednesday wedding day: Reason, Season, or Life

Two things.

First, there's no way the day (and the events leading up to the day) would have been nearly as awesome if it weren't for the generosity and assistance of lots of our friends and family. Oldest Friend played her role very well, both listening to me kvetch about wedding stuff for a year and planning a rockin' bachelorette party (along with the assistance of everyone who attended, I am told). She and QIR helped us a lot the day before the wedding, assisting in our errands and arranging for everything to be finished that needed it. Other friends provided similar moral support throughout the year, and many people showed up to help the day before and morning of the wedding. EEK was a great officiant, writing the bits of the ceremony we hadn't written ourselves and doing it much better than we could have, and also being a good sport about being in pictures and such. Monkey and QIR helped with breakdown, Scarlett, Jason, Holla and Katherine did a large amount of cleaning in the rental house, as well as doing readings for us (the ladies) and being willing to wear a skirt (Holla) (I am told Holla and Simon also planned the bachelor party, though I wasn't involved in that, obviously). Our biggest angels were Leah and Simon, who were instrumental in our day: they listened to our plans leading up to the event, helped us pick a photographer, pinch-hitted as groomsman, and helped us with things like acquiring a PA system, emceeing better than anyone else could have done, and taking fabulous photographs, in addition to helping us decorate, take things down, set up the afterparty, and helping us clean the next day as well. I'm sure there are more people who did more things that I am not thinking of just now, but everyone will get a thank-you note, because we really appreciated everything that everyone did for us.

As I mentioned before, Dan and I stood up to the mic during lunch to thank everyone for coming and when it was my turn to talk all I could think about was how much people had done for us, mostly unasked, and how much poorer our day would have been without everyone's love, support, and help. I almost started to cry, and surely would have if I'd started thanking individuals by name as I'd intended to do, so I didn't. In the weeks since the wedding, I've had a lot more time to process and reflect on what a huge difference it made for us to have so many people there who wanted to help, wanted be a part of ensuring our day was as good as it could possibly be. I don't know what I can do to thank everyone. I'm still trying to figure that out.

Some of you may be wondering about the "pinch-hitting groomsman" comment. There is a story I have been wanting to tell on this blog, but have held off for months out of respect for the parties involved, or perhaps because I thought the situation might change. But I think it's time for the tale to unfold. Remember this wedding? The vegan medieval-renaissance themed wedding, that had no rain plan, that Dan and I spent months assisting with (and a significant amount of time and money the weekend of)? These people were Dan's best friends, people he knew before he'd even met me. They got engaged just before we did and planned their wedding in about nine months. Over the course of that time, they turned into those people you hear about, you know, the ones who become completely crazy and 'zilla when planning their weddings? Yeah, those people. They couldn't understand why they had so many fallings-out with friends or family members, but it became clear to me at their wedding when I saw how their friends and loved ones were treated - taken for granted, made to pay for things they shouldn't have had to pay for, and never once thanked. They spent months moaning about how much their wedding would cost, yet spent $800 on his and hers ipods ("a wedding expense!") They wrote a missive on their wedsite begging people to contribute to their honeymoon registry because, as they wrote, they deserved a 3-week European vacation, yet complained the day after the wedding about how few gifts they had to open. They convinced everyone they knew who had talents or time to do things for them (a huge vegan cake in the shape of a dragon, with handmade vegan fondant, which should have cost them hundreds was provided for free as a gift from a friend, for example), yet as far as I know nobody was ever thanked either in person or in note form for their assistance or gifts. Dan and I made their reception playlist, I did the bride's hair, her sister's hair, my hair, and all the flowers (with minimal assistance), and Dan spent the day running errands back and forth between the cabin where we were told we'd stay (and later had to pay for the privledge) and the lodge, where the wedding was. We cleaned up afterward. We worked our butts off, and never once got a word of thanks. And then they told us to pay them back for our lodging, which we were never told was part of the deal when they asked us to stay with them in their cabin.

We figured that after the wedding, and after their honeymoon, things would go back to normal. But they didn't. We went on a cabin trip with them in October, and it was clear that the changes were permanent. Dan had asked them just after we got engaged last year if they would stand up with him - the guy would wear the tux he already owned and Dan would provide a tie, and the girl could wear anything black and a scarf in the tartan (again, provided by Dan). They agreed to stand up with him. We spent months walking them through their wedding planning. After the cabin trip, we didn't hear from them again, other than through the grapevine - the girl got in a car accident (her fault) and they had to beg her parents for more money (they paid for half the wedding) in order to keep their heads afloat.

Okay, everyone has financial setbacks. But the girl had quit her part-time job before their wedding because she didn't "feel like" working anymore, and since the guy was working full time she decided she'd go back to school to prepare for a master's degree. In January. The wedding was in September. And then she wrecked their only car.

We went to Italy in January, and when we came back the guy called Dan to say that he didn't think they'd be able to make it to the wedding. Not that they couldn't stand up with him - that they wouldn't be there at all. Now, we had rented a house in the area, and could have arranged transportation for them, so they'd only be on the hook for plane tickets. We told them how to find cheap plane tickets. He asked how long before the wedding we would need to know if they were coming. We were pretty sure this meant they weren't coming.

We never heard from them again.

Now, I don't know about you all, but if my really good friends, people who had just stood up for me in MY wedding, asked me to stand up with them and were getting married in another state? I'd figure out any way I could to be there. Especially if I knew about it a year ahead of time. Especially if they did hours of work for us and saved us potentially thousands of dollars. Especially if they provided transportation and lodging and all I needed to buy was a plane ticket. But if it were me, I would have thanked them for all their help, and would have been just as excited about their wedding as my own, asking them what I could do to help, because that's WHAT YOU DO. And if there was some insurmountable obstacle that meant I couldn't be there? You'd better believe I would have been doing whatever I could to help from where I was, and I would have called afterward to find out how things went. You know, because they were my friends.

They were our friends for years, and Dan's friends before he even met me. But being involved in their wedding, and in planning ours, we realized that weddings can bring out the best in people, and they can bring out the worst. You find out who your friends really are in stressful times, I am told, whether those times be happy or sad. This was a happy time, a time for joy and celebration, at least from our perspective. So many people who loved us and cared about us were there, helping us celebrate finally getting hitched after all these years. We had no idea that these people wouldn't be a part of that until about two months before the big day.

So Dan called up Simon, and asked how he felt about kilts. And Simon was happy to stand up with Dan. And so it was, and I am so glad things worked out the way they did. I have heard it said that friends come into your life for a reason, a season, or life. It's hard to imagine after so many years of friendship that the natural lifespan of that with original groomspeople has ended. It's not hard to imagine that Leah and Simon will be our friends for life. Or at least long enough for us to do everything we can to help out with their big life events. Because that's what you do for your friends.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Long distance relationship

As I may have mentioned before, I had quite a few pen pals in high school. These were all people who lived in another part of the state, or another state, some of whom I'd never actually met. My first real boyfriend was one of them; he lived in the Bay Area and though we were "together" for a year, we only saw one another about six or eight times during that year. I didn't have a lot of friends at school or in my town, so most of my socializing was done through letters or over the phone.

Many of my current friends are people I met through the internets. I married one of them a few weeks ago; you may have heard me mention it? We spent the first year and a half of our relationship living in two different states, seeing each other about once a month or every other. It was a difficult thing to do, maintaining our relationship primarily through IM and phone conversations a couple of times a week, but we managed it.

I say all of these things because I want to make it clear I'm no stranger to long-distance relationships, whether those be friendships or relationships of a more serious nature. My Oldest Friend and I haven't lived in the same state since we were 17 years old, yet we manage to maintain our friendship across distances, sometimes truly great ones (she's lived in Belgium, Germany, Mexico, Australia, and Washington, DC in the last ten years, and she currently resides in Southern California). Quite a few guests at our wedding were people we hadn't seen in person for years because we all live in different places. Luckily, these days it's easier than ever to maintain relationships with people across great distances, what with blogs and email and such.


How do you maintain a relationship with another state? Our 10 days or so in California for the wedding (during my favorite time of the year, mind) brought up all these feelings I've been bottling up for a while, about how much I miss the Bay Area. It was really difficult for me to leave in some ways, because I know we won't be back until August (well, late July for me). We have a trip to Southern California in June during which time we'll be seeing some friends and family, but it's not the same. The wedding was an amazing, glorious day capping off a week of festivities, but since then I've felt like I want that day back, I want more time to spend with all those loved ones who I rarely get to see, and never all in one place at the same time. And while I can maintain relationships with friends and family, I can't "stay in touch" with an entire region, with a season, with that feeling of belonging and familiarity.

During my five plus years in Denver, I've gotten to know Colorado pretty well. Thanks to my job, I've traveled all over the state, seen some beautiful and amazing things, climbed mountains, and stayed in brothel-like hotel rooms. My preconception of what Colorado was like (as in, before I became more knowledgable about the geography of this part of the country) was very different than the reality. Colorado has a lot to offer, both in things to do and see and in opportunities. Yet every time we go back to California, I feel like I'm coming home - to my family, to where I grew up, to the place that feels like ME. My sole coworker we invited to the wedding was unable to attend, but I sent her the links to the flickr photos because she wanted to see them. Her remarks afterward, in addition to being so amazed by what wonderful photos everyone took, was that the pictures looked like ME - like the wedding was in a place where I looked and felt like I belonged. I'd never talked much with her about my decision to leave California or how much I miss it, but I found myself with my jaw hanging open a bit when she said that.

Of course, California isn't my home anymore. My home is with my husband and my kitties, wherever they happen to be. Right now, and for the past five years, that's Denver. I like Denver. But it isn't California.

Much of our disposable income over the last few years has gone toward traveling, primarily to California. Luckily, there are cheap airfares between Denver and the Bay Area offered by a few airlines (and I hope this continues). But we want to be able to do other things with our money someday. We'd like to buy a house. We'd like to go on more big trips. And every trip to California, even when we have free places to stay (thank you, people who let us stay with you!), costs a big chunk of change. There have been times when I've wanted to throw caution to the wind, to just buy a last minute fare to California for a weekend. And then I remember that we have other things we have to think about, like paying rent and bills and eating. And when we do go to California, we schedule our time down to the minute in some cases, making sure we make plans to spend time with as many people as we can during the few days we're there. I think it will be better now that we don't have to do wedding planning while we're there, but there are still a good 20 people we'd like to see (friends and family members we both have in the area) when we come out to the Bay Area and there's no way we can see everybody each time.

Someday, I hope we can afford to live in the Bay Area. We often talk about what would happen if we won the lottery that we never play, and our stock answer is always the purchase of a house in the Berkeley hills, first thing off the bat. Because if we could afford to, we'd move there tomorrow. Well, not really, we'd wait until Dan was done with school, but then we'd go. Unfortunately, we'd likely never be able to buy a house if we did that. So instead we talk about moving places like Portland, with more affordable housing that are closer to California. And I dream about the Berkeley marina, and eating Specialty's chocolate chip cookies in San Francisco, and spending Quality Time with so many people I love.

Friday, April 18, 2008

The Big Day, Part 3: We partied until we all fell down

Parts 1 and 2

As soon as the ceremony was over, we hugged and kissed each other some more, and then Holla and OF came over to hug us. People were hugging and kissing and congratulating us and I don't really remember who all I spoke to or what anyone said, because there were so many. I was really overwhelmed.

The PA system was lugged up from the beach to the great room and re-set up (thanks, Simon!) and while people mingled, drank wine and beer, and ate breads and cheeses and gourmet crackers and fruit and hummus and pita, we took a few more formal photos (both sets of parents with the b&g). Afterward, we wandered around and greeted more people, and someone handed me a glass of white wine (probably one of the catering staff). It was tasty. I never got to eat any of the appetizer-y stuff, but I am told it was good.

Dan and I went inside to remove the pretty flower from the top of the Princess cake and ate it, then tried to put our cake toppers on there. They didn't last very long - not enough room, too heavy, and so we ended up with a mangled cake and mini-Dan lost his head. Oops!

Eventually the salads (greens, citrus segments, and pumpkin seeds with a citrus vinaigrette) were all plated, so everyone found their escort cards and brought them to their tables. One thing that didn't work so well in the damp? The table cards, which weren't on cardstock (just heavy paper) and so they didn't stay upright. I had made table card holders out of dowels and wine corks and hot glue, but they ended up not being used and just sitting on the tables.

See table sign, sadly flopped over.

We had a most excellent emcee, who got things rolling and did just the right amount of announcing. We could not have asked for a better person to do it. Here he is, showing what a real man wears under his kilt.

OF's parents left and came back with a borrowed space heater, which a cousin's boyfriend helped maneuver into place. It helped warm everyone up, and OF made some jokes about it melting the tent. Luckily, that didn't happen, and everyone was glad for the extra heat.

After the salad course, the buffet was opened up, and our table went first. We had maple-soy glazed salmon, chicken in red bell pepper sauce, sauteed asparagus, and wild rice pilaf, primarily sourced locally and in-season. Dan and I got our food and sat to wolf it down quickly, spent some time chatting with the other people at our table, and then got up to work our way around and speak to everyone. Luckily, we made it all the way around and at least said hi to everyone there before people were finished eating. Then, Holla got up and made a most excellent toast (one regret from the day is that nobody videotaped the toasts, because they were fabulous, funny, touching, and wonderful). When he was finished, OF got up and made a toast. Then Dan and I got up and thanked everyone for coming. I got a little choked up during my bit, because of how emotional I was and how lucky I felt that so many people had done so much to help us in the months and days and hours leading up to the wedding.

After everyone was finished eating, Dan and I went off to take some more photos (in my flamin' chucks!) and Simon asked people to sign the guestbook. Which, over the course of the day, nearly everyone did! When we came back inside, we did our first dance to "If I had a Million Dollars" by the Barenaked Ladies (one of our songs) and because I was still wearing the chucks my dress was too long and I was worried I'd trip. After a minute or so of dancing, we'd asked that our friends and family join in, and many people did.

Then the party really got started, though not as many people danced as I would have expected. I guess it's just hard to get into dancing when it's light outside and all you've got to lubricate you is wine and beer. Oh, well. The people who did dance seemed like they had a good time, even the babies. Early on, I did a dance with my sisters to "I'm gonna be (500 miles" by the Proclaimers (another meaningful song) and they taught me the dance that everyone did at camp; they must have started doing it after I left because I never learned it, but it wasn't difficult.

Soon after that, Dan and I cut our little princess cake and fed it to each other. There was no mooshing of cake in either face; we had agreed beforehand that this was something neither of us wanted. The caterers cut up all the cakes and everyone got to eat it. The cakes were so popular, in fact, that when we brought the leftovers up to the house for the afterparty, there were only four small slices left out of all 3 cakes!

Eventually the sun came out and many people went outside to warm up. Some people enjoyed their cake and wine and visited, while others went on a boat ride. I could tell that there were many people reconnecting and others meeting new friends. Lots more photos were taken, both of us and of our guests. My extended family (mom's side) took a photo together, which may be the only one in existence from the last 20 years!

It seemed as though people were having a good time. I tried to get around and chat with as many people as possible. Dan and I took some photos on the dock with Leah, which I'm glad we did because they turned out really nicely.

Most people left by around 3 or 4 and the caterers had cleaned up everything but the wine glasses still in use, so those of us who were still there gathered up the rest of the glasses, did some light cleaning, and packed up the flowers, wine, smartwater, and keg to haul up to the rented house. Those last few minutes just enjoying the sun and spending time with our friends were some of my favorites of the entire day. Also, Simon brought both a funny hat and a flask, and Bequi brought some kitty ears. Meow!

Most of us walked up the hill to the house, while Leah and Simon drove the keg and some of the other things. We unloaded everything (well, I helped some, but mostly I was taking off my wedding dress and changing into something a little less restrictive). I was also given a lei, but I'm not sure who gave it to me. We all kind of sat for a few minutes and relaxed, chatting a bit about the day. We opened a couple of bottles of prosecco and poured it for our friends who had accompanied us thorugh the end of the day - Bequi, Simon and Leah, Cil, Monkey. Eventually some of the people who had stayed at the house (EEK, Zipp, etc.) came out to join us. Soon, guests started to arrive at the afterparty, many of whom had changed into more casual clothing. Dan prepped the grill, while I sliced bell peppers, put out the cheese and buns we'd bought at costco, put out the condiments, and dumped some chips and salsa into bowls (hooray for rented houses with fully equipped kitchens!) and put them out in the living room area.

I also sliced and juiced some of the lemons Leah and Simon had brought up from their yard. Leah made simple syrup and finished the lemonade. It didn't get made in time for the wedding, but there was lemonade on the wedding day. Hooray! And once it was finished, I had myself a tasty beverage of lemonade with vodka and a girly straw. MMMM.

More people arrived, our music was playing, and suddenly the house was full. Scarlett's boyfriend took over the operation of the grill, with some assistance from other manly types, my mom and her friends hung out, Dan's family hung out, our friends and loved ones all just kind of did more enjoying of each others' company, and finally the food was ready. So we started eating. It was hard to make myself eat because I was so tired at that point, after so many hours and days of being "on." We had forgotten to bring up the leftover food from the club, so Lissa and Holla went to get it, and more people got to eat. I am told some of it was taken by Dan's aunt to feed the relatives for the next couple of days, and there was still lots left over the next morning. At one point I found myself doing the twist with Dan's uncle, which was fun and also made me realize that I was about to collapse. I was the most tired I'd ever been in my life, I think.

So Dan and I left our own (after) party, far earlier than we'd expected to leave. But we had to check in to our B&B, a lovely place in Cloverdale I'd driven by for years but never seen inside. I am told the rest of the party was a lot of fun, and that dancing and merriment went on for hours. I wish I could have been there. Instead, we made it to the B&B just in time, hauled our stuff inside, and collapsed in the gigantic bed. Despite my bone weariness, it still took me ages to get to sleep because I was trying to process everything in my head, and it wasn't going to happen all in one night.

It was a good day. We had a great wedding and could not have asked for anything better.

The End

Thanks to Leah, Bequi, Ginny and Curtis/Lissa for the photos. More here and here.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Stolen from Monkey, who has a birthday tomorrow

The Rules:

1. Link back to the person who tagged you. Thanks Monks.

2. Post these rules on your blog.

3. Share six unimportant things about yourself.

4. Tag six random people at the end of your entry

Unimportant thing the first:
I can only sneer with one side of my face.

Unimportant thing the second:

I have been known, on occasion, to put hair clips (the jaw kind) on the tails of my cats. Yes, I know this is not nice. I do it anyway, but the cats manage to remove them relatively quickly so it's not too much of an issue. I also laughed at Loki and called him Gimp Whiskers for a few weeks when he singed them on a candle in the bathroom.

Unimportant thing the third:
I am super excited for four more events happening this year, three of which involve my family (a graduation, a wedding, a major birthday) and one of which involves friends (giving birth to their very own baby). These things will happen in June, August, October, and December, respectively.

Unimportant thing the fourth:

I am also very excited that I am getting $900 back from state and federal taxes this year. I'm strongly considering buying a couch because our futon really sux.

Unimportant thing the fifth:

After many years of resisting, I finally joined Facebook and threw a chicken at my cousin.

Unimportant thing the sixth:

I'm wearing my wedding shoes at work today. That's why I bought the shoes I did, so I could wear them again (and I liked them, of course).

Not going to tag anyone; if you want to do the meme, consider yourself tagged.

(still working on part 3 of The Wedding)

Monday, April 14, 2008

The Big Day, Part 2: In which we make it legal

Part 1 here

I close my eyes and take a deep breath. The guys have just walked in and the girls are walking in ahead of me. There's a last minute decision to forego the Italian scarves (though I got them so they would be less cold!) and I end up being the only one wearing a scarf during the ceremony. I can barely hear the music, but I know everyone else can hear it. QIR, Lissa, Laurel, and OF each walk in and stop, and I am the last one in.

The music stops and Erin starts to speak. She welcomes everyone, and introduces each of our readers. I take a deep breath.

Katherine reads an exerpt from Goodridge v. Dept of Public Health, the Massachusetts decision on gay marriage. Marriage is a vital social institution. The exclusive
commitment of two individuals to each other nurtures love and mutual support. Civil marriage is at once a deeply personal commitment to another human being and a highly public celebration of the ideals of mutuality, companionship, intimacy, fidelity, and family. Because it fulfills yearnings for security, safe haven, and connection that express our common humanity, civil marriage is an esteemed institution and the decision whether and whom to marry is among life's momentous acts of self-definition. It is undoubtedly for these concrete reasons, as well as for its intimately personal significance, that civil marriage has long been termed a "civil right." Without the right to choose to marry one is excluded from the full range of human experience.

It is windy; she has to move her hair from her face several times.

Julie reads an exerpt from A Gift of the Sea, by Anne Morrow Lindberg.
Here the bonds of marriage are formed. For marriage, which is always spoken of as a bond, becomes actually, in this stage, many bonds, many strands, of different texture and strength, making up a web that is taut and firm. The web is fashioned of love. Yes, but many kinds of love: romantic love first, then a slow-growing devotion and, playing through these, a constantly rippling companionship. It is made of loyalties, and interdependencies, and shared experiences. It is woven of memories of meetings and conflicts; of triumphs and disappointments. It is a web of communication, a common language, and the acceptance of lack of language, too; a knowledge of likes and dislikes, of habits and reactions, both physical and mental. It is a web of instincts and intuitions, and known and unknown exchanges. The web of marriage is made by nearness, in the day to day living side by side, looking outward and working in the same direction. It is woven in space and in time of the substance of life itself.

I am reading the readings from the nice copies we've printed and mounted on fancy paper, over the shoulder of whoever is reading. I take a few breaths. I look at Dan. I let Julie's voice wash over me.

Scarlett reads an exerpt from "I like you," a children's book by Sandol Stoddard Warburg. Dan and I were introduced to this book by a friend long before we got engaged, and it was one of the first decisions we made when we started to plan the wedding, that this would be one of the readings during the ceremony.
I like you and I know why.
I like you because you are a good person to like.
I like you because when I tell you something special, you
know it's special
And you remember it a long, long time.
You say, Remember when you told me something special
And both of us remember
When I think something is important
you think it's important too
We have good ideas
When I say something funny, you laugh
I think I'm funny and you think I'm funny too
You know how to be silly
That's why I like you
Boy are you ever silly
I never met anybody sillier than me till I met you
I like you because you know when it's time to stop being
Maybe day after tomorrow
Maybe never
That's because you really like me
You really like me, don't you
And I really like you back
And you like me back and I like you back
And that's the way we keep on going every day
If you go away, then I go away too
or if I stay home, you send me a postcard
You don't just say Well see you around sometime, bye
I like you a lot because of that
If I go away, I send you a postcard too
And I like you because if we go away together
And if we are in Grand Central Station
And if I get lost
Then you are the one that is yelling for me
And I like you because when I am feeling sad
You don't always cheer me up right away
Sometimes it is better to be sad
If you find two four-leaf clovers, you give me one
If I find four, I give you two
If we only find three, we keep on looking
Sometimes we have good luck, and sometimes we don't
I like you because I don't know why but
Everything that happens is nicer with you
I can't remember when I didn't like you
It must have been lonesome then
I like you because because because
I forget why I like you but I do
So many reasons
On the 4th of July I like you because it's the 4th of July
On the fifth of July, I like you too
Even if it was the 999th of July
Even if it was August
Even if it was way down at the bottom of November
Even if it was no place particular in January
I would go on choosing you
And you would go on choosing me
Over and over again
That's how it would happen every time
I don't know why
I guess I don't know why I really like you
Why do I like you
I guess I just like you
I guess I just like you because I like you.

The geese chime in during Scarlett's reading, the ones that live in and around the lake. They're hiding out on the island. The reading gets many laughs, as do the sounds of honking. I laugh at the funny parts and am so glad we asked Scarlett to read this one, because she understands exactly how it needs to be read.

Erin leads us through our declaration of intent. We look into each other's eyes when we say this part and mean every word.
Impressive Clergywoman: Bride & Groom, will you always be open,
honest, and patient, trust one another, and be worthy
of that trust?
Bride & Groom together: We will.
IC: Marriage is an ongoing dialogue, a series
of discussions that will help you find your way
together. Will you communicate with each other fully,
and fearlessly?
B&G: We will.
IC: Every marriage requires a leap of faith.
Will you work, even when the work is hard, to honor
your vows?
B&G: We will.
IC: As your life unfolds before you, you will
remain true to the promises you make this day?
B&G: We will.

Erin introduces our vows using a small part of a piece by Robert Fulghum entitled Union, along with some stuff she has written herself. I hand my bouquet to OF, because Dan and I have decided we will ro-sham-bo to see who says vows first. Dan wins!

Dan has memorized his vows. I am truly, truly impressed. He holds my hand while he makes his promises to me, which revolve around the symbolism of our claddagh rings: friendship, love, loyalty. I almost start crying but I know I can't start now because I still have my vows to say to him.

I pull my vows out of the bodice of my dress (where else was I supposed to put them?) People laugh again. I am so happy that people are both paying attention to our ceremony and getting enjoyment out of it. I read my vows off the lined paper I've written them on and try to look into Dan's eyes as much as possible.

Erin introduces the ring exchange. The wedding ring represents the strength
and completeness of marriage. It is a circle, a symbol of wholeness, cooperation and peace. The circle of these rings is a symbol of your love and commitment to one another. A ring looks both inwards to your relationship and outwards to the community of which you are a part.
Holla hands over the rings we will exchange. Dan puts my ring on my finger and says, "I give you this ring as a symbol that I love you, every single day of your life." I surreptitiously slide my ring the rest of the way up my finger before it's my turn. I put Dan's ring on his finger and Erin prompts my line, because there's no way I could have remembered it. I was too busy looking into the eyes of the person who was now married to me.

Erin pronounces us married. We kiss, a good, solid, though not grandmother-cringe-inducing kiss, and the recessional music starts: Vince Guaraldi's Linus and Lucy. Dan and I dance up the aisle and stop partway up the grass to hug and kiss each other again, and dance a little more. Yay! We're married! Let's party!

Thanks to Curtis, Katherine, and Leah for the photos. More ceremony photos here and here.

Thursday, April 10, 2008


Of course I'm still going to write about the rest of the wedding, but someone has promised to put up more photos and I plan to use some of them in telling my recap in all its gory detail. So instead, I'm going to do a little book reviewing and discuss the weather and all the other stuff that's going on since we got back from Denver.

So, there.

First, I finished The Year of Living Biblically. It was great! A fantastic read, very funny and poignant in a few places. I read many parts to Dan out loud because I found them so amusing. And it also really made me think about what it means to have faith in a book written so long ago, for a culture that is long gone, and how modern-day people attempt to translate such esoteric rules into actions that make sense now. It also made me think about how glad I am that I don't feel any pressure to live my life according to how someone else (deity or no) tells me I should. Recently, some people I know who were culturally Jewish decided to really explore their faith and have become Orthodox - she covers her hair, they keep completely kosher, they follow the Sabbath, and for them it has become something very important. They really enjoy following all the Orthodox rules; it gives meaning and structure to their lives. As in The Year of Living Biblically, it makes them feel good to have a set of rules to follow, and they do the things without knowing WHY they are important to do, but they trust that God has His reasons and so they do them. That's great for them, and I'm happy they have found something that fulfills them. And I'm happy that I don't feel the need to follow any proscribed rules myself.

I'm really glad I read the book and that the author took his time to do a lot of research, experience a lot of what it means to be Orthodox Jewish and/or Fundamentalist Christian, and write his experiences. I highly recommend it.

I'm about halfway finished with Under the Banner of Heaven, the bestseller from a few years ago about Fundamentalist LDS people (and also about the origins of the Mormon church in general). I borrowed it from Monkey while we were in LA last week and started reading it right away, because I've wanted to read it for quite some time. While I find it fascinating, it also tends to give me bad dreams about scary religious people so I've stopped reading it before bed (which is when I do most of my reading for fun). I expect to finish it, perhaps this weekend. So far it's about what I expected in terms of the story told in the book (a true one) and the exploration of the origin of the Latter-Day Saints, Joseph Smith and Brigham Young, and how and why the polygamy bit became a part of the deal. It's really quite interesting, and I can see why the one-husband-many-wives thing might appeal to the men, but what I still haven't figured out is how they've convinced all the wimmenfolk to go along with it for so long. The modern-day FLDS women (and their children, for different reasons) don't seem to have things so good. Girls are married off at really young ages, often to men significantly older, and they don't have any choice in the matter. Boys are, more often than not, kicked out of the compounds and communities when they get older because the older men don't want the competition for women, so they end up in unfamiliar places with no money, job skills, or education. "Lost boys," they are called. It sucks for everyone.

Another book I borrowed from Monkey was Libba Bray's A Great and Terrible Beauty. I finished that one earlier this week and really liked it for the most part, although part of me was expecting it to be better since it's been talked up by so many people. Long story short: power fantasy for girls, set in turn-of-the-century (as in, 19th to 20th) India and London. I'm rather fond of the main character, but didn't feel the other ones were quite fleshed out enough - and there could have been a lot more explanation about the power bit. I'm not going to spoil it, and I do plan to read the other books.

Right now I'm reading one I checked out from the library, yet another "authorized" sequel to Gone With The Wind, this time from the POV of Rhett Butler. I'm about 1/4 to 1/3 into Rhett Butler's People, and so far it's not quite as good as "Scarlett" (which, I must admit, I rather liked in its own right, despite the characters behaving nothing like their counterparts in GWTW) but it's an escapist fantasy of a different sort, and I intend to finish it. I've gotta read something that will keep me from dreaming about the crazy fundamentalists.

Also, this week has been the epitome of Spring in Colorado. It's gone from sunny, warm, and lovely (Sunday) to overcast and occasionally snowing (Monday), to overcast and a bit warmer (Tuesday) to less nice (Wednesday) to snow and rain (today). I've heard it's supposed to be warm and nice again by Monday. We'll see.

Also, this morning there was a gigantic cockroach in the women's bathroom here at work. Gross.

Also, for those of you who can't wait for more wedding recaps, you can see the "teaser" slideshow our photographer sent us here. Warning: there's music, and also, if you are me, you might cry a little.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

The Big Day, Part 1: Somehow, it all comes together. I think elves might have been involved.

I awake in a dim grey light, a few minutes before OF comes down the stairs. "It's 7:07", she announces. "OK, thanks," I say, and pull on the wedding underwear and bra I spent waaaay too much money on, my (still wet on the bottom from all the rain the day before) jeans and a shirt.

I realize that I have forgotten to get my button-down shirt from my bag o' stuff at the rental house. I don't want to have to pull a shirt over my hair after it's done, so I ask OF if she has a button-down shirt I can borrow. She finds an old one in her mother's closet. It's a little big, but it will do. OF's parents greet me and offer me a few choices for breakfast. Not being a drinker of beverages in the morning (unless I'm sick or it's really cold out), I opt for just a toasted English muffin with jam and peanut butter. OF's mom makes me bring a tangerine with me, but I never eat it and find it in my purse days later.

OF putters around and I realize that it's 7:25 and we should really get going. My hair appointment is at 7:45. I pick a few lupines that are growing near the house on the whim that they might look nice in my hair, and we drive down to Cloverdale. OF has arranged to have a manicure while I'm getting my hair done, so she and the nail person chat a bit while the lady does my hair and some other lady having her hair colored is sitting in the next chair, draped in a towel, gabbing with us about weddings and such. The lady finishes with my hair and pins in the hair vine I've made, and I decide that flowers would be overkill. It's only taken about 20 minutes for my hair to be finished, and OF and I leave and head to my mom's house, where two very important bags have been accidentally left - Dan's smaller backpack which contains the laptop (and thus, all our music) and a plastic Target bag with all my makeup and nail polish. The photographer calls to let me know he has arrived in the neighborhood and reconfirms the address of the rental house. We get to my mom's and I grab the bags,say hi to my family who is just waking up, then call Bequi who has offered a few weeks beforehand to do anything that needs doing the morning of the wedding. She has just woken up, so we wait a few minutes to give her time to get dressed, then drive over to pick her up. I knock my old knock on the door, for old time's sake, which makes her parents laugh.

Bequi gets in the car, bags in hand, and I tell her some of the things that still need doing. We chat a bit driving up to the club, see that Dan has already put up the signs directing people to the event, and drop Bequi off at the rental house so she can change and meet up with other people who will be helping with set-up, and then OF and I drive down to the club quickly to make sure that the caterers have everything they need. Luckily, Dan's already been down there to unlock everything (except, we will discover later, the bathrooms) so we head back up to OF's parents' house and I bring in the bucket that has the flowers for my bouquet. Then the photographer shows up, and he introduces himself to OF's parents and takes a few photos of me while I pick lupines to put in my bouquet. He takes a few more while I make it, wrapping it with ribbon and sticking it with pins. OF's mom asks if I would like a piece of quiche. I eat the quiche in intermittent bites while finishing up my bouquet and I can't remember if I eat the whole piece. Probably not.

The bouquet finished and the mess cleaned up, the photographer heads back over to the rental house. My phone rings; it is my cousin who tells me that her husband and my other cousin's boyfriend are at BevMo to pick up our keg and it hasn't been paid for yet. Doh! Despite telling myself that I'd remember to call at 9 AM to make sure they wouldn't have any problems when they picked it up, it has completely slipped my mind. I call BevMo right away and ask to speak to the manager with whom I have arranged this transaction earlier in the week, give her the credit card information, and everything is OK. For some reason, they won't accept payment in advance or allow people from out of state to pick up kegs so it had to be a local picking it up, and my cousin lives in Santa Rosa. I start to put on my makeup and my mom shows up. She takes a photo of me in my bra which we both find amusing. I finish putting on my makeup and hastily paint a coat of the green nail polish I've been saving for today over the polish I already have on my toes, since I don't have time to remove what's there or give myself a true pedicure. I'd originially intended to do it the night before, but never found the time.

My sisters arrive and start to get dressed. Both have purchased, as they call them, "plastic boobies," stick-on bras. I was hoping that they could get away with wearing no bras at all, but at least they didn't have to pay for the dresses. I tie Lissa's dress and tie Laurel's dress. They take pictures of me in my bra and underwear. We all laugh some. The photographer comes back just as they start helping me into my dress, OF and Lissa working on the lacing, Laurel painting my fingernails and helping me into my shoes. I am annoyed at myself; I had intended to put my shoes on first so nobody had to help me, but of course, I forgot. The photographer tells me that Dan is there, hiding in the downstairs part of the house, waiting for me so we can do "first look" photos. In a few minutes I'm ready. I feel as though this is the least amount of time I've ever had to get ready for any event, as I put on my makeup in about two minutes. The bumps are as bumpy and red as ever; I hope that the photographer is able to work some magic with photoshop. I forget to put on the earrings I've borrowed from my mom. I put on the necklace Julie has made for me from the green pearls I got in China. Because I am thinking about it and my purse is there, I write out a check for the photographer.

Later, I will realize that I have left a whole mess of stuff at OF's parents house. They are kind enough to pack up all my clothes, toiletries, makeup, and sundries, plus stuff my sisters have left behind, and deliver the bags to my mom later in the afternoon.

Dan is waiting on the back deck, gorgeous view of the valley behind him. From the back, he looks great in his kilt. I tiptoe over to where he is standing and wrap my arms around him. I forget that the photographer is there taking pictures of us, I just enjoy seeing Dan look so smashing. He looks pretty googly-eyed at me, too. Our original plan had been to walk down to the club together, but we're running low on time, and it's also pretty chilly, so instead when my mom and her friend come back from helping set up at the club (which I have no idea they are doing until later - and apparently my mom's friend mopped up a bunch of water still on the ground from the storm the night before), they offer to drive us down instead. I pile myself and my dress in to the front seat, along with the flamin' chucks I plan to wear in a few photos, while Dan and my mom get in the back, and in just a couple of minutes we are there. So are a ton of other people, and the tent is starting to look great. People are hanging twinkly lights and cranes, the tables have their table name cards and the snars and the flowers. One person I don't recognize until she turns around; it is Laurel's best friend, who has recently become a brunette (she's a natural blonde). The caterers tell us that the bathrooms haven't been unlocked. Dan sends someone up to get the keys from the rental house, and to get my green scarf from the car. Simon gives my my "something borrowed," a kickass purple and black garter with skulls on it.

The PA system and the benches are set up down on the beach. I don't know who does this, only that the tasks are done. I tell my sisters and QIR where to find their bouquets, or maybe I show them which one is for which person, I don't really remember. I hand out the corsages I've made for our readers, our moms, and Leah, which I'd put pins in the night before. I give the bouts to someone and direct them to put them on the appropriate guys, but there are no pins in them. OF drives Leah & Simon's car up to her mom's house to get the extra pins. The pins arrive; the bouts are pinned on, everything is ready to go.

We're almost ready for photos, and more people are starting to arrive. Laurel starts following me, holding up my dress. It is cold and still a little damp; the tissue paper pompoms are all somewhat wilty. The keys return, are used to unlock the bathrooms, and I get my green scarf. We all head down to the beach for posed photos: bridal party, the guys, the girls, the families. Lissa's got a few photos she wants the photographer to take, and I have no problem with her helping direct things. Bequi acts as photographer's assistant; I am told that she gave him a few good reasons why she'd be good at people wrangling. She holds the list of the posed shots we'd asked for. Some of the photos include us walking out onto a really wobbly dock and playing on a playground.

We're finally finished with the photos, and more people arrive. I hug lots of people and greet others and am kind of agog that so many people are there to see us get married. It's more than a little overwhelming.

Weeks beforehand, I'd asked my friend Joey, a confirmed attendee, if he would videotape the ceremony for Dan's grandma - he used to do a lot of videotaping and moviemaking in high school, so I trust his abilities. It's getting later, and more people are showing up, but Joey still hasn't arrived. We need to start the ceremony, and the only person I can think of who isn't in the wedding party or a family member and happens to be someone I can trust and is also nearby is my friend the Irish German. I ask if he'll be so kind as to press record on the videocamera, as we have that and the tripod ready to go. It's the last minute, but he kindly obliges. I feel terrible but I know it needs to be done and don't have time to think of someone else to ask. I look across the parking lot and see two people I don't recognize walking toward the club. It isn't until they get really close that I realize it's an old friend of my mom's and her boyfriend, who I've never met, and who has a long white beard. Joey never shows up, and never returns my message when I call him the next day.

The guys gather on one side of the assembled group, near the playground, and the girls gather on the other side, by the boats. Laurel's boyfriend starts the processional, Mark Motherspaugh's Canon from the Royal Tenenbaums soundtrack, and Lissa's fiance walks my mom down the aisle. EEK follows them and stands at the front. The guys walk in from the left side. It's time to go.

Thanks to Curtis, Lissa, Katherine, and my mom for the photos

Monday, April 07, 2008

Friday: Miles to go before I sleep

Friday morning as Oldest Friend came back I realized I wasn't going to be able to sleep anymore. OF, Leah, and I went to a cafe a few blocks away and ate pie (me) and drank tea (OF and Leah), and it was really the only moment of relaxation I had all day (and would have for the next three). The apple pie was really good, and I felt much better after I'd eaten.

I had made a list of things that needed to be done on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. Here was my list for Friday:

Get flowers and lemons from Leah and Simon
Shopping for house at Costco
Haul flowers & decorations & luggage & wine & drinks from mom's house to rental house
Make corsages, bouts, and bouquets
Decorate club, set up tables
Pick up linens from caterer
Pick up cake
Construct ceremony thingy (this didn't end up happening)
Make lemonade (didn't happen until Saturday after the wedding)
Hem QIR & Laurel's dresses ( my mom ended up doing this)

Leah drove back to the East Bay and OF and I went to Union Street because she wanted to find a necklace to replace one she'd bought a few months before and lost. The GPS she'd brought was interesting, something I'd never before used or encountered, but it got us to where we needed to go. The shops on Union street were all closed, but we happened upon the right shop (she couldn't remember which one, only that it had a black and white awning) just at the shop-running people arrived. Being Oldest Friend, she managed to convince them to sell her two versions of the necklace (one in gold and one in silver) a full hour before their shop officially opened. As we walked back to the car, we passed by a flower stand and they had the yellow roses needed for the bouts, plus the white daisies I'd wanted. Total bill for all flowers: $72. Plus a few bucks for wire, tape, ribbon, and pins. Sweet!

OF and I used the trusty GPS to get us over to Simon and Leah's house, where we picked some greenery and a few flowers (they brought up a tub of callas later, plus a bunch of lemons) and poured a hungover Dan into the car. We headed over to QIR's place, where we added both QIR's dress and QIR to the load. From there, we headed north, significantly later than I would have liked, and we stopped at the Costco and Target in Novato to get the food for the afterparty and to have stocked at the house (breakfast stuff, snacks, etc.) I was pretty exhausted and overwhelmed by this point with the huge list of stuff still to do, and at 1 PMish we were eating slices of pizza in the Costco parking lot to fortify us, thanks to QIR's thinking ahead. I was really nervous about how in the world we'd be able to add the linens and the cakes to the load and manage to fit everything, so OF called her parents (who had recommended the bakery to us), and they offered to pick up the cake and bring it to the club. OF also called the bakery and gave them our credit card info over the phone so it was all paid for.

After a quick stop in Petaluma at the caterer's to get the linens, we were finally ready to complete the journey. My mom called at some point to let me know she was unexpectedly entertaining some of our out-of-town guests, and they were at her house and wanted to know what they could do to help. Our wine, water, flowers, decorations, and some other stuff were all still at her house, so I said they could pack up a vehicle or two and drive the stuff up to the club and meet us there. So they did, which was a huge help and saved us a trip. When we arrived, my mom took QIR and her dress (which still needed to be hemmed, and, despite opinions to the contrary, was not only possible to hem, but my mom managed it with a minimum of fuss. Thanks, mom!), and Dan went to my mom's to pick up our luggage, toiletries, and an assortment of other things that needed to go up (like the signs). Left at the club were myself and Oldest Friend, and we hunkered right down and started in on the flowers.

It was raining when we got up north, incidentally. It rained, and then it rained some more, which is precicely what the weather report we'd been watching all week had said it would do. The tent people still hadn't put up the tent (and they didn't actually get it up until about 5:30 PM, and by the time they did everything was soaked). OF and I looked at the buckets of flowers we had available (seriously, we had waaaaaay more than we needed) and she got to work on her own bouquet and started arranging flowers in my mom's mason jars and some smaller vases we had, while I took the various flowers out of their plastic wrappings and rubber bands, and arranged bouquets for QIR and my sisters. I set aside the flowers I wanted for my own bouquet but knew I wouldn't be able to make it until the next morning, because there were some specific wildflowers blooming in the area that have personal significance to me (lupines) and they wouldn't last overnight.

I managed to get flowers from my mom's yard into each of the bouquets, and added as needed. Lissa's bouquet was a paler palette, and Laurel's was all bright colors, while QIR's was a mix of both. Oldest Friend made her own bouquet - I can't really remember exactly what was in hers, only that it was (of course) beautiful and she took the time to wire up some leaves and made it look really pretty. We both worked on the mason jar flowers, adding as they looked like they needed, and everything turned out pretty much exactly how I wanted it to - a mix of colors and textures, looking like everything was fresh-picked from the garden. Hooray!

Four bridesmaid bouquets plus six corsages

It got later, and the tent people finally showed up. Dan returned with a bunch of what was needed from the house, QIR in tow. Finally, people started to arrive (we'd asked people to show up around 5 PM to do the rehearsal and several people said they'd come earlier to help) and we discovered that there was some extra terrible, hours-long traffic going through Santa Rosa that everyone had to deal with - so everyone was late. Someone told me at some point that they'd heard there were six accidents! And of course, my cell phone didn't function or have any signal at the club, so there was no way anyone could let me know. Leah and Simon arrived with Holla and The Lovely Katherine, EEK and her paramour arrived a bit confuzzled, and my sisters arrived with their significant others. Finally, everyone was there, and everyone was doing things like decorating inside the club with our cranes, lanterns, and tissue paper pompoms.

Dan and I left briefly to take much needed showers (I think it was one of my shortest showers on record) and to change into nicer clothing. While we were gone, people did more decorating and arranging of things, but unfortunately someone made an incorrect assumption and they did a lot more work than they needed to, as the tables we were using (and were to be put under the tent) were NOT the wooden picnic tables but instead some folding tables in a locked cupboard. When Dan and I returned, we were able to set things straight, and with so many people the picnic tables were removed from the tent and the correct tables brought out, unfolded, and arranged according to the schematic Dan and I had determined earlier in the week. Due to the size and space issues, not to mention the "who shouldn't sit near whom" issues, our table arrangement was a little funky. Luckily, it went quickly. I just feel bad that Lissa twisted her ankle helping move the picnic tables that didn't need to be moved in the first place.

Finally, we were able to do a quick run-through of the ceremony, with Dan and I directing how things would go, and EEK (being our officiant) asking questions. Other people asked questions, too. We got almost everything figured out and then Scarlett and her boyfriend showed up (she was one of the readers, still looking a little green) so we were able to let her know what was going to happen and when. Laurel's boyfriend volunteered to push the button on the laptop to start and stop the processional and recessional (thanks, Laurel's boyfriend!) and things pretty much all got figured out. Dan and I let people know we planned to roshambo to decide who would get to say vows first (we wrote our own, and didn't know what the other would say beforehand). I gave everyone a copy of the program. We all piled into various cars, some of which headed straight for the rehearsal dinner and others of which made a pitstop along the way. I rode with Scarlett, her boyfriend, and Oldest Friend. Both Scarlett and I changed and/or removed clothing during the drive, which amused her boyfriend greatly. (I was wearing a dress over jeans, and I took off the jeans when we got there). I dudn't have time to put on any makeup and thought I looked pretty terrible, but luckily the lighting at the dinner was dim.

We arrived at the restaurant where Dan's parents organized a fabulous rehearsal dinner (with delicious menu, wine, and more flowers) and greeted everyone and talked to everyone and waited for the rest of the crew to show up. Finally, everyone was there, and it was time to choose our meals and eat and toast and do all the things that people do at rehearsal dinners. Dan's aunt and uncle had some of the images from our invitation printed on coffee mugs (what a cool gift!) and toasted us a bit. Dan's dad gave a toast, and so did Dan, and so did my mom's cousin from Beijing. Everyone enjoyed the meal and the fabulous dessert, and little by little people left. I tried really hard to stay in the moment and enjoy the party, but I was focused on what still needed to be finished. We left while quite a few people were still there, because there was still so much to be done back at the club. Because of the rain, the decorating couldn't really be done in the tent (it was too wet) and I still had to finish the bouts and corsages.

Luckily, despite everyone's exhaustion and earlier assistance, QIR, Simon, and Leah came back to the club to help us finish some of the things that needed finishing after I'd changed clothes. Oldest Friend joined us a little while later, feeling a bit run-down (she's been seriously ill a few weeks before and was still recovering). "You have me for 45 minutes," she announced. QIR got to work on the bouts, while I made the corsages. Everyone else helped finish the interior decorating. I gave Leah some instructions for the next day, knowing that a few people would be coming up early to help in the morning and would need direction that she could provide. It was nearly midnight and I was about to fall over, so Leah and Simon drove me up to OF's parents' house and Dan bid me goodnight, our last kiss as an unmarried couple.

It's possible that more people were there to help late that night. I honestly can't remember, I was so tired. If you were there and I didn't mention you, sorry.

I lay in the downstairs bedroom at OF's parents' house, unable to sleep because my brain wouldn't shut off, even though I'd taken a benadryl for my face. I'd given Oldest Friend instructions to wake me up at 7 AM. I was cold, couldn't find an extra blanket (though I found in the morning that there was one), and put on my sweater. I must have slept, finally, at some point, but I can't even remember if I had any dreams. All I know is that everything that still needed doing was running through my head.

Thanks again to Leah for the photos. More prep photos here.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Shamelessly stealing the movie meme amidst wedding recaps

Stolen from EEK, Todd, Dan, and Monkey, among others

Here are the rules I must follow:

* Pick 15 movies. (These aren't necessarily my favorites, as many have already been taken, but they are all movies I like)
* Go to IMDB and find a quote from each movie.
* Post them on el bloggo for everyone to guess.
* Fill in the film title once it’s been guessed.

These are the rules, people!

* Leave guesses in the comments.
* No Googling or using IMDB search functions. Don’t cheat, suckas!
*Know-it-alls, limit your guesses to three movies. Save some for others!

1."You slip me the cash, and I slip you the weiner."
"But I don't have any cash!"
"Then I don't have a weiner!"
--Adventures in Babysitting, Lissa (hi, Lissa!)

2. "I'll give you a winter prediction: It's gonna be cold, it's gonna be grey, and it's gonna last you for the rest of your life. "

--Groundhog Day, EEK

3. "But the worst thing I ever done - I mixed a pot of fake puke at home and then I went to this movie theater, hid the puke in my jacket, climbed up to the balcony and then, t-t-then, I made a noise like this: hua-hua-hua-huaaaaaaa - and then I dumped it over the side, all over the people in the audience. And then, this was horrible, all the people started getting sick and throwing up all over each other. I never felt so bad in my entire life. "

4. "No more rhyming now! I mean it!"
"...anybody want a peanut?"

--The Princess Bride, Average Jane

5. "Something from the grill, Jill?"
"No, meat makes me ill, Bill."

--Muppets Take Manhattan, Lissa

6. "I am a leaf on the wind. Watch how I soar."

--Serenity, Average Jane

7. "How many husbands have you had? "
"Mine or other women's? "
"Five. "
"Five? "
"Yes, just the five. Husbands should be like Kleenex: soft strong and disposable. "
"You lure men to their deaths like a spider with flies. "
"Flies are where men are most vulnerable."

--Clue, Lissa

8. "How do you know if a Frenchman has been in your backyard? "
"Hey, I'm French, all right? "
"Your garbage cans are empty and your dog's pregnant. "
"Didn't I just say I'm French? "
--Stand By Me, Todd

9. "I believe if there's any kind of God it wouldn't be in any of us, not you or me but just this little space in between. If there's any kind of magic in this world it must be in the attempt of understanding someone sharing something. I know, it's almost impossible to succeed but who cares really? The answer must be in the attempt."

10. "I finally get a bouquet and it's a goodbye present. That's depressing. "

11. "In telling the story of my father's life, it's impossible to separate fact from fiction, the man from the myth. The best I can do is to tell it the way he told me. It doesn't always make sense and most of it never happened... but that's what kind of story this is. "

--Big Fish, Average Jane

12. "Which did you like better? "Jedi" or "The Empire Strikes Back"? "
"Blasphemy. "
"Empire had the better ending. I mean, Luke gets his hand cut off, finds out Vader's his father, Han gets frozen and taken away by Boba Fett. It ends on such a down note. I mean, that's what life is, a series of down endings. All "Jedi" had was a bunch of Muppets. "

--Clerks, Todd

13. "That cab has a dent in it!"

--The Royal Tenenbaums, EEK

14. "Dude, that was SO not extreme! "
"I know, Extreme Sports Punk Number One... "

15. "There's a ninety-five pound Chinese man with a hundred sixty million dollars behind this door."
"Let's get him out. "
--Ocean's Eleven, Cari