Sunday, July 17, 2011

Crummy Weather

We have been having a tough time getting out to do anything lately.  It has been a combination of things, really, and it has been rather frustrating.

One part of it is that Ursula has been getting over being sick since we've gotten home from Germany.  It started as a cold, and for nearly three weeks now she has been coughing, although she is feeling a lot better these last few days.  I have also been very busy working.  I am helping to teach a course for high school teachers that is intended as a "research experience"; they essentially do a lot of heavy math to get an idea of what it looks like to be a researcher.  This has been a Monday through Friday gig, and I typically don't get home until around 2:30.

Well, I know 2:30 is not especially late in the day to go and do something, but this brings me to the most annoying factor: the damn weather.  For a week straight now, we have these nice warm days; then I get finished at school around 2 and drive home.  Without fail, the clouds have come in by 3:00 and we get pouring down rain, thunder and lightning, and who knows what else.  There have been flash flood watches for three days in a row now.  We ended up losing power the other night for about 6 hours.  Trees have been falling over in the neighborhood, and we even got hail the size of silver dollars.

Ursula's video of the hailstorm.

Today, finally, we had a nice day.  We got to check out some yard sales, which was a good excuse to just cruise around town.  We had a little rain and thunder in the evening, but not enough to spoil the day.  Hopefully we are through with the ugliness and finally have some sunshine headed our way,

Saturday, July 9, 2011

International Traveler

That's me, now! Okay, I've only been to one country, if you don't count the airports in the Netherlands and France (and I don't). Still, it's way better than having to sheepishly say, "I've sort of been to Canada, but only Vancouver."

One observation:

Watching Germans get on and off the trains made me realize that it's really not that hard to, as a society, be nominally courteous. Although the disgorging of people from the train and loading of people from the station needs to be accomplished quickly, Germans waiting to board stand aside until all the people on the train have exited before getting on. This includes people struggling with bags or strollers, old people with canes, families with small children. The only thing it didn't seem to include were people who realized belatedly that this was their stop and therefore were getting off after the initial group had already left. Other than that, though, it was the same every time: doors open, people exit, people enter, doors close, train leaves. Easy as could be, without any frustration, shoving, running into each other, chorus of "excuse me"s, or anything else besides silent efficiency.
You notice how the people who just disembarked are
all blurred and the people who are getting on the train are
just starting to move? This is how it should be done, people.
I honestly can't remember the last time (or if there was a time) when I managed to get off an elevator in the US without someone getting on nearly barreling into me the instant the doors opened. I guess we're just culturally incapable of understanding the concept of taking turns.

Next time, I'll tell you about my crash course in practical German.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Happily Home Again

Well, we have made it back to Denver in one piece.  Travelling has been so much fun, but it feels incredibly good to be back in our own house, in our own country.  We spent 25 hours up and travelling, making our way through 8 time zones, and arrived totally exhausted and jet lagged.  It was a crazy trip, and got to see and experience so much.

Munich was a beautiful city, with lots of old churches, gates, towers, etc.  Ursula took some great pictures, and I'm sure will be posting a lot of them over the next week or so.  But a big part of the experience was the culture;  this was definitely a place where things were done differently than what we are used to.  The feel of the sidewalks was the first major shock.  These were dangerous places; people move fast and purposefully, and will mow you down if you are in their way.  I walk quickly, but I still had to watch out.  Plus there are bikes.  They have their own sidewalk lanes, but they haul ass and will weave in with the people.  Last but not least are the cars.  Yes, on the sidewalk.  I lost count of the times a car drove up on the sidewalk to get around an obstacle in the street and nearly took us out.  We really learned to pay attention to everything around us; it was a matter of survival.

The other major difference was the restaurants, both in terms of the service and customs, and the food that was served.  At most of the restaurants, you are expected to seat yourself.  We did not realize this on the first night, and were basically treated as if we were stupid when we asked.  After some awkward moments, we found ourselves at a table and ready to order; we had a little food glossary to figure out the German menus.  When that turned out not to be enough, we got an English version of the menu.  I ordered a beer from the menu that I thought I would like.  The waitress looks at me and asks if I know what it is;  I thought I did, but all of a sudden I wasn't so sure.  She struggles for a minute trying to explain what the deal was, then basically says if I don't know what it is, then I don't want it.  In other words, "very special Bavarian" beer, language that seems to be used frequently to mean "it's gross but we like it; you won't".  After ordering a normal beer, we both ordered pork to eat (it was either that or veal; if you are vegetarian, fuhgidaboudit).  So we got to choose if we wanted red or white sauerkraut; then she pauses and asks if we want it at all, or if we even like it.  I've got to say, I've never had red sauerkraut but we decided to give it a go.  It was actually pretty interesting; sort of vinegary, sweet; not like what I picture as sauerkraut.  We couldn't eat the whole bowl, but the waitress seemed impressed that we ate it at all.  It was like magic, suddenly she was friendly, and offering us some apple strudel.  And damn was that shit good.

Pork, dumplings, and sauerkraut.  A true Bavarian supper.

And some serious fucking strudel.
All in all, it was a very cool trip.  Dealing with the different culture was exhausting after a while, as was the Bavarian food.  I probably won't eat pork for a month after all of that.  We are happily back in our own apartment, cooking for ourselves, and the next adventure can wait for a little while.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Guten Tag from Deutschland!

I thought I might blog a little from Germany, but it just hasn't worked out that way. For the first few days, while we were in Munich, an internet connection was hard to come by. The hotel offered wireless, but it was €30 a day. I love the internet, but not that much!

Now that we are at the math conference, we have a wired connection in our room (the receptionist looked at Morgan and me and said, "only one connection, not two.") but we still haven't used it all that much. It's strange to be 8 hours ahead of the US - when I wake up in the morning, there are a lot of new posts from people but then pretty much nothing changes over the course of my entire day while all the Americans are sleeping. As I'm posting this, it's 11:45 AM for me, which means it's 3:45 AM in Denver.

Anyhow, I thought I'd poke my head in and say that we are having an amazing time. I am posting some pictures to my Flickr, but I've taken so many photos that I'm still only putting up ones from our very first full day in Munich.

Residenz Lion
There are 4 of these lions in front of the Residenz in Munich. You rub their
heads for luck - but only 3 of the 4. You don't want to be greedy!

We had busy, full days in the city and then we came here to what is practically the middle of nowhere in Bavaria, which has actually been a perfect respite from the running around. Although being in the middle of nowhere certainly doesn't mean there's nothing to see! We are here for a couple more days, then back to Munich to explore a different part of the city. Then all too soon we'll be on our way back home.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Travelling together

While we have had some setbacks to some of our travel plans lately, we are taking a trip to Munich in the next week or so.  We will be there before and after a weeklong math conference I am attending in Irsee.  This is actually a big milestone for us because, for one, it is our first big trip together, and two, it will be Ursula's first time out of the country.  We are very different from each other in the way we handle travelling, and this seems to be magnified by the fact that we are travelling internationally.  It is interesting the way we are both preparing for the trip.

Kloster Irsee - pretty nice digs for a math conference.

The travelling we have done together so far has been pretty informal - a weekend in Portland, a week in Austin, a road trip to Yellowstone - all relatively nearby destinations, none lasting longer than a week.  And, while there have always been differences in the way we pack and prepare, planning this trip has made it much more apparent.  I am pretty low-key in terms of my trip preparations.  I usually make a short list of things I really can't do without, throw some clothes in a bag, and I'm off to the airport.  Ursula describes herself as a "stressbasket" when it comes to travelling, which I disagree with (maybe I agree when it comes to dealing with airport security, but that's different and somewhat justified).  She is, however, very deliberate.  She has been working on lists, having me work on other lists, preparing maps, researching transportation, sketching out rough itineraries, and just generally getting everything figured out.  Which is totally awesome - definitely better than trying to figure it all out while we're there - but is not what I am really used to.

Chinese Pagoda beer garden in the Englischer Garten - sounds like a must-see.

I know that some of it is her personality; she is spontaneous, but she wants to also make the most of her time there.  But the biggest part of it is how excited she is; we both are, really, but it's different.  I was fortunate enough to spend a few weeks in Europe a couple of years ago, but since she has never travelled outside of the U.S.,  it means a lot to her to not miss anything we will regret not having seen.  The funny thing is that I think it is rubbing off on me a bit.  It is incredibly exciting to be researching different things about Munich, from the restaurants, to the different neighborhoods, to the important landmarks.  It feels good to have a big list of places we can check out, and we can pick and choose what is really important while we are there.  The planning is something that is really cool to do together, and I think it makes the trip a little more meaningful.

Friday, May 20, 2011

The Long Haul

I asked Morgan a week or so ago if he felt any different when he's out and about now that he's married. He thought about it for a minute and then said, "no, not really." I have to admit, I was a little surprised. He said that he's felt like he was "taken" long enough that it wasn't really a change to him.

I do feel different, though. It's hard to explain or justify, and while I wouldn't say that I feel any more committed to him than I did before the wedding, I do feel more visibly committed to him. We have rings. We have the same last name. We are "husband" and "wife" instead of "boyfriend" and "girlfriend." We would have to go through legal outlets to change what we are to each other. Maybe it's more feeling like we're perceived differently than we were before.

With all the talk about divorce rates and proclamations that marriage is dead, it can sometimes seem like the act of getting married is pointless except from a dry, legal standpoint. The media loves doom and gloom - whatever blah blah statistic of marriages end in divorce, and blah blah percentage think getting married is hopelessly outdated. But for all the publicity the Arnold Schwarzenegger-Maria Shriver story about a marriage ending after 25 years receives, there are the stories like Gabrielle Giffords and Mark Kelly if you look for them. (While he is on the final shuttle mission, he has taken her wedding ring with him and left his with her on Earth. And that's not even getting into how much he's stood by her since her shooting.)

Statistics be damned - I'm in it for the long haul, whatever that may entail. I can't wait to see those anniversaries start to stack up. My grandparents made it to 46 years, and although we're getting a later start, it might still happen, right?

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Life is Still Good

While our previous entry highlighted some of the disappointments we've gone through since the wedding, I wanted to shed some light on the other side of the picture.  The trip to China falling through was definitely hard to take - we had done a lot of planning based on being there for the next year.  And it was hard to get through; Ursula has been wanting to go to China for so long, and I felt like I had really let her down.  But we did get through it, and while spending another year in Denver isn't what we would have hoped for, we are making the best of it.

We have actually been doing a lot of really fun things lately.  A few weeks ago, it was National Parks week, so we went to Rocky Mountain National Park for the first time.  The weather was amazing; it was still pretty cold up there, but we had sunshine, and there were some awesome clouds hanging over the tallest mountains that made them seem to just blend in to the sky.

Rocky Mountain National Park
I love how you can't tell where the mountains end.
More recently, with the weather getting warmer, we've been doing some fun things around Denver.  We checked out the Art Walk on Santa Fe, where all of the galleries open their doors to the public.  There was an especially cool light and sound exhibit with a bunch of homemade instruments to play and some videos projecting on the walls.  We have also been travelling around the city following the Food Networks Great Food Truck Race, where a bunch of food trucks from all over the country are in town competing for something or other.  This has been really interesting, because the locations are all rumor-based.  We've had some really great food from a couple of the trucks, and plan to check out a couple more today.

The Great Food Truck Race
The Crab Burger from the Lime Truck was incredible! And so was the Truffled Cheesesteak!
So we are regrouping as far as our plans for the future - I still have a little ways to go to finish my degree - but we are having fun, and making the most of our time here.  We will keep everyone posted about our plans as they come along.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Hard Times

We've been absent from this blog for over 3 weeks, and I apologize. We have no intention of abandoning it. Nor of being gone for so long in the future, either.

A few things were holding me back from posting. I wanted to get the last of the thank-yous into the mail (they went out today). I wanted to have something to post about. More precisely, I wanted to have something to post about besides the news we got earlier this month, because it wasn't good news.

But here I am, and here's the news: we're not going to China.

It seems like most people I talk to experience some sort of setback shortly after getting married. I don't know if it's a coincidence, if it's a case of noticing all the blue cars on the road because you've just bought one, or if it just looms more significantly in your mind because now you're married, but whatever the reason, it seems to be a common theme. Maybe it's because as soon as something negative happens, you find yourself thinking, "I just got married, isn't everything supposed to be great for at least a little while? Honeymoon period, anyone?" Life, of course, doesn't work like that.

Shortly after we returned home, Morgan went to the head of the department and asked what was going on with the China trip. He was told that the school in China had decided they wanted to use mostly their own faculty to teach their courses and therefore, the trips were off. Oh, hey, Mr. Department Head, thanks for letting us know. It's not like we have to plan out the next year of our lives or anything.

It was a huge disappointment for both of us. It came at an extra-unfortunate time when everything should have been sunshine and roses, but more than that, it was the first disappointment we would weather as a married couple. How would we deal with it?

The answer for the first couple of days was "in our separate corners." It wasn't how I wanted to do it - isn't the proper thing to do to pull closer together, the two of you against the world? - but I just couldn't bring myself to express all the emotions around it for fear of making Morgan feel worse. Because, trust me, he already felt bad enough. I can't really speak for him, but I suspect that in the less rational corners of his psyche he was worried that I was going to be mad at him for false advertising. As if he had promised me this and then pulled the rug out, instead of having it pulled out from under both of us.

After that initial period, we were able to talk about it and share the anger, disappointment, frustration, and feelings of "now what?" (And "now what?" is a big question, but we're working out the answers.) The near future isn't going to happen where we thought it would, but that's all right. The location might be different, but the overall vision is the same: we'll be together. We'll figure it out from there.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Yay, pictures!

As Ursula mentioned, there are a few loose ends to take care of before the wedding is officially over.  Well, one big one can be crossed off that list; we have our wedding pictures!  We think he did a great job; it was tough narrowing down the 717 pictures to our 240 favorites.

As you can see, we are a very happy couple.

You can find the big gallery here.  I really can't express how happy we are with the photos; we found our photographer John Leestma through an ad on craigslist, which felt like a little bit of a gamble.  But really, everything worked out wonderfully. So check them out and let us know what you think.

On another note, today marks exactly a month from the wedding.  I still feel incredibly lucky, and I know that feeling won't be going away anytime soon.  We still have a few more things going on before Ursula considers the "wedding phase" to be over, then I suppose it's on to the "honeymoon phase"!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Loose Ends

I won't feel like the wedding phase is truly over until three things happen:

1. We get the professional photos (by the end of the week, I hear),
2. We get our thank you notes out (working on it), and
3. All my name-changing stuff is done (working on that, too).
Denver Botanic Gardens
This photo doesn't have anything to do with anything,
but I like entries to have photos, and this is pretty.
I applied for my new Social Security card last week on Monday, and it arrived in Saturday's mail. I thought that was pretty amazing. As Morgan mentioned in his post, we went to the DMV and that's in process. I may have to wait on that to get the bank straightened out, but I still need to look into what documentation they actually require. In the meantime, I'll be applying for a passport - the first one in my life.

I can't believe I'm finally going to get a passport and actually get out of the United States. I have technically left the country before, but I only went to Vancouver and Victoria, British Columbia. It was years and years ago, before you needed anything other than a driver's license to enter and leave Canada, and it was pretty much the US except cleaner and with "eh" on the end of sentences.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Living the Life

So we've been married a little over two weeks - and have been home in Denver for about two weeks - and I have to say, life has been very good.  It is sort of funny in a way; we have been living together for more than two years, so essentially not a lot has changed.  But it feels different, looking ahead to our future as a married couple.  There is so much to look forward to!

Yesterday we went to the Social Security office to get Ursula a new card with her new name, and it was hard not to be excited.  I know it is mostly symbolic, but I still thought it was cool.  Thinking ahead to our travels is a big part of it as well.  I mean, there is a lot more for her to do: driver's license, passport, etc. (guys have it easy with the lack of a name change), but just knowing that we are on track to go on some amazing adventures together is an incredible feeling.

I seriously can't wait to go to Beijing.

I think the Beijing trip is going to be unreal.  I can't even imagine what it will be like there; that is a place with some serious history.  There will definitely be some culture shock to deal with, but  it should also be a lot of fun.  That should be about a nine month trip, starting in September.

Keep checking the blog; we should be hearing from our photographer soon, so there will be some professional pictures coming.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Things I learned at my wedding

Before I get to the inspiration for the title, I should let you know that I still don't have any great pictures to share, for which I apologize. But I'll share a few that you've already seen if you're friends with me on Facebook.

The night before - almost set up.
I wish I had a "before" picture of what that almond huller shed looked like when we first started talking about using it for the reception. It is absolutely unreal what that transformation entailed.
Happy hour!
The pre-ceremony happy hour was a great idea, if I do say so myself. It was great to have the opportunity to meet and talk to people before the actual main event. It helped alleviate some nerves. Kind of. Just to be clear - I wasn't nervous about the getting married so much as the doing it in front of everyone. 

Morgan, the kids and I all walked out to the ceremony together
But then it was time to disappear and get ready for the main event. And this is where I get to the "things I learned."
  • If you are someone (like me) who didn't dream about your wedding day from the time you were a child, rehearsing it all in your head, you will not know what the heck you're supposed to be doing half the time. It would be fortuitous if you realized this before the actual day, so that you could prepare by having someone there who will remind you of things you are forgetting. Like your bouquet.
    • Yes, if you look at that last photo, you will not see a bouquet. Nor will you see a boutonniere for Morgan. We had them; oh yes, we had them. In fact, at the exact moment that photo was taken, the bouquet and boutonniere were sitting upstairs in the house. Until I get the pro photos back, take my word for it: they were beautiful. (Yes, the photographer got pictures of the bouquet on a table or something, and I could blame him for throwing me off, but I sincerely doubt that had much to do with it.)
  • There will be a moment in the ceremony when something goes wrong. Our officiant told us this when we first talked to him, and I only half-believed him, but he was right. It's unavoidable, and arguably not something you even want to avoid. There is a moment when someone will misspeak, everyone will laugh, and it will break the tension.
  • Unless you have superhuman endurance, you will at some point be hugged- and smiled-out. Take a minute, back away from everything and everyone, and breathe deeply. It'll help.
  • You should eat right before anyone arrives. You might think you'll be able to eat some of the food everyone else will be eating, but this is simply not true. You can't talk and eat at the same time. You also can't run to a mirror every time you've eaten something to check for spinach in your teeth. And finally, don't underestimate the power of adrenaline to suppress your appetite. By the time you can eat relatively worry-free, you won't be hungry.
The biggest thing I learned, though, was that none of that stuff really matters. At the end of it, you'll be a little sad that your awesome bouquet won't be in any of the pictures, that the ceremony wasn't "perfect," and that you couldn't be a smiling, hugging machine. But hours later, you'll be sitting in a hamburger joint devouring food like a ravenous wolverine with the man who is now your husband, and you won't be able to wipe the smile off your face.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Settling In

It has only been a week so far, but I have to say, the married life has been pretty great so far.  We are getting back into the routine around our apartment in Denver, back to school, back to real life.  Some of your photos from the wedding have been coming in, and we should have the professional ones soon, but we want more! Get us your pictures! You should start to see us post the ones we have online soon, and there are already a few from our honeymoon in Mendocino.

Seriously, this was the view from our room in Mendocino.

We thought the wedding was amazing, the ranch was a perfect setting and we were really glad the weather held out for us.  I got to see a lot of you who I hadn't seen in years, and it meant a lot to celebrate with all of you.  The bar setup looked really cool, and our awesome bartenders were making some of the best (and strongest) drinks I've been served in Brentwood.  The almond huller shed had been completely transformed into an actual hangout spot, which was incredible.  And the dinner was absolutely perfect.  I want to extend a big thanks to everyone who helped make it happen, and who made it out; it was a good time for us, and I hope it was for all of you as well.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Important Stuff from the Other Side

Now that Morgan and I are back home and have the time and space to really breathe and think about the wedding, I have a couple of things I want to say right away.

First of all: thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who attended. From our point of view, it was an incredibly fun time that was made that way in large part by having all of you there.


Next: THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU to everyone who helped make this all happen. There were so many people who did so many things - from picking up things we needed on their way to the wedding to helping us get deals on various expenses to making and arranging decorations to cleaning, bartending, planning menus, cooking, serving food and drinks .... We were and are truly overwhelmed with the amount of love and generosity that was shown to us through all of your efforts.

Finally: We want your pictures! We are confident our photographer got a lot of great photos, but it will be weeks before we see those, and how on earth are we supposed to wait without all of your photos to hold us over?! Besides, we want to see what you took pictures of and what your experience of the wedding was. We could only see so much of it ourselves, you know! So email us, friend us on Facebook if you haven't already (here's me and here's Morgan), tag us in the pictures (unless they're truly awful), send them to us by snail mail, whatever you'd like to do. Just get them to us! Please.

Monday, March 7, 2011

We did it!

So we had the wedding, and everything was gorgeous.  A big thank you to everyone who showed up, we had a great time partying with you.  To everyone who couldn't make it, you were missed, and we will be looking forward to celebrating with you soon.

As for today, we drove up to Mendocino and have a gorgeous view of the ocean, a hot tub, spotting scope, and we are looking forward to laying low for a couple of days.

But keep an eye out; we will be posting our thoughts about the wedding, photos and more details in the near future!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Home Stretch

I started a post before leaving home - here's what I'd written:
Tomorrow, we get on a plane and head to California.
Today, we look around at the disarray that is our apartment and try to remember everything we want to bring with us.
My dress and shoes have been shipped out to California, so at least I don't have to worry about forgetting those. Or wrangling the dress onto a plane. Listmaking is my friend, and I'm hoping it will keep me from leaving behind anything truly important.
Now I'm here and finally getting around to finishing a post and publishing it. Last night, I laid out everything I was bringing. It looked like this:
Um, how is this all going to fit?!
But in pretty short order, it ended up looking like this:
No problem.
Our flight was delayed, and it was rainy in San Francisco when we landed, but we're here! We got a quick look at the building we're going to be using for the reception, and it is AMAZING. So much hard work has been done on it and it has paid off in a big way. I can't wait till Saturday so that we can share it all with everyone.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Finishing Touches

I was hoping that, as the wedding got close, everything would be pretty much figured out and it would finally mellow out a little.  I don't know that we've been so lucky, but things are coming together.  I'm really excited to get on that plane to California, though.  From there on, the only thing left to worry about will be the actual execution of the wedding.  Piece of cake, right?

We are hoping a lot of you will show up around 2:30 for drinks.  We figure this will give a chance for people to meet each other and hang out before the ceremony starts, also the wedding will be more fun if it starts off with some booze.  We should have some nice choices of cocktails for people, and some very good beer from Marin Brewing Company.  We'll probably disappear a little after 3 to actually get changed and ready for the ceremony.

The ceremony is going to be short; we don't want to spend too long standing up in front of everybody.  It is kind of awkward, and might not be the most entertaining thing to watch.  When that wraps up, we'll have to do some of that typical picture-taking, pose with the family type stuff, and then we'll sit down to eat.  My mom and Brian are cooking, and it sounds like there will be some great things on the menu.

The night will wrap up with more drinks (we'll have to finish off the kegs, at least) and fireworks, because what goes together better than alcohol and explosives, am I right?

We'll be taking off afterwards, heading to Walnut Creek for the night and then to Mendocino the next morning.  We will have a few quiet days there on the coast before we come back to Colorado.

I can't wait to be here.

See you guys soon!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Less than 3 weeks

Are you ready? We are, sort of.

A quick list to run down where things stand:

The dress is in for alterations. Luckily, it didn't need much done. When it comes back, I'll box it up and send it out to California. As much as I hate the idea of letting it out of my sight and abandoning it to UPS or someone, it's just far easier to ship it than to take it on the plane.

Speaking of the plane, we have our tickets out to California and back, and our mini-honeymoon booked.

I'm still working on my stole. I'm not quite to the halfway point yet, but I feel pretty good about my chances of completing it in time.

We've just about finalized our signature drinks (taste-testing them at home is such a chore).

Music ... we still have to figure that one out. Or, I should probably say, Morgan still has to figure that out. I'll have some input, but he's the one who's more into music.

I'd be perfectly happy if most of the playlist sounded approximately like this. Which is exactly why I can't be trusted with the task.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

What are you Drinking?

I've said before that I want our wedding to be like a party, and one of the most important things for a party to have (in my experience) is a nice selection of booze.  This is something that I think is a little tricky, since we are going to be doing the bar ourselves (essentially).  For a big party like this, some cases of Natural Ice, some handles of Popov vodka, and a whole bunch of orange juice would be an easy solution.  But we actually want it to be a bit classy, so this might not be the way to go.

Our opinion on the best way to handle the bar is to have some basics, first of all: a keg of some nice beer, bottles of red and white wine, and of course champagne.  After that, we figured we would come up with a few signature drinks, basically just slight variations on some standard drinks that we really like and will cover the bases to have a well rounded bar.  The main goal is not to need a huge selection of different kinds of liquor and mixers, to have a small selection that will cover drinks everyone will like.

Gorgeous cocktail from The Science of Drink.

As far as our personal preferences, we are planning to have a drink or two involving some good bourbon, maybe something with cachaca (a brazilian alcohol that is sort of like a cross between tequila and rum), and we're not entirely sure what else.  We're still doing some research on that.  But here's your chance to help us out!  If you have drink recipes you really like, let us know.  And definitely clue us in if you know of good quality booze that isn't too pricey; the cheaper we can get it, the more we can buy.  We will have a bartender on duty, but just to make it easy on him we are avoiding any drinks that involve muddling stuff, so no mojitos.

We are excited to see you all there!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Decisions, decisions

One of the major things you have to decide when you're throwing a wedding is who to invite. And maybe the biggest question about the guest list is whether or not to include children. I've read a lot of opinions in favor of having them there, and a lot in favor of having an adults-only affair.

Our conclusion on the matter was that we would prefer to have only adults at the wedding. I don't look at it as an exclusion of little ones, but as an opportunity for parents to enjoy themselves and not have to worry about entertaining their children. Also, let's be honest here: weddings are not exactly fun for kids.

Look at it from a kid's perspective.  There's cake, but you're not supposed to touch it. There are presents, but they're not for you. You have to sit still and be quiet kind of a lot - through the ceremony, for pictures, during dinner and toasts. If it's mostly adults at the wedding, it's hard to get someone to play with you because they're busy socializing with the other grown-ups. If there are other kids to play with, you still don't get to be too rambunctious. You can't run  around that much because you're probably wearing a special outfit that you're not supposed to get dirty. If you're under the age of about 5, you're not going to remember being there. If you're between 5 and 12, you're going to remember being bored to tears.

Over the age of 12, well, odds are you'll still be bored. However, you're old enough to deal with the fact that sometimes you've got to do these family events even when you'd really prefer to skip them.

The bottom line is: Morgan and I want people to have fun at the wedding, and we believe that everyone will have a better time if the kids sit this one out.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

I Guess We're Supposed to Have One of These

While it feels tacky to ask for stuff to celebrate our special day, we did decide to make a registry to give suggestions to anyone who felt inclined to bring a gift.  We are in a little bit of an unusual situation, since we are going to spend about 9 months in China a few months after the wedding; I will be teaching there for an academic year, which is very exciting for us.

Given that we will soon be leaving the country, it was a little difficult to think of what would make a good gift.  However, we did manage to find some items that we could use before we leave, a few things that would be great to have on our trip, and things that could help get us on our feet when we come back.  That being said, we are not expecting gifts out of you.  We just want you at the wedding, celebrating with us.

George Foreman iPod-ready Grill; I don't want this.
Okay, maybe I do, but it's not on the registry.

For those who are interested, our registry can be found 
here.  It is hosted as an Amazon Universal Registry, which means a few of the items are not actually sold through Amazon; clicking on them will take you to a different page where they can be purchased.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Another thing off The List

Miraculously enough after that last story, the invitations were not only finished, but mailed. I was so happy just to have them gone.

So, on to other things. I ordered a pair of shoes, not sure if they'd be quite what I wanted. But once they arrived and I tried them on, I was in love.  I was ready to try on hundreds of shoes to find the perfect ones (oh okay, it's not that much of a sacrifice - I love shoes!), but it only took one.

Behold the shoes! (Er, shoe, I guess.
There are two of them though, I promise.)

And as a bonus, they're actually comfortable! I didn't wear them around for hours or anything, but you can certainly tell right away when a pair of heels is uncomfortable. Now that I have shoes, I can start figuring out where I'm getting alterations to the dress done, and that'll pretty much take care of me. We'll be focusing on getting Morgan ready this week - he has an appointment to try on his suit and see what color combination we want to go with.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Dear Lord, these invitations are killing me

Some of you who are attending our wedding may have noticed that you have not actually received a formal invitation in the mail just yet.  Well, we are working on that, and we will get them out soon if we both don't die trying.  We decided to design and make them ourselves; it didn't seem like it would be too herculean a task.  Ursula does plenty of paper crafts and is very creative; we both know how to do layouts in Illustrator; it should be a piece of cake, right?  Unfortunately, there was another element that we failed to consider.  The people we would need to print our project for us.

So we have these invitations designed and ready to go.  Taking them to the printer should be easy, they print it on card stock and cut it to size, then we're out the door.  So we take our flash drive down to Office Max.  And then Darryl happens.  Fucking Darryl.  Our encounter started bad;  there was a woman behind the counter when we arrived helping someone else, and a guy who was on the phone.  After standing there for a minute the girl asks if we've been helped, and when we say "no" tells Darryl to get on it.  So he ends his phone call and comes over.  Darryl was a mess; he talked too fast, and had question after question.  But he didn't seem to really listen to our answers.  He didn't understand how our booklets were supposed to be laid out.  Dude, they're a card.  I'm sure you've seen them before.  A page on front, two inside, piece of cake.  But he didn't get it.  Finally we drew him a picture, which he decided to keep in with the order in case he forgot.  Around this time, Ursula had to walk away, but for some reason I stuck with it.  I don't know, I figured I could get through to him somehow.  So the next thing is he decides he can print it on larger paper, to get more on a sheet and save us some money.  Sure, sounds good.  Then he asks again about how the cards are going to be laid out.  Look at the picture, Darryl!  I don't know how long this went on.  I asked him how long it would take, and he would tell me prices.  Finally I got a manager to come over.  He says the order form looks right, and it should be 24 hours.  Then comes the kicker: Darryl asks if the other stores would have the larger paper size to print it on.  They don't actually have it in stock.  Now to be clear, I didn't ask him for the larger paper size; he suggested it.  And now I realize I should have walked away when Ursula did.

Anyway, we took our print job to another shop.  The guy seemed to know what he was doing, but his printer was broken.  He told us to make sure our images were pdfs, submit them online, and he would call us to let us know if they could be printed Friday.  Well, I submitted them, received an automated "your job was submitted" email, and never heard a thing.  They are closed all weekend (I'm not sure about Monday).

So long story short, you will see the invitations soon.  If this process doesn't kill the two of us.

Saturday, January 8, 2011


It's not all that easy to have many pictures of yourselves as a couple when it's just the two of you. Your choices are really tripods and timers, cameras held at arm's length, strangers in public places, or mirrors. None of those options make for really great pictures.

Penny in the Car
If only we could teach Penny to use the camera.

While we were in California over the holidays, Morgan and I asked my daughter Emily if she'd be willing to take some pictures of us together, sort of informal engagement pictures. She was game, so we headed down to Santa Cruz on a gray day. Surprisingly, an offer of going letterboxing and having lunch were enough to bribe her. (But lunch was really, really good. Definitely bribe-worthy, I'd have to say. If you're ever in Santa Cruz, stop by Hula's Island Grill and Tiki Room.)

She did a great job, don't you think? I have more, but you'll have to wait a couple of days until I put them up on Flickr.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

It's (almost) Official

The wedding is getting close; we now have an official copy of our marriage license in hand.  So, while we are not actually married yet, it is really just a few signatures on a piece of paper before it's done.  I mean, we are still going to put on a party, but it's exciting to know that we are practically there.

Getting the license was a bit of an adventure in itself.  We had to drive out to Martinez; we took a scenic route through the hills and then headed down to the bay.  The weather kind of stunk, but it was still gorgeous.  At the county clerk's, there was a party getting married in an adjoining room.  It was very cool to see a couple getting married while we were there getting our license.  Definitely fun to see.  While filling out the paperwork for the license, I realized I did not know my mom's original middle name, or what state my dad was born in.  I had to call my grandma to ask, which was a bit embarrassing.  Also, we marked that we would be married by a judge, so they kept asking "Do you actually know a judge?"  We didn't really know what to say except "Of course we know a judge, why else would we mark that?" Apparently people frequently mark that by mistake, so they felt like they had to check.

It feels really good to be getting this close to being married.  I think we had started to get a little exhausted by all of the wedding planning, especially with it colliding with Christmas and other responsibilities, but with this step, I feel like I sort of have a second wind.  I'm really looking forward to celebrating with everyone in March; see you then!