Monthly Archives: March 2008

Wednesday Wedding Day: 3 days to go

Hi everybody!

(Hi, Doctor Nick!)

So, we’ve been in California for a few days now. On Friday, we left Denver at around 4 PM and drove north and then west, making it to Evanston, WY (the border of WY and UT) by 11 PM and crashing in an overpriced Motel 6 with a hideous bedspread. We were up and on the road early, me driving, and we drove through Utah and Nevada and California and made it to Chez QIR by around quarter after seven in the evening.

Easter proved to be a particularly frustrating day, as everything was closed, and all the errands we planned to run came to naught. We did spend some quality time with my sister and her fiance and then had a lovely pre- and post-birthday dinner (for Dan and myself respectively) cooked by QIR and eaten by us and Leah and Simon of A Girl and a Boy. It was fabulous. After the dinner and the conversation, we drove up late to my mom’s house, arriving in the wee small hours.

Monday proved to be most productive. I had my final dress fitting which lasted all of ten minutes (it fits perfectly, if just a tad too big and needing to be laced a bit tighter than I’d like); only needing pressing and the bustle to be moved up an inch. We got our marriage license and bought a bunch of booze, acquired the last of the craft supplies we needed for various projects, then went home and looked around the yard at my mom’s flower situation. There will be some we can use from her yard for the wedding, but most things seem to be past their prime – which is OK. Trader Joe’s has some lovely-looking flowers now, and the wholesale place is only a few minutes’ drive from there in Santa Rosa. We had dinner on Monday night with my mom and her friend with whom she ballroom dances. After dinner Dan and I worked on some last-minute projects (cake topper and pulling apart tissue paper pompoms).

Tuesday dawned even more gorgeously than Monday (seriously, it is SO PRETTY up here right now, hooray!) I had a hair trial with the person who used to cut my hair (her daughter and I were in preschool together), and the trial and day-of hairdo cost me a total of $45. Score! Here’s a sneak preview:

Then, Dan and I went up to the club to meet with our banquet captain and the venue coordinator to do some last-minute figuring. We finally figured out how to get all the tables into the space, making sure all the parent tables were near our table but the people who needed to not sit near each other were not sitting near each other. We figured out the ceremony seating and order of entrance, decided what to do with the Great Room, and asked most of our last minute questions, then hightailed it to Santa Rosa where I used my Christmas present from my younger sister, which was a SpaFinder gift certificate. I found a salon in Santa Rosa that took the gift certificate and had a stranger do my waxing for the first time. It was somewhat relaxing and went a lot faster than doing it myself does. We ran another few errands, ordered the cake (one small round for cutting, 1/2 sheet of chocolate with raspberry preserves filling and ganache icing, 1/4 sheet of white chiffon cake with lemon curd filling and vanilla buttercream frosting), and when we got back to my mom’s we worked on some more projects.

I’ve been really stressed out and concerned about my face. The hives, or weird little acne, or whatever they are, don’t seem to be going away, and my face hasn’t been producing this much oil since I was about 12 years old. It must be a stress reaction. So last night I took some benadryl for the first time in a week (it seems to be doing the most good out of all the things I’ve tried) and had a couple of glasses of wine and somehow I ended up getting really sleepy and falling asleep at about 9 PM.

Today is Wednesday, and we have no errands or appointments or plans, really. There’s another wedding-related project we plan to work on (making some sort of thing for us to stand in front of for the ceremony, using sticks/branches from my mom’s yard) and we need to do a couple of little things like have a few of our engagement photos printed. We do plan to go wine tasting and relax a bit, as we can’t start working on flowers until tomorrow. Today at some point I’ll make a list of what all needs to be done on Thursday and Friday and Saturday morning. But right now I’m going to eat my breakfast.

Also, if any of you are still reading this, please implore whatever deities you might have an in with that it won’t rain on Saturday. We were forced to make a call about our tent last Friday before we left Denver when the weather report was saying 70F and Sunny for our wedding day (we canceled the side walls) but now the weather reports are saying chance of showers. NO RAIN, PLEASE.



It’s the middle of a gorgeous day. I’m not at work. I only went to work for three hours today and begged out of two meetings.

Instead, I’m packing. And in between the packing, I’m taking bites of leftover birthday cake (STILL SOOOO GOOD), eating a leftover slice of pizza for lunch, and sipping on the last glass of wine from the open bottle we had.

If it weren’t for the packing part, I could do this every day.

Oh, how I have longed for this day

Today is officially the first day of spring. Unofficially, it’s been spring for a couple of weeks here in Colorado; even the snow and snain (snow mixed with rain, it’s my own creation!) we’ve gotten has been wet. The air has moisture in it for the first time in months, a bit of green is beginning to peek through the brown in people’s lawns, and I’ve actually seen a couple of real, live flowers poking out of the ground. Part of why I’m so excited about spending a week in California (well, aside from the whole getting hitched thing) is how much I love Bay Area spring, how green and flowery and wonderful everything is. I missed out on it last year so I am going to revel in it, frolic as much as possible, and take lots and lots of photos with my new camera.

Speaking of my new camera, I’m unable to upload photos from it onto my computer because of some work security-type issues. My old camera was the same age as my operating system but the new one is obviously much younger and so my computer doesn’t recognize it. I hope to have this issue worked out when we get back, but for now I’ll be taking photos and uploading them to Dan’s computer, then having him email them to me so I can post them. Or using his computer to write in my blog. This will be difficult, because he loves that computer almost as much as he loves Petra, so it will be hard to tear him away for a few minutes so I can do something with my photos. It will be a stopgap measure, as I’ve been assured by the IT guy here that with a few simple steps (and when he has time) I’ll be able to get my camera and my computer to make sweet, sweet USB portage.

Can I just say how awesome it is that the person who teaches the Thursday pilates class I take will give us a free reformer class if there are four or fewer people who show up? It is fantastic, and these classes are usually really expensive. But she calls it a win-win – all she does is bark commands at us (rather than having to demonstrate everything as she would in a mat class) and we get an extra-good workout for free! Today she even complemented me on my form, saying I could be a pilates reformer teacher because it wouldn’t be as difficult for me to pass the certification exam. I’ve only had three classes on the reformer so I don’t know that I’d actually WANT to put myself through that but it was nice to hear anyhow.

I’m leaving work in a few minutes to go home and PACK. We have SOOOOO Much Stuff to bring with us to California. Leaving aside things like clothes, shoes, toiletries, makeup, and jewelry (for both of us! Dan’s wearing his grandfather’s cufflinks and studs!), we’ve got 4 cases of wine, many cases and flats of vitamin water and smart water, 50 umbrellas (luckily they’re still packaged compactly), and a whole bunch of decorations. Including these:

Yep, it’s the Huge Craft Project I’ve been talking about for months. I had been saving a whole bunch of old calendars for years, but never figured out what to do with them until I got it in my head to start folding cranes for the wedding. I folded and folded and folded for months, and then Dan’s mom gave me a bunch of HER old calendars so I was able to fold some more. After I was finished folding (I folded until I had no more calendars to use and no more origami paper; my intent was to completely make it be a recycled paper project and only used what I had and didn’t buy any more paper) I had a plethora of cranes (though, sadly, not a thousand as I didn’t have enough old calendars for that). I bought some balsa wood dowels from the craft store back in February and used embroidery floss, a glue gun, and a teeny tiny saw from Dan’s exacto knife set to create 12 different crane mobiles. Some are chandelier style, while others are more traditional mobiles. There are squares and triangles. I lurve them and plan to give them away to specific people after the wedding is over as a thank-you gift and reminder of a special day. And I’ll reserve one to give away to the person who guesses closest to the number of cranes in attendance!

So I had to individually wrap these in tissue paper as I’d like the strings to remain as tangle-free as possible, and then I boxed ’em up.

We have to pack for being away from home for two weeks(ish), pack for possible rain and (hopefully) nice weather, and pack stuff that we can wear in Las Vegas, Yosemite, and some canyon area in Utah (places we plan to stop on the trip home). Plus food and music for the drive. Plus a whole bunch of stuff that I’m forgetting. Packing will pretty much be up to me (except Dan’s clothes/shoes/etc.) because he’s driving up to Casa DanRents this evening after class and trading cars with his mom. Thanks, Dan’s Mom! It will be much easier for us to haul all this stuff out to California in a slightly larger vehicle than our Honda Civic. Hope Moxie treats you well!

Anyone who has opinions about cake or what I should wear to the afterparty, please continue to comment on the previous post!

Wednesday Wedding Day: The cake conundrum, and other details

Woohoo! It’s ten days until the wedding and surprisingly almost everything is done. Looking at last week’s list,

Print thankyou notes (Dan is still working on this, he’s using a letter press and it takes a long time!)
Finish and print program – done! Dan’s cutting them today (we’re just doing half sheets)
Finish playlist for eating and dancing – We have an eating playlist and a dancing playlist, and we still need to do some ordering of the lists
Rent music equipment – No longer needed, thanks to Dan’s awesome groomsman
Payment to caterer and photographer – paid the caterer today and the photog gets paid at the wedding
Final numbers to caterer – done! and the last person RSVP’d (FINALLY) so we will have 73 adults and 3 babies
Print escort cards, put stickers on them – doing this tomorrow at work
Finish ceremony – Done! All that’s left is in the hands of our rockstar officiant
Packing list is pretty comprehensive – I’m starting the packing tonight so it doesn’t all have to be done tomorrow.

So, now what I’m thinking about is what’s happening in California. We’ll get out there pretty late on Saturday I think, starting our drive on Friday afternoon, staying somewhere in BFE western Wyoming once we are too tired to keep driving, and getting up early to finish the drive on Saturday. Sunday we’ll run some Bay Area errands. Monday I have a dress fitting, we’ll get our marriage license and order the keg of Fat Tire from BevMo (bought the CA wine in CO, buying the CO beer in CA. Krazy). Tuesday I’ve got a hair trial in the morning and we’re doing one last site visit with the caterer at noon, after which I don’t know what we’ll do – maybe get the cake figured out. Wednesday is still open (but at some point we have to make a big Costco run for afterparty food and breakfast-the-day-of food), Thursday we get the flowers we need, pick up the linens and go party our buns off in the city, and Friday we’ve just got a few little things like making all the bouquets, boutonniers, and corsages (me), setting up at the club, the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner. Then, on Saturday, we get married! Woohoo!

The big unknown remains the cake. Neither of us wanted to shell out umpteen dollars for a “wedding” cake (and I voted for tiramisu, myself, but was outvoted by someone who actually WANTS cake), so we have a couple of options. Option one: Get one 8-inch round cake for cutting from a bakery that we tasted at Christmas time (it was sooo yummy) and get a full sheet cake (will be plenty of cake for everyone) of the same kind. This option means there will be a lot of cake, but it will not all be displayed or at least not all pretty and fancy-like. It will be a LOT of cake – we’ll likely have a good bit left over. We could also get a 1/4 sheet and 1/2 sheet of two different flavors. These cost about the same as getting one full sheet cake (economy of scale and all that). Option two: Get the round from the bakery, then buy additional round cakes of various flavors at at a grocery store or, as our caterer recommended, round cakes made by a bakery in SF sold at Costco. I like this idea – they can be set up all pretty on cake stands and that way people get a choice of cake flavor, but we don’t know how much they cost and have never tasted them, so we’ll have to try one out when we get to California. Option three is like option two, but we get fewer cake rounds and get some pies too.

So what should we do? Should we go with what we know and get the sheet cake plus one for cutting? Should we get the one for cutting and trust that people will be happier with a variety of cake flavors to choose from rather than thinking we’re cheating them out of the same cake we’re cutting? Should we include pie in the equasion, or will that mean we have to get ice cream, too? If you were a guest (and some of you will be there), would you rather eat the same cake the b&g cut in sheet cake form, or would you rather have a choice of cake (and/or pie)? We don’t have much left in the budget, so unfortunately buying all rounds of what we plan to cut is out of the question – they’re $35 each! I hope the rounds from Costco are less than that!

The other unknown is what flowers we’ll end up with. We have two yards of flowers being offered to us, one of which may be tapped out by then (my mom planted a whole bunch of tulip and iris bulbs far later than she normally does hoping that it would delay the blooms, but apparently they’ve foiled her plans and have already begun their spring showoffs). The other yard has lots of calla lilies and some roses, I think. Plus there’s the wholesale flower place, and I think all together we can end up with some cool stuff. But I’ll have to make six boutonniers, five or six corsages, and five bouquets, plus have flowers for the tables. That’s a lot of work! I am hoping people will offer to help (I don’t want to ask or require anyone to do so, since I don’t want to make my guests do anything) but I may end up biting the bullet and asking for help. That’s a lot of flower wrangling!

Also, we’re having an afterparty. Should I wear my wedding dress to eat gardenburgers and potato salad, or should I change into something else?

Ah, all these little last-minute insignificant details. But please, do weigh in on the cake question!

Literary Monday, Tuesday Edition: No, I have not forgotten how to read

For a few months there I was so caught up in other stuff that I kind of stopped reading for pleasure, other than re-reading things I’d already read for an escape. Do you ever do that? Re-read something you’ve read umpteen times before, just because it’s familiar and comforting and something you won’t have to work at? In February I re-read Ender’s Game (my favoritest book ever) for about the 38th time, and re-read some Piers Anthony light fantasy. But this month, wedding stress is coming to an end and I’ve branched out from Safe in order to read some good, meaty stuff.

Well, the first thing was Anne of Green Gables. Yes, I’ve read it before, but not since I was about 9 years old. I’d found a used copy in a bookstore a few months ago but forgot about that and happened to be browsing my children’s/YA bookshelf when I saw it and thought to myself, ooh! So I read it. Then I found the first sequel, Anne of Avonlea, last week in the same bookstore and read that too. Both were every bit as good as I’d remembered – perhaps even better, now that I’m reading from a more adult perspective – and I enjoyed every minute of my time on Prince Edward Island. And now I have much more incentive to acquire and read the others, since I never got past book 2 when I was nine (no interest in Anne Shirley after age 16, she was waaaay too old for me to be interested!) Now I am interested.

I also read The Namesake after picking it up in the bookstore last week. (To Leah: Now you have ME doing it! Nah-me-sah-ke!) I started it on Friday, my birthday day off, and finished it last night. It was really good, a little depressing, and entirely fascinating. Monkey writes a lot about what it means to be a 2nd generation desi (I hope it’s OK for me to use that term) so reading this book made me think of the stories she has written about (and told me) and also make me think how interesting it is that different cultures deal with the clash between what it means to grow up in America versus what it means to be part of that mother-culture. Possibly the most well-known author writing similar stories of growing up 2nd generation in America is Amy Tan (Chinese), and I’ve read stories written by people of other cultures as well – Mexican, Irish, German, and others written by Indian-Americans.

I really enjoyed the basic underlying theme of the book encapsulated by the title, what our names mean and how who we are named for and under what circumstances might affect our lives in trivial or profound ways. As I’ve written about before, I’m a name buff, so I love reading about the ways in which people in other cultures go about naming people. Jewish people, I have learned, name babies after deceased relatives (but never living ones, and usually it’s just a shared first initial rather than a fully shared name between the deceased and the new addition). Some people start out having a baby name and have an adult name later, and some people are given one name but are always called by a nickname. Despite being many-generations American, this was the case for my father’s family, as he and his sisters were all called by nicknames, most unrelated to their actual names, into adulthood (and four of the five of them still are!)

The book I’m working on right now is The Year of Living Bibilically (from the library, I’m too cheap to buy it). I’m about 4 chapters in and really enjoying it, so I plan to review it once I’m finished. I’ve got a couple of other library books as well, so maybe next week in the middle of all the wedding craziness I’ll write about them too!

My little toe and part of my spleen are Irish

Thanks for all the lovely birthday wishes, everybody. I ended up having a really good birthday. I went to breakfast, read some of a new book I bought (The Namesake), took my yoga class and felt really good afterward, ran some errands, and went out to dinner with Dan at a really nice restaurant to which we had a $50 gift certificate, so the meal was half the price (we ordered a bottle of wine).

The weekend felt sort of like an extended birthday celebration. I got to eat some things I almost never eat (like my favorite cheese, Irish Dubliner) and Dan made me a birthday cake last night (apple spice with penuche icing, SO YUMMY). We crossed almost everything left on our to-do-before-the-wedding list and just have a couple of things left. On more than one occasion, I found myself saying, “I should be working on something” but didn’t know what that something might be. I wonder if that feeling will stick around for a while after all this wedding stuff is over.

Yesterday, as we walked back from the grocery store (tortilla chips for guac, apples, and split peas in hand) we had a little discussion about why it is that so many people with the ability to claim even a droplet of Irish or Italian blood say they are Irish (or Italian). I’m sure it has something to do with the historical issues in this country with being Irish or Italian (I mean, at one point, THEY were the ones people were prejudiced against). But if you’re 5th generation Irish (or Italian), why aren’t you just *American*? Why don’t Americans feel like claiming that as their ancestry is good enough?

I know that my mother’s maternal grandmother was 100% Irish (from Ireland, a Sheehan) and her grandfather was part Spanish and part something else. There’s Irish on my dad’s side, too, though I think not as easy to trace. If you add up all of the Irish in me from both sides it’s probably about 20-25%. As far as I know, no Italian. Lots of German, some Swiss and some English and some Dutch. How I ended up looking as I do is somewhat of a mystery (the brown hair from the Spanish great-great grandmother, the olive skin that tans easily from the southern German on my dad’s side), and I’ve had people ask me if I was Italian or Spanish or Israeli and one time someone thought I was Persian. But you know what? Even though I know a bit of the history of my blood and what countries the people who supplied my genetics, all those generations back, I don’t consider myself anything but American. Even on St. Patrick’s day. I am wearing green, but I’d likely do that anyway.

It could be something special just for me

Once upon a time, people had to be patient in order to get stuff. There was no such thing as overnight shipping, no internet, no ordering by phone. In the musical “The Music Man,” there’s a song about the Wells Fargo Wagon – the means by which people got stuff they ordered by mail through perhaps the Sears Roebuck or other catalogs, and you never knew when it might get there. When the wagon came, it might have your dishes or your raisins or your double boiler, or someone else’s salmon from Seattle or a gray mackinaw. There was just no telling.

These days, we have the luxury of impatience. We have telephones and the internet, and we can buy sparkly things we see on TV, and if we act now we get a free gift. We have instant global communication and extremely fast transport of goods and services, all around the world, even to exceedingly remote places. Hell, you can get movies delivered to your house and you can watch them and send them back (for free) whenever you want. These days, it’s unusual to have anything but bills and junk mail in a mailbox, as people tend to communicate through faster modes and nobody sits down to write a good, old-fashioned letter.

Recently, we had a bunch of non-junk, non-bill mail come through our box. Granted, they were postcards that we’d made, addressed, and stamped ourselves and all people had to do was send them off and write whether or not they intended to come to the wedding. Most people opted to RSVP online anyway. But for a few weeks there, the mailbox was truly exciting, something to look forward to every day rather than something to sift through and toss the contents in the recycling bin.

Yesterday was a red-letter day for our household. While Dan was home for an hour in the afternoon in between work and class, he received a package from FedEx, a package from UPS, and signed for a registered letter. UPS brought a wedding gift from a friend of ours who lives in town, and the registered letter had shocking contents I won’t even go into. There was also an engagement ring in the mail, courtesty Dan’s mom (I left it at Dan’s parents house when we were up there this weekend). And best of all? Well, best of all was my new camera!

I’ve spent the last 20 minutes trying to upload the photo. It’s not working. I’m getting rather hungry and am going out for breakfast *by myself* – have never done that before – so rather than wait another 20 minutes, let’s all pretend there’s a photo of me up there taking a photo in the mirror so you can see my new camera. Isn’t she pretty? I’m so excited to finally have a camera again!

I also intend to go to my yoga class at noon and spend the rest of the day doing things I enjoy. Thanks for the advice, QIR.