Monthly Archives: April 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.


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.

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 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.

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.

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.