Happy birthday to my future husband! You’re the best thing that has ever happened to me!
Note: This is a picture of us in Carmel, CA, taken by JB’s Mom.
Happy birthday to my future husband! You’re the best thing that has ever happened to me!
Note: This is a picture of us in Carmel, CA, taken by JB’s Mom.
I met with the cake/flower lady today. Things went pretty well. Luckily, I pretty much knew what I wanted, so it was rather painless. In fact, most of the flowers will be purchased from Costco, and we’ll only be charged for delivery.
The reason why I met with her today was because I had ordered JB’s birthday cake, as his birthday is tomorrow. I thought it would save a trip if I could meet with her about the wedding and pick up his birthday cake at the same time.
Well, at the end of our meeting, I asked about the birthday cake.
“Yes, and what day did you want to pick that up?”
“I was supposed to pick it up today. I submitted my order two weeks ago.”
“Oh, well my assistant didn’t give me the message.” She said.
I think you can understand why this makes me a bit uneasy, considering we’ve already put a deposit down for her services. She’s going to “see what she can do” about his birthday cake. Which means I get to drive back there — wasting another 30 minutes of my time.
It would have been easier to bake him the cake myself, but JB specifically said he wanted to try the cake lady out. I hope this experience isn’t a foreshadowing of my wedding cake and flowers.
This past weekend, we went to Mammoth for a wedding. One of JB’s college buddies was getting married after TEN YEARS OF COURTING HIS FIANCE. God bless the woman that has the patience to wait ten years.
It was a beautiful ceremony in an outdoor chapel. After the ceremony, we all loaded the gondola with champagne in hand, and rode up to McCoy station at 8,600 feet.
While there, we were presented with unlimited quantities of food and drinks. The couple took a stand against the normal reception traditions, as there was no dancing, garter/bouquet toss, cake cutting, and the cake was chocolate. But everything was divine, really.
On Sunday, JB and I went mountain biking on a pretty crappy trail that was extremely sandy. The first three miles were straight up in sand, which is miserable in itself. Then, once we reached the well deserved downhill, it was even more sandy, so I had to do that extremely slow, too.
After mountain biking, we were sweaty and dirty, so we decided to go swimming in June Lake on our way home. It was a beautiful alipine lake with turquoise water. I could see all kinds of fish and crawfish as I swam along in the shallow water.
Here is a picture of June Lake:
As for those of you wondering why I ran into a camel at work yesterday, it was part of a golf tournament for work. All of the local casinos sponsored holes in the tournament, and there was a contest for the most creative and original hole. Can you believe that the hole with two camels didn’t win? Says a lot for the team that DID! I took photos at the tournament for a slide show at last night’s award banquet. I got a bit daring and slipped a photo of camel poop into the slide show, which everyone got a big kick out of! I’ll spare all of you of the camel poop pic.
Some days, you never know what you will encounter at work. This is what I saw today…
Our intern leaves today to move to Oregon and start a job as an ad agency account executive on the Taco Bell account.
Yo quiero Taco Bell.
Her leaving brings back memories for me…. Memories of graduating from college, and two weeks later, packing up all my belongings and moving to Michigan, a frozen land where I knew no one, to start a really exciting job.
It was an adventure. It was so amazing working in the GM World Headquarters. Everything was new. I felt like I had a clean slate on life.
And then, four years later, I decided to move to Reno. I picked up and started my life anew again.
It really is amazing how you can tear down your past life and set the foundation for a new one in another town within a matter of weeks. The whole process of resigning, moving, and starting a new job can be overwhelming.
I think the worst part about moving to a new city is leaving your friends behind. I still miss the friends I left in New Mexico and Michigan. Luckily, many of them like to come visit me (having great skiing and Lake Tahoe nearby serve as excellent motivators).
Over the past few weeks, I would chat with our intern about her plans, and tell her to enjoy the adventure of starting a whole new life in a new city as a single professional woman. It really is such an exciting time. It was fun for me to hear what she was planning, and to remember what it was like for me when I was in her shoes.
I think she thought I was envious of her. She mentioned how I could live vicariously through her. But I’m not at all envious. I’ve done it twice, and that is plenty for me. When I left Michigan, I specifically had the intent to move to Reno and set down some roots. I’m close to family, and absolutely love this area. I really hope I’m done moving across the country now, and am so happy with my current life. I’m getting married and digging the roots a bit deeper in a land that I love.
What our intern doesn’t know is that I’m embarking on an adventure of my own, and I have no desire to live vicariously through her. I may not be packing up and moving far away, but I’m creating a new life with the man I love.
What could be better than that?
I just picked up the invitations. They turned out really well. I really expected them to mis-spell my name (as 90% of the population does), or to goof up some of the text, considering the experience I had placing the actual order.
But they look great.
The problem? I totally didn’t think there would be so much assembly involved in these things! Oh…. my….gosh. Each invitation is a tri-fold, meaning there are 125 invitations that must be folded. You would think for how much we paid, they could fold the darn things for us! Then, they come with assembly instructions…
Here is what needs to be done:
Then, of course, they’ll need to be stamped (I’m sure this is going to cost more than 37 cents each) and addressed. Mom has volunteered to do the addressing, but good golly, I had absolutely no idea how complex this project would be!
I’ve had thoughts of bribing the girls at work to help me with this on a lunch hour, but will see how far I can get on our road trip this weekend.
Perhaps it takes the huge box of invitations and envelopes to fully illustrate the enormity of the Invitations task, but Mom has graciously offered to do all of the work associated with the invitations, mentioned in the previous entry. I’m hoping she doesn’t want to strangle me when she fully grasps the task at hand.
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
Seriously, that is a HUGE help!
On Monday night, JB and four friends of ours enjoyed the sounds of Chuck Mangione as he played on a stage that is on the beach of Lake Tahoe.
We showed up about an hour and a half early, and enjoyed wine, cheese, salami, incredible scenery, and great company.
The concert was very enjoyable, even though I was only familiar with one of Chuck’s songs before the concert. You really can’t beat the experience of a slight wine buzz complimented by beautiful music, my fiance at my side, and the sun setting over Lake Tahoe.
Have I mentioned lately that I just love where I live?!
This is JB and I during the concert.
This is Chuck Mangione and his band on stage as the sun was setting.
It is commonly said that weddings are one of the most stressful experiences in life, along with moving and death.
Well, people, I’m here to tell you WHY weddings can be so stressful…
It’s the darn wedding vendors. It’s all about them. I have been amazed at the utter LACK of interest and follow-up shown by the majority of the wedding vendors to which I have talked. And I’ve determined that they really don’t give a damn about customer service, because you really don’t need to worry about repeat customers in this industry.
When I first started planning our wedding, I thought that my web-savvy would save me a ton of work. I surfed around and submitted countless online contact forms.
No one responded.
Which meant that I had to go back and call these people.
And most of the time, they weren’t available, and didn’t return my calls, so I had to keep calling them.
Seriously, these people have created three times the work that should really be required for planning a wedding. This, ladies and gentlemen, is why wedding planners are in business. Wedding planners make careers out of contacting these incompetent people.
Here are the issues I’ve had:
I swear, it’s the clueless people that will drive me over the edge. I don’t have time to keep following up with them because they don’t know how to run a business. But I don’t really have a choice, now, do I?
As a disclaimer here, I do have to say that the banquet coordinator at the reception facility and my photographer so far have had excellent customer service. The rest of the ding-dongs could learn a lot from those two.
The fire is now 95% contained, and is far, far away from our wedding reception facility! Yeah! I was having visions of scrambling to find a new reception venue, caterer, etc., and that wasn’t a pleasant thought.
JB’s sister-in-law left a message on our answering machine this weekend saying that I was a “Powerhouse” for completing the Sharkfest Swim.
Yeah, I’m a Powerhouse, baby.
In fact, JB really liked that saying, and Powerhouse has become the new nickname he has given me. This entire weekend, he reminded me regularly that I am a Powerhouse.
So here is the picture of me, the Powerhouse, taken by the official race photographer.
This is Greg’s official race picture:
The fire continues to reak havoc in our area, and has finally made the national news. Yesterday, officials closed the main highway in between Reno and Carson City, so I had to join hundreds of other drivers in a trek up through Virginia City to make it home. The trip that usually takes around 35 minutes took me one and a half hours, and most of the time, my engine was in neutral because we were moving so slowly.
When I got home, JB and I decided to hop on our bikes to go check out the area where the fire had started. It has since moved North. Below are the pictures I captured on our bike ride.
This house was surrounded by hills that had been ravaged by the fire. Within feet of this home were burn marks behind it and all around it. They hung a homemade sign off their balcony that says, “Thank U”. This photo speaks volumes.
This is a few hundred yards to the West of the house in the picture above. You can see the black where the fire burned.
This is what the sun looked like last night through all of the smoke.
My photos have been posted in the Reno Gazette Journal Reader Fire Diary. My photos are numbers four and five.
Our reception facility, Thunder Canyon, has been evacuated due to the fire. This morning on my way to work, I clocked the fire at 2.4 miles away from the country club.
The mountains by Carson City are on fire. This fire has been called one of the most dangerous and serious fires in the nation right now. It is estimated that 2,000 – 8,000 acres have burned, but no one knows the exact number because the smoke is so thick.
Did I mention the smoke? You couldn’t even see the mountains from our house yesterday afternoon, and we’re only a few miles away from them. When I arrived home last night, the smoke was hovering right above the ground, and I could feel it making my lungs constrict. I could see a layer of smoke in the garage.
And the smell is horrible. In fact, my hair smelled distinctly of a campfire last night when I went to bed.
All of this because some kids were partying in the mountains and accidentally started the fire. And thanks to bad weather conditions, they doubt it will be contained for at least a week.
The trail that JB and I love to hike — the trail we hiked the day he proposed to me — is most likely gone. It was such a beautiful area, too. And now it’s scortched.
And here’s the kicker. As of this morning, I clocked the fire about 3 miles away from our reception venue for the wedding. I’m trying to remain calm.
Here are some pics of the smoke, although the local paper has a great photo gallery already set up if you want to see pics of actual flames.
This is the house across the street from us. Normally from this view, you would see the mountains.
This is a picture of a field and bike path by our house. Keep in mind that it was a completely clear day weather-wise. In Reno, the skies were bright blue.
And on a completely unrelated topic, here is one last picture of the friction burn on my neck. Did I mention yet that this hurts?! Ouch!
Well, the invitations have been ordered. I had the exact wording of the invitation and the response card type-written on a piece of paper. I had done research online to determine the exact wording of the invitation.
When I went in to place the order, the woman took my neatly printed piece of paper and proceeded to hand write everything on the order form, in really hideous handwriting. I sat there cringing, wondering if the fulfillment people would be able to read her handwriting.
I guess we’ll see when the invitations come in, which will be in about a week.
I wasn’t kidding about the friction burn on my neck from the wetsuit hurting like a mother… In fact, it is now a much redder and pronounced red ring around my neck. It is on both sides of my neck and it goes around the back of my neck. I seriously look like I was strangled or I tried to hang myself. Check this out:
I survived the escape from Alcatraz.
I had some doubters. Some of the comments I got before the swim were:
“Don’t be chicken to get on a rescue boat if you can’t finish.”
“I don’t think you’re going to do this…. Odds are against you.” (Referring to the fact that I got sick for last year’s swim and had to back out.)
“If a shark comes up to you, hit it in the nose. But don’t miss, because it’ll eat your hand.”
But I did it, and if I must say so, I did a damn fine job, too.
Let’s back up the story to the beginning….
I drove to Greg and Jane’s (my brother and sister-in-law) house in Folsom on Saturday. Sunday morning, we all woke up at 4:30 am in order to leave the house by 5 am. We arrived in San Francisco by 7:00, and got checked in. By 7:50, we had our wetsuits on, and had listened to the pre-race briefing.
Then started the Parade of Wetsuits. All 1000+ participants started to walk down Fisherman’s Wharf to Pier 39 where our ferries were. We walked in the middle of the street, barefoot, and it was quite a sight to behold. Three men had striped priosoner outfits on over their wetsuits, and another man ran into a pole and split his head open. I guess he didn’t get to do the swim. (Mental note: always watch where you’re walking.)
Greg and I boarded the ferry, and the ride seemed incredibly short. Before I knew it, we were lining up to jump off of the ferry. That’s when I started to get nervous. There was no hesitating. Once you were at the front of the line, you had to jump. Greg and I jumped together. It was only suiting.
Once we were in the water, which was 62 degrees, we swam to the starting line, which was formed by two buoys in the water. It looked a bit like the movie Titanic with everyone jumping off of the two ferries that carried us out to Alcatraz. Except everyone was wearing bright yellow swim caps…
Greg and I moved our way up to the front of the line, and before we knew it, one of the ferries blew its horn to signal the start of the race.
The next five minutes were consumed with me fighting my way against what seemed to be hundreds of arms and legs and bodies. There was a boat leading the way for us, and despite the fact that I stayed directly behind the boat, I had numerous people swimming crooked and cutting me off.
After about 5 minutes, though, everyone got spaced out a bit, and I settled into my stroke, making a mental note to keep it long and smoothe with a steady breathing pattern.
About halfway through the race, my wetsuit started to really rub on my neck. Every breath started to hurt my neck. Ouch. But more on that later.
I then got hit by one of the rescue kayaks. Its rudder grazed my nose ever so slightly, but enough to get me to poke my head up and get my heart racing again. So then I was paranoid about watching the rescue kayaks as I swam.
The swim was really pretty amazing. When I breathed to my left, I saw the Bay Bridge, when I breathed to my right, I could glimpse the Golden Gate and Alcatraz behind me. I could see the San Francisco cityscape. Really, not many people get to experience the San Francisco Bay as I did yesterday morning.
The boat that we were following kept getting farther and farther away, as it was leading the fastest swimmers to the finish line. It had some bright orange buoys attached to it for us to follow as a beacon. I kept swimming towards the orange color, as it got smaller and smaller. And before I knew it, I felt like I was swimming alone out there.
I can’t be THAT far behind everyone else… I was thinking. I really couldn’t phathom being one of the last to finish.
Then I saw a rescue kayak, and when I poked my head up to get a sense of direction, he yelled at me to turn left.
That’s when I noticed that I had been swimming towards an orange sign, NOT the boat I was supposed to be following. Damnit. I totally swam far out of my way because of that mistake.
Once I got headed in the right direction again, I started joining up with more swimmers. I made it to the finish and ran to the finish line.
48 minutes and 29 seconds is what it took me to escape from Alcatraz.
Greg was waiting at the finish line for me to take my picture (see below). I cringed when I saw that he was ALREADY DRY! That stud finished in 35 minutes and 45 seconds.
So are you ready for our results? (Drumroll please….)
Here is the pictoral proof that we accomplished our task, taken by Jane, who did an excellent job documenting this fiasco!
Greg and I before the race.
Greg and I with Jack (my nephew).
The ferry taking us out to Alcatraz.
Greg after he finished the swim.
Me after finishing the swim.
Greg and I pretending to be naked under our towels in the middle of San Francisco.
Remember when I mentioned the wetsuit rubbing on my neck? Well, here is what it looked like right after the race. I’m a true redneck. And it stings like crazy, especially when I take a shower!
Three months from today, JB and I will be getting married. That’s 92 days (at least according to my handy count-down tool above)… Only 12 weeks. Geesh. It still doesn’t seem real.
I borrowed a CD of wedding ceremony music from my sister-in-law, and when I played the Bridal March song, my eyes teared up and I got the chills. I think I just have to resign myself to the fact that I’m going to cry during the ceremony, and I should wear some waterproof mascara. I cry at other people’s weddings, so I figure I’m almost guaranteed to cry at my own, especially when I take Dad’s arm to walk down the aisle and catch my first glimpse of my handsome groom.
Anyway, this month, we’re concentrating on hiring a band (we’re considering four as of right now), planning the honeymoon, and ordering the invitations. Of course, my to-do list is much longer than that, but those are the biggies.
Since I’ve had wedding on the brain, I’ve been reading wedding related fiction. The Bride magazines and how-to books don’t do much for me, but the wedding fiction has kept me very entertained. I just finished reading Engaging Men and Otherwise Engaged.
The Otherwise Engaged book made me feel remarkably sane, as the main character is completely freaked out about her upcoming wedding, and required twice weekly trips to the psychologist and a prescription of Valium.
My current read is Diary of a Mad Bride. So far, it’s pretty good.
Every time JB sees me with a new piece of wedding related fiction, he rolls his eyes, and inquires when I plan to finish the book that he recommended that I read, Siddartha. It’s a philosophical book about finding your true Self. I’m half way through that book, and it is pretty good, but it just doesn’t deal with the subject with which my brain is completely preoccupied, so I find myself reading the other books instead.
JB, I promise I’ll finish reading Siddartha before the wedding.
So that’s really the update on the BIG DAY. Stay tuned for more details and madness.
To The Woman That Chastised me In the Pool Locker Room Last Night:
If you don’t want your young son to see a naked woman, don’t bring him into the locker room of a swimming pool. You see, after people swim, they usually shower, and somewhere in there, the swimsuit has to be removed before the clothes are put back on. I can’t help that your son was gaping at me, but you could help but bring him in there if you don’t want him to see naked ladies. The next time you tell me to ‘cover up’ even though I’m ‘not embarrassed’, I will have some choice words for you.
Dear Mr. Purple Minivan Driver:
Why must you park right next to my precious Trans Am? Did you not notice that I parked WAY WAY in the back of the parking lot so that it would be in the shade and it was almost guaranteed to not have anyone park next to it? Why must you park so friggin close to me that you’re actually IN my parking space? There are a gazillion empty spaces from which you can choose, AND, they are plenty big enough to contain the girth of your minivan. I’d appreciate you showing more consideration tomorrow morning when you choose your next parking space.
To my Jerkface Landlord that Deserves All Explicatives that I know:
I really hate people that lie to me. When we did the walk through on my house, you said the place was clean to your standards. You then called me three weeks later to say that I had left it filthy and hired a cleaning company to the tune of close to $500, eating up my entire deposit. Be very afraid of the bad karma that will surely be coming your way. God doesn’t like liars either.
JB and I spent four days in Albuquerque, New Mexico for the Independance Day holiday. He had said that he couldn’t marry me without seeing my homeland. And now, he has.
We did about every touristy thing you can do in Central NM. We rode the World’s Longest Tram to the top of the Sandia Mountains and hiked around at the crest of the mountain. There are wonderful views from there. We did Santa Fe, ate tons of New Mexican food, and even hiked at Tent Rocks (pictures to come later). We also attended Albuquerque’s largest fireworks show, Freedom Fourth.
On Saturday, we spent most of the day up at Amber’s house, which is East of Albuquerque. They own a house on 12 acres, and have chickens, dogs, and two horses. Amber and her husband treated us to horseback riding that afternoon. Being the daredevil that I am, I was begging them to let me gallop with the horse. Each time I asked, I would get a strange, but cautious look. I didn’t figure it was a big deal because I had ridden numerous galloping horses before.
Well, after Amber’s husband and I went riding, JB and Amber took the two horses out. When they got back, they offered for me to go out one more time for a good run, now that the horses were tired out. I was on the stallion named Buck. (Side note: Buck is actually a mustang from Nevada, of all places.)
When I kicked Buck’s sides, he started running. We never reached a smoothe gallop, and in fact, it was really rough. And then Buck started to buck.
My feet were slipping out of the stirrups, and I was hanging onto the saddle horn with all my might. I managed to get him to stop, and looked over to Amber.
“Was that bucking?”
“Yeah. You want to do it again?”
I shook my head no. That was plenty of excitement for me!
Later that night, my parents threw an engagement party for us. We had about twenty people come over, and it was good to see everyone. They were all people that I hadn’t seen for quite a long time. JB did great, considering he didn’t know a soul there, besides Amber. The excitement of the party came when a fire truck pulled up in front of our house.
You see, my mother’s cousins’ kids (follow that?!) had decided to light a bonfire of pine needles and silly string in front of our house, unbeknownst to the adults at the party. Evidently, a neighbor called the fire department. The fire had been put out by the time the firemen showed up, and the entire driveway was wet from being hosed down.
The ironic thing is that the fire department showed up right after the kids had announced that they were going to set off fireworks, and everyone should come to the front yard. So as all 20 of us were filing into the front yard, the firetruck pulled up. Dad said a few explicatives and head-tailed it back into the house. Luckily, we had a firefighter at the party (Amber’s husband).
So Amber’s husband went up to the firemen and started chatting with them.
“Have you been setting off fireworks?” one of them asked.
“No, but we’re about to. Do you want to stay and watch?”
They all shared a chuckle and the firemen hopped in the truck and drove off. Needless to say, Amber’s husband was the hero of the party, and my Dad was ever so thankful for him when he came back outside after the coast was clear.
That night, Amber, her husband, JB and I checked out a new club in ABQ called Graham Central Station. If you live in ABQ, you totally have to check it out. They have four bars in it — country, kareoke, 80s music, and rave. We had a ball going from bar to bar, dancing the night away. I was shocked when I walked by the DJ booth at the country bar and heard my name being called.
I turned around, and the DJ was smiling at me, saying, “you don’t remember me, do you?”
I looked at him, and from out of the air, I pulled out his name and remembered that I had swam with him back in high school. Woah. And he didn’t even play the song I requested.
But I digress. As for the rest of the mini-vacation, in addition to gorging ourselves on New Mexican food (which is VERY different than Mexican food), we indulged in Mom’s creations, including cinnamon rolls, quiche, carrot cake, chocolate chip cookies, and homemade ice cream. (Yes, the big DIET started again yesterday!)
We watched our family’s home movies on an old projector, and JB got to see me as a 5 year old cheerleader and swimmer, my first attempts at biking, and shots of my brothers in all of their 70s glory riding the go-carts that they built themselves.
We also had engagement portraits taken by mom’s favorite photographer, and they turned out really well. I’ll get them in a few weeks and will be sure to post them.
So now we’re back. I have four days until Sharkfest! Woo!