Monday, November 29, 2010

The Capitol Building is Way Cool

Shawn and Sandi had invited us up for the very cool and swanky Pretentious Thanksgiving and Matt swore to them if he had to quit his job to come, he would be there. Sean replied appropriately that that would be very pretentious. So a couple of days after we came back from Montana, Matt and I flew out to Raleigh, NC. We visited with Luke for the night and borrowed their car to visit Jesse the next day. We were able to meet his new girlfriend which we liked quite a bit and hope to see more of her in the future. The next morning Matt and I needed to catch a train up to DC to get to Shawn's house and Jesse drove the car back to the Smithinger house. We lost some time on the drive an barely made it to the train, but all's well etc. Matt loved riding on the train and I have to say, there was an extreme feeling of leisure. Comfort-wise it seems the best way to travel.

We were warned half-way through the ride that Alexandria would be the best stop for us to get off on and I think I confused the lady who was counting heads when we got off too early. We took the Metro the rest of the way and Sandi and Merissa were nice enough to come and pick us up. We had the best time hanging out with everyone. Emmelyn, Shawn and Sandi's daughter is getting cuter by the day. Sandi is pregnant with her second and was a cooking and preparing powerhouse for the party. She was amazing.

As for the event itself, the food was amazing. The tobacco course was really enjoyable, the salad was perfectly light, the sweet potato souffle was flavorful and creamy, the smoked turkey was moist, and the desert looked and tasted great. The wine (and one pumpkin beer) pairings with each course were so fun and I really liked seeing so many of the girls from the wedding. One by one they went upstairs to get in bed with Merissa and we teased Luke about it. He tried to look brave enough for the task. Matt and I were piled on top by the end, Merissa's thigh makes a great pillow.

Shawn and Sandi were nice enough to let us stay for a few days after Pretentious Thanksgiving to see DC. We toured around with Kyle, a friend of the Gremminger family, and saw Arlington National Cemetery, the Lincoln Memorial, the White House, Lafayette Park with it's tame squirrels, the Vietnam Memorial, the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, The National Botanical Gardens, the Library of Congress, and the Capitol Building. I'm so glad I saw everything I did. It was all very interesting and I especially enjoyed the conservatory in the botanical gardens. Apparently when someone gets caught smuggling rare plant species into the states, the US just gives them to the conservatory. There were all sorts of amazing flowers there. I'm sure if I knew more about the different types of rare botanicals I would have been even more impressed. They had the very rare and endangered Ghost Orchid just sitting there, no big deal. You might remember it from the movie Adaptation. I'm thinking that instead of going through all that trouble to get it from the dangerous swamps, they might have tried sneaking it out under their coat from the conservatory. The staff was busy anyway setting up some sort of Christmas event they were shutting down for.

Poor Kyle had visited the Library of Congress' lobby before but it was an entrance that was not particularly nice looking. He assumed it all looked as institutional and drab so he wasn't so hot on visiting it with us. Turns out the Library of Congress has an awesome entrance and a not so awesome entrance. He was so surprised and pleased with the awesome Jefferson side. It was breathtaking. Pictures will be posted to do it justice.

The whole construction of the library was kind of interesting. Congress didn't see much of a need for a huge library but they had been basically forced to take on Jefferson's entire book collection. They kept it in the Capitol building. It didn't grow much until the librarian at the time tricked them into putting the copyright office in the library which adds a copy of every book that gets a copyright. The dude wanted his own building, you can just tell. So when the little library room in the Capitol was overflowing with books, he asked for money to build a larger building. Smart guy. But he died and someone else had to build it. They weren't given a ton of funds though. They really could only afford to build a decent structure. Any extra embellishment wasn't fitting in the budget. So they took a chance and went around to artists and sculptors of the time and said, "Look, we can't pay you. But we're building the nation's monument to learning and you want to be in on that. Do the patriotic thing and work for us for free. They really didn't expect it to work, but it totally did. The interior of that building is fabulous. It looks like there were loads of money thrown at it. Turns out the building finished under budget and ahead of schedule. The only national construction project that ever has, they said. So they used the extra to throw some money the artisan's way. Anyway, I liked the story and those rooms were breathtaking. I appreciate the hard work.

The Tea Party was near the White House.
We left a couple of days later for New York. We made last minute plans to have real Thanksgiving with Matt's family down in Atlanta, so we had time to kill. Sean and Sandi were amazing and we loved seeing DC. Thanks guys!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Montana Held Off on Snow to Welcome Us

We were sad to leave Tulum behind but we felt like we had finished there and were happy to come home to family. But we weren't so tired of travel that we didn't make plans a couple of days later to take a road trip to see the Bitterroot Mountains in Montana. Matt had heard once that even to Washingtonians, who are somewhat accustomed to fantastic mountain vistas, the Bitterroot Mountains will leave a stamp on your perception and every other mountain will be colored by your past remembrances of it. Or something.

We spent the first night of our road trip in Spokane on Halloween with a charming couple and their son. We had a fabulous pork roast dinner and enjoyed a long chat over wine. After their son was sent to bed we all watched Desperate Housewives together and went to bed ourselves. Great guys.

We arrived in Bitterroot the next day and set ourselves up in a Super 8 in Hamilton after doing a bit of bargaining. The poor guy had an empty lot and was willing to make a deal. I had a chance to talk with him the next morning. He was a really sweet and methodical kind of guy. We went out for a hike to see some of the mountains nearby, which were pretty much as advertised. I'm not sure what sort of optical effect it was but you would climb to a lookout and be assaulted by the sides of the mountains. I couldn't help but reach my hand out to touch them like they were some sort of movie backdrop. The ridges are so massive I was trying to imagine them as an intricate toy instead of a view of mind-boggling size. We were loosing light so we went back down into town for dinner and a beer at the brewery. I wanted to get a look at the local color so Matt and I moved down to the Rainbow Bar. A worn and washed out exterior guaranteed to have the dark paneled walls and ancient beaten down bar with the characteristic honey glow of something that has been there for a very very long time. We played some darts (still haven't lost it), chatted with Aly the bartender and then Solomon noticed us on the other side of the bar. He came over, introduced himself and asked us where we were from. When we told him we were here to see the Bitterroots, he loudly replied that he was pretty sure we had some mountains over there but was very pleased that we had come all the way to see his backyard. Aly set us up with a Rootbeer barrel: Jager bombed into beer on the house and we were treated to a whiskey from Solomon. We had an absolutely awesome time playing terrible games of pool and talking gleefully wry politics with Solomon. He let us in on the secret that he was high and we whispered back that we weren't too surprised considering he reeked of it when he came in. He pouted softly and said he thought he had been doing so well. It was the best welcome we could have received and Solomon gave us some advice on what to see nearby.

Every Montanan we met was very proud and still awestruck at their own country. There was a deep love when anyone we met talked about their surroundings. Except for Super 8 guy, Keno was more his thing.

Next morning we drove to Livingston and met with Rhonda who lives just a bit north from Yellowstone. We lived it up with her and her friends that night. It seems like everyone knows everyone. All her friends have worked for Yellowstone at some point in time. One of the fellas works as some sort of researcher in Antarctica. She introduced us and the first thing they said to us is, "Hey, that's Sasquatch country." Two of the fellas say they've seen Bigfoot. One from close up when he was young, and the other from a little further away when he was older. They seemed very certain and Rhonda seemed very certain that it was impossible. Matt and I maintained a diplomatic willingness to accept firsthand accounts but all the while wishing for that best of all worlds: proof. It's hard to not take these fellas at their word though, they were great conversationalists and honest seeming folks from varied and interesting backgrounds.

We drove through Yellowstone the next day and saw a ton of Bison, Doe Elk, a couple of Coyotes but no wolves and we hear the moose have mostly left since the last large fire in Yellowstone. The geysers and hot water pools were bizarre and beautiful. We had the park nearly to ourselves and got to amble along at our own pace. The longest waits were when the bison strayed onto the road. They don't seem to move for anyone. We were able to catch the Yellowstone Canyon at sunset before sleeping at a motel in Gardiner. We drove out back into Yellowstone the next morning to see Lamar Valley in hopes of catching sight of the wolf pack that lives there but no such luck.

We drove to Glacier National Park where we had hoped to meet up with a girl named Katie who wanted to host us but we couldn't seem to connect so we stayed in a cute cabin themed motel nearby the park entrance at West Glacier. Matt and I spent the night at a bar in walking distance and played a lot of pool and darts. We threw a buck into the video poker machine, but it wasn't really very fun. The taps were foaming all the micro-brews so Matt had a mixed drink but she eventually passed him a micro on the house later. I played a good couple games of pool and managed to pull off a pretty fantastic shot which Matt flattered me on all night. No complaints here. We drove as far in through Glacier as we could the next morning after a killer breakfast at a diner. The Going-to-the-Sun road was somewhat closed off so we hiked the trail to Avalanche Lake which was absolutely amazing. We had heard that the bakery nearby was a local favorite so we stopped and picked up some huckleberry beer bread for mom and drove to see Bowman lake which was beautiful but we really enjoyed the drive up through an old burned part of the forest that is slowly growing back. We stayed at the motel one more night and left in the morning to drive back to Spokane.

We had read in the Gonzaga newspaper that there was a haunted hotel in Spokane. Matt is on a mission to see a ghost so we thought this might be a good opportunity but they were all booked. We stayed at a motel instead and left early the next morning to drive north to see the Grand Coulee Dam. Matt will regale you with all sorts of information on the size and power of the Grand Coulee if given half a chance. There seems to be a bit of a rivalry between the smaller but more popular Hoover Dam and the massive Grand Coulee that no one seems to appreciate. I felt some definite barbs leveled at the Hoover dam during the tour. That being said, numbers-wise there is no comparison, the Grand Coulee is a heavy weight champion. We enjoyed the tour very much. It felt very nostalgic to me. The free tours that families take to marvels of modern engineering seem to me to be from another era. I enjoyed the time travel.

To save time on our way back to Battle Ground we took some state highways that sent us through the empty farmland of eastern Washington. With harvested fields as far as the eye could see, we felt confident that the speed limit signs were the barest of suggestions. It was interesting how the highways turned for seemingly no reason on that broad expanse only for us to come right up against a grain silo a mile down the road. I don't think I've ever followed a highway that intentionally shifts to hit certain loading spots before. We made great time but it was still a really long drive south and then down the gorge to Portland. I was driving at this point and it was raining heavily. Matt and I were getting cranky and hungry by the time we got to Portland. We were looking for a particular restaurant but settled for a hole in the wall downtown. It was good food though, and I felt much less grouchy after that. We were so happy with our road trip, but equally glad to get home for a couple of days before we were going to head out to Raleigh and DC for pretentious thanksgiving with Luke's brother-in-law Sean and his wonderful wife Sandi.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Welcome to the Jungle

I can´t seem to decide what´s worse, trying to avoid pot holes while driving, or trying to avoid crabs while driving. At night the crabs come out to feed, then scurry back to the ocean to breathe. Unfortunately for the crabs, this requires them to cross roads, which is the equivalent of surviving an air raid in 1940´s London. I try to avoid the crabs, but sometimes I think I´m the only idiot swerving quickly to protect an animal known for cannibalism. Colleen and I have seen signs to try and protect the crabs, don´t eat them, etc, etc. But I think it´s hard for a country to protect a semi-aquatic species when your citizens and tourists are running over them.

We´ve eaten at a few carts along the side of the road. The one thing about this that have to say is whatever Mexico is doing to its beef, the U.S. better adopt pronto. From a mexican cart I´ve had one the best burgers ever. I haven´t had ground beef taste like that in years. It puts every restaurant I´ve been to to shame. Cheaper and more delicious. And no case of the runs. Sometimes you might get that from McDonald´s.

Today we´ve went to Hidden Worlds and took the Ultimate Adventure pack. This included a sky cycle, zip line, snorkeling, rapelling, roller coaster zip line and snorkeling a cenote. All for a fairly reasonable price. We also zip lined into water in the cenote, which was one of the more fun events for me. We went twice, forwards and backwards. It´s hard to describe the feeling of a drop off rushing away from you while zipping down a line and not being able to see where exactly you´ll hit the water. The roller coaster zip line was really awesome, just imagine a regular zip line, that goes up and down through the jungle, down a water slide, into a cenote into cool water. All under the power of gravity. The roller coaster does have a few kinks however. The couple we were with were having a great time, but the guy got stuck in the middle of the roller coaster, twice. He went down the first time and got stuck in the cavern above the water. Our guide told him to push off the roof of the cavern. The second time, his whole handle bar came undone, and he dropped. Fortunately he was on the water slide when this happened, but this slide is about
40 feet above the water, and shallow water at that. Our guide had to go up, climb into the slide, and help him out. Perhaps a weight limit would be advisable.

Colleen has been very demanding. She peeled and cracked a coconut, to get to the milk inside, only to find it was rotten. So she found a more healthy looking coconut and went for a second go at it. It turns out non rotten coconuts are harder to get into. One of the cabana staff came by and saw her working tirelessly on this coconut. He told her it wasn´t right and there would still be no milk inside. She stopped and giggled and thanked him. He then said would go grab some coconuts and open them for us. We told him it wasn´t necessary, but Colleen must have given him some kind of look, because he showed up with two coconuts opened and straws poking out of the top for us to enjoy.

Drinking from a coconut. I thought I could only do that with Bugs Bunny or Daffy Duck. I miss Looney Tunes.

We watched the full moon rise last night, then the sun rise this morning. Sometimes you´ll see pictures of a full moon next to a sun, or in mid-day. The sheer mechanics of this are mind boggling, as it is impossible. However, I did see a full moon in daylight, but the circumstances must be right. It should be about a day after the true full moon, that way the moon wont set as the sun rises. As the sun rises, you can watch the moon lower in the sky, all the while the sky becomes more blue. After the sun completely rises, the moon should still be above the horizon. You also have to have no clouds, did I mention that? That one is important.

Oh, yeah, we crashed a wedding. I´m glad no one did that to us. We were looking for a party on the beach and we found one, just not the right one. That´s the problem with having a wedding on a public beach, it might get confused with some other celebration, like a moon rising party.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

We have no images to give you

Blogger´s image posting is down, but that´s just fine as we probably won´t upload our photos until we get back. We went and saw the ruins at Coba yesterday and I think both of us have seen enough stelae (carved stone slabs usually commemorating some local ruler) for a life time. Ah, but we haven´t even been to Chichen Itza yet. But those stelae are a bit different as the rulers of Chichen Itza were non-Maya mostly. Totally doesn´t count at all, those stone carvings are going to be dastically different. I swear.

We snorkled in the Grand Cenote. Fresh non-salinated water is and pretty much always has been a bit scarce in the Yucatan. Cenotes are collapsed parts of the underground water system (all that limestone has come in handy) that can be really helpful ,say, if you´re building an empire. Usually there are ruins nearby. Cenotes were considered sacred and various things were thrown into them to encourage benevolence from the rain god. Pottery,  precious stones, people (children seemed to be a favorite), etc. Alas, no special items were discovered but the underwater stone columns are breathtaking. You could probably go quite a ways through the whole underwater river system if you were so inclined. It´s all been mapped, so some enterprising person has. Those branching off parts were deep and dark. Matt and I preferred to stay in the brighter fun areas. I guess we don´t have the hearts of cave explorers. Fish nibbled on Matt and we saw a turtle.

Today we went snorkeling by the reef near Tulum ruins. Matt can´t seem to find a mask that fits his high cheekbones. We can´t get a good seal to his face so water comes into his vision quickly. Makes it a bit stressful and not as fun for him. The reef was lovely though. I went back down for another dip without Matt and saw one of those fish that suction to the side of sharks - Remoras. It wanted to sucker on to me, but I was thinking "no", so I wiggled my hands at it like I was going to bite it with my fingers. There he goes after our guide instead. The boat dropped us off right at our hotel´s beach and we got to wade into shore. That was the idea until a big wave come through. Ah, everything is drenched. Camera was safely at home. Matt was still in the boat, he was worried the boat had run me over a bit in the push. All was well, and exciting.

When they dropped us off they pointed out that just off the beach of our hotel was a small cenote, under water. Matt was up for yet another swim so we went out to take a peek. I´ve never seen anything like it. Visibility was terrible up on the top of the water. It was oily and swirly looking. I thought, "maybe it´s just so warm on the surface" because when you dive down, the water is fine. I thought it was strange but then we found the small cracks and 2 ft holes of the cenote. The oily substance isn´t oil, aha it is the cold fresh water gushing up from these underground rivers. There must be a current that is pushing it, and then it roars to the surface and the mixing of the temperatures creates motion and shift and blurs the water. You could see the different waters, it looked like clear smoke coming up from a fire. I took an underwater sip of the cenote. Fresh and delicious. Not salty at all. The fish seemed attracted to the area as well, must be something to eat, or maybe they like the cold? Hmm, doubt it. Since then we´ve dried off and stopped for ice cream. Matt had chocolate and I had rum and almond it turns out. Having a fine time and might be a bit adventuresome with a more local dinner tonight. This might spell gastronomic disaster but nothing ventured, etc.

Monday, October 18, 2010

White Ocean Noise Wave

I´m not sure if I´ve ever been more at peace while falling asleep than here in Tulum, Mexico. Our cabana is so close to the beach you can hear the waves crashing upon the shore all night. I´ve always fallen asleep to white noise, usually a fan, but the ocean waves are by far the best thing one can listen to while falling into a deep sleep.

Our cabana is much smaller than I imagined, though I´m sure that just means it´s cuter than any of the other places we could have stayed at. We are right on the beach which makes swimming fun and convenient. The town of Tulum is about a three minute drive away and while I´m on the subject, driving here is much easier than I imagined. It´s still different than the United States, but it seems the rules are you drive at least 20 kilometers over the speed limit, don´t worry about people on the side of the road, go around them, but go around them as close to them as you possibly can and don´t slow down for speed bumbs until you´ve already passed them.

Our first night here we experienced both the glory, and the depression of arriving in the off season. We ate dinner at a nearby hotel, where we were the only diners, so service was great. However, you could clearly tell there was a mood in the air, that most of the dollars have stopped coming in, the locals who work the area are starting to settle down from the hustle and bustle and there is a more laid back approach to just about everything.

We were exhausted after traveling and were asleep by 9pm. We slept for twelve hours. We agreed to take it easy the first day. Go swimming, grab some pesos from an ATM, go shopping for some sodas, beer, snacks, a cooler and ice to keep it all cold.

One surprise is the place we´re staying at now has 24 hour electricity. The wonders of the twenty first century! They ask us to still conserve as they are completely off the grid from the rest of the area. The electricity comes from a wind turbine on the premises. We´ve seen several of these, so I imagine each place supplies themselves. This is a community that is practically self sustainable. We see truck shipments come in, but that´s about it. They have their own water purifier and I wouldn´t be able to tell if Colleen hadn´t seen it.

The showers are a bit salty, even though every one has drilled into the local aquifer. Which means that too much fresh water has been pulled from the aquifer and the carribean sea is now seeping into it. The salty shower means I never feel clean, but I guess that´s a small price for living on the beach.

Today we´ve seen the Tulum ruins, which was very cool, but not quite the all day event we imagined it would be. I´m not sure what´s ahead, but I´m looking forward to our stay here.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

What do you mean it's not August

Matt and I are in Seattle for the weekend, visiting Grandma and the aunts and uncles. We plied him with the fakest of French Cuisine and chocolate caramel cheesecake. For those who have not had the privilege of attending a Seattle Reeves birthday party, there exists a unique theme for every birthday celebration. I imagine some day we might run out. Matt and I went out for a quick drink so the aunts could decorate in peace. Oh, strange new worlds and bizarre alien creatures.

During this trip we've learned two vital pieces of information.

1. Square envelopes require more postage because they can not be shoved through the automated machines that comprise the United States Postal Service.
2. Our thank you notes reached our well-wishers sporadically or not at all.

As this blog was told to people through the thank you notes, I have to wonder if anyone is out there. Well, here's to doing them twice.

We had a great time the next day going to the grand opening of the Lake Union Park and the 50th annual Greek festival. We saw Brooke and Jim, and had wine that tasted like pine needles. Apparently it's a thing.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Oh and

Matt's previous post about our two day stay in Seattle after the wedding was missing a couple of points I couldn't leave unsaid, or maybe I just wanted a chance to post some more pictures.
After the ceremony, Matt and I had a great but exhausting time chasing around the boat, saying hello to everyone, taking pictures, cutting cake, having Matt step on my bustle, bust it, and then start the first dance with the busted bustle un-bustled. I really thought I might fall and it was such a rush, I really wouldn't have had it any other way. We loved every moment on the boat but we needed to quickly check in to our hotel and get back to the rental house in time for wedding reception #2. The boat was so big, but I hope I got to say hello to everyone, and hopefully goodbye!

Matt and I left boat and sped off to the fabulous Inn at the Market. We walked in to the hotel and I don't know what really happened after that. I think there was some sort of sound like clapping, and the ladies waiting in the lobby crowded around. Cameras appeared out of nowhere. Matt escaped to the check-in desk. The women's husbands lingered on the edges. I think there are pictures of me on a lobby couch with my shoes off in someone's vacation slideshow, somewhere. I'd say Matt came to save me with the key to the hotel, but I was really having a great time. The ladies' excitement was rubbing off. So I was already excitable enough when Matt told me that they had upgraded us to the waterfront suite. I expect never to stay in a more wonderful room. It was all very white and modern with these classy little accents, but I couldn't really find the bed, and where was the bathroom? Matt said, "upstairs" and I didn't really get it for a minute. Wait, upstairs? Having two ocean views in one hotel room, stacked on top of each other was a bit mind blowing. I think we just collapsed there for a little while, rallied, ate a little complimentary truffle, cut me out of my dress with only a safety pin, threw something on and headed out for the party. We really can't thank Aunt Shelby, Uncle Pat, and Aunt Diana enough for setting us up there for those two days. It was the perfect break after such a fun and busy week.

Our booth had the second best artwork at Whiskey Bar.
I'm pretty sure Matt covered most of the rest. He left out some of the wacky parts, like the drunk girl at Whiskey Bar who ordered whatever drink I was having and our bemused and eventually successful attempt at finding the strip club Matt went to, or the dangerous late night bar sushi that I fought off with a quick nap and a slight fever. I can't vouch that the food was worth it, but the fellas to the right of us at the bar were top notch conversationalists. I think I'll always remember sitting at the park with Matt and watching the soldiers slowly sail into harbor, boat after boat, all day long. They stand to attention along the edges the whole time coming in. I didn't know that, and they coast in so slowly. I was a little worried that they were all very uncomfortable but it was a great sight to see all those white uniforms in perfect symmetry around the boat.

We hated to leave, but were happy to get home too. Oh, bittersweet.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Emerald Adventure

I used to consider myself to be a person who could not live in a city.  With the traffic congestion, crazy people, and noise, I think I would go nuts.  But after living in Bellingham, a small size of a large city, and living in the midst of Vancouver I think It's something I could do, if I had to.  Seattle is a great city and Colleen and I certainly got to see much of its charm for the two days after our wedding.  One thing cities like Seattle have to offer is the events.  There is always something going on and if you can't find something you'll enjoy, then perhaps life is just not for you.

We walked around Pike's Place for the two days we had to ourselves.  Monday was a day full of food.  I wanted to celebrate our marriage, so a couple of days before hand, I made reservations at a french restaurant located inside the market called Place Pigalle.  Colleen had the duck.  I had the risotto with duck confit.  Both were delicious.  I also had a wine, which I can't remember the name of, that was grown only in Argentina and was very good.

Earlier that day we had to take advantage of one of our numerous wedding gifts and eat lunch at Matt's in the Market.  We were specifically told to have lunch, not dinner, at this location.  The advice was great.  I had a beef brisket sandwich.  I'm spotty on what Colleen had.  The beer was good, although nothing that I wouldn't find in other places.  But still a nice selection of micro brews.

Of all the beer I had while I planned, shopped, drove, visited, and relaxed around Seattle the best was the Tandem.  I discovered this on the night of my bachelor party.  I enjoyed one more while sitting in a bar with Colleen during my last night in Seattle.  The next time I go, I may have to find a bar that serves that brew.

Our last day we shopped in the market.  We bought peaches, lychee berries, tomatillos and a painting to remember our short two day stint in Seattle.  The artist of the painting gave us 5 dollars off as a congratulations to our recent marriage.

Fortunately these two days are not the full extent of our honeymoon.  If they were, I'm not sure if I would still work for my current employer.  We will be enjoying the beaches of Tulum Mexico in mid to late October.  The weather should be great, as long as no hurricanes pay us a visit.

In which Matt is a ravenous sea monster.
We have also purchased plane tickets to Dublin Ireland.  We will be leaving on January 12 and returning on ???  That will be the first leg of our journey to Europe.  We're both excited and very happy at the deal we were able to get.

Blogspot does not recognize the words, confit, lychee, or tomatillo.  This blogosphere is more uncultured than I ever could have feared.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

My Anxiety is Your Happiness

The haircut was a huge success.
Enough of this posting about the preparation for the wedding. I can tell you what the preparation for the wedding was like: One big giant sleep deprived headache. It's time to write about the actual wedding. It is what everyone was there to see and it is why I woke too early several mornings and why I probably lost another couple strands of hair from my head.

The wedding was great. At least from my perspective, but that may be slanted since I was the Groom. However several people came to me afterward and mentioned how beautiful the ceremony was and how great of a time they had. This means a lot to me. I don't quite know how I would feel if people only had an okay, or terrible time at my wedding. Although I'm sure some did. One thing I've learned over the years, especially from my job, is that you can't please everyone. As long as most people had a great time, and I'm sure they did, then all the worry and hassle before hand was worth it.

Some of you may remember Colleen and I danced to the song "I'm on a Boat" by Lonely Island. I had a great time dancing to this and it seemed most people thought it was a pretty cool idea to play this while we were on the ferry boat. I've seen a video of us dancing and it does seem to make for a good time. While watching the video, I noticed some of my dancing was less than adequate. Although I admittedly would prefer other activities to dancing, I knew this was my wedding and I was going to boogie. Since dancing at my brother Luke's wedding, I've gotten more comfortable dancing in front of people and I'm at the point now, when while I'm dancing and I'm going to break loose and not care what others think. This video though, would seem to show that I don't know what the hell I'm doing. Although usually I would agree with that perception, the truth at my wedding is that that I was absolutely freaking exhausted. I had woken at two that morning because I was too excited. By the time the dancing came along I figured if I got through the Bride and Groom, Groom and Mother and boogie songs, I would be okay. This was perhaps not quite accurate. My poor gesticulations of feet and legs clearly shows an exhausted Groom that could easily be mistaken for just a bad white dancer.

Going back to how people were telling me they thought the ceremony was beautiful and they had a great time I must let everyone know of one thing. The beautiful ceremony, Colleen and I owe to our officiant, Darin Cline. I know Darin was nervous trying to pull this off and he went through I believe he said eight drafts of speech before everyone heard the one they did. The reason Colleen and I chose Darin to fill one of the most important positions of our wedding is because we knew he would pull it off without a hitch. He did a great job and we are forever grateful for his contribution.

Another big shout out of a thank you goes to Colleen and I's family. They were a great help in bringing everything together and we could not have done it without them. Some of their help wasn't even expected, like Colleen's uncle Pat making margaritas at the rehearsal dinner. Every small thing from lighting candles, to the most important such as Jerry at the barbecue for practically every hour of the rehearsal dinner and reception is greatly appreciated. We cannot thank you enough and although I doubt we will every be able to repay you, Colleen and I will most certainly do our best.

I was hoping to write about some of Colleen and I's time in Seattle after the wedding, but this is long enough. That will have to wait until later.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Hey I Know That Lady

As the Battle Grounders know, (because you were mostly all there, wow!), Val made sure I did my bridely duty and hosted my bridal shower for me. We walked in to a table full of delicious food and I had a great time talking to all the ladies, eating, drinking, and being generally blown away by all the kindness and generosity crammed in to one house. It was a salad plate theme and I am now ready for any salad related social emergencies. I don't think I should wait for one to arrive though. Better just to plan one and not tempt fate. Yes, I think a salad shindig is in the cards.

The younger girls and I had to leave to get to our reservation down at Darcelle's in Portland after a quick Jello shot with everyone at the house. My Bachelorette party there was hilariously fun and the "ladies" had us roaring. I recognized the host "Poison Waters" as a person we had bumped into on the street last time I was with the girls down in Portland. She put my hair up in a bun and then lectured me on proper bra-strap matching/hiding. I suppose that would have been good fodder for the interview when they pulled the brides up on stage.

After the show, it was over to Dixies. I saw the girls dancing on the bar top and said, yes, this is the spot. I was almost convinced to join in the dance comeptition up on the bar, but it filled up in the nick of time.

We danced, we laughed, I got way too drunk. Apparently we stopped by for voodoo doughnuts. It was a fabulous night. My poor sister and mother.

I didn't have much time to sit around feeling embarrassed the next morning. I went to work and got paid to feel not exactly on the top of my game.

Well, here's to only doing that once! 

Oh These Wedding Affairs

Things have settled down now, but what crazy fun it all was! Matt and I want to thank everyone for making it such a wonderful experience for us, and we hope you had as great of a time as we did. We owe a lot to our parents and all our family that came together to help make it happen. After the wedding we spent two days walking around Pike's Place. We and had a fantastic time but, pictures and stories about that later.

All of our photos will be uploaded onto I'll post little samples here but there won't be room for them all. The Aberles, Cindy Adkins, and Brooke and Jim have already sent me some photos and I was so excited to receive them! I think you'll enjoy them as much as I have. The whole house has been filled with all of us laughing and making little affectionate sounds at all the adorable shots.

I would love as many pictures as possible, so if you've got 'em, send them my way.