Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

An adorable version of this song by two of the most adorable people around.  If this doesn't charm the pants off of you........well then, were probably pants-less to begin with.

Friday, December 30, 2011

2011 Goals Recap

I tanked 'em.  I am not even going to list them out because a)I really didn't hit any of them other than my perennial travel goals and b) I stopped caring about them many, many months ago.  In fact, I had to go back and read what they were to even remember them.  Not a good indicator for success. 

You know what though?  I am totally OK with it.  After the wedding I just kind of stepped off the merry-go-round for awhile.  For the first time in over four years I didn't have some Major Thing going on in my life that either absorbed stupid amounts of time or involved a lot of psychological work.  No work/school combo, no adapting to being in a relationship, no dealing with a dying father, no wedding, no dealing with the aftermath of a death and family implosion, no major emotional work to be done to wrap my head around the ideas of wife, marriage, grief or loss.  Nothing but just enjoying life and not pushing myself in any way.  It was kind of nice.

However, I have enjoyed my break and am ready to start challenging myself a little bit.  I have some things I want to accomplish and feel ready to get back in the game.  I'll cement what I am trying to work for the next year in the next few days and then post goals that I fully intend on achieving in 2012.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Time To Lay Off the Cookies...

...when the receptionist at work asks you if you are expecting. 

It is no secret I have gotten huge in the last few months but merely because of sloth-like behavior and a dramatic increase in the amount of crap I consume; not because I am gestating a little dingo snack. 

I swear that come December 26th I am back on the exercising and eating healthy bandwagon. Scout's honor.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Gobble, Gobble, Gobble

We are hosting a small gathering for six for Thanksgiving this year and preparations are, um, well...sort of underway.  We have shopped and Kevin is picking up our fresh turkey from the butcher shop tonight.  The house is still kind of a mess because we ground to an almost complete halt on any form of housework after the pumpkin carving party.  We should be able to get that all done tonight.  Maybe.

Anyway, our menu is going to be the basics but I am trying a few new recipes for some old standards.  Thank you internet for your bounty of available recipes and reviews!  Instead of just plain old pumpkin pie (don't get me wrong, I love it but want to try something new) we are having Honey Phyllo Pumpkin Pie.  Instead of the back of the package cranberry sauce I am trying Spice Scented Cranberry Sauce.  And because I have an ice-cream maker attachment for my KitchenAid that needs to be broken in still and some straight from a Tahitian market vanilla beans waiting to be used we are making Vanilla Ice Cream.  I am also going to make a pear, pecan, blue cheese salad with maple vinaigrette for dinner.  We have never had a salad on the Thanksgiving dinner table before and I think we need one item that is fresh and not entirely drenched in butter or grease.  But just one, let's not go crazy.

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving wherever you are and whatever you find yourself doing tomorrow.  

Six Months Ago ...

...I was here.  With the dark days and the wind howling and the rain pouring down I like to look at this picture and remember the warmth of Bora Bora, the fresh coconut water and a wonderful, relaxing perfect honeymoon with my sweetie.  Can I go back now?

*Our hut was the third one in from the right.  No, it did not suck.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Barbie's Dream Hearse

I passed this vehicle on the way to work this morning.  Why, oh why, don't I have some event planned where I need a limo?  I think I am going to have to create an event of some sort just so I can rent this bad boy out some day.  This would have been perfect for our wedding.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Bits and Pieces

  • I have been running again.  I managed to get out there four times in the last week including running Sunday night at 9:00 because I promised myself I would run last weekend.  Kind of proud of dragging myself out there for that.  My pace is slow and the runs are challenging right now but I am so happy to be out there running again and being consistent. My legs feel a little noodley at the moment but I know that will go away soon. 
  • I also went back to yoga class on Monday for the first time in almost a year.  Man am I out of shape.  Simple poses I had no problem with a year ago were really difficult.  My muscles were shaking in some poses and I couldn't hold a lot of them for the entire time.  My muscles are a delightful combination of tight and weak right now.  All the more reason to keep going to yoga class I guess.
  • We finished the floor and more or less put the house back together to host the pumpkin carving party, then we lost all momentum and have done very little of the other things that need to get accomplished.  We are hoping to have the remainder of the baseboards painted, nailed, puttied and touched-up by the end of this weekend.  Then we can hopefully work on getting Kevin's office unpacked so we can get the crap from his office out of my office so I can get my office back.  Someday......
  • "Walking Dead" anyone?  We started watching it this week and I'm not sure how I feel about it.  Everybody seems to think it is the greatest thing since sliced bread (sliced brains?) but I don't know.  It is poorly written and formulaic but I still can't stop watching.  Kevin, being a zombie freak for probably 20 years, feels the same way but is much more enthusiastic about it.  He is the Barbara Mandrell of zombies: he was zombie when zombie wasn't cool. 
  • There is a lot of baking in my future and I am sooooooo excited.  I haven't done any baking in awhile and I am getting the urge again.  Luckily, this coincides with the opportunity to bake three cakes in the next week and a half.  Woo-hoooo! 

Monday, October 17, 2011


The kitchen has gone from this blah, white on white, yawn inducing color scheme to this:

We couldn't be happier with the way the color turned out in the kitchen.  Of course now it makes the gold knobs that were only mildly ugly before, full-on ugly.  They will be replaced soon.

The floor is starting to take shape too.  After all day Saturday (and the help of my brother) and all day Sunday and Kevin working for about six hours tonight we have a good section of flooring installed.

OK, actually we have more than in the first photo but I am too lazy to go downstairs and take another picture.  The living room and dining room are done and the little entrance to the kitchen is done as is part of the hallway heading towards the front door.  Soon the memory of walking around on perpetually dusty, nasty feeling concrete will be a memory.  We will have a floor!! 

Of course along the way we discovered that we have another leaky heater and so two of our six heaters will need to be replaced.  This has also necessitated more drywall work than we anticipated but it has to be done. 

New gold paint and floor, glorious floor!
Old boring white paint and a section of the old flooring.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Watching Paint Dry

The house is starting to look like borderline insane people live here.  We painted the living and dining room last weekend and the color turned to a most unfortunate shade of pumpkin when it dried.  It didn't even mildly resemble the paint chip we chose.  So we went to a real paint place instead of a big box store and had them do two color samples and threw those on the walls. One was how the original chip was supposed to look and one was a pillowcase we had.  One looked great in the lighting in the dining room and one looked great on the living room walls.  So back to the paint store to have them make the bastard child of both of the paints.  And then we threw that in a few different spots on the walls tonight.  The colors aren't exact on the camera but you get the general idea.

We have spent far too much time sitting around watching the paint dry and contemplating colors.  I was going for a warm gold and Kevin is OK with any of the three so it is up to me to choose the color that will be on our walls for the next 10 years or so.  I will wait to see how the spawn of the other two (the middle one) looks after it dries completely and then see how they all look again tomorrow in daylight and will make a decision.  The rest of the weekend is painting, painting and, for a change, some painting.

Kevin finished drywalling the closet and is just waiting to spray texture on it. 
The old closet stopped where the white on the floor is.  You can see that we gained quite a bit of extra storage.  Heck, since the walls were ripped out because of the water damage we might as well take advantage of it. 

The other thing we got done today was to have the crack in our concrete slab fixed.  We discovered this when we ripped up the flooring in the dining room and kitchen.  Luckily, it wasn't a foundation issue so we could just seal it instead of having to have the floor jackhammered out and re-poured. 
The flooring will be delivered next Friday so we can start laying it on Saturday.  We have 1000 sq. feet of cork underlayment piled up in Kevin's office just waiting to be put down under it so we are almost all ready to go.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

A River Ran Through It

By now I should have a post filled with beautiful pictures from our fabulous Glacier/Canadian Rockies (amazing, stunning, jaw-droppingly gorgeous place by the way) trip.  Unfortunately, our time has been a more than a little consumed with some unexpected home renovations. 

The day after we got back from our trip I noticed some warping of the laminate flooring in our hallway.  We poked around a bit, saw a little bit of water near the warping and then heard the floor actually make a squishing sound when we stepped on certain sections.  Turns out our radiant heater in the hallway sprung a leak and let loose a lot of water that got under about a third of our downstairs flooring.  Luckily we think we caught it fairly early before it ruined cabinets or more walls.  Because they don't make our old laminate anymore and it would be too hard to color match we ended up having to rip up all of the downstairs flooring:  the hallway, Kevin's office, the bathroom, the understairs closet, the living room, dining room and the kitchen. 

So for the last week and a half we have been dealing with plumbers, insurance adjusters, water mitigation people and a whole slew of other fun stuff.  Even though it is mostly covered by insurance we have decided to do most of the work ourselves to a) save some money and b) because Kevin is really excited about putting down the new flooring himself.  Since we were going to paint the living room, dining room and kitchen anyway this fall we just pushed up our schedule and are going to do all the painting before the new flooring goes in.  It will be so much easier to paint without a floor or baseboards or furniture to worry about.  And since Kevin has everything out of his almost-an-episode-of-Hoarders-but-without-the-dead-cats-or-feces office we figure it is a good time to paint that and install a new light.  And since we were going to paint the downstairs bathroom at some point anyway we are going to just go ahead and do that now too.  You know, 'cause there wasn't enough on our to-do list. 

So instead of blogging about vacations and enjoying our pretty fall weather we have been moving everything out of the downstairs, which included boxing up all nine of Kevin's floor to ceiling bookshelves (why didn't I marry an illiterate man again?) and putting it in the garage.  We have been tearing up the remaining laminate flooring (which is actually really fun and satisfying) and have picked out new laminate and some tile for the bathroom.  The next few days are about removing all of the crap on the walls and prepping them for a marathon paint session this weekend. Hopefully, the new floor will be ordered and ready in the next two weekends.  We ordered the tile last night so Kevin will be quickly learning how to tile a bathroom floor.

While it kind of sucks to have had the "water event" it is kind of fun to get to completely redo the downstairs.  We are both excited about the way we hope it will look in the end.  

Just wish us luck and some strong backs for the work that awaits us. 

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

I'm Still Here

Good gravy, these have been a busy two weeks.  I haven't had time to do laundry, let alone turn my computer on at home.  Good thing that I have a few moments here at the old jobey-job today to catch-up on my crazy last two weeks.

I fully intended on some blog posts about some of this fun stuff but instead you get a list and maybe some pictures later.

In the past two weeks I have:  been to a Brandi Carlile concert at the zoo, ate Minnesota style pizza and drank bad beer before the Dave Alvin show at the Tractor, went to the Slow Food Roots Music Festival in Stanwood for tasty chow and more Dave Alvin, had a picnic at Chateau St. Michelle with friends, went to a baseball game, had two dance lessons, had a podiatry appointment (news flash:  my left foot is wonky), met with our new cat sitter, had to go down to Mom's place after work to help her after she threw her back out, hosted dinner and vertical wine tasting at our place for a couple of friends, back to Mom's place for a day of deck cleaning and power washing, hike up to Spray Park at Mt. Rainier, back to Mom's again after work on Labor Day (not a holiday at my job) for the rest of the power washing project to prepare the deck for staining.  Whew!  No wonder I am feeling a bit tired right now. 

Anyway, we are leaving for a camping/road trip to Glacier National Park and the Canadian Rockies this weekend so I won't have time for a proper blog post until we get back.  Hopefully I will come back with some beautiful pictures and tales of (safe) bear sightings and maybe mountain goats too!  Then we can commence with a slightly less busy life and get down to painting, decorating, running, yoga-ing and other healthy pursuits.

I hope everyone enjoys these beautiful September days!

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Great Closet Purge

This weekend I finally finished a project I have been working on for the past two weeks:  The Great Closet Purge.  I decided awhile ago that I wanted to give my closet a good gutting and get down to pieces I actually will, and do, wear.  I wanted to get brutal with it.  I also am beyond ready to jazz up my wardrobe a little bit and you can't do that when you have a closet full of crap.  Here was my purge criteria:
  • It had to be something I loved or at least really, really liked.  No more clothes I felt "meh" in or about.
  • It had to either fit now or be within eight pounds of fitting.  Totally arbitrary number I agree but it seemed more reasonable than either five or ten pounds.
  • It had to be comfortable. No pulling or tugging or, in the case of shoes, bunion hurting.
  • It had to be in decent shape.  So no overly faded, or pilled or frayed clothes.
So with those criteria in mind I tried on every stinkin' item in that closet.  Every. Damn. Piece.  And I looked in the mirror and assessed.  And I turned this mess

into this (OK, the change is more noticeable in person but humor me; it was a lot of work and is noticeable in person)

There is so much more room in there now and when I look at all the items I know it is all stuff I want and can and do wear.  It's funny, but having less in the closet actually feels like having more when it is filled with clothes you want.  It is liberating and I can not recommend this process highly enough. 

Here is the giveaway pile and the final tally of items to be donated.
  • 7 pairs of shoes
  • 8 purses
  • 13 sleeveless or tank top style shirts
  • 16 casual or t-shirt style shirts
  • 9 workout shirts
  • 18 dressier shirts/blouses
  • 15 sweaters
  • 5 pairs of shorts
  • 2 pairs of pants
  • 4 dresses
  • 7 pairs of pajamas
  • 4 jackets/blazers
  • 2 suits
  • 17 skirts
    Total items to be donated:  127
Now before you think I am some crazy shopaholic I would like to point out that some of those things have been in my closet forever.  Like since the late 90's kind of forever and I had been hanging on to them because they are cute and I thought I might like to wear them when I lost weight.  Some were more recent than that but a lot of them have been in there for many, many years.  I came to the realization that if/when I lose the weight I deserve new clothes and to let go of all the old things.  

Oh, and here is a disturbing blast from the past.  The skirt I am holding up in this picture was the same one I comfortably wore to my job interview 13 years ago for my current job.  
Yes, I am holding up the right seam to my right hip where a skirt would normally fit and yes, that skirt did fit beautifully 13 years ago.  I just want to go back and kick my 27 year-old self in the shins for ever thinking I was fat back then.  I actually contemplated my bone structure after holding this skirt up to my waist and wondering if it was physically possible that I fit into it at one point.  *sigh* 

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Back In The Groove

I have been out of the running habit for far too long.  Between injuries earlier this year, the wedding, and then just plain being out of shape and uninterested I got far away from my running routine.  Things have changed though and I am glad to say that I am actually running again.  The past two weeks I have gone out for three days each week and ran.  Not fast and no further than three miles but I am running.  The last time that happened was back in February.  More importantly I am making it a regular part of my life again and feel like I can start re-building some fitness and base building.  Hooray, I am a runner again!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Super Secret Saturday Surprise

Saturday morning Kevin sprung his super-secret surprise on me.  He had been planning something for a few weeks but wouldn't clue me in to what it was until we pulled into the parking lot.  He had bought us both a cougar cub encounter at Cougar Mountain Zoo!!!  See, guessing penguin hugging wasn't too far off after all.  The cub encounter allowed us both to go in the cougar enclosure and pet and play with one of the zoos three new cubs. 
The cubs are from a zoo in Wisconsin and I think the keeper said they were orphaned but don't hold me to that.  There is one boy and two girls and we got to play with one of the girl cubs.  The cubs are three months old and are in that "I want to do it myself" kind of tween stage.  She was interested in lots of exploring her enclosure and not as interested in playing with us.  I can't blame her.  The cubs get out once or twice a day to play under supervision in their enclosure since it isn't kitten proofed yet.  I would want to run around and explore too.
Even though she didn't want to play much with us we still got to watch her play and explore and observe her cat behavior.  It is so obvious that domestic cats aren't all that far removed from these guys. 

We did get to pet the cub and they have surprisingly rough hair.  I figured it would be soft like a cat but it isn't.  We also learned that they have spots and blue eyes when they are young.  We were encouraged to pet them on the back and not the belly (we laughed when they told us that; anyone who has owned a cat knows that all too well) and to touch the tail.  They will eventually do blood draws through the tail and want to get the cats used to tail touching as much as possible.  This cub weighed in at 13 pounds but she was all lanky muscle.  It is hard to believe because our cat Ollie is a big boy and he tips the scales at 15 pounds but is about half the size of this cat.  Female cougars get to be about 100 pounds so she still has some growing to do as you can see from her feet.
Look at the size of those paws!
It was so much fun to get to be that close to a cougar cub! It was also fun to be that close and not worry about being eviscerated by a lurking momma cat.  Cougars are fascinating animals but I admit to being a little intimidated by them in the wild.  We had a blast following her around, watching her explore and test her still slightly awkward jumping skills and to play a bit with some of her toys.  Later in the day we watched her two siblings play together and observed some really strong stalking instinct happening already.  It was a blast to watch.

We weren't allowed to pick the cubs up because, well....the cub wasn't interested in being picked up by anybody.  Even her keepers that she knew super well annoyed her when they picked her up.  Cougar cub growls sound a lot liked pissed off domestic cat sounds.  But we also found out that cougars purr.  In fact, they are the largest of the purring cats.  Here is our cub giving the keeper head-butts and purring for her.

Sadly, that isn't a cougar cub stuffed under my shirt.
 She is such a beautiful cat and we can't wait to go back to the zoo to watch her grow up to be a big cougar. We feel invested in her now. 

This was such a wonderful surprise and I am such a lucky woman to have a guy who surprises me with things he knows I will love, like cougar cubs. He was right; it really was a once in a lifetime experience and I am so glad we had a chance to do it.  It was so much fun.  And you would have been proud of me, I didn't even try to smuggle one of the cubs home with us!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Clothing Lust

It is going to take bucketloads of restraint to keep me from running to Banana Republic and stocking up on all of these Mad Men inspired clothes. I have never seen the show but I love, love, love '50's style clothing and I now have serious lust for these. They are soooooo pretty and I soooooo don't need to spend the money on them right now.  But I can look and dream.  *sigh*

Weekend Plans

I've  got quite the busy weekend ahead of me.  Tonight is a 5K race through my old hood followed by a post-race BBQ on Main Street.  This is a great race that I wish I was in shape for but I'm really going for the company (brother, bro's girlfriend, my friend Todd) and the chow.  Sunday we have to head down to my mom's place to skunk proof her yard.  She has been having some serious skunk problems of late and we need to block off the underside of her huge deck and shed and maybe climb into the neighbors yard to block off a hole in their shed.  She called a pest removal company this week and traps have been set. So far they have trapped one and her Jack Russell terrier killed another.  Yes, apparently it is mighty stinky in her neighborhood right now.  After skunk proofing we head off to Safeco for a Mariners vs.  Red Sox game which should be a blast.  The members of Red Sox Nation should be out in force and they always make a game fun.

But the big fun of the weekend (maybe) is something I don't have any clue about.  Kevin has planned a surprise for me on Saturday and won't tell me what it is except that it is "once in a lifetime" and "epic".  He actually back pedalled on the word "epic" a bit so as not to raise my expectations but still maintains it will be awesome.  I am so excited!  I have no idea what the expect.  I have tried a few guesses but he says I haven't got it right yet.  Of course, even if I did he wouldn't tell me.  Also I have mad, kind of spooky guessing skills and he is on guard for me to get it right and he is being very tight-lipped with clues.  He won't even tell me what clothes I am supposed to wear until Saturday morning.  Maybe I walk out in heels and a dress, maybe I walk out in flippers and a swimsuit.  No clue.

So far my best guesses have been some sort of extra-special super behind the scenes Safeco tour or a behind the scenes at the zoo tour where I get to hug penguins.  Maybe a tour of Safeco while hugging a penguin?!  That. Would. Be. Awesome.  But those are all the guesses I have for something once in a lifetime that could happen this particular Saturday for a few hours.  I can't wait to see what he has come up with!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Mountain Time

Considering how much Kevin and I both love to hike it is amazing we both don't get out there more and do it.  We decided that Saturday was going to be no more of that and we headed out for some day hiking at Mr. Rainier.  We had an 8-mile hike with moderate elevation gain planned and headed out the door for our drive to the mountain.  However, our plans took a detour when I realized that I had forgotten my hiking boots.  Clad only in sandals we decided to see what I could comfortably do without a) blistering myself too badly, b) twisting an ankle or c) beating my toes up on the rocks.

We could not have asked for nicer weather.  It was sunny and perfect temperatures up there.  The air smelled so fresh and piney.  It was absolutely perfect. 

We headed out on a three-mile loop trail and then, since the feet were doing great, decided to go a little further up to the Fremont Lookout. 
The trail behind me is the Fremont Lookout Trail.

See that little dot on the left bump?  That is the lookout.

We had a mountain goat sighting way down in the valley (yay!) and saw loads of beautiful alpine wild flowers. 

We also got eaten alive by mosquitoes.  Scratch that (ha! see what I did there?), I got eaten alive by mosquitoes.  Kevin has developed some weird mosquito immunity (he claims it was from six months hiking the Appalachian Trail) and even though they were swarming all over him he had no bites.  I had 20.  And this was before I put on the mosquito repelling shirt.  There was still loads of snow up there for this late in the season and the little blood suckers love to hang around the snowmelt line.

Kevin at the lookout, oblivious to the bugs.

When I mentioned loads of snow I wasn't kidding.  The trails were mostly clear but there were sections that had long stretches of snow.  Long stretches that went rather steeply downhill.  I was none to pleased about being in snow in my sandals and about having to navigate an icy downhill in shoes with very little tread.  Also, not being the most graceful critter I was worried about falling on my ass.  So instead we decided to do a little sitting glissade down one section.  Wet backside and frozen hands were worth not trying to walk down the slippery slope.

The hike ended up being about six miles round-trip so not that far from the original plan.  We are so lucky to have this beautiful place essentially in our backyard.  So gorgeous.  We have made plans to get out there at least once more this year for a more substantial hike.  I guarantee that I won't forget my boots next time.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

2011 Goals Recap

It is hard to reach your goals when you can't remember what they are.  It just occurred to me awhile ago that we are more than half-way through the year already and I haven't even thought about my goals other than my aborted marathon attempt and my mileage.  I have totally blown off almost all of my 2011 goals this year.  I might try to accomplish a few before the year is done but I am totally giving myself a pass this year if I don't.  I am feely blissfully unmotivated.  So what have I accomplished so far this year?

1. Run at least 750 miles - Bwahahahahahaha!  Next.
2. Finish a marathon - Nope.  I instead made a very costly "donation" to the Portland Marathon.  I am going to spend the rest of the year re-building my base for a spring 2012 marathon.
3. One stretching session for each day I run during the week - Not even close.  I might try bringing this one back this year.
4. Lose 30 lbs - Currently I am about three pounds heavier than I was at the start of the year.  I lost 10, gained nine, lost nine in a hurry for the wedding, and then promptly put it all back on and then some.
5. Visit one place in state I have never been before - Success!  Well, technically I drove through there once when I was a kid but I am counting our camping trip to Newhalem and Ross Lake as a first since I don't think we ever stopped the car to walk around.  This place also has important family history; my great-grandfather died while building Ross Dam. 
6. Visit one place out of state I have never been before - Success!  This has always been a domestic category in the past but I think Tahiti and Bora Bora count. 
7. Take a multivitamin at least five days a week - Not good for most of the year but the last month I have managed to take one dang near every day.
8. Paint the downstairs bathroom, kitchen, living room and upstairs bedroom - This is getting pushed off until fall and no way are we getting all of the rooms.  I will settle for the upstairs bedroom, downstairs bathroom and kitchen. 
9. Have a once monthly cleaning night - We were doing really well with this for the first four months of the year but since May we haven't really had an official cleaning night.  I would like to restart this and get 3/4 of the year.
10. Not be further in debt than I am right now - I am slightly over where I thought I would be because of a $1500 clutch repair right after we got back from our honeymoon.  I should be back to status quo by year end.

So there you have it.  An uninspiring list at the start of the year and an uninspiring accomplishment rate during the year.  Much like us Mariners fans have to say "wait until next year."

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Diet Coke Addiction Update

This is proving harder than I thought it would be.  Dropping from four or five Diet Cokes per day down to three was a piece of cake.  I pretty much did that the first week.  Dropping to two cans a day is proving challenging.  I can't limit myself to just two cans of, what I like to call, my Fizzy Brown Happy.  Part of it is because I sit for eight hours every day in a windowless basement doing a job I find less and less fulfilling as time passes.  The FBH keeps me motivated and provides a bit of joy during my days of drudgery.  Maybe I should just consider three cans a day as a stopping point.  However, I'm not quite ready to throw in the towel yet; next week I am going to try my hardest to stick with two cans a day.  Wish me luck.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

See Jane Run Half-Marathon Report

Sometimes I am an idiot.  Witness Sunday when I "ran" the See Jane Run Half-Marathon.  Why does this make me an idiot?  Because I haven't been training at all.  By at all I mean since February 12th when I pulled my calf-muscle (and still stupidly ran four miles) I have ran a grand total of...........wait for it............. 59.34 miles.  Yeah that's right.  In a five month period I have averaged 12 miles per month with the longest run being a four miler I did back in April.  It is a bit of an understatement to say that makes me completely untrained and unfit for a half-marathon.  But I went ahead and did it anyway.

Back in February when I agreed to run this race it seemed like a sure thing.  I would have completed my marathon two months before and should be in great shape for a half.  Plus, it was my friend Amber's idea to run this as a sort of last run of singledom since she would be getting married a mere five days after the run.  It sounded like fun.  Oh, if I only had a crystal ball and could see the three hours of suck that awaited me.

This was the hardest physical thing I have done.  I was exhausted and hurting by the time I crossed the finish line three hours after I started.  The race just went on and on and on.  It was a push and a slog the whole way.  I never felt good out there.  Gee, wasn't my "training" sufficient?

I had set the Garmin to a 3:1 walk/run ratio so I could at least get some running in.  No way did I want to walk the entire 13.1.  I remembered how difficult it was to walk quickly for 13.1 from my Eugene experience and I didn't want to repeat that so I cobbled together this plan the day before.  By the end of the run I was ready to chuck the friggin' Garmin into the Fremont Canal.  Everytime it beeped to tell me to run for my one minute I cursed it; cursed it out loud on occasion.  But onward I pushed.
My final time was 3:02 which was over 12 minutes faster then I did Eugene in May and was good for an even 14:00 minute mile pace.  My times for the running portions were actually faster than they probably should have been and I tried to keep a decent walking pace.  But there was no way I could have pressed faster to bring it in under three hours.  Ouch. 

I met Amber after the finish, grabbed my champagne glass filled with chocolates, declined Amber's offer of lunch and drove home.  My legs were killing me and I felt like crap.  Shooting pain from the sciatica down my right leg and soreness and stiffness everywhere else.  I was so stiff getting out of the car that I had to barely shuffle for the first few steps until I could get my legs moving again.  I knew how difficult walking and moving from sitting to standing was the day after Eugene and I didn't want that to happen again.  So I immediately went upstairs and climbed in the tub and turned on the cold water faucet.  Only the cold water by the way.  Yes, I was desperate enough to take an ice bath.  Kevin was kind enough to dump the contents of the ice maker into the tub with me and I soaked for 15 freezing minutes.  He also brought me some Ibuprofen and then got a whole bunch of warm blankets on the bed to warm me back up when I was done.  Good husband.  I ran just enough water to cover my hips and very low back.  No need to soak the non-running parts in ice water.  I'm not that stupid.  Oh, and the ice water triggered the uncontrollable cold water peeing so I am sitting in ice cold urine water seriously contemplating my choice of hobbies and how it has lead me to this moment.  Awesome.

The ice bath and Ibuprofen worked.  I was a little stiff that day and on Monday but nothing like after Eugene.  I have vowed to not do a race like this again unless I am trained and prepared.  I am lucky I didn't injure myself and I am not risking that again.  Looking back over my running numbers for the year has also opened my eyes.  I am determined to get myself back in shape and to complete a half-marathon this year; one I can actually be proud of.  And I will also remember to pee before I ever climb into an ice bath again.  Lessons were learned on Sunday.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Wedding Recap - The Reception

I told myself that I would have all this wedding stuff written about before our photographer got our photos done.  Lucky me, we still don't have them yet.  Time to dash off the last little bit of wedding recap.  I know this was two months ago but writing it all down feels good.  I know I have these impressions, feelings and details captured for the future.  Thanks for bearing with me (or skipping them entirely for equally exciting race reports). 

The reception was a blast.  After all the stress of the past months it was time to just let loose and drink and hang out with friends and family and have a good time.  When people talk about how fast their wedding day goes I now understand what they mean.  It whizzed by.  Like a lemon; a lemon with wings.  They are very fast you know.  Really, we couldn't have asked for anything more from our reception.  Well, there were two things that we could have asked for more on but in the grand scheme of things they are very minor.  I'm doing this bullet point style 'cause I don't want to string together a narrative.  All hail, laziness.
  • We were determined to not be one of those couples that says "we didn't even have time to eat on our wedding day" so we asked the caterers to save us each a plate of all four appetizers.  Come to find out it isn't really about time as it is about appetite.  Even though we both had barely eaten in the past two days neither of us had any appetite.  We took a few bites but didn't really enjoy it much.  Same with dinner.  Just a few tastes and we were done.  People said the grub was good and we got good unsolicited comments on the food so hopefully people enjoyed it. 
  • One of my favorite moments of the evening wasn't noticed by anyone.  I was standing by the doorway when I noticed a group of four strangers peering in.  I thought they were looking for the other wedding happening at Edgefield that had a similar last name so I approached them and said "you must be looking for the other wedding".  They replied "No, we are on a scavenger hunt and need to find a bride."  I am standing right in front of them.  In my wedding dress.  All fancied up with make-up and fancy hair and oh, did I mention, my WEDDING DRESS.  It was hysterical. 

    I gestured wildly to myself in my wedding dress and said "Hello?!  Bride here!"  One of the girls mumbling something about Pippa Middleton and white bridesmaids dresses and how you just don't know anymore and then they took my picture for their hunt.  They needed a groom too so I grabbed Kevin and they got to check something off their list.  I guess my look wasn't as bridal as I thought it was.  Maybe when one of my friends responded in a lackluster fashion when showed the dress "oh, and you can totally wear that again" it might have been a sign about what other people think about "proper" wedding fashion.
  • The toasts were wonderful.  The best man gave a touching speech, my brother told a funny story and Kevin's grooms chick gave a surprise toast.  She is very uncomfortable getting up in front of people and speaking so that was a really nice surprise.  Also, sparkling wine is very tasty and McMenamins makes a tasty one.  It is made with pinor noir instead of chardonnay and it is nummy.
  • The first dance ended up being a lot of fun.  For months Kevin wasn't sure he wanted to do one because he didn't want to feel like a performing monkey.  I understood but was of the opinion "you get to do this once in your life, let's just go for it".  So we kept taking dance classes that we were going to take regardless of the fact that we were getting married (still taking them by the way).  The classes are in rhumba, cha-cha, waltz, foxtrot and ballroom East coast swing and we started in mid-March.  We had a song picked out months before in case we wanted to do it after all.  We wanted something fun, lively, joyous and short; we definitely didn't want a sappy moment here.  Since we are both huge Dean Martin fans we chose "Ain't That a Kick in the Head".  Perfect.

    Originally it was going to be a foxtrot since it works better with that dance style but the dance floor is small for foxtrot and we actually learned more East Coast swing steps and felt more comfortable with that (read: easier).  I wanted to choreograph something but Kevin was adamant that we just go out and dance.  Even though I woke up that morning freaking out that we weren't prepared enough and "oh god, they are all going to be staring at us" he talked me into it.  And you know what?  It was a blast!  We just danced and didn't even notice people watching us.  It was just him and me dancing for fun and busting out our whole eight moves we had learned.  Actually, we learned about eight but probably only did about five because that is all Kevin could remember how to do (guys have it harder in the dancing world).  We are both so glad we did a first dance.
  • I made it through about eight hours of standing, walking and dancing in my heels.  I am kind of proud of that.  They were actually very comfortable but I did finally decide to put my flats on about the last hour of the night.  Such a wuss.
  • The two disappointments:  there were quite a few candles that didn't get lit on the centerpieces and on bistro tables and the guest book table.  I noticed them but was told that brides aren't supposed to do any work at the reception and for some reason listened to this.  The caterers were supposed to get them but they never got around to it. 
    The other disappointment were the centerpieces.  For something I spent a stooooopid amount of time fretting about they turned out "meh".  Not horrible but not what we had envisioned.  There were supposed to be a lot more flowers on the tables in our vision but our communication got crossed with the florist.  In hindsight, the one thing we would have done differently was have the florist do the whole centerpiece.  Doing half ourselves saved us no money and it would have looked better if she had full control of everything.  Oh well, the candles were beautiful and unless they are outstanding or really horrible no one really remembers centerpieces anyway. 
  • We were both surprised how little time we had together at the reception.  We were so busy talking with friends, dancing like fools and just having a blast that we never got any quiet time together.  That is perfectly fine but I didn't anticipate that.  But we had the honeymoon for days of quiet time together and the reception was for partying with friends.
  • The cake.  Oh dear lord, how I love this cake.  I won't go on and on about it as much as I would like to (I was going to give it its own post) but let me say that it was perfection inside and out.  One of Kevin's favorite moments of the night was when we brought me over to see the cake for the first time.  I was brought to tears by it.  I loved it so much.  It was outstanding.  Better than I imagined it would be.  We didn't want elegant or romantic or formal or anything like that.  We wanted joy and fun and energy and something different.  I have not seen a cake like this anywhere on the internet and I looked at A LOT of cake porn.  Hours upon hours trying to figure out exactly what the cake should look like.  I know it isn't everyone's idea of a wedding cake but it was perfect for us and suited the mood we wanted to create. 

    The black rabbits on it also fit perfectly with Edgefield and their connection to the black rabbit.  Using black rabbits was my mother's idea by the way and we are so glad she thought of it.  It helped cement the design for the cake. It was also the tastiest wedding cake I have ever had.  Moist and flavorful, particularly the banana rum layer.  I am so glad we found the baker we did.  She is a true artist and we could not have asked for better.  She mentioned in a few e-mails before she made it and has mentioned since that it was her favorite cake she has made this year.  She enjoyed getting to do something different and it showed. 

    The cake toppers were another joy.  Originally we weren't going to have a cake topper because there are so few out there that aren't hideous.  But when we visited the Edgefield back in January to finalize all our vendors we saw these little black clay bunnies in the gift shop.  Kevin thought they would be perfect for the cake toppers and when he asked who made them we found out it was the lady in the clay studio on the property.  We met with her and she custom made a bigger pair for us for a ridiculously good price.  It was the perfect topper for the perfect cake.
  • The guest book table seemed to be a lot of fun.  We had postcards that friends gave us from around the country and around the world.  People wrote wonderful kind messages and fun messages and generally had a good time with it.  We even got one dirty joke!  I actually expected more since we said on the instructions it was OK.  There were a few folks we didn't get any from but most people played along.  Reading the big stack of postcards when we got back from the honeymoon was a blast.  We played a game trying to figure out which person sent which card based on the picture on the front.  I would say we got about 80% correct. 
  • We remembered to have someone videotape the ceremony but we have no video from the reception.  Apparently one or two people have the first dance on their phones but I haven't seen it yet.  I wish we had remembered to have at least the main parts of the reception recorded.
  • The DJ was some of the best money we spent.  We were going to have an iPod for the music and a friend handle the few emcee duties required and he would have been great.  But the more we thought about it the more we wanted someone whose whole job it was would be to read the crowd in the moment and keep people dancing and having fun all night and he did that.  We gave him our friend's requests so he had those if he felt they were good for the evening and he just winged it.  He could tell right off the bat that slow songs weren't going to work for our crowd so he kept it lively and upbeat.  He also did a beautiful job with minimalist announcements and really helped the evening run smoothly.  Also our friend Lloyd got to just enjoy the evening with no responsibilities other than to have a good time.  I would post photos of everyone dancing and having a good time but instead, I will protect the innocent.
  • People seemed to be enchanted by the idea of lemons with wings with their names on it.  Dang near every persons photos I have seen involves pictures of their lemons.  Even our photographer got a little kid look on his face when he said "I have a lemon with my name on it!"  He took a photo of his lemon for himself with his iPhone.
    The pint glasses were also a big hit.  Kevin worked long and hard on the graphic and it turned out beautiful.  Plus, who doesn't love a pint glass? 
    The Theo truffles seemed to be a big hit.  I fully expected people to take them home with them but when we cleaned tables at the end of the night there were a lot of empty truffle boxes.  I am glad people enjoyed them.
When it was all said and done we asked ourselves "was it worth it" and "given the chance would we do it again" and the answer to both was a resounding "yes!"  Yes it was stressful, yes it was expensive but it is truly a once in a lifetime experience and I am so glad we had it.   Now we get to sit back and be spectators at weddings for the rest of our lives.  We can't wait for that.  There is a part of us that, immediately after the wedding, said (even though we totally would do it again) "Thank God, we never have to do that again."  But now, there is a little part that says "Oh....we never GET to do that again" and it is a little sad. 

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Firecracker 5000 Race Report

So there was pretty much no training for this race.  I have barely been running since we got back from the honeymoon and barely ran before the wedding.  I have also been having some leg issues which combined with deconditioning have made running challenging these last weeks.  But this is a fun race and my friends Mike and Amber were going to be running it so I figured "what the heck."  Plus, they have cool glow-in-the-dark t-shirts.  Score!

This race starts at 11:55 p.m. so you get to run around the streets of Seattle at midnight which is always a novel thing to do.  It was a little chilly this year which meant great racing temps.  This race has grown in popularity so it was a skosh bit crowded at the start but I was able to find my loping pace pretty quickly.

The first mile went by with no problems and then about 1.5 miles my foot started to go numb.  Stupid new shoes combined with stupid Morton's neuroma made the entire foot and part of my ankle go numb.  That feels like you are running on a stump.  About 1.8 miles my left calf tightened up.  This isn't just fatigue or a little bit of tightness but rather a tightness that actually makes me grimace.  Not horrendous pain but just low level pain.  This is what I have been trying to get to go away for the last few weeks.  I had a massage the morning of the race and that actually might have done some good because the right leg only got a little tight and the left calf was better on a run the next day.  Who knows anymore.  I have been pretty dilligent about stretching throughout the day too so that probably played a factor.  Anyway, if this had been a training run I would have walked and stretched it but since this was a race........full "speed" ahead.

So I grimaced along for the rest of the race and was thankful for the downhill on Mercer St.  It helped my overall pace and helped with some of the calf tightness.  I have noticed a big difference going up hills.  The calf no-likey hills right now.  After the long downhill on Mercer we whipped around KCTS and back into Memorial Stadium to the finish line.

Considering my main goal was to finish the race without walking I call this race a success.  I was also happy that I was able to bring it in under an 11:00 mile pace.  My training runs have all been over 11:00 lately so that pleased me to no end.  Here are the splits:

Mile 1:  11:10
Mile 2:  11:00
Mile 3:  10:15 (hello downhill and the promise of a finish line)
Mile .16 (because I can't run the tangents to save my life):  8:12
Total time:  33:41 for an average pace of 10:50.
Even though this was far from a PR for me I am glad I ran this.  It reminded me about the importance of training, how much I miss regular running, how fun races are and that I maybe, just maybe, haven't lost all of my running fitness.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Summer Sounds

I have been craving some new music lately and every time I tune into one of the local stations to hear something new they will inevitably play a Nirvana or Pearl Jam song.  Or, if I am at the pop-ier end of the dial I get a whole bunch of bland pop that does nothing for me.  I am sure if I kept listening there would be good tunes in there but I can't bring myself to wade through it anymore.

Enter my favorite podcast, TBTL.  They recently had a Song of the Summer contest and because of that I found a few fabulous new songs.  A few I was already familiar with but there were a few gems in there that were brand new to me (cooler people than me already probably knew them).  I had already latched on to Foster the People's "Pumped Up Kicks" and Fitz and the Tantrums "Moneygrabber" before their contest but this song by Jenny O was a happy find.

How about this one from Rye Rye?
Or one that they played on their podcast and what is probably one of the better summer songs I have ever heard but have somehow missed for the last three years:  Little Jackie "The Stoop."


How did I miss this song for three years? Clearly I really need to start making a point of finding new music more often.  

Or these guys, The Head and the Heart.  Local band makes good.  This is one that I actually did find on radio and they make me very happy.  I also love the fact that their current lineup came together at Conor Byrne, bar of many happy, inebriated times.

Since we played all weekend today is serious house cleaning day.  I am glad I have these songs to turn up and make the chores go a little faster.  Tonight when we grill outside they will also provide a perfect summer soundtrack.   

If anyone else has new (or old) favorite Songs of the Summer I would love to hear them.  I'm always in the market for new tunes.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Wedding Recap - The Ceremony

Sit back, grab a cold one, this is going to be looooooong.

Before I get into the ceremony I need to mention how phenomenal Mississippi Studios was as a venue.  They were so nice to work with and the space was perfect for our ceremony.  It was warm and inviting, the florist did a beautiful job with the candles and lemons on the stage, and the Christmas lights we bought were hung perfectly around the balcony.  Because it was a music venue it seemed that the sound quality was good and that everyone could easily hear the ceremony without resorting to microphones and because we were on stage everyone could also easily see the ceremony.  The hot stage lights were a little tough on the guys in their tuxes but we loved that space and felt so grateful that they do weddings there.  People also seemed to enjoy being able to imbibe during the ceremony.

Words won't begin to say how truly special this day was for us.  I know there are a million emotions and little things that I could say about the whole ceremony but this is way long as it is.  I might not convey it properly here but it was a day that overflowed with love and joy.   Here are my thoughts and run down of the ceremony.

So it is time to begin.  The best man has the sound guy lower the music and then Michelle, my dear friend from junior high, gets up to start the ring warming.  The ring warming was one of the first components of the ceremony we settled on last summer.  Having all your family and friends hold our rings and put their good vibes, ju-ju or blessing on these two pieces of metal was an important symbolic gesture for us.  We looked at some of the more traditional ones: unity candle, sand ceremony, wine ceremony but those didn't feel right for us.
So Michelle says a few words about what people need to do with the rings and then the specially chosen, very moving, very appropriate to the occasion ring warming song is supposed to start as the rings begin being passed through the guests.  But it doesn't.  In fact, it doesn't for over a minute causing me to almost have a Bridezilla moment (and Kevin, a Groomszilla moment).  Remember folks, the stress level is high and this is yet another thing that hasn't gone according to plan in a very short period of time.  The day is falling apart (or so it feels). The best man finally gets the sound guy to get his head out of his ass and the music finally starts:  The Finn Brothers "Won't Give In." The song delay is one of those mistakes that sticks with us and will forever annoy us about the wedding. 
Besides infusing the rings with good ju-ju we also thought that a ring warming would allow those in attendance who are of a religious persuasion a chance to feel involved in the ceremony by getting a chance to say a prayer while holding the rings.  Since we are atheists and would be having no God or prayers or religious mentions in the ceremony it allowed them to feel a part of the ceremony without having to compromise our beliefs.  It also reflected how much every single person we invited meant to us and how much we valued their love and friendship.

While the rings were passed they apparently fell to the floor twice (I just found that out last week).  The ribbon that I had carefully tied them with came undone.  No harm, no foul though.  Michelle was watching them like a hawk to make sure they got back up to the front of the room in time for the ring part of the ceremony.  When I look at my ring now I am not only reminded of my love for Kevin and his love for me but of the love of everyone in that room.  As the Finn Brothers sing:  "everyone I love is here."  Our rings are infinitely more special and priceless to us because of the ring warming. I am so glad we incorporated it into our wedding.

After the ring warming song we decided to have a little fun and play some snippets of "rejected processional songs".   We took the beginning to "Let's Go Crazy", "White Wedding", "White Trash Wedding", "The Wedding March" and a few others along with a quote from the wedding scene of Princess Bride and put radio tuning noise in between.   The effect was supposed to be a little lighthearted "we are trying to find our perfect processional song and these just won't do and just aren't right" but it pretty much ended up just confusing people I guess.  We enjoyed it and we had fun putting it together so it was still worth it. 

The rejected processional song montage ended with our real processional song:  "The Story" by Brandi Carlile. 

I knew I wanted this song somewhere in the wedding and we considered it for a first dance for about two seconds. We quickly realized it was totally undanceable and we also didn't want to do the junior high school swaying thing. The processional was the perfect place for it.  It is beautiful, powerful, real, emotional and not a cheesy love song.  We both can't listen to it now without getting the nervous butterfly feeling we had before the ceremony and without tearing up or crying. 

The processional started after Kevin had to shoo the wedding party into starting because my bridesdude didn't remember the cue to start.  The officiant and the wedding party walked up the aisle got on stage and we waited out of sight next to the bar.  I have never been so nervous in my life.  Heart pounding, stomach churning, crazy kind of nervous.  Not about getting married but about being up in front of all those people, saying things I don't usually say in front of people, worrying I'll melt into a puddle of tears, worried how the rest of the day will go and just feeling the stress from months of planning and all the hard work and it has come down to what you are always told is the biggest moment of your life. My nervousness was never about Kevin or marriage but rather everything I just mentioned.  It is a little terrifying.  Luckily we had each other.

We walked in right when Brandi gets all screamy and headed down the aisle.  Even when my father was alive I never intended on being "given away".  I feel like this is a commitment both of us are making and that we should walk down the aisle together since we are going on this adventure together.  That philosophy worked well because I can't imagine all those people staring at just me.  Ugh!  It was comforting to have his hand to hold on to.   

We got on stage, turned to the officiant and the ceremony began.  I kept hoping no one would notice that my legs were shaking.  Our officiant, Myrna, was wonderful.  Just looking at her helped calm me down.  We had worked with her a month earlier to craft a ceremony that was right for us.  We removed words (no "holy" allowed), kept a "sacred" here or there since it isn't a religious word to us, played with some other words and tweaked it to get the right feel.  She could not have been more delightful to work with and to have perform the wedding.  She did, however, get lost in the stage lights and didn't see that everyone was still standing for 10 MINUTES into the ceremony.  It really loosened the mood up in the room when she figured it out and embarassedly told everyone it was OK to sit.  Both of us were much calmer by that point. It was also at that point that it started to get fun, we started to get into the spirit of the day and we both began to enjoy ourselves.  I think I have said before that it wasn't the happiest day of my life but it sure as hell was the happiest seven and a half hours. 

We had our good friend Kathy do a reading for us of "Oh, the Places You'll Go!"  by Dr. Seuss.  It was difficult to choose from all our friends and family but it came down to:  who would want to get up on stage and read in front of people and who would know how to read Seuss the best.  Not just anyone can capture the word magic of Dr. Seuss. We knew Kath would be the perfect person for the job and she nailed it.  She read it perfectly and we are grateful she did us the honor of reading at our wedding.  We had toyed with a few other readings but having someone read a love poem written in the first person seemed awkward so we kept it lighthearted and in the spirit of adventure that we feel marriage is. 

Our officiant then told our stories and what we had told her we loved about each other.  She got the majority of the details correct and we weren't going to correct her on the ones she got wrong until she mentioned that I had just completed a marathon before we got engaged.  No way I was going to let that one stand so I had to correct her on stage that is was only a half-marathon.  I won't even wear a race shirt from my half-marathons that says "marathon finisher" on it until I run my 26.2 I couldn't let something as important as a wedding ceremony be a lie.

Then it came time for our vows.  We knew we wanted to write our own but were both very nervous about doing so.  The traditional vows just seem like saying the Pledge of Allegiance or something.  They are so rote that all the meaning has been sucked out of them.  Compressing all you love about someone into a very brief few sentences and then saying these personal, private things in front of a bunch of people (on a stage no less!) we knew would be challenging.  No, not just challenging......terrifying.  We wrote our vows separately and then kind of tweaked them into a format that kind of mirrored each other.  We felt they were more cohesive this way.  We began with a declaration of love, said a bunch of things we loved about the other person, used the same line "Today I stand with you for the rest of my life", did our vows, and ended on a declaration of love.  Kevin chose to use the word "vow" and I chose the word "promise" because those words felt stronger and had more meaning to each of us. 

When I first got engaged I thought our vows should be more lighthearted.  Something along the lines of "I love you even though you believe in the single-gunman theory" and "thank you for loving me even though I am frequently more flatulent than an aged labrador retriever."  But as we progressed through the planning I realized it was a serious occasion and while levity could be in the ceremony the words we said to each other should be serious. 

We were also worried that saying them ahead of time might suck all the meaning out of the wedding moment but it didn't.  Actually, holding each others hands and saying them in private a few days before the wedding was just as powerful of a moment.  Also, it was self-preservation.  We both were worried about getting through our vows without sobbing.  Practice did help that.  In fact, on the day of the wedding we read our vows to each other while Kevin, .....having his morning constitutional.  I even cried then.  Myrna had also told us that many couples worry about crying during their vows but they always seem to get through them with emotion but no major sobbing when the time comes.  I didn't quite believe her but it turned out to be true for us.

Actually saying the vows was surprisingly easy.  We looked at each other and forgot that everyone else was there.  It was just the two of us speaking from the heart.  I started to choke up one time and then swore what was meant to be a soft "dammit" under my breath but apparently was perfectly audible to everyone.  I really wanted to get through the vows without crying.  Dammit!  I got myself back on track and then got choked up again at the same part I do everytime.  My volume was good but I know my voice was cracking with emotion as I finished them and then placed Kevin's ring on his finger.

Kevin did better about not crying during his vows to me although he definitely choked up during his as well.  He was much softer spoken but no less strong in his delivery.  He placed my ring on my finger and our vows were sealed.  We have kept a copy of our vows and read them to each other on our one week anniversary while we were in Bora Bora (I know, sorry for the nausea) and again on our one month and will read them to each other on the 14th of every month until our one year anniversary.  Then we will eat year-old cake.  We will pull them out every anniversary to remind ourselves of our commitment and of this day. 

Myrna then said a few wonderful words sending us out on this adventure and we kissed and couldn't stop smiling.  We left the stage to "That's Amore" by one of our favorite artists, Dean Martin.  We had the bartender waiting for us at the end of the aisle with a PBR tall-boy in hand for me and an IPA for Kevin and we went upstairs for the document signing.  Actually the document is just for show because we had signed the original license when we got it at the courthouse a month earlier. We snapped a few pictures, wrote a few hurried checks that we almost forgot and then hightailed it back for the party.  We were hitched!

Our guests seemed to really enjoy themselves and we got loads of comments from people about what a sincerely moving, beautiful ceremony it was.  Apparently we had people who don't usually choke up actually tear up and choke up a little.  We even had a few do that during the ring warming!  Yay!  At least we succeeded in creating a ceremony that was authentic for us, that felt a little different, and was filled with emotions that people could actually feel. 

All right folks, it's time to get on the school buses (they sent two this time) and go back to get our drinking, eating and dancing on!

P.S.  This was written in fits and starts over a week and a half so I apologize if there is a horrendous lack of continuity or is repetitive.  It was too momentous for me to tackle in one sitting.