Tuesday, April 22, 2014

7th Anniversary in Rearview

I won't lie and say that seven years of marriage isn't hard. It is. It's like entering your 40s. You know each other well, but you also realize that certain things are the way they are and that's just it. They aren't going to change. You both have feelings like this about the other person. But, you are also solid on what brought you together and why you stay. Best of all, if you stick around, your joint adventures continue. Life is the silent companion in marriage. Maybe some of you think of it as that third wheel. However you describe its uncertainties, life ensures that you never know when the unexpected will strike!

We had a joint "unexpected" recently at a live auction fundraiser for our daughter's school. I wanted to share the adventure because we were in it together and it shows how much we believe in our daughter's school.

For more than 10 years we have been volunteer prep cooks and servers of gourmet Tuscan dinners two of our friends (the head chefs) offer as charity fundraisers. This year, we offered to underwrite a Tuscan dinner of our own to the community at the school. No one had any frame of reference for the dinners so I carefully crafted introductory marketing through visuals and sound (the chefs and cooks sing to entertain) of what the dinners were like.

We worked hard to make sure the event was included as a live auction item and I hoped secretly for a winning buyer--any buyer at any price. Tuscan dinners are10-course meals for 8 or 10 specially invited guests. They last for hours and involve a deep Foodie experience. We leave no sense untouched--part of the experience includes singing at the meal's end and all the food is made from organic, local ingredients and hand-crafted with care.  A lot of kitchen volunteer help is involved, along with a huge organization chart on the wall of tasks and times when certain things must happen to keep the guests happy and filled with food, wine, ambiance, company and merrymaking.

As the underwriters of the dinner for everything except the lovely home where the dinner takes place, I expected to sell the dinner at a loss. Instead, two people stood up during the bidding and offered their houses for the dinner for $3K. So not only did we sell 1 dinner for $1300, we sold a second one for $3K. Wow!

What has happened in your life that puts the "fun" in "fundraising?"

Friday, March 22, 2013

Six! With Our Yellow...Submarines

Bread and fireplace at Kokkari in San Francisco
After six years of marriage, you finally begin to settle in. The emotional baggage has a closet and you know each other pretty well. You know how to keep the home fires burning. This gorgeous hearth can be found at Kokkari in San Francisco. The meal was even better than the one we had for my birthday some years ago. Every course was truly outstanding.

We are blessed (still!) for our sixth anniversary. Articles around the web claim that appropriate gifts for a sixth are wood and iron but
I broke the rules and went with a porcelain gift to compliment our growing collection of Beatles glasses--truly, all you need IS love. It's the ultimate override!

Yellow submarine mugs, The Beatles

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Five Years Later...

Here we are after nearly 5 years of marriage. Someone new in the picture and she is the greatest gift of all. Thanks to friends and family for love and support!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Who Says You Can't Wear A Wedding Dress Twice?

Reincarnated wedding dress turned queen gown

If you don't go for all the white crap- you can. Tiara and earrings by Anaica. Hadn't been stared at like that since the wedding. Oh such an effort to be a princess, much less a girl for an evening.

We have to get David a real costume- one he owns. Maybe I'll have a life and actually be able to attend a Ren Faire this year!
Well, happy unexpected post!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Happy First Wedding Anniversary to Us!

First wedding anniversary, Navarro River, California

We decided the best tradition for this blog was to given it annual updates on our wedding anniversary. We took a long, glorious weekend in Mendocino where we journeyed last January to write our vows (scour the internet) by the fire at the Mendocino Hotel while it drizzled rain outside.

This weekend, we were welcomed on Friday evening with a glorious sunset, we woke to a rainbow the following morning! If you love the sea, the trees and plants exploding with life under the kiss of spring- come to Mendocino in March. Not only is it whale migration time (with their calves they birthed in Mexico), it's a great time for scouring tidepools for life, visiting art galleries, hot tubbing, and more.

Here's the short list of to dos for anyone headed to Mendocino:

  • Eat at Cafe Beaujolais. The menu is incredible. The trick to getting a table is to eat early (or late). That's 6pm or 9, respectively, defined by American standards.
  • Rent a hot tub for two at Sweetwater Spa.
  • Visit the tidepools and follow the marsh, cliffs or beach walk at MacKerricher State Park.
  • Wander in the redwoods by the Navarro River.
  • Explore the art galleries in both Mendocino and Fort Bragg- you won't be dissapointed!
  • Wine taste in the Anderson Valley along Route 128. Special love for Handley Cellars and Greenwood Ridge winery. Greenwood has recently delved into OEMd dark and milk chocolate bars courtesy of Mendo Chocolate company. With no cacao percentage listed on there, I recommend chocolate snobs pass on the dark bar- too sugary and no flavor body to speak of...
  • If traveling in March, enjoy the pinks and greens of the oaks with pink/chestnut colored buds at the ends of branches with moss growing closer in toward the trunk. Plus the white, pink and fuscia flowers on the fruit trees are incredible!
  • Definitely visit the Mendocino Art Center. Nice folks with a bit of history on board- Ansel Adams had his darkroom on their site back in the 1950s. They sent us off with a congratulatory copy of Mendocino County Wines & Cooking cookbook. A homegrown, somewhat carefreely edited cookbook of delectable recipes compiled from local wineries and inns throughout the county. Can't wait to dig into those!
  • Don't be afraid to go slim on the accommodations budget. A bit rustic but with plenty of simple charm and convenience to compensate, we stayed at the Seafoam Lodge. Not a bad view in any room plus the fun of watching people who've brought their dogs to this pet friendly place play on the lawn. Of course, if you really want to splurge on yourself, don't take anything but the Elk Cove Inn...and you'll need a heck of a lot more advance planning to get in there. I've been going there on and off for 10 years- the place is fantastic and with the addition of its restaurant- getting better. The massage...well, my thought is try first at Sweetwater.
  • See all the baby lambs jumping in the fields. According to my new copy of Images of America about the Anderson Valley, sheep farming goes way back in this valley. What's most amazing to me is that the wineries weren't even part of the picture here until the early 1980s! More local history at the Anderson Valley Historical Society.
  • Further into the year- don't forget you can horse backride on the beach and sea kayak!
More pictures on our Flickr site and some tide pool video at my other blog. Thanks for reading!

Friday, July 27, 2007

Closing Out A Journey, Sensuously

A lovely product that's out there in the world has taken our photographer's work and turned it into amazing gifts for family. The 7 x 7" book I designed arrived today as a birthday gift for my Mom. It's a chronology of amazing photos of our wedding day that Margaret took. For a Beta, these folks have figured A LOT out. My apologies to readers of both my blogs, I've already ranted about Blurb!

Not only does Mom love it, she praised the design which I did myself- it's so easy to do! Maybe, someday when I have time, I'll find myself actually making one of these for me and David to enjoy. For now, I've got a few more of these in the queue.

This will be my final post, unless I get some terribly brilliant idea that can't possibly be handled by my improvised perspective (with no commitment to topic, I can hardly go wrong).

I will leave you with a sweet parting story. Anyone with Italian heritage should celebrate the romance of this Venetian practice. It sure would be a cool thing to re-enact in a wedding. Bucintoro replica, Venice Naval History Museum

This golden galleon (shown here in Venice's Naval History Museum) is a replica of the Bucintoro. On Ascension Day, May 17th in Italy civic, religious and military VIPs would sail this ship out from St. Mark's for a marriage ceremony with the sea.

As part of the ceremony, they would actually throw and then drag a metal ring symbolizing marriage to the sea through the water behind the ship. There seems to be a discrepancy between the Naval History Museum's dating this ceremony back to 1277 vs. Wikipedia's version which places the start date for the ritual at 1311.

Thank you for taking part in our wedding journey. All 900+ photos (2.31GB) worth of images we captured during the month will be coming on-line gradually on our Flickr page, in addition to the podcast of the concert Dave gave in France.
Venice, Marriage of the Adriatic Ring, Venice Naval History Museum It was an amazing 31-day journey through 10 countries and we're blessed to be able to share it with you in this way.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Ars Longa, Vita Brevis

We headed way out today to see the Artist’s Self Portraits from the Uffizi exhibit today. The Dulwich Picture Gallery is intimate and perfect setting for a very interesting exhibit. Johann Zoffany’s portrait contains a book with this Latin phrase on its cover: art is long-lasting, life is short. We’ll see if Google actually makes that possible (by continuing to host this over time- for those of you non-techies).

Afterward, we found a lovely lunch ripe with people watching at the Crown and Greyhound pub in the Peckham Rye area. Crown and Greyhound, Peckham Rye, London, England Its welcome chalkboards promised “a new nose” as a result of the brand new law against smoking, just days old and in fact yes, applicable in pubs too. Oh bollocks!

Another chalkboard in the pub clearly itemized where all the meats were from and the various codes of animal husbandry that were adhered to in the raising of the animals. “Pub grub has changed a bit,” said David.

We sat next to a group of people whose stories I wondered about, including a seemingly wealthy British stay-at-home wife and/or mother. Other than her accent, she had hints of California all through her- manicured and painted toes sporting gold sequined flip flops (very un-British attire given it had started pouring outside) and a perfect chest (I think fake). In our travels, we came upon this Hamburger Union that echoed the sentiments in the pub. The Hamburger Union, London, England

Afterward, we traveled through the West African and Caribbean neighborhood of the city on the upper deck of one of those large red buses; a welcome mode of transit through the sporadic rain. In this section of the city, the open air markets had cut whole pig’s legs just out in baskets, as if cleanly decapitated from the knee down; buy them yourself and get butchering!

We visited an ArtTarts food exhibit that was…just like home: existential, comical and leaves you with your head stuck slightly to the right as you (poor, unimaginative working blokes) ponder is it art yet?

My favorites of the exhibit were by Natalie Wastnidge who had researched the origins of cakes, including gingerbread, fruit and wedding cake. Wedding cake comes from…oh yeah our honeymoon history premier sponsors: the Romans. For fertility, they used to throw wheat cake pieces over the bride’s head for good luck. More history on that.

Artist Ben Frimet addressed the health and beauty obsession of our culture and how our consumer desires and fast lifestyles are at odds with slow, enjoyable processes, including eating. His exhibit was one of those old fat vibrating machines designed to jiggle it off- only when turned on, it jiggled a jello cake. Ben Frimet, Jiggling Jello Cake

To celebrate the 4th, we all met up with Simone who I haven’t seen in two years and had Indian food in the Islington area of London. Later, we ourselves (Stephen excepted) set off about 10 poppers; a rather lame at national pride while abroad.