Friday, December 19, 2008

santa sighting

Santa just rode down 14th street on a motorcycle. With a police escort.


Today is my 0.5 year anniversary. DH and I are very happy, and enjoy celebrating decimals. We celebrated our 0.4166 anniversary last month, and our 0.33 and 0.25 before that. The possibilities are endless!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

wedding follow up: vendors & venues-- part 2

Continuing from part 1.
Wedding Photographer: Ryan Cummings

I scheduled the photographer as early as I could after settling the wedding day. I only had a couple photographers in mind as possibilities, and didn't want the stress of having to do more searching if they were booked. I met Ryan Cummings while he photographed my friend Libby's wedding last year. He was very friendly, good with kids, and shot natural photos. They turned out very well. He has lots of options, and we chose the basic digital wedding package. He releases the copyright also, so you can keep every photo he takes. He'll send copies to your parents too. I had another recommendation from a friend for Jonathan Canlas, but he was more expensive and I already liked Ryan quite a bit. I called Ryan and he was available! He worked out really well. He got to the temple well before we came out for pictures, and did a great job. He was also efficient and organized. I highly recommend him! He let us do something pretty fun too--after the luncheon (or during, actually) we looked at a few pictures he'd selected from the pics he'd just taken and we chose one. He touched it up, printed it and mounted it and brought it to the reception for the guest book table. This is the photo we chose:

(Something I just noticed--a wedding picture of Libby and her husband Jay are one of the rotating photos on the homepage of Ryan's website! They are celebrities!)

Wedding Luncheon location: Joseph Smith Memorial Building

Finding the luncheon location was tricky. I had no idea where to look for ideas. Since I was getting married in the Salt Lake temple, I wanted it to be either close enough to walk to, or a very short drive. Some of my aunts have bad knee problems, so walking very far was a concern. JSMB was one of the obvious choices, as was the Lion House, since they were very close to the temple. I was told by the temple that I should allow 3 hours between the start of the ceremony and the beginning of the lunch, so I was aiming for 2:30 pm lunch. Again, the JSMB/Lion House websites were very helpful. They list prices and have pictures of all the rooms. I did everything over the phone--and didn't have to go and meet with the coordinator at all. (If I'd done flowers through JSMB then I would have had to go, however.) There was another venue that I found close by, the McCune Mansion, but their website was completely unhelpful and they did not reply to my email. Other choices were to rent out a restaurant for the lunch, but since I was picking a venue without ever seeing it, I did not like that option as well. As far as prices go, my mother told me something interesting--she is in the Utah Symphony Choir, and they go to an annual dinner. She said that they have called around a lot of places in the salt lake area, and that JSMB is one of the cheaper options when you have lots of people, so her choir always ends up going there. They don't charge you for the room either--just the food and service fees.

Keep in mind--if I'd wanted my mom to spend all her time hunting around the city and visiting every restaurant, then I may have found another place. But my goal was for less hassle and stress on everyone, especially my parents. (Are you noticing a trend yet? I wanted everything to be as stress free as possible, and to avoid turning into bridezilla. I did become bridezilla for a couple weeks, however.) I was very pleased with the luncheon at the JSMB. We ended up in the Wasatch Room.

Tip: 3 hours between the start of the wedding and the luncheon was barely enough time. I initially thought it was way too long and we'd all be waiting forever, but no. In fact..the groom and I were 15 minutes late because we'd left my ring in his temple locker! (We had a ring ceremony at the beginning of the luncheon.)


Continued in part 3...

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

tree on the train

There was a tree on the train today. Seven feet tall, the roots and dirt wrapped in a big black garbage bag, and sitting in the middle of the BART car. The woman with the tree kept pulling it into her face when people would try to get by. It was a packed train too! It was pretty amusing.

wedding follow up: vendors and venues -- part 1

The last few months have been so busy, I have not written at all about my wedding, online or offline. Planning a wedding from afar was pretty difficult, and I looked around the blogsphere quite a bit hoping to find brides posts on what photographer they used, who did their hair, who make their cake, etc. I did not find much success. So I am going to post information about my wedding vendors in case anyone who is trying to plan a wedding in Salt Lake City or Bountiful, Utah area is in search of some good ideas. I'm going to go through the list in the order that I dealt with them.
I knew I was getting married about 5.5 months ahead of the desired wedding date (I knew in the first week of January). Since 5 1/2 months is a longer engagement than most LDS couples, I knew I would have no problem getting a large sealing room at the Salt Lake temple on any day. DH and I didn't have a specific day in mind, just a 2-week window in which we wanted to get married.

Reception location: Eldredge Manor

I chose Eldredge Manor for several reasons. I liked the idea of having a reception at my parents house, but decided against it because of all the stress and preparation (and clean up) involved. Plus then I'd have to worry about decorations and catering, and I had enough to worry about without that. I was not interested in using a church building, and so I asked my mom what some of the reception centers were around the Bountiful, Utah area. I had been to most of them at some point from growing up in the area, so I was able to narrow it down to a couple of places without going to visit. Eldredge Manor had a website--which was a big plus. Websites are SO important when planning from a distance. It was easy to find out information. While home for christmas I visited Eldredge with my mom (even before I told the groom yes, since I knew it would be my only opportunity to visit). I chose my wedding date based on their availability schedule. Then I called the temple and reserved 11:40 am on that day.
Wedding Dress vendor: Bay Area Bridal

The dress. Aaahhhh! You try finding a modest wedding dress in California. My options were (1) fly to Utah at least twice, missing work, to find a dress and have fittings, or (2) buy a strapless dress in CA and have it modified. I decided on option (2)--mostly because it was cheaper. I wasn't particularly worried about finding a dress, and had no plans to look for one for a while. But, at my mother's urging the 3rd week of January to go and look, I took my one of my fashionable roommates and tried to go to David's Bridal (the only bridal shop I was semi-familiar with). We arrived only to discover that you are supposed to have an appointment to try on dresses. How was I supposed to know that? Of course, all their appointments were full and would we like to make an appointment for another day? No, we would not. Goodbye.

So, then we crossed the street and bought sandwiches. Rachel (the fashionable roommate) suggested we look in the phone book we'd just passed for nearby bridal shops. So we did, and there was, and we called them (or rather, SHE called them for me) and we had an appointment for 30 minutes later at Bay Area Bridal, just down the street! I never would have known about BA Bridal if not for this accidental discovery. We went in, looked through dress binders pulling out the pictures for those I wanted to try, and then got started. The first few looked awful. Then I discovered a certain cut looked really good (drop waist). So the girl helping us brought out several more dresses with that cut. I tried those on, loved 2 of them, tried each of them on a couple more times, then picked one. I marvel that it took me only 2 hours to pick a wedding dress when it took my sisters 2 days.

I discovered, to my surprise, that you cannot buy wedding dresses off the rack in California like you can in Utah. They are not on the rack. There is no rack. There is one dress in each style in a random size in the store. And that's all. You have to be measured and then order the dress of your choice in your size. Did you know it takes 3-4 months for a dress you order to arrive from the maker? I did not. If you go to a wedding dress shop and say your wedding is in 3 months, they will laugh. I am SO glad I listened to my mother and went dress shopping 5 months in advance.

Tip: Casablanca dresses can be ordered with the "temple-ready" or "modest" option. My dress was strapless, and a Casablanca brand dress, so if I had known about that option then I would not have had to worry about getting a jacket made. But, alas. I did not find out until it was too late. Several girls in my singles ward did that, but I was not in the loop until after I'd already ordered the dress.

Continued in part 2...

Friday, December 12, 2008

brush with the police

A couple days ago when I was waiting for the train to go home, I saw a man walking at the bottom of the escalator (the wrong way). For the 5 minutes I was standing there, he was walking slowly nearly leaving the escalator as it spooled around and carried him back up continuously.

Perhaps coincidentally, the next day, that escalator was blocked off. Hmmmmmmm.

That reminds me of the time I got in trouble at ZCMI mall(back when it was still ZCMI). I was on a field trip with the orchestra (led by Mrs. Tuke. Or Tooke. I really have no idea how it is spelled) and I ran up the escalator the wrong way along with an accomplice. There were a couple mall policeman at the top, and they told us not to do that again. It was a mild brush with the police, and I didn't mean to frighten you with the title of this post, but one has to get attention somehow.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Dan Brown Mad-Lib

Whether you like or dislike Dan Brown, this fact is undeniable: he has consistent plot elements that repeat through out every book. If one knows the pattern (i.e. if one has read a single book of his), then the mystery is gone. You know what is going to happen. If you've read one you've read them all. Beware of pattern spoilers!

Little did he know, that his actions in the last 24 hours would lead to his demise. He wished to speak, but could not, and could only feel the life draining out of him. (continue with ominous demise and unusual method of death bit)

Chapter 1:
(beautiful brilliant single woman's name)awoke early in the morning by a phone call.

Chapter 2:
(handsome brilliant single man's name) discovered a very unusual message left on his cell phone.

Chapter 3:
(Barely mysterious antagonist) secretly plots in a disguised voice over the phone to his lackey.

Chapter 4:
(Father figure) is involved in seemingly innocuous meeting with (handsome single man or beautiful single woman).

Chapter 5-15:
Development of plot delving deep into either historical or scientific minutiae. Then plot thickening, involving misleading cliffhangers at the end of each chapter, eventually uniting (handsome single man) with (beautiful single woman) as they either run for their lives or get perilously close to uncovering a secret at risk to their lives. (Father figure) appears to be helping them. Meanwhile, attraction grows between (handsome single man) and (beautiful single woman).

Chapter 16:
Carefully researched plot explodes with the (father figure) revealing himself as the (barely mysterious antagonist). (handsome single man) and (beautiful single woman) are shocked and have no one to trust but one another, driving them closer together as the (father figure/barely mysterious antagonist) hunts them down.

Chapter 17:
(handsome single man) nearly dies, but manages to save the day.

Last Chapter:
(handsome single man) and (beautiful single woman) finally get time to hang out.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008


I work in Oakland, California. For the last leg of my commute to work, I take the train (BART) to downtown Oakland where there were 127 murders committed in 2007. This earned Oakland 5th place for the most dangerous cities in the nation ranking (which was apparently an improvement from 2006, where they were in 4th place). Also, one of the favorite places for mugging in the city is at the entrance to the BART station that I go in every day. Such pleasant thoughts!

I have recently relocated to the 3rd floor of my building (from the 9th floor). Also on this floor is a new regional manager who still lives in Salt Lake City, Utah. He flies home every thursday afternoon and flies to Oakland every monday morning. He said today that it was 29 degrees when he left Salt Lake City and that it had recently snowed. How delightful! I don't get glimpses into the weather of my lovely Rocky Mountains very often.

My relocation to the 3rd floor is a result of joining the Seismic Hazards group at work. That, combined with the legal change of my name should result in some new business cards (not that I ever gave any away, except the one time for reasons unrelated to work--family not counting). I'm now an "earthquake engineer" and no longer the dull civil engineer of yesteryear:)

Sunday, December 07, 2008

one gallon axe

David and I watched another episode of Mary Tyler Moore recently on It was about how the anchorman, Ted, temporarily lost his inflated ego. During the 5+ commercial breaks, Hulu shows the same commercial each time. (This is a major flaw in the hulu operation. They really need to vary their commercials, and perhaps do some age targeting based on the show. But then, does the same thing half the time.) However, I did not mind watching the same commercial 5+ times because it was SO AWESOME. It featured some rocker called "White Gold" who has super long white hair and plays a guitar filled with milk (his "one gallon axe" that he drinks from occasionally) singing an awesome song about how drinking milk makes him cool. He's the new face of GOT MILK? and is sponsored by the California Milk Processor Board. Newsweek calls the music "surprisingly excellent." It's targeted for teens, so if you end up hating it then keep that in mind:)

I've never been so delighted by a commercial. At the end of the MTM episode, there was a link to If you go to it, you can participate in an interactive music video and gain access to the "milktastical" realm where if you complete 7 quests/tasks, you can download the White Gold album, "The Best I Can Give is 2%." Here's a little taste:

Friday, December 05, 2008

the pink distraction

A few weeks ago in el barrio (the ward), the missionaries were speaking. Can you guess how many missionaries come to my ward every week? Ten. Four sets of Elders, and one set of Sisters (Hermanas). Since there are really too many to keep track of, I say ten because there were ten missionaries who sang in the primary program last October.

One of the odd things about being in a Spanish speaking ward is that the missionaries don't have very good Spanish. The amount of Spanish language learning that would take a missionary in Ecuador (total immersion into Spanish) 3 months, takes 3 times as long for the missionaries in my ward. They have too many people (like me--a bain to their existence!) who talk to them in English--including many of the investigators they teach.

But on this particular Sunday, while the missionaries were speaking in sacrament meeting, there was a pink distraction. A little girl with a pink dress and pink bow was running around the aisles, crawling under benches, snuggling up to random people on random benches, tripping, giggling, and occasionally running back to her mom before taking off again. This went on the ENTIRE meeting. I had lots of opportunities to check and see if she was wearing any other pink items, but her tights were white, and her shoes were black, alas. I think she might have had a pink undershirt on though.

So long, and thanks for all the fish.