Sunday, October 31, 2004

Timing is Everything

The lease on my apartment is up at the end of the month, so I'm moving into Sweetie's place and we will be living in sin until the big day. In addition to being one less thing to worry about later, it will allow us a little larger budget for the party, since I'll have 8 months of not paying rent between now and then.

The timing could not have been better, because with the weather changing and the days getting shorter my winter nesting mode has started to set in. I'm using this fully to my advantage. Friday night it was staking my claim on half the bathroom (thank goodness for two sinks!) and tonight it was staking claim on the kitchen.

Even before the proposal sweetie had told me that if we were ever to cohabit the kitchen would be mine. He would step aside, and I had complete control. He had no ties to his stuff, so I could keep it, toss it, or give it to Goodwill. At that moment I knew he was a keeper. (I knew it before then, too, but that helped seal his fate).

The first order of business was tossing his nasty dish drainer, and moving mine over in its place. Mine is a bit smaller, so it allows me to place it such that I gain about 3 feet of prime retail location counter space for prep work. I also installed some spice racks, and combined both of our pantries. Duplicate spices were consolidated and eliminated, and I organized the pantry so it makes sense.

It was not as big of a challenge fitting everything into the space available as I thought it would be. When I start to move dishes and cookware over I fear it will not be as easy of a task.

The biggest revelation of the evening: we've got a LOT of vinegar! Balsamic, red wine, apple cider, tarragon, raspberry, and distilled. I use them all for different things, but now am feeling the need to explore the vinegar section of the pantry. Any suggestions for recipies that might feature one of these selections?


I've made it 2 months into the engagement without actually purchasing a bridal magazine of my own, although I have been gifted about 25 issues of various wedding magazines, through a co-worker, from the wedding expo I attended, and through a former friend who was married two years ago (our moms are still close friends).

The magazines from the co-worker were helpful. They were specific to Seattle, so gave lists of locations and caterers and vendors of all sorts. We found the reception site via one of these magazines. No waste there.

The nationally published magazines are a whole different story. I've flipped through approximately 20 of these over the last week alone, and they are all variations on the exact same theme:

45% - Advertisements for wedding dress and bridesmaid dress manufacturers
5% - Editorial content regarding wedding dresses
20% - Where to go on your honeymoon
20% - The registry, including decorating tips and recipes
2% - How to buy an engagement ring (um, hasn't that already happened)
2% - Sex advice
3% - Real weddings
1% - Ideas for expensive wedding favors

Leaving approximately 1% of the magazine that might be ideas of interest to us in planning our wedding.

I have ripped about 10 pages out of all the magazines that may be of interest to me. The rest go to the recycling bin this afternoon.

My parents' song...

Oh, and in another update--my parents gave up looking for "their song," which I wanted to play for a dance at the wedding. They said they'd like to show a movie instead...they don't have a song, but have a dozen movies or so that could be "theirs." Their first choice? Lonely are the Brave. They saw this on their second date, and in talking about it at length afterwards, realized that they had each found a bright individual with an active mind. Cool story. Still, I haven't seen this yet (although I want to now), but it looks like a bit of a downer for the wedding, and taking the 2 hours before the dance seems like a poor choice for the reception. So they settled on a song that will do: "Life could be a Dream." Good choice. The matter of the bouquet dance is now SETTLED.

Our movie: Easy. Singin' in the Rain. And that's one you can rent...see it with your baby. HIGHLY recommended.

Songs Remix

Since I posted the last Songs post, The Fiancee has inherited a book entitled The Ultimate Guide to Wedding Music. I say inherited because, when you're a bride, every recently-married woman remotely connected to you hurls all of the wedding-related literature she no longer needs upon you. This woman was, I believe, the daughter of The Fiancee's mom's friend. Anyway. Included in this book are "Lyrics for 100 Popular Wedding Songs." And reading them made an incredibly good laugh. Join me, will you? These are actual suggestions from their top 100:

"All Through The Night"

I love the Jules Shear version, like the Cyndi Lauper version, but I don't understand the chorus at all. Or the verses. What's up with "Stray cat is crying so stray cat sings back"? And, cool song though it is, "Until it ends/There is no end" might be one of the dumbest lyrics I can think of.

"Baby I Love Your Way"

The most popular wedding song for knocked-up HS students of the 1970s. Or, I suppose, we could dance to the UB40 version...

"Because You Loved Me"

Dancing to a song from a movie about the short, effed-up life of Jessica Savitch. Context, people--context! Plus, The Fiancee would become the fastest ex-wife ever if Celine Dion were played for this dance.

"Doin' It All for My Baby"

Huey Lewis! Holy crap! Has anyone ever actually used this song for a first dance???? Even if it were done by someone else, I think we could throw this one out. I can't picture dancing in front of my friends and family to the following immortal lyrics, not given on the lyrics site: "Doin' it! Doin' it. Doin' it, doin' it, doin' it, yeah. Doin' it! Doin' it. Doin' it, doin' it, doin' it, woo-hoo. Doin' it! Doin' it. Doin' it, doin' it, doin' it, doin' it." (Please let me know if I got any of those lyrics wrong.) Although maybe she'd agree to dance to "Hip to Be Square" instead...

"Endless Love."

Worst. Song. Ever. When I was in sixth grade when this thing was popular, where the lyrics said "two hearts," my buddy Joe and I would sing "two farts." And we felt so naughty. I still sing it that way. Plus, in the movie, the guy burns the girl's parents' house down. CONTEXT, please, people!!!

"Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman?"

The italics in the title (yes, there really are) have always disturbed me. First of all, this is my wedding, so yes, I have...I've loved this one. Really. But then I get to thinking about what exactly Bryan Adams might mean by really. And I start to think, well, I guess it depends on what's hidden in those italics. Is it some massive sacrifice of all my worldly possessions for a woman? Is it some sick and dangerous sexual practice? The italics intimdate me.

"Everything I Do (I Do It For You)" (and en espanol)

Did Bryan Adams sleep with the editor of this book?

"I Honestly Love You"

In addition to context, I beseech all engaged couples: LISTEN TO THE WHOLE DAMNED SONG. Do you want this at your wedding? "If we both were born/In another place and time/This moment might be ending in a kiss/But there you are with yours/And here I am with mine/So I guess we'll just be leaving it at this."

Unless this song is code from a bride or groom to one of the guests, it's a terrible idea.

"If You Asked Me To"

I just did, didn't I???? You know, at the church????

"Love is Alive"
Again, I'm just picturing a wedding where this was the first song...and this time I'm seeing a lot of white guys in afros. (Although I do like this song.)

"More Than Words."

I have a visceral reaction to how terrible a choice this is. It's one of the most bitter songs out there, I think, from a boyfriend to a girlfriend. The lyrics basically say that the singer is dissatisfied with his partner and wishes she'd do more to "prove" her love to him. It feels like an emotionally abusive relationship to me, and to dance to the spirit of "baby, you're not doing enough to convince me that your love is real" is sick. In fact, one college buddy of mine, who hated the song intensely, said that it should be renamed "Shut Up and Fuck Me," because that's really the message of the song. I don't know if that's true, but I would like her to write a song called "Shut Up and Fuck Me." Indeed, if she did, it might make this list of wedding songs.

Why would anyone pick "More Than Words"? I think that headbangers might pick it because it's the only slow-dance song they can think of.

"Somewhere Out There"

"Somewhere out there/Beneath the pale moonlight/Someone's thinking of me/And loving me tonight." Wait...isn't he/she in the building? Indeed, isn't he/she dancing with you? Plus, a song made famous by a rodent isn't really a possibility.

"The Wind Beneath My Wings"
Another sick-ass song. TRP's translation is as follows: "Hey! I know you've been neglected by me all along, but I thought I'd mention you now in a lame attempt to make up for all of it." How could anyone dance at their wedding to a song that begins "It must have been cold there in my shadow"? Who the hell would do this?

"You Light Up My Life"

I thought this was a song about God...but since my source is The Simpsons, I might be wrong.

We'll stick with our original choices, thank you...

My bathroom

now has girl stuff in it. You know--shampoo that isn't Head and Shoulders, skin stuff, organizational structure...

Holy canoli, we're really getting married! Cool!

Monday, October 25, 2004


The sweetie and I had inspiration this weekend. While attending the wedding of friends we got to discussing the numbering/naming of the tables. Don't ask me how, I really don't know.

Both of us have heard and/or experienced where tables are named, rather than numbered, with names that are somehow significant to the happy couple. We both decided this was a grand idea, and started brainstorming appropriate names.

Then sweetie made a comment and took it one step further, and we are now planning on the centerpiece for each table being somehow inspired by the name of the table (so the Disneyland table might feature a Mickey Mouse Character. There won't be a Disneyland table, but you can get the idea). We're also planning on putting a little explanation on each table, so people might understand why they are stuck sitting at the Madagascar table or the Mosquito table. (Again, not actual tables, those are top secret).

The goal is that you'll get to learn a little more about us, and perhaps you'll be interested in what the other tables are and mingle around a bit while you're there.

It's gonna' be a lot of work planning all of these out. Some of the more artistic members of the wedding party (you know who you are) will be called upon to help brainstorm.

Saturday, October 23, 2004


Swankette and I (okay, so it was mostly me) have selected a song to dance to. We're going with the Indigo Girls' "Power of Two." The Indigo Girls aren't always precisely the right mood for a wedding, but this song is, in my eyes, ideal. The lyrics are wonderful. Ms. Swank trusted me--but I still wanted to clear the song with her, so I sang it to her the other day. She cried. The good kind of crying. So we'll go with it.

We also need to pick songs for the parents' dances. My bride's parents picked a good one: "True Love." I went and asked my folks if they had a song they'd like. I think 90% of couples could pick one out right know, one where you say "That's our song!", but not my mom and dad. Much to my surprise and chagrin, my parents don't have any song that is "theirs." Now, this doesn't concern me as to the health of their relationship, which is 41 years strong. But while I watched them try to figure out what song is theirs, well, that felt weird. Everyone should have a song.

My sister and her husband picked "Stand By Me." It's a perfect song for any wedding, I think, and particularly for my sister and her husband. An idiot DJ sabotaged them, however, at their first dance. He had said he had a copy of the song...but he didn't. Rather than asking us for help, which would have been quickly forthcoming--this was 1988, the movie Stand By Me was in theaters, and I know I had the soundtrack in my car--he just bagged on them and played Dan Fogelberg's insipid "Longer" instead, while my sister slow danced...and seethed. She's still angry. "Even if we couldn't have had 'Stand By Me,'" she tells me, "there's no way I ever would have let him play Dan Stupid Fogelberg!" And "stupid" is about as close as my sister gets to cussing, so that's saying something.

On that topic, it seems to me a lot easier to pick bad wedding songs than good ones. In fact, early in our relationship, I was telling my baby about my college singing group, which still is responsible for so many of my friends. We wound up listening to one of our albums, and I wanted her to hear the sweet little religious hymn we used to finish off our concerts with. "Hey, you want to hear a song I'll have sung at my wedding?" I asked. She said yes. I fast forwarded the CD...but to the wrong cut. Instead of the sweet hymn, the following lyrics came out of my boom box: "What have I...What have I...What have I done to deserve this?" Yeah, that'd be kind of unfortunate. Another friend says that the death march from The Empire Strikes Back would be bad. Sting says that he gets letters from misguided couples who dance at their wedding to "Every Breath You Take." That's some combination of sick, creepy, and disturbing. Another friend says "We've Got Tonight" is another popular choice. Do people listen to the lyrics? It's about a one-night-stand. "I know your plans/don't include me.../Still, here we are..."

"Power of Two" will work well. I'll slow dance, look my baby in the eye, and sing it. It's our song. Meanwhile, my parents are still thinking.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Tattoos for all

In response to my post about the brother a friend posted this reply regarding a wedding he had recently attended: Spotted amongst the suits and skirts was a real live punk couple! She was sporting vibrant red hair while he sported his vibrant red hair in a most fetching mohawk. Oh, and they were both tattooed most righteously, the gentleman sporting a cartoon skull face on the side of his head!

I don't forsee vibrantly colored hair at the wedding, unless the maid were to dye her hair to match her dress. Probably not, though.

I also don't forsee any mohawks. Although brother's hair sometimes looks like a mohawk, it's more likely to be the hare krishna little patch on the back of his head.

However, there will be many righteous tats at the event. The maid has one across her back, and now I'm thinking we need to find her a dress to show that off. The brother has many, many tats. However, I foresee Mom pushing him towards a long-sleeved look so many of them will be hidden. He does have a few on the back of his head, but none on the face - when the parents helped fund a tattoo as a present one year Mom made him promise he would never get a tattoo on his face.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

The Big Move

The thing I've been dreading most of all in the immediate wedding-related future is the move from two households into one. Specifically, me moving out of my apartment and into his condo. The hardest part was the fact that my apartment was in full-catastrophe-mess mode as of the proposal, so it needs to be cleaned AND packed.

It's all under control now, thanks to two revelations.

Revelation #1: My mother considers my cat her grandson. This means that next Portland, when we go to visit my parents, the cat will come with us and live with the "grandparents" for the next couple of months. Not only does this mean he will get plenty of attention, but he won't have to spend two months freaking out over change. There were no other nice options. He's not enjoying living at my place right now (chaos, combined with me rarely home), and he'd freak out if he moved into the sweetie's house now (get used to all of sweetie's stuff, then add my stuff to the mix). Now all we need to do is go to the vet's office to get the tranquilizers so sweetie and I don't go insane during the car trip.

Revelation #2: I don't have an apartment anymore, I have a 700 square foot closet. Psychologically, it makes it much easier to tackle what needs to be done. I don't need to clean house and pack. I need to organize my cloest. I'm also attempting to minimize to some extent while going through everything. I'll never be a minimalist, but I can at least get rid of some of my useless crap.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Public Service Announcement

It appears that quite a few people are stumbling across this website because they have done an online search for Fada Salon. Here is their contact information:

713 SW 12th Ave
Portland, OR 97205 - 2102
(503) 224-7655

If you're looking for a hairstylist, I strongly recommend J. Marie, but not too many people should go to her because then it will be harder for me to get an appointment with her. From what I've seen everyone else there does an awesome job, too, I just have never had any of them cut my hair.

As an added bonus, they're just a block away from Ground Kontrol, so if you happen to be running a little early for your appointment you can get in a quick game of Ms. Pac Man first.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Congratulations Abound

The other night I spoke to my brother for the first time since the engagement. He wants us to have a rave for a reception, and he wants to show up in a zeppelin. In brother-speak that means, "I think it's really freaking cool you're getting married."

If brother got to control the wedding fashion he would probably have me in a purple mohawk and a lime green wedding dress.

There will not be purple hair, green wedding dresses, zeppelins or raves at the celebration, but there will be just a little bit of outrageousness to honor that.

Better late...

The Greek church hall, where we were looking into having our reception, called us back today, ten days after we'd given up on them and committed to a reception spot.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

The Shower

My maid (there will be only one other female stage front during the ceremony, my other attendant will be a guy) is getting married less than one month after I am. She lives 3,000 miles away, and both of us originally call Portland home.

Today she sent me an e-mail in which she began to explore the idea of throwing me a wedding shower. I then began to explore the idea of throwing her a shower, since her wedding is upcoming as well. Of course, we'll want both of these showers in Portland, where we still have a lot of ties and where most of our mutual friends reside.

Given that she will only be in Portland once between now and the weddings (will come out sometime in the next few months so we can go dress shopping), we are exploring the idea of co-hosting a shower for each other. As in, she'll throw my shower at the same time and place as I'll throw her shower.

Speaking from experience, we throw a kick-ass party together, so it could be the best shower anyone's been to in a while. Now I just need to start brainstorming what a Swankette/Kaphine shower game is like. There will definitely be no toilet paper brides in attendance.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Regarding the Rehearsal Dinner

Dear Northwest League scheduler:

If you happen to stumble across this blog, I would like to bend your ear for a moment.

Baseball has played an important part in Sweetie's and my relationship. Not only are we both fans of the sport, but it could be reasonably argued that were it not for the sport of baseball we would not be together now, and therefore not planning this joyeous wedding. Therefore, it is important to us to work baseball into our wedding festivities.

However, we are not the sort of people who want a baseball-centric wedding. The engagement was a perfect reflection of this: Sweetie had known from the moment we started dating that a baseball game proposal was grounds for immediate break-up. However, we did attend a baseball game earlier that day. (A Northwest League game at that!)

We have decided the perfect way for us to work baseball into the wedding celebration is to have the rehersal dinner at a baseball game. Specifically, we would like to do it at an Everett AquaSox baseball game. So, if you could arrange for them to play at home on Friday, July 29, 2005 we would be ever so appreciative.

Having worked for a Northwest League team in the past, I can empathize with the difficulty you must face in scheduling the season. However, if you are feeling generous you would have them playing the Tri-City Dust Devils. And it would be really supercalafragalisticexpealadocious if the Dust Devils mascot were to make an appearance. I know you have no control over that, but a girl can dream.

Thanks for listening to my request,


Tuesday, October 05, 2004

How Not To Be A Caterer

Last night we had a meeting with a caterer that helped lead us to our final decision on caterer and location. She's not the caterer we hired, but was a good study in what not to do, and now that we're done with her is good for a hearty laugh. This may be long, but that's how much she went wrong:

I met her at the Bridal Show I attended last month. Seemed competent enough, seemed willing to work within our budget, recommended a promising location to us, so I set up a meeting so we could get a proposal from her. We were to meet at the proposed location on a Friday evening after work. She was a no-show, and doesn't have a cell number published on her business card, so we went out to eat that night.

She was so profusely apologetic we decided to give her another chance. Made arrangements to meet with her last night at the proposed location again. In talking to her to set up this meeting I began to think that this location wouldn't be so ideal after all, so she gave me another alternative. In South Seattle, which isn't exactly convenient to the ceremony site. She wanted to recommend a site in Tukwilla, but I wouldn't go there. She didn't seem to understand when I told her "We have a lot of friends and loved ones driving in from out of town, so we'd like to keep things close if at all possible."

We show up for the meeting last night and the location was shut down for the night. So we weren't going to get to see it. She had realized that earlier in the day, but didn't bother to call us and see if we wanted to meet somewhere else or do something else for the meeting. As luck would have it, there was someone there after hours, so we were able to sweet-talk our way in to take a peek at the space. It would work if it HAD to, but just wasn't quite right.

Now it was time for the quote. We went to the local Starbucks. She asked if I wanted something to drink. I said I'd take a latte. She spent 5 minutes gushing over the fact that I just wanted a latte, and didn't want a half-caf skinny almond latte with a twist. My response: I'm capable of ordering drinks like that, I choose not to right now.

The quote. Here is what I've provided to every other caterer that's come up with some sort of proposal for us: We're budgeting for about 175 people for dinner and dancing. Buffet, because there are too many food allergies etc. to reasonably due sit-down. We have to be able to accommodate some severe food allergies (egg, corn, and legumes) and vegetarians. With that information they are able to come up with something for us to look at, a jumping off point.

No, this quote was going to be THOROUGH. First, we went through our rental needs. What sort of china do we want. What color linens do we want. Stuff like that. I started by daring to say we wanted 8 people per table rather than 10. I want my guests to get to know each other, but 10 top tables are a bit too cozy for my taste if we can avoid it. She tried to convince us that 8 people will feel lonely if they are sitting at a table together, because maybe two people will get up and leave and then there will be only 6 people at the table. THE HORROR!

I informed her that I used to work at a party rental store, so I'm familiar with a lot of the different options that are available. She insisted on spending 10 minutes explaining the benefits of a skirted cake table.

She asked if we wanted to rent a bartender. We said yes. She spent 15 minutes explaining the benefits of renting a bartender and why people might want to rent a bartender.

We would be buying our own booze for the bartender to serve. She recommended some dive bars where we could arrange for a keg of Bud Light. I informed her that I refuse to drink Bud Light. She told me how much some people like Bud Light. If you know me you know that there will not be Bud Light at the wedding. If you're a caterer who spent ANY time to get to know me you would know that any beer being served at my wedding will be of the microbrew variety. I don't care how much you like Bud Light, I'm a beer snob so there will be snobby beer at the shindig.

Once we sludged through the rental list she wanted to do a guesstimate of the price thus far. She hadn't brought her calculator. Sweetie offered to just add up the numbers. She was AMAZED that Sweetie could do that math. No wonder we're getting married, sweetie can ADD. And MULTIPLY! Gee, I can do the math too, but sweetie offered to do it first.

She insisted on us putting together a possible menu. Of course, she doesn't know all of the ingredients of all of the dishes, so for all she knew we could be picking some dishes that would most spark the allergies of the loved ones in attendance. We all agreed on doing a cheese tray as an appetizer. Then she suggested we do salmon instead. I reminded her that we have several vegetarians who will be attending the wedding. First, she suggested that some vegetarians eat fish. Then she suggested that we can't please everyone, and the salmon is really good. I recognize that when it comes to dinner not every person will eat every dish. There will be meat for the meat eaters. There will probably be at least one dish with egg, corn and/or legumes in it that someone will need to avoid so as not to prompt allergies. I'm fine with that. I am not, however, fine at saying you don't get to eat an appetizer because you choose to not eat meat.

And I almost missed the best part. We mentioned that we would not hire a caterer without an opportunity to taste their food. The caterer who WILL be catering our reception has a monthly open house that gave us a chance to taste before we went into any real discussions. This caterer requires you to put down a 10% deposit. Then they will let you taste their food. If you don't like it you can cancel and get your deposit back. I DON'T THINK SO!

It was with much joy I informed Ms. Caterer we would not be utilizing her services today.


In addition to the church we now have a place to throw the after-party (aka reception) and a caterer to do the food.

The reception will be at the Mountaineers Club on lower Queen Anne. (A somewhat non-descript location, but the room is nice and we'll be able to do some good stuff with it) Pyramid Catering will be providing the tasty food (they're the on-site caterers, and thus far have been super easy to work with).

Now we get to move on to the fun stuff.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

The Beautiful Bride

Now that we've got a date set, it's time for me to start thinking about my wedding day hair. Actually, I've already started thinking and planning for my wedding day hair, but I need to start strategizing to make sure I have my hairdresser of choice present for the big day.

You see, I've got difficult hair to style. It's very thick and heavy and very straight. Add to that the fact that I refuse to take the time to blowdry my hair every morning and it becomes a real styling challenge. Finding a hairdresser who can deal with the challenges of my hair is difficult at best. Therefore, I am terribly loyal when I find a hairdresser. As in, my hairdresser for the past 5+ years has been J. Marie at Fada Salon in Portland, Oregon. Even while living here or in the Tri-Cities I've driven the three hours to have my hair done by her (it helps that family and friends live in Portland, so I can kill two birds with one stone).

J. Marie rocks! She's even considerate enough to realize that sometimes I have to cheat with a local hairstylist, and gives me cuts that any local hack can do upkeep on. One of my attendants has a similar relationship with J. Marie, and she lives in Cambridge, Mass., so it's a bit more difficult for her.

So, of course, I want the best hairdresser on the planet to do my hair on my wedding day. I just need to convince her that it's worth her while. I mentioned it last time I was in town (immediately after the engagement) and she seemed open to the idea. I'll be able to guarantee her at least three clients - me, the attendant, and my mom (she's not a client, but will contribute to the cause). I figure I'll offer to pay her for the 'do, put her up in a hotel for the night, and offer her a spot at the reception. This is one of the items I'm willing to bust the budget on just a little bit.

I'm thinking of sending her a handwritten note with my proposition on it, so I can get her booked sooner rather than later. I don't want her taking vacation that weekend or something. So, the question is, does that seem fair to you, and a good way to approach her about it?

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Quote of the Day

"We're starting a family, not a business"
- me to sweetie, after the bank sent us business ledger checks instead of normal checks for the joint checking account

Although the budget of this event might rival the annual operating budget of a small non-profit by the time we're done with it all.

The Honeymoon

We get free lodging on our honeymoon thanks to my parents unending stock of timeshare time that you can use at a bunch of different places. We had a lot of options: Branson, Las Vegas, Newport, Fiji and Australia among others. Fiji and Australia are too expensive in the plane fare and time to get there department, so they got booted off the list.

It's down to three locations:

Coral Baja, Mexico (about 20 miles north of Cabo San Lucas)
Maui, Hawaii
Kauai, Hawaii

Coral Baja is the front-runner at the moment, simply because that's where we have space reserved. Although, according to my mother, there is a very likely chance that space will free up at one of the Hawaii resorts over the next several months, in which case we will switch the reservation. Sweetie's never been to Hawaii before.

So that's another item checked off the list. Next?