Monday, June 30, 2008

Do do do-do....Do do! do do....(You know, the wedding song)

Now that the European Cup is over and Liverpool's own Fernando Torres scored the winning goal for Spain, I can resume talking about the most important day in my life. Or something like that ;o).

After returning home to a house full of commotion with all the attendants getting ready for the ceremony, I finally found a freed up bathroom so that I could actually get ready. Of course, I wasn't worried about getting ready in time since I have plenty of experience getting ready for discos with Erika and I know I tend to get ready a few minutes faster. So I showered, shaved, and gelled down my hair. Turns out I was having a good hair day, probably cuz my hair just got cut 15 minutes prior :o). I put on my crisply ironed shirt (thanks Nana!), somehow managed to tie a perfect half-windsor, and then went out to mingle with the guests. And by "mingle", I mean drink two cups of wine in quick succession :o). I am man enough to say that I needed a drink to chill down these nerves - and finally lose the hangover from the previous night!

Erika finished up getting ready and looked more gorgeous than ever in her white dress that she - I mean "we" - bought in New York. If I can say myself, it really was the perfect dress for her, since it had a little "wedding" look to it, but was casual enough for our ceremony.

People were getting antsy, so we were ushered out the backdoor and walked right into the ceremony, following my niece, the shoeless flower girl, Ellie. I was feeling just fine with the wine at that point and was ready to get the show on. The musician for our wedding played a wonderful acoustic song that Roland picked out and that I recognized from my iPod playlist from a few years ago. Our family friend Frank did a great job with the ceremony, it was short, sweet, and succinct and we had a few funny points to interject with in order to loosen up the occassion enough. Summer read a surprising, sweet email from my sister who was in Africa to us and my mom also displayed enough courage to say some things to Erika and I - in Spanish!! Since meeting Erika and her family, my mom has put in some serious effort to learn some Spanish and it paid off at our wedding. Finally, the time came to exchange rings - at which point Frank pulled two candy ring pops from his pocket that we had given him just before the wedding. The precious metal versions will be procured and presented at our next wedding on February 14th, 2009. You're all coming, RIGHT?

So that was the ceremony in a nutshell. After this, we had a champagne toast with everyone using my parent's own wedding goblets, which was great. Someone who looked at the pictures of the wedding noted that the champagne we had was the kind that Tupac Shakur and all the other rappers sing about - obviously quality goods! We also nibbled on some snacks while out in the yard the catering staff quickly setup the dinner table to get the celebration really going. We had a wonderful, freshly cooked meal (with an amazing salad, I should add), not to mention a few bottles of wine floating around and refreshing and stiff mojitos perfected and concocted by my sister Summer and her friends. There was a lot of laughter and fun at the table, it was great. We followed that up with a moist guava cake from a cake shop in San Jose that Erika ended up tasting only when I stuffed it in her mouth!

Eventually, we started migrating inside the house because the weather was not cooperating and it was getting chilly outside. But the mojitos didn't stop there and the pictures we took inside tell the truth of the mood of the party. My sister-in-law Brie was the life of the party and I can't forget seeing my my clinging to the wall for dear life in order to stay upright :o). It was a great time!

And the best part is, my wedding was not a stressful blur! Obviously, not even a European Cup tournament can dim my memories of the perfect wedding!

J. Riley, thanks to everyone for making it great. Especially my mom and dad, who had everything planned, organized, and executed to a "T"!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Love and Marriage, Love and Marriage....

They go together like a horse and carriage. As do a few too many shots of jet-fuel grade tequila and a hangover, which I woke up with on my wedding day. As I contemplated the previous night that morning, and unsuccessfully tried to remember any part of the drive back to my house, I realized that maybe that wasn't the smartest thing to do since I now had bags under my eyes and barely looked awake. Oh well, there was plenty of time left in the day.

The crowd of guests for my wedding started arriving at our house in the morning. And by "crowd", I mean my grandparents who made the two hour drive down from Sacramento. As I started to think about the nights plans, I realized that this ceremony would be unusual for a wedding. In fact, I don't think I've ever even heard of a wedding that would be like mine, for this would be a "surprise" wedding. Like a surprise birthday, except it was a ceremony where you're dedicating your life to another person. But I honestly had NO idea what was in store for the night.

My mom had done all of the planning and had actually resisted any of my feeble attempts to understand the schedule of events of the night would be. I imagine that for most people, this might not be a concern. But I'm kind of a schedule-control freak, as anybody who has traveled with me can attest. I think that this Teutonic aspect of my character is why I have always gotten along so well with Germans throughout my life :o)! In any case, I was a *little* uncomfortable about not knowing what was going on, but I know my mom can organize a party as well as anyone and had been working tirelessly on organizing it, so I tried not to worry about it.

After lunch with Stefan, Roland & Csilla, Erika, and Graham, Erika and I went up to the winery where our "reverend" works so that we could actually, ironically, talk about what the plan was for the ceremony in two hours. Ok, as I write this, I'm thinking that maybe I'm not as much of a schedule-control freak as I at first thought. So he got to meet Erika, we got to talk about the night's plan, and my nerves started to get a tingling sensation for the first time. Not good! But I was okay after a few minutes and knew that if I don't have that sensation, then I wouldn't be taking it seriously!

We drove back down the hill and, in another wonderful display of being a schedule control freak, after picking up some things for the wedding, I decided that maybe I should get a trim on my hair with the wedding starting in like an hour. I got that done and then headed home so that I could shower, shave, put on my makeup, etc. etc.

We arrived at the house and it was a whirlwind. Somebody that my mom knew was there to present us with our wedding guest book, which was very nice and had a personal touch - even if I didn't know who this lady was! Interestingly, since we only have two bathrooms at my house, everyone was getting ready for the wedding except me and Erika - because all the bathrooms were occupied :) . That's cool, everyone else was dressed up and I'm walking around in my shorts and sandals still! But, eventually we got into the bathroom to get ready...

J. Riley, to be continued...tomorrow? Maybe, we'll see!

Monday, June 09, 2008

And another thing...

I had a second semi-bachelor party on Thursday night before the
wedding with Stefan and Roland, who didn't get to experience my
official bachelor party, and of course Erika got sent out with my
sister and Csilla. My bachelor party pretty much consisted of sitting
in one empty bar after another in downtown LG drinking "high quality"
tequila that was being ordered for me to drink. And also a Jack in a
Box super bacon-barbeque-lettuce-tomato-cheese-bacon-and-beef burger
(I think) that was only ordered for posterity's sake as the last time
I ordered anything from this particular JIAB was probably with the
same two guys I was out with that night. After some more tequila at
Stefan's house and a walk downtown, we met up with the girl's
bachelorette party at Mountain Charley's, one of the many (okay, the
only) sleezy/dance locations in LG. We had some fun there except that
Stefan royally screwed things up by mixing my drinks, causing an
embarrassing, undocumented situation that ended our nights.

J. Riley, Oh well, it wouldn't be a bachelor party without such an
incident, would it?

Friday, June 06, 2008

Mea Culpa....and Day 1

A few weeks back, I sat in my living room after work and thought to
myself, "How am I ever going to fill up all this free time I have now
that I have a 10 minute commute home from work?". In fact, I may have
even commented about this in my last blog, which in fact took place a
few weeks back. Well, I don't know how, but I have managed to fill up
my evening schedule with a variety of activities - and not all of it
is playing Mob Wars on Facebook :o/ . BTW, PLEASE join my mob, I'm in
desperate need for more people on my team even if you don't play!

So there are a few events I should mention that have happened in the
last few weeks, notably Friday, May 23rd. It was VERY nice to have my
mom organize and plan our wedding because it reduced the amount of
things that we needed to think about. But there were a few things that
we needed to do, notably find a shirt and tie for me to wear with my
suit. Because I wasn't in wedding planning mode, I didn't really think
much about it until the NIGHT BEFORE I LEFT! I flipped through my
closet and realized that I have nothing that fits well and is decent
to wear so I aptly used this as an excuse to check out some nice
shirts at Charles Tyrwhitt, only to find out that they had an awesome
sale going on for four shirts. So, with permission granted from the
boss, I resolved that issue.

The next and last detail to take care of was wedding vows. I had
previously tossed and turned ideas around in my head for these for the
past few weeks but had generally tried to block it out of my mind.
But, stepping on the plane Wednesday night, I knew it was something we
had to finalize so Erika and I sat in our cramped seats and morphed a
basic set of wedding vows (found online, of course) into something
that was both personal and palatable. Check, and now we were ready for
the flight.

Thursday morning, we woke up early to fresh bagels and took care of
the wedding license at the county office in San Jose. There was no
line there that early in the morning, which was nice because I had
visions of the DMV and the Social Security Administration in my head
when I thought about accomplishing anything with the government. So
with that complete, I was ready to start the tour de Northern
California with Erika, Roland, and Csilla (who were in town). First
Stop: San Francisco.

Anybody who's been to Cali knows that SF is great and is a must-see
location. We drove up there and checked out the Golden Gate Bridge,
took a million pictures of course, and then headed for the main
destination of the day - Alcatraz. I had been there about 20 years ago
so I didn't remember much and was looking forward to checking out the
site and the beautiful views.

Needless to say, this took up a big chunk of our day and by the time
we got back to the city, the day was pretty much done. But you can't
go to SF without riding the cable cars, so we hitched a ride on those
to Union Square, wandered around there for a bit, and then headed back
home - very late. So late that I ended up postponing our meeting with
our "minister" Frank until the DAY OF THE WEDDING! Talk about a
shotgun wedding this would be!

J. Riley, I need to get caught up before the European Cup starts
tomorrow afternoon! Or at least before Roland does!