Thursday, August 30, 2007

Healdsburg is Hot!

Back at work and it's friggin' hot out! Especially up here in Healdsburg... well it's supposed to cool down in the next few days so I hope! No more 3-day weekends for me... I really can't handle being away that long from work during this time of year... winter on the other hand... I could be off for weeks at a time!

So Heidi and I checked out that restaurant (I still don't know the name of it) and well it's nice if your a hungry guy who's just finished golfing and need something warm and quick. We decided not to eat there once we saw the menu it's more of a cafeteria style restaurant. But Sheri did buy us a few glasses of wine and we sat at the bar which was nice.

We were starving so we went back to our favorite new restaurant Rosso! I especially love this restaurant because they never close during lunch and dinner so you know you can come at anytime during the day and get served. It was almost 2:30 and we both hadn't eaten a single thing! We ordered the grilled artichoke, fried calamari and veggies and split a salad. Oh, and had a couple glasses of wine of course! We stayed there for a few hours and then went back to her house and hung out with her husband for a bit before I headed back home.

Jason's youngest brother, Gregg, decided to come into town (he needs to check out the Humboldt area 4 hours north of us) and will be here late tomorrow night. He'll stay with us through Sunday morning and then head off north with their other brother, Marc. It'll be fun to visit with him since we last saw him a few months ago on our road trip. He and his wife, Lindsay, live in Flagstaff, AZ. So we'll have a pretty busy weekend/week... every night but tonight.

Tomorrow we are going to meet with Joel and Audra at the Starlight Wine Bar in Sebastopol. I've mentioned that they are getting married on September 15th... they got engaged about one week after me and Jason. I'm dying to know how the wedding is coming along! I don't know how they are doing it! We are now down to 9 months and we have so so so much to do/decide.

Then Gregg will be in town and I'm sure we'll BBQ at our house Saturday night. Then my parent's Labor Day party is on Sunday night, and then our friends (John and Casey) are having a catered luncheon on Monday.

And then just a few days to unwind before my future in-laws come into town! They will be here the 8-10 of September. I don't want to go any further than that... I'm too scared to look at the calendar. lol

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Pilot Light

Yesterday our house decided to fall apart... well it has been for some time but yesterday it really got to me. First Jason told me that he didn't get much warm water when he took a shower so I didn't think too much of it at first but after I came home from the gym and had to take and ice cold shower I knew something was up.

Then when I came back home from the grocery store I couldn't get into the front door. I think from the house settling it's leaning to the side where the front door is. I was kicking and yelling at the door in frustration... like that's going to get me anywhere... lol I was finally able to get in after about 5 minutes!

When Jason came home he looked at the water heater and saw that the pilot light was out. He had to turn off the water the other day to fix the piping in the shower (which he did so well!) and so that automatically turned off the pilot light which we weren't aware of. We both had never lit the pilot light before and we were scared. He had to go back to work so I tried to get some guy (Charlie/Ryan/Daws) over here to light it for us. Everyone I talked to said "Oh, it's so easy, just make sure that there's no gas coming out when you light it." Yeah! so you don't blow up! Everyone was busy (my brother was just lazy) to come by so Jason said that he would do it when he got off work. I told him that I'd help him and if he was going to get blown up I would to with him. ;)

Jason came home and I helped him with the flash light and we lit it!!! I really was so easy... I could do it now without being scared. I'm glad we did it ourselves because now we know! :)

So next is getting the door fixed, it's so bad that we could leave it unlocked and people still couldn't break in.

But for now I'm going to meet Heidi and we are going to go check out yet another new restaurant for lunch. I don't even know the name of it but it's in the Bennett Valley Golf Course and our friend Sheri runs it.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Calistoga fun

Yesterday Jason and I had an appointment with another caterer in Calistoga at 4pm. We thought we'd make the most of the 1/2 hour trip so we left to get there early and stop at a restaurant for an appetizer and drink. It was a beautiful day, not too hot, so we took the convertible. When we got there we drove up to one of my favorite Calistoga wineries, Cuvaison Winery, off Silverado Trail and did a little wine tasting. Their wines are Okay, what I really love is the quaint little building you taste in underneath the oak trees.

We then drove back into town and went to the Calistoga Inn. The Calistoga Inn has it's own brewery so Jason loves their beers but I like it because you can sit outside in their garden patio overlooking a creek. The caterer had told us to come hungry because they taste "family style" but I had to have a little snack because I was starving. We had some fried calamari and hung out for about an hour. We still had about an hour before meeting with the caterer so we walked up to Brannon's and had a drink at the bar. Now I was wishing that I didn't have the calamari because I wasn't too hungry and it was almost 4. ;)

We arrived at the caterers and were greeted by the chef/owner's daughter who is in charge of booking the events and coordinating the tastings with potential clients.

She was very nice and went over the proposal in full detail. I didn't think she was as smooth as the last caterer with wanting to cater to our suggestions. She was a bit more forward with saying what she thinks is best (which it very well may be) but we had something else already planned in our heads. Not that we are against wanting to do the food another way but with the last caterer what we suggested that we wanted they were all for it.

As we were talking the chef brought out the food and oh boy did he. Not even joking we could of fed 20 people with the food they brought out for us to taste. 6 different appetizers, 3 main entrees with a starch and a veggie for each themed recipe and all in HUGE quantities! We tried to taste everything and by the time we were done I could hardly take a breath. The food was good... but I think the first caterer's presentations were a little bit better and had a little more flavor. They let us take home some of the food... we didn't want it to go to waste of course! ;)
We talked about this caterer as we drove back home and Jason felt just the same as me.

But we are not counting out anyone yet... we still have one more to meet with and hopefully that will confirm who we feel would be the best. I know for a fact that this caterer would have so much food at our wedding all the guests could have 3 helpings and still take home doggie bags!

We had such a great day together and I'm sad it's already over, he had to go back to work today and I still have today and tomorrow off. We hardly ever get to hang out on Monday's because I usually have plans with Heidi and he has plans with Marc so we had so much fun. Now it's back to cleaning, chores, the gym and grocery shopping.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

One step closer

Last night Jason and I went to our first appointment with a caterer. We didn't know what to expect but we did know we were going to be tasting some food and I brought my wedding books and a list of questions I wanted to make sure to ask the caterer.

(I don't want to name names, or the company... since we are checking out a few different caterers)

I chose three caterers from a list that the Vine Hill house provided. They work very closely with the vendors for the weddings they host and like to use the same vendors that they know will be very professional. Jason, unaware of what caterers we were going to meet, came home the other night excited about a caterer one of his clients highly recommended. When he told me the name, I laughed and said, "That's the caterer we are meeting with tomorrow night." Jason was then more excited because of the high recommendation and the fact that he could name drop.

Once we arrived we met with the owner and she showed us to a picnic table, set under a great oak tree, with two table placings. She had opened a bottle of Syrah and had us sit down and pour some wine. (Already I was loving this, Jason too) She is an extremely nice and very professional woman. She has owned this company serving Sonoma County 30+ years and has done parties for Governor Davis as well as other high-profile clients. The chef came out shortly after we arrived and introduced himself as well. He was Bobby Flay's sous chef when he lived in New York and came to work for this caterer when he moved out here about a year ago.

We talked a little about what Jason and I do and Jason was able to tell her of the client that recommended her and she was thrilled to hear it. Apparently he uses her for every type of event he hosts, so she knows him very well.

The chef then brought out some appetizers for us to taste, (this menu we were tasting was based on an event they were preparing for today, they customize menus based on what the clients want so they don't have a "set" menu.) a salad and then the main dishes. Everything was wonderful and we were able to talk to both her and the chef about the ideas we have.

She is really particular to how we want the wedding to flow, where we want the food to be, when the food should be out, etc. They run on a timeline and will let us know when to do the toast, first dance, cutting of the cake, etc. so we (or our guests) don't have to think about it. She also told us how much she loves the Vine Hill House and how they make sure that everything is perfect and runs smoothly throughout the night. They take care of all the rentals, the set-up and break-down, the servers and the bartenders which is great because once we settle on a caterer I can cross off a million things off my list.

All and all we really enjoyed our time with them, loved the food and look forward to seeing the proposal they will make up for us next week. Although Jason was getting a little carried with all the food he was suggesting so I think we'll have to revise it a bit to bring down the cost to consider.

We had so much fun and are looking forward to our next meeting. We are going out to Calistoga this coming Monday to meet with the next caterer at 4pm. I thought it would be fun to take the convertible for a nice drive and go a little bit earlier so we can sit outside at the Calistoga Inn and have a cocktail. Now that we have already done one meeting we know what to expect so it'll be interesting to compare.

I was finally able to talk to my (very popular) Uncle about performing our ceremony. He's a musician and has been touring a lot so we have been emailing back and forth but haven't had a chance to talk on the phone. So we had a very nice conversation this morning and we he will do the ceremony! Jason and I are very excited! Another thing taken care of! :)

Tonight Jason and I have two parties to attend. The first is a sangria party which we'll be arriving late since we both work but we'll at least be able to hang out for an hour or so. Then we are going to Matt and Laura's for Laura's birthday party. The are good friends of ours and we haven't hung out in a while so I'm excited to see them.

Tomorrow after work I'm going to Kela's bridal shower which will be so much fun! Whew! And then the week is over! It goes by so fast! :)

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Three day weekends!!!

Ahhhhh.... I had the best best best three day weekend!!!

Well not to start though because Jason was out of town until Tuesday and I missed him terribly. He missed me too and told me that he would never leave me again! I told him that I'm sure he'll change his mind in a week. :)

So on Monday I cleaned the whole house top to bottom. It was easy without Jason there and I got it all done in about 3 hours. So now I had my whole weekend left without chores! That afternoon I met up with Heidi at Ru's house and we layed out and swam. It was so fun to just lay around and relax and "girl" talk. Jason was driving back from Oregon and had been on the road for about 7 hours when he got to Eureka and originally wanted to make the rest of the trip that afternoon but he was too exhausted so he decided to stay. So I was on my own again for dinner! Since I knew he was so much closer to being home, I enjoyed my last night by myself and caught up on all my shows, listened to music and had wine.

Jason got home around noon on Tuesday and it was funny because I think the cats could sense it because they were sitting on the couch with me while I was reading and they just stared at the door... too cute! We were starving and wanted to go out to eat so we decided to try this new Thai restaurant that we've been hearing is so great. Sea Bistro is in Montgomery Village where East West Cafe used to be and it was so delicious!! They did a great job at refurbishing the place and the food was so fresh and flavorful. I can't wait to go back. I then offered to buy us a glass of wine across the street at Monti's which we then went and did (Monti's is where we went on our first date) and then we decided to go see a movie. We went and saw "SuperBad" it was okay... kind of funny but there are so many movies just like it that I've seen before so the plot isn't too original.

After the movie (we were in Sebastopol) we walked across the street and went shopping at Whole Foods for dinner. Jason BBQ'ed chicken and made Spanish Rice and I made a salad and we hung out talked and listened to music. Usually by now I'm sad because my weekend is over and I know that I'll have to get up early in the morning but not this time! So I tried to stay up and party (my parting = watching tv) after Jason went to bed but I fell asleep on the couch.

Heidi and I had plans Wednesday to go check out another new restaurant, Rosso, and we weren't meeting till 1:00 so I planned on going to the gym. But when I put on my tennis shoes and walked around I realized I couldn't go because of last week when I was working as the glass server at the event I ruined the back of my heels from these STUPID (but really cute!) shoes I was wearing. I wasn't even wearing high heels... I was wearing flats (mean horrible flats) they were leather and I haven't worn them that often so they cut up the back of my heels to the point where I couldn't walk... anyway it's been over a week! and I still can't put on regular shoes. I've just been wearing flip flops. Sigh

What to do now?? I had about 3 hours... so I decided to go shopping!! I went to Target, Old Navy, the mall, etc. I got my ring cleaned at the jewelers for the first time since Jason gave it to me and it's so sparkly! I can't believe I went that long without it getting cleaned. I have not once taken my ring off since Jason put it on my finger so I did have to take it off for two minutes to have it cleaned but it was well worth it. I know I'll get over that after we are married... I just have that tinsy winsy superstition of taking off my ring.

So by now it's almost 1:00 so I head home, change and then meet Heidi. This new restaurant is where Anthony's Club used to be... or the Music Box (my parents generation) used to be, right off Montgomery, across from the hospital. Anyway it is the cutest restaurant ever! They make oven roasted pizza's, salads, pastas... great wine list! Very affordable! So we sat at the bar and shared a bottle of wine, grilled artichokes and salads. An older gentleman (probably in his 70's) sitting at the bar bought our bottle of wine. So sweet! I told Heidi that we are still young enough for people to buy us drinks! :) My mom came by and met us there and we had some more wine and chatted and then another friend of ours (Allen) stopped in randomly to check out the restaurant too and so we kept sitting there having wine and talking. Heidi ended up leaving to go up to Ru's to go swimming because Charlie (her husband) was out there working on Ru's property. It was so hot out yesterday and as much as I loved hanging out at this restaurant I soon followed, went home changed and went back out to Ru's to go swimming with them.
I stayed in the pool as long as I could before I started turning into a prune. It was really refreshing.

It was now about 6:30 so I left, went to the store to get stuff for dinner and then waited for Jason to get home. We had a nice night together and now I'm back here at work!

Work is going great because I'm super busy with all the boys here... we are bottling our Syrah and next week our Zinfandel so it's crazy hectic around here. I'm normally by myself so it's a different vibe.

Jason and I don't have a life until October. We are busy EVERY single weekend for the next month and a half. Plus I've actually planned 3 meetings with potential caterers in the next few weeks, the first one tomorrow evening. Jason is grumbling about it but he's the one who said he wanted to be there to try the food in the first place! He said "I want to be in charge of the food and music" But so far it's been all up to me! ... lol So he can't back out. ;)

I'll post Saturday about our first meeting/tasting... this is the most expensive caterer so far so the food better be great!

Oh and I still get another three day weekend next week! I wonder what kind of trouble I'll get in this time? ;)

Thursday, August 16, 2007

My first Bridezilla outburst! The countdown begins!

I was quite surprised by my outburst I had the other night. Me turning into a Bridezilla?

Jason and I were invited over to my parents house for dinner and naturally the conversation turned towards our wedding. We were discussing the different caterer's and quotes we've been receiving when it happened. Some people (I won't name names) started giving opinions... opinions?? on different ideas other than caterer's. I yelled: "None of your opinions count, my opinions are the only ones that count and that's the way it's going to be!!" Which was then met by silence and then some nasty things said to me about my attitude. lol... I deserved it. But from now on I don't want any opinions unless I ask! I have a vision of our wedding and as long as I keep within our budget that I formulated then things should be just fine. On to other things...

I worked over my "weekend" (Monday and Tuesday) because we had an event here in the Pinot Wine Country of California. There is a group of 20 top Pinot producers in the area (called the Piont Forum) that once a year invite 60 sommeliers from around the country to come and spend a few days here to attend seminars and winemaker dinners to further their education on the great Pinot Noir we make in this area. I was pouring wine for one seminar on both mornings at my boss' vineyards. It was absolutely beautiful out and very educational for me. I got to hear 5 different winemakers talk about this area and why it's such a great place to grow Pinot. (It's really going to help me out with my new tasting room project - I'll blog about another time).

Then on Monday night I was a "wine glass server" for the Grand Dinner with all the winemakers and sommeliers. I thought this was going to be the worst part of the weekend because of what I had heard from other people that helped out in the past.

I had hurried home from the seminar and cleaned the house top to bottom. Marc (Jason's brother) was coming over in the afternoon to BBQ and watch the Yankee's game. I'm kind of fanatic about having the house in perfect condition before people come over and Jason just laughed at me because he could care less because it was just his brother. Non the less I wanted the house looking nice. Plus I wouldn't have to worry about cleaning for the next 2 days and I could focus on work. I was so jealous when I had to leave that night for the dinner! There's Marc and Jason hanging out downstairs having burgers, a great bottle of Syrah and watching the game in the clean house. I so didn't want to go and be a server at this dinner. :(

I get there and have to wait an hour before doing anything, so bored, I just talk to the rest of the "help" there was about 15-20 of us. Here's the set up: In front of each person are 4 burgundy wine glasses that need to be replaced with clean ones after each course (there are 6 courses every 45 minutes) and there are approx. 90 people at this dinner. This is totally separate from what the caterer's servers are doing which is why the Pinot Forum had to volunteer us to help.

So as soon as the caterer's servers cleared a table we would come in and replace the used glasses with new ones. Behind us the "pourers" come through and poured new Pinot (all in all they got to taste all 20 pinots in the forum). It was hectic and hurried because we were on a time schedule. After the first round I relaxed a bit because it wasn't as bad as I thought. Once in the back they announced that pizzas were here for the "help" and so we sat outside by the vineyards and ate. I was a gorgeous evening... and became even better when they started bringing out the left over wine for us to sample! In the years prior they didn't let the "help" drink any wine but this year things were a little more lenient. I don't see why not, as in this case we all started having more fun and socializing/relaxing in between the time when they would be enjoying their meal. We were really only working 15 minutes out of the hour. It was so fun to taste through all these wonderful Pinots! I have tasted most of them before but not all lined up so it was fun to compare and contrast all at the same time. So again we did our routine 4 more times with the switching of the wine glasses and phew! it was over. I was tired but content with the overall experience.

Next day: Again first thing in the morning with the seminar and then I only had a few hours to kill before I had to go set up at Rodney Strong for the Bacchanalia. This is the big ending party for the guest and winemakers. I only had to work from 3:30-7:00 so I was excited to have my night with Jason. I ended up staying till 8:00 though because I was in charge of the bar (we were pouring about 60 different wines) and I felt inclined to make sure everything was running smoothly with the volunteers that were taking over.

So finally I was done! I was so exhausted from the long weekend that once I got home and sat down I couldn't move. Jason was the absolute sweetest! He made me my "tofu" salad and it turned out delicious! I started the bedding when I first got home and got it into the dryer and after dinner I went upstairs to watch T.V. but I fell asleep soon after that. When he woke me up I found that he finished the bedding for me too (that's his worst chore, so I always do it).

I had Wednesday off and I had planned on sleeping in but because I had already slept for about 12 hours I got up early and tried to get my life back in order (I had tons of gossip blogs to read!). Later that day I met my mom and we went to the little store we love, got lunch and sat and talked for a bit, then did our "shopping". I hadn't seen Heidi for weeks so I went over to hang out with her for a bit. We sat out on her front porch and had some wine and caught up. We had a lot of fun!

I'm back at work now and I have another (waaaayyy less stressful) event this Saturday but the good news is that I have the next two Wednesdays off (two three day weekends in a row!)

But more sad news... Jason is leaving tomorrow to go up to Oregon and visit with his best friends and he'll be returning on Tuesday. We haven't been away from each other (for a long period of time) in over a year so I'll miss him a lot. 4 nights without him :( But I can't be selfish because these are his best friends and he only gets to see them once or twice a year so I'm happy for all of them and I know they'll have so much fun!

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Weekend break

Oh, it's funny how plans change and I'm never one to totally commit to something just in case I change my mind later. Sometimes I feel that my weekends fly by and I don't ever have a chance to relax and unwind.

Last Sunday night I met my parents after work for a glass of wine in Windsor (I was planning on going to the gym but changed my mind!) we had fun and I stayed for about an hour and then headed home to Jason. When I got home Jason was all hyped up to go out to dinner... I kind of wanted to just stay home and watch T.V. but he was being so cute I quickly changed my mind. We finally decided to go to "West County Grill" in Sebastopol because we hadn't been there yet. We had heard from a few people that it wasn't that great but we figured we'd try it out for ourselves. (And since we pretty much go to "Underwood" every week it would be a nice break) We had the best time talking and laughing... but the restaurant?... it was Okay... the service sucked and the food portions were tini tiny, seriously. We ordered a fig salad and it consisted of one fig (cut up in four pieces) a dap of goat cheese and a few sprigs of lettuce all for $9.00 and we also ordered a Heirloom Tomato Salad which consisted of 4 small slices of tomato, olive oil, salt & pepper and basil for $10.00!!!! The place was cute though and they had some interesting wines by the glass so it might be a place that we can go to just have a glass of wine and talk at the bar.

Monday I was supposed to go with Heidi to the races so I got up early, had my coffee and read the news (gossip) and went to the gym. While I was at the gym I kept thinking of ways I could get out of going to the races. It was kind of nasty out, colder than it's been all year with lingering dark clouds and to me being outside at the race track having to socialize and network didn't seem very fun. So I planned my escape!

Heidi had called while I was at the gym so I called her right back and told her how I felt. I was hoping that she wouldn't be too upset since I was bailing out on her at the last minute. She didn't seem to be too upset and said that she was going to go anyway. I told her to call me if she was going back home later and maybe then I'd come by to hang out for a bit.

It's harder now that I live on this side of town (north/west Santa Rosa) to get motivated to go downtown or over to Heidi or my mom's house. We are closer to Sebastopol with way less traffic and we find ourselves electing to stay on this side of the city or further west.

So guess what I did? Nothing! It was so fabulous! I came home and showered and got into my lounging clothes and played on the computer and bothered Jason (no not really, he loved it). I had so much fun. Usually Jason has Monday afternoons to himself so this was a change and we both were having so much fun, talking about the wedding, playing with the cats, etc. I made him Macaroni and Cheese in the crock-pot for dinner. I was really nice to just relax and not have to do anything outside our home.

Heidi did call me later and wanted me to go out and meet up with everyone for a drink waaayyy on the other side of town. I so didn't want to drive 30 minutes (this was during rush hour) to have one drink and then drive 20 minutes back home. I think at this point she was mad at me but she has to understand that I was having fun with Jason at home.

Yesterday I did keep my plans with Eric to go out to a few tasting rooms and we had fun. It ended up being a beautiful day and we met a lot of nice people and tasted a lot of nice wines.

All and all it was a nice relaxing weekend and I was able to spend a lot of time with Jason.

So here I am back at work... it's going to be a long week too because I'm working an event on Monday and Tuesday night (my days off) but it’ll be fun too!

Sunday, August 5, 2007


It's Sunday and I'm actually happy to be here at work because I left Mister Cranky Pants at home. From the moment we woke up this morning I could tell Jason was going to be in a not-so-good mood. Last night though was great! We BBQ'd halibut, zucchini and squash and I made a salad. We listened to Jazz, had the candles going and we decanted a bottle of Oregon Pinot. It was very romantic! Even Captin a.k.a "Thunder" was enjoying the moment.

Here he is sprawled out on the couch while we eat dinner:

Jason just started calling him "Thunder" as you can probably tell in these pics Captin is huge! He is also called "The Tank" sometimes. He's getting older and more cranky these days. If he's outside and we ask him to come in he will meow very angrily at us and even this morning we pushed --- no pulled him, as he hung on for dear life to the comforter, off the bed and he yelled at us. Between him and his brother Cajun it's hard to sleep when they are both on the bed. Captin usually sleeps in his cat bed in our room but if one of us wakes up and Captin hears he'll jump up on the bed and crawl right in between us and nestle in. We can't move because all his weight is on the comforter so we get stuck in one position. Then Cajun comes up from the end of the bed and wants to snuggle with everyone and that then turns into the two of them fighting over our attention. No more sleeping! I guess it's preparing us for when we have kids!

Here are the two monkey's up in my office:

Jason has today off and I left him with a lot of projects to do. First though he went to get the newspaper and some sausages for breakfast and I could hear him trying to start the car and after a few trys it started up. It just started doing this yesterday (not wanting to start) and he thought he had the problem fixed last night but it looks like he'll have to take it into the shop. He just put a ton of money into it a few months ago so this really sucks. Especially since he's been complaining about his clothes, I've been telling him to go shopping and he was probably going to this weekend but now with the car problems and not knowing what that'll cost he might not be able to. We are being extremely frugal because of the wedding coming up. Especially now since I just started getting quotes back from the caterers! I could buy a nice car with the quotes they are giving me. This wedding is going to be a lot expensive than I thought...

So when he came back home I had to sadly inform him that the coffee I made was really weak. I didn't realize we were almost out so tried my best but it pretty much tasted like water flavored coffee. He really wanted a good kick of caffeine this morning because all of the projects so I just told him to take a shot of Tequila with the weak coffee and that should work. Hey, at least I made him laugh. As I was getting ready I could hear him banging around in the downstairs bathroom, along with the banging I heard cursing. Great.

I had purchased all new fixtures for both bathrooms and he was trying to install the towel rack and couldn't screw enough into the wall because there was a beam there. He was getting all sorts of cranky and by the time I came downstairs to make some toast he was very frustrated. We had to re-asses the situation of where else it could go and once we did of course it didn't work there either. I was so ready to get out of there and come to my quiet office here at the winery and not listen to him bitch and complain about how shitty his day is.

Of course he's already called twice because the upstairs towel rack is missing an allen wrench. Go to ACE! If the car doesn't start he can just walk it's right down the street.There's nothing I can do up here in Healdsburg. His other project is to finish the rest of the trim and the crown molding in the bedroom which will be a pain in the ass.

I'm planning on going to the gym tonight and so I hope by the time I get home he's having a beer and relaxing on the couch in a better mood. I totally don't blame him, I would feel the same way if I were him. I'm just trying to be as nice and supportive as I can.

This also means that he most likely won't be coming to the fairgrounds for the last day of the races tomorrow with Heidi and I. I really wanted him to come with us but I have a feeling that he'll be too upset about taking his car into the shop.

Tuesday my friend Eric (he works at Deloach Vineyards) and I are going to do a private tasting at Chalk Hill Winery. Every few months we go out to visit tasting rooms we haven't been to that way we can recommend other places for our customers to go to. So it's sort of work but tons of fun!

Whew! I feel like my weekend will be over in a matter of minutes!

Friday, August 3, 2007

Here’s how it happened… Part 3

The story of our Engagement – Part 3

Finally we are in New Orleans after 28 hours of travel. The year before Jason and I took our first trip together to New Orleans for Jazz Fest 2006, it was my first time coming here and Jason’s 5th. We both had so much fun together, eating, drinking, seeing concerts, meeting up with friends, etc. Our relationship became so much deeper because of that trip and we really found that we loved so much of the same things.That’s why this trip back to New Orleans was so special to us because we both felt connected to the city, the people and the culture.

We arrive at our hotel, about 5 blocks from the French Quarter, and check in. Our room wasn’t ready yet (since they had given away our original room we paid for the night before) but said that our new room would be ready in an hour. Famished for New Orleans cuisine we checked our luggage with the front desk and walked down to the French Quarter for lunch.

The whole time I keep thinking “When is he going to ask me?” I was hopping that he would wait until we freshened up at our hotel room since we had been traveling so long and I hadn’t had a decent shower. We had lunch at a little po boy sandwich restaurant in the French Quarter and just relaxed and felt the weight of the stress of traveling lift away. After lunch we walked back to our hotel room checked in, took a nap and showered up.

Jason then suggested we take a walk down the Mississippi River. DUN DUN DUN! I know we are connected on a higher level (We each pick up on things the other is thinking) and so I was for sure that this was going to be it. My thought process of getting ready was choosing the outfit I wanted to get engaged in. Some women won’t experience this as this was supposed to be a surprise engagement but I knew ahead of time, it was pretty surreal. I was going to go sans purse and Jason mentioned taking the camera and then it hit me “Shit! I’ve got to bring my purse so I’ll have my cell phone to call everyone once he asks me.” I was getting nervous so I wasn’t thinking clearly. Luckily Jason was. I was also watching to see when he would grab the ring and right before we left I heard him unzip his bag and put something in his pocket. Or I was hallucinating.

As we walked down to the river we were trying to hold hands but our palms were sweaty and we didn’t talk much because we were both nervous and anxious. If I didn’t know Jason was going to ask me I don’t think I would have gone along with walking down to the river, I’m might have been like, “Let’s do that tomorrow morning, let’s go get a drink at a bar right now.” But I knew so I went along with everything he suggested. We get down to the walk way and it’s beautiful and clear out but tons of people! Last year it was so private just the two of us but this year everyone and their kids were out so it was noisy and crowded. I was really hoping that he wouldn’t do it there because it didn’t feel right. We stopped to take our pictures by the river.

Here is Jason's signature pose: (We have a picture of him like this from every trip we’ve taken)

Here I am on the river:

I think Jason felt the same way about being on the river so he suggested we walk down to Jackson Square. Jackson Square is a beautiful garden area about 5 blocks from where we were. I thought "Genius!" that would be the perfect place, it's quite and private. As we are walking into the square we hear a street band playing jazz and they were awesome! We stopped and listened to them play and then walked into the gated garden and sat down at one of the benches. It was very romantic, we were all by ourselves and we could still hear the music playing behind us.

I knew he was going to do it then so I just stared at him and waited for him to talk. I laugh about what I must of looked like. He said, as he was reaching into his pocket, "I'm not sure how I'm supposed to do this but..." and he pulled out the box with the ring, opened the box and said, "I love you deeply, I want to spend the rest of my life with you, will you marry me?"

"YES!" I said and I kissed him a million times. I was still shocked even though I knew about it and I was so happy and excited. He put the ring on my finger and it couldn't have fit any better and it was the perfect ring, so beautiful.

I asked him who knew about this and he told me that he asked my parents (Annie, Dawson and Terrell) blessings and permission the day before we left and he had told his two brothers.

I was like "Um, I sort of knew"... and we both laughed... so we talked about the whole airport situation and how he initially thought that I saw... etc. but then he wasn't sure if I did because I didn't give anything away. He was a little disappointed because he wanted it to be a total complete surprise... remember the "assessment period"? That was all a ploy to further my suspicions of him asking me in the near future. That sneaky kid.

He had bought the diamond and had it set about 3 weeks before we left and kept it hidden in the closet. I couldn't believe it! I was so wrapped up in our trip that I didn't notice any odd behavior from him. He later told me stories of what he had to do to get it without me noticing anything, like hiding the credit card bill and sneaking home early from work to hide it. Also the morning before he went to pick up the ring from the jeweler I told him about a dream I had: That he had bought me an engagement ring. No joke... I didn't remember until he reminded me. He said that when I told him he froze for a second, thinking maybe I knew something but then soon realized that I didn't. (We sometimes dream the same dreams so I'm sure I picked up on something while we were sleeping)

Although it didn't work out the way he planned it was still so beautiful and romantic and I wouldn't have wanted it any other way. Plus it's a great story to tell!

This just prepares me more for the wedding, knowing that everything won't go as planned. So there you have it!

Here we are in Jackson Square right after we became engaged:

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Here's how it happened... Part 2

The Story of our Engagement – Part 2

We board our 4:30pm plane on time and head off for Dallas, not knowing of what travel situations we would find ourselves in once we landed. Our plan was once we got to the Dallas airport we would try and catch a flight on standby to New Orleans that night. The flight was uneventful and boring so I found myself daydreaming about the moment Jason would ask me to marry him. I had it all planned out in my head. We would be walking down the Mississippi River and he would get down on one knee and pull out the ring. I also practiced in my head my reaction and what I would say. Yep I had it all planned out.

Once we landed and got to the airport we saw the last flight leaving for New Orleans at 9:45. We had 15 minutes so we ran to the gate and tried to get on standby but they already had too many people and wouldn’t take us. By now the airport is pretty much closing down and there aren’t too many employees around. We tried to talk to a few different people at the ticket counter about our situation but they could care less and didn’t offer any advice. Stress and frustration were settling in and we were getting crankier by the moment. At least they could put us up for the night! After all they had put us through. Jason is really getting cranky because he was starving and I’m just irritated that no one at the airport was trying to help us.

We finally track down a manager and he explained to us that because of all the cancellations there at the airport all the hotels in the area were also booked up. Jason and I look at each other and I say “No, way I’m not staying the night here at the airport.” The manager said “hold on”… and luckily he was able to find a place in Arlington, about 20 minutes from the airport. Phew! Plus he was able to have a shuttle come pick us up!

Feeling a little more optimistic we wait outside. We wait and wait and wait… about an hour goes by and no shuttle. During this time Jason is going on and on about how he’s hungry, how he’s upset about the traveling, how he’s NEVER going to go to New Orleans during Jazz Fest again. I’m trying my best to be supportive and thinking that we are going to be engaged soon I’m trying to be on my best behavior but I eventually snapped. I turned towards him and said sternly “I can’t stand the complaining, do not talk to me until we get to our room.”

We stood there for about 45 seconds and he turned to me and said “Well I’m bored now, can I talk to you again?” We both started laughing and I apologized for yelling, but he understood he was being a pain in the ass. (And seriously that was the only time there was ever a moment like that throughout our whole trip.)

Obviously the shuttle wasn’t coming get us so we called a cab and drove out to our hotel. By this time it’s almost midnight and we ask our cab driver about places to go eat but no such luck because all the restaurants are closed. We do see a Valero Gas Station Quickie Mart near our hotel. It doesn’t get much better than walking a mile down the street in the middle of the night for gas station food in Arlington.

Jason got a sandwich, I got some generic chips (they didn’t even have Doritos!) and some sodas. We walk back to the hotel, eat and try and sleep for a little bit. Our scheduled flight to Jackson, MI was at 10:30am but we knew there were earlier flights to New Orleans that we wanted to try and get on so we wanted to get to the airport first thing in the morning.

We took the shuttle back to the airport at 7am and faced the horror of going through security again. I wasn’t sure if we were pulled over in SFO randomly or because of our names, etc. But we were prepared to have the same problem we had the day before. Sure enough we are pulled aside for the extra security check! We then found why we kept being pulled aside. It was because we had made last minute changes to our flight and when you do that, no matter what the circumstances are (such as the airline canceling our flight!) they will pull you aside for an extra security check. The TSA employees at Dallas are much more professional and stay with us and our luggage the whole time. I of course am watching Jason closely to see how he acts going through security with his bags. He goes ahead of me through the “puffer” machine and heads over to have his bag checked. I’m next, I walk into the machine (a professional by now) and as I’m being “puffed” I can see through the glass and I can see Jason talking to the TSA girl and motioning his hands over his bag. “Hmm”… I think, I’m pretty sure he’s telling her that he has a ring in there for me and for her not to blow it like the other TSA lady.

As I leave the “puffer” I hear the TSA girl say “Where is she?” as she turns around and which then she sees me and then turns back to Jason. Well now I’m 94% sure that it is a ring and I’m so excited! We finish getting checked out and once again we are clear to fly! No explosives on us or our luggage, imagine that.

We go up to the first ticket counter we see and ask about the 9:30 flight to New Orleans. We carefully explain our situation about how we are desperately trying to get to New Orleans. The lady at the counter was very sweet and put us on “High Priority” Standby. The tricky thing though was that our scheduled flight to Jackson was on the OTHER side of the airport, so if we didn’t make the New Orleans flight we’d have to book it back to the Jackson gate.

We thought for sure we’ll make it, we’ve come this far we have to have a little luck coming our way. Once we got to the New Orleans gate we see that we are 10 and 11 on the standby list. Very depressing. We wait as they board all the passengers and listen for the standby calls. The first 3 people on standby are called but never come up to the counter. We are now 7 and 8 on the list. They call more standbys and board them. Then they call Jason but not me. He went up to the counter and they told him they had a seat for him but not for me, could we split up? He told them, no, never. I go up there to see what was going on and the two airline employees are working furiously at the computer trying to get us both on the plane. They said there was an extra seat but the computer was telling them differently and they couldn’t print out the right ticket. The plane was waiting to leave so they just handed me the ticket they had and sent us into the plane. (I later find out that the boarding pass they handed me was under someone else’s name, nice security eh?)

YES! We made it! We had the last two seats in the very last row of the plane but I could care less, I was ready to sit on the flight attendant’s lap to get to New Orleans. We were so thrilled and excited and landed about an hour later.

To be continued…

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Here's how it happened...

The Story of Our Engagement - Part One

Jason and I moved in together in February 2007 after much thought and discussion about how this will affect and change our relationship. We were both living on our own when we first met and although we loved spending time together we also loved having time to ourselves. After many conversations, ideally, moving in would save us some money and the drives back and forth between houses but that's not why we wanted to do it. We decided to move in to further our relationship, take it to the next level, and see where it would lead us to as far as marriage and having family were concerned.

Living together turned out to be the best thing for us. We respect each other, give each other space when needed, would do anything for one another and we agree upon most everything. He is truly my best friend.

So yeah, I put it out there... I would say things like, "If you ever wanted to buy me a ring, just so you know I don't like gold." Or "I would love to just have a small wedding here in Sonoma County". Never over the top but just enough to let him know that I was thinking about it. He would usually say "Baby!" and smile.

About a month before our planned trip to New Orleans for Jazz Fest we were having dinner and I said something about marriage. He looked at me and said "Babe, let's not talk about that until after we have an assessment period." An assessment period? Okay. Here's how we planned it: 6 months after moving in (August 2007) we could talk about how things are with us, where we're at in the relationship, etc. but until then no talk about marriage. I was totally fine with that. Seriously, I started thinking that I didn't want to overwhelm him or come on too strong about the whole marriage thing even though I was being halfway playful about the whole thing.

I love to travel but I get very anxious about it. I try and act like it doesn't bother me but I must admit that I hate flying more than anything. About 2-3 weeks prior to leaving, knowing that I'm about to fly, causes my nerves to take over my body and emotions. I wish I could get rid of the brain cell that causes it because I seriously can't control it no matter what I tell myself.

I feel that things are going a million miles an hour before we leave, we have family and friends over for a BBQ, my mom and I get our nails done and have lunch, shopping etc. It's all a big blur of events leading up to our vacation. Finally the big day arrives and we leave for the airport around 6am. By now I'm so nervous and anxious that I can't talk and so the whole way down to the airport is pretty much in silence. Until of course I'm giving Jason the wrong directions to the long term parking and we end up going the opposite way on the freeway away from the airport. Things got a little tense for a moment but we got back on track, the car parked and we were shuttled over to the airport. Once we got to the airport we had about an hour before our plane was leaving and since we had already printed out our boarding passes the only thing we had to worry about was getting through security in time. Um, no.

We walk in, look up at the computer screen and out of 50 or so flights it showed that our flight, not to mention the only flight on the screen has been canceled without reason. I have to admit that at that moment I felt an extreme sense of relief (My brain was screaming YAY! No flying!).

We just stood there staring at the canceled flight like it was going to change or something until I asked one of the airline employee's walking by what we need to do and they told us that we needed to go stand in the ticket counter line. I turn around and see a line of people about a mile long, no seriously, at the end of the line that was curling in circles was another airline company, that's how far back it went. Jason is in all sorts of uproar but I ignore him and get on my cell phone with the airline while I wait in line with everyone else.

I get hold of an agent right away and I'm certain that they will be able to re-route us and things will run much smoother once we get a new itinerary. Our original route was an hour layover in Dallas and then a quick flight to New Orleans. The agent tells me that all flights were canceled due to tornadoes the night before and that morning. Ours was the last canceled flight of the day, all flights scheduled after ours got to go. So I won't pain you with the long and suffering two hours I spent on the phone with them but this is the best they could do for us:

4:30pm flight to Dallas
Stay the night in Dallas
10:30am flight to Jackson, MI
Rent a car drive 4 hours down to New Orleans

So we would be missing one paid night in New Orleans, paying for a night in Dallas, paying for the rental car, not getting in to NO until late on Thursday, etc. We were not happy.

I told Jason "Let's book this and then we can see if we can get on stand-by while we are waiting for our 4:30pm flight and hopefully we can make it to NO tonight." Jason agreed.

We print out our new boarding passes and optimistically head off to security. The line is not long and we hand our ID's and boarding passes to the TSA lady who looks at them and says "You two have to come over here for additional screening." Okay... so annoyed we stand there and wait for another TSA person to get us. We wait and wait and wait... finally another lady comes and gets us, takes our carry-ons and has us stand in another line which will take us through the metal detector and then over to the "puffer" machine. (I'm not sure what it's really called but you stand in it and little blasts of air come out at you, trying to detect explosives). While we are in line I'm watching our stuff go through the x-ray and down past other people's luggage and then just sitting there without anyone watching it. I ask one of the TSA employee's, "Uh, that's our stuff over there can you please get it, I don't want anyone to steal our stuff." TSA, "Someone will be there to get it." I look at Jason with big pissed off eyes like WTF? They were doing a terrible, horrible job not making us feel comfortable at all. We were trying to be as easy going as possible but they were making it harder on us by their attitudes.

We made it through the machines so obviously didn't have any explosives on us (can you believe it???) and were seated in front of the TSA person assigned to you while they went through every single item in your luggage. I'm super annoyed at this point and Jason is trying to talk to me but I'm not paying any attention as I'm watching the lady pull everything out of my bag. She calls me over at one point because she can't open something and I'm standing there talking to her when I hear the TSA lady checking Jason's bag exclaim "What's this?!" I turn my head and glance over to Jason's bag and I see a larger white box with a smaller gray box inside it, I turn and look at Jason who is looking at me with huge eyes, and then I turn away.

It's hard to explain what I exactly felt at that moment. I had a flood of emotions rush through my body. I felt from the top of my head this numbing sensation that ran down throughout my body and arms and then I felt paralyzed and shocked for about 5 seconds. Then I came to my senses... "Nah, that couldn't be an engagement ring... we are still on the assessment period!" But what the hell else could it be... I wasn't sure at exactly what I saw and so I decided to not do or say any thing, well partly because I was still reeling in from my shock of thinking that it was a ring. I barely remember hearing the TSA lady trying to cover up, telling Jason that her boyfriend too had cuff links and that those were nice cuff links blah blah... but I was so out of it I didn't have the ability to make any connections.

We both walk away from the security screening area feeling violated and stressed. Not knowing what to make of this situation I make my get away to the bathroom and call my mom. Now that I'm by myself I find that I'm slightly shaking and really wondering what if it’s a ring!?! And if not what is it? I’m going through all the logical different possibilities in my head.

I call mom and not knowing that I have this high-pitched, shaky voice, which she assumes is because I'm nervous about flying, I tell her about our flight situation. I don't say anything to her about the security because if it is a ring then she might know about it and I wouldn't want her to accidentally give anything away. See what my brain is having to work with now? Did I see a ring? Does Jason know I saw it? Does he think I know? If it’s not a ring am I going to then be disappointed?

When I come out of the bathroom Jason is on the phone with his brother (Is he telling him about the situation with the ring?? My brain is now a non-stop mess) I just keep quiet and we start walking down towards our gate.

Well the only thing left to do besides try and get on standby is to go to the bar. If we can't get on stand-by then we have 6 hours to hang out so we might as well make the best of it!

Here I am having a Cosmo at the bar:

And here's a picture of the Double (Only $2.00 more!!) I ordered for Jason:

We couldn't get on standby for 2 flights so we gave up trying. We just tried to make the best of the situation hanging out at the bar... we laughed and talked and actually had a lot of fun considering. As we waited at the bar I decided that it must be a ring because I couldn't think of any other possibilities. At one point Jason looked at me with his eyes as if to say "It's all ruined now" but I didn't let him break down. I just smiled normally and pretended that I didn't know. If this was going to happen then I wanted it to go according to plan and not have the little incident with the TSA ladies get in the way.

To be continued...