Thanksgiving time already???

Well, I guess Halloween can’t last forever. But, just in case you’re sad about the season ending (like I am), here are a few pictures for you from our Halloween party!

Our terrifying living room.
We turned our basement into a spider den! Horrific!
Even more scary, I made my first attempt at wearing false eyelashes. It didn’t go too badly! Plus, they were purple.
Here’s my costume! I was going for Mad Hatter, but I’ll also accept Mimi from the Drew Carey Show (not really) or drag queen.
Christopher was the local reed dealer. You know, because he makes and sells reeds for oboe.
We had some amazing costumes at our party, including plenty of Star Wars characters. Rachael was the Death Star, her being pregnant and all.
Paul’s costume was clever – he went to the evite site and wrote all the party-goers names on name tags. His concept: identity thief.
Those eyeball cupcakes didn’t stand a chance!
Uh oh…looks like the party is getting started…
Indeed! We even had Elvis singing karaoke in the spider den!
Hey you two – no funny business! Just kidding, carry on with the funny business.
So scary! But fun! Looking forward to another good time next year!

And I even got it on camera!

My little brother turned 36 on the 19th. I took him bowling and we even had an extra treat – galaxy style! The lanes were all lit up with black lights and flashing runner lights and cheesy music videos. Wowzers! Happy birthday, Paul – I’m glad I’m your sister and am happy that we got to spend a few hours together this weekend. Let’s do it again sometime!

Crater…Caldera…It’s all the same, right?

I’m afraid not, my friends. That being the case, I propose that “Crater” Lake be renamed “Caldera Lake”, which more accurately reflects its origins and current state. The lake, of course, was formed during a massive volcanic explosion, which caused Mt. Mazama to collapse and form the lake at the top. As you may recall from Geology 101, a crater is formed by an impact (think asteroid impacts that form craters on the moon)…which is not the case with “Crater” (psh!) Lake.

One of our first views of “Crater” Lake. Gorgeous, huh?

At any rate, I thought I’d share a few pictures that we took when Chris and I went on a little road trip a couple of weeks ago. We headed down south through Bend to Diamond Lake, which is just north of “Crater” Lake by about 20 minutes. We camped with some friends for a couple of nights there at the Forest Service campground. First of all, what a gorgeous place to camp! Second of all, we need a bigger tent. My backpacking tent is just not much fun for car-camping, especially when the people you’re camping with have trailers and palatial tents with separate rooms for their dogs, for Pete’s sake!

We found this sign at the Crooked River overlook. Dogs are so dumb.
Our campsite at Diamond Lake. Mosquitoes are dumb, too.
These are dragonfly nymph exuvium that I found on the shore of Diamond Lake. Dragonflies are definitely kewl. I am obviously a nerd.

Our second day in we spent the day at “Crater” Lake. While it is misnamed, it *is* beautiful. Wowzers! And there was still plenty of snow up there. We drove around the lake, stopped at the visitor’s center so that I could get my National Parks Passport stamped (heh heh), then took the hike down Cleetwood Cove trail to the lake shore. From there, we took a 2.5 hour boat tour around the lake where our guide talked about the geology, mythology, and biology of the lake. We even got to see several hundred kokanee swimming below us at one point! They aren’t native (along with the rainbow trout), but the lake hasn’t been stocked since the 1940’s. It’s America’s deepest and most pristine lake, so removing the fish would be very difficult and the Park Service has decided to just let them persist. The hike back up the trail was not all that fun, but the weather was warm and sunny so I’m not going to complain much here.

Me and Chris at “Crater” Lake. The scenery was nice, too.
Our friends James, Becky, Wicket, and Willow. Even at the end of July the road was closed because there was still a little bit of snow around!
At the bottom of Cleetwood Cove Trail; that’s our boat waiting to take us around the lake.
Our view of Wizard Island from the lake surface. The water was really calm and clear.

The next day we stopped at Lava Butte National Volcanic Monument (and got another passport stamp – cha-ching!) on our way back home. It’s just a few minutes south of Bend, and it pretty darn cool. We drove to the top of the butte and you can see its huge lava flow – almost 7000 years old and the pumice field looked as sharp and jagged as ever.

The forest ends abruptly at the lava flow’s edge; yes, that wall of dark brown rubble is all sharp pumice from the flow!
Chris, in front of Lava Butte.
The view from the top of Lava Butte. You can see the lava flow extending out (dark brown) and then the forest beyond. 7000 years later and the rocks have not eroded or been colonized by plants!

Chris had a great birthday weekend, and I decided we need to go camping more. With a new tent. And possibly a queen-sized air mattress. But first thing’s first: where to go next?

Happy birthday, my love! You are smokin’!

Act 4: The Afterglow!

Ok, I am soooo looking forward to being done with wedding blogging! So this one’s gonna be short – it’s the last installment of our 4-part series, and I’m excited about writing about more recent events. So let’s get crackin’!

Chris and I took our post-wedding vacation (I’m not too excited about the word “honeymoon” – it sounds so mushy!) on a cruise in the Western Caribbean. We went all over the place (in areas limited to the Western Caribbean)! We started in Florida, went to Half Moon Cay in the Bahamas, then hit up Aruba, Willemstad (Curacao), then sailed on over to the Panama Canal and Colon, up to Costa Rica, then back to Florida. We were gone 10 days, and one of the best things about the trip was the sun…this spring has been very rainy and gray in the Pacific Northwest region, so seeing the sun again was a welcome sight. And it was warm, too!

We really did have a fantastic time. The food was amazing, we got to dress up all fancy-like on formal nights, I learned how to play craps (1. pick up dice. 2. roll dice. 3. yay!), and we were even invited to eat dinner with the captain on our last formal night because we are just that awesome (or perhaps it was because we were the youngest couple on the ship).

You can view many pictures by clicking here: HERE. Alternatively, you may look at the Cliff Notes version below. At any rate, enjoy!

Our first day on board the Zuiderdam, in Ft. Lauderdale, after traveling all night.
Time for a drink on deck!
Our first stop was at Half Moon Cay in the Bahamas. Admittedly, this is a pretty dorky picture. I was riding Peanut, and Chris was on Just for You. After our land ride, we rode our horses as they swam in the ocean.
After our horseback ride, we went parasailing. This is Chris and me, probably about 500 feet up; that’s our ship in the background. Pretty water, huh?
Our first sea day, and our first formal night. Chris wore his pimp suit, and I wore my skank shoes.
In Aruba, we went boarded a catamaran and went snorkeling, which I’ve never really done before. It exceeded my expectations, for sure!
I took way better underwater pictures than this, but this picture shows the coolest thing we saw – squid! You can see one near the bottom center of the photo – you might even be able to see an eye if you look closely. They were less than a foot long, kind of brown, and swam in schools of 3-5 squid.
We spent a day in Willemstad, Curacao. We did quite a bit of walking, which led us to a non-tourist, more local market. These boats brought recently-dispatched sea creatures to market booths just off the dock.
Another formal night on a sea day.
We got to go through the Panama Canal to Lake Gatun!
We took a side trip to Gamboa Park, where we got on small boats, tooled around Lake Gatun, and saw some monkeys. These little guys were accustomed to being fed by the guides, unfortunately. But they were super cute!
In Costa Rica, we traveled to the central region of the country for some ziplining. Behind is is the AdrenaLine, a 700 m line that traverses a valley and river.
Our last formal night. This was the black and white ball, which we went to after eating dinner with the captain at his private table with a specially prepared meal. We were pretty fortunate to have that experience!
We spent our last evening on board at the Pinnacle Grill. It was a fantastic meal – here, our server is flaming my chicken kabob. Yum!

Act 3: The Aftermath

Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming!

Because we didn’t have our friends at our wedding, we thought it might be nice to have a potluck at our house so that we could gather our local-ish friends and any family members who were still in the area to bask in the glow of our loooove (sorry, ew). So, we sent out invitations notifying everyone to come to our house, along with their favorite food and/or beverage, the very day after our wedding.

Awww, how cute!

We frantically ran around trying to clean up the house, which actually looked pretty spectacular prior to guests showing up. Even the basement only had the faintest smell of cat-pee (but smelled mostly like Febreeze). Mom helped out tremendously (thanks, Mom!), and we even had time to sit down and say, “dang, I’m so hungry! where is everyone??? when is the food going to show up? should we just order some pizza???”

We didn’t have long to wait, though – friends started arriving and pretty soon, we had a full house. We had 74 people over that day, and it was so good to see everyone! I had friends from grad school and work there, Chris’ friends from school and the army showed up, and because a lot of Chris’ family is in the area, we had some of them show up, too. There were people upstairs schmoozing and intermingling. There were kids all over the place, playing video games in the basement and dismantling board games like Cranium and Battleship. There were five cats cowering in terrified confusion (somewhere). Success, right?

Ladies in the living room: Julie, me, and Jill – I met this dynamic duo in grad school and our mind-meld caused us all to wear black and purple on the same day. Amazing!!!
Chaos in the kitchen! This is where the beer was.
Bedlam in the basement! It’s a good thing we had this room open though, otherwise the upstairs might have resembled an over-stuffed clown car.

Right! The food was good, there were no unforgivable beverage spills, and we succeeded in putting all the elements of each board game into their proper box. We even managed to recover all five cats! My mom and step-mom did an amazing job cleaning the place up even before everyone completely left, and we had leftovers for a verrrrry long time. As a matter of fact, I think there’s still some cracker dip in the fridge. And plenty of plates/dishes/food containers that are now orphaned because we don’t know who they belong to.

Hey, you kids! You’d better make sure those plastic ships and bombing pegs don’t get lost in our special collector’s edition of Cranium!

It all went better than planned, and it was so good to see our friends, many of whom traveled a fair distance to be there. Thank you so much for visiting us! It was the perfect way to round out our wedding weekend, and share our experience with so many of our friends and family.

Next up: our final wedding exclusive – The Honeymoon (a.k.a. The Afterglow). We can then get back to reporting on our normal lives, alright?

Dang, this is a LONG intermission!

Well, the professional wedding photographs are finally here, folks! You can view them in the slide show at right, or by clicking here. I hope you enjoy them – Chris and I think they are fantastic! They were taken by Courtney Blaisdell (see information in previous post), if you need a kick-ass photographer for your event and are in the Portland area.

Woo hoo!!!

Pimp Style.


We’re interrupting wedding-of-the-century post-game coverage (a.k.a. the William and Kate of the West) to bring you this sneak preview of professional photographs taken on March 19, 2011.

Courtney took some wonderful pictures of Chris and me and has shared a few of them on her blog: Courtney Blaisdell Photography. I’ll be posting the entire photo collection soon…and yes, there are pictures of the dress!


Act 2: The Main Course

I suppose you’ve probably had enough of the Anticipation and are probably ready to move on to The Main Course, right? Chris and I are back from our post-wedding travel adventure (a.k.a. “honeymoon”, but I’m getting tired of that word), so I figured it’s now time for a blog makeover (thanks for the shoe picture, Tyleen! it’s getting a lot of mileage, including being used as my facebook profile picture) and a new post. So here you go.

If you’re reading this, it is likely that you were at the wedding. But just in case you weren’t, I’ll fill you in. Unfortunately, I don’t have a huge number of pictures yet – I didn’t take any, and I’m still waiting from some pictures from family and our professional photographer. But I’ll share what I have here.

The day started where I left off from the previous day (duh, right?). Mom and I went to pick up the cake, which, unfortunately, was not exactly what I wanted even after providing elaborate instructions to the baker. In all fairness, my original baker canceled at the last minute and the new baker did her best…but I’m still debating whether or not to send pictures in to Cake Wrecks. And, not that I’m any kind of bridezilla or anything (I really don’t like to even characterize my role in the day as “bride”, I just hate the way it sounds), for the sake of full disclosure, I did have a minor hair freak-out. Because I had gotten my hair fabulously straightened the day before, it was a little too slick and didn’t have any volume for putting it up the way I wanted…what originally was to be a couple of large, loose, Princess-Leiaish buns looked more like two small snail shells that further emphasized the largishness of my head and flatness of face, instead of delicately de-emphasizing these tragic features and flattering my head in its entirety. Unfortunately, I had no back-up plan, so I had to just wear my hair half up and half down, with little bits sticking up in the back and generally looking retarded. Looking back on it, I really wish I had just tried a bit harder to wear my hair up, dang it! What was I thinking??? Oh well – I’ll end my rant here. At least I didn’t have any excessively gigantic zits growing out of my nose or anything (and if I did, I would’ve had plenty of bindis to cover it up).

Glamor hair. My follicles are biologically incapable of doing this. 

This more accurately resembles my look on my wedding day. Without the beard, of course (no offense to Russell Brand – we love him!).

Chris and I went to the Vintage Plaza Hotel in downtown Portland where we met up with our photographer and got ready for the wedding. We reserved a fantastic suite there, which came with champagne for us with which we pre-funked in preparation for the evening. After taking a bunch of photos (and yes, some of them actually show my dress), we hired a town car to take us to Caruthers Landing, on the Willamette River, just south of OMSI. Everyone met us there, largely on time, and looked fabulous! More picture taking ensued.

Free champagne! Free champagne!

At 6 pm we boarded the Columbia Gorge Sternwheeler, a river paddleboat. The weather actually held out – it has been an extremely wet spring (and winter, and fall, for that matter), but the rain gods had apparently decided we’d had enough, or maybe they just wanted to watch the ceremony and wouldn’t have been able to see through the clouds otherwise. In any case, we only got a few sprinkles of rain, but it was actually fairly clear, if not cold (what did you expect, Koski? It’s mid-March in Portland, duh!).

This is the Columbia Gorge Sternwheeler. On a beautiful, sunny day. I did not take this picture.

Chris and I decided on a very small wedding – partially to keep the cost down (and it was spendy enough, my goodness!), partially to keep it nice and intimate, and mainly so that it wouldn’t spiral out of control and become a gigantic wedathon with all manner of matrimonial nonsense: man-and-wife-this, remove-the-garter-with-his-teeth-that. Don’t get me wrong – it’s ok if that’s your thing, it’s just not mine (um, I mean Ours. Yes, Ours, ahem!). So, we only had our immediate family in attendance – mainly parents and siblings, about 20 folks in all. This also made it so that everyone could actually fit on the bow of the boat so that we could get married outside (standing room only). We asked Chris’ long-time friend to perform our ceremony for us, so he got Internet-ordained lickety-split like and, after a couple of readings from our mothers, declared us Chris and Marci, husband and wife, partners in crime, accomplices of sorts.

My mom (anxiously going over what she was going to read), and the rest of us (goofing off).

Once our ceremony was over (what, 15 minutes or so?), we ran inside (dang, it was colder than we thought it would be) to warm up over appetizers. Did I mention this was a dinner cruise? Oh yes! A wedding and dinner all in one place – just to make things extra easy. It was a public cruise, so several more people came on board for dinner, but really, there weren’t very many people – just one deck was filled. Dinner was actually pretty good – I think I had salmon ravioli. We had a few small nieces and nephews running around, and I must say, they behaved amazingly well. I was thinking it might get too late for them, but they all played together just fine and I think they had a good time. Whew!

Oh…*that’s* why they had a good time…

During dinner, the boat cruised up and down the Willamette River, down to the falls, then up again. In the summer, the boat cruises on the Columbia River, but sticks close to Portland in the colder months. A bunch of us went up to the wheel house, and the captain let me steer the boat. And I didn’t wreck it! Actually, I think Abby (Chris’ 4 year old niece) did a better job at steering than I did, but I also got to blast the horn. It was pretty loud. I think it made a few fish lose the contents of their lower digestive tracts.

One of the things the dinner cruise did not have was music, or dancing. I was a little bummed out about this, but figured that it was just one of those trade-offs for having a quirky venue. But it was ok, because Chris is amazing and I married the right guy. We had our moment, just the two of us, after we left the wheel house. We went back inside the boat on the upper deck, where there were no guests. Out of the blue, I heard Anya Marina’s “Vertigo” playing (the same song Chris played when he asked me to marry him)…I couldn’t figure out where it was coming from at first…and Chris hugged me and said it was time for our first dance. He had the song playing on his iPhone from his suit pocket. So we danced, just the two of us alone, and our photographer snapping flashy pictures. Awwwww!!!

Again, we don’t have the pictures back yet. But for a point of reference, this is vaguely what we looked like.

Meanwhile, downstairs on deck 1, the party was in full swing. Of course, they waited for me and Chris to return so that we could have a champagne toast (my brother Paul made an excellent toaster, but I will say that he can have his winnings when it comes to kids. We will be victorious when it comes to cats!). And we cut into our cake, which had, miraculously survived the constant scrutiny of 3 small children for at least two hours. I think I had one bite of it and made the determination that I’m not particularly a fan of fondant, nor does it go particularly well with banana cake. Bleck!

Stupid cake! I’ll get you in the end!

At any rate, that was about it. I was thankful for so many things that day. I was grateful for the love and support my mom gave me during her visit from San Diego. I was happy that my dad and stepmom made it out from St. Louis – I know that family stuff like this is important to them. I was touched that Tyleen, Brett, Paul, and Anne traveled from near and far for the occasion – I know it was a short visit, but meaningful nonetheless. I was honored that Steve performed our ceremony, even though it took him out of his comfort zone. And I am thrilled that I have new family members – Chris’ parents, grandmother, brother and sister-in-law. Most of all, I am relieved that I have lots of little nephews and nieces who love their Auntie Marci and Uncle Chris and their five adorable kitties sooooo much…perhaps our decision not to have kids won’t bite us in the ass after all!!!

Wedded bliss! Someone get that hair outta my face!

As I mentioned at the beginning, I don’t have many pictures of the event (yet – we’ll get our professional photos back soon, I hope). I took the best of what everyone gave me and made an album which you can see by clicking here.

Can I wrap this up now? Thank you! Acts 3 and 4 won’t be quite as long, I promise.

Act 1: The Anticipation

Wow! A new post! Finally…I’ll bet your Anticipation levels were running pretty high now, weren’t they? So, things have finally gotten a little less crazy around here, and that’s no April fool’s day joke. I got a bunch of things done at work (but that never really ends, and there’s always more to do), and oh yeah, Chris and I pulled off that whole wedding thing, too. So that leaves me with a little time for a breather. Because the wedding was the main focus of my life for the last couple of months, that’s really all I’d been doing. I’d really like to blog about it, but it seems like a completely overwhelming task if I were to try to tackle it all at once. So, I’ve broken it down into four Acts:

Act 1: The Anticipation (what you are reading now)
Act 2: The Main Course
Act 3: The Aftermath
Act 4: The Afterglow

I realize that this is rather ambitious. But we’re going to start small. See, I don’t have a whole lot of pictures to describe the anticipation, aside from some truly embarrassing photos that my mom took while I was getting my hair done the day before the wedding. And now I share them for the world to see:

Oh yes, Mom, please take more pictures. They are soooo flattering!

Why, of course I’d like you to take a picture of my hair half done! Fantastic!

Oh, and in case you were wondering, we had the most awesome invitations ever. I mean, you can’t look at these invitations and not pee yourself with Anticipation for what the wedding will be like, right??? Am I right???

Will it be a three-ring circus? An old-timey boat ride? Something between? Who knows?!?

So, that’s it for now. You’ll have to wait for Act 2 and beyond. In fact, you’ll have to wait until Act 4 (The Afterglow) has happened. Chris and I leave for our honeymoon cruise tonight and will be gone for a while. So, sit back, relax, and bask in The Anticipation of blog posts to come!

A 2010 Retrospective…Lamenting the Passing of the Best Year Ever!

Happy new year, everyone! It is with great sadness that I say goodbye to 2010, the Best Year Ever. Behold 2010, a year that sidled into my life without presumption or pretense, and now a year that has slipped away like grains of sand through an hourglass…these are the days of our lives…Wait – haven’t I heard that somewhere before? Dang, and I don’t even watch soaps!

But in all *seriousness* (because we all know how Serious I am), 2010 was a fantastic year. I’m left wondering how 2011 could possibly be any better, seeing as how so many crazy-rad things happened in the past 12 months. Like what, you ask? Well, how about the following:

So, can you now understand why I might be sad to say farewell to 2010? Yes? Oh, I know…your response is that 2011 will probably be even better. How is that even possible? Well, I’ll keep you posted on how that works out – be sure to check back soon!

P.S. – Did you notice how I kept last year’s resolution? I totally maintained this blog! I posted way more than in 2009…let’s see if I can keep it up in 2011!