Photo guestbook

Filed under: — Aprille @ 4:09 pm

Denny and I had kicked around the idea of having i-Zone cameras at our guestbook (aka guest index card) station. Those are the Polaroid cameras that take tiny little pictures, and you can get film that prints out on adhesive backing. We thought it would be fun for guests to take pictures of themselves, stick them to an index card, write a note, and then we’d assemble them into a book later.

That was all fine and dandy, except that the film only comes in 12-exposure rolls, and it’s kind of expensive considering all the guests we have. The cameras themselves are cheap–they’re going for about $4 or $5 on Ebay, but the film was prohibitive. But then I stumbled upon a source where they’re only $2.99 a roll. Thanks, Froogle. So I bought 300 exposures. That should be enough for each guest to have his/her picture taken and enough left over for a few goof-ups. I think I might assign my ushers to do the picture-taking, though, so people don’t get crazy and wasteful taking pictures of each other’s butts.

Because, in all likelihood, I would take a picture of my butt in such a situation, if given the opportunity.

So, this is how I’m envisioning it:

1. Guest enters museum, is greeted by a friendly usher who welcomes him/her and snaps a picture.
2. Usher hands picture to guest. Guest progresses on toward ceremony location.
3. By the time the guest has arrived at the guestbook station (near the entrance to the ceremony room), the picture has pretty much developed. Guest sticks it on an index card, writes a loving note, and goes into the ceremony.

Sound good? I think it sounds good.

OH! I would also like to publicly announce that I was wrong and Denny was right. Normally I wouldn’t admit to such a thing, especially in such a tangible medium as the Interweb, but in this case I’m delighted to, because his smartness saved us $1000. We got a quote for a new air conditioner for about 3k, probably installed next week. Youch! But what are you going to do, you know? Then Denny was suspicious of the size of unit they wanted to sell us, because it was contrary to the recommendations of the U.S. Department of Energy or some such. He decided to get another quote, which was also around 3k, but for a more appropriate sized unit. I was all ready to fork over the money to the second person. I was sure that if we dawdled around any longer, it would be August before we got the thing installed.

Then, on the recommendation of a coworker, he got a third estimate. This estimate was for only $2000, for the U.S. Department of Energy-recommended size. They couldn’t get us in for a couple of weeks, but I figured I could sweat it out to save a thousand dollars. Then–then–get this–they called and said they think they can get us in this Wednesday.

Denny is so smart.

Food, how I love thee.

Filed under: — Aprille @ 10:39 am

We had our food tasting at the Co-op yesterday. It was really fun. We had, and will be serving at the wedding reception:

  • Piña-a-go-go: sweet and spicy fresh pineapple on a stick. It was fabulous–my favorite item of the lot. This is a definite keeper.
  • Spicy chicken empanadas with sour cream dipping sauce: Also great. Heck yeah!
  • Gougeres: little puff pastry things with a cheesey flavor. Yum.
  • Chive pancakes with red onion confit: these were very nice, simple but not bland. The purple of the onion and the green of the chives looked pretty together.
  • Corncakes with créme frâiche and mango salsa: these had potential, but I found them a little bland. They could have used some onion or jalapeño or something. Of course, we do need to cater to a variety of palates, so it’s good to have some non-spicy items. I suppose.
  • Grilled chicken skewers with apricot-mustard dipping sauce: these were not so great. I found them very boring. I guess kids would like them, though.

I should have done this in reverse order, so I’d have ended on the best one. Overall, the food was very good. We’re going to be filling out the selections with cheaper options obtained from other sources, like shrimp and meat/ cheese trays from Hy-Vee and fruit and vegetable trays assembled from our local farmers’ market.

I’m getting excited. The wedding is exactly one month from today! I have my final dress fitting this afternoon. We pick up the marriage license on Friday. I’m looking forward to the point in the process where it’s all out of my hands and I can just relax.


Sandwiches for eating

Filed under: — Aprille @ 12:41 pm

Check out Denny’s site for a lovely photo of the simple and delicious dinner I made last night. The only thing I would add to his commentary is that he gave me a little too much credit on the chicken. It was way too hot to oven-roast anything, so I used cold grilled chicken.


No turning back now…

Filed under: — Aprille @ 2:45 pm

With some help from our wonderful friends and witnesses Kyle and Ken, Denny and I applied for our marriage license today. Ken took pictures for posterity. Click the thumbnail for a larger version.

Kyle solemnly affirms that he knows us and supports our marriage.

Denny calls his dad to find out whether his birth certificate contains “Jr.” at the end of his name or not. As it turns out, his dad didn’t know, but it worked out.

Denny signs on the dotted line; Aprille gets out her ID.

Aprille signs.

They take our money and we’re done!


Bridal shower pics

Filed under: — Aprille @ 9:22 pm

Here are a couple of pictures from the wedding shower. At Emily’s request, I’ve included one of my beautiful mother (though unfortunately I don’t have one of my beautiful cousin Tana at the moment):

My mom and Alyssa, making Alyssa lovely and uncomfortable.

Buffy in a beautiful toilet paper wedding dress

My beautiful cousins, who did a great job organizing the shower, and me.

My dad in his cool AC/DC t-shirt, and Denny and me pointing out which set of initials pertains to whom.

Summary: no air conditioning (yet), my cousins are nice, my wedding planners are nice

Filed under: — Aprille @ 8:52 am

It is too freaking hot. We’re going to bite the bullet and get the central air replaced, but it’s a busy time of year for air conditioning guys (surprise!), so who knows if we’ll even be able to get it in this week. I did not sleep well last night, not at all. It’s going to be a tough Monday to get through. Fortunately I only have one meeting.

The weekend was fun. I had a wonderful bridal shower in the park on Saturday. It was crazy hot and humid, but there were plenty of cold drinks available, and I had a wonderful time. My favorite part was seeing my friends get wrapped up in toilet paper wedding gowns. Especially hilarious were Buffy, who is pregnant and therefore needed a lot of toilet paper, and Alyssa, who is the least likely person I can think of to volunteer for such a thing.

The shower was thrown by my wonderful cousins Debi, Betsy, and Laura, with help from my Aunt Barbara and my Grammy. Debi and Laura were planning to run a half-marathon yesterday. I hope the had the good sense not to do it; it was horrifically hot. I did a four-mile run at around 8 p.m. and I thought I was going to die. In fact, I started feeling woozy in the shower when I got home and I had to sit down in the bathtub until I felt better. Laura and Debi were going to run 13 miles, and presumably during the heat of the day, not at 8 p.m. like I did. Crazy! I hope they’re ok.

We also had a meeting with Chris and Rick yesterday, the wedding planners. They always make me feel better. They thought of ways we can cut our food budget approximately in half (good news, because it was a little outrageous; apparently $150 for a salmon is highway robbery, and they can get it for us for like $30). Also, Rick gave me a quote for the flowers, and it was around half of what I’d mentally budgeted. Superfly!


Air conditioning. More air, less conditioning.

Filed under: — Aprille @ 12:37 pm

When DC and I bought the house back in December, they warned us that the central air could use replacing. Perhaps bolstered by the winter cold, we thought, “Hey, no biggie.” Now it’s not so cold anymore. Our basement stays nice and cool, so we hadn’t actually tried out the A/C yet (not to be confused with yours truly, AC). It got kind of hot at night, but we’re wikings. But finally yesterday after work, it was no longer tolerable. We turned on the air conditioning, and it seemed to be working fine. We hung out for a while, then went out to do some things.

When we got back, it was cooler outside than inside. And it was none too cool outside, lemme tell ya. The vents were just spitting out warm air.

So it looks like we’re going to have to bite the bullet. The timing’s not ideal for big expenditures–it looks like it might be around the 2k mark, which isn’t as bad as I feared, but still not awesome. We’re going to have it inspected this afternoon and perhaps re-Freon-ed, which may hold us over for a while. That would be good, since that service is in the hundred buck range.

I think it will be ok either way, though–we were hoping to have a cool house this weekend, since we’ll have family in town for a bridal shower, and it would be nice to let them into a cool house. If this service we get today works, that should be fine. If not, we’ll have to schedule an actual replacement, which might take longer.

But, in good news, I got notification of my annual raise, and I’m richer than I used to be.


Travel insurance

Filed under: — Aprille @ 4:38 pm

I’m thinking about travel insurance. Has anybody ever used it? I never have and I’ve never had a problem, but we’re going to the Caribbean on the edge of hurricane season, and I am *not* going to let anything mess up my honeymoon (at least not without strong financial reparations).

I found this insurance comparison site, and according to it, for a mere $139 (total) we can get 100% cancellation and interruption coverage, including some emergency medical and dental coverage and reimbursements for expenses incurred because of transportation delays and stuff. Worth it? Who knows?

Actually, you know what? I lied. I have had travel insurance once, when I was studying in Spain. I didn’t even get it on purpose; it was just part of the required fees of the program. It actually turned out to be very much worth it, because I got sick and had to go to the hospital. I submitted a claim to the travel insurance, and they sent me a check for $300 to reimburse me for the hospital bill. Only…the hospital never billed me. Spain has socialized medicine, so they’re not used to dealing with insurance companies. I called the trip insurance people and told them what had happened, and they said, “Oh, yes, that happens sometimes.” OK.

In sum, I made $300 off trip insurance. That’s a pretty good track record, I think.


And my wedding-related mood swings…up!

Filed under: — Aprille @ 4:53 pm

We got our quote from the caterer today, as well as a contract from the museum (finally). They both need a little work–we need to tweak the amounts of food a little bit, maybe supplementing with some cheaper stuff. Right now it’s mostly on the hoity-toity end of the spectrum, which sounds great to me because I’m a food snob. But I don’t want to alienate our more traditionally-paletted guests, and besides, it would probably save money to replace some of the chive pancakes with red onion confit with meatballs in barbecue sauce.

But oh my lord, chive pancakes with red onion confit sound really, really good. We’d better keep at least some of those.

The museum contract looks more or less reasonable, though we still have a few questions about things. Seeing it all in black and white calms me down; at least we have a starting point for negotiations now, and they can’t go around futzing with things.

I’m also really excited to hear the music that my fabulous wedding planner/musical director/friend Chris is composing. We’re going to get together with him and Rick, our co-wedding planner/florist/friend soon, hopefully this weekend. Oooh, I just felt a little thrill of excitement. That’s so much better than the leaden-stomach feeling of dread that I’d been feeling as of late.

(Note to DC: the dread was never, ever related to marrying you. I’m thrilled about that. It’s just this damn party.)

I found a great website

Filed under: — Aprille @ 10:46 am

Check out Uncommon Goods. They have fabulous stuff–gorgeous vases, lamps, glassware. I particularly like this mug and these garden lamps. They have lots of other rad things, too, and many of them are reasonably priced.

What am I reading right now? you ask. Well, I’m about halfway through Carrie Fisher’s Postcards from the Edge. It’s merely OK. I’m finding all that 80’s excess stuff a little boring, such as Jay McInerney’s Bright Lights, Big City, which is actually a much better book than Postcards…, but similar genre. You can only read about self-absorbed people doing cocaine for so long. What shall I read next? I think I’ll pick up the new Harry Potter for light honeymoon reading (it’s being released a couple of weeks before the wedding), but I’m always up for further suggestions. Fiction-wise, I prefer character-driven, witty, cerebral stuff–like Tom Robbins or Eudora Welty.

What’s the last really good book you read?


And it’s only 8:38

Filed under: — Aprille @ 8:49 am

It’s been an irritating morning so far. First, when DC and I and some other people were walking through the alley that goes between the parking lot and our office, a guy in a CaRX truck (that capitalization looks weird; anyway, a car repair company truck) was driving in the alley as well.

Now, pedestrians and vehicles have a more or less mutually tolerant relationship in that alley. I’d argue that it gets more foot traffic than motor traffic, but we generally all watch out for each other. So anyway, the guy in the truck slows way down next to a woman who was walking in front of us, sticks his head out the window, and says “Retard” directly to her. How awful! She wasn’t blocking his path or anything; she was just walking through the alley like the rest of us. What a jerk. I feel like I should call his company and tell them that their employee is harassing innocent pedestrians.

Then there was a coffee fiasco. I wrote all about it, then I deleted it because I didn’t want the tone of this post to be entirely negative. Oh, and there were some technical problems at work that cornered me into breaking a promise to a client, which made me feel bad.


However, lest you think I am a real gloom-and-doomster, I will inform you that we had a very reassuring meeting with the tent rental people last night. They’re so nice! We haven’t figured out what the ultimate solution will be, because we need to know how much the museum is willing to compromise. But the rental people were very understanding and willing to work with us, so it looks like we’ll figure something out.

I can, without hesitation, recommend Aero Rental in Iowa City. They are a class act.


What a fun weekend indeed

Filed under: — Aprille @ 10:22 am

You know what’s fun? Playing with Danny and Aidan. Aidan is a hoot–he’s such a little chatterbox, and I was very impressed with how logical he is. He knows very well that one wears a hat when one is out in the sun, and when one enters the shade, it’s acceptable to remove one’s hat. And he’s not afraid to inform you of that fact.

Ah, little kids rule. It’s so funny to see things from their perspective. My little cousinito Maxwell (I’m not sure what his actual relationship to me is; he’s my cousin Debi’s son) visited my parents over the weekend, and he had never seen a chocolate-covered ice cream bar. The chocolate freaked him out. Debi had to eat the chocolate off of it before he wanted it.

Now, I understand where he’s coming from. I like my chocolate coating and my ice cream separate too, but I’m not dumb enough to give the chocolate away like a sucker. He’ll learn, I’m sure.


Decision made.

Filed under: — Aprille @ 10:30 am

Thanks for the advice on the options, everyone. I actually went out on a limb and got another option entirely. I think DC will like the gift. It suits his taste.

Here is option 6, the one I bought. Don’t click it, if your name is Denny and you are a naughty puppy!


Movie questions

Filed under: — Aprille @ 3:09 pm

Oooh, I’ve been tagged by Lettie.

1) Total Number of films we own on dvd: Not very many, really. Maybe…20? 25?
2) The last film I bought: Oh, gosh, I don’t even remember. I did, however, put Clash of the Titans , one of my all-time favorites, on my wedding registry.
3) The last film I watched on DVD: We rented Meet the Fockers a weekend or two ago. It was so-so all around, but there were some very funny moments. In a theater: I think it was Sin City. We’re going to Batman Begins tomorrow.
4) Five films I watch a lot or that mean a lot to me:
a. Rosemary’s Baby: Cheesey Satanic plot elements aside, this movie is a really chilling depiction of the way women’s concerns are ignored in the medical field. Mia Farrow is great in it.
b. Bob Roberts: Hilarious and horrifying brain child of Tim Robbins (who writes, directs, and stars) about a right-wing folksinger running for Senate.
c. Deconstructing Harry: Probably my favorite Woody Allen movie–it’s got all the usual elements, but best of all, this movie puts me in the mood to write.
d. The Man With Two Brains: Good old Steve Martin. I love that guy. He will always be Dr. Hfuhruhurr to me.
e. Blue Velvet: Remember the weird shape Laura Dern’s mouth makes when she finds out about Kyle Maclachlan’s relationship with Isabella Rossellini? It’s hilarious!

I now tag…Holly. I was going to tag Daphne, but all her favorite movies are probably The Wiggles.

Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream

Filed under: — Aprille @ 10:40 am

I’m feeling better today. Nothing’s solved, but I’m feeling confident that things will work out. The museum person, after exchanging several emails with DC, wrapped things up by saying, “Let’s not worry about the tent right now.” Um…easy for you to say. But whatev. Thanks for the supportive comments, those who offered them. They helped a lot.

I would also mention that it was exactly one year ago today that my sweet, wonderful DC proposed. And–get this–this morning he even gave me an “anniversary of engagement” gift. What a sweet puppy. We’re celebrating tonight by cleaning the house and going to Target. I don’t like cleaning, but I do like Target. I hope to get an armband for my iPod Shuffle (they were out last time).

OK, I need your advice, loyal readers. I want to get Denny a gift, but I can’t decide which of the following I like best. (Denny, don’t click these links.) If you are so inclined, leave a comment saying which one you like best–please refer to them by number, so the surprise won’t be ruined if Denny reads the comments. I’m asking for a little self-control here, DC.

Option one
Option two
Option three
Option four
Option five

In non-mememe news, here’s a weird Dean Martin hand puppet for your enjoyment.


Some bitching, then some positivity

Filed under: — Aprille @ 1:59 pm

OK, I’ve had it hasta los ovarios with the museum.

Almost a year ago, when Denny and I first decided to have the wedding there, I asked for a contract. They said, “Don’t worry, you’re on our schedule. It’ll be fine.” Oookay. I’m pretty sure I asked about it on other occasions, too, and we never got one. But people kept assuring us that it would be fine, don’t worry about it. A couple of times it wasn’t fine, such as when they up and changed their minds about which space we could use. The space we initially wanted suddenly became unusable, so we switched things around in order to accomodate them. We planned from the beginning to have the reception outside under a rented tent.

So just yesterday, we hear back from them saying, “The events committee met, and we decided that you must take everything down that night following the reception.” That includes the rented tables, chairs, and the tent. Note that these things are all rented from a third party; this is not the museum’s stuff we want to leave out.

The rental company is closed at midnight on Saturdays (obviously), as well as on Sundays, so they planned to come in and take down the tent Monday morning. They do events on campus all the time, including at the museum, and nobody ever mentioned to us that that would be a problem. So we are expected to haul away the tables, chairs, and tent (and by “we” I mean “some college kids we hire,” or possibly “our very helpful relatives, should they be so kind,” because like hell am I going to spend my wedding night breaking down a tent). I guess we’d have to move them to our yard or something, because I don’t know where on earth we’re expected to put them.

If for whatever reason (such as, say, precedent and logic) we leave the tent up till Monday morning, we are expected to pay for a museum guard to babysit the tent. Yes, that’s an extra 36 hours of guard time, and guards don’t come cheap. I can’t for the life of me figure out why the museum needs to guard an empty tent that’s not even theirs and is surely covered by the damage waiver from the rental place.

So yeah. That’s a giant pain. Now comes the positive part.

I am so thankful to have Denny for a partner. When I first learned about this, I thought I was going to barf and cry at the same time (I think I did cry a little, though fortunately I didn’t barf, because I was at work and I surely would have ruined my keyboard). Denny did a great job stepping in and handling the communication with the museum people.

I’ve always been a very independent person; I handle things on my own and don’t ask for help. In fact, one of my biggest problems at work is that I don’t delegate enough; I try to do everything myself. So I was bracing myself to deal with this highly obnoxious issue, when all of a sudden, as if by magic, Denny handled it for me. Rather, he’s in the process of handling it, but I trust him.

It’s really great having a partner like that, someone who eases the difficulties of life. You rule, DC. Thanks for ruling so much. If you were a Latin crooner, you’d be Rulio Igesias. You don’t play billiards, you shoot rool.


Ice cream mania

Filed under: — Aprille @ 2:56 pm

Perhaps you are familiar with the ice cream chain Cold Stone Creamery. I call it Smoosh-Smoosh, because that’s what they do: they take a base flavor of ice cream and smoosh additional ingredients into it. Anyway, there’s one opening up near me at some point (it was supposed to be March, and it’s still not open, which makes me very irritable). I was poking around on their website today, taunting myself with all the flavor combinations they have available. You can also invent your own, which I will probably do, given my penchant for inventing things.

I am particularly charmed by the following combinations:

Apple Pie A La Cold Stone: Sweet cream ice cream, cinnamon, graham cracker pie crust, apple pie filling, caramel.

Caramel Turtle Temptation: Sweet cream ice cream, pecans, fudge, caramel.

Pecan and Cream Passion: French vanilla ice cream, graham cracker pie crust, pecans, caramel.

If I were to invent my own, I would invent the following:

Thanksgiving On A Cone: Mashed potato ice cream, turkey cubes, gravy, stuffing sprinkles

Gummy Bear Delight: Doublemint gum, grizzly bear snouts


I spin salad right round, baby, right round.

Filed under: — Aprille @ 1:02 pm

The wedding shower was fun. I was stressed out about nothing. It was all very low-key and pleasant, and there was great food, including my favorite mini cheesecakes. They show up at all the parties; they must be easy to acquire somehow. Please, nobody tell me where you get them, because if I knew, my fridge would be permanently stocked with them and all this healthy eating and exercising I’ve been doing would be for naught.

In hilarious news, we got four (4) salad spinners. I am not denying the value of the salad spinner; I’ve been wanting one for a long time, which is why we registered for one. Additionally, just the other night I bought one as a gift for someone else that I haven’t yet given her, so our home currently contains five (5) salad spinners. So if anyone wants to come over for a salad-spinning party, you’re more than welcome.


In other news: I always thought cat owners were weird; here’s proof. Apparently half the human population of Great Britain is infected by a parasite they pick up from cats, and one study suggests that the parasite settles in the brain and can cause behavioral changes. In men, these changes include becoming more aggressive, antisocial, and less attractive. Women become less trustworthy, yet more fun-loving and promiscuous.

Weird! Thanks for the link, James.


Vindicated, yo

Filed under: — Aprille @ 9:29 am

So remember yesterday when I was talking to Mike Cassady and Jamal and James, and I was talking about the ancient city of Hatra in modern-day Iraq, where the ancient citizens lobbed containers of scorpions at invading Romans? And James insisted that it was in Jordan and implied that I was dumb for thinking it was in Iraq?


Also ahem.



Filed under: — Aprille @ 1:23 pm

Registering for gifts is weird. You feel like a rude jerk telling people what to buy…and then you resent it if they buy something that wasn’t on the registry and is very different from your personal taste. It’s confusing. Anyway, there’s this store in town called Akar that I really love, and we registered with them. Some of their stuff is outrageously expensive, but a lot of it is reasonably priced, too. We tried to mostly pick reasonably priced stuff. Nobody really needs a $300 watering can, sez me.

They got our wedding registry online. I really hope people use it; they have absolutely gorgeous things, just fabulous. You can’t actually buy online, but they have a little link on there where you fill in what you want to buy, and they contact you and can have it shipped. So it’s sort of like online shopping. You can go to the actual store, too.

It’s loads better than Target. Registering there was kind of frustrating, since they’re not very experienced in that process, but I really hope it works out, both for locals and long-distance people. If it doesn’t, well, we’ll probably just go buy the stuff ourselves.

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