My Prince

To add to yesterday's post about singles versus marrieds, let me share with you this choice experience.

When Murray first moved into his townhouse, the Relief Society presidency from the local family ward was making the rounds to each home in the ward. When they got to his house, they introduced themselves to him, and he explained that he was actually single and attended a singles ward. Without another word, the sister who had been leading the conversation turned around and walked away. One of the other sisters, as she walked away, apologetically said, "Well... uh... it was nice meeting you!"

So one thing we wondered about our entire engagement was what it would be like to move into this ward and what I would think of the Relief Society presidency. But the thing is, I love my Relief Society presidency. They're all sweet women and I couldn't see any of them doing what Murray described. Also, he doesn't really recognize them, so we're thinking that maybe the offender has moved to a different ward.

Nevertheless, the other night the doorbell rang and it was two members of the Relief Society presidency, coming over to welcome me into the ward. One said that she hadn't realized that Murray and I were newlyweds moving into the ward---she had assumed that we'd been married a while. They asked how we met and why we chose to live in Springville, and I said that Murray had the house here, so I moved in.

Then it dawned on them that like frogs who turn into princes, single men turn into married men and move into family wards. One said, "Oh! We knew it was all families here and that one single guy, so that makes sense, then!"

Singles Sensitivity Training

Wednesdays are my day off work and they are, therefore, my day to get things done. I look forward to the "break" from work, but I am beginning to realize that a Wednesday of errands can be more exhausting than a day sitting in front of my computer.

Among yesterday's errands was going to the jeweler to have my watch battery replaced. I went to the place where Murray and I bought our wedding rings because the service is so great. Our salesperson, T, even greets us by name when we come in, which is crazy because I figure he sees and works with so many people.

So T greeted me this time, and we chatted---he asked me about married life, and I went on about how great it is because I thought that he was married. (I guess the wedding band he'd been wearing every time we went in was just for show.) In the manner of making chit chat, I asked him, "How are things? People still getting married?" I know it's not the most brilliant dialog, but there it is. I said it. His response was completely unexpected.

He said, "Nope. I'm still not married."

With absolute horror I realized that he thought I asked him, "Still not married?" As if three and a half weeks of marriage were long enough to make me lose all sensitivity toward singles. But I couldn't really say, "No, I didn't ask if you were still not married. I asked if people were still getting married... and buying rings and stuff... you know... how's business?" because that just would have sounded lame.

Because of the misunderstanding he ended up telling me all about how he just broke up with his girlfriend and that he's a terrible boyfriend. And then, as a married person, I wisely bestowed wisdom upon him by telling him that if you're really not into the person, breaking up before the holidays is really the only way to do it, because otherwise, you're locked into the relationship until at least Valentine's Day. Christmas, New Year's, Valentine's Day: Those are three really awkward holidays to go through when you know you don't really like the person you're dating. (Of course, I would have bestowed that same wisdom had I been a single person because it was a lesson that Richie taught me years ago. Not that he followed his own advice, which meant that I had to help him find a slew of non-committal gifts for the holidays. Scarves and mittens anyone?)

And T really appreciated that insight because it hadn't occurred to him, and it made him feel better about his breakup.

Unfortunately, it didn't make me feel any better about the fact that someone misunderstood the words from my mouth and thought that I was asking a horrible, insensitive question that only smugly married people ask.

A Handful of So-So Women

Last night for FHE, Murray and I headed to Borders to pick up a book about great women. We figure it's a nice thing to have on hand, but we also need it for a more immediate project we'd both like to be working on. Anyway, we figured it would be easy. Find a book called "50 Great Women" or "The 50 Greatest Women of the Twentieth Century" or something. Just anything about great women, really---as long as it had lots of pictures.

At Borders, we asked a guy for help. He checked the computer and said that they didn't have anything like that, but directed us to the Women's Studies section. There, we found some classics like The Vagina Monologues, and a book whose title was simply the C-word... not really books that had pictures (thankfully!) and not books that talked about great women.

We then headed to the history section and that was a bust. We would have hit up the biography section, but they didn't have one. Then we looked through every coffee table book section and still found nothing.

We were sure, however, that Borders was an anomaly, so we headed to Barnes & Noble, who surely would have a book on great women.

At Barnes & Noble, the employee we asked for help was very eager to help and very optimistic. "Oh yeah," he said. "I've definitely seen something like that recently."

Ten minutes later, we were still standing at the help desk as he entered in search after search. He was coming up with nothing. I finally told him that instead of 50 great women, I'd settle for a handful of so-so women. Still nothing. Murray and I decided that maybe we should just write the book since apparently it doesn't actually exist.

Our helper took us through every possible section of the store it could be in. We found a coffee table book of pin-up girls. We found a Play Boy Bunny coffee table book. We found a book called Amazing Men with a picture of Ben Kingsley on it. Great women? Nowhere to be found. Murray, at this point, was on the verge of becoming a raging feminist.

We finally found a book called something like They Changed History. It's a collection of 200 great and influential people. We figure we can possibly find about 50 good women in its pages. In the meantime, I guess we'll have to get started on our 50 Great Women book idea since apparently no one else has done it. And maybe I'll throw myself into the mix and see if anyone notices.

The Honeymoon

CONFESSION: We didn't take a single picture the whole time. It was just so nice to be able to relax and not worry about documenting the whole thing, but just to enjoy it. But we did do a zip line canopy tour, and they took our picture and then charged us our firstborn son for it, so we figured what the heck---anything for a picture of our honeymoon. Of course, I don't know where those pictures are right now and I don't know how to scan them in anyway, so I'll just share with you photos of where we stayed that were taken by other people. (And don't forget the illustrations that are on Murray's blog.)

We went to Costa Rica because Murray's generous boss offered his condo for us to stay in, and really, there's no reason to say no to that! The trip to San José took a while, and I was excited to finally be there, but was not really prepared for the 2-hour car ride to where we were staying. Our taxi driver was so capable of handling the whole thing that we decided not to rent a car at all while we were there, but to allow others to do our driving.

The condo is located in a very small community that had two restaurants, a "convenience store" type market, and a discotheque. The cab driver made sure to point out the discotheque several times. Murray and I. We look like ones who love the disco for sure.

Upon arriving, we unpacked our bags and headed down to the Low Tide Lounge, the restaurant that was recommended to us, for some fish tacos. The restaurant is right on the beach, so we were able to watch the waves and enjoy our food. There are no walls or doors to the restaurant---it's all completely open. And one thing that really surprised us was that dogs and cats just park themselves at your table and beg while you're eating. In fact, when I leaned forward on my chair, a cat even hopped up onto the back of my chair to get a little closer to the food. While we were eating, it started to rain, and there were even drops coming through the thatched roof and hitting Murray and me and our food. The whole experience was charming, and the food was great.

The first and second days we just concentrated on enjoying our surroundings---walks on the beach, more food and pina coladas, bird watching, etc. And then the third day we decided to venture into the nearby tourism-based city. It was nice to have no plans and be able to just play things by ear. It was a nice change of pace after the wedding.

In Jacò, the nearby city, we wandered around shops, booked a snorkeling tour and a canopy tour, and enjoyed a nice restaurant. The cab driver who had taken us into the city (in our own personal van/minibus) had given us his phone number to call when we were through. When I called, a woman answered the phone. The conversation went like this:

Woman: Hola?
Cicada: Hola? Taxi?
Woman: No.
Cicada: No? Taxi?
Woman: Necessitas taxi?
Cicada: Si?
Woman: Donde?
Cicada: Jacò? Esterillos Oueste?
Woman: A Esterillos Oueste?
Cicada: No... Da Jacò a Esterillos Oueste? (Using Italian prepositions... not sure if they translate...)
Woman: Oh, ja, a Jacò. Donde?
Cicada: Mas por Menos? (The store we were standing outside of.)
Woman: Okay. Yo vengo.

After this conversation, I turned to Murray and said, "I called the number... but a woman answered... and I don't know if we just called our taxi driver or some random person who has decided that they can make some money by giving us a ride somewhere..."

When the taxi showed up, it was our original taxi driver and his wife. How sweet. And then they remained our loyal chauffeurs for the rest of our trip.

Snorkeling was not everything I imagined it would be. The boat ride to the snorkeling place was great, and it was just me and Murray and the captain of the boat, which was cool. And the ride alone was almost worth all the money we paid. Unfortunately, water conditions weren't ideal for snorkeling, so we only saw a couple of cool fish. Then pretty much everything went to pot when we realized that we were caught in the tide and try as we might we couldn't move from where we were swimming, unless we went closer to the rocky outcroppings where the waves were sure to beat us to death. We called the captain and his boat over to save us and cut our snorkeling trip a little short.

The canopy tour the next day was great, even though we didn't see any monkeys. While we were waiting for our personal chauffeurs to come and pick us up to go to the canopy tour, though, we saw two iguanas in a tree, and a little red squirrel that doesn't look like our local squirrels here. And earlier in the trip we'd seen wild parrots just flying by, so really, we can't complain too much. At the canopy tour, we joined about 25 other people. The tour consists of you getting completely geared up, then attached to a series of zip lines. The zip lines each lead to another platform and another zip line. And it was a lot of fun.

We only ventured into the ocean by the condo once during our honeymoon. I know, it seems like a waste, but there's something disconcerting about being the ONLY ones on the beach and the ONLY ones in the water, not to mention that these were the biggest waves I'd ever seen, and I just had visions of being swept out to see or drownded. But on our last day, there were a handful of others in the water---all surfing---so we grabbed a couple boogie boards and braved the water. That's the first time in my life that I've successfully ridden a wave all the way into shore, so I'm thrilled that I finally got over my fear. And there weren't any sharks. Phew.

The honeymoon, basically, was perfect. It was a great time to relax and enjoy each other's company and not have to talk about wedding plans. There were a couple times that I caught myself thinking, "I should have brought thank you cards because I could have done them on the plane!" and then I'd remember that the honeymoon was there so that we could escape from all obligations. And I think that we did a good job of that.

The condo.

The view from the condo.

More of the condo.

The beach.

View of the condo---it's the white building.

Lots of vultures were around.

Narwhal Co.

Dr. Rice is shamelessly plugging this new site today. Sample conversation:

Cicada: Hello, Dr. Rice. How are you today?
Dr. Rice:
Cicada: Oh, that's good to hear. What did you do last night?
Dr. Rice:
Cicada: Really? That's fantastic! Oh, I forgot to ask, do these shoes make my butt look big?
Dr. Rice:
Cicada: I thought so.

I figured it was worth seeing what she was talking about. Just in time for the Christmas holidays comes this really cool new site that sells used tie fashion accessories. Wallets, iPod covers, iPhone covers, even manly bracelets that are sure to replace those liveSTRONG bracelet knock-offs as the latest trend. Top it all off with a cool line of t-shirts including this United States gem.

Include this site in your Christmas shopping and bask in your smug feelings of having bought handmade this year.

As if I needed another reason...

I'll post about the honeymoon tomorrow, but I couldn't resist sharing with you all another reason why I love Murray. The other night we went to Bed Bath & Beyond to buy a food processor with our gift cards. While I was deliberating between the 7-cup at $100 and the 14-cup at $200, this caught Murray's eye.

To which I asked, "What would anyone ever need that for?"

He responded somewhat sheepishly, "I've got to admit, if I were still a bachelor, I'd buy that up in a second."

How can I not be in love with him?

(We went with the 14-cup.)

My Reception Perception

Daltongirl and Nemesis have done an excellent job of documenting this glorious occasion. And now it is my turn to let you know a little more about what went into making the reception so great.

So much of this wedding was planning long distance. My mom was out in Maryland. We talked on the phone quite a bit and tried to get things together as best as possible. Because the reception was going to be held in a different state from where my family actually lived, we decided it was better to hire a caterer to do all the work. So we went through caterer-choosing hell. One caterer stood us up. Another made it very clear that we knew way more about food than they did. Finally we found a caterer who looked like they could do a very capable job. So we hired them.

And then they sent us their estimate.

For 150 people it was going to be about $6,000. And that was for a minimal, cost-saving food offering. We had meat, fruit, pasta salad, green salad, desserts, and WATER. To add a beverage would have cost $1.50-$2.00 per person, which Squirrel Boy accurately pointed out that for that cost, we could buy everyone their own 2-liter. The wait staff was $150 per person, in addition to the inflated food cost. And on top of all that, of course, we were expected to tip 20%.

My mom kept saying that if we were doing it in Maryland, we could do it ourselves because she has her support group. I kept telling her that I have a very good support group out here and they could do it! Finally, after seeing that ridiculous statement, my whole body was buzzing with empowerment and I went to Costco and walked down EVERY SINGLE AISLE and wrote down any food item that would lend itself to minimal preparation and maximum presentation. I had a large list of foods. I called my mom and went through it with her and we decided that yes, it was doable! We could do it ourselves, and it wouldn't actually be that hard.

At the mention of "I fired my caterer" all members of my wonderful support group without prodding volunteered to be put to work. (This is where I start to get teary-eyed.) I have the most amazing and talented and dedicated friends, and I am so grateful to each of you. I honestly had no idea how much work would actually be involved, but you all rose to the occasion and put on a reception that exceeded my expectations.

It sounds rude to say that: exceeded my expectations. But what I mean by that is that in my head, I had a picture of what I would be able to do myself. But all of you working together were able to do so much more than anything I could have done myself or even thought of myself. And somehow, in the middle of all the preparations before the wedding date, it never really occurred to me that I would be doing none of the work. Everyone did an amazing job and put together for me the most perfect reception I could ever hope for.

And now, for my speech, in which I thank every individual who contributed:

To Murray's family:

Thank you for always offering help, even though I was never good at figuring out which jobs to give you. You came through though and found the things that you could do. Thank you for taking care of the linens and the tuxes. Thank you for handing out the favors. The girls looked so cute, and the boys got involved later in the evening, too. In fact, one of them came up to me and offered me a favor. So cute. Thank you for taking care of the flowers. Everything was so perfect. Thank you for taking care of the gifts for us. Thank you for hosting our out-of-town guests. Thank you for the wonderful breakfast that filled me and Murray up enough that we weren't hungry for the rest of the day. Thank you for your wonderful support. We love you so much.

To Mary Moo and Miss Precocious:
Thank you Mary Moo for doing an amazing job of the decorations. The buffet table was spectacular---words don't come close to expressing the awe that I felt looking at your work. What vision! Miss Precocious, I hear that you were busy all night long as Mary Moo's personal assistant. Everyone was so impressed with you and how hard you worked!

To Patience and Viktor:
Thank you so much for the pumpkins! I didn't even notice that one had a picture of the temple until I was going through the pictures. Such attention to detail! They were wonderful, and Patience, I'm sorry that you took out a chunk of your finger.

Thank you for working hard all night to serve the guests. Viktor, special thanks to you for volunteering to come to our home and braving the possibility of finding us in an indiscreet fashion. I promise you that nothing was going on anyway and will shortly defend my honor. Thank you again to both of you and to Miss Precocious for being friends who are as close as family.

To Dr. Rice:
Thank you for flying out to my wedding from DC just to be put to work. And thank you for doing all that work in stilettos. I think that about twenty people have told me how hard you worked all night---"And she was wearing stilettos the whole time!!" Don't worry. I will never reveal your actual height. Thank you also for wearing a skirt instead of going pantless or skirtless, as you are prone to do. It means the world to me. Thank you for doing the aprons. You. Yourself. All alone.

To Switchback, Maid of Honor:
Thank you also for spending money to fly out to my wedding, only to be put to work. Thank you for being with me pretty much the whole weekend and being my personal assistant. Thank you for helping me with my makeup. I love how I am able to throw you in with a group of my friends who are all strangers to you, and you can immediately bond with them. When anyone meets you, they understand immediately why I would want to have you around as a friend. I really enjoyed our bouquet hand-off instead of a toss.
You really deserve it. I love you so much.

To Nemesis, Jenny, Daltongirl, and Ambrosia:
You are my blog ladies and you all came through as my primary support group. Thank you so much. My parents can't get over all the work you did. In fact, they feel bad that you worked so hard. They keep talking about it again and again, saying that you worked like dogs. You really impressed them and I was so proud to show my parents the high quality of friends I have out here. You are all amazing. You have all proven yourselves to be kitchen goddesses in the past---yes, even you, Daltongirl---and I couldn't have chosen a better bunch to entrust with my reception food.

To Cousin C and her friend A:
Thank you for calling up and volunteering to help. I hardly saw you at all during the reception and I didn't meet friend A, but I hear that you two were wonderful and took charge of the dessert and drink table. I appreciate the initiative you took in offering your services. It's people like you who are needed in this world!

To my Siblings:
Thanks to each of you for the days of work that went into the reception. I think that The Boy was running errands for four days straight. You all did such great work, and as The Boy pointed out, you did it all in your tuxes. I don't even know which things each of you were responsible for, but I know that you were all in charge of bringing all the items to the Art Museum before the reception. As Daltongirl and Nemesis pointed out, the kitchen was full of food when they got there to start helping out. I know that took several trips and several loads. I know that you had to run lots of errands. I am so impressed with all of you, and very grateful to know that I can always rely on you for help. Captain Mom, even though I know you hate that blog name, a special thanks goes out to you. From the very start, you've been available for consulting (which I did many times because you're the pro). I really trust and value your opinion and your help throughout the whole wedding-planning process was invaluable. Most of the time, Mom and I would say, "Well, they did it this way at their wedding, so we should do the same thing." You set a good example a few years ago, and that was really key in helping me know what to do. Thank you for always offering help, and always volunteering exactly what you could do to help. The buffet table looked wonderful thanks to you and your family dishes. Thank you for all the cooking you did ahead of time to try out recipes that could work at the reception. I hear that several people have been asking for the ice box pudding recipe. I am so blessed to have you as my big sister; you came through splendidly this time.

To Mom and Dad:
Where did you get that chef's jacket? Seeing Dad in the chef's jacket on top of his tux I think says it all. Both of you have been working so hard for so long to make this day come together, not to mention paying money to make of all my decisions and ideas into a reality. I am grateful to you for putting on the best wedding I could have ever imagined. It was a lot of work and time and energy. Thanks for figuring out how to do the mums in the pumpkins! Thanks for developing a menu that would really work! Thanks for the days you spent in the kitchen! Thanks Dad for carving all that meat (three minutes per roast!). Thanks for the detailed instructions that you gave my friends so that they could do their jobs. Thank you for really taking my idea and then doing all the work to make it a reality. Thank you for your attention to every detail. And most of all, thanks for being the type of people who make it all fun---who, as Nemesis and Daltongirl pointed out, aren't high-strung and stressed in a situation like this. I have always loved that you two get along so well with my friends---it was fun for me to have you meet them and work with them. I always said that I didn't want my reception to cause anyone stress---I wanted it to be a very relaxed day and fun for everyone. How naive! My reception was a ton of work and a ton of stress, but you came through wonderfully and calmly. The day was absolutely perfect. Absolutely, absolutely perfect. I love you so much and I am blessed to have you as my parents.

I think that does it for this post, especially seeing as how I've sobbed through writing most of it. I am finding it very difficult to express all the gratitude and awe and pride that I feel. The day was perfect.

There are still issues that must be addressed. I will write about the honeymoon (check out Murray's blog for some drawings and details) and I need to defend our classiness in our choice not to enjoy some "afternoon delight" between the ceremony and the reception. But those things will have to wait for another post.

Just a Better Way to Live

So it's all official. Murray and I are back and we're figuring out the married life groove, and now we're all ready to say really insensitive things to single people like, "You should get married. It's just a better way to live." What are some insensitive things you've heard over the years? Murray and I need a few ideas.

Thanks again to Nemesis and Daltongirl for blogging about my special day. I'll take my turn at the reception, but first I wanted to post a few pictures that I thought people might like as well as our slide show that Murray kindly uploaded to YouTube for all of us. Anyway, I have to get this wedding stuff over as soon as possible lest people complain that I've turned into an I'm-obsessed-with-my-own-wedding blog. But really, with a day so perfect as our wedding day, I must admit that I am obsessed with my own wedding right now.

Without further ado, the video and some pictures!

(You'll forgive that the music cuts out at the end. We wanted to cut out our "real names" that appeared in the last slide.

All of the wedding party who loved us enough to stick around for photos after the ceremony.

I just wanted to share this picture because it looks like my grandpa is blind, which made me laugh.

Me and Murray and the best man (brother Steve) and maid of honor (Switchback)

Showing that we know how to have fun always.

Evidence that we got married in a 70s church movie.

A better way to live.

The last of the guest posts . . . sniff

I'm not sure that anything I write here will be able to top what Daltongirl just did, but I'll do my best.

First off, I need to say that she gave me way too much credit. She also did not mention the part where I had sort of a hairball fit in the kitchen corner around 4:30pm, with the hissing and spitting. I was freaking out because I wasn't sure where to begin, and not all of the ingredients were there, and people were looking at me but I HAD NO ANSWERS!!!! But then people started arriving with the missing items and Ootsie Boodle got there (which is when the choirs of angels started singing) and it all started making more sense.

Everyone worked hard enough for 4 people. Ambrosia and Daltongirl and Jenny were wonderful, as was Cicada's family, and then all these other people turned up and started doing whatever was needed. Which was amazing. I heart Cicada's family and friends.

One of my favorite moments was when Ambrosia, Daltongirl, Jenny, and I got the giggles over some stupid thing, but then I choked on a grape, which turned the giggles into guffaws, and then Jenny got up all alarmed and had to do the doubled-over scissor-legged gripping-countertops stagger that is the I'm Going to Wet My Pants dance as she went out the back door looking for a bathroom or janitor's bucket. Then the entire Springville Museum was treated to unholy sound usually reserved for a horse whose leg has just broken and will be shortly put down. But no, it was just us laughing. Or, possibly, just me who sounded like that.

Then the moment arrived to get the food out there and start the show. Everything came together beautifully. I overheard people who just could not even believe their luck as they approached the buffet table all laden with goodness. The dessert table was a work of art in itself, as one of Cicada's cousins kept it stocked with beautifully arranged platters of truffles and baklava and Ferraro Rocher and Almond Roca and Belgian-chocolate-dipped cookies and I don't even know what else because now I'm wiping drool off the keyboard just remembering it. As Daltongirl restocked one of the many bread baskets, a girl we'd sat with at the wedding breakfast noticed her and asked, all stunned, "You cater, too?" Daltongirl smiled nicely and said that Costco was the real caterer and we were just helping. But I loved how the girl was just so blown away by Daltongirl's many talents, because that's how I feel about her pretty much all the time.

The Springville Art Museum really was a great place to hold it. Its a lovely building, the museum staff was really helpful and friendly, there was plenty of room for everyone, the kitchen was huge. People got to walk around and admire the artwork and (I hope) refrained from smearing food on any of it. Cicada and Murray had a great jazzy CD playing over the speakers, and the wedding favors were Canadian chocolate bars with a special Murray & Cicada wrapper slipped on over them. They had darling little girls carrying baskets around and offering them to the guests. Which, hi, having little girls walk up and hand you chocolate is pretty much the only way to improve upon an already-amazing party.

Cicada and Murray cut the wedding cake and fed the pieces to each other nicely. My favorite bit, though, was when a small piece of Cicada's cake fell down the front of her dress. Later Daltongirl asked if she'd managed to get that out. Cicada said she hadn't bothered, and would just leave it for when Murray got hungry later.

We handed out tiny glass vials of bubbles and lined the front door of the museum, blowing bubbles to send off the bride and groom.

Near the end of the night, the photographer came in to the kitchen to get a few pictures and said that it's so much nicer to photograph a beautifully styled wedding. Cicada and Murray's was one of the nicest ones she'd done in a very long time. Darn straight it was. No clever camera angles to hide the basketball hoop here, thank you very much.

When it was time to clean up, there was still sooo much food left over, and the Cicada family pressed us all to take whatever we could carry. So I made off with two shopping bags of gourmet food items. Thinking back on how amazing it all was, I'm really kicking myself for not taking more.

And now back to your regularly scheduled blogger!

ps from Nemesis

And then I'm really done. Unless Cicada, in her newlywed haze, forgets to take me off as a contributor.

I forgot to mention Switchback and Dr. Rice. They were marvelous, wonderful people who did a ton of work, and I went to bed thinking happy cuddly thoughts about how much I like them. Also it was kind of fun to spend the evening introducing ourselves by our blog names, which made me feel as though I were at some kind of Superhero Convention. "You may know me as Switchback!" "Oh my gosh, you're Switchback!! And which one of you is Daltongirl?"

Need to send more props Daltonboy's way, too. Daltonboy, as you remember, took many many pictures all during the day, and is the reason we were able to include lovely pics with these posts. Daltongirl was a little worried that he might get in the photographer's way, and she didn't want them to be The Kind of People Who Make the Photographer's Job Hard. (Even though Cicada said he was absolutely fine and she was so glad he was there.) Daltongirl felt better during the reception when she overheard someone comment on how smart Murray and Cicada were to hire two wedding photographers.

So. It was a fabulous day, we would never have worked so hard for anyone but Cicada.

Editor's Intervention

Well, Murray and I are back! The honeymoon was great; I can't wait to blog about it. First, I'll see if Nemesis wants to post her side of the story about the reception before I write about the reception from my perspective.

Great job to Daltongirl and Nemesis, by the way, for keeping you all updated, and doing all my work for me while I was gone. The first thing Murray and I did upon landing on American soil was check the blog to see what these wonderful ladies had posted. However, it has come to my attention that a certain error must be addressed in Daltongirl's wonderful and mostly-accurate account of the reception. I received the following email from The Boy last night. Many apologies to him and to El Senor who less dramatically complained about being somewhat misrepresented. In my version of the reception, both of these brothers and every individual who helped out will be appropriately lauded.

I am being grievously misrepresented on your blog. There must be steps taken to rectify this libel which has befallen me.

For clarification: I was in no way, shape, or form responsible for the care of one Bean at any time during the day of nuptiality (I am aware of the insuitability of this particular suffixation, but it sounds ever so much superior to the drap and overrused "nuptials"), nor was I enrolled in the creation of fun and unique aprons to be worn by conscripted wait staff. Instead I was tasked with guiding Richie (tragically born without a sense of direction) around in the pursuit of fruit. And large pans. A task given us by our beloved Ootsie, and dashingly performed in our wedding tuxes.

This restitution may take place in the form of posting this email on your blog. Which is more than I ever willingly granted you to post on your blog when we were living together, as if my permission mattered anyhow.

-The Boy, Esq.

(I may add that all of the emails The Boy sent me on my mission were written in his same unique writing style, and I really wish he'd start a blog or something of his own.)

The Reception: a work of art worthy of a museum

You know those people who meet at BYU, but they're from two different parts of the country, so they get married in Utah and traverse the nation holding open houses and receptions in order to share their joy with as many friends and loved ones as possible?

Well, Cicada and Murray do not fall into that category. First of all, they didn't meet at BYU. They met after Murray stalked Cicada online. They are, in fact, from different countries, but that didn't stop them from holding only one reception; however, in honor of that alternative practice, we decided to wait a week to post the reception, so it would feel like they had two.

Anyway. After the temple ceremony and much photo taking, Nemesis and I hurried to Jenny's where we ate the entire contents of her refrigerator in order to shore ourselves up for the work ahead of us. Turns out we didn't really need to do that, but we didn't know this at the time. Then we headed out to the reception center, even the Springville Art Museum, also known as The Venue of Choice for Supercool People's Wedding Receptions.

Nemesis, as the Food Service and Preparation Chairperson, kept saying, "I really don't think we need to be there right at 4:00. I mean, it's not like we can put food out or anything. I don't think there will be much for us to do." I will shortly prove to you that all our preconceived ideas about this shindig were completely false. Except for the part about it being cool.

So we arrived, found the kitchen, and noticed that it was completely full of food. Nemesis, true to her name, took charge with a vengeance. Earlier, Ootsie Boodle had warned Nem that certain persons might be inclined to take over, and that she needed to be patient with that. Nem, with a straight face, said, "That's okay. I have a pretty mean left hook if anyone tries anything." I think the word must have gotten out, because no one bothered her.

Cicada had planned everything out marvelously, with the help of her excellent mother. There were pages of recipes (so we could throw salads and stuff together), pages of notes on what condiments went in what bowls, which platters would hold the fruits, vegetables, salmon, roast beef, etc., and everything organized in a most easy-to-carry-out way, what with the organizers themselves being involved elsewhere and not available for consultation for much of the time. It was truly amazing.

We started by donning our very own Cicada and Murray aprons, made for us by Dr. Rice, which was a delightful surprise. Dr. Rice came in, looking lovely but slightly harried, and said to Ootsie Boodle, "Well, we finished the aprons. And by 'we' I mean 'me.'"

Ootsie sympathetically patted Dr. Rice on the arm and said, "I know." Later I found out that The Boy and El Senor were supposed to be helping with that project. I guess they were busy playing with the Bean, whom they awakened early from his nap, to ensure that his parents would be driven crazy when he was overcome with tiredness halfway through the reception. A worthy cause, to be sure, but where did that leave Dr. Rice? Doing a huge job on her own with very little time, that's where.

Also, I can tell you that if my brother woke up my baby from his nap before my sister's wedding reception, there would have been words. None spoken in my hearing, however, which speaks very well of the Captains, I must say.

We didn't get a photo, but picture a white chef-type apron with this photo on the front. So cute.
People started showing up to help, and Nemesis was able to put everyone right to work, because she is amazing like that. I had a very fun time saying, "Ask Nemesis," and mostly minding my own business, except for when I had to tease Switchback to see what stuff she was made of. She came through brilliantly.

Here's what the kitchen looked like once most of the food was already out on the buffet tables. Switchback is either making off with a good deal of the dessert, or preparing to take it out to the serving tables. Hard to know which.

I think this was taken just after Nemesis came upon me eating up the baklava that she had set aside for Cicada and Murray to take home with them, since no one was feeding them during the reception. If I remember correctly, her words were, "What are you doing, you jerk? Those are Cicada's!" And then I felt slightly sheepish. I mean, how could I have known? There was food everywhere, and we had quickly developed the practice of eating whatever we wanted, since there was enough for about 12,000 guests, and as far as I know there were only about 350 in attendance. Also, there was no time to get a plate and sit down to eat, so we grazed. Anyway, after this disaster, we decided it might be a good idea to set aside the treats in a box, so that they weren't just sitting out there, unmarked, waiting to be eaten. Plus, who doesn't eat baklava when it's just sitting there? No one, that's who.

I won't burden you with all the details. Suffice it to say that there were French cheeses, artisan breads, I think I mentioned salmon, and every good thing. Here's the buffet table in most of its glory. Hard to get a good shot once people started thronging to it, but oh, it was lovely!

But let's talk about the highlights of the preparation. First, I must say that Cicada's family is made up of the most mellow people I have ever met in my life. Do not take this to mean that they don't get things done. They worked like crazy. But nothing stressed them out. For example, there was no salad dressing for the spinach, candied pecan, gorgonzola, craisin, and fresh pear salad. (Mmmmmmm!) Upon discovering this, I felt my blood pressure start to rise. It was mentioned to Ootsie Boodle. "Okay," she said calmly. "We'll just send someone out to get some." Like it was really that simple. This happened several times. At one point Jenny said, "Where were these people when I got married?" Because seriously, nothing fazed them. Not that anything went terribly wrong, but still. It was amazing and inspiring to watch.

Another example of restraint and patience. So we were searching everywhere for some stuff, and finally Ootsie asked El Senor if he knew where it was. He said, "Oh. It's out in my car. Did you want that brought in?" If it had been my kid, he would have seen much eye rolling and possibly have received a sarcastic reply. Ootsie just said, "Yes," and went on with her life. Nemesis and I may have exchanged glances, because that was too good an opportunity to miss for raking someone over the coals. Really.

The absolute best moment was when Ootsie Boodle realized that Certain Important Items had been left at The Condo, even the new home of the Terreno di Amores. And Cicada and Murray were conveniently at the condo, so she could just call them and ask them to bring said items when they came over to the museum. Only they didn't answer the phone. I came late to the conversation when Nemesis came over to me and whispered, "Afternoon Delight! Cicada and Murray aren't answering their phone!" Ootsie was standing there dialing and saying (calmly) "Oh, I'm sure they're just resting." I think her voice was slightly higher than usual, though. And then she (ever so calmly) started trying to recruit the brothers to just run over to the condo and grab the stuff. Understandably, every one of them refused. Ootsie Boodle graciously did not press them. Then she seized on this wonderful manwho, after hearing the details said, "Sure. I'm up for an awkward moment," and gallantly got in his car and ran the dreaded errand. Way to take one for the team, Viktor! Sadly, he had nothing to report upon his return, because Cicada and Murray showed up moments later. They must have just missed each other.

I'll leave you with a photo of the cake. Just one more example of how classy Cicada and Murray are.

And now Nemesis will provide you with the happy ending to our little story.

Because cool people choose the Provo Temple

Hi, Daltongirl has passed the torch on to me, Miss Nemesis, to dicuss the wedding itself. I will do this for you now.

The Provo Temple, I will admit to you, is not the most popular temple wedding destination. It was built in the 70s, when there was possibly more crack in the water than there is now. The rumor behind the design is that it was inspired by a scripture in Exodus, where the Lord leads the Israelites after they escaped from Egypt:

And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way, and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light, to go by day and night:

He took not away the pillar of the cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people. (Exodus 13: 21-22)

So you have this big . . . possibly cloud-looking . . . structure, and then there was this flame-looking gold-colored spire on top. Which, yeah, if you're thinking of the scripture then it's kind of meaningful and cool and makes us think about the temple as a symbol of God's constant presence and guidance.

Only a few years ago I guess they said to heck with the scripture, we need more brides! So they made the spire white and put the Angel Moroni on top. And Daltongirl wants me to add the apocryphal statement by President Hinckley, who allegedly said, "Okay. No more wedding cake temples."

People only seem to get married at the Provo temple if they're incredibly low-key, if there's a family tradition, or if they're cool and funky. Do we even need to ask which camp Cicada and Murray are in? Plus it made more sense since it's close to where all the other events were being held. I applaud their choice.

It was an absolutely gorgeous day, as you can see. I arrived at the temple and found Daltongirl and Daltonboy in the waiting room. We also recognized the elderly couple (relatives of Cicada's) who caught a gun show between the breakfast and the temple. They offered to take Murray and Cicada's dad with them but I believe Cicada's mom nixed that idea. Probably wise. Because I knew I wouldn't see Cicada before the ceremony, I made sure at the wedding breakfast to whisper in her ear the advice my mother gave to my sister Jenny just before her wedding. "Remember. You still have time to change your mind." Somehow I don't think she'll be saying this to me when it's my turn. Cicada accepted my advice gravely, and I rested easy in the knowledge that I'd done my duty.

After everyone arrived we went upstairs to the sealing room, which was beautiful and peaceful. Cicada's sweet aunt handed Daltongirl and I tissues in case we needed them. We both tend to sob loudly at weddings. After a few minutes Cicada and Murray came in together holding hands, dressed in white, and absolutely beaming.

The sweet elderly gentleman who was to perform the wedding came in and introduced himself. I've decided it's probably a good thing that most couples are really too blissed out to remember much of what the officiator says by way of advice. I'm sure he didn't mean for it to be this way, but the most memorable bit of his advice was when he reassured them that even if one's spouse apostatizes in the future, the spouse who stays true to his temple covenants will still be okay. And since he was basically talking to Murray the whole time, it's pretty clear who he thinks is going to be the one to bail. (Sorry, Cicada. I guess it's good that Murray has a heads-up, though.) But seriously: Is that really the best time? Why doesn't he throw in some sage words about what happens if one of them is eaten by a shark in the next couple of years while he's at it?

The ceremony itself was brief and lovely, and then we all stood up and congratulated Murray and Cicada as we filed our way out. Daltongirl and I perhaps filed a bit more quickly than the others because we had Things To Discuss.

We waited outside on the grounds while the wedding party got changed into their tuxes and other finery for the pictures. And while we waited Daltongirl saw something so arresting that she grabbed the top of my head and swiveled my neck over so that I could see it too. A lady walked out of the temple wearing the most extraordinary footwear I have ever before seen in life. She walked over to a bench and sat down, where I hope she pondered the choice she just made to go into the Lord's House dressed like a yeti:

Then Murray and Cicada walked out together, and the villagers rejoiced:

Could they be any cuter? They had a professional photographer, but Daltonboy followed discreetly behind and took pictures as well. He got a lot of the same shots the photographer did, but used different lenses so as to ensure that the pics would not be duplicates. And then before the reception he found time to print and frame one of them to put out on the gift table. Because he's just sweet like that.

I got the following shot for Savvy, who had been all excited to drive over and see Cicada in her pretty dress. (Checking out brides is her favorite.) Only she fell asleep instead and missed the whole thing, which is why being 3 can be a drag sometimes. Cicada and Murray obliged, though, by posing for me.

So. All in all, it was absolutely wonderful.

Breakfast is Served

Because we were deeply concerned for you, the masses, who will not be hearing from Cicada for at least a week while she is on her honeymoon and may possibly go into withdrawals without a Cicada fix, we convinced her to invite us to post as her guest bloggers, so that we might share with you the excitement and beauty of her lovely wedding day. It will not be the same, but it will be something.

And so, without further ado, we give you Cicada's Wedding Day as seen through the eyes of Miss Nemesis and Daltongirl. As determined previously by coin toss or lots or something, Daltongirl will go first.

Installment 1: The Wedding Breakfast

Daltonboy and I arrived at the reception center to find a bunch of people standing around watching a video. Murray whispered sheepishly that he wasn't sure whether Cicada would approve of the preview, since the video was part of the program for later, but he felt the need to entertain. The video was awesome, partly because it was backed up by some cool scat singing by Ella Fitzgerald, but also because it featured a photo of jr. high-age Cicada with a really tight perm and an unfortunate blouse, covered with a print of flowers larger than her head. Later, during the program, that photo got a huge laugh--even though most everyone was seeing it for the second time.

Cicada arrived, surrounded by her entourage, in the manner of a rock star.

I found myself trying to catch a glimpse of her out the window, just so I could say I'd seen her. Sadly, she was blocked from my view by a group of men in dark suits, so I had to wait until she made her entrance into the dining room.

We found our seats and waited patiently until the moment when we could devour the creme-stuffed crepes in front of us.

Nemesis joined us after almost running the entourage down with her car.

Being schooled in the ways of Europeans and High Brow people, she immediately noticed the classy raspberry curd on the table. I, trying to cover up my white trash upbringing, somewhat abashedly admitted that I had thought it was ketchup. And so it turned out to be, after Nem delicately spooned some onto her plate next to the creme-stuffed crepes. I was ever so disappointed that she hadn't glopped it directly on top of them.

By the time I had eaten half the breakfast, I had consumed more than my entire day's allotment of calories. Perhaps this is why, at 9:00 in the evening, Cicada could say to me, "I haven't eaten since 9:00 this morning, but I'm really not hungry." Seriously. SO delicious.

After the breakfast, we were treated to a short program, wherein both Cicada's and Murray's parents said nice things about them and their impending union--all true as far as we know. Switchback, the loveliest of Maids of Honor, proposed a fabulous toast. Murray's brother started out jokingly, but quickly became choked up in the sweetest way. Then Cicada's family plus Switchback treated us with this musical number, which we understand was a collaborative effort by El Senor, Captain Fabuloso, and Captain Mom, with Richie on guitar.

Sung to the tune of John Prine's "Dear Abby."

Dear Abby

Dear Abby, Dear Abby,
My life ain't so great.
I've come out of college with barely a date.
I had a great future worked out in my head.
But now I live with my brother instead.
Old Spinster

Dear Abby, Dear Abby,
I live all alone.
I bought me a car, and I bought me a home.
I've spent many years to build me this nest,
But now all I need is a bird to come rest.
Bird Watcher

(girls and boys together)
Old Spinster, Bird Watcher,
You have no complaint.
You are what you are and you ain't what you ain't.
So listen up Spinster, and Bird Watcher too:
Be patient. One day all your dreams will come true.
Dear Abby.

Dear Abby, Dear Abby,
I give up on love.
My family's been praying for help from above.
I edit and bike and I work on my blog.
I'm busy, successful, and have a great job.
Still Patient

Dear Abby, Dear Abby,
I have to work fast.
I often am told that my best years are past.
I go to church with the singles but don't have a doubt
That when I turn thirty they're kicking me out.

Dear Abby, Dear Abby,
Oh, what's apropos
When you've fallen in love with a girl you don't know?
I read all her stories and she sounds so sweet.
This is surely a girl that I'd like to meet.
Web Lurker

Dear Abby, Dear Abby,
I never could see
That Internet dating was in store for me.
I googled his records and he came up clean.
So with friends in tow we ate Indian cuisine.

(boys and girls together)
Dear Abby, Dear Abby,
The time has been short.
It's just been six months since we started to court.
Today we will marry--to the temple we'll go.
Our future together will be great, we know.
Just Married

And what could top that, you wonder? Well. Cicada decided to give her single days a proper send off by reciting some poetry, written especially for the occassion. You may recall that in the past, she had gained some notoriety for reciting bitter single poetry. So this was a fitting close to those days, but as she said, "These days, I'm finding it hard to be bitter, so you won't see a lot of that here." And we didn't.

After her sweet poem and some kissing, Murray stepped up to the plate by offering a little creative piece of his own: "For Sentimental Reasons," sung in the manner of Jimmy Stewart. Brilliant!

Thanks ever so much to the entire Terreno di Amore family for providing us with such a splendid repast and delightful entertainment.

And now, on to the wedding proper. Nemesis?