Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Coffee and Commitment

It has finally happened: my coffee has started sending me messages.

Are you familiar with Starbucks' "The Way I See It" campaign? They've gathered hundreds of musings and quotations from average Janes and Joes around the country, and have printed them on the side of their paper cups. I'm usually pretty good about taking the reusable mug with me so I don't get "The Way I See It" cups too often. I think they're charming so, when I do get them, I always read them right away.

A week before SoundGuy popped the question, I got a cup bearing this sentiment:
The irony of commitment is that it's deeply liberating - in work, in play, in love. The act frees you from the tyranny of your internal critic, from the fear that likes to dress itself up
and parade around as rational hesitation. To commit is to remove your head as the barrier
to your life. (The Way I See It #76 by Anne Morris)

I remembered that cup specifically because it actually caused me to stop and ponder commitment and what it meant to me, and how a commitment to SoundGuy would certainly change my life. Not so weird, right? Got a cup. Read it. Thought about it. Rinsed it out and recycled it. Done.

Two weeks later I (the now-engaged, sufficiently committed person) got the same cup again. Kind of strange and ironic, right? But probably just a coincidence. Got the cup. Read it. Thought about it...again. Rinsed it out and recycled it. Now really done with The Way I See It #76.

Apparently not. Last week, while enjoying a Spring Break breakfast with SoundGuy, I got the same cup again. FOR THE THIRD TIME! I did the logical thing, photographing the cup so I could tell all 14 of you about it. Maybe my sharing the message of The Way I See It #76 with this wide audience will finally satisfy the coffee gods.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Covering the Distance

In a few hours I will be slamming my headphones deep in my hears, listening to some glorious master work of Duruflé, Schütz, Palestrina or other while reading one of many books that I am expected to finish in the next 12 days. The rumble of the plane and the inability to find that perfect foot position will accompany me for the 4 hour flight. Below me, rolling tundras, lakes, mountains, frozen sections of land and little spects of people will glide slowly by as we scream through the atmosphere at 500 miles an hour.

For the three hours of uncomfort and feeling on the verge of motion sickness I will gain 8 beautiful wonderful glorious days with my Fiancé. For that I am pretty confident I would fly around the world. Here's to covering the distance between the land of ten thousand lakes and the land of tall green fir trees.


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

PW winning the Bloggies

First I have to admit that PW was and is totally ChoirPres' find. Regardless, I continue to enjoy reading and keeping up with just about everything she posts in Confessions. Not only is she witty and enjoyable to read, she is amazingly talented, an Episcopalian and an Alto. Looks like they handed all the winners shot glasses with a local vodka and she actually had to tell them she had given up alcohol for lent. I think she reminds me a lot of my girl which means I should probably let the more talented portion of this relationship write more on our blog. Needless to say, if you have not enjoyed thepioneerwoman.com (winner of the 2009.bloggies.com) I highly recommend it.

(p.s. not sure why I am tell y'all that since I am pretty confident you all know but, just in case there is a reader out there...)

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Monkey in a Cage

Do you ever get the feeling you are just stuck in someone's experiment? Sometimes I feel as though technology has removed everything that makes us human out of the equation and put us in a cage where everything is just handed to you. Like the poor monkey who is fed bananas or the dolphin that opens its mouth and gets a fishy snack.

Today I felt like the mouse on the little wheel as I ran on the treadmill looking out at the Minneapolis skyline in the distance. I was going nowhere staring at a huge human creation that I didn't even want to be running towards. If I am running, shouldn't I be chasing my dinner? If I am lifting a heavy weight, it should be the kill from the day that I have to drag back to my cave, not a forged piece of steel that has no use in the world accept to be lifted up and put back down.

In the matter of love, I feel like I should be challenging another suitor to a duel or clubbing the woman of my choice and dragging her back to the cave. ::rubs his chin:: That would be an easy fix to the Oregon-Minnesota conundrum. I'd sure have to drag her a long way though.


Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The Long Back Story

My mom says that when I make a decision, I make it and go with it without avail and I am usually right. Ask her about the swimsuit, that story says it all.

When you find something that is right, you go with it. When you find a person as wonderful as ChoirPres you better be all in. So the story goes in NYC 2006 when an unnamed x started pursing ChoirPres, I felt waves of jealousy that I ignored for better or worse. When I fell head over heels, despite my own arguments against them during Christmas of 2007, my Dad questioning me as to when I was going to date this girl. Lets just say my Dad has similar intuitions about things (i.e. picking out my current car before I even saw it).

So, as ChoirPres and I made it through a high school ski trip and a trip to Washington D.C. where she kept my head on straight, I realized that I had stumbled upon or been handed an opportunity to love and be loved by the best woman in the world.

I think a lot of people are expecting an Ah-Ha moment or that love at first sight deal. The curse and blessing for us both is that we have now known each other for 10 years. When we met, I was so far out of hear league there was never even a glimmer of thought that I could end up with "THE CHOIRPRES" and I mean that in the literal sense.

The bottom line is I knew that I would be dropping to my knee way before anyone would have expected or thought I should know. I kicked back and started planning and thinking and being a hopeless romantic I had been dreaming about proposing since I was...in preschool. Yup, I dressed up to get married in preschool. Again, just ask my mom. The problem was when I was dreaming I was still planning on being a pilot. For some reason I never ditched far fetched ideas of romantic plane rides or helicopters landing on the beach.

Enlisting Phoenix' help I put her on the surprise plan just a few months after Nicole's 30 birthday. I knew if I were going to do it right, I would have to be organized and planned way ahead to be pulled off. Of course, ChoirPres and I didn't start talking about crazy stuff like engagement till much later. Racking my brain around Thanksgiving 2008 I decided one of the most romantic spots to propose would be the Pitock Mansion up in the West Hills of Portland.

I brought in PJP and her hubby into the mix and between the four of us we made some tentative plans that could be flexible enough to work in any and all directions. I also pounded them for help on the ring and by the time New Years 2008 rolled around, my design matched up with the visions Nicole had invented with the crew.

Two weeks before Valentines Day, ring was being made, plans were loosely set. I had found a cheep plane ticket and I thought things were going very well. ChoirPres makes a comment on the phone, "Why are you in such a rush to get engaged?" My heart stopped. Things were in motion. Yes, I am ahead of the game but I have been working on this for over 9 months. I wasn't about to let this girl get away and now she thinks I am rushing her?

I pulled the e-brake, let the parachutes out and killed the engine. Sent off emails and said, if I am not willing to postpone, I am rushing her into this. Really, long distance relationships can wear you down and puts kinks into every relationship no matter how perfect and wonderful. ChoirPres and I both were not in great places, we hadn't seen each other in 4-5 weeks. We needed some reassurance on how we were doing, face to face. Valentines Day was a life savor. Not only did it remind me how wonderful a girl I had, it also put us both back into the spirit of knowing this relationship really was still trucking, albeit slower than we want.

The Jeweler called and let me know she was shipping me the ring. For the next two days I carried it around with me. Yes, I am weird like that. I was too scared to leave it in the apartment since it wasn't insured yet. Jaws dropped as I showed it to friends. I knew it would be ok. Suddenly, this wasn't an option to hold onto. I would never get the surprise I had planned and to top it all off, ChoirPres had come up with the Pitock Mansion of her own accord! The Stars were aligned and ChoirPres would soon find out the greatness she was.

I flew out to Portland Friday night and spent the next 16 hour with my best friends, practicing Blue Eyes by Cary Brothers for the big surprise in the morning. Through text messages and phone calls we tracked the crew to the Pitock Mansion, avoided being seen and then stood outside, freezing a little, playing music and entertaining small groups of tourist passing by. The rest is detailed below in ChoirPres’ account and in the wonderful collection of pictures our friend Tim took. Thank you everyone who helped out in the planning and execution of this wonderful weekend. I couldn't have done it without some of the greatest friends ever. ~soundguy

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Drum Roll Please...

...because we have a big announcement! In a birthday surprise to end all birthday surprises, SoundGuy popped the question on Saturday and this blog is now maintained by ENGAGED people!

Knowing that SoundGuy would be tucked in to his studies1800 miles away over my birthday weekend, I made plans with the girls (Beth, Jessie, and Brenda Lee to be specific). I had been wanting to visit Pittock Mansion since the holidays so we decided to make that our birthday outing. Husbands Adam, Tim, and Thatcher joined the fun and the seven of us arrived to tour this grand old mansion with a panoramic view of Portland.
The mansion is basically a museum - items are on display, and informational plaquards are placed all throughout the home. We arrived a little later than we'd originally planned, but I didn't think it was a big deal since we weren't really operating on a strict schedule. Well, I have never been hustled through a museum faster in my life! Apparently we were on a schedule that I didn't know about. As we explored the home I noticed our group fanning out...people moving ahead quickly, others hanging back, poor Preggo Jessie stopping to sit down every six minutes, certain doors and windows being surreptisiously blocked, etc. Thatcher even went missing for a good half hour! In retrospect I understand what was happening, but at the time? Totally, blissfully clueless (probably day-dreaming about the birthday cupcakes waiting for us after dinner).

When we'd toured the entire home, we headed outside to walk the grounds. As soon as we left the building I heard guitar music, saying "Hey, guitars!" Beth turns to me, knowingly, and responds, "Yeah...GUI - TARS..." (as in "get with the program, lady!"). I listen a moment more and hear singing - SoundGuy's voice! As the wheels turned and I realized that my sweets and I were in the same zip code I ran down the path, turned the corner, and found SoundGuy and his best pals Nick, Ryan, and Lucas in full seranade mode.
These sweet boys were out in the chilly afternoon, fingers blue with the cold, playing and singing their hearts out to "Blue Eyes." What an incredible gift. I will never forget it! (Note my three scheming girlfriends and the miscellaneous tourists in the background).
Following the serenade, SoundGuy whisked me away to the end of the lawn overlooking the city and the mountains. In the style of true sappy romantics everywhere, he got down on one knee (in the mud) and asked me to marry him. Want to guess what I said?
Then he gave me THE MOST BEAUTIFUL RING EVER, made with stones from my grandparents and SoundGuy's family:

Then we smooched a little bit...
...and smiled a lot...
...and, surrounded by our friends, headed off to the Kennedy School to meet SoundGuy's family for a celebratory dinner.

And there you have it: the story of a very special day that neither of us will ever forget. I'm sure SoundGuy will be able to fill in plenty of the details of which I am still blissfully unaware. We owe so much gratitude to our wonderful friends and family for all that they did to make this day so perfect. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

PS - Special credit for these (and many other) beautiful photos goes to our talented friend, Tim. Thank you!!