October, In Four Acts

Open: Karen sits on the patio and has just cracked a second plastic adirondack chair upon sitting down. She doesn’t take too much time to notice, mainly because Sean Connery is bombarding her with fervent and not-so-adorable drool and is about to knock over her tea and a pla—!

Whew. That was close.

Karen: I can’t believe it’s been two months since I last wrote on this blog. Because that means that it’s November (!!!) and somehow I blinked and I am here, making pickles, drinking tea, and staring blankly at my computer wondering where to start. Where have you been? You might be wondering. Or How is the wedding planning coming along? or Why did you decide to name that cat Sean Connery? See this post.

Honestly, it’s hard to know where to start, which is why I’m really just going to briefly mention the month of September and jump right into the busy coming and goings of October.

September saw the loss of a friend of mine, Nate, while he was on deployment. I hope to eventually honor him with a much longer piece that speaks to the love and laughter that filled his life. I came to the blog numerous times in September to write about him, but I just couldn’t (and still can’t) find the right words or energy. But I know I will write about him one day, but today is not that day.

(For those that are interested in learning a little more about Nate, this article does a great job describing his love for his family and work and this one covers aspects surrounding his death. This weekend The Girls ran a race in Santa Barbara and all had matching shirts dedicated to him, which makes me smile).

Even though I felt like I had blinders on for most of September, there were moments of significantly important wedding planning. We chose our date and our venue (September 25th in Norfolk, Virginia!), looked at Save the Dates, and hired a wedding planner. I definitely don’t want this blog to devolve into a “wedding blog,” so if that’s the case please slap me and tell me to get back to talking about anything else, like those pickles I previously mentioned (I got the recipe here).

The best way to catch you up on life here in sunny San Diego is by telling you the tale of October, in Four Acts.

Act I: Orlando in October

Even before we started the Half Marathon at Disneyworld last November we all knew we would be back again for another race. The whole RunDisney concept was just too ridiculous and fun not to do again. This year we decided to tackle a different race: the Tower of Terror Ten Miler. Between less money and less miles we thought for sure it was going to be a win, especially since the Food and Wine Festival had just started. It’s a win win win!

Except for the fact that Parker and I hardly trained at all. Oops! I seem to have fallen off the running bandwagon for a bit there and as I’m typing this I probably haven’t run in three weeks. Eek. Alas! It was a fun race (mainly because Kevin kept cracking jokes the whole way) and it wonderful to spend time with family (Kiera celebrated her 1st birthday!). I think next year we’ll go back to the Wine & Dine race. Yeah, it’s pricer, but you get to run through more parks and end the race with food and alcohol. Of course, someone did suggest just going to Disney and skipping the race entirely, but where’s the masochism fun in that?

A well deserved nap the day after the race.

A well deserved nap under the monorail the day after the race. It’s also pictures like this that make me realize how pale I am.

Excited to eat and drink around the world at EPCOT.  It's the only thing that got me through the race.

The sheer excitement on my faces says it’s time to eat and drink around the world at EPCOT. It’s the only thing that got me through the race. (Parker is enthused.)










Act II: Engagement Party

Almost as soon as I was back in school one of my coworkers, Antoinette, offered to host an engagement party for me and Parker. To be honest, I was really flattered and confused by this. Did I have to do anything?  Is this normal for work friends to host an engagement party? How many engagement parties does one typically have? What is the proper etiquette here?

If there’s one thing that television and movies have taught me about weddings is that there is usually proper etiquette to follow (I keep reflecting on Father of the Bride and Bridesmaids). The guidelines (rules?) of wedding etiquette, however, are pretty lost on me. One thing I know I didn’t want was presents at this engagement party. We are still at a loss on what to register for anyway, so people’s presence (get it?! presents, presence. Haha!) was good enough for us. And man, Antoinette pulled off a great gathering and we’re so thankful. She hosted us at one of the Ballast Point locations where we had a huge part of the outdoor patio all to ourselves and we also got a tour of the facility and tasters! It was a great evening and even better to see so many different groups of our friends come together to celebrate.

What better way to kick of our engagement than with good friends, good food, and good beer?!

What better way to kick of our engagement than with good friends, good food, and good beer?! 

Between booking the date and venue and the party we certainly feel caught up in the “we’re getting married!” excitement. My wedding planner in Virginia, Christine, is freaking awesome (recommended by a friend of mine who got married at the same location) and has set me up with a dope wedding planning site. Parker and I just purchased our Save the Dates (high-five for less than $40 thanks to a DIY option from VistaPrint!), and we’ll be looking at photographers and entertainment by the end of this month. Woot!


I would love to show you the mash up of this song that is synced with a 1989 aerobic dance video, but it keeps getting taken off Youtube for copyright infringement. But seriously, if you have time you need to search for that video because it is everything that is great about the Internet.

Act III: Visitors from Virginia

Happily and wonderfully two of our friends from Virginia have moved to San Diego! Parker lived with John for a while in Norfolk and he recently got a job out here and made the move with his wife, Molly, and their Great Dane puppy, Luna. They stayed with us for almost two weeks and it was great. Family style meals, cook outs, Luna pooping on the floor… (the last one just comes with the puppy territory). But a lot happened in that short time: Molly got a job during their stay with us, John got a new car, and they got a place to rent. I think this good fortune just reinforces how magical a place like Southern California can be (and I’m okay with that).

Together again.

Together again.

Act IV: Seriously, Like, the Busiest Weekend Ever

The Schedule: Robotics Tournament, Coworker’s Oktoberfest, Beer and Music Festival, and a Halloween Party. Waking up on Saturday morning was like waking up for a long marathon. I knew that we would have to manage our time, and our appetites, well. But really, these are the conditions in which Parker and I thrive.

We’re not planners, per say, but when circumstances arise that necessitate planning we are damn good at it. We had transportation and routes covered (car to Robotics and then beer fest! Trolley at 2:30 to downtown!), our outfits laid out (one for Robotics, one for Oktoberfest and Beerfest, and another for the Halloween party), and a pretty good understanding of how much food and beer we should consume (carb up! choose quality beers over quantity!). The latter worked out pretty well, but by the time I got to the Halloween party I was so full that I could barely eat those three helpings of kielbasa before grabbing another beer.

So from 8am to 11pm it was go time and we did it all. It’s been a while since we’ve been that busy and I forgot how nice it is to get out the house. Granted, I’m loving the X-Files marathon we have going on Netflix, but this day made me realize I need to get out of the house more.

Final Scene: 

Open: Karen is now inside the house, sitting on the couch and thinking she should have been wearing sunscreen while she was outside. She is also wishing it were colder so drinking the rest of the tea didn’t make her uncomfortably warm.

Fall in San Diego makes me really far removed from the rest of the country. While I see everyone else bundling up in jackets and adorable scarves, it’s still sunny and in the 70s year. Without the passing seasons I lose track of time easily, which is why I still find it hard to believe we’re into the second week of November. I desperately miss the fall weather, the changing leaves, and the smell of an approaching winter. Those smells and sights don’t happen out here (though I can drive a couple of hours to get them). As a result, I tend to get nostalgic around now and listen to a lot of Ben Folds, make food that doesn’t go with the weather (chili!), and wear scarves that I have to take off by 10am. Alas! I’ll just live vicariously through everyone else’s photos on Facebook.

I’m going to try to be better about updating the blog. I remember posting nearly once a week when I first got out here and I want to get back in that gear. Writing is therapeutic and fun for me, so I’ll try to bust out more stories and experiences for you all. Some potential posts for you to look forward to:

1. The formative education I received by growing up in a woodsy backyard, something that we don’t have here. Also, an attempt to answer the question Did anyone else throw left over food into the backyard like we did? 

2. Digging out the front yard to replace the waste line. There will be many photos and I’m sure I’ll be wearing a homemade hazmat suit.

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