Friday, November 30, 2012

Wedding Photos: Cake

From some of those involved in putting everything together:
"I am so happy for you!  Thanks for letting me be a part of your special day!  I love you both very much.  Take care of each other.  I wish you nothing but happiness!" -Michelle, unofficial wedding planner

"I'm glad I've been able to meet you both and be your friend.  You guys are amazing!  May many happy years follow.  I love you guys." -Wes, guy who did the grunt work

"Congratulations.  I'm so excited for you guys.  I feel so lucky to know both of you." -Jocelyn, wedding cake baker and caterer

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Wedding Photos: First Dance

My Precious Child
-Katherine Kesler

There he is, my sweet little gift from God.
A towheaded little boy with talents galore,
How could a mother ask for anything more?
But along with the joy there was heartache to be found.
Confusion, heartbreak, unfairness abound,
Seeking for guidance on both sides was great,
But love everlasting held open that gate.
This was not the vision either of us had planned,
But reality stepped in holding our hands.
God loves unconditionally and so we must too,
But with a child so fantastic that is not that hard to do!
How could I ever have dreamed ten years ago,
A man named Jack would walk through the door,
To help us accept this next phase more.
They have been judged- we have been judged,
But I have given it over to God,
For he has the wisdom to know what we should do,
And so... "As I have loved you, love one another.
This new commandment, love one another.
By this shall men know, ye are my disciples,
If ye have love one to another."

Sunday, November 25, 2012


Like the last few Thanksgivings, this year will be spent with Brian's family.  We'll eat yummy food  and then go see a movie.  Last year we watched Hugo.  This year we'll be watching Lincoln.  Part of that tradition involves sitting in the front few rows of the theater...  Not by choice, mind you, but because we forget about how busy Thanksgiving gets at the movie theater.  Crazy packed.  It's funny, but I didn't even know that the Pilgrims had movies back then.  But the Native Americans did invent popcorn so I guess it all makes sense.

Anyway, no matter how we celebrate it, Thanksgiving is about being grateful for what we have in life. And I have a lot to be thankful for.

I'm thankful for Brian, who has recently become my husband, and who loves me despite all my many flaws. He makes me feel safe and respected and better than I really am. He believes in me and he believes in us.

I'm thankful for my family, who love me and accept me even when it's difficult for them to do so. I'm especially grateful for my dad, Patricia, Renee, Jaylon and new baby niece who made the effort to come out from Colorado to be at my reception. It meant a lot to me. I'm also incredibly thankful to be a part of Brian's family. They've welcomed me even though they didn't have to.

I'm thankful for my friends, especially Michelle, Wes and Brett who have become like family to me. I'm also grateful for my coworkers, past and present, who make every day a good one. We always have so much fun together.

I'm thankful to be employed, to be in school, and to have a roof over my head. I'm thankful for my abilities, my inabilities, my strengths, my weaknesses, my ups and downs and everything that is essentially ME.

I'm grateful for the life I've been given and the time I'm living in. Things are good. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Grand Central and Central Park

Our wedding/honeymoon in New York City ended with a lot of walking. Oh, and a cab ride in a real New York City cab, which I must say is much cooler than riding in a taxi back home in Provo. After checking out of our hotel we needed to stow our luggage somewhere so we took a cab to a storage place and then took the subway over to Grand Central Station.

I'm sorry, I mean Grand Central Terminal. Although I've been calling it "Station" my whole life (as many people do), Brian was quick to inform me that it was "Terminal" and when our newlywed bickering ensued, Google came to Brian's rescue and soundly kicked my butt. It's Grand Central Terminal, and it's pretty cool. We had lunch there at Junior's before heading out to Central Park.

That's where we did a lot of walking. So much walking that Brian's legs started to hurt him until they fell off completely and he lay there, legless and crying, as people threw their spare change into his hat. Okay, that part's not true but he did wear a hat. A "Sherlock Holmes" hat as a young Black boy pointed out. The kid was raising money selling fruit snacks for his basketball team (he was very tall, you see, with long pencil legs) but unfortunately we were out of cash by that point. We had given it to the luggage storage lady and it wasn't even enough. We were short a dollar but she let it slide...

Anyway, not sure how I got lost on that tangent. The park was awesome and the weather was beautiful. We saw ducks and geese and more squirrels I think than we ever saw in Yellowstone this summer. If you're looking for wildlife, go to the city! Ha ha. And there were musicians with saxophones or guitars and artists with their canvasses or sidewalk chalk and there were runners and horse-drawn carriages and children watching puppet shows or riding on scooters or playing with sailboats and it was so much fun!

That's pretty much where we ended our trip to New York. We retrieved our heavy bag and with it made our way to JFK airport where our flight was delayed. Then delayed again. And delayed one more time. With lots more time on our hands we had our final meal at Stone Rose Bar & Grill in the airport. I had barbecue pork sliders and Brian had a turkey and bacon panini. Then a bomba and tiramisu for dessert, respectively. We were a little bummed by this point (you might say we were eating our feelings) because we had to go home to Orem, Utah and say goodbye to New York, concrete jungle where dreams are made of, there's nothing you can't do...

Sorry, that Alecia Keys song just flows through my veins now.

There's more though! Guess who we ran into at the airport restaurant? Hugh and Barry! The Irish guys! So not only did we happen to get married on the same day in the same place but we also flew home the same night and ate at the same restaurant. This was too much of a coincidence so we decided the universe wanted us to be friends. We exchanged email addresses before boarding our plane (now more than an hour behind schedule).

But the plane delay didn't end there. We just taxied on the ground for another hour or so while we were all on board. You know, just driving around in circles waiting for what the pilot said was a long line of backed-up planes. Brian said it was a sign that we were supposed to stay in New York forever. I just thought it was fitting, considering all the drama of flying out to NYC in the first place. But our plane eventually took off and returned us safely home. Looks like Utah had some snow while we were gone, huh? Our car was buried under 2 feet of it! What a sweet welcome home present. Thank you, Utah.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Once and The Fantasticks

Ever since I saw them perform on television at the Tony Awards (where they walked away with 8 Tonys including Best Musical), I have wanted to see the musical 'Once.' Based on a film, 'Once' tells the story of a Czech girl and an Irish guy who fall in love while making music together. The show is unique in its staging and narrative form, and also in the fact that all of the actors are also musicians who perform live on stage, giving the show an organic feel. It's like going to an open-mic night with acoustic guitars and soulful ballads. Just perfect. The only way I can describe this show is by saying it's magical and moving. It just became my new favorite musical!

So after our matinee we had time for another show. There were many that caught our attention, like 'Evita' or 'War Horse,' but none of them were playing Sunday night so we decided that 'The Fantasticks' off-broadway would be fun to see. It wasn't until we bought our tickets that we realized Aaron Carter was in it! Yep, once the biggest kid in pop music, he is now performing in a tiny off-broadway show. And do you know what? He was actually pretty good in it. Not the greatest singer (far too nasally) but full of energy. I wasn't familiar with the show at all, but it's one of Brian's favorites. It's quirky slap-stick fun with some great tunes.

The only problem seeing this show was a group of women who came stumbling in, drinks in hand, giggling like schoolgirls. They had fits of laughter several times throughout the production and at one point one of them tried getting out of her row. She stumbled over her friends and spilled her drink on them, which caused a loud shriek of "Shit!" and more laughing. It was a small theater so this was definitely distracting. A little funny, but mostly distracting.

Oh, one more thing I want to mention. For lunch yesterday we ate at a yummy little Japanese place called Saporro. I had Katsu-Don and Brian had Miso Ramen. Yummy stuff. At the table next to us was a little family from Brooklyn: Dean, Caroline and their middle-school-aged son Harper. They struck up a conversation and they were so fun to talk to. Dean is a film-maker who once had a movie at the Sundance Film Festival and Caroline studied English like me but then got into landscaping instead after working at a publishing house for a while. Their son is involved with theater in his school and loves it. As you can see we had lots to talk about. Before they left they gave us their number and email, encouraging us to give them a holler next time we were in New York City.

I'm telling you, the people here are the best.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Chaplin and Avenue Q

Patrick, Brian and I enjoyed two musicals yesterday, the first of which being 'Chaplin' with the slogan, "The big musical about the little tramp!" And when they said big, they really meant it! Black and white staging and costuming combined with projected reals of old Chaplin films gave it a highly stylistic look and the choreography was splashy and fun! Rob McClure, who played Charlie Chaplin, was fantastic and full of energy, but the story, based on his life, was a little messy and schmaltzy at times with average music. We all still had fun though.

We knew 'The Book of Mormon' was difficult to get into, being one of the most popular shows on Broadway, but someone told us of the ticket lottery and the standing-room-only tickets available if you went early. So we each entered the drawing, and although they pulled out several names from Utah (causing us to hold our breath in excitement each time) none of them were ours. There were also too many people in front of us in line for the limited standing room tickets, so we didn't get one of those either.

So, in the mood for musical laughs, we ran to the TKTS booth for Plan B: 'Avenue Q.' It was off-broadway by a few blocks in a smaller theater, but it was so good! I've heard all the songs before but I had never seen the show performed and I loved it! It's basically a grown-up version of 'Sesame Street' with puppets and cartoon segments and singing, only the characters are living in the slums and struggling with bigger issues than colors and counting. If you get a chance to see it anywhere, see it. You'll be laughing your head off!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Greenwich Village

Saturday morning we were hoping to go to the Statue of Liberty, but it's closed (blame Sandy) so Brian decided to take us down to Greenwich Village instead. He had found a sort of tour online and following its directions, we had an enjoyable morning. It was nice to get away from the bright lights and touristy hustle and bustle of Times Square and enjoy a different side of the city.

We saw beautiful brownstone houses including the one used as the exterior of the Huxtables' home on 'The Cosby Show,' the home of poet Edna St. Vincent Millay and even the house that a young Walt Disney lived in before making it big. We browsed in shops in the gay district, saw a street performer flip over a group of people in Washington Square and looked out on the Hudson River. We explored the gardens of St. Lucas and at one point in the day we were attacked by a flock of seagulls... not the band, but the birds.

The streets were cobbled, the air was crisp with autumn, the leaves were falling and squirrels and birds and trees reminded us of the pulsating rhythms of nature and life and the city.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

As newlyweds, the first thing we did was grab some lunch and then get in line at the TKTS booth for tickets to see a Broadway show. One of Brian's favorite plays is "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" and we had heard amazing things about the current revival... and let me tell you, that production was fantastic! (And yes, I know it's a little strange to watch a play about a dissolving marriage on our wedding day.) Tracy Letts and Amy Morton star as the infamous dueling couple George and Martha and they were both superb. I was also impressed with the highly detailed set design, lighting and perfect pacing of the show which is darkly funny and transfixing. A definite American classic.

Topping the night off we enjoyed some delicious food and drinks at a little place called L'Ybane where we were serenaded by an eclectic group of aging performers including a clarinet player and his bluesy band singing "Pennies From Heaven." Life is good.

Just Married!

Brian and I are officially and legally married in the state of New York! I am filled with such an immense and all-encompassing joy. Seriously, I can't even begin to explain how I feel. It's... it's thrilling. It's otherworldly and exciting and important. I love him so much and wish to be by his side for many more years to come.

The experience was such a great one. First Brian, Patrick (our witness) and I went to the City Clerk's office and got the marriage license. The building was beautiful and the waiting time was short. Easy breezy. The next part got a little more complicated though. State law requires a 24-hour waiting period between obtaining the license and having the ceremony. We had planned to do it Thursday/Friday but our most recent flight cancellation caused us to arrive in New York too late. And we would have been fine with waiting until Monday, except for the fact that they are closed on Monday for Veteran's Day. So basically we needed to bypass the 24-hour rule. And how do we do that? Obtain a judicial waiver!

So we went across the street to a different building, got lost and then found out that the judge only approves waivers at 11am... and it was already 11:30! We were devastated, but then someone told us that the judge was running late from a hearing and we still had a chance! A few minutes later our request was granted and we ran back to the city clerk's office and awaited our turn to be married!

While we were waiting we saw so many other gay couples. It was awesome. There was an elderly pair of women helping each other along as they went to tie the knot, a younger lesbian adjusting her partner's hair, and two gay men from Ireland who had been together 18 years. They were our favorites. Their names were Barry and Hugh and they didn't know they needed a witness and had unfortunately come alone. Luckily a young guy in line ahead of them volunteered to be their witness while his future wife went to do her hair and makeup in the bathroom. Of all the things I love about this city, the sense of community is one of my favorites.

Last night Brian, Patrick and I went to a comedy club and everybody was talkative and friendly before the show started. When we announced that we were here from Utah to be married, we received a raucous round of applause and hugs from random strangers. It was fantastic. A husband and wife from Knoxville, Tennessee, celebrating their 18-year anniversary, gave us their blessing. It was touching to say the least.

So while Patrick was our sole witness to our brief court ceremony, I felt as if all of New York City had my back. I felt like I was part of a larger, global family. Today was truly special.

And to those of you who are reading this and would have loved to be there with us, just know that we carried your support and good wishes with us in our hearts. Oh, and if you wanted to watch a video of us getting married, I'm afraid that's not possible. Patrick thought he was recording us, but it turned out he wasn't!

But it's okay, because WE ARE MARRIED!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Airports, Athena and Other Annoyances

Midway through last-minute packing just an hour before we needed to leave for the airport, Brian decided to check the status of our flight. "Just in case," he laughed. After Hurricane Sandy threw a wrench into our plans last week you can't blame us for being a little paranoid.

"It's cancelled," Brian huffed, slamming his hands down on the table.

"What? You're kidding."

"No, I'm not."

And then I knew he really wasn't pulling my leg. It had happened yet again. New York seemed an impossible dream.

This time time the culprit was a snowstorm named Athena. Not nearly as nasty as Sandy, but still threatening enough to stop the plane from flying overnight. With all the trouble Athena and Sandy have caused me, it's no wonder I'm not attracted to women...

However, Brian and I weren't about to let some meddling natural disasters get in our way so we rebooked. Instead of flying overnight and arriving in New York City early this morning, we instead got a flight that left today (with a completely different airline, mind you) and made our way to the airport. After all of the annoyances of TSA, we made it to our gate just in time for boarding only to discover that our flight had been overbooked.

"We'll try our best to find a seat for you," said a sweet little woman in a Delta uniform.

Again Brian and I plummeted into pits of despair as yet another obstacle stood in the way of our trip. The woman made phone calls, consulted other blue-suited officials, discussed alternatives involving layovers in Cincinnatti or Kansas City, until finally a bald man with a suit and a walkie came out and said, "Someone's given up their seat and now we have room for you both. Get on board!"

We were overjoyed! So although Brian and I had to sit apart, we were grateful to be on the plane. There were no storms to stop us this time and away we went, high in the sky on a journey that would eventually lead to the Big Apple (after a bus ride from Newark that felt like an eternity...but I digress).

Yes world, a week and a day later than planned, we have finally arrived!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Get Out and VOTE!

Today is Election Day, people. Maybe you've watched some presidential debates or seen some ad campaigns on TV. Maybe you've read some articles to educate yourself on the issues. Maybe you've just seen people with "I voted" stickers and now feel left out of the loop and slightly jealous.  Well, do you know where you can get those super trendy ultra-cool fashion accessories? At the polls! And I don't mean stripper poles; I mean voting polls!

Just go out and prove to the world that you're a damn proud American with a voice! Sure it's just one voice among millions, but it's yours! It's all you've got! Make it heard! I don't care if you're voting for Mittens or Obamarama or Big Bird, just make sure you perform your civic duty and take a stand for what you believe in! Make sure you take part in this awesome thing we like to call democracy!

And if you do, not only will you get a sticker and a feeling of purpose... You'll also get my solemn promise that I'll stop bombarding you with my rousing rhetoric and overuse of exclamation points!!!! So get out and VOTE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I am Jack Garcia and I approve this message.


Saturday, November 3, 2012

Ask Joaquin: Who Proposed to Whom?

From Amberly:  Who proposed to whom?

That's a fantastic question.  Not too long ago we invited our friend Hannah and her boyfriend Andrew over to carve jack-o-lanterns and enjoy homemade pumpkin pie and apple cider.  It was an enjoyable evening, and being fairly new in our friendship there was a lot to talk about.  At one point we started to discuss how Brian and I got engaged... and funnily enough, the two of us got into a little argument over it.  His version didn't match mine!

Here's how I tell it.  One day in August 2009 I came home from work to find a dressed-up Brian and a table laid out with a scrumptious meal.  It was a random weeknight so I was a little surprised.  Then while we were eating, he got down on one knee and pulled out a box with a ring in it and proposed, saying something ridiculously sweet and romantic.  I, of course, smiled from ear to ear and said a most emphatic "YES!"  Brian says he had wanted to propose on my birthday (the 20th), but as soon as the ring came from online he just couldn't wait any longer!  He had to propose ASAP!

A few months later, November 2, we were celebrating our first anniversary in Park City, Utah.  We were in the hotel room when Brian asked for his anniversary gift.  I got on one knee and returned his proposal with a matching ring.  (The site he had used was still in our browser history, so finding the same ring was surprisingly easy.)  Unfortunately the ring I had gotten him was way too big and I had to send it back and get him a replacement.  I'm not sure how I was so off with the size.  I had printed out a paper ring sizer and while he was sleeping I measured his finger.  I realize now how creepy that sounds.

So to sum up, Brian proposed to me and then I proposed to him.

But here's where Brian swoops in to correct me.  That wasn't when he first proposed, even though that's what I consider to be the "official" proposal.  That's the story I usually tell people.  But in reality, Brian asked me to marry him much sooner than that.  And when I say "much sooner" I mean like Mormon-dating fast.  He unofficially asked me to marry him like a week or two into our relationship.  Kinda embarrassing, so you can see why I would choose to tell the version where we had been dating for almost a year.  I believe we were in his car and he just asked me if I would marry him.  And I said yes.  He talked about how it would have been cool to take me on a carriage ride in Salt Lake City to propose (which they have around Christmastime), but again, his anxiousness to ask me interfered with grander romantic plans.

So really, Brian and I have wanted to get married pretty much from the get-go.  Four years later, we're finally going to make that happen.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Four-Year Anniversary and Change of Wedding Plans

Today, November 2, 2012, is our four-year anniversary (which means traditionally I should receive flowers, or silk/linen depending on which website I choose to trust) and it was also the day Brian and I were supposed to get married in New York City.  Well, Superstorm Sandy came in with all her wrath and flooded the east coast, putting a damper on our wedding plans.  "Damnit, Sandy!" said our friend LoriAnn, echoing the sentiments of pretty much everyone we know.  "Do NOT name your first kid Sandy," quipped my friend Mary.  Don't worry.  We won't.

So now our wedding will be postponed a week, with the new wedding date of November 9th which I don't like nearly as much.  "Sorry your gift will make less sense now..." said my friend Rebecca, who engraved Jack and Brian November 2, 2012 onto a beautiful frame for us.  "It's still the anniversary of our first date," I said, trying my best to console her.  "It will still have meaning to me."  And it's true.  Even if the 9th will be the day we officially become a married couple, November 2nd will still be our anniversary in my heart.  Always and forever.

In a way, we were prepared for this.  Originally I had wanted our reception to be on the 9th, right after our return from NYC.  But that date was already booked at the venue we wanted, so we pushed the reception back to the 16th.  If we hadn't done that, we wouldn't have had the extra week in between to reschedule our wedding.  We might have had to get married after the reception, which would have been a little weird, but luckily it will all work out (barring the possibility of another freak disaster, of course).  We were also lucky that both of our employers are supporting us in this endeavor and are willing to redo the work schedules to accommodate the change of plans.

"That's the fun part of getting married," said my friend James in a text.  "Everything will go wrong until you get there!"


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