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The Proposal Story

16 May

Happy, happy news to share: Andrew proposed!

To answer the three most common questions:

1. Yes, I was surprised.  I mean, we live together, and we’ve had the grown up conversations that we want to get married one day, so it wasn’t out of the blue.  However, my sister is getting married this fall, so if I thought about it at all, I sort of vaguely imagined it happening after her wedding.  But to be honest, I tried not to think about the actual proposal too much because I wanted to be surprised.

2.  We haven’t picked a date yet.  I’m thinking Fall 2012, as Andrew and I will be paying for most of the wedding ourselves, and that will give us some time to save.  The added bonus is that we won’t be getting married right on the heels of my sister.

3.  How did it he do it?  It was awesome!

At some point in February I think, Andrew asked me if I wanted to go to Florida to visit his grandmother and have a long weekend break.  He made me feel like it was totally my choice; as though he was just wondering if we had time and money to go.  This year we have been saving up in order to go to every wedding and out of town event that we have the desire to attend.  Andrew grew up going to Florida to his grandparents’ house every year, and I feel like if we have an opportunity to go, we should take advantage of it – particularly if we get to see his family.

So I of course said yes, and then promptly put it in the back of my mind.  Not because I wasn’t excited, but because I had one event after another coming up in March and April and I was stressed out.  About two weeks out, Andrew reminded me that we were going to Florida for Easter weekend, and that became the goal, the light at the end of the tunnel.

The final week leading up to Easter weekend, I had four events.  The first was the Smith Announcement on Wednesday, which was planned by others and I just helped out at.   The next was the Silver Tea on Thursday afternoon, one of the three major events I plan for work each year.  I went straight from the Silver Tea to Kiss My Grits, the awesome new event the Young Texans Against Cancer held Thursday evening.  (Check out the link to read the write  up from Jay Ducote at Bite and Booze.  Yummy!)  I am a board member for YTAC, so I chipped in for the event by organizing volunteers and doing some of the printing.  Mostly, though, I thoroughly enjoyed myself while indulging in a bit of overdrinking and undereating.  Which made it very difficult to get moving for the last event of the week, a Day in the District tour on Good Friday.

One nice thing about ending the week with Day in the District is that I wear scrubs all day, so even though I was totally exhausted and dragging through the rigorous and physical schedule of the all day touring, I didn’t have to wear a suit.  Plus, Andrew picked me up from Ben Taub General Hospital and we went straight to the airport, so I was already dressed comfortably for the plane.  Andrew is absolutely adorable, and dresses up to fly, so we were a rather odd couple.  (I have now had to fly twice while wearing scrubs straight from work, and I’ve joked that I hope no one has a heart attack on the plane.  “Doctor, we need your help!”  ” But I’m only an event planner!”  Ha.)

So we made it to Florida, met his parents at the airport and drove on to Boca Grande.  Boca Grande is such a magical, beautiful place.  It’s quiet, relaxing, and there is so much to do without really needing to do anything at all.  It’s a place that means a lot to Andrew, and his whole family.

We got there late on Friday night, so our first real day there was Saturday.  We went out on the boat with Andrew’s parents all day, which was amazing.  AMAZING.  Andrew got to spend quality time with his dad driving the boat, and Andrew’s mom and I did nothing but enjoy ourselves.  Here are some pictures from that day.  I love looking at these and remembering how I had no clue what was going to happen later that evening.  And how every single other person on the boat did!

Lunch at Useppa Island

"Shower With A Friend" - Afternoon drinks at Cabbage Key

View from patio at Cabbage Key

After going out on the boat all day, we made it back to the house just in time for a nap before dinner.  (Still trying to convince Andrew’s family that southern women take naps regularly.  Not for nothing is my family nickname Scarlett.)

I did manage to sleep for about an hour, then got up and dressed for dinner.  Another nice thing about vacationing with Andrew’s family is they tend to eat at home in Florida.  It’s so relaxing to not have to eat out every meal.  So while his dad got the grill going, Andrew mixed drinks, and asked me if I’d like to walk down to the beach.

Andrew is a sneaky guy.  The way he asked, I could have very easily said no.  He totally made it sound like my idea.  But we hadn’t even been to the beach in Boca Grande since we’d been out all day, so of course I wanted to see it.  We took our cocktails and walked a couple of blocks away to the 7th Street beach, where the teenagers on the island have always met up to do teenager-type things, according to Andrew.  So romantic!  We pulled our shoes off and walked out onto the sand.

My first clue that this wasn’t just a walk on the beach was when Andrew, with a frustrated expression, looked up and down the beach muttering, “Why are there so many people on the beach?”  There were maybe, maybe, three families in either direction.  I started teasing him for being a snob.

We started walking towards the beach club, and it was nearing sunset, so it was gorgeous and perfect.  Andrew was saying all these very nice things (which, lucky me, is not unusual), and I was being my usual smart ass, when all of the sudden he hugged me and then knelt down in the sand.  He pulled out a ring and asked me to marry him.  I totally started laughing, and said something like, “Oh, that’s what we are doing!” and “We have cocktails!” and finally, “Yes! Of course!”

The best part about it was that neither of us brought phones or a camera or anything.  Not one of the three families on the beach noticed what we were doing.  It truly was a moment where only the two of us were present.  We sat on the wall next to the beach club, and watched the sunset while I laughed and made Andrew tell me every little detail about how he’d done it.  (Like, how did you know my ring size?  How did you make this all seem like this was my idea?  Who else was in on it???)

The beach

After the sun set, we walked back to the house.  Honestly, that was the first time I really became emotional.  It was finally sinking in, and Andrew told me that both his and my parents knew, but that we were going to be breaking the news to his grandmother.  I don’t know why, but that’s what finally made me start crying!

So when we walked up to the house, it was all hugs and cheering.  After thanking everyone (especially Andrew’s mom, who had helped him get the ring, wore it through security and on the plane, and had been dying all day waiting for him to get it over with), I went downstairs to start calling family.  Of course I called my parents first, and my mom answered after a .00003 second ring with, “Where have you been??”  Apparently, Andrew had paid them a visit right before we left to get their blessing, and told them that he would be proposing at sunset on Saturday night, weather permitting.  My parents totally pulled up the sunset and weather information for Boca Grande on the computer, and spent Saturday evening refreshing it over and over.   The visual of that still makes me laugh out loud!

I called only family that evening, so that Andrew and I could enjoy dinner kind of normally, but the phone kept ringing with well-wishers.  After dinner, Andrew and I went to the Pink Elephant on our first date as an engaged couple.  That’s where we started trying to refer to each other as “fiance” and “fiancee”, which still trips me up.

About the ring…I’m sure every girl says this about her engagement ring, so forgive me for gushing a little.  The ring is gorgeous.  I couldn’t have picked out a ring for myself, knowing that I would be wearing it forever and ever, so I was more than happy to drop that one in Andrew’s lap.  His mom helped him last November (! I can’t believe he kept all this a secret so long!) by giving him some diamonds she had inherited from family.  I love that.  They brought them to a jeweler, who created a beautiful custom ring to fit, and added some more diamonds to make it extra glittery.  It’s impossible to see in pictures, but it has an Art Deco feel to it, with a very modern, ziggurat-motif in profile.  I will post a picture, but it doesn’t do it justice.  Andrew did an amazing job, so much better than I could have.

notice how I picked the picture with the *bling*? haha

So that’s the story.  I think I answered all the questions people had, but let me know if I missed one!  Here are some other pictures from the weekend.  Enjoy!

Andrew's happy when he drives a boat

Island picnic on Easter. We are trying to practice the "engaged couple" pose.

Heaven is under a yellow striped umbrella.

Sunset at Cabbage Key

As you can probably imagine, it was so incredibly difficult to come home from this trip.  However, my parents are awesome, and look what greeted us when we pulled up to our house:

“Congratulations on your Engagement Courtness and Andrew” from my amazing parents

I feel so lucky that I will be joining Andrew’s wonderful family, and that he will join mine!  Now if only I didn’t have to plan a wedding…or just one wedding.   But more on that later.

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Houston Bucket List – 2011 update

18 Apr

I have been such a bad blogger!  But I have excuses reasons!  Besides all those many, many reasons, I have accomplished one or two things from my bucket list.  I also want to add a few more items….

(My original Bucket List post is here.)

Things to see and do:

1. Monica Pope’s farmer’s market

2. Rice University football game

3. watch a Dynamo game

4. visit the Holocaust Museum – Done.  I visited on an Agency Visit with the Junior League, so I didn’t get to explore at my own leisure.  I did request to get a community placement there through the Junior League, so hopefully I will be spending a lot more time there.

5. visit the Contemporary Arts Museum

6. visit the Printing History Museum

7. go to the George Ranch (as an adult) – that’s a real, live, working Texas ranch.  Yee-haw!

8. go to Washington-on-the-Brazos

9. see a movie at the Angelika – Dang it.  Should have done it while I could.  The Angelika closed for business not long after I posted this.  BUT a new theater is coming to that space called Sundance, so I will probably go check that out!

10. see a movie at the old River Oaks – Done!  Saw The King’s Speech there.  It was amazing, both the theater and the movie.  The theater has a bar, and you can bring your drinks in with you.  It’s no Alamo Drafthouse, but it’ll do.  Hope to see many more movies there this year.

11. ice skate at the Galleria (as an adult)

12. visit the Cockrell Butterfly Center – Okay, I kind of did this.  During the whole “Corpse Flower” craze at the HMNS, we went in the middle of the night to smell it see it bloom.  The line wound through the butterfly exhibit, but it was dark out, so hard to see any butterflies.  We need to go again to make it count.  I did see the most INCREDIBLE thing there though: a working apiary.  The bees live inside a clear beehive inside the museum, with a tube to the outside so they can gather pollen and nectar or whatever.  It was awesome.  

13. visit the Planetarium

14. see a show at Miller Outdoor Theater – Done!  Saw an Elvis movie.  And part of “Little Shop of Horrors”.  Good times.

15. visit the 1940s Air Terminal Museum

16. visit the Art Car Museum

17. visit Bayou Bend Museum

18. Find Howard Hughes grave at Glenwood Cemetary

19. visit all the old houses at the Heritage Society site in Downtown – Done!  We brought Andrew’s sister when she visited from Boston.  I loved every second of it, she was probably bored to tears.  Oh well.

20. make a retablo for Lawndale’s Day of the Dead event

21. visit the Menil Collection (as an adult) – Done!  Again with Andrew’s poor sister.  She was dragged all over town.

22. visit Rienzi

23. visit the Officer Lucy Dog Park

24. visit the Danny Jackson Dog Park – Done!  We walk there from our house occasionally.  Grover does NOT like other dogs though, so it’s mostly for us humans to enjoy the other dogs.

25. walk all the way around Memorial Park

26. watch the Houston Marathon –  Done!  I am on the board for Young Texans Against Cancer, and we are one of the Run For A Reason charities who benefit from the Marathon.  We got up early on Sunday morning to man a “hoopla station” and cheer our runners on.  So fun!

27. Opera in the Heights

28. stay at the Magnolia

29. visit the Jade Temple

30. visit the Forbidden Gardens – DOUBLE DANG IT. I missed this one too.  Closed forever.  The expansion of Grand Parkway ate into their property and they decided to close instead of operating next to a busy road.  I HATE THE GRAND PARKWAY.  

31. kayak the Buffalo Bayou

32. Arboretum – Done.  We had a staff meeting there.  It was beautiful, and a very different spot for a meeting (in a good way).  Though we did have to ask the funeral next door to turn down the rock and roll so we could hear each other.  I am not making this up.

33. Explore the Downtown tunnel system

34. ride in the Moonlight Ramble

35. hang out and explore Discovery Green

36. Go to an Aurora Picture Show event

Places to eat:

1. Reef

2. Shade

3. Vic and Anthony’s

4. the breakfast klub

5. Kim Son

6. Tiny Boxwoods – Done.  Delicious.  Haven’t been back as I’m never in the mood to fight people for tables.  Although they are opening a second location in the old JMH grocery store by my house, so I will probably walk to that one.  

7. Hobbit Cafe (as an adult)

8. Mark’s

9. Black Lab pub – Done.  Delicious.  Sat outside on a gorgeous day, and drank mimosas.  La.  Andrew ate a piece of salmon fried in a ball of cheese or something.  Possibly his personal heaven.

10. Glass Wall

11. Candelari’s – Done.  Meh.  

12. Ocean Palace dim sum

13. Mucky Duck

14. Daniel Wong’s Kitchen – Done.  This is now our delivery Chinese food.  They have fantastic fried rice.

15. Fogo de Chao

16. Brennan’s  – Done.  Visited during Houston Restaurant Week (Now Restaurant Month, I hear.)  Had the turtle soup, something delicious that I can’t remember, and the bananas foster.  DELICIOUS. 

17. Coco’s Crepes and Coffee

18. Tony Mandola’s Gulf Coast Kitchen – Done.  On the same night that we saw The King’s Speech at the old River Oaks Theater, we ate at Tony Mandola’s.  It turned out to be the last night at the old location, so I was thisclose to missing this one too!  They are reopened in temporary space by Chuy’s on Westheimer, but parking sucks, so no thanks.  Food was good, though.

19. Bar Annie/RDG

20. Himalaya

Tragic – goodbye, 5 and 10

5 Apr

I can’t believe it.  After 60 years, the Variety Fair 5 and 10 in Rice Village is going out of business.  This has always been the place where you could find anything and everything.  In fact, I’ve mentioned the place several times here on the blog.

My dad’s criminal career began and ended one day in the Rice Village when he was about 11 years old.  He tried to shoplift some candy from the local 5 & 10, when he was caught by the proprietor, Mr. Klinger.  I’m not sure what Mr. Klinger said to my father, but it must have worked.  To my knowledge my dad was shamed and turned away from his life of crime.

Variety Fair 5 and 10, November 4, 2009

Please click the above link to read the whole thing.  I took a bunch of pictures that captured what the old store meant to me.

So sad.

Variety Fair Store Front

Variety Fair Store Front

Andrew's Halloween wig from Variety Fair