Getting Engaged (Finally)

Calling this post long-delayed is a bit like calling the Pacific Ocean “wet” or the guy who slipped up on the Zune leap-year bug “fired” – it is a severe understatement while still being accurate. I was recently alerted by Nightsinger to the fact that my lovely wife repeatedly tells her version of the engagement story, which has certain elements which depart wildly from the truth. Admittedly, that’s mostly because she’s assuming chaos where there was intention, but there were equal parts chaos where she assumes intention. It evens out on my side, because I’m writing this.

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Valentine’s Disaster

Disaster, from the words meaning “bad star.” That’s from some book I read at some point somewhere. I’m picturing Neal Stephenson’s “Snow Crash,” with the Librarian commenting on how he’s a “sucker for non-sequitors,” so that’s likely. It’s also completely unrelated to my point.

Most of our money and time is currently being focused on this “wedding” thing Mandrina and I are going to be having in just over three weeks. (GASP. No panic, really, not yet at least, but GASP.) So, instead of going out for Valentine’s Day (where prices mysteriously increase, and crowds are omnipresent), I had decided we would stay in, and I would cook dinner.

I neglected to let Mandrina know this, ’cause I’m a dummy. So yesterday afternoon, she emails me from work to ask if we’re going out to dinner, or if she was going to be cooking. I told her I was going to be, and mentioned something regarding what I was planning — proper Beef Wellington, so called by myself because I loath the thought of pate, and it turns out most ignorant savages prepare Beef Wellington with a liver pate. Mine was going to feature some sort of onion-mushroom-breadcrumb mixture, as a riff off my mother’s recipe for the same. So proper Beef Wellington, an expensive bottle of red wine that’s been waiting for a special occasion…

I got back a reply around 2 in the afternoon, asking for fish in a citrus seasoning. Simple? Not if the only fish I’ve ever cooked was salmon in a heavy butter dill sauce. Several hours of searching online and over an hour at the grocery store trying to find “grouper, halibut, or snapper” and come up with a recipe, I ended up preparing lemon-pepper herb snapper encrusted in pecans, served over a bed of wild and long rice, served with a side of long green beans.

Impressed? Me, too. Admittedly, the first thing I did when I got home was growl and tell Mandrina to leave me alone after having to spend so long grocery shopping, but then I got down to business. I also still didn’t have a recipe, as such, just a few inclinations (and no idea how long it was going to bake or broil the fish).

So after almost setting the pecans on fire (broil on the top rack was a bad idea, for future reference), I served Mandrina, and then went back to the kitchen to serve myself.

“Honey, did you know this fish still had bones in it?”

I freeze, my plate in hand. “Ah. No. Not at all.”

“*cough* *cough* *cough*”

Mandrina ended up with a piece of bone getting caught just before her wind pipe, scraping up the back of her throat. She didn’t feel much like doing anything other than sitting in bed after this point, although the possibility of going to the hospital was thankfully avoided. (In my defense, despite the fact that she tore up her throat on her first bite, she still ate the largest piece of the snapper, and got halfway through the second largest piece before choosing to go rest — so it wasn’t just to get out of eating my food!)

Last year, Mandrina ate an oyster at a fancy seafood house — and got sick from it.

Next year, we’re not having seafood. I’m thinking lean ground beef (no fat), boiled (no oil), unseasoned (no allergies!), served cooled (no burned lips), in a bowl (harder to drop), eaten with a spoon (no dangerous tines!). Just have to make sure to overcook the meat so it can’t be raw…


Today was Seattle’s National Novel Writing Month Kick Off Party, which Mandrina arranged, took place at the Bay Pavilion on Seattle’s waterfront.

If I was feeling particularly verbose, I could go on for a bit about looming, and having a certain disposition. I’m not feeling terribly loquacious, however, so I’ll just post the group pic.

Nano Kick Off 2006 Seattle

Looking for a Honeymoon

Trying to find a Honeymoon location has been a hassle.

Originally, Mandrina wanted to go to Vienna, Austria. I wasn’t thrilled with that, but I came up with a wonderful compromise — three or four nights in Vienna, an overnight train to Switzerland (I want to open a Swiss Bank account!), then another train to Belgium — which is for my stomach — Gauffres, Belgian Chocolate, and Frites, baby!

Then someone realized that a March wedding would lead to a March honeymoon would lead to Vienna in March which would lead to dealing with 30 degree temperatures. Mandrina wants a warm honeymoon (“Bare shoulders!”).

So I suddenly have to deal with coming up with a new destination.

Mandrina wanted Egypt. A Nile River cruise, Pyramids, Cairo. I agreed it would be neat. Then I spoke to a friend, Egyptian parents, who advised me that it probably wouldn’t be too safe to go to Egypt. Doh.


Australia wasn’t too popular, nor was New Zealand. Peru (Machu Picchu!) met with similar issues — actually, the primary one was the lack of options for going to see Machu Picchu — it appears to always require a tour.


Casablanca was the most recent idea (our first dance is likely to be to “As Time Goes By”). Morocco isn’t necessarily unsafe (I don’t know yet), but the cost to travel from New Orleans or Atlanta (nearest two major airports) to Casablanca is rather high.


Nile River Cruise, train to Casablanca. Whoops. I’d have to cross Libya, which I seem to recall is a terrorism supporter. That’s not so good…



I don’t have a “Next” yet. Hrm…

Another trip to FL

Mandrina and I leave tomorrow AM for Florida, to go to her High School Reunion. I’m not terribly looking forward to it. I have to play nice and dress up, and be away from my cat. Okay, so it’s mostly the latter — I’m afraid he’ll get annoyed with me while we’re gone, and adjust to a completely inconvenient sleep schedule, like he did last summer when we were in Romania.

Of course, we’re also going to take the opportunity to talk to Florists, and Caterers, and maybe, if I play my cards right, bakers. Because, of course, since Mandrina will want Chick Filet (spelling?), the diet is suspended while we are in FL. So I better get me some chocolate chip cookies while I can!!!

This I don’t get, though. We’ve been to Florida three times in the last year. We’ve been to New York all of once. Admittedly, Florida is nicer much of the year than New York, but… PIZZA!!!

Which I couldn’t have on this diet, anyway, so no big loss.