One year anniversary

Last Saturday was the one year anniversary of the first date that Kelly and I had.

Plans to make it a memorable event had been in the making for many days, and the payoff was grand.

We woke up early, and drove to South Lake Tahoe. Reservations for Montbleu and dinner were taken care of, and Kelly even scheduled us for a fancy couple’s massage at the spa in the hotel.

When we checked into the hotel, I was a bit disappointed about our view. Our window showed us the roof of some buildings, and a mountain that wasn’t even covered in snow. Yuck!
I called the front desk and asked if we could upgrade. They told me that they’d have a nicer room available in an hour or so (for a small fee, of course), so we decided to take the offer. The new room would be facing Lake Tahoe, a sight well worth a small upgrade fee.

We had a couple of hours to kill before our massage appointment, and I had just the plan for that time. We walked over to the Heavenly village to catch a gondola ride to the top of the mountain. It was cold and windy out, but my hands were sweating.

Luckily for us, we managed to get in a gondola by ourselves. The sky was cloudy, but the lake was a very deep blue, so the views we were about to take in got us excited. Kelly sat with her back to the lake, as I took a few pictures of her with Lake Tahoe in the background.
I sat next to her, and whispered some sweet things in her ear. We kissed a couple of times, celebrating our anniversary with a very romantic and private ride. Seizing the perfect moment, I told kelly to “Look at the lake, it’s so pretty!”.

When she turned around to look back at me, she found me on one knee, with a ring on my hand and a huge smile on my face. I simply asked her: “Will you marry me?”, and she said yes. The ring went on her finger, and we spent the rest of the ride looking deep into each other’s eyes.

IMG_7663

When we arrived to the top, we walked around in bliss, enjoying the landscape, the view, and our love for each other. Kelly had been questioning me about when I was going to ask for her hand, and little did she know that I’d been planning it all along.

When we first talked about such things, many months ago, she told me that she wanted three things: A ring (she showed me a picture of “a ring”), a private circumstance, and a surprise.
I took these things to heart, and made sure that they were true at the moment that I went down on my knee. Her face told me I’d surprised her. Being on a little cart dangling from a wire above pine trees and snow on the side of a mountain… that’s rather private, I’d say. Happily, the ring requirement was also met, and I did actually hear her say “wow” a couple of times. Success!
Kelly's ring

When we went back to the hotel, we headed to the front desk to check in into our new and upgraded room. Kelly totally pulled a move from Friends (the TV show) and announced to the concierge that we had just gotten engaged. Luckily for us, it worked! The manager was there by coincidence, and we got a free upgrade to a mini-suite.

We had our couple’s massage at the spa in the hotel, and it was wonderfully relaxing. It was a royal treat to our bodies. The therapists were super nice, and we both felt at the end as if they had transmitted a lot of positive energy our way. If they hadn’t disappeared after leaving the room for us to get dressed, I probably would have given them a hug.

The last item on our anniversary plans involved a fancy dinner at Evan’s, the fanciest restaurant I could find. It had great reviews on Yelp and Zagat, so we had to check it out.
Dinner was very tasty , and the things we ate were straight out of Top Chef. However, the highlight of the experience wasn’t the incredible food. There was a small wedding party dining there, with the bride wearing her white dress and the groom in a tuxedo and all. I took it to be a very good sign of the day’s events.

In the end, the weekend turned out to be out of a movie. We celebrated our year of falling in love with each other, and we also celebrated our promise to continue to love each other forevermore.

Movember 2009 recap

Well, Movember came and went, and it was awesome.

Our City of ReMO team kicked ass. When Don and I talked about Movember at the end of last year, we had a few things in mind:

  • Better planning and organization: Plan things in advance, spread the word, and try to make things run smoothly.
  • Bigger focus on the actual goal of Movember, and put the fun and good-looks on the second plane.
  • Raise a lot of money.
  • Reach out to more people in Reno.
  • Get local businesses involved.

It’s a big source of pride and accomplishment to be able to say that we can check all of those.

At the end of September, we laid out a list of things that we’d like to do, and we set our minds to make them happen. Before Movember officially started, we had a pretty well outlined calendar of what was going to happen, when and where. This helped us spread the word. This was a much better approach than planning things on the go, since most people make plans far in advance… So this year, we gave them notice, and the plans they made were to attend our events. Fantastic!

Talking about Men’s Health issues was easier than imagined, and it came naturally. When people asked us about Movember, it was the first thing we talked about. (The second thing was about how sexy we looked). I think this was in part because of our “experience” in the subject, and the conscious decision to focus on getting the word out.
Certainly, humor had its part and no talk about the actual reason behind Movember went without crude mentions of balls and assholes.

Our goal for this year was to raise $5000. At first, that seemed like a huge number, considering that last year we’d raised right about $1600. We figured that it was a good goal, a nice round number, and something that would definitely identify us as a “serious” group committed to the cause.
To our surprise and joy, the $5k mark was met before half of the month even passed, and this was before most of us even had decent moustaches to be asking for donations!
The first thought was to call it good and declare “Mission Accomplished!”, but we were just starting to gather steam and MOmentum, so we decided to step it up, and declare a new goal: $10,000. Ballsy move, one could say, but this was after all very much about the balls.
On the day 30, the $10k mark was met with much rejoice. The final number is yet to be computed, because of cash and check donations, but the accomplishment is there, and it’s a wonderful feeling to know that we made it. If $5000 was a lot of money, we raised two lots of money.

Last year, we felt that our efforts in reaching out were successful when Anthony joined our team. We didn’t know him, and he joined because he thought it was a good cause. Our “campaign” had transcended the circle of people that we knew, and I took that to be a very good thing.
This year, that effect snow balled. The members of our team kept growing and growing. I received an email when someone joined the team, and I remember being excited when it showed that we had 25 members in our team. Quickly after that, our total was up to 40 people. And fifty… and a hundred.
Who were these people? Some of the names sounded familiar, but there were many Anthonies. We even got David Bobzien to join. Way cool!

Eclipse Pizza joined us last year in our official team, and we knew we could count on them again for this year. But what we didn’t know was how well other businesses were going to receive the idea of teaming up, and the response was a very positive experience.
KRZQ (100.9 FM) gave us a lot of airtime with ads, and even put us on a show in the middle of the day! One of the owners of The Sierra Tap House, Zach, became very involved and helped us put together some very successful events. Shannon from SOAK Lounge invited us to her business which caters mainly to women, and organized a very creative and fun occasion. The Biggest Little City Club hosted us on a couple of different nights, and made us feel really good. We went to Butcher Boy for lunch, got Rockstar haircuts and had tons of fun bowling with a lot of the ReMO team at Starlite Lanes. The local restaurant Amendment 21 organized the Reno Beer Crawl with proceeds benefiting our cause, and promised to be a big helper next year.
Long story short: local businesses rocked our world. I’ll be making a longer write up about it all on the City of Remo website soon, so I’ll spare the details for that post.

On a personal note, none of this could have happened without Kelly’s support. Despite almost crying after seeing my clean shaven face after many months of sporting a goatee, she encouraged my efforts to make our team a successful one. As if putting up with a prickly upper lip wasn’t enough, she had to tolerate my distracted attention and need to be involved in a lot of things.
That is the job of a “Mo-Sista”, and she did it well without much reward. Rest assured, I’ll be making sure she knows how much I appreciate her.

Even more personal, and somewhat geeky: I was more or less “the” photographer of the things we did. I won’t be asking for money to take pictures anytime soon, but I’m pretty happy with the moments I captured in still images. Most of the pictures ended up on Facebook, if you’d like to see for yourself.
For the Stache-Bash (aka end of Movember party), I got to play with some fancy photo gear I borrowed from Mo-Bro Kyle Walker. The pictures from this event look specially good thanks to the lighting equipment and the improvised photo booth that I put together. It kind of made me want to have a flash and fancy umbrella to be able to do it more.
At any rate, I took pictures of my moustache growth on a semi-frequent basis, so if you’re ready to see how it all went, check it out right here:

Finally, I’d like to say thank you on a personal level to those who donated to Movember and “sponsored” my moustache. Thank you Kelly, Joan, Elinor, Kathy, Zach, Willie and Roger. My prostate and testicles appreciate it!