Category Archives: Personal

Happy Thanksgiving!


We enjoyed this first Thanksgiving a married couple with Jay’s family. As we toasted to family, our thoughts were also with our family members who have passed away. Hope this holiday found you well and surrounded by love.

My career as bamboo

Today I visited my old office at Coconino Community Services. This was my first real job, in terms of being a full time employee. I loved it there and was pretty upset when the recession started in 2008 and I fell into the trap of last hired, first let go. Luckily my new job has me back in Flagstaff, working with my old office as a community partner. It feels like I am right where I should be and that the crazy route that got me here somehow makes sense. When I visited today, Sherri reminded me that when I left 4 years ago, I gave her my bamboo plant. Sherri has nurtured that plant and now it reaches above the window frame! It feels like a symbol of the growth that I have undergone in the last 4 years.

Elsa in her new home

We are amazed at how quickly Elsa seems to have adjusted to her new home. Cats generally done like change, but Elsa seemed to recognize some furniture and quickly realize that she had finally come home. This picture is of Elsa in her new favorite nap spot, hiding under the mattress pad on the guest bed.

There is a Cat on the Plane!


Elsa in her travel case at the airport


Going back home after our wedding really felt like going home this time because we were bringing our cat, Elsa with us.  It has been a year and a half since we last cuddled on the couch as a family.  During that time we were lucky enough to have my Aunt Janet and my parents take good care of our kitty.  Elsa has actually survived two cross country road trips already (from VA to AZ and back).  She is resilient and enjoys being in the car, but hates hotels.  This time we wanted to try something faster, hoping airline travel might be easier on all of us.  Although it was a long day and a bit traumatizing for Elsa, we made it safely to Flagstaff.  Elsa seemed very relieved to be in the house, which she quickly figured out was her new home.

Celebrating With a Special Brew


Jay holding the bottle of Bridal Ale that was a gift from Pat and Cindy Kennedy

As the storm made landfall and the rain and wind whipped around outside, we celebrated this new phase of life with a special brew, the Pelican Pub & Brewery’s Bridal Ale.  This bottle was given to us by Jay’s parents’ friends, Pat and Cindy Kennedy.  The beer is named Bridal Ale because it was originally created to celebrate the marriage of two Pelican Pub staff.  Pat and Cindy picked it up while they were traveling in Oregon and hand carried it back to their home in Oregon.  It made it all the way to Virginia with them in their carry on.  Getting married of course gives you the opportunity to closely examine all of the reasons why you love your partner and want to spend the rest of your life committed to them.  What I did not fully realize was how much your wedding also makes you look closely at the relationships you have with your family and friends and come to value them and appreciate their support.

Oh, and the beer was fabulous – I would highly recommend it!

Honeymoon – Stonehouse B&B

Clever coat rack at the Stonehouse B&B


Starting in the middle of October I had been tracking the weather report for our wedding day.  The weather on the days leading up to our wedding had dropped from a high of 80 degrees on Wednesday with 0% chance of precipitation, to a high of 61 degrees on Saturday with a 20% chance of precipitation.  I got the sense that the weather was changing, but I hadn’t bothered to look beyond the 27th.  Not until Friday that is.  At that point I started hearing about Hurricane Sandy and how it was headed our way.  Sunday morning after the wedding, Sandy was picking up strength and headed straight for us expected to hit on Monday.  School was canceled on Monday and Tuesday.  The metro system decided to preemptively close for the first time anyone could remember.  The storm was expected to be epic but no one knew what kind of damage we could expect.

Jay and I were wondering whether or not to call off our honeymoon in Harpers Ferry.  Harpers Ferry is 90 minutes west of northern Virginia and they were supposed to be sheltered from the brunt of the storm.  We headed out there on Sunday, driving on almost deserted roads with no rain or wind.  We arrived at a historic row house, built in 1839 with 2 foot thick stone walls.  As the owner said, “the first pig built with straw, the second used sticks, and the third pig built with brick.  The fourth pig didn’t make it into the story because he didn’t want to brag, but he built with stone”.  The Stonehouse B&B was a great place to weather the storm.

On This Day We Were Married

Walking hand in hand as husband and wife for the first time.  Photo by Julie Napear Photography.

Looking at this photo fills me with joy.  Already feeling grateful for having found Jay and for his love and patience, I was overwhelmed by gratitude by all of the love and support we received from our family and friends.  We chose to have a wedding instead of eloping in order to share this important moment in our lives.  We wanted to introduce people who knew Jay when he was just a baby to people who knew me when I was just a baby.  In that moment, on our wedding day, they all share a connection and it was humbling to bring them all together.  Here we take our first steps into our future as a married couple with the full support of our family and friends behind us.  Wow.

Rehearsal Dinner

Now that we are an old married couple, settled into domestic life in Flagstaff, we have decided to change the format of this blog.  From now on most of our posts will just include a photo or video and one paragraph of text.

Here goes:

Sharon, Jay, Zoe, Mike, and Kacy at the Lyceum in Alexandria Virginia where we had our rehearsal dinner for our wedding.

Our wedding weekend kicked off with the rehearsal dinner on Friday night.  It was a wonderful evening hosted by Jay’s parents in which we got a chance to catch up with old friends such as Zoe, Kacy, and Kacy’s husband Mike, pictured above.  The food highlight of the evening was a delicious beef brisket from Kitchen Gourmet.  After taking a bite, our friend Stephen joked that now he knew why he had cultivated this friendship with Jay over the last 10 years or so.

Recommended Reading: A Practical Wedding

Having now been engaged for over a year, I have spent a lot of time reading about weddings and marriage.  My go-to source for thoughtful commentary on weddings is the blog, A Practical Wedding.  Recently, they had two posts which really resonated with me.

First, Kandise writes about tackling wedding planning as just another project to be planned.  She and her husband are both project managers, so arranging logistics, negotiating with vendors, and managing a budget are everyday challenges for them.  I love her perspective that, if she messes up on a project at work, “My boss gets dragged before Congress—and nobody likes that”.  In comparison, most wedding project challenges are easily fixable.  That said, weddings are about family.  Specifically, about forming a new family and negotiating how this baby family will define itself both as part of and separate from the two families that created it.  And planning anything with family is complicated and sometimes frustrating.  Kandise’s observations about how wedding planning is both easier and less romantic than she anticipated really resonated with me.

Second, A Practical Wedding has wedding undergraduate interns who write about the planning process.  Zen is one of these interns and her writing is amazing.  Recently, she wrote a fabulous piece called “Going Public” in which she articulated how getting engaged moves your relationship into the public realm.  She observes that engagement has a parallel with moving out of your parents house as a young adult.  Growing up you are sheltered by your parents, they provide a screen between you and the the outside world.  Similarly, when you are dating someone you can keep the relationship private and sheltered in a way.  Once you announce your engagement you are opening up your relationship to the wider community, inviting others to be part of your commitment.  With legal marriage comes public recognition and legal benefits,  and with that also comes a publicly recognized and scrutinized relationship.

When Jay’s Not Around

Jay’s new job is exciting and awesome, but it is also a big change for us since he will be working eight days in the field and then be home for six days.  I’m getting adjusted to the idea of life without him right beside me all the time, and I’ve noticed a few things I thought I would share.

When Jay’s not around …

  • I get the chance to listen to the music I like and Jay strongly dislikes – this could involve dancing around to Black Eyed Peas in the kitchen or singing Garth Brooks at the top of my lungs in the car.
  • I sleep less and don’t sleep as well – without Jay to tuck me in and kiss me goodnight I put off going to bed and often fall asleep with my laptop or ipad next to me.
  • I drive the car more.  With only one car to share, I try not to use the car if I don’t have to when Jay’s home.
  • I go shopping!  Jay hates to shop and I hate to waste precious time together by leaving him home to go shopping.  Yesterday I took delight in heading to the thrift store for a thorough shopping outing.
  • I drink less alcohol – I’ve never been up for having much to drink on weeknights, but without Jay to finish the other half of my beer, I often don’t bother even opening one.  Today I had to dig out our gadgets for sealing a beer bottle in order to save the other half of my beer for later!
  • I don’t bother fixing meals that look nice or make sense.  I can have cereal for dinner or combine blue berries and yogurt with rotisserie chicken.
  • I stay at work longer or go in earlier.  Basically I have little incentive to leave work if there’s something I’m in the middle of, so I just don’t.

I’m hoping to learn ways to keep up the healthy habits when Jay returns and to cope with the unhealthy side effects of his leaving.