A Beautiful Wedding

On Saturday, December 13th, 2008, Lisa and I got married. The wedding was absolutely beautiful, full of  friends and family and much loving care and support. The first thing to note was the weather: incredible!  I still can not get over it: the day started off just gorgeously sunny, then after the ceremony and photos, it rained outside while we were indoors (I hear rain is good luck on your wedding day!), then again was just gorgeous when everyone left. Truly remarkable.

The ceremony itself was full of love and was very personal. The officiating by our Tai Chi teacher was really special, as he brought such a great warmth and joy to the ceremony.  Our dear friends John and Jenn both spoke such beautiful words, and it was a treat to hear our friend Rebekah played her viol.  We walked down the aisles with our families, and at the end of the ceremony walked away with great joy and applause.

Afterwards we were outside doing photographs while the caterers rearranged the room for the reception, which occurred in the same room as the ceremony.  When everyone got seated to prepare for lunch, our friend John announced us as we walked into the room again to applause and smiles.  We turned on some music we had chosen ahead of time (an enjoyable mix of lounge music and classic singers like Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Bobby Darin, Nat King Cole, and others) and had a wonderful meal.  Conversation seemed to be everywhere, delicious food served, all amidst a room full with lovely flowers.

After lunch, as is a traditiona, Lisa and I cut the cake and served each other pieces of the cake. After this the caterers cut up the cake and everyone filled their cups with champagne. My brother, the best man, gave a wonderful and funny account of our family’s life and my own with Lisa, followed by beautiful toasts from our fathers and friends.  Their words were precious and will be treasured for a very long time.

With the toasts complete, Lisa and I began going around and thanking everyone for coming, giving and receiving many hugs, and being thankful for everyone’s loving kindness and support.  As friends and family began their exits, the event came to a close with the feeling of being a remarkable success.

I don’t think I could have asked for a more beautiful way to start my married life with Lisa, and will always remember the day fondly.


I wanted to mention the venue and vendors we used as we found each and everyone had done just an amazing job.

Venue: Brazilian Room at Tilden Park, Berkeley, CA.

What a gorgeous place, especially with the incredible weather! We chose this venue because we thought that December would be cold and possibly rainy, and the venue had a nice fireplace to offer.  It was a little chilly, but gorgeously sunny, and we did make use of the fireplace which added a very nice ambiance to the ceremony and reception.

Caterer: Serves You Right Catering

Delicious!  They prepared the food on site on the day of the wedding and the food was excellent.  We received great compliments on the food!

Florist: Branch Out Floral and Event Design, Leighsa Montrose

The flower arrangements, corsages, and boutonnieres were really beautiful.  Lisa had taken care of working with both the caterer and florist so they were both a surprise to me, and it really was a surprise how gorgeously the flowers and how wonderful the food came out.  Beautiful work!

CAKE: Masse’s Pastries

As delcious as it was beatiful!  The experience of working with them was just fantastic, from the tasting to the end product, everything was just so wonderful.  The cake was a beautiful 3-layer cake surrounded and covered with flowers.  Their cake was really exceptional and again was complimented on by everyone.

PHOTOGRAPHER: Martina Konietzny

Martina was great!  She has such a wonderful energy about her, and her assistant Kevin was incredible.  Together they ran around taking photos all through the ceremony and reception.  They made us all feel very comfortable and were funny and friendly, making the photography a very enjoyable experience.  We are waiting to see the results, but I have no doubt that they will be excellent, and am glad we went with Martina.

A big thanks to all of these vendors for their wonderful work!

Engagement, Six Years Later

On Sunday, June 22nd, Lisa and I went to Tai Chi camp early, catching a ride with Julius and Jane as we have done so in the past, picking up people who took a bus from the SFO airport as well as putting up signs pointing the direction to camp.  The weather was really quite gorgeous that day, and me being a bit anxious, asked Lisa if she wouldn’t want to take the usual small hike up the hill to the water tower, pushing a little to go sooner rather than later “in case the fog came in”.

After registering and dropping our bags off at the room, being hungry, we decided that rather than take the sandwiches we brought with us to the water tower to eat that we would just eat the sandwiches first in the kitchen area of our building before heading off.  The sandwiches were good but after eating them I got a bit of a sinking feeling in my stomach due to nerves.  I told Lisa that I thought my stomach wasn’t reacting well to the sandwich and she didn’t notice that I was just getting a bit nervous.

Just before heading up the hill, we packed some books to read for after visiting the water tower.  This was all inline with things we had done before at Tai Chi camp: registering, unpacking, having lunch, and going to read before the first dinner meal of camp when everyone had arrived.  So with books in tow, we walked up the hill, enjoying the beautiful weather.  We got to the top of the trail where the Water Tower was, sat down on a bench, and just spent a little time looking around at the beautiful scenery.  After taking a couple pictures and a little bit of just general talk about the wonderful view, I started to tell Lisa how much she meant to me, took the ring from my jacket pocket and presented it to her, asked her to marry me.  She very quickly said yes!  We hugged and kissed, continued to talk for quite some time, sat there in the midst of the beautiful landscape, and it was all very beautiful…

Today, Lisa and I are celebrating six years of being together.  It’s amazing to look back and see our relationship develop, from our friendship in college, to our times together when she visited me in New York, to moving to California and living life together.  We’ve had some great times and memories, traveled together to places I would hardly have thought possible years ago, and grown both as individuals and as a couple.  I’m happy to celebrate both our engagement and our time together and look forward to our time ahead.

Remembering September 11th

Today is the 5th anniversary of the events that occurred in New York on September 11th, 2001. Watching CNN’s replay of their footage from that day, thinking back to that day, I wanted to write down my memory of that day and the days afterwards.

I was living in Brooklyn on the edge of Park Slope at the time. I woke up that day around 8:40am or so and remember after taking a shower my cousin Charlie downstairs yelled up to me to get the phone. Amy had called to tell me that something happened downtown at the World Trade Center and that I shouldn’t take the N or R train to get to work as they went beneath the Trade Center. So I thanked her and finished getting ready for the day when my cousin was telling me to come down and watch the television. We were watching CNN I think, or maybe another channel, as I remember we just kept switching between all the news channels to find out information.

A few minutes after I got downstairs the second plane hit. Completely surreal. Charlie and I were both a bit dazed, wondering what the hell was going on. Watching the news, no one knew what was going on. We stayed glued to the television, searching to find out anything, waiting to see what would happen, the news growing more dire as the moments went by…

The first tower fell. Then the second.

I think when those towers fell did it really all sink in. Until then it was just very surreal, but when those towers fell did the situation feel incredibly tragic. News coverage showed the buildings falling, then footage of people screaming and running to escape the debris. The wind that day drew the smoke and debris from the towers towards Brooklyn that day and looking out from our apartment the sky was gray and everything outside was covered with dust, the air filled with smoke. At one point Charlie wanted to know what it was like outside and so we opened the front door and stepped out for just a moment and we immediately came right back in, coughing and our eyes stinging, the air smelling noxious and toxic. The smell of the air is something which I will not forget.

We stayed glued to the news for almost the entire day. It was hard to for phone calls to get through that day, but over the day I remember getting calls to ask if I was alright (thankfully so) and was able to make calls to let family and friends know I was in Brooklyn and was alright.

We heard from Mike and Amy that they were alright and as they were in Midtown, but since all of the subways and bridges were closed, that they were going to be walking back to Brooklyn from Midtown. Charlie and I proceeded to just sit and watch the news for the entire day until Mike, Amy, and a friend of Amy’s who lived in New Jersey and couldn’t get back there all came back to the apartment, sometime in the afternoon.

They told us how crazy it was to make that long walk through the city and over the bridge, the masses of people all just trying to get home. I was glad when they made it back to the apartment as it just felt better to have more company. We all watched the news together until probably 10:00pm that day, all just trying to figure out what was going on and wondering what would happen next.

Wednesday, we all awoke and none of us left the apartment that day, again glued to the television, wondering about the day before, wondering what would happen next.

Thursday would be the first day we left the apartment. I remember we walked down 7th Ave to have brunch. A beautiful day, I remember how strange it felt to walk down such a familiar street and have it feel so unfamiliar and strange. I remember seeing other people and they looking at us and how everyone all had a strange blank look on their faces, as ours must have had as well. I don’t remember now what we did the rest of that day, but I know we had all started to get back to our lives then.

Friday was the first day I went back to work, as well as the first day I went back to Manhattan. I went to work and after a half hour there, the CEO of the company came and got us all for a company meeting. Being that we worked on the 24th floor of 1 Penn Plaza, directly above Penn Station as well as one of the tallest buildings on that side of the city next to the Empire State building, he told us that as a company we should come up with a contingency plan in case of any emergencies as well as gave us all keychain flashlights, which I guess was all one could imagine to come up with at that time. I remember right after the meeting was over, building security came into our offices and told us there was bomb scare for the building and we all had to evacuate, so we all quickly grabbed our stuff and left.

I remember walking with Tim and Will and we decided that if there was anything that was going to happen we might as well get as far away from the building as we could. We walked over from 7th Ave where the building was down to 8th or 10th Ave and up to the 40’s somewhere. After a while, we all decided to not go back to the building and just go home.

Walking around even just that brief time, I remember the city was awfully quiet with the exception of the constant sound of police and fire engine sirens in the distance. The streets were mostly closed off and people were very, very quiet as they walked around that day.

For the following month after 9/11, I remember the city slowly returning to life, not as it once was, but to a new and different life. For a month I remember it would often take twice as long to go to or come from work, as trains were frequently stopped and/or rerouted over suspicious bags, white powder, and/or possibilities of anthrax, amongst other things. I also remember how strange it was to see airplanes in the sky, wondering everytime where they were heading.

I remember the photos posted everywhere, people looking for their loved ones…
As time passed by, life moved on and the city went back into motion. We all told our stories to each other for quite some time, about what those times were like for each of us. Even now when I meet people who were there that day we exchange stories. It’s a part of our history now.

Categorized as Memories