Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The requisite ring post

Oh, who am I kidding? I'm smitten with my sparkler!

Who knew fingers looked so weird this close? Sorry.
(All photos by me.)

As is to be expected from me, I went a bit against the norm (though it's becoming more popular these days) and had some input on the ring. Greg figured that (1) he didn't know squat or where to start, (2) my Type-A personality would love having some control and (3) I'd have to live with it forever, so it was a done deal. While this doesn't mesh for all couples, the process reflects how we work as a team and both totally invested in what the ring really means.

While roaming around Pentagon City back in early fall, Greg persuaded me to go to the jewelry stores, and afterward I had a slight panic attack on a bench. It was overwhelming. I knew "The One" wouldn't be from a mall store, but it was really sinking in that I could be engaged soon. I kept looking and I fell in love with the scrollwork on the sides of the setting and knew from our excursion that I had a soft spot for pear-shaped diamonds. And in January, I saw "my precious" (Lord of the Rings, anyone?) and was blown away.

Our engagement ring is a sign of making a promise — not leaving behind our individual histories entirely but cherishing and calling upon those memories and to help us approach the future as one very silly team.

And of course, there's only one way for me to signify our past and present; who knows what'll be next? (I don't think they have a bridal baseball mascot, but I'd totally buy it.) You can click to enlarge.

The San Diego Padres' Swinging Friar, Lou Seal of the San Francisco Giants and yet-to-win Teddy Roosevelt of the Washington Nationals'
racing presidents.

What do you think? Did Greg do a nice job? Is it really that weird to have so many mascots? ;)

Friday, January 22, 2010

Introducing the groom

As Greg said in his summary of moi, we met in college and worked on The Orion, so I won't bore you with all that again. The first thing I found out about Greg, of San Diego, was that he was a journalism major, too. So that was cool. Then I found out he was one of the kids who beat me out to get a full ride, a Chico State President's Scholar. Not so cool. (Sorry, but I'm being honest!)

I eventually got over this and was left with a partner-in-crime whose ambition, tenacity and thirst for knowledge would keep me at my best mentally and academically. You gotta be on your toes when Greg's around. We supported each other throughout the journalism program, even working in the one and two positions at the paper.

That passion to strive for greatness hasn't waned on the East Coast. After graduating Chico State in three years (!) and snagging an internship at the Washington Post (!!), Greg's in his second year of grad school at George Mason University to earn a master's in economics and has very recently started his own blog on the topic.

Apart from his academic endeavors, Greg enjoys listening to Spanish pop music, catching up on news, reading non-fiction, being hooked to his iPhone and watching sports. Specifically baseball. Oh, so much baseball. A recent attachment has been to different sports broadcasters, with his favorite being the Dodgers' Vin Scully. My mom even gave him his biography as a birthday present. At least there's mascots...

Us with Abe before a Nationals game in August '08.
Dunno what Greg's doing. (Photo by Lisa Campo)

But really, I don't mind the baseball or any of his hobbies too much because (and this is my favorite part about Greg) he knows how to make things fun. I'm pretty much a little kid so he'll tell me little-known tidbits about baseball and introduce me to mascots (!!!). He'll break down complex econ theories and give examples so I can be part of the conversation. He's a very caring guy.

He's a great fit for me.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

About Sharon

Us in the dorm in 2004. Gotta love those bangs!

Many of our readers know either Sharon or myself, but not both. So we've decided to write a little something introducing each other.

Sharon grew up in San Francisco. She has an older brother named Steve who also recently got engaged, in August (they are not quite as nerdy or self-absorbed as we are, so they don't have their own "we're getting married" blog). She went to Catholic school before going to school at Chico State as a journalism major. We met in the honors dorm our freshman year. Our rooms were two doors apart.

During college, we spent most of our time working at the student newspaper. We shouldn't have worked so hard in college.

Sharon worked at the Arizona Republic for a year as a copy editor after college before getting a job at the public affairs office at a nonprofit in D.C.

Sharon's favorite TV show is "The Simpsons." She has at least 10 seasons on DVD, and our DVR usually has about eight episodes queued up for us. She's also a big fan of "Grey's Anatomy" and similar shows. Or anything involving angsty teenage vampires or Hogwarts and Quidditch matches. Around D.C., she can often be spotted at the library, the Columbia Heights Target, or the huge mall in Tysons Corner, VA.

She is a big fan of pop and alternative music and loves concerts. In the mornings, she can often be heard walking around the apartment humming or singing various tunes ("we're in the money," various Super Mario songs, or her own renditions).

I can often get her to go to sporting events if there's mascots involved.

She is my kind of girl.

Monday, January 18, 2010

The proposal: part 3

(Click for parts 1 and 2.)

Sorry for the delay in posting; I've been on an apartment cleaning rampage. :)

So after dinner, Patricia drove us to Mill Avenue, the nightlife district in Tempe popular with the college crowd and our usual night-crew gang. We started off at Rula Bula, an Irish pub that's usually bursting with live music. After enjoying the Arizona weather on the patio, we spent the rest of the evening singing and dancing away at my Mill favorite, the Big Bang, a sing-along dueling piano bar. It was packed with Boise State fans who were in town to watch their team beat TCU in the Fiesta Bowl.

The proposal gang. (Photo by Astrid Galvan)

Part of my old Republic gang. Our pal Stewart from the sports copy desk showed up after work! (Photo by Astrid Galvan)

And then there was more sneakiness! Astrid and Patricia got us on stage and we danced to "Open Arms," complete with "spotlights" -- see the guy with flashlights over us? Haha. (Photo by Patricia Lapadula)

There was no way we were heading back east without hitting up In-N-Out Burger, a West Coast delicacy. Matt had never heard of it, and it's safe to say he enjoyed it...

No swooping, Stewart! Matt was very pleased. (Photo by Patricia Lapadula)

We said our goodbyes and Patricia dropped us off at my parents' suite. Later that morning, we milked the continental breakfast, but Greg still had to get something out of the way before heading home. After a drive around Phoenix to see where I used to live and work, we got some Mexican food in the heart of Phoenix -- Julioberto's at 32nd Street and McDowell Road, to be exact.

Typical us: Matt recovering from an overly spicy burrito, Greg tootling on his iPhone and me instinctively posing for a camera. (Photo by my mom)

And that's all, folks. We flew home and it was back to life as usual! Phew, that was a long story. Did you enjoy it?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The proposal: part 2

(For part 1, scroll down or click here.)

You might be wondering why I flew our friend Matt from D.C. to the Phoenix airport for the stunt. Well, it was an homage to my favorite Sharon & Greg moment:
Flash back to 2008. Sharon was working at The Arizona Republic and I was at The Washington Post. We lived together all through college but got jobs in different parts of the country.

One April day, I was on a last-minute flight from D.C. to San Diego (my home town) to attend my grandpa's funeral. That same day, Sharon was flying from Phoenix to Nashville for a journalism workshop.

Here's the crazy thing: We were both connecting in Dallas.

We discovered this the night before. I think my first plane landed about 30 minutes before Sharon's second plane departed. Once I landed, I took the Dallas Skylink halfway across the airport to get to Sharon's gate. Sharon told the workers at her gate that she's waiting for someone, while the rest of the plane boarded. I came running up, and we were able to talk for all of a minute or two, before Sharon had to scurry off to get to her plane. She was the last one on.
Okay, so fast-forward to October 2009, when Sharon has been living with me in D.C. for almost a year. I get a thought while reading on the Metro out to Fairfax for class: What if Matt "runs into" us at the airport? We were visiting my aunt and uncle in Baja California and coming back in early January. Sharon has always told me that she wanted a photographer to be there when I popped the question, so I arranged for one, in a way that was special for us. And there's a little bit of the whole Friends "I got off the plane!" thing going on there, too.

Here's the crazy thing (again): Even though Sharon bought the tickets long before I thought of this, our connecting flight back home happened to be in ... Phoenix.

Even better! I thought that we could met her Arizona pals, go out, see the town (I'd never been, and I have to recommend Julioberto's Mexican food in Phoenix—mmmm ... carne asada fries), and fly out the next day (I even gave Sharon's boss a heads-up that she'd be unexpectedly missing a day). I heard Sharon talk a lot about her gals Patricia and Astrid, so I got in contact with Patricia about picking us up from the airport and scouting out Phoenix restaurants.

Back to the airport: While Sharon was all flustered, Matt slyly handed me the ring (I didn't want to bring it through customs), and then I made my proposal. We had a celebratory beer. I think it's funny that no one in the airport seemed to care what was going on. A few people looked up from their laptops, and one waitress said "congratulations" on her way back to the kitchen.

Patricia and Astrid picked us up. We went out for a while and then went to dinner at Olive & Ivy in Scottsdale. Sharon gave my name, and they said "reservations for seven people?" Sharon was about to correct them that we only had five, when her parents came to the door. I let Sharon's mom in on the plan. Her and I both thought it would be neat for her to be there, so they drove down from San Francisco. Sharon said she couldn't handle any more surprises after that, and luckily, that was the last one.

For plan-related stuff, I had been using my lame Yahoo! account ( that I made in sixth grade so that Sharon wouldn't accidentally see my scheming in my Gmail when we were at home.

Here's a few photos from Patricia, a photographer in her own right.

Us at Four Peaks.

Patricia's Facebook caption: "Sharon's parents randomly showed up at Olive & Ivy in Scottsdale. That was super weird, because they live in San Francisco."

The whole restaurant gang. Left to right: Astrid, Matt, Sharon's mom (Cindy), Sharon's dad (Doug), Sharon, Greg, and Patricia.

Next: Part 3, we hit the bars, and the day after (by Sharon).

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The proposal: part 1

Hi and welcome! Thanks to everyone for the congratulations via phone, e-mail, texts, Facebook and beyond; Greg and I are so thankful to have such great people in our lives. Now for what (most of) you've been waiting for: the proposal.

It happened on Jan. 3 on our way home from visiting Greg's aunt and uncle in Mexico. I figured if something big were to happen, it'd be while on vacay or even New Year's (like another couple we know!). But Greg pulled out the big guns when I was most frantic and unsuspecting: stressed out from traveling.

At our connection in Phoenix, we got held up on the plane and in customs, and I was ready to sprint two terminals away, which at Sky Harbor isn't easy when it's an already short layover. Greg had kept repeating that morning, "If there's one day in the whole year you listen to me, please let it be today." But I was determined not to miss an expensive flight that would take me back to indoor plumbing and my comfy bed.

Panting and sweating, I was approaching the gate as Greg called out, "I'm sorry, honey, but you're not getting on that plane." With the logic of a second-grader and the voice of a 3-year-old about to burst into tears, I turned to him, held up my ticket in one hand, pointed to the open door with the other, and yelped, "I paid for a ticket ... the plane's still there ... so why can't I get on?"

He didn't respond, just gazed around the bored inhabitants of Terminal 1. As those close to me would predict, I broke into theatrics, speed-dialed my mom and, through dry sobs, told her how Greg was keeping me hostage in Phoenix and I was never going to see home again. She sounded horrified and wished she could do more than browse the aisles at Target.

I was still on the phone wailing as Greg's face lit up and he dragged me to a bar. I was hanging up reluctantly as a familiar D.C. friend said he was there to cover the Fiesta Bowl. I was settling into a bar stool, finally defeated, when Matt gave the ring box to Greg.

And as memories were recalled and kind words said, my head practically exploded and now the photos take over... (all photos by Matt McFarland; click to enlarge, but beware, they're big!)

Could I *BE* any more surprised? (a la Chandler Bing)

Being down on one knee was exaggerated by me being on a bar stool!

Sealing the deal :)

Admiring the ring -- who will get her own picture-filled post soon!

Finally, some beer to commemorate the moment.

And my friends, this is "part 1" for a reason. Yes, the big scheme gets bigger! What do you think of Greg's plan and my reaction?

Friday, January 8, 2010

When it's happening

Sharon and I are still figuring this out, but the wedding will likely be in 2011.

I'm in grad school at George Mason University through the end of 2010, and Sharon says (rightfully): "I don't want to have my wedding and honeymoon over Thanksgiving break or whatever."

As far as location, I'd say there's a 90 percent chance it's going to happen in California. I grew up in San Diego and Sharon is from San Francisco, so probably one of those two places.

Hello world!

As you well know, Sharon and I just got engaged! We're using this space as our official wedding blog.

There will be more in this space shortly—photos from the proposal (send us more if you have them), info about the two of us, where we're planning to get married, etc.

Stay tuned!