Archive for the 'Wedding' Category

Party at Town Hall, Raffle fundraiser!

Posted by Nate in Friends, Wedding.
Friday, October 19th, 2007 at 1:45 pm


img_5916.jpgFirst, Eric posted some wedding pictures to his flickr page, including what might be the best dance picture ever.  Also here’s a link to Freddie’s pictures from the weekend, check them out if you haven’t already.

Second, time for a long-overdue post about the party and fundraiser at Town Hall!  Karen had this img_5940.jpggreat idea about wanting to be able to wear her wedding dress for other occasions, and after a little dye-job by yours truly, it ended up being absolutely gorgeous!  Most importantly, it matched the dress that Ophelia was wearing…

We had decided to have a rafflimg_5929.jpge for fabulous prizes and send the money via SMA to help our friend Alfreda with her schooling in Ghana.  Steve helped get some pictures for the poster, and Alfreda had time to email us a nice letter that we incorporated.  It came out very slick looking and the raffle was a great success!

img_5930.jpgWe posed for a picture for Alfreda and Samuel: lookin’ good…

pict0095.JPGFabulous prizes!

img_5984.jpgYou can see how excited everyone was with their winnings – and for a great cause!

img_5980.jpgMadeline can’t believe their luck – or was it rigged??

pict0098.JPG… after all, that’s their baby picking the winning tickets!!  Hmm…

(Official disclaimer: Baby Francis was an unwitting participant in the alleged "rigging".  As in most child cases, the blame lies with the parents.)

img_5966.jpgNate and Joe compare beards.  I think he’s winning, but it’s close.

All told, a great party!  It was wonderful to see so many friends we weren’t able to squeeze in on the North Shore, and celebrate in a more informal environment.

Stay tuned for more Town Hall pics next week as Nate, Cody, Peter, and Scott prepare to enter the Beerlympics!!

More pictures!

Posted by Nate in Beer, Wedding.
Friday, September 28th, 2007 at 11:50 am


Pictures on Snapfish from Katie.

Pictures from Cody, including some pretty amazing shots of what appears to be Sasquatch.  Wow!

I also adjusted the timestamps on Peter’s pictures (one of his cameras wasn’t on daylight saving or something?) so they’re now in order in the album, it’s much cooler to browse through them now since they tell the story sequentially.  (Thanks to Q for pointing this out, I thought they were in order…)

In other Duoteam news, we’re still both fighting coughs.  Feeling mostly ok otherwise, but it’s proving hard to shake this thing.  Ah well, neither of us had been sick since January, and I suppose this is what we get for pushing so hard in the months leading up to the wedding.  Now if only Bruno would let us sleep in when we have time…

Tomorrow’s the Autumn Brew Review!  I remember the first year I went we still lived near downtown and I walked to Peavey Plaza by myself, drank like a fish, and stumbled home through Loring Park to our apartment.  The next year we somehow missed it (I think a coworker’s wedding was that weekend)…  And then last year Karen joined me and we took her dad and Sierra and it was the Best.  Day.  Ever.  This year we’ve got a whole posse, it’s being held outdoors at the historic Grain Belt Brewery complex, and it’s going to rule!!!

Wedding Pictures!

Posted by Nate in Wedding.
Thursday, September 27th, 2007 at 7:53 pm


Well, finally.  I’ve managed to upload all of the pictures of the wedding taken by Peter, and I hope you’ll all agree they’re worth the wait!  He did a really amazing job, but it helps that all of you are so damn good-lookin’…  Check them out here – there’s enough of them it should keep you busy while I try to consolidate links to other people’s pictures or find a way to get them added here…

Also – you can print them online!  There’s a pulldown on the bottom-right of an image detail, and one of the options is to print on Shutterfly for decent prices.  They’re also high enough quality you can download them and print at home if you want!

The most fun you can have with a cold

Posted by Nate in Beer, Holidays/Birthdays/Etc, Weather, Wedding.
Monday, September 17th, 2007 at 8:52 pm


The honeymoon, as they say, is over.  Although I think "they" are usually speaking metaphorically, and in this case it’s actually over – literally.  We’re home!

And it was the most fun you can have with bad weather and two colds!  As you read last week, we aborted our put-in attempt at Sawbill due to wind, rain, and cold, and headed towards Ely for two nights.  pict0006-5.JPGKaren got her cold in Ely, and it unfortunately peaked in congestion just as we headed out and decided to go half a mile underground to tour the Soudan Underground Mine…  The 3 minute trip down the mine shaft resulted in popped ears and renewed sneezing, but it was a really interesting tour that gave me a much better understanding of the mining history of the region.  pict0009-5.JPGThere’s also a physics lab down there(!) where they run experiments with subatomic particles – the half mile of earth shields them from cosmic rays that would interfere with their instruments.  Pretty cool.

pict0104.JPGKaren’s cold had progressed and added a hearty cough by the time we made it to Scenic State Park for an awesome two nights of "almost camping".  pict0027-2.JPGWe stayed in a fantastic CCC-built cabin right on Coon Lake – no running water, but they had electricity and a gas fireplace(!) so it was nice and cozy.  We spent the days sneaking out for hikes and then returning to the cabin for Karen to recoup in her little sleeping bag cocoon by the fire.  pict0006-6.JPG(Karen had to stop for a nap on the trail during one of the hikes).  Overall it was a really nice compromise between hotels and the boundary waters – we got to cook our camping food, but also take care of Karen’s cold, and overall it was super relaxing.  We both powered through our books, learned to play cribbage, and enjoyed the amazing scenery and hiking.

pict0110.JPGFriday night neither of us slept well – there were mice running around in the cabin, and some bird outside decided to screech every time you’d start to drift off.  Really weird, I wish I knew what it was or what its problem was…  Saturday it was my turn to wake up with the cold as we packed up to head to Duluth.

pict0015-4.JPGThe first day in Duluth was great: a nice long walk on the boardwalk, lunch in Canal Park, shopped for some gifts, then back to the room for a quick round of cold medicine and ibuprofen.  Finally off to the Brewhouse for the finest beer they brew – their Anniversary Cherry Ale!  Karen had two of those and I sampled their cask IPA and an Irish Stout.  While I love the Brewhouse beers, I gotta say the Irish Stout at the wedding was better…  :)  Two games of Cribbage and some yummy food, and I was totally exhausted.  We watched some TV and passed out.

pict0004-13.JPGSunday was absolutely gorgeous.  We got a late start, then headed up the shore a bit for an amazing lunch at Nokomis, a relatively new restaurant just 9 miles from Duluth.  Karen had a really nice wine and I got to try Bell’s Batch 8000 – this year it’s a wheat wine, like a Belgian Wit but X2, really nice even with a stuffy non-stop runny nose.

pict0012-6.JPGWe mosied back to Duluth and took a harbor cruise on the Vista King, super nice weather and again, I got a much better understanding of the importance of Duluth as a shipping hub.  Pretty incredible examples of raw "industry" out in the harbor – huge grain towers, powdered cement storage, and an entire dock filled with enormous turbines for wind power.  Very cool, and we got to see the largest freighter on the lakes, the Paul Tregurtha. Oh, and Karen got a little trip down memory lane, since she worked for the Vista Fleet during her first smmer in Duluth as a college student. 

pict0117.JPGThen across the harbor into Wisconson for some more microbrews at the Thirsty Pagan — apparently they’ve been around since ‘96 but we’d never heard of them!  Good beer, more cribbage, and we met someone who corrected a few of the rules we’d had to guess at.  But I was crashing fast so we headed to the room for a quick round of meds (and I power-napped on the floor) and back out.  We decided to do dinner at Karen’s old college haunt, Sir Benedict’s, where we had some delicious soup and sandwiches, free popcorn, and yet more cribbage.  For those keeping score at home, Karen was winning a lot early on, but I believe the final count for the week has me in the lead.

pict0128.JPGMonday morning we grabbed a quick breakfast at a local coffee shop, another of Karen’s former places of employment, then headed to the Brewhouse to fill a growler.  No fools, we decided to share a pint of their Cherry Ale – hey, it’s only served once a year!  pict0130.JPGWe took a quick spin up to Hawk Ridge and saw a few Sharp Shinned Hawks and got some up close views of a Kestral they had caught and banded just before we arrived.  Coooool.

And then… it was over!  I’m writing this on Karen’s laptop as we drive south on I-35, back towards life and reality — but with a few key differences from how we left it!  It’s been nothing like we planned, but it was actually really exciting to be able to improvise and re-plan so well, and still have such fun.

More soon, and we’ll try to set up a central place for wedding photos!

Who knew there was internet in the BWCA?

Posted by Karen in Travel, Weather, Wedding.
Wednesday, September 12th, 2007 at 8:22 pm


Whoa!  They’ve really upgraded this BWCA since the last time I was here!  Wireless internet and all! 

honeymoon_trail.JPGOk, fine… so we’re not technically in the BWCA.  We had a wonderful first day of our honeymoon Monday, a nice drive with some fun stops, including a little jaunt down Honeymoon Trail!  We had some sunshine and warmish temps.  We got to the outfitter mid-afternoon, got situated, and set up camp at a campground right on Sawbill Lake, our put-in point for the BWCA.  We took a growler of beer from Fitger’s Brewhouse that my brother Dean had given us along with leftover food from the wedding and found a great spot for a picnic down by the lake. 

That evening we read the weather report printed by the outfitters and were not excited.  A couple of hours after we went to bed, the rain started coming down and the winds really kicked up, to the point where I was a little worried about getting squished by a falling tree.  scared.JPGIn the morning we got our canoe, had a heck of a time getting it packed in the wind and rain, and put in.  We then spent the next half hour getting tossed about by 35 mile an hour wind gusts, soaked by waves, and utterly exhausted.  We fought valiantly and got about a third of a mile before having to pull to the shore.  We rested for a bit and decided to try to make another go at it, but this time we went nowhere, literally.  We managed to get out and decided to re-evaluate. 

We realized we weren’t going to get anywhere that day, and didn’t really want to waste a day just hanging out at the campsite.  And the weather report for the rest of the week was not looking much better – rain at some point almost every day, temps below freezing at night, wind, thunderstorms… and we decided that was not how we wanted to spend our honeymoon.  So feeling sad, traumatized, and exhausted, we took our canoe back, loaded up our gear, and hit the road, headed for Ely!  hotel.JPGWe spent last night at a lodge recovering in the hot tub, eating some of the tons and tons of camp food we had packed, and making a new plan.  Oh, and I all of a sudden like got a big fat cold, which made us a little extra glad to have made this decision and to not be portaging and paddling in the rain, unable to find dry wood to make a fire at night. 

wolf.JPGWe decided to spend another day and night in Ely, and so last night we got the most sleep we’ve had in months!  We visited the super-cool International Wolf Center today and did a little bit of exploring and hanging out, and for me, a lot of sniffling and sneezing.  Tomorrow we’ll be heading to Scenic State Park and staying at a cabin for a couple of nights.  Then on to Duluth according to the original plan.

We can’t help but be a little sad that we’re not having the trip we had envisioned, but we are still having a blast, and so excited just to have this time to hang out together and relive the glory and wonder that was our wedding! 

We’re getting married!

Posted by Nate in Wedding.
Wednesday, September 5th, 2007 at 1:29 pm


It’s a good thing this wedding is finally happening this weekend — just ask our bosses!  It’s been getting increasingly hard to put the blinders on at work and get things done when every third thought in my head lately is "hey, did we remember to…"

But it’s definitely happening, and we’re definitely crazy excited about it!  The packing lists are almost done, the last minute shopping is happening, final emails being sent, programs printed, the beer is kegged and unfairly delicious, and … a few surprises as well!

The weather looks chilly for sure – especially compared to the heat we’ve had the last few days – but we’re crossing our fingers for a nice enough day on Saturday.  The Friday BBQ may happen under the tent instead of under the stars, and we’ve got a contingency plan for the rest so I think we’ll be set.  It’s really (finally) starting to transition from crazy-hectic-nervous into genuine anticipation and excitement.

A big bloggy thank-you to my parents and Steve who have been our personal slaves the last few days, helping out while we worked, and generally keeping us fed and sane.  No way could we have pulled this off without them.  And a big thanks to Karen’s parents for all their support, as well, it’s really helped out…  In fact, thanks to everyone who’s offered to help, and I’m only sorry we weren’t smarter about handing off jobs…  Next ti – oh, wait…  :)

And finally, thanks to all the boys who (literally) kidnapped me from the State Fair Sunday night and made sure I could barely get out of bed Monday.  Free tip, to all the still-bachelors out there: if you insist on having the scotch, don’t drink the tequila later.  Oh, oh, man.

See you on the North Shore!!!

Disgorging the sparkling mead

Posted by Nate in Homebrewing, Wedding.
Friday, August 10th, 2007 at 11:28 am


When I last checked in, the mead had been moved to the basement for riddling, the long and slow process of turning and bumping that’s supposed to collect the remaining yeast and sediment in the neck of the bottle.  It went pretty well, but I would change a few things next time – more vigorous turning early on, while things were still at an angle, or possible skip the entire angle thing and go right for vertical.  I ended up having a few bottles with some small but incredibly stubborn yeast deposits on the neck that just wouldn’t budge.  Ah well.

8-9-2007-8-10-15-pm.jpgSo yesterday morning I cleared a space in the fridge for the mead, and I transferred it into the freezer when I got home from work.  As you can see, it was a tight fit…  The goal was to freeze just the end of the neck, but chill the rest of the mead so it would keep more CO2 in solution when it was disgorged.  As it happened, the 5 bottles outside of the box got so cold there were chunks of ice throughout, which ended up being a problem later…

8-9-2007-8-25-19-pm.jpgThis is everything you need for disgorging, almost.  At left is a cooler with 15 pounds of ice (I meant to do 20, but found a bag inside when we finished) and about 2 pounds of sidewalk ice melter (KCl).  In reading now, I realize I might have been better with plain rock salt (NaCl), which can make a colder brine, but I’d also read yesterday that CaCl could go colder still and without checking I assumed KCl might be the same.  In any case – if you’re disgorging, do some more research.  This worked for me.

Next is a bucket of sanitizer holding the plastic champagne corks, and a measuring cup half full of a dry white wine to replace any liquid lost in the process.  The shiny things are the "cages" to hold the corks in place, there’s a test bottle full of water, some S-hooks we used to spin the cage wire tight, and a mallet to knock the caps in place.  Whew!

pict0004.JPGHere’s Karen fiddling with a cage on a freshly disgorged bottle.  The basic process we ended up with was me working the disgorging and her handling the topping up, capping, and caging.  I’d take an upside down bottle, dunk it in a bucket of water to get the ice and salt off, and then hold it about horizontal with my right hand on the neck, braced against my right thigh.  pict0005.JPGWith my left hand I’d pry off the crown cap, and in a dramatic "splurt!" the frozen ice plug would shoot out as I quickly raised the bottle vertical and slid my right thumb over the opening to minimize foaming.  I’d set it down and wait maybe 15 seconds before releasing, then Karen would top it up and go from there.  Normally we’d add some sugar syrup here too to cut the dryness, but two things: it’s really good how it is, and since I know we’re not getting all the yeast I didn’t want to risk another round of fermentation in the bottle…  At right: the ground was littered with crown caps and yeast residue by the time we were finished.

So, yeah, the first few bottles were too cold – I’d read horror stories online about people not being able to get the necks to freeze in the brine, so I went right in the freezer.  When I’d pop the top, not much would happen…  The ice plug was too deep in the neck, so I’d have to try to dig around and fish out the yeast, resulting in foam and some volume loss, often to watch in despair as the yeast gently floated back down into the mead.  Ahhh!  Too late now, so we just capped it and carried on.  The ones from the case were good and cold, but not frozen at all.  About 10 minutes in the brine and ice got me a decent 1"+ ice plug and the new horizontal disgorging technique resulted in near-perfect yeast plug cannons.  Awesome.

pict0008.JPGAt left is most of the bounty!  There are really only 3 bottles that have a level of sediment and haze I’m not happy with, the rest are almost crystal clear…  And I imagine no one but me will notice the haze.  (but if I have my way we’ll hold those bottles back and only use them if we have to).  Ta da!  Now we let the mead rest upright until it’s time to serve it – oh, about 4 weeks and a day from now!

Invitatations Sent!

Posted by Nate in Wedding.
Thursday, July 19th, 2007 at 10:11 pm


Well, kids, as you might have surmised from the complete lack of posts: it’s been a mighty busy few weeks.  On the heels of Justin and Juliana’s wedding I think Karen and I both sort of had a "holy crap, we’ve got a lot still to plan!" moment, and dived right in.  The most immediate result is one I hope most of you have or will soon have: invitations!

pict0005.JPGWe decided to use some nice sustainable and environmentally sound paper from Sri Lanka (look for the fine print on your invitation, I don’t want to spoil it here), and ordered a bunch of 12×12 sheets with plans to cut them in half and fold them.  It all went well, but my printer doesn’t seem to handle the 6" width very well – at the end of every sheet it would start to tilt the feed, resulting in in "stutters" on one side and crooked text.  Crap!

pict0006.JPGSo I ended up hand feeding every sheet – twice.  Once for the top 2/3rds of the sheet, once for the RSVP on the bottom 1/3.  Time intensive, but a clean print.  The only trouble is the paper is a bit fragile on the edges and would occasionally catch as it fed through, resulting in a bit of loss.  I’m afraid the post office’s processing is even less gentle than my printer — a sample we sent to ourselves arrived slightly dinged from the automated rollers they shoot it through…

pict0002a.JPGBut, in the end we’ve got a nice single sheet of paper for the entire invitation / RSVP, no extraneous envelopes or redundant packaging!  If they all arrive, we should be set!  At left is Karen making a sweet stamp we used on the back of the RSVP, and at right below is her hand-addressing(!!) an invitation.  Whoa.

pict0008.JPGWe’ve also added a few pages to the wedsite  (hee hee): RSVP, things to do, pies, and lodging.  If you haven’t booked yet, DO IT NOW!  If you have, awesome, go RSVP!

Wedding 2.0 Launch and Upgrade

Posted by Nate in Wedding.
Thursday, July 12th, 2007 at 6:32 pm


As I imagine all our readers know by now, we just launched Wedding 2.0 (beta), a fun interactive wedding website.  Why have just one day of fun when there’s so much to go around??

As any of you know who tried to play "Dress Nate", there were some problems with the third-party script and server I was using to drive the dragging and image generation.  That won’t do!  I rewrote the script to run locally and it’s super sweet, much easier to use now I believe — and if there are problems I can fix them instead of just hoping they go away.  Let me know how it goes.

Enjoy!

Sounds like trouble

Posted by Nate in Projects, Wedding.
Thursday, June 21st, 2007 at 7:02 pm


Our ceremony will be outside, and I’ve been worried about sound — will the trees "swallow" the sound?  What if there’s water in the creek?  I’d been planning on some wireless battery-powered "something" to solve this problem, and a few weeks ago I thought I’d found it: a Pyle Pro PWMA3600.  (Don’t worry, it was on Amazon for like $80 less than that)

I’m sad to report it was a Pyle of crap, or rather, they were.  That’s right, I got two…

Pyle Pro 1The first one arrived and I excitedly set it up, adding an external speaker as advertised to increase the spread – it sounded great!  The included wireless mic seemed very responsive and feedback-free.  I wrapped up my test and went to turn it off – and nothing happened.  Music continued to play.  Hmm.  "That’s going to wear down the battery pretty quick," I thought to myself.  An hour spent fiddling with it didn’t improve the situation and I noticed some pretty visible sparking when I went to plug in the adaptor to charge it.  Whoa.  Rather than messing with it I further took advantage of Amazon’s amazingly customer-friendly return policy and asked for a new unit.  "They can’t all be bad!" I confidently told Karen.

…except they are.  The second one arrived yesterday and I carefully removed the layer of foam wrapping and opened the box.  I reached in and took hold of the handle to remove the unit, and…  guess.  Guess what happened.

Pyle Pro 2That’s right, it came right off – the whole lid.  Followed by the sides falling into the middle, like a cartoon house collapsing.  I never even got it out of the box.

The good news is, this is all happening with almost 3 months to spare, so I’ll get it figured out.  And it sure makes my online searches go quicker when I can skim over any Pyle Pro products without even clicking.  Grrrr…