Monthly Archives: April 2010

Here It Gets Silly

Jessica and I just bought a wedding planning book, Budget Weddings For Dummies. Despite the fact that neither one of us is a dummy, it seems that the book will prove to be a valuable resource just the same. After all, the author planned her wedding for under $5,000, which either means she’s a genius, had a tiny wedding, or conned the caterers somehow.

In any case, we both decided that the best course of action right off the bat would be to pose for some photos with the book:

Here Jessica is thinking, "No WAY the average American wedding costs $20,000."

And then there’s me:

Here I'm all like, "whoa, look at all these money-saving tips!"

Then Jessica again:

And then me again:

Apparently this book is also a suspense novel because I am in suspense here

A late 1970s Berkeley Wedding

I recently asked my dear parents about their wedding day – I realized I knew a few details about the wedding, but not much more beyond that. I knew that the reception and ceremony had taken place at my paternal grandparents’ home, a block away from the house I grew up in and my parents live in still; I knew that the man in charge of taking photos forgot to put film in his camera; I knew that the wedding cake was made by a man who would eventually become the father of my best friend through my entire childhood; I knew that Denali, my parents’ Husky, was at their feet during the ceremony; and I knew the whole thing was small, and organized in much less time than I have to plan mine.

My dad offered this:

In August 1978 my brother married his fiancée, Caroline Boyle, at my folks’ house down the street at 1212 Campus Drive. After the ceremony, I invited the younger set to repair to my house at 1288 Campus. Among the guests (a late arriver) was a lovely young woman named Mary. Caroline pronounced her last name Jurgensen. After we got to my house and poured champagne, I snuck to the telephone book to see if she was listed. No Jurgensen but a Jorgensen, Mary, on Oxford Street just down the hill. A week or two later I phoned, we went on a date, and the rest (including you) is history.

We were married, exactly a year after Hank’s wedding, by an episcopal minister, even though neither of us was, or is, religious. It may have been to please our parents, or to seem conventional. What say you, Mary? In any event, he was a wonderful guy and didn’t lean on the religious part at all.

One last thing, for now, at least. I had asked my good friend Lloyd to take pictures at the wedding, along with my dad, who always took pictures. I lent Lloyd my camera. I assumed he would have brought film; he assumed I had loaded film into the camera. Result: Lloyd took brilliant pictures of all the guests–with no film in the camera. Clunk.

Then, my mom dutifully typed up the following, a long and wonderful recounting of some of the major (and minor) wedding details, including how she met my dad, and I’m going to consider it the definitive narrative of my parents’ wedding story:

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It’s International Because I’ve Been To France & Russia

My old pal Jennifer tells me:

“I just tried to find your blog by googling “bret turner zilla” and the myspace page for a group called The International Assholes came up.”

So, you know – something to think about.

This is Drew and Jennifer, taken with this old camera Jennifer has (had?) that took such bad pictures that they were actually awesome.

A Man Walks Into A Hamburger Bar. YUMSTERS!

This is the remnants of a meal we had in Mexico. This would have been an appropriate time to say "yumsters."

Jessica says “yumsters!” a lot when referring to food that either is delicious, was delicious, or is likely to be delicious sometime in the future. There is a certain specific way she says it, where the yum is the stressed syllable, and she will linger on the sters for a little while with a quiver in her voice. When she says it, you know that tasty food is involved. Greg, Cristin, and I are particular fans of the yumsters and have been known to utter it ourselves from time to time, ironically at first – like saying LOL out loud – but gradually it has become completely devoid of irony and is now a staple of the “calling things delicious” word category.

Jessica and I both invoked the yumsters simultaneously the other day when going through the list of approved caterers for the Bridezilian Room, which, btw, is pretty much a 99% certainty of being our wedding location. I KNOW, RIGHT! I’ll post about that later. One of the (only) downsides to the Bridezilian Room is that their list of caterers is not really big on barbecue, which may kill our dream of a pulled-pork-sandwich wedding. Frowny face! Let’s just put that one on the backburner for now, or perhaps more fittingly, on the back grill.

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If You Fell Into Your Own Loaves You’d Be In-Bread

Some of the kids at the preschool I work at have taken to calling me “Bread,” as they have recognized my name’s phonological proximity to the word. They have also called me Braid, Bert, Boat (?), and Bed – even going so far as to taunt me with “Hi Bed, does your mom tell you to make yourself in the mornings?” – but Bread is the current nickname de rigueur. Curiously, they have not yet figured out “Brat,” which usually takes slightly older kids just a few days. I’m holding out hope they won’t stumble upon it.

Bread: man's greatest accomplishment

In any case, I told them that my mom used to like to joke frequently that she should have, in fact, called me Bread instead of Bret because of how much I’ve always loved it. I made the mistake of telling this to my Spanish teacher Juan Carlos when I was traveling in Guatemala a few years ago, and so he took to calling me “Pan” all the time, and told all the other teachers at the school and so they started calling me Pan as well. It actually got the point where I would forget, at times, which was my real name. That’s not true, of course, but I wanted to illustrate how odd it was to be called Pan by way of an “identity allegory.” It’s a good thing I never told my Russian host family about it when I was studying abroad in St. Petersburg, because the Russian word for bread is, shall we say, not one of Russia’s best entries in the Prettiest Word Competition.*

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What Happens In Vegas Later Appears On This Blog

This is where I stayed on my weekend trip to Las Vegas:

It’s called the Mandalay Bay and it’s not so much a hotel as it is a vast empire of money, boobs, $10 beers, flashing lights, and silly electronic noises. I stayed in the hotel on the left, which is simply and hip-ly called The Hotel, in a suite that had two bathrooms, three TVs (including one in the main bathroom), a giant bed, climate control in both rooms, a minibar with pricey Pringles and spendy Snickers, and all sorts of little fancy trimbles* that I assume it’s OK to take home with me and so that’s what I did, like shampoos and conditioners and pens. Only since it’s so fancy, the bottles are labeled “body balm,” “hair cleanser,” and “hair masque,” and so I can only hope I used the correct one for the correct purpose. The various parts of The Hotel follow the same name scheme, including The Restaurant, The Café, and even The TP, on a little sticker on the toilet paper in the bathroom. In Jessica’s dad Steve’s room there was a bottle of Jack Daniels in the wet bar that, if opened, would have set him back a cool $250.

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Is This What Married Life Will Be Like?

I went to vegas this weekend, for a bachelor party. I will tell you all about it very soon. It was kind of nuts. But for the moment I will simply present to you excerpts from A Bret & Jessica evening.

Jessica made an extraordinarily delicious beef bourgignon this past weekend, using the recipe from Julia Child’s The Way To Cook. We sat at the table as I ate and she looked through the book.

[EDIT: It was not actually The Way To Cook, but rather, Mastering The Art Of French Cooking. I will not be changing the picture to the left <–]

“Oh my gosh, there’s a whole chapter on the mayonnaise family!” she exclaimed.
“That’s a nice family,” I said. “They have that kid, what’s his name… Jeremy?”
“Jeremy Mayonnaise?”
“Yeah, Li’l Jeremy Mayonnaise, from down the street.”
“Um…”

Later:

“I mean,” Jessica began, “you’re supposed to serve this stew with like roasted red potatoes and butter peas. Yeah, that’s not gonna happen.”

Later:

“OK, don’t take this the wrong way – I mean seriously, don’t be offended by this because you know that I am going to love it,” I said with the stew in the microwave.
“What? What is it?” she said, apprehensively.
“The beef stew – in its refrigerated state – looks a little like…”
I sighed. Then I said “dog food” while Jessica simultaneously said “ewwwww!”
“Wait,” I said, “did you think I was going to say… like… poop?”
“Or vomit,” she answered.

Later:

This kindly man is just absolutely boning this fowl

I was finishing my bowl. “What’s that recipe where you stick a duck up a turkey or something like that?” I asked.
“Ooooh yeah,” Jessica replied, immersed in the book. “We should make some of these. Chicken breasts cooked in butter; sauteed ham slices with cream and madera sauce; frozen artichoke hearts!? Broiled mushrooms caps! Paté baked in a crust! These are all in French but I’m reading them in English.”
“How are you doing that?”
“It’s also in English.”
“Oh.”
She kept leafing through. “Boned, stuffed duck baked in a pastry crust!”
I perked up. “Is that the crazy, famous one?”
“Yeah!”
Then it struck me. “Wait a minute,” I said, “that is like a crazy tongue-twister! Boned, stuffed duck baked in a pastry crust. Try that.”
Instead, she kept reading aloud. “You may think that boning a fowl is an impossible feat if you have never seen it done, or thought of attempting it. Although the procedure may take 45 minutes the first time because of fright, it can be accomplished in not much more than 20 on your second and third try.”
“First of all I have never once thought about ‘boning a fowl,’ and second, seriously, isn’t that the best tongue twister? Try it!” I demanded. She tried, and couldn’t even get through it once.
“I told you!”
“It’s impossible,” she said with dramatic flair and a raised fist.
“Third of all,” I added a little late, “I don’t experience ‘fright’ when I cook.”
“Sure baby” she said.