Latest News

(At the Giant Sequoias, 2005 December)
2006 August 19
We've finally gotten the photos of the wedding posted. Check them out!

2006 July 28
Oh my! It's been over a month since the wedding, and we've been caught up in the whirlwind of this thing called life. I've been enjoying living here in the East Bay and I have to say that it's an honor and a true joy to be Wayne's wife. Wayne brings a smile to my face every day no matter what challenges we face. And challenges there have been!
I finally got an offer on my house, and after several days of negotiations and minimal sleep, we had a deal. A few days into escrow, the deal packed up and moved south. Anyone out there want to buy an adorable house by the beach?
House problems or not, we're still managing to have a lot of fun around here. We've had a couple adventures to the Berkeley farmers market and we're cooking some incredible dinners. We also made time to go to Point Isabel in Richmond, which happens to be the largest dog park in the nation (complete with trails, outdoor café, and a shop just for dogs). André celebrated his birthday with about a hundred of his newest friends!
We want to thank everyone again for bringing so much happiness to our wedding day. We will never forget the kindness and generosity of our friends and family, and it's great to know our married life began in the presence of those we love!
2006 June 19
We've been married a little over a week now, and it's been wonderful. Wayne and I are more in love than ever before, and we're having great fun getting used to saying "husband" and "wife". We've been busy getting the apartment cleaned and organized, and Wayne has been clearing space for my things. And later today, I'm driving to the south bay to pick up two very young budgies we will be fostering. I'm like a new mommy awaiting the arrival of her babies, and I can't wait!

2006 June 18
We've had a few days to reflect on our wedding day, and we're quite happy with how things turned out. It was an absolute joy to see everyone smiling and having such a good time, and we're completely touched by how much people love and care for us. A huge THANK YOU to everyone who lent a hand to make our day so magical. From the decorations and wonderful food to all the set up and cleanup... and everything in between... wow... we are so grateful for it all.

2006 June 10
It's Official! We're married!
The ceremony and reception were wonderful fun. It is going to be hard to wait for the pictures because I want to see what happened. ~smiles~

2006 June 6
Only 4 more days! Yikes! The day is coming fast.
This is probably going to be the last update before the wedding because tomorrow I am driving down to Santa Cruz. Also, starting tomorrow Raelene and I wont be able to check our email all that often. So if there are any last minute questions, please call her house at +X-XXX-XXX-XXXX.
Raelene and I were planning on getting a room at the Best Western to help coordinate things, but unfortunately we had to cancel the reservations. So we will be putting a stack of maps and driving directions to Quail Hollow in Pete & Ali Coburn's room. Stop by, say hello, and pick up a copy. We will also try to put some at the front desk for those arriving late, and you can download a copy here.

2006 June 2
As the day approaches we're in full countdown mode now. Checklists are being made and reviewed and reviewed again. Last minute preparations are being finalized, last minute things purchased, and there's nothing in the we'll worry about that later pile. The nice thing is that things are well enough under control that we don't have to kill ourselves to get all the last minute details done.

2006 June 1
The first weather predictions are starting to happen for the day of the wedding, and while things are subject to change it's looking good so far. Right now we're looking at partly cloudy skies and a daytime high of 75°, which should be just about perfect. Hopefully this good prediction will pan out the day of the wedding.

2006 May 30
For those who've graciously agreed to bring food and drinks, Raelene and I expect 80 people total at the wedding (including us). Of that total, ten are under the age of 13 and probably wont eat that much. No one is expected to bring enough food to share with everyone, of course, and ultimately there's no pressure to bring anything other than your happy selves. But people have asked what the numbers were, so I wanted to make sure they were out there.

2006 May 29
In less than two weeks, Wayne and I will officially be husband and wife! We're really thrilled to be counting the days to the big celebration and spending time with our friends and family. In spite of terrible allergies, Wayne spent a better part of the weekend creating our ceremony programs, which are quite lovely. He also spoiled me by making homemade pasta, which we then used to make the recipe on the cover of the latest Bon Appetit. Delish!

2006 May 26
Wow, the pollen counts are really bad this year and I'm getting hammered and hammered hard by my allergies. It's like I'm living in the Central Valley again. Hopefully whatever is blooming will die out before the wedding, because I certainly don't want to be a Benadryl zombie when I say say my wedding vows! Speaking of antihistamines, I picked up a large bottle of Benadryl to have at the reception just in case. Not only for allergies, but also to handle possible bug bites or poison oak exposure.

2006 May 20
Our friend, Linda (who just happens to be a co-owner of the Arizmendi Bakery in Emeryville) came by this afternoon to help us test recipes for our "wedding cake". It's a really good thing we tried out the recipes a few weeks ahead of time, because while Linda's were great the recipes we thought we wanted to use were DREADFUL! And no, we don't plan on serving anything awful to our guests. In spite of our culinary mishaps, the day was great fun and a wonderful opportunity to visit with Linda. While we made a complete mess of the kitchen, Zoe entertained us by making farting noises and reminding us that she is a gray chicken.

2006 May 15
While on a walk with one of my neighbors last week, we spotted a group of four baby skunk. They were really cute, like tiny striped kittens. Well, their cuteness has been very short lived, as one of them managed to get André this afternoon. Lucky for us, I found a recipe for a homemade shampoo that takes away the stink, and I have regained most of my sanity. André may be my sweet little French dog, but he is definitely NOT allowed to smell like Pepé le Pew ever again! Ew!

2006 May 12
Raelene and I went to the Santa Cruz courthouse today and got our marriage license. There was no line, and we were in and out very quickly. Being the smart alec I am, I asked how closely related we could be and still get married in California. To both Raelene and my surprise, the lady at the courthouse said it was okay if we were first cousins! Yuck! I thought this was California, not Arkansas.

2006 May 10
In just one month, thirty short days, Raelene and I are going to be married. Yea! It's only one month away.

2006 May 9
I've finally updated the Driving Directions part of the website! The directions are correct to the best of my knowledge, although I make no guarantees. Please do a sanity check, and if you find any errors let me know.
Want to be part of the wedding? I've also updated our list of jobs we need help with. If you see something you'd like to lend a hand with, let Raelene or Wayne know!

2006 May 8
Raelene and I had a quiet weekend. On Saturday, we got hopelessly lost in Emeryville. I really hate Emeryville. It's like driving in a maze, but with no fried cheese curd or beer at the end. Only more maze. And pain and suffering. And a Borders. The good thing is Raelene and I used some gift money to buy me a suit for the ceremony, so no sport jacket for me. I have to say, with the exception of the store in Capitola Men's Wearhouse has always treated me very well. I'll never go to the one in Capitola again though, and recommend others to stay away as well.

2006 May 6
Here's a picture of the desert table at Raelene's bridal shower. Wow, talk about nice. Sid certainly went all out to give Raelene a wonderful party. Thanks again to her and everyone who came.

2006 May 5
Happy Cinco de Mayo Everyone!
Viva la Raza! Viva Mexico!

2006 May 3
Yesterday, I went with a group of my students on a field trip to Monterey's cannery row. Our first stop was the Monterey Bay Aquarium, where we got a behind the scenes peek at the educational programs they provide for different age groups. I had the chance to watch a very energetic teacher work with a group of preschoolers. At one point, she dressed up in a wave costume and ran around with a couple of spray bottles while the children learned about animals who hide, hold on, or swim to protect themselves. It was great fun.
After lunch by their pier, we walked to Adventures by the Sea, where we geared up and took off into the bay on kayaks! I had never kayaked in the ocean before, and was overwhelmed by the number of seals and otters who swam alongside our boats. There were also many sea birds collecting kelp to build nests, which of course made me smile. It was so peaceful and relaxing, and I wish I could go out on the water every day. I LOVE kayaking!!!! Check back here in a week or so, and I should have some photos posted.

2006 May 2
The places to eat page has been updated!
Yes, the rumors are true! My dear friend and Matron of Honor, Sid, held a lovely bridal shower for me last Saturday. Per my request, there were no stupid shower games, which freed up time for plenty of good conversation and laughter. Each gal brought a favorite recipe, which Sid secretly collected for me in a big hat box. I'm sure I'll be making those dishes for Wayne, our future kids, and dinner guests for years to come. Old and new friends alike shared great wedding stories and enjoyed guessing how each person knew me. The food was excellent, the sangria was divine, and I was completely overwhelmed by the kindness, generosity, and joyful spirit each woman brought that day. I have fantastic friends and happy memories to last a lifetime.

2006 April 29
Raelene had her shower today, which I hear was a lot of fun for all and a smashing success. Hopefully we can get some pictures of it for the website soon.

2006 April 26
It's official! That's right, the Danon/Coburn wedding is now officially pot-luck. If you live nearby, and have a dish that's both easy to make and fun to share, we'd certainly love to try it!

2006 April 25
Our musician, the very talented Mark Maggipinto, was kind enough to give us one of his fliers. Check it out!

2006 April 24
I've finally finished the "places to eat" section of the website. There are a lot of fantastic places to eat in the greater Santa Cruz area, with cuisine from all over the world. If there's something in particular you're interested in, from vegan pizzas to southern style barbecue to having to take a trolley to the dining room, email me for a suggestion.

2006 April 22
Raelene was doing a lot better, but then got hit again pretty hard with this years crud. If you would like to email her a get well wish, I'm sure she'd appreciate it.

2006 April 19
When our first musician canceled on us, we had no idea the situation could turn out so wonderfully. We found a terrific guitarist for our ceremony, and we're thrilled. Mark performs at the Sesnon House, which is a restaurant run by a local culinary arts program. He is kind, generous, and incredibly passionate about his music, and we're so lucky he will be a part of our special day. We're doubly blessed because Mark offered the use of his sound system for both the ceremony and reception, which means the vows we write will be heard by all and everyone can dance and have a great time.
The bulk of the invitations have been mailed! Yea! We still have a handful left to send, all for people we haven't been able to find addresses for. Hopefully we will finish sending them out soon, so we can start checking the mailbox for response cards (hint, hint).

2006 April 16
Happy Easter Everyone!

2006 April 15
Raelene and I ordered our wedding bands today. Given our budget constraints we ordered two simple gold bands from Golden Oak Jewelers. Jessica, the owner of Golden Oak Jewelers, has been extremely helpful with the whole ring buying process and infinitely patient in teaching us the ins and outs of buying good quality, ethical diamonds. I really recommend her place to anyone living in the greater Berkeley area.
Initially Raelene and I each chose a band we liked, but with my large hands a simple gold band was nearly as expensive as the really cool damascus steel one we cannot afford right now. So instead we ordered a much thinner band for me, but one that matched the style of Raelene's. That way, when we can afford a band for me, the ring I was married in can be converted to an engagement/anniversary ring for Raelene.
Raelene and I also printed our invitations today, so they should be in the mail here soon. Yea!

2006 April 12
Happy Passover Everyone!
Grand-mère sent us some of her famous homemade charoset, and we can't wait to eat it! Wayne bought five (yes, five) boxes of matzo in preparation. Oh my! Let's hope Elijah isn't doing the low-carb diet thing this year.
We also now have a Cafe Press store full of wedding related merchandise. We don't really expect anyone to buy anything, and we've set our markup to zero. But we thought it might be fun nonetheless, especially if you're in the mood for a new coffee mug, mouse pad, tote bag, baby bib, or t-shirt.

2006 April 11
Although a bit wiped out from the past two weeks, I am finally starting to do much better. Wayne's TLC and homemade soup did the trick.

2006 April 10
Happy Birthday Zoe!
Today is Zoe's Birthday! It's hard to believe our cute little bundle of claws and beak hatched four years ago today.
We're two months from the big day! Oh my! Our musician canceled on us, but not to worry because we have a couple other options we're looking into. Anyone know how to use iTunes on a laptop? :-)
The invitations are looking terrific thanks to Wayne's buddy Will, and should be in the mail very soon. Will is an extremely talented graphic designer, and has been overly generous with this time and efforts. We're incredibly grateful for all the work he is doing for us.

2006 April 7
Piper, our feral foster, was adopted into an aviary today! Piper, along with three other Mickaboo ringneck parakeets, were released into their amazing new home. Raelene and I miss Piper terribly, but this aviary gives her the chance to be truly happy in the company of her new flock. All four birds started to settle in right away, making it a little easier for us to say good-bye. Click here to see photos of "The Great Ringneck Roundup."

2006 April 4
Raelene is still very sick with the crud that has been going around. If you would like to email her with a get well wish, I'm sure she'd appreciate it.
I've also updated the Gift Registry part of the website with various volunteer tasks. With Raelene's house still on the market, we're falling back on doing more and more of the preparations ourselves. Sometimes time is a much better gift than anything on a gift registry.

2006 April 1
Raelene's pregnant, with twins!
April Fools!

2006 March 31
Mark Morford, columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle, wrote this humorous article on life with an African Grey parrot. Raelene and I can both relate, including the part where the bird mimics entire phone conversations.

2006 March 29
I've caught the bug. Yes, I've had the love bug for many, many months now, but I also managed to catch Wayne's "sick bug" late Monday night. As Wayne likes to say, "no good deed goes unpunished". I'm sleeping a lot and drinking as much tea as I possibly can, and it seems to be helping. And with Wayne agreeing to make me homemade alphabet soup this weekend, I have something to look forward to.
It's been raining and hailing here, and in spite of all the gloomy weather and illness, we received good news that our foster bird, Piper is getting adopted. She'll be moving into a spacious aviary with two other ringneck parakeets. Given that Piper is pretty wild and doesn't trust humans, we think this new home will give her a lifetime of happiness. We're hopeful!

2006 March 27
Raelene and I had another good, albeit quiet weekend. I'm mostly over whatever it was I had last week, but I'm still taking it easy. I definitely do not want a relapse. Raelene spent most of the weekend taking care of me and doing laundry, while Andre, Zoe, and Piper all chilled as well. It's also starting to look a lot like spring across the bay, with everything green and blooming. It is a good time of year to be in coastal California.

2006 March 23
Check out this picture of Andre in his festive St. Patrick's Day bandanna! And here's another picture of Andre, this time he's wearing his pants.

2006 March 22
Well, it's been a pretty rough week so far. At least for me. I got extremely sick on Saturday, probably some sort of flu, and poor Raelene was stuck taking care of me. She did a wonderful job though, she must really love me. ~smiles~ I'm lucky to have found her. It's now five days later and I'm still running the occasional fever, which can't be good. At least I'm continuing to get better, which is all that really matters. Whatever it is I managed to catch, I'm against it.
Last Saturday Raelene and I tasted wedding cake at The Buttery in Santa Cruz. It's SC's premier wedding cake bakery, and I can see why. Some of those cake designs were absolutely incredible. Stunning. Of course they were also more than our entire wedding budget... There were some more modest options, of course. But even then, it's a lot of money for a cake I'm convinced will largely end up in the trash. Or at least that's what's happened at the last few weddings I've been to; people take a few bites to taste and then throw the rest out because they don't want the carbs and calories.

2006 March 17
Happy St. Patrick's Day Everyone!

2006 March 10
Wow, it's hard to believe the wedding is in exactly three months. Oh my! So much to do, so many plans still to make, and a house yet to sell!

2006 March 5
We went to the wedding open house at Quail Hollow today. It was rainy so we couldn't do much at the site, but the Q&A session with the park people was worth it. I was surprised with how far ahead in our planning we are compared to the other couples and brides there. But then given how good Raelene and I are at planning, I guess I shouldn't be. We did find that we cannot bring a pickup down to the pond, so we're going to need help bringing chairs up from the ceremony site (the pond) to the reception area (the house). I hope no one minds carrying their chair...
It also looks like we're going to have to rent a battery powered PA system with wireless microphones so that everyone can hear us say our vows. I don't want anyone to miss Raelene promising to take me "in richness and in poorness, in sickness and in health, in quiet solitude, or blasting across the alkali flats in a rocket powered, monkey navigated hovercraft," because I have a feeling that's going to be an important promise in the years to come.
We also did a second wedding cake tasting today, and while the cake tasted fantastic the price quote wasn't. Per slice it wasn't too bad, but a $75 delivery fee for $150 worth of cake didn't seem worth it. We put our heads together and came up with a really smart and fun alternative that we think will put a smile on everyone's faces.

2006 February 26
Yesterday, Wayne and I spent a lovely afternoon in San Francisco. We took the BART into the city and walked several miles to Golden Gate Park. There, we strolled through the Conservatory of Flowers and were completely blown away by the varieties of plants and flowers. We also had the chance to see their orchid exhibit, and the various colors and shapes were out of this world. Click here to see our pictures of the conservatory.
And to reward ourselves for all the walking we did, we stopped along the famous Haight street and devoured some incredible Ethiopian food at a place called Massawa. If you've never tried this cuisine, we highly recommend it...especially if you like to eat with your hands. Various toppings are served on a gigantic "pancake," which you use to scoop up your food. It's messy and lots of fun. We must have been craving pancakes, because we followed our dinner with a visit to Ti-Couz, where we shared a couple of crepes (chestnut and lemon-sugar).
Hunger pains quieted and sweet tooth completely satisfied, we ventured home and reminisced about our last visit to the city and our happy engagement. All in all, it was a terrific day!

2006 February 23
Raelene and I had fun this past weekend visiting the native California plants botanical garden at Tilden park. We had no idea there were so many varieties of manzanita! We also visited Feathered Follies in Lafayette, and I made a new friend of a moluccan cockatoo named Pandora. He couldn't get enough head scritches, and wore out my arm and hand trying to comply.
The wedding planning has sort of stalled at the moment while we wait for Raelene's house to sell. Hopefully she'll get an offer soon! But all of the major pieces are in place, so we're not too worried. And no matter what, it will be a beautiful wedding and a wonderful start to our lives together.

2006 February 14
Happy Valentines Day Everyone!

2006 February 7
I had the most wonderful birthday this year. Wayne spoiled me with a beautiful bouquet, a gushy, romantic card, and adorable "coupons" for homemade dinners and other goodies. We spent a beautiful day together in Monterey, visiting the aquarium and sharing a lunch at a little middle eastern restaurant. I love my fiancé!
I think we finally decided on our wedding invitation design, and they're quite darling if I say so myself. You can be the judge in a couple of months.

2006 February 3
Next Monday is Raelene's Birthday, so don't forget to wish her a happy one!

2006 February 2
Today we added Raelene's suggestions for what to wear to the wedding, along with a few more pictures and some minor edits. Our officiant has also made some excellent suggestions on how we can make it a full blown Star Trek Klingon wedding ceremony, although I'm sure Raelene will veto that and then some.

2006 January 29
Happy Chinese New Year Everyone!
It's the Year of the Dog and Andre knows it.
Well, the web page is finally up, and getting more and more complete as time goes on. Hopefully it is something people will find useful to help with their travel plans. If anyone can think of something that might make the website more useful, please email it to me.
The general wedding preparations are also going well. We have a location, photographer, musician for the ceremony, officiant, and a dress. We also have a good idea of how we're going to handle feeding everyone, along with decorations and flowers and whatnot. There is still a lot to do, like invitations and cake, but things are moving along nicely.