Sunday, May 17, 2015

how to surprise a girl who pays attention to everything

Step 1: Talk about marriage and kids, but never give any specific timeline.
Step 2: Go ring shopping. Identify Jaclyn’s favorite ring, but then remind her not to get too attached to one ring.
Step 3: Don’t bring up rings again for a long time. If Jaclyn brings them up, say you haven’t had time to look into it. She knows how thorough you like your research to be.
Step 4: When Jaclyn brings up getting engaged, don’t reply with any specific details.
Step 5: Send Jaclyn to a jeweler and let her keep ring shopping.
Step 6: All the while, be making plans and buy Jaclyn’s favorite ring. Wait for over seven weeks for the perfect diamond to be cut in India, sent to Hawaii for initial inspection, then appraised in New York, be sent back to Hawaii to finally make the ring, and pick it up in California.
Step 7: Ask Jaclyn’s dad without Jaclyn catching on that you are going to see him.
Step 8: Ask Jaclyn if she wants to go to lunch in Carmel and plan to tour Robinson Jeffers’ house.
Step 9: Keep Jaclyn from leaning against your coat pocket and from noticing that silly tour guide winking so often at you.
Step 10: Ask that once-in-a-lifetime question and watch Jaclyn make that face that apparently all girls make when they are being proposed to. 

"Will you marry me?"

This story doesn’t really end with the question of “Will you marry me?” – instead that feels like the beginning, the beginning of an adventure that I have dreamed of for a very long time. But for the sake of containing this in one entry, let’s back up just a little bit….

Seth and I were on our way down to San Luis Obispo for a quick weekend trip to watch my friend Maria run a marathon. Maria and I have run half marathons together over the past few years, and while I had no intention of joining her in twice the insanity, we wanted to cheer her on as she took on the infamous 26.2 miles in one of our favorite places. Seth asked a couple weeks before we were supposed to go down to SLO if I would like to get lunch in Carmel on the way down.  Of course the answer was yes, and since we had stopped off in Carmel on previous trips down the coast, I didn’t think anything of it.

Seth had picked out this adorable French bakery called Lafayette. We ate simple baguette sandwiches that had just a little ham and butter on them. We sampled delicious French pastries, bought a few extra things for the road, and were on our way. As we were driving through Carmel, I noticed Seth’s’ GPS was set for a local destination. Surprised since I thought we were getting back on our way to San Luis, I asked him where we were going. “Oh, did I not tell you?” he says. “We’re going to tour Tor House.” Grinning hugely, he apologized and said that things had been so busy at work he had forgotten to tell me and that we didn’t have to go if I didn’t want to (what if I had said I didn’t want to? J). I naturally said that we could do that. He had planted the idea of the house weeks before, and since my sweetheart is an architect, and we both love Carmel, touring a nice home in the area seemed like a fun excursion.

We pulled up to Robinson Jeffers’ Tor House on the edge of Scenic Drive overlooking the ocean, and my first comment was that it looked like England. Seth had chosen the location for exactly that reason, and he was inwardly thrilled that the house delighted me without even going in. Seth also chose the house because the Jeffers owned a beautiful Steinway piano that famous musicians like George and Ira Gershwin played and also because Jeffers is a famous American poet…that ironically I had never heard of. Still the effort and attention to detail was not lost on me. That said, as we started touring the home and beautiful grounds overlooking the crashing waves, I was still blithely unaware of why we were there.

The real reason this property is so well known is a 40+-foot tower that sits beside the Jeffers’ home. Jeffers’ wife loved the towers she had seen in the British Isles, and so Jeffers built her one, painstakingly placing each stone himself. There were two top levels that people on the tour could climb to. I suggested we let a few of the other tour members go ahead of us not knowing how large the topmost lookout would be. We clambered up after them clinging a bit too tightly to the precarious stones and chain "railing". The second we got up there I took out my phone and hurriedly took pictures of the grounds below and pulled Seth in for a quick photo, since we were expressly told that we were not allowed to take photos on the tour. The view was breathtaking. It was hard to imagine that the Jeffers family had once owned, not just the two parcels of land that their home now sits on, but thirty-two parcels of the stunning Carmel coastline.

When we came back down, the tour guide asked, “anything special up there?” Again, completely unaware, I replied, “Yes – so beautiful.” I thought her comment was a little bit strange, but didn’t think of it again (clearly she was aware of why we were there). She finished her short commentary on the tower and the home, and then Seth asked if we could go back up for a minute. I thought he wanted to take another picture since our first attempt wasn’t great. When we got to the top, we stood there a moment looking out over the view. Seth with his arm around me looked at me and said some really sweet things, the most important of which included a heartfelt “I love you”, and gave me one of those kisses that makes you inwardly sigh because you’re just so happy.

And then my sweet Mr. Mann knelt down, pulled out and opened a ring box, and said, “I have another question for you.” He hadn’t asked a first question, but I finally saw where this was going. I said, “Are you kidding me?” not so much because I thought it was a joke, but because I was so surprised. Seth said he’d like to spend time and eternity with me. I said yes before he’d even gotten to the question. I repeated that yes, when Seth asked, “Will you marry me?” And I will continue saying yes every day forever.
April 25, 2015

Saturday, April 25, 2015

We Were Liars

We Were LiarsWe Were Liars by E. Lockhart
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The great thing about this book is that no one is really willing to talk about this book. It's shrouded in enough mystery to make you want you want to read it and tells an interesting enough story to keep you reading. The cast of characters in "We Were Liars" is reminiscent of Rory's Chilton friends in Gilmore Girls - excessively wealthy but broken families from the east coast. Some details are so subtle that it wasn't until the final pages that I understand Lockhart's craft. That said, I'm not in love. I'm still so frustrated that like Gone Girl, I can't decide whether to recommend this book despite the fact that my mouse hovered over that fourth star for a long time. Ultimately, I just know that I am intrigued enough by Lockhart's storytelling that I will be checking out her other well loved books very, very soon. Summer can't come soon enough for me or the infamous liars....

Happy reading!

Saturday, April 18, 2015

I Was Here

I Was HereI Was Here by Gayle Forman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

There must be some sort of magnetic pull between knowing Gayle Forman has a new book and the compulsion I have to add her books to my already too tall stack at Barnes & Noble or to use her latest book to tip my Amazon order over $35 for free shipping.  Whatever it is, since I read Forman's "if I stay", I have devoured each of her new books within a couple months of them coming out regardless of the topic. This time, the book was about the suicide of a college freshman from a small town in Washington, and while some of the plot points were overly dramatic in pure YA style, I read on and on and on. Forman has that kind of power over me, and I'm sure despite the occasional involuntary eye rolls that these books give me, I will eagerly await her next book. My inner fifteen-year-old simply can't help it.

Friday, April 3, 2015


Today school will officially let out for spring break. There is a collective sigh about to issue from the entire San Ramon Valley. At 3:06, the halls will empty, I will lock my classroom door and try not to skip on the way to my car. So excited for nine days filled with the joys of General Conference, Easter, family, and Seth. Happy Spring and Happy Easter!!

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Paris Love

Google informed me this evening that today is the 126th birthday the Eiffel Tower. I dream of Paris all the time. It is without a doubt my favorite city in the world. So happy birthday Eiffel Tower. Hope I get to see you soon.

Ps. Notice how the photo is slightly off center - proves I took it. How's that for odd logic? :)

Sunday, March 29, 2015


I am thrilled to report that I got a sunburn yesterday. I know that somewhere out there dermatologists and anti-aging experts are shaking their head, but getting a sunburn means two wonderful things: 1) I was outside for extended periods of time yesterday and 2) Spring and perpetually nice weather are here. It's a good life. Happy Sunday!