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On July 4, 2004, I proposed to Jessica.

And more importantly, as you've noted by this website, she accepted.

We've been together for three years, now. And I look forward to the next, oh, rest of my life. :-)

Here's how it played out. We spent a lovely, romantic weekend in Santa Barbara over the 3-day 4th of July weekend at our favorite inn in SB, the Eagle Inn. (I highly recommend it, by the way. Wonderful place!) We played tourist, went wine tasting and brought back a full case of fabulous vino, the works. Sunday evening we had a dinner at Bouchon, a wonderful gourmet restaurant specializing in the interplay between food and wine... all the wait staff are sommeliers.

After we finished our main course and ordered dessert (a molten center chocolate cake that takes some time to make), I made an excuse to get up, and told the waitress to stay away until I signalled ... so I could propose. :-) I went back to the table and presented her with a "lovely gift" in recognition of our 3rd anniversary celebration (ostensibly the reason for this trip). It was a photo album/desktop flip-book with pictures I printed out with my photo printer. Similar to this, but different. Closest I could find online, anyway.

In the photo album I had a series of pictures representing various meaningful points and times in our relationship. I had picture of:

1) Us at Faire
2) Us at Dickens
3) Us at Decadent Manor at the "Come as your favorite Dead Person party", with us as Sid and Nancy. (That was the night I first told her I loved her)
4) Us at Burning Man
5) Us at her graduation from UCLA
6) Us at our friends Lisa and Timmy's wedding
7) Us on our previous wine tasting trip to Santa Barbara
8) Me in front of one of our favorite restaurants, Lawry's... we've had several celebrations of various anniversarys and other life milestones there
9) Me in front of Tokyo Delve's sushi bar, the site of our first date
10) Me in front of Taverna Tony's, another "meaningful favorite" restaurant of ours
11) Me in front of her apartment on Veteran, where she lived while finishing up at UCLA and where she lived when we were first dating
12) Me in front of my old house in Encino, where we spent most of our relationship together
13) Us with her family, who have been wonderful and accepting of me
14) Me in the apartment where we now officially live together.

I had her flip through the album, one by one, as I explained the significance of each photo. She was very happy, and told she thought the album was amazingly sweet and the most romatic thing I had done for her.

Now, on each of these pictures, I photoshopped in a letter in the upper left corner. When she inquired, I brushed it aside and said I'd explain later, and went on with the story of each. Finally, when we finished, I flipped back to the start. One at time, I explained, the pictures were just snapshots. But together, they formed a snapshot of our entire relationship together, and point to the future... and at this point I started her reading the letters on each picture in order, and as she flipped through the book, she realized that the letters spelled out:

W-I-L-L   Y-O-U   M-A-R-R-Y   M-E

(14 letters long, you may note) (These are the photos playing in the slide show above)

As she looked at me in amazement, I brought out the box where I had the loose gemstones that we will have built into her engagement ring, a diamond and two trilliant-cut sapphires. I dropped to one knee and read the question out loud for her, and she said yes!

The wait staff was so thrilled they brought us champagne. On the house. Roederer Estate, no less.

Once the ring is finished, we'll post a picture. And we'll let you know about a wedding date as soon as we set one. (We're currently looking at dates in May, June and September 2005) Trust me, the wedding engines are already gearing up to full throttle...