I had told Katherine that we were going for a hike at Torrey Pines, a coastal nature preserve about 25 mins from our house in San Diego.
This is minutes after she said yes. It is a pretty picture of a gorgeous girl with a magnificent ring, but a lot went into creating this moment.
Franklin, Stephanie and Me Shopping for the Ring
My sister Stephanie was very kind and generous in helping me with the procurement of the ring. Here I consult Franklin on whether I should purchase it, and he asks to try it on his toe.
Franklin and Me Scouting Locations
Franklin, Steph and I wandered around Torrey Pines looking for a good spot to make the ask. Franklin thought this would be a good location, but I noticed another bluff that look like it might be less crowded.
Waiting to Propose
This is the spot I chose. I had planned about five minutes of things to talk about here while waiting for the support team to get in place for photos. That expanded to about twenty minutes, when we found two separate groups of Chinese tourists. One group had cameras and notebooks out, doing a full biological survey of the area.
I should have listened to Franklin.
The Support Team
Stephanie, her husband Andrew and their son Franklin, a budding director, creep down the hill to get into position for photos.
Placing the Ring on Her Finger
She Said Yes!
Pointing Out the Support Team
Here Katherine sees Franklin, Andrew and Stephanie and realizes, to coin a phrase... We are not alone!
Showing Off the Ring
The support team moved in and I showed them the ring... that they had seen before because they helped me choose it and I stored it at their house for three weeks until I figured out a way to ask her.
Franklin is Ecstatic!
Now instead of "Auntie Katherine," the honorific bestowed upon all of Stephanie's female friends, he can start calling her Aunt Katherine for real!
Well, when he learns to talk, that is...
But he is stoked none the less!
Franklin Wants a Re-Enactment
Franklin with his Aunt and Uncle
They Brought Champagne!
Like any good proposal support team, our folks brought champagne! I proposed two days after I got my arm brace off, so here I am struggling to open the bottle. Perhaps I was not the best member of the Steven & Katherine Engagement Team to do this...
Obligatory Engagement Selfie
Beautiful Woman with a Beautiful Ring
Sometime in August of 1981, around the time Lionel Ritchie and Diana Ross released "Endless Love," or maybe on the day that Oliver North began working in the White House, Steven and Katherine first met.
Few photos exist from that era, and none with both Katherine and Steven in them, but through the miracle of Photoshop, our friend Kevin McIlwaine married two individual pictures of us. Katherine in her cute cheerleader outfit and me in my dorky short sleeve shirt and tie, illustrative of the reason we never got together in the eighth grade.
The Birthdays Past
We are celebrating our fiftieth.
Here are a few that came before that.
Katherine's Fifth Birthday in 1973
This is the bonus photo you can keep in your wallet.
Steven's 49th in 2017
Celebrating in Old Town with the Serros Clan.
Katherine's 3rd Birthday in 1971
Absent in this picture is Byrd's finger, usually a signature feature of her photography.
Katherine's 49th in 2017
Just the two of us at the Yardhouse.
Steven is four years old!
You know how we can tell? Greetings from 1972.
January 2018 at Roy's Hawaiian. A warm up for celebrating with all of you.
Fox Photo Made a Lot of Money off the Howie Family
January '73, just like it says in the left margin. Katherine got a purse for this birthday. Her passion for handbags started early.
48 Part II!
Not sure how I got so lucky to celebrate so much, but here we are celebrating my Chinese birthday with Bill and Rhonda.
Birthday Four with Bill Moore
Bill is Steven's father who raised him until he passed away from cancer in 1983. Bill was 49 and Steven was 15. When Bill passed, not in this photo.
Dinner with the fabulous Thau family with Philadelphia.
The Nation's Capital
Katherine and Steven's first date was in Washington DC, which was where Steven lived at the time. Katherine lived in Hattiesburg, and she and Steven had been talking on the phone and chatting over Facebook messenger for several weeks. Steven called Katherine, and in a well-rehearsed speech that he still remembers today, said "If you lived across town, I would ask you out to dinner and we would figure out if we like each other. But you don't, you live in Mississippi and I live in DC. So why don't you come up and visit me for a weekend. You can stay in my spare bedroom, it will all be on the up and up. But we can go see some sites and figure out if we like each other."
Katherine made the trip several months later. It took her that long to figure out I had asked her on a date.
No photos exist from that time, which is odd, given the stars of Facebook we have become since then.
However, Steven frequently goes to DC for business, and Katherine occassionally comes along. Sometimes we get to have some fun.
The 45th Peaceful Transfer of Power in the USA
It didn't rain much, it wasn't brutally cold, and we had awesome seats. Regardless of your political beliefs, Inauguration Day is a great thing to witness.
Katherine Loves Marines!
Lincoln Club Dinner at the Cosmos Club
Katherine and I attended a dinner at the Cosmos Club with the Lincoln Clubs of San Diego and Orange County. Really fun to be at such an event with the most beautiful girl in the room.
Rep. Rodney Davis (R-IL)
Katherine and Steven with Mark & Eli Duncan meeting Rep. Davis. We saw Rodney while picking up our inaugural tickets. Rodney is another staffer who went on to win a seat in Congress. He and I worked together on a lot of political strategy in Illinois. Rodney is exactly the same guy he always was, and is super smart and hard working.
Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC)
Richard was a chief of staff in 2006 when Steven got his job as chief of staff to Rep. Peter Roskam. He was one of the first people I met in DC, and went on to become a Congressman in 2012. His wife Renee is chief of staff to KellyAnne Conway. They are both great people.
Running into Roskam
Who knows who you will meet on the street on Inauguration Day. My former boss, current chair of the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health and the pride of Wheaton Illinois, Peter Roskam!
Senator Steve Daines on the Street
Daines (R-MT) is someone else Steven got to know in the House who has gone on the the world's greatest deliberative body.
Post-Inaugural Team Drinking
Less, um, sophisticated than the Lincoln Club dinner was the post-inauguration bar crawl with Mark Duncan, Eli Duncan, Erin Donnette and some tall dude who was fun to hang out with but whose name escapes me.
Dipping Our Toes in the Women's March
As part of a constant effort to understand all sides in this highly partisan political environment, we spent a couple of hours with the women protesting the day after the inauguration.
Truthfully, we were planning on heading out of town and when we woke up, we found out they had routed the Women's March down the street where we were staying. We couldn't leave. In the spirit of "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" we went on a walk.
The War Room
Katherine and I along with our friends George and Abby almost got a tour of the West Wing of the White House from another good friend Hannah Jane Castillo.
Here we are in The War Room of the Old Executive Office Building. The OEOB once housed much of the government not housed in the White House, Treasury and State Department. Here we are in the room where the President's War Council would meet.
Outside the West Wing
Just before we were about to go into the West Wing - literally seconds before - they closed it. Apparently some idiot had hopped the fence on the other side of the compound and they shut it down for the night.
San Diegans in the West Wing
Hannah Jane was our tour sponsor for the West Wing. She is a super smart person who is going to go on to great things. She cut her political teeth in San Diego and is a very good friend to have.
The Most Beautiful Girl on the Speaker's Balcony
Here we are on the Speaker's Balcony, which, as the name implies, the balcony at the US Capitol that is directly off the Speaker's office. It is two levels above the place where the President gives his inaugural speech.
More on the Balcony
Me effectively hiding the robot arm I had for several weeks after my bicep surgery. I am wearing the vest because I couldn't get anything else over the brace.
Katherine's Private Tour of the Capitol Rotunda
Katherine and Steven got behind the scenes at the Capitol after hours. Not sure exactly how it happened, but we took advantage of it. The Rotunda was completely vacant. Not pictured is Katherine and Steven lying on the floor in the middle of the Rotunda looking up at the murals in the Capitol Dome.
Howie and Hamilton
Steven & The Speaker
I worked with Speaker Ryan for many years before he became Speaker, and I never got any photos with him, so this is from a fundraising event I attended in 2017.
Paul Ryan is a great guy. You may disagree with him politically, but he is a great human being.
After he came of the vice-presidential campaign trail, House leadership was at a hotel for a weekend discussing strategy for the upcoming year. I was in a bar with a few other staffers, and Paul walked in. He ordered a beer, sat down with us, and spent 45 mins telling us stories of the campaign. All of them were about his family - the great lengths he went to in protecting his family from the press, how he tried to get his family to travel with him more, stories from his kids' point of view... And the fact that he sat down with us at all was super cool.
Katherine & Steven Dining in the Trump Hotel
The hotel was as beautiful and over the top as you might think. The food was really good. And it was a good place for people watching. And of course, Katherine looked amazing.
Katherine & Steven with Senator Cassidy (R-LA)
When Cassidy was in the House, his office was right next to Steven's boss, Rep. Peter Roskam, so Steven got to know Cassidy pretty well.
In 2017, Steven had to lobby him. Katherine came, and Cassidy was kind enough to take a photo with us.
Rep. Ann Wagner (R-MO)
Katherine and Steven were working on a short term project on child sex trafficking in 2017. We were helping promote Rep. Wagner's bill to increase penalties on people who use the internet for selling children for sex on the internet. Rep. Wagner took a liking to Katherine.
We brought a young woman who was a victim of child sex trafficking and her mother to DC and got her an audience with the Speaker, the Majority Leader and several other members of Congress influential on this issue. In the photo from left is Katherine, Rep. Wagner, the young woman's mother and Brooke, our colleague on this project.
Rep. Trent Kelly (R-MS)
Katherine has become an integral part of the lobbying team. While in DC with Steven and a client, she ran into her old law school friend Trent Kelly, who is now a member of Congress. Kelly took the client's son on the House floor and let him cast a vote, making the team look very good. GO KATHERINE!
The 33rd State
Katherine and Steven found themselves in Oregon twice in the space of a few months in 2017/2018. We first celebrated our friend Lani's 40th birthday near Klamath Falls in October. Then George and Abby invited us to their farm over New Year's.
Oregon has phenomenal oysters. Big fat and juicy. It is a little know fact that oysters on the half shell are illegal in the Beaver State. Other than that, we like Oregon.
New Year's Eve Kiss
Katherine and Steven had a great time with our friends George and Abby at King Estates (Kings of Pinot... Who knew pinot had royalty?). Here is a completely staged New Year's Eve Kiss.
Katherine in the Umpqua Lighthouse
At the mouth of the Umpqua river is one of the last light houses to use prisms for lighting. It can be seen for twenty miles, but is powered by only one bulb. Here Katherine is brightening the whole place with her beauty, which needs neither prisms nor a light bulb to power it.
Have a close look at the top part, where the light comes out. It becomes important later.
Katherine in the Light
This is what the inside of the light area of a prism lighthouse. To the left is the Vanna White of the northwestern coast showing it off.
Eating Oysters on the Half Shell is Not a Crime!
Alas, we were relegated to eating these beautiful oysters in shooters.
Oh the suffering we endured under this mollusk police state.
Stalking Elk at Highlander Farms
We kept hearing about elk running through the pasture at first light. We got in elk stalking gear and went and checked it out.
Good Looking Elk Stalkers
Abby and Katherine... If you were an elk, wouldn't you want to be stalked by these ladies?
New Year's Morning!
Our host at Highlander Farms, George McGregor and the awesome bottle of champagne he pulled out on New Year's morning. Dom Perignon - not just for breakfast any more!
Crater Lake Explorer's Club
Steven, Katherine, Madeleine, Theresa and Felix - the intrepid explorers of Oregon's crater lake.
We went to celebrate Lani's 40th birthday, but managed to only get photos of Crater Lake. Most evenings with Lani, it became hard to focus and difficult to handle the phone.
How to Take a Bad Photo on Crater Lake
You really cannot.
Another Good Crater Lake Photo
Katherine sporting her Kurt Cobain memorial flannel shirt.
Following the Oregon Trail
Katherine's Life Long Dream
Katherine has apparently wanted to be a firefighter for her entire life. Who knew?
We got an opportunity for her to play on a fire engine. She smiled and smiled and smiled.
The Indonesian Archipeligo
This was awesome. The race started at noon at around 7000 feet in elevation. By the end of the day we ended up gaining a mile in elevation. The run took about ten hours. This photo is at the end of the trail at about ten o'clock at night.
At the Bottom of Siberia Canyon
After about eight hours of running, the last four or so downhill, we got to the bottom of Siberia Canyon. Most of the trail is maintained only once a year for this race. They start the race at noon so everybody, however fast or slow, has to run part of it at night.
Giulio at the Kodiak 50k
he Kodiak was where we met our good friend Giulio, trail runner and vocalist extraordinaire from Vegas. You get to know someone well when you run 32 miles through the mountains with them.
Feet After 50k
Ed, Linda, Stephanie, Andrew and Franklin were all waiting for us at the finish line to cheer us and give us a ride back to town. Where we showered. The best showers of our lives.
The Distrito Federal
The Kalalau Trail
The Valley of Death
Death Valley can get as hot as 125 degrees. Not an optimal time to visit. However, winter in the Valley can be mild, and the mountains around the Valley get snow. We (of course) ran a race in Death Valley, the road half marathon, and went exploring as well.