Thursday, December 31, 2009


Yesterday around 45 weddings were done at the county building. Most were done by staff in the morning. I arrived around 1:00 and I did at least 12 weddings by 4:45. I lost count at some point.

I had one couple who were experienced at marriage. She had been married 4 times and was 45 years old. He had been married 3 times and was 52. Do we think number 8 is the winning combination? No, sadly the odds are against it.

One wedding group was large, close to 30 people. I called the couple's name and they came up to me. In the group were three young girls ( maybe 9, 10, and 12 ) and the youngest rudely (all about the tone) told me, "That isn't her name!" I asked the bride for the pronunciation and she said I was correct. Her spelling was Sharon, the child said it was pronounced Share roon. In the wedding room the group was yelling, the girls were running around screaming, I tried to get folks to sit down so I could do my job. No hope there. More loudness and ignoring me. I had three licenses waiting for me. I had to get the show on the road. I used my school teacher voice and said, "I am the only one who gets to talk now." And then we started the wedding. The couple acted like it was all a big joke, mugging, posing, no interest in the ceremony ( these people are in their 30's, old enough to know better). Every time I said the bride's name one of the girls would say, "That isn't her name." I even had trouble getting the witnesses to sign, they were too busy taking pictures. They told me to wait. I was so glad to get this rude group out of the building.

One couple sent such a mixed message. The bride was tattooed, across her chest, behind her ears, all over her arms, and on her legs. The groom was tattooed on his neck and his hands. There could have been more hidden by clothing. And the clothing, very very conservative. He had on a dark suit, white shirt, and tie; she had on a cocktail dress and black pumps. Very sweet couple.

One bride wore a funky black chiffon dress with raw edges with a grey underskirt hanging out. That dress was just weird. And the bride wore shoes like a nun from the 60's. You remember, when the nuns started wearing shorter skirts and you could see their heavy duty shoes? It really looked like a nun's habit/wedding dress.

Lots of others. A busy good day. And the best one:

I saw a young couple come into the building and join another couple. I knew when I saw them. I just knew. Clean cut, brisk in movements. And when I met them they called me Ma'am. I knew it in my bones, they were all military. There is an air of respect, a look, a politeness from our service people. This group was Coast Guard. They stand out as special because they are special.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


Yes, the above is the shout that went up yesterday at the marriage factory. Before I arrived they had performed 20 ceremonies. And the staff person scheduled for that morning was on vacation. So everyone was doing weddings.

I did 12.4 weddings ( I made up that .4) I did 12 full weddings and almost another one. I had waited for three elevator runs of guests, seated guests, questioned the couple, placed the couple, lined up the camera people, and was ready to start. "Oh, we need the ceremony to be in Spanish so everybody will understand it." So I brought in another commissioner.

Most of the other weddings were sweet, no problems, and no weird people. One wedding the bride was really shaky. She was weak kneed and I was afraid she was going to hit the floor. The groom looked at her, made sure she wanted to go on with the ceremony, and literally held her up throughout the rest of the ceremony. It was so sweet to see him taking care of her.

And then we had the big stand out wedding. Yesterday the lobbies were packed. Many of the couples had 20+ guests. So it was crowded and loud. As I was headed to the elevator with a couple we heard a huge loud, drawn out burp. This was so loud it drowned out the loudspeaker and all the people talking. Totally gross and it sounded planned. And I thought OK, rude child somewhere. The next license brought to me was slammed down and the clerk said she was glad to get the groom away from her counter. She wanted them married and out of the building. During the paper work the groom was laughing and burping, loudly. He was not the loud burp I heard, that was his brother the witness. Joy, I get to spend some quality time with serial burpers. I told her my school teaching hat was about to come out.

We get in the elevator (a man who is staff also was on the elevator) and the groom says, "I think I will burp again." I looked at him like he was 6 years old and said, "Don't you dare, that is totally inappropriate. And you, (meaning the brother) better not either. What we heard was gross and inappropriate, and I don't want to hear it." The staff person is looking at me like he is terrified I will start on him next. The bride thanked me for stopping them.

If people are 18 years old or older we have to let them buy a marriage license. But that does not mean all are old enough to marry.

Friday, December 25, 2009


We have had such a lovely day. At one point we didn't think we would get our clothes on and the food on the table for our friends who were coming at 1:00. We called family, and family and friends called us. This took way more time than we remembered.

We talked to Mother and Papa Jack after opening our gifts. Then I decided to get ready early, I thought. As I was getting out of the shower Marty came in with the phone on speaker. As I dried off and put on make up we talked to Richard in San Diego. Every few minutes Marty would run outside and tend to the tri tip on the grill. Next our son, Erik, called us from Las Vegas. At that point I was drying my hair. I couldn't do that and talk, so the hair air dried. I finally was at my natural beautiful state and started putting food out.

Then my brother in Louisville and his family called and we talked to them. I looked at the clock, we could have guests in 30 minutes. Marty is still in his pajamas. I sent him to the shower, and continued slicing cheese and putting food out. The phone rings, it is Kaus in Dallas. Marty's brother and sister were having dinner with Kaus and her parents. Marty and I talked to all of them while he was shaving.

Were we ready when the first guests arrived? NO. But we were close. They are good friends and understood. We finally got everything out and could enjoy visiting with our friends. Friends came and went through the afternoon. We laughed, we talked, we had a fun afternoon.

Christmas is a wonderful holiday. It is deeply important in our religion. It is very important for family and friends to gather together, whatever their beliefs. And the gifts, really important. The value of the gift isn't important. Just unwrapping something and knowing someone put thought into a surprise for you, that is the fun.

Christmas=religion, love, friends, family, fun, a season not just a day. Keep the Christmas feeling all year.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


Today the pace of weddings was some slower, but I still did several. Things were going along, nice and normal. Pretty white dresses, lots of guests, great happiness. AND then I knew something was wrong. The clerks were in huddles whispering, a California ID was being checked by a supervisor. Every clerk was coming to the back. They were all upset. What was going on?

Then clerk C brought me the license. And I understood what was going on. She was totally disgusted, upset, mad. She wanted me to see how I felt about the couple, and to stop the wedding if I was uneasy. The problem you ask? The bride A was born in 1912, yes she is 97. The groom was born in 1958, yes 51 years old. He was not the same ethnic group as this woman. Neither were the two witnesses. The bride was in a wheelchair, she seemed frail, and had a dowager hump so she had trouble holding up her head. She just looked feeble. I started to question her and the groom answered for her. I told him I was not talking to him. I needed to talk to A. I asked if she wanted to get married today? Did she understand what we were doing? She was clear headed, not drugged, not confused. She wanted to get married, today, on her birthday. So we went upstairs. Every question I have ever asked a couple, I asked her. She wanted to do this, she was clear headed not senile. But I still didn't feel good about it.

He knelt beside her during the ceremony. He was affectionate not gushy, she held his hand against her check at one point. She seemed to really care for him. The witnesses made a big deal over her. But it made me sick to my stomach. We all are afraid he and the others are conning A. There was no legal reason not to do this wedding. But it just felt wrong.

As I was leaving ( it was close to time to lock up the building) a couple stormed in. She is in a white pant suit, he in a black suit. Looks like a wedding couple to me. But it is past time to do marriages. I was willing to stay so I waited to see if they wanted to be married there or they were just buying a license. They are loudly bickering, she does not seem to want to be there. They came up to where I was talking to the deputy and the information clerk. The man wanted to "re consummate their marriage. We want to consummate it now." Several more times he said consummate and I am dying inside. The info clerk told them it was too late for them to be married today and to come back tomorrow. They stormed back out, still fussin'. I laughed and said to the deputy, I guess you wouldn't let them consummate their marriage. The the guard looked at me and said, "What does consummate mean?" And the clerk didn't know either. So I explained to them it was the act of sexual intercourse after a wedding ceremony.

I told you, I can't make this stuff up.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


Fridays are always hugely busy. I received word from a friend who does the weddings on Friday mornings. He always is busier than I am on Mondays and Wednesday. Yet last Friday, it was so slow he read 300 pages of his book. I figured Monday I would have nothing. So I took a book I was 3/4 through and another one to read. I read two pages and ate one cookie.

I was there a smidgen over 3 hours and I was given 11 licenses. Most of the weddings were very routine. But a few stand out. The first wedding was a young couple, early 20's. He was like someone in shock. She was beside herself with joy, happiness, excitement. She told the clerk she hadn't slept all night because she was so excited. She laughed, smiled, bubbled. He was like a deer in the headlights. And then when I pronounced them, he was thrilled, laughing, as excited as she was. Cute, cute sweet couple.

One couple was in jeans and sweatshirts. They didn't seem bothered with their looks, until the cameras came out. The groom whipped off his glasses. And the glasses were not seen again until we left the room.

This will sound racist. But I did not say it, it was said to me. I married a couple who were Asian. They had 8 to 10 guests, all Asian. I took them upstairs and led the way to the wedding room. I turned around and no one was there. They are all out in the hall taking pictures by the WEDDING ROOM sign. One of the women said to me, "We're Asian, we take pictures." We all laughed.

I had one of the 11 canceled. So very sad. I called the names, nothing. I looked around and Clerk N was waving me over. While waiting, the bride had received a phone call telling her that her mother had died. I felt so sorry for the young woman.

There were many mistakes on the licenses. One was really funny. The date of birth for the groom was 1900. The bride's was 1984. I went to the clerk and asked her if he was walking or would they roll him in. Turns out he was born in 1982. If the couple do not put the birthday date in, the computer's default is 1900.

One couple wins the fashion award. The bride carried deep red roses. She wore a chocolate chiffon strapless dress. It had an empire waist, and fell loosely from there. The bottom of the bodice had brilliants across it, and she wore a matching headband. The dress was unusual at the hemline. The back was to the floor and as it went to the front it became shorter, just below the knees. And then there was the groom. He was huge. He was wide and tall. He was overweight but he wasn't fluffy, he looked solid as a rock. And he looked so handsome. He had on a silk suit that was a rich grey, that probably cost a fortune. A very good looking couple. And the wedding, goose bumps. The eyes, OMW! When they looked at each other, the love, the caring, it was a beautiful thing.

It was a lovely day. All of the weddings were fun and all the couples were in love. Can't wait to go back tomorrow.

Monday, December 21, 2009


Last weekend was the last weekend of Open Studios. We have had steady crowds and a lot of people are buying this year. They are not buying the huge expensive pieces. But those many small sales add up to a nice hunk of change.

It is interesting watching and listening to people while they are there. We are part of their Christmas tradition. They come, they watch demos, they bring friends and family, they talk to all of us, they eat our cookies and candy, and maybe they will buy some small item. They think they have been to a party. We want them to enjoy the visit to the shop. When the economy is better maybe they will come back and buy.

Lots feel they are "closer" to us than our other customers. These folks come an hour or more before we open. They are just sure it is fine with us to have to stop cleaning the glass ( which takes me about an hour each morning), to stop opening the register for the day,to stop setting out new glass pieces and doing our pricing, to stop eating our breakfast on the run. We are to visit with them, to help them decide what to buy. They usually do buy, we treat them well, but it puts us behind on starting the business day. I will end up cleaning glass after we are really open, which is a no no. At that time I am supposed to be the sales clerk, the greeter, the information lady.

I enjoy Open Studios, I also dread it every year. It gives us a 7 day working week. Long hours on hard concrete. And I have to make nice to rude people. Those that know me well, know just how hard that is for me. I could never work retail much more that this one month of the Holidays. I would lose it one day and tell people to get their dirty sticky fingers off the glass I just cleaned.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


Monday I did 4 weddings and Wednesday I did 5 weddings. Not a huge amount, but enough to feel I was helping out.

One on Monday was just weird. The clerk C gave me the license and said, "I don't get this couple. They just act weird and strange." She was right. They were from India. It was a long term relationship, they had been together several years. We should have felt and seen some affection. NO. He seemed concerned and caring about her. She was an Ice Princess, no evident feelings. She wouldn't hold hands with him, wouldn't even look at him. Very strange.

The last couple that day were older, in their sixties. The love in the room was wonderful. They adored each other. It was a great ending to the day. As I left them at the marriage desk to get their certified copy of the license, he asked if he could hug me. Of course I said yes. I am always up for hugs.

Wednesday I did two weddings that had senior citizens. Such love, such fun to do these weddings. The second one I called their names, nothing. I called them again and someone said they are outside. Yes they were, smoking like chimneys. The couple and about 10 guests were smoking away. Then we got on the elevator. You can not imagine the stench of all those smokers in such close quarters. And as an ex smoker, I am really offended by the smell. In spite of that they were a fun couple to be with. They had been engaged 9 years. When he told his Mother that they were marrying ( this woman had to be at least in her late 80's) she had said, "It's about time." They took a picture of the license to prove to her they really were finally married.

One of the weddings was a little different. The groom was in a gorgeous suit, the bride also in a beautiful high fashion suit. Hers was black with silver leather inserts. She was a tiny woman on 5 inch heels. He still was more than a foot taller that she was. And she had what men call a RACK! They were pushed up, pushed to the middle, and the blouse was unbuttoned down to there. Unbuttoned to the danger point. Dark shades were beginning to show. I did not know where to look. I just knew one of the girls would flop out any second. Luckily, that didn't happen. During the ceremony the groom gazed at her with adoration. And she looked like a cat licking cream off her lips. She looked like a woman who had won, not like a woman in love.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Like most Tuesday's I worked with the first graders. But today started differently. As I arrived all the classes were going into the all purpose room. The fifth graders were doing a musical for the holidays. We were seeing the dress rehearsal for the Thursday night performance. Most of the children in the play I had worked with 5 years ago. It was a fabulous show.

The play covered Christmas, Kwanzaa, and Hanukkah. The forest animals were explaining to a young moose the history of each holiday. And it was done in song and some dance. There were light costumes: capes, bushy tails, rabbit ears on headbands, antlers, turkey beaks . . . and cardboard props: Christmas trees, Rolex watch, menorah, stockings . . . The lines were clever, songs funny and traditional, and it was good enough the young audience was listening. Fun, fun way to begin the morning.

Then back to the classroom. I worked one on one with lots of children. Most are making progress in math and in reading skills. The little boy I told you about last week again read well and worked hard for me. He got his hugs, and again a check mark was taken off. His smile is beautiful, and we don't see it often enough during work periods.

Right before I was leaving for the day, Ms. H called me up front. She presented me with a couple of cards that were made by representatives of the class. And I was given a pair of lovely earrings. She asked me to tell the class some things I do for the holidays. I told them a couple and things our family does. Then I told them how we always go San Francisco and see the kittens and puppies in the Macy's window. They liked that part.

Then I told the children how much they mean to me. I told them a friend asked me why I worked with first graders, why as a non morning person do I show up bright and early every Tuesday. And my answer is first graders hug you and there is nothing better. And just to make me more emotional, Ms. H let every child come up and give me a hug to hold me until January.

Man this was a good day.

Sunday, December 13, 2009


Saturday night, Marty and I went to a progressive dinner. In order to protect the privacy and the security of some of the guests we will just say it was in the Oakland Hills. It was the annual Neighborhood Christmas dinner. We love to go to this dinner. We are never sure if we will be invited, and thrilled when we are. Why not sure, we haven't lived in that neighborhood for 6 years. But as one neighbor said last night, "Of course you are invited, you are alumni." Oh, that neighbor is Rita Moreno.

We ate oh so well. There was caviar on little tiny red and purple potatoes, pigs in a blankets, brisket, chicken divan, German desserts, homemade chocolate peppermint bark. And many more great foods. We had appetizers and wine at house one. Then the main course at house two, and then dessert at house three. The food as usual was fabulous. But the fun of laughing and talking with neighbors was the best part.
During dessert we sang Christmas Carols. And our choir director, Rita. Below talking as we picked our next song, Lew and Maria.
Rita Moreno and Lorraine
The fabulous Rita Moreno.
Lucky me with Rita Moreno
Hey we have two pictures, I am going to use them both.

The best part of Rita Moreno as a neighbor and fellow party guest. She is so normal, so fun, so real. When we first met her at a party, she walked up and said, "Hi, I'm Rita." Like we wouldn't know her. A lovely gracious woman.

Friday, December 11, 2009


Wednesday I did 7 weddings. And when I left there were others to do. I had to leave by 3;30 on Wednesday and of course it became very busy about the time I needed to leave. When I left there were 3 more couples to process. We knew one was to be married then. The other two I don't know. I left early to get ready for a business dinner.

None of the couples were dressed up. It was the day of jeans and sweat shirts. Several of the couples had new born babies with them. No one stands out except for the Muslim couple. They were very nice, it was a love match. But he would not shake hands with me. I guess as a woman I was not good enough.

I take it back, one couple stands out. And not in a good way. They were both 18, and he was so immature. It was all a joke to both of them. All through the ceremony he would whip around and pose for pictures. She did some, but he was just ridiculous. He did exaggerated poses, he stopped during his vows, he was just obnoxious.

Tomorrow Open Studios. I hope my feet hold up.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


Tonight we were testing a recipe for Cook's Illustrated, Grilled Stuffed Chicken Breasts. Basically Marty brined the breasts, cut a pocket and stuffed them with herb butter, cheese and prosciutto, and then grilled them. Yes, Marty usually does the main testing of these recipes. He does the shopping, he does the work, and I clean up behind him, and enjoy the fruits of his labors.

Here Marty is combining butter, shallots, tarragon. This will go in the pocket of the chicken breast.
Still working with the herb butter mixture.
Prosciutto will be wrapped around the cheese and go into the pocket.

The shallot, herb butter.
Chef Marty checking the recipe. You can see my computer. I was checking my comics and email.
The stuffed chicken ready to be tied up and grilled.

All tied up.

Grilled and resting before being sliced.
The Test Kitchen recipe.

Finished product; grilled chicken, fennel root, salad. I made the salad. :)

The recipe did not have us wash the brine off, so a little salty in parts of the breast. It cooked faster than they said, so the outer parts were a little dry. But if you like the chewiness of charred meat, it really was good. The cheese oozed out and landed in the bottom of the grill. So no cheese flavor. It still was a very good dish. We are trying to figure out how to keep the cheese in the pocket as it cooks. It may need to be trussed and not tied. We would fix this again. Very tasty, and most of the breast was moist.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


Sorry, sorry, sorry. I have been busy and just didn't get around to posting. I have been nudged to post. And this time it wasn't by Noemi. So . . .

Saturday and Sunday we worked Open Studios. Marty did the demos and I sold lovely pieces of art. Those of you who have come by, thanks for the support. And the rest of you, where are YOU??? Two days of standing on concrete for 8 hours does in this senior citizen's legs and feet. We do enjoy OP, lots of fun, exciting demos with fire and smoke. Last week we had one piece that shattered in the annealing oven right after Marty closed the doors. It became more exciting because they had to get the piece out before flying parts hit other pieces.

Monday only one wedding. Two 18 year olds, who mugged and posed for pictures through out the ceremony. They didn't get how serious a decision they made. After they were pronounced married, they said we should have brought a broom and jumped the broomstick. I got our decorated broom and redid the ceremony for them.

Tuesday I worked with the first graders. Some are just really having a hard time reading. One little boy keeps telling me."I can't read, so I can't do this. I can't read." I keep telling him that is why I am there, to help him read. I explained I couldn't read when I was his age, that everyone has to learn how. When I work with him he won't make eye contact, he chews on his clothes and arms, he cries, and he will just shut down and refuse to try. Very difficult to work with him and not yell in frustration ( both of us need to yell). Yesterday the first time I worked with him, it was the same, crying and chewing. The next time he came back to me, picked up the little book and read it perfectly! ( we have worked over and over on this little book) He tried, he read smoothly, he had expression, he SMILED, and he got hugs from Ms. H and from me. And Ms. H took off one of his check marks. (they have check marks by their names when they get in trouble) This was such a feel good moment. A child had success and was recognized by the adults as successful to the class. And that is why I love working with first graders.

Friday, December 4, 2009


I had high expectations for today. I had errands to run, Christmas shopping to do, and tonight dinner and a play.

Well, my car was keyed. I think it happened Wednesday in the parking garage. It was the front fender, driver's side. I didn't drive Thursday. When I approached the car from the front this afternoon I could see it, swirls and up and down strokes. Yes, I am mad. I baby my car. It is just shy of a year old, there was not a mark on it. Let me put the first scratch on it.

Nothing looked good to me while I was shopping. So still looking.

And then to dinner and the play. Food was good, but the play. So very bad. Hats the Musical. It is a tribute to the Red Hat Society. Not exactly what Marty was interested in or me. The play itself is sort of lame. The women in it were just bad. I have seen better high school productions. The dancing was sad, singing was OK if they stayed in the middle range. When they went for high notes, they didn't get there. We wanted to leave after the first 10 minutes. But we stuck it out until the intermission. That is an hour of our life we will never get back. Then we went home.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Monday was such a fun day. Seven weddings and most of the brides had on beautiful dresses. And the ones in jeans were oh so sweet.

One of the weddings I checked the license and saw they had been divorced on the the same date. Further reading showed they had the same last names. I read a lot of mysteries and I put the clues together. We had a remarriage. They had been divorced several years ago. And now they are trying it again. Lots of love in the room, such a sweet couple. I hope this time it works.

An older couple, still younger than I am, were dressed to the teeth. He was in a good looking suit; she in a cobalt blue cocktail dress, blue lizard (some reptile) heels, and a darling vintage cocktail hat. For you youngsters, many years ago after 5:00 you didn't wear hats, unless it was a cocktail hat. They are little tiny sexy hats with a whisper of a veil, and some type of decoration. This one was a matching blue, veil just to her eyes, and had a gorgeous blue crystal pin on it. Stunning outfit!

The last wedding the Bride was from Brazil and he was American. Lots of Brazilian friends there. She was lovely, she was dressed in a heavy satin floor length dress. And her headdress was a lovely band through her hair. The band had little flowers and crystals on it. A classy looking band. As I talked to them I realized she spoke little English, but did understand English. I said they could do their vows in Portuguese to make it easier for her (one of the guests was to translate if needed). The groom laughed and said he only spoke English. True love needs no common language. The wedding went fine, she repeated her vows with no trouble.

There were several other lovely traditional wedding dresses. But the best one was so original, so lovely, so like a princess dress yet not wide as the room. The couple was so lovely, deeply in love, the room radiated good feelings. She could have been in a flour sack ( yes youngsters, flour used to come in big sacks, and people used the sacks to make clothing) and she still would have been drop dead beautiful. The dress: strapless, A line, heavy taffeta, to the floor. Why was this such a different dress? The front had tulle on the bias, draped to the waist, held in place by incredible applique work. Then from the waist it softly draped to the floor. Oh and it was the palest pink you have ever seen. Just enough color to give the dress pizazz. Of course he had a pink rose boutonniere and she had a pinkish roses bouquet.

Now I must leave for the County Building. Time to go let happy people get married.

Sunday, November 29, 2009


We began with setting the table. Our wedding china, wedding crystal, and silver that all Southern Belles must have and use at major meals. FYI pictures are taken by my Palm. And as we know they are not as good as with a real camera. More silver, china, and crystal A year after we married we found out the china pattern was discontinued. We have never broken a thing, knock wood. That is good since it can not be replaced. Crystal was made behind the Iron Curtain, some stores would sell it, but wouldn't display it. Marty made the ruby plate in the left corner.

Marty is making yeast rolls for dinner.

He is cutting out the rolls and they will rise one more time.

Food is finally on the table. Did you know when you brine a turkey it takes longer to cook? Neither did we. Hot rolls, cranberry salad, turkey, corn pudding, hard dressing and soft dressing, AWFUL green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, giblet gravy, cranberry jelly. Not the huge feast we sometimes have, but a huge amount of food. Oh and a lovely wine.
Many calls from family and friends around the country.

Still talking.

Thursday, November 26, 2009


Wednesday I had 9 weddings. That really isn't a big rush except 7 of them showed up after 3:00. I was there until 5:00. The building closes at 4:30. Remember they have to be punched in by 4:00. When they come that late it is hard to do the weddings nicely. I just want to get them done and move to the next one. But I do try do do a good job. And I think they all feel special after the wedding.

Weddings 5 and 6 were in the Coast Guard and were friends. One of the brides was only 18 and he was 19. So young, I can only hope that it lasts.

Couple 8, the groom was from France. His parents were here from France for the wedding. The bride had a lovely taffeta dress and a bouquet of orchids, calla lilies, and fiddle head ferns. He had a boutonniere of small orchids, they looked liked tiny cateleyas. Lots of family at the wedding. One of his brothers thought our backdrop was ugly, and made some very rude disparaging remarks. My American heritage came rushing up and I carefully explained to him and everyone else: the backdrop is a very expensive piece of art duplicating the Double Wedding Ring Quilt Pattern from the early 1800's. Hey, it really is! Don't mess with a Mountain Woman you snippy French men.

My last wedding (couple 9) was so great. I looked at the guests/witnesses. I had just married two of them. They were wedding couple 8 and their friends. Couple 8 was about 19 years old. Wedding couple 9 was older. They were in their 50's. The bride was in long ecru lace dress. He was in a fancy shirt and dress slacks. He had his own vows to say to her. Very sweet, very personal, very touching. First he asked God to bless their union. Then he talked about her importance to him. It boiled down to she is his guardian angel. She is there when he needs her. Very sweet. After the wedding he wanted to give couple 8 and friends money for being their witnesses. They all refused the money. They said being at the wedding was too important to take money. It was a sweet moment. Young kids refusing money out of sentiment. I loved it.


I have lots to share and it's way too much for one blog. Plus this is a really busy weekend. I did 9 weddings yesterday afternoon, today lots of cooking going on. Tomorrow we put up the tree and decorate the house for Christmas. Saturday and Sunday we begin Open Studios, we are number one on the list and the map.

I will write about the weddings sometime soon. And I am taking pictures today of the great meal.

Open studios, maybe pictures of the demos.

Stayed tuned.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


And you wonder, how do you do 1/4 wedding? Was there a runner, did someone say I don't? I do a lot of 1/4 I just haven't called them that before. This is when I go out for the couple and then I start asking questions, is this your name, do you have rings, is everyone here? And for an answer I get a stare. They need an interpreter. No one really speaks English. The clerk should figure that out and not give the couple to me. Oh well.

There were more weddings than we have been doing lately. The first one was just beautiful. Everyone was in traditional Indian dress, including the groom. He had on a light red tunic, matching slacks with sandals. The bride hands were hennaed, her sari was red with heavy gold threads running through it. She even had part of the sari pulled up over her hair. And of course a zillion dollars worth of gold and diamond bracelets. This was a love match and not thank goodness an arranged wedding.

One weird one as always. This was a couple in their late 30s, (so not a forced teenage wedding). The groom is in a tux, she has on a lovely white dress with a black tulle underskirt. Lots of family. We get in the room and I am getting bad vibes. Great coolness between the couple. And then she vanished from the room. I asked where she was, and they said she left something in the car. She was gone 10 minutes. I was ticked because I had others to marry and also worried she wasn't coming back. They did marry, but no eye contact, little touching. Cold.

The others were fun, all were dressed up in suits and lovely dresses. One bride had a rich brown dress with material that looked like flower petals all over it. Just lovely. One couple was in their early 60's and so so in love. He had on a good looking suit and she had on a creamy pant outfit. She glowed with happiness and even though she was the oldest bride, she was by far the most beautiful.

But the best one made me tear up. Lovely couple, she in a gorgeous white taffeta dress and a bouquet, he was in a silk suit and a boutonniere. They had their own vows. He had written a beautiful poem telling her that she is his light. She lights his way through the tough times. Her vows were funny and sweet. She promised to handle changing her oil, she would drink beer with him when his team lost, and she would serve beer to him and his friends when the team won. And then she told sweet nothings to him.

It was a fun day. Five of the weddings came after 3:00, so it felt more rushed than it was. Wednesday we are expecting a crowd. The county is closed for Thanksgiving and on Friday. We shall see.

Sunday, November 22, 2009


This is why our marriage has lasted 42 and counting years. I hate, hate to go to the grocery. Marty seems to really enjoy it. Doesn't that work out well?

Today we sat down and planned Thanksgiving dinner. We pulled out recipes and checked to see if we had all ingredients. And we made our list.

Marty was going to pick up the glass he made yesterday. He said he would hit the grocery on the way home, unless I wanted to go. Hell no I didn't want to go. He shopped, I napped. Seems like a perfect Sunday afternoon.

And why did I need a nap you ask? The last couple of nights I have had very little sleep and ended up spending the night in the recliner. Someone takes ALL the cover and my pillows, sleeps in 3/4 of the bed, and pushes me out of bed. I am just a little tired and cranky. Grocery shopping is a nice I am sorry.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

". . . not that the rest of your life isn't fascinating. . ."

The above title is a quote from a friend's email. She sometimes sends me reminders when she feels I neglect the weddings. Do you think as I do that perhaps Miss Noemi is just a little sarcastic? That's OK, I love sarcasm. So for Noemi:

Wednesday's Weddings
I performed 5 weddings yesterday. Not a whole bunch, but enough so I didn't have a boring afternoon. One wedding the couple had her 5 year old daughter and his father with them. They used a cell phone for pictures. Well, the man tried to take pictures. He was having trouble. It wouldn't take, he took too long and the screen went dark, etc. The daughter stuck her hand out and gave him a look of just give it to me, I know how to do it. So he did. And she did.
The next wedding the couple had no witness and the clerk asked me if the bride's son could be the witness. I asked how old he was, 7 in second grade; and could he write his name in a little tiny place? Mom replied he could write it if he saw it. (Notice, I was asked. The clerk did not know that as long as you can sign your name, you can witness.) A second grader shouldn't need help with his name. But we went for it. During the whole wedding their new born screamed because it was feeding time. We just plowed through. As soon as the wedding was over the baby was fed. I gave the son a paper with his whole name printed out. Then the little boy signed his name. He copied it beautifully on the two documents. He was a very proud little boy.
One wedding was sorta weird, but very loving at the same time. The groom was 54, never been married, and dorky. He was a nervous wreck. The bride was very calm, a beautiful woman in her late 30's. She had never been married. They really were a love match. But the weird part, She was dressed like a 10 year old from 1955. She had on a white Chesterfield coat, a white baby doll dress with black trim at the hem, white leggings, and black Mary Jane's. Does anyone else think this was a strange look?
edit: I know there should be paragraph breaks. But blogger will not accept them today. Sorry about that.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Tonight Marty and I had dinner with our Wine & Dine group from our church, First Christian Church, Concord. Yes, we are a fun church. This group has met once a month for over 20 years.

Tonight one of the men passed around a card he got from Time Magazine. It informed him he had overpaid his renewal subscription by $o.o1. He has the choice of extending his subscription for one week or they will send him a check to cover the overpaid amount. We figure just sending the card cost the company $20.00, postage, time and trouble.

Now the extra week of the magazine is worth way more than the check. BUT we all decided he should ask for the check for $o.o1 and frame it with the card.

Aren't huge corporations just ridiculous? How do they make a profit?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Marty and I are outraged! Dancing With the Stars audience vote elimanated the second rated dancers, Joanna Krupa and Derek Hough. That left Mya (who is excellent and rated #1), Kelly Osbourne, and Donny Osmond. Donny is not real good, Kelly is better. Either one could have gone home and no big difference.

But Derek and Joannna, so graceful, so good looking, so professional in their dances. Boo, Baa Humbug. I am ticked. Marty is too, just a little.

Sunday, November 15, 2009


Thursday afternoon I went on line to make an appointment for a routine mammogram. Usually appointments are a couple of months out. I clicked on next available and it came up Friday @1:45. I was surprised and grabbed it. Ladies, make your appointments if you are due. I have a dear friend who did a routine mammogram and they found a lump. She has had surgery, radiation and is now cancer free. Mammograms will save your life.

Saturday I called Direct TV because the Tivo box wasn't calling the satellite ( long boring story). Anyway, because of my "inconvenience" they gave me 3 free months of Showtime. That is 13 channels. So far there isn't much we want to watch. I asked if they had any senior citizens discounts, no. All they had were discounts for "NEW" customers. I told the rep that ticked me off. I have been a customer for 15 years, and why don't I get special treatment? So he is taking $10.00 off each month for the next 6 months. I will then call and ask what happened to my discount.

Why can't you find the H1N1 vaccine in the Bay Area? I talked to a friend in New Orleans today, they have plenty of vaccine. Here in the Bay Area, not enough to go around.

Marty and I were so domestic today. One major chore was to defrost the freezer in the garage. Of course it is full of food. We put the food in plastic tubs and wrapped the tubs in towels. Then he "walked"the freezer into the driveway and turned it off. We opened it up and turned a fan on it and let it melt. I then cleaned it inside and out, and he loaded it back up. We only found one thing that we knew we would never eat. So I threw away the fish sticks. The freezer is lovely, all clean, organized, and will last that way about a week. Then I won't be able to find anything again.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Today Marty and I worked a tour of spinal surgeon's wives at R. Strong Glass. Marty was assisting Randy and I worked in the gallery. I used Marty's camera, so do click on the pictures for details. They are way better than when I use my Palm.

Below is part of the glass gallery. We use lots of mirrors and glass shelving to show off the beauty of the glass.

When I win the lottery, this is the piece I want: The Guardian It is cast glass and took weeks to cool down. A companion piece is in the Louvre. I will never have the $1000s and $1000s needed to buy this. At least I get to work where it lives.
More gorgeous glass. The left display case has some of Marty's work. The huge piece on the right is Randy's. Click on the pix and see close up Marty's work.

See, I really was there, even if it is a mirror image. Lady in red, Susan, Randy's wife. Other mirror image is Flo, Randy's apprentice. Marty's work also shown,

Marty and Randy making a test piece. They are testing colors.

Marty is torching diachronic glass that Randy will pick up with the hot glass he is working with.

Randy at the glory hole, Marty still torching.

Randy reheating at the glory hole, Marty watching.

Marty is torching the picked up diachronic glass while Randy"paints" the vase with it.

Randy still painting and Marty torching.

Randy is using a steam stick to enlarge the vase. Marty is using a wooden paddle to prevent Randy burning his arm.

Randy is twirling the glass to stretch it. Marty has re-dipped the steam stick in water and has it ready for use.

Randy is jacking preparing to knock the piece off and place in the annealing oven.

Marty is torching the bottom of the vase after it was knocked off the pipe. This will smooth the rough parts and give it a polished look.

And that is how we spent Wednesday.

Monday, November 9, 2009


Ms.H asked me to come in today instead of Tuesday. She had a meeting Tuesday and a sub would be there. She didn't know the sub and felt maybe better if I wasn't there. Some subs don't do well with other adults in the room. So I worked today. I worked with them mostly one on one reading. Some are really good and some are really struggling. Several I stopped from reading, they were just too frustrated. Better to try another day.

There were only 4 weddings for me to do today. They were really spaced out. The last one kept me there 30 minutes over, but that was OK. One wedding was really sweet: groom 63 years old; bride 55 years old; he from North Carolina; she from Vietnam. They had maybe 20 people at the wedding. He was in a suit with a white rose boutonniere, she was in a lovely peach cocktail dress with a wrist corsage and bouquet of white roses. They were so serious until we started the vows and he got the giggles over her accent. She giggled and got through them. And then he cried. The man was so touched and moved. It was a beautiful thing. I noticed that she was taking his name. I said something and she asked why couldn't she have her maiden name put down as her middle name. I knew of no reason. She told me the clerk had said she couldn't. I checked with M, the marriage desk clerk. Downstairs clerk WRONG. M fixed the license and the couple thought M and I were wonderful.

One wedding was really sweet. Hispanic families, bride in jeans and groom in torn (stylishly) overalls. I asked them if anyone was going to stand up with them. They said no at the same time her dad said I am. I looked at them and they said yes that would be great. During most of the wedding Dad had his arm around his little girl, and he had tears in his eyes. As soon as the wedding was over he put on his wrap around sun glasses. I am sure that was so no one could see the tears. Very sweet.

And on a different note: parking in Oakland. We have meter maids who are like vultures. They stand by cars as the meter counts down to the red flashing expired. They ticket you while you are getting the receipt from the pay machine. But you have to give them credit, they target everyone. Today one of our Alameda County Sheriff's Deputies got a parking ticket.

Saturday, November 7, 2009


We have had guests off and on this month. And I have cooked most of the time. I have made some really great meals, pretty to look at, and very tasty. I keep forgetting to take pictures. Tonight Marty cooked, I did clean up, and I finally remembered to take the pictures. I did make a tossed salad. Marty made a risotto with wild mushroom, asparagus tips, and large shrimp wrapped in prosciutto. He also made flan for dessert. Some of the pictures are out of sequence. Sorry about that. I am too tired tonight to delete and then upload again.
Marty checking if the risotto is ready.
The flam cooling on a rack.
Marty working away. I was having a little wine and watching Graham Norton (it was on Tivo)

Big pot contains chicken broth, little pot contains chicken broth and liquor from hydrating the wild mushrooms, weird looking pot has the risotto rice with my really cool stir chef (This runs on batteries and stirs the contents of the pot. If food needs stirring for 30 to 45 minutes it is a life saver, at least an arm saver.).

Finished product. I know this should be the last picture. I blew it.

Plating the risotto and the shrimp.

Shrimp fresh from the grill.

We had a lovely evening tonight. Good food, really good wine, and good company. Tomorrow it will either be leftovers or chili mac.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


Several thoughts:

Monday as I left the house I was nearly run over by a speeding car. Trust me, I had looked before turning out of my driveway, no cars in sight. Then there she was. I turned right onto the next street (speed limit 25). I have just pulled out from a stop sign and the crazy woman passed me and went speeding down the hill (through a school zone). She blew through a 4 way stop and was out of sight when I turned on the next street. I hope where ever she was going was worth the laws she was breaking.

Monday I did 5 weddings between 12:50 and 2:15. I sat a while and then did 2 more. This is as close to busy as I have been in weeks and weeks. Today, 2 weddings. Very Very slow. They did none in the morning.

Tonight we had our San Diego friends, Richard and Luis for dinner. I wish now we had taken pictures. It was a really pretty meal. We served a tossed salad that had red cabbage, radishes, carrots, and the last tomato from our garden. Oh and there was lettuce too. We had rice with chicken divan; and tomatoes stuffed with sausage, onions, mushrooms, Italian breadcrumbs and sherry. The meal also tasted wonderful. Marty and I both cooked this meal. We both worked on the chicken dish. I made suggestions for the tomatoes and he prepared it. I made the salad. And Marty did the grocery shopping. We enjoyed this meal, we love to cook together.

Our wonderful Willows Theatre will be closing its doors in Concord. The recession has won in that area. The Theater will continue at its Martinez theater. But it will not be the same caliber plays. Great sadness here.

Tuesday the children were nutso at school. Ms. H never raises her voice, never loses her cool. Tuesday she was talking in a loud voice and pretty much ready to kill them all. They wouldn't even sit still for me to read to them. The school office manager explained the craziness of the day/week. "It should never happen the same weekend: full moon, Halloween, time change". She is oh so right,

Sunday, November 1, 2009


This week I posted on facebook that Marty tested my love for him. He asked me to take him to BART a couple of times. The one at 12:30 p.m. was fine. It was the one at 7:00 a. m. that was the test. I do not do mornings. But for Marty I was up and dressed and took him to the train. Then for two days I told everyone what a saint I am.

This weekend, he proved his love big time. He took my car and put gas in it, he thought the tires looked low and checked the air pressure, he went to the grocery, AND he washed my car.

He is the winner in the proof of love contest. Diamonds are lovely, roses are sweet. But buying gas, washing the car, and going to the grocery: this man is a keeper.

Back off ladies, he is mine!

Thursday, October 29, 2009


Monday's blog was a downer, I admit. But today I will put some happy things out there.

Wednesday at the marriage factory it was slow. But it was so sweet. Three weddings of long term relationships. One couple had an older teenager, another had two children the oldest around 13, and the final couple had a 6 year old daughter. The three couples had something else in common. They all had a child as the official witness. I thought that showed what loving families they were.

Yes, a 6 year old may be a witness. She was there, she could sign her name. And she signed it very well. Remember I work with 6 year olds all the time. This early in the school year to sign your first, middle, and last name is huge. Most 6 year olds can only do first alone, then will look to see how to spell the last name. And middle, forget it. This little darling printed all three with no help, staying in the tiny lines on the license and the souvenir certificate (adults don't stay in the little space we give them to write) and you could read it.

All three feel good weddings.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Below is a tale about a very sick cat. A tale about a sad pet owner. A tale about no money. A tale about greed. A tale about no compassion.

Sunday night I found out a friend's cat was critically ill. This was a double blow to her because this was only a 7 month relationship. This cat replaced her first cat who had died less than 8 months ago. She had spent a huge amount of money trying to keep the first cat healthy and alive. Money she really couldn't afford. Now the second cat is in pain, suffering, having seizures.

I called her Monday to see how the night went. She is sobbing, the cat needs to be put down. There is no place to take it. She had called the group she got the cat from, no reply. She tried shelters. They aren't open because of budget cuts. She called vets, they wanted $200 to $300 to put the cat down. She has no money. She needs some help. I told her I would call my vet of 30 years. I knew we hadn't paid that much to put our dogs down.

I called my vet and was told it cost $97 and then it was $150 more to dispose of the body. I said we would be responsible for that. I was given the number for another vet that they said would be cheaper. I called them, they wanted $400 for the service. I told them she had no money and the cat was suffering. We need some help here, could they cut a deal. No, money up front, no payment plan.

I called my vet back and tried again. I talked to B who I have known for 29 years. I explained no money, I would pay the $97. Would they bill me and let her bring the cat in now. I haven't lived in that county for 9 years. So I can't get there that day. She will talk to the vet. Oh, the first quote I was given was wrong, it is $50 more, plus $43.95 for the legally required exam of the cat. I said I can't pay that much. Will my vet (of 30 years) please take pity on the woman and help put this cat out of pain. B will talk to him.

Third person calls me back. The vet is willing to see the cat and do what is needed. IF I bring in the cat, if I pay then, if it is all in my name, and there will be no price cut. It was close to $200, even if we disposed of the body. I explained again, I don't live in Walnut Creek, you have billed me before, or I can pay tomorrow. And we don't have that much money. We need this cat to be helped. No, their way or the highway.

I said,"So money is more important to him than an animal suffering." And hung up.

I called my friend to tell her I had struck out. Thankfully the cat agency had finally called her back. They were rude to her, accused her of hurting/neglecting the cat, and had the records on the cat mixed up. But they told her to bring him to them and they would take care of him. So she handed him over and we guess they put him down. Today she is very sad. But happy he is out of pain.

I have no problem with people making money. I just think $200 to $400 to give a cat a shot to stop its heart is raping the public. To refuse to help a suffering animal is cruel and just wrong. The demand that I, not the owner, come in with the cat and pay them right then is rude and insulting. In 30 years I never missed a payment. At the time of treatment I paid in full 99% of the time. I stayed with this vet even when we moved away because he was a good doctor. But I don't think he is a good man.

Saturday, October 24, 2009


Below are more pictures from our trip to San Diego. They are a mixture of people, house, and yard art.
Even the big boy cousins like a rope swing. This is in the entrance courtyard.
Soccer on the patio above the pool.

Small planter

Bench in the courtyard

Art in the courtyard

Sitting room off our guest room

The rest of the pictures are of the master bathroom and the bedroom. Love this area of the house. Below spa tub with a killer view.

Shower area

Do click on the sinks for a close up. They are wonderful.

Master bedroom. King bed, 7 foot couch, balconies on each side and you saw the fireplace a couple of days ago.

This is the end of this trip to San Diego. It is a lovely gracious home to visit. Richard's and Luis' extended family treats us like family. That could be a good or a bad thing. They do like to tease and mess with you. But that is what family does.