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.

Thursday, October 22, 2009


My brother-in-law just emailed me some great news. A friend we met through him just signed the closing papers for her first house. She has her keys and can move in.

What does this have to do with America being wonderful, you ask? Kaus is an immigrant from India, a woman, single, young (30), and has her green card. She has been in this country 10 to 12 years. She has educated herself here to a high level, she holds an important job with TI. She has done this alone, paying her own way, and is an American success. She is living the American dream. Citizenship, are you far behind?

Yeah Kaus, you go girl!


Wednesday I arrived at the County building at 12:40. Marty needed my car and had dropped me early. I talked to people, I read, I walked around, I read some more. Where are all the couples? Around 2:30 finally a bride and groom. And 15 minutes later, another couple, and they were my favorite for the day. Maybe even for the year.

There is the groom, the bride, and the witness. The groom is beside himself with joy. He told me "This is the happiest day of my life." And the two women just giggled. Then he said, "She didn't know we were getting married today. I called A (the bride) and invited her to lunch. Then I called J (witness) and invited her to lunch. Then I brought them here and we are getting married." I laughed and said that is really sweet and romantic. Where did you go to lunch? Then they all laughed and said, no lunch. I did a ceremony with all the sweet nothings. They said their family would kill them for running off. So we planned the big reception they will have and I gave them a copy of the ceremony. That way they can reenact it when the family comes. Just a lovely couple and so much in love. Oh, he was taking them to a special Italian place for a fancy dinner that night. Loved them!

At 3:40 the clerks asked if I could stay late. They had several couples just now punching in and it would run late. I told them I was there until 4:30, then I had to leave. They ground out the paperwork and I began.

The last couple was brought up to me about 4:15, I could do this and they would never know I was in a rush. The license had been bought a couple of weeks ago. Lovely wedding dress, four of the women were in violet strapless chiffon dresses, most of the men were in traditional Filipino wedding shirts. Cameras and rings at the ready. Lots of family and friends there. I thought this might beat out the fun surprise wedding. This was a well planned out wedding. Almost.

One of our clerks walked by the doors into the marriage desk office. The bride squealed, "Oh, there is X my best friend." I asked if she wanted me to see if X could take a break and be there for the wedding. Yes, oh yes. I went to X and she is sobbing, being held by the marriage desk clerk. Her "best friend" had told her nothing about the wedding. X is devastated. I had thought X knew and because she was working didn't think she could come. X also is a marriage commissioner and could have done the ceremony if given warning. Some best friend.

That made such a bad taste in my mouth. I married them, but I didn't like them.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Marty burned a CD with the San Diego pictures. They just wouldn't work through email. There are 129 pictures on the CD. Don't worry, I am only going to use a few of them. And spread it out over a couple of posts.
Richard and Luis host Luis's family many Sundays. Food is very important to this family. Good food, spicy food, lots of food. The children play or swim. The teenagers play videos games or swim, and the adults watch them have fun. And all eat. Different families bring parts of the meal. They cook, they eat, they laugh, they tease. It is a good family to spend an afternoon with.
Below is food from the appetizer table. The left, celery and peppers stuffed with pimento cheese and with Benedictine. I made those two spreads.The large plate to the right is jicama with lime juice and some wonderful spices shaken over it.
More appetizers

Enjoying the food

Luis's Mom making rice for dinner, great rice!

Quality control

Pork cooked in banana leaves and then shredded.

Buffet line

One of the tables with family

Saturday, October 17, 2009


Even with the messed up shoulder, life goes on, sort of. I did not help with my first graders on Tuesday. I hurt so much I knew I would be hateful to the kids. (Just ask Marty how his week is going. ) And kids pull, tug, and hug. I could not handle that. So I called in sick.

I did get my nails done Tuesday. Vanity always trumps pain. Now to get there I had to drive through an awful storm. It was the tail end of a typhoon. Big rigs were blowing over, lines were down, but I had my nails done.

Wednesday I married couples. I thought how hard can that be? That left shoulder is not involved at all in a marriage ceremony. Right. I have the book to hold, license to hold, doors to open. I had to walk and breathe. Guess what, all that makes the shoulder move. But I lived through it.

Only one couple drove us crazy. The couple was from Mongolia and spoke little English. His teenage son was translating. The first clerk had to change the license several times. They couldn't decide how to spell their parents' names. I got the license and found two spelling errors (put in the computer by the couple), second clerk corrected and reprinted again. They"looked" at the license for the umpteenth time and said it was correct. I married them, we printed out the certified copy, and gave it to them. The father started yelling at the son, the names are misspelled. Clerk three corrects it again and printed it out. Four of us to get them married. And it took nearly 45 minutes longer from start to finish.

Last night we went to the Willows Theatre to see Barefoot in the Park. The play was great. Very well done and even though it is over 45 years old, it holds up. It is just a story about 2 newlyweds. Good fun. Go see it.

There was the strange woman sitting to my right at an angle toward me. Her feet in my space, her huge purse sitting partly in my lap. I did the spread the feet thing and moved her feet over, and every now and then I hip checked her purse. She would sigh and then move it more into her lap. But it kept coming back. At the intermissions it got really strange. She completely turned toward me and stared, intently. We got up the first intermission, but she was still there staring. Even through the play, staring away. The second intermission we sat and talked and she stared. Strange, strange woman.

The shoulder is better. I need a week of doing nothing for it to really heal up: no makeup, no using a curling iron, no blogging, no cleaning house, no making beds, no using the arm. Not going to happen. Life goes on and you do what you have to do. And you take lots of aspirin.

Well, must go iron shirts now.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Marty took some great pictures. Blogger does not like the format. So all we have now are a few taken with my Palm. Not great, but pictures. Below is the garage with the master suite above it. There is a tower to the right. The courtyard looking toward the tower.
More tower and drive way.

Marty with the dogs in the courtyard.

Guest bath. Bright tiles, green cabinets, mosaic mirrors. Orchids.

Inside the tower, it leads up to the master suite.
Fuzzy pix of the fireplace in Master suite.

View from balcony in master suite.

If we can get blogger to accept Marty's pictures, I will post them also. He has the wonderful flowers, pool and view, and yard art.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


There will be pictures of the trip, I promise. I have lots of pix to download and stories to tell. But I have had a couple of problems.

The trip to San Diego did not go as planned. Saturday I woke up in terrible pain. (years ago I injured my rotator cuff and that radiates pain into my neck and down to my fingers) I had been babying my shoulder, but I guess not enough. All day Saturday I ate aspirin, iced, and cried. We won't even discuss that night. Sunday was some better, I stopped crying.

Monday we came home, I helped drive. Shouldn't have done that. Last night, ugly. Today, not so nice either.

And our modem died while we were gone. Marty spent most of today getting our computers back up and running.

Stay tuned/

Friday, October 9, 2009


Late last October we made a road trip to San Diego. If you remember it was an exciting ride. Yesterday we drove down again to visit friends. It was a very calm, nice, too long drive.

As I have mentioned I love road trips with Marty. We listen to good music, this trip it was satellite 50's channel the whole way. We laugh together and we talk. Not about what we have to do today, or what to cook. We talk: we discussed the water bill, we talked about one of Marty's clients, we talked about friends going through a hard time. We talked about serious stuff. We also pranked called Marty's brother (well it is a very long drive, we needed entertainment.)

We looked at the cars, trucks, and RVs we were passing. Yes, very little is fast enough to pass us. We decided the recession is really over. Lots of new, big shiny pickup trucks, huge beautiful ones. Hey, I am a Southern Belle, we love pickups, I learned to shift gears on a pickup. The 18 wheelers were huge and new looking. And the RVS, hundreds of them . . greyhound bus size, new and getting about 6 miles to a gallon. People, if they can drive those gas hogs there is a lot of money out there. We saw one pulling a pickup truck with a camper shell that was pulling motorcycles. I'm thinking 2 miles to a gallon.

We are staying with friends Richard and Luis. They have an incredible home. It is just beautiful and so relaxing. We feel as if we are staying at a 5 star hotel, only better. If time I will post some pix of it. It looks like a hacienda on a mountain top.

Stay tuned.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


Today there were only 4 weddings. Slow, but interesting.

The first very interesting wedding gave me no warning. Two very NOW people from Afghanistan getting married. She was in a pin striped pant suit, he was in a wide striped suit. They seemed like a young hip modern couple. WRONG. When I asked if he took this woman as his wife, he stalled and then said, "I will accept her." After I pronounced them, no kiss, no hug, not even a hand shake. Can you say arranged marriage. They had us all fooled.

Then I had the really sweet couple but with a little baggage. She received her divorce decree two weeks ago. OK, maybe she had been separated a while. Well she had been busy, they had a month old baby. I know I am a little old fashioned. But get the divorce before you have a child with the next husband. Technically the baby was the first husband's, because she was married to him when the child was born. But it was husband number two's child.

The last couple I married was at first a little grating. I went out to get them and they just hit me wrong. It was a mixed race couple. They didn't have everyone there, they were sort of trashy looking. Well, my bad. Don't judge a book by its cover. When I called their names, 5, count them, 5 children walked up with them. These children were absolutely beautiful. Nothing like a mixed race to make gorgeous children. Their ages were 2, 3, 4, 7 , and 8. They were so well behaved, yet excited Mom and Dad were getting married. This couple was so sweet, so in love, and such outstanding parents. The children were well behaved, polite, and so normal acting. After the ceremony the children clapped and laughed and hugged Mom and Dad. Such a happy close family. They took the bad taste of the arranged marriage away.

Monday, October 5, 2009


Last week I was feeling puny and missed both days of marrying couples. But today I was back. I married 5 couples. It was good to be back.

Two weddings stand out to me.

The couple was young. He was almost without emotion, she was shy. I found an error on the license, so we reprinted. I took them upstairs and they re signed the new license. He just seemed to not want to be there. I started the ceremony, and he began to beam. He absolutely glowed with love for her. And she glowed back at him. It really was sweet, they are so in love. I took them down to have the marriage recorded and to get their certified copy. The clerk found another mistake. They signed for the third time. I told them it would be a story to tell their grandchildren. Finally we got everything corrected and they got their certified copy. Thankfully they were so happy to be married that they didn't get upset.

Another couple was a little harder to work with. They were from Laos. He spoke very good English, she spoke none. He was in his 30s, she was 19. They had their beautiful 4 month old daughter with them. The groom was going to translate for her with help from the witness. I always worry that the non English speaking person may not be getting the true story. I began the ceremony. The bride had been very shy, quiet, standoffish. During the ceremony she began to smile. Evidently she understood some English. When I asked if she took him as her husband she grinned, nodded yes, and answered in English YES! After the ceremony there were many happy kisses. She just bubbled after the ceremony. This was a love match. Not a forced marriage.

I love doing marriage ceremonies. The power, the fun, the little insight to others' lives.

Friday, October 2, 2009


First off let me say shiny always looks spelled wrong. I even looked it up, I want another n or even an e.

What was shiny? Cars and more cars. Lasts night I went with a friend to a trade show at the Blackhawk Museum. The cars are in dark rooms with high powered spots on them. The Museum has cars from day one, celebrity cars, and tricked out cars we all have driven or ridden in.

Above a Ford Thunderbird, after they ruined it by adding a back seat. But it was cool to ride in this. Guy Bait.

Bugatti We all wish we could afford this one.

Shiny, lots of shiny cars

These cars are really shiny. More so than the day they were driven off the car lot. They look as if they are painted with acrylics. The museum is well worth a trip. Three floors of cars. And each car more beautiful than the last one.