Saturday, February 27, 2010


Today we went to the Orchid Show in San Francisco.  Marty grows orchids and I get to appreciate them.  We had no plans to buy plants, the greenhouse and outside racks for hardy orchids are full.  We went to just enjoy the beauty and aroma of thousands of orchids. Some in pots, some as cut flowers, some in unbelievable displays.

Well, we were like drunks in a liquor store . . .  "oh look at that, I want that, I neeeeeeed that, well just one, maybe a couple more, can we carry any more."

Remember to click on the pictures to make them bigger.

This was Best of Show.  How they decided I don't know.

I took 44 pictures and was only half way through the show.  I won't post all the picutres, just some favorites.  They are of displays that are beautiful and/or fun, and some are tacky.  But they are still beautiful.  And I have pictures of the sale's area. My mind became numb with so many goregous plants.  Enjoy.

This was close to tacky.  Carnival was the show theme.

These were just fun.

This was just breathtaking.
A treasure chest of cut cymbidiums.
The sale's floor.
                                                                     Yes, I really was there.

Thursday, February 25, 2010


Last night a friend emailed me that there were no links on Tuesday's blog. And I had told you all to check out the links. Well, I went to my blog, not signed in, and there were all 5 links in a neon green. I wrote back, yes there are. She writes back no there aren't.

I had Marty pull up the blog and he says, no links. I looked and they were there, faintly. And the colors are not what I see on my computer. I found out every computer shows different tones of the colors I so carefully picked out. My blue gray was just grey. And my links in green were grey. I so don't understand this. I accept the colors could be different, maybe. But if two colors are used, the same ratio of different tones should still be there.

Last night I changed settings to a butt ugly pink to make the links stand out. Go back and click on the links now that you can find them. I really found a lot of information for that blog.

I hate the look. So I will be playing with the colors this weekend to find something pleasing. And something that will show up on other computers.

I now understand people who write click here instead of highlighting a word.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


Today Kaiser School had two assemblies for Black History Month. The primary grades went to the 9:00 assembly. I was a little doubtful. There was an African American man on the stage. There were hats on a stand; he had handkerchiefs hanging out of his pocket; he had on huge white glasses (no lens) a tux coat, slacks, polka dotted socks, and a red vest. He looked like a cross between a bad magician and a clown. This was going to be so very bad.

Well I was wrong. Unique Derique is a clown, a very good clown. He has the rubber face of a Bill Cosby or Jerry Lewis. He had the children and adults stand up and do lots of classic clown faces and movements. We also did some hambone and pattin' juba dance. We laughed until we cried, literally. This man had total control of the room. Anything he asked for, the children did; including sitting down and being still.

Derique is a hambone and pattin' juba dance artist. He is also an educator. He works in schools to teach the sad history of Blackface and Minstrels. He clearly showed the children it is OK to laugh at a clown, that we like to laugh when someone makes a mistake. And he very clearly taught them how wrong it is to laugh or mock any one's culture or race. He gave them an age appropriate lesson on slaves, blackface, and minstrel shows. He had pictures and stories. The man is good.

I think I was the only person in the room old enough to have seen a live Minstrel Show. I knew as a child separate bathrooms, water fountains, places on a bus were wrong. But Minstrels, that was considered fun. In the 50's we really did not think blackface was racist or hurtful. That was our lack of knowledge of the history of Minstrels.

I hope you will take the time to read each link. The information is very interesting.

Sunday, February 21, 2010


We were up early today in order to go to church. As we were getting in the car, it began to rain. Rain that wasn't supposed to start until this afternoon. So we drive to and from church in the rain. I think that puts more stars in our heavenly crowns.

The plan was to go to San Francisco to finally see Avatar on IMAX. We have tried before and the lines were awful and it has been sold out when we checked from home. So everyone in America has seen this movie and the theaters are close to empty. We were going today.

We rode BART in and were in the City by 12:25. We walked through stores to stay out of the rain and then only had a block to walk in the rain. We walk into the box office area and the lines are really long. And then we saw it on the board. IMAX sold out. We are ticked. The next showing is in 4 1/2 hours. We do not care to kick our heels that long. What to do?

The Apple Store, that is where we are headed. In the rain 3 or 4 blocks away. Remember I have Marty's old iphone. And the battery doesn't hold a charge sometimes. (the reason we got rid of my Razor) We have tried to talk to someone at Apple and can't get an appointment at a time we need. So Sunday before 12:45 we should be able to get someone to help us. Wrong. There were no appointments for the rest of the day.

We got back on BART and came home.

Friday, February 19, 2010


Background: Marty is hot glass artist. We have lots of his work in the house, for our pleasure and for inventory for the galleries he sells to. We also have lots of art glass by other artists all over the house. We have glass shelves. Our house is full of glass. So what do you think is an awful sound to us? Yes, the sound of breaking glass.

As I was taking up dinner we heard it. A crash and the sound of breaking glass, lots of glass. We ran toward the living room and then we saw it. A medium size picture in the foyer had come off the wall, the picture hanger had failed. We had glass all over the foyer, into the living room, into the dining room, and on the steps going upstairs. Big pieces, little pieces, teeny tiny pieces. We decided to eat and then clean it up. Hot food doesn't wait. After dinner I picked up glass forever. And then I ran the sweeper for the pieces too little to pick up. Oh, Marty was cleaning up the kitchen while I dealt with the glass.

Thank goodness it was only a picture and not some of our treasures. I was just sure a glass shelf had failed (which is a piece of art itself) and we had lost lots of art pieces. You just can't believe the sound of one picture hitting a tile floor, and how long it went on.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Tuesday was school day. I worked with nearly every child in the room on one skill or another. We worked on different math skills, reading out loud, sight words, phonics, and creative writing. These children are way more sophisticated than you and I were at 6 or 7 years old.

The students were asked to write about the 4 day weekend. One little boy wrote about the family's trip to the coast. They ate oysters and he ate two. I just can't imagine a 7 year old eating oysters. We then worked on the long o sound: o, o_e, ow, oa. They listed words such as boat, doze, tow, toe, know, etc. And then a little girl said roe. Ms. H and I thought row and she started to give an example of row a boat and put it in the ow column. "No", said S, "roe fish eggs you eat." I was probably in my 40"s when I even thought about eating roe. I had heard of caviar but did not think about other fish eggs. California kids amaze with their knowledge/exposure to extreme foods.

Wednesday, today, I arrived at the marriage factory and the place was packed. The volunteer before me was run off her feet. She usually averages 3 weddings. Today she never sat down, one wedding after another. And it did not let up when I took over. For the day 20 weddings. High for a Wednesday. I think I did between 8 and 10 weddings. I really don't know. I just picked up the licenses and did the job.

Two couples stand out; a military couple and an older couple, early 50's. The older couple had two divorces each. She was in a white chiffony dress. The bride was a junior plenty. The dress was a Grecian style top with crissed cross tied straps in the back. The girls were covered, but just barely. The straps were doing more than they were designed to do. The couple's children from previous marriages were there. The teenagers and a little older children were so excited about this wedding. This was such a sweet loving couple. She was teary and he was intense. I forgave her for a white dress that was too small. They were so loving and tender.

Couple 2, military. She was from San Ramon, he was also. Except he is stationed in Texas. He wore desert camouflage, she was in slacks and a casual top. They were so intense. So in love.

It breaks my heart when I see soldiers in uniform. I have career Air Force people in my family and it hits too close to home to see these young men and women service people. I thank all our military for keeping us safe .

Monday, February 15, 2010


Marty cooked most of our Valentine's Day dinner.  I made my world famous potato salad.  He made pulled pork, barbecue sauce, and cole slaw.  We were testing another recipe for Cook's Country

The pork is bone in with a dry rub.  The rubbed meat is wrapped up for 24 hours, then on the grill 3 to 4 hours, next it goes into the oven covered for 2 to 3 hours. When it comes out of the oven, it sits 30 minutes, then it is finally pulled.  The sauce is a vinegar catsup with lots of bite to it.  Marty of course added Tabassco.  We like hot as well as bite. Such a great meal.  And I remembered to take pictures.                                                                

Marty working with the dry rub.
Ready to be sealed for 24 hours.

                                                        Wrapped up and ready for a 24 hour rest.

Ready to come off the grill.  Look at the crust from the rub. After 4 hours of heavenly smells, the neighbors were hinting for a dinner invitation.

                      Now to get ready for the oven.  I was ready to eat it then.  The aroma was incredible!

Wrapped and ready to go in the oven for 2 to 3 hours.

Marty is starting the Barbecue sauce.  Notice the champagne glasses and the wine glass.  We have already had a fun day.

Paprika and onions sauteing for the sauce. Lots of paprika.

Marty is pulling the pork. I lost control and stole crusty pieces while he was busy.  Yum!
At the bone, the meat is the best.  Moist and tasty.

                                                               Ready to build the sandwich.

This is the meal.  We are ready for pulled pork sandwiches.  Toasted buns, Barbecue sauce on them, then pile on the pork, more sauce, and top with cole slaw.  Potato salad and wine, some do beer.  Oh, and lots and lots of napkins. 

Sunday, February 14, 2010


Today I was at the Marriage Factory by 8:25. We opened for business at 9:00. We only had 23 appointments set up. The press release did not show up in the papers until yesterday; so many didn't know we were open on a Sunday. Consequently we didn't have as many walk ins as in years past. I think we did close to 30 ceremonies. Last year I did 25. So slower, but fun.

The staff have fund raisers through the year to have money to decorate for special holidays. We had mixed flower arrangements all over the lobby and at the clerks' desk. We had roses in the wedding rooms and at the information desk. Hearts were hung above the desks and balloons were everywhere. I was there at 8:25, I don't know how early the clerks got there to decorate today.

We had lots of press there, papers and TV. They followed us around, took pictures, interviewed couples, and were as unobtrusive as a TV camera person can be.

One of the volunteers (let us call her Mary Poppins as a young deli worker dubbed her.) is notorious for taking 45 minutes to an hour for one wedding. We had appointments set up every 15 minutes, she can't do the job. She was not asked to help today, but showed up anyway. When she saw the camera crews outside, she all but ran out to talk to them. All day she planted herself in front of reporters and talked and talked and talked. We are all terrified to watch the news tonight and read the papers tomorrow. Mary is strange.

When Mary Poppins did do a ceremony, it was forever. Still with the 45 minute schedule. She counsels them, she prays with them, she visits with them. We are a government agency, we don't pray. And we sure as hell don't counsel couples. We do marriage ceremonies. She was told to stop praying, to get the lead out and turn the room. She did stop praying, we think. But slow, slow, slow.

The clerks who worked today were great. Some had not worked the marriage desk in several months. They rotate in the two buildings and are cross trained for everything clerks in the county do. They were up to speed immediately. They got the job done in a beautiful way. As I tell them all the time, they are not paid nearly enough.

Well done Alameda County clerks .

Saturday, February 13, 2010


Marty cooked tonight. That always means butter is involved.

Tonight: polenta with butter and cheese; lobster with clarified butter and lemon; grilled scallops cooked in butter, clarified butter, lemon, and aioli sauce; baby baguettes with Irish butter. And a wonderful Mondavi Flume Blanc.

No salad, no green vegetable. Nothing healthy. But boy did it taste wonderful!

And you wondered why I am a junior plenty.

Tomorrow we test a recipe. That will be my Valentine post. Yes, I will be marrying couples most of the day Sunday.

Stay tuned.

Friday, February 12, 2010


My phone died. I had a Razor I loved. I made calls, I got calls. That is all I needed. But it wouldn't hold the battery charge and would go dead, at really bad times. And my Palm was doing the same thing. A new battery just for the phone would cost around $50. And the Palm, I was afraid to even call for info on that one. My Palm was at least 10 years old. It has earned an honorable burial.

So Wednesday off to the AT&T Store to see what is out there. I wanted something with a calendar and something that would make phone calls. I wanted user friendly, ease of use, idiot proof. I don't need to text, go on the web, tweet, use GPS, or facebook. I just want to make phone calls sometimes.

Well, guess what Frank(great salesperson) and Marty convinced me to get a smartphone. And they have all kinds of bells and whistles. And the one that is easiest to use, not the Blackberry, not Samsung, but the iphone. So I went home with an iphone. Not a new one though.

The newest one has things such as voice controls for the phone. Marty doesn't have that on his iphone. And in California you must have hands free. My car has built in Bluetooth, his doesn't. There were some other features I felt he needed for his business. So he got the new phone and I took the year old hand me down.

I have played with my new phone for two days. I have gone on the net, got my email, made calls, updated my calendar, played a game, changed the wallpaper, moved my icons, given certain people a "special" ring tone. OK, I admit it I really like my new phone. And it is so much lighter than my Palm and old phone. If you have back and shoulder problems, that is a huge benefit.

So this senior citizen can learn new tricks. I must thank my teachers: Marty, Frank, Kirsten,and Julie.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


This week I did maybe a total of 8 wedding ceremonies. They were all sweet: crying brides, giggling brides, crying grooms. Lots of sweet love in the room.

But we had a doozy today. I didn't even have to perform the ceremony. I was helping a woman with limited English fill in a request for a birth certificate. I multi task for the county. Anyway, a couple comes around the corner fussin' and fighting'. "You lost it, you did, it's your fault, we are to get married today. . ." This is one mad couple. And I found out what is going on 10 minutes later.

The couple bought a license this morning, and then, they lost it. They are there to get a replacement. We no longer do duplicates, so they had to buy another. Clerk J redid all the info while the couple kept arguing. Then she had to void the old license. Every now and then they would tell J to hurry up, they had an appointment at 4:00. They punched in around 3:30. There were people ahead of them. At a little after 4:00 they had a new license with orders to tear up the old license if they find it. They took off.

Oh,, their appointment, they had a church full of guests waiting for them for a 4:00 wedding. The clerks and I felt this was not a good omen for them.

Monday, February 8, 2010


Yesterday we went to a Super Bowl Party. Lots of food, lots of champagne, lots of diverse guests. There were guests in their early 20's up to the oldest, Marty and me in our 60's. We had a fun afternoon.

We are not sports fans, except for March Madness. Then we are rabid University of Kentucky and University of Louisville fans. Marty went to both schools. Pro sports, don't really care. We like the people and the commercials at the Super Bowl parties. I did have an issue with one part of this party.

At half time some of the people started all but booing THE WHO. They were too old, they were off key, when a shirt came untucked, boos for old man belly. Why wasn't some young group doing half time? On and On with the old taunts. Since I am older than anyone in THE WHO, I quickly got tired of it. The main person yelling at the screen may have been in her 40's. She looked like she had been rode hard and been put up wet. Looked way older than her age. I am aging much better than she is. I finally told them to hush, I was older than anyone in THE WHO and I didn't want anymore slams on aging. That slowed them down some, but the aging slams continued.

I guess they all think they will be young forever. WRONG, time marches on. And if you picked the wrong grandparents, you can look like hell at 50. Thank goodness Marty and I picked the right grandparents, we are aging gracefully.

Friday, February 5, 2010


When I arrived at the County Building on Wednesday, I asked a clerk for some help. A friend had been notified about a tax lien on a house he sold years ago. Nothing made sense. I asked what he should do, which department and or building he should go to. And she said call him and get the info from him. Before I was off the phone, she and another clerk had pulled up documents he would need, printed them, and certified them. After I got home he had more info from the title company that conflicted with what we had found. The next morning I called one of the lead clerks and asked her what we should do. She pulled it all up, told us about the new problem, and told us where to go for help. The clerks did me such a gracious service. They saved my friend hours of time. He now knew what to do, and where to go to accomplish it.

Thank you Clerks of Alameda CountyVitals.

Wednesday was a slowish spaced out day at the marriage factory. I only did four weddings. They were four lovely, deeply in love couples. After the trash on Monday, I needed sweetness in the marriage room.

Some couples were dressed up. One couple the bride was in a beige chiffon dress,with a slip on thank you very much. He had on a really good looking shirt and dress slacks. I started the ceremony and he started tearing up, and then went into tears overflowing. I handed them tissues and she wiped his eyes throughout the ceremony. I love to see the big burly guys get emotional.

Another couple gave me a little worry. She had on a pink and brown silky, diagonally striped dress. He had on a suit. She was cute and bubbly, until I began the ceremony. She immediately became very still and very very pale. I was afraid she was going to hit the ground. I kept watching, asked if she was OK. She hung in there and made it through, upright. The second I pronounced them married, the groom swept her up above his head and swung her around. They were both laughing and hugging. Such joy, such obvious love. Made my heart happy.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


Tuesday I worked with the first graders. We did a lot of reading and testing of sight words. After recess I read them a story.

The book was about Groundhog Day. A groundhog sets his alarm for February 2 and goes to bed for the winter. Except he can't sleep. So he takes a walk and sees things he has never seen. In October he sees children in costume, corn stalks, witches. A witch flies him home, puts him back to bed, and he still can't sleep. November another walk, and a turkey flies him home.

Now these children accepted a witch on a broomstick flying, but not a turkey flying. They all knew turkeys can't fly. (While large domesticated turkeys are generally unable to fly, smaller, lighter domesticated turkeys known as heritage turkeys and wild turkeys can fly. In domesticated turkeys the ability to fly depends directly on weight, while even heavy adult wild turkeys can fly well enough to avoid predators by taking off and flying up to 100 yards (91 m) and perching in tree branches. Wikipedia)

And those of us of a certain age remember the famous WKRP turkey drop. Or look here for the whole show.

And in December another walk, and guess who flew the groundhog home, Santa Claus.

Now the question. One of the little girls asked me, "Is Santa real?" And the other children started giving their opinions: of course he isn't, yes he is, my Mother said. . . I hushed them all. And thought hard and fast. This could destroy some of the children if I word the answer wrong. Ms H was in the back of the room looking at me and I think a little worried.

I gave the answer I have given first graders since my first class in 1965. "As long as you believe in Santa, he exists."

Monday, February 1, 2010


As I was walking from the garage to the county building, I met a clerk on her lunch break. She told me that the morning had been one wedding after another. She said they need you in there.

Well, not many were left to marry. I only performed three ceremonies. Each interesting in their own way.

The first was a cross between a green card wedding and a love match. Neither was clearly defined. He was from India, 10 years younger than she was. His English was poor. And he had trouble saying the vows. I shortened them up immediately. They were affectionate, but not like love, more good friends.

Wedding two was a love match. He had on a gorgeous white on white shirt with a white and purple striped tie. She had on a lovely purple jersey dress and black heels. Even her purse's lining was purple. Guess what color silk jacket I had on, purple. They were sweet and very organized, rings, camera, witnesses. And then we walked into the wedding room, the bride began crying and could not stop. She was so overcome with emotion, she just lost it. No sobs, just constant tears. She was wiping her eyes with a huge napkin sized hanky. It had "Sorry I can't be there with you." written in marker on it. I gave them some tissues. All through the wedding the groom wiped her eyes. It was very sweet and tender.

And then we come to wedding three. Joe, you are so right. I do attract the weirdos. I saw the couple and their witnesses at the clerk's desk. The witnesses were standing behind the couple French kissing and groping and grinding each other. Lovely. The wedding couple were fighting at the desk. He didn't know his parents' birth place and was going to call his mother. The bride told him, "Don't you call her. I hate her." Clerk V told them they might not want to have this discussion at her desk. And then they signed the license.

He signed fine. She signed her name with little hearts. V nearly died. She told the bride the state would not accept the license with hearts on the signature line. The groom fusses at the bride about always drawing hearts on her signature. This becomes a fight. V reprints, and they sign again. This time the bride traces her name so it is all double lines, just like we did in grade school. V sends them off. As they got up. the bride's slacks had fallen down to the crack level. The groom reached over and pulled them up, as if he had done this many times before.

V reprints, and asked me to get a correct signature. I went out to them and told them we had to re sign. I looked at the bride and told her no hearts, no tracing her name. She looked at me and said, "I don't like my name, I just want to put hearts down." I asked her if she wanted to get married. And if so she would sign it the way the state wanted it. It not, no license. She huffed and argued, and then signed. Are we done, no.

The witnesses are all over each other, they are all but doing it in the lobby. We get on the elevator. Both couples are going at it. Thank goodness it is only to the second floor. I looked at the ceiling. During the ceremony the couple stood far apart. The groom rocked back and forth and made hand signals and pouty lips to her. She responded the same way. Finally it is over.
The wedding kiss was a "get a room" kiss. I was thrilled to be done with them.

Trash is trash. I felt like I needed a shower.