Tuesday, June 29, 2010

I am feeling the hate . . .

Is it wrong to hate your neighbors?  Is it wrong to want to maybe do serious injury to their pets and children?  I may be needing an alibi and/or bail money.

I have complained before about the chickens and howling/barking dog 2 doors down.  The dog calmed down for a week or so and I had hopes they had kept him in the house or something.  Well the howling is back full time.  We are into the third day of none stop barking and howling.  The chickens are starting to not annoy me as much.

But last night, oh my word.  Across the street they had a party, a really really loud party.  Music, yelling, loud talking, people in the street.  Last night was Monday, a work day.  A day before another work day.  A night we need to sleep, as others on the street do.  Why do these people always have parties on work days? 

We got excited at 11:00 because the music stopped.  Oh the party is over.  No, either the band took a break, or they were just setting up new music to play.  Now we don't go to bed until after midnight.  But next door they have new twins and a year and a half old, plus Daddy goes to work.  Our lights are always the only ones on late at night.  So lots of people were not getting any sleep.

Just after midnight I heard car doors slam, lots of laughing, motors revving, and it became quieter, and thought it is done.  I drifted off to sleep.  Wrong, I kept waking up to noise, yelling, they were out in the street now.  And then around 3:30 I woke to what sounded like gunshots.  It wasn't, I decided they had huge firecrackers, maybe a M-80 or two.  But hey we know those are illegal.  They wouldn't do that.

I almost went stomping out to yell at them.  And then thought, senior citizen in a night shirt against who knows how many young adults who have been drinking for 7 hours.  So I chickened out.

Sunday, June 27, 2010


Sometimes I get to do weddings outside the County Building.  Yesterday I was privileged to do the wedding ceremony for a lovely couple.  The bride is the sister of a dear friend. The wedding ceremony was beside the Bay.  I mean beside the Bay.  It was a beautiful setting.  Oakland and San Francisco in the background and the water a foot back and 6 feet down off the pier.  There were a few problems: fog, really windy, rather chilly, chairs blowing over, the runner blowing.  You know the average problems of a wedding outside.  None of that mattered.

Because of the wind the sound man, Joe, decided I needed to be miked.  Otherwise all my fluffy words would blow out to sea.  That was an interesting thing to have done to me.  It was a lapel mike, the wire had to come under my top and then attach to my lapel. The wire and battery/control was to then be attached to the back of my slacks.  They were too flimsy to hold up the control.  So it was attached to my rather sturdy underwear.  Joe and I are now engaged.  Marty did help wire me. Then he took his seat.  But to turn it on, I couldn't see the buttons, so Joe played with my clothing in the back and turned it on.

Other problems with the wind, dresses.  Our Babe of Honor, did a Marilyn Monroe, only more so. She has great legs, and the moment was appreciated by many.  Others also fought to not flash the world.  It did relieve all the tension.

I am about a foot from the edge of the pier.  And there are whitecaps behind me. There were even sailboats behind me.  Notice the hair is perfect.  I had a huge amount of product in my hair.  No messy hair for me.
Look at these two pictures of Kat and Duane.  You can see signs of the wind with her dress.  But the second picture as she began her vows, the sun came out.  She was spotlighted by Mother Nature.
After dinner they cut the cakes.  One traditional and one Danish for Duane's heritage.  And then he toasted us and his lovely bride.

I have been involved in a lot of weddings not connected to my volunteering.  I have never seen such a great group of guests.  We knew no one other than the bride's sister and her husband.  People came up to us and talked to us.  Really talked to us, not  "aren't they a lovely couple".  They made sure we felt a part of the celebration.  Both sets of parents were lovely, gracious, and highly entertaining.  Aunts, cousins, whoever, they made us feel like family.  Thank you to all.

It was a joy to do this wedding. I just wish the Babe of Honor had lots more sisters for me to do their ceremonies.  There is a brother, hummm.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Joe, you are right. I attract weird weddings.

Friend and fellow Marriage Commissioner, Joe, says I am a magnet for weird couples.  He says on his day his couples are nice, sweet normal people.  (I think he gets some weird ones too, and just doesn't share with the world as I do.) 

Wednesday there were some interesting couples.  There was the most annoying couple in the world with the 4 year old from Hell.  One couple had done a cultural marriage already. She was from Afghanistan, but no accent and very American.  They laughed about all the papers the groom had to sign in a foreign language.  He thinks he agreed to pay for her with camels, chickens, and sheep. There were other weddings. And then there was The One.

The groom  was 97 years old and in a wheel chair.  He was mentally fine.  The bride was 61.  They have one witness.  We go upstairs and I do my spiel: mute cell phones, are there rings, do you have your own vows, anyone have a camera.  Then I said their names and asked, "are you ready?'  And it went downhill from there.  The bride said she didn't think she could do this.  She wasn't sure.  Give her a minute.  I asked her if she wanted to come back another day.  No, they had to do this now.  And then she shut down.  I took her by hand and went into the little lobby and sat her down. 

I asked what is the problem?  Deafening silence.  Do you care for him, yes.  Does he care for you, yes.  Are you worried about the age difference, yes.  Does he have children, yes.  Are they against this marriage, yes.  Do you care what people think, yes.  Are you living with him now, yes.  Will marriage change anything in the home, no.  Do you want to get the ceremony fee back and go home?  Long silence, no.

I told her I would get the next couple and she could take time to decide what she was going to do. Or they could go home and decide.  The license is good for 90 days.  And she said, "We have to do this now.  There is no more time."  Then she starts asking me about the process of divorce.  I told her it would take a court order, she couldn't just walk away and say she was divorced.  She was surprised lawyers might be involved.  Again she said we are out of time.  After 10 minutes she got up and said I'll do it. 

But that was only the beginning.

She talked to the groom and kept asking the witness what should she do. I told them we had to start or they had to leave and come back another day.  Finally she said for me to do the ceremony.  I began.  I was editing the ceremony.  The fluff about loving each other for life, meeting the challenges of the future etc. just didn't seem to fit the occasion.  I asked the groom if he took her as his wife.  A resounding yes.  I asked her if she took him as her husband, silence.  And more silence.  She sat in the floor, holding onto the groom's arm, and put her head between her legs.  Silence.  I talked to her, I gave her the options again, do it, stop and go home, come back tomorrow, call it all off.  Silence. After several minutes (and I am ready to kick them out of the building at this point)  she says I do.

I pick up the ceremony and get to the point I pronounce them married.  I told her this is the last legal point of the ceremony.  (I never point this out to other couples.  But I wanted this woman sure she wanted to this.) She says go get the other couple and let me think about this some more.  I was losing my Southern Charm and ready to wring her neck.  I told them, "You  either let me pronounce you married or you leave now.  The building is closed for the day, the clerks are getting ready to go home."  And then I said something I have never said to anyone before.  It just rolled out of my mouth.  " Fish or cut bait."  She agreed to be married and I pronounced them husband and wife.

Why did this have to be done then?  What was the "There is no more time" issue?  Were they rushing to beat a court order that would give his children control?  Was it a homeless issue for her?  She was dirty and smelled, he was squeaky clean.  Had the doctor given him just a few weeks to live?

As the Blog title says I Have No Endings . . .

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Father's Day weekend my stepfather's family has a reunion.  People come from all over the country and any where from 40 to 70 people attend.  Rooms are booked in a hotel for Friday -Sunday.  A dinner is on Saturday night and a brunch on Sunday before they all go home.  They have a hospitality room and everyone brings snacks, soft drinks, beer, and lots of comfort food.  This has been going on since1966.  The family realized the only time they had all been together was at their father's funeral.  (There is a huge spread in ages, some left home before some were born.)  So they began the annual Reunion. 

When Marty and I went to the first reunion we weren't even engaged yet. Marty survived Papa Jack's brothers asking him when he was going to marry me and why didn't I have a ring yet. The hotel gave Marty's room away and he had to sleep with Jack, I slept with Mother.  And it gets worse.  The bathroom door had been ripped off the hinges by the previous guest.  So there are 4 of us sharing a bathroom on the honor system.   After that I knew for sure Marty was a keeper.

Each year a different family member is in charge of the reunion.  A theme is picked and the game is on.  In 40+ years there have been lots of themes.  This year it was Mardi Gras.

I have a picture of my Mother and Papa Jack and another picture of Mother's side of the family. 

Let the good times roll!  Anna and Jack Hollin.  AKA Mother and Papa Jack; Grandmother, Grandmother Red, and Papaw Jack.

This is a picture of Mother and Jack with grandchildren, great grandchildren, and my brother and his wife.
Left to right back row:  Riley, Lisa Kay, Mellisa, Kiel, A.J., Hank and Chris.  Front row left to right:  Anna, Jack, Ann holding Annabella, Hall, Alyx.  No one is standing on a chair. Lisa Kay has very tall children.  Kiel is 7 foot tall, A.J. and Mellisa are way over 6 foot tall.

Monday, June 21, 2010


Sunday was Father's Day.  Our son Erik took us out to lunch and spent the afternoon with us.  It was a lovely laughed filled day.  We had lunch at Fenton's an institution in Oakland.  And if you have seen UP, there is a scene with the little boy and the old man sitting on the curb in front of Fenton's.  Pixar always has Bay Area places in their films.

Erik, the son.
Erik and Marty, the father.
Burgers, onion rings, and fries.  YUM.
.Our family took pictures and then posted them on facebook.

After all that food, I couldn't eat another bite.  Marty and Erik ordered petite hot fudge sundaes. 
Marty really enjoyed his sundae.
Erik posted pictures of the sundae on facebook, before attacking the sundae.
Did they like it, yes they did.
At home later, having Mimosas and ready to call my Papa Jack. 
Marty talking to Mother and Papa Jack.  Love speaker phones.
Erik talking (while posting on facebook) to Grandmother and Papaw Jack.  Yes, I talked to them too.  With the speaker phone I could talk and walk around and take pictures.

As I said, it was a lovely day.  May we have lots more days together.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Such a busy girl

If you have been reading my posts for the last couple of weeks, you know I have been busy.  There were things I haven't posted about:  the last meeting of my book group until fall, which was a pot luck; the day I lunched in one town, picked up my glasses in another town, bought gas in the third town, and got my hair cut in the fourth town, drove back home to the fifth town.

With all that running around, I have still been domestic: done laundry, cleaned house, ironed, and cooked some outstanding meals.  In spite of all the running around and being June Cleaver I have managed to keep up with Deadliest Catch, So You Think You Can Dance, Top Chef and Pawn Stars.  I do have my priorities straight. 

With the busy schedule I did manage on Wednesday to perform 6 weddings.  All of them couples in love.  All of them very nice people. One couple stands out.  The groom was born in 1922 and the bride was born in 1952. It was an obvious love match, which made the wedding touching.  After the wedding the bride in her thick Filipino accent asked me where I was from.  "You have an interesting accent.  You look and sound just like Paula Dean."

I have got to lose the accent and get rid of the grey hair!

Friday, June 18, 2010


Monday was my last day to volunteer with my first graders.  School is out for the summer.  This is always a love/hate day.  I hate I won't work with these children any more.  And I love I don't have to get up at 6:30 until September.

Monday I worked assembling the last piles of their work to go home.  Everything had to be alphabetized, stapled together, and placed in a construction paper folder (that I made and put their names on).  Not hard but time consuming.  I also did inventory on science kits.  I just love counting 84 bottles and lids, the rest were easier, 5 of this, 18 of that, 30 of those etc. The best part of the day was when they told me thank you for volunteering.

Ms. H gave me lovely earrings and a sweet note as a thank you. The children had made a book for me of pictures and thank you letters. When I read them at home I was very touched.  They were sweet and funny.  The pictures were so good.  The pictures of me even had the yellow visitor's tag I wear. 

Ms. H had me sit in her chair with the children at my feet.  Each child commented on my helping them this year. They said such sweet things: they thanked me for the extra help I gave them, they thanked me for going on the field trip,   they loved to have me read to them.  They really seemed appreciative of my working with them on reading and math.  All of those sweet words made me cry. In fact just writing about it now is making me cry.  And when I left, they all came up and hugged me and told me they loved me.

People ask me why I volunteer.  Every place I have ever volunteered I have received more than I gave.  I have developed friendships.  I have learned so much. I have felt good about what I was doing.  If the job doesn't make you feel good, no point in doing it.  And trust me those first graders make me feel so good. One little boy hugged me and said, "I'll see you in the second grade this fall." He doesn't realize I don't move on with him. And the bottom line of why I volunteer, as I have said over and over:  nothing beats hugs from 6 year olds.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A day checking out how adults live

Today Marty and I went out to Brentwood to see an Adult Resort complex. Since he does reverse mortgages this was a business trip for him.  I was there for the free lunch and to just be with Marty.  We were there for a realtors' event to show off the new clubhouse. Beautiful homes, vineyards, club house that had restaurants, spa area, exercise area, pools, gardens.  If you want to live in luxury at a very economical price this is the spot for you.  Check out the web site for Trilogy.

                              Lots of pools and fountains
A hallway

Marty checking out a small garden off the club house.
As you enter the clubhouse this is the view out to the gardens. 

A quiet spot in the men's side of the spa.  Water trickles down a clear cord.
A hot tub area with fountains behind it.
An infinity reflecting pool

And here we had lunch.  Unfortunately they had two, count them, two boring speakers.The first one repeated every thing we had heard on our VIP tour.   I could live here in a heart beat.  They have phones at the  pool so you can order drinks and food to be delivered.  Thery will have cooking classes.  Lots of stuff to do.  The homes are very inexpensive and lovely.  BUT the Delta is very hot.  And I don't do heat.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Weddings, yes

It is June and the weddings are picking up.  The staff was thrilled when I arrived.  They had been really busy all morning.  I was geared up to perform lots of weddings.  But there was no action for about an hour and then we were slammed. Lots of people buying licenses and many to be married today. I did 5 weddings in an hour and a half.  And then nothing after that.

I had the Indian weddings with the incredible sari and jewelery.  The very Berkeley wedding;  bride in an outfit from the 50's including a cocktail hat.  The groom was in a black suit and wore a fedora.  One bride was in a pretty chiffon white dress and the groom wore a white suit, the coat hit down nearly to his knees. Very hip looking. These are lovely but then we had the very young in age and maturity level couple.

The couple was young, 19 and 20.  She had blue braces and was chewing bubble gun.  She wore a printed full skirted mini dress.  Cute.  He was in a white track suit and chewing bubble gum.(I made them spit out the gum)  Lots of family and several generations.  I asked if they had rings to exchange.  He reached into his pocket and said, " We bought new cell phones."

What more can I say?

Sunday, June 13, 2010

White Trash Wedding?

Wednesday there were not many weddings for me to do.  I took lots of couples up for Spanish and Cantonese.  Of course I can't do those.  The marriage desk clerk is threatening to teach me Spanish so I can help her out.  That will never fly, I am so bad at languages.

One of my weddings does stand out.  When I arrived Wednesday there were lots of people in the lobby and they were a little bit white trash. There are many definitions for white trash.  Mine is not poor ignorant people.  Money has nothing to do with it.  White Trash:  loud, prone to fighting verbally/physically, hugely overweight, ignorant, dressed inappropriately for the occasion, bad teeth(of course they could just be British),  10 years behind the styles, no class or culture.  Examples:  Paris Hilton, Brittany Spears, anyone on Jerry Springer.  It is a look, you just know.

When I go out to get them, the bride wants to change into her dress. She didn't want the groom to see her until she walked into the room.   Now she had 30 minutes to do this before I came out.  She could have hidden in the bathroom until the wedding.  But no, we have to wait on her.  OK.  I am getting info from the groom and checking out the guests.  I become a total snob.  The women have on dresses with spaghetti straps, and bras with straps wider than the straps on their dresses.  The dresses hang below the bras front and back.  A lot of skin is showing in a bad way.  The men look better, sport shirts not tucked in, and backwards baseball hats. 

And then the fight breaks out!  Well, a little fight.  One of the women starts pounding on one of the men, and he is about to pound back.  She is smacking him up one side and down the other.  I very coolly and calmly yelled like a banshee at them,  "Cut it out!  I won't have that in my room.  You are being disrespectful of this occasion!"  And they stopped.  She did mouth off at me, but I am a mother and a teacher.  I can tune that out.

So I get the signal the bride is ready to be brought in by her father.  I walk out and I am stunned by how nice this young woman looks.  She has a shoulder length ecru veil with a tiny tiara. She has on white sparkly flip flops. Her dress is ecru with a Grecian look, very flowy chiffon to the floor and high waisted.  She is a very large woman and this is the perfect style for her.  Is it the dress or is it her?  She looked great.

The bride started crying when her father handed her to the groom and cried throughout the wedding.  And the father cried.  The matron of honor cried. I ran out of tissue to hand out.  When I pronounced them married, the couple just held on to each other.  This was a very emotional wedding. 

The couple was sweet, very much in love.  Maybe they weren't white trash after all.  But everyone else in the room was.

Except me of course.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Do You Know the Way To San Jose?

Today I was one of the chaperons for a field trip to the Tech Museum in San Jose. The entire school, K through 5, went. I haven't been on a school bus since the '80s.  The buses are no more comfortable than they were in the 60's. They still don't have seat belts.  Is that even legal?  Re read the title.  I can find the way to San Jose, but the driver couldn't.  She was lost shortly after we left the school.
This is my view of the bus driver, who can't find Highway 13, 2 blocks from the school. There are children in front of me.  But they are too short to be seen.  You can just barely see hair two seats up.
As we waited, and waited to get in, the children watched a "Rube Goldberg" contraption.  It took close to an hour from off the bus to go into the museum.
Still waiting.  The children are tired, bored, hungry, and all need a bathroom break.

We made it inside!  The children are hand cranking to create power to run a car race.
The most popular exhibit:  a hand dryer
beside a water exhibit.  They kept playing with the water turbines and then needed to dry their hands.
We had lunch at the park across the street.  This is just a portion of our green shirted students and teachers.

In line for the IMAX movie.
The wonderful Ms. H waving us to our bus.
Loading the bus to go home.

We had a lovely day.  The children had fun while learning.  Unfortunately there were problems.  The museum was not ready for that many people to show up at one time.  They had no system to handle us.  No welcome, no signs to their entrance from where the buses dropped us, and then they wouldn't let us in for nearly an hour. Their staff would give info/rules but no one could hear them.  We asked them to repeat and they would again talk to just the front.  So 20 people out of several hundred heard them.  For a Tech Museum, the signage was poor outside and inside. 

The bus company was still in the dark ages.  No GPS, so the drivers were guessing where we were going.  Coming home our driver was in the wrong lane, lost sight of the bus she was following, and we ended up going down the wrong street.  She kept driving instead of stopping and regrouping.  One of the fathers got his phone and pulled up the GPS and then sat in the floor by the driver; telling her where to turn.  She didn't always listen to him.  So we wandered way too long.  I heard other buses got lost too.  That is just stupid.

The trip was fun.  I enjoyed the children and the adults.  One of the best parts of the trip: the little girl who sat with me was tired and laid her head in my lap and slept.  That took me back to when my son was a little boy.  A child sleeping on your lap is a wonderful thing.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


Monday was the day of the giggles.  All of my brides laughed and giggled throughout their weddings. The first bride could not look at the groom without giggling.  And then the groom lost it. The bride then punched him on the arm like a first grader and said stop it.  Great laughter throughout the wedding.  Yes, I laughed with them.  But I didn't lose it, someone had to be the adult.

I was very impressed with the men in one wedding party.  I went out to get the couple.  Two young men (mid 20s) were sitting with a baby in a stroller.  The groom says the bride will be right back.  The witness is feeding the baby some orange baby food. The baby is eating and crying between every spoonful.  The man can not get the food into the baby's mouth fast enough.  The two men are trying to calm down the baby and keep saying he needs a bottle.  And them MOM/BRIDE arrives with the bottle of water. She says she'll wait to feed the baby.  I said no, fix that bottle.  She does.  Babies don't wait, I can. She and the female witness put the bottle together.  They switch from food to milk. Baby is so happy. Then we go up for the wedding. The bottle is propped up on a blanket and the 3 month old is almost holding it on his own.  During the ceremony, giggles.  Plus they made kissy face at each other.  This couple was so cute and so very much in love.

My last couple had come from a town an hour away.  They couldn't be married in their town without an appointment made weeks ahead.  They drove up  to San Francisco and found out they require appointments also.  San Francisco told them to go to Oakland , no appointments, but they had to be punched in by 4:00.  They made it by the skin of their teeth.  They punched in at 3:56.  Now they hadn't planned the wedding enough to find out about appointments, they had no witness with them.  But they were dressed to the teeth.  He had on a white dinner jacket, white tux shirt, and tux pants.  She had on an electric blue ruched cocktail dress.  They planned the clothes and the rings.  Yes, she giggled throughout the ceremony.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Oh yeah, weddings

I have been remiss  in posting about weddings last week.  Most of the posts have been about me.  Birthdays are fun and my family extends the celebration as much as possible.  But back to the weddings.

Last week was weird.  Monday we were closed for Memorial Day.  When I came in Wednesday they told me how busy Friday and Tuesday had been.  They did 30 weddings on Friday.  Even with volunteers they had to pull staff to keep up with the crowd.  Tuesday, there were 16 weddings and staff was called in because the couples all showed up at the same time.

Wednesday the volunteer before me did one, yes only one wedding.  I sat from 12:45 until nearly 3:30 and read. No weddings, no one even in the lobby.  And then we were slammed.  The lobby was full of buyers and also couples wanting to get married.  The rule is if they punch in by 4:00 we will marry them.  My shift ends at 4:00.  But I stayed until 4:45 and married couples.  I did 5 weddings and took up one Spanish one to the Marriage Desk Clerk.  Do any of them stand out?  No, they were all just boringly nice.

Recently I wrote about the beautiful All American Girl in her pink dress and heels.  Well, we had the All American Latino Girl and Boy Wednesday.  She had big beautiful brown eyes and long dark brown hair.  She was dressed in a long white dress that had blue trim at the waist.  She carried a basket full of flower petals.  He had dark hair and huge brown eyes with really long lashes.  Why do the boys always have the long lashes?  He wore long blue pants and a crisp white shirt and carried a small satin pillow with the rings ties onto it.  They also were running crazily through the lobby.  I was concerned they would disturb the wedding.  I was wrong.

These two children were gorgeous and so well behaved.  After the wedding they became noisy children again.  They knew when to be still and when it was OK (with the parents) to have fun.  Bravo to the parents. 

Friday, June 4, 2010

My Birthday Dinner

I had a lovely birthday.  I had lots of cards,  phone calls, emails, and facebook messages wishing me a lovely day. We went out to lunch.  Then we picked out my very expensive birthday gift.  New eye glasses.  We went shopping at the Berkeley Bowl for dinner. When we got home, more phone calls for me.  Marty was busy with a do over on the Angel Food Cake.  Plus he was making won ton soup for me, per my request.   The cake was spectacular.  And the soup, on my so very tasty and hearty.

I am a lucky spoiled girl.

This is how an Angel food cake should looks as it comes out of the oven.
Last week's cake. Very short.
This is last night's cake.  Look at how much higher it is.
Quality Control!  YUMMY!

Champagne for the birthday celebration.  And that is why the food turned out so well. 
Marty making the won tons.

Won tons ready to go into the soup pot.

Taking up the soup.

The wonderful soup.  Mushrooms, shrimp, bok choy, noodles and other goodness.

Last week's cake, a little short.

Last night's iced cake: high and light, and rich and on my goodness this was so great.

Thursday, June 3, 2010


On this date in 1540 Charles II of Austria was born.

On this date in 1808  Jefferson Davis, American politician and President of the Confederate States of America,  was born.

On this date in 1865 George V of the United Kingdom was born.

On this date in 1906 Josephine Baker, American Dancer, was born.

On this date in 1927 American saxophonist, Boots Randolph was born.

As you can see some very important talented people were born on June 3.  I have only picked a few to illustrate that this is an important date.

On this date in 19?? I was born.

Hey I may be old, but know not to post my total birth date on the Internet.  You know, identity theft.  And vanity.