Sunday, August 29, 2010

On the road again. . .

Yesterday Marty and I drove up to Davis to see our two week old great niece.  She is the daughter of my nephew Lt. Colonel  Daddy and his wife Dr. Mom.  My sister in law is here to help for a couple of weeks.  My brother was to fly into Sacramento on Wednesday for business and then go to Davis for the weekend.  But corporate life doesn't always work out.  The trip was canceled. So Little Brother missed yesterday's party.  We did call him at midnight his time (house and cell)  so he could join the party.  He didn't answer and missed our fun.

And fun was had.  Marty and I brought champagne and pate to celebrate the birth of Ava and her Daddy's promotion to Lt. Colonel.  They had jalapeno poppers, guacamole, and lots of wine.  We also brought wine. As I said, a fun party.  Of course we had to stay very late so Marty could legally drive.
           On the Benica Bridge on the way to Davis, which is just across the causeway from Sacramento.
Looking at the Mothball Fleet.
Marty is so good with babies.  He stood and rocked the beautiful Ava for at least 30 minutes. She wasn't crying.  She just likes to be held.  And who could resist this child?
            More of Ava. She leans into you as you hold her. She wants your warmth and keeps getting closer.
           Is that not a little face to love?  She looks so tiny, yet is 8 pounds.  A big baby for 2 weeks old.
       She grabbed my finger and held on.  Loved it.  This is such a feel good moment.  Babies, wow!
         On the left Grandmother Ann.  On the right, Dr. Mom, Casey.
                                         Dr. Mom has just fed little Ava.

I just realized I have no pictures of  the Colonel.  I took pictures all afternnon.  Nearly all are of Ava and of whomever is holding her.  I know Tres held her.  I guess I was just admiring Ava and didn't take pictures.  Next time Tres, next time.

Thursday, August 26, 2010


It was slow this week in all areas of the County Clerk-Recorder's Building.  Monday I did 5 wedding ceremonies and Wednesday only 3.

The first bride on Monday was almost Beatnik looking.  She had on jeans, a tee shirt, and a baby in a sling.  On her head she had a tulle cap with lots of silk flowers, some very tiny, some the size of a teacup. In her back pocket she had a white hanky which had rows of tatting.  When we got to the wedding room, she put a linen and lace christening gown on her baby.  The bride then told me that the cap and the christening gown had been passed down through her family for over 100 years. The two items had been made by Queen Victoria's persoal seamstress.  The bride said for her somthing new, something borrowed, something blue:  the cap was old, the hanky is borrowed,  her jeans are blue, and the baby is new.  My beatnik was also a traditionalist.

One wedding the groom was military and being shipped out.  He did not wear his uniform, just black slacks and a black shirt.  She wore a patterned pink baby doll dress.  She carried a bouquet of pink and white roses that had a wired tulle double ring around them.  They looked so young and acted so young, yet they were both 30 years old.  Her father kept trying to give make decisions on the ceremony, tried to take the souvenir license before I gave it to the couple, tried to get the certified copies.  You know I didn't allow any of that.  If they are the ones marrying, they are the ones to answer my questions, and the ones legal papers are handed to. 

The next groom was 68, the bride was 50.  They had been together 15 years. She was very stoned faced and matter of fact about the wedding, this was no big deal.  He was dancing a jitterbug. Really, he was dancing.  Funny cute man.  I started the ceremony and he started dancing again.  Suddenly the bride's body relaxed and she started smiling.  What a smile it was, gorgeous.  The groom danced throughout the ceremony.  After I pronounced them married, he gave her a quick little kiss and then they just held each other and smiled. Goosebumps.

Only one traditional wedding dress this week.  The dress was long white satin, loosely form fitting, with a small train.  It had a Grecian bodice halter type front. The back had rhinestone straps that crisscrossed to just below the waist.  Well, maybe not that traditional of a dress.  But it was a true wedding dress. 

Another goosebumps' wedding.  The bride and groom were in their early 30's, he had a teenage son to witness, she had a teenage daughter to witness.  Neither had been married.  Throughout the wedding they held each other.  When I pronounced them married, he said, "WOW!" over and over and over.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Erik is right

My son, Erik, has chastised me for not mentioning the name of the Southern restaurant owned by a couple I married.  And he is right, I should have done that.  Late hours and a little wine makes one forgetful.

Eboraya's Soul Food & Catering.    
6326 San Pablo Avenue, Oakland CA 94508.   
Phone  510-601-1690   
They are open Tuesday-Saturday  12PM -10PM             Sunday 12 PM- 7PM  
Free delivery 12PM-5PM (except Sunday) minimum order $25 They deliver to a huge area, so ask if they will come to your house. 

Some web sites list them in Emeryville, the menu I have says Oakland.  They do not have a website.  They have good reviews on Yelp and a couple of other sites I checked.

A few items from their menu:  I don't know if the prices are right.  She was carrying the menu in her purse and making notes on it.  But you will have a general idea of the costs.

Pork ribs small $11.99 one side       large  $14.00 2 sides
BBQ chicken $9.99 sm     $11.99 large    same deal on sides.
Half chicken fried w/fries and drink   $9.99
They have fish, burgers, veggie burgers

Nearly all the sides are $3                                     Desserts run $3.50
Collard Greens
Cajun Rice
String beans
and lots more

It is a small place and sometimes has a wait.  The owners are Conya (I think pronounced like con man) and Charles. The restaurant is probably named after their daugher. If any of you (Erik) get there before us, let me know how it is.  Better yet, Erik take MOM and Dad out to dinner.  :)

Monday, August 23, 2010


Last night Marty and I joined a dear friend, X for dinner.  She was hosting a dinner for seven of us, whose main link is our love for her. We are her family, her support group.  We have all done most of the following:  gone with her to doctor appointments, sat in the waiting room during procedures or surgeries, driven her to radiation treatments, been there for her to talk, been there to help her when she came home from a procedure or surgery.  We love her and want to help in any way we can.

X has had many cancers.  She has had several surgeries for skin cancer, she has had lung cancer, and she has had breast cancer. Notice I said HAD.  She has beat all of these terrible diseases.

Last night was the 5 year celebration for X beating lung cancer.  We had champagne and dined royally at her favorite Chinese restaurant.  We laughed, we toasted her good health, because she has good health. It was a room of love for a strong woman who does not give up when a terrible disease strikes.  She researches doctors and the disease.  She learns how to fight the diseases and is smart enough to use the strength of her friends.  She is not afraid to ask for help.  And she lets us help her. 

Marty and I celebrate her life.  And look forward to the party in 2 1/2 years for her 5 years free of breast cancer.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

You came to Oakland to get married? Why?

Couples come to the Clerk Recorder's building to buy a marriage license and are surprised to learn they can marry right then. The clerk asks, "Do you have a witness?"  And the couple says,"No."  Many think we will provide a witness but we don't.  So they are sent through the lobby looking for a nice person to be a witness.  We also send them to our little cafe. The funds from this cafe support a program for teenagers who have turned 18 and can no longer be in the foster care program.  The teenagers work in the cafe to get a certificate for food services. 

My first bride and groom were in their 50s.  They had no witness so I sent them to the cafe. C agreed to witness and went up with us.  After the wedding they gave C some $10 bills.  That was huge to him.  And I am thankful for couples like this one.

The next couple managed to tick me off before I met them.  I called their names over and over in both lobbies.  No answer.  I yelled last call and said the names again.  I started back to my desk and the couple sauntered up and said here we are.  I had stood next to them a couple of times calling their names.  What is wrong with people?

Couple three was very interesting to me.  The bride was from Argentina by way of San Jose.  The groom was from Pikeville, KY.  This town is way up in the mountains from Corbin where I grew up.  Way up there.  It was nice to talk to some one who sounds just like I do. 

SIDEBAR:  And speaking of Kentucky, there are foods Marty and I miss from there.  California has wonderful food.  But sometimes you just need Southern cooking and you don't wanna do it yourself.

The next couple was from the South also, Mississippi and Louisiana.  I jokingly said, "We need to talk food. You just can't find good ribs, pulled pork, string beans . . ."  And the bride said, "You need to come to our restaurant."  She gave me a menu, said they deliver free, even in the Oakland Hills where we live. When she told me that, I hugged her and told her I loved her. Hardly any one delivers up here.  I am so excited.  I plan to call some afternoon and order ribs, and beans, and potato salad, some barbecued chicken and then we will pig out.  Of course we have our fingers crossed that the food is good.  It does have good reviews on Yelp.  Oh, I did marry the two of them.

The clerk brought me the last license.  The bride lived in Paris, France.  The groom lived in Paris, France.  The witness lived in Paris, France.  Interesting.  When we got in the elevator I said, "There has to be a story here.  If you live in Paris the most romantic place in the world, why are you marrying in Oakland?"  The groom said, " Too many relatives in France."  They thought San Francisco was a romantic city, so they wanted to be married there.  They planned the trip, went to City Hall in San Francisco to marry, and got shot down.  You have to make an appointment to be married there, weeks and weeks ahead.  Alameda County is the only place in the 9 county area that doesn't require appointments.  So this lovely couple ended up in Oakland, CA to be married by me.  

Wednesday was a fun day.  Interesting couples.  A lead to Southern food.  I think I'll go back and do it all over again on Monday.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


Monday when I arrived at the County Recorder's Building, I went straight to one of the supervisors.  I needed to find out our game plan on doing same sex marriages.  Would we begin on Wednesday at 5:01 when the stay was lifted or on Thursday morning?  I told them I could do either day.  The powers upstairs decided to begin on Thursday.  Little did I know that the stay would not be lifted.  We are now waiting until the appeals are heard in December and they hope to rule sometime in January.

I did several weddings Monday.  One couple had been together for nearly 20 years.  Their two sons were the witnesses.  The bride was surprised at how emotional she and the groom were.

One couple were in their 60s.  Both Iranian. Both very striking looking.  They had lots of friends and family with them.  And there was major jewelery in the room. All the women had big honking diamond rings, pearl necklaces, gold bracelets.  But two stood out:  The bride wore a gorgeous white pant suit. Her necklace was pearls that were huge.  Her earrings were pearl drops, lots of gold and the pearls were as large as the end of my thumb.  But those were nothing compared to her friend's earrings: again huge pearls that had three rows of baguette diamonds. Can you say covet, covet, covet?

Another couple was fun and a little different.  He was in a black silk shirt, black vest, and black slacks.  She had on a very plain white strapless dress, street length. At the waist she had a yellow sash. She carried a nosegay of roses and the rings were tied up in the ribbons.  Oh, and on her feet, red Converse shoes.  I loved it.

There were other weddings.  But the last I will tell you about.  There is a saying, "No good deed goes unpunished", attributed to Clare Boothe Luce.  That is so true.  To be married the day you get your license, a couple must be punched in by 4:00.  I am scheduled to work until 4:00.  Usually if couples are at the desk I will wait and see if they are going to be married then. 

Monday there were several couples in the queue, and I said I would wait to see if they needed me to marry anyone.  The last couple wanted to be married.  I get the license at 4:15, I checked the license, go out to get them, and the bride and the witness are gone.  They had gone to feed the parking meter. If you are going to buy a license and get married wouldn't you put the full 2 hours in the meter?  We are efficient but there are lots of people in line.  Anyway, the groom is calling her to tell her to hurry back.  No answer.  Then it is 4:30 and the Deputy locks the building.  My bride and witness are locked out.  I asked him to let them in when she came back and he did. The wedding does happen. The couple is one of those that radiated love and caring.  It was a goose bump wedding.  So I forgave them in my heart for making me wait on them.

Sunday, August 15, 2010


This is our month for visiting the North Coast of California.  Last weekend we went to Sea Ranch.  Today we drove up to Bodega Bay.  We had lunch with friends at their lovely home, which has a killer view. Pictures to follow. It was a lovely afternoon with our hosts and another couple.  The food and wine was great.  Conversation was interesting.  We discussed families, books, mutual friends, dogs, problems with our AT&T cell coverage, even a little bit of gossip. 

Appetizers were guacamole, incredible bread, and lots of cheeses with champagne.  Lunch was salmon and steak; salad with blueberries, walnut, blue cheese; new potatoes; and apple pie.  Yummy, yummy

On the way to Bodega Bay, this is Valley Ford.  A wide spot in the road. You can see not much traffic on a Sunday morning. 

View from our hosts' living room.  The fog comes and goes.

More from their living room.  Fog coming in a little more.

Right before we left, most of the fog is gone and we have a sparkling view.

Close to home on I 80.  Lots of cars.  We are back in civilization.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Welcome to Eneha

I have an new follower.  I tried to send an email to welcome her, but for some reason Goggle will not let me.  I would love to know just how Eneha (I hope this is the correct English spelling) found me.  I am excited to have another out of the USA follower. 

I pulled up Eneha's blogs, but only some of the titles are in English.  So I can't read them.  If any of you out there read Greek, ( I think that is what it is) please let me know about Eneha. Click on her picture and that will take you to her blogs and info.

And Eneha, I would love to hear from you also.  Leave a comment and let me know about you.  I am pleased to have you as a follower.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Thank goodness the clerk warned me.

Wednesday was slowly paced and I only did four weddings.

One couple had had a cultural wedding and were surprised when they saw how nice our wedding room was.  They both said they wished they had worn their wedding clothes for the civil ceremony.

Couple two were something else.  He was a tall Marine in his dress uniform. He was just back from his second tour in Iraq.   She was in a long white heavy satin strapless dress.  It had a gold beaded bodice, lacing up the back, a deep side ruffle and the whole dress was trimimed in gold. The bride had tattoos down one arm and across and down a breast.  I guess I am growing more used to heavily tattooed women.  Hers were beautiful.  They were colorful large flowers.

Her sister was to bring up the rings.  I told her to take them out of the boxes which makes less to drop for the couple.  As the couple started their vows, I saw a ring roll across the floor and under the bride's dress.  Her friend sheepishly walked up, lifted the dress, and picked up the ring.

Couple three just wanted the basic three sentences (they are about half way down that blog) because they were having a real wedding in February.  Then they changed their mind and wanted the long term wedding ceremony.  And the bride just fell apart during the vows.  He was teary while saying his vows, but she cried and cried and shook with emotion.  He held her until she calmed down and we finished the ceremony.  I've told you before, when I do a ceremony the couple knows it is an important event.

And the last couple.  Clerk R warned me this was a sad wedding.  The groom was dying, and did not have a lot of time left.  The couple had spent all week signing legal papers to protect the bride after his death.  They have been together 30 years and never felt the need to marry.  Now the legalities were staring them in the face. I never tell names, but this time I need the groom's real name.

As soon as they came up to me, Malcolm started telling me everything he had said to R.  And he became more and more upset.  The bride worked to calm him down, while letting him tell it all again.  In the wedding room I asked what type of ceremony and they wanted the long term relationship ceremony.  I looked at it and knew I had to edit as I read.  No in sickness or health, no for as long as I live, no use of the word future.  This couple has no future.  After the ceremony they stood and clung to each other.  The witness and I were a little teary eyed too.  Then they asked me to take pictures of the three of them.  So I did.  Malcolm put his bride on his left, put his friend on the right, and said, "I am Malcolm in the Middle."

Monday, August 9, 2010


Today I arrived at the County Recorder's Building right at 1:00.  There were people all over the place. Brides in long white dresses, short white dresses;  little boys in suits, little boys in fancy vests; men in suits; and everyone had flowers.  Where did all these people come from?  We don't get busy until 3:00. What is going on?  I literally had to fight my way through hordes of people to get to the door to the area where my desk is.

One of the clerks said to me, " It's 8-9-10 today."  Oh, people like fun sequences of numbers.  On 08-08-08 and on 09-09-09,  we had people lined up down the street.  Other dates have brought in lots of couples to be married.  By the time I got there today they had already done a lot of weddings, with no volunteer to help.  So they were thrilled when I arrived.

One wedding was very upsetting for me.  The couple had had a big "wedding".  Except their friend had not done the paper work to be a one day marriage commissioner.  So they really had a party.  They wanted the down and dirty ceremony from me. I hate those.  But I did it: three legal sentences are all it takes.  Do you take_________ as your wife?  Do you take ________ as your husband?  By the power vested in me by the state of CA, I now pronounce you husband and wife.  Isn't that sad?  But that is what they wanted.

One bride was in a long puffy strapless dress.  Every time I saw her in the lobby, she was tugging on the dress to pull it up.  During the ceremony she was still tugging.  She also was very teary and shaky, I thought she might pass out.  I stopped at one point for her to breathe (yes, people forget to do that).

The best wedding today was very small.  We had the groom, the bride, and his son E as the witness.  E was 7 years old.  He wore a blazer, an oxford cloth button down shirt, a tie, and dockers. he was a mini Daddy. He had one accessory, a very fancy pen.  E told me he had been practicing writing his name all week and this was the pen he was going to use.  I never let anyone use their own  pen.  I have to be sure the pen is black ink or a dark blue.  Oh dear what if his pen is purple or green or pink ink?  He is 7, I can't disappoint him.  But we have laws on the color of the ink.  We tested the pen, yay it is blue.  He can use it.

The couple asked me if I would take pictures after the ceremony.  I said let E take them during the ceremony.  They weren't sure, but we all know electronics and 7 years are perfect together.  E was like a pro, he was on his knees shooting up at them.  He turned the camera, he walked around the room getting every angle. Daddy looked at the pictures after the wedding, he was amazed how great the shots were.  E kept saying, "I did a good job, didn't I Daddy?"

Then we signed the license.  E did the souvenir license first, perfectly printed out first and last name.  Then we did the real license.  Where he had to sign was not as wide as my little finger and not very long.  Adults mess it up all the time.  Not E, perfect again.  This was a very proud little boy and rightfully so.

I always try to make my couples and their guests comfortable.  But the above wedding I really worked to make that child comfortable.  Signing as a witness for your father's and stepmother's wedding is huge.  And I was rewarded.  The father told me he was so glad they got me as their commissioner.  He thanked me for being so nice and so kind to their son.  And that is another reason I volunteer.

Sunday, August 8, 2010


Yesterday we drove to The Sea Ranch for a birthday party.  Our friends have a lovely home there and hosted a great lunch at the lodge.  Getting there was an adventure.  FromOakland it was 2 1/2 hours to 3 hours.  Most of the trip is on a 2 lane highway which hangs over the Pacific Ocean.  Great views, terrible driving conditions: fog, wind, narrow blind curves, and flat lander tourists who are scared to death.  There are turnouts for the nervous tourists to pull over so the faster people can go by.  Unfortunately the tourists are too stupid to know they are driving slow.

We left at 8:00 in the morning to make a 12:00 lunch.  We built in the tourists, fog, and breakfast.  At Bodega Bay about half way there we stopped for fuel and food.  We were just going to have toast, but a great view and good smells caused us to order eggs and the works.

One of the views at Bodega Bay.  Notice the heavy grey fog. 

Part of the drive we were in the clouds and had to use our windshield wipers.  As we continued to climb, the road become curvier, narrower and more interesting.  Even with the fog the views were awesome.  And I really hate the use of awesome.  But this time, the only word that works.  We began to cross over cattle guards, (you city folks click here.)  Why would a highway on the side of cliffs have cattle guards?   This is why.  A Charolais bull was coming down the middle of the road.  And he was headed toward our side.  Look at the picture.  They stand close to 6 feet tall and weigh as much as 3000 pounds!  It was like a Hummer crossing into our lane.  We wanted to stop and take a picture but were afraid he would either charge our SUV or try to mate with it. So Marty car drove very carefully by him.  Others at the party also shared the road with the bull. He completely owned that highway.

I mentioned the turnouts the tourists should use and don't.  Marty taught many of them how to use the turnouts.  Marty must be the first on the road.  He must set the pace for everyone.  And if they don't understand that, well he drives up their tailpipes until they get off his road.   I do agree with him on this item.  If you are scared of the curves, scared of the narrow road, and scared of no guardrails, OK then drive slowly.  But pull over at the turnouts and let the people who can drive, fly on by. 

The party was lovely.  Lots of fun, lots of wine and champagne, lots of love in the room.  As the day wore on the fog finally burned off.  Below are three pictures from the deck of Hank's and Thom's home.

Looking left
Looking right
Looking head on           
I posted one of these pictures on face book yesterday.  Noemi commented that she needed richer friends.  Yes, it is good to have friends who share their toys.

As I said, a lovely day.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Thoughts on some of the weddings

WARNING, spell check not working today.  And you all know, I can't spell.

The Recorder's Office has been crazy for the last month.  People out the door waiting to buy marriage licenses and many of them wanting us to do the ceremony.  Most couples seem to arrive around 3:00 and we are slammed trying to get everyone handled by the 4:00 cut off. 

This week was different.  Monday there were 6 wedding ceremonies.  It was a nicely paced day.  Wednesday, when I walked in at 12:45, the lobbies were packed. Marriage licenses, death certificates, birth certificates, business licenses, every counter was busy. I was doing my first marriage ceremony by 12:50. By 3:00 I had done 7 ceremonies.  Now that isn't a lot, but 90% of the licenses had errors. That takes more time. They had to be corrected, reprinted, and re signed.  Everyone was making mistakes.  Even the clerks who are always perfect.  Strange day.  And then by 3:15 there was no one in the lobby. We kept waiting for the 3:00 rush.  Never happened.

Some of the things I remember about this week.:

The nursing mother with the huge blue veined boobs falling out of her dress. The dress was definitely bought before the baby's birth. 
One groom was so nervous I was afraid he would pass out.  He was very wobbly.  After the wedding I told him that he had worried me.  And he said, "This was scarier than taking the Bar."

There was the annoying couple.  I walked through both lobbies calling their names.  After the 5th time I yelled last call for ........  Nothing.  I walk to the clerk and ask if she sees them.  Yes, they were standing behind me, never once saying here we are.  They just wandered around the lobby.  They had 10 or so guests who never shut up during the wedding.  Rude, rude, rude.

One couple looked a little rough. The bride had on tight jeans, a camisole with bra straps showing, and lots of tattoos.  But on her feet, lilac high heel sandals.  Those shoes had to have cost $400.  They were magnificent!  This couple was so not what they looked like.  They were so moved by the ceremony, they adored each other.  Very tender moment.

Then there was the bride in the long creamy wedding dress. The dress had ruching front and back. There was also lacing up the back.  The dress was stunning. The groom was in a suit.  They had 20 guests all dressed up and even had a professional photographer.  On the bride's upper arm was a tattoo she had tried to cover with makeup.  The tattoo was two initials.  And they were not the groom's.

And the last one is a lesson in life.  Always read all of the documents.  This was a confidential marriage.  The couple was divorced less than a month ago.  They had been surprised to get the final divorce decree.  They had made up and thought they had stopped the divorce procedings.  Some where they missed sending in some papers.  Consequently, they were in my wedding room.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Prop 8, gone!

Today the judge ruled that Prop 8 is unconstitutional!  I am thrilled, I am happy.  I am also waiting for the next trial.  The supporters of Prop 8 have already filed an appeal.  That was expected.  We are sure this issue will go to the US Supreme Court. 

The Supreme Court is a good thing. When this goes to the US Supreme Court it will make the decision a federal ruling for all 50 states.  And we feel that will be a ruling that same sex couples may marry. 

We also are waiting for the judge to rule whether CA can sell licenses for same sex couples to marry.  A hearing will be held on August 6.  Then we will wait for a decision.

Keep your fingers crossed.  Please God, may we get to again do same sex marriages.


Tuesday, August 3, 2010


Those that know me, know I am not political.  But I do have one issue that sets me off.  Same sex marriage.  I am for it.  I hate that Prop 8 passed.  This is the proposition that took away the right for same sex couples to marry. I cried on that election night, and still cry thinking about the hate that brought about the proposition.

Wednesday between 1:00 and 3:00 the judge will rule on Prop 8, is it constitutional or not. No matter what the ruling is, we know the law suits will continue.

I pray that the judge will give back to same sex couples the same rights heterosexuals have.

And that said, damn you, you bigots.