Sunday, July 31, 2011

I WANT IT !!!!

Yesterday Marty had to pick up some pamphlets he had had printed.  We had other errands to run so I went with him.  We picked them up at Costco.  Not that Costco, Costco's Business Center.  There are only about 8 in the nation, and we have one just down the road.  They sell paper, shredders, phones, restaurants items, food items for restaurants/convenience stores, aprons, most anything a business could need.  Many of the items can be used in the home and they are much cheaper than a regular store or grocery. 

We did a little shopping while there.  We bought two cases of individual packets of Cracker Jacks.  We love our Cracker Jacks.  We bought fresh produce, some cheese, printer paper.  But I wanted more.

I want and need everything in this picture.  Including Marty. The hotel pans, roasters, pizza pans, I need it.

Machines!  Blenders, choppers, coffee pots, steamers, rice cookers, heat lamps, all bright and shiny.  Please, I don't care my kitchen is full.  I don't care we are looking at moving to a smaller place.  Please, just one or two shiny machines.

We controlled ourselves.  No shiny machines made it home with us.  No wonderful garlic presses, spatulas, knives, colanders, skillets, ladles went in our cart.  The only thing we really needed that they carried was parchment paper sheets.  We didn't buy it though, the smallest box had sheets twice the size of a cookie sheet so we would have to cut them in half.  The box held 2000 sheets.  That would have been 4000 sheets, a little more than we could store.

 I know where this place is now and I will be back. The kitchen equipment is calling me. 

Friday, July 29, 2011

Domestic Goddess

Yes, that is me, a Domestic Goddess.  There are lots of perks with that job, and some awful cons. 

Some perks:  You don't have to get dressed until you feel like it.  Naps!  If you are good at the job, no one really know if you have a do nothing day.  You are the only one who knows where everything is.  You decide when to throw out the magazine collection.  You don't have to wear shoes. The smell of freshly starched ironed shirts. Cooking.

Some cons:  Cleaning toilets.  You are the only one who knows where everything is, yes a double edged sword.  You have to think of a different meal every single night.  Sorting socks. Ironing. Sorting socks.  Did I say sorting socks???

I hate hate hate sorting socks.  Marty usually wears two pairs a day.  One pair for work, and then he changes into sport socks when he gets home.  All his socks look alike, except they aren't.  He has navy blue socks and black ones just like them.  On a dark foggy day who can tell the difference?  He has over the calf socks and then the same brand and color that are 1/32 of an inch shorter.  He has sport socks that all came in the same bag .  Should be a no brainer, wrong.  He wears some of them more, so they have faded just a hair and must be carefully matched to their faded mate.  And then we have the socks below.

Look at them.  Study them.  I hate these socks.  I am tempted to throw them away and say the washer ate them.

Today I was matching socks and realized I had mixed these two pairs up. The just washed socks don't match. Yes the stupid patterns are different.  The pair on the bottom has two little thingys and the pair on the top has only one thingy.  I went through his sock drawer, I can't find the other mismatched socks.  I went through the hamper, not there.  Did I send Marty to work with mismatched socks?  I went through the sock drawer again.  Found them!  They were buried under several other pairs.  The man has way too many pairs of socks.  I reunited the socks with their mates.  Great joy in the sock drawer. 


Thursday, July 28, 2011

Monday weddings

For my readers who only are interested in weddings, read this post very slowly.  Savor it, I will not be writing about weddings for another week or so.  Wednesday I didn't have a car so I couldn't go in to do wedding ceremonies.  This coming Monday I have a doctor's appointment, so will not go in then either. 

Monday was slow and things did not always go as planned.  The first bride had red eyes and tear stained makeup.  She was still crying.  I told her they had 90 days to use the license.  The ceremony did not have to take place then.  Oh, she was fine.  No problem about marrying, she explained she was pregnant and it was just hormones.  As they were all leaving after the wedding, I saw a cute pink purse on a guest's arm.  I like purses as much as shoes.  So I went over to look at it and nearly died. The decoration I saw was words, F*#k you!  Isn't that charming.

The next wedding I didn't do.  The bride's English was very limited.  We could have struggled through, but it would have been really hard on her.  So a commissioner was found who speaks Mandarin.

After the next ceremony the couple wanted the license reprinted. It didn't have her married name at the top.  We explained the license is issued in the name a person has when she/he walk in the door.  At the bottom is the name she/he take after the ceremony.  Again, they were shown all this before they signed the license. Why not question it then?  But as we all know, no one reads the license when the clerk tells them to.

I go out for the next couple.  We have a man, a woman, and a little boy.  I asked is everyone here and is the child their witness?  They said yes.  (There is no age requirement for a witness. As long as he can write his name it is legal.)  I head them toward the elevator and they asked me to wait a minute.  "Can we wait for our witness who is up at the counter?" What is going on?  They said the son is the witness.  Do we have an English problem?  I tell them when the witness is ready to knock on the door and I will take them up them.

I go back to my desk and wait, and wait, and wait.   Clerk B comes up and grabs the license.  The witness left, we have a new witness, and we have to reprint.  The new witness is a witness in the next wedding.  I can see the bride in white, little boys in tuxes, grandmother in a wheelchair. Lots of guests.  Looks like a fun wedding to end the day. 

After the wedding the volunteer witness and I go back downstairs.  I told her as soon as I checked the license, I'll be right back out.  There is no license on my desk.  I go out to the clerks and ask them where's the license.

It seems there was a problem.  The bride is not 18.  She is too young to legally marry.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Testing another recipe.

Saturday night Marty and I tested another recipe for Cook's Illustrated.  It was Spaghetti al Vino Rosso with Arugula, Pancetta, and Pinenuts.  There are lots of pictures of the process.  This time it was all Marty cooking.  I made a salad and washed up behind him.

                                                     Toasting the pinenuts.

The pancetta ready to be browned.  Marty had trouble finding this in our grocery.  Which is weird, pancetta is a common meat item.  He found it in a upscale grocery.  So we paid more than usual for it.

 This is the arugula.  Another item that Safeway did not have.  Our upscale grocery luckily did have it.

                                               Pancetta starting to brown. 

Marty adding sugar to the pasta. We think more was needed.  The finished dish had a bitter taste.

                                                 Steaming the almost finished dish.

 The pasta has had red wine added to it to finish cooking.  The arugula and Parmesan have been added to the dish.

Marty is one fancy skillet flipper.  If I do this stuff lands everywhere.  He is mixing all the ingredients.  The pasta is continuing to cook in wine and pasta water.

                                                       Starting to plate.

                                              Marty is adding the toasted pine nuts.

                                        Now Marty is adding the browned pancetta.

                              Almost ready to eat.  One more ingredient to be added.

                  The Parmesan cheese is sprinkled on the dish.  We are ready to eat.

This was not very labor intensive.  But you had to be ready for every step.  It was a good dish, just not a great dish.  As I said before, there was a bitter taste to the dish.  I don't think it was the arugula.  We use that in salads and it doesn't taste bitter.  The pancetta was good, the wine soaked pasta was good, hot pepper flakes gave the dish a nice snap.  But it just did not stand out as a I'll fix this dish again.  It was not a disaster as our last recipe test was.  But not a keeper either.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Three very different couples, plus a bonus story

I only did weddings on Monday this week.  Wednesday I  didn't feel great so I stayed home to rest.  I felt so guilty for not going in.  The marriage clerk sent me a note and said it was just as well I stayed home.  They did not have a single ceremony Wednesday afternoon.

Monday's first wedding was very traditional.  All the male guests wore a rose boutonniere as did the groom.  All the female guests wore rose corsages.  The men wore suits, the women wore dressy dresses.  Our groom wore a dark suit and tie.  The bride wore a knee length white satin sheath.  The bodice was covered in lace.  She carried a multicolored bouquet.

The couple was so at ease.  They laughed, they hugged, they enjoyed their wedding.  There was love in the room

The second couple were Indian.  He was in a suit.  She was in a sari.  It was a brilliant blue with a tapestry edge.  There were gold sunbursts with gold jewels all over the sari.  They had done a cultural wedding and just wanted the legalities done.  They became emotional during the ceremony, it wasn't just a legal thing anymore.   After the ceremony they both hugged me and thanked me over and over.  And the witness hugged me and thanked me too.  That is very unusual.  Couples from India are very reserved.  They rarely hug each other in public let alone the officiant.  Very special feeling for me.

The last couple was stereotypical Hispanic. He had on the backwards baseball hat pulled down to his ears and sunglasses. He looked like a thug.  She was a beautiful young woman.  Her mother is their witness.  We get in the Wedding Room.  I told them to put their coats (yes rest of the world, it was cool that day and coats were needed) and things down.  We get their son settled.  And then I look for the groom.  No thug in sight.  There is a gorgeous young man standing there: no hat, no sunglasses.  I look around for the groom and then realize he is the groom.

I did the wedding ceremony.  Afterwards I told the groom he was never ever to wear that baseball hat again.  I said that I might sound like a dirty old woman, but he was gorgeous. But with that hat on, who would know.  His mother-in-law cheered me.  She said she had told him the same thing.

He did not put the hat back on.  I left them with the marriage clerk and as I left I said, "Burn the hat."

BONUS STORY:  This comes courtesy of the marriage clerk.  She received a  phone call from a Catholic Church official.  They had done an audit of one of their churches and found two completed marriage licenses.  From 2001!  Should they send them in to the county?  No, they are no longer valid.  The couples are married, but the marriages were not recorded. Special papers have to be signed in order for these marriages to be recorded with the state.  And we can't do anything until the couples come into our office.  So the church needs to track down the couples and get them to come to our office to do the paper work.

I hope they can find them.  After 10 years they could be long gone from California.  If I hear the ending on this one, I'll let you know.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Pretend Grandchildren: part 2

I received an email from my sister- in- law tonight.  She was commenting on my post about her real grandchildren.  She told me that Hall, her grandson, who is visiting them this week couldn't understand why I didn't mention him in my blog. Why did I only write about his little sisters? He just turned 8 and doesn't get that I was writing about last weekend and not about all my pretend grandchildren. He wants to know why I left him out.

You know what, he is right to be upset.  He is the one who made us the pretend grandparents.  Last year he invited us to his school for Grandparents' Day.  I wrote a blog about what a special day it was.  I also wrote about his sisters in that blog.  Yet yesterday I left him out of the blog. 

Hall, Aunt Janet is sorry.  I should have told everyone about you.  I should have told about your adventure of flying alone to Kentucky to see your real grandparents.  I should have told them that is why you weren't in the pictures.  You are visiting in Kentucky. 

So everyone, we have three pretend grandchildren that we love very much.  And I shouldn't have left out a little boy who made me a grandmother.

Off to see our grandchildren, pretend that is

 WARNING:  If you don't like children or puppy dogs, read no further.

We have pretend grandchildren, our nephew's children.  They are really the grandchildren of my brother and his wife.  Too bad, they live in Kentucky and the children are an hour from us.  We get to see them and play with them more often.  Daddy is a pilot stationed at Travis Air Force Base and Mom is a civilian doctor who  works on base.  Last weekend Dad was in Romania and Mom wanted to run a half marathon.  We went up to watch the kids.

This is Ava our blue eyed red head.  She is trying to walk, just not ready to let go of the wall, chair leg or people leg.  When she is crawling she is fast, really fast.  She will go whizzing by and then stop and look at you.  It is as if she is letting us catch up with her, then she is off again.

Annabella, aka Bella, loves her Uncle Marty.  And he loves her.  He let her bang away on his computer all she wanted.  Here she is writing her name.  Very impressive that she can spell her name, she just turned 4.  When Marty took the computer back to do some work, she kept asking me when he would be done so she could play again.

              Mom Casey holding Ava.  Ava was trying out some solid food.

Since Marty was going to use the computer, Bella took over Marty's phone.  She is playing Angry Birds, and she is really good.  Much better than I am.  She has that thumb thing going that people my age have to learn.

We had supper on the patio.  Ava has milk, turkey, and frozen peas.  She loves frozen peas.  Notice their dog, Dexter cleaning up spilled food from her lap.  Then he would stand to the side and she would eat some food and then she would put some in Dexter's mouth.

Dexter decided he wanted to sleep with us.  At first that was fine.  He was between us and it was not too crowded.  Then he switched and was across the bottom of the bed.  Marty slept on a diagonal, head on his pillow and feet on my side.  My feet???  they were hanging off the edge of the bed.  We tried moving Dexter, he wasn't having it.  Once he is in bed he doesn't move.

Aunt Janet feeding our little bird.  Who eats likes she is starving.  This child loves food, and eyes your food while you eat. 

This is my favorite picture of the weekend.  Marty and I are trying to fix our lunch after we fed the girls.  Every time we opened the refrigerator Ava was there.  As was Dexter.  Ava wanted some juice that was on the bottom shelf beside her milk.  She even tried to climb up the inside of the fridge to get to some of her food.  She is a corker.

We had a good time taking care of the girls.  They are sweet and loving little girls.  They are also very busy.  As I said we had a good time with them.  But we were glad when Casey came home and we could go home.  There is a reason God gives children to young people.  We senior citizens poop out.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Light day at the Marriage Factory

Wednesday I only had two wedding ceremonies to perform.  They both were interesting for different reasons.

The first couple was from Nepal.  He was in casual slacks and shirt.  She wore a black lace tunic over back leggings.  They had three witnesses who were more excited that the couple.  The witnesses took video and dozens and dozens of pictures.  Everyone was really happy and excited.  When I pronounced the couple husband and wife, the bride and groom hugged each other.  The witnesses went crazy, yelling and cheering.  When I took the couple into the wedding desk for their certified copy of the license, the groom said, "I need a drink."

Clerk H brought me the next license and said, "They are an interesting couple."  I knew there would be trouble.  She wouldn't explain, just wanted me to decide on my own.  Then she said, "Oh, don't breathe around the witness."  I asked if he was high on marijuana, heavy perfumed, what.  She just said, "Dirty." When I met them I felt they were making a a statement of how super cool they are.  They weren't cool.  The groom had the sides of his head shaved and then this thick pelt hung down the middle of his head to his shoulders.  He had on some weird suit that was like a zoot suit that missed the mark.  The bride had on a tight spandex blouse and spandex micro mini that looked spray painted on her.  She had on ripped black heavy stockings that had runs in them.  They really acted as if they were the coolest duo out there.  Neither was very clean.  Her hair was full of what my grandmother would have called "rats' nests".  They thought the whole ides of vows, rings, a ceremony was a big joke.  And to top off this was the witness.  He would rub off he was so dirty.  Clothes filthy, hands, hair grimy.  I hated to let him use my pen to sign the license.

Now the above is enough to remember them.  But it gets worse.  During the ceremony I nearly screamed at the couple to knock it off and get a room.  They were groping, grinding, and rubbing each other.  And I felt as if they were just doing it for a show.  I was totally grossed out by the time I got them out of my wedding room. 

We rarely have tacky people like the last couple.  People respect the ceremony, they respect the commissioners doing their job.  When we get difficult people, we still do our jobs.  We treat the public with honor and respect.  But we will talk about them after they leave.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

It is great to be a marriage commissioner!

Yesterday was 7-11-11.  People love stand out dates.  We were busy marrying couples, and a lot of licenses were sold. The lobby in the County Recorder's Building was packed all afternoon.

When I walked in the county building I saw the dress swirling around the chair.  The bride and groom were sitting at the clerk's window.  The bride wore a long white dress with bead work on the front and the train. The dress was ruched to one side. She wore a short veil held in place by a double band of rhinestones.  He had on a black tux and his shirt was very interesting.  Each cuff of his shirts ended in a small ruffle.  I know that sounds awful, but it wasn't.

Now they weren't the only ones dressed formally.  When I gathered them to go upstairs I was impressed.  There were around 30 people.  The women wore long beautiful dresses with fur shrugs.  Yes fur.  The bride had a white fur shrug.  We are having cold foggy weather this week.  You need a coat.  Anyway, the men wore dark suits.  And then the children. The little boys wore tuxes that matched the groom's.  The little girls wore white long dresses that complimented the bride's dress.

Now we have this fancy wedding.  Very prim and proper guests.  And the bride and groom nervously laughed throughout the ceremony.  

We had a fancy formal wedding at the county building.  Everyone from the Sheriff's Deputies to the clerks were loving the look.  This couple may have had the most formal, elegant wedding group of the day.  But they weren't the only ones making a fashion statement.

The next couple were crisp, squeaky clean, with shinning black hair. They were very tiny, right at five foot each. They were like two perfects dolls standing there.  The groom was so crisp with his starched shirt, military haircut, and stiff posture.  He wore a gorgeous blue pinstriped suit.  The bride wore white flowers in her black hair. She wore a knee length white dress. The bodice was of soft satin, the skirt had crisp knife pleats, and at the waist was a black ribbon belt.  On her feet were flowered white sandals.

Another couple had a large group of guests. Most were dressed up, except for the Matron of Honor.  She was just thrown together and that is the nicest thing I can say. The groom wore a black tux with a rose boutonniere. The bride wore a white, knee length, Greek style dress.  She carried a bouquet of roses of mixed colors.  She accessorized the dress with a cellphone.  I didn't think I would get her off the phone long enough to do the ceremony.

Two weddings the couples were in everyday clothes.  But don't think these wedding weren't as emotional or moving as the fancy ones.  One bride was terribly nervous.  She kept wiping her hands on her dress.  She would look at her hands and say, "sweaty palms".  Then they would laugh.  This went on over and over.  She was really nervous.

The last wedding I did nearly make me break down. The bride and groom were very casual, very calm and collected.  I began the ceremony, the groom was saying his vows and the bride nearly collapsed. She was sobbing out loud.  The groom held and comforted her.  This went on for several minutes.  I wasn't sure if she would be able to go on.  She gathered herself together and I picked up the ceremony.  Then the groom started crying.  The witness is crying.  It was all I could do not to cry with everyone.  We got through the ceremony, and ended with smiles all around.

You just never know what emotions will hit in the ceremonies.  We  have the laughers, the criers, the fainters, the stoics, we even have people who bounce.  People handle the big step of marriage in many different ways.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

One groom shared way too much with me . . .

Since Monday was a  holiday, I only did marriages on Wednesday.  I was slammed the first hour and then nothing for nearly two hours. 

Two weddings stand out for several reasons.  Others were sweet, a widow getting a second romance, a bride marrying on her lunch hour.  Pretty normal happenings at the Marriage Factory.  The stand outs, the weddings were pretty normal.  They just had some interesting add ons to the events.

One couple I can't remember.  But I remember one of the witnesses.  He is carrying a leather wrapped wheel.  The spokes and the hub were a shiny metal in a pretty design.  The wheel was at most a foot and a half in diameter.   Being the nosy person I am, I asked what he was carrying.  I thought I knew, but it just didn't make sense.  I was correct, it was a steering wheel.  "Why, are you carrying it around?" I asked. His explanation was: if he took the steering wheel off, car thieves couldn't drive his car therefore they couldn't steal his car.   Logical I guess. 

The other stand out was a Chinese couple in their 40s.  They had come to register their marriage.  They were surprised that they had to buy a license and go through a ceremony.  Each had been married before while living in China. There you registered your marriage with the government and had a family ceremony.  I married them and then took them into the marriage desk.   Clerk M would complete the rest of the paperwork.  

I took a bathroom break at this point.  As I was starting to leave the stall, I heard the door to the hall open.  I saw in the wall of mirrors the groom walking into the women's restroom.  (I could see everything he did reflected in the mirrors. Everything!)   He looked around, searching for the urinals I am sure.  None in here.  I figured he would realize he was in the wrong room and leave.  NO.  He went into a stall, leaving the door open.  At this point I shut my stall door and waited.  If I went out we would both be embarrassed.  Let us say this man really really needed to go.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Belated post for July 4

In 2000 we moved through the tunnel to the Oakland Hills. It is a tight knit neighborhood because most of them had lived through the Oakland Hills Fire.  The survivors welcome newcomers, and they teach us the horror of fire storms and how to survive the next one.  A few houses survived that fire and one house has become a gathering point on the Fourth of July.

Our hosts invite friends and neighbors, and most importantly the firefighters from the Hills' station.  This is a massive pot luck cook out. There is the pledge to the flag, singing of patriotic songs, prayers, a  little history, the introduction of the firefighters, and the group picture.  Then we eat.

We watch the Golden Gate ( for non Bay Area folks, the Golden Gate is the entrance to the San Francisco Bay, the bridge is named after it)  to see how the fog is, high or low.  Is the fog creeping in slowly, or is it rushing in?  This is important.  The fog determines if we will see the fireworks in all the cities around the Bay.  Also the fog determines if we are comfortable or freezing.  The last few years we have worn parkas and gloves.  This year was wonderful.  Shirt sleeve weather and clear, just a little low fog.

Below are some pictures from our neighborhood gathering.

When we arrived a little after 5:00 this was the view looking across the Bay at San Francisco.  The white is low fog coming through the Golden Gate.

Friends Lew and Nancy were asked to cook burgers and hot dogs this years.  We helped them.  This was not an easy task.  We had 100 guests to feed.

Marty and Lew worked hard to not have a back up in the line.  Also they wanted everything cooked to a moist point and not to a hockey puck point.  Fine line when trying to have some precooked so the line can move on to the salads and veggie tables.  They cooked everything to perfection.  I was a gofer.  Nancy helping get the meat on the grill.

 Click on this picture to enlarge it.  This is the driveway of our hosts. Down at the bottom of the hill you will see our guest of honors' fire truck.  They park headed out.  Many years they don't get to eat because they get a call and go charging out.  This year they got to eat and visit.  Then they left to patrol the hills.  The fire danger was at High.  To make it worse the roads were full of people and cars who were there to watch the fireworks.  The "visiting people" always have idiots who bring fireworks and are smokers.  The Hills are a no smoking zone.  Fireworks are pretty much illegal everywhere in the Bay Area.  So our firefighters are out there making sure no fires are started.

It is starting to get dark and the fog is still nice and low.  Will we really get to see the fireworks and not just hear them as we usually do?

Sunset over the Bay Area.  It just doesn't get much better than this.  The illegal fireworks have begun.  Hell, they began 2 days ago.  Some of the illegals down in the flats are better than some of the little cities' shows.

Full dark and the fireworks are going off all over the Bay.  Of course I don't really have great pictures of the displays. I would see them and start clicking, and I was pretty much too late.  Right in the middle across the Bay is where the fireworks are at Pier 39 in San Francisco.  To the right on this side of the Bay you can sort of see Berkeley's display.

It was a lovely fun evening. 

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The A Team

I have written about the A Team before.  This is a group of people who met to cook together.  We have become very good friends.  There are 4 couples, 3 of whom live in the Oakland Hills.  One couple was transferred to New Orleans.  They have come back to join us for A Team events.  And one time we called them while we were putting a meal together.

This group loves good food and wines.  We takes turns hosting and we rotate which courses a couple will prepare.  We have varying skills in cooking, we all shop well at specialty food shops.  The main thing is to have a lovely meal, wonderful wines, and catch up on every one's life.  We are busy people and don't see each other routinely.  Setting up our play dates sometimes takes several tries.

July 2 The A Team had a garden party.  We met at 1:00 and ate, drank, laughed, and had a great time for the five hours.  Below are some pictures of our fun day.  You might think there are a lot of wine glasses everywhere, and you would be correct.

The party begins.  Left Lew, middle Nancy, right Hank.  Lew is getting ready to open the champagne.  Hank is filling little dishes with his gazpacho.  Nancy is readying her corn and scallop amuse-bouche.  At the lower right hand corner is the sous vide machine.  That will be explained later.

The picture pretty much says it all.  Ready to toast The A Team. Also you can see the gazpacho ready for Hank to serve.

We are having some more Hank and Thom appetizers:  duck pate and a truffle chicken liver pate.

Main course sous vide boneless ribs in a red wine reduction sauce.  Lew and Nancy cooked them for 72 hours.  YUMMY!  I made the rice and spinach that was seasoned with  nutmeg.  Also I prepared the stuffed tomato.  The tomato had sauteed mushrooms, garlic, shallots, tomato pulp.  Then I added in panko and freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

                                                     Marty was posting on Facebook.

Nearly finished with this course.  I have moved on to the red wine.  I am a couple of glasses behind the others.

Thom with Corky in his lap.  Corky is 15 1/2 and is allowed to run the world.  Very sweet dog.

After this course we had a wonderful chocolate cake with a caramel ice cream.  I forgot to take pictures of it.  Maybe next time.

The A Team is important to each of us.  We are a type of family.  And like all families we are a little dis functional at times.  We all have quirks, we accept that.  We love each other.  And with that love we miss our other couple.  Karl and Deb you need to make them transfer you back to us.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Wednesday Weddings

Wednesday I had four couples to do ceremonies for.  One must have been normal and boring, I can't remember one thing about them.  I couldn't remember anything Wednesday night.

The first wedding the bride, groom, and all their guests were dressed up. The bride was in a summery flowered halter dress and the groom wore a suit.  She had a son and daughter and he had a son from previous marriages.  The boys were in suits and the little girl was in a flowered dress.  The bride and her daughter carried beautiful bouquets that the bride had made that morning.   The daughter was going to hold her mother's bouquet during the ceremony.  The boys were each bringing up a ring for the ring ceremony.  I told the boys I would tell them when to come, and started telling them how to hold the rings so they were easy for the couple to pick up.  Her son said, "I know how to do this, I did a wedding last week."  That brought the house down.

In the post before this one I explained problems with non English speaking couples, and the legalities involved.  The issue came up again with the next couple.  They were from the Ukraine.  His English was perfect.  He C had been here long enough to be a citizen.  She was here very recently.  Clerk T asked me to talk to them, she was worried about the bride's English.  I explained the legalities to the couple and took the bride to another part of the lobby.  I asked her to pronounce her name for me.  She did that.  Then I said why are you here?  What reason are you and C here today?  What do you want from me?  No response, not a flicker of the eye.  Then she suddenly asked me to repeat the questions.  That was a good sign.  I asked again why are you here.  She said, "I love C and we want to marry."  Bingo, we have full sentences.  I called C over and it all boiled down to her extreme nerves. The bride told me she had learned English watching youtube.  She understood me, she had just been afraid of not speaking well.  Also, the couple and the couple witnessing for the ceremony are a little nervous around government agencies.

I apologized for the interviewing of the bride.  I was told they didn't mind that.  I was protecting her, no one had protected any of them in the USSR or in the Ukraine.  They had been controlled by communists much of their lives and told me how dangerous their countries are.  One witness told me how she had escaped Russia and been able to become an American citizen.  She raved about what a wonderful country the USA is.

The next couple was from Afghanistan.  No language problem here.  They had previously done a cultural wedding.  I asked if they wanted the ring ceremony since they were already wearing wedding rings.  She said, "Yes, I want an American wedding."

Friday, July 1, 2011

Monday weddings? No, yes, yes.

There were three couples who wanted to get married at the Marriage Factory on Monday.  Only two were allowed to marry.  Sometimes we have to make a hard call and say no, we can't do your marriage ceremony.

The couple was from Ethiopia.  The clerk R did not think the bride understood much English. The groom's English was fine and he was doing nearly all the talking.  Couples can fake English to a high level, so we have to interview them. If a person can not communicate with the marriage commissioner, the commissioner can not legally do the ceremony.  R asked me to come talk to them before they paid for a ceremony.  I have to be hard nosed and bossy when I do this.  I tell them why, legal issues to protect the non English speaker, I am questioning them.  Then I tell the English speaking person, he/she can not talk, nor give signals.  Sometimes I even put the couple in separate areas of the lobby.
I asked the bride her name, that one she knew.  I asked her why she was at the county building, nothing.  I asked her where she was from, nothing.  I asked her what service she wanted from me.  Nothing , understood nothing. We sold them a license, but they had to find someone else to do the ceremony. We sent them to the library one block away and told them to Google translators, and to also look for an Ethiopian church or cultural center.  They understood why they were turned away.  And thanked us for giving them options.

One couple had a large group of friends and family.  They also were dressed traditionally for the wedding.  He had on a black suit.  She wore a creamy satin strapless wedding dress.  The bodice was embroidered and had bead work.  This continued around the hem and onto the cathedral length train. A gorgeous dress.  Her shoes, because we know Janet loves shoes, white sparkly flip flops. Wasn't a fan of those.

The family and friends were very vocal, in a good way.  The couple were very quiet, serious, intense.  They leaned into each other, and even after the ceremony did not seem to relax.  This ceremony was a huge important deal to them, as it should be.

My last couple were casually dressed. He was Army Aviation. She was moving to the base in Washington to  be with him.  He is a short timer and should be out of the service in under a year. They never took their eyes off each other during the ceremony. They were dead serious.  I pronounced them married and he laughed and swung her up in his arms to kiss her.  It looked like the typical carry the bride over the threshold. 

Three couples that were very different.  A small sample of what happens at the marriage factory.  Wednesday's weddings, again a problem with English.  Stay tuned to see out that turned out.