Sunday, April 29, 2012

Queen Janet and King Marty

Sunday we went to Bodega Bay to celebrate our 45th anniversary and two friends’ birthdays.  We all had these events fall within a couple of weeks.  We decided we should get together and celebrate.  This started out as a lovely pot luck at Janet R and Frank’s  home in Bodega Bay.  And then it became a wonderful party given by Frank and Janet.

We met at their house, drank some champagne, and then went to the Blessing of the Fleet. 


Janet R took a picture of the circle of friends.  Then we all piled into one car and went to the Blessing of the Fleet.


Boats were loaded down with people.  It is a small fleet in Bodega Bay.  This is a working fleet that fishes for crab, salmon, whatever is in season.  This is not just weekend boaters.  We had Coast Guard, the Sheriff’s boat and then several working boats.

Then it was back to Janet’s and Frank’s for more champagne, appetizers, and lunch.

Marty and I were still celebrating our 45th anniversary, Janet R a big birthday, and Kirsten, our baby friend, a birthday. Marty and I thought this was a party for everyone.  But it became all about us.  Not fair, but I loved it.


Sir Frank preparing to read an important proclamation.


 Sir Frank still talking.  Birthday Girl, Lady Janet R, recording the event.  The court dog Topper joining in.


Our Court Jester, Karl.


Birthday Girl, Kirsten, is being pinned as a Vestal Virgin ??? We were laughing so hard we aren’t sure what her title is.  We are pretty sure the title is wrong.  The woman is married with a son.


Our Virgin is messing around with the Court Jester.


Sir Frank crowns King Marty.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              IMG_0180

King Marty and Queen Janet.


Again, the Royal Couple.


Sir Frank and Court Jester Karl  are ready for the royal lunch.  Sir Frank was also our chef.

We had such a fun time.  What great friends to have costumes, crowns, and wonderful food for us.  These are friends that have laughed with us, cried with us, cursed with us, partied with us.  These are our dear FRIENDS.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Mullet, Peacocks, Roses, Pajamas

Wednesday we had a sampler of brides and grooms.  All kinds of looks.  All kinds of behavior.  Each wedding had a different feel.

The first bride wore a mullet wedding dress.  The skirt was ruched.  On her head she wore a gorgeous fascinator very much like the Champagne Birdcage Veil.   I asked if the couple had their own vows, he said he didn’t.  But she said, “Yes, on my phone.”  He was blindsided.  She read her vows and them he responded in the best way.  He told her he loved her, she was the best thing that had happened to him, and he would always take care of her.  Not a dry eye in the house.

The next bride wore a floor length, high waist dress.  The design was peacock tails in shades of rust and brown.  There was a lot of breasts showing, large bust yet no bra. When I asked for the groom’s ring, she started searching  for it in the front of her dress.  She dug around and finally came up with the ring.  Charming sight.

The next couple were so emotional.  The bride was a young widow.  She wore a white satin street length dress.  It had a bow on the back and sparkles on the bodice.  She carried red roses.  They both cried throughout the ceremony.  Their guests were dressed up for the occasion.  And everyone was so happy and excited for this couple.  You could feel the love for the couple and the couple’s love for each other.

Then we had the groom who beat on the door and pointed at me and at himself.  This happened three weddings back.  I had no license for him, and found him rude.  I had noticed the couple as I went through the lobby.  She was sitting on the counter and his head was buried in her breasts, which were covered in hickeys.  Charming couple.  She wore skin tight pajama bottoms, so tight she had camel toe.  Her top was a camisole that dropped to the nipple level.  And she was wearing Uggs.

The bride kept complaining she wasn’t dressed right for the wedding.  You think?  Then she decided this wasn’t a real wedding, it didn’t count.  Only their church wedding would count.  No, and if you feel that way, why oh why are you having a civil ceremony?   So she didn’t want any pictures taken.  He wanted pictures.  After that argument, the witness was allowed to take pictures from the waist up. 

This couple did several other things that ticked off me and our volunteer witness.  I was very glad to get them out of the building. 

Over all it was a lovely day with nice people.  And if they were all nice, what in the world would write about?


Friday, April 27, 2012

Sweet Weddings/Strange Wedding

Monday there were other weddings than the one with the CFH.   There were two very nice weddings and then the strange one.

The bride wore a black and white striped dress.  She had on a gorgeous pewter necklace that was her something borrowed.  On her left arm were lots of blue bangle bracelets. This couple was so happy, thrilled, excited.  I did the Do you take this woman as your wife.  The groom said yes.  Then to the bride I said Do you and that is as far as I got.  The Bride yelled yes.  A very eager happy bride.

The next couple were both in the Coast Guard.  They were excited and thrilled to be marrying.  Their witness was even more excited than the couple.  She had three camera phones to capture the memory.  One was set up for video, the other two she was clicking away every second.  She was almost bouncing she was so happy for them.   As I left them to get their certified copy of the license, the groom grabbed me and hugged me.  Made me cry.

Now to the last wedding of the day.  The groom was born in 1917.  The bride was born in 1967.  I’ll wait for you to settle down. 

He was hard of hearing and I nearly had to shout to talk to him.  He was mentally sharp so no reason to not let them marry.  He wasn’t even on a walker.  Pretty spry for a 94 year old.   She was fairly attractive, very attentive to him, she seemed really fond of him.  He seemed really fond of her.  They were joking and acting like people who belong together.

I did the ceremony and as I was signing the license, she said, “You haven’t asked why we are doing this.”  I told her that it was none of my business.  She continued and said, “Taxes.  Taxes.  The gift tax is 40%.  If we are married the taxes are much much less.” 

I still don’t really have an ending to this story.  I have made up possible stories.  He has no family.  She takes care of him, she might as well get his estate.  Or, she is a conniving gold digger and it taking him for all he has.  Or somewhere in the middle, they are fond of each other and he wants to see her taken care of.  I like that last one best.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Eggs = ducks, dragons, snakes, dogs

Last week I wrote about the duck eggs and the spring eggs at Kaiser School.  This Tuesday when I arrived at the classroom, the bulletin boards were displaying the spring eggs, the animals the children wanted to hatch out, and their stories.

Remember to click on the pictures to enlarge them.

You can see the eggs and the animals they chose to hatch. Yes, there are dogs up there. Remember all this is fiction.  The dragon in the bottom right is impressive.

                                                     I like the blue bird top center.

The children were excited to tell me the ducks were starting to hatch.  We had three little duckings. I can't wait to see if there will be more ducklings next Tuesday.

                                                                     Aren't they cute?

                                                           More cuteness.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Ring Bearer was the Child From Hell

The first wedding on Monday almost did me in.  The couple was from India.  They had a toddler and a daughter around 7.  The daughter insisted on holding the rings.  I spent time with her showing how to cup her hand, how to open her hand so the parents could take the rings.  You think that sounds funny.  Even adults drop rings, put them on their fingers and the rings get stuck.  So a cupped hand is best.  It didn’t matter what I said,  she was going to do it her way.

The couple stood under our wedding arch, the groom holding the toddler.


The daughter, let’s call her the Child From Hell,  CFH jumps up from the bench and throws the mother’s ring in the floor.  We took the other ring from her.  CFH is whining and screaming, no words, just noise. She pulls the wedding arch down. She is in a full blown temper tantrum.  She wants to be held like the toddler.  This child was nearly 4 feet tall and probably weighed over 50 pounds.  Throughout the ceremony she hit her mother and father, kicked them, pulled on them, whined at the top of her lungs.   Temper, temper, Janet, don’t kill the child in front of the security camera.

The parents said nothing to her beyond a quiet don’t.  I told them we would continue the ceremony and act like CFH wasn’t there.  Of course I didn’t call her that to her parents.  I got them married and then downstairs to finish the paperwork.  The whole time CFH is still ranting and raving, punching and kicking.

While we were going home I talked about this with Marty.  My whole thing was get them married and get them out of the building.  Marty said I should have refused to marry them until the child was under control.  I think he is right.  But, I think if I had refused we would still be there waiting for them to control CFH.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Well Dressed Brides and Grooms

Many of our couples are wearing street clothes, or sometimes not even that dressy.  We  have couples who do not plan to marry the day they buy their license.  They get to the county building and go, why not?  Let’s do it while we are here.  But sometimes we have a day like Wednesday.

Every wedding the couples were dressed for the occasion.  From as simple as a white cotton strapless sundress to a lace wedding dress.

The cotton dress bride looked adorable.  The dress had a wide ruffle around the hemline. She had a wide brown leather belt and matching sandals.  She carried beige roses wrapped with brown satin ribbon.  The groom wore a green complexion and a cold sweat.  After the ceremony the groom recovered and was fine. 

One bride wore a short, heavy lace dress. It was the palest of pale yellows.  She wore matching lace heels.

Another bride wore a strapless black and white floral dress.  It had a full skirt and may have had crinolines under it.  She wore a bright red belt and red heels.  The groom wore a light brown suit.  He was so crisp and debonair looking.

As I was taking the above couple into the marriage desk to get their certified copy of the license, another wedding party moved into the wedding room.  They were with a commissioner who does Spanish ceremonies.  They looked at me and said, “We want her to do our ceremony.  English will be fine.”  Now that was just weird and a little rude.  But we think we know why they dumped Clerk T.  She is in her early 20s and looks like she is 16.  We think they wanted a “mature” person for the ceremony.  So I took over.

The bride wore a silk suit that was a pale silver.  It had a ruffle around the neck almost down to the waist.  She had a button in fake blouse that matched the suit.  The groom wore a black suit.  The ceremony went well, but then I couldn’t get them out of the room.  I told them I had another couple to bring in,(true) and they left the room.  I told the couple to get their certified copy from the marriage desk.  They all turned around and went back into the wedding room.  I left, and went for the next couple, hoping I wouldn’t have to deal with them later.

The last couple was stunningly good looking, and cute as a button at the same time.  The groom was in a darkish blue suit.  His hair was his crowning glory.  Dark almost curly hair. A little longish, just past the ears.  And it was spiked in a few place.  One curl here, one curl there just barely pulled out.  OK, I wanted to take him home.  But the county  frowns on that.

The bride wore a white suit with a white sequined top.  On her head was a feathered flower a little bigger that a saucer.  It was similar to this.  Every woman who saw it, wanted it.  Every time the bride moved, the little feathers would rise up and down.  It was like a graceful dance.  The bride carried yellow roses and many of the guests carried bouquets of yellow flowers, including her father.

A lovely day of beautiful weddings.  Another day of making people happy.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Fun Day Happy Day

Lately there has been a lot of stress and unhappiness in our lives.  One of the big things is my mother had pneumonia and was in the hospital.  Then she wasn’t doing that well after she came home.  This week she fell and cracked her femur.  She is out of the hospital and now in a rehab center. 

Mother turned 95 today.  Spending such a big birthday in a rehab center in awful pain is not a nice day.  She is a little old to bounce right back.  I have had that worry from 3000 miles away. Do you go home, do you wait until it gets worse?  Do we keep putting everything on my brother and his wife?

Then the economy sucks and we worry if Marty can ever retire.  Friends are having sickness, money problems,  lost jobs.  A lot of unhappiness out there.

I told Marty we needed a happy day, a day of fun.  We were to dump the budget, forget about all the worries and have nothing but fun/happiness.  I had squirreled away some money and said we are going to spend money like we have it for one day.  So we did.

We went to lunch at a great seafood restaurant.  We ordered food that wasn’t healthy, that was expensive, and we loved it. 

fun day bloody mary
We began with Bloody Mary’s.  We could have made Bloody Mary’s for a lot of people for what 2 cost us.   But hey, we weren’t to worry about cost.
fun day oysters
Marty had oysters.  Later I have the menu of the restaurant and you can see the cost of our meal.
                                            fun day calamari
Fried calamari one of my favorites.  Marty and I shared this.  Some of the tentacles were too large for my comfort level.  Those are the ones he got.
fun day fish
Marty loves fish and chips.  This was beer battered.
fun day shrimp
My entrée, beer battered shrimp. 

We ate at the Yankee Pier in Lafayette, Ca.  All of the food was excellent.  Maybe the best tartar sauce ever. Our server was outstanding.  Would we go back?  Yes, in a heart beat.

After our wonderful meal we drove around and then Marty had an appointment.  He did his thing and I read a book waiting for him.  We came home took naps and then had pizza for supper.

Did we succeed in having a happy day?  We did.  Stress level is down, even if our cholesterol level is now sky high.  

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Hazards of Teaching and other things

Tuesday as I was dressing to volunteer with the first graders, there was a medical report on the radio.  There is a new strain of Hand, Foot, Mouth disease.  This is something that small children get and it spreads quickly.

At school I said something to Ms. H about the disease and she told me about another disease, Slapped Cheek disease.   Joy, two new things I can catch while doing a good deed. You could catch them too.  Be sure to read the two links. 

The first part of the morning the students were working at different stations on different projects.  My favorite was the math area.  The 5 students had worksheets with almost addition problems.  The problems looked like this.

___ + ___ = ____       here there was a large empty box

They had to roll  2 dice to make the problem, write what came up, and put down the answer.

3   + 5 = 8       In the box they had to use tally marks to prove the equation.

The next worksheet they used 3 dice.  They really like this type of problems.

If you remember we have an incubator with duck eggs.  Their art and creative writing projects were tied to eggs.  They discussed who and what has eggs.  What lays eggs, what has live births.  They learned the word  oviparous. Then Ms. H passed out pictures of eggs they drew before Easter ( they were pc and called spring eggs). 

The children were to draw what would hatch coming out of their egg.  It could be real or fiction.  Then they had to write about their creation.  What is it?  What does it look like?  What can it do?  What can it not do?  The creature will be cut out and the writing put under it and displayed on the bulletin boards.  We had a lot of dragons.  But there were ducks and snakes also. 

I continued with the egg line with the book I read to them.  I have had a senior moment and can’t remember the name of the book.  But it starts with the Mom and Dad ducks building a nest and she lays eggs.  The process of the duckling breaking out of the egg is shown in several pictures.  We discussed why the male duck is brightly colored and the female is drab.  They saw how the duckling changes and grows.  The book took them through the whole growing cycle and back to time to build a nest. 

The children seem well informed about ducks.  Next week they will get to see the breaking out of the shell if we are lucky.  It takes 10 hours for the duckling to escape.  They are due to start hatching Tuesday or Wednesday.  It could be during class, or during the night.  I will keep you posted.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Very Formal Wedding and Yuck

Monday there were several weddings.  One was spectacular!  And we had an ugly sight in the lobby.

Let’s start with the ugly first.  I came around the corner and there was a sight to gag a maggot.  A young man was leaning over a counter and all I could see was his rear in the air and his tighty whities.  His jeans were below his hips.  It is bad enough when it is boxers in your face.  But puleeeese, thin white briefs.  Yuck. 

Now to the beauty.  The bride and groom were from Tonga.  Large beautiful people.  The groom wore a white shirt, white tie, and a white suit.  He was a nervous wreck.  I was afraid he was going to pass out.  He broke out in a sweat and became pale.  He made it through OK.

The bride was wearing the family dress and veil.  It was an incredible dress.  The veil was almost waist length tulle and around the edge were little lace flowers.  The dress was full skirted satin.  It had long sleeves that came to a point on the top of her hands.  It was floor length with a cathedral train.  The bodice, front and back, was covered in seed pearls and lace as were the points of the sleeves.  The bottom of the skirt and edge of the train were cut work lace flowers with the center of the flowers made of seed pearls.  There were pearl flowers with lace appliques scattered over the skirt.  Magnificent.

We see a lot of wedding dresses.  We get used to pretty dresses.  Usually the ones that we talk about are tacky, trashy, trampy.  This dress had clerks asking others did you see the dress in the lobby.  Did you see the gorgeous dress?  Go walk through the lobby, look at that beautiful dress. 

I wish I could have taken a picture of the dress and shared with you.  But we have to protect the privacy of our customers.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Great Customer Service

Several years ago Marty came in with a Jumbo Potato Cutter.  I thought this was a waste of money.  I can slice a potato.   Well, I fell in love with this gadget.  One pull and a whole potato in perfect slices.  We use it all the time.  I then take it apart, wash it, and set it on the back of the stove to dry.  One time the stove was still hot and the pusher (yes that is what the part is called) melted just a little bit.  Dumb me.  I have ruined my favorite kitchen toy.

I went on line looking for the pusher to replace the ruined one.  I couldn’t find parts, only the whole cutter with slicers and pushers.  I didn’t want to pay for everything, just one little part.  I googled the  company, Progressive International Corp, found a contact, and emailed her. 

In less than 24 hours I had a response.  The woman told me the cost of the parts.  I wasn’t clear on the price, I replied and she responded again in 48 hours.  Impressive.

The part I wanted cost a whopping $3.00 for the part and shipping.  That is why I had written her again.  That wasn’t enough.  But yes it was.  I sent a check for $3.00, and in less than a week I had my new pusher.  The cost of mailing was $1.90.  That left $1.10 for handling, the part’s price, and profit. 

I am impressed with the quick response to me.  The whole cutter is not expensive, but the cheap price of the part is mind blowing.  How this company can afford it I don’t understand.  We have bought parts for other equipment and it has been almost as much as a  new machine. 

If you like gadgets, the potato cutter is great.  It will cut other things such as carrots, cucumbers, boiled eggs.  It is a cool gadget. 

Saturday, April 14, 2012

We have the Crab Cake and Salsa Recipes!

After my blog about our 45th anniversary, recipes were requested.  Marty has written out his recipe for crab cakes.  I have added my avocado salsa.  We do not like a lot of flavors competing with the crab. We also don’t like lots of bread products as binder.  It is all about the crab. So his crab cakes are light on seasonings and the salsa is not real hot, just a little bite.

The crab you use depends on where you live.  We buy live Dungeness crab, steam it, and pick it ourselves.  If you can’t buy fresh crab, buy the best canned crab you can find.  Then soak the canned crab in milk as you prepare the binder, and that takes the fishy canned flavor away. Squeeze out the milk in cheesecloth and then prepare the crab cakes.

Marty’s Crab Cakes

We use a pulverized mixture of shrimp to be the binder for the crab cakes enhancing the crab flavors and still hold the crabmeat together. Serves 2 for a main course, serves 4 as an appetizer or salad course. We serve different sauces to accompany the crab cakes.

1 lb Crabmeat picked over for shells
1 ½ C Panko Bread Crumbs
Salt and Pepper
2 Celery ribs
½ C onion chopped
1 garlic clove peeled and smashed
1 T unsalted butter
4 oz Uncooked shrimp peeled, deveined and tails removed
¼ C Heavy Cream
2 t Dijon Mustard
½ t hot pepper sauce
1 t lemon juice
1 t Old Bay Seasoning
4 t Vegetable oil

1. Place ¾ C panko in a plastic zip lock bag and use rolling pan to crush panko. Place panko in skillet and add remaining ¾ C panko. Toast over medium high heat until toasted, about 5 minutes. Place toasted panko in a shallow dish and season with salt and pepper. Wipe out skillet.

2. Place celery, onion and garlic in food processor and process with blade until crushed, about 5–8 pulses. Transfer vegetables to a bowl to cool and rinse out processor and blade and reserve. Add butter to empty skillet and add vegetables over medium heat. Add ½ t salt and 1/8 t pepper, cook stirring frequently until vegetables are softened and moisture has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Return vegetables to bowl and cool; wipe out skillet.

3. Pulse shrimp in food processor 8-12 times until finely ground, scraping down bowl as needed. Add cream and pulse to combine, 2 – 4 times. Transfer shrimp puree to bowl with cooled vegetables. Add mustard, pepper sauce, lemon juice and Old Bay Seasoning; stir until combined. Add crab and fold gently until combined being careful to not break up the crab. Divide mixture into 4 balls and press to ½ inch patties. We use a cut out can of bamboo shoots to be the form for the cakes. Place cakes on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover tightly and refrigerate 30 minutes to cool and firm.

4. Coat each cake with panko, firmly pressing to adhere the panko. Heat 1 T vegetable oil in skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Place the 4 cakes in skillet and cook without moving them until golden brown, 3-4 minutes. Using 2 spatulas, carefully flip the cakes, add 1 T oil, reduce heat to medium-low, and continue to cook until second side is golden brown, 4-6 minutes. Transfer cakes to platter. Serve immediately.


Avocado Salsa

2 small ripe avocados, or 1 medium
1 ripe tomato (5 ounces), peeled, halved, seeded, and coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon peanut oil
1 teaspoon finely minced jalapeno pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives

FOR THE SALSA: While the crab cakes are cooking, peel and pit the avocado and coarsely chop it. (I added about 1 teaspoon of lemon juice to prevent browning)

You can prepare the rest of the ingredients before the avocado. Combine the avocado and tomato in a bowl. Add the vinegar, oil, pepper, salt, and water, and jalapeno tossing gently to mix.

To serve, spoon the avocado mixture onto individual plates and sprinkle with the chives. Place the crab cakes on top and serve.

Serves 2 as entrée, 4 for salad or appetizer

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Testing a recipe

As regular readers know, Marty and I test recipes for Cook's Illustrated.  When they send a recipe they say if this is something you find unappealing, would not normally make, don't cook it.  There have been recipes we have skipped because there were foods one of us does not care for.  That would usually be me.  I reject all fish recipes.  I do like most shellfish and tuna tartare.  We try most everything they send.  Some have been good, some terrible.

Last week they sent a new recipe, pepper crusted beef tenderloin.   We love love beef tenderloin.  The recipe sounds fabulous.  But there is a catch.  We are to use a whole tenderloin, we are to fix a piece of meat to feed 12.  Yes 12 servings.  Who cooks for 12 other than for a Thanksgiving meal?  Have you priced a whole tenderloin lately?  Even at Costco you could ruin a $100 bill.  The rules of the testing are cook exactly as the recipe reads. This is a test.  If the food is too done, that tells them something.  If the food is not done, that tells them something.  If it is for 12, you can not cut the recipe down. 

Nope, we won't be testing this recipe. 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Bright colors, cute kids, weddings

As I walked into the lobby of the County Building, I heard a yell, “Janet’s here!”  Before I had my purse in the drawer, I was handed a marriage license.  It seems the morning had been busy.  And remember they are down several clerks.  Two are out on maternity leave, one is cross training in another department, and no replacements.  I could feel the love for the volunteer.

The first couple were in their  early 50’s.  Her adorable grandson was standing with them.  He was holding a Woody doll.  He held Woody up to me and said, “Woody is very brave.”  He was not a beautiful child, his face was all pointy angles, but he was an All American Little Boy. He had a grin from ear to ear, freckles on his nose.  He could have been the little boy in Toy Story.   I fell in love with him.  Oh, we had a nice wedding for the grandparents.

The next couple were Chinese.  The bride's outfit felt very traditional: silk, flowered patterned in browns and grays. Her jacket was cream colored with gray trim.  But it also was very modern.  After the ceremony one of the witnesses said the room was amazing and this was the best Vegas wedding outside of Vegas.

The next wedding the bride wore a short, white, Grecian dress and red suede ankle strap heels.  The back of the heels had zippers. She carried red roses. He wore a dark suit and wore a red rose boutonnieres.  Her two little girls had on white dresses with red sashes and red hem borders with red shoes.  Her two sons had on blue pants, shirts, vests  and wore huge red roses boutonnieres.  His two daughters wore pale red dresses.  Guests all wore shades of red.  Yes, that was 6 children between them and she was pregnant.  

One more story.  Clerk Y brought me the license and I started checking it.  Everything looked fine, and then I looked again.  The bride had signed it with the name she was going to take AFTER she was married.  I took the license back to Y and she pitched a fit.  Y said, “I very clearly told her to sign with her present name!”  Reprint. This was a colorful wedding.  The groom and their little boy wore black slacks and vests with lavender shirts and ties.  Their daughter wore a turquoise  flower printed dress.  The bride had on an orange print dress.  I needed sun glasses.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Crab Cakes

A couple of you have asked for the crab cake recipe.  As I put in the comments, he will post the recipe sometime soon.  He has to figure out what he did.  He looks at recipes and then combines them in his head and cooks.  Stand by, recipe soon.

Monday, April 9, 2012

How we spent number 45

Yesterday was our 45th wedding anniversary.  It also was Easter.  Marty was Elder and did a great communion meditation.  After church we had brunch at a Mexican restaurant.  As we ate we discussed what we would do to celebrate.  We voted down going out to eat that night.

Through the years we tried going out, but there was always something to stop us:  curfews because of race riots, 6 months pregnant and a broken foot, baby had a reaction to vaccination, small child had bronchitis/pneumonia every April for 7 years, transferred to California and couldn’t afford to go out, family commitments, conflicts with school and jobs, and on and on.

We found out we liked staying home and cooking together.  So yesterday we went shopping.


We bought two Dungeness Crab.


Into the pot to steam.


Ice bath to stop the cooking and get them ready to pick.


While I took a Sunday nap, Marty started picking the crab.  And he took the picture for you all.


We are making Crab Cakes and Avocado Salsa.  The shrimp will be chopped up and become the binder in the crab cakes.


As we worked we had some Champagne.


Popping the cork.


Let the celebration begin!


Marty shaping the crab cakes.  This is a very expensive shaper.  It is a can with the ends cut off.  Perfect.


Dinner is served.


A close up of the crab cakes and salsa. 

We had a lovely day together.  Cooking together is one of our favorite things.  Marty made the crab cakes and I made the salsa.   For dessert we had Hershey Kisses.  It seemed appropriate. 

Saturday, April 7, 2012

April 8, 1967

I met Marty in early February, 1966.  It was a really interesting blind date.  And after that first date, I didn’t think I would see him ever again.  He said those words that every woman knows is the kiss of death,  “I’ll call you sometime.”  But he did call, and we began to date. 

I was teaching in Kentucky, but I had accepted a job in Florida for the next year.  By April I was terrified Marty would let me take the job.  He was being the good person and letting me decide which job I wanted.  I didn’t give a damn about a job.  I was in love with him and wanted to be where ever he was.  We worked that out and in August he asked me to marry him.  We set the date for April 8, 1967.

our weddingIt was a lovely wedding.

our wedding 3

Marty and me with with my parents, Anna and Papa Jack.

 our wedding 4

Marty and me with his parents, Happy and Dolly.

If you do the math you will come up with 45 years of marriage.  Marriage is a wonderful adventure if you do it right.  To be with someone you love and who loves you is the best.  Not everyone gets that life.  We are very lucky to have each other. 

We work at our marriage, sometimes one is working harder than the other.  Marriage is sometimes a 50 – 50 deal.  Many times it is 99 -  1.  Over 45 years that works out to be even. 

Life is not an easy adventure.  There are illnesses, transfers that are hard and scary, deaths, and just unfair shit goes down.  Being with Marty has made me feel safe, brave, and independent.  I think I have made him laugh and relax in life, I hope I  have allowed him to be what he wants.  I have supported him in all things to the best of my ability.

Neither of us are saints. Well, he might be a saint.  He didn’t kill me as I went through the menopause.  We care for each other, we love each other, and are looking forward to another 40 years or so together.  We come from long lived people.

Happy Anniversary, Marty!  I love you.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Weddings, Bubbles, Divorces

Monday was fairly busy at the Marriage Factory.  When I arrived at the county building the lobbies were full.  Yes, business other than weddings does go on there.  But I saw fancy dresses and flowers, big clue to an in-house ceremony.

Two couples, everyone had been divorced twice.  That would be 8 divorces between 4 people. And they are going for wedding number three.  No one had been divorced more that a few weeks.  They were young enough that none of them could have been separated very long before filing for divorce.  This is not judging them.  Just if you don't do marriage well, take a little time before jumping in again.

The bride was Caucasian and the groom was Asian.  He had a traditional Chinese name.  She wanted to take his name EXCEPT she was afraid people would think she was Asian. That seems a little racist yet she is marrying an Asian.  Makes you think.  After changing her mind several times, and a couple of reprints she did take his name.

The bride wore a short, strapless, ruched dress.  It was white, it was tight, really tight.  So tight that we had rolls of back fat pushed up. The couple wanted their three year old daughter to stand with them, and she did for about 2 minutes.  The little girl wore a white eyelet dress.  She found a use for those little holes in her dress.  If you remember we have a wedding arch with tiny white lights that the couples stand under.  The little girl stood and pushed her dress' eyelet holes over the lights and pulled  them off.  Then she would push another eyelet hole over a light and repeat.  Neither the dress nor the lights were hurt in the making of this marriage.

There were other weddings that day but only one is blog worthy.  The bride wore a long chiffon dress.  It was a bluish silver color and had soft tiers.  Each tier was several inches longer and hung from a couple of inches in front.  It was mainly tiered on the sides and back.  It was very floaty and lovely.  She wore silver sandals, a white flower in her hair, and diamond earrings and necklace. Yes, I am sure they were diamonds.  The groom wore a dark blue suit, blue shirt, and silver tie.  Lots of happy laughing family and friends.

After the ceremony the mother of the bride told me she had brought bubbles.  Could they blow bubbles while taking pictures?  I told her we didn't allow bubbles in the wedding room.  But I love bubbles, get them out.  She had brought a bubble gun but didn't know how to operate it.  I was itching to get my hands on it.  She finally got a few bubbles out, but it wasn't working right.  Her three year old grandson asked to use it.  He pulled the trigger and presto, a constant stream of bubbles.  We had hundreds of bubbles. I wanted a turn.  I remembered that I was the county rep in the room and so didn't ask.  So pretty, so fun.  Oh well, I would wait until I got home and play with my own bubble machines.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

What’s so hard about the ow sound?

Some days teachers really earn their salary.  Tuesday Ms. H even said to the children, “You are making me really work hard to earn my salary.”  And one little boy, said “You get paid?”  That right there could be a whole blog.

The two letter sound we worked with Tuesday was ow, as in how, clown, gown, now.  The group I work one on one with could not get this sound.  Ms. H worked and worked with them.  They practiced saying the sound, they rhymed words, they suggested words with the sounds, then they read the day’s story. 

These stories are harder than the ones they read with me.  My story might have sentences that say The kids hid in the bag. The kids go to bed.  The other story would say  It was supposed to rain.  The Brown family would have to stay inside.  On TV they saw a lady in a gown with a gold crown.  They saw that Chowder the Clown was in town with the circus. Big difference in skills needed to read.

They couldn’t remember what ow said.  They struggled to read anything.  Ms. H gave me her book and asked me to work with each student.  Most couldn’t read the title  Chowder the Clown Comes to Town.  Now remember they have just read the book together with Ms. H.  I helped them sound out words.  What does ow say?  I don’t know.  We practiced saying the sound, rhymed words with ow, we said the word they didn’t know over and over.  Next sentence and there would be the same ow word.  Nothing.  Repeat the above.

I don’t know who was closer to tears me or the kids.  Major frustration.  One little girl did give me hope.  She is the Queen of sounding out words.  She reads quickly, yet every word is sounded out. Even words she really knows.   H  ow  ie  Howie, s at  sat,  Ch  ow der  Chowder.   She read quickly and after sounding out the words, she trusted herself and did not sound out repeated words in other sentences.  I gave her a huge hug.

Tough tough day.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Enough with children, back to the weddings

Before I left to help babysit with my sister-in-law, I was at the Marriage Factory.  I wrote about the goat herders.  There were other weddings that day and I said I would write about them.  That was before the babysitting.  I had forgotten that there is no me time while caring for little ones.  I am home now and have time to bring you up to date.

Monday most of the couples had been together a long time.  Couple 1 had been together 24 years.  Their children were their witness.  The bride was stunningly beautiful with a gorgeous personality.  The couple was so sweet, so in love, so emotional.  This marriage meant a lot to them.

Couple 2 had been together 40 years.  They were like two teenagers.  They laughed, blushed, giggled, held hands.  There was love in the room.

Couple 3 were divorced in 1966 . . . from each other. I had a do over wedding. He was on oxygen and still having problems breathing.  He took the oxygen hook up off during the ceremony. I had them sit on a pew so he wouldn't have to use much energy.  Both their voices were clear and determined while saying their vows.  When I pronounced them, he leaned over, grabbed his bride, and kissed her soundly.

They later told me even though divorced, they had been together 46 years.  That made me wonder what happened to make them divorce and get back together so quickly.  I hate when I have no endings.