Thursday, May 31, 2012

Back to the Marriage Factory

I didn’t get to the Marriage Factory until 2:00.  Marty had tires put on the car and it took a lot longer than the plan.  When I walked in everyone was so happy I was back.  So happy, I hadn’t put my purse down let alone in the drawer, that a license was handed to me immediately.  And 2 hours later I sat down at my desk.

My first couple were both in their mid fifties.  Neither had been married.  They were both in uniforms like a mechanic would wear.  I felt they had just come from work. The bride had a shaved head with a little stubble.  I don’t know if it was a fashion statement or she was a chemo patient.  They were both so very quiet and serious; until the vows.  They were grinning from ear to ear.  Such beautiful smiles.

As I came out of the Wedding Room, a supervisor asked if I would help train a new hire.  It was one of the young men from the Deli.  If you remember these kids have aged out of the foster care program.  They worked at the Deli to get training and experience to help them have a good life.  He was a great worker.  And now he has a job that could build to a life’s career.  So he went with me for 2 weddings.  I explained what I do, checking licenses, how to control the room, how to make the couple comfortable, and on and on.  By next week he should be marrying couples on his own.

Couple two had had a cultural (Indian) wedding.  Today was the one for the government. They were very modern,  but were dressed traditionally.  Their witness told me they had been in jeans when she arrived at their house.  She had insisted they wear traditional clothes.  He wore a suit and turban,  the bride had on a gorgeous sari and the traditional bangle bracelets.  This was not an arranged marriage, big kiss at the end.  Most couples from India don’t even touch in public.

The third couple  met at the Rose Garden in Oakland.  She wore a black V neck flared skirt dress.  She wore three strands of pearls held together with a lovely diamond and sapphire clip.  She carried a single rose to refer back to how they met.

The last couple’s license had a problem.  The bride was so eager, she had signed her to be married name.  We had to reprint.  This couple had been together for 20 years.  Their 4 teenagers were the guests, and the oldest was the witness.  The kids were so excited, they were all taking pictures every second.  They did pictures and videos.  This couple was so in love.  Twenty years, yet they were like a young couple just starting out.  A really feel good moment.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Is this the right classroom?

I walked into Ms. H’s classroom and all the children were sitting on the carpet.  She asked them to say hello to me.  I looked at them and I had never seen these kids before.  Where were my first graders?

It turns out that Ms. H and another teacher were each doing a project for the whole first grade.  The other teacher is doing a sewing project with all the children.  They are making throw pillows and stitching their names on one side.  Ms. H is doing a poetry project. 

Ms. H said if I wanted to I could go to the other class and help with the sewing.  She is so evil.  She knows I can not do crafts of any kind.  I helped with the poetry.

Their science project is silk worms.  They have silk worms, the worms eat the mulberry leaves and then they spin their cocoons.  I have pictures of our silk worms.  You really need to click on them to see the details.


The silk worms are in a box that has cardboard egg cartons placed in it.  The egg shapes are the cocoons that were spun over the weekend.  We have one silk worm still eating, and one, bottom right, who is starting to spin his cocoon.


The worm has just started to spin.  Look to his left and you can see the fine thread.


The black dot(mouth I guess) is where the thread is spinning out.


Still chewing up that leaf.


Two cocoons that are complete.


Scary monster. Or silk worm up close.


Little worm spinning away.


Last shot of the busy silk worm. 

For more information on silkworms, click here and here.

Friday, May 25, 2012

I declared myself well today . . . but

This morning I decided I was well.  I have been sick for over a week.  On antibiotics and an inhaler for 5 days, today the 6th day I should be well.  I slept all night, no coughing!  I had returned to normal.

For the first time since Sunday (today is Friday) I completely dressed and did the high maintenance stuff.  Full makeup, used the curling iron, I even put on a bra. I looked good.  I felt awful.  I was exhausted and I had a huge coughing attack. 

I was going to push through it.  I had over a week’s ironing to do.  The house is yucky.  And I want to go to the movies this weekend.  Then one of the lovely side effects of the antibiotics hit me.

Some of the side effects are intestinal upsets, dizziness, and nausea.  Today waves of nausea hit me.  I put myself back to bed and slept for 3 hours.

When I got up I did do some ironing.  Not much, but the pile of shirts is a little smaller.  And I put up the laundry.

Keep your fingers crossed, tomorrow I really hope I am well enough to go to the movies.  There are a lot of movies out there I want to see.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Boring week update

As I posted over the weekend, I am icky sick.  The allergies are now a lung infection.  I sound disgusting,  wheezing, coughing, and feel so tired that I haven't left the house since Saturday.  That means folks I have very little to report.

I have no weddings to report on.  I have no cute stories about ducklings or first graders. 

I can report Marty has been great.  He picked up my prescriptions on Sunday.  He has cooked and helped cooked our meals.  He has washed dishes and wiped down the stove.  He has let me sleep during the day and late in the mornings.  And he has poured a lot of wine for me.  Thank goodness nothing on the drugs says Do Not Use Alcohol while taking this drug. 

I am better, just not ready to be in polite society.

Hey, I just realized one exciting thing, this is my 700th post.  That is a nice round number.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Belated Mother’s Day By The Hardest

To catch everyone up: Erik was in a bike wreck, so our Mother’s Day time was postponed a week.  Saturday he called to move from a brunch to dinner, their bikes had been stolen again.  They were hitting swap meets to find them.  I was sick, look at the this and this if you want details. 

Erik arrived excited, they had found his bike, and a neighbor’s.  Jennifer’s is still out there.  We then talked about how very ill my mother is.  Problems going on here and there.  Then I did what I do all the time.  I said I needed 1-800-Erik.  My Outlook had gone bonkers and refused my password.  We couldn’t find how to get a new password, how to find out your old password, it wouldn’t send or receive email.  He fixed it!  He looked through my programs and rearranged one or two and was done.  He said he was proud of Marty and me and our use of computers.  Many of his friends’ parents can’t do any thing without causing major problems.  Yay for us.

I felt so bad, and the coughing sounded disgusting, so we didn’t go out to dinner.  He called Chu, one of my favorite restaurants and ordered take out.  A few minutes after he and Marty left to pick it up, Marty called.  He said get a piece of paper and punch a pinhole.  I then remembered the eclipse.  I had been wondering why the shadows were so strange.  Below are some pictures I took during the eclipse.  Be sure to click on them to enlarge the pictures.


Reflections of the sun on the fence.


Another part of the fence.


Erik held my paper up to the side of the house and got this reflection.  Notice the angle of the visible sun is just a little different.


This is the best picture I took.


The dining room: reflections on Marty, the wall, and the floor.


More in the dining room.

After the fun picture taking, we ate our wonderful dinner.  We continued to watch the reflections on the wall and floor in the dining room.


Marty and Erik have a new game on their phone, Draw Free.  It is a fun app. 

I had a fun enjoyable Mother’s Day even if I felt bad.  Sitting around talking with your son and husband is pretty nice.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Kaiser part 2

Well, the phone call from the doctor did not work as planned.  I yelled at the stupid clerk who I called to try again.  She finally quit trying to be a nurse and put me through to the real nurse.  That went well, she lined me up with another doctor who called in the set time. 

Marty is off to Kaiser to pick up antibiotics and an inhaler for me.  I am not infectious. And should be fine by the time I go through the drugs.  Tomorrow I will stay home and rest.  No weddings on Monday for me.

Maybe I will put some Vick's in the steam iron and finish ironing Marty's shirts.

PS:  I just realized some of you are probably confused.  I volunteer at Kaiser school.  Our health plan is Kaiser Permanente. Two separate places.  Kaiser is a popular name in the East Bay.

Gotta Love Kaiser

I have allergies, grasses, trees, grains, molds, most everything a little bit.  No problem eating something and dieing.  Just a combo of things give me sneezes, itches, runny nose, runny eyes, and sometimes a severe cough.  I have had allergies since a child.  I took shots for years, up into college age.  And then the problems calmed down some what.   I have controlled problems with over the counter sprays and pills.

Lately the Bay Area has been hell for those of us with allergies.  Even people (like Marty) who have never had allergies are suffering.   I have a bad cough even with prescription drugs.  I am so tired from coughing and my ribs hurt.  I feel like crap. After being fussed at by friends and Marty, I called Kaiser this morning. Please note this is a Sunday.

I called the advice nurse, talked to her about 10 minutes.  She told me some things to do, made sure I was not alone.  Then she set me up with a phone appointment with a doctor.  The doctor will be calling any minute.  She will decide if I need to come in today, need more drugs, or can wait to see my own doctor tomorrow.

This is why I love Kaiser.  I have medical advice/help 24/7. 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Sequins , Sagging Pants, Tattoos

Monday was almost busy at the Marriage Factory.  I did 5 wedding ceremonies over three and 1/2 hours.  There was a wide difference in the looks of the couples.

My first couple were really really good looking.  She wore a white pencil skirt, silver sequined blouse, and a tightly fitted cream jacket. She wore high heel sandals.  He wore black slacks and vest with a gray long sleeved shirt.  The bride was from Poland and her sentences were clear but sometimes not complex. After the wedding she said, "You now husband.  My husband and ex boyfriend." I thought well, that is perfectly true.

Another couple just made me laugh inside.  They were so cute, young yet had two toddlers.  I watched him walk up to me.  He walked like a crab, sideways. Or as if both legs were in casts.  He had sagging pants.  The crotch was almost below his knees.  He had one hand in the pocket holding the pants up.  I nearly bit a hole in my cheek to keep from laughing at him.  It was just too funny.

One couple and their guests were heavily tattooed. A female guest had multiple skulls above her breasts.  Her arms and legs were tattooed.  The other females had flower tattoos and words. The groom had lots of tattoos on his neck and arms. The bride had multiple sentences down one arm,  Her chest was heavily covered as were her legs.  The bride had plugs the size of silver dollars and multiple piercing in and on her ears.  Her face had multiple piercings.  The groom had smaller plugs and multiple piercings.  Now I am not telling this to judge, but to let you visualize this group. Tattoos, plugs, piercings, this is an exotic far out group.  Nope, they were almost conservative.

The bride wore a squared necked blue dress, very fifties looking. The dress had short sleeves and a flared skirt.  She wore white wedges.  Our bride had two white roses in her hair and carried a bouquet of yellow roses. He wore black slacks, black shirt, and a black vest.  Their friends were so excited and taking hundreds of pictures.  I thought this exotic couple would want a non traditional ceremony.  They wanted the fluffiest sweetest ceremony I had. This was the most fun group and sweetest group of the day.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Math and More Math

Today was my morning to volunteer at Kaiser with the first graders.  The work stations were math, the vowel i, creative writing. 

The worksheet for vowel i had a list of words to sort into long and short sounds.  Some of the words: rid   ride   fine   fin   shine   shin.  They had to read the words to an adult, sort them by long or short sound , and write 4 sentences using 4 words.  Harder then it sounds if you are 6 years old.

Now to the math.  One group was working with clocks.  They had to draw the long hand to show half past, look at a clock and tell half past what.

Then the other math sheet, addition.  They were given a group of numbers such as 0 1 2 4 6 8.  Then they had boxes to make a problem.  I can’t draw a box so I will just use an underline.     ____+ ____= ____   or     ____ + _____ = ____  ____

The problem was they would write  2  + 1 = 3   That is a correct math fact, but there is no 3 to use.    With the double box they didn’t get that the answer had to be a double digit number.  Or if they did, they would reverse the number  6  + 8 = 4   1   

The hardest helping I did today . . . money.  We have play money that looks just like coins.  I worked with two little boys on pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters.  They could not remember the names of the coins or their worth.   I would ask for a dime, no idea.  I would have them name each coin and then its worth.  The next problem, no idea.  One boy began to get it.  The other boy, nothing was going in.  Over and over he called a penny a quarter , a dime a nickel, or sometimes he couldn’t come up with any name. 

Interestingly he could make the correct money amounts if I helped with the worth of the coin.  I asked for 11 cents using two types of coins.  He used a dime and 1 penny and then used 6 pennies and 1 nickel.  He could make 37 cents with no problem IF I told him what the coins were.  I don’t know who was more frustrated, him or me. 

One relaxing thing I did was read a story to the children, And Tango makes Three.   One little boy asked me how to tell boy penguins from girl penguins.  I was thankful that I don’t know that answer.  No way do I want to explain that to first graders.  The beauty of telling a child I don’t know, is they accept that.  Never try to bluff a child.  They will pin you to the wall.

Our ducklings were not at school today.  Over the weekend, they had to go home with someone in order to be fed.  They were with the man who had brought the fertile eggs.  He will bring them back soon. 

Monday, May 14, 2012

Mother’s Day, not the original plan

Yesterday as I was dressing Erik called.  He was feeling so bad from the bike wreck, he didn’t think either of us would enjoy the day. So we have declared Mother’s Day next Sunday.  That may become a tradition.  Last year Marty and I were out of town on Mother’s Day.

So I am all dressed up and no place to go.  Marty and I have wanted to see The Avengers and haven’t had time.  Yesterday we had time.  Really really fun and exciting movie.  Witty writing and eye candy for everyone.

We came home, played on our computers, and took long naps.  Marty then took me out for Thai food.

We went to a restaurant we go to often. (Let me explain why Marty wasn’t  dealing with the waiter, he is too nice.  He has way more patience that I do.)  The restaurant always has good service, good food.  It was Mother’s Day they were on overload, mainly with take out orders.  The big problem was they were understaffed.  There were empty tables, but no one to seat us. We were invisible, as were the people standing with us. Finally the waiter pointed to a table and we seated ourselves.  We have no menus or water.  Ten minutes later he seats people next to us, gave them menus and water.  He has now ticked me off.

I forgive small local restaurants a lot.  But not making me invisible.   Queen Janet explained the situation.  We got menus, wine, water, and an apology.  The meal was good as always, but so slow.  We finished and he asked if we wanted the leftovers boxed up,  yes.  The waiter brought the bag of food to us and walked off.  No bill.  Maybe they were giving me a Mother’s Day present. 

So I flag down the waiter and ask for the bill.  It took nearly 10 minutes for him to write the bill and bring it to us.  I guess he had had it with Queen Janet.  No orange slices, no mints on the tray.  He should be glad Marty was paying and not me.  If me, no tip on the tray.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Not Many Weddings

Monday and Wednesday I did a total of 4 wedding.  It was a really slow week.  None of the weddings were a stand out event.  There were no thin white dresses, no weird happenings. No stand out dresses.

I had 4 couples who were in love.  There were 4 couples who were nervous, happy, and thrilled to be getting married. 

Maybe this is the best blog I could write.  No big mishaps.  Nobody ticked me off.  I did my job and helped 4 couples start a wonderful stage of their lives.


P.S.  I’m with you.  The weird people are more fun to read about.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Update on Erik

Marty talked to Erik today to see how he was after the bike wreck.  Erik feels better, but still has aches, pains, and bruises.  He takes Ibuprofen and slept through the night.  He will be with us on Mother's Day and I can then mother him.  I have so wanted to rush to their condo and do the poor baby thing.  But you don't do that to a man in his 40's.  That would be Jennifer's role.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Bicyclists / Stupid People

Regular readers know I really really dislike dodging bicyclists.  Most run stop signs and red lights.  The majority never signal.  Some ride in the middle of the lane and you can’t get around them.  Some ride 2 or 3 across a lane instead of single file.  They ride on the street and then up on the sidewalk, and back down on the street.  They turn left from the far right lane.  Pedestrians have been killed by bicyclists.

They scare me to death because if we hit them, they don’t have much of a chance.  And we then have to live with hurting or killing someone even if it wasn’t our fault.  So I really don’t like bikes on the road with me.

Our son Erik and his wife ride their bikes everywhere.  To go eat, to the grocery, to San Francisco, all over the Bay Area.  They are healthy with legs of iron.

Last night I was catching up on his blog.  And low and behold he had biked to work.  On his way home a passenger in a parked car opened her door on the traffic side.  Unfortunately Erik was right there.  He hit the door, sailed over the handlebars and landed on a parked car.  He is going to be fine.  But he missed a day of work, and is still hurting.  Nothing broken, no concussion, and only light damage to his bike. 

Stupid people in cars. 


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Genetics Family Trait Coincidence?

Some things have happened recently that have made me think about family.  One thing was a blog our son, Erik, posted this week.  He makes the statement that he takes a simple thing and makes a long story from it.  I tend to also write long blogs.  But his Dad’s mother was a master of expanding the story.  Dolly would ask if we had heard about Jane Doe’s accident.  By the end of the story we knew Jane’s entire family, their jobs, the doctor’s name, and her neighbors’ history too.   But we would usually have to ask what about the accident.

My niece, her family, and the sons’ girlfriends just vacationed at the beach.  The oldest son posted on Facebook that he had a lot of shells to wash and why had he brought so many home.  My niece commented she would be doing a lot of gluing tonight.  This took me back to my childhood.  We would bring back shells from Florida and my Grandmother would clean them and then putty them to all kinds of boxes.  Usually they were cigar boxes. (I have never known where all the cigar boxes came from.  No one in the family smoked cigars.) We would then keep our treasures in them.  Four generations later, shell gluing is still happening.

Other traits in the family.  The men in my husband’s family all pulse a leg while sitting.  While eating they all hook their left arm off the table. All of their voices are alike.  When Marty’s brother, Keith, would call, our son would act as if  he were Marty.  Then he would hand his Dad the phone. It always fooled Keith.  I have talked to Keith thinking it was Marty.  If they can’t tell each other apart on the phone what chance do I  have?   And they all are just as independent as hogs on ice.

My Daddy’s side of the family has been accused of being very tight with money.  We prefer to say careful with money.  We come from a long line of feuding families: the Hatfields and the McCoys, The Halls of Knott County.  We tend to not forgive and forget.  Some of us can be civil with those who annoy us, other act as if the person is not in the same county.

This is just a few things that stand out as family traits, genetics, coincidences.   Look at your family, both sides, several generations.  What do you see the same?


Saturday, May 5, 2012

The Week’s Weddings Part 2

 I did bare bone civil ceremonies for couples who had had a cultural wedding.  There were ceremonies for couples who had been together for years and years.  One of the couples, the groom was 54, the bride was 68.  He had never been married, this was her fifth marriage. One clerk said we will see her back next year.

One ceremony the bride was crying, not much but there were tears.  The groom was so worried.  He kept saying, “Don’t be sad, don’t be sad.”  She told him she wasn’t sad, just very emotional.

Not being unkind, but one couple looked a little strange together.  She was tall and big boned, not fat, just big boned.  He was tiny, tiny.  He looked like a jockey.  Maybe I thought that because the Kentucky Derby Festival was this week.  Anyway he was very emotional during his vows and cried.

When Marty dropped me off at the County Building on Wednesday, we saw a long dress and flowers heading toward the front door.  Well, there was a woman in the dress.   I lucked out and the couple spoke English and I was to do the ceremony.  She was from Italy and he was from Argentina.  They spoke English with heavy accents. 

The dress was one shouldered with a drape at the  bodice.  It was a silver blue heavy satin that went to the floor. The skirt was gored.  It was fitted to just mid thigh and they gently flared out.

The bride had a tiny “diamond” glued by one eye and another one on her check.  Her bare shoulder had a swirl of larger “diamonds”.  All very tasteful.  All very gorgeous.  Her bouquet was a mixture of pastel flowers.   The groom wore a rich blue suit with a blue shirt and tie.  They looked fabulous.

It was a busy week and fun.  I love this volunteer job.


Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Week’s Weddings Part 1

I am complaining all the time about couples not responding when I call for them.  Or when everyone isn’t there, even if they say they are.  Or maybe the rudest are the couples that just sit when you call their names.  They just look at you.  Those I can outwait.  They don’t respond, I leave the lobby. 

Wednesday, the morning volunteer was ranting about the same behavior.  She called names and nothing.  Four times, no response.  When they finally heard her they said the crying babies kept them from hearing her.  There were no crying babies in the lobby.  So let’s go upstairs.  Can’t, the groom is outside somewhere.  She was livid.  Glad to know I am not the only one who gets ticked off.

Monday and Wednesday afternoons I did a total of 11 weddings.  Clerks did 3 or 4 non English ceremonies.  We were cranking them out.  On Wednesday I did 5 weddings in 1 hour and 20 minutes.  Everyone got pictures, everyone felt special. 

One bride wore a long white dress and wore a beautiful gold tiara.  The tiara had been a gift to her daughter when she was a baby.  Mom had asked to wear it on her special day.  I asked if they had their own vows, she did.  On her phone. I start the ceremony.  We come to the vows, the bride goes on her phone to where the vows are.  Except she couldn’t find them.  It took forever to find them.  Sort of killed the feel of the wedding as she scrolled through texts.  I now know to tell them to pull up the vows before the ceremony starts.  Always on a learning curve.

One groom wanted to do a bible reading.  Even though it is a civil wedding, I have no problem with that.  So he read Ephesians 5: 22-33.  Some of that reading I do have problems with.  But I wasn’t marrying him.  His bride just rolled her eyes while he read it.  He was very serious when he said his own vows.  She was still rolling her eyes.

While they were in the Marriage Desk Office, she saw our decorated broom for the Jumping the Broom ceremony.  She wanted a picture of them jumping the broom.  He wasn’t happy, but knew when to say yes dear.

Part 2 this weekend.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

More Ducklings!

Yesterday when I arrived at Kaiser School, the first thing I noticed, no incubator.  All the little ducklings were in a cage. Last week we had three ducklings that had hatched.  From the ten eggs we now have five cute yellow ducklings that made it.



There really are five, the bright heat lamp washes out the duckling in the back.

I worked on reading with nearly everything child in the class.  Some it was a concentrated lesson, some just a chance for them to read aloud to an adult.  Our little ones have come a long long way.  They are reading, not just saying words.  They have good expression, good speed, and they are laughing at what they are reading.  The hardest part has happened.  Comprehension has been achieved!

To continue our science theme of eggs and ducks, I read Make Way for Ducklings.  My Grandmother read this to me when I was a little girl.  I read it to my students and to our son.  This book was published in 1941 and holds up with high tech children of the 21st century. 

The children counted the ducklings on every page to be sure none were lost on the trip.  They discussed the policeman helping the ducks, and the fact he used no radio or cell phone to get help. He used a landline. They didn’t think a policeman today would help baby ducks.  One child was upset the ducks were eating peanuts.  He said, “The ducks will choke on peanuts.  You can’t feed them peanuts.”  Never occurred to me peanuts were bad for ducks.  Today’s six year olds are way more aware of things like that than previous generations were.

The children were pulled into this book.  The art work and the story held up after 70 years.  Some times old is better.