Monday, July 30, 2012

Mike Sugerman’s Day With Me

Last Friday we had reporters at the County Building. They were there to get the word out about the County’s need for volunteer Marriage Commissioners.   I wrote about that last week.  And as  promised here is the update on Mike Sugerman’s report on KCBS.

Mike spent a large part of the day with me.  He was sworn in as a Marriage Commissioner and I trained him.  He shadowed me to see how we do weddings and then he was to do a ceremony.  Only everyone was too shy and didn’t want to be on the radio.  So he interviewed me and two other commissioners.  Finally we had a brave couple who would be on the radio.  The bride listened to him every morning, so was excited to have “that voice” do the ceremony.  He does have a magnificent voice.

Sneaky Marriage Desk Clerk D took pictures of the wedding. Some are through the glass door, some she took with door opened a little.


Mike doing a little interviewing.


Don Ford filming Mike doing the ceremony.  I am holding Mike’s recorder.


Another angle of the ceremony.


Us from the front.  Mike was having a great time.  Big smiles.


The witness taking pictures too.


Last shot of Mike as he pronounced them married.

He was high as a kite on excitement after the wedding.  He said he understood why we volunteered as Marriage Commissioners.  It was such a happy fun job. 

This morning Mike Sugerman gave his radio report.  The link goes to a written report.  Down in the middle of the page is a link (this is a small pop up window) to the audio report.  I have my fingers crossed this works.  Every one has had trouble with this.  If you have trouble, leave a comment and I will try to get a better link.

The on line news agency has not put up their report.  If it shows, I will link it too.

Sunday, July 29, 2012


I just looked at my wedding notes and realized I haven't written much about weddings.  I have written about things happening at the County Building, but not much about weddings.  So here we go, just  weddings.

Spell check has quit working, they even said to check back later.  I did.  Still not working.  Regular readers know I am not a good speller.  So if it is not the correct spelling, not my fault.  I tried to use spellcheck.  Also Blogger is again putting links from my blog to ads and some of the ads are not always nice.  I am trying to figure out how to get rid of the links.

The clothing is always interesting.  When I write the colors some of the ethnic brides wear, it really sounds strange.  But to look at them, gorgeous.   One of the brides was from Fiji.  Her clothing looked as if she were Indian or Pakistani.  She wore a tunic over light orange puffy pants.  The tunic was jeweled and turquoise that bled into orange and then back into the turquoise.  I know it sounds awful, but it was beautiful.  This couple was in their late 40's.  There was huge love in the room.

The next group was large, they filled up the room.  They were all having a fun time.  The bride had a red flower in her coal black hair.  She wore a black sleeveless top with a dull goldish skirt.  The groom wore a white shirt, black vest and slacks.  The groom was so moved I didn't think he would get through the vows.  Tears were streaming down his face.  Her father took a picture of my book to capture the words of the ceremony. 

All of this sounds so nice, and was except for the bride's spoiled brat sister.  All through the ceremony she was eating something like Twizzlers.   Chomp chomp, rude noises, talking.  Oh did I mention she was at least 10 years old?  After the ceremony they wanted family pictures and sister would not put down the candy.  The parents took the candy away from her and she pitched a screaming hissy fit.  All during the pictures she made ugly faces.  I so wanted to smack her up the side of the head.  She ruined the family group pictures.

This last story is all about the dogs.  Yes, we had dogs, guide dogs.  The bride and the groom were both blind.  Their witness K was either a very close friend or else a great caregiver.  The couple was fun, and very forgiving of me trying to get them (couple and 2 dogs) lined up under the wedding arch.  I am not real good giving directions.  My left is not not their left.  I had the poor groom turning in circles.  He was sweet, he kept laughing and said that K walks him into walls all the time.  I doubt that but it made me feel better.  Finally we are lined up and ready to go.  I have the groom and his beautiful Golden Retriever, the bride and her beautiful German Shepherd. During the ceremony the Shepherd sat on the bride's foot, I guess his usual spot.  The Retreiver leaned onto the groom's leg so hard, I was afraid the groom would tilt over.  It was a sweet loving ceremony.  Those dogs adored their masters, and the masters adored their dogs.  When I pronounced the couple husband and wife, the dogs went crazy barking.  They had picked up the emotions of the couple.  I loved this wedding.  So much love, so much bravery, and such fun people.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Call for Volunteers

At the beginning of the week a press release went out telling about the opportunity to do weddings at the County Building.  News agencies wanted to meet a volunteer and follow one to see what we do.  I was asked to do interviews with TV reporters on Wednesday.   I was there, no reporters showed up.  They wanted to come on Friday, a day I don’t work.  I agreed to come in.  Hey, it’s 30 seconds of fame.  Several reporters came on Friday.  Some talked to just staff, some talked to Commissioners too.

Friday I arrived at 10:00 and the first reporter arrived shortly after.  It was Mike Sugarman from 740 KCBS radio and channel 5 KPIX TV.  He interviewed a couple of other commissioners and then me.  He had been sworn in as a Deputy Marriage Commissioner and I was to train him.  His report will not be on the radio until Monday morning.  I will tell you all about the day with him and link to his report on Monday.  For locals it is on Monday morning at 6:40, 7:40, 8:40, 9:40.

Don Ford is a reporter from KPIX TV.  He and Mike Sugarman work together sometimes.   I can not find a bio of Don, lots of links to stories he has done.  Don interviewed three of us and then had his story on the news Friday night.   I have a link for it.  I have found in the past after a couple of weeks these links won’t work.  Don interviewed me for maybe 10 minutes and the other 2 for about the same time.  He followed Joe Mallon (our guest blogger) and me around and filmed at least 2 weddings.  Don also filmed Mike Sugarman doing a weddings.  He filmed at least an hour of what we do.  All that cut down to less than 2 minutes. 

One other reporter joined us.  Theresa Adams from   an on line news agency.  Again no bio found, just stories she has done.  She said her article will be posted on Monday.  She interviewed some of us, watched the weddings, and made copious notes.  Monday I will link to her article.

We now hope the reports from the various news agencies will bring in new volunteers.  We have gaps during the week with only staff to do marriage ceremonies.

I have to say my day with the reporters was fun.  They were so nice, not like some we have shown around. No, I am a star and you are so lucky to be in the same room with me.  I won’t mention names, but I do take  bribes.   They were respectful of the couples which is our biggest concern. 

Volunteers burn out, have health issues, can’t make that commitment to showing up every week.  Staff has even “fired” one volunteer.  It is a huge responsibility to be a marriage commissioner.  It is also an awesome job. I love doing marriages, and Joe loves doing them.  We just can’t quit smiling.  Hope some of you join us.

For information about volunteering, click here.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Joe tells us more

Guest Blogger Joe Mallon has written about last Friday at the Marriage Factory.

My shifts at the marriage factory have been slow lately, averaging 5
or 6 couples.  Today, things were a bit busier.  I married 15 couples
in 3 1/2 hours.  That's one couple every 14 minutes.  For the entire
time I had at least one couple waiting to be married.

In such a whirlwind, a few stood out:
The couple who held their 2-month-old as they said the vows.  The
mom/bride was so happy she grinned ear to ear the entire time.  The
dad/groom looked shellshocked, but relieved after the ceremony.

The couple whose toddler would not stop running around the wedding
room, pulling on everything.  I rarely stop a ceremony, but I did
twice to try to stop the kid.  No dice.

The couple who were obviously completely in love with each other and
with getting married.  He was wearing a suit with a boutonniere and
she had a simple lace dress and wrist corsage.  I don't get choked up
often, but that one had me smiling very broadly.

The couple whose guest was just a minute away from joining them - for
15 minutes.

Lovely clothes, bridal division:
* Black-and-white checked minidress with black heels and a canary
yellow cardigan
* 2 floor-length shoulderless gowns, one floral with a beaded
neckpiece and one red and scalloped
* Turquoise Chanel-inspired suit
* A few lace dresses, all perfectly appropriate

Not lovely: the groom in "snakes and car grille" t-shirt and ball cap.

Again a big thank you to Joe for sharing his experiences as a Marriage Commissioner. 


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Obama Connection

This will be a little long.  Get a drink, get comfy, and enjoy.

Monday was my day to volunteer at the Marriage Factory.  We knew President Obama was in Oakland.  The paper had given the routes he would be taking, and the streets that would be closed by security.  He was to have dinner off the main road close to us.  But he was being brought in through a different route.   Later he would be at the Fox Theater downtown.  Again we could get around those road closures.  He was no where close to the Marriage Factory.  Wrong!

Marty headed down  toward the Lake Merritt to avoid downtown.  We turn on Madison, and it was closed.  Marty kept turning, the roads were closed.  I was beginning to think we couldn’t even get home as they were closing roads behind us.  What was going on? 

I call to tell the clerks I can’t get there.  It is all blocked off.  Marty was determined.  He kept turning, and suddenly there was a street open.  Even Madison was open above the closure.  No parking allowed, lots of police and vans.  He dropped me off and we laughed and said hope he can get in to pick me up.

I asked the Counties Deputies what was going on.   They didn’t know but guessed Obama was making an unscheduled stop down the street.  Great.  I am locked in and the customers can’t get to us.  But I was wrong.  People parked several blocks away and hoofed it to us.  I was doing marriages.

Then the news ran through the building:  at 3:00 the President’s motorcade would go by our building.  At 5 minutes till the building was emptying out on the street.  Camera phones at the ready.  As I was headed out, K brought me a license.  I said, “I don’t think so.  I’ll be back in a little bit.”  She told her customers what was going on and they joined us on the sidewalk.

The couple was so excited.  They had gone to Obama’s inauguration.  Now Obama would be “there” for their wedding. 

The whole time we are standing there we can see the Interstate has been shut down.  (Major ramp just a few blocks away)  The motorcycle police ride back and forth.


First this way


Then back again

The police standing along the street look sterner and sterner.  And then we see the cars coming.  We had CHP, Oakland police, San Francisco police, Secret Service, more motorcycles, press vans, local officials, Hummers, and an ambulance. They are breaking the speed limit going the wrong way on a one way street.  It is good to be President.


This time it is for real.


Antennas galore.


A sign on the windshield said Wire 1.  Anyone know what that means?  Other vans said press, officials, stuff like that.


This is what we were waiting for, the limo with the flags and the Presidential Seal.  If you look closely you can see the reflection of us on the side of the car.  Even though the windows are heavily tinted, we could see someone waving at us.  We are sure it was Obama and not a flunky.  And then they were all gone.

I took the couple in and did their wedding.  She wore a white stretchy lace dress that had a slip under it.  Unfortunately the dress did not stretch enough and it and the slip rode up.  She spent most of the ceremony pulling one or the other down.  They were a sweet couple and really excited about Obama.  They do have a wedding story like no one else.

 I finish my last wedding, gather my stuff, and go around the corner to where Marty is parked.  The streets are closed off again.  What is going on?  Oh right, Obama has to leave where he is down the street and go to dinner. 

Marty sees the street in front of us is stopped and has been for 10 minutes.  He starts to back up and take a tunnel beside us.  Oh the big policeman did not like that move.  The tunnel is closed.  Really?  There is no barricade.  We don’t argue and go to the gridlock in front of us.  Marty finally sees a side street open and we swing around the Lake and gets to a street that will get us home. Success.

Well, we get to the main road to turn off onto our street.  The police are everywhere and are shutting down the side streets.  Guess who is coming in a different route than announced.  I guess this is how they keep him safe, unannounced routes. 

We were lucky.  Our street is a main artery and they are saving it until last to close.  We got home by the hardest.

Lots of a hassle when the president comes to town.  This was really bad because they were closing highways and streets at rush hour.  Well to be fair, rush hour here is 4:30-10 in the morning and 3-7.  It is hard not to mess up rush hour.


Monday, July 23, 2012

Lessons Learned, Part 2

Again we have notes from Joe.  These are things we have learned through experience.  You may think he made up number 1.  Trust me, many times I have walked around to several clerks and asked how would you pronounce this.  Sometimes we are right.

1. Don't be afraid to ask how names are pronounced.  Gone are the days
of Steve and Cindy.  Welcome, Abraxia, Shevvonne, and Reandeal.

2. Ask everyone to silence cell phones.  This prevents the
interruption as Dad calls to congratulate the couple and "I like big
butts" rings out across the wedding room.

3. Have any photographers take a couple test shots, so the happy
couple will be in focus, and you'll be ready for any interesting
camera noises.

4. Wedding rings can cause a lot of confusion.
 3 simple rules:
    * Get the rings ready before the ceremony begins.  Finding them at
the bottom of a purse really puts a crimp in the proceedings.
    * The groom's left hand is opposite the bride's right hand.  This is
surprisingly challenging to remember.
    * Rings often don't fit, especially when you're nervous.  It happens
a lot and means nothing - don't worry about it.

5. Wash your hands after every couple ceremonies, or if anyone coughs
or sneezes.  I don't know how the clerks avoid being sick all the time.

I would add to number 4. 
 Rings hit the floor, no big deal.  Someone picks them up and we finish the ceremony.
 I can't tell you how many times I have said, "other left".


Sunday, July 22, 2012

Garden Party

Saturday at noon we arrived at friends’ for a lovely day of great food, wonderful wines, and lots of fun conversation.  Friends Lew and Nancy are known for exciting food choices.  They go for the exotic, the difficult, but always tasty recipes.  Below there are a few pictures of some of the food they prepared for the 13 of us. 

The party began in their open kitchen and the next few courses were served at tables on the back lawn.  Then for the main course, those of us at our table wimped out and went inside.  The sun was beating down on us.  We sat in AC and enjoyed the main course.  Dessert was buffet style, again in the kitchen area.

Remember to click on the pictures to enlarge them.


This is Nancy’s menu.  Each course was served with a wine to compliment the dish.   I was enjoying the food so much, I did not get pictures of all courses. 

The bacon and eggs were close to the best taste of the day.  Poached Quail eggs warmed in butter with leeks and other minced veggies and extra crispy bacon bits all on a little spoon.  This was one bite, but I wanted a couple more.


Garden salad


This is vegetables “growing in dirt”.  Be sure to enlarge this one to see the detail.  The dirt is dried olives and browned Grape Nuts.  Under the dirt was a caper mayonnaise.  Growing out of the dirt were tomatoes, carrots, radishes, bok choy, broccoli, and brussel sprouts.


No, this is not Crème Brulee.  This is Foie Gras Brulee.  Be still my heart.  I loved, loved this dish.  I was hoping other people wouldn’t like it and I could have theirs.  No such luck.  We  just had a ban on Foie Gras in California become law.  Stupid bleeding heart non good food eaters!   Nancy planned ahead and bought before the ban when into effect.  Or she drove to Nevada to shop.


The salad was good, but the tomato tartare under the greens and beans was to die for.


Rice and corn porridge.  The white is a scallop, the dark slices are wood ear mushrooms.  Very tasty.


This is the where the wimps’ moved to an inside table. We all live in the fog belt and the beating sun was cooking us. The entree had two types of lamb, spicy and one garlicky with a potato dish.  More great wines.

Dessert was lovely, see menu.  I forgot to take pictures. 

We had a lovely day.  Thank you Lew and Nancy.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

July 20 1969

On July 20 1969 I totally missed the first moon landing. I was busy that day and the night before. I hosted a dinner party.  And I was in labor. I knew I was in labor, but not having contractions close enough to go to the hospital.  I told no one.  Why ruin a party?  I had daiquiris, some Champagne, and a full meal.  Back then we didn't worry so much about drinking while pregnant.  I didn't drink much, but in labor I did.  I knew they wouldn't give me good drugs until late in the labor.  I was going to go to the hospital relaxed.

I had been having contractions most of the afternoon.  I somehow knew I was going to be very slow having this baby.  I was very much like my  mother, slow in birthing a baby.  So I enjoyed the party.  After every one left I told Mary I was in labor and he needed to do the dishes and clean up.  I curled up on the bed and started clocking contractions. 

We left for the hospital around 1:00 A.M.  Contractions were a minute apart. But nothing much was happening.   I was very slow to get to to point of delivery.  Our son Erik was not born until around 5:00 P.M.  I have always thought he would have been born earlier if Marty and the doctor hadn’t been busy watching the landing on the moon on TV.   After the landing the doctor said to Marty, let’s go deliver the baby.  They gave me a shot, (still not dilating) and then off to the delivery room. Our son was born, and he was perfect.  

Today that baby turned 43.   We have a child 43 years old????   Our precious baby is middle aged?   Holy Crap we are really really old. 

P.S.  That baby was not hurt by the little bit of drinking I did while pregnant.  He is very intelligent, and has a Master’s Degree in Geology.

Friday, July 20, 2012

More from Joe

Guest blogger, Joe, sent me a list of lessons he has learned at the Marriage Factory. There is a part 2 to be posted later.  At the rate he is writing I expect him to start his own blogEvery item is something we have learned the hard way.  Item 2 is the one that has me ready to kill.  How many blogs have I written about the question, Is everyone here?  They say yes, but no is the correct answer.


Lessons learned at the marriage factory:

1. Check the marriage license - helps discover couples who will need a
ceremony in Mandarin, Thai, Lao, etc.  The dates of birth helps pick
out who's who in the lobby - not every bride wears a wedding dress.

2. Ask if everyone's there.  Mention feeding the meter and using the
restroom, or people will forget where their witnesses have gone.

3. Go over the license with everyone before starting the ceremony.
Fixing typos before things start is free and easy.  Fixing legal
documents is neither.

4. Nervous laughter during the ceremony is normal.  So are tears, so
try to have tissues ready.

5. Nervous people can't remember more than 5 or 6 words at a time, so
parcel out the vows accordingly.

6. Children are bored by weddings, and a wooden bench is really loud
when a child is repeatedly kicking it.

7. And most importantly, be nice to the clerks!
Joe Mallon

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Now some stories of weddings from me.

I have become pretty good sounding out names from other countries.  This couple nearly threw me though.  The names were Ghluhlum, and Humaira.   No way can I phonetically spell  these out, but I pronounced them correctly. 

In the elevator the groom said that they had planned to marry on Monday when they bought the  license.  But there was a problem, as they crossed the street, her ring fell off her finger and rolled into the storm drain.  I thought that was a big problem.  But also they wanted the clerk to write up their prenuptial  agreement.  We don’t do that.  So they left and we guess had a lawyer draw up a prenuptial agreement. They were back and I married them. Her ring had been replaced.  And everyone was happy.

The next bride was stunning.  She wore a lined white lace dress.  It was strapless and to the floor.  Her makeup had to have been professionally done.  It was flawless.  Her brilliant red lipstick was the exact same shade as her roses.  Who but a pro could match roses and lips? 
The groom wore a black vest and black slacks with a white shirts.  He wore black pointy toed ankle boots that were edged at the sole in silver.  

They had been friends since they were 7 and 8 years old.  Everyone in the room was so emotional knowing the friendship and love this couple had had for so long.  Everyone cried.

I see a lot of pregnant brides.  They marry in wedding dresses that usually have an empire waist or are just stretched out.  This bride had a true maternity wedding dress.  It was gorgeous and flattered her bump. The dress was white, strapless, to the floor.  The front was perfectly draped to cover yet not deny the bump.  Really a well done look.

Now to the guests.  All the women were dressed up.  Some of the men even had on suits and ties.  Then we have the bride’s mother and sister.  They had on the same dress.  It was a really ugly shade of pink.  The dress was a halter top and was pleated to a bubble hem, which was well above the knee.  The mother’s dress was stretched out and not really pleated.   The dress was loose on the sister and she had belted it in.  Just strange to look at these two women.

Monday, July 16, 2012

And now a word from Joe

I recruited Joe Mallon as a Marriage Commissioner several years ago.  Well, really I asked his wife and she said thanks, but no thanks.  Joe was all but jumping up and down, pick me, pick me.  Staff loves him.  Joe is on time and there every week.  He speaks English and Spanish.  He can move the couples in and out quickly yet in a gracious manner.  He is good. 

Joe’s wife writes a blog and he guests blogs on that sometimes.  He asked if he could guest blog for me.  I am honored to be asked.  I am proud to present his first guest blog on I Have No Endings.  

Take it away Joe . . .

Does age matter?  The first couple were 20 years apart, but obviously in love.  The groom had not expected the ceremony to be so moving.  He even asked for a copy of it.

The second couple was the opposite - both young, the bride chewed gum, the groom put a no-doubt-intended-for-ironic-effect pause between "lawfully wedded" and "wife".  They both laughed during the vows, and
not the nervous laughter that occasionally comes out as tears.

A word about cameras: Can't someone get cameras so they all work the same?  So much time is taken up with a bride or groom teaching a witness how to use the phone camera.  Also, how about a longer pause before the picture disappears from the viewscreen?  The current time is just enough for me to take the picture  (which I offer to do for groups) and almost get the camera into someone's hands.  It goes like this: *snap*, step step step, "take a look", fumble with camera trying to get back to the image that was visible 1.5 seconds ago.

The most interesting clothing of the morning was a bride who wore a mid-thigh trench coat.  I tend to get more conservatively-dressed folks than Janet, so the young lady's attire made me a little nervous.  However, when she took off the coat, she was wearing a lovely shoulderless white dress with beading, appropriately cut.  To make things even more enjoyable, the witnesses were twins with the same name except for one letter, like Eddie and Teddy, both also  well-dressed.  An altogether pleasant experience.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Yard Sale, Yuck!

Marty decided we should have a yard sale.  He has all kinds of yard tools, saws, drills, a work bench, nails, bolts, sprinkler things, electrical stuff, speakers, and on and on.  We can’t fit this in a smaller place or have a need for it in an apartment.  I said donate it, give it to contractor friends.  Anything but a yard sale.  He said look through the house and put out what you want to get rid of.

I did not win this one.  We had a yard sale today.  Our son came over to help us last night.  He and his Dad pulled stuff from under the house.  They drug out stuff from the garage.  I ignored them.  A friend came to keep me company and I bitched to her all afternoon.  I did feed Marty and son, Erik, a lovely dinner.

We have done yard sales through the years.  They have been massive amounts of work, and very little profit.  I did not see anyway this one would be different.  Well, I was wrong.

We made money.  Money that was worth the hard work we all did.  I broke down and helped them a little late yesterday.  And I was the best salesperson you have ever seen.  We earned every penny.

The sale was from 9-2.  At 8:30 we had people as we were still setting up.  AND they wanted us to cut the price.  I just looked at one pushy bitch and said, “We are not open yet.  Why would I cut my price?  Come back at 1:00.”  She left in a huff.  I didn’t care.

We met lovely people who will love the treasures we were selling.  We met people who have no social skills, and pushed me to the I will kill you point.  Our son worked his hiney off.  He travels all week and spent his down time helping us.  Bless him and his wife.

It was a long, hot day.  We survived.  All three of us are sore.  Being on a concrete driveway for hours and hours will destroy your body.  Young or old, this is hard work. We never got to sit down.  Then what doesn’t sell must go back somewhere in the house.  Erik by himself put most of it back in the garage.  Marty and I were with a couple who bought some furniture inside the house. 

I still hate yard sales.  We made some nice money.  But my knees hurt, my back is screaming, and my feet will never forgive me.  And Marty, he is in worse shape than I am.  Never again.  Well until August.  We are doing another one as we pack out the house.  If we don’t really love it, to the driveway it goes. 

Help me!


Friday, July 13, 2012


This week there were beautiful clothes at the weddings.  There were nice people and really rude people.  And we had a panic attack.  Just a normal week at the Marriage Factory.

I had a couple from India.  All the women were dressed in a gorgeous salwar kameez.  This is a style of tunics over loose pants.  They were different colors and highly decorated with “jewels”.  The dresses were sky blue, hunter’s green, coral. These women had incredible diamond rings and gold bracelets. 

The couple had done  a cultural wedding and exchanged rings then.  But the bride wanted the ring ceremony again.  The groom agreed to it, and then his ring wouldn’t come off.  He tugged and tugged.  Finally someone handed him some lotion and the ring came off.  Then it wouldn’t go back on.  It was sitting on his knuckle.  The boy needs to go get that ring sized.

After the beauty of the above wedding, the next couple were the extreme opposite.  The groom’s jeans were hanging on the ground.  The crotch was below his knees.  So he was doing that silly walk of throwing one leg, then the other, while his hands were in the pockets holding up the jeans.  And the bride, bless her heart.  She was a small woman with a cute figure.  Unfortunately, her clothes were two sizes too small.  Her top was skin tight and caused a roll around her waist.  She wore sprayed on jeans and hooker boots.  You know what I mean, high heeled boots that went above the knees.  And the crowning look, Lee Press on Nails.  They were so bored by the ceremony.  They are having a big party later on. That is the important thing to them.

The couple was from The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.  The bride was very nervous and the groom was worried about and protective of her.  As we turned the corner and she saw the Wedding Room, she froze.  She turned pale and grabbed her mouth as if she were going to throw up.  And she was dizzy.  We got her in the room and sat her down.  She was in a full blown panic attack.  I talked to her alone to be sure she wanted to marry.  She did, she just was scared.  This was a huge deal.  I had the groom come sit with and hold her.  She told me she was ready.  So we did the ceremony.  Afterwards she was smiling and laughing.   She just had a moment.

Now to the rude people.  It was a large group. They had screaming children running all over the lobby.  They had been waiting for a witness and let the clerk know all were here now.  I had to call their names three times before they bothered to saunter over to me.  As always, I asked, “Is everybody here?”  Yes, we get on the elevator.  As I start to push the button for the floor, I heard the groom say, “We can wait for Dad upstairs.  I said “No, if everyone isn’t here we don’t go up.  Please get off the elevator.”  They wouldn’t get off.  They would go on without Dad.  Fine. I again start to punch the floor and one of the children reaches and punches all the floors.  I nearly smacked him. 

We go into the Wedding Room.  They all start stalling.  They need this, a question here, and then a question there.  They are trying to wait for Dad.  They are holding the room and me hostage.  I have two other weddings to do.  I had had it with them.  They lied more than once.  I started the ceremony.  Dad missed it. 

All they had to do was step off the elevator and wait for him.  They had waited for one guest.  They knew we took them as soon as she showed up.  Why the wanting to wait upstairs? Let me take the next couple and then come back for them.  No, they wouldn’t listen to me and lied to me. 

I was going to end with the above wedding.  But it leaves a bad taste.  So one one more lovely bride story.  She wore a knee length strapless dress.  The skirt was white layers of tulle.  She wore a shawl and matching high heels in what my family calls U of K blue.  It was stunning against the white.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Yesterday was hard, really hard

Yesterday was the celebration of my Mother’s life.  It was held at their church in Louisville.  I was here in California.  I could have gone back, but there were many more reasons for me to be here.  So I was here and my family was there.  Last night we SKYPED my brother, Henry, and his wife, Ann, to hear about the day.  Talking to them and nephew Lee was very good.

At breakfast I went on Facebook and fell apart.  A nephew had posted pictures of things at the service.  I wasn’t expecting that.  I had asked for pictures, but wasn’t ready.  Through the day I went back and looked at the pictures.  They helped and they didn’t.

You need to know about this service and the meal afterwards.  It was to be happy, it was to be beautiful, filled with organ music and songs by talented singers. Henry told me the minister used most of my blog about Mother in the service.  The minister also told them he was amazed by the huge crowd.  When people die at 95 usually there are few left to mourn them.  The church was packed with children to senior citizens.  Anna touched all age groups and all types of people.  There were other ministers, the pool man, staff from the nursing home, neighbors, family and friends from many states. 

Now to the reception.  I have told you how my Mother loved Kentucky football and tailgating.  Well, they held one last tailgate party for her.  The hall was decorated with U of K items   The food was tailgate food. There were coolers full of soft drinks. 

Mother's celebration

And Mother was there.

Mother's celebration4

This is Mother’s wheelchair.  It has the U of K blankets she used at the games, a pom pom shaker, and her urn of ashes.  This is how you celebrate 95 years of a great life.

When we talked to Henry, Ann, and Lee last night, we laughed.  There were some tears.  But we had a fun talk.  They told us the things that went wrong, programs with millions of typos that they fixed before everyone got there.  The Air Conditioning broke in the sanctuary.  The men were shucking their suit coats. And all were wishing for those Funeral Home Fans that used to be on the back of pews in the summer.  They told us about the people there.  We laughed about “eccentric” relatives.  We talked and eased our hurt. 

Saturday, July 7, 2012

A Mix of Weddings

I am still catching up on all the weddings for the last couple of weeks.  With all going on lately, I haven't been as faithful on the weddings.

Someone asked me the other night, do you know when a marriage isn’t going to last.  Well, not for sure, but there are red flags: the bride who asked the groom what his last name was; between them the couple has 8 divorces; the groom is only 35 years old and this is his third marriage; the 18 year olds who pose, make gang signs, and talk throughout the ceremony;  the bride who sat in the floor for 15 minutes crying and asking should I do this.  Oh, and then we have the green card weddings.  If I can tell this isn’t for real, for sure the immigration officials will recognize the scam.

The groom was 77, the bride was 44.  Sometimes that feels creepy.  Not this time.  He was a very young looking healthy man.  The bride was not healthy looking.  Her hands and feet were twisted, perhaps from arthritis.  They adored each other.  Both of them were very emotional during the vows.

The couple was young, early 20’s.  She was in jeans and a Tee shirt, he was too.  After the ceremony she started crying.  The groom thought she was upset because they weren’t having a fancy wedding.  He started promising a huge fancy deal down the road.  By the hardest, she convinced him that she wasn’t unhappy, she was just very moved by the ceremony.

As you all know I hate hate doing ceremonies for arranged weddings.  This is not PC.  My apologies to those I offend.  But when I see the Indian/Pakistani couples in the lobby not even looking at each other, I want to cry.  So I see an Indian couple and family in the lobby. The day is going to end on a bad note.  The license was on my desk.  The couple marrying is in their late 40’s.  Turns out we have a love match.  All of the young people were her children.   The couple was so solemn during the ceremony.  Finally during the paperwork they started smiling and laughing.

As you have read, all kinds of people come into the Marriage Factory.  What ever our personal feelings our job is to make this ceremony a wonderful experience for them.   I think 99% of the time we do that.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

A Fun Fourth of July

Yesterday, as we have done since 2000, we went up the hill to a cookout.  Neighbors from our last house invite (on a Hills Forum) everyone around them to a potluck cookout.  There were over 100 people there.  I am sure our host was meeting several for the first time.  Their house sits on one of the highest points in Oakland and has a nearly 360 degrees view.

On the Fourth we look at multiple cities that are shooting off fireworks.  Or I should say, listen to the fireworks.  This is the San Francisco Bay we are looking at.  What goes with San Francisco?  Fog.


There should be the Golden Gate and Bay Bridges in there somewhere.  As the night wore on, the fog got farther and farther in.  Lots of booms and colored clouds.

Thirteen trips up the hill, we have seen fireworks maybe three times.  But we don’t care.  It isn’t about the fireworks.


The man in the white on the steps is our host, Russ.  He is an unashamed Patriot who bleeds Red, White, and Blue.  Every Fourth he gives us a history lesson on America.  We pledge allegiance to the flag, led by our firemen.  Next a group picture and then the food.


It was a lovely evening, around 70 degrees and dropping.  We had burgers, polish sausage, and hot dogs.  There were all kinds of salads and veggies.  Later every dessert you can think of.


We lucked out and scored a table with friends.  No sitting on the wall this year.  Also we were next to the wine table.


I had a huge burger, my potato salad, black beans with a masa topping, a pasta shrimp salad, tomatoes and feta cheese salad,  a tossed salad with all kinds of goodness in it, and a smoked peppers and feta cheese salad.  Some were very good, some just OK.  I did not finish everything nor did I have dessert.  I was full.

I keep mentioning our firemen.  Or Firepersons.  Russ’ house was damaged during the Oakland Hills Fire.  He stood his ground and fought the fire with the firemen.  Nearly 4000 homes were lost.  Our fire personnel are always honored in the hills.  They saved so many lives, and finally stopped the fire before it burned to the Bay.  They are heroes.

Every year we meet new people, see long time friends, meet the firemen who protect us during Fire Season, and eat some great food.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

More Weddings from Last Week

Last week I didn’t write about all the weddings.  As usual some are so normal there is nothing to write.  And then we have others.

The couple was from Cambodia and they had several family members with them.  As I was asking them to mute their phones, someone’s rang.  The guest answered it and was talking away.  I asked her to please hang up, she ignored me.  I continued with questions for the couple and then I was ready to start the ceremony.  Guest is still talking.  Again I asked her to hang up.  She kept talking.

I began the ceremony anyway.  As it turned out, the phone lady was the least of the offenders.  Everyone in the room was talking over me, including the bride and groom.  I figured screw it, just get the ceremony done.  After the ceremony the bride was really upset.  She was worried because she had on jeans and not a formal outfit.  Had she offended anyone?  I told her clothing was not what makes a wedding/marriage. It was her wedding so she could dress how ever she wanted. She calmed down.  The guests, still talking.

The next bride was in a floor length strapless white dress that was just a smidgen too long.  It had an empire waist and knife pleats. The dress was made of  a chiffon like material.  She wore little sparkly Kitten heels.  The bride kept tripping over her dress and was wobbling in those unsteady heels.  To make all this really scary, she was 8 months’ pregnant.  She carried a huge bouquet of white and burgundy flowers.  The groom wore a burgundy shirt and had a white boutonniere.  The families were so happy and taking lots of pictures.  The picture taking became an issue.  They focused for ever before snapping the shot.  These were expensive cameras, they didn’t need to worry about the focus.  They all had automatic focus.

Another bride wore a knee length strapless white cotton dress.  It had heavy cream  embroidery 10 inches above the hemline that dropped to the bottom of the dress.  As we got in the elevator, the bride asked her mother if her slip was showing.  Mother said, “No, and I am soooo glad you wore a slip.”  I told them I was too.

The groom’s mother couldn’t be there, so they had her on speaker phone.  After I pronounced them married, Mom let out a big scream and said that she had heard everything perfectly.

Nice people even the talky ones.  Cultures are different.  What is rude to me, may not be to others.  But still, I asked her to hang up twice.


Monday, July 2, 2012

There are people in my house!

As I told you all last week, our house is on the market.  I hate having a house on the market.  I am a good housekeeper, but having everything pristine by 9:00 every morning is hard.  Plus I must be dressed by then. 

Unless I have somewhere to go, I rarely dress before noon.  I work around the house in my night shirt.  I figure it’s less work and saves water to wash one night shirt than jeans, underwear, and a shirt; and then have to clean up again and put on clean clothes.  So this house selling is cramping my style.

The Realtors all but tell me to get out of my house, in the nicest way, when they show it.  Sometimes I can, usually I can't.   We have one car, if Marty is gone I can't leave.  I sit in the courtyard and read as people go through.  If  it is an Open House, I leave because that is for hours.  Thursday I went to work with Marty.  Sunday he and I went into San Francisco for the afternoon.

Sidebar:  The economy must be greatly improving.  San Francisco was packed with tourist.  Most of whom were foreign.  Very little English spoken anywhere.


Lots of people at Pier 39.  Lots of people.


The people in the background are in line for the Red and White Fleet.  The line is at least 2 blocks long.

Now back to our story.

We have had a Brokers’ Tour, an Open House, and lots of Realtors bring  people through.  So the traffic is good.  We have one more Brokers' Tour and Open House, then we will "accept" offers.  (That always sounds funny to me.  How gracious of us to allow people to buy our home.)

One big thing Marty and I did.  Almost 2 years ago a neighbor came to us and said our tree was taking their view.  I was horrified, Bay views are sacred.  Plus legally you can't take a view.  We let them trim/top the tree. 


Well, we all know what happens when you top at tree.  It explodes with growth.  This tree above almost doubled in width and was way up into the wires. 

I went to the neighbors and said if you can get this tree out before we go on the market, we are fine with it.  The new owners might fight trimming the tree.  They took it out the day before the first tour.


We now can be seen from the street.  The neighbors are thrilled it is gone.  A win win.

Yes, this is a mixed blog.  But this is pretty much my life right now.