Saturday, April 27, 2013

The Marriage Factory

Wednesday was slow at the Marriage Factory.  Slow for weddings and slow for other business in the Vitals Department.  I only had one marriage ceremony to perform.  The clerk brought me the license and said that the couple was rude.  And that they told her they were in a rush, so hurry up.  Really people?  No one ahead of you. Things are moving in a timely manner. The groom followed Clerk P across the lobby and was staring in the glass door to watch me check the license.   That just made me read slower.  I know, I am a bad girl.

The first thing I noticed was that the bride was born in 1939, the groom in 1955.   Now I am not one to care about age differences, but this couple just seemed off. Very rushed and impatient.  No love in the room. They were in traditional Indian dress.  The bride wore teal pants and a burgundy embroidered tunic.She had a 10 foot scarf of variegated colors wrapped around her neck.  She had on several gold necklaces and bracelets.

This is rude, but true.  The bride looked like a cow chewing a cud.  She wasn't just chewing gum, she was working it to death.

She was not rude to me, but sure was to her witness.  She handed him a digital camera and he couldn't figure it out.  She fussed at him, kept showing him, and he kept hitting the off button instead of the shutter button. She was blessing him out in their native tongue. Finally to speed things up, I took the camera and showed him the the green off button, and said, "Do not touch this." She showed him again and again with some yelling, and I realized part of the problem.  She was showing how to set the timer for a delayed picture.  He wasn't waiting for the count down to take the next picture.  I did not even try to show them how to bypass the timer.

As I did the ceremony they just seemed bored and impatient with the time it took.  Yet when the ceremony was over they suddenly got all tender and sweet to each other.

We never know how people are going to act/react.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Ducks and things

At Kaiser school on Tuesday, ducks were the topic of the day.  Duck worksheets, ducks stories, and ducks in the room.    Once again this year Ms. H  had duck eggs in an incubator.  The class learned a little sex education, the care of eggs for 28 days, and the hatching process. 
As the ducklings became larger, they were placed outside in a large covered pen with water and food. (weekends Ms. H took them home with her) They would visit the classroom some days and some days the class went outside to watch and feed the ducklings.  Tuesday was the last day the ducklings were at school.  They were being moved back to the home of the mother duck.

The ducklings look yellow in some of the pictures.  They are closer to white now, especially the larger one.  I cut off the heads of the children on purpose.  Not cool to post pictures of children without the parents’ consent.

Ms. H put a big tarp down, a pan of water, and then turned the ducklings loose.  The children had chard they tore into small pieces and then threw on the tarp for the ducklings. Amazingly the ducklings stayed on the tarp.  They seem to like people.
They are just a little silly, they swim where they drink. 
This picture is truer to their color.  Notice their tiny wings.  They are Pekin ducks, raised for meat and eggs, not for flying.  And yes, the children were told this.
A little water time for our ducklings.
The story I read to the class was a classic, Beatrix Potter’s The Tale of Jemima Puddleduck.  Again in the middle of reading the book, the same little girl was pulled away to go to a special class.  She did not want to leave.  I promised her I would read her the rest of the story when she returned. And I did.

I have a picture update of our globes.  Slow process you may think.  But they were really really wet with glue and must be bone dry to paint.
As you can see, the painting has begun.  Some are only partially  painted.  Some of the children have been out sick.  By next week we should have the continents on the globes.  I hope the globes don’t go home before you see the finished product.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Food, great food

One thing we know for sure when visiting Richard and Luis, we will eat well.  Whether breakfast, snack time, lunch or dinner, good stuff is there.  You want a soft drink, your favorite will appear.  Hungry for a special candy, look in the pantry.  And then we have the two huge refrigerators.  Such a choice of meats, veggies, cheeses, ice cream.  Sometimes I think Richard is still shopping for his restaurant.  There is an abundance of goodness.

The four of us all work in the kitchen at one way or another: cooking, prepping, washing up, setting the table.    Sometimes together, sometimes alone.  Last night we put on a dinner party by committee.

Richard was our master shopper coming home with great produce, cheese, shrimp, and with the biggest steaks in the county, also the most tender juicy steaks. And he provided the Tres Leches cake for dessert.

Luis made his world famous shrimp ceviche.  So very very good. I have eaten this for years but had never seen the whole process of making it.  Labor intensive.

I made twice baked potatoes and stuffed tomatoes.

Marty made a Cesar salad, grilled the steaks, and made a wine mushroom sauce.

Our guests provided fabulous wines.

It was a lovely evening.  I met two interesting men and enjoyed talking to them.  Marty, Richard, and Luis have known them for years.

I failed at taking pictures.  I saw how pretty the table was and how colorful the foods was and thought pictures.  Then I raced back to our room to put on a clean shirt, lipstick, and jewelry. They told me to come join the party and I just forgot.

Tomorrow we do the reverse road trip and go home.  Think good thoughts so those trucks and buses will stay out of MY fast lane.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Road Trip

Wednesday we drove to San Diego.   Marty had a company meeting there on Thursday.  If you remember there are some rules/conditions for these trips.  The driver controls the radio/dashboard things; the sun always hits where Janet sits; bad weather conditions Janet is driving; construction Janet is driving, weird acts of God Janet is driving.

Most of this held true on this trip.  But Marty got part of the hard stuff this time.

We left San Leandro with an extra feature, 30 MPH winds.  Marty starts out driving and the wind is at our back, so not much trouble staying in our lane.  We get on I 5 and the winds continue.  Ever now and then we get a crosswind, not nice. We look at the road and there is tumbleweed rolling across the road. Just ahead of us a 5 ft in diameter tumbleweed blows across.  Marty misses it.

It was wall to wall trucks, buses, and bus sized RVs.  These things blow over in high winds.  Scary.  They are all playing games passing each other, pulling out in front of us with no warning and my favorite . . . the  truck passes another truck and straddles the white line, a bus is behind him, and we are stuck going up the road behind a death trap.  I had a great picture of this trick and other fun things.  My computer is ill again and the pictures are on it.  So no pictures.

We stop for a quick lunch and then my turn to drive.  The winds are still there and I pass an electronic info sign.  It said,  "Warning Gusty Winds Ahead".  Really, it is going to get worse?  Oh yeah, crosswinds, dust devils, and tumbleweed.  There were at least 4 more of these signs before we got to the Grapevine.

I hit a small tumbleweed, it just shatters, no damage or impact.  Good to know.  Marty is sleeping, when all hell breaks loose.  A HUGE  tumbleweed rolls in front of the pickup beside me.  He panics and decides it is better to hit me, a SUV, instead of the tumbleweed.  Granted it is 5 to 6 feet across, but really?????   He comes into my lane, I slam on the  brakes, aim for the emergency lane and I hit the tumbleweed.  The brake action tightens the seat belts and I am screaming obscenities at the pickup.  Marty wakes up just a little bit terrified.  I explained I missed the heavy stuff, stayed on the road and all is right with the world.

After that the trip was a bit anticlimactic, a little dust storm, construction, crosswinds.   We switch drivers one more time and make it safely to Richard's and Luis'.   We are having a great time.  Keep your fingers crossed for a calm day to drive home.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Dressing for the job

I am sure my Tuesday Book Group noticed I nearly always have the same outfit on: jeans and a white cotton shirt. When I go to Kaiser School(on Tuesdays) to work with the First Graders, I am prepared for what ever we will do.  If they paint, do paper mache, use markers, whatever, my clothes will survive.  White cotton can be bleached and you can't hurt denim.  Teaching elementary school is dirty work. I am not real sure how my clothes survived in my early years teaching.  I wore suits or dresses, stockings and heels.  That was the dress code.

Back to now.  If I wore colored shirts the markers would not come out.  And you ask how they get can get markers on me?  They hug me, pull on me for attention, they point with the markers and the markers seem to frequently touch me.  We once were making hand prints by placing hands in paint and then pressing their hands on paper.  One little girl grabbed me as I walked by, blue paint all over my shirt.  It came out in the wash.

So I was ready Tuesday for the paper mache globes.  They were still doing the layers on the balloon.  I hope I am there the day they paint them.

This is a few of the globes drying.

More globes drying. The magic ingredient to make paper mache is in front of them, starch.

Later in the morning I read a great book to the children. The Sissy Duckling is about being allowed to be different.  It shows everyone has a right to be themselves.  It is beautifully illustrated and very well written.  The book is longer than most books we read. I was afraid they might get restless. The children were locked into the book.  One little girl had to go to a different class in the middle of the book.  This happens often and the children don't seem to mind missing the book.  Well, she did not want to miss a word of the this book.  I promised when she came back I would read the rest of the book to her.  And I did.

There are lots of YouTube videos of the book.  But I think they are pirated, too short and voice quality poor.  The story began as an 51 minute animated movie.  Major actors voice it: Ed Asner, Estell Getty, Sharon Stone, Kathy Najimy to name a few.  I am going to track it down, maybe on HULU, and watch it.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Where were the Groom and the guests?

Last week I did three marriage ceremonies and yesterday I did five.  I used to do eight in one afternoon.  Don't know what is slowing down the love. 

One couple stands out for several reasons.  She was in a creamy chiffon dress. It was knee length with a Grecian top.  She carried white roses.  The groom wore his Air Force Blues.  They were very emotional during the ceremony.  The groom was barely able to speak, he tried to talk and nothing would come out the first time.  After the ceremony I thanked him for his service, and told him the Air Force was near and dear to my heart.  My step father, brother, husband, and my nephew were Air Force.  I told him about our nephew, the Colonel who took the job in Turkey and moved my pretend grandchildren away.  I told the young Airman, if he ever ran into Colonel Triplett to tell him I wanted those children back here.  He said, "Guys like me don't talk to Colonels."

I was given my last license of the day yesterday about 3:55. The groom was 65 and the bride was 49. I called the couple's names.  A woman jumped up and started babbling: I figured out that the groom was putting money in the meter.  Just how quick do they think we can do the paper work and the ceremony?  He hadn't been in the building 15 minutes, yet has to put more money in the meter.  She is frantic, saying she will go get him, and takes off running.  So I wait and wait.  The bride comes back, he is on the way, but the witnesses are stuck in traffic.  The bride is nearly in tears, she is breathing hard, and so upset.  I told her we have time, to go sit down and take deep breaths, this will all work out.   The groom arrives and the witnesses soon after.  The bride is still upset.  I say let's go upstairs for the ceremony, and they say, "Oh, Bridgett isn't here."  So we wait some more. 

Finally at 4:20 everyone shows up and we do the ceremony.  I had liked the the couple, but their daughters ticked me off.  During the ceremony the women are bumping each other for position to take pictures.  I turned to them and asked if I needed to separate them.  One snarled no.  But they kept pushing each other.  The bride was sweet, but wore one of those thin white dresses.  It was a simple white cotton dress with a few small embroidered flowers on the bust and a couple on the hem line.  But her navel, bikini pants and bra showed through. 

By now, 4:40, the building is closed for the day.  And these people will not leave the wedding room.  I get them finally to the elevator.  What do they do?  They turned around and head down a hall that is not a public part of the building.  I had to use my school teaching voice and tell them they had to exit the building.  I was glad to see the backs of these people finally go out the door.

Monday, April 8, 2013

On this date, April 8 . . .

Lots of important things have happened on April 8.  Some are listed below.  I know which one I consider the most important and wonderful.

Catfish Hunter was born, 1946

Jacquqes Brel was born, 1929

Sonja Henie was born, 1912

Hank Aaron broke Babe Ruth's home run record, 1974

Janet and Marty Appel were married, 1967

Marty and Janet. 
The couple with Janet's parent's, Anna and Jack Hollin.

The couple with Marty's parents, Happy and Dolly Appel.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

WOW, it has been a whole week

I don't know where this week went, well yes I do.  I always post something every couple of days, or at least say I am busy can't post for a while.  So sorry I left you without me to read.

Sunday I started the week feeling great, ready to take on the first graders and the Marriage Factory.  Monday it all went to hell in a hand basket.  I am walking across the kitchen and tripped on the extension cord.  All I could think was, don't fall, don't fall.  I have had back surgery and falling is never a good thing for me.  Plus, I am a senior citizen.  Our bodies do not do falls well.  I grabbed the table and didn't hit the ground.  Unfortunately my knee (the good one not needing a replacement) took a turn opposite the rest of my body.  PAIN!  I should have taken the fall. 

Tuesday I couldn't go to school.  I might have been able to help sitting in a chair.  But I couldn't make the walk from where I park down the hill one block and up hill the next block. 

Then we had a huge money issue.  We had taken an option on an extended warranty on the car, to the tune of several thousand $$$$.  We left a check, they would cash it if we didn't cancel by a certain date.  Marty called, canceled the option.  He went online to pay bills and we have a zero balance.  They had cleaned out our bank account.  No money to pay bills.  What the hell?  After visits, phone calls, they admitted they made an error.  They would write a check and refund the money in TEN to TWELVE days.  NO, money right now.  It took two more days, but we got our money back.  I am hoping someone was fired over this.

That filled my head all week.  I still am ready to kill someone. 

We were so upset over this that we almost forgot we had friends coming for dinner on Friday.  Our first real dinner party in the new place.  With our money back we could shop for good stuff, and we did.  We wanted a lovely meal, but one we didn't have to hover over. 

The menu:

Chipotle Shrimp in tortilla scoops
Dolly's Hot Cheese spread

Cesar Salad with fresh asparagus

Individual Beef Wellingtons
Tomatoes stuffed with mushrooms, dill, zucchini,

Grand Marnier Chocolate Mousse

Various wines and Champagne

The food was fabulous, and a good time was had by all.

That was my week.  I did limp into the Marriage Factory and will post about that another time. Today shirts to iron, University of Louisville to watch in the Final Four, and maybe a nap.