Friday, February 28, 2014

Favorite Wedding Moments

On Monday we were fairly busy.  I had several ceremonies and there were several non English ceremonies.  We never felt slammed, but a nice brisk pace.

One couple had the perfect witness, Sam.  Sam took pictures, signed the license, and was the best baby wrangler ever.  The 6 month old baby was in a stroller, wide awake and just watching us.  Sam took pictures while rocking the stroller and even plopping a pacifier in the baby's mouth at the least sound.  After the wedding he was holding the baby and taking pictures at the same time.

I saw them in the lobby, flowers in their hair, very hippy outfits, and very loud,  The bride wore a red and black Mullet chiffon dress.  She carried red and coral roses.  The groom wore a black suit, shirt, tie, and hat.  His hat had flowers on the brim.  The women guests had flowy dresses and flowers in their hair.  The men had flowers behind their ears.  I had a group of hippies.  No I was wrong, they were in the theater.  One of the guests sang a love song a cappella that was wonderful.  So, Janet, don't go judging a book by its cover.

The bride had on a striking white dress.  It was tight to the knees and then ruffled out to the floor.  The bodice was heart shaped with a tiny bit of cleavage.  She also wore a purple bra with straps wider than the dress' spaghetti straps.  AND the cleavage was filled in with a tee shirt material camisole.

My favorite moment that was not staged by a photographer as has happened in the past:  the groom dropped to his knees as he gave the bride her rings.  Every woman in the room went awwwww.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Recliner Update

Last week I posted about shopping for a recliner.  We did buy one from Costco.  We wanted to buy it online and get free delivery, but the chair we wanted wasn't an online item.  To have it delivered, non Costco truck company, was $90.  We said we would get it home.  Marty measured the box, it was too tall/wide to fit in our SUV.  Then he measured the two parts of the chair, they would fit.

We had Costco staff lift the box down on our flat cart.  They offered to load it in the car, but we knew they probably wouldn't want to be cutting the box away and then load it.  So we said, " we got this."  Marty cut the box at the bottom and we lifted out the first piece and I slid it onto the laid down seats.  Then the heavy part, about 100 pounds to lift.  We must have looked old and helpless.  A lovely young man stopped his truck and came to help us.  He lifted the chair up like it was nothing and slide it in the SUV.  I was thankful he came by.   Now to get it home and up the stairs.

I looked up and saw the table on the landing.  The chair won't make the turn. 

Table is moved and now to bounce this thing up those stairs.  Marty pulled the hand truck, I steadied it and pushed.  We made it to the living room.

Bottom of the new chair on the left.  On the right the old chair.  Marty decided if he can find 20 year old parts, he can fix the broken steel bracket.  So far, no luck.  Right now the old one is still living with us.

The back of the new chair ready to be slipped onto the steel brackets.

 MINE!  Now we are ready to rearrange the living room to fit in the extra chair.  I really thought the red one was going to the curb.  Right now chairs are lined up like a furniture store.

The new rocker/recliner.  Love it.  

Monday, February 24, 2014


Sunday Marty and I went to the Orchid Show in San Francisco.  This is the biggest orchid show in the USA.  We go every year saying we won't buy any this time.  Now that we are in an apartment with little outdoor space we really meant it.  Well until we walked through the sales floor.

I have eliminated 80+ pictures and have less than 20 to share.  That was the hard part of this post.  So much beauty, how do I tell an orchid I don't love it enough to show you all?

The theme of the show.  Very few exhibits did much with the theme.  Other years have had very lavish exhibits.
This one understood the theme.
Besides the trumpet, they had a flute and a sax.  No one played any jazz at their exhibit.
Posted because it is really pretty.
Loved this three large petal white bloom. 
We wanted to buy a pink plant like this one.  They were rarer than white ones and were sold out.  So we bought a white one.  Again we liked the unusual three petals.  These are pointier than the picture before this.
The design on the orchid on the left is unreal.  Mother Nature has such a genius for design.
This a the exhibit from Taiwan.  As I took the panoramic picture someone evidently moved.  So ignore the error.  This is all I have.  The beauty is worth overlooking the error.
Beauty sometime comes in very small packages.
Cattleyas are called the queen of orchids.  This is the flower we all wanted in a corsage for Easter, for the Christmas dance, for the Senior prom.    
Marty held a ball point pen against a bloom to show how small it was.  I was blown away with how dark the color was.
The colors of these plants were in your face.  Yellows, reds, oranges, and then the white with purple dancing between them. 
I loved this.  I wanted it.

And I want these, they were twice as big as the picture before.
Can you tell how much I like these?  Unfortunately they are fairly scarce and few vendors had any for sale.  They had sold all of the few they had.  Maybe next year.
Marty on the lookout for the curly orchids.  We did find some other types to bring home.
The orchids we bought. 
Many plants were bare rooted, so not as expensive. Others were from Hawaii and Taiwan and they were cut in price.  The vendors did not want to have to pay for shipping them back home.  Prices on the last day at certain vendors are half price or buy three get one free.  All of these have bloom spikes or buds coming.  Some are miniature plants and the rest will remain fairly small.  Even in an apartment you can have exotic plants.



Friday, February 21, 2014


Our recliner is dying.  It has been greatly loved but we need to let it go.  The leather has really worn spots, the heating element still works, but the massage only works on part of the chair.  Then there is the frame.  You are very aware of the metal frame when you sit in the chair, that is not a good thing.  We think we bought it in the late 80's or early 90's. 

Yesterday we shopped for a new recliner.  We looked at several stores and were horrified by the prices.  We wanted a leather chair, or renu leather.  We found one at Macy's that fit our bodies that was on sale.  Yay!  Then no yay.  It had to be ordered, and would take 8 to 12 weeks to arrive.  Been there done that, not gonna order furniture again.  It never arrives as said, and if something is wrong with it, it is another 3 or 4 months.  My chair is dying, I need one now. 

We stopped at another store, those ran over a $1000 and went up steeply.  The clerk suggested Lazy Boy which also had a sale going on.  Off we went to Lazy Boy.  We walked into the store, gave our budget, and the clerk said we need to look over here in the,( swallowing the words cheaper section)  no leather recliners fit in your budget.  And we fell into recliner hell.  I expected Archie Bunker to rise up out of a chair.  The recliners were butt ugly.  No style, fabric from the 50's and 60's, huge prints, scratchy fabric.  Huge lumpy ugly things.  And even on sale they were too expensive. 

Plus it was like buying a car in the Olden Days:  you want a cigarette lighter extra, want side mirrors extra, want a radio extra.  Except this was if you don't want the chair to  rock then $200 extra.  You want the lever 2 inches longer $49 extra.  You want this $179 extra, that $159 extra.  Things that are normal on other brands are extra.  Then they special order it and it is 3 or 4 months arriving.

We then went by Costco and they had what we wanted and needed for $400 less. Plus it was 100% leather.  I do love Costco.  Probably we will buy one this week.  The problem now is getting the old one down those 26 steps and to the curb. 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Food Truck Mafia

Tuesday afternoon I saw my doctor for the follow up after my ER visit. .   After a visit to the pharmacy we came home.   We were both tired and decided to nap before fixing supper.  We woke up at 6:30, a little late to start cooking.  Plus neither of us wanted to cook.  So we decided to go to the Tuesday night Street Eats  just a few blocks away.  The Food Truck Mafia was in town. 

I have eaten at food trucks since the early 80's, they were called Roach Coaches back then. They were fairly basic: sandwiches, burritos, and salad.   Now they are highly specialized with incredible food.  You can get desserts, pulled pork, coconut shrimp balls, burritos, Korean BBQ, fried chicken and waffles, pot pies. . .  You crave it, there is a truck for you.

I had pulled pork with coleslaw on the bun ( didn't eat the bun I am a good girl).  I rarely order pulled pork because it is usually isn't done well in California.  They gave me a sample and it was good.  Marty had fried cat fish, fries, and baked beans.  These men talked like me, so they cooked like Southerners.  Good food.

We sat at a community table.  Lots of families were there.  Truck on the left had peasant food, gourmet peasant food. The food looked and smelled really good.  Maybe next time.
On the right is a Mexican truck, to the left is a dessert truck.  Marty had ice cream with a crumble in it.  I had a tiny tiny taste, it was fabulous. 
Tuesday nights we usually are both busy, so can't make the Street Eats.  I have Book Group and Marty has a church meeting.  This summer Book doesn't meet and Marty's committee probably won't meet every week.  Looking forward to good food. 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

What can I say, I am a Drama Queen

Valentine's Day I married couples all day.  Marty and I then went out for a drink and appetizers.  Later that evening I did not feel normal.  I could feel my heart beating, and it was getting faster.  I felt as if my whole body was vibrating.  We checked my pulse and blood pressure, not good.  With the blood pressure sky high and the pulse in crazy land, the Advice Nurse at Kaiser said go to an ER now.

We arrived around midnight and Triage did their thing.  I was put in a room and treatment began.  First gallons of blood drawn.  IVs started.  After multiple doses of an IV heart medication, I was back in the normal range.   They watched me for a while and decided it was safe to go home.  I was discharged at 7:30.   When we got home, we took long naps.  Both of us were exhausted.

We had realized we were in for a long night, so we posted on Facebook for friends and family to know what was going on.  We were going to call/text family and thought why wake up people.  They can't do anything and we had nothing to tell them.  We knew family all checked Facebook and it was the best and easiest for us to get out info. 

I have done a lot of resting since Saturday.  I have done some slow walking.  I found I have lost strength and zip.  Today I had a follow up visit with my primary care doctor.  He cut dosage on one medication, it is working too well, blood pressure and pulse dropping too low.  Right this doesn't make sense with the ER visit.  But in my normal life it does.  I do not need  to go to see him for 6 months. 

In spite of this set back, I am really doing well.  I have lost a ton of weight and will continue to work on that.   I am eating healthy.  And my vitals are 99% of the time in a safe range.  It is that 1% when the A-Fib kicks in that causes the excitement.

Monday, February 17, 2014

100th Day of School

When I taught back in the Olden Days, we didn't make a big deal of 100 days of school.  We didn't count to that day.  We did count down to Christmas Vacation, Spring Break, and the Last Day of School. Today for some reason, the 100th day is a big deal not just at Kaiser School.  This is a national thing.  Parties are held, books have been written about it, and projects are created.

I was not there on the 100th day.  It was the Friday before my day on Tuesday.  But I have pictures of the art/math projects.  Children brought in things to show how much 100 is.

Popcorn, candy, Cheerios, lots of different items to count

A 100 piece puzzle

Lego art work, macaroni in a bottle and glued down

Cheerios, Goldfish, hair clips, money, stickers, cough drops

Some of the books on 100 days.

The children did a great job using different materials to show 100.  Also they were creative in the displays.  Good job First Graders.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day at the Marriage Factory went surprisingly well.  The new supervisor had us organized within an inch of our lives.  Each Commissioner was assigned his/her own wedding room.  Two of us took all the appointments and the other three rotated taking walk ins.  When I was given a Spanish ceremony Joe, our guest blogger, took that couple and would give me his English ceremony.  About a third of our confirmed appointments did not show.  So Joe and I also did walk ins.  Total weddings from 8:45 to 4:30, 76.  That is not a record but still a busy day.

A few favorite things:.
The couple dressed in jeans, dress shirt, blazers, and one in a top hat.
Lots of little girls in beautiful long red dresses and flowers in their hair.
Little boys in bowties, red dress shirts, and even red shoes.
Brides in red dresses, white dresses, and grooms in red shirts.
Beautiful red shoes, silver sandals, wonderful boots.
Red roses bouquets, Cataleya bouquet and boutonniere, gardenia bouquet and boutonniere
One of Joe's grooms was talking about being so hot.  He told me he just doesn't do heat well, wedding room is a cool 69-70.  He had a tattoo on his arm that said Keep Refrigerated.

What I did not like:
Disappearing guests, brides, grooms.
Channel 2, an Oakland TV station, being in our way and wasting our time filming weddings and then showing a Berkeley wedding
Rude group who told me I was rushing them.  They did not have their act together. They would not do as asked, told me I was ruining their special day.  This is the couple that let me start the ceremony and then remembered they had a special wedding rug to use, then wanted the brother to do a reading, and then the groom left the arch and started digging in a backpack for a special camera.  They then wouldn't leave the room.  It all ended well, the Southern Belle smoothed things over as I visualized killing them.

Now for some pictures:

As elevator doors opened, this is what we saw.  This area was for photo shots after we gently moved couples out of the wedding rooms.

Main Wedding Room
Little lobby outside the Wedding Room

These pictures are of my Wedding Room, a decorated conference room.
This is an atrium off the staff lunch room.  It was like an outdoor venue.

Two of our Alameda County Deputies at the front desk. 

The part of the back lobby where marriage licenses are sold.
My favorite group yesterday, my Hell's Angels.  The bride was in a lovely black sheath and killer heels.   The groom and his friend were typical bikers.  They were big burly men with gorgeous silver skull rings.  They were a just couple of Teddy Bears.  The witness took pictures and as he was signing the license told me he had taken a selfie. That made me giggle.  All 3 were so sweet and fun.  As they left I got big Teddy Bear hugs.   
Now for the winner of best bride: Commissioner Patricia won with her transgender bride sporting a full beard.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Marriage Factory on Monday

Monday the clerks were busy, couples were buying their marriages licenses ahead of time for Valentine's Day.  We are expecting a mob of people on Friday.  Monday we already had 8 hours of weddings booked.  We know there will be more booked and a gazillion walk ins.  This is the first time same sex couples will be able to marry on Valentine's Day, it is on a Friday, and the topper is it is a 3 day weekend. We may set records again.  Several rooms will be decorated for ceremonies and several volunteers will be there to do the ceremonies.

 But now to Monday's weddings.

The brides had had a huge "wedding" a couple of months ago.  They came on a Friday to buy their license for their big wedding on Sunday.  Oops, they forgot papers to prove a name change, IDs did not match, so no license could be issued.  Monday they had their legal wedding.  Even though they had done a big ceremony, they were much more moved than they expected. Again a same sex couple told me how wonderful it was to finally be real.

Two grooms with their mamas as witnesses were next.  One of the mamas was so nervous and emotional.  She cried with happiness during the ceremony.  The grooms were so pleased with the beauty of the words in the ceremony.  As they left, the nervous mama hurried back to me and hugged  me and kissed me.  She thanked me and the clerks for the wonderful wedding for her son. 

I called the next couple.  A man (age 44, never married this is important later) walks up in a gorgeous gray suit with a red rose boutonniere.  I ask for the bride and he says with great pride, " She is the pregnant one over there."  Now their were 6 + women standing there who could have been pregnant:  large bellies, over blouses, just being female.  I looked around and I was not going to address anyone.  No woman wants to be identified as pregnant if she isn't.  I said you are just bragging, as a very pregnant woman in a white lace dress with a red and white roses' bouquet identified herself.  And all the women laughed

I thought OK that was funny, now to the elevator.  As the doors closed the groom's sister's says to him, "Are you sure you aren't gay?" He yelled, "I am not gay"  Then others started in on him, are you sure?  It was a family joke.  It seems his parents kept asking if he were gay because to them he was a little long in the tooth to be single. The groom was crying and the bride kept wiping his eyes.  Everyone was happy and fun, and excited for the couple. 

Monday was so calm, like the calm before the storm.  This weekend I will post about Valentine's Day.

Saturday, February 8, 2014


Tuesday my time at Kaiser School was a little different.  There were County muckety mucks there to observe, then they held their meeting in the library.  So no library time for the children.  And we had bunnies to look at.  All in not a bad day.

I thought I would show you some of the homework package that goes home every Tuesday.

Front and back of instructions and news from Portable B
The dreaded word problems
Phonics and following directions
And more math
I have to say the above is more advanced than most of my first grade classes.  In defense of my students and my teaching, in Kentucky in the 1960's, kindergarten was not offered in public schools.  Children came to school not knowing their colors, how to use scissors, how to hold a pencil, or even the alphabet.  We were teaching preschool, kindergarten, and first grade all in one school year. 

Bunnies as promised.  The father who supplies the duck/chicken eggs for the classes to take care of every spring, brought in bunnies.  They were there for just that day.  Little black and little white bunnies who were adorable. 
Another fun day with the first graders.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Monday at the Marriage Factory

Monday was slow, really slow.  There were a couple of Spanish ceremonies and I did a couple of ceremonies.  We are afraid everyone is waiting for Valentine's Day, also a Friday and the start of a three day weekend.  Heaven help us.

One ceremony was almost boring.  The couple had little interest in the ceremony.  It was if they just wanted it over.  Before I could tell them they had time to take pictures while I got their certified copy, they were ready to walk out. 

The other wedding had more interplay.  It was a fairly large group of people.  I asked the magic question, "Is everybody here?"  The answer was no.  One of the grooms had not arrived yet.  They had bought the license last week.  On Monday Groom #1 had paid for the ceremony and given the information about the witnesses.  All that without telling the clerk groom #2 hadn't arrived yet. 

Finally we have two grooms and have the ceremony.  The grooms were very emotional and everyone was in tears. Lots of pictures were taken during the ceremony and after.  During the picture taking the license was signed by the witnesses and by me.  I told the group they had 2 more minutes for pictures while I finish up the legalities, and they must exit the room when I return. 

I gave the certified copy to the couple and asked everyone to gather their things and we would go downstairs.  (The lobby is filling up, I could have another license on my desk)  They told me to go ahead, they wanted to take more pictures.  They would stay upstairs for awhile. 

Just so you know, that did not happened.  I hurried their hineys out the door. 

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Yep, I did that

I have done a lot in my life, some fun, some important,  some awful, some not real smart.  After I did a dumb thing today, it made me think of some things I have done and lived to tell the story.

Swinging on vines over a creek with boulders in it.

Eating berries off an unknown bush on a dare.

Sledding down a hill thinking I could jump the little creek at the bottom.

Drag racing.

Scratching off.

Letting cute boys drive my Mother's car.

Driving cute football players to the bootlegger's.

Driving the get away car for the Dukes and Duchesses out midnight shopping for our banquet flowers.  I am sure Mrs. Pope just rolled over in her grave.

Backing into the side of the preacher's new car, the only car parked in the block.

Social Probation in college.  Long long story.  Just let us say picnic on the flooding Kentucky river, beer in my car, and I refused to give up names of attendees.

Hmmm, seems like cars were something that made me a little nutso.

There are more dumb things, I am a normal person.

Today my dumb thing?  I was walking to Pandora, Bill Haley channel, and Chubby Checker came on singing about doing the Twist.  So I did. I love the Twist. I once won a dance contest doing the Twist.  Of course that was 50 years or so ago.  My knees screamed at me , "Lady, you are no longer 18 years.  Stop it now!"