Friday, August 29, 2014

Sights, Sounds, Smells

My morning walks are always a little different.  It depends on what time I am out there pounding the pavement.  I see, hear, and smell different things every morning.  We are Urban, I walk by businesses and also by houses, schools, apartments.  I have a variety of things to check out.

The one ugly thing I see is the effect of the drought.  The yards are yellow, flowers are gasping for water, trees are stressed or even dying.  Everyone is doing what they can do to save water, and it is butt ugly.  And now we have to cut back more. 

But even the drought has brought beauty.  One family has torn out the grass and put in a cactus garden.  Really lovely. 

I see a woman place her bird cage in the yard as she is sweeping her porch and sidewalk..  Do the birds get separation anxiety? 

I hear children laughing as I pass schools.  I hear dogs barking in houses, stranger alert.  I have been walking by there for months, I am no longer a stranger.  I hear construction everywhere.  These old houses are getting new innards. And a new shopping center is going in, major construction there.

I hear the sounds of sirens, honking horns, racing cars and loud car radios.  Plus I hear the sound of my good music in my ear phones. 

The smells are really different.  On garbage day, not a great aroma.  But walking by restaurants, great.  The Chinese ones smell wonderful.  Our Bar B Q place is reopening soon, I can't wait to smell the smoking meat.  The bakery tempts me every time I walk by.  I can't buy anything, I don't carry money.  I would wreck the goodness of the walking if I bought and ate sweet rolls. 

I walked by one house and thought they are doing laundry.  I could smell the softener in the dryer.  A bus goes by and I think why doesn't it stink.  My generation grew up with disgusting smelly buses.  You would nearly throw up if you got caught behind a bus.  Now buses have a cleaner fuel and some are electric.  Thus no yucky smell. 

The nail salons are not pleasant, but not real bad.  Some businesses have no smell.  They have lovely buildings but you can't tell what goes on inside without a sign.

My walks are interesting and good for me. But I do not have that love for exercise some people get.  It is a chore I do to continue to be healthy. 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

A little fashion, names, very serious couple

The Bay Area has a population from all over the world.  And when they come to get married, I get a consensus from clerks on pronouncing names. Names are important, and I try very hard to pronounce them correctly.  Some names you think are easy and they aren't.  Andrea is just a guess.  It can be AN-dree-a,  AHN-dree-a, or ahn-DRAY-a.  Sometimes I get it right, sometime I don't.

My first couple on Monday were Ethiopian.  I saw his name and thought never will I get this one right,  Zewrigeberhan. But I did, and the bride and the witness.  They told me no one ever gets their names right.  Good job for me.

The next couple and witness were so sharply dressed.  The groom was in a grey pinstriped suit, white shirt, and white bow tie.  She wore a white chiffon floor length dress.  It had a halter top with a lace blouse under it.  But the best dressed was their witness.  He wore a suit with brown tone stripes, his shirt and tie had copper tones and his brown vest had copper buttons. 

One couple was so serious, almost frowning at each other.  I wondered if they had had a fight.  Their guests were having a great time taking pictures, laughing, teasing the couple.  But the couple just stood there, no smiles, not even close to each other.  This didn't look good.  I began the ceremony.  The groom had frown wrinkles, she was stone faced.  I pronounced them husband and wife and they laughed, hugged, kissed.  It was all OK.  I told them I didn't think they liked each other. She laughed and said, "He is my best friend, we have been together 10 years.  We were just a little nervous."

One group won best dressed group.  Everyone was dressed up, the women in long dresses, men in suits. little boys in dress slacks and starched shirts, and little girls in long puffy dresses.  The groom wore a gorgeous silver grey suit.  The bride wore a tiara with a finger tip layered veil and carried a bouquet of pink roses. Her dress was stunning, a long white princess dress.  It had a heart bodice in a satin like material with a beaded waist line.  The skirt was full and layered.  The top layer of organza was over  hundreds of three dimensional roses.  She was perfect for the cover of Brides magazine.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Better Weddings, one with a crocodile

After my last post about the Wedding from Hell, I thought I should write about some fun things, fancy dresses, oops moments. 

I asked the question, "Is everyone here?"  Answer came back yes. Upstairs I noticed the groom was fidgety, really nervous and upset.  I asked him if he was all right, what's wrong?  He said, "My parents aren't here.  Where are they?"  It seems the parents hadn't come upstairs with us.  They were found and we had ourselves a wedding.

 One couple asked for the Long Term Relationship ceremony. The groom laughed and said, "After 9 years she wore me down."  I see a lot of crocheted dresses.  Some are OK, some bad, some pretty.  This bride's dress was gorgeous.  The design was perfectly matched at every seam, every dart.  It was perfection and I bet cost a fortune.

This wedding was midmorning.  Important to the story.

The bride was tiny, delicate bones, short, beautiful.  She wore a satin knee length dress with a strange almost toga draping.  He wore a suit and tie that looked as if it hadn't been worn since high school.  Their friends, three men, were having a fabulous time organizing the wedding.  One of them had bought her bouquet which was stunning.  White fragrant lilies, white roses, and some other great smelling flowers.  The bouquet was huge, bigger that my head, wider than the bride's body.  But it was a lovely gift.  Then we did the ring ceremony, 2 of the men brought them up laughing like fools, and the couples is bent over laughing.  After the ceremony they told me the story of the flowers and the rings.

They drove around until they found a florist open.  The florist grabbed every flower that was fragrant and made a bouquet.  But there were no jewelry stores open that early.  So they went to a drug store, Kohl's, someplace that was open and looked at costume jewelry.  Her ring was delicate, sort of pretty and made of the finest glass and wire.  His was hysterical.  It was a fake silver crocodile head that covered half his finger and on the shank about 20 tiny bones hung down.  Then they seem to think I would think bad of them for their silliness.  I told them that is why we say  "the ring is a token, a symbol of your love and devotion".

Was this the silliest ring ever?  No.  We have had cigar bands, candy wrappers, blow pops rings, ribbons, and once even pacifiers. 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Wedding from Hell

Tuesday Marriage Desk Clerk L sent me a text, would I be able to come in on Wednesday.  I worked out details with Marty, and I went in today from 9:30 to 4:30 to cover for vacationing volunteers.  A good thing I was able to go in, it was a busy day.  I am only writing about one wedding.  This one needs a lot of info and I am venting for most of the staff.

I was at the Marriage Desk and L is on the phone.  I hear her say, no, no, we don't do that.  No, they can not do that, NO!  She hangs up and another staff person comes in and they tell me what is going on.  We have a large group who seem to think they are paying for the room for as long as they want it.  They have big plans, which do not fit with an in and out wedding room. 

Couples pay for the room and the commissioner to do the ceremony.  I always tell them they have the room for a LIMITED time.  The room is first come first served.  No one gets to set the time for their ceremony.  Normal weddings are in and out in 15 or less minutes.

This couple was demanding the room at 10:00.  They had invited guests for 10:00.  So they harped on 10:00.  They kept going back to clerk P (who was with other customers) and demanding the room.  They were so distributive they were upsetting other staff.  Other demands were to be able to set up a gift table and a chair for the person guarding the gifts.  (what kind of guests had they invited)  They wanted time after the ceremony for the professional photographer to do his thing.   No one could see the bride until she was ready to come upstairs to the Wedding Room.  Everyone had to be seated before she would come upstairs.  And on and on.

One of the staff S told them they could set up the gift table and I said I would bring the bride (who was hiding in the public computer room) upstairs.  S took the group up and tried to get them to set up the table, to sign the guest book, and to mute phones.  They totally ignored her.

I finally found the bride, who then wasn't ready.  Her friend is arranging the veil and the train of the dress.  The train is going to be carried until she enters the room, so why start arranging it?  I get to the door, and bride isn't ready to go up.  I think my brain will explode.  I basically told her it was now or never.  So she saunters to the elevator. I walk her to the door of the lobby in front of the Wedding Room.

When S sees her she tells them the bride is ready and they start playing "Here comes the Bride".  Bad me, I told them to cut the music.  As a school teacher I have rules, and I used that teacher's voice. I have wedding room rules to explain, the main one limited time in the room. I told to  mute the phones, and if one rings, I will stop the ceremony.  Not really, but they needed a whip hand.  I said you will have 5 minutes after the ceremony, then you will exit the room.  I run through the rules and then we should have started the ceremony.  The bride decided she needed more time.  She wasn't ready.  I always say we don't start until the bride is ready.  Well, today I was ready and I told the bride I would walk her in so she wouldn't be alone and nervous.  That worked.  I did not feel she did not want to marry, she wanted to stall and make a better entrance.

Let the ceremony begin!  And that part  went well.

Picture taking began, the witnesses and I signed, and I was ready to get the certified copies.  I gave the 2 minute warning.  I told them finish getting the pictures they wanted, to sign the guest book which no one had, and to gather up the gifts, break down the card table, and I would return in 2 minutes and we would exit the room.

Well when I came back people are milling around, signing the book, talking, some taking pictures, and no one had packed up the gifts or broken down the table.  My head exploded!  I told them they had to exit the room now, I had other couples waiting for their ceremonies.  Nothing, I could not move them.  So I told them I was leaving to get the next couple and they best be gone when I came back.  I did say that with my sweet Southern drawl. 

I was firm, but I was not rude, but we had all had it with this group.  I spent 35 minutes dealing with them.  L, P,  and S had already spent more time working with them.  We were all amazed at the sense of entitlement the whole group had.  

Yes, they were out of the room when I came back upstairs.  But they stood in front of the building for at least another 25 minutes.  I guess they moved the reception to the street.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

FACEBOOK: good? bad?

I love Facebook.  I can keep in touch with family around the world, reconnect with childhood/high school friends, lurk, laugh at strange videos.  I also recognize the dangers of Facebook.  And I think twice before posting. 

Some friends feel that Facebook is too complicated, not secure enough, too ridiculous, dangerous.  And maybe there is a little truth to that. 

I want to share some great points about the Facebook.
The posts of good wishes and prayers for Marty and me this last year have meant the world to us.  The page for Diabetic Connect has taught me so much about my disease.
We have spread info to family and friends during my many medical emergencies. 
I have bragged about my improved health and body.
I am watching nieces and nephews grow up.  We live so far from them I may never see them in person again.  But I know important things that are happening in their lives.
I have reconnected with high school friends who have surprised me with what they remember about me.  One friend said she remembered I was fun and funny.  I remember I always thought she was so perfect, so nice, so ladylike, so much more mature than I was. 

Facebook does have dangers.  And it isn't just the young teenagers who post stupid stuff.  Friends post pictures drunk out of their minds.  They make crude statements.  Others make racist remarks,  they gay bash, they tell us their faith is the only true faith..  Political posts that are so untrue are scary the way they get shared. We can believe what we want.  But we shouldn't hurt others by what we post. 

The danger here is employers check Facebook and the internet to see a person's life.  Colleges probably check to see what interests students have.  We no longer live with much privacy.  Our lives are all hanging out.

How would you feel if that post was the lead in for the 11:00 news?  So think twice before you post. 

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Shopping, Happy Dance!

My weight loss has continued.  Again my clothes are getting baggy.  Shopping therapy is called for.

I needed dress slacks, shoes, and jeans.  I have reached the goal weight I hope to be able to maintain for ever.  Maybe if I write that I will stick to being healthy. Today Marty and I went shopping.  This is why he is a keeper, he will search racks for me while I try on clothes. Plus he pushes me to wear colors other than red and black.  Thanks, Marty.

I have lost so much weight my shoes are all too wide.  I am back to wearing narrows, which few stores carry.  So no luck there.  I guess I will have to go to an upscale shoe department and pay too much money.

But fancy jeans and dress slacks he found for me.  I need a petite length now that I am considered short. Not sure how that happened, I always was the tall girl in the back row of school pictures.  Also I now wear a size 10, instead of a 20.  I can't remember ever wearing a size 10.  Not real sure sizing is the same as when I was a teenager.  But 10 makes me happy.

Happy Dance has begun!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

A friend passed away this morning.

A long time friend died today.  I have known Ann Riley and her family since the late 1960's.  Her husband Mike worked with Marty and we moved around CHEVRON together.  Three families moved within a few months of each other, often to the same territory.   We noticed a pattern, if one of us fenced, carpeted, or planted a tree, we were all moved. 

We tried to see Ann and her family whenever we went back to Kentucky.  But time crunch and family duties kept us apart most trips.  With Facebook we could stay in touch a little bit.

Ann was a special lady.  If she liked you she would do anything for you.  If she didn't like you she still was a lady and was nice to you.  She was a Kentucky Southern Belle, whose accent out did mine.  She also could teach a sailor how to cuss.

When we all came to California in the 70's we clung to each other as family.  None of us thought we would ever be transferred across the Mississippi.  We were so far from home and so different from our neighbors.  Southern folks are pretty formal when they entertain. We had sterling silver dip bowls.  Neighbors were more causal and put the dip out in the containers.  Ann loosened us up and helped us blend in.

I asked Marty his favorite memory of Ann.  And he said all the times we got together.  And he was the one who remembered her cussing abilities.

One of my favorite memories is of a cookout at their home.  The women were in the house, (AC was on, it was a very hot day) and the phone rang.  It was an obscene phone call.  Ann thought it was one of the husbands on the neighbor's phone and every thing the caller said, Ann topped him with something worse.  The caller hung up on her.  It wasn't one of our husbands. 

She and her family (children included) helped us paint the outside of our house.  Her husband and mine never got a spot of paint on them.  Very neat men.  Ann and I fixed that.  The men were on the ladders painting high up, so we painted their legs.  They won though, they painted our faces.  Good times. 

When we transferred back to Louisville, the Rileys were already there.  Ann knew the best resell neighborhoods (corporate gypsies' first item, will it sell in a heart beat) and rode with me and the Realtor.  She helped me find a home that would resell, in a good school district, and would fit in our life style.  And when the movers showed up and I was losing my mind with the help from my aunt, my mother, and Marty's mother, she took over.  She called Marty and told him to come home before the two of us were arrested for murder.  He did.

Ann, we moved each other in and out of homes over the years.  We protected our husbands from their jealous rude co workers.  We laughed and we cried together.  We were friends. 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Bridal outfits

All of us at the Marriage Factory love the outfits we see at the weddings.  Some dresses are gorgeous and some outfits are doesn't she own a mirror.  We see fun, pretty, bad, and sometimes down right glamorous.  I had a little bit of all on Monday.

My first bride wore a short, very short strapless dress that had a circle skirt.  The pattern was similar to a Jackson Pollack  painting.  Not many women could pull that off, but she did.  I also remember them for all that was wrong on their license.  The license said he lives in Vancouver, she lives in Columbus , Ohio.  As they were leaving they said they both live in Toronto.  I am guessing a recent move and IDs that don't show the new address. 

Another bride wore a peachy taupe chiffon dress.  The sleeves were long and sheer.  Pearls were sewn onto the neckline, and the dress was heavily ruched.  This was the couple with the cameras.  The groom had a 4 foot tall tripod that he set up for video.  That took a lot of time.  Then he handed a digital camera to his mother.  We finally began, and the digital camera's batteries died. On the first picture.  No one noticed the red warning thingy???   So then he had to put in new batteries.  I was chewing a hole in my cheek to keep from screaming at him. 

The worst dressed bride was in my favorite wedding.   Witness, guest, and the bride were all in the Coast Guard.  Oh, and all three were women.  None of the men were military.  The bride had on jeans and a sort of cute top.  But clothes don't really matter.  She was in love, he was in love, and the room was full of love. 

The award for the very best wedding dress in a long long time goes to the glamour dress.  The bride had hennaed hair, very now looking.  But the dress was Old Hollywood Glamour.  It was satin, to the floor, very body hugging and had a tiny train.  There was very delicate ruching about every 10 inches.  The dress was trimmed in delicate beading on the halter top straps,  across the bust line, and at the waist.  And from the middle of her back to just below the waist, were tiny satin buttons.  This dress was gorgeous.  And she had the body to wear it.  She found the dress in a thrift shop and had it altered to fit her, perfectly I must say. 

So people don't just look in a wedding store for that dress.  There are some great affordable places that have beautiful dresses.  Think outside the box.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

I have noticed

Whether it is a marriage ceremony or walking every day, I see things that are interesting.  I also am a little nosey and see interesting things around our neighborhood.

The reactions of brides and grooms are sometimes funny, sometimes sad, and sometimes worrisome.  Nervous brides/grooms will laugh uncontrollably.  One bride bounced the whole ceremony.  Others cry.  But the worrisome ones are the bored with the ceremony people.  I feel those marriages won't last the year.

But none of these may be an indicator of a lasting relationship.  I do have an ending on one marriage I did.  The couple separated two months after the wedding and now are in a court fight deciding if it will be a divorce or an annulment.  I know this because I was deposed to tell if I thought they knew what they were doing etc.  FYI, yes they were in their right minds and not on drugs.

When I walk every day I try to make eye contact with everyone I meet.  I say hello/morning to them.  Most will nod, and say morning.  But a few try to make themselves invisible and look away, ignore me, and just rush by.  I walk a regular route most days, if not at a regular time.  Some shop keepers and I wave to each other, which feels good.  Very small towny. 

Now to my neighbors.  Right in our parking lot I have seen stuff.  The man M who is always late for his ride to work.  Now that would be none of my business but his ride shows up at 5:30 A.M. with radio blaring.  M is never waiting for the driver.  The driver gets out of his truck and whistles loudly, nothing, then yells M, M, M, nothing.  Sometimes he goes up to the door and M finally comes out. 

M is also the idiot person who charges down the steps, starts their car, and then honks and yells for his wife and kids to get in the car.  He can be late but not allowed for anyone else.

Then we had the higher than a kite woman doing laundry.  Never had seen her before, she does not live here, but hey she was really mellow.

Across the street lives a very old sick woman.  She has several care givers who, from the little we can see, are very kind.  She has several young men that are there 24 hours a day.  Some come and go, some look like they are live in.  Marty and I have seen these men carry her out to the car.  It always looks as if they have a precious bundle in their arms.  If she is having a good day, they place her on their feet and put their arms around her and "walk" her into the house.  They wave to me when I walk by, and I wave back. 

Lots of stuff goes on in a neighborhood, place of work, school etc.  You just have to observe.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Love, all ages, fashion statements.

Love can strike all ages.  I have married couples who knew in the first grade this was the one for them.  I have married couples  who were in their eighties.  Love rules.

Two of my couples were older and made quite the fashion statements. 

The first groom was born in 1941 and his bride in 1947.  She wore a creamy silk shantung pant suit.  It had an almost tuxedo  jacket.  Her blouse was heavily embroidered in creams and pale blue.  He wore cream slacks with a tan blazer.  And he wore the greatest shoes, brown and white spectators.  All you young ones click here and here.  This couple was so in love, and so excited to be marrying.

The next couple wasn't as old, but still senior citizens.  The groom was born in 1945 and the bride in 1958.  He wore a blue suit and looked very dapper.  She wore a pale lavender dress that was tiered to the floor.  She wore white peek toe heels.  There was a tiny bow right at the toe of each shoe.  This was a couple you could really feel the love in the room.  After the wedding the groom kept saying he was so honored she was taking his name.  For some reason he was just knocked out by the name change. 

Older couples are the not the only ones who know how to dress up for the occasion.  A couple in their thirties were very spiffy, as were their children..  This couple is memorable for another reason, the groom's behavior.  But first to the clothes. 

The groom wore a gunmetal gray suit with a white knit shirt.  He looked like a GQ model.  The bride wore a long white tiered dress, which was off the shoulders.  As we were waiting to go into the Wedding Room, she pulled out a tiny fascinator.  It has a tiny veil and a little white flower.  She needed a  mirror to see how to pin it to her hair.  No mirror, so she used her IPhone camera as if taking a selfie.  Their son, the ring bearer, wore blue slacks with a button down white shirt and a blue tie.  Their daughter, the flower girl,  wore a mini copy of Mom's wedding dress.  Mom carried white hydrangeas and their daughter carried one hydrangea.

Now to the poor groom.  He was a nervous wreck.  He had zoned out and nothing was going in.  I had to say his name several times to get his attention.  During the ceremony it took prompting to keep him in the game.  After I pronounced  them husband and wife, I said, "You may kiss the bride."  Nothing.  The bride looked at him and said, "You can kiss me now!!"  And that woke him up. 

Monday, August 4, 2014

Another change in my life style

Last spring I wrote that I was not going to finish the year volunteering with the First Graders at Kaiser.  I was not stable and could not promise to show up regularly.  I had already missed most of the year and that was not good for the children.

I had planned to start volunteering again this month when school started.  But I am finding I still tire easily and working with First Graders is a lot of being on my feet.  A-Fib still pops up and kick the props out from under me.  So I called it a no go for this year.  I have to keep me strong and I have to think of the regular schedule small children need. 

I will miss working with the children.  And I will really hate not being with Ms. H.  But you gotta do what you gotta do.

I will continue at the Marriage Factory.  Staff can do my job if I can't make it.  If I can give them warning, one of the volunteers comes in and does an extra shift. If we are real busy, I don't do much walking, runners bring the couples up to the Marriage Room. 

I will find other things to write about.  I will vent, rant, and maybe even make up things just to keep it interesting.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

More from my backlog of weddings

One wedding the bride was 20 years older than the groom.  This is a type of wedding I love to do.  It reminds me of my Mother and Papa Jack.  Mother was about 20 years older than Jack  when they married and they were together 50 years.  As I often say, age has nothing to do with love.  And this couple was bursting with love for each other. 

Then there was the couple who had a lot of baggage.  He had been married twice before and she had already been married 3 times.  They were older ( he was 82, she was 62)  but that was a lot of marriages between them.  The thing most memorable from this ceremony is the child from Hell.  He was 4 or 5, old enough to know better.  He was kicking people, screaming, throwing toys, standing on the pews and kicking them. Not one adult told him no.  I told him no when he was on the pews.  I explained to the adults that children had bled when they fell and hit their heads on the pew.   Still no one corrected him. He needed a knot yanked in his tail. 

Now to our hyper bride.  She was stunning in a long white dress with a fingertip veil.  He was in a blue suit.  Most of the guests were dressed very nicely.  There was just one problem, the bride was so very nervous.  She was bouncing off the walls nervous.  She was loud, crass, crude.  After one really awful crude action, I stopped all the stupidity.  I told them no pictures until I got the bride calmed down.  I took her up front, called the groom up, and told her no talking just breathe deeply.  I told the groom to talk to her and hold her.  She was shaking so hard I was afraid she would fall over.  He held her and talked quietly to her, and she became calmer.  Finally I was able to do the ceremony. 

I have had a lot of nervous brides and grooms.  But never have I had the craziness of this bride.