Daily Affirmation

The best things in life are free.
The second best are very expensive.
- Coco Chanel

Monday, June 28, 2010

The Party's Over, The House Is Quiet

Back to work today for the first time in a week and a half.  I knew it would be a rough day - I always get all worked up the night before I return from vacation - probably something about all the work I know is lying in wait for me.  Puts me right off my sleep.  And so I dragged myself in, only to be greeted by over 300 email...and that was just in the main file.  The CC file had even more.  Gadzooks...  I needed a Coke Zero.

This is at the end of the visit - I hadn't washed my hair in days - oooooh I was tired!

It was hard to take Katie and the girls to the airport.  In my head I'd had so many things planned for us to do.  Movies, late night chats, Aquarium of the Pacific, more late night chats with vanilla and chocolate JoJos.  S'mores at the beach.   In reality, it's harder getting out the door with two small girls, (one of whom still needs 2 naps a day) than I remember.  Wedding festivities took up a lot of time (and after all, that was the main reason for the gathering), and the rest of the week I felt like I was just recovering from it all.  I have a hard time doing the late nights these days - even though I'd love to.  I really need my 7-8 hours of sleep or I'm an achey mess.  (I love getting older...)  I wanted to be at my best for the little girls, so I went home to a sane bedtime every night.  But when it came time to see Katie off, it all of a sudden hit me:  I'd had virtually no fun time with just her, and here she was flying off again.  It made me cry.  I wouldn't have imagined it when I was younger, and the kids were still home, but when they're off on their own, you have a real ACHE to connect with them in a fun way again.  It's hard for me to think I've become old and boring because I need to get my sleep.  I was supposed to be cool and fun, but instead I'm the mom/grandma who makes everyone clean up and watch their manners.  When did this happen??!?
At least the little ones still like me.  It was a treat to have Mia beg to come to my house to play.  And we had some good tea parties and picnics.

When it was time to leave for the airport, she hugged L and asked "Can you come with me?"  Oh my - that just about melted his crusty old heart.  She hugged him when he came home from work, and she followed him around when he worked in the garage.  She served him tasty pasta and "tomato cherries" with her play food.  We colored, and she wrote her name on a picture just for Papa.  (She wouldn't do it on mine!)

One afternoon/evening we joined forces with Ronna, Lexi, and Matthew for a trip to Disneyland.  That was a hard 8 hours.  We maybe won't do that again as a group until everyone is MUCH older.  The girls squabbled, it was hot, and my feet started aching.  Now, the girls are only 4 years old, and how they were reminded me of being a kid myself, with the "He's touching me - tell him to stop TOUCHING me!!" nonsense little kids do.  Lexi would instigate, and Mia would scream and cry.  It's what four year olds do.  It just made a tough day in the Park for two young moms and Mema.  Matthew wandered away once and terrified all of us, but luckily we found him after a couple of minutes.  Hayden just smiled and flirted with anyone who would look at her.  Cheeky girl.  But soooo adorable.  She will have her day, I'm sure.  Although she is so easy going, I'm sure she'll instigate, and Mia will go crazy.  Miss Mia is our dramatic one.  When she is a bit older and more in control, she will be very entertaining.  Lexi is our conversationalist.  She will talk your ear off, and knows how to totally charm you.  Matthew is all boy.  Full tilt out of control in everything he does.  But oh, those blue eyes.  And Hayden - she is the peacemaker, the sweet honey of the bunch.
We did have fun with everyone.  I don't know if I just needed more time, or if, while the kids are small, there will never be enough time to enjoy the adult children.  Maybe I just need to be patient, and enjoy what IS, rather than wishing for more.  That seems to be a common theme in my life, so perhaps I need to do some adjusting.  I need to pare down and simplify these visits.  Probably because most everyone is out of state, I tend to make all sorts of grand plans, and then I'm disappointed when it all doesn't work out.  And I'm sad when everyone leaves, because I imagine they're as disappointed as I am.  In reality, they probably don't think about it at all - they had no idea what I was imagining.  And if I'm smart, I'll just keep those details to myself.

Besides, now that I have some time to think, I think the best thing about the visit was watching L's confidence with the little girls start to blossom.  Sweet.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Every Picture Tells A Story... if only I'd taken some...

We rushed to the ring ceremony out of breath, afraid we were going to be late.  We needn't have worried.  As with everything else, it started about 45 minutes late.  Mia and Lexi were looking so cute in their flower girl dresses, but they were having so much fun running around while the bridal party was getting organized that they were completely messed up and tangle haired by the time it was their turn.  Mia didn't want to line up so Katie had to threaten her with no treats later.
Ashley came down to the area looking stressed.  What was up?  I decided I didn't want to know.  Later on I found out that the hair stylist/makeup girl didn't come back for touchups before the ring ceremony (maybe it wasnt' a contracted request?  Who knows...)  The MIL called her up, the discussion deteriorated (sounds like the stylist was being flakey) and the stylist was disinvited to the reception.  Unfortunately, she was the wife of one of the groomsmen...and the sister-in-law of one of the bridesmaids...and they both decided to not come to the ring ceremony/reception either.  Even their families joined in in deciding not to come.  Too bad... There's one friendship that's pretty much over, I'd say.  Professional people should act professional and not let it become personal.  That's my take, anyway.

The groomsman was one of Scott's best friends, and he called Scott very upset, feeling he should be there for Scott, but also feeling the need to stand by his wife.  Tough decision, but not totally sincere.  When Scott wasn't totally buying it, the tears abruptly stopped.  It's too bad, but I think friendships should be give and take.  Lately it had been pretty one sided.  Unfortunately, the photographer was ALSO a sister of the stylist and she was in the same room when all of this arguing was going on.  When the MIL realized this, she immediately apologized to the photographer, understanding the possible consequences of all of it.  Luckily Amelia, the photographer, is a real pro, and she was able to put her personal feelings aside and finish the job.  Kudos to her.  So THAT was why the bride looked stressed...
The ring ceremony began with the parents and wedding party walking in, minus one bridesmaid and one groomsman.  (Good riddance, I say.)  The flower girls all walked in in a big clump - a gaggle of adorable girls, swinging their flower balls, scattering the blooms everywhere.  The ring bearer had a different direction in mind, and his daddy had to come get him, starting a mini tantrum.  Finally everyone was in place and we opened with a prayer.  There were a couple of musical numbers, and then Ashley and Scott had prepared some words for each other.   Scott's part is what I remember.  He started to tell Ashley how much he loved her, and then totally broke down into tears, declaring that he would always do everything he could to love her and make her happy.  It was a sweet, SWEET moment, and many of us had tears of our own.  Scott has always been my sweet one.  He was sweating up a storm, though, and his best man kept reaching over to mop his brow.  So cute to see Bill taking such care of Scott.  They've been friends for many years, and I've always loved Bill.
FINALLY it was over, and we headed over to the pool area for some needed refreshments and drinks.  L and I were able to mingle in between photography calls.  The little girls were slowly losing it, and so it was a relief to be called into dinner.
The tables were lovely.  (You'll have to take my word for it - and my apology about the lack of pictures. By this time my mind was numb.) Each table had an Indian style lantern lit up with a candle, an elephant statue, a picture of Scott and Ashley, and each place setting had a tiny jeweled elephant to take home.  Those made Mia and Lexi very happy.  The dinner was good, the best man and the maid of honor each gave excellent PREPARED toasts (don't you hate those long, rambling ones?) and Ashley's dad also said a few really nice words.  He is a class act, that's all I can say.  An excellent host.
Mia and Lexi jumped and twirled on the dance floor, having the time of their little lives.  Matthew alternately ran with them or rested on his back on the floor.  They all fell apart at about the same time: just before the couple's first dance.  Katie hated to go (she's always hated to miss a good party) but her girls had had it by then.  Rex and Ronna took their little ones soon after.
I was pleasantly surprised by Scott and Ashley's first dance.  It was pretty much the Basic Sway, but at a certain point throughout the song he got fancy and twirled her - it obviously had been practiced, and I was really proud of them.  Ashley had her dance with her dad (the daddy/daughter dance ALWAYS makes me cry...) and then it was time for Scott and me.  I've never been so proud of Scott as I was then.  He looked so happy, and proud, and, and... I don't know what.  I was just filled with love and pride.
When the dance floor was opened up, the event of the night happened for me.  Scott came over to where my 99 year old grandma (his great grandma) was sitting in her wheelchair.  Now, my grandma loves to dance.  You could say it has been her passion.  Being confined to a wheelchair is very trying for her.  Scott started to wheel her backwards onto the dance floor.  He took her by the hands and "danced" with her, twirling her chair around every so often.  Her face was lit up with complete joy.  EVERY camera in the room was on them (except mine, of course - I was in tears).  As soon as I can get one of those photos I will post it.  I've never seen anyone so joyful and having such a good time, and she will never forget Scott taking her for a twirl at his reception.  (For heaven's sake - she still talks about dancing with Rex at his reception 8 years ago!)  That was the sweetest moment of the night for me.
The party wound down, people started to leave, and the MIL asked if I could store the wedding dress and table centerpieces for her until she returned from Hawaii with her other kids the following Saturday. And of course, we are doing just that.  It's been a treat for Mia to come into my room and see Ashley's "princess dress" hanging there.  And she reminds me, every time, to not touch it and to be careful.
We said our goodbyes to Ashley's family, and then Ba grabbed me and insisted on getting a picture with me.  She was going back to Kentucky with Ashley's dad the next morning.  I told her I wanted to visit her and she said "Good and I'll come visit you here."  We are buddies.  Even the MIL, Beth, was feeling tender.  I told her she'd done a magnificent job (and she had) and she hugged me when I told her we were sisters now.  When she's not looking for scalps, I really do feel that way.
L and I came the next morning to pick up the wedding dress, etc. from Beth's sister, who had gathered everything up.  No one could find the garment bag for the dress.  This is not good.  The dress is a Vera Wang very expensive dress, and I DO NOT want to be the one to have to tell Beth there's no bag to tote it back to Florida in.  (Any suggestions?  Anyone??)  When I met Beth's sister during the dress pick up she told me that Beth had always been full of drama.  I asked how the rest of the family coped with her.  She looked me in the eye and said "I just hang up the phone."  *blinking*  Bwahahahaha!  For some reason that just made my day.

So that completes the Saga of the Wedding Weekend.  Something for everyone: sweetness, compassion, lots of love to go around, cute little ones, oldsters who are still up for a swing on the dance floor, drama, drama, blowing our top DRAMA, and the sights and sounds of two very different families and cultures being linked together by two completely lovable, beautiful, much-loved children.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Wedding

The morning of the wedding was sunny, but nice and cool - perfect.  We were up, dressed, and down to the Newport Beach temple in plenty of time.  Everyone remembered their temple recommends - astounding.  Katie had been told that all of the bridesmaids were to wear their hair up, so she sweated and struggled, and did a really nice job of it.  (The other bridesmaids had their hair done by a stylist, but Katie had the little girls, and the stylist was charging quite a lot for it besides, so she opted out)  The other bridesmaids showed up, and all of them had their hair down and curled.  A last minute decision that no one informed Katie about.  Oh well.  Move on.  Sort of de rigeur by that point.
As is usual, the wedding was a bit late in starting.  I'd heard there was a little drama with the bride's mother, but tried to not think about it, other than feel relieved that I wasn't involved in it.  Then the bride's father came down and said there'd been a misunderstanding: when he and the mother had gotten married, they had given each other the temple clothes as a wedding gift.  Apparently, everyone thought that Ashley and Scott would do the same.  Hmmmm... I'd gotten Scott some new ones for his birthday a week before...  Ashley's were never mentioned.  Sooooo... long story short, Ashley got to the temple to get ready and had no temple clothes.  DRAMA.  Her mother ran back to the hotel and got hers, so all was well eventually.  I felt bad for Scott, as I'm sure he was on the receiving end of some real stinkeye from the mother in law - heretofor MIL.
We trooped into the sealing room and got settled.  In a few minutes we heard a rustle of Chantilly lace and silk, and Ashley came into the room.  Amazing.  Gorgeous.  Beautiful beyond words.  Wide-eyed too.  Scott was right after (the dress had a big skirt and only one could come through the door at a time).  The ceremony began, and it was really really nice.  Things were spoken of that I had never thought of before, and apparently no one else had either, as everyone commented later on how much they'd learned.  It was a little long, however, and soon my 99 year old grandmother took a little snooze.  She was behind some people though, so it was not obvious.  I imagined her having celestial dreams of my grandfather, gone these many years.  
Soon it was over, and we all stood to give our hugs, kisses, and congratulations.  Such joy, and such overflowing feelings!  My son looked as if his most precious dreams had come true, and indeed, they had.  He glowed.  And Ashley was beautiful - overwhelmed maybe, but beautiful.
We went outside to wait.  And we waited, and waited.  And waited some more.  While we waited, I took a picture with Ashley's sister Tia, and Ba (her grandmother):

Ba and I became good friends on the way to the temple earlier in the week.  She has a wonderful sense of humor, and we were kindred spirits.  Tia is lovely - just 13 years old, can you believe that?

We heard a commotion, and out came Ashley and Scott:

This isn't the greatest shot ever, but you can get the idea.  Bear in mind that we are not a picture taking family (except for Katie, and she was a bridesmaid).  If Katie is out of commission, there are little to no pictures, and certainly no great ones.    So please excuse the shortage, and when I have some of the professional ones, I'll be sure to post them.

The usual round of exhausting pictures followed, with flower girls melting down left and right.  They had these pomander balls of eggplant colored carnations held by a turquoise ribbon handle that were losing their blooms left and right.  Note: pomander balls are not sturdy enough for small girls to swing around by the ribbons.)  Mia and her cousin Lexi had fun running around, picking temple flowers (shhh...don't tell) and enjoying Ashley's "princess" dress.  
Off to the luncheon.  Everyone was hungry, and there was a great buffet luncheon provided back at the hotel.  Soon everyone at the temple, as well as other family members who were here were enjoying a much needed lunch.  Small children and young mothers were refreshed.  Grandmas and mothers of the groom were refreshed.  The mother of the bride was refreshed and in a good mood.  (Whew!)  The father in law?  He was always in a good mood.  I wasn't sure how the bridal couple was doing, but at that point it was every man for himself.  Except for me.  I'd promised to watch Mia all afternoon so Katie could catch up on some much needed sleep.  So Mema got no nap or rest a-a-a-ll afternoon.  We did watch Despereaux and had a picnic/tea party.  At the appointed time, Katie zoomed by to pick up Mia (I'd brushed her hair and tried to spruce her up) and was back off to the hotel for the ring ceremony.  We were just minutes behind, as I hadn't had a chance to get ready myself.  I did a quick blowout of my hair, changed into my reception dress, and off we went into the eye of the hurricane.  

To be continued...

More Rehearsal Pictures

I promised you all more pictures of the rehearsal dinner, and I always deliver on my promises.  These images are courtesy of Katie Hatch Photography ( I have an "in" - she's my daughter), and aren't they the colorful lovely pictures I told you about?
Here are Scott and Ashley after a nerve wracking day, but they still look amazing:                                                                           

Then here's a picture of the bride and bridesmaids by the pool:

Have you ever seen such gorgeous colors?  It made for such a pretty picture seen all together.
And finally: one of just Katie being Katie:

So you can see why we all had such a good time that night.  It was fun to dress up in a completely different way, it was fun to share some different traditions, and it was fun to just relax and enjoy each other after a trying to herd a large bridal party, 6 flower girls and a reluctant ring bearer down the aisle in an orderly fashion.

Next up:  The Wedding

Monday, June 21, 2010

Events leading up to THE WEDDING

The wedding.  I've been trying for two days to figure out how to start telling about this crazy, wonderful weekend we called a wedding.  It started on Friday evening with the rehearsal dinner (for the ring ceremony)  We were supposed to be there at 4:30pm for the 5:00pm rehearsal, but at about 3:00 Katie and I received a frantic call from Scott that we needed to be there earlier - like at 4:00 because there was a load of Indian clothes for us all to change into.  That was new.  Katie was a bridesmaid and Mia was a flower girl, so we decided that they should go as early as they could be ready, and that I would hang back and wait for L.  L was a little bit late getting home from Torrance, and then he wanted to shower and shave before we went.  So he cleaned up, and I did my best to not act frantic that we were late.  We needn't have worried.  The rehearsal was running at least 45 minutes behind schedule.  When we got there, people were milling about, our Lexi and Mia started running around chasing each other, and Mia managed to spill a cup of ice water all over the aisle that everyone would walk down.  
Suddenly the bridal party appeared in full Indian regalia!  Each person was in a different color of sari, with Ashley in a raspberry colored one, all beaded and sequined.  Katie's was turquoise, there were green ones and blue ones - all different colors.  Each girl had a bindi on her forehead (the decorative jewel-ey thing between the eyebrows) and everyone looked beautiful.  Scott had on white flowy pants with a long red patterned tunic and white scarf around his neck, handing down in front.
We all lined up and practiced our walk in.  Two tiny flower girls held the hands of an older flower girl walking in - 6 in all.  The ring bearer had a hard time concentrating, but was so cute it was OK.  After running through it a couple of times, it was time to go to dinner.  My phone rang, and it was my parents.  They were at the restaurant for the dinner, and had been told it was cancelled.  Baffled, I asked Amrut, the father of the bride, and he said that it had indeed been cancelled from the original restaurant, and was now at another restaurant.  No one had told us (this was to be a familiar theme throughout the weekend) but we directed my mom and dad to the new restaurant.  Beth (bride's mother) grabbed me and my ex-husband's wife and towed us upstairs to get our Indian duds.  
I'm so glad I decided to be a good sport because it was more fun than I would have ever thought possible.  At one point I looked at New Wife and said "If someone had told me 15 years ago that you and I would one day be in a hotel room trying on Indian clothes together I'd have said they were crazy!"  We had a good laugh over that one.  Beth had gotten each of us punjabi pants, a tunic top, a scarf, and a matching set of bracelets.  I had brought a perfect pair of shoes in anticipation (that I love but never wear so I was happy to have an occasion!) and the "look" was complete.  I was happy to have had some time with Beth where we were having fun, and we were able to enjoy a moment away from the nuttiness.  She apologized for any misunderstandings, and I did likewise.  It was a good moment.  We did all of this while she and New Wife were ripping the sleeves of my tunic because my arms were too "fluffy" for the short sleeves.  With the seams ripped  open, it was perfect.  So picture me with both arms raised, two women ripping the seams, and all of us having a virtual sisterhood love fest.  You couldn't make this stuff up.
We went to the restaurant - all of us like a big colorful rainbow - and had a great time.  The food was good, it was fun to try some different things, (Chicken Tikki!) and we all had a great evening.  And let me tell you: those punjabi pants are great eatin' pants.  They're loose, they're comfy, and as soon as Ashley has a moment, I want her to take me to buy more.  They're seriously what you want to relax in.  Either those, or hospital scrubs, but these are way prettier.
I have to apologize for the lack of pictures.  Katie took some which I will have her sent to me tomorrow. I was so busy having fun that I didn't take any pictures until we got home, realized I hadn't documented anything, and had L snap a couple of me in my getup.   

So here's a closeup - you can see the bindi:

And here is a shot of the whole outfit (sorry it's shot against the newly tiled bathroom walls - it was an uncluttered background.  You'll be sick of that bathroom before it's done - which it's not):

Tomorrow I'll attempt to go into the wedding itself and the reception.  The whole weekend was filled with so many crazy moments, many upsetting moments, but also many MANY really good ones.  I found that the things I thought would be the most stupid (because I was being judge-y and not understanding), such as the 6 flower girls, and the elaborate ring ceremony turned out to be some of my favorite memories.  I'm sure not everyone felt the same as I did, but even admid all the chaos ( and there was a lot of that) I was happy with the end result.  I came away thinking that it would be very hard for a mother to plan a wedding from 3,000 miles away, without any drama or meltdowns (yes, there were lots of those), and it would be even more difficult for it to turn out as nicely as it did.  So, more tomorrow on the actual wedding, the ring ceremony, and the reception.  Each part was awesome and beautiful in it's own special way.  And oh, the stories we'll tell for years to come...

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Two Days & Counting

Yesterday Ashley went through the temple.  I worked half the day and then drove over to Scott's apartment to drive into LA with him.  Well, actually we were going with Ashley's dad.  It felt a little hectic and rushed, not knowing if there would be lots of traffic or not.  Luckily there was not.  When our ride arrived, it was not only Ashley's dad, but also her brother AND her grandmother.  I rode in the back with Ba and AJ.  Ba (grandma) is a little Indian woman with a wonderful sense of humor.  I enjoyed talking to her very much, and it made the ride into Los Angeles go quickly.  We actually got there about an hour ahead of schedule.  No matter, Ba enjoyed looking at the beautiful grounds and the pool in front.  She kept up a lively conversation, insisted she would be fine walking the grounds while we were inside, and when it got dark and colder, she waited for us in the lobby.  Soon Ashley, her mom, and the rest of the party arrived, and here's the fun part: not only was Ashely going through the temple for the first time, but so was her brother AJ (soon to leave on a mission to INDIA!) and her maid of honor, Kimberly.  So we were a big pack of newbies.
I can't even describe to you the feeling in the temple yesterday.  Between Kimberly's exhuberant happy puppy excitement, AJ's cool demeanor, and Ashley quietly taking it all in, it was a really good afternoon.  Everyone's wedding agendas and jitters got checked at the door.  And was it my imagination, or were all the temple workers yesterday just especially kind and welcoming?  I can't remember when everyone there was so wonderful. 
I enjoyed being with both Ashley's mom and dad - what a great day for them! - Kimberly's grandmother was happily teary, Scott was sweet and beaming, and one of Ashley's other bridesmaids had also come to lend support.  Ashley looked like I remembered feeling like my first time: pretty much deer in the headlights.  I think it was pretty overwhelming for her, but we had some good moments during it all.  I'm sure she'll be thinking a lot about it in the next day or so.  I asked her if, after all the excitement dies down, she would like to take a girl's night and go to the temple and out to dinner, and she smiled her gorgeous smile and said she'd like that very much.  So I'm looking forward to having some good times with my newest girl.
Now that our family has grown, and we've welcomed girls big and small over the last few years, I'm thinking that it would be fun if we could organize a yearly girl's weekend - meet somewhere that everyone could get to, eat healthy, eat junk, laugh a lot, learn a lot, admire, support and love each other.  I think I'd really enjoy a tradition like that.

TODAY: Katie and the girls arrive, Rex, Ronna & kids also
WEDDING DAY: 2 more days

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

We Were Not Ginger and Fred

Tonight Scott came over.  He was hoping I could teach him to dance.  And I could've, too - if only he'd chosen something you could waltz to.  But he and Ashley's song, sadly, is in 4/4 time.  We tried.  We really really tried.  But it wasn't pretty.
We Googled 4 count dances and got videos of fox trots and hustles.  Fox trot is kind of complicated - at least when Louie from DWTS does it.  We just couldn't figure it out.  And the hustle?  Mmmmm...no.  I think I made up a basic little box step and we practiced it.  In the end, he needs to practice it with Ashley.  She's the one with the big white dress that shouldn't be stepped on.
Wow, I was really hoping to be more help, but those dancing lessons at Cotillion when I was 10 years old or so are kind of eluding me.  But you know how it is: you picture yourself gliding and twirling with the music, so elegant, and you think you can do it with just one or two nights' practice.  In the end, I think they should just settle for the basic Sway.  Not very exciting, but practically risk-free.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Breakfast With Scott & Other Adventures

Today was one of those days where you have almost more to accomplish than you have time for.  And truly, I didn't get to all of it.  Normally on Saturdays, I love to be lazy and sit in bed reading until 9:00 or so.  It's a guilty pleasure I don't get any other day of the week, and I really look forward to it.  Not today, though.  Scott's birthday was last week, and the thing he wanted was some new temple clothes, so today was the day.  I got up early, got myself ready (mascara, blush, and red lipstick!  So Saturday...) and drove to Tustin to pick Scott up.  First stop was IHOP for breakfast.  Another guilty pleasure: big breakfast.  L doesn't really appreciate a hearty breakfast of eggs, bacon, and pancakes like Scott and I do, so it's something we've liked to do together every so often.  (Can you tell I'm cramming all kinds of memories into this last week before the wedding?)
We feasted, and then it was off to the distribution center for temple duds.  He pretty much needed everything.  At one point, I asked him if he needed a new white shirt, and he paused and said, "Well...  I think I may have bought one about a year ago."  ICK - no year old white shirts on your wedding day!  A new one went on the pile.  We even got a new case for him to carry everything in.  He was pretty excited about it.  We'd planned to go to Macy's and get him some new dress shoes (not for the wedding - just to have) but Ashley called and reminded him that he was to be at a tasting appointment at the hotel for the reception dinner.  So off we went to taste.
Final decision: Hearts of Romaine Salad with either raspberry vinaigrete, or honey mustard dressing, and the Lemon Caper Chicken.  For those of the vegetarian persuasion there was a Portobello Mushroom Wellington (portobello mushrooms in an amazing sauce, encased in pastry dough).  It was so good I'm thinking of being a vegetarian that night.  Seriously good stuff.
By that time I'd rescheduled my nail appointment twice, so I needed to get going.  Scott's bachelor party was due to start around 3pm as well, so he had to scoot.  He and his friends were all going to the Dodger game.  It was so much fun to spend the entire morning with him, and a tasty hour or so with both him and Ashley.
Back home, fingernails buffed, toes done in French Manicure.  May have to redo before the wedding but I hope not.  I don't know when we'd squeeze it in. ("We" being me, Katie, and the girls.)
After nails, a quick trip to Birch Street Promenade for a quick search for a skirt.  Scored two cute ones, and a cute periwinkle scarf with little pompoms, or actually tassles, along the edges.  I don't know if you can get the idea from the picture below, but there you are.  I don't know what I'm actually going to do/wear, but I have a whole week to figure it out.  I got a black knit ruffly tiered skirt, and a khaki linen-ish one.  I'm sure it'll come to me.  But I couldn't resist those little tassles on the scarf or the yummy yummy color.

You thought I already had a dress.  Yes I do.  For the reception.  I needed something a little more casual to wear on Friday night to the pre-wedding dinner, and/or to the wedding Saturday morning.  Why is it that what you already have won't do?  I don't know, but it won't.  It probably has to do, in my case, with having to mingle with strangers, trying to feel confident, and I have a tough time doing that in a skirt that's 4 years old and tired.  Because mostly what I buy, folks, is pants.  Until I have a wedding or something, that is.  Then I realize my wardrobe is lacking.
Back home.  Done. Tired. Boys still tiling in the bathroom.  The wall grouting is done.  They are finishing the shower floor tiles as I type.  I don't know when they're going to grout the floor, but I heard them say they're done for the day after the last tile is set in.  Yay - I want some dinner, and didn't want to eat by myself.
So that was my day.  Trying to figure out the logistics of next week.  Thinking how, on Friday,  I can fit in picking up a rental car for Katie, a morning funeral for my friend's son, helping my aunt and grandma get settled in at the hotel in the afternoon (with Katie hopefully following us down to Newport Beach if the girls aren't napping, to take me back home), AND somehow have time to get ready for the Friday night dinner and look fresh.  I'm not sure it can all be done, sadly.  It makes me tired to even think about it.  I'm thinking my mantra should be "You can only do what you can do." 
I need to set priorities when I'm a little less tired.

ps: I don't think I ever showed you my teapot find.  I'm so ready for little girls and tea parties.  

Thursday, June 10, 2010

I've Been A Little Distracted

Sorry - I haven't forgotten about you all.  It's been so busy this week.  I'm preparing at work to be on vacation the end of next week.  I'm preparing for the wedding on the 19th (mentally anyway) and for the family to be here then and the week after.  We're busy tiling (STILL) in the bathroom, and I'm busy painting the dresser.  Then there's all the mundane tasks like paying bills, going to yoga, tidying up the office/playroom, watching the Laker's lose tonight *shaking head*  I still have some last minute things I need to organize for next week, and I need to make phone calls to family and make sure everyone is on board with the schedule of events (it's complicated and busy).  My 99 year old grandmother and aunt are moving to their new digs next week, and I'm worrying about the logistics of that.  And I'm wondering how two jet lagged little girls are going to handle all the travel from Puerto Rico, plus the flower girl duties and just being hauled around from event to event.  *sigh*  It's all kept my mind up at night.

And then today I learned that a friend of mine lost her 30 year old son in a camping/drowning accident yesterday.  So I'm a little sad.  I don't know how you get through that kind of grief unless you know what I know about where we came from, why we're here, and what happens next.  Luckily, my friend knows.  I'm not saying it takes away the gut wrenching grief and sense of loss, but at least you know the loss is only temporary.  They're still out there, just around the corner, waiting for us to catch up.  And that knowledge is what gets you out of bed every day, putting one foot in front of the other.  Val is a great lady, and one of those noble souls - a kind of angel on earth - who always knows the right thing to say or do.  She makes everyone feel good.  It makes me wish I knew just the right thing to say and do right now.  But knowing her, she'll be the one to make me feel better.

Monday, June 7, 2010

A Peachy Giveaway

Hey - go over to my friend Jen's blog here and enter her giveaway.  She has some good things she's giving away - my favorite being her homemade peachy syrup.  (Well, it started out as jam, but there wasn't enough sugar to set up properly, and now it's just kind of syrup for pancakes or oatmeal or, or... oh YUM!  I just want some!!)
You have the rest of the week to enter by just leaving a comment.  So simple.  But the rewards are great.  Who's your friend for telling you about this??  I am.  Now go.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Weddings + Babies = Busy Summer

It's official: the peeling of my shoulders and chest has begun.  And I'm actually kind of happy about it.  I was afraid it was going to wait until the day before the wedding to begin.  This way, at least, it will be over and done with.  If only it didn't ITCH so much...
I went to my niece's baby shower this morning.  Her sister's bridal shower is on Tuesday.  In my family this summer, it's one continuous round of weddings and babies.  Two weddings and two new baby boys.  Happy stuff.  Busy stuff.  Our own wedding is in exactly two weeks.  The final payment for the flowers is due today - that's a good indication that the wedding is just around the corner.   I still don't have a belt for my dress, and I'm quickly losing interest in finding one.  I'll either cut the belt loops off the dress or find a way to fasten the belt that came with it.  Either way, I'm done.  I'm shopped out.  I did have highlights put in my hair.  I'm kind of excited about that.  Not that anyone will be looking at me.  I'm just letting you, my peeps, know that I'll be rockin' some really nice carmel highlights.
It was Scott's birthday on the 3rd.  We are going to get together next Saturday to shop for what he wanted for his birthday (new temple clothes) and so I wasn't too concerned about the actual day.  I was thinking I would go work out that night after work - try to make a yoga class.  But as I was having those thoughts, I couldn't help but think that THIS birthday would be the very last one I would spend with him where I would have him all to myself.  But I really wanted/needed to work out.  In the end, however, he was excited to go to dinner with me, and so we did.  I told my husband he wasn't invited - this was a mother and son birthday dinner.  He was OK with that.  Scott and I had a great time.  We talked and talked (like we always do) and I was so, SO glad that I'd given up my workout to spend this time with my boy.  I can always work out, but next year he'll be someone's husband, and not just my son.  The time shared this year was priceless to me, and I'm grateful I was prompted to take the opportunity.  One less regret, one more good memory.
The tile job continues today.  L and his helper (his ex-wife's husband...don't ask...) finished putting up the rope-y trim, and now it's time to start on the glass tile strip.  *gulp*  It's the moment of truth, the do or die moment of this particular tile job.  So I'm in here, trying to act like I'm not worried that they won't be able to pull it off. (I was happy to hear L say that when we do OUR bathroom, he's going to pay someone to do it.)  When they get a strip in, I'll snap a picture and post it.
Aaaand here it is:  (isnt' that glass tile strip AWESOME?!?)

The whole job looks great so far, (I KNEW it would, but you're always just a little worried that it won't be as awesome as it is in your head) - although we had a snafu with the shower floor.  Our contractor neglected to tell us (or maybe he didn't realize) we had to build up the shower floor to the level of the drain before tiling.  Luckily, L only put on about 12 tiles before he realized that something more had to happen.  (the drain is about 2 inches above the current floor.)  So we're calling in a professional to do it.  It's kind of important that the shower not leak, in my opinion.
Did I mention the wedding is in 2 weeks?  That means my daughter is coming, which means she'll be coming to get her dresser that I've been meaning to finish painting.  I have one more drawer front and I've been dithering forever about what to paint.  Each drawer so far has been painted with different flowers.  Each one is symbolic of something pertaining to Katie: a sunflower for cheerfulness, roses for strength and beauty, chamomile for strength in adversity, pansies for loving thoughts and hibiscus for her time in school in Hawaii (her ultimate happy place).  So what to put on the 6th drawer?  I think I've hit on the perfect thing.  Here is what I've started so far:

Can you see what it will be?  Two butterflies in honor of her two beautiful little girls, Mia and Hayden.  Stay tuned for the finished product.  I think she'll be surprised and pleased at the same time.  And I'll be glad to finally have it in her house.  It's been a work in progress for the past 14 years.  I started it when she broke her neck in high school in a diving accident.  It was meant to be something special we were planning and designing together.  Well, you know how that goes.  I got just enough done and she wanted to use it.  So I'd paint a little here and there.  When she went away to school in Hawaii I got more done.  Just before she got married I finished the top of it.  But there was always this one drawer giving me trouble.  I'm excited to see how it turns out.  Because, you know, I never know until it's done.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Good Book/Bad Sunburn

The weekend flew by and much too soon it's a school day again.  Back to company emails and collecting POs, and doing my boss' last minute powerpoint slides for the district meeting tonight.  The one thing that made me smile was to remember that this week is a short 4 day work week - yesssssss...
Did I mention in the last post that I sat out on the patio on Monday reading magazines in between wash loads?  It felt so good to be out in the good sunshine, soaking up a few rays.  Unfortunately, I soaked up more than just a few, and today I am a little crispy.  My thighs, which rarely see the light of day, are a bright and angry red, while my chest and shoulders are just kind of smoldering.  Ouch.  I hope I don't peel. Double ouch.

Besides reading magazines this weekend, I also read Braden Bell's soon to be released book "The Road Show."  Some of you may have read Sue's review of his book here.  Braden was kind enough to let me read the pdf as well, and I couldn't stop.  Luckily, it's not a long book, or I would have been sitting her all night reading by computer light.  It's a story that you need to be LDS to really understand all of the nuances and jargon, but Braden is a genius at portraying human nature, with all of it's failings as well as it's noble side.  And he does it in a way that is not trite or silly, the way so many pieces of LDS fiction are.  So many of the storylines just made me go "Oh yeah.... I've felt just like that."  I was rooting for the characters throughout - each one of them flawed, yet immensely likeable, just like most of us.  Who among us hasn't crossed the street, or looked the other way to avoid having contact with an annoyingly needy neighbor or acquaintance?  How many of us have felt secret despair at our continuous, relentless weaknesses and shortcomings?  Hopefully, just as many of us have felt the sweetness when faith and hard work come together, and we have a quick interlude with an inspirational prompting, or an answer to a prayer.  These are the things which make up "The Road Show."  We watch a small group of very ordinary people struggle with insecurities, transgression, and thoughts of "what's in it for me?" until they each, in their own way, discover what it means to overcome self, realize how vast our Heavenly Father's love is, and transfer that knowledge into service and love for others.  I found it to be bittersweet and triumphant, without resorting to portraying the characters like Sunday School morality lesson cartoons.  I found them all to be realistic, and in a few of them I saw myself.  I imagine most of us could.  Bottom line is: get the book.  It's on Amazon, and the release date is, I think, June 8th.  It's the kind of book you can read in an afternoon, and then pass it on to just about anyone you know - even your YM/YW kids.  Maybe especially them.  I don't pretend to know how to really review this book - look to Sue's review for that.  I just know I enjoyed it.  It made me feel good while reading it, and when I finished it I felt even better, because it affirmed the fact that we're not alone in our weaknesses, and we're all here to help each other get through.  In fact, we owe it to each other to help one another get through.  Hop on over to Amazon and read a few sample pages for yourself, and you'll see what I mean.  Then order it!  You'll thank me for the suggestion.

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