Friday, November 29, 2013

2013 Best Day of the Year

I took this picture right before we sat down to eat.
I'm wearing sweatpants this morning, which is indicative of two things: I don't intend to set foot out of the house today (you're welcome, Small Town eyes that might have been blinded by the sight), and  it was a wonderful Thanksgiving in the House on the Corner.

This year's gathering was smaller than many we've had in the past. We missed my mother and my mother-in-law, who were probably baking heavenly rolls together and laughing at the really terrible gravy I made. We missed two of my siblings, one working in Australia and one called away by an emergency. We missed two of the Boys and Lovely Girl, who were together but not with us. We missed several of the next generation who spent Thanksgiving with the "other" sides of their families this year.

But the weird thing is that on Thanksgiving, it's as if we're all together. People who weren't here for the turkey, we missed you but we included you as well.We talked about what you probably were doing at the moment we were digging into the cranberry salad and scooping up slabs of pecan pie. We reminisced about how the absent brother can really carve a turkey.

"It's probably a good thing the little kids are at their other grandparents' houses this year,"we said when the turkey took a full two hours longer to cook than I had anticipated it would. We exchanged "wishing you were here" text pictures with the Boys and Lovely Girl in the nation's capital as we all happened to sit down to eat at the same time.

We were thankful for so many things this year, including the gorgeous day after several days of nasty weather.

But most of all we were thankful for those we love, the ones who were here and the ones we were missing.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Yup. That's How It Is.

I'm showing the internet the inside of my refrigerator. Wow.
Boy#3 and Boy#4 arrived home for Best Day of the Year vacation last night, and it is wonderful. I would, of course, prefer that Boy#2 and Boy#1 and Lovely Girl be here as well, but neither beggars nor the overblessed who have spent time with all of their farflung children during the past month can be choosers.

Three kept me company this morning while I was finishing up the pre-Thanksgiving cooking. This is an actual transcript of our conversation.

Three: So, what have you already done this morning?

Me: I've brined the turkey in a salt solution, cooked and mashed the potatoes with cream cheese and butter and cream, baked the sweet potatoes, cooked the syrup for the sweet potatoes, and refrigerated all of it for final baking tomorrow.

Three: In other words, cooking for Thanksgiving means you take a lot of healthy foods, and make them unhealthy?

I think he's beginning to see why this is the eve of the Best Day of the Year

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Have I Mentioned This Before?

This morning as I (tra-la-la) worked my way down my to-do list (boil brine for turkey, stir up first batch of rolls, etc.), I thought to myself, "Self, you really should tell your fabulous reader(s) about the cranberry sauce that's the best part of Thanksgiving, except for the family being here and the turkey and the dressing...well, the cranberry sauce that's a really nice part of Thanksgiving."

So I photographed the six easy steps to the perfect cranberry sauce, the sauce that has sauced the holiday table of the House on the Corner for the past quarter century. I rinsed the four cups of cranberries (snap a picture), added water (snap), boiled until they popped (snap), etc., etc. through the sugar, raisins and walnuts.

Then I sat down to write this little chapter in the annals of the Best Day of the Year. I transferred the pictures to my laptop, opened the editing program and noticed something strange: The pan in the pictures was not the pan I used to cook the cranberries this year.

And that's when I remembered that whoops! I apparently have written exactly this same post before, because I have TWO sets of the exact same photos of cranberries topped with picturesque mounds of sugar, then bubbling merrily for 10 minutes, the same shots of my disembodied left hand tipping two cups of walnuts into the mix. Only the pans are different; even both left hands are eerily similar in their need of manicures.

Huh. I must really like this cranberry sauce. But I'm here to warn you--the Ocean Spray people may be pulling your leg when they say the antioxidants in cranberries are good for the memory.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Check It Off

Recipes, both virtual and printed, plus coffee
I know what you're thinking.

"MomQueenBee's on her annual Thanksgiving-week vacation," you're thinking."She's probably sitting around home drinking coffee and watching a Project Runway All Stars marathon."

Well, okay, you are absolutely right about that. At this actual moment I am drinking coffee, and those back-bitey designers are biting backs and creating weird "clothing" for me to make fun of.

But I am rocking and rolling on the Thanksgiving-ness, too. So far this morning I have made a list, without which Thanksgiving cannot happen. In fact, I have made three lists--to do today, to do by dinnertime on Thursday, to buy. On today's list were 1) clean out refrigerator, 2) get a haircut, 3) find Thanksgiving recipes, 4) grocery shop, 5) blog.

Not even on my list was 6) have lunch with Husband, but when I hit the publish button, I will have crossed off all six items on my list and it's not even mid-afternoon

Boom! Bring on the Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Friday Orts and a Blurb

Oooh! Pretty!
Last week the Small Town Friends of the Library asked me to talk to them about oversharing on the internet, and I had to accept the invitation. I love Friends! I love the Library! I'm a champion oversharer! They were just as wonderful and welcoming as I had expected, but then one lovely new Friend told me she watches my blog to see what I'm currently knitting.


I do not do a good job of keeping my "what's on my needles" section up to date. In fact, I'm not sure I've ever updated it, so all of you who have arrived here through the promise of a Five Hour Baby Sweater, I apologize. That sweater was finished and delivered and the baby who wore it is now in kindergarten.

My current obsession is shawls and I've finished three of them in the past six months.The first was intended to be part of my Mother of the Groom ensemble, but when I asked Much Older Sister if it was looking a little ripple afghan-y, she (correctly) told me it was, so it became part of my rehearsal dinner ensemble instead.

Shawls are lovely for those of us who are of a certain age, because they are easily removed when the power surge comes upon us, as it is wont to do. I've just finished the Maharashtra Silk shawl pictured above but it is not yet blocked, so that model is not me. (You may have already ascertained that, because COLLARBONES.) It was quite fun to knit, though, and the yarn has a lovely hand feel. The pattern is linked under the picture, for all of you knit-wits.


I made a startling discovery this week. I pulled some pennies out of my purse and while the heads of Honest Abe were still predictably on one side...

...the tails sides were different.


If you haven't yet had your awwwwwww moment today, go ahead and pre-shape your mouth.

I am unable to embed Baby Panda's First Steps, but it's worth clicking over to it, even though it looks disturbingly similar to my own getting-out-of-bed-in-the-morning routine.


 Blurb of the Week

Husband and I have been watching Hostages, a CBS drama new this year. We seldom are able to sync our schedules well enough to start a series together, so we were excited to be able to watch a water-cooler-moment-worthy show FROM THE BEGINNING. We've hung in there through the first six or seven episodes, in spite of school board meetings on Monday nights that occasionally force Husband to play catch-up in the middle of the week. I wish I could say we chose wisely and have discovered a new Mad Men  or Downton Abbey, but while I may exaggerate for comic effect, I try to never out-and-out lie in this space.

People, this show is terrible. It is not terrible on the terribleness scale of Two and a Half Men, but that show revels in terribleness. Hostages is trying to be serious and riveting, and make you tune in week after week because you CAN'T WAIT until Monday night rolls around again to find out what's happening. It wants to be 24 and instead I find my brow furrowed with exasperation at the ineptitude of everyone surrounding the President of the United States.

Which, I guess, is the way I spend most of my time anyway, so that's kind of like real life. Everything else about this show is not like real life and leaves us incredulous and drop-jawed. (Brow furrowed and drop-jawed--we are PRETTY when we watch Hostages.) The (grown-up/professional) members of this family really cannot find or borrow a phone to call someone and get help? The life-saving surgery the leading character performed on her husband on the dining room table was so spectacular he healed in a single day? Wow. I know some hernia repair surgeons who need to take lessons.

So thumbs down, way down, for Hostages. Unless you're planning to bond with a loved one over the unbelievability, you can keep your Monday nights free.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Reality Check

Oh, y'all! You dear, sweet things. So very many nice comments on yesterday's post that every time I checked in on my Facebook profile I gasped. Seriously, you are too sweet, and I have a little backtracking to do.

Husband and I are not the cooing lovebirds I may have misled you to think. In fact, we are such oldlyweds that we celebrated the first evening of our 31st year of marriage by raking leaves, then going to Sonic. ("Forget the cholesterol! It's our anniversary!") But we did those things together.

So romantic, these two.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Still the One

Leaning against the wall of the master bedroom in the House on the Corner is a portrait-sized copy of the picture that illustrates today's post. We did not order this enormous print, but the photographer had used it as a display model in his studio and when he went out of business he sold it to us for the cost of the frame.

In my mind I named this portrait Young Bride and I've always loved it (even though we've never bestirred ourselves to find a nail and hang it up) because it is composed of 90% sentiment and misty dreams and 10% of what was running through the bride's mind: The bride was thinking "Un-focus your eyes--that's how you get that wistful gaze going" in a most calculating manner. I had waited 29 years to be the blushing bride, and that girl with the un-saggy neck might look young and naive, but she had known exactly what she wanted in a husband and had waited a long time for him.

I wanted a husband who was smarter than I am, and who did the right thing even when it was inconvenient or difficult. I wanted someone who made me laugh. I wanted a man who worked hard and followed through. I had waited for a partner who thought I was the bee's knees and wasn't embarrassed to tell me so. I had looked for someone who would be a good dad, even if the prospect of that role was scary to him. I wanted someone who treated his mother well, because that's a good indication of what kind of husband he would be.

I wanted someone who made my pulse pick up when he walked into the room.

Thirty years ago today I walked down the long church aisle toward the man who fit all of these requirements, but Young Bride didn't know that man came with bonus attributes. She hadn't specified warm hands, perfect for holding. She didn't consider how safe she would feel riding with a husband who was a good driver. She didn't consider how important it was that he be a sports fan, but not a fanatic.

When Boy#1 and Lovely Girl were married a couple of weeks ago, they asked their two sets of parents to write blessings that would be read at the ceremony. They gave us a 250-word limit to sum up everything we wished and hoped for them--obviously they knew I could have gone on and on until the candles had guttered out--so I tried to condense what I've learned in 30 years of marriage into one pithy thought. It turned out that the pithy thought is this:

Marriage is not always sentiment and misty un-focused eyes. Sometimes it's messy and difficult, because marriage involves human beings and their messy, difficult feelings and needs (and hormones). But any bit of effort put into building a life together (even if that life is occasionally messy or difficult) is worthwhile and never wasted. This life, this marriage, is worth it.

Young Bride, you were right to wait for the right one. 

Happy anniversary, Husband. You're still the one.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Better With Age

Selfies at the theater. Is Husband a good sport or what?
When I was younger--much younger--I was convinced that the success of any particular year rested upon whether I had a good birthday or a not-so-good birthday to kick off that particular year.

Folks, this is a weighty responsibility for a single date on a calendar, especially a date that is somewhat capricious, if you believe that eating Chinese food or driving over railroad tracks can bring on labor, which the internet apparently does. Nonetheless, I spent all of my childhood and much of my early adulthood thinking that as Nov. 16 goes, so goes the year.

Unfortunately, a bad birthday was almost inevitable when I was in that stage of life. I mean, how could a day live up to the pressure? When a single hurt feeling or not-exactly-perfect present can throw off AN ENTIRE YEAR and my thin skin at that point meant I rarely went an hour without hurt feelings, much less a whole day?

It's only been in the past decade or so that I realize how inconsequential birthdays are. Not only does the day not determine how happy I will be in the coming year, each moment does not determine how happy I will be in the rest of the day.

BUT (and this is a big but, as I always think when I try on jeans) having a birthday gives a person permission to say poo-poo-to-you to the ought-to's and shoulds of a day.

So Saturday, when I ought to have been cleaning out my frozen-over flower beds and should have been scrubbing the kitchen floor, Husband and I were taking in a double-header movie in the Big City. We saw TWO movies I've wanted to see, including our very first foray into 3-D (I know! What century have we been living in?) and seeing a movie that critics say is a Sure Oscar Contender before it's released onto video (I know! Who are these people?).

For the record, the movies were Gravity,which I highly recommend if you've never seen tears floating out of Sandra Bullock's eyes and over your head into the theater, and 12 Years a Slave, which I highly recommend if you'd like to die of the weight of social conscience pressing down on you. (After the second one I texted Boy#2 and requested that he tell me a joke, quickly, before I slit my wrists from depression. "What did one snowman say to another snowman?" he texted back. I had no answer. "Do you smell carrots?" Hahahahaha! New favorite joke.)

Then, when we were stuffed with popcorn and despair, we stuffed ourselves again with hummus and warm pita and dolma as we dug into the deliciousness that is the Mediterranean food at my favorite restaurant. That's because this had been my lunch:
Yes. French fries and a Hawaiian Delight sundae. Because it was my birthday, and I'm a grown-up!

Birthdays are so much better when you're a grown-up.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Friday Wedding Orts and a Blurb

Okay, I seem to have come to the end of the wedding stream. Yesterday, after the lovely Idena asked for More Wedding! More Wedding! I sat down and opened a new-post window and...nothing. Nothing left to burble about except the lovely view outside our window at the historic hotel, and I couldn't make a whole post out of that.

(It was lovely. The end.)

Oh, wait. There was one more thing about this view: If you turned 180 degrees, you saw the opposite of lovely. Want to know what happens when you put a family-of-six in a couple of adjoining rooms two hours before they become a family-of-seven and tell them all to change clothes RIGHT NOW BECAUSE WE'RE GOING TO BE LATE? Whoa. It looked like The Men's Wearhouse exploded in there, especially if you throw in a couple of remote controlled helicopters that were the perfect groomsmen gifts but came with a LOT of packaging.

Anyway, you can all be grateful that I did not photographically document that scene. It was not pretty.

Husband and the Boys don't dress up in tuxedos all that often. Although, as I think about it, they put on fancy duds more often than I do, since one of them attends presidential inaugurations and one of them plays Real Music that properly requires formal attire. Don't believe me? Once again I have photographic evidence.

This photo is a screen shot of the taken of the television coverage during the first Obama inauguration, when Boy#1 was on the FRONT ROW when Barack and Michelle had their first dance. He is wearing a tuxedo. (I mean Boy#1 was; I assume Barack also was but I have no photographic evidence of this.)

But my point was that Husband and the Boys needed a bit of assistance in figuring out whether they should wear the suspenders (Me: "Boys, no. Husband, yes.") and how to affix the shiny accoutrement that accompany formalwear. That meant I was scurrying when it came putting my own self together, but hey! Worth it!

They clean up nicely, don't they?
And finally, a wedding blurb.

This Band
This band. May I say once more that they were the biggest surprise of the entire weekend? I thought the church would be lovely, I believed the chaplain would be terrific, I knew the ceremony music would be fabulous, and I was right on all of those points. But I was afraid the band would be one of Those Wedding Bands that play too loudly when you're trying to eat, and have their dance set that goes from A to B to C without a thought to what's happening on the dance floor. That was not this band.

Multiphonic rocked in every way possible. They played songs that I liked, and songs that my 87-year-old father liked, and songs that the age-appropriate dancers liked. When they played the first dance song for our newlyweds I was misty-eyed as I lost myself in both the lyrics and the tenderness of the moment, even though I'd never heard the song before. They gauged the energy on the dance floor and calmed it down or amped it up as necessary.

If you have a chance to crash a wedding where this group is playing, don't hesitate to put on your rented tux and pretend to be one of the guests. Multiphonic turned out to be a way better alternative than my suggestion for the post-dinner entertainment. Go figure--I thought nothing could top board games, but I was wrong..

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Beautiful Girls

You can't tell me you honestly thought I was done talking about the Wedding of the Century, did you? Because how well do you know me? Considering how many words I can generate about pantyhose, if you thought I was moving on from this topic you apparently do not know me very well at all.

Anyway, among the things about the WotC that make me smile is this picture of the four bridesmaids. I snapped it while these beautiful young women were waiting for their turn with the real photographer, and I LOVE it. They are so themselves in this picture; not one of them in that current-century girl pose that makes me gag just a little. (I'm telling you, people, that pose is the gateway drug to wearing national costumes in the Miss Universe pageant.)

What are my favorite memories of these funny, smart, poised young women who looked so CUTE in their turquoise bridesmaid dresses? Well, the maid of honor's toast was one of two moments in the entire day that made a tear roll down my cheek. (I know! Who was this woman, who normally cries at Folgers Christmas commercials but made it through her own son's wedding almost tear-free?)

Perhaps the best moment, though, came in the church basement as we waited for the wedding coordinator's signal that it was time to start the show. The flower girls, the bridesmaids, the parents, and the happy couple had been sequestered down there long enough that the youngest members of the group had lost their occasion-appropriate sense of awe and were beginning to squirm. And poke each other. And swing their pomanders around as if they were wrecking balls in spite of the florist's explicit instructions that included DO NOT SWING THESE AROUND.

So the bridesmaids distracted the moppets with a rousing game of "Two Reals and a Whopper" (also known as "Two Truths and a Lie" in circles where the L-word is used more casually). They had gone through three rounds of the game when the most sarcastic of the young professional women challenged the antsy girls.

"Okay, I live in Missouri, I like potato chips, and I have never punched a five-year-old. Yet."

For some reason, this calmed the little darlings right down.

She's going to be a great mom some day.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Wedding Clean-Up

So, my faithful reader(s), are you overdosed on the Wedding of the Century yet? I apologize if this is the case, because for one more day, we're cleaning up after the wedding. This event was equivalent of the Mayan calendar for me--I didn't actually believe life was going on after Nov. 2, but here we are!

One of my favorite parts of the event (I know, I know, I've used that phrase forty-eleven times already) was going with to the courthouse with the lovebirds as they applied for their marriage license.

I loved, loved, loved the sign in the hallway with the little pointy finger that led couples to the door where they would present two forms of identification, including one photo ID, that would enable them to be recognized as legally-married persons in the state of Missouri. I loved, loved, loved the wooden bench that was right under the sign, and I wondered if I could fit it into my purse and walk away with it before anyone noticed.

But mostly I loved, loved, loved the clerk who took the vital information and formalized the marriage license. Even though she was at least my age, possibly older, she was wearing a shirt that said "Bite Me."

Such a tender sentiment for someone with this responsibility.

You did not believe me, did you?
I guess that's what happens when you apply for your marriage license on Halloween.

I also must publicly admit that I was wrong. (Husband is, even as we speak, marking this date on his calendar.)

I wasn't a big fan of the idea of a wedding dance. I've been at wedding dances where the band plays gamely and well, but no one dances. I was afraid that when Boy#1 and Lovely Girl decided on a dance that the WotC would turn into one of those events. That was most assuredly not the case.

People got down. I danced just as much as I wanted to, which is to say that both Boy#1 and Husband steered me around the floor once, but I had so much fun watching everyone else dance. My two favorite dance-related moments of the night (after the first dance, of course) were seeing my six-year-old niece dance the feet off of everyone else on the floor, then seeing my seven-year-old nephew top that by doing The Worm amid all the young professionals who thought they were the stars of the show.

Those two youngsters know how to par-tay. Even though the clip here isn't my niece, it was EXACTLY the way she danced, and I bow in admiration.

Friday, November 8, 2013

In Token and Pledge

One of the final pre-wedding day errands Boy#1 and Lovely Girl ran was to the jewelry store, to have her engagement and wedding rings soldered together. They invited Husband and me to come along.

The store was one of those high-end establishments the likes of which I've rarely entered. We stepped into an air lock and waited for the outer door to lock behind us before moving through the inner door into a showroom where dazzling displays reflected light everywhere.

I am not a wearer or coveter of expensive jewelry. Every necklace or pin or pair of earrings I own is either is a sentimental hand-me-down or was purchased at Penney's during a 20% off sale. But as Lovely Girl handed her ring boxes to the attendant, I looked down at a necklace in a display case and my eyes widened. It was exquisite--tiny circles of semi-precious stones joined in a silver cascade.

"Wow," I said to Husband, who was standing right behind me. "That's gorgeous." And I teased him just a little. "It would be perfect with my Mother of the Groom dress."

Then I turned back to listen to the jewelry attendant praising the lovely heritage rings our children would be exchanging. That's when I heard Husband talking to the saleswoman.

"She'd like to try on that one," he told the woman. My head jerked up and I realized my guy was talking about me, and about that beautiful necklace. You have to realize that Husband is an accountant. He is a romantic guy, but his most romantic gifts are usually found in the small gesture--the scraping of my iced-over car on a cold winter morning, the cup of flavored coffee with two creams, the hand he offers to help me down a steep staircase.

"So what has she done to deserve that necklace?" the saleswoman teased him. He mumbled something about taking care of his mother for three years ("Then I think she deserves the earrings, too," the saleswoman shot back) but I knew that wasn't the real reason.

The real reason was that in 17 days, we will have been married for 30 years. For every day of those 30 years, he has put what I wanted, what our family needed, ahead of what he wanted or needed. For one final time before Boy#1 took his vows, his father was demonstrating to his son what it means to love and cherish a wife.

The necklace, like the ring he put on my finger 30 years ago, was a token and pledge of his constant faith and abiding love and I wore it to the marriage of our first-born son.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Of the Houses and Lineages

Perhaps my favorite piece of decor at the Wedding of the Century was the project I alluded to in  pre-wedding days as "the one that makes me say awwwwww....." 

You see that photograph right above the place setting on the reception table? That is a picture of my parents (the groom's grandparents) when they were newly married. They are young and beautiful,  just starting out on a life together that would stretch for 57 years. Similar family photos are at each table--pictures of Lovely Girl's grandparents as college students with her grandfather in a letter sweater and her grandmother holding a stack of books. A shot of her great-grandparents cradling a tiny newborn. Boy#1's grandparents on their wedding day looking as young and hopeful-looking as our just-married couple.

The oldest photo was of One's great-great-great-great-great-grandparents. In this shot they are not newlyweds, but the promises they made to each other in 1832 were essentially the same promises Boy#1 and Lovely Girl made to each other 181 years later--that in good times and bad, in sickness and in health, they would have and hold each other.

All of those couples, all of those marriages, all of those years, all leading to this day and this newly-married couple.

Lovely Girl's grandparents

Boy#1's five-great-grandparents

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Candy Buffet

As we work our way down the list of Questions Everyone Has Been Holding Their Breath Until They Hear the Answers To, we reach the one concerning MomQueenBee's primary responsibility during the Wedding of the Century, namely "How was the candy buffet?" 

So today I will address that subject because even though I had obviously fulfilled my primary responsibility twenty-seven and a half years ago (that of GIVING BIRTH TO THE GROOM), several folks a couple of people  one person did ask how the Uncle Sam hat turned out. The answer to that question turns out to depend upon whom you ask. 

If you ask me, I would say it was just fine. Quite cute, even, and maybe even Pinterest-worthy. The shabby chic vanity that Lovely Girl and Boy#1 found in an antique store was the perfect quirky spot for all those bowls of blue gummy bears and blue sour rings and swirly blue lollipops (and Reese's Pieces because the groom loves Reese's Pieces even though they are not blue and I am his mother and was ordering the candy).

If you ask the young professional women who are friends of the bride and were helping with other reception decorations, the candy buffet was ADORABLE! Oh, my gosh, that's so adorable! they said as they pulled out their phones to snap a picture of it for their Pinterest boards. 

If you ask the people who gathered around the buffet to load the tiny blue organza treat bags with Kisses and white mints to take home, they would say "Mrmphoremmph" because their mouths were full of blue gummy bears. 

But if you ask the father of the groom, who had loaded the vanity into three different cars on its voyage from the antique store to Small Town to the wedding location, he will say something completely different. 

"I do not get this," he will say, as he said more than once. "The paint's all coming off. I can see the pink paint underneath. Can't I please just strip it down and put a coat of varnish on it?"

Some people obviously need more Pinterest in their lives.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

You Don't Mess With the Wedding Gods

The groom, MomQueenBee, and a glimpse of my favorite outfit ever.
Next to "So what do you think of finally getting a daughter?" the question I was asked most often during the run-up to the Wedding of the Century was "What are you going to wear?"

Well. As we know, the wedding gods have decreed that the mother of the groom should wear beige and shut up. I do not do either of those things well: Beige washes me out, and shutting up? As if.

I looked long and hard for an ensemble to wear on the big day, and Much Older Sister (as always) saved the day by finding EXACTLY the right choice. The picture with today's post only hints at its extravagant blingy-ness--a long black velvet skirt, paired with a jacket so bedazzling it might be visible from the space station.

I. Loved. It.

I loved the turquoise shade that matched the theme color of the day, I loved the daringly exposed neckline that showed off the most beautiful piece of jewelry I've owned since my wedding ring (an entire post is coming on this), I loved that it was comfortable and cool even on the dance floor, I even loved that it dripped sparkle everywhere and I had to brush off everyone I hugged, and I hugged everyone.

I felt absolutely gorgeous, and was so glad I hadn't followed the traditional beige mandate.

But then, on Wednesday I felt a tickle in my throat. By Thursday I was popping AirBorne tablets as if they were SweetTarts, hoping to ward off any virus that might have targeted me. By Saturday evening, though,  my voice was a Tallulah Bankhead-ish growl.

Apparently the wedding gods cannot make me wear beige, but they can make me shut up.

Well played, wedding gods. Well played.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Once Upon a Time

Boy#3, Boy#2, Lovely Girl, Boy#1, Boy#4, and Honorary Boy
There were perhaps a dozen little girls at the Wedding of the Century last Saturday. They were wearing their finest dresses and sparkly shoes and sat quietly during the church ceremony, waited patiently during the reception and dinner, then danced with their daddies and with each other and with the bride and groom until way past their bedtimes.

I'm so sorry for the parents of these girls. In five or ten or fifteen years those little girls are going to meet a life partner and begin planning their own weddings, and they are going to say to their parents, "Remember Boy#1 and Lovely Girl's wedding? That was perfect, and that's what I want. It was like a fairy tale."

They won't say that because the weather was glorious, although it was, with the autumn leaves in their full prime at least two weeks later than normal just for our beloveds. It won't be they're thinking of the radiant bride and the handsome groom, although one little girl did look up at Lovely Girl wide-eyed and ask "Are you a princess?" It won't be because the ceremony in the century-old stone church with the red door and brass bell was God-touched--solemn and lovely and personal. This won't be the wedding standard because the decorations were perfect (although, thanks to the bride and her mother, they were).

Those little girls will want that wedding because they will remember what it felt like. They'll know somewhere deep in their souls, where they've stored memories of what it felt like to be tucked in at night, the feeling of being surrounded by love. They'll talk about how handsome the groomsmen were and how great the band was but they'll be feeling the joy that we inhaled and exhaled and felt flowing through our veins. They'll remember that the day had been one of those perfect autumn days that don't actually come along very often, but they'll be feeling the peace of the bright blue skies that shaded into evening during the ceremony.

They'll want that, the love and the joy and the peace, and their parents will have to tell them the truth.

You can't plan that kind of day, they'll have to disillusion these little girls. That kind of day is a gift from God. A lot of people did a lot of work to make that day happen, but the wonder of the day was the love that spilled over from Boy#1 and Lovely Girl and warmed us all.

A fairy tale isn't a fairy tale because the prince has a castle or the princess has a crown. It wasn't a fairy tale wedding because it was so, so beautiful and magical.

It was a fairy tale day because the prince and the princess found each other, and now they can live happily ever after. 

The end. The beginning.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Best Gig Ever

It's the morning before the Wedding of the Century and I'm quite sure the mother of the bride is running around in a tizzy, making sure the centerpieces have exactly the right shade of turquoise ribbons and the caterers know about the vegan who will be attending and tends to be cranky and the cash-only payment the cookie vendor required is tucked into the remittance envelope.

The mother of the groom? Slept late, then went for a pedicure.

Best. Gig. Ever.