They saw each other across a busy room.
She dropped her chin, and the corners of her youthful mouth pulled up ever so slightly.
His uniform made the walk even more enticing.
She began to part her lips.
His voice was pleasant.
Her hair smelled like a spring morning.
And it was done.
Now, let’s skip forward a year, and tell the unicorns with rainbow farts to get out of your house, and discuss how the hell to pull together a wedding on a dime, because seriously, unless you’ve just hit the lotto, or have a mother named Bunny with old money- this is going to cost the fortune you do not have.
Ready Ladies? Grab your children…
Dream, but be realistic. John Legend is probably not in your budget.
HAVE a ‘Budget’ and don’t be afraid to say it out loud. Keeping people in the dark about what you can truly afford just causes confusion and dashed hopes. If it’s only $500 (or nothing-nada-zip) so be it. Get it ‘out there’. Let it sink in. Have a cry. Yell. Take your punches. Belittle yourself. Whateva.. then DEAL.
Wouldn’t we all have loved to be married in a newly sprouted wildflower field, on a hilltop, with a babbling brook? Of course so, but it’s gonna rain. I promise.
Who do you know? And what do they HAVE? Use your contacts. A yard? A house? A fancy car? A musician? An artist? A cook? A fireworks specialist? Ask them to join in with their talents as a gift. It may not be wrapped in a Tiffany blue box, but it will have a lot more meaning. Tiffany’s can come later- after you both get jobs.
Use what’s ‘at hand’. In our case, we cut flowers from surrounding fields and used birch tree branches to construct an arbor. We also rearranged the potted annuals that were already present around the cabin to stage a more dynamic entry to the reception. Of course, it didn’t hurt that a little digging in the back room turned-up some discarded table linens that we used to create the backdrop for the ‘photo booth’ (Where two cast-off picture frames had been repurposed with a little glitter). Thank God for staple guns- and glue.
Bring a little something from home. In my sister’s case, she brought a box full of objects that had deep meaning for her and her daughter. They were displayed in the powder room, making this often times overlooked space seem like home. You know it’s true.
Make your own signage. My sister had me create several: “Just Married’, ‘Sparklers’ (for a night time display), ‘Ching Ching’ (a salutation used by the groom’s family), ‘Brew for the Crew’. etc. They weren’t perfect but they looked like love. So perfect, after all.
Music was provided by an ipod playlist. MJ showed up. He’d have been pricey- and he’s dead, so it was a win-win.
Photography doesn’t need to come with a down payment. Place disposable camera’s around. This generation KNOWS HOW to take pic’s. Have you been on Facebook?
You do not need a football team standing up with you at the alter. Most of these people will fall off of your radar over time, and think of the pay-back. Oh, dear God. How many bridesmaid dresses do you really want to have to purchase over the next few years?
Lovely, white clothing can be purchased anywhere, even on sale. I know we all dream of looking like Princess Di on the Big Day, but you are only going to wear ‘The Dress’ one time, and your future daughter will not want to wear it again- trust me. She thinks you’re a big dork. Even though she’s not born yet.
Food. Yes, you should have some, but it doesn’t need to be gourmet and served by gloved men in dark suits. It can be seasonal. It can be room temp. It can be family style or buffet. Just make sure it’s varied and plentiful and on clean plates. And make sure to provide extra napkins for when your awesome Aunt laughs out loud with her mouth full. Just sayin’…
But for the Love Of Everything That’s Holy, have an open bar. You’ll need it. And your Uncle just might sing Man In The Mirror…
Such a Happy Day. And, why do I ALWAYS cry at weddings?
Work it! In a log cabin, the pot bellied stove is a focal point. Fresh flowers spruce it up- and they were FREE!
The Photo Booth. Hung from the ceiling and glitter bombed. My sister brought a box full of fun hats.
The Bar. Dear God- the BAR!
Here, in New Orleans, I have what many neighbors (and a few homeless men) call a little City Farm and everyone wants a piece of
That makes me smile.
I’m happy to swap a few war stories while sharing the bounty.
If you have ever ‘read’ me (HERE- on the blog PERV) you know that I LOVELOVELOVE to grow things- and I’m
kinda good great at it.
But there was a learning curve.
I come from a Zone 6 and I’m now I’m in a Zone 9 ( and we all know that’s a hoot ’cause I’m really a 10 but the USDA Plant Hardiness people don’t know me-yet).
Up North, you set your seed by late May and harvest in September/October. That’s it. One growing season.
Down South, you set your seed any damn time you want to ’cause you can grow nearly all-year-long.
But, I need a break now and again, and I usually take it right about now- July/August.
Because it’s so freakin’ hot out my veggies and I are usually floating in the pool until sunset with a rum cocktail in our hands.
‘What to do? What to dooooo?’ you might ask.
Why, gather ye harvest while one still has full A/C and electrical service before the inevitable ‘brown-outs’ on our ancient grids (did I say that right?) that’s what!
And so I do.
And it is Good…
And the belly of the beast is filled.
Stuffed Blue Peppers
1 pound ground meat (it doesn’t matter what kind, or even a combination)
5 large red/ orange/ yellow peppers
1 large green pepper
1 small onion
1 whole egg & one additional egg yolk.
1 cup crumbled blue cheese
1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
1 teaspoon course ground black pepper
1 Tablespoon salt
3 Tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
Your favorite tomato sauce
Preheat oven to 350
Cut the tops off of the red peppers and core, removing all of the seeds and the tough inner ribs (There’s a joke here but I just can’t seem to put my hands on it- THERE it is). Put aside.
Core the green pepper and dice. Set aside.
Dice the onion. Set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk the eggs together.
In a large bowl mix the ground meat with all of the dry and wet seasonings. Add the eggs. Mix well. Add the diced green pepper and onion. Fold in the blue cheese.Combine but don’t over mix, or the meat won’t be as fork tender as it should be. (Am I right Ladies?)
Stuff the peppers to the top- with your hands. Don’t be afraid.
Place the stuffed peppers in a shallow baking dish, cover loosely with foil and bake for 45 minutes.
Remove the foil top and continue to bake another 15-20 minutes.
Before serving, drizzle with your favorite tomato sauce and sprinkle with a few more crumbles of blue cheese because your awesome.
Wherever I travel I try to discover how the region truly plays-out their lives: how they work, what are they proud of, in what are they housed, what are the community routines, what do they eat, where are the bars?
You get my point.
When I was a child, the lines between the three divisions of ‘lifestyles’: Urban, Suburban,
Rural Country, were very clear.
Sooty, crowded, vibrant, anything-might-happen, Saks Fifth Avenue CITY verses tar & chip, 1/2 acre plots, cookie-cutter post WWII housing SUBURBAN verses clean air, wheat fields, dirt roads, Biker bar COUNTRY.
Very easy. Life was d-e-l-i-n-e-a-t-e-d.
The COUNTRY fed the SUBURBAN and CITY.
The SUBURBAN supplied the workforce for the CITY.
And the CITY was where you went to go Christmas shopping, and cheat on your wife.
Living was clear to me.
As a child of the SUBURBS I moved easily between my neighbors to each side, having a true knack for milking cows while draped in my mother’s fur coat.
Let’s just say I was always ready for whatever the day brought.
And the other day (while cruising Columbus, Ohio, assisting the Princess on her search for
affordable appropriate housing as she enters Veterinary School at Ohio State), I was ready to delight in the fusion of disparate cultures that is now the norm: Move over boring, super-sized, asphalt gorged, crumbling, sliced bread, my-way-or-the-highway communities. There’s more RURAL goodness in the CITY then there’s ever been…
And Suburbs suck.
59 Spruce St.
A public market, home to dozens of independent local food
Perogies, Brats and Kraut.
I Love the Polish!
Fresh Baked Bread- on premises- which is THE only way to have it.
Decadent desserts- because they SHOULD be.
Does anyone grow chocolate apples?
It is with tear-stained cheeks that I must announce that I will NOT be able to attend this year’s BlogHer14 in San Jose.
However, because I KNOW how excited all of you are that can attend, I thought I would re-post my re-cap from last year’s BlogHer13 in Chicago- ’cause ya never know what you might learn….
I have returned hunched over, hungover, and happy.
I have returned with a slew of new friends, a shitload of swag, and a pocket full of ‘contacts’.
Because I know you all tune-in to absorb my amazing words of wisdom, I’d like to share
Ten Things I Learned
While Interacting With Five Thousand Women
Under A Single Roof.
(Note: I hate lists, but the bloggerverse LOVES them and one of the things I learned was do as the bloggervere says. Sometimes. Sorta like when your mother told you to keep your legs crossed. Like that kinda ‘sometimes’).
So put down your kid. Lock yourself in the car, and listen up.
1. Even though it is widely believed by Americans that yoga pants, a Jimmy Buffet tee-shirt, and neon running shoes are appropriate dress for almost any situation- they are not. Dressing for Success is still an intelligent alternative to being invisible. I’m not talking about wearing a big orange hat (or anything that ridiculous), just maybe a little lipstick, and dry hair, and a bra. No one wants to see your girls getting off the escalator before your cross-trainers.
2. A smile is an excellent way to say ‘hello’ to anyone, and at my age, with the corners of my voluptuous lips turning down into the empty wallets of my jowls, if you have to freeze a facial expression of h-a-p-p-i-n-e-s-s and c-o-m-e-h-i-t-h-e-r, do it. Or get a lift before you come. Come to think of it- get a lift in as many places as you can.
3. Find your Tribe, but don’t pigeon hole yourself into just one. Women friends come in many shades of lipstick.
4. Remember your reality when, at a keynote speaker address, most around you are applauding some absofrickinlutely crazy-ass-three second sound byte of impossible inspiration dripping off a seasoned conference pro with a book deal. Clap. Be polite. Don’t leave your brains at the conference.
5. Not everyone you LOVE on-line is going to be a ray of sunshine in person. Some are going to be younger, some older, some louder (blinking meekly), some shy, and to some, you will be invisible. Cut them all (and yourself) a break. This can be stressful and overwhelming, especially if you haven’t been out of the house, or out from under diapers, in a few years.
6. Eat well and often. Food is provided. But if you can’t find the time, do not forget the benefits of liquid nutrition- especially if it’s white and chilled.
7. Feel free to NOT speak and listen. For the Love Of God- feel free to do this.
8. Try to ‘take-away’ something from every break-out session, even if the agenda has not been ironed out, rehearsed, coordinated, or is even on point. Seriously- how can you teach someone to write funny? Have you read this post? (I shoulda taken better notes).
9. Don’t be afraid to approach a wise women. We are very friendly.
And, finally, the big number 10, the most important thing of all…
10. Don’t forget who YOU are.
(of Menopause Monday’s)
celebrating Midlife freedom!
(among other things)
The year is 1911.
Picture a young boy: poor, hungry, ignored.
He travels with his sheepherder grandfather, tending the flock.
The young boy is required to take the animals up into the mountains of Oregon, for months on end, alone. Only a make-shift wagon with a canvas top pulled by a mule will be his shelter.
He has some beef jerky, a thermos, a hardwood cookstove, a kerosine lantern, and a few mystery books. A water stained adventure magazine is his favorite.
When he returns the livestock to low ground in the autumn of 1916, he packs a sack and jumps a ride on a train, down the coast to Los Angeles. HoBo style.
He joins the Merchant Marine, and travels, and dreams.
The boy feels the pull of learning, and working several odd jobs and sailoring during the summer months, he, somehow, affords his way through Stanford University.
In 1921, at age 25, he graduates from the College of Law, but will never practice. He has other ideas.
The memory of travel on the High Sea has set his rudder.
In the backyard of a small wood frame house in Los Angeles, the man builds ships. Land ships.
They have all the comforts of home: self contained clean water, cooking, refrigeration, sleeping quarters. Toilets.
They can easily be pulled from a the back of a car. And everyone has a car. They’re the new craze.
A grown man can stand erect within the confines of his own shiny ship. The captain of his own vessel.
People come from far and wide to see the ‘craft’.
He sells them as fast as he can build them- one at a time.
He publishes a small newsletter instructing fellow enthusiasts on how to build their own to accommodate the demand, but his followers would not only prefer he build them- they also want him to guide them in the adventure.
The man forges ahead, finding financing, hiring engineers, developing a manufacturing plant, and setting off on adventures around the world with his land craft. All the while, asking for others to join him.
And they did- to Egypt, Europe, India, as well as, the great American outdoors, which were all backscape for the Wally Byam Caravan Club International group of adventurers, and the making of an iconic American company that would become known as…
And my sister-n-law has one.
And my adventures with her are still unfolding.
With my brother-n-law, Ted Batchelor, holder of the Guinness Book, World record for Most People on Fire Simultaneously. I am NOT Kidding.