Friday, September 30, 2011

Quite a Week


So a long silence on a blog somewhat devoted to “thinking,” may or may not be a good thing. I could say I just haven't been thinking much lately. But that would be a pretty miserable lie. The truth is, I've been thinking so much and so fast that the documentation is lacking due to time and sheer volume. Here is a sampling of my thoughts during a random 1.2 second, brain-bite last week.

"If he rolls out the aisle runner first then I will need tape. When will I get to actually shower? So if I buy mums from Costco I can use them instead of the topiaries. Praise the Lord the canvases arrived in time! How should I get more volume to the bride's hair right at the crown? So if the flower order just arrived, that gives me fifteen minutes to stop and buy paper to matte the photos into frames before I need to hike to the back of the farm to cut curly willow stems. Nevermind. I should do that at 6am while it is still cool outside. Oh! Anna can buy the last two dripless tapers and ginger ale. Wait. The entire stage is practically backlit with sun at 3pm. I hope the wedding photographer meters correctly. But, he will. I need to paint that other canvas tonight. I think I better go and put a thermometer in the fridge RIGHT NOW so I can put the flowers in in twenty minutes and will know I know they won't freeze. I probably should hem my bridesmaid dress. Better stop and check Goodwill for more silver service, too. So glad grandma is turning that bolt of fabric into runners for me. Oooh, better save all the extra petals for the flower girl. Is that person looking at me with their mouth moving, actually speaking to me?..."

Yes, we had a wedding last weekend. Last week was a dream come true, albeit a very realistic nightmare, as anyone doing  a wedding knows. I haven't woken up quite yet, and thus, I might just be dead. After work at night, I am still packing and sorting and cleaning and planning for the mega-reception coming soon and the wedding shower. And I’m heading to Houston the end of next week to hopefully do it all again for my dearest friend. And yes, I've been thinking.

This is me right before the wedding, looking down the stairs and thinking.
My sister took it. Then she made it dry-brushed on canvas digitally.
Pretty spiff, eh? I mean, the dry-brushing on canvas is spiffy.
She took all the photos in the post unless otherwise noted.

·         I NEED a honeymoon alone in Hawaii wherein I will lay face down, in the sand, until further notice. I guess that is traditionally dubbed a "vacation." I wouldn't know.

·         A colorful, artistic personality working at an unimaginitive job, is equal to getting a mind wipe without even the minimal positive benefits of a lobotomy.

·         I am ready for my sister to stop calling me “Pepper Potts.”

·         Everyone younger than me at work is pregnant, or their spouse is. I feel ancient.

·         I didn't need a cold right now. I didn’t need to accidentally ingest something AGAIN, that I’m extremely allergic to. I didn’t need to miss National Coffee Day. But, I’ve got nothing to complain about, really. There is still dark chocolate in our world and a God in Heaven.

·         “Thelga” and “Velga” are some name options my sister is throwing around for her pretend children. I suggested she might as well go with “Chokey” and “Hokey” while she’s tossing about such vile name choices. No, seriously. I had a doll named “Barfa,” as a child. That’s a long story. Let’s just say she had a pull-string that malfunctioned, causing an unusual and vivid reaction in my babydoll…

·         The Zell Family’s home is ideal for a small wedding. Not just based on appearance of the marble floor, delicate chandelier, sky bridge, porch, staircases, and columns on sunny afternoons, but because of the proprietors. The nicest people in the world live in that house that hosted my brother’s wedding on Sunday. Just sayin.

·         I saved a bakery this week! My sister looked perplexed and went off on a tirade, pacing and flustering. That girl knows business: she especially knows you can’t fix any real monetary obstacle in one sentence.  Her school assignment to write a story, included the requirement of “saving the bakery from closing”—in one sentence. I suggested the unexpected: proprietor actually sells, instead of eating, all delicious, flaky, gooey, cherry turnovers herself. Bakery saved! And I felt like O. Henry must have felt every time he finished a story plot.

·         Friday I sat perched on a stool arranging flowers and making corsages and boutonnières for an entire day. ‘Twas a great time to mentally plan out the following couple days leading up to the wedding. So glad I did. Planning ahead pays in dividends of time.

The finished groom's boutonniere surrounded by
grandparents' boutonnieres and corsages.
Please pardon my appearance...Working on the bridal bouquet.
Wrist corsage for bridesmaids...

A cell phone pic of the bridal bouquet
before ribbon wrapping.

·         For Friday night we planned a small birthday celebration for my Mom and Dad. They both had the audacity to get older this very week; one of them chose this week 51 years ago, and the other 55 years. Grandma, Jess, Ben, Nate, everybody ate outside with candlelight and a fading sunset: strips of tender sirloin across the puffy rice beds, smothered in the savory sauce, followed by ice cream with fresh-picked blackberries and strawberries.  Oh, and chocolate syrup. Mine had dark chocolate syrup, indeed.

Backyard birthday. No frills. All fun.

·         Jess’ cat, “Mouse,” came to work twice this week. She seems to think it is grand to be doted over by the ladies there. Throughout the day, she apparently likes to lie around the back of one’s neck like a vibrating, feather boa of calico dilute. Thankfully, her claws have been calmer lately, as people don’t like the “massage setting” when set on “high.”

·         My sister went to science class with a beard and lab coat, depicting Pierre Curry. She wore leather gloves, a beret, and had small, black and white photos of her wife, kids, and cat in her coat pocket. She also admits to starting fires at her lab table and causing frustration in supervisors.

·         Jess gasped, shaking her head seriously, “Oh! I would have hit her a good one!” when I told her about the cat biting grandma on the wrist one morning while she was reading in bed. I gave Jess a very cold look, “Really, now? I would have smacked the cat under those circumstances. Poor grandma had already had enough.” That clarified. She apparently had meant the cat, after all, this time.

·         My dear brother, Nate, sorted jelly beans for me. I kid you not. I wished out loud that the jelly beans would be color-coordinated into the wedding décor, and before I knew it, he was touching every one of over five hundred jelly bellies. The nature colors, with a few bright touches of red and burnt orange, ended up in the appropriate corked, tall jar, ready to go. What a guy!

Super Best Man and Jelly Bean Sorter Extradonaire,
Nathanael, giving a toast at the wedding
with Mom looking on.

·         Goodwill is my friend. There are lots of cheap, burnished silver and tall, square glass objects that I appropriated for wedding décor. Even with short time, I looked at other stores I was in, just to congratulate myself on how much money I saved. Couldn’t help it.

·         “Joking” I am not. My phone died, again, this week of all weeks. “Dash” just stopped charging out of the blue and had to be replaced. Thus, I have a new phone…We will name her “Invincible” and see if that helps her future any.

·         How I love quality minions. When the actually epic set up and tear down times arrived this week for the wedding, it seemed like all I had to do was give a steady stream of orders and watch things flare up, leaping like fire, or melt down…um, completely in a good way, I mean.

My little sis is the best helper ever! This her at the wedding
location cleaning some mirrors for me. She also put up the ribbons
on all the photos of Ben & Jess along the stairs.

·         The canvases arrived in time and looked fantastic, faux-hanging from gilded ivory ribbon. The same gilded ivory ribbon that was insanely difficult to find, in a sea of imperfect ribbon choices. Thank goodness Christmas is almost here, and stores are selling extra ribbon options!

·         “Yes, Johanna, it OK, to not have everything perfect.” I told myself a million times this week, as I watched detail after detail fly by. I think I can now say that I have successfully cut corners without hurting my conscious or conscience until all that was left was the little tiny circle: the very bull’s-eye. Don’t laugh. That’s achievement for Type A’ers.

·         The rehearsal dinner was a special time at the Yacht Club around a huge table. We went around and all told stories, one-by-one, some with tears, some with hilarity, and some with serious pointed morale. The summary? “Jess walks softly and carries a big stick.” and “Ben is unusual, intellectual, imaginative, communicative, caring, and…very not athletic.”

·         Thursday morning I took my groom-brother to Cash & Carry at just the early morning hour when every Korean teriyaki joint is stocking up, and we found treasure. Such amazing prices hid around the corners for the last few items on my list: limes and cups. And then I made another list. Naturally. Just so we would have something to run crazily after at the last minute. It worked out nicely.

·         I drank too much coffee and made myself a doozy of a stress/caffeine migraine all day, one day: which was a problem since it kept me up all night vomiting…In my nausea, all I could think about was a disgusting kind of cheese that made me want to vomit, and every time I thought of it, I did. It was a long and dark night, in so many ways.

·         I very nearly forgot this week once that “the customer is always right.” Don’t you love those people that nothing is ever good enough for their bad attitude?  That’s not to mention the “guilt trip people.” Sometimes, I want to shake them. But that’s not cool, and I did not say that at all.

·         I love the people I work with and see every day.

o   Dad:

Driving quietly to work together every morning and home at night, by the waterfronts, past the breathtaking mountain views, the huge carriers docked in the shipyard, and the seedy espresso stands, listening to sports radio all the way, is really actually fun. Am I easy to please? Maybe. Or maybe I don’t get to see my dad that often…

o   Vawna:

We talk, and it’s always great and she gives me black licorice drops for my sustenance. Once, as she was getting ready to dial out, she concluded our joking conversation with a teasing, “Now wasn’t that just sexist!?!?” Its too bad that when she pressed the phone line to dial out while making that remark, that someone rung into that line and got to hear that for a greeting… For the record, she is actually truly the paragon of real professionalism. Praise the Lord; it was only our boss dialing in, which is fortunate since we receive innumerable calls in a day.

o   Cynthia:

I like her team spirit—and sense of humor…At church the projector blinked out while she was singing along, “We Walk by Faith and Not by Sight.” The big picture came back into view just as the song was ending. Sound familiar?

o   Alivia:

She’s prego and works so hard! She carries quite a load—a workload, I mean. The baby(ies?) is(are?) not showing that much, yet. I’m so excited for her while being so amazed by her sweet spirit hour after hour. I’m also astounded again at how strange mankind is. Every day, at least a couple gentlemen seem to lean over her reception counter and bemoan at her that “all the ‘good ones’ are taken” as she carefully and tactfully displays her wedding ring in the course of business. I disagree with these men in so many ways.

o   Dann:

He’s the real deal: knows the Lord, legit cute, has a cute wife, a cute baby, a cute car, and a cute dog. My favorite quote this week from him has to be, “Husswahubbajananahba?” complete with very big eyes and rapid blinking.  I guess I can talk too fast, sometimes, and it requires clarification, as such.

o   Richard:

If the resident stand-up comedian is going to keep teasing me about my always present nylon runs, I will keep teasing him about his lipstick. I like to catch him off guard with dead-pan with hand motions and facial expressions, privately indicating he needs to clean a spot on his teeth or face: stopping him just barely before he heads into a patient room. I can’t help it, ever since he borrowed lipstick for a project in the lab…

o   Nathan:

Mr. Steady does more than anyone will ever know. Just sayin.

o   Mr. Jerry:

How shall I say this? How about just some anecdotal evidence and then you say it? A lady at the hardware store was moving a large display pallet of product and it flipped off and scattered across the floor. It just so happened to be a pallet of “Goof Off”…Mr Gary asks her, “Why are you goofing off at work?”

·         I hated my job once this week, when I told a woman with a broken back that she had no insurance coverage for her immediate medical need and explained her options. She looked at her husband sorrowfully, wincing in pain, and resignedly said, “Well…I guess…We won’t go on vacation this year after all.” I winced, too. I wanna go work at Disneyland.

·         The groomsmen kidnapped Ben the night before his wedding for some surprising (and completely harmless in every way imaginable) enterprises, and we, the bridesmaids, took out Jess. We topped off the French manicure in the mall and bag of surprising, beautiful, amazing things, with just plain old talking over milkshakes. We thought of going pole-dancing on her last night single. Like, you know, dancing around a flag pole, holding hands and singing a happy children’s song, almost like a Maypole, of course. But we just laughed instead, and sipped on pre-nuptial, liquid-therapy-chocolate you can get at Shari’s off the milkshake menu.

Jess with a new manicure, sparkling ring,
and chocolate shake. (Cell phone photo)

·         Sunday morning I pinned a hundred little curls to Jess’ head at her grandma’s house at 8:30 and drove her to her wedding.  While I did her makeup, another bridesmaid, Micaela, painted my toenails on my foot stretched out sideways. We finished everything just in time. Except, the photographers did have to wait for a stressful two minutes, while I finished tying the ribbons on the bridal bouquet. I still wish I could have had just two more minutes on that one…

·         So here’s something I never knew. My brother likes to kiss. I mean he likes major, Hollywood, make-out kissing his bride, in front of an audience. Pretty amazing to see your best pal and brother do for the first time, I must say. He didn’t cut any corners on that one, let me tell you…We’ve talked about it before, but he actually did it this time.
Flower Girl waiting for things to begin.

During photos...I think he was plotting that kiss...

Ben and his groomsmen waiting for the real deal.
Jess coming down the aisle with her dad.
Ben and Jess at the altar. That's me on the far left.
Ben & Jess greeting guests. Me, fixing her bustle.

·         A good friend made the most incredible cake for Ben and Jess as a gift! Not only was it beautiful, but people could not stop eating it. Even people who don’t like cake went back for seconds. I’m allergic, so I settle for thinking it was the best-smelling cake ever.
Ben and Jess preparing to cut into THE cake.

·         Invitations to the reception are being masterminded by my mother with the bighearted help of a graphic artist from church and the generous photographer. Have I mentioned lately how amazing Mom is? She even made individualized “wedding survival kits” for everyone in the wedding party wedding. They had Kleenexes and mints for the emotional human aspect, a little Bible for the spiritual human aspect, and food and drink for the physical human aspect. Mints are emotional. Don’t argue. Just think about it.

Grandma adding the finishing touches to Mom's Wedding Survival Kits.

·         I, meanwhile, finally got invites out, emails sent, and made an actually, really, truly Facebook event for the wedding shower being thrown for Jess on October 6. I know what I’m getting her! I’d tell you about it, but she might read this…People do things like that, you know.

·         I keep saying it out loud, “Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin Feehan are on their honeymoon!” It just sounds so hilarious to me. And its somewhat consoling as I sit at her desk, doing mounds of paperwork…Imagining them on Sugar Beach in Hawaii. And that’s with having never even seen a photo of said beach. So there.

Ben & Jess leaving...And being pelted by well-wishers.

·         I confess that I am rather sick. Rest assured, I do not plan to get bad enough to go to the hospital, again. I hereby do solemnly swear to not overdo it and completely bleach out my adrenals as done on previous occasions. I will instead, um, figure something else out.

·         Thursday before the wedding, my sister showed Kian at the state fair. She brought home an award of merit and a blue ribbon. She was going pretty low key in her participation, due to the busyness of life. But, we’re proud of her.

Conversing with the "vulnerable urban public,"
as they call it in her handbook.

Kian dreaming about cheering crowds. That's his favorite.

·         Both Dad and Mom’s cars needed to go in to the shop this week. What are the odds? Apparently,  they are pretty high.

·         Tragically, I had to back out of helping a friend do wedding florals because of work this week. I feel like the world’s worst friend, because I said I would help her MONTHS ago…And I can’t make it to another girl’s conference planning meeting. I am just striking out. “Tragic” is a shallow word.

·         Somebody gave me a significant monetary gift this week. I am so grateful! I can go finish getting my hair cut now, what’s left of it. I’m hoping they can trim it up, so it can’t be seen where I yanked it out. (Hmm…I took sarcasm too far, there. It turned to actual dishonesty as I have not actually removed my own hair on purpose, yet.)

So that is that. As a photographer I must needs apologize for the snapshots, although generously provided by my little sister. They pain me. I cannot wait to see the “real thing” from the photographers. I wish I had an extra arm I could have taken photos, too…

Life goes on and another day and week is ahead for me. Maybe I can get through another week with just finishing on “delicates: tumble dry, low” instead of the “high heat, permanent press” or even “hang to dry.” We shall see. My forbearing friend, you made it to the end. Yes, you know it. You deserve dark chocolate.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Destruction of a Thought

In the rush and hustle-bustle of pre-wedding photos, a friend pulled me aside.

“Johanna, my mother told me this morning that she talked to hurt and offended people who wanted to be here today and are closer to the bride and groom than me, so I think it would be best if I left, too. People saw me get up from church to leave early to come to the wedding, and they were talking about it.”

“But, you’re here to help me, not as a guest. Can’t you stay?” Tears started to my eyes without my permission, realizing people I care about were offended and misunderstood. My mind swam in hurt to think that these (unidentified) people could be so misunderstanding and selfish. Don’t they know the whole planet can’t fit at one place no matter how much you may want them there? Can’t they understand you have to choose sometime who helps and who doesn’t?

“I think it would be wiser if I left before the ceremony. I won’t stay.” She quickly added.

“OK.” I nodded my head and looked down, and then I turned away hastily. My name was being called for yet another photo with the bride and groom, and tears were not hiding as well as I would have liked.

Accidentally believing what one hears from a friend happens faster than you may believe. In that instant I had an opportunity to be very upset past a moment, and I narrowly missed it. For an instant, I absorbed it. Hurt, dislike, and judgment crowded my emotions. Supposing I continued to agree in my heart the initial implications that certain people were upset and chattering behind my family’s back that “they were not invited”? What if I wrote off a crowd of people as “So immaturely lacking understanding and judging based purely on their own ignorant selfishness”?

Pretty soon, I would begin to cut off those people emotionally. I would begin to respond to them as if it was a fact that they were ignorant, selfish people. That never goes or ends well. And if there was the chance that was not the case, treating people with such a belief, soon and always, makes it into the case. "Cutting off" others, gets you "cut off:" severed, as well.

Now just supposing people were talking, being immature and selfish about none of their business...Well, I feel badly for them. They must go through a lot of painful things that aren't actually painful for people living in reality. Their best bet is talk to the people who have offended them. And the same is true for me. And you. Scripture says, "Go to your offenders." for a reason.
In such situations, you have to hit yourself on both sides of your face, shake your head to clear the fog, and realize that not everything even your dearest friend implies should be taken as pure truth. Besides, maybe I misunderstood. Maybe she misunderstood. Maybe we were both in a rush at a wedding. Some people may say that this is my constant weakness for extending the benefit of a doubt.  It actually might be a purposeful decision that any individual can choose: to make, to redeem, or to preserve relationships in your own mind.

We all have a choice. It is mind over matter, again. Choosing what matters over your mind, because it matters. If this sounds like something I've said before, its because its important enough to say again. Besides, we all still have to smile for photos for the rest of our lives, and being happy from the inside out, helps.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Has It Been A Week Already?

I wonder, myself, how I got to the end of this week. I will be surprised if you make it to the end of my week. It’s been like that. If there is a recurring theme of “weddings” in my recounting of a sampling of a week of experiences, it’s because once begun, they are naturally invasive of one’s very existence.

·         During the reading of an intriguing chapter of Exodus after dinner, my sister made use of the leftover sliced olives at the table. When I glanced up, she was staring at me blankly for added effect. It was apparent that she had silently adorned herself completely in "hoop olive piercings”: lips, tongue, nose, ears, eyebrows, and all …So very…creative. When Mom and Dad finally looked up, they had magically disappeared and she was smiling sweetly. (I mean, the olives had disappeared. She’s not that naughty.)

·         My dad’s marshmallow gun got jammed, much to his consternation one night. After he got it repaired, I heard him call the old collie and they went off on the property, gun over his shoulder and ammo in hand. When I left the stove to watch, I discovered that the dog and the chickens actually like to catch shooting marshmallows.

·         So someone tried not to bite my nails this week thinking about a friend climbing a deadly mountain in Colorado, complete with having to draw a gun on a brown bear and falling rocks narrowly missing him. Kudos to you, Ryan, for making it out alive! I don’t worry much; just get concerned when friends are in obvious danger. And my fingernails are fine.

·         We had to cancel a meeting regarding the next gigantic Girls’ Conference currently in the works! The conference is still coming soon, but my ability to meet about such things at this wedding time is coming slower. Beautiful for God The talks from the last conference should be availabe now!

·         I watched my father get “arrested” for muscular dystrophy charity. We received about $350 in small change and donations in our little jar on the counter to pay his “bail.” All the staff gathered around to watch him be taken away by the fire department, teasing and laughing. As he walked out the doors, I confirmed with him that he had signed the blank checks before he left so the girls and I could go mega shop-op-peeng while he was in “jail.” He nodded his head absentmindedly, distractedly, accidentally—untruthfully. It is so cute when he does that “yes” when he is preoccupied. (I should stop setting him up for that one. It was good for Sunday afternoon computer games when I was eight—and I’m not eight very often anymore.)

·         The man who put dad in handcuffs for the same event, snatched dad’s cane and helpfully said, “I’ll get this for you.” I couldn’t help but pipe up a little concerned, “Excuse me, but people who use canes usually need them.”  I’m not sure what he was thinking, but maybe he wasn’t. Handcuffing a man who needs a cane and taking it away before he starts walking? One might as well just push him over to get things rolling…

·         Ran into an old feedstore customer of ours while I was out shopping. Well, it is more like I stopped to talk to him in a store. He’s still keeping his farm and remembered my whole family’s names. He still honks every time he drives by our home and he still wants his son to ask me out. He still wasn’t wearing any shoes. Talk about memories. Since we sold the store, I miss those customers; and the rich, country smells of feed and hay.

·         At my desk on Thursday I did too many squats and lunges while scanning in paperwork. Now I think I should have stopped at 150—or taken off my heels.

·         I made the most beautiful checklist of my lifetime this week. I outlined ten pages of tiny, color-coded, categorized wedding details for Ben, Jess, and I as they get ready for their wedding on September 25. If they check every box, it will be the best day of their life. If they don’t, it will be the best, unorganized day of their life.

·         I stopped by a rental place to arrange some wedding details. The pale, little gray woman with flowy locks and a raspy voice traipsed me around their seedy premises and fawned over me eccentrically until I feared I might become rude suddenly and accidentally. My mother was equally mortified, as I could tell by her pink cheeks and strange expression. I dreaded when I had to stop in again to rent the silver punch bowl and aisle runner. But this time a toothless old man waited on me and invited me to come into the warehouse out back to meet “Killer.” I declined. I had met the nigh 20lb Koi already on my last visit. The visit where Mom excitedly asked if they ever rent that fish out. Really, Mom?

·         Nightly, I’ve been having the most unusual dreams, ranging from strange, violent acts to seeing random people I haven’t thought of in years. I must be cleaning out some mental files. Had some humorous dreams about some people, such that it will be hard to look at them with a straight face again…My apologies to both of us if it is you.

·         Jess asked me to be a bridesmaid and I am so honored!!! Then she chose our bridesmaid dresses of clover green and Grecian drape just as the store was locking up. When I tried it on the following morning in the brilliant teal below in my size, I was offered a job as a window model for the day in the bustling bridal shop. I told the manager “no,” but I was notified before I left that they sold that dress to two other brides just while I was there wearing it! I guess I was being watched while I had it on. How interesting. I haven’t decided what to think of all this yet.

·       My wondrously skilled and thoughtful mother color-matched and began crafting shawl wraps for the bridesmaid dresses. They are silken and a golden bisque hue. I shall keep mine forever: my mother and the shawl.

·         Speaking of bridesmaid dresses, out-of-the-blue my mother paid for my dress. I was thoroughly expecting to pay myself! Oh happy dance and song and mirth! I am everlastingly grateful.

·         We found Jess’ dream wedding shoes in Nordstrom, while we listened to live piano music and a hundred Saturday afternoon shoppers. Peter, the Asian college-student salesman, fitted the delicate soft golden sandals onto her bridal feet and brought her a dozen other shocking choices, explaining their imminent value to a bride. Her eyes were still sparkling at the first pair, while I gaped in horror at his suggested boxes of dazzling, platform, clubbing shoes. Meanwhile, her tiny, flower-girl sister helped herself to some size 11 pink mesh pumps and tried walking.

·         I’d like to say I researched and ordered all Jess’ impossibly beautiful flowers in enormous quantity for her wedding, wholesale from a trustworthy source, delivered for only $180 total. And, happily, I can. Connections are wonderful things.

These flowers are the inspiration.
Hers will be similar, but with Asiatic lily's
and some other surprises...

·         While surviving off of Altoid mints alone, my mother, sister, and I found a wedding outfit for my sister.  Before we lost all hope, we discovered that there is indeed still clothes in this world that is lovely, flattering, and modest for plucky, plump, thirteen-year-old girls.

·         Details are falling together for a bridal shower for Jess for October 6. I hope they all land at the same time.  And I do hope everyone who wants to, can come!

·         My mother and I were thrilled to find a charming yacht club restaurant for Ben’s Rehearsal Dinner that charges an amazingly minimal amount! We tried not to make too many stifled excited noises and we succeeded some of the time, while the manager relayed details about free linens, music controls, and other inexpensive fortunates. Mom abruptly asked to go out and take a look at the waterfront walkway and deck outside the private dining room, while I continued conversing. I think she wanted somewhere to praise the Lord loudly!

·         Group shopping with girls is such hilarious fun. And group bridesmaid shopping, takes the cake. We must have been in dressing rooms and stores for hours, lost in merriment.

·         Sunday afternoon I had the privilege of doing an engagement photoshoot for Ben and Jess. There were so many beautiful happy moments to capture.  I caught a few.

·         It seems that having photographs made into canvases through Costco has got me so very excited! But it does not have me nearly as excited as having a talented young man ask this week to paint a photo he saw of me into acrylics on canvas. I said “yes,” and I can’t wait to see his painting! I hope someday to even touch its bumpy smoothness, even though it be far away in Minnesota.

·         My poor big brother seems to be getting my cold shoulder when it comes to the cookies I owe him for those flowers he sent last week. I can’t even seem to reply to all his questions lately, let alone bake him some wonder-cookies!

·         The tuxes were ordered, and they let me know it was complete with the most noteworthy color of radiant yellow-gold for vests and ties. I literally had heart palpitations when I saw the flashy yellow and imagined the ceremony accidentally being confused with an out-of-season Mardi Gras bash! God worked out the details when I stopped by the next morning, and thankfully the colors are a little different now even at such short notice.

I kid you not...From this to this.

·         I ran into the same Doctor every morning I stopped in at my coffee shop and based on his analyzing stares, I think he’s still trying to figure out how he knows me. He doesn’t. I just look like my dad for some reason. I think I startled him when I said “hello” the last time, as he tripped and stuttered something that didn’t sound like a Doctorate from Yale or wherever.

·         It is final. Nylons are my worst enemy. Between every other patient I roomed and insurance company I called one day, I had to add more “You Don’t Know Jacques” fingernail polish to the runs lurking in my hose, trying to prevent the inevitable. I definitely looked diseased by the time I got home, adorned in deep brown splotches. My sister gasped when I stretched out on our loveseat. I assured her they were only burns, not the plague. She was very sympathetic and began to poke them.

You Don't Know Jacques by OPI

·         I’m afraid I am sabotaging the office, working there every day now. I didn’t realize it would be so surprising for others to see “Chocolate!!!” appear on the shopping list beneath sundry medical supplies, and even I become frightened by my own words. Yes, I told someone they would “have to get diabetes with complications this week or your foot orthotics will not be covered by Medicare.” Based on the silent reply through the phone, I think could have worded that differently. Hopefully, I can get into the swing of the new position soon for everyone’s benefit (and eligibility and coverage and deductible and co insurance and authorization and…).

·         I have a need for completely self-cleaning restrooms during this busy time. I should very much like to just have them polish to a sparkle without my assistance. Someone should definitely have invented that by now. Yes, I am looking into Japanese self-cleaning toilets…when I could be cleaning the bathroom.

They play music, too. Its nice. I guess.

·         My sister declared at the dinner table that she wants her “face to be soft as a frog’s belly and smooth as goat’s skin by their tail.” Oh my. I never would have thought of that. Those are extremely soft and smooth as I recall, albeit highly unattractive as thoughts when related to one’s face. But, Mom’s reply? “That’s good. Just don’t say that other places. People will think of a toad’s back or like a goat’s knee.” Wow. I wouldn’t have thought of THAT, either, actually.

·         While racing through JCPenney’s to find my Dad the perfect wedding tie, I took a detour to feel bathrobes. Indeed, they were so soft and luxurious, comforting, and reminiscent of resting that I couldn’t resist pausing for a while to run my hand across their downy softness. And then my phone went off again and the clipboard came out of my Mary Poppin’s bag and I had to leave the friendly fluffies behind.

·         I embarrassed myself laughing at our slender, blonde Jess sitting on the loveseat at the office with a pink, wrinkly, bald, old gentleman talking indefinitely about honeymooning. Her feet didn’t quite reach the floor and she was blushing pink and calmly saying it “wasn’t necessary to mention that part,” as he gave her detailed directions how to get to the nude beaches of Maui. I texted Ben amidst my laughter and he asked to have her rescued from their honeymoon travel agent before Mr. Agent took her to Hawaii himself.

·         The brilliant sewing machine my sister won for writing an essay this summer has been buzzing away. Even with school starting back up, she is piecing together a remarkable handbag from scraps of fabric. If I could give up Coach, I would switch to her unusual designs. I may still. I may steal.

·         My grandmother called and wants to offer her crystal goblets from her wedding long ago, for Ben’s toast at his wedding. What a charming, nostalgic, loving gift for his wedding day!

·         I am starving for more of Jesus in my life. It seems I can’t get enough of His presence, fullness, guidance, generosity, love, forgiveness, grace, freedom, purity, joy, timeliness, thoughtfulness, and inexplicable peace. If you’re not sure you’ve ever experienced such things for real, or don’t know what I’m talking about, we should talk some more. 

·         My misty rose bridesmaid dress for the Texas wedding of my dearest friend arrived!! It arrived in Texas, anyway. As my doctor can testify, my body has done strange things this year and my dimensions differ from the original measurements ordered. Who knows if it fits? I shall find out when I get there: for the wedding…

·         Ben made me a milkshake as compensation and we had the most epic wedding planning meeting to date into the night (with Jess and my advanced checklist, of course). I’m proud of that guy. He really is planning his own wedding, doing the yard and foot work for it, and paying for everything from his pocket. It’s like he doesn’t know to do it any differently.

·         My sister has been sleep-walking. I wish she weren’t so loud and didn’t stop to shake the ladder on our loft when she came back to bed after whatever it is she is doing with the lights around the house.

·         After reading on Troy, the Greeks, and Achilles one night as I fell asleep, I decided to update my original blog post here on the word “Mymridon.” It has changed a little and history has not.

·         Some things I thought this week

o   If I were blind, deaf, dumb, and paraplegic would it be easier to be Christlike? Not really.

o   I would honestly rather work for my dad than anyone else in the entire world. (Considering who we are, where I’ve worked, what I’ve done, and what I’m doing now, that’s saying a lot…)

o   If I didn’t have a cell phone would I be safe? Probably safer.

o   I hope I will be a sweet, old woman someday. But I bet I will be very short and fat.

o   Our office staff is so fun to work with, even on realistic bad days with tears and anger.

o   Why don’t I plan weddings for a living?

o   Hopefully I will not say to my little children, “No no. Bad boy.” but instead, “No, sir. Bad choice.” And instead of “Good boy!” I hope to say, “Good choice, son.”

o   Cheap-looking undergarments are so incredibly tacky.

o   If Jesus sweated blood just thinking of a severed relationship with His Father and taking on the sin of the world, then I can sweat…about nothing.

o   Music is getting louder in retail stores.

o   I wish I could tell people in such a way that they could know it: how beautiful they are, how talented they are, how loved they are.

o   My Jesus, I love Thee. I know Thou art mine. If ever I loved Thee, I know tis now.

o   It would be so fun to wardrobe people for a living.

o   Only when you know all the factors involved, can you judge what the least common denominator is.

·         I have less than $38 now, but oh my, do I have some nice things to give away to all these happy people in my life now! I am grateful my coffee place gives me coffee. So nice of them. No, I don’t think I look destitute. I think it is rather that they are much too nice.

Ah me, this week my mornings felt like nights and the rings around my eyes seemed to darken. Someday soon, I shall go on a honeymoon by myself. And I think I’ll sleep most of the time. And I shall be wearing the softest bathrobe known to mankind. And I won’t call insurance companies or give anyone diabetic complications. I won’t gain weight and I won’t wear nylons. I shall not have odd dreams or even think about weddings. I shall not drink coffee from necessity, but for simple pleasure. That is all. You made it to the end of a sampling of my week. You are officially longsuffering and therefore also eligible for the bathrobe.