Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Wedding Party

Let's talk about being a MEMBER OF THE WEDDING party - specifically, the clothes for the actual wedding and what to do about it 5 months out. Being in the wedding is more than just going to fabulous parties, though there have been some pretty fabulous parties. The bride and groom get to pick what the wedding party will wear in the wedding. The picking itself is an adventure. Because I am a wedding planner, I know this stuff. Really, really well. I know it thoroughly, if not more than that.Once the picking is done, the wedding party members send their measurements, and the correct attire is ordered. It's altered shortly before the wedding, so that everything is perfect. That's what we are going for - PERFECTION on the wedding day.

Since Chili and his Lovely Bride have worked hard to pick out the attire, let's use this wedding as an example of some basic rules of being in the wedding. If you are NOT in this wedding, but fell into reading this, take what you like make it work for your situation. And, just for fun, though neither Chili nor his Lovely Bride are my own children, three of the four offspring born to me are somewhere amongst all these pictures. Can you find them?
What exactly constitutes the wedding party?
Because there will be even more fabulous parties - for this wedding and lots more weddings to come. This is not that. The wedding party consists of the bride and groom, the honor attendants (maid/matron of honor and the best man), bridesmaids, groomsmen, ushers (often the same) and the parents of the bride and groom. Family members, friends, readers, singers, all of you are near and dear, but are not technically the wedding party.
So - here are some guidelines. If I were being harsher, I might call them rules. But I'm not. Guidelines though, not suggestions.
1. Respond quickly when asked for your measurments for wedding wear. We want it here on time, not FedExing stuff all over the globe at the last minute. Most wedding wear is made in China these days. And they are hosting the Olympics. 2. Alterations? Ladies, the dresses can be shipped to me (and you got the instructions) or you, and will be altered to fit just you. If you don't know an alterations person, I will help you find one. That would be me doing the finding, the Wedding Lady. Gentlemen, send in your measurements, then the tuxes will get a personal fitting when you get here the actual weekend of the wedding. That will NOT be me, but the tux people.
3. Shoes? Ladies - silvery colored shoes or strappy sandals of your very own will look lovely with a dress this icy silvery-blue color. Heel height, your choice, but remember that you want to walk gracefully, and be able to stand up for a good long while...and dance.
For example, (as in you don't have to have these particular shoes) these shoes are pretty plain, silvery, and cost $19.99 at Rack Room. And PPP got a lot of mosquito bites on her trip to Mexico. No dyed-to-match shoes for girls on this go-round.

Gentlemen, yours will be black tux shoes from the tux place - on the little form, fill that shoe-size box in. You will need black dress socks (not black athletic socks). No Converse All-Stars. No loafers with no socks. Not this time. Look at those straps on that pretty blue dress - looks like a halter doesn't it? Fooled you! Straps in the back too, though not regular ones. The back is low. Plan accordingly, with the wide variety of strapless or changeable strap configurations out there in 'ladies lingerie.' None of that visibility we have going on up there. 5. Remember, the camera is everywhere. Consume accordingly.6. Don't you hate a crooked bow tie? A brightly colored vest or trendy looking formal wear? No "trendy" and no "edgy" for Chili, he's about as traditional as it gets. Chili's bride is concerned about that crooked faux-bow tie. Self-tie black silk will be the order of the day, it will come with your tux - you have roughly five months to master the art of the bow tie. Or not. We'll have a bow tie specialist on site and ready on wedding day.

7. Get yourself measured. Do it today. Don't guess. Actually measure. It's a proven system that works. Today, measure TODAY. Guys, you can usually walk into any tux shop in any town with your little slip of paper and they will measure you, just because you asked. Ask nicely.

8. Don't you hate it when a tux shirt is thin and just...thin? Gentlemen, let's solve that problem by planning to wear a plain white tee-shirt beneath the tux shirt, though NOT a tee-shirt imprinted with the slogan from homecoming weekend, 2004 - Go Dawgs! or something fraternity-esque.

9. Ladies, do you know my girlfriend Spanx? If not, make her acquaintance; she's a great friend to every garment you own. My BFF Spanx makes any dress slide over your hips no matter how thin and trim your derrierre may be. If this is your first encounter with my BFF Spanx, you will thank me forever.

10. Did I mention how great it is to send those measurements back immediately, so that no one has to track you down. Seriously. Today would be good.
Because THIS is the look you want to see on The Lovely Bride's Face. And Dr. Lovely Bride's Face as well. Chili wants to see that look too. So, let's all do ourselves a favor here and respond promptly. The rest of you - thanks for listening.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Lacrosse farewell .... on to football

Lacrosse summer league is so relaxed. Twice a week all summer, young men show up to play summer lacrosse.And parents come to watch . . . OK, and to talk. These warm summer evenings of summer league feel something like the early days of t-ball, when our young men were, for the first time, experiencing 'the field' and all it has to offer. It doesn't really matter who wins, so no one actually keeps score. There is often vicious scrambling over a ball or a goal or ground not yielded. Summer ball for parents is more about finding a shady spot to talk and watch. For me, I just like to be on the premises when there are young men, extreme heat, and lots of beating on each other with sticks. Just sayin'.

For the boys - it's serious, intense competition with mortal enemies. It's also laughing and talking, and joking around on the sidelines. Boys, balls, sticks, water bottles in a shady spot on a warm summer evening. What's not to like about that?

When next we line up for lacrosse, there will be nothing relaxed and little joking. This is a serious and fierce state championship team. So, before lacrosse summer league fades... consider what we saw at the field, and who we saw at the field. Summer lax starts and ends like this: a bunch of guys slinging lacrosse gear all over the track. Fans wandering around in the sparsely populated stands. Looking for shade. In the summer, younger sibs can run up and down the stairs, climb on the seats, crawl in and out the rails. The stands won't be sparsely populated in a month, so the youngest do all that clambering in another place.Get into the right shoes. And make some jokes about something.
J-Rut is working the elbow pads. We'll see lots of these boys in heavier and hotter football pads, in about a month. The heat will still be oppressive and muggy.
Everyone who shows up to play summer lacrosse begins by lining up midfield. Guys come from different schools. One day you may play against a guy you play with the rest of the year. Another day ... same team with a brother who is your enemy the rest of the year. Every time the teams are different. There is NO LOYALTY in summer league.When you get to wear a red COACH shirt, like Coach Ron here, you get to tell people what to do and where to play and who is on what team. Also, whether you wear the blue side or the white side of the jersey. Occcasionally he yells all that. "Yell" is the operative word. The playing starts. Just so you know, it's really, really hot.
Lucky for everyone, there is an easy way to get a drink of water, and also to spray other people . Those things are called A-frames, they are attached to a regular hose, and have many nozzles on each one, so several boys can get a drink at the same time. Also, spray themselves on the head to cool down. Also spray some unsuspecting guy and start a water fight. OR, just get a drink of water. Boys and water hoses, boys with balls and sticks, boys driving around on Gators. Boys and their toys. And...... boys and their phones.
Well, moms and phones, too.A little time for conversation. Always.And for watching the action.Mr. T. is always there. His son, Big Russ, can be full of suprises.What is Big Russ doing HERE, playing goalie?Doing this? He doesn't play with that kind of stick, usually.Big Russ is supposed to be down here, doing this.

The relaxed pace of summer league lacrosse is over. Football . . . the early morning summer work-out phase . . . yields to the football all-day phase. And then school starts, so football + school = Total Physical Exhaustion. When next we see these stands and this field, sorry - turf, it will be intense and loud, and fiercely competitive. It will still be seriously hot. So more squirting water at each other and riding around the Gator.
Different line up.

Different uniforms.
Same friends.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Return from Mexico - the Parking Lot

I know that look. I saw that look in carpool line after a long hard morning in Junior Kindergarten. I saw that look when she caught sight of us in the audience for MayDay dance thing in second grade. I saw that look at the end of Kamp. I've seen that look at the end of a long night out with friends, or after a really hard exam. It's the look that says "MOMMEEEEE!"

After 11 days on a trip to Mexico for PPP and her pals, everyone's glad to get out of the vans and find someone to say "welcome home!" So...WELCOME HOME, friends!So.... Matty's wondering, is MINE out there?
Indeed she is. Let's see who else is in this hot parking lot . . .Hey girls! Seeing some signs of tired....yes, tired it is.So, all the lax girls are accounted for. Nobody's wasting time getting back to the world of text messaging. Is it just me, or is MJ wearing a sweatshirt? It was a solid 110 degrees on that parking lot.Little Bear is looking happier. No fierce glare for the camera? We spend some serious time milling around in this parking lot. Is that tired and happy? Tired and relieved? Tired and more tired? Thanks, guys.Here's another happy Mama! Conversation with eye contact, tooI KNOW she's looking to make sure the Passport is in there. So, Little Bear has stories to tell our Young Son. Football workout in the morning, Little Bear? Right...sure...absolutely. Not.Even the Pretty Pretty Princess gets tired. Total Physical Exhaustion, Princess style.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

A dozen eggs

That yellow light in all that white soap kind of makes you think of an egg yolk. Cool, right? No. Not cool. The car + me in the carwash at 7:11 a.m - not cool at all. I should have been drinking delicious Community coffee and preparing for my meeting. Was it in my plan to wash BigB's car at 7:11 AM? NO. I was there because some pitiful punk somebodies (or a large urban chicken) deposited a dozen eggs on this car in the wee hours of the morning.

Actually, it was 3:37 in the wee hours of the morning, and I know this because Emma

and Buckshot, the wicked and vicious guard dogs were barking ferociously. (this sounds like a 6th grade sentence-writing exercise... it's just the anticipated onslaught of school. 6th graders, 7th graders, 8th graders....oh my.) The yellow is goopy egg yolk all down in the workings of this car. These days, the soap at the self-serve car wash is color-coded. Pink for the foam brush, yellow for the bug cleaner, purple for the spotless-dry finish. I was hoping that 'bug cleaner' would also serve as 'egg cleaner.' SURPRISE! I got the foam brush, evidently pink. If you look closely at the first picture you will see the PINK foam gushing out of the brush, while it's hanging on the wall. . . not washing the car. As it happened, regardless of the color of the soap, I ended up picking yolk and shell off with my fingernail.

And HERE is the little timer that tells me how much TIME is left before the colored soap cuts off. One quarter gives me one minute of time. And, I am spending time taking pictures. I could do this because I was the only single person out and about in my bizarre little car-wash world at 7:11 a.m. What the hell - if I want to take pictures at the car wash, then that's what I was doing, using up my soap minutes. The Young Son was of course at football workout. And everyone else was asleep. And BigD is working out of town. So.....I was at the car wash. 11 quarters worth of car wash. I don't intend to be sweating in the car wash that early. EVER AGAIN.And here is an egg shell still on the driveway. My FIRST thought, at 6:40 this morning was that perhaps a huge chicken had nested in a tree above the car and thrown all her eggs out in a fit of chicken-fury. Seriously, that is how unfathomable it was that a dozen eggs were splattered all over the driveway and the car. And we have 5 children in and out of here regularly. 3 of them are under 21. I was trying to make sense of a chicken nested in a tree in suburbia, having a fit and tossing her eggs. I could see that in my head. THAT made sense to me. Sort of. No, actually A LOT.

The Young Son's parting remark as he got out of the car at football on time was "Mom, you better get that egg off the car quick, I think it does something bad to the car." Really? I never knew that, after 13 years of parenting a teenager. I did hear later today from PPP that had it been bologna, the paint would have peeled off the car when we removed the bologna. So....don't go out and 'bologna' someone's car, OK? Also, reconsider eating bologna if it's secondary purpose is auto paint removal. Seriously.
So, I rushed to get the egg off at the self service car wash. . . before it did something bad to the car. Then I went and did the other kind of work I do - a meeting at school, in preparation for ...well, you know, school stuff. During that meeting, I got a text:

from BigB: So is my car totally messed (he used another word)up forever because of some punk friends of PPP and my stupid (again, not his word) brother? paraphrased

from me: No, it's fine. I went straight to the car wash.

I was in a meeting and did not scream at the top of my lungs. I waited to do that until I got into the car. Which was very clean on the outside.

I got home at 11:00 a.m., and found the eggs STILL on the driveway (those SAME eggs we first noticed at 6:40 a.m.) and the minions lounging inside. I walked in and stared in shock. SO...immediately the minions scattered with hoses and scrub brushes and brooms ....AS IF the whole clean-up thing was their own idea. The eggs were already baked into the driveway. We left the shells that fell in the garden right where they landed - compost.