Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Perils of Posting

I started this blog during a very rough patch in my life. My dog died, my brother died, and then my mom died--all within weeks of each other. Then every appliance in my home died. Well, maybe not every, but it seemed like it at the time. We had a flooded kitchen, dirty dishes, dirty laundry, fish eggs in our pipes, and other disasters for a long time. Then I suffered through some medical issues. The blog enabled me to pour out my feelings to my friends without burdening them. I could write at my leisure and they could check in at their leisure, and I didn't feel like I was imposing on them. Friends followed the story, and sent me encouraging emails and called me, and I felt loved and supported through a hard time. The blog gave me a way to share different trips I've taken with just the people who care. I didn't have to feel like I was one of those people who showed all 1000 slides of their trip to the Grand Canyon. Friends could read it or not. So, the blog has become special to me as I've written about the highs and lows of my life. It's made me feel less alone. But I'm conflicted, too, because it's hard to know how much to write. Brenna has given me good advice to "Write as if the worst person who could possibly see it was reading it." I write very cautiously: I don't state where I live, I don't give revealing details, and I don't use (real) last names. My nephew, whose job involves (in part) searching for blogs, couldn't find mine. If I write about someone, I let that person preview it and make suggestions for 24 hours before I publish. But no matter how cautiously I write, I still manage to bother people around me, who think I've told the story wrong, or that what I've written may come back to haunt me, or that it's not my story to tell. Julia and Finslippy, two writers whom I admire, write lovingly and openly about their families. Do the people around them give advice and tell them what they should and shouldn't write? Did Erma Bombeck's family criticize her each week after her column came out? I try to write in a kind way that will be uplifting to the subject of the post, but often it's not the person whom I'm writing about that is upset about how I've written a post. If Child A does something that I'm happy about, and I write about it, I will ask Child A before I post it. But usually it's Friend B that objects to the post, even though she has no relation to the story except she also knows Child A. Does that make any sense? My choices are to stop writing it, to keep writing it and make all the suggested changes to keep the peace, or to keep writing it and ignore the critics. Julia calls her blog her best friend. Although mine isn't my BEST friend, it is like a friend, and therefore is very difficult to just drop.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

An Update on Kelly

The wedding isn't the only exciting event of the past week. While talking casually to my friend, the superintendent, she told me that they have many more kindergarten students than expected because in this economy people wanted to try the public school rather than start their children in private schools. I asked "Are you going to hire more teachers?" "Yes! Who do you know?" "Kelly." (Kelly has been looking for a teaching job for over a year.) "Tell her to stop whatever she's doing and fill out an application!" So I called Kelly, and she interviewed for the position on the Thursday before the wedding. She found out Thursday at 4 pm that she got the job, and it started three days later. She couldn't do much over the weekend because of the wedding and because she didn't have any supplies. On the Monday she earned the staff's admiration when they found out she could do Power Point. Normally setting up a classroom, even if you are an experienced teacher takes a few weeks, and there's a lot to think through and decide. Kelly had two days. And on the first day, Monday, she found out "By the way...Thursday's Open House." Of course it was. I would have dissolved in tears, but Kelly took everything in stride. She's going to be a great teacher. She has a group that can't walk in line quietly to save their lives, and didn't even notice when Kelly loudly announced "I'm giving Linda a sticker because she's sitting quietly on the rug." It's fun to hear Kelly's ideas and see the little projects she makes for them. I can't tell you how exciting it is for me to have my daughter teaching in the same district as me. She will move back home until she gets over the shock that she doesn't live in San Diego any more and finds a good living situation here. She's sad to leave San Diego, but would rather have a job and live here than have no job and live there. It's fun having her home. That empty nest thing that I was grieving about when Molly left over a year ago? Perhaps I shouldn't have been so sad. Between my dad, Brenna, and now Kelly, there haven't been too many days when the guest bedroom is empty. Life is good.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Wedding Day

The wedding was held on a ranch owned by my family. My great-grandfather came from Ireland and bought the property before the turn of the century, and my grandmother was married here, too. It's planted with beautiful avocado trees.
Brenna wanted a wedding that was simple and elegant. It felt relaxed and fun--not formal.
This is a good shot of the bouquet. The flowers were amazing.

They got to play on the farm equipment after the ceremony.

There are few times in life when there is pure joy without any pain. For instance, having a baby is such an amazing experience and getting to meet your child is beyond wonderful, but it is tempered a little teeny bit by the fact that your body is thrashed from giving birth. Brenna's wedding was pure joy without any pain. The day could not have been happier for me. I love Matt and Brenna and was thrilled to see them commit to spend the rest of their lives together. Both Friday and Saturday were like getting to attend a wonderful party with my dearest friends. Brenna's entourage (Blaine, and her El Salvador team, and her sisters) worked and played hard starting early Friday morning. Blaine made a wonderful breakfast. The bridal party went out for pedicures. Lunch at home. Set up at the ranch. Then the rehearsal. Pastor Paul ran through the ceremony, and then had us gather in a circle to speak words of blessing on Matt and Brenna. This was a special time. Dinner was at Tipp's Thai where we forgot the pre-wedding diet and had Tempura, Pad Pak Beef, egg rolls, and more. Then we had dessert at our house with the wedding party and all of our special out-of-town friends and relatives. I love having the house full and people eating, so I was in heaven with the laughter and the young people and the great conversations with good friends. We heard more about the "Eat more vegetables and eat more pie" diet, as we scarfed apple crisp, carrot cake, lemon snow freeze pie, and turtles.

On the big day we got our hair done and went to the ranch for pictures. Brenna's friends were busy setting up the tables, and snacks, sound system, and doing their various jobs. Her friends were so wonderful and helpful and amazing--each one had a role and carried it out superbly. My dear friend Kris did the flowers and they turned out more beautiful than anything we could have hoped for or imagined. Brenna's bouquet was lemon branches, roses, mini-calla lilies and bells-of- Ireland in a simple, but elegant arrangement. One of my friends commented "My daughter solved her wedding needs by writing checks, but Brenna did it by involving her friends. Brenna's way makes the friendships deeper by having her friends participate in giving on the special day." Kris worked many hours, staying up most of the night to do the flowers. Then she thanked us profusely for letting her do so!

The band, Men on the Moon, was amazing!! These men were also good friends of ours, and their enthusiasm for playing music together overflowed into the crowd. At one point the tables were empty as people from age 5 to 86 filled the dance floor.

The food was delicious. I think back to how the owner of Ali Baba restaurant promised "I make all your dreams come true!" He came very, very close. He certainly made my wedding meal dreams come true. When I went to pay the server at the wedding he said "No, it's Ramadan, and I can't take any money. Everything I do must be in service to God." So I laughed with him, and then said "That's great. Now, how much do I owe you?" "No, it's Ramadan..." and he wouldn't take any money. The next day I told the owner what Mike had said and there was dead silence on the phone for a long time. Then he laughed, too. "I guess Mike bought your dinner!" Of course, we didn't get out of paying the bill, but it was funny.

We danced and talked late into the night. It certainly felt like we stayed until the wee hours of the morning cleaning up, but the girls say it was only 10 pm. I was and am sooo exhausted from the emotion of the day and the work. Seeing months of planning and decisions come together to create a dream come true--two people become one--has filled me with tremendous joy.