(Update: Pics below this post)
Now that Max has his "N", I suggested he be the one to pick up Clint from the auto mechanic's garage.
While he was gone, I prepared a premeditated supper. I baked potatoes (and even had all the fixin's on hand) and I BBQ'ed the steak that'd been marinating for 24 hours. When the guys got home we sat down to eat at the table. Like a normal family.
A few minutes later Clint looked at me and said, "What happened to your hair? It's all wrecked."
I rolled my eyeballs up to see what my bangs looked like from the underneath/below angle. They appeared to be slighly frizzy. I reached up to touch them and broken bits of singed hair fell onto my plate.
"Shoot. I burnt it."
"The flame ball that exploded when I started the BBQ..."
I still have my eyelashes though.
Thoughts from last Saturday:
Morning - I met up with my writing group at Starbucks. I love these people. I love that even if none of us is really writing, we still meet to encourage each other with whatever creative endeavours we are undertaking. I love that we are a variety of sizes, of shapes, of ages, of backgrounds, of styles. My writing group, by the way, is made of of Chris (take an hour or so to read her blog. She is sharing her adoption story and it's wonderful.) (She's the real writer of the group - she's finished two book and has a third one in her head.) and Andrea (who lives in Langley now so we are going to be spending WAY more time together. She has a few blogs. Here, and here. Rachel is the baby of the group, and will end up being the most educated. She has a great book review blog here. (Her sister is an amazing artist.) And then there's Jenn. Who was a writer when we met and now she's a photographer.
I always leave our time together wishing we got together more often. And I always wish we were all taking writing more seriously so that we could read and give feedback to each other's work. I leave our meetings determined to make this blog better.
So far I haven't acted on those wishes, desires or longings.
I'm lazy that way.
Afternoon - I spent three hours at Sendall Gardens photographing happy beautiful people in their fancy schmancy easter-egg coloured dresses. I loved every moment of it. Well ...I waffled between loving the picture-taking and worrying that they weren't good enough. I'd take a few pics then pray that God would make them turn out. Part of me was relieved that there were so many other cameras around. And part of me was totally intimidated that there were so many people with cameras around.
At one point, I got a little bossy (it happens when I have a camera in my hand. And in this case I had TWO cameras. Sandra lent me her's, so I had the normal lens on her camera and the telephoto zoom lens on mine. It's easier than constantly changes lenses on one camera. I now understand why my dad had 16 routers. Changing bits was probably a hassle.) Trouble was, I had them both around my neck. I bring one up to my face to click a few pics, then rest it back on my chest and pick up the other one. And so on, back and forth. And then I'd have to stop after 10 minutes or so because they'd get so twisted they'd start to choke me. After an hour I finally just wrapped one around my wrist and left the other one around my neck and strapped my backpack onto my back.) anyways, I was getting a little bossy, moving grads around and trying to get them into or out of the shadows when I heard someone behind me say, "Who is she? Why is she putting them like that? It looks awful."
People, we only had so much time. I had to keep things moving. And that sun was harsh man. It was tricky keeping that large group out of the sharp shadows.
In the end I could hardly wait to get home and download the images. The girls looked fabulous and I prayed the whole way home that I was able to capture it all.
As I watched the 2500 photos appear on my laptop screen I was so disappointed. I had to delete well over half of them because of overexposure and poor focus. How could I have messed up? I really REALLY need to read my camera manual and learn how to take pics in uber bright conditions.
(In the end, I did get about 250 great shots. Is 10% a decent return on investment?)
As much as I wanted to stay home and edit image files, I cleaned myself up and headed over to have dinner with 4 friends on Sandra's newly renovated back patio. We talked as only 5 women can talk, til almost midnight. Then I drove Lynne home and sat in her driveway and talked til 1 am.
A woman can never have too many friends. We have so many words to say, and so many thoughts to share. And friends just get it.
I tell you, Saturday was a rich, satisfying day. I was feeling mighty blessed when I dropped into bed. I had connected with some important people in my life. I had laughed with them, cried with them, ate with them, took pictures of them, prayed about those pictures, and thanked God for them.
Sunday - 2 pm - midnight
I went to Stuart and Vanessa's wedding by myself.
Do you know what that's like? Do you?
I walked in by myself and mistakenly was seated on the groom's side of the church in a pew with strangers who were all talking amongst themselves.
I hate those awkward social situations. I fiddled with my camera, read the service outline with great interest and tried to look fascinated with the ceiling fans.
Once the service started I was OK. But it's those empty before-hand moments that are tough, you know?
Vanessa was a happy bride.
You know how some brides get all caught up in being beautiful? And are worried about ruining their hair and makeup? And go for the regal look?
Vanessa was radiant and natural and wildly in love. It was gorgeous to witness.
But the thing that pushed my emotions over the edge? The thing that really got the tears flowing? Was the reception.
All the speeches had been done and it was time for the dance.
Stuart and his mom danced the first dance. It was slow, meaningful and full of emotion. They swayed to the music and quietly talked to each other through the whole song. I could not image any of my sons agreeing to touching me for 3 minutes. Or even talking to me for 3 minutes. I longed to have the kind of relationship she has with her son. (She is the mother of 4 boys; Stuart is her youngest. ) Her speech about him was incredible.
And then? And then it ended and it was John and Vanessa's turn to take the dance floor. They didn't go into the middle and hold each other. The went to the front end of the dance floor with their backs against the head table. Then some Indian music came through the speakers. And they did the choreographed dance at the end of Slumdog Millionaire. It was a crowd favorite.
Vanessa is a natural dance, full of rythm and grace. She is comfortable performing for her guests and she looked stunning doing it.
John? Not so much. He's not a natural. In fact, I don't think he'd danced before his 50th birthday last year. And that was mostly him hopping around on his tippy toes.
But he was there, giving it all he had. He was dancing based on memorized moves while keeping time with his incredible daughter. The crowd laughed and clapped and hooted and hollared. It was so much fun to watch. Brilliant actually.
I sat there and cried. This is a man who loves his little girl. He danced with her, her way, on her wedding day. It was beautiful.
The other thing that impacted me was the way Stuart's family loved Vanessa. Truly loved her. She has been accepted as being part of the family long before this wedding ever took place. They know her well and love her completely.
Will my kids be loved so thoroughly by their inlaws? Will they marry girls whose parents believe that my boys are the anwer to their prayers? Will my kids be OK hanging out at their inlaws and making their place their second home? Will they be able to say nothing but positive things about my boys at the wedding?
And, on a different, but similar topic, how will the divorce factor into the wedding? I haven't been to a wedding where there has been divorced parents. (How can that be? Half of all marriages end in divorce and I don't have a single "single" friend. Everyone in my circle is married.) Does the kids' dad make the speech at the end? What would the table arrangements look like? Who pays for what? Why do I have to think so much?
Despite my minds wandering all over the place regarding future issues around weddings that may or may not happen, I keep going back to the image of John dancing with his daughter; the determination on his face and the absolute joy on her's. It was a beautiful thing.
Monday - after work
I went over to Gail's house to plan a bridal shower for Carolyn's daughter, Leanne. We caught up on each other's lives and spent a goodly portion of our time talking about things not even remotely connected to the shower. She's heading to Africa this summer to use her gifts at Seeds of Hope and it was awesome to hear how God has assembled a team to go with her.
Tuesday - after work
It was utterly fantastic. I LOVE this annual event. Mom's friend, Hildegard invited my mom, me and two of my friends to join her, her sister, her daughter and her friend, Anne and Anne's sister at her table at the annual Strawberry Tea at South Delta Baptist. Five of us just under 50. Five of us around 70. So. Much. Fun. (I'll be going on the Alaska cruise with some of these hardcore partiers... I can hardly wait.) I LOVED connecting with Hildegards' kids. We grew up together... so much history. That's always a good thing. And I loved bringing my new (known them less than 15 years) friends to this event.
I just felt so lucky. So very fortunate to have these opportunities to be with special people.
Not to diminish the awesomeness of time spent with good friends, but for me? The best part was the speaker: Patty Larson.
She was real and engaging and relevant and dynamic. And she had me in tears with her stories. And one story in particular was told specifically for me. My being there was a divine appointment. She told the story of a married couple who had a son who became rebellious. He parted from the path he had been raised on, and chose a different way to live. One that involved late nights of drinking and drugs. As the story goes, he had come in one evening very stoned/drunk making a whole lot of noise. He eventually passed out on his bed but not before getting sick all over himself. Once the house got quiet again, his mom slipped out of her bed and went into her boy's room. A short time later, her husband got up to see what she was doing and found her kneeling by her son's bed, tidying him up, gently stroking his face, and tucking him in.
He was disgusted. "Just leave him there in his filth. He can clean himself up in the morning. Come back to bed. Why are you in here anyhow?"
And she answered, "He doesn't let me love him when he's awake. This is the only time I can love on him..."
He doesn't let me love him when he's awake.
I've so been there. I could hear her heart's cry from my spot near the back of the church. Mothers. We just want to love our kids.
Wednesday night was devoted to dishes and laundry.
And tonight Sue came over. So glad my living room was clean. ...
I am an introvert. But I sure love time spent with friends.
Three things I'm thankful for:
1. Window Boxes
2. Terra Cotta Pots
3. Bedding Plants