Monday, September 15, 2014

Things are finally getting back to normal around here. 

Magbooth gave me access to the digital files. These are some of my favorites. I thought they did an excellent job. I had to ask The Pinks who was who in some of the pictures as that's how much some of their friends had grown over the summer. Dressed up, the girls who have hit their growth spurts look like elder teens. The boys, not so much yet. If your child mentioned that they were in some pictures and you want the files, ping me and I'll send you the link and password.

I've cleared off my dining room table by returning all the platters and plates, and put away the extra cellophane bags we used for the out of town hospitality bags. I easily have 50 left and that will benefit some NCL philanthropies if I ever feel like baking again!

Back to Target went the extra globe lights and candles. Back in boxes went those grass table skirts. Back to the neighbors went the twinkly Christmas lights. Back to Jenna, event planner extraordinaire, went the crock pot that was hiding when she came over to retrieve it earlier in the week. Back to the shelving in the garage went the extra water bottles, now all dressed up in colorful luau labels. Back to my brother went two extension cords. Back to Magbooth went that mustache on a stick pictured here, the one that somehow came home in the box of paper lanterns.

Back to bed I went for a nap mid afternoon.



Friday, September 12, 2014

A week post B'Not Mitzvah

It's Friday at noon and I'm still in my pajamas. I've been on conference calls since 8am with the exception of a quick run to school to retrieve a sick child. I think she's still exhausted from last weekend and so I'm having her write one thank you note an hour so the day is not a complete boondoggle. BTW, this child has the worst penmanship ever. I just hope the thank you notes actually reach their destinations. Incidentally, she wants you to know that the best gift she got was a potato gun. Yes, really, a toy gun that shoots potato pellets. It's occupied her for hours and irritates her sisters. I love that one of her friends knows her so well.

So the B'Not Mitzvah was over in about 30 seconds. Or so it seemed. Four years of Hebrew and Religious School, six months of intense prep and three days elapsed in what seemed like the blink of an eye. The pictures in this post show some of the things I'm doing - laundering tablecloths, deciding what to do with the few orchid centerpieces that remain, returning things that arrived too late to use. These fish ring pops are adorable. So were the Jack Rogers shoes that arrived today!

We are the proud owners of 20 round and rectangular tablecloths in assorted bright colors if you'd like to borrow them. Ditto 30 8' long grass table skirts and about a hundred plastic pineapple and coconut cups. Luaus R Us.

The Rabbi Cousin was able to help us achieve the exact service we envisioned. Personal. With lots of music. Set against the golden grasses covering the Mt. Diablo State Park foothills. Sunny. Less formal than a synagogue setting. Happy and funny. I would highly recommend this approach for unaffiliated MOTs.* We borrowed a Torah from the San Francisco Jewish Community Center's lending library. It was pretty interesting (and nerve-wracking!) to have such a sacred religious object here for a week and we took the opportunity to take a very close look at it, too.

There are some pictures that people posted on Facebook and I will provide more details when I get better pictures back. I made a point to put away my iPhone last weekend and leave the photography to the people with real cameras.

One of the things that won't appear in the photos is the laughter I heard when people were watching the slide show. I liked seeing which pictures got a reaction.

Dave and I are so proud of our gemelli. They did a beautiful job and remained themselves all weekend long.

*MOTs = members of the tribe

Friday, August 29, 2014

The Slide Show

Eldest Daughter was going to do this for the B'Not Mitzvah. But then I started playing with iPhoto and got so far along that I decided to just do it myself.

A zillion hours later later I've learned that there's a reason people do this for a living. I'm not one of those people.

Here are some observations:

1. We've dragged the kids to a lot of places. Things 1 and 2 have been to Europe four times. Eldest Daughter has been there seven.

2. Ice cream is a big part of our vacationing. Every day, sometimes twice.

3. One set of friends appears most often in photos. And they have never been to Europe with us! Nor did we see them at all this summer. Boo hoo.

4. I am most often behind the camera. After pictures of the kids, architectural details are my second most-photographed item.

5. Thing 2 has a mega-watt smile that she flashes during thrill-seeking activities.

6. Thing 1 can sleep anywhere. Anytime.

This picture is an oldie but goodie that did not make the slide show. We're in our happy place.

Do me a favor, please. After you see my masterpiece, tell me how fabulous it is. Maybe even twice. Eldest Daughter would be driving a baby blue convertible Beetle if I was paid my consulting rate for all the time I've put in to this ...


Sunday, August 24, 2014

T minus two weeks

Two weeks from today the B'Not Mitzvah will be behind us. Right about now we'll be sitting on our family room sofa, exhausted and proud.

I spent part of today running errands. I hate running errands so it seemed appropriate to do on the saddest day of summer, the day before school begins. I ordered mini bagels from Noah's and coffee cake from Millie's. My father helped me cut some bamboo I need for a project. I also picked up some prints from my parents house. My father is a whiz with Photoshop.

A few people have texted and emailed me with questions about the B'Not Mitzvah and so I'm going to take this opportunity to answer them in a public forum in case others have the same questions.

1. We just come to the party, right? It's like a Mormon wedding? No. You have been invited to the service and the evening celebration. The 90-minute morning service is the main event. Some people will come to the service and not the party. They have been kind enough to note that on their RSVP. Very few will just come to the party as the service is the important part.

2. Can I bring a date / my very young child / my college roommate and her husband, who are visiting for the weekend? No. Trust us on this one. Your date, very young child and house guests will be bored silly because they do not know the celebrants. We gave a lot of thought to the guest list and if your name appeared on the big green envelope that showed up in your mailbox then you are special to us and we hope you will be able to come.

3. You have invited our whole family. Josh has a soccer game and Kevin coaches the team. Can the rest of us still come? Of course. We understand that people have other commitments and that choices have to be made. We hope you will come without them.

4. You haven't invited our whole family. Can the rest of us come? Refer to question #2.

5. Do you mind me asking who else on the lacrosse / dance / soccer team was invited so we can carpool? Not at all. Call or text me.

6. What do we wear? A dress or nice pants are appropriate for the service. It's the same kind of clothing you would wear to church. I would avoid spiked heels for the service as you may be seated on the lawn. I'd also apply sunscreen in case you sit in the sun. Luau wear is appropriate for the party. Eldest Daughter is wearing a dress she bought in London. Thing 2 is wearing an equally fabulous dress, one that's fairly casual.

7. Where do we park? There are signs on your street that say No Parking. Ignore them and park on the street. I doubt the neighbors will complain because most of them will be there with us. And if they do, they'll complain to the HOA Board. You have one guess who's president of it this year.

8. Can I help? Yes, I'd love help. Please call or text me.

9. Are you guys all ready for this? No. Refer to question 8.

10. Will there be drinking at the luau? Yes, adults will have the opportunity to have adult beverages at the luau. There are separate bars for kids and adults. We are not planning to serve your child alcohol. However, we're not going to be watching Johnny Jr. to see if he is picking up wine glasses that adults have set down and finishing them off.

11. What time should we get there? What time will the service end? The service will start promptly at 10:30am. What time you arrive depends on how far away you want to park and if you want seats in the nosebleed section. There will be a Kiddush lunch after the service. It's not a lunch, though, it's a light snack. If you are dropping off or carpooling, 12:45pm is a safe time to pick up.

12. Can we post pictures to Instagram or Facebook? Yes. Please help us out by tagging them #twopinksbigday. We would love to see the pictures you shot this day. Thank you.

In other news, Rabbi Rick was over a few week ago and we finalized many of the details. It was a very sweet evening. One of his sons, who is Eldest Daughter's age, brought his guitar and played all the melodies we have our choice of for the prayers and songs. The cantor that the Rabbi, Dave and I grew up with created many beautiful melodies and we will incorporate many of those in the service.

I've been recipe testing, something I didn't give much thought to until we started publishing cookbooks. You can look forward to some good food; this is a Jewish event after all. I made this incredible pesto tonight from basil I picked in my mom's garden six hours earlier. Keep that basil coming, mom!

We are excited to have friends and family coming from near and far to celebrate with us. It's going to be a crazy weekend in the happiest of ways. Dave and I have a tendency to be inclusive so over the years many of our friends have become friends. It's going to be a friendly crowd.

It's also a good thing that we have Labor Day weekend between now and then. Some people, who shall remain nameless, still have a few prayers to polish ...

Friday, August 15, 2014

My niece leaves for college today.

I remember the day she was born. The car ride to the hospital where, when we were pulled over by local law enforcement, my father-in-law explained that we were on our way to the hospital for the birth of his first grandchild. (Not sure if Tarzana's finest believed him or not.) The tears running down my brother-in-law's cheeks when he raced into the waiting room with the news that that he and Michelle were the proud parents to a bouncing baby girl. The way my mother-in-law pulled a pen out of her bag to fill out her new granddaughter's name on the Hadassah life membership paperwork. The broad smile on my husband's face when he looked at our sweet niece's teeny, tiny, perfectly formed face.

Today she gets on a plane and heads for Texas. I entered her new address in my contacts, thinking of all the addresses I had during four years of college, of all the crossing out and rewriting my mother did in her address book. I bet she still keeps a paper address book.

I remember the day I left for college. It was night, actually. My parents and two besties accompanied me to the airport. Tears were shed. My five boxes and I caught the red-eye to Chicago. In the morning I got on another plane, this one to Madison. I hopped in a cab with all of those boxes and gave the driver the address of the dorm. Where my college adventure began. (Does anyone know why all of us Alaskans heading further east than Seattle had to take red-eyes?!) The picture here is of me with those two besties, this time, I think, when I left a Anchorage for good.

My niece is smart and makes friends easily. She is fun and has a natural interest in people, much like my father-in-law. She will have a great time. I can't wait to hear about it.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Houndstooth

Please step away from the screen and then squint. Hopefully you'll see the houndstooth pattern. I made this quilt in the spring for my youngest niece. We picked out the fabric together.

I should have made the blocks smaller. Live and learn. The backside is polka dot purple minky, super soft and great for snuggling under. This is especially important on California days like today where the temperature hit triple digits.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Age is just a number.

We have close friends who are closer to my parents' age than our own. They are very active, young at heart, and in much better shape physically than most people I know.

This weekend we went to a party and I chatted with a woman, the grandmother of 10 or 11, who is, also, closer to my mother's age than my own. She is a strikingly beautiful woman, again very active, and easily looks 20 years younger than she is. During the conversation she mentioned being old, which I see as very far from the truth.

I am inspired by these people.