Fifteen.

According to the traditional list of customary anniversary presents, The Man and I should have exchanged gifts of CRYSTAL yesterday. Alternately, the contemporary list suggests WATCHES.  Ironically, both can be purchased at Tiffany. However, I am still awaiting the arrival of my Little Blue Box, convinced the delivery person got lost. After all, Los Angeles is an awfully big city and according to the map below…. I live up in the area of the REDNECKS and JCREW LOOKING MOFOS…which I suppose could be a little confusing. Maybe even scary.

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Anyway, we had a lovely dinner last night with The Beans at a favorite local spot of ours. The fact that I neither tried to find a babysitter nor entertained the thought for a moment that we would celebrate without them in tow goes to show you that after 15 years, it really IS all about the children.  Not to sound cliché, but we do only have them all under one roof for a little bit longer. Sugar Bean is going away to college in 4.5  years so we have to pack in as much family time as possible now. Perhaps we’ll take an anniversary trip on our 20th. Who knows? Regardless, I was reminiscing about our wedding yesterday and it occurred to me that I’ve never shared a single detail about it with anyone outside of family and close friends, despite it being an incredibly joyous, unique and memorable affair. WTF is wrong with me? Btw, that’s a rhetorical question. So… without further adieu, I give you…

The Top 10 Reasons Why My Wedding Night

Was Uniquely Kickass

1. It was planned and executed it in exactly 3 weeks, complete with paper invitations (pre-Evite, people), a caterer, flowers and a wedding cake. Notice I didn’t say I PLANNED IT. Every drop of credit goes to my MIL, as I was stricken with horrific morning sickness…ALL. DAY. LONG. Wait…I did pick out the bridesmaids’ dresses. Off the rack, during a 20 minute trip to  Robinson’s-May, which was about all I could manage in between jaunts to puke in the nearest bathroom.

2. Using a recipe handed down for years, and in keeping with a long-standing tradition in my Southern rooted family, we served a drink called “24-Hour Punch”. It’s been a staple at every special occasion for as long as I can remember. The main ingredient is Jack Daniels. The caterer asked for the recipe. Need I say more?

3. Although I could not drink a drop myself, I jumped behind the bar and started tending it like a pro at the reception. People were thirsty, and the bartender went missing…I suspect, after too much punch.

4. We are not Jewish, but many of our guests were, including the Best Man. So it made perfect sense to do the Horah, right?

chris:horah

me:horah

 5. My maid of honor was a VIP bartender at one of the hottest nightclubs in Hollywood, and got called in to work during the reception. Despite telling her boss she’d been drinking all day night at HER BEST FRIEND’S WEDDING, had flowers matted in her hair and would be arriving in her dress, if she could find a ride to avoid a DUI…he made her show up. True story.

6. The day of the wedding, we realized our plan for playing music at the reception wasn’t going to work, so our dear friend John wrangled some equipment and became our DJ, so I would stop freaking out. You can read about him here. He’s truly a gem, and if he ever gets married, I will walk on water if he needs me to!

7. Right before the procession was about to begin, I suddenly had to pee. There was a bathroom at the top of the steps, but my dress wouldn’t fit. Obviously, I didn’t have time to undress/redress. So, two of my bridesmaids held my skirt up inside the bathroom, making sure I didn’t pee on myself, while the other two stood guard outside and held the rest of my dress, because we had to leave the door open. Now THAT’S a good group of bridesmaids, y’all.

8. There was a break-dancing extravaganza. Yep. That’s my husband folks, throwing it back to the 80’s by doing a coffee-grinder…I think.

chris:wedding:breakdance

9. Oh, but wait…the girls were not about to be upstaged! If memory serves me correctly, the photo below depicts the ‘big finish’ to a dance routine of some sort.  Doing the splits in my wedding gown. Yeah, that really happened.

me:wedding:splits

10. With the reception winding down, The Man and I hopped into a limo bound for the honeymoon suite at a hotel in the city. Once we inspected our accommodations, we decided to continue celebrating, and took off on foot down Sunset Boulevard, still in our wedding clothes… headed for the Skybar. Cars were bumper to bumper, horns were honking, and folks were shouting ‘Congrats’ the whole way. Crazy fun. Typically, it’s a tough place to get into if you aren’t ‘on the list’, but I  bartended there for a couple years and showing up in a wedding gown with my groom in tow did the trick!  Afterwards, exhausted and giddy, we returned to our hotel and passed out. That whole doing the deed on your wedding night thing? Ain’t nobody got energy for that!

And so, following a magical evening that started like this:

wedding dance

 We woke up the next morning as newlyweds and realized our cars were in the Valley, and we didn’t have a ride home.

THE END

 

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Put it in the universe.

EmmaCate3 EmmaCate2 EmmaCate1

I was going to wait until tomorrow to jump back up on the blogging horse, but then something happened in the car today that reminded me of happy times, prompting me to start early.

So here I am.

You are likely wondering why these pictures are leading this post, right? Or not….but I’m going to tell you anyway.

The first thing to know (if you don’t already) is I put the ‘fan’ in FANactic when it comes to all things associated with the Dave Matthews Band. I’ve been a stalker fan since they’ve been a band (1991), and have attended an obscene number of shows. There are some very uncanny coincidences associated with my love for all things DMB.

~~ Dave and I were both born on January 9th, although he is 5 years my senior.

~~ He has a song titled “Dancing Nancies” which I used to think was about me, until I read somewhere that it’s about male transvestites in the Red Light District in Amsterdam.

~~ His charity organization is called “The Bama Rags Foundation”. I’m from Alabama, but he is not.

~~ My first choice for college was a small, private liberal arts college in Virginia called Sweet Briar College. I applied and got in, but couldn’t afford to go, and instead accepted a scholarship to the University of Alabama. Dave met his wife at Sweet Briar College.

~~ I haven’t missed a tour since they started doing them, and often attend concerts alone if The Man is busy and I can’t find a running mate.

~~ When I turned 30, I said to The Man, “On my 35th birthday, if we have more money than we know what to do with, will you please hire Dave to play at ‘our’ party?”  He said, “Of course, Baby Girl.”  **Side note: I did end up meeting Dave, but it wasn’t because The Man hired him, and he wasn’t playing at our birthday party…lol. Through a strange twist of fate, a dear friend was able to hook me up with a gig working as an extra on the single episode of “House” Dave played a role on, and ironically enough…we taped the day after I turned 35. I made sure to introduce myself, even at the risk of being tossed off the set. He knew exactly who I was (apparently he’d been told I would be there?) and wished me a happy belated birthday.

Anyway, the pics above were from the 2nd crazy coincidental meeting we had. Below are a few facts leading up to these photos:

1. These pics were taken in 2007, on Sugar Bean’s 8th Birthday at Verizon Wireless Amphitheater in Irvine, CA.

2. About 3 weeks before these were snapped, a publicist friend of mine who knows of my obsession, called and said he was having brunch with another friend who used to be Dave’s publicist, and wondered which show in LA I was attending on that tour, in case she still had connections and could set up a meet and greet. I told him the show in Irvine, because Sugar Bean was going with me as her birthday present. Unfortunately, he called a few days later and said she no longer had an “in”. No worries.

3. Exactly 2 days before the concert, while I was in hellish traffic on the 405, my cell phone rang. I answered, and a girl named Lauren said she was calling from “The Warehouse” (the official DMB fan club…which I am a member of) and wondered if I was attending the show in Irvine later that week. I told her I was planning on it, and then she asked if I would like to meet Dave before the show. I think I muttered something to the effect of “Oh holy hell…did Alfred put you up to this?”  She said she didn’t know an Alfred, but my name had been randomly selected by the fan club as the winner of a pre-concert “meet & greet”…for reals. I continued to grill her, until I was satisfied I wasn’t being Punk’d, and promptly wet my pants, grinning from ear to ear all the way home. YES. THAT REALLY HAPPENED.

4. I took that t-shirt away from her once we got home and promptly stored it in an air-tight container. It’s never been washed and she will only get it back at my death.

Photo_092607_001

How about that grin???

Proof positive that it pays to put things into the universe if you REALLY want them to happen, huh?

Now…why am I telling you all this? Because I want to. And because it’s relevant to the happy time I was reminded of today in the car.

Each time I gave birth, I was listening to music through headphones. Guess what artist was playing? If you answered “Dave Matthews” you win a gold star! Now, in fairness to each individual life I brought into the world and because each of the The Beans has her own unique personality. Despite the fact, I didn’t know what each bundle of joy would be like once she was born, I chose a different song for each one, and put that on repeat until they entered the world. They all know what their song is, both by name and when they hear it, as well as what their sisters’ songs are. Call me crazy, but it’s an important detail in my estimation.

Sugar Bean’s song is ‘Jimi Thing’, Butter Bean’s is ‘Trippin Billies’ and Sweet Pea’s is ‘Rapunzel’. Of course these are also 3 of my all-time faves, hence why I chose them 🙂

Anyway, today when I picked Butter Bean and Sweet Pea up from school, ‘Jimi Thing’ was playing on the stereo, and was quickly identified by Butter Bean as Sugar Bean’s song. Oh, and if you are wondering if I’m “that mom” who rocks out with the windows down while in carpool line….I TOTALLY AM. Wouldn’t have it any other way. But I digress. Back to the conversation that ensued:

BB: This is SB’s song!!

Me: Yes…it is 🙂

SP: What’s my song again?

BB: Rapunzel

SP: Right! Now what is that song about? Princess Rapunzel, or another Rapunzel?

BB: Mama, what’s it about?

Me: Oh…I’m sure it’s about Princess Rapunzel (smiling devilishly).

Thank God they didn’t inquire about the meaning behind ‘Jimi Thing’, right? 

 

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Shout out to FRESH BROTHERS PIZZA!!

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It’s no secret that when I plan things, Murphy’s Law kicks into high gear and throws a curve ball the size of the moon. So I usually just trust the wings I have growing out of my butt, and fly by the seat of my pants. It works for us, so probably best not to tempt fate too often, right? On occasion though, it is necessary to deviate from our mellow, go with the flow lifestyle in order to enjoy one day only, special events (hint: Murphy doesn’t take the day off.)

This past Saturday was one such day. I planned for our family tribe to attend an event at the latest location of FRESH BROTHERS PIZZA in Hollywood. The event was for MomsLA contributors and promised to be awesome….packed with pizza making, face-painting and all around fun. The Man and The Beans were ecstatic when I told them, so off we went!

It was scheduled for 11am and we arrived around 11:15. Much to my surprise, we were the only ones there…..except, of course Murphy and that Law Book. I approached the counter and confidently introduced myself to the manager, announcing we were there for the event. He looked at me with a bit of surprise, and asked if we’d booked a private party. Wait…what?!!  When I explained, he immediately got on the phone with Debbie Goldberg, one of the owners, while I whipped out my phone and logged into FB to check the original posting, and see if I’d completely lost my mind (don’t answer that). Turned out, the event was rescheduled for September….but of course, I’d missed that detail. Yeah…I’m a bonehead, and this is a sparkling example.

Not to worry though. Debbie and I chatted briefly on the phone, and she said for us to have a blast…lunch was on FRESH BROTHERS! I couldn’t believe it. The mix-up was completely my mistake, and she went out of her way to fix it. That is the ultimate in customer service!! The staff rolled out the red carpet of hospitality, and we had THE BEST TIME! The Beans made pizza, The Man watched sports, and I took pictures. A fabulous day was had by all!!

playing with dough

playing with dough

ingredients for perfect pizza making

ingredients for perfect pizza making

The Man, The Beans and some quality pizza making

The Man, The Beans and some quality pizza making

YUMMY!!!

YUMMY!!!

Oh, and the pizza?  To be honest, I’ve never been much of a pizza fan…so it takes  a lot to impress me when it comes to that particular cuisine. But I can, without any hesitation at all, say it was the YUMMIEST I HAVE EVER TASTED! Fresh Brothers has shown me the light…lol. In fact, I told The Man I would be ordering it often, and he would be picking it up on his way home from work 🙂

Again, I can’t thank Debbie and her staff enough. What a way to make me look like a hero in front of my tribe!

 

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Friend Movement

Sugar Bean and me being interviewed for the Friend Movement.

Sugar Bean and me being interviewed for Friend Movement.

Listen, y’all.

I am so ecstatic I can hardly contain myself. That’s what happens when I am passionate about something. Giggly, gushing, passion….that’s what is brewing up in here. Downright magical, I tell ya!!

Why, you ask? Well, it’s been a little while since I’ve been involved in something bigger than me and my little tribe, that really had potential to make a difference. There was this, but again, it was 2 years ago. And as much as I would have loved to repeat that massive relief effort again for the people of Oklahoma recently, it just wasn’t possible. All my ducks were scattered, and it takes a pond full. No excuse, I know, but at least I’m honest about my abilities, right?

Anyway, I am happy to say, I am once again putting whatever muscle I have  (or can beg, borrow, or steal) behind a very worthy cause. What I’m talking about is FRIEND MOVEMENTan anti-bullying campaign created to help show positive anti-bully images through art and media. Images of people of all ages, race, gender, sexuality, and spirituality that invoke inspiration & conversation. Friend Movement  inspires people to prevent bullying by enabling them to be a better friend.

What could be better than that?!! 

Especially with all the heart-breaking stories of children, tweens, teens…even adults, pushed to their limits under the pressure of bullies of all shapes and sizes, often driving them to commit the unthinkable act of suicide. It has to stop, people. It just has to stop! So I’m trying to help make that happen by raising awareness and letting people know that bullying is NOT okay. It affects people deeply, and the damage words and actions cause once they’ve been unleashed, can rarely–if ever– be completely reversed.

Just ask my Sugar Bean. She was bullied starting in Kindergarten, and continuing until she was in the 3rd grade. So this is an issue that hits not close to home, but at home. And if I can spare any mama out there the heartache I experienced watching my baby come home from school day after day…sobbing…then I want to do just that. Starting with my continued support of this campaign.

The photo/video campaign “The New F Word”  is officially launching in June, and here’s what it’s all about:

FATTY, FAGGOT, FREAK … WE DON’T THINK SO.

HOW ABOUT FRIEND.

The New F Word is a grass-roots photo campaign and documentary film that aims to encourage the use of the word FRIEND to project inner strength and confidence. The concept by Elliot Dal Pra London & Ronnie Kroell was taken to a whole new level when Bianca Kosoy, famed branding creative genius, helped shape the campaign by giving it the edginess for which she is known. Add celebrity photographer and co-creator Ryan Forbes to the mix, and you have quite the creative team; bullying beware.

 I urge you to visit their website, ‘Like’ their Facebook page, Follow them on Twitter, and give if you can. Your support could change the life of someone who desperately needs just a glimmer of positivity to help them down off the ledge and into a place of healing!  

Friend Movement pic

 

That’s all for now, but check back for more information about (and photos from) our shoot with the Friend Movement team! We had such an amazing time, and I can’t wait to share all the details. Oh, and I’ll be hosting a giveaway in association with this fantastic cause as well, so stay tuned 🙂

 

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