On Giants' Shoulders

Friday, August 22, 2008

What Have I Been Doing

This was supposed to be a really productive week. I was supposed to tackle all these cucumbers and make pickles. So how am I doing on that score? Well, after nicking my finger on the mandolin while slicing the first batch of cucumbers and ending up at the walk in clinic for a tetanus shot (but no stitches needed) I managed to get 9 pints made. Then yesterday I managed another 8 pints without the need for band-aids, or shots, or even burn ointment. Of course I still have this pile of ripe cucumbers that I've got to peel, seed, salt, and then process...

Pickling is a series of existential crises (as Ramona would say), even without nicked fingers. I seem to run out of essential ingredients routinely. First it was vinegar, then it was pickling spice, then it was mustard seeds, then the celery seeds that I KNEW I had were nowhere to be found (I found them only AFTER buying a new huge container of them right where my husband left them after making cucumber salad the night of the wedding rehearsal), yesterday it was onions, now I can't make anymore ripe cucumber pickles until I buy more sugar. The first batch of ripe cucumber pickles was accompanied by burned fingers because I couldn't find my jar lifter (which my daughter had borrowed to make jam for gifts for wedding participants). She later told me it was in the trunk of the car (OF COURSE, what a logical place for it!). So the whole pickling experience has had a lot of stop and go to it. That is to say, a lot of stop what you've started and go to the store. Some of the time I've planned ahead, consequently, I bought pickling spice and turmeric at the co-op where it was cheap. Some of the time I've been caught off guard and had to shop at our local store where things are more expensive.

Today, in addition to buying more sugar, I've got to go back to the dark and dingy (ok, I'll be honest - the totally trashed) basement to see if I have more canning jars. If I don't I've got to buy more jars before I do more pickles. I suspect that I'm nearly out of pint jars, and I'm pretty sure I'm out of jar rings, so I'm probably going to have to go buy rings, lids, and jars as well as sugar.

I began the week trying to de-clutter and clean the house as well as embarking on the pickle making project. I actually made some progress last week, but then my son came back from the fair and all the surfaces that had wedding debris removed from them now have fair debris on them instead. I must move the Peace Lily out of the living room (and it's a HUGE plant) because we suspect that's what's causing our NEW son to sneeze up a storm whenever he's in that room. I also need to vacuum the drapes, upholstery, and floor, and spray some anti-allergen spray around. Today is also the day that the water and sewer bills are due, which means a trip to the town offices.

I feel like this has been a week where I've been busy all week, will be busy all day, and will have very little to show for it. No matter how hard I try, I will not have a sparkling clean house this evening. I will likely not have a gourmet meal for the newly weds. I will only have 17 jars of pickles done because the other pickles are at least a two day process and I'm not at all sure I'll manage to get the two hours of peeling and seeding accomplished this afternoon. I probably won't manage to get to confession again this week. And you dear readers will get nothing more from me than one existential crisis after another...

Thursday, August 14, 2008

We have MORE Pictures

For all of you who've been following the wedding saga, the photos are now available for viewing online. They're at Team Yu Photo Blog. If you click on weddings on the links on the side it's the first of the 18 weddings posted. If you can't figure out the password e-mail me and I can give it to people I'm familiar with, I'm not sending it out to the entire blogsphere.

The honeymooning couple is back to normal life starting today (as in the bride is back in her office and the groom is back to job hunting). We had a nice afternoon and evening with them on Tuesday. They did miss out on a family adventure yesterday. We headed off to Orleans County Fair with the sheep. By the time we got to Berlin my son's car's exhaust system had a hole in it, then by Hardwick his brake cylinder was seizing up. We abandoned his car, got him and his gear (and the sheep to the fair) then proceeded to find a garage just two miles from where the car was, got the car to the garage, arranged for them to do repairs today, and came home. Now we're going to have to make an extra trip in order to get the car to him, but fortunately there was a garage close by that was still open at 6 in the evening. However, what would a long trip with the sheep be without some sort of adventure attached to it? It evidently wouldn't be a normal long trip with the sheep for our family. We knew things were going too smoothly...

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Sometimes Dreams Really Do Come True

The wedding was beautiful. The bride was gorgeous, an absolute vision who just kept getting prettier as the day went on (I know that's the mother of the bride speaking, but it's really true!). The groom was handsome and clearly besotted with her. The ceremony was just right. Father La Valley's homily was as incredible as I expected. The Mass was beautiful celebrated. The father of the bride was handsome in his tux and the mother of the bride didn't look too bad either (one friend of Abby's who hadn't seen me in years actually didn't recognize me when I came in, he thought I was Abby's aunt because I looked something like Abby's mom, but clearly wasn't her !). The reception went fantastically well and everyone had a good time. The brother of the bride and one groomsman managed to decorate the car and throw a little rice on the couple (very illicit of course). Now they are off on what will hopefully be a lovely honeymoon.

During Mass I realized that at this wedding Jesus was there, not only in spirit, but there Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. I'd never been to a wedding before where that was the case. To have this wedding celebrated in the midst of the Eucharist was just so just plain RIGHT! I've been praying for them after communion for a very long time, they've been among the requests I offered up at the Consecration for a very long time. It just was so incredibly wonderful to be celebrating Communion in the midst of answered prayers. I feel like I'm not beginning to express the incredible joy of the moment.

Oh, and God cooperated very nicely in his distribution of weather. There was nary a drop of rain until the middle of the reception and it had stopped again when everyone was leaving. After everything was all over and we had the wedding gown safely back in the house (from where I have to take it to the cleaners), it started to pour. However, by that time the young couple were safely at their evening destination. So the day was truly perfect, perfect setting for pictures, perfect weather for in and out of the church.

Of course their were minor glitches, the flowers got deposited in a place in the church where the groomsmen didn't know they were, so they didn't get their flowers on until the last minute, ring bearer was temporarily AWOL right before the procession headed down the aisle (the flower girl found him), the organist goofed on part of the responsorial psalm, but these were very minor, minor glitches. All of the major stuff went incredibly well and it truly was the wedding of my daughter's dreams. Now we need to continue to support them with our prayers.

I walked around all day with an "stupid" smile on my face. The father of the bride was clearly pleased as well (he even danced 3 times, which was totally unprecedented).I don't think I've had any day in my life that was any happier. My own wedding day and the days my children were born are the only ones in same category. I guess that's appropriately so because after all yesterday I became mom to a new son.

So Cinderella has taken off the beautiful gown, I'm sure the just married sign is washed off the car. I've shampooed the hairspray out of my hair and am back to looking just normal again. The ball is over and we're back to normal life. There's wedding debris all around the house and still one set of guests to entertain, but clearly it's a new phase in life. Now if I can just get my daughter's cell phone to her (it got left in my jeans pocket after the hair salon yesterday)...I guess there's at least one more mommy errand on the list, so maybe the new phase won't be all that incredibly different (from some perspectives anyway).

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Wedding Bells are Ringing

Well here it is nearly 4:30 in the morning. I can't get back to sleep. The rehearsal went off with only a couple of hitches (mostly to do with the sound system -hopefully the organist will understand the mikes better than I did last night). The rehearsal dinner was relaxed and fun. The maid of honor's dress fits (WHEW!!!). Nearly everything on my to do list got done (I'm going to just live with the scratchy jacket, I guess because I don't think I can make my nervous fingers sew right now).

At this point as long as we don't leave something crucial at home and the rain holds off until at least after we get to the church, I think we're in good shape. The bride was cool as a cucumber. The MOB managed to not panic too badly when things weren't where they were supposed to be last night, although I must admit to having prayed an incredibly frantic prayer to St. Anthony.

Watching my husband escort my daughter down the aisle at the rehearsal brought everything into very sharp focus. This is the real deal. This is not simply a fantasy. We really are having an honest to goodness wedding. We really are watching two families unite. Dreams sometimes really do come true. As the deacon went over the vows last night I realized once again the seriousness with which the Church takes marriage. Perhaps not everyone pays attention, but it's not just for better for worse, although that's there too. It's the promise to be open to children and to raise them in the faith. I've never heard those words at any Protestant wedding I ever went attended. It's the question, "do you come here freely and of your own accord." I never heard those words at a Protestant wedding either. This is marriage taken incredibly seriously. Even though they'd already been through Engaged Encounter and a series of questions with the priest who will be conducting the wedding, there was yet another series of questions of them before the rehearsal last night. I'm so glad to see the very care the Church takes as a couple approaches the Sacrament of Matrimony because this is the way it's supposed to be. It's supposed to be a big deal. Becoming one flesh is a life altering event. Sometimes the party aspect overshadows the significance. Thankfully the Church brings things into sharp focus (at least for those who are willing to pay attention) and makes it clear that while there's plenty of time for celebration, and a party afterwards is very appropriate, that this event is sacred and hence celebrated in the midst of Mass. God is supposed to be at the center of Christian marriages, and that's what happens at a Catholic wedding. The musicians are at the side, not front and center, music is ancillary not central. The celebration of the Eucharist, the nuptial blessing, all make it very clear that this is Christian marriage we're looking at.

When my daughter became Catholic I knew I wanted her to marry a convert. God has a marvelous sense of humor because while Jim was brought up Protestant, he was baptized as a Catholic as a baby. So technically he's a cradle Catholic. In actual practice he's been Catholic for half the time of my daughter. All I care about is that he's an incredibly faithful Catholic now and he loves and cherishes my daughter.

So, soon it will be off to the hairdresser, then make a quick stop for flowers for the flower girl's basket, to the bride's maid's motel room to get dressed and then to the church.

It's really and truly my daughter's wedding day. I really and truly am getting a brand new son. This is a very BIG milestone in all of our lives. Thanks be to God!