Sunday, September 17, 2006

Grade day:

I often bring work home with me to do over the weekend and then spend the weekend figuring out how I can make time to get the at home work done at the office. That’s not going to work this weekend as I have midterms due and a hard deadline for a large stack of work. For me grading is the worst part of teaching, it’s the playing the umpire more than the coach. I’m not going to complain too much because I know the positives. The plus side of grading individual work is that I am able to begin to focus on the strengths and weaknesses of each individual student while at the same time getting solid feedback on what I’ve been able to communicate as an instructor. It’s not just “what aren’t they learning”, it’s also “what do I need to teach more effectively”.

I am getting married in a week. I can answer the ubiquitous questions for you up front. No, I am not nervous. Yes, I am excited. The final preparations seem to be as well in hand as these things ever are.

One of our bridesmaids, Karen, has been trapped in Israel. She is an Israeli citizen who has been living mostly in the United Sates for the last few years. She went home to attend another wedding just a short time ago and now they won’t readmit her to the U.S. until her fellowship starts later this fall. We had been hoping for some eleventh hour visa breakthrough, as Karen has some academic cred which can translate into string pulling power, but we’ve finally had to punt. Tempe has agreed to step in for her, but then there is the issue of the dress. Karen’s dress, while here, does not fit Tempe and so the girls will spend today in hunter gatherer mode, roaming the vast fields of St. Louis dress makers to find something that works with both our scheme and her complexion.

The florist forgot to place our order. She lost it and confused us with another client. When the confirmation visit was made she was most apologetic, gave us a deep discount and guaranteed delivery. Our family DJ is having trouble tracking down some amps, but we have several team members working on that one. We are starting with a band, so the DJ is B team anyway. Our rowdier guests want to know where we are going after the wedding. We can stay at Bevo after our four hours are up as long as we have music – until one a.m. - thus the need for a DJ. I have vague memories of club hopping in downtown Santa Barbara after my Brother Andy’s wedding, but the newlyweds weren’t with us. I think we’ll just have to play that one by ear. It can be a little challenging to navigate what is traditionally done and what you need to do given that we don’t see the majority of our guests that often.

Another question I’ve been getting is, “Why is there so much time between the wedding and reception?” The short answer is: to do the church and the reception hall that we wanted the times we are starting things are what was available when we booked. Apparently couples are encouraged to plan their weddings ten years in advance to ensure availability. If that sounds a little terse, it’s because the whole wedding industry is based on what Jes calls the need to “under-promise and over-deliver”. The sham of all the false anxiety triggers, and their linkages to price points, can get a bit tiresome. Anyway, the time between events gives us the chance to go to the Botanical Gardens for pictures and spend some additional time with rarely seen family. We will also be allowed to relax a little bit and enjoy the day.

I spent some of yesterday helping Jes’ stepfather do some last minute landscaping. We took thirty-three bags of left over white rock for the Zen garden back to Kirkwood Landscaping to exchange them for ten bags of Arizona Sunset river rock and several bags of coco husk mulch. The coco husk mulch goes on brown and then turns dark black when you water it. The front yard of the house and the back of Jes’ truck both smell like expensive candy bars from the powder in the husks.

We are planning to have the rehearsal dinner in their backyard, but the long range forecast is suggesting that we may need to be inside. Should we get rained out we are going to require the guests to step out in the rain and admire the garden briefly before we will feed them. I suppose it’s a good thing we decided against the outdoor wedding. Originally we were planning to get married at the Missouri Botanical Gardens, but we didn’t like their exclusive contact caterer. We also considered the Lemp Mansion Gazebo for the reception, but the weather was also a factor; that, and the noise from nearby Hwy 55.

Well, that’s it from this end as we get closer to the nuptials I imagine the posting will be infrequent. I hope you’re all well.


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