TBT Lesson #62

In April family and friends gathered in Virginia for the Johnson Miller wedding, but this was not the first Johnson Miller wedding in our family. Eighty-five years earlier, my grandmother, a Johnson, married my grandfather, a Miller.

In 1980, five years before my nephew’s birth (the most recent Miller to marry) my grandparents celebrated their 50th anniversary.


TBT Lesson #62: Celebrate marriage, at both weddings and anniversaries.



Post a Picture of Mom

In anticipation of Mother’s Day next Sunday, Macy’s will donate $3 to five charities for every Throwback picture posted of Mom on Instagram, Twitter or Tumblr using #MacysLovesMoms through Mother’s Day, May 10th.

Pictures can be posted any day of the week, not just on the traditional Throwback Thursday and donations will be made to Futures Without Violence®, Go Red for Women®, Make-a-Wish®, Reading is Fundamental and my favorite, National Park Foundation.

So it’s time to get busy locating your best photos of your Mom to share Monday Memories, Throwback Thursday, Flashback Friday as well as every other day of the week.

I need to get busy looking for more of these old throwback pictures to post all week.

You have 24 new matches!

On August 11th, (one week after my 35th anniversary) I received the following email:

Congratulations! You’ve joined the most dynamic group of singles out there. We’re responsible for more dates, relationships and marriages than any other site. Period.

It seems a woman with a similar name, born in 1961, and living in Oregon has registered with Match.com; and despite the fact that we do NOT share the same email address. I’m receiving her email from Match…how can that happen? and does she or someone else receive any of my email?

I chuckled and pressed delete.

Then later that evening I received another email with the subject line: Your first matches ready to view! Twenty-four matches, eight labeled “premium” matches and an additional sixteen, with pictures, user names, ages, and links to profiles. Again, I laughed and deleted.

On August 12th my inbox included: 24 new matches…more pictures and profiles. This time I emailed Match.com to let them know they were sending me matches intended for Dee45sd and asked them to please correct the problem.

So far, no luck! Twenty-four more matches on the 13th, 14th, 15th, and every day since.

While I’m not interested in finding a “match”, I have enjoyed the user names:

  • prize
  • dragondon
  • souljourney
  • mudman
  • gqueen
  • awesomeart
  • raiderdude
  • ironhead
  • jackofheart
  • aceofspades

There’s even one guy who’s pictured twice with two different user names…got to wonder just how desperate he must be to get a date!

To the people at Match: I am not interested! I found my match in 1977 and he’s a keeper!


TBT: Lesson #12

No fancy wedding picture, but 35 years later, we’re as happy today as on our wedding day.

August 4, 1979 - Celebrating 35 years on Monday!
August 4, 1979 – Celebrating 35 years on Monday!

What were we thinking…getting married so young! Fortunately, my mother married at age 18 and John’s mother was 19 when she walked down the aisle, so at 20 no one questioned the wisdom of marrying my sweetheart of over two years.

According to experts, twenty-five is the earliest age for making a marriage that will last, but we’re proof that’s not always the case. Common goals, support of friends and family, and being content with one another when running errands, doing chores, or just hanging out experiencing the mundane moments of life serve as better tests of compatibility than age.

TBT Lesson #12: There are no rules as to when someone should marry. Too young, too old, too poor, too busy. When it’s the right person, none of those things matter.

How I Met Your Mother (Father)

The final year of the series How I Met Your Mother aired last Monday. There aren’t many television programs I regularly watch, but this is one I look forward to watching every week. After following Ted’s story of meeting his wife for years, I was anxious to meet the mother.

Since the show is based on Ted’s telling his children how he met their mother, I thought I’d relay the story of how I met your father. It’s not a nine year story like this program, and while I’m sure you’ve heard parts of it, I thought it should be recorded for posterity.

John and I were both students in Dr. Theta Purdue’s American History class at Western Carolina University during the winter quarter in 1977. Dr. Purdue started each Monday morning class with a five question quiz that had a significant impact on the students’ final grade.

One Wednesday in February, Dr. Purdue returned the quiz from the previous Monday to the protests of John and another student, Audrey, who sat next to him. They tried to convince the good professor that they should get credit for their response to question #3. She looked at their papers and said if they could spell the answer…Thoreau…correctly before the tardy bell rang she’d give them credit.

For the next several minutes the two of them shouted out combinations of letters in attempt to earn the extra points on the quiz. T-h-r-o, T-h-a-r-o-w, T-h-a-r-o. Dr. Purdue just smiled and shook her head no as she greeted other students entering the room.

Finally, I decided to show some mercy. I leaned forward and whispered to John, T-h-o-r-e-a-u. His response, “Say that again so I can write it down.”

T-h-o-r-e-a-u. In unison, he and Audrey correctly spelled the answer and true to her word, Dr. Purdue added points to their score.

During class John started speaking to the girl who could spell. I’m not sure how things would have worked out if I misspelled Thoreau or if he had been able to spell Henry David’s last name on his own. But in any case, we were brought together by a 19th century transcendentalist, poet, author, philosopher, and naturalist. Not exactly Match.com.

Of course, this is my version of how I met your father; if you want to get the other side of the story, feel free; but remember, it may be a long, drawn out story with twists and turns along the way much like the one Ted’s been sharing with this children for the last nine seasons.

Marriage Insurance

You may have heard that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. Fortunately, that’s not the only way.IMG_1314

I’m quite sure that the way to John’s heart was my ability to back a boat trailer. Not long after we started dating, John asked me to drive the trailer to his Hobie cat to the boat ramp at Johnson’s Beach so he could take the boat out of the water. I’d never driven a vehicle with a trailer but jumped in his Toyota pickup truck without any hesitation. However, panic set in when I passed the road to the boat ramp. When I arrived at the ramp a few minutes later I felt like I deserved a gold star for this major accomplishment. Of course, I acted as if it were no big deal.

I’m so glad I paid attention in driver’s ed the day Coach Morris spent on driving with a trailer and backing. I remember wondering why he was spending so much time teaching something I’d never use. His advice:

  • Get the trailer straight behind the vehicle before you start backing.
  • Put your right arm on the seat and look out the back window to guide your movement.
  • Remember that when looking out the back window, you will turn the steering wheel the opposite direction you want the trailer to move.
  • Finally, if you’re backing in a crazy S pattern, stop. Pull forward. Get the trailer lined up behind the vehicle and start over.

Despite the fact we never practiced pulling a trailer in class, I somehow internalized the directions. I’m not fast backing down the boat ramp, but I believe slow and steady not only wins the race but backs the trailer successfully.

Over the years John has depended on my trailer driving and backing skills…a great form of marriage insurance!


Happy Birthday, Dad!

Yesterday, April 13, was my Dad’s birthday so it seems like a good time to recognize the fact that not only mother’s dish out advice. In my case, my Dad’s advice doesn’t come so much through his words as his actions. Here’s some of the things I’ve learned from my Dad:

Even though his wallet or cell phone contains pictures of fish instead of his wife, children, grandchildren, or great-grandchildren; his family is number one. He’s there to celebrate good times or protect in hard times, just don’t expect to get your picture in one of his books if you don’t catch a fish.

Caught 4/11/13.  11lbs. 8 oz.
Caught 4/11/13.
11lbs. 8 oz.

Make time for fun. Hard work is only worthwhile if there’s time to enjoy the fruits of your labors. Go on vacations. Visit theme parks. Play games…all kinds of games. Go fishing. Tell jokes. Laugh.

Invest in a good grill and make sure you learn how to use it (or marry someone who can). Food from the grill is an essential ingredient in family fun.

Happy Birthday, Dad and thanks for the lessons on family, fun, food, and fish.


What’s a Mother to Do

We’re one month closer to the November wedding date. So what’s happened since January…not as much as I’d hoped. I was able to find someone who can make a wedding dress so that was a major step in the right direction, but other than that, it’s mostly been discussions with Emily. Now don’t get me wrong, that’s essential…just still don’t have much nailed down.

Emily got some disappointing news that one of the caterers she was hoping to use will be closing his business so he won’t be available in November. She still has a couple of other options but needs to contact them to get menu suggestions and prices. I think floral decisions have been made for decor and while we’ve discussed ideas about bouquets, we still need to finalize plans with a florist…narrowed down to two choices.

According to the timeline, it’s time to look at invitations and stationery. I need to check with Emily, but I’m pretty sure this has been done. She’s planning to design the invitations and has a rough draft of the design as well as an estimate for the cost of printing. I know this sounds risky to design your own, but since she designed the invitations, response cards, and thank you notes for Meghan’s wedding, I’m sure she can do it for her own. It’s time to finish the design so they can be sent to a printer, especially if she plans to send save-the-date cards.

Also on the to do list…decide on music. Are we looking for a band? a DJ? What’s the plan for music for the service as well as at the reception. If we use a non-traditional venue what type of sound system will be required? I know Emily and Brian have several friends with music connections so it’s time to put those connections to work.

Nine months. Still plenty of time. (John and I did all of this in two months…nine is an eternity!) But I’ll feel better when a few more items are finalized.

Paid Thank You Notes?

In my search for wedding invitation information I discovered many websites offering services to address invitations. Of course, many of them offered calligraphy services, but others “ink jet calligraphy” which provide computer-addressed envelopes. In fact, most of those providing invitation-addressing services use computers. However, it’s good to see there are individuals that still address invitations the old-fashioned way – by hand.

I was surprised that calligraphy is not necessarily a requirement for these hand written addressing services. Some simply offer to address your invitations using easy to read, cursive, or printing styles done by hand. You can hire someone to address invitations, save the date cards, and place cards for your wedding. They also address Christmas cards, graduation announcements, other types of invitations, and anything else that needs that personal touch. (Am I the only person who recognizes a person’s handwriting?)

The service offered that I found disturbing: writing thank you notes. Two types of services are provided for writing those “dreaded thank you notes” (their words, not mine). The client can type the message, which will be transcribed on cards so a handwritten note can be sent – I guess that’s not too bad. However, you can also pay someone to write the note from scratch – just include the name, address of the person to receive the thank you, and the gift given. The thank you note will be written, addressed, and mailed by your proxy. Have we really gotten to the point where we can’t thank those who give gifts or attend our wedding and special events?

A paid thank you note? I’d prefer your not so beautiful handwriting or even a typed message. Thank you.

What’s a Mother to Do?

It’s time to plan another wedding. On October 15, 2011, daughter #1 (first born, not favorite) married after a yearlong engagement. A year of planning, meeting with vendors, making decisions about location, guest lists, and wedding dress selection.

First mother of the bride experience - October 15, 2011.
First mother of the bride experience – October 15, 2011.

Now daughter #2 (second born) has set her wedding date for November of this year so it’s time to begin the serious business of planning another fall wedding. In fact, the wedding is ten months from today so what’s a mother to do?

The date’s been set, members of the bridal party have been selected, and we’ve discussed a budget and general ideas about location, style, and guests. Ideas for a wedding dress, bridesmaid dresses, and attire for the groomsmen have been collected and shared. I’ve set up an Evernote file to store any and all notes regarding wedding plans so I can access information not only from my computer but even from my phone. It’s always with me.  I wish I had known about this system for storing notes when planning the first wedding.

Our goals for the month: nail down a venue, arrange a time to look for a dress, and interview caterers. My job – insure that we stay on schedule. Offer to make calls or meet with vendors; but without pushing my ideas or nagging. I’m ready, willing, and able to be a partner in the planning process; but I’m also happy taking the back seat. After all, this is not my wedding.

Good news! The officiant and photographer have been selected! Two important items checked off the to do list, and best of all, I’m not a rookie. I’ve done this once. I’m sure I can do it again. I’m looking forward to another year of wedding planning.