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Bridal portrait taken just after the thunderstorm at Houmas House Plantation

“Recalling days of sadness, memories haunt me.  Recalling days of happiness, I haunt my memories.”  ~Robert Brault

My goodness!  Where has the time gone?  It has been too long since I last shared anything with my virtual friends.  I’ve been a very busy girl as we move into 2012.  Teaching, speaking, working, remembering and being interviewed today.

I am coming to the end of a series of workshops this weekend.  It has been wonderful to introduce newbies to Zentangle and we’ll explore color and drawing on canvas this weekend.  My husband and I celebrated after my most recent class with dinner out and have plans to do the same this weekend.

I served as “wingwoman” for my 10-year old grandson on Valentine’s Day.  He wanted to make some good memories for his mom by surprising her for dinner that night.  I picked him up from school and we got busy.  We bought roses (yellow was his choice), a musical card, a stuffed monkey and candy.  Card selection was an experience as I steered him away from “You Sexy Thing” and assorted other inappropriate choices aided by two men in their work clothes looking for the right card for their ladies.  He got all spiffed up, put the cash to pay for dinner in his pocket and was his mom’s surprise blind date.  She told me later he was the best date she ever had – with amazing manners.  Plus, he tactfully scolded the man on his phone at the next table: “You really should put your phone away,  This is supposed to be all about her tonight.”   The man laughed, agreed with him and turned off his phone.  Ah, the boy remembered his coaching and those etiquette lessons from good old Kacki.

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Mother and son on their Valentine's Day date.

In late February, I was approached by the hospital where my family was treated after their accident to speak for their Sudden Impact program. “High school sophomores get a chance to hear from troopers, trauma nurses and victims impacted by unsafe driving. The goal is to prevent kids from driving distracted, impaired or driving without a seat belt”  My story resonated because they all lived because of their seat belts and also illustrates that you can do everything right but still be affected by another’s poor choice.  I have spoken twice with several more dates leading up to prom season.  This was so much more difficult than I anticipated, but worth it if even one kid makes the right choice when faced with a decision.  This has led to my interview today for the hospital’s Wee Believe Magazine.  One more piece of the silver lining from that black cloud in September 2010.  You can read more about that story here.

Finally, last September and October, I promised to share bridal portraits in a Plantation, Pictures and Puddles and Wedding Day dawns.  My friends, I finally have official photos to share.  AND. drumroll please, an incredible teaser for the wedding video. I hope you enjoy sharing a few of our happy memories.

I want to acknowledge the wonderful professionals who helped me pull off a truly perfect wedding day for my daughter and her new husband:

Photography: Chris Genovese Photography

Video: CV Films

Flowers: Fred Heroman (Katrina’s was one of his last weddings, he retired the next week)

Rehearsal Dinner and Reception: Boudreaux’s (Jeanne was a joy to work with)

Groom’s Cake: Amazing Cakes

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“God is in the details.”  Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

This is one of my favorite quotes, first introduced to me in design school.  I often get caught up in details, but believe the extra effort always makes the difference.  We are still waiting for the “official” photos from the wedding, but I thought I would share a few captured by various friends and family along with the details that contributed to an absolutely perfect wedding.

The Zentangle inspired logo I created for the couple became a theme piece used on everything from invitations, to RSVP cards, to favor boxes and the program.  Favor boxes were filled with my homemade caramel and Tiger magnets (again made by me) with the couple’s name and the date.  I was even able to find paper to wrap the caramel that resembled the Mooka background on the logo (I usually use clear cellophane)  My candy wrappers hated the paper because it was difficult to use and hard on the fingers, but everyone agreed it was worth the end result.  Extras were used to fill clear glass serving bowls at the reception.  Lest you think I was the only “artist” contributing to this event, take a look at the Bride’s earrings and her sister’s Bridesmaid necklace.  I have a wonderful friend, Karen Firnberg, who is a very talented bead artist.  She took the belt worn with the wedding dress and designed these fabulous earrings especially for Katrina.  Light as a feather despite the way they look, they were not only gorgeous, but comfortable to wear as well.  Karen also made every bridesmaid necklace, Katrina’s gift to each of them and a big hit.  You can see more of Karen’s artistry on her blog.

Kim and I left the next day for a much-needed vacation – even before the ecstatic couple left for their honeymoon in Jamaica.  We didn’t go anywhere that exotic, but enjoyed every minute we spent in the Branson, Missouri area.  We lucked out and caught the leaves at the peak of their change.  The scenery was stunning.  The people were all so warm and friendly.  This was our first trip to the area but won’t be our last.  We were surprised to meet so many Louisiana folks – they were drawn to my LSU shirts.  I had to show my support since we were gearing up for the big Bama game that week.  This was our de-stress trip after the weeks of wedding prep and for me, the stress of my job change.  I did lots of tangling.  I am near completing nine-tile, prestrung set.  Just two more to go.  Plus a few others.

It’s amazing the difference it makes to commit yourself turning it all off.  I didn’t bring any work or even my work phone with me.  I had a big meeting a couple of days after I got back.  One of my new team mates was in town for the meeting and had been at the training meetings I attended just a couple of days before the wedding.  When I walked in, he told me I looked like I had shed 50 lbs. of stress since the last time he saw me.  I didn’t think it showed and lots of people who knew me better thought I appeared uncommonly calm in those days leading up to the wedding.  All things considered, I was.  But clearly the strain shows.  Yet another reason to keep on tangling – I need all the help I can get as I move further into my 50’s!

“When you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.”  ~Nora Ephron, When Harry Met Sally

Today is our Bride’s wedding day and I thought it appropriate to share the quote they chose for their invitations.  I haven’t been keeping my faithful followers updated very much, but I’ve been just a tiny bit busy.  However, I’ve been storing up some good things to share in the coming weeks. 

We enjoyed a great time last night with friends, old and new family, first at the rehearsal and then at a lovely dinner hosted by the Groom’s parents afterward.  The appetizer to the main event, as his Dad told everyone.  Lots of laughter and “awww” moments during the slide show of memories from baby photos to foolish college days and on to their courtship and engagement.  Wonderful toasts, speeches, little games and skits from their friends.  It was so special to see how many people love and care for these two people.  Our Bride ended the evening with an unscripted tribute to his parents and then to us that brought tears to all of our eyes.  Stay tuned for more and photos, I promise.

“In order to change the world, you have to get your head together first.”  Jimi Hendrix 

Change has been a big part of my life for the past few weeks professionally and personally.  It’s been buzzing around my head like a cloud of pesky gnats.  I need some time and space to get my head together and move forward.  Unfortunately, life and obligation don’t recognize I have some thinking to do.

My company has been working through a massive reorganization on many levels with everyone being assigned new titles with new responsibilities – in some cases it’s a whole new world.  That would be me.  We took several hours discussing the things we needed to “stop doing” and the things we needed to “start doing” during our week-long training for the new process.  As I contemplated these lists, my prevailing thought was: “If I stop doing all that, WHAT will my day look like?  I need to THINK about this for at least a week.”  Out came the stone tiles I had brought along with me.  (FYI: TSA doesn’t much like stone in your carry on)  They were to be gifts for my daughter’s bridal shower.  Each with a different Zentangle design, sealed and cork-backed.  In other words, coaster sets.  Throughout the week, I tangled, listened and internalized it all.  I have to say, this is the first time I have used Zentangle in this way, and it helped me focus.  I was getting distracted by all the commitments that I would have to honor, yet were not part of my new duties, and the need to flip the switch right away.  Tangling helped me put those concerns away and focus on what I needed to hear.  I work for a wonderful company and my boss (luckily I get to keep him) is completely fascinated by Zentangle and understands how I use it.  Plus I gave a few mini-lessons to co-workers – spreading the love around.

Once I got home, personal commitments took over.  I had one day to prep for the bridal shower, but I did it.  It was a wonderful success and we had a great time.  That night, my oldest daughter fainted at work (ER nurse) and knocked herself out for about 15 minutes and dislocated her jaw in the process.  She did scare the wits out of a drunk driver she was giving a lecture about drinking and driving.  Tests are ongoing, but it appears that she is now susceptible to concussion after her injuries from the accident last year.  Add lack of sleep, extreme stress from work that night and dehydration – and there you have it.  Since she isn’t allowed to drive till the last tests are done, I am now driving Miss Daisy.  That’s what she told me earlier this year when I was having trouble with my eyes and not allowed to drive – so turnabout is fair play.  I’ve started working with Linda Allred to stop my procrastination habits – perfect timing.  I need all the focus I can get through the rest of this year.  Wedding plans are taking over and we are in the home stretch.

So here I am.  It’s Friday and my calendar is wonderfully blank.  I have been waiting for this day – a big block of time to think, assimilate and get my head together.  And you can be sure I’ll be tangling away while I do it.

“There is something about a wedding gown prettier than any other gown in the world. ” Douglas Jerrold’s Wit: A Wedding Gown; Douglas Jerrold, 1859.

Today was the big kickoff for the rush to the wedding – bridal portraits.  And what a day it was!  Our Bride absolutely hates to have her plans go awry or to be late for anything.  The demands have been wearing on her for a few weeks now, and what started out on track had begun to derail by early afternoon, leaving her weepy and stressed.

We settled on a late afternoon photo shoot at an incredibly beautiful local plantation – Houmas House.  I had toured the home a few years ago with my granddaughter and the grounds are a photographer’s dream (the photos below were from that visit.)  Things began to slide with her hair and a last-minute change of mind to add some curls.  Her hair is waist length and doesn’t hold a curl very well.  When the stylist began to comb through the curls, the product he used began to flake and had to be plucked out – won’t be doing that on the wedding day.  She is now 30 minutes late for the make-up artist, catching every red light and calling me every few minutes to cry.  The makeup artist – Lauren – was great and she was FAST!  She calmed her down and did an amazing job to get us back on track.  I loaded everything in the car and we had exactly enough time to get there, under normal circumstances.  Just as we turned out of the neighborhood and she is fretting that she didn’t check that everything was in the car herself, the skies went black and the flood began.  The photographer called to say he was in the parking lot, waiting it out and it was much worse there than what we were driving through.  We can’t pull up to the house, I discover my grandson took my umbrella out of my car, and we have a trek to get to the dressing area and then another to get to the house.  I buy an umbrella in the gift shop to hold over her, it’s okay if I get wet, and we start hauling.  The rain gives us a little break when we head to the house and the photographer sits her on a lovely antique settee.  “Katrina, everything you just went through never happened, the sun is shining outside and you look beautiful.”  He was great!  The extra time in the house allowed shots he never took before, tourists from all over the world were peeking around doorways raving over the gorgeous dress and stunning bride.  “Your groom will pass out when he sees you for the first time!”  The docent was in love too, suggesting places for great shots around the house.  We finally made it outside, hiked to the front of the home, spread a sheet to protect the dress (not) and started snapping away.  I feel raindrops and head back to the house to get the umbrella.  As I look back, she is framed by the oak trees with the light shining through her veil, throwing her in silhouette.  It is amazing.  We need to get this one, so I wade into the grass and across the massive lawn shouting to the photographer he needs to frame her from the opposite direction.  He wades out to meet me and agrees, this one HAS to be taken.  I just know this will be a favorite.  The over-cast sky, thunder clouds, wet foliage, slate and ornate wrought iron garden furniture with the oak trees and the soft light shining all around her – stunning! Good call Mom!  Exhausted, sweaty and a picture in contrasts – her still pristine and me looking like a wet, half drowned rodent – we load it all up and head home. We have some great mother-daughter time and memories from this one.  It is a story that will be fun to tell in the future.  I assure her, the post-thunderstorm light was great, the photos will look so serene and perfect – and she can look at them and remember the rain, stress and sweat running down her legs and laugh that the crazy day doesn’t even show.

As we were finishing, a huge group of senior couples arrived for dinner at the home.  They were enchanted to see her standing with her dress in her arms and telling her to take a look at them because they are her future.  I know they were joking, but that future is exactly what I want her and her groom to experience.  A long and love-filled life together – I live that dream every day and it’s wonderful.

I’ve had an interesting week where my past, present and future have jostled around in my thoughts.  My daughter’s upcoming wedding has been at the forefront of my mind as we secured the florist and attempted to give him an idea of what our Bride wanted.  She isn’t as set as you might imagine  Her only hard rule is no red roses.  In fact, she left a very stunned florist as she stood up and announced she had to be back at work having never discussed the church or reception decorations.  “My mom can decide all that, I trust her completely.”  Wow, a lot of responsibility for a woman who isn’t really into all that stuff – but then, neither is our Bride.  This is one more way my girls are different.  Her sister loves all things associated with weddings.  If she ever gets tired of nursing, she could be happy planning weddings for a living.

One thing has been nagging at me as we begin to tackle the small details of this wedding.  I was asked to design the invitations and have most of this done, but nothing so far that was truly unique to the couple.  I had done the artwork for our oldest daughter’s wedding program and they were very specifically designed to fit her.  But, as I said, the girls are very different and nothing has come to mind for her.  Finally, I suggested a wedding logo made up their combined initials to be used on the favors and save the date cards.  Bride and Groom loved the idea and I was off and running.  Of course, the final result is Zentangle inspired.

Ah, but what of weeping guitars?  My husband and I relived our courtship days this weekend.  Would you believe it has been 35 years since Peter Frampton released his platinum album Frampton Comes Alive!  We purchased VIP tickets and drove over three hours in a terrible thunderstorm to attend his concert in Biloxi.  This was our first time to see him live and we were both blown away!  Peter Frampton performed for almost three hours, playing the entire original album and finishing with an incredible version of When My Guitar Gently Weeps that brought the audience to their feet.  What a way to finish the week!

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