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(if this looks familiar, it’s because I post a version of it every year)


It was 22 years ago today that Douglas Stormer married MontiLee Points in Las Vegas, Nevada.


You’d never believe Las Vegas Blvd was roaring behind the photographer

We had saved up our money for over a year, planned two and a half days on the train, three days in Vegas and one week in Santa Rosa, CA. We had our license, our chapel, my mom.


My dress never arrived, but this is Vegas and you can get anything. We rented our spiffy outfits from San Francisco Sally’s, a wedding rental joint on LVB. For one day (and $175.00), I got to be a princess.


The dry-cleaner accidentally sent my dress to Detroit, ME (who knew, right?), which resulted in me renting this little number

Inside the chapel reception area, there was another couple a tall, leggy Blonde with a shorter, balding gentleman. We all exchanged nervous, embarrassed looks. She wore a white mini-dress, that was summery without being slutty and she gushed over my gown. I said she looked nice too, and she told me that this was all so sudden for her, but sometimes you just know when it’s right. I nodded. She said she couldn’t stop throwing up, she was so excited. I took a small step back. There was a $500.00 deductible on the dress that I couldn’t afford to pay should something happen to it.


There were flowers waiting for us from Doug’s brother Jere. It was like his family was there with us, too.


When we arrived, we were ushered into the back area to prepare – my dress, my shoes, my veil, my mom. It was like my prom all over again – new underwear, new stockings, a garter that matched the dress that neglected to follow us from Detroit but would work okay with this one. My mom helped me get zipped and primped, pinned the veil in place, and cried a little. That got me started and we were bawling before we made it to the chapel doors.


I still have what’s left of those roses in a box in the garage.

There is always that moment before the service, when you seriously begin to think about what you’re about to do. What if this isn’t the one? What if I can’t live up to what he needs? What if…? What if…? Then the music starts and all you can think of is putting one foot in front of the other, and


goodness was it always this warm in here …

that arrangement looks like we just won the Belmont Stakes …

if every man would wear a tux every day, dating would become obsolete …

the earth is spinning without me …


getting down the aisle without tripping on the dress. The event was being videotaped, so whatever stupid move I pulled would be recorded forever and ever, played back for family and friends and blackmailers for eternity.


Doug whispered to me, “Don’t cry – we’re happy,” and we were. We are. As the manly men on the TV say after big wins in sports, “our eyes were moist.”


We looked and felt like kids playing dress up
We looked and felt like kids playing dress up

I made it down the aisle without tripping or throwing up or passing out. Mom gave me away, witnessing her eldest daughter’s wedding. The minister made my name sound exotic, and I had never been so happy to be saddled with it. There could be no other name that rolled off his tongue like warm honey.


Only good looking people are allowed in my family

We did it. Said our “I Do’s” witnessed before my mom and the minister, and whichever god wasn’t dozing in the warm April sun.


Afterwards there were pictures, and the photographer complained (half-heartedly) non-stop about my train. Us girls and our trains were going to be the death of him, he said.


Never has a Hummel figurine been more adorable

Because everything is a gimmick in Vegas, as thanks for choosing the Silver Bell Wedding Chapel in Las Vegas Nevada (**see note below), we were given two etched champagne flutes – one says Bride and one says Groom – and a chilled bottle of Champagne. We still drink from them every year.


The chapel sent the negatives of our photos a year later, claiming that there was a storage issue and we could either keep them or toss them. I’m glad we kept the proofs because they only managed to send us the negatives of 7 of our photos – the other 5 are of the couple married behind us.


I hope they are as happy as we are.


Somewhere someone has the 11×15 of this

We’ve now been married longer than most people I know, including my parents.


The Stormer Ark of the Covenant - holder of the VHS record of Happy Weeps
The Stormer Ark of the Covenant – holder of the VHS record of Happy Weeps

The last twenty-two years haven’t been a completely ant-free picnic, and lord knows there are days where it just doesn’t seem worth it.  You get complacent as time goes on, take things for granted, and you can forget that the person spiritually bound to your ring is a human being with dreams and fears and hangups that are going to drive you crazy. Sometimes, it feels harder than it should be. Marriage is compromise. It’s also saying yes, because it makes the other happy, and saying no, especially when it breaks your heart to do it.


This union isn’t perfect, but it wasn’t meant to be, because perfection is complacency, and I appreciate something more when I have to work for it. I may not always like the work, but the rewards like a smile or a laugh or a soft sigh more than make up for the callouses.


We take it day by day and appreciate everything we’re given, because not everyone is as fortunate. Love is loss and sorrow and saying hello to a face that has shown you tears and smiles and anger and joy and fear, and being certain the day you’d have to say that final goodbye would break you into a million pieces.


1000879_10201689411187631_713506854_n
Taken at the
Christie 20th Wedding Anniversary Party
Cliff Bells, Detroit, 2013
Photo Credit: Kristi Pietryka

Incidents of War Merging our two passions - The Civil War for him, and great photos of me for me Photo taken at Gibson's Photographic Gallery, Gettysburg, PA
Incidents of War
Merging our two passions – The Civil War for him, and great photos of me. 
Photo taken at Gibson’s Photographic Gallery, Gettysburg, PA

Tiger Games are becoming an Anniversary tradition. It's chilly, but still fun.
Tiger Games are becoming an Anniversary tradition. It’s chilly, but still fun.

Getting his den Dekker Negro League hat signed took road trips to Toledo, but we got it done.

**In 2002, the Silver Bell Wedding Chapel burned to the ground. It has since reopened under new Ownership as the Mon Bel Ami, and we’d like to make it out there one of these years and do it all over again. I looked at the wedding packages and our package (now with silk flowers) costs the same $250 as is did 20 years ago. If I want the real flowers, it’s only $50.00 more.  We’ll probably make serious plans.


Twenty-two years, and counting…


Not us, but we’re still getting it done.





Last night at the theater before walking into see WONDER WOMAN, I’m ordering drinks at the bar for me and my sister. A wee little man with something to prove (maybe that he was short and needed validation, I dunno) walks up. He asks about the Coco Banana. My sister holds up her drink and says it’s not too sweet. He tells the bartender (who’s still making my drink with two more pints on deck) to make him one. He picks up his popcorn and tells *me* “Order me one of those, I’m getting more popcorn.”



 



You already know what I’m thinking.

could you not



 



He walks away and I mutter, “What am I, your fucking maid?” My sister heard it, chick at the bar heard it, and for a few minutes we wondered aloud about the size of this guys balls and who exactly he thought he was. Ego? Entitlement? I mentioned that I should go ahead and order his drink, and then put our drinks on his tab. I am enthuisiastically encouraged by the women around me. We hunt for overinflated egos in cooperative packs.


I chose instead to “forget” his order and pay for just the two drinks. I’m gathering up my own popcorn, Icee, and the mixed beverage (Rocket, if you’re curious), when the wee little man wanders back. “There was something else I was supposed to be doing, but damned if I can remember what it is” I mutter (which I now realize isn’t as quiet as I think it is), and head into the theater. I didn’t look back, but I could hear the other woman at the bar laughing.



 



PRO TIP: When flirting conversationally, try not to make demands of women you don’t know. It’s not cute, it’s not “take charge,” and we’re all laughing at you.

all of the fucks




By the way, if you’re on the fence about Wonder Woman (in theters June 2, 2017), check out my review over at FilmObsession.com, and then let me know what you thought of it.





Hunt A Killer Box #2 – Unboxing


About a month ago I joined the Hunt a Killer subscription service, not because I had any illusion I was Clarice Starling or Sarah Linden or even Trixie Belden. But I enjoy puzzles and I enjoy figuring stuff out and I realy enjoy weirdos writing cryptic messages to me.


I don’t really enjoy that last part so, you know … don’t.


Last month, in conjunction with Film Obsession, I started doing live unboxings of my Hunt A Killer service, and it’s going well. These are a lot of fun. and if my videos encourage you to pick up a subscription service of your own, please use my referral code for 10% off your first box!



What are your favorite subscription services?


Use this Referral Code for 10% your first box! https://huntakiller.cratejoy.com/refer/Monti-CZOOPDQX


Follow along with the movie reviews, giveaways, and fun athttp://filmobsession.com/author/mstormer/


(Disclaimer – I pay for all of my subscription services out of my own pocket I’m not endorsed for my enthusiasm or my time.)





(if this looks familiar, it’s because I post a version of it every year)


It was 21 years ago today that Douglas Stormer married MontiLee Points in Las Vegas, Nevada.


You’d never believe Las Vegas Blvd was roaring behind the photographer

We had saved up our money for over a year, planned two and a half days on the train, three days in Vegas and one week in Santa Rosa, CA. We had our license, our chapel, my mom.


My dress never arrived, but this is Vegas and you can get anything. We rented our spiffy outfits from San Francisco Sally’s, a wedding rental joint on LVB. For one day (and $175.00), I got to be a princess.


The dry-cleaner accidentally sent my dress to Detroit, ME (who knew, right?), which resulted in me renting this little number

Inside the chapel reception area, there was another couple a tall, leggy Blonde with a shorter, balding gentleman. We all exchanged nervous, embarrassed looks. She wore a white mini-dress, that was summery without being slutty and she gushed over my gown. I said she looked nice too, and she told me that this was all so sudden for her, but sometimes you just know when it’s right. I nodded. She said she couldn’t stop throwing up, she was so excited. I took a small step back. There was a $500.00 deductible on the dress that I couldn’t afford to pay should something happen to it.


There were flowers waiting for us from Doug’s brother Jere. It was like his family was there with us, too.


When we arrived, we were ushered into the back area to prepare – my dress, my shoes, my veil, my mom. It was like my prom all over again – new underwear, new stockings, a garter that matched the dress that neglected to follow us from Detroit but would work okay with this one. My mom helped me get zipped and primped, pinned the veil in place, and cried a little. That got me started and we were bawling before we made it to the chapel doors.


I still have what’s left of those roses in a box in the garage.

There is always that moment before the service, when you serious begin to think about what you’re about to do. What if this isn’t the one? What if I can’t live up to what he needs? What if…? What if…? Then the music starts and all you can think of is putting one foot in front of the other, and


goodness was it always this warm in here …

that arrangement looks like we just won the Belmont Stakes …

if every man would wear a tux every day, dating would become obsolete …

the earth is spinning without me …


getting down the aisle without tripping on the dress. The event was being video taped, so whatever stupid move I pulled would be recorded forever and ever, played back for family and friends and blackmailers for eternity.


Doug whispered to me, “Don’t cry – we’re happy,” and we were. We are. As the manly men on the TV say after big wins in sports, “our eyes were moist.”


We looked and felt like kids playing dress up
We looked and felt like kids playing dress up

I made it down the aisle without tripping or throwing up or passing out. Mom gave me away, witnessing her eldest daughter’s wedding. The minister made my name sound exotic, and I had never been so happy to be saddled with it. There could be no other name that rolled off his tongue like warm honey.


Only good looking people are allowed in my family

We did it. Said our “I Do’s” witnessed before my mom and the minister, and whichever god wasn’t dozing in the warm April sun.


Afterwards there were pictures, and the photographer complained (half-heartedly) non-stop about my train. Us girls and our trains were going to be the death of him, he said.


Never has a Hummel figurine been more adorable

Because everything is a gimmick in Vegas, as thanks for choosing the Silver Bell Wedding Chapel in Las Vegas Nevada (**see note below), we were given two etched champagne flutes – one says Bride and one says Groom – and a chilled bottle of Champagne. We still drink from them every year.


The chapel sent the negatives of our photos a year later, claiming that there was a storage issue and we could either keep them or toss them. I’m glad we kept the proofs because they only managed to send us the negatives of 7 of our photos – the other 5 are of the couple married behind us.


I hope they are as happy as we are.


Somewhere someone has the 11×15 of this

We’ve now been married longer than most people I know, including my parents.


The Stormer Ark of the Covenant - holder of the VHS record of Happy Weeps
The Stormer Ark of the Covenant – holder of the VHS record of Happy Weeps

The last twenty-one years haven’t been a completely ant-free picnic, and lord knows there are days where it just doesn’t seem worth it.  You get complacent as time goes on, take things for granted, and you can forget that the person spiritually bound to your ring is a human being with dreams and fears and hangups that are going to drive you crazy. Sometimes, it feels harder than it should be. Marriage is compromise. It’s also saying yes, because it makes the other happy, and saying no, especially when it breaks your heart to do it.


This union isn’t perfect, but it wasn’t meant to be, because perfection is complacency, and I appreciate something more when I have to work for it. I may not always like the work, but the rewards like a smile or a laugh or a soft sigh more than make up for the callouses.


We take it day by day and appreciate everything we’re given, because not everyone is as fortunate. Love is loss and sorrow and saying hello to a face that has shown you tears and smiles and anger and joy and fear, and being certain the day you’d have to say that final goodbye would break you  into a million pieces.


1000879_10201689411187631_713506854_n
Taken at the
Christie 20th Wedding Anniversary Party
Cliff Bells, Detroit, 2013
Photo Credit: Kristi Pietryka

Incidents of War Merging our two passions - The Civil War for him, and great photos of me for me Photo taken at Gibson's Photographic Gallery, Gettysburg, PA
Incidents of War
Merging our two passions – The Civil War for him, and great photos of me. 
Photo taken at Gibson’s Photographic Gallery, Gettysburg, PA

Tiger Games are becoming an Anniversary tradition. It's chilly, but still fun.
Tiger Games are becoming an Anniversary tradition. It’s chilly, but still fun.

**In 2002, the Silver Bell Wedding Chapel burned to the ground. It has since reopened under new Ownership as the Mon Bel Ami, and we’d like to make it out there one of these years and do it all over again. I looked at the wedding packages and our package (now with silk flowers) costs the same $250 as is did 20 years ago. If I want the real flowers, it’s only $50.00 more.  We’ll probably make serious plans.


Twenty-one years, and counting…


Not us, but we’re still getting it done.



Be kind.


I did a good thing, today. I’m not mentioning it for kudos or validation, but I wanted to mention it because it was the last thing I wanted to do, but I did it because it was the right thing to do.


I didn’t want to spend over 8 hours fiddling with a cable hookup I didn’t fully understand. I didn’t want to undo someone else’s confusion. I didn’t want to untangle wires in a cold apartment in dim light. Something inside shoved all of that aside and stopped to help someone else in need.


I didn’t do it thinking I could have been elsewhere or how much time I was spending, in fact time became irrelevant. I did it because if it was me, if I was disabled and disconnected, I would want someone who could assist without complaining, without reminding me how grateful I should have been, without making me feel like a burden.


My neighbor was relocated briedly while her apartment was renovated. Her cable, her phones, and all of the wires were disconnected while a new floor was put down and the walls painted. When she and her son were moved back in, they were left on their own to reconnect everything. She’s older and disabled and her son is dependent on her. He’s able bodied, but very dependent. They needed help and family was unwilling to assist. They are shut ins. They have people come in to clean and do laundry.


I was about to go on a run, my first in a week. I was finally feeling better, the weather was warm and I had new shoes to break in. Her son poked his head out as I was about to leave and asked if I could help. I was irritated (I am that person, after all) but I agreed to take a peek. How long could it take?


It took 5 hours, and that was just yesterday. The cables were connected, but in a confused snarl, the wires were doubling back, nothing was getting a signal. I untangled and tried several ways to connect. I managed to get one of their two TVs connected, but not her landline. She’s on Life Alert and needs that line. 2 of those hours were on an ancient simple cellphone with no volume control with the Internet company. Several techs later they insisted the boxes were bad and the phone was likely fried from the recent power outage. They would send a tech out to swap out the boxes (an expense she couldn’t afford) but it would take a week to get there. She would have to buy a new phone. More money.


I admitted defeat after those 5 hours, but promised to pick up a new phone for her and return after work to see if I could get it working. I hated that he would be without TV for a week. I made her swear she wouldn’t fall before I returned the next evening. I left feeling tired, discouraged and defeated.


I went back after work today. I picked up a new phone for her and set about getting it connected. I still couldn’t get the phone working. If she’d fallen, or her son needed help, they wouldn’t be able to do anything but knock on my door, and he is very shy. I pulled up the cable company chat on my phone and asked a question I probably should have asked yesterday.


See – there is one cable outlet, a modem, a cable box in the front room, a line run through the wall to a cable box in the back room, and a phone. One coax cable was in the main cable outlet, but the splitter was connected to the TV. I haven’t had cable in years, and I’d never needed a splitter.


While the chat tech was sending signals I asked, “does the cable box run through the modem, or does the modem run through the cable box?”


“Neither,” she said. “There should be a splitter run from the outlet.”


Lord, bless me. I’d assumed it was the one thing connected correctly. If this were a movie, it would be the obvious thing the audience complained about.


I undid absolutely everything, re-ran it all from the splitter connected to the outlet.


The phone received a signal. I figured out the Life Alert set up and tested it. The cable boxes were grabbing a signal. She could watch her basketball, and he could be in the other room and watch Syfy. They were safe.


You have never seen two happier people, reconnected through cable and a phone. She called her brother and she sounded like Christmas came early. They could call off the expensive tech and save money. They could watch TV. They could call for help.


I’d finally asked the right question. I was wrapped up inside of an hour (on top of the hour spent reworking the problem). They were grateful and I accepted their thanks graciously, but refused any money. I was more embarassed it took as long as it did, and that was my failing, not theirs. I offered to take back the phone to get her $20.00 back, but she liked the new shiny blue handset.


She said there was a blessing with my name on it.


I will never turn down a sincere blessing. I was kind and it really cost me nothing. I can spend 7 hours watching bad movies and eating cookies. These hours were better spent.


One day, our Gods willing, we’ll be older, but maybe isolated and afraid. It happens. May we always have someone willing to lend a hand.


Be kind.




Bento Polenta


This is a quick carb for bentio wgen I just don’t want a bunch of rice or noodles. I give them a quick fry in the morning, to brown and add color. 




Mushrooms for Simple Chicken Breasts


These delicious mushrooms add flavor to what could be boring, bland chicken breasts in a bento. Pre-frozen boneless skinless breasts are totally the way to go with this recipe.  




Bento Polenta


This is a quick carb for bentio wgen I just don’t want a bunch of rice or noodles. I give them a quick fry in the morning, to brown and add color. 




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