Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Of course, we have no photos of bride walking down the aisle here because her face was so puffy from her crying... or in the receiving line... As my Dad is not too churchy, the bride and groom kept the wedding vows short and simple. The minister was charming and gracious and even put his tie back on when we went outside to take more wedding photos. Oh, here it is all done, the groom kissing the bride.
See the silly, deliriously happy look on the bride's face? Yep, made the whole wedding.
So, back to the usual theme, the Italian words of the day:
1. matrimonio - wedding
2. sposa - bride
3. sposo - groom
4. gli sposi - the newlyweds
5. marito - husband
6. moglie - wife
7. anello - ring
8. patrimonio - heritage
9. benedetto - blessed
10. brindisi - toast
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
But as the wedding date got closer and closer, we (I) couldn't figure out how to tie the obi which is the sash or belt that goes around the waist. My sister bought a video, we had books and eventually we found a Youtube video on the web. We spent a good part of a day trying to figure this out and discussed kind of loudly, each one of us, how it should be tied. Although everything we read never said it, the obi needed to be folded in half, with the fold on the bottom and the obi acting as a large pocket for the fan, and ceremonial knife. (Don't even ask me about the ceremonial bridal knife, to protect the honor of the bride's new family. We spent alot of time looking for one and all the Japanese ladies we asked thought we were, um, well, nuts. She finally bought one, but I think it's a letter opener!)
BTW, kimono just means clothes. Each style of kimono has its own name depending on if it is an unlined summer kimono (yukata), a bathrobe/pajama kimono (nemaki) and is dependent on sleeve length and occasion, a furisode is the most formal kimono for unmarried women with long flowing sleeves. Here is the bride in her uchikake which is an ornate wedding coat with a long trail. The uchikake is worn like a robe without obi over another kimono, called kakeshita that is tied with the obi. My sister's kakeshita is made with shibori fabric which is a Japanese tie-die.
Then there is the "boat". That is what we jokingly called the white bridal hat. Yes, we went from store to store in San Francisco, San Jose and websites asking if anyone had the "boat". My sister just wasn't going to be happy unless she looked a little more authentic although, we didn't follow a lot of the Japanese customs. We couldn't find zori or sandals to fit her americanized feet and they are not very comfortable to wear. We couldn't find my mom's zori and, I think she threw them away because they just hurt too much to wear. Finding all the gear we needed, and we were not even sure that we had all of the gear was just too difficult. We finally decided that it was okay. We were a blend of cultures and the wedding would also be a blend of our cultures.
But, while we were in San Jose buying the an under-kimono, yes, she is wearing 3 layers of kimono, well 4, if you consider the under, under kimono, she picked up a business card of a lady who did hair and was Japanese. After some frantic calling on my sister's part, she made an appointment to bring all of her stuff and do a trial run. Her name was Sachiko, which is the name of my mom's best friend and amazingly enough, she was from a town in Japan next to the town where my mom was from. She asked us our family name and the deal was done. She was going to fill in the missing parts of my sister's wedding gear and do some sewing and bring it all when she came to do the hair, dress and makeup.
And, she had the boat! After, she had dressed my sister and tied her obi, she wanted to know if my sister wanted her to do the hair and makeup. Then, she hauled out this huge case with a proper wig and all the combs and decorations. My sister waivered. But, after Sachi, put the wig on her she got this big smile on her face from ear to ear. Oh yeah. It was happening. When we were done, we hugged Sachi goodbye and breathed a sigh of relief.
A side note: The Japanese consider the nape of the neck the sexiest part of the body and unmarried women expose there bare, naked necks while married women wear there collars so that their necks are covered up. Unmarried women also wear their kimono with long sleeves and married women cut the length of their sleeves down, so as to not drive the men wild. Of course, this tradition is from a long time ago. But then, my sister wanted to honor tradition. I don't think that until that day when I saw how happy my sister was, that I realized how much her wedding meant to her. (I know, duh!) Here they are, the bride and groom, getting ready to march down the aisle, one last practice run with the music before it all becomes official.
Monday, July 28, 2008
My younger sister decorated the party favor table. She did a beautiful job. We filled the little bags with Japanese candies, seven (7) of them. We're not sure what the Japanese tradition is. But, we followed Italian tradition and they require seven. Oh yeah, and you can see the bulldozers in the background. (Editors correction: when I re-read the post from Shelley of At Home in Rome, it was 5 and not 7 candies that is the Italian tradition. Oops!)
My only reqret is that I didn't take a photo of the entire room before the guests arrived because it really turned out nicely. But, I was taking photos of the bride and groom back at the chapel and I couldn't do everything and they haven't invented self-cloning yet.
And, the chocolate cake is our favorite. My sister first ordered one for the 90th birthday party of our great-aunt seven years ago (Yes, that made her 97 this June). It is chocolate cake with chocolate ganache frosting and fudge between the layers from Olde Tyme Pastries in Turlock. The bride and groom hauled it to Monterey and it was appreciated by all.
Saturday, July 26, 2008
This vase of my garden zinnias is my favorite. They are about a week old and have held up pretty well. I used the soft focus feature of Picasa on the photo below.
Saturday, July 19, 2008
I love these spiky, white hydrangea (paniculata) flowers.
Words of the day:
vetro - glass
vaso - vase
un vaso da vetro - a glass vase
un vaso d'aqua - a vase of water
l'ortensia - hydrangea
un ramo - branch
cogliere - to pick, gather
mirtilli - blueberries
pantano - bog
torba - peat
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Sometimes I would like to have a conversation with Dante Alighieri and ask him, just what were you thinking? But, some things I have figured out in my own head conversations with Dante. The brain, that sexist pig, he made it masculine. But, he did make the head that holds the brain, la testa, feminine. Maybe it was out of some respect for women. Then there are all the irregular words for the body. Masculine nouns end in o if singular and i, if plural, in general. The definite articles are il for singular nouns and and i for plural nouns. Feminine nouns end in a, if singular, and e if plural, in general having definite articles of la for singular nouns and le for plural nouns.
Of course, there are exceptions. But with the body, Dante decided that, (if he is to blame) the hand, ending in o should be irregular and make the definite article, la not il. So the hand is feminine and masculine. Maybe that says something about how Dante felt about men and women. Maybe he wasn't the sexist pig I think he was sometimes. And the same is true for the word problem. Il problema. So, I think that Dante (if he was the one who chose) was pretty philosophical when standardizing the Italian language. But frankly, I think, Dante might have had some personal problems with women because shouldn't it really be la problemo? But, maybe, I should give him a break because the word for love, amore, is masculine and to me that makes him a romantic. Hence, his (il) problema. So here are the words for the day, a mix of feminine and masculine singular and plural body parts.
Singolare > Plurale
1. il braccio > le braccia - arm, arms
2. il dito > le dita - finger, fingers
3. il ginocchio > le ginocchia - knee, knees
4. la mano > le mani - hand, hands
5. l'orecchio > le orecchie - ear, ears
6. l'osso > le ossa - bone, bones
7. il labbro > le labbra - lip, lips
8. il corpo - the body
9. maniglie dell'amore - love handles (they usually come in pairs hence they are plural)
10. un abbraccio - a hug
Saturday, July 12, 2008
I bought the little bowls in Amalfi, I think that they are olive pit bowls. And, the dishtowel is from Tuscany, I think when I was in Montepulciano. This was my mock up photo. I try to play around with colors to see what is brought out by the background. Here I used Japanese silk shibori scarves and a fake sunflower.
Words of the day:
1. ceramica - ceramic
2. ceramiche - ceramics (plural)
3. brocca - jug
4. brocche - jugs (plural)
5. asciugamano - towel
6. strofinaccio dei piatti - dish towel
7. sciarpa - scarf
8. ciotola - bowl
9. scodella - bowl
10. paniere - basket (with a handle)
I have trouble with some plural words. In Italian, masculine words generally end in o or a. Masculine/feminine words like ragazzo/ragazza are easily pluralized to ragazzi/ragazze but I need to work on the irregular pluralization like brocca to brocche and ceramica to ceramiche.
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
And, I can think of myself maybe on my next vacation on the sailboat in the lower left-hand corner of the photo near Positano...
Or, perhaps just jetting down to Sorrento or Capri from Rome on this James Bond like speedboat ...