Wifely Pride

Chelan Man was last weekend.   There's a number of races involved in the day, none of which I participated in.  I was there for the guaranteed dry sunshine and to watch this guy:
 finish in SECOND PLACE

out of, I don't know, some 300+ junkies.  On the drive over he tried to tell me he wasn't expecting to do so well.  Ha!  What crap!

1st out of the water (1900 meters is like over 50 lengths of swimming pool)

1st off the bike (58.1 miles. That's like Seattle to Olympia.  Up hill)

1st on the run (half marathon) until our buddy (and all legs) Ryan snuck up behind him with 4 miles to go.

I've seen the action on a small scale before, but I gotta say, it is REALLY fun to watch my man totally SMOKE everyone.  Like it's nothin!  I was totally giddy from the second I caught him passing all the older men in the first wave of swimmers til we were on our way home (and apparently still now).  I was like a groupie. 

Sure, he looks ridiculous in his space helmet: 

But I saw the ladies lookin:

But I get to hang on his very sweaty shoulder.

One month 'til Iron Man Canada!


New crush

Move over Marion, (not really! I still love you!) there's a new sweet starlet I'm just loving.

I watched The Artist tonight.  Not my favorite movie, but I love realizing just how expressing a face is and how little words matter.

No matter, how sweet is Bérénice Bejo



The truth I will proclaim

I gave a lesson in Relief Society last week and that magical thing happened where the lesson I planned kind of crumbled to the ground and something much more amazing came out of class discussion. The lesson was about enthusiasm in sharing the gospel, essentially why do we Mormons care so much about evangelizing our religious experience.  I intended to take the class on an enthusiastic ride through their minds and hearts to talk about what it is we like about our fellowship with this organization. 

By the end, I learned through the lesson I hadn't prepared that it's not baptism were spreading but closeness to God, i.e. perfect happiness.

For the record, I love my faith for a number of reasons, mostly because:
  • I know who I am.  By broad stance stated by church leaders (Woman. Equal. Nurturer.) and personal pronouncement via my Patriarchal Blessing (Leader. Happiness-spreader. One who will endure and believe) and day to day guidance (Don't quit your job just yet, dear. And go befriend that girl who's lonely).  So when feminists and anti-feminists wrestle over what I should be doing with my time and my life, and self-help books shout contradicting advice, I can take their arguments with the grain of salt that is their bias and proceed with what I know is my path (or at least what I know of my path.  Thank heaven for a little ambiguity).
  • I've got the big picture of how my little life fits into what came before it and what will come after. It's hard to see past the muck of the day to day sometimes, I'll admit, but when it comes down to it, I know that life is 1) all about progress, growth at whatever pace is moving forward, and 2) meant to be lived. Filled with people, love (towards friends and strangers alike, in the form of bonds, forgiveness, and good old fashioned thoughtfulness), and experiences (that help lead to that progress I was talking about)
  • There are people who I can and should ask for help. And to whom I should be offering my time and energy. Love (mentioned in no. 2) is built by giving and receiving.  This community is waiting to be had in branches of the church all around the world.
  • I have a weekly reminder to get back go reality and keep my priorities straight. This comes in the form of the sacrament, where I officially check in with God about where I'm at, and through the other two hours and fifty minutes of the three hour church block. Examples, formal lessons, just being in the building is an automatic reboot.
  • There is something expected of me. Or, the whole world doesn't revolve around me and my impulses.  I could go on for days about why I think moral relativism is so destructive to the world.  The Wikipedia section (from a Buddhist perspective of all things) sums it up nicely: "Religion must affirm, in the clearest terms, that morality and ethical values are not mere decorative frills of personal opinion, not subjective superstructure, but intrinsic laws of the cosmos built into the heart of reality." I believe in a basic truth; all religion is based around it.  Sure, there are cultural expectations that are more or less optional, but we don't get to pick and choose which kinds of good work best for us and talk our way out of the rest. 
I believe that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints knows what's up. 

In short, my favorite Primary song from my youth:


Singing in the car at the top of my lungs

If I were a therapist, helping crazies work out their issues, I think a regular conversation would go something like this:

Dr. Bratten: "So what seems to be troubling you?"
Patient: "I am feeling depressed/lonely/anxious/annoyed/frustrated/angry/miffed/over life and dealing with it in a grown up way"
Dr. Bratten: "And what have you been doing to cope with your depression/loneliness/anxiety/annoyance/frustration/anger/miffery/over-lifeness?"
Patient: "Well, I'm going to a therapist, that's something, right?"
Dr. Bratten: "Have you tried singing?"
Patient: "Singing?"
Dr. Bratten: "In the car."
Patient: Confused pause
Dr.Bratten: "At the top of your lungs."
Patient: "Well... no, Doctor, can't you just prescribe me something?"
Dr. Bratten: "Go. Sing. In the car. At the top of your lungs. Come back to me if the problem persists."

And I'd never see the patient again.

That's because if there's ever a problem in life, it most likely can be solved by a healthy jam session in the car, singing at the top of your lungs.  If not solved, at least watered down enough to provide distance and/or perspective.  It's alcohol for the sobriety corner.

As I've mentioned, I've been on an audio book binge, which is great, and I love it, and my brain is getting bigger and more world-wise by the day.  But earlier this week I was side-swiped by one of those perilous funks that numbs everything - the good, the bad, and everything in between.  Listless I think is what they call it.  Robot.  Not wanting to do anything but stare at the wall and wait for time to speed up again.  I'm sure PMS had something to do with it, and likely the fact that I've careened off the gluten-free wagon.  But whatever the cause, I took a day off of work (for mental health) and waited for the gloom to pass.

It wasn't until Thursday, with a day full of superb appointments in the company Jeep.  No CD player (not even a tape player, that's how high class we roll at FLL).  Just the radio and lots of time on the road.  By myself.

I think you can guess what happened next.

Jet happened.  Are You Gonna Be My Girl.  Drumming happened.  Then Come On Eileen.  Singing like a muppet happened (I was alone, who's gonna judge!).  That remix of Somebody I Used To Know and an attempted beat box happened.  An angsty, seat belted gyration to Before He Cheats by Carrie Underwood happened.

And life is better.

Best prescription around.

In honor of my week, here are the best scenes from movies where people are singing in the car.  Most are with company, but don't be mistaken.  Practice on your own and it makes company all the better.

Tommy Boy "Don't You Remember You Told Me You Loved Me Baby"
Don't fight it.  Cry if you have to.  Knowing the words is not the most important.

Wayne's World "Bohemian Rhapsody"
 Dance moves are not limited by seat belts.  Make it work!

Almost Famous "Tiny Dancer"
I love this scene.

Dumb and Dumber singing Mockingbird
Meg Ryan singing along with the radio (before this clip starts) in Sleepless in Seattle (you should still watch it though because it's melt your heart amazing)
Tom Cruise feeling FREE in Jerry McGuire


Wedding Dinner at the Center for Wooden Boats

My stipulations for the evening of our wedding were simply the following:

1. Must be on or near water
2. Must be some activity where guests could actually interact with one another
3. Must have a program (I am a Hart, after all)

Enter the Center for Wooden Boats, a nonprofit floating museum on South Lake Union where guests could sail, eat, and enjoy an evening dedicated to us. As long as it didn't rain, we'd be in perfect shape.

And oh in shape we were.
We planned for rain, just in case, but I knew we wouldn't need the huge tent- I had been telling just about everyone I knew to pray for sunshine for our wedding day.  Hard to count on blue skies in Seattle in March, but God pulled through and we had one heckuva view.  Not warm, really; but that's not what I asked for.

Our arrival was a bit chaotic.  I made the stupid-in-hindsight call to spend barely any time at the temple taking pictures, meaning guests arrived at the CWB too early to enjoy free parking and while everything was still being set up.  Wasn't the worst thing in the universe to go wrong, considering the sunshine and good area for walking around (unless you're a kid, apparently.  The ever precocious Miles was all too curious about what was over the edge of the dock; at one point that I saw, he laid on his belly, sneaking backwards inch by inch towards the water, only to be caught again by his protective and frustrated dad, Brent), but it was a bit of a flurry to begin with.

But like I care.  It's my wedding day, you mofos can park around the corner.

The caterer set up a flaming grill and a few people took out boats.  I slipped on my canvas boat shoes and classy life jacket over my gown and we took a run around the lake.

 Porter's aunt Bytha did a PHENOMENAL job of set up and decoration.  Nan's flowers in patterned, wood containers, gold chargers (LOVE chargers. LOVE gold.  Best combo ever.) from my mom and friends, lovely displays of photos, and cherry blossoms everywhere.

Jeff was the MC and we traded off a I don't know how many course meal with five 'acts'.

First, the meal:

Our caterer, a half Italian-half Iranian mustachioed character from Pasta Freska gave us the taste test months prior.  My dad was sending him to Mexico, so we could get pretty much whatever we wanted (barter's the best for weddings, have I mentioned this?).  Mike was of the opinion that Americans eat dinner too quickly (true) and we'd need some 3 hours for the full meal (I think we ended on 2.5 or so).  He had a pretty clear idea of what was best to serve and didn't much care that neither of us like spaghetti ("I don't want to be a'vain, but! I make a'really a'good spaghetti").

Luckily, everything he made us on our taste test day and on game day was the best version of that thing I've ever eaten.  Small plates, course after course, that just kept on coming.  Greek salad, tiger prawns, salmon, halibut, chicken marsala, roasted zucchini, spaghetti bolegnese (he tricked us and threw it in. He even brought some gluten-free for me and a few other gluten freezers in the room!), and dessert to share: sour cream chocolate cake, almond cake, and my favorite dessert of all: creme brulee.

In short: Lots of food.  Lots of good food.  Wish I was hungrier so I could enjoy it!

The program:
1. Cari and Jack's puppet show and poem.  Cari and Porter were besties growing up (he unofficially officiated their wedding last summer) and the both Cari and Jack are clever and funny.  Their entire poem was written in limericks (not easy!) and our puppets look great (okay, I look a little angry, but with dangly arms I can't be anything but cute).

2. My brothers singing Love is a Triathlon. Should have seen this coming.  Earlier, Brent has pitched a little fit about not having the speakers (forgot to pack them from the night before, oops!), so I think one of my parents' friends ended up bringing them.  This is why.  Lots of references to spandex, a deep bass interlude by Jake, and lots of innuendo.

3. Maria singing Eyes on the Prize.  She walked up with a guitar after the boys with the remark 'this is so embarrassing, I had the same song prepared... I guess I'll just have to wing it!'  It's important that I tear up at least once in the program, and this was my moment.  Maria has one of those clear, perfect voices and the song, about being IN 100% was clear and perfect.

 4. Porter and Trish: on what it means to be a Bratten.  A stand-up routine of sorts advising me what to expect in joining the family.  Trish is a funny lady, and Porter too. These two spent 20+ years just the two of them, so they've got a parent-child dynamic that's pretty tough to beat. This is fun family to join.

5. My dad and I singing Tonight You Belong To Me with my Mom and Kelsie as helpers.  I always wanted to sing this song with my dad at my wedding and I got to.  I'm not so great at singing in front of people, but luckily I haven't seen any video of it and it was too much of a blur to remember how it went, so I can't be embarrassed with the turnout.

And toasts! Willie and Bob both gave great toasts to Porter.  Good men!

After all was sang and done, and thank yous and good byes were said, Porter and I were sent away with ribbon wands.  We boarded the seriously luxurious MV Katherine Jane, conveniently moored at the end of CWB's I don't know how long it is really but it's long enough to comfortably fit this 58'   dock

Best night ever.

More photos of festivities: