Tuesday, January 12, 2016


Olivia is turning 40 on Friday.  Marianne has long been planning a surprise party for her and Olivia didn't make it easy!

We thought maybe she suspected something so I decided to throw her off by wondering why she wasn't having a party.

She texted me, "I think I will have a party."

I called Marianne and said, "I've made a huge mistake."

Pretty soon there were two parties planned, a real one and a pretend one and Marianne was in charge of both.  The real party, the surprise party, was to be on Monday and the pretend party, the one Olivia knew about, was going to be on Saturday.  Marianne had to pretend invite people to that (and tell them it wasn't real) in case Olivia talked to them and she also had to stress the secrecy of the surprise party to people.

The stress was getting to her! 

A few days before the party, I was hobbling off on my maiden voyage to the grocery store since I hurt my knee.  I called Marianne to ask if she wanted me to pick up any birthday themed paper products.  She said, "Actually, I need your help.  The Knudsens are coming and it has to look cute!"

The Knudsens are a family we grew up with.  They have kids about the same age as us and our parents are good friends.  One thing about the Knudsens is that they all have very beautiful houses.  They have a flair for decorating.  I may or may not have told my mom when I was growing up that I wanted to live at Nene's house because everything matched.  Since the Knudsens were coming, Marianne had bought new tablecloths.  She said, "I need help with centerpieces or table decorations."

"OK," I said, (I like this sort of thing!) "What do the tablecloths look like?"

"They have circles..." Marianne said.  "They are different colors....I'm not really good at this."

"So there's a pattern," I said, "And you have white paper plates?"

"Um, no," Marianne said, "They have a pattern too."

There was a pause on the phone as I was trying to picture patterned plates on patterned tablecloths.  "Do they go together?" I wondered, pretty sure they didn't.

"Oh no!" Marianne said, holding them side by side for the first time. "They look terrible together!"

Now it should be said, Marianne did recognize that they didn't match.  It just hadn't occurred to her to worry about it. 

She texted me a picture of the plates.

Then she texted me a picture of the tablecloth:

I texted back:  I am crying inside right now.

Marianne is one of the most capable and amazing people that walks this earth.  It is refreshing that she needs me sometimes.  Because sometimes she really does!

I bought paper products for the party.

Adam and I left our children at the helm and drove to my parents' house on Sunday.  (Teenagers are such a great invention!)  Every time the phone rang on Sunday evening my mom would hush me in case it was Olivia.  We made up a story about why we would be there if Olivia happened to stop by.  We ate ice cream and watched Downton Abbey and it was a nice evening.

Monday morning my mom made bread and two types of soup (Marianne got it from somewhere).  Marianne called and told us about her anxiety dream and she had the idea that my dad should pick up Olivia for the lunch Marianne had invited her to.  Then, he was to blindfold her so she wouldn't see all the cars at Marianne's house.  When we got off the phone and told my dad the plan, he said, "I'm not doing that.  No way."

Marianne called later and I told her our dad's refusal.  She started lecturing me about it and I told her not to kill the messenger.

She said, "Fine.  Let me talk to him."

He was out with his horses by then and my mom said he would be a lot more pleasant if we waited for him to come in.  Marianne agreed.

It was then that I realized my older sister is Lady Mary on Downton Abbey.  She is way more likable and moral but she is Lady Mary.  I tried to tell Marianne that but since Marianne doesn't watch Downton Abbey (and I doubt Lady Mary would either), my mom pointed out that it was lost on her.

When my dad came inside and talked to Marianne on the phone, he agreed to do the blindfold thing.

Raise your hand if you're surprised.

Adam took me over to Marianne's where Carolina and I set the table and I teased Hyrum about anything I could think of.  (I love that guy.)

Guests started arriving and it was lovely to see this very disparate group of women that have one thing in common, they love Olivia.  I had asked Marianne if Olivia would dress up for the occasion of just lunch at Marianne's house.  Marianne didn't think so but she also didn't think Olivia would care too much if she didn't look her best.

It was evident from the way she was dressed that she hadn't suspected a thing!  She was wearing sort of ratty clothes and said, "I haven't brushed my hair!" 

please notice the pretty table :)

Olivia was happy.  She went around and hugged everybody and then she went to borrow a hairbrush and came back with a smoother ponytail.

Like Marianne predicted, she didn't really mind.  No one did.  Olivia is...Olivia.

We had a delightful lunch and then played a hilarious game of Marianne's invention.  It was a quiz on how well we knew Olivia.  When you put all together the crazy things that have happened to Olivia, it creates quite a picture.

Here are some of the things that were on the quiz:

-she stole a CTR ring when she was a little girl so it would remind her to be good
-she accidentally stole a car once in college to go work at the temple
-she broke her finger at a family reunion when her ring (not the CTR ring, a different one) got caught on a nail in the tree house and she was hanging by her ring
-she got in a fist fight and skipped school to go to a hot springs when she was in junior high (they took one of the boy's dad's truck)
-she has been pulled over three times for drunk driving but she has never tasted alcohol (she just wasn't a good driver)
-she had to write an essay on obedience after a high speed chase
-her "job" in college was selling her plasma

I could go on.

That's my sister.

My dad has always said that when he was raising her, he knew that she would turn out any way she wanted to and he had no control over it.

I guess she wanted to turn out really really well.  She collects people that need her and she stretches herself beyond normal human limits to serve in every way she can.  She still has a lot of fight in her but it is channeled in every good direction.

And she may or may not brush her hair.

Who cares?

(Especially if the table looks pretty.)


Gwilliam Fam said...

It IS nice to know Marianne can't do everything! You did a beautiful job with the plates/table decor. What wonderful sisters you three are.

Olivia Cobian said...

I loved the party--thank you so much for your contributions, but especially, thank you for being there! That was also a huge surprise, and it all was amazing.


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