Political Wifery.


All last week I spent with a smile plastered on my face and wearing high heels. I prefer to keep my travels quiet, because I never know who might be reading my blog and think it is a perfect opportunity to break into my house. Or stalk me at the convention or vacation location.


Preparation for the Grand Parlor takes time. I had to buy dresses and had a few other things on my list. Last week, I got my nails done, which I rarely do, a pedicure and bought some mascara. Another dress came from ModCloth.com, but I had to send it back. I wanted some short Bolero type jackets to wear over the dresses as convention conference rooms can be cold, but didn’t find any, so just sucked it up.

I was disappointed in the manicure because after a day it was already starting to flake. If I had the supplies for taking off the polish I would, but I am trying not to pick at it. With the manicure, my nails grew a lot.


We drove down. I hadn’t done any packing on Saturday, though I had organized the packing in my mind. I was ready to go at least an hour before DH. He hadn’t done any packing either. We didn’t drive all the way down Highway 5, but drove down 280 and then cut over to 5 on Highway 152. It was a much prettier drive and cut off some of the craziness of driving on 5.

We arrived about 4pm and our room wasn’t ready even though checkin was at 4. We were not the only ones with this problem and it is a bad sign when people are cranky before the convention even starts.

We had a dinner to attend 2 hours after we arrived and not having a room meant we couldn’t unload our luggage and change for dinner. I was wearing black jersey pants and a relatively nice t-shirt, but as Grand 3rd Lady, I wanted to look a little nicer. Oh well. I put on some lipstick and had to be content with that.

We went to a place called the Vintage Press. It was about half an hour away. The food and service were both excellent.


Meet Me at the Museum

Meet Me at the Museum

DH and I went to breakfast, then I sat around until it was time to get ready for the Ladies Lunch. I was late, because I thought it started at noon when it really started at 11:30. I wore the Meet Me at the Museum dress, which I bought at Modcloth.com. They don’t have this model anymore, but they have dresses in a similar style. I was iffy about how I would feel wearing this dress, but ended up really liking it. This and a couple of other dresses I bought were, what I would consider, nice day dresses. A lot of the ladies,however, thought I was really super dressed up. I am trying to set a higher standard for dressing, but not overtly.

Being late, I sat with a whole table full of ladies I had never met, except for one. That was nice. The lady next to be was an excellent conversationalist and made me feel comfortable.

After the Ladies Luncheon, I went to the Grand Parlor Memorial Service, which remembers Brothers who died since the last Grand Parlor. They have a nice way of categorizing the gentlemen. They talk about members who supported the organization at the Parlor level, then they talk about the members who worked on a statewide level. These are usually grand officers. This year a former Past Grand President died. When this happens they pick someone to read or present a eulogy. It was very moving.

That night I spent most of the evening in the Hospitality Room*. BIL was running for Grand Outside Sentinel and having a Hospitality Suite gave the members the opportunity to talk with him. Wives and mothers had made baskets. SIL and I made pillows again and the offerings were pretty nice looking. Some Parlors bring, IMO, odd items, but the wives and mothers of South members try to keep the offerings to baskets. They are high quality items, not stuff from our garages and people are happy to win.

BIL set the prices pretty high, which was good, because it was easier to count out 7 tickets than 30 and still make $20. People still had, basically, the same odds of winning. People were a little stunned at the prices, but it worked for us. We sold $200 the first night.

People also started talking to us about where DH’s Grand Parlor will be, so I made sure to notes about what we liked, didn’t like and need to remember for our Grand Parlor. I started a wiki to keep everything organized and in one place. I don’t know that DH is on board with using the wiki, but it works for me and, so far, I am doing most of the work.


Tuesday was a marathon. It was probably the busiest day of the convention. I wore high heels for 9 hours, though I did wear two different pair. I did get into the pool and get some exercise, which was good. It was hard to fit everything in, especially exercise this week. I don’t feel good about that, but we do what we can do.

After swimming I took a shower and put on my All Aboard Dress and went up the Hospitality Suite to get the cold cuts out for lunch. I wasn’t going to have time to change after lunch and before the Ladies Reception, so I just wore the dress and heels there. I wanted to get a little bite to eat as I knew not to expect anything to be available for me to eat at the Ladies Reception.

All Aboard Game Dress

All Aboard Game Dress

Before the boys were really ready to go back into their meetings, I ditched them and went to the Ladies Reception. It was just down the hall, so not a long commute. The Grand First Lady for 2013-2014 is a super nice lady. She is relatively young, or acts young, and is a first grade teacher. She apologized right away for not having thought of making anything I could eat. I really was okay with it and told her so. If there were no gluten free treats, they wouldn’t end up on my hips.

Next, I went down to the meeting room for the Native Daughters visitation. The NSGW Grand President thanks the NDGW Grand President for working with him over the course of the year and the NDGW Grand President does the same. they also exchange gifts. The incoming Grand Presidents do the same. The gifts are hard, because how do you know what to get someone in this capacity. Some Grand Officers know each other better than others and that makes it easier. I am thinking more pillows will be in order.

The other wives and I left when the boys had to go back into session. I went back to the room.

We had about half an hour after the end of DH’s session. He took a nap and I sat around writing for awhile until it was time to change.

I wore another black dress I got on sale with a red Pashmina. DH wore his dinner jacket. First we went to the invitation only GP’s cocktail party. Some of the snacks from the Ladies Reception had been consolidated and repurposed for this event. We got a chance to talk to some of our friends, which was nice.

After while they herded us down to the general cocktail party where we waited for dinner to be set up. The room is normally a bingo hall and was HUGE. We stood around for a long time before they called us to take photos with the Grand President and his wife. Eventually the Grand Officers were corralled in preparation for the procession. Once it starts, we lined up according to rank and marched out like in a wedding, one couple at a time. The first time we did this, I was completely mortified. You march in alone with your spouse, and everyone looks at you and takes your picture.

Dinner is always an adventure. I got some nice vegetables, but I asked us for some chicken to go with it. I am not a vegetarian and I needed some protein.

We danced and the Grand Parlor wives had a bit of fun in a Rockettes (not such high kicking, though) type of way. DH and I danced as well and there was more commenting about that.

We went back to the Hospitality Suite and sold more tickets. DH was behind the bar for a good while, which kept him on a short leash.


After the marathon that was Tuesday, I slept in until almost 9am. I am more of a lark and have been getting up shortly after 6am in recent weeks. Not today. I was exhausted.

We went to the BBQ and for once, I could eat the offerings. They had tamales and they were delicious. I only ate 1.5 in an effort to try and stay within my calorie limit for the day.

After the BBQ, the boys stayed to play Pidro and I went back and made a sheet to keep track of the raffle winners. That took forever as I decided to name all of the baskets so there would be no confusion. The maid came and cleaned the room while I was working and then the Ice Man* came and I had to order and pay for ice.

In the evening, the Hospitality Room opened after the caucus was over. I was eating dinner when it opened, so I finished up quickly and went up, then sent the boys off to other Hospitality Rooms to get dinner. I wanted a base in their stomachs for the drinking they were sure to do.

DH sold tickets when I wasn’t there and we probably sold another $200 dollars worth of tickets that night.

I had suggested that we draw the raffle winners early so we could distribute the prizes and close up the room before 1am and that went well. I was pleased that the Grand President, Dwight, won a pillow. My BIL won, but I told him I would make him one separately, so we drew another ticket and a South member, Dave, won. The incoming NDGW Grand President, Suzi, also won a pillow as did


The first thing I thought when I woke up is “how is it possible to be more tired when I wake up than when I went to bed”. The only thing I could think of was that it was an accumulation of lack of sleep. Despite how I felt the show had to go on, so up I got and we went down to breakfast. I ate a lot of protein and caffeine and that kickstarted me. DH had to go vote, so as soon as we were finished I left him to vote.

He came back and got ready really quickly, then went off to his session. I got ready (polka dot wrap dress) and went down in time for the Cleft Palate March.

The NSGW Charitable Foundation supports the UCSF and St. John’s Health Center Cranio-facial Anomalies Teams. The Charitable Foundation was organized in 1952 and it is nearing $5 million in donations. All year the Parlors raise money for the Charitable Foundation and at Grand Parlor, they line up, present their donation to the Chairman of the Foundation and the chairman reads off the name and amount. During the line, there is a lot of noise, with people going in and out, talking in competition with the chairman. It is loud. This year over $130,000 was donated by the organization. One Parlor, with only 50 members, donated more than $9,000, which was impressive.

After the March is completed doctors from the various hospitals do a presentation. They explain about all the various parts of cranio-facial anomalies and show pictures of the terrible deformities with which these families have to suffer.They did a good job of explaining that Cleft Palate is one of several genetic anomalies and syndromes that the surgical teams treat. Seeing the pictures of the children is heartbreaking and really makes me want to donate. The before and after pictures are amazing. Those presentations make me glad I worked so hard at selling raffle tickets in the Hospitality Room. We donated $575 from the proceeds of the raffle tickets to the Charitable Foundation.

The boys filled the room after their session ended changing clothes. I stayed in a comfy chair with an ottoman out of their way and went down again at 1pm to see their installation.

The newly installed Grand President had a reception with lunch food after the installation, which was great, because I was starving. The location was good. There was shade, but it was outside. We went up and changed out of our nice clothes before we went down. We ended up sitting with the Grand President. After this we were in relax mode. Hooray.

Later we walked around the hotel and went swimming. We went out to dinner with one of the Grand Trustees and his wife.


We drove home.

I didn’t make it to any quilt shops in the area, sadly, but I did stop at Prairie Queen on the way home.

Native Sons Vocabulary Key:

  • Grand Parlor: equivalent of an annual convention in other organizations
  • Grand Parlor: the session during which a Grand President leads
  • Hospitality Suite: used for campaigning for office, gathering place for Parlor members, place for non-Parlor members to meet and chat with the candidate, place for Parlor members to caucus about voting for candidates. Raffles are often offered as a way to draw in the crowd.
  • Ice Man: one of the members who takes orders for and delivers large bags of ice to the Hospitality rooms
  • Parlor: equivalent of chapters in other organizations
  • South San Francisco Parlor #157: DH & BIL’s Parlor. It is traditionally located in the southern part of the City, not in South City, which is a bit confusing.