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What Really Happens Behind-the-Scenes of a "Grey's Anatomy" Wedding | Cosmopolitan

Planning a TV wedding is a lot like planning a real wedding — you work with venues, florists, dress designers, and tailors. Only you have no more than three weeks (typically just one or two) to get the whole thing done. Can you imagine?

“I’m not a wedding planner, but we always joke that I could be after how many weddings we’ve done,” says Nicole Cramer, set decorator for Grey’s Anatomy since the show’s fifth season. (She worked as a shopper on Cristina Yang’s season-three wedding to Preston Burke, under then-set decorator Karen Bruck.)

It helps that Cramer is one of a team of people, from the production designer to the props master, working with TV money. (The set budget for April Kepner’s wedding, which didn’t have a reception, was about $20,000; the set budget for Miranda Bailey’s, which did have a reception, was roughly double that.) Still: three weeks, max, to pull together a wedding. That’s impressive.

Also under extreme deadline is Mimi Melgaard, the show’s costumer designer since its third season. “Everyone’s always shocked when they find out we’ve put a wedding together in 10 days,” she says. “We’re kind of used to it.”

Here, Cramer and Melgaard tell the stories behind eight Grey’s Anatomy weddings, all of which began with a vision from show creator Shonda Rhimes. (Think of her as the bride.)

April Kepner and Matthew Taylor: “Get Up, Stand Up” (Season 10, Episode 12)

The location: Windy Hill Ranch at El Campeon Farms. “We knew it was going to be a barn wedding to reflect on April’s past,” Cramer says. “We got that note right off the bat.” (April was raised on a farm in Ohio.) “Of all the weddings, this one was probably the least stressful because the venue was pretty already. Of course, what you’re seeing out the barn doors, the mountain and the lake, are a green screen.”

The details: “We plan the wedding around the character. So April has little signs made — ‘Happily ever after starts here.’ We were like, 'April would do this, for sure.’”

“[Same with] the butterflies, which were scripted. And I think the 'Mint to Be’ favors were also scripted. Somebody must have seen that on a wedding planning blog.”

The flowers: “We got the fabrics from the bridesmaids’ dresses [in advance] and that helped us choose the flowers. With the orange, we kind of went off April’s red hair.’” As with most of the Grey’s weddings, the flowers were fresh-cut (Cramer often sends cast and crew home with arrangements); in this case, she worked with a local florist called AOO Floral. “Everyone thinks flowers are so expensive, but they really do make the wedding beautiful, they bring in the color — that’s where you don’t want to cut corners.”

The lighting: “We always do a lot of twinkle lights, they make everything look magical,” Cramer says. “We also made a couple of Xs and Os out of twinkle lights, and we did a heart shape out of them. I don’t think we saw that [on the show]. Sometimes things that we want to make it into the shots don’t make it in. We were nervous that the chandeliers weren’t going to get in, because Shonda had requested big, beautiful chandeliers, and we really loved them.” Thankfully, they made the cut.

The dress: "Once I heard Shonda describing the barn feeling, I knew exactly what I wanted, so I was going to have it made,” Melgaard says. “But when I was getting some pictures for inspiration, to get the dress approved before I had it made, I found the exact dress that I saw in my mind online, with this designer Peter Langnerout of Rome. They sent me a sample overnight that didn’t fit [Sarah Drew, who plays April], but we at least saw it in person. We sent Sarah’s measurements and Peter made it with very few changes [to the original]. The process is usually four or five months for real brides, and he did it lickety-split. He was amazing and his workmanship is amazing.”

Miranda Bailey and Ben Warren: “Things We Said Today” (Season 9, Episode 10)

The location: Calamigos Ranch. “I think this wedding was my favorite because it was the hardest,“ Cramer says. "A huge labor of love. Just picture that room completely empty. We only had one week, two at most, to get that wedding together, and so much detail went into it. We tried to make it very sparkly and romantic and beautiful.

The details: "I loved the table settings. We had fresh lavender in the napkin rings. We worked really closely with the florist, Sandy Rose — we have a wonderful relationship with them and they help us execute our vision beautifully by adding little touches, like glitter to the pine cones. And then we had twinkle lights in mercury vases; we bought all the mercury glass they had downtown.”

The dress: “Bailey is that perfect mix of a soft, feminine person who has a strong job,” Melgaard says. “That’s why she always wears shirts that have something like a floral pattern — I think in her mind, she’s more of a feminine person. But she’s the boss. Like all successful women, she has to change gears and be focused. So I wanted a really feminine dress for her. We started with a dress and altered it a lot — I added the bling around the sweetheart neckline. I added the belt.”

“On TV, I can buy a very expensive, custom-made dress from Italy or a dress from downtown Los Angeles, and it doesn’t matter as long as it works on the body. Chandra [Wilson, who plays Bailey] looks so good in things that hug her figure, which is amazing, that I just went for it.”

The surprise dress: “That was an interesting episode because it went into Richard dancing with his wife, Adele, who’d just died. We had to get a dress for her too. We tried to get something that felt vintage-y since their wedding was supposed to be decades ago.”

Callie Torres and Arizona Robbins: “White Wedding” (Season 7, Episode 20)

The location: Descanso Gardens. “There’s a round stage with a big ring that’s already built into it at the top,” Cramer says, “so we just attached the pink-and-white plastic streamers to the top of that and draped them over the stage. And then we did a pink carpet. We called it the pink wedding. Very girly and sweet. Those were the notes that we got.“

The cake: "We found somebody local in Los Angeles to make the little cake topper to match Callie and Arizona and their dresses. Shonda actually has that cake topper in her office now.”

“Shonda also wanted a candy bar. We bought the jars at a Muscatels and then picked all the pink and white candies that looked good at a candy shop. We made such a great candy bar but you never see it!”

The dresses: ”[We wanted] to make the girls look different so it doesn’t look like two big, white dresses,“ Melgaard says. "I knew I wanted to do a more traditional one on Callie because she’s from a more traditional family, her family’s Catholic. That’s why I put the veil on her. I altered her dress quite a bit. I changed the neckline, but I still felt like it was missing something, so I had some custom sparkly sleeves made.

"Arizona’s dress was really pretty, with all these torn pieces of chiffon. We tried on a whole bunch of dresses to find the right one. We knew we didn’t want it to be white because Callie was in white, and that color with Jessica’s skin just worked perfectly. It wasn’t too full but it was romantic.”

Izzie Stevens and Alex Karev: “What a Difference a Day Makes” (Season 5, Episode 22)

The location: “We looked at so many churches,” Cramer remembers. "I think this one was the grandest and most beautiful. It had the stained glass and the mezzanine on the top, so we were able to drape flowers from the mezzanine.”

The theme: “Her wedding was the fairytale wedding — over the top, with candles, romantic. That was Shonda’s notes: that Izzie was living vicariously through Meredith by planning the best, most beautiful wedding she could. And there was a note [to use] lots of candles and flowers and tulle and twinkle lights.”

The dress: “That one was interesting because it was supposed to be Meredith’s dress for her wedding to Derek, and then Izzie gets sick,” Melgaard says. “So we knew all along it had to be something that looks good on Izzie — it’s definitely an Izzie dress. It’s Kenneth Pool for Amsale and they did some alterations for us, like lowered the waistline and changed her neckline a bit. Shonda and I wanted her to feel like a princess — you know, it’s a princess wedding, she could be dying. So it’s a big, beautiful dress with sparkles.”

Amelia Shepherd and Owen Hunt: “Family Affair” (Season 12, Episode 24)

The theme: “Amelia’s is definitely more eccentric,” Cramer says. “We used fresh wild flowers — Shonda wanted the wedding to be intimate and romantic, with candles, wild flowers, and a harp musician.”

The dress: “I had to have three dresses for this one,” Melgaard says. “[Caterina Scorsone, who plays Amelia] was secretly pregnant, so I had to choose a loose silhouette, because nobody [from the show] knew she was pregnant besides Shonda and me.”

“Then there was the dress that got rained on. And then we came back three months later and continued shooting, so I had to have a third in a much bigger size as well. Amelia is so strong, but she has broken parts, so we tried on a lot of dresses to find something that wasn’t too girly, wasn’t too precious, but that was also beautiful and honored the day for her.”

Cristina Yang and Preston Burke: “Didn’t We Almost Have It All” (Season 3 finale)

The theme: “The instruction I got was ‘Shonda’s dream wedding,” says Karen Bruck, the set decorator on this wedding. “That kinda freaked me out. I said, 'Oh my god, how am I going to live up to that?’” So they gave me the color scheme that she loved, which was the green and the dark brown — see, it affected me, that I remember so many years later. And lots of flowers. We had to make it a little over the top so it was definitely not Cristina’s personality. Nothing about it was her personality.“

The dress: "That dress was so over the top for Cristina, with the bling and the necklace,” Melgaard says. “Everything about it was so not her, and she was so trying to be that person for Burke. On paper, if you saw a picture of her, you’d be like, 'Oh, she looks so beautiful, it’s so perfect for her.’ And then you cut back and it’s like, 'But that’s not her at all.’ And I’m sure that there are brides who can relate to that in real life — being dressed up and propped up and having to walk through and have a wedding with 200 people, and you only want to talk to four.”

The rip: “There was a stunt dress we used for Meredith to cut. We took the zipper out and inserted a piece of silk fabric that was attached by Velcro and she cut into that, and that piece of silk was easily replaceable for each take we needed to shoot. We still have both dresses — we save everything in storage. We have a bridal room with all of the bridal dresses and bridesmaids.”

Cristina Yang and Owen Hunt: “With You I’m Born Again” (Season 7, Episode 1)

This was “a home wedding, sweet and sophisticated,” Cramer says, so the décor was simple and the dress was vintage. “She already had a wedding that was so unlike her, so I wanted this one to feel like her,” Melgaard says. “Shonda and Sandra Oh [who played Cristina Yang] both loved it.”

Richard Webber and Catherine Avery: “You’re My Home” (Season 11 finale)

The location: “The reception took place at Meredith and Derek’s house, which we called the 'The Dream House,’” Cramer says. “It was the last time we ever filmed on that set.”

The dress: “That one I made,” Melgaard says. “I wanted that color, so I just made it here in-house. I have a wonderful full-time seamstress. I brought her the drawing, and all of a sudden, she made it, including the jacket. We did a fitting with Debbie [Allen, who plays Catherine] and it was perfect.”

The (missing cake): “We had a real, three-tier wedding cake by Cake and Art in Los Angeles, and we cut into it as if they had already cut the cake,” Cramer says. “I can’t remember if we see that in the episode. I’m pretty sure the crew enjoyed it at the end of the night.”

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Wie kan hier all’ de wondren tellen?

Ik zie de purpren Muskadellen;

‘k Zie de adertjes der blaadjes zwellen,

Door milde morgendauw besproeid.

De schoone Pruim en Perzik bloozen;

Terwijl het Violiertje gloeit

In schaaûw van witte en roode Roozen.

My dunkt ik zie dat Rupsje weeven,

Dat Bytje door de takjes zweeven,

Noem dit geen kunst: o neen : ‘t is leven.

(Who can count these wonders all?

I see the purple Muscatel;

I see the leaves’ veins as they swell

Under the gentle morning dew.

The Plum and Peach, they blush, ‘tis said,

and fragrant Stock of glowing hue,

shaded by Roses white and red.


The caterpillar wends its way,

Methinks that bee above doth sway,

Call not this art: ‘tis life, I say.)

-Lukretia Wilhelmina van Merken, in honour of Rachel Ruysch’s oeuvre (1750)

On this International Women’s Day, I’d like to highlight some of my greatest heroes and inspirations: the women whose fantastic works shaped the Dutch Golden Age. The harmful and disrespectful notion that women artists didn’t exist in history (and if they did, they were never successful) persists to this day. I want to stress, desperately, that this is not so. Women’s labour throughout the ages has been tragically undervalued, and women’s art has been systematically pushed aside and labelled as “kitsch” and “craft” by those who would have women make nothing else.

Margareta de Heer, Clara Peeters, Rachel Ruysch and Maria van Oosterwijck were each very achieved artists, and their work was heavily sought after in their time. With the limitations set upon them by society - still life was the only form of painting a (wealthy) woman could do at the time - they built great careers and lasting legacies. Their love of the natural world shows in the beautiful, detailed way they depict it in their work, and if ever you are blessed with the opportunity to see any of it in real life, I strongly suggest you do so. They are the giants whose shoulders we stand on, and must never be forgotten.

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Rituals and Planetary Elixirs

I purchased a copy of Planetary Magick by Osborne Phillips and the late Melita Denning several years ago but never got around to reading it until recently. I was extremely surprised to stumble upon a whole chapter dedicated to working rituals that combined planetary intelligences with potions! I am a Witch, but have always been attracted to the rites and rituals of what some classify as “high” or “ceremonial” magic, so to see these two blended together so perfectly was really fascinating. Additionally, these “potion rituals” were all designed for group use which added an even deeper level of mysticism to their being. The rites draw upon the powers of the seven classical planets (Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Sun, Venus, Mercury, and the Moon). The “elixirs” described for each planetary ritual are simply different varieties of wine or spirits, but the creative witch may find pleasure in enhancing these rites with concoctions most fitting. (Reference my earlier post entitled Ceremonial Potions & Libations for some examples. It can be found here.)

The book gives the following recommendations for selecting wine/spirits based on each of the planets:

Saturn – Retsina. Elderberry. Entre Deux Mers. Campari.

Jupiter – Burgundy. Dubonnet. Byrrh. Ruby Port.

Mars – Ginger Wine. Asti Supmante. Bull’s Blood. Chablis.

Sun – Muscatel. Claret. Commanderie St. John. Commanderia. Chianti. Barsac.

Venus – Moselle. Rose. Sparkling Rose. Mead. Champagne.

Mercury – Vermouth. Old Tokay. Blanc de Blancs. Reisling.

Moon – Liebfraumilch. Sauternes. Sylvaner. Palm Wine.

 The book does not offer explanation as to why each of the above mentioned corresponds to the planet they’re attached to, but we must remember that correspondences are unique to each practitioner so we are certainly free to change these based on our own practices.

My coven recently used one of these rituals with outstanding results. Although I won’t go into too much detail, I will provide the basic, modified outline we used so that others may duplicate it in their own private practice should inspiration strike. Please note: I have omitted the preliminary/opening rites we used since those are unique to our own group.

1.      The elixir is held skywards in both hands while consecrations recited.

2.      The group links hands then moves deosil around the altar while vibrating the planetary words of power, raising energy.

3.      The energy is then directed into the elixir.

4.      Each person states the intent (that corresponds with the planetary energy evoked in the preliminary rite, then sips the elixir, taking in the power of the planet.

World War II Soldiers Express Their Love in Heartbreaking Letter

Dear Dave:

This is in memory of an anniversary – the anniversary of October 27th, 1943, when I first heard you singing in North Africa. That song brings memories of the happiest times I have ever known. Memories of a GI show troop – curtains made from barrage balloons – spotlights made from cocoa cans–rehearsals that ran late into the eventings–and a handsome boy with a wonderful tenor voice. Opening night at a theater in Canastel–perhaps a bit too much muscatel, and someone who understood. Exciting days playing in the beautiful and stately Municipal Opera House in Oran–a misunderstanding–an understanding in the wings just before opening chorus.

Drinks at “Coq d'or”–dinner at the “Auberge”–a ring and promise given. The show for 1st Armoured–muscatel, scotch, wine–someone who had to be carried from the truck and put to bed in his tent. A night of pouring rain and two very soaked GIs beneath a solitary tree on an African plain. A borrowed French convertible–a warm sulphur spring, the cool Mediterranean, and a picnic of “rations” and hot cokes. Two lieutenants who were smart enough to know the score, but not smart enough to realize that we wanted to be alone. A screwball piano player–competition–miserable days and lonely nights. The cold, windy night we crawled through the window of a GI theater and fell asleep on a cot backstage, locked in each other’s arms–the shock when we awake and realized that miraculously we hadn’t been discovered. A fast drive to a cliff above the sea–pictures taken, and a stop amid the purple grapes and cool leaves of a vineyard.

The happiness when told we were going home–and the misery when we learned that we would not be going together. Fond goodbyes on a secluded beach beneath the star-studded velvet of an African night, and the tears that would not be stopped as I stood atop the sea wall and watched your convoy disappear over the horizon.

We vowed we’d be together again “back home,” but fate knew better–you never got there. And so, Dave, I hope that where ever you are these memories are as precious to you as they are to me.

Goodnight, sleep well my love.

Brian Keith

The tear-jerker of a letter below was written by a World War II veteran named Brian Keith to another soldier, known only as “Dave.” The two began their romance in 1943 while stationed in North Africa together. This letter commemorated that anniversary.

It was first re-printed for wide distribution in 1961, by pioneering gay publication, ONE Magazine. But this love letter could very well have never seen the light of day. ONE put out their first issue in 1953, and brazenly sold on the streets of Los Angeles. In 1954 the magazine faced obscenity charges from the U.S. Post Office Department. They sued, and in 1958, won in a Supreme Court trial that set new legal precedent for First Amendment protections. ONE Magazine ran until 1967.

Dear Dave,

This is in memory of an anniversary — the anniversary of October 27th, 1943, when I first heard you singing in North Africa. That song brings memories of the happiest times I’ve ever known. Memories of a GI show troop — curtains made from barrage balloons — spotlights made from cocoa cans — rehearsals that ran late into the evenings — and a handsome boy with a wonderful tenor voice. Opening night at a theatre in Canastel — perhaps a bit too much muscatel, and someone who understood. Exciting days playing in the beautiful and stately Municipal Opera House in Oran — a misunderstanding — an understanding in the wings just before opening chorus.

Drinks at “Coq d’or” — dinner at the “Auberge” — a ring and promise given. The show 1st Armoured — muscatel, scotch, wine — someone who had to be carried from the truck and put to bed in his tent. A night of pouring rain and two very soaked GIs beneath a solitary tree on an African plain. A borrowed French convertible — a warm sulphur spring, the cool Mediterranean, and a picnic of “rations” and hot cokes. Two lieutenants who were smart enough to know the score, but not smart enough to realize that we wanted to be alone. A screwball piano player — competition — miserable days and lonely nights. The cold, windy night we crawled through the window of a GI theatre and fell asleep on a cot backstage, locked in each other’s arms — the shock when we awoke and realized that miraculously we hadn’t been discovered. A fast drive to a cliff above the sea — pictures taken, and a stop amid the purple grapes and cool leaves of a vineyard.

The happiness when told we were going home — and the misery when we learned that we would not be going together. Fond goodbyes on a secluded beach beneath the star-studded velvet of an African night, and the tears that would not be stopped as I stood atop the sea-wall and watched your convoy disappear over the horizon.

We vowed we’d be together again “back home,” but fate knew better — you never got there. And so, Dave, I hope that wherever you are these memories are as precious to you as they are to me.

Goodnight, sleep well my love.

Brian Keith

Goldfrapp’s moving “Clay” from their latest long-player, Tales of Us, is based on the letter.

Darjeeling The Champagne of Tea

From the foothills of the Himalayas within the Darjeeling district of West Bengal, India, a unique type of tea is grown. Due to the high altitude, climate, and lightly acidic soil within this region a one of a kind flavour is crafted. Contrary to most tea produced in India this is not an assam variation of camellia sinensis but of the sinensis variation. The tea leaves are small and only partially oxidized in processing, generally only leaves from the first or second flush are used. Although considered to be a black tea, Darjeeling is actually a cross between black and oolong tea.

Darjeeling gets its nickname from the distinct floral, almost grape like aroma, which really brings to mind the aroma of champagne. The Tea has a unique muscatel like flavor and vibrant golden colour. This tea is best enjoyed black or with a small splash of milk.        

- The Tea Drinkers Guide 

Tea Headcanons for Each Flight

There’s nothing I love better than a nice cup of tea, so these are some of the teas I like to imagine the different flights in Sornieth might enjoy. 

Fire: Masala Chai steeped in the heat of the forge, a strong and vivid flavor redolent with spicy cinnamon, the zing of ginger, and the heat of black pepper. Some dragons like to throw in a pinch of Lapsang Souchong for a touch of smoke. 

Wind: Jasmine pearl tea, with a delicate floral complexity that smells and tastes just like blooming jasmine. They’re often arranged into little balls of blooming teas, leaves and flowers carefully rolled up, then served in a clear glass teapot so that everyone can watch the hot water make the ball unfurl and “bloom.” Wind dragons almost always have a pouch of the little pearls on them, to share with new friends they meet on their travels. 

Arcane: Kashmiri tea, a special tea made with milk, salt, pistachios, almonds, cardamom, and cinnamon. A unique tea with an unmistakable blend of flavors, and an equally unmistakable pink hue, perfect to drink while stargazing.

Plague: Cranberries harvested from their many bogs, blood oranges with tough, leathery skin, and hibiscus stolen from the verdant edges of the Gladekeeper’s domain stain this herbal tea bright red, and give it a sharp, tart flavor. It will curdle milk if you try to add any. When fresh ingredients are unavailable however, they carry bricks of pressed pu-erh, tea which has been fermented and oxidized. The leaves are gathered from wild trees in the parts of the Scarred Wasteland which were once the Gladekeeper’s forests before the land was corrupted and claimed by the Plaguebringer, and they make rich, dark tea with a faint taste of camphor. 

Earth: A strong brewed Assam, rich and flavorful with a hint of nuttiness, simple and straightforward. Serve with honey, and milk or lemon for a comforting, homey drink. A drink the Earthshaker would share with his siblings, if they ever came to visit. 

Nature: Strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, apple bits, rosehips, and violets are all easily gathered from the Gladekeeper’s lush domain to be dried and blended with a rich Ceylon tea. It’s brewed with fresh springwater and sweetened with wildflower honey, and most nature lairs have their own variation based on their favorite fruits and flowers. 

Light: A fine first flush darjeeling, blended with mango and apricot. The delicate floral muscatel that characterizes darjeeling as “the champagne of teas” is complemented by the lush sweetness of mango and apricot. Too bad they keep letting it get stone cold because they get lost in a book and forget they had it. 

Lightning: The dry, desert environs of the Shifting Expanse aren’t a fun place for hot tea, so they take an iced blend, flavored with lime, mint, coconut, and cactus blossoms. Cool and refreshing, so you can drink it and immediately get back to work.

Water: There’s a mushroom tea that induces visions, but don’t try that one at home. More commonly drunk is Moroccan mint tea, with the smooth but surprisingly strong taste of gunpowder green tea complemented by the cool sweetness of fresh mint and sugar. Like the ocean it changes, and each of the three steeps in their varying flavors are considered conducive to seeing varying prophecies: “The first glass is as gentle as life, the second glass is as strong as love, the third glass is as bitter as death.”

Shadow: They favor a blend called Shadowbinder’s Lullaby, with a  grassy mintiness of chammomile and the astringent but soothing taste of lavender to lull you into relaxation. Forest berries dance sweetly around the edge, while anise seeds bring out a hint of licorice at the very end. But be careful how much you drink. They like to add in hemlock, and you can never be sure if they mean the evergreen, or the poisonous herb.

Ice: Silver Needles white tea, blended with the lightest touches of peony, spearmint, and pear, delicately flavored and meant to be drunk with nothing added, is considered the classy blend. However, the Southern Icefields are a cold place, where you need something hearty and warming when you come in out of the snow, so don’t be surprised when you’re actually offered a steaming cup of strong brewed tea rich with caramel, maple, almond, vanilla, apples, and cinnamon, with plenty of cream and rock sugar stirred in, 

Terry Loukaitis saw the look in his son’s bloodshot eyes - a look of “cold fury” - and recoiled in fright.

“He was a completely different person. I was shocked, horrified,” the Moses Lake man testified Thursday, his voice quaking with emotion.

“I didn’t know what to think. It was like the whole thing was a nightmare. It was as if all of this stuff that had been boiling up inside of him all of a sudden started coming out.”

The eruption came the afternoon of Feb. 2, when 14-year-old Barry Loukaitis stepped into his fifth-period algebra class at Frontier Junior High School and started firing his father’s hunting rifle.

The rampage ended when a physical education teacher grabbed the boy and the gun. By then, the classroom was splattered with blood. Two classmates and a teacher were dead; a third student was wounded.

Later that day, Terry Loukaitis told police there was nothing wrong with his son, but when he visited Barry behind bars, he knew it was a lie.

“He was scary looking,” he said Thursday at a hearing to determine if the boy will face aggravated murder charges as a juvenile or an adult.

The confessed killer’s mother also took the witness stand. In a quiet voice, she detailed her son’s two-year slide into angry isolation.

When Barry was in sixth grade, JoAnn Loukaitis said, he was a happy kid - brighter than most, popular, with a flair for writing.

“He was really friendly; he was outgoing,” she said. “He was in student council; he had friends that came over a lot.”

But the next fall, when he started seventh grade at Frontier, things started to change. “He didn’t have friends over as much anymore. He started slowly backing away from people,” his mother said.

JoAnn Loukaitis, 47, clutched a tissue, stared at her lap and said she understands because she long has suffered from depression. When her marriage began falling apart, dissolving into fistfights and curses, she said, some of the fallout wounded Barry, who then was about 12.

By eighth grade, Barry had become so withdrawn, gloomy and angry that his parents had to order him to do fun things, such as go to the movies.

“He just totally isolated himself,” she said. “It was like all of the sudden he didn’t like people; he didn’t trust people; he thought all people were bad.”

Those feelings intensified a couple of weeks before the shootings, when JoAnn Loukaitis, who had just filed for divorce, revealed her plan to kill herself in front of her husband and his suspected lover.

She said Barry urged her not to do it. “Mom, just write about it,” she said he told her. “That way, you’ll get it off your chest. … I don’t want you to die.”

Afterward, the teenager avoided his parents, he ate in his room - if he ate at all - and he slept away much of the day.

JoAnn Loukaitis said her son didn’t snap out of his depression until he was prescribed lithium a couple of months after his arrest. “He started being like the old Barry, who was fun to be with,” she said.

Defense attorney Guillermo Romero later called his third mental health expert, Seattle psychologist Kenneth Muscatel.

While Muscatel ruled out full-blown psychosis, he described Barry Loukaitis as “one of the strangest kids I’ve ever met.” He found the boy, now 15, to be angry, detached and depressed - warning signs of suicide, not murder.

During cross-examination by Grant County Prosecutor John Knodell, Muscatel said Loukaitis’ preparation for the shooting, such as stockpiling ammunition and weapons and buying a trench coat to hide the rifle, required sophistication.

In previous testimony for the defense, a psychiatrist and a psychologist said Loukaitis was mentally ill and wouldn’t have resorted to violence if he’d been properly treated.

Spokane psychologist Mark Mays said the boy was suffering from depression brought on by his troubled home life. Psychiatrist Julia Moore of Federal Way, Wash., went further, diagnosing the teenager as having a bipolar personality disorder - depression combined with unrelenting anger and mood swings.

That was challenged late Thursday by University of Washington psychology professor Alan Unis, the prosecution’s first rebuttal witness.

Unis found Loukaitis to be mentally ill, but not bipolar. The witness said Loukaitis is too young to have that disorder because his personality hasn’t fully developed.

Loukaitis, who has no prior criminal record, is charged with three counts of aggravated first-degree murder and one count of first-degree assault. Killed were classmates Manuel Vela and Arnold Fritz and teacher Leona Caires. Student Natalie Hintz was wounded. Testimony is expected to conclude today.

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I must admit I have dunked a tea bag into hot water and called it tea. I have even made Darjeeling tea, sometimes called the champagne of teas, from a tea bag.

For tea gurus like Anindyo Choudhury, that is sacrilege. “I wouldn’t even touch it,” he says.

Most tea bag teas are chopped and cut by machine instead of being rolled and twisted, hand-plucked and hand-processed. The best Darjeeling tea is loose leaf, steeped for a couple of minutes in hot water — it’s light and bright.

When Choudhury describes it, he sounds as if he’s talking about wine. He gets excited about what he calls the “muscatel,” a “nice fruity flavor” that he says is “very hard to come by.” He talks about tea “maturing” over a week or two, its flavors deepening.

Choudhury drinks a lot of tea. For almost two decades, it has been a part of his job at J Thomas & Co. Pvt. Ltd., the oldest and largest tea auctioneer and broker in the world. The first public sale of tea took place in its Calcutta offices in 1861.

Darjeeling 2.0: India’s Tea Auction Goes Digital

Photos: Jeff Koehler

The Green Automobile, a poem seemingly about Lucien Carr.

By Allen Ginsberg

If I had a Green Automobile
I’d go find my old companion
in his house on the Western ocean.
Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!

I’d honk my horn at his manly gate,
inside his wife and three
children sprawl naked
on the living room floor.

He’d come running out
to my car full of heroic beer
and jump screaming at the wheel
for he is the greater driver.

We’d pilgrimage to the highest mount
of our earlier Rocky Mountain visions
laughing in each others arms,
delight surpassing the highest Rockies,

and after old agony, drunk with new years,
bounding toward the snowy horizon
blasting the dashboard with original bop
hot rod on the mountain

we’d batter up the cloudy highway
where angels of anxiety
careen through the trees
and scream out of the engine.

We’d burn all night on the jackpine peak
seen from Denver in the summer dark,
forestlike unnatural radiance
illuminating the mountaintop:

childhood youthtime age & eternity
would open like sweet trees
in the nights of another spring
and dumbfound us with love,

for we can see together
the beauty of souls
hidden like diamonds
in the clock of the world,

like Chinese magicians can
confound the immortals
with our intellectuality
hidden in the mist,

in the Green Automobile
which I have invented
imagined and visioned
on the roads of the world

more real than the engine
on a track in the desert
purer than Greyhound and
swifter than physical jetplane.

Denver! Denver! we’ll return
roaring across the City & County Building lawn
which catches the pure emerald flame
streaming in the wake of our auto.

This time we’ll buy up the city!
I cashed a great check in my skull bank
to found a miraculous college of the body
up on the bus terminal roof.

But first we’ll drive the stations of downtown,
poolhall flophouse jazzjoint jail
whorehouse down Folsom
to the darkest alleys of Larimer

paying respects to Denver’s father
lost on the railroad tracks,
stupor of wine and silence
hallowing the slum of his decades,

salute him and his saintly suitcase
of dark muscatel, drink
and smash the sweet bottles
on Diesels in allegiance.

Then we go driving drunk on boulevards
where armies march and still parade
staggering under the invisible
banner of Reality –

hurtling through the street
in the auto of our fate
we share an archangelic cigarette
and tell each others’ fortunes:

fames of supernatural illumination,
bleak rainy gaps of time,
great art learned in desolation
and we beat apart after six decades… .

and on an asphalt crossroad,
deal with each other in princely
gentleness once more, recalling
famous dead talks of other cities.

The windshield’s full of tears,
rain wets our naked breasts,
we kneel together in the shade
amid the traffic of night in paradise

and now renew the solitary vow
we made each other take
in Texas, once:
I can’t inscribe here… .

… …

… …

How many Saturday nights will be
made drunken by this legend?
How will young Denver come to mourn
her forgotten sexual angel?

How many boys will strike the black piano
in imitation of the excess of a native saint?
Or girls fall wanton under his spectre in the high
schools of melancholy night?

While all the time in Eternity
in the wan light of this poem’s radio
we’ll sit behind forgotten shades
hearkening the lost jazz of all Saturdays.

Neal, we’ll be real heroes now
in a war between our cocks and time:
let’s be the angels of the world’s desire
and take the world to bed with us before
we die.

Sleeping alone, or with companion,
girl or fairy sheep or dream,
I’ll fail of lacklove, you, satiety:
all men fall, our fathers fell before,

but resurrecting that lost flesh
is but a moment’s work of mind:
an ageless monument to love
in the imagination:

memorial built out of our own bodies
consumed by the invisible poem –
We’ll shudder in Denver and endure
though blood and wrinkles blind our eyes.

So this Green Automobile:
I give you in flight
a present, a present
from my imagination.

We will go riding
over the Rockies,
we’ll go on riding
all night long until dawn,

then back to your railroad, the SP
your house and your children
and broken leg destiny
you’ll ride down the plains

in the morning: and back
to my visions, my office
and eastern apartment
I’ll return to New York.

A truth can stand up tall by itself, lies need more lies to prop them up. Truth has a symmetry, falsehood is out of kilter. Truth is high resolution, falsehood is out of focus. Truth has a certain ring, falsehood sounds a dull note. Truth has a fresh smell, falsehood a sour smell. Truth tastes like a perfect martini, falsehood like cheap muscatel. Truth feels like a silk scarf, falsehood like worn out sandpaper. Truth will get you into heaven, if there is such a place. Falsehood will send you to hell, if there is such a place. Truth gives you an honest face, falsehood a depraved look. Truth has longevity, lies die young. Truth will make love last, lies will kill it. A carpenter’s work might all be truth, and a politician’s work all lies. But nothing is all black and white, because there are times for terrible truths and times for wonderful lies. And there are even things that are perfect even though they are entirely true and entirely false, like the bible. If these words are poetry, they would be true, because poetry is always true, assuming that it is poetry. — Michael Lipsey
Darjeeling

[x]

Hannibal raised a kettle of spring water brought to a boil, and poured its contents in a glittering arc. The waiting loose leaves of second flush Darjeeling blossomed inside the porcelain teapot he’d painstakingly brought home from his travels.

He appreciatively breathed in the honey-sweet muscatel notes of the tea and swirled it gently in its antique bone china teacup, before taking a quiet sip, enjoying the sublime silence of his kitchen.

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