Archive for February, 2012|Monthly archive page

Our Fairy Tale

In Holidays, Life Essays, poetry on February 14, 2012 at 11:42 am

Probably the silliest thing I ever wrote, and again posted at another blog, it goes along with the posts; Our Story- How We met, and Our Story Our First Date. If you read those two posts, you will see exactly how this became our true life Fairy Tale.




Once upon a time in a kingdom not so far away,
there was a handsome prince
and a fair lady with her young son.

They met in a village
along the shoreline,
where the handsome prince was disguised as the court jester.

The prince and the lady had a magical first date
that ended with love’s first kiss under a street light

One year later they were married
on the same cobblestone path where they met
in the little Shoreline Village
under the queen’s watchful eye.

Two more sons brought the total to three
Filling the house with boys
They tried homes in several towns

One day they stood atop a beautiful mountain,
Overlooking wide open spaces, and under huge blue skies,
That seemed nearly endless.
They were entranced with this amazing place.
That is how they came to live
In the little town nestled between the mountain and the river.

But the winter’s were long and harsh, and eventually,
The prince and princess began to long for home.

So they settled near the Shoreline Village
Where they first fell in love.

And even today they are often seen watching the sunset
Along the shore
Living happily ever after………


Our Story Part 2- Our first Date

In Holidays, Life Essays, Uncategorized on February 10, 2012 at 10:58 am

So, before the wedding at Shoreline Village, and after the meeting at Shoreline Village, we had a first date. I have to tell you all that, although I agreed to the date, I wasn’t looking forward to it, and I didn’t trust Paul past my little finger. I dressed very carefully. Trying on a dozen items before settling on what Paul would later refer to as my “Little House on the Prairie” outfit. I wore a long green and white skirt that skimmed my ankles, and an oversized, shapeless, white sweater….to this day I have this outfit packed away as a keepsake!

Paul picked me up, slightly late, in his 1979 Dodge Ram Van. It was a gray utility van. No windows on the sides or back, no carpeting on the floor, in fact inside it was like a tin can. I hoisted myself up into the passenger seat wondering what I was thinking.

We had a nice dinner at a little Mexican restaurant, and I was surprised to see that he was nervous too….which actually put me a little more at ease.

The fun really started after dinner. When we got back to his van. Paul was dressed in a striped polo shirt, and a pair of Kurdish pants his brother had brought back for him from Turkey. Both front pockets had zippers. I tried not to laugh as Paul struggled to open the zipper to retrieve his keys from the right pocket, and managed to contain myself even when he had to break the zipper to access his keys.

He hadn’t had time to stop at the bank to get money, so we had to find an ATM, and in those days banks weren’t linked by computers, so you had to go to your own bank to use your card. He found a Security Pacific, and as he tried to remove his wallet from his left pocket….the zipper stuck and again he had to break it open to get his wallet. I could see he was embarrassed, but not as embarrassed as he appeared seconds later when the machine rejected his card, refusing to give him money. Apparently, he couldn’t use a Security Pacific STATE Bank. At this point I couldn’t contain myself anymore, and burst out laughing. He looked over at me sheepishly, then broke out into laughter as well.

Eventually, he got the money, but instead of heading to the theater, he decided that this was the perfect time to get new gaskets for his van, which seemed to have an engine leak. We went to every Chief Auto Parts store in the area….no guy had taken me on a tour of Auto Parts stores on a date before, and I had to admit at this point, he seemed pretty harmless….even if he was a little scattered. I was having fun.

Finally, we started looking for the movie theater. Now, keep in mind that the only reason we met was because I got lost looking for Ports O’ Call, and this was before GPS and Google Maps. Neither of us had ever been to this theater, and realizing how much time we had spent looking for ATM machines, and touring the local auto parts stores, It didn’t take long for Paul to decide to stop at a gas station for directions. A mix tape was playing in his cassette player, and just as we rolled into the gas station U2’s “Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” poured out of the speakers. We both erupted into laughter. The gas station attendant gave us directions, and we were on our way. After driving for another 10 minutes, we realized that we were right back at the same gas station so Paul pulled back in, and wouldn’t you know it, the same song came back on the tape, I was laughing so hard my sides hurt, and I was pretty sure that Paul was feeling the same pain. The attendant patiently gave us directions again. Once again we left on our quest to find the illusive movie theater. Two more times we ended up at the same station getting directions from the same patient attendant, and both times as we pulled into the station U2’s famed song “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” . The fifth time that we realized we were going to pull into the same gas station, he switched from the tape to the radio as we rolled into the station and would you believe they were playing “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”? We were laughing so hard we were crying as the same attendant came to help us.

The attendant took one look at us and asked “Are you two stoned or just stupid?”

We looked at each other then at him and replied in unison “Just stupid!” Then burst back into laughter.

We did eventually find the theater, but of course, missed the movie we had planned on seeing. I don’t even remember what it was. We saw North Shore, a romantic surfer movie. He put his arm around me in the theater, and it felt so natural.

Then when we walked back out to his van he stopped under a street light and kissed me, and I knew it was magic. Somewhere in the background a radio was playing “The Look of Love”.

He didn’t propose, but only two weeks after we met, as he was installing the new gaskets on his van, he looked across the engine at me and said “I’m going to marry you.”…..and one year later, between the picnic tables where we met at Shoreline Village, with Gerrod standing proudly as our ring bearer, he did.

Paul and I still argue over which song is ‘our song’. He says it’s “The Look of Love”, but I say it’s “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”. I figure as long as we’re lost and looking together…..and still laughing…….

Our Story Part 1- How We Met

In Holidays, Life Essays on February 9, 2012 at 11:45 am

I originally posted this entry on another blog, but thought I’d re-post it here for Valentine’s.


“Look, Mommy, Look!”  my adorable four year old son exclaimed, as he pointed at the guys at the next picnic table.

Reluctantly, I looked up at the tall, ruggedly handsome (I would only notice this later) construction worker who was wearing a plastic pig nose, attached to plastic eye glasses, with fake Groucho Marx eyebrows topping them off. Currently, the guy I’d been trying to avoid looking at, was performing for his buddies, juggling full cans of beer. I was pretty sure that they had started drinking before they showed up.

I rolled Our Story Part 1- How We Metmy eyes, turned my attention back to my small son and told him, “Gerrod, don’t look at him, don’t talk to him, don’t encourage him.” The tall juggler heard me, and apparently I had tossed a gauntlet, and he had accepted a challenge I didn’t even know I had made.

Gerrod and I had been having a nice Friday evening, eating burgers at Shoreline Village in Long Beach, across the harbor from the Queen Mary. Originally, I’d been looking for Ports O’Call, but a sense of direction has never been one of my better skills, and Gerrod didn’t mind. Shoreline Village was a great place to take a small child on a Friday night.  I tried to distract Gerrod with the boats and the seagulls while he slowly ate his meal, but then, of course, a young girl walked by handing out fliers advertising the “Live Jive at Five” performance that was about to begin further down the marina. The rowdy juggler grabbed a stack of fliers from her and declared, “Fliers? I’ll show you flyers!” And began to turn them into paper airplanes.  All was lost. Gerrod was entranced, and I could hardly get him to take a few bites of his dinner.

The hamburger I’d ordered was huge, and I’d barely finished half of it when one of the juggler’s buddies, I had heard called Melvin, came over and said “hello”, then “Hey, are you done with that burger?” I looked at him with no small amount of disgust, but he just gave me a big grin. I slid the plate over to him, and he picked it up and started eating it, just as his juggling buddy came over and sat down across the table from me tossing a paper airplane to Gerrod.

“I’m Paul,” he offered, and put out his hand. I was totally taken off guard, and in those days I was much too polite for my own good.

“I’m Tari, “ I responded, as I put my hand in his, desperately wishing he would just walk away…. of course he didn’t.

“I’m Gerrod, “ my son offered in his most grown up voice. “You’re cool.”

And that was the beginning. He abandoned his buddies, and for the rest of the evening Paul followed us around the marina. We went on the carousel, he went on the carousel. Gerrod, who had been too distracted to finish his dinner, complained that he was hungry, and Paul sneaked away for a minute returning with a giant slice of pepperoni pizza. We went to listen to the jazz music announced on those captivating “flyers”, and Paul came along. By the time he asked for my phone number, he was Gerrod’s new hero, and he was such a nice guy (although I was still terrified of him) that I didn’t want to hurt his feelings, and I gave it to him.

A few days later he called me to ask me out, he sounded so different on the phone, not like the rowdy, out of control, ‘bad boy’ that I’d met on Friday, and I said yes. I’ll tell you the story of our first date another day.

A year later we were married between the picnic tables where we had met. Shoreline Village was not only kind enough to let us get married there, before they opened, but they steam cleaned the cobblestone for us, opened the carousel just for our wedding party, put out coffee and donuts, and several of the merchants gave us lovely gifts. All we had asked was for permission to be married there.

A few years later, we went back on our anniversary, and there was a full size restaurant where the little walk up hamburger stand had been. The restaurant was named “Oinks” which I thought was very appropriate for the place where I met my future husband while he was wearing a pig nose, and even more amazing…..on the menu was a Melvin burger!! So, Melvin, wherever you are, thanks for being part of the magic.

Now the place is named Tequila Jacks….also known as TJ’s…which just happens to be my initials now that I’m married to Paul. We eat there often, telling every poor waiter who has to serve us, and every young couple who happens to be sitting near us our little story.

And, by the way, 21 years later I found my way to Ports O’Call, and in fact, I often walk there from our home.

So about my skinny clothes….

In Life Essays, rituals on February 9, 2012 at 11:05 am

On Tuesday, over at From Fact to Fiction,  I wrote about visiting my old writing, and alluded to the fact that I also “visit” my skinny clothes. Since I’m confessing all of my little quirks these days, visiting my skinny clothes is among my most challenging. It goes along with the “and lose weight” resolution that I tack on to the end of my list of New Year’s resolutions each year. If I get rid of these skinny clothes, it would be like giving up, and I don’t like to give up.

My favorite pencil skirt

So, I keep all of my skinny clothes from the 80’s hidden in my laundry room, and ‘visit’ them periodically. The boys know if they see my skinny clothes spread out on the bed, that it might be a good time to disappear, I might be a little weepy, I could be angry (at myself not them) or horror of horrors….I could get nostalgic….and then they’d have to hear the stories about when and where I may have worn some of those old skinny clothes I still have!!

Keep in mind that when I actually wore those ‘skinny’ clothes…they were my fat clothes. These are clothes that I still have from after I gave birth to my oldest son, Gerrod. But boy I’d love to be that ‘fat’ now!!!

Over the years these clothes have moved with me from Riverside to Orange County,  from Los Angeles to Wyoming, and from Wyoming back to Los Angeles again.  At this point they are classified as Vintage Clothing, and I could probably sell some of them on ebay and make a few bucks, but that isn’t likely to happen soon.

In the 80’s I loved U2, The Pet Shop Boys, Tears for Fears and Final Net for my big 80’s hair. I wore pleated skirts and suits with pencil skirts that were calf length or just below my knee, like Diane Keaton in Baby Boom. I loved Madonna, but didn’t have the guts to wear the tulle and fishnet stockings, or bustier tops that she made so popular here in L.A.. I rarely wore pants, and lived in high heels, in fact I didn’t know that I was short until I had babies and those heels were no longer practical.

The cool thing about my ‘skinny’ clothes, is that for the most part, they are so classic in style that if I were ever to get that small again…..they would still be in style. Of course, my clothes are merely vintage, and I may be considered antique!!

So I keep the skinny clothes as a reminder that I once was “that small” which means I could be again, as motivation to keep trying and never give up…..and at the worst, as play clothes for my future granddaughters to play dress up in…I have three sons…I should get a granddaughter  of one of them right??? (Keep in mind, that’s exactly what my father-in-law thought when his three sons grew up!!)

So if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go visit my skinny clothes, then I’m going to figure out how to use the Zumba thingy my hunky hubby gave me when he bought that Wii for me at Christmas….anyone know how to use a Wii??