Archive for the ‘Holidays’ Category

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.

The Perfect New Year Resolution

In Holidays, Life Essays, writing on January 2, 2012 at 5:44 pm

Over the years I’ve made numerous resolutions, some of them I’ve managed to follow through successfully, many others I’ve given up on months, weeks and sometimes even just days after making the resolution. This year, I’m looking back over the past year and previous resolutions, and I have a new resolution, one I’ve never made before.

1992 my resolutions were to lose weight, be perfectly groomed, have a perfect home and write a column for my local newspaper….I got the column and wrote it for  4 years.

1998 my resolutions were to lose weight, be perfectly groomed, have a perfect home, and homeschool my younger boys….hahahahaha, well I did homeschool the boys and any of you who have homeschooled know exactly what happened to the rest of those resolutions.

2002 my resolutions were to lose weight, be perfectly groomed, move to Wyoming, have a perfect home and write. We moved to Wyoming and I lost thirty pounds….must have been the mountain air!

2008 my resolutions were to lose weight (I’d long since gained back the previously lost weight), move back to California, be perfectly groomed and write….we moved back to California

2011 I resolved to lose weight, be perfectly groomed, have a perfect home and write a novel. I wrote the first draft of my novel, and began editing.

In 2011 I also was there as a dear friend lost her husband of 20 years to cancer, I saw my father for the first time in twenty years, let go of my kids just a little more as they grow up, held on tighter to my own loving husband of 23 years, and learned that writing really is what I want to do for the rest of my life.

So what do you think my resolutions are for 2012?

2012 I resolve to quit worrying about being perfect…it’s an impossible goal that sets me up for failure and makes me feel inadequate, I resolve to simply be my best, the best wife, mother, friend, writer, that I’m capable of being, and to love myself, something that I probably shouldn’t need to resolve to do, but clearly I do. (Okay, I still have to resolve to lose weight; I’m not ready to give up!)

I’ll get back to you this time next year to let you know how this goes. In the meantime, do you make New Year’s Resolutions? Which have been successful? What are your resolutions for 2012, I’d love to know!!

It Was October 31st and an Eerie Fog had Settled Along the Coast

In Holidays, Life Essays, writing on October 31, 2011 at 12:36 pm


Yesterday was Southern California sunny and seventy-something,

Lifeguard stand in the Halloween Fog

and this morning I planned on walking barefoot on the wet sand at the beach, but even the Los Angeles weather has succumbed to the Halloween holiday. The beach is foggy with a light mist in the air, so I gave up fantasies of wet sand between my toes, grabbed my shoes and my pink camera and hit the beach.

There are days when I walk along the strand, lost in my head. The ocean sounds and smells fade into the background and I forget where I am, thinking about the story I’m working on, bills I need to pay, what I plan on making for dinner..you know…life. Today wasn’t one of those days. Today I was lost in the ocean and my environment. Today I felt the heart of the world beating around me. Birds flying over the water, surfers paddling along the shore, all became ghostlike impressions enveloped in the heavy marine fog. It wasn’t eerie, I’d have to say that even with the shadowy ghosts of people on the beach and seagulls overhead, it was a cozy feeling… it’s home.

Bird with a lot to say!

One of the things I love most about a day like today is that the marine layer holds in the ocean smells. The sea is heavy in the ocean air, and the mistiness makes my hair curl up into little ringlets that I think are messy, but that for some crazy reason my husband, Paul loves.

Normally, I use this time to get back into my story, feel my characters, plot and plan, but today I took pictures of crashing waves, and shadowy figures. I collected miniature seashells the size of my finger nails. Not that I need another seashell-my father in law an avid seashell collector left us an incredible collection, so we already own our share of the pacific and a couple of other oceans, but I can never resist picking them up as I walk along the beach.

Later I’ll make up haunted tales about the ghostly dolphin couple that moved gently in unison rounded backs and pointy fins arching into the water (I couldn’t get a picture of them in the heavy fog), and the paddle boarder lost in the misty haze as his shadowy figure glided along just outside of the breaking waves, it is after all Halloween.

The shells are now in a purple sand pail in my trunk, and I’m sitting at the library with sand in my shoes, and damp knees-I couldn’t resist dropping to my knees to take some pictures of a squawking seagull that seemed to have an exceptional amount to say. I pulled out my manuscript….I’m doing rewrites of my first draft now, and I’m nearing the end…so I found my marker and began reading where I had left off, and found that all along I was in my heroine’s head after all…the first words of the chapter have her walking on the beach in a hazy fog…..so, it’s time for me to get back to my story. I’ll share some pictures when I get back home, and can download my camera, hopefully some of them capture ghostly coastal images.

In the meantime, hope everyone has a festive day…filled
with adorable trick-or-treaters, jack-o-lanterns, and of course chocolate…

Happy Halloween!

Ghost Paddle Boarder

Holiday Traditions

In Holidays on April 22, 2011 at 2:03 pm