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Archive for the ‘Life Essays’ Category

I could have died waiting.   

In habits, Life Essays, quirks, writing on January 26, 2015 at 6:59 am

There were two things I remember wanting so badly I thought I would die when I was a little girl. The first was in the fifth grade. I wanted a tape recorder. I had to have it in order to tape the music from each week’s episode of The Partridge Family. And I got it, for Christmas. No it wasn’t the best way to get music, but I was ten okay, and yes in the background you could hear my little brother making car noises and the sound of my mother vacuuming, but I didn’t care, I could record music.

A year later my sixth grade class had a two week typing mini course, it was followed by two weeks of Gregg shorthand. I wanted to type so badly I could die. I loved books, I loved to read, but I took most of my allowance to the student store to buy pencils and pads to write on. Typing became an obsession with me. We didn’t have a typewriter at home, but I practiced on a cardboard keyboard the school had provided. I told everyone I knew I was learning to type, and when Rosalie, our neighbor across the street found out, she offered to loan me her portable typewriter to use for practice. I typed all of my homework, stories from books, pages from the dictionary. I was painfully slow, but I didn’t care. When I was watching television, or sitting in the car listening to my parents talk, I would ‘type’ whatever was being said on my lap, on the carpet, or the back of the car seat. I still do this, usually on my leg or with my hands in my pockets… sometimes on Hunky Hubby’s leg or arm, I don’t mean to do it, it’s become a habit, one of my charming little quirks.WP_20150124_14_11_12_Pro

Anyway, it was 1973 and I was eleven. I wanted a typewriter more than I wanted to meet Bobby Sherman (who I was sure would wait for me and marry me someday when I grew up). It was after Christmas, months until my birthday and I knew I would die if I didn’t get a typewriter. I know I was a weird kid, but hey back then a tablet was, well… a pad of paper and you wrote on it with pencils or ink pens, so a typewriter was cool. Okay, it probably wasn’t cool even then, but we had no sidewalks for skateboarding, and my parents didn’t think girls should play the drums.

I knew it would take me forever to save enough for a typewriter with my allowance of 50 cents a week, but I started saving anyway. About that time a babysitting job fell in my lap. It was my first regular job, babysitting after school every day. I couldn’t believe I was getting paid to play!

So I saved every dollar I earned. This was easier back then. I lived in a small town with no stores, no fast food restaurants, we didn’t have eBay or Etsy so I stuffed my money in my little pink jewelry box with the dancing ballerina and watched it grow. When the lid would no longer shut on my jewelry box I took it downstairs to my mother who was sitting on our gold crushed velvet sofa, which rested on the avocado green carpet, that matched the avocado green flocked gold wallpaper in the dining room, are you sensing a theme here? And, I asked to go shopping. We went to Sears. I bought an avocado green Sears Newport. I think I paid sixty dollars for it, but who knows, I mean I was eleven at the time, how do you expect me to remember what I paid for a typewriter.

I typed every story, poem, report and speech that I wrote through middle school and high school on that typewriter. I have no idea when I got rid of it, or how. Perhaps it was at a garage sale when we moved my senior year of high school. It could have been when I saved enough money to buy that brand new electric typewriter with automatic correction. And although I’ve thought of it fleetingly over the years, when I got my Olivetti typewriter with the daisy wheel and five hundred character memory, and a couple of years later when I got my first computer a 286 that the salesman assured me I’d never need to replace, I’ve always thought of it fondly.

So the point of my story is that although today I have a PC, laptop and a tablet, not the kind that’s an actual pad filled with paper, the kind that uses Wi-Fi, I missed my old typewriter. I wanted to feel the excitement I felt transcribing my handwriting from those notepads onto that first manual typewriter, how real it made the words on paper feel. Every now and then I search the internet to see if I can find it, or at least one like it. Last week I struck gold. There were two listed on one well known site for $165 and$250 dollars, and I was ready to pony up. I couldn’t believe I’d found an avocado green Sears Newport typewriter. Hunky Hubby even agreed it could be my Valentine gift. But before I clicked add to cart, I checked another site just for the heck of it, and found my typewriter for $15.99 plus shipping of course, in the last hours of the auction. In all there were three of them on the second site, all avocado green under $50 and two of the auctions were ready to end. There were no bids on any of them, which surprised me, because who wouldn’t want a vintage early 1970’s avocado green typewriter, right? I waited patiently until just before the auction was over, swooped in and placed my bid, and won my typewriter for $15.99 (plus shipping of course).

I’ve saved money patiently, and impatiently for many things over the years, but that typewriter is the first thing I wanted so badly I thought I would die waiting to get it. I could write without it, and did, but with it my writing felt real.

It was delivered on Saturday. Right now it’s sitting on my dining table. It blends in pretty well with my sage green and cream décor. Every time I walk by it, it makes me smile. It also reminds me to put my behind in a chair and write, because that’s obviously what I’ve always wanted to do.

Do you remember the first thing you wanted so badly you were willing to save every dollar for? That you had to have it? How old were you? Do you still have it now? I’d love to hear your stories…WP_20150124_14_23_56_Pro

Just a note, if you click on Bobby Sherman’s name you can see photos and listen to the music I listened to in the 1970’s. I’ll be doing this all day today!

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Words on Wednesday-Hunky Hubby & Tari’s Excellent (but Soggy) Adventure

In Life Essays, quirks, writing on February 5, 2014 at 7:37 am

“It Never Rains in Southern California…it pours, man it pours.” Albert Hammond

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On Sunday there was a torrential downpour here in Los Angeles. No I don’t mean a wimpy little California sprinkle. I mean a heavy rain, the kind that floods roads and causes landslides (it’s true, part of California on the little peninsula we live on slipped into the ocean on Sunday!) yep, a real winter rainstorm. But I wanted to go to the Los Angeles Romance Authors Chapter of RWA’s monthly meeting to hear Jennifer Miller, a.k.a. Jennifer Haymore of the not just your typical author pseudonym split personality, but editor/author split personality…speak. Now, as I said, I live on a peninsula on the farthest south side of Los Angeles, and LARARWA meets in ‘like ya know’ The Valley. Which you may or may not know is north of Los Angeles.

So, my hunky husband, Paul doesn’t even hesitate, just says “Let’s go!” and ushers me to the car. The rain starts out as a ‘wimpy little California sprinkle,’ but as we hit the 110 Freeway, just minutes from our house it grows heavy…and everyone knows that we California drivers (hunky husband excluded) don’t know how to drive in the rain. Additionally, anyone who knows me well, okay who knows me for even a few minutes, is likely to know that not only am I a defensive (read paranoid) driver, but I also am a defensive (still read paranoid) passenger, and I’m not fun to be with in a car…not on surface streets, worse on the freeway, and even worse on a freeway driving through Los Angeles in a TORRENTIAL DOWNPOUR. Did I mention it was raining heavily?

Since we haven’t gotten very far yet I tell my wonderful hunky hubby, who is willing to risk life and limb, not to mention 45+ minutes in a car in a Torrential Downpour (really, I’m not exaggerating a bit) on the 110 Freeway with his slightly (read massively) paranoid wife, just to get me to a romance writer’s meeting…hmm, I forget what I was saying…oh yeah! I tell my hunky husband, “Maybe we should just turn around, go home and curl up on the sofa and watch old movies.”

“Not a chance,” he says in his deepest, ‘trust me, I’m a man’ voice. And so we continue to Studio City…where as we arrive at our destination in the Torrential Downpour (I know, but really it was…it made the news!) the car starts giving us trouble. We park the car to attend the meeting, hoping the rain will let up by the time the meeting is over…and my loving, supportive and of course hunky hubby sits through the entire meeting with me.

Luckily, Jennifer Miller a.k.a. Jennifer Haymore was fabulous. The topic was deep editing, something I’m heavily into right now, and I can’t tell you how much I learned on Sunday…well, I would, but I’ve spent so much time writing about the trip there that I’ll have to tell you more about deep editing next week. I will tell you that it was more than worth every minute of the trip. I can say that, now that I’m safely home sitting at my computer!

So we leave the meeting, the one I’ll tell you about next week, and the car starts up fine. The Torrential Downpour has yet to let up, and we decide to drive a little way down Ventura Boulevard to see how it will run. It doesn’t get too far before it starts acting up again, so we pull into the parking lot of the World Famous Carney’s Restaurant, and if they weren’t world famous before I’m sure they will be now, because I just blogged about them. Did I mention they’re in a train? So, I suggest we call AAA. After all, that’s why we pay for the card every year and pay extra so that they will tow us all the way from Studio City to San Pedro…which is currently falling into the ocean…. But, of course, my hunky husband says, “No. Let’s have some lunch and if the rain slows down, I’ll take a look under the hood.”

Now, hunky hubby really is an ace mechanic, but we aren’t in his garage. We are in The Valley during a Torrential Downpour (I’m not kidding, Torrential Downpour just like in a story!) and I am now not only massively paranoid (read certifiably paranoid), but I’m hungry, so I simply say, “Okay.”

After a burger, chili fries and soda…look, I know they’re famous for their hot dogs, but I wanted a burger…it is still raining heavily (Torrential Downpour I’m telling you) but hunky hubby still vetos AAA. So we spend a little time shopping in the nearby strip mall. An hour or so and a couple of credit card transactions later, the Torrential Downpour decides to let up, momentarily. The car starts and runs fine, so hunky hubby decides to try driving home. Paranoid wife, much to hunky hubby’s dismay, refuses to be on the freeway in Los Angeles in a potential Torrential Downpour in a car that isn’t running properly, so hunky hubby sucks it up and takes surface streets home…from The Valley all the way to San Pedro…which is still sliding into the ocean!

We don’t get far before the car starts acting up again, which hunky hubby maintains is due to driving too slowly on surface streets…and of course the Torrential Downpour returns. As we get closer to home…and out of some ‘not so nice’ areas of Los Angeles, we decide to give the car a break and stop at a grocery store to buy Thanksgiving groceries, because clearly I won’t be driving anywhere to shop after this. I start to fill my cart with groceries and the power goes out in the store. We continue shopping, and just as a store employee approaches us to tell us that we must leave the warm dry store, the power is restored. Phew! We finish the shopping, but the car still isn’t running right. Imagine that. But of course, we are nearly home now, so AAA just isn’t going to happen.

Wait, what does this have to do with writing? Oh, yeah, I went to the wonderful LARARWA meeting and heard the very entertaining and truly informative speaker Jennifer Miller a.k.a Jennifer Haymore, who you really deserve to hear about but will now have to wait until next week. Really, I promise to share some of her tips on deep editing.

(This column was previously published at Fact to Fiction, but it’s one of my favorite posts, so I thought I’d share it here as well. Coincidentally, Jennifer Haymore will be speaking again at LARA February 16th. I think I need to go…..as long as there is no rain in the forecast!)

Friday Funday- Last Man Standing

In family, Life Essays on January 31, 2014 at 7:33 am

It was the early nineties, I had three rowdy little boys, and a husband who carved pumpkins with a power saw, fixed a broken mixer by plugging a beater into his electric drill, and could blast an entire neighborhood with his giant stereo speakers. And, Tim Allen was starring in a sitcom that was the story of my life…..as  it was happening. Home Improvement. I had the husband who insisted that everything should have ‘more power’, and the boys, well, let’s just say they kept me on my toes.  The only thing missing was a wise neighbor, like Wilson, to keep Hunky Hubby on track. The show began airing one month before I gave birth to our youngest son, and ran until a year before the oldest son graduated from high school….and I could have written weekly episodes for that show the entire time it ran….heck, I could still be writing episodes.304833_1182216909_med

Anyway, when Hunky Hubby and I realized that Tim Allen had a new sitcom, Last Man Standing, we were instant fans. I immediately went to the internet to find out how to get tickets to watch a taping. Wednesday was our day.

Hunky Hubby made sure the car was gassed up the night before so that we could hit the road the minute he got home from work. I packed a picnic meal of special sandwiches, strawberries and rice crackers to eat while we waited in line, and when Paul got home from work we headed to the CBS Studios where this ABC television show was being taped….I know, but that’s the way things work in Hollywood, well, actually in Studio City.

Now, even though you’ve got tickets to see a show taped, you are not guaranteed that you will get in to see the show. You want to get there plenty early.  As you arrive for check-in, you are given a number. First they take the VIP’s in and seat them, then they take small groups of people in the order you arrived. This is why I pack the picnic dinner and we arrive at least an hour, but up to two hours ahead.

Once inside the studio there is a ‘warm-up guy’. A stand-up comedian whose job it is to get the audience excited and keep them entertained during the taping. Some of the warm up guys are amazing, others….well, at least Hunky Hubby is always willing to entertain.14122_1355443460499_450499_n

That’s right, Hunky Hubby took his juggling balls with him and was invited into the spotlight to juggle for the audience. Okay, he’s pretty talented, but what grown man walks around in public with his balls in a bag…..just waiting for an opportunity to put on a public display. Woops…..did that sound wrong?

A sitcom taping…in my vast experience takes anywhere from  three hours for a short one, to…., well, a taping of Hot In Cleveland that we went to see took about five hours. As tired as we were when we left the studio that night, we were so glad we went. The stars were funny, Valorie Bertinelli engaged with the audience and was not only incredibly beautiful, but very charming, and Betty White, well, what can you say about Betty white.

But back to Wednesday night. The cast of Last Man Standing is so professional. They knew their lines, the taping moved right along, and Hunky Hubby received an autographed picture of Tim Allen for playing with his balls in public. I’m so sorry, that sounds wrong too….but that’s what happened.

If you haven’t gone to a sitcom taping, you really should go at least once. If you take a juggler with you (or if you’re the juggler) you could come home with a cool prize….who knows. What did you do for fun this week? Tell me please, I could use some inspiration.

Tari’s Special Sandwiches

(No, these are not like the Special Sandwiches on How I Met Your Mother!)

4-6 servings

1 loaf of Jalapeno Cheese Focaccia bread,  ½ pound thinly sliced deli roast beef,  ½ pound thinly sliced deli black forest ham,  ½ pound sliced Havarti cheese, 1 ripe avocado, thinly sliced,  2 roma tomatoes, thinly sliced and drained on a paper towel, Fresh basil leaves, Special Mayonnaise

Special Mayonnaise Ingredients-½ cup mayonnaise, 3 strips roasted red peppers, 1 tsp minced garlic,  2-3 fresh basil leaves, Freshly ground black pepper

Put all ingredients for special mayonnaise in a food processer or blender and pulse until slightly chunky, but well blended.

Split the focaccia bread horizontally. Spread each half with special mayonnaise. Layer the meats on the bottom half of the bread, folding them in half to ‘fluff’ them up, arrange the cheese on top of the meat. Top with thinly sliced tomatoes, avocados and finally the fresh basil leaves. Put the top bread on the sandwich and cut into 4-6 pieces depending on the size of the focaccia bread. Take to a sitcom for dinner.

Just Me on Monday- Love Between the Sexes

In family, Life Essays on January 27, 2014 at 7:32 am

I have no problem sharing stories about my, shall we call it ‘blondness’. And although I generally believe that I’m reasonably intelligent, I see the humor in the fact that I can find my way around any mall even if I’ve never been there before, but get lost driving to my best friend’s house even though we’ve lived two miles apart for five years, and of course, I met Hunky Hubby because I was trying to find Ports ‘O Call, and ended up at Shoreline Village. Close, but not quite.

This story, is not however about my blonde short comings, it’s about my sweet Hunky Hubby, and I write it knowing full well that he will read it, because he lovingly reads every word I write, but he won’t be able to comment because although he can fix the fuel injectors on the car, remodel a kitchen and create an innovative money saving system for the city’s HVAC system that has the mayor calling to congratulate him on a job well done…..he can’t figure out how to comment on a blog. (He also can’t resist a challenge.)

Some of you may know that my handsome, brilliant husband, whom I frequently refer to as Hunky Hubby, is a little bit of a male chauvinist. I’m okay with this. In fact, I prefer it this way. Oh, he can tease me because I get lost everywhere I go, and I’m afraid to leave my three mile radius (hey this has increased from my previous two and a half mile radius and the center of the radius has moved). I don’t care, this just means that he drives me pretty much everywhere I go, because he’s worried about me. Yes, we know about GPS, but I can’t figure out how to use it, so although he’d be able to find me, he’d still have to come and rescue me, so he might as well drive. He can even tell me to ‘sit down, buckle up and just look pretty’, he’s driving, his rules.

This story though is about how my sexy, manly Hunky Hubby can sometimes put his foot in his mouth, and may not live it down.

As I’ve told you, over the summer we bought a little fixer upper, and we’ve been hard at work on it ever since. Clearly I’m not doing any major work, as I said, Hunky Hubby is a male chauvinist. He hides hammers, nails and even paintbrushes from me, because I shouldn’t worry my pretty little head about these things, I don’t know how to use them anyway, and he does. This is true, but sometimes I don’t like to wait, as my friend Beth can attest. Years ago she got tired of seeing my paper towel holder on the counter, went and got some tools and hung it up for me, this lead to me buying a hammer and nails of my own so that I could hang pictures. After all, if Beth could use a hammer, so could I! (Wrong.) I hung them, he didn’t like it, and he hid my hammer and nails. (I purchased hammers and nails several more times, all went missing.)

Anyway, we moved into the house in July, and there was no washer and dryer hook-up. None. Not anywhere. So Paul managed to get the washer hooked up, but the dryer would be more work and it got put on hold. He put up a clothes line in the backyard for me…..and guess what that big hunky man said to me. He said “Maybe you won’t even want a dryer. I kind of like the idea of you hanging laundry to dry while I’m at work, it’s so domestic.”

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Yep, that’s right, that’s what he said. I stood there too stunned to say anything. I said nothing at all. I know, it’s hard to believe that I had nothing to say, but seriously, who would expect that? So for about two weeks I lugged heavy wet laundry from the garage to the clothesline, prayed for warm days, spent approximately twenty minutes hanging each load and another ten taking it down, not to mention the ironing time because everything ends up wrinkled, and the crunchy towels because, well, towels just don’t come out soft on the clothesline. Then one day, Paul is in the kitchen rearranging cabinets, and you know what? He’s using power tools. That’s right, he’s using a cordless screwdriver to remove screws, lower the cabinets, and move them to the height where they should have been installed originally. (You should have seen the way this house was remodeled by the flippers. Kitchen cabinets up so high that I couldn’t reach the bottom shelves.)

 

So I’m watching him with the power screwdriver and it hits me. “Honey,” I say in my sexiest kitten voice. “I think it would be so sexy and manly if you did this with hand tools…. you know, the old fashioned way.”

He stopped and looked at me. “Huh?’

“Yeah, in fact, I’d stand right here and watch if you removed all of those screws with a hand screwdriver, and remounted those cabinets one by one with hand tools.” I tried to use a breathy Marilyn Monroe voice.

“What is wrong with you? This work would take me twice as long, why create extra work for myself when I have good tools to make the job easier and faster?”

“That’s right isn’t it honey? Just like using a dryer to dry the clothes.”

It finally dawned on him what he had said to me, and he had the good grace to look a little sheepish.

The point is that I’ve been hanging laundry for the last six months, and finally I have a dryer hooked up. I can’t tell you how happy I am about that. I think he would have done it sooner, but I will admit that he’s worked non-stop just trying to rearrange the silly things that were done in this house….did I mention they put the dishwasher on the opposite end of the kitchen from the sink? And the exhuast hood so high over the stove that I’d have to hit it with a broom handle to turn it on?DSCN2706

So I love my hunky male chauvinist husband, and I think he’s learned an important lesson from this. Don’t touch a girl’s power tools unless you want to lose your own!!

And over the years, I’ve learned a thing or two myself. Such as, when a girl with a male chauvinist husband buys herself a hammer or screwdriver, she should be a pink set with lots of flowers on them so her husband doesn’t lock them in his own tool box where his friends may see them.

Now I’d love to hear your stories about love between the sexes. I know you have them!!

 

Friday Funday-Sew What Are Your Creative Outlets?

In Life Essays, sewing, Uncategorized on January 24, 2014 at 8:19 am

The main character in the novel I’m writing is a fashion designer, and yes, just like on Project Runway, she sews. So for the past two years I’ve been writing about someone who sews, while working in a sewing store teaching sewing and selling machines that are pretty amazing, and do things my grandmother probably never dreamed possible. And I have done… no sewing.

DSCI0091Now that my ‘real’ job is only one day a week, and I’m spending most of my time writing, I’ve indulged, admittedly with some guilt in a new toy of my own, and since I bought it, it would be wrong not to use it….right?

My sewing room isn’t set up yet, it will probably be a few weeks before I get the opportunity. Most of my tools and fabric are still in storage, and Hunky Hubby is still busy with more important things like finishing the kitchen! But, I’m planning my projects for the year, and I’m trying to learn the capabilities of my new sewing machine in the meantime. And believe me, there’s a lot to learn.11143_1197385549150_1663838805_486536_6553773_n

I am no seamstress, but I do love to sew, and I enjoy teaching sewing lessons. Some sewers are quilters, some are garment makers, some love craft sewing or home dec. I’m kind of a dabbler, I like to do all of it, but I’m not truly expert at any of it.

So this year I plan on making curtains for my new kitchen, and two of the bedrooms, possibly doing some sewing for my bathroom, and making a bookshelf quilt. My friends and family will probably all have to suffer with homemade presents this year and I have a sweet cousin who was recently married that I want to give a special, if belated wedding gift.

Saving sewing projects on Pinterest has practically become a hobby in itself, and I’m dying to try some of the clever sewing projects that I’ve saved!!

Between writing a book and getting settled in our home I probably won’t get everything done that I want to, but I’m going to try!

16836_1279514282317_1663838805_664134_4339287_nI’m sharing a few pictures of previous projects. Wish I had more, but for some reason I don’t remember to take pictures! I promise to take more pictures to share with all of you.

So my pretty, new sewing machine is just waiting to release it’s potential, and sew am I!! What are your creative outlets? Your passions? What do you squeeze time out for in your busy schedule? Hope you’ll share!!

Just Me on Monday-Motherhood

In Life Essays, Uncategorized on January 20, 2014 at 3:42 pm

Here’s the thing, being a mother, changes who you are forever. You don’t even realize it while it’s happening. You know when they’re born that your life has been restricted but you really don’t care because you are so awed by that beautiful little bundle that’s in your arms. You raise them, make them the center of your universe, love them with all of your heart, and then they leave the nest, whether by choice or with a nudge from dad and mom. Part of you (at least part of me) is ready to see them go, to watch what they become and even to find out what I can become in this new phase of my life. Part of you (again me) doesn’t want to let go, wants a little more time to watch out for them, guide them and if at all possible protect them…..and all of me wants them to stay nearby to come home for dinner once or twice a week, to share their lives with me….well, maybe not everything, but to let me be a part of their lives.      157

You realize that for you there is more than just a DNA connection, they are a part of you, but THEY realize, whether consciously or not, that it’s time for them to become separate people, and no matter how close you are your relationship has to change.

And it does. Sometimes you talk to them every day, or even several times in a day. They call you to find out how much they should be spending on chicken breasts, and for the recipe for their favorite cookies. (Do you give them the recipe? Maybe they’ll come home for cookies.) They call you to find out why they put white socks and underwear in the washer and took out red….uh, it was the red sweatshirt you threw in with them. They call you to find out what to do about a parking ticket they forgot to pay. AAAHHHHH, PAY THE TICKET!!

And then you don’t hear from them for days…or even weeks, and you want to call them, but you don’t want to be clingy. Sometimes you feel your eyes well up when you accidentally set the dinner table for five, and there are only four of you, then three, then just the two of you….and you wish all of your previous little boys were at the table again.

So you pick up the phone and call……your own mother…. because maybe you haven’t been calling her enough.

Our oldest son is thirty-one years old. It’s hard for me to even say that because, of course, it isn’t true. (It’s true.) For most of the last five years he’s been in Maryland, the opposite side of the country, and a couple of weeks ago he came back home. I told myself I wouldn’t cry when I saw him. I lied, I broke down and sobbed. Actually, just writing this is making me cry. I can touch his curls again, I can hug him, I can see his beautiful smile. But of course, he isn’t unpacking his things at our house, he’s staying long enough to find a place of his own and get his girlfriend out here to be with him. He’s working full time hanging with his brothers and other friends. He was so sweet this weekend, “Mom,” he said “Would you like to plan a day for just the two of us.”

Yes, yes I would, those days are too few.

So, I’ll get him to myself even if only for a day.

DSCI0252Meanwhile, our youngest son moved out over the holidays. Not an easy transition, but he’s twenty-two, and we are very proud of him. He’s just a few miles away, for now, but I know he wants to travel, live other places and experience life.

Middle son is still at home, but we rarely see him, his career, takes up most of his time and attention, but I know he’ll be moving out soon too. He also plans on traveling, and it looks like with his career he probably will.

They all have so much to do, to see, to become.

And isn’t that what I want for all of them. I want them all to experience life, see what they can, have relationships with more than a few women before they find ‘the one’, so they know what they want, so they never feel like they ‘just settled’ or wonder what else could have been. Of course then in my plan they all plant their roots right here near me…. at least not too far away.

I know that none of these choices are mine, so while my heart still aches to feel their small hands in mine, answer their questions, keep them safe, I know that it’s time to let go of their hands, let them look for their own answers and be strong young men. After all, that was the point of the last thirty years.

I don’t know how to cook for two, it’s been years of cooking for a small army, and at this point, although they’re not always at the dinner table, they grab a bite when they come in, or take food ‘to go’. My still Hunky Hubby and I often find ourselves sitting at the dinner table alone. It’s not so bad, we can talk without food flying, conversations about video games, and arguments over who took too long in the shower leaving his brother with only cold water. Sometimes we even light candles and have a glass of wine.

So being a mother changes who you are forever, I will always be the mother of three handsome, talented, intelligent boys, and whether they know it or not, I will always kiss them good night before I go to bed and wish for all of their dreams to come true, no matter how far away those dreams may take them.

How has being a parent changed your life forever? What are your dreams for your children? Have you called your mother today? I have to go call mine.

And Now Folks, Back to My ‘Real Life’…..

In habits, Life Essays, writing on November 18, 2013 at 7:01 am

Anyone who reads my blog regularly….okay, no one has been able to read my blog regularly because as I realized this morning I’ve only written one blog post in the last year.

I wrote the last statement and had to go back and check because I didn’t really believe it, I always have so much to say, but it’s true. I’ve only posted one entry. I apologize for my neglect, because I know you’re all just waiting for the next little tidbit that happens in my life.

So let me catch things up. I had a goal, actually several goals, losing weight (I know I said I wouldn’t make that resolution again, but as they say, ‘old habits’) finishing my book, and selling our townhouse and buying a single family home…… the last goal being the most difficult because of the tough housing market. Okay, none of those were easy goals.

I’ve gained weight, done little with my book, but we managed to sell our townhouse at a profit and buy a cute little fixer upper that is not attached to anyone and now I can as I say, ‘get back to my real life’. I didn’t quit my job, although the new manager probably wishes I did, because I might be treating her like my daughter. I’m trying hard to catch myself, but I’m not sure how well I’m doing. I told her she could fire me and my feelings won’t be hurt, but she’s much too sweet. Luckily for her I’m only working one day a week and most of them we won’t be together. I know she’ll do a great job, probably better than me, she’s young, smart and very quick.

I always think my life is crazy, but this year, has been insane. I don’t even know where it went between working full time as a manager of a store with five to six employees….who would give me employees? After nearly twenty-four years of not holding a ‘real’ job. I felt like I’d jumped into the deep end of the pool and forgotten how to doggie paddle.

But I learned. I learned to tread water, and then I was actually doing some swimming, metaphorically of course, because there’s no way I’m wearing a bathing suit right now, although, swimming is my favorite form of exercise, maybe if I go to the pool when there’s no one there….is there a time when no one is there?

The point is, I’ve been working like a crazy person, then in May our realtor, the amazing Leslie Stetson of Prudential Realty (we highly recommend her) sent me an e-mail saying “It’s time.” She knew of course that we wanted to move. So we got the house ready in record time. Put it on the market on June the 10th, had our first showing on June the 12th, had a full price offer on June 13th, showed once more on June 14th, had a little bidding war over the weekend and our house was in escrow on June17th. One week from listing to escrow. Yes, it really happened that way.

Now we had to find a new home, and pack to be ready to move out by July the 22nd. Yes, July the 22nd. And did I mention that Paul and I were working nowhere near the same hours. More craziness ensued.

We began house hunting. Okay, the truth is that I’ve been watching the market and ‘house hunting’ from the minute we moved back to California from Wyoming. Although our little townhouse was very nice, and had a peak-a-boo ocean view from every floor (did I mention that there were three floors? Yes three flights of stairs for laundry or groceries or anything else that needed to go up and down) and then there was the roof top patio…..the truth is, that we really wanted a single family home with a little yard.

DSCN2651

So, we made a couple of offers, but things were selling fast, and for more than they were listed for, just like ours had, but then we found this little fixer upper. Livable, but needing some love, we made an offer on July the 3rd and by the 5th it was accepted. Our realtor, Leslie Stetson, was amazing, as was our lender. Everything got kicked into high gear, and we packed, signed papers, moved things to storage, signed papers, worked like crazy people, signed papers, closed escrow July 22nd on the townhouse, signed more papers, stayed in 3 different hotels for the next 10 days (a story for another day) signed papers, and finally took possession of our new little house on July 31st. How our amazing realtor and lender made that happen I’m not quite sure. Yes, do the math, they managed to close escrow on a house in twenty six days, in Los Angles.

We have had little social life for most of the last year, and none the last six months. I tried to write at the beginning of the job, but I suddenly had employees and a very high learning curve, and then of course selling a house, signing papers, buying a house, signing papers and moving, moving, moving.

I stepped down as manager the end of October. I really have to tell you that the one thing I think I did right at my ‘real’ job, was putting together an amazing team. The ladies I work with are incredible, and I feel very lucky to know them and work with them.

Here I am, not quite settled in our new little house, kitchen remodeling going on (another fun story I’ll have to share), hanging laundry on a clothesline because there is no gas line yet for a dryer, still living out of boxes, but I haven’t stopped smiling for weeks. Okay, maybe there have been moments here and there, but life is pretty good.

I’m writing. Next official goal is to finish this book and start number two.

I’d also like to reinstate my social life……if I still have any friends??

 

 

Did I mention I got a real job?

In Life Essays, quirks, Uncategorized on April 22, 2013 at 7:34 am

So Friday morning I left an hour early, planning to get to the store at nine a.m. to set up for our ten a.m. training. There are two main roads that leave the harbor side of the peninsula and the city is doing road work on the one I normally take, so I thought I’d be smart, avoid the delays and take the other. Of course, so did most of the other more than 80,000 people who live in the area.

So getting off of the peninsula was slow, and when I hit Sepulveda Boulevard things slowed down again. I arrived at work stressed out and only twenty minutes early….or so I thought. Apparently, the training was supposed to start at nine a.m. not ten a.m.. The trainer, who had driven down from Modesto was already there along with two employees from the Thousand Oaks store….. and I had a new employee starting on Friday, and I’d told her to be there for her first day at nine thirty a.m. to fill out paperwork before the training began. So I arrived at work only forty minutes late…well, an hour and forty minutes because I should have been set up by nine a.m.

As my boys would say major “fail”.

I rushed in the door, apologized to everyone, threw paperwork at my ‘new girl’ Janice, apologized some more, grabbed a cart, and went out to unload the lunch that I had made for everyone attending the training. Janice cheerfully pitched in and helped since I was so late. First I unloaded the cooler filled with drinks from my trunk, put it in the shopping cart, then grabbed a slow cooker of hashbrown casserole, and a second filled with BBQ pork, and put them on top of the cooler, I grabbed a bowl of ramen noodle salad and a lemon cake to hand to Janice, when I realized that in the less than five minutes that it had taken to run into the store, apologize, throw papers at Janice and grab a cart, the glaze on my lemon cake had melted and seeped out the sides of my cake taker, as I’m lamenting the melting frosting, I realize the drain spout on the cooler has popped open, and water from the melting ice is spilling out. I can’t roll the cart into the store this way, so I put the cake and the salad on the trunk, Janice grabs the slow cooker with the potatoes in it and puts it on the ground, I quickly grab the slow cooker with the BBQ pork and of course….I spill BBQ sauce all over the cooler and parking lot, and I think Janice’s shoes.

So luckily Janice is laughing and I’m just getting more nervous by the minute, I have people waiting inside and all of this food in the parking lot, so I grab the roll of paper towels that I always keep in the trunk for emergencies, at least I should get points for knowing that I need to plan for the emergencies that I sometimes might be responsible for….and I clean up the cooler and cart as best I can, put it back in and put the slow cookers on top.

I turn to shut the trunk and the water spout pops open again. This time I am much more careful with the slow cooker, I pull out the cooler, shut the spout and decide to turn it around because I can see that it’s hitting a metal rung on the end of the cart.

Janice is so sweet, she tells me she can see she is going to enjoy working in the store. I laugh, and give her high marks for her attitude.

So, we get back into the store, Karol and Lori have arrived, Karol is going to run the store so that Lori, Janice and I can have serger and software training. Did I mention that Karol already knows everything?? She’s amazing, and I’m so sad that she won’t be working at the store much longer. I have Janice and Lori grab some sergers while I plug in slow cookers and put food away as quickly as possible, and we are finally ready to begin.

Just as I’m about to sit down with my notebook and pen in hand, slightly disheveled, majorly embarrassed, and very apologetic, I realize that I’ve left my laptop at home, which I will need for the afternoon software training….thank goodness software isn’t the morning class. Now I have to slip out of class discreetly (you all have been paying attention and know that I’m the true Queen of the Run On Sentence right? And that you should read my blog very quickly because that’s the way I talk!) or at least making great effort to be discreet and call Hunky Hubby to ask him if he can leave work early today to bring me my laptop because I can’t leave the training that I’m “hosting”. Please honey….pretty, pretty please?

So lunchtime arrives, and with it Hunky Hubby and my laptop computer. Which luckily I have already set up for the training….with the help of another manager (Stephanie) and the very patient lady on the other end of the phone at our company software support line. My new laptop has Windows 8, so this was extra challenging.

Luckily, I learned to thread the sergers, do a five step demo, and lunch seemed to be a success. Janice handled her chaotic first day of work with graciousness and a sense of humor, so I know she’ll fit in, and Karol and Lori? Well, they’ve been working with for a while now, and choose to continue. Karol was supposed to leave months ago, but thankfully has stayed…and stayed to help me out. She has no idea how much I appreciate her and all of the ‘girls’ that I work with at the store!!

So I got a ‘real job’ last October, whether they let me stay after this, remains to be seen. It’s time for me to get ready to leave, so I’m not going to bother editing this story!!

I’ll let you know if Janice comes back for day two!!

So I’m a Multi-tasker….No Really!

In Food, habits, Life Essays, quirks, rituals on August 24, 2012 at 6:42 am

I am a multi-tasker. It’s true. I don’t feel like I’m getting enough done unless I’m doing several things at once. 

Sometimes this is a really good thing, and helps me to accomplish a lot…other times it means I get absolutely nothing accomplished…or at least it becomes a form of procrastination, keeping me from accomplishing what I most need to get done.

From the minute I get up in the morning, I multi-task. I start by getting a load of laundry into the washer. While it’s washing, I make the bed, put some toothpaste on my toothbrush, hop in the shower, wash up, (I know this is WAY too much information, but bear with me…or bare with me, I am in the shower). I wash my hair, then condition, now my conditioner needs to stay in for two-three minutes…and I’m not going to twiddle my thumbs and count them off, so I pick up the toothbrush to brush my teeth…it’s timed for brushing your teeth for two minutes, but while I’m brushing my teeth, and conditioning my hair, I still feel like I could get more done, so I switch my toothbrush to my left hand, grab my razor, and shave my legs, while I brush my teeth, condition my hair and do laundry…ah, now I’ve got things in control. Look how much I can accomplish in two-three minutes!! Of course, I frequently knick my legs while I’m shaving this way because I’m not all that coordinated…but at least I’m using my time wisely, no really I am.

So, I get out of the shower, alright, I rinse my mouth out, rinse my hair, hose down my legs and get out of the shower. Wrap my hair in a turban, and dry off. Quickly, because I’m pretty sure my load of laundry is done, and this means I’m no longer multi-tasking, so of course, I’m wasting time.

I throw my laundry in the dryer, fill the washer with a new load, turn them on…yay! I’m washing and drying, now I can go fill the crockpot or bread machine, or some big pot on the stove with food for dinner so that I’m doing a few things at once. Maybe make cookie dough, so that I can bake cookies, while starting dinner, unload last night’s dinner dishes from the dishwasher…I’m really going now, and reload…phew, now I’m cooking, doing dishes and laundry all at once! But wait, the washer just finished, so I better go grab another load. So I can move the laundry from the dryer to a laundry basket, from the washer to the dryer, and reload the washer. Now I’m folding laundry, keeping an eye on whatever is cooking, burning a batch of cookies, waiting for the dishwasher to beep…and what was it I was planning on finishing today? Oh yeah, editing chapter twelve of my book.

So, the laundry is folded, dishwasher, washer and dryer are running, cookies are burnt and dinner is simmering. I grab my manuscript and red pen… but then the dryer buzzes AND the dishwasher dings…oh, and I can smell that I’m scorching whatever is in the pot simmering for dinner.

So, I go stir the pot, unload the washer and dryer first, I don’t want those clothes to wrinkle. Fold the laundry, put some toilet bowl cleaner in the toilets so that I’m still multi-tasking while I empty the dishwasher, realize there’s black dog hair everywhere, so I  better vacuum, but I don’t want to vacuum until I dust because, well everyone knows you dust before you vacuum…. but, then the dryer buzzes and the last load is done.

So, I rush to stir the pot again, grab the last load of laundry, fold them while I get my bank balance over the phone, now I need to go to the bathroom.

But, I’ve put toilet bowl cleaner in the toilet, and everyone knows you need to clean the rest of the bathroom first and the toilet last, so I wipe the counters, and the shower, quickly sweep, clean the toilets, finally go to the bathroom….and oh yeah, I still need to vacuum….but I haven’t dusted.

So I stir the simmering pot, start to dust, the phone rings, I dust while I’m on the phone…THIS IS MULTI-TASKING!! I hang up, realize it’s almost time for Hunky Hubby to get home…I’ll just vacuum the downstairs real quick. Finish putting dinner together, just enough time to put on some make-up, put my manuscript away. Take a quick look at my to do list….. there were only two things on it:

  1. Exercise today
  2. Edit chapter 12

 

Somehow I didn’t get anything done on my list! Maybe I should get up 15 minutes earlier tomorrow.

 

What about you? Are you a multi-tasker. Or do you check things off of your list one at a time? How do you get things done? Tell me, I’d love to know…really, I could use some help!

 

Just a note: Don’t forget to enter the contest from the August 23rd post: https://taristhread.wordpress.com/2012/08/23/where-are-you-from/

Where are you from?

In contest, Life Essays, poetry, writing on August 23, 2012 at 9:04 am

So, I’m stealing this from author, Jenny Hansen at her blog  Cowbell-You Need More of It, who got the idea and template from author, Sharla Lovelace’s Blog, although it was shared by debut author, Laura Drake on The Morning Juice, an OCC RWA writing loop…and whether you love to write, or just love to read you should come to a meeting, it’s an amazing group….and don’t forget to go “like” Laura Drake’s new facebook author page!!! (You all do know I’m the Queen of Run On Sentences right?) And by the way, there is a much longer chain of sharing. If you google ‘Where I am From’, you will find lots of links to this popular writing exercise, which came from a poem by George Ella Lyon. You’ll find a copy of the template at Sharla’s blog. It’s so easy to use…it’s like a poetry Mad Libs.

I love this exercise, and I challenge all of my readers, friends and family…..writer’s and non writer’s to do it…and please share it with me if you do. If you’re willing, I’ll post those that people share right here. In fact, let’s make it a contest! Everyone who does the exercise and posts it or sends it to me so I can post it will be entered in a random drawing for an autographed book from one of my favorite authors! And everyone who leaves a comment on this post….or any of the posts where I share your “Where are you from?” entries  between August 23, 2012 and September 15, 2012  will be entered in a random drawing for another autographed book. I’ll announce the winners on Monday, September 17th, 2012 and the winner must respond and send me their mailing address by September 30th,  2012 or a new winner will be selected. Winner must live in the United States.

Go to Jenny and Sharla’s pages for some inspiration.

So here’s my poem:

Where I’m From

I am from stacks of books from Kool Aid and grilled cheese sandwiches, French fries and ice cold Cokes at the Newberry’s lunch counter.

I am from the harvest gold, 1970’s tri-level house, with a gas lamp by the sidewalk outside my bedroom window that I used to sneak and read books from, no fences, no sidewalks and a gravel road.

I am from the damp sand and cool ocean breezes along the pacific, that make you forget the traffic and chaos, the golden Ohio cornfields, that symbolize what is real and wholesome .

I am from  sweet sugar cookie baking with old tin cookie cutters and Rose, from Bud (yes that’s Rosebud) and two younger brothers that I played with, fought with read to and learned from and from a family that can trace it’s roots in America to the Revolutionary War.

 

I am from the deep stubbornness of never giving up and the gentleness of holding a tiny baby in your arms and seeing hope for the future.

From ‘”Wait ‘til your father gets home” and “Don’t make me spank you”….and he only did once, and it really did “hurt him more than it hurt me” although I cried buckets of tears.

I am from small town Sunday school, Summer Bible Camp at various protestant churches in a small Amish/Mennonite town, Baptist Church with my high school boyfriend, my best Sunday dress and traditional hymns….”Jesus loves me”.

I’m from Los Angeles, tacos and sushi, yes I am a native, and from Uniontown, Ohio, meatloaf and mashed potatoes, Christmas tamale’s that we make with our aunts, uncles and cousins because it wouldn’t be Christmas without them, and really it’s just another excuse to get together, because we don’t do it often enough.

From the feisty, sign painter for Food Giant,  writer for the Akron Beacon Journal, mother of 13, Milly, who made all my dresses for kindergarten on her treadle sewing machine, stood just  5’2” with blonde hair, blue eyes, and you didn’t want to mess with her, but you did want to stand on a chair and wait for donut holes while she fried fresh donuts (do you see any resemblance there?) and Maclovia, who changed her name to Maxine, sang in nightclubs until she met a magician and had 6 children, taught me to embroider by hand, and finally went to Israel as she always dreamed. And from my Tia Tonia, who was like a third grandmother to me and refused to teach me to make her delicious homemade tortillas because if I knew how “someday, some man would make me make them every day” and she loved me too much for that. But, every time I eat a fresh tortilla I wish she’d taught me to make them.

I am from albums, walls and mantel tops (even computer files) of photographs, some fading, faster than I can scan them into my computer, from shoe boxes with one grandmother’s old eyeglasses and a copper bracelet, and the antique butter dishes from another, the tea set my mother pieced together as a young bride, the tea set my mother gave me as a child…the tea set she gave me just five years ago, that I always say I’m going to use, but never do because I’m afraid to break them…even though there are some chips here and there from life. But, now I’m going to plan a tea party with my favorite women because what good are tea sets you don’t use?

Now, I hope you’ll tell me……where are you from?