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Archive for the ‘quirks’ 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!

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!)

Just Me on Monday – Fear of Driving, Or Tari’s Three Mile Radius

In habits, quirks on February 3, 2014 at 2:26 pm

DSCI0199 - CopyTrains, planes or automobiles, it doesn’t really matter, I’m not a great traveler. It’s not that I don’t like to go places, it’s the getting there and getting back that’s a problem for me. I hate being in a car, I don’t like the take-off or landing in a plane….and strangely, I do better in small planes…. Trains, well, they just don’t seem to be that convenient.

I haven’t always been like this. When my oldest son was little, I would put him in the car, pack a picnic, and scrape up all the change I could for gasoline, and we’d go ‘exploring’. I really didn’t care where we went. Sometimes I’d ask my four year old son, “Which way should we go?” “Tell me when to turn.” It was just an adventure. In fact, that was pretty much the way we met Hunky Hubby. We had a destination, but we got lost and it didn’t really matter…because we were exploring.

After Hunky Hubby and I were married, I was pregnant with middle son, oldest son was in the passenger seat of my, oh so adorable Mustang Cobra with the sunroof, and we were crossing a major street, when a lady driving a VW Rabbit speeding, in the bus lane hit the passenger side of the car. I instinctively turned to protect my six year old, not that I could protect him from an oncoming car, but by doing so, may have protected my unborn middle son. When I turned to the side, I moved my belly away as the steering wheel collapsed into my thigh. I still have a dent in my thigh, although not noticeable, from the steering wheel. Although my cute Mustang was totaled, no one was hurt, and that was what really mattered. I have to admit that before this accident I didn’t always wear a seatbelt, but since this accident I have never started the engine of a car without my seatbelt on.

A few years later, we were living out in the high desert, I had all three of our sons in our Hyundai. We had just had a special treat, lunch out at Sizzler and were on our way home. We were on a two lane road with sandy shoulders. Another car was coming in the opposite direction when the driver bent down and disappeared from sight and drifted into our lane. I swerved off the road to avoid a head-on collision. Our car spun in a circle ending up facing the opposite direction as it rolled onto a dirt berm all the way onto the roof, then back down to land on all four wheels. For a moment as the car came to a stop there was complete silence, and I was terrified. Then the two younger kids began crying from the backseat, and I could see my oldest, in front with me, was fine. The other car took off, not even stopping to see if we were okay.

This was before cell phones, and the road we were on was not heavily traveled, so I was thankful when a garbage truck came by and called the police from their CB.  When the police officer arrived, the boys and I were standing by the car waiting. The officer got out of his vehicle, looked at ours, and asked where the bodies had been transported. That’s how bad the car looked. I don’t think I realized how bad it was until a few days later when Hunky Hubby took me grocery shopping. For some reason he had had the Hyundai towed to our house. When we got back from the grocery store I saw the remains of our car sitting there in the driveway and broke down in tears, thankful that we all made it out of that car alive.

I was told that with time I’d get over these experiences, but nearly twenty years since the second accident, I haven’t. I do drive, I never stopped, but I don’t go very far on my own…..unless I have to. I have driven  between Wyoming and California several times. On occasion I have driven to my OCC RWA meeting, thirty miles away. I can stretch my radius if I need to, but I’m not comfortable doing it, and I have to admit that on a couple of occasions I’ve gotten to my destination so shaken up that I haven’t been sure I could get myself back home.

We lived in the high desert for five years, and I never once drove out of that valley by myself. I probably only left the valley with someone a handful of times during those years. We moved to Casper, Wyoming, lived there for six years, and I never left Casper by myself. Someone else always had to take me.

A friend of mine once questioned my life, not going places very often. To be honest, it rarely bothers me. I’m quite content wherever I am. I like to do and see other things, and will occasionally push myself beyond my comfort level, but generally, I’m happiest at home. I don’t feel like I’m missing out on much.

Ray Bradbury, one of my favorite authors, didn’t drive, he had a chauffeur, and if I had the money, I would too. Maybe I would go more places, but it’s not as though I’m a great passenger either. When someone else is driving I sit on my hands to keep from reaching for the dashboard, and sometimes I find my foot pushing on a non-existent brake pedal. I’m a terrified passenger.

I couldn’t teach my boys to drive because I was afraid that my reactions to other cars would cause them to have an accident, or undermine their confidence. I don’t think they always understood. It wasn’t about my confidence in them, it was about my confidence in other drivers. This bothered me much more than limiting how far I drive.

Luckily for me, Hunky Hubby is a little bit of a male chauvinist (I think I’ve said this before) and he prefers to drive. He also has no problem dealing with my paranoia. He takes me anywhere I need to go, and pretty much anywhere I want to go….if I want to go badly enough.

I know some people who would have a problem living like this, and some who have a problem with the fact that I live like this, but I’ve learned that we all have our challenges. For me driving is a huge problem, for others hypochondria, fidelity, alcoholism, drugs, there are so many challenges we can struggle with in this life.

Anyone else out there afraid of driving? Anyone overcome this fear? What are your biggest challenges?

 

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/