Archive for March, 2012

Guest blog by Daily Om…Womanhood


When any woman honors herself, all women collectively move closer to becoming what they are truly capable of being.

There are many ways and myriad reasons for women to honor and embrace all that they are. And when any individual woman chooses to do so, all women collectively move closer to becoming what they are truly capable of being. By honoring her experience and being willing to share it with others—both male and female—she teaches as she learns. When she can trust herself and her inner voice, she teaches those around her to trust her as well. Clasping hands with family members and friends, coworkers and strangers in a shared walk through the journey of life, she allows all to see the self-respect she possesses and accepts their respect, too, that is offered through look, word, and deed.

When a woman can look back into her past, doing so without regret and instead seeing only lessons that brought her to her current strength and wisdom, she embraces the fullness of her experience. She helps those around her to build upon the past as she does. And when she chooses to create her desires, she places her power in the present and moves forward with life into the future.

Seeing her own divinity, a woman learns to recognize the divinity in all women. She then can see her body as a temple, appreciating its feminine form and function, regardless of what age or stage of life she finds herself. She can enjoy all that it brings to her experience and appreciate other women and their experiences as well. Rather than seeing other women as competition, she can look around her to see the cycle of life reflected in the beauty of her sisters, reminding her of her own radiance should she ever forget. She can then celebrate all the many aspects that make her a being worthy of praise, dancing to express the physical, speaking proudly to express her intellect, sharing her emotions, and leading the way with her spiritual guidance. Embracing her womanhood, she reveals the facets that allow her to shine with the beauty and strength of a diamond to illuminate her world.

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As though it were yesterday…

 A year ago today, or 366 days exactly I can still recall the phone call that morning.  I remember exactly where I was when the phone rang.  Driving to work and planning my day in my head, doing what I usually do when I am on my way to teach.  I looked down and saw that it was my mom calling me.  Surprised to receive an early morning call, I grabbed the phone hoping against hope that she wouldn’t say what I knew she was about to tell me. 

“Tammy, have you talked to your sister this morning?”  my mom asked. 

“Uh, no mom, it is early in the morning, why?” 

“I am sorry, but your dad passed away this morning.”

At that moment I felt my cheeks get hot, my throat clenched and I couldn’t say anything.  My eyes welled up with tears as I let it slowly sink in.  My head became heavy and I felt as though as my mom told me she was sorry we didn’t get to tell him goodbye.  I wanted to get off the phone.  I wanted to cry.  I wanted to scream.  I told my mom I would call my sister and when I called we both were crying. 

You see my brother, sister and I were leaving the following morning to fly up to Seattle to see our dad.  We just found out earlier that week that he had leukemia and the doctors gave him a month to live.  My sister spoke with him a few days before and told him we were all coming and that we would all be together.  My sister gave me the phone number of his hospital room and told me I should call him. 

I never made that phone call.  I wanted to talk to him in person.  I wanted to tell him that I loved him and that I wish things would have been different.  I never got to tell him that.  Instead I found myself that afternoon writing to him what it was I wanted to say to him in person. 

I wanted him to wrap his arms around me and that he too was sorry things weren’t different.  I wanted to lay my head on his chest like I used to do as a little girl and hear his heart beating strongly in his chest.  I wanted to hold his rough, worn hands. 

Seeing my father laying in his casket hurt my heart to the core.  I urged my sister and brother to also write their words in a letter and leave in the casket with our father.  The picture we took at the airport we put in a frame and left it with him.

366 days ago, my life changed…

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Mondays with Melitas – March 26, 2012


SCAM ARTISTS OF THE 1960’S                                                MARCH 26, 2012           


One of my restaurants was Woods Cove inLaguna Beach on Coast Highway at the corner of Diamond Street.  About a hundred yards down at the foot of Diamond sat Bette Davis’ home on the ocean.  The restaurant had been transformed from a two-story residence several years before my ownership of the business.  As you entered, there was a massive rock fireplace in what used to be the living room.   This area was now the cocktail lounge, the bar, and piano bar area where Wally would tinkle the ivories each evening with all the wanna-be crooners and sultry songstresses hanging on to get a few notes in.  A couple of the regulars were Virginia and Beverly, then there was Lola Albright with her friend, Bill, who would get on the piano to accompany.  When Martha Raye showed up, she only wanted Wally on the ivories, and after closing we would go up to his home high on the hill where the piano and singing went on till the wee small hours.

 Beyond the “happy hour” area was the dining room with an all- window view of the ocean — plus a view of Bette Davis’ rooftop!   The kitchen, dishwasher area, and walk-in refrigerator, freezer, pantry and storage were on the south side of the building.  A one-bedroom apartment was over the kitchen area, and then there was another room used for the office.  

 On weekends, we featured scrumptious prime rib, and we were also famous for the delectable clam chowder.  (I’m getting hungry, and the Warden has not offered up dinner yet, however she did take care of my thirst department.)  Everything is copasetic.

 Besides the outstanding food and drink, there was another attraction at Woods Cove, and she came with the place.  Helen Beck was a local artist, working in pastels and painting portraits, and doing a fine job of it. She did her thing in the lounge by the fireplace with her easel and a stool for the subject to sit on. She had her own little business and charged $60 to do the customer’s portrait.  I was her first guinea pig under the new management — especially when she wanted to do mine for free.  The picture appearing with this blog is the result done in 1960.  I was 42 at the time.

 Well, now where is there anything about SCAM?  I’ve got to quit horsing around and get to it.

 One week day evening, one of my waitresses, Betty, came up to the hostess  desk to say there was something weird going on and thought I should observe.  From a distance I watched these 2 guys — definitely strangers to us — and the one was eating off the other guy’s New York steak.  I knew exactly what was going on, and I just knew this was going to be a fun evening. 

 I  knew the fireworks would begin when Betty presented the check, and sure enough,  the one fellow told her he could not eat his steak, it was not good, and he was not going to pay for it.  Now I was called to take over this dispute, and told them in no uncertain terms that they should’ve reported this immediately upon being served and tasted the food — there was one bite cut from steak — so at this point it was their responsibility to pay the entire check.  I then asked Betty for a knife and fork, and proceeded to cut off a bite of the steak in question.  It tasted great to me;  had Betty take a bite and her opinion was the same.  I marched into the bar with plate held high and asked John, my huge bartender to have a bite.  He licked his chops saying there was nothing wrong with the steak.  The two diners, average size, were still not going to pay so I had Jim, the other bartender call the cops.  By the way, the little squirt causing all this brouhaha must’ve enjoyed the baked potato — it was conspicuous by its absence, even the skin was no where to be found.

 We stood around waiting for the cops to arrive, and shortly a uniform comes through the front door, and whaddya know it was the one policeman I would have chosen if I had the chance.  It was the star of the Laguna Beach Police Department — a Latino much beloved by ALL of Laguna Beach — and he was well over 6 ft. — a handsome hombre whom everyone called “Taco.”  I explained to Taco the dilemma we had, and then had him take a big bite of the steak.  He scarfed it down, and said he thought it was delicious. The 1½ diners got their 2-cents worth in, being quite adamant that they were not paying for the one dinner.  I asked if they would like a doggy bag —- that went over like a lead balloon.

 Finally, Taco ended up inviting them to step into his police limo, and they were whisked off to the station where they spent the night as guests of the City.  In the morning they had a command performance before the Judge.  He charged them with defrauding an Innkeeper,” assessed a fine, and had to pay the bill to the Innkeeper, little ol’ me!

 Maybe the Judge told them to never come back to Laguna, ever again, while he was at it.

 Moral to this story:  do not EVER try to pull this scam — especially if I am the owner of the joint,

 And especially — if the Judge is a friend of my family.


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Guest blog by Daily Om – March 21, 2012

Taking a Break from What You Are Doing
A New Approach



Sometimes finding the answer is as easy as taking a break and stepping back from the situation.

Sometimes we can get so wrapped up in our thoughts that we wind up going round in round in circles, finding it difficult to concentrate on things and, because we are so distracted, not really accomplishing much. There may be signals—mental, emotional, and physical—that tell us we need to slow down and relax. Since we are so involved in things that are external to us, however, we may easily overlook what is really going on inside of us. It is during these times that we need to step back from the things that occupy our minds and take time out to connect with our inner self, giving our minds, bodies, and spirits the time they need to reenergize and heal.

At first it may seem that by taking a break we may not be as productive as we would initially like. In reality, a healthy period of rest is something that gives us a real sense of the unlimited nature of our true potential. Spending a couple of minutes walking outside, doing a few yoga poses, meditating, or simply becoming attuned to the rising and falling of our breath enables us to let go of our worries. This act brings our focus back to the things that are truly essential for us, such as our sense of oneness with the universe and our inner peace and well-being. As we begin to get in touch with this part of ourselves, we will find that our usual everyday troubles and worries become less critical and that we not only have much more room in our lives to really reflect on the issues that mean the most to us, but we are also able bring to all the situations we encounter a much more positive and healthy outlook.

Giving ourselves respite from our daily concerns is like giving a gift to ourselves. By stepping away from the problems that seem to saturate our thoughts, we lessen the weight of our troubles and instead become more receptive to the wisdom and answers the universe has to offer us.

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Mondays with Melitas – March 19, 2012

BALBOA VACATIONS                                                        MARCH 19, 2012

          With Easter season coming up, I started to reminisce about some of the old days at Balboa, and zeroed in on my Aunt Lucana (Lukie) and her daughter Ysidora (Babe.)  Lukie was my Dad’s sister who lived over in Placentiain the middle of 40 acres of navel oranges along with her husband, Tom McFadden, who was an attorney in Anaheim, and their daughter Babe. Fullerton Union High Schoolwas the only high school for 6 other neighboring towns, and so Babe was enrolled there, and she and some of her friends would stop by our house after school to wait for a ride home.  This meant there were always young people around in that house, and it kept my Mom and Dad “young.” I don’t know why they just didn’t go bonkers, though.

          Bud and Babe — she was 2 years older — were very close throughout their lives, and one of Babe’s best friends was Laura, Bud’s girlfriend, until he went off to UCLA. Her other best girlfriend was Wiggles, and she had this natural curly hair.  If there had been any way for me to grab it off her, I would’ve. Oh, how I wanted  that head of hair.

                                  CONCLUSION OF PROLOGUE


          Each year that Babe was in high school, Aunt Lukie would rent the same house for one month in the middle of the summer at Balboa. It was in a great location right on the ocean front, with the waves making their roar night and day, and all that expanse of sand to lay out for a tan. It was on the boardwalk, a few houses east of the Balboa pier. Babe could invite several of her school chums for a week at a time, but I think Wiggles and Laura managed to be there the whole month.  Viv and I were too young to stay there the first year or two, but the folks would take us down there for the day on a couple of the weekends, and we would have a fantastic day — running all over the beach, then plopping down in the sand when we were a bit winded;  out to the end of the pier, and we could get a hot dog or hamburger and a bottle of cream soda when we were hungry.  Aunt Lukie and the folks would sit out on the front porch in hammocks where they could gab to their hearts content and watch the beachgoers.  We would head for home — two tired-out little Indians.

          After the first year Aunt Lukie had Viv and me come to the beach house for a week;  then for two weeks the last years. Every day we had  so much to do.  We would lay out on the beach and go down to the edge of the water and splash about. Then we could go and wander all over the pier.  It was lots of fun to watch the people with their fishing poles trying to catch some poor sucker of a fish.  We could also walk 2 blocks from the pier to the Balboa Pavilion on the Bay where boats would be docking, people getting on and off; and the ferry making its trips back and forth toBalboaIsland. It was so colorful, and the excitement of it all just had us 2 little kids thrilled to pieces.  We roamed around all day in our one-piece bathing suits in case we would want to go back on the beach.  When we were hungry, we’d go back to the house and Aunt Lukie would fix us a bite to eat.  After the bite, off we would go again till dinner.

          Lukie always had a pot of frijoles, and her frijoles were especial. She also would put together enchiladas a couple of nights a week,  and everyone was crazy about them. These were not the rolled up enchiladas we see today.  In that era, everyone stacked the enchiladas.  Using a roasting pan, you could have 2 big stacks.  First, you would lay one tortilla flat in the pan, then spread the filling on top, another tortilla, more filling on top of that one, and so on till you had a nice big stack resembling a cake. Finish cooking in oven, and when served just cut out a wedge from the middle. 

          In the meantime, the high school group did their thing.  Viv and I did not mix in with them unless we were asked — maybe to lay on beach with them for a little while, or play a card game, but scoot outa their sight if some fellas were on the horizon.  They would go out in the evening to dance, or roam around the streets like teenagers are wont to do.  Babe was always so great with us, no matter what age.

          The girls used all the bedrooms; Aunt Lukie had a cot on the back porch of the house, and she would stash us with our cots in the dining room, or wherever.  We slept no matter where she stacked us — dead to the world after our busy day. 

          I need to tell a little more about Aunt Lukie. At her ranch in Placentia, the home sat upfront on Valencia Ave., then there was a huge barn in which she parked her maroon Hudsonsedan — always bright and shiny because she went out every morning to wipe and shine it.  Beyond the barn, came the Whoopie House.  This was the greatest gathering place for family and friends on Sundays for years.  Lots of food and drink.  Kids and grownups. Big parking area, then on in back was the caretaker’s home.  The Whoopie House structure was one big room, screened in with  kitchen stuff at one end.  Everybody loved Aunt Lukie, Sundays with Aunt Lukie were widely received.  After all, she was the Pearl Mesta of the Forster Family on Sundays.

          Babe went off to Stanford, and we were lucky. Aunt Lukie did her thing a couple more summers, and then I think she finally threw in the towel.   I would imagine Babe and her BFF’s missed going after such a long run, maybe not, they were almost grown up.  On the other hand, Viv and I could’ve gone on for years.  No cares. No worries. Just fun at Balboa.  Thanks to Aunt Lukie.



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