Archive for March, 2012

Paying attention to what really matters…

This week my little Courtney got very sick.  After several tests at the vet the xray showed her to have an enlarged spleen.  Next week I take her in to get an ultra sound to see what could be the causing this. 

The picture to the right is after the appointment when I took her to my office and she was sleeping.

After having a stressful week with my car I realized that things can always be replaced, but it is our relationships with others that really matter.

It is taking the time to care for those we care about.  It is about taking those moments to share with others what they mean to us.  One way we can do this is through our memoir pages.  Writing down what others mean to us. 

This week in class one of my students wrote about her mother.  It was a beautiful tribute to a beautiful woman.

Part of the beauty of memoir is the writing of our memories, but the other beautiful aspect is the sharing.  Those who are alive are the ones who will get to share in the beauty of our writing.

Write and share today.  Send someone you love a note about how they matter to you…

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Grateful for the gifts…

As I look back upon the year I am so very grateful for all the events that have come upon me this past year.  As I reflect I see how wonderful all the events in my life have impacted me.  I have seen how I have grown and changed.  I am completely surrounded by so many wonderful friends, students and family.

My morning routine consists of writing and a morning meditation that energizes me and prepares me for the day.  On most days I try to get my run in during the morning time. 

As I have walked this path on my journey I see that I have so many women friends who uplift me and support me in all areas.

I am forever grateful as so many of you are in my mind and memory and memoir pages. 

Life is good if you choose to view it as a learning process.  I love my life and all that encompasses it!

Today in your writing look for those things to be grateful about.

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The constancies of our lives…

I absolutely love learning new things and a part of my journey has been studying Hebrew at Temple Isaiah with Rabbi Sally.  This was her latest message in Chai Lights.  I think it is appropriate for everybody to remember!



One of the great constancies of our lives is the opportunity to show appreciation. But how often do we take time to express it? Ask any family who has lost a loved one, and they will tell you about so many missed opportunities.


With our loved ones, our sense of appreciation teaches us to treasure them constantly. With our health, it teaches us to take care of ourselves and not to neglect ourselves.  With our children, it teaches us to cherish them at every age, and with our parents, it teaches us to honor them for who they are are and what they have done, and what they have made of us.


There is a story about a man who was a simple and unpretentious admirer of fine art, and he took his pleasures by visiting the great art galleries.  One day he was admiring a priceless painting when a friend jokingly said to him: “Why do you allow yourselves to become so enthusiastic over things you can never afford to own?” The admirer of great art said: “I would rather be able to appreciate things I cannot have, than to have things I cannot appreciate.”


Judaism says to each of us: Here is a constant of life – open your eyes to see that you are surrounded by blessings. Do not ignore them. Do not wait until they disappear. 


What is the greatest blessing we possess? The ability to offer a word of appreciation. What is the greatest power we possess? The power to let someone else know – and to let God know – that we are grateful.




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Guest blog by Daily Om – March 13, 2012

A Good Turn Daily

 Helping the World Every Day

 We can all vow to make the world a better place one day at a time by being our true authentic selves. Each of us is more than capable of helping the world, despite our fears and limitations and the uncertainty that holds us back. It is commonly accepted that it is impossible to make a difference without unlimited funding or free time, yet most healing, cleansing, and spreading of joy is accomplished in a matter of minutes. If we vow to make the world a better place one day at a time, the true significance of small good deeds reveals itself to us. We come to see that we can be of service without dedicating our lives to recognized charities or giving up the pleasures we enjoy. The warmth we feel when we help the world is only a tiny part of the affirmative transformations that take place when we make altruism a part of everyday existence. We make our homes, workplaces, communities, and countries better and brighter when we think positive thoughts that echo outward, give donations of time or money, smile at everyone we meet, and lend those in need of aid our assistance. As we learn, we inadvertently improve the universe because we can only be truly involved when we are informed. Even enthusiastically sharing ideas with others generates positive energy that then serves as the motivation for more tangible change. Selfless and helpful deeds remind us that we exercise some degree of control over a world that can seem chaotic at times. Even the smallest of such deeds is a demonstration of the fact that we are capable of changing the world in a positive way. So much negative energy is generated by the suffering, pain, and close-mindedness we are regularly exposed to, but we can counteract it in a constructive way by thinking and acting altruistically when opportunities to do so arise. Helping the world often takes no more than a moment, just a wish for the world is a beautiful gesture and can be done by even the busiest of people effortlessly. The gift you give each day need not be grand or attention-worthy because the broader benefits are the same no matter the literal repercussions. Once a day, you can affect reality, and you can reap the rewards of knowing that you are making the world a better place, day by day.

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Mondays with Melitas – March 12, 2012

OLD ’86 CROWN, CONTINUED                                         MARCH 12, 2012                                              


          I didn’t mean to mislead anybody into thinking that Ol’ ’86  was the only crown I had, and that I pretty much have all my pearlies.  No way — you now will get the real  picture.  My niece, Marcie, replied to last week’s tale — about her Mom (my younger sister, Vivian) was forever losing or misplacing bridges, or whatever, never recovering them to place under the pillow for the Tooth Fairy.  I got to thinking that the Tooth Fairy is probably smarter than I thought, and would know whether a tooth is the real thing or a fake. 

          I have been doing some sleuthing and gathering information on  our little family’s teeth, and how each of my siblings ended up with the fangs we were dealt. Now Dad, George Forster, son of Guadalupe and Marco Forster were mostly from Spanish, Mexican, and Indian descent, and he had a very good set, every one of them there, standing at attention, straight and great till the day he died at the age of 63 in 1943.  It would appear that Dad’s ancestors had the right stuff that teeth are made of.

          Let’s take a look at Mom now — Salome Moore, born to Charles and Charlotte Moore, immigrants from Merry Old England. They both had dentures, and Mom had lousy teeth also,  relying on bridges and the like.  Her partials started to go missing when she went to nursing home at 93.  I surmised that the bed linens were gobbling them up,  and the linens also gobbled up her hearing aids while they were at it.  So far, my hearing aids are hanging in there, but now I will try to keep track of them every minute.  It ain’t cheap when all this stuff disappears without a trace.

          My two older sisters, Beth and Sis, were daughters of Mom and her first husband, Emery Marshall, who was also the brother of Aunt Mae.

Emery passed away when Sis was 6 months old, so I have no way to know about his teeth, but judging from Aunt Mae’s, his would’ve been doomed.  Aunt Mae spent a lot of time with dentist trying to get a set of   dentures that fit — very small mouth.  So now, it follows  that Beth and Sis were also doomed with their tines.

          Sis was living with me inLaguna Beachwhen we drove over toFullertonto see Mom.  Sis was upset how her dentures were bothering her, and this bitching and gunching  was ongoing.  It was still going on when Bucky, the next door neighbor, stopped in when he saw my car parked out in front.   He had the mortuary located across the back alley, and when he heard Sis still on the subject of the falsies, he put his arms around her and said:  “Well, Sis,  why don’t we go across the alley — I’ve got a box full of those in the back room, and you can  go through them and possibly find a better fit.”  We cracked up!  

          Next down the line in siblings was Buddy, 10 years older than I, and Dad was his Dad too. Wouldn’t you know he had teeth, all of them –just like Dad?  He was laid to rest at the age of 81 —all teeth accounted for.

          So that leaves Viv and me — the last two bringing up the rear, so to speak.  I have already mentioned Viv’s trouble with her missing dental work, so down to me now.  I had a few extenuating circumstances along the way, starting with an episode in the 6th  grade.  We were at recess, and a bunch in line for the drinking fountain.  When I was bent over the fountain getting the stream of water, one of the boy kids in back of me gave me a good push, and my two front uppers collided with the fountain.  (Ouch, ouch, ooouh!)  As I look back, it could’ve been Lennie, and that’s why I unconsciously punched him out for his football that he had gotten for Christmas.  Anyway, I suffered in silence, did not tell the folks, the pain went away, and it was about 15 years later that the teeth started to darken.  Off to the dentist inSan Juan, who said he could do a job on them — not pulling them, but filing around the front edge and  sliding a cover on them.  With glue, of course.  We made a deal for his services.  We paid him with 2 bales of hay — he had a horse that had to be fed, and Aunt Mae had a barn full of hay. 

          The glue started to disintegrate, and one time when Aunt Mae and I took a trip on the train to Chicago, one of the caps came off, but thank goodness, it didn’t go missing.  This same thing would happen every once in awhile, so eventually they had to be pulled and a partial put into service.  Dentist inSan Juanno longer there, so no deal just cash on the line.

          Another circumstance was when the 4 lower front teeth were involved with the steering wheel of my car which was having an altercation with another auto at the time.  I was in my 50’s when this fender-bender took place.  With passage of time, the pain went away, so I left them alone.  About 10 years later, they started to bother me — so off to another dentist who had to pull them since they had been broken at the gum line — so that meant another partial.  It’s too bad the guy in Capistrano was gone because we could’ve made a sweet deal.  He could fix the teeth for free food and drinks at my restaurant, the Mexico Lindo … with the Mariachis serenading his family and friends.

          After that, I was plagued with having to have a few crowns here and there, and that meant Old ’86 was one of them.  What I can’t figure out is why Bud had the good ones, and the 2 girls (Viv and I) ended up in bad shape. Maybe it had to do with the male/female discrimination thing. I guess my investigation has to go along with the fact  that your ancestors have everything to do with the molars, the eye teeth, or whatever other stuff growing in your mouth.

          So now wish me luck.  I have the date with Dr. Mohler’s hygienist this coming Wednesday, and there’s probably going to be some fireworks. I’m going to stick to my gums  guns and leave my mouth alone to have some peace and quiet where ‘Olde ’86 used to be.



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Tammy L. Coia is an AWA Affiliate, certified to lead workshops in the AWA method as described in Writing Alone & With Others by Pat Schneider, Oxford University Press.

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