Archive for October, 2013

Mondays with Melitas – October 28, 2013

IT’S TIME                                                               OCTOBER 28, 2013


It was just about ten years ago that I had to go over to El Paseo in Palm Desert to buy a new watch because, on the spur of a moment, I had yanked my old one off and gave it to an old friend, Virginia McKee, who didn’t have a time piece at the time.  Besides, my “give-away” was already seven years old.

I’m talking Rolex.  You no doubt have seen the commercials:  Tiger has a huge one, Jack Nicklaus and Phil Michelson each have one, as well as Annika and Lorena — and that’s only in the golf world, just scratching the surface.  These are EXPENSIVE  clocks, and they have a sweep second hand that travels around on the face without making that jerk to the next second.  If there is a jerk to each second then you would have a knock-off, so when you are in the jewelry store buying one of these, PAY ATTENTION.

What keeps these going so you don’t have to keep winding them are the movements of your body.  There is no battery.  Now I don’t know how this happens, but I did tell the Warden a few years ago, that if she looked at me and couldn’t tell if I was just asleep, or just unconscious, or whatever — she should look at the watch, and if that second hand was not moving, it might be that I had proceeded from this life and was travelling on my beeg vacation.  (Remember, in another story I told you that in Botswana, they refer to it as being “late.”  Well, it’s true, you are pretty much late to everything.)

“Movement” is the key word.  Playing golf does wonders to keep things moving, or you could pull those handles on the slot machines to your hearts content — that would be very good, but you would probably have to have the watch on the pulling arm to be most effective.  You can just devise your own method — what ever floats your canoe.  Have fun.

Then, it started to happen:  I noticed the second hand was not moving, I pinched myself, then immediately raced to see my good Doctor Civrna, who rushed me to a heart specialist at Eisenhower.  It turned out the heart was just fine, and in fact when the Nurse doing the tests kept saying, “Boy, would I like to have THAT heart!”   Which reminds me, I told her I would leave it to her on my demise, and I’ve got to see a lawyer to sign some papers  so she can have that good old heart when I’m through with it.

It finally dawned on me what had been happening right under my nose — I was beginning to slow down.  And how could that have happened?  Well, just a few months before I was the Grand Marshal of the Swallows Day Parade in San Juan Capistrano, I slipped on the river rocks under my Mexican Lime tree (for the “somewhere it’s 5 o’clock” Tequila)  and ended up with MRSA.  It took 12 powerful pills to the tune of $1400 to bring me back to the land of the living — but it did slow me down, just thinking about the cost of those pills  After that, I took that “Trip on the Nile Tile,” and that shut me down pretty good.  (I enjoyed that caper with all those 9-1-1 hunks hovering about, before they hauled me off to the ER.)  Then this recent trip to the floor in a DanaPoint motel room really put me out of commission and flat on my back with a cracked knee cap.  So there hadn’t been much going on with my body movement for the past few years.  No wonder the watch was struggling.

About six months ago, I took this watch over to Ralph, the jeweler, near Costco for its 10,000 mile service  — and you don’t want to know what it took to foot that bill.  I got it home, and it was losing all kinds of TIME.  I couldn’t tell if it was 5 o’clock or not.  I raced over to Ralph to probably start a big fracas with him when he very quietly, simply took the watch, unwound the stem, then wound the watch about ten times. He said that’s all I had to do EVERY DAY and it would keep perfect time.  He added, very sheepishly, that I was not moving around like I used to!!!!

So here is what I decided is the moral to this little story.

Next time, get a Timex — they have batteries and huge numbers, the better to see it with, and they don’t care if you are alive or dead.

Tick, tick, tick.





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Just announced! Palm Springs Location coming in December!

I am thrilled to make the announcement that beginning in December I will be expanding my business and will be available to teach at my Palm Desert office and now my new office in Palm Springs.  You will now have choices as to where you would like to attend class!

And as a part of my special birthday announcement as next month I turn 49, I will be having a special extra special announcement to make to all of my returning and new students!

Life has been so good to me here in Coachella Valley.  I am thrilled to do what I love doing and can’t wait to have the open house and have you celebrate with me!  Look for upcoming announcements!!seder blog

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Guest Blog by Diana Densmore – October 23, 2013

Golden Memories

My heart was full as I looked around my living room. Mom and Dad’s four grown children were meeting for the first time in their adult lives without the parents being present.  Planning a 50th anniversary party was a big job and required some skills in which we were not practiced: communication and cooperation. This was to be a labor of love, and we each knew it was a time for us to work together on a common purpose.Painfully aware of the fences that had been built between some of us, old hurts and resentments were set aside in favor of creating a wonderful celebration for Mom and Dad’s special day. I thought I could hear the creaking of a gate opening for us that day. Hope for us as a unified family was what filled my heart that day.

Vic and Laura were married on September 4, 1935, forever making Labor Day week-end their time to celebrate another anniversary. When you have four children, that usually consists of dining out at a nice but not too expensive restaurant. Dad would order steak, Mom had her filet of sole and their children argued that hamburgers were special. As the family grew up, dinner dates for two were more common, with a stage play to follow if it was a milestone year. The plan in 1985 was a big party with extended family and friends; a renewal of their vows was also in the mix.

Putting my project planning skills to good use, we came up with a list of tasks, schedules and estimated costs. Brother Vic, forever dubbed Vic, Jr. by the family, had connections with a caterer. Ed, their second born, lived near the L.A. flower market and would order all the floral arrangements. As the only daughter, I agreed to handle the invitations and solicit letters of special memories from the guests ahead of time for a memory album. Steve, the baby of the family, would handle balloons and decorations. Yes, we were a team on that planning day; not even a whisper of disagreement or sarcasm was heard.

September 4, 1985 dawned in typical fashion for a So-Cal Labor Day week-end: clear skies and hot sunshine. Siblings and spouses were at the church early to clean, decorate and set up in the church hall. All our planning had paid off and everything was running smoothly and on schedule.

As guests began arriving, the caterer put the final touches on a large ice sculpture: a basket with woven design, tall looped handle and real fruit cascading from the top. It was the star of the buffet table. This was no backyard barbecue, folks. We were showing a little class!

Friends and family filled the hall and spilled out onto the grassy, shaded lawn. My husband, Dick, took hundreds of photos of the day with his fancy SLR camera. After the meal, Rev. Mark Huntington performed a touching ceremony of the renewal of their wedding vows. Dad, looking dapper in his tan sport coat and bolo tie, was very emotional, but he managed to get through his part. Fifty years together, and they were still in love and loving toward one another; there was not a dry eye in the house. Vic, Jr. made a toast before the four-tiered wedding cake was cut by the “bride and groom.”

The memory of that celebration is captured by a photo of Mom and Dad with their four children, seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. It was a happy moment in a golden day.

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Mondays with Melitas – October 21, 2013

from L., little guy from P. S. (maybe the bat boy,)  Very Truly yours, the Buick interloper from Riverside, & Sponsor Fred Clampett

from L., little guy from P. S. (maybe the bat boy,) Very Truly yours, the Buick interloper from Riverside, & Sponsor Fred Clampett

Palm Springs Softball (Continued for the 3rd time)…


Whoever heard of 3 continued’s for one little story?  But at least there were more “reply’s” received so I was all thrilled about that.

You should all go back to the August blogs about the softball in the Springs to bring yourself up to speed.  You know what!  I went back to read a bit and discovered I was making  flagrant error in talking about the tennis club.  Not the one I meant at all – the famous one was Charlie Farrell’s Racquet Club up on the north end.  He and his partner Ralph Bellamy have been rumbling about in their mausoleums yelling and screaming:  “How could Melitas, of all people, make such a grave mistake?”

Before we were scheduled to return to PS for the final game to decide who was the champion, most all of us went out shopping to find some new duds.  We had become so famous by now, we just couldn’t be caught in the same old rags.  I know I took a trip to Robinson’s in downtown LA (with Aunt Mae) in navigator’s seat and holding the money bag) and we found a nice, slick new outfit.  None of us had extensive wardrobes at this time in our lives.

We arrived at our “official” headquarters at the Desert Inn, took some down time to not squander our good health and strength, then enjoyed a very QUIET dinner.  this quiet stuff was mandatory – no night clubs and out till all hours.  No siree, this was a quiet night with all getting rested for Saturday at 2 pm.  Besides, it came as a blessing, we could all use a lot of beauty sleep – it wouldn’t hurt at all.

The big day arrived and we kind of “slow-motioned” around all morning, had a substantial breakfast to give us the strength for the afternoon’s battle of the sexes on the dirt field.

We went out to the ball park a little earlier than usual.  Since this was the most important game we wanted to get those muscles which had been quiet for so many hours, to wake up and face the challenge.  We spent time warming up, taking field practice and batting practice, a little jogging – only once around the outfield.  We would be on over kill if we didn’t slow down all this activity.

We hadn’t been paying attention to the guys doing their warm-ups.  So it wasn’t until I stood in at home plate, to lead off our batting order, bat on shoulder, and taking a look at the pitcher.  Hey, wait a darn minute – who was this guy?  this was not the one we had been up against in the 2 previous games – we were just getting used to him, and here was this guy out there on the mound a head taller and his jersey announced “Buick” across the front.

Where had he suddenly appeared from?  What sand dune had he crawled out of?  All this going through my head as I waited for his first pitch to get this game going.  The umpire called “Play Ball” so it all began, “Buick” must’ve thrown his first pitch – I didn’t see it, but I did hear it when it hit the catcher’s mitt with a very loud pop.  “Strike one,” the umpire called, so now I knew it was for real.  That at bat for me was a nightmare.  After a few more pitches, there it was – I had struck out – without even getting the bat near the ball.  The “Buick” guy meant business and was not about to throw 4 balls to me to give me a walk.  the next 2 batters didn’t fare much better, however, one of them managed to hit a couple of foul balls.  So the 1st half of that first inning went “3 up, 3 down.”

When the fellas had their turn at bat, they didn’t do any better than we had since our pitcher, Terry was really “on” and burning those pitches right by them.

This went on for a few innings, and in the meantime, the men had managed to eke out one run against us.  This was serious – many a softball game was won with a score of 1 to nothing.  It was just about time for my young brain to have a storm and I went into the dugout and gathered the team around, and this is what I told them:  “Hey, gals, we’ve been trying too hard to get to that “Buick’s” pitch.  When we do make contact, we barely get anywhere because we’re not hitting it squarely, so let’s try to just meet the ball – no big swing – then if we meet it it will definitely go somewhere with the velocity he has on it.  So, let’s go, gang, just meet the ball!”

Well, whaddaya know!  We suddenly got a few runners on base – just meeting that pitcher’s bullet – the ball went off the bat just far enough to get over the infield, and it would drop in for a hit.  There’s not much more to say – we ended up winning the game, and now those Palm Springs men were really p.o.’d  It served them right.  They had paid Mr. Buick one hundred dollars to sneak over from Riverside to pitch against us.  Now, then, Riverside was a member of the So. California Men’s Softball League – big time stuff.  Teams, to name a few, were from Santa Ana, Fullerton, Long Beach and Anaheim.  So we sent them off with their tails between their legs.

Palm Springs was alive that Saturday night!  You can bet we celebrated to the wee small hours, and the lookers-on were treated to seeing us in some new ensembles.

Sunday was unbelievable for us.  Roger Stables, of course, for the big brunch, and later, we stopped at the El Mirador to check the action there.  We were out and about poolside and when Fred (our sponsor) spotted someone lounging there, he called us over to be introduced to Al Jolson.  He was smitten with us, chatting, joking – it was such a thrill.  His wife, Ruby Keller, joined us and more fun.  Al said he wanted to adopt Terr and take her home with him and Ruby.

So, we had that 15 minutes of fame in Palm Springs, and we all gloried in it.  I met some wonderful people who remained my friends for many years.  If I can gather up the strength, I will hopefully write a few stories about them – Vic Claridge, his wife Charlotte, owners of Claridge’s Grill, Irwin and Virginia Shuman of the Chi Chi Club and the Riviera Resort Hotel.

Hope you have enjoyed this travelogue to Palm Springs in the early forties. It was a highlight in my softball career.


Just thought you'd like this one more time.  The Champions lead-off hitter

Just thought you’d like this one more time. The Champions lead-off hitter

The CHAMPIONS OF the Men vs. the Girls in Palm Springs 2 games to 1

The CHAMPIONS OF the Men vs. the Girls in Palm Springs 2 games to 1

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Holiday Luncheon December 9, 2013

Monday Dec 9, 2013 from 11:00 – 2:00pm

lunch speakerSpecial guest: Valerie L.S Albarda

Valerie has been a lover of all things food, including writing about it and devouring it, for many year. As an ardent traveler who thrives on the sights, sounds, culture and cuisine of the places she visits – both U.S. and abroad – Valerie concedes that while she may not cook like a world class chef, her inner gourmand compels her to dine with a passion.  She shows her appreciation for food by chronicling her culinary journeys near and far on her blog, Bon Vivant.

She is the author of three books, including her most recent title, “Gettin’ Back to Happy,” as well as “From City to Safari: One Woman’s Exploration of Johannesburg, South Africa” and “An Affair to Remember: Bellissimo Italia”

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"Because of Tammy I have found confidence in my writing and feel blessed to be honored in such a way. I have found my voice. I have found freedom! I recommend anyone for whatever reason to expand their life and sign up for her writing workshops or classes. You'll be amazed at how good you are and how everyone has a story worth telling. Sign up and set your voice free!"
Wendy Price, Palm Desert, CA

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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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