Archive for December, 2013

Mondays with Melitas – December 30, 2013

WHERE DID THE WEEK GO?                                             DECEMBER 30, 2013SteveWhiteM&Marcie 2013-12-03 002


On Sunday, the 2 main players arrived:  The Warden’s brother planed in to Palm SpringsInternationalAirport on Southwestern Air, where she picked him up; then my niece, Marcie, arrived from MorenoValley, by auto.  I call them the “main players” because Horace would be driving with Alba the next morning over to the Reservation near Phoenix since no one would allow her to drive that desolate distance all alone.  Marcie was there to nurse me through the week, so I wouldn’t be alone.

The Warden and Vice Warden headed over to Costco because more food needed to be rounded up for the week, (she had even been out stocking up during the week) and Warden wanted to show Marcie where Stater Bros. was located, also Trader Joe’s, and I don’t know where else, just in case we ran out of something we desperately needed.  They had been gone for a little while, and suddenly it entered my conscientiousness that I had heard them talking about 2 rotisserie chickens from Costco, and then I heard something about 3.  Well, it went right out of my head again so I never did call and say:  “Don’t you think 3 chickens is a little much?,”  but that also escaped out of the cranium cavity. I really should’ve gotten to the phone because when they returned with huge boxes of stuff, I cringed and figured I would have to give Sears a call for a special order and instant delivery of their French Door Elite Refrigerator, just happening to be on sale at $1999 — down from $2399. There was a huge tray of sandwiches made with croissants rather than plain old bread, there was a large carton of potato salad, a bean salad, a humongous veggie tray, great big bag of asparagus, green onions, a big jar of Calamata Olives, 6 avocados. I’ll stop there because I should mention what was already there in the Elite AND in the plain, cheap Kenmore in the garage.

There was:  a dozen Pork tamales, packages of Chile Verde, Talapia, 4 big Mangoes, a Papaya, Oranges, Apples, 3/4 or more bags of frozen Artichokes, and yams in the pantry.  I suspect that I have not been able to gather all this information because they were whizzing right by me with all the boxes on a dolly.  I was non-plussed, but it will give you an idea. You would think that Alba decided we were going to be snowed in.

Later, actually it was cocktail hour, we had a few drop-ins, laden with gifts.  I know Tammy was there (my memoir coach;) then the Puerta Rican, Maribel, speaking in her inimitable way, added to the soirée; Jan was there – she bought my home over on Nolan Circle in 2000; also Melanie was there — and never looked lovelier.  Others: Cuauhtémoc (Horace,) Marcie, the Warden, and me, the prisoner.  It seems like there were more peoples than that, but I guess when you’re having fun, you may get a little confused.

Now remember:  cheekin, cheekin, cheekin,  That adds up to THREE cheekin.

Alba thought we should feed these guests, so what do you think was brought out?  The big tray of croissant sandwiches, and the bulging tray of broccoli, carrots, and whatever other veggies they could cram on.  No cheekin came out, no potato salad came out.  Strange—–     Here was a chance to get rid of a lot of stuff.  Pretty soon they all left, and the four of us here hit the cots for our beauty rest.

Next morning was departure time for Cuauhtémoc and the Aztec Princess to go off for their Annual Powwow, and it was time for Marcie and I to get ready for our guest day here.  We were expecting family from San Juan Capistrano, and New Hampshire.  Never did get an exact count, but here’s how it ended up. One minute before Noon, John arrived, but without his wife, Debbie. They have been visiting in Temecula with Debbi’s son, but the son had to be hospitalized with a serious problem the night before.  She and John now live in New Hampshire. I cannot give you any news about her son because John has not called me.  He told me he would call on Tuesday, and here it is Saturday. I don’t have a cell phone number for him.  The San Juan contingent came along, and they were cut back to 3 revelers only:  Anita, my niece-in-law, her grandson Josh, belonging to Michele, and other daughter Roberta. Add ‘em all up, and what do you have?  Four (4) guests — and remember ALL THAT FOOD, INCLUDING 2½ CHEEKIN!  Others, like JJ (John’s son) and family couldn’t make it because mean boss would not give him day off.  So there we were, just the six of us looking at each other.  Naturally, to start things rolling, I asked who would have a cocktail.  Only one “taker.”  Anita would like a Vodka and Tonic — but there is NO tonic in this house, so she had to settle for some Trader Joe Sparkling Orange Flavored Mineral Water.  And I know what I will have – the usual.  No more imbibers. Josh is only 7.  Darn.  What a start!  But things did pick up.  We have Cuss Jar on the counter, and when Josh is here, his ears perk up, and gets Gram (Anita) and me saying a few choice words, and stuffs the jar. One time he even sent 2 dollars over here to put in jar because he caught Gram over at her house. That went along for a few hours — little swear words, and Anita and I having our cocktails.  Marcie had already laid out some food, so some of it was going to get gone.  The guests from yesterday returned, thank goodness, because they do imbibe, and the conversation sound level did pick up.  You know how that goes with everyone wanting to talk, and all at the same time.

That took care of Monday, and that was our busiest day.  We did have a great time because everyone of those people are so great.

Then came Tuesday. For breakfast, I had croissants, coffee, potato salad, and hard boil egg. I didn’t pay attention to what Marcie had.  Our Christmas Eve dinner menu was asparagus and cheekin. I thought by now we were working on cheekin #3, but no way! It was still only #2 cheekin. At this rate, we will still have cheekin for Sunday.   We will serve it to the Warden with some potato salad, 3 sandwiches still hanging around, maybe some steamed vegetables, and maybe a Vodka Tonic without the Tonic.  And we still have a package of Cheekin Wonton, and the Tilapia.

We saved (ha) a lot of this food for Alba because we figure her week in the food department consisted of tamales, frijoles, pozole, more frijoles.

Marcie likes white meat (of the cheekin) and I love the legs, thighs so no fights there.

Saturday Night. The Last Supper Menu.  Cheekin, asparagus, steamed broccoli and baby carrots.  It just looked beautiful.


Actually, I am really happy about those 3 cheekin — life was easy — no having to sit around to decide on just what to have for dinner.  There was pork loin and Telapia, and God only knows what else.  Friday night we did a switch and had a tamale and some chile verde, but it was not the same.

You probably are wondering about those croissants that I have been having for breakfast every morning. On the return home from the shopping at Costco, the Warden’s SUV had the big boxes sliding around and it took a bit of a toll with the big sandwich tray.  Some of the croissants were disengaged with the tops and some of the cheese slices messed up. On Monday, Marcie spent quite some time wrapping the full sandwiches, and then she was going to toss the tops.  Well, I stepped in and said,  “Nothing wrong with this stuff, put it in one big bag, and I will eat.”  And I am still having for breakfast.

The moral to this little Christmas Story is loud and clear:



MELITAS FORSTER                                                 MONDAYS WITH MELITAS




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Mondays with Melitas – December 9, 2013

INTO THE FUTURE                                                            DECEMBER 9, 2013


This is not one of my Memoirs.  How can it be a Memoir when I am predicting future events, and not writing about my wonderful, carefree kid days?  If all these events that I am going to talk about come true maybe I should change careers and find a crystal ball somewhere.  After all, I have retired from at least seven different careers.  This Memoir thing is only four years long, while there was the retirement after 27 years in the saloon and restaurant business over in San Juan Capistrano and Laguna Beach, and then there was the 22-year career spent here in the Desert doing Real Estate.  Gosh, this is all in the past — I gotta get going into the future.

The Warden is planning her annual escape for the Christmas Holidays, leaving around the 20th of December, for the Aztec and Tigua Reservation Headquarters in Gilbert AZ, a suburb of Phoenix.  There, her brother, Horace, reigns as “Cuauhtémoc” the most famous and fearless of all the Aztec leaders who were building their pyramids, conducting human sacrifices in their temples, growing corn, in what is now the Mexico City area.  His wife, Jennie, is Chief of the New Mexico Tigua tribe.  These two Tribes have always welcomed me to participate in this Annual Pow Wow – or any others they may deem necessary to have throughout the year – because of my Famous Margarita Recipe.  For the past few years I have been unable to attend due to my banged-up condition, whatever it may be at the time – or maybe the age-induced problems.  Besides, I could end up in Federal Prison because it is against the law to bring alcoholic spirits onto a reservation – much less let the members imbibe.  In case the Tiguas are ever allowed by our esteemed government to operate a casino, Jennie would become my long-lost, dearest friend, and I would be at the Pow Wow even if they had to somehow fly me over there on my bed like they had to fly Frida Kahlo, noted Mexican artist, to the most prestigious showing of her career – her bed flying through the air.  (Go rent “Frida” the movie for more on this, and the music is spectacular – or rent my copy.)

So, by now you are thinking:  “Is the Warden leaving the Prisoner alone to her own devices while she is away at the tribal gathering?”  NOT ON YOUR LIFE! She has a back-up – a Vice Warden – to step right in to guard and keep the Prisoner in line.  This Vice Warden happens to be a niece of mine, Marcie — youngest child of my younger sister, Vivian.  Marcie has 2 siblings, George and Janice, and they live up in the Sacramento area so they won’t be hunkering around trying to tell her how to do her job.  Marcie lives over in MorenoValley, and my real, head Warden has been having her over several times for instructions, and to get the hang of all this “responsibility” she will be facing.  I hope the Warden didn’t scare her off because I would just hate it if I had to fend for myself.

Number One on the list is all about the care and feeding of the Prisoner, and it is fortunate that it amounts to just 2 meals a day.  I get up late so breakfast can be any time from 10:30 to 12 AM, or even 1 PM.  Then the cocktail hour arrives before you know it, so dinner can be 6 PM or later.  By her own admission, Marcie says she is not much of a cook.  On the other hand, by my own admission, I am, or should say, I was a very good cook in my day.  My Holiday turkey dinners were priceless, but, alas! there are no survivors to vouch for my culinary prowess.  But Marcie and I will be just fine; that is if I can persuade the Warden to make several huge pots of her “to die for” lentils.  These should last during her entire absence.  The thing is, we will have to freeze all these gallons of this “delisioso and recisimo” (Spanish for god, good, good) concoction in small containers, and the freezers in the fridges around here are filled to capacity, which means buying a new freezer.  I will not even consider buying one of those LG brand freezers.  It has to be an L.F. (Lentil Freezer.)

Since Marcie is my niece, she may not try to boss me around like the real Warden does because I can be quite intimidating when dealing with the one generation younger set. The 2nd and 3rd generations after me are pushovers. Plus she may not have time to give too many orders anyway because she is addicted to the “Jumbles” puzzle which appears every day in our Desert Sun newspaper.  My cranium was on overload and had a brainstorm:  start saving those puzzles for the Vice Warden’s tour of duty:  they should keep her plenty business while she is supposed to be guarding me, and I can just go about whatever I want with no interruptions — except when she wants me to figure one of the words out.

Marcie will be getting up long before my peepers start to open, so she will have had her breakfast.  When I finally rise for the day, I will have coffee, read the newspaper, then get the myriad of pills and elixirs together while my bowl of lentils is getting zapped in the micro.  Before the micro, I will have stuffed it with goodies I may feel like: asparagus, artichoke hearts, other veggies, or maybe leftovers from the night before, lots of calamata olives. Avocado is always good.  If Marcie is hungry for lunch, the fridge doors are not locked.  The next opening of fridge will be when it is “5 o’clock somewhere,” and it will be little OLD me finding the ice department and a lime.  A little later, it will be dinner, and both of us will be there in kitchen trying to figure what to fix.  Never fear, we can always fall back on that cache of lentils in the freezer.  If we are tired of our own cooking, Applebee’s is just down Miles Ave. at the corner of Washington.  We will really have a wonderful time hashing over our lives.

The Warden and I do not go overboard on Christmas presents.  We were in Staples a couple of weeks ago, and I spotted a very nice Engagement book for 2014.  The Warden hates spending a lot of money for the fillers, and I asked her if she would like that for Christmas.  Well, she was thrilled.  Then just the other day, she told me to go get one of those fillers (overpriced in her mind) for my present.

Somehow, I feel like buying a calendar for the next year is like buying green bananas.




MELITAS FORSTER                                           MONDAYS WITH MELITAS


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Palm Springs Office Open House Update

What a gorgeous day December 1 was!  Not only was the weather beautiful but all the bright and smiling faces that came out to say welcome to my newest location…Palm Spring

Come share your story in a comfortable setting

Come share your story in a comfortable setting

Every body has a story to share...record your memories for yourself and your family!

Every body has a story to share…record your memories for yourself and your family!


Eileen Stern she will be one of our honored guest speakers at the 4th Annual Women Inspiring Women Conference

Eileen Stern she will be one of our honored guest speakers at the 4th Annual Women Inspiring Women Conference


Rabbi Sally honored us with a special blessing of the office and the hanging of the mezuzah on the door post

Rabbi Sally honored us with a special blessing of the office and the hanging of the mezuzah on the door post

office!  The schedule for the Palm Springs classes for January will be up soon on the website.

My first graduating class. The Feral Cats!

My first graduating class. The Feral Cats!

Terrie Andrade will be teaching Journaling workshops at both locations

Terrie Andrade will be teaching Journaling workshops at both locations

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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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Amherst Writers & Artists

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.

writing retreats for women

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