Archive for December, 2014

Last day of 2014…reflections

My sweet girl almost made it to 14...blind and deaf at the end but she always loved me

My sweet girl almost made it to 14…blind and deaf at the end but she always loved me





TLC Writing Retreats

TLC Writing Retreats












2014 for me has been an incredible year…as I look back on my year so much emotion bubbles forth.

I lost a very dear friend to cancer, I had to put my dog to sleep, I closed my two offices.  Lots of emotion on one end of the pendulum, yet on the other side I worked this whole year on studying for my batmitzveh and I had my ceremony on the weekend of my 50th birthday Thanksgiving weekend.  My students threw me the best going away party one could hope for.  3 of 4 of my kids celebrated with me.  So many things that were amazing this past year.    December 2, I moved to Baja to begin to write my book, my memoir.  It will be the story of my grandmother, my mother and my story, our combined journeys and how each of them contributed to the me I am today.

As I reflect back on my 3 losses, if my friend and my dog hadn’t passed (because those of  you who knew DD, knew she would have never approved of me leaving Palm Springs) and if I hadn’t made the choice to close my offices, I wouldn’t be where I am today writing in Mexico.

I know that saying good-bye to my student and friend was a gift.  It gave me the strength to make some decisions for myself, it changed my focus knowing that we are not guaranteed any certain number of days…and what was it that I needed to do.

I knew what it was, I needed to have the quiet and space to write.  I wanted to write what I haven’t had the time to write with running my business and teaching.

My new year, new me actually started on December 2 with my move.  blog 12-31 bruce on steps

To date as of right now, I have over 60,000 words in my book.

I am grateful…grateful for all of you and grateful for my new vision of my writing and with Linda as my business partner, some great retreats are coming your way!blog 12-31 me and bruce baja

Flying to our new home

Flying to our new home

My two oldest children Kent and Kristen opened the Ark for the Alenu

My two oldest children Kent and Kristen opened the Ark for the Alenu

Rabbi with me after I chanted my Haftorah

Rabbi with me after I chanted my Haftorah

She was one of my best friends...

She was one of my best friends…

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Mondays with Melitas – December 29, 2014

Warden's  santa

Warden’s santa

flowers from Marshall & Carolyn

flowers from Marshall & Carolyn

MY 96TH CHRISTMAS WEEK                                                   DECEMBER 29, 2014


You’ve just got to hear about all of the goings-on during my very latest Christmas week. You will be amazed with all the excitement. However, it may not measure up to your definition of “excitement,” but let me have my fun. A girl has to do what she has to do.


Monday the 22 tooth, everything started very circumspect — I had been invited to lunch with the ladies, the ladies being my pals from Memoir Writing, Maureen and Vickie. They came by the house to pick me up, and managed to get me up into Vickie’s SUV passenger seat — WRONG seat — I sure should have been in back. I made Vickie a little nervous trying to tell her how to get to Macario’s, but we did have a very nice, leisurely lunch. We were there quite awhile, but it was because everyone was talking at once, so we did cover many, many subjects. At the moment, I don’t remember any or all the subjects we covered. Anyway, many, many thanks gals. (This is a cheap way of getting out of sending a Thank You card what with the cost of card and stamp.) If they don’t happen to read my blog, they will never know I have thanked them.


I sat in the rear seat when they took me home, then I had to rest till I went to bed. Tuesday morning arrived, didn’t get up till 10 — no one had invited me out to lunch so I didn’t have anyplace to go. It made for a very quiet day, spent about an hour on the Skype with my Coach Tammy so I had some fun after all. She’s looking great, and writing so many words for her book, maybe she has 50 or 60 thousand words by now.


Now we come to Wednesday. ‘Twas the day before Christmas, and all through this house, the Warden was making plans to surprise me with my brunch (never up in time for breakfast.) I sat up on my bar stool at the counter, and I started screeching and yelling, and I heard screeching and yelling coming from inside the fridge. For crying out loud, there sat a flat plate, not a bowl, not my lentils at all. Of all things! The Warden changed my Meñu without consulting me on such a serious item, and it was a Fried Tamale with a Fried Egg on top. I guess I should have realized that around Christmas in this neck of the woods, Mexican food , especially Tamales do come to the fore. The high little noises coming from the ice box were the lentils and olives all upset being left out and not able to be keeping up my strength, since that is their daily duty. I have to admit the tamale thing is very delisioso (Sp. For delicious.) Here’s how to prepare this dish: Go over to Costco and pick up a dozen. They are already cooked, so just put in frying pan with a little olive oil, fry slowly, turning them so they will be toasty on all sides and heat up inside. Fry the egg softly, slap it on top, poke it a little so the yolk will have a chance to ooze into the tamale and there you have it. Eat. There’s another recipe. If you don’t want to fry them, just steam them and have a can of Enchilada Sauce (mild) to warm up and pour over.


Later that day, we had made a date for 4:30, to Skype with Tammy, and we each had a cocktail (my Tequila thing) in hand to celebrate Christmas Eve. Another fun chat with her.

My writing coach Tammy and I having a Christmas toast to each other!

My writing coach Tammy and I having a Christmas toast to each other!



Christmas Day arrived, and I slept in. Brunch was served at 2 PM because of the sleeping in. The Lentils were back in all their glory with tidbits of Costco cheekin, carrots, broccoli, a load of mushrooms, and the ever-present olivos (Sp. for olives.)

We Skyped with Tammy again. Nothing much the rest of the day. Watched the Lakers. Still not much happened, so hit the hay.


Saturday. Well, well. We had a nice Open House to go to over at Sue’s place in Indian Springs. Old friends, and of course, there were new people to meet. There were several of us who stayed after “until 6:00” limit. You all know how that goes – when you’re having fun.


I am so happy I lived long enough to have had this wonderful, exciting 96th Christmas week. Life is what you make it — I heard that somewhere or other.



And while I’m at it: HAPPY NEW YEAR



the fried tamale thing

the fried tamale thing

teeny weeny  xmas tree

teeny weeny xmas tree



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The day after Christmas…an open letter to my dog Bruce

blog bully stickThe day after Christmas…an open letter to my dog Bruce

Okay little guy, I can see you are a bit down in the dumps today. Come sit here next to me and let’s talk. I had a feeling this conversation needed to happen, I just didn’t realize it would be so quickly.

Yes, I did notice yesterday while you were perusing through facebook that you couldn’t help but notice all your friends getting lots and lots of presents. Some were even sitting on a big man’s lap with a white flowing beard and red suit. I saw you press “like” at Elliott’s new collar and scrolled through all the many posts of MG and her presents. You watched intently as she opened one after another after another after another of her many gifts.

I thought it would cheer you up to walk you along the beach, but then I realized that you get to do that every day so it wasn’t that special I am thinking…

So let me put it to you straight, or as best I can tell you…we are Jewish. Remember last week?  For 8 nights you and I got to light the Hanukkah candles and say our prayers while we marveled at the beautiful lights, 8 Bruce, 8 nights we celebrated!

Yes, I know we might not have a tree in our home and lots of presents under the tree but we had Latkes! So listen little man, get that tail up, they may have Christmas but we have celebrations nearly every month of the year!

So next time you are feeling blue looking through facebook remember I chose you and Jews are the chosen people.

And just so you don’t feel so sad, I was straightening out your blanket this morning and look what I found underneath it? A bully stick from the states! So little man, enjoy your belated present. Remember what Rabbi Sally always taught us…gratitude…

We have each other and guess what? The Sabbath begins at sundown which means we can light our Shabbat candles tonight together!

Shabbat Shalom my little boychick…

Love, Mama


blog bruce3 blog bruce2 blog bruce1


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A simple candy cane

Yesterday I went out to lunch with one of my new friends that I met here in Loreto. As we were eating lunch and having a great conversation I noticed one of the employees little boy playing in and out of the restaurant. He had dirt on his face and a worn soccer ball that had seen better days. As I was eating I smiled at him a few times and got a shy smile back.

A few minutes later my friend remembered she had a candy cane someone had given her that she thought he might like. When she pulled it out I remembered that I used to throw those away when I was in the states. She called him over, we found out his name was Jorge, and she handed him the small candy cane.

His face lit up and I don’t think I have ever seen someone so grateful before. I immediately felt such a warm feeling as it touched my heart that here this little boy, maybe 3 years old, was absolutely thrilled over a little candy cane. You would have thought she had given him a brand new x-box or something.

I thought back to life here in the states. I looked at all the postings of Christmas trees and tons of presents, our lives are filled full of stuff.

We forget to be grateful for the little things anymore. Finding joy in the small stuff, not in how much a present cost. This year, I am living in a land that feels like home already to me. Maybe it is that I am filled with gratitude for coming to this point in my life when I don’t need “things” to make me happy.

I can learn a lot from little Jorge.

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Mondays with Melitas – December 22, 2014

blog dec22LOST FOR WORDS (HO – HO – HO)                                     DECEMBER 22, 2014


Yes, this week I am at a loss for words. It’s all because Lynne and Karen came by for a little visit from Huntington Beach to check on me to see if I’m “with it,” or maybe I’m just wandering around in my own little world. I had a wonderful captive audience, and I regaled them with stories when I was 5 years old, 8 years old, and the one when I was 16 and talked my Aunt Mae into adding a huge room to her already huge home on the hill, and this party room had to have a 5-stool completely set-up bar, sink, back bar for the liquor, you know, the whole enchilada. I wanted to practice my skills for playing the part of a bartender.


I also related about the 2 guys at my Woods Cove Restaurant in Laguna Beach, and how they didn’t want to pay for one steak dinner because the one said it was not good. My waitress, Betty, had already asked me to watch them because the one was eating steak off the other guy’s plate. The check was presented. They were not paying for one, they said. I noted to myself the bake potato had been consumed, and what had happened with the cup of clam chowder, and the dinner salad? The parade began – I cut a bite of the steak – “Nothing wrong with that. Here, Betty you have a bite.” And then I went into the lounge for my 6’3” bartender, John, to take a bite. “UM, very good,” says John. I had Dean, the other bartender, call the police, so while we waited for them to arrive, big John was not about to let these 2 escape. One beeg policeman, Taco, arrived and he was invited to partake in the steak. Very okay with Taco, so he herded these 2 dudes into his Crown Vic and off to the City jail where they probably spent a very restless night. The next morning, Judge Cravath found them guilty of defrauding an innkeeper, gave them a hefty fine, and they had to pay the tab to the innkeeper. That’s me.


I won’t bring up anymore tales you may have already read.


You may say, “For crying out loud, there she is repeating herself, we don’t want to go through all that stuff again.” Yeah, I’d better get back to writing some new old stories. I still have plenty without repeating. Sorry about this. It’s also because I have been feeling a little puny. Maybe the Warden hasn’t been adding enough lentils to keep my strength up.


This is making me tired right now, so


Merry Christmas, also happy Hanukkah





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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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