Archive for March, 2016

Mondays with Melitas – March 28, 2016

Kathy's Kookies

Kathy’s Kookies

KATHY’S DELIGHTS ON WHEELS                                 MARCH 28, 2016


We have a neighbor, Kathy, who, with her husband, Steve, live down in the cul-de-sac at the end of our street, Dandelion Drive. We met them several years back when our neighbor, Lori introduced us at her first ‘hood party. Lori was our Social Director, and when she moved away to Houston we don’t have any more soirees to celebrate birthdays, or 4th of July, or any other old day we need an excuse for.

Whenever Kathy and Steve arrived at one these social gatherings, I would know some sort of delightful dessert most probably had arrived with them. (All I took was my Tequila on the rocks, salted rim, squeeze of lime, in my tall insulated tumbler to keep it cold and enough of it to last a couple of hours.)

Kathy is an inspired Baker. She absolutely loves and adores to bake, and she puts her whole heart and soul into it. The oven is always on “bake.”

Same ol’ stuff does not come out of there. Her kookies, or cakes, pies, or whatever she has dreamed up, is always decorated, and looking like a graduate of that cooking school in Paris had accomplished the results.

She spends so much time baking, I am hoping she doesn’t move her kitchen into the living room to be a little more comfortable in the easy chair or on the sofa.

You would think the two of them, both Kathy and Steve, might be on the corpulent side with all that bakery stuff sitting around; but no, both are as slim and trim as can be. I get the picture — Kathy just adores baking — but they don’t eat it! She packs them up in colorful containers, and are put in their “delights on wheels” (their SUV) and deliver the “sweets on wheels” to friends and neighbors. She probably was noticing how I was looking, thin and half dead; so for months now, the “wheels” parks in our driveway, and Steve gets out to deliver the goods. This week for Easter, it was a basket with Easter Bunny grass in the bottom with Kathy’s Kookies very professionally laid out on top. Just take a look at the photo. Two alike cookies, decorated — big ones, small ones, dark ones, yellow ones, white ones, different flavors.

Right now I am sitting here scribbling away, munching one of those big kookies, and washing it down to my happy tummy with a bottle of Boost High Protein. Five or six months ago, I was weighing in at 101#, and this morning the scales were creaking at 108.5#. It’s a good thing I have loads of sagging onion paper skin to fill out.

Thanks, Kathy, for all those treats, and thanks to your punctual deliveryman, Steve. He’s a keeper.

Especially if he doesn’t forget how to find 79613 Dandelion Dr.


MELITAS FORSTER                                       MONDAYS WITH MELITAS


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Mondays with Melitas – March 21, 2016

mel blog 3-21A DAY WITHOUT OLIVES                                           MARCH 21, 2016


Here’s the thing; Last week, there were two bowls of breakfast lentils minus the olives. What a downer for me to try to start a day without them. I didn’t yell or scream about “where were the olives?” I just remained “tranquila” (my calm Spanish blood) and somehow I managed to survive those days. Everything smoothed out by the end of the week, so I put it out of my mind. These days I sometimes don’t have to banish something from the mind, items seem to get lost more often than they used to.

Along came the next week, and almost immediately things were going from bad to worse. Two days of lentils — NO OLIVES! I still did not mention this lack of a part of my diet.

Can you blame me for being worried about what’s going on in the Warden’s memory box? And since it didn’t only happened one itsy-bitsy Daylight Savings Time day, I would overlook it — but here it is — a total of five days — how can one overlook twenty olives? (she allows me four a day.)

Yesterday, we had a tamale fried with some cheese on top and then you separately fry up a runny yoked egg and plop it on top the tamale. No need for olives, but if the Warden had made a misstep and accidentally put some olives on by mistake — I still wouldn’t say anything. Just gobble them quickly so she wouldn’t realize the mistake. Now here are some answers to this serious question that has reared its ugly head. But OLIVES are not little things. They mean a lot to me. It’s extremely important.

I have tried to think of a few things which may have caused all   this dilemma.

1) Maybe she is just testing me to see if I notice.

2) Could be she is sore about something I have done, or

didn’t do.

3) Maybe I forgot to set the dish washer which is my job.
4) And then maybe she has started to forget little things
 She’ll find out soon enough about me talking about her when she types this mish-mash for Tammy to put on “Monday with—–“ MELITAS FORSTER                               MONDAYS WITH MELITAS
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Mondays with Melitas – March 14, 2016

TRIPS – BUT NOT ON THE TILE                            MARCH 14, 2016


It seemed like I was “on the go” a lot. Aunt Mae was always figuring on some trip to take. She (and I also) loved those cross country train rides on the Santa Fe Super Chief, but today I have motor trips we would take up and down the Coast in one of her Cadillac’s.

Many, many, many trips for only as far as San Francisco, or Reno, or Virginia City. In particular, I want to share about a few details about other trips when we drove to Seattle and Vancouver. These started when I was eight to ten years old, and when they ended, I was doing the chauffeuring. In the early days, Titán (my uncle) would drive a little, but Aunt Mae would usually take over the wheel. When we stopped for lunch, Titán would have a couple of straight-up Manhattans. (Maybe he was a little nervous with Aunt Mae’s driving.)

As you know, the scenery through Northern California, Oregon, and Washington is spectacular! — except for me during the early trips, I would be in the back seat with Aunt Mae, and my brother Buddy (ten years older than I) would be at the wheel and Titán was in the passenger seat. As I mentioned, I was in the back seat — not on it though but on the floor with a blanket for my tent, playing my own games. Somehow I missed the scenery on that jaunt.

We always stayed at the nicest hotels, and in those early days I entertained myself. Later, when a few brain cells were starting to grow, the entertainment changed. It used to be that we would have an early dinner, I would go to bed early, and the folks would go out to the ball room in the hotel where there was dancing and entertainment. Aunt Mae had one entertainer whom she would go on these trips just to “catch”. The singer was Sophie Tucker, and she was billed as the “Last of the Red Hot Mamas,” She was a real character and had a big following. She was not a young chick, she had grey hair, upper part quite buxom (plenty of room for lungs), lower parts trim and thin so she could really belt out those naughty tunes loud and clear. Maybe a little on the order of an elderly Dolly Parton.

So that is one little trip we took. They would be pretty much the same except we might have to go to Portland or San Francisco when Aunt Mae would find out that Sophie would be playing in these cities.

I am tired with all this driving up and down the Coast so I am going to bring this to a fast ending.


MELITAS FORSTER                                     MONDAYS WITH MELITAS

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Mondays with Melitas – March 7, 2016

ALL OF A SUDDEN …… PART II                               MARCH 07, 2016


I will try not get tired before I finish this like I did last week.

I could go on saying how exciting it was to see all these entertainment people and proceed to name off names. Some of them would stop in Laguna Beach to see me at the Barefoot Bar on the Main Beach in Laguna. There would be my Jazz combo playing weekends so those visitors would be more than happy to get up to do a little entertaining so they wouldn’t get “rusty.” If I started with names, I could just go on with the names – forget a story. You kids wouldn’t know who I was talking about anyway.

So there I was in Honolulu on one occasion, it happened to be during Maya’s first gig there. (She played the “Clouds several times.) Her act was to sit at the grand piano, tinkle the ivories, singing or humming a little song, and talk to the audience.

They loved her. In those early days you would think she had just flown in on the jet stream from Haight-Ashbury district in San Francisco. That’s what her ensemble reminded you of—the old flowing cotton gown and the bandana-like headpiece. (Later she cleaned up her act. See photo) And didn’t she look all put together later in life when she was traveling around being a celebrity?

We became pals, Maya, Annie and I.

Maya had traveled to Hawaii alone, and was staying at the hotel. We would leave for the Halekulani Hotel and Beach around noon every day. We’d have a bit of breakfast in Annie’s snazzy apartment first. We would rest out on the beach—in and out of the surf, then cocktail time came along and we would move up on the Terrace where those striking Chinese women in their gorgeous Chinese silk gowns waited on the customers.

We’d have a cocktail or two with hors d’oeuvres but couldn’t stay as long as we would’ve have liked, the three of us had to be back at the Clouds and be ready to go to work. We had to get into our get-ups for the long shift ahead.

One of the reasons for me to take these little “vacations” is because I would have such a wonderful time helping Annie with her “Clouds”. I just loved to bartend, so Annie would stick me in a little cubby hole, which was the service bar where the servers would come to pick up drink orders for their customers. There I was pouring drink after drink. Annie couldn’t put me behind the beautifully designed bar with all the mirrors in the main room with the customers and entertainers – I wasn’t glamorous enough. That’s where she stuck herself.

We were in our 50’s, at that time, and had loads of fun with Maya. She was a very circumspect young lady. I look back thinking how lucky I was to have spent time with her and it would be a special treat if she happened to be playing the “Clouds” when I showed up for one of my little jaunts.

Every day the three of us would go off to the Halekulani for our leisurely day with a little swimming, little lunching, a little cocktailing and lots of laughter.

Every night, we took care of business; Annie was the Boss. Maya took care of entertainment, while I poured drinks in the closet.

You know what I forgot to tell you about? The employee situation at Annie’s hotel is worth a word or two. Of course, there were bartenders, waiters and waitresses all over the place, but then there was one – just one more employee who made that place run like a Rolex watch. Now this is only one more employee. His duties, however, were numerous, he was head (and only) housekeeper of the 2nd floor hotel rooms. He cleaned the Little Dipper in the early morning before it opened, then go clean a room or two, go out and sweep the sidewalk, clean the elevator, halls, or plunge a toilet. Then, later in the day he would go get the Clouds all nice and clean for opening around eight o’clock. Now then, listen to this: Here’s this little guy not even 5’ tall taking care of all these “chores.” He was completely adorable. He was of Philippine extraction and a little munchkin. His name was Moses. Can you imagine how lucky Annie was to find little Moses? She got by with him doing the work of five or six people. (She was always a sharp one!)

*       *       *

Years ago, Maya came up with the following quote. Today, in this day and age it couldn’t be more apropos. Many Thanks, Maya.


       “Prejudice is a burden that confuses the Past,

         threatens the Future, and renders the Present


         –Maya Angelous

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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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