Sunday, December 23, 2007

Memories of Christmas past...

In the next day or two I thought that I would share some of my Christmas memories with you. Here's the first one:

In 1969 my dad was diagnosed with degenerative disk disease. He'd had it for many years so by the time it was diagnosed it had wreaked havoc with his back. The only real "cure" for his situation was surgery but my dad wanted to try everything possible before putting himself through that. Upon being diagnosed with this disease the first thing they did was put my dad in the hospital and put him in traction. His hospital bed had wheels and pulleys hanging from galvanized pipes that were attached to the head and the foot board. He had to put his head in a canvas sling that went under his chin and and up on either side of his head like bunny ears. The bunny ears were linked up to the pulleys and the pulleys had sand bags hanging down at the foot of the bed. The weight of the sand bags pulled his head up and this was supposed to elongate his spine and help take pressure off of his vertebrae.

This didn't really help his pain and so he was in and out of the hospital several times that year. Obviously he couldn't work and thus our income simply stopped. My mom worked at See's Candy store during the holidays but as you can imagine that didn't really bring in the big bucks.

We never had to do without, but things were getting pretty tight. Right before Thanksgiving our family was sitting at home when we heard a knock at the door. When my mom answered the door there was no one there but our front porch was covered with bags and bags of groceries. I don't believe anyone ever took credit for this wonderful gift but we are pretty sure it was her friends from the Mother's of Twins Club. I remember that this made both of my parents cry. I wasn't really sure what "happy tears" were all about but I took their word for it when my folks told me that they were crying because they were so happy.

My dad was back in the hospital in the first week of December. He relented and had surgery on his spine. The surgeon took a piece of my dad's hip bone and formed it in to a new vertebrae and fuse it in to my dad's spine. This was all done through my dad's neck. Once the surgery was over he was put in a 4 poster brace that held his head, neck and back in alignment. He had to lay flat on his back for weeks. They wouldn't even let him out of bed to pee.

My dad got to come home right before Christmas. When he came home I realized that he wasn't going to die and I breathed a sigh of relief. On Christmas eve one of my aunts gave me and Tori each a Madame Alexander baby doll. I had never been so shocked or so thrilled in my entire 9 years on this planet. My cousins all had Madame Alexander dolls coming out of their ears and I was always so jealous that I couldn't even see straight. I always coveted their fancy dolls but they were waaaaay out of our price range so I never, in my wildest dreams, ever, thought that I would have one. Especially that year. When I finally got brave enough to take my doll out of her box, (I didn't want to disturb her...she was just sooo perfect...) that's when I learned what happy tears were all about. I felt kinda stupid crying over a doll, I was 9 years old, far too mature to be crying over anything...but I guess everything changes when you become a mother. (Even if it is only to the most beautiful doll in the world.)

What? Pft! Of course I still have the doll.

**Footnote to 1969...during the course of this year not only had my dad been diagnosed with a pretty serious health situation and had to quit his job but we had an awful winter storm that actually blew the roof off of major sections of our house. We had rain leaking into just about every room in our house. The rain was leaking in to my bedroom from the overhead light fixture. During this monsoon of a storm we had to go visit my dad in the hospital. My mom got Tori and I into the car and started to back down the driveway. She didn't get very far before she put the car in park and just sat and cried. I thought the had just had enough of the stress of having a husband in the hospital, having the roof blown off of our house...etc, etc. It wasn't until the next day that my mom had to tell us that she had run over and subsequently killed our cat.


Friday, December 14, 2007

A blog posting that I should have written

Everyday I have my ritual of checking my email and reading my favorite blogs. Most of the time the blogs I read make me laugh and as I laugh I always hope that I can make my reader laugh, too. My blog friends have posed for photo shoots looking like Brittany Speers, admitted to their life long obsession with park rangers, made videos exploring their imaginary relationship with John Cusak, and other things that you'd just have to read to believe. Along with the laughter I have shared other emotions as well. My blog friends have had panic attacks before they get married, they have miscarriages, their children get sick (and I'm talking about everything from cutting molars to being mauled by dogs), and they have family members pass away. I can usually relate on some level to every story I read but nothing has hit home the way the following story did:

Because I couldn't say it on the phone (click on's a link. I have no idea why it isn't showing up darker...)

I would ask that you read the post and read the comments, too. I have had every one of the conversations mentioned. Most of them...more than once.

This was written by Heather B. Armstrong who is otherwise known by her blog name of "Dooce". She took the words right out of my mouth.

I have never been afraid to admit that I take anti-depressant medication. The chemicals in my brain are out of whack and no amount of wishing, hoping, ignoring, or therapy will put them in whack any more than doing any of those things will make my cholesterol levels fall in to the appropriate level.

I have suffered from depression for most of my life and I didn't even realize it until it was gone. In the mid 80's I hit an all time low and I sought counseling. Even that attempt at helping myself was questioned by my loved ones. No matter how much I tried to describe the inner pain, the weight of the darkness in my one seemed to get it. As a little girl I was a cry baby. If you looked at me sideways I would cry. I was told that I didn't get good sleep. I didn't get enough sleep. I was just bitchy. I was mean. As I got older I was told that I was ill because I didn't eat meat. The people in my life accepted me as a chronic moody crab, apple, with dark circles around her eyes, who would throw huge fits of rage when she got angry. How come no one saw how hard it was to live like that?

Everyone who knew my dad knows that he was a complete and total alcoholic. When he was sober, and we were out in public, he would often have "moments". With no warning he would just disappear from the hoopla. He very rarely came to see me or Tori perform in any of our multitude of activities because that would involve being in a crowded room full of people. When he did show up, he'd stand off in a corner, observe the performance and then head outside as soon as our act was finished. As an adult I now know that this was probably claustrophobia or panic attacks. Why didn't anyone recognize this or realize that part of his alcoholism was self medication?

I actually had to be talked in to taking antidepressants. I feared that I was going to be a drooling oddball who ran around blowing bubbles while chasing butterflies. It was the best surprise of my life to find that not only did I not turn in to a drooling butterfly wrangler....I actually felt good. I felt lighter. I felt happy. And I mean happy from the core of my very being. I felt like I could breath for the first time in my life. " THIS is what it's like to feel normal!" I was able to get out of bed in the morning and not want to kill anyone who tried to talk to me. Drivers could cut me off and I didn't want to ram my car in to theirs. People could look at me sideways and I didn't even notice.

Anti-depressants saved my life. I hope if any of you out there in blogland are on the fence about this will read my post and Dooce's post and do what you think is right.


Thursday, December 13, 2007

Pre Christmas hoopla....

Last Saturday I met my family in Hollywood for the annual Directors Guild Christmas party. My sister has attended this party for 23 years in a row and she has the pictures to prove it. I've been to this party a couple of times and it is quite the shin dig for little kids. They have popcorn, juice, ice cream, coffee, candy, a state of the art theater showing cartoons, a bouncy house and a gift dispensing Santa Claus. We are usually among the last people to arrive at this party but this year we were among the first. We got there so early that there was nothing going on just yet so we walked down Sunset Blvd. and want to the Bristol Farms market to kill some time. Some how everyone but me noticed Tim Allen shopping in the store. The kids were too awestruck to say anything, my sister and mother were too shy. I never even saw him. I can't believe my celebrity radar was so out of whack. I'm usually the first to see famous people and I'm the one trying to use my eyes to get my mother to look at the person standing next to me. (which has resulted in more than one conversation that sounded like: "Tami, is there something wrong with your head? Why are you looking like that?") the time it was made clear to me who was in the store...he had already left. We made it back to the party just in time to see a real movie star
The picture is kind of dark but that is star of stage, screen and lunch boxes everywhere..."Scooby Doo". What is up with the look on Jake's face? He was thrilled to get his picture taken with one of his favorite actors and yet it looks like we beat him before the picture was taken. (*no children or faux canine were harmed during this photo shoot.)

We stepped out of the Santa Claus line to take the Scooby Doo picture and then got back in line. Figuring Jake would rather do anything than stand in line I told him, "LOOK, Jake!!! It's Tweety Bird. Let's go take a picture with Tweety Bird!!!" Jake looked and me like I was nuts and he told me, "I don't like him." And that was that. There would be no Kodak moment with Tweety. But not to worry because there were several other Kodak moments to be had:

Hannah and Jake got gifts from Santa. Jake got some type of action figures and Hannah got a deck of Uno cards emblazoned with NBA players. What 11 year old girl wouldn't love that? Last year Hannah got a deck of Uno cards with out anyone representing that girly sport of professional mens basketball. I definitely see a trend brewing. I think next year for Christmas I'm going to get her a set of deluxe Uno cards so she won't feel forgotten.

When the party was over we were all starving so we went to Canters for a late lunch. In order to save time we should just have our bill xeroxed because all of us get the very same thing every time. Tori was the only one who went exotic on us and ordered "The Marilyn". That would be a grilled swiss cheese and tomato sandwich on rye. I get one every time I've been there but I don't get it grilled. After looking at these pictures I think you can see why:This is a germ-o-phobe's nightmare.

When we were finished eating Rebekah and I parted ways with the rest of the family. I had tickets to the KROQ Almost Acoustic Christmas concert and Rebek and I were going to spend the night at the Hilton at Universal Studios and attend the concert the next day.

I thought I knew how to get from the Fairfax area to the Universal area but I got lost and we wound up in Beverly Hills. We drove around Beverly Hills and then got out and walked around Rodeo Drive. By the time we got a place to park all the stores were closed. Can you believe they would close at 6:00 on a Saturday 2 weeks before Christmas? That’s just foolish! We had a cup of coffee at Coffee Bean Tea & Leaf and defrosted our fingers and noses. (I know you guys from out of state will laugh in our faces...but when it hits the 50 degree mark we start to freeze.)We had posed for a few pictures and got frostbite in the interim.

(Sorry about the blur...I have no idea what was going on with the camera at this moment in time.) Can you believe the street lights on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hill are actually chandeliers? I'm as big of a fan for ostentatious displays of wealth just like anyone else but I think that this is taking it a bit too far.

We got to the hotel and checked in and got unpacked. We both had more fun than a barrel full o monkeys with their lighted 5x’s magnified mirror. Is there any teenage girl or middle aged woman who isn't fascinated with looking at their skin when it's magnified 5 times its normal size? (it's can admit it. We're all friends here...) We went down stairs and had a drink in their restaurant/lounge. Of course I had a chocolate martini and aye carrumba... it was muy bueno. Bek didn’t comment on the state of her Mr. Pibb.

As we walked through the lobby we took a couple more pictures:

We were going to check our email until we found out that their internet services were .49 a minute. How insane is that? So, choosing not to personally finance Paris’s next pocket poodle we went upstairs and watched tv.

We were awakened early the next morning by Rebek's telephone ringing. When she answered it I could hear a man screaming his head off and I told her to give the phone to me. This unidentified man was certain that Rebek had toilet papered and vandalized his house last night. His house which is in Riverside....75 miles away. I tried to tell him that Rebek was with me last night and that we were in Los Angeles. He insisted that I was telling lies and that I, too, would be arrested when the police showed up at Rebekah's house and then he hung up on me. He called back a little later and said that he knew for a fact that not only did Rebekah toilet paper his house but she also vandalized his car. This man was in a rage and he was vile. You wouldn't believe how he was talking to Rebekah. I told her to hang up on him and she did. The phone rang again and it was the daughter of the nasty man. She apologized and told Rebekah that she knew it wasn't her who toilet papered the house. I'm glad that someone apologized but I'm still hoping that one day I, or Rebekah's dad, will get to meet this man face to face.
(I have no idea what has happened since.)

After that lovely start to our morning we got up and checked out of the hotel. We drove all the way to Sherman Oaks looking for a Denny’s or IHOP but to no avail. Finally we found a Marie Callenders. We had the breakfast buffet that came complete with malt balls and gummy bears! Mmmm, candy....breakfast of Champions!

Then we went back to Universal Studios and saw the movie, “This Christmas”. It wasn’t as good as the commercials made it look.

Then we headed out for the concert. We were literally the first two guests to arrive. This was inside of the VIP tent. Those two girls were caterers. We had our choice of all the food and h’ourderves unlike last year when we hardly got a piece of bread. It was freezing cold outside so we tried to get in and find our seats however the auditorium wasn’t scheduled to open for another 15 minutes. So as we were walking back to the outside area…I was taking a picture of the guitars that belonged to the head lining band, “MUSE”,
when I hear Rebek say, “Auntie….Auntie….” and just as I turn around I see Stryker heading up the stairs. "Stryker" used to be the afternoon drive DJ on KROQ and Rebek and I are in love with him. He is no longer on the day time drive slot because he is now the DJ on the Ellen DeGeneres show. Rebek tries to act like she's jaded and like she's seen it all before...but when you put her in front of a famous person who she admires she turns to jello just like her her old auntie. She couldn't even get her arms to work well enough to take her camera out of her purse and take a sneak picture of him. I would have stopped him and asked to take a picture of the two of them but he was actually running up the stairs. We were just happy that we got to lay eyes on him.

We went outside and stood under an outdoor heater. "Bean" of “Kevin & Bean” fame, (The number 1 morning DJ's in Los Angeles from KROQ) walked through the gate and stopped to warm himself under our heater. I asked him if I could take a picture with him and he was polite and charming and as as nice as he could be. He is very tall and he had to fold himself in half to be in the picture with me.

It's no wonder he was cold...he was wearing shorts!

The powers that be finally allowed us to go in and find our seats. We were delighted to see that they were awesome! They were in the first row of the loge section. We had the railing in front of us so we could lean against it when we stood or put our feet on it when we sat. It was colder in the theater than it was out side so we went back outside and resumed standing under the heaters. That’s when I saw Dr. Drew Pinski. He does “Love Line” on their late night show with Stryker…and he is also a regular contributor to several tv shows. I took my picture with him and he was also as nice as could be.

Then a little while later I saw Ralph Garman. He does the show biz report on the KROQ morning show. I asked if I could take a picture with him and he was as sweet as he could be. . I hit the KROQ trifecta! I never expected these guys to be so nice and so accomodating but they were and now I like them even more than I did before I met them.

We went back in to the theater and watched the show. The first few bands were just ok, but then “Modest Mouse” came out and livened up the crowd. They were a lot of fun. We had heard a rumor that "The Killers" were going to show up and do a surprise set and I was a very happy camper when they showed up. They were the only ones who had the stage decorated. They had a bunch of Christmas trees and a few midgets dressed like elves! They only got to sing 4 songs but they turned the crowd on it's head. I took video of them but I can't find my camera cable so I can't upload it just yet. So you'll have to settle for blurry pictures:

Brandon Flowers, lead singer of "The Killers" on the video screen.

The next band was “Jimmy Eat World” and they were really fun, too. I like a lot of their songs and I'm happy to say that they sang them all. The final act came on, (“MUSE”) and they were good but I’m sorry to say that they really didn’t stand a chance coming on after “The Killers”. Rebekah got in trouble with the Universal Amphitheatre police for video taping “Jimmy Eat World.” On her hand held camera. Uh, Puleeze! There had to be 10,000 people video taping every act that had been on the stage and yet they told her that she couldn’t video tape. (Go to YouTube and search KROQ and see just how many videos have already been posted from that night.)

We had a fabulous time at the concert and now we are both sick. We sang our heads off and apparently singing at the top of your lungs will make you sick. It happens to us every time.


Wednesday, December 12, 2007

"You like me, you really like me!"

I started out writing this blog to entertain my mom and my sister. They have always been my best audience. They laugh with me and they laugh at me. They have always understood my sarcastic sense of humor and my occasional use of satire. They know how much I love my kitties and they haven't had me committed when I tell them about the conversations we've had.

I panicked a little bit when they told me that they had shared my blog with their friends. I was so afraid that people would stop in and read a posting and then shake their heads thinking how sad it is that Tori and Nancy think that their little Tami is so funny or profound. I worried that the rest of the world would have no appreciation for my occasional use of cuss words or that they would get bored reading about the antics of my family or think that I am a mean person because I find things to laugh about in regard to Paul.

I write because I like to write. When anyone else likes what I write it is a super special bonus. My mom's friends and my sister's friends tell them that they enjoy reading my musings and that makes me very happy because it makes my family proud of me. Well, I wish there was some way that I could figure out how to put this up on the mantle:

My blog friend Margaret Sally ( gave me this blog bling. To those of you who don't blog this might seem like no big deal but to me it means that I've been accepted. I have never met Margaret face to face. We met through our blogs. And she likes me. She really, really likes me.

I'm supposed to pass this bling on to other bloggers but for now I'd just like to covet it for a while. Besides...I'm tired. Holding this big head up takes a lot of energy.

Thank you Margaret. You made my day.


Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Catching Up

Ok, I'm back. Sorry about the delay in writing...but when I'm not motivated to write I don't write. This is really no way to keep an audience but unfortunately that's the way I roll. I have a lot of catching up to do and maybe later this week Dave will stop by and check in. Dave gets far more fan mail than I do.

Now...things that have kept me busy for the last couple of weeks:

Every year my mom and I get all dressed up and attend an amazing fashion show that is put on by a Whittier church. I have never attended the church but I have not missed a fashion show in several years. This year my mom told her friends about it and so many of them wanted to go that we took up two tables.

The ladies in this picture are either friends of my mom from elementary/high school or they are friends of hers from the "Mother's Of Twins Club". The lady on the far left end is my best friend, Mary. This event takes place in the Disneyland Hotel Grand Ball Room. This room is HUGE and the show sells out every year. The clothes that are modeled are always beautiful and usually they are clothes for real people and not anorexic Parisian fashion models. This year the fashions were a little more haute couture than usual but they were still fun to look at. A lot of the stores that supply the fashions set up shop in the ballroom lobby and you can purchase their clothes as soon as the fashion show is over.

Below is a picture of me and my mom in our holiday finery. I have no idea why I look like I have Popeye arms in that jacket. I don't think I looked like that in person. As a matter of fact I actually had a stranger in the ballroom stop me and tell me that all of the ladies at her table just loved my jacket and thought that I looked simply mahvelous in it. I can't tell you how long it's been since a stranger has paid me a compliment so this was an extra special treat. What has not been a treat is the fact that my car seat still has silver glitter on it as has all of my clothes I've worn to work since riding in the car with the glittery jacket. No one has stopped me to tell me that my butt was shiny so I guess it isn't that noticeable.

(You have no idea how many family pictures have been taken at this blank wall...apparently we think the best back drop for a nice picture is a door jamb.)

The key note speaker at the fashion show was none other than "DJ Tanner" from "Full House"...Candace Cameron. She has grown up to be a beautiful woman and she has a lot to say about her strong christian faith. I was right there with her until she started to talk about being where God meant for women to home raising their kids. She didn't have anything to say about the millions of women who are working their butts off 15 hours a day in order to keep a roof over their kids heads. I don't think she realized that she inferred that those moms were not where God wants them to be and that made me sad. Why I should care what Candace Cameron thinks God thinks is beyond me but I do. I wanted to tell her that if my mom had stayed home , "the way God wanted her to do", when my dad got sick then we would have certainly wound up starving and homeless. Not everyone has a child actor trust fund to tide them over after they have babies and want to be a stay at home mom.
I wonder if God wanted her to be here selling her books and giving autographs and taking pictures instead of being at home with her kids?

After the fashion show we went to the "Red Hat Society" store in Fullerton. How do I look with purple hair?

A weekend or so later my family and I went to the City of Hope breast cancer walk. Unfortunately by the time we got there it was over. We snuck this picture in just before they tore the sign down.In case you are wondering what Paul has in his's a Mr. Potato Head smile. I took 6 pictures in front of this poster and this was as good as it got. Hannah wouldn't even think of smiling and Paul wouldn't take the Mr. Potato Head smile out of his mouth.

On Thanksgiving weekend my daughter moved. She and her husband were given a wonderful opportunity to move in to a beautiful 4 bedroom house for only $200.00 more than what they were paying for a one bedroom apartment. The only catch is that the beautiful house is in Apple Valley. For my out of state readers..(Cousin Katie, Deb, Mhari, Staci and Margaret Sally..YOU ROCK!)..Apple Valley is 101.54 miles from Huntington Beach. I am so happy that she has this beautiful house but I hate that it is soooo freakin far away.

I took several pictures but my battery was almost dead and most of the pictures came out blurry. All I have to show you is the front and back yard:

This picture was taken from the back patio. They have a little bit of grass, a huge pool with a jacuzzi, tiki torches, and a stage. The person who owns this house used to have a huge party every year and he had the stage built so that the bands would have a place to set up.
The back yard goes beyond the wall. There is a horse shoe pit and enough room to ride dirt bikes.

The last picture is obviously a shot of her front yard and horse shoe drive way. Their yard is the only one on the block that has grass. Apple Valley is in the high desert and I can only imagine how hard it is to keep grass growing during the scorching summers and the frozen winters. A gardener comes with the house so hopefully he will be able to keep the grass growing all year around.Inside the house they have cathedral ceilings, a fire place, walk in closets, room to room sound system, family room, formal living room, lots of closet space, a 3 car garage and Amanda's favorite cupboards with pull out shelves. If any of you are in the greater Apple Valley area...drop on by and visit with Amanda and Mike. What? You don't know Amanda and Mike? I don't think that matters!Amanda is so bored up there that I think she would invite you in to her home with open arms and cook you dinner. Request potato leek soup. She makes a mean soup.

I promise that I will write more often. I've been mulling around ideas...let me know what you think:
Do you want me to write about:
My first husband; the handsome rogue who stole my heart the moment I saw him across a crowded room...and then 20 years later burned my clothes in the fireplace of our home.
My second husband; the idiot foolish who threw me under a bus when he should have been my protector
My cancer story
My life in the 80's
My life before and after anti depressants
Or if you have any other ideas...let me know.

For now I will end this post with a picture of the cutest little brat in the world doing his "MySpace" face that he learned from his big sister: