Tuesday, December 17, 2013

I Love Christmastime

Christmas has always been one of my favorite times of year.  As a child I can remember the excitement leading up to Christmas.  The television announcements of the upcoming Christmas Specials always added to the excitement.  If I got my hands on a tv guide I'd mark all the specials to be sure not to miss them.  Frosty the Snowman and Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer were a must as were the thrilling musical specials with Judy Garland, Carol Burnett and Andy Williams.

Christmas Eve our entire family would gather at our house early afternoon. We'd sit around the kitchen table making tamales, talking, laughing, the adults drinking and us kids drooling at the prospect of getting the first bite of a tamale.  It was a joyous time to be sure.  

I cannot imagine what Christmas would have been without family and the love we shared each year.  The older I get, the more those memories warm my heart.  Not a year goes by when one of us doesn't take us back there for just a few minutes with a rememberance of how lovely those days were; the cooking, the smells, the music, the laughter, the love.

I pray you too have fond memories of days gone by, but more, I pray that this season you find yourself in the midst of family and friends.  That you share love and joy with someone who may not have and that next year you will add this Christmas to your book of memories not soon to be forgotten.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013


The saying goes "Time flys when you're having fun".  But we all know it's just a saying and time flys whether fun is involved or not.  Everyone knows that if you're in a bed fighting the flu, or in the first hour of an 8 hour work day, time does not fly.

I can tell you, first hand, that when you're in a hospital bed with indiscribable pain, being given morphine to try to control the pain and after 15 minutes, with enough morphine to last at the very least 45 minutes, the morphine stops being effective, time doesn't fly and take my word, it IS NOT fun.  Not even a little bit.

And just so's you'll see where I'm coming from, I'm gonna tell you in detail what happened to me.  So put your jamies on, get a nice cup of tea, pull up a chair and get comfy. 

Ahh-hummmmm...Okay, so in 2000 I had a hysterectomy.  The doc left some parts in but basically he made sure I would never be with child again.  Considering I had a fibroid as big as a 6 month fetus in there, I'd have to say it was a good thing.  The day after the surgery, and assurance to the doctor that I had indeed passed gas, I was released and went home to recover.  Yippie, time off from work, ain't it swell, ain't it great, gonna have the whole world on a plate, blow a kiss, take a bow, honey everything's coming up rose............................Eeeeek, NO! What The.....Pain!  EMENSE PAIN!! UNbearable Pain.  Gonna rip your head off if you try to be nice to me once more, pain!

I'm laying in bed with terrible, terrible pain all day thinking "I can beat this".  Beat what?  I don't know.  It's just a pain that, well, child birth was a laugh; both when I was born and when I gave birth to my daughter...I grab my husband by the colar and I say "you know that perscription the doctor gave me after surgery?  The one I never used?  GO HAVE IT FILLED NOW!".  He was probably gone for about 1/2 an hour but I was quite sure he'd flown to the East Coast to fill it.  By the time he gets back, I nearly swallow his hand trying to get the pill in my mouth.  I wait and wait and...wait... Nothing.  These pills should have sent me flying to another planet, that's how strong they are but they do N O T H I N G.  I'm at the end of my rope so I say, you need to get me to ER right now!!!

Now understand, this is a man who has difficulty dealing with other peoples discomfort, especially if that person just tried to swallow his hand...I can tell he's afraid that something is going to happen to me but he's more afraid that once he gets me in the car, something will happen and he won't know what to do.  So in trying to cope, he say's let me just get a coke and a book and maybe my ipod...I'm just at the point where I'm feeling extremely Lorena Bobbit-ish when my sister in-law steps in to save the day.  If she's afraid of anything, you'd never know.  She's like Sylvester Stalone in Rambo, she's determined to get the job done and shirt or no shirt, she's gonna do whatever it takes standing up, no less.

She gets me in the car and puts the pedal to the metal.  We're going so fast I'm sure I heard a sonic boom.  We are flying!  We're moving so fast NASA is on the phone to the white house calling in a national emergency (or maybe those pills were finally working). 

Well, long story short, it turns out I had a gangrened gall bladder and the closer they looked they realized a nasty stone had torn through the gall bladder but could not be retrieved as it was no where to be found. The entire episode was NOT fun, which brings me back to "Time Flys".  In this case, it DID NOT.

Why am I so wordy???

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Well it worked the first time...

The other day while my daughter was at a vocal rehearsal I remembered many, many years ago when I was singing with a small group.  The leader had been part of a recording group that had a couple of hits on the radio and then just seemed to disappear into thin air.  This guy had such an incredible sense of self worth (perhaps too much) that when he asked me to join his group, I jumped on it.

One day while rehearsing a ballad, Mr. Important counted the song off and from the first note the whole thing seemed to go in the wrong direction.  The drummer was doing his thang, Mr. Important was on key board going south and the bass player seemed to be into a groove totally unrelated to the song we were playing.  The oddest thing was, no one stopped or even acted as if anything was wrong.  Everything screamed for me to stop but the guys who were showing signs of having gone temporarily tone deaf with absolutely no sense of musicality just kept going.  They looked so pleased with themselves...what was a girl to do but sing.

"What song was that anyway?"  

We finished the song, looked at each other and burst out laughing.  After nearly peeing our pants, we decided to play back the recording just for kicks.  To our surprise it sounded really cool.  We couldn't have charted it that way had we tried.  We found ourselves completely in love with us.  We didn't know how we did it but we loved it.  Well, someone had someplace to be so we ended the rehearsal; probably not a good idea as a few days later we had a gig at a local park and would not be able to fit a rehearsal in before then.  Mr. Important still radiant from our beautiful disaster added the song to the list without so much as consulting the rest of us.

At the time I was dating a guy who had his own band.  I'd gone to see them play on several occasion's and found them...well...amusing.  He could sing but wasn't the best.  Their sound was a bit old style to me but you know, he was cute and passionate about his music so I told him I liked the band.  It was the right thing to do.  He knew I was a vocalist/dancer/actress and had never seen me perform in any way except on a crowded dance floor having fun.  I felt really strongly that it was time for him to see me shine and persuaded him to come see my band.

The day of the gig was a little hectic.  As usual I had far too much on my plate; an early morning dance rehearsal and then a run home to shower and change before making it to the park an hour before our performance.  As soon as I saw the stage I was beside myself.  The stage was small...really small.  They had overbooked performers in case there were no shows but as it turned out EVERYONE and their mothers showed up.  Musicians were expected to use whatever drums were there and only a few minutes were allowed in between the switch of groups.

After waiting entirely too long in the hot sun for our shot to play we were told we would have less time than thought.  We jumped up on that stage and within five minutes were ready to go.  The first number could have been better but we wrote it off to having to wait so long in the heat, wiped the sweat from our brow and counted out the next tune after which we felt perty good.  Time only allowed for four numbers so after the third Mr. Important thought it was time we shared our beautiful mistake, called out the song and before anyone could suggest otherwise, boom....we were into the first couple of bars.  Difference was, we sucked this time through!  SU..UH..KED!!  The weird rhythms that sounded so cool the first time were just not working.  It was pure pandemonium.  Nothing we could have done would have made it good, or worse for that matter.  It was so bad I thought I would throw up.  I sang, I'm sure of it because I remember the sound of panic in my voice.  I considered fainting onto the grassy area just to get me off that stage and provide the perfect excuse for why we sounded so bad but because the space was so tight I would have just landed on the instrument in front of me leaving me with my panties out there for everyone to see.

Needless to say, compliments from my crush were few and forced and though we dated for a while, it didn't work out.  I was actually less crushed about having to break it off with my 'crush' than I was for the fact that he never really got to see me perform under 'normal' circumstances.  Ahhhh, his loss.  This story is my side, I've often wondered how his side would sound.  My guess is, better I never find out.    

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The View from my Window

Today as I write, I am sitting on the second floor looking out the window.  Immediately outside I see a pine tree and across the street...well, I'm not a tree expert so I have absolutely no idea what type of tree it is but it has beautiful little white flowers all over it that blow through the air with the light wind of the day.  It's magical.  It looks so lovely as those little flowers glide on the breeze and fall to the ground. Of course when you get out of the car you step on them and they stick to your shoes and you track them in the house and you realize what a royal pain in the butt those stupid little flowers can be.
Wow!  I started out nice.

Sunday, February 17, 2013


Last Summer my daughter and I visited my lovely cousin in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  The days leading up to our visit were filled with anticipation.  I'm sure we all have fond memories of early days spent with cousins.

Some of my favorites:

  • Visits and week long stays at my cousins house.  Sometimes just for the fun, other times because my parents were travelling to Mexico. It was exciting to be in a different neighborhood.
  • We were both shy and took a while to warm up to each other.
  • I still recall the backyard that was as normal as any other, if you can call having a display of cars moving through a city of buildings,over a bridge, and through a tunnel on a treadmill generated by running water, normal.
  • In my minds eye I can still see Auntie in the kitchen, donning an apron.  In the morning we were served and expected to drink our ponche.
  • The image of my uncle sitting at the organ, playing his favorite songs and the sound of the keys clicking as his fingers seemed to jump from one to the next effortlessly.  I grew up on these songs, most times with Mom, Dad and sometimes Auntie singing along.
  • How could I ever forget Auntie sitting at the sewing machine in her own world as she made us girls Barbie clothes; stockings, hats, rings, earrings, necklaces, bras, panties, elbow length gloves, evening gowns, boas and bathing suits...we were the envy of any girl who'd ever even heard of Barbie.
  • And those afternoons laying on my cousins bedroom floor as I begged her to draw one figure after another.  I was so amazed by her talent, even then.
  • I shall never forget the playhouse my uncle constructed for my cousin.  It was the envy of the neighborhood girls, with several rooms in it.  It was tough getting in under the low laying ceiling yet the perfect escape from any adult who even considered entering.
  • And the memory of climbing on top of the flat roofed garage with my cousins niece and nephew will never be lost.  For all we knew, we on top of Mt. Whitney, we were conquerors, that is until we got caught.
  • I have a clear recollection of my cousin visiting our house.  We walked to Ed's Liquor Store; I nearly had to pry words from her until she warmed up and we discussed with anticipation what we would purchase from our trade; soda bottles for candy.
  • The hours spent in my backyard playhouse.
  • Fond memories of Easter baskets and Christmas gifts, patented leather shoes and fancy dresses.
  • Watching as Dad and my uncle worked to enlarge yet another room to our house and Grand Openings to celebrate each.
  • The smells of sitting in our family kitchen.  Everyone working the assembly line to make the biggest olla of tamales and menudo known to man.  Sometimes just for the heck of it but more often than not, to feed the crowd that would gather for a party planned for no particular reason except to party.
  • The hours spent sitting around the kitchen table listening and learning as the adult talk went on and on until we fell asleep no longer able to keep our eyes open.
  • The joy and excitement of my aunt, uncle and cousin moving to our city; the fun was just beginning.
  • Playing cards in the backyard patio with beans for the winning.
  • The proud moment when we heard my beautiful, cousin had been named 'Homecoming Queen'.
  • The crazy episodes Anita and I experienced as young adults; taking dance classes together, driving! Stepping onto a theater stage as actresses, crazy musical theater workshops, trips to Dillions in Westwood, walks on Hollywood and Vine, buying Capezio dance shoes in Hollywood, daring to take dance classes in Los Angeles and of course my cousin waving hello to people she knew as we drove down the freeway (who could be that popular?)
  • I will never forget our USO auditions and announcement that we had made the company to tour the Orient and entertain the troops together.  And little surprise that as we toured Cousin would come upon people she knew from home.  Who else besides a movie star would have such popularity?
  • And then the announcement of Anita's wedding to Ruben; a schoolmate of mine from Middle and High School.

So many memories not mentioned, or forgotten.

As my daughter and I made plans to meet in Houston after her trip to Costa Rica to stay with dad for a few weeks, I wondered if I could live through the wait.  It had been 3 years since our last visit and 14 before that.  Silly of me to be so childish and think a few days of waiting could be so difficult.  But they were!

I met Karina in Houston as planned.  We were travelling stand-by but got on the flight as scheduled.  I will never forget the first sight of my cousin when we spotted each other near the baggage claim carousel.  The excitement was so high I stood waiting near the carousel for quite some time before noticing that our luggage had been taken off and left for pick up at the far end.  We were talking away as if we had to get it all in in a few minutes or it would be gone.  Meanwhile, Ruben sat waiting in the car.....

Karina and I spent three full days with Anita and Ruben.  We talked, walked, laughed and cried.  Then we laughed until we cried.  We sang, we danced and we ate.

We went sight seeing and took photos.
  We even did a photo shoot of Karina dressed as Audrey Hepburn.  


We had such a wonderful time of reminiscing, catching up on the current events of our lives and enjoying the beauty of their home, oh how I dreaded leaving.   I wanted to say 'I'll be back next week', and wish it were that easy.

And now, I find myself in anticipation of a new visit...just for a few days, but I can hardly wait!

It's happened...

She's driving!

The fact that my daughter now drives is so exhilarating.  I know most parents fall into habitual worry when their teens begin driving....Not.Me!  My daughter driving simply means I get to watch an entire television show, or wash and dry a full load of clothes, or even take a nap without the interruption of that dreaded phone call "can you pick me up now?".  Oh, how I dreaded those words.  Just the thought of them make my nostrils begin to twitch.

I should have been grateful to hear my daughters voice when she was calling asking for a ride home but really, some days I'd have to make four to 6 trips dropping her off, picking her up, taking her here, taking her there.....  Believe me, you cannot have a normal life when you have an active teen.  And the simple fact that she was doing nice, clean, fun activities didn't make it any easier.

Do I sound ungrateful or naggish?  (that's my word and you can't have it)  Do I?  I don't mean to, but I went through this driving the kid around thingy for 2 girls, almost back to back.  Do couples these days having 4 children separated by only 2 years have any idea what they're in for when those little buggers get into their early teens?  Any idea?  NO.  Of course not.  Having four children that close in age means one thing and one thing only, at least a decade of chauffeuring your teen and their friends.  A DECADE people!  May as well just sell the house and buy a motor home!

Just minutes ago I get a call "Mom, are you hungry?".  I love it.  I don't have to go anywhere, don't have to drive to the store or make myself lunch.  How stinkin' much better can it get??

She's driving, she's driving, she's driving........Now on to new worries.......
Life really isn't fair.