I want to thank all of you for being such a large part of my blog.
It seems like it was just a “second” ago when I began to write the blog back in October. Summer is fast approaching and I have much to do before Sam begins his freshman year in high school. He just found out that he made the high school baseball team! I am so proud of him. Baseball is his first love.
I will be keeping busy the next few months and so will take a short hiatus from the blog. I want to thank my dear friend Maggie for all of her kind support and friendship. Maggie truly kept me inspired to keep on writing.
Hopefully, when I return, there will be lots of good news to report…
Until then, much thanks to all of you for being loyal readers and friends. It means so much to me.
I don’t know why, but I am becoming more nostalgic as I get older.
One thing that I vividly remember in the ’60′s was my mother’s collection of S & H Green Stamps. These stamps were an American middle class ritual and women all over the country were addicted to collecting them. Every woman had her own special place where she hid her stash of coveted stamps. My grandmother hid hers in a 1920′s vintage cookie jar. My mother hid hers in her bedroom dresser drawer next to her hidden box of See’s Chocolate Candies.
A catalogue was mailed to everyone’s household which featured all of the amazing items you could aspire to own. Toys, appliances, furniture, knick knacks, and even family vacations to Disneyland! There were redemption centers all over town, they were amazing places! You handed over your books at the counter and claimed your prize. My best friend Judy (refer to Fly Me to the Moon blog) and I could hardly wait for the updated catalogue to arrive. We had our hearts set on getting the famous Easy Bake Oven which required only 12 books of stamps!
You could get stamps from the milk men and gas stations. Grocery stores gave them out with your purchase. They even advertised double Green Stamp days which really thrilled my mother! She had been saving a long time for a card table and chair set. My father loved to play cards with his friends, so mom thought this table would be the perfect birthday gift for him. Each stamp was valuable to her, she even persuaded my grandmother to let go of some of hers. I can remember many a morning watching the two of them sitting and glueing together at the kitchen table.
One Sunday night, while we were watching The Ed Sullivan Show, mom brought out her large plastic baggie of Green Stamps. She let my sister Karen help her glue the stamps into the books. It looked like so much fun and I felt left out. I pleaded to let me glue too. Karen warned mom, ”Don’t let her do it, you’ll be sorry. She’s gonna ruin them!” I suppose my mother felt sorry for me because she let me glue away. I was having so much fun glueing and dreaming about that Easy Bake Oven that I wasn’t paying attention to what I was doing.
When Ed Sullivan ended and Candid Camera came on, that was our cue to get ready for bed. That night I had visions of dancing vanilla cupcakes freshly baked in my new oven. My dream was shattered when I was awoken by the sound of my mother’s scream. ”They’re ruined, all ruined!” Terrified, I jumped out of bed and peeked into the family room. Dad was trying to calm and comfort mom. I heard him say, “Don’t worry dear, I’m sure it can be fixed.” Mom’s eagle eye spotted me hiding behind the door. “Dianne, look what you did! You glued the stamps upside down and in the wrong direction! They’re ruined! They’re all just ruined!” It had taken almost an entire year for mom to collect all those stamps. I felt terrible and said, “It’s not my fault, it’s because I’m left handed.” Mom didn’t buy that one either. Karen came into the room and was about to say, “I told you so” but dad stopped her before she could get the words out. This was no time to be right.
The following day, in the heat of the Phoenix summer, my mother brought me to the S & H Green Stamp redemption center to explain. I told the sales lady that I was sorry for destroying my mother’s hard earned stamp books. Hoping for some sympathy, I told her how long it had taken mom to fill up all those books and… by the way, do you happen to have the Easy Bake Oven in stock?? My mother glared and reminded me that I was still grounded. Meanwhile, the woman unhappily agreed to count each and every stamp in my mother’s tall stack of stamp books.
About an hour later right before closing time, the tired woman finally came out and told us we had the exact number of books needed to purchase our prize. All was forgiven as we walked up to the stock department to pick up our set. A grumpy old man returned with our ticket and said “I’m sorry ma’am, we have the chairs, but the table is out of stock. It’s on back order and won’t be coming in until Christmas!”
Eventually my mother did get the card table to go with the chairs. Many memorable bridge and poker games were played on that table not to mention all the use it got from our family parties and homework projects. In fact, mom and dad passed it down to Karen who will someday pass it down to her daughter.
I never did get the Easy Bake Oven but Judy did and she never let me forget it…
I have owned many different dogs over the years. Each one was special and different in their own way. All of them have made my life richer from the experience of knowing and loving them.
One of my favorite dogs growing up was named Ladybird. She was a mid-sized mutt mixture of Spaniel, Collie and Terrier. We got her as a puppy in the 60′s. My father named her Ladybird after the First Lady, Ladybird Johnson. We called the dog “The Bird” for short. I remember hearing our gardner mumble to himself about how crazy we were to have named our dog…”The Bird.” Then I over heard him say, “Just wait, the next thing you know, they’ll be calling their cat, “The Dog!”
The Bird was quite the actress. In the winter months when she wanted to come inside, she would jump up on a table outside our kitchen window and dramatically shake and shiver in the cold (remember this was Phoenix, it never really got that cold). But it always worked, and she got her way until she tried the same dramatic routine in the scorching 118 degree heat. She never could understand why it didn’t work in the summer. The Bird loved to play ball with my Dad. They had a very special bond and Ladybird remarkably lived for eighteen years.
During my college years, my sister Karen and I once owned a blonde-haired, black masked Afghan Hound beauty named Cybil. We got her as a puppy. She was small once, for about two weeks. Cybil did not know that she was a dog. She thought she was a cow. Cybil was not the smartest card in the deck. She loved cows and insisted on playing with them every morning before we went to class (our apartment was next to a cow pasture near the University of AZ). We were not allowed to have a large dog in our small rental, so Karen and I had to sneak Cybil in and out. Somehow we never got caught. Karen decided to train Cybil to ring a string of bells attached to the front door when she had to go out. The problem was, Cybil would ring those bells at 2:00 and 3:00 in the morning, every morning! Sleep deprived and not doing too well in class, we pawned Cybil off on our parents who were less than thrilled.
On the day of Cybil’s final departure, my sister and I put her in the passenger seat of our convertible. A group of young college boys were driving behind us and thought that there were two blondes and a brunette in the car. When they pulled up beside us to get a good look, Cybil turned to them and yawned. They were mortified.
We now have our Golden Retriever, Zari. As much as The Bird loved the ball, it is nothing compared to Miss Zari. She won’t leave me alone. She is relentless. The more I throw the ball, the more she begs for more. If I hide it, she finds it. If I don’t throw it, she barks until I do. If I even attempt to ignore her, she will deliberately roll the ball under the bed and bark until I RETRIEVE it! That dog has got me well trained! She will not go anywhere without a ball in her mouth. It has become her addiction, her doggie pacifier. In the morning, I am greeted with a drooling wet ball dropped onto my face between my eyes. That’s one wet wake up call.
I know, I know I shouldn’t let Zari get away with it, but those eyes of hers. Those beautiful deep brown eyes always get to me and I melt. Sam says I’m not strict enough with her, that’s my problem. It is a problem, but how can you get angry with a dog that grins!!
The last time he saw Eight is Enough he was only four. Unfortunately, the scene that he most remembered was me kissing my boyfriend at the Bradford house front door. He was very upset and confused and tattled on me to my husband. After that, he had no interest in my television career. In his opinion, I was a traitor.
Fast forward ten years…with the new release of the DVD, I convinced Swordfish it was time to revisit the Bradfords. I swore I was never unfaithful to his father, and I was not interested in kissing other men. I told him this was just part of my job. They MADE me do it, I swear they MADE me! He cracked up and smiled, “Yeah, right mom, they MADE you.” As we watched a few of the episodes, I could see his attitude had changed. He was somewhat proud of his old Mom. He actually gave me a compliment, I think. He said, “You didn’t look half bad back then.”
The following night Swordfish had a baseball game. The pressure was on. Not only did he pitch a great game, he also scored the winning home run for his team! After the game, we celebrated by taking him and a few of his teammates out for pizza. Not to embarrass the boys, my husband and I sat at a separate table. As we ordered our food, I noticed that none of them were speaking. It was very quiet, you could have heard a pin drop. They all had their iPhones out and were texting one another. That’s how they communicate these days even if they are sitting right next to each other! It was all about who had the most Facebook friends. It didn’t matter that they were sitting right next to their friend. It’s not about the quality of friendship, it’s all about the quantity. My, how things have changed since I was a kid.
As we were leaving, a very cute girl and her friends passed by. She noticed Sam and complimented him on his great game. Not expecting her attention, Sam was tongue-tied and turned five shades of red. When we were finally alone in the car, I asked Sam, “Who is she and why didn’t you say goodbye?” He said, “I did say goodbye, didn’t you hear me?” I answered, “I don’t think anybody could have heard you, you mumble.” Sam and his friends have yet to learn the art of communication. When they get together, all they do is grunt!
Sam was mentally beating himself up all the way home. He was beside himself asking over and over, “You really think she didn’t hear me say goodbye? She must think I hate her.”
Later that night as I was getting ready for bed, I heard a voice coming from Sam’s bedroom. It was Sam rehearsing a response to the cute girl, knowing he would see her at school on Monday. He had four different versions going and this time he was articulate and had adequate projection. As an actress AND a mom, I was very proud.
I truly understand those awkward moments. It’s not easy being a tortured teen today and I wouldn’t want to relive any of those years. Somehow we all survived and he will too…
I promise I haven’t forgotten about you and the blog is still alive! Things have just been crazy around here and there doesn’t seem to be a minute left in the day.
My new show that I created called “Seconds” is taking every last second of my time. For a while there, I thought we might have to rename the show “Years!” But now it’s looking good and we are back on track. We are furiously writing and hope that all of our hard work will come to fruition!
I would like to take a minute to say how sorry I was to hear about the passing of Dick Clark. He was a big part of my childhood and every Saturday morning my sister and I would watch “American Bandstand” together. That’s how we learned how to do the latest dance moves. He was certainly a one-of-a-kind legend, and I know that he will be missed by many.
I found this clip on youtube and it brought me back to the summer of ’67. I remember watching The Doors in the infirmary at sleep away camp in Prescott, Arizona. I had gotten a taste of strep throat and was soon to be sent home. Little did they know, that was my ultimate goal!!! Those were the days…
Have a great weekend…Swordfish and I have a date Saturday night to watch the newly released DVD of Eight is Enough!
I’m back from my spiritual journey and discovered that chanting and meditating just isn’t my thing. I will be blogging about the trip but before I do, I have to tell you about the day that my girlfriend Maggie is having. I almost wet my pants laughing so hard while on the phone with her. Maggie is one of the funniest gals I know. She must have been a stand-up comedian in a past life….I just wish you could have overheard our conversation!!!
It’s storming outside and I do mean storming. It is coming down cats and dogs. I even hear hail pounding on my roof. The water from the rain is now so high that it’s coming into Maggie’s spotless and I do mean spotless beautiful home. Just as she was running to mop up the water, her golden retriever, Sadie, threw up, and her doorbell was ringing. When she got to her front door, she saw the UPS truck drive away. She thought her husband, “Mr. Wonderful,” who is out of town on business sent her a little something from New York.
Not a chance…Instead, it was her income tax returns sent from her accountant!
The note read:
Happy Friday the 13th.
You owe the IRS BIG TIME!!!!..
Please sign and mail ASAP.
Your Favorite Accountant,
I suggested she should just stay in bed and drink a hot cup of soup. That’s when she really lost it. I forgot, Maggie detests SOUP of any kind. The mere mention of soup sends her over the edge (refer to Slowly I Turn blog). Maybe working in her parent’s deli in Jersey when she was growing up has something to do with it?
I started singing my rendition of the “Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow,” (from the musical, “Annie”). That’s when she totally lost it and hung up. Can’t say that I blame her…I can’t sing!
I guess I better get out of my pajamas or my carpool kids will be waiting for me outside in this typhoon. And, I have to get to the pet store to buy more doggie wee wee pads. Zari just shredded the last one out of boredom from being cooped up in the house all day.
TOMORROW, TOMORROW, I LOVE YA TOMORROW…IT’S ONLY A DAY AWAY!!!!
I will be chanting and meditating for the next few days on a retreat with my sister. We’re leaving our kids, dogs and perfect husbands behind to do a little Spring cleaning of our bodies and minds. When I return I hope to be more enlightened and be able to stop sweating the small stuff like dirty clothes on the floor, dog destruction, and teenage tantrums.
Wish us luck on our spiritual journey…I can’t wait to report back!
Being older was such a status symbol as a kid. Age determinedthe pecking order with the kids in my neighborhood.
My best friend, Judy (refer to Fly me to the Moon Blog), was one year older than me, and there was nothing I could do about it. She would hold it over me every year on her birthday. “You have to do as I say because I am older than you and I know more,” she would brag. How I wished I could have been the older one. Judy is now 59. Next year is her BIG 6-0! I bet she no longer feels the need to brag about having that extra year on me now! Funny, I no longer wish to be older than her anymore either. How things have changed…
Tomorrow is my birthday. I was born in the Spring on the 29th of March, 1954. I was not born in 1952, 1953, 1956, OR 1947 as some articles would want you to believe. I am not ashamed of telling my age. Actually, I embrace getting older. I’ve earned every one of my years! Sometimes I have even thought of telling people that I am ten years older than I acutally am. That way everyone would think I looked pretty darn good for an old broad.
I had a great aunt who owned a cold cream and cosmetic company. She was quite a character and ALWAYS lied about her age. She would make herself at least fifteen years older than she really was. She sold a lot of cold cream that way. Poor dear blew off her eyebrows and eyelashes in an explosion while brewing some secret formula for her creams!! Too bad she didn’t invent Latisse!
My grandmother used to say that you are as young as you feel and to always be grateful. She lived to be 96. I guess she knew something. So for all of you who are having birthdays tomorrow…Happy Happy Birthday from me!
Earth is full of natural sculpture. All one needs to do is take the time to look outside and observe the beauty.
I’m having a HARD time wrapping my head around the intrigue of a 340 ton massive granite boulder. Recently, this rock took over headlines around the world and has gotten more press than the Republican Primary. It has been written about and photographed even more than Mitt Romney these past few weeks.
The mass took over our city streets and freeways for 11 cold and grueling days and nights. They all said that it was a miracle! Just to keep things in perspective, I might remind you that it only took God six days (yes, six days!) to create the entire world! What’s the big deal? Why all this hoopla? Are we that desperate for entertainment today? Have we become so stagnant in our thinking that this giant boulder has become our new version of the pet rock??
The boulder was found 44 years ago in a dusty, remote quarry in Riverside, California. Who goes to Riverside anyway unless you have to? Back in 1968, an artist had a “revelation” to unearth this two-story mass and bring it to a museum to hang over a trench for people to walk under. What the hell was he thinking? This is earthquake country. I’m petrified to drive under any underpass since the last shaker! He can’t possibly be from L.A.
The rock was cradled like a new born baby in a steel sling by a 176 wheel transport truck that was as wide as 3 freeway lanes. With gas prices at $4.69 a gallon, the cost of fuel alone could have fed a small nation. Thousands of fans tracked the last leg of the celebrity rock’s 105 mile long journey. As the rock passed through their towns, city officials threw rock star street parties celebrating it’s arrival. To top it all off, they even hired dj’s and gave out noisemakers. Through the night, fans danced to the theme song of “Rocky.” I must admit, I’m a bit envious of this rock. I haven’t had a party thrown for me since I was seven.
The mass rocked and rolled into L.A.‘s la la land. When it finally reached it’s destination at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, it was totally encased in white plastic wrap. One disappointed observer who travelled many miles and took off days of work stated that it looked like an ugly giant white blob.
Only in L.A. would you find willing donors to finance this $10 million project while our public schools no longer have any art programs due to city and state budget cuts. Go figure.
I am a big fan of mother nature and all of her natural beauty. But, in my opinion, some things are better left untouched and should remain where they were originally created. Let Mohammed come to the mountain. We don’t always have to bring the mountain to Mohammed.
Next thing you know someone will come up with the bright idea of trying to move the Grand Canyon…
Well, some things never change. No matter what age I am, I still can’t help myself. My sister Karen disagrees. She says that I have never STOPPED helping myself, especially by always getting into HER personal belongings. Oops!…I Did It Again.
This past week while visiting my family in Arizona, Karen and her husband, Steve, graciously invited me to stay with them in their beautiful home. I don’t know why this always happens, but whenever Karen and I are together, I revert back to my childish ways and I become her bratty little sister all over again. My transformation begins when I see Camelback Mountain upon descent to Sky Harbor Airport. I have to blame something, so I’ll just say it’s because of “Valley Fever.” Anyone who has spent any length of time in Arizona knows about Valley Fever and the fungal spores that you automatically inhale. It ususally affects the lungs, but in my case, the spores go straight to my brain!
The main purpose for this trip was to spend some quality time with our parents. We are not getting any younger and now more than ever we cherish our family memories. Karen wanted to give my mother a picture of the two of us that was taken years ago when we were youngsters. She took the time to find a little black, heart-shaped frame and she was going to surprise my mother with it at dinner. Karen realized she was out of wrapping paper and ribbon so she ran out to the store.
While she was gone, being the decorator that I think I am, I thought the frame could use a little something extra. In my “professional” opinion I thought it needed some color and pizzazz. I didn’t think Karen would mind and for sure she would appreciate my artist improvement. I went into her guest closet where my clothes were hanging and I noticed an unopened package of cocktail napkins. They had beautiful, colorful flowers and dragonflies on them. I thought using one of the napkins would be the perfect matte to put behind the photo — it was just what it needed! Not thinking twice, I ripped open the package and placed the napkin under the picture. I put everything back in order and was so proud of my accomplishment. I just knew Karen would love what I had done and I couldn’t wait to show her my masterpiece.
When Karen came home, I handed her the work of art and eagerly waited for her approval. She just stared at it…way too long. Then, I heard that familiar cry, “WHY, WHY??? I can’t believe it, you did it again!,” she shouted. Visions of my childhood came rushing back to me (refer to My Sister’s Revenge blog). I started to panic and was speechless. ”What, what did I do?” I stuttered. Then she gave me the look, that familiar LOOK, and said, “I’m going to kill you. Were you in my closet? Why, why do you STILL do it? When will you EVER learn?” Innocently I asked, “What did I do?”
Karen explained that it had taken her forever to find these one-of-a-kind, very expensive napkins on a recent vacation to Paris. She had been searching during her entire trip to find something for her dear friend who had just recently lost her father. It turns out that dragonflies had a special meaning to them and Karen thought these napkins would be the perfect gift.
I just felt terrible and didn’t know what to do or say. When Karen finally calmed down she looked at me and said, ”Some things never change.” And with a smile, she put her arm around me and said, “You owe me big time, kid.”
I promised Karen that I would make it up to her somehow…maybe I will suprise her with another trip to Paris!
Here is the famous picture of the two of us that we gave to our mom. She loved it…
Thank you for your kind messages that you posted while I was away. I took a short break to visit my family in Arizona.
I am now back in L.A. refreshed and have lots of stories to share. I am writing as fast as my brain will let me, so for now, I am posting this hysterical golden retriever clip. This one is not from my father, but from my brother-in-law, Steve, who also loves dogs. He and my sister have four chihuahuas!
I can’t believe after all these years, it’s only 38 days away!
April 17th marks the release date for the debut of the first season of “Eight is Enough.” The two-set DVD features all nine episodes and the entire original cast. Seeing our fresh faces on the box has certainly brought back happy memories.
The show is classic family television which I so miss today. Revisiting those episodes will be a completely new and different experience for me while watching it with my son…he has never seen his mother look so young!
I was so saddened to hear about the passing of Davy Jones.
The Monkees music had a big influence on my generation during the ’60’s. I was madly in love with Davy. I thought his English accent was devine and I even recall daydreaming about marrying him and how my autograph would look signed as Mrs. Dianne Davy Jones.
I remember going to Fedco and buying my first Monkees Album, “HEADQUARTERS.” It was only $3.99 in mono! If you wanted it in stereo, it was $5.99. I had saved up my allowance for months in anticipation of it’s release. As soon as I brought the album home, I played it, and played it, and played it, until it played no more. The music drove my parents crazy. One day, my sister Karen read in our local newspaper that The Monkees were coming to Phoenix during their U.S. concert tour. We told our parents we would do ANYTHING if they let us get tickets, but it was sold out before they could say no.
Coincidentally, the weekend that The Monkees were playing in Phoenix, our cousin Debbie from Los Angeles was visiting my Auntie Blanche who lived in Mountain Shadows, a resort community in Paradise Valley. On the grounds of Mountain Shadows was an exclusive hotel where The Monkees were staying. My cousin and sister planned to stake out the hotel hoping to get a glimpse of them. Debbie picked up my sister in her convertible (I was left behind because they said I was too young to tag along and they knew I would somehow ruin any chance they had of getting near them). Clad in miniskirts and Go-Go boots, Debbie and Karen tried to befriend the hotel bell boys to pry information from them. The bell boys would not help so they resorted to Plan B, The Pool. It was so hot they were convinced that The Monkees had to cool off somehow and would eventually show up there.
Debbie and Karen baked all day long in the scorching Arizona sun waiting. Thinking they saw a mirage, Micky Dolenz and Peter Tork miraculously appeared at about 4 o’clock. Karen was speechless and froze in the heat of the moment while Debbie fearlessly approached them and asked if they would sign their autograph books. The boys were so nice and happily agreed.
When Karen got home she was completely sunburned (this was before sunscreen) and screamed at me not to get near her or her precious autograph. She was not about to let me get my grubby little hands on THAT ONE (refer to My Sister’s Revenge blog)!
It’s been a while since I thought of that story. It’s so sad that another ’60′s icon is gone. Davy may no longer be with us, but his music and our memories of those good old days will live on…
No, it’s not eating drywall or Kleenex. No, it’s not hoarding or sniffing moth balls. It’s not fattening, but it is very fulfilling when I “score.”
My addiction overtakes me in the early morning hours every weekend. I start needing my “fix” usually on Friday nights and can hardly wait until the sun comes up on Saturday morning.
I have my routine down. While everyone is still asleep I quietly slip out of the house to “stakeout” my deals. I know where I can find the best “stuff” in my neighborhood. No, it’s not drugs or alcohol (I was lucky to have escaped that phase in Hollywood). My addiction is garage sales.
Years ago, a dear friend of mine who owned an Estate Sale business, opened my eyes to the world of antiques and collectibles. I was facinated by what I learned and it became an obsession. If I hadn’t become an actress, I probably would have become an archaeologist. I love imagining the story behind each and every object and it’s origin.
This past Saturday, I was really “amped up” to find a hidden treasure. My first stop was located in an upscale neighborhood known for where celebrities and ex-Hollywood Governors reside. When I arrived, I spotted an unusual painting. It was a little stained and damaged, but it was only ten dollars. The frame was not at all attractive and actually detracted from the art. I asked the seller if she would consider taking five dollars for it, since it needed to be reframed.
She was about to say yes, when a rather rude woman walked up to her right in front of me, and offered fifteen. I could not believe the nerve of this pushy woman. I was now at a major disadvantage and told the seller I would take it for the original price of ten dollars. I said to the rude woman, “Excuse me, we are not having an auction here. I am in the midst of buying this watercolor.”
The seller now knew she had a bidding war going on. She said, “You know, I think I’m going to have to keep the painting. After all, it was my dear mother’s and it has been in the family for years. I really shouldn’t let it go, unless…one of you would be willing to pay twenty.” I didn’t even know if I really wanted it, but now, there was no way I was going to let it go. I handed her the twenty and as I was carrying it to my car, I saw the rude woman. I told her if she really wanted it, I’d let it go for thirty. I turned and walked away.
Later that day, when I took it to the framer, I noticed there was more damage than I had previously thought. I couldn’t find anything for less than a $100 and had to settle for an ugly gold frame. When I finally got the painting home, I HATED it!! It doesn’t look good in my house, there’s nowhere to hang it. The colors are all wrong and it isn’t even my taste. What an expensive lesson I learned because of getting caught up in the frenzy of a bidding war. I should have just said no!
Spring cleaning is just around the corner and my good friend Maggie and I plan to have a garage sale in the next few weeks. You can be certain that my $120 mistake will be included in the sale. And if I’m lucky, maybe that rude woman will take it off my hands for five!
P.S. – Just in case you’re not counting, I am. This is my 50th blog! Let me know if you’re up to reading 50 more!!
I don’t know why Valentine’s Day means so much to me, but it does. I guess I am still a hopeless romantic at heart.
The very first Valentine’s Day that I spent with my husband was priceless. I will never forget it, nor will I ever let him live it down. I was madly in love and could hardly wait to celebrate our first Valentine’s together. I had such high expectations and wanted to remember that day forever. And I have.
It was a stormy night and he was late. When he finally arrived, in his hands (instead of a box of chocolate and a beautiful bouquet of roses) was a huge frozen chunk of SHARK MEAT! “Happy Valentine’s Day,” he said with a giant grin on his face. “Here’s dinner!” He had to be joking. I was speechless and in shock. This was it? Our very first romantic Valentine’s together? And he brought me JAWS? Ok, where’s my real surprise, I thought, looking around his wet feet. Nothing. There was absolutely nothing there, just him and this disgusting, defrosting piece of wet fish. I ushered him and the shark out of the rain and into my house. “Ditch the fish,” I said. “We’re going out!” We did end up going out for dinner but without a reservation we had to wait for hours for a tiny table for two tucked away near the restrooms. That night taught me that my husband needed a few lessons in the romance department.
I know that Valentine’s Day is a big commercial excuse to sell candy and cards, but I happen to like it…I could easily skip Birthdays, Anniversaries, and Christmas. I just love the idea of a being romanced on that special day.
This past Valentine’s, my wonderful husband tried something new. He must have been inspired by that late night infomercial. You know, the one featuring an attractive blonde, size two, petite, twenty something bouncing on her bed wearing a leopoard-printed Hoodie-Footie complete with ears and a tail! For those of you who are not familiar with the Footie, it’s a hoodie, pajamas, & slippers all in one!
Well, my darling husband bought me one, in bubble gum PINK. He even had it lovingly monogrammed with a giant “D.” How thoughtful. He could hardly wait for me to put it on. I tried to appear excited like the girl in the commercial, but I wasn’t in the mood for play acting. And, bouncing on the bed after an appendectomy was certainly not going to happen! Painfully, I put it on. When I looked in the mirror, I screamed. Sam could not stop laughing and said, “Mom, you look like an oversized, pink cotton candy Jelly Belly jelly bean.” I just wanted to hide. What in the world was my husband thinking? Then, I realized what his true motive was.
We have been together for over twenty seven years. During this time, there has been a constant battle in our bedroom over the control of the thermostat. I am always cold. He is always hot. Whenever I get into bed, I turn the thermostat way up. When he thinks I’m not looking, he turns it way down. This goes on all night. Neither one of us is willing to give up control even though we haven’t had a decent night’s sleep in years! So, my perfect husband thought that he had found the perfect solution by buying me this “sauna-suit” to end the cold war.
That night, I lay in bed steaming. Literally steaming. This gift had nothing to do with Valentine’s Day or romance. All my husband wanted was a good night’s sleep and thought he had discovered the winning solution. This adult hooded “onesie” put a whole new meaning to the term “hot in bed.” I was hot alright, but not in the way hubby would have liked. I really didn’t want to appear ungrateful, but I was soaking in sweat and I needed to change. While I was hanging up my new pink “snuggle suit” in the closet, I noticed the tag with it’s famous riddle. I read it out loud to my husband.
“What do you get when you combine the warmth of a hoodie with the coziness of a footie??”
My husband sheepishly replied, “…NO SEX??” We looked at each and had a good laugh.
The next day my husband redeemed himself by bringing me home a Victoria’s Secret gift card and a big box of chocolate. By George, I think he’s FINALLY got it!!
While in the hospital, I heard a television newscaster reporting that the Grammy Awards were “VERY UNIQUE.” Then, the reporter covering the after-party remarked how “VERY EXCELLENT” the gala was. Flashbacks of my childhood came racing back to me.
My dad is not only a man of his word, but he is also a man who loves words. Along with reading the encylopedia for a hobby, Dad also likes to read the dictionary. Everyday, he will try out a new word on some poor, unsuspecting person. Most people pretend they know what he is talking about even if they really don’t. Dad’s pet peeve is hearing people use “VERY UNIQUE” and “VERY EXCELLENT” in a sentence. Dad would say, ”A thing is either unique or excellent. It cannot be VERY unique. It cannot be VERY excellent.” He made certain that my sister and I were fully aware of this.
While watching television, Dad would keep a pad of paper in the pocket of his La-Z-Boy recliner. He kept a score card on how many times someone would destroy the English language. It became a game to him.
In the sixties, there were two famous cigarette television commercials that used to really drive him bonkers. One was a Tareyton commercial. The actors would turn to the audience and say, ”US Tareyton smokers would rather fight than switch!” Dad would yell at the television screen and say, “It’s WE Tareyton smokers, NOT US you morons!”
The second, a Winston commercial was even worse. The announcer would say, “Winston tastes good LIKE a cigarette should.” Dad would throw his score pad at the television set. ”It’s not LIKE a cigarette should, it’s AS a cigarette should. AS, damn it, AS!!!!” Only my mother’s famous coffee cake would calm him down.
Dad was ecstastic when tobacco commercials could no longer be aired. He retired his notepad and vowed to never smoke again, and he hasn’t…maybe that’s why he has made it to a healthy 88!!
I certainly didn’t know that I had acute appendicitis last Thursday. Now that I know, I’m glad that it’s GONE! The pain was like nothing I had ever experienced before, and I hope that I never will again. I won’t bore you with all the details, but it’s a darn good thing that I didn’t wait much longer. Turns out that this was not a simple operation after all. I am blessed to have had a wonderful team of doctors who made sure that I am here blogging today. I also had some wonderful, caring nurses and one nurse who made Nurse Ratched look like an angel.
During my hospital stay, I got the chance to catch up on some good old classic movies. I watched “A Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” (or at least I think I did). Wow, they don’t make movies like that anymore, especially if you are on a morphine drip! Liz and Paul were amazing. The color of their eyes!!! If you haven’t seen the movie, rent it. It’s a classic.
I have to thank Maggie (who by the way is a real doll) for all of her help and for updating everyone. I also want to thank all of you for your beautiful comments. I read every one of them and do appreciate you taking the time to comment and send me sweet messages. Cindi, thank you for the Bach. It really helped!
I am just so happy that the worst is behind me…now on to bigger and better blogs!!
Dianne is home and doing as well as can be expected after her unplanned jaunts to the ER and OR. She has read all of your kind, thoughtful comments and she is so thankful for your concern. She is not quite ready to return to “work,” but as soon as she can, Dianne will share all the details about her recent adventure!
Since it is cold and windy in L.A. today, my feel better prescription for Dianne (and for all of you) is to imagine yourself on a warm, powder-white sand beach with a soft ocean breeze reading a great book while sipping a large coconut-filled “extra strength” fruity cocktail!
This is Dianne’s friend Maggie. I just wanted to let you know that Dianne is fine, just fine, but recovering from an emergency appendectomy! She thought she had the flu last week, but that wasn’t the case. She is still in the hospital and should be out early next week. I know that she can’t wait to come home and get back to the blog. Maybe we have another story for “The Inquirer!”
This month is very special to me. My father, Peter, will be celebrating his 88th birthday on Feb. 18th. He will also be celebrating his 63rd wedding anniversary to my mother on Feb. 20th (and they said it wouldn’t last!). My parents actually eloped on their very first date…now that’s a story in itself! It’s endearing to be around these two youngsters. They have proved that whenever there are problems in marriage, there are also always solutions. They believed in not giving in or giving up, for better for worse. My parents love each other very much and it’s apparent every time I see them when I visit.
My father was a Arizona State Senator for many years. He revised the State’s criminal code and was a major contributor to the laws of Arizona. He is a man of his word and an amazing historian. Peter is a fair and gentle man. When my son was six, he asked Dad (who is 6 feet 4 inches) if he knew Abraham Lincoln. He figured because Dad was tall, honest, and in politics that he must have.
Dad willingly served his country during World War II. He even learned Italian at Stanford for the army which didn’t prove practical in China, Burma, and India where he later was stationed. Dad loves the language of words and in addition to Italian, he can also speak French and some Spanish. When I was growing up, one of his quirky interests was reading the entire set of Encyclopedia Brittanica from A to Z. Back then, he was my instant internet go-to guy!
Over the years, he has seen our country change quite a bit. I kidded him yesterday and told him that choosing a political candidate this year was like choosing a cereal in a grocery store after an earthquake. All that’s left standing are Fruitloops, Flakes and a box of Trix. He smiled at that one.
Happy soon to be 88 birthday Dad. LOVE YOU AND MOM SOOOO MUCH!!!
I haven’t been able to stop sneezing since Sam left for school this morning. Swordfish was in the bathroom for an exceptionally long time today. When he came out, something about him was different. He had put on a clean shirt, brushed his teeth and had even washed his hair (without me begging)! I knew something was up. This was not the same kid who had gone to bed last night.
Then, I smelled it. Who couldn’t? I was overcome and almost knocked out by a horrific odor permeating throughout his bedroom. I was bowled-over by the musty, sweet scent of cheap cologne. All four of my dogs were begging to be let outside for fresh air! The odor had taken over the entire house. It was hard for me to restrain myself from questioning him about it before he left for school.
Yesterday, he and a group of his friends were together to watch the Superbowl. At halftime, they couldn’t have cared less about an aging broad dancing and voguing. The boys were more interested in the chicken wings and pizza and sharing their secrets on how to attract girls.
The secret weapon of attraction happened to be located at our local CVS drugstore. Before my husband took the boys home, they asked him if he wouldn’t mind stopping there so they could pick something up. Since it was on the way, my husband agreed. While he was waiting in the car, the boys did their shopping.
This morning, after Sam left for school, I discovered the “weapon.” It was perched on the bathroom counter in a large, cheap, neon-colored bottle. Apparently it is THE new Teen Love Potion that all the girls adore. I can only pity the poor teachers who have my son and his friends in their classrooms today. Probably the entire eighth grade class of boys have all discovered and bought a lifetime supply of this stuff and have slathered it on this morning. It doesn’t take long for word to get out on what’s hot in the love department.
One whiff of this powerful elixir and you’ll have a major migraine for the entire day. Opening a window or two still doesn’t help. I tried, and the smell just lingered. It has a mind of it’s own and doesn’t leave!!! It has soaked into my every pore. I can’t escape from it. It’s ALIVE I tell you, ALIVE!!
This is a sensitive area between a mother and son and I don’t want to embarass him. So, for now, I’ll just lay low and try to act cool…if I could only stop sneezing.
I know this song so well, and yet I have fallen for it time after time for the last thirteen years.
Mom, can I please have a golden retriever, PLEASE!!! I promise Mom, I will do ANYTHING you say FOREVER if you just let me have a dog. No, I say. You said that about the eleven birds we had and guess who ended up taking care of them? MEEEEE.
I don’t even like birds, but I took care of them and all their messy, dirty cages for years until finally the allergies got the best of all of us (I even started to like them, but don’t tell anyone).
Then there was the flea infested $500 hamster that I had to blackmail the pet store to take back. That’s a story in itself that I will someday blog about (it’s a good one!). Then there were the fighter fish that were supposed to last only a year and refused to die after seven. I finally put my foot down to the snake that he just had to have. I do have my limits.
So when my prince asked for the dog, I fought against it tooth and nail. But my darling son is relentless. Morning, noon and night I heard every reason in the book on why he HAD to have this dog. A boy of his age should have a real dog, not these girly white Maltese dogs that looked like rabbits. As far as he was concerned my teacup Yorkie was really just a rat impersonating a dog…this is not a real man’s dog. My husband sheepishly agreed. Let the boy have the dog. Yeah mom, I can play catch with him and he will be just like a brother. After all, I am an ONLY CHILD and it’s SOOO lonely all by myself. Boy can he ever work me.
And so we searched for the right dog. We went to see Zari three times to make sure that she was the perfect one. Zari was a little tart. She had all the right moves down. The run up to the kid and lick him to death trick. The rolling over in front of my husband and sitting when she was told routine. Look, said my husband, she is so smart. She sits when I tell her to. That was the first and last time Zari has ever sat when she was told to. Zari is now going through the terrible toddler stage. Living with a toddler puppy and a teenager at the same time is making me crazy. Swordfish has suddenly forgotten all his promises about taking care of “his dog.” My husband said we need to get a trainer ASAP and I agreed. He said, no not for the dog, for you. I am not sure how to take this remark so I am going to ignore it for now.
As for Zari, she has trained me well. I have to go now… it’s time for me to sit, play ball, and rollover. RUFFFF!
Here is the link to Ethan Tudor W.’s The Neverhood Show episode #78. In case you missed it, you can hear my never-before reading of “Betty Laverne and Ruby Louise.” It’s a children’s story/poem that I wrote for my son, Sammy Swordfish (refer to Slowly I Turn blog).
I was blown away by Grant Goodeve’s surprise phone call during the Q & A. As you all remember, Grant played David Bradford, my “Eight is Enough” older brother. Grant and his family are so special I consider them part of my extended family!
Thanks to Ethan for inviting me on his show — it was a real kick!
I will be interviewed live on The Neverhood Show this coming Monday, January 23rd at 11 AM (PST). Ethan Tudor W. is the host and there will be an open forum for your calls. The telephone number is 1 -347- 324-3691.
After posting yesterday’s blog (refer to Slowly I Turn), I received a few messages from younger readers who were not familiar with the classic Calgon bath oil commercials. There is a generation out there that really missed out!
When I became a mother at age 44, I didn’t know what hit me. I was a walking zombie. I don’t remember washing my hair, changing my clothes, or eating for days. I only knew that I was sleep deprived and hadn’t worn makeup in months. For those few rare moments in between feedings and diaper changes, I found the perfect escape. Instead of turning to prescription drugs or alcohol or any other illegal substance, I found Calgon! And, it did take me away!!
The world is still in turmoil, the economy is not getting any better, our political choices are worse than the plaque, and our kids are refusing to leave the nest! Now more than ever we need to stay calm and refocus our needs of what is important for this year. Family, friends, good health, and Calgon!
When my son Sam was a pre-schooler, he and my husband loved watching The Three Stooges. They could watch them for hours and hours and never get tired. They would even reenact some of the silly skits. Larry, Curly, and Moe became my most valued babysitters when I desperately needed to take a long, hot Calgon!
When Sam was born, my husband and I could not agree on a middle name for him. So, Sam was never given a legal middle name. When he was four, he felt deprived because all of his friends had a middle name and he did not. We told him that if he really wanted a middle name, he could choose one all by himself. After a few days he finally revealed the name. It was Swordfish. I looked at him and just stared for a few beats. Swordfish? Really? Swordfish? Of all the names in the entire world, he picked Swordfish?
One morning he woke up with an ear infection. Instead of taking him to preschool (which some mothers would have done), I took him to the doctor. When we arrived, there was only one other woman waiting with her darling little girl. My son was being very kind and gentle with this Shirley Temple look-alike. The mother was so impressed with Sam’s gentle nature that she commented on what a nicely behaved little boy he was. I smiled and thanked her, “He really is a sweet little guy.”
Then the woman asked my son what his name was. Sweetly, he replied, “My name is Sam.” To continue our small talk, I asked the woman, “And what is your little girl’s name?” The woman replied, “Heartburn.” “Really,” I said, “I’ve never heard of that name, it’s quite unusual.” She answered, “Yes, it is. Our last name is Smith so we wanted to have an original first name.”
So now I am thinking to myself, this family must be in “The Business.” Maybe her husband is a rock star. After all, today we have names like Zuma, Moon Unit, Apple, and now Beyonce’s Blue Ivy. They probably came up with the name while she was pregnant and suffered from heartburn.
Then the woman bent down and whispered to Sam, “Do you have a middle name?” Sam just stared at her. So I said, “Sam, tell the nice lady your middle name.” Sam gave me a strange look and said, “Nah, I don’t wanna.” I said, “It’s okay honey, you can tell the nice lady your middle name (after all I’m thinking if her kid’s name is Heartburn, I’m sure she’ll get a kick out of Swordfish!). I repeated to Sam, “It’s okay sweetie, tell the nice lady your middle name.”
Now, Sam was becoming agitated. I could see his sweet demeanor had changed. “Nooo!,” he said. So, I turned to Mrs. Smith and replied, “It’s SWORDFISH.” And with that, my gentle little boy went absolutely ballistic! Without warning he turned into Bruce Lee. He started kicking and karate chopping around the entire waiting room! He was in full ninja attack mode. Mrs. Smith started screaming and in self defense lifted her knees to her chest. It was a good thing no one else was in the waiting room. Covering her face, she screamed at me, “What’s wrong with him!?”
I was in shock. I quickly pulled Sam off of Mrs. Smith and tried to calm him down. I apologized and said, “I have never seen Sam act this way before. It must have been because I told you his name was SWORDFISH!” And with that, Sam slowly turns and starts to come after her again. The woman yelled, “What kind of a mother would name her child SWORDFISH?!” I yelled back, “Look who’s talking! What kind of mother would name her kid Heartburn?!” She looked at me like I was crazy. “What are you talking about?” she said. My daughter’s name is Harper! We just moved here from Minnesota and our friends warned us about you Hollywood types.” Just then the nurse opened the door and ushered them into the safety of the exam room.
By the time Sam and I got in to see the doctor he was back to his normal, sweet self. His ears were fine, just fine but I wasn’t. The doctor laughed over the whole incident and gave Sam a lollypop and me the bill. When I looked at the amount, I said to myself that was one expensive lollypop!
On the way home Sweet Sammy Swordfish fell asleep. When he woke up he had an announcement to make. He no longer liked the Three Stooges and he decided to change his middle name to Fred.
I just wanted to acknowledge and give a BIG thanks to Cindi Benson. Cindi has been a tireless and amazing supporter with her constant updates regarding Eight is Enough. If it hadn’t been for Cindi, the Eight is Enough cast and I would have been left in the dark about the progress of its release on DVD!
Thanks to all of you who took the time to vote and contact Warner Brother’s. It is now official, Season 1 of Eight is Enough will be available on DVD this April! You spoke, and Warner Brother’s finally listened! I emailed Grant, Connie, Dick and Willie yesterday. They were all so surprised and thrilled to hear the good news! They wanted me to let you know how appreciative they are for all of your efforts in making this a reality.
My son will finally realize that his “Stay at home Mom” did something more than carpool and laundry and was once a young chick! I am forever grateful to all of you who have kept the show in your hearts. So many wonderful memories come back to me and I can’t wait to revisit them again. The times that we shared during our five seasons together were priceless. It’s amazing to think how much has changed since the 70′s and early 80′s. We didn’t own cell phones or computers and many of us owned those huge dinosaur gas-guzzling cars. It’s hard to believe that the Bradford’s didn’t even own a dishwasher! Eight is Enough may show a little age, but I feel the show’s content and message is timeless!
Classic family television is still in demand, it holds it’s own when it is well written and touches the heart. It is my hope that future generations will enjoy watching the show as much as I enjoyed acting in it. I so vividly remember shooting a dinner table scene on the set. Dick looked at all of the cast and said, “One day you will look back on this and say, Those were the Good Old Days!” How right he was!!
Thank you for supporting and being part of my blog. I really enjoy reading all of your comments and I hope you continue to be entertained by my silly stories (especially when you are having a rough day at work!).
This year started out with a bang! My resolution was to stop putting off all the things I knew that I had to address. My new mantra is “Do it Now!” And so I did…I made the phone call.
With age comes wisdom and if you’re over 50, with age comes the dreaded colonoscopy!!! If you have never had the pleasure of experiencing one of these babies, you are in for a real treat! I can’t understand why someone hasn’t come up with a better solution and I do mean SOLUTION for this lovely procedure. The liquid mixture that you have to drink the night before is just dreadful. There are no words to describe it. Even a spoonful of sugar won’t make this medicine go down. It reminded me of the cyanide-laced Kool Aid concoction that the Jim Jones religious cult members drank before their demise. I knew what I was in for, this was my third time, and it never gets any better.
This was not going to be a piece of cake. I tend to gag at just about anything (the diaper stage was not easy for me!). There was no way my mind would let me do it, so I decided to pretend that I was auditioning for a National soft drink commercial. I imagined that I was playing the part of a starving castaway who had been stranded on a desert island with nothing to eat or drink for days until I see the mirage of this fabulous drink. I whispered ACTION to myself and swallowed half of it. The gagging was about to happen, but I couldn’t let the director (who happened to be Steven Spielberg) down. So, I drank the rest of it and smiled as Steven gave me a “thumbs up” for my amazing performance. I acted as if this drink was the best thing since apple pie! In reality, it’s like drinking the salty brine of a jar of rancid dill pickle juice.
It makes my skin crawl just thinking about it. The fact that I had to drink it again at 3 AM was terrifying. It is critical to get the process timed correctly. Once down, the bathroom becomes your new best friend. When Nature calls, it calls and calls until you think it can’t call anymore, but it does!!! One good thing though, you do lose a few pounds. Unfortunately , it’s just water weight and it doesn’t last.
When I arrived for the procedure, the staff couldn’t have been nicer. They assured me the worst was over as they injected the famous Michael Jackson cocktail into me. I slept like a baby and when I awoke life was beautiful again. I am happy to announce that I am fine and it is smooth sailing for another five years. Thanks Steven, I couldn’t have done it without you — see you in 2017!!
Take the weekend to enjoy this one. I am all written out and need a vacation!! See you in the New Year!
I am so lucky to have a special bond with my older sister, Karen. Not only is she an amazing sister, but she has spent most of her career as a dedicated nurse and educator in the health care field. Throughout my life Karen has always been there to support me even though I was that “bratty” little sister who wreaked havoc in her life. One of our favorite stories happened when I was eight — that was a very good year (refer to Fly Me to the Moon blog).
Karen’s childhood bedroom was a world of mystery to me especially since she had a giant sign posted on her door that said “KEEP OUT!” So, of course, I went in. I just couldn’t help myself. Getting into her things became my favorite hobby. One day I found her most priceless, treasured possession. It was an autographed major league baseball that my Dad had gotten for her. Karen’s popularity rose with all the boys in her class when she brought it to school for show and tell. This ball seemed to have mystical powers and became Karen’s ticket to the world of control.
I decided that I needed to investigate the allure of this magical sphere. What was it that made it so special? Was it the name? I was just learning to write mine in cursive, and figured that my name was just as good as this guys’. I went into her desk drawer and pulled out a package of new magic markers that had just been invented (Man, am I a dinosaur!). I began drawing giant yellow stars on the ball and substituted my autograph in brightly colored letters, making sure that I had entirely covered up the famous ball player’s signature. Satisfied with my artistic masterpiece, I put the ball back in it’s secret hiding place deep in Karen’s dresser drawer. Off I went to play with my good pal Judy. It had been awhile since we both had gotten into trouble.
When I came home from playing, Mom was standing at the front door with her famous flyswatter in hand! I froze in fear…
Karen was sobbing and I vaguely remember my Dad opening his special liquor cabinet, pouring himself a very stiff drink, and escaping to the study. Mom screamed, “What do you think you were doing young lady?! How many times do I have to tell you to stay out of your sister’s bedroom?!” Karen was hysterical by now, screaming over and over “I’m going to kill you!”
I stammered. ”Wait, wait, hold on a second. I just wanted to give Karen a present. Someday I’m gonna be famous too, and you’ll be glad you have my autograph.” Karen, still screaming said, “You wanna bet? Just you wait, I’m going to get you for this.” And then she threw the ruined ball in the kitchen trash. Every night I wondered what she was going to do to me. Nothing happened for days, which made it even worse. The built up tension and anxiety of not knowing what she had planned was keeping me up at night. Finally, it happened. The revenge…
My parents were invited to go out one stormy Saturday night, Mom told Karen that she could babysit me. Karen gave me a wicked smile, that’s when I knew I was in BIG trouble. I pleaded with my parents not to leave me alone with her. ”I think I’m catching a cold. You don’t want to leave me when I might be dying,” I pleaded. Mom assured me that I wouldn’t die before they came home. ”But it’s so rainy and stormy outside, please don’t leave us alone!” Mom promised that the storm would pass and not too worry. Our Swanson’s chicken TV dinners were baking in the oven. The horror began when my parents left.
Karen silently stared at me while I was quietly eating. ”How do you like your chicken dinner? Guess who’s in your mouth,” she said. ”What do you mean by WHO?” I asked. Karen glared and said, “It’s your darling Easter chicken, Pecky Buttons. You’re eating little Pecky Buttons for dinner!! Mom sold her to Swanson’s and you just swallowed part of her!!!” I screamed and spit out my food. ”Noooo, I cried, it can’t be Pecky Buttons! Mom couldn’t, she wouldn’t!” ”Yes, she did. And now you’re a CANNIBAL!!!” Karen said.
I locked myself inside the bathroom. I was traumatized. I knew that she hadn’t finished with me yet, more was coming.
Karen pried the bathroom door open with a tuna fish can key (that’s how you opened tuna cans in those days. God, I’m old!). Then, she forced me to stay up with her to watch the terrifying “Alfred Hitchcock Hour.” It was the classic “Open Window” episode which happened to be one of the scariest of that season. It was about a crazed murderer who killed nurses.
The storm at home was escalating, the wind was howling and all of a sudden our lights went out. The room was silent. Karen and I were petrified, it couldn’t have been a more perfect setting and time for Karen’s revenge. She knew that she would never get another opportunity like this one.
Lightening flashed and Karen screamed, “He’s in the house!!!!” Our dog, Ladybird (named after Ladybird Johnson), started barking and I started crying. I said, “I’m calling Grandma.” I dialed my Grandmother’s house and told her that Karen had forced me to watch that horrible show and the murder man was coming to get us! Grandma calmly told me to put Karen on the phone. ”What’s going on darling? What are you doing?” she asked. ”Nothing,” Karen innocently replied. ”We were just watching TV.” It turned out that Grandma had also been watching “The Alfred Hitchcock Hour” and she knew that Karen was up to no good. ”Put Dianne back on the phone,” she said. I got on the phone and Grandma explained that the show was just make believe and no one was in the house. She offered to drive over and stay with us just in case. When she arrived she had a bag of groceries in her hands. ”I didn’t know if you two had eaten your dinner yet,” she said. “So I brought you both a couple of Swanson’s chicken TV dinners!”
Touche, Karen! You scored on that one!
If you’re tired of all of the family this Christmas weekend and bored with your new toys, sneak a peak at this classic black & white Hitchcock episode, “Open Window.” Warning…don’t watch it if it’s storming outside!!
Here is the famous latke recipe from my friend Rachelle (refer to Oy Vey blog). She swears by it, well, maybe she doesn’t swear, but if it’s coming from Rachelle, it must be a winner!
1 1/2 pounds of sweet potatoes (about 3)
1 1/2 pounds of Yukon Gold potatoes
(both should be peeled and grated)
3 scallions (only the white and light green parts, thinly sliced)
2 large eggs (beaten lightly)
1/2 cup of all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons of coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 freshly ground pepper
peanut oil for frying (canola is fine too!)
Directions: 3 easy steps~
1) In a large bowl combine scallions and eggs.
Add flour, salt, pepper, ginger and cardamom and stir until
mixture is smooth! Add both kinds of potatoes until combined
and evenly coated.
2) Fill a large heavy bottomed (think Kim Kardashian) skillet
with a 1/2 inch oil. Place over oil on medium light until “smokin hot”
(think Dianne Kay) Oil should sizzle upon contact~ try dropping a
small drop of batter in first!
3) Carefully drop in about 2 tablespoons of batter into oil for each
latke. Flatten with back of spoon if needed. Cook on each side until
golden……probably 2 or 3 minutes. Using a slotted spatula transfer
each latke to drain on a paper towel-lined wire rack.
** Now ready to serve with applesauce or sour cream ……YUMMY!
My friend Rachelle had always dreamed of becoming an actress. She was a stay-at-home mom for many years and raised three wonderful children. They are now adults and have left the nest. At mid-life, Rachelle’s dream is finally coming true.
Last week Rachelle landed a national Doritos commercial! Her audition required her to dress as a Catholic Nun. The irony is that Rachelle happens to be an Orthodox Jew! She drove to the audtion in full nun attire and as she got out of her car stangers approached her crossing themselves saying, “Good morning Sister, have a nice day.” Never missing a beat and being the true method actress that she is, Rachelle blessed them and entered the building.
Welcome to the biz Rachelle, I am so proud of you and your success. Keep up the good work!! Just goes to show that it’s never too late to follow your dream..
I’m baaack! Thank you all for your kind messages and concern. I was in Arizona and had a nice, long visit with my family.
When my sister Karen picked me up from the airport, I asked her to drive by our old house where we grew up. When we got to the house, a flood of childhood memories came racing back to me.
It was an amazing time to grow up in the 60′s. So much happened during that decade. The Beatles, the Space Program and my Mom’s famous Flyswatter! The “weapon” hung proudly on a hook in our kitchen broom closet. The plastic handle was baby blue with a fire engine red swatter. I pity the poor fly that ever ventured into our house…Mom had the aim of a sharp shooter!
Watching what Mom could do to a fly spurred terror in my young imagination. Karen and I would often hear Mom say, “Girls, you better be minding your P’s and Q’s or else!” We didn’t know what a “P” or “Q” was, but we knew we better mind them. Mom knew the value of the THREAT of using that flyswatter. After having done something questionable, the fear of hearing the broom closet door open sent my sister and me running to Dad for safety. He could diffuse any volatile situation.
When I was eight, I really got myself into a pickle with my best friend Judy. Judy was a year older than me and was the “Dennis the Menace” of our quiet little neighborhood. She always got me into punishable situations where I was left holding the bag. One day, Judy and I decided that we could fly (don’t ask me why we thought we could fly, but we did). Judy told me that if we climbed up on my roof and jumped off, we would be able to fly and land on the moon. It sounded like a good idea to me, I had nothing better to do. She convinced me that she had learned all of this in her science class and I believed her!
We both struggled to carry the huge 10 foot ladder from the garage and somehow managed to place the ladder onto the house. We began our climb to the moon. Judy said, “The higher we climb, the faster we’d get there!” Just as we reached the top of the ladder, I heard the broom closet door open! Fear and panic set in. I froze in my tracks. But Judy, (aka “The Cootie”) made a run for it and left me holding the bag…again. Mom came running out of the house, flyswatter in hand, screaming at me to get down before I killed myself! I had to think fast to get out of this one. My eight year old brain was racing a mile a minute! My vivid imagination came up with a good one.
I got down off the ladder and calmly explained to Mom that Judy and I needed to fly to the moon. Mom, still screaming, shouted, “What are you talking about”?! I said, “I heard the moon was made out of cheese. We just ran out of some and we wanted to make grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch.” Mom just shook her head and stared at me. She seemed to relax a little bit. I even saw her crack a smile. All I cared about was her loosening her death grip on that flyswatter!!!
As Mom returned to the house, Karen came outside to see what all the commotion was about. With a huge sigh of relief, I heard Mom close the broom closet door. Karen came up to me and said, “I don’t know how you did it, kid. I could have never gotten away with that one. Good job.”
I wonder whatever happened to that famous flyswatter. I’m going to have to look for it on my next trip home…
Back in the early ’60′s when I was seven, my cousin Louise, bought me a very unusual birthday present. Louise is now 90 and is one of the most fun loving people I know. To give you an example, she has a large oil painting of the Mona Lisa in hair curlers hanging in her elegant living room!
It only seemed fitting that she would buy me something unique for my birthday. She carefully wrapped my gift with newspaper comics. I could hardly wait to see what was inside. Ripping away the newspaper I was startled to see Jerry, a ventriloquist’s dummy, wickedly smiling up at me. I had never seen anything like him before. I was speechless and intimidated, we were almost the same size.
“Make him talk,” said my sister Karen. “And don’t move your lips!” Well, that was a lot easier said than done. For the next few days I practiced talking with Jerry trying desperately not to move my lips. ”You stink at this,” Karen said. “Your lips are still moving!” That’s all she had to say to me…I was on a mission. I was going to become the next Paul Winchell if it killed me.
Everyday, no matter where I went, Jerry came with me. He became my new best friend. I was his Abbot, he was my Costello. At first, everyone in my family thought it was cute. If anyone asked me a question, Jerry would finish the sentence. I was becoming a very good straight man for Jerry and I was loving all the attention that I was getting. I had found my voice and it wasn’t a very nice one. Jerry was ruthless.
One day, our neighbor Mr. Carter (who resembled a young Clint Eastwood), came over to visit. Jerry told him that Karen (who secretly had a crush on Mr. Carter) had started to develop. ”Karen’s got more hair than a Barrel of Monkeys!” I don’t know whose face turned more red, Karen’s or Mr. Carter’s. I just innocently shook my head and pointed to Jerry.
Another time Jerry let it slip that mom had spent all of our grocery money on some new, expensive shoes. Not nice Jerry! Our housekeeper was also not a huge fan of Jerry’s. A handwritten note was left on my father’s desk, that read:
Rita has been into your liquor cabinet again and is refilling your Vodka with water.
Actually, I think my dad was getting a kick out of Jerry, especially the time when my grandmother (my father’s mother-in-law) was going on a blind date. Jerry told the would-be-suitor that the best part of sleeping over at Granny’s was when she took her teeth out and threw them in the glass on her nightstand. Grandma was furious and asked where we kept the matches.
The jig was up when Jerry finally turned on my dad. Big mouthed Jerry let it slip that dad hadn’t mowed the lawn that Saturday, and instead went to play bridge with his friends. Too much power is a dangerous thing. My unleashed ego was not making any brownie points with my family. Jerry was on the loose. He created a monster in me which couldn’t be stopped.
The next day, a family meeting was called. My parents felt since summer was approaching, Jerry needed to be sent away to “camp.” My sister couldn’t have agreed more. ”Wait ’til he’s singing around the campfire, they’re gonna use him for kindling,” she said. In the morning, mom and dad packed away Jerry in the wooden box he came in (which looked like a casket), and sent him to “camp” in our attic.
Summers in Phoenix are brutal. It can get up to 120 degrees outside, and in an Arizona attic, well… you don’t want to know. Weeks went by and I was really missing Jerry. My alter ego was gone and I was missing that voice. At the end of summer, I asked my parents if Jerry could come home from “camp.”
I promised my parents that I would have a talk with him. Maybe he had learned some mannners while he was away. They hesitantly agreed. It was decided that weekend would be the big unveiling. Dad crawled up to the attic and brought the all too familiar box down. My sister, my mom, and I waited anxiously, as dad slowly opened the wooden box… only to discover that the Arizona summer heat had melted Jerry’s mouth permanently shut…It was the end of a very promising career.
So my dear friends, I am honored to introduce you to the real deal…Heeeeere’s Jerry!
Here is the long awaited second part of my interview with Chris Mann. I’ve never considered myself a “groupie” until now. I’m a fan of the Mann, just call me a “Mannie.”
Have fun listening to the interview and if you have a chance definitely check out Chris’ fabulous website (http://retroalitytv.blogspot.com). Chris has a great sense of humor and so does his partner/producer Linda Kay (no relation). Linda’s website (http://www.kidsfromcaper.com) is devoted to fans who grew up watching “The Kids from C.A.P.E.R.” on Saturday mornings. Talk about a small world — the first role that I landed when I arrived in Los Angeles in 1976 happened to be on “The Kids from C.A.P.E.R.”!
It turns out Maggie and I are not alone in dealing with teen terror.
Let me tell you about our friend Didi (refer to Golden Bars blog). She is THE most efficient and organized homemaker. If she was on the Titanic, everyone would have survived. Didi is the go to girl whenever one of us has a problem. She is ALWAYS there when you need her. Didi has the perfect home, the perfect husband, the perfect kids, and if she had a dog, she would have the perfect dog (except she would never allow anything with a tail in her pristine, perfect sanctuary!). Didi puts Martha Stewart to shame. You get the picture.
Yesterday, after reading my “I’ve been benched” blog, Didi called me to meet for coffee. When I saw her, she had that familiar “vacant stare.” I knew something was up. Turns out, things are not so perfect in Shangri-La. Didi’s fourteen year old daughter who has never given her any problems has suddenly decided to rebel. “Being perfect is boring!” Out of the blue, her daughter stopped speaking English and now defiantly only speaks in Japanese. The problem is, no one at home speaks or understands the language including Didi…and she is Japanese! Didi is at her wit’s end. She thought she was doing the right thing by sending her daughter to Japanese class to get in touch with her roots. Unfortunately, Didi’s whole house has been uprooted! What happened to this perfect family?
All I could do was sit and listen. I really didn’t know what to say and had no advice for her. So with open arms I gave her a hug and welcomed her to our team. When I got home, I couldn’t stop thinking about Didi’s dilemma. Maybe it’s not about which language the kids are speaking. Maybe it’s about communicating better and really taking the time to listen to them. I know that I have been a little guilty of not doing that lately. Perhaps, it’s time to step up to the plate, restructure our game plan, and hope for a brand new ball game..
It seems like only yesterday my son thought I was a genius. I knew everything. Now, I know nothing. I could do no wrong. Now, I can do no right. I used to have long conversations with my son and his friends. Now, I’m not allowed to speak. It’s like I’ve been fired from the team…I’ve been benched!
It’s feeling a little lonely out here in left field. I was warned this day would come, I just wasn’t prepared. You can prepare for an earthquake or any other natural disaster, but you can never be prepared when puberty strikes.
At age forty-four I became a parent. I got in just under the wire. While many of my friends are enjoying early retirement on the golf course, I’m dealing with puberty and menopause. It’s not pretty. My aging hormones are battling against my son’s raging hormones. It’s a war I tell you…and I’m not winning!
This weekend my son went through his closet throwing away half of it. Out went his t-shirts with the cute baseballs and funny sayings on them. In came the skinny jeans and plaid shirts. I have asked my girlfriends how they are coping. They don’t know what hit them either. They have that vacant stare. You know, the same one you get when you open your monthly financial statements.
I’ve had many a conversation commiserating with my girlfriend Maggie. She has her own set of issues dealing with her “tween” daughter. If I thought raising a boy was difficult, poor Maggie is dealing with her daughter’s mood swings and uncontrollable, hysterical outbursts. What happened to our angelic children?? They have morphed into characters that would frighten Steven King. Maggie has even considered hosting an exorcism party for all of us, but her orthodox Rabbi didn’t seem to think it was a very good idea.
And so we’re left to figure this out all by ourselves. We know we aren’t the first mothers who have had to go through this and we know we won’t be the last.
Boy, did I have the best blog for you today, it might have been the best one yet! I was even laughing at my own jokes, you should have been there! It was late last night and I was half asleep writing it in my head. Something told me I should have written it down, but I was too tired to get up. I swore to myself that I would remember it in the morning. I kept playing it over and over in my head so I would not forget. I had the best night’s sleep. This morning, a cold, wet nose woke me up. No, It wasn’t my husband, it was Zari, my puppy. As I was walking her, I kept thinking that I was forgetting something. What was it?? After my morning ritual of making breakfast, lunches and driving carpool, I felt an urgency to get home and do something. What was it?? THE BLOG, WRITE THE BLOG! So, I sat down at the computer ready to write “the masterpiece” and…nothing. I couldn’t remember a darn thing. I tried, and I thought, and then I thought and I tried…nothing. I poured myself a strong cup of coffee hoping THAT would jog my memory awake…nothing. So here I am writing…nothing.
I hope, on this Monday morning after Thanksgiving, you didn’t let the stuffing get to your head!
We all have such high expectations of trying to look and act like the “perfect family.” Today, what IS the perfect family anyway? My girlfriends and I all happen to be second wives. This always creates a dilemma during the holiday season. Whose house do you go to? Who do you invite? Whose cooking what? Whose in charge of the seating arrangement? (that can get a little tricky especially if the feud from last Thanksgiving hasn’t been resolved yet!) In my family, my son is the half brother to my husband’s children and is the uncle to my step-grandson who is six months older and two feet taller than he is! It just gets so confusing. So this year, why don’t we all just take a deep breath, try to have a sense of humor about it all, and remember the meaning of being thankful. Don’t let Aunt Fanny and Uncle Manny spoil your day…which family are you?
I never, I mean never thought the day would come. But it has. Recently, I’ve noticed that I am repeating the same annoying phrases to my son that my mother used to say to me.
“Hurry up, you’re going to be late for school!”
“Did you do your homework?”
“Did you brush your teeth?”
“Don’t pick your pimples (who says pimples anyway?), you’ll get scars!”
“Turn that horrible music down!!!”
Hearing my mother nag was like listening to a broken record (for those of you who don’t know what a record is, it used to play music). I’ve been looking in the mirror lately, and I’m not recognizing who is looking back. What the ‘bleep’ happened?
Come to think of it, maybe my son and I do have more in common with each other after all. His voice is deepening, so are my wrinkles (I like to think of them as laugh lines, I’ve earned EVERY one of them!). He’s outgrowing his clothes, wouldn’t you know it so am I. He’s constantly touching his hair, I’m constantly touching mine up.
My grandmother used to say that aging isn’t for sissies. Boy did she get that right! She would say, “Golden Years, what Golden Years? These are the rusty years! It’s just patch, patch, patch.” Well, that may be true, but on the bright side, my sister Karen always reminds me “today is the youngest you’ll ever be!”
With age comes wisdom…so here it is:
When life throws you curve balls, it’s not about ducking, it’s about learning how to catch and always throwing back.
Tomorrow, November 22, 1963, marks the 48th Anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Much like 9/11, it was a day that was etched in the lives of all who are old enough to remember. I was in the fourth grade at Hopi Elementary School in Scottsdale, AZ. My class had just returned from a field trip to the Carnation Ice Cream Factory. It was such a beautiful sunny day. My classmates and I were eating lunch in our school cafeteria. The noise and laughter of the children were silenced when Mr. Kwatowski, the principal, announced over the loudspeaker that President Kennedy had just been shot. He mentioned the words Dallas Texas. Everything became a blur…teachers in shock began to sob. It was so strange to see our male teachers crying. School was dismissed early that day. Every household and place of business had their radio or television tuned to the news. Walter Cronkite, the famous television newscaster, made the historic announcement that President Kennedy had indeed died. A light went out inside of all of us. That sunny day turned grey. Our nation was in mourning. It was a turning point in the history of our country. Our innocence had been taken. Overnight our country had changed…
I just got off the phone with my girlfriend Maggie (refer to Teterboro Turkey blog). She told me that our dear friend, Didi, has begun baking her “famous” Holiday lemon bars. Didi is a gourmet cook with a gourmet kitchen that would make any Iron Chef envious!
Didi ONLY bakes these bars during the holidays which makes them even more valuable. We all wait in anticipation to find out if we have made the lemon bar list. It’s like winning the lottery! If you’re not on the list, you know you have been naughty, not nice.
I thought I would share this amazing recipe with you, but I was so disappointed and perplexed when Didi flat out refused to give it to me! I’ve come to find out that Didi guards this recipe with her life. It would be easier to get a key to Fort Knox (is that still in existance?)!
If you want to find out what’s going on in our town, just ask Maggie. Here’s the scoop…
“A few years ago our underfunded public school published a Holiday cookbook as a fundraiser. Another friend of Didi’s (name to be withheld, you know who you are) asked Didi for her chocoholic chunky chip cookie recipe. Being the kind, generous, giving person that she is, Didi willingly handed over the goods. This now “EX” girlfriend (you know who you are) did the unthinkable. Ms. X deliberately omitted Didi’s name from the recipe and replaced it with her own. To this day, Didi hasn’t quite recovered from the trauma.”
It looks like we are just going to have to be patient and wait for Didi’s lemon bar list to be posted. In the meantime, Maggie and I are patiently dreaming about how those “babies” will shine in their heavenly gold leaf jackets. Like children at Christmas, we are counting down the days… Believe me, it will well be worth the wait.
I don’t know about you, but I feel like I’m spinning my wheels and driving in circles.
Take this weekend, for example. On Saturday, my son’s baseball game was canceled due to the possibility of rain. My husband and I thought we could take this opportunity to bond as a family and have a fun day at the beach. But, my teenager had a different opinion as to what “fun” meant to him. All he wanted to do was stay in bed or hang with his friends. He thought we were nuts. There was no way he was going to be seen in public spending his entire Saturday with his parents!
We grabbed the golden retriever and dropped my son off at his friends house. Off we went! Wouldn’t you know our happy excursion got more tense as we got strangled in weekend beach traffic. Why so much traffic?? Hadn’t these people seen the weather report?? An hour later, just as we arrived at the beach, my son texted us to come home quick, his game was back on. The problem was, the game was where we were!
So, we got the golden back in the car (which is an ordeal in itself!) and drove home. When we arrived at our door, it started raining. The game was off. So, we unpacked the car, unloaded the golden, and poured ourselves a large glass of wine. Just as we settled in, the rain stopped and the phone rang…the game was back on! Sooo…we loaded the car (forget the golden) and drove the 25 miles back to the beach. Just as we arrived, the game was called off due to heavy fog.
My son had the right idea…we should have just stayed in bed!
With all the disturbing scandals in the news today, I thought we needed a little levity for the upcoming holiday.
My good friend Miriam Ruth is a real card. She has always hated her name, so she goes by Maggie.
To know her is to love her. She makes Snooki and the Jersey Shores look tame (Maggie really is from Jersey!).
I was surprised that Maggie was offended that I hadn’t included her in my Thanksgiving recipe blogs.
Maggie hates to cook. In fact, every year she makes reservations at a different restaurant for her family feast.
Here is the recipe that she sent me. I take no resposibility for this one….BEWARE!
I thought this sounded good! Here is a turkey recipe that also includes the use of popcorn as a stuffing
ingredient — imagine that! When I found this recipe, I thought it was perfect for people like me who hate to cook.
Give this a try:
8 – 15 lb. turkey
1 cup melted butter
1 cup stuffing (Pepperidge Farm is good)
1 cup un-popped popcorn (Orville Rededenbacher’s low fat is best)
Salt/pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush turkey well with melted butter, salt, and pepper.
Fill cavity with stuffing and popcorn. Place in baking pan making sure the back end is facing the front of the oven.
After about 4 hours listen for the popping sounds.
When the turkey’s ass blows the oven door open and the bird flies across the room….it’s done.
Talk about an inspiration! This is a clip about Jeff Guidry’s story of rehabilitating an eagle named Freedom back to health—and how that amazing eagle later inspired Jeff to triumph over cancer. I was touched by his story. Just goes to show you the bond of friendship and the will to survive comes in many different ways.
Next Tuesday, November 15th, marks the first anniversary of being cancer free! This Thanksgiving, I have so much to be thankful for. I am so grateful for the support of my friends and family. I wanted to take this opportunity to thank and honor them by sending you, my new friends, some of their favorite Thanksgiving recipes.
Hope you try them and enjoy!
My sister Karen, loves this recipe. It has always been a favorite at her Thanksgiving dinners. On the day before Thanksgiving many years ago, Karen misplaced the recipe. She was hysterical and didn’t know what to do. With no other options, she drove to the Phoenix Library (this was way before we “googled!”) The sweet librarian led her to the old card catalogue to search the library’s cookbooks. With no luck, Karen remembered that the recipe had come from a magazine. The librarian escorted her to the periodical section. Eureka! They struck gold when they located the missing recipe in a vintage Better Homes and Gardens Magazine. To this day, Karen is so appreciative to the librarian who saved her Thanksgiving feast!
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup butter
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
Cook these three ingredients over medium heat one to two minutes. Add one large, coarsely chopped onion to this mixture. Cook over low heat 10 to 12 minutes until onions are glazed, then set aside.
In a separate pan add:
4 cups fresh cranberries
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup apple juice or cider
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
3 1/2 cups of sugar
1 cup toasted pecans
Boil these ingredients over medium heat 5 minutes
Then mix together all the other ingredients that were set aside.
Let cool and serve in a serving dish.
This can be used with turkey, chicken, or pork. Great for sandwiches after Thanksgiving.