Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Way Back Wednesday ~~ 1971

Here is a much more recent picture than last Wednesday.

This is my mom and my cousin Joey. He was Aunt Em's son. He lived with us in the back apartment (maybe 300 sq ft) for several years with his wife and her teenage son. To this day I don't know how they all fit in there.

This photo was taken on Easter Sunday 1971 in our living room.

My mom just loved those long dresses.

The bunny statues (there is a large one and 2 babies) came from the studio (CBS where my parents worked as Make-up artists). They were set dressings for a show that was filmed there and rather than see them thrown out my dad brought them home and we used them every Easter for a quite a while.

I love how my mom has pulled the drapes all the way over behind the chair in an effort to create a background. Those drapes hung on those floor to ceiling windows for 30 years until they were little more than shreds and Jeff and I replaced them.

The chair was  gift from one of the founders of the Tombstone Epitaph newspaper and one of my moms prized possessions... that is until one of our cats decided to use it as a scratching post and destroyed the fabric. Eventually I inherited it and I passed it on to someone who was willing to restore it.

The pictures on the wall were etchings made around the turn of the century.
There were 2 matching ones and they too eventually got passed on to someone who was willing to restore the frames.

I'm sure we were all waiting for a nice honey glazed ham that was cooking in the oven and I was probably in a sugar coma from all the candy that the Easter bunny had brought me.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Homework Hell

There are times I would rather sit for a root canal than help with homework.

Jeffrey seems to think that homework is a form of sadistic torture that was designed specifically to destroy his after school life.

No matter how simple the assignment, no matter how little there is to do, it has become something to dread from the moment the school door opens and he is released into the afternoon sunlight.

There seems to be an infinite number of things for him to do before he can settle down and actually get to work once he gets home.

He's starving, he's hot, he's tired, his hand hurts from a traumatic 4 square injury incurred earlier in the day, the cat misses him so he has to spend time with her, he can't find a pencil that works.

The list could go on forever.

When he gets home I will feed him, let him put on shorts, take a 5 minute rest, get some ice for his hand, pet the cat and find him a working pencil.

Then he has to sit and do whatever horrific thing his teacher has assigned without another word.

Well that's the plan anyway.

Today was "write your words in alphabetical order" day. One of our favorites. (not)

After trying to figure out how many different ways there are to sit in a chair without falling off, I was informed that he had no paper.

That will slow you down.

Paper found and provided.

10 minutes later I was informed he didn't have his list of words.

I couldn't figure out exactly what he had been doing for those 10 minutes but whatever it was he was sitting quietly so I guess I cant really complain.

I had him borrow the list from Katherine since they both are using the same ones.

Then he informed me that he had a hard time remembering the alphabet and thats why he hated this particular assignment so much.

Jeffrey, you are 9 years old and the school district in their infinite wisdom and has labeled you gifted and I do not think they were referring to your uncanny ability to drive me up a tree faster than anyone I have ever met.

I told him to sing the alphabet song (in his head) while he was looking for each word and that should fix the problem.

I have discovered Jeffrey has no internal dialog.

After hearing ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOP (etc etc) for the 10th time, I headed into the laundry room to vacuum.
At least it would be quieter.


(La-la-la... loud vacuum humming..... I don't hear anything)


(Off goes the vacuum.)


"Are you going to be making all that noise right now?"

(Is this a rhetorical question?)

"Well I was planning on it...why?"

"I can't work under these conditions."

(You can't WORK under these conditions????
What have you been doing, talking with your union rep?)

I stuck my head around the corner and the look on my face must have said a lot more than any of words I was trying hard not to say.

"Ummmmm never mind.. it's OK.... I got it.
You can continue....."

He better "got it".. because at this point if he didn't, I was going to give it him.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

I do it all for you.....

How many homemade Oatmeal Raisin cookies are too many to eat in one day?

I am currently running a clinical trial and will let you know when all results are reported, verified, documented and ready for publication.

Aren't you lucky to have someone like me who is willing to put their weight loss on hold just so you can know the answer to these deep philosophical questions?

No, really I don't mind.

You're welcome.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Let no good deed go unpunished ~~ Sea Monkeys Need to Eat too!

Sometime earlier in the week I had had enough of walking past the kids room and seeing a general mess directly inside the door. The weird thing is that if you actually walked INTO the room and turned the corner, it was pretty neat.
But the bookcase next to the door had lots of stuff besides books piled on top of and in front of it.

So in an effort to neaten up my view I removed a shirt, a pair of underwear, 2 empty ziploc bags, a tissue that somehow missed the trashcan, 10 lego pieces waiting for someone (me) to step on them barefoot, a handful of silly bands and a small gift bag leftover from Katherine's birthday party that upon inspection appeared to contain nothing.

I distributed the items into their appropriate location including the trash into the trash can.

Fast forward to yesterday evening and the commencement of the bedtime ritual which that night included feeding the ever expanding Sea Monkey population. (Mommy, why are those Sea Monkeys stuck together... go ask your father dear...)

Katherine announced she could not find the Sea Monkey food even though she claimed not to have moved it. Jeff sent her back into her room assuring her neither of us had touched it.  (Famous last words)

5 minutes later she was still looking and dad was not happy that things were taking so long.

"MEL!! Did you see a small pink bag Katherine says she left on the bookcase that had the Sea Monkey food in it?"

(Does throwing it out count?)

"Well..... I think I might have seen a bag, but there was nothing in it."

"There was a packet of Sea Monkey food in it.... what did you do with it?"


"I might have thrown it out....."

"You're kidding!!! Well go get it from the kitchen will you?"

(Sure, I'd love to except I just threw the kitchen trash bag out....and it might not even be in that bag..... how many are out in the can by now?)

"Lemme check."

Out I went into the night equipped with a flashlight and the creeps from having to be out there alone with the full moon shining overhead.

I had to go through 3 bags of kitchen trash which contained eggshells from Sunday, leftover spaghetti from Monday, half a roll of paper towels that were used to sop up a juice spill on Tuesday, pizza crusts, coffee grounds, a bag of lettuce that had seen better days, avocado peels, broccoli and asparagus ends, a couple of sweet potatoes that had sprouted and developed soft spots and who knows what else.

All I can say is none of it smelled good. And I had to make 2 passes to find the dang thing which turned out to be in the first bag I opened but somehow overlooked the first time through.

I was rather cross (and smelly) at the whole situation and tried to use it as a lesson to the children that they should not clutter everything up because this can happen with more important things than Sea Monkey food.

Jeffrey was quick to point out that since the Sea Monkeys could not eat anything BUT Sea Monkey food there probably wasn't anything in THEIR world as important as that.

I think the whole point was lost on him.

Do you remember these ads on the back of comic books from years ago?
My dad finally let me get some but my mother wouldn't let them stay in the house because she was convinced they were nothing more than a bowl full of worms...

But what I TRULY wanted a kid was either one of these.... I could never get up the courage to order either because I was sure my mom would have had a coniption fit if either showed up in the mail... but I cut the ads out and kept them in my drawer just in case I ever lost my mind and decided to do it anyway.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Way Back Wednesday 1939

A day to post old pictures and enjoy the memories.

This is one of my favorites:

This is my dad in Enid, Oklahoma working as a car hop at Frazier's Drug store.
The date is July 4th 1939. He was 13 years old.
He's carrying old time coke bottles and glasses on a tray that  you can see fits on the side of a car.
And speaking of cars,..what a great one behind him!   I would guess (but am not sure) that it is a Chrysler. 
I love those huge white walls.
I see that cigarettes were already big business as shown in the window display.

Here is picture of Frazier's in present day.
Back in the day it had a bowling alley upstairs where boys worked as pin setters.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Are all of those legs really necessary?

What is it about our house that spiders find so inviting?
I keep finding them wandering around like they own the place and it's driving me crazy.

It's not that I'm afraid of them (outright lie)....
it's just that they have so many unnecessary legs.

Seriously, why do they need so many?
They just get in the way. And scare me.
And if you're going to be spending time where I live it's best not to scare me.

And as much as I really just want to squish them and flush their carcass down the toilet, I generally can't get myself to do it.

Yesterday morning as I was preparing the usual Sunday morning pancake feast, Jeff caught sight of a multi-legged trespasser hightailing it up the kitchen wall.

He declared it non poisonous and caught it under a cup. Somehow a few of those unnecessary legs got caught in the process and it fell out of the cup and onto the counter with a couple legs pointing in several (wrong) directions.

We stared at it helplessly as it dragged itself around in circles.


Now what? Squish it and put it out of its misery? What if it's injuries weren't fatal? What if it was only temporarily injured? Do they have spider hospitals where they set broken spider legs?


I slid it back into the cup and gingerly tossed it out the door into the grass.

Maybe those extra legs really are unnecessary after all and they will simply fall off so he can continue going on about his business.

One can only hope.

Saturday, September 18, 2010


"Mom, when am I going to get a car?"

"Jeffrey, you're 9 years old."

"Yeah, but the sooner I get started practicing, the better driver I will be when I actually get my license."

I ask you, why don't I think of these things?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

A Little Slice of my Childhood

No I didn't make a salad to go with your dinner.
Isn't chicken nuggets with ketchup enough?
Isn't ketchup a vegetable?

I realize this is jeopardizing my hopes for the Mother of the Year award.

I like to cook...really I do. My mom was a great cook.
She was the daughter of an Hungarian immigrant who started cooking in the morning and didn't finish until dinner was served in the evening.

My mom learned all those recipes and cooked them often for me and my dad.

But she never let me in the kitchen. She was afraid I would make a mess.
An understandable and probably correct assumption.
So I do not have much first hand experience of recreating her masterpieces.

After she died all I have are her handwritten recipes that were left in a kitchen drawer.

Most of the things require a huge amount of preparation.. or at least thats how I remember it. As a kid I guess everything seems to take forever. I can be standing at the stove actively cooking and Jeffrey will ask if he can microwave a French bread pizza or have a cup of noodles because he doesn't want to wait despite my assurances that it will only be another 10 minutes.

The other issue I have with trying some of these recipes myself is that they are not designed with today's healthy eating guidelines in mind. Many call for bacon grease. Does lo-fat turkey bacon count?

I keep planning on making some of my favorites (Stuffed Bell Peppers, Tarhonja or chicken paprikash) so I can relive a little part of my childhood.

But I have a secret fear that even if I follow her recipe word for word it will not turn out like I remember.
It won't taste the same or have the same consistency or look that were unique to each dish.
And I will have to come to terms with the fact that one of my most treasured memories of childhood of my mother's cooking which was often eaten on aluminum tray tables in the back den in front of the TV are truly gone forever.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Alert Today, Alive Tomorrow

Once again the Great Front Seatini has been called upon to answer the unanswerable, to reveal all that is hidden, and just in general to be a complete know-it-all.

"Yes, my son...what question is weighing upon your young soul?"

"If our house were to suddenly explode, do we have one of those big holes in the backyard where we could hide?"

"A hole in the backyard? You mean like a bomb shelter?"

"A BOMB SHELTER? Why does the bomb need shelter? It's us who need to hide..not the bomb!
Geez mom what are you thinking?"

Yeah I ask myself that on a daily basis.


How to live in comfort while the world is being destroyed

While I was growing up my girlfriend had one of these in her backyard.
We used to open it up and peer down into the blackness through all spider webs.
It had a wooden staircase that didn't look like it would hold our weight.
It was a sobering reminder of the fear that people lived with.

A 33 RPM record was put out in 1961 with recommendations on how to survive extended time in your backyard shelter:

Please keep these items stocked in your shelter at all times:
cups, napkins, matches, pocket knife, battery-powered radio and extra batteries, human waste can, recreational and spiritual supplies, books, cards and games... By all means provide some tranquilizers to ease the strain and monotony of life in a shelter. A bottle of 100 should be adequate for a family of four. Tranquilizers are not a narcotic and are not habit forming. Ask a doctor for his recommendation.

No one knows if you'll ever need a shelter, but in this atomic age it's wise to be prepared. The best advice your government can give you is Alert Today, Alive Tomorrow.

I am wondering how one can be alert today if one has access to a bottle of 100 tranquilizers.
Lucky they aren't habit forming!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

When did I become 9 years old?

375 miles Los Angeles to Phoenix

Are we there yet?

Me and 3 twenty-something year olds who aren't so interested in what my IPOD has to offer,
Mom let's listen to ours.....

Are we there yet?

Morning rush hour  (I incorrectly made the assumption I could get out the door at 7:15 AM and I would be fine)

Are we there yet?

Derailed train in the Inland Empire creating a looky-lou paradise.

Are we there yet?

Overturned tractor trailer half way through the desert..

Are we there yet?

55 bathroom stops  in 105 degree heat

Are we there yet?

For Pete's sake mom... We're NOT there yet... stop asking!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Sanity is for wimps

Shot through the heart and you're tooooooo blame!!

KATHERINE! Stop singing!

You give lu-ove a baaaaaad name!!!

You give singing a bad name!


Mom who? No one in the car by that name.

Tomorrow I am leaving for a 7 hour drive to Phoenix to see the cutest baby in the whole wide world (my grandson).

The dynamic duo keeps asking why they aren't going with me.

Maybe because I would like to arrive there with at least some of my sanity intact.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Useful tidbit....

Did you know that if you leave an almost empty glass jar of spaghetti sauce turned upside down on the counter all day,  it explodes when you remove the lid?

Neither did I.

I think I will go change my shirt now.

Then I will clean up the counter and the floor.


The Gym Diaries

After a summer filled with lazy days and overeating nights, we started back to the gym last week.

We figured since we drive right past it after dropping the kids off at school, we should at least drop in and see if it was still there.

It was.

And so were all the medieval torture devices that they try to pass off as "exercise" equipment.

Jeff has an official piece of paper that says he qualified to instruct me on their usage. A fact he takes full advantage of. He makes Jillian Michaels look like Mother Theresa.

But I am a compliant and easy going student. Rarely complaining and following his instructions without question.
A young grasshopper to his master Po.

Why are you all shaking your head and rolling your eyes?

OK, the truth is I fear one day he is going to hand me a weight and I am going to drop it on his foot and run while he can't chase me. Unfortunately he carries the car keys so I probably wouldn't get very far. And I think he may have paid one of the desk staff to tackle me if they see me bolting for the door.

Now don't get me wrong... I like working out... I really do. (No, really). It's just so much work. And the weights are so heavy. Yes yes, I know thats the point but humor me here.

I am sore and grouchy after having spent part of the morning trying to shove a 65 pound bar off my chest. Pesky thing kept coming back.

We need to keep in mind that I possess an athletic ability of about 4.5 on a scale of 1-100 so I am lucky that some some of the things I am made to do are kept to the confines of the gym. I wouldn't want to scare small children or embarrass myself more than usual.

Hanging from the pull up machine, shoulders straining to their breaking point, I turn a pleasing shade of purple and manage to hoist myself an inch and half higher.

I am now stuck half way to the top.

I try to let go but find my fingers are frozen in a death grip around the handles.

I realize if I hang there much longer I risk bringing attention to myself when they have to call 911 to help get me down or I need to suck it up and haul my ass the rest of the way to the top of the bar and get it over with.

I strain and pull and run through my repertoire of bad words and finally mange to finish my required number of  sets and am allowed to step off and allow someone else the pleasure.

No one said being in shape was easy, but it would sure be nice if I could reward myself for my effort with a nice bowl of ice cream. Maybe with some apple pie crumbled on top under some whipped cream with caramel sauce and topped off with peanut butter cups for good measure.

I think that may cancel out the whole gym thing, but I can't be 100% sure.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Do you need your toilet unclogged?

So on the first day of school the kids each had to tell something about themselves so that the class would get to know them better.

This got me thinking.. exactly what would I personally say if I had to get up and talk about myself?

I mean, could I actually think of something that wouldn't make people excuse themselves to the bathroom and never come back?

Probably not but these are the things I came up with....

I am afraid of the dark.
My body may live in the present but my imagination lives in a 1940's black and white Hitchcock movie where every dark corner and unopened closet harbor villains plotting my demise.

I am also afraid of spiders.
Yet I am the person everyone calls when there is one in the house that needs to be removed.
And they always want it REMOVED, not squished.
 I am better at the squishing than the removing.

I am also the person they call when the plumbing has stopped working.
But I am not sure I would want to share that tidbit.
"Hello my name is Melora. Do you need your toilet unclogged?"
Not the best conversation starter.

I dont own a bathing suit that fits.
With my figure it's shocking I know.

I am a certified sci-fi geek.
If a movie or TV show has a spaceship in it ~~ I will watch it.
If a cup or T-shirt has Star Trek on it ~~ I will buy it.
If a book takes place in outer space ~~ I will read it.
This factoid has the possibility of boosting bathroom attendance.

I am a fashion disaster.
I don't own a belt and only have one purse.
I own just enough make-up to cover the occasional blemish or be presentable if I have to show up in public and appear somewhat adult.
The only reason I am still allowed to be called a girl is that I can pull the "I birthed 5 children" card and they let the title stand.

I love to eat.
I guess I don't have to announce that.
But I am trying to make it less obvious.
I keep trying to develop that eating disorder where you don't eat because you think you are too fat.
I've got it half right so far.
When I can incorporate the other half,  I might once again own a bathing suit that fits.

I like the way coffee smells.
But I will only drink it if it's drowned in French Vanilla Creamer.
Otherwise it tastes too much like.... coffee. (Go figure).

I secretly want my children to live with me forever.
And at the same time I have a calendar hidden under my bed counting the days until college.

I really like cats.
I have 3 of them.
Every so often it's 3 too many.
I say that about my children sometimes.

I like to write.
I've been writing since I was 4 years old.
I think the blog thing works well for me because my attention span isn't that long and I can finish something before I get distracted by other things....

Do you smell cookies?
I smell cookies....
Be right back.....

Monday, September 6, 2010

The Oversight

It's Monday AND the kids are home....


There has also been a heinous oversight. 

I neglected to make it to Costco yesterday for cat food.

This morning I was alerted to this travesty.

And to make matters worse, Costco is closed today.

Here's hoping I make it through the day without being ambushed by cats who are obviously starving and wasting away to nothing.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Whose idea was this?

So what is it with these dang school schedules?

Start school on a Wednesday making the first week of school 3 days...

Do this right before the Friday - Monday Labor Day weekend, thereby making the next week a 4 day week..


Give the kids Thursday of that week off and VOILA! Another 3 day week.

Somebody shoot me!

If kids were cats this would be the story of my weekend....

Friday, September 3, 2010


Sometimes things just strike me as incredibly funny.....
But I guess one has to like Star Trek to fully appreciate the humor

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Crash Boom BANG!

Today I am a magnet and all things inconvenient and unnecessary are iron.

Placing a bike on a rolled up hose directly outside a bedroom window and then leaving it there without regard to how stable it is, is extremely unnecessary and becomes quickly inconvenient when handle of said bike decides to get up close and personal with said window.


A vast silence falls over the house.

This house is never this quiet unless no one is in it.

Or they are trying to avoid detection.


I can hear the grass growing.

Suddenly Alex's voice, high and panicked...."Don't touch anything!! Oh my lord, what happened?? Who put the bike through the window?"

Well now I know what the sound was.

Cue Jeffrey appearing through the sliding door on the opposite side of the house. He's trying to look nonchalant and innocent but his face is sweaty and his eyes are red and swollen.

"Jeffrey did you drop your bike against the window?"

"Ummmmm... ummmmmm.... no, I mean I don't think so.... I mean..... ummmmmm"

Long pause punctuated by huge watery tears springing from his eyes and dribbling down his face.

He suddenly flings himself against me, wrapping his arms around my waist and burying his face in my shirt.


 I think there must be secret classes for kids where they teach them how to evoke so much sympathy when they do something wrong that it's hard to stay mad at them.

I was really groping for something to write about and I was pretty OK with the fact that I was going to skip a day.

But I guess the universe didn't like that idea.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

I had a dream.....

Jeff was tucking Jeffrey into bed last night.

I hope I have the same kind of dream like I had last night.

Really what kind did you have?

I had a wet dream.

(long speechless silence)

Really? Um, well... OK.... Really?

Yes.. I had a very pleasant dream. I read about that in the book mom gave me.
(Somehow these things always end up being my fault)

Which book was that?

"What's Happening to me". You know it tells you about whats happening to your body as you get older.
(He actually read it..what do you know)

OOOOooooooh OK.

Yes it says that a wet dream is a very pleasant dream and thats what I had.
In my dream someone gave me a whole box of video games that I didn't have.
It made me so happy!



It's better if you don't call it that. Say you had a happy dream, or a good dream... but not a.. you know..WET dream.

How come?

Jeff! Can you come in here and explain something to your son.


Being that today is the first day of school, I am REALLY hoping that when the teacher asks them to stand up and talk about their summer that Jeffrey doesn't tell the class about his pleasant dreams.