Monday, September 7, 2009

Where have I Been? Wedding Hell

On June 25, 2009 a nice boy asked my daughter to marry him. They planned a year long engagement. They set the date on the 50th wedding anniversary of his grandparents. Very sweet and gallant. Then my daughter got the flu, which the doctor explainedwas not the flu, but morning sickness. The wedding date was then moved up to September 27, 2009.

We begged them to do a small wedding, or run off to Vegas and do a large reception once the baby was born. But no, my daughter has this image in her head of her wedding and baby bump or not, she will have it. In the last three weeks, the bride has been put on bed rest, grown out of two vintage gowns, bridesmaids dresses were lost in the Matrix, and so on.
Normal stuff for planning a wedding, just a bit stressful for me, because I am the mother of the bride (MOB), she runs one of my businesses, and her hormones are out of control. Not to mention that we thought we would have a year to save and pay for all this and it is now 3 weeks away. Therefore, I don’t have time to even dry my hair in the morning, so instead of blogging, I am giving MOB Nervous Breakdown updates on Facebook and Twitter (follow me at teribayus). I thought I was being too chatty and coming off a bit bitchy, but I have had a bunch of people say they live for me updates, so they will keep coming. Like I was ever stoppable.

For those who want to catch up-here are my updates

MOB regiment: each day starts with coffee & rumcream, 1/2 blue pill, then into ocean. Rest of day, writing checks, lists & calming Bride

MOB words for today: "Your f*ing kidding right?" "It's how much!!" "The weddings in 6 weeks" "Please, Please, I'm begging!" "I gotta relax!"

Wedding theme is 1940's- any ideas?

Thank God for wine and girlfriends!

MOB nervous breakdown level RED: just got word my parents are coming in 5th wheel to stay whole month of Sept. Need dysfunctional deodorant!

Surreal neighbors. Daycare w/ small voices screaming "happy & ya no it". Barking ChiWaWa's. Man Wailing over crops. Bong hits. Only in CA. -

reviewed The Club Car & 500 Days of Summer. This tragic tale of young love makes me happy I'm old & settled. Club Car gets Culinary Cudos!

MOB nervous breakdown level: Orange. Just 12 hrs after buying a slice of heaven in Avila for wedding, bride gets put on????days of bedrest. -

MOB breakdown level: Pink. What's Tulle & why do I need 700 yards of it?

mOB nervous breakdown level: Icing white. Why does 3 pounds of flour, sugar & eggs cost $700? I going into wedding cake business!

This MOB is shucking it all & going to see Inglorius Basterds. All is good when Brad Pitt is in Technicolor glory with Taratino directing.

MOB nervous breakdown level: Vinyl. Couldn't sleep,spent all night picking wedding songs. Bride rejects all! What's wrong w/Jimmy Buffett?

MOB list: dress(yes), Bride (bedridden), cake(WTF), venue(hot), caterer(perfect), groom(loves her), flowers(truck loads), MOB meds- wine

MOB is scourging estate sales & thrift stores for vintage items for wedding. Lovin pawin thru peeps shit. Farmers market organics for M2B.

Review of Inglourious Basterds & PI-Whole. Cinematic excellence by Tarrantino staring Brad Pitt-Brilliant. Pizza big & good! I want Brad Pie!

MOB nervous breakdown level: Red! Dr. Keeps Bride bedridden, but says "Weddings Ok. Find someone to do everything for you." She Picks me

Besides being my daughter, Cheré runs my store. Now I must work her shifts, plan her wedding & cater to her bedridden. No stress in my life!

MOB update: (level Pink) The wedding is on! The wedding is on! Let the sleepless nights ensue!

MOB nervous breakdown level: Giggles.Bride says Groom is incharge of wedding plans.The deal-he gets puppy poop picked up-he can pick his tux

Arguing w/ a prego bride, what an idiot! My MOB douchiness factor amazes even me. *Pats self on the back & toddles off to get feet rubbed*

MOB nervous breakdown level: Creole- bride changed menu for 4th time. Wedding will soon be catered by the Taco Bell $1 menu.

MOB new mantra: "What ever you want dear!" *nods head with enthusiasm, big teeth showing smile* (Then does it my way).

Reviewed "Shorts" & Mandarin Gourmet. Due Wed. in all Tolosa Press's Pulp Pulitzer Publications. Loved The General's palette for chicken.

MOB shout out to Deb at Doughboy's! Saved my ars on rehearsal dinner-she's a saint & worlds best cook. Ordering y'all to try a pizza 474-8888

MOB nervous breakdown level: Orange. Bride off bedrest but not hormones. Now she can yell at me standing up.

23 days until wedded bliss. So many things to do. So many checks to write. It will be beautiful even if I have to kill people in my path.

Glee is back! I'm a happy, excited, gleefully super happy geek! Haven’t been this happy since I played the lead in Brigadoon in High School.

MOB nervous breakdown level: plaid(thanks Kari). Tin-can livin' parental units want to spend every waking minute w/me. Wedding be damned!

husband is adorkable! This week, 3 new listings, 2 escrows closing, preparing auction items for Rotary Event & all that cake to sample

Saw Julia & Julie again. Loved it more! I was distracted at 1st screening, BrAngelina & tribe were in row behind me. Wanna debone a duck!

Reviewed Julie & Julia and the Èclair Bakery. Both equally delicious & Fun. Inspired me to make Baked Alaska & Foie Gras for breakfast

MOB Nervous Breakdown Level: Red. It matches the ugly rash of unknown orgin hoovering around my mouth. High on Sudafed. Drs scratching head.

How I love coming home to a clean house! I'd go without food before I'd lose my maids. Plus husbands at a Rotary meeting- ahh sanctuary! LIG

MOB description of true love: after a harrowing, stress day, it's 11:30- I'm in garage assisting husband installing jetski parts w/ power tools.

MOB nervous breakdown level: Blue- lots of little blue pills! Nothing will bother me tonight!

MOB nervous breakdown level: Green! Found out 2 very talented men will be helping with hair, dress, flowers, decorations & shoes! Happy me!

Trying on MOB dresses makes me wish I was a soulless stick figure kind of girl. Arrgghhhhh!

MOB nervous breakdown level: Nuclear! Just tried on my first Spanx. I'm traumatized for life!

My dog is licking holes into his skin. I think I am freaking him out! We are both going for a long walk on and into the ocean.

Wedding update: bridesmaid dresses gone according to automated email.Brides 2nd dress doesn't fit.Trip to LA to fix wardrobe malfunctions

MOB finds the only thing that calms her down & makes her happy is watching The Big Bang Theory show. Star Trek, physics humor is my muse.

MOB Went to download and regroup at Gather Wine Bar- it was magical! Kari has a great gift for hospitality. MOB nervous breakdown level is non-exisitant now. Thanks Kari, good wine and specatular wine friends.

MOB had to run Impior today because employees are Brides Maids & their dresses were lost in translation. They went to LA with expess instructions to come back with dresses. They ordered "fabulous" ones due to be shipped due 9/19. Wedding is 9/27. MOB has a bad feeling.

MOB ordered to create vintage crystal doodads-6 blinding hrs later bride says no, “Less is more” (*Nods, smiles & will put them on her cake).

Teri Bayus Where we will live after the wedding breaks us. California dreaming!
MOB-23 days until wedded bliss. So many things to do. So many checks to write. It will be beautiful even if I have to kill people in my path.

Teri Bayus Is combing estate sales looking for Vintage. Please tell me why anyone would save & then try to sell plastic cups, used candles & 1 sock?

MOB Put husband in charge of dinner. It’s like living with a 5 year old with a wallet.

MOB nervous breakdown level:White. No white Cala Lillies in Sept. Thinking about snipping neighbors wild ones. Weird how flowers & Tule never entered my universe until I became a MOB. The advantage to planning a wedding in 6 weeks (3 weeks left) is brevity.

MOB Funny:If you receive an email from the Dept. of Health warning you not to eat canned pork due to swine flu risk, ignore it. It's just Spam.

MOB confession: Michael's craft store is like fluffy crack. No MOB should go in with a credit card or a wedding in 3 weeks. Lord (and Gary) forgive me for tule, miles of pearls, swaraski crystals & $10 bows.
MOB had to put dog- Tripper in the "Cone of Shame". This is what happens when you eat your ars.

From: Yolonda-I miss the hilarity of your life!! No one has a life like you do :) You so lucky!!! Hugs
September 9 at 8:21am ·
Comment Teri Bayus
Thanks Yoli- Glad to entertain! It is mayhem right now, you would be laughing your head off.

MOB word of the day: VISCERAL. Example: I have a visceral reaction when Caller ID shows it's my mother. (Who fortunately doesn't tweet or Facebook).

MOB trifecta of dysfunction. Parents, son & hormonal bride all discuss ceremony with me. Biggest concern: No Scotch served at wedding.

Dr. gave valium for severe MOB nervous breakdowns. Taking it is like being in a movie produced by David Lynch & directed by Tim Burton where every role is played by Carrot Top. Happy MOB buys more sparkly items.

MOB spent all day with Franc & Eddie-Wedding Planers, Floral geniuses & decorating gurus-even bride is pleased. Off to buy 30 dz roses!

What this MOB won't do for her bride! I braved the evil empire-Walmart-to buy miles of pearls, crystals, & Gary needed socks!

MOB Word of the Day: BELLICOSE: inclined or eager to fight; aggressively hostile; belligerent. Example: "To get wedding vendor on task, MOB had to bring out the bellicose Personality".

I just bought cottage cheese & the exp. date will last longer than my daughters single life! MOB panic in isle 4, wedding is in 13 days!

FOB-Gary made the best ice cream pie to date: Keepler chocolate crust, Ben & Jerry peanut butter Ice Cream, Nutter Butter cookies, Hagen Das chocolate Ice Cream with Smuckers hot fudge! He is a decadent desert designer- & I love that!

Reviewed the movie "9" and Frankie & Lola's cafè in Morro Bay. Both executed with creativity & perdition. Perfect pancakes & animation.

MOB Nevous Breakdown Level: Orange. Just found out the coveted and ohhhh so expensive "chair covers" may not fit the venues chairs. Final count down of guests jumped to more than we have seats for(I told the Bride she could eat outside, she... didn’t find it funny)and wedding planners can’t find the right shade of branches for the centerpieces. The wine being stored in my garage is no longer safe from this MOB.

MOB question of the day: Is it appropriate to kill ones husband 10 days before the wedding? Or will maiming do?

Every mother generally hopes that her daughter will snag a better husband than she managed to do...but she's certain that her boy will never get as great a wife as his father did.
MOB Nervous Breakdown Level: White. Bride has 8 days to find white shoes- & it's after Labor Day! Bedazzled Cons is my suggestion.

To MOB friends: Thank you all and we are doing all this stressing and planning so the day will be priceless! We do have a unique situation in that she works at my store (thus held hostage together 6 hours every day) and she has a bun in the oven. It will be beautiful and fun, even it I have to kill people to make it happen :-)

Any wedding goes thru stages: enthusiasm, complication, disillusionment, argument, bewilderment, decoration & finally cake & champagne.

MOB scouring the town for vintage cutlery since 8am. Me & Z's provided a welcome reprive, excellent food & margaritias. Even FOB is sated.

Can someone suggest an appropriate gift for MOB to give bride at shower? Lingerie & toys just feels weird.

MOB review of Joe's Place & Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs this thursday in Tolosa Press. It is foggy with a chance of Pancakes in Pismo

MOB breakdown level:Orange. 6 days till wedded bliss & so much to do! It's lists, beauty prep & deep breaths(& keeping MOB out of the wine)

MOB is in Bliss. After 6 weeks of planning daughters wedding (5 days away)MOB & FOB engage in adults gymastic activites for stress release. LIG

MOB nervous breakdown: Liver. I bought enough liquor to take down lg country. Guests at wedding will be sloppy happy. Anti-DUI bus booked

MOB Nervous Breakdown Level: Green! Looked at my bank balances- weddings are expensive! I'm enforcing the "no return" policy with son-in-law

MOB Nervous Breakdown Level: Yellow. Spent so much time at Dollar Tree, they have my picture on each register. God bless bridal stuff that's $1.00. Now if only they sold champagne!

MOB nervous breakdown level: Red- brides eyebrow wax caused breakdown. Grooms suit is fitted for a midget & MOB still can't breath in Spanx.

Glee is the only comfort & escape for this MOB! I freaking love this show. It's perfect brain candy. FOB now forcing me to watch South Park.

MOB nervous breakdown level: Green. 4 days to go & I'm so excited I can't sleep! It's all beauty, pick ups & coasting now. Family & friends are rolling into Pismo. It's going to be a gorgeous, fun & special event- I can't wait! My baby's getting married!

MOB Shout Out: I have the best friends in the universe. If I don't say it before, during or after the wedding- Thank you for your support, advice, wine, food, etc. Couldn't have done this without you!

MOB nervous breakdown level: GREEN: facial, hair do's & giggles calmed me down. World's best florist/designers have created wedding magic!

MOB nervous Breakdown Level- Orange: Wedding in 3 days, 2 employees out sick, brides hormones make opinions not safe. MOB's into the wine.

MOB-Last minute details, zillions of pickups, bachalorette party tonight. 1st time all famlies blend. Let's hope everyone plays nice. Fingers crossed.

MOB tramatized.Bachelorette party.Male strippers & my mother interacting have seared my eyes shut.Who knew men were bendy like that! Whoop!
September 26 at 12:33am

Teri Bayus ahhhhh. wedded bliss, what a perfect day! Everything was beautiful. Tired MOB slepping for one week! Pictures to follow.
September 27 at 10:28pm
From Cody : 7/27/09 8:00 pm
Thank u so much for today. No one that glamous of a wedding but u made it happen for me and ur daughter. It was unreal. That u so much i love u
My answer: That is so nice of you to say! I love you so much and happy to have you in the family!
From Britani: Okay sweet! BEST FUCKING WEDDING EVER! Everyone said so!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Vet Bills for Takoda

The cow dog is happy to round up sleeping seagulls and chase them back into the ocean. He would not hurt them and has proved on many occasions. When a sick bird drifted into the waves and ultimately to the shore to die, he pushes the bird with his nose back towards the water. In 10 years, I have never seen this dog hurt anything. The Malamute, Takoda is known to chases cats, or anything that runs. She also has a mind of her own and when we walk the beach, she goes to the edge of the beach to smell and see what the humans have abandoned. Once the sun sets and we can no longer see her, no matter the amount of pleading, threatening, begging, promising treats we do, she is on her own path. She magically appears, as we load the van with wet dogs and head home. We give her leniency for holding her hostage while we work in a 10 x 14 back yard. Takoda is our angel, our amusing dog that is perpetually shedding and a happy spirit welcoming everyone in the world with a wave of her paw.

Last night at the beach, she wondered as usual, only the few days she didn’t eat her food (always a cause for concern in a 120-pound dog), and then my husband said that aliens had been coming into the backyard stealing dog poop. With a simple Fruit Loop test, I knew where the problem lay.

The Fruit Loop test is a game where Gary takes cereal and lines it up on the table and flicks it at the dogs. They all lunge for it and gobble up the rainbow goodness. This game makes Gary howl with joy and the dogs rejoice in his glee. The next day, each of the dog’s leavings is a rainbow of color and being that the dogs are of considerable different sizes, it is easy to tell one from the other. This conversation happens nightly in our house, the color, consistency, amount, and texture of their poop. It is like a thermometer with the kids.

Bottom line was the Malamute size (colored or other) was non-existent. I give her my elixir of olive oil, mineral oil, and caster oil mixed with raw egg and rice ensuring movement within an hour. Two days went by with no movement and I was worried. I love this dog and would do anything to make her live as long as I do. We took her to the emergency vet, and was diagnosed with eating something toxic ( I am immediately blaming the kids for leaving pot or some other nefarious substance out). She flushed her subcutaneously and said to wait for it to all come out. Three days go buy and still nothing from the either end of Takoda.

I make an appointment with a new vet and she trots happily in (no matter what the agony Malamutes are always happy). He puts in a small room, takes her weight, vitals, and says he will be right back. While he is gone, all the home medicinal remedies I have been giving her explode out Takoda’s ass. Like a geyser it is coming in full force and she is running from it and so am I in a 4’ x 6’ room. The vet tech hears the screaming and comes to rescue us, but it is only rewarded by being covered in squirting dog excrement. We finally stop the geyser and get x-rays. We discover she has eaten a very dead and decomposing seal and that she has the worst case of salmonella poising the vet has ever seen. He flushes her, gives us $300 in pills to help, and sends us home. My dry cleaning bill was my responsibility.

Why you should never let a dog lick your face

We are walking the dogs along the beach and I notice that one seems to have something stuck to his behind. He has been in and out of the water, so I figure it is just some seaweed. The white version of seaweed keeps poking its ugly head from my dog’s ass and we argue about whom should take a closer look. Being Mommy and well versed in things coming out of asses and removing them, I lose the argument. The last time the dog barfed on the carpet during Thanksgiving dinner, I picked it up as our friend commented, “Thank God there is a Mommy here, no one else would pick that up”.

I raised the dogs tail while threatening his life if he moves. I realize that the protruding object is a Tampon. A used tampon, eaten, and digested that is trying to free itself from his ass. This is too vulgar to imagine and yet it is there in front of my eyes. I can imagine the dog stepping on the garbage can peddle to poach this thrown away delight. I have to breath deep not to vomit in my mouth.
I explain what it is to my husband and another argument launches about whose responsibility it is to remove the cotton soak gross thing from our dog’s butt, as it clearly is not leaving of its own accord as he has been running down the beach in and out of the waves for an hour.
An environmental argument also erupts on how to dispose of the disgusting anal blockage once I have achieved my goal. I finally corral the dog and remove the third-time-used offender into a plastic bag.
This story is too gross to share with anyone, though I get great pleasure from doing just that when unsuspecting clients ask me how my weekend was.

Our dogs at the Beach

We have two very different dogs that we take to the beach every night. We do not have them on a leash, because I would never put a nose around someones neck that I love. One is Austrian Sheppard (Tripper) the other is a Malamute (Takoda) who lives for the olfactory pleasures. She wants to sniff every morsel of sand as is her nose can tell her who was on this beach twenty years ago and twenty minutes ago and that is her purpose. She is a Northern Breed and ornery she must keep just our of our sight so we abruptly turn every few minutes to see if we can spot her white tail curled up and leaning slightly to the left. She cares not for the water, preferring to keep her dainty paws dry while the other dog’s surfs the biggest waves.

Each night as we wind down with the dogs as they search every inch of beach for a scrap of food left by wayward tourist. They are not on leashes. We are breaking the law. We watch the sunset as we keep an eye out for tourists with foo-foo dogs and beach patrol cops.

When the walk is over and we climb the stairs to the surfer showers. These are primitive cleaning facilities, mostly long poles with multiple showerheads spaced around it for the surfers to wash the sand off their wet suits and boards. The dogs know the location of the lowest showerhead and after a race up the stairs (all dogs think that stairs are raceways) they stand their panting and waiting for me to push the button so they can drink of the fresh shower water. They bite at the water and it usually means I get more water on me then they do in their mouths.

I am there for the sound of the waves, the joy in the dogs face. When the word Beach is uttered in our home and healthiest form of exercise known to man. Walking the beach, feeling the breeze off the ocean, hearing the whale’s breach and dolphin’s blowhole is the only gym for me. No membership fee required, just the smell of wet dog forever embedded in my car.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Amazing Grace

Seeing as many movies as I do and existing in an idyllic life with a great husband, living in paradise and the kids grown, my mind tends to wander to romantic situations. (This may have been heightening by the fact that I spent the last three weeks in bed and stumbled across Soap Opera’s for the first time in 20 years). My husband took such good care of me while I was sick, when a glimmer of hope that I might survive inducted itself into my brain, I wanted to thank him in the most romantic way possible. I did not want it to be just a regular gift, I wanted something that would ring out to the whole universe how much I love him and the gratitude I felt for him running my life, store, businesses, and etc. while I blew threw boxes of Kleenex.

My answer appeared before me as I picked up my prescription from Von’s. Parked next to me was a car sign for a professional bagpipe player. I called the number immediately, and although he was visiting from San Francisco, he agreed to meet us on the end of the Pismo Pier at sunset and play Amazing Grace.

An explanation is due here. Our very first time sailing was on a tall ship called the Yankee Clipper. At sunset, the Scottish captain called for the crew to raise the sails and as the wind filled each sail with a sound that reminded me of angel’s wings beating, he played Amazing Grace on the bagpipes. That magical moment has been seared into our heads. Everyday no matter what is going on; we stop what we are doing, go to the beach, and watch the sunset. I have Amazing Grace on Cassettes, CD and on my I POD, but never have I been able to produce a live performance.

So I picked Gary up at work at 5:30 and gave him a madcap story of how today was going to be a exceptional sunset (I told him a web of lies that included planets aligning and marine layers) and we were going to enjoy it on the end of the pier with champagne and treats. As we walked down the pier, he said over three times, all we are missing is Amazing Grace. At the perfect time, our bagpiper appeared dressed in full Scottish gear and began our song as the sun set. It was a perfect moment. Gary was so surprised and I trust it conveyed my deep love and appreciation for him. Everyone on the end of the pier loved the performance and we applauded not only for the bagpipes, but also for the sun.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Musical Evolution

During the course of a person’s adolecsants they will go through many musical phases including but not limited to: “awkward,” “classic rock,” and “being really into a foreign country.” Of these phases, there is only one that all people are required to go through before they can obtain their bachelor’s degree or acquiesce to a cubical ridden desk job. It is known as “Bob Marley.”

Depending on the coolness of the person, they can experience this stage anywhere between the sixth grade and their last year of college. Regardless of when they went through this phase, every person can tell you about the time when they had Legend on repeat. If you wish to test this theory, go to any floor in a College Dorm and there is a 100% chance you will find at least one Bob Marley poster.

At one point, my teens went thru 4 Bob Marley CD's, playing each into the ground with grooves and scratches so deep, no putty could revive them. This is also when skunks moved in next store, or so I thought.

It is also worth noting that people tend get into smoking marijuana during this phase. This is why all people view the combination of the two as one of the most pleasurable experiences on earth. But when people really want to take it to the next level they will combine Bob Marley, Marijuana, a long weekend and some sort of notable outdoor location (beach, cottage, or patio). There are few activities on earth that are more appealing. The only acceptable reasons for declining participation are a prior engagement at a music festival, preferably in the woods.

It’s also worth noting that when talking to people about Bob Marley there is no need to use his surname. This is because all refer to him simply as “Bob.” But be warned that a person saying they like “reggae” what they really mean is “reggae from 1965-1983.”

Since so many people are into Bob Marley, it is only natural for advanced musical people to profess to only marginally liking Bob Marley (note: it is impossible for a white person to outright dislike him). Instead, these people will claim to preferring more obscure artists like Burning Spear or Peter Tosh.

In Grenada our first trip, we asked every reggae band to play "Two Little Birds" and they laughed us into the ocean. Than is were we discovered, Bob was as American as Apple Pie. These born-with-a-steel-drum stick-in-their-hand guys would have rather played Dean martin, then Bob.

Note: if you are talking to a person who is really into Bob Marley, has dreadlocks, and professes to be a Rastafarian and skin is the color of snow white, you should end the conversation immediately. These people are of no value unless you need directions to a “save the (insert animal here) protest” or if you have wondered just how bad a human can smell.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Ghost Stories

The long lonely road from Reno to Vegas seemed to stretch on forever. Nine hours with two rowdy teens arguing over the imaginary line, that divided the back seat. This road is so desolate that the kids could not even play the alphabet game. There were no signs. The only game they found was to count the dead rabbits. The kids had done well the first 6 hours, but now were starting to chew through their straps in the back seat. I was having daydreams of ripping their limbs from their body and feeding them to the coyotes when my daughter saw the first road sign in over an hour.
“Gold Hill. I want to stop in Gold hill!”
“No way. That’s were that haunted hotel is.” Was my only reply?
“I’m not getting out of the car.” My son yelled.
“I am, I am going to catch a ghost.”
“You can’t catch ghosts, you idiot.”
“Enough you two.”
The town of gold hill loomed before us and the kids argued about capturing ghosts and whose side of the car they would sit. I needed a diet coke and a mental health break. I usually avoided this stop, because the Gold Hill Hotel scared me. I had visited when a child and the things that I remember felt more like a dream than reality. This fear I had of the hotel seemed so real. I had only driven past it on many occasions, never even slowing down, because it scared me to death. I couldn’t discern the fear, but the hair stood up on the back of my neck when I saw the sign Gold Hill, Nevada, population 86. We pulled into town and got on the main strip. As we pulled in front of the hotel, the dust settled on our car like a blanket of snow. The sun had set and the advancing twilight made the shadows play tricks on my eyes.
There was nothing in this town except a gas station, a bar and the Gold hill hotel. The town had once had the biggest population in Nevada, when gold was found in the hills (thus the name Gold hill). 1000’s of gold miners came to seek their fortunate in the middle of the Nevada desert. The hotel was the only standing structure after a fire burnt the town to the ground in 1920. The hotel was an eight story beautiful structure that had been the centerpiece for this bustling metropolis. After the town burned down, the hotel had gone through many owners, but all had left under mysterious conditions. It was documented to be haunted. Books had been written, TV shows produced and many a ghost busters had spent the night here only to leave with their tail between their legs.
“Mommy, tell us about your time at the hotel when you were a little girl,” my daughter begged.
“I hate that story”, my son retorted
“Scardy cat”
“Am not.”
“Am too.”
“Okay enough, I’ll tell it”. I yelled and jumped out of the car.
A chain link fence surrounded the hotel. Broken windows and shutters hanging made it look dead and cold. I was scared, but wanted to behave bravely in front of my kids. Fear this raw was hard to conceal.
My daughter jumped out of the car with her flashlight and headed around the back of the building, I called her back, but she was gone. My less than brave son, stayed close to me. I yelled and yelled for my daughter and was ready to panic when I heard her voice come from up above.
“Mom I got in. look at me mom, I am in the hotel.”
I was terrified seeing here hang out a third story window. “Get down here right now. It is dangerous in there.”
“No mom its fine. Come around the back and follow the steps up its cool.”
She disappeared into the hotel darkness.
My son clutched my sweater. “Mom we are not going in there are we?”
“We have to go get Chere.”
“Let here die up there, I am not going in.” I saw he wasn’t going to help so I started to crawl through the fence. “Than stay here.”
“By myself? No way.” He scrambled after me.
“I am going to get her, stay close.”
He followed close behind me, hanging on too my shirt, big brave man.
In the back of the hotel, a hole had been cut in the door. We went inside and had to boast each other up into the kitchen area of the hotel because the steps had rotted away.
I yelled for Chere, no answer. I was beginning to get scared.
We entered the main dining room. Dust consumed everything and ancient spider webs filled the corners. All the original furniture was still in the hotel, it surprised me that no one had pilfered the place. The upholstered chair cushions had become nests for mice. The bar stools had were turned upside down. In the main lobby, the grand piano stood inviting us to play it. The tattered curtains hung on all the windows and I could see my car headlights beaming in through the front windows.
Again I called for Chere, nothing.
Then a moaning came from the second floor. Up the grand staircase, we walked slowly, setting each foot down to test the sturdiness of the floor. My son was shivering and calling for his sister.
“You idiot, you had better not jump out at us, I am going kill you for making us come in here. Chere, where are you?”
The moaning was louder as we arrived on the second floor landing.
The doors to the rooms were all closed, just a long dark hallway stretch out before us.
I opened the first door and the scattering of bats made my son jump with surprise. But Chere was not in the room.
I could hear the moaning getting louder and couldn’t tell if it was her, or the wind through the broken windows.
After checking five rooms with nothing but the refuge from bums homesteading there, I began to get worried and mad. Where was she? Was she just trying to scare us, because if she was, she was doing a good job.
The last door was 812. The numbers swung sideways as I opened the door. It creaked and groaned as if it hadn’t been open in 50 years. Once the door was open, I took my flashlight to look inside. The minute we stepped in the room, my flashlight went out, the door slammed shut. I screamed and ran for the door. It was locked. It was happening again. My son started to scream. I hit the flashlight on my leg to try to jar it into working. Nothing. Pitch darkness and the sound of my son screaming. I remember the book of matches that were in my pocket and took them out. Desperately I tried to light one after another, but I was shaking so bad, the flames never materialized. Finally, with only one match left, a fire ignited. In a brief second of light, I saw my daughter mangled, dead and rotten hanging from a rope in the middle of the room. Her eyes wide open in terror and maggots crawling from her mouth.
I screamed, grabbed my son and ran for the door. It fell open with a powerful kick. I raced down the front stairs, through the lobby and slipped on the dusty floor of the kitchen. Out the back door, we jumped to the ground and ran. While passing thru the fence, my son got snagged on the chain link fence. All the while he was sobbing, “Did you see Chere, mom she was dead and old, what happened.”
I tore him free and sprinted for the car.
My mind worked on one thought; get to the safety of the car.
Once we were inside and I locked the doors, I grabbed my phone to call the police. When I swung my arm to the back seat to get the phone out of my suitcase. I saw my daughter, peacefully sleeping under her favorite blanket.
Was it a dream?
No, it was the hotel. It had done it again. But this time I had my sons torn shirt as proof. I grabbed his sister and she protested as to why I had woken her up.
She was fine. My son sat wide-eyed in the front seat.
“Mom can we get out of here?”
“Sure thing honey.”
I popped the car into reverse and laid a shower of gravel on the front of the hotel.
“Mom,” Chere said, “hey you were going to tell me about what happened to you at this hotel when you were young”.
“You do not want to know”, my son answered.
The hotel seemed to leer at us as we drove away.

My First Best Friend

Most of us are lucky enough to find life long friends as a child. I was not so fortunate. With divorced parents shuffling me back and forth, I had neither the time or self esteem to make friends. My grandmother became my best friend. She was my port in the storm, a calming, soothing force during the turmoil of my young life. I worshiped her. Even in her lingering ladylike state, she would sit in the mud and play Barbie's with me for hours. She knew how I longed for a playmate, but had the inability to find one my own age. We shared stories, secrets and games.
As I grew into adolescence's, she became too un-cool for me to "Hang" with, so she graciously took a back seat. She was always there with open arms when I came running back, so desperately needing a friend to talk with.
I married and traveled the world and still considered her my best friend, but distance weakened the bond. When I was pregnant with my first child, I again ran to her for instruction, sharing and a never-ending friend.
Cancer took hold of her and whisked her out of my life when I turned 25. It was then I felt I needed her most. I was devastated. Now friendless and alone, I tried to find friends to take her place. Even the Jehovah Witnesses that visited with their booklets on how to have a happy life, where considered for friends. Nothing took Nana's place. How could it?
In desperation and loneliness, I begin to believe that she was with me, an Angel looking down on my children and me. Protecting us from harm. I would talk to her at night, as I lie in my bed worried about what was right and wrong in raising my children. As the kids grew and so did myself esteem, I thought of her less and less. I took charge of my life and made my own decisions without council from anyone. I still felt lonely at times for a friend, but had no time to pursue friendships while raising kids.
As the kids entered adolescence's and I entered mid-life, I decided it was time to get some of my own interests. I took a writing class at the local college. I loved the class, the writing the assignments, the people. I started searching for writing groups to join.
I found a writing group in three ladies that shared the class with me. We couldn't have been four more different people, but our shared love for writing, bound us together from the first time we met. We didn't even write in the same genre. It didn't matter; somehow, the glue of writing and the possibility of friendship held us together.
I was the youngest in the group at 40 years old with teens ruling my life. I wrote mostly slice of life stories regarding these strange beings that used to be my precious children. My work was described as "edgy". I was opinionated, fast-talking, full of my writing and myself.

Betty was 76 years old, a successful business owner that had just finished a book on a local Indian tribe and was starting a cookbook with antidotes about the contributors. Her style was sweet, nonfiction and straightforward. I admired her instantly for the lack of filter between her brain and her mouth. She said what she thought with no regard for what anyone felt about it or her.

Nita was recently relocated from Washington, DC. Her husband had just retired from the Secret Service, and had bought a mountain in need of trees to fill his days. She was a special education teacher with a heart of gold. Nothing came out of her mouth that wasn't nurturing. She was writing mysteries and fictional facts about the people she had known in DC.

Kathy was closest to my age with three children in college. She was the personification of cosmopolitan. She had a French husband, had lived abroad, and drove a Jaguar. She was everything that class represented. Brilliant, she had decided to rewrite the book of Genesis; with her own fictional twists mingled with legend.

I thought for sure they would throw me out of the group the first time I read a story about a teen smoking a Hookah in my house. They didn't, they encouraged me, laughed, rolled their eyes at my work and taught me to edit.
At one point, no one can remember when or why, we began to call the group "The Angels". We consistently meet once a week at a local coffee shop to share our writing. We wrote together and discussed each other's lives and philosophies. I was addicted from the start. I lived for the five-hour meetings where we could argue, yell and then hug, laugh and make up. It was amazing. For the first time in my life, I had real friends. New to the sensation, it often frightened me. I was afraid of the group realizing I was not up to their caliber and throwing me out. It never happened. We were equals. So diametrically different in everything-we balanced each other. We taught each other and supported each other.
Each night I thanked God for these amazing ladies; now called friends. The Angels were in my life to stay.
One night as I dreamed of my Nana, I solved the puzzle of the Angels.
Nana was 76 years old when she died; she had a dog name Tina. She had owned a successful restaurant for 30 years. So did Betty.
Nana's real name was Nita. In her younger life, she was a teacher and married to a police officer. So was Nita.
Nana was small in build. Barely weighing 100 pounds. She had three children and was a patient, soft-spoken lady of class. So was Kathy.
Nana was with me in the incarnation of a writing group and three wonderful women now known as the Angles. She was still being the best friend anyone could have, even from the distance of heaven.

Friday, July 3, 2009

My Daughter is engaged!

Marrying for love may be a bit risky, but it is so honest that God can't help but smile on it.
My daughter went to Maui for her birthday and her sweet boyfriend asked for her hand in marriage! I am so excited, I like this boy, and this is my first chance to be a MOB (Mother of the Bride, or Monster, if I am a bitch). The night it happened, she called to tell me and asked me to be her maid of honor! I cried, it is such an honor when your grown daughter considers you a friend. She also asked Gary to walk her down the isle. He is her step father, but in her eyes the only man that has ever been really there for her.

When asked by her finance, what kind of wedding she wanted, she told him she dreamed of a wedding of elaborate elegance,
A church filled with family and friends.
She asked him what kind of a wedding he wished for,
He said one that would make me his wife.

They are going to be engaged for a year, and are planning a destination wedding.

I can barely stand not to plan every little detail for her. When people come into my store (where she is the manager) and she doesn’t immediately tell them she just got engaged or thrust her engagement ring into their face, I interject “Tell them, tell them!”

This is my favorite child, I know you are not supposed to admit that, but this one is the joy of my life. She is and has always been a good girl. A good girl with previously rotten taste in men. Past boyfriends have been nice, but losers. Men with no future or personal pride. This one is different. He is an entrepreneur, with big goals and he treats her like a princess. He comes from a good family (we have yet to meet them, but that what everyone says).

So we begin our year of love, joy, planning, and excitement. First we meet the parents, and hopefully not scare them away. I will try to be good and not say Fuck or drink too much wine.

Men marry women with the hope they will never change. Women marry men with the hope they will change. Invariably they are both disappointed.
-- Albert Einstein

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

My Michael Jackson Story

Since the passing of the Gloved One, many stories are coming out about sightings, paternity, drug use and much adulation.

As a teen girl in the early seventies, I adorned my walls with my idols. Fresh from the pages of Teen Beat, hung on my walls with pink pushpins where the smiling faces of David Cassidy, Bobby Sherman, and Michael Jackson. It never occurred to me that Michael was a different skin tone. My father on the other hand, being raised in Oakland California was acutely aware of skin tone. He did not approve of any boys learing at his daughter over her vanity much less one with an Afro. There were many loud arguments at the table over mushy peas regarding my inability to marry and worship Michael Jackson.

After a year he acquiesced my love for Michael and for my birthday requisitioned tickets to see The Jackson Five at Harrah’s Tahoe in the winter of 1974. My father’s profession was that of an institutional food salesman, and he did his job well. The hospitality department of the big casinos welcomed into their kitchens and helped him land these rare tickets. The whole family was slated to go, but no one was more excited than me.

We were poor white children, so when we had formal events, my mother made us dresses. This was a point of pride for me when I was younger, but as the teen years took hold they bacame a major embarrassment. Mother was not aware of my loathing for home made clothes, as I would just have friends bring extra clothes when forced to sport my Simplicity pattern and change in their car.

My mother made us matching dresses, with identical patterns, only the colors were different. Three little beauties. They were floor length, with a large row of ruffles down the chest, a bow in the back and a high scoop neck. They were Little House On The Prairie meets Annie. I hated them. The night of the concert, I threw a fit supreme as only can be done by a 13-year-old girl. No one understood why I didn’t want to wear the dress my mother labored until 3 am to finish. My father took a firm hand, and I dawned the dress and a major frown.

We were greeted at the door by friendly maître d' who gave us a table right next to the stage. He was a fan of my fathers, so we got the VIP treatment. The table was shared by Mrs. Jackson, Latoya and Janet (then 5 years old) and their manager, Billy Preston. The show was beyond breathtaking and my eyes never left the teen idol and I mentally vowed to remember every dance step. At the end of the show, they announced they would be releasing the new single “Dancing Machine”

The fog covered the stage, multi color lights roamed the proscenium and Michael stepped out. I held my breath as he danced and sang his way around the floor. I had never seen anyone move like that. After one go around of the song, the Jacksons came to the edge of the stage and started bringing girls from the audience up on stage to dance with them. I watched with envy.

Then Michael walked to the edge of the stage and held a hand out to me. I hesitated, and then froze; there was no way I was going to get on that stage in this homemade monstrosity! I knew that if Michael saw me in this dress, he would never want me. The other girls on stage were all dressed in sequins and short skirts. My mother pushed from behind, my father told me to get my ass up there. I was immobilized; Michael shook his head, took his hand away and moved to the girl at the next table. I cried all the way home.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Puppy Sitting

We have been on “puppy detail” for 5 days now. Our daughter went to Maui for her birthday and we got to watch the 10-week-old Malamute puppy, Nugget. He is beyond cute, smart, and rambunctious. He eats every two hours and chews on EVERYTHING! Legs of chairs, carpet, logs, nozzels, the wood floor, toilets, fireplaces, towels, socks, antique vases, couch, trays, you get the idea. Im going to be buffing puppy marks out of my life for years.

The first night he peed once in the house, but instantly knew that was bad. Gary did the smart thing and showed him (by example) how to pee in the back yard. Yeah, the neighbors love us.

He cried for two hours by our bed, and then I put him out and shut the door. Then he howled as only a Malamute can do while scratching the paint off the door. I finally gave up and put him in bed with us. Sensing victory, he circled twice and then jumped off the bed and went right to sleep.

Our older dog, Tripper was not pleased with this invader and growled non-stop for two days. Then he acquiesced and began to play with him. Now the puppy follows the senior member of the dog staff everywhere, latching onto his tail, and sniping his food. I believe if we leave the front door open, Tripper will leave and never come back.

He has never been left alone, so even taking a shower produced the essential lonely howl. We took him to work and there, he slept. I did get to walk him all around our little town, saying hi to the other shopkeepers and he only shat on three lawns.

But he is so cute and full of personality, we want to spend every moment watching him. We also want his mom to come back soon, so we can sleep and get the carpets removed. We have fun with the camera trying to pose him for a “bad boy” shot to shock his mom, so we won’t be the first call she makes when needed a babysitter. We are going to make fabulous grandparents.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

A farwell

There comes a time in each mother’s life when she must say goodbye to her child. Sometimes it is an obvious form; they pull out of the driveway with a car loaded with posters, clothes, and college dreams. Or they are whisked away by a new love under the veil of hurdled rice as they begin to make a life together as husband and wife. Or sensing it is the right thing to do, he dresses in uniform and leaves to go defend his country. However, mine was not so obvious of a split. I did say goodbye as he drove away in his truck to experience the big city, then again when the police took him away for a crime he committed to himself. I said a hysterical goodbye when the ambulance turned on the red lights and sped away.

But he returned, thankfully. He is back, but living a life I don’t understand. My roll is to support him, yet not enable. I am to help him with sobriety, but not life. These lines are nearly impossible for a mother to distinguish. This was the child I carried in my body for 9 ½ months, how can I leave him in his time of need? But his recovery almost depends on his mother saying goodbye. Saying he can handle this. Seeing that he has always marched to a different tune, always been different, always lived life on his terms. He can do this, he has the skills. He doesn't need me or need to worry about me.

He was born of a 7-generation circus performer and a wanderer. His parents are so different, he was never able to explain what we did to his teachers (and we certainly weren’t invited to parents night). He spent the first year of his life on the road, eating most meals in the front of the truck. His heritage is different, his parents are entrepreneurs. Our home was never a “Beaver” type of place. It makes sense that he is unusual.

I must remember that even his birth was difficult. He refused to turn his head, so he could move thru the birth canal. The doctor moved it in to position, only to have him move it back. This first act of defiance nearly killed both of us. At 18 months, he took to taking the screens off the window and escaping out of the house, so that he and his dog could “be alone.” At three, he got in my car, popped it into gear, and drove away. Standing on the seat squealing with glee as he hit other cars. At four, he began to runaway from the house, and when I caught him and brought him home, I would lock him in his room. He would scream out his top story window to the horrified neighbors below that I was killing him.

He was different from the others, always the entertainmer, the muse, rabble-rouser and dare devil. He drove teachers insane. They lashed out at him and told him he was stupid, not normal. I fought the battle for him, to prove he was special. Ultimately he needs to see for himself just how special, smart, and wonderful he is.

My therapist says that children instinctively know when a parent lets them go. Then they become adults, functioning on their own. He feels the pull to be my son, as much as I feel the pull to mother him. We must leave each other in these rolls, and come back together to have an adult relationship.

I know she is right. I feel the weight of his recovery wearing on my soul. I am becoming angry that he is not filling in that picture I had painted for him. I must see him as he is, living his life on his terms, with no regard for what I want. He will be happy, I may not understand, but his soul will be thriving and driving. His Mommy won’t be giving him a ride.

My dear son, I love you, respect you, and wish you a life of happiness, no matter how you chose to spend that life. I am here for you when you need me, but its time for you to fly.

Friday, June 19, 2009

To My Father


What possess a man to give up his blissful and quite bachelor paradise to move into a house and marry a women with two children? What posses that man to nurture and love these ornery, orphan girls, no matter what kinds of trials and tests they throw at him. What possess a man to give up that great car and other decadent bachelor possessions to finance swim lessons, dance lessons, girls scouts, horses, ski lesson, rainbow girls, and prom after prom? And what possess a man to give his wife yet another beautiful baby girl to entertain and amuse the family. There is no logical explanation - just love -- pure uncomplicated love. It started first with his wife. She was easy to love. Sweet and beautiful, always a smile on her face and a song (usually Elvis) in her heart. Despite the girls reluctance to love a man again, because the one they had first called Daddy had left and never came back, they grew to love the him. He taught them it was safe and good to love a man. He taught them that real Daddies stay - no matter how rotten the girls were to him. He had to be strict and mean - but he always loved and they always knew it.

Children never realize this until they are parents themselves. They remain perpetual rebelling teenagers. Complaining about what they didn’t have and how strict their parents were----- until that magical day when their own children look them in the eye and scream “I hate you, you are so mean!”

Or when they too have introduced a step-father into their children’s lives. Then they see a man struggling to fit in, survive and teach these ungrateful children about life. They watch, (as Wives), the sacrifices and heartache their new husband experiences trying to love and guide these kids that are afraid to love a man. The Wife finally sees what kind of man it takes to stick with the unpaying, expensive, and difficult job of being a Step-Dad.

So Dad, I thank you for the love, the patience, the hope and most of all the perseverance that you have consistently showed me. No matter how rotten I was.

You are a HERO and I LOVE YOU!!!!
Happy Fathers Day

Monday, June 15, 2009

Human resources at its finest!

Employees SUCK! I have been a boss for most my adult life and there are times I want to kill those people I write a weekly check too. Somehow, I always am sucked into their lives, dramas, and problems. Then I know too much and I am not as hard on them. They become people and not just tools. I like them better as inanimate objects that help me make money.

I finally have some momentum on my writing; website almost done, novel off to editors, producers finally settled on the ages of the kids in the screenplays, Video projects booked. This is me loving life. Then the employees start to revolt.

Two of them became roommates, a big mistake, I told them at the time. They are now at war. Problem is, my kind of business is completely service orientated, so wars means less customers, less customers, means less money and now I can’t pay my editor or web master.

I was highly emotional today and almost fired everyone. My husband insisted that I stay at home and calm down. So I’m texting, blogging, and twittering about the suckage of my staff. He can keep me home, but can’t keep me quiet!

I long for the day I can replace everyone with a computer. When it acts up, reboot. When it quits being effective, replace. I never gave a shit who my laptop was dating. Or maybe we can train dogs to wait on people. I would much rather give my dog a weekly paycheck. At least I know he is not spending all his money on Ganja.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Today is my Anniversary


My husband and I were married at lunch. In the middle of a fight.
We were screaming at each other over important issues like trash receptacles and toothbrush caps and it had been going on for three days.
I had spent the night at my sisters, avoiding killing him. He came into my work the next day with flowers and an apology via Hallmark. I told him that it was nice, but we had to figure out why were fighting so much and we would talk about it after work. He started screaming, said he was leaving me and stomped out.

I was confused, devastated and pissed. I ran out of my office teary-eyed and drove to his business. I slammed in the door and started yelling and throwing trophy's at him. His mechanics hid in the back.
As I threw a trophy at him. He ducked, put his hands on his hips and declared, "I want you to marry me".

I screamed, “That’s no way to win a fight!”
“I’m serious.” Cowering in the corner.
“You’re nuts.” I threw another trophy at his head.
“I want to get married and I want to do it now!” I stopped throwing.
He tucked his hands under his armpits and flapped around like a chicken.
“What are you, afraid? Chicken, buck, buck, buck? Don’t you love me? Buck, buck, buck.”
“Fine,” I screeched. “Let’s go get married.”
Since we lived in Nevada, this proposal was entirely possible. We jumped in the car, slammed the doors and drove to the courthouse. He threw his drivers license at the clerk and asked how much to get married. $30.00 later I thought it was just a license and at any time he would end this charade and say never mind.
We got the license in 15 minutes and scooted over to a tacky chapel across the street. My soon-to-be husband marched in and announced to a balding Elvis that he was going to marry us, “How much to marry us right now?”
“30 Bucks, Dude.”
I grabbed his arm and took him outside. I explained to him that I was not going to get married again unless it was forever and we needed to talk about this (since in three years together, it had never come up). He said that we needed to do it now, before we chickened out and that our lives would always be intertwined and our love unstoppable. I was awed, but not convinced. He started flapping his arms and bucking like a chicken again. I yelled, “Fuck it, lets get this done, I have to go back to work.”

The ceremony took 5 minutes and we did not have a ring so we used a twist tie from the rolled up marriage certificate. They snapped a Polaroid of us and we look astonished and trampled.
One the way back, we stopped at a sleazy hotel (Fantasy Inn) that featured theme rooms. We had $25.00 between us, but told the clerk the story and she took pity on us and gave us the Cave Room. We consummated the marriage and returned to work. Stunned I sat at my desk. My secretary came in and asked me what I did for lunch. I told her she wouldn't believe me.

We got home that night and told the kids we got married, but they refused to hear it and we set a date for a month later. After putting the kids to bed that night, we snuck out of our own house and back to the Cave Room. My best friend had decorated the bed with champagne and letters I wrote to her swearing I would never marry this man. We snuck back in the house the next morning and got the kids ready for school.

My assistant had Cerebral Palsy and felt she would never be married, so she asked to plan the entire event, I happily handed it over to her. She picked out everything and did most of it for trade for advertising. We were married at the MGM because I wanted to be photographed on the Grand Staircase, the one from Gone With The Wind. We had dinner at the top of the Hilton, Gary made everyone order desert first. Then the whole wedding party went to see Legends in Concert where the Madonna look-a-like took Gary up on stage and molested him. The evening ended at 5:00 AM with me dancing on a bar at a dingy bar to the sound track of Grease. They had never had a bride dance on the bar and it sounded like a good idea at the time. Luckily, someone had film left. All these years later, we are the happiest couple in the world.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Why I love Sharks- a Sailboat Adventure

We spent that last year refurbishing our sailboat at 33 foot Yorktown sloop. Her name was Options. We did most the work ourselves and put our life savings into the project. I placed it on Craig list today for free.

First, a brief history. We bought the boat after drinking a bottle of Patron at the seaside sailors bar. A surfer who lived aboard her, was leaving for six months on a surf trip to Bali. He complained he only had $50.00 in his pocket and no idea what to do with the boat. My husband, Gary, told him how much HE had in his pocket and we stumbled to the end of the pier, took a wet ride and viewed her in the dark.

We were so excited, our floating palace in the ocean where we could hide from the kids and chill. She was an old sloop, and a surfer had called her home for over two years, so we scrubbed and cleaned. Although the intent was to relax, Gary saw her as nothing more than a huge "to do" list, a whole in the water where we threw money.

For four years we worked and argued about every aspect of the boat. I had no problem drinking myself into a coma and reading Twain, but Gary felt the pressure to make her "right". When a vessel resides in the ocean, she is never right.

After battling seagull shit, hawks, seals, pirates, sacrificial anodes, and a laundry list of things we fixed, broke, replaced and ignored, we pulled her out of the water to completely refurbish her. The hope was that my husband would finally relax and enjoy Sailing......

Two years and every ounce of our savings went into to making her perfect. We spent every weekend, sanding, painting, replacing and arguing. We never argue in daily life, but something about this vessel, made us disagree on EVERYTHING. With literally every aspect of her new, but her name, we put Options back in the water.

Each year around this time a bunch of seals, come to Avila harbor to feed. Usually they are taken care of by the natural food chain and the sharks eat them. The sharks are not here for some reason. Seems the seals have a better PR campaign then the sharks. The Sharks are being used for McFish sandwiches.

The seals used to hang out on our working dock (which was 20 feet off the pier) and the tourist loved to see them frolic about. When we needed fresh water or electricity, we moved the sailboat there and have to frighten the seals off the dock. They don’t scare easily and usually poking was necessary which caused the tourist to complain about the cute little seals being harmed by big mean sailors. Harbor patrol put a fence around the working dock, thus giving us a reprieve from seal feces every time we needed water.

My two favorite stories of the working dock happened on our first trip there. It is terrifying to sail a 33-foot vessel and bring it to a halt against a wooden platform in the middle of the rocking ocean. I would make my husband drive, and as he approached, my job would be to jump off the bow and scare the seals away so I could use the cleats to tie up the boat. First time, I jumped off on to a 3-foot round pile of seal shit. The line got into the poop also, so after I secured the boat, I was covered in seal feces. The seals kept jumping onto the dock, no matter how many times you poke them. It took two bottles of Antibacterial soap to get the smell off my body.

While I was taking an outdoor shower, another boat pulled up on the other side and a dog (terrier) came leaping off the boat barking and going after the seals. The dog latched on to one of the seals back flippers. The seal squawked and plunged into the ocean. We watched in horror as the minutes ticked off and finally the little dog popped up and swam to the dock. He was in shock, but fine and never barked at a seal again.

The harbor gave the seals an old working dock, but they are ignoring it and choosing to take over the sailboats. On Monday morning, around 6 AM, the Harbor patrol called and told us there was 20-30 seals on our boat and it was going to sink. He had scared them off, but they just got right back on. We had an hour to get to the boat and fix our seal problem. They had already sunk six boats in the harbor.

We grabbed our dingy and went out to sea to save our sailboat. We brought an unsuspecting friend who thought that a day on the ocean might be more fun than work. As we approached the boat, 20 seals greeted us. Our job was to get them off one at a time, because if they all went at once, the boat would tip and sink. We poked with broom handles and made big noises. They were not frightened or even inconvenienced. Finally, the slingshot Gary has been dying to use came in handy and we pinged them off one at a time. As I grabbed the side of my boat to come on board, I placed it in a 4-inch deep pile of seal shit. Our friend was ready to leave then.

Harbor patrol gave us the run down. We had to clean all evidence of the seals off the boat, move it to another mooring, and put construction fencing around it to keep them off. Meanwhile, keep them from coming on board and eating us. He expalined that this is not a job for harbor patrol to do.

The only way to keep them off is to wash off all their smell (a snot like substance that went 4-feet up my mast and covered my boom), hair (who knew seals had hair?), and mountains of seal dodo. To clean, we had to dunk a bucket into the ocean that is tied to a rope, pull up the heavy ass water around 12 feet, then spread it around with brooms. All the while, the boat is rocking in the ocean. We did this around 500 times.

We were advised we should round up all the seal hair (that is a fine small hair that attaches to everything) and shit. Then we were to take it to the seal dock. This was to try persuading them to sleep, fight, defecate, and make baby seals there. The hair stuck in every crevice and did not come off easily, if at all.

After the first round of cleaning, we had to move the boat to another mooring (at a cost of $16 per day) because even clean they would get back on it, and then surround it in construction fencing.

Harbor patrol has a great little pamphlet on how to get and keep seals off your boat, it is mostly bullshit. The gory details are that my boat was completely ruined with seal shit (imagine rotten fish in a broth of baby puke)and seal hair. They broke all our stainless steel rails and cables and most of our rigging. One was kind enough to projectile shit into my bathroom thru a broken window (which he did with his flipper).

The only way to get the seal smell and shit off the boat is with bleach, which is illegal, so we had to hide the 20 bottles of bleach we used. It burned holes in the top or our feet and I am sure Gary and I will not have finger prints for a while.

After 6 hours of moving around bleach and seal shit (and did I mention the hair?) we tried to move the boat to the working dock to spray her down with fresh water. Half way there, our motor quit (here’s the funny part) as it was clogged with seal shit. As we drifted thru the harbor, dinging off other boats because our sails were stowed and the anchor was not attached. We speared the bow sprite of a fishing boat, tangling our new mast and rigging with his boat. Lots of screaming and cussing occurred. At this point my husband quit, gave me the boat and began to pout.

The Sea Taxi came and towed us to the guest mooring; where we spent four more hours hauling seawater up with a bucket and killed an entire reef with bleach (don't tell anyone). We put the orange construction fencing around our boat, a very attractive look, which means it is unusable until the seals leave, no date yet on when that will happen. Then we watched the seals climb aboard a million dollar yacht and destroy it.

The smell was so bad; we had to throw away everything we were wearing. Even the shoes.

I had dreams of clubbing seals all night. My husband still won’t talk to me, even after I serviced him in the shower. We had to take three showers to feel clean and now all I smell is bleach.

Did I mention that the dingy had to be slung in and out with a crane over the ocean into a surging surf? Did I mention that our van died on the way out of the harbor and we had to replace the dead battery? Did I mention that I had to repeatedly fight 1500-pound seals off while we cleaned? They are like bears, nothing scares them. Did I mention that if a seal bites you, they have bacteria in their mouth that we have no known cure for and the limb must be amputated? Did I mention that I am giving the boat away?

Harbor patrol are doing everything they can, we just need a seal-hunting season. I didn’t get pictures, but should have. The best part is during all this, my producer from Hollywood called me, and I couldn’t take the call or my IPhone would always smell like seal shit. Yes, this is my life.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

55 Word Fiction Contest

Each year I enter the 55 Word Fiction Contest that is held by the local paper. I won a couple of years ago, but haven't placed since. This year I have two entries so far. I used to toil at these stories for hours, but after "Twittering" for the past two months, getting my thoughts concise was not as hard. Here are my entries:

Boy Lost
by Teri Bayus

I raised him to be a good boy, but the Judge says he isn’t.
I cheered at baseball, gymnastics, spelling bees.
Drugs won.
What is a mother to do, her job done – yet, not?
I guided for 25 years, now it’s called enabling.
Ala-non says one day at a time.
A son is lost.

By Teri Bayus
Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Chat, IM, Email, Blog, Telephone, Voice Messages.
Many ways Not to connect with each other.
We keep in touch and do not touch.
When was the last time you:
Invited the neighbor over for coffee?
Took your daughter for lunch to talk?
Looked in your mothers’ eyes to state, I love you?

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Find New Maids

Read at your own peril.

Here’s how the conversation went:

“Mrs. Teri, when we vacuum your room, we sucked up big black straps that were attached to bed. Vacuum no like, so we turn over and pull straps out.”
Me: AuuuHoooo
“Then my wife, good Christian lady, get down on floor to help pull straps out. Under bed she reach and pull out pink plastic missile. She scream.”
Me: “Ummm, let me explain.”
“No Mrs. Teri, no needing to splain. We can’t clean your house no more. Games you and Mr. play, my wife no like. Glass vase with hoses and holes down sides, we not like either.”
Me: “But you clean my toilets better than anyone! What will I do?”
“Find new maids with big brush, and open mind.”

So I am looking for new maids that don’t mind the Hookah collection or the relaxation techniques empty-nesters employ.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Life Backwards

The most unfair thing about life is the way it ends. I mean, life is tough.
It takes up a lot of your time. And then you die. What's that? A bonus? I think the life-cycle is all backwards.

You should die first and get it all over with.
Then you live in an old age home.
You get kicked out when you're too young.
You get a gold watch.
You go to work.
You work forty years until you're young enough to enjoy your retirement.
You do drugs, alcohol and party.
You get ready for high school.
You go to grade school and become a kid.
You play. You have no responsibilities.
You become a little baby & go back into the womb.
You spend your last nine months floating...
Then, you finish off as an orgasm.

Friday, May 22, 2009

My Lessons

21 Rules for Living:

ONE. Give people more than they expect and do it cheerfully.

TWO. Marry a man/woman you love to talk to. As you get older, their conversational skills will be as important as any other.

THREE. Don't believe all you hear, or spend all you have.

FOUR. When you say, "I love you," mean it.

FIVE. When you say, "I'm sorry," look the person in the eye and mean it.

SIX. Be engaged at least one year before you get married.

SEVEN. Believe in love at first sight.

EIGHT. Never laugh at anyone's dreams. People who don't have dreams
don't have much.

NINE. Love deeply and passionately. You might get hurt but it's the only
way to live life completely.

TEN.. In disagreements, fight fairly. No name calling.

ELEVEN. Don't judge people by their relatives.

TWELVE. Talk slowly but think quickly.

THIRTEEN. When someone asks you a question you don't want to answer,
smile and ask, "Why do you want to know?"

FOURTEEN. Remember that great love and great achievements involve great

FIFTEEN. Say "bless you" when you hear someone sneeze.

SIXTEEN. When you lose, don't LOSE the lesson

SEVENTEEN. Remember the three R's: Respect for self; Respect for others;
and responsibility for all your actions.

EIGHTEEN. Don't let a little dispute injure a great friendship.

NINETEEN. When you realize you've made a mistake, take immediate steps
to correct it.

TWENTY. Smile when picking up the phone. The caller will hear it in your

TWENTY-ONE. Spend some time alone and write. Someone will find it one day and be inspired.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Mile High Club

Traveling can be the best part of the trip if you are married and looking for romance on the road. Traveling can give you precious time alone together with no phone ringing, interruptions, kids yelling, and cats screaming to be fed. With our busy lives, my husband and I had to schedule romantic time together (Tuesdays between 8:00 PM and 10:00 PM). However, when traveling, held hostage by the mercy of airlines, traffic, trains or buses, a magic time can happen between two consenting adults.

My husband and my first trip away together came as a surprise. We suddenly had two weeks off from our business and children (why is a whole other story). We found out on a Sunday. I combed the phone books looking for an open travel agent. I found a sweet older lady who had recently retired, got bored and opened her own travel agency. She went to work planning an impromptu vacation to the Caribbean. She was amazed at how easy the reservations went, everything I wanted was available at the price I could pay. She booked us to leave on Tuesday. As I was leaving, she snickered and said, “Don’t forget to join the Mile High Club.”
“What is that?”
She smiled over her computer and explained, “The Mile High Club is when married people make love on the plane while in the air.”
“How do they do that?” I asked, still in Mommy mode.
“You get creative.”
I left with tickets in hand, pondering the possibilities. I made the mistake of mentioning the Mile High Club to my husband, who soon became obsessed with it.
“No, not ever, no way, don’t even ask.” Was my response.
Off to the Caribbean we flew and had a great time. No mention of the Mile High Club on the way there.
On the second to last day of the vacation, with too much blood in his rum stream, my husband decided it was a great idea to jump off a local waterfall. He stripped naked like the native boys and launched off a 150-foot waterfall. His spine connected with a rock on the way down breaking his two bottom vertebrae. With only a M.A.S.H. unit available and nothing stronger than an aspirin anywhere in site, we booked a flight home and dosed him with natural painkillers and more rum. I thought the Mile High Club idea was gone for good when he couldn’t even put his seat and tray in an upright position at take-off.
The last leg of the flight was overbooked, so we sat five rows apart from each other. After the captain turned off the seat belt sign, I was passed a note from my injured Hubby, instructing me to meet him in the back bathroom for my induction in the Mile High Club. Knowing I was truly dealing with an insane person, I ventured back for this impossible task. He convinced me it was the only painkiller that would work. We got creative.
Suddenly there was a knock on the bathroom door. I panicked and told him to leave first, and that I would follow five minutes later. He left, I counted to 60 five times and opened the door. To my horror, there were around thirty people standing in line for this bathroom. Thirty people who saw my husband come out first. Thirty people I had to pass and say, “Excuse me” to get back to my seat. Thirty people who gave me the hairy eyeball. With my face beet red and about to die from embarrassment, I passed my husband’s seat. He looked up, smiled and shouted, “Thanks, Mam!

He had a ball telling my sweet little travel agent the story. I will never fly that airline again as I am sure my picture is on each plane labeled as deviant.

So now, I consider myself an expert on romantic tryst while traveling. Here are some tips:

If you’re flying and in need of privacy, go to the back of the wide body plane, use the center row and lots of little blue blankets. On the other hand, if you can afford it, buy up the entire first class section. If the restroom is your only option, it will require gymnastic like maneuvers. The bathrooms for handicapped and mothers changing tables have the most room.
I have a friend who was a stewardess for Pam Am that used to fly between Japan and Hawaii. She tells of half the flight being full of honeymooners with no patience to wait for over threshold traditions. She would move them to the back and give the stodgy passenger up front headsets in which she played the movie at maximum volume.

If you are stuck in the airport for a long time and the romantic bug hits, I would suggest finding the Admiral’s Club. This will not only drive those dot com executives crazy, but will give you a break from the crowds. If that is not a possibility, go to the last gate in those long corridors. Make sure that no flight is expected for at least three hours. Go behind the airline check-in counter, as they are empty between arrivals and departures. My last suggestion is the most comfortable. Take the shuttle to the local Hilton, find the pool and have a great time. At least there he can buy you a drink and a sandwich at the bar afterwards.

If you are driving in the car, please pull over. No matter how exciting the idea may be, driving and loving is worse than drinking and driving. There should be a law. Rest stops usually have park like settings with proper trees and big bushes for cover. If you can’t wait, “30 miles to the next rest stop” then try a truck stop. Wedge the Honda between 18-wheelers and have at it. The truckers won’t mind, it gives them road stories.

Everything you ever needed to rekindle the romance in your marriage is on the road. So have fun, be creative and love well. Just remember you will have to explain to your daughter when she turns 18 why her name is “Lavatory”.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Martini Contest

I appeal to a small, select group of confused & disoriented and mostly drunk people. I dig that.

I was asked to be a judge in the Second Annual Central Coast Vodka Martini Shakedown contest for charity. This event was held last year at my favorite restaurant, Rosa’s and I had a ball…………….and a hangover for three days. It is held on a Sunday at noon, so I didn’t eat much before. This year, I got smart and loaded up on pancakes and eggs, to absorb all the alcohol. Here is how the contest works:
Ten of the areas best bartenders are brought in and given portable bars. They each make their own unique martini. The guests can drink as many martinis as they want and there is a huge spread of gourmet food and jazz music playing. There are silent auctions, raffles, and giveaways. It is a blast. It raised over $6,000 for the food banks. Drunks for food, how poetic. Charities benefactors were the Food Bank’s Back Pack Program and St. Patrick’s Outreach open cupboard food program.

As a judge, I am whisked into a sequestered room with 10 other people (this year there was only 8) and the waitresses bring us one martini at a time. We don’t know which bar is making which martini. With each martini, we have a recipe card, and we taste and judge them on creativity, presentation, tastes and aroma.
After four martinis we are all soused. We become our own private club, we argue and joke and have an enormously excellent time. Then we have to pick top three. Problem is that there is regular martinis, sweet ones and desert ones and they are hard to judge against each other. I put them into these categories for the drunken debacle the judges became:
1. This is what you would drink after having a bitch of a day and you just wanted to get hammered and forget it all.
2. This is what you would drink on a hot day or a Sunday brunch. It tastes like Kool-Aid but will totally fuck you up.
3. This is a drink you would have after dinner instead of chocolate cake.

The comments are hilarious, judges bit each other, spilled on each other and the photographer got some incriminating photos. We became instant friends, and friends like that last a lifetime or until the ice melts. We didn’t care, we were bound together with vodka and the awesome responsibility of picking the best drink.

Here are some of the recipes we tried:
*Charlie and the Chocolate Orange: made with Level Vodka, Cravella Orangecello, and Godiva Liqueur.
*Absolut Tropic-Tini: made with Absolut Raspberri, Hpnotiq, Champagne, Chambord and orange.
*Das Strawtini: made with Absolut Vodka, Cointreau, strawberry, lemon and sugar
*This-is-itini: made with Absolut Raspberri, Grand Marnier, Champagne, rasberries and sweet & sour.
*Ginger Moscato Martini: made with Absolut vodka, late harvest wine, ginger juice, ginger sugar, grapes, toasted almonds and grape juice. (this one was the most creative, it would have won if not for the ginger being too strong)
*Prickly Pear: made with Absolut Pear, Malibu rum, apple pucker, sweet & sour and pineapple juice. It had a sliced pear floating in it, a phallic looking fruit. The drink became known as the “vagi-tini”.

First place was Paula Nichols from The Quarterdeck (same girl that won last year, she cried, it was sweet). Her drink was a Toes In The Grass, made with Level vodka, cucumber, honeydew, simple syrup, and green tea. Garnished with a slice of cucumber.

Second place was a PedroTini made by Cathleen Moore of Gardens of Avila (a tribute to Pedro who just passed away) it was made of Absolut vanilla, Bodegas Dios Baco “Pedro Ximenez” Sherry, Frangelico and orange juice. The rim was covered in Cinnamon.

Third place was made by Stacey Ciordanengo and Kristina Evans of the Corner View Restaurant and Bar. It was a Wicked Wahini Martini made with Absolut mango, orange juice, sweet and sour, guava nectar, orange, and jalapeno. It had a candied lemon rind, dipped in chocolate as a garnish.

People’s choice was from Steamers of Pismo, Bartenders Jared Moore and Jay Britton. It was called an Apple Coconut Mojito Martini and was made with Absolut vodka, Malibu rum, apple pucker, lime, mint, 7-up and soda. It was garnished with peeled lime and mint. (This was my favorite)

The judges were Me (Teri Bayus, Food and Film Critic), Mary Ann Reiss, Mayor of Pismo Beach, Raine Ross, with St. Patrick’s Outreach, John Shoals, Mayor of Grover Beach, Evan Treadwell, Executive Chef from Lido and Steve Watson from Absolute (who passed out after trying all 10 martinis never to be found again HA-HA). Judges had too much fun and we were planning on all flying to Vegas together, but that was forgotten once the vodka wore off.

Rosa’s Rocks with amazing food like scallop Florentine, pesto pot stickers, shrimp, salmon and the most amazing stuffed and dipped strawberries (Gary ate 12). Delectable cheese and fruit plates complimented the martinis. The food was impressive and there was plenty to go around.

We stayed too long, I started mixing martinis and pretty sure I accepted a marriage proposal. But I pray that I am invited back next year to be a judge.