Friday, January 15, 2010

The Women With Flying Earrings

My mother Sheila left her home in Oklahoma City when she was 16 years old to tour the US and Canada with a dance troupe. She made it to Los Angeles by her 18th birthday and soon thereafter was told that she had to have surgery to have her tonsils removed because of recurring throat problems.

Mom went to what was then called "Cedars of Lebanon" Hospital for her pre-surgery visit to get lab work done. She got on the elevator at the hospital and pressed the button for her floor. The elevator made one stop before she arrived at her floor and a man got on who looked familiar. It was Clark Gable. Sheila gasped and her earrings flew right off her ears and landed on the elevator floor. She retrieved one, and Mr. Gable retrieved the other earring.

Mom said that she thank him and he said "you're welcome" to her. Mom was under contract to MGM Studios and had chorus line roles in a number of films at the time. She was used to meeting celebrities, but seeing Clark Gable was the only time her earrings flew off her ears.

When my daughter Sheila was in high school, she was spending time with her dad in Marin County over the summer one year. Sheila and a friend were riding their bikes when they noticed a roped off area at a nearby park and they rode closer to see what was going on. There was apparently a film being made so they pulled up a little closer to watch. At that moment, Roger Moore walked onto the roped off set. Sheila's silver earrings flew off her ears when he looked directly into her eyes. She said Roger Moore had the bluest eyes she had ever seen. I don't know if she picked up the earrings or not.

I was in Carmel with a boyfriend in 1980. We were having a drink before lunch at a spot called “The Hog's Breath Inn”. A tall, very slender man walked past our table. I recognized him as someone I knew and I said “Oh hello there!”. The man smiled at me and replied “hello” and kept walking. All at once I realized it was Clint Eastwood. My earrings flew off of my ears the second I realized who this man was. One of them actually landed on the table next to ours. I don't know or care where the other one went.

I think maybe it runs in the family.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

My Top Ten Stupidest Moments

I consider myself to be a relatively intelligent woman. This just proves that intelligent women can do really stupid things.

10. When I was 8, I stuck my tongue on a can of frozen orange juice in the grocery store because it had frost on it and it was a hot day. My tongue stuck fast. I had to rip it off so nobody would know what I had done.

9. When I was 9, I caught my mother's kitchen on fire. I did this by lighting matches and throwing then into the trash. But if the truth be told, my mother used to have me light matches to light her cigarette when she was driving. I was really just practicing.

8. When I was 13, I shoplifted a can of Aqua Net Hairspray. I was not destitute and taking the hairspray for my starving children. I didn't even need the hairspray. I did it to see if I could get away with it. I wouldn't feel so bad about it if I had shoplifted an expensive hairspray. I was not caught, but fortunately this episode did not lead me into a life of crime. It could have, but it didn't.

7. When I was 15, I had sex with a boy to "prove I loved him". I proved I loved him and he proved that I was stupid when he told everyone in the high school what he and I had done. The bad news is that my reputation was shattered. The good news is I never lacked for a prom date after my reputation had preceded me.

6. When I was 20 and married, I kissed a black professional football player at a party and my husband walked in the room while I was kissing him. That was stupid and also bad. The guy was really really cute, but that is truly no excuse.

5. When I was 22, I crashed our Mustang into the garage wall because I was mad at my husband and he loved that car. He did not kill me over it, but we did later get divorced for other reasons.

4. When I was 26, I maxed out a new Macy's card in one day to buy things for myself and my kids that were extravagant and that I really could not afford. I did eventually pay Macy's off, but it took quite a while. They sent me the card and I thought it was magic. Paying it off was less magical.

3. When I was 32, I married a cowboy. I knew better but I did it anyway. It took me about two years to get out of that bad situation.

2. When I was 39, I took my kids for a lavish weekend in Palm Springs the weekend before my son left to join the Navy. We ordered expensive champagne from our lavish suite, charged everything we saw. When we checked out and when it came time to pay, I realized the new credit card I was using for the trip was not active for another two weeks.

1. When I was 42, I egged a man's house late at night. Okay he had it coming, but I could have gotten in a world of trouble and been horribly embarrassed over my actions. Since I didn't get caught, I can't say I'm truly sorry. What I can say is that it was truly stupid.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Haiti - Let's Be Serious

A tragedy of unimaginable magnitude struck Haiti yesterday. Can we do something to help these devastated people now? Yes, we can. Haiti is a forlorn country, poverty and disease ridden. They had little to nothing to being with. Now their streets are line with corpses. Dear God! These are our brothers and sisters! Don't wait and think "someone else will take care of this". There is only us; there is only now. Please make a contribution before it is too late for so many. The lives of so many men, women and children are at stake.

The Red Cross is already in country. They are the best equipped organization around to get things started. Making a contribution is not difficult. Go on line to or call the toll free number and give what you can afford. Go without latte's for a month. Go without those new expensive shoes and bags. This is a matter of life and death for so many. Please don't wait. The help we can give is needed immediately. There is no time to wait if we want to save lives.

Thank you.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Girl, The Dog, The Crying Shame

When I was in my mid- 20's, I had an off and on boyfriend named Stanley. He and I dated for a while, but I guess it was mostly like people now call "friends with benefits". Neither of us was serious about the other one, but we liked each other just fine. The early 70's in San Francisco were a crazy time. Free love, flower power, the Filmore, the hippies all added to the insanity!

I hadn't seen Stanley for quite a few weeks when I ran into him in a bar, Perry's in San Francisco. Stanley was an OB/GYN and frequently went to the pick-up places in the City after work. Perry's was a spot where one could find "a friend" for the night! Like I said, it was a crazy time.

I had two small children who spent every other weekend with my ex-husband and so I went out every Friday or Saturday night that I was alone. Since I was divorced with two children at the tender age of 24, I needed some social life! And quite frankly I was something of a hussy when I got some time without the kids.

Stanley told me he had bought a condo in Emeryville (about 20 minutes from San Francisco) and that he would love to show it to me. Since I was a free woman for the night, I said sure. When we arrived at Stanley's upscale complex, we pulled into the garage area of one of the high rises. We took the elevator up to one of the top floors and got comfortable having a drink on his leather sofa and looking at the wonderful views of San Francisco out his windows.

Stanley's pride and joy however was his 3 month old dachshund named Daisy. She was a cutie all right. She even slept with us. About 3 AM, the phone rang and Stanley cursed and answered it. One of his patients was in labor and he had to go. While he dressed, he told me that the most important thing was for me to take Daisy out for her morning walk before 7 AM. I assured him that I would, rolled over and went back to sleep.

Stanley called at 7 to make sure I was up and taking care of Daisy. Sure thing, I told him, from my interrupted sleep. I got up and threw on my trench coat, my pumps from the previous night, not bothering to dress at all. I searched all over for a leash for Daisy and couldn't find one. Never mind, one of Stanley's ties would work just fine. I grabbed his keys and took the adorable Daisy out for her morning ablutions. As soon as we got outside, I put her down and let her sniff around while I held on to her tie/leash. Daisy looked up at me and with a quick wiggle, slipped out of her collar and ran.

I gave chase across a vast area of grass (open green space) and after about 15 minutes finally caught up with the little bitch. Sweating and swearing, I picked her up and looked around. We were going back home and if she went potty in the condo, too damned bad. I started back when I had the most horrid thought. Looking around, there were about five high rises all exactly alike.

I started shaking when the truth hit me. I had no idea which high rise we had come from. I knew Stanley's condo was on the 17th floor, but of WHICH building? For that matter, what the hell was his apartment number! Had I been properly dressed, this whole thing would have intimidated me less, but I wasn't. I was shivering in a slight rain wearing an unlined trench coat and 4 inch stilettos, carrying the Divine Daisy and some keys. My hair and face showed that I had just climbed out of bed. I had no idea what to do when I saw an early morning jogger.

I had no choice, I approached the man. I told him "Excuse me. I took Daisy out for her morning walk, and now I don't know how to get back to my friend's apartment. Can you help me?" The guy gave me a knowing look and said "Honey, do you know his name?" I summoned as much self respect as I could and said "Of course, I know his name. It's Doctor Wolfe!" The man looked slightly amused at my use of the title and took me to a place where they had a register of the residents, eying me with speculation the entire time. I was shaking with outrage and humiliation and hatred for Daisy and Stanley for that matter. I found Stanley's location and marched back to the condo. The jogger watched me walk away. I could feel his eyes on my back!

Stanley got back about noon, and snickered and shook his head when I told him of my adventure. He could keep his stupid Emeryville condo and his stupid dog too.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Willie Mays and Me

In 1965, two important things happened in my life; I got married, and shortly thereafter I fell madly in love with Willie Mays. The love for Willie has stood the test of time; the marriage did not.

Willie mesmerized me! He enchanted me! I wanted to have his children! I wanted to watch him play! I wanted to wash and iron his uniforms! My husband John was not upset over my infatuation with Willie Mays, primarily because he didn't take it very seriously. In the first place, Willie was about 15 years my senior. Secondly, it was unlikely that I would divorce my new husband and marry a black man in 1965, and lastly, I had never even met Willie Mays. Mere details! I begged John to get game tickets so I could watch Willie play. I listened to every game on the radio and held my breath when Willie came to bat. I went to church frequently and prayed for Willie's batting streaks to continue. At one point, when Willie was in a slump, I made a deal with God that if he came out of the slump, I would leave my husband and enter the convent. Willie came out of the slump. I broke my promise about the convent.

Willie hit 52 home runs for the Giants in 1965 and he won the MVP award as well. I was thrilled at his success! Willie was the best player who ever graced the field in my estimation. His defense was as fantastic as his offense. He was amazing! When the season ended, I felt a terrible let-down. I would be forced to do without my hero until April of the next year.

In March of 1966, we were living in an apartment complex in San Mateo. We had new neighbors moving in downstairs. We went down to meet them and introduce ourselves. Holy cow! Our new neighbors were Gaylord Perry and his wife Blanch. (Right then I knew it was fate! It was kismet! It was meant to be!) We invited the Perry's up for coffee and conversation after they got settled and they said they would love to. Now, in case you have been lacking in your baseball history, Gaylord Perry came to pitch for the Giants in 1966. Gaylord was a Cy Young Award Winner and a five time All Star. It was pretty thrilling to have this man as our neighbor.

The truth is, I could have not cared less about Gaylord Perry. He was simply a means to an end for me, as you might have guessed. We did have the Gaylord and Blanch up for coffee a couple of times. The first time, I contained myself (mostly) only asking a few questions about his teammate, Willie. I thought I was pretty subtle. My husband told me afterwards that I had not been that subtle. Whatever.

The second time the Perry's came over, I decided to lay my cards on the table. I begged Gaylord to get me an autographed baseball from my hero. I was shameless. I told them that it was the most important thing I had ever requested and that I thought I would die if I didn't get that autographed ball. My husband started looking at me like I had lost my mind. I ignored him and continued to plead. Gaylord mentioned something like "I'll see what I can do" and he and Blanch made a hasty retreat from our place. John was annoyed at me, (but what else was new?) He knew how much I loved Willie!

About a week later, Blanch came to the door and handed me a small brown paper bag. I could have wept with joy! I had my treasure! I have kept it always! I thanked her profusely and asked to to relay my gratitude to Gaylord. I think she just wanted to stop me from peeking out the blinds whenever her husband came home to see if he had something that looked like a baseball in his hand. I still love Willie Mays and I probably always will.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

In Harms Way

My husband Alex left for three weeks in Germany this morning. This isn't a pleasure trip; it's work. This is his second three week Germany trip in two months and I really am not particularly happy about it. Seems that we are saying "goodbye" way too often.

This time is worse than the last because according to the news, Frankfurt is pretty much shut down because of weather conditions. It's snowing there and planes are sliding off of the runways because of ice. Damn! It's bad enough that he's gone, but having to worry about his safety at the same time is pretty much a bummer! Of course, he could just be going to Florida and encounter blizzards too. Global warming.

I worried when Alex was deployed to the Middle East for a year too at the start of the Iraq War. Yeah, that was probably even worse than now. I don't worry when he goes to Palmdale, California. The worst that can happen there is that he will go to Hooters. I asked him if he had been to Frankfurt Hooters and he said no. I'm not sure if Palmdale even has a Hooters, come to think of it. I had to laugh when I asked Alex about Hooters in Germany and he said "Oh I haven't been to Hooters in ages". Say what? Repeat that please. I know damn good and well that in the 20 plus years we have been married, he has never said one word before about going to Hooters! He's a sly one.

Because the limo was picking Alex up at 6 AM, we got up at 5 AM. Every fiber of my being tells me that is not a good time to get up. I generally stay in bed till 9 AM. I read that most people die early in the morning, and if I were to die, I'd much rather do it in bed than walking across the kitchen floor with a cup of coffee in my hand. Also, it's hard to make good decisions before 9 AM. For example, I have an oven that really needs cleaning. I decided as soon as Alex left to turn on the automatic clean cycle. I forgot that I had a greasy mess in the oven from a culinary adventure from last week. Of course, now smoke is pouring into the kitchen and I can't turn the damn thing off. I'm waiting for the smoke alarm to go off. Then the dogs will go nuts. Shoot, It's not even daylight yet.