When ‘Mother’s little helper’ had crust

I just called my mama to wish her a happy Mother’s Day. Knowing that she wouldn’t ‘get’ the Rolling Stone’s song reference on the gift I sent her, I figured I needed to explain the hooty little pill-box (as shown). I was right and when I mentioned Valium she said, “OH! Heehee…”pill box

During our conversation I mentioned that the anniversary of my marriage to #1 was last week, and Mama asked if I knew what August the 9th was. I couldn’t think of anything.

“That’s the day I married your father…August 9th, 1957.”

Naturally, I immediately started doing the math…let’s see…I was born May 14th of 1958…almost exactly 9 months.

“You weren’t pregnant when you got married, were you?” I asked. (I’ve always sort of assumed that she was, but I’d never asked her outright.)

“NO,” she said, using two syllables. “You were an early baby.”

“I was?” That actually surprised me since I’ve never even been on time to anything I can remember, much less early.

“Yep, the doctors told me that if I didn’t lose a lot of weight, they were going to put me in the hospital until you were delivered. So I just went ahead and had you before my next appointment!”

I had to sit on that news for a minute. My 4’11” mama weighed 98 pounds when she got pregnant with me and (according to her) she pretty much doubled her weight while carrying me (she claims that whole pies trembled and then disappeared in her presence). Naturally, when given the choice to (A) Stop eating treats or (B) Go into early labor and shoot me out into the world early…well, duh. I didn’t have to do the math on that one!

I love you, Mama. You’ve taught me so many lessons just by being who you are, and I know how hard you always worked to keep Lynnie and me happy. And now I know exactly where I got my addiction love for food!

Happy Mothers Day ya’ll!



I can tell it’s almost Christmas because the meat arrived safely!

My mama has a holiday tradition that tickles me. About this time every year I come home to find that a big old styrofoam box has been delivered to my front porch by UPS or the post office. The ice chest shipping container with rounded corners and Omaha Steaks on the return address has become familiar to me over the years, and it always makes me smile to know that Mama orders this for me as a holiday gift. (Living 3000 miles from your family has some perks, but being away from them at Christmas isn’t one of them.)

Inside my annual non-biodegradable treasure chest there are many smaller boxes, fitted together in a Tetris-like stack over a packet of dry ice. Each year the process of opening the boxes is like a scavenger hunt with varying levels of payoff…

  • Steaks – CHECK (the box doesn’t say Omaha Oatmeal, you know)
  • Pork chops – The ‘other white meat’ and I go wayyyy back.
  • Chicken and/or fish – This year I got both…SCORE! (One year there were two lobster tails…I remember that as the year that I finally believed that there really was a Santa Claus)
  • Hamburgers and gourmet hot dogs – I assume that this means a higher real meat to snout balance?
  • Twice baked potatoes – Seeing these just makes me smile…don’t judge.
  • To top it all off, there’s always a dessert…it’s a bit of a wild card. (A few times I got a whole chocolate tort – yummy but too much for a single girl watching her figure…um…expand. Then there were individually packed mini molten chocolate cakes, but they were better than the big cake, so I ended up eating all of them in one day. Sigh.) I have to say that this year’s dessert has potential…caramel apple tartlets! I’ll let you know if they’re binge-worthy.

So my treats are all stashed in the freezer and now I just have to figure out what to do with the empty styrofoam box. There are some plans online for converting them into everything from an upholstered foot stool to an incubator for snake eggs…which is NOT going to happen. No, like its predecessors before it, mine will most likely just be a cat toy and, if it’s really lucky, may someday be graced with a six-pack…or three.


Click on the picture to find out the truth about this affliction…it’s a sad story!






It’s almost Annual Tiara Day!

The first birthday that I actually remember having was my 6th. Mama had a party for me at the Edisto Dairy ice cream shop in the Five Points neighborhood, and all of my friends from kindergarten were there. I remember excitedly arriving at the store, knowing that I would be the star of the day, but then it’s all mush until the shocking memory surfaces of being told that I would not be allowed to win when we played Pin the Tail on the Donkey.

Mama kneeled in front of me and warned, “Now, you have to let your guests win, Tammy…you’re the host, and it’s polite.”


Yeah...it says TOMMY

I hope that little TOMMY had a nice birthday…

After shooting quite a few (newly 6-year-old) eye daggers at my obviously insane mother, I argued that there were prizes for winning…and it was MY party! On what planet was this even fair? I lost the argument and I’m sure my day was ruined…at least until I got lots of presents. When I recently asked Mama about this memory, she said that I got mad because I wasn’t allowed to cheat at the game, but I’m not buying it. To add insult to injury, I’m pretty sure that was also the year that my birthday cake looked something like this one.

Most of my birthdays (and there have been quite a few of them) since then have been pretty standard. There have been cakes (with the right name on them), flowers, gifts, getting together with friends, and once I even got a trip to Las Vegas. (Sadly that wasn’t one of the better ones, but that’s another story.)

Donkey 2

I promise I’ll be polite!

My next birthday is in a few days, and I’m still figuring out how to spend this one. I’m at the age when celebrating it is optional, but I say screw that…it’s the only day of the year that I get to legitimately walk around all day in a tiara, and I’m not giving up on that! Who knows, I might even let myself win a game of pin the tail on…something!




Dear baby Jeebus…

It’s almost Easter. Now, I’ve never been a very religious person, but I have certainly worn my share of shiny white shoes. For your enjoyment, here’s a pic of a 6-year-old me doing a little Easter Sunday après-church fashion modeling. (I definitely missed my calling!)

Easter model

Work with me, baby…

Lynnie and I were baptized as babies and, up until the age of about 15, were herded off to Resurrection Lutheran Church every Sunday (whether we liked it or not). We were forced to sit through (the boring babysitting service called) Sunday school, and then we did our best to keep quiet during the sermon. Grandmama let us draw and fed us butter rum Lifesavers every Sunday until we were old enough to be interested in what Pastor Derrick was actually saying, and some of it made a lot of sense (how can you argue with ‘treat others the way you want to be treated’?) I was even Mary in the Christmas pageant, complete with a warbly solo. I figured that playing Jesus’s mom pretty much sealed my future as a Church Lady, but it turns out that I was wrong.

What I didn’t count on was one day thinking to myself, ‘Hey…WAIT ONE MINUTE…ANGELS?’ Did they really expect me to believe that stuff? And what about the whole deal with HELL (the place I’d end up if I didn’t stop talking back)…really? Didn’t anyone realize that I was the smart-ass kid who, at 5, looked up the Santa myth in the encyclopedia…did they really think I’d fall for harps, wings and sulphur?

I was never more sure of my lack of belief in churchy stuff than on Easter, when I was supposed to buy off on the idea that God’s son got out of his grave (after three days, no less), walked around for another month or so doing stuff, and then disappeared. It was kind of creepy and certainly not very logical. Of course, I also didn’t believe that a rabbit came through our house in the middle of the night to dump off a bunch of candy and eggs, but I preferred that to the Jesus zombie tale. I decided that it just made more sense to keep on eating the candy, and I managed to keep my mouth shut about both works of fiction…no sense messing up a good reason to eat sugar. (And those Cadbury eggs are only around that one time of year.)

It’s well worth mentioning at this point that I have absolutely NO problem with whatever it is you want to believe…knock yourself out. Luckily for everyone concerned, I gave up being judgmental for Lent.

Here’s a link to the best prayer ever, in my book.

Will praying


To my sister from another mister

My dear friend’s birthday is on St. Patrick’s day. In years past we’ve celebrated it in a few exotic locations, but this year we’re both in town and going to an Irish bar for a traditional St. Patty’s party. We’ll have fun. I can say this in confidence because no matter WHAT we do we always have fun. We’ve traveled around the world and laughed at strange customs, settings and situations, and at even stranger people…but we always had fun and were able to laugh mostly at ourselves. Sabrina, this is for you.

I’ve learned so much from you, my friend. You’ve shared times with me that I never would have had and, more importantly, you’ve helped me understand how to really enjoy those times in a way I never would have, had you not been in my life. Without you, I never would have learned from the drunk Japanese tourists in Munich to always, “…have the maximum experience!” I would never have been able to marvel at ‘Berber Logic’ (“Pay me half now, and you can come back tomorrow to pay me the other half…Berber Credit! Oh, I promise I’ll be here…no worries!”)

T&S on the wall

Sorry that your eyes are closed in one of the only photos of us together! Wall-sitting in Morocco.

We’ve spent some amazing days together, exploring the markets of Marrakesh, dancing after hours in Kehei while (unbeknownst to us) the drummer from Soundgarden checked you out (“I don’t know the question, but the answer is yes!”…Creepy much?) We’ve partied the night away in many different time zones, ridden camels together (remind me again why I thought that mumu was a good idea?) and dodged a few unsavory sorts (some of whom I wasn’t even dating!)

My favorite day together was the one we spent in the hospital, waiting for your daughter to arrive. Being there when she came into the world was a precious gift indeed, and one that I’m so grateful for.

You’ve done much to help me gain the confidence to really live this life I’ve been blessed with. Your feedback and advice has been so important to me, and even when it didn’t seem like I was listening…I was. You’ve believed in me and have been a positive, clear voice in my life. Thank you for all of the wisdom you’ve shared…you truly are a wise woman.

I hope this year is the best one yet for you, my friend. Your presence in my life is a gift, and you deserve everything that life has to offer. I look forward to many more years of friendship and adventures!

Happy birthday, sister girl.

Making up ain’t hard to do

1930's Maybelline Ads 009

Look, she has eyes like mine!

When people meet me they usually notice a few things first: my hair, my cleavage, and my eyes (not necessarily in that order). The hair stands out because it’s long, and because most of the gals here in Oregon don’t have big hair or use hairspray. I’ve spent years developing my signature do and if my stylist quits or we experience a worldwide shortage of TRESemmé Two Extra Hold spray, well, there’s gonna some crying going on.

The cleavage came with the package, but I’m a firm believer in making the most of what life gives you (and in low-cut tops). My eyes, however, are quite another story–my eyelashes are virtually clear, and without at least some mascara it’s not a pretty picture. Suffice it to say that Maybelline, Revlon, L’Oreal and I are very good friends.

I hate to admit it, but I’ve been wearing makeup for about 40 years. Yeah…you read that right…it took me a second to let that little fact sink in too. That’s a LOT of time spent in front of a very small mirror, not to mention the amount of dollars spent. In retrospect, I’d have to say that it was worth it as, not only have I become an ace maker-upper, but eye shadow, liner and mascara have served as pretty decent protection from the rest of the world. Whenever my self-confidence is lagging, a little extra cosmetic armor goes a long way in boosting my self-esteem and general mental health. I used to worry that my love (ahem…need) for eye liner was a crutch, but I’ve decided that it’s a vice I can live with.

Warpaint for all ages!

Warpaint for all ages!

Recently though, my cosmetic addiction seems to have taken a somewhat evangelical bent, and I decided to buy a makeup kit for a friend’s four-year-old daughter at Christmas. I just couldn’t resist the small pink case with a lighted mirror and clasps that close with a solid click. It holds lots of creams, little girl lipsticks, nail polish, eye shadows and such and I would have adored it myself as a little girl. I figure that I’m either gonna go down in history as the best Auntie ever…or as the devil (if she decides to mark up the walls). Either way, it made me giggle to be the one to get her started on the Maybelline path!

I can hear my little friend, 20 years from now, asking her mama, “Hey, do you remember that little pink makeup kit I had…the one I carried around with me? Do you remember who gave that to me?”

“Oh honey,” my friend will say, “that was your shallow Aunt Tammy…she couldn’t help herself.”

New Year’s Evil?

It’s midday on New Year’s Eve, and I’m still trying to figure out where I’ll be toasting in the New Year for 2014. Not that this is a particularly new phenomenon…it’s pretty much my routine every year. The last few years ended up being ushered in by a Duck Dynasty marathon and some fattening food, but this year I’m actually going out. Of course, that just brings up a ton of angst over all of the details that come into play when you’re NOT on the couch when the fireworks go off.

Figuring out where to go is a biggie. A friend and I finally decided to forego the $100 big hotel deal with multiple DJ’s, tons of people, party food and a whopping single glass of champagne at midnight (in spite of her repeated reminders that there would be a matchmaker service ON SITE). Another friend wanted us to join a group on a party bus that she’s ’emceeing’, but the idea of hustling in and out of 6 or 7 bars on amateur night just didn’t sound all that fun, so we politely declined. We eventually settled on a smaller hotel bar with a semi-decent band and a $25 cover. That seems more reasonable for a glass of inferior champagne and a party hat, I’d say.

Then there’s the issue of what to wear! My friend is wearing “the dress”…a beautiful new party dress she bought a few months ago in celebration of her new status as a single mom. Of course, the ‘mom’ part prevents her from actually using the dress very much, but her 4-year-old did tell her that she should wear it every day, since it’s so pretty. I’ll start digging through my closet in another hour or so, and the whining will commence. I have a couple of really cute dresses, but I’m a girl, after all. I’ll probably end up wearing the first one I pull out, after trying on every other thing that I own.

So that leaves just one more thing to obsess about…what the HELL do you do when it’s time for that midnight kiss? I could probably count the successful New Years Eve kisses I’ve ever had on one hand, and still have a few fingers left over. When I was married and had someone who was obligated to kiss me on command, we were usually asleep by the time the New Year came in. After I was divorced and started going out on December 31st, well, let’s just say that choreographing a moment like that without a fallback second party is tricky, at best.


Bow before me, New Year’s minions!

You have to start scouting things out well before midnight, and you can’t be obvious about it. Assuming that you do find someone who has potential, the odds are still against you, unless of course you’re a dead ringer for Charlize Theron…or if you ARE Charlize Theron.  (By the way, if you are Ms. Theron, thanks for reading and please tell Oprah about me if you know her.)

Also, a lot of people out on this particular night are coupled up, and unknowingly laying a big wet one on someone else’s man is a sure recipe for disaster! Yes, I know…after several hours of drinking and dancing it may seem like a good idea…but just say no. Trust me on this one.

Then there’s the awkward, “Yay it’s midnight!” and you look over to find the prey you’ve been stalking for the last hour averting his eyes to look anywhere but at you…staring up at the ceiling, checking his watch or (God forbid) TEXTING! Then you have to start second guessing your choice of dresses (I KNEW I shouldn’t have worn the sleeveless one), your decision to go with your (usually reserved for the living room) hoochie-mama dancing…things just spiral from there.

This year, I’m guessing that my friend and I will just dance through the awkwardness and give each other a big old New Year’s hug and high-five combo. Then everyone there will just assume that we’re a couple, which is a pretty damn good option, considering the consequences of inadvertently kissing Charlize’s date!

Happy New Year everyone! Have fun and, if you end up on the couch with a bunch of redneck duck call makers and some Ben and Jerry’s…well, I envy you!