About Tamara

Tamara is a professional photographer at http://tamaracamera.com/, a mama of two, a writer/blogger at http://tamaracamerablog.com and a nearly professional cookie taster. She has been known to be all four of those things at all hours of the day and night. She is a very proud contributor to the book, The Mother Of All Meltdowns. http://themotherofallmeltdowns.com, as well as Stigma Fighters Anthology (volume 1), and The HerStories Project: So Glad They Told Me. She is also a proud Community Lead/QA Reader with Sway, and a regular contributor to the SoFab Food blog, and the Target Made Me Do It blog. After two cross country moves, due to her intense Bi-Coastal Disorder, she lives with her husband, daughter, son, dog, cat, and 11 chickens in glorious western Massachusetts.

The Day I Met My Favorite Actor: A Sorta Love Story

This is when it has to happen.

You know, there is NO way to do this story justice, but there is EVERY way to do this story justice. I honestly think I can’t lose. There’s a lot of pressure and a lot of emotions – nearly at boiling point – simmering on my mental stove. Sometimes, it’s just hard to go back to “normal” life. Not in weeks filled with personal crisis, cats with UTIs, kids away, and then kids back for 14 hour days without a breath in between. Expensive vet appointments, exhaustion, tentative steps towards.. something.. everything. All the while, I fear I’ll slip back into the abyss. Have any idea what I’m talking about? I hope so.

If not, just know it was a WEEK.

Have you ever had the chance to meet your favorite actor? I wished on every birthday candle & shooting star I'd meet mine. 23 years later, I granted my wish

The thing that scares me the most is going back to doing the same things at the same times. I wasn’t nearing boiling point – I was threatening to spill out over the stove and burn everything. I think I cried every day for a week. It was awful. Sometimes it’s just the talks, and the pressure, and my horrible ability to suppress, suppress, suppress, until I’m burning up with a fever. There were days last week in which I questioned everything. I’m so afraid that will happen again, but I guess I’m even more afraid it won’t. I met a semi soulmate last Saturday – going through similar motions and emotions I was going through.

I said to her, “That breathless pounding of your heart? I embrace it as it tells me I’m ALIVE.” At least I try..

Have you ever had the chance to meet your favorite actor? I wished on every birthday candle & shooting star I'd meet mine. 23 years later, I granted my wish

Live it. Challenge it. Lose your breath. Lose your mind. Let go of your heart.

I need to go back to the beginning of this story – from when I was 12-years-old – and got the biggest movie star crush of my life. Never before; never to be followed. The thing is, when I fall, I fall HARD. And I rarely fall. It’s rather once-in-a-lifetime. If someone is going to bowl me over, boy, am I going to be bowled over. Impact. My first crush was Michael Jackson. My second was John Stamos. My third and final was Tim Curry. Yes. That Tim Curry. Rooster from Annie. Pennywise from It. The butler from Clue. The “bad guy” from Legend and Home Alone 2 and a million things. Yes, Frank-n-Furter from Rocky Horror Picture Show. That’s when I fell. It hurt. The crush didn’t last forever, luckily, but the respect is lifelong.

Have you ever had the chance to meet your favorite actor? I wished on every birthday candle & shooting star I'd meet mine. 23 years later, I granted my wish

The first time I saw the movie, I HATED it. So bizarre and disturbing. Something changed over time. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. The music was breaking through me. I couldn’t stop thinking about the “Superheroes” song. I couldn’t stop thinking about HIM. It was bad. I knew why it was a cult classic movie, because it was taking over me like a contagious disease. I was a goner. And I loved it. This was a pretty big chunk of my adolescence, actually. My parents just rolled with it, like pros.

I wrote him fan letters. I thought they were deep. They probably were. I’ve always been a writer. My crazy family friend told me he had met Tim Curry and gave me a locket that he said Tim gave to him during their theater days. I will never know the truth, but I wore the necklace on Saturday and I’ve always half-believed the story. I wished on every birthday candle and every shooting star for YEARS that I would meet him. That wish never died. My ex took me to see Spam-a-Lot on Broadway when Tim was starring in it, and we waited after the play for an hour to see if he’d come out. He didn’t. Jeff Goldblum did and he was super rude. Guess what, Jeff? I wasn’t there to see you at all. My eye is always on the prize.

It’s not you.

Have you ever had the chance to meet your favorite actor? I wished on every birthday candle & shooting star I'd meet mine. 23 years later, I granted my wish

Over time, I never questioned Tim Curry’s role as my favorite actor, but life happened, as it will. College and falling in love and having 7,000 spiritual crises/awakenings/discoveries. Whatever. Travel. Big life dreams. Being published. Being a photographer. Falling in mad, crazy love at least twice. Having kids. Going to Alaska. LIFE. The heart-pounding kind.

We never forget our roots and wishes. Somewhere in time, there’s a 13-year-old girl and she’s either super impressed with me, or super disappointed in me. I wanted to tell her that all her wishes and dreams could come true – but it would never feel the way she thought it would feel. It would OFTEN be better. Achier. At some point in the last few months, I found out through Facebook that Tim Curry was going to be at Boston Comic Con. Not only that, it would be Doctor Who-laden. Rocky Horror + Doctor Who = Tamara and Cassidy’s Stuff of Dreams. I don’t know that Cassidy was excited as I was but I told him it was the only thing I wanted for my birthday. There were different prices/tiers for your Tim Curry experience and Cassidy counseled me to get the most expensive one – The Ultimate Tim Curry Experience – because it’s that chance of a lifetime.

And it was the best chance to get everything offered.

Have you ever had the chance to meet your favorite actor? I wished on every birthday candle & shooting star I'd meet mine. 23 years later, I granted my wish

We arranged for the kids to go away to Cape Cod and I reserved a free Red Roof hotel room I had gotten through work. Shoutout, Harry and Red Roof – the hotel ROCKED! We loved our room and we loved our great date night the night before Comic Con and having a nice bath/king-sized bed to sink into – to deal with the nerves/excitement of what was to follow.

You see, I tend to numb myself. I hate it. I can logically see that things are big deals, but sometimes I freeze over to scare away the inevitable nerves/anxiety. It’s ok, though. They’re going to come if they’re going to come. You can’t fully numb a warm heart. You just can’t. I woke up that morning and put on a TARDIS dress, and proceeded to (accidentally) starve myself until MUCH later that day! It’s ok, though. I’m not a fainter and I’m not a puker. I’m TOTALLY a giggler, though.

When I see people in costume, even if I’m in costume, I get the giddy giddy giggles. It’s fun, really.

Have you ever had the chance to meet your favorite actor? I wished on every birthday candle & shooting star I'd meet mine. 23 years later, I granted my wish

We saw AMAZING costumes and it took a long time to wait on line just to get into the Con, and then pick up my special Tim Curry ticket, and then walk through the crowds. Morale was UP. We instantly ran to the panels and got on line to meet Karen Gillan. (Amy Pond from Doctor Who) She was late and we saw John Barrowman entertaining the heck out of his crowd, so we jumped in his line to meet him. He’s spectacular. So gushing and warm and witty and real. His young niece was there and I got to talk to her and she was awesome. She said, “Everyone loves him and it’s funny. He’s just.. my uncle.”

An.. Admired Uncle.

By the time we took a selfie with him, and I DID keep my hands to myself (although he touched my shoulder so warmly to say goodbye), it was nearly time for my Ultimate Tim Curry Experience. I waved my ticket around like a clown for awhile and talked to many other strangers. While standing on line, I saw Patricia Quinn, Barry Bostwick and Nell Campbell (Magenta, Brad and Columbia from Rocky Horror) RIGHT there! We saw Eliza Dushku (GORGEOUS)and Ming-Na Wen (stunning and easily with the longest line of anyone AND she pulled a little girl up on stage to sit with her for a photo). We talked to others.

The girl in front of us in line was with her mom. They were on an epic adventure because, like me, her life dream has been to meet Tim Curry since she was 13 or so. It was so awesome standing with her. We were both nervous/excited, and probably afraid of fainting or barfing. At least little. In fact, I was talking to all three of them (new friend, new friend’s mom, Cassidy) and they were all facing me. That’s when Tim Curry was escorted into the room we’d meet him in. I actually kept my voice normal and said, “He’s.. right there.” I had seen him in Spam-a-Lot, but that was ages ago and across the room. This was RIGHT THERE. My 13-year-old self came marching up from the future to pinch me right then and there.

Um.. then, STAN LEE was wheeled right by us! Right then and there! So of course I pointed that out!

The line to meet Tim Curry started, and the second or so guest to go in was dressed as River Song from Doctor Who. She was fanning herself and crying. She came out and said how amazing it was and how lovely he was. By now, my new friend, Becca, and I were really feeling it. One person would go in, and the next would stand in a waiting room that was courteously equipped with a mirror. I was behind Becca and saw her come back out crying. I was so happy for her! All of my nerves went away when they called me in. I mean it – I felt nothing but ambition/determination to swiftly and effectively release 23 years of fandom to this man. I was calm and direct. Cassidy met him too and it was like this insane moment of looking from one of them to the next. I introduced them! That was.. poignant. Then I stood for my photo. The happiness was so legit.

I wrote down everything I said verbatim:

Me: “Hi. What I want to tell you is that when I was a little kid, I wished on every shooting star and every birthday candle that I would meet you. And here I am.”

Tim Curry: “Here you are! Your dress is beautiful. And you look beautiful.”

Me: “And I hope you’ve had and have a lot of joy in your life.”

Tim Curry: “I have. I really have. And I do.”

Me: “My name is Tamara.”

Tim Curry: “You have a beautiful name.”

He met Cassidy and they shook hands. I wanted to shake his hand and asked if I could. We shook hands. Then, he took my hand and HE KISSED IT! I exploded into a fit of exhaustion, hunger, happiness, relief and pride. I said it. I did it.

We hadn’t eaten since the night before because of nerves and waiting to meet John Barrowman so we finally found our way to some cold water and mediocre food. Then we went into the crowds and finished out our day of Boston Comic Con 2017!

It’s been five days and I feel the regular feels of anyone who is completely nutty like me, and undergoes a life dream. It’s pride and relief, and it’s extreme happiness/giddiness. It’s mournfully sad at the process of aging and that he had a stroke. It’s a bit of a letdown that it’s over, but I’m not let down that it happened and I’m certainly not let down by him. He was clear, kind, intelligent, joyful, friendly, and everything I have wanted him to be. May we all live like I hope he has lived.

But in our own quirky, cool, loving, and BRAVE ways. All I could think about was meeting him, and then telling YOU about it.

Have you ever had the chance to meet your favorite actor? I wished on every birthday candle & shooting star I'd meet mine. 23 years later, I granted my wish

Much love to you all. If you read this far, you deserve a cookie!

5 Dinner Options For Back-To-School

Is it #BackToSchool time where you are? For us weeknight dinners are a challenge. Here are 5 GREAT options to make dinnertime awesome #ad #PJGlutenFreeCrust

Mmm… pizza.

Let that one sink in, because we’re definitely going to circle back to it soon! The thing is, we used to always have pizza night on Friday nights. Then, Scarlet helpfully pointed out that the school lunch is pizza at her school – and soon Des’ school – and that just gives us a chance to make pizza night on Monday or Tuesday. Even Wednesday! Whenever! Not only that, these are healthier pizza options. I can’t wait to talk about them! Dinnertime is now less of a struggle around here. Whew.

It used to be my toughest time of day. It’s that time of year of fall/winter and the fading sunlight. Then there are hungry pets, hungry kids, and a limited amount of time to focus on homework, snack, cleanup, quality time together before dinner. Scarlet had the awesome idea to write up a meal plan so that we’d at least have an idea of what we wanted at any day of the week. For example, Saturday is always pasta night because we have a pasta maker at home and we need time to make that fresh pasta! Mondays are always some sort of salad, Tuesdays involve soup, etc. And we get creative every night.

Here are our top 5 weeknight dinner ideas for back to school time:

1 – Individual Chicken Noodle Pot Pies. My kids LOVE these. They’re individually portioned and full of kid-friendly food. For the recipe, head here. They’re easy and perfect for back to school. You can customize them a different way every week.

2 – Vegetable Tortellini Salad. This is truly my kids’ favorite salad. They’re not big on dressing, so this is a great way to combine some of our garden vegetables, hard-boiled eggs, late summer berries, and tortellini in one dish.

3 – Take Taco Tuesday to new heights! Sometimes, we have tacos. And sometimes we have Taco Salad! Sometimes, I’m enterprising enough to make Quinoa Taco Salad. It’s full of protein and flavor, and definitely fills us all up.

4 – Grilled cheese. We have a grilled cheese night at our house (I think on Wednesdays?) and it’s fun to mix it up. Try it with ham, pickles and pineapple, or any of the above! Choose Swiss instead of cheddar. Such good options!

5 – Pizza night. We’re new fans of Papa John’s. When he started the company over 30 years ago, it was with a commitment to provide families with the highest-quality ingredients on the menu. He believed that with the best ingredients, he could create better pizzas for everyone. I took my kids to our nearest location for Carryout for our latest pizza night.

We got the all-new Ancient Grains Gluten Free Crust. It’s crafted from never-frozen dough and ancient grains, like Sorghum, Teff, Amaranth, and Quinoa. It’s thin & crispy with a uniquely delicious flavor. We added cheddar cheese!

You can try your own Papa John’s NEW Gluten-Free Crust with Ancient Grains for $9.99, using the promo code: GLTN2T. This promo code is for a small 2-Topping Gluten-Free Crust Pizza. You can have tons of fun choosing your own toppings!

What toppings would YOU put on your Papa John’s NEW Gluten-Free Crust with Ancient Grains?

What’s your favorite weeknight dinner?