Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The Count Down

I just wanted to write and say that I will see you next year. Which is less than a week away. And I am a nervous wreck. And I woke up this morning and felt very strongly that I could no longer spell. But I think it's just my nerves revving up for great disappointment as the new year arrives next week. And I am going to sit on my porch in Carpinteria and wait for the clock to strike midnight and really try and see if anything has changed.

I think it's gonna I think it's gonna.

Because God knows why but I have this positive feeling that maybe just maybe the bad stuff might be over if only for a short while and I might be one of the humans going through a good patch instead of a bad patch and I might actually be able to wake up in the morning and not be afraid to come out from under the covers.

So I'm starting to count down now and I will see you next year and maybe I won't recognize you because you will look so different and maybe you will look like your very best self and we can swim together or have a glass of wine and maybe we can do our goodly deeds together and maybe the Palestinians and the Israelis can break bread and we'll leave Iraq and the first female president of Iraq will be elected and women will remove their veils and we as a country will ask their forgiveness and no one anywhere will be hungry and everyone everywhere will have shelter and disease will be cured and there will be jobs and families and peace and love I will never feel pain again nor will you......................

Happy New Year.........Hallelujah.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Very Funny


Is going to be short and sweet.

I woke up this morning with a black eye! A...BLACK...EYE!!...My left eye. The bottom half. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry or poke my right eye until it matched my left eye. YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING. IS THIS SOME KIND OF A JOKE! And if so, who is laughing and where are you and is this just one more way of telling me that 2007 is such a bust that for the next ten days, until the year ends, I am going have one hideous thing happen to me after another until I am down on my knees begging for surrender?! Well, guess what...I have gotten this far and yes, I am limping towards the finish line, and yes, a good friend of mine died yesterday, and yes I'm a neurotic mess about finding peace and happiness again in my lifetime but I am telling you that I am not going to let a left black eye stop me from making it to January first so I can see what's on the other side of the horizon. So whoever you are who is doing this to me...

What? I'm not supposed to take these things personally? You are telling me this is not all about ME? That all of these things that happened were just.............RANDOM!! That I am but a cog in the wheel of life? A COG? I'm a cog. A cog with a black eye. Here is what I've decided. If I wake up January first and I still have the black eye, I am going to do something drastic like...


But no. That would be a terrible way to start the new year. I want to laugh. I want to laugh and see peace in the middle east and I want someone to whisk me away and rub my back and tell me that everything is going to be okay and that I don't have to be afraid anymore and the worst is over and I'm safe and we're all safe and............

I'm realizing that the one thing that will never happen in my lifetime is peace in the middle east. And that's a lot worse than having a black eye. So maybe it isn't about me after all. Maybe being a cog is not so bad because without it I suppose that the wheel would fall apart. And maybe that's what they need in the middle east...More cogs. More conscious cogs.

I'm tired. Of 2007. Of disappointment. And as Mr. Ferlinghetti said..."I am waiting for a rebirth of wonder..."

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


Yesterday, whilst getting my vitamin drip, a woman in the room who seemed slightly sophisticated and was possibly an agent since she was on her phone during her entire drip and seemed to be talking to clients who were out of work...Anyway, this woman asked me if I was in the FASHION INDUSTRY! Me! The woman who frets about what to wear to her own funeral. And that very morning, as it was raining out, I was in a complete dizzy tizzy about wear to wear on my feet and I ended up wearing these old army kind of boots and a pair of brown corduroys and a green sweater. A stretched out old funky green sweater. And this woman thought I was in fashion. I don't know, maybe she was very ill and couldn't see well. But I had to laugh. Hahaha. And there was a man there with a frightening wig on that seemed to be crooked or maybe it was the style but either way it was not a good fit and then I thought the poor guy had probably lost his hair to chemo and I shouldn't make fun of him but boy did he make the wrong choice in hair styles.

I am trying to get into the holiday mood. But I must admit that the shopping part is fucked. My son wanted to buy a couple of presents so we went...ON A SATURDAY! Were we out of our minds?!...To an outlet land. I am not kidding. This place was miles long and two Saturdays before Christmas it was so crowded that once we pulled into the parking lot, we could not even think of getting out. We were whisked into shopping madness and I thought never to be seen again. I actually think I saw a family trying to find their car and then they seemed to disappear into a mountain that was right behind the lot. I'll bet people die there and are not found for months. So it took us at least a half an hour to find an illegal space. I admit it, I was bad. I was so desperate I pulled into a handicapped space and put a sign on my car that said I had cancer and couldn't walk very far. So parking was bad enough but then we had to shop. And all that Bing Crosby Christmas music just made me want to tear my hair out. And we all know that Bing Crosby was a horrible father and at least one kid committed suicide and there he is singing Silent Night and What Child is This and I wanted to shout, "Bing was an asshole! He wasn't even nice to his own child!" but I don't think anyone would have noticed. Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, The Gap, Levis, Occicontine or whatever the name of that soap store is...They were all there. And so were all the people with their packages knocking you this way and that. Will finally got a present and we rushed to find our car and that, of course, is the real nightmare but we did leave a trail so we wouldn't have to wait until everyone else left to find the Prius but then...

We couldn't get out. I think I drove in the same circle seventeen times. And I couldn't find the exit. But the good news was we were NOT listening to Bing and we had snacks in the car and no one was hitting us with the corner of a large box. You have to look for the good things in a situation like this.

You know, I can barely breathe just thinking about that outlet land. Not going there again.

I have made the most exciting discovery of my life. (Okay, I exagerate. But then again, this may be the most exciting discovery. And is that good or is that pathetic? You be the judge...) Yes, I have discovered...CHEESECAKE! I can eat cheesecake. Four bites a night and I am in orgasmic heaven. Not too much sugar. And it's cheese. My new best friend, cheese. I think I am going to die of high cholesterol but that's got to better than dying of cancer. Certainly more satisfying. And I get to eat cheesecake. I get these mini cheesecakes and I carry them around with me for support.

You know what I just did? Of course you don't. I just went into the kitchen and had one bite of my cheesecake. So I have three bites left for the day. Is that too anal? I think that happens when you get sick. The anal thing. You say to yourself, "If I do this then later I can do that." Sort of a reward, sort of a mental illness anal thing. Oh oh...

Now I want more cheesecake. The holidays are making me a bit neurotic. Well, maybe it's not the holidays. I am anxious about the New Year. All the pressure to be fabulous, you know? That change that's coming exactly on January first. But maybe the change has already happened. Maybe the change is cheesecake. I could live with that...............

Thursday, December 13, 2007


How is this for a last testament to a life...The headline for Ike Turner's obit reads...(In big letters, mind you...) ROCK PIONEER WAS KNOWN FOR ABUSING WIFE TINA TURNER. Shoulda controlled yourself, Ike, because you were one talented guy.

I used to go to this funny little place right next to the Los Angeles airport to see The Ike and Tina Turner Review. It said that on the tiny marquees outside. You went into this little nothing place and the lights would go down and come up on a ball of energy and rock and roll and legs and Ikettes and it was amazing. Tina running all over the stage, followed by those girls and Ike on his base and little did I know that Tina wished she could run right off that stage and away from the tall skinny guy in the back who discovered her. I think that club is a strip club now.

I was reading a magazine in a doctor's office and I came upon an add for Louis Vuitton luggage. And I kept looking at the guy in the ad and I knew he looked familiar but I couldn't quite place him. So I looked at the small print at the bottom and it told me that this man was Mikhail Gorbachev! In a Louis Vuitton ad! What? This is what's it's all about, right? You save your country from what Communism had turned into and instead of just speaking around the world and helping other countries out of their messes you sign on to look like a successful gentleman using expensive luggage. Well, I might as well just die right now because that seems insane to me. However, if it makes Gorby happy, more power to him. Or less power, actually.

And speaking of insane...I ran into someone I hadn't seen in quite a while. A year, maybe. And she asked how I was and I hesitated as I usually do then finally told her about cancer. And this woman, who is not a dummy, asked me what type of cancer and I told her and she said, "Isn't that what Steven had?" And she went on and on about Steven and how he had seemed so much better and then he took a turn for the worse and couldn't eat and then, of course, Steven DIED and she talked about his death and how slow and painful and awful it was and wasn't it the same type of cancer that I had? And she didn't even let me answer before she was talking about Steven's funeral and his memorial and I'm just standing there wanting to throw up ON HER and I'm thinking, "Can someone actually be this rude? Does she have any idea what's she's saying to me?" And she just kept talking..."And he looked good, just like you do, and then a minute later he was in the hospital unable to breath or talk..." And I wanted to punch this woman's pretty face but I let her finish and I told her that I did not think I was going to die soon and then....AND THEN... without missing a beat or hearing anything I was saying, she had the nerve to ask me...

"What are you using on your skin?"

What? My skin! (This is me thinking now.) If you think I am going to tell you anything else about me, you are nuts and I am especially not going to tell you any of my beauty secrets because I hope you age instantly and your eyebrows fall out...In a restaurant!

Oh my God. I don't expect people to make me the center of attention when I tell them that I have cancer but can they think for a moment about what one says when one announces that they have cancer or polio or whatever. You say something like, "Oh, I'm so sorry. How are you feeling?" Not..."Oh, wow, you're going to die soon, aren't you? Bummer city. But you look great." From now on I'm just going to tell people I'm fine. "How are you?" "I'm fine. Had a great year. Nothing went wrong. It was perfect. And you?"

I will not be blogging until next Monday or Tuesday. Don't be frightened. I'll be back. Is it Christmas yet? And then there's the New Year when everything wonderful will happen and the world will be completely different. Right?...RIGHT?

Why is there always silence when I raise this question? I'm telling you, I am going to wake up January first and everything bad will seem like a dream. Sort of like the Newhart show. It was all just a bad dream. And I can once again eat chocolate. And have a martini.


"I'm fine. Had a great year. And you?"

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

You Got Da White Mattah and Da Grey Mattah

So I'm doing my walk yesterday in the park and there was this nice looking man in his seventies talking to a nice looking lady in her seventies and they were talking about the brain and he says, "You got da white mattah and da grey mattah. And at our age da white mattah doesn't mattah anymore." And they talked and talked and from what I heard their white mattah was working just fine.

They advertise stars for sale on the radio. You can have a star in the sky named after somebody you love for just fifty nine ninety nine. Then they will be able to look up in the sky and see their very own star named after them for eternity! Imagine, we all look up and see...Delores. Hey, that's Delores. Yup. I named that star after her for just fifty nine bucks and change. If anyone reading this has purchased one of these stars I think you might consider getting your white mattah examined.

I have seen three movies in the last couple of weeks that I liked a lot and all of them had very interesting women in them. Nice looking women, natural looking woman, not the glamour girls that usually fill the screen and make all the rest of us feel less than lovely. And these female characters were fleshed out to the point of actually having back stories and lives beyond the cute thing on the guy's arm. And I realized that all of these movies were written by women and one was also directed by the same. Juno, The Savages and Lars and The Real Girl. Oh, those uppity women. Not only did they write movies that actuall got made, they were bold enough to write female characters that were fully realized which is something one does not always find at the AMC. And the actresses playing these characters were really good actresses, not models who think crying on screen will get people to take them seriously. Not one of them wore a low cut dress or too much make-up or woke up with perfect hair. Oh my God, was that a relief. Do you know how hard it is to watch a movie or a tv show and see women wake up, sometimes with a cold or the flu or something terminal and yet they look like they just got their hair and makeup done by Wally Westheimer...(Okay, I know there was a make-up artist who had a name sort of like that. Maybe I just like the name Wally.)

Anyway, I, of course, hope this woman thing is a trend. I'm slightly hopeful but I've seen it almost happen before. I thought Thelma and Louise would make a huge difference but it apparently didn't make as much money as Die Hard. And that's "the bottom line." I sold a script once that was a pretty big sale...Big enough to make the front page of Variety. And, oh, producers and agents were so happy and I foolishly thought this is it! I am on my way to the big time. And I had Goldie Hawn attached and I had Bette Midler attached and then when it came time to actually get it made, I was told by the powers that be...Little men in big towers...That honestly..."Who would want to watch a movie with a forty year old woman in the lead?"

"You need stronger male characters."
"But this movie is all about a woman and the journey that she takes. Remember, you laughed, you cried. The men are perfunctury."
"They're what?
"They're objects, really. Sort of like most women are in the movies, only in reverse."
"Maybe you could change the lead to a male and have the women be perfun...You know, what you said."
"Didn't you buy my script as it was written for a lot of money?"
"Well, maybe we didn't read it thoroughly enough."

At least I cashed my check. Wonder if they'd like a heartwarming story about a middle aged woman who gets cancer and can only eat cheese and she meets a guy who is allergic to dairy. Hmmm...Maybe if I changed the lead to man...

Friday, December 7, 2007

A Parallel Universe

I tried to get onto my blog this morning and it told me that my cookies were disabled. Okay, I am completely computer challenged and I had no idea what the thing was trying to tell me. My cookies? I didn't even know I had cookies. But it's working now so I am assuming that my cookies are in working order again.

Some people think that if I don't write on my blog it means... I'm dead. Or dying or something awful is happening. Now, that may be true at some time during this process but for now the reason I don't always write is that I'm not here or I'm writing something else or nothing really happened on that particular day although I have found that something always seems to happen no matter how insignificant it might appear at the time.

For instance...I took a yoga class this morning and I got there a few minutes early so I sat down and checked out one of those free yoga magazines. I love the ads. There is someone who describes herself as a "Conscious Bookkeeper." What does that mean, exactly? Who would hire a bookkeeper who wasn't conscious? Wouldn't you want her to be paying attention at all times? These are your books we're talking about. And then there was my favorite...A Psychic Realtor. I kid you not. How the hell d0es that work? Does she show you a house and say, "Oh no. Uh uh. You get out of here as fast as you can. This is so not the house for you." Or do you go to her office and she closes her eyes and tells you how many bedrooms you want and if you want Tudor or Country English? And are these services only for people who live in LA? I somehow cannot imagine a psychic realtor in Davenport Iowa. But maybe these people are for real. And if everyone had a psychic realtor maybe we wouldn't be having all these forclosure problems. And then, in these magazines, there are all these pictures of people who can wrap their ankle behind their neck. Is that really necessary? What, exactly, is the purpose of that? It's just another one of those crazy things that humans do to occupy themselves while they're alive. I actually could spend the rest of my days trying to get my ankle behind my neck. What's the difference between that and writing a novel? Except, maybe, a living.

Okay, so I hate the young woman who wrote Juno. First of all, she's 29. Hate her. She made it pretty quickly. Hate her. She's talented. Hate her. But here's what really got me. She apparently started with a blog. I read this in a couple of newspapers. And one of the things they always point out is that her blog is very honest and "refreshing" and she even talks about things like the BREAKUP OF HER MARRIAGE!


These kind of magical things only happen to certain people. She writes a blog and someone reads it and then she sells a book and then she sells a movie. AND SHE'S 29! And her movie is really good. BUT, can she put her ankle behind her neck? See, if I could do that I wouldn't be filled with so much jealousy that I could explode because I would have this thing that I could do that only certain insane people can do. But everyone can write. Everyone and their mother can write. And there are those who make it...Big Time. And yes, I'm glad she's a woman and yes, I'm glad she's talented because she deserves to make it. But I am older and the clock is tick tick ticking and what if the right person does not read my blog. And she has her whole life ahead of her...


Bad things can happen. She might run out of ideas. Her next movie might be a bomb.

But I hope that doesn't happen. She actually seems very cool. She probably doesn't have any problem with her cookies. Maybe that's just an age thing.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Cedric the Sort of Entertainer

Okay, I think I'm going to do it. I know it seems crazy, extremely futuristic for someone like me who doesn't even know how an IPod works and has never had one...But I really don't watch television anymore except for football or basketball and I've never watched American Idol or Dancing with People Who Were Never Stars To Begin With and I haven't really watched a series since my son and I watched X-Files...(Although I did watch the last two years of The Sopranos just to have pasta with friends)...So I am going to do it. I am going to get Netflix. (Don't you hate when they purposely spell things wrong. Like, it should be NetFLICKS. And it should be chicken AND biscuits, not chicken 'N' biscuits. And how, actually, do you spell biscuits? And I wonder if I could eat one of those?)

So as soon as I figure out how you can get this Netflix thing, I'm going to do that. Not that I mind sitting on the couch at night and reading, which I will do anyway, but one thing I have learned this past year is that reading is very silent. It's sort of fun to have someone in the room while you're reading at night. I guess that's why people go to the library to read. I went to the library to play footsie under the table with a guy named Nathan. Maybe THAT is why people go to the library.

Footsie...There was a guy named John in my sixth grade class and I had such a crush on him and everyday after recess he would walk in and hand me his hat...The hunting kind with flaps on the ears...And I would put it in my desk and touch it all afternoon until the bell rang. Oh my God, that was the most orgasmic thing that had ever happened to me...Up to that point...And then John got kind of big and ugly as school went on and the thought of touching his hat or his sleeve or any part of him for that matter was like totally yuck. He probably thought the same thing of me. But I never saw Nathan of the foot after a certain grade and it was probably a good thing for both of us.

The hot dog man's name is Cedric. He is a handsome African American man somewhere in his late twenties, I would guess. He remembered me. I don't know why but I lied to him when he asked me what I did around there. I told him I worked in a nearby building. It just seemed too much to go into me taking vitamin drips in the area because I had cancer and blahblahblah and it's all so boring so I took the easy way out and I lied. I said I worked at a chiropracters office! I lied so easily it scared me. He told me there were a lot of chiropracters in the area and we had a long conversation about that before I changed the subject to hot dogs and his truck. He owned his truck. Ced's hot dogs. He was very proud of the fact that he had never worked for anyone else, only himself. I stupidly asked him what he really wanted to do. Acting, music, screenwriting...All the things most waiters and waitresses in Hollywood really want to do. And he looked at me rather blankly and said he always wanted to sell hot dogs. And I was so jealous. First of all, he had never worked for anyone else and I had worked on tv shows for some of the biggest assholes in the universe. Wasted years of my life sitting there and listening to these guys go on about themselves. (And yes, in my case they were always guys.) And secondly, he was a young man and already doing exactly what he wanted to do. And here I am, a person who could be his mother (and if I really want to go there, his grandmother!) and I still don't seem to be doing what I want to do. What is up with that? Why do I always feel that there is something I'm not doing that I should be doing? Why didn't I just want to sell hot dogs? Okay, I did have a child and that was and still is the greatest and that was something I really wanted to do. But creatively, just me alone, I'm still trying to figure out my career. My hair would be gray if I let it, I would be dead if I was living a hundred years ago, but here I still am trying to figure out who I am and what is that big thing that I am supposed to be doing. And Cedric is as happy as a clam, talking to his customers and steaming his weiners and setting up his chairs for the people to sit. I love Cedric. I want to be Cedric. And I hate Cedric because he's doing it. He's doing the life. I told him I had a nineteen year old son. He gave me a piece of advice. I should tell my son to pick one thing and focus. Focus on "that thing" and it will happen. But make sure it's only one thing.

And Cedric's right. I'm all over the place. One thing? But aren't I supposed to be completely neurotic and do twelve things at once?

Maybe Cedric could be my therapist. He'd probably race away in his truck after the first session.

Maybe I shouldn't get Netflix. Just another distraction. I wonder if Cedric has Netflix. I think I'll make an appointment with him for next week.

Monday, December 3, 2007

And Yet, Another Dilemma

Okay, now I'm obsessing on what to wear to my divorce. This may be actually harder to decide than what to wear to chemo. I mean, you want to look good, right? You want the guy to say to himself, "What was I thinking? Look at her. She's a knockout."

Well, a knockout is a bit of an exaggeration. A knockout is Greta Garbo or Carol Lombard. And then I'm thinking, maybe I should try and look sickly and go for the sympathy card. "Oh, what was I thinking? Look at her. She looks so pale and wan. I just can't leave her now."

I actually don't think I've ever looked wan. I don't think wan is a Jewish girl look. But the right outfit is key. I don't wear skirts even though it seems like a very black tight skirt kind of situation. You know, you cross your legs provocatively and you're wearing black heels with ankle straps and maybe not any underwear and what is he going to think then, huh?! You can bet he's going to think twice. If only I still had heels. I do not think Ugh boots or Doc Martins are correct for this occasion.

Low cut. That's the ticket. Something very low cut. With the right bra. And this may be a bit personal but what the hell at this point...I'm not sure what my right bra is anymore. Something has changed since my operation. Oh, they're still there. But I think because I haven't been swimming regularly yet my back size has changed. (Oh, sure Trish. Blame it on your back.) Anyway, that is way off the point but I think the holidays are making me think faster than I can write. Did I buy this one a present? Do I have to buy that one a present? Do we really like this time of year?

No Country For Old Men. It's good. The scariest thing in it is Javier Bardem's haircut.

Some days I wish someone would just whisk me away. Tell me they have something just wonderful to show me in a very special place that only a few people know about. And they will take care of everything. They'll pick out my clothes, pack for me, give me a bath, make sure Gracie the dog is taken care of while we're gone. They'll make sure everything is taken care of and I don't have to worry about a thing. They'll make sure I eat when I'm supposed to and have delicious healthy little foods ready and waiting for me when I'm hungry. They'll rub my back, hold my hair when I throw up. Be there in the middle of the night when I sit up and wonder what has happened. And we'll walk and we'll run and we'll laugh. Laugh a lot. And listen to James Taylor even though all I do is cry through every CD. But I love to cry because it feels good and I love to laugh and I wish I knew what to wear. That's really what this is all about. Someone to help me with my wardrobe. How do I look in this? Am I fetching? Was I ever fetching?

I think I was whisked away but it was into the cancer world. Definitely not the special place one dreams about.

But it's my clothes. It's all about my clothes. I know if I had the right clothes everything would turn out just right. Happily ever after. Like Enchanted. You just need the right blouse, that's all.

Thursday, November 29, 2007


I saw the movie Enchanted. It was enchanting. Lovely. Very Disney. It's the kind of movie that makes me want to jump from a very tall building. Or go out in a row boat on a day when there are "small craft warnings". And this is all because everyone in the movie lives happily ever after. Except the wicked witch, of course. Susan Sarandon played that role with her head held high so the "neck" thing wouldn't happen. She was good. And her neck looked great.

I remember when I was a girl and would go see Cinderella or Snow White or any of those girly movies with the singing birds and friendly squirrels and I wondered even then if that actually happened anywhere in the universe. Where things just turned out oh so wonderful. I could not imagine that. Didn't really like those girly pictures. And right now, at the end of The Year of The Shit, I sort of know by experience that happily ever after land only happens for about one percent of the population. There are no singing birds, no friendly squirrels. Although there is one in my yard that comes by everyday but I think if I gave him a nut he would bite off my finger. But maybe I'm just paranoid. And maybe I'm just being negative. Maybe women are singing and sewing and having a grand old time scrubbing their floors and donning taffeta dresses for dinner and the men are bringing flowers home every night and lovelovelove every meal that is cooked for them and just think she is prettiest thing he's ever seen even though she's getting older and she sweats a lot and can't sleep at night and he spends half the night peeing. But it's happilyeverafterville for them and whistle while you work and life is just one big celebration everyday.

Maybe that is happening somewhere. On Main Street in Springfield. And maybe I just have to look at a map to find out where that is. Maybe I took a wrong turn somewhere. Got off on the wrong offramp. Maybe I will give that squirrel a nut.

Next week I begin the final separation. The prequel to The Big Divorce. I keep thinking about those Siamese Twins they separate. They have to decide who gets the heart, who gets the liver and worst of all, who gets the possibility of a long life. Sometimes they have to decide that. The weaker one usually goes first. I hope I am not the weaker one. I am armed with requests. I know what I want. And in a funny way I'm looking forward to this. I feel like I have one more tube hanging from my body and it has to be cut off right now and that tube is my marriage. The marriage tube. The one that sucked the life right out of me. But I hooked myself up to an IV of "I am not going to let him do this to me" and in a few months I was back to normal, full of the life that was taken away from me with the added bonus of seeing the world through single covered glasses. And I like it. So what could go wrong next week? I've already lost most of my stomach and I can't eat oranges and he hasn't lost anything yet so I feel like I'm ahead of this game. Maybe I'll have it put in writing that he can't eat oranges either. Or garlic. Yeah, that should get him. You're supposed to "get him" when you get divorced, right? You're supposed to rip out his heart and his wallet. Oh, I've got to grow fangs over this weekend. Read books about ruthless women. Buy some high heeled boots.

A crow is laughing at me outside the window. All the crows in the Disney films were always evil. Hmmmm. Maybe it is time to get some taffeta and a ribbon for my hair. Where is that little happy squirrel when I need him?

Monday, November 26, 2007

Assisted Leaving

Someone told me that the man formerly known as my husband met the parents of his girlfriend. He's sixty. So are they. And I started thinking that this poor girl is going have to put both her parents and her boyfriend into assisted living at the same time. Will they share a room? Will they like the same TV shows? I hope they don't get their blood pressure pills mixed up. And then I started wondering, which one will need a hearing aid first? Hmmmm. Thick glasses. Which one will be more cranky than the others? Oh, I hope I live long enough to see this. I have always wanted to die laughing.

And speaking of death...I was talking about the D word and afterlife with a friend the other day. She has a strong belief in an afterlife. And I think that's great. But here is what confuses me...There are so many different religions and each one is convinced that they know what is going to happen after we die. Some feel that if you don't accept Jesus you don't have a chance in hell for a happy afterlife. Well, I guess you have a chance in hell. However there are others who believe in heaven for the good and hell for the bad and some think they will be reincarnated and there are, of course, those 72 virgins that await those that kill themselves and the infidel at the same time. So, are one of those religions right? And does that mean that everyone else is wrong? Makes me think that one should believe in EVERYTHING, just in case. Maybe I should accept Jesus, whom I'm sure was a great guy so why not? And how is everyone so sure they are right? Have they talked to someone who has already been there and back? Ah...I don't think so. It's just all in their heads. At this point, at this moment in my life I believe in this point and this moment. How could I not? It's too fantastic. But I may change, you never know. If I get a chance to be aware that I am going to die at any moment I may just look to the skies and proclaim that I want to come back as a whale. Can you do that with reincarnation? Choose your next self? I just don't have a strong feeling about those 72 virgins.

Cate Blanchett...Oh my God does she knock that Bob Dylan thing out of the ballpark. That was so cool. I loved that movie but I don't think it's for everyone. You really have to know way too much about Bob Dylan, which unfortunately I do, but I just thought I'm Not There was full of passion and energy and not a studio person saying, "Oh, but it should be more upbeat, have a really happy ending and do you really think this movie makes any sense?"

There are some people who think that a year from now I will be all back to normal. Be able to eat a normal meal and feel like a normal person and not almost faint after I eat breakfast. Not going to happen. I will not get any better than I am now but I'm getting used to it. Can't eat oranges or tomatoes ever again, nothing spicy, no pepper or garlic. No fruit juice. But the one thing I will be able to do more is swim and do yoga again. Can't wait. It doesn't really bother me. The other day I bought a hand lotion that smelled like oranges because I used to love oranges and I miss them. But hey, I'm here and I had a great weekend eating my tiny piece of turkey without cranberry sauce and I was sitting next to my son who is the apple of my eye (what the hell does that mean?) so what more could I ask for.

How did they come up with SEVENTY TWO virgins? Why not fifty four? Or ten. Wouldn't ten be enough? Well, maybe not enough to blow yourself up. Maybe you actually need 72 as an inncentive.

Dick Cheney has an irregular heart beat. Are we surprised? I'm just surprised he has a heart at all.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


I was going to devote this blog to giving thanks but first I have to rant about Gay Talese. For those who do not know him, he is a writer. So I'm reading a magazine while getting my vitamins (which are working, by the way, Mr. Insurance Company genius who does not believe in vitamins!) and I came upon an article about the recently departed Norman Mailer. And Mr. Talese said, (something like), "Norman, like many great men, had his dark side. Men like Picasso, Hemingway and Sinatra. But Norman was a great man and loved to talk to regular people." And by "dark side" Mr. Talese was referring to the fact that he was abusive to women. HELLO............He STABBED his second wife! The second of six wives. And he had something like nine children and I'll bet he was as close to them as Rudy Guilliani is to his kids. Norman Mailer was an asshole, Mr. Talese. If he had murdered someone would you say he had a "dark side but he liked to talk to cab drivers"? He abused women and he stabbed one. And you're okay with that? Oh my gosh, I almost popped my IV.

And while we're talking about women, I was watching 3:10 To Yuma and there are all these guys with very interesting character faces and TWO BEAUTIFUL WOMEN with perfect makeup even though they are in the Wild West and it's dusty and all the guys are dirty. Where are the interesting dusty dirty girls? I am so sick of the beautiful quirky gal. But hey, it's a man's world which really makes me want to vote for Hilary even though I'm not crazy about her but say anything you want...She is not a man...Sort of...

But I love men and I am here to give thanks. First, I would like to thank Spike Lee for giving us really good movies. I think that guy is terrific.

Does that seem superficial? I mean I'm alive, I've had cancer...And Spike Lee is the most I can be thankful for?

No, James Taylor. He was playing when my son was born. He was playing when I met the man formerly known as my husband and he was playing when that same man left me for another woman. So I guess James Taylor is the soundtrack of my life. Shower With People. How profound is that?

Still too shallow?

Hey, I love trees and the ocean and my dog and I am so pissed off about what happened to me in the last year and I am putting way to much pressure on January first 2008 and I have absolutely no hope that anything good will ever happen to me again or that there will ever be peace on Earth and I am severely parched from the drought and I am sick of IVs and doctors and this was the lousy year to end all lousy years and I can't believe I can't eat cranberry sauce, which I love, because it has too much sugar in it and I ate another hot dog today because the guy's cart is right across from where I get my vitamin drip and I dislike a lot more people than I thought I did and I miss my stomach even though we always had a troubled relationship and getting back to the hot dog, it stayed with me this time.

So, in conclusion, I am very thankful for the hot dog man.

And life goes on and people perform their rituals like Thanksgiving and we truly are the lucky ones.

God bless Bangladesh.

Monday, November 19, 2007

No Idea Who I Am

So I'm driving down Pico Boulevard today and I suddenly make a screeching stop outside of a BestBuy store. For those of you who don't live in LA, BestBuy is one of those stores where you can buy a refrigerator or a CD or a pen. But I did not want to go inside of BestBuy. What stopped me was a hot dog cart. A regular old New York hot dog cart. And I'm thinking, I can't eat a hot dog. It's going to make me unbelievably ill. What, am I crazy?

"Can I please have a hot dog? Not too spicy."
"What do you want on it?"
"The works."

Maybe I just wanted to say, "the works", but I ordered the little wiener with everything on it and I got back into my car and I ate the sucker. Oh man, it was soooo good. I could only eat half of it, of course, but it was fantastic. I can't even remember the last time I had a hot dog on the street. So I finished and I wiped off my hands and I sat in the car until the moment when I knew I was going to throw up. And there I was at BestBuy with wonderfully clean rest rooms and I ran in and did the job and when I finished I was so happy that I had eaten that hot dog. The surgeon told me that this would happen. That I would eat things even though I knew they would make me sick but I wouldn't care because for two minutes it would feel great and that's what really mattered. That's why a lot of people get pregnant. Probably, I could have done without the relish.

I drove into an underground garage and I pulled to the side to let someone pull out of their slot and a woman in the world's most gigantic car (I think bigger than that Hummer) pulled around me and took the damn slot! Her car was something called a Cayenne and it seems to be a Porsche SUV. It's the kind of car that says, "Fuck you I'm rich and I can do anything I want and I'm going to take this space BECAUSE I CAN and I don't give a shit about you and your stupidass politically correct Prius!"

So I gave her the space with no argument because it did not seem worth losing another hot dog over a parking space. But then later I'm coming out of the underground lot and I stop to make sure no cars are coming around the corner and a man in a really beat up unrecognizable older car comes barreling through a stop sign and his misses me by a minute. And his car was the kind that said, "Fuck you I'm poor and I can do anything I want because I was given a raw deal in life and I'm going to drive however I want to BECAUSE I CAN and you are driving some kind of fancy Hybrid thingie you asshole you and you have insurance so why should I care what you think?"

The other night I watched a movie with Julie Christie and a really good male actor whose name I can't remember and I can't remember the name of the movie either. In it Julie Christie has alzheimers. I'm certainly glad I can remember HER name. It was the world's saddest movie. If you had a choice between watching that movie and sticking pencils in your eyes, I would go for the pencils. No, it was good. Maybe it's too close to what could be my home but I'm watching and wondering, "Why am I watching this? I should be laughing. I should be thinking about happy things. Little polar bears and puppies and stuff. Not, oh my god Julie Christie is old but thank goodness she didn't have any surgery and if she did it's not working anymore but she's still pretty and so what if she can't remember anything, she's pretty and her hair looks cool."

My infection is still here. Better, but still here. I have chosen to ignore it until after Thanksgiving. Ah, turkey, stuffing. What a great holiday where you eat until you explode. I explode when I eat half a hot dog so I can't wait to see what happens when I eat stuffing. And this is going to be the really hard part...I cannot lie down after dinner...After any meal. I have to sit up due to my new plumbing. Lie down and it's just an invitation to disaster. But two bites of turkey and I'm out like a light. Maybe they could tie me to my chair and I could fall asleep sitting up.

And you think I'm kidding.

Speaking of chairs, I've been meaning to put in a little holiday DeNiro story...The first time I was with him in the Biblical sense...(I never quite know what that means. The Biblical sense. Seems like it should be the opposite of what it means. Maybe it doesn't mean what I think it means. But you know what I mean, right?)

Anyway, the first time that I was with him it involved a chair in the middle of the room..................

What? You think I was going to give you more details? Children read this blog. Use your imagination.

I did.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Twenty Five Sides of Beef and Fifty Hasidic Jews

Some people say there are two sides to every story. I say there are two sides to every story and one side is bullshit.

I went to a triple A baseball game once in Arizona. They were giving away a side of beef to the first twenty five people who arrived. People were sitting in their seats with, I swear, sides of beef as big as small horses. Thank goodness it was a night game.

I went for my second vitamin drip today. Interesting crowd. Not everyone is there for vitamins. Some get something called chelation therapy and I think that is for people who have had heart problems. All new fangled stuff and I personally am willing to believe in almost anything. There was a very handsome fellow there in a wheelchair. Very handsome. He was 51 years old. I know that because he told me that 33 years ago when he was 18 he dove into a pool on Martha's Vineyard and broke his back. His hands were all curved and he was sort of stooped over in his chair but there he was with a big handsome smile on his face taking some sort of IV drip. I hope I see him again.

Then there was a young girl, couldn't have been more than 26. If I had to label her I would say she was a goth. Dyed black hair. Very, very pale skin. And no eyebrows. And I realized that this young girl had had cancer and lost her eyebrows. And her paleness was from much chemo. She was so beautiful. So cool. So was used to getting IVs put into her body. It is an amazing thing being in the "sick" world. I see so many people who take it so casually. Do not make a big deal out of it. It's what is happening and there you have it. This girl ate pistachios and drank water and listened to her IPod and I think she said she was going to be there for four hours and she did this two times a week. Wow. I just thought, wow. And this handsome guy in the wheelchair who was probably amazingly handsome at 18 and there he was smiling and dealing with the biggest bummer I can think of and I sit here half the time thinking poor me and what a raw deal I was given but I can walk and I have friends and I'm not 26 with cancer and I'm not in Pakistan right now and I should be shot every time I complain. Or tweaked or something.

And here is the best news of the day. I HAVE AN INFECTION! I am so excited because I was feeling like shit and I thought, okay, this is it, the big casino, I'm outta here but I went to my surgeon who took out the feeding tube and I showed him the "hole" (pardon my language) where it had been and he said that my hole was infected. ( I am so sorry but there is no delicate way to put that.) The hole in my stomach, you know. And I thought, hallelujah, I'm not going to die I just have to take antibiotics.

When I woke up this morning the fingernails on my left hand were blue and because I wasn't feeling so well I thought this must be the first body part to decay as you take the long walk to the end of the tunnel but then I realized that I had bought a pair of pajama bottoms at Target and I didn't wash them and the dye had come off on my fingernails in the middle of the night. You should have seen my legs. And the bottoms, of course, were made in China. So I jumped immediately into the shower to wash off the poison and it took FOREVER to get rid of it. Oh God, after all this I'll probably die from a pair of poison pajama bottoms.

But you gotta laugh. It's all so ridiculous that you gotta laugh. And the people who got those sides of beef also got an extra seat...For their beef...I got on an airplane once going from New York to LA and it was full of Hasidic Jews. And when I got to my seat I could not sit down because it was taken up by a Torah. I asked the nice Jew if he would please move his Torah. He wouldn't. I asked him again nicely if he'd please put it in the overhead compartment. No. "But it's my seat!" No, it was his Torah's seat so I had to call the stewardess who got into a big fight with the little man and she finally picked up the Torah and carried it up to the cockpit with the little man following her all the way up front and yelling something in Hebrew. So the Torah spent the flight in the cockpit and I had to sit next to a very angry man with strange hair. Surprise, he ordered a kosher meal that looked exactly like my meal but I didn't say anything except, "How's your food?" To him I was invisible. I was in his Torah's seat. At one point during the flight I looked up and fifty Hasidic Jews were starring daggers at me.

I don't know why I thought of that. Guess the antibiotic is working.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

The Drip at The Drip

A long time ago I was hit by a car. I was riding my bicycle on Santa Monica Blvd. and Doheny and a man took a wrong turn and knocked me unconscious. The man was a guy named Clifford Irving. Richard Gere played him in a move last year called Hoax. Never saw it. Mr. Irving pretended to know Howard Hughes and wrote a fake book about him. Anyway, I had four fractures in my pelvis and a bunch of torn ligaments in my knee and I was walking around the hospital trying out my new cast that went from my hip to my ankle and I limped right into Groucho Marx who was also walking around the corridors only he was smoking a cigar which I'm sure was not allowed but who was going to stop Groucho? Without missing a beat he took one look at me and said, "What's a nice "goil" like you doing in a place like this?" I told him what had happened to me and told him I was in a theater company and he tipped his beret and said, "Ah, the theater." and then continued down the hall and into his room. I could hear a very loud nurse demanding that he snuff out his cigar. I could hear him singing her a song. He was cute. It was Groucho. And for a few days after that I actually thought it was very cool to live in LA.

The Vitamin Drip. I loved it. The doctor told me it would probably absorb right into my body and I wouldn't feel the effects of the drip until I went in a few times. But for a couple hours after the drip I felt like a normal person and that was heaven. So, I am at once addicted. However, as Gilda said, it's always something, isn't it? So there I am in the drip room. Sort of like the chemo room with barcaloungers set up in a circle and little tables next to them with bells on them to ring for the nurse if something goes wrong. Kathleen the nurse got me all set up and I must say did a great job of finding my vein which is not an easy task and I settled in to read my book for the hour and half drip time and then HE walked in. A guy named David. He was there for some other kind of drip and he started talking to Kathleen before he even sat down and did not stop FOREVER and OhmyGod I learned waaaaay too much about David. He's the brother of a guy on NPR whom I won't mention in case you know him and he sells pianos and he was in a band (which he swears is the best band EVER even though no one has ever heard of them) and he liked my shoes which I'd gotten at Shoe Pavilion and I swear when she put in his IV he talked even faster and I wondered what he was taking and what he had and maybe he was there because he had some kind of wierd talking disease. And, of course, I couldn't read my book because he was TOO LOUD and I tried to close my eyes and imagine I was somewhere else but he had one of those booming voices and I could only imagine myself trapped in an elevator with a very loud man and that didn't seem like a calm place to go so I decided to join in the conversation. "Tall me about your pianos." And that answer took about forty minutes and ended up being about the middle East (What is he talking about!!) and then finally this sweet lady came in for her drip and Kathleen had to tend to her and I swear, the MINUTE, and I mean the minute she stepped away from his chair he FELL ASLEEP! He was out cold in a matter of seconds.

And as I sat there for the last ten minutes of my drip I started wondering if everyone in the universe was ANNOYING or was I just a magnet for annoying people. Or was I an intolerant asshole. And then I thought that maybe I should live in some remote part of the world where there wouldn't be people to get in the way of your drip. But I doubted there actually were drips in Greenland or Iceland but on the other hand maybe I would be able to meditate and clear my mind in Greenland and just feel the moment and who would need a vitamin drip? Oh my God I hate recovery. It's really so much better when you're preparing for the operation and thinking optimistic thoughts because in recovery you see how things really are and sometimes they are just not so much fun. Now I can't blame David for everything but maybe I will because you have to blame someone. I have my next drip on Tuesday and already I'm anxious. Do you think possibly that this is how I got cancer in the first place? I should have relaxed when I had the chance.

And The Secret Word is..............."Breathe".

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Gouda Things are Happening

I lied. I fibbed. I embellished the situation to enhance the story. I said that the hunchbacked woman in the respiratory doctor's office had a purse full of strong cheese.

Wrong. That would be me. She did have something in her bag that had a vile smell but I have to admit that I am the one that now carries cheese in her purse. In case I get hungry. It is not, however, what I would call stinky cheese. It's Havarti or Swiss and sometimes Muenster. I would say it only gets stinky if I forget that I put it there and I don't remember until a couple days later and I pull out my ATM card and it smells like a mild Gouda. And here's the odd thing. Before my operation, I never ate cheese. I don't know, maybe I have a stomach the size of a mouse. But I wake up and all I want is cheese. And then sometimes I get all caught up on what kind I should have. I stand there with the fridge door wide open and stare at the cheese bin for way too long and realize that my life has taken a very peculiar turn. I used to have a fridge full of food that I would fix for my family's dinner. I told you that I didn't really learn how to cook until I was around forty and I got some things down pat. Salmon, pasta, turkey meatloaf. The basics. And I would light candles every night and we would eat at the kitchen table and I think dinner was pretty good because everyone ate it and now my fridge is pretty much just full of cheese. How did this happen?

But you know what...I'm feeling a bit better and I'm thinking I should kind of move beyond cheese. I am taking that as a good sign. That maybe, just maybe, I'm moving on to THE NEXT STAGE!

I'm very excited about something I'm going to do today and I think I'm actually a little too excited but, hey, it's at least something new and it has the POSSIBILITY of making me feel real good. And that would be a change. Something to actually make me feel good. I can almost not imagine. But here it is...Today's feel good possibility...I am going to get a two hour IV drip of...

VITAMINS! Doesn't that sound just fab/gear? But I'm thinking maybe it will give me that boost I need. And even though it involves a needle, I am so excited!

Oh, this is pathetic, isn't it? I used to get excited if I got a part in a TV show or if I got a job writing for something and I'd get excited if my son had a great day at school and now I'm excited about vitamins. I'm really trying to explore my inner self and just appreciate what my little lump of flesh is all about but there is this part in the back of my brain that keeps wanting, above all else, for Oprah to choose my book that isn't even written. Would that make me as excited as taking vitamins?

I went to a meditation group Sunday night. To try and calm down and get to that "inner self". See, this healing process is not an easy thing for someone who is used to running around and doing things and having every minute planned. So I tend to drive myself crazy and I really felt that evening that I needed to calm down in some way so I went to this group. Really sweet people. No bullshit. No guru leader who followers are in love with. Just a nice quiet room and people meditating. I actually sat for forty five minutes, with about five minutes of walking meditation. My eyes were closed, and I sat in a comfortable position and nothing moved except MY BRAIN. My brain was going crazy..."What should I eat for dinner? I've got to work on my novel. I think my foot's asleep. I hate him. He's an asshole. I've got to work on my novel. Wonder what Will is doing. Should I get my hair colored before Thanksgiving? Do I have anymore of that cheese dip at home? Got to work on that novel. Dare I eat a potato chip? I've got to change my sheets..."

And on and on my thoughts went so by the end of the meditation I was exhausted. Everyone else was calm and their eyes were sort of glazed over and I was a nervous wreck. I felt worse than when I got there. I think I'm doing something wrong. Oh my God, I think my entire life is just one big mistake.

But these vitamins are going to change everything. Right? Where am I? Who am I? What the hell happened? Gouda. I need some Gouda. Yes. That is what I need. Gouda will fix everything.

See, I am getting better. You'd tell me the truth, right? I don't seem...strange to you in anyway, do I? If you could just hand me my purse.........................

Monday, November 5, 2007

Wallflower at the Emmys

One of my legs is shorter than the other. I can never remember which one it is until I put on my pants and one hem is longer than the other. It's not by much. Just a sixteenth of an inch or so. I once knew a man named Lou Korn and one of his legs was six inches shorter than the other one and he wore a special shoe with a six inch sole. And he still limped. Every once in a while I have a nightmare about Lou Korn. I don't think he was a bad man but when you're a little girl a man with a big shoe can be very scarey.

As of today I am on strike. Oh, what a difference that is going to make in my life. NOT. All that is going to happen for me is that I'm just going to get older during the writer's strike so they'll have even more reason not to hire me when the strike is over. But I'm going to picket. Nice way to get some fresh air. Meet the people who are taking my jobs. But, you know, maybe they're right, those young, brilliant show runners. Maybe a middle aged female comedy writer cannot possibly exist. Because how on earth could a middle aged woman actually be funny? Yuck. Just the thought of a middle aged woman trying to write a joke is just such a turn off. Your mother saying something funny? Come on, we all know dads are much funnier. And the sitcoms on TV right now? Aren't you just on the floor laughing your brains out? And don't you just know that when Tina Fey turns forty she is instantly going to be so UNFUNNY. Just like that. Must be some kind of chemical thing. Like menopause. Funnypause. Happens in an instant to women.

Thirteen years ago I was left alone at the Emmy Awards after party for two hours. This was when the man formerly known as my husband was having an affair with a TV executive. (I know there's a joke about having an affair with a TV executive but I can't think of what it is right now.) The people at our table were the people who worked on a show called I'll Fly Away. They were nominated for some awards but didn't win any. David Chase ran the show. He kept asking me where my husband was and I kept saying he was in the bathroom. At half an hour away I said he must not feel well. At an hour away I thought maybe he had food poisoning. But at two hours away I realized he was in a bathroom somewhere shtooping this TV executive. At the time this executive was in her late twenties. The formerly man was in his late forties. Now I think I could go out with someone twenty years younger than I am but whenever I'm with someone twenty years younger I always feel like a mom, like I should tell them to button their sweater or eat their vegetables. There are certain differences between men and women and they become clearer with conversation.

Like...I was talking to a man whom I'd had a tiny crush on. This conversation happened about two weeks after the formerly man left me for the younger version.

"I did not leave you for her."
"No, I left you because I was very unhappy. With you."
"But you spent most of last year telling me how much you were falling love with her and you told me all about HER unhappy marriage and you were leaving poems you wrote to her and about her on the dining room table."
"And the minute you left you were calling her and making plans."
"And you took her to Paris a few months later."

Anyway, so I was talking to this guy two weeks after the SHOCK and his first question was...
"How many people have you slept with?"

I'd only been separated for two weeks. And I'd been married for twenty three years.


Why is it that these guys always think "So?" is the perfect response? Sooooooooo, I certainly am not about to hop into bed with just anyone. And truthfully, I could not imagine hopping into bed at all right now. How could I even think about sex when I was devastated and lost and trying to figure out what happened.

"That's the perfect time to think about sex. What else is there to think about? I mean, come on, I can maybe go one week without it but two weeks? Don't do this to yourself."

And this guy was sixty seven years old. And he'd split up with his wife the year before and from what he told me he had slept with, like, dozens of women. Like dozens.

So when he left that night I was feeling like a total loser, a eunuch, and I went online and found the most horrible pornographic sight I could find and tried to see if I still alive...Down there...And I was, sort of...But it didn't seem right and I called my friend and he said...

"Good. This is good."
"Why is this good?"
"I'm going to find you someone to sleep with."
"But I don't want to sleep with anyone. I'm just getting over my failed marriage. I couldn't get into it."
"What are you talking about. What's to get into. You just do it."

And see, there's the difference. Men...You just do it. Women...Gotta have a reason to just do it. For instance, I think this guy's funny.

So it's a year later and I'm sure my friend has now slept with another 240 women and I won't tell you what I have done but let's just say I haven't met that many funny guys yet.

However, now with the writer's strike I certainly know where to look.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Last Big Icky

What was I thinking? That the doctor would just take out the tube and it would be so quick and so easy with no pain at all...Come on, this is, after all, The Year of The Shit and it is not quite over with yet and the crap just keeps on coming. So yesterday I go in to get the tube removed and it took THREE shots IN MY STOMACH to numb my insides enough for him to slowly, VEEEERRRRYYYY slowly cut out the tube. And once the shots wore off IT HURT. Like really hurt. There is a hole in my stomach that I haven't had the nerve to check out but it feels pretty weird but strangely...I miss that little fellow. My last tube friend. Keep feeling around for him. Wonder if he misses me? We were very close for those two months. I can remember the exact day I met him. August 27th. Around three in the afternoon. It was hot outside. We bonded immediately. I had another tube in my nose but we really never hit it off. He left after a week. But two months is a long time to be that close. There's a hole where he used to be. But I am determined that he will be my last big icky.

Last night while trying to find a comfortable position on the couch I watched the movie "Help!" on the Sundance channel. It is such a good movie. So much energy, so much creativity. You almost never see that in the movies anymore. Or in the theater for that matter.

"It's not the Beatle with the ring, he."

I have seen really good plays in the theater, terrific acting, great set, but mind blowing? Something to remember for the rest of your life? That doesn't seem to happen much. Now maybe because I was young when I first saw that movie it made an everlasting impression on me. I don't think I'd seen Help! for thirty five years but I knew every scene, every line. And maybe a twenty year old now would remember every line from...Saw IV...No, I know there are good movies. Once...The Wind That Shakes The Barley...I guess The Beatles WERE amazing. And, of course, you can't help but think about life. That George and John are dead and Paul is being taken to the cleaners (Awwwwww) and Ringo has had his share of depression and alcohol but at that moment when they danced around on a beach in the Bahamas they owned the world and John WAS more famous than Jesus and that must have been awesome to have it all but even so someone shoots you in the prime of your life and if you weren't aware of how lucky you were, than you missed the moment. Like I am waiting to completely heal but I should just "Be Here Now" hole in my stomach and all because you just don't know what's going to happen at two o'clock in the afternoon. There could be a crazy guy reading Salinger just waiting for you with Catcher in one hand and a gun in the other. And then, POOF, it's all over. But who knows what John was thinking at that last moment. Maybe he thought, "Wow, I was a Beatle." And then he could die with a smile in his heart.

Anyway, it is a really good movie.

Tomorrow is November. Only two months of this less than stellar year. I hope this is not all in my head, that January first will roll around and everything will be different. That's what I'm thinking. That I will wake up on the first day of 2008 and all the icky will be gone and I will be full of energy and eating cake and all the wars will be over and CEO's everywhere will be sharing all of their money with their workers and Detroit will again be the number one city for automobile manufacturing. It's all going to happen when the clock strikes twelve, right?


Monday, October 29, 2007


First of all there are times (like today) when I feel like driving around in a little machine (my car) is very unnatural. I looked around at all these other people surrounded by metal, talking on their phones or looking pensive or oddly dissatisfied and they all appeared so strange like they were in some futuristic movie from the fifties, some Roger Corman flick and I realized I was one of those people and I wanted to open my window and tell everyone that, "We must consume mass quantities of food or we will shrivel away to nothing and we must do it now!" but, of course, I didn't, I just putt putted along with my own oddly dissatisfied look on my face. I think I need to live somewhere with public transportation. I could take the metro here but I'd have to drive to the Valley first which would mean it would take me an entire day to get to Chinatown. That cannot be right.

Today I had to go to a respiratory specialist because I had that near death reaction to chemo. (I exaggerate...I did not almost die but the story becomes so much more exciting when you say "near death".) Anyway, you DO NOT want to go to a respiratory guy. Oh, he was nice enough, a good guy, but when you walk into his office there are a dozen people sitting there COUGHING! Spewing and spitting and I thought I would die just sitting in the waiting room. I didn't dare touch a magazine and anyway the only one they had was a magazine about allergies. And then a woman walked in with her twenty something son. She was a hunchback. She sat down next to me. And I got very upset because she was wearing a wedding ring. Since the man formerly known as my husband left me for a younger version, I notice these things. And I thought, selfishly, even a hunchback stays married!

Okay, that was awful, but she and her son were not particularly nice people. There were a lot of people in that waiting room and there were signs all over that said NO CELL PHONES but the son had to talk to his buddy, Carl, and everyone was looking at him and shaking their fingers and pointing to the sign but he just gave everyone THE finger. And his mother didn't know what was happening because she had the tiniest IPod thing plugged into her ear and it had a one inch screen and she was watching CSI Miami. David Caruso's head was like one millimeter high and they just totally disrupted everything with their entrance. But her wedding ring really upset me. I actually think it was my lunch that upset me but she really was quite annoying. And she had a huge purse filled with some kind of very strong cheese. Not a good day at the doctor's office.

But he told me that my lungs were clearer than anyone's in his office and I think I knew that because everyone else was dying out there. So it looks like I am allergic to the chemo I was given and I have my fingers crossed that I will never have to take it again.

So the wedding ring was upsetting enough but then I went to the liquor store that I always go to only now I don't get liquor, I get lifesavers, and across the street there was a bridal shop and they were having a sale. And I thought...Hmmmm, maybe nobody's getting married anymore. Or, at least, not enough people and yippee and goodie there will be all sorts of lonely gals out there to hang with. Gals without rings. Gals who get pizza for one. Oh, what a great time we'll have. Just us and Katherine...Hepburn...Some people always ask what would Jesus do...I ask what would Katherine do? She wouldn't even look at a bridal shop sale. Wouldn't care. She would just jump into her pond every morning and shake out her hair and get on with the day. Forget the hunchback with a wedding ring.

My New Yorker desk 2008 diary just arrived. That means The Year Of Shit is almost over. My son says I should call it The Year of THE Shit, like the year of the Ram, and I think he's right. The Year of The Shit is almost over. I think I should celebrate.

What would Katherine do?

Thursday, October 25, 2007

As I Lay Kvetching

Here is the one major bummer with being a writer...THERE'S NO ONE HERE BUT ME! I can see why all those Faulkner/Fitzgerald guys drank. It's fucking lonely here and yet oddly exhilarating. See, you've got all these characters that you are excited to write about and they have lived with you for a day or maybe much longer and you kind of feel like the characters are alive and that they are your friends and then you sit down and you write about them and you turn to someone to say, "Hey, Lulu is such a kook, isn't she?" but you realize you are only talking to yourself. Because there is no one else in the room with you. And you write for an hour or two or maybe three and it feels great and it's pouring out and you're sweating and you want to celebrate and..."Hello? Anyone there?" No. So you go to the cupboard and you get yourself a Scotch. I so get that. Although right now I can't drink so I go to the cupboard...Actually, I don't think I really have a cupboard. I have a cabinet. Anyway, I reach in and pull out...Oatmeal. Not the same as a scotch but I won't be falling down any stairs eating a bowl of oatmeal.

I think all of this means that I'm getting better and I've got to get out of my room.

There are two things that people say to me lately that frighten the hell out of me. They say, "'Wow, your skin looks translucent." and "You do look thinner." Now this is why that drives me crazy...Normally, I would be thrilled that people would say I looked thin. But when you've had cancer, translucent and thin really mean DEAD. You look like you're dead. And I'm very torn up about this because I would love to be thin under normal circumstances and translucent skin...Gotta love it. But I remember a woman I knew years ago who had that look and yes, she was dying. But she looked great. Everything was perfect just as she had wanted her whole life. And then, BLAM, she was gone. But, of course, who wants people to tell you that you look lousy? So you accept that translucent skin compliment and you just hope you live through the night.

I actually don't think I'm going to die just yet. Oh, I have so many things to do!!

Who am I kidding? What the hell am I going to do? Wash the tub? For that I have to live twenty more years? Go to France? Everyone says, go to France, and I just don't get it. You've got to get on a plane, which I hate, and you've got to pack and you never pack the right clothes and you've got to speak another language and you can't go to the movies because it's in another language and you can't watch Jon Stewart and there's too much cream sauce so what's the point? Maybe I'll take a train ride to Seattle. They speak English there, don't they? And you know those paintings in all the museums in France? I can see them online! In my pajamas! Do you think this is laziness or insanity?

See, I'm trying to figure out what exactly to do next. Can't do exactly what I did before. I keep trying to get to that place where you get so excited about "your new lease on life." But, I don't know, it all seems pretty much the same to me. What I realize most strongly is that if I died tomorrow, nothing would change in this world. It goes on, which is a good thing. The sun comes up, it goes down. Comes up in Paris, goes down in Seattle.

"Hello? Is anyone there?"

Oh dear. I think I heard a response. Gosh, maybe that means I'm a real writer! I can have the dts without even drinking! You know what? I think I'm going to have me TWO big bowls of oatmeal. That should do the trick.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Hell in Paradise

For those of you who don't live in LA I probably don't have to tell you that it seems to be burning down. Not where I live exactly but I can see the smoke and my car is covered with a bit of ash. Actually, this has happened before. LA burns down every few years. And here's one thing that occurred to me...They keep interviewing people from Malibu, probably because everyone has heard of Malibu as the playground of the rich and famous and it seems like a lot of people are very interested in those famous people even though we who live among them know that a large majority of them are just plain assholes. But hey, there are assholes in Oklahoma, too. (I just had to sing the song "Oklahoma" in order to spell that state!) Anyway, I'm listening to these people talk, who have had their house burned down or are close to it, and they are pretty damned relaxed about the whole thing.

"Well, we're staying in a hotel right now because we can't go back just yet. And I took our things and, you know, if we have to, we'll rebuild."

And tra la la and what a bummer. A lady actually lost her, kid you not, CASTLE, and she was calm as a cucumber and she said she took her phone books!! and Elvis's fatigues which she bought at auction last year. Guess it's no biggie to rebuild your castle.

And then I started thinking about those people in New Orleans. How long has it been? Rebuild? Hotel? Oh my God, how screwed up is this country that some people have soooo much money that rebuilding their house is not such a big deal and some people can't even get those rich people to give them enough money to at least build them a teeny tiny home. Now I know some of those rich people give away a lot of their money. But you know, it's not enough! Who needs more than a million dollars. I'll bet those Malibu people could get together and rebuild all of New Orleans in a year. I remember when Suzanne Summers lost her house she was so calm and just went out and bought a bunch of new clothes and jewelry...And I have nothing against her. But isn't something wrong here?

I don't know, it just seems like some people are a little too calm about losing everything and there those people who sit down there in New Orleans with nothing and no way to get anything back.

I have not thrown up today. Whoopteedoo! This was not an easy week but I have a theory! And this is came to me, mind you, without going to med school! Okay, so at the beginning of my chemo my oncologist, whom I trust and respect, told me that chemo has a way of targeting the cancer. It heads straight for the tumor and any other areas that are affected. Like lymph nodes. So now I no longer have a tumor and supposedly everything looks pretty damn clean so what is the chemo targeting? ME. My pathetic little body. So it just poisoned the hell out of me. Now I don't know if my theory is correct but hand me a scalpel and I'll bet I can figure out some other scientific questions.

A couple of days ago I was driving down a street in Mar Vista and there was a sign that said, "Palm Reading - Five Dollars". I love palm readings. I've done them all over the states. I've taken my nieces and nephews to palm readings. Sometimes the readers are spot on. Sometimes they're not...

And you have to know going in that five dollars is going to become at least ten dollars but, hey, palm readers have to make a living. So I walk into this woman's kitchen and she's watching Ellen cry about a dog. At the time I had no idea what was going on but the woman said she had to watch the end of this but I should sit and would I like a cracker. Since I was nauseated that day I declined and I think I was about to vomit from her air freshener but she finally had enough of Ellen and sat down with me.

"So sad about her dog."
"Let me see your palm."

I put my palm out and she looked at it a moment then took my chin in her hand and studied my face.

"I see you having many children."

Okay, right there I wanted both my money and my time back. Are you looking at MY face, lady? More children? I can't have more children. Can't you see I'm going to be one hundred and ten years old next year?

She studied my palm again.

"I see a very dark time in your life."

Okay, now we're talking.

"Very, very dark. A very, very dark, dark time."


"That's it. For five dollars, that's it."

See, that's where they get you. I'm going to have a lot of children and horrible things are going to happen. What does she know? She's just making all of this up. She watches Ellen, for pete's sake.....................I gave her another five.

"But after the dark time I see rainbows, I see money, success. You are married, no?"
"Oh. Well, I see that, too."

And that was it. She was not one of the good ones. As I left I saw her switch her TV back on. What a great way to make a living. You sit in your house, your cook, you watch TV and you wait for a sucker to come in and give you money.

I'm going to make a sign. Palm Reading - Four Hundred and Fifty Dollars. Of course I'm going to set it up in Malibu...When the flames die down.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Medical Johanna

Okay, this past chemo knocked my socks off. Worst one yet. First there was the allergic reaction and then the last few days there was the vomitting and loss of appetite. Not that I had a big appetite to begin with and I knew this was going to happen but I DON'T WANT TO TAKE THIS POISON ANY MORE! I was feeling good. I was swimming. And now yuck yuck yuck I have to deal with this crap again. A set back. A poison set back and it pisses me off. So I took some anti nausea drug perscribed to me by my oncologist and that seemed to work, a bit. But I still felt pretty shitty. I took this liquid that helps with your appetite. But then things seemed to stop working so my oncologist prescribed the next step up in drugs which is something called marinol. It's apparently marijuana without the high. Now I was never a marijuana type of person. Acid I could take but pot did not do it for me. Anyway, I took just one of these tiny little marinol pills and conked out for four and half hours! It was nasty. I woke up like I had been hit on the head. Never taking that stuff again. So I took myself to the medical marijuana pharmacy in Venice. It certainly was a lot spiffier than the head shops I used to know. Fancy place. With an old Hippie dude running it (who else?) and he told me that George Bush Sr. suffered from glaucoma and took medical marijuana and that is why he threw up all over the head of China many years back. He couldn't get a J so he had to take marinol and it just made him sick. So, of course, when this dude told me this story I immediately thought he was insane but I like insane people so I listened to him for a while longer even though I wanted to throw up on him (not because of him, because of the chemo) and decided at the end that I didn't like being tired or high and there is no way you can smoke pot, legal or not, and not get tired and high. Some people get energized. I get sleepy and sad. Not my drug.

Is this the most boring entry you have ever read? I know it's much more interesting to read about me sleeping with DeNiro and believe me I would rather be doing that or even writing about it right now but I feel like SHIT. Though, I exaggerate. I'm a bit better today. In fact, I did a really, really bad thing JUST TO DO IT! I had a few sips of a Coke and a couple potato chips. And, of course, they made me vomit but come on! A girl's got to have some kind of fun.

WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED TO MY LIFE?! Okay, I need to calm down because honestly I know the end is near, not THE BIG END, no, the last chemo end which will be the Monday after Thanksgiving and then I am through with all the poison and I just have to deal with my new stomach and that seems easy compared to this horrible feeling. It's just that sometimes when I am throwing up I start thinking about the fact that I have to move and get divorced and even though the thought of divorce is rather exciting it is not actually what I would like to be doing once I heal. Fuck him, the man formerly known as my husband. Just fuck him.

Thank you for letting me spew. Once again my acupuncturist, whom I saw on Tuesday, pointed out something to me that I was unaware of. I told him that THAT MAN, the one I lived with for 23 years, was the only human who could make me anxious. And Dr. Mao, who is nothing if not the epitome of calm, said..."Anxious? You mean ANGRY, right? He makes you angry." And I thought about it and I thought that was an interesting point. However, when you have cancer you don't want to be angry because your system just goes haywire. A friend with cancer wouldn't even read the newspaper because he found it too upsetting.

I want to say something about forgiveness...FORGET IT! If anyone does anything bad or hurtful to me or my son I am telling you I am never, ever going to forgive that person! I just saw a sign on a yoga studio...Forgiveness brings peace...FOR FUCKING GET IT! I am in perfect peace NOT forgiving those who have done me wrong...And you know who you are. It feels oh so right not to forgive. I think that's what Dr. Mao was telling me. Eat right, exercise, and hold on to your anger until you take your last breath! That must be an old Chinese proverb in some province somewhere.

Today everyone is annoying me. (Maybe not you. But then again, maybe...) Move, divorce, vomit. I miss working with those great kids. It's a beautiful day out. Strangely warm. I can't wait for the holidays. I can't wait not to bend over a toilet bowl. I can't wait for my first downward dog. I actually love my life. My hands aren't quite so tingly today. I think I'm going to leave my house right now and see what's out there.

I think I'll go down to the beach and scream..............................

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Note From Julie Daily

Wow. What a year this has been. First of all, I have to thank Oprah for choosing my book, "Julie Daily - My Lucky, Lucky Life and How You Can Have One Too!" for her book club. It's going on it's third printing now and I wouldn't be this rich and famous without her help. Thanks, Ms. O.

Gosh, I feel like I am the luckiest gal in the world. As you know, I'm getting two movies made this year and thanks to my appearance on The Rachel Ray Show they want me to write a movie about an odd little woman who runs a cooking show and although I know nothing about cooking, I can't wait to write about it. Food is food, right?

As you know I won the New York City Marathon in record time! That was so much fun. You get to jog through all these neighborhoods you might never see except maybe through the window of a cab. Did you know that the Italians and the Chinese have their own little neighborhoods? It's all so quaint. Anyway, I entered the Tokyo Marathon and someone asked if I was interested in the Olympics. I'm thinking about it. But there's only so much time in the day, you know? And anyway, do I really want to go to China with all those poison toys? I don't think so.

I have to be married to the most wonderful guy around. Married for twenty five years and he treats me like he just met me. Ole Tom teaches middle school in the inner city and when he's not helping his kids with their homework, he's at our house cooking me the most wonderful dinners. Healthy, delicious. Every night is like a honeymoon. He just wants to listen to me talk about my day and what I'm thinking about and we love getting cozy and watching John Stewart and then getting into bed and reading and cuddling. Sometimes, when he can't sleep, he'll get up and buy tomorrow's groceries. Boy, did I marry the right guy!

Though I love writing, I am thinking of becoming an architect. I just love tall buildings and wouldn't it fun to actually build one. I don't know. I applied to Harvard and Tufts just for the hell of it. If I don't get in I just might build my own little tower in my very own backyard!

Anyway, life is good. And when life is good, what more is there it say?

Seems like some of us have all the luck. Sorry the rest of you have to suffer with things like cancer and chemo and stuff. Oh well.................................................J.D.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Where Was I?

The Death guy in The Seventh Seal was on the corner of 20th and Santa Monica Boulevard yesterday looking for ME. Luckily Dr. Melanie Shaum locked the door of her office so he couldn't get in. So I had my fourth chemo yesterday and all seemed to be going well. My outfit was not the greatest choice but it was a nice color. Periwinkle blue, I think you'd call it. My hair was a mess but I don't think anyone noticed or cared. At least I had my hair. I sat there for a few hours while the poison dripped into my arm, which is now quite tingly, like it's asleep and typing is not easy but here I am. I read a bit, I thought a bit and then finally they unplugged me and I walked out the door into the cool air and suddenly I could not breath. I could not take an inward breath. Hmmmm. This can't be good. I took a puff of my albuteral inhaler but that didn't seem to help so I went back inside where they stuck another IV into my other arm and shot me up with steroids and benedryl. And then I was fine. Seems like I had an allergic reaction to the chemo. Happens sometimes, they said. Have to change your last two chemos. Might lose some hair. But not the whole thing. So does that mean just a clump at the top? A clump on the side? I actually could stand to lose some on my arms. Maybe that will happen.

WHO AM I KIDDING! I may be having the worst bad luck streak of anyone I know right now except the poor people living in what was once Burma or the children in Africa. And I have got to get past this bad luck streak and I am determined to get past it, dammit! I like being here on earth. It took me forever to become a happy person but now I am happy and for some reason I keep getting crap thrown into my face. I smile and then, BLAM, a pound of crap is tossed at me. But by whom? Whom shall I turn around and yell at..."Stop it! Just stop it you asshole! Leave me alone. And take your stupidass crap with you!"

But luck is the word, isn't it? It's just good luck or bad luck. It's all random. Where you're born, how your life goes. Okay, this has nothing to do with anything but this morning I woke up and switched on the tv and there were these annoying people laughing. Just laughing and having a grand old time and I couldn't figure out why they were so happy and probably the reason is that they haven't had any bad luck lately. And I immediately hated these people and changed the channel but there seemed to be laughing people on all the channels because I guess some people in America wake up laughing a lot. I laugh a lot. These days it's more of a dark, sardonic laugh. Like, oh fuck, I can't breath, I'm going to die. And then the first thing that I thought of was that I was wearing the wrong clothes. I did not want to die in periwinkle blue. It's way too precious. Black, maybe, orange. Cannot die in this blue hoodie. And so I didn't. So maybe I do have some control over things. Maybe if I wear that hoodie everyday I will never die.

I am staring at the chemo pills I am supposed to take. Boy, do I not want to take them. What if I don't. Nobody knows anything, right? Nothings a guarantee, that's what they told me. I'm thinking about NOT taking them. I'm thinking about running away and taking on a whole new identity. Yeah, that's the ticket. If I become someone else maybe that someone wouldn't have crap tossed in her face all the time. Maybe that someone would be going through a lucky streak right now. Maybe I could be...Julie Rosenstein...No, too ethnic...How about Julie Daily...Yeah. that's it. I'll run away and become Julie Daily. Julie doesn't have to do chemo. Julie is almost finished writing her novel. Julie is in fantastic shape and can swim a mile without getting tired. Oh, I love Julie.

Julie's tingly hand would not be getting tired now but mine is. I wonder what Julie wears? I am sure not anything in periwinkle blue.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Eat, Pray, Loathe...

Okay, I think at this point in my life I have to admit that I am not confident about anything in particular changing my life. Not traveling the world, not meditating for hours. In fact, in all honesty, why would I want to change my life? It's already been changed drastically by outside forces so for me to think I am anyway in control would be foolish. Oh sure, I can say...Hey, maybe I'll write my blog now...And I'll sit down and I'll write but a Eucolyptus branch could come crashing through my study at any minute so CONTROL OF MY LIFE? Partially, maybe. A little bit. But I feel that there is always a trickster right outside the door rubbing his hands together and waiting with glee to trip me up.

And yet I go on. Yesterday I met another fool on the hill. So I'm in Santa Monica Seafood getting my Omega 3s and the young man behind the counter noticed my tube which I forgot to tuck into my pants. "Is that a feeding tube?" he asked. I nodded. And he told me that his father had a feeding tube and since we had some common ground we talked and turns out that his father had his stomach removed and a couple of other things along with it. But he really enjoyed life after that. "Oh yeah?" And he told me that his dad and his mother (And already I didn't care because his dad had a PARTNER so fuck you I'm not listening anymore.)...

Yes I am. His dad and his mother traveled around the world and had a great time. "Oh Yeah?"
And he said that after the operation his dad felt so good and really enjoyed THE LAST TWO YEARS OF HIS LIFE! "What do you mean, last two years?" "He lived two years after the operation." I wanted to smack my Halibut right in his face. Why do people tell you these things? Did he think I would be happy thinking that...OH BOY I HAVE TWO YEARS TO LIVE! Aren't I the lucky one. I won't even get my Writers Guild Pension by then. And what if I do travel around the world those last two years...ALONE...Is that fun? Does that sound like a good time to you? And what about that woman who wrote that Eat Pray book? Let's just parse that for a moment. (Did I use parse correctly? Is that even a word? Sounds good anyway.)

Okay...EAT...Well, guess what, I can't do that very well. Can't have a glass of wine or a Cosmopolitan and I can only eat a turkey burger the size of a quarter. So forget eat.

Next...PRAY...I don't eat. I don't pray. Although I do say things like, "Can someone please get me out of this traffic! I'll be good from now on!! I promise!" But I don't think that counts.

And lastly...Love...Now that is where her book really falls apart. Couldn't she just have taken a trip to find herself and actually have found HERSELF and nobody else with her? Then I might have thought, "Okay, I can't eat and I don't pray but maybe I could love...MYSELF." And that would be enough. But she had to meet a guy and twenty years older than her at that. Negates everything. Yes sir, I am just going to sit here in this chair and wait for that tree branch to fall right on top of my noggin. Why leave home when disaster is waiting right out the door? Wouldn't you rather be near all your "stuff" when it all happens? My shoes. My lamps. The important things.

Okay, on to more positive thoughts. I think I forgot to mention that I start chemo again on Monday. Whooppeeeee. Just when I was missing the good old days, here they come again. But I only have three more chemos and I timed them so I could eat my little Thanksgiving dinner without having paralyzed thumbs. (See early chemo blogs.) So by the end of the year 2007, which shall be remembered as The Year of Shit, I will be done with all of it and be able to enjoy my LAST TWO YEARS.

Well, that's what that fish boy was implying. You know what, TEN years from now I am going to walk into Santa Monica Seafood and smash that guy over the head with my cane and say, "See, I'm still here you little whippersnapper!" (And the truth is, if I actually use the word whippersnapper, I will deserve to die.)

The Cubs lost. I'm safe for now. But I can still see that trickster out behind the Prius. Don't think I should take that sigh of relief just yet................................................