Tuesday, July 31, 2007

It Ain't Me Babe

I did not write yesterdays blog. Yes, it came through my fingers but it was out of my control. You know how Bob Dylan always says that his great songs were not really written by him, they sort of came "through" him? Well, that is what happened to me. Of course, what came through me was not, "She's wears an Egyptian ring, sparkles before she speaks...". No. What came through me was stuff about necks and turkey burgers. Not the most profound of subjects. So I sat down today and I tried to conjure up the feeling that passed through me yesterday, and it wasn't there. Because maybe, I was thinking, maybe some amazing writing could come through me. Not just mundane thoughts like shoes and bodies and what to have for dinner. But maybe some people are here just to write about the mundane because truly, how many people are going to come up with Plato's Republic or the answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind? And yet, the fact that the answer may be blowing in the wind is really quite simple, isn't it? Of course! It's in the wind. Anyone could have thought of that but only one person wrote it down. It's not that complicated and that's what makes it so profound. But for most people, the answer to the question, "What should we have for dinner?" is much more complicated and yet the person who comes up with the answer is not often given the credit that person is due.

Does that make any sense?

Okay, here is what I'm stuck on today. I am reading the obits of Tom Snyder and Ingmar Bergman and I am feeling like a tiny insignificant spit ball. What lives. What accomplishments. Now I know it's ridiculous in any way to think...Ingmar...Trish...Trish...Ingmar. Although always, when I saw his movies I had to wonder if I was part Swedish. Because first of all I really liked the darkness and drabness of Sweden. I could live there. Second, I was blond. (Still am, with help.) Third, those movies made me happy which was a very strange reaction because most people who saw them wanted to kill themselves. I think I always thought, oh good, someones life is actually worse than mine. (Some of you know I did not have a rosy childhood, even though I looked rosy. That mother thing. It's a very long story.) If I think about it, my biggest accomplishment may actually be that I learned how to cook something decent. But, come on, it's not Persona or interviewing the Dalai Lama. Will my last thought as I leave this planet be, "Wow, I figured out meatloaf." Maybe Ingmar's last thought was, "Wow, I figured out lutefisk." Stranger things have happened.

Wait. I think something is coming through me...Some thoughts...The voice is saying...
Shut the fuck up already!

No, that was just me talking to myself.

Oh well, on to another mundane thought that has been bothering me...I have changed my mind about the Cubs. (I can do that! There are no rules here.) I said I wanted to live until the Cubs won the World Series. And they are still in second place in their division. Sooooo, I am changing my wish to the following...I want to live until the Cubs win the World Series...


In a row.

Okay, that'll get me to about one hundred and twenty. At least. I feel much safer now.

The answer is blowing in the wind. Anyone could have written that, right? What a lucky Zimmerman he was. All right, he has a little talent.....................

Monday, July 30, 2007

Can We Talk?

May I please say something?

(Yes, of course I can. This is my blog. See, that is how guilt ridden I am. I have to ask permission to talk because I think I will say something that might offend somebody and that would be awful. I'm sorry. Honestly, I am not talking about you.)

There are people out there (not you) who seem quite goulish about other people's woes. And they (not you) seem to be a bit put off when you (me) seem to be handling things with aplomb. (Or a plum.) They think I am in denial. They think I am not talking about my "real" feelings. I've thought about this a lot. And this is what I've decided...My real feelings are beyond boring. Hmmm, should I grill a turkey burger tonight? With onions? Should I do my laundry today or tomorrow? Should I watch The Seventh Seal tonight in honor of Ingmar?...So those are my real feelings, as much as I can connect with them. And the cancer part...there's really nothing to talk about. It's there and then hopefully it won't be there. I am not scared and I am not really concerned. Because I am alive right now, today, and what else is there?

And don't get me wrong, I am so glad I am alive today but there was this guy on a motocycle next to me who put his greasy hand on my car door to steady himself at a stoplight and I cannot get his stupid glove print off the door! Pisses me off. But I'm alive. Even though I went to buy a ceiling fan and this guy loaded it into my car and when I took it out it of the car the box seemed awfully light and when I opened it, it was empty. So I had to drive back to the store and blahblahblah. But I'm alive. Today, I am alive. And I am really going to try not to complain.

So the Iraqis won the European soccer tournament and that was wonderful for them. They needed some good news. And what was the first thing the captain of the team said when he won? That he couldn't wait for the Americans to leave and that he was afraid to go home. Wow. I am waiting for someone to suggest a brilliant way we can help these people get their country back in order.

I was thinking about Nora Ephron and her neck. I think that after a certain age, if you look in the mirror more than two minutes in the morning and two at night, you are obsessing. I have no idea what my neck actually looks like. I wash my face in the morning and in the night and when I do that I am not wearing my glasses so I am but a blur in the mirror. Kind of like that vaseline on the lens look directors used to give Marlena Deitrich. (Did I completely misspell her name? Did I misspell misspell?) Everyone I know looks great. I don't think when I was growing up I ever heard a single man or woman talk about how they looked? That their neck was sagging. They were just glad they weren't dead or sick or something. Now, of course, the next time you see me your eyes are going straight to my neck. "Oh my gosh, she's sort of jowelly looking, isn't she? (Did I missssspellll jowelly?) She should think about a neck job."

Maybe Ms. Ephron is right. Maybe I should wear my glasses when I wash my face. Please don't look at my neck. I'm going out now to buy a turtle neck sweater.

But I am alive, neck and all. And that's the good news. Except for this guy who......................

Friday, July 27, 2007

Not So Sicko

Before I impart my good news of the day, which I am afraid to say out loud for fear of it all being taken away (can you say "extremely neurotic"), I have to quote from my favorite movie review of the day. Regarding the movie No Reservations, Carina Chocano writes that Catherine "Zeta-Jones is entirely unconvincing as a chef, an American and a human being." I have always felt that about Catherine Zeta-Jones, except maybe in Zorro. In "Chicago" I thought her head was going to explode every time she sang.

And now, on to the frighteningly good news. I had two scans yesterday, the radioactive injection one and the drink this awful stuff and then we'll inject you with something that heats up your throat and insides and makes you feel like you have to go the bathroom one. Took two hours. The hardest part was sitting in a room alone for half an hour and not doing anything while the stuff goes through your system. I couldn't read, I couldn't talk on the phone, so I just wiggled my toes and talked to myself. We had a nice conversation. Same old same old. But...the good news is that the chemo is working. The doctor told me that my lymph nodes do not even show up on the scan so the cancer is barely there anymore and the tumor, or mass as she calls it, has shrunk to almost fifty percent of what it was. I, of course, thought she was looking at the wrong chart or that I was going to have to do the scan again. It has been so long since I've had good news I am not even sure how to process it. But there you have it. So now she and the surgeon decide if I have one more chemo (probably) and then surgery or just go straight to cutting me open. So then my mind goes directly to the fact that I have been eating a lot and gaining weight and now they won't have to take as much of my stomach as they had thought and so I won't be as thin as I thought and what if I'm just this big fatty with a big scar down my middle? And once they cut you your stomach just turns into a big jelly ball. And what if I meet someone? I can't take my clothes off in front of him with a big jelly ball stomach with a big scar down the middle. Yuck. Maybe I could meet a blind man. No, I should just try and relax and enjoy good news. Jews are not taught to accept good news without a qualification. "Wonderful, you lost ten pounds. Just twenty more to go." Or, "Yes, Israel is yours, but you have to share." Anyway, today, this day, there is good news and I am going to jump in the ocean and shout hallelujah... And hopefully I won't drown. (See, as a Jew it's really hard to just be happy because you always feel that you are not worthy of happiness. It's nothing anyone did to us. It's just in the DNA. My son is only half Jewish so maybe can break the cycle. I often think that his DNA consists of guilt and a martini.)

While in the clinic yesterday I was reading the business section of the Times and one article struck me as insane. Disney is going to ban smoking in their movies so they will not influence young people. Are you kidding me? Curella Deville not smoking? That is ridiculous. Are the tobacco companies going to stop selling millions of cigarettes to the Japanese? I don't think so. As far as I can tell, everything we eat, smell or see is linked to death. Don't eat this, don't drink that, yikes yikes yikes. I think my dad's entire caloric intake consisted of trans fats. An all trans fat diet. Meat, meat and more meat. Lived 'til 91. And he was never afraid of eating this or breathing that. I mean, yes, be careful, but also...Be crazy. If not now, when?

Unconvincing as a human being. Could that review possibly apply to our vice president?

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


Today I woke up and decided that I hated everyone I've ever known. Even some little children. Even you. One can't be happy and loving all the time. That's just not natural. So in my mind I put everyone I've ever known in a row and I slapped them one by one. Bip bip bip. And then I decided to divide everyone into two groups...Those that were having fairly stress free lives and those that weren't. I slapped the ones whose lives were going well. Bip bip bip. It felt good. I can't slap the little children. Well, one of them deserves a little slap. Tiny bip. And then I picked out the whiners. The complainers. And some of them were also in the stress free group. Stop whining. Bip bip bip. And then I slapped myself for being so mean. Take that. Take that, you brute. And then I wondered if I was losing my mind. Or maybe I'm just angry and maybe I should buy a punching bag. I'd probably break my hand. I should probably be in therapy but I do not want to talk about my mother anymore. And whenever I've tried therapy all roads lead to that. The mother. The absolutely insane mother. But I surely (yes, don't call me Shirley) do not want to be on my deathbed thinking...Hmmm, just how much did my mother fuck me up? I've gone over it a million times and at this point in my life any choice I have made is my choice! Yes, I made all the wrong choices all by myself and I am very proud of that. She had nothing to do with it. Bip bip bip. That was me punching my computer. I do feel better now. I must think evil thoughts more often.

One thing I've decided to teach myself as a single woman is how to grill. Being an apartment dweller growing up in Chicago I did not know things such as backyards or grills. I did not know avocados or artichokes either. Very exotic. My friend told me what grilling book to buy, which I did, and I've got the tools and the grill and I make occasional attempts at lighting coals and not dropping food through the grate. My son has given me a nickname...GrillMaster T.

Yoyoyo. Wasssup? GrillMaster T here cooking up a storm. Actually the turkey burgers I marinated are almost done. They've been on the grill, oh I don't know...two days. I think they're going to be quite...well done. Yoyoyo.

Tomorrow I become radioactive. I've been so once before. It's very exciting. They inject you with radioactive isotopes and put you in a machine and your cancer glows. Kind of like a radioactive Christmas tree. Oh, it's all so exciting. We shall see if anything I am doing is working. That will determine how many more chemos I have before surgery. I've been thinking a lot about Superman lately and about kryptonite. That's sort of how I feel when I take my pills. Can Superman live surrounded by all that kryptonite? Yes! He's getting up, slowly, slowly. Come on Superman. You can do it! Damn that Lex Luther. F that kryptonite. Get up, Superman. You must save the world!!

Or...Grill something. I am pretty sure those turkey burgers are almost done. Tomorrow...Weiners!!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

When Doves Fly

First of all, I said I wanted to live until the Cubs won the World Series. The suckers are in second place! Does that mean I have until October? They haven't won for two centuries and now, all of sudden, they could win?! But it's early, I know. They have a long way to go. Now, of course, I'm going to have to follow every game. What was I thinking? The minute you say something out loud, everything changes. Like when you tell someone how healthy you are and the next day you get sick. "Oh, I've never had the flu." And SPLAT, you've got the flu. Someone somewhere is laughing very hard. And rooting for the Cubs.

Yesterday I was in yet another yoga class and the teacher told us to turn and face the window. I obeyed and as I glanced out the window onto a beautiful day I saw six doves on a lamp post, sitting there peacefully as doves are wont to do. They looked so calm and serene as I began my tree pose...Until one of the doves started pecking the shit out of another dove. It was awful. Two of them flew away immediately. But the others joined in the peck, taking sides until there were four doves in a horrific fight. And they didn't make a sound as feathers flew all over the street. I wondered if anyone else was seeing this but I couldn't look around because I was trying to maintain my balance pose which was not easy. My focus point was to have been the doves but they were having some kind of gang war and I could not possibly do a balance pose while looking at a feathered version of West Side Story. So I just stood on two legs for the entire asana and watched as all of the birds flew away, except one. And she (he) sat there calmly, as two other doves doves joined her (him). I'm telling you, it is very hard to keep calm on the westside. You do all these things, you meditate, you do acupuncture and you walk out the door and a dog bites your leg. I am not complaining.

Yes I am. And I am ashamed of myself. And I have decided not to even try to be calm. Because what's the point? I think it's much better to be expecting something awful to happen because it's going to! You can count on it. So if you're expecting something horrendous to occur at any moment you can never be disappointed. I'm telling you, this tension is making me much more relaxed.

Now here's a tease...I slept with Bobby D. for an entire year. (And yes, I am Caucasian.) Not every night. But now and then. I lived on the Venice canals when they were cheap and I lived next door to three strange looking women from Appalachia. They made quilts. And whenever Bobby came over he would always point to the bougainvillea and say, "What the fuck is that?" I think I told him fifty thousand times that it was a plant. He was very much a New Yorker.

Go Cubs? What was I thinking?

Monday, July 23, 2007


I am a very messy person. The inside of my car looks like Hurricane Katrina has made a permanent home in my back seat. So I decided to remove some of the sticky papers and clothes and parking tickets and I found, buried under what I think was an old sandwich, my wedding band. It was covered with raisons and string cheese and whatever else I had eaten last September and I tried to shine it up with my tee shirt. Hmmmm. My wedding band. So I went into the house and for some reason I had saved the receipt after all these years. It cost, with tax, $950.00. That's a lot of money. What to do, what to do. And then I remembered this funny pawn shop in Santa Monica. Now I am sure there are a lot more pawn shops downtown and in all of the other interesting areas of LA, but here I am on the Westside and all I really know about is the shop that I've passed a million times. So armed with my receipt and my ring I went off to get me some cash.

The pawnbroker was not like I had imagined. Of course I was picturing Rod Steiger. (For those of you too young to have seen the movie The Pawnbroker, rent it. It's one of the really good ones.) This guy was more of a scary robber looking kind of guy with a big frightening smile on his face. He looked at the tiny ring, turned it round and round. "I'll give you fifty bucks." "Are you kidding?! This ring is from Tiffanys. I've got the receipt. That's real silver." Then he told me that the most expensive thing he'd ever sold in the shop was one hundred and fifty dollars. And he was certainly not going to sell a silver ring for more than fifty bucks. If he sells it at all. So I decided to keep the ring and on a day when I felt like having an adventure I would drive around LA and look for a better deal.

But I walked outside and there was a homeless woman I'd seen around town for years. She asked for a dollar. I gave her the ring and told her to go into the pawn shop. Fifty dollars for her would be a windfall. She went in and I stood out of sight by the door and heard the guy offer her five bucks. I knew he was a shmuck. So I walked just slightly inside and he saw me and he offered her the fifty bucks. She thought about it. But she decided she'd rather keep the ring. She walked past me, forgetting who I was or just not caring. And she put my wedding band on her finger. I certainly hope she has more luck with it than I did.

Yesterday there was an article in the Calendar section about Blogs. How gratuitous they are and who cares if you think your life is interesting. No one else does!! Personal stories, one person shows. How many people are actually that interesting? That's what the article put forth. And I say, aren't we all interesting? Are you who wrote the article interesting? Should we really care about what you're thinking? Mr. Edward Champion! Now, the article is not all negative. But it does give one pause. (paws) Am I writing for me? Am I writing for you? Why the hell am I writing? And the answer is... I have no idea. I just do it. I think about it and then I write it down. I guess in another age I would be writing this in a journal and hoping that when I die the journals would be discovered and published to great aclaim and I'd be right up there with Mr. Peyps. (I think that's how you spell his name. Or Mr. Peeps. Or Mr. Peepers.) I know I started out writing about having cancer but really, how much is there to say about that. You've got it, you deal with it. And then there's the rest of life which, truthfully, is much more interesting than needles and pills.

I wonder if she's still wearing the ring? I think it's time I threw out the receipt. Yes, it's time.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

You're Going To Put That Where?

I'm not much of a TV watcher. I saw the last two seasons of The Sopranos because I watched it with friends and it was a fun event. But mostly I sit down after dinner to empty my mind for a half an hour or so and surf the channels. I have no idea when anything is actually on, except last night's feed of The Daily Show. For some reason I am fascinated by infomercials. And yesterday, I think I saw my all time favorite. There were three people sitting around a table, looking very doctorly and taking calls from very happy men who had used their "product". Tom from Tallahasee, Paul from Peoria, all very, very satisfied customers. What some insane looking guy had invented was something called a Pos-T-Vac. I wasn't quite sure what it was but the syllable "vac" indicated to me that it had something to do with a vacuum. And then Tallahasee Tom and Peoria Paul started talking about how they felt like young men again and were having the time of their lives. Oh, they were happy. And I started sort of imagining just what the Pos-T-Vac might be when they went to a portion of the infomercial that was both frightening and fascinating. What was frightening was the acting. A woman with, I swear, baby powder in her hair to make her look older! was in the kitchen in her nightie talking about how wondeful last night had been. Her husband, wearing an apron and obviously hen-pecked, had a slightly embarrassed smile on face as she talked and talked and the little film cut from breakfast to lunch to dinner and all the while the man wore his apron and cooked as she went on and on and on and on about how fantastic last night had been. "I don't know what we would have done without that Pos-T-Vac you got, Jim." And they showed them hugging in the kitchen (obviously they could not afford another set) and it was all pretty sickening because I tell you, this woman would not stop talking and I thought the guy might actually end up beating her over the head with his Pos-T-Vac and I wouldn't have blamed him. But finally, after they had gotten you all excited about all the possibilities this Pos-T-Vac could bring you and your loved one, they flashed it on the screen. It was horrifying. First, you got a little bottle of (yuck) some kind of lubrication product (yuck again) to put on before you actually started with "the process". The actual product was a rather large plastic tube that you PLUGGED IN and TURNED ON after you had put your...thing...into it and apparently it sucked you into some very large very long...position...and then you, I don't know, you do whatever you want with it. If Osama is watching this infomercial, I can see why he thinks we are all going to hell. Are you kidding me? "Just a minute, honey, I've got to Hoover my thing for a moment but I'll be right with you." Do we not have better things to do with our money? Do I not have better things to do with my time? What if THAT was the last moment of my life? I want that time back!! Poor Paul from Peoria. That has got to make you sore. I think I'm going to get rid of my remote.

Here's a safe bet...I was thinking that I would like to live until the Cubs win the World Series. If they win next year, you Cub fans have me to thank.

Paul from Peoria is going to haunt me for a very long time. He was way too happy. Tonight I'm going to wear black and read Emily Dickinson. It's the only way I can get that Pos-T-Vac out of my mind.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Go Blue

Yesterday as I was driving up the coast looking out at the ocean, which was spectacularly beautiful, I started thinking about God and the afterlife and all that jazz. And the ocean was blue and the sky was blue and the surfers were surfing (something I must learn to do) and as hard as I tried to imagine heaven, I could not help but think that right then I had to be driving through a little piece of it. I think this is it. How could it not be? I love the notion, the image, that my dad is up there in the great beyond tossing a football with Gerald Ford (something he actually did!) and having a grand old time drinking a beer with a beautiful woman he'd met in the Philipines during WW II. And he's young and he's vital and handsome and full of hope and "You're my gal, Dotty. Gonna love ya til the sun sets for the last time." And I would like to think that's possible but I honestly feel that's just a wonderful image in my tiny brain.
I can completely understand that if you are born into poverty or tragic circumstances, that you must hang on to the idea that there is something greater for you after this life. Because you believe in God and God would not let you suffer for eternity and if you suffer on earth a reward must be waiting because you are a good person and heaven is the gift for all you have suffered. But for people like me, who are born into what must be heaven, how can I expect anything more? It wouldn't be fair. Maybe I've lived before and this life is my reward.
But this must be heaven. I drove back at sunset. I stopped and got a vanilla chocolate Foster Freeze. I can do that. I saw people on surfboards with these beautiful kites pulling them along the ocean. I saw kids on bikes laughing and peddling. I saw dogs catching frisbees on the beach. I saw a homeless man smiling as he walked along the sand. I ate a chicken quesadilla. I can do that. I went to the atm and took out twenty dollars. And I still had another twenty I might take out on Thursday. I listened to The White Stripes and Cat Stevens. I can listen to anything I want to. I can dance when I want to dance. I can go to Vidiots and rent any movie ever made. (Except A Thousand Clowns which is not on DVD.) I can read a classic. I can read a comic book. I can call London or Baltimore. I can hug my son. Is that not heaven?
I close my eyes and in the hundred yards of my mind I picture my dad catching a lateral pass and racing past the twenty, the ten and TOUCHDOWN! Into the end zone for the winning points and they lift him on their shoulders and carry him around the stadium and his smile can be seen from end zone to end zone. And he looks up into the stands and he gives me a wink and I give him the thumbs up and The Crowd...Goes...Wild.
Just another day in paradise.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Just Another Manic Monday

I was told by my surgeon that I should not eat popcorn. And I was sitting here today and all I could think about was...Popcorn. So I made a bag of Paul Newman's best and I ate the whole thing. I figured, what's the worst that can happen? I get a stomach ache?! A stomach ache!! I would give anything to have just a stomach ache. So I ate another bag. And nothing has happened. And I think I have lost faith in my surgeon. He told me not to eat chips. He told me to eat healthy. I think I'm not going to listen to anyone anymore.

And here's a good one. I walked into a yoga class today carrying this special bottle that I now fill with water everyday to save the planet from all the Volvic bottles that mess up the landfills. And the lovely girl next to me looked horrified. "You don't leave that bottle in your car, do you?" And I told her that I did when I went into Ralphs or the pharmacy. And she turned pinker than her blush and told me that there was a study done on bottles left in cars and it turns out that if you leave them there for more than two minutes they gather bacteria and if you drink the water, you get cancer. "Oh, really." I said. And I told her that for my entire adult life I had eaten only healthy, organic food, that I had not eaten red meat since 1969 (true) and that I had exercised everyday since I was somewhere in my twenties and I still got cancer, you pink thing you, so don't tell me not to leave my bottle in the car because if you're going to get it, it almost doesn't matter what you do! And then we sat in the lotus position and said an ohm and I could tell she was a little shaken because she moved her mat as far away from me as possible. I smiled at her after class. And took a big drink of my water. My bad.

Okay, here is a very strange side effect of chemo. It makes me oddly horney. Is that the most disgusting thing you've ever heard? How can that be? I must be some kind of a very sick person. But both times I've had chemo, about three days after the treatment, I found myself lying in bed, fading off to sleep, thinking about lovely places like snow mountains, forests in Wisconsin, and then suddenly there are naked men and women romping around the forests and doing nasty, horrible things. Both times, I opened my eyes, ran into the kitchen to get a glass of apple juice, then got back into bed. And again, the naked people only this time there were animals and I don't even want to tell you where my mind went. This cannot be right. And then I started to think about the fact that I was unoffcially single for the first time in many years. And I had no one to tell these thoughts to. And the very clear truth is that a middle aged woman with cancer is not a great candidate for a date. "Oh, you'd love her. She looks great for her age and she might die soon so what do have to lose?" I guess that's one way to go. But I'm not in a lot of situations where I meet people. The chemo room is nice, though not a great pick up joint. But there's one guy, youngish, baldish in a Cal Ripkin sort of way though I am pretty sure he lost it to chemo. But he's got a hot wife and he's just a nice thing to look at. The other men are sort of old and creaky. I don't think I could go out with someone I've seen sitting in a barcalounger. And then I thought, Oh my God, my social life consists solely of chemo treatment. Otherwise I am swimming or home writing or...Oh my God. This is it. It's me and my dreams. Thank goodness they're exciting. Maybe I could have some kind of wild social life when I'm unconscious. Maybe I'll meet somebody in my dreams.

You know what, I'm going to have another bag of popcorn. My bad. My bad.

Friday, July 13, 2007

The Devil Wears Birkenstocks

For those that care...Yesterdays chemo ensemble consisted of the following...A lime green three button mock henley, under which was a non underwire sports bra because you never know when you're going to have run from something or someone. Below that were five pocket khaki orignial fit Gap jeans. Boot cut. And to put it all together a pair of simple black sandals. That was the hardest choice. Red sandals or black. I chose the black and of course during the entire drip I kept looking down and thinking why didn't I choose the red! What was I thinking?! But the whole ensemble thing is so overblown at this point that the fact I was dressed at all was a miracle.

"Woke up, got out of bed, and dragged a comb across my head..." And then I swam, ate, got dressed and my friend Gretchen drove me to chemo where it only took two sticks to find a vain and off I went into the land of poison. Happy, happy, joy, joy poison. I seem to be much better today than I was three weeks ago. My thumbs are working. My arm is not so sore. And I have my appetite.

And speaking of that. So if you'll recall three weeks ago I could not eat. Could not eat for an entire week. And yesterday they weigh me and I have gained three pounds. I believe this is a Jewish girl phenomenon. Don't eat for a week, gain weight. I look at a bagel and my ass gets bigger. My doctor keeps telling me not to lose weight. Are you kidding me? Have you seen my relatives? I think if I didn't eat for six months I would still be five pounds overweight. So this is a real dilemma. My vanity says, hey, who cares if you have cancer, the important thing is to look great. Pudgy with cancer is not good. Worst would be if I lost my hair. Fat and bald, not a good look. But I am told I will not lose my hair so I guess I'll eat. Because they say when they operate they are taking part of my stomach and then I'll have to have very tiny meals and I will definitely lose weight. Right. They have not seen my Aunt Bertha. Never happen in a million years. It's some kind of an odd thigh curse.

Andy came over last night and we watched funny English people and talked about acting and life and good days and bad and cars crashing through fences and when he left I got into bed and read about Barack Obama...again. Call me crazy, but I think I have a slight crush on old water rat Dennis Kucinich. Now there's a wasted vote but the guys got a plan. And for peace, no less. Can you imagine a politician even uttering that word as a possibility? It's just so disappointing listening to all of them talk like...politicians. Trying to please everyone, left right and center. I would love to see Hilary walk out barefoot wearing a peasant blouse and jeans and just say what she really feels. "Hey people, come on. It's all about love, love, love. I love you, man! Repeat after me, peace, love, peace, love..." Hmmmm. What happend to that? Didn't work, did it? But, you know, it should. It really should. It's just getting everyone around the same table, that's the trick. Everyone eating the same hummus. You can't have some people living under rocks in Afghanistan and some in the Hamptons talking about how they'd like to meet the people living under the rocks. Someone has to change positions.

Someone told me that this cancer thing is really going to change my life. If I die, yes, that's a big change. At least I won't have to worry about what to wear. But of course this makes me worry about what to be buried in. But I'm thinking cremation. That's the way to go. Don't have to pick out a pair of shoes. Sorry, that's getting a bit morbid. What I was trying to say was I'm not sure this cancer is going to change my life. In that certain way. I'll have a big new scar and less of a stomach and esophagus, but I can't imagine appreciating anything more than I already do. I feel so lucky. I've got everything I want and everything I need. I've got an ab fab son and great friends. I love teaching and writing.

Not thrilled with my ass. But it's always something.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Merde Happens

One book title that has always given me pause (or paws) is "When Bad Things Happen to Good People". Shouldn't the answer to that be found in three words...Because stuff happens. I hope the author of that book has airdropped thousands of copies over the entire continent of Africa because those people must be wondering why the hell they were born into so many dilemas. The book I would be much more interested in reading would be "When Good Things Happen to Bad People". What's the answer to that, Mr. Psychologist? How come so many horrible people seem to have such a damn good time? I would really like to read about that someday.

Here's a good reason not to live in China...They just executed the head of the Food and Drug Safety Agency. He took bribes. And he approved six medicines that turned out to be fake. He's the one responsible for the deaths of all those animals because of dog food contaminated with fire retardant. Also, in Panama people died because they took medicine he approved where one of the ingrediants was brake fluid. Okay, this guy was a bad dude. But I found it interesting that they executed him in a mobile execution van. Lethal injection. I'm always fascinated by smart people who put all their time and effort into figuring out things like a mobile execution van. Someone designed it. Someone picked out the poison they were going to use. What color paint to use on the van. Should the mattress be soft or hard. What a strange use of one's brain. I'll bet Alberto Gonzolez is glad he doesn't live in China.

A guy named Josef Hoffman Meredith died today in Burbank. His parent's names were Conde Thompson Mosley and Cheerio Meredith. Could not tell if Cheerio was the dad or the mom. He performed on the high aerial trapeze with the Flying Alexanders. Much of his life revolved around his car. I found that last part to be disturbing but I think if you have a parent named Cheerio, all bets are off.

Also, a guy named Moe Disesso died. He was a Hollywood animal trainer. His obit picture shows him with two rats on his shoulder. They couldn't have found a picture of him with a dog? Or a deer? Two rats on your shoulder does not seem like a good final portrait to me. They said he died in his sleep. I'll bet one of those suckers bit him. Guess he must have worked on those rat movies Willard and Ben. I had a friend whose father's name was Willard and he had the poster from the movie hanging in his room. The tag line was..."Where your nightmares end, Willard begins" He did not have a good relationship with his father.

So tomorrow is my second chemo day and I am ready and thanks to a friend I've got a Nichols and May CD all booted up and ready to play. Oh yes, I am going to laugh my way through if it kills me. Probably not the right phrase to use but except for my outfit I am ready. And here's where I go crazy...Should I wear the same thing as last time for good luck? Or should I change it up a bit, wear, oh I don't know, something with a little color? Maybe just red shoes would do the trick? Man, this is hard. Hardest thing I've ever done, choosing an outfit for chemotherapy. I think I'd better figure it out tonight, though, so I can sleep soundly. Hey maybe there's a book in, "When Pointless Things Happen to Neurotic People."

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Carpe Diem

Up until a few short years ago I was a television writer. I worked, I made a living. Then suddenly, almost overnight, I couldn't get a job. The new young showrunners would read my work, like it enough to have a meeting with me and then I would get the call from agent saying they had hired someone else. "But they said they loved my writing." "They do. They think you're great." But...And the hidden BUT was...I was too old to be funny. Interesting how that happens. In an instant, in the wrinkle of an eye, you are suddenly dried up, out of touch and useless. I asked my agent if I could get a job where I didn't have to actually sit in the writers room and upset the others with my maturity and maybe I could just mail in my scripts and they wouldn't have to look at me. He didn't find that amusing. He just saw that I was no longer a paycheck. Oh, these people are brutal. The last show I worked on full time was Mad About You. It was run by one of the most wretched human beings I have ever met. I don't want to mention his name because why drag him through the muck at this point. (Vic Levin) Oh, he was awful. I had written a spec pilot about a teenage boy whose parents were divorced so he lived two lives. One in Fairfield Conn. and one in New York City. Vic liked it and he called me in and I could tell he was shocked when he met me. "You wrote this?" "Yup." "How did you write this? How do you know how a hip teenager talks?" "Uhhhhh...I'm a writer?" "No really, you're...what?" He's thinking old. He's not going to say it. But I've got to give him credit. He hired me. And then he tortured me like he did every other writer. In fact, I actually left that job before it was finished because one of the advantages of being "mature" is that you know you do not have to put up with a jerk if you can afford to quit.

But the great thing about show business is that there is always another jerk right around the corner. Another job I left after a mere three days was a show based on the movie Parenthood. Oh, this show runner was a doozy. We were coming up with story ideas for the season and I suggested one about the Mothers. After all the show was called "Parenthood", about families, parents, dads...moms. And this guy says..."Boring. Who cares about the moms? Who gives a shit about moms." Well, obviously you don't, you little twerp. And I was gone.

I worked for a very, very nice couple who had a big hit a few years back. They were wonderful people and it was great working for them...Except they were sooooo not funny. Their jokes were those kind of pie in the face jokes, way over the top, obvious, I'll even go so far as to say, stupid. But they were nice. They were not assholes. So I had to suffer through humor like..."Oh my God, is that toilet paper on my shoe?! And Billy saw it? Oh my God!" I told myself at the end of every day, "They're nice. They're nice. They're nice. They're not funny, but they're nice." And I decided that I would much rather work for nice and not funny rather than brilliant and assholic.

But what is this thing about age? And you know where it comes from? Not the young kid running the show. It comes from the old geezer himself, Les Moonves. (This is they guy who runs CBS.) This guy is my age. Does he not think he's too old to be running all those networks? His programming sucks. Katie Couric doing the news. Oh, brilliant idea. Katie Couric, Walter Cronkite, oh yeah, I can see the thinking. He actually has a show on called Pirate Master. Where people live as "buccaneers" and hunt for treasure. Oh boy do I want tivo that. Can he possibly think of one more way do another CSI? NCSI, CSI Miami, CSI New York. How about CSI Baghdad? CSI Jerusalem?

But I'm not bitter. No. Yes. Yes, I am bitter. Why hold back? That's right. I always forget I have cancer and I must seize the day. Finally tell people what I really think about them instead of holding it all in and getting an ulcer. Or...I could go to Ralphs and figure out what I want for dinner. Hmmmmm. I'm thinking halibut.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Saving the Planet

My favorite thing of the weekend was The Pussycat Dolls pole dancing for the environment. Check out page 6 of your Calendar section. Check out the guys in the audience. Oh yeah, they're thinking, "I've got to get me one of those energy saving lightbulbs." Or, "You know what, right after this I am going run home and unplug my phone charger." Seriously, whatever it takes to get people to think about the environment even a little is good. Shakira shaking her booty probably brought the temperature up a few more notches. Whatever works.

My least favorite thing this weekend was the news that over 200 innocent people were killed by a suicide bomber outside of Baghdad. It was not even on the front page of the paper today. It was somewhere in the middle of the first section. Hmmmm. Where do you think it would be if over 200 people were killed at the Malibu farmers market?

For the past couple of months I have been receiving a frightening catalogue with the unfortunate moniker, "Time For Me". This is aimed at women of a certain age who have already raised their kids and are thinking of retiring from their jobs and now have "time for me!" First of all, didn't you WANT to have those children? Isn't that what you dreamed about more than anything? So, technically, that WAS your time. You wanted it and you got it. And now that time is over and it is not time for YOU, it's time for somebody else...Perhaps somebody less fortunate than you? Ever think of that, you selfish pig!? No, I'm telling you, this catalogue makes me crazy. I have two issues in front of me. On one cover a woman is sitting alone in a canoe, dangling her feet in the water and laughing hysterically. On the other cover a woman in full make-up is holding a golf club pretty much up against her crotch and she is about to play MINIATURE GOLF. Do these women not have anything better to do with their time? Okay, you raised your kids. Good work. Now maybe it's time to do something for humanity? Could you give back just a little? Must you go to Europe...Again? Okay, I might be judging them a little too harshly. Maybe right before miniature golf this happy woman went down to a shelter and brought some clothes and worked with the kids and after miniature golf she's going to a woman's prison and helping them with their reading and writing. But I just have a feeling the woman in the canoe is not going to do that. I think she's about to have a nervous breakdown. I think I hate this catalogue.

Some of you probably listen to the same radio stations that I do. Today I heard something that made me pull over and collect myself because I could not believe our beloved Potus actually said this. (And my son told me Michael Moore used this cut in Sicko.) Bush was in a sort of town hall meeting and a woman stood up (it was radio but I had the feeling...) And the women told him that she had to hold down three jobs to support her family. And our President said, without hesitation, "Three jobs! That is so American. How wonderful is that!" And some of the audience applauded. This guy actually thought it was wonderful that this poor woman had three jobs. Wonderful. Never occured to him that maybe, if she was in a union and had benefits and proper wages, she might be able to actually be home and spend time with her family instead of working 24 hours a day. Maybe even have time to go to her fabulous summer home in Kennebunkport and sail around on her mini yacht and have cocktails on the beach and ain't life just so grand when you have three fabulous jobs to look forward to. Oh hoorah America. Now, hey, I love America. I am one of the lucky ones. (I do not blame America for my cancer.) But something is wrong when so many Americans have to work their butts off just to scrape by. Something is wrong when there seems to be less and less of a middle class. Rich, poor. Not much in between.

But I'm really not that angry. And I'm not auditioning for the Huffington Post. Actually, I have my second chemo on Thursday and I am supposed to be relaxed and calm and maybe if I toss all catalogues and just watch The Pussycat Dolls on YouTube I could be in a good place by Thursday...It's worth a try...

Friday, July 6, 2007

A Black Potus

I am sure you are looking at that word and wondering, what the hell is a potus? Will was reading out of Newsweek as we were driving back from Carpinteria and read the sentence, "The country may not be ready for a Black Potus." And I'm picturing some weird centipede or, I don't know, a preacher and he was reading about Barach Obama and suddenly he figured out that Potus stood for President of the United States! But it somehow sounded slightly racist. Because they didn't say, the country was not ready for a Morman Potus. Or a female Potus. Just a Black Potus. And then I got to thinking, the country was certainly ready to elect a dumb ass Potus...Twice! And I don't mean the one who got the BJ under his desk. (Which gives a whole new meaning to the words Oval Office.) I mean the dumb ass Potus who took us into an unnecessary war. And while I'm ranting, here is something that has always bothered me...Our President is born again. Which is great for him. I'm happy for him. But he believes that unless you accept Christ, you are going to roll around uncomfortably in your grave for eternity. Come on. Does he really believe that my sweet grandma who had to escape Russia at the turn of the last century in a hay wagon, and had to lie quietly under the hay while her brother was bludgeoned to death with a pitchfork, does he really believe that because she was Jewish that she is not at peace? Now, Jesus seems like he was a pretty cool dude and I can't imagine that he walked on the earth and said, "Hey Sam, you're a nice guy but unless you embrace me, your eternity is toast." But you know, I could be wrong...And then what?

Dr. Mao, my acupuncturist, was also the doctor to the man formerly known as my husband. So I went to get my bi-monthly treatment and he knew what had happened between us and he is always full of deep thoughts and when he finished putting in his needles, in that delicate way he always does, he walked over to the door, dimmed the light, and left me with some of his wise words of wisdom..."Take him to the cleaners." And he was gone. I usually fall asleep after a minute or two, relax into a deep state of calm. But on this day my mind was racing. The cleaners? I never even thought of that. I don't even go to the cleaners. I use Dryell. (Great stuff, by the way. You can get it at Target.) Take him to the cleaners. Hmmmm. And then I started thinking about what I might ask for. And then, being slightly calm from the needles, I decided I might ask for EVERYTHING! I want everything. Even his new girlfriend. She's a young ex art student. She makes jewelry. Maybe I'll take all of her jewelry! Yeah, that's the ticket. And his credits. I'll take all of his credits. Anytime he works on a show, it will say, written by Trish, directed by Trish. I got very excited about all the possibilities. I can have it ALL! Take this sucker to the cleaners! Oh, Dr. Mao is so wise. I know, I'll take his girlfriend's youth! Yes. It's all mine. And Dr. Mao came back into the room and I was high as a kite and he said he was so glad to see I was feeling better. Then he asked me if I liked his little joke. I smiled at him and then I started to laugh. And I laughed. And I laughed. Just a little too hard. So he told me to lie down again. Thought I needed another treatment. This time I went to sleep. And in my little needle dream I watched the credits roll...And everything was mine.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

A 4th of July Treat

I slept with Robert DeNiro. I met him at the William Morris Agency. We had the same agent. I slept with him, too. Once. His name was Harry and he wanted to represent me as an actress so on this particular day he wanted me to come in and meet the other agents. Harry had seen me in a play at The Company Theater on Robertson Boulevard in which I had all of my clothes off for most of the second act. Actually, all of the actors had their clothes off. (It was the 60s) But for this meeting at William Morris I thought I should try and look presentable so I got out my sewing machine and I decided to make myself a dress. Unfortunately, I had no idea how to sew but everyone was making their own clothes (it was the 60s) so I went out and bought the simplest pattern I could find. Looked easy. The dress was the size of a washcloth and had only one snap at the back of the neck holding the whole thing together. That I could handle. So I got some nice material and in about one hour I had a dress. And off I went to Beverly Hills.

Harry's office was very dark. He hated overhead lighting so he had this one desk lamp and he told me to sit on the couch over by the lamp and he'd bring the other agents in to meet me. It was so dark I wondered why I'd even bothered to making this dress but I'm sitting there and in walks this skinny New Yorky guy who looked me up and down and didn't say much except, "I like your dress." Cool. So he sits next to me. I had never seen this guy before, never heard of him, but when these agents came in, supposedly to meet me, all they really wanted to do was to talk to this skinny guy. Which was actually lucky because the one snap that was holding my dress together was coming loose and I had to sit with my hand on the back of my neck holding my dress together while I smiled politely at these agents who could care less who I was. I watched them tell the skinny guy what a big star he was going to be and then they'd look over at me, almost as an afterthought, and become only slightly interested when Harry told them I took all my clothes off in a play. Now the skinny was very interested in me taking my clothes off. In fact, after the meeting he waited for me in the parking lot. Which was awkward because by now the snap was completely gone and I had a stick shift and I had not idea how I was going to drive and keep my dress on. But this guy, who told me his name was "Bob", waited for me and being a man of few words said, "You busy?" And I said, innocently, "Ahhhh, no." And he asked me to follow him.

Okay, so I had to figure out how to work the steering wheel and the stick shift at the same time without my losing my dignity. I looked around in the car for a pin. Any kind of pin. A paper clip. Scotch tape. I found nothing. New Yorky Bob was pulling out of the lot and I had to follow him so I let go of my dress and drove down Wilshire Boulevard topless. I saw him looking at me in his rear view and I could tell he could not believe what good fortune he had to meet me. Between driving topless and being naked in a play I could also tell that he was not going to take me seriously as an actress. But I was serious. I had just chosen the wrong pattern.

THAT'S IT. Back to the here and now. Happy 4th. Plug your dog's ears. And remember why we celebrate the 4th. To free Scooter!

Monday, July 2, 2007

Monday Monday

I went to the drugstore today to buy a new toothbrush and I happened to glance down at the tabloids. The Globe caught my eye. The headline was Oprah: Only Six years to Live! (This is the second time I've mentioned Oprah in my blog and I have never even seen her show. Imagine how much clearer we could think without all this crap about other people we don't know permeating our minds!) Anyway, my first thought upon seeing the headline was...ONLY six years? Six years is a long time. Think about who you were and what you were doing six years ago. My son was thirteen years old six years ago. Now he's a young man. You have six years to live. It's so specific. Would a doctor say you have two years, a couple months and three maybe four days left? How do they determine these things? Then I looked for the article. I past by Ed McMahon selling walk in bathtubs and an article on botox shockers and actresses with duck lips. All so interesting I wanted to go back to the pharmacist and purchase some arsenic. But I finally got to the article and the doctor who was saying that Oprah had six years to live did not even know her. He just observed. He thought she was working and eating her way to an early grave. This guy, and may his license be taken away pronto, invented something he actually had patented called a Death Calculator. Now wouldn't everyone in America just love to have one of those things. He also predicted with his little calculator that Britney Spears will be dead at 43. Duh!! Here's how he figures things. Oprah loses two years on her life because of media overexposure. Thank goodness, one thing none of us have to worry about. Second, she loses 4 years for living alone. I hate this guy. She loses 5 years for her eating habits, even though he admits that she does have a personal chef who prepares healthy meals everyday. What's a girl to do? But here's the real crazy part...The part where he tells you how to ADD years to your life. First he says you get 2 extra years if you help the needy. Hello, the woman just built a school for girls in Africa. I'm sorry but that has got to be worth at least five extra years. Second, you get one extra year for taking a bubble bath every day. I hate bubble baths. They make me itchy. But that's only one extra year so who cares. You get two years for praying. Come on, even God is going to give you more than two years if you really stick with it. And there's a picture of the doctor with the article. And the guy's a fatty! A big fat fatty. I'd say for that and inventing the death calculator this guy loses at least 25 years.

A saying that I have to reconsider is this one..."Enjoy each moment as if it were your last." Saturday I was in Starbucks in Ocean Park and a young man, around mid twenties, was invading my space. I was standing in line minding my own business, checking out the cd's and this guy was on his cell phone talking in what seemed to be my ear. "Johnny, we're calling Benedict at UTA. He's gonna love it." I turned around to ask if he could move back a little but he put his finger to his mouth in a shush gesture. "We gotta have a hook." This kid was just the son I did not want my son to turn out to be. I thought of pulling the..."Could you not get so close, I have cancer." thing, but it was all happening very fast. Someone left the line and almost in tandem we moved forward, like that horse act when someone's the head and someone's the tail. He was yacking away and I was trying to breath deeply and know in my heart that this kid was never going to make it in Hollywood and someday he would be completely depressed and that kept me going for a while. But then my mouth got the better of me. He said, "We'll tell him it's sort of a cross between Entourage and Dexter." And I said, "Oh puleeeeze." Practically right into his cell phone. And he asked if I would just mind my own business. And I said I certainly would if he would stop doing his business in my ear. And we went back and forth and I told him you can't do an original idea based on someone else's idea, even if you paste two good ideas together to make it your own. And he looked at me like I was insane and he told Johnny on the other end of the phone line that he'd have to call him back when he got away from the "crazies". Yes, he said crazies. That would be me. So I ordered my soy chai tea latte (too many words for tea, don't you think?) and that's when it occured to me. About living each moment as if it were your last. If that moment in Starbucks was my last moment, then man, that really sucks. What a ridiculous ending. It's like when you see a movie and it has a good beginning but the ending is weak and all over the place, well, that's all you really remember. The lousy ending.

Which leads me to conclude...Absolutely nothing. I don't know a thing. I know that a cross between Entourage and Dexter is a stupid idea. I know an asshole when I hear him in my ear. Trust me, I am trying to embrace each day, but how to avoid the assholes. I could never leave the house, that's an idea. Hmmmm. Maybe I should reconsider that bubble bath.