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................................................

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Come On Baby Light My Fire

First of all, starting off the "duh!" news story...Mitt Romney smoked pot. Please, anyone who is over fifty tried pot and so everyone running for president falls into that category. Our current president smoked pot and did coke. Who cares? It's a youthful experiment and that is what youth is all about. I'm hoping that is what being a senior citizen is all about. Senior citizen...What a terrible turn of phrase. Eeeeeooooo. That sounds like a REALLY old person. Like, REAL old. I'd like to be referred to as an advanced hippie. Gettin' high every day. Livin' off the land. Who am I kidding? I can't even grow a tomato. Peace, man. That's one thing I know how to do.

Carpinteria is a great little funny town. Ten minutes south of Santa Barbara and a million miles from Montecito and Oprah and her friends. This weekend was the "world famous" Avocado Festival. I think people as far away as San Diego come to this festival. World's biggest vat of guacamole. Avocado ice cream. Avocados decorated like little people. And alcohol. Personally, I think that's the draw. You can walk around with a Marguerita in your hand and eat yourself into oblivion. A tri-tip sandwich smothered in guacamole. Can you think of anything better?

Well, if you think this is just some rinky dink festival, think again. Playing wild bluesy rock and roll was this little local band and sitting in on drums was John Densmore of The Doors. This guy wrote Light My Fire! This Festival is a big deal! He wrote the number one acid song of the last century and there he is sitting next to an avocado playing his drums. I wanted to tell him that I saw him play at the Whiskey many moons ago. Saw Jim Morrison writhing around on stage while he played. "Try to set the night on fire!..." Saw Jim Morrison in the back row of the theater company I was in a couple of times, watching our show, The James Joyce Memorial Liquid Theater (I kid you not. Remember, it was the sixties...) and he loved it and HE was watching ME! How cool is that? But, of course, I didn't say anything to John Densmore. I just danced and ate corn and once again felt really good that I had grown up in such a "groovy" generation.

Saw Into The Wild. I liked it. Talk about the arrogance of youth. (I related to him not being able to eat at the end. Sometimes I feel just like that.) But I thought about lot of things while I was watching the movie. Thought about the choices people make that sometimes go completely haywire. (Don't you just love that word?) But the thing is, they made a choice. And maybe it was a risky one. But they made it. And then there is fact that some people, I think most people...Don't have a choice. They are born with nothing, they have to work to eat, maybe feed a family, and that's just that. This boy was lucky. He could make his own choice after seeing a certain way of life that he rejected. The life of privilege. Who knows what he thought while he was dying. "Hmmmm, I think I made a bad choice here. Shit. I'm going to die." Had he chosen to be a lawyer, we probably never would have heard of him. So maybe he did make the right choice. Just kind of a bummer for him.

I am sitting here writing while three plumbers are cutting up the ground outside my window. They told me that if they didn't clear out the pipes, my house would blow up. Should I believe them? See, this is just like when they told me I had cancer. Would I have blown up if they hadn't cut me open? Will my house blow up next time I use the toilet? I don't know. My grandparents lived in the same tiny house forever in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania and their house never blew up. And it was also a little grocery store with chicken feathers and beef fat going down the drain. And they're telling me I can't use the toilet?

They're drilling now. My teeth are hurting.

Call me crazy, but I think saw Jim Morrison walking around the Avocado Festival eating a guac and chicken taco. I actually saw about twenty other people who looked like Jim Morrison.

Can you say contact high?.....................................

Friday, October 5, 2007

He's back.....

Hello, again. Andy Parks here. Now... don't panic! Trish is all right! In fact, she's more than all right, she's driven up to Carpenteria and is spending a long week-end. So ... she called me to ask me to alert her blog-fans (blogophiles?) that she won't be posting anything new until Tuesday of next week. So, I've done that. ..... Now what? ....
My assigned duty has been carried out, and I should probably just go, but it occurred to me that while I was covering for Trish when she was in the hospital, I didn't really go into much detail about my long association with her. I'll just share one fact: 29 years ago, Trish and I played bats together. It was in a Michael McClure one-act called "The Masked Choir". We hung, by our knees, from the light grid of the Company Theatre in home-made bat costumes and sang "Baby You've Got the Universe In the Palm of Your Hand" while we were upside down. Below us, there were two gauzily-dressed nymphs, two giant pandas, two (or maybe only one) dancing water buffalo, and the eponymous Masked Choir, likewise singing (though right-side up). You don't hardly get theatre like that any more.
Trish and I were already fast friends by that time ... but hanging upside down and singing (try it some time... your diaphragm doesn't work that way!) deepened our bond considerably.
Bat-girl will be back on Tuesday.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

People Walking Backwards

So on my walk today I passed by a group of women walking backwards. Was this some religious ritual? Were they atoning for sins and trying to erase the past? Or were they just nuts and this was some crazy new exercise fad? They were moving rather slowly so how many calories could they possibly burn? It is very odd not to think about that burning calories thing anymore. I believe right now I am living, in certain ways, like a monk. A monk...ess. (Oh, those poor monks in what used to be Burma. This fighting thing, this war thing is just so, so insane.)

Anyway, I eat like a monkess. I can't talk when I eat. I have to chew each bite a million times, even when it's peanut butter and I have to eat tiny, tiny bits. The other night I made myself and Will a delicious dinner of scallops, baked potato and asparagus. I had ONE scallop, an eighth of the potato and three pieces of asparagus. It was pathetic. But my stomach will grow, they tell me. And it had better be able to tolerate alcohol pretty soon or I will have to get a feeding tube inserted specifically for vodka. Now, I am not an alcoholic by any means, but those of you reading this, try going without a glass of wine or a martini for OVER A MONTH! Just try that! Life isn't so pretty anymore, is it? A person needs at least one vice, for pete's sake. Right now all I can do to misbehave is to take a bite of a cookie but then I just end up throwing up for half an hour. Who am I, Mrs. Job? I can't even have a bite of a cookie! Okay, there cannot be a God if a person can't have a cookie. Maybe that's what should go on my tombstone. But I'm not going to have a tombstone because I'm going to be tossed into the air for eternity. Which is what waiting to have a drink feels like. An Eternity! But I'm not an alcoholic, mind you? Did I say that already? And is thou protesting too much? Or thee? Or moi?

But here's what's been on mind the last few days. My divorce. Never thought I'd have cancer. Never thought I'd have to get divorced. As I mentioned many blogs ago, part of me wants to keep everything! The house, the phones, the pillows. I love my pillows. And my futon. I sleep on a futon. Love it. I think I can have that. But as long as I am living like that Jewess Monkess, maybe I should give everything to him. So I can have a clean clear life. Start completely over.

But that's not possible, is it? Because I'm not twenty anymore and I can't have children anymore and from this point on I'm just going to begin to crumble. So this starting over is completely different than, say, starting over twenty years ago. I can't make the big bucks anymore unless I write a novel and Oprah puts it on her book list. I can do everything I can to look nice but in the end it's just a losing battle, isn't it? But what do you know? You're probably thirty five or forty. I hate you.

No I don't. I hate me. Me is who I hate. All the wrong decisions. I have made all the wrong decisions.

See, this is where your mind goes when you can't eat chocolate chips. I need a cookie, dammit. And I need to get divorced. I am so bad at legal stuff. I know I'm going to screw it up and he's going to end up with everything and I'll be selling my computer at that pawn shop and I can't believe I gave a homeless woman my wedding ring!! Maybe I can find her? Grab that ring off her finger. No, I'm not that desperate. But I can't be stupid about the divorce. Someone asked me what I wanted. Told me to figure out exactly what I wanted and go from there. And I've been thinking about that and I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I WANT. You would think at this point in my life I would have some clear direction. Hmmmm. Should I go to Haverford or Lewis and Clark? You can't go anywhere, dummy! Those days are over. Why do I think that there are still possibilities? How insane is that?

You know what? I'm going to find those people walking backwards. I think they've got the right idea. If I walk backwards maybe I can figure out where I was going in the first place. But first, I am getting myself a fucking Oreo. Who can possibly think straight without an Oreo?

Monday, October 1, 2007

Stunned Woman Walking

I almost died today. Not from cancer...But from a stupid little woman driving an enormous Hummer and TALKING ON HER CELL PHONE! Is that not against the law yet? So I'm taking my walk, building up steam, decide to cross the street and this woman decides to ignore the stop sign in front of her and, I swear, she stopped about six inches from my feeding tube. I froze and she jumped out of the car and said, "I didn't see you." And I said, "How could you see me when YOUR HEAD DOESN'T CLEAR THE STEERING WHEEL!" She couldn't have been more than five feet tall. And she was all nervous and apologetic but SHE WAS STILL TALKING ON HER PHONE. "Just a minute, Gail, I've got to deal with this."

Deal with this? You almost killed me, you idiot. And then I thought, Oh of course. This is perfect. I lived through all I've lived through then BAM, I get hit by a stupid little woman in her Hummer.

"How did she go?"
"She got hit by a Hummer."
"But the cancer was gone, right?"
"Oh yeah. No problem with the cancer."

So I just glared at this woman. Glared down a few inches. While she waited for me to say something. I could hear Gail on the other end of her phone. "Hello? Are you still there? Are you driving through that dead spot?"

Yes! This WAS almost a dead spot with me as the road kill because your friend was talking to YOU in her gigantic car. Who needs a car that big? Is she transporting buffalo because that's the only reason I can think of that a woman that size would need such a big car.

"Well, if your okay I'm going to go now."
"Turn off your phone."
"Turn off your fucking phone."
"Excuse me?"

Okay, we were at an impasse here. Either I wasn't speaking English or she was refusing to hear what I was saying. Let's just guess the latter. So then I started my rant. About cell phones and giant cars and of course I threw in cancer and flashed my tube at her which I could see she found quite upsetting. I almost showed her my scar but that seemed a bit too intimate.

"Alice, are you still there? Hello? Hello?"

And Gail was still on the other end. And this was at nine in the morning and I'm sure they were both on their way to a hair appointment after dropping off their perfect kids at some perfect school where they will graduate from and go to some perfect college and play perfect sports and then graduate and become perfect NOTHINGS. (Okay, that was mean. I'm sure Gail is a wonderful person and Alice or whoever the little Hummer driver is must be just the bestest gal around. Maybe she could be my bestest friend. Maybe we should exchange numbers. Cell phone numbers. Maybe I should bash her head into her Hummer.)

Anyway, she drove away as quickly as she could and continued her conversation with Gail and I am sure she told her that a crazy woman walked into the street and she did everything she could to avoid hitting her.

So I kept walking. And I was trying to get that feeling one is supposed to get after you live through cancer or whatever...That feeling that, wow, life is so wonderful and isn't it great to be alive. Haven't gotten that feeling yet. But my mind took a different path and went to thoughts like...What crazy things people do to fill their time on this planet. And here's where that thought came from...After walking a little ways I saw a man very methodically putting together what looked to be a bicycle. There was a bench near by so I sat down to surrepticiously watch him. And he kept pulling parts out of his old car and attaching them ever so perfectly to the other parts he had already put together. Now this man was somewhere between fifty and death. Not in great shape with a pretty scraggly beard. But he was a hard worker. And he finished. And he locked his car. And he got on this "thing" and he rode off. This "thing" had two back wheels about two inches high and one front wheel about three feet high. The pedals stuck out from the middle of the front wheel. And I'm watching all this and I'm thinking, Wow, this is how this guy spends his time on earth. Putting together what looks to be a ridiculous contraption. Or was it? I think he loved it. I think he was completely happy. This guy was spending his life exactly as he wanted to. No pressure, no feeling that he had to "be someone."


He escaped from Camarillo with a kids bike and a unicycle and he was about to ride himself off The Santa Monica Pier.

I have to find a calmer place to take my walk. Ireland, perhaps?