About Me

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Los Angeles, California
I am 47 and thriving in Southern California. One day at a time.
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Saturday, January 30, 2010

requiem for a dream

well, i am nothing if not dramatic.

unlike change which slowly creeps up on you. mundane. benign.

then, suddenly. insidious.

note the funky aunt who periodically comes to visit; remarking upon how much her nephews have grown; much to the parents' bewilderment. auntie's filter sharpens their ignorant, soft focus. dries out their mirage.

[hey. auntie. snap shut that compact, why don't you?]

a glance into this mirror can be startling. "where did those crow's feet come from?" "is it already october?". "who is retiring?". and beware those who stare too long. besotted by your frenetic life of mundane details and useless responsibilities. addicted to the jarring lullaby of multitasking. this ain't no navel gazing. stare longtime and it's cold turkey, dude.


narcissus was a cautionary tale, after all.

whereas he looked too long and was punished for falling in love with himself, when i look too long, i fall out of love.

[am i being punished?]

quick glances are all i dare.

i placed a notary seal upon my career the other day.

when i interviewed for disability, i told the social worker my last day of work had been november 1st, 2008. my final audition was an 18 page guest starring role on "cold case". i was good. i didn't get the part. but i was good. so when the tears cascaded down my steriod-swollen cheeks and ms. perez kindly passed me a tissue, i was surprised. surprised by the amount of emotion attached to something i left behind a year prior.

but i hadn't left it behind.

perhaps this is why i haven't started therapy. or found a support group. yet. a canadian transplant (ha!) in SoCal, i have taken up residence in the territory of denial; the land of limbo.

civil war rages throughout.

alice through the looking glass, indeed. an alternate universe lies on the other side, and the truth is, when i stare too long into the shimmering glass, i am blinded.

or is it that i just don't want to see?

so last week, i took a studied, painful look and quietly emailed my 3 agents in both los angeles and toronto. although, i had been laying low, it was my official withdrawal from the biz and a giant step out of limbo-stan.

it still feels impossible to embrace the endless restrictions thrust upon my life. {would you want to make out with a cactus?}. the ties that bind. that restrict. choke.

"give yourself permission to be ok with just doing dishes one day..."


yet today, someone else held up a mirror, showing me what they see.

my toronto agent of 17 years sent words of comfort, kindness and unyielding belief in my talent. something i can no longer see.

i entitled this "requiem for a dream" because that dream is over. for now. i hope. and i am working to embrace my new dream. does it PISS. ME. OFF. that the majority of people i know are already living my dream of health and barely give it a thought?

one guess.

but, i am tired of being angry. and i am tired of being tired. the former, i can change. the latter i cannot.

and requiems are beautiful. haunting. invoking. and perhaps, inspiring. for the death of one thing often leads to the birth of something else.

so i need to get my ass out of withering-ville. pronto.

just need to bring up my mapquest.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

burnt out

Monday, January 25, 2010

"the zipper"

k. woke up with night terrors tonight and now i have insomnia.

searing me hot like sizzling, shrimp fajitas. breaking my heart like invading, heart sick souls.

now whirring thoughts invade my mind...like "the zipper" ride; spinning, uncontrollable, and nauseous...painful thoughts endure...

["more than this"...]

the other day, k. told me that dr. d is 74. my heart cracked in two. i would be lost in the woods without him; little ms. red riding hood, ah, she WAS a red head, indeed. denial is mine, and it satisfies...

i often hate face book.

the postings burn my soul. like a blazing fire; a love aflame.

my friends' adventures kill me. i love them; but often feel a deep sadness.

envy burns.

i have been in bed with a head cold since returning from winterpeg. a lonely two weeks...how many movies can one gal watch?

[embrace me, you sweet, embraceable you...]

shine, oh, glowing moon...your beauty amazes all...but, can you keep a secret?

i feel, the gap between my healthy and sick body is much like "the grinch who stole christmas" 's heart; it widens every day like a chasm between my old life and this one...like a mouth in a dentist's chair, ironic as i can't open my mouth due to painful sores...

but, there is much to be grateful for. i can see. i have two legs. and i have joyous love... i am beginning to post five notes of gratitude on my blog. beautiful thoughts i pray will fill my heart...

yes, beautiful gifts, indeed.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

bloomin' idiot

retail therapy for my man's upcoming 37th

blasting "the killers" in the car

cold, quenching l'eau

a salad deluxe

a (perhaps) pedestrian gratitude that i don't live in haiti.

gastronomical gaffe

Mary Karr's "Lit"

the return of the SoCal sun

10 fingers and 10 toes

strawberry milk


Friday, January 22, 2010

zoo station

my sister-in law, k's, heart

soy ginger tilapia

catching up on vanity fair articles

freshly cleaned hair

mystical post-storm cloud formations

a canuck's nosebleed nirvana

getting carded at the kings' game

the exquisite eccentricity of s

orange tangerine tea

the delicious warmth from our pot bellied stove

remembering daisy

Thursday, January 21, 2010


shelter from the storm

k's homemade sweet potato risotto

half a glass of red in the tub

cyber love from ksv

"what not to wear"

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

sturm und drang

k's homemade borscht

my hot, apricot coconut bubble bath

a stuffed fridge

"it's complicated" 's anesthetizing effect

furious, rooftop raindrops

chained melody

Sunday, January 17, 2010

one tree hill

Saturday, January 16, 2010

necessary roughness

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

needles and pins

in just over 2 weeks, i will celebrate the 22nd anniversary of my transplant. my greatest accomplishment. i swell with pride over this.

it's not my nearly 15 year old marriage. not my accomplished resume. not my diploma from the sunset/gower makeup academy. not running 6 miles a day, when i assumed it out of reach for me. not our brave move to los angeles. and not the friends i adore.

it is the kidney that has lasted over 15 years longer than most.

when i met k in 1991, we discovered his birthday and my "kidney date" were one and the same. i remember noting, "we will be special friends because of this", and to this day, he remains the most special soul in my life...

yeah, i'm a corn dog.

today at cedars-sinai, i felt invigorated. ludicrous, perhaps, but happiness was mine. i have a doctor that has my absolute best interests at heart. respect, care and intelligent thought...and the receptionist, manager and nurses treat me with deep and considerate regard. impeccable in their care. "how are you today, ms.ivanans?"...take a deep breath in with the poke"..."i phoned in your meds for you"..."hello, henriette" (from the manager)...

there i feel cared for. i feel heard and sheltered. safety. protection.


so he reduced my norvasc to 5 mg a day, kept me on inderal and introduced lasix (a diuretic), as well...hopefully this will reduce my blood pressure and swelling. oh, and my hemoglobin was normal. so, no epogin shot today. can't deny this swelled my heart.

joy, joy.

i await with bated breath for my blood results. tension. stress. hope.

when i was in winnipeg, i had a long chat with my dear uncle t. i felt understood when he concurred that i had every right to feel sorry for myself. he noted it would be surprising if i didn't. and when he spoke of my challenging life...i felt loved. understood. and without judgment. he spoke of the waste i must feel in my life; endless waiting that must pain me.

waste not, want not...

i have many in my corner. reverent adoration is mine.

i have been poked for over 28 years. does it hurt? no. bother me? no. because results bring information, data and knowledge.

a stinging prick i embrace.

and so i celebrate this picture. the fruitful outcome of the tubes of blood ground me.

it's part of my life. no, the bulk of it without question.

so, hit me with your best shot...

Sunday, January 10, 2010

the long and winding road

i cannot tell a lie. i am glad the christmas season is over.

ignoring (for now) the myriad reasons why, i am just so gosh darn happy to be home. it's nothing personal against the sweet souls that inhabit winterpeg, but if i never set foot in a canadian winter again...sitting on the floor at terminal 7, noshing on the pistachios i managed to sneak into my carry-on, i didn't even mind the subtle layer of cigarette smoke that wafted in with the warm evening breeze. look, everyone's on a cell phone. look, there's tim robbins texting as he waits for his luggage. look, there's m in a tank top (a tank top!) pulling up to fetch us. despite the endless stereotypes, or perhaps because of them(?), my heart soared. inspired, i grabbed my camera and snapped. ("waiting on a friend").

it struck me that my inner shutterbug had been deflated for almost 2 weeks. a roller coaster holiday, that most definitely should have been recorded, and yet i abstained.

the flight into canada knocked me out. compromised immune system. recycled air. hacking. sniffling. coughing. sneezing.

(what good is this g@#*amn sanitizer, anyway?)

blah. blah. blah.

i missed most of christmas and came up for arctic air on the 27th. but it was more complicated than a flu bug.

(this is the part where i imagine eyes begin to glaze over and rapidly skim downwards.)

days before leaving l.a., my incessant dance with hypertension was kicked up a notch from a two-step to a tango. i discontinued inderal (a beta blocker) and increased norvasc from 5 mg to 10 mg.

(oh, how i would love to be a wallflower and just sit this one out.)

with my digital pal strapped on, cuff puffed and tight, the shockingly high numbers truly scared me. they were high. i mean, stroke high. and i called it. obviously, inderal (a beta blocker) had been working well with the 5 mg of norvasc i had previously been taking. now at 10 mg of norvasc and no inderal, my body was going wack-o.

and i felt it. tremendous palpitations. weakness. dizziness.

turns out the roller coaster wasn't the joyous holiday season, but the rate at which my heart was pumping blood. faster. slower. faster. slower.

make it stop. i want to get off.

one very long weekend later, my manic monday finally dawned. dr. dauer and i agreed i needed to get my hands on some inderal, but stay with the 10 mg of norvasc. and so things seemed to settle. ish.

let's ignore the cold that started during my last couple of days in winnipeg, and was exacerbated by the flight home.

the city of angels stretched out below, pulling into glittering focus, as i reached for my boots. i yanked and i yanked. "k, i can't get my boots on", i semi-giggled. i always swell up when i fly, but this was unusual. a discomforting tug of war between boot and foot ensued. finally sporting my sexy ski boots (not!), i figured the issue to be case closed.


henriette meet cankles. cankles meet henriette.

from age 13, to now 41, every single doctor's visit in both canada and the states has included testing for edema. this is done by checking the ankles for swelling. if you press the skin it should bounce right back if you are not retaining water. it is one of the surest signs of kidney failure.

(we reserve the right to dislike dents in the skin)

chopping an eggplant, i quietly realized that my feet were beginning to hurt. i mean really hurt. clumsily unsheathing it from my clog, my foot throbbed a shocking red, the shoe imprint startling; the size: henriette's foot squared.

imagine someone has tied elastic bands all over your body. none of your pants fit. you can't wear your wedding ring. you are constipated. your digits feel like they belong to someone else.

you don't recognize yourself.

i do try, every day, to find something wonderful. like the 3 lemons i found at the side of the road, that had fallen from my neighbor's tree. i still think it's amazing that lemons grow on trees here...well, of course, they grow on trees,...but, ah, you know what i mean...

i had a seriously heavy heart today. i know i can't change this road i'm walking, but i am hoping i'll still find little gifts like that along the way.

lemons or lemonade. i'll take 'em all.

and that ain't no beatles' song.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

kankles are the new headaches

Friday, January 8, 2010

tangerine, with her lips of flame

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

waiting on a friend

Monday, January 4, 2010

california dreamin'