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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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

chitty, chitty, bang, bang...

unequivocally, a poor man's "sound of music", but,"chitty, chitty, bang, bang" remains the favorite flick from my youth.

starring the irrepressible, dick van dyke as a struggling "inventor" long on love for his two small kids, "Jeremy" and "Jemima", but short on ability to patent anything worthwhile. their tight threesome of affection is shattered and rebuilt by the tasty "Truly Scrumptious", (yes, that's her name). a beautiful and rich daughter of the local candy factory owner. She is a frothy confection, all aglow in muslin and white lace, brimming with genius, compassionate advice for both the children and dad, "Carraticus Potts".

but there are adventures along the way. a zeppelin filled with maniacal pirate/nazi types from the fictional "vulgaria", a king more insidiously depraved than any child should ever understand, and the creepy, eerie "child catcher"; luring children with "visions of sugarplums" into a hell where "it rubs the lotion on it's skin"...i could only watch him between fingers tightly clamped across my eyes and murmurs of "daddy, is he gone yet?"...

you can see why i love this movie, right?

i can't and i won't blame any of my life decisions on a movie; but i do remember how it resonated with me as a girl. the palpable loneliness in Truly's singing; longing for a family; a love of her own. the bumbling, well-meaning dad, who was never quite able to pull it together. and the 2 scruffy, ragamuffin kids. so close in age to my brother and i. so adoring of their father. so accepting of his faults. so very close to our own dysfunction.

for me there was a sadness that prevailed throughout this film, an underlying melancholy about lost love, unwanted children, and unsuccessful careers...of course, it all turns out just swell in the end, but i still can't listen to those tracks without hearkening back to my own childhood; with my heart breaking just a little bit every, single time...

"oh, you, pretty, chitty bang, bang, pretty chitty bang, bang, we love you"...

about a month ago, i had a follow-up appointment regarding the ruptured cyst in my left ovary back in may. with residual, unexplained pain, i was referred to a specialist in fetal medicine. being now, a connoisseur of both canadian and american health systems, i must admit the flat screen plasma hanging above the state-of-the-art ultrasound machine kinda blew my mind.

the doc was a trip. quirky and fascinated that i was a post renal transplant patient of 22+ years. so with doppler in hand, he enthusiastically squirted gel over my backside and began to search for the kidneys i told him he would never find. for over 10 years ago, i had an ultrasound of my lower back revealing my kidneys had all but disappeared. the right one had evaporated, and the left one was a shadow of its former self.

with my eerie, empty backside confirmed, he inquisitively moved the instrument frontside.

and there she was.

my mother's kidney. my life force. for better or for worse...MY kidney...

he lit up the blood flow, and let it's sound emanate throughout the room..."thump, thump, thump"...and spoke the deepest truth..."your kidney looks terrific"...

and in that moment, as my eyes typically filled with tears, i was knocked sideways by this one, simple realization.

this was my child.

in my heart, i know i was never meant to have children.

i love my 3 godsons. i love my niece and nephew. i adore my friends' children.

but this organ, lit up like the night sky ablaze with shooting stars, was my baby.

was i gun shy about having kids with a personal history of pain and dysfunction? no.

am i a "child catcher" who wants to rid the world of babes in arms? no.

sometimes we come to certain realizations later than expected. and as my admittedly, reluctant guru, oprah, likes to call it, we occasionally have these "a-ha" moments that blow our minds.

so there she lay. my donated organ. without whom i wouldn't be here.

and like a child, she has disappointed me, been my proudest accomplishment, and i would be incomplete without her.

yes, you have let me down. yes, i have made mistakes with you. but, i love you. and i would be nothing without you.

you are my chitty, chitty, bang, bang...flying high above the sky.

let's soar together forever...

Monday, August 16, 2010

you can't always get what you want

it's no secret i've literally been counting the minutes until my husband's return. you'd think after knowing the guy for nearly 19 years, it'd get a little old. but apparently, i can't get enough of him.

so when my phone rang at the ungodly hour of 8:30 am, my heart skipped a beat. and fell.

i didn't hear much after "i'm still in glasgow". disappointment crushing every sense.

but as he explained that a band mate was in trouble, and soon to be hospitalized, the ringing in my ears dissipated, my foggy vision cleared and my heart began to lift...

["you can't always get what you want"]

is there any way to comprehend his part in our journey over the last 2 and a half years? 4 hospitalizations in 2 years, prescription addiction, depression, medical bills...

pretty sexy shit, right?

never once did i ask him not to take this band trip; because, like the 20 different medications i now take daily (i'll get into that later); that is his medicine. the majestic, sublime bagpipes are his blog.

["you can't always get what you want"]

and as tends to happen in life, make a plan, and you'll get laughed out of the room, down the hall and out the door.

i imagine k was hoping the 4000 miles between him and cedars-sinai, would be cushion enough.

[insert knee slap and uproarious laughter here]

not so fast, buddy...first one of our dear friends, our godson's mommy, had that womanly cyst surgery that seems to be plaguing a lot of us recently. and now a younger band member was in need of help.

in case you're counting, that's 2 hospitals in one week...in scotland...

and i wasn't at either one!

["but if you try sometimes you just might find"]

but still, this heart lifted and soared.

maybe this wasn't the "relaxing" trip he wanted and so deserved. but there are all kinds of blessings in life, and sometimes you just gotta roll with it.

i am sure a was touched to have k around.

i am sure d is grateful that k stayed behind.

and i know i am awed by this man, k.

so like the song says...

["you get what you need"]

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

"i'll call you"...

"i'll call you"...

how many times have we said that to simply punctuate a conversation, and not truly meant it. and alternately, how many times have we said that to someone we care about and just not gotten around to doing it.

"i'm so busy", "i didn't know when was a good time", "you never pick up", "this damn time change!"...

[blah, blah, blah...]

platitudes; cliches, when spoken aloud, hang in the air like a morning fog, their substance evaporated by mid-morning...

"be impeccable with your word"...

one of "The Four Agreements"; the impossibly trendy, and arguably powerful text by Miguel Ruiz, introduced to middle america by ms. o back in 2000...

"don't take anything personally".
"don't make assumptions".
"always do your best".

i personally prefer the layman's version of #2...

"expectation and disappointment will always go hand in hand like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich".

ah. well, all cynicism aside, last thursday morning, my only thoughts lasered in on whether or not i would hit traffic at the 101 merge into the 405. i thought nothing of self-improvement as i headed down to my therapist.

[yes, i see the irony...]

and then my cell rang.

glancing down, the screen lit up "restricted", and i hesitated.

now with two references to queen o, i suppose i must concede to bowing down, from time to time, at the winfrey shrine. but, c'mon, who can't get behind the "no phone zone" pledge?

but my better half has been called far, far away by the pipes, and contact is fleeting and infrequent.

so, i flipped open my archaic, 5 year-old cell, and pressed speaker.

well. you could have knocked me over with a feather.

two weeks earlier, i had been at one of my tri-weekly visits to dr. dauer's. it was a day packed with tests, including my first mammogram and an ultrasound of the area of my recently ruptured cyst. serendipitously, kevin was free and able to play both the role of chauffeur and uberhusband.

as i waited for blood work, the office manager, eva, walked by. introductions and niceties ensued and i confided my anxiety over kevin's impending trip to scotland. and with what i thought was rote, polite etiquette, eva promised to call and check in on me. surely aware of the painful reasons for my recent hospital stay, i was touched, albeit mighty skeptical.


how many times have halfhearted , non-committal statements been thrown at acquaintances, with never a true intention of following up...?


so, that thursday morning, when eva's voice technologically filled my car, my heart tripped in double time.

for it wasn't my family, it wasn't kevin's family, nor was it even the closest of friends who reached out on that very first day i was without spouse...it was basically a stranger. a being brought into my life simply because of my illness.

there is no judgment here. since that morning, i have been inordinately blessed by caring friends and family members.

but, eva's call. that one beautiful gesture left me speechless.

so, allow me just one more platitude, cliche or otherwise tired refrain...

there's always an exception to every rule.

thank you, eva, for smashing this one to bits.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

not done yet

once upon a time in toronto, i knew a woman we'll just call l.

i met her through a very close friend, and although we never spent time together one-on-one, it would be inaccurate to call her an acquaintance. i admired her assertiveness, her intelligence and fierce loyalty to friends and family...including a certain lab we will call "e" (who, on a side note, thoroughly enjoyed consuming socks on a regular basis).

but, i digress.

today is her birthday. and her recent journey pervaded my thoughts all day.

you see, l. was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 38 in 2005. but instead of going fetal, she immediately started a blog. http://notjustaboutcancer.blogspot.com/

so, one sublime night in SoCal, when insomnia had hit me particularly hard, i sat up all night and voraciously rode the roller coaster of her journey. swept away by her articulate poignancy, yes, but secretly thrilled by a private tingle of realization. she was one of my peeps.

for better or worse, or WTF, l. was now in my club.

resonating emotions. eerily similar experiences. a figurative hand to hold.

do i wish chronic illness, immunosuppression, physical compromise on anyone?


but, when that is the world in which you currently reside, a partner-in-crime is a bless-ed thing...

they say imitation is the biggest form of flattery, so it wasn't too long before my own literary vomitus began.

i have no idea how "effective" my own blog has been. but my goal has always been to share and to emphasize how important i feel honesty is; empowered by hers.

one of my favorite entries describes a bike ride uphill, wherein she was feeling particularly strong, and a man nearly double her age whizzes by. humor abounds.

a woman with two small boys, a husband, a career, wasn't even forty, turned her odyssey in a book entitled "not done yet" (www.amazon.com).

l. you have inspired me, touched and humored me.

happy birthday.


couldn't have said it better myself.