Saturday, December 19, 2009

Hannukah v. Christmas: Cindy and Sandy


I was outside the other day when Cindy and Sandy came walking home from School. They are getting so tall, If I squint my eyes, I can see them growing. We started talking about the holiday and I asked them if they were excited about Christmas. Cindy told me that she likes Christmas but she REALLY likes Hanukkah. I thought that was an interesting response so I pressed further and asked why? Was she Jewish? (knowing full well that this Guatemalan family who goes to Mass every Sunday was indeed not Jewish). "No. I am not Jewish" she said. "But I like the idea of sitting around with your family. Lighting candles. And loving your family without presents." She went on to say, "And I like the thingy that the candles go in."

I was so shocked by her observation that I could barely contain myself. Well, Cindy do I have a surprise for you. We happen to have a thingy that the candles go in. You want to see it? So I brought Cindy and Sandy inside our house. And there in the window sill is the thingy or better known as the Menorah right next to the well decorated and finely lit Nine foot Douglas fir.

Wide eyed and mouths open they just stood there in silence. They had never seen a menorah live and in technicolor. Put that next to a Christmas tree and well, it just didn't make sense to them. We talked about the significance of lighting candles. They asked me how I get to light a menorah if I'm not Jewish. I said you marry a Jew who celebrates Christmas. They barely acknowledged the tree and asked so many questions about faith, religion and what it all means. They said they would rather light candles than get presents. I need to tell their parents, I could save them hundreds of dollars.

I find the whole thing fascinating. And I sit in amazement by these eleven year old girls who teach me something every time they walk by. I don't know if they truly comprehend it all. I don't think I truly comprehend it all.....and I'm pretty sure that their parents will never let me, the crazy liberal pagan Jewish Christan Buddhist animal lover who doesn't have children, talk to their twin girls again. Or maybe they will.

We are getting through the adoption papers. Under the question what religion are you I've discovered there is no box for Jewish by association, Buddhist when I meditate, Christan because I was baptized when I was 13, Pagan, Spiritual being who loves God. Conundrum.

Note to Self: Religion is a label. Spirituality is your heart.

Monday, November 16, 2009

New Beginnings with a Purple Heart


I am writing this from a very old American Airlines airplane, on my way to NYC. Sorry I've been absent. I was traveling all last week and now on the road again this week. I'm so happy to be writing this blog while snuggled up in my purple wrap, sitting next to this nice Hassidic Jewish man, fighting for elbow room, as we both attempt to work on our computers in our obscenely small seats in coach.

Many of you have asked me what's going on with adoption papers, "Have you filled them out yet?" We are getting there. Because Jason is so much more efficient than I at just about everything, he took over by having the forms put into a digital format. And he began the process of filling them out on his last business trip. Which is a great thing, considering that Wiley, our husky chewed up half the stack that was sitting on the dining room table. I guess he's opposed to being pushed aside by a baby. I could spend the next 500 words diving into the psychological reasons for resisting the task of filling out adoption papers in the pursuit of parenthood, but I have something else to say. Something more important to me on this day than that. I will save the bizarre place I find myself in the adoption conundrum for another post.

As you may recall, I went to Texas to sit on a panel at the Texas Women's Conference in Houston. There were about 5,000 women in attendance and The first lady of Texas, Katy Perry, was the host very similar to Maria Shriver's California Conference...only different. Nothing like a convention center full of Texas pride and energy to remind me that everything is bigger, louder and brighter in Texas.

The panel I sat on was about Second Chances and New Beginnings. The audience was large, about 800 women, and they seemed engaged. I found myself speaking from personal experiences about what it means to start over, to have a second chance, to create a new beginning. We all have to encounter this moment in life and face it head on, whether it be out of design, necessity or survival. Most of the women there were interested in career second chances....."What if I want to leave my desk job, what would you suggest I do? What if I'm afraid to start my own business, what advice can you give? How did you know you were on the right path?" were all questions they asked. I loved speaking on this subject matter, and I felt like what I had to say resonated with the women in the audience....at least I hope it did.

And then, later that evening, I met a U.S. Marine and everything I believed about new beginnings and second chances changed. My soulful optimism was sliced in half by this young man and I am grateful for it. I have been walking around, somewhat blind, and he switched on the light for me even though what I see is enough to make me want to turn it off again.

Corporal Chad Owens is a 27 year old Marine who fought in the Iraq war. His lifelong dream was have a career in the military and to fight for his country. When he was 19 years old, he saw the twin towers come down and he knew his dream HAD to become a reality. So he enlisted.

On his first tour of duty, he fell asleep on an airplane and woke up in Baghdad amidst the toppling of Saddam's regime. His battalion was the first to arrive in Baghdad Square when the streets were filled with rioters and he saw the infamous statue topple to the ground. At 22 years old he was storming Saddam's castle, bursting through the opulent marble filled rooms, gun drawn prepared to fire against the enemy. He told me that the bizarrely decorated kid's rooms had Britney Spears, J-Lo and Harry Potter posters on the walls....A detail I couldn't quite comprehend considering the vehement hatred by Islamic extremists of our gluttonous celebrity filled culture who practice witchcraft, love yo-yo dieting and regular trips to the tanning salon. He also remembers the cavernous marble rooms filled with nothing but designer suits, or rooms designated solely for perfume and cologne bottles, and a smell that wafted throughout the castle that was part perfume and part cooking spice. An odor that indicated life was just lived in this opulent place.

Chad is a friend, of one of my closest friend's Resa Wing. She and her husband, John Wing an Army fighter pilot who served in Vietnam, founded Operation Grateful Nation, a nonprofit dedicated to matching up disabled veterans with mentors who can help them pursue careers, complete their education or get the services they need to become successful. Through their wonderful work they met Chad and they have become family.

We met up with Chad on November 12th, the day after Veteran's day. He had just come from the VA hospital in Houston trying to track down a doctor who could help him with his PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) symptoms. When I first laid eyes on this good looking guy I was struck by his bright blue eyes and his big smile. He walked up to our table at the outdoor Cantina where Resa and I were sipping Coronas. And then I noticed his bionic legs. He lost both of them when a road side bomb exploded turning his Humvee into a bowl of spaghetti on his second tour of duty. He remembers nothing, thank God, until he woke up in a German hospital a month later with collapsed lungs, a broken jaw, 200 pieces of Schrapnel, some of which you can still see on his face, and a piece of the carberator imbedded in his neck. He flat lined twice on the operating table, and his mother was called to Germany for his last rites. But Chad was meant to be here. His second chance and third chance given to him in that hospital five years ago.

The mariachi music was playing as I squeezed my lime into my beer and listened to Chad talk about the VA. Here's where you might get really pissed off, at least I hope you do. He not only lost his legs, but it took him four years to get a second prosthetic. It was his second leg that kept getting infected and rather than believe his own diagnosis of the infection, the doctors kept cutting more of his bone to fix what they thought was broken. What's left is a small stump barely long enough for the prosthetic to grab hold of. 40 surgeries and countless doctors later, you might think his suffering would be over, but in many ways it's just beginning. While most of the physical ailments have FINALLY been treated, the mental and emotional have not.

His cry for help has not been heard. When he seeks psychiatric care for his PTSD.... symptoms include migraines, insomnia, no appetite, chronic fatigue, horrible nightmares, inability to finish a thought, highly emotional and volatile, hopelessness, the VA has no protocol for him. He's been shuffled around from doctor to doctor and each time he thinks he's found the therapist for him they assign him to someone else. His latest therapist was a pregnant civilian who, by all accounts, had never been in combat. The day I met him, he wept because he feels that he's been set aside by the very country that he fought for. He talked about going into the VA and stoically asking to see the doctor, asking for sleep aids, asking to talk to someone. He's finally ready to talk to someone. But no one, at least that day was there to receive him.

The other side to his story is that he's in school and working really hard to make his life better. He's a rock star stud! He's not only testified before Congress for better VA treatment, ran marathons and competed in down hill skiing in Aspen on a mono-ski, he recently brought light to a potential solution for PTSD: Hyperbaric Oxygen therapy. His highly effective personal skills convinced a producer for CBS World News' Katie Couric to do a story on this treatment hoping to convince the VA that it's a therapy that has worked. Or at least it has for him. But like with any treatment, once is not enough. He is currently seeking other places that provide this treatment.

We ended up having dinner at the Wing's house that night. The three of us drank red wine, sang really loudly and badly to The Doors, danced around the kitchen. As I watched this young man take off his legs and get himself into the hot tub, my heart sank, broke and repaired itself all over again. He is not to be pitied by any means, but if anyone deserves a second chance, it's him. He's a true American Hero. He may not have ever anticipated that his life would be about charging his leg so it works, wheelchair ramps, or the idea that dancing now happens from the waist up, but that's where he is. And he is doing an amazing job, but he needs help to start his New Beginning.

This Hyperbaric Oxygen treatment, is from what I can tell, a very significant piece in this long, complicated, messy puzzle to helping him and the countless others who suffer from PTSD heal. Truly Heal. So what I would have said to that audience of women had I met Chad before I spoke, is that Second Chances and New Beginnings require compassion from friends and strangers, you can't do any of it alone. I can see his new beginning just around the corner, if he gets the help he needs and deserves. We need to help him see it too.

Note to Self: Give to the Veterans any way that you can.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

82 is the new 42



My dad turned 82 on 9/29. I am 42 on 11/5.

Here is my Dad, my Mom and their dog, Penny, sitting on his latest invention....the rock. He made this fine specimen out of recycled material in his garage and then delivered it to my sister's house. It now sits around the pool. If this were a "real" rock it would weigh 500-700 pounds? but because it's made out of reused plastics, paper, styrophome and whatever else he put in there it weighs 102 pounds.

This desire to create something out of nothing is what keeps the world spinning, people living, hearts beating and everything else that is great.

What I have to sit on, as I sit here typing this birthday message, is not a man made rock, but rather the lineage and history of my father and my mother....who have given me the life force to create something out of nothing. Words out of thought. Work out of thought. And love out of heart.

The Yankees won the world series tonight. We had some friends over. I made chili. We drank beer and Yes I turn 42 tomorrow!!! It could be a sad day because we I don't have a baby...yet. But I am choosing a different vision. One that is full of the desire to create and to know that it's never too late.

My wish for myself as I embark on my 42nd year is that I continue my Parent's drive and continue to create. Whether it's a child, a friendship, a book, a warm bath...I am happy to be alive.

The adoption stack is still making its way from living room, to kitchen, to office, but we've made a promise to one another (Jason and I) that they will be done by this weekend.

Note to Self: It's never too late to create.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Going Rouge in LA while attempting to fill out Adoption Papers


No that's not a type-o. And I started writing this blog before I learned that there is a book out in response to Sarah Palin's Going Rogue called Going Rouge.

I went to my wonderfully talented hairdresser today, Romi Cortier , to get my hairs dyed. I have been increasingly more blond for months now, and while I was born blond, lived most of my life as a blond, I was looking for a pick me up and nothing says yahoo, in my mind, like gorgeous red hair.

I knew it would take a couple of hours so I brought my computer bag filled with articles, my computer and the dreaded adoption constitution. I say dreaded because it is literally a mound of paperwork that we've been putting off for weeks/months now. Jason and I met with this lovely adoption counselor last week. She was sincere, soothing and nothing but hopeful. We were told that in order to get started and get our home study scheduled we had to get complete the paperwork that had been sent to us in the mail. This stack (about 200 pages it seems) has been moved from the kitchen, to the office, to the kitchen, to the dining room table and back to the kitchen waiting for the perfect time to begin the process of answering thousands of questions, writing your biography, doing fingerprints and a myriad of other things.

In order to feel like I was moving forward on the adoption process, I decided to lug the stack with me to the hairdresser's today. I stared at them as we discussed tints, coppers, golds, semi permanent vs. permanent. I asked if the coloring had kept me from getting pregnant. He reminded me that he uses only non toxic dyes. I stared some more at the first question. Name? I managed to fill out the first line and then Harper's Bazar, Us Weekly, The New Yorker and People magazine caught my eye. I perused every magazine that I could get my hands on. I even looked at classified in today's paper (something I haven't done in years). I want to fill these papers out with excitement, hope and with my husband. So, I decided that sitting under a hair dryer amidst the flurry of salon sounds, was not the place I wanted to conceive a child. Call it procrastination. Or a realization.

So, I lugged the papers back home with me. And maybe we will start the process tomorrow. Or on Sunday. The perfect day to start something wonderful.

Note to Self: Just because you "bring it" doesn't mean you have to "do it".

photo: Jason and Andrea on the coast of Mendocino, CA taken by Thomas Krauss.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Balloon boy barfed....did you see it?




Deep breath. Confession. I have been sucked into this drama of the boy in the balloon. (I love how we have to give things names, even if they're false....news alert: HE WAS NEVER IN THE BALLOON) You'd be hard pressed to miss it, considering every show from The View, to Campbell Brown, Larry King and the super brain, Rachel Maddow has covered it. I didn't fall down the rabbit hole until Friday morning when I tuned in to ABC's Good Morning America (my favorite morning show) at 7:00 am. The superbly dazzling Diane was interviewing the family. What happened after that was just a moment of weirdly bizarre, train wreck television. Probably never to be repeated.

You've all seen it by now....the tired, confused, shut down kid barfed on national television. Watching it live in my kitchen while attempting to grind coffee, I was screaming at the top of my lungs....NO WAY. NO WAY. HOLY SHIT. I happen to have a contact or two at GMA and emailed my pals and it turns out that everyone there was just as shocked as those of us at home watching the family watching the poor, traumatized kid puke on television. What's wrong with this picture? Is it the family? The media? Or the public that numbs out to all of it? The whole thing is absurdly bizarre and I am embarrassed for "us" narcissus....those who desire attention no matter the cost. At the end of the day if you are allowing your child to barf on national television FOUR times and pretending he has floated away in an aluminum balloon or agree to go on Wife Swap, your ego is bigger than anything else in your life and you may want to check yourself before you wreck yourself. And to those of us who have indulged in this circus act, the sick pleasure of watching alien/human beings do sick and twisted things, we are just as guilty as the parents. For if it weren't for us and the insatiable desire to watch human beings make asses out of themselves, they would have no audience.

I seriously hope this family gets some help, or help gets to them for putting their kids in harm's way and for exposing them to this strange world. And for their aching need to be television stars and storm chasing cowboys. And I hope that we find some way to tune out when the chatter is so loud so that we are able to tune in to a frequency of truth, and the real issues that face us today. Maybe that's why the balloon boy (there I go again) has swept us away -- because for one week, which is how long this should last, we can leave our own demoralizing issues behind, and be whisked away by a barfing boy whose false claim (to his parent's fame) is that he took a Peter Pan flight high over the Rockies in a home made spacecraft balloon.

Note to Self: Just when you think life can't get more bizarre....it does.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Going Rogue in Annapolis while reading the New York Times




Two very significant things happened since I posted last. Well, three. Okay, make it four.

Jason and I were on our way to Annapolis, Maryland for a friend's wedding over the weekend. A very tall man sat next to me in the middle seat. He called me sweetie and offered me mints within minutes of putting away his bag and wiggling his way in. When I looked up to meet his eyes and say thanks for the mints, of which I took two, I realized I was sitting next to a person that I have either questioned, felt anger towards, or made fun of my entire existence in Los Angeles. As a matter of fact, many months ago, I took issue not with him directly, but with his profession and those that populate it. This man of mystery is our local Weather Man Super Star, Dallas Raines.

For those of you who live or have lived in Los Angeles, you know who I'm talking about. Tall. Very Very Very Tan. Big white teeth. Blonde (Maybe bleached?) blown out hair. I have spent many years frustrated with him because I have wondered how hard can it be to report the weather in Los Angeles? It goes something like Sunny and 72 for 9 months. Hot and 95 for two months. A week or two of rain scattered in there. Marine layer in June that keeps the sunshine away. June Rocks. Invariably, there is always a report of the "Storm of the Century" that makes people do radical things like sand bag their store fronts. Indeed we get rain, but not enough to warrant the "Storm of the Century" end of the world graphics and music. It always baffles me that with Doppler radar, Satellites flying above and every other instrument available to major metropolis' that weather men have a hard time getting it right.

Dallas, it turns out, is a lovely and generous man. He offered me almonds after the mints. Talked proudly about his three kids. Knew he wanted to be a meteorologist since he was five years old. He is a race car driver enthusiast. Born and raised in Georgia. Dallas Raines is his given name (I always thought it was a stage name). He's very out there with his Christianity, but not in a you need to be saved way. One other thing that I learned about him is that he doesn't believe in Global Warming. I found that strange for a man that lives his life studying weather patterns. I wanted to scream, ARE YOU JOKING, but held back. It was a lively, enlightening two hours and I have a new found respect for him. Even though he believes things that I do not -- God made the world in seven days and the fact that the polar ice caps are melting isn't necessarily a problem for us humans. I sincerely hope that I didn't misunderstand him, but I am pretty sure those are his beliefs. Fair enough.

Second thing that happened is that when I was in Annapolis I (we) WENT ROGUE. Jason and I ditched our fertility protocol and decided on Saturday morning, after I took Femara pill number two and was emotional and cranky, that staying on these drugs and trying again with IUI is not a great plan for either one of us right now. I put the pills away and now I will be hormone free for a while. Good for him. Good for me. Good for anyone who has to interact with me.

Third thing is the New York Times on Sunday and Monday ran front page feature stories about infertility. So much was covered regarding IVF and IUI. But the gist that I got from the very in-depth articles was that a) It's a travesty that Infertility isn't covered by insurance and b) So many of these families end up with premature multiple births and the cost not only in dollars but in emotional well being is immense. I strongly urge anyone who is going through this to check these articles out.

Fourth thing is we met with an adoption person who deals with Foster kids who are looking for homes. It's a step. And we took it. I'm very happy about that.

When we arrived back to LA there was 48 hours of glorious, refreshing, desperately needed rain. Dallas told me it would happen while we sat on the plane eating almonds and discussing weather patterns. And for the first time since I've lived here, I believed him.

Note to Self: Weather, just like life, is unpredictable no matter how many Doppler radars you have.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Gratitude


I wanted to take this moment to thank you for becoming a follower of this blog and taking a journey with me and this community of women. I am just understanding this blogging world, so if I haven't reached out to you on your blog or email, it's because there are some where I am unable to do that. I am still working on it. If you have any suggestions, please do tell. So THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU....for listening, reading, writing and for your support and love.

Can you believe that "whatever" is the most hated word in the English language? That came out today in a poll. I love the word whatever. I use it way too much, as a lazy attempt to fill space. Or how about the abbreviated version -- whatevs. That's a cool word too. I have a friend who literally says "whatever" every 15 seconds. If she was asked to stop saying it, I believe she would make no sense and develop a nervous tick, actually she has a couple of those, which might be why she fills space with words like whatever, like, come on, i'm just sayin'. It's a great reminder for all of us that there are bazillions of words out there that we had to learn to get into a college, and to use more of them. As a rule of thumb, less is more, unless the less is creating a language that is annoying the shit out of the population at large.

On a fertility note, I went into the Doctors for a follow up visit yesterday. Needless to say, I was kind of a wreck. The loving and very worried nurse offered a chocolate sprinkles cupcake to me as a sweet, buttery salve. As I sat in the Docs well lit office looking across his desk at his new, young and very pregnant intern, I wept and I ate. And all I could think was, I should have brought cupcakes. I bet the person who brought in cupcakes is pregnant, LIKE THIS INTERN!!! My doc asked me if I needed anything to help calm me down this next cycle. I wasn't sure what he was getting at, but after quizzical looks and a very uncomfortable conversation, that went something like, "I always said I would NEVER go on anti-depressants", he wrote me a prescription for the big P. Prozac. You heard me. I don't know if I'm going to take it. I have a weird feeling that I might like it too much. Whatever.

Note to Self: Never say never and use "whatever" only when necessary.

photo: Wiley in the grass taken by Leelee Groome

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Sheryl Crow reflects on Note to Self


I have dreaded this blog entry for 36 hours. I wasn't sure how to put into black and white that I am not pregnant (AGAIN). How many times can this happen to a girl and she remain sane? Is that possible? Has anyone out there ever wanted to apologize for not being pregnant? All the well wishes and phone calls. All the fertility dolls and lucky charms. Has anyone had the mind to send them all back? Because on days like this I feel like I have let everyone down. My Jason. My family. My friends. I know it's not rational, but it's real. I have heard it all...you are building a family. It takes time. One day this time will be in your rear view mirror. I want to believe it and yet it all seems so far away. I want to say this is the hormones talking, I am mostly right. Part hormones. Part desire. Part disappointment.

I sat down on the couch, next to the window, by the fountain about 25 times. Checked email, surfed the web, anything to avoid writing. Jason left town on a business trip so this news has come and I have had to deal with it alone. Not totally alone as I have friends who love me and have called and been there. So I continued to surf the web....and this is what I found:

The wonderfully talented and loving and beautiful Sheryl Crow blogged about "Note to Self". It's not everyday that a rock star tells her fan base to check out your book, so I thought I would take this moment to say that's what happened today along with I got my period. I can't thank her enough. It is a bright spot in this rather confusing and depressing day.
http://www.sherylcrow.com/news/

I have included an excerpt from her chapter in my book. She writes about the mistakes and frustrations in making her first record and how making her second album freed her to be the artist she is today. While it's about making music, the lesson resonates beautifully in many areas of all of our lives. Mine included. This baby making process has nothing to do with anyone else but me and Jason and I have to let go "the idea" that I might be disappointing those around me. The expectations and the regret. The idea of letting go is the new idea.
Ladies and gentlemen an excerpt from "Note to Self", Sheryl Crow's essay: "Achieving Harmony"....

The experience really set me up to make my second album in the right spirit. When I went into the studio to record, I felt like nobody believed in me so I had nothing to lose. I figured I’d make the record I wanted to make. I couldn’t wait to get in, close the door, and purge myself.

24 hours after shutting the studio door, my producer left. I called my manager. “I’m screwed,” I told him. “What should I do?” “Do it yourself,” he said. “You know what you’re doing. You’ve always demoed your music well enough that it sounds like records.” We didn’t okay this change with the label, because we thought they would never let me, a woman, produce on my own. So feeling like I really had nothing else to lose, I just did it. My second album created a big opportunity for me, and I’d like to think, for other women to produce their music. When one door closed, another opened. Literally.


When I listen to the album today, I hear a scrappy, frustrated voice who thought her career was over, and then proved that she was just beginning. It was a nice opportunity to turn a horribly negative experience into a positive, self-affirming one and learn to believe in myself again. The process toughened my skin. and it made me much more protective of my own talent. I’m no longer afraid to own it. I called that album, “Sheryl Crow”—for all the obvious reasons—it was my statement, for better or for worse, and happily it was received for the better.


I always said that if my first record had sold 10,000 copies, I would have still been in good graces with those misunderstood artists, but instead I became the “them” in the “us against them.” It didn’t feel great at the time, but in hindsight, I realize how much it prepared me for the future. The lessons that come with breaking free, in many ways, carry over in all areas of one’s life. I’m not nearly as gullible, and I have a lot more savvy when it comes to running my business like a business. Ultimately, I can’t make everybody happy.


The amazing and beautiful thing about life is that there will always be a time and a place to heal old wounds and practice forgiveness and compassion. I hold no grudges against anybody for anything, and my days are better lived that way. This reality was never more than clear when I had the amazing opportunity to reunite with my producer, Bill, fifteen years later on the album, “Detours.” The title says it all. We laughed, we cried, we got to work, and we made some really inspired, kick ass music.

---

Note to Self: When you try to please everyone, you risk losing yourself along the way.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

More Meditations on Happiness


I was on a long hike with one of my best friends today and told her about the Maureen Dowd piece about happiness, "Blue is the New Black." http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/20/opinion/20dowd.html?em=&adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1253822732-/d7MrbB6Ty/Q+moEcQLUEA. This friend is beautiful, successful, and single. She adopted her son two years ago and he is literally cotton candy. Her life is incredibly full and she wants for nothing, not even a man. She asks herself on a daily basis, am I happy? Now mind you, there have been many times in her life where the answer has been, 'no', but lately she said, when she really asks herself that question and thinks of her state of mind, the answer is usually, 'yes.' What could she possibly be unhappy about? There is a lot if you want to go there.....the state of the world, unemployment, wars, famine, earthquakes, tsunamis, but really if you want to look at happiness as a state of mind then it's conceivable, all things considered, to think that we can choose it.

When I was in Africa last summer with Jason, we spent a lot of time in the most remote part of Swaziland visiting homesteads where people were being treated for HIV/AIDS. We met some very happy people despite the most unhappy circumstances you can imagine. I was stunned by the eagerness to be happy. And then I went to an Island off the coast of Mozambique, where they made their own beer, fished for their dinner and lived in Gilligan's Island style huts. I drank their warm beer, hung out with the locals danced to amazing African beats under the moonlight, and found myself the HAPPIEST I have ever been. No worries, no hormonal imbalances, just pure bliss, smiling from ear to ear, feeling in my body and full of life's pleasures.

Cindy and Sandy came over the other day and peered through my fence. I was outside filling the new birdbath with water. Cindy asked me, "Andrea are you 24?" I said, "24 what?" She said, "24 years old?" I laughed, "Nope. 41." She gasped. "Wow you look young." (trust me I don't look 24). One of the twins went on to say, "it's because you don't have kids, and all that stress." (they are 10 years old) and then Sandy said, "I don't know if I'm going to have kids. I want a career." It's like they are reading my blog and saying just the right things so that I will keep writing about them. But there are just some things you can't make up, and Cindy and Sandy (with their dog called Baby) are two of those things. I felt happy in that moment. Not African happy, but happy enough.

I don't know if you can choose happiness, I'd like to think you can. I do believe happiness is a state of mind, built around our perceptions of what we believe we need to make us happy. So that's the idea, change our beliefs of what we think make us happy and get on with our happiness.

It's been a week since I did IUI. I will know something soon.

Note to Self: Act the way you want to feel.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Happiness.


Disclaimer: I am writing with the use of all my fingers so no more typo excuses. I am, however, experiencing such hard core abdominal pain that I am writing from bed. So this is what it feels like to have four follicles ovulating at once.

The day after I posted the "Are you happy?" blog, I sat down with my big mug of coffee and the New York Times and just about fell out of my chair when I read Maureen Dowd's column about declining happiness in American women. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/20/opinion/20dowd.html?em=&adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1253822732-/d7MrbB6Ty/Q+moEcQLUEA

As you may recall from previous posts, I have always felt a special kinship with Ms Dowd, not because I know her, but because I've read her for YEARS (huge fan) and then ran into her at an airport back in April, slipped her a note to come to my book party and she did. It reinforced my belief in miracles and God. It was a magic moment. Maureen and I are, in my fantastical and delusional mind's eye, red-haired, sassy, soul sisters, who are now writing about the same thing on the same weekend. Creating more evidence that we are indeed more alike than different. If only I had her audience and her job.

So here she is debunking happiness in women with full proof, hard core evidence. The theory being that since the 70's women have too many choices and therefore too many responsibilities than they used to have. Responsibilities include but aren't limited to: dinner on the table at 7:00, gardens, social calendars, kids to school, homework with kids, higher education degrees, full-time, six figure salary job, sex with their husbands, and last but not least, remaining fit and looking young well into their 60's.

There was also a theory in this article that children, although no one will admit this out loud or in print, create more stress and unhappiness than any of the other aforementioned responsibilities. I'm not going to lie. This made me pause and ask myself, "Why am I creating so much stress and unhappiness in the life I have now, trying to have a child that's ultimately, according to Maureen Dowd, only going to increase my unhappiness and stress if and when it gets here?" Is that the definition of insanity? And is it one of those things that seems like such a good idea at the time, but when you get "there" from "here" it's just another "here" with diapers.

Note to Self: There's no "there" there so be happy here.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

L’Shana Tova



Jason gave me the HCG shot in the butt (OUCH) and tomorrow I ovulate. Fun. We are going in for another IUI and another shot at a baby. Anything is possible and while I have the statistics floating around in my head of 10 percent chance that I will get preggers, I am going to sleep tonight with the hope and faith that one of these follicles is holding a good healthy egg ready for some serious fertilization.

I look forward to the day when this is a distant memory and nothing matters but the miracle of holding a baby. Our baby.
Until then, this baby is the best thing since sliced bagels. Happy New Year. L’Shana Tova

Note to Self: When you want to feel awesome, roll around in the grass with your dog.

photo credit: leelee groome :)

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Are you happy?


Today as I sat on the front porch, brushing my dogs Shweetie and Wiley (pictured looking very happy), Cindy and Sandy came strolling by with their chihuahua Baby in their arms. By the way, Baby is vicious and I don't trust her as far as I can throw her...I think it's because they never put the poor dog down long enough for it to socialize, so it growls and snarls instead of licks and wags.

The cutie pie twins who live next door and who are quickly becoming regular guest stars in my blog, stopped to ask questions pretty much everyday. Mostly about when I'm having children. and I tell them that we are working on it, HOWEVER, I think they are more astute than I give them credit. They've gotten the hint and now they are resorting to dancing around the issue rather than the blunt tactic used before. Cindy said, "Andrea (in a thick Guatemalan accent) did you know they opened a pet store around the corner? You can take your dogs there instead of grooming them yourself." "I know" I said, "but I like to brush my dogs, it makes me feel good and they secretly love it. I will take them there next week for a bath." Next Question. "Andrea, are you happy?" I took a moment, "Hmmm....yeah, in what sense do you mean, happy?" Cindy said, "Do you have a happy life?" I responded, "Yes, I do. I have a happy life." And then I asked her if she has a happy life. Without hesitation, Cindy said "Yes, I have VERY Happy life." I asked her what makes her life a happy one. She said, "My twin. My cousin. My family. My friends. In that order." God, I love these girls.

Are you happy?

Note to Self: Happiness is relative, but it's always personal.

By the way, I went to the Doctor today for the progression of my follicles. Happy news is that I have five growing and both sides are ovulating. Keep your happy fingers crossed.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

I know nothing.



disclaimer: still typing without the use of my index finger....typos may occur.

Angela, thank you for your amazing comment on the previous blog!! Loved getting your perspective and I wish you the best in your fairly new journey with your husband.

I started stimulation shots yesterday for another round of IUI. Follistim anyone? I feel like I'm getting let out of my Femara prison camp which has been sheer hell. Femara made me feel like Sybil, actually the shell of Sybil, is more like it.

On Tuesday morning, just hours since the near miss catastrophe with my finger, and day three on Femara (in case you don't know, Femara strips you of your estrogen; they give it to breast cancer patients) I was driving to the doctor's office for an ultrasound to see if the rogue follicle was a 'leftover' not an 'egg.' Barely listening to Robert Siegel on NPR, it was all I could do to hold back tears. Not normal.

Once I was in the doctor's office, forget it. I sat in the waiting room, tears at the brims of my eyeballs, no magazines this time, no tuning into Good Morning America, instead I watched every woman walk in and out of the joint. I wondered about each one of them and where they were in the Pursuit of Parenthood. I inappropriately stared too long at their Jimmy Choos. I had purse envy, hair envy and bangle envy. I was certain that not one of them was spending their savings, going into debt or was being accosted by their Guatemalan twin neighbors about if and when a baby would come. I felt like the back of the line in a very well dressed, incredibly rich, beautifully coiffed herd of cattle.

The prettiest woman in the waiting room had her husband sitting by her. She wasn't overdone, you should see some of these women, but the rock on her finger was enough to tell me that this journey wasn't a financial hardship for her. Her hair was slicked back and her natural light pink toe polish was a perfect combination for her tanned feet and leather open toed slingbacks. She must have a pool or maybe she just returned from her summer on the Mediterranean. Her husband held her hand, with his body toward her and placed his head on her shoulder, as if to say I'm sorry, I'm worried, or I like the way you smell. She barely noticed him, as she stared straight ahead in a daze. I was certain that something horrible had happened.

I got called into the ultrasound room, quickly undressed, could barely speak to Helen the technician, for fear I would burst into tears. I have no problem crying in public, but I am getting quite the reputation in this office. Two months ago, I actually drove myself into Beverly Hills to begin an IUI round the day after Newman died. Well, that was stupid. The nurses gave me my own room, so that I wouldn't have to wait in hysterics in the public waiting room and embarrass myself and scare the other ladies on the verge. Needless to say, I didn't go through with the IUI that month. I decided to give myself a break and grieve the passing of my dog. I wasn't really feeling like having a melt down AGAIN in front of Helen. I held back the tears just long enough to get up to the counter and pay for my visit. I watched the beautiful woman with the pretty toes and her clingy husband burst to the counter with happiness, announcing to all the ladies in their green outfits behind the front desk that they were having a girl. And then the tears came gushing out. I didn't make a sound, but I was screaming inside, "WHY AM I ME? AND NOT HER?" The woman checking me out didn't say a word, other than, "sign here." They really do need to learn some manners at the front desk.

I lost it in the elevator, in the car ride home and when I walked through the front door I collapsed onto the chair and told Jason that my soul is splitting apart. (That was fun for him). He called my doctor in a bit of a panic. It didn't take long for the doc to deduce that it was the femara fallout that I was experiencing. Studies show that 10% of the population respond to the drug like I did. I would have done anything not to feel what I was feeling. Anything. I downed 2 mg of estrogen and within hours, I started to feel "normal" again.

And that's when I realized that I know nothing.

I have no idea how to feel. I don't know how to act when I do feel the way I feel. I don't know how to walk into that waiting room and not feel a pit in my stomach. I am not sure if this is the right path for me and my body. I don't know if wine with dinner is a no-no (although I did ask my doctor today and he said there would be no Italian or French folks if wine kept a person from getting pregnant). I don't know if coffee in the morning is a no-no (doctor said one cup is fine). I don't know if acupuncture is a must (why doesn't insurance cover it)? I don't know if all these drugs are going to give me cancer (they probably won't, but I do worry about it). I don't know how anyone is alive because getting pregnant seems like climbing Mount Everest without a coat. I don't know if any of this is ever going to result in pregnancy. I don't know how I can have an FSH of 7 and not get pregnant. I don't know how I make good embryos and not have a baby.

I know nothing. Except that I can't give up, not yet. And I now know, that Best Price Pharmacy is a discount drug company that delivers to your door and charge you half of what Rite Aid does. http://www.bestpricepharmacy.com 1-877-509-2378.

Note to Self: Tenacity is the root of pregnancy (for women over 40).

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

chop chop


Disclaimer: I am typing this blog without the use of my index finger....please forgive any excessive typos.

I cut a portion of my finger off last night with a big, newly sharpened knife, while I was chopping arugula, watching the news and crying about Patrick Swayze's passing. I cried about his death not just because he was too young or that he was so handsome or that yet another one of my generation's icons is gone, but because I learned that his wife of 30 plus years never had children. They didn't have children and they built a beautiful life together in spite of, or maybe because of, that fact. I don't know the details, but it struck me as a rarity in this day and age to be married so long, HAPPY and not have kids. I found peace in learning that. It's something Ive been struggling with. The fact that I've been with Jason (he's the pensive, cute guy in the photo sitting in the chair in a really rundown 1970's ER room, waiting patiently for the doctor to release me) for 15 years and somehow we don't have kids. We were very happy without them, not ready to have them and then one day when I hit 40 I realized that not only did I want kids with Jason, but I was now READY to be a parent. Almost two years later and still no kid, I am beginning to wonder, can you be with your spouse your whole life, childless and happy?

I pulled up a note I wrote to myself many months ago, a feeling that has happened more times than I can count since I realized that I want to be a mother, and I thought I would share it because it's easier than typing with no index finger and well, I just feel like it. It's from a very vulnerable place...a place that I find myself in a lot these days. Deep breath.

I am stunned. As I sit in the kitchen and weep from a deep place, so deep that a spelunker would have a hard time finding the bottom. Fears. Doubts. Regrets. All of it, pouring out of my nostrils and tear ducts. Words flowing from my mouth, “I Know we will have a good life together, we’ve had one already. 15 years together, traveling, careers, weekends, Newman, our friends, insane dinner parties, a beautiful house; our life is good and it will continue to be great. But I want to be a mother. And I want you to be a father. I want to parent a child together. I want to be that person. What have I done? Why have we waited? What were we thinking?” I thought I would never stop crying. The only thing that would get me to stop is the halting fear that I may never be a mother, then I would literally lose my breath. And without breath, crying is impossible. That’s it. I’ll just die right here. What’s the point of going on? I feel like such a fool. An impostor of epic proportions. What was I doing all this time? I was living in FEAR is my first thought. And then Jason reminds me that we were living our life not our fear. And I stop crying, if only for a moment.

I thank God for Patrick Swayze; for his black tank top, his sparkly eyes and smile and for living a beautiful life with the love of his life, on his own terms and for showing me that is enough. And I thank God for Jason, who wrapped my bleeding finger, sat with me in the ER and always says the right thing just when I need to hear it the most.

Note to Self: Live your life not your fear and always keep your eye on the knife.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Not this time.


Getting my period has never carried so much psychological weight.  I am not pregnant. 
I am so bummed and sad.  And along with the tears come cramps, a sore back
and a bloody reminder that no baby. Not this time. 

Jason remains so positive and says we have to get back on the horse. 
I fall into a helpless abyss and take a nap (something I never do and quite frankly judge myself for doing it).
Not this time.   

And it seems the day that it feels so far away is the day where everywhere I turn there is a reminder that everyone  on the planet has a child, or is going to have a child or is telling me to have a child. 
 
Amazon sent me an email today asking if I want to order a years worth of Pregnancy Magazine. 
My best friend asked me to join her for lunch with her two kids. 
And my neighbors, you know the ones, Cindy and Sandy, come over as if they have a "radar for the absurd" attached to their head and say to me, "now that you have a beautiful yard, you need to have babies."  

We just landscaped our yard. We saved money for two years.  Hired a very talented Englishman to design it.  Hired the guys to demolish the previous yard. Hired other guys to plant and put in new sprinklers.  Hired other guys to build and paint a fence.  Four weeks later -- we have a yard.   It's beautiful. Drought tolerant while still having grass.  Cindy and Sandy and their friend, Diego (seen in photo) are very excited about all the green and I assume we will be seeing even more of them because we have a yard that's soft and colorful, while theirs is hard and concrete.  I'm happy to share. 

It's amazing that during the course of one day, the world can feel like it's full of deep despair and by the end of that day, it becomes a little more hopeful, with green grass growing, 
water fountains trickling and a bird washing itself in a bath. 

At the end of this really crappy day, in this new yard, despite my well-meaning,  inquisitive ten year old twin neighbors,  I am finding some peace and happiness.

Note to Self:  If you need to take a nap, take it.    






Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Pursuit of Parenthood: Cindy and Sandy

We live next door to identical twins girls from Guatemala named Cindy and Sandy. They have very thick accents, always dress in the same clothes and walk up and down our sidewalk holding their chihuahua named Baby. They come to our house everyday to visit our dogs whom they love. They both wore black the day Newman died.

Cindy and Sandy have that gift of most ten year old girls. They say what's on their minds. No filter. No edits. No matter how inappropriate it might be.

The day before Newman died, they both came over for a visit while I sat with Newman on the front porch. I told them that he was going to heaven and I wanted them to say good bye. They asked me how I knew he was going to heaven, and I said, "because he is very sick and we have called our vet to come over and help us." They asked me if we were going to shoot him. I said, "uh no."

About once a month they both ask me in unison "when are you going to have babies?" They don't understand how we can live in such a big house, be married, and NOT have children. This simply does not compute. I recently learned that they live in a two bedroom one bathroom apartment with their parents, grandparents and they share a bedroom with their young cousin. He seems way too old to be sharing a bedroom with ten year old girls, but whatever.

Every time they ask me, I tell them that we are working on it. Recently, the conversation got a little bit more in depth. They asked me if we knew HOW to make babies? I told them that indeed we did we know how, but it is taking the time it needs to take. (subtext, you know nothing. you are ten. please stop asking me this question.) Cindy and Sandy said we know how babies are made. You get naked and lie down next to each other. If only it were that easy. It reminded me of when my Mother who was visiting from Texas and saw fertility books on my nightstand said to me, "you know Andrea, it takes more than reading to get pregnant."

I have learned that everyone has something to say on this subject. Advice to give. Thoughts to share. Questions to ask. I try to be patient and understanding, but sometimes I want to scream and throw myself on the floor and cry. Not today. Today I will stay upright and keep on walking.

Note to Self: Shoes or no shoes, you can never know the walk someone's taken.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Pursuit of Parenthood


Thank you to all my readers who commented on Newman’s passing and shared their own stories of grief over losing a pet. They give us such joy and they inevitably move on, it’s never easy, but what a gift.

Today I was on the phone with my friend on my way to see my fertility doctor. I looked over at the passenger seat and a brown paper bag harboring a sperm sample was safely placed inside my purse, and the words, “I’m driving Jason’s sperm to the Doctor's office” came out of my mouth and it struck me that I should start writing about this journey I am on. Today is the beginning of a series of blogs that I am calling the “Pursuit of Parenthood.”

It has been an 18-month process so far and I have often thought of writing about it and sharing with all you lovely people what I’ve been going through. I think I was in denial that it was going to take this long, and somewhat embarrassed about this predicament. I also thought it might not be the most uplifting subject matter, but that’s where things have changed. I have found some inspiration on this journey, even if it’s just a little bit, and I am hoping that by sharing what’s going on for me, other women and men might feel compelled to talk about it when they are feeling alone, lost and confused.

I have done acupuncture, with three different acupuncturists. I switched so many times because the first two were Chinese and I literally couldn’t understand them. I’ve taken Clomid (the devil’s drug), put my feet into the stirrups for countless ultrasounds, 8 IUI’s, given so much blood that we had to switch veins, needles in my stomach and ass and one failed attempt at IVF whereby my Dr. told me “I made perfect embryos and he was shocked that they didn’t take.” Not as shocked as I was.

In this blog, which I plan on making an entry every other day, I am going to write about the shame, the devastation, the acceptance, the hope, and maybe I might even write one day that I am pregnant, or that we are on our way to Africa to get our baby, either one would be a miracle.

I am going to start with an email I sent out the morning of my first IUI in April, 2008, just to give a little flavor of how things have changed in the last year and a half.

--

April 16, 2008

Hey friends and family,

I woke up this morning at 3:30 am and couldn't fall back to sleep. It seems that the blue light on the computer that likes to turn on and off in Jason's office (by itself) was in rare form like a blue light special at KMART. I had the thought, what if that blue light is a little spirit trying to "come on down you're the next contestant on the Price is right" instead of the adult man who used to live here and likes it so much he doesn't want to leave, that I've made it out to be? I started meditating on that energy for a while. I saw little spirits dancing around in the bedroom letting me know that the time is right for allowing them into our home and hearts.

Finally, I couldn't go back to sleep so I went into the guest room and meditated more and kept seeing little ones everywhere like baby fetuses (not sugar plums) dancing in my head. I logged a couple of more hours and awoke to Jason on a conference with some company in France and realized that we were late for our big Turkey Baster day otherwise known as IUI in Fertility Clinics. We had to be there in 30 minutes or it was a no-go. Rush hour was good to us and we made it.

It's amazing who is the waiting room at these clinics. This morning it was Julia Ormond, looking beautiful as ever and a Kristi Lee Cook look alike, she's a finalist on American Idol, and loads of hot lesbians, with long hair, long coats and not so long nails. I saw them thumbing through a sperm donor book, perusing the pages like a Restoration Hardware clearance catalogue. Then I thought if she can get pregnant with sperm from page 213, then this should be a piece of cake considering I have half the equation sitting next to me answering emails on his blackbery.

Jason did his business in the bathroom and about an hour later they pulled me into the room where Dr. Marrs, (not Dr. Venus) he's a big man from a big ranching town in Texas called Lubbock, looked inside my uterus and saw that I have two follicles not one, that are primed for some implantation this month, which means I could end up with twins this go around!!! HA!!! Wouldn't that be something? He basted my turkey and pushed the button on the bed to tilt my body and lower my head and raise my legs for gravity’s sake, and ten minutes later we were back in the car and moving on with our day. I can't believe how far I/we've come.

I feel nauseous.

I feel nervous.

Who knows what will happen.

I am perfectly happy with the outcome and trust that it is the right one for me.

Thank you all for your happy thoughts and prayers and saints,

Love, andrea

--

And today, 18 months later, I walked into a different doctor’s office for another IUI. I am a little less likely to announce it to friends and family via email. I’ve lost a little hope along the way and the novelty has worn off, but I am reinvigorated with the possibility that this time it has worked.

Note to Self: Desire and preparation are only half of this fertility game – patience and faith is the other.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

From my husband, Jason


To all of you over the last few months, days, moments, seconds who have helped to support Andrea and I through Newman's passing.

We are so grateful for our community of family and friends who have been so gracious and kind with thoughts, words, prayers, and care.

Newman defined an era for Andrea and me, 16 years ago I moved to Los Angeles, and immediately met Andrea and a month or so in to the casual dating came Newman, who brought us together, sustained us, filled us with laughter and joy and fun! With our community up in Laurel Canyon, we prospered there for many wonderful years. Newman was central to my love affair with L.A. and my fantastic gift of life with Andrea.

When we moved off the hill from Laurel Canyon to our new home in West Adams, things were not quite the same, the neighborhood dogs were different. The walks were different. The house was big, the floors were slippery. But Newman soon became known through the new urbran hood on his sun-downer walks.

This photo was taken 2 years ago, (after we got settled) it simply brings me peace and comfort, knowing that Newman was ready for anything. Even death. Here in this photo, he looks like he settled into his new home with us, made sure we were okay and was ready for whatever was down the road.


What's next?

May he join the collective that returns us all to great things, butterflies, sunsets, cloud-patterns in the dusk painted sky...wild flowers, cool water, sand. He is with the wind.

And return to touch my heart again in this life or the next.

Thank you my community for holding me up!

Love,
jb

Friday, July 17, 2009

Honor


What I was going to write about was my trip to Denver, CO for a Note to Self book signing at the famous Tattered Cover bookstore, where the beautiful Katie Hnida hosted a book reading/signing and the funny thing that happened when I arrived on Wednesday. And I was going to write about how there are signs all around us that we are on the right path even when we don't feel it, see it or wish it for ourselves.

I was going to tell you how when I walked into the Marriott/Fairfield Inn which was under construction, just off the highway in the suburbs of Denver that my name was written on the white board as "the guest of honor" right next to the free coffee and jolly ranchers, and how I thought it was because I was an author coming to town, but as it turns out I was randomly chosen to win this honoring. I was going to write about what one gets when they are picked as the guest of honor at the Fairfield Inn, next to Denny's, in Highlands Ranch, CO which is an upgrade to a larger room, they didn't have any, and a surprise treat in your room.....which was a lunch size, brown paper bag with two packages of Milano cookies and three Werther original candies and two small waters. And I was going to write about my epiphany of being chosen as the Fairfield Inn Guest of Honor -- in all its wonderful cheesiness and how it made me laugh and to remember to look for the signs, even when it literally is a big white board with red dry erase marker....reminding me that I am honored when I am unable to do it for myself.

That's what I was going to write, but instead I write this through the blur of my tears. My
Siberian Husky, fine, peaceful, noble Newman, who is 15 1/2 and who brought my husband and I together when he was just six months old is on his final days. He cannot walk by himself anymore, his back legs have given out on him. Jason and I bought him a sling last week hoping that would help, and while he can get out the door and smell the bushes, his back paws drag and he cannot stand or get up on his own.

This creature has been a part of our family and we have loved raising him every second of every minute of everyday that he has been in our lives. He has had 11,950 walks and feedings, endless hikes in the snow and had his fair share of eating cheese off the table when we weren't looking. He never learned to sit or listen to us when we called him. He was on Newman time and we learned to adjust. He is after all not a dog, but a siberian husky.

I've never met a creature who was more willful while being completely noble than Newman. His serene, faithful, hopeful outlook on life is one that I have always strived to have. We have grieved over the decision of what to do for weeks now watching his legs decline, but still wanting to eat his meals and go outside. It's been the hardest decision Jason and I have ever been faced with. We've talked for hours and hours, at night before bed, in the morning over coffee and with all of our friends about what to do. We have tried everything in our power to get him back up, but his body isn't cooperating and possibly it's time for his soul to move on.

The other day he had a bad case of diarrhea and we cleaned up after him six times and I saw the "I'm sorry" look on his face, which broke my heart. It was a hard day and we both went to bed completely exhausted and defeated. In my dream, we had made the decision to call our vet to come over and help us help him, and just as she was about to insert the needle, Newman got up ran for miles, I hovered over him watching his ecstasy, he was airborn as he lept in the air and landed in a field of yellow daisies showing me of what he was capable of and reminding me how he wants to live. It was a sign. Not of the Fairfield Inn caliber, but an interpretation of a soul's communication to another soul and I had to listen, as hard as it is.

My belief is that we are not our bodies, and that our souls live on and that animal's souls move on much quicker than ours do. I know Newman has loved every second he's been here and I believe he is ready to move on....that dream was my sign. We must help him move on so that he can be awash with the sun while he runs through that field, tail wagging, smiling from ear to ear. We must HONOR HIM and his life here especially now, when he is unable to do it for himself.

in peace,
andrea

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Why I love Maureen Dowd!!


San Francisco.

I am sorry I’ve been absent. In the last three weeks I’ve been driving up and down Texas, traveling California and as I write this I am on a plane to NY. Whew.

Here’s a story that I couldn’t wait to share with you. I was in San Fran last week promoting the book. My dear, generous, beautiful friend Jennifer Seibel Newsom and her husband, Mayor Gavin Newsom (now running for Governor) threw me a beautiful and elegant book party at their home. It was the hottest day in recent memory in the city, reaching close to 100 degrees.

While waiting at the SWA terminal at LAX, Jason, my husband, pointed out that Maureen Dowd, New York Times Op Ed Columnist was sitting on the ground with the rest of humanity waiting to board the plane. She had every newspaper that was fit to print crammed into her big leather bag, loose cash was everywhere in her purse wide open, her hair in a loose bun, jeans tucked into some really kick ass boots and she couldn’t have looked sexier. I am a big fan of hers and while she’s controversial at times, she is always hilarious and says what all of us are thinking but too afraid to say. For that I love her and read her column religiously every Wednesday and Sunday. The column she wrote in honor of her mother still resonates with me and I think of it every Mother’s Day. I felt it was a good omen and I was really impressed to be sharing the same plane with her. I wondered who she would be interviewing in SF. What she was going to write about and for a brief moment, I was jealous that I wasn’t Maureen Dowd. It passed, but I had to acknowledge it.

There are some moments in life that you are led by something greater than you. When you turn off your inner committee that could ultimately talk you out of something and listen to your soul/sole voice, your instinct. They are magic moments and I appreciate everyone that I have. I had lots of voices in side my head saying don’t approach her. Don’t bother her. Don’t be “that girl” But my soul/sole voice said otherwise. It said, “Write her a note. Be short. Be gracious. Be generous with your admiration of her. Invite her to your book party.”

So I did. An hour after arriving into SF I get a call from her assistant saying that she was on a deadline, but she was going to try and swing by the Mayor’s house and attend the soire. It was one of the greatest moments ever when she waltzed through the door. She was in a dress, some wedged high heels and her hair was down and done. Again, beautiful and sexy. She shared a story with me that when she wrote her book she had invited some notable folks to come to parties and while some did, others didn’t and it was always disappointing when they didn’t. She also was very supportive, the fellow female authorship thing and realizing how hard it can be to sell books especially in this climate and that she likes to support writers.

It was a magic moment.

Note to Self: Let the boom of your soul/sole voice drown out the cacophonous chatter of your inner committee. You’ll be surprised at what can happen.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

To the right, to the right

I have a dear friend named Rogers Hartmann who has a disorder called Dystonia. She recently went on Oprah and the Today show to talk about her disorder and she blogs about what it's like to live with it.
Please check our her blog. It's full of insight, humor and the stuff that life is made of.

http://www.lifewithdystonia.com/


Monday, April 6, 2009

Monday is the new Sunday


MONDAY IS THE NEW SUNDAY. I thought it was going to be the title of my new book....but a las I shall stick to NOTE TO SELF (for now). But here it is Monday morning and my sweet, old (he's 16) Huskie, Newman is lying in the room in my house usually reserved for breakfast or painting or just clutter. But as you can see it's a luscious, cozy den with flowers!!! I had transformed it for a celebration of a friend's birthday the night before, on Sunday. It is a Monday morning when I took this photo, the day after Sunday, the day after a great party, girls gathering, a circle to celebrate all that is wonderful about being a woman.

"Monday is the new Sunday." It's an idea. A philosophy to adopt. I want to adopt it. I've always hated Mondays. So did Karen Carpenter. And that band who sang the song, Manic Monday. "I wish it was Sunday. Cause that's my fun day. I don't have to run day." I think it might be part of our DNA or a strange encoding from elementary school. It's that idea of 8 hours left in the weekend, that sacred beautiful life before the week begins again. Why does it have to be so weird and full of dread? And here's the kicker...I don't have a day job per se. I don't go to an office where I have to clock in. I don't have to be in rush hour. Actually, I don't really have to set my alarm, although I do for 7:00am everyday. But I still dread Monday morning. Who started this craziness? I often think what if I were Brooke Shields in the Blue Lagoon making bathing suits out of sea weed, sleeping under a bamboo shade structure, fishing with a spear and a piece of bamboo, (maybe I need more bamboo in my life) and hanging out with that beautiful blonde guy....would I give a shit if it were Monday? Hell No!! I would not care or know the difference.

So here it is . "Monday is the new Sunday." Where you can have a margarita at 6:00 pm, lounge in your sun room at 7:00 am with your oldest dearest dog friend and the economy isn't as bad as we perceive. Because after all Monday is just a perception. Kind of like life....an illusion full of all ways to perceive it.

Note to Self: If you don't like what you see, change your perspective.



Thursday, April 2, 2009

God bless Chelsea Handler

She's real.
She rocks.
She's an activist.
She gives voice to so much that renders us speechless.
I am grateful to her for mentioning Note To Self.
Her fans listened.
Thank you, Chelsea
xo
Andrea


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Mariska Hargitay Blog

Okay. Okay. I haven't blogged in a couple of weeks. And I feel guilty. Ugh. I hate that.
So rather than feeling guilty to the point of paralysis, I was asked to blog by my friend Mariska Hargitay on her website. I wanted to share that here.
Please check it out.
And Please if you have any note to self you want to share with me, please email or post a comment on my blog.
apb.

Monday, February 16, 2009

fear and worry. no thanks.

I was so looking forward to today.  All weekend long the forecasters in southern california prepared us for the storm of the century, or at least the year.   A day in Los Angeles where the weather impedes your life, doesn't happen very often.  And what a better day to have that happen. Presidents day.  A day off.  50 degrees. Raining. A roaring fire.  What could be better? 

I watched people on the news sandbag their store fronts on Ventura boulevard fearing the worst. I watched newscasters who stretched from the beaches of Ventura to the mountains of San Bernadino broadcasting what might happen. rain. snow.  flooding.  the worst.   I watched an overly tan weather man tell me how bad things were going to be and to expect no less than four inches of rain in twenty four to forty eight hours.  I watched and prepared and anticipated the worst.  I was so caught up in the weather that my husband and I went to the grocery store to load up on groceries in case we couldn't make it out of our house for two days.  We bought into it.  The fear.  The worry.  The what ifs.  I was morbidly into it.  Excited by the challenge of bad weather, of weather at all.   

And while it did rain through most of the night and a little drizzle in the morning, by 1:00 in the afternoon the sun was muscling its way through the gray sky and blue sky won.  And by 4:00 there wasn't a cloud in the sky.  

How does that happen?  Two things come to mind. weather men are not supposed to be good at their jobs.  There is no other job in the world where you can be wrong time and time again, put people through hell, because of what you are telling them and be asked back to work the next day to possibly do it all over again.  I understand we live in Los Angeles and weather is hard to come by here, but for god's sake, how do you predict the storm of the century and the sun shines for half the day.  

Then it dawned on me.  We put a lot of faith in our news people, and what they are telling us, for the most part,  is be afraid. Be very afraid.  I don't think that they are blowing smoke up our ass about the economy, however, I do think there has been a fear mongering technique that has been happening for quite some time.  I for one am very afraid.  And I am turning it off tomorrow. No more news.  

Fear and worry. No thanks.  whether it's the weather or how the economic system as we know it, is crumbling into a million little pieces,  i am not buying into it. rather I will tune my radio into a different frequency one with a larger bandwidth that has room for all of life's cumulus clouds, lightning strikes and sunny days, but like the weather man's prediction, there's no way to predict.  You just prepare for whatever may come the best you can.  


Monday, February 9, 2009

Perspective.

I have a lot on my mind tonight. As usual. But instead of festering I am going to blog, which I haven't made the time to do in the last few days. And feel not good about it.
First of all, Wiley, my sweet husky who I took in to get fixed, is doing great. He is the best and in one day and many treats I taught him how to sit, shake and lie down. Tomorrow we will learn how to make mac and cheese.

I could talk about my dog and the parties I went to over the weekend or the amazing party that was in honor of my book, NOTE TO SELF in LA on Thursday and the 120 people that showed up to Me and Ro on Melrose Place to buy a book and jewelry, or both, or the fact that I got into my first facebook fight with a guy I went to 6th grade with, BUT I am not going to talk about that.

I just watched Obama give his first press conference and talk to us about what in the world are we going to do in this country to get us back on track and not fall into the great abyss of the great depression. Scary shit. I have faith and I continually try and focus on all that we have instead of what we don't have. But this is unsettling and these are troubling times. How did we get here??? So many reasons!!

For Perspecitve I pick up a photo album that I made from our trip to AFrica this past summer. That's is perspective in a way that can only be found by opening your eyes and your heart to the world around you. There is great suffering all around us. But in that suffering you can find a way to relieve it if you remain open and in action.

I also watched The View today. Among other things. Yes. I did. I tivo it and love to see the ladies bicker when I have a free moment. Diane Sawyer was on to talk about her special on Friday night, 2/13/09. She's so beautiful and eloquent. I was on Good Morning America three weeks ago talking about my book, NOTE TO SELF. Which when I see what other work she is doing, it only makes me appreicate her more, and feel so much gratitude for the opportunity to go on her show. What I saw made me weep. The poverty in the Mountains of Kentucky and Tennessee is that of Africa, only the people are speaking our language. They are young girls and boys, men and women of this country who have been forgotten and are hidden behind poverty and mountain dew mouth. As Diane said "their Horizon is their front yard." While so many of us have an endless horizon theirs is filled with garbage and despair.

When I watched Obama speak tonight I thought about those people in the Appalachian Mountains and closed my eyes to send them a prayer. To them, this recession is nothing new or different, but they won't be immuned to its effects. And their nothing will become less than that. Where that leaves them, nobody knows.

I want to do something about this.
http://video.aol.com/video-detail/diane-sawyers-view-on-poverty/288230380814016827

Monday, February 2, 2009

Wiley Blue made it.



He's fine. His manhood is intact and he is recovering.. back to his old tricks of pulling the toilet paper off the roll and into the hallway, or playing chase with my running shoe in his mouth. Or just staring. Staring at me brushing my teeth, trying to understand the strange noise the sonic care makes as he cocks his head from left to right. He also likes to stick his head into the shower and lick the drain and my legs. He's a wonderful treat and I love him. 

I love animals. All kinds of animals. But dogs seem to find us when we need them the most. I believe Wiley Blue is that kind of dog and spirit. He's not here for fodder or idle chatter. He's here to do something big.  Wonderful.  He was dropped out of the sky. special ordered from some weird Dairy Queen in a hat may I take your order person. 
Here' s a picture of him in all his glory. 
Trust me. I will be writing about my other pups, not to mention every other subject known to man,  soon.  He's just the newest addition to the family. 
love, andrea