Last night on my way to meet my daughter for dinner, I ran into a drug store to buy a diet soda and some allergy pills. I am a newcomer to allergies, but after living for years in a city where you can see, taste, and smell the air, it was inevitable that they would catch up with me. The bad thing about having summer all year round, is that the allergy season lasts twelve months.
I was thrilled to see that my allergy medicine of choice was actually on sale. This is the one, I will not identify for fear of coming up on the Google search, that became available over-the-counter a few years ago much to the insistence delight of insurance companies!
I had forgotten that it has become a controlled substance and you can no longer just grab a box off the shelf in California. You have to take a card to the checkout line where you then have to prove that you are not buying it to make crystal meth.
Of course there is only one line and it is long. In a city where there are at least three drug stores on every block, it must be cost prohibitive to have more than one employee working at any given time. After a five minute wait, my turn comes and of course it's a confused, rookie clerk who is not really sure of the procedure. After she finds the book and unlocks the cabinet for the pills, I have to turn over my driver's license so she can log in my license number, name, address and phone number. After being informed that I am forbidden to even think about buying anymore for the next seven days I sign my name and pay for my purchase. I asked for $40.00 cash back from my debit card, and after all that, she forgot the decimal point and entered 40 cents.
The fifteen people behind me, did not understand what was taking so long, and I could feel standing-in-line rage, starting to mount. Especially the guy with the two six packs of cold beer in his arms. I just told them I was buying drugs, and the next time I would just go to MacArthur park, where it would be easier. No one laughed, so I guess I wasn't that far off.
I couldn't be rude to her, and I couldn't go through another transaction as the guy with the beer was starting to get a little "postal" look in his eyes, so I went to to an ATM for the cash. Shortly after taking the pill, my runny nose and sneezing had subsided, but now I am a registered pseudoephedrine consumer in the state of California.
Since I am a sucker for diaries, altered books and collage, I came across book this at Borders, and had to buy it. Although it is basically eye candy with a story as an afterthought, the authors, who are sisters, have taken scrap-booking to a new level. In the same genre as the Griffin and Sabine series (which I also have copies of) they have cleverly designed a book that looks and reads like an honest to goodness journal that a young, artistic mother might have actually kept. It is a quick read, and the story is a mystery with subtle clues in the artwork.
This book has taken on a life of its own thanks to a clever marketing scheme. The book is fiction, but because of a My Space page and website (phony) all attributed to her daughter, the Internet is duped into believing she was a real person. People are so gullible. Think about it for a minute. Two women find a journal in an old desk in the United States, have it published without the family's knowledge or consent, and all the daughter does is complain about on myspace.com? Can we say "Major Law Suit"?
If you see it in a bookstore, it is definitely worth leafing through for the visuals. If you have an extra hour, you can read the whole book and still have time left over for a coffee. If you're like me, you'll buy it, look at it once, and put it on the bookshelf with the hundreds of other books you never have time for.
I love this wooden sculpture, Gestation III, by Balle Oakes located at Palisades Park in Santa Monica. On days that depression is trying to take me down, I slip away to the beach and against all odds, mellow out. Along with my notebook and pen, I write all my feelings out. Sometimes it takes hours, but by the time I am finished, unbeknownst to me, some solutions have appeared on the page. It is such a relief to purge all those thoughts that have been having a committee meeting in my head, without asking my permission. Even when I am all alone, I feel outnumbered!
Journaling is a great way to release and let go. Ever since I can remember, I have written down my feelings. From my Barbie diary to my illustrated journals, I have always felt a need to put my feeling to paper instead of letting them eat away at me. My mind can sometimes be my own worst enemy. The same thoughts go round and round in the same old ways and keep me stuck. This way I can see it from a different perspective - spit it out - and let it go. It works for me.
This is my favorite item at Cheesecake Factory, the Thai lettuce wraps. It is the only thing I ever order from the menu and although it is listed under appetizers, it is a great light meal. If only I didn't eat half a loaf of the warm bread with it! Luckily for me, I don't like cheesecake so I have never sampled what they are famous for. I would love to have the recipe for the sauces, so I could make this at home.
I met some friends for dinner tonight and for some strange reason it was only a ten minute wait. I was hoping to stop by the new H & M that opened a few weeks ago, but there was a large line to get in. That is probably the reason there wasn't a wait at Cheesecake, everyone was at H & M. This is the most popular restaurant in Old Town Pasadena and for the amount of food you get for the money, I can see why.
Erin and her roommate Jasmine, two new members of the Illinois Bar and probably a few Chicago ones!
No matter how far down the ladder of self esteem I am, it is always reassuring to know that I am a hell of a mother. I raised two wonderful daughters in spite of my shortcomings and a crummy divorce. We basically grew up together, and their support of me was the spirit that kept me going in the great abyss known as single motherhood.
When your children become young adults, that is when you reap the real rewards. You seem to forget the messy rooms, slumber parties that went on all night long, carpooling and projectile vomiting. I adore my daughters and love spending time with them. I am proud that they grew up to be women with minds of their own and a kindness towards others, that is way above the norm.
My daughter Erin, after having graduated from Notre Dame and DePaul Law, has just passed the bar exam and is now officially an attorney practicing in Chicago. It was her life long dream, since she was in first grade, to become an attorney. She did it with such ease, that I am still in awe. My other daughter Shannon is married to a wonder guy, Jerome, and is almost done with her Masters Degree from UCLA. To say I am proud is an understatement. They both know that the best gifts in life are those that money can't buy, and that gives me hope that they will know a freedom and happiness that evaded me for so many years.
I was lucky enough this summer to spend some time in Salinas, California at my son-in-law's family ranch. He has a million stories of spending every summer there while growing up, along with his five siblings. Other than the fact that he almost died by falling off a truck, I can see what magical summers they must of had.
This is definitely John Steinbeck country, my all time favorite author since American Lit in college. I remember at first struggling through Grapes of Wrath, but once I hit the turning point I couldn't get enough of his writing. It was a perfect time in my life to be reading about social injustices, hard people in hard times, sprinkled with profanity. I had never been to California and I knew I would end up there someday. I went on to read all of his books, and while I loved them all, nothing was as powerful as the ending to Grapes of Wrath. I was pleased that Oprah picked East of Edenas her book club choice and hopefully she got a lot of people to read it who wouldn't have otherwise.
Seeing the migrant workers in action, always makes my
heart ache a little, not to mention the guilt. Unfortunately, things
have not changed all that much.
I just finished this captivating book by Liz Gilbert and I highly recommend it to all my friends. I wish I could of had some serious healing time after my divorce to be able to roto-rooter all of the bitterness, acrimony, pain, venom and malice out of my soul and get a transfusion of spirituality, peace and love. I lived vicariously through her in the quest for enlightenment, with the itinery of 4 months each in Italy, India and Bali. I think even I could have found enlightenment under those circumstances.
She asks the question "what would happen if I threw away the road map for my life that I've been making for the last 10-20 years and went out and embraced the universe and accepted whatever came back as a result?"
I devoured this book and couldn't put it down once I started. I can't wait to read more of her work. It is truly comfort food for the literary soul.
I especially loved the section when she was in Italy because I have spent some of the best days of my life there, and I yearn to go back. Because of my interest in yoga and meditating, I was enthralled with her experiences in India, in an ashram. I too, have a problem with meditating and I agree how impossible it is to stop the monkey mind! This has inspired me more than ever, to continue my quest to really, really learn how to meditate.
September was not a good month for me, and I didn't feel like blogging. I just wanted to be alone and not have to deal with anyone, especially myself. I usually love fall because it means back to school, which means college football, 101 ways to eat anything flavored pumpkin, and the changing of the leaves. Unfortunately in California only about ten leaves change color. This is a picture from last November of the only tree in my town that had any color, probably a transplant from Connecticut. This is also the hottest, dryest time of the year and the reason it smells like smoke, is that most of the state is on fire at any given time. Not the fall I remember growing up in Pennsylvania, but one that I have gotten used to.
I had my annual mammogram and spent the month waiting to see if I had breast cancer. Luckily, I don't, but my breasts are are red alert once again. I have the same type breasts as my Mom which means I have to be vigilant about the millions of lumps living in them. Before my Mom finally succumbed to breast cancer, she had nine lumpectomys. I am Lucky that I have only had one and I extremely lucky it was benign.
So all in all it has been a stressful and depressing month. Not to mention the fact that the 25th was the anniversary of my Mom's death and I realize it has been 29 years since I last saw her. She died way too young, and I have gone most of my adult life without the nurturing I so much needed.
The subject for this week's Illustration Friday is quiet. Quiet for me is night time and meditation. I am trying so hard to get in the groove with learning to calm my overactive mind and meditating, but I find it almost impossible to turn off the committee in my head. Even when I am in a room by myself, I feel I am outnumbered. I've finally decided to take it seriously and get some official instruction. A church in Pasadena offers a class taught by a Buddhist Nun, so a friend and I are going to give it a try.