Today is my mother's birthday and I can barely remember what she looked like, since I have gone half of my life without her. She was still alive when I was pregnant, and I would talk to her on the phone constantly, since she lived in Pennsylvania and I in California. Being a nurse who worked in Labor and Delivery, she knew a thing or two about childbirth, while I knew nothing but fear. She reassured me about every little pain or concern and reinforced my decision to breast feed for as long as I could. She and my father would be coming out for a few weeks after the baby was born, which was extremely reassuring. My mom had breast cancer at this time and it made it especially bittersweet for me.
The day I gave birth to my daughter, I called my mother immediately and no one answered. Little did I know that she had taken a turn for the worst and was in the hospital, dying. I had to take my newborn baby on a plane, cross country, so my mother could see her before she died. It was one of the saddest moments of my life and one that I will never forget.
After we buried my mother, I flew back to California with my daughter and my then husband who had come just for the funeral. AT least I wasn't alone this time on a cross country flight . When I walked back into our house, I was hit in the stomach with the fist of depression. It was the mother lode of post natal depression, accompanied by a husband who was as cold to me as the cement on the sidewalk in front of our house. I have never felt so alone in my life, and the pain in my heart was overbearing.
Two days later, my daughter seemed warm when I was changing her diaper, so I immediately called the doctor. He told me I had to take her temperature and I asked him how I could possibly keep the thermometer under her tongue that long. Realizing what a rookie mother I was, he explained that I had to do it rectally. I almost fainted, as I had no idea that was even a possibility. As I tried to do it, I panicked and started crying hysterically, thinking the whole time that I would kill her in the process. Right at that moment, there was a knock at my door. It was a neighbor that I had met a few times, but barely knew. She asked me how I was doing since she had just heard that my mother died. As I burst out crying, she took me into her arms, giving me a hug that made me feel I was no longer alone. She proceeded to tell me that she was a retired nurse and immediately took the thermometer to take my baby's temperature. I never felt so relieved or happy to see someone in my life. She turned out to be the light I needed in my darkness. She became my support for the next two years, by dropping by every morning to see how we were doing and reassuring me that I did, after all, have what it takes to be a mother. Sadly, she too got breast cancer and moved away to be closer to her son. I hope she knew how much she meant to me and how forever grateful I will be for the kindness. She is the greatest present I ever received.
As the years have gone by, I realize that she was an angel, sent to me by another angel, my mother. There are no coincidences in life.
Pasadena already had one Whole Foods Market, and since it was doing so well, they decided to build another, and make it three times as large. It opened to massive crowds in November, just in time for the holiday season, and was an instant hit/tourist attraction. To some people it's considered the Holy Grail of supermarkets. It's over 75,000 square feet and two stories, which means that there is a separate escalator for your cart, so it can conveniently accompany you to the next level. You will find everything you could possibly need to live to be a hundred, if that is your preference. Unless your net-worth is in the billions, forget it, because there is no way you could afford to shop there, for that long, with these prices. Your money will run out before your healthy body does. There is a reason they call it "Whole Paycheck." Actually it's more like a shopping vacation spot than it is a place where you shop for your weekly staples.. Basically, for me, eating healthy means not having five helpings of sugar per day, but I can see that they have a lot of impressive things if you like organic. As I walked around Whole Foods tonight, I had to remind myself the real meaning of organic, which means grown in clean soil so you can't taste the pesticides. I never thought that would include sugar cones, liver based dog treats, tooth paste, toilet paper, condoms and cupcakes. (Just kidding about the cupcakes.) When you walk through the produce department, you feel as if you are being French kissed by Mother Nature. This is how healthy is supposed to look; fresh and succulent, like a work of art. Unfortunately, six months later, the excitement has faded, and the crowds have dwindled drastically, except for the weekends. It seems they would have to
have the place filled to capacity at all times, to move the fresh produce, take out, and prepared items, they have stockpiled.
Call me old fashioned, but do we really need a nut-roasting bar, blended-butter bar, olive bar, gelato bar, soap bar, and especially a wine tasting bar when we go grocery shopping? In reality, it's basically an amusement food park for the wealthy. I wonder what they do with the expired food they have to throw out everyday? Most people are worried about surviving in this economy and don't have money to spend on frivolous food items when we have to feed our cars, $4.50 a gallon gas. I love the concept of a green grocery and all the efforts they take to promote local farmers, but I can't see this market surviving unless they drastically cut the prices. I can't see them doing that. In the meantime, Trader Joe's and Fresh and Easy are thriving.If you live within twenty miles of Pasadena, it's worth the drive to check the place out and feast on the free samples. If you want to do some grocery shopping, there is a loan bar for your convenience.
I had a hard week, so on Saturday when I found myself at the beach, alone for the afternoon, I decided that I would veg out and give my eyes a rest. No reading, no jewelry making, and especially no computer. Unfortunately, I got bored and turned on the television, thinking that out of 900 some channels, I would find something to watch while I was slipping in and out of consciousness. I must really hate television, because if there isn't a football game on, there isn't much I want to watch.
To make a long story short, I happened to come across a "Keeping up with the Kardashian's" marathon. Out of curiosity, I started to watch an episode. I really don't know that much about the family, except that she is an accidental porn star and happens to be dating Reggie Bush, of USC fame, who is under investigation for taking money while playing college football. I remember her father being the attorney who represented OJ Simpson and was his best friend. So I knew I was in for some good, down home trash.
Two minutes into it, I realized this was nothing like the Brady Bunch, and my eyes would be hurting more than ever. I still don't know who is related to whom, but I do know that Bruce Jenner of Gold Metal fame, had one bad ass face lift and so much botox, he can't move anything but his lips. He is married to Chris who used to be married to Robert Kardashian with whom she had three daughters and a son, then two more daughters with Bruce. The total combined IQ of the whole family probably doesn't equal 100. They represent everything that is wrong with this country and why people who have more money than brains should practice birth control.
I have no idea who their demographics are, but they would have to be as emotionally and intellectually stunted as the characters to be able to get any kind of value out of it. Since it was halfway through the episode, I couldn't really keep track, but I saw enough to realize that they are the most annoying if not the most self centered people on earth. The mother Chris, was trying to join a dance team, and hurt her knee in the process. Next thing you know, she is going to the hospital, and it happens to be the hospital I used to work for. The cameras follow her through the lobby, admissions and even while being operated on. This used to be a reputable hospital, but I see they have become the National Enquirer of hospitals since their last law suit, concerning a certain sitcom star who died in the ER. Because this is reality television, we see her in bed, right after the operation, with full make up.
Since I am a glutton for punishment, I couldn't resist watching the next episode in which Kim bought herself a $220,000 Bentley and started a family feud. She got mad at her sisters for ruining the biggest moment of her life. After all, she had been dreaming of owning a Bentley since she was twelve years old and has worked long and hard for the money (sex tapes pay incredibly well and I don't think the hours are that long).
By this time I was starting to feel like I was taking a bath in a septic tank and couldn't take the excess eyeliner and false eyelashes any longer, so I had to call it a day. I don't know if it was related or not, but the dog threw up while watching it with me. I know if I had been able to stand it longer, I could have blogged about it for the next few months. There were some classic lines that nobody would believe. It is so disgusting that people who contribute nothing to society other than doing sex tapes and shopping, could get so much publicity.
Just as I thought television had hit an all time low, they show a preview for a new reality series starting soon - Denise Richards and her daughters. More proof that watching television truly does kill brain cells.
I made this wreath for a friend and I must admit it looks pretty good. I made it in record time because we were going out for Sushi afterward and I was starving. I do my best work when I am bribed with food.
Because Southern California has a shortage of shopping centers, Rick Caruso has built a $400 million, 15.5 acre Super-Grove in Glendale, just west of Pasadena. The open-aired shopping mecca is home to over 75 retail stores, a wide variety of restaurants, and one hell of a
fountain, which entertains you with a dancing water show every hour. In fact there is so much water there, you definitely feel you should have brought your bathing suit.
It's the perfect place to spend an afternoon people-watching,
listening to piped-in Sinatra and seeing how fast people can spend their stimulus checks.
The Mall itself is nice, if not opulent, but it has the same shops and restaurants as most other malls. Does California really need another Cheesecake Factory, Barnes and Noble, H&M and Chico's?
Where else would you see a crystal chandelier hanging in the street looking as out of place as Paris Hilton in a church. You can even live here if you are lucky enough to afford the $700,000 to $2 million dollar price tag for one of the condominiums that surround the mall. It would be just like living in the happiest place on earth - consumerism-land.
I hope all mothers had a wonderful Mother's Day and enjoyed a fabulous meal made by someone else. I hate going to a restaurant on the day that it is obligatory to eat out, so my daughter and her husband and all of his siblings prepared a brunch for their mother and I. It was fabulous, and even thought I did some of the cooking, I enjoyed every minute of it. I am so lucky that my daughter married into such a loving family and they include my daughters and I in everything. My son-in-law is such a great person, and to me, he is the son I never had. Not to mention he went to Porto's Bakery on Saturday along with hundreds of other people to stand in line and get us the #1 fruit tart in the world. I wanted to take a picture of it, but it was half gone by the time I got around to it.
It was hard not having my younger daughter here, but her home is now in Chicago. I did talk to her, and I will be going to visit her soon. I can't tell you how much I miss her, but I love Chicago, so that is a good reason to visit every chance I get.
Mother's Day has always been bittersweet for me because I lost my mother right after my first daughter was born. After I divorced, I made it a tradition that after we attended brunch with friends, I would take the girls shopping and buy them things they wanted, mostly summer clothes. The stores were never crowded so it turned out to be a very productive day. It took my mind off not having a mother, which is hard enough, without having a national holiday to remind you.
Now I think I am going to have the last piece of fruit tart that is calling my name from the refrigerator.
This weeks topic for Illustration Friday is Electricity and I have to put in a plug for the new compact fluorescent light bulb. It's the new kid on the block and I hope everyone is replacing their old bulbs with these bulbs that kind of resemble an ice cream cone. Compact fluorescents emit the same light as classic incandescents but use 75% less electricity. If every household would switch just a few bulbs, the savings in energy would be significant. If you want the earth to be around for your great grandchildren, start doing something today. Every little bit helps. Then you could think about getting rid of the gas guzzling SUV in your garage.
This is a picture from a past art show at the Brewery and it always cheers me up. They are all mannequins and remind me of when my friends and I get together. I choose my friends by how much they make me laugh, because the older I get, the less I can tolerate people who drain all the positive energy from me by always being serious.