I attended Artisanal LA at the new Santa Monica Place Market that was supposed to celebrate the city's finest local, sustainable and handmade edibles. Unfortunately, unless you had an excessive sweet tooth, an affinity for olive oil and hundreds of ways to serve bacon - bacon bread pudding, bacon fat and bacon muffins - this was a real disappointment. I was hoping for more demonstrations, more healthy food options and more crafts, other than aprons and soap. It wasn't a complete disappointment, but more of a sugar fest than a food fest.
I have to have a CT scan every six months to make sure the cancer hasn't returned. After all that I have been through, it isn't such a big deal. Dreading the results is far worse than the procedure, but it still involves blood withdrawal, an IV, and being zapped with radiation in a small, enclosed quarter. But the worst part is the barium cocktail you have to drink, the hour before the party begins.
As soon as I signed in, I was given two pint size bottles with a plastic cup, and was instructed to drink half of each bottle every 15 minutes. The strangest thing is that even though I have had this procedure before I forgot about the drink (just like you forget about the pain during childbirth). If you haven't had the pleasure of drinking berry flavored barium sulfate, I can tell you that it is like drinking sour cream with a rancid strawberry aftertaste. Luckily, you aren't allowed to eat for three hours before, and I assume it is because of the drinking of the gag-inducing cocktail. When the technician came out and called my name, I told him I wasn't finished yet, and he said "just chug it like you did in college." If he knew me in college, he would have known that chugging was always proceeded by, spending the night with my head very close to a toilet bowl.
As bad as the barium cocktail was, it gets worse. I then proceeded to get an IV stuck into my hard-to-find vein, and before I was sent into the claustrophobic tunnel, I was injected with a dye that literally zaps your body. I was warned that it may feel like you are going to wet your pants, but you're not. Thanks for the reassurance. While I was in this device with my arms above my head, a recorded voice told me not to move, hold my breath, then breath normally, at least five times. By then, it is really disconcerting, as you realize you are alone in a room with a talking x-ray machine that is taking thousands of pictures your body, which is still tingling from the dye they injected. After twenty minutes, the technician comes to revive you from the twilight zone, and after taking out the IV, sends you on your way. But not before telling you to drink lots and lots of water to get all the ***** out of your system. Ug.
As bad as that was, it was no where near the incredibly despicable colonoscopy I had before Christmas. The one which I failed to fall asleep because they didn't give me enough of whatever it is they give you to make you sleep, comfortably. So not only did I get to feel the whole procedure, I got to see the doctor remove the polyps I had, on the large screen, in living color. I was so shook up, the doctor showed me what they really looked like in the jar, and they were nothing to worry about. Turns out he wasn't lying, and they were nothing to worry about, but it did reinforce the need to have a colonoscopy in the first place. To evict the the nasty little polyps from your colon, before they turn into cancer.
After all of that, I was reassured that the cancer hasn't come back, and I am on proactive care and medicine. I going to relax and enjoy the next six months the best I can. Then I go through this all over again.
There is a new house in my neighborhood that is the first carbon-neutral, LEED platinum certified home in Santa Monica, if not the whole world. In other words, this house is taking green to a new level. Green as in environmentally friendly. Jealous, anyone? All I know is that it took forever to build (almost two years) and I was fascinated stalking walking by it every day and watching the long, involved process. There were always at least a dozen workers on the site, willing to answer the questions I asked, because they were very proud to work on such an elite project. I think they were just happy to have a job, in this economy. Through my investigation, I found out that this house is 3,8000 square feet, has 6 bedrooms and 4 1/2 baths and cost a hell of a lot of money to build. They had constant difficulties with the building inspectors, and it was extremely frustrating for the owners. The owners are none other than Lisa Ling and her husband Dr. Paul Song, a radiologist oncologist at UCLA (very dear to my heart). They have recently moved in, and I am debating whether to bake them something, as a welcome-to-the- neighborhood gift. It would have to be healthy, made from recyclable ingredients and and definitely not leave a carbon footprint. I would never have the nerve, although they seem very friendly when I see them around the hood. It has really added some excitement, if not a lot of guilt, to the neighborhood. I will try to do my part and never take a shower longer than three minutes. I promise.
I was cleaning out my closet this weekend and I came across a piece of paper with a picture of an angel, a little boy, and a poem. I remember buying this for 15 dollars from a woman I met at a seminar about twenty years ago. I don't know if she wrote it or not, but she told me that she did. I had this while my kids were growing up and kept it in a place where I could read it at least once a week. In a perfect world, this would have been my Bible and it would have been my point of reference on how to raise children. Like my parents before me, I did the best I could, and hopefully it was good enough. Like all parents, I feel it was never enough, and I would like to do it differently. Unfortunately, you only get one chance to raise a child.
If I Could Parent Him Again (I Would Do It DIfferently)
I would be more grateful for the child I have instead of the one he may never be.
I would listen more to his nonsense and childish ramblings, rather than expect intelligence and wisdom from one so young.
I would focus less on his messiness, and allow him more room to sprawl and merely be.
I would admire openly his friends and music, his clothes and hair, knowing they too will change as often .....as will his need for me.
I would laugh more, forgive more and criticize less.
I would be more honest about my own inadequacies and less self righteous.
I would share more of his dreams and force less of mine on him.
I would validate more often his uniqueness as a human being, a beloved child of God, and his importance as the very core of life that through our family flows.
I would discard perfection, rigidity, outdated rules, punishment and control.
Instead I would set standards of discipline through consequences, setting limits and boundaries and promote peace for maintaining balance of mind, body and spirit.
I would accomplish these skills by modeling them rather than preaching them.
I would become the student, and allow him to teach me to be more loving, kind and understanding.
To fear less those events which may never materialize, and to trust in God more, when they do.
I would allow the process of life to unfold unconditionally, and to accept it more on His terms rather than on mine.
In my home, I would be more of a parent and less of a professional.
I would guide more and demand less, nurture my own, and volunteer less for others.
I would make and spend more time and less money.
Most of all - I would turn my back on the past, and close my eyes to the future.
But, I would grasp hold of the present for all it is worth and hang on.
I would experience its joyful essence and every precious moment I am with him.
For the past is but a collection of faded memories.
The future is still a distant dream.
It is the present that is real, not merely what might have been, nor what could be, but what is now is truly all that exists.
And I would lose myself in it just as if......it may never end.
The weather in Santa Monica was fabulous last Thursday and Friday. It was hot and clear, summer was in the air, just the perfect setting for an outdoor dinner. Some friends are going back to Australia to get married, and it was bittersweet saying goodbye. Actually they are getting married in Bali, then going back to Australia for a while. They have the kind of life I wish I had when I was younger, always on the go, always living an adventure. Enjoy it now, cause when the kids come, everything will change.
I was feeling pretty down when a friend suggested we go see Jane Eyre. Even though the movie is not the most uplifting, I was glad for the diversion. This has been one of my favorite novels going way back to high school and the main reason I choose to minor in literature. Even though I have read the novel a few times, the story never disappoints, nor fails to intrigue me.
I was mildly disappointed that they didn't include the infamous scene, where Jane's veil is torn to pieces, by the resident hellion. It was a scene worthy of the big screen, that was handed to future filmmakers by Bronte, on a silver platter. I am grateful they cut short the incredibly cruel scenes that took place at the boarding school. Scenes where Jane was repeatedly abused and disregarded, which attributed to her life of hardship. Even though it was written in 1847, it travels well into this century, where way too many movies cause you to go home and pray for the brain cells you lost, not to mention the two hours of your life you can never get back.