When In Berkeley…

Childhood friend Alicia and me at King.

I moved to Los Angeles in 1995 amidst a flurry of condescending eye-rolls and pitiful looks followed by, “Why? I hate LA!”  Twenty years later, Kevin Bacon and Mobe declare LA “cool” enough to live in. WHOSE ROLLING THEIR EYES NOW?

I also get judge-y about people thinking that Berkeley is “cool.”  I’m sorry, Michael Chabon, but you don’t get to just buy a house here after making a lot of money on your bestseller novel without going through the very real, terror for your life and daily sexual-assault that was 1984-1986 of King Junior High School.

Yesterday, I had lunch with two close friends and we shook our heads when one told us that in her research of schools for her daughter she discovered that King Junior High is now one of the BEST schools in Berkeley.  King Junior High was where my best friend and I deemed our tag name to be “Ladies of The Night” — WE HAD NO IDEA WHAT IT MEANT…but still, someone should have told us.  I am still going through my box of notes written to me (old fashioned text messages) by my band of Wet n’ Wild painted friends and sometimes dream of making movie with the rights to the “Purple Rain” album. (Because otherwise, really, what is the point?).

I drive around Berkeley now and it looks like a glorious, urban, college-town utopia of windy streets filled with craftsman homes and large trees. It’s hard to believe that Berkeley felt like a scary place to me in the early 80s.  To this day, marijuana still smells like public parks during remedial English class and absent fathers. I watched young kids lose their personality to excess drugs, I watched fights. I did not witness gun violence, despite attending “urban” schools, but I felt a distinct sense that the world had no sense or order. Growing up in Berkeley and Oakland, I always felt more aware of the “decay” part of “urban decay.”

Thanks to technology, Berkeley and Oakland have undergone the same organic, locally-grown fabulousness of New York or any once “cool” place.  The debate on the morality or benefits of gentrification have some merit. And sure I don’t necessarily mind walking down 4th street to buy a Crate n’ Barrel olive wood nibble bowl for or eye gel.  And I know that nostalgia will always make me think that life was better when bars had two beers (Miller or Budweiser) and 13-year-olds had the freedom to go to parks and abuse their bodies with mild marijuana in the middle of the day.

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Episode #1 – Teaching Kazu to Dance Salsa

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The Gilead Handmaids Are More Feminist Than American Women

I keep thinking about the last scene of “The Handmaid’s Tale,” when Aunt Lydia (or Patty form “The Leftovers”) congregates the handmaids at an open field.  One of them says, “God, I hate stonings,” like she has to listen to an election speech at a high school assembly.  Then they cart out crazy Janine/Ofwarren, the rebellious unstable handmaid who lost one eye for being loud and combative, and most recently her baby.  Everyone loves Janine and so June/Offred refuses to throw a stone.  She will endure ritualized rape, having her body treated like an incubator, but fuck if she is going to throw a stone at crazy-one-eyed-blow-job-giving Janine.  There is nothing if not female allegiance among the Handmaids. They have no choice but to ally. Because they have no choices.

The world of the Handmaid’s is not unlike what goes on in most of the non-Western world; women are brutally subjugated, in this case, not allowed to work, own property, control money, read and fed the message that unattached procreating is a high honor. Even Mexico wants American Handmaids (Side note: Mexico would never come to the US for fertile women…I love the show, but seriously, hire some Mexican writers!)  

So, back in real-life present-day America, women don’t literally stone each other, just go after each other in Internet scandal dramas.  Recently Iliza Shlesinger got hit big time for saying the following:

I could walk into The Improv, close my eyes, and I can’t tell one girl’s act apart from another. That’s not saying that 30-something white guys don’t all sound the same sometimes, but I’m banging my head against the wall because women want to be treated as equals, and we want feminism to be a thing, but it’s really difficult when every woman makes the same point about her vagina, over and over.

I don’t know Iliza, but if I sat her down, I doubt she would say that the subject matter of “vagina” is really the problem.  I know comics who talk about their vag-es in original and unique ways that cause tears to roll down my face and because I don’t want to tell someone else’s joke, please, just see Judith Shelton perform.  But more often what I hear from women about our shared bodily parts makes me uncomfortable because they seem unconscious of the possible underlying intenting on turning on horny twenty-something year old men, plugged into The Patriarchy, and unaware of their struggle to find their authentic voice.  Unless your authentic voice is “I like anal sex…” you don’t fall in this category.  I don’t blame young women new to comedy, I don’t hate them, I don’t think I am better than them, I just think, “Here is a young woman standing in front of a room full of mostly men asserting that she can make them laugh — a weird situation — she’s trying to figure out how to engage young men…” And how do you hold a man’s attention…hmmm…how?!”

For some reason the reaction from female comics who felt that Iliza’s comments were directed at them was to tear down Iliza Shlesinger.  I guess she defended herself until she finally realized she is a grown woman and doesn’t have to explain herself, which is more than you can say about her attackers.

What surprises me (and when I say surprised I mean  not surprised at all), is that female comics sit in rooms where men repeatedly call women whores, cunts, talk about beating up prostitutes behind dumpsters (I have heard this premise five or six times), joke about female rape and gang bangs. Personally, I don’t feel that this supports my heroine’s journey, but maybe that is rare.  For some female comics its OK because of “free speech” and “art” and all this allegiance with male comics who — for the most part — don’t give a fuck about them.  Who listens to female comics?  Other women.  Why? Because we are women, we are in very similar body suits and I am most interested in hearing a woman’s take on what it’s like to live with ovaries and hormones, and fear of a culture and society where women’s rights and freedoms seems so unstable that a show like “The Handmaid’s Tale” feels like a documentary of the future.

Over a year ago Gloria Steinem told Bill Mahr that young women supported Bernie Sanders because that’s “where the boys are” and women went after her as if she hadn’t led the women’s movement for forty years.  Meanwhile stripper-loving Bill Mahr got off scot free and went on to test his white male entitlement by using of the n-word on TV. What shocking impropriety has Gloria Steinem gone on to do? Continue to be bas ass.

Oh, and do you remember Hillary Clinton? Yeah, women hated her, too. Well, good thing that didn’t hurt us at all…it’s disappointing because women are like lobsters in a pot that is boiling and yet we can only see far enough to the the lobster trying to get out of the pot.  Not the society and culture that controls the heat nobs.  In “The Handmaid’s Tale,” Serena Joy, is more of an abusive bitch than her husband, but she is in the pot, she is part of the system.  Iliza, Gloria Steinem, Hillary Clinton, these are all privileged white women, and maybe that privilege allows them the awareness g to know that there is this boiling turnt up situation going on. THEY ARE NOT THE PROBLEM.

The handmaid’s are more feminist than Ameircan women because that is what happens when you hit rock bottom. There is no more denial. There is no more, maybe I can just ignore my female-ness, or my skin color. It’s a place you get beaten down into.

Just please don’t stone me.

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I Apologize

I am not worthy.

I just want to say that I’m so so sorry.  SO SORRY.  I’m sorry for any offense I caused when I expressed what looked like disapproval and criticism.  I understand that the world is inherently opposed to any negative feelings a woman expresses. However,  for a brief moment I forgot and indecently revealed my true feelings about bigotry, rampant assault against women (starting with our president), the dissolution of immigrant rights, violence against African-Americans, racism against Latino people, the thousands of poorly-constructed rape jokes spoken by upper middle class-born white males at open mics consisting of 90% males,  hostility and discrimination towards my gender in the work place and the general sense that I need permission and approval before I can open my mouth and speak what I think is “truth” but is probably just the factually-inaccurate workings of my simple female brain.  I forgot my place. And for that I apologize.  Please, accept my apology.

I want to live.

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LA Haiku

Existential drive
405 to audition
Help Target Starbucks

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The Morally Superior Alpha: Why I Can’t Stand Bernie Sanders

Is Waldorf Bernie Sanders’ spirit animal?

Anytime I post anything critical of Bernie Sanders random white male acquaintances come out of the woodwork with their essay-comments on “facts” about Hilary, and I have to ask myself why I bother to engage with people I hardly know in a debate that can’t be won.  I  despise Bernie Sanders.

I am trying to figure out why I hate Bernie Sanders so much.   Sure, he arguably assisted in the failure of the democratic party to unify after the primaries, treated Hillary with a baseless lack of respect (called her “unqualified”), lost by 3.7 million votes but still believes he could have won the general election, won’t deem Jon Ossof “progressive” but then endorses anti-abortion candidate Heath Mello (because “that’s what politics is about”).   As a Facebook commenter said, the hypocrisy is staggering. That’s all good reason to doubt his reputation as some Great Democratic Leader, but why does he inspire so much loathing?

Who is Bernie Sanders? A brand that appeals to white liberal people who see themselves as morally superior. That’s all fine, if he had not also preyed on the deep-seated ingrained misogyny in our culture to direct vitriol towards Hillary, and never made amends for it after he lost (again, by 3.7 million votes). He’s never acknowledged to women or democrats his open display of contempt for this  amazing, albeit complicated, and history-making woman.  And I hate him because as a woman I continue to live in the misogynist society whose cultural attitudes he exploited to further his own ego.   If Trump let the dogs out of open racism, Bernie jacked the already open door of hatred for highly competent and intelligent women.  SO I THINK WE LADIES DESERVE AN APOLOGY!

His endorsement of Mello literally made me want to throw up…But I know that my feelings — when they reach this level of rage — go deeper than said person. Just as extreme anti-Hilary people might project their own unprocessed rage mixed with misogyny onto her (or any other woman, public, or otherwise), I think he touches a nerve.   I don’t think I am a misandrist (hater of men), but I do despise two types of men who wreck havoc on our world and, yet, can not be destroyed: the Narcissistic Alpha Male (NAM) and the Morally Superior Alpha Male (MSAM).

The  NAM (Donald Trump) is the shamelessly entitled, sociopath, liar, who can do anything he wants. He can act generously or selfishly or whatever, it is justified.  It’s almost better if he does a horrible thing and everyone acts like it’s OK, because it reinforces the basic belief structure of the NAM: he can get away with anything. He is the top dog. King of the jungle.  While I stay away from these types, I have to respect the intrinsic matter-of-factness — not to be confused with honesty — of their attitude; in a way you know what you’re getting. If you expect anything other than rampant self-interest from a Narcissistic Alpha Male, then you are the one who was mistaken.  Like Trump supporters, you may need to be woken up from a coma.  And I realize that this is a “blame the victim” mentality, but it’s also a “survive in the world” life lesson that I hope I’ve learned.

But Bernie Sanders is a slightly different animal.  And I say only slightly because while he contains all the entitlement and ego of any alpha male, he actually see’s himself as a “good person.”  I like to think that I’ve reached a maturation process and/or seen enough documentaries about Rwanda to know that, for the most part, barring genocidal leaders, there are no “good” or “bad” people in this f-d up world.   There are “reasonable,” “committed,” and “hard working” people.  There are “insecure” people, and there are “scared” people who might follow genocidal leaders  We are all human and capable of good and evil.  I have acted in ridiculous ways in my past that mortify me now.   Maybe it’s therapy or age, but if you go through a reflective process, you realize that the word “good” works best in Disney films and Star Wars.

Bernie Sanders doesn’t get this. He has convinced his followers that if they voted for him, they could see themselves as “good” righteous people who understand the true way.  I understand why an educated liberal white person wants to believe that slavery happened so long ago that we don’t have to feel associated with it anymore.   But it wasn’t that long ago, and it did build America to what it is today. But the Morally Superior Alpha Bernie is not interested in self-reflection, he wants to believe that we are, in fact, so good and right that we can bypass all the ways that generations of racism and misogyny still live and breathe in our systems. The Messianic complex gives free reign to general righteousness.   A guy like Bernie Sanders can ignore women’s rights, family rights, and abortion rights because as a morally superior alpha male, his set of priorities is without question, good.

Update: He is speaking at the Women’s Convention makes me want to puke even more than before.  I can’t believe we ever thought we could elect a female president.

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My Vision Board Mocks Me

I recently finished Oliver Burkeman’s lovely “The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking” and feel newly liberated. I’ve embraced anti-positivity for a while, but it became doctrine when I realized that my 2016 Vision Board contained a picture of Hillary Clinton, Prince and me and my ex.  I guess my Vision Board did not appreciate my slapdash glue-stick handling of my visions.  Or maybe it felt mistreated, like I was just saying, “Bitch, I made you, Vision Board!…now go come true.”  So when Hillary Clinton lost in the most horrible way, Prince died, and my ex-boyfriend and I stayed broken up, I laid to rest positive affirmations.  If my Vision Board mocked me anymore it would need a stage and mic.

According to Barbara Ehrenreich blanket positivity brought about the financial crisis of 08 because finance people could not fathom failure.  To be fair, nobody digs failure — real failure — not the kind that J.T. Rowling talks about, that ultimately ends in million dollar book deals.  I mean the kind that feels like a bird flying into a window, and you’re the bird AND the window.

But failure shmailure, been there, done that.  Failure is intrinsic to the software program of life.  It’s the other stuff that can take me down.

If men had to take a test that turned their penis into a pancake, NASA would be working on it.

A few weeks before my birthday I felt something near my armpit.   I thought maybe my underwire had stabbed me, but it turned out to be a marble lump on the side of my breast. Oh that…probably just some estrogen that got lodged in a cyst. It took me a week to have the necessary meltdown, call the Kaiser advice nurse fourteen times and have an existential panic attack in the Trader Joe’s parking lot.  Why is that lady sitting there with her hand on her boob?  When I did see the doctor, a beautiful Indian woman, felt me up (aka, examined me) and then ordered a mammogram and an ultrasound.  The mammogram, a medieval torture device shaped like a panini maker that hasn’t been updated in 30 years (why update something that tortures women?) cost me $10, but the Ultrasound is $250 per boob — what is panic and fear without a bargain basement price tag of $500?

You can’t therapy talk your way out of a possible cancer diagnosis.  Detection to appointment was a few weeks away so I had plenty of time to contemplate my mortality. And contemplate I did.  What if I never danced again?  Or wrote another play?

I had yet to read “The Antidote,” yet, but I must have intuited it because I went to worse case scenario.  Berkeman writes, “The Stoics recommended “the premeditation of evils,” or deliberately visualizing the worst-case scenario. This tends to reduce anxiety about the future: when you soberly picture how badly things could go in reality, you usually conclude that you could cope.” No, I didn’t think I could cope. But at least I realized how good my failed life has been thus far.

On the day of the ultrasound I found out that I had a large cyst.  The relief was palpable and euphoric.  I felt more than OK; I felt genuinely grateful for my life.  The whole experience shifted my paradigm like a high-powered antidepressant.  I felt great for days.

If he were on my Vision Board we would never have met.

About a month later, I drove to Pasadena one traffic-drenched Wednesday night for a comedy show.   It had been a long day of driving from audition to audition. Los Angeles: one big rush to an appointment.  I  just wanted to do my set and leave.  Moments after I entered, I was given the, “you’re next” cue.  I jotted down my set in a notebook and ordered a Diet Coke at the long old fashioned oak bar, the kind you might find in Mad Men.  When I glanced to my right, I saw a guy who looked like Jon Hamm.   Later, he introduced himself and even bought me a Diet Coke.  (So, we’re basically engaged, right?).  I am not easily star-struck, but meeting (one of the) most handsome men isn’t a bad thing.  Good thing I never put him on my Vision Board.

Posted in Annoyances, Body Stuff, Hillary Clinton, If Roger Sterling Were Here, The Man, This Los Angeles Life, TV/Movies | Comments Off on My Vision Board Mocks Me

Hair Gel and Birthdays

Keeping hair hard and crusty for generations.

On Saturday I met my friend Jennifer at a fancy coffee place in West Berkeley.  We have stayed in touch, but the last time we were really close we spent most of our days keeping our hair frozen or stuck in some shape. For me it was a halo of mall-bangs that expanded outward and downward, sort of like a lion’s mane.  Jennifer plastered her hair on the left  side of her head with hair cement known as “Dipity Do” or “Dep,” both which look like green jello with bubbles and smell like hand sanitizer.

I was always more of an Aqua Net girl, myself.  I don’t know if I used Super Hold or All Purpose, but I do know that when they say “All Purpose,” they mean that the Net can not only defy gravity but also turn into a torch when sprayed in front of a match or lighter.  This will come in very handy during the apocalypse, (I think they sell it at Target) but since at 14 we were still light years away from the Trumpfall of humanity, it only served to getting us closer to burning down our parents’ houses.   We did not burn down a house, however, we did go to the late night Talking Heads film concert one night where they played “Burning Down The House” and flirted with college students.  We were only fourteen and, no, our parents were not informed, and, wow, guys are gross…

Anti-gravity/flame-thrower.

Anyway, Jennifer bought me a birthday cappuccino and wished me a happy birthday.

“I’m 45…I live like I’m 25…”

“You should wear that as a badge of honor…Everyone wants to be married with kids but the reality is that you are trapped…”

I could stand to be a little more trapped.   Not five-kids trapped, but like husband trapped, or even full-time job trapped.  I have been “blessed” or “lucky” enough to manage to work from home for the past 1 1/2 years while I try to pursue my writing, to varying degrees of success (depending on how you define success).  But, no, this is not what I thought 45 would look like.

Jennifer and I also discussed what to do with the hundreds of notes I received from my other junior high school BFF who we will call RedOne (because she has kids who are approaching that age)  wrote me every single day of junior high school. Well, maybe not all of junior high but definitely spring semester of 7th grade.  We self-tagged ourselves Ladies of the Night and behaved in many ways that rightly should give parents a heart attack.  My friend Jennifer, now a successful documentary filmmaker and I discussed creating some kind of narrative film on our favorite topic of conversation: being 13 in Berkeley in 1985.

Anyway, I’m old.

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How To Spot Red Flags On Bumble

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Resting Psycho Face

Welcome to Bumble! So you bit the bullet and decided to join the throngs of humans on Bumble. We hope you enjoy our technology and meet your dream partner. However, we understand that not all of our users might be your cup of tea. To save you time and energy, these are a few of the types of Red Flags you might want to pay attention to as you wade through the murky waters of dating in Los Angeles.

The Serial Killers – First thing you might notice on Bumble are all the serial killers. Wow, you might think, “If I meet this guy for coffee I could get killed.” True, but then again, you are lonely. Of course, many of these men do not have plans to incorporate you into their genius ritualized murders based on a Blake poem that some sexy female detective will someday resolve. Some men are simply cursed with an unfortunate case of Resting Psycho Face. Nobody plans to take a “scary selfie.” But even if his photo says, “I like hiking, sunsets and ceremonial killing” he could still be a mensch who rescues dogs.

The Spirituals – Everyone wants a partner with depth but The Spirituals can cause confusion. They use words like “mystic” and “vortex” and “seeker” and talk about yoga and meditation.   They might see themselves as delving into the soul, but you don’t want to waste your chakras on a part-time yoga teacher who has dated more students than he taught.

DJs/Skateboarder – There’s a very short window of time when DJing is an appropriate occupation and an even shorter one when it’s attractive. I would say 19 to 19 1/2 would be an optimal period when the occupation of DJing could indeed be labeled as “cool.” Maybe longer. Whatever the age range, it does not, under any circumstance, extend into the 40s.  Any picture of a man over 40 in a DJ booth should be approached with the utmost sense of silliness.  Much like one would approach putting on a balloon hat.  The energy should be, “I know this looks ridiculous, but it makes me feel young.” If said man seems at all serious, he has yet to confront his mortality and may not be ready for a mature relationship.

The No Dramas – Some men in their 30s and 40s are very clear about what they DON’T WANT.  And that is DRAMA.  Move on, they say. I know a little about drama and I know that it takes one person to create it, and if that person is you, then don’t waste your time in this Drama-free zone. Because I am as cool and peaceful as a river stream. The No Dramas have no conception of shared responsibility in a relationship.  The No Dramas have no capacity to own their part and will likely blame you for any failure in the relationship. Also, any interaction that’s not placid or complementary will be considered “drama.” A discussion of ideal parking areas will soon be labeled “drama.”

The Interpretives – The Interpretives read innuendo in everything. What did you mean in your profile when you said that you wanted to “meet people?” Term like “fun dates” do not translate to dinner and a movie. Rest assured the activities of “hiking” and “yoga” take on a whole new meaning to the Interpretives.

This is a short list, of course, that we will continue to update. Please return to our blog for future Red Flag identifications.

Posted in Dating, Los Angeles, Social Media, Spirituality | Leave a comment

Two Years: Let’s Talk About the D-Word

mom_solange_rainhat

Me and my mom being very 70s.

[WARNING: This blog post might elicit sadness. Proceed with caution.]

Two years ago, shortly after my mom died, I realized that the mention of her death could sometimes make social interactions awkward.   I might get weird looks or, worse, hear the Wrong Thing To Say.  (“Oh, well, you knew it was going to happen…” etc).  Oh, really?  Then let’s all talk about how WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIE. *rage shame*

I am not judging.  (Ok, maybe a little).  But I understand the knee-jerk resistance to any mention of the D-word and it’s power to unleash all kinds of unprocessed fear or  grief.  Especially if you have a job and kids to raise, it’s not like you can check out of work to go to the Primal Scream Room (we don’t even have a nap room…hello Japan), and, at $75, my out-of-network therapy sessions are considered a steal in LA.  Sickness, death, dying…that’s like A.P. Life.  I am not even sure you can “process” death.  It’s a topic in line with God and taxes; it’s just too freaking real.

Trying To Talk About Death

I wanted to be open and frank about her passing, if only to my immediate friends. I felt that We As A Society are too skittish about it. You know, bring Death back…hey, if acid wash can do it, then why not the D-word?  But, as it turns out, I couldn’t do it.  I stopped telling my Mom Jokes. I had one about how if I wanted to feel close to her I went to Chico’s and browsed the sales rack. (Sometimes jokes are just too true.)  Or a work-in-progress about how she once asked me if I wanted to see that show about dragons, “Crown of Thorns?”  Dad jokes prevailed, but I thought I’d wait till I felt more comfortable with her absence.  I posted dozens of pictures of her on Facebook for her birthday, Dia De Los Muertos, Mother’s Day. But didn’t dwell in the grief too long.  I’d rush off to yoga. I wanted to stay engaged in life, I told myself.

Two years later I still don’t mention her passing to anyone outside of family.  But the absence of her is always there…like, I imagine, a severed leg.   Everything that seemed central to my life, yoga, comedy,  salsa, blogging, dating even that sociopath in the White House, now feels more like distraction.   The weirdness and unreality of it all, my relationship with her, (before and after) my ability get out of bed and be in the world, seem like mysteries nobody prepared me to for.   And it never really goes away.

It Gets Real Now

The irony of silence around a topic is that you can’t even talk about the good parts.   It’s still odd to me that my mom’s death was both horrible and transformative.  As I gradually took on more responsibility for her care, I felt more connected to her, and more self-esteem than I ever got from a Yale Degree or a paycheck.  I read a book, “Final Gifts,” written by hospice workers, that painted the moments leading up to death as a magical time, an opening between earth and the after-life.  I expected nothing less than an apparition of my Grandmother and maybe some flashes of light.  In reality, the experience proved more grizzly.  Weeks later I watched “Being Mortal,” a Frontline documentary about a surgeon who explores the relationship between doctors and dying patients.  At one point he says, “there is no good death.” Depressing I know, but there’s always brain aneurysms.

In the moments leading up to it, I felt very close to my family.   We huddled around my mom in a room that had once been my sisters.  For some reason, on one of my many errands, I bought two bouquets of flowers.  When we moved her to my sister’s room, we brought the flowers in along with other she had received and sat around and waited. Good scotch appeared, conversations in the kitchen abounded, the dog came in, my aunt made dinner.   It felt tribal and comforting; the most natural thing in the world.

Now It Gets Sad (Still Here?)

Not everyone needs or wants to be there at the very end of a loved one’s life.  And that’s ok. Still, the guilt over not having done more for my mother still plagues me.  My step-father brought her through three hard years with 24 hour care, while I picked up the last day and a half.  But I still feel pride in being there with her through her final moments.   I got instructions from the hospice workers about the amount of morphine to give her because, as it turned out, she had been, by her choice, severely under-medicated.  She, in fact, remained lucid up until the last twelve or so hours.   A few nights before, she even told  a gossipy story, complete with animated facial expressions and laughter.   In some ways, in the last few days, her personality came back.  One that had been drowned out by months of chemo and depression and her own grief.  She had always loved to laugh and I felt that person in her.  Her weight loss also caused her to resemble more the mother I knew as a child.  In many ways, she was more there the last week than she had been in years.

But in the last twelve hours she was already gone. The hospice worker told us it would be soon so we got ready to stay up all night.  We talked, told stories, I took a nap at one point. We even encouraged her.  “It’s okay,” we said.   It’s important to let loved ones know that they can go.   Nobody wants to be pressured to stay at the party too long because your friend wants to hook up. (Bad analogy?)

The next day we went to brunch; the relief was palpable   Nobody talks about the relief because it sounds like you’re happy that said person is gone.  But watching her suffer was also unbearable at times.   And then came the planning and the paperwork and the business and the used-car-salesman funeral director.  Maybe nobody dies all at once.  So many pieces of them remain around for a long time.

It hurt, it still does.  Some days it feels unbearable not to have her, how can I possibly make it through the rest of my life?  And sometimes I feel confident that she’s here, in the other room.   Maybe death is nothing at all. I have no idea.

Posted in Death, Mom | Comments Off on Two Years: Let’s Talk About the D-Word

How To Do A Fancy LA Art Event

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Perfectly good couch.

Enough with the fascist dictator perv about to set foot in the White House, let’s talk about something really important: event parties.  It took me twenty years to learn that I need not be rich or successful to attend  “fancy” event parties (for lack of a better description).  I just need to know someone who knows someone who knows someone who organizes such events or has an extra ticket.  And said event need only have one characteristic: free food and alcohol. (Although, art, celebrity sightings and possible culture, can’t hurt).

So when I and friends got invited to the Art Show Opening Premiere I put on my extra-lash mascara, filled in my eyebrows, and set out to DO THIS.  But how does one proceed to do a Fancy LA Art Event? Funny you should ask…

Step #1: Sit in rush hour traffic on the 10 East for 1 – 2 hours.  Catch up with friends on your romantic life, political horror, and gluten free recipes.

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Perhaps, this IS the art.

Step #2: Arrive to the LA Convention Center and proceed to circle it for 20-30 more minutes in a misguided effort to find parking under $20.   Be sure to forget to navigate one-way streets so you can spend another ten minutes waze-ing your way back to the Staples/LA Convention Center cluster hell.  When you realize, as you will, that under $20 parking doesn’t exist south of Chinatown, succumb to the West Hall. The parking attendant will then inform you that it costs $25.

Step #3: Drive around the West Hall parking structure for another 20 minutes in search of a space.  I know, you already paid $25 to enter a parking garage; doesn’t that mean there is space in that garage?  Only with the assistance of a guy driving a golf cart, who flies by like the ghosts in “The Sixth Sense.”  At last he stops and makes a parking space for you between the exit door and a trash can.

Step #4: At last, you and your girlfriends arrive.  Walk inside the large open space of the LACC to find lines of people.  Security guard tells you that you’ll have to wait 30 minutes unless you have a VIP pass.  Are we VIPs?  Uh…yeah…?  Get in the VIP line and when you get to the front tell the woman at the desk that she looks familiar. Do you know Cherry? Yes, she knows Cherry. Well, Cherry left some tickets. This is all true, but even if it’s not, tell them you know Cherry.

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Like we don’t have enough naked women in public…?!

Step #5: At last, enter the Art Show!  Holy shit this place is huge.  Beeline for the bar.

Step #6: See people carrying plates of food.  Food!  Are those Pink’s hot dogs?  What’s in Pink’s hot dogs?  Who cares?   Is that a donut?….wait, wait…IS  THAT ICE CREAM!…realize that your behavior resembles that of a lost hiker strayed in the mountains for days.

Step #7: Eat Pink’s hot dog, tacos, brisket, buttermilk donut, churro flavored ice cream…salad? No, thanks…obsessive dietary restrictions are a thing for those outside of the walls.

Step #8: Low energy celebrity sighting.  Is that Jason Alexander in line for the custard?…Wait, is that banana custard with a Nilla wafer wedged in the middle?!  Assemble crew and get in line as if you were waiting for rice bags in a war torn country.

Step #9: Remember the art.  Oh, yeah!  Art show.  Ask your Art Historian Expert Friend to guide you through the myriad of work.   First get another glass of wine.

Step #10: Lose friends while at bar.  Friends call.  Lose them again. More calls.  Perhaps, the find and seek of your friends is an unknown subtle meta message of the art show?  So multi-layered!

Step #11: Watch performance art.   Appreciate a piece about domestic violence…but could the girls at least put on some underwear?  Watch another man destroy a perfectly good couch with a chainsaw…has no one seen “Exit Through the Gift Shop”? Realize that the contemporary art world deflects irony, the way our president elect’s supporters react to scandal.   No impact.

Step #12:  Find “good art.”  Nice contemporary Chinese piece using folded up newspapers…yes, art lives at the Art Show!

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Getting fancy.

Step #13:  Appreciate classic art.  Picasso, Monet…amazing.  If they are real, says Art Historian Expert Friend.  What?! Nothing is what it seems in art, politics or Pink’s hot dogs.

Step #14:  Go to a club.   Club? Yes, one gallery has become actual club, complete with a line of people waiting to get in and a bouncer rejecting those not up to par…is this a commentary on la culture…no, just people on the other side of a rope.  Decide this is the “Real Art.”

Step #15: Notice the mostly Latino workers picking up plates, glasses and trays. Minimum wage, no doubt.  Some of them begin to enjoy the spoils, but not all. Nothing is really free.

Step #16: Get in line for the ice cream.  Again.  Everyone at the Art Show seems to have returned to the line for a final free mini ice cream cone: patrons, workers, artists and freeloaders, like me. Decide that that a line for free ice cream is the truest art all night.

Step #17: Feel privileged to have gone to such a fun event.  Also, realize you don’t need to do this again for at least a year.

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