Tuesday, March 28, 2006

LA LA LAND

having such a fab time in LA that i couldn't sit my butt down to blog
some highlites thus far:

we arrive after 6 hrs of blissful TV watching (thank you Jet Blue) at the cutest little fisher price airport - Long Beach
we walk onto the runway, the sun is shining and THE BAGGAGE CAROUSEL IS OUTSIDE!!!
i just can't get over that
plus, the rental car place was ACROSS THE PALM-LINED STREET - just a few feet past the Koffee Kona shack and the birds of paradise!

ok, that alone was enough for me to come out here - remember, you seasoned, jaded travellers, that i have been in an endless loop of 13th st to E. 64th for the past 6mths.

[speaking of which - all my eyebrows over my right eye came out last nite - well, i was sort of pulling on them to test my theory that all the old hair folicles are really dead and that they're just sort of hanging on. oops - i was correct! no eyelashes left at all. however, my head is a fuzzy peach. sort of looks like the scary flesh of a baby mammal - kind of sweet, kind of grotesque. jo makes sure i wear my scarf all the time]

so we drive to Pacific Palisades and have a blissful reunion with Violet, Willow, Kirsten and Ed in their yard with lemon, orange and apricot trees. from our bedroom and the living room, you can see the ocean just down the bluff a few blocks away. amazing. the yards in the neighborhood are full of rononculus, poppies, all sorts of interesting cacti and succulents, citrus trees dripping w/fruit ready to eat, and all sorts of other flora etc. that i can't name.
i am in complete and utter heaven at the farmer's mkt in downtown Pac Pal. berries and citrus and tamales and babaganoush and stuffed grape leaves and fresh pomegranate juice and white honey and baby asparagus...a cornucopia in the land of milk and honey

and that was all the first day-

• sunday - la brea tar pits (the hill is great for the kids to roll down) then meet kate, cort and bill at the farmer's mkt - another happy reunion but with jet-lagged kids. the girls get their beloved Crocs (bright rubber shoes) at the Grove mall there.
• monday - take willow to her little dolphins by the sea, her preschool amongst the eucalyptus in a woods nearby, watch her ballet recital, go to santa monica pier - (too cold and overcast to really enjoy that). jo hates santa monica as she sees homeless people there...
• tuesday - amazing time running around the getty, dinner w/lorraine, john and anna and coyne-saxons in w.hollywood
• wednesday - go to Paradise Cove in Malibu and explore the tidal pools, kirst and i go to abbott kinney and find some bargains at Heist and some other little shops
• thursday - went to Eames house just down the hill from here (met the daughter and grandaughter of the late/greats - reminded me a lot of bev - so sweet and grateful that we visited the shrine of modern design!) and then to the neighborhood beach. a few kids are in bikinis sunbathing but otherwise just a handful of people hanging out in the sun
• friday - drive to desert hills mall, buy too many excellent bargains, drink the most delicious date shake from Hadleys Fruit Orchard (sounds weird but is the best thing ever), drive to 29 Palms Inn, arrive in time for dinner. i was miffed at first that they messed up our reservation and gave away our cute little cottages - we stayed in the owner's guest house a block away so it wasn't as easy to let the kids run off. but the good news was that it was FREE! they didn't charge us at all for rooms! the prada jacket is paid for! there is a god.
• saturday - kids go swimming in freezing pool while we drink coffee and eat fresh date bread in lounge chairs. climb amazing rock formations in Joshua Tree Nat Park - i take a little jog from one site to another to shake off some funky mood i developed from friday nite (post-shopping trauma combined w/kiddie freak out).
• sunday - more hanging out, then off to Palm Springs to Indian Canyons which was so incredibly beautiful. a waterfall carved into a huge rock, an oasis stream and palm trees in the bottom of canyon. from wandering barefoot in stream in tshirts, we take the aerial tram up to the top of mountain where people are sledding and snowboarding. insane! couldn't play long as it was getting dark and it was COLD. crazy combo of climates all in one day.
• monday - go to hamburger joint in Santa Monica to ck it out for a rockwell project, then explore Venice canals a bit - very cool. climb trees and practice cartwheels in afternoon at park. dinner at the house.

kids are having a blissful time. jo loves this little village - violet's school is 3 blocks away, there's a little center w/kids' clothing stores and ice cream...i could just hang out here and be happy taking walks or going to nearby beaches, parks...
but today it's raining in earnest - kirsten and i are going to Third St to shop and meet Kate and Bill. unfortunately, i've already blown a wad at the outlets so i'll have to curtail spending...

kisses from the coast

Thursday, March 09, 2006

high anXIETY

does this title ring a bell, mel brooks fans?

went to the support group today w/two other BC friends, meredith and natalie - we were the larry, curly and moe of bald pates.
one of the main topics was the crippling anxiety that sets in post-treatment.
this isn't just neurotic, too much time on yr hands worry- as per my usual.
it's 'I just finished chemo -yippee! and oh SHIT!'

the feeling translates as "the drs have stopped poisoning me w/chemo/radiation, etc. and now i am a living, breathing breeding ground for evil errant cancer cells hell bent on my ulitmate destruction." ok, perhaps that's a little dramatic but didn't it sound kind of cool?

apparently, there had been a woman in the group who went thru treatment like many of us - then 4 yrs later, had a backache that turned out to be cancer in her bones. ugh. not what you want to hear. i think she got transferred to the metastatic support group...

another thing that people said was that it was isolating when their friends didn't understand the lacklusterness of ending chemo. (not that any of you have treated me this way). but this is a really hard mindset to grasp unless you've walked the post-treatment walk.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Project Tamoxifen

This week's recap:

SUNDAY
• brunch w/the Rogers in east vil.
• trip to visit my alzheimer-addled mom in Forest Hills with Louisa (working on an essay about this...don't hold yr breath, it may take a while),
• an oscar party back in the east vil.

MONDAY
• worrying about 3 week checkup yesterday

TUESDAY
• 3 wk anniversary of no chemo
• got my tamoxifen pills (to be taken daily). doc says i won't notice any effects of tamox for 3 wks. it dawns on me today that there is no getting back to normal - that i won't know what that feels like as i'll be on this drug - or another for 5 yrs. menopause here i come!
• got nervous and forgot to ask all questions i had so carefully typed out re: clinical trial (i still have months to decide if i want to join the trial)
• went to get an MRI on right breast but HELLOOOO - i can't even walk into the MRI room w/metal tissue expander under fake left boob! my onco didn't think of this (one of the drawbacks of having a serious researcher as yr doctor instead of someone who sees/knows the whole bc package that i am) i imagine my saline balloon popping as i smash into the giant magnet. or the whole apparatus is sucked out my ear. (see, watching all those looney tunes paid off, folks)
• no available appts for genetic testing until Aug. 30!!! trying to get this pushed up as it would influence my decision re: the trial - and possibly surgery. if for some strange reason i am positive, it could be wise to remove my ovaries - eliminating risk of ovarian cancer in future and eliminating most estrogen production (my cancer feeds on estrogen). this could be an option even if i Don't test positive - the clinical trial is basically about pushing women into menopause anyhow (see previous posts for links)
• had 5 brief parent-teacher conferences w/Jo's "specials" teachers - computer, shop, science, library, plus the learning specialist. the phrase "afraid to take risks" came up many times. very interesting and all made sense but a lot to process in one day along w/the medical info
• went to Jamer's lecture at Parson's on critical product design then out to dinner w/him, Susan Y and a few others
• got home and had a debate about a bookcase i ordered for lou's room (red powder coated steel from hold everything for $53 w/shipping included - i thought it was a good deal)

Is your head spinning too?

WEDNESDAY
• after school dropoff, meet w/school psych. about jo and her anxieties/what to do
• many phone calls - 3 re: various possibilities for either freelance or semi=permanent work - some in retail/some in writing
some about my bc, some about jo, etc.
• go to Y and walk/run on treadmill w/surprising energy (albeit, nervous energy) listening to the arctic monkeys. if i were young again i'd doodle "Alex Turner" all over my three-ring binder.
• fall asleep putting lou to bed but wake up and...
• watch finale of Project Runway. chloe's was my least favorite but she was consistent. and right on laotian girl power!

I should be sleeping now. Just wanted to play ketchup. forgive the mixed verb tenses.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

moving...

here's tuck in the shop this morning (aka, his office - aka, what could be a spare bedroom or playroom for kids)
a moving van arrived w/boxes of "old stuff," paintings, and many many many many other sundry items from his boyhood ohio home.



here are a few old photos from the gallery: lou's little profile and my large one on chinese new year's





art with the newest member of the baldy bean club - yours truly (while my do was still nicely shaved instead of mottled and uneven)