Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Only in California

In typical California fashion, we just had a 5.8 earthquake centered not too far from where we live. It was a pretty good dirt mover, but the worst thing that happened is a frig magnet fell off the fridge door. That magnet always was weak.

The news stations are taking calls from viewers: “Where were you when the quake hit?” These questions are the main banquet of TV news, and they search far and wide to find “the horror.”

There’s Bertha Bumgardner looking for her three minutes of fame: “Well, I was walking down the hallway, and I thought I had an inner ear problem ‘cos I started to sway. My wind chimes were ringing.”

“Did anything break?” asks the hopeful studio hair-do.

“No, no,” sez Bertha. “Just stuff moving around a little bit.”

This is driving the newsies crazy. They’re looking for blood and guts, and it’s getting downright embarrassing to hear interview after interview telling how little more happened than dogs barked and plants took a little sashay across the bookshelves. Oh! Oh! A report just came in – and I do think I see the newsie smiling – there was a report of a broken window. The humanity.

This silliness should last all day. Meanwhile, I’m going to pull out a beer and wait for the aftershocks.

*Reiki hugs = 20 (because California could really use a good zapping)

Order in the house!

(No, this is not my kitchen)
After spending a week at my parent’s home in lovely Rancho Mirage, I realize something sick and twisted about myself.

I love order.

I love organization.

I love the idea that, soon, my home will be a place where I don’t run out of spoons every five minutes. I can spend five days at my parent’s home and never run out of spoons. I never thought to count how many spoons Mom has, but I’m betting it’s far more than I have.

My blackened little heart sings at the idea of coming downstairs in the morning and seeing everything in its place. That means no errant midnight raids of the fridge belies crumbs, dirty plates and mustard-covered knives sitting on the counter – left there by kids too lazy to clean up after themselves.

It all makes me smile.

The idea of near-constant organization was looming close as two of my three spawn moved out of the house, and the third would be leaving for Europe in Spring to study sports medicine. Eureka! Finally they would learn that dishes don’t clean themselves and crumbs are inviting snacks for ants and other crawly things that make my skin shiver. And if they didn’t learn that, it was their problem, not mine. Oh, the sweetness of payback.

And me? Ah, I wouldn’t go into the pantry and find an empty vinegar bottle. What twisted sister leaves an empty vinegar bottle in the pantry? Do my spawn empty it and think the bottle will magically fill itself? Nah, that can’t be it. After all, we live in Hollywood Land, where everyone learns at a tender age that magic is nothing more than CGI.

Total peace was within my grasp. Then spawn #2 moved home after completing his Army duties. He brought a beagle with him, who has now become my secretary. Unreliable as hell – the beagle, not the spawn. Spawn #1 lost his job in the mortgage shakeup that’s putting thousands out of work. He’s moving back in first week in September to finish school while finding another job.

In order to retain what little sanity I have rattling around my brain, I have to set down some rules:

  • You’re too damn old for me to wait on you.
  • Assume nothing. You will only make an ass out of you. Not me.
  • If you want a freaking breakfast, get your ass out of bed and make it. Same holds for lunch.
  • I don’t cook. This is not news to you. Nothing changed while you were away.
  • If you leave your shoes downstairs, I will allow the beagle to eat them. It doesn’t matter how much they cost. And when she poops them out on the stairs, you will have to clean it up.
  • If you raid the fridge, clean up your mess. Otherwise, you will find the dirty plates and utensils gracing your pillow. And I will hope it will smell like mustard.
  • Just because I work in the home office doesn’t mean I’m available to answer the house line. If it’s ringing, pick it up, for god sakes.
  • If I need to use the washing machine or the dyer, and your stuff has been in there for a couple days, I will dump everything on the floor. The beagle may eat these things as well. The poop warning for digested clothing is the same as the shoes.
  • We will forever love and support your endeavors. We will laugh hysterically at your goofy stories, revel in your successes, cry at your disappointments. We will cherish the times that you’re able to sit around the dinner table and miss you terribly when you aren’t there.

And we will miss you terribly when you, once again, fly our coop. But in the meantime, I think I’m gonna need more spoons.

*Reiki hugs=20

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Why no, Californians don't have anything better to do

Only in California do we have concerns about how dogs feel about themselves. It seems that Verizon had an ad that put pit bulls in a “negative” light. The veterinarian in charge of changing this outrage is planning to protest in front of the Verizon building in order to raise awareness against breed discrimination.

BREED DISCRIMINATION? Are they fucking kidding me? I can see it now:

Rottweiler enters into psychiatrist’s office and lies down on the couch: I don’t know, doc. I feel defensive and betrayed because everyone sees me as a ferocious dog. I have such a bad self image that I’ve gotten to overeating. Just yesterday I ate my master’s garden hose and sprinkler head. Today, I ate the carpeting in the front hall and chased it down with water from the toilet. I’m bloated and have lost the urge to chase the mailman anymore.

Shrink: Und vat do you sink ist da problem?

Rotty: It’s that damned Verizon commercial. It’s discrimination, I tell you!

Shrink: Ja, but da dog in da commercial vas a pit bull.

Rotty: Don’t you get it, doc? (showing a set drippy fangs) We’re all lumped into the same category! We can’t say anything bad about illegal aliens or overweight people. We have to be careful around people of any color, and kibble help me if we dare say anything bad about the disabled. There oughta be a law against breed discrimination. In the meantime, I’m going to go lick my butt.

So there it is. We now have crossed the discrimination line to include animals because, after all, a dog has gotta feel good about themselves. What’s next? Pigs?

*These folks are too stupid for Reiki hugs.

Is it something I did?

I’m cranky today. My refrigerator blew its lid and we could either replace the compressor for a grand or buy a new one. Goodbye $1400. ‘Twas good knowin’ ya. In the meantime, we had to race all our frozen and fridgy goodies into the garage refrig. I’m grateful for that aged and decrepit thing that never complains when I park my bike against it or stuff it with lots of beer. It has saved our butts through two blown kitchen refrigerators.

For two days I’ve gone to the kitchen fridge and reflexively opened it up in search of my water bottle. Why the smell of a burned compressor doesn’t remind me it’s broken is beyond reason. I can be unconscious most of the time, it would appear. New fridgy is due today sometime.

If that weren’t enough, I couldn’t get on the internet. Why does this shit always happen when hubby is out of town? I only know enough to be dangerous and break things. I managed to blow our business website for a whole day. I still don’t know how I did it. Not trusting anything I could do on my own, I spent my entire morning calling Cox to find out the problem. It galls me to have called three separate times just to get one person whose head didn’t reside in his poop shoot. The first guy took the easy way out. “Sorry, m’am, service is out in your area. Call back in an hour if it doesn’t come back up.” This precipitated call two. He was more helpful. He flicked nobs and punched buttons. We DOS’d, we reset, we jiggled and jingled. Nothing worked. He finally blamed it on my router and told me to call Netgear.

Unconvinced, I called back one last time and found a technogeek who loved a good mystery. We unplugged and transferred, We reset my ISP and called the bad one all sorts of nasty names. He geeked himself into getting me back online. Yay. I told him to polish his crown and iron his cape and take the rest of the day off.

At this point I’m afraid to touch my air conditioner in fear that it’ll blow its lid and melt the side of the house. Or my hairdryer. Maybe I’ll just sit in the backyard and drink margaritas.

Oh, damn, I can’t.

The blender blew last night.

*Reiki hugs=All I can get

What happens when you lose internet access

Before my morning cuppa, I always flip on the downstairs computer. It’s as natural as breathing. Until this morning, when all I could see is the “Problem loading page” page. WHAT?? No internet? How will I blow off my morning doing all the fun things that make me feel guilty because I know I should be doing something else? Like finishing my damn book.

I considered doing just that – working on my book. After all, this is my official writing day. Instead, I cleaned out the kitchen drawers that haven’t been touched since the Reagan era. Oh the treasures, and muck, I found. Some I kept, after a serious date with a sponge, hot water, and soap. Others I tossed.

I found the tiny coffee grinder that my best friend gave us a thousand years ago. No, we don’t drink coffee, but I used it when we entertained. I loved to pull it out and offer our guests their choice of beans. I loved the the smell of freshly ground coffee. It made me feel so yuppie and cool. I don’t know why I’m keeping it since we rarely entertain anymore, and the friend is a sad, long lost memory. Maybe I think this little coffee grinder will recapture the fun times we shared all those years ago and trigger something within my friend that it really is okay to still love me in spite that I’m not a born again Christian.

I found the two heart-shaped ceramic cupcake pans that we received at my in-laws’ Christmas drawing. I never used the cupcake pans because I don’t bake. Hell, I barely cook. They were adorable, and had I been a domestic goddess, I imagined these would have gotten some serious use. As it is, they became heart-shaped tombs for bugs that managed to find their way into our home – something that still grosses me out. Peering in at the tiny exoskeletons, I thought how fitting it all was. The cupcake pans represented a painful memory of just how life can take a heartbreaking U-turn. Oh, the irony. I’m tossing the pans, just as we were tossed out of their lives.

I had to scrunch into contortions I didn’t know my body could still accomplish without heavy drugs or plenty of tequila in order to drag out a hand-painted heart-shaped bowl. It looked familiar. Turning it over, it bore the signature of my daughter at the age of 11. She must have painted this with me back when I thought I had the DNA to paint ceramics. I don’t. I ran my fingers along the sponge-painted edges and smiled at how the past ten years flew by since she last touched the bowl. She was just a sixth grader back then. Now she’s flying off to London for a year to study sports medicine and then finish up at GW University. My baby may be flying the coup, but I’m able to keep a part of her and her simpler times near me.

There were the usual inexpensive gadgets and doohickeys the kids bought us over the years, probably bought with the intent of yanking my culinary heartstrings. I never had the guts to tell my precious kids that I don’t own any culinary heartstrings, and I will never care that I can slice, dice, mince, and chop ‘til the veggies come home. After all, if they didn’t get a clue after I exploded a pan of hardboiled eggs on the ceiling, they never would. Bless their golden hearts.

One drawer was filled with matching towels and hot pads – all gifts from Mom and Dad. There no less than seven Christmas patterns, all of them still in their original packaging, and a set from New Zealand, and another from Hawaii. Mom never knows what to get us when they travel, and she’s the type who never comes home empty handed. As I watch my sweet parents enter their twilight years, I wonder how many years they have left to do their beloved traveling. I held the towels close to my heart and let the tears flow as I thought about there ever being a time when I’ll no longer receive kitchen towels and matching hot pads.

I never anticipated walking down memory lane, opening up so many emotions and memories. After all, I do this when looking at old pictures, not climbing through huge cabinets. It was a reflective way to spend the morning, and I’m almost glad the internet was down.


*Reiki hugs=15

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

What? Me write??

"Of course I didn't write it": Katie Price said (no, no, no relation at all!) in a frank admission about her writing skills while at the book launch of her third novel Angel Uncovered last week.

Living south of Hollyweird, I’m pretty much immune to pretenders whose audiences confuse the size of actors' assets with actual god-given talent. But I have to admit this sort of thing inverts my eyelids because I work my butt off to write good solid stories that are relevant and entertaining, stories that make people think.

This chick is raking in piles of money, and it’s all a lie. She’s no more an author than I am a talented surgeon who employs Reiki on my patients. It’s an affront who anyone who agonizes over plot and character development, structure, pacing, points of view, and editorial content.

“Of course I didn’t write my own books. I don't have time to do that...”

Oh good grief, of course she doesn’t have time to actually WRITE the book. Silly me. Actual writing is for the little people. Can you imagine she had 300,000 sales in six weeks with her first book - or rather her ghost writer's first book? She is little more than a literary peep show. Pah, I’m going to go drink some Draino.

*I realize she probably needs many Reiki hugs, but who can get around those boobs? Reiki hugs=0

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Please, God, make it end soon

Who doesn't love JibJab? This pretty much sums it up for me. Thanks, Dino.

*Reiki hugs=20

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Dear Primary Care Physician to my parents:

I understand you’re busy. I understand that you have more patients than one person can handle. I understand that my mother has SCAN, which is akin to Acceptable Losses Insurance, and that you make pennies on the dollar with HMO patients. I understand priorities and triage. But what I don’t understand is abandonment, and this is what you’ve done to both my parents.

Why has it taken over two months to schedule a simple MRI? I’ll tell you why. Because you forgot all about the MRI order in the first place. After three weeks of not hearing anything from the imaging center, I got proactive and began calling you every damn day until you finally put through the paperwork. Most times I got your voice mail that told me the mailbox was full. Or I got your secretary who repeatedly told me you’re understaffed. I’ve heard it so much, that I think it’s now her mantra.

I thought I was in heaven when the imaging center told me the order had finally come through. Problem was, you wrote the order with contrast, and the insurance company wanted the MRI done without contrast. This required nothing more from you than a rewrite of the orders and faxing it to the imaging center. To date, it’s taken two solid weeks of calling to get your attention.

I was hopeful when I talked to you personally on Thursday that you would finally get this fixed. You didn’t. I called the imaging center yesterday, and they said you still hadn’t faxed the new orders over. I immediately called your office, but you were gone and your mailbox was…full. I can’t even scream into the phone. Instead, I have to wait until Monday. My mother’s appointment for her MRI is Wednesday. I wonder if I have to drive down to Palm Springs and sit in your office, to be a wart on your ass, just to get you to pay attention to my mother’s needs.

If that weren’t enough, you’ve also abandoned my father. Five months ago he asked for a cardiologist referral because the ER angels who cared for him told him he needed to be seen by a cardiologist once a year. To date, you’ve not put through the referral. Why? When I talked to you on Thursday, you told me my father is stable – as if this is justification for your inaction. It isn’t. I’m thankful he’s stable, but facts are is that he must be seen by a cardiologist, and you’ve done nothing but stand in the way.

Why the apathy? Why have you abandoned my parents – your patients? Why do I have to continually take time out of my day and hound you daily just to get a simple MRI appointment or cardiologist referral?

I guess at this point I’m not looking for excuses. Your secretary is full of them. I understand understaffed, but at the expense of medical care for my parents? No, I don’t understand this at all. If you’re shorthanded, hire more people. If you don’t want to treat my parents anymore, then tell me.

I’m tired of understanding.

*Reiki hugs= 0 (she is probably in serious need of many Reiki hugs, but she's a tool)

Friday, July 11, 2008

I'm in love

I just bought a Kindle, and I have to say that it's lurve. Big time, sloppy, wet kissy lurve. I've uploaded all my pertinent submissions and full manuscripts that I need to read for my day job. I can make notes on them and highlight stuff. No more printing submissions and manuscripts out! Un-freaking-believable.

I even bought a few books. I'm such a huge reader, especially during lunch, and I can never hold the book in one hand, turn a page, and eat at the same time. Now I can!

It'll also be a lot easier when I go to the gym and beat my brains out for 40 minutes on the exercise bike and another 20 on the elliptical. I also uploaded a bunch of my music. Yay, yay, joy, joy.

Now if it could only help me finish my second novel, I'd be so happy that I'd let Dino call me a magical thinking, pie-eyed altie 'til the cows come home. On the other hand, Dino never needed my permission, did she? Hmm...

*Reiki hugs=20 (it's true love, after all)

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Hot Twinkies - I'm Washington bound

I knew it was a matter of time before I’d be forced to abandon my writing and pick up the banner of politics. I just hadn’t suspected it would be this soon. My first action will make Reiki reimbursable on all insurance plans. I plan on giving every elected official either an enema or Reiki treatment - some may benefit from both. I'd like to thank all the little people who got me where I am today.

See you in the White House…

*Reiki hugs=10

Yep, that sums it up for me

Two 90-year-old women, Rose and Barb had been friends all of their lives. When it was clear that Rose was dying, Barb visited her every day.

One day Barb said, “Rose, we both loved playing women’s softball all our lives, and we played all through High School. Please do me one favor: when you get to Heaven, somehow you must let me know if there’s women’s soft-ball there.”

Rose looked up at Barb from her deathbed and said, “Barb, you’ve been my best friend for many years. If it’s at all possible, I’ll do this favor for you.”

Shortly after that, Rose passed on.

A few nights later, Barb was awakened from a sound sleep by a blinding flash of white light and a voice calling out to her, “Barb, Barb.”

“Who is it?” asked Barb, sitting up suddenly. “Who is it?”

“Barb – it’s me, Rose.”

“You’re not Rose. Rose just died.”

“I’m telling you, it’s me, Rose,” insisted the Voice.

“Rose! Where are you?”

“In Heaven,” replied Rose. “I have some really good news and a little bad news.”

“Tell me the good news first,” said Barb.

“The good news,” Rose said, “is that there’s Softball in Heaven. Better yet all of our old buddies who died before us are here, too. Better than that, we’re all young again. Better still, it’s always springtime, and it never rains or snows. And best of all, we can play softball all we want, and we never get tired.”

“That’s fantastic,” said Barb. “It’s beyond my wildest dreams! So what’s the bad news?”

“You’re pitching Tuesday.”

The moral is that life is uncertain - eat dessert first.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Finding a goldmine

The idea of finding people of like minds always puts the cream on my Oreo cookie. For instance, when I was doing a book signing and found that woman whose passion for Twinkies shadowed my own, I thought I’d found a long-lost sister. I was no longer an oddity that needed to be put in a cage and poked at with a tree branch. I was legit! I had a posse of one. I was invincible.

Same thing goes for Reiki in medicine. It’s still an oddity for us folks out here in California. But if you’re lucky enough to live in New York (and who doesn’t want to live there?) and require medical assistance at any number of Manhattan’s hospitals, you may have the honor and luxury of meeting Pamela Miles and her Reiki hands.

Pamela has made strides in the medical community where most of us have found only closed doors and stares of scorn, and that’s because she’s learned how to speak to docs about alternative healing methods in a non-threatening way. I was frothing at the mouth to crack that particular code, so my mentor, Dan, and I attended one of Pamela’s many seminars at my alma mater, UC Irvine.

I admit to having giant expectations of Pamela. I had visions of a simple magic bullet that would open the perplexing mindset of docs. Oh yes, waves of light would shower down from the heavens and angels would sing. The seas would part, and the world of medicine would reside in my hot little palms. Sorry, Pamela, quite unfair of me. Instead, I worked my ass off trying to comprehend the five syllable words that rolled off her tongue. Eight hours, an enjoyable lunch with Pamela, and five pages of notes later, my head was packed to the limit.

The truth is, there is no magic bullet – just like in real life. Silly me for assuming otherwise. It’s difficult to translate the practice of Reiki into concrete, scientific words because so much of it happens on an unspoken level. It’s like trying to define love to someone who’s never been in love before, or describing what the wind looks like. But Pamela cracked the code, and I now have a slew of science-y words which I lack the genetics to pronounce.

But if we’re serious about blending conventional medicine with alternative healing methods in order to enhance wellness, we aren’t going to get there by talking about auras and meridians. As Pamela told me, docs aren’t going to swim upriver so we need to learn to speak their language. Pamela’s seminar gave me the tools to become my own translator. And what’s really exciting is Pamela has a supervised clinical internship in the works. I can see throwing myself at her feet begging to be included once it takes off.

Immunomodulation, neuroplasticity, transpersonal dimension, adjunctive, multimodal…Thank you for everything, Pamela, you’re terrific. But, yeesh, looking over my notes makes me wish I had a Star Trek tricorder.

Anyone who’s interested in learning more about Reiki and its uses in a medical setting will find her book, Reiki: A Comprehensive Guide, a wonderful and useful tool.