Not In Kansas Anymore...

Click your heels, and see if home is where you hang your hat, or somewhere else inside yourself as this simple, postmodern girl takes on L.A.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A follow-up on the Master P saga.....

Can we just say I know what I'm talking about when it comes to these things? Can we just do THAT once and for all? Because it would sure save alot of time in the future....

I showed up on time for my appointment last Friday; naturally, he kept me waiting. While I was waiting, however, I spoke with Nena ( aka, The Good Receptionist) and asked her to look in the computer and see how many appointments I had missed in the last year. She did. Her answer?


NO. I asked for a printout of the schedule, and she gladly provided it. Guess what?

"Nine" is the number of appointments I've missed in THREE YEARS. Yes, THREE (3, troi, tres). Not one. When I pointed this out to her, she shrugged and said, "I guess I read it wrong (*laughs*) !"

Ha. Ha. Ha.

So I sat down and used the time The Great Man was spending with another patient to determine how many appointments out of nine were from this year only. Guess how many? Oh go on!


So. Who was right all along? Of course, this begs the question, "What the FCUK was that man thinking?"

You'll recall that I posited that perhaps he just got a bug in his arse, because normally, he was, well, normal. You'll also recall that I wondered if perhaps that Mary's response of "he almost discharged you as a patient" was her own invention.

Turns out I was right on both accounts.

The story, as it was told to me by The Man Himself, went something like this:

The week I had my appointment and didn't show, apparently, alot of other folks didn't show, either. As I have explained in this blog before, Master P is a Very Busy Man, Legitimately, so naturally, this was a mild irritant, to say the least. As he put it, "I was sitting here all week by myself!". He then got to Friday, and what came across his desk? A bunch of requests for refills. Needless to say, things got ugly. He took it upon himself to look at everyone who submitted said requests' attendance records, and obviously, he wasn't happy.

When I pointed out that *I* , being the sterling poster-child for proper psychiatric care that I am, had only missed TWO appointments, he said, "You got lumped in there, I guess."

I said, "UM, IS THAT REALLY FAIR?!??!"

He answered, "No. Okay, that wasn't cool."

Really. you think?

"Well, but okay. You have to understand that I have clients I haven't seen in MONTHS who aske me to refill their yadda yadda yadda and there's this ONE lady up in Wheresitz that I havent' seen in a YEAR and I can't do THAT, I mean, what do they expect? Yadda, yadda, yadda, yadda, blah blah, and below standard of care and blah blah blah DEA liscence and so forth and so on and theretofore...."

Okay, I see your point. And if I were in your position, I TOO would be very angry and I understand that with patients like that, that withholding meds is your only lever to get them to comply. But you KNOW you could have called me and said "Jessica, get your ass up here!" and I would have done it. Right?

"Well, I mean, I guess...right. You're in between the extremes..."

Excuse me?

"I'm just saying the next time you feel all pukey just call me, okay?"

Okay. That's fair. Now let's get to this "discharging me as a patient" issue.....

" I DID discharge some of those people who blah blah blah yaddadddaa.....wait, who said I was going to do that?"

Mary did.

"Oh. Well, Mary thinks if you miss 3 appointments in a year you should be discharged. Don't pay any attention to her. She's just an old lady ( mind you, she's probably only 5 years older than he is)."

Which is where I started laughing, and mentioned that I thought she had Vance Syndrome, and he laughed too and said maybe he had it, and that YOU KNOW, I DON'T HAVE TO WORK, I could retire. I'm tired, and I'm just so sick of all this crap, and what are they thinking? AM I supposed to blah blah blah.....

I say, "I understand. But you scared the crap out of me. I could have fired you, you know."
To which he responded, "I could have fired YOU." To which I replied, "And now that we have that out of the way.....


"Next week. "

And where are you going? Somewhere RELAXING, I hope?

"El Salvador. The rainforest."

Good for you. Don't be a drug mule, now. That never works out. ( He laughs). MOVING's how I've been doing........

And that was that. I got my refills and refills on refills in case I needed them while he was out traipsing in the wilds of Central America.

Pretty far to go for just a week.

Thank God. I think it will be good for him.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Okay, this week is OVER, people. Didja hear me? OVER. No more. I'm done. If anything else goes wrong I'm going to fucking snap. Don't call me and ask for anything, either, because I got nothing. I'm not feeling very nice, or like chatting or shooting the shit. Unless you are calling to offer me money for nothing or to take me out to a nice a dinner and listen to me bitch, then forget it. Leave me alone.

I finally got my meds. I took them last night. My body, in response to not having had them all fucking week, collapsed into an unbelievably deep slumber. I woke up at 8pm (!) after having gone to bed at 2am and I didn't know what day it was today. It was Wednsday in my mind, but GUESS WHAT? IT's NOT. Which means I missed an appointment with Therapist J. Which of course she had to charge for. Now I owe her money on TOP of money and in this case, not for services but for missed services. On top of it, I had to explain that completely idiot story to her, which thankfully, she believed, but could I blame her if she didn't? No, I could not.

I looked at my bank account, and it is woeful. I still owe money on my liscence plates and I am about $150 short of being able to take care of that. Did I ever tell you that if they pull you over on expired plates in CA they impound your car? Yes, they do. Mandatory 30 days, which means it doesn't matter if you can go there and pay them immediately, they're keeping your car for a month. Oh, and they charge you $50 a day for the privilige. No, I'm not kidding and yes, it sounds like extortion, but that's what they do.

I had enough money to take care of it at the beginning of the month. I don't anymore. Why? Well, life. Groceries. Gas. Keeping the power on. You know, really high-roller stuff. Even the money I spent on bills did not cover them all, BTW. I'm behind on three of them. And my gas tank is rapidly approaching "E" again.

Anyway, I already got a ticket which some gracious officer gave me instead of taking my car. That was a gift from God, right there. But it also means I have to pay the ticket, too, and if they stop me again, the car goes. Ask me how I'm going to pay for ANYTHING once the car goes. Answer: no car, no job.

Not that that matters, because every job I've applied for the last two weeks has resulted in NOTHING. No calls. Nothing. So, I figured I'd go ahead and apply for a job at The Huntington Museum, Et Al , even though it's way the fuck out of my Will-The-Money-I-Spend-On-Gas-Eat-My-Whole-Paycheck? range. I figure, well, maybe I can take the bus/train. I want to work there ( or at any museum, AT ALL at this point), so what the hell. Nothing closer or better paying knocking my door down, right? Might as well throw my hat into the ring. The job offered is at their bookstore, and who has both bookstore AND museum experience?( Yeah, you know that answer already.)

Except to apply, I have to fill out this stupid pdf. application, which will not allow itself to be properly inserted into Word so one might type on it. You have to download it and print it, and then, I guess, scan it,or fax it, or mail it. WHY they chose to do this is beyond me. Whatever, I make the effort.

It's about now I should explain that my luck with printers is just piss-poor. I have had 4 printers since having a laptop for 4 years, and each of them just up and quit working of their own will. I don't know if I'm making them suicidal, but the printer I have now was fairly costly, and needless to say, I'm not happy. It's a WiFi printer, and about 3 months ago, it decided to no longer recognize its connection to the laptop. Ron has been over to fix it, and he got it to work for a week. Now it stopped working. I talked to R this week, and we came up with the brilliant idea that I'd just load my documents onto a memory card and stick it in the printer's slot for such things, and print from that. Guess what? The printer asked me to pick a computer to associate with the stupid memory card. Why? I don't know. At any rate, you can guess what happened next.

It's really fortunate that I can't afford another ticket from the fine folks of Los Angeles County, because I've got lighter fluid. I got a concrete porch. I got matches. What I don't got is any more patience for expensive technology that won't cooperate.

Oh, and you know what fun I get to go do tomorrow? I get to go to the podiatrist. Foot doctor. Never thought I'd see the day I'd need to go to a flippin' foot doctor, but I guess old age is a bitch. I don't mean to overshare, but let's just say me and several toenails have painfully parted ways for reasons unbeknownst to me ( no injury involved). I was going to just ignore it, and see if thngs would heal, but, in the oh-so-wise-words of Brother, "You need to see a doctor and ask him if you're living on a toxic waste dump, 'cause that's just gross." ( I told Brother "No, I'm probably turning into a Prawn. Just don't expect me at Christmas, and tell Mom and Dad I love them."). I further consented to the idea since I'm about to lose one on my big toe, which is something I'd like to NOT wait-and-see on. Nonetheless, I have a feeling once the doctor sees it, he's going to want to speed up that seperation process himself. I'm SO looking forward to either a.) getting a shot in my toe to numb that procedure, or b.) skipping the shot altogether since it might hurt as much.

At least my hair looks good these days....

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


After waiting untill well after 1pm today ( when Master P's secretary said she'd call me back after I called her first thing this morning), I called the office AGAIN and got his other office assistant, a nice but slightly snippy lady named Mary. When I introduced myself on the phone, I mentioned I'd been waiting for Nena to call me, and she said, "In regards to what?" Steam started pouring out my ears, but I kept it cool, and explained. She said, "Well, I'll have to ask him about that." Of course, but I had expected this to be resolved TWO HOURS ago! She promised to call me right back.

At least she didn't waste any time on that front, nor did she make any bones about why I was having to go through this odd shuck-and-jive to get my prescription: "Well, Jessica, I have an appointment for you, but it's not untill the 25th of this month," she started. When I began to explain YET again I was FLAT out of meds, she cut me short. "Yes, I know, and I'm taking an approval over the pharmacy right now, but ONLY for the amount to tide you over til the 25th." "Uhhhhhhhh, sure, okay," I stammered back. " Can you tell me the....I mean, well,....what....what was the reasoning on this whole thing?"

"You missed your appointment. Not only that, but you've missed too many appointments this year, and Doctor is needing to see you, Jessica."

My mouth fell open. WHAT? I pulled it together long enough to say, "What? I....excuse me? I don't understand." She cut to the chase: "Doctor goes through the records every so often and checks attendance himself, and he saw you'd missed too many appointments this year for his liking. NOW, it is VERY IMPORTANT that you keep this next appointment. He came very close to discharging you as a patient."

And that, Dear Reader, rendered me speechless. As you might imagine, I am very rarely without a word. However, I simply could not stop my jaw from hanging open long enough to get anything out. She emphasized again how important it was see him next Friday, and was about to hang up when I said, "Er, wait. How many times did he think that I was....because *I*, nevermind. I'll ask him next week. " We said our goodbyes and ended the phone call.

When I got past the vase-throwing level of frustration and anger I felt at being chided by this woman and being put through this whole aggravating scenario (and feeling completely knocked-off my guard by a physician I thought I knew), I was confused as hell. So I got out my calendar and looked at my appointments for the year. As far as I can tell, I've missed two. That could be wrong, but I double checked with my purse appointment book, where I write my appointments down every time I'm standing at the receptionist's desk. According to my records, I missed one on May 9th ( when I was in Hometown-- but did I not cancel that ahead of time and reschedule? I would be surprised if I didn't) and one on September 9, last Wednsday when I was sick. ( There's a July 20 in the book but not on the calendar, but I know I haven't missed any appointments with him since I got home from The Sinking of The Love Boat trip, since I was losing my mind and desperate to get in there.).

Unless he's counting times when Nena asked me to come in later or shifted me around on the schedule to make accomodations for my episode this summer, I think we're just talking about two appointments.


Seriously? Now I DO suspect some nipping at the sample cabinet! Or, perhaps more probable, a temper tantrum. Overworked/overscheduled doctor loses it one afternoon, and gets some ants in his pants to cull some thankless patients from his caseload. While he likely does check his records yearly to kick out the bottom-feeders that have gotten too reckless with their medical care for even a dude like him to tolerate (like I said, he takes cases that are too tough or too problematic for other docs), it still begs the question: WHY am I in there?!?! For fuck's sake, didn't he just SAY to me that I WASN'T a difficult patient? What in the hail was he looking at?

I have NEVER, and I mean NEVER, EVER, EVER been discharged as someone's patient. Like, to the point of , they're cutting back because they're close to retiring/having a baby/going on sabbatical, and I'm one of the last few left on their rosters. I mean, like, they've taken calls from me when technically I'm not under their care anymore. WHY? Because like I said before, I don't make their jobs hard. I make them WORK, and yes, I ask a million and one questions and I make them explain stuff they normally don't have to, I argue (politely) with them if I think they're on the wrong track, and I have been known to (sometimes-- occasionally--okay, -always - especially if it's the dentist) whine like a baby when it comes to needles. But I have NEVER been bounced out on my ass for untoward or disrespectful behavior.

Why? Because if I agree to a treatment, even begrudgingly, ( and admittedly, at the psychiatrist's office, it is not-too-infrequent that I'm being impudent) I follow through. I do what I'm asked, and then I report back as honestly as I can. I do that because otherwise, the practice of medicine goes out the window and I might as well be paying the guy to throw darts at an answer wheel and guess. Besides, I can't know anything either untill I try it ( something I wish wasn't the case in life in general, but well, whaddya gonna do?), and I won't get better untill I try SOMETHING first.

Which isn't to say I'm the perfect patient or everyone's favorite, because Christ knows I can be charm-free and totally stubborn untill backed into a corner. And Christ also knows if a doctor gets too condescending, stupid ( oh yeah, I've met stupid doctors before. I didn't think 7 years of school could be completed by dumb people, but it goes to show you that sometimes, if you stick with something for long enough, you can pull off anything) or downright punitive I will start wailing untill a.) I get them down off their high horse, or b.) get a new doctor. But those instances are pretty rare.

So, WTF?

It COULD be that Mary was all up in her knickers today, which wouldn't be altogether surprising. In the past I've heard her spin on things sound like something a preschool teacher would say ( ex: once I was running late to an appointment, and I had called from the car to let them know. I got there, and she said, "You're too late. We took the person scheduled after you." Okay. Sounds reasonable, I'll wait until after them. "No, he's booked straight through." Of course he is. But if the person after me is in there during MY time, why can't I take their time in exchange? "I'm sorry, but he's running late as it is." And that is my problem HOW? In the end, I got shoved off to two months later! When I confronted Master P about this incident -yes, two months later!-, he was like, "What?" and I was like, "Exactly!!" ). When I talked to Nena about this, while she did explain he wasn't thrilled, she wasn't at all as weighty as Mary was. I'm wondering if this is one of Mary's weird inrepretations of things again. While that may SOUND weird on MY part to say that, receptionists ( along with psych nurses) in psych offices can be a breed of their own. (Before Nena came along, there was Vance. Vance of The Many Stylish Scarves, as I secretly called him- quite the dandy. Vance had been Master P's secretary for 15 years. He wasn't impolite, but he was a pain in the ass; when he left, everyone I knew as a fellow patient cheered. It wasn't that we didn't like the guy, it was just he had lost his ability to deal with the crazies a long time ago and that made it pretty difficult to work out any scheduling issues or needs. I know Mary's been there longer, so maybe she's just had it, too. Who knows?).

Or, maybe he's looked at my record over the past FIVE years and gotten irritated ( still pretty inexplicable). Maybe he's getting tired of his job, and irritated. Maybe something's gotta give and it might as well be the LESS crazy patients? Or maybe he didn't have enough Diet Coke that day ( I swear psychiatrists alone could be keeping Diet Coke/Diet Dr.Pepper/Diet LiquidAftertaste-In-A-Can in business. Oooh, someone call the The Church of Scientology ! There's a conspiracy there somewhere!). Who knows??

I suppose, til my next audience with The Great Man Himself, I WON'T know. So, while I will probably still wander around the house for the next week going, "WTF?!?" and feeling irked, I will try to untwist my own knickers long enough to calm down. Especially now I've got my meds back.

AARARGHGHG. * Palm hits head*....

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

It has been one of those days today, one of those days that made me want to go back to bed after I got up....

I've been sick with the flu/cold/whatever, ( hence the blog about firemen....although some firemen on their own without Gatorade is totally acceptable, too) and while that's mostly passed, I ran out of my mood stabilizer on Sunday. Ironically, I got sick the day I was supposed to go see Master P. this past week, and missed my appointment. Please note that this ISN'T a regular occurrance; the man is so freaking busy, I'd leap over flaming buildings to make my appointments, because god knows when I'd get in there again. Keep these two factors ( always busy Doctor; impeccable attendance by Jessica) in mind as they will come into play later.

Monday morning, bright and early, I call pharmacy; they have to call the doctor's office for refill. Okay, no problem. (Cue "Jeopardy" wait time music). Around 4:30 ( after his office has closed for the day) they call ME and inform that the doctor will not authorize a refill. Um, what? Why not? ( Oh, one more thing to note: the mood stabilizer? Is this utterly benign older drug they used to use for seizures. It's so boring they could practically sell it over the counter. My cat could eat it and probably still ruin my curtains with a single bound. Granted, he'd be a little loopy, and there might be more than one set of cutains in his view, but you get what I'm saying....).

Because I missed the appointment, Dr. Jackass won't refill it TIL I see him! Next available appointment? December! I was all UP in his secretary's grill today! "Nena, he can't just cut me OFF. That's not right, I know he knows THAT." ( Because then my oh-so-carefully medicated brain --the one we've struggled with since May and FINALLY had success with??--will go off-kilter! Yay! Just the accessory I needed for Fall!)
She asurred me "That wasn't his point," told me he wasn't trying to be a dick, and she would speak with him when he called the office for messages today. See, today is his day OFF.

Yeah, and guess who still doesn't have her meds tonight? ME, that's WHO! WTfuckingF??!!?! I mean, it's not like I'm some crack-addict patient ( yes, he has them!) who always fucks up her appointments, or is always asking for some random refill without keeping in touch! AND did I MENTION he and I have gone 'round and 'round about his answering service, him always being busy, him never answering messages hence my rarely ever calling if I need him off hours since it's pointless? ( Meaning basically, if you're having a med problem after hours you're screwed. He is NOT available. Unless you want to go to the ER, and trust me, unless you reeeeeaaaaaalllllllly want to spend 45 minutes to 2 hours arguing off and on with the attendings about how you DON'T need to be admitted, it's no place for a non-suicidal psych patient to BE.) Surely in addition to it being like having to see the Pope to get into an office visit, I've mentioned that he's FOREVER running late, sometimes as much as an hour and a half? And yet.....I miss an appointment and forget to call ( even though I'm the last appointment of the damned day that day, thank you very much) once in a very blue moon, and THIS is the attitude I'm dealt? Is it just me, or has he been nipping into the sample cabinet?!?!?

So the quest begins tomorrow morning, bright and early, and goddammit, if I don't have meds by TOMORROW night, I'm going to begin my next appointment by asking him if he wasn't trying to be a dick, then what WAS he trying to do? 'Cause it sure looked similar.... and if this is how it's gonna go, when I have to leap through countless hoops to even breathe the same air as the Great Man AND I do so regularly WITHOUT so much hassle AND am a compliant, friendly, cooperative patient, then FUCK IT. I can fire his ass, and have a new, more available doc in less than 24 hours ( Ron and Roy's psychdoc-- which *I* referred them to, I might add!). I don't wanna do that -- Master P is a genius and I genuinely like him, so I'm HOPING there's some good to come out of this.....


Friday, September 11, 2009

Somehow before the 15th this month I have to come up with $300. I'd go get a job this week, but I have the flu. Yes, right as summer is ending, and killing us with 94degree days, I am running a fever and leaking snot. I'm laying in bed alternating cranking up the air and then burrowing under the covers. Good times. Thank you, Mercury Retrograde .

My fantasy: a team of hot, sweaty, shirtless fireman come to my house with gigantic hoses ( don't go there, for cryin' out loud, I'm ILL right now) connected to a truck loaded with Gatorade. Orange flavored, please....

Friday, September 04, 2009

The Universe is very strange. Very strange indeed.

Just when I thought I was going to possibly break my tradition of seeing U2 on every tour ( I've seen them on every tour since "The Joshua Tree")......

My friend Lisbeth in Houston mentioned a friend of hers at work ( she's a teacher) bought tickets to see them in October, and got one for Lisbeth because she knew Lisbeth was a fan. So Lisbeth is telling me about this, and how the tickets are ON THE FLOOR, and it's gonna be so cool....she and her friend are gonna take the day off work and get in line early to get a good spot ( it's open seating down there, so you have to grab what you can, as I understand it).....

I told her I was really f*&$%ing jealous and that I didn't know how I was going to afford to see them when the arrived here in Pasadena ( at the Rose Bowl, for crying out loud? WTF? Tix listng in the range of $265. ). I was gonna scrimp and save though, ( and look at ebay, beause I've gotten lucky before there with last minute cheap seats) because those I'd be damned if I'd mess up my record. That's when Lisbeth informs me that the floor tickets in Houston were $65, and her friend bought FOUR of them, for the purpose of selling them on eBay. She said, "I'll check and see if she still has any left."

But, I said to Lisbeth, I can't come to Houston! That's ridiculous. I can afford $65, but I can't go there. It's a nice idea, but I'll figure out something for Pasadena. No worries. But get me a t-shirt anyway!

Then she reminded me, "You know I've been asking if you wanted to come visit me all summer when you were so depressed. Remember, I offered to fly you down? I know you didn't want to come when your meds were all screwed up, and it was so hot. But it's in October, it will be much cooler and you're stable now, and the offer's still open. I can afford it, and I haven't seen you in 20 years! So come on down! Come see U2 with us!"

Okay, well. That was an offer I was tempted to consider. It certainly would be fun. God knows I haven't had any FUN all summer! Still, I figured, her friend probably doesn't wanna break up the set since she wants to sell them.

Wrong! She gave Lisbeth an extra ticket for the low low original price of $65.

However, even in the midst of this fantastically lucky turn of events, I'm a bit bug-a-booed......

The thing is, Lisbeth refuses to take any money. She's insistent on the charity. "Naw," she says "Don't worry about it." I say, "Hey, I appreciate it. But listen, that's some dough to shell out. Let me pay you. I can't do it all at once, but I can work it out. " She still won't budge: "No, really. I've got it." No, Lisbeth, it's too much. "Pah. Whatever. I got it". Okay then, can I at least give you half? The rest we can say is a late birthday gift? I mean REALLY, I must INSIST. " Okay, we're going to stop talking about this now." (I can see a fight of wills over this coming up...and I KNOW you're reading this, too, Lisbeth, I'm going to win this armwrestle whether you like it or not!) Needless to say, I'm feeling...

See, I was raised Catholic and... okay, nevermind, that's not going to explain it very well. Let me try again:
Somehow, I can accept these kinds of large gifts from people I've been in close contact and friendship with all this time, even though I STILL feel guilty sometimes ( R, you know I'm talking to you in particular....). I guess that's more acceptable because I feel like, "Well, I'll probably have the opportunity to make it up to them in some way, even if it's not monetary." ( ....And cut to me wrestling down GUILT GUILT GUILT inside my head constantly anyway.) I know gift-giving isn't supposed to be tit-for-tat, but I never want anyone to feel taken from or like it's one sided, you know?

But there hasn't even BEEN a long reciprocal history here with Lisbeth. I haven't seen her in forever, though we reconnected on Facebook about 6 months ago (?) . Granted, she's been a rock of support this summer, and I feel like we are true friends, because of those conversations, for real. Her support after so long apart is trustworthy and totally in character; I have no need to doubt it...she's just like that; always was in high school, apparently still is. I can rest assured that the gift has no strings, because she's just like that, too. It's tremendously generous. STILL...
Given the financial straits I am in, it is going to be some time before I can pay her back. So I feel very one-sided because of the newness of our renewed friendship ( if that makes sense), wildly guilty and indebted and like the judgemental eyes of the world are upon me for taking the offered thing I would so deeply appreciate, more than anyone could know.

And then there's the fact that I just WORRY, because I've accepted gifts like this before from people and ended up being very hurt and burned by them ( like that time when Jase threatened to leave me at the Grand Canyon because he decided to quit smoking on the drive and lost his mind in the process. And felt I was being "bitchy". This was a friend I'd had since I was 13. Needless to say, it left me with some trust issues about accepting gifts of travel from friends.). I doubt if Lisbeth would do that, but I didn't think Jase would either ( my parents, after receiving my panicked call, and wiring me money to take a bus home, were so shocked by the behavior of a boy they'd liked and trusted for as long as I had, threatened to call HIS parents. Mind you, we were both 26 at the time. I nixed that idea.) And hell, with the kind of year I'm having, we could also get hit by a tropical storm while I'm there and end up eating out of tin cans.

However, I think it would upset her more to NOT go, ( no, I'm NOT justifying. Okay, maybe a little). She could use the company, and if I were to guess any alterior motives, she just wants the adventure a little. And I WANT TO GO. Dammit. I want to go! WAAAH!!

So you know what? I say, OKAY. OKAY, Lisbeth, all right? I'm coming to Houston! And I don't care if we get into a wicked nasty fight before then and we decide we hate each other's guts, you BOUGHT the plane ticket, so now you're STUCK with me!! Screw the ambivalence and guilt, I'm showing up on your door on October 13. You made the offer, so THERE. I'm takin' it, and. I'm paying you back, like it or not, and....and....

I'm going to see my love, my hero ( Bono! *sigh*) up close and personal; my inspiration when times get low, my FAVORITE BAND OF ALL TIME in Houston where I also get to visit a dear old friend.

Who's going to see U2? Me! ME!! MEEEEEEE!!!!
(*jumping around the room in glee, bumping into furniture**)

I'm just praying the Universe isn't doing something weird and twisted and this is going to fuck up somehow. (Recall I thought my trip home in May was going to be bliss, har har.) So I remain curious: is this my ever-famous U2 mojo coming into play ( somehow every tour I manage to get to go, and often , something weird and magical happens to make that come to be, and when I go to the show, something synchronistic and magical happens while I'm there. I'm telling you, it DOES!!)?. Is this the Universe setting me up to be really disappointed? Or is this just a generosity I can accept and not fret over? ( Ha. Like I'm not gonna fret.).

We shall see. Curiouser and curiouser, said Alice ( certainly this year so far has been like falling down a rabbit hole....).

And OMG, I just realized: Sassy's gonna kill me. ;)

Thursday, September 03, 2009

FURTHERMORE -- and this is the last you'll hear me go off on women's issues today, I promise. ( But not the last time ever, sorry!)--

Jenny McCarthy, was on the "Today" show this morning. I actually like Jenny alot and respect a great deal for being open about her life and her struggles with her son's autism ( whether or not her treatement strategy is valid is widely debated, and in my view, that choice remains up to each family. I just like that she's willing to step up and be an activist for a tragic children's disease whose rates climb higher and higher each year, and demand that there be more reseach). Today on "Today", however, she was there to talk about her appearance on the cover of "Weight Watchers" magazine ( Weight Watchers usually being generally accepted as a safe reasonable weight loss plan).

Of course, she looked great ( as usual), and was so bold as to blurt out her weight:

"For LA, I'm good- I'm 5'6'' and 125. But that's for LA."

Now, I gotta give the chick props for understanding that her world and the rest of America are NOT at all on the same wavelength when it comes to average, healthy weight. However, I checked, ( of course), and Jenny's at the lowest end of the scale she can possibly be for any frame size at her height ( in other words, should a bad trip to Mexico come along....well, it won't be pretty. Or healthy, anymore.).

To this declaration, Hoda Kotbe opens her mouth and says, "I'm 5'8" and 145."
(Again, to Jenny's credit, she says, "Well, good for you!" in a what appeared to be a genuine attempt to support whatever weight the woman was.) Hoda, BTW, according to the medical standards, is smack in the middle of the chart. And actually, given her larger frame, could even stand to have dessert a little more often and still be just fine. Hoda, however, looked highly irritable.

Ever the comic save, Kathy Lee Gifford chimed in, "And me, I'm just here!", obviously wanting to move the conversation AWAY from specific numbers.

Of course you know I have something to say about this.

First of all, good for Jenny for NOT calling Jenny (Craig) and actually promoting a plan that's had a long history of being healthy, successful and supportive. Again, mad props for her putting the "for LA" caveat on her weight as if to say, " If you don't meet this criteria, you're okay,because my industry? They get a little tense about these things." Props to Hoda Kotbe for putting out there HER weight, because hey, that's brave. Props even to Kathie Lee, because she didn't feel she had to ( or didn't dare to, whatver), and didn't under pressure. Cookies for everyone!

Now that we've established THAT, let me also add that Jenny McCarthy is 36, soon to be 37. Hoda Kotbe is 45 and a cancer survivor ( which means she's gone into premature menopause from the chemotherapy. Menopause, even for the average healthy woman generally means weight gain as a matter of course.). Everyone knows as you get older, it's unreasonable to expect miracles in the weight catagory unless you've been miraculously genetically blessed. Haven't we all gone to even our 10 year high school reunions and seen a little bit more heft ( even if it is FIT heft) to our old pals?

And yet two out of three of these women are skating towards underweight. One of them is so close to the edge that a bout with bad guacamole would have her in the hospital with an IV drip.
At middle age. How is that....reasonable to ask of them?

It also begs the question: even with that caveat "for LA), what is being promoted as acceptable for young things in their 20s and early 30s? There isn't a young woman alive who doesn't look at magazines and aspire to that ideal. If Jenny McCarthy , at 37, is 5'6"( the average height of a woman ) and 125lbs, what then, are the 22 year old 5'6" girls weighing? ( I can answer all of this for you, actually. Just go take a look at the cast of the new "90210" and "Melrose Place", and ask yourself if those girls are living on more than sno-cones and Marlboro Lights.)

I'm an ( aspiring) actress in Hollywood, and I'll be candid. I'm 5'8, of an average build, and I weigh 165. This video clip of "Today" struck a chord with me in particular because lately I've been gearing up to go back to acting class and out on auditions. In my head ( and according to the health charts), I'm one week of bad PMS binging away from being technically overweight ( and my BMI sits on the edge, too.). I'd like to lose 15 pounds and be slimmer and more confident, and healthier, so I'm working on it.

To my detriment, though, there are two things I cannot change. First, I take a medication for my depression that slows the metabolism. This is very, very common. Most antidepressants these days do the opposite ( mine does), but any mood stabilizer ( a drug you take to lessen the lability of those moods; I take mine mostly for anxiety) will hit you for at least a good 10 lbs or more. Depending on what type you take, there's no way to avoid it. Since I don't want to fuck up a good balance once I've got one, I'm not going to change anything, and so I am stuck with this problematizing factor, like or not. I'm going to have to work really hard to get the pounds to move. Probably as hard as someone would if they wanted to be 25 lbs lighter ( which as averse to the gym as I am, really really sucks.).

Second, there's that "for LA" factor. Apparently, even being 15 pounds lighter than I am now might not be enough. I knew I needed to lose some weight, but at 40 and figuring that I was unlikely to be cast in those will-o-the-wisp ingenue parts 80% of the girls out here are jostling for, I was, going to be okay. Sure, I'd likely be cast as a character actor, but I actually think that's more fun, so that was and is fine by me. I just didn't think, at 150, I'd be pushing into the "Quirkily fun but chunky next door neighbor"roles. To me, that's just WRONG.

Because, people, do you KNOW what I look like at 150? Well, I'll toot my own horn for a minute here and tell you. I look AWESOME. I look like Diana Rigg as Emma Peel, circa 1968, thank you very much ( and yes, I could indeed rock that catsuit at that weight, too!).

But it's not enough; I would never be allowed NEAR a catsuit in this day and age at that weight. I wouldn't be allowed near one at 140, (which, by the way, at 40, with my present metabolism, would require me to spend every waking moment in the gym, and to eating salads and Diet Coke 3 meals a day. ). Why?

Because the average size expected of actresses is nothing over a size 4. Since I'm older, maybe I could squeak by with an 8, but I happen to know that THAT, my friends, is considered still FAT. ( My dear friend Evie worked as a costumer for awhile, and fitted Drew Barrymore for something in a size 8. "Do you know what they called her behind her back?" she seethed. "They called her a 'pig'. A 'pig' in a size 8!"). God knows Demi Moore, Nicole Kidman, Naomi Watts, Julianne Moore, and so on, who are all in my age group ( or over) are NOT a size 8. How they manage it is beyond me. Personally, even as stick thin as I was naturally in high school and my early 20's ( and trust me- I was THIN. If only that metabolism lasted!!), I was still NEVER a size 8. Never! I don't think I've been a size 8 since.....since... jr. high?

It's WRONG, I tell you. WRONG. Wrong, wrong wrong. For so many reasons.

So what's my plan? To lose 15 lbs, make my doctor happy, look hot in a catsuit on Halloween maybe, and fuck the rest of 'em who call me fat. This is what I got, and you take it or leave it. I like to eat occasionally (!), and I like to enjoy my day without thinking "I have to go spend two hours on the treadmill for that cookie at lunch", and I like to think that some decent casting agent or director out there will look at me and say ( even IF the producer is insistng "Good GOD get her to lose 20 lbs!!"), " We like you. We like what you're bringing to the part. " and trust me enough to make whatever weight I am seem like a needless notion in light of a decent performance.

If they don't, well, it's their loss. Jennifer Anniston may be 40 and 125 lbs, but I wouldn't be her any day of the week. It's just too much work to live up to some magazine-level of fabulousness. It's hard enough work just to be ME, and really, that's the only person I want to be. I'm not going to suffer the pains of what it would take to meet those unrealistic and stupid standards. Women come in all shapes and sizes, and while I realize part of Hollywood is to give us the glamour of the unattainable ideal, AND that yes, the camera DOES add pounds ( though it varies with every person, mind you. In my case it turns me into a blowfish. ). I'm okay with that and making some adjustments and working a little harder to lose a little more to compensate. But shouldn't there be some adjustments in what we accept as appropriate for an actress to look like? Shouldn't there be a more diverse selection of women onscreen for crying out loud??!?!

I'm just NOT OKAY with spending my time striving to be 20lbs underweight, trying to be a size I was when I was 12 at 40, and calling it okay. It is NOT okay to ask me to do that when I know they're not asking Tom Hanks to do it. Its not okay to do that because I would prefer NOT to have fertility issues because I have less than 2% body fat. It's not okay, because I would like my bone density to remain intact and my joints to be healthy.

And finally, to clear up any nagging doubts the reader might have, NO. I'm not saying this just because I feel I might fall short of their expectations, but because they're wrong.

Didja hear me? Wrong. And that's my final word on it.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

It smells like a barbeque outside, but nobody's grillin'. It's just more of this Hollywood Babylon burning, and as it does so, I'd like to take a moment to comment on 3 things I saw in entertainment news today:

1.) Demi Moore says she "hasn't had any" plastic surgery: She's 44. And has 3 kids ( she does state that she has "stretch marks and saggy skin". Where was all that in "Charlie's Angels 2", exactly, then?). Thusly, to this I say: BULLSHIT. It irks me when women lie about plastic surgery ( and let me take this opportunity to say that I don't judge if people choose to have it. While I think it's best to keep things in moderation to avoid the risk of looking like nothing more than a scalpel's palette, I'm not a purist. If it makes you feel better, go on with your bad self.). I understand if you feel like you don't want to sit there and point to every single thing you've had done. But listen to me: girls all over the world are watching you ( especially your 3 DAUGHTERS, Demi! Indeed, I also read today that your daughter Rumer said it was hard growing up with a "mom like mine. Her jeans are skinnier than mine!" Ahem. ). Women all over the world are listening. Having them believe that you look the way you do "naturally" doesn't do them any favors. Take one for the sisterhood, and just cop to having "some things done" and leave it at that. Because when you don't, that's when people like....

2.) Holly Madison says "living with Hef really hurt my self-esteem": No kidding? Color me shocked. While I'm not one to sit around and judge magazines like "Playboy", et al, just because it has pictures of nekkid wimmen in it, like many feminists do, I will say that the Playboy girl certainly has changed over the years ( yes, I keep up on these things. I like to be an informed pundit.). As Ms. Madison goes on to say, she "compared myself to the girls at the Mansion", where "you have to look a certain way". It's rather mind-boggling to think that pretty, blonde Holly Madison, with her perfectly bobbed nose and DD cup breasts on a size 4 body ( all thanks to plastic surgery, which, unlike Demi, she readily admits to) felt inadequate at The Manse. At the very least, one would think she would lauded and carried around on a dias as their ideal. To state the obvious, it indicates to me that this whole notion of what Beautiful (or Hot or Sexy or Insert Adjective Here) Women Are Supposed to Look Like has gotten out of hand. I wonder how that happened? Hef? Do YOU know?

3.) Rhianna poses bound and gagged in Italian "Vogue": This one blew me away. What is this woman trying to do, single handedly set a bad example for young women in EVERY SINGLE WAY POSSIBLE? In her defense, I looked at the photo spread and by and large, everything in it is relatively benign,( in the sense that it wouldn't be anything out of the ordinary in a high-fashion magazine), excepting one photo. But the ONE photo is really really....okay. I should stop here and say I have NO problem if that's your thing, your lifestyle, your sexual proclivity. What do I care what you do in the bedroom? I don't, and furthermore, spare me the details. I should also say that posing in fetish gear in a high-fashion magazine has been done before artfully and fairly tastefully ( thank you, Stephen Meisel and Helmut Newton). However, THIS picture is way past that point, and even to the most careless, cynical observer, transmits a sense of powerlessness and victimization. Excuse me, but I believe we saw that already when the police released the photos of Rhianna after her brutal beating at the hands of her ex- boyfriend, Chris Brown.
I have a few friends who work with young women, and they all reported a disturbing trend to me around that event last year, and that trend was that many young women said that Ms. Whatever-Her-Last-Name-Is must have done something to provoke the attack. While less young women went on to say she deserved it, demurring on that point, they did make it clear that they had amibivalence about Mr. Brown's being charged.
Think about that.
Now think about the fact that Rhianna has YET to comment on her experience to the public (yes, it's been an ongoing case, so untill about a month ago, she's been unable to; nonetheless, it would be interesting to know when these photos were taken in light of all the information we have now. Sidebar: magazines will sometimes shoot a photo sitting for an article slated to be published up to 6 months later. ).
What is that silence, coupled with these images, suggesting about what your daughters should aspire towards?
Just asking.

Maybe it's the weather that has me hot under the collar, but maybe it's also something more?