Monday, January 31, 2011

Books Read 2010


Sixty Five Roses - A Sister's Memoir - by Heather Summerhayes Cariou - incredible book about a family dealing with CF. Told from the sister's POV. It was tough to get through emotionally, but the parents were incredible. Their devotion and endurance was something I will never forget. Not sure I will ever live up to their tireless dedication.

The Kid - by Dan Savage - Hilarious memoir about a man and his partner going through the trials and tribulations of an open adoption. David Sedaris has nothing on Dan Savage. It was laugh-out-loud, pee your pants funny and then cry a little kind of book. Not for the faint of heart, so if you're even the slightest homophobic, don't read, and yet, maybe you should.


Parenting Children With Health Issues - by Foster Cline and Lisa Greene - I have to re-read this one. It had fabulous advice for kiddos struggling with treatments and the emotional junk that goes along with CF. It stresses how important natural consequences are and if you protect your child from consequences you're not protecting them, you're robbing them of experience. Loved this book. I hope to live up to it. Not only will I no longer protect my kid from her consequences, but I'll never protect anyone else. This book goes to the heart of the 'enabler,' and says, "knock it off!" Lesson learned.

When Everything Changed - The Amazing Journey of American Women From 1960-the Present - by Gail Collins - Wow, this book taught me that I learned nothing in school or college. And I took a ton of women's lit, feminism classes, but still learned so little about the actual history of women... what a great book about how far we've come, and how far we have to go. Even in the 1970's a woman who paid a parking ticket dressed in pants was sent to jail for not wearing a dress! I am so thankful for the brave women who paved the way for jeans, my job and freedom!

The Good Divorce - by Constance Ahrons - You mean I'm not an evil woman going to hell for getting a divorce? Whew. This book was incredibly insightful and helpful about the horrible process of divorce. It sucks by the way, the process, not the book.

Stiff - the Curious Lives of Human Cadavors by Mary Roach - A good book to follow The Good Divorce. Anyway, I'm always keen on the macabre, and this one takes the decomposing cake. A fascinating read on what happens after. Surprisingly funny.

A Case for Creation - by Lee Strobel - I've been meaning to write this play about a man who becomes born again, but three years later I'm still doing the research, anyway.... This was a very interesting book about the miracle of life. It doesn't matter which side you stand on, creation vs. evolution or a combo of the two, how we came to exist is fascinating.

Stranger Danger - How to Keep Your Child Safe by Carol Soret Cope - A great book to keep your kiddo safe.

Short Story Collection

Too Much Happiness - by Alice Munro - Okay, I appreciate the art of the short story. It is one of the most difficult literary forms. But I've found most compilations too easy to put down, unlike a novel. Not so with this one. I read it during Froggy's treatments, doing dishes, walking down the hall. It was beautiful, impossible to put down, one of my all time favorites! Thanks Grandma W. for this wonderful gift.

Bad Dirt - by Annie Proulx - Another incredible book of short stories. Beautiful, dark, stark, simple.


The Lacuna - by Barbara Kingsolver - I've read just about everything Ms. Kingsolver has written. She is a master storyteller. Love, love, love her.

Dear American Airlines - by Jonathan Miles - Very funny book about a father stranded in an airport on his way to his estranged daughter's wedding. What begins as a complaint letter, ends as a life confession that is a wild, funny, meaningful ride.

Away - by Amy Bloom - Very enjoyable novel.

A Separate Peace - by John Knowles - Pretaay good.

The History of Love - by Nicole Krauss - Go, buy, read. My favorite novel this year. Lovely storytelling, interesting characters and a whole lotta lovin'. This was the first book since The Shadow of the Wind that it actually hurt to reach the last page.

One Good Turn - by Kate Atkinson - I know everyone is coo-koo for The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, and I am too. But Kate Atkinson is underrated. Her mysteries are fantastic.

Little Bee - by Chris Cleave - Just okay. Loved the first half, but it lost it's fizzle and believability in the second half.

A Visit from the Goon Squad - by Jennifer Egan - I didn't expect to love this book about a band and it's players as they aged. But it was suprising, funny and the only novel I've read that in one chapter took you on an African Safari and the next, a lesson in powerpoint.

Research for Work:

State of War - The secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration, by James Rise

Vice: Dick Cheney the Hijacking of the American President by Lou Doose and Jake Bernstein

Bush at War by Bob Woodward

What Happened: Inside the Bush Administration and Washington Culture of Deception by Scott McClellan

Cheney: The Untold Story of America's Most Powerful and Controversial Vice President, by Stephen F. Hayes

No comment. I have enough problems. :)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

I'm kind of over it.

How it's supposed to be. I don't really care anymore how it was supposed to be. Had things been perfect, had Froggy not been born with CF, had our marriage lasted, had things turned out the way you hope it will in the beginning .... when you're standing in a room full of family and friends in a white dress and everything is ahead of you. And it is all hope from that moment on.

As Madeleine says to the tiger, in Froggy's favorite movie, "poo poo."

This best laid plan went awry, and guess what? Oh well.

I love my kid. I love being alone. The work, the time involved, the responsibility I have is overwhelming, but at the end of the day I think this: I live in Los Angeles, where it is perpetually 70 degrees. I have friends that if you looked up the definition of the word in the dictionary you would find their pictures, smiling and asking, "what can I do?" My family although far away supports us in a million loving ways.

We are not hungry. We are free. We are able to live our lives without the threat of malaria or warfare, without poverty or destitution. My child has healthcare. And even though it is a major pain in the ass, we have it, and we are the lucky ones. We have a lovely apartment 100 feet from a park. We live two miles from the Pacific Ocean and ten miles from the mountains. I have two bosses. One is a writer, the other a director, and they are both the nicest guys in Hollywood. After every assignment or project they thank me profusely. My hard work is appreciated.

I struggle and somedays I have to repeat a very loving mantra so I don't strangle a certain someone, to 'live and let live, live and let live, live and let live," and later, I feel better and can go about my day because it is not my job to live anyone else's life. I am only accountable for me. And that took a long time and a lot of therapy to realize.

Tonight I went to a Kindergarten open house and met with the principal of Froggy's potential school. I told her that my kiddo has CF and asked questions about the nurse's schedule and their health policy. And at the end of our conversation she gave me that look that a lot of people give when I tell them my kid has CF, that "oh poor you" look. And I didn't want it. Defensively I said, "Froggy is totally healthy, I just want to make sure she stays that way."

There is such a fine line between pity and empathy. It's only distinguishable by moms of kids who have 'special health needs.' On one hand you want people to take your child's healthcare seriously and not say stuff like, "Oh I'm sure they'll find a cure," like "I'm sure Diet Coke will come up with a more tasty formula." But at the same time, you don't want that LOOK, that "Sweet Jesus, you're child is dying, how do you cope? I'm so glad my child is healthy, but I feel guilty, so I'm just going to stare at you with major sympathy," look. We all know that look because we know how we would look at someone had our best laid plan actually happened.

I could scream a million times a day to people who don't get it, who don't know how lucky they are, I could say, "Your kids are healthy, why, why are you bitching about how it took your Pediatrician 35 minutes before they saw you, when we are at the doctors office for 7 hours!" And I bite my tongue because I know that when I complain about our hospital or PFT's or CF stuff, someone with CF in their 20's or 30's, who has had a transplant or two, who has lived through and survived the darkest hour is saying the same thing to me, "Who cares that she spent 7 hours at the CF clinic, your kiddo can breathe. Enjoy these years. Because later, later, later?"

It is all perspective. It is all perspective. Everyday I must remind myself of this. It would be easy to say, "I'm a single mom of a kiddo with CF, my career is on hold, my husband left, my dreams are deferred, I don't know what will happen, poor me." But I'm over it.

I am so lucky. Not everyone has a Froggy. Being a single mom was not my plan. This was not my idea of "perfect" but who cares? There is no point to the what-if's. What-if's are for people who have the time to feel sorry for themselves. And I don't. My kiddo is five and then she's ten and then she's thirty. And I don't know what that will look like. I don't know how much time we have where she has the breath to swim and climb and play. So I don't have time for 'supposed to be.' Who cares. This is our life. Our life and it deserves to be lived. No matter how long. No matter how perfect. No matter. No matter.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Early Christmas in LA

Christmas in Iowa

One of her favorite presents was a Barbie and her pooping dog.

Froggy decorated the tree with kitty toys and pipe cleaners. Of course!

A very ugly ornament I made as a kid that somehow
always makes it's way to the back of the tree.

Christmas Eve.

Iowa Winter 2010 Part II.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Iowa Winter 2010 Part I.

Froggy and Cousin E-boy. Two silly peas in a pod.

I LOVE the joy on her face.