Friday, 30 January 2009

The roses holding up well, down to the last one.
My bubble wand!
And new I Pod...
Happy Chinese New Year! The year of the Ox.

You recover from an URI your way, and I’ll recover mine…

After days in bed, taking pills of all colours I was stir crazy. So
v e r y slowly this morning, I went through my routine (café, oatmeal, meditation, news – not necessarily in that order)_ and then dressed to go out. Yes, it is actually chilly in Houston, Texas – not cold, don’t kid yourself Houstonians, but too chilly (according to J. for me to do the Rice walk). My solution – the Galleria of course! Ta da!

Stopping off first of course at Anne Fontaine to say hello, just to bloody say hello to the adorable Carrie Johnson, the store manager. Upon which, she forcibly pulls me into the store, and coerced me into trying on a couple of new shirts. It was not my fault! The one shirt is so cute and fit so perfectly… what’s a girl to do? It’s all Carrie’s fault – so yes Anne Fontaine you should give her a raise. Assisted by the lovely Virginia Sanders who told me they are having a sale on make-up at Saks! Now you know when Saks has a sale they don't mess around and make-up bloody never goes on sale - unfortunately I don't need any - I hate that. They make every visit there such fun. Thank you ladies.

People were nice to me all day. I love that.

I had planned to hit the Apple store – that was not the fault of the helpful Brian with the adorable shirt about how he was there to help as Santa’s elves are busy. So Apple chalk up that purchase to helpful service and good products. My Shuffle (which I have loved, loved I tell you; and lugged all over the world) is dying – not there yet, but the gasping and “I won’t play anything but the random setting” – it’s a clue to the end people. THese photographs of the new ones are nothing like my old dependable and I thought it was small! I consider a new I Pod a health purchase. I can not exercise without it, forget it! They are so much tinier than when I bought my Shuffle, and it’s in my “signature red”. Got a handy little recorder attachment to record conversations – not for nefarious purposes Mutley – but conversation/readable dialogue is difficult to write; so this works great as a guide. That’s all…just listening in…

And then, duh – the book store: picked up the new Grisham novel, because you know you rather must, and a cute little book called One Hundred by Nina Garcia. It’s about those 100 things every woman (that would be you Dulwichmum) must have in her closet. I don’t think I go along with all 100, but I saw enough to see that I was in enough agreement to purchase the book and see what else she has to say. And the latest issue of MORE magazine with Ms. Emma Thompson on the cover looking brilliant! I love to watch her, and she can write, and she’s married to a much younger HUNK. I love a woman with talent!

By this time I was truly pooped out and that shortness of breath thing was back, so off to home I toddled to unpack, put away, and play with my new toys.

Oh, did I mention a bought a bubble wand at The Village Firefly in Rice Village – from the very nice lady Candy. He he. It’s soooo pretty. I will put up a photograph for you. I’m getting myself a bucket, making up the bubble-brew and going outside on Sunday and just make bubbles for a while – now that’s joy people. Still no word on the mammogram but you know what, I’m not going to worry over it until it’s here.


Crisps and crackers sometimes go stale…

First order of business – ohmygods the number of people losing their jobs! I feel the pain and fear that must be uppermost in their minds, and I can only hope those with the power have also the brains to turn this around. I feel fortunate that my family is so far not too affected (yes, Madoff did get me too, but not so much). I never, as you know, proselytize any religion; but I believe in prayer-intention-meditation-whatever you want to call it - it has power. I suggest we all put our considerable intentions toward a positive resolution to this problem. Come on, we are writing stuff that people read every day; we can intend a positive economy!

And I am in the United States now, which apparently means American football whether you want it or not – the Super Bowl on Sunday. Never have I seen anything that more resembles the Gladiators in the Arena in Rome! Not that I don’t enjoy a good brawl… I don't have a horse in this race but I tell you that Fitzgerald is my reason to watch - what an athlete!! Awesome!

And now – to me. The surgery (obviously since I’m here) is rescheduled. A good decision. I was a mess right up until I decided and then I became quite calm. This way resolution - the thyroid biopsy (for which I want to assure you they will give me some serious drugs or endanger their lives), the mammogram past film “should” show up today and give some definitive answers. My URI (upper respiratory infection) will be resolved, or have killed me. Shortness of breath anyone?

I did go down to MRI at Methodist and was assisted by the nicest (too cute) young man who informed me that they find it rather difficult to do an MRI on the breasts when the patient is hacking and coughing up lung tissue (ummm yes well) so we postponed that until the film comes in and the radiologist says “yes we need it.” Or “No.” (No is my vote)

Reschedule by the adorable and oh so nice Beth in Dr. Jeffrey Friedman’s office for 17 February – I’m very happy. Long enough away to get everything done, back in the gym a bit, and not so far that I think it will never happen. I sent Beth some “thank you flowers” because I think, if you can, you should when someone is so very caring and kind.

So there it stands lovely readers. 1,2,and 3: get the mammogram resolved, get the thyroid diagnosed, and get over the respiratory death. Wish me well will you? Thank you :-)


Just saw this! Go and have a laugh!

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

How bad can it be? My hair looks fabulous dahling!

It’s 0500hrs local time and I’m awake – not by choice but my hair looks good and there is the possibility of a nap later today once I finished some nasty chores. No, the mammogram isn’t here – I found out yesterday afternoon, the bloody thing has not left MA! So once again I talked, I faxed, I entreated. If we can’t get it here in time we may well just go ahead with the MRI – depending of course of whether that will be definitive for not-cancer. Crimey. The thyroid biopsy can’t be done until 12 February, so that is a non-issue as far as Friday’s surgery, unlike the mammogram. I can have that if I have already had the plastic surgery – if needed of course they would have to operate again, but….

Did you hear this on the news? A New Zealand chap that found a top secret MP3 player in a yard sale!!!! Apparently once he opened the files they revealed the names and home addresses on file of active duty personnel, along with mission plans for the U.S. Also to be found in the street markets in Iraq! Ah yes…..

Also in the line of “Quoi?” – yesterday in Germany they had Holocaust Day – uh yes, hmmmm; and in Israel they found an 1800-year-old paperweight.
It was a big day all ‘round.

And in the catching up department – we went to see “Defiance” last week and I swear to you J. and I were the youngest ones there (except sweet S. his daughter). It looked liked someone had pulled up the buses and emptied out three or four Jewish retirement homes! Ah yes the Tribes – and –me again. A very good film I thought – of course I am a fan of both Daniel Craig
and Liev Schreiber. It is based on a true story and I thought they did an excellent job of the realism – the scholar escaped to the woods trying to get a hammer and nail to coordinate – “What did you do before?”
“I was an intellectual. I had a paper… a circular…
well more like a pamphlet.”

Gramov: How come it's so fucking hard to like Jews?
Tuvia Bielski: Try being one.

And the different paths the three brothers choose to fight the same battle – go see it, you’ll be glad I think. The humour keeps the excess tissues at bay.

I had a bad day yesterday – you know this. It didn’t get better through any circumstance other than the loving attentions of my love J. and the passing presence of two young women, both delightful in their own ways.

I think once you have done all you can do to remedy a situation, you have a nice cup of tea and go have your hair done – beats a $1200,00/hour psychiatrist for me any day!

My hairdresser at Beautique in Rice Village, is a lovely young woman Raven/aka Nicole – don’t ask, it’s that whole CIA/Interpol mess. She is the rare love that when she says cheerfully, “How’s your day?” And you point out that you have cried off most of your mascara, she asked no unwanted questions, just put me in the chair and washed, coloured, conditioned, cut, and styled my hair to perfection – all with a smile enough to get me up from my funk to cause her to say, “You are so funny.” So see? It works! Thank you Nicole, ah ummm Raven. Spooks are so testy about their monikers. And that hunk, and ladies I mean a HUNK, that she has in her pocket – whew! Just the photograph was enough to steam up the air.

Then J. came home from a long day at the hospital, as well as driving way cross town (this is Texas, think of driving across the Channel) to attend a meeting with his daughter and a college counselor. I have been trying to eat (both to get prepared for the needed fuel to heal after surgery and shut people up – oh please you know who you are!) and in doing so I ate, not the left over pizza J. had brought home from Prego’s night before last, but nibbled around the edges and ate the yummy bread – apparently that rather spoils it for the chap who was planning to have it for his dinner – bad wife-type-person!

So out to dinner we went, in search of dead cow and broccoli in an attempt to jack up my bloody hgb. It was late so choices within an acceptable distance (I tell you this place is huge! Were limited. W found ourselves at Outback and had “Helena” from Midsummer Night’s Dream as our waitress, who in this reality goes by Natalie Green.

Now J. is funny people, I mean he is as sexy and sensuous as they come, but his true power over me may well be his constant and never-ending ability to dissolve me to gales of helpless laughter to the point where I can’t breathe. Our adorable Natalie who stands tall and statuesque with lovely blonde hair found him – humorous as well. “I don’t get jokes,” she said. “People tell them and I just stand there, I don’t get it.”

I sat her down beside me, as my desire to adopt her was growing, and said, “NO, love it’s not that you don’t get the joke, it’s that THEY didn’t make it funny. You got that? Use it.”

Later… J. says, “I want to tell you a joke.”
Natalie leaned against the corner of the booth with a doubtful look but was willing to give it a go.

I’m bad at jokes all right, I’m a storyteller, and I’m not good at jokes – got that? I’ll try to relate the joke to you -

“A man goes to his priest and says, “Father I have sinned. I hid a Jew in my house during the war.”
“Oh but that was an honourable act my son.”
“Well….I charged him twenty dollars (marks) a week.”
“I’m sure you had expenses, this was not an uncalled for request.”
“All right, well Father do you think I should tell him the war is over?”

Natalie: “I got it! That’s funny, I got it.”

She returned to check on us to say, “I told the joke in the back and they laughed. I did it, and they laughed.

J.: “Bunch of anti-Semites eh?”
Natalie: “huh?”

Adorable I tell you, complete candour and without any facade or pretence she is adorable. Now get this, some “weirdo” was bothering her, trying to get her to go out with him so Natalie in order to rebuff this chap told him she raises (or races) turtles and at night paints her face! She thinks this will ward off some pervert. Tell him you cook live turtles my love, that you paint your face and then yowl at the moon… I say this with all affection, she is benignly clueless to the rancour of the world and oh gods I hope she stays that way for a long time.

J.: I suppose you want me to give her a big tip.”
“Oh baby where could you pay for such sweet entertainment – and so he did!” She made it a fun and delightful evening. Yes Natalie we will return and Outback can thank you for it!


Tuesday, 27 January 2009

when your hair looks you go Sparx - "before"

I feel a bit like Tiny Tim - BEFORE CHRISTMAS!

Tissue Alert!!!!

I have a policy that I like to get all my crying done in one sit if possible so I only watch sad movies when I was planning to have a good cry anyway. Well! Being a Keria Knightly fan (in spite of Pride and Prejudice) I thought I would treat myself to a nice Saturday morning period piece, The Duchess. I expected great costumes (got that), wonderful sets (got that), good acting (Ralph Fiennes, got that), and an entertaining tale. Crying I was by the bloody middle of the film and by the end I was in sobs!

Bugger, not fair – I want a sticker attached to movies that make you cry!

Quite good enough film, do see it – but bring a handkerchief, perhaps two!

I love the simple unexpected joys, and I am grateful every time I find them: I was doing a walk/run (mostly walk right now) the Rice Track (I’m so fortunate Rice University is nearby and has a surrounding track of 2.5 miles (we are in America now, and with the distance to my house and the necessary follow up trip to Starbucks – I say I get a solid three miles (4,8 km). I was taking the run on Saturday, a lovely day if a bit brisk, and some city worker chaps were doing that never ending thing that those people do to underground pipes, and in so doing had strung one of the pipes ( five, six feet across easily) across the path; but quiet nicely I thought, had built a little sand hill over it. So I found myself doing that thing we all did as children - running up and ‘flying’ down the little hill arms outstretched, created over the pipe. Hey, you have to find joy where you can, the two huge chaps standing watching me found it pretty funny I thought! I just am in joy that we as humans are capable of that sort of little burst of happiness no matter what our brains are futzing over. It was a really nice moment.

Okay – today I’m dying. NO, that’s not it. Yesterday I was dying. Some vicious, nasty, Nazi virus/ (no, not the twin thing, but I thought that was interesting eh?) bacteria spotted me last week being all joyful and getting ready for the surgery and said, “Get her!”. I never get colds or the flu (well almost never Q)! Bad bloody timing indeed!!! Argh. Carrying about tissues with me and using them at the same rate the economy is going into the toilet, coughing up the last of my pulmonary cellular tissue. Albeit there was some fun to be had for my love and my friend yesterday when I decide to just take a pill of every colour in the treatment bag he brought over – well that’s what they were there for yes? I mean the man is a doctor! So I was a little, let’s say – loopy – for a bit; quite entertaining according to J. So the “doctor” gets me antibiotics. “But honey it’s a cold! A virus, an antibiotic won’t help a virus.”
“You need an antibiotic – all that coughing?”
Yes gents, I’m taking the antibiotics. And ladies should I get that side effect we sometimes get from taking antibiotics…. Uh hmmmm…. Not just my loss eh? Hehe, wicked wicked girl.

All right state of affairs on Tuesday: the Internist has decided that one of the nodules on the thyroid ultrasound looks “suspicious” (Bogey movie anyone?) and needs to be biopsied. Take a look at this! Yikes! I bet the only reason she’s smiling is that they gave her a shit load of drugs!!!!

MY PLAN is to do the biopsy while they have me under for the eight hours of plastic surgery; I mean I’m there, I’m asleep, just call in the chap with the bloody scary needle– sounds perfectly logical and more expeditious, and less likely for me to cold cock some poor guy holding a needle coming at my throat – you see what I mean?

Meanwhile back in the dark and dreary parts of the tale – we are still awaiting the ‘other’ mammogram for comparison and word if I need the MRI. (Woman shouting into the ether) There is nothing wrong with my breasts! They are perfectly serviceable! Arghhhhh. I tell you one thing, no matter the outcome I’m walking in that April ‘Walk for Breast Cancer Research’ they have here – something good eh? Awareness is a good thing.

The problem is TIME. He has only me booked for Friday, so I can’t wait until the last minute to say, “Ooops can’t make it, guess you’re out thousands of dollars for the day.” It’s rude.

So I may have to delay and that would not the worst thing, no it won’t. But - I have this unfounded fear that if I don’t get it done on Friday something will happen (think that bastard Madoff) and I will never get it – like a very disappointed child on Christmas morning. I’m being quite the pissy little girl aren’t I, but I have a very bad cold you know… and my nose is becoming sore.
And it’s not looking good for Friday, between the cold, coughing, sneezing, and the mammogram issue and the thyroid issue, and the fact I could use a couple of pints of blood (Mutley?) – it’s not looking good for Friday. I am sad.

J. just called and he’s voting for postponement… see the sad face on the nice redhead? ..with the sniffy nose and hacking cough…

Have I just been poopy enough? You know me, I’ll perk up any minute now (hopefully the one when I get a call saying, “we’re on!”), but if not… It could be worse eh? It could be soooooo much worse and I know that. Thank you lovely readers for letting me piss and moan. You are lovely and kind.

Updates will follow.


UPDATE: @ 1127hrs local time usa

I do feel it necessary to say that YES I do feel a bit foolish and fortunate to have the above problems when people are losing their jobs by the thousands and are frightened for their families!

I’ve had a good cry, after a logical and loving call from J. outlining what he feels is the best course and after meditating – I faced the fact that I’m frightened people. What if the thyroid nodule is cancer, what if the mammogram does show cancer? The plastic surgery won’t seem so very important eh? But how much easier has it been for me to focus on that! So I’m going to get my hair done (the women will understand) then I’m coming back, calling my doctor’s office and rescheduling the surgery. Then, oh joy, I will call the hospital and schedule the thyroid biopsy and whatever results from that and await the results of the mammogram studies and sludge about with my low blood count (grrrrr). I am not the only woman going through this – but it’s just particularly bad timing (like there is a good time?) because of my new found/re-found happiness in the love sector.

It took me a long time to make it all right with myself to do something as totally selfish as this surgery and now it’s going blooey. Then of course I made the mistake of watching a thyroid biopsy on you-tube, so now I’m really freaked! Mercy! So there it is…. FEAR.


Sunday, 25 January 2009

just in case eh?

It’s Sunday so I wasn’t going to post today but I’ve been doing something I think I will tell you all about – just to think about eh? Aside that is from the running about and list making I’m doing so that J. will not run mad taking care of me after the surgery.

Now let us all hold in mind this is happy-surgery, totally selfish, and happily so – it’s the bloody tests discoveries along the way that are being scary and a pain. But then that is how the Universe takes care of us, I would never have had my thyroid checked, or a CBC, or been in a hurry to get a mammogram – so that’s all good.

What I have been doing today is writing my “just in case” letters. No matter how good your surgeon, your anaesthesiologist, and your nurses – stuff happens. I believe you all know me well enough by now to know by fact and innuendo that I have lived a life that has included sudden death, as well as violent deaths of those close to me, and those who are fellow humans. I have learned many things from this, but most of all, to never leave things unsaid. So this morning I wrote my daughter, my best friend, and my love – letters telling them how much I love them, to take care of each other, and thanking them for their love.

Even if you are not having surgery – it’s a good idea eh? We never know. And thank you lovely readers for all your kind words and encouragement these past two years, for allowing me into your community. If all goes well the surgery is Friday and I’m just assuming (understatement) that I won’t feel like posting for a few days! But I will let you know the state of affairs as soon as I can; meanwhile take good care of yourselves, those you love, and the world.


Saturday, 24 January 2009

what we take for granted

How much do we appreciate nice people being nice, going out of their way, or just being kind? Especially when we are frazzled, worried (about something they did not do and have no power over). That happened to me today and two people were so lovely to me – let me say that people are normally lovely to me – and it’s something I appreciate every day – a lot.

I had to go BACK to the hospital (the entire time being appreciative of the fact that I am a person with insurance, in a country with excellent medical care and I CAN go to the hospital) today for the ultrasound of the thyroid and a chest x-ray and I was more afraid than I admitted to myself I think. The “C” word is scary stuff, no matter where they find it eh? Even if they are only looking for it!

There was a lady at the x-ray department who came out to tell me why there was a delay – NOT her job, but very reassuring. There was a young man who helped me jolly myself out of frustration with the cable/internet company while trying to complete the simple chore of securing my new network – while we were dealing with talking over the sound of the water-sucking device my landlord was using in the bathroom! I was laughing by the end, and told him to take the rest of the day off!

So be nice to the next cranky or worried person you encounter, and thank the next nice person to do so for you eh?

Did you hear about the “Google dip”? Apparently from the beginning to the end of the Inaugural Address by the new president we all pushed back from our keyboards to listen! An immediate spike followed. How cool is that?

Keep safe and well my lovely readers, I think about all our health these days – really take this body for granted when it’s working… I'm documenting as much as I can about my experiences as I know when we are feeling well enough (you know who you are) we put off going to the doctor. Perhaps something that happens here will help some of you.


Thursday, 22 January 2009

not making much progress

This makes my heart hurt...

and this makes me say Quoi?

Now THIS is how a chap gets lucky...

22 January 2009
HERE is what a woman loves to walk in on after two consecutive days of being prodded, poked, and given various levels of bad news from doctors; and having so many test I glow in the dark and am a quart low on blood! THIS sort of behavior will indeed elicit the words; "You are about to get soooo lucky!"

No big mystery - I've been out of the U.S. for the better part of four to five years off and on - so time to check the engines. Let me tell you - you let these chaps at you and they WILL find something they don't like. I felt fine when this started. Let me repeat, I felt fine when this started.

Nothing earth shattering - a leaky tricuspid valve, a low hgb, some wacky liver readings, and three rounds on the mammogram train. Nothing any other woman doesn't go through, but hey - it's happening to me and I have a blog. THEN they (the evil they in white coats as I have come to see them – ok not really!) took an MRI of my neck (the migraines) and found “distinct nodules on the thyroid”. Oh joy and rapture.

The valve is most likely from some sort of trauma given my ‘colourful’ past.

All of this is also in preparation and safety for surgery - no, no, the 'good' kind. Now I know there are many opinions about plastic surgery, and like religion, I think anyone gets to think what they want - me? I started my plastic surgery account when I was 32 years old. And I am soooo jazzed about it. Why? My reasons are simple – I’ve had a really good time being pretty and I think I’ve been generous with it – I’d just like ten more years before I give it up. This decision was made long before J. came back into my life, but being in love again certainly will make it sweeter. Yes ,there will be photographs.

I dithered whether to tell you, but you go through the migraines with me, so you deserve to hear about the good stuff yes? I did all the things you should do – checked out my surgeon completely, got references, and even saw an example of his work (discreetly of course). And he’s funny. I really like a surgeon with a good sense of humour. I don’t want someone wielding a knife over me who is in a foul humour.

I still have to get the hgb up – that will be a relief actually as I’ve been tired and SOB (short of breath), but just like a woman will do (you KNOW who you are), I just wrote it off to “nothing”.
For the smart sex, we can be really dumb – I would have had any friend or family member to the doctor in a shot! I think having more energy and the ability to breathe at will sounds like a winner eh?

I have nine more days before the scheduled surgery (30 January) to get all the ducks in a row. The good/bad news is that J. is a doctor and oh yes has his opinion of what has to be done about the hgb before I go under any knives. I am to schedule an ultrasound for the thyroid today but that is most likely not a big deal as there are many nodules and that makes the chance of them being cancerous much less likely. And if the worst – it is a relatively easy form of cancer to treat.

The valve isn’t leaking enough to do anything but “keep an eye on it” – oh goody that means an Echo once a year – that bloody gel is chilly!

I think they will most likely put a pint or so of blood in me and I will be good to go – cross fingers, but they are “conferring” – and there are SO MANY, and then throw J. in the mix. I feel very cared for and somewhat bullied (but in a good way :-)

The mammogram (which I am very good about yearly – normally but not so much lately) was “unclear” so they brought me back in for a digital mammogram (something new), that was “unclear” (and now my heart rate was up), and they did an ultrasound which she still doesn’t like the look of but – biggggggg “but” here – thinks it is NOT cancer. Whew, big whew. Yet still if we can’t find the little clinic I popped into in MA three years ago to have the last one (for them to compare the films) they will do an MRI (really – glow in the dark!).
So the good news is how very through they are being and that it is most likely nothing, but as I said to Dr. Friedman (my plastic surgeon) ‘It would be a damn waste to lift these girls back up where they belong just to have someone chop one of them off!’. So I am being ‘good’ and having the MRI if I can’t find that film today.

And that’s where we stand lovely readers. NO worries, the medical community here seems to be top notch and being attached to one of their own is handy I must say…but I am so very tired of bad news – so I’m postulating some good news over the next few days. Cross your fingers and toes for me eh?

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

A day of hope..

I am put in mind this morning one of my favourite films, “Amazing Grace” – oh if you have not seen it, please do – and if you have school age children, pop the corn, line them up, sit them down, and watch it with them.

I have no idea what sort of job Mr. Obama will do but I hope it’s splendid, for America and the rest of the world. I think the main thing for me today is - I am proud of the country in which I was born, and the planet, and we humans in general. Two days ago I saw “Defiance” (another good one) that pointed out both the depravity that we humans are capable of, and the simple heroism of reaching out your hand to the person standing next to you in kindness, that we humans can manage in the most dire of straits.

I know you hear a lot of the “bad” news here – because it offends me and I think the least I can do is be mad and tell a few people who can tell a few people… But today I am full of hope – yes, James we all know I’m the eternal optimist, but I choose that role, I do not fall into it unknowingly.

Therefore today I will hope - for me, my family, my country, your family, your country, and our very, very, small planet. I will hope.

Friday, 16 January 2009

moving, albeit slowly

I have been away having a rather sever migraine - ug - but I'm back. I shall attempt a post later today.

Monday, 12 January 2009

Grief and Gratitude

12 January 2009-01-11

Keeping my New Year’s pledge to myself - I’m here. I’m pooped, but I’m here. And I’m grateful really to be tired – that’s what I wish to speak about briefly, gratitude.

I’m sure you, as have I, have seen the news that the actor John Travolta recently lost his son. Now he is not the only parent this week, this month, that day even – to lose his child – but his is a public grief that reminds me of my blessings.

My child is healthy. My child is alive.

I have migraines. They interrupt my life with what seems like unbearable pain and they make me undependable to the people I love and who love me. But – I get better. I could go to the gym today. I did errands until I just couldn’t anymore, but I could do them.

My child loves me. Recently another love has returned to my life in what is nothing less than a miraculous story (as soon as I can Annie!). I have friends who are all relatively healthy and happy and who enrich my life.

I have joy. I have joy every day – in breathing, in loving, in walking, in existing. I am aware that there is more to the Universe than the physical world that I can see and touch. I am so grateful that I know that there is so much that I don’t know, still so much for me to discover. Books to read, plays to see, symphonies to hear, babies to hug.

We saw a lot of babies in New York City and I decided that every time a baby laughs it enhances the Universe, it cleans the air, it spreads joy. So go out and find a baby to smile at.


Friday, 9 January 2009


The flight went well. We made it home alive - always a good thing. I'm not dead yet, but today it feels really close. Not to worry, we know I'm stronger than you-know-what.

I've still loads to share - back with you soon.


Thursday, 8 January 2009

up up and away - again

WE are up and packed and now being thankful there is a Starbucks nearby! WE leave for the airport in twenty minutes or so - details of all the in-between tomorrow.


Wednesday, 7 January 2009

THe good, the bad, and the ugly...

7 January 2009

Impossible to not love a man who not only insist that you spend the day after all the museums were closed going to the museum but says, “Have you ever been to the Frick? I think you would like it.”

And off we set – backing up a bit, I mean how much detail do you want? The routine goes that I rise at 0730 hrs. (habit) while J. sleeps in, room service has my coffee and water at the door. I wake up, put on my face, and write my blog while he sleeps in. Once he is up and out of the shower the day outside begins…

I’m a big walker, we know this yes? From Paris, Rabat, Fez, etc.? I turn down a cab every chance I get and yesterday was perfect (albeit a tad on the f…ing freezing side) weather for walking. We made our way over to the East Side where apparently it is just too, too ‘common’ to drink (dare I say it?) Starbucks. We finally found a lovely little café for which I cannot remember the name! I googled for you, but no joy. It’s on east 71st and 3erd – great latté and the cutest babies you have ever seen! I made buddies with one small chap who was obviously in the throes of teething and found my fan fascinating. I ended up opening and closing the bloody thing about twenty times just to see him grin! Once fortified with caffeine we headed back toward Central Park to The Frick on1 East 70th Street.

The setting is a lovely old mansion that apparently Mr. Frick informed the architect, “Just make that place of Carnegie’s look like shack.” Um, yes… well. I purchased a book about the history of the place and when I get back home I shall fill you in further. They had some lovely Boucher paintings, quite a few Vermeer’s, several Whistler’s – one in particular “Harmony in Pink and Grey: Portrait of Lady Meux, 1881 – 82”. She is so striking that I’m determined to do a bit of research to see what I can find out about her – something in her carriage… As well I was struck by a whimsical piece by Jean-Baptiste Greuze, “The Wool Winder”. And there was another by Vermeer, “The Solider and the Girl” that had the face of the young girl so animated. It was charming and unusual I thought.

The house itself is stunning and contains an old pipe organ, one of the largest, and it has a built in sound system of the day that allowed the music to be heard throughout the house. Apparently Mr. Frick would hire the musician who had his own special room in the house to play for parties.

There were two Rembrandts I have never seen, as well as many by Mr. Gainsborough. I found the Bronze exhibit downstairs disappointing, but then that’s just not my cup of tea. We were struck by the disappointing size of the ….equipment of the Satyrs – I mean considering their reputations; albeit one did have his manhood encased in silver – I found that impressive.

Have I mentioned that all of Manhattan inside is bloody hot and overheated during winter. Apparently there is some “the water runs and the heat is set and the….” That prevents adjustments… Argh – layers people, layers. We had some lovely snow flurries on our walk over to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I was not going to put J. through any more museum walk since he had been so gracious but I did want to share with him the wonderful tearoom where Q and I used to have afternoon tea.

DRASTIC DISAPPOINTMENT!! Ug, yuk, crap, and oh my! They have apparently moved the location from the lovely huge airy room where it was formerly located to what is now what any museum restaurant looks like, and high tea? High tea? Not! The scones were COLD, and stale! There were no separate spoons for the jams, butter, crèmes, or tea! The sandwiches while tolerable were limited in number and variety. The tea was in BAGS! And only ONE! When asked if I would like more tea, the Philistine simply added water to the poor tepid weak concoction! Shudder!

And at such a cost! Ordinarily one has to pay the forty-dollar entrance fee, which a lovely older gentleman at the desk waived, for me, and then FIFTY dollars for the horrid excuse for tea. I was mortified. Please, go to the Plaza.

We walked back to the hotel, which I loved – J. was insisting on a cab so that I not get overtired before the night’s play but it’s so fun to walk…

Ah yes, the night’s play… We went to see “The American Plan” at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre with Mercedes Ruehl (our main reason for going) and Lily Rabe (whom I recognized from my one television addiction “Law and Order”). The play was written by Richard Greenberg and directed by David Grindley. What can I tell you? DON’T GO. Well yes, that would be first. It is a play about nothing that leaves you so stunned at the end you spend thirty minutes trying to discern some meaning or purpose – trust me, there is none.

Ms. Ruehl was fascinating and her presence on the stage was grand to watch. Young Ms. Rabe did a very good job with the material she was given. But oh my, just so very bad. Really – don’t’ go.

We came straight back to the hotel because I feared a migraine was stalking me. We had a lovely room service dinner – this hotel has the most consistently fast room service I have ever seen! And I was early to bed, under orders. When I woke this morning however, I fear that cold that J. lost last week found me. At present only an annoyance.

We have a matinee today and a fancy dinner planned for the evening. Details tomorrow. I hope your 2009 is going well.


Tuesday, 6 January 2009

no museum day for me - however...

6 January 2009

What a day….
I woke yesterday to discover the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Frick were CLOSED ON MONDAY. Oh how my face fell! J. was sleeping soundly and I saw no reason to wake him and share my disappointment so I headed out for a walk in search of Starbucks café and a bookstore (always a comfort). I didn’t make it, but I did run right into the Met’s souvenir shop and bought seasonal cards for next year at 75% off – my day was getting better!

Just then J. called from the hotel to say he was awake and going into the shower. I returned to fetch him and we found the bookstore complete with Starbucks café. I found the New York City Mole Book I had been looking for unsuccessfully in Houston and we bought a neat paperback with walks of New York City.

We took ourselves uptown to Central Park, the ice skating rink (watching some little ones take lessons) and up to the long Mall Walk. As our toes began to get a little frosty we headed toward Tavern on the Green where they had just finished up for lunch and dinner would not start until five – but they set us up with a lovely table in the back overlooking the restaurant and it’s holiday decorations and plied us with drinks until dinner time.

We had the most marvelous dead cow for J. and salmon for me – along with liberal glasses of eggnog and brandy. My desert (more in the way of a gift really at forty dollars a glass!) was a delectable glass of Glenlivit finest Highland Malt Whisky that was about as old as I am! Whoa! My mouth could not believe it’s good fortune.

We returned home, played in the bath, watched the end of the University of Texas game, and had other adventures. By the time I laid head to pillow I had forgotten all about my disappointment over the closed museums.

Monday, 5 January 2009

What a wickedly wonderful day!

5 January 2009

Where do I begin? The beginning? Fine.

I believe I had mentioned to you that I was less than thrilled with our room and service at the Omni Berkshire in New York City – it came to a point that I had a list! I stopped by the desk on our way out (J. found himself a comfortable chair and looked cute and uncomplaining) while I asked for the manager. I was halfway through my list when I threw in some humour and we were comped an immediate upgrade. Yes, jmb as you and I have discussed, being nice goes a long way.

We left the hotel for a walkabout to the nearest Starbucks (yes we are both addicts, me more than he I admit); I was force-fed some yogurt and we headed for the Gershwin Theatre to see “Wicked”. It was sold out, has been for some time I understand, and J. paid an exorbitant amount for center third row seats – just for me. Isn’t love grand? And it was brilliant! Brilliant! Grand, huge, spectacular, and an ocean of colour and sound to dazzle the eyes and ears. Wow! Music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz, and book by Winine Holzman based on the novel by Gregory Maquire that I admit I could not get through.

I wanted to like it. I did, but I could not. I’m thrilled to tell you that not liking the book had no discernible influence on my total enjoyment of the musical.

Now for the “awwwww” part of my day. Last month I bought a new pair of shoes. You know me; always books over shoes but these were red patent leather Cole Hahn heels with straps, and ON SALE! Too much to resist yes? Yes! They are sooooo pretty. I love them. And yes, jmb I did bring my camera, but I forgot my recharger and connections for the laptop (hanging my head in shame). I will have a photograph for you when I return home, for now take my word for it.

On our way to the theatre we took a walk through Central Park to watch the skaters on the lake. I heard – “Tell her honey.”

I looked down into a pair of gorgeous green eyes set in the face of a pixie. “I like your red shoes.”

I squatted down to her level and took her hand, “Thank you so much. These are my favourite shoes so I am so pleased that you like them. My name is C.”

“Tell her your name honey,” urged the sweet mother.

“My name is Isabella.”

“Isabella it is a pleasure to meet you, and thank you for the nicest part of my day.” And the lovely family of three walked away and we headed for the lake with my grin spreading ear to ear and my heart full.

Arriving at the theatre I was sitting on a cushioned bench awaiting J. who had gone for a drink when a nicely dressed gentleman said, “Look Mattie she’s wearing the ruby slippers!”

I swear to you when I wore the shoes to the play it was merely because I love my new shoes – the significance did not, albeit it should have, occurred to me -but what fun!

We returned to the hotel and moved (all right I did it while J. went out for Starbucks – he does not like to move and I do). The upgrade is quite lovely, much larger with nicer amenities and later in the evening the management sent along a nice complementary bottle of wine.

We had time to catch the last quarter of the playoff game, and ordered room service for a nice dinner in bed. A great day all in all. What a lucky girl am I? And I know and appreciate it. Boy, just think what the rest of the year may bring!

Sunday, 4 January 2009

and on we go...

4 January 2009

Up and at it again, no bloody migraine is keeping me from enjoying my trip any more than I can help it! Grrr….

Yesterday. for me was sleep and drugs but J. went to our afternoon play and was raving about it. He enjoyed it so much he is thinking of ditching our tickets for Tuesday night in an attempt to go again so I can see it. “The Cripple of Inishmann” by Martin McDonagh. J. has seen two other of his plays that he says were just as fine. This one is filled with an almost totality of Irish actors for the cast, adding to the pleasure of the dialogue. It is a “black comedy” so you have to enjoy that sort of humour and sad sweetness, but it is done so well as to bring both a tear and a smile. I can’t wait to see it!

Now let me tell you about a couple of incidents that I did not have time for earlier…

At “All my Sons” the very best part was that before the play began J. spotted Alan Rickman at the bar. Now S. (J’s daughter) is a HUGE fan. So he took courage and playbill in hand and approached him for an autograph for S. I cannot tell you how gracious Mr. Rickman was! I love it when that happens. I enjoyed his acting before, now I shall like it even better I think. Well done Mr. Rickman.

However – da da de dum… while waiting the interval between “Jersey Boys” and “All my Sons” we happened upon the Marriot in Times Square. A national hotel chain yes? Normalcy yes? Not! It was so surreal, like a time loop from the “Twilight Zone” (the old series). The first seven floors were mostly barren of normal lobby décor and filled with tourists and some hometown folk without abodes with heat I believe sitting and lounging about. We went up the seventh floor where there was a restaurant promised – weeelllll – not exactly. It was more an area where people (as had we) had frequented the nearby Starbucks, brought in the café’ and just sat down! It was a bar, no really it was – but no bar tenders or waitresses. There was a small area to our rear that had tables with those screens on them that you can order from and several people were frantically pushing the screen without results. Over to the right behind a fence of some ilk there did appear people at tables with food, but again no servers. From whence had the food come? And as we sat and speculated and laughed, a sound began – it was all around us, from every side, soft and harsh – the sound of chairs – dare I say it – having flatus! I’m not kidding you that is bloody well what it sounded like! We collapsed into a pile of giggling sillies and enjoyed our coffee and left!

We are staying at the Omni Berkshire Hotel of 52nd street – a wonderful location but I am yet to be thrilled by the hotel. The rooms are more on the size of Europe and the temperature control in the room is rather dependant on opening and closing the windows! The bed rattles and shakes (oh stop thinking naughty – no, go ahead) with any physical activity and the armoire is too small for two people here for a week’s stay. I will say the delivery of early morning café and paper (free) goes some way to alleviate my disappointment. I did have to request extra pillows twice and I was not thrilled with the clean up job – yes I am visiting the manager today. Well now, you know that I always write notes and in the Blog about good service, so…

Speaking of people who should be threatened with sticky things on their chairs for life – there was a huge woman behind us at “Jersey Boys” who would not stop talking DURINGT THE PERFORMACE! I took all I could and then turned and gave her my best ‘mother’ “Shush!”. She did quiet right down, I say smugly. And there was an older gentleman who not only did not turn off his cell phone but answered it DURING THE PERFROMANCE! That was more funny than annoying I must say.

The Fireside Restaurant next to the hotel is quite good and we had their yummies for room service last night because someone didn’t want to risk my getting out of bed. Yes, “someone” is rather lovely. (patience, patience – when I get back home).

So there it stands lovely readers. WE have a matinee today, and are going to walk about the city because I feel great! Huzzah. And tonight? Tonight of course you silly are the American football playoffs! Grin. Grin.


Saturday, 3 January 2009

quick update

WE saw "Jersey Boys" yesterdeay afternooon and it was BRILLIANT!!! WE had a wonderfulo dinner . We were taken aback at first by its appearance (a bit gaudy) but it was wonderful. And then I got slammed with a migraine. I made half way through "All my Sons" , which was not awful, when I was forced to leave. I spent today in bed - yuk.

could be worse, could always be worse...

Friday, 2 January 2009

The first night in New York City

2 January 2009

Good News/Bad News

I like the bad news first myself – gets it out of the way you know? And that would be “Dividing the Estate” at the Booth theater in New York City. Written by Horton Foote of such fame as the play “To Kill a Mockingbird” and two Oscars has a real dud here. Our conclusion was that he wrote and pushed onto Broadway (at Broadway prices!) a vehicle for his daughter, Hallie Foote who, at least in this production was shrill, unbelievable, and annoying. We were in sharp disagreement with the New York Times obviously.

It was the Booth Theatre and quite frankly it may well be that the assassination was easier to watch! The characters had the depth of a cookie tin and the dialogue was to put it kindly stiff-stilted-moronic-and trite. As I attended the play with an actual Texan I can tell you the play revealed nothing of the people or the culture of that fascinating state.

Normally I’m the one who is the annoying optimist, the one to look under every trashcan for the bright side – but I was anxious for the play to end! So I could leave! This is not a good sign. The drawing card that proved so disappointing was the billing of Elizabeth Ashley, who deigned not to appear; and Gerald McRaney who could not overcome the drab dialogue or the pointless story.

The one bright moment was a young actress who appeared at the very end for too short a time to lend a bright light to a drab stage – Virginia Kull, played a white trash waitress and was a funny moment in an otherwise dirge of a play that was billed as a comedy.

Now for the good news! New York City is still all dressed up in its holiday finery and we had a wonderful meal in the hotel restaurant (a nice surprise) after the play and the weather is winter wonderful freezing! Huzzzah!

I must get to the gym as we have two plays scheduled for today – but more later on the surreal experience we had before the play looking for a bite to eat! Twilight Zone stuff I promise you.

Thursday, 1 January 2009

up, up, and away...

It's 0530 hours where I sit. I'm off to the airport soon (oh joy and rapture) to wing to the "Big Apple", New York City for a week of seeing shows, the museum, and dinner with Q ( the new son can't make it, laboring away at medical school - face glows with pride).

Should be lots to share. Yes, jmb and my friend in Italy - I'm taking the camera! Honestly you two!

Happy day to all!