Saturday, August 31, 2013

LARB, Heather McHugh, Jeneva Stone and Getting through a Saturday

Heather McHugh, Butchart Gardens, Victoria, Canada 2013

Imagination makes me large. The constraints of duty make me small.

Jeneva Stone

This morning, the telephone rang too early and the voice of my Saturday caregiver gave me the death knell words that she wouldn't be able to come in today to take care of Sophie. I confess to irritation. I confess to snapping. I confess to internal dramatics -- the I can't go on and I hate my life and This is only the beginning -- before I pulled myself together and got out of bed with a big, grandmotherly sigh (Pray that I die, my Italian grandmother used to mutter, while fingering her rosary beads. Pray that I die). When I later opened my email and saw that my friend, the great caregiver and writer Jeneva Burroughs Stone, had an essay published in the Los Angeles Review of Booksand that this essay was a tribute to Heather McHugh, the extraordinary poet who gifted me with my recent respite week in Victoria -- well -- I took it as a sign. While my literal week away in Canada, when I was taken care of with exquisite attention to detail  -- good food, beautiful nature, the ocean, cultural excursions, solitude, real rest and sleep, massage, baths, brilliant conversation, (the only thing lacking, sex) -- is receding, the memory of it is clear, and that clarity is a glass door that leads to possibility. Because of Heather and Caregifted, I now know that respite and the concomitant return to my self is possible, my self is indeed intact. That glass door might be closed to me today, and I might walk around fingering my rosary, pray that I die, but I can certainly look through it. I'm also going to make a peach pie.

Read Jeneva's essay here.

Friday, August 30, 2013

The Extreme Parenting Video Project One Year Anniversary!

In case you missed it last year, it's the one year anniversary of The Extreme Parenting Video Project that I initiated a few years ago and that my dear friend Phil Konya helped me to put together. Thank you so much for viewing the video and for sharing it -- so far nearly 33,000 people have done so!

For those of you who are new readers, I put out a call to parents of children and young adults with disabilities or differences to tell me what they would tell themselves on the day their child was diagnosed or when they learned of their child's disability or illness. I got back beautiful testaments of strength and resilience, humor and love. Turn up the volume and read what they said, admire their beautiful faces and just let yourself go.

Seamus Heaney

Sunset in the rear view mirror
photographer: Oliver B.

One of my favorite poets, and certainly my favorite living poet, Seamus Heaney, died today at the age of 74. Earlier in the week, I posted his poem Fosterling on my birthday, and today while listening to NPR's brief eulogy, I listened to him read from it. Here's the link:

Here's another of my favorites, an excerpt from a larger work, that lies underneath the glass top of my desk, a source of constant inspiration. It has always spoken to me about politics and beliefs, about non-violence and human beauty and tragedy, but it's deeply personal as well, speaking to me of disability, illness, cures and miracles and everything deeply human.

Thank you, Mr. Heaney.

from The Cure at Troy

Human beings suffer,
They torture one another,
They get hurt and get hard.
No poem or play or son
Can fully right a wrong
Inflicted or endured.

The innocent in gaols
Beat on their bars together.
A hunger-striker's father
Stands in the graveyard dumb.
The police widow in veils
Faints at the funeral home.

History says, Don't hope
On this side of the grave.
But then, once in a lifetime
The longed-for tidal wave
Of justice can rise up,
And hope and history rhyme.

So hope for a great sea-change
On the far side of revenge.
Believe that a further shore
Is reachable from here.
Believe in miracles
And cures and healing wells.

Call miracle self-healing:
The utter self-revealing
Double-take of feeling.
If there's fire on the mountain
Or lightning and storm
And a god speaks from the sky

That means someone is hearing
The outcry and the birth-cry
Of new life at its term.
It means once in a lifetime
That justice can rise up
And hope and history rhyme.

Thursday, August 29, 2013


(this speaks to me)

Have you read any of these?

I can't do this anymore

When Sophie's teacher calls and tells me that the speech pathologist, Mr. Red Who is Purple, is not going to recommend that Sophie continue receiving AAC services, I say What? but I think I can't do this anymore. There's a tightrope, a line, a balancing act, a cliche, and then there's I can't do this anymore. I spent much of yesterday sunk deep in my articulate thoughts, I can't do this anymore a banner overarching bullets of clarity. Oliver slept with me last night, his heart sick over our friends' moving away. When I got out of bed this morning, he was lying asleep on his back, his head turned to the side, chin up, his arm thrust out straight like a fencer, prepared. And when I hugged Henry before he walked away to catch his ride to school, I closed the door, and the sun muscled through.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Greatest American Moment in American History

I'm a firmly middle-aged white woman living in southern California, born fifty years and one day ago, the one day, today, that the great Martin Luther King stood up in front of the Lincoln Memorial and let loose one of, if not the most, amazing speeches in the history of my country. I listened to the speech today while I folded clothes warm from the laundry. The hair on my white arms rose, tears pricked at my eyes, I wondered again at the preternatural magic that man possessed, how he wove history, the present and the future into words -- that glorious cadence of his oratory. As sabers rattle and metal machines lie in wait to drop bombs, yet again, in desolate places across the globe, I wonder, too, whether the words he spoke of, that dream, will ever be realized fully, whether the principles of nonviolence will ever take utterly and completely. I know better. They will not. But I know that I will take those principles into my own heart and teach them to my children and hope that by so doing we will be that many more added to the peacemakers.

Here's the speech:

And here's an excellent article for those of you, like me, who struggle with so-called patriotism and honoring soldiers and killing and dying for liberty. 

It's also for those of you who don't understand people like me.

No, thanks: Stop saying "support the troops."

A Good Lord Birthday Food Blog

Last night, I had dinner with D, one of my oldest friends, and my oldest son, Henry. I've known D now for thirty years, and no one currently makes me laugh harder. You will never see a photo of D either, because that's how he rolls, and since I love him to death -- well -- I'm banking he'll always be with me in some form or another anyway, so who needs a photo? In any case, he's got the body of a god and the face of an intellectual which is just about perfect (even if he does put on his trousers backwards sometimes) and I hope he's reading this. We went to a new restaurant in West Hollywood called Connie and Ted's that we could only get a reservation for at 5:15 (perfect when you're beginning the next half century and might need to segue into the early bird special time earlier rather than later). We ate an assortment of raw oysters first.

Good lord, they were icy cold, salty and perfect.

 Next, came a trio of chowda samplers: Manhattan, Boston and Rhode Island. Good lord, each was better than the next. The Boston tasted like it had a stick of the finest butter on the planet melted into it, and the Rhode Island made me remember when I was twenty years old (thirty years ago!) and spent the summer in Newport with ten of my college girlfriends. We ate a lot of chowdah that summer, hung out on the docks with America's Cup sailors, fell into and out of love -- but I digress.

That's what good food does, I think.

My main course was Mediterranean mussels and clams with little bricks of buttery, spicy toast.

Good lord, it was hearty:

Henry ordered fried clams. He said that they were perfect.

Good lord, they were:

I had a slice of peach pie for dessert, blew out a candle after making a wish, and laughed uproariously because D kept teasing me about my encroaching age-related daffiness. The sentence I need a birthday candle plate, pronto!, yelled in my old waiter voice will become part of D's and my stored collection of mutual mockery until the day we drop dead with no pain whatsoever.

Good lord, I hope my wish comes true:

We drove home in a seafood haze, blasting Eva Cassidy singing Lennon's Imagine (and you must listen to that if you want to feel like the troubles of the world have disappeared and what is left is warm and hysterically funny and fifty years are ahead of you, the same, light, wistful, filled up) as the golden light of Los Angeles softened into the sultry air.

Good lord, I'm blessed.

Thank you, D.

P.S. I'm still shopping around for tattoo artists, so nothing to show you, yet!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013


It's been a good fifty years. If I live to be one hundred, which I hope to do, I'm only halfway through!


'That heavy greenness fostered by water'

At school I loved one picture's heavy greenness --
Horizons rigged with windmills' arms and sails.
The millhouses' still outlines. Their in-placeness
Still more in place when mirrored in canals.
I can't remember never having known
The immanent hydraulics of a land
Of glar and glit and floods at dailigone.
My silting hope. My lowlands of the mind.

Heaviness of being. And poetry
Sluggish in the doldrums of what happens.
Me waiting until I was nearly fifty
To credit marvels. Like the tree-clock of tin cans
The tinkers made. So long for air to brighten,
Time to be dazzled and the heart to lighten.

Seamus Heaney, from Seeing Things

Monday, August 26, 2013

One Night Dream

Those two girls (because we decided we prefer the term to ladies) came to my house yesterday afternoon, picked me up and drove me down to Manhattan Beach. We checked into a swanky hipster hotel with a rooftop jacuzzi.

We sat there for a few hours, drinking champagne and then beer and nibbling on calamari. When the sun started going down we went back to our room and changed for dinner. Here's our room:

Can you believe?

We walked into town and down charming little beach streets.

Although a tad on the precious side, here's the house I chose to buy for my alternative life:

We walked down to the beach and then along the beach until the sun set:

Then we walked back up to a wonderful restaurant, were seated and champagne was presented, a bottle of Dom Perignon from a friend who couldn't be there. The view of the ocean was spectacular:

We ate mussels and french fries, burrata and heirloom tomatoes, and I had wild sea bass for a main course. We drank champagne and had tiny sugared donut holes dipped in butter and jam for dessert. We then walked -- or rolled -- back to the hotel. The girls got into bed, and I took a bath. I think you need to see a photo of that, right?


Seriously, though, that bath was awesome. I sprinkled in some bath salts and waited for the tub to fill up. You can't see it in the photo, but the tub was rigged for what the hipsters called Chromotherapy.  Evidently the pulsating lights -- both in the tub and overhead -- triggered certain feelings. Pink for romance, blue for tranquility, yellow for creativity, green for whatever, red for passion.We got a kick out of it -- at one point I slid the panel open and peered out at my friends who were reading in that bed. I told them that I was feeling POWER (that was the purple light). I settled for blue and relaxed for nearly an hour.

This morning, we woke up, ate a small breakfast and then I went PADDLEBOARDING! The instructor was about as cute as I could have imagined -- a dark-haired, dark-skinned surfer boy -- and he patiently instructed us (mainly me, because I'd never done it) on how to kneel, paddle a bit and then stand up. The first time I stood up, I kind of freaked out a little bit and had to go back to the kneeling position, but when we paddled out to a glassier area, he made me stand up and from then on to the end of the hour, I DID IT! There were sea lions barking and moaning on the buoys, we saw sting rays below us, the sky was hazy and peaceful, and I did it. Despite my feet going numb, I felt good and think I might be hooked to do it again. I wish I had a photo to show you, but then again, maybe I'm glad that I don't. I'd prefer you think of me looking like this:

I'm back home, rested, relaxed and energized. I'm still 49 years old but very much looking forward to being 50.

Next, mermaid tattoo?

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Guess Where I'm Going Tomorrow

Hint here.



Last night I played cards again with a group of friends. I'm not a card player, and I have no strategy, but I'm lucky and I won. I drank bourbon on the rocks, two times, and I laughed my troubles away. Some players have edges even at a round table. I'm all curves. She's going down, is what they say right before you show your hand. If I could blush, I would, I said, my face pale hot. Later, someone said That's the last time I play with someone who doesn't play cards. I held my cards over my mouth, kept my secrets.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Saturday Night West Coast Re-Post: Continuing the Dialogue about Mindfulness

So, today I drove to Santa Monica with my friend Shannon to listen to the great Buddhist psychotherapist, Dr. Mark Epstein. I imagine many of you know his books -- there's Going to Pieces Without Falling Apart and there's Psychotherapy without the Self: A Buddhist Perspective, and also Thoughts Without a Thinker. His new book is called The Trauma of Everyday Life. After being introduced by the equally great Jack Kornfield, Epstein read many passages from his new book, told us stories and led us in a 10 minute sitting meditation that included turning ON our cell phones and then listening throughout those ten minutes. Mindful listening to the beeps and whirs and pings and rings from hundreds of people's cell phones was incredibly interesting and, at least for me, hilarious. It made me realize, again, that we are not our thoughts, that the values and judgments we impose on circumstances are just that: impositions. I'm not sure that I articulated that in the best way -- what struck me is that while we normally are highly irritated when we hear cell phones go off in quiet rooms, looking at them as intrusive, when instructed to do so, to just listen and almost welcome the sounds, the experience became light, easy, even funny.

So where's the re-post? I thought the following post from almost exactly a  year ago, that I found when I searched the blog for Mark Epstein, was perfect to post here, especially in light of the comment exchange that we had here the other day with a fellow blogger who wondered how some people "cope" better than others. I still maintain that "coping" -- particularly with trauma -- is not something done "well" or "better" than others, but that the practice of mindfulness meditation is profound and life-changing.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


What arises in our experience is much less important than how we relate to what arises in our experience.
                               Mark Epstein 

I'm not sure I've ever written about the first mindfulness meditation class that I took about fourteen years ago when Henry was a newborn baby and Sophie, a screaming for unknown reason three year old with uncontrolled seizures. I look back on many phases of my life since my children were born and wonder how in the hell I got through them, but here I am. Through them and sort of, kind of, prepared for the next phase.

One of the things that helped me most, that didn't just help me, actually, but transformed me was a class called Mindfulness Meditation for Stress Reduction. Each week, I traveled to the deep, dark San Fernando Valley for a three hour class with a group of people whose problems included chronic pain, depression, severe illness, trauma and post-traumatic stress syndrome. We were taught the basics of mindfulness meditation and the practice of sitting, as well as the benefits of utilizing the principles throughout one's daily life.

I'm not a master at meditation, but I know that the practice enables me to cope in far better ways than the frantic pleading and praying I did previously. For me, there had been so much dread in the practice of a religion with no resonance, and when I began to meditate, I finally found a bit of the peace and connection with divine love that I had only read about. More importantly, though, the practice of meditation helps me to deal with nearly everything difficult and challenging -- it doesn't make anything not difficult or challenging, but  somehow, almost by stealth, the seemingly impossible becomes possible.

Saturday with Van


and this

sweet thing ---

When the flakes settle

Like the archer straightening his arrow and perfecting his aim, the practitioner of meditation straightens out the mind while aiming his or her attentional energy at its object. Learning to drop what we’re doing, however momentarily, and to genuinely pay attention in the present moment, without attachment or bias, helps us become clear, just as a snow globe becomes clear when we stop shaking it and its flakes settle.
Lama Surya Das 

Friday, August 23, 2013

Life Lived By Sayings on Beads on Your Bracelet

I figure it's just as good a place as any to get your wisdom and a hell of a lot better than those silly blocks of wood with words to live by that are everywhere, now.

Reader, what are you living your life by today?

Medical Marijuana Recap: Part 6,213,894

Sophie, 2006

I keep getting emails, letters and texts from people wondering where we are on the Medical Marijuana Quest, so I thought I'd do another recap. I'll do it all official-like with bullets and save one for the end for myself.

  • California's laws are quite lenient regarding medical marijuana. It's ridiculously easy to acquire a "card," and I've done so.
  • It's ridiculously easy to go into any number of medical marijuana stores that pepper our streets, for good or bad, and purchase whatever type strain of weed you desire with the EXCEPTION of the very high CBD to THC kind that people with severe seizures are finding helpful
  • This particular kind has several names (the most "known" right now due to the recent publicity is called Charlotte's Web) but it is currently not available in California as far as I know
  • I repeat: The particular high ratio of CBD/THC is not readily available in California.
  • Charlotte's Web is available in Colorado, but you must move there, establish residency, apply for a medical marijuana card, get two or three doctors to sign off on it, and then get on a waiting list for Charlotte's Web
  • I am not planning on moving to Colorado for various reasons, including the most important: I have faith that California will soon have the right weed for Sophie and that it'll be available here. My faith is not religious but based on the forays I've made over the last few weeks.
  • I am on a waiting list that an industrious Californian is compiling as he works toward getting the stuff grown and made here.
  • I have learned that not just any high CBD/THC tincture you can get is worth trying. It must be tested by a reliable lab and be free of pesticides and fungicides.
  • The above bullet is one of the reasons that it's a travesty we don't have regulation of medical marijuana given its efficacy in treating a myriad of diseases and conditions.
  • I am extremely resentful that if you are a seventy year old male and can't have an easy erection, you can go to your doctor and get a prescription for Viagra, but I can't get a tincture of CBD for Sophie without moving to Colorado.
  • I find it repellent that I have given Sophie massive quantities of lethal barbiturates and other controlled substances over the last eighteen years that have done absolutely nothing for her seizures but am finding it so very difficult to at least give this apparently benign treatment a chance.
  • Not to mention the tortured thought of what might have been if the stuff works, and Sophie gets some relief.
  • Despite the many offers, you will probably not be able to find the stuff we need any time soon nor will any of your friends. While I appreciate the offers to ask a friend, mail you what I can find, etc., you would be better off working in your own states to help remedy current draconian drug laws.
  • That being said, I have a couple of friends who have volunteered to be my personal assistants/sherpas, and the work they're doing on my behalf will leave me happily indebted for all eternity. Thank you, MB and S.
  • That's a bullet for me.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

A Rambling Post on Sex, Seizures, Medical Marijuana, High School, Dyslexia, Driving and Death

I think I might have stunned everyone, including myself, into silence with yesterday's post. Musing on sex, marriage and relationships just isn't included in my subtitle, and while there were a whole lot of readers, there were very few comments. Just so you know, it might have been true and it might have been fiction. David Sedaris calls it "realish."

Today, I've been driving all over the dang city -- down to Long Beach for Part II of Oliver's foray into the Irlen Method. What you see above is Oliver trying out different colored screens that will be fitted over clear lenses and will, hopefully, help him to read and address some of his learning problems. I nearly teared up at one point when he began reading quite fluently from the text in front of him. He was the happiest I've seen him in a long time, and we both have high hopes that this school year will be much improved. He picked out a badass pair of Ray Bans that will be fitted with the colored lenses, and as soon as we get them, I'll take a photo and show ya'll the new O. I might even assign him the remainder of War and Peace that I never got to before my fiftieth birthday.

On another note, Henry has enjoyed his first four days of high school, and when I drove up to the school to pick up the carpool this afternoon for the first time, I was struck by so much youthful beauty parading around the campus that it was nearly blinding. The girls all seemed impossibly long and smooth-legged, the boys wide-shouldered and ridiculously handsome. It was 100 degrees in the valley today, and by all appearances, high school is smokin' hot as they say. I don't know what the hell has happened since I was in high school, but I do not remember this at all.

Sophie has been home for a couple of days with a bad cold and cough. She had so many seizures the other day, before she showed symptoms of the cold, that I wondered if her relatively useless medications (Vimpat and Onfi) had completely plateaued and were now utterly useless. I also wondered if it was the Blue Moon, and then I wondered if it was the beginning of the end, and then I spent a fair amount of time irritated that I'm no closer to getting and trying the high CBD tincture of medical marijuana which leads me to truly dark and despairing thoughts that, after having had them off and on for nearly twenty years, causes me to completely dissociate from any emotion attached to dying, death. Does that make sense?

How do we do it? We just do.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Three Cities: A Short, Short Story

Urs Fischer exhibit at MOCA, Los Angeles, 2013

Nashville, 1988

A bed, a boat, it's all the same. She lay on the bed pushed against the wall, her back flat, sheets kicked out of the way. He lay beside her, hands folded over his chest. It was hot. The sun was high in the sky, visible from the bed. It was golden brown with fuzzy edges leaking into gray sky. The Laotians in the house behind them were cooking. I think it's dog, he said. She closed her eyes, ran a finger (she had long fingers) down, drops of sweat between her breasts. The air conditioner had fallen out of the window and lay in the dirt below. He had strained and cursed at the machine. The window didn't hold. They had laughed themselves silly, the bed a boat that rocked.

Nashville, 1990

That place was always in shadow. The bed was dark and wide, a mattress covered, no top sheet. Sometimes they started on the black couch in the front room. She was a silhouette, naked, sinuous (she had long arms and legs). He traced her. She looked over his shoulder out the window. A tree, bare of leaves, its thin branches reaching up, out of view, a tattoo on glass. Later, she lay on the bed and he smoked in the kitchen, leaning on the stove, holding the cigarette just under the fan, its cheap, electric hum.

New York City, 1992

Her bedroom was downstairs in the basement of the brownstone. It was carpeted, damp, quiet. A boy named Daniel walked through hers to get to his so she had set up a screen at the end of the bed. The sheets were expensive because she worked overtime, time and a half. He lit a candle before they started. It was winter. They were under the covers. She closed her eyes, head back. Was there a crackle? She opened her eyes, a blaze of light behind him over her. Fire! she shouted and they beat it back and out. The quilt had a hole burned through it as big as her hand (she had large hands), the edges charred.

Los Angeles, 2013

She wandered through the gallery, amused. Boxes placed here and there, drips of cement, a string of real fruit, a house made of bread, real bread, Persian carpets crumbed. Blue raindrops fell in a slant. The corner of her eye (she had large eyes) caught a bed, alone, a boat bent, black smudges on a wall. The bed was bent, alone. She closed her eyes, folded into it, on it, over and under it, the grey sludge of cement spilling.


Listen and read.

Alexi Murdoch and Soren Kierkegaard

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Parenting and Summer Reading

So, I've got two kids in high school and one to go. Oliver will be entering the seventh grade after Labor Day, and he's the one who despises school, mainly because he has some learning disabilities and up until very recently, we didn't really have a handle on those. Conversations this summer around summer reading requirements have generally been the type where if you suggested that someone should perhaps start reading their required book and if you happened to be lighting a candle at the same time to mask the smell of another child's diaper, the whole house would have gone up in flames.


Last night I made a gentle suggestion that perhaps it was time for someone to start reading their required book (and to be fair, the first was actually finally finished three weeks ago!). The suggestion hung there in the dry and combustible air. Mom, I really hate basketball, and it's a book about basketball, he said fairly rationally from his perch on a stool in the kitchen. I confidently spooned beans into a bowl  for Sophie's dinner. I love basketball, actually, (because I went to the world's greatest basketball university which is another topic altogether) which is saying a lot given that I am utterly not into sports, completely nonathletic and verge on the irrational in my hatred of football. Well, it's not really about the sport, I said, it's about a boy who plays basketball, but it's really more about him. Someone frowned and squirmed on his chair. I scattered chicken on top of the beans and sprinkled cheese on top of that. Hey, I've got an idea, I said, as I put the bean concoction in the microwave. If you finish this book without grumping around and resisting it, I'll buy us two tickets to a Lakers or Clippers game. Someone stopped squirming and looked interested. How about the Dodgers instead? he asked.

Reader, if you're a young parent, don't let anyone tell you that bribes shouldn't be used in parenting. Consider yourself skilled if you get your obstreperous, extremely volatile offspring to agree to read about basketball (your favorite sport) in return for you having to sit through baseball (a sport that bores you to tears). Consider yourself a good enough mother.

Plus, your house doesn't go up in flames.

One Week Away From 50

I know you've seen part of this, but watch the whole thing -- especially if you're a Sopranos fan.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Raindrops keep falling on my head

Oliver and I went downtown today to catch the Urs Fischer exhibit before it left. I'm not an art critic, know nothing of Urs Fischer, am not interested in art criticism but am either moved by something, entertained or stimulated. I was moved by the exhibit, entertained and stimulated.

I'll save the photo of the bed, collapsing from a pile of cement on it for later, as that inspired me.

Monday Proverb

Make not your sail too big for your ballast.

English Proverb

Sunday, August 18, 2013

On the Eve of High School

Henry is going to high school tomorrow morning!

Good Lord.

Here he is last night, acting goofy and beautiful all at once.

You know how some people lament the passing of the years as their children grow up and out? Life with this boy has been such that I look forward to the man he is becoming. Yes, I miss that little whippersnapper who went to kindergarten ten years ago with an apple for the teacher and a tentative smile, but I have my boy still in this easy, lanky, good-natured, gorgeous kid.

Birthday Tattoo Call

My birthday is in a little over a week, and I plan on getting my first (and probably, last) tattoo. I think a small, simple mermaid on the inside of my left wrist is what I'd like, but I'm not sure if it should be black and white or colored or a bit of both. The sketch above is by an artist friend of mine who used it for a birthday card for Sophie a while back -- I like the simple lines and elegance (minus the flower, of course) and even the tiny bit of green and red. What do you think?

What about this one?

Ideas? Send me links!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Favorite Comment of the Week from a Blog Post

The other day, I asked you readers what you felt insane and bitter about, and the replies I got were fantastic, but the one received today said it all:

I am laughing bitterly at the fact that I could easily get the kind of pot that spikes my seizures in the next half hour from Brian, the dude down the hall in my dorm that my friends and I have affectionately nicknamed "Salty Jesus," due to his hair's continual beach-swept, biblical appearance. But after more than 10 medications, a diet and brain surgery, I can't legally get the marijuana that could help my epilepsy. All hail the American medical system. 

Yes, Anonymous:  all hail the American medical system. I don't appear to be any closer to getting the CBD for Sophie despite having researched myself into near-expert knowledge. I guess the only thing to do at this point is wait.

I'm waiting.


I can't believe how fortunate I am, sometimes, to live in this glorious place. Yesterday, we left our house around 2:00 and arrived in Malibu shortly afterward. We spent the rest of the day there, just south of Zuma, with the best of friends and family. My baby sister Jennifer, her husband and three children are visiting, so they got a good taste of true southern California beach life -- very, very cold Pacific ocean, brilliant blue skies, dolphins, huge rocks, the setting sun. We ate fried chicken and salads, played and laughed. The only thing missing was Sophie who was in school for the day, but given how chilly it got when the sun started setting, I was relieved that she had stayed behind.

My nephew Charlie

My sister Jennifer and I

My niece Claudia and behind her my nephew Harry


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