Thursday, May 31, 2007

So If Any of You Have Particularly Dexterous Children With Time On Their Little Hands

The other day I wore this skirt that I made. I dyed the fabric a delicious, sunny, orangy-red with fuchsia circles. I cut it on the bias, so it has lots of swish when I walk. It's fun.

For a while I was selling my bags. Sometimes people would see me wearing a bag I made and say they loved it and ask where I got it, and I would do a little yippee! dance and jump up and down and say "I made it!"

Some people asked if I made them to sell and if so, if they could buy one, and I was so flattered! I was making the fabric for fun anyway, trying new techniques, playing with color and pattern, and so Betty and I just took a bunch of my fabric and made bags and sold them. We had friends patiently waiting to buy them.

But here's what I've figured out. That in order to be at all compensated for time, I'd need to sell them for eleventy hundred dollars. Each. Which I wasn't doing. It made it just not worth the time.

It's one thing to just buy fabric and sew it. But when you start by dyeing your own fabric, that in itself takes hours. And then the cutting and stitching takes a long damn time and a ton of effort on top of that.

Now, part of the time investment is that Betty does everything perfectly. Her seams are amazing. She measured my cell phone and iPod and then sewed pockets to fit them. The things she sews are so well constructed that you could seriously carry 100 pounds of rocks in these bags.

And me, it turns out I'm selectively anal. When I'm really interested in something I'm doing, I'm very precise.

All this precision and anality, it's time consuming. So admittedly, these could take a little less time. If we weren't us. But we are.

So we stopped making them. We decided to keep and use the ones we have. We both really like all of them. Each one is totally unique. And they're perfect for summer. Light, and you can sling them across your body like a messenger bag, so they don't pull one shoulder down.

Friends suggested that I just design the patterns and have other people make them. But I love working with fabric and I wouldn't know where to begin a production process. So then they suggested that I outsource the sewing, since that's not the part I love anyway.

So I asked one of my dearest friends, Sam, who is a big proponent of me turning this into a business, if he'd give me some help. He has tons of family. Doesn't he have any relatives with young children that I could exploit?

Because child labor, that would really be the way to go in terms of cost savings. Plus I'm sure their fingers are much more nimble. I don't have any kids and my nephew is only one. It'll be years before he learns to sew, or is really of much practical use at all.

Don't you think?

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The Naming of the Dude

I once worked at a place that had such high turnover that they had started waiting three months before ordering a new employee a name plate for their office. I think I've recently adopted this policy myself.

Lately I have been referring to this guy as "this guy." Actually, he noted, I've referred to him in a variety of ways on my blog.

But he has sort of kind of somewhat did I say sort of (cautious? twitchy? me?) become an actual person in my life lately. As he pointed out this morning when I added him to an Evite for a friend's party - he's moved up from +1 status to having a name. Ha.

And, barring unforeseen calamitous behaviour, will continue to be a person in my life, at least for another month, at which point he moves to NY.

Somehow, this is perfect for right now. It's easy to avoid people who are leaving. But it's also easy to get involved. Like, he's leaving so this is safe. It can be really fun and feel great, and we can be totally open and candid with the safety of a built-in end. We chatted very frankly about this the other night.

With my peripatetic upbringing, we were always leaving somewhere. You knew at the outset that you'd only know people for a year or two, four at the most. And so you attached quickly. And detached and moved on just as quickly.

I used to be great at that. I used to be so good at having a person in my life in the here and now and then walking away without looking back.

At some point I realized that the people who mattered, those people stayed in my life. No matter how much time goes by, we will always pick up where we left off. Maude, for example who I know from when I was born. She lives in England but we still see each other. Same with my high school crony Kris who lives in Paris. To name a couple very long-standing friendships.

Somewhere along the way, though, I lost that letting go without a twinge ability. I value people more, I think. I share more of myself than I used to. The ones I really let in get into my heart and my soul.

Wow - this is not where I thought I was going with this! Which is hardly a surprise to anyone.

On a side bar, a college friend and I used to write papers together sometimes. Not collaboratively, just writing side by side. She'd make an outline; she knew where she was starting and where she was ending. And I'd just sit down and write.

I was always so impressed with her ability to line it all up before she started. Because how, I wondered, how did she know where she was going before she began? How did she know how it was going to wind up before she was immersed in the middle? How how how?

And she couldn't understand how I could just write without these things. How could I even start if I didn't know the middle or the end? But it seems to be the only way I can do things. I have to see how it feels along the way.

So to end this wending post. . .I'm not sure what to call him.

I could call him The Director, which is how Betty and some of my friends have referred to him since we met working on the 48-hour film. We were driving back from wineries on Saturday and I called Betty to see if she was home so we could stop by, but she was just on her way out the door.

She said, "Oh, I'm so sorry! I would love to meet your director!"

My director. Heh. He's possibly one of the least directorial men in my life ever. As I've said before, he doesn't have an agenda. He's just plain nice. It's refreshing. I'm not sure what it says about me that I generally attract and am attracted to control freaks, but that's a bit much to delve into now.

He doesn't mind how I refer to him - I get to choose. He doesn't mind what I write, as long as it's not some kind of big weird surprise news to him. This is fair.

So I might call him The Director. I quite like it.

Oh, and for the title of the post - apologies to Shakespeare. And a nod to the Coen Brothers.

Especially with a little BBQ sauce

I should be more mature than a dog. I really should.

I spent a good part of Memorial Day with this guy. Which also meant spending a lot of time with Kaylie. His little lemon beagle - like a regular beagle but blonde. What a coincidence, no? I figured we were destined to be friends. Until I realized that she loathes me. Because I am a huge impediment to her having ALL of his attention, and it really irritates her. She won't even look at me.

We went out strolling Saturday - coffee at Starbucks, walking around his neighborhood. Partly for exercise for the dog, partly to enjoy the gorgeous day. We stopped at Rocklands (yum!) to pick up BBQ for lunch.

He went in and I was standing outside with her. And she was at the far end of the leash, head pointed away from me, with this look on her face that read, "God knows I want nothing to do with that woman. It's a vile coincidence she's holding my leash."

And then he came out and she bounded towards him all "Love me love me love me! And get rid of her, wouldja?"

She is really, really bright, with lovely expressive black eyes. I know exactly what she's thinking and why she's behaving this way. I don't know what to do about it, though.

So we were walking and we passed a couple who was strapping their child into a stroller. Kaylie loves kids, so she headed over to sniff. The child reached for her.

He said to the couple, "Don't worry, she's really gentle. And she loves babies."

And I said, "Because they taste so good."

While he, at the exact same moment, said, "Because they're so tasty."

She's got me beat in the number of nipples category, but I know for a fact that I have a better sense of humor.

Monday, May 28, 2007

I'll protect you from the hooded claw, keep the vampires from your door...Or, the perils of drunk downloading.

A week ago my office moved into a new location. A fabulous space, with a cool new Spanish restaurant/bar on the ground floor. It's bright and airy and oh so friendly. I can imagine many happy hours there, in fact.

So I had, over the course of the evening, three beers with colleagues. And my boss. And his boss. They were asking me about my personal life, and so I gave them a brief synopsis. And then it occurred to me that I should call this guy to see if he wanted to join us.

I got his voice mail and he returned my call once I was already home. And I was flat out hammered. Seriously.

When I drink my personality often doesn't change - it just gets more so. More chatty. More giggly. More non-sequitur-y. More jump up and down yay! fun! yippee!

Doesn't just reading this make you a little tired?

So I answered "Hi! We moved into a new office and I had three beers although they have very yummy wine as well I tasted some and how are you and how was your day and what are you doing now and did I tell you that the bar of this place is cool and I left you a message and wow, I think I had too much to drink! And oh, it's Lisa, by the way."

Which he knew. Because he'd called me.

He said he was working and I suggested he come over. Because his work? At home? Had nothing to do with me. And I wanted to play! And yay! Monday! Come over!

And so he did. How he had the patience for me in such a ridiculous state, I have no idea.

After I gave him a tour of my fridge and plied him with beer and tried on my fun new platform shoes that I'd gotten the day before (Look look look! Now I'm tall enough to almost look you in the eye without standing on my tip tip toes!) and turned down the AC from 78 (my perfect temperature) to 74 (requiring me to put on a fleece), we sat down on the couch.

He sipped beer and I chugged Gatorade. Because I may be ridiculous and lack moderation and judgement, but hydration is pretty high on my priority list.

We were talking music and scrolling through my iPod, figuring out what to listen to. I handed him my laptop so he could look through my iTunes library.

We started talking about the 80's - I have a lot of 80's music - and my best friend Kristin from high school, which led to Frankie Goes to Hollywood, which I used to listen to with her all the time. The only thing I wish I still had from that era is my neon green Relax tank top. Alas. Oh, and photos from when I had that Cyndi Lauper criss-cross shaved into the side of my head. Don't think I'm kidding.

But anyway, something we were talking led him to jokingly say, "I'll protect you..." which reminded me that Frankie had a great song called The Power of Love. He absolutely had to hear it. I had to download The Power of Love. Had to.

Which begins with the spoken lines, "I'll protect you from the hooded claw. Keep the vampires from your door. . ."


A song I'd probably not heard since the end of the 80's. But such a very profound song. Don't you think? Heh. I have drunk downloaded many such gems, in fact.

To his credit, he only teased me a little. And did no apparent eye rolling.

It's probably good, though. It prepared him for how thrilled I was to find my seemingly lost Cyndi Lauper CD in my glove box a couple days later. As well as the little yellow HIGH COLONIC? sticky note.

Because girls? Girls just wanna have fun.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

The Charm and the Ache of Damien Rice

I so rarely have visceral reactions to music.

It's true. I rarely feel it. Reading usually makes me feel more than listening. I can't carry a tune to save my life. I love 80's tunes, and while all of my love for them is tied up in nostalgia, the truth is, I cannot make a qualitative distinction between Boy George and Beethoven.

Just so you know where I'm coming from. When I like good music, it's probably accidental.

And so lovely Laura invited me to go see Damien Rice. And I only knew a few songs of his - The Blower's Daughter, Volcanoes, and 9 Crimes - but I'd loved them immediately upon hearing them. So I jumped at the invitation. And turned out to be happily charmed by him as a performer.

But last night most of the music was new to me. If I were one of those organized people, I'd probably have downloaded his albums and gotten familiar with him. But I'm one of those people who doesn't even necessarily know where I'm going when I get on a bus, so surprises at a concert are the kind of thing I like.

He started singing Accidental Babies, which is about unfaithful lovers, which is not what resonated with me, because I am faithful like a dog. Not a flattering image, but absolutely true.

But I just felt the music, the wanting, the lack of having. Immediately, it made me ache.

And so when he sang, "Do you miss my smell?" I realized tears had started rolling down my face.

The missing of someone's smell, that went to my stomach immediately. It reminded me that you can think you're done missing someone, and you can even feel it's a good thing you're not together. But it can knock you sideways realizing you can still feel the lack.

Because smell, smell is like Proust and his damn madeleines. You can have a great deal of distance and be mostly fine. But when you saw the person last month, and you kissed on the cheek and you hugged goodbye, you remembered that that to you is still the smell of being completely in love, and loved, and passion, and comfort, and, more powerfully than anything perhaps because of the fuckedupness of your life, safety.

And so Damien sang, and Laura contended with the asshat woman seated next to her who insisted, when she wasn't texting everyone in creation saying, "I'm at Damien Rice!" - because of course it's more fun to tell people where you are than luxuriate in the experience - on talking to her neighbor.

And I sat there with huge, fat tears running down my face.

I didn't realize immediately that I was crying, I was so in the moment. It wasn't until they hit my chest and ran under my breasts. I was wearing a very low cut, stretchy dress, with lots of skin exposed. Which, having a very modest amount of breasts, I feel very comfortable doing.

But this dress, it turns out, is a poor choice for crying, unless you catch your tears on your way down your cheeks. Because having a modest amount of breasts, it's not like they just form a pool on top. Oh, no, they make a beeline for your stomach.

And so then I was faced with the dilemma of seemingly fondling my breasts in public (really! I'm just drying my tears!) or letting the damn things dry. I chose the latter. But it was cold in there! And those were some enormous tears! That took a long time to dry!

Friday, May 25, 2007

And On the Third Day

We've moved offices. I'm still in a cube, but now I have a wall of windows. It's really bright and sunny and I'm delighted.

We've all spent the week getting things set up the way we like them, installing software - both software that we need (and wow does Adobe CS take a long time to install!) and fun stuff, like iTunes and IM software.

I introduced my colleague Bob to Trillian. Which I like because you can have email notification and IM from multiple accounts. But when Trillian installed, it also put in something that makes the weather and pollen information pop up. We both sort of scratched our heads on that one.

The best part of the new place, besides the amazing location and swank office and fantastic bar/restaurant downstairs, is that I sit near really great people. Positive, nice, interesting, funny people. We haven't all quite gotten used to each other yet, though.

So yesterday morning, I was settling in, pulling up email, when I heard this voice, seemingly from above. . .

"Tree pollen is moderately high, but grass pollen is very high. Fortunately, you don't need to worry about weed pollen today."



Thursday, May 24, 2007

My Definition of Insanity Just Keeps Growing

So I had a cute little la la la things are getting better and it's sunny and yay! kind of post in my mind for today.

I saw my dad last night. In fact, there were five of us visiting. It was kind of a little party in his room. He had a little bit of sparkle. It felt better.

Then I got to work and got a call from my brother. He had a long talk with the psychiatrist last night. Who said he anticipates discharging him early next week.

Now, my dad had gotten comfortable at this hospital. We decided to let him stay where he is for now, because, after consulting with a variety of medical professionals, we determined that as long as he's doing well and likes his doctor, we shouldn't disrupt him.

Don't get me wrong - we're still on the hopeful list at Hopkins. Although as I've said, it's a long process.

My brother had been hounding the psychiatrist for days, and finally the psychiatrist called my brother back. They had a very frank conversation. My brother said they both put on the punching gloves and had at it, no holds barred.

Yes, the psychiatrist admitted, although he will not say this on record, the issue is money. Yes, what my brother has heard from others is correct. There is immense pressure - like, the kind of pressure that prevents one from keeping one's job at the hospital - to discharge people in 10 days or less. It all comes down to insurance. Money.

And the doctor's problem, as far as I can determine, is that while he doesn't believe my dad is ready to leave, he cannot say "I believe he is in imminent danger." Which I understand to be the magic phrase for insurance companies. Meaning, he will try to harm himself immediately upon release.

I don't necessarily believe it would be immediate. That is, depending on your definition of immediate. The third suicide attempt, it took 48 hours for him to wind up back at that hospital.

So in lieu of working on work today, I spent a good portion of the day editing a letter my brother wrote - at the recommendation of the psychiatrist with whom he had the boxing match - to the chair of psychiatry at the hospital. The guy said to write a letter. Take it to the chair, ask for a review.

So of course we wanted to have the most effective letter possible. I feel lucky to have amazing friends who also happen to be amazing lawyers, and you can be certain that I consulted them.

But goddammit. Here's what I don't get. See, my dad is on a locked floor. A floor where they check your bags to make sure you don't bring anything sharp. And then take away your bag if it is big and plastic.

All flowers we've put in plastic bottles. The razor you check with the nurses, and they stand there and watch the patients shave and then take it away again. And I meant it - you can't even bring a fucking plastic bag onto the floor. They make you leave those things at the desk when you check in.

So, you take someone that you feel is in enough danger that he can't have access to glass or belts or even plastic bags, and you say, sure, now that he's eating through his mouth rather than through a tube, sure, in a couple days, he'll be fine.

Because money, money is what is important. And it takes time, which is money, to hassle with insurance. There will be extra forms after 10 days. There will be a struggle. And it's just not worth it.

Is this not insanity?

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Sweetness. And flowers. In a very convoluted, non-linear post that will probably try your patience no end.

I had forgotten. This will sound a little sad, but I had totally forgotten.

A guy who likes you - who isn't totally wrapped up in his own issues and insecurities and needing to keep distance and play it cool and test you and blah blah blah - will do sweet things for you. Just because he feels like it.

Like buy you flowers when he's at the farmer's market picking up food for the dinner he's going to make you. And then when you are sitting at his table drinking your favorite beer and trying to pet his dog, who wants nothing to do with you because you are clearly a rival for his affection, he will explain the choice of flowers. He's noticed that whenever you walk down the street together, you are always poking your nose in someone's garden.

This is a complete tangent, but if any of you like Michael Ondaatje (author of The English Patient), he has a memoir called Running in the Family, which is one of my favorite books ever. At some point in the book his grandmother takes to cutting any flowers she wants from any garden she wants. And his father gets really, really annoyed at continually having his flowers cut. So he stops growing anything that will appeal to her and founds the Cactus and Succulent Society of Ceylon.

But me, I'm not that extreme. I just smell them. Especially lilacs, which remind me of my Gramma Lillian. I'm sad they're so ephemeral. And so during the short period that they're in bloom, I smell every single one I pass.

Once a woman looked up from her gardening as I was sticking my nose in her lilacs. I almost said that I just wanted to smell her bush but fortunately every once in a while I have an idea of how wrong something will sound. So I just said hi and complimented her flowers.

The good thing is, I look pretty innocent. So nobody assumes I'm up to anything nefarious while skulking in their bushes.

Betty used to always carry gardening shears in her purse. Enormous, slightly rusted, metal scissors. Whenever we saw something appealing on the side of the road (not in a private garden) she'd pull over and make me get out and cut it.

Once, years ago, they stopped her at the airport security and pulled out her foot-long hedge trimmer and said, "Madam, you have a large scissors in your purse. "And Betty very breezily said, "Oh, I always carry that! You never know when you'll need one!" And that was that. She sailed through, hedge clipper in hand.

It was a long, long time ago, in a much more innocent world.

But do you have some idea why my version of the world doesn't necessarily match up with normal people's?

So back to the dinner and the flowers and the current sweetness. Seriously, I had forgotten. I had forgotten that a guy will call to see how you are. Not necessarily to make plans, because you already have some, or to ask anything of you. Just to say hello. And then will call again the next day. To say hi again. To chat about the weekend. Or just because.

Seriously. I had stopped, well, not even expecting, but wanting anything of men. At all. It's not that I stopped dating. But dating had stopped having any kind of emotional component. I turned that off after getting too hurt and choosing too many damaged - like damaged in childhood, the kind that no amount of therapy gets you past - men who had nothing emotional to offer and who trust and open up to nobody.

And suddenly I am surprised with someone who barely knows me but knows me. Who notices things. Who offers support, kindness, sweetness. Who doesn't seem to have any agenda. Who is just nice.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

And so I will keep my mouth shut at baseball games from here on out

I went to see the Nationals play the Orioles Saturday night. It was a surprise invitation.

A friend of mine and I had plans to go to the Modernism show at the Corcoran Saturday afternoon. Which we did, and it was fabulous. It was laid out nicely and modern design is just so easy to look at.

I have realized, however, that I could never have my place decorated in a modern style, because you have to be a minimalist. And I tend more towards maximalism than minimalism, it seems. Not in a Baroque way. I just like fun stuff. And I’m not tidy enough to have absolutely nothing I own out in plain sight.

Which has nothing to do with anything.

So my friend M, in the middle of the exhibit, said that he had a surprise for later. And was I up for an adventure? Of course! Everyone who knows me knows that unless it has anything to do with weird meat products, I'll try anything and I love surprises and adventures!

The adventure turned out to be a baseball game. Now, I know nothing about sports. I’ve probably been to 10 sporting events in my entire life. But it was fun! Hot dogs! Yum! Beer! Yum!

M explained the rules, one of which being how the home team always gets to bat last. The score was tied 1-1 for a long time. When they finished the 9th inning, they were still tied. And so they played another one. And another one.

So it was the 11th inning, and the Orioles had 3 and the Nationals had one. And I was sitting there thinking, holy cow, we’re going to be here all night long! This is eternal!

So I said, “Wow! This game is going to go really late!”

“No, this is the last inning.”

“But it can't be. How can you say that?”

“Yes, Lis, it is. See how the Orioles are two ahead? The Nationals would have to get three runs to win. And they already have two strikes. It's really unlikely that they're going to win.”

“But I thought you said the Nationals get to keep batting till they win, right?”

He choked a little on his beer. “What did you just say?”

“You said. You said the home team keeps getting to go last until they win.”

Turns out he’d said no such thing. And then he pointed out that meant that the home team would always win. Which would just make no sense.

Which is true. If you think about it. Heh.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Fear and Loathing at Hank's Oyster Bar

Last week I went on a first date. A first date. You know, meaning we'd never gone out on a date before. We barely knew each other.

So on this first date, we went to Hank's Oyster Bar, which we were both dying to try. The weather was perfect and we wandered around Dupont for the half hour or so we waited for an outside table.

We sat down at our nicely situated table on the outside patio. We'd just ordered beers when two men got seated at the next table. Which was inches from ours.

I don't know what the man next to me looked like, but his dining companion had dark hair and a sort of lobster orange-red face. I understood the breezy "I just got back from a Caribbean vacation" tan look he was going for. But.

Anyway, I was chatting with my date when Lobster Man (let's just refer to him as LM) said, very loudly "I have a very high libido. Probably too high."

My date and I raised our eyebrows at each other.

He went on, "Probably because I'm Jewish. Oh, and I have an enormous penis."

Now, if it hadn't been a first date, and I'd known my dining companion better, I'd have said, very loudly and without hesitation, "Oh, sweetie, you guys totally have those things in common! You and and our neighbor could bond!"

But I didn't want to horrify or mortify him on date one. And actually, I know nothing about his particulars.

So we sort of ignored LM and went back to chatting. Which was hard, because LM was very loud. And every time we talked louder to hear each other, he'd raise his voice.

Our oysters arrived and my date turned his attention to them. And to getting me to try one, even though they kind of ick me. I did eventually try one. And they are so not my thing.

The next thing that got our attention was LM loudly describing his experience with online dating, beginning with a description of his online photos. He'd stuck a sock in his pants in one photo, and now so many more men contact him, many of them asking to see "it" in person.


Now, my date told me after we'd fled, immediately post-dinner, that he was dying to ask the guy to whip out the allegedly enormous penis. But he didn't want to embarrass me.

Of course I said, "Oh, I wish you had! I'd have asked to take a picture! We could've horrified him!"

But, since it was a first date, we both just cringed, leaned forward a bit more to hear each other, and focused on our food. Which was fabulous. I'd not been there before, and I was delighted. I liked our server, loved our food, and the weather, as I said, was delightful. Everything could've been perfect.

We were almost through dinner when LM leaned towards his dining companion and said, "You're a bottom, right?"

I choked a little on my fish, and my date froze, a bite of lobster risotto poised on fork in mid-air. Nothing could have prepared us for what came next.

The man confirmed that he was, in fact, a bottom, and LM said, "So, have you ever been in the middle of sex and had to take a shit?"

And so the man next to me said that there had, just once, been an unfortunate incident involving involuntary excretion.

Poo. Sex and poo. With dinner. Yikes! Yuck!

My jaw dropped. My date was furious. We both have strong stomachs but it's such an ugly visual with food.

We got the check and bailed post-haste.

I thought it was a really weird date; he thought it was an interview. Either way, the kind of overheard conversation that makes you throw up a little in your mouth. Which really sucks over a nice meal.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Just Say No and Other Stories

We've been freaking out a little because the doctor at the hospital where my dad currently is said he could be discharged perhaps even as early as next week.

I said I would be profoundly uncomfortable with that. I said that I absolutely believed that if he lets him out next week, he will turn around and try it again. There is, in fact, no question in my mind of this. He is not stable. He is not yet OK.

We've been doing frantic research on what to do. Trying to figure out what our best options are for places.

Serendipitously, I recently met a guy who is getting his PhD in psychology. He has been phenomenally kind, asking his professors their opinions on places, for recommendations, etc. Really lovely, taking a lot of time to help me. Plus he's just been amazingly sweet.

And he has a great perspective, and this incredibly calm, comfortable demeanor. I don't know him very well, but the time I've spent with him feels kind of like lounging in the grass in a park on a gorgeously warm, sunny day. Maybe you're reading a book, maybe you're just lying on the ground enjoying the smell of the grass and how the sun sparkles through the leaves of the trees. You know what I mean?

I was sharing some anguish with him the other day and said, "I bet you thought I was going to be all light and fun, huh?"

And he dryly replied, "Whenever you meet a woman and one of the the first things she tells you is that her father just tried to commit suicide, you have some idea that no, it will not all be light and fun."

Such a good point.

On a side bar, last weekend Jane, lovely, hilarious, California Jane, was in town and I told her about this guy. And she said, "Lis! This is so awesome! Just think - if it goes anywhere, you could get therapy and sex in the same place!"

And we laughed raucously. In the way that you do over something profoundly twisted and wrong.

Anyway, that's totally out of the question. Because I have a therapist I adore.

So back to the issue at hand.

My brother spoke to the head of admissions at a highly recommended private facility. What this woman said, very frankly, was that my dad is currently very high risk - in "imminent danger," was how she put it. He needs somewhere more secure than their facility, at least now.

My brother asked her what we do.

What, she asked, did he mean?

Well, what we're looking at is the hospital discharging him, without anywhere safe for us to put him. And we simply don't feel like he can come home yet. What do we do?

She said that quite frankly it's an insurance issue. Essentially, the first 10 days of trauma care can be billed at 100% without any questions. As time goes on, the amount that the hospital can get from insurance decreases.

So it behooves them, from a money standpoint, to shove people out the door as soon as possible.

However, she continued, we can say no. Because, look, he tried to kill himself, and he damn near succeeded. He really, really damaged himself physically. He's only a couple days out of intensive medical care. No, it's not OK to discharge him.

So it turns out we can say no, at least for a couple weeks, which will hopefully be enough time to get a further option lined up. He's comfortable there. He likes the psychiatrist. We like the psychiatrist. This is a relief.

We can refuse to accept him. He's in imminent danger. The liability lies with the hospital. We simply refuse. They can't just put him out on the street.

It's kind of shocking, isn't it? Of course it's about money. I don't know why I'm so naive that I was surprised. And I'm certain this is not uncommon for myriad people with varying circumstances. And we are lucky - luckier than many - with the insurance they have.

But at least we know. We can just say no. For now.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Repeat 5 million times: I will not lose my shit.

Johns Hopkins has an amazing mental health facility. Arguably the best around.

Given the potentially fatal consequences of not getting my dad the best care possible, we decided to try to get my dad in there. I talked to the head of admissions yesterday. Who said that the waiting list to get in is minimum 3-5 weeks, but we should start the process now. And my dad's psychiatrist has to make a case for why he should be there. In other words, it's a highly desirable and difficult to get into place.

But of course, I know we can do this. We must know people who know people who can help us. We must. But I told my mom I'm not about to waste favors. I'm not going to ask people for help lightly. But given that this is a really, really big deal, I'm willing to look for help wherever I can.

So. It turns out that my friend Ravi has a colleague who knows someone very well-respected in the mental health community. He goes out of his way to connect me with this woman. Who very kindly speaks with me. And gives me some names.

So I call Betty, who I've not been able to get hold of all day. It turns out my dad doesn't want to go to Hopkins. And he has to want to. They only take patients on a voluntary basis. In other words, we cannot force him.

I ask what his proposed solution is, since clearly him coming right home from the current hospital, as it's only a short-term solution, is not a viable option. Well, she says, last night they talked to a social worker there. Who said they have a day program, 9-5, at that very hospital.

Now, this hospital has been fine. But their mental health facility is not amazing. My dad was there six years ago. And got out and tried to commit suicide again a month later. Not super confidence inspiring.

But the night of his suicide attempt, it was the closest hospital. And when they barely get you back to breathing, and stick you in the ambulance, you go to the nearest hospital. There's no arguing with that. Even though I tried.

And so, I wonder aloud, will Betty police him from the 5 pm to 9 am every day that he's not at the hospital?

"I'm not policing him again. But I think this will be fine."

This will be fine? In a week or two he can traipse home from somewhere that I'm suspicios about in the first place and why why whythefuckissheOKwithit and what??? It will be fine?

Seriously, I am going to be batshit crazy soon. I truly am.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Tantamount to Taking a Vacation?

I went out strolling about in Georgetown with my friends Marta and Steve. Marta was looking for some cute sandals.

Steve, who is gay, and our authority on all things homosexual, calls her practical footwear "Marta's lesbian shoes." Steve was instrumental in helping me feel good about my emergency shoe choice last year.

We were crossing the bridge into Georgetown and something one of them said reminded me that Steve had been in my dream the night before. So I told him so. And he replied, "I hope I had clothes on. I hate having dreams with coworkers when they're naked."


I didn't remember the dream, but he most definitely had clothes on. As did I.

Walking in Georgetown with Marta means that we'll walk down M Street, and we'll pass Hu's Shoes, which invariably have spendy stilettos in the window, and I'll get this glazed look on my face and press my nose against the glass and drool on the window pane. Marta won't even glance sideways at the super high, shiny shoes in the window. I know she sees shoes like that and envisions them slowing her down by minutes per mile.

And then we get to Comfort One or the Walking Store. And she slows down and says, "Can we just take a quick look?"

Now, Marta is absolutely beautiful. She's a few inches taller than me, very thin and fit, with lovely dark dark brown eyes and long black hair. She has very cute taste in clothing. But she only wears flat, practical shoes.

This is because she is a big runner. Like, one of those hard core get up at 5 am and run 6 miles rain or shine runners. If she wears any kind of heel, it makes her more injury prone and affects her running. Thus, she's all about the comfortable shoes. When she asks if something is cute, I try to get in the Marta shoe mindset as opposed to the Lisa four-inch platform heel mindset.

So we're heading to the shoe store, and Steve is talking about Marta's lesbian shoes. And Marta, who has two kids and has been married to the same guy since she was 25, says, "I bet I'd make a terrible lesbian."

We all agree. And then Steve looks at me and says, "I could see you as a good lesbian."

I'm immediately flattered. I had a long drunken talk with friends on my birthday last year. I was giving up men for good - too much hassle and heartache. And I know this very cute lesbian who lives in Europe. Who thinks I'm very cute.

I told them I was over men. I was ready to go be a European lesbian housewife. And they said, "You'd be an awful lesbian."

Now, nobody wants to be told they can't be good at something. So I got kind of defensive. OK, very.

"I could too be a good lesbian!"

"No, you couldn't."

"Could too!"

"No. You. Couldn't. You're not into women physically. You like men."

Fair point.

So I said to Steve, "I'm so glad that you said that! Because my friends always say I'd make a terrible lesbian."

"That's an awful thing to say. Why would they say that?"

"Because I really like men."

"Oh. Well, Lis, I'm not saying you could be a good forever lesbian. I see you more as a temporary one. I think you could be really good at that."

I beamed. "You do?"

"Absolutely. Like, for two weeks. You'd make an excellent two week lesbian."

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

When Tequila Happens to Good People

Last Tuesday night, after the film screening, I went out with the crew from our film. I will be seeing all of them again this Wednesday, and I am so excited!

I learned so many random things from this film experience.

Once you've spent that many hours straight with people you've just met, people you would not have met otherwise, but need to work well with to meet a goal, something interesting happens.

Having bonded under intensely creative and exhausting circumstances, you begin to feel like you've known these people for ages.

In your down time, you've talked about your families, your relationships, your aspirations, your bizarre experiences. You've drunk more coffee and eaten more snacks than you ever believed possible when not premenstrual.

You've lent someone your sports bra and you've worn other people's sweatshirts in the freezing rain and shared blankets on the couch. You've had what you thought were private conversations, which turned out to be on microphone. You haven't shared toothbrushes, but that would probably happen given another day or two.

You realize that people who are drawn to this type of project are people whose emotions live pretty close to the surface. Who don't put up a whole lot of walls. Who are interested in delving into the lives of others.

And, for those appearing on screen, who like attention. Who never shy away from the camera. I mean, except me, of course. Ha.

So then you take this group and put them in a bar at a post-film party. You add alcohol to a this very interesting conglomeration of people. And it's not that anyone's personality changes. They just become more so.

And then you know how at some point, like, once enough beer has been quaffed and it gets late enough, tequila shots can seem like a really good idea?

Well, at that point, someone like me for example, might feel totally comfortable posing for a picture nibbling the ear of one of the actors - Jason, pictured here. A guy who I'd never have talked to in a bar, much less nibbled the ear of, because I'd have assumed he was too good looking to be nice or interesting. Because he is model gorgeous. Probably because he used to model.

But what I learned over the course of the film is that Jason's not just a pretty face or gym perfect body. He's really bright, articulate, witty. Easy to talk and joke with. Like, an all-around cool person. Someone I feel lucky to know.

And so. After the ear nibbling, you go on to do tequila shots. You pose, step by step in the shot process. You know, so it can be well documented.

Because, um? Because you both have cameras and the idea amuses you both greatly. Seriously. We have probably five step-by-step photos. The cheers. The salt. The shot. The limes. The recovery.

Ridiculous? Us?

So you go on with your super fun night. And then you see the photos the next day. And your last lesson of the night comes to you.

Tequila sure can take the pretty out of anyone.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

In which I talk about uncomfortable topics and use inappropriate humor and the F-word a whole lot

I saw my dad a couple times over the weekend. He's a lot stronger, and looks a lot more like my dad. He'd shaved. He's handsome. His color is good. His spirits are OK. Not fantastic, but OK.

I imagine that part of it is lack of activities. My dad is so incredibly bright. And being less than fully occupied makes him batshit crazy. Or whatever the DSM IV diagnosis might be.

He asked me how my life is going, about my weekend with my high school friend Jane (which was slightly hilariously insane, and will be the subject of a future post), about my blog. He asked if I'm blogging about what he's been up to.

I said I was. And that a lot of people were praying for him. He was thankful about the prayer. I didn't ask how he felt about my candor on the Internet. But truthfully, Betty reads it every day, and she is OK with what I'm saying. If she's ever not, I'll take it down.

I said that I was being very frank about what was going on in my life. We talked about the stigma of suicide, how it is actually quite common, and how people lie about it when it happens in their families.

I pointed out how we used to lie and cover up.

And my dad said, "It's easier that way."

And I said, "No. Oh, no. It's so much harder. It's so much easier to just tell the truth."

I don't know that he believes or agrees with me, but the fact is that I finally realized that it's my life too, not just his. It's my trauma to share, if I choose to. Lying exhausts me. Covering up exhausts me. This has turned my life completely upside down, every time. I just didn't used to realize it.

Like when I was in 6th grade? I stopped doing my homework. They knew I was smart, and I was a good kid. It's just that every day I forgot to do it. It got to the point that my teacher would write my assignments in a notebook that I took home and my mom had to initial it. Every day.

It was a mystery to everyone. How could Lisa forget to do her homework? Every single day?

And now I think, how the fuck did we hold it together and just pretend life was fine? Not do my homework? There are so many worse things I could've done. The fact that I got dressed and on the school bus and acted like a reasonably normal, if nerdy, 6th grader every damn day is pretty fucking astounding.

Same thing the first month of my freshman year of college. And we thought - we, including me - that I was falling apart that year because of culture shock. Because being dropped in NC from India was hugely traumatic, it really was.

But there was so much more going on. We just didn't talk about it. So it was like, huh, weirdest thing, Lisa's doing so terribly in school. What do you think is wrong with her?

And my brother? He was punching holes through walls. And we were thinking - and saying - "Wow, he's having such a hard time adjusting to 9th grade."

See how fucked up all this not talking about it was? It's actually kind of funny, in an appallingly twisted way, don't you think? How were we so astoundingly oblivious?

I'm not doing that again. I'm just not.

I know that some people are uncomfortable with my approach to this. It's not the kind of thing people talk about. I know. But I can't not. I simply can't.

There are also people who tell me they just don't know what to say. They want to say something, the right thing, they just don't know what. That I understand. It's awkward. I know. I appreciate the sentiment, I really do.

It's not all negative, all the time now though. I mean, the whole thing super sucks, that's for sure. But the thing is, my dad, when he's good, is just incredible. He's so bright, so interesting, so dynamic. When he's good, he's so full of life.

I do have this incredibly strong belief that things will be OK, that we will get back to good. We will get through it and we will be stronger. All of us. We will.

On a lighter note, I told the director of our film that my dad had been telling everyone about our movie and that it's very cute how enthused he is. He said that I can show it to him, and as it's short, my dad can easily show it to everyone he wants to.

Which led me to say that the idea of forcing a bunch of people in the psych ward to watch The QWERTY Kid over and over was supremely bizarre. He presented the visual of all these psych patients watching a continuous loop of a delusional typewriter that saves the world.

And we, we found this hilarious. In that wow, this is so fucked up, so wrong, we should definitely laugh about it kind of way.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Happy Mother's Day! I Love You FIVE

My math skills, as I have said before, have never been great. If I could restrict the math I need to the amount of fingers I have, I'd be delighted.

I have a feeling this is why I gravitate towards men who can do complex math formulas in their heads. Towards men with amazing spreadsheet skills. Sadly, I'm not even kidding.

When I was very young, Betty would work with me on numbers. She had put these pretty ceramic beads - I remember long, rectangular yellow ones in particular - on strings for counting.

So at some point the biggest number I knew was five. Five was immense - as big as anything I could imagine.

Five was the biggest thing in the known universe. My universe. Which mostly consisted of our lovely house, at that time in Bangladesh, with the big, walled-in garden. The walls had jagged green and brown glass shards on the tops, which contrasted starkly with the beauty of Betty's garden, filled with flowers and edged with guava and lychee and jackfruit trees.

I would tell my mom I loved her.

And she'd say, "How much do you love me, sweetheart?"

"I love you this much."

I would stretch out my arms, as wide as I could reach.

I'd add, "Five! I love you FIVE!"

Even now, five, for my mom and me, is the most love possible to express in words.

"I love you."

"I love you more!"

"I love you too much."

"I love you FIVE."

Five trumps all. It's nice to play a game where all you are competing for is loving someone the most.

I loved her five then, and I still do.

Happy Mother's Day, mama.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Rainbows! Unicorns! Sunshine! Presents!

My dad is doing so much better! They closed up the hole in his throat and he's talking normally now! He sounds almost like himself, with just a slightly weird twinge to his voice.

Last night my fabulous friend A took me out for dinner at Indique. We were in the middle of delicious Indian food and tamarind margaritas - super yum! - when my dad called. To tell me how I need to get a confirmation from Citibank to prove that they actually closed my credit card accounts. He gave me a couple more instructions.

This means? That my dad is really and truly back.


They moved him off a medical floor and now he's on the psyche ward. Now that he can actually talk through his mouth, I figure he might as well do some translating for any Spanish speakers up there.

And in much more frivolous news, the present I ordered myself on Sunday, back when I still had a credit card, arrived. It was the first time I'd ordered from Bluefly and I think I love them. I got a lovely, elegant, sexy chocolate brown Susana Monaco dress and very fun undies. Kind of spendy, but less than they could've been elsewhere.

What a sparkly way to end the week!

Must find a fabulous opportunity to get all tarted up. . .

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Stolen Wallet Addition

Because the thieves who took my wallet charged things to my credit card, it's considered fraud, and a police officer came to my office for me to file a report.

Incidentally, he was very cute and very nice. But unfortately, slightly delusional, because when he asked for my date of birth, he then consoled me on missing being a Virgo by a couple weeks - he was born the same year, one month later - and I had to correct him. Because Leo is actually the best sign out there.

But seriously. He was great. And he even went over to High Noon and looked at the store video with the manager. They called me while they were looking at the tape, trying to figure out what happened.

Anyway. Here's something very impressive. Those bastards charged $700 worth of stuff at Giant in less than an hour after stealing my wallet! $700! At Giant!

Isn't that amazing? One, how the fuck do you spend that much at Giant? And two, how do you shop that fast?

Rant - Stolen Wallet

My wallet just got stolen out of my jacket pocket.

I didn't feel like carrying a big heavy bag, so just stuck my wallet and phone in my cute little denim blazer pocket and minced out the door for lunch. I nonchalantly draped the jacket over the back of my chair when I met my friend D for lunch at High Noon. I wanted to treat him to coffee, so reached in my pocket as we walked out the door. And found nothing.

I just cancelled my cards - there was an immediate charge at a grocery store, of all places. Why somewhere so prosaic to start? Wouldn't you head for Armani if you were going to go on a stolen card spree?

And I'm thinking, ugh, I had almost $200 in there because I'd just gone to the bank. And now I have to deal with the violently infuriating DC DMV. And does my car insurance have my social on it? I don't know. And all the receipts that I need to turn in to get reimbursed for my Chicago trip are in that wallet. Fuck fuck fuck.

I know it could be worse - could be my entire purse, with keys and all, and then I'd be getting my locks changed and having the fret from that CSI where they come to your house and murder you because they know where you live. But still. It's such a violation and an inconvenience.

I know it's bad karma to wish evil on others, but I do hope that whoever wound up with my wallet also winds up with that horrible flesh eating bacteria. Sometime soon. And that it starts on his or her face.

Probably not commensurate with the crime, but still.


Wednesday, May 09, 2007

48 Hour Film Project Screening

It was great fun seeing both our film and the films of others last night. There were some fantastic films. There's so much incredible creativity around. You forget that until you go to something like this.

I knew our film had changed, but hadn't realized the change was quite so drastic. It became even more of a fantasy - focusing more on the typewriter, rather than the hero, saving the world from a nefarious plot.

We had to incorporate the character President Roosevelt Adams - every film had to have this character. So President Adams calls our hero, Ravi, to tell him that he needs to learn how to type 240 words a minute in order to type all the code needed to disarm a bomb.

A black Porsche pulls up and whisks our hero off to typewriter boot camp.

The first boot camp scene, the drill instructor starts yelling at the recruits. Denigrating their skills. Telling them the things they will learn. Such as how to change a typewriter carriage in mid-sentence. Such as pangrams.

I learned what a pangram was. It's a sentence that uses all the letters of the alphabet.

In one of my favorite moments of the film, the instructor is getting up in the faces of the recruits.

"Do you know a pangram?" he screams at one, a beautiful young woman with her lovely brown curly hair pulled back in a severe pony tail.

"Sir, yes sir! The quick brown fox jumps over a lazy dog. Quick zephyrs blow, vexing daft Jim. Pack my box with five dozen liquor jugs. Sir! Yes, sir!"

This shot required a lot of takes because we were laughing so hard.

You see shots of three recruits running up the hills with typewriters tied to poles over their shoulders. Shots of them doing yoga while typing, trying to become one with their machines. Shots of them learning to fence and strike the keys with their swords.

Another of my favorite scenes took place in car. Ravi was typing furiously while being screamed at by a drill sergeant. And then the car started shaking because people were beating on it. He started to whimper for help.

The drill sergeant yelled at him not to break concentration, to keep going with the drill. At some point he yelled out, "Type, bitch!"

My scene with Ravi took place on a candlelit balcony, while he was typing dejectedly. I started whispering, "Touch the keys lightly, like you're caressing a woman. Yes...nice..." I also got to say the line that had to be in every film - "That's what I'm talking about."

It's a good deal of fun to act like you're getting hot and heavy with typing instructions. I whispered in his ear, and he typed in an aroused kind of way. Mostly on the screen you see the glazed look in his eye and the open mouthed panting.

One thing that struck me was how good natured, positive, professional everyone was. Even at 4 am. When you've been with a group of strangers since 7:30 am the previous day, you could easily loathe at least one person by that point. But everyone was great. I had so many interesting conversations, so many laughs, learned so much.

Post-screening drinks last night was such a good time. Because I was feeling relieved about where my dad was, I was ready to let my hair down. Like in a yippee! let's do tequila shots kind of way! The kind of way I'm so paying for today. Ow. But don't regret one bit.

The crew from the movie felt like old friends. And a bunch of our friends came out to support us. And there were some wonderful last minute attendees - LMNt and Dagny and VVK. I've never had my real and blog worlds collide before, and I was delighted.

On a side bar, the director of the film taught me a valuable lesson last night. If you are wearing a microphone, you should always remember to turn it off when you're not on camera, reciting your lines.

Because otherwise? When you're off camera and you tell someone that not only do you like the director's voice, but actually, you think he's kind of hot? Um, yeah. Turns out the sound guy is constantly listening to the live microphones. And will in fact turn to the director and tell him exactly what you said.

He was flattered, and amused at my embarrassment. All I can say is, it made me thankful I wasn't suggesting something graphic, like in a supporting our troops kind of way.

But still. Oops.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

48 Hour Film Project: The QWERTY Kid

If you ever want to suspend your reality for a bit, if you want to feel like you're at an amusement park for the entire weekend, if you want to meet incredibly talented, interesting, witty people and laugh your ass off. . .I would highly recommend working with a team like the one I was lucky enough to be part of for the 48 Hour Film Project.

I cannot wait for the screening this evening! Tickets are sold out, but we may have a couple extra, so if you want to come and can't get a ticket, let me know and I'll see what I can do.

Because who takes the genre fantasy and decides to write a movie about typing boot camp? Besides the team at Flying Turkey Productions, I mean.

I don't know if any of you ever took typing on actual typewriters. I know I did. In India. So our typewriters weren't even electric. I had the cutest little Indian typing teacher named Mr. Mitroo. He was about five feet tall and round, and used to dress in brown button up sweater vests. He would play, I don't know, polkas, on the record player - yes, I said record player - and we had to do our typing exercises to those.

For those of you who have been texting and IM-ing since you were old enough to talk, I don't imagine you can relate. So try and picture learning the keyboard, where to put your fingers. Having to make an actual physical effort to depress the typewriter keys. Having to hit enter so the typewriter carriage dings and resets itself.

Now picture a boot camp. With people yelling at you. With time pressure. Typing the same sentences over and over and over. You are cold, and tired, and miserable. And still you have to type, dammit, type!

And then imagine doing that on film, while trying to keep a straight face even though the camera man is trying not to dissolve in a puddle of laughter right in front of you.

The script was fantastic. The direction was incredible. And the actors did a great job. Everything was so well organized, the sets were great, and the props so perfect. Who pulls four ancient typewriters together between 7:00 on a Friday night at 7:30 Saturday morning?

There were so many amazingly funny moments that I've been giggling over for the past couple days.

After already working for at least 24 hours straight, they had to take a zillion hours of film and edit down to roughly 5 minutes. I do not know what the film will actually be like.

All I am certain of is that it will be hilarious. I will be writing with full details tomorrow.

Quick Update - Good News!

My dad had surgery this morning to take the tube out of his nose and connect one directly to his stomach. And to make the hole in his throat smaller. Both of these should help reduce irritation in his throat so he can start swallowing.

I feel like it's true, it was good that it didn't work out Friday and that he had more time to heal and gain strength. The surgeries went really well. He's talking and in good spirits, albeit a bit groggy.

Thank god.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Because Sometimes It's Laugh or Cry

My dad looked sooo much better yesterday. He looks stronger. He's talking now. I mean, not talking normally - through the hole in his throat, but still. He can talk.

I hadn't seen him since Friday evening, and the change was dramatic. And so positive.

His surgery is scheduled for first thing tomorrow morning. And actually, I think it's a good thing it got delayed. He's stronger now, more positive. Friday was awful.

On Friday night my mom called. She said she was going back to the hospital, because my dad was refusing to let them put the new tube in his nose.

I offered to drive out, but she said she'd call if she needed me. I wanted to take a sleeping pill and knock myself out, but I also needed to be alert for driving. So I just waited, on the verge of hysteria.

I was just so upset and needed to be talked down. I called my dear friend Jane, who lives in LA (and who will be visiting this weekend - yay!). Her family and mine are incredibly close. She knows my dad well.

I told her about the feeding tube and that Betty was on her way out to the hospital.

I said, "Does he think for one second we're going to let him starve?"

"He's not thinking clearly right now, Lis."

I wailed, "Is he out of his fucking mind???"

Long pause.

And then we started to laugh. We laughed so hard. And we both kept saying, "It's not funny." But laughing just felt so good.

It turns out that my dad hadn't understood why they wanted to put the new tube in. Betty got out there, steeling herself for a struggle, but outwardly very calm.

She told me she said, "Sweetheart, do you know why they want to put the other tube in your nose?"

My dad shook his head.

"They just want to make you more comfortable. The other one was getting uncomfortable."

And my dad said, "Oh. OK. Go ahead."

And that was that.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Tired and Frustrated

I spent the entire day at the hospita. They took my dad down for his surgery at 11 am. In preparation for the surgery they'd stopped his feeding and medication the night before.

And then had him wait for 3 hours for one reason and another. So by the time they were ready to perform the surgery, he was completely worked up and anxious. And his heart was beating way too fast. They gave him IV heart medication to slow it down, but it didn't go back to normal fast enough. Since they don't perform non-emergency surgery on weekends, we have to wait till Monday.

They figure that the combination of dehydration from being off the feeding tube, the fact that they didn't give him heart medication this morning, and the anxiety of waiting all contributed.

When they told us this I was so frustrated I wanted to scream, but screaming at people who are trying to help him would be pointless and rude. And counterproductive.

I'm so glad I have a totally engrossing project tomorrow. At this point, all we can do is wait. And I fucking hate the just waiting.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Please, God

Tomorrow my dad has surgery. They take the feeding tube out of his nose and connect one to his stomach. They also want to reduce the size of the hole in his throat. They think these two things are keeping his trachea from recovering.

I have been acting like he will be fine, absolutely fine. He's so much better than he was two weeks ago. God, it was two weeks today. And it feels like a year.

Apparently in the scheme of things, these are minor surgeries. The doctor wants to do them both at the same time so he only needs to be under anesthesia once.

But they're still surgeries. And he's 70 years old. And his poor body has been through a lot.

The truth is, something could happen. He could still get an infection. He could get pneumonia. We could still lose him.

When I let myself really think about it, I am absolutely terrified.

Darling, Peel Me a Grape

I got a call last night saying that they'd like me to be in the film!

You all know the title of this post is a joke, because the woman who not only shops for jeans at Costco but will try them on in the middle of a Costco aisle is not ever going to be a high maintenance diva.

These films are 4-7 minutes in length, and they show them in groups. Ours will be screened at 7 pm on Tuesday, May 8 at the AFI Silver Spring, and for anyone who is interested, tickets are on sale now.

What this means in terms of my part, nobody knows. Because they won't even be able to start writing a script till tomorrow night. It could be that I wind up with one line. It could be that I have one line and it gets edited out on Sunday. But even so, I'm so excited to be involved in such a fun project!

All I know is that at 7 am Saturday I have to be on location. With a variety of outfits and shoes in tow, just in case. Because depending on the genre they are given, this could be a western, could be a mockumentary, a drama, a comedy.

I love the randomness. I love surprises.

Let me qualify that. I love good surprises. I'm kind of tired of bad surprises.

In terms of news on my dad, my brother just called. They are taking the feeding tube out of his nose and connecting it to his stomach. Apparently the irritation down his throat is keeping it from healing. So it's a big part of the reason he still can't swallow.

It looks, however, like there's no permanent damage. Hopefully within 3-5 weeks he'll be physically healed and out of the hospital.

His brain, however, very sharp. He explained everything that was going on with him medically to my brother this morning.

The man sharing a room with my dad only speaks Spanish. They have a curtain dividing the room. So you can still hear everything going on. When the doctors and nurses need to speak with him, they get a translator.

Now, my dad's Spanish is fluent. So a couple days ago I said to him, "If you could talk, you could totally translate for that guy."

He mouthed, "I know. But I don't want to."

"Why not, Dad?"

He paused for a moment to think about it. "Because he's crazy."

"Oh, Dad, you know we don't hold that against anyone."

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Leaving Las Vegas

I have friends who are participating in the 48 Hour Film Project this weekend. They encouraged me to audition for it.

I took an acting class at the Studio Theatre last summer, which was fun, but that was the only acting I'd done since high school, which was approximately 3 million years ago. But I like acting - it's fun.

For those of you, like me, who hadn't heard about this film project, essentially you form a team, get your camera person, casting director, writers, actors, etc all lined up. And then Friday night each team is given the genre and topic of their film.

So Friday night the writers start writing the script, email it to the actors as soon as they write it, and the filming begins Saturday. Sunday they edit and put it all together. And Tuesday they screen the films. It sounds like a really dynamic, creative, interesting time.

Yesterday was kind of craptacular, and I was going to bail on going, because I was just so exhausted and I didn't know what they expected of me. My friends said just to turn up and at least meet with the casting director. They said at the very least it would be a great distraction, the group was fun, and I might be able to get involved in some way.

So I went up to R's house and plopped myself on his big, comfy green couch next to a guy I didn't know. The film team was meeting at the dining room table. One of the guys in charge of the project walked over to us and said, "Are you here to audition?"

The guy got up and said he was, and handed him his head shot and resume.

Yikes! There were real actors auditioning for this! They had monologues prepared!

I said, "I'm just here because J and R invited me. I don't know what I'm doing."

The guy laughed and said they didn't know what they were doing either. But why didn't I audition as long as I was there?

Another actor turned up while we were chatting, and the guy handed us both scripts. He said they were going to film the first actor, and if we didn't mind, we could read through the script while waiting on the porch.

So we sat in the chairs on the porch and he handed us each several pages.

It was a scene from Leaving Las Vegas. I've never seen the movie, mainly because I avoid really depressing films. And nothing about the description, "romantic drama about a relationship between a suicidal alcoholic and a prostitute from Las Vegas" ever made me think, oh, that sounds like a great time!

One of my lines was, "So, why are you trying to kill yourself?"

Seriously. I'm not kidding. You can't make this kind of shit up.

I have no idea whether I'll get cast or not, but apparently I came across as very real.

Life is random.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Like a Wrung Out Dishrag

Today I think I've hit a wall. I don't know if I've ever been so exhausted in my entire life.

If someone came along and offered to temporarily take over my life, I would absolutely say yes. And then I'd crawl in bed and sleep for a month.

I went to the hospital after work yesterday and then slept out in VA at my parents' house. I intended to get up early and drive back into DC this morning, and I just couldn't get up. And couldn't get up. And couldn't get up.

I let my work know that I wouldn't be in today. I just can't do it.

Yesterday they tried to test my dad's ability to swallow, and it didn't go very well. This could just be trauma, and not permanent damage. They're going to try again today. Betty and I are about to go over there.

He's a lot more alert now. And they've been getting him up walking a couple times a day. This is all good, from a physical perspective.

However, he's still not delighted to be here. He's no longer angry, but he's not champing at the bit to live. He says he's sorry, and I believe he is. But that doesn't mean I believe he wouldn't do it all over again.

I tell him that I love him and that I need him here. And he says sometimes it's just too hard.

Honestly, I don't know how to process this. It makes me so sad and tired. We haven't even begun to come up with a plan for the future. As in the next week future. Or even the next month future.

When he's just lying in bed they have these big inflatable things they put on his calves, from ankle to knee. Kind of like enormous marshallows. They inflate, apparently to force the blood back up so you don't get blood clots.

He's moving around enough that he doesn't have to have them on during the day. But they're always hooked up, just sitting at the foot of his bed, inflating and deflating. We tried to get him to put them on yesterday, and he said, "You wear them."

So Betty and I separately tried them on. They feel nice, I have to say. Like you're being cuddled. At this point, I think I could really use one that fits over your entire body. It wouldn't be subtle to walk around with, but it sure would feel good.