Sunday, September 28, 2008

Success!

Lisa is even sassier than I am in photos, if you can believe that.

Today, 29,999 other people and I walked all around Newport Beach's Fashion Island (I actually thought it was a real island. Alas, it is just a chi-chi mall) to look for a cure for breast cancer as part of the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure.

We did not find it. We found a ton of cheerleaders, funny dudes in tutus, Boy Scouts handing out water and balancing cups on their heads, and one zillion cute babies. But hopefully, we are closer than we were yesterday to finding a cure. The walk so far has raised $1.42 million

In case you were waiting to give until I actually PROVED that I walked, please note the picture of me of me and my excellent co-worker, Lisa. I would never, ever in a million years wear a shirt or a baseball cap like that on my own personal voiltion, so you know it's authentic. It's not too late to give, either! It's cinchy, just go to www.ockomen.org/race/vmcgrady.

Thanks, everyone, for all your support. I know a lot of regular 40licious readers gave, and I'm so glad I could reach out this way.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Radical acceptance

I go to yoga whenever I can, whenever inertia does not get the best of me. Not only is it good for my high-water bootie (my hairdresser SueAnn remarked today that I have a butt like no white girl she's ever seen, which I'm hoping is a good thing), but also, sometimes the teacher will say something in passing but it will stick to me in the most profound way.

For example.

Last week Shad spoke about "radical acceptance." He was initially referring to accepting how our bodies were feeling as we dragged them in on Saturday morning. Stiff, creaky, perhaps a teensy bit hungover, whatever. Then he went on to talk about how once you fully and totally accept something, you can begin to change it and move forward. Actually, actively NOT accepting a situation or a person or even a bum leg takes quite a bit of energy, because you aren't moving forward.

I love the idea of applying radical acceptance in other ways. Maybe I should accept that I'm 40 and it may be a little late in the game to have a baby -- and then I can move on toward getting myself set up to adopt. Or be the best auntie ever. Or I could radically accept that my brother and I won't have the same relationship we used to before our dad died, and stop trying to act like it will get back to normal. Maybe if I radically accept that we are different, as indiviudals and as a family, then I can move toward making a new and different relationship with him. And then there's radically accepting that I may never look good in a tiny black and floral silk miniskirt that's a half-size too small that I've held on to for three years. Once I accept that and get rid of it, I can move on and find something more suitable.

What should you probably accept in the most radical of ways?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

This Is How Amazing You Are

$1,745

That's how much you've donated to my Race/Walk for the Cure effort. You people floor me.

LuLuBelle and I will make the trek on Sunday in Orange County, in memory of my colleague, Charlene McComas, the original corporate wacky redhead.

But it's not too late! We are still gleefully accepting small change and big bucks at www.ockomen.org/race/vmcgrady.

And thank you, all, for every penny you've given so far. You're amazing.

Can we get to $2k? Y2k? Why not?

Friday, September 19, 2008

Reverse Warrior


Yoga is a metaphor for everything else. You seriously could drive yourself half bats making all the intellectual, spiritual and emotional connections. In yoga there is a counter pose for every pose. When you spend time bending forward, you move into a back bend. When you stretch left, you stretch right. And so on.

There is a series of poses called "Warrior." For Warrior II, one foot faces straight forward. The other swings behind and points to the corner of the room. The front knee bends and the back leg stays straight. Arms are straight, like an arrow through the torso, in front and behind. Head looks forward, gazing over the fingertips.

When you reverse your Warrior, you bring your front arm over your head, and bend backwards.

As I was reversing my Warrior this evening, I wondered how that could translate. What if we all tried to reverse our Warrior? What if every time we felt super pissed off, we automatically provided the opposite of that and sent love to the object of our anger? So yesterday, when this chick at work was condescending and treating me like a moron, maybe after my initial furiousness, I could have gone over and given her some chocolate. And I would have felt a little better. And maybe she'd think harder next time she said something insulting. And we'd both walk away with a little more sweetness in our day.

On a national level, what if instead of bombing the crap out of people, we showered our enemies with money and clinics?

Consider this:
What if we gave HALF of that $555 billion to Iraq and built schools and hospitals and helped them with infrastructure issues? And then we took the other half of that money, kept our soldiers home, and used it to rebuild New Orleans and Texas and anyplace else that needed a hand up? Or, gee, I don't know, bought health care for everyone here? Or paid teachers like basketball players? Nobody dead! Everyone happy!

There very well may be some kind of life after our stint on earth. Actually, I'm banking on it. But in case there's not, or in case it's not what we think it might be, this may be the only chance we have. Right here, right now. This is the kir royale, the appetizer, the palate-clearing sorbet, the entree, the dessert and the double espresso. All of it. So why not try to make it better for everyone involved?

How will you reverse your Warrior?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

What Can I Trade Myself in For?

Today I went to my lovely and assuring acupuncturist, the Golden Monkey, who is treating my sciatica. He asked, "How are you?" Instead of keeping to the topic at hand, I blurted out everything I wanted him to change. I think there was a list of five in addition to making my leg normal again -- including ridiculous things like "I want to be skinny," "I want my kitchen to be finished" and "I want my hair to be long again."

He suggested we just go with the leg for now.

And then he stuck all the needles in an I zoned out, like I do, all drooly and sleepy. I woke up to feel a man next to me. Like someone was floating hands over my body, as if he were doing reiki. And then I heard the door open and Matt come in.

After he pulled all the needles out, I asked him how long he'd been hanging out before he retrieved the needles. He said he hadn't been. I told him I felt someone there, and asked if perhaps he'd heard tell of a ghost.

He was very nonchalant about the whole thing.

But I'm super sensitive, because the other day, Luis said that as he was working on the kitchen, he saw a man holding a book sitting in my chair. And then he disappeared.

I guess it's time to call the psychic and see what all of this is about. If anything. Or maybe I just need a looooooooooooong vacation.

Monday, September 15, 2008

You Are Amazing

$1,555

That's how much I've raised in this campaign for the Susan G. Komen Foundation so far. Most of my friends aren't wealthy. A shockingly huge number of them are, in fact, unemployed. They are, however, big hearted and have vision and power. The only downside to this is that now I owe, like, 85 favors.

You are all AMAZING.

And it's still not too late to sponsor me and LuLuBelle as we hike around Orange County looking for a cure. I think they've hidden it somewhere, like Easter eggs. Lu will find it. She is bionic in the sniffer department.

Go here to see what I'm talking about.

Thank you, a thousand times.

Friday, September 12, 2008

$60! That's It!




Due to your AMAZING generosity, I have far surpassed my original goal of raising $1,000 for the Susan G. Komen Foundation Race for the Cure. I set a new mark -- $1,500 -- and I have only $60 to go until I meet that!

So if you have been hemming and hawing about donating, or if you thought about spending money on something foolish, like cocaine, Ringling Bros. Circus (it's terrible now, your kids will have more fun at the park), "surefire" stocks, The Product That Will Finally Make Your Hair Perfect, holiday-themed dinnerware, an empire-waist tunic from TJ Maxx that is on sale but will only be hip until 10 minutes ago, or Bio Bags, please, consider donating instead to this cause.

It's so easy and you can feel rigteous and smug at tax time!

You can click away here: www.ockomen.org/race/vmcgrady.

Lucy and I will be walking on Sept. 28. I think it's 100 miles or something. We'll bring enough water and snacks.

Thanks again, to everyone who gave. Your generosity floors me.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Seven Years Ago

Seven years ago I woke up to the sound of a plane zooming way too low for comfort. Then a crash. I thought it was Blue Angels, cursed them under my breath, and tried to find sleep again. But couldn't. The phone rang. I answered it -- Linda was still asleep -- and her frightened friend told me to look out the window.

The first plane had just hit. I yelled for Linda to wake up. For the next two hours, we watched all of it. Crumble. People falling. Paper everywhere. We screamed, then cried, and did both, and went back to the window. And turned away. And wandered the ashy streets, as if there were something we could do.

In shock, I walked miles and miles uptown to find my Dad, who was also visiting New York. I didn't know what hotel he was in. I kind of circled around midtown. I couldn't reach my brother all day, but lo, he walked up to Dad's hotel right at the same time I did. The three of us sat on the bed, watching those towers fall and fall and fall and fall and fall and fall. I kept crying. They didn't quite get it, because they didn't SEE. Really SEE it. Happening.

I'll tell you the whole story sometime if you ask, because it is weird on so many many levels. And I am changed. And Linda and I have a different friendship, aside from being college roommates and friends after. I am worse and I am better.

I am worse because before that, I had no real comprehension of how awful people can be to each other. I am better because my heart breaks every day for those people who left for work, perhaps in a fight, perhaps in a French kiss, perhaps not wanting to wake the other, and never came home. I have vowed since then to let everyone I know I love them whenever we say goodbye. Because I want them to know it, if we never see each other again.

By the way, I love you. You all know who you are.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

I Am Big In Texas

I'm here in Houston for training and feel somewhat confined to my not-quite-urban neighborhood. So I decide to walk around to get dinner and pick up a few things for folks back home. Best place to do that is a 20-minute stroll down the road to the Galleria, home of Neiman Marcus, Saks', Missoni, Jimmy Choo etc. My boredom and slight annoyance with the homeogenity of it all was dashed to the barnacle-ridden rocks below when I saw that Oceanaire also lived at the Galleria.

Now, when I was a food and travel writer for Sunset and other publications -- this is Seattle circa 2005 -- I did dine at possibly the best fish house in the country, the Oceanaire (and other fine establishments) on a regular basis. The chef there used to make me tuna poke when I asked for it, even though it did not exist on the menu.

So tonight, I practically prance into the place, gushing about what a huge fan I am, and they show me to a table. Franken flops, cargo pants, dumb short hair pulled into a ponytail (I am desperately trying to grow it back, 2000 mgs of MSM a day), no makeup.

But after I ask the busboy to check if the chef will make poke, they switch into celebrity mode. My waiter insists that I try no less than four types of wine. The manger comes over with a little bow and hands me his card and asks if there's anything he can do. The chef comes out and shoots the shit as he hands me my poke. The waiter has me on his radar and gives me his card. The chef comes back after the subsequent courses and gives me his card too.

Did they do a retinal scan?
Did they tap my email to discover that indeed, I am writing for Sunset again?
Did they think I was someone else?

Probably, but I can't imagine who.

Regardless, tonight I fall asleep full and happy in my Heavenly Bed (TM).

Because in the state of Texas, I am alone and a star.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

I May Move In With My Mother

Contractor shows up only sporadically these days. Still no water in kitchen, washing the few dishes I use in the bathtub. Dust is everywhere. My dog is pooping dust, I fear. Maybe it's good for her, I don't know.

Today I came home to find:
  • kitchen cabinet doors on and painted the exact shade I wanted (good)
  • outlets in kitchen and office blown out and not working (bad)
  • workers thought enough to plug fridge into bedroom outlet with extension cord (good)
  • attempted to put food back in finished cupboard but new door doesn't open right (bad)
  • frozen lasagne! (good)
  • outlet for microwave and oven is out, I forgot (bad)
  • Kite Runner arrived on Netflix (good)
  • Ate crackers and tapenade for dinner (bad)
  • My Race for the Cure pledges are up to more than $1,200! (AMAZING!)
  • Nat and SG and Connie call and force me to come out for late-night party in Los Feliz (I love my friends so much)
HOWEVER, the evening was redeemed when Angie turned me on to my new favorite time-waster, CAKE WRECKS, a blog about horrible professional cakes. This kind of blog, ladies and gents, is what makes our nation great.
Um, somebody has to cut into this, eventually. Hello? McFly?

Friday, September 5, 2008

SU2C

SU2C


You can say all you want about the people in the entertainment industry. They're mean and temperamental. They're hogging all the Botox and Wellbutrin. They fostered the careers of Danny Bonaduce and Renee Zellwegger. But you know what? They're doing something government, the UN and any health organization hasn't. They are coming together around cancer, to try to get past the tipping point between searching for a cure and making cancer as harmless, as, say, dandruff. Take your pick of NBC, ABC and CBS tonight -- Friday, 8 p.m. -- to watch Stand Up 2 Cancer, and help get us that much closer to a cure. (You can also kill an amazing amount of time watching all the videos and whatnot until the actual event. Not like you'd kill time or anything ... you just read the Internet for the articles. I know. But still.)

Also, I'm only about $400 away from my $1,500 goal for the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. Think of all the stupid stuff you spent money on this week. That greasy lunch. Those flats you thought were cute but now aren't and rub a little bit on your toe. Scented candles as a gift because you couldn't think of anything else. Now, it won't hurt you to throw $15 or so toward eradicating breast cancer, would it? I didn't think so. Please go here to donate.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

How Long Until Election Day?


Old, Grizzled Third-Party Candidate May Steal Support From McCain

I'd like to set some new ground rules for our erstwhile candidates and their supporters, because I'm very, very close to switching out completely and listening to JACK-FM in the car, and spending my online time at www.engrish.com.

So. If you are running for president or vice president, I respectfully submit the 40licious rules for campaigning, from this point forward.

1. Enough with the POW stuff. Yes, I know that was a terrible experience. I myself even visited POW camps in Asia to gain a better understanding of something incomprehensible. But can we please move forward? In fact, I'm not sure of the mental stability of someone who was in a POW camp. Do we really want someone with PTSD next to the Red Phone? Also, just because you have been locked in a cage, poked with sharp sticks, and forced to eat thin gruel for many years does not qualify you for president. I had to attend Chimacum Jr. High School where I was regularly taunted for the wrong hair/clothes/family/car/upbringing/friends, forced by seniors to put my foot in a bucket of liquefied cow shit, and made to eat "pizza" by student workers who eventually ended up in the county clink. With suffering=competence logic, that should qualify me for Queen of the World. But it doesn't have anything to do with anything, except I'm sorry that you suffered such pain, McCain. So don't come around.

2. Nobody from any party can say anything else ever about taxes. It's all bunkie. Nobody believes you anyway. You will backtrack. Do we not learn from history? Can we all agree that in order to be a civilized, healthy and educated society, with roads to drive around on and firefighters to come over when we've accidentally burned down the kitchen, we will have to pay taxes? Here's what I'd like to see: a pie chart! Of how each candidate would have your hard-earned tax dollars spent! And then you can decide on which person is more in line with your values by how he divides the pie.

3. Please leave pregnant teens out of it. And how pretty Palin is. And that she should stay home with her kids. That's so trite. So maybe it's true that Palin's son with Down's Syndrome is really her grandchild. Maybe it's not. Don't all families have that kind of stuffing in the closet? Didn't anyone read the Feminine Mystique? Doesn't ANYONE realize how babies are made?

4. If I hear the term "hockey mom," "boy's club/Washington insider" or "special interest" one more time I may sick up.

5. Is it completely unfair to hunt moose from an airplane? Of course it is. Is it completely unfair to eat dead cow killed by a shot to the head whilst it waits in line at the slaughterhouse? Of course it is. But I had Ikea meatballs in my fried rice for dinner, and so I'm not sure if I can complain about the hunting thing. I just had to impulse-buy a BLĂ–RGG and that was it.

6. Why isn't anyone talking about the environment? Do they not see the brown smear that is urban sky during all their jetsetting? Is anyone carbon-offsetting their travels? Extra points for anyone who comes up with a semi-realistic plan.

7. Enough with who does and who doesn't support the troops. Everyone supports the troops. Some people just want them to come home and stop getting killed.

8. If your last name is McCain or Biden, can you please, just until after the elections, stop being so creepy? You're really ooking me out. Even the sound of your voice makes my skin crawl. Suggestion: Stunt double! I think Nick Nolte and Gary Busey are looking for work.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

This Can Happen To You!


So, as everyone by this time knows, I am participating in my first-ever "athon" event, the Orange County Race for the Cure to support the Susan G. Komen Foundation. That's for breast cancer. Which is a terrible, terrible disease.

My good and wise and generous friend Paul answered my plea and donated some money, and then, just moments after, he found the SAME EXACT AMOUNT in cash on the street.

Voila!

So, I encourage any of you who are just THINKING about donating and haven't yet to go ahead, it's easy and fun and, heck, you just may end up with a little instant karma.

The site is here.

I am so honored and humbled by this effort and how people have reached out. Within 24 hours, you all have donated $775 toward my $1,000 goal. I may have to up that now. Because you are, simply, shockingly big-hearted.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

I Hate Cancer - My First "athon"

My friend, Charlene McComas, kicked breast cancer's ass five years ago. But then it came back and took her down in the ugliest of battles. She died in July.

Most of you who know me understand that I am not a “joiner.” I don’t take well to crowds and organized activities. Yet I feel so strongly about the Susan G. Komen Foundation’s Race for a Cure that I am participating in a run/walk on Sept. 28 in Orange County.

I’m hoping to raise at least $1,000 for the foundation — can you please pledge? Even if it’s just $1 or $5, it is a welcome addition to the cause and a chance to help make a change, for the better. And, hellooooooo charitable donation!!!!

The site is here: www.ockomen.org/race/vmcgrady

Because cancer sucks. And I hate it. And I can't possibly stand to see one more person I know die from it.

Monday, September 1, 2008

A Dog's Life



This weekend I needed to get out of the house. It's about two weeks into chaos due to my kitchen remodeling, and at this late date, I am still insecure about my choice of countertop. I am closest to deciding on the granite that looks like early-morning television snow (if you are under 35, go ask your parents what this is), but I am still, ugh. I don't know. I had an anxiety dream about it last night.

So I packed up into the car for a vacation designed around LuLuBelle, the beagly mutt. Dog-friendly hotel. Hound-lovin' beaches. Porches for pooches. We drove up the coast to San Luis Obispo.

After looking after Lucy for 12 years or so, she still makes me laugh every day. And there are some things I learned from her in the past 72 hours.

Such as:

1. Act like you are running for mayor, all the time. Expect that everyone will love you. 99 percent of the time, people will. The remaining 1 percent, they will be a little bit afraid. That's not such a bad thing.
2. A nap is always better after a long hard run on the beach.
3. Insist on the long hard run on the beach.
4. Who's the loser? The dog who chases the ball, or the person that keeps throwing it, saying, "get it, get it, get it! Who's getting the ball? It's my ball. My ball." I'd say the latter. Especially when you decline to chase the ball.
5. There is nothing more perfect than a restaurant in Morro Bay that lets the dog hang out on the deck, listening to a folky singer warble kd lang tunes, while the people eat barbecued oysters and drink brown beer, watching the sun go down. Nothing in the world.