Saturday, January 31, 2009

Upstairs at Fairway


The crazy big (by Manhattan standards) bustling market, Fairway, on the Upper West Side is my main source of food here in New York. They have everything you could imagine and crazy lines and loads of people knocking about in that hurried New York kind of way. Upstairs is the organic section and the holistic section. There is also this amazing restaurant that overlooks Broadway tucked away upstairs. You wouldn't really know about it unless you shopped there.

My friend Shawn and I went here for breakfast this morning. I had never been here for breakfast before and I have to say it was excellent. As Shawn remarked, the place looks like it is out of Seattle with exposed brick, large window and wood and open space.

I had the scrambled egg and lox with a bagel and coffee. It was done so perfectly, that I am still thinking about it.

More importantly, it was great to catch up with Shawn. We had an excellent conversation that covered all those bases and just sat there until I think people were queuing for lunch! It has been a while since I had this kind of meal this way. I hope we do it again.

Friday, January 30, 2009

My Health is at Steak

When my mother died I asked, "Who is going to be the Barbara Stanwyck of the family now? My older sister Seona, with her seniority, status, seeming stability and practical sense seemed to be the obvious choice.

During my illness she has been a fantasitc mom substitute that I never knew I wanted or needed. She has checked in on me and done medical research and made...suggestions.

She was worried that I was not getting enough protein or eating right so today I got this HUGE styrofoam box from Omaha Steaks c/o her. I swear that there was a half a cow in this thing to look at it. Or an alien space craft come to take over what is left of my feeble brain. But inside amidst the billowing dry ice there was an assortment of meat and chicken and veg.



My freezer is full of OS supplies. I don't know if she wants me to eat or date!! It is really, truly lovely and made my day in a way only mailed meat can do. As I told her, sometimes you don't realize you need a hug and you really, really, really do. This was it. Thanks, Sis!


Now she suggests I get a pet.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Boy in the Plastic Bauble


I took a walk in the park today. Being out right now "in my condition" is difficult and odd, but pushing myself a bit I find is necessary for recovery and mental health. Pushing too much, I also discovered, is not.

I wrote before how walking in the city with headphones on somehow makes me feel invisible in that cool "I am an international bon vivant/spy wearing a cloaking device and I am all powerful because there is a cool song in my head and you can't see me" way. Walking with Bell's palsy and vertigo ALSO ads that invisibility, but NOT in a cool way. I feel removed from society, and so withdrawn that carriages might kick up mud in my face as I stand there looking out my one good eye. And dogs might lift their legs on my legs and children may wipe chocolate off their hands onto me as if I were wet grass.

I thought the roads were clear of snow, and they were, but there was some ice on the path which is kryptonite to a vertigo-infested boy. In Rainman fashion I figure out how to get past it. My brain struggles to reboot itself. When other people are on the path I cannot breeze right by them as I have in my New Yorker way in the past. I must defer and plod slowly behind as passing is too difficult. I feel I may fall off the edge of the world. Hard to explain.

Even though I am invisible, there is life out there all around and it still brings me joy though I feel I cannot touch it or taste it as I want. But I can feel the cold on my face and hear the joy in the air. There was a guy playing sax in the tundra of the park and people on a bridge and ducks on a frozen pond. Such LIFE!! I cannot believe people hide in their apartments when there is magic all around for the price of a muddy trouser hem.



Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Vertigo


I woke up this morning and looked in the mirror and had some small movement in my left eyebrow!! This is a HUGE deal to someone like me right now. My left brow suggested it was waking up a bit. This is turn has caused my left eye to not be so irritated all the time. I daresay it may even be blinking on the sly.

Such JOY throughout the land that is my face!!

But there was a FI-FIE-FO-FUM that quelled some of the magic on the left hemisphere of my cabbage. And that is increased vertigo. I done never had vertigo before and now it just crazy. I look anywhere an I SPIN. My inner ear has not come to join the party clearly.

I move along fine and one look away and I am just all over the place. Will have to call the doc tomorrow.

But still there is JOY in Spudville as my brow is a twitchin'!!!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Off Course on the Stationary Bicycle



In a symbolic gesture of positivity and denial, I went to the gym. Hey before you get going, the doc said it was okay. I can't walk a straight line or not gesture over my shoulder without spinning out, but exercise is thought to be good.

I went back to my beloved YMCA this morning and held onto the stair rail like a dowager and managed up to the gym. My ipod and I were so happy to be back and were greeted by all the mats and exercise balls and machines.

It was half exercise and half a notion of it. A start. I can say my head benefited more than my body, but this is what we do to get back on. And what I do is then RUN with this success and OVER do it. This is where I need the real exercise.

I have had to accept that the body works in its own time and I cannot push it. I have to get well. I have to do what I can do, but not do more than I should. This is a frustrating position for someone so willful.

I thought today: "Well if I am so up and at 'em and a DO-er, then why do I not have the best abs in the world, why am I not a top notch bagpiper, why have I not written a few books and plays? " If I am such a over-the-scorer?

Well, I like to BUZZ. As long as I am buzzing and keeping busy buzzing I cannot see my wings and I don't have to deal. This illness has made me think that I need some "more better" focus.

Some quality, not quantity.

So I have decided I need to have dinner parties and read the classics and take French

Clearly more work needs to be done.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Corey, Cauliflower and Streep

Today was a fantastic day of livin'. I really got out and about on this glorious Sunday. It was like George Bailey back from the bridge!! "Hello you old Savings and Loan!!!" (mwah)

I was feeling well enough today to go for a walkabout (well, a bus and subway-about) in Manhattan which felt amazingly good. I took a bus across town to church on 80th and Lex and listened to some amazing choir music. I then went down to the Village and caught up with Pat and Sean at the Chelsea Diner. Fantastic.

COREY

Then I met my pal Corey for an Upper Westside Walkabout. He wanted to zigzag the West 60s and lower 70s between Central Park West and Columbus. One doesn't get asked to do this often and it was a great gambol and catch up. Corey and I worked together at Sundance and he is just a delight to be around. He is a guy full of life and trivia and opinions. He is a one man Sesame Street episode of so much enthusiasm and pathos that I feel I go through life lessons and laughter with him every time we are together. And today it was all done in the letter "S" formation.

CAULIFLOWER


My amazing and lovely college pal Teresa and her husband Jose Luis went to DC to see the Inauguration of Barack Hussein Obama. We spoke on the phone tonight after they got back to CA and it was so great to hear her take on the whole thing. It sounded like an experience that one would never forget. I was so exhilarated by hearing her and then she put me over the edge by telling me that they went to their plot at the Long Beach Community Garden and brought back two beautiful cauliflowers. Jose sent me a photo and I do not know how to express that seeing this bounty from their garden and their efforts made me burst with happiness. It is going to be an eyeroller, but there is HOPE in them thar cauliflower. I saw nothing more beautiful today. *Except for my perfectly unlined left forehead.

STREEP

(Click on Meryl's photo to watch "One True Thing" FREE on HULU.com)

This has no connection, but I was thinking about Meryl Streep and should perhaps write a whole piece on her someday. She won the Golden Globe for "Doubt" this evening and I am just still in awe of her. As Salome was rewarded for her dancing or Mozart revered in the royal courts of Europe, La Streep is equally talented and worthy of heads on plates or immortality. I will say she is the Sarah Bernhardt of our day. She is The Beatles of her genre.

There is a scene on "One True Thing" where she talks to her daughter about marriage while she is dying of cancer. There is no other actress that could have delivered that scene like that. It has me balling every time as if I have just heard the most amazing tenor. What she can do with her talent and has done with her talent is a celebration of life to me. It is cauliflower and Corey and the Chelsea Diner loaded into her fingertips.

I applaud and thank her. She is a damn good actress.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Facing It


Sometimes lately I feel like Sally Field going for her third Oscar. My facial/mobility/vomitous/dizzy/jobless issues mixed with a steady mix of joie de vivre is perfect for any actor to get the sympathy of the Academy.

Not to overstate, but you simply do a Daniel Day Lewis "My Left Foot" face scrunch mixed with a Sean Penn "I Am Sam' walk and talk and a Emma Thompson "Wit" vomit mixed with a Ms. Field "Places in the Heart" defiance that it is not going to get the best of you and you have so nabbed that golden statuette.

But sometimes illness reads like a children's book: "Today Pat walked to the Museum of Natural History and back. The End."

That was kind of my day. My struggle. The doc says I have to get mobile which I find really hard since I can walk like a man at bar time and the wind gets in my left eye which is no good.

But my Sally self told my Bad Luck Schleprock self to bundle up and get out. I walked, as I said, to the Museum of Natural History which is a block away. And I walked up stairs I had never been up before. There is a simulated ice skating rink up there for kids and it was just the most beautiful perspective of the apartment buildings, the rink and the space center. I had never seen it and I live a spit from it. Wow.

As I was walking back through the park at the Museum I was struck once again with such gratitude to live here in New York. It is constant magic. I am itching, ITCHING I tell you, to get out again and see people and walk and climb and know that I will be alright and I will work and I will live here. It will happen, but in the meantime...

WWSD?

Friday, January 23, 2009

Plans and Needles

Another day of nausea. I had the ENT appointment and he told me it is a waiting game now, but that I will get better. Lourdes or no Lourdes. This is good news. Patience is a hard one for me on all levels and here I am having to be patient with my face, my work, my bagpipes, New York, my life, my inabilities, and myself. Patience. I want to be graceful about it.

The doc told me I need to get up and out and get some walking in. Even if I am unsteady, but I cannot lie on the couch. This is going to be hard, but I know he is right. I walked home from 67th St wearing Audrey Hepburn sunglasses to block the wind and telling myself to walk straight. Much like being pulled over by the cops for the drunk test I would imagine.

Funnily enough I saw a blind man asking for help to hail a cab. I thought an able bodied soul should help him, but then I thought (see the recovery already!?) why not me? So the near blind lead the blind and I got him the cab and helped him get in and on his way. That stuff helps ones head I have to say.

This afternoon I had my acupuncturist appointment. My friend Nicole recommended I go to the YinOva Center which you can tell from the title is mostly about helping women get pregnant. I felt I didn't need their services as I already felt pregnant with being extremely nauseous and wobbly on my feet. The center is located off of Union Square and this was the biggest haul I had made since I got all twisty in the face. It is surreal walking through the streets of New York like you are not really there, like a ghost. But that it what it felt like. I have not felt like the rest of the world since I got sick. My heart goes further out to those who constantly feel this. It must be awful. Because for me, not being a part of the city and not being able to throw my hat up in the air and talk to strangers is pure torture. I guess I am on a vow of silence retreat right here in Manhattan.

The YinOva Center is a very lovely, very lavendery, very warm place. All this wanted to make me heave immediately. I got some water and Margaret was very nice and set to work on me. It was hard for me to lie down with all the needles in me, but we propped my head up and that helped me from throwing up like a rockstar. Finally it was quite meditative and relaxing.

I have no idea if the treatment will work or help, but I have heard it has helped others and I think Why Not. I go back on Tuesday.

Got home and had a sensible meal and heaved.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Rien.

Today was a new low in nothingness.

I shuffled to the ophthalmologist in the morning. My cornea rocks. Thank God. I told the doc what an excellent front desk person he had and she was the reason why I came to him. They waived my $50 co-pay. It pays to look pathetic and be kind!

I shuffled back home.

Threw up.

Tried to sleep.

That was the day.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Faking Well

View of Columbus Circle from the Time Warner Center.

Another day of faking well. I thought I was feeling well, but I was just faking well. I went to meet a BAFTA colleague for a coffee at Bouchon Bakery at the Time Warner Center in Columbus Circle. I was encouraged by having gone to the Inauguration luncheon yesterday and felt it was good for me psychologically to get out and talk about work.

It was a great conversation (though I was having difficulty pronouncing my "f's" due to my frozen face.). The bakery I am sure was good, but I was not in any shape to really enjoy a sinful baked good. Like choosing spaghetti Bolognese on a first date, I unwisely selected an almond raspberry croissant that I just made such a mess of with my cud-like chewing I finally gave up and dribbled coffee into my lap instead. "Pathetic" in the literal sense of the word.

After the coffee, I nipped down to Whole Foods to get something to bring home. I got home at brown rice sushi rolls and some chocolate chip cookies. [It even sounds like a nasty brew to me now!] For some reason this was beyond faking and I could not fake any longer. Something did not agree with me and I threw the whole lot up. Yay.

I had acupuncture today which I was really excited about in hopes to loosen this sleepy facial nerve. I had to cancel and lie like death warmed up on the couch.

A set back of sorts, but I have to just slow it down and accept that even this was doing too much.

It will get better. I know that. Now to accept that~

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Oh Happy Day



Play while reading.

From seeing the new First Family all bright and shiny and full of promise and CHANGE to Aretha's hat to hearing the Rev. Joseph Lowery deliver the wonderful benediction to inhaling Yo-Yo, Itzhak et al playing "Simple Gifts" just moved me so much. And I have to say I was equally moved to see the Bushs get on that plane and get out. And Cheney looking like the rotter Mr. Potter from "It's a Wonderful Life" in that wheelchair with blanket and knowing he is going.

Such simple gifts indeed!

I had my own simple gift in that I ventured out to an inauguration lunch I was invited to. I had planned to send regrets because of my balance and my face! But being encouraged by the wonderful hostess, I went. It was about 8 or 9 people at a beautiful apartment on the Upper East Side overlooking snow covered trees and brownstone buildings. We had the most wonderful time. There were finance people and actors and unemployed folk and retired people. We had our own brain trust of punditry!




I think one of the greatest gifts to give is bringing people together. And another is attending! I so love meeting new people and hearing different points of view. (The latter has been hard for me lately, but I am opening up because I realize there has to be discussion.) It was a great day and then I went home to rest.

All in all I am going to give this day and A and allow it to be its own thing and let the future take its course in due time.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Visiting

How cute is she!

A few days ago my friend Sean came north of 14th Street to bring me groceries and we went out and grabbed some lunch. It was perfect. A simple joy that makes life so wonderful. I had to grab his arm while we walked like an old man because I am still unsteady on my feet, but no matter, it was great to get out and be with a friend.

Today was another wonderful day like that. No job, no relationship, no Publisher's Clearing House, just a friend dropped by and took me for a walk in the Park. First Nicole came over and brought lunch. We dined together in the flat and caught up. Then we bundled up and went out into this most spectacular winter wonderland. Huge snowflakes fell and the world was duvet-ed in snow! We walked in Central Park and the magic in there will fuel me for a while.

Me unintentionally doing my Bell's palsy Zoolander pose with a babe on my arm!

Kids were sledding and adults were strolling and one man whom we spoke with was cross country skiing. Fantastic.

Not Vermont, Central Park!!

Upon leaving the park we realized we were on our friend Shawn's street and we called her and asked if we could drop by for a visit. She said of course and the three friends had a hang and a chat while the beautiful snow fell outside. Perfection, perfection, perfection.

Nicole took me to Duane Reade to pick up my latest batch of pills and made sure I got home and that was my day.

So grateful for simple joys. It helps one turn a corner.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

I keep vlogging myself.



Didn't feel like writing today so I am vlogging!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Prof. McDreamy



I am taking a wee break from talking about my health to focus on, well, Money. I used to have it, but for the moment it just passes through my hands and out the door. Since I have been housebound I have been watching so many political shows and have become acquainted with this dashing Scottish fellow who is flogging his book "The Ascent of Money." I have to admit that accent, that suit and those big words have caused me to be all shaky like the stock market.

I found out that there is a PBS special that he did that goes along with it. "Coo, PBS!" Clearly I need to see this special. "WATCH instead of READ? Super!" my little lazy mind says.

Well, I can't find it on the air anymore so I am watching it on-line. How modern and brilliant and on-demand is that?! I want to have kids just so I have can have grandkids just so I can hear them laugh at me : "Ha, ha. Grandpappy used to have to wait to watch stuff. Ha, ha, ha."

Hey, as good a reason as any.

Well, now I think I have a secret crush on Niall: a straight, married, younger, conservative, Oxford-educated Harvard professor from Glasgow. Why do I pick all the hard to reach ones? I read somewhere that he is "handsome in that British way." Ouch, it sounded like a snarky cutdown, but it is true; he is handsome - "in that British way." I still have a thing for Paul Krugman, the Nobel prize winning economist who lectures at Princeton. What is my deal? I am in love with impossible to reach finance guys and I don't even balance a checkbook. And I am no Marilyn Monroe.

Torture.

If you want to watch "The Ascent of Money" for free on line click here.

Friday, January 16, 2009

My Left Face

Please stay tuned to this blog as it will pick up and I will be back on my feet with New York City adventures that will AMAZE you and stories of daring do that will WOW you, but for right now it is all in my head as I lay on the couch recuperating from a drop in the temperature and my face!

Instead of dinner parties high atop Manhattan, I put eye drops into my left eye to keep it lubricated. Instead of walking in the snow in Central Park or and evening at the opera, I do facial exercises in front of the mirror to try to awaken my left face. Aha!! "My Left Face"!!!

Let's see, how can we make this into a movie: I am a mime who has to win the the huge cash prize at the World Miming Competition held once every 10 years at the top of Rockefeller Center. I need this money to pay for something, of course. It cannot be a flat screen TV and little orphan children are too overused. Wait, how about a much-needed surgery for my dog, Speckles, who is a big part of my act and my life. He rescued me from a life on the kiddie party circuit and got me into the Big Time Mime. There is a ticking clock, of course, and an evil mime, Monsieur Mal, who only wants to see me act out the word FAIL. Speckles lays dying (or is he PLAYING dead!?) and half my face is frozen like Cher's. What do I do? Monsieur Mal has the best act west of the Atlantic Ocean. And I have half a face and a mute mutt.

Stayed tuned....

Thursday, January 15, 2009

How Was Your Day?

"Oh, fine. It snowed. A plane landed on the Hudson. I walked outside to get bread and almost wiped out a small army of pre-school kids."

Circles within circles within circles. Life is all about the big and small stories all co-existing. Like zooming in using Google Earth, we all see the big picture items like snow and then we zoom and we see plane landing and we zoom and we see our own existence and what is going on there.

First off, I love snow and cannot get enough of it. I just love it. Wish I was skiing in it, but I will take staring at it as well.

As I said to a friend re: the emergency plane landing of the US Airways airbus on the Hudson River this afternoon: "Finally a positive, restorative, reaffirming news story hits the front page." I still marvel that the pilot just kept his head and brought all those people to safety in the freezing waters of the Hudson. As if perfectly choreographed, all those tugboats where at the ready to help and all the forces we pay taxes to be there were there, like the police and fire. It was a great civic achievement as well. I feel we bandy about the word "hero" way too often and here is one guy who deserves it: Capt. Chesley B. "Sully" Sullenberger III.

I say "Let's have a parade!!"

My own minor victory or act of stupidity was to go out and walk two blocks. I was SO dizzy today, more dizzy than usual and it snowed so THIS is the day I decide to get some air. I felt I was cracking up so I bundled up and walked to Zabars. Negotiating the cheese aisle was hard enough. Imagine drinking a bottle of gin, putting on roller skates and then carrying a hand basket in a crowded grocery. Stupid, I know.

I made it.

And then I had to pass an army of 3 year olds with strollers and moms all blocking the pavement. I held on to gates and brownstone stair adornments and made it through the gauntlet of children. They ignored all my polite (yet slurred) "Excuse ME You Little Cretins!!" and had I showed my face I would have been their Boo Radley for sure.

The whole adventure knocked me for six, but I got to be home with fresh bread and snow outside and a a plane empty and broken on the Hudson with no death in any of the circles.

A good day for certain.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Left Unsupervised.

video


In the old days when you were home sick you would watch TV and your mom would bring you soup and you got to just lie there out of harm's way. Now you film yourself looking at your worst and send it out? Progress, eh?

I laugh that I thought I had to smile in the video so you could see the change. WHO is this guy? Very odd to look at oneself and feel it is not them. I feel like people will start speaking more loudly to me in shops like they do to people in wheelchairs or who don't speak English. I haven't really been out enough to find out.

So here I am unable to do much of anything, but maybe this is when the good stuff comes out? Maybe that brilliant idea will come and I will write my own "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly." Or will have practiced Beyonce's "Single Lady" dance enough in my boxers to nail it and do a white, middle-aged guy's version to add to the 100's of others. Or maybe I will be a You Tube star who blows bubbles sideways.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Ah, New York City. How I have Missed Ye

Folks, there is this whole world out there and they have cars and snow and people with things dangling out of their ears and...

I took at taxi downtown with my friend Cheline because I had an ENT doc apportionment on E. 36th St. I had not been outside my nest without a delirium-inducing headache since forever. I felt like a kid with his nose pressed against the glass of the cab (don't do this folks - GERMS!) with the look of total wonderment. I adore wonderment, truly I think things have been invented since last I was in the world.

But it was only a brief peek.

The doc is concerned about my left eye as I can't shut it and the cornea needs protected. He told me to get some artificial tears ("Hey, I moved here from Hollywood! yuk, yuk.) and some goop to put in my eye for nighttime. And I have to make an ophthalmology appointment stat. He then taped my eye shut. He also gave me the rest of the roll of tape, which I am sure was his professional way of taking me to his bosum! He then probably patted me on the head, gave me a sucker and sent me out onto 36th Street.


Here is sort of "the look."


Imagine putting a camera on the back of a dog and sending him out into Manhattan. That is what it felt like. I had my Kill Kenny ala South parka on so I had one eye peering out of my fur-lined igloo and headed west to 34th Street. Then I thought I was a murder-cam - like in those movies where you have that hand-held camera and all your hear in breathing. I know New Yorkers care nothing about a man with his eye-taped shut, but for some reason I enjoyed the odd feeling of anonymity I thought I had. "I am a camera"!!!

Of course I was also walking like a drunk person as I don't have good balance these days.


A recreation of my sort of POV out of my fur igloo from my murder-cam

Here are the positives for today:

1. I got out for a bit and got some fresh air
2. I got got to talk to people and pretend I didn't have Scotch tape over my left eye. (There was this 2 year old boy left ALONE in the ATM room at CHASE bank and this taped-eye man is saying to him: "Where's your mommy? Do you know where your mommy is?" Poor doubly-traumatized child.)
3. I learned how to spell OPHTHALMOLOGY. Did you know about that "h" and that "l"? I didn't and would have lost the whole spelling bee on this one.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Dad, your son eats nuts.


Being on a desert island of sinus infections and falling faces, one tends to think about weird stuff like deceased dads and peanut butter.

I lay on the couch after using a sleeping mask (secret's out!) for a triage eyepatch to watch TV and started thinking about my life. I thought about what if I had a great job and a cool 2 bedroom apartment in Manhattan and my dad was alive and came to visit. I thought about meeting him at the airport all grownup son-like and putting him up in his own bedroom and then I thought, "Then what?" He would be all about the Giants/Eagles game and I would be all flustered about remembering to record the Golden Globes. (His eyes are rolling over in his grave...)

This got me to thinking about Common Ground and that every two people have to have one, no? Sports, root beer floats, theatre, girls, boys, anything that moves?

What would dad and I talk about or DO for this entire visit?

Then I smile the half smile that I now have. No seriously, half a smile. And I thought we would both LOVE reliving HIS New York. The New York City where he grew up. "Here is where I beat up Saul Levin so I could use his bike." "Dad, show me which window your dad threw all your clothes out of when he didn't like your zuit suit." "Where was that Horn and Hardarts - or however the hell you pronounce it -you took me to when we were here in the 80's?" I would say "hell" because I would feel that close and grown up. We would go by his old high school and I would want to know any stories he had about any of the places I now know and what they meant to him.

We would have eggs creams.

I kept on about this while I lay with a cold washcloth over my eyes and became so sad with loss. I had to figure out a way to move him out of that second bedroom in my head and just leave him as a New York City spiritual guide of sorts in my heart.

Then I was on to peanut butter. My sweet and knight in shining Fairway grocery bags landlord got me food, and like a pregnant woman or a deathrow meal order, I asked for very Weight Watchers unfriendly-if-abused peanut butter. I haven't had peanut butter in ages because I can drink eat and use as cold cream the stuff.

But I am a sick child and here I have a jar and a loaf of bread!

Did dad eat peanut butter in New York?

Peanut butter is so adaptable to everything: bread, bananas, apples, sick urban myths.

I had three peanut butter sandwiches today and watched movies DVD while looking all Elephant Mannish.

Today I miss my dad and I eat peanut butter. Nice.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Ahhhhhhh Mal di Testa, La Faccia Infesta

Like the groundhog checking his shadow, I surfaced to discover that my massive 3.5 day headache had gone from Code Red to Code I Don't Need to Kill Myself Just Yet. I could almost function. It has not gone away, but it has subsided greatly. I am going to credit the drops so I stop complaining about the cost (WHAT rare Rain Forest fungus could possibly be in here to justify such a cost?)

Ohmmmmmm.

I am so happy to not be in so much pain. I feel a breakthrough. In my joy I smile. But I only feel the right side of my face participating in my glee. I look into the mirror and notice the whole left side of my face is frozen. I have Bell's Palsy I am pretty certain. Yipes. I look half Amanda Plummer and half Billy Idol.

With the emotional and grateful impact of a weepy Christmas story where a father sells his fillings to get his kids a tree, and realizes he also sold his axe to get his wife some Shalimar resulting in him having to chew the tree down beaver-style with painful exposed roots, I weep with gratitude for my reduced pain and I realize my face IS NOT my paycheck.

I do pause to wonder how I will look with a Veronica Lake haircut. And an eyepatch.

Probably worse.




Friday, January 9, 2009

Eardrops of the Gods

Got into to see an ENT Doc on UWS. A distance I would normally walk, but I got on the bus because I was delirious with exhaustion and pain. Nice offices. For fancy employed people methinks, but I had to just stay and pray this guy would just lance the hell out of my left and all the misery of a lifetime would flow out and put me quickly on the mend.

He says he didn't think it was an abscess?! What kind of ENT are you? I need to be lanced. Now. I feel the pain inside my left and I think it certainly feels cysty. He gave me prescriptions of new antibiotics, a steroid and some ear drops. In my delirium ( I passed out in the waiting room) I seemed to have the wherewithal the ask the receptionist to phone them into my local Duane Reade.

I realize that I cannot take the bus and take a cab.

I will stop here to explain how this illness has made me more of a true New Yorker.

1. I grabbed a cab. Never do this. Have fear of them. I think it is the fear of tipping. I am sure there is a Latin word for it.
2. I punched the side of van that cut me off at a walk sign while crossing the street at Park and 65th. I then raised both my hands in petty defiance like I have seen in the movies.
3. I ordered food to be delivered. Chicken soup. Again, fear of tipping. And Waiting.

Okay, we're back.

i get to Duane Reade and they tell me it will be 15 minutes. THIS was the Oscar moment. Like a mother who has to choose which of her kids lives, I told the woman I could not do it. I could not wait. I was that ill. She came back and told me 5 minutes. I think it was 15. My co-pay is usually $15 and two the items were $15 each but EAR DROPS werw $104!!! Do you know how many meals that could feed a heaving middle-aged unemployed adult in his UWS flat?! I was too out of it to call the doc for a generic and paid and left. Each drops comes to like $5 I reckon and better be the Aural Elixir of the Goddess Jamie Somers at these prices.

Two blocks to home, but like the woman in the chase seen who always breaks her heal and looks left for dead, I felt I could not go on. But I put one foot in front of other and got there and downed as many drugs as was allowed.

My landlord who is a deity in himself brought me chicken soup. I wanted to cry. It was so nice. I was in now shape to eat it, but it symbolized something to work/live for.

I took many hot showers to erase the chill. I slept, I heaved like a frat dude after a kegger.

Please Golden Eardrops, please work your magic or baby is going to jump.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Baby's First New York Heave

Wake up with headache that no antibiotic will kill.

Hungry, but cannot eat.

Same stuff as yesterday.

I heave my guts. First heavage since being in New York. My first New York heavage.

Doc says I should come back in. This means I get in human clothes and head out to be around human people. Couldn't imagine how I am to do this. I suck it up and go.

Back to room with walls colored with Original Silly Putty. This place is the 24 clinic tied to Beth Israel Medical Center. Hospitals all seem to start with Beths, or Mounts or Saints. This time there was no 3 hour wait like last time where it felt like there was a bus crash in a small town with one emergency. This time it was near midnight and I was alone.

The doc thought I might have an abscess in my ear. He said I looked really ill. It was here he needed to brush my face gently with the back of his hand and let me know I would be okay. Didn't happen. He suggested an ENT appointment for tomorrow. What? Go out again? I can barely walk without careening on to the subway tracks. Which may be intentional if this head does not sort itself soon.

He says I have a lowgrade fever a well. Bring it on, buddy.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

More Glamour

In a very Henry Jamesian Goes to the Upper West Side moment of horse-drawn carriages clomping down my beautiful UWS street of majestic brownstones heading towards Central Park and children bundled and holding the hands of their nurses and businessmen in top coats and smoking pipes, the camera does some sort of whip pan and then a fish eye into my jewelbox lovely apartment where you see me

Holding my head in pain.
Going from the chills to the sweats and back
Holding my eye sockets which are pools of painful fatigue
Trying to sleep.
Trying to walk.
Lying there wondering when this headache would go away.
Avoiding light like depressed heroine in the 70s or a drunk heroine in the 50s.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Anatomy of a Murder: My Health

[From this day until Saturday the 10th all is written in back-up. I have been too ill to write and I know my readership - which I have honored by naming each one of you on my fingers, needs to know what is up in glam Manhattan and my glamourous life here. Well...]

Even though I waited 3 hours in that torturous stomach-lining colored waiting room yesterday for antibiotics and a sinus infection diagnosis, I decided I had people depending on me and I just depended on the pills. Translation: like a dumbass I went out when I so should have been in shutdown.

I had a meeting I hosted in the day across town and I wrapped warmly for it in these freezing temps and took the bus. I did a Fosse "Show Time Folks" before entering and pulled it off with aplomb and bon mots. Then home to collapse. Sort of a health version of taking a bow and racing back stage to take off your false eyelashes, wig and base makeup only to heave into a garbage can.

I had 3 hours of sleep and then Ron and I went to see "Pal Joey" at Studio 54. For you viewers at home this was a total dumbass move where you lose faith in your protagonist. WHY did you not excuse yourself and stay in, you ask? I didn't see that at the time just like a dumbass protagonist wouldn't.

I was wobbly and running into walls. The show was bad. Martha Plimpton knocked it out of the park in the Elaine Stritch role, but the lead - who if he was brilliant - would have an amazing story to tell as he was pulled up from Understudy to Lead when the Frankie Vallee dude from "Jersey Boys" broke a leg. Or had mercury poisoning. This guy could sing, dance, act, but he didn't have that THING. And I saw how important THAT THING is on stage. He made the production leaden, poor thing. I would beam if he were my son, but he isn't and it made for a "when will this thing end?" moment in the second act. Sorry, he was no Gene Kelly, the original.

Perhaps I am taking my dumbass illness out on this bloke? But not much.

Stockard Channing was good as always, but if you don't buy that she and the young woman are totally sucked in by his charm, you are left "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered"

I have to say I was mostly bothered.

Where was I in this scintillating tale of infectious diseases and self-pity?

Right. I got home and had a massive headache from being so plugged and began my first night of many up and down moments and grabbing my head in a "Stella" routine, my own dinner theatre version of Marlon Brando.

Monday, January 5, 2009

2-PARTER


This was a two-parted day. I play both rolls well. One is a gracious and excited host with mild cold and one is totally dizzy, sick dude who staggers like he is drunk.


Sarah, my pal from Toronto, dropped in to stay the night and visit before heading off to Montreal to write a script. (How I have longed to do that exact thing!) It was so great to see her. I had not seen her since we canvassed for Obama at the beginning of November. We got to play house like to two young lovers. I cooked her breakfast and we walked across the park talking about life and love and art like we were in a 60's film. The Met was closed so we ducked into the cafe at the Neue Gallerie for kaffee and chocolat chaud. Tres romantique - if she were a man! What fun it was to see her again.


After Sarah dashed off to the North, I fell into total and complete sick mode. I knew I had to deal and in having to deal I had to deal with the fact that I have shitey health insurance and no primary doc here in New York. A sane person asks for recommendations. I showed a glimmer of this, but no one could take me TO. DAY. I went to the Chelsea Clinic and sat and sat and sat.

The walls of the waiting room were a Calomine color and there were generic Monet prints hanging on these skin-toned walls. It was truly awful. It reminded me of the room I was sitting in right before I heard my father was dead. (Yellow walls, Van Gogh reprints). I hated it.

The doc and nurse were both really nice. They determined I had a sinus infection and I got antibiotics. I staggered home on the train with equilibrium a mess and tried to hunker down for the night.

Going to be a rocky one.

So by day a young romantic gallivanting with my Canadian love through the park and by night a broken down middle-aged failure scraping to get pills.

Life.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Backstage at the Palace

Pat and Ellie backstage at the Palace

My friend Ellie who is a true FOL took me as her guest to Liza's closing night at the Palace Theatre on Broadway. I had been once before to see Liza and we went backstage and met her in her dressing room. Amazing. The show was wonderful, but today was even better. She really blew everyone away and the love from the audience could have lit 42nd Street easily for a week.

It's ALL showbiz, baby.

I had to pinch myself once again and realize that I was at the ball and would return to an in between jobs pumpkin shortly after this was all over. I would also go back to being ill which I decided to mask for the afternoon so I could go.

Ellie is so sweet and we had a great day of church, lunch at the Edison Hotel and then Liza. They all know her there down the the ushers. Amazing woman in her own rite.

I sat 3rd row center between Liza's brother Joey and Marissa Berenson who co-starred with Liza in "Cabaret' - on of my all-time favorite films. Before you scoff, rent it, it is a Fosse masterpiece and one of the most perfectly crafted films ever made.

A few seats down was Yul Brynner's son.

I feel like I am doing another radio show reporting high atop the whatever tower in Manhattan with the "Broadway Minute.

The Great White Way was a buzz with closing night of Liza Minelli's triumphant show at The Palace Theatre, home of everyone from Al Jolson to her mother, Judy. She delivered and soared once again. Backstage was as packed as a sale at Gimbel's with friends, relatives and me, your humble reporter. My pal Ellie introduced me to everyone from Liza's dresser to her adored accompanist to her back-up boys. Oddly, I chatted with Marissa about Kay Thompson who the second act is dedicated. She told me she knew Kay and what a thrill it was.

We decided not to wait for Liza as she had loads of people waiting and I had met her before so we went upstairs, out the stage door and into Ellie's car. The driver dropped me off at Central Park West and 65th before dashing across the park.

I was back to a pumpkin with a sore throat, a runny nose, but excellent memories of another magical afternoon in Gotham with a good friend.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

The Big Apple a Day

Too much of a bite I have taken, I guess, as I am sick as a dog and run into the mud. So wanted to get out and carpe the diem now that I am back in New York City, but my body said NOOOOOO! I have had a runny nose since Christmas, but now I have added a sore throat and an ear infection of sorts. Classically, I turn up the radio in my body and carry on, but I knew to shut this day down.

I went to Weight Watchers in the morning and MIRACULOUSLY lost 4.8 pounds over the last 2 weeks. This had virtually NOTHING to do with the WW program as, like most folk over the hols, I didn't much follow it. I have no idea how this happened as I ate porridge by day and sweets by night. I didn't really exercise and I went to a 10 course wedding. Go figure.

After my Weight Watcher's meeting I knew that was it so I cancelled my plans and stayed in. Do you KNOW that staying in and being quiet can really be great?! I never try it I watched back to back to back "Mad Men" episodes and a doc on Eleanor Roosevelt, my new idol.

I am now fluctuating between Tina Fey and Eleanore Roosevelt with a soft spot of stubborn John Adams. Oh, what a dinner party we would have. Eleanor is an amazing person and I most admire her for her TRUE belief that all citizens should be equal under the eyes of the law. Not a popular idea with many back in her day, and even now.

You GO old girl!

I lie on my couch with my Ricola and tea and salute you!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Baby Steps.



I am starting this year out right. And right away. One of my "things" was to start taking the free Apple Classes at the Apple store to learn how to use my new computer better. My hope is that this practice not only makes me more proficient, and increases my output, but acts as a metaphor for further education and exploration and change and chances this year.

People see me as this outgoing guy, but I am riddled with FEARS wrapped in laziness and rolled up in indecision.

I want to learn French, but what about Italian? I want to learn that too, but I just heard someone speaking German and I thought, damn, I want to learn that as well. So the default answer is DON'T LEARN ANY LEST YOU HURT THE OTHER LANGUAGES FEELINGS.

The real answer, of course, it pick one to begin. So the only way out of this, I find, is action combined with baby steps. Stick your toe in the water. And see/notice that you survive. And then celebrate the water and the toe.

This has been successful for me when I have done it.

I don't want to build this Apple class thing up too much, but it is me getting out, going somewhere, interacting and learning. Effort. Movement.

Today I learned Garageband. Well, not really learned it, but got an intro to it. Wow. How much fun. You can compose your own music and use it for your imovies or as your ringtone. I can even record my bagpipes and then add accompanying backup instruments. It is a whole world right on my laptop.

It was fun to sit with six other Apple Kool-Aid drinkers and learn of the capabilities that are out there for me.

It is all out there. Waiting. Just pick one to start.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Single Ladies

Are not thinking about me, that is for sure.

But instead of talking about my hopes and dreams for 2009 - for which I have some, I decided to write about my latest obsession. I am afraid it may be pedestrian, but for me it is a deep obsession.

I am obsessed with Beyoncé's video and song - Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)

Okay, there you have it. Right of of the gate in 2009 I am practicing honesty. Sure you mock, but you just watch! And looking at all the many, many knock offs on You Tube, I am NOT alone in this.

They won't let me imbed her original so follow the link here:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8mVEGfH4s5g


It is AMAZING, right? Hypnotic.

Then I read about these three guys called Purple Haze who do the choreography to her music. They are three guys in the road company of the musical "The Color Purple." They do it in the period costumes of the show. And in one long, single take. Amazing.




Isn't that just SO incredible? I was blown away. And at my age doing the moves alone in the window for all the neighbors to see. Shameless, but I'm good!

Then I read that she was inspired by Bob Fosse's choreography that he did for his wife Gwen Verdon for "Mexican Breakfast" and then I knew more why I loved it as Bob was/is my idol. I used to want to be him. But I gave up the smokes, the drink and the women, so no dice! But watch. Gwen was a brilliant muse.




You can go to You Tube and find way more knock-offs, add-ons, etc - even Justin Timberlake's SNL parody. No one gets this covered unless there are obsessed people like myself out there.

There are things I just feel in my soul and my ears perk up when it happens and this si one - I think it is a GREAT and HOT video and the dancing is first rate.

Enjoy a first rate new year. Dance like you mean it and don't go the whole year as a single lady. Put a ring on it.