Sunday, December 31, 2006


Again, I've gotten enough phone calls regarding my last post(s) to prompt me to write an "I'm OK" entry. Of course, it's 4:30 on New Year's Eve and I am a bit tipsy from the several free shots at the bar, but really, I am doing fine. Last night's drive up north was a good one - time to cry, time to dream, time to remember. In the right context, the six hours spent on the road are quite therapeutic. I miss Dalton terribly, but I also have the space and freedom to consider what lies ahead. The same is true for the mornings in Mill Valley when I wake up alone (with my dog) and have time to read and write and pray.

I only went to the Cantina for lunch, and that was only because the two other restaurants I tried had closed early for New Years. I thought, "My kitchen is empty, and I should definitely eat something before going to tonight's party." Trying to be responsible! What I did not count on was a "family bar". Eek! the kind where everyone know your name in the Cheers kind of way. Despite my protests that I needed to get home and get ready for a party, it seemed as if the bartender was intent on keep me there. I was sent one free shot before I asked for the check, and two afterwards. uggh. It's an interesting phenomenon, how people pick a bar to visit on a regular basis - or even that they do. Some were couples, some singles. I wonder what there stories are. What brings them back. What brings them in the first place.

I certainly don't want that for my life. Thankfully, with Iain, it's really not even a possibility. It's just kind of wierd to be an observer, to crossover for a minute, to enter a world that isn 't mine.

Back to me being ok.

I am. Even though I am still pissed at God, I know he still has me in mind. I have a future. A good one. And the only reason I even know that is because of Dalton's faith. I'm not sure what the future looks like, but I am grateful every day for the ability to get out of bed, smile, play with my son, chat with people on the street, help out dear friends, and even meet interesting folks at the Cantina. If anything, right now, my life is a constant adventure, grounded by friends, and tempered by grief.

I am ok.

Friday, December 29, 2006

My drug cocktail

How long can I justify taking this drug I am taking? It's not an antidepressant in the traditional sense of the word, but it is definitely a drug. And it's functioning like an antidepressant. The perpetual travel, the packed social calendar, the material extravagance, the incessant planning, and the persistent busyness appear to be an effective cocktail for keeping me off the ledge. And yes, I know that this isn't a cocktail designed for long term use.

Then again, it's only been seven months. And it's not like I'm hurting anybody right?

All the recovering addicts out there just cringed at that line.

But seriously, after the holidays, I will try to slow down. I'm sure a gradual cutting back will be easier than a total withdrawal. And really, anything that keeps me off the ledge right now works for me.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

I Hope Not.

They say
"You'll figure it out"
Like I have any control over it.
I will figure it out
without the youthful delusion.
We all have our plans
but how many of them really come to
As we intended?
When we intended?
With whom we intended?

I was going to be a veterinarian.
Then, an attorney.
I was going to stay single,
have one child (a girl),
live a cultured life,
be a superwoman.

Then I met Dalton.

Life changed those plans.
Love changed those plans.

I became a church lady.
Had a baby (a boy).
Bought a house in the suburbs.
Thought it would be nice to be a housewife
for awhile.
Enjoyed cuddling on the patio
as much as a night on the town.


So what if eventually I
"Figure it out."
My figured out plans might come true.
I might be an attorney.
have one child (a boy),
live a cultured life,
in the city,
be a superwoman.

But I hope not.

I hope life changes those plans.
I hope love changes those plans.
I am better because it did.
I am better because Dalton did.

Monday, December 25, 2006


I never got around to applying mascara today.
Really, Christmas is just another day.
I told myself and everyone else.
And it was.
No tree. No presents to unwrap. No Andy Williams.
I tried Andy Williams for Iain's sake.
That was after I had applied the eyeliner
but before the mascara.
I remembered Dalton in his goofy red sweater.
He loved that song, the way it swings.
And the Charlie Brown Christmas.
Couldn't play that one either.
I gave up.
On the music that is.
And the mascara.
We went out eventually.
More eyeliner of course.
Went to a friend of a friend's
In the village.
A fourth floor walk up.
Neat place.
Neat people.
Not so toddler friendly.
Stayed just long enough for Iain to throw tangerines at our hosts
and pour tea on the ottoman
and ignore his mother telling him no.
Now I am trying to sleep.
Thinking about years past.
And writing instead.
More damned eyeliner on the pillowcase.
I never got around to applying mascara today.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Really, It's Christmas Eve?

Seriously, that's all I'll say about it. On a much more interesting note, thanks to my NY/LA friends, I'm going to go out on a limb and say that my New York experience has been a bit more authentic than touristy. Dalton and I always said that one of the most interesting places to visit on vacation was the grocery store. New York is certainly no exception. In fact, New York has some of the most interesting grocery stores I've ever seen. And I'm not just talking about Dean and Deluca. More interesting than D&D are te small corner grocery stores that seem to carry everything i need to make Iain happy. Their "salad bars" offer fresh cut mangoes, blueberries, strawberries, tofu, edamame, and of course pirates booty. They (these "salad bars") are 10 times the size of any in LA, and have made travelling with a toddler far easier than I would have expected.

Then, there is the whole NY dining experience. Let's just say the following things:

1) It's a good thing that i am only eating one meal a day or it would take me weeks to recover from the caloric surplus.

2) I have been lucky enough to eat at some of the best restaurants in New York, and a few weeks of extra sit ups are so worth it.

If you're a foodie, there's certainly more to tell. If not, I'll just sound like a pretentious snob. I'll leave it up to you to ask for more.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

57, 46, and 37 degrees

That's right. It's 57 degrees in New York, 46 degrees in West Covina, and 37 degrees in Mill Valley. Let's just say Iain and I got very lucky. Yesterday we took a cab up to the Guggenheim. Iain fell asleep shortly after we arrived which actually suited me just fine. Yes, I want him to develop an appreciation for art, but his naptime conveniently allowed me to spend two uninterupted hours viewing the exhibitions. The major exhibition right now, El Greco to Picasso, is incredible. It includes pieces guessed it...El Greco and Picasso, but also Dali, Velazquez, Miro, Gris, Cotan, and De Goya. I really love Spanish art, so this was a particular treat for me. Plus, the Guggenheim has the one of the largest collections of Kandinsky's work in the world, another favorite.

The Guggenheim is located in the upper east side, so when we finished there, we wandered out to Madison Ave. for more shopping and dining. Actually, we didn't really dine, but picked up some goodies at Dean and Deluca and snacked while we walked. After spending some time at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, we took a cab to the Times Square Toys R Us.


And the woman in the elevator said, "This is nothing. You should be here tomorrow."

Seriously, there is a giant ferris wheel in the middle of the store, and the place was packed wall to wall with people. We lasted about 15 minutes, long enough to have our picture taken and printed up (tourist rip off, i know), ride the elevator up and down to each floor and make our way back to the exit.

From Times Square, we walked the 12 blocks back to our hotel, stopping in at the numerous small niche grocery stores along the way. I really do love New York.

Friday, December 22, 2006

New York - Day 1

New York.

To the four folks who specifically recommended or nearly insisted on New York at Christmastime - thanks!

We've been here less than 24 hours and I already love this city. Yesterday afternoon, Iain and I walked up to Macy's Herald Square. He was fascinated by the windows (indescribable) and the train and Santaland. I was fascinated by the coat department. I know, consumerist pig! Really, there is no way to comprehend any of it except by being there. In the evening, we made our way to Rockefeller Center, took pictures in front of the tree and the ice skating rink and the milled about with the hordes of other holiday cheer seekers.

When people say that New York knows how to do Christmas, they mean that the city is entirely bathed in Christmas - music, lights, atmosphere, attitude. From Rockefeller Center, we walked down Fifth, Madison and Park Avenues, shopping, sipping coffee (cider for Iain), and noting the extreme uniqueness of the city. We made it all the way to Central Park which while beautiful, couldn't compete with the Apple Store and FAO Schwarz that sit on the corner opposite the park. Yes, my mac friends would be proud.

Today, I think we'll tackle the Guggenheim, MOMA, and the Chelsea Gelleries. I'm feeling artsy already. And tonight? LA friends, transplants from New York, arrive this afternoon and we're planning another evening out.

I can't seem to figure how my grief fits with all of this, except to say that it is better being here than at home. I can imagine walking along holding hands with Dalton, both of us bundled up in winter coats and scarves, dressed for an evening out. I can imagine that he would have loved it here as well and how much I would prefer that he be drinking his annual eggnogg latte at me side. Yet somehow, because of Iain and the magical elements of the city, I'm enjoying it anyway.

I think he would want me to.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

So bad I'm reluctant to hit publish

This is crap. All of it. Tonight, after an entertaining evening of intellectual debate, theological banter and a refreshingly good cabernet, I finally decided to think about my impending trip to New York. By impending, I mean that we leave in less than 24 hours. And somehow, instead of my "packing" file, I ended up in the picture file. And, consequently, instead of planning our trip, I spent the evening bawling my way through a slideshow of Iain's first year.

Now, I'm just pissed. We had everything in front of us. We were building our life. We'd just bought our first real house (not a condo, although don't get me wrong condos are great too), Dalton was moving up the corporate ladder, and after several miscarriages, Iain had arrived, and he was perfect. Six months later it was ripped away from us by cancer.

I'm whining.
I know.

But sometimes I just feel entitled to a little bit of "Why me? Why us?"

See. I am not always strong. I simply persevere. I don't know what else to do. It doesn't seem to matter whether I feel like geting up in the morning or going to work or telling Iain to stop throwing his food on the floor. Time passes anyway. Barring drastic measures, I will still wake up tomorrow and have to face the same crappy reality that I had to face today.

Iain's first year is all that we got.

So, yes, I will make the best of it. Whatever "it" is. I will honor the cliches and make lemonade out of lemons. I will enjoy this life because frankly I don't like being miserable.

But don't think it's because I am strong or recovering so well or moving on so easily. All that crap about lemonade is cute but let's face it, on their own, lemons are pretty hard to swallow.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Capricious. Fickle. Flighty. Wishy-washy.

This figuring out where I want to live business is exhausting. Sure, lugging Iain (who now weighs a whopping 32 lbs.) through Ontario and Oakland airports, balancing him on my hip while I virtually disrobe at the security checkpoint, and keeping him entertained while we sit on the runway due to inclement weather can be challenging. But really, it’s the mental workout that’s doing me in.

I thought I’d made up my mind to stay in LA. I even made a pretty convincing case for it to numerous friends and family. And now…again…I’m not so sure.

My reason and rationale for staying in LA is simple and straightforward and singular. Friends. I don’t mean acquaintances or “work friends” or people that you hang out with because your kids are on the same soccer team. I mean genuine, intimate relationships with people whose company you really enjoy and who know all your shit and love you anyway. I don’t want this to be taken lightly, because it isn’t a light topic for me. If it were, my house in LA would already be on the market.

But, there is absolutely nothing about the city of LA or the Greater Los Angeles area that excites me. Almost everything about Northern California excites me.

Today, Iain and I did everyday things that reinforced how much I love Northern California. We woke up to a cool house shrouded in fog, nestled in the trees, overlooking the ocean. We sipped our morning beverages next to a cozy fire and listened to birds calling outside. We ventured out to Toys r’ Us in the largest city in Marin (San Rafael pop. 50,000) and met a lovely family who directed us to the local Trader Joes. We bought our goodies and struck up a conversation with a really nice guy who joked with Iain and recommended Paradise Market (not Togo’s) for a great sandwich. By then, the sun was shining but it was still a brisk 50 degrees. Perfect for sitting outside bundled up in a winter coat. After lunch, we headed into the city.

The city gets its own paragraph of course. First of all, there is nothing more amazing than driving through the green hills of Sausalito and emerging from the last curve right at the base of the Golden Gate Bridge. It makes my heart skip and takes my breath away every time I do it. You can actually feel the energy change while you are out over the water such that by the time you land on Lombard, it is a whole different world. Like Manhattan, space it at such a premium in San Francisco, that everything has height. Plus, the hills add another dimension of interest to an already interesting city. Iain was captivated by the buses of course. And the cable cars. And all the people. I was fixated on the different neighborhoods and how much there was to explore. I wanted to park, pull out the stroller and stroll. But today was a day for shopping and the most efficient use of that time would still be had at San Francisco Centre. I won’t go in to the details of our shopping experience because after all it is still a mall. However, we ate lunch at a great French bakery and again met several really nice people who all seemed to be fascinated with Iain. We walked along Market in the hustle and bustle of other holiday shoppers, passed over the city sidewalk grates that could only be charming to someone like me, and stopped at a local café for an evening cappuccino.

So now, I am rethinking the city as a place to live.

I know myself well enough to know that I would eventually want to retreat to the comfort of Marin where parking is easy to come by and houses have backyards instead of fire escapes. But maybe, while I have the chance, I should live in the city for a little while. Maybe just rent for a year? Let Iain’s spongy brain soak in everything a city has to offer. Meet others who share a love for wine and books and theatre and music and all things independent. Maybe. While I still have the chance.

Capricious. Fickle. Flighty. Wishy-washy.

Would really love some resolution.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Northern California

I'm here in the beautiful town of Mill Valley listening to the rain patter on the roof of this modern cabin. It' 4 in the morning.

For those who don't know, I am living two lives right now. Every week I spend two or three days in LA, going to work, paying bills, taking care of the house, and visiting with friends and family. The rest of the time I am living in Mill Valley, a small , fascinating community just a few minutes north of the Golden Gate Bridge. Our house is a two bedroom cabin with modern lines, lots of glass, and wood paneling. It's nestled in Mt. Tam, so we are surrounded by trees yet have a view of what I think is the Sausalito Bay from our deck. Truly, it doesn't get more beautiful.

I love this area, and the friends that I have up here have been incredibly good to us. Interestingly, though, these days spent in NoCal are having a curious effect on me. Because I don't have anything to "do" up here - no tasks to accomplish or friends to help or jobs to perform, I have a lot more alone/free time. That, coupled with it being Christmastime, seems to be making me consistently and profoundly aware that Dalton is gone. I am doing a lot more crying and a lot more thinking about what life was supposed to be like. I hate it, but my therapist is thrilled. She told me on Thursday that I needed to do that in order to really heal. Therapists are so sick.

As soon as I can procure an AC adaptor for my laptop (I keep leaving it in LA), I hope to write more regularly. In the meantime, I need to post this before the battery dies.