Welcome Gentle Readers

This blog tends to wander from its main purpose -- updates on my fiction. I do have updates and excerpts of my work. But I also write about my obsessions -- food, friends and pop culture and my weird life in Los Angeles. Enjoy!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Exercise, Palate Perils and Updates

I haven't started really celebrating my clean bill of health in earnest yet. I was treated to a lovely lunch and wonderful conversation that included a toast or two with some dear friends. That is one of my favorite ways of spending time, and I truly and deeply enjoyed it. There were even presents (I'll get into that later). But I haven't begun to go really nuts yet. I am making plans though...lots and lots of plans. I'm looking forward to traveling back east and to shooting one of the web series and even a feature. Then, there are all the cookbooks I'm working through. I had been reluctant to really make plans for so long. I had been afraid of setting myself up for disappointment. Now, I am thinking of absolutely everything I would like to do and see and accomplish. It's all so exciting that I just don't know where to begin.

Work That Body

For now and the immediate future, my primary job is getting back in shape and mitigating the sometimes considerable impact of the chemo side effects until they completely disappear (2 to 6 months). That seems to mean exercise. I've been doing some exercise since I recovered from the first surgery. The exercise then was in the form of leisurely walking for at best a half an hour. Now, the Docs are talking about more vigorous walking and some training with light weights. They want me to do something everyday, but that isn't working for me yet. I find I'm really tired and sometimes sore between bouts of exercise, so I've been doing something every other day.

On Friday, I was mall walking while Jon was having an interview nearby. Now, I know that proponents of mall walking suggest doing it early in the day when most of the stores are closed and the mall is almost empty. People in my way wasn't a problem during my laps around the place. It was all of the portable food that was making me nuts. There was a million milk shake stand and a Baskin Robins stand and a soft pretzel stand and a popcorn stand. Now, after the first surgery and certainly during chemo, I was encouraged to eat whatever I wanted and as much as I wanted. But that was when I had no appetite and was steadily losing weight. Neither of those is a problem right now. Thus, as much as I am pleased to be able to eat ice cream again, I must show some restraint. I'd like to keep the slimness I've had and perhaps even make it down to the weight my primary care Doc wanted me at before everything went haywire. Thus, I kept to one end of the gigantic mall where there was less temptation. I managed quite a few laps with a backpack of groceries on my back. It's a beginning. I plan to start walking along the beach and logging some actual miles soon. It's a year to go to the next LA Marathon. Who knows? Maybe I'll have a whack at walking it. Though if the weather then is as it is now, I'll be swimming it.

Perils of the Palate

There was a time when my taste in wine ran toward the sickly sweet. I can't remember the labels now. I think I blocked them from my brain in shame for ever putting those substances past my lips. At any rate, I was blissfully happy in my ignorance until I began working in New York City. In another life, in the 1980s, I worked on Park Avenue for an advertising firm. Yep, I had power suits, dresses, and I do believe pajamas that had those big should pads. My hair was really big as well. For my 20 something readers – look it up! Sorry, aging sometimes makes me cranky. Where was I? Right.

The company I worked for only had 8 employees and that included the Vice President of the division. So we had our Christmas party at a very fancy restaurant where the servers were there to pull your chair out or help you back every time you got up. It was the kind of meal that had a wine with each course. My first experience with port was at the end of that amazing meal. The wines during the meal were astonishing to me. I remember telling the VP that I really wished I didn't know what good wines were as I would never be the same again. I wasn't. My life got very expensive. The same thing happened when I worked for Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino as a bartender. I worked room service for the high rollers primarily. I also worked the last hour of bar service for one of the 5 star restaurants. Very often, high rollers would have expensive champagne opened only to send it back untouched to return to the tables. Since the bubbly couldn't be re-sold, it was returned to my bar. We were supposed to pour it down the drain, but my bar had no cameras on it, and I felt that was a terrible waste. Thus, I split it with the servers and the kitchen staff. We all developed quite a taste for champagne that ran $50 and up. Luckily, over the years, I have found wines and champagnes that are very reasonable and quite tasty (I found even more in France – another reason to love that country).

However, I always look at an expansion of my palate as potentially dangerous to my wallet. There was a scare with the aged balsamic, but I have found an excellent vendor that is very reasonable (F. Oliver's Oil and Vinegars) and it lasts for a long time. The latest palate peril this week were presents. One was real French Macarons and the other was real Foie Gras. [Before anyone writes to me about the cruelty involved in making this please see the following video of Anthony Bourdain on Foie Gras. If you have issues with people eating meat period, please do not write me. I just spent 18 months being told that I not only needed meat to right various deficiencies, it was strongly suggested that organ meats be included. And until there is meatless bacon, I am not changing my eating habits.] Both gifts were delicately delicious and really difficult to accurately describe. It won't be easy not to consume them as if I was a vacuum. I want to savor them for as long as I can before looking about to see how much they cost to buy here. Merci pour les cadeaux, ma cher!


Let start with the novels. I re-read what I've written, decided I hated everything and wanted very much to delete the files. But that was on Monday when I didn't know what my Doctor would tell me. I was a bit cranky and terrified about everything that day. By the second dirty vodka martini (a splash of olive brine is added with the vermouth and 3 olives for me), I had changed my mind. By Wednesday, I was back to producing a couple of pages per day on each book. I'm going to take a week off working on them though to finish the horror script.

The horror script which Jon and I are looking at as more of a comedy than a horror script is coming along. The treatment was approved late last week and I'm more than a third of the way through. We have the leads cast. I won't make announcements until we have signatures and shooting dates. I can tell you that it's a fun cast and that helps with the writing. I expect to turn in the first draft by the end of the week. But first I have to find a name for a demon that has lots of tentacles. And I have to figure out numerous humorous ways of killing people. My life is very strange.

The Demon Under Glass web series is coming along in development as well. I've found three locations and the period costumes for the Victorian era. I'm still looking for 1990s era suits. I plan to solve that problem sometime this week then meet with my FX Diva about some other issues. By next Sunday, I believe I will have a shooting date for the web series.

All of this activity does not mean that I'm ready to run around wearing many hats as I once did. Most of my work has been online or on the phone. I can't see myself doing much more on a shoot than yelling at people from a chair where I'll be planted with my feet propped up. As many have told me this week, I've had some great news, but I still have a ways to go before I'm back to my regular levels of activity. So, no worries, I'm behaving.

Stay tuned.

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