Presenting….Celexa, now coming to a medicine cabinet near me!

I had planned on writing about all of the intentions that I made at the beginning of the year, and how well I was doing with them, but instead, I’m sitting here typing, after just taking my first dose of Celexa (ten milligrams), and reading all of the side effects that could occur. (FYI, if you are anxious, I don’t recommend reading all of the possible side effects that could occur with a drug; your anxiety will blossom like a Venus flytrap, and demand to be fed. I am prepared for some side effects, and will just have to be surprised for the rest of ’em).  My doctor has prescribed the antidepressant, after I explained to her that I have had three anxiety attacks in the last six weeks, and that I want to feel better.  I have been fighting depression this year by pretending that I was all right, and denying the symptoms.  My last experience with the antidepressant family was about ten years ago, with Lexapro. I had a positive experience with the drug, except for a twelve pound weight gain, which I eventually lost.

These days, anxiety attacks take place when I have something physically wrong with me, like pain that I can’t explain away – my doctor has diagnosed me with  PTSD, which she says stems from all of the loss of family members that I’ve experienced in a relatively short period of time. (Ten years ago, I was diagnosed with major recurring depressive disorder – I took a peek at my diagnosis, then looked it up in the DSM-IV; I already knew that I was depressed, but I still wanted to read the official designation.)

At this stage of the game, there are a few other factors that are at play in my decision to go back on antidepressants.  This year has kind of sucked in that I had to go through a pretty painful back injury, as well as chronic tension headaches (which I understand from reading can be a result of depression, as these started before I was injured). The last time I was diagnosed with depression, I had the same kind of chronic headache, which lasted for months; I was sure that I was a goner, and paid a couple of teary visits to my doctor, before my mind was put at ease (somewhat).

I’m also going to start therapy again, with a new therapist.  My previous therapist helped me so much, but I’m looking for a new perspective – I have two names, so it’s just a matter of picking up the phone and making an appointment, and then my adventures in Therapyland (the sequel) can begin (again).

If you have never experienced depression, or know someone who has it, let me just tell you that it’s not what you might think it is. It’s not what I thought it was –  it’s not romantic, and it’s not something that you can just shake off with a good night’s sleep. It’s a sneaky little bastard that creeps up on a person, and changes the way you feel and the way you think. It’s funny – once I decided to acknowledge that I needed help again, I actually felt better – still depressed, but taking steps to climb out of the hole, so that’s a start.

Good intentions 2013

Just some things I was thinking of doing in 2013:


1.  Read one book a month (except in the case of Les Miserables by Hugo, which may take two; it’s on my list, and in my stack)


2.  Jazzercise (shopping for this outfit, by the way)


3.  Yoga


3.  Regular meditation


4.  Crockpot Sunday!

5.  And this:

Philippians 4.8


And one more quote to end 2012 for me: “Be excellent to each another.”  Party on…and happy New Year to us all.

Christmas list

Hanging out with the LBD (Paco, my ten pounds of terrier/chi terror), and seeing what the day brings. Jamal and I had a very nice time last night with the family, and today I just had a great visit with a long-time friend who stopped by with her husband.  We hadn’t talked in about five years, not because of any drama, mostly because life just kinda kept happening, and we didn’t keep up with each other.  I’m not the most Christmas-ey of people, but seeing Laury and Steve gave me a great gift of good cheer when I wasn’t looking for one today.

Can we look at the list now?

1.  It just seems to me that the Christmas crush was a bit more…pulpy this year.  Granted, it was a broad spectrum of behavior out there, and I’m certain that I allowed some of the bad behavior to affect me more than usual, but… it’s the holiday season, and so many horrible events have taken place recently, that it wouldn’t have killed you grinches (and you know who you are) to be a little nicer, to the retail staff, to other people in the parking lot, even to your own family.  Maybe you didn’t feel like it, but sometimes acting “as if” can put a person into a better sprit – never fear, crabby folk, we’ll give you a chance next year; just hope that everyone in your family is still here for you next year.  For the rest of you, who held places in line for strangers, who wished cashiers happy holidays, and who were aware that there were other people in your sphere of existence besides yourselves – your halos are showing; thank you.

2.  Seeing the Christmas lights is always my favorite part of the season; I love when they start appearing, and I get a little blue when they come down. What I find interesting (and a little bit scary) is the appearance of the enormous balloon figures on the lawns in our neighborhood:


I gauged this Santa at ten feet tall, but he was taller than the house, so he was maybe more like fifteen.  And what’s a little odd about these decorations (maybe it’s just me) is that they are deflated during the day, then are inflated to monster size at night.  Seems like a Santa (or a giant penguin, like the one on my block) that could suffocate Mom and Dad and take the kids away to his evil workshop at the North Pole where Oogie Boogie lives; wait, I could be mixing up my movies….anyhow, it could be scary, dunno.

3.  I found a cool website:  If you enjoy all things seaside, you will want to take a look; our Christmas tree is covered with seashells and mermaids, and my vision for the master bath (once the guest bath is finished) is that it will feel like the song “Under the Sea.”  (My husband Jamal is on board with my design taste, which is cool.)  And my taste is all over the place, so I have to be careful, because I like this:


And I like this:


My coastal living has a little bit of the apocalypse mixed in – works for me (and thankfully, for Jamal).

So I think that’s it for today; I missed writing here, so coming back is my shameless, self-promoting, self-centered gift to you.  And one size fits all! I wish you all good things today – let your heart be light, and I’ll see if I can do the same. Deal? Deal!

Let’s pop!

Jack Kerouac by photographer Tom Palumbo, circ...

Image via Wikipedia

A quote by Kerouac has been playing with my brain since last night:

“…the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes ‘Awww!’ ”

I’m not sure if it’s because it’s June, or because I’m 50….I’m just thinking so much about time, and how little of it I have left.  Before you say,  “Wha-a-a-a-h?,” don’t freak out. I’m healthy, and plan to be around for a while. It’s just that knowing that I’m not 20, or 30 makes me realize that there aren’t that many summers left for me, and the ones that are left (this one, for example) are burning at the speed of light. I think Kerouac died in his forties, and, from what I’ve read about him, lived as much as he could in the short amount of time he was here.  I want to appreciate every second of life, and in doing so, I want to be around people who are doing the same thing. I have no time to be bored – and little time to do the things that I want to do before I end up barking orders for more painkillers to the nearest nurse that walks by in the assisted living center (just kidding; I would lie down in the middle of Pacific Coast HIghway before I voluntarily go to one of those places, and if I ever wind up there, please rescue me as soon as possible. I would rather live out my last days at home, even if I just lie in bed and watch TV; if I go out during a rerun of “I Love Lucy“, at least I will have died the way that I lived, laughing at the silliness of it all).

That being said, I am going to visit my family in Iowa for the July 4th weekend; I haven’t seen some of them for seven years, and some of them for close to forty years, so it should be a great reunion. I don’t fly often, and I’m going to decide to be all right with being up in the air, if it means I get to go somewhere new and see my family. I might have waited longer than most to begin to have adventures, but really, if not now, when? And if all goes well, more adventures will be forthcoming….


Won’t you rock and roll with me? (Ten times)

A couple of weeks ago, I made a list of all of the concerts that I’ve been to in my life.  Doing that started me thinking about the collection of mental screenshots I have for each one (some I can share, others – some other day); here’s a few for you:

1.  Elton John did five encores at the Forum 1n 1975, and changed his outfit for each one – one of his most memorable costumes was a white sequined jumpsuit and a pink feather boa, with white sequin platform shoes. My first concert, and I was hopelessly hooked on rock and roll – my attraction started about three years before with the Beatles, and seeing Elton John resulted in a full-blown obsession.

2.  We waited in line for twelve hours to see Frank Zappa at the Long Beach Arena on New Year’s Eve, and even though we were among the first dozen or so to get in, we still ended up in the balcony.  Zappa seemed a little bored, or irritated, or both; at midnight, he said, “Happy New Year” in a monotone, while everyone else was going crazy. Oh, and our ride took off sometime in the afternoon, and never came back; we were lucky enough to find someone that we knew with a car who gave us a ride home at about 3 a.m.

3.  During the Blues Brothers concert at the Universal Ampitheatre, John Belushi was introducing the  band, and when people didn’t clap enough, he said “C’mon, lame-ohs,” resulting in uneasy laughter from the audience. Later, after he had overdosed, and I read more about what led up to his death, I realized that he was probably whacked out of his mind on drugs. (I don’t know for sure,  just speculation on my part….you make the call.) And Steve Martin, at the peak of his “Wild and Crazy Guy” white suit and banjo period? Have you ever laughed so hard that you couldn’t breathe?

4.  During the Peter Frampton concert at the Anaheim Stadium (what’s it called now? Angel Stadium?), fans were so crazy , that during his act, they jumped up and down so hard on the upper level that we could see it moving. I was really more interested in watching the upper level shimmy than in PF (no judgment; I think sitting so far away from the stage put me out of the mood for the talk box experience, although I will listen to Frampton today with no hard feelings). There were a couple of acts before Peter Frampton – Gentle Giant? Gary Wright? And Yes was the headliner; by the time they came on, I was ready to call it a night.

5.  A fight broke out between a concertgoer and a bouncer in between acts at the Doobie Brothers concert at the Long Beach Arena; the bouncer, who was twice the size of the fan, told him, “Oh, I’ll be seeing you after the show,” then sat down in his seat near the stage, and glared up at the guy all night. Don’t know what happened to the guy, but I’m guessing it couldn’t have been the ending to the night that he was hoping for.

6.  I am positive that I spotted Senator John Tunney during the intermission at the Wall show; my friend thought that I had lost it, which considering we were seeing Pink Floyd, wasn’t outside the realm of possibility.  The set also caught on fire during the show, and the band had to have a do-over on one song (can’t recall which one).  “The Wall” was one of the most overwhelming shows I think I’ve ever seen – I had no idea that it would be so significant at the time, just that it was Pink Floyd, and that I was going to see something amazing…thirty-one years later, amazing doesn’t begin to cover it.

7.   X was an outdoor show on the field at Cal State Long Beach, right about where the parking office and the parking structure are today.  It was a free-seating show, and a bunch of us were standing around and dancing, when I was knocked to the ground – some girl who was on some guy’s shoulders fell off and fell on my head.  No harm, no foul, and the band played on…

8.  When Bob Dylan sang his first song of the night, I realized that not only did I not recognize the song, but that I couldn’t understand any of the words that were coming out of his mouth.  Then I thought, “Is he purposely doing this so that the people who really like him will stay, and the ones who don’t get it will leave?” Doesn’t that sound like something Dylan might do?

9.  I won free tickets to see the Rolling Stones at the Staples Center in 2003.  The Stones played for two and a half hours, and were fantastic.  This band, at the average age of 60, had the ability to reach out and grab my heart and soul and make me dance in my seat at the other end of the arena. The Stones are the masters – and that’s a fact.

10.  Social Distortion opened for Neil Young – I had seen them once before, in front of the Student Union at Cal State Long Beach when I was a student (1989? It was a free concert, and I had instant love for the band), and had no idea that they were going to be playing on this night.  When they were announced, I went berserk – the best part was these guys sitting behind us who were only there to see Neil Young, and who kept yelling rude things, “Get off the stage! You suck!” This only served to make me yell louder to drown them out, “Whoooooo!!!!” “All right!” “Yeah, baby!”

Yeah, baby, yeah!

North Town 1978

Thoughts of North Long Beach this morning – my high school reunion is tonight, and I finally, finally have time to sit and think about it, and about the past. If you’ve read any of my blog, you know that I kinda like movies a little bit, and oh, well, if I could have a movie soundtrack playing at all times in my life, how great would that be?  So I was thinking about what my life was like in high school in the ’70s, and I have to say that the movie “Dazed and Confused”comes very close.  I wasn’t in a sorority, and I never wore a cheerleader uniform, but I did have to lie down to zip up my pants, and when I saw that in the movie, I thought, OK, Richard Linklater did some homework. What else did he get right?  For me, pretty much everything; the clothes, the parties, the extracurricular activities – these were my teen years onscreen, and this was how I lived through them.

David Starr Jordan is located next to Houghton Park on Atlantic Boulevard in North Long Beach.  During the ’70s, we were allowed to go off campus for lunch, and the park was a popular spot for lots of us disaffected youth.  I did log some time in the park, but usually when I left for lunch, I would go home and not come back, preferring Match Game on TV over American History. If I decided that I probably needed to go to school for an entire day, I would head east for lunch, either to Winchell’s Donuts on Orange for maple bars and apple fritters, or over to the liquor store on Artesia for Slim Jims, the famous mystery meat sticks that I’m sure are still in my body to this day.

I don’t really remember how I managed to do this, but I ended up in the vice-principal’s office for being late to PE class 22 days in a row. I think it was Mr. Bowles who sat across from me and said, “Oh, yes, I remember your brother.”  Steve had his own incident file, which included getting caught smoking in the restroom; he told my parents that somebody gave him the cigarette to hold, and then he was caught – such a lame excuse,  I didn’t even believe him. I think I got off with a warning, and was  told to start showing up to PE on time – this was the only discipline I ever received in high school, which was pretty funny, since, as I mentioned,  I would “forget’ to come back after lunch so often, I’m surprised the school didn’t check on me to make sure I knew what my school schedule actually was.

I wouldn’t want to be a teenager these days, I have to say.  Teenagers have it rougher today; back then, you could get through a night being really stupid, and for the most part, be reasonably secure in the knowledge that, unless one of your more outgoing (read:gossipy) friends was there, most people wouldn’t  know about it. Today, have a bad night for whatever reason, and every second is posted on YouTube, or Facebook, or emailed to everyone you know.  Now not only do your blabby friends get to talk about you, they can back it up with photos and video, because everyone has a camera, don’t they?  George Orwell talked about Big Brother, but who knew the day would come where we would all have the potential to be Big Brother?

Check out Retro Housewife for all things ’70s, including Dittos (I had four pairs – black, white, blue, and orange); I’m saving this page for when I have a block of time to investigate it thoroughly, but from what I’ve see so far, it is sublimely ’70s.

Rock on, babies!


The reunion was at Tracy’s Bar in Long Beach last night.  When I left at 9, there must have been well over 100 people crammed in the place, and hanging out in the parking lot.  It was really nice to meet up and talk with friends; and it kinda reminded me of the old days, except no one was falling down (at least not while I was there). Good party, North Town.

What’s better now? (and maybe one thing that isn’t)

I think Paco was a vaudeville comedian in his previous life; he’s great at physical comedy.  The dog has invented new ways to go to the bathroom (upside down on the side of a tree, for instance), and apparently is only happy to do it in front of an audience.  If you ever see a blonde on the street, covering her face while standing by a little black dog who’s trying to go while standing upside down on the side of a tree trunk, that would be me.

This is another one of those kitchen-sink posts; by that I mean you’ll be getting a little bit of everything that is on my mind. Buckle up and hang on…

I was writing about 3-D movies in my last post, and it started me thinking about things that are better now than they used to be.  People love to talk about things that have gotten worse, but what has gotten better in the last 50 years?  While I was walking my little comedian, I realized that there are several things that have improved.

Let’s start with that electronic marvel in your pocket.  Who ever thought that one day, we would not only have phones to carry around, but computers as well?  When I bought my first cell phone, not only did I leave it off most of the time, I would leave it at home most of the time.  Today, this is unheard of, at least for me, and nearly everyone I know. I’ve gone from not wanting to be found, to needing to be connected.  My  Blackberry is my link to the rest of my world, and it’s no longer a luxury, but an essential part of my day for staying in touch with everyone.

There is another little piece of wizardry that I have with me at all times – who remembers making mix tapes from record albums? Who remembers listening to 8-track tapes?  My brother had an 8-track of a Rolling Stones album; can’t remember which one, but the song”Wild Horses” was on it.  And since there wasn’t enough room for the song on one side of the tape, it would fade out, then you would hear a loud “KA-CHUNK!” as the tape switched to the other side, and the song resumed.  Steve would have needed two iPods – his musical interests ranged much, much farther than mine, and he wouldn’t have been able to stand shuffling the Residents and Led Zeppelin together.

I don’t have any scientific findings to back this up, but I think the air is better. Did you go outside last night? This has been one of the cooler summers in Southern California, and last night was perfect, with a full moon like a giant pearl, and a soft, fresh breeze. Except for our famous fire season in October, it feels nicer to be outside.

Grocery stores are better than they used to be; we have a wider variety of stores to choose from, a wider variety of items in the stores, and the stores themselves are more welcoming – the Pavilions by my house has wooden floors, atmospheric lighting, and nice music.  Trader Joe’s, Fresh and Easy, Costco, Sam’s Club, Von’s and Ralph’s; and you can also buy food in stores like Target, and the store that I won’t shop in (Wal-Mart; more on that later) – I do love food, and shopping for it is definitely more fun.

I like the fact that my truck runs like a dream, and that I don’t have to keep having it fixed for every little reason.  As much as I want to own a vintage car one day, I know that what comes with ownership is upkeep, and vintage cars require more than those that have been built recently.  There is a ’56 Chevy or a ’66 Mustang out there for me, but I may have to compromise with a new Mustang (now that’s a thought!). I have a non-PC 8-cylinder Toyota Tundra beast of a truck, and I am considering trading it in, not for the environment (I know, big strikes against me, but I’m being honest), but for the ease of parking wherever I want, and being able to turn on a dime (I need a wide berth to turn the Tundra, and my backing skills in it could be hazardous to your car’s health if you park behind me. Enough said.), and for putting a little more cash in my pocket.

This is an example of the car of my dreams; I will happily ride into the sunset in any clean and awesome ’57 Chevy, however:

So pretty. Couldn’t you see me driving down PCH in this car, with Paco’s ears sticking out of the back window? Yeah, me too.

Friday night news

Like many of you, I have some of the most creative thoughts in the middle of the night, as I am lying awake waiting for my second round of sleep to overtake me.  It was last nignt that I thought I should start this blog; these days, when I have these types of thoughts about beginning any projects, the desire to do so usually disappears when the sun appears.  But here I am, pounding away, trying to overcome my fear of sounding mediocre (or yikes! boring), and hoping that I might be able to write some things that people would be interested in reading. 

To begin is the hardest part; now that I have done that, I want to make a statement of intent.  I intend to be a faithful blogger, to write consistently, and to do my best to make this page worth your time.  One statement that I always remember, having grown up with artists in the family, is that “Half of art is knowing when to stop.”  For tonight, I will do just that. Be prepared, for I may set the way-back machine to 1974 the next time I’m here; bell-bottoms, Jim Croce and Cat Stevens, mood rings, and Linda Blair in “The Exorcist” – seems like as good a year to begin as any other.  Toodles for now.