Donna in Hollywoodland

The blog from Los Angeles and Hollywood by Donna Grayson

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Grand Ave Street Festival

I met two friends at Kabuki Restaurant on Sunset and Vine for lunch.

I did Sushi, tho I have to idea if raw fish is on my anti-cancer diet or not. And I warned my friends that as far as Sushi goes, I am a messy eater. I don't do
chopsticks. And a fork and knife are too weird with sushi. So it is basically the
finger method. My friends were okay with it.

We were expecting some other friends to meet us there. But when I called one friend, she was still in her pajamas and just getting on-line to check her emails.
So I said "Okay, we'll meet up with you in Downtown LA "

We walked over to the Los Angeles Metro station on Hollywood and Argyle.
And hopped on the subway into downtown LA.
LA Metro

It was only a few blocks to Grand Ave Street Festival
It was all right in the shadow of the Walt Disney Concert Hall.
We met up with a friend of one of my friends. And got some programs and maps and started to walk around.

Disney Concert Hall
Disney Concert Hall
Grand Ave Street Festival

The schedule had numerous things happening : classical music, drum circles, dance lessons, tours of the cathedral and more.
Trying to decide what to do was difficult. We couldn't seem to agree on anything.
Finally, we decided to spilt. The two guys went in one direction, and the two girls went in another.
I think the guys ended up sitting in on one of the drum circles.

My friend and I weren't really sure what we wanted to do. We had thought since it would be a street festival, there would be booths with clothes and jewelry - but there were none. So, going Shopping was out.

Then we came to the museum of Contemporary Art . We walked around the courtyard, my friend saying how she wanted to see the Basquiat Exhibit .
I said "Well, lets ask them if there is anything going on that is part of the street festival."

I went up to the Boxoffice, and the ticket person said the Basquiat Exhibit was free !
We got our little stickers that said "MOCA", stuck 'em on ourselves and got in line. Luckily, we got there when the line was still relatively short.

We walked around the exhibit looking at all the weird abstract paintings. I didn't take me long to tire out.
The Bangles last night, and now walking around a festival and museum. It wasn't long before I was sitting down where ever I could.
We went into the room downstairs where they were showing a video taped interview with Basqiuat. It was very interesting, but I started to fall asleep. There was an elderly Japanese lady sitting next to me. She was sleeping too. Then she started to snore.
That woke me up.
I wouldn't want anyone else who was there to think it was me snoring.

After the video, we hit the Gift shop. I bought a Basquiat covered journal and a Basquiat refrigerator magnet. I would have loved a Basquiat coffee mug, but they didn't make any.
Poor Basquiat - he died so young, just as his fame was starting. And now some one else is making money off of his refrigerator magnets. So sad.

Museum of Contemporary Art
MOCA Sculpture
MOCA Fountain

We headed back to Grand Ave to get a bite to eat. There was a row of tents with a sign saying "A Taste of Downtown LA".
Now I don't know what you consider "A Taste of" - but this wasn't it for me. You could purchase samples for between $3 to $8 from the row of restaurants.
But I already know what a mini-hamburger tastes like - along with most of the boring food offered there - so why offer it at an event called "A Taste of".
And how many times have I eaten at the chain California Pizza Kitchen - they are good, but I don't need a "taste". Been there, done that.

Only one place Noe Restaurant offered something exciting and different. Gingered Butternut Squash Soup - so unbelievably Yummy ! And some other little dumpling thing that was also incredibly good.
My friend got the little mini-hamburgers. Yawn.

Grand Ave Street Festival

A funny thing happened. As we were walking up and down the tents, my friend pointed to one of the posted menus saying something like "Oh, they have such-and-such to eat."
A women ran up to her right away "Hey, I saw you pointing at me. I'll consider it a compliment."
My friend said "No, I was pointing to the Menu they have posted up".
The women didn't pay attention, instead rattling on about how complemented she was that my friend pointed to her.
We got away from her as quickly as possible.

By the time we were done eating, alot of the events were shutting down. We called the two guys on the cell phone.
They met up with us. Yes, they had gone to a Drum circle.
It turned out that the guy who rode up with us on The Metro, didn't plan to go back. He was staying in Downtown LA for a movie.
As we were leaving, we both agreed we should have gotten there at least two hours earlier so we could have done more things.
And we started talking about maybe catching a movie back in Hollywood.
Yeah, I had energy for a movie.

LA Metro Station

First we had to navigate the Metro system without our friends help.
The few times I have been without a car in LA, I have always bought a monthly bus pass. I really didn't have to deal with the token machines.
Its "select your ticket choice first, insert money second".
Well, we were trying to put in the money first - and we thought the machines had been jammed with slugs.
We were panicking. My friend was frantic "We'll just get on the train, and hope there are no police."
I said "I'm not doing that - its like a $200 fine."
My friend was almost hysterical "Well, how are we going to get home."

Finally a woman walked up to the machines, and helped us insert our money.
My friend is blond. If I was still blond, I could definitely make a dumb blond joke at our own expense.

Once back in Hollywood, we walked over to Arclight Cinemas .
And we saw Capote .
It was a really good historical film, about the writing of In Cold Blood .
Philip Seymour Hoffman is outstanding.

Friday, October 07, 2005

The Bangles

A friend met me at the office and we drove over to a club to see The Bangles .

First, we had dinner, and I had to deal with the entire restaurant food thing again.
I decided on Steak, even though I knew it wasn't organic. With my blood cells being funny sizes according to my latest blood test, I figured I better have more beef.

The Bangles put on a really great show. The best thing was that there was no opening act. So we got an entire show of the Bangles - and then we got out of the club at a good time.

Isn't it funny being older ? You still want to go out and Rock & Roll, but you want to be home and in bed at a decent time.

As we were walking across the street, there were some drunk guys in front of us.
Grown men in their 30s or 40s. With their wives/girlfriends.
They start to wrestle eachother as we waited at the stop light.

And of course, they almost smashed into me. And almost knocked me over.
My friend jumped in front of me, arms extended - like SuperGirl.

The drunk guys were to stupid and drunk to even think about what they did.
My friend and I didn't even say a word to them. We just gave them serious dirty looks.

The one guy slurred something like "Hey, you look like you've just been to a Bangles concert."

We just looked at him.

My friend was worried about my Stitches if someone knocked me over.
Well, the Doctor did say the stitches are completely healed, and we wouldn't be able to even pull them apart.
of course, thats not taking into consideration, a drunk guy twice my size smashing into me on the street.
Its hasn't even been a month and a half since my surgery.

Doctors appointment

I had an appointment with my Breast Surgeon this morning. And, of course, the Oncologist's office did not fax over the results of my Echocardigram and Blood Tests.
I asked the nurse to call and get them.
She came back with "They said you had an appointment this morning, and you canceled."

Oh, I was Mad...
"No, I didn't have an appointment this morning. They rescheduled my appointment Twice. And so I told them to forget it, and to fax the results over here."

It seems whenever it has to do with an Oncologists office,it involves lies.

The Breast Surgeon and I went over the test results.
My blood test showed everything normal. It even showed that I was not anemic. I had enough blood cells.
But a test called MCHC and MCH, were below normal. That meant they are to small.
So I have unusually small blood cells.
This is very weird, because I did not have this problem before I had Breast Cancer. I told the doctor that I want to follow up and figure out why it is this way.

As for my Echocardiogram. Almost everything on that was normal.
The CT scan had shown "a borderline enlarged heart".
But the Echocardiogram showed only the atrium of my heart is "Very slightly enlarged".
The rest of my heart is fine.
Okay, that doesn't sound to bad. I guess I can safely get the Radiation done to my breast.

After I mentioned that, the Breast Surgeon wanted to know how I liked the second oncologist.
I said "I know I am being really critical. But he lied to me. After the possible heart problems and kidney failure we discussed - when I asked what were the other risks involved with chemotherapy, he said None, there were no other risks. He lied. I can go on the internet and find out the risks that could occur - he should have told me the truth."

We talked some more. And I mentioned now that I got my Test results back, I felt comfortable about doing the Radiation.
The Breast Surgeon asked me if I wanted to see a Radiologist.
I said Yes - Because I would like to start the Radiation sometime in the week of Oct 24. Because I have my yearly charity event coming up - and I want to be done with the radiology before Christmas.

We talked alittle about the radiation. I mentioned I wanted to take Grape Seed Extract because I read on the internet that it can keep the breast tissue from hardening due to the radiation.
She asked me if I had been using anything on my breast.
"No just soap and water"
She said to start using moisturizer on my breast. Even Vitamin E if I want. Because the skin will do better with the radiation if it is in good condition.

Put moisturizer on my Scar ? Oh, I don't know if I can deal with that.That big scar across my breast is pretty scary to look at - I don't even know if I can stand touching it.

Then we discussed my vitamins. I am currently taking Flax Seed, a Multiple, Extra E, Extra C, Co vitamin Q10, and Lysine.
I told her I wanted to add the Grape Seed Extract and coral Calcium.
We talked about that when I do the radiation, I can't really take any AntiOxidants, because it will interfere with the radiation.
She described what it will do to the Radiation, in detail.
She was trying not to say it - but the Antioxidants Kill the radiation that they will give me.

She was also trying to explain that Vitamins and antioxidants can only improve my general health. And to not put my faith in them to cure my cancer.
I got that. But I would rather put my faith in vitamins, then in chemotherapy.

I left with new plans to see the Radiologist. I can hardley wait to get this over with.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Award Meeting

Tonight after work, a friend picked me up and we drove to The Beverly Hilton Hotel .
It was the Orientation Meeting for the American Cinematheque Annual Award .
This years award is going to Al Pacino .

It is the sixth year I have volunteer for this event. I have been there for the awards given to Bruce Willis, Nicolas Cage, Denzel Washington, Nicole Kidman and Steve Martin.

Each year is different, depending on the celebrities who participate.
In the past years, I have been on the Gift Bag committee. That means, I helped prepare and distribute the gift bags with all the goodies in them.
But this year, because I was in the hospital and had surgery - I was switched to Guest Check-In. That means, I will have the guest list and will be helping to check people in. I am so excited about this, because I will be right by the Red Carpet as
the Celebrities arrive.

Tonight we had to attend an orientation meeting. This is my sixth time at the orientation meeting. There are Rules we have to go by, like we can't ask for autographs or take pictures of the celebrities.
And every year, the hotel rooms we use changed. This year they are remodeling the hotel, is all completely different.

We arrived and had a few minutes to chat with some other volunteers.
It seemed like some people expected me to be really sickly. They were shocked when they saw me "Oh, you look really good."

As we sat down my friend said "Oh, theres munchies over there. Do you want some chips?"
"No, I don't eat chips."
"Do you want a soda?"
"No, I don't drink sodas."
So I sipped on my bottled water.

Later someone walked passed with a little bunch of grapes on their plate.
"Oh, grapes - you didn't tell me they had grapes."
So my friend went a got grapes.

My orientation for the Check-In crew was finished before my friends was. I sat in the lobby and waited for them to finish.
I looked at my left hand, and it was swelling up alittle bit. I don't know why it did that.
So as I saw there, I did my finger exercises. One of the hotel employees gave me a funny look. I ignored him.

Two friends stopped and chatted with me. They wanted the detail on what was going on with me.
The hardest thing was I ran into someone I know who has had chemotherapy three times. Almost every ten years, his cancer comes back.
He looked at me perplexed, his eyebrows crinkled. "Have you started your treatment?"
"Oh, no", I said "One of my incisions was infected, they have to wait till it heals before they can do anything to me."
He continued to look at me with his eyebrows bunched together.
I walked away as quickly as I could.
I am afraid to tell him that I declined the chemotherapy. I am worried he won't take it well. Even though we both had two different kinds of cancer, with two completely different sets of circumstances.
I think when I tell him, I will have to do it privately and put it gently.

I waited around in the lobby chatting with people for alittle bit.
Then my friend and I tried to go out a back door, so we could make it to his free parking spot.
We ended up walking completely around the hotel before we realized it was taking us longer to get out of there.

Lunch and Cooking

One of my coworkers is being promoted to another division. So some of the employees took him out to lunch.
We walked over to Fabiolus Restaurant .

This time, I managed to order something on my anti-cancer diet. It was chicken in a mushroom sauce with all sorts of vegetables. The food was such a big portion, that I took half of it back to the office to have for lunch tomorrow.

I was trying to explain to my coworkers about my diet changes since I had my breast cancer surgery. No diary, no preservatives, nothing artificial.

I even brought in a real plate and silverware to eat off of when having lunch in the office. I am still using the microwave, but I am trying to minimize that. And when I do cook in the microwave, I only use a real plate. And I only use real silverware when eating hot foods.

The other day, I was eating my lunch at my desk, and my coworkers heard the "clink clink" of the fork and knife on a plate.
Two of them ran over to look at my lunch.
"Look at that - she's got a real plate ! And a real fork !"

Its kind of scary to me now when I see the plastic containers cooking in the microwave. For example, the other day, one person was heating up Campbells soup, and they had it in a flimsy plastic bowl. In the microwave, the soup was bubbling and boiling - all the time in that flimsy plastic.
Its frightening to me - we are the first generation to be cooking in plastic in microwaves. I wonder what diseases will crop up in the future because of it.

At first, I tried to completely give up plastic. How would I drink water ? All bottled water comes in plastic. I tried to find glass bottles via the internet, and it doesn't exist. And my apartment building is sold old, I wouldn't even think of
drinking that water even if it was filtered. I guess the most important thing is to Not refill the bottles.

Then, I went to Whole Foods and bought all organic food. I bought some prepared foods like Thai Cabbage Wraps, and Pita Chips. As I was taking my food out of the bag, I realized that most of the prepared organic food I bought was also wrapped in plastic wrap. But at least it was cold.
I guess I just can't get away from Plastic.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Office Award

Ugh ! I skipped an entry

Click Here
for the Sept 30th entry about my employee award - and a picture.

Something Cute

Animals are always cute. Ran across this on the internet. Its adorable.

The Slurps

And I am in the mood for something funny...

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Rescheduled Again !

I can not believe that stupid Dr. Grumpy's office !!!! They called me a second time to reschedule my appointment - another week in advance. I was supposed to have the results of my Echocardiogram and blood tests last week.
This is taking me an extra two weeks just to get the test results.

I already know that whatever happens, Dr. Grumpy will not be my oncologist.
All I want from him are my test results.

I called them back "No never mind. Just cancel me. I am seeing my Breast Surgeon on Friday. Please fax the results to her, and I will go over the test results with her."

The receptionist then proceeded to ask me a bunch of personal questions. Like what oncologist was I going to be going to.
And was that oncologist closer to where I lived than their offices.
I lied and told her I would be going with Doctor Happy, and yes, his offices are closer to where I live.
If she looked on my chart she could see Dr. Happy's offices were twice the distance.
But frankly, I think Dr. Grumpy's receptionist is on "Happy" pills - you know, anti-depressants. She always has that spacey-happy look to her. Which wouldn't surprise me. If I had to work in those offices, I would have to be on "Happy" pills too.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Cinnamon Licks Her Belly

Cinnamon and Her Belly

Cinnamon keeps her belly clean. Until I snap her picture, then she gives me a look that says "Go Away".

More Cinnamon the Cat Pics here

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Laundry Lady

After volunteering this afternoon, I was coming in from the underground parking to the elevator.
One of my neighbors was doing her laundry. You know, this is one of the few times I see someone in my building.
Its either when you are out emptying the trash or doing laundry that you run into someone who is your neighbor.

She and I had talked previously about my medical problems. So she knew I had been operated on for a cancerous tumor in my breast.

So she asked how I was doing, and had I stated any of the cancer treatments yet?

I told her "I don't think I will be doing chemotherapy. I only have one kidney, and I think it will be to hard on my body."

She said "Oh, I am so glad to hear that."
She then told me about her best friend, who had breast cancer. When she went in for her first chemo treatment, she almost died. She had one of those "reactions" and her lungs shut down. They had to stop her first chemo treatment and rush her to emergency in an ambulance.
When the oncologist insisted she still come back for more treatments, her family doctor called him up and told him off.

My neighbor said she didn't want to tell me this story before because I was still making my decisions.
Now that I had decided, she felt it was okay to tell me.

Well, I guess that confirms my feelings on the entire subject.

Volunteering at Childrens Show

I went back to The Falcon Theatre to volunteer for their Childrens Matinee.
It was the Troubadour Theatre company putting on a show for the kids.
For the kids ?
They should have an adults only performance, and serve alcohol.
Because this show was fun.
A guy on stilts, a unicycle, trampolines, and all sorts of colorful crazy stuff.

And the show was almost completely sold out. With well-behaved children, and well-behaved parents.

Afterwards, I took a walk up Riverside Drive, and took
some pictures

Falcon Theatre

Bobs Big Boy

Toluca Lake Village

Cactus on Riverside Dr


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