Donna in Hollywoodland

Life in and around Hollywood and Los Angeles as told by Donna Grayson

Saturday, December 31, 2005

Fenced In




Walk The Line

Its pouring out rain. And I am trying to figure out what to do today.
I haven't seen "Walk The Line" yet.

So off to The Arclight I go.
In the pouring rain.

Remember a while ago, my car got broken into ?
Someone slashed the top of my 1995 Chrysler LeBaron Convertible.
Well, I never got the top professionally fixed.

Duct Tape.

I duct taped inside. Stuck some plastic bags in between. Then I duct taped on top.

And its holding up pretty well in the rain.
So far no leaks.

I arrive at The Arclight for a matinee.
People running from the parking structure into the theatre.

I decide I am in a rush. And I use the ticket kiosk outside. In the rain.
They have put alittle tent over the the kiosks.

The first time using the kiosk, its alittle confusing.
The guy behind me gave me some instructions.
"Hit Next, Hit Next."
He must have been late for his movie.

The only thing about the Kiosk : You pick the section you want to sit in.
But you don't get to pick your exact seat.
So I ended up crammed perfectly in the middle of the theatre with everyone else.

I really liked "Walk the Line". Both Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon .
They sounded really good. Almost like the Real Thing.
This usually isn't my kind of music.
But by the end of the movie, I was thinking of buying The Soundtrack .

And the man sitting next to me really liked the music.
Every time a song would start, his would stomp his leg with the beat, and hit his hand on his thigh.
The entire row was shaking.

Considering the weather, I was considering seeing a second movie.
But running from the parking lot to the theatre - my hair was damp, my clothes were damp.
Everyone in the theatre was damp.
I stood in the lobby, looking at the Show Times. And I realized everyone in the lobby was damp.
Time to go home and be dry.

I Guess I Don't Have it That Bad

I have to admit sometimes I really get down in the dumps about the whole breast cancer thing.
Especially now that my 6 month check up is in February, and I am trying not to worry about it.

Its not fun going through Radiation and having your skin fall off in the shower.
Sometimes I feel like I want to put a bag over my head, or crawl under the covers and never come out.

Then, other times I feel like once things are back to normal, I am going to appreciate my body and my breasts, and post nudie pics of myself on this website. And sleep with all sorts of strange men.
Seriously, the thought has crossed my mind. I want to appreciate what I have, in case I lose it.
Though I doubt I have enough guts to do any of it. I'm just not Bohemian and crazy enough. And I have too many morals.

Well, I was out with some friends. An acquaintance I don't know very well was with us.
She is an older Jewish lady. Maybe in her mid-60s.
And being in your mid-60s is not being old, kiddies.
Not in this modern time.

I saw she was wearing sandal's, and her feet were wrapped up with bandages.
And she was using a walker.
As she sat down, I went over to sit next to her.

"Oh, no you hurt your foot. Are you alright?" I asked.

Well, she just had most of her toes amputated.
On both feet.

"Diabetes?" I asked.


I don't know much about Diabetes. But I know someone else whose 80 year old mother has it. And they had to do surgery on her toe once, to re-route some veins so she wouldn't lose the toe.

As I talked to this woman, her story became clear. She was working a Temp job which just ended.
No insurance. No money. No car.
I am sure she didn't take care of herself because she could not afford the doctor.
And the diabetes did not stay controlled, and she lost her toes.

"Are you on the bus tonight?" I asked.
She was depending on some State-run ride share to pick her up. And they are never on time.
"I can give you a lift home if you want." I said.

So I drove her home.
As we drove, she mentioned she had other terrible health problems as well. She didn't say what they were but I was getting the impression it was Cancer-related.
And I noticed she was wearing a wig.

I told her "Yeah, I've had a bad year as well. In August I had a lumpectomy for breast cancer. And I just finished the radiation treatments."

The first question out of her mouth was "Did you have to do chemo?"

I said,"I decided not to do it. I have other health problems, I only have one kidney. And I felt there was no assurance that I would not lose that kidney. So I am basically doing alot of health food supplements, eating organic and doing holistic things."

There was really nothing she could say to that.
She doesn't have the choice to eat organic and go holistic.
She has even less money that I do.
I'm far from rich, but I make a decent income doing accounting. So I can blow a chunk of my paycheck on organic food.
I just cut back on other things to compensate.

But if she's lost her temp job and doesn't have a car. Well, it sounds to me like she's at the mercy of the Los Angeles County Medical System. Which could also be the reason she lost her toes.

After I dropped her off, and drove home by myself - all I can say was that I was totally stunned.
It just takes one thing like that for me to realize, I really don't have it that bad at all.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Movie Party

I got back from a Movie and Dinner ... just in time to run out to another movie.

This one was a home Movie Party. A friend who lives in Silverlake , had a group of us over to see "Constantine" .
I am always up for anything with Keanu Reeves in it.

I live in East Hollywood . And it amazes me, how I do not know anything east of Sunset Junction .
Thats as far east as my Los Angeles familiarity goes.

Everything I do is west of Sunset Junction.

Well, its gotten better. For years, I only knew the areas west of Sepulveda.
So I have moved somewhat east.

I was surprised how easy it was to find her place.
And I asked her "What is there to do around this area?"
I mean, it took me like 5 minutes to get there - I should go hang out in Silverlake more often.
Turns out there is both a Trader Joes , and a Gelsons over there.
I think I know where I will be doing some grocery shopping soon.

I did stop at Vons on my way over, and picked up Sparkling Mineral Water.
Glad I did, all there was to drink were sodas. And I have absolutely stopped drinking sodas.

Getting home from her place was even quicker. I discovered her street went right to Sunset Blvd.
I will definitely be visiting Silverlake again soon.

Movie At CityWalk

Second set of free movie passes .... Yippee ! I love free movies.

A friend had bought X-amount of whatever at Albertsons Grocery Store .
And they gave him two free passes to Lowe's Cineplex Theatres .
He had to use the tickets by Dec. 31st. So off we went to the movies tonight.

Our first choice was to use the tickets to see Harry Potter in Imax.
But the Imax ticket price was over the amount of the coupon, so they would not accept it.

So our second choice was to see The Producers .

Ok, they tell you to go ahead and purchase the tickets on Fandango . One of the benefits is that you print out the tickets at home, and you don't need to wait in line at the ticket booth.

We show the ticket taker the computer generated ticket. He said to go to a machine, and insert the credit card we used to purchase the tickets.
Well, my friend didn't use a credit card - he used a free coupon from Albertsons.
So we had to go wait in the ticket line anyway.

I am pretty spoiled by the new fangled movie theatres like the Arclight , and The Grove .
The Lowe's Cineplex at Universal Citywalk is an older movie theatre.
So I get frustrated that its just not as "nice" as I am used to.

First, the concession stand is on the first floor.
Our movie was on the second floor.
No, there was no concessions stand opened on the second floor.

So we got our concessions, and I refused to take the escalator upstairs with my hands full of food and drink (a bottled water and a plain pretzel).
There is a small elevator in the corner that has a sign "For Handicap Use Only".
No one knows it is in the corner, so no one ever uses it.
I think I am the only one to ever use that elevator. And last time I was here was probably a year ago.

#1 - I had surgery in August, so I am handicapped.
#2 - I have my hands filled with concession stand items, so I am handicapped.

Either way, we took the elevator.

We get into the theatre and sit down.
My first thought was "Oh, no - the screen."
The screen was not small. But it wasn't big either.
Its an old screen in an old movie theatre.

And dern, this is a musical - it needs to be seen on a large screen.
To late, I'm in a theatre with a medium sized screen.

"The Producers" was a fun musical.
I absolutely love Roger Bart in the role of Carmen Gia. So funny !
Carmen Gia is a gay male who is the assistant of a famous director. He wears female makeup - somewhat natural make-up but its like what a woman would wear. Shiny Lip Gloss, Rosey Cheeks, Mascara and the eyelashes curled.
Its not gaudy at all - if you were a woman.
Thats what makes it so funny.
And ... Roger Bart played George Williams in Desperate Housewives. Until the character "committed suicide".
George was my favorite character. I was always shocked by the things he would do.
I was so bummed out when they got rid of the character.
So I was happy that Roger Bart was in this movie.

After the movie, we walked around Citywalk for a while. But really didn't stop anywhere else.

Popcornopolis Neon

Elvis Pig Toy

We decided instead to drive back to the Hollywood area. And go have Thai Food at Palms Thai Restaurant
on Hollywood Blvd.
The food there is really fantastic. It is always crowded. And they have a Singing Thai Elvis.

Huh ? What ?

Singing Thai Elvis.

Singing Thai Elvis

He's Thai, and he sounds just like Elvis.
Very entertaining.

So we had War Wonton Soup, Pad Thai, Thai broccoli with mushrooms.

And by the time we left, the line of new customers was out the door into the parking lot.
The parking lot has some interesting artwork by the way.
Very Hollywood.
Elvis & Marilyn

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Lessons from Harvey the Big Rabbit

Tonight at the Egyptian , I volunteered.
They were showing the movie "Harvey" from 1950 starring James Stewart .

I want to be like Elwood P. Dowd.
Well, no, not seeing a 6 foot tall rabbit everywhere.
But his whole attitude about life.

He would stop and talk to anyone. He was friendly towards everyone he met.
He saw good in everyone.

Even in the scene where everyone is disagreeing with him - his attitude is good.
He says something along the lines of "Well, its good that we all disagree. Shows we are all actively involved in the conversation."

His sister tries to get him committed to a psychiatric hospital. And he's like "She did that all in one day? She sure is a whirlwind, isn't she?"

I mean, not one bad word out of Elwood P. Dowd's mouth.
Maybe his is alittle unrealistic.
But I really do love his positive upbeat happy attitude.

Organic Chili

I almost forgot to post a great Organic Chili Recipe that I made the other day.

Onions and Garlic sauteed in olive oil
Mix in Free-Range Ground Turkey. Cook until done.

Organic Stewed Tomatoes
Organic Zucchini, Bell Peppers, Corn
Organic Pinto Beans and Kidney Beans
Organic Chili Spices, Tumeric and Black Pepper (Very light, I don't like it spicy)
Cook until nice and thick.

Organic Chili

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Physical Therapy

Today, she gave me a light lymph node massage.
The trick is that you don't press hard. Its all done very lightly.
And you don't do the area where there was any surgery. And not the area where the lymph nodes were removed.

The purpose is to stimulate the good lymph nodes in the surrounding areas, so that they do the work of the lymph nodes that were removed.

Since my surgery was done on the left breast and left armpit, you don't touch those.
You do your shoulder and neck areas.
Followed by the right breast area.
Followed by the tummy area, and then the left side area.
Then finally the lower left arm and left fingers.

She said that the next appointments she will train me to do this myself.

Yeah, and then she wrapped my hand again. Gauze bandages.
All over my left arm and left hand.
This time though, I wore a long sleeved sweater, that I pulled down over my hand as I left.
So no strangers would notice my wrapped up hand , and make weird comments.

Last, I got on the Arm Bike, and did some reps on that.

As I left, the physical therapist mentioned a problem with my insurance.
The Authorization Prescription is signed by a different Radiation Doctor, not the one who treated me.
Even though they are all doctors in the same group, she needs his signature for the insurance.

This proves my theory - either the Nurse or one of the Radiology Technicians, went "around" the radiation doctor (behind his back) to get me the prescription when I requested it.
My specific radiation doctor had refused to send me to a physical therapist , because in his opinion I didn't need it.
I had threatened to quit my radiation treatments. He still refused.
Then a few days later ... an envelope addressed to me, magically appeared in my patient folder.
It was a prescription authorization for physical therapy.

But now I need the right signature on the prescription for my insurance to cover a special glove that I need to wear.

Well, the physical therapist has called my radiation doctors office twice, and received no response.
I told her I will contact them as well and see what I can do.

Walking Around Glendale

Between the appointment with the Breast Surgeon, and the Appointment with the Physical Therepist, I had a half hour.
So I went for a walk.
Click on the pics to see bigger.

Palm Trees in Glendale

Painted Windows

Glendale Alley

Curved Building

Breast Surgeon Followup

Today, was the day for Doctors Appointments.
First the Breast Surgeon follow-up, followed by an appointment with the physical therapist.
They are in the same building - actually on the same floor. So at least that makes it easy.

My Breast Surgeon examined me, and said my skin was healing well after the Radiation Treatments.
I told her that the Radiation Doctor said it would take me a few weeks to get my energy back.
She said, No.
Figure if you had 7 weeks of Radiation - expect that it is going to take you 7 weeks recovery time to get back up to your normal level of energy.

She gave me a breast examine on the right breast. Thats the side that had the questionable material that turned out to be just fibrous tissue was removed - and then the stupid incision got infected.
I asked her about the tissue around the incision - if there was scar tissue. And said the tissue felt really soft, she didn't feel any scar tissue.

She told me in a few months, if I want, she can re-open the scar from the infection and sew it back up again. So there is less of a scar.
I was like "Um, re-cut it open? And sew it back up ?"
She said Yes.
I said "No, thats okay. I don't mind the scar. If it bothers me, I'll just get a tattoo to cover it up. A flower or something."
She said she has alot of patients who get tattoos over their scars. Wait another 6 months though.

She didn't do an examine on the left breast, the one that had the cancer. Because the skin is still healing, and alittle red, and the skin is very dry and thick.

Then she said "Now that you are through with the Radiation, I know we had talked about chemo..."
I finished her sentence :
"....And I still feel the same way. No chemo." I said.
She said "Okay" and dropped the subject.

I said "I have the names of two holistic oncologists that someone from AmazonL mailing list, gave to me. I want to go to someone holistic to get my supplement doses and talk to them about what supplements I am taking."

The surgeon said she knew someone ... a holistic Chinese Medicine/Alternative Practicioner in West Hollywood. She called it "Integrated Medicine". I told her I definitely wanted the persons information so I could go talk to them.

Then it was time for the Biggie .... My 6 month follow-ups are due the Middle of February.
Already ?!?!
Its been 6 months ?!?!

Yeah... they go by the last time they actually looked at the breast tissue. And my MRI was done the Middle of August.
So the middle of February it is time again.

We discussed something about did we want to do both breasts, or only the left one that had the cancer ...
I said "I want them both done. I want everything scheduled like clock-work."

So her receptionist scheduled my February Mammogram, and Ultrasound. With an Appointment with the Breast Surgeon following one week afterwards.

This is freaking me out. We are going to start looking for cancer. To catch it before it catches me.
It very depressing. I am trying not to be worried, or weirded out. I kept thinking "What if they find something else?"
I can't think like that. I have to let it go. Think positive. Think positive. Think positive.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

King Kong

A friend got a gift Certificate for the Arclight Cinema for a Christmas gift.
So I was invited to join him for a matinee show of Peter Jackson's movie King Kong .

Here is an open letter to Peter Jackson:
Dear Mr. Jackson - When you make your wonderful films, please consider adding an intermission for those of us with small bladders, who need to pee.
Thank you for your consideration.
Donna Grayson

Yeah, the 3 hour and 7 minute running time had me worried.
I managed to "Hold It" because I hate leaving a movie - especially a good movie - at any time during the screening.

But the 3 hours go really really fast.
The first 20 minutes are a back story, telling the tale of New York and how they actually get on the boat. And I like that, it was kind of like a movie before the movie.
Then, the rest of the movie starts with Scary Island Natives, Dinosaurs, Other Weird Prehistoric Creatures, and Mr. King Kong himself.

Donna's advice if you go see King Kong : Lots of Kleenex.
I cried and cried and cried.

My friend said "But King Kong killed people, why do you feel sorry for him?"
Poor big ape, he didn't ask to be captured.

Since I just saw the original King Kong a few weeks ago at the Egyptian , it was fresh in my memory.
And Peter Jackson stays with the original story line. My understanding is that the Prehistoric Creatures were supposed to be in the original 1933 film, but somehow they didn't make it in.

Naomi Watts better be nominated for an Oscar for Best Actress. Her range of emotion in this is incredible.
And Andy Serkis as King Kong - he had giant apes down perfectly. It was almost like watching one in his natural habitat. Someone needs to give this Actor and award for the characters he plays.

So don't let the running time scare you off - its a great movie !

Tuesdays Pictures

From my walk .....

Slanted Window

Robins Food Mart


Church Mural

Different Sides of the Feminine

Blue Corner

Monday, December 26, 2005


Tonight, I volunteered at The Egyptian.
The movie was "Topper" from 1937, starring Cary Grant .
A fun comedy about a fun-loving couple who become ghosts.

And a few more pics of Cinnamon the Cat:

Kicking Back ....

Cinnamon Cleans

Snack Time !

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Merry Christmas

Cinnamon Pumpkin the Cat and I ... both wish you Merry Christmas


Cinnamon in Bed

Cinnamon & Her Claw


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