Friday, January 30, 2009

triumphant. finally. at least, for now.

can i thank God it's friday even though i'm not working at a job right now?

after much confusion, faxing, endless phone calls and some help from both my local assemblywoman's office and one mr. smith at the state medicaid office, i have been assured that my medicaid is now active.
again. just in the nick of time.
cue breathing.
after my oncologist assured me that my need for a hysterectomy is urgent (apparently those nasty microscopic cancer cells could be growing again in my abdomen as i type this), i did not want to postpone surgery just because medicaid was being elusive. i think most of my peachfuzz turned gray due to showing up for pre-surgical testing and assorted doctor's visits all the while half expecting to be jettisoned (again) from the office mid-visit for lack of coverage. and i don't mean that my paper gown was slipping.

thanks especially to my sister and everyone else who has cheered me on in my battle with bureaucracy. my hysterectomy will now go ahead as scheduled next tuesday, feb 3. woohoo. party time.

ps: in the midst of my crankiness and frustration, there were surprise moments of warmth and gratitude including:

my pulmonary doctor telling me that he used me as an example of the power of positive thinking (if only he knew what i'd been thinking about medicaid lately),

a woman i didn't know coming up to me at barbes and telling me that she reads my blog (soon after, she sang with the band and it was great. nice to meet you, eva!),

and seeing friends that i hadn't seen since before i got sick, and after taking a good look at my hairless head for the first time
hearing one of them very seriously say, "it's beautiful. really, it's beautiful." so nice to hear when you're feeling fragile.

Monday, January 26, 2009

bay area bliss, the final chapter

before i was distracted by surgery and tests, i was sharing photos from our holiday trip to the west coast. these are from our last few days in the bay area.

crossing the bay bridge, it's very difficult not take a photo.

dusk over the bay

it had been many, many years since i'd seen my dear friend, franky. he and i met when we toured the northwest together doing children's theatre. recently, franky started sculpting for the first time.

i loved them.

since we had matching hairdos, we had to document it.

but which one is the real sandra?

franky's lovely partner, randy, made us a beautiful dinner.

ej and his mom, hanna, before we left for portland. it's always wonderful to spend time with her.

bay area bliss, part 2

shane is a dear friend who moved back to santa rosa after living in nyc for many years. he and i used to work together in a delightful office environment in manhattan. now we hang out in relaxed california. this time, ej, shane, and myself drove to the scharffen berger chocolate factory in berkeley. we sampled various chocolates and got the insider scoop from the friendly employees. unfortunately, i was so overcome by the heavenly aroma of deep, dark chocolate that i forgot to take any photos. you know it's got to be overwhelming for me to forget to take photos.

i call this "oakland: a view from the car". if you click on it, you can see the traffic below and san francisco in the background. very daytime blade runner.

after the chocolate factory, we were starving and settled in at szechwan restaurant in oakland's chinatown. shane does not mess around when it comes to eating food.

this is the main reason why szechwan restaurant is a must-do on our annual holiday visit: the string beans. RIDICULOUSLY tasty. i think it's the salty bits of pork.

during our meal, the owners started giving us mandarin lessons and letting us taste what they were eating. shane was not shy about trying out his new chinese vocabulary. luckily, ej documented some of the phrases on his field recorder because today i couldn't say "this is delicious" in chinese if my life depended upon it.

we had fun that night.

we also tried out the diagonal crosswalks in chinatown. yup, that's exactly the sort of wild kids we are.

the next day, hanna had my good friend karl and his beautiful family over for lunch. i was excited because this was the first time we got to meet baby zoe. here, ej works his magic.

everyone was happy to have the baby around.

zoe and mama michelle

and papa karl

hanna made a delicious lunch of pasta and sausage. i remember it fondly.

karl was my upstairs neighbor many years ago when i was living in oakland. he's been a true friend ever since.

zoe flies before they say goodbye.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

bay area bliss, part 1

so, after the holidays, ej and i traveled from southern california to the bay area to visit with his mom, hanna, and assorted friends.

this is rachel, jadyn, bryan, and little ol' me. rachel, bryan, and myself used to work in the same art store in berkeley. bryan and i were custom picture framers together. the last time i saw them, they were visiting nyc and jadyn was just a twinkle in her mother's eye.

hanna had a gathering while we were there. it was great to meet her friends and it looks like hanna had a good time too.

oh, the infamous fog! this is the bay bridge with just a hint of the city beyond.

we stayed a couple of nights with our old friends, david and eddie. ever since they moved to the bay area, david has been telling me about the spectacular view from their condo. i'll just have to trust him on that.

david made a delicious prime rib roast for dinner!! that man certainly knows the way to my heart.

the next day, we toodled around the city. here are ej and eddie conquering the windmill in golden gate park.

we stopped for a snack before hitting happy hour in the castro.

ej and i aren't huge drinkers, but a refreshing adult beverage in social situations can be quite enjoyable. david and eddie know the good happy hours, so here is ej feeling no pain. hello? ej? can you hear me?

i was pretty happy too. here i am with my old friend, david. i'm pretty sure i was the only woman in this bar. i was definitely the only bald one.

i love the streetcars in san francisco.

i was very excited to ride in one. it doesn't take much.

we stopped at the buena vista cafe: the birthplace of the irish coffee.

from our place at the bar, we had a view of the parade of life outside. like these hooded tourists in the back of an old fire engine. granted, it was chilly outside, but really...

then there was a group of tourists on segways. no ski masks though.

alcatraz in the distance

back at david and eddie's, we lived a life of luxury. here i am in my favorite chair. they called it a cuddle chair and i thought it was the greatest thing since sliced bread. i would've moved into that chair if they'd let me. (now that i have peach fuzz on my head, i'm a little surprised when i look back at these photos and realize just how bald i was. like kojak, bald.)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

my, oh my, obama

yesterday, i stood in the crowded back room of a local bar, where i normally go to hear live music, and watched barack obama be sworn in as our president. we were all shoulder to shoulder, i was overheated, and i could only see a sliver of the big screen between the heads in front of me, but i was so very happy to share that experience with others who were equally excited.

at the end of the ceremony when the national anthem was sung in d.c., someone in the room started quietly singing along. it quickly spread and before i knew it, i too was singing. then bam! the emotion hit me, i wiped away a tear, and i felt something i hadn't felt since, heck, since i was a 10 year old learning about the bicentennial or a 14 year old cheering on the u.s. olympic hockey team as they played the soviet union. yesterday, i actually felt patriotic. i was surprised. and happy. and hopeful.

afterward, ej played with the raya brass band and people danced.

the backside of the banner in the window (it's a french bar).

i took my best eyebrows for the occasion.

that night, ej and i had amazing homemade indian food (thank you, pete!) at pete and dawn's apartment. we celebrated and toasted our new president (thank you, barack!). it was a good day.