Ramblin Christian Gypsy
Literary whimsy. Dedicated poetic observer.
Literary whimsy. Dedicated poetic observer.
I called Scarlett over to tell her about her Dr. Fless. She needed a hug and said, “I liked him so much.”
That was a good doctor. He actually cared. I cringe when all the online articles immediately feel the need to tell us about his notorious kid.
Many times Dr. Paul Fleiss would meet us at his office at zero dark thirty of any holiday weekend and keep tabs of Scarlett’s tricky condition. She would develop scary asthma so fast and her oxymeter numbers would be so bad that conventional advice would have had you driving straight to the hospital.
She was two and I was shooting Desperate Housewives and had to leave her at the hospital with Misti, Elizabeth Oliveros and Evelyn Parra to go to work. The hospital wouldn’t let Scarlett play with any of the toys because even though we all knew it was asthma it was technically an undiagnosed lung illness because she hadn’t had three separate incidents. Those were the hospital rules. Scarlett saw the room of toys and was pitching a fit to make them her own. And her rage made the asthma worse, and then they wanted an IV and that made things even more unbearably stressful. I hated the hospital.
So I left someone there at Cedars Sinai with her, sent someone else to Target to buy new things because that’s what you do, and a third someone to our house to collect favorite things then I went to work not knowing if she’d be released that day. All the while I was taking 16 phone calls from Kirk working in NY who was frantic for new information on his hospitalized baby.
During the next few years I would call him and tell him her numbers and say, “Meet me at the office, I’ll be there as soon as I get dressed.” And he’d come and give her care and me advice. And we’d make conversation while the horrible sound of the nebulizer puffed out its’ magical modern medicinal thing.
It just so horribly happened that a few weeks earlier Dr. Fleiss had lost his adult son in a drowning accident off the coast of Kona. The loss was fresh and painful and I noticed how he’d aged a decade since I’d last seen him. HIs shoulders carried a yoke of heartache. The burden of having lost a child.
"I’m so sorry." I said. And I touched his shoulder. I asked if there was anything I could do? Errands or anything I could buy that could bring him a thimble full of joy. He quickly said, "Coffee..I like coffee." Then he told me what kind. What brand. Which kind of bean. And then asked me to bring the whole bean because he liked to grind it himself." Then he smiled. And I brought it, the coffee, the next day. And here today I’m having my coffee and thinking of him with a lump in my throat that won’t go away.
Here’s to you, Dr. Fleiss. And thanks for telling me I was a great Mom. That was extra nice. LIke you. RIP.
Putting myself on tape today because casting for a new show has refused to see me. They no longer believe I can play early thirties.
Blast you, Imdb, with all your information just clickety-click seconds away.
Today’s verse I’ll share is Roman’s 1:22 “Professing themselves to be wise they became fools.”
Who do I call to tell them that Lucille Ball was 40 when she STARTED shooting I Love Lucy?
And if this post doesn’t shame them into rethinking the error of their ways, then perhaps they’ll be so charmed into giving me job on straight offer after seeing these darling pictures of my Granddaughter.
Painfully learned, but strategy has never been my strongest suit.
I agreed to go for a run with Scarlett. I didn’t really know I was signing up to pay for war crimes committed in my as yet unknown past lives.
She would holler at me to “C’mon you don’t wanna keep that flab you showed me last night, DO YOU?!” This was said waaaaay too loud for my comfort and always strategically when others were passing by. But to think she was done was just naive. Here she came again…”You want Daddy to see you in a bikini and say you’re hot, don’t you? I don’t think he’d say that now, DO YOU??!”
Ok that was just mean.
Some woman did a gatorade spit-take, she was laughing so hard.
But the end all, be all, was her pulling a cheese stick out of her pocket and running backwards in front of me waving it like a carrot to a lazy donkey lure. “C’mon Mommy, I Know You WANT THE CHEESE….RUN FASTER!”
I wanted to push her down. And hard. But I couldn’t catch her.
By the time we made it home, I was laughing, and crying, and I think I wet my pants. Whether or not I am resultantly any thinner…..well that remains to be seen.
At Starbucks today a group of German tourists turned into extreme Desperate Housewives fans the second my daughter and I walked through the door. They screamed, jumped up, fell over, got up, then fanned their flushed faces and with shaking hands wanted to take pictures. It was pretty intense.
I chatted for a bit with the one who had a command of the English language but disallowed them taking pictures of Scarlett. Why I dunno when anyone with a camera at the Grove takes her picture all the time. I guess it just seemed the thing to do. If you can’t control it you can’t control it. But if someone asks, “no” seems a good answer when it applies.
When walking back to the car Scarlett smoothed my back with her one hand goes, in a high sing-song “there, there” voice, “See Mommy some people really like you.”
I could have sagged under such condescending counsel. But I decided to rather think on what she got right. And ruminate on how to fix my life with that information.
If German tourists and then perhaps my dogs, could produce a show, then Gentle Reader, we’d be on to something. Because those people really like me.
We’ll call the show, “ACTRESS KILLED. DOZENS MOURN!”
Scarlett’s making her Christmas list. Yes I know it’s August. And I brought this, plus the following to her attention, “Sweetheart let Daddy get off the plane for a day or two before you bombard him with a gift list for Christmas.”
She shot me a sour look and goes, “This has nothing to do with Daddy it’s for Santa.” Then she made her eyes real big and went back to her work like she could scarcely believe my naiviete and the lengths her patience had to go to deal with the likes of me.
Then I rolled my own eyes and walked the other way. We are dueling schools learned at the acting feet of Alyssa Milano, circa Who’s The Boss years.
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures.
He leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul.
He leadeth me in the path of righteousness for his name sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil.
For thou art with me.
Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table for me in the presence of my enemies.
Thou anointest my head with oil.
My cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy will follow me
all the days of my life.
And I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Little known fact about me is that I naturally sport an Irish orphan’s fro. It’s like cobwebs of wool on my head. And while a lot of the tendrils curl, most of them kink. They have minds of their angry own and seldom listen to reason without the intervention of extreme heat or chemicals.
So back in the day, I had this hair and my sister had that Farrah Fawcett blonde “do” so desirable in the 70’s and 80’s. This was when the world wasn’t so technically savvy about hair and the only blow dryers available to the public were of wimpy wattage and came with a Barbie like toy comb attached at the end.
My Norwegian Mother with similar beautiful, flaxen hair like Heidi’s, had no idea how to coif her younger daughter’s head. When she’d try to get it under control and take a brush to it the results were humiliating and disastrous.
The hair would literally raise from my shoulders like a golum of cotton candy under a witch’s spell. I still remember the look on my Mom’s face. She tried to cover her reaction, God bless her, by reaching for a quick rubber band to tie it off and then she’d add a festive ribbon in there for good cheery measure. I guess hoping against hope to direct people’s attention first to the ribbon and then to the tragic hair of her child.
I knew my hair totally sucked and so did my sister. And while for the most part I knew she loved me and we shared hours of play together and hand holding camaraderie, she would weaponize this knowledge at her strategic convenience. It was a kind of evil that older siblings everywhere employ, I’ve come to realize.
Whenever she needed to break my spirit quickly she went for the hair. In her defense I was an incorrigible little sister full of sass and have forgotten the exact ridiculous behavior that caused her to bring down the wrath of “Yeah…well everybody thinks your hair is weird!” And with that, my world would start spinning and I was bested. Because it was true. I’d run to my room to sob my eyes out and plan my revenge on the world of straight haired people.
I remember once announcing that my head hurt. My Dad goes, “Your hair looks like your head hurts.” And we all laughed because funny is funny. And that was funny.
Cut to today when those silly hair woes are like a story about somebody else that I know really well.
Options that are chemical, options that are all technique, and others still that are magic pieces that clip, or are sewn in to hide the truth. And while I’ll accept their gift of illusion I don’t claim to buy into their promise. That of long silky hair that is sexy. Because if your man can’t grab handfuls of your hair to draw you closer to him because it’ll pull your extensions out, well that’s like a picture of a meal you can never eat. And what good is that? It’s not sexy. I’ve decided. It’s just illusion. Very disparate situations.
Kirk says I look like an entirely different person when I wear my muppet hair. It’s also Elizabethan hair. Or consumptive nineteenth century poetess’ hair. Let’s call it “character hair” and be done with it.
I know where it is and I can always get it when I need it. When it suits my purpose. An off and off binary switch. For the one girl who’s very, very good. And for the other one who’s horrid. But as for who’s my favorite? They’re twins of mine that I love equally, as a Mother should.
I had one car door open and on my belly, cleaning yech from the floorboard mats. I was scrubbing a fair bit when I heard a man yell/hiss/snarl at someone with such contempt I thought it could only be another guy who was the focus of such vile contempt.
"I SAID COME ON ALREADY…. YOU’RE SO F_______ SLOW!!!"
It was so much of an unglued fury that I had to see what was up. Mainly because I was head down and felt kind of vulnerable to be rear end up if a street war erupted and all.
But there was no other person besides the one yelling man who was red faced and nearly frothing.
He startled when I presented myself. I thought he was pretty well dressed and clear eyed to be so afflicted that he fought with parked cars.
And then my heart broke.
Hidden by my car but showing herself now, a toddling little thing with fountain like pony tails unsteadily put one cautious foot in front of the other so as to carefully and quickly reach her angry Father. She had to mind herself or she would fall. She was that young. Walking was that new.
I’m good at faces. Was trained in Japanese commercials, you know. I put my palms skyward and wrinkled my forehead shaking my head. It was the perfect, “I don’t get you at all except for the fact that you disgust me. ” Was what I said while saying not one word. The man dropped his head and walked the other way.
The last I saw of Baby Girl she was negotiating chubby legs in pampers trying to hurry on her little way. She kept saying, “K Da-dy..K Da-dy.”
Futility is the worst feeling in the world. And for all the love I purport to have in my heart, I was shocked at how perfect, inky black, and cold, my hatred was for a man I didn’t even know.
And I was so good at it that it frightened me.