But first. My advice to you — should you choose to accept it — is to never, NEVER, embark on an intense, early-morning martial arts 5-day seminar in the desert less than two weeks after you’ve had brain radiation, on the very day a controversial story about you airs on national TV. Just don’t. Because there is surely the taste of heartbreak involved. (Cake would help but I can’t eat cake, so.)
Things I Learned From This Trip
- When choosing motels, $20 or even $10 can make the difference between a room with bloodstained sheets, snot on the walls, carpets that haven’t been cleaned since 1968, and a place that doesn’t make your skin crawl. Pay the extra ten bucks, cheapo.
- There is an app to locate one’s proximity to rest areas on the interstate. Wheretopee.com. You’re welcome.
- Whole Foods exists in almost every city.
- I-5 is fucking boring, at least the California part. Jeez.
- When your soulmate cries, “Stop for olives!” heed his little-boy plaintiveness and pull over to let him taste olives right where they grow them. It’s not like you’ll ever go back there, right?
- Don’t expect to be warm in the desert unless you can convince your soulmate to TURN THE FREAKING A/C OFF.
- 4am is way to early to wake up. 6am is way too early. Even 8am — too early. The rest of the world should revolve around you and your needs.
- Palm Springs is sadly way past its heyday. Maybe it will have another one. Meanwhile, here’s a photo of Big Marilyn.
Watching Myself on TV Was … Interesting
In exchange for my 9 minutes of fame on 20/20, I received hundreds (!!) of blog comments and personal emails. People spent precious time and energy to track me down in a 20:1 ratio of “you suck and should die and your kids hate you” to “oh em gee you are telling my story thank you so much and can we be besties please please?”
I guess it didn’t dawn on me that so many people would take the time to write me directly. Or the level of anger and disgust coming from most of them. Makes me wonder what kind of a world we are creating, yanno? I’ve decided that I’m a cowcatcher. You know the things on the front of old-timey trains that scooped cows off the tracks (safely and gently, I would hope…)? They’re first in line. Bearing the brunt. Going ahead to help make a safe path for what follows. Some would say pioneer. Trailblazer. So, that. I’m that. So there.
Kahuna and I sat in our hellhole of a motel room watching ourselves on the TV screen having coffee and doing martial arts in the park and me gazing thoughtfully at my art and fake-singing at my piano and typing “Love, Mama” to my daughter and asking ABC’s Elizabeth Vargas a pointed question (“SHOULD mothers sacrifice for their children?”). And in 9 minutes it was over and the comments were rolling in.
(Did you miss the 20/20 segment? Watch it here.)
I would do it again in a heartbeat, deathwish emails notwithstanding. Some stories need to be told.
This Is Exactly What We Did, a Day By Day Experiential Descriptive Piece
Day 1. Driving (Kahuna does ALL the driving — I am not to be trusted behind a wheel, not in my cancerous radiated-brain state). Slept in aforementioned hellhole hotel in non-picturesque Medford, OR.
Day 2. Driving! Again! Which means I get to drink my juices dripping over a cooler in the front seat. Slept in Buttonwillow, California. (I have a Buttonwillow story: once on a band trip down to Chula Vista CA the bus stopped at the Buttonwillow McDonald’s. There. Aren’t you glad you know this now? My Greyhound bus also stopped there when I was 19 and took the bus to collect my car, a turquoise blue 1971 1/2 Karmann Ghia.)
Day 3. Arrival in Palm Springs!! But not before visiting the Pasadena Whole Foods for supplies. Our condo was awesome. Off season rates FTW. That night we mentally toasted each other in the hot tub, ready to enjoy a week of resort life.
Days 4-8. A blur of trying to wake up way too early, head spinning, brain fried. We thought we’d have 9 hours every day between martial arts classes to just chill and be all vacay-like, but hahahaha the universe had other plans. Silly things like sleep.
Day 9. Last day. There was a banquet dinner thing with Korean food to wind up the week of martial arts. One last time in the hot tub that we were too tired for all week long.
Day 10. Driving! To San Diego! With a magical 20-minute beach experience! Also a two hour meeting with a magical Cancer Guru person (more on that to come — so exciting!!) The ocean! Torrey Pines! The Whole Foods in La Jolla! Extra punctuation! Slept in Lebec, CA.
Day 11. Driving! Endless hours of straight roads. Slept in Redding, CA. Do not pass olives, do not collect $200.
Day 12. Driving. Home. Meowing kitty greeted us. Yay.
Our Singular Magical Beach Experience
The second we stepped onto the beach at Torrey Pines, I turned and saw birds. Large, unusual birds, flying in formation and heading straight for us. For a second I had the thought that no one could see the birds except us. They flew right over our heads. PELICANS.
Pelican energy — If you are facing difficulties, pelican totem will show you how to rise above them. Pelicans are known for their cooperative abilities. Pelican people are sociable and gracious. Pelicans do not sink — they rise beyond all difficulties.
There you have it. I heal through community. Thank you, Pelicans.