These last few weeks have been very stressful and I have at times fallen into dire self -pity but I remember that I am not poor Old Natascha Richardson RIP or Jade Goody , both leaving children and families devasted by their early deaths. A stark reminder that illness and misfortune are not socialists and can strike at anytime no matter how much you have . It reminds me to savour every day and be grateful for what I have..healthy children , my own health , the health of my extended family, a roof over our heads , food to eat etc.. Living in America has its challenges from time to time ..not knowing systems.About a month ago P,s salary was slashed due to taxes and various beaurocracy which left us with zero in the bank and unable to pay bills , school fees etc..that same week my English card was chewed up by an american ATM so we have had to do some very creative accounting and some serious saving until the next paycheck comes in.It occured to me that this is probably what a huge percentage of Americans are going through too, with job losses , home losses and the credit crunching. We are not alone and it is life on lifes term- sometimes a very bitter pill to swallow particulally in Hollywood where extreme wealth and materialism is always on display but swallow we must. It seemed almost comical that in this same week we were invited to a party where we were the only people a/not famous and b/ not multimillionaires ..as I drove my battered old Dodge Caravan (the metal handbag as its known cos of all the crap inside) behind Mick Jaggers limo for the party Valet parking the attendant looked at me and the car and assured "dont worry I'm from New York".Oddly enough though I felt no shame as it occured to me that the only difference between these people and me is that they have "stuff" and I dont. What has been so touching though is the many many kind friends who have been so helpful in our strife ,my friends Miss Whistle and Shelly , and Julia v and Michaeala all helping me marketing my paintings. I have been truely touched by their generousity of spirit .In LA no one is self concious about selling , unlike the UK where one is more subtle..you wait in your garatt to be discovered..here I have found out you put yourself out there shamelessly..even make a nuisance of yourself.
Forgot to mention..the most momentous of things during my American stay is and was Barack Obama ..the lead up to the election was so exciting and the collective sigh of relief from millions of Americans was amazing. Also joining a book Group full of great ladies and not to mention learning to play tennis blah blah the list goes on. I have to say that when I first came here three years ago I was truely appalled by the lack of ready-made shove in the oven meals that you could buy in the supermarket. unlike England where you need never have to look at a cook book.what me cook ??come on now!!.The only place that seemed to do them was Trader Joes and being a vegetarian we were limited to Aubergine parmigian and frittata but after you have eaten these two dishes every night for 2 weeks you want to start sticking pins in your eyes. How I longed for Tescos Finest or Waitrose gourmet dishes for two and of course the Grand Dame of ready made s Marks and Spencer..how I grieved those dishes..I have been forced to cook since being here..yes actually cook from scratch and read recipe books and chop up vegetables and by doing so have rediscovered a certain joy of cooking..it was either that or give the children wheat poisoning from having pasta every night.There is a huge gap in the American market waiting to be filled.
This week I celebrate being 3 years in America. We arrived on the 6th of March 2006 and lets just say my mental health was not at its best. I was suffering from post traumatic stress after packing up a house , a studio and our whole life in England to move here having just given birth to my 3rd child.It took a good year just to feel slightly settled and now after 3 years it feels sort of normal and yet not. I have become desensitised to the huge monster trucks that I found so offensive when I first moved here. I am no longer appalled at the huge distances i have to travel in my car to get from a to b ..usually a 45 minute trip.I no longer attempt to walk everywhere like I was in New York or London nor do i feel my buttocks start to clench when someone I dont know very well tells me "I love you". I am now genuinely shocked when I come across someone with "bad teeth" and consider it my God given right to have a manicure and pedicure every month..( it is very cheap here too) Highlights of my 3 American years Watching children have fun in the street Making friends with our neighbours(IN England if your neighbour dropped dead you would step over the body and be on your way) Getting Married in Vegas by Elvis Seeing the LOve show in Vegas Going on hikes in the canyons cycling along Venice and Santa monica seaside paths Seeing the Culver city open night for gallerys Learning to ride again
As I drove to Burbank the other day to ride my trusty Steed Ranger..I was horrified to find that Hollywood Boulevard (otherwise known as "Horrible Boulevard" as termed by my 4 year old who thought and still thinks that is its correct name) had been closed down 6 days prior to the Oscars causing havoc to people like myself trying to get to the valley. What where they preparing for.?.A World Summit with Heads of State trying to sort out world peace , the Global financial crisis or a cure for cancer?? No ..a load of actors wating to have their photos taken or pick up an award..the only crisis would have been an outfit crisis. Its the one time of the year when its all going on here and I have to say I was glad to see Slumdog get recognition although I have to say I thought Frost Nixon deserved best screen play..and I am not biast!!! We celebrated 2 birthdays within 4 days ..Gabriel turned 8 and Esther turned 4 wow ..I no longer have a baby !!!Hopefully no more until I am a Granny. We had a low key celebration with Gabe this year and went to have "ribs" the favorite du jour and see the unbelievably bad "pink Panther" Unsurprisingly the kids were bored within seconds and the theatre was empty -again unsurprisingly so Woolfie and Gabreil spent their time climbing over seats and playing spies in the the auditorium ..they danced they ran around , they played pranks they crawled along the isles without having to spend a second watching the atrocious film. Then Esthers birthday was on friday and we chose the park as the venue as last year I recall some difficulty getting rid of the parents at 6 oclock ..I invited 30 4 year olds and at the last minute decided to call in a Princess of Esthers choice for the WOW factor. Eshter wanted Ariel . I had underestimated the effect that Ariels presence would have on these children ..as soon as she arrived and just as things were getting out of hand the children went totally quiet and stared agogue. They did whatever she told them ..played games told them stories and a $140 well spent I thought . Every one was packed off by 6 but I was catatonic for two days after. Over for another year thank God.