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.