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Thank you to @SelmaBlair for speaking out on #MS

Multiple Sclerosis is never the same disease in anyone. That is partly why it's so hard to diagnose. It's also partly because so many doctors still want "hysteria" to be an actual diagnosis so they can send "hysterical women" on their way.

I was diagnosed at 19 with "demylenating syndrome" which ten years later became "Multiple Sclerosis." Looking back, I can appreciate that my neurologist didn't say the words "Multiple Sclerosis" -- who knows if I would have had all those kids. (I had two by the time I was officially diagnosed.) Pregnancy is generally great for MS. After pregnancy is usually not. This is when Selma was first having symptoms and couldn't find help for her crazy symptoms. She was dropping things and had extreme fatigue.

MS feels like you're going nuts. Things don't work right and you can't find a reason. My eyes were jumping so fast with nystagmus, I couldn't see and actually went blind one night. The next day I was officially diagnosed.

The Nightmare of Ignorant Doctors

The diagnosis didn't come before I went through a nightmare with doctors. When I was 19, I started having double vision. A general practitioner would not give me a referral to a neurologist and he actually told me that I needed a psychiatrist, not a neurologist. Nice bedside manner. Luckily, my mom paid for the neurologist and I had one of the first MRI's there was, but I still didn't know I had MS.(Neuro didn't tell me because at the time, there was nothing they could do and he didn't want to saddle me with the diagnosis.) Another general practice doctor told me years' later that the numbness in my leg was probably me wearing my jeans too tight. And an ER doctor told me that my sudden blindness was an inner ear infection. Is it any wonder I don't trust doctors?

Selma's Symptoms

Selma's symptoms are very different from mine. I have trouble with names and words when I'm bad (so great for a writer!) And I have a lot of vision trouble and numbness. I will say the worst symptoms are that soul-crushing fatigue (which thankfully I have not had for years) and "foot drop" which prevents me from running anymore. That's depressing. (But doing a face plant isn't that much fun, so I'm good.)

Anyway, it's an embarrassing disease. You often look like you're drunk, you might not remember people's names and you don't always trust your memory, so it's really brave of Selma to tell her story and give voice to multiple sclerosis. Applauding her brave battle -- may it be short and successful.

Loved #theOscars without a host & my highlights...

Definitely, one of my highlights was Lady Gaga in that canary diamond once worn by Audrey Hepburn. Remarkable.



As far as the chemistry between Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper, it seems one-sided to me. On the part of Lady Gaga. And even if Bradley did love Lady Gaga, I think he's far too shallow to leave a Victoria's Secret model. (So judgey, but that's my opinion.)

Naturally, I was thrilled that Rami Malek won for portraying Freddie Mercury. I loved his speech. Love his moment with this girlfriend and his shout out to his mom. And how great was the show being opened by Queen? Dang, I love Brian May. I love that he's got a brilliant scientific mind and decided to be a rock star. Adam Lambert was pretty good because those are some big shoes to fill.

"Bohemian Rhapsody" was my favorite movie of the year, but I didn't see most of the other ones. I tried to watch "Roma" and then I realized it had violence. I'm not big on violence, I just can't take it. I meant to go see "The Favourite" but I never got to it so I'll have to watch online.

"Greenbook" looks good, but I probably don't won't watch it. I won't watch "BlackKKKlansman" because of the violence and also because of Spike Lee's petty tantrum. How embarrassing. I still think Hollywood is becoming more and more irrelevant as the days pass. That's why "Roma" couldn't have won because it was a Netflix production, not a big Hollywood production.

I mean, I LOVE movies. I have since I was a child who spent Saturday mornings with Shirley Temple movies. Here's a free tip to Hollywood. Tell us a good story. Don't preach at us. (The same is true of Christian fiction.) Give us truth and wrap it in a story. Don't give us a sermon and make the story work around it.

I have to mention Melissa McCarthy's costume introduction with the bunnies. How great was that? She's such a star and that reminds me, I really need to see her writer movie. "Can You Ever Forgive Me?" Maybe that will be on my agenda today. My dog is sick and we have to go back to the vet. : (

Olivia Colman's speech was the highlight of the speeches. Loved it. I also loved Frances McDormand's introduction.

The fact is, I made it through the Oscars (I didn't watch last year) so that's something. There were at least a few movies I'd seen, unlike last year. "The Shape of Water" won last year. I still haven't seen it.

I love #NotCamping

My family camps. I do not. My mom says that I loved to camp and get dirty as a child, but that remains a mythical story that cannot be proven.

I can't take credit for the saying. That belongs to Anne Taintor -- that saying is on my makeup bag. But I can take credit for finding a multitude of reasons why I do not camp. My favorite being that Bigfoot lives in the woods.


My daughter, who loves to camp and horse pack, always tells me there is no such thing as Bigfoot. But you know, she camps where Bigfoot lives -- or at least he vacations there, so one day she might have a close encounter. I'm not taking any chances.

While she was in Colorado last week, she got me a new Bigfoot shirt. I find it interesting that I have a collection now. Jane Austen T's and Bigfoot. That's an odd combination. This particular shirt glows in the dark -- which almost makes me want to wear it while I camp. Almost.


At the very least, I will have fun walking the dog at night. I really wanted the men's boxer shorts that read, "Sascrotch" to sleep in, but her boyfriend thought it was tacky. Um, have we met?

#Cats the Musical

I love plays. I love musicals. But I have never seen "Cats" which I think is supposedly one of the longest-running Broadway plays. My friend had an extra ticket last night, so I got an invite.

My friend and I are both college-educated. We love the arts. We had no idea what this play was about.


So we watch it until intermission and then we have to Google what the heck we are watching. We know it's a story about...CATS...but we have no idea why we're being introduced to them. We have a faint idea. The cats are worshiping some false god that comes out with this special moon and someone is going to get chosen. But we thought there must be more. We were wrong.

It's based on a story by T.S. Eliot "Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats." It still seems like a flimsy excuse for a storyline to run on Broadway all those years. But the talent!! The talent that "Cats" requires is utterly amazing. The voices. The dances. The personalities. I mean, I get it. It's a showcase for people who have talent beyond comprehension. And this is in San Jose.

Anyway, I really loved the show even if I started out ignorant. I wish I was capable of moving even as well as old Grizabella. Dang, what a voice on this woman (Keri Rene Fuller.) And the dancing of Victoria (Caitlin Bond) and Mistoffelees (Tion Gaston) was beyond my comprehension that people can move like this.

"Cats" gets a bad rap, but if you want to know how tired and ill-working your body/voice are, go see it. Next season they're playing my favorite -- Les Mis. I could watch that musical over and over again. Unless it stars a certain Gladiator, then count me out.

Movies: Generation Lost

With the Oscars coming up this week, I was excited to talk movies with my mini-me. Alyssa is my son's fiancee. She's six feet tall, so she is not really a mini-me, but we are two peas in a pod. We think alike. We eat alike. We're semi high-maintenance alike. So my heart broke a little when she said she wasn't really a movie fan.


It breaks my heart that this generation doesn't seem to have the attention span to watch movies. Ask them. They haven't seen "Casablanca" -- well my kids have because I forced them to the theater for the 70th anniversary. They haven't seen "Gone with the Wind" -- in fact, most of them have never even HEARD of it. "The Godfather" "Citizen Kane" "Roman Holiday" "Psycho" "From Here to Eternity" -- my very favorite, "Notorious."

But it's not just the classics. They haven't seen the newer classics. They haven't seen "Sixteen Candles"
"When Harry Met Sally"
"Sleepless in Seattle"
"Moonstuck" -- a perfect screenplay!
"Bridget Jones's Diary"
"As Good as it Gets" -- everyone should know if their life was noodle salad or not!!

I want to cradle this generation, and force them to sit down and watch all these fantastic movies -- and no one wants to. Since I raised Scarlett O'Hara, it particularly kills me that Elle won't watch "Gone with the Wind."


If you could share one movie with the next generation, what would it be?

I can't say I'm excited about the Oscars this year -- or movies in general lately, but I did love "Bohemian Rhapsody."

Romanticizing Roma! "In Love With An Angel"

I love Rome. I watched an Italian movie last night called "In Love with an Angel." It took place in front of the Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome. (Also called Hadrian's Castle -- as Hadrian and his family are buried there.) This is the bridge where they sell the fake Burberry handbags. (You don't want to buy one, Italian customs do not take kindly to bad leather products.)


This is a still from the movie and this is my shot. Few more people in it.


The movie was cute. The angel in the movie looked just like my Uncle Tommy, God rest his soul. The hero is someone I think we need to import for our own rom-coms. Are you listening Hollywood?

They also filmed the meet-cute scenes down here by the river under the angel bridge.


Isn't it so stunning?


I'm just going to say that this picture does not do Raul justice. Now I want to go back to Rome. The history-loving son I want to take has a new engineering job and won't have vacation for a while. My dad says he will go again with me, but I can't pin him down. So I may be heading out on my own next year. I don't want to do a tour. I want to stay in Rome this time and just immerse myself in it. My last child leaves in June and wouldn't it be so romantic to write a book in Rome? (Answer: Yes, yes it would.)

#RHOBH Season 9 has begun!

I had a terrible week last week. Years of drama are finally ending for me, so what could be more exciting than to tune into someone else's drama? Something I don't have to clean up and I am not responsible for? Nothing, I tell you. I honestly think this cast of "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" is the most perfect casting we've seen in a franchise. I love the addition of Charlie Sheen's ex Denise Richards. I hate referring to her that way because she is so much bigger and better than him, but when Teddi Mellencamp said "Winning!" at Kyle's pool party, it was a great reminder of how small their world really is.


(Couldn't find a season 9 pic, sorry!)

In every franchise there are people you love to hate (Dorit is that person for me) and those you just really can't stand and want them to go away (this would be Danielle for me on RHONJ.) I love Dorit's and her fake accent and false wealthy image. This season opens up with some apparent drama bout Dorit getting a puppy at Vanderpump Dogs and it some how ends up at a kill shelter. This battle royale has apparently been in the news, but I haven't heard of it before this week's episode. But I am not a fan of Lisa Vanderpump in general, so I imagine this is going to go to dark depths because everyone gets in the act.

Now there are LVP loyalists who always say that people are coming for Lisa because she is the queen. I admit that. Lisa is the queen and her life is amazing, but I would never, I repeat NEVER, want to cross that woman. She is not going down without a fight -- nor without trying to destroy each and every one of her accusers. Which will make a fantastic season and a very depressing reality. Why can't LVP appreciate Kyle? Kyle has always had her back even when forced to support her sister who was an addict.

Anyway, I love to listen to my podcast "Watch What Crappens" when I walk the dog and they knew much more about this battle than I did. But I will say, I hope Lisa Rinna is redeemed. I love her! She is my kind of crazy. Anyone watching? Oh, caveat -- "Watch What Crappens" is truly for those who love the cult of Bravo and they can get a little racy. But I will wear my earpods and laugh out loud while walking the dog. Which serves my introverted nature because no one coming near my crazy self!

It's going to be an explosive season.

Writer Discussions: Enneagrams

My friends and I have random discussions throughout the day to counteract being alone all day. Writing is a lonely job so we must solve the world's problems through email. Today we are discussing enneagrams. Admittedly, I don't really get this like I get the Myers-Briggs (MTBI)

So my friend is a 4 -- the individualist. They are the Sensitive, Withdrawn Type: Expressive, Dramatic, Self-Absorbed, and Temperamental. Which means her "dark side" is being overly dramatic and a drama queen. She says that she doesn't allow herself to really go there. I'm totally a drama queen and I own it. But that's oddly not my dark side. I'm wondering if I took the test wrong.

I'm a 2 -- The Helper: Demonstrative, Generous, People-Pleasing, and Possessive -- so my dark side is getting ticked I'm not being appreciated enough for all I do. I will own that. I like being in the background and being the support person for others.

I still think the MTBI types type me better. I'm an INFP, which again, I call the "suicidal poet" because so many of them have offed themselves. That's a happy thought, isn't it?

Anyway, this is what writes waste their time on when they should be writing. Do you feel strongly about one test or the other? Do you not care at all? You can take your enneagram test here. It takes forever and I think mine might be wrong. I am a background helper person, but I can be pretty temperamental. I wish I had more time to be self-absorbed.

Dolly Parton is Queen! #GRAMMYs

If you didn't watch the Grammys, you missed the most amazing tribute to Dolly Parton. Okay, Katy Perry was not a highlight, but Kacey Musgraves looking like a '70's country legend whose-man-did-her-wrong was epic. Then, we had Miley Cyrus sing Jolene with her godmother Dolly. Dang, you just forget how talented Miley is. What an amazing voice.


The tribute continued with Maren Morris and finally, Little Big Town. Reminding us all that Dolly is a queen and music is not completely dead. They all sang, "Nine to Five" which thankfully, Dolly took the reins. Now I want to watch the movie again. Dolly needs to make an appearance on "Grace and Frankie" and get the girls back together. That show isn't exactly her jam.

I have to admit to forwarding through a bunch of people I had no idea who they were.

Dan and Shay sang my song, "When I Taste Tequila." I love that song. But have you ever noticed how many country songs are about alcohol right now? What are they doing down there in the south? "Pour Me" is another song I like right now. "I Can Buy My Own Drinks" is not my favorite, but it's out now too. "Whiskey Glasses" and "Last Shot" also. I wonder if in a few years, there will be an AA theme.

I'm glad my daughter listens to country music. I just wish she wouldn't troll me with a constant playlist of John Denver. Did you watch the Grammys? What was your high point? Diana Ross slaying that song in that scarlet gown was amazing. 75 years' old! I cannot even fathom. She showed the youngins how it's done.



I'm not a big fan of that song, "Shallows" from "A Star is Born" but it won for best collaboration so what do I know?

Fish are like engineers...

My daughter has a demasoni cichlid -- it's currently the only fish in her tank. She had a great feeder goldfish named Beaver, but after a year, he died. I was so sad. For a nickel, that fish had the best personality. Enter Fonzi. Fonzi came with a smaller cichlid and Elle knew this was questionable. Cichlids have to be the same size or the bigger one will attack and eat the other. But she thought they were relatively close in size and she brought them both home. I liked the other fish better -- but I don't know if he ever had a name. Just thought he was prettier.


But soon, his tail started to disappear. Ie., Fonzi was chasing him and munching on it. The stress for the other fish was too much and Elle took him back. This morning I said, it was too bad Fonzi was all alone, but it was his own fault. And Elle said, "Fish don't get lonely. They're like the engineers of the animal world."

I think engineers do get lonely. Or they wouldn't all drive Teslas. But that's just my take.

Lesson learned: Growing up in Silicon Valley has its consequences.