Sunday, October 12, 2014

Monday, September 29, 2014

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Louise's "Letter To Her Younger Self" -- On newsstands now: Zooey Magazine, Issue 21

Do not hesitate to order your copy of Zooey Magazine, Issue #21 to read my story!

It was inspired by Zooey Magazine's piece entitled "Letters To My Younger Self."

In my case, it is a letter to my almost 30 year-old self, written while still living in Brooklyn Heights on the brink of so very much ...


Blossom - ISSUE 21 (PRINT) 20.00
Here's how Zooey is describing this edition --

Issue 21 is our Fall edition, and its theme is: blossom. Metaphorically, it’s about the individual blooming in a time where all surrounding things begin to wither away. Literally, florals are all over our issue. 

We explore a creative lifestyle around flowers in this issue, a contrast to fall concepts because we have a disdain for the conventional. 

Features cover girls Lauren Paul and Molly Thompson of the Kind Campaign, photographed by Brandon Kidd Includes Zooey's "4th Annual Television Guide" (ft. 18 different actors), poems by WriteGirl, a personal essay by actress Alyson Stoner, and much more 144 pages, offset-printed and perfect bound, full color on uncoated paper 

Designed and Printed in the USA Shipping & Handling: $5 for domestic residents All orders will receive an exclusive temporary tattoo and digital edition of this issue Ships around October 7th

Spoon. Inside Out. -- via KCRW.

Current ear candy I just cannot get enough of.

The low-tech KCRW video sort-of makes up for giving up my ticket to the Beck concert last weekend.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

True love.

To be able to remain this in love to the very end seems -- in this day and age -- almost impossible to accomplish.  However, here is seemingly proof that true love can occasionally survive impossible distances and insurmountable obstacles.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

The movie theaters of Main Street, Brattleboro, Vermont: Where my love affair with film began...

Where I first fell in love with movies.

The Latchis Movie Theater, on lower Main Street, Brattleboro, Vt.  With it's echoey, magical astrological stars on the rain stained ceiling...and it's roman fantasy side balconies...

To the now gone, Paramount Movie Theater, on upper Main Street, Brattleboro, Vt.   Right next to the Woolworths store, which smelled like popcorn and bubble gum and had little green box turtles in the very back.  And it was right across the street from Dunkin' Donuts, on the corner next the the Brooks House, where I got my hair cut on the very tip, top of the building in the gondola room.

The Paramount had 75 cent double features on Saturday afternoons.  Two movies and a pop corn for less than a dollar.

I remember never being more scared than I was watching The Something of Dracula.  When Dracula drank blood his eyes got bigger and bigger till they exploded.  I was traumatized for life.

But, the pop corn...Oh, the pop corn was perfect.   Perfection.

The train would rumble by during a show and the balcony would grown and shudder.  We didn't care. It was the movies.  It was perfect.

It had wooden floors and squeaky chairs.  I loved it so, so much.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Depression kills

Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Robin Williams -- how many more talented, sensitive, articulate, brilliant people must we lose to the isolation of pain, depression and addiction?  It's all because the pain became too hard to cope with.  It's all about getting rid of the unbearable pain of despair.  And we lose all humanity if we presume to judge this condition.

Pain steals all judgement, logic, strength and contorts them all into something small, slippery, and utterly impossible to manage on our own after a certain point.  And often, it's our most sensitive people who dare walk out to the edge of these places.  We need to call them back to us when they do.   It takes a village to save our friends from this place.  It only takes one moment to turn someone around, at least for that day.  They may continue to need turning around, but every day is a gift and worth fighting for.

Clarity lies in knowing when a tolerable pain, which life is naturally filled with as the inevitable byproduct of existing in an imperfect universe, to knowing when someone's personal journey has simply, irrationally just become too unbearable.  They won't be able to tell you once they are there.  Not in the words you'll expect to hear.   There will not be, I suspect, a typical cry for help when someone has chosen to stop hurting anymore.  It will be something easy to overlook, because despair can be very clever about sucking people under.  Pain, especially that which springs from despair, is the ultimate con-man.

If you suspect someone has lost their clarity to discern between handling one of life's setbacks to a giving oneself to the ultimate black cloak of silence and stillness death is -- truly the only possible way we can help others from making that final choice is to stay connected and really look and listen to those we care about.  And we might still not be able to save everyone who has chosen to leave, but we will always hope we tried to.

We must stay connected to those who are struggling, even if our doing so seems, that day, to be just slightly abnormal, just slightly illogical to listen closely, or even a tad inappropriately acceptable to ask "are you really okay?."  This might be that one small step which can save a life, even if just for a few hours.  But, every hour is precious.  We can only do so much, but I know I want to make sure I've tried.

It's all we have to offer: Our time, our listening, our being there.  Its such a simple thing to do, really, just be there, even in one's ugliest, darkest hour, just being there is the best gift you can offer.

When one has already silently taken a road which has no return, they might not be so obvious about letting you see they have planned to go.  So, if we care, we need to keep telling them this, stay by their side at least till we can be sure the pain they are in is less intense, and that logic seems to have returned.  I know we can't save everyone, but I'm pretty sure I want to try to.

No more losses of good, pure, vulnerable souls to the great trickster deep despair is.

I would never presume to judge the amount pain someone is in.  I would never presume to know why someone is less available or happy than you think they should be.  We all have private wounds to carry inside us, and frankly, some carry more than others would ever expect.

Living is an active verb.

Death, is not.

Keep reaching out.

And never stop practicing kindness and concern for others.


Below is a video I only JUST found that comes even close to what Depression (with a capital D) looks like, feels like, and what maybe, just maybe YOU can do to help those with it.

Please watch this is you have depression or someone you love, does.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Philip Seymour Hoffman on Happiness

Philip Seymour Hoffman on Happiness from Patrick Smith on Vimeo.

Not sure I love the illustrations, but it's poignant to hear Hoffman wax eloquent and honest on matters such as "happiness" and death and life. I suppose if nothing more, than to help this particular fan of his try to process the meaning of his death in a way that makes more sense to me. So much talent, intelligence and spirit lost due to those damn drugs. I'm still trying to process it all.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

personal collection of images by Jock Sturges

Here's a link to a page from Jock Sturges's newest book of photography titled THE ROLLEI PROJECT.

The Rollei Project was produced by Duncan Meeder With Hans Hartje and DHW Phototechnik GmbH and was published in Germany last year.

louise, juliet & annalily by j sturges

Monday, June 9, 2014

Forget Lay-Offs, Buy-Outs, Peanut Allergies and pesky melting ice caps! Check out Teddybears video "Sunshine!"

Why stress out about things?
Instead, for 2 minutes just boogie to the beat of these jolly hipsters and take a ride on their magic crotch rainbows.
It's two minutes of your life when it'll all be just fine.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Steve from Blues Clues in my Alpha Male

(Ask any mom of a college-bound teen: We are all still slightly in love with Steve from Blues Clues. And consider "Joe" little more than a tacky poser.)

Friday, May 23, 2014

It takes a superhero to change lives: We call her Mom: -- Zooey, Issue #20, May 2014

Honor of a lifetime!  A feature in ZOOEY magazine by who? By yours truly.
But, if anyone considers what I've done in the superhero status because of the food allergy activism I've done, or the work I've gone to from having a child with a peanut allergy, has no idea how easy I've had things compared to so many other parents of much more allergic kids.  I've had it easy.

The feature is about my journey raising a child with a severe peanut allergy.  And it's just a taste of what my book is about.  I have been working on a book about everything I've learned in my seven years of founding and administrating a very active, fast-growing support group of nearly 6,000 thousand people called Parents Of Kids With A Severe Peanut Allergy.  A group of parents who find themselves in the very same boat of being new parents at the same time they also find themselves unexpectedly saddled with the additional burden that their beloved child can die from something needed to survive: Food.  That their children can be literally snatched away from them and ruthlessly killed by just the minutest contact with a favorite food found literally every where.  And just what is this ruthless killer that lurks everywhere?  It is -- drum roll -- peanuts.     

Yep. We are "Generation: Peanuts = Death."
Wow.  Did not expect that one.

As for reading this particular story here: Well, don't strain your eyes trying to read the print. It's from a pdf file and the reality is if you care to read it in depth, you can buy your own copy of Zooey, here.

Zooey happens to be a pretty cool publication filled with cute vintage-inspired fashion, great decor tips, features on the very coolest people (Wait, that gorgeous young fashionista is the little girl who played Donald Draper's daughter? The cover of this issue is Breaking Bad Jesse's dead-hipster-girlfriend?  No way!) and includes some very inspiring stories about women who have taken action to make a difference! We LOVE us our Zooey in our house! -- Order your copy asap. 

PS:  I'll let you in on a little secret.  It was my peanut allergic child, the one who inspired me to not only write this piece, but also to start the internet support group of almost 6,000 members called PARENTS OF KIDS WITH A SEVERE PEANUT ALLERGY, who introduced me to the very talented and gifted editor in chief of Zooey Magazine, Lucia Tran when she shot an editorial by for Zooey magazine in May, 2012.  You can see my then-14 year. old here. 

I don't always say this in my support-group, because not everyone wants to hear about other people's kids, when they are temporarily stuck and frozen with fear and anger and just getting started with grappling with the many stages of grief all parents go through after a diagnosis of a fatal food allergy.  I never know what stage of their process when they first arrive in my group, but the reality is peanut allergies do not have to put an end to living a rich, full life.  That life which you first imagined for your child prior to their diagnosis of having this life-threatening food allergy is not over with!  However, there is a very long process to go through before one can get there.  People can't rush the process.  There is a certain new set of skills to master and engage in before this kind of acceptance and freedom can occur.

We parents have a journey we are literally forced to go on alongside our allergic children before our child can be truly safe and sound.   It will take years of our intervention and training before it's actually appropriate for all food allergic kids to fly the nest and reach for all those dreams, again.   However, it can be done once you and your child become truly educated, completely re-trained about how to proceed with a new set of behavioral tools, a  new mindset, a new bottom line which can never be crossed, once you get to this place of acceptance and mastery of how to avoid the food allergens, then it's fine to pursue any dream as long as they never forget they have this condition and accept the tremendous burden and dedication of skills that goes along with how to survive it.  But, it can be done.  It just -- takes time.  

It's important for parents to hear this.  Living a normal life can be done.  Before you know it, one day your child is securely living a peanut-free life.  It will become their "new normal."   And their life-threatening food allergy will no longer be something to cry or get angry about, it will just be life as you know it.  That's the place to get to.  That place.  That's the new normal we need to strive for.  It's about acceptance and engaging in a new lifestyle of constant awareness that is for the rest of their life nothing can be eaten without the specific ritual of scrutiny on a food allergic child will understand.  And that's okay.  It's life as they know it.

The reality is, even though I have a severely allergic kid, but she is NOT a prisoner of that allergy.   Sure, the allergy is terrifying.  Yes, it is entirely unfair.  But, not everything in life is fair.  Life threatening allergies  are awful, but they do not mean a person needs to be a prisoner of their fears, nor does fear keep have a place robbing children of their passions and dreams.   

My peanut allergic kid overcame enormous fear to become independent, active, brave, active participant in her own dreams.  She went through many periods of depression and isolation and tremendous anxiety after several brushes with her own fragile mortality.  But, she is NOT diminished by her invisible disability, she is inspired to rise above her fears and still be the master of her own fate.  I won't enable a "can't do" way of thinking.  I feel life is all too short and we have to take advantage of every minute we have on this planet to grasp life and find our joy.

My peanut allergic kid is smart.  She has a plan.  She is strong and she is a survivor.  And she is not alone.  She is every child with a life threatening food allergy if they just stay focused, stay educated and not give up on their dreams for a brighter tomorrow.

And this article and the book to follow is just a taste of my story about how I raised her. 
(If you can't read the images, 'cause it's too small?  Oh well!  Just order your magazine at the links above! :)

Monday, May 19, 2014

Days Of Heaven. Opening scene

Perfect opening monologue. I've never forgotten this young actress's voice and the way her rough, honest, simple delivery sets up the rest of the film so powerfully.  It's rare you can use a vocal quality to set a naturalistic tone for an entire film like Malick does with this one.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Static Love. Not California - video by HEM

stay tuned for video after opening credits



on writing Not California
-- 'It came together from watching a lot of The O.C. and Laguna Beach,' Messe says with a laugh. 'My wife is a fan of those shows, and I would watch them with her. Every time I would watch those shows, I felt like after the show was over, I would feel a little less satisfied with my life. I would feel my world was more black and white, and I would feel poor and fat. I wanted to reject that,' he continues. 'I feel we're incredibly lucky both as a band and as people, and yet we're still able to fall prey to the way the media romanticizes certain wealth and privilege. For me, it had a way of making me feel bad about my life. The line 'And I'm the one who wants to be with you tonight...,' I'm talking about my wife and my life. That soft-focused consumerism shown on those shows maybe isn't the most healthy thing to aspire to when real life can be pretty sweet and magical.'"
[Dan Messe, Country Standard Time, November 2006]