Monday, August 20, 2007

General Hospital, Second City, and Cult Restaurants

Patty here…


I did extensive research this week on the healthcare industry, though not by design. Monday I took my mother to the ER again, an experience sure to test anyone’s patience. We got there around five or so. The decision to admit her was made at 10:30 p.m. She finally got a room at about four the next morning. Tuesday was spent springing her out, arranging for a private 24/7 caregiver, and picking up medications from the drugstore. I finally got home at around eight.

On Wednesday my mother called at 7:00 a.m. I was still asleep.

“I’m having a heart attack,” she said.


“…and my TV doesn’t work.”

“Describe the symptoms.”

“Nelly thinks the battery in my clicker is dead.”

“Not the TV’s symptoms. Yours. I want to know about your ticker not your clicker.”

“Actually, I took a couple of nitro tablets and I feel much better now.”

It was only 7:15 but I already needed a nap.

That night I was at a friend’s house and fell down the steps leading from her dining room to her living room, which gives new meaning to the word KLUTZ. My ankle hurt. A lot. I drove home but the next morning I visited a UCLA urgent care doc. My ankle wasn’t broken. He told me ankles were hard to break. Mine was just badly sprained (I just can’t do anything right.) He wanted to give me an “air cast.”

“What does it look like?” I said.

“Like a pair of Jimmy Choo shoes. You’ll be stylin’.”

He smiled. He was wearing braces.

“Are you sure you’re old enough to be a doctor? How about showing me some ID?”

He laughed. I wasn’t joking.

He told me to keep my leg elevated and iced, take 600 mg of Ibuprofen every 6 hours, and no driving.

Puh-LEEEZ. One can’t keep one’s leg elevated and still work at the computer editing one’s fourth manuscript. And that driving ban? I mean, seriously. This is L.A. That just ain’t gonna happen, especially since my favorite Cheese Doodles can only be found at the Vons supermarket five blocks away.


Saturday night, against doctor’s orders, I went to a sold-out performance of “Rich Like Astronauts,” at The Second City Training Center Los Angeles. The young man who lives in my neighbor’s guesthouse is in their writing program. A comedy sketch he’d penned was being performed by a troupe of kids in the acting program. So off I went to the heart of Hollywood.

I gimped up a flight of narrow stairs to the second floor theatre where I found the lobby filled with a crowd of twenty-somethings watching videos on cell phones and talking about MySpace, SmallSpace, and all things totally awesome.

The theatre was a bit decrepit (a requirement) with about 50 seats and no air conditioning. And don't even get me started about the restroom. I fanned myself with the program and studied the tangle of electrical wires on the floor of the stage. They looked as if they’d been there since Thomas Edison’s last trip to L.A. I wondered how fast I could hobble down those stairs in case of a fire.

I sat in the front row about three feet from the stage. To get an idea of how intimate the space was I turned around to get a look at the crowd and nearly bit off the toe of the shoeless man sitting behind me.

The young man’s sketch was funny. He set it up and paid it off in a big way. He’ll go far. But by the time I got home, my foot looked like one of the balloons in the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade.


And speaking of When I first moved to L.A. I discovered a restaurant on the Sunset Strip called The Source. The food was healthy and good and it had that laid-back hippie vibe, which was an irresistible combo for a girl from Yakima. You can imagine my surprise when I read an article in Sunday’s Los Angeles Times and discovered the place was run by a cult led by Father Yod AKA YaHoWah AKA Jim Baker. There’s a new book out about both called “The Source: The Untold Story of Father Yod, YaHoWa 13 and the Source Family” by Isis Aquarian AKA Charlene Peters. (Why do Cults and AKAs always seem to go hand-in-hand?)

“Imagine your fantasy commune, the one you’d find only in the movies, where everyone is young and beautiful; the clothes are fabulous; the leader benign; and home is a mansion in the Hollywood Hills. Chances are it probably looks a lot like the Source Family, whose 140 members “dropped out” right in the middle of Los Angeles.”

I wonder if they take people with stylin' air casts?


Posted: 2007-08-19 17:06:04
LONDON (Aug. 19) - J.K. Rowling has been spotted at cafes in Scotland working on a detective novel, a British newspaper reported Saturday.

The Sunday Times newspaper quoted Ian Rankin, a fellow author and neighbor of Rowling's, as saying the creator of the "Harry Potter" books is turning to crime fiction.

Upon completing 'The Deathly Hallows,' the final installment in the Harry Potter saga, J.K. Rowling said she was burnt out, "I just want to take a break. I really do." Now it appears she's already back at work.

"My wife spotted her writing her Edinburgh criminal detective novel," the newspaper, which was available late Saturday, quoted Rankin as telling a reporter at an Edinburgh literary festival.

"It is great that she has not abandoned writing or Edinburgh cafes," said Rankin, who is known for his own police novels set in the historic Scottish city.

Rowling famously wrote initial drafts of the Potter story in the Scottish city's cafes. Back then, she was a struggling single mother who wrote in cafes to save on the heating bill at home.

Now she's Britain's richest woman - worth $1 billion, according to Forbes magazine - and her seven Potter books have sold more than 335 million copies worldwide.

In an interview with The Associated Press last month, Rowling said she believed she was unlikely to repeat the success of the Potter series, but confirmed she had plans to work on new books.

"I'll do exactly what I did with Harry - I'll write what I really want to write," Rowling said.

The office of Rowling's literary agent, Christopher Little, was not immediately available to comment late Saturday.

Just when you thought it was safe to leave your computer...Happy Monday!


  1. You still have room for a seventh Naked Author, right? Sundays? And her sister is a lawyer, so it all fits. ;)

    Stay off that ankle, Patty. We'll have to wait to go dancing. And is that lovely lady okay?

  2. Thanks, Jeff!! Lovely Lady is hanging in there.

    And J.K. If you're reading this, you have an open invitation to join NakedAuthors. Just remember, we have high standards to maintain.

  3. So sorry about your mom, Patty! (And I hope her clicker is okay, too.)

    You've had far too much experience with the healthcare industry this week. I recommend a long weekend at a spa somewhere. One not run by a cult of beautiful hippies.

  4. Clicker is fine. Nelly was right. It was a battery problem.

    Do you suppose any spas offer pick up and delivery?

  5. I'll pick you up and deliver, anytime, anyplace. . . after this Friday, of course, you sweet, young, "stylin'" thang, you.

    Glad ticker and clicker are doing well.


  6. I think you should write "Jimmy Choo" down the side of your aircast, Patty. And I'm so sorry about your ankle!!! If you need anyone to help glue on some rhinestones on it for evening wear, I'd be happy to pitch in.

    And I'm very sorry to hear about the nightmare check-in with your mom. I know how exhausting all that stuff is.

    Love and Pancakes.

    xxxx Cornelia

  7. Oh, Lord, Patty, I thought it was only my mother who made that sort of 'phone call - the kind that has you off the ground and hovering up to the ceiling in a split second. Glad to know that the ticker and clicker are both well - but poor old you! A sprained ankle can be really, really painful and awkward, so keep on with the ice - and if it fails on the actual ankle, sling some in a glass and go for the cocktail method of recovery. Works every time.

    And as for JKR and her crime novel -- she'll be worth even more billions when that comes out, not just with new readers, but the kids who started with Harry years ago are all older now. But you know what - good luck to her, she deserves it.

  8. Groupie, I have the calendar maked for Friday. I plan to raise my glass (of your wine, of course) to your next great adventure.

    Ah, Miss C...thanks for wishing me pancakes. Here's some back at you.

    Our J, glad to hear MY mother isn't the only one. And I'll agree about J.K. She seems very down to earth despite her amazing success.

  9. Oh, and I definitely need rhinestones, Miss C!!!!! Shall I send my cast up north? Maybe my leg should go with?

  10. Your mum's tale reminded me of Monty Python's MEANING OF LIFE...the opening "skit" of The Old Woman in the Shoe.......she's washing dishes, and a baby just drops out....She calmly goes on washing dishes and asked one of the other kids to "pick that up for me."
    Having a heart attack and worried about the TV clicker ??!!
    Glad your mum is OK.

    As for you, Go-Lo.......I know the good luck wish for actors is "break a leg." SO, perhaps the good luck wish for an author, working on a 4th novel, is "twist an ankle." Hopefully elevating your leg will help elevate your stream of writing consciousness.

    Jim Baker? As in Tammy Faye?Cult of Personality? Is Father Yod re making the series Father Knows Best?.....or is that a 2nd City Skit?

    Go-Lo.....take advantage of Groupie's offer to be your slave boy..... drive you around, and keep you iced down.Are you down with that?


  11. Patty,

    If I am reading this correctly, you made your way down the four-oh-five with that ankle. Please tell me I am wrong. Not if I'm not, though.

    You mine your travails so well that it is a guilty pleasure to read about them.

  12. Jon, Go-lo likes the idea of many slave boys. A new cult is born?

    Mims, no 405. This happened post Gang meeting. So glad to provide you with guilty pleasures. Stay tuned. There may be more...

  13. Patty,
    Watch the ankle! I'd like to see a Rowling crime boss.


  14. Patty, best wishes to both you and your mom....


  15. Not sure if I'm ready to be a slave.....However, it could be a learning experience.....

    BTW, I think JKR's crime novel should be about how criminal is it that she is richer than the Queen of England....her being such a nice person not withstanding. If it's a mystery novel...the mystery of why so many people dress up in funny regalia and campout in front of the B & N to buy her newest installment.

    Speaking of B & N, don't you just love that "Employee's Recommendation Shelf?" I was in B&N and on that rack was 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, recommended by Jacob the stock clerk. Jacob wrote on the little display card that "reading this book TOTALLY turned my life around."


  16. Jim and Rae, thanks for your good wishes. I feel better already.

    And Jon, you made me laugh SO hard. That story about Jacob the stock boy is beyond hilarious. Thanks for sharing.

  17. Why is the woman just not out buying diamonds every minute of the day?

    That's what I'd like to know.

    WRITING. Honestly. As if any of us would be doing it if we didn't have a mortgage to pay!

  18. Oh, God: we get calls from Bob's mum like that all of the time! :-D We sympathize greatly. Last time we hauled her to the ER was when she stood on a chair with newspapers on it, slipped off and hit her head on the bottom of the bookshelf. She calls us and says she thinks she should go to the ER and will drive herself, doesn't want to put us to any trouble. We ask specific questions, and once we got to the 'well the ice pack has stopped the bleeding' a few seconds later - hit the road running to go get her. Sigh. That wasn't the worst, but that's another story.

    Owwww. I'm so sorry you hurt your leg, Patty. :-( Hmmm. Dark and Stormies; you need Dark and Stormies. And fresh baked fluffy scones, strawberry jam and whipped cream. Either coffee with brandy in it or a nice cuppa tea. Apply liberally. :-D

    Anyway, the taxi's picking us up in a couple of hours - very, very, AM, gotta finish packing and doing last minute business stuff. Did not expect to spend 95 minutes on the phone to the publisher this morning. Sigh. Now we're all on the same page - thank god.

    Anyway, Sayonara for two weeks! Hope you get better soon, Miss Patty.


  19. Rebecca, writing is supposed to pay your mortgage? Hmmm. I wonder what I'm going wrong.

    Marianne, have a WONDERFUL trip. We'll miss you. Take lots of pictures!!!! Yay!!!

  20. Oh dear, Patty, I was trying to be facetious. Which shows you exactly WHY writing's not paying my mortgage, I guess!