My Dogue Tulip

Published February 11, 2019 by WELCOME TO HEIDI

She was 6 weeks old the day I brought her home, and feisty as fuck.  I’ll never forget how she sat at my feet screaming for days.  Peaches and I were perplexed. Lift me, Feed me, Love me. Yo dog, chill. I knew she was going to be a tough little thing. I didn’t know she was going to be the dog love of my life.

If you met her – and there were many who did – you instantly knew she was 105 pounds of pure sweetness – after she knocked you down for a greeting.  She shed the amount of a small dog each day, released death farts that would peel the paint off the walls, slobbered an entire bowl of water on whatever clean outfit you were wearing and always took the seat on the couch you were about to plop down on. She had a crusty nose, barely any bottom teeth, and in one lick could clean your whole face. She loved belly rubs – I’ve witnessed some very serious standoffs. She loved barking at every single person who walked by, she loved hugs, chewing bones, licking humans, and oh so many more things. She was the world’s best couch potato and a girl’s best listener.

But it is the way she died that continues to fuel the sobbing – because it was so perfect it feels like she orchestrated it herself – even making sure my best friend was here so her mom didn’t suffer too much. “I’m just going to lie down here by the couch in the sun and take a nap.” She was wrong, but man did she try. And I break down thinking about just how incredibly sweet and in tune with me she was.

Tulip was handpicked and named for me by my friends Nick and Brian. She had a brothr Lou who she loved. And a new sister she wasn’t quite sure what to do with. She bounded through life for 8 and a half glorious years – hair and slobber flying.

Yes – she was a dog and everyone’s dog is the best dog – and everyone has a very unique bond with their dog that others don’t and cant, but I wasn’t the only who really loved Tulip and yesterday I got to witness that first hand. My house is filled with love and tulips and beautiful cards and reminders of how much she will be missed. So  many friends stopped by. My friend Chelsea – who’s nickname is also Tulip – literally wrote her a card – promising to take care of me as Tulip 2.  It was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever read.   And then, after everyone left and the house was once again filled with the silence of a Tulipless world, Jean Luc – the young man who got to live with her during one of the most challenging times of his life looked at me and said  “She was my Tulip too.”  Cue the tears.

We’re gonna mss you Tu-Rip





Diaper Duty

Published August 31, 2018 by WELCOME TO HEIDI

This may lose me some friends, future husbands, and possibly a job or two but I’m going to say it anyway because I believe it’s an important revelation.  I pissed in a diaper yesterday – by choice – and I liked it.  Yes, you read right.  It may not be a Katy Perry song but it was music to my ears when it happened.

And here’s how that happened.  I’ve never been a huge fan of drinking water.  I’m kind of a camel and getting sixty plus ounces a day has always proven to be a challenge to me. In fact, every New Years my resolution is – to drink more water.  I am well aware of the benefits of it and I can see the results from drinking more water the second I do it. But when you’re not thirsty – you’re just not thirsty.  Appendectomy surgery however has changed that – as the doctor said to me – “your appendix – even though its no longer in you can – can reabscess and you’ll be back in the hospital if you’re not careful. You need to walk and you need to drink water.” That was all I needed to hear.  Hospitals and I are going to have a very long distance relationship from now on if I can help it.  So I’ve been drinking a lot of water. All day – non stop.  And that means I have to pee. All day – non stop. This is fine if I’m home on the couch recovering or walking around the block close to home.  But I had to pick my dog Tulip up from the vet yesterday by myself and that’s when I decided to make a radical decision.

Since I’m not on any pain killers any more – I’ve been give the green light to drive.  Now I wasn’t feeling great but I knew I needed to just get out there anyway.  But picking up Tulip in Century City at 4 pm on a weekday was going to be a tough pee holding assignment.  I knew I didn’t want to pull over with her in the car and leave her in the heat while I peed. And I really didn’t want to hold my pee in because what if that toxic piss just backs itself up and lands in my body somewhere.  No thank you.  So – I stopped at Ralph’s and made a first time ever purchase – adult diapers.  First of all,  I would just like to say that the Ralph’s in my neighborhood makes me hate America.  It is filled with people who stopped giving a shit years ago.  These people make me really sad.  You don’t need to be here guys.  You can save more money at Trader Joes and buy way healthier shit.  But I digress – it was diaper time.  I remembered that there was some kind that would actually make your piss gel up in the underwear. That sounded fun. Sadly I couldn’t find those.  All they had were regular underpants. You had to decide between light or moderate or maximum.  I went maximum.  Then I went home, pulled on my diaper panties and hit the road.  I was doing really well for awhile and it seemed like I could make it to the vet but then out of nowhere – it started.  That feeling when you have to go. Of course I was now only about ten minutes away from the hospital but I had to do it.  I was really scared of holding it in.  And here’s where it got interesting.  My bladder – simply did not want to compute the concept of peeing in my pants.  Like it took a real moment or two – to let go. And then,  there I was riding down the highway  – pissing into a diaper like you read about.  It was incredibly bizarre and truly satisfying.  My immediate thought was – wow road trips are about to get a lot more interesting.

Unfortunately I had to get gas before I got to the hospital and pulled in to a station and when I got out I decided I’d probably never piss a diaper again. There I stood at the pump with a full load of urine – acting casual – feeling humiliated – and thinking about all the poor old people who can’t use their bladders anymore and have to resort to this disgrace.  Man life is weird.

I did figure out that my incredibly healthy body had been sending me very early signs about my appendix.  Way before the whole stomach pain.  I had a terrible constant pain in my right forearm that made it impossible to lift anything.  It had gone on for two weeks.  I thought it was a workout injury.  I went to my acupuncturist who said “you know that’s your intestines. You should have that looked at.”  I didn’t.  I regret that.  So the moral of the appendectomy adventure today is – listen to your body and if you have to go in a diaper – get the gel kind – cause you can smell a full crotch of urine a mile away and it does not smell like teen spirit.


From Breadsticks to a Poisoned Appendix

Published August 29, 2018 by WELCOME TO HEIDI

While there may be no real connection between my very first trip to the Olive Garden and my very first trip to a hospital for an appendectomy –  I’m gonna go with the correlation  anyway – because it’s my blog.  It’s also a very astute finding from my friend Chelsea and I thought – scientifically – it needed to be noted.

On Tuesday of last week I felt an odd pain in my stomach on my right side and a flickering pain to my lower back right side.  If I think about it – that “just above the right hip” back pain spasm had been going on for quite some time.  But on Tuesday, I ignored it all.  I went out for dinner that night and while I complained about having a little odd pain and walked up a massive hill after eating a boat load of spicy thai food – it didn’t seem like anything that traumatic to go to a hospital and by traumatic I mean – gushing blood from an orifice because that’s the only thing that can get me to a doctor or a hospital.  I didn’t sleep very well on Tuesday night – but I carried on.  On Wednesday I helped my friend Jean Luc load his 800 pound motorcycle up a rickety ramp onto the back of his pickup – HIS BEAUTIFUL NEW PICKUP (he’s very proud) – and this should have been where my appendix exploded.  This also should have been the moment we both fully realized what an odd friendship we have.  It was like the worst episode of “Friends” meets the worst episode of “Golden Girls.”   My entire body was wracked with pain after that anyway so it was difficult to determine if some other new unusual pain was mixed in as well.  It was all a shit show.  Note to self – you’re not 23.  Stop doing things you can’t do anymore. Slow down. It’s okay. Take a minute. Breathe.

Anyway – I slept like garbage that night as well and the next day decided to start the great google search.  And as we know – I’m an excellent googler.  I typed in – LOWER RIGHT SIDE ABDOMINAL PAIN WITH A SHOOTING RANDOM LOWER BACK HIP PAIN.  Two things came up – Appendicitis.  Diverticulitis. Yeah, I’m not having either of those.  I texted Dr. Freddie – my smartest bestie – who is thankfully a doctor – who, unfortunately for me lives in NYC but fortunately for him as I would be (and already am) harassing him on the daily.   “I have a weird pain in my head.  Is it a tumor?”  This is how it typically goes.  Freddie said – “Judging from what you’re describing – I doubt its your appendix. Go to the doctor.” Sigh. Doctors are so annoying. They want you to get stuff checked all the time, but I feel like the minute you find out you have something – you die. Or at least you lean in to the suck of whatever that thing is you’ve just been told, and you feel like shit and then you die.  I really didn’t want to harsh my current life vibe. I mean – I’ve been chatting with a giant sized ex Marine on Bumble.  I was getting stuff done!!  But to my Doctor I went.  Now I use the term “My Doctor” pretty loosely.  He’s the lovely guy I see when something goes terribly wrong for the last 22 years.  I think I’ve seen him – 8 times total?  He always asks where I’ve been and I always say – healthy.  I don’t even like to step foot in a house of sickness.  He wasn’t available that morning and while usually I would have waited for him I said fuck it and just went to whomever was available.  SHE was his physicians assistant and SHE saved me.  She poked around a bit and said it didn’t feel like appendicitis but let’s take some blood and urine.  Taking blood from me is cause for an entire physical breakdown. I whine and complain about how much it’s going to hurt and please give me the most gentle person to stick the needle in I’m begging you I”m a giant pain baby and I’m not ready for this why Mommy why.  Inevitably they say – but look at all our tattoos.  Listen people – my tattoo artist is not shoving his needle directly into a vein and I get an art prize at the end.  There’s no prize at the end of giving blood.  Maybe if you people instituted that I’d be more game.  So blood and urine come back right away and everything looks fine.  She said “Lets go get a CT scan of your abdomen just in case. ” So I drove myself to the Imaging Center.  Now I haven’t eaten since 9 pm the night before and it’s now 12 and I’m super hungry but I can’t eat before the scan.  They give me the world’s most horrendous liquid to drink and then I have to wait an hour and a half for it to run through my system.  Why does this shit have to taste like an ass-erita? Can we not make medicine that tastes good? Give it to the flaming hot Taki or Twinkie people – they can figure it out.  I finally get the scan – and again – I start to freak out when he tells me what they have to do.  They have to give me an IV as well and shoot some liquid in me.  Again, I’m a pain baby.  Again, I get the tattoo statement.  Again, I remind them that its not the same thing.  Not even close. No prize.  They told me to wait in the reception area and the radiologist would come tell me what he found.  I was convinced that I had food poisoning or that diverticulitis thing or maybe a stone or something but there was no way I was having an appendix attack.  The whole time I had been texting with my Bumble Marine. It was a full day now of texting about all kinds of things and was a super pleasant conversation.  Finally a very handsome very timid guy came out and said:

“You need to call your doctor.”

“Why? What’s going on? Is it my appendix?”

“You need to call your doctor.”

“Dude, help a sister out. Is it my appendix?”

he timidly shook his head yes while he said

“You need to call your doctor.”

So I did.  And she said… drive yourself to the hospital – NOW.  Your appendix is going to have to come out.  Looks like I got that prize after all.   And that’s when I lost my shit. I burst into tears. A million thoughts rushed through my head.  This can’t be possible. What do I do with my dogs. I need an iphone charger. I have three tv pitches set up next week. I have contact lenses in.  I’ve never been overnight in a hospital.  I’m going to die. I should have gotten a husband years ago so I’d have help.  I texted the Marine “Hey this has been great but my appendix is about to blow and I have to go have it removed.” “Wait what? Now?” “Yeah, now. I’ll text you in a few days.”  I haven’t texted him back yet and I’m not gonna lie – I’m waiting a few days more to make it super dramatic and a good story for him to tell his friends.  “I was texting this cool chick and then she went into the hospital and I never heard from her again. Love hurts man.”

I had been texting with Jean Luc as well and updated him on my status.  He called me immediately.  I burst into tears. “Breathe deep it’s going to be fine.” This kid has great fucking timing by the way – as he owes me a loooooong ass playing nurse hospital stint from the time he had a hospital stay.  And here he was – just back in Canada.  Little Fucker.  I called my friend Brian and burst into tears again.  He knew what to do.  “I’ll meet you at the hospital.” I arranged for my dogs to be watched.  I called my friend Dan to pick up some essentials for me at the house.  The most important thing – the screwdriver for my Cartier bracelet because the one thing I did know was that they would cut it off of you before surgery if you didn’t take it off and no one was cutting a 6k bracelet off my wrist.  Dan had to dig through my granny panty draw.  He’ll never be the same.  I’m not kidding.  The light has gone out of his eyes.

In the hospital I had to put all of my stuff into plastic bags. The nurse asked me if I had lost a bunch of weight recently. “No I just gained five pounds actually.”  She was surprised.  “Are you saying weight loss gave me appendicitis?”  “No” she said. “You’re just really thin.” “Are you saying I look anorexic? Cause I”m fine if you are.”  “No , you’re just very fit and thin and don’t look your age and so I’m surprised you’re here.”  I asked her to marry me.  They told me that I would have surgery the next day – laparoscopy – and I’d probably be home by the following night. Okay! I can handle this.  My friend’s Nick and Kevin and Dan and Brian were now all there and standing around my bed and I felt very lucky and felt fine and safe and not in that much pain.  I did have a raging food headache as now I hadn’t eaten for a full 24 hours.  But yay for morphine.  I also realized I have really good looking friends.   Brian came at the end of the night to tuck me in and all was well.

The next morning my friend Chelsea came by and did what she does best – rubbed my arm and stroked my matted hair and made me feel loved and warm and protected and gave me great healing vibes before surgery.  The surgeon finally came in. His name is Dr. Quilici.  Pronounced like the Mother of Dragons.  He said it was a simple laparoscopic surgery and I’d be in and out. I asked him if his dragons did the laser cutting for him. He wasn’t amused.  He looked like an ex supermodel in his tight Italian suit.  I liked him.

They finally came to pick me up at 1:30 pm and that’s when it all went to hell in a hand basket.   I still hadn’t eaten since Wednesday night and my head was pounding. I was also terrified. The only surgery I’ve had was a breast reduction and that is in a fancy office where the O.R. looks just like it does on “Grey’s Anatomy” and all the Doctors are pretty and the equipment looks brand new.  At the hospital they wheeled me into pre op and I joined a very long line of very old very near death looking people on gurneys.  It was Dawn of The Dead.  It was terrifying.  I started crying.  There was stuff and sick people everywhere.  It looked like a storage facility for old hospital equipment.  The nurse came in. “How you feeling?” “Not great. I’m scared.”  “Okay good. You’ll be fine.” “I said not great!! NOT GREAT!”  “Oh well don’t worry, you’re surgeon is amazing.  Besides, you’re obviously fine with pain – look at all those tattoos.” Again people – not the same. I was wheeled into the OR and that was it. Don’t remember anything else except coming back to my room and being told my friend Melissa had dropped off Vegan treats.  Best mommy ever. My friends Victoria and MJ came and brought me flowers and took my jeep home from the hospital for me and picked up my couch cushions from the cleaners so I’d have somewhere to sit when I got home that night.  Ha!!!  As if I was going anywhere.  And that’s when the pain started. The post surgery gas pain.  Apparently they blow your tummy up with air so the cameras can look around in there and cut and move the right stuff.  I wanted to die. No joke. I really thought I would kill myself if it didn’t stop. They told me I needed to get up and walk.  And so I did.  Lap after lap around the hospital floor pulling my IV stand and crying my eyes out.  This one poor nurse kept trying to help me but I couldn’t even form words.  I thought – nothing has ever hurt this badly in my entire life.  Even now – when I think about ever having to go to a hospital again – I break out in hives.  This is a new PTSD moment for me.  I walked and walked and passed all the other patients on the floor also walking.  It was so “Walking Dead/One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.”  Everyone was hooked up to machines and looked like various stages of death and sadness and pain.  Most people had other people walking with them.  I didn’t want any of my friends to come visit me.  If I had to speak – it would have hurt more.  I was the only person walking counter clockwise though.  That was weird. I eventually switched it up in a very “Midnight Express” move. Every few seconds a nurse would run up behind me and pull my robe shut because my ass was showing.  I thought – I will walk this floor naked.  I don’t give a fuck what I look like.  I just want the pain to end. If a few people have to see my white cheeks and a very poor choice in ass tattoos – so be it.  Plus,  I’m skinny by the way – haven’t you people been told by that night nurse? I have a terrific physique.  There was this one thing people really had down though – how to wear a second gown turned the opposite way as a robe.  It was a whole double gown system to protect your ass from hanging out.  I tried to figure it out but the whole snap situation was confusing to me.  This was not my fashion moment. They told me I couldn’t leave the hospital until I passed gas. This was Friday.  I didn’t fart until Saturday.  I sweat through the night and had to be changed at about 4 am on Saturday. A new nurse helped me get redressed and told me I had a very nice physique. I asked her if she was hitting on me. She didn’t think I was funny.

I was hooked up to a ton of bags and was poked and prodded a billion times.  I had to pee a million times an hour and had to unplug my machines – get my bloated belly out of that bed and sit on the toilet seat height extender.  It makes your pee splash really hard into the bowl and I pissed my hospital socks and my calves on the regular. There was piss everywhere.  I didn’t care.   They kept bringing me jello and I kept telling them I can’t eat it and that I needed vegan food. After about five cups of jello they finally clued in and sent me Cream of Wheat.  I sent all of my hideous food pictures to Chelsea who would eat industrial food every day of the week if she could.  It comforts her.  I didn’t want any visitors and so I just toughed it through that first day – Saturday –  doing my walking – waiting to fart.  And then it happened.  The Great Shart Incident of 2018.  I had just finished 20 of my 30 laps and I felt a rumbling in my stomach and the next thing I knew I was flying to the bathroom with poop pouring out of me down my legs and into my socks.  My red socks. (They come in three colors and I had peed on the brown and the blue ones.) I had poop everywhere and it was all over my bathroom as well.  Kind of like I had painted the floor and toilet with poop.  I actually found the whole thing hilarious but I’m pretty sure the two nurses who had to clean me up did not find it at all amusing.  They kept apologizing that they were going to see parts of me while doing said cleanup and again I reminded them that my ego was currently on the floor in a pile of poo and human wee pads and that I didn’t care if my vagina was out.  I don’t use it anyway.

After my cleanup – I asked for more red socks – they must be the key to sharting!!!  I was told the red socks are for crazy patients only.  That’s how they mark them and keep track of them.  Huh. So I’m still trying to figure out which nurse gave me the original red socks. Bitch.  I started doing a lot of laps – and finally found some entertainment – in the form of a crazy man screaming from his room. “Get the fuck away from me you fucking asshole” I heard emitting from inside a room and suddenly saw a male nurse come flying out.  “Fuck everyone and fuck you and you’re all assholes and I fucking don’t need this.” Boom. Crash. Yell. Rinse. Repeat.  I thought – yo, I hear you bro. This place is hell.  Up came the security guards and he had to be knocked out and then a nurse had to sit outside his room every second of every day.  He was super quiet until later that night when I was doing laps and a nurse sat outside his room doing a crossword puzzle.  “Stop clicking the fucking pen you fucking bitch.”  God that made me laugh. The rest of that day was fairly uneventful except for when my nurse Debra told me she was having a bad day because the old lady with cancer down the hall said “Don’t let that N WORD – (she used the word) –   touch me.  She meant Debra. And she didn’t want any lousy Filipinos touching her either. I wanted to race down the hall and murder her.  White people can be such assholes Donald Trump.

That night out of nowhere I spiked a 102 fever and while it went away quickly, it ruined everything.  Even though I felt great Sunday morning – I had to stay another full day.  Apparently my little appendicitis wasn’t caught so early.  It was perforated and abscessed and totally infected and its amazing it didn’t burst and they wanted to keep an eye on me.  I cried again.  I missed my dogs.  They were beautifully being cared for by my friend Nicole and The Pet Groupies and they were staying on their own every night.  I was so proud of them.  They’re like cats.

So I stayed the night and prayed that Monday morning would be the end of my prison life. Kevin and Brian brought me smoothies and I spent the day walking around trying to fart more.  One nurse said – “wow you are in good shape – I guess you’re really trying to get your steps in huh.”  I said “No , just trying to shit myself again.  I don’t work out that much.” Seriously, it was all these people could talk about.  I was finally unhooked from my machine and I finally figured out how to wear my second gown.  I was killing the game… and then…  I got my exit papers!!  All they had to do was pull my drain out. Uh oh. This sounded bad.  Does it hurt? “Well I won’t say it doesn’t hurt but most people just say it feels odd.” Turns out “odd” is just another way to say – it hurts like fucking hell.  She said – “breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, breathe out and…..” She yanked.  I screamed and burst into tears. It felt like I gave birth to an Alien through my stomach.  I could feel all the organs that had been moved to shove it in there – move back. It was hideous.  The crying and shaking and shuddering continued for a solid three minutes.  My friend Christian came to pick me up – wheeled me out of there – and took me shopping for food and drugs after he shot a video of me looking scary in my wheelchair.  I insisted.  Now  I pray every second of every day that this thing doesn’t abscess again – because even though it’s been removed – it still can.

In conclusion I realize that 1)  I need to let people do more for me.  2) The Olive Garden may be the super highway to appendicitis.

Thank you to my family – the real ones – my sisters and nieces and mom and dad for calling and checking on me constantly.  I miss them so.  And to my created family – everyone who gives a shit about me.  I know I make it hard.


Published July 1, 2018 by WELCOME TO HEIDI

I was winding my way through the Oregon Coast last week when the song “Brick” by Ben Folds Five came bursting through my old downloaded music.  I had always heard that the song was about Ben taking his girlfriend at the time for an abortion, but I guess I sort of blocked that little side note. It’s a dark, beautiful and sad song but I realized that as many times as I’ve listened to it  – I’ve never really heard the lyrics – until this particular journey.  Within moments of the first few lines  – I was sobbing – a full body guttural release that was set free through the open air of my jeep as I whipped along the bendy roads of the Oregon Dunes.  I’m not sure I’ve ever cried like this.  I wondered what people thought as they passed me – this woman – sobbing while driving.  But most likely – like most people – they didn’t notice me.  There I was on the 101 North,  balling my body out for the baby I never had. Exploding with tears for whatever it was I  left in a perfectly legal clinic in New York City along with my heart.

I was 26 or 27 (1986/87) when I had an abortion.  I don’t even remember my exact age because I’ve blocked that time in my life.  It was filled with bad decisions., but I do remember this.  It was cold, it was unfeeling, and I was alone and shamed.  And to make matters worse – it was Yom Kippur.  Yes, the highest of jewish holidays and the day you atone for your sins.  Way to be on the nose Heidi.  The day I found out I was impregnated by a full blown abusive asshole was one of the most frightening days of my twenties – and trust me – I had some frightening times as I was well on my way to becoming a spectacular alcoholic.  His reaction? You need to get rid of it.  He offered no assistance, no support financially or emotionally and the best part – he refused to go with me to the clinic.  I went alone.  There I was – a young woman who thought she could handle anything – gritting her teeth through what will go down as a significant trauma in her life.  A trauma that only today am I beginning to fully remember.  I arrived alone.  Signed some waiting list alone.  Sat on a plastic chair alone.  Looked at all the other shamed women waiting to get abortions. Everyone but me had someone with them.  They put me in a gown, took me into a room, and laid me down on some cold table as they put what is basically a vacuum inside of me and sucked out whatever you want to believe it was that was in me – alone.  It was incredibly painful. It felt like they were scraping the roof of my mouth.  No drugs. No explanations.  Just lay back and let us do whatever we can to end what is clearly a terrible mistake on your part Miss Clements. I was very few weeks along and so I choose to believe that there was no soul inside that blob and that’s how I go on with my life.  But it is in fact a trauma I have buried so deeply that it is only now rearing it’s ugly head.  That night – I had to go to a Yom Kippur dinner at my parents house. I doubled down on the guilt and shame so hard – I don’t know how I even swallowed any food.

It is not an easy decision to have an abortion but it is my right to choose.  It is my body, my mistake, my whatever you want to call it,  it’s mine, all mine, and no one else’s. I have lived my life with this significant moment in the back of my head – many times throughout the years thinking – my child would be a teenager today.  My child would be 25 today.  I have laughed about it or joked about it in the past – but thanks to what is going on in our country right now – it is no longer funny.  I never had children.  Perhaps I was punished for what I did.  These are the real thoughts of someone who goes through an abortion.  If you enter this decision lightly – you’re a liar.

I remember the first time I watched a Girls episode on HBO that was about abortion.  It may have even been the first episode.  The girls were all at the clinic with champagne and balloons waiting for their friend who was coming to have a pregnancy terminated.  It was an abortion party I guess.  It enraged me.  It made me think that no one on that writing staff or any of the actors had had an abortion because celebrating it is the last thing you feel.

What’s the point of this story? Well thanks to the asshole in the White House -abortion could be illegal in 20 states by 2020. This is unacceptable.  America is not the Handmaid’s Tale but it’s starting to creep a little too closely to a fictional tv show.  Please think about who you elect in November. Please think about the fact that it should always be a woman’s right to choose.  Let’s not make Margaret Atwood’s gut wrenching book – a documentary.

Arrested Development

Published May 24, 2018 by WELCOME TO HEIDI

I’ll never forget the moment because it is seared into my memory the way his fingers seared into my upper arm – leaving a five point bruise mark almost immediately.  It was around 1997 and I had relocated to California to work for a popular entertainment show.  I was feisty – always have been – always will be, but on this day when I went to get my copy approved by the boss – my feistiness got me into a physical situation with a man who I thought was a respected producer.  He told me he hated what I wrote – every word – and he had been telling me this for weeks.  This was not how the job had started.  In the beginning I was practically a savior to him.  They had tried many writers and I was the first one that seemed to “get it.”  It was not an easy job.  We had a female host who was so incredibly mean and hurtful it was difficult to deal with.  I remember sitting in the conference room every morning going through what was basically a “table read” for the copy I had written that day.  This was entertainment news – there’s no need for a table read.  But there I sat every  morning – listening to this woman berate my words – if that’s possible.  She would say things like – this is terrible!!! – no one would say this!!! – and then scribble like a crazy person all the thoughts she thought should go in the show.  And she would scream… often.  Who wrote this???!!! – I’d hear on the regular.  Uhm I’m sitting right here.  She once took me to a set visit and said “don’t tell anyone you’re my writer I don’t want people to know that I don’t just make it up.”  She was fired pretty early on.  After a couple of weeks of this – my boss decided it was pointless and finally ended those meetings.  He was protecting me from this nightmare because he respected my work. That was amazing.  But it changed.

I’m not quite sure what happened or when it happened but he had somehow decided that I was no longer as perfect as he had told me I was over and over again.  He started destroying everything I wrote and yelled at me often.  I wasn’t used to this and I’m a very tough girl but the first time someone screams at you in an office its difficult to know what to do.  And so I did nothing.  And that was me telling him – you can do that anytime you want.  And he did. Over and over again.   But one day when I walked my copy into his office I fought back – with my words.  He said he hated my copy and I said “Well I’m pretty sure you just hate everything I write now.  In fact if someone else walked this in here with their name on it – I bet you’d approve it.”  Boom goes the dynamite.  He grabbed my arm and told me the way he wanted it written and then shook my arm and through clenched teeth yelled “now do you get it, now do you get it.”  I don’t remember exactly what I did but I turned and walked out and immediately the bruise started to pop up.  Why didn’t I report him?  I didn’t even think of that? It didn’t even cross my mind that this was wrong.  He went on to be replaced by another man – who never yelled at me. But I was well on the road to being an alcoholic and I chose to move on to a job with a woman who screamed at me on a daily basis.  Again – I allowed it.

I went on to many other jobs and many other people who have screamed at me and I accepted it over and over again.  Maybe I thought my big mouth deserved it for having an opinion?  I’m not sure actually but today reading about Arrested Development and Jessica Walter it actually reminded me of this incident and the others that followed and I just wanted to say two things – I forgive myself for not speaking out at the time – and I urge anyone out there to confront someone who screams at them in the workplace WHEN IT HAPPENS.  Be brave, what’s the worst that can happen? It’s not cool to be harassed in any way – verbally or sexually.  I’m sure since I’ve become a boss I’ve been far from perfect.  Sometimes you scream at someone right after you’ve been screamed at. We used to call it kicking the dog.  You got kicked and then you went and kicked the next dog in line.  It’s shameful really. We are only starting to realize and scratch the surface on what women have been through in the workplace but we really have to teach girls (and boys) that it is not okay to be treated that way.

An Ordinary Love Story

Published May 20, 2018 by WELCOME TO HEIDI

I don’t know if moms and dads are still doing it to their children, but the concept of growing up to be a princess is ingrained in our brains from birth.  Tiaras, twirly dresses, tulle, tea parties, and everything pink we can get our hands on.  We are called Princesses.  We have Princess themed parties.  We put on our glass slippers that came with our Barbie and her lookalike slippers, we crack open our easy bake ovens and we do some cute cooking for our hubbies.   Do I like pink because it’s a sweet lovely color or do I like it because it was presented to me with smiles and hugs every time it was around.  Is pink the hug I need everyday? If you don’t believe how ingrained the princess tale is – turn on the news – it’s now everywhere – and billions watched.

It’s difficult and yet thrilling to live in these current times where women are finally getting to use their voices and actually shift some conversations.  I watched a movie last night where the twenty something girls were all talking about dick, and sex, and fucking, and using their women power to grab a hold of shit and unapologetically run with it.  I realized – I’m still not comfortable with hearing this on my tv.  They were so BRASH about sex.  I realized – even I have a long way to go when it comes to how I feel about how women act.

I was born in 1960 and my rules for being raised were – don’t do drugs or drink, go to college, get a job (not a career), get married , have babies, be pretty,  find a rich jewish husband, don’t get tattoos.  Oh and pipe down a bit will you? Oh and don’t get fat. I am currently 3 out of 10. Don’t try and figure it out – it will hurt your brain.

I have a lot of friends in their twenties and they still share some feelings i had when I was their age.  I know getting married and having babies is still an important concept to them but they are doing it much later in life.  Part of that is choice because they know EVERYTHING will change the minute they marry and have babies.  Career on hold!  And so they wait because a career is important to them – because they too need to make useful contributions to their lives and others.  So they think – maybe thirty something is a better time to get married. They don’t necessarily kibash the idea of the white horse and the prince riding in to save them – because it never leaves your brain that a man will save you.   They also don’t have the time to go on the internet  and find their own horse and ride him around before figuring out if he’s the one.  Some of them have already found their prince – married him – realized he’s the devil – and then dumped him. And they beat themselves up for that.  Oh god I’m already divorced at 30!!!

And then the new Royal Wedding happened and I realized – Meghan Markle – The Duchess of Sussex or “Success” as my friend @kevinfrazier just coined her is going to change things for a lot of thirty something women in particular.  Meghan didn’t just open the door for young women to realize they can be anything – she kicked it in and did it with an extreme amount of elegance and grace.  Meghan is a 36 year old, biracial, once divorced, hollywood starlet. I’m quite certain that checks off zero boxes on that royal checklist.  She has also been a tireless advocate for those who can’t fight for themselves since she was 11 years old.  She has been a global ambassador for world vision and an advocate for the UN, standing up for inequality.

I don’t know if Meghan believed in marrying a prince but she is  now a more powerful voice in our global war against inhumanity and that alone is  how we should celebrate her as a woman.  The wedding, the duke, the jewels, the fairy tale – is the icing on a cake that she’s been baking for a very long time. She went into the world and did her thing and she met her Prince the normal way – on a blind date.

So, let’s all be Meghan’s today.  Let’s focus less on the MAN and more on the HUMAN.  Lets go out there today and stop worrying about things like – who’s going to complete us – because that person is sitting with you right now.  It’s you.   Let’s be the best versions of ourselves we can be and the rest will follow – whatever your personal dreams may be.



Royal Pig Fuck

Published May 16, 2018 by WELCOME TO HEIDI

When the flag is up – the Queen is home.   I used to find this a sweet little tid bit of info but thanks to the ass tearing of 2011 – my love of all things royal – is no more.  In April of 2011  I spent about three weeks across the pond preparing to cover that other royal wedding – the one of William and Kate.  We had so many people and crews going to London – we were going to cover the fuck out of it.  Anything you ever wanted to know about that wedding – we had it.  We were launching an all out media war on London and I got to light the match on the first cannon ball fired.

Before we left town we had tons of war meetings in the conference room.  We wanted to make sure we had every angle covered. Who knows someone who knows someone who knows anyone who knows anything about anyone who may or may not be going to the royal wedding?  Who can we get to cover things for us over there? Who has a British accent? (that was all that was needed we figured) We were convinced Americans were gonna go bananas for this British shit and we were going to pull ourselves out of a ratings slump one royal wedding at a time.  We were going to start super early and get a jump on the other idiots not slobbering all over this elegant crap.

A few of us went ahead of the rest of the team and used local crews to shoot b roll to feed back and get Americans excited about the wedding.  Our first assignment was to ride around London in a double decker bus with giant ET banners on both sides of it.  I wanted to die.  I don’t know much about marketing but a two blondes a brunette and a red head on a bus screaming ROYAL WEDDING WOOOOO!!!!  doesn’t exactly make me think “royal insiders.”  On our third day there we got a big surprise! Hugh Jackman was going to get on our bus and do some stand ups for us.  All we had to do was pull up to his hotel and wait for him.  My boss was apoplectic about this “get” and wanted Hugh to say as much as possible.  If she could have had him voice the whole fucking show she would.  But we didn’t have a teleprompter and that meant he had to memorize everything.  It started raining and we were set up on top of the bus. That’s right – out in the open! Yay!  Then it decided to just switch to freezing cold weather.  We forced him to keep popping champagne bottles and saying dumb shit.  It was awful. But Hugh did something extraordinary – he read everything – he smiled – and he kissed me on both cheeks before saying thank you and floating away forever.  I love that man.  I still haven’t washed those cheeks.

Our next assignment was to go have tea and a hot air balloon ride at Jane Seymour’s house. That sounded fun!!!  It wasn’t.   Some asshole (probably me) decided that Jane should do her show wrap arounds from the hot air balloon.  But you can’t get teleprompter in a hot air balloon so that meant we had to tether the basket to the ground – high enough to look like it was in the sky with me in the basket holding copy pages for jane to read.  Unfortunately Jane was convinced I could be seen and made me  squish down within an inch of my life at the very bottom of the basket.  While I’m quite certain  a balloon ride around the British countryside is lovely – the view up jane seymour’s nostrils wasn’t. She also ordered me to get her french fries at a cafe later on that night.  Jane was kind of a bitch.  Jane was probably pissed she got caught up in our shit show bull shit.  I know I was.  So I forgive her. Ish.

Every day we would get another crazy assignment and every day our heads would hit the pillow just as los angeles would wake us up for the morning call.

Once we got closer to the actual wedding date – what felt like our entire staff descended on London.  We were happy we weren’t alone anymore. Maybe we’d finally get some sleep – ha! Then we all walked through the park over to our spot at Buckingham Palace and we knew – we were not in Kansas anymore.   We were in –  HOLY SHITVILLE.

IT WAS A SEA OF PRESS.  EVERYWHERE.  There was a two story scaffold city on eaach side of the main road into the palace housing press from around the world.  Each twelve foot space had it’s own walls and each box was decorated very specifically to the network.  We were right above Barbara Walters which terrified me because it would be bad if our host crushed Barbara Walters. Every one who’s anyone in the news world was there and within spitting distance of us. It was wild. It was an event to be sure – I just wasn’t sure why?  None of us were going to the wedding.  We weren’t going to see anything.  We weren’t getting interviews.  The only thing we were part of – was us.  But there we all were – waiting for the wedding and then the shot where they come out on the balcony and wave.  All this for a fucking wave.  It was nuts. It was banana nuts.  It was fucking banana nuts.

We were all working our asses off on no sleep and many many meetings.  We had a suite in the hotel for morning and evening meetings and we had a massive tent set up with monitors and computers out in the middle of the park where we could watch our own show back in the states.  We had this thing wired.  London was set up for press.  God knows how much money we spent but it was in the millions for sure.  We spared no expense getting nothing better than everyone else.  We could have stolen the BBC feed and re aired it and saved a fuck ton of money and no one would have cared.

I’ll never forget this one shot we just had to have.  There was this balcony somewhere in London that looked just like the Buckingham Palace balcony the couple was going to wave from. We decided it had to be in the show that day which meant it had to be shot that second.  So we all stopped what we were doing – and raced over there with talent and crew.  The talent raced up the steps and burst out onto the balcony just as the cameras rolled and the talent perfectly shouted their copy.  And cut!  The cameraman looked at me and quietly said – “I wasn’t rolling.” What. The. Actual. Fuck.  So I told him to just be quiet.  I told my boss that I wanted to do it again just in case.  She screamed at me for ten minutes solid and I thought that was the night I would get sent home but we did it again and got the shot and that cameraman got to live another day. It was in the show for about 1 second.

Every day we would march into that park and think up crazy new ways to cover a wedding no one had any access to.  I’m not sure I ever worked that hard. It should have been fun and exhilarating but it was bloody awful.  Today I watch the news and see that they are doing it all over again .  This time they have an American princess and they are not sparing a second trying to uncover every awful little detail they can about this poor girl.  All I know is – you HAVE to be madly in love or bat shit crazy to marry into the royal family because I’ve seen the press from the inside and we are not a pretty bunch.  Waking up to that kind of scruitny every day?  That’s love.  It’s also something an actress knows how to do better than anyone.

I never went back to that job after the wedding.  I remember we went out for dinner the night after it happened to Hakasaan and ate a billion dollars worth of food and charged it to the company.  It wasn’t enough.  But it was a start.