Innergiggler's Blog

It’s been a long time since I’ve sat through a Woody Allen movie – In wonder – joy – surprise – delight – and in laughter.  However, last night ALL of the above and more transpired.

Once again, Woody masterfully intertwines reality with fantasy.  What if we could live at another time?  When?  Who would be there?  Woody chooses Paris in the 1920s so he/we can revel in an assortment of the era’s creative movers and shakers including the likes of Picasso, Cole Porter,  Hemingway and Fitzgerald – drinking, partying, and leaning against Gertrude Stein’s armoire while discussing their favorite topics – themselves.   

At the film’s center, yet another misaligned couple – the tortured writer (him) and the thirsty for fun and shopping (her) work their individual paths through the story.  Owen Wilson as Gil – breezes through his character with much less self-conscious, self-effacing dialogue than we’re accustomed to from Allen.  Some vestigial fears like death and insecurity still plague him – but this character is more naturally alive than other Allen protagonists.  Owen’s ability to travel back and forth through time is effortless – thanks to the writer/director. 

Rachel McAdams wears her strong and self-assured character more smoothly than the usual insecure female Allen leads.  Everyone has a “place” in this film – everyone exists here organically rather than because they'[re forced to play a part.

The idea that “living in another era” would bring us more happiness, love, money, power is the ongoing theme and fantasy for our hero.  Sound familiar?  An ongoing cry for many who see their problems more troublesome in today’s world. Yesterday would have been better because we can pretend how we’d like it to have been.

Despite the odd stories we’ve heard through the years by actors about working with the Oscar winning director – he somehow managed the get the best from the best, including a most delicious scene with Adrien Brody as a wildly nuanced Salvadore Dali will draw me back for another viewing.  And maybe another.

Spend an evening inside Woody Allen’s imagination and you’ll leave creatively and mentally satisfied.  “Midnight in Paris” is magnifique!


The door slammed behind me.  I just screwed up yet another audition.  Cold readings in front of strangers is difficult enough – but shaky, nervous fingers will drop script pages  –  bending down to retrieve said pages eyeglasses will fall to the floor  – and be not so quickly recovered  – they’re back on my nose.  I shift my head briskly left for character reaction – then watch those specs fly across  the room and zap the Casting Director in her right breast – a surefire audition for the crapper.

On more than one occasion my acting teacher had suggested I get fitted for contact lenses.

“No.  Feh!  I can’t stand the thought of anything touching my eyeballs.  Only the lids, and maybe a floating lash or two are allowed to fondle my peepers.  Never will my pupils be exposed to chlorine or any other substance under water.  I promise you’ll hear me bark louder than a pit bull when forced to have that puff in the eye glaucoma test.  I feel faint already.   These are the rules.

My WoodyAllen-esque teacher – insert brown hair and a lower pitched voice – jumped on me in class one night:

“Afraid?  You wanna talk afraid?  I’m the biggest chicken in the world.  I won’t put a thermometer in my mouth for fear of mercury poisoning.  When anyone mentions Auschwitz – I can smell enough gas to overcook a Thanksgiving turkey for 200.  Don’t talk to me about fear.  Yet I wear contacts.”

Another year passed by – as did more auditions where I couldn’t read the pages without a small catastrophe.  Finally – one morning, I made an appointment with an optometrist about fifteen minutes from my house in Mar Vista, Ca. – not wanting to be too far from my toilet.

I arrived early so that I could deep breathe into a paper bag which would minimize  hyperventilation and keep my thoughts occupied so I wouldn’t be tempted to run.  Moving at a speed of .04 miles an hour, I approached the optometrist for Phase I, eye measurement.  My mouth was moving exceedingly fast – as I asked questions about possible catastrophes – like how many people went blind as a result of wearing contacts, etc.  The tall, slightly built, bald-headed, stooped over guy suggested the results would be more accurate if I’d close my mouth for five minutes.   The anxiety pushed masses of air out of my lungs – I was afraid to stop talking for fear of suffocation. 

Process completed, a lovely, dark, tall and slender woman, about 22, wearing a big smile approached me.

“I may be young but I’ve got lots of experience teaching people exactly how to do this; and I’ve been wearing lenses for years.  Now, take a deep breath and slowly let it out so we can stop your hands from tremoring.  Good.”

After just 42 attempts to adhere this clear, round, soft piece of plastic to my left eye – I was wearing a contact lens.  Within another twenty minutes – my right eye was also lensed.  Me!  The Queen of Anxiety! I grabbed my cell phone and speed dialed my mom.  Within seconds you could hear my voice screeching throughout the store:

“Ma – guess what I’ve got in my eyes?  No!  Yuch!  Stop!” I paused while she screeched that I rush to the ER.  “No, it’s good.  Ma, no hands – no glasses – I’m wearing contact lenses.”

Two days later my agent called:

“You’ve got an audition for an AT&T commercial.  Book it!” 

Beyond excited – I practically flew to West Hollywood – hurriedly parked – okay a little zig-zagged – jumped out of the car – ran up the stairs and searched the Commercial Board which directs actors to the correct auditioning rooms.  Campbell’s Soup #1, Time Warner, #2, Toyota, #3, AT&T, #4.  I signed in – submitted my picture/resume combo, then sat and waited to hear my name called.  I knew this baby was all mine.

Confidently I entered the audition room – smiled at the casting folks, watched as they smiled right back – displaying their lunch-stuffed corporate mouths. 
“Give her the glasses.”  They asked me to don a pair of non-prescriptive glasses indicating I was a middle-aged woman.  Being slightly over 50 at the time, I believe the Casting Directors needed the glasses. 

I didn’t get that job – but ultimately I didn’t care.  Now I get to choose every single day what I’ll use to see the world a little more clearly.

Dedicated to my friend, Kristine Van Raden

The earth rotates – no matter what.  We can surrender to that notion and grow with the movement or we can fight against the tides.  I’ve done both.  This is a story of acceptance.

On April 13, 2011 – at 5:04 PST, the Universe offered up perfection as a possibility for everything and anything.  Therefore, a pre-arranged phone call between two distinct energies hinged on the divine – offering up an opportunity to blend and release two open hearts and minds.  However, disillusion from years of broken trusts loomed – shading the freedom.

 One heart/mind was baking brownies and sipping red wine – the other was sucking up tap water marinating with tangerine rinds.  One pressed phone digits – two rings – the other – answered the phone.    

Within a few moments of re-connection, there was a double unconscious surrender, allowing their trust issues built over a lifetime of small and larger disappointments to unknowingly melt.   Fences and boundaries relaxed as they took turns unzipping her/her deepest and darkest fears, shame, guilt – unleashing the residue of nightmares and secrets harnessed by fear of judgment.  

 Each offering was instantly received by the other – as if it were a slice of skin shaved from the heart – then transferred to that organ of the other.  Each sensed the gift would be cherished.

As the dialer, I was expecting to have another pleasant chat with a loving, bright, creative woman I met on Facebook.  Yes.  There was that.  But I never expected this event to result in the re-wiring and re-labeling of my gut – now reading, “Trust Here.”  Profound and perfect.  I don’t know if I’ve ever allowed myself to let go on that level. 

 All this and more in one hour, forty-six minutes and fifty-seven seconds.

Facing our own truth is usually a daunting and uncomfortable experience.  People prefer watching what they perceive as “truth” in others – i.e.  reality TV – even though there’s barely any reality in these shows.  Rather the “players” are manipulated by producers and directors for the purpose of entertainment.  Who wants to look in the mirror?  Really.  Okay, unless you’ve just lost 20 lbs.

I’m not interested in or compelled by any of the “housewives” silliness, most talk shows, make-over or celebrity’s lives behind the scenes – although I guiltily have given some time to the Kardashians.  Uninvolved, empty, lonely evenings can do that.  Watching the sisters interact often triggered  jealously within me – yes – and I became drenched with envy over their innate “sisterness”  – the self-contained sorority of blood that stays with them through eternity.  I’ve always wanted a sister – begged mom as dad hauled her big belly off to the hospital – “Please mom, please bring home a little sister for me to play with…please.”   Now a good look in that mirror.

Disappointment with the boy child ended soon after he arrived and for about 20 years.   Unfortunately sibling rivalry was accidentally encouraged by parents who knew nothing about child-rearing – so there were always “issues” between he and I.  We were taught “he” was the pretty/ or good-looking one and “I” was the smart one.  He never realized he was smart and I never felt pretty until later on in life.

The rivalry eventually re-ignited when bro married “the loving but clueless woman.”  Both she and her “ilk” would have been an enormous snooze fest of a reality show.  Father works hard to support his four-piece family, mother shops, father works harder, mother shops with more verve, father increases drug and alcohol usage, mother is lost in space between Nordstrom racks – eventually the brother body is totally ravaged by cancer dies, he passes away… and she continues shopping. 

I’ll never know why but from the beginning she disliked me – and you can see how I respectfully I viewed her.  Perhaps fortunately I was left out of their lives.  Resentment?  Yes.  Truth?  Was I the perfect sister-in-law?  No.  I did some crappy things.  The mirror is telling me I’m imperfect.

 This blog is about truth!

The truth is there are many events in my past which are eclipsing my Inner Giggler – my mission here is to unleash them with some dignity and humor and to encourage you to do the same.

Time to work on The Inner Giggler Radio Show which airs Sundays @7p pst/ 10p est.  The call in number to listen or talk is 661- 449-1449.  The computer link for listening is



After reading Kristine Van Raden’s “Side by Side” blog post this afternoon – I started thinking about yesterday – not like in February 11th, but yesterday as in the early 1900s when my grandparents were strongly encouraged to leave Egypt and practice their errant Jewish ways  elsewhere.  Historical papers claim religious freedom for Jews back then, yet when my cousins went on a family fact-finding mission to Cairo more than thirty years ago – the synagogues were gone and all family-related historical documents had been destroyed.

Before arriving in Cairo, my grandma Frieda’s family lived and thrived in Aleppo, Syria where for many years Jews were accepted and even extolled.  But those days ended as economic conditions in the city became dire thanks to the Industrial Revolution. 

Around that time, my grandfather, Moses (I swear) Mizrahi, his family and most other Jews were  expelled from Constantinople.  The family fled to Cairo where young Moses (please don’t think Charlton Heston here) was eventually in a “planned betrothal” to one named Frieda Mizrahi, a petite red-haired firecracker with a limp.  No one ever quite got the limp story straight, but it was always attached to her tomboy and “in your face” ways.  One rumor offered up that she had skipped school one day, and in an attempt to climb a windmill, slipped and fell. 

I was so used to her right-sided limp I never thought to ask about it.  She was always busy making vats of yogurt with cucumber, humus, stuffed eggplant and her famous baklava, so she never mentioned it.  She also never spoke about her arranged marriage – maybe because it was a given part of their tradition and besides they produced eight offspring.  Something fit right somewhere.

My grandparents had already birthed three of their eight kids when financial and religious discrimination prompted their departure to their next home in Panama around the time the Suez Canal was completed.  Grandma popped out two more offspring here before being summoned by their older brothers and sisters who were flourishing in New York.  The Mizrahi clan – five kids, two adults arrived at Ellis Island speaking Arabic, Hebrew, Spanish, French – and fully prepared to learn English which they did beautifully.

Within the next year, 1920, my mom Adele, the sixth of the brood arrived.  Mom was so proud to be the first American-born Mizrahi but felt embarrassed  both by being a child of immigrants and being from the “poor” side of the family.  Her parents didn’t flourish as did grandma’s “Grazi” brothers.  Unfortunately Mom never embraced her Syrian heritage.  TMI?  See Memoir:  “How I Buried My Mom…With The Umbilical Cord Still Attached.”  I used to blame my mother’s` shame for my ignorance, but the truth is I never asked questions until it was too late.  Yesterday was too late. 

Oddly enough, even with all the discrimination and horrific stories of the holocaust, Grandma Frieda would sit by her living room window in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn every Sunday morning and watch  the people walking to church.  Smiling, she would always remark:  “See the church-going people?  It’s good they believe. ”

Kristine’s blog was filled with HOPE for the dreams of the young women of Egypt who have been kept in the background – Hope that they’d have access to education resulting in a positive impact on the policies of Egypt’s future.  I couldn’t help but wonder – had these young women been in power while my grandparents lived there – might they never have left?  Of course then Mom wouldn’t have met Dad – and there’d certainly be no me – or else me in another body.   That too is another blog

For today, I wish ALL the Egyptian youth – male and female – freedom from tyranny and restrictions.

Long live the liberty of spirit and expression.

Are you kidding?  If I had the solution I’d be so rich and famous I wouldn’t have time for blogging.  So let’s work this out:

I’ve got over 60 years of experience searching for a solution.  I used to blame it on mom for requiring I consume cottage cheese and prunes for lunch daily throughout the 1st and 2nd grades – miraculous I made it to the 3rd grade without killing someone – like my mother. 

Fortunately wisdom has accompanied aging.  I realize this is my lifetime challenge – to search for harmony between my mind and my body.  Think Linda, think! 

Previously, navigation through a weight program was often determined by what was on the Best Seller List.  There was one weight loss scheme  wayyyy back in college, where we could eat endless hamburgers and french fries – but no buns. (“Calories Don’t Count?”)  I gained nine pounds.

Then Dr. Stillman suggested I suck on a sink’s spout in the amount of 64 oz. per day, and eat nothing but protein with my protein –  honey in no time at all, pound after pound of flesh melted away.  I was gawgeous!  Apparently he was on to something, I’m still sucking on the spickets…bitching and moaning though it defintely makes a difference. 

Oh the 70s – “Dr. Atkins’ Diet Revolution” aligned itself with the Sexual Revolution.  His plan screamed STOP! to my expanding body and converted my frame into that svelte and sexy vessel just in time for me to spin my way into disco fever.  The addition of exercise was involuntary upon hearing that blaring orgasmic beat.  “Do it baby, do it, yes, yes, yes you will, more and more! YOWWWWWWZA!”

Before I turned all the way around, my dancing days were done because I entered a relationship with Two Left Feet, Frank.  Halt on the spinning and dieting.  Pizza, chocolate and Chinese entered my mouth so fast it forced my head to snap back against the wall as I watched my waistline amplify in geometric progressions.  Agony ensued as I waited and chewed toward that moment of my physical explosion.  As I was about to POP!  a friend of a friend helped me find god and become Anonymous.  No diet – I swear!  Based on a very sound, organized system of principles, god sucked ninety pounds and the guy from my frame.  It was effortless and satisfying.  Unfortunately, with my anonymity – I also gave up some of my identity –  not a requirement here, but somehow I disappeared along with my shrinking waistline.  That was just my experience.  I began to miss myself – which brings me to today.

Now I’ve decided instead of “dueling the futile war on weight” I’m gonna accept that I’ve been kind of like the Middle East and work on a PEACE AGREEMENT!   New plan begins tomorrow.

“You looking at me?”

She moves closer to the mirror.  Shades of Travis Bickel are reflecting back.

“You looking at me?”

The answer is yes.  I’m looking at me. 

Yikes!   I could look a little healthier, happier, thinner, smaller, slimmer – not so chunky!   I could be smiling right now if my bra’s underwire wasn’t digging into my rib cage, or if the zipper on my jeans wasn’t ripping me a new belly button.  I could be more joyous but can’t feel it under these conditions.

I swore to myself this wouldn’t happen again.  I promised “me” that the gym wasn’t going to be a distant memory and that I’d never move back into Pepperidge Farm, ever.  But ya know, when the sky is blue and my life seems momentarily perfect, unbearable, painful, filled with joy – at any of those moments of emotional and mental distraction  – that calls for a cookie, candy bar, ice cream or anything that will sustain my foggabilitty! 

And absolutely no one can tap me on the shoulder and ask, “Whattcha doing cause you’re growing wider!”  Try it and you’ll never celebrate another birthday.

“I’m NOT guilty your Honor, that nosy bitch  – formerly known as hussy – was the guilty  one – she crossed the ‘weight’ line!”  No jury in this country would convict me.  Certainly not in Los Angeles.

Will I find a solution?  Tune in tomorrow!!!

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