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The Bean Celebrates 8 Months!

8 Oct

It’s the Bean’s 8th monthly-versaire today!

Who’s the Bean? And what’s a monthly-versaire? Great questions you ask. The Bean is my baby. Clearly, she’s not really a bean, but she did look like one at the ripe ole fetus age of 3 months, hence the affectionate term we use to call this energetic little ’bout de choux.’ She also goes by: Beansky, Beanie, THE Bean, Pumpkin and every so often her real name, which we won’t reveal to protect her cover. (She no longer looks like a bean, in case you were wondering.)

And what is a monthly-versaire? It’s Franglais for monthly birthday. Franglais is the combination of Français and Anglais to create a whole new language that isn’t really a language but rather a mishmash of the best and worst of both languages. For us expats, it’s the best invention since sliced bread. (I speak ze franglais oh-so-well.)

Anyhoo…it’s the Bean’s 8th b-month today and we’ve started the tradition of taking a new photo every month to mark the special moment in her life. We say we do it for her so that she can have a whole plethora of photos for when she grows up, but we really do it for ourselves, since we’re total nerds and love to play Franco-America’s Next Top Baby.

Since this is the first time I’m posting her monthly pics, here are a few of my favorites to catch ya’ll up.

Age 8 months: ready to start her first day of daycare! They start so young these days…

Ready for pre-school!

Armed with knowledge!

Age 7 Months: sitting up and ready to rule the world. (I swear, she’s actually a smiley baby!)

Make me offer I can't refuse...

Make me offer I can’t refuse…

Age 5 Months: Carrot Carnage! Dexter, this one’s for you…

Her alter ego: Thalia Morgan

Her alter ego: Bean Morgan, Carrot Splatter Expert

Age 4 Months: Learning to love things with buttons and knobs!

4_mois

What are we playing again?

Age 2 Months: It’s good to be two!

Lovin' this whole life thing

Lovin’ this whole life thing

Age 1 Month: Drinking and sleeping is hard work.

The Bean's been hitting the bottle again.

The Bean’s been hitting the bottle again.

The benefit of parenthood #1: photos that will render your teenage daughter mortified when you show them to her potential boyfriends. Life is good… 😉

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I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore!

24 Jun

For those of you old enough to understand my film reference, you get that I’m referring to the amazing Patty Chayefsky and Sidney Lumet 1976 film, Network. Mind you, I was the age of 2 when the film came out, so I don’t remember it first-hand, but I did revisit this cinematic masterpiece during my college years and found it equally as poignant some 20+ years later. For those of you that can’t recall what the film is about, it deals with a television network’s cynical exploits of a deranged (former) anchor whose seemingly mad ravings and revelations get used for profit by the media and the network until his tragic downfall. Still sounds relevant today, huh?

So, why I am going on about this film and what the hell does it have to do with my being angry? Better yet, what the hell am I angry about? To the answer the first question, it’s got nothing to do with the film. I just always remembered the quote as being something really powerful, something to shout out to the world when you’ve had enough and are ready to make a stand. It’s something to say when the jig is up, the wool is no longer over your eyes, and the shit on the fan is dry and cracked.

And in regards to question number two, “what the hell am I angry at?,” the answer is simple. I’m angry at myself. Not in a beat me up, woe-is-me way kind of way, but rather in a I’m-over-this-bullshit-and-I’m-ready-to-make-a-change kind of way. Why? Because I’m almost 40 years old (I do look good for my age, at least.) and I’m sick and tired of grinding my life out day to day, doing the survival thing, living hand-to-mouth. That’s great for when your in your twenties, but at almost two decades later, it gets old.

I’m over working a million jobs, juggling projects, hustling to make ends meet, and still having to worry about the next rent payment. It’s tiring, time consuming and causes gray hair. Who needs that when there’s just so much more this life has to offer?

Yeah, I know people say that this is par for the course when you’re trying to be an artist. Screenwriter. Burlesque producer. Starving artist. Okay, great. Been there. Done that. Next.

I’ve clocked in my 10,000 Malcolm Gladwell hours. I’ve put in my time and worked my ass off. I’ve learned and grown wiser with every step of the way. And now, I’m ready to make some shit happen…for real.

This isn’t to say that I’m not unbelievable grateful for all that I’ve experienced or for all that I have. I am blessed with an abundant amount of love and joy in my life, love for my beautiful new family that I created, for the family that created me, for my friends whom I am fortunate to call family, and for this planet (my global family, if you will).  I am who I am thanks to you all.

I’m just saying that when you’ve lived a good 10 years (maybe longer) feeling like you’re on the verge of something big, you kinda want that big thing to finally happen at some point. It’s either that or give up hope…and that second part is just not an option.

So, with all that said, this is my declaration.  My proclamation of emancipation. My state of my union address. To myself. To the universe. To all of you who know or don’t know me.  From this day forward, that way of life is over. I will no longer hold space for useless struggling, working like a chicken with its head cut off, or wrenching my gut with every new bank statement. That is now the past. RIP. You are dead to me.

Today is born the new me. The soon to be 4o me. The me with the wildly fulfilling and abundantly healthy family, career and financial life. (I’m also going to throw in a fabulous new wardrobe here, because this new me has to look good too, you know.) This is the day I birth the transformed me.

And now the transformed me is  standing at the window (aka computer keyboard), nostrils a flarin’, and yelling it out for you all to hear, “Forty, bring it on cuz I’m ready!”

* PS – apologies if the profanity has offended anyone, but sometimes, ‘shit’ happens.

Hello, World! It’s me again…

21 May

Okay… it’s time to talk. When I started this blog, I was super inspired by the idea that I would have a new creative outlet onto which I could pour out all my pent up literary talents. And at first, such a thing did transpire. Months passed and I wrote to my hearts content. It was the wild, unbridled love with this new form of expression that had me at this computer 24/7.

But then the inevitable happened. I froze up. Got stuck. Didn’t know what to write about. I mean, I’ve had plenty of things to write about, but I just wasn’t sure if they were the ‘perfect’ idea.  You see, at some point along my new relationship with blogging, I became co-dependent. I stopped writing for myself and started writing for you… the ten of you who are out there reading this. (By the way, THANK YOU!) It’s not that I don’t want to write things that you may find interesting, I do, but I realized that in trying to write for you, I lost the passion for writing for myself.  I completely disconnected from the reason why I created this blog in the first place. Over thought. Under wrote. That was the end of that.

Now, almost two years later, I’m back. The gal who just wanted to tell you her stories. No more trying to be perfect. I am who I am and I write what I write…and I love it like that.

So from here on in, I promise to myself (and to you guys) to write from the gut about the things that make my gut happy. Nothing more. Nothing less.

I’ve got a lot of catching up to do!

With that, I say… Hello, World! It’s me again! Nice to re-meet you. IMG_1395b

Oh…I suppose I should share one more bit of news…I’m a mommy! More on that wonderful craziness to come…!

 

 

 

Part 2 of El Padre

17 May

For those of you that read that last post, you know that my fantastic father, El Padre, shared with us a little something about a wellness option he proudly endorses to the fullest.  But that was only the beginning…here is part 2 of his article!

 

The Wonder Pill: Fighting Obesity, Diabetes, Cancer, and Aging

Part Two

Frank Vieras, M.D.

Clinical Anti-cancer effects

Metformin has been proven effective against a variety of cancers in laboratory studies and in human clinical trials. The continually expanding list currently includes the following types, listed in alphabetical order:

  • Breast
  • Colon
  • Endometrium (inner lining of the uterus)
  • Liver
  • Lung
  • Pancreas
  • Prostate

It is beyond the scope of this article to describe further the specific and sophisticated biochemical pathways leading to metformin’s anti-cancer effects and the statistical results obtained with different types of cancers. However, it seems appropriate to mention that some of the most compelling results with metformin have been seen in breast cancers. It has proven to be effective against most types of breast cancer, including some breast cancer cell types which are quite resistant to treatment.

In addition, I wish to mention the impressive results obtained in a large controlled clinical trial of about 1,000 patients with cancer of the pancreas, a dreaded type of cancer which is mortal in nearly all its victims. In this trial, diabetic patients taking metformin showed a 62% reduction in pancreatic cancer risk compared to the control group. The study was conducted at the renowned M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas (Li D, et al, 2009).

These observations have led respected scientists from different parts of the world to firmly suggest that metformin should play a significant role in the prevention of breast cancer, and this is very likely extensive to other types.

Closing thoughts

Metformin’s comprehensive and dynamic properties certainly qualify this readily available drug as a “wonder elixir”. However, metformin should not be considered a substitute to healthy eating habits.  It is my reasoned opinion that optimal nutrition represents the unquestionable foundation of good health.  Minimizing intake of nutrient- deficient foods such as carbohydrates, particularly the simple, refined types (sugar, sugar-based products, enriched flours, etc.), processed foods, and partially hydrogenated oils, comprises the basic tenet of healthy nutrition.

The Bottom Line

  • Metformin is a true “wonder” drug.
  • Regular intake of metformin provides a wide array of health-enhancing benefits.
  • In tandem with a healthy nutrition, metformin can help you gain control of your weight whether or not you suffer from diabetes.
  • Metformin can help you prevent the onset of diabetes or control blood sugar levels if you are diabetic.
  • Metformin has proven effective against a variety of cancer types and can be used in the prevention of breast cancer. It is anticipated that further evidence will show that it may also be effective in the prevention of other cancer types.
  • Metformin exerts anti-aging effects via pathways which mimic calorie restriction.

 

Disclaimer and warning: The information provided is not intended as medical advice. Metformin is a prescription drug with a remarkable safety profile. However, your primary health care provider should be consulted prior to commencing intake of metformin.

Acknowledgement: Sources of information for this article include original reports found in the medical and scientific literature. I am indebted to my daughter Frances Vieras Blanc for her insightful editorial comments.

 

More Words from El Padre

5 May

Hey all!

Life has been moving forward in full speed with lots of projects in the mix and barely enough time to think. But alas, I’ve finally taken a moment to come back to my little space on the world wide web to bring you some more wise words from my dad, also known as El Padre.

For all of you that don’t know, El Padre is a doctor who originally specialized in Nuclear Medicine. Fear not, this does not mean that he spent his time nuking his patients. His time was mostly spent reading scans and speaking very large medical words into a dictaphone. (Period. Coma. Inside joke.) In the last decade and a half, give or take a few years, El Padre has been walking a new medical path (one that doesn’t call for dictaphones.) He has spent his undivided expert time and attention on learning the mysteries and intricacies of the alternative medicine world, more specifically worlds including bio-identical growth hormones and healthy metabolic functions for optimal wellness and longevity. (Okay, he still uses the the big words.)

Just recently, El Padre has become fully inspired by a huge…yet physically quite small…revolutionary medical advancement. This advancement is called Metformin. As it turns out, this little pill has enormous effects on our bodies. Here’s a thought directly from El Padre on this subject:

“There is a lot of talk about Metformin. The founder of the Life Extension Foundation, Mr. Willliam Faloon, recently released information regarding  the types of things he does to fight aging and prevent diseases such as cancer and diabetes. He mentioned a variety of lab tests he religiously undergoes every year, natural supplements he takes regularly, and a calorie restristed diet he follows. At 67 he says he is healthier than at age 30! In addition, he indicated that he takes Metformin every day, convinced that its wonder-like properties are for real…”

Well…  since El Padre believes so much in Metformin and thrives off of sharing his knowledge with others, he has taken the time to encapsulate its wonder in words. ..big and small. (He is a doctor, after all.)
And now, a word from El Padre … M.D.

The Wonder Pill: Fighting Obesity, Diabetes, Cancer, and Aging

Part One

Frank Vieras, M.D.

Introduction

There has been a recent flurry of activity in the media regarding a generic drug, originally designed as an anti-diabetes treatment, which has emerged as a true wonder drug. Here, I present a summary of the salient points about the profound health-enhancing benefits of the drug known as metformin. Folks, I don’t usually endorse the use of synthetic drugs, generally favoring the use of available natural alternatives. However, occasionally a phenomenon like this appears in the health horizon and it would be irresponsible not to pay attention to it. Last year I endorsed the daily use of baby aspirin for cancer prevention, in addition to its known preventive role in cardiovascular disease. This year, I am backing-up the daily use of metformin.

The Basics

Metformin was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 1994 for use in the United States as a treatment for type-2 diabetes (adult-onset diabetes). Soon after its approval, metformin became the most widely prescribed drug for diabetes. To this date, it is still a strong pillar in the therapeutic armamentarium against the disease.

Curiously, for those of us interested in natural health alternatives, the generic drug known as metformin has a long history as a botanical compound used in folk medicine for hundreds of years. It was originally derived from the French lilac.

Within about fifteen years after FDA approval, large epidemiological studies have convincingly demonstrated that a “wonder” drug had been born. These studies showed that patients taking metformin for diabetes had a substantially decreased incidence of a wide variety of cancer types. This is a remarkable observation since patients with diabetes and/or obesity have been known to have an increased risk of cancer. It appeared that metformin exerted its health-enhancing effect via mechanisms which tie high blood glucose (sugar) levels and a host of disease states. By controlling blood sugar levels, metformin was observed to be a safe and easily available tool in the struggle to:

  •  Lose weight
  •  Control diabetes
  •  Fight cancer
  •  Increase longevity

This was a medical breakthrough.

Actions and Mechanisms

The actions and mechanisms by which metformin exerts its effects appear to be similar in all the situations mentioned and both in diabetics and non-diabetics alike. These include:

  • Appetite suppression at the level of the central nervous system.
  •  Improvement in glycemic control: aid in the control of fluctuations in blood sugar levels.
  • Reduction of insulin resistance: a major step forward in the fight against diabetes. Reducing insulin resistance comprises a center piece in the fight against, and prevention of, diabetes.
  • Significant reduction in body weight and BMI (body mass index) in diabetic and non-diabetic adults.
  • Significant reduction in body weight and BMI in non-diabetic adolescents.
  • Inhibition of “aromatase”: an enzyme which converts fat, testosterone, and other androgens (male hormones) into estrogens, creating a vicious cycle of increasing levels of estrogens and fat deposition.
  • Mimicking calorie restriction: one of the best documented ways to improve longevity and attain a healthy body weight. The anti-aging effects of calorie restriction have been extensively documented in laboratory animals, and data regarding these effects in humans have gradually begun to emerge.
  • Inhibition of a biochemical complex known as mTOR: accelerates aging and has been linked to cancer development.
  • Activation of a biochemical complex known as AMP kinase, which possess properties similar to the fat-burning hormone adinopectin. These properties include: (a) facilitation of the breakdown of fats through a process called lipolysis and (b) enhancement of cancer cell decay and/or death early in their development.
  • Inhibition of gluconeogenesis (formation of new glucose from fats and proteins).

Part Two: coming soon

If you loved The Artist…

1 Mar

Over here in Paris, everyone is still reeling from the amazing victory the movie, The Artist, had over this season’s award ceremony. The little black and white silent film that could garnered itself a grand bouquet of Oscars, Cesars, SAG and Golden Globes, and French bred actor du jour, Jean Dujardin (literally translated to mean John from the Garden, hence my very appropriate bouquet metaphor:),  blossomed into a international sensation practically overnight. Mind you, he was and is already a sensation here in France. (I’ve known of him since I first met Pierre, when during a conversation he mentioned that many people confuse him for the actor all the time. Score!)

The film’s beautiful imagery, fantastic production design, and universal story appealed to the hearts of all the talkie lovers out there,  even those of the most skeptic of filmmakers, like Harvey Weinstein. But what I imagine was the real driving force behind the success of that film was the inspiration from which it was birthed.  France. Conceptualized in France, made my French filmmakers, a with a predominantly French cast, this film was infused with the muse of creativity that permeates every bâtiment, rue and coin in this delicacy of a country. And nothing speaks more of this artistic inspiration than Paris.  So, when the muse comes a calling, you’ve got no other choice than to create greatness.

In honor of all things Paris inspired, black and white, and oh-so-romantic… I’ve shared with you another “artist.” I had the wonderful pleasure of hosting a new friend in town last week (she’s a friend of a mutual friend…and now I’m happy to call her my friend too.) She is an extremely talented photographer who, like most, fell madly in love with Paris and its musings. Upon responding to the call of Inspiration, she created this beautiful video below. Black and white. Silent. French.

(Merci, Erica Urech Petta, for sharing this with us!)

SCENE unheard.

http://sceneunheard.tumblr.com/post/18496321660/video-of-paris-trip

*be sure to click on the link to see the video

Life 2.0

7 Nov

Salut all!

I can’t believe almost 3 months have passed since I’ve last reported on my life’s adventures! What kind of blog chick am to just abandon you all like that? (Please send my apologies to your therapists.)  These last few months have been chock full o’ adventure, so much so that I should have called in Steven Spielberg to direct it all. But now, I’ve re-settled back into the comforts of my life in Paris, and I am ready to take it all in.

But before I get to that, let me fill you in on what kind of mayhem I’ve been up to since August. Here’s the laundry list for you.

I have:

* pitched my tv series to some very interested folks (fingers crossed, please!)

* celebrated the 1-year anniversary of my show (www.burlesquemoulin.com…shameless personal plug)

* packed up and moved out of my apartment in California

Goodbye, Golden State 😦

* road tripped across the country with u-haul, husband, and cat in tow (more on that to come)

* moved my selected life goodies 3,000 miles and 30,000 leagues over the sea

* de-bedbugged my apartment in Paris (A seriously major infestation that took 1 month to deal with from which I am still recovering    today. The bedtime saying ” Sleep tight and don’t let the bedbugs bite” has taken on a whole new meaning. I now find it very cruel.)

* started new career endeavors in my new hometown (Hopefully, the euros will be abounding soon. Hang in there, Eurozone.)

* begun my French immigration and integration process (countless hours of training on the history of France and its million republics.  I can now name all the presidents of the 5th Republic…just can’t spell them yet.)

* and lastly, I started development on the French tour of my show.

…Oh…did I mention I had bedbugs??

Bedbugs!!

(See what I mean. I think I have bedbug PTSD!)

Even just writing the list is exhausting, let alone doing it all. This is definitely enough to drive someone to drink.  And trust me, I’ve downed my fair share of Bordeaux (and Côtes du Rhône, Bourgogne, Sancerre…you know what they say, when in France.)

But it’s done… I can now breathe. Ahh…(insert sun salutation here.)

Transitions are never easy, and often take time and a lot of commotion, but when it’s over, they say the new you is born. Any longer on this one though, and I would have penned myself in for a scheduled C-section.

As for the next phase of my life, my permanent address now reads < Paris, France >. The official Parisian portion of my life now begins. The Beta test period over. We’ve officially launched.

It’s Life 2.0.  (Windows 8 doesn’t stand a chance against me.)

Life 2.0 … Game On!

Coming soon…more ramblings and ruminations on the next set of adventures life has in store for me.  This round, though, will be served with a side of cheese and wine…and maybe a drippy French romantic comedy to get us all in the mood.  (Speaking of, just watched Midnight in Paris. Another Woody Allen success!)

Did I mention I was going to start a detox soon? Too much cheese and wine;)

A très bientôt mes cheries!

(By the way, Mr. Spielberg, thanks for Tintin, but now I’m putting in my order for a Goonies 2. I need me some more Chunk and Sloth.)

Sloth loves Chunk...and his Baby Ruth!