tv Bay Area Focus With Susan Sikora CW November 7, 2010 8:00am-8:30am PST
in italy's country side. their new life was an inveable dream. and then life of jill's elderly mom, laura, suddenly changed and so did michael and jill's. the story in michael's third story family meals is here for all to read. i love your writing. i love reading your writing. >> say it again. >> i love reading your writing. are you going to write more? >> i am writing more. i write every day. . >> >>: you are doing a blog. >> i'm doing my blog, notes from the culinary wasteland.com. it is kind of a food blog and when i am traveling it is a travel blog. i just wrote about this trip. we are here for the book thing. >> you're visiting now. you sold the house and you bought the place in italy.
and you look like you have lost a little weight. >> thank you, darling. >> for all of the food i'm reading about in here. last time you were here there was a gorgeous picture on the cover. it was almost like a fairytale reading this thing. >> it was too good to be true. >> life was good. you are feast&you have friends and going to festivals and picking fresh olives. it was one wonderful thing after another. and then life came. >> and it looked like we were going to lose this wonderful dream that we had and we didn't. i think if the book has one big lesson, when you are faced with a choice of taking care of a parent who is failing and living your life, the answer is to do both. >> we should make this clear for people watching. i think people kind of opt out
mentally of things. this is happening to people in the boomers ages in 50ss, 60s and 70s taking care of parents in their 80s and 90s. it hains late dune your kids got involved with this. >> max and alison were the wonderful surprise benefit from this whole thing. our family, we all get along and everything but we were living all over the map. alison was in l.a. she is a chef and a caterer and had a wonderful catering business. max is a musician and working hard in new york. he is 28 and she's 40. and we were in italy and bopping around the world and doing our thing. jill's mom is living in santa barbara. this whole family that was all over the map came together, no one planned it, came together -- >> we ended up bringing my mom to new york at our son's
suggestion. >> max said you have to bring her home. >> he didn't pay for it. >> well, this brings up a bunch of other things, too. let's talk about the decision, first. i have been through this with my own mother relocating from new jersey and hope the money works and get her into assisted living. your mom was failing. her husband had died. you are back and forth and worried all the time. you were hope degree wouldn't change your life. what went into the decision? >> it was probably in the back of my mind for a long time but i didn't dare say it to him. he never enjoyed our visits to my mom not because he didn't like my mom because he didn't like me when i was with my mom. i was a nervous wreck. the idea that we would bring her to new york i couldn't whisper it. that night when we were in such
dire straights. she was being restrained in a hospital. she couldn't go back to her assisted living facility because she needed full time care. i am an only child, what was i going to do. i was ranting and raving to our son. he said mom you have to bring grandma to new york. >> i nodded but i didn't think it was a good idea. >> it changes your life. my mom died of alzheimer's. we moved her at one point to blocks to another care facility and she never recognized us again. to move a person from a place that they know to a place that they don't know and they have dementia is disaster. but we had no choice. we had to move her. >> laura has dementia. >> i'm not sure if it is alzheimer's because it doesn't quite look like alzheimer's. his mom had different behavior
parents. it is possible it is frontal lobe syndrome. >> when you brought her here initially it is getting rid of the stuff, the clutter alone. you talked about that. they want to save everything and you can't. you just can't. you feel as if you are producing someone else's life in a way and you are picking their place and deciding on their things. >> her dignity, you try to maintain her dignity. the only way i finally succeeded in getting her to agree to move to new york was to say mom you have to do this for me because i'm going crazy. you are too far away. iance put it that way she was able to say i will be a good mom and do it for yo you and then she could relax. >> we have to take a break. when we come back we will talk about negotiating. you kind of have to reinvent
michael's new book is called family meals, bringing her home. it is the story of what happened when they realized they needed to do something different for jill's mother, laura who was in assisted living in santa barbara and they all needed to be closer. you realized you have to be there. you can't be thousands of miles away. >> we talked to some of her friends out there because her husband and died and they supported her and said we are her family. the woman who ran the assisted care place said we are her family. they are not her family. when things got bad they weren't there. >> the other thing, too, that is interesting, you wrote this where you are looking at the italian families and you are starting to realize it won't happen. i thought michael face it, it is coming. >> that is what i thought. >> listen to your wife. you looked att the italian
family where the kids don't leave until they are 35. the american way is the kids go out and do their thing. the side of that that is difficult is that everybodysub all over the place. when something like this happens it is hard to circle the wagon. >> it is hard to pull the family together. >> we also tend to put our elderly people away and in italy they bring them in. >> chinese people, thuations are much more -- they are much more reverent. >> they revere them. we don't want to see where we are going. >> exactly. you confront your own mortality. >> i don't think we realized it at the time but i think italy influenced us a lot. i never imaged that my mother would be living across the hall from me and that my daughter will be cooking for her. >> get to the routine first. >> the story about our daughter
kills me. alison is living in los angeles. she has a catering and private chef business, very successful but she grew up in new york and she decided to move back. she called her brother and they decided that they were going to share an apartment together. >> because of grandma? >> this is before grandma she was deciding to move back. so weeks before she moved back we finally moved laura to new york. we tried to put her in a place. it was a disaster. and we found that this apartment opened up across the hall from us and we grabbed it and set up a nursing home for her with 24 hour care. alison says who is cooking for grandma because i know of this chef who is moving to new york who needs work. i said you're hired. and she is cooking for her grandma doing her meals in our
kitchen. i am an amateur cook. >> an amateur? >> here is our daughter in our life at least three days a week cook&she also cooks for us a little bit. >> you like that. >> as a result of her being there she's being me so that we can go to italy, so we can have that part of our life. >> you are here now and laura certainly isn't on her own. >> laura has 24 hour care. someone has to run the nursing home essentially and dealing with medicaid. that is very complicated. >> get back to the medicaid. you talked about this. i love the fact that you are very open in your book. you say people look at -- for those of you under 50 stay with us for a second. l.a. law was a great hit. you could not put anything up against that in the time slot
it was on. and you played stewart and ann, the married lawyers and it was hot. you were the hot couple on this team. and everybody assumes they had such a hit they must be rich and this money must be making tons of interest and they can pay and do whatever they need for their mother. >> that show was over in 1994. that's the truth of it. >> we did make a lot of money on the show and that was great. and we did have enough money earning interest that we could do this brilliant retirement dream of italy and new york and working the theater in new york and make a little money there. we had just enough money to do that and then this happened and now we don't have enough money. >> and i remember you said this will work and things will be expensive. if laura runs out of money i'll use our money and if we run out
of money i'll shoot myself. it is not really working the system in the sense that you have to have what you need for people to be cared for. >> i think what people don't know is there is actually a lot of help out there for this. i didn't know. i was alone. i didn't know what to do. i found an elder care lawyer who was very helpful and got in touch with a family assistance network. there are a lot of people out there. >> all of this is time consuming and it is difficult to watch someone you love decline. question. you two seem to have a wonderful marriage. it comes through on every page, especially the way you talk about her. did it put stress on your marriage? >> it did in the beginning especially. at a certain point we realized that we need to be on the same side of this issue.
jill was fighting like a two year old child for her mother. and i was fighting for our life. and we were not used to pulling in different directioness. and so at a certain point it was obvious that we had to get on the same side of the deal. >> gale has a book out called passage and care giving. she said there is a chapter there. you get to a point and you say i can't do this anymore and have you had those days? >> many x. i have had days when i felt like i had to choose my caregiver needs extra money so her son can go to the school. how am i going to tell mike? do i have to say no to her. she is so valuable to me. my mother adores her. i want to do this for her. how am i going to tell him? he is saying we can't do this. i have had a lot of that kind
of stuff. how do i do this? >> you can't bankrupt yourself or jeopardize your own health. you are a breast cancer survivor. cancer does impact the immune system. you must worry about her. let's minimize the stress. i don't want her sick. >> we actually had to deal with that. >> i had a recurrence a year and a half ago with my breast cancer in the same spot. >> in the middle of all of this? >> yes. so i had another reminder that i have to put myself and my health first. >> you have laura's needs met. she is surrounded by love. hopefully she is aware of that. you have to watch this. you know she is there where she is. what is your best advice to people starting to confront the fact that maybe grandma or great friand father needs help now. what do we do?
>> get help y. have one other thing that is really crucial for me. that is that i was so in denial about how bad this was and i so much wanted her to come back to who she was. every day was so hard for me because she would be vague or she would be great. i was just in this roller coaster. when i found one of the particular caregivers that has a whole chapter to herself what she did is she fell in love with my mother as she is now and all of a sudden my mother was able to relax and no longer have to hold up this person. and i wastable relax. i am having -- her last chapter is as good for me as it is for her right now because i have accepted it. >> i wish we had more time talk about it. trust me when i tell you if you think is not going to hit your
life chances are it is. there is also a website. >> and notes from the culinary wasteland is the blog site. >> he has a pesty recipe in here that even i can do. >> and we are not retired. >> you have a movie coming up. >> he would like to retire. she says forget it. jill and michael, thank you so much for coming back. you are always going to be bay area neighbors. absolutely. stay with us. more ahead.
we welcome back the festival's founder and director. >> it is a combination of meanings but one is internal reflection and it is also to do with third world so a combination of all of the above. it is sort of playful, too. definitely that is part of it. the internal reflection. >> this started when you started as sort of a bunch of
private screenings small groups. and then it grew to the festival which is now in its eight year. how closely do you think you have come to hitting the marks of your goals. >> we have definitely hit our target. when we started it was 100 people came to screenings regularly. we packed the small screening house that we went to. now it is at the castro and we get about 6,000 people for the weekend. it is small, comfortable, not too much work but we bring the best films that we can find from south asia. >> you just mentioned the castro. it is called road movie. what is it about? >> road movie is a magic realism film. it is a combination of hollywood and bally wood heart movie. it is an independent film and
it is films with the rights to it and are going to distribute in the us. >> as you see these stories changing, do people get edgier or more open about things or talk about things they didn't talk about eight years ago? >> in this film i think there is a cross pollination between east and west. it is an art independent movie. issues of sensuality and sexuality are coming out into the open. this film is about cinema and about someone traveling into the desert looking for himself but finding a world through meeting people in the desert but also showing films in the desert. it is somewhat mystical and magical. >> remind them what countries participate under the south asia umbrella. >> there are a bunch of countries. the primary one being india
they have the biggest film industry in the world. and then pakistan, tibet. and then people of south asia descent living in england, us, australia. . >> >>: the bally wood thing sounds like fun. i think of a south asia version of the musicals on screen, that kind of thing. have i got it right so far? >> you have. >> has the morphed into something that is more a little more sophisticated or different? >> it has all of the above. it is campy and catchy. and so i think those are the elements which are fabulous about bally wood itself. it has started to merge as a lot of hong kong movies. there was a hong kong wave that merged with hollywood film. bally wood is merging with hollywood and a lot of money is transferring between both worlds. there is still the chief
element and the fun dance element which we have fun with and incorporate and celebrate. there is also the art element that is changing and shifting and adopting a far more contemporary look and feel. >> road movie is tonight. >> road movie is tonight at the castro at 7:50. the main actress who was in a couple of films recently including brick lane is going to be there for q and a. before that we have in camera at 5:30 at the castro which is more of a political film which deals with one looking back at all of the films he has shot. and then we have the well. >> and they come to the box office and buy tickets? >> yes. at the castro. >> go for it. got nothing else to do tonight,