Monday, July 31, 2006
emmy viewing - 4

The Five nominees for Outstanding Actor In A Drama Series are:

PETER KRAUSE for "Six Feet Under"
DENIS LEARY for "Rescue Me".
MARTIN SHEEN for "The West Wing"

Another really tough category for me. All of these men are truly 'outstanding' and fantastically talented actors! Once again, a very very difficult decision. Okay, going alphabetically:

Peter Krause played Nate Fisher in "Six Feet Under" for the whole 5 or 6 seasons it had been on the air, having ended it's run this year. All of the Fishers are flawed neurotic people---in other words, human...but lovable as all get out! Nate, is no exception. Never happy that he had to return to Los Angeles when his father died. He was pretty much forced to carry on the Undertaking business with his brother David and you most of the time you felt that Nate had one foot out the door. His relationships with women were all terribly complicated and the two woman he married were pretty neurotic and crazy, as well....But this sure made for interesting and realistic television. All of the Fisher's at various times, would 'see' and have conversations with their dead father. Nate was no exception. The episode Peter Krause chose 'for our consideration' was a very interesting one because he got to show us Nate's ambivilance about his marriage and his wife's pregnancy and towards the end of the episode his incredible rage at just about everything is shown, killing a bird in a kind of displaced display of terrifying anger. A wonderful choice by Mr. Krause for us to watch. I've always felt that Peter Krause was an actor of great range and that his portrayal of Nate Fisher gave him the opportunity to show that range...especially in the episode I just saw. An incrediby talented actor at 'the top of his game'.

Denis Leary is an amazingly talented actor and writer. This series, "Rescue Me" on FX, is absouletly riviting in every way.
He plays Tommy Gavin, an alcoholic New York City Fireman who is in great turmoil after the September 11th disasater, having lost not only his fireman cousin, but many other people, too. The series has such a ring of authenticity to it----beautifully written and wonderfully acted by an ensemble cast, all of whom are as 'real' as everything else about this series---there is the ring of truth in every episode including the humor that is a very big part of the show. The episode Mr. Leary chose 'for our consideration' was a devistating one. It begins with the 'wake' for his young son, who has been killed in the street by a drunk driver and Tommy's wife holds him responsible for this because she says he wasn't watching his son closely enough. Tommy Gavin hasn't really broken down yet and felt his own terible pain and guilt about the loss of his son...suffice it to say, this breakdown happens in this episode, and in the most unexpected yet terribly real way and when this happened, I was devistated too as I watched this man's complete breakdown----this man---who has a very very hard time showing emotion. A superb performance by Mr. Leary. (A Side Note: Leary is one of the creator's of this series, as well as the lead actor.)

Brilliant actor Christopher Meloni plays Detective Elliot Stabler in "Law & Order: SVU" and is Olivia Bensen's partner on the show. (Actress Mariska Hargity, as stated in my previous post....). Over the years of this very successful series we have watched the character of Elliot Stabler struggle with his inner demons and occassionally things have been revealed through story lines that have touched upon these demons. As the series progressed, Stabler's wife has now left him and has taken his children away so he does not see them...a very painful thing for Stabler, to say the least. This particular episode is one of those revelatory story's where we see Stabler's inner rage come out and in such a huge way that he takes himself to the police shrinky person...and again, as in the previous show mentioned above, we see a man who has trouble showing emotions breaking down with the truths of his life that are forced to the surface by the probing of the police psychiatrist. A masterful acting job by Christopher Meloni if ever there was one. So far, the score is three for three. Oy!

Next, there is the veteran actor Martin Sheen who plays Jed Bartlett, the President of The United States in "The West Wing".
A beautiful actor who has been nominated before for this role, but, has not won. This series ended with this season. And as many of you know, I hated to see this series go off the air. But off it went. And the episode Martin Sheen chose 'for our consideration' was the very last episode of the series...the changing of the guard so to speak, when Bartlett is leaving office and Santos is coming into office. There was not any big emotional scene in this episode, just the subtle pain of the end of a very full and important eight years in a man's life as President of The United States. Mr. Sheen was perfect. He was perfect as The President, and he was perfect here in his very 'he makes it look so easy' last hurrah as the outgoing Jed Bartlett. Beautiful performance in every way. A superlative actor if ever there was one.

Now we are four for four. Oy Oy!

And last but not least, we have Kiefer Sutherland a truly lovely actor who plays Jack Bauer in this wonderfully imaginative series, "24", where everything that happens in each episode happens in "real" time.
And that real time is one hour, eventually making up the 24 hours of a day, thus the title of the show. The story is almost too complicated to explain so I won't try. Except to say, in this episode, Jack Bauer is supposedly dead, but of course, he is not. The former President of The United States, played by Dennis Haysbert is assinated at the top of this episode along with two other people who are seemingly not connected and yet....and yet.......Then there is a fourth person that is almost killed. And it turns out the one thing that all four of these people have in common is, they were and are the only people in the world who knew that Jack Bauer was not dead. So this episode that Mr. Sutherland chose for us to see revolves around him trying to help this last person from not being killed and it takes place between 7am and 8am on that day. Jack Bauer is a tender man often tines but a tough man, too. This episode showed the many sides of Jack Bauer and Kiefer Sutherland gives a fabulous performance, as always. Okay. Five for Five. Oy Oy Oy!

The same impossible voting system is in place for this category as was in place for the Actress Category. And these gentleman arrived at their Nominations in the very same way, as well. Another very very difficult near impossible task lies before me. Good luck to me! (lol)

More To Come....

Reminder: Don't forget to go by Wendy's Auditions today....It sure is fun cause you get to visit a lot of lovely people and she has the BESTEST Snacks to be found and eaten anywhere in the virtual blogesphere.....

Saturday, July 29, 2006
emmy viewing -3

The five actresses nominated in the Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series are:
FRANCES CONROY for "Six Feet Under"
GEENA DAVIS for "Commander In Chief"
MARISKA HARGITY for "Law & Order: SVU"
ALLISON JANNEY for "The West Wing"
KYRA SEDGWICK for "The Closer"

These are five really incredibly talented actresses. I have now watched all five performances, and this is a very difficult catagory. First of all because there isn't a bad performance in the bunch, and secondly, the voting is a bit different in this category than it was for the last panel I viewed. (More on this later) Those nominated pick one episode from the 2005-2006 season to be viewed. This can be a difficult choice depending on the characters involvement in the story line during the season. In alphabetical order....lets begin with Frances Conroy.

Frances Conroy is a wonderful wonderful actress. In the ensemble show "Six Feet Under" she played the matriarch of the Fisher Family. At the beginning of this series, Nathaniel Fisher, her undertaker husband, died in the very first episode. The 'family' consists of her three grown children, her oldest son Nate, her middle son David, and her only daughter and youngest child, Clare. At the start of this series, the character of Ruth Fisher was a pretty uptight unhappy woman. As the series progressed, Ruth Fisher grew and changed and loosened up quite a bit. And Francis Conroy grew with her character. This series ended this season, I'm sorry to say. If you are unfamiliar with this show it is wonderfully written with superlative actors in every role and is very very much worth renting or buying, for that matter. The episode Frances Conroy picked to be viewed happened to be the very last episode of the series. In it her character goes from abject despair, because her eldest son has died, to a kind of resignation and then a kind of a 'peace' with her situation...a 'moving on as best she can' situation, if you will. Ms. Conroy's performance was very moving and totally believable. An extremely demanding and difficult job of acting for her in this, the very last episode ever, of "Six Feet Under", and she was more than up to it....she was brilliant.

Next, Geena Davis in "Commander In Chief". This series started out and was the highest rated ABC series of the new season this past year.
But it ran into problems in the production schedule, and the Writer/Creator/Executive Producer Rod Lurie, was fired and Steven Bochko was brought in to take over the Executive Producing duties. For about eleven weeks during the height of the television season, this show was off the air. And when it came back on, it seemed to have lost it's way as well as it's time slot. The original concept was changed somewhat, as well. The character that Ms. Davis played was still the first woman President of The United States, but the series was now no longer 'character driven' so much as "crises" driven, and it became rather unbelievable. Each week a different horrible world dilemma had to be dealt with and solved and of course this is why it became very unbelievable, to me. So, the episode that Ms. Davis chose 'for our consideration' was the Pilot Episode. A wise choice I think, because it showed her character in a very clear way when the series had a really much clearer focus of what it was about and where it was going. I think it is too bad that the circumstances of this series undercut it's ability to hold an audience and it was canceled before it even actually had aired all of it's filmed episodes. What started out so high, ended on a rather low and sad fault of Geena Davis', I might add.

Mariska Hargity is a lovely actress who until recently hasn't received the attention by the Television community that she deserves.
This series is a very solid one in the "Law & Order" 'franchise', as it is known, and is extremely well written and well acted, too. In this series Ms. Hargity plays Olivia Benson, a cop who along with her partner, played by Christopher Meloni, (Also up for an Emmy this year) handle 'sexually based heinous crimes' for the NYPD...thus the name Special Victims Unit. We have seen her in all sorts of situations over the years. And in the episode she chose 'for our consideration' she is on the phone for almost the entire episode with a young girl of nine, so we are told, who has called 911 for help because she is being abused sexually by a man she says is her father. The way this story unfolds the police are not sure this phone call is 'for real', but Olivia is pretty sure it is authentic. It is a rather complicated script with many twists and turns and as with all the "Law & Order" shows, as things unfold they aren't always what they seemed to be at first. Mariska Hargity is pretty much the featured person in this episode and she must show frustration, compassion, fear, disgust, sympathy, name it and she had to 'act' it. She was superb, and I can see why she chose this episode for our viewing.

Allison Janney is a very very special actress, to my way of thinking.
I have seen her do any number of parts over the years and she always seems to embody the character she is playing in a way that is not only completely believable, but you think, well, this must be who she is herself---and it is different every time. She has, I believe won two Emmy's for her portrayal of C.J. Cregg on "The West Wing", already. And I believe she has had at least 4 nominations before this for the very same role. Did she deserve to win the Emmy both times? Yes! Absolutely. Over the life of this series her character went from being the press secretary to being the Chief of Staff to the President, and it was completely believable within the context of her character. "The West Wing" ended it's run with this season and there was a lot of winding up to do as the Bartlett Administration was ending it's tenure and the newly elected President, Matt Santos was about to be sworn in as the new President. The episode Allison Janney chose 'for our consideration' was packed full of all the qualities we have come to know and love about C.J. Cregg, and then some. And Ms. Janney was, as always, smashing.

And last but not least, we have Kyra Sedgwick. This was a new series this year, like 'Commander In Chief'...on the FX Network.
An interesting premise....a young woman from the south is brought into the L.A.P.D. as someone who is capable of 'closing' cases fast and with a special insight that separates her from the pack. Kyra Sedgwick is a very wonderful actress and this is her first time as the lead in a Television Drama series---she has made many many films and is always terrific. The episode she chose is one where she gets to show her 'acting chops'....a girl has been raped and murdered and Sedgwick's character is trying to pinpoint exactly who the rapist/murderer is. When interviewing a suspect she wins him over by pretending to be this forgetful southern-belle type young woman, but turns completely when needed, to the very strong direct smart southern woman that she actually is, to "close" out the case. This nomination is well deserved.

Here is the really tough part about voting in this category. You have 5 levels of excellence assigned to you by number...The number one (#1) being the best and each number thereafter going down from there...till you have assigned all five numbers. number five (#5) being the least best. And you can only use each number once! As I said, no one is bad in this categiry or in any category for that matter...Ten or Fifteen (I cannot remember cause it is a new voting rule this year) Nominees were voted on by the entire Performing Members out of around 50 or 60 women who were submitted in this category. Then, a second level of Panels was held at The Academy where other volunteer Performer Members picked these 5 women as the final-final top five for this important category, having watched their tapes/dvd's. And now, it is up to those of us who are doing the "At Home Judging" (possibly 300 to 400 people or more) to decide who is the very best of these five.
Quite honestly, I am finding this a very very tough call.

More To Come....

Special Reminder: Wendy's First Of The Month Auditions, begin tomorrow...(It's the 31st in New Zealand you know....) So do go by and pay her a visit. It's loads of fun to play and you get to meet lots of nice fun people, too. And, she gives out a prize at the end of the few days...Pass your curser over her name just above and that will take you right there! Have fun, and I'll see you there!

Friday, July 28, 2006
tour of homes

BooMama had this great idea and here we are today, on the very day and date we are supposed to post our Tour-Of-Your-Home-Photo's. And all the links to ALL the Tours are over at BooMama' pass your cursor over her name right here and that will take you to her page and all the links to all the other people...Okay. So here is mine. I have two shots of my front door...One from outside, at night, (above) and one from inside the house, too! Here in the hills, it is a "must" to have Security Gates, I'm sorry to say. I tried to make them bearable by designing something that reflected the look of the front door and not like I am in a prison, you know? As iron gates go, I think these are rather pretty....but, they are what they are and there is no getting away from that. So here is the front door from the inside....I am sorry it is rather dark, but there isn't very good light here in this little vestibule...but as you can see, there are little windows on either side and the outside shot of the gate has these same kinds of panels going down each side. I put lights on either side of the outdoor gate to make it look more cheerful and welcoming.

Okay. Where I blog is pretty messy looking, but I know where everything is and this is how I like it. Looking at this, you would think that "Clutter" is my middle name. (lol) I blog in my bedroom. I've always worked in my bedroom. I painted more than 700 paintings of all sizes in this room and thousands of drawings, too. My bed is like my desk in many ways. (Not all the time, mind you...) And that's the way I like it, too. There was a time, before computers...yes, there actually was a time before computers....when I wrote in the dining room. In fact, I wrote all my plays on a typewriter there on the dining room table. But I write music, at this piano. This is the piano I grew up with and learned to play the piano on. In fact, all of my siblings learned to play on this piano. This is a corner of my living room, near the windows that face the city.

I was standing by the piano when I took this next picture. One of the things I have always loved about my house is how one room flows into the next and it is a very spacious house. As you can sort of see, though it is dark, the front door is beyond the living room, where there is a very wide and open hallway, almost like another room in itself....And here is the view looking from the other side of the living room back towards the piano which is on the extreme left of this next picture.... And you can see on the far middle right there is another little white piano....this is an electronic piano, and it looks just like a Baby Baby Baby Grand....and just beyond the little piano is the Dining I said, one room flows into another and it is a very open house...

And here is the little Baby Baby Baby piano, all by itself. Next, there is my Kitchen. This shot is just a portion of the kitchen. The light in there is really not great, but, I think you get the gist. I have not changed anything in this kitchen since I moved here 42 years ago, except the floor, and I repainted, but made the color of the shutters exactly as they had been before. I wouldn't have changed the flooring, but it was a must. Otherwise, all the appliances and woodwork is "original", and I love it that way! (I keep saying that, don't It's very "retro" they tell me.... This is a "lived in" Kitchen. This is a "lived in" house. I will show one more picture of the kitchen because I want you to see the fridge. You have to remember that my home was built 45 years ago. This Kitchen was considered fabulous, at the time! I mean a "pink" you don't see that too often and one that opens right to left, too! In fact a "pink' dush washer, too....This stove is Electric, (not so great with the power outages and truthfully, not so great for cooking, either)...and, it all sort of folds up and that four burner thingy goes back into the wall, so it all looks kind of flush. I leave it out most of the time cause it's just easier that way.

And last, but not least, one more photograph of an area of another room in my home. This is one wall of my Den/Library. I love this room....there is another full wall of books to the left of this picture with cabinets below for my stereo equiptment and 'records' and CD's, and some of my Sheet Music Collection. And there are more book shelves, as you can see, on the right wall as well....I feel like my home is very conducive to creativity. This room is kind of inspiring in it's way, just as each of the other rooms are, too.

This has been fun and I may do some more posting of some of the 'Objets' that grace the walls and tables...these things inspire me, too, and have deeply enriched my life with their presence. Hope you have enjoyed this "Home Tour" as much as I have enjoyed putting it together.

More To Come, As Always....

Update: Two more Judging Envelopes arrived today. These two are for Acting and they are: Outstanding Actor In A Drama Series, and Outstanding Actress In A Drama Series. I have my work cut out for me for this weekend, so forgive me if I am unable to post and visit....more about this later.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006
emmy viewing - 2

Many of you have commented on me being chosen to 'judge' these Emmy panels and just so you understand, any Television Academy Member is eligible to judge any of the panels as long as they are not connected in any way to any of the programs they will be judging. Many members volunteer to do this and as long as you 'fit' into the prescribed rules set up by the are accepted. So, because I fit these criteria, I have been accepted to judge the different panels I have volunteered for.

An interesting thing about the voting in this particular category which I just finished watching, is the method of voting.
There are five levels which are available to you: Poor, Fair, Good, Very Good, and Excellent. (Which is somewhat different than some of the other category's). You must choose one of these five for each of the programs that are nominated. And in this particular category you could give each one a rating of 'Excellent', if that is what you feel about it. In truth, this category: Outstanding Variety, Music, Or Comedy Special, is an impossible catagory because it isn't fair to judge a very heavily produced show, such as The Olympics, against a much simpler production such as Bill Maher or George Carlin.

So I find that it levels the playing field quite a bit that I can give each of these programs an "Execellent" if that's how I feel. There will always be someone else who feels differently about these programs than I do and so in the end the Emmy will go to the program that recieved the most "Excellent" votes. It may be a very close call ultimately, and of course there could be a 'tie', but a decision will be made with this system. I for one am very grateful that in this particular category you are able to use the same 'rating' for all of them if you feel that way, and truthfully, all five of these programs are very very worthy contenders.

Danny Miller commented on my previous post saying he wasn't happy when one Awards show honors another Awards show with, in this case, an Emmy. He said it felt like we were congratulating ourselves---or words to that effect. Well, having just finished watching the Academy Awards Show I must tell you that it was great Television viewing, in every way, and right up there with the four other nominees, in my book. Frankly, I had forgotten what a truly terrific show this was and so the Television Academy's insistence that one must watch all the 'enclosed dvd's' even if you have already seen the program is a well taken point. (One must sign an affidavit to this effect, by the way...) It was stunningly produced and filled with humor, and some very moving moments which brought me to tears. Admittedly I am in love with the movies and always have been for all of my life, so one could say I have a bias here....but I assure you, there have been years when The Academy Award Show was not that great and was for me a dissappoinment. This was not the case this year.

And a number of you asked if I can tell you how I voted...well, no, I don't feel that I can tell you. After August 27th I will tell you, but I don't feel right revealing that on my blog, before the fact. I do take this judging job very seriously because I know how these Awards things can go, and often do. By participating in this process I feel that my own personal integrity is involved and I care very much about how I vote. I know this is not going to change any really important things like World Hunger, or the AIDS Crises, but for whatever it is worth, I know I have done my best to judge these programs fairly. And that's really all I can do. My Ballot for this category will be in the mail tomorrow. And I am now waiting for the DVD's to arrive for the next panel that I volunteered to judge....I thought they would be here by today, but hopefully they will arrive by Thursday.

Governor's Ball: Emmy's 2005

More To Come......

Monday, July 24, 2006
emmy viewing

On August 27th, 2006 The Academy of Television Art & Sciences will give out the Emmy Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Television for 2005-2006.

Right now, in many homes, apartments, offices and hotel rooms, members of the Television Academy are perusing DVD's in any number of catagory's so they can vote on what each feels is the "best" in whatever catagory of panel(s) they have volunteered to judge. And at this point I am three quarters of the way through the first category I signed up to judge: Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Special.

The Nominees are, in alphabetical order:

The 78th Annual Academy Awards.

I of course watched this show at the time it was broadcast in early March of this year. But, I must watch it again, now, so that I am seeing it at the same time as I am seeing the other four nominee's and vote based on my viewing of this 'special' show today. This is the one DVD in this catagory that I have not watched as yet. I decided, since it is over three hours. (the commercials have been completely removed ....) and that of the five nominee's this is the only one I actually had seen already, that I would watch the others first....more on this show after viewing the DVD....

Bill Maher: I'm Swiss.
This is an HBO Comedy Special. I had seen little bits and pieces of it at different times, as HBO shows their programing multiple times for the convenience of their subscriber's,
but I had not seen it from beginning to end....I enjoyed this show enormously. It is beatifully produced and so it looks really stunning. I happen to think Bill Maher is one of our comic geniuses so I enjoyed the content enormously, too. It was for me, not difficult to watch at all, and the show seemed to fly by....For those who are not familiar with his is topical and political and though I depise these terms---it would be cosidered "liberal", which is just fine with me. He is tough on our leaders and our legislators and his subjects run from the Presidency and Foreign Affairs, to Domestic topics such as Gay Marriage. For those who haven't quite gotten the message yet, I agree with almost everything he says.

George Carlin: Life Is Worth Losing.
I had not seen almost any of this Comedy Special when it was broadcast. Maybe the last 5 minutes or so, but that was all. Again, this is an HBO Comedy Special and it too, has had multiple showings on HBO. This is a dark look at life and at the world in all it's ambiquities. It is not always comfortable to watch, but Carlin's view of the world is one that I personally find incredubly thoughtful and somewhat depressing, yet truthful and very funny, too. This is a very very smart man.
A thoughtful man who's cynicism comes from living on this planet a good 70 years or more and looking at the truths of how screwed up our culture and society really is...he skewers just about everything and all of his humor is very much based in his view of how crazy everything about our world really is. This show fly's by and is packed full of descriptive poetic language, if you will....there is Suicide, Reality Television, and Auto-Eroticism to name just a few of the topics he touches on....Carlin is in some ways remeniscent of Richard Pryor---that same "shoot from the hip" style---nothing is scared. Nothing. Production values are simple but top notch. The set is a graveyad and the show was taped 'live' in a theatre in front of an audience, (as was Bill Maher's show). The production is 'him', and that is as it should be.

McCartney In St. Petersburg.
This was a Network Broadcast Music Special which I had not seen any of...though there was another McCartney 'Special' last year or the year before that was on HBO or Showtime...I cannot remember which...which was part of this same catagory the last time I judged it. That 'special' was quite memorable and beautifully filmed and it was longer than the one I watched this weekend.
This one had been an hour long, but without the commercials it was only about 40 minutes. In all honesty I found it difficult to watch because the entire 'special' was in that MTV Style of camera shot of anything throughout the entire show was longer than 2 seconds...maybe a few shots in that 40 minutes were 3 seconds. I personally find this kind of camera work very hard on the eyes and my concentration is poor too, because I don't get a chance to really 'see' or focus on anything long enough. Especially given that this was St. Petersburg, I thought there were missed opportunity's to be a lot more creative than what I saw. Another kind of boring thing about it was that all of the mucic was in a certain 'beat' with almost no change of pace and almost every song was in the same key so that it almost seemed like it was one l-o-n-g 40 minute song...! I found this aspect truly boring. So, this was a very dissapointing show for me, especially since the previous McCartney Special was such a surprisingly artful and beautifully musically rendered show in comparison to this shorter and less creatively imaginative one. This show did not fly by for me.

And last, but by no means least:
The XX Olympic Winter Games-Opening Ceremony.
I had not seen this program either. Not a moment of it. And this was a beautiful production in every beautiful, in fact, that in brought me to tears. This particular program falls into the "Variety" part of this catagory. It had everything. Music, Dancing, Shooting Flames, Beautiful Costumes and the camera work was fantastic....most satisfying, in every way. Nothing was missed. So as I watched this program I felt I was there in the stadium, and better, too, with close-ups and at times when they used the overhead cameras in the blimps, it was breath taking to watch. The home country for these games was Italy, as you may recall, and the Italians did a masterful and moving job of these opening ceremonies, particularly when the Olmpic Flame was finally lit...that was an awesome moment not soon forgotten. And it is a real plus to be able to see a program like this without any commercials. The cumulative impact is much greater when you are not interupted by the glory's of "Preperation H" or some other advertising...I would have to say that the Production values of this program were 'top notch' superlative!

So, sometime today and or tomorrow I will try to watch The 78th Academy Awards and then make my final decisions on these five programs. I should be recieving the DVD's for the second panel I am judging today or tomorrow, depending on the mails....and then there will be more "uninterupted viewing"....

More To Come.....

Friday, July 21, 2006
euphorbia ingens 1986-2006

The rather small plant way over on the right and almost against the side wall of the house is a Euphorbia Ingens. A beautiful wonderful plant that grows fairly quickly because it is not a Cactus but more of a Succulant. This photograph was taken early on in the beginnings of my Cactus Garden. So this photograph was probably taken in 1986-87. Here it is, about 4 or 5 years later...and you can tell how small some of these other plants were then...that sort of white fuzzy in the foreground is the plant that has all the Penis Flowers each is taller than me now. And the spiky one at the left, the Yucca Rostratta is also taller than I am now, too. Here in the picture above the Euphorbia Ingens is really growing bigger and better....this is probably 7 or 8 years growth....then in the picture just below the of E. was probably taken about seven or eight years is healthy looking and getting bigger and bigger...the arms are growing straight up as you can is around 1998 in this picture.... This next picture I took in February of this year...and it is as big as it ever was....though the tops are not standing up as straight as they should...some of the little newer arms are kind of drooping, as you can see here... In this close-up picture of the top arms, below....

you can really see, the little newer arms drooping somewhat. And the interesting thing is, it flowered profusely this year! They say that sometimes this happens when a plant is is a closer look in the picture below at the flowers already on the way to seed....I can't get over the incredible abundance of flowers this year...but...but...but.... About 2 months before my birthday, I noticed that there was some "brown" creeping up from the bottom of this plant that did not look good, at must have already been doing that, but none of us had noticed it because the bottom of that plant is already very woody and was only when I looked more closely and carefully one day that I saw this strange thing appeared to have crept further up one of the arms and I finally realized there was a big big problem....I talked it over with my gardener and he tested those lower arms and it was indeed, very sickly. We knew it would have to be cut down, but I couldn't face another loss of another big plant....I said, lets wait till after my birthday.

Having made this decision, I took some pictures of the creeping "brown" just to have a record of it....this was taken on July 7th.... This is how bad that creeping "brown" had become by the 7th of July. I knew the time had come to do something about this poor dying plant...So, on Wednesday, July 19th they came with the electric saw, and began to take down this once beautiful plant that was a little more than twenty years old. The one man cut off the arms, a little at a time so as not to let anything fall and possibly destroy some other plants...(I had told the Foreman guy that it was very very important to me that nothing would be broken or damaged, and if anything was, I would not pay them...) Another man, Carlos, was up on the roof, taking each piece and carrying it to the edge and throwing it down on a tarp they had put down for just this purpose...And here is Carlos, throwing a piece to the ground... Then, down below, there were a couple of men waiting to take each piece and put them in the truck, where another man took a machete and cut up these pieces so they would fit in the truck better, and then be carted away. And then the pieces went to the truck... And in this next picture below, you can see the Euphorbia Ingens is a lot more spindly because there are fewer and fewer sad to say.... And here below, you can see that it is now, shorter, yet again... And here, as this man Sikell used the chain saw to cut these pieces off, you can see little bits of the plant flying in the air...Oy! And then Sikell would hand this other man on the ground another piece as this plant got smaller and was painful to see this even though I know it had to be done.... And here in the truck is that really bad sickly looking arm with the creeping "brown" on it's arm.... And it is clear why we didn't see the problem sooner, becauuse if you look at that arm over on the left side of the picture you can see the woody part of it before the creeping "brown" started....

And then in this picture below, this once beautiful plant is almost, mo more.... And in this next shot, all that's left is the rest of the root which he has leveled off so it is not even a stump.... Then, this morning..Thursday, July 20th, another man came and used a kind of pick ax to get the root out.... Once that was done, all that was left was the sawdust from all that the chain saw did the day before...and a few of the cuttings from the Amak which we had to cut down in January which are in pots rooting now... It is surreal to me to see this space empty. As if nothing was ever there. No real evidence that a little plant that became a beautiful big tree in twenty years was ever there at all. No arms to save...(too much sickness in the system of the plant) cuttings that will grow and become a new and beautiful plant/tree from that mother plant. Now, it's just an empty space...lonely looking and sad....
Rest In Peace dear Euphorbia lived a good life and you were a beautiful amazing plant. You will be greatly missed.

This post will stay up for a few days....I have a lot of DVD's to watch for The Television Academy At-Home-Judging...and there is a deadline if I don't come round to visit you, please forgive me...

More to come....

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Name: OldOldLady Of The Hills
Location: Los Angeles, California

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