Monday, January 30, 2006


ABOUT SOME MOVIES


Often, when I am not doing anything else, I like to check out what Turner Classic Movies is showing, and not too long ago I tuned in towards the beginning of one of my all time favorite films: “Sullivan's Travels”—a wonderful Preston Sturges film (He was a great Writer-Director….for the uninitiated)--it’s just such a ‘thirty’s-forty's’ kind of a movie.It was released in 1941-2. Joel McRae & Veronica Lake, (her best film performance to my way of thinking…and McRae is gorgeous and delightful and besides that, great to look at, too...) are the stars, with many of those great great character actors of that period---one of the best parts of ‘the studio system’.


What makes this such a great film for me is that it starts out a slapstick comedy, set in Hollywood—witty and silly with fast clipped dialogue-- and ends up with a ‘message’ that makes me cry every time I see it. I often talk about it, and tell younger people who are unfamiliar with this film, that it’s a ‘must see’ because the ‘message’ is such a terrific one. I always felt and still do feel that the look of the ‘chain gang’ sequences had more of real feel to them than any other film I’ve seen to date, including those in ‘Cool Hand Luke’…! Maybe because “Sullivan’s” is in Black & White…I don’t know.


In this film, Joel McRae plays a Hollywood wriiter-director who is known for his smash hit comedy films but he longs to make a serious movie that shows the 'problems' of the Depression Time...because he wants to move and touch people and make them think.
And the name of this film he is dying to make is called "Oh, Brother Where Art Thou", and it is not just a coincidence that the very recent George Clooney film of the same name was taken straight out of "Sullivan's Travels". That is the kind of impact that this slapstick-comedy-with-serious-overtones made on many of the film comunnity who weren't even born when this film first came out, and still makes.


And there is such a look to the film...that special look that B & W films had at that time...lit so very carefully to get every bit of 'juice' out of it, so to speak. I urge you if you don’t know this film and want to have a great time, run out and rent it...or put it on your Netflix Queue! I so much want to tell the great ending and the ‘message’, but I won’t. Suffice it to say, it’s worth renting on many many levels, not the least of which is that it is a Preston Sturges film….
and while you are at the rental store or Netflix, be sure to get “The Lady Eve”, too….another very witty faced paced "screwball" comedy Sturges-written-directed picture with two of our greatest actors ever…Henry Fonda and Barbara Stanwyck, both looking fabulous, I might add, plus more of those fantastic thirty’s and forty’s character actors—William Demerest, Eric Blore, (both in “Sullivans”, too) and Charles Coburn, to name just a

few...

A few weeks ago, when I couldn’t sleep early early in the morning, I was surfing around those other movie channels that have no interruptions, and saw the last fifteen minutes of “The Miracle Worker”….
another film that I just love!! Besides having two of the greatest performances ever committed to film, it has a gorgeous score by Laurence Rosenthal that can bring me to tears in a millisecond---in fact, this is another film that always brings me to tears—most especially at that moment of the discovery of 'the knowing', when the young Helen Keller makes the connection between ‘words’ and ‘objects or names’ that Annie Sullivan has been trying to teach her throughout the film....well, at that point in the film I am always a goner! Between, these two great actresses performances—(Anne Bancroft and Patty Duke)--and the direction of Arthur Penn coupled with that incredibly moving score---the tears always come—I mean sobbing tears---and I’ve probably seen this film 20 times.


I was lucky enough to have seen the original Broadway production with the same two actresses which was an incredible experience “live”—especially the dinner scene, if you are familiar with this play and film, you know the scene I mean---
and on top of that it’s so damned inspiring too, you know? And again…gorgeous black and white photography---Ernest Caparros—of whom I know nothing except that he was the cinematographer on this film!

I said in another post which practically no one ever saw because it was on my old blog and I was very new to blogging and had no readership, shall we say... I said, how the movies saved my life and ruined my life, too…and that is still true, today. Give me a terrific movie and I am a happy person….including all the movies that allow me to cry like a baby. Like “Finding Neverland”. Oh my….I was so grateful that I was able to see this in my own home, by myself.
It would have been deeply embarrassing to be in a movie theatre….because it is a-whole-box-of-Kleenex movie for me, you know?….I want Johnny Depp to adopt me…no, wrong….I just want Johnny Depp! Beautiful Beautiful film, in every way---another gorgeous score, and that extraordinarily wonderful little boy—Freddie Hysmore…in fact there wasn’t a false moment in that entire film. And for my money, this film should have won the Academy Award. I knew it wouldn’t, but I still think it should have….I don’t even remember what did win---“Lord Of The Rings”?? (I think).

“Sullivan’s Travels” didn’t win anything and wasn’t even nominated for anything. Neither did “The Lady Eve”. “Finding Neverland” won one major Award and that was for the music, but on the other hand, both Anne Bancroft and Patty Duke won Academy Awards back in 1962 for their stunning performances in “The Miracle Worker”.


‘…..Sometimes There's God So Quickly….’ !

(In the interest of 'truth in publishing', this post was on my old blog that hardly anyone ever saw and before I knew how to do "photographs", so I edited it and reworked it and added the photo's, which make a big difference...)



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Sunday, January 29, 2006


WEIRD THINGS


Chatty (Thank you soooo very much, dear Chatty),tagged me to do this about a week ago, and I know someone else tagged me a few weeks before that when I didn't have time...(Forgive me, I cannot remember who???) to do this 5 weird things, thingy...


The first player of this game starts with the topic “5 Weird Habits I Have.” People who get tagged then write an entry about their 5 weird habits as well as state this rule clearly. In the end, the writer will need to choose the next five people (victims) to be tagged and links to their blogs.

1.- I don't usually buy ONE of anything...I buy 3 or 4....Kleenex, Cat Food, (now here we are talking-Cases Of Things), Paper Towels, Toilet Paper, etc.... I hate the idea of 'running out' of anything...I'm sure a shrink would have a field day with that!

2.- And along those lines...I have a special sound proof room that has foam rubber on the walls and floor, where I can go scream and rant and rave and cry my eyes out if that's what I need to do...a life saver of a place! And it's right here in my house. And I've been do this for years and years and years!

3.- I have a lot of trouble with noxious fumes..It hurts my lungs and so I cannot be around smoke or cleaning products or peticides of any kind.
It is rather restricing to the cleaning of my house and the tending of my garden, but, it is truly dangerous to my lungs.

4.- I wear socks when I go to bed, winter and summer! Gotta keep my footsies warm...

5.- I never wear a brassiere if I can help it...and possibly I should, but it feels very restricting to me so wherever and whenever I can, I go 'braless'.


I know I'm supposed to tag 5 someones, but...I'm not going to. I just think if you think this would be fun, you should give it a try!



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Friday, January 27, 2006

OPRAH FEELS DUPED!

So I saw this short video clip on Internet Explorer today, and said, out loud, to no one except my cat Sweetie,..."Well, Finally!"

I was very disturbed after the original revelations obout James Frey's book came out, that Oprah went on Larry King Live, and by telephone or whatever..(I didn't actually see this...just heard about in the News Media....) and continued to back up this man's book, saying it wasn't important if some things weren't the actual truth...etc., etc (and THAT is a paraphrase of what she said....)

I didn't really understand that...cause things are either the truth or they aren't. And it does matter if you have specifically said...'this is a true story'....And I understand we can all 'forget' details of experiences and even 'remember ' them in strange ways that another person would say...'that's not what happened'...Even GIVEN THAT....I could not understand Oprah backing up this guy sooo quickly, without further investigation...

And especially, now that her next Book Club pick is Elie Weisel's "Night"...and this is a man who is known for telling the truth of his life and the horrors that he lived through during the Nazi regime and the Holocaust and having written about it for many many years...
How does that reflect on him if she says the truth doesn't matter...How does that reflect on every person who has lived through unbelieveable horrors who then write about it as 'fact'....How does it reflect upon the insane people who already think that the Holocaust didn't happen, or that even if it did happen it's been exagerated....those were many of the thoughts I had...

AND, what does this say about Oprah, that she could let this 'go by'...

Over the years I have seen (as we all have) Oprah become an activist for many many important wrongs that she hopes to 'right' or at least that she hopes to try to 'right'...she has put her money where her mouth is, too...which is more than a great many people do...and I admire her and respect her for that...But....but....but.....

There are some other things that I have not been able to "square" within myself regarding The Oprah Winfrey Show....and one of them is how the audience that we see 'on camera' looks....Everyone looks like a model or a successful 'young woman of a certain age'....perfect dress, perfect hair, perfect make-up, perfect Weight...And I've wondered...Where Are 'The People'? Whatever happened to her regular audience that we used to see all the time....you know what I mean...all shapes, sizes and colors...Young, Old, Fat, Thin, Well Dressed, NOT Well Dressed...I don't know about you, but I find it intimidating and false...But, truthfully, I am mostly disturbed by 'The False' part...this is not how a roomful of people look, unless they are auditioning for "Desperate Housewives"...And, further, where are all the men?? Old, Young, Fat, Thin.etc....?

When did Oprah's audience become so restricted in encompassing humanity as we know it and see it every day of our lives, or when we look in the mirror??

I don't have the answer to this or anything else about Oprah, except what I am shown by those camera's and what I hear coming from her and her guests....

Yes, I was really glad to see this little clip today...now I would like to see the whole interview-confrontation with James Frey, and see what else she says to him and to the millions upon millions of people that watch her every day who have given her their trust.


***Okay...Update!

I watched Oprah's show after I had written the above...and I've gotta say, she was terrific. Her apology was heartfelt and she addressed all the concerns with this story and her having called in to the Larry King Live show, and she apologized and said she was wrong! Good for her! And she grilled James frey, to her credit, asking him a lot of very tough questions. And, she even had two journalists on, Richard Cohen & Frank Rich, both of whom had criticized her, in print, for seemingly saying that the truth of this book didn't matter...She addressed that head on and said she was sorry for giving "...the impression that the truth doesn't matter, because that is not how I live my life, at all."...her words!

And she had another man on who addressed the exact concerns I mentioned up above in regard to the Elie Weisel book...and in truth, addressing the greater issue of all books that say they are the 'truth'.
Watching James Frey, I thought...this guy may not take drugs or drink anymore, but the fact that he could write a book and 'lie' about some very very important 'facts' means to me his 'recovery' is at deep risk...Being truthful is one of the cornerstones of recovery, as I understand it....He may not actually drink anymore, but he is, it seems to me, like what they call a 'dry drunk'.



His situation will be very interesting to observe as time goes on...

One of the journalists who Oprah had on was Frank Rich of The New York Times, who had written about the Comedy Cental comedian Stephen Colbert having coined the word "truthiness"....isn't that a great word? And it does seem that this is what we live with now, "truthiness"... More than ever...especially from our politicians.

There is a wonderful line from the movie "Something's Gotta Give" where the Jack Nicholson character says to Diane Keaton's character, "I've always told you some version of the truth!"....and she answers, "The truth doesn't have versions...."
I really think that this is why this whole thing about Frey's book is so very important. The truth doesn't have versions. The truth is 'The Truth'. Anything else is fiction.

As for Oprah....she redeemed herself in a most public way, (making for great great television at the same time,) and I respect her for that with all my heart.

Now what about the way your audience is portrayed, Oprah?

What do you think about this whole thing?




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Thursday, January 26, 2006

THE ANSWER!

So....here is the answer....
BUT FIRST....
a few more shots of that same thing...

Same thing, sort of....

And....

Another one, that is similar...

And.....

Ooooooo.....

And...

Another.....

And Then....


And finally....

This is what I was photographing...

Only....

The one above was taken during the day, of course, when you can actually see the street where the night shots were taken....That street, La Brea Avenue, is soooo very busy that I was trying to show the huge amount of traffic, going both ways bumper to bumper, with all the lights. And I moved the camera by mistake and it looked so cool, I actually began to shake the camera a lot of different ways, on purpose....but had no idea till I saw the photographs what they would look like!

And, incidentally, a few of you did guess lights from traffic and you were indeed, correct. There were more shots, too...but I didn't want to over-do it...Well, I guess I may have anyway....

Thanks so much for guessing...


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Wednesday, January 25, 2006


GUESS...

Can you guess what this is?
Ahhhh go ahead, give it a try!
You'll have a great time making
up a story about this photograph...
You will!
I promise.
and
All will be revealed next time!



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Monday, January 23, 2006

JAN CLAYTON

How I got to thinking about Jan Clayton is too long to tell here, but suffice it to say, I watched an old "Lassie" TV show, (when, believe it or not, it was called "Jeff's Collie"....!) Jan Clayton played Ellen Miller, Jeff's (Tommy Rettig) mother, from 1954 to 1957....and though over the years, she did many many guest starring appearances on television, for many people The Lassie Show was what she was best known for....when, in fact, Jan Clayton had a big broadway career in the mid to late 40's....

And, before that, she starred in quite a few movies....yes, they were what used to be called B movies, (maybe even C movies) but, she did star in them...


But where I first became aware of her was in the Rodgers & Hammerstein Broadway Musical, "CAROUSEL", (the Original Company with John Raitt) in 1945.
She originated the role of Julie Jordon and had the opportunity to sing the great GREAT duet-song---a little musical play unto itself---"If Loved You". She recieved fantastic reviews and became the toast of Broadway...and the following year starred in the very first Revival of the Jerome Kern/Oscar Hammerstein musical, "Show Boat"...again,
taking Broadway by storm and landing on the cover of Life Magazine. (Whch was a

a very prestigeous thing to happen, back then....just try to buy one of those original Life Magazines today....)


There are things that happen to you in your life that are so memorable they stay etched in your memory, forever...Maybe it's because my life has been devoted to the theatre and music that some of my memories have more meaning to me than they might to someone else...such a 'memory' came back to me as I watched "Jeff's Collie"...

In my World AIDS Day post, I spoke of my dear friend Carl Bostelmann,
and how he enriched my life in so very many wonderful ways, not the least of which were the glorious intimate party's that he gave...all were always 'happenings' of a sort...and all were always beautiful in every way...He had a knack for gathering people together and for making everything about the entire evening, perfection! Such a party was his 50th Birthday Gathering.

Everyone wore white, (a requirement for this 'special' occassion), and Cocktails were served in the front yard of Carl and his partner's unprentious home... Dinner was served in the back garden where they had six tables of 5 or six people, all chosen carefully, to compliment one another...Balloons and Candles were everywhere...Beautiful China and Glassware and Linen were all in abundance, and the Menu had been carefully planned considering the fact that this was August and it would be very very warm...everything, as I said was pefection which was always the case with any of Carl's party's...magical actually, with over 100 candles burning and all this exteremly beautiful china and glassware and linen adorning each table with special votive lights for each table, again, chosen with great care by Carl. He always created a warm welcoming atmosphere...using beautiful formal looking things, but there was never anything 'formal' about the way one felt being a part of these gatherings.


Part of his great gift as a host, was to bring people together who would make for a good mix because of their connections to each other. I was at the "mostly musical" table...my dear pal Betty Garrett was there at that table and a wonderful Composer/Lyricist--Billy Barnes,
who had written 6 very successful Musical Reviews and had also written 'special material' for a number of Musical Variety TV Shows...I had known Billy almost as long as I had known Carl....we had worked together in a piano bar where he played and I sang, early on in our friendship...

Then there was as a young man, Glenn Moore, who was a Musicologist Archivist. His special interest was The History Of The Broadway Musical--he knew every show that had ever been produced on Broadway and who was in it...Then there was a lovely man named Al Morley, who owned a Movie & Music Memorabelia store and who had been in and an around theatre in Los Angeles working on the Producing side for as long as I had been in L.A. And last but not least, was the lovely and talented Jan Clayton. The 'Musicologist' and I were the only two who had not met her before...and Carl had said that she might not even be able to come because she had only gotten out of the hospital a few days before and was still quite ill...But, she was indeed there, and Carl was excited, because her birthday was coming in a few short weeks and ever the thoughtful host, Carl had made this a double celebration. So, this was the mix at our lovely 'musical' table.

Everything about this party was a dream come true. Everything, except for one element...the pianist that Carl had hired to play for the evening. He was, in a word, Bad. In fact he was Truly Terrible. Perhaps it was just our table that knew how really really bad he was...Though no one would say anything to Carl about it, we, at our table, did kind of snicker among ourselves, everytime this guy hit a clinker, and there were many many clinkers throughout dinner. So, quite frankly, at the end of dinner when Carl begged Jan Clayton to sing, I really didn't think she would...not only because this pianist truly stank, but because she was still so very ill and in fact had hardly eaten any dinner, at all. But sing she did. and brilliantly, too, I might add.


There is a song that was written for the very first revival of "Show Boat" that Jan Clayton had starred in...in fact it was the last song Jerome Kern ever wrote...called "Nobody Else But Me"...a beautiful wonderful musically complicated song that Carl had requested that Jan sing on his special night. It was, I think the essence of Carl in many ways, and I think Jan Clayton knew that and so, she made this extra special effort for our Birthday Boy.

Here are the lyrics, by Oscar Hammerstein to "Nobody Else But Me". I think they are are worth notating:

I WANT TO BE

NO ONE BUT ME

I AM IN LOVE WITH A LOVER WHO LIKES ME

THE WAY I AM.

I HAVE MY FAULTS,

HE LIKES MY FAULTS,

I'M NOT VERY BRIGHT

HE'S NOT VERY BRIGHT

HE THINKS I'M GRAND THAT'S GRAND FOR ME!

HE MAY BE WRONG, BUT IF WE GET ALONG

WHAT DO WE CARE? SAY WE!

WHEN HE HOLDS ME CLOSE

CLOSE AS WE CAN BE,

I TELL THE LAD THAT I'M GRATEFUL AND I'M GLAD

THAT I'M NOBODY ELSE BUT ME.

This song has more key changes than almost any other song I have ever heard...the point being that it is a very very difficult song to sing and an even more difficult song to 'play'....(I'm sure you are getting the picture here...) Stinko Piano Player butchered this song so badly I honestly don't know how Jan Clayton sang it at all. Having someone backing her who sometimes was not even in the same key as she was (and he had the music in front of him,) had to be her worst nightmare come true. But because Carl had requested this song and it was his birthday, Jan Clayton, in her most professional 'trooper--the-show-must-go-on-way', finished this number and everyone was enthralled and thrilled, and truthfully, because of her professionalism, no one at that party except the 'mostly musical' table were really aware that the piano playing was absolutely dreadful !


So, here was this great performer, barely out of her sick bed from the hospital, singing her heart out under the most adverse of circumstances...and pulling it off without most of the people there knowing that she was in deep deep doo doo with the awful rotten accompanist, who wasn't!

I don't know if this means anything to anyone else...but this woman singing under those conditions on that night was such a moving and sweet moment in time, to me...a once Broadway Star now singing--years later, (maybe for the last time), in this little unassuming intimate garden here in Los Angeles, a song that landed her on the cover of Life Magazine....another memorable moment in her wonderful career.....and, in just a few short weeks, (and as it turned out, two days after her very own birthday), Jan Clayton would be dead. None of us there that night knew that this would be her very last 'performance'....the very last time she would appear in public and sing in a public forum, albeit, a very small forum. And, it was a 'freebie' at that, with a terrifingly awful piano player. Not a pretty finish to a truly distinguished caeer.

The twists and turns of a life in 'the business of show', in all it's wonderful and ironic glory. Truth really is stranger than fiction, isn't it?

This is a bit of a postscript: A dear and good friend emailed me this comment and I wanted to share it with you....

Read your blog about Jan Clayton, and wanted to let you know about "Jeff's Collie". "Lassie" was ALWAYS called "Lassie"... except when it went into syndication. THEN it was re-named "Jeff's Collie" to keep it from being confused with "Lassie", which was still on the air. Since the early "Lassie"'s had changed families with the introduction of "Timmy" and June Lockhart (as I recall, the series introduced Timmy as an orphan or something... there was a "flow" from one family to the next), it was easy to package the early ones as "Jeff's Collie"; but when they originally aired they were part of the "Lassie" series.





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Saturday, January 21, 2006


"MARCH OF THE PENGUINS"

So I finally saw this BEAUTIFUL BEAUTIFUL film...I found the struggle of the Penguins inspiring, heart warming, depressing, and tragic..ALL at the same time....What a hard hard life they have...in every respect! The adversity. Those 'Winters'...(My Lord...). The devotion of the fathers to their egg and then to the baby.... The devotion of the mothers...walking those 70 miles, 3 times....Awesome, Awesome, Awesome.....A beautiful and amazing film....the devotion of the filmakers to these dear sweet huggable creatures and the artful cinematography....absolutely brilliant!
These filmakers deserve any and all Awards given this year for Best Documentary...(It should also get an Award for Best Love Story...)


I've always loved Penguins and I'm not sure why exactly...but as a tiny little girl, maybe 4 years old, I had a stuffed penquin...he was so adorable and I LOVED him with all my heart...His beak and his wings and his feet where all made of black leather...his eyes were those little buttons type-eyes...and his shape was truly 'classic' Penguin...

I have one semi-vivid memory of being in some theatre somewhere...I don't remember if it was an Opera or a Broadway play or musical...or a Concert....(my family were always going to all of these wonderful things ) And I know, whatever it was, I either wasn't feeling well or I was kind of bored with it...and my memory is walking around a sort of lobby like place, with my dear Penguin and some grown-up BIG person, holding my other hand, (the one that didn't have my Penguin in it..) walking with me so that I wasn't just wandering around alone at four years old in this strange building....

My poor Penguin got relagated to the attic in our house in Great Neck, at some point...He wasn't put away carefully with paper around him or anything like that, but he was not thrown out, either...And he got moved around a lot and shoved here and there and somewhere along the way, he lost one of his wings...I have no memory of how or where or even of what happened...but no matter how tattered or torn he got....he never got thrown out...

My mother did a MAJOR cleaning out of everything in that house after all of us were living our lives elsewhere and after she had a very serious bout with Breast Cancer...She got rid of all sorts of things that..well...I sure wish she hadn't... My entire collection of Comic Books...(A Priceless collection...I cannot imagine what they might have gone for on Ebay, eventually...) My entire collection of Movie Magazines....the
Photoplay's and Modern Screen's all of which were collector's items and were worth...God Knows What...(more Ebay stuff...Good Lord....) But no, they went out with the garbage!


But, she didn't throw out my Penguin...(or my Giraffe, either)!
My sweet Penguin got put in boxes, shoved in corners, pushed and squeezed and pretty badly abused, but...she never threw him out...

After she died, a few years later....my siblings and myself had to do all those things that one has to do...my mother had lived in that house for 40 years. It was the house where we all grew up....and the attic, though much cleaned out and organized, was still very very full...other magazines---Life, Look, National Georgraphic, The New Yorker, Fortune Magazine, Esquire Magazine....and sooooo many more, plus all sorts of other stuff...a lifetime of living and four children, all of whom were and are 'collectors' of stuff and things...

My sister Gene and I spent most of the late spring of that year, plus the entire summer, getting everything sorted and given away and everything that needed to be decided on--furniture, paintings, silverware, china, etc., etc., etc., WAS decided on and though each one of us had to give up things we didn't think we could part with...we were giving it up to each other, so that it was still going to stay in the family...and our personal childhood things, if we didn't have them with us already, we got them that summer....that house would be sold since no one in the family really could or would live there...everyone's life established in other city's and states....

As I'm sure you can imagine, this was a very difficult and emotional time for all of us....but, we did it, and I think we did it well...
And so, finally, I had my few stuffed animals from my childhood in my personal possession...packed away once again for shipping to Los Angeles...and then...finally unpacked and put in a rather dear place by my way of thinking...out in my garage, in a Basket that I hung up right near the door that goes to the inside of my house, so that I see them at least once a day if not much more...and I feel like my Penguin and the others guard that door and me....protecting me from....whatever.




And here he is....tatterted and torn...older 'than dirt', as they say, but still with me.....

My dear little Penguin who has been through the mill...maybe not quite the mill that the Penguin's in that wonderful film went through, but, in his own way, he has survived evrything...and mostly, he survived neglect.

But he didn't get thrown out...and I'm deeply grateful for that...


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Thursday, January 19, 2006


"THE PLANT"







So....on Monday, January 16th, my gardener and two other strapping men along with my gardener's two sons, cut back the rest of the arms off of the twenty year old Euphorbia Amak Verigated. This is the 50ft.+ plant that got uprooted and fell onto my Patio Roof, on January 2nd, during the worst Rain/Wind storm I have ever lived through in all the years I have lived up here on the hill.


To bring you up to speed...for those of you who have been following this saga, and for those that have not been following this saga, too, the first thing my gardener did, (two days after the horror happened)
was to try to lift the plant up, using a rope and 5 young men to lift it. This could not be done. The plant was too heavy...(as stated before..almost 3 tons, yes, count them...Three Tons...and remember that's all fiber and wood and liquid...and it's a sticky liquid, at that,) So, then, though it was heart breaking to me, he began to cut off as many of the arms as possible in the BEST way possible, so that the rest of the plant could be saved.... (there were around 20 GOOD sized arms and maybe another 20 small ones...)
Many of these arms were then put on my front patio, and the rest were put down on the side of the house--standing up--, so they would have a better chance of surviving when it comes time to plant them.


At a certain point, they could not continue without possibly causing more damage to the roof and the plant...So, another possible solution was sought. I called in the so called 'Tree Experts'...(well, it depends on the tree's in question...I guess), and that was a total waste of time and energy....

Meanwhile, we realized that the plant had cracked at the base and it could not just be 'uprighted'...which had been my fervent hope from the moment it happened...

With all these many roadblocks, I had to make peace with each one, as they came along, because more and more it was becoming clear, that the life of that plant as I had known it, was over....That may not seem so terrible to a lot of people, but remember, I planted this Euphorbia twenty years ago when it was less than two feet high..and I watched it grow every day because it was planted near the front door of my home...and I felt like it was a 'child' of mine...and more than that I took such pride in how incredibly beautiful it was and how huge it had become...


So, after they figured out how to do the rest of this BIG job, Sevin came with his crew on this past Monday, and they sawed off...(very very carefully, I might add) another 30 or so arms...and they piled them up temporarily, on the entry way to the garage. And then they had to 'saw' what was left--in this case, the 'stalk' --into smallers pieces so they could get each piece to a size that would not be too unwieldy, and where the rest of the stalk could be removed the rest of the way....



I just had to document Sevin doing this mammoth job, and I guess, I was trying to, again, make more peace with the loss of this very wonderful plant. I am so very grateful to Sevin and his 'second', Luis, (who used to work in my garden, too) for taking such great great care of my roof, and of the plant, and of me. I am very very lucky to have someone like Sevin, who loves these plants almost as much as I do...


What they did, sounds like it was easy but it wasn't at all....again, because the original full plant weighed so very much...as I have said before...and each of these arms had to be so very carefully cut down so as not to have more damage to the roof, because if an arm were to fall...and some of these arms weighed up to 200 pounds each..and possibly more...well, you get the picture!


So, even when all the arms had been sawed of and the shaft down to what someone would consider a 'reaonable' size---something that could be carried away by perhaps 2 men---it was still so bloody heavy that they had to rig it so it could be dragged to the street, which, in this case luckily, was not that far away....and once there, more sawing was done so that that part of this amazing plant, (now gone), could then be carted away...
Those smaller pieces each probably weighed at least 40 to 50 pounds, and since we didn't have a scale to weigh them, they could have possibly been even heavier than that.....Looking at this cross-section of the trunk, you can see the 'heart' of the plant...that's the 5 pointed star-like shape in the center....this is the Life-Blood of the plant in every respect...Then, the next layer...not quite as soft as the heart but what protects the heart and grows larger and wider as needed, as does the heart as the plant grows upward and gets more and more arms...and then, the outer portion--the 'skin', if you will, where we see the outside color and where we see some prickly things, too....this particular piece is not the bottom of the plant yet...this piece was still about 12 feet off the ground and was probably 13 to 15 inches across...Amazing to see the inside like this...and the white stuff is that sticky liquid that tells you that this plant is a part of the Euphorbia Family of plants.



And then....the last of the stalk, after it was dragged to the street...still, too heavy to be lifted...the bottom ALL wood....
and where more sawing took place so that again, it could be carted away and not be too unwieldy while being taken to the dump....(Oh My!)









So, my beautiful twenty year old Amak Verigated is 'no more. BUT, we have been able to save way over 50 arms...maybe 70, when you count the smaller pieces!!! And each one of them can be planted so that this mother plant, which is no more, will live on in another incarnation. And amazingly, some of the arms would be considered to already be huge mature plants on their own, right now...
And I plan on giving away as many of these arms as possible so that other people who have continually admired my garden and this plant in particular, can and will enjoy having their own version of it....(I wish I could share them with some of you out there in the Blogesphere...).




So here on this dark afternoon earlier today, with rain threatening...this is how things look now...



You may be seeing some other photo's of this wonderful plant as time goes on..Who knows, maybe in my next post. I don't know...I just know I'm finding it difficult to 'Let Go, Let God', here, though I'm sure I will be able to....and, by the way, where this plant was, I will plant something else, but at this point I'm not sure what. It won't be another Amak Verigated because I think it might be good to put something else there that will be beautiful, too, but that won't get that big....of course it will be in the Cactus/Succulant family of plants because that's what appeals to me, and that will be in keeping with the rest of the garden...maybe something that has a flower like this, that the Humming Birds might want to visit!

***(If you click on this photo you will see a little ant, drinking the necter from this flower...Nature...it's WONDERFUL)

Time will tell.....
















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Name: OldOldLady Of The Hills
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