Thursday, November 30, 2006
three deer at noon

Here is a close-up of one of the three deer that came galloping down the street the other day....I just happened to be out there taking some pictures of a bird or two when I heard them running because a car behind them had frightened them....

I watched them quickly climb up the hill, across from me and disappear in the scrub that traverses the hill....But not before I was able to catch them mid-run..... And you can just see the back of that car that scared them down in the lower right corner of the picture...it had slowed down when they realized there were deer in front of them....you can see the red light at the top showing they were braking....

And just below is the middle one...I love that you can see his/her shadow so clearly....it was a beautiful cool sunny day.... These are such beautiful sweet animals I do not understand anyone wanting to shoot and kill them for 'sport'....it just seems so very cruel to me....

I was able to isolate the first one, as well....THey look so vulnerable to me....And here below are the middle one and the last one together, and a bit closer.... This all happened so quickly that the only other pictures I got were after they had almost disappeared under the scrub up there...And the last one kind of stayed in one place just long enough for me to get a pretty good picture of his tush.... Just another day on Castilian Drive....I was amazed that it was around 12:30pm....Usually we will see the deer late in the afternoon, or in the early evening....but the truth is, you just have to be in the right place at the right time to have the privelage of their fleeting company....It was a great gift to not only see them but for my camera to do exactly what I needed it to do by allowing them to be in perfect focus....as Blanche DuBois said in "A Streetcar Named Desire" by Tennessee Williams: "Sometimes there's God, so quickly...."

So, one more time.....





More To Come......



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Tuesday, November 28, 2006
cats on tuesday


Today begins Cats On Tuesady....a wonderful idea thought up by Gattina...and there are quite a few of us who will be doing this...What are we doing? We are writing about and showing pictures of our Cat(s). There are sooooo very many of us who are "owned" by cats, yes...OWNED by them, heart and soul....so there is now this designated day...Cat Tuesday where we devote our posts for that day to each of our dear purring four footed darlings....

My Darling is "Sweetie". As many of you already know....Sweetie rules the roost. He is very quiet about it but---when you come down to it---he is 'The Boss'. And a better boss a person could not ask for!

In this picture above you see him in a very typical pose...Lying with his paws stretched out----almost crossed in a way, and staying close to me...I am working at the computer and he is on the end of the bed----his most favorite place to be----making sure I am with the best company I could possible have.....Him!

Another favorite place of his is 'in' or on, one of his Condominium's...(he has three)...but the one in the picture below is without a doubt, his very favorite...
And there above.....(what the hell is that space all about????) he is in his condo.....though sometimes he is on 'the deck' of this condo, too! I'll shoe you that another time....But for now, I love this next picture because I was trying to catch him---mid flight---getting into his condo.... LOL, LOL, LOL...He is very very fast, sometimes.....He is a delightful person....so beautiful and those gorgeous blue eyes. He is such a great great comfort....And, as I have said many many times....As Sweet as his name....And here below is "The Sweetster" looking tres tres beautiful, surveying everything within his view from one of the chairs in the den.... That is it for this Tuesday....

To visit any of the others who are bragging...ooops, I mean writing about their cats go to Gattina's...(pass your cursor over her name and click...just like those Ruby Red Slippers....you only have to click it once though....) and that will take you to her blog, where all the links are to the other participants....until I can learn how to do Mr. Linky...that will have to serve and suffice, I hope....





More To Come......


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Sunday, November 26, 2006
views

I think this speaks for itself.......

Sometimes, photographs just take my breath away....the picture above does that to me....in fact, my whole view does that to me, depending on the day....the weather....the smog.....the sunset....

Another fabulous sky.....Oh My.....

And just one more because sometimes there are too many and you can't really take them in....and when that is the case, you miss the 'experience'....you know? I'm off to 'dreamland' now....I hope I dream about these gorgeous sky's....





More To Come.....





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Friday, November 24, 2006
the past nudged by the present

A million years ago, I was "coaching" in New York City at a place called VAMP Studios. Voice, Arrangements, Music, and Production...V.A.M.P.
This was the full service place for the budding singer and in some cases for the already Performing Professionally, singer/actress/actor.
The 'principals' involved in this fantastic one-stop service were, VOICE: Richard Camillucci, of whom I have spoken before....
Arrangements: Luther Henderson (pictured to the right) one of the finest Musical Arranger/Conductor/Composers of the 20th Century---(Google him, please....he was one amazing gentleman), and Music...well, everything these men did involved 'music' but indeed, there were a number of accompanists that played for the recipients of these services....and they were all fantastically talented....and last but not least, Production: Buster Newman. Buster was an amazing man that knew how to bring out the best in you and the best in producing a professional 'nightclub act'. As a team, these guys were unstoppable.


I met a lot of wonderful people through VAMP Studios....many of whom remain in my life, or did till they passed on, to this day....One of the Great Great people I met was a woman named Marcella Markham. She was an actress and a singer working with Buster and Cami on improving and refining her skills. She was married to a very interesting man...quite a bit older than she was...Frank Kingdon and they had a little boy about 5 years old, named Tom. Frank was a wonderful writer and a liberal activist---having backed Henry Wallace and The Progressive Party back in 1947-48, but who had fallen into the Blacklist Hole of the early 50's, which had sent him packing....and had also sent him to the 'ghost writing'-farm where he wrote for some of the most famous political men of his generation who were not afraid to hire him to pretend he was them, as long as no one found out. This is where things were, when I met Marcella. She had been in the Original Broadway production of Eugene Oneill's "The Iceman Cometh"...playing 'Cora'....a landmark production which opened on Broadway in 1946. I met Marcella in 1953. She was nine years older than me.

Marcella was a born and bred New Yorker and we really hit it off, big time. She had a great sense of humor and was incredibly bright and endlessly interesting to me....She was in my eyes a very sophisticated woman with great heart. A woman who followed her own star so to speak and was not anything like anyone I had known before that time, and certainly not like any one of my peers....and, it turned out she had a very handsome brother who happened to be a trumpet player then working as a salesman for the then rather large department store in the Bronx called Alexander's. And I met him because Marcella thought we would make a nice couple. We began dating and I was crazy about him. Sometimes I would stay overnight at Frank & Marcella's apartment in the city....so that Bob and I could have more time together....It was a very exciting time....

This memory of Marcella and in turn her brother Bob was stirred by an article I read in the New York Times the other day. It was about that fascinatingly gifted English actor, Bill Nighy. Remember him in "Love Actually"? He was the over-the-hill Rocker guy who has a comeback with his most famous recording....I LOVED that movie a lot! And I adored Bill Nighy a lot, a lot!! Since that time he has had a much higher profile in the United States, being cast in many many films, three of which are coming out soon...and he is opening at The Music Box Theatre on Broadway in a play called "The Vertical Hour" on November 30th....thus, this interview-article in The Times titled "A Veteran Actor's New Role: Thinking Woman's Crumpet". It is a charming artcle and covers the fact that at 56 Bill Nighy is suddenly the 'leading man' who gets the girl...it was charming and very informative, too.

In the article he talks a great deal about his early years as an actor and his even earlier years as a young teenager, leaving home after listening to Bob Dylan's first album...and what happened to him after that...Okay, Okay...I'm getting to the Marcella Markham part....
He speaks about his very first professional job as an actor where he played a body guard. This was in a production of Tennessee Williams play "The Milktrain Doesn't Stop Here Anymore" and the actress playing the lead who's body he would be guarding was named Marcella Markham....(Parenthetically here: Marcella and Frank were divorced and Marcella moved to England, re-married and began having a 'real' acting career again, their in the UK which is where she was when this incident happened....this was now in the late 60's and early 70's.....and just fyi: I wrote an original score to this same T. Wiiliams play for a production here in Los Angeles in the mid 60's....)


In the article Bill Nighy talks about the first day of rehearsal of this play and I quote: "My process, which hasn't changed was to create a hostile parallel universe in which I was about to get fired. She, (Marcella that is) looked at me a long time and in an act of tremendous kindness, which I have never forgotten, she said; 'Where did you find him? This kid is fabulous'....." And that was truly the beginning of his serious career as an actor. After reading this article I found another quote from him about this incident with Marcella, which was more extensive and actually covered this same story in a much more complete way....:


"The leading lady was the beautiful and glamorous American Actress, Marcella Markham....She came in, in a big coat and huge shades and sat while I spoke the lines for the first time in rehearsal. I was very nervous and my breath was short, so I had a little difficulty delivering them. I couldn't move, either, it turned out, which was disappointing because I had a gestrure planned: I was going to point. I finished, and, rather than replying, Marcella continued to stare at me from behind her big dark glasses for what seemed like an eternity, during which time I invented a hostile parrallel universe where I waited to be punished. This has since become traditional in my work, It's as near as I come to a process. She then turned to the director, Nicholas Kent, and asked: "Where did you find this boy?" But rather than going on to say 'And why are you wasting my time?' as I was expecting, she turned back to me and said, "He's sensational." Trust me, I wasn't - and no one else in the room was that way mistaken - but she'd watched me suffering and was moved to a great kindness. I was humbled by it and built a cave of love around her from that moment on."

Well, I loved reading this story for so very many reasons....first of all, one rarely if ever hears of Marcella any more----she died of breast cancer a number of years ago I'm sorry to say---and to read this truly great story from an actor that I admire so very very much is delicious, plus third and most important, it reminds me how encouraging and supportive Marcella Markham was...and that she continued to be so is not really a surprise but more of an affirmation about this woman that I knew to be a very generous and loving spirit. I know that knowing Marcella when I did changed my life in a big way....she couldn't have been more supportive of me as 'an artist' and also as a woman....And maybe more importantly I saw that a woman could have a career in show business and a life, too, an important thing to learn at not quite 23 years old in the early 1950's---and a very very young 23, a that.....I loved Marcella a lot and I was 'in love' with her dear brother---and he was one of the men that I dreamed of having a baby with....Remember, I was a very young 23 going on 12!

This picture above and to the left is from that Original Broadway production of "The Iceman Cometh"....
and this one to the right is also from that production....and in this photograph, Marcella is second from the left

as you look at the photograph....I wish I had some other pictures of her and of her brother Bob, too...and somewhere I do have a picture of him but I couldn't find it....I promise that if and when I find it I will post it....And somewhere I have a picture of Buster Newman, as well....(A lifetime of photographs that need to be scanned into my computer...it will take forever, I swear.....)

Having my memory jogged about Marcella was a wonderful thing because it took me back to a time when I was truly naive and rather innocent about show business and when I had my whole life ahead of me with everything to look forward to and, most importantly, when I was surrounded by incredibly supportive and encouraging people who were happy to help me along my way....

One other interesting fact about Marcella: She wrote a little book that was first published in 1978....it is called "OLD is...GREAT!" It is truly a "little" book---6" X 4 1/2". It was a collaboration with a wonderful illutrator named Dominic Poelsma, who took Marcella as his Muse....
It's a charming little book that has one sentence on each page with a drawing illustrating the text...for instance: 'Old is...when candlelit tables are no longer romantic because you can't read the menu'...and the drawing shows you just that...and one other example...'Old is...when you can tell the truth openly because no one would believe it anyway'....It's not a deep book, but it is very amusing and the drawings are delightful...Marcella always had a great sense of humor and especially about herself....She was a truly wonderful friend to me and it was lovely to read what Bill Nighy said about her all these many many years later.....



More To Come.....


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Wednesday, November 22, 2006
thanksgiving

The oldest tradition for me that is connected to our Thanksgivings is the Chocolate Turkey...! As a young child, we always had these wonderful special Chocolate Turkeys from Schrafft's....one at each place at the table....you actually had your very own individual Chocolate Turkey that you didn't have to share with anyone. And being that we were an entire family of Chocaholic's---this was delibrate and this was fantastic!

Shrafft's was a very special place to all of us, (besides having great great candy...) because we spent many Saturdays there having our favorite lunch....Creamed Chicken on Toast....(Oh my Lordy, that was good, and for dessert, a Hot Fudge Sundae.....). This would be before going to a Matinee on Broadway or a Concert at Carnegie Hall, or going to Radio City Music Hall for a movie and 'the stage show' with those fabulous Rockette's. All of these delights were in abundance in New York City....And the Schrafft's Restaurants were all over the city....at your fingertips, so to speak. And if we didn't go to Schrafft's because there wasn't time, we would go to The Automat.....Horn & Hardet's Automat...A really special place too, where you could get a fresh Chicken Pot Pie by putting in three Nickels and this little glass door would open and the Pie would pop out...freshly baked and piping hot! Ahhhhh, such memories....(Another post for another time....)

But I digress....

The Chocolate Turkey's above are what I always get now, since living on Los Angeles I mean....They are from See's Candy...and they are delightful and really yummy, too! The one's from my childhood from Scrafft's were a little bigger and they were covered in see thru celophane with an orange bow tied around the outside to keep the celophane closed and the chocolate fresh---very pretty presentayion! So, just for the fun of it I did a little research on Chocolate Turkeys and here are a few that I found.... This one above is from a place called The Chocolate Experience, and specifically, The Chocolate Turkey Farm....It is solid...yes, solid chocolate, through and through and you can specify if you want Milk, Dark or White Chocolate...and it is available in three sizes....and the one above is the second biggest Chocolate Turkey I have ever found.....6 X 8 X 4....Now, that is a wonderful pig-out size wouldn't you say?

This one below with the 'Red Head' is the biggest one I found to date (8 1/2 X 6 1/2 X 4 1/2) ....but, it is not solid through and through. And I must say, I'm not sure I would like that red turkey head...(red dye #9 anyone.....?) Hmmmmm....No, I don't think so..... It's from a place called Martine's Chocolate Creations.....

Then, next we have this BEAUTIFUL one that looks not unlike the See's Candy one at the top.... This is from Canipes Candy Kitchen....


And one more that looked really darling...and reminded me of The Schrafft's Chocolate Turkeys that we use to get more than any other that I found....at least the look of those Schrafft's turkey because of the celophane I think---though these are rather small.... They are from a place called Plum Party.....they are 1.5 ounces of chocolate.....Next year I will have to start searching earlier and send for some of these that I've never tried before.....that 2nd biggest turkey has my vote at the moment....

And now that we are all in a diabetic coma from all this chocolate...let's just take a look at a few other things that might be found on your Thanksgiving table this year..... I'll have a Crosissant, please, and do pass the butter.... Yum! Croissants are one of my most favorite things to eat....warmed in the oven and with a bit of butter....not that they need any butter.....but....it's Thanksgiving!

And then we must have this next dish.... Yes, yes, yes....A Caesar Salad, please....well, why not....Thanksgiving is supposed to be a rich meal with lots of delicious things to eat...so who cares that there will be three kinds of bread, including the stuffing, as part of the meal....right? It's only once a year my dears!

And then....we must have some mashed potatoes and a Sweet Potato Casserole and Cranberries....right?

What would Thanksgiving be without these lucious delightful dishes....and of course, there could be some other little side dishes, too...Olives---Black and Green....Celery Sticks, Radishes, Brocolli Florettes, and other little veggies that can be eaten cold.....plus, String Beans Almondine or some other green vegetable to go with the main meal....

Oh yes....one other very important componant to this Thanksgiving dinner...the traditional beautiful materfully cooked.....Thanksgiving Turkey! And to finish off this delicious meal, we have our final course....(besides the chocolate turkeys that is.....)

Two kinds of pie.....Pecan and Pumpkin....!

And then....having eaten too much though pleasantly stuffed, we have a bit of coffee and then take a little stroll, pretending we are walking off this scrumptious dinner.....then, come back and lie down for a little nap, and wake up and decide we are ready for a little bit of a snack....


Yes, the perfect finish to a grand day of eating.....!
Chocolate! More of that Chocolate Turkey that is the true reminder for me of what a lovely day Thanksgiving can be....it always was when I was a little girl and it still is....And the Chocolate Turkey more than anything else reminds me to give thanks for all the good things in my life and among those good things, are all of you, my dear blog buddies....

I wish each and every one of you who celebrates this wonderful holiday the Happiest of Thanksgivings.....Enjoy, Enjoy...and "don't eat too much".....! Oh, what the hell...eat as much as you want....you can start your diet, tomorrow....I mean the day after Thanksgiving, of course! (lol)





More To Come.....

Note: Today, Wednesday, November 22 is the anniversary of John F. Kennedy's assasination....Hard to believe it was 43 years ago....anyone who lived through it remembers very clearly where they were on that day....it was a Friday....Last year I wrote about that fateful day in detail. If you want to read my rememberances, plesse go to the archives which you will find over in the sidebar....








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Monday, November 20, 2006
golden barrel's and....

The Golden Barrel is a magnificent plant....it has great majesty and to me, it gives off a sense of great peace....these lovelies above, line the front bed next to the sidewalk, in front of the wall that surrounds my Patio. Here below is another view looking the other way.... It does appear they have grown some from this picture to the one above...I put these in when they were really really small----they came in a "six pack"....and I not only thought they would look wonderful as they grew, but that the neighborhood dogs would not be inclined to use them as a pooping place....those sharp protective things can really make you 'smart'! I mean, think about sqautting over this and suddenly.....well, you get the picture! This would not feel very good at all, believe me....! Those are very very very sharp thingy's. And if your tush landed on one of these---let alone ten of these...the pain would be excrutiating and you would not come near these again anytime soon, believe me...and may I add, the dogs definitely stay away from these plants so....I have to say, they have fulfilled their purpose and more! Not only do the neighborhood dogs avoid them...but these barrel's happen to look perfectly beautiful, which was what I wanted, all along....

In the bed on the other side of the garage is probably the biggest Golden Barrel that I have in the entire garden...(There are quite a few down below, too).... Doesn't this have a majestic peaceful feel? Beautiful...these plants are truly truly exquisite..... It is difficult to appreciate the size of this particular plant because of the perspective in this particular photo above....The thing is, these are incredibly s-l-o-w growing plants....the one's in that other bed are not even close to the size of this one....I mean they are probably one quarter the size of this one and they have been in my garden for a good 19 years!

And here below, one more view of this humongous Golden Barrel from a slightly different perspective....I tried to get down on the ground more to take this next picture..... I love the light in this picture above, too...And the plant in front of that Golden Barrell....it is a magnificent person, too....It flowers every year and the blossoms are a beautiful rich glowing yellow... But before the flowers actually become flowers...they are these gorgeous little fuzz balls all in a cluster.... And that white stuff forms as some kind of protective thing...it is powdery but dense and adheres to the plant right there along each edge....

And here below is the whole plant as it looked in September, after the flowering was all done and some new little babies had appeared to add to this already beautifully clustered plant...
And here below is a photo of the same plant taken quite a few years ago... You can see how much it has grown if you look at both pictures closely....I cannot remember how many years ago this picture was taken but it was with my no-think Fuji analog camera...so it had to be at least 5 years, and frankly I think it was more like 10.....

And here is a picture of one particular section of the plant and you can see a 'new' baby growing...And then...the close up of this sweet new person.... I never tire of this amazing process and the results of each years flowering and growth....I guess you could say I am 'in love' with these plants...it's a whole world unto itself and my experience is that most people who have Cactus Gardens are utterly passionate about all the plants and their sculptural nature and the fact that they are 'works of art' to each and every one of us. We are all so completely addicted to this special world....and happily so....!






Oh Yes....More To Come.....










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