Friday, November 30, 2007
they love that fruit!

I love this little birdie....he must not weigh hardly anything, sitting on that long very thin leaf.....looking longingly at that piece of fruit..... The abundance of fruit is amazing! And this little Finch is in 'hogitty heaven' with so much to choose from....his eye kind of looks glazed over as if he ate too much of this ambrosia-like sugary food and he is kind of stoned from it all.....just zoned out, for the moment.....lol.....sweet, isn't he? And here below, is a series of shots of one bird supping on this delicious fruit..... He takes a moment to rest before getting back literally into the middle of this fruit..... Yum. Yum, yum, yum! And more Yum, Yum, Yum! And he is sitting on a dried flower that is about to fall to the ground at any second....again, he must weigh practically nothing....!
That little bit of white flower petal way over on the left is from another plant---a Pachypodum. That's the flower that smells so very much like a Plumeria blossom....and looks like it, too, but it most definitely is not a Plumeria...... And just on the end of this one's little beak you can see the evidence of a meal well eaten....these birds are so darn cute! And below.....another view of another bird taking in all that he can..... And in this next picture, he almost looks like he is bowing his head to God in extreme gratefulness....how dear is that? LOVE these birds and the fruit on this beautiful plant, too.....more about those flowers, next time round.......







More To Come........



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Tuesday, November 27, 2007
away from her

"Away From Her", is a stunning film about love and Alzheimer's.....It stars the still breathtakingly stunning Julie Christie, in another Academy Award winning performance.....I cannot believe she won't get a nomination....!This is not a "happy" film....but it is such a moving and special film, with such a beautiful and economical script, that this should not be missed, depressing though it may be. Ultimately, I found it uplifting in a strange and gentle way, and deeply deeply moving.....And the performances, particularly Julie Christie, are incredibly wonderful in every way......This is a "grown-up" film about grown-up people who's history with one another is in the over forty years of marriage category....It is the story of what is there between two people after over forty years of living together...what is left and what begins to go away 'bit by bit' as Fiona's Alzheimer's Disease worsens, and she enters a nursing home facility.What happens to Fiona and her husband, (Brilliantly underplayed by veteran Canadian actor Gordon Pinsent) is heartbreaking and heart warming, all at the same time. Alzheimer's effect on all principal parties, in this case Fiona and Grant, is examined in this adaptation of a short story by Alice Munro, by the Canadian actress Sarah Polley, who also makes her amazing and fantastic directorial debut in this feature film.To bring Julie Christie back to the screen, after a ten year hiatus...(Well, not completely on hiatus....there were smaller parts in bigger films...."Finding Neverland", "Troy", and one of the Harry Potter franchise pictures, just to name a few....) but this is the first 'starring' role since "Afterglow" with Nick Nolte, for which Ms. Christie received an Academy Award nomination....Ms. Polley deserves a medal for pursuing Ms. Christie and not giving up on convincing Julie Christie to do this film. Everyone in this film is perfect. Olympia Dukakis as the wife of the man, (played without one word spoken by the brilliant Michael Murphy...) that Fiona forms an attachment to in the nursing home, is wonderfully simple, direct, and moving in her very important role in this devastatingly lovely film. There are two other performances worth noting, too...the actress that plays the Head nurse, Kristen Thompson, and the actress that plays the head of the Nursing Home, Wendy Crewson....both veteran Canadian actresses and both perfect in their balancing act of warmth and professionalism in these very difficult positions.Many people may find the whole thing too painful to watch; too depressing to take in....I can understand that. But for me, I think it is a very important film about a couple of subjects we can never see too much about. Love, and Alzheimer's Disease. Do yourself a favor, and rent "Away From Her" if for nothing else then to see the still luminous mature Julie Christie break your heart in a performance that will haunt you for a very long time....

More To Come......



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Sunday, November 25, 2007
birds, flowers and fruit

Here are a few delightful pictures of a Finch or two enjoying the fruit on a Night Blooming Cereus plant...... Here is one of the night blooming flowers on this beautiful plant....before it becomes a lovely delicious piece of fruit.....And below, another view of another flower..... You see that little bottom part....the green part....Well, that is what turns into the fruit. The flower dries up and falls to the ground and that little green part becomes a lovely luscious piece of fruit! LOL, LOL....I do love seeing this dear little Finch with his beak just about buried in the sweetness of the meat of that fruit....And I have tasted this fruit and it is utterly sublime....!

Yummmmmmmmmmy.....Isn't he just dear? I love that he is kind of straddling the whole thing with one little foot on the plant, and the other, right on that fruit! This little guy just taking a bit of a rest, between snacks.... Back to business now....Enough of this resting stuff..... And here, above, you can see more fruit that is not quite ready for eating...But the top of that arm is a great place to survey what's going on around this dear birdie....! And to watch six more possible fruits in the making.... An abundance of fruit in different stages of ripeness....I never saw so very many flowers and fruits on this plant before.....You can see the dead flowers as well as the different stages of ripening......And another picture below of the beautiful flowers that begin it all.... And here is another view of another bird, enjoying a delightful snack from these beautiful lush fruits...... Oh My Lordy...that really does look good enough to eat...especially, when you know how sweet this fruit really is.....Once again, nature just blows me away......

More To Come......

Note: Please go over to Colleen's blog...Loose Leaf Notes, and read this fantastic powerful poem she wrote 'A Dream For President Bush'. I think it is absolutely right-on-the-money....! Do yourself a favor....Click on Colleen's name right here and it will take you directly to it! BRAVA, Colleen.


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Friday, November 23, 2007
early eerie fog

The other evening, this is what I saw.....It was quite eerie....Because you couldn't really see beyond a certain point, and what you did see, well....it had a strange glow.... It was quite amazing looking and I tried to get some pictures of this phenomenom...they are not very good, but they are the best I could do, in the moment..... So...here below is how it should and does look when there is no fog at all...... And a similar view but a bit further back....here below.> So....could you be bored by this view, ever? Me neither.....

And now, for a weekend of left-over Turkey....Ahhhhhhhhh.....



More To Come........


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Wednesday, November 21, 2007
happy thanksgiving!

To all who Celebrate Thanksgiving, may your day be filled with good food, great friends, dear family, wonderful children and sweet pets! May you enjoy all the joys that come with Thanksgiving.....Turkey, Sweet Potatoes, Creamed Spinach, Corn Bread Rolls, Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans, Stuffing, Stuffing, and More Stuffing, and Pumpkin Pie, Pecan Pie, Chocolate Pie, and Cheesecake......And, in the spirit of the day, may you have lots and lots of Chocolate....! And if you are really lucky, A Delicious, Delightful Chocolate Turkey! When I was growing up, this was a special treat that one found sitting in front of your 'place' at the table when you came into the dining room having been called in from wherever you were playing to partake of this special dinner. As the years went on, I became the person responsible for making sure we all had those chocolate Turkeys. Back in the day, they came from Schrafft's, a favorite restaurant of our family that was in Manhattan that also just happened to make and sell very very special chocolates of all kinds.....This was a tradition that was kept up over the years, every Thanksgiving. Later...after moving to Los Angeles, I had to find a place that had Chocolate Turkeys for Thanksgiving....And that turned out to be See's Candy....The first picture above are the chocolate turkeys that come from See's Candy.....I'm so grateful that they feel this tradition is as important as I do. And though I can no longer go where I used to go for Thanksgiving for the past ten years or so---too many children with the possibility of colds, flu, etc.----I continue the tradition, 'in absentia'....In fact, I just got an email today from the hostess that 'the turkeys arrived safely and are all ready on the table for the children'.....This warms my heart more than you will ever know. So, this 'tradition' which has been going on for the 76 years of my life....continues here in 2007. These are the things that are very comforting to me about The Thanksgiving Holiday.So have the loveliest of Holidays on Thursday, for all who celebrate this very American tradition, and tell me what traditions are comforting to you about Turkey Day?

More To Come.....


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Monday, November 19, 2007
spoon river memories


This first clip, below, is a small portion of "THE TODAY SHOW" from the fall of 1963 about a week after "SPOON RIVER" opened on Broadway. This was a Kinescope that I bought because my thought was, I may never be on the Today Show again, and I'd love to have this historic half hour....yes, they gave us an entire half hour of the then Hour and A Half show--Unheard of now....Hugh Downs, who was the Host of The Today Show at that time, had come to see "Spoon River" and was so excited about it, he wanted to share his excitement and some of our show with the Today Show audience, and so they had the entire cast---all six of us---come on the show, one very early morning...This appearance that morning in early October is what made our show the hit it became....This is just a few minutes of that appearance.....You must remember that a Kinescope was just someone sitting in front of a TV set with a 16mm camera and filming the picture as broadcast. This was way before 'tape'. So the quality is not the greatest, and the sound had deteriorated some by the time I had it transfered to tape...Still, it is a fantastic thing to have....


In 1982-83, I made a two hour Documentary of Theatre West for it's Twentieth Anniversary. There were lots of wonderful people on it and there was a whole section on "Spoon River"...this next clip is just a small portion of the "Spoon River" section....that is me singing in the background, plus I am in one of the clips from that first day of rehearsal, and, I am doing the narration, too...How this got on YouTube is amazing to me...! (It had to be Theatre West, somehow....) And, needless to say, I'm glad it did so I can post this here on my blog....All the 8mm films in this clip were taken by me....! As you can tell, I am having a lot of fun with this new "toy"....YouTube Video's, HOORAY!
I mean, isn't this fantastic?


More To Come......


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Friday, November 16, 2007
city views +

La Brea Avenue and the city beyond, at night....It is quite a startling view when it is clear, and the night I took this picture it was pretty darn clear.....not always the case here as you all know by now from me posting many pictures of what I see as I stand on my balcony....Here below, is the same view during the day..... When it is clear, this truly is a beautiful city....And a city it is, though very very spread out....As I stand on my balcony and look towards Downtown Los Angeles, this is what I see, here in the picture below. The perspective is really not correct, and that is what the camera does.....The city really looks closer than that to my eye....(I sure wish the people who have that tree on their property would trim it---when they do, you can see so much more.... Above, a much closer look at all the buildings downtown, on a very different day...a dark cloudy day, but still clear....Anyone who knows L.A. and has been here for a long time is constantly amazed that we actually have tall tall buildings in this city. In all honesty, I still cannot get over it. Oh, don't get me wrong, I think it is fabulous, but it is still amazing, as there used to be laws about building over a certain amount of story's....But that changed with the great improvements in the way things are built....I do think it is a very beautiful skyline, at least from here it is. Above, some beautiful cloud formations in "close-up". I have two more, all are so very pretty.... What is it about clouds that are so fascinating? And certain clouds are almost mesmerizing to me, like all of these....they so often look unreal or painted, I should say....And that is part of what makes them fascinating tom me..... And in this picture above, I love the dark parts of these clouds at what looks like, to me, the bottom of each cloud....as if at any moment the rains will be pour down....and then those little long cotton-like white puffs below or further away---sometimes it's hard to tell where something is....It's just all so very beautiful. And below, a different day and a different set of clouds.... I love this too....It has such a dramatic 'feel' to it, almost like a ball of fire is in the sky, I know it is the sun trying to break through, but it is more fun to just let the imagination wander and allow yourself to ruminate on the abstractness of it all----like looking at a painting. This is pretty dramatic, too....This is the house that is down below me that went through a two year renovation and when finally finished and the people moved in, this is how it looks every night of of week....It is quite lovely, isn't it? And below, the same view only during the day. And for those who love trivia....the big house which you can just partially see over on the left was originally owned by Jack LaLanne, the amazing Jack LaLanne....He was still living there when I first moved up here, and sold the house less than twenty years ago.....If some of you don't know who Jack LaLanne is, click on his name and read all about this great Fitness Guru. He was one of he first Health & Fitness people, ever, and he became very famous. There was a lot about 'juicing', and still is---in fact there is a juicer that bears his name. He certainly knew and still knows what he is talking about. And he is still talking about Health & Fitness in his 90's! And last but not least, for today, the other part of my 180 view....Century City, Santa Monica and The Pacific Ocean.....not too shabby, I must say. So many times when people see my view for the first time and then ask me how long I have lived here and I tell them, they say, "You must be very bored with your view by now...". Not a chance! It is never boring, ever ever....And, in fact, I find it continually inspiring. How could you become bored with nature and man's ingenuity to create a city? There is always so much to see out there and it is ever changing and always new, even after 43 1/2 years.....


More To Come.......



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Wednesday, November 14, 2007
memories & milestones

On November 12th, 1970, I smoked my last cigarette....ever! Having smoked for 24 years, and very heavily, I might add---especially the last three or four years----this was a momentous occurrence. You can read in more detail about the 'smoking' experience in my post called "SMOKING" on my sidebar over there on the right....

On November 13th, 1970----the very next day----I began a journey that continues to this day....I started something called "Primal Therapy"....I was sitting on my bed, on the 12th of November, painting, when they called me from The Primal Institute right here in Los Angeles, (the original location founded by Arthur Janov and his then wife, Vivien), to tell me that there had been a cancellation and then to ask me could I start the next day? I was stunned but very very ready. So I said, yes, I can! The young woman on the phone said..."Now remember, you must go to the motel tonight, and remember no drinking, no gorging on food, no pills of any kind, no sex, no smoking, no anything that might take your pain away...". I had a cigarette in my hand at the time----(I had a cigarette in my hand or resting in the ashtray, almost all of the time while awake....four packs a day gets smoked somehow, you know?)....I said, "Yes, yes, I know"....She went on: "No radio, no tv, don't talk with anybody on the phone once you are in the motel...and be here at 8 am in the morning....

I hung up after a few more instructions and looked at the burning cigarette in my hand and thought, 'I'll just take one more puff'. I stared at it and paused, and said to myself, 'No....that's it. It's over, no last puff.' And I stubbed that last cigarette out in the very full ashtray on the night table right next to my bed. And then I put the Agua Filter that had held my cigarette, down on the table right next to the full ashtray, and I never picked up another cigarette or an Aqua Filter again.

I went into the motel that evening, very scared and anxious about what awaited me. I knew there was a mother lode of pain locked in me. I knew this, because when I read "The Primal Scream" by Arthur Janov, it unleashed something in just the reading of it. I had applied to The Institute, feeling lucky that it was right here in West Hollywood. I even went there so they could see that I was kind of falling apart already, despite the fact that I was still smoking....They told me there was a waiting list and it might take a month or more....I honestly did not know how I was going to go on for that length of time without the help I felt I needed.

So when the call came the very next day I knew this was my opportunity. And it was a kind of miracle that this was presented to me right after I had been over there....And I had gone because I had a friend who was in therapy and she worked in the office there part time and she said...."Come on over and let them see you....Maybe there will be a cancellation and if they see you and they know you are right here in Los Angeles (People came from all over this country and the world, like Lourdes....!) and could start right away if there is a cancellation....". And so that is why I went. And she was correct.

The whole idea of leaving your home and going into the motel was so that you could totally devote yourself to the task at hand. No distractions of any kind. You went to the Institute each day for a few hours or however long your session lasted---these were open ended sessions. No 45 minute hour here----and then you went back to the Motel....You did not do anything but stay with yourself. You could write if you needed to but no phone calls, no visiting with friends, no anything, but the therapy. It was an incredible luxury to be able to do this. Once you were "cracked open" so to speak, then you could go back home. But carrying on your usual daily life was on hold for quite a few months.

It is a very difficult and painful Therapy...or at least it was at the time I went all those years ago. (I don't think it is the same anymore, and that is a shame, so I am glad I went when I did...) So, as hard as it was, I am deeply grateful it was as it was, on November 13th, 1970. And I was very very lucky in the Therapist I was assigned....He was wonderful and gentle in a way that I needed. God or a Higher Power of some sort was looking out for me at that time, that is for sure. With the wrong person this could have been a disastrous experience, and it wasn't. It was and still is a very rewarding thing for me. It gave me myself, and one cannot ask for anything more important then that....flawed, yes; damaged, yes; but it gave me, me.

So, after two years at The Primal Institute, I continued on my own, with the help of other primal people....we helped each other. We did what they called, 'buddying'.....we were already doing that there at the Institute, which was great....and all that means is, there is another understanding person there with you as you go through reliving early early painful experiences, little tiny bits at a time, like peeling an onion....They don't say anything. They are just there, supporting you on this journey, ready to do something you might need, if need be. And you do the same thing for them, when it is their time to have their "feelings". This is the greatest gift that anyone can give another person. The freedom and support to have their feelings, whatever they might be.

Not everyone is able to do that. And I understood that. Some people's pain fits with yours better than other people's. Finding those people was not always easy, but when you did, it made all the difference. I've been very very lucky. Over the years I found a number of different people to buddy with....Our pain somehow fit with each other, so that it was a terrific experience....For these last thirty years I have had one steady Buddy. And, as is the way of this, I 'sit' for him too. It is a very intimate relationship, as one can imagine. Your buddy sees all of you, and I don't mean the naked body....I mean the naked raw feelings...This takes tremendous trust, and it is a trust that builds over time.

I also had a "room" built underneath my house, rather crude, but it serves the purpose. Sound proof, and padded walls. Talk about 'safety', such an important component of this experience. It is in fact the safest place I know. One can scream and wail as if being murdered---and believe me, I have, and no one calls the police because they cannot hear you. Another great gift. Nothing need be held back. Nothing.

So, on the 12th of this month, two days ago, I began my 38th year of being 'smoke free' and on the 13th I began my 38th year of the Primal experience. The thing about this therapy is: Because it gives you yourself, it enables you to 'go on'....to get on with life and all the things that go into you having a life. It is not a cure. You don't come out all perfect and a different person....you come out more of who you really are, with all your imperfection's; with all your damage; but now you have your real feelings. It ain't easy, believe me, but it is, for me, the only way. Without it, I would not have made it till today. I may not make it till tomorrow...and if that is the case, that is the way it is. But, for these 37+ years and hopefully more, God willing, I am still here.Who knew? I surely didn't. But, as I said, it is the most rewarding thing I have ever done for me, and I am the only one who can truly judge that.
I am the only one who lives inside me. And so it goes. We stumble on through the weeds and come to an opening filled with lovely flowers. We keep moving and there again are some more weeds and hopefully, if we don't fall while stumbling through those weeds, there will be more flowers beyond....

This is life.

So, I wish myself a Happy Anniversary for two reasons on this 14th day of November. 1) For not having smoked in 37 years plus two days, and
2) For having given myself the gift of myself for 37 years, plus one day. I applaud myself and feel much gratitude that I had the courage to tackle both these very important things so that I might continue on in this often very difficult thing we call living. Oh look....there are the flowers.....!

More To Come......


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