Wednesday, June 29, 2011
afterglow......

This was a GORGEOUS Cake......And of course---my very favorite deep dark Chocolate from Sweet Lady Jane's.....Yummmmmmmm! Now, I did not take a lot of pictures on Saturday, (Two or three of this cake---Period!)----Everyone else took pictures, using those adorable 'throw away' cameras....The thing is---I have no idea when I will get those pictures developed and back here....So, I am sorry to say I have no pictures of the actual party, which was, in a word, FABULOUS!As I said, the only pictures I took the day of the party were of this beautiful cake.....I love the way they decorated it all the way down the sides with this multicolored yummy icing.....It was BIG! And we had a Lemon Cake too, but I did not take any pictures of it......Here below, the way my living room looked on Sunday morning---The Morning After, as they say....... The Balloons had died, so to speak---Hopefully, when I get those "Throw away camera" pictures back, someone will have taken pictures of the balloons when they were up on the ceiling....! These were more of the balloons laying down near the door to the deck and in between the living room and den.....And below....another view of the tired balloons near the couch in the living room...... Look at that poor soul resting on the couch---he had once graced the ceiling, you know? And then, here below is a slightly different view of the living room and Fireplace----the Blue and Silver Star Balloons were brought to me by Earl Holliman..... I am ashamed that I took no pictures, but here's the thing: I knew I would not. I knew that I wanted to savor every moment of being with all the wonderful dear people who came to the party...The thing I didn't count on was, NOT having anything to show you all......Well, that is life. But.....there will be, I promise you.....Till then, here are a few more pictures that I took on Sunday and Monday..... This is a picture of a Beautiful Orchid grouping---there were three, all together in one lovely pot----Sent to me by Terri DuLong, a dear dear blogger friend who lives on Cedar Key, Florida.....The picture above is just one of the Orchids.....The whole thing is absolutely Gorgeous....And where are they from? 'The Conservatory' and the wonderful Van.....! This is another of the three Orchids that sit together--on my Piano.....Terri's new book will be come out in October...to read more about Terri and the three books she has written in her Cedar Key series, go here....... Above....a closer look at a few of the blooms of one of the Orchids in this very stunning arrangement....I LOVE Orchids, more than I can say.....So, this was a truly delightful Birthday Gift that will last for a few months....! I will share with you some more lovely Birthday Flowers, next time....And I hope I will get those Birthday Party pictures from Cosco by the end of the week...or, worst case scenario---next week.....! Bear with me, my dears.....I think it will be worth it...(At least I hope it will...lol)......




More To Come........




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Thursday, June 23, 2011
big birthday almost here

Good Lord! How in hell did this happen? I am finding this number very hard to fathom. In all candor, I don't think I ever thought I would reach this very 'old-sounding' number. In fact, I never really thought much about it, at all.....! And now......somehow it is almost here...In point of fact, one might as well say...."I'm 80 years old", when one is just a few days away from it......! This Birthday is a rather bittersweet one for many reasons---not the least of which is the fact that my dear friend Betty will not be here to celebrate it with me......So, I am somewhat excited about turning 80 years old, and I am sad, too......But I will try to get over myself....! Isn't that "80's" Tree kind of fun? Tacky, but fun.....Well, I've earned the right to be tacky if I want....Right? (lol).......I must say that the Dr. Seuss poem about 'aging' seems more and more appropriate these days. I don't think I would have said that even 5 years ago, when I was turning seventy-five......Whoever coined the term "The Golden Years", obviously never got there. There is nothing "golden" about them, especially if your body has started betraying you......! Indeed! 'The Golden Years can kiss my ass....!' I should say my Big Fat Ass......Yes! That has come to me, too, along with much sagging around the used-to-be 36C area, and quite a lot of bloat on and around other places on my body, as well----not a pretty sight, believe me. It is a very strange thing, to feel so young inside----to feel you are still young-at-heart, yet.....the outside has really gone south, as they say. How did this happen? Above-above, Kim and I back in November of 1989....and then, closer-above....sometime in 2010.....OY! I ask once again, How did this happen?? You turn around and the years have just flown by. In many ways, these last 6 years have been some of the hardest of my life. Being 'confined' to my home because of my lungs being compromised, changed everything for me. Not all bad, mind you, but definitely, a big big change. Life, as I had known it and lived it, changed, completely. And quite drastically, I might add----understandably so, but still.....Until you've lived it, you don't really know---just like everything else in life. And in the last three years I have lost 5 people who were very very dear to me......Not replaceable, you know? So....all of these things play in the background of this particular round-numbered-new-decade-for-me Birthday......Ahhhhhh.....Dear Sweet Earl & me, when I turned 60....! My Lord, that was twenty years ago.....1991! (How could 1991 have been twenty years ago...???) I'll have to get someone to take a companion picture to this one with Earl---now, twenty years later...! And below, a little snapshot of young Naomi. It looks like I'm Gardening, but in reality, I'm just playing in the dirt.....This picture above, was taken in our yard in Great Neck, which is where the house I grew up in was located.....It is odd to look at really old pictures of myself and try to find the person I am now, and yet, looking at old pictures is somewhat comforting, too.....I love old pictures. Not just mine, but every one's. It is the history of our lives and gives one a feeling of some kind of continuity, hopefully----or not, as the case may be......And below, 'Baby Naomi'---you've seen this one before....Well, here it is again.....! How did that baby, turn into this woman? Questions, and more questions, on the brink of Eighty Years Old? (Help Me!) And not the first time I have asked this question......Anyway.....I am "Celebrating" the Big 80, on Saturday, even though my actual B-Day is Monday, June 27th.....There will be good food, good people and good "balloons", of course! And hopefully, lots of good picture taking........And lots of good Glittery Confetti, too.....! Oh, and I found a wonderful T-Shirt that says: "IT TOOK ME 80 YEARS TO LOOK LIKE THIS!!"......I Love That! (Come on now, We must try to have a sense of humor about all this, if possible, right?....) And I will leave you with a few well chosen words on the subject of getting older, by the ever truthful, tell-it-like-it-is, "Maxine".......Nobody says it better!



LOL, LOL, LOL....She is a pistol!







More To Come.........


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Thursday, June 16, 2011
bel air memories - 1961

It's amazing how the mind works. Reading about Zsa Zsa Gabor's current home, (above) being put up for sale for $28 Million in January and now, here in June, being reduced to $15 Million---and thinking about what a 'will-to-live' this woman has---like, Incredible! I was reminded of a few things regarding the Gabors. I actually met Zsa Zsa and her sister Magda, and their mother Jolie, back in the summer of 1951, because their younger sister Eva was starring in a play called "Her Cardboard Lover", at The Sea Cliff Summer Theatre, where I was an apprentice and for that week I had been elected by the Producers to be Eva Gabor's "dresser" while she was there at Sea Cliff.That was 60 years ago. Eva's sisters and mother came to see her in this light 'drawing room comedy' one evening there at Sea Cliff, and that is how I happened to meet Mama Jolie and Magda, and Zsa Zsa.....I wrote a couple of posts all about my summers at Sea Cliff---and you can read the one about Eva Gabor, (and a few other 'stars'), here.Then, that led my mind back to ten years later, in 1961, when my father was visiting Los Angeles and he wanted to see some of the residential Hill Areas because he was considering buying a house here.... I'm not really sure how serious he was but it was kind of fun to drive him around and then later to go with him and a Real Estate person when he began actually looking at houses in what seemed like a more serious way. Oddly enough, one of the houses the Real Estate person took us to was Zsa Zsa Gabor's home at that time---not the one for sale right now, but another house---not at all right in any way, for my father. But before any Real Estate person got involved...we just drove around to a lot of very nice Residential Areas. Bel Air was one of the places we looked. As we drove around, we came upon a house that was set way back from the street---a BIG House with a rather impressive entry-way.There were 'privacy' gates but they were open. My father wanted me to drive in and see who lived there. I was not completely comfortable doing that but he was 'the boss', so to speak, so we drove in and pulled up to the front door and Daddy Joe got out of my little Comet, and rang the doorbell. (That is not my car below, but something I found on the Internet that fit perfectly with what we were doing---and it is the front door of The Kirkeby Mansion, and the right 'period', too).........A Butler answered the door and my father asked him who lived there. The Butler was so taken a-back that he actually answered him and said "Mr. Arnold Kirkeby". DJ said, "Oh I know Mr. Kirkeby. Tell him Joe Hirshhorn would like to speak to him about possibly buying his house and he can reach me at The Beverly Wilshire Hotel." Ballsy, to say the least...lol! As an aside, Arnold Kirkeby once owned the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, where my father always stayed when he came to Los Angeles....But Mr. Kirkeby had sold all of his Hotel interests (The Kirkeby Hotel Chain) by 1958 and they were very extensive interests to say the least---to name just a few, The Drake Hotel and The Blackstone Hotel in Chicago; The Sherry-Netherland, The Hampshire House and The Warwick in New York, and the Sunset Towers West, in Los Angeles....After selling his Hotel interests, he became involved in building The Kirkeby Center here in Westwood, but died, tragically, in a plane accident which killed all 95 people aboard. It was American Airlines, Flight #1, which crashed right after taking off from New York's La Guardia Airport. That was in March of 1962. Little did any of us know that day in 1961 that Arnold Kirkeby would be dead in a few short months. On top of everything else---this very interesting man, Arnold Kirkeby, was an Art collector and I believe that was how my father knew him.....Anyway, Mr. Kirkeby did call my father that very same afternoon and said that his house was definitely not for sale but he invited us to come back for Tea, and see the house anyway.
(This is not how the property looked back in 1961.....there have been many changes over the years, including the gated entrance disappearing, completely...but this picture gives you some idea of the hugeness of the house and property.......) So, we did go back for a spot of Tea and to take a tour of the house and the property. I just couldn't get over the fact that D.J. was still bound and determined to get some kind of a price out of Mr. K...... "But, Daddy, he said the house isn't for sale...!", I said...Daddy answered, "Anything is for sale at the right price!" Wall Street savvy? I don't know. The house was huge and very beautiful and had very beautiful grounds----perfect for large Sculptures, though none were anywhere to be seen that day. Daddy was pretty relentless, though quite charming, about asking how much Kirkeby would want for this lovely property......So, finally, worn down, Mr. K. said, "Well, if I were to sell this house I would want $700,000." Amazing! That was an enormous price back in 1961-62. And as Daddy was to discover when we went to see other houses with the Realtor, all of the prices of homes in these areas--Bel Air, Beverly Hills, Holmbly Hills, etc., were very very very expensive. I remember Daddy saying to the Realtor..."These prices are like telephone numbers...!", as most of them were seven figures....! And incidentally, The Kirkeby house later became the "Beverly Hillbilly's" house---well, the outside of it was used to signify the house that the Clampett Family bought and moved into when they got to Beverly Hills from the backwoods----And, for those who may not know or remember, "The Beverly Hillbilly's" was a huge "hit" Television Series. DJ never did buy a house here in Los Angeles.......Below, the Home and Property he did buy in early 1962........This home was in Greenwich, Conn. and in truth was so much better suited to his needs---particularly the grounds where he could display some of his great sculpture collection, in a truly exquisite way....And, though "Round Hill" was bigger than any house and grounds he saw in Los Angeles, it was waaaay waaaaay less in price. Real Estate here in Los Angeles has always been off the charts and pretty much out of whack with the rest of the country. When I read what people are asking for their homes here now today in 2011---Well, I don't get it, at all....! If you want to see what I'm talking about, go here and here.....Astounding! The second link is even more jaw dropping than the first......And, going back to Zsa Zsa Gabor and her present home which is up for sale, and which started this whole trip down 'memory lane'----Asking Price: $15 Million! I wonder what Daddy Joe would think of these numbers if he were alive today..........And this just in, fresh off the news cycle:The Aaron & Candy Spelling House which had been on the market since 2009, for $150 Million. (What?) Well, it finally sold at a greatly reduced price: $85 Million. Almost a 'fire sale'.....lol! Like I said.....What would Daddy Joe think about these incredible prices if he were alive today?



More To Come...........





NOTE: The picture of that rather pretty house, just after the picture of the young Gabor sisters, was Judy Garland's home on Mapleton Drive....One day I was passing by there and there was Ms. Garland, saying goodbye to someone who had been visiting and was now driving off of that half circle driveway. It was quite thrilling, I must say....That house was torn down by whomever and some uninteresting boring house built in it's place.....We have no sense of history here---even short-term history......And this is called progress.




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Saturday, June 11, 2011
back alley

In the "flats" of Beverly Hills, the houses are big and sometimes bigger than big. And behind these houses---right in the middle between the streets---There is a rather wide alley. That alley is where the houses of the "flats" of Beverly Hills keep their Garbage Cans....And they have these huge Garbage Cans, and usually, as you can see, they have these HUGE Trees in the back of each property, facing the alley on both sides, for privacy....There is something about these alleys that fascinates me......! Maybe it is related to the film, "Down & Out In Beverly Hills" (1986) where we see Nick Nolte, playing a homeless man, living in Beverly Hills---well, "living" as best he can----going from hand to mouth, as they say....And one of the things he does is go through the Garbage Cans in the alleys behind these homes ---at least, that is what I remember him doing.....It is a really good film, 1986, so if you have never seen it, do rent it from Netflix.....Bette Midler and Richard Dreyfuss are married to each other, living in one of these houses in the 'flats' of B.H., and they proceed to take in poor dear homeless Nick Nolte. And that is when the fun begins! As a bonus, we have 'Little Richard', among many other wonderful people in this mid-80's film. It is really fun and it also has a message---a message handed to you in a very easy manner......Anyway....back to the alleys........Well, first....here below is a portion of a Map-To-The-Stars-Homes that just happens to show the very streets of the 'flats' that I am talking about...... This section which goes from Santa Monica Blvd. to Sunset Blvd. goes from South to North, and from not quite Doheny all the way to Wilshire Blvd., going East to West. There are about 20 Streets in this section if you count the shorter one over on the far left.....And of course there are a number of cross streets, as well----three, to be exact, till you get to that spot in the upper center where quite a few streets converge---After that---after Sunset Blvd., continuing North, the streets kind of begin to look like Spaghetti as thry go into The Hills....... Here above we see the sign for Carmelita---the very first cross street above the City Of Beverly Hills.....You can actually walk down the street to the great shopping in Beverly Hills or see your doctor or dentist, if you live on one of these lovely wide streets. Hidden behind the trees that line the streets of the 'flats' are homes like these below....... You see every kind of Architecture there is in this area-----(I did not take the photo's of these houses----I found them on the Internet)....And, these homes are built very very close together. I believe 20 feet is the legal limit, and let me tell you, it is taken and used.....And, behind all of these homes going from Santa Monica almost up to Sunset, are the wonderfully fascinating Alley's...... The above is somewhere fairly close to Sunset Blvd. I don't remember what streets it was between, but most of these alleys resemble one another in one way or another.......Here below, an alley much closer to Santa Monica Blvd........You can see the 'city' of Beverly Hills beyond......I think what unites most of the alleys are the very tall Trees and the Garbage Cans.....The thing is, you never know what you might find sticking out of one of these Garbage Cans, and that is one of things that makes them fascinating to me......So, recently, while out for one of my Jacaranda Tree runs, we went down this alley below....... I couldn't believe the size of that stuffed animal hanging out of that huge garbage can......We thought it was a Teddy Bear maybe.....We moved closer. It was really really big! So we moved even closer........Then, the wonderful brave Shawn, moved the stuffed animal so we could see it better---it was rather wet and not too pretty to the touch, but he did it anyway, Bless him...... Such a sad sweet face. What had his life been in that house behind the wall of Garbage Cans? Did he belong to some dear little girl who grew up and felt she was now beyond childish things like Big Stuffed Animals? Was there a divorce and this animal became, 'no-longer-needed....moving on'? Were the people moving and found they had no room in the new home for this forlorn creature?Awwwwwwww. And then we realized that this was a Big Dog, and not a Teddy Bear at all.....And it turned out that there were two of these big stuffed dogs in that over-stuffed Garbage Can.....One wonders where they came from---Who made them? How expensive were they? Were they well loved? Gee, I hope so........ One never knows what one might find in those back alleys of Beverly Hills, does one? Poor soul. There he is, laid out in all his bigness.....I hope that somebody once treasured him and his brother/sister/partner........










More To Come..........








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