Saturday, April 30, 2011

Wolf's Lair

One of my preferred hang outs is the narrow wooden deck off my living room perched high above the trees, overlooking the canyon.  This balcony has been host to many social gatherings, confessional conversations and morning thoughts over tea.  To the left, views of Hollywood give way to the ocean which often shimmers in the late afternoon sun.  The houses dotting the hillside are as familiar to me as the lines marking my face.  My favorite is a white turreted castle known as Wolf's Lair built in the same year as my house, 1927, by a real estate developer, L. Milton Wolf.  A two story guest house was added in the '50s by modernist architect John Lautner.  Rumors swirl about previous tenants, Doris Day, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, the heir to the RJ Reynolds fortune, as well as the newest owner, Moby.  On recent hikes, I noticed the house was getting a face lift.  The stunning results were revealed in today's NEW YORK TIMES.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Pomp and Circumstance

In honor of the Royal Wedding sweeping the airwaves today I have posted photos from one of my favorite fine art photographers, Lara Porzak, whose images of marital unions are moody, inspiring, and romantic.  May all the pageantry in Westminster Abbey lead to a happy union between William and Kate.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Beautiful Feeling

Things are falling into a place and it's a beautiful, peaceful feeling!  Several hours a day are dedicated to work and several more to play.  Love the loose structure and the effect it has on my mind.  Unfortunately, my camera has been absent from my days and it is missed.  Still firing off my daily self portrait, about a month to go.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Eggs and Palm Trees

Eight years ago two friends and I took advantage of the long Easter weekend and road tripped to Desert Hot Springs.  We booked rooms at a recently refurbished, albeit funky, motor lodge featuring heated mineral-water pools.  We explored off the beaten path thrift stores, feasted on BBQ at Pappy and Harriets, and had a sound bath in a dome shaped structure built in the '50s by a leader of the UFO Movement.  The weekend was such a success we vowed to make it a tradition.  The following year we made our annual Easter pilgrimage to the same quirky desert spot.   Sharing the identical astrological sign we were united by a strong sense of movement.  Life was pulling us in thrilling directions, and although the changes hadn't fully materialized we were anticipating the new relationships, career moves, and locations that would define the next decade.  The following spring our lives had drastically changed.  Those weekend jaunts had inspired me to purchase a mid-century modern, fixer upper in Palm Springs which resulted in many more Easter weekends in the arid climate.  My other two friends are prospering and having wonderful adventures, one in Paris and the other in New Mexico.

Saturday, April 23, 2011


As an impressionable, young girl I watched reruns of THAT GIRL and dreamed of having my own apartment in the big city.  I assumed after a few years of a fabulous, single life in Manhattan I'd  move to the suburbs with my strapping husband and raise a family.  Little attention was given to what type of career I'd have, but coming of age in the 70s and 80s substantially impacted my dreams and altered my realty.  New  York Times columnist Gail Collins recounts the astonishing revolution in women's lives in her book WHEN EVERYTHING CHANGED, THE AMAZING JOURNEY OF AMERICAN WOMEN FROM 1960 TO PRESENT.  A comprehensive mix of personal accounts and research, Collins' book is a page turner.  It reinforced my gratitude for the women who came before me, who questioned why there weren't female lawyers, doctors or politicians, who didn't want to have to get their husbands permission to apply for a credit card, who wanted equal pay and to live in a world where there weren't male only executive flights between major US cities and slender women in short skirts lighting the passengers' cigars.  I owe my uncharted path to them.  I'm proud to be a product of their activism and even when I struggle to find role models for my unconventional life I know I wouldn't change a thing.

Thursday, April 21, 2011


After hiking to a mountain peak this morning I sat cross legged on a boulder over looking a canyon,  soothed by the sound of gushing water 1500 feet below.  I was taken out of my reverie by the drone of flapping wings.  To my right a hummingbird fluttered and hovered over my shoulder darting closer and closer to my face.  I closed my eyes again, thought turned to the bird that shat on my hand during yesterday's sunset stroll, then I surrendered to the brilliant morning.  A few minutes passed.  Eyes opened, I gazed into the ravine and was startled to see the earth pulsing.  I squeezed my eyes shut in an attempt to clear the fog, but the vibration was still there when I opened them again.  Bizarre, no rational explanation, I wasn't dizzy, dehydrated or hungry.   The vision lasted thirty seconds and then it was gone.   Later, I sat on chaise in my backyard reading when a loud buzzing sound broke the silence.  Not one, but two hummingbirds approached me, gazed into my eyes and darted across the pool.   As the sun started to descend, a heavy wind rustled through the palm trees.  I was admiring the spectacular light on the mountain when a seagull flew into the glow.  Yes, a seagull in the desert.  Hokey perhaps, but I feel like the universe is trying to tell me something.  I'm listening.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Mia and Jane

The first time I saw Mia Wasikowska in IN TREATMENT I was mesmerized by the depth of her talent. Her range knows no bounds in the provocative, new version of JANE EYRE.  Wasikowska seems to channel Bronte whose written words spring to life as they pass through the actress' lips.

I am no bird; and no net ensnares me; I am a free human being with an independent will.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Black and White

Moved by Patti Smith's JUST KIDS, I was eager to find more details about her life and those she encountered.  Years ago such in depth research would have required a trip to the library, and fingers rifling through card catalogs.  But today such a quest was promptly rewarded.   Yes, I'm still  dumbfounded by the Internet and the wealth of information and images readily available!  During his lifetime Mapplethorpe had two long term lovers, Patti and Sam Wagstaff, a wealthy, handsome curator and art collector.  I stumbled upon a 2007 documentary, BLACK, WHITE + GRAY, primarily about Wagstaff which was available for immediate streaming on Netflix.  The characters I had been reading about came to life on my laptop and I was surprised to learn how much Wagstaff's life had impacted mine.  In the early '70s, he was one of the first private collectors of photographs and had a crucial role in elevating this medium to an art form.  Mapplethorpe greatly influenced his collector's eye, and in turn Wagstaff encouraged him to commit to photography as his primary form of expression.  Wagstaff's collection, ranging from distinctive images by acknowledged masters, and stunning works by then relatively obscure, easily dismissed, or unknown photographers, was soon recognized as one of the finest private holdings in the United States.  In 1984, he sold his 30,000 images to the Getty Museum for an unprecedented 5 million dollars.  One of my favorite past times is visiting this very institution specifically for the photography exhibits, many from the private collection.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Just Kids

I can't put down Patti Smith's memoir JUST KIDS about her early years in New York City and more significantly her intimate, life long relationship with Robert Mapplethorpe.  It's evident the two were destined to meet, to be each other's muse, safety net and confidante.  I'm riveted by Smith's lyrical prose about the duo's journey.  They were broke, idealistic kids from the suburbs who knew they were artists.  I am fascinated by their circuitous adventure and years of creative exploration.  Patti sketched, wrote poetry, and performed, and only by reluctant happenstance did she finally form a band.  For years Mapplethorpe shunned the camera, and instead made installations, collages, drawings and necklaces.  The universe relentlessly conspired in the lobby of the Chelsea Hotel and the back room of Max's Kansas City and brought them collaborators, benefactors and fans.   Their story makes me believe in the hand of fate, the power of intuition, and everlasting friendship.

Sunday, April 17, 2011


The day has passed with ease.  The dry heat from yesterday has been replaced with a cool breeze and a more reasonable temperature.  The extended hours of daylight trick me into thinking there's more time to accomplish things, but alas the day is drawing to a near and nothing from my to-do list was crossed off.  My earliest memories of making lists are from college when I would organize my life in the margins of notebooks during a lecture.  Spiral collegiate tablets were replaced with buck slips, classrooms with conference rooms.  I often start the day with a new list, carrying over the unfinished items from the previous day.  These written reminders serve as a blueprint for my week, and over time create a tapestry of both trivial and significant pursuits.   Today's list of emails, errands, phone calls, housekeeping will be waiting for me tomorrow when I once again take inventory of things that need to be accomplished.  Sometimes Sundays are just meant for reading the New York Times, losing hours in a book, and a stroll through the farmer's market.  And to-do lists are meant for other days.

Thursday, April 14, 2011


Not only does Jon Stewart make me laugh out loud, but his sane perspective on all things political gives me hope.  Somehow the freedom to speak one's mind, and the ability to have an opinion has become confused with factual news content.  Thankfully, Stewart deftly sifts through the bullshit, simultaneously informing and entertaining his audience.   The news outlets were in a frenzy this week over a J Crew ad featuring a little boy wearing pink nail polish, an act they claimed will result in gender-confusion and years of therapy.  Stewart fired back, "If you take [kids] to a face-painting booth, it doesn't make them cats."  Thank you, Jon.  

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


Sometimes familiar words and phrases, heard too often, can lose their meaning.  In my quest to let go, surrender and accept certain aspects of my life the serenity prayer crept into my mind.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.

The prayer succinctly frames my dilemma and pinpoints my internal conflict.  I vacillate between both courses, and if I start down one path I often retreat, talking myself out of it.  I end of living in the conflict -- to accept or not to accept, to change or not to change.  Yes, wisdom is the key ingredient in this equation.  I'm fine tuning my request to let go.  I'm asking for wisdom to point my compass in the proper direction.

Sunday, April 10, 2011


I've been stumbling towards an epiphany sort of like driving in the mist with defrosters that don't quite work.  I can almost see through the windshield, but the clarity is clouded by a thin layer of condensation.  I'm aware that I want to cease resisting an aspect of my life, but I'm holding myself back, concerned it will feel like defeat.  I'm walking the fine line between letting go and giving up.  Or perhaps they're one and the same.  I truthfully don't know.  Surrendering feels scary like falling into the unknown, a dark abyss for which there's no escape.  Suspension in this limbo requires a lot of effort.   I'm asking the universe for guidance on how to move through this space and find peace on the other side.

Saturday, April 9, 2011


My friend JOB is moving today, leaving LA to be with the man who makes her heart flutter.  She'll only be 80 miles away, and I'm already planning my first visit, but I'm sad we will no longer reside in the same city.   We've known each other for over a decade, share close mutual friends, but saw each other  sporadically.  We were able to socialize more frequently when I left my job almost two years ago.  As a result, our friendship flourished.  Our connection is intense, philosophical, psychological, inspiring and easy.  I'm grateful to experience her bright, shining light on a daily basis.  I dedicate this post to her new adventure, and I raise a glass to her courage to break down walls and soar about the universe.  The photo is one of her self-portraits.

Friday, April 8, 2011


A full week without jet lag!  I've rejoined the living, feeling connected to my life in LA and energized by the possibilities.  Inspiration is coursing through my veins.   Lots of social engagements, spending time with friends and reestablishing relationships.  In awe of the ability to manifest dreams and float in harmony.  Grateful, fortunate, confident.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


In addition to his regular duties as Burberry's Chief Creative Officer, Christopher Bailey handpicks young British musicians and showcases them on the corporate website under the banner Burberry Acoustic.  The bands perform, unplugged, in garden nooks, parks and alleyways.  There's a sameness to the videos -- a tight, medium shot of band members styled in Burberry trench coats and recent collections under hazy skies in a bucolic setting.  The uniformity is compelling, soothing, and inviting like many well executed advertising campaigns.  Yet, this branding effort cross-pollinates traditional marketing efforts.  Bailey has more than an eye for fashion, or an ear for music.  He has a vision and it's perfectly captured in these music videos.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


In Southern California's subtle advancement of seasons, there's still something about spring that makes my heart soar.  In my yard, the ocotillo trees have bright orange blossoms and my favorite hiking trail is unrecognizable due to the dazzling yellow brittlebush.  My extensive travels the past few months combined with the effects of global warming have disrupted any sense I have of time.  Perhaps that's why I'm even more elated to find myself in the middle of this glorious season, a season drenched in promise for the unfolding year.  My already high spirits were escalated this evening when I received news from a friend that the Chinese baby her and her husband registered to adopt five and a half years ago has finally been assigned.  I opened the email to see her photo, and my heart was flooded with joy.  Hope springs eternal on this beautiful April evening.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Drink Your Tea

I'm racing towards the future, caught up in what will happen, what won't, wondering if I need to consider plan B.  I'm getting ahead of myself, pushed by a slow anxious force, second guessing my choices, labeling them folly.  The unknown, like a wrapped Christmas present found in my mother's closet, is teasing me.  Then I read this poem by Thich Nhat Hahn and remember everything that lead me to this moment.  I'm powerless over what will be, so many moving parts, so many variables.  And the past is an accumulation of moments in my review mirror.  I only have now.

Drink your tea slowly and reverently,
as if it is the axis
on which the world earth revolves
- slowly, evenly, without
rushing toward the future;
Live the actual moment.
Only this moment is life.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Upside Down

I wonder if this is what narcolepsy feels like.  One minute I'm awake, going about my day, and then boom I crash hard.  My head is filled with deep twisted dreams, and hours have escaped before I open my eyes again.  Stiff neck, tight jaw.  I have that vivid, yet hazy recall of car chases, kidnappings, and natural disasters.  I'm certain there is calamity at ever turn.  Sometimes I feel too drugged to get up, and instead surrender to the dark underworld of my mind for another hour.  Usually I reach my peak at 2am.  I'm alert and eager to finally take that hike, but it's pitch black outside.  The afternoons I've been able to join the living I feel like a kid on summer vacation, acutely aware of the freedom granted by my unstructured life.  Everything feels right as if the planets are aligned as I move forward into uncharted, yet familiar territory.