May 2008

Eat, Pray, Love and LIVE!!!

I’ve been crazy busy lately, and also completely absorbed in Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love. Finally finished it last night. I laughed, I cried, I related. There’s nothing link getting your spiritual house in order to allow the universe to lay presents at your feet. I’ve accomplished this now and then — not perfectly, but relatively — and it’s quite astonishing what will come your way. I had a dream the other night that I was covered in hundreds of peonies that had fallen from the sky. Now that’s a gift from the universe.

Farmers Market?

So I’ve not commented on a few things because of various distractions. The Altadena Farmer’s Market seems dead or on hiatus. The sign on Lake is covered with a red cloth like a coffin.  We went a couple of weeks ago and while I wanted to be a cheerleader, and hoped Altadena would rise to the occasion, the experience was overpriced and underwhelming. La Canada’s event on Saturday mornings is much more compelling, especially with the French Cheese Guy and bakeries and astounding flowers, quality jewelry, etc. Altadena’s farmers market had two produce vendors and one sad flower vendor. The flowers I got were dead within two days. I hope they are retooling and will try again with more conviction and participants. Perhaps something other than Saturday morning.  Here’s a list of area farmers markets:

Proper Schooling

The departure of Rhythms of the Village charter high school out of the former Edison Elementary School on Glenrose has left a mess. Gang tagging and weeds are now everywhere, even though NIA school is still there. To PUSD: What the hell is going on here? Use and care for the school right or replace it with a park.


I returned from our trip north to find our baby hummingbirds gone. Mom was in the nest one morning, but haven’t seen anybody else in there for a few days. Hope they’re all livin’ the life.


My oh-so-talented pal Jennie Webb’s play Yard Sale Signs is being read next week as part of a reading series:

New festival showcases bold new works by L.A. playwrights performed
and directed by prominent Los Angeles talent
Starting Wednesday, May 7th, Rogue Machine (in residence at Theatre
Theater, 5041 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles, 90019) will present the
“Playground” play reading series.  Six free play readings, from local
playwrights, will be presented to the public with one of them going
into production in the next year.  Rogue Machine invites the Los
Angeles theatre community to discuss the work with the playwrights,
actors, directors and company members, and to help us choose.  It’s a
chance to engage in the creative process and be there when it all begins!

The readings are free to all and will be held at Theatre Theater, 5041
W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles, 90019 (two blocks west of La Brea).  We
will offer complimentary coffee, donuts and creative energy!  Please
rsvp to, call (323) 930-0747 and visit for more details.   

Wednesday June 4 8:00 pm
Yard Sale Signs by Jennie Webb (Theatricum Botanicum), directed by
Barbara Kallir
 A lovely, gently surreal tale of five women trying on clothes in a
department store.  An absurdist comedy about mothers and daughters and
women who have given away too much.  Charming, touching and very original.

I’ll be there! Hope to see you, too!



My husband worked on this project for a little while, so here is a link to Discovery’s photos.

Alas, I’ll be out of town for the elections or I’d be out to help this year.
Hoper some of you out there can lend a hand. I promise I will next year. Really. Honest.

Altadena Town Council Elections June 21, 2008
Your Community Needs You

The Altadena Election Committee is requesting
volunteers from the community to participate in this
year’s elections, either as a poll staffer or to
assist with setting up and breaking down the polling

We need people to commit to a 4 hour shift as a poll
8AM-12PM, 11AM-3PM, or 2PM-6PM.

Setup volunteers can rise early or sleep in and help
us break down, and should allot 2 hours of service
either way.

Contribution of this time is vital for a vibrant and
accessible election, and I’m hoping it will be quite
fun as well!

Poll Worker (Check One)
8AM-12PM ________
11AM-3PM ________
2PM-6PM ________

Set Up/Break Down Volunteer
6:30AM-8:30AM _______
5:30PM-7:30PM _______

Please contact:
Election Chair Laura Graham
Email: Laura Graham
Phone Number: 626-543-4844


Loma Alta Rec Center
Farm Fresh Market
Gordys Garage
Altadena Library
Farnsworth Park
Ralphs Market
Coffee Gallery
Altadena Golf Course

For other details including candidate names and census
tract numbers, see:

I may write about Altadena, but I’m not there this weekend. We are up in Mendocino/Fort Bragg enjoying some real time off. I loved Bill Geist’s Sunday Morning piece on the “staycation,” the energy conserving alternative to a vacation. But it seems this year we won’t be taking one of those.

It’s my pal Liz’s 50th birthday, so we hopped on a 7 am plane to Oakland at Bob Hope Airport, rented a car and took a leisurely drive the rest of the way. We stopped for breakfast in Healdsburg, which is a really happening town with fabulous restaurants, galleries and one of my favorite stores, Rainsong Shoes. I picked up one unassuming but beautiful shoe on display, turned it over and saw that it had been inspired by Paul Simon as it sported a “diamond” in its sole. Or maybe that should be soul. Diamonds in the sole of her shoes. Lovely. And it was placed between the heel and the sole to protect it. I coveted the lovely thing, but didn’t buy it. What control I tell you. Then, with photography in my blood, we entered a photo gallery called Capture and viewed some of the most spectacular photo work I’ve ever seen. Fantastic fantasy pieces, blending faces and trees, perilous holes in the ocean off New York, bridges full of cars driving through a gallery. I am sorry to say I can’t recall the artist’s name. I remember his last name is five letters, two syllables, and starts with a B. Do you recall things in certain ways? This subject fascinates me. I will recall the number of letters and syllables and often the first letters. I see the name or word visually and “feel” its structure. As a kid I had a “photographic” memory. I see it, I remember it.

That ability hasn’t remained exactly the same over the years, and I think there’s more to it than just the visual. It’s rhythm, too. My first phone number was 347-3343. I loved the rhythm of that number, and the math. All the numbers could be added to make seven, or subtracted from seven to get the other number. Our second house’s address was 23836. I loved that rhythm, too. I love numbers in a weird way. I see I’m on a completely unintended subject now, but what the hell, I’m on vacation. Numbers. I loved math as a kid. I would do extra math homework, buy the workbooks in the grocery store and ravage them at home. I loved the feeling of accomplishment. In 7th grade, my algebra teacher wanted me to become a math teacher. By then I was over the joy of math and into the transition to junior high and all the social insanity that goes with that, but honored that he thought I could teach. I fantasize about what that might have been like, especially now that I work at Caltech, known for many things wonderful, including the TV show Numbers. Those brilliant number guys change the world with their theories, ideas and proofs. And, of course, all mathematicians say the same thing about the world: it’s all math. But to the me in 7th grade, it was all just too boring.

There’s so much about numbers. Lucky numbers. Seemingly magical numbers. Numbers that seem to repeat in our lives to tell us something. Remind us of something. Clue us in about something. We pick dates that are meaningful. Bet lottery tickets based on birthdays, anniversaries, our own “lucky” numbers. Our lives are run by numbers. In fact, 40+ years ago my dad created his own comic strip called “By the Numbers.” No one had any names, just numbers, except the boss, who had the initials JB. My father was convinced the world was going to hell and would become unbearable to live in. He was an Ayn Rand aetheist and couldn’t bear to see independence crushed by the inept. Which sounds all noble and fine, but I think he could not bear being hemmed in by anything and Rand’s philosophy hit him where he lived.

A number is the reason we’re here in Mendocino. A significant birthday. The 50th. A half-century. A milestone. An achievement to be celebrated. For my friend it truly is, as she’s faced more health battles than I could list. Her medical records would probably stretch around the world. Let me tell you that lupus is one insidious, crappy disease that attacks on all fronts without regard to anything. And the treatments, like steroids, are equally horrid in their side effects. It may be the first signs of it showed up in my friend on her honeymoon nearly 30 years ago. After a beautiful wedding on the east coast, they boarded the QEII for Europe. She ended up seeing the country by wheelchair. So now it’s good times, slow times, up and down times, but talk about a birthday bash! A fine collection of 22 women gathered to celebrate the day with wine and song, dancing and laughter, gifts and gab, tribute and tears.

So here’s to numbers, and the magic, mystery, knowledge, significance, milestones and possibilities they represent. As for my husband and I, we’re in room 210, with a deck, a jacuzzi tub and view over the Noyo Harbor and ocean, anticipating another number — time for lunch!

Shot some pix at yesterday’s Ditch Day. Enjoy!

Yes, our little hummingbird in our backyard sycamore tree has had two babies this week! We can’t see into the nest, but can see two tiny beaks peeking out from the rim. And at the same time, I’ve had a plant — not a cactus, not a euphorbia, can’t remember the right genus, but it’s name is Orient Express, and the flower it has produced knocked me out yesterday morning. I’d been watching the unassuming bloom form for a few days and started to photograph it. Monday evening it looked quite plump, but still tight and I had no idea what to expect. Having trouble posting a pic, will do later!

JON WEINBACH wrote a story in the Wall Street Journal yesterday about the flaw that all the Kentucky Derby horses this year have in common — their ancestor Native Dancer and his feet of clay, so to speak. I was extremely upset over the death of Barbaro, and attended a Derby party today with great trepidation. I was so relieved when the race was over and no one was hurt. Then the news that Eight Belles was down and nearly immediately euthanized.

Several of us at the party broke into tears and had to leave the room. Not only a horse was down, but she was the only philly. Like Hillary Clinton, all of the women at the party had been cheering her on.  We were stunned.  Needless to say the party turned somber. So when my name was called out about a half hour later, I was caught in that weird place where I had won the party’s little trifecta pool, but at what cost?  Talk about a hollow celebration.

So I wrote this little note to Weinbach: “I’m just so sorry that your story was so correct. We attend a Derby party every year. My husband and I won our little pool the year Barbaro won and I won again today. It made me sick to my stomach. Felt like blood money. I won’t be going to another Derby party, but I will be donating some of my winnings to the American Humane Society so at least other animals in need can benefit.”

I am adding to that donation a hospice for animals featured on Oprah, Martha Stewart and other shows called Angel’s Gate. Take a look at what they do. Talk about love.

This was just one unexpected piece of news this week. My oldest friend fell and cut her forehead open requiring stitches. We learned a volunteer and donor at work died. And I got horrible news about another friend, Faye Bordy Fears. Faye was for many years the editor of Dramalogue, a publication owned by her uncle and ultimately sold to Backstage. I also wrote for Dramalogue for several years and got to know Faye a bit, went to her house for parties, to her baby shower. And she came to my house, we went to plays. She even stepped in to help when an old boyfriend was being a jerk. She gave me wedding advice. When the magazine was sold, she and her family moved to Los Osos, ironically where my oldest friend who cut her forehead this week also lives. I didn’t go to see her enough. When I heard the news on Wednesday, I called her husband David and heard his voice crack when I said, “Tell me the news I heard isn’t true.” It was. Faye died due to complications from a routine surgery on Monday, shocking all who knew her. If you know Faye, you can email the family at  A gathering will be held by the family over the summer.

I’ve had a lot of unexpected loss in my life, and it doesn’t get that much easier to bear. Yes, I’ve grown more philosophical with age, and I feel loss differently. When I was young there was drama and shock and some level of fear about death. Now I feel losses of friends and family as a numbing shock first, and then deep sadness because I now know how each loss takes up a little more room in your heart. I think about their unrealized dreams and hopes, and that also makes me think about mine. A lot to think about on a Sunday afternoon.

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