Saturday, July 18, 2009


Am I a perfectionist? No. But the pictures for my post -- "Tea at Em's," and also "Gallery" -- they took hours for me to take, and they're still bugging me.

I want my house, my paintings to look good, to look the way they really look!

JC says they look fine. (He's the perfectionist in our family --the way he learns and drills his lines, and keeps drilling them throughout the run of the show is inspiring.)

Dammit, my Orange Cityscape picture isn't sharp enough -- you can't see all the details -- and the brown living room looks cluttered. I want to get the camera and shoot them again!

Try, try again is a dancer thing -- perfecting plies, tendus, frappes, extensions, mastering "attitude, arabesque, pirouettes, jetés" -- it's probably just a bunch of words to you, but to me each word represents a major challenge -- to do it right, to do better than okay, to master, conquer and be able to perform the step, the position easily, fluently, effortlessly.

Took a coffee break, while writing this, and turned on the TV. Caught a glimpse of an arena like a skier's slope, but shorter, with high hills and deep valleys.

Suddenly -- vrroom -- a motorcycle's flying through the air above the arena.

This guy in a blue helmet was high up in the air -- turning, whirling around mid-air on a motorcycle. Hands on the handlebars! Hands off the handlebars! Feet on the foot pedals! Off the pedals! Leaning, defying gravity, tilting the motorcycle and himself ...

The announcer's voice blared -- "Unbelievable torque -- four "360's! Fifth 360! Here's the sixth 360 !"

The guy in the blue helmet does another -- it's scary to watch -- it's dangerous -- how did he learn to do what he's doing? Must have taken hours, hundreds of doings for him to learn what to do -- head to toe -- with each part of his body.

"Wow," the announcer yelled, "Dave's doing a triple! No one's ever done a triple. Incredible, a triple after he fell on his face in the prelims, I was sure he'd be out of the lineup for today!"

Cheers, whistles, as Dave waves to the crowd, and drives off the testing arena into an area with other cyclists on motorcycles. With his helmet off, his heavily tattooed arms look as if they are covered with green moss. He's boyish, young. He tells the interviewer, "Yesterday, in the prelims the hill was slick. It psyched me out ... or maybe it psyched me up after my fall!" He's articulate, educated as he explains that he came to the arena at 1 a.m. last night and practiced for a couple of hours.

I'm on my way back downstairs to my office with my coffee, as the Announcer hoots, "He won -- he's today's winner -- Dave Mirra's number one!"

Take a look -- Dave Mirra, doing 360's -- seven of them -- without hands ...

I don't know why it hasn't occurred to me sooner -- "Try, try try again is the song, the motto, the commitment of anyone, not just artists and athletes, but everyone who loves his work.

Hooray for Dave Mirra.

Friday, July 17, 2009


JC needs a new computer. He's using the Dell I bought nine years ago, and upgraded all by myself upgraded. Yes, it's still operating, but with all the wireless high speed internet stuff I've added, it's creeping, inching along unbearably slowly.

Diligent Em reads computer magazines. The latest gizmos fascinate me. I breeze through the big print, browse though the smaller print, squint at the fine print, absorbing numbers that indicate restrictions and additional costs. A good shopper has to know what's going on.

The latest stuff doesn't bewilder me, though it's bewildering. I browse online, and learn, by wandering in the black forests, and overgrown jungles of various websites. Even the unclear directions, clicks that get me nowhere, take me to something that tells me what I want to know -- like bits -- 64 bits versus 32 bits.

It's not boring, just enormously time-consuming. And almost fun. If you called me and asked me what computer I think you ought to buy, I'd impress you with my educated knowledge and opinion.

So ...
I called Dell. I know the number. I waded through a twenty-minute talk with sharp, knowledgeable Bryce. Impressed him with my educated questions and got myself a pal. He emailed me a list of what we'd decided on -- 38 items, an order number, a price.

I told my pal Bryce I'd check it out with my husband and call him back.

Didn't need permission -- knew JC would be delighted, but gee ... boxes arriving, unpacking, plugging in, installing the midi, the high speed stuff ... gee ... not next weekend ... the week after?

That was April 14th. Brilliant, decisive, knowledgeable shopper Em has been hemming and hawing -- worrying, fretting -- installing and configuring our thirty software programs is a three-day, full-time job. I called Mike, a high-priced professional who'd helped me in 2007 -- got an even higher price per hour for him to do the job -- no way José-- ridiculous! waste of money!

On my breaks, I scribbled lists, hunted for installation CD's -- tore up my office looking for one -- had double-double-toil-and-trouble nightmares about templates, virus protecting, old versions, updating drivers ...

Boom! July 4th ... Sarah Palin breathlessly, illogically quitting her governor's job -- soccer Mom letting us know she could face the music, "you betcha."

Em picks up the phone and calls her pal at Dell. Didn't expect he'd be at work, but he was. Gave Bryce my credit card numbers and bought it. Called Mike the high-priced professional, and you betcha -- did the most brilliant thing a computer expert like me can do -- I hired him to do the job.

Whoopee ... I'm facing the music.

Thursday, July 16, 2009


I can't, I won't, I refuse to see them. I blink away the ads.

Except maybe ... well, I love John Landis, especially his "Blues Brothers" movie ...

"Shh ... The Octopus" -- who in the world took me to see it. Was it one of my sisters or Ann, the live-in maid who'd become part of our family? How old was I? It scared me. I had nightmares about it for a long time.

What would happen to me if I were a child now? Would I have the comic book vision of art? Or would te murder-death-news be shaping me and my imagination.

Current ads, sales pitches -- (the ads that immediately turn me OFF) -- seem to have been created by young, raw, murder-death-comic book minds. The humor that is meant to be ha ha, isn't funny--not to me. It's crude, toilet-bathroom-snickering.

Wait a minute, haven't ads always been annoying? Yes.
Aren't they more amusing, more interesting, and less stiff nowadays? Yes.

Maybe what's wrong with the current ads is the repetition? Yes.

What does this have to do with "Shh, The Octopus?" Everything!

The movies we see --the big hits, the money-making, record breakers are explosions, crashes, killings, murders, suicides, hideous bloodletting, unending horrors suspensefully arranged, to keep us yearning for the next shocking event, and the next.

And television shows -- briefer versions of the same thing -- are larded, with murder-death, and comic book bang! splat! visions, hammering in that snickering toilet-paper point of view. They're telling you and me to crumple it up, quickly wipe yourself, and aim it -- shoot it into the basket like a Michael Jordan, and wowy --you've won those extra points for yourself.

(Excuse the image -- I guess the toilet scenes in the hit shows are corrupting me.)

"Shh ...The Octopus" did infect me, corrupt me. Early on, creatively, in ballet, and in writing I wanted to shock, show uniquely ugly forbidden things. I outgrew it. I figure the current crop of ad creators, and screen writers, film directors, will outgrow their jobs (at an earlier age than I did, because younger folks, with all this sex stuff in the air, are growing up faster and faster).

And the guys who make oodles of money from these blockbusters, and ads will pretty soon be hiring the newest youngest generation. And they ... well ...with global warming, stock market crashes, economic disasters, lying-cheating-unfaithful governors ...

Okay, we might have newer worser visions for a little while longer, but their children, and the children of the children ... their visions ...

Hey babies read at 2 -- toddlers learn facts of life at 5 -- working at 7, 8, and 9 -- their ads, their movies might be fine! We'll laugh at clowns, applaud the puppies...rappers can rap/sing "roses are red and violets are blue" ... Hey, why not ... sweetness and light could be hot ...

What goes around always comes around ... And older folks who grew up on yucky ugly stuff could always pop in a CD, and see the "Blues Brothers" one more time, and secretly love John Landis.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


Six months ago he said he had "acute congestive heart failure."

I started to write a letter to him yesterday. Stopped -- thought it ought to be a letter to his wife, explaining why he's special, important, significant to me.

But ... I'm not on intimate terms with him ... He was never a personal friend and I don't know her. What if I sent a get well card? Flowers ? A plant? A Bonsai tree in a glazed bowl, yes -- one of those marvelous miniatures that looks like it's been growing forever and say, "That's you!"

No, he's not a tree -- people who come to him for help or advice or work are not sheltered by him. They're sent out into the world like me, to find themselves -- in his two worlds -- books and baseball. (Baseball gets top billing.)

Baseball, I don't know, but books ... I've benefited from his creative, quicksilver mind. I've watched from the sidelines -- seen him ascend high in the business world, crash, and manage to ascend again, even higher ... He's there, at the top of his field --books, and baseball, baseball and books -- even if he isn't there now, the importance of him and what he's accomplished is there.

Hey, I could sign up for his Website, be a follower. (My big eyed dancer lady face would be pretty funny looking amongst the pitchers, catchers, and coaches.)

Okay, what if I put a comment on his page at "You've been in my life as the starting point from which my sense of myself as a writer began. Been there for many years as someone who affected me, inspired me to expand where I was heading with my childlike "till death do me part" commitment to dance forever -- and write. Write more. Not fancy, just speak and talk and get the words out."

There's a very small piece of a Jade plant that's been sitting in the hall outside my office. JC bought it for me a year ago. It reminds me of the jade plant that grew outside our log cabin in Malibu, that spread, grew bigger the entire time we were there, kept expanding till it was more than ten feet tall and almost as wide as the house . Every time Ipruned with the hedge clippers, and cleared away the cuttings, any little piece that was left on the ground would take root, and grow again.

That's YOU, JA, growing, expanding, becoming more important -- you are an amazing Jade plant.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


We watched Stewart Granger and Deborah Kerr on a big hunt, a scenically rich, fully detailed safari, "King Solomon's Mines" -- Granger. the Great White Hunter leading the African porters and the needy, strong-willed, brave, noble Kerr into darkest Africa to find her husband.

From time to time, we have our own big hunts ...

For receipts ...
Our offices aren't darkest Africa but our file cabinets (my wooden one, JC's steel one), are full of dangers like the giant boa constrictor, the ten foot alligator, the huge scorpions that suddenly, terrifyingly appear and endanger one's very being ... It's life and death -- the lever's cracked ... it's warrantied isn't it? That pin, that part -- does Sears still manufacture it?

For a tool ...
Urgently needed for a leak, an overflow, a broken rattling precarious something or other .. . tool could be in three places upstairs, anyone of nine different places downstairs ... ohLordyohGod -- we've got to have it now!

Granger's bearers in the line were toting all their life and death supplies -- he knew who was carrying what, but we look at each other with question marks in our eyes -- where did we put it? when did we use it last? -- while danger mounts.

For a contact lens ...
Freeze! Don't move! Carefully brush a sleeve, brush your front, your knees, your shoes! Pat the table! Study your coffee cup, examine the saucer -- it's there -- it has to be there --where?

Think! cries JC.
I think. I murmur --"I did stand up ..."
JC grabs the flashlight ...
I'm at the sink, patting.

He's on his knees below my chair ...
I pull the string that turns on the overhead fluorescents, grab a paper napkin. On my knees I'm patting everywhere, retracing my movements, retracing my steps, my thoughts .. did I reach for a fork, didn't I open my vitamin bottle?

A minute, two minutes ... four minutes later ...

We're patting, hunting, cleaning the floor with our hands, a small section, a larger section ... then the entire floor ... His weapon is the dustpan brush, mine is both hands sweeping, smoothing over every inch of the floor.

He says, " Did you find it?"
"No?" I reply. "And you didn't either, did you?"
We sit back down, heads hanging, dejected, mourning ...

"Oh well," I murmur sadly to myself out loud.
"Well, " he murmurs comfortingly, "You've got plenty more."

We sigh. Do the math. Quietly count the boxes, each of four contains six lenses, three pairs that could be worn for ten days or maybe two weeks, so there's maybe enough to last about five or six months.

We sigh in unison and Deborah-Em and Stewart-JC reach across the table and squeeze each other's hands. each letting the other know "I can handle it ..."

After coffee and pecan sandy cookies. I open my lens case to return the one lens I'm wearing to it's place.

"Ohmygolly goodness gracious! The lens -- it's here -- it didn't fall out!"

Granger and Kerr cast loving, bemused smiles at one another, powerfully united by the adventure they've shared.

Monday, July 13, 2009


... oh dear ...

...more stuff to do what with ...


...& ...

...on and on ....


... & health care ... AIG ... if I had a pin, which balloon would I bust first?

Sunday, July 12, 2009


This person, a female in a skirt, stood outside, across the street, at the corner.

At first I thought she was someone who worked in the neighborhood. I wondered what kind of job she had, who was her employer, and why she was always there.

I saw her on a couple of rainy days. The season was changing. Her outfit changed. Then, one day when JC and I went into the A & P, I noticed her across the street.

After we'd returned home, unloaded the groceries and had a snack, I saw her on the street in the usual spot.

JC said, "She's a fan. I guess she's at the theater every night." He'd observed that she always stood across the street from the stage door.

We both noticed her across the post office, when we picked up a package there.

One day, when JC and I flagged down a taxi to take us to a meeting on 43rd Street, I saw her. I saw her outside the building after the meeting. I was shocked. Scared. How did she get there. In a taxi ? Did she get a cab to follow ours when we were heading to the meeting?

We discussed her whereabouts and made notes on a yellow pad. Was she across from the stage door last night? Was she waiting after the matinee? Was she lurking when he picked up his prescription?

It makes your heart beat faster when someone is lurking, following you, always there even when you take a subway. She was apparently following him where ever he went.

Then I saw her when he had stayed home. She was also following me ...

I called the police. They referred me to another person, who referred me to another precinct. I was told there was no law that could be applied, no way to stop the Lurk. (That's what I called her.)

We discussed it with our lawyer. He'd heard about a similar situation. He suggested we approach her. Ask her for her name.

JC tried to, but she rushed away as he approached.

His show closed. She was outside our home every day. Then suddenly, we didn't see her anymore.

More than a year later, when he was in another show, JC saw her outside the stage door. The pattern resumed. She was back outside our home.

At some point JC found out her name. He isn't sure when -- he remembers approaching her, and asking what's your name, and her saying it was JJ.

Off and on, for more than fifteen years -- JJ is outside the theater wherever JC performs. He nods and greets her sometimes -- ever since his opening night for "August: Osage County," she's been outside the Music Box Theatre.

And this winter when JC was performing in "Heroes" and "August: Osage County," JJ was outside both theaters -- for matinees as well as all the evening performances.

JC casually mentioned there were three of them nowadays -- JJ, Vera and Letty. He's given Vera and Letty the autographed pictures they've asked for when they came and saw him in "110 in the Shade" three or four times last summer. He didn't want me to worry but all three fans were at the Music Box after every show.

They're needy, not well people, and these days the not well people have become more dangerous. The fact is, the show at the Music Box closed last Sunday. But I think I saw JJ on our street on Tuesday, same spot, at new store on the corner -- and I worry.