Monday, May 28, 2012

My Adventure

Sometimes a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do. I've been traveling mostly to London to see Ian McKellen on stage for decades so when he was doing a one-man show to benefit a theater damaged in the New Zealand earthquake I had to be there. Getting to talk to him again and finally getting a photo is #1 off the bucket list. #2 is learning how to not make stupid expressions when a camera is aimed. Sure, it took two planes and an overnight to get there but must I look it? More specifically, Ian has always been an inspiration to me. He works hard at what he does, is one of the most generous of celebrities and now because of Gandolf beloved by a whole new generation of fans.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Lucky Me

One fine day spent with TNT's top drama The Closer cast and crew, a bunch of really terrific people who made us feel welcome and appreciated. From left is Robert Gossett, Jr. (Chief Taylor), me, Michael Paul Chan (Lt. Tao), G.W. Bailey, (Lt. Provenza) and James Duff, the creator.
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Candy Drawer

Brenda Leigh's candy drawer - how does she stay so thin?
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Happy Happy

Corey, Dee Dee, Natalie, Kathy
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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Saturday, November 07, 2009

My Dad

It is the 10th anniversary of my father's death. The following article was published in the Honolulu Advertiser shortly after I moved to Hawaii.

Two men who had the strongest impact on my life both died within weeks of greeting the new century. Both were in their 80's and both lived exemplary lives and each succeeded far beyond their original modest goals.

They both formed me, even though they didn't know each other. One I knew from birth and every day thereafter; one I met briefly, only once. From them I learned value and integrity and perhaps most importantly, to accept all people as equal no matter their color or their beliefs or their status. Each gave far more than they got.

I was a rambunctious child, and my dad guided me into sports to burn all that energy. I never shared his love of golf, but I did well in tennis, gymnastics, softball and whatever the guys down the street were playing. That was okay, but I had a higher calling in those days and that's where the other man came in. He rode his revered white horse alongside his faithful Indian companion and literally saved people's lives and their farms from evil men. This seemed a good choice of profession to me. Okay, my horse wasn't quite so magnificent and I wasn't allowed to cross the river during the rainy season and there weren't really enough evil-doers in my town to make a career of it - even if I was willing to forego school to do it. Instead, I watched every episode of the Lone Ranger and absorbed his message - that good and bad is based on deed, not on race or creed or color. If perhaps those days had more absolutes and less gray areas than today the concept has never wavered.

My dad was not famous; the idea appalled him - except for occasional remembrances about his college basketball prowess and his vocal similarity to Perry Como. He lived a quiet life, kept the same job for years and was happy to do so. He never really understood my wanderlust and need to keep pushing and challenging, but he never held me back or tried to say I shouldn't. He was proud of all his children because we stayed clear of drugs and drinking and driving, paid our bills - even if he had to occasionally add to the pot. He wanted nothing more from us than to be good and productive people. The only thing he ever insisted on was that we invest in a retirement plan. He would stoop to any level to get our money and get it working for us. Today I'm grateful, at 15 it felt premature.

Clayton Moore, the actor who is best known for portraying the masked Lone Ranger, insisted on never being seen in public without some eye covering. When the producers wanted a new, younger lead for their upcoming movie and went to court to bar Moore from wearing a mask, he wore dark glasses. He continued to live an upstanding life, long after the series ended, insisting he would never let down the millions of fans for which he was such a strong role model. How different that is from many of our so-called celebrities of today. A few years ago I appeared an hour early for a book signing of his autobiography, feeling kind of silly that I was still so in awe of this man, now in his late 70's (not to mention my age). The line was already out onto the sidewalk, and the store had to send to a rival store for more copies of the book. We are hungry for the good guys.

I learned all that is important to me from these two men, quiet heroes in their own way, lessons instilled before I was 10 and I hope I can say never wavered from. Lessons about value, about duty and obligation and being fair, working hard and giving back. Sure, life has some curves, some days or months, even years, can incur real setbacks. Yet no matter how dark it seemed, somewhere deep inside myself I knew that everything would turn out all right in the end. The Lone Ranger would come galloping up or my Dad would write a check or offer words of comfort or - surprise - I would figure out a solution on my own. Even now, with their recent loss, I don't feel alone because both men and their examples of living are always within me.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Tabloid Hell

Since President Obama was elected I've been less inclined to blog. Simply put, I'm less angry and chagrined. I feel that finally we have someone leading our country that deserves the job and is actually doing the job. Sure, I voted for Clinton, but held my nose. Don't get me started on Bush, both of them. The only good thing about Bush pere was Dana Carvey. Bush fils had nothing good about him. Except his colossal f***ups gave the electorate the gumption they needed to reach way out into the unknown. And boy, did we score!

So that leaves me with not much on my mind. I don't know if that's a cop out, what with all the calls to service and all. I know I should be doing more for my community and the world but it seems like I've been pushing boulders uphill for decades and frankly, I'm ready to hang back for a while.

At first it was fun watching the Republicans unravel. They deserved it, marching in lockstep behind such a dolt. But lately it's like throw a rock and you'll hit a self-destructing Repub. Mark Sandford has taken adultery to new lows and seemingly relished doing his public pennance. Thankfully we didn't have to watch his wife staring hurt and gooey-eyed at him. She took the kids and bailed, good for her.

Now Sarah Palin. All this talk of her chances in 2012 is just stupid. Read my lips, it's over. A friend is soon vacationing in Alaska and I said bring home the gossip, what they're really saying about her up there. She wasn't doing all that well at the job she bailed on but the real reason she left was money. Ethics violations caused her to repay her family travel. As governor she has to watch what she spends taxpayer money on. As a freelance speech giver, with her star quality and few others - maybe Rush Limbaugh and his jiggle speech - she can command the really big bucks. Just ask Bill Clinton how to go from decent money to obscenely rich - a few pep talks a month with photo ops and it pours in. The far right needs a celebrity to call their own and she fills the bill but getting to the lower 48 is not easy as a sitting governer who can't bring her family on the public trough and worse, those pesky consituents think she should stay put, govern the state she was elected to govern.

So for a while it's silly season on the right. They'll get their act together eventually. Even Norm Coleman saw the light and let Al Franken be seated a mere seven months after the election. Okay, he didn't so much see the light as he saw the inevitable and realized he could run for governor and probably win, name recognition being what it is. All that free publicity fighting for your cause translates into votes if you don't go so far out that you get stupid. He stopped just inches short of that.

But really, it's no longer interesting. We're losing the art of intelligent conversation. Too hard to get attention. Obama would be a great president even without his rock star quality but with it he can get the attention we as a nation need to go forward. It has been a really tough year and not likely to get better for a while. Knowing that a grownup is in charge, someone who knows what the job is, who can play politics but is not of politics, that is a gift. We as a nation needed him desperately and we rose to the occasion. After years of voter apathy, this election was everything this country was meant to be.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Misery Does Not Love Company

I have the flu. A really nasty one that won't go away. I have no time for it. I never have time for it. I had a lovely trip to Europe to see family and friends and theatre and all good things. I returned home full of vigor to restart my body and restart my life and read my Yoga Journal cover to cover.

Cough cough. So it began. Nearly two weeks later I sound like a freight train rumbling through the station. Sleep is easy, medicated to the hilt. And still, every morning I wake up, still sick. Sometimes worse, sometimes almost a glimmer of better, but overall definitely really sick. The doctor says it has to run its course, and it's not the current trendy swine flu. No this goes by the uninspiring name of "seasonal."

I'm wondering why my body betrayed me like this. I was really going to give it good nourishing food, more yoga and meditation. I was serious this time, a new improved me. Why didn't my body believe me and do it's share? Is this my subconscious sabotaging efforts to be better? Am I secretly a loser hanging on to a foolish possibility of change when it's all predestined from birth - like who gets to be Brad Pitt or Michelle Obama? I'm sure they work hard and deserve themselves and it probably wasn't easy and maybe their work ethic is ten times mine but really, I was on a roll. I had a plan!

Then my body said oops, not yet. Momentum is now so far behind the only way I see to catch up with chores fallen by the wayside is to throw everything away and start over.

Now that I think of it, maybe I tried to change with the same old junk. Maybe the junk goes first then the change. I'll try that next time.

Meanwhile I've lost five pounds, no appetite with all the meds. So maybe I'm not so far off course after all. I guess there are worse diets out there. But it probably wouldn't kill me to give away a lot of junk, either. Maybe this is my wakeup call, that maybe my body said sure, I can take off that pesky weight and then we'll buckle down to serious exercise. Maybe this is me in action!

Or maybe I just have the damn flu.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Keep your ears stiff

A German acquaintance said that to me today. I'd never heard the phrase but I suppose the American equivalent is hang in there.

Attitude is everything or as Abraham Lincoln was credited with saying - Most people are about as happy as they decide to be. Have you ever noticed that unhappy people tend to wear it like their only coat, holding tight to all their misery, sharing with anyone who can't get away quick enough. Oh sure, stuff happens to us all making us angry, miserable, in pain and any number of things that can ruin a perfectly good mood. The difference is that unhappy people use any less than perfect event to add another layer to their misery, like adding a rumpus room onto their house and then accumulate all the junk that goes into it.

Happy and successful people by their very attitude save a lot of that grief. They're strong enough they don't get trapped into playing another person's game, if only because miserable people steer clear of them. I had a boss that hated good cheer. When he treated me with disrespect I upped the joy - to everyone but him. I'd like to say he came around and it's now a successful relationship but far from it. However, there's not much he can do because my work output is excellent and others have noticed. Okay, that's not always the best way to handle things because ultimately he is my supervisor and does my evaluations and approves various requests but I finally filed charges against him and I did that because I simply got brave enough to do so. Really, it took a lot to risk it because I had to assure myself I was worth the respect and not live in fear of losing a salary especially in this economy.

It's hard to do the right thing because it's not always appreciated and occasionally there are repercussions. But by respecting yourself enough to take the risk and understand the potential consequences often the lesson learned and the progress made will outweigh and downside. Yes, it might not. That's why it's called experience.

I often hear things happen for a reason. Maybe. It's a good debate and conversation over a glass of wine. I tend to prefer we make our own luck. And that's all about attitude. Face forward and take a giant step. Then when you fall back it might be only a small step. That's progress.