Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

The Eulogy I Never Wanted To Write

Monday, April 8th, 2019

 

First the joke I wrote while waiting behind the gauze curtains at a Jewish funeral.  The first joke I would ever write.

Let me set the scene:  Forest Lawn in Burbank, California.  The year 1996.  The chapel – is it called a chapel?  Is spilling over.  There are well over 200 guests and not enough seats so some people will be outside.

“I think I might need my dad’s cane here today and maybe his brace.  God knows I have his balls.”

I looked straight into the audience and saw Red Buttons and Shecky Greene laughing.  That’s when I knew I had this.  Though I’m not great at public speaking.  It’s my biggest fear – among so many fears.  Maybe I didn’t inherit the large balls after all.  My father was fearless.  Oh, did I mention this is my dad’s funeral?  Now you know.

The beauty of my father was – well – so many things I’ll try and share with you.  But one of them being that he would grade you.  He’d give everyone an A or 100%.  But, it was always a perfect score.  So, first off, I’d like to give my dad 100 for being the best dad a little girl could ever have. (more…)

Close Your Eyes

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2018

 

His adoption story: It was “the fastest ever,” according to the militant dog adoption folks. We looked for a dog for two straight years. Every Sunday without fail, my husband and I combed through the available dogs at the Farmers Market, on Sunset, in the Palisades. Nothing did it for us.

Then one Sunday, before I woke up, my husband called and said there’s a very cute dog here. The owner is giving him up, but hanging around for the day, hoping to find him a home. An out-of-the-ordinary, not-in-the-system-yet, dog. I said just bring him and the owner to our house. I’ll see him here. Not something they do. But, they did. For me.

Two hundred dollars and an hour later, we had our new dog with the adorable “Disney dog” face. They didn’t do their usual home check. The adoption people knew us well by now, and trusted us.

Our dog came with a name: Dre. Scratch Dre in the first minute, because we’d already agreed that we loved the name Bing. Bing, our new nine-month-old, wired-hair, tan and orange, mid-sized, human-faced boy. (more…)

Rent A (Wedding) Wreck

Tuesday, February 13th, 2018

 

 

I think of my friend Dave as the patron saint of divorce. Why, you may ask? Well, Dave came to my rescue when my long-predicted-to-end-marriage, ended.

Let me start at the beginning. I was in my late twenties. All, I mean some, of my friends were swept up in the wedding/baby thing and I thought, me too. And no, if they all jumped off of a bridge, I would not jump. But in hindsight, getting married was a lot like jumping off a bridge. And my body is tiny and breaks easily.

I showed up one day at Jane Fonda’s workout dressed in full early-80’s workout gear. I didn’t even exercise, you should know, I just liked costumes, especially the look of those scrunched-up leggings on my ankles. I was there to corner my best friend Stacey, to whom I would reveal and process the secret news. I had to wait until her hardcore class was over. Then I followed my out-of-breath, sweaty girlfriend to the bathroom.

“I think I just got married.”

Stacey stared back at my reflection in the mirror while splashing cold water on her face. “You think.” (more…)

Angels and Devils

Saturday, April 1st, 2017

 

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When I was 18 years old I had an anthem.

At the time, two women, who seemed almost elderly, but were only in their mid-50s, were my feminist role models. They didn’t know it.

My own mother was a very independent woman and was already a pretty good role model. But she wasn’t as forthcoming and strong. I felt my mother’s strength was just the hand she’d been dealt. That’s another story for another time.

These two women, who had just entered my life, were fierce and unapologetic about their strength. Janet had a degree as a medical doctor and was a New York shrink on the Upper East Side. Ruth had an MSW and practiced therapy out of her duplex in Beverly Hills. She also happened to be the mother of my then boyfriend.

When these two besties got together, they wore matching (although in different colors) Lanz nightgowns to bed. They’d giggle all night during their two-week long, if not longer, slumber parties.

The headboard of Ruth’s bed was a spectacular mural of hand painted cherubs (angels) and clouds.  Their lives, their friendship, their headboards, their taste in music and books and film, all seemed fantastic to me. I was captivated.

Ruth and Janet turned me onto my anthem. I knew and recited the words by heart. I bought the album and played it more than some people were playing Joni Mitchell and Crosby, Stills & Nash. Over and over all day long, I pulled the needle back to start my favorite song again one more time. This was 1972. The album was released a year earlier. (more…)

Mi Casa es Mi Casa

Sunday, February 12th, 2017

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If I am within blocks of my childhood home in Beverly Hills, like a homing pigeon, I make my way to 340 South Roxbury Drive. One night, more than 18 years ago, I asked my then boyfriend to turn left from Olympic as we approached the street I once called home. Home. The word. The symbol so loaded for me. Nearly two years before, I had purchased a condo. I didn’t think of it as home. It was all that I could afford. Small. Two bedrooms.   Dark and depressing. Both my parents had died, the small amount of money they left enabled me to finally buy real estate.   I hated that condo. I tried to decorate myself into loving it. I even hired the best craftsman to lay wall to wall Saltillo tile with colorful Spanish tiles as an accent. I was hoping that would give me the thing I was looking for.

What was I looking for? I know what it was. Security. I wanted the man I had been dating for seven years to marry me. To finally really take care of me. I got a lot of resistance.

“Stop. Pull over.” I stared into the barely lit home. It was late and dark outside.   I flashed on coming home at night as a teenager. Alone. Pulling up in the driveway and getting out quickly because the courtyard was dark and appeared menacing with the overgrown pepper tree casting ominous shadows.   My mother loved her tree. She admired every single detail in her home. From the beamed ceilings to the black wrought iron banister to the stained glass window.   My mother, now dead, wasn’t able to live her days out in her beloved Spanish home. When she could no longer afford it, she moved to the desert. Not in a home that she valued for it’s exquisite taste. Once she moved to Palm Springs, a place we vacationed and enjoyed when I was growing up, she became a recluse. I so did not want to live my mother’s life. I needed my own Spanish home. And a fresh start. And a ring on it. (more…)

Battle Scar

Friday, September 9th, 2016

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A few months ago, Oliver, my eldest son, walks into my bedroom, “I really like what you’ve done with the room. Very hospice chic.” Jimmy Kimmel might be blasting on my TV at midnight, and he will come in and say, “So, this is what it’s like at the end?” His humor and teasing are endlessly entertaining to me. I laugh until I cry at these bits poking fun of his mother – me. The newest bit is that he tells me I’m over- painting my eyebrows. “They’re too high on your forehead, you look like a scared cartoon character.”

Just tonight, while he playfully beat me up with his hilarious take on me, he thought he had me. “Wait” he asked. “How old am I?” In the middle of both laughter and tears, I answer Oliver. “I know how old you are.” The truth is, I really did have to think for a second. And he knows that. “You’re thirty-three, right?” I realize that adding the right will give him more fuel to make fun of me but maybe I feed him material sometimes.

There is one thing I might not have revealed to my son and that is the truth of his birth experience. But, one day while he was growing up, his father let the story slip. Oliver has never once made fun of it. In a way, it’s a relief. I hate secrets. But I would keep a secret if it kept someone safe. Actually, my friends know that I will go to the grave with their secrets if they ask me to. I just hate to be asked. (more…)

The Real Truth in Advertising

Friday, April 8th, 2016

My Do It Clairol ad

I was living the life in Malibu. Beachfront. On the water. Waves crashing, lulling me to sleep. On the street side, the monotonous drone of Pacific Coast Highway was its own kind of white noise. Everything was good in the world.

My agents phoned about an interview. They always called auditions interviews. Some director in New York wanted to hear a recording of my voice reading the script for a commercial. No on-camera audition required. I was the only actor in Los Angeles requested, not that I knew this at the time.

I landed the job and took off for Miami, Florida. Filming would be in Coral Gables. At the hotel, I was met by “it” director Melvin Sokolsky, who gave me the warmest hug. Sokolsky had been an award-winning photographer who, at the age of twenty-one was invited to join the staff of Harper’s Bazaar.  He also contributed to Vogue, Esquire, McCall’s & Newsweek. In 1969 he embarked on a new career in television commercials. He would eventually win 25 Clio Awards, the Oscar of the ad business. (more…)

Daydreamer

Tuesday, July 21st, 2015

collage of famous 60s people

 

I was in my head so much that I didn’t watch TV, never read. Playing with friends was distracting because I would rather be in my fantasy world. Who I pretended to be was a full time job.   Let me introduce you to all the roles I played. It was exhausting being me.

I was Haley Mills in The Parent Trap.

I played tambourine and sometimes drums in my famous all-girl band – The Pink Pussycats. We wore pink Helanka turtlenecks, pink stretch pants and pink Courreges boots. We wore Mary Quant and Yardley makeup. Because of our sudden rise to fame, we did many glamorous magazine covers like Vogue and Seventeen.

I was all the characters in Peter Pan, my favorite being Tinkerbell. I would spend days hunting butterflies to collect the sticky stuff off their wings which would enable me to fly. This required leaving my house and the fantasy bubble I lived in.

As Shirley Temple, I sang The Good Ship Lollipop and tap-danced on the top of pianos. (more…)

Our House

Wednesday, March 18th, 2015

that's no lady, that's my mother

I was driving past my childhood home, my architectural symbol of security.

At the time, I didn’t own a house and had only purchased my first condo a year or so before. It was dark and depressing. Living in it was like living in Portland or Seattle – one of those places where it rains too much. I not only was sad, I had SAD. Seasonal Affective Disorder. It’s a condition that puts you in a bleak mood during the winter months when there isn’t enough sunlight. Only mine wasn’t seasonal. In this apartment, I had it all the time.

I’d just lost both my parents, a year apart. I shed so many tears while living in this condo I should have had flood insurance. But I really wanted to enjoy my first place with my first mortgage, even though the word mortgage was still so grown up and confusing. I hired the tile guy all my friends were using to hip the place up. Saltillo tiles. Trying to make it Spanish because this is the style I knew and loved, the style I grew up with. (more…)

Not my Birthday

Wednesday, March 4th, 2015

 

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My husband’s birthday was coming up.   As it approached, I kept coming up with ideas. “Surf and Sand in Laguna?” I asked, as he passed me in the hall. Nothing. A few days later, “Malibu Beach Inn?” Nada. A week later, I added what I thought was a fresh idea, “Ojai Valley Inn?” Still, no response.

These are MY ideas of what to do on a birthday. We usually end up at a beach somewhere because, well, we should do something, right? Then, with less than a week until the actual date, he reminds me that it’s HIS birthday. What?!! Incredulous. And now he’s thought about it and really wants to go to LA Photo, the annual photo show, which is no longer held in Santa Monica, but at the LA Mart, downtown.

DOWNTOWN? But there’s no beach. I needed a few moments to come to terms with this.   “Okay,” I peeped. He said let’s get a room for the night and check out all the hipness we keep hearing about downtown. He mentioned the Standard Hotel. But I remembered everyone, meaning my son, talking about the Ace Hotel. My husband took charge and booked it. I think he feared I would switch it behind his back to a beach hotel.   He said restaurant reservations were up to me. He thinks of that as my territory. And, well, it usually is. (more…)