30 January, 2009


fortune brings us back,
transcending time together,
know: I'm here for you

21 January, 2009


I met Margret Dietz the year before she died. Others dancers had much more time with her, and more intimate conversations. My relationship with her was quite brief by comparison. Yet she changed my life in a way I am still discovering, still trying to embody. Her gravestone, which you can see on my website, bears the inscription "To dance is my way of saying yes to life." 
I recently watched the movie called "The Reader" with Kate Winslet and Ralph Fiennes. As I watched the story unfold I thought about that post WW2 Germany and her work with the rehabilitation of members of the Nazi Youth Corp. The exercises she used are the same ones I use in my fitness and personal training work.
I love her hands in this photo. Her fingers are like little branches growing up toward the light out of that amazing backward arching of the spine. Her throat exposed, the billowing skirt, and the movement of the shoulder blades back toward the spine opening the heart all speak of surrender: the surrender of a women who lost her father to the Nazi's and her husband and son to a train wreck. A woman who took a gas mask off a dead man and walked out of Dresden during the bombing. Haunted, yet still willing to somehow say "yes" to life.
to be continued...

19 January, 2009

fierce creatures

The zoo 
used in the movie "Fierce Creatures" 
is located on Jersey,
one of the Channel Islands

it is accessible by ferry

There really is a Jambo; 
remember the scene with Willa 
checking her heart rate
suddenly finds herself face to hand 
with the silverback gorilla?

And they actually do sell sponsorships!


Writing about chocolate for the next "Good Age" fitness column means thinking and reading about chocolate, which also means eating chocolate. It's a dirty job, but I wouldn't expect others to do something I am not willing to do myself. Turns out there is quite a lot of well documented research singing the health benefits of our friend chocolate. For me, the fitness benefits are a big concern: it motivates me to complete my daily workouts, not the easiest part of my day. And I love my workouts, once I begin. It's getting started that is the challenge. A small but flavorful bit of the dark stuff gets me on the floor, with the music on, ready to sweat. 

12 January, 2009

jasmine (tea)

is actually an "essence"  not an essential oil. Flowers must be picked at night to maximize fragrance. One pound of jasmine oil requires about 1,00 pounds of jasmine or 3.6 million fresh unpacked blossoms. The blossoms must be collected before sunrise, or much of the fragrance will have evaporated. The quality of the blossoms may also be compromised if they are crushed. A single pound of pure jasmine oil may cost between $1200 to 4500. in contrast, synthetic jasmine oils can be obtained for $3.50 per pound, but they do not possess the same therapeutic qualities as the pure oil.

Nicknamed "queen of the night" and "moonlight of the grove." For centuries, women have treasured jasmine for its beautiful, seductive fragrance. Medical properties include antidepressant, stimulating, antibacterial. Uses include anxiety, depression, menstrual problems/PMS, skin problems, frigidity.

It's fragrant influences are uplifting, counteracts sense of hopelessness, nervous exhaustion, indifference and listlessness. University researchers in Japan found that diffusing certain aromas in an office environment dramatically improved mental accuracy and concentration. Diffused lemon resulted in 54 percent fewer errors, jasmine 33 percent  and lavender 20 percent. When aromas were diffused during test taking, scores increased by as much as 50 percent. 

11 January, 2009

cinnamon rolls

Imagine my horror, 
when I opened my "doggie bag"
 and found both my omelet 
and Maddy's cinnamon rolls! 
Last night's leftover chocolate
calls to me as I struggle 
to ignore the temptation.
To be continued...

10 January, 2009

quartet for the end of time



Today, I sat here.
Tomorrow. the red velvet chairs.
Next day, whoever knows? 

07 January, 2009

real teatime

Laduree at Harrod's
(of course)
3:30 to 6 pm

2 sandwiches:
smoked salmon
2 viennoiserie:
almond and walnut croissant
chocolate croissant

2 pasteries:
plaisur sucre
jasmine tea
repeat as needed

06 January, 2009

Monday at Laduree

Mondays are the best day to start new projects: novels, diets, jobs, love affairs. In this great tradition I rekindled my love affair with Laduree, the teashop not the man. I got an early start to hike a substantial portion of the journey to Laduree. I planned to meet my daughter there after she finished work. She has a grueling job teaching in inner city schools where child neglect is apparent, and appalling. I think of London as a civilized nation so, to see children with rotten teeth is a surprise.

As I waited for my daughter I studied the Laduree propaganda: "The story of Parisian tearooms is intimately linked  the Laduree story.  It started in 1852, when Louis Ernest (my gran
dfather's name) Laduree, a man fron the South West, a miller by trade, created a bakery at 16 rue Royale in Paris.

In 1871, while the Baron Haussmann was giving a new aspect to Paris, a fire led to the conversion of the bakery into a cake shop. Jules (my grandfather's middle name) Cheret, the famous poster designer of the end of the century was in charge of the decoration of the cake shop. He was inspired by the pictorial techniques used for the ceilings of the Sixtine Chapel and the Opera Gamer.

At the time of the second Empire, with the development of Parisians cafe, Jeanne Souchard, (wasn't Modigliani's lover/model named Jeanne Souchard) Ernest Laduree's wife, daughter of a famous hotel-keeper in Rouen, had the idea to mix styles: the cafes and the cake shop therefore gave birth to one of the first Parisian tearooms. They had one advantage over the cafes: women were welcome and free to come at any time.

A place with such refined atmosphere and rich historical background attracted David Holder and his father Francis Holder, founder of the Holder group. They both decided to repurchase the famous house then upgrade it and extend it. It's chairman, David Holder insisted on keeping the great classics which gave the House its reputation, and on turning it into the Mecca of Parisian pastry creation, in its shops, restaurants and various tearooms."

I like history, but my true love is NOW.
A bird in the hand is worth more than in the bush, yesterday.
This wasn't my first trip to Laduree
and I wasn't interested in spending alot of money
so I sipped a cup of steaming chocolat viennois
with Chantilly cream on the side
as I carefully made my selections.
After all this was Monday:
the first day of the rest of my life,
and the last day of my past life up to NOW.

I was reminded of my quiet New Years Eve in Arizona:
watching 2008 pass away 
as my daughter, in London, 
was already living in the 2009.

05 January, 2009


fragrant jasmine tea
makes everything better.

crash and burn

Flying high, freedom
without limit. Turbulence,
then I crash and burn.

01 January, 2009

not knowing

Dear Girlfriend,
Leaving Arizona,
I think it's a movie title...
in any case it's done. 
I've gone from desert to snow drifts.
Relationship, stepping back in time,
seeing events from new perspectives
new points on the map.
Not knowing what will occur
how it will feel 
what will come up 
and how to stay detached but authentic.

Witnessing my parents devotion,
and their transition from here to their next places
is both an honor and a practice.
The dual nature of our interaction 
and the not knowing if the process of walking through these memories
is beneficial or destructive:
these half remembered facts and impressions.
Watching the shame, guilt, and pain surface and disapate..
I attempted listening to the tapes,
but it's too soon.
Too intimate, too vulnerable,
too naked and exposed: 
like bare bones drying in the desert sun.

How to include this part of my world,
this family of origin, historical world which keeps on spinning
and rocking and aging.
I help my mother shower and dress, 
but not too much.
Resisting the urge to do it for her,
protect her, 
rescue her.
To literally speak for her until her mouth is healed
and her voice returns.
Assuming it will return...
I watch her struggle to communicate,
passively forcing her to ask for what she needs.
I dance around to find the balance between enabling and empowering.

The irony of observing my father, unable to hear, 
and my mother, unable to talk, 
attempting to communicate, understand and to interact.
Spending time with my Dad, away from my Mom,
knowing how she cherishes her privacy.
Knowing that talking
and listening tire her.
And that she hasn't been slept for three days...

I watch my Dad move through the world 
he has created for himself, 
his routine become ritual.
His safety net, his need for companionship.
His desire to please, to apologize, 
seeking absolution
and redemption.

They truely live one day at a time
one meal at a time,
one ambien,
one nap,
one shower
one hour in the sun.
Trusting that what is,
will be more than enough.