Wednesday, December 31, 2014
TODAY IS THE LAST DAY OF 2014. From January through August I thought I was having the best year in a long time. I was flying and cruising all over the world without a care. My most urgent thought was, "What am I going to eat next?"
My dear friend, Valerie Harper, was (and is) doing very well managing a cancer that doctors said would kill her in three months (two years ago). Things were good. I was reading all the books I ever wanted to read, I was studying music theory, I was involving myself in hands-on charity work.
Then I got that call about Joan Rivers telling me to get to the hospital as fast as I could. I got there in plenty of time to say goodbye---goodbye to her, and goodbye to any remembrance of 2014 being a good year.
I'm making each day the best that I can. I'm not bed-ridden and sobbing (anymore). Joan would hate that. I'm living, but it's with less light. And that won't change. That's the trick as we get older and more friends leave us. The pain doesn't go away. You just live with it, and honor that person by laughing again and not giving up on life
So that's what I'm doing. I have Joan's stand-up specials on every DVR machine, and frequently, just before I go to sleep I watch about five minutes of it. I just stare in disbelieve, feeling weird. I haven't been able to laugh at all.
Then something happened.
I have a zen garden on my coffee table that I love. The white sand is so clear and clean and it soothes my mind. On it I have a small house and three rocks. As soon as Joan died, I wiped the symbols away that were drawn in the sand. I needed to see something totally blank with no "issues."
About ten days ago I felt an urge to put a "J" in the sand. I put it in the corner and then added the Pagoda (Joan) and the three rocks (Myself, Melissa and Cooper.) The sand was still blank except for the "J." When I got up the next morning, there were curvy marks in the sand! It was definitely a "spirit prank," and we all know who that was.
So, the next night, I erased the curvy marks and had clean sand. "OK, Joan," I said out loud as I went to bed. "Let me have it!' The next morning I got up and there were four parallel lines neatly across the sand.. It was obviously made with the little rake that comes with the garden. Do you know how happy that made me??? Joan is around and playing jokes. Thank God.
That night I turned on the DVR to see her comedy special, as usual. I felt a little warmer as I watched the jokes, and then something amazing happened---I laughed out loud for the very first time.
I've been sticking close to home since September. I really don't want to do much. On New Year's Eve I'm having an early dinner at my favorite Italian restaurant (like 6pm) and then it's off to sleep deliberately because at 6am it's off to the Rose Parade. That is the most glorious, spirited way to celebrate the beginnings of a New Year (at least in the U.S). And I'll smile.
Happy New Year everyone. Let it be a year of gratitude each day. Start off your day, or night, and take a minute to be thankful for the good we can find. That's what will get us through. It takes great courage to make that choice, but it is the only healthy one to make. God bless all of you. We're in this together.
Tuesday, December 23, 2014
|Veterans' Hospital Los Angeles|
DO YOU REALLY WANT TO FEEL CHRISTMAS? GO CAROLING AT A VA CENTER AND SING TO OUR VETERANS. What a joy it is to see their eyes light up.
Alexandra Dwek, Barbera Thornhill and I went to the VA Center in Westwood to join the choir of the Brentwood Presbyterian Church. We went from floor to floor singing our hearts out, and then we ended up in the dining room singing at dinner.
These patients are not the ones you see on the news. Most of them are WWII Vets living out their end of days. On the wall outisde each room there are plaques with their name and service affiliation.
|Alexandra Dwek and me|
We met a couple named Moose. I didn't get their ranks, but they met in the war and married. They are still together and living in two rooms with a foyer in between. Their love is palpable. And, of course, The Mooses (meees?) created a nativity scene where each character is represented by a miniature moose. Adorable.
The photographer Phil Stern donated wall-size prints of most of his collection, and they are all over the hospital.
IF YOU HAVE A MINUTE OF FREE TIME, DRIVE RIGHT ON OVER AND VOLUNTEER THROUGHOUT THE YEAR AS YOUR SCHEDULE ALLOWS. THEY REALLY APPRECIATE THE THANK YOU.
MERRY CHRISTMAS EVE----MERRY CHRISTMAS DAY
Monday, December 22, 2014
SPAGHETTINI AND THE DAVE LOZ LOUNGE--LOS ANGELES
CAST PARTY IN NEW YORK IS A HUGE HIT AND HAS BECOME A REGULAR MONDAY NIGHT MUST BE THERE. It's at Birdland, and it was started by Jim Caruso, a very talented singer in his own right, as a place for Broadway people to come and just sing what they want. Tons of stars stop by who are playing on Broadway, as well as others who are Broadway Babies. You never know who you are going to get. It's a surprise amalgam of Liza, Betty Buckley, Lucie Arnaz,---you just never know.
The format is this---you "somehow" get on Jim's list to perform. There are no rehearsals. You walk in with your sheet music. When you're called up to the stage, you give the music to Billy and talk for about 30 seconds and then you sing your heart out. It is so much fun. And as for Billy, who knows
"he's my future husband in another life," only Billy could play all these songs with no rehearsal.
CAST PARTY WAS HELD THIS PAST WEEK AT THE DAVE KOZ LOUNGE AT SPAGHETTINI RESTAURANT on Canon Dr. in Beverly Hills. It is a sleek, hip restaurant, right in the heart of Beverly Hills, with delicious food and finally, the ability to have live, great music in Beverly Hills.
|Jim Caruso, me, Billy Stritch|
|Jim, Joely Fisher, Billy|
|Joely singing "Cabaret"|
|Monica, Joely, and Clint Holmes|
|Joely and Melissa Manchester|
Cast Party is so much fun. It will be back in Los Angeles in February!!!!
|Joyce Arad, Irena, Florence Sloan, Nadine Schiff and Katherine Ross Govan|
I HAVE KNOWN IRENA MEDAVOY SINCE SHE WAS 21 YEARS OLD. SHE IS ONE OF THE KINDEST, MOST LOYAL FRIENDS YOU COULD EVER HAVE. The key to Irena is family. That's where her heart is, and this Christmas lunch was no exception. For Irena, it's all about the people. I truly love her. And, she served Craig's Honey Chicken!!!!!
|Anjelica Huston and Nadine|
|Kimberly Beck, Danielle Del, Alexandra Dwek, Irena, Cheryl Saban, and Linda Thompson|
|Thank you, Danielle. I'm still short!|
|Danielle and Kimberly|
|Louise Linton (starring in Warren Beatty's new film), Linda, Cynthia Yorkin, Lindy Benson|
|Nadine, Nicole Avant, Jennifer Stallone, Victoria Oberfelt|
|Irena, Wendy Goldberg, Nicole and Katherine|
Saturday, December 20, 2014
MARINES' BELLS OF FREEDOM EVENT AT CAMP PENDLETON
Every year you have an opportunity to "Adopt a Family" from Camp Pendleton. You make your donation and then Camp Pendleton gets the presents based on how many members in the family, genders, and ages.
Alexandra Dwek and I drove to Camp Pendleton to meet our families on a gorgeous Sunday. The event takes place at their Camp on the water in a hangar where amphibious tanks are stored. As far as the eye can reach, men, women and children are seated across the whole compound, row by row.
The families are so young, and as you talk to them, each military person, male or female, had special reasons to join the Marines. They want a better life--education, stability, service for the greater good, and benefits. They believe in America and its military system and they are willing to risk their lives.
|Looking into the hangar of families|
|the happy families|
|Santa arrived by tank|
|Rows of these amphibious tanks are parked at the ready|
|My family, the Johnsons--both are in the Marines|
|Front of Marine building at the base by the sea|
Friday, December 19, 2014
BOA-SUNSET STRIP WAS ROBBED AT GUNPOINT LAST NIGHT. THIS WORLD IS INSANE. YOU CAN'T GO TO A THEATRE; A RESTAURANT; A MALL, ETC.
Follow Eater LA
They're still at large after stealing upwards of $8,000.
If there's ever a place a celebrity wants to feel safe it's West Hollywood. That didn't happen last night after 2 a.m. when BOA Steakhouse, right underneath Soho House and smack dab in Sunset Strip, was robbed at gunpoint, reports TMZ.The gunmen walked in when managers were counting up the till and receipts for the day, demanding all the cash from the night's sales, which amounted to somewhere between $6,000 and $8,000.
The robbers walked into the restaurant through an unsecured back door and put the gun to the manager's head, taking tips and emptying the restaurant's safe. Watch out restaurant owners, because those gunmen are still at large.
THE UGLIEST HOUSE IN BEVERLY HILLS
|The color is prison gray|
ONCE UPON A TIME, the houses in Beverly Hills were beautiful and classic. Then all of a sudden about a decade ago, many of those beautiful houses were torn down for ugly, gaudy, overbuilt palaces.
An area that remained beautiful was around the Beverly Hills Hotel. Take a really good look at the above picture. It used to be a Normandy house. I think it may still be, but this ugly, jail-like wall has appeared at the southwest corner of the Beverly Hills Hotel, facing Sunset. It is absolutely hideous and adds to the further visual destruction of Beverly Hills. Who on earth did this? Shame on your bad taste.
AMY PASCAL HAS BEEN IN THE UNFORTUNATE POSITION AS "STAR OF THE SONY HACKING SCANDAL.
She's being raked over the coals for private emails. Let me ask you---if YOUR emails were hacked would you have a problem? My answer is--you bet. Is it right to make politically incorrect jokes? No, but we all do it. Should we stop? Maybe, but no one means any ill. Key word---private
To follow the usual crisis management formula, Amy has called Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson for "sensitivity education." ARE YOU KIDDING ME???
|He allegedly owes $45 million in back taxes He owes money for unpaid bills to travel agencies, hotels. He participated in the Tawana Brawley lying mess. He's a grandstanding buffoon.|
|Sex scandals, mistresses, illegitimate children, missing money. Total sleazeball.|
HOW DARE AMY BE FORCED TO TALK TO THESE PEOPLE? THEY SHOULD BE TALKING TO HER ABOUT HOW TO LEAD A GOOD LIFE. THIS IS DISGUSTING.
Also, please keep in mind that SONY did NOT pull the plug on the movie. The theatre owners told them they wouldn't show it in any theatres. There was no place to release it.
Was it a smart move to greenlight the movie in the first place? Probably not. It should have been made like "The Dictator" with a fictitious country and leader in this day and age.
Would I have been afraid to go to a theatre to watch it considering the threats? Yes. It may look like terrorism won here, but I believe our government is plotting moves right now on Norhth Korea that should really hit them where it hurts.
Thursday, December 18, 2014
WHO DOESN'T LOVE A THEME? I CERTAINLY DO!
When I pulled into the driveway of Cheryl's house, it was very apparent what she had in mind.
|A holiday martini made with sweet white grape juice-delicious!|
The butler held a silver bowl filled with raffle tickets.
|Cheryl in the craft area showing a tree she made. At the beginning of the party we all gather there and make trees and ornaments. What fun!|
|Tented in rear patio where we at lunch|
hors d'oeuvres and martinis
|Adorable Dagny Dubelko|
|Irena Medavoy, Kelly Meyer, Jennifer Stallone, Nicole Avant and Lindy Benson|
|Luciana Solomon and Carol Biondi|
|Jennifer Stallone's classic, elegant pump. Flawless taste|
|Shelly Litvak and Linda Thompson|
|Susan Dolgin, Carol, and Danica Perez|
A DICKENS FEAST MEANS A HUGE DINING ROOM TABLE FILLED WITH THE TRADITIONAL CLASSICS OF A CULINARY CHRISTMAS FROM EARLY TIMES IN ENGLAND.
Turkey, mashed potatoes, two kinds of dressing, fresh cranberry sauce, candied yams with marshmallows, roast beef with whipped cream and horseradish sauce--just classics all the way. It was impossible to get photos because it was surrounded by thrilled guests.
|However, I did get the desserts!|
THANK YOU, CHERYL FOR A BEAUTIFUL AFTERNOON!!!!!