Love my Girls!

I have two girls and they are the love of my life.  They are really getting old now and I have been remembering them through the years.  LULU, (sort of a dashound/ beagelish) is turning 20 now, she can’t see and she sleeps a lot.  Her back legs don’t work so well anymore.  It is sad to see old age creeping up all over her. I can tell very soon she will be making the heavenly trek over the rainbow to become a most special angel.  The sadness has engulfed me.  I remember back 20 years ago my wonderful neighbors Marty and Sky went to Greece for a vacation.  I received a phone call late one night and Sky told me he found a tiny puppy, about 6 weeks, alone under a bush and if they bring it home would I take the little girl that looks like a big mouse….I answered, ”of course, who wouldn’t want a baby big mouse”/  And so Lulu came into my life!  WOW! she was soooo special.  My little baby was absolutely perfect.  I had a dog door that she could go out to the yard at any time and she never, ever had an accident, and she was soooo loving.  Every bit of my maternal instinct came out.  I loved my little baby and felt so fortunate that she was mine.    Most of my friends are single, never got married or had children.  I realized I needed something for me and my maternal instincts to love.  This was it.  To give love and receive love was incredible.  We were inseparable.  I carried her around all the time…I think that is why she had short legs.  She understood me and I understood her…It was definitely a two way street.  I think she was the BEST relationship I ever had.  It was just so EASY!

My friend Polly and I did a lot of rescue work for animals, mostly dogs.  One day we received a call saying there was a place that fixed cars that had a few dogs and didn’t take care of them.  It was animal abuse.  They said the dogs looked very sick.  Sooooo we  (Miss Polly and me) make a visit to see what is what.  We have matching blue shirts and hats and a clipboard and we are in my old Isuzu Rodeo.  We look very professional! We look like we belong to some department, perhaps the department of animal control, you never know… We see the dogs in horrible condition and know we have to get them out of there.  Get them cleaned up and healthy and have them adopted into good homes.  So I say I am from perhaps…a certain department and do a smashing improv on how we now have to see the dogs’ licenses and medical records and proof they have all the shots that they are required to have.  They have nothing.  I tell them we will be back in one week to see the new certificates they will have to get and their food.  There were three adult dogs and two puppies

Yes, you guessed it, one week to the minute Miss Polly and I were back and ….had to take the dogs, since they did not have the required paperwork.  I had Miss Polly load the dogs up while I spoke with this man, (which is when I do my best acting and improv work, explaining any rules I make up that day). Off we go … with the dogs. My other dog ANNIE, (Australian Shepard/chocolate lab mix) is one of the dogs from that visit/rescue, she is seventeen.  Annie’s twin brother and the other adult dog got a beautiful home on 5 acres in Calabasas…now I’m thinking…hey maybe someone should rescue me!!!!  Annie was very fragile.  Afraid of everything.  She followed LULU around and did whatever LULU did.  They were instantly sisters….Annie thought they must be identical twins…I had to cover all the mirrors so they didn’t see that they did not look alike at all. … It took 6 months for Annie to adjusted.  I love her very much and do positive reinforcement with her constantly.

 

We have been one happy family “The Girls” and I.  Soooo….who thinks John Lennon is right?…Love Is All You Need!

The thrill of giving an experience to people, that touches and changes them

I was fortunate enough to be able to make an internationally award winning film, WAITING FOR RONALD, that came straight from my heart.  I wrote the script which was about a 37 year old developmentally disabled man who finally leaves the institution where he has spent most of his years, takes his suitcase, fear and humor to meet his best friend and start a new life.  I have a graduate degree in psychology from Antioch University, so the subject matter was extremely interesting to me.  One of my objectives was to show how all peoples are important and how society should be a blended society…everyone fitting in, in their own way.  This came about because I had a cousin who felt he didn’t belong in society and had a very unhappy isolated life…very sad…since he had qualities he could share with people, but thought he would not be accepted.

When casting the movie I opened it up to anybody…disabled and non-disabled.  It was incredible to see what the public thought what disabled looked like.    I hired Jody Clark who was developmentally disabled and at 6’7” was a gentle giant.  Casting was a challenge because of what some of the non-disabled actors thought what disabled looked like. Something like a Saturday Night Live skit.  Finally I brought in a friend, wonderful actor and he and Jody clicked.  I hired Jody to play the lead Ronald.  Michael who is not disabled to play the best friend, Edgar.  Ronald’s friend at the institution went to Patrick Cooper who is autistic. And another friend in the film went to Blair Underwood who is Down Syndrome.  I was lucky enough to have had Bruno Kirby as the counselor.  I had a blended cast, which was exactly what I was saying about society.   Everyone involved with the project knew it was a very special experience.  The cast was very close and we all learned from each other.

I was afraid because this was the first film I was going to direct.  Jody and Patrick had never acted before and Michel Luckerman had never played a disabled character before.

So the playing field was leveled and all was good.  Rehearsals were quite wonderful.  The shoot went incredibly well.  So much love and support on the shoot.   The film won many AWARDS, but the real REWARD was being able to show the film at different institutions and centers and schools for disabled.  The response was incredible.  I would take Jody with me and show the film.  After the film I would open up for any questions and discussions.  The audience consisted of the population that lived there or went to school there.  There were the counselors and the parents.  The people would come forward with thoughts and feelings that some had never expressed before.

I would take copies of a few scenes and had some of the people come forward and read the scene together…having them do something that they might not thought they could do and showing them yes they can.  We would work the scenes and talk about how that effected them, what it made them think of and that would bring on more discussion. The discussions were personal and emotional. The sharing and the confidence building was a true joy to behold.

Many parents and also counselors came up and let me know that they had not heard their child’s intimate thoughts, dreams and feelings before.  Everyone was very touched by the experience. It was so rewarding for every one that I took that seminar to as many places as I could.  Everyone who saw the film had an experience that enlightened them and touched their heart….What a win!

THE LITTLE ENGINE THAT COULD


Sometimes you just have to PUSH…Keep on keeping on.  I have to remember this all the time.  When it gets really difficult I have to go back to a time in my life when I was young and it seems to me now, that I was extremely determined….a Quiet Warrior.  When I feel unsure and afraid now, I remember that time of my life.

        I was eight years old and my sister, who was four years older then me was a horse back rider and would go to the stables a few times a week and ride and once a week have a lesson.   She rode in horse shows in equitation classes, which judges your form on the horse.  It was very exciting when the family would go to the horse show to watch my sister show her horse.  Her form was beautiful to watch.

        I longed to be just like her, to show ride and have beautiful form and have everyone excited to watch me.  So…I started begging my parents for lessons and explained I wanted to be just like Joannie, my incredible sister.

        My parents agreed to give me lessons and my mother would take me religiously once a week.  I would be in the back seat curled up like a cashew nut with a death grip on a few carrots for the horse and silently crying…The problem was, I was deathly afraid of horses!

        My Mom would always say.  “Ellen, you don’t have to ride horses like Joannie, we love you just as much.”  I would say, “I’m fine and I’m going to ride horses.  I rode and rode and rode till I learned how to show a horse.  When you show a horse, it has nothing to do with your form…it has everything to do with the horse and YOU have to ride that horse so it does the BEST it can do.  When I was eleven years old, trainers asked me to ride for their stables and then my dear, beloved father was so proud of me he bought me a young 5-gaited mare called LUCKY CO-ED.  I pushed myself and went from a shy youngster who didn’t want to even be seen; to a more confident girl I learned how to compete in a healthy way.  I kept at it pushing and giving myself pep talks and visualizing myself as a winner.  I was still shy, but I began to believe in myself more and more.

        I competed in the shows, me, the pimple faced kid with braces, against adults and professional trainers. 

        The Little Engine that could and her horse LUCKY CO-ED became the Florida State 5-gaited champion 3 years in a row at age eleven, twelve, and thirteen.  My love for horses taught me so much.  I had that love, still had fear, but took my fear with me and chugged on …. 

        Now when I am overwhelmed or think, I can’t, I remember when…scared or not, I just kept on going and going and going.  You never know what can happen!

Oh My Golly

The dogs don’t seem to have trouble sleeping so why…oh why…can’t I!!!!

Yes…that is right…I have a lot on my mind….come on…but still…I should be able to count sheep…pop off….relax and go to dream land… I know..I could organize my office…finish the treatment to my latest creation…learn the monologue me,,5,,BIG pages.)  I could work on the writing of my one woman show…for my BFF Sylvia

I could throw out some papers I don’t need but for some reason keep.  I could organize anything in the house….One always needs constant organizing sessions especially when you aren’t born with the organization gene…..I know you know what I mean.

I could get up and go to all night market and do someone shopping for things I need in the house…I could hug and kiss and love the dogs …Annie and LULU…although I think when I did it two minutes ago…I think I heard a grumble from LULU to ANNIE.  Something like. ”I wish she would go to sleep.  She MEANS well, but she is LOVIN us to death. So I am trying to hold back.  I don’t want to annoy them!  I could get up and exercise.  There is a thought that will remain…a thought.  OH…I could get up and dance.  I LOVE to dance.  I would probably get toooo excited and then never go to sleep.

 

Ok..let me confess already…Here it is.  I’m not proud.  I have to admit.  But I did it.  I didn’t want to.  But I did.  Ok.  I am upset .  With myself.  But.  I don’t have a sponsor.  It just happened.  For some reason I lost all control.  That should never happen.  Who’s the Boss.  I’m THE BOSS!!!  Here it is;

I don’t eat dairy.  I love cheese.  But.  I don’t buy it for the house.  I bought a huge …let’s just say BRICK of cheese…(cheddar…medium sharp}_  Now I bought it cause I had to give my dog LULU (who is 19 and a half years old ) some pills and it is easier if I put it into cheese….So..

After 200 times of TRYING to give LULU her pills in cheese  I was exhausted and building up an appetite.  Well…There was nothing in the house…ok.  Except for a few old rice cakes…BORING!!!!…So;

I lost control of my mind!  Myself!!!  I must of blacked out…  cause I can’t remember what happened next and then next.  All I remember is …

When I got up …came to.  The cheese was missing.  Lulu looked hungry  and I was very FULL!.  I am in bed with a heating pad on my tummy and I feel sick and uncomfortable.

I’m tired…Do you think it is easy to eat the whole brick.???

I DID go through part of an outline for the one woman show.  Now I have to remind myself NOT to think about sleeping cause that will make me anxious and then it will never happen.

Oh…I am finally getting tired.  If I miss this sleepy time boat it will be my last chance to get on board….gotta go….gotta relax.  But.  I gotta hurry.  I am on the boat…NIte Nite!

 

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