Saturday, March 12, 2016


Mary M Payne in a costume dress ( Don Loper)..... from my collection , circa 1996, Mougin.

San Francisco was the place where I had another life.....that of an actor.  It was with some trepidation and longing that I pulled myself away to come abroad so many years ago. 

 It had been a dream of Monsieur and I to live in another country... after I quit teaching school.  But then "Acting" got me in its clutches.  I found a "once in a lifetime" teacher who captivated me. We put our dream on hold while I came under her spell. 

  Its odd because I didn't set out to be on stage.  The idea scared the pants off of me in fact.... but I happened to catch a class with Jean Shelton, late from NYC and it was like falling in love......  I had to learn whatever she had to teach me...... and I did.  

   I started slow,  progressed... and found I had a flair for it.  Acting became a compulsion, a crazy obsession for ten years of my life.  During that period I was able to do some work of which I was proud and I was asked to teach at the J. S. Acting school , an honor.  

 My monsieur was extraordinary during that ten years.  He not only tolerated my obsession but encouraged it and paid for my time in NYC with Stella Adler and some other fine teachers during that period.   But even studying with Stella, who had taught so many famous actors,  meant little compared to my formative time under the tutelage of Jean Shelton at the Actors Studio on Sutter Street in S. F. 

Now Ms. Shelton is in her late 80's and we are honoring her in the ways that we know how.  She was like a perfect mother/sister to all of us....strict but loving , irreverent, incisive and quietly brilliant.  We owe her much. 

On this trip to S. F.  I visited some of the actors from my past...Mary, Marianne, Cynthia, Kathy. They welcomed me back with a party at Mary's house.   It was lovely; bittersweet.  We all had left acting behind for one reason or another and I don't think any of us had ever forgotten or even surpassed the passion and craziness of that period of our lives.

    But passion translates to many creative languages.   I am stirring up the old memories and stirring the pot. 
Sometimes its good to look back to see where we have been.   Sometimes its good to see what informed us. 

Friday, March 11, 2016

California dreamin...

Mostly Monsieur and I pass our birthdays discreetly at home.  This year, however, I needed to go back to the city of San Francisco and so I decided to make the errand of renewing my driver's license into an occasion. 

 I made scant plans but couldn't resist calling my friends after I got there.  It quickly became known that I had come to renew my license because it was required for my birthday.     So instead of a quiet dinner at home,   I had 6 different parties and birthday dinners not to mention all of the great welcomes and meals in between that folks prepared for me. 

   My tanks are now brimming with merry memories of all of the people I saw and their generosity to me.    I thought I didn't need celebrations...that I was a big girl now...but I was wrong.  Everyone needs celebration .... perhaps, especially me!

My first plan for a great birthday was to stay a weekend in a downtown hotel with my sister and niece flying in from Seattle and to spend most of the rest of the time with monsieur's cousin and his wife, Isabel and Roge. 

  I did indeed have a great weekend with Sarah and Martha at the Sir Francis Drake and with Roge and Isabel in S. F.  But what had been just an idea from my friend Cindi,  solidified into a plan to divert to another destination: Carmel.

  I have several treasured friends in Carmel where I used to live and teach before I met Monsieur,  but because I only had four days, I didn't get to see them this time.    I knew that I would rather leave time to visit them in the future.  In other words,  I have a lot more fun to look forward to.  I haven't seen down the coast, Big Sur or my old homes yet for Heaven's sake.

     As to my visit, Cindi and Mike and his son Alex are living in a home in Corral de Tierra between Salinas and Carmel Valley and Cindi convinced me of her delicious plan to come down on the Monterey shuttle.  Easy.  

  Her home turns out to be quite a showplace as anyone who knows Cindi would have imagined. It is in fact,  more like a 5 star B&B than a home. 

  Both she and Mike have repaired and restored the house in many ways.     Cindi is a decorator, a talented cook and expert flower arranger  (she did my wedding flowers) and now owns a skin and body care spa/salon called " I Thrive".    With these talents, I was most curious to meet Mike and see what magic they had wrought with their new place.  

  Once upon a time Cindi and I  lived together on Ocean Avenue in Carmel.  I was a full time teacher then, but I helped her occasionally with her flower/decorating business.   That is.... I was the assistant and Cindi was the designer.  One winter we decorated posh homes on the "Seventeen Mile Drive" at Christmas time with a decorated tree in every room of the house. ...each tree and room with a different theme.  

   So you can imagine that Cindi's work is extravagant, sumptuous, and requires a particular boldness.   I will never have the luxurious state of mind that such opulent thinking requires.... not to mention the confidence, daring ( or the pocketbook).... but I admire it and bask in it unashamedly.  

Here are some pics from my wee visit to this Carmel Valley/Salinas home in its peaceful setting.


Cindi and Mike