“Gratitude is the sign of noble souls” – Aesop

When I got my “dream job” as an arranger at a jingle company in Chicago in 1979, I was mostly thrilled to be using my musical skills and in the studio practically every day. But I was also chagrined that after every recording session, there was rarely any feedback for the charts I’d written. I didn’t feel it was out-of-line to expect some small verbal acknowledgement that I’d done a good job, especially under pressure and last minute, so after the first few weeks of determining that the clients were genuinely happy, I privately asked the boss about it.

He looked at me like I was out of my mind, and as much as said to me, “what are you? a baby? you’re getting a paycheck – that should be acknowledgement enough!”

I felt shamed for having asked, but still a little defensive, and thought to myself, “what does it cost to let someone know that they’ve done a good job?”

Too often we humans take ourselves and one another for granted, and it doesn’t have to be that way. Four decades later, I’m still chewing on this, and sometimes when I can’t sleep, I silently reassure myself that I’m good – I deserve to breathe and live and exist. Because whether the boss will acknowledge it or not, I know that it’s true, and sometimes I just need to hear it. We all do.

growing up, Home, Uncategorized

Where I Go In My Dreams

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Just as many people I know return to the classroom in their dreams, (usually for a test for which they haven’t studied!?!), I go back to places, real and imagined, when I’m dreaming;

NYC apartments where I may or may not have actually lived, that turn out to have additional secret rooms where I’ve never ventured.

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In my dreams I inhabit the extreme left side of this floorplan and have no idea of the existence of the rooms in the middle and on the right side… until I open a door and… there they are! Wow!

The Japanese garden in East Hartford, that turns out to still exist!

And my Aunt Helen’s house in Houston

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– as well as the house where she and my mother grew up in Rye, NY. The former is HUGE, on many levels, with beautiful sunlit rooms everywhere – and in my dreams, I can never find a bathroom!  The latter is remembered here, drawn by my mother’s hands and memories.


This house was HUGE in comparison to the apartments where I grew up! I remember warm summer evenings after dinner; the swing on the screened-in back porch – large enough for at least a couple of us kids at once. And the backyard, so green and lovely, seemed to go on forever.


The cellar was earthy, dark and mysterious, with lots of secret nooks.


It’s not on this floor plan, but for ME, the MOST important part of the house was on the first floor – the baby grand PIANO!!  I love that my mother remembered where the marigolds and lilies of the valley were planted! She was a surprisingly impressive companion walking through a park or Botanical Garden – she knew a lot more about flora than you might expect!!G-House-2ndFloor

I haven’t figured out the significance of these locations, but they touch something deep inside me when I wake and remember where I was visiting during dreamtime.


Brushes With Greatness

While I confess to having been a Beatlemaniac in my teens, I like to think I’m not a fan of the cult of celebrity – I guess because I never saw my parents gush over famous folks. They’d gone to Syracuse University and performed on stage with Jerry StillerPeter Falk and  Jerry Adler – so they took the fame-game pretty much in stride.  And in show biz, it’s a given that you probably know some famous people – or people who would become famous later. For instance, my folks performed in community theater with Nelson & Joan Baker, Mark Linn-Baker‘s parents, in the 1960s:


And at my first job, I worked right down the hall from Nell Carter, back when she was still “only” a singer:

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Celebrities are America’s royalty and I’ve known and worked with many talented and well-known musicians and singers (check my website!) But it’s the serendipity of crossing paths with famous folks that tickles me. For instance, my husband once literally bumped into “Moses” AKA Charlton Heston, (who might’ve been packin’!?)

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better not try to take that rifle from his hands!

and Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley, (whose bodyguards definitely were packin’!),

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don’t mess with Hizzoner!!

and Woody Allen, who literally bounced off Mark’s chest while shooting Broadway Danny Rose and running into our apartment lobby!

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There was that time we saw Jack Palance dining at an Indian restaurant in Studio City:

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no one-armed pushups, Jack – cash only, please!

and James Coburn  the next month at that same restaurant:

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“I’d like another round of lassi for my table… and a touch more turmeric in this curry, eh?”

At our favorite, now long-gone Mexican place Caramba! we saw John Schuck and Jack Gilford crunching tacos between their matinee and evening performances:

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“I’m Lovely!”

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“Tomorrow – tomorrow – it’s only a day away!”

We caught sight of Shirley Hemphill in the parking lot of a Hughes supermarket:

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and stood in line behind James Woods at a different Hughes:


(he was wearing glasses at the time, like he did in “THE WAY WE WERE”…he looks a little less forbidding in glasses!)

Mark pulled up beside Weird Al at a stop light, when he was still being discovered on the then-new M-TV channel:

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was he driving a Yugo? I dunno!

But I think my favorite was one rainy autumn afternoon when I heard a school bus full of children in front of the Plaza Hotel calling out to “God” AKA George Burns – the whole street burst into applause when he waved to them and everyone grinned ear-to-ear!

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“When I was a boy, the Dead Sea was only sick!”


Is It Safe?


Anyone who’s ever seen the film “Marathon Man” remembers this scene – and today I think most of us are haunted by that very question. It can be a challenge to know which way to go, who to trust, when to proceed and how to go about it. No one wants to be left out and no one wants to be victimized, and yet these things are apparently happening all the time.

In the 6th grade I volunteered to be a safety patrol – not the same as a crossing guard as I didn’t have any authority to stop traffic, but it was my responsibility to make sure no school children were in the street when vehicles were coming – just like this youngster here:


I liked the authority of my position and I didn’t even mind getting up early and staying late to perform my duties. At the end of the school year my parents and I were invited to a special dinner where I was given a trophy and merit award – more for regular attendance, I think, than anything else. I thought it was a little silly at the time but still appreciated the recognition; by showing up on that corner 4 times every school day, I had made the world a little safer.


With all the shootings, mayhem and chaos of late, I wish I could do that now – that there was a simple, effective way to make the world a little safer for everyone. So far, the only thing that occurs to me is to make myself feel safer – to remember, as Joni Mitchell sings, that “we are stardust, we are golden”- and that feeling safe, like most emotional states, is an inside job. There are certain energetic practices I’ve been trying out lately – Donna Eden is doing some cool stuff – and EFT Tapping – both of which may be a  bit airy-fairy for some folks. And of course, there’s quiet time in reflection…. I’ve found that when all else fails, this meditation always helps me.    🙂