Sunday, December 30, 2007

According to Whitehead

"So," said Stefan, "what is all this for? It's just words!"

I am trying to find a context in which both things find their place, the physical laws of the universe and human experience. Whitehead said it was much better expressed mathematically - well, I'll have to take his word for it - but if love is at the boundary where the emotional and the world of matter meet, no wonder we have trouble with it.

Addicted to Love

Thesis: One cannot be addicted to love, but can to ersatz-love.

The Millers (reference is Staying Clean and Sober by Merlene and David Miller) and other researchers such as Julia Ross posit that there are irregularities in the brain chemistry of potential addicts which predispose them to substance abuse. Restore healthy brain chemistry and the physical hunger is assuaged. No-one has an alcohol shortage, or a heroin shortage, they are close-enough substitutes for neurotransmitters like seratonin, dopamine, nerepinephrine, GABA and others.

You can tell we made a film on this.


Maturity is a bitter disappointment for which no remedy exists, unless laughter can be said to remedy anything.
- Kurt Vonnegut

I have been feeling excessively mature, which flattens my emotions and makes them... decorous. There is a blog called At the Half Note, written by a creative, thoughtful and beautiful woman who (my diagnosis) cannot come to terms with her own aging. Result: flailing about, and in public too. Part of me envies her, the same part that sees a toddler meltdown at the airport and empathises.

The trouble is, any woman who sets out to find 'true love' at forty-five has (in my opinion) lost her bearings. Women are sold a romantic fallacy from birth and should be able to see through it by age twenty-five, or we make ourselves sitting ducks for seducers who can play that game expertly. Romance isn't love, end of story.

I have been trying to define the bearings which guide maturity. The first is do no harm, so I start with impossibility. The second is duty, a loaded term as unglamorous as foundations and sewage pipes. The third is autonomy. Don't want to think about it any more, so there. Nyah.

I believe the origin of claustrophobia is awareness trapped inside the body, familiar comfortable body which gradually becomes less comfortable, less familiar. We depend on it, we maintain it, we distract ourselves with it, dress it up, tend it, curb it for its own good. At what point do our interests diverge from the physical?

Toddle off for another cup of coffee.

Saturday, December 29, 2007


Overloaded on celebrations and recreation, longing for bread-and-butter workaday but it's Saturday! Then New Year gobbles up the first half of the week, and like a breath of fresh air we are working on Thursday. I cling to the thought.

Today I have to get wood for the model platform support - the model cost $60,000 and I am making the base?!! Yesterday I sewed the cyclorama, not hard but an awful lot of material, 20 yards. Carolyn came over and we all watched Other People's Lives on BluRay, wonderful film, and even sharper and clearer. Before that Carolyn and I walked to her old house to see Mary's spectacular demolition, laughed ourselves silly at her frank evaluation of her date that evening: 'probably top-of-the-line sexually but morally corrupt'. Like an expensive but wonky appliance.

I am bravely off to Ikea to get a storage system for next-door Mary and a lot of S-hooks. I think it will be amazingly crowded, but if it is too bad I will turn tail. We will be over that way again on Tuesday to pick up Herb and Barbara, visiting from Bath. I do love having guests.

New Year's Resolutions. To take better care of my skin?

Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Boat Lights

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Happy

Bob, Mary and I got up before sunrise and drove early to Muir Woods, then on to Muir Beach for them to absorb the full flavour of a California Christmas. They arrived yesterday while we were in the Alexander Valley shooting exteriors, because the forecast is for rain tomorrow which is the official shoot. It was a magnificent day - clear sky but the sun always low with a wonderful shimmering opacity in the distance, not the golden light of summer but a clear platinum haze like warm silver. I love the backwater feel up there, unsmart.

Skype to Uki yesterday for their Christmas lunch, 25 degrees (Celsius). Isn't technology wonderful - and today I read Molly Parkin's blog after an email from Robin Maddison, he had been working with her, and Sugg, and Stephen Frye. Makes me feel very backwater myself.

It was wonderful to get a call from Norma in Jaipur and hear all their adventures. Ned is staying to help at a clinic in Nepal, he fell in with some medical students there so will come back later. What a brilliant way to surmount Christmas.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Hawk Hill

Up again to Hawk Hill in brilliant sunshine and a view that stretched way down the coast, the Golden Gate and bridge, Presidio, Pacifica, then further round downtown, Alcatraz, Angel Island and the East Bay in the distance. No fog at all but no hawks for us to shoot either, but we enjoyed the drive, the walk and the view. Felix has been with us for some looking after, very pale and snuffly and willing to sit by the fire or on the sofa and be fed and plied with tea and honey-and-lemon.

The picture above has nothing to do with Hawk Hill of course - Annapurna I think... Ned, Siena, Mike and Norma on their trip. Mike managed to send the photo to Jean, who sent it to mum, who sent it to me, all the way from Nepal. "...and all flesh shall see it together" - Isaiah was obviously foreseeing the web.

I have been counting my blessings while feeling very drab despite several exciting new projects, strange that feeling and fact can be so out of register. I am grateful that my children are so accessible while feeling isolated from my friends and larger family despite (or because of) the flurry of communication at the end of the year. Could the solstice, the full moon, the king tides sweep our energy out to sea so we must hibernate? It has been spectacular this year, and very informative, for the 7'2" tide was still a good 8" short of the pier, so it must have been the rain that made the difference last year and took the water right over the boards. We will have more rain this week, bad timing as we have an outdoor shoot on Boxing Day (Felix's birthday).

My books at the moment:
Nothing to Spare - life stories of pioneer women in Western Australia
The Quality of Sprawl - dear Les Murray pontificating. someone has made off with Subhuman Redneck Poems, so I am left with this
Eight Cousins and a Rose in Bloom, gobbled via the internet
Lost in a Good Book
From the Holy Mountain
Radiant Choices

rather a lot: escapist, moi? I don't want to make big messes so no sewing, carpentry or painting and I feel a little stymied. I finished Robert Graves Greek Myths and feel educated, much I remember.

I will see if I can take a photo of the spectacular illuminated boats in the next marina along from us. They are simply beautiful, and cheer me every time I go past.

Saturday, December 22, 2007


When we came back from the Big Picture party Will said "Ed left you a truffle." I looked in the fridge and there was a dark half-moon in a ziplock bag. Mystified.

This morning I examined it, and it's a truffle. Aromatic and luxurious treats coming up.

Is there anything nicer than a hot bath, then silent reading round the fire?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


I prefer my coffee butter biscuits to the xocolat pepper biscuits, although both are good.

I would rather have new landscaping than a new car, and would rather have a new car than a vanity splurge.

I came home from the cinema and cut the back cushions for Constance's window seat, lit the fire, fiddled about, and wanted something really indulgent to celebrate what has been a pretty eventful day, one way or another. All I could settle on was a glass of milk and a biscuit - is this any way for an adult to behave? It was what I wanted.

What a Busy Morning

We had a client meeting for a new rush job on Monday, did the recce yesterday, spent all this morning (both of us) on various phone calls and emails ready to shoot between Christmas and New Year. I LOVE being so busy, and with a proper deadline.

Carolyn dropped in and we had coffee in brilliant sunshine and compared notes - she has two new jobs, one in Florida, one here, but meanwhile we shall go to the movies. Phew.

My old friend Ann Finer is now on email so I was saying to her how David Dulley and I used to meet in the Poetry Library on the South Bank, but now all I have to do is Google, instead of going into that lovely building and trying to see the little fish among the seashells in the fossil limestone floor. Not altogether a gain.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Steel Wool

Long ago I heard a useful hint about filling a mousehole with steel wool, which the mice are unwilling to chew through, so I have stuffed Brillo into the hole I discovered behind my files. Maybe I'll have mice with very clean teeth, and an attitude.

I am still coasting on the head of steam I gathered for the dinner last night, which went very well. This is what I served:

Hot and Sour Thai Fish Soup
Tamarind Lamb with Persian Rice and Buttered Beans
Xocolat pots, with chili, and cheesecake

Just about all of it was spicy except the beans, You can't tart everything.

Today we have Scout the dog, and on Thursday I babysat Lyle, who is the dearest, chattiest, most curious and thoughtful little boy I know. I see I am filling the gaps by borrowing other people's little ones, very satisfactory all round.

I am still waiting for my hack to appear on They must be lined up months ahead.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Winter Work

We are filming the release of two red-tailed hawks from Hawk Hill this afternoon, birds which were oiled while feeding on oiled seabirds. I am so looking forward to it. Only two birds, but it is good in itself. I wish the rescue efforts had not been so clogged with bureaucracy.

My grotty little office is the focus of my discontent today, so I have been thinking, if I could turn it into a bandbox, a gleaming jewel of order and creativity... I need to ask the magic question, what do I need to do to make this happen?

I have already cleared a drawer in Stefan's room to take all office supplies from his editing room and my alcove, and have cleared and sorted and boxed everything, even the many, many pens.


cards and writing paper
frequent flier cards and that ilk
computer cleaning gear
business cards

all the filing is elsewhere, thank heavens.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Too-Hard Basket

Desi has cleared my too-hard list, the trim beside the fridge, the too-large gap between the cupboard doors, the angled trim around the door, the rebate over the shower tiles, the ceiling edges - oh I could go on and on! He even helped me cut the shaped vinyl backing for Constance's chairs. I am doing far too good a job on them but can't bear to bodge them.

He and Megan also gave me an electric planer as a thank-you-for having-us, so I have been able to get rid of the circular saw scars on my dining table. All sorts of projects now brimming in my mind, especially to re-use all the beautiful salvaged redwood I can't bear to throw away.

Lots of lovely socialising, William and Gordon came for dinner on Saturday night, and Cissy and George for afternoon tea yesterday, so warm and clear we sat out on the deck with Scout and Suscipe playing games of standoff, which Suscipe won. Scout peed on the carpet...

Next projects, the living room ceiling which will now wait until after Christmas as I can't face the sawdust, and my office, a total sordid guddle. And Desi has sown the idea of a parking platform next to the house, which would be brilliant.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Leo Sent This:

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Almost Too Much

On Sunday I finally painted Stefan's room, the colour of a ripe banana, mashed, and put up all the architrave and skirting. Not that it's finished, mind. I still have to put trim around the new ceiling, but Megan and Desi are here so he has promised to help today.

They arrived on Tuesday within minutes of Steve with his big machine to clean the carpets, furniture stacked on the wooden floors and deck (so it rained). I spring cleaned while the rooms were bare, washed windows etc, and of course the sawdust at least gave me the satisfaction of seeing the difference when I dusted.

Megan was the one who cast me for the commercial forty years ago when I first met Stefan. I was a student, and did modelling and afternoon soaps to save for my fare to America, flying out four days after my final exam. Now I live here. Very strange.

We caught up on all sorts of people, and even discovered that the Aunt May she talked about was May Brennan, the mainstay of St Andrews at Sans Souci and well known to me. Six degrees of separation.

Norma is safely in the new house and thrilled, leaves in forty-eight hours for India and Ladakh so it has been a rushed move. She has new respect for the brown paint in the bedroom now she knows it was specially mixed in London, with gold dust for depth. How inhibiting. Brown is very smart.

Felix put all the DVDs into alphabetical order, so now I will make dividers, sweetly lettered. He muttered that it wouldn't last, but I think he will be surprised.

Stefan is flying to LA which is why I am up so early, but I will off to bed again in pursuit of the second sleep. Rain and flooding, but today is the eye of the storm.