Searching for Doors of Perception

NOT the psychedelic kind that Huxley wrote about…but opening the door to self reflection with love and compassion.

This photo looks like it could be one of my favorite places, a slot canyon in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument or here at Vermillion Cliffs, where I snapped this photo.

Don’t Miss This! San Diego International Film Festival October 19-23

As I slowly emerge from the last two years, in my more melodramatic moments, I feel it’s akin to crawling out of a cave, eyes blinkblinkblinking against the light after being stuck for months in the dark.

The vagaries of life are such that one day I’m reseeding my lawn completely demolished by my wild bunnies (most likely a futile exercise); the next day I’m interviewing Tonya Mantooth, CEO of the San Diego International Film Festival.

Does the name Tonya Mantooth ring a bell for you? It did for me, and I followed a twisty windy Google research path to satisfy my curiosity.

A while back I wrote a post about my journey through the side effects of my Covid vaccine which included being enamored once again with the TV show Emergency! and its lovely cast, including Julie London, Bobby Troup, Kevin Tighe, AND Randolph Mantooth. Could it have been a coincidence with that unusual name? Well, it wasn’t. Tonya is his sister!

Long ago when I had visions of being somehow involved in the film biz, I used to write for the Theater Arts Guild newsletter and knew all of the talent agents in town. In that other lifetime I acted in a few things and was a production coordinator for a while, too…

Back to present day reality…

-The 21st Annual San Diego International Film Festival includes the return of in-person Opening Night Film Premiere & Reception, the Night of the Stars Tribute, Culinary Cinema, plus more parties. Looking for something memorable to do in San Diego? This is IT, a definite must attend event and there are plenty of films for every cinephile. Check out their website: https://sdfilmfest.com/

Honestly, where else can you meet meet filmmakers and actors, participate in dialogues and ask questions?

-I learned that not only will there be a screening of (MGK) Machine Gun Kelly’s film, Taurus, but he will be there IN PERSON to accept an award from CEO Mantooth. (I confess that I didn’t really know who he was, but a few of my younger demographic friends asked about him and were extremely thrilled to learn they could see him up close and personal.)

As we chatted, Tonya was excited to share with me the addition She Said, the film adaptation of New York Times journalists Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey’s 2019 book on their investigation into Harvey Weinstein. This is the story that helped launch the #MeToo movement and shattered decades of silence around the subject of sexual assault in Hollywood. Produced with Brad Pitt, it stars Carey Mulligan and Zoe Kazan.

I’ve become fascinated by women who follow their passion — like Tonya Mantooth. It’s inspiring and empowering, don’t you agree? I plan to interview her more fully after the festival, but for now, I encourage you to attend this amazing San Diego International Film Festival.

According to Tonya Mantooth, attending the SDFF is an opportunity to participate in shared humanity, to bridge the divide, not increase the divide.” Viewing a foreign film “offers a glimpse into other cultures” as well as how important it is to “connect with community” and “explore fresh perspectives.”

Here’s a brief bio of the Festival’s CEO, Tonya Mantooth:

A ten-time Regional Emmy award winner with over 60 International Telly and ADDY awards,Tonya began her career as an Executive Producer when she became Director of Acquistions for CRM Films.Tonya co-founded and was President of The Dakota Group, a highly regarded film and post-production company in Southern California.Tonya has produced National TV campaigns and award-winning documentaries for Fortune 500 companies.Tonya launched Mantooth Studios and expanded her production scope to Entertainment Projects. Under Mantooth Films, Tonya Executive Produced four feature films, including GRAVE SECRETS, which became the pilot for a Nickelodeon Series. In 2012, Tonya took over the San Diego International Film Festival with a vision to bring international cinema to San Diego and grow the San Diego International Film Festival into a significant contributor to San Diego’s economy. Today the San Diego International Film Festival has grown over 500%.The spectacular six-day Festival features 120+ film screenings, panels and a red carpet Celebrity Tribute honoring actors such as Annette Bening, Adrian Brody, Geena Davis, Lawrence Fishburne, Sir Patrick Stewart and countless others.Tonya is steadfast in her belief that the experience of film allows us explore issues of global impact, to create dialog, and ultimately to develop empathy and understanding in an increasingly diverse and complex world.(From the SDFF website)

Ghost Ship?

Not this time.

My son takes the greatest photos.

A couple weeks ago, Lady Debbie, a commercial fishing boat, ran aground south of Westport, Washington. Luckily, there were no injuries and all six crewmembers walked away.

I wonder why she’s still there, unsalvaged, because it looks like it’s already starting to deteriorate and is now a canvas for taggers.

I wasn’t with the fam on this surfing beach trip so I didn’t get to actually see the vessel, but the last time I was there, I discovered a treasure trove of sand dollars which made me VERY happy.

Whidbey Island

I did not take this photo but I wish I had. I think my son likes to torment me and send me pics of places I wish I was. He loves the Pacific Northwest, so different from growing up as a Southern California native, so much green! And rain, of course.

It’s as beautiful as a painting.

Whidbey Island is in Puget Sound, north of Seattle. The island’s rugged terrain spans beaches, hills and farmland. On its northwest tip, Deception Pass State Park offers clifftop views, forest trails and freshwater lakes. To the south, Fort Casey Historical State Park is home to a lighthouse and gun battery. The coastal towns of Oak Harbor, Coupeville and Langley have boutiques, cafes and galleries.

I have been there in the past and it’s absolutely gorgeous!

Trust Your Gut

I really thought I had posted this before, but found it in my drafts folder.

This was a brief moment in time but chock-full of unanswered questions and potential menace where my gut intelligence sussed out something so weird and so random. It was like a scene on a TV show.

A while back before the pandemic stopped most travel, I was taking a short flight. I had an aisle seat. As this was a smaller aircraft, there were only two seats on either side; window or aisle.

A man walked by and said his was the window seat. I got up so he could squeeze in. He was a big man, not really obese, but close to it. His bulk took up the entire seat. Thank you, he said several times, although I’m not sure why he kept repeating himself. He was looking at me as if he wanted to strike up a conversation and I wasn’t really feeling particularly chatty so I began to read a book. I could feel his eyes on me, though, and I felt a creepy vibe.

Here’s where the first strange stirrings of anticipatory dread occurred.

In the periphery of my mind, or maybe it was my gut, I had an odd feeling. That’s the only way I can describe it. Odd. Nothing tangible to point my finger at, nothing out of place, nothing I could see with my eyes, but a real feeling that something was wrong with this person flitted through my mind and my gut. In fact, I was on high alert for any gesture or words or behavior that might be inappropriate.

It’s unusual to have a first impression like that, don’t you agree?

I’ve been learning to trust my gut even when there might be nothing definite to satisfy my need for facts that I can see or hear or touch.

Luckily for me, as I was planning to dread the next few hours, a flight attendant stopped by and asked me if I’d like to move to another row by myself as the plane wasn’t full. I jumped at her suggestion and enjoyed the peace and quiet, all the while wondering what made me feel like there was something wrong with that man.

When we arrived at our destination, I grabbed my suitcase from the overhead bin and impatiently waited my turn to disembark. I didn’t give that man another thought as I was focused on a stop at the nearest restroom.

The next few moments were like a scene out of a TV crime show and it happened SO FAST, almost too much to process.

I noticed a man standing near the place where we all exit from the jetway to the flight waiting area. He had an intense gaze as he watched all the arriving passengers. That means that he obviously had to go through security.

Apparently I was right behind the man I had originally sat with. He was walking as fast as his size would allow. He spotted the waiting man too, but there was nowhere to go, nowhere to escape.

The man stopped him, said in a VERY STERN VOICE, “You know that you violated your parole, don’t you?”

The big man stuttered, “Yes.”

“Well, then there’s nothing left to say. You knew what would happen. I’m here to take you back to prison.”

I was gobsmacked (another one of those great descriptive Brit words).

I thought it prudent to extricate myself in case I became an unwilling participant in some sort of dangerous situation. Although I wanted to watch the rest of the show, I continued to the restroom, shaking my head and praising my gut instincts once again.

I KNEW something was off about that man, but I had no idea that he was a criminal.

I want to know the rest of the story. What was he on parole for? What crimes had he committed? Why didn’t TSA do a better job of screening?

And most of all, I’m thankful that for whatever reason, the flight attendant (and the Universe) moved me to safety from any potential harm. Maybe I’m being melodramatic and maybe I’m not. Maybe I really do live an enchanted life. Maybe there ARE angels protecting me.

How crazy is that????

A Day in the Life: A Naked Lady and a Wandering White Egret

Or how I became the spirit human to a wandering white egret. Do you have a spirit animal? I’m sure we all do, but today I became a bird’s spirit human. At least that’s the story I told myself.

(I’ll not bury the lede and confess that I’m NOT the naked lady, just in case you were curious.)

I don’t know if it’s because of the lingering full moon energy coupled with another Santa Ana heatwave, but this was a strange and interesting Sunday.

I’ve been able to increase my mileage according to the doc’s plan, as long as my foot doesn’t hurt. It can be bit sore, but if I start limping, that’s my cue to give him a call. So far, so good.

On today’s walk, I got a late start and didn’t want to walk to the beach because that’s about 7 or 8 miles round trip, much more than the five miles he approved.

I walked up and around the lagoon. On the way back, I saw one police car and then two and when I saw the third one, my interest was piqued and I decided to follow it. They seemed to all be parked on a street that leads to a lagoon beach.

I stopped and asked a neighbor what was going on and he said he heard there was a naked woman wandering around the area. I then walked up to a police officer and asked him to corroborate what I heard, and he did. I exhorted (strongly encouraged) him to be kind to her since the police dog was there too, and it probably was some sort of mental health issue, not a “let’s unleash the hounds of hell” issue.

By the way, when did cops start dressing like urban warfare combat fighters? The ones I saw today were dressed in FULL ON body armor, in FULL ON FIGHT MODE to what was probably either a domestic or a mental health situation. They were incredibly intimidating looking for a little beach town, way too hard core.

I decided to move on and continue walking out of respect for whomever it was and whatever was going on. Sometimes I hang around to document possible police misconduct, but there were other people gathering, so I felt it was okay to leave.

After walking for another block or so, this is what I saw.

Yup, a beautiful white egret simply standing as still as a statue. S/he took a couple of steps…do you have any idea how SLOWLY egrets walk? It’s like doing a mindful walking meditation with Thich Nhat Hanh, something I’m not at all good at, ‘cos I’m not patient. At all.

But this time, I slowed down to enjoy the moment. S/he walked across the street SO S L O W L Y, turned his/her head and seemed to beckon me to follow, so I did. I stayed a couple feet back and every so often, s/he would turn to look at me and continue.

When it seemed as if (I’ll just call it a female, cos that’s the vibe I got) she wanted to cross a street that’s a bit busier, I went out in the street to warn traffic and to escort her safely. A mom and her two kids joined me and we all followed this queenly white egret up the street. Cars stopped to watch and it was so joyous and so delightful to participate in the Queen Egret Parade. The mom and kids went back home but I continued on our journey together to shepherd this magnificent bird.

I felt as if she was a bit timid, a bit unsure about where she was, and needed me. When we came to a clearing with a field and tall trees, I decided it was time for her to fly. I raised both of my arms outstretched like wings and silently communicated to her that it wasn’t safe on these streets and she needed to fly.

And she did. I watched her circle the area and land in a tall eucalyptus tree. Another egret flew by and my hope is that they all ended up back at the lagoon, safe and sound.

Honestly, I feel like in that moment, I became the spirit human to this pure white egret wanderer.

I don’t have any new information about the naked woman, and I’ll update if I hear anything.

It’s only 11 a.m. and I’ve already had a magical day. It’s time to put a clothes in the washing machine and check the video to see if my coyote or bobcat came to visit. For me, that would be the icing on the cake.

Check out how S L O W L Y she walks.

Vermillion Cliffs

I love this place, too…

Vermilion Cliffs National Monument in northern Arizona near the Utah state line.

Known for its colorful swirls of slickrock, Vermilion Cliffs National Monument is a sherbet-colored dream world filled with fantastical rock formations.

You just can’t take a bad photo surrounded by this kind of beauty.

#wordlesswednesday

Great Basin National Park

For #throwbackthursday, this is one of my most favorite places to camp and hike.

Great Basin National Park is in Nevada. At 10,000 ft., Wheeler Peak is one of the tallest peaks in the country. It’s full of bristlecone pines and turkeys and solitude and serenity.

Here’s a beautiful alpine lake:

From the Mountains to the Sea

Mother Nature gifted us with rain, wind, hail, snow, and surf.

Yesterday was so windy, it almost knocked me over. Trees and power lines were down all along the coast.

I think it’s astonishing that I can see these mountains sixty to eighty miles away when I stand in the middle of my street right in front of my house. I live exactly three miles away from the Pacific Ocean. It’s a bit hazy and the camera lens is trying as hard as it can to capture the snow capped hills.

After walking up nearly fifty steps to the very top of my garden, this is the view facing east to either Palomar Mountain or Mount Laguna (I can’t tell the difference) where they had about a foot of snow.

The power lines are actually quite far away; they seem closer than they actually are.

These apartments are an ugly blight on the landscape, ruining the mountain pic. This city has zero sense about the value of open space.

I would love to drive up to Mammoth Mountain to ski ‘cos I hear they received eight to ten feet of new snow in the Sierra Nevada, but I had a bad experience driving to Snow Summit and have never been able to shake the fear. I had taken my son skiing for his thirteenth birthday and we had a really fun day together but on the way back home, my brakes went out and we almost crashed. REALLY! Actually, we ran off the road at a Ranger’s Station and we’re lucky to be alive. Highway Patrol arrived and we were towed to San Bernadino and the shop was able to repair whatever brake issue caused the malfunction and we drove home. Ever since then, I’ve been too afraid to drive to the mountains. That was about the closest to death I’ve ever been and it traumatized me. Not my Angel Boy though; he’s fearless, and that’s the way it should be.

After the rain, our beautiful ocean is still a little agitated, and the next storm’s clouds loom on the horizon…

Thank you, Mother Nature.

Fire in Carlsbad!

UPDATE: Forty-nine-year-old transient, Dawn Ann Crawford, was arrested for causing this and other fires in Carlsbad.
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What a day!

On this auspicious January 20, 2021 when we welcomed President BIden and Vice President Harris along with their beautiful families, the weather here was warm and super windy.

I saw a notice on PulsePoint that there was a vegetation fire down the street from me. Hmmm, I thought to myself, should I go see what it’s all about?

And then I saw another alert for another fire just a couple blocks from the first one and then all hell broke loose around here with the sound of sirens and fire engines and police cars speeding down my street.

I didn’t even change my clothes. I was wearing old animal print leggings and a “Someone at Yale loves you” t-shirt. My hair was in a messy bun and I was wearing my glasses, but I couldn’t resist being nosy, so I got my good camera and jumped in the car.

Streets were already blocked off and homeowners were being evacuated so I had to turn around and find my secret pathways (not gonna tell). I was able to get super close and take incredible video and photos.

A couple structures were slightly damaged but I had to leave after the planes dropped fire retardant because it was hard to breathe.

I don’t have official confirmation but off the record, I heard it was arson.

All the firefighters and the police did an absolutely amazing job. Many thanks to Cal Fire, Vista Fire Department, San Marcos Fire Department, San Diego Fire Department, and Encinitas Fire Department.

If not for their heroic efforts, this entire neighborhood would have burned up.

Here’s my raw video and a bunch of photos:

And a few videos: