bear! (hill)

road trip day 1: mill valley – yosemite

less than a mile inside the park entrance, we saw what we came to see … bear! big black boy bear was napping on a log. our new friend volunteer yosemite ranger bob told us more than we needed to know about black bears — most appear brown — and said his main job in the park was moving traffic along during frequent “bearjams”. later in the early evening, we saw the same big boy in a meadow, supping. fortunately, none supped on us during the night!

day 2: yosemite – las vegas

blown away by cirque de soleil show … this time, “ka“. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

road trip day 3: las vegas – grand canyon – zion np, utah


think grand! north rim grand canyon, 7th wonder of the world. heli tour. yeah.

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road trip! (hill)

when i was younger, i wanted to do a stint in the peace corps and i wanted to work at club med. big plans. well,  i did work at club med lindeman island on an exclusive island inside the great barrier reef in queensland, australia. (does this mean i’m shallow?) miracle of miracles … somehow, i wrangled myself into a job as a tennis instructor. i hope you can imagine the goodness of an experience like this … champagne at sunset on the 8th hole of the golf course overlooking the blue blue water,

running on the wooded trails unsettling swarms of butterflies, being silly (it’s in the job description) to get the guests to cast off their city-selves and loosen up … the list goes on. we did work insane hours keeping the gms happy … it was like hosting a 6-month-long barbeque.

the best thing that came from my time there was cynthia brown. she’s part of a well-known wine-growing family outside melbourne, she had a serious job in the village in the human resources office, and she was my roommate. besides the wine she generously shared with me, and her willingness to have double slumber parties (don’t let your imagination get too carried away!), she was a wonderful roommate and we’ve been friends ever since.

well guess who’s coming to road trip with me … cynthia!

we’re taking the vw van for a spin on july 1 (to see my 2003 spin, see escape artistry). destination: yosemite, las vegas, grand canyon, zion np, moab, boulder, salt lake city, portland, oregon and california coasts, and everything in between. all in 16 days. whew!

cynthia has been wanting to take up photography, so she’s now well-equipped and ready to rumble. our road trip may be a photo safari of sorts. we’ve both signed up to participate in picture summer and will be learning more about photography and sharing our images along the way. how are you picturing your summer?

internet access depending, i will be blogging in periodically … stay tuned!

Posted in dreams, friends, photography, travel | 3 Comments

expect a miracle (hill)

i’m feeling nostalgic. this week last year, i was on my way to france and spain to work on a movie. i wasn’t the cinematographer, nor the director, nor the writer … though i did have a tiny part as the lady in the tourist bureau until the actual lady got her courage up to be on camera. a star was NOT born. no, my main job as “scripty” was to sit on on a little stool in the prime real estate between the director and the cinematographer and tell the actors when they fluffed a line. (the mostly english cast and crew say “fluffed” instead of “flubbed” … so much nicer to the ear … and to the ego of the actor, i imagine!)

i was also the “continuity girl”, making sure each actor spoke and gestured exactly the same way during each take in a scene … a very tricky job requiring keen concentration. no being distracted by the handsome spanish farmer or the hot spanish sun. or … the hot spanish farmer or the handsome spanish son!

oh, and i also did the still photography for the film’s advertising.

it’s a herculean effort, making a movie. i worked so hard, such long hours, and yet i still feel that i didn’t work hard enough. i was jetlagged, then exhausted. but i didn’t work nearly as hard as the folks who made this movie happen.

these english people, the atkins family, worked their fannies off (they definitely wouldn’t say “fannies”) making a film, as a family! the dad joe directed. the mom manny produced and was the lead actor. the youngest children beth and arthur also acted. the older sons harry and luc did the sound and music. these are some mighty talented and hardworking folks. their actor friends came to round out the cast and two french interns filled out the crew.

the film takes place along the chemin de st jacques in france and the camino de santiago in spain. the coolest thing for me was that i walked with miss daisey along the french part of this pilgrimage trail last april … then in july i got to actually go to the pilgrimage end point of santiago with the film! pilgrims expect miracles …

six months earlier while surfing the net one evening, i had bumped into the atkins blog about their travels in a bus around europe and left a comment. manny wrote me back. we became friends via email, she invited me to stay with them on the way to my pilgrimage. and i offered to help with the film, and so i did. a miracle if you ask me!

one of the biggest blessings of working on this film was to meet the atkins and their friends. who just decides to make a movie and then goes and does it? the atkins do! they reminded me that anything is possible, absolutely anything, if you put enough head, heart and will into it.







the next biggest blessing was that i reignited my love affair with photography. not in the job description, i found myself making lots of behind the scenes photographs. so many beautiful places, and beautiful people to photograph! when i returned home, i decided not to go to grad school in psychology as i had planned, but to start a greeting card company using my photos, which will branch out into photos on canvas this fall.

another miracle, really. i found  myself on that pilgrimage trail. not while hiking, but while filming “heaven”.

the greatest miracle of all is that the film if you ever get to heaven is complete! and will be screened in england july 20. i will be here in the usa road tripping with my aussie friend around the western states … so i’ll have to catch the next screening, perhaps at the mill valley film festival! if you’re lucky, it will be coming to a theater near you, too.

Posted in family, friends, movies, spirituality, travel, walking miss daisey | 3 Comments

world cup fever forever … (hill)

back in the day … 1994 fifa world cup usa, pasadena, ca … someday let me tell you the story of how i got this final moment photo …

this was easier …

this was the fun part! sitting right next to a sports illustrated photographer …

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pansies, a tale of metamorphosis (hill)

i keep telling myself to STOP photographing flowers! stop it! it seems their colorful faces are all i see these days. i head out walking miss daisey around the neighborhood, camera in tow, and i say “no flowers today.” i try, i do. i try to find fences or architecture or sky or signposts or chairs or something, anything other than flowers. but their colors and delicateness keep luring me back!

funny, i used to be a damn competitive, swashbuckling photojournalist. and i used to think that photographers who photographed flowers were pansies! i used to photograph politicians and world cup soccer and wildfires and gang members and city council meetings and crime scenes and the grand prix and dead bodies and once in a rare while a sunset. DEFINITELY NOT FLOWERS. i was 25, and even 35, and i loved it all! some scenes were horrible, blood and brains splattered on the sidewalk — now it churns my stomach to even write those words — but it was so exciting and different every day.

these days, you won’t catch me anywhere near the news. i’m allergic. don’t watch it, don’t read it, don’t want any part of it. i hear about the big things in conversations or from oprah! oil spill? earthquake? stockmarket? today i’m happy to say that i am a peaceful ostrich.

so now i photograph flowers, which brings me tranquility and wonder at the amazing, mystical world of mother nature. and it’s exciting and different every day.

oh, and i did photograph some faces of friends recently, just to change it up a bit.

do you have any suggestions of gentle, beautiful photographic subjects that i could add to my repertoire? would love to hear your ideas …

Posted in friends, nature, photography, walking miss daisey | 1 Comment

going primal (hill)

i’m going primal.

no, i’m not letting my armpit hair grow out (although i have in the past and i do like that kind of freedom/natural sexiness), i’m not living in a cave, i’m not hunting or gathering in the traditional sense and no, i’m not grunting any more than usual … no, i’m following the primal way of nourishment and i’m feeling GREAT!

the author of this book recommends omitting all non-fiber carbohydrates from our diets. period. no rice, bread, crackers, chips, potatoes, popcorn, cereal, oatmeal, pasta, chocolate, beer, wine, dried fruit, juices, and many fresh fruits. none. nada. zip!

author nora gedgaudas says we humans have not evolved much — biologically — since our primal hunter-gatherer days. think about what those gals and guys might have been eating … wild (think: grass-fed) animal protein, veggies, nuts, seeds and berries. all natural. as in, without chemicals. as nature intended. what we now call “organic”. weird: the non-organic stuff should be called “chemical”, not the other way around!

nora says the advent of agriculture has produced lots of carbs that are not a human dietary requirement and actually wreak havoc on our systems, body and mind. vitamin deficiencies. seratonin deficiencies. inflammation. hormone issues. insulin resistance. leptin disregulation. osteoporosis. obesity. adhd. depression. anxiety. think about what you have been eating lately … carbs come to mind? we, at least here in the states and europe/uk, normally eat a lot of carbs these days.

i’ve been eating the primal way for two and a half weeks now, with a few minor detours (had a beer with curt when he was here, and had three chocolate-covered almonds with my friend julie the other day). it’s easy to “eat primal” because i don’t have any cravings. i’m not hungry like i always used to be. that’s because my blood sugar needed more “sugar” (read: carbs, sugar, chocolate, sweets, bread, etc) to feel good.

fast approaching 50, the past few years i’ve had low energy, blue moods, and have had to take thyroid and hormone medications to feel better. just in the last couple weeks, i’m getting my energy back and i’m feeling great!

nora says we can also eat small amounts of raw, unprocessed dairy products, if you can find them. i went to whole foods this morning to get raw milk with which to make yogurt, but alas, they said their insurance was too high and they had to stop selling it. so i made it with the next best thing, straus family creamery organic whole milk.

will keep you updated about my progress.

anyone else nourishing themselves this way? or another way that makes you feel great? please chime in!

Posted in cookbooks, food, friends | 1 Comment

i planted! (hill)

i joined the ranks of gardeners today. i planted!

old boyfriend curt (he prefers “ex-luvvah”) came for memorial day bearing gifts, including herbs to establish my new herb garden. he also bought pots, soil, and flowers to brighten it all (impatiens … wonder what that means). and instead of planting them for me, he wanted me to do it so i could gain the benefits of working with the earth.

i had a garden the first year in my house about 12 years ago … but the cats also “enjoyed” the garden, and the cucumbers turned out bitter, and i figured the taste was from the cats. and never planted a garden again. gross!

recently i learned that cucumbers are bitter for many reasons, and thought perhaps i should reconsider gardening (and have a serious talk with my cats). then curt arrived laden with plastic pots with greens spilling from a cardboard box.

old love. new garden. nice.

Posted in food, friends, love, nature | 1 Comment