Friday, May 15, 2015

Farmer's Markets For Real

Before I go into the details of my new diet, farmer's markets and my three-day getaway to Santa Ynez, let me toss in this April sunset.

And now, after that appetizer of tinted sky, here's the rest of my story. I've been on Dr. Mark Hyman's Ten Day Sugar Detox Diet (similar to the Paleo Diet) for the past nine months. After catching his special on PBS, I decided to try his protocol. It's tough and rigid: no sugar, no wheat, no starchy carbs, no dairy.

Being thin to begin with, keeping my weight up has been difficult. But the diet balances my blood sugar and makes me feel more energetic. This has inadvertently led me to shopping at our farmer's markets. In the past, visiting a farmer's market was something I did for the joy of capturing colorful photographs: grapefruit and radishes piled in picturesque stacks; jars of honey with sunlight illuminating their burnished nectar; orchids too and multi-colored bouquets of ranunculus, carnations and roses sparkling in plastic bins.

My new habit of shopping at farmer's markets began unexpectedly on a three-day getaway to Santa Ynez. There, one afternoon, after exploring the winding roads of Figueroa Mountain and enjoying the pastoral landscape of Santa Ynez Valley with its oak dappled rolling hills, I drove to the heart of the city, and proceeded down highway 246. There I ground to a halt and wound up going nowhere in a traffic jam. It turned out that the congestion was due to the Solvang farmer's market. Rather than sit in my car with a trusty Chihuahua staring at me with large amber eyes, and watching the stoplight change from red to green and back to red again, I decided to park, stroll through the quaint streets of Solvang and peruse their farmer's market.

At the market I was smitten by a box of ripe tomatoes shimmering in the afternoon sun. Without a nick or flaw, and in a rich shade of vermilion, they may have been the most beautiful tomatoes I've ever seen. I purchased three of them, and when I returned to Santa Barbara two days later, I was already regretting that I'd bought so few. I inhaled those tomatoes; soft and succulent, they were the nightshade version of ambrosia.

Once home, I began to dream of them and wonder how I might find more. This urge took me to our Santa Barbara farmer's market, and set me off on a new quest. There, I found fine tomatoes, but no match for the godly globes from Santa Ynez. In the meantime, I also found exquisite veggies straight from the fields still damp with morning dew, and I began to realize that it makes sense -- now that I eat so many vegetables -- to choose from the freshest and the sweetest.





Then there are the live musicians playing everything from bluegrass, to classical, adding rhythm, melody and beat to the experience. There are toddlers too, nibbling on juicy apricots, and a whole scene unfolding before me with its myriad photo ops -- which in between bagging my veggies and filling my rolling cart -- beckons the black little camera slung over my shoulder to join the festival and click.

Stay healthy and happy my delightful friends -- savor your days.

I will return in two months on July 15th.

Until then, my warm regards,     ~    Anitra

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Nearing April

Poppies closed at dawn
open to full sun
and I catch my shadow picking blossoms.
A white-crowned sparrow pecks seeds beside stone Buddha
acorn woodpeckers, clutch bird feeder-- twirl in twos and threes
Air, thick with scent of orange blossoms
sweet and soft as velvet
and I am adrift
between sunrise and sunset
on the cusp of a season sparking.

The flowers of my past
and the garden of my future
eluding to the fact

today is enough.


Hello you beautiful people. I welcome your comments and messages. Wishing you a scintillating springtime. It's wonderful to see you again. My next blog will remain true to my current schedule, and be published on the 15th, in two months. That will be in May.

Until then, expressing my warm regards. Health and happiness,    ~   Anitra

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Erin, Memories, Christmas Eve


Christmas with my daughter, Erin, is an annual event. One in which I drive from Santa Barbara, down the coast to Beverly Hills -- the area where we lived, loved and spent our days for almost 20 years. Usually we dine out on Christmas Eve, and afterwards, coast the elegant streets of the city, viewing the Christmas lights at night.

Here, our history is rich.

And when I return, it's as though the sidewalks welcome me back. The years of traveling down Wilshire and Little Santa Monica Boulevards, going on interviews on the Sunset Strip, and performing modeling and acting jobs. Even the shopping excursions to keep my wardrobe up to snuff were memorable. In that world, part of my personal job description was to always keep searching for that eye-popping outfit: something unique to wow on and interview, and hopefully, make them remember my name.

Shopping at Georgio's on Rodeo Drive, for an ensemble to wear to the Oscars, is an episode that stands out in my mind. And today, driving down Brighton Way, the memories encircling me like whirling leaves, I could almost hear Al Green crooning in the background and catch the drift of Chanel #5.

Erin was such an integral part of those days: days when I strove and raced and never seemed to stop. And now with so many of those days behind me -- some that live on video and film -- I see how the past still shines. But also, I notice the way it pales beside the light of my dear daughter's eyes.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

New Post on Anitra's Book of Days

Letting you know that after a three month hiatus, I have made a post on my other blog: "Anitra's Book of Days." You may find it on my profile page here (click on last line in side bar highlighted in red,) or by searching Google. My every other month post here is scheduled for January 15th.

Cheers to you beautiful Readers, and a sparkling New Year,

~   Anitra

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Sunrise on Calle Cortita

When I arrive on this hill above Santa Barbara, the lights of the city are still glowing in the half-dark. On one side, I see the city and the harbor, on the other, the curving coastline with an ocean silvered by the morning sky. I sit in my car and watch the unfolding.

The mountains silhouetted against the first tinge of dawn, rise, ripple and fall like frozen waves. At this early hour, I'm betting on color: color, shape and some luminous image only appearing once. Something memorable like last night's rain whooshing, shushing and pelting the walls of the house -- the first real precipitation we've seen in six months.

And there they are, pink clouds hovering above Santa Cruz Island 25 miles out. Its broad presence stretched wide across the channel like a snoozing iguana. And now, the ocean too is reflecting mauve: creamy pink enveloping the harbor and sliding into slips like shiny fingers.

Stillness hovers and morning seems to be holding its breath. In the quiet, it appears nothing is out there in the shrubbery of the canyon. But this is the home of coyotes, and moments ago, when I climbed the hill in dim light to capture a view of the cove, I thought of them, the coyotes in a pack -- and me (still in my sleep sweatshirt), not even as large as a full-grown deer. I kept snapping photos, but then opted to quick-step back down the hill and get into my car.

The views everywhere, even from behind my windshield suffice. But I'll go out again, just stay close to the door of my car until dawn grows brighter.

Hal's house on the edge of the canyon, with its spectacular view of the city and the ocean -- was sold. Hal, a gregarious fellow, would, when he saw a photographer taking photos through the open space between his garage and house, greet you in the street. He loved to talk about how he came to purchase this property considered a risky location years ago. And then, he'd invite you onto his deck with its unobstructed vista and say, "Be my guest. Take as many photos as you'd like, and please, come back anytime."

Where Hal is, I can;t say. I'd guess at Val Verde retirement village at the edge of the city, a community nestled behind the hills of Hope Ranch and closed off from ocean views. I could tell immediately that Hal was gone. New hedges had been planted, tall ones, designed to block views from the street, and to discourage any artist or interloper with a hankering for beauty.

"This is mine dammit! I paid 3 mil for this crib. You don't deserve it, get out of my hair, get off my shoulder!" It took no special skill to sniff out the difference between this new John Doe and the old tar Hal.

While taking photos with John Doe's new hedges sprouting into my picture, the new growth appeared like vines of barbed wire. I thought of the Bruno Mars song, "Locked out of Heaven," and the random words: A prison inside out.

Scouting new angles for when the view through Hal's house is completely obscured, I went into the street and climbed higher onto the hill, losing my view of the ocean, but finding a fetching scene of the city. As I snapped my photos from this new vantage point, I had to blink and look more than twice at what had manifested. Across the city to the west, in the sky above Ellings Park -- surprise! A rainbow shooting through a cloud.


Hello Dear Viewers, welcome back. It's great to see you here again. I plan to stay with this every-other month schedule. That means I will return after the New Year -- 2015, yep, really. It's a date: January 15th. Until then, sunny skies, warm breezes and a heart-filled holiday season.

Gratefully yours,    ~   Aneet

PS: Click on the photos for fuller panoramic views.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

New Post on Anitra's Book of Days

Hello Delightful readers and viewers. One post below is my September 15th post on "Anitra Ford's Personal Blog". I have also just made a new post on my other blog, "Anitra's Book of Days." As we can't link it in the text here, you may find it listed when clicking at the bottom of my profile in the sidebar under "About Me", or else, you can Google it and come visit.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Santa Barbara, I. Magnin, and Passion

A fog shrouded morning on the coast. Mid-August and we've had fog-hazed days all summer. May, June, July, and now August, filtered through mesh. The mountains, just a mile away, are invisible. Blotted out with the fuzzy cloth of fog. And when the fog thins, you're left with a filter buffering the mountain's typography. The ridges that in November slice clean against the sky, we rarely see in summer.

When I came to visit 35 years ago, I'd been here once before. Shuttled from L.A., and put up in a quaint cottage inn for one night. Five I. Magnin models were brought here for their annual Champagne Fashion Show. We had just performed it in Los Angeles to an invitation only audience. Two-hundred privileged guests, who included the Ronald Reagans, the Robert Stacks, the Charlton Hestons, and other notable celebrities like platinum-maned Maimie Van Doren and the velvet-voiced Johnny Mathis.

We brought the clothes and the show up the coast. First to Santa Barbara, and then to San Francisco in 1962. I was a "house model" at the store on Wilshre and Vermont, who walked the floor from 9-5 wearing too tight Evan's shoes (supplied by the store.) I strolled the white carpet of the second floor and the beige linoleum of the first, inhaling the dreamy moneyed scent of Eau de Joy. I stopped in front of patrons, smiled and said, "Hello, good day." Then posed, touched the fabric of my garment, and said, "This suit is by Jones of New York. You can find it in the knit department on the third floor." I'd then--in spite of my aching blistered feet--do a full pivot, and if the shopper had no questions, smile and say,"Have a lovely day," and move on.

At age nineteen, Santa Barbara was not for me. I had plans, things to do, places to see. I. Magnin was a first rung on the ladder to my future. I was gong to be a great model. I was going to work in New York. And once I got confidence down, solid in my pocket like the four-corned square of a wallet, then I would do what I was meant to do. I could handle it then, that thing I could not, not do. The art that stirred my passions from way before the euphoria of starring in my high school play.

Santa Barbara was stodgy. Santa Barbara was stuffy; I saw its winding roads ascending into the hills, I saw its sandstone retaining walls, I saw its lush foliage; they all registered somewhere in my mind's eye, but I didn't really see them past the stars blazing across my vision. My future is what I saw, and Santa Barbara was to me exactly what the whispered slogan said: "A place for the newly wed and the nearly dead."


Welcome back Dear Readers. I'd like to mention that the photos above were taken of me by I. Magnin when I worked for the store. After fashion shows, newspaper photographers waited in the wings to take photographs of the designer garments. The fashion coordinator would choose models from the staff to pose  for the newspaper shots. In the photo with Marc Bohan, then the head designer for the "House of Dior" in Paris, I am sitting to his left.

It's great to see you here. I plan to return -- as I have been -- in two months. That will be on November 15th. I am about ready to make a new post on my other blog, "Anitra's Book of Days." I imagine that will be within the next few days. Expressing my warm regards to you all. Be cool and safe,      ~    Aneet