Eleanor Brownn 2016

It seems as though Time is running through my fingers like a waterfall.
Yesterdays merge into Todays and Todays merge into Tomorrows.
Where did the year go?
Where did that moment go?
And where am I…Now?

Life is a series of moments.
Joyful moments.
Painful moments.
Tender moments.
One moment after another.
Like a waterfall.

Bird of Paradise

Eleanor Brownn bird of paradise

My mother’s favorite flower was the bird-of-paradise. When she remodeled the house she had some planted in the front garden. I was about 10 years old. It would have been the early 1960’s. We lived in South Los Angeles.

Part of the remodel also involved changing our house paint from white with forest green trim to an exotic shade of deep pink with a taupe undertone and white trim. It was quite unusual for the neighborhood. In fact some people thought it was downright weird.

She got rid of the white picket fence and replaced it with a black cursive wrought-iron one. She converted some of the front windows to a new style (for the times) that had a slatted design and opened with a handle that allowed you to modify the amount of air that came in, similar to the way venetian blinds allow you to modify sunlight.

She was in her sixties, the age I am now. She and her husband had bought the house when she was in her fifties and adopted me at birth a few months later.

Whenever I see a bird-of-paradise, I think of my mother.


Since MILE 9, whenever I feel uncertain or afraid, I think about what I achieved the time I persisted through my fatigue and my fear. MILE 9 is that certain unstoppable something inside of each of us that gives us the courage to continue against the odds.


It was a major turning point in my life when I completed a marathon on March 29, 1998 — that’s 26.2 miles. I almost gave up after MILE 8, but something shifted inside of me at the next signpost, and I have never been the same. I wrote a book about it ten years later called MILE 9.

I had spent my life eating junk food. I was in my late forties and more than 70 pounds overweight when I started the training, and still 40 pounds overweight on race day. It took me over nine hours to reach the finish line. I jogged a little, I walked a lot, and there was some crawling involved. Ha! But I finished.

Today was another anniversary of that day and sweet memories fill my head and heart. It was the most physically and mentally challenging thing this couch potato had ever done. The feeling of exhilaration at the end was indescribable. I did it. I didn’t quit. I finished a marathon.

Although I don’t know if I’ll do another one, life is like a marathon, isn’t it? You just keep going. You just keep putting one foot in front of the other. It’s all part of the Grand Journey.


Here’s to Life

87 years old. She walked out onstage — with a cane and an assistant, but she walked out. Wow. She had broken her back in two places and was performing anyway. She sat down in a wheelchair and sang her heart out and told her stories for almost two hours. She assured us that the wheelchair was only temporary until her back healed. After the standing ovation at the end, she sang “Imagine” without a mic. It was beautiful. Barbara Cook at the Annenberg in Beverly Hills last night. So glad I went.