My daughter, Vanessa, and her family are with me at my ranch outside Santa Fe. They will have been here 10 days. I couldn’t come when I’d planned because I had hand surgery and there were complications and the surgeon didn’t want me flying. So my visit will only be a week. Still, it’s been glorious.

My daughter is very much like me in many ways and very different in many ways. She’s brave, strong, exceedingly smart, cooks well (did all the cooking while we were here), and is very creative. She’s someone you’d want around in a crisis. We haven’t always gotten along. i am not, by nature, particularly maternal.

But things are easier between us now. Perhaps it’s my age. Being here with just her and her family (and Debi, my assistant, who helps me as I am one-handed right now), I am able to see her as a grown woman, not as a child; not even as a child of mine. Just a woman in her own right. It’s easier.

This is what I saw as Debi and I drove from the airport 6 days ago. They call Montana Big Sky Country, but so is New Mexico. It has partly to do with the dry air. Light is refracted differently in dry, spacious climates.

The 2nd day I was here, I organized a field trip to visit the Puye Cliffs near Espanola.

Here we are in front of the visitor’s center.Left to right: Casey Ellyson, me, Paul Van Winkle (Vanessa’s husband), Viva Vadim, Logan Casey and Malcolm Vadim

The village that was comprised of the cliff dwellings and what’s atop the mesa was the largest pueblo settlement in the area, occupied for about 600 years, from the late 900sAD to the 1500s. The cliffs are composed of soft, grayish stone called tuff. You can’t see from here, but the surfaces of the cliffs are covered with Indian pictographs carved into the rock of coyote, birds, rabbits and geometric designs, especially the series of circles that are seen in prehistoric cultures round the world.

We had a delicious lunch at Rancho Chimayo
This was the sky as we were returning to our ranch.

We love to play board games at night after dinner. Here we’re playing TABOO, boys against girls. The boys won.

Friday morning, our friend, Honey Harris who hosts a music and talk show in Santa Fe, invited Viva and Casey to be the DJs. The brought 10 songs and talked about why they liked them and what they knew about the singers.

For those of you interested in knowing the musical tastes of very smart, hip, 11-year-old girls, here is their play list (to listen click here or download the mp3):

FUN: Carry On, or Some Nights
IMAGINE DRAGONS: On Top of the World, or Fallen
FAYE WEBSTER: Lonestar, or Sadness in the Air
JULIA HALTIGAN: Cowboys & Rocketmen
ROBIN THICKE: Blurred Lines
BEN SOLLEE: It’s Not Impossible
COLDPLAY: Life in Technicolor
BRUNO MARS: Treasure
Justin Timberlake (Suit & Tie, or Mirrors), and One Direction (Best Song Ever)

I’m fascinated how they want nothing to do with the music of my time or even their mother’s time, but their music is so clearly influenced by that. (Vanessa, however, did like my music from the 60’s and 70’s, as I recall. She once compiled a cassette for me called “Hymn to Her” with all our favorite songs by women singers from that period)

Friday, after the stint as DJs, we all went to lunch and a movie. I wanted to take the kids to The Cowgirl Hall of Fame restaurant on Guadelupe. Here we are (minus Vanessa who’s taking the picture. That’s Debi in the blue t-shirt holding Tulea. She’s a true blue dog person and Tulea loves her. Nathalie Vadim, my stepdaughter, who lives on my ranch and takes care of the horses, is in the foreground.

The main attraction for me was this dessert which we turned into the 2nd birthday cake for Casey (in blue), who just turned 11 years old. Logan, Malcolm’s friend, is the blonde boy in the dark blue t-shirt. (They’re both 14)

The dessert they’re eating is ice cream made to look like a baked potato. It’s vanilla ice cream rolled in coco powder to look like a spud, with ice cream “butter” and whipped cream “sour cream”.

We saw “The Way Way Back” and liked it. Sam Rockwell is fantastic.

I worry about the enormous focus on electronics that seem to occupy vast parts of our children’s time.

But I am happy to say that the four of them have also been very caught up in the outdoors–swimming, hiking, repairing the tree fort that Malcolm built last year, horseback riding, all evidenced by their sunburns.

Sunday we had lunch at Frankie’s, a charming Mexican restaurant in the tiny town of Pecos near my ranch.

After lunch, we visited the Pecos National Monument. In pre-historic times, the Pecos River valley was populated by the Pecos Indians. Their kivas and dwelling places have been excavated and restored. Next to them is the Church built by the Spanish missionaries. Over centuries, the Pecos were attacked by the more aggressive Comanches; subjugated for a time by the Spaniards and then, as the railway came through, population of settlers expanded and land became scarcer, the tribe was reduced from thousands to about 20 and they moved to another pueblo 25 miles to the west.

The British film star, Greer Garson and her husband, created the visitors center and helped persuade Congress to create the Pecos National Monument. They once owned the Forked Lightning Ranch of which my ranch was once just a small part. But everyone who’s been around here long enough remembers the Fogelson’s as kind, generous people.

Here are Viva and Casey leaving the Visitor’s Center.

Viva is a dog person too. Here she is, joining Tulea in a howl.

Our last supper

And now, with some sadness, I leave for the east coast for next Monday’s New York premiere of “The Butler.”

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  1. I just visited Santa Fe, Pecos, and the Pecos National Monument. Had lunch at Chimayo. Wish I could have seen your crew there!
    Loved the area, and know why you are at home there.

    • Good morning Jane…I lived in Espanola from the 1960’s until the late 80’s. It was so different then, and Espanola Valley was so charming. It was a good life. I’m Living on the East Coast now. My husband is from Santa Fe. Your photos make me yearn to be back in New Mexico someday. We have lot of family and friends living there, stretching well into many places in Colorado.
      I have followed your career, starting with your movies, purchasing your exercise tapes, which I still have, along with my VCR collections, and now your latest ones. I’ve read your books and watched as many interviews that I can. Thank you for nudging an awakening in my mind, body, an spirit.
      I Look forward to seeing you in The Butler.
      Wishing you good health, healing, and many more wonderful years ahead..

  2. Beautiful pictures, beautiful family. I love the first picture! I will have to see the Santa Fe area one day. It is so beautiful looking!
    Will you be going to the premiere in a sling? 🙁 It must be quite difficult doing daily things, such as getting dressed and cutting your food!

  3. Breathtaking pictures of the great outdoors and your beautiful family. I, too, love board games — actually, once I get my house as clean as I would like it to be (lol), I am hoping to organize a monthly board game drop-in and play night (where friends and family of all ages stop by to play). Just out of curiosity, what are your personal favorite board games and why? Have you ever heard of the Ungame? Popular in the 70s, it is a board “game” designed to encourage families to honestly talk about their feelings. (I remember, at a rather young age, making my family uncomfortable because I actually went deep whenever we played. It’s kind of been a feature of mine since birth — always questioning, examining.)

    Enjoy the premier. I certainly am looking forward to seeing the movie. Oh yeah, I’m super excited that I was able to re-work cable TV into our budget, so I can keep up with Aaron Sorkin’s brilliant “The Newsroom”. Life is so good.

    • Hi Peter. Can’t write much cause of the cast but we love Scattagories. I think that’s my favorite. I like Charades, too.

  4. Now I can relate to you. Don’t have much of a maternal instinct either! Don’t really mention that as people look at you like you’re from another planet. Found your blog of July 30 so interesting. Would love to hit some of those restaurants. Look forward to more entries.

  5. Hi Jane, I work part-time at Los Trijos ranch just upriver from your ranch– I drive through Pecos and by the the National Monument on my way back and forth–it is so beautiful. My employer sold most of his ranch to Val Kilmar but he still maintains a beautiful home and a 60 stable horse barn on the river…(he use to breed and train Fjords horses). Enjoyed your photos….Best, Jane Hatch

    • Jane, your employer is Mr.Cowles, yes? How’s he doing? I sometimes look down into his property. Lots of infrastructure there! What do you do for him?

      • Yes, I work for Mr. Cowles. He is quite well I would say. He is enjoying going into Santa Fe several times a week–chamber music, pilates, board meetings, etc. At the ranch I cook his dinner, walk his dog along the river, organize, (shop at Whole Foods) and we watch several news shows together at night. It’s fun, really.

  6. That was a great visit, Jane!

  7. I really enjoy reading all of your blogs,posts and seeing your pictures…especially the ones with my cousin Honey!!!

  8. Dear Jane,

    I love your Ted Talks “Act Three”. I listen to it often. It gives me a lift. I just turned seventy and feel pretty good about it. There is something very liberating about reaching seventy. I feel I have license now to be outspoken, of course, in a very delightful way.

    I believe I passed you on the pier in the Petoskey area outside a very nice restaurant last summer. I said “Hi” as we passed each other. You (if it was you) said “Hi” back and I said to my friend, “That voice. I’d know it anywhere. That must be Jane Fonda.” You looked fabulous. It was a fun moment for us.


  9. Thanks! Just passed a sign advertising a clearance sale at Toys R Us on my way into work; now I know what I’m going to purchase/treat myself to. I hope the cast is off and your hand (pain)free very soon!!

  10. Hi Jane,
    Good to read your news. Sorry about the hand surgery, i hope you have an easy recovery. I fractured my left hand metacarpal last year and it has been a slow process. Good to see that you are out and about regardless the cast. I just finished reading “my life so far”………Inspirational. I hope our paths would soon cross again. Much love, Dayaruci. ps, that hair is growing fast!!

  11. Dear Jane,

    Thanks for the interesting update and pictures of the Pecos National Monument. I was born in New Mexico myself. I hope that your hand recovers soon. I am looking forward to seeing you play Nancy Reagan in “The Butler.” The first film I saw you in was “Cat Ballou” and you were great and of course beautiful in that.

    Kind Wishes,


  12. I haven’t spent nearly as much time in New Mexico as I’d like but have seen some of the spectacular ruins, especially loved those in the Pecos area and Chaco. You make me want to go back soon as I can. Your photos were great.

  13. Hi Jane, As you know you have a gorgeous place to live, as I do right on the bottom of Lake Michigan. I have never gotten to the Southwest. My husband passed away of stomach cancer this past year and his last request was to have his ashes taken to the desert. He had lived in LA 30 years before and went to your area many times to visit and camp with friends before moving back to his home in NW Indiana. We had always wanted to move to the Southwest, but that was not to be. AS soon as I seen the pics of your place I thought how he would have loved it there. He always said there was something about the land that was spiritual and he always felt closer to God while he was in New Mexico and surrounding areas. You are very lucky and I know God is blessing you as you are there.

  14. Jane-I just finished reading your book My Life So Far–I want to share my responses! I loved it. Do you have a personal assistant who receives letters for you or should I write here on your blog reply space. Jane Hatch

    • write to me here. Thanks, Jane H

      • Thank you, Jane

        • Jane, Native American filmmaker George Burdeau almost optioned a screenplay “The Resurrection of the Deer”–which I wrote. It is kind a of Thelma and Louise meets Dances with Wolves. I think you would love it. It’s based on a true story. When I was a reporter in Maine I was assigned to cover sexual harassment at the local shipyard. I did profiles on three women who had filed sexual harassment suits against this company. One woman, Linda Noble,–her story grabbed me and I wrote a screenplay about her…I have always been interested in women taking their power. This story shows the dramatic details of a young women, who is part Native American, (but who has managed, in the pursuit of financial survival, to become the image of perfect white secretary) slowly becoming embodied. A Vietnam vet(love interest) is her own ally in this nepotistic navy shipyard whose management become sets on destroying her reputation. I think the reason i have not sold this yet, is i can’t seem to write a decent logline! Do you have a manager I could send it to–it is copyrighted and registered and I know George and his entertainment attorney really did love it (just couldn’t come up with funding) Thanks again, Jane

          • Jane, send it to Ben Dey at CAA in Century City, CA

  15. Hi Jane, Just watched your interview from some
    years ago at ‘The Actors Studio’, really powerful
    brought tears!

    I hope because of your ties to New Mexico that you’ll join Robert Redford, Bill Richardson, The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and so many others and speak out against HORSE SLAUGHTER
    and those who are trying to open butcher plants in Roswell NM, Iowa & Oklahoma.

    These magnificent wild and free horses need to remain that way we need to protect them and their land and slaughter is not the answer. Its a brutal act there is nothing humane involved.

    I hope you’ll encourage others to learn about viable solutions to Americas so called ‘unwanted horses’ they are wanted & their lives matter!

    Protect these American Icons!

  16. Great pictures of your family gathering and the things you do in and around Santa Fe. Just wonderful to see. Your writings of the area inspired me to go back for a brief visit.
    I was there during Spanish market time but my purpose was to attend the Santa Fe opera production of”La Donna del Lago”. This was a very first for me to attend an opera as I am fairly musically challenged. But it was wonderful. My friend and I had a great time. One more thing off the bucket list.
    Thanks again for posting the wonderful pictures and a peek into your ranch and family life.
    Joe Ross

  17. of all your photos, of which many are interesting, my favorites are at your ranch and with your family. It’s like you truly are you, not the celebrity or movie star, when you are there.

  18. Hi, Jane,

    I was saddened to learn of the demise of the wonderful, different and brave actress, Karen Black. My admiration for her is based on the same admiration I hold for your goodself – she wasn’t afraid to take on roles which were challenging to both the audience and herself. For example, in ‘Five Easy Pieces’, she played a woman who was quite unlike the real, apparently extremely cerebral, Karen. I wonder if you knew her and can contribute any personal incidences or nuances involving her?

    • Dear Prof, I only met her in passing—unlike my brother`

  19. Dear Jane,

    This message is unrelated to your blog post, but I see that you sometimes read comments so wanted to try to reach out to you here. My name is Chelsea Roff, and we met at a Chopra family event last year (I’m the former managing editor of Mallika’s magazine). I wanted to reach out about a major campaign I just launched to raise $50,000 to bring yoga to people with eating disorders:

    I imagine you get inundated with requests all the time, but I wanted to reach out to you because I know that you too have struggled with this terrible disease — and appreciate how incredibly valuable a yoga practice can be in healing. Would be willing to share a link to our campaign here on your blog, on social media or with potential donors/supporters? This is a community effort, and your support would be a huge boost.

    From one survivor to another, thank you for the beautiful work you’re doing in the world. I hope we can bring others into the light. 🙂

    Many thanks,

    • Chelsea, it’s a wonderful idea! Unfortunately, I am swamped with responsibilities plus writing and have neither time nor spare energy yo get involved. I with you all the best. xx jane

  20. Jane,
    This isn’t pertaining to your most recent blog post, but about your recent appearance On Jimmy Fallon and at “The Butler” premiere.
    I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your new longer hairdo! You look SO young now! You seriously could pass for being in your late 40’s!
    I hope you leave it long.
    I also want to see you have the LEAD role in a movie again- even if it’s just a made-for-Lifetime TV movie!
    Always your fan,
    Peter =)

    • Peter, long it shall be—for awhile anyway. xx

  21. Dear Jane,

    I turned 40 this year, so have admired your work for many years. I recently very much enjoyed your ” Master Class” and seeing you on Oprah’s “Next Chapter”, thank you for all you share with us.

    Right now I am Cottaging with my husband and our 3 children at his families summer place in New Brunswick, Canada and across the water is Maine, such a beautiful spot. I bought “On Golden Pond” and while I saw it many years ago, I was touched by the deeper meaning as I watched it here and now in my life. Such a beautiful story of love, relationships, conflict and that desire to connect. I was very moved and forgot how delightfully charming it is and how talented you all were to shine so bright in that dear sweet beloved movie!

    I also enjoy reading this wonderful blog you have to offer and share. What a beautiful circle of family and friends you have in your life. Thank you sincerely for all the gifts you offer us all.

    Love Sheila

  22. Bonjour Jane ,

    Just finished listening to you at Oprah Master Class .Thank you for all your wisdom ,so much to heal .You inspired me to continue to become whole. You have been such a help more than you can think .Merci merci .

  23. Dear Jane,

    I have a few questions about the Forked Lightning Ranch that I was hoping to ask you or someone on your ranch staff. I tried calling Virginia Ortiz but she’s not available. Thanks so much! Your neighbor,

    Christine Beekman
    Chief of Visitor Services
    Pecos National Historical Park 757-7210

  24. I’ve come on late to your site Jane, and wanted to commend you on your beautiful photos, also with family. I live in far NW New Mexico- “The Four Corners,” and love residing in this beautiful state & region. I travel all over the area with camera in hand, and not sure if capturing all the beauty is possible within a lifetime. Thanks for promoting and photo’ing NM so greatly!

    • DaveO, Monument Valley is one of the most moving places in the U.S. to my mind.

  25. Jane,
    I found your blog after seeing you on OWN. You’re really amazing – so smart and aware in a way that’s hard to imagine in someone with your life story. Writing tonight because I’ve totally enjoyed your New Mexico photos. My family has a place in Taos and so much of the scenery is familiar. Will be there in about a month and plan to visit many of the places mentioned in your blog. Thanks for sharing and for being the person you are.

  26. Hello Jane,
    I live in Las Cruces, NM and have been watching for property to retire on… to relax and let go… to watch Mother Nature doing Her thing… was really surprised to find your Forked Lightning Ranch for sale… Am doing everything I know to come up with the flow to participate.

    And this “comment” offers me the opportunity to thank you for all that you have stood up for when so many of us had not the time or the where with all to do so. I want to say you have nothing to be ashamed of for your past… as a ‘Nam vet… I applaud you. There were so many times I stood and told off officers and who ever in no uncertain terms…knowing full well it was all a lie.
    Any way, your video presentation is so beautiful…and again I am doing everything I know how to come up with the money to become the new steward…and to really be the SHES minister I am..Spiritual Healer, Earth Steward.
    Again Thank you for all that you do,

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