Late Bloomer

The other week, I was in a funk; feeling discouraged and lost.  My shoulders stooped and face slumped in a frown, I was acting in a way that my husband described as “being a grumpy goat”, (you headbutt someone once while bleating and that’s the nickname they give you).  Although I think it more references my inability to cause any actually damage, my bleat is no worse than my bite. Lifting this mood required some heavy artillery: “Julie and Julia“.


Following a big dramatic sigh, I make mention of the movie as being the antidote to my mean reds.

julie and julia 1

Ben scrunches his face like being offered that fifth helping at Thanksgiving dinner.  “You know? I’m good on that”.

How can you be good on J&JIt’s quite possibly my favorite movie ever–top five at least.  I love Nora Ephron.


I love Meryl Streep.

meryl child

And I love this story.  And I love how these two women find their passion in unexpected places.

When I was really working overtime on my writer’s block, I would bake.  Muffins, scones, slices, cookies, and organize them in little Ziploc bags for the freezer.  It can be very soothing, baking–but it doesn’t get any writing done and it makes your pants tighter.  In fact since I’ve started the blog, I’m rarely in the kitchen, and I haven’t baked in months.

Now this is Ben’s turn to sigh audibly.

He’ll open the freezer, and heave a sigh of disappointment.  “Remember those meat pies you made? They were good…and those cookies, I miss those”.

But I don’t have the time, the patience or the kitchen bench space.

Neither did Julie Powell, who started her food blog in a tiny kitchen in Queens.

Julie's kitchen wide

In a year’s time she did 524 recipes, and then wrote about it.  No wonder she drove her husband nuts.  I’m just writing about writing and some days I can be a prickly pear.  I really don’t know how she did it–not five minutes ago I accidentally pressed publish on this blog when there was barely a few lines.  I then mashed buttons desperately, as if trying to turn back time(–and listen if Cher can’t pull it off I don’t have a hope in hell).   I screamed at my computer like in one of those slow motion sequences you see in action movies when someone is hanging out of a helicopter and your grip on their hand is loosening.  So, I’m pretty sure I shouldn’t be trusted de-boning ducks and molding meat aspics.  But as both Julie and Julia know, sometimes you just have to eat your mistakes.  Or as Julia Child once did, if you drop food on the ground, just scoop it up and pop back in the pan, it’ll be fine.  We’re all human here, put up your hand if you’ve never made a mistake.


Okay, guess who’s being a show off.

So now that I’ve slopped this blog back in the pot, I’ll try to shape it into something appetizing, or at least, edible.  “Julie and Julia” is by far one of my comfort food movies, and I saw it a solid couple of times when living in Australia.  I really identified with Julie as she was turning 3o, and was a sort of non-writing failing writer.  She connected with Julia Child because she was a late bloomer, she didn’t become a fixture in popular culture until she was in her fifties.  Her success story has a ‘its never too late’ kind of flavour, which is a real comfort to gals like Julie and myself.  And within a year of writing her blog, Powell found success as a writer.  Everyone wins at the end of this movie.  And it always makes me cry.

Another thing about this film that I love are the husbands… some one the most supportive husbands in cinema are in this movie.

Stanley Tucci as "Paul Child" and Meryl Streep as "Julia Child"


I also have an extremely supportive husband.  He is the reason I am able to work on this blog daily.

When I first saw this movie,  the thought of having a blog seemed so foreign, so “that’s something that someone else would do” that it’s remarkable to think that its now a part of my daily routine.  But he has supported me, and loved me and made countless meals, and is a champion in the face of my occasional grumpy-goatness. It makes me realize that the poor bastard really deserves a lovely meat pie now and again.

And I will head straight out to the shop to get him one, because I’ve got more writing about writing to do.

Julia Child's Kitchen Meryl Streep plays All Images Courtesy of Google

I Dream of Tucci

My co-worker Kathleen greets me a good morning before asking: “Did Ben read yesterday’s blog?”.  “No, he’s been reading them the next day on his lunch break…why?” “Oh, there were a couple of mistakes”.  “Like bad mistakes?” “Not bad…just noticeable”.  “So what, like one or two?”   She pauses for a moment “There were like five or six of them”.  “Five or six?” Holy Moses–that shit ain’t right.

I’m frustrated by that, there’s nothing I could do about it …I can’t leave work, drive home to re-read and edit…though the thought crosses my mind.  I am such a shameless perfectionist, I simply loathe the idea of some glaring error distracting from perfectly lovely prose.  “Does it take away from the piece?” I ask her, my anxiety increasing.  She shrugs  mildly, “It was fine…I just figured you were tired”.  Yes, I was tired, and while the writing came easily, I had some technical difficulties and then suffered from one of the worst plights of any writer: having to edit my own work.  To write a piece and then to revisit it almost immediately in search of mistakes, it’s so easy to miss minor or major inconsistencies.  Kathleen tries to soothe my injured pride–“Don’t worry…maybe you can write a blog about it…people know that you’re human”.  Which brings up an excellent point–y’all knew I was human right? I’m not a robot or a proboscis monkey…I’m a human woman-girl, and I am incapable of editing my own work.  Which brings up a second point…I wish I had someone who would read every single blog before I send it out there into the world.


Lost in thought amongst the prep tasks, I daydream about potential blog buddies…someone that could just hang around the house with me–keep me on track, offer  gentle guidance and advice. And you know who came to mind.  That’s right, you have no idea, because it’s totally random, and you won’t see it coming:  Stanley Tucci.  You may not recognize the name but you’ll know his face:


He is in so many films that make me think–fuck yeah, Stanley Tucci!  He would be the best friend and co-worker ever. If I could make my own Tucci fusion, I would mix his characteristics from “The Devil Wears Prada”, “Julie and Julia” and “Easy A”, with just a bash of “Burlesque”, and by all means, hold “The Lovely Bones”.  But he would be supportive, yet bitchy, darkly humorous, he’d call me on my bullshit, totally hurt my feelings, but then would make me tea, brush my hair and tell me all about working with Meryl Streep.  And it would be amazing.


Sigh–but alas, until Mr Tucci answers my phone calls or cancels the restraining order, expect the occasional mistake–and believe me when I tell you that I wish it wasn’t so– each daily contribution is full of so much love and affection for all you lovely readers.  So please forgive me, after all I am only human.

2003 Sundance Film Festival - "Mudge Boy" - PortraitsImages Courtesy of Google

Slipping Away; Holden On

In “Julie and Julia”, Julie’s mother warns her: “You have a full-time job, you have a husband, and now you’re gonna get sick from blogging”.  I won’t blame having a cold on blogging, but today I don’t have much of an attention span.  But—I will prevail…sort of.  This morning I woke up feeling bloody awful.  How infuriating, I went through the entire winter without so much as a sniffle, and suddenly spring breaks, and I am knocked flat with a bug.  I remedied my unhealthiness with a piping hot bath, more sleep, several oranges, and a black & white movie.  All tucked up under a blanket, watching “Sabrina”, my mind, as always, wanders to a variety of places.


As I half-watched the movie, I remembered a morbid catch-phrase my mother and I had developed.  For years I lived in bachelor apartments alone, which was a concern to my mother, as if I could apparently slip and fall, and not be found for days.  She’d call and ask whether I had “pulled a William Holden”.  Holden was one of Audrey Hepburn’s love interests in “Sabrina” (and her lover in real life, until his admittance of having had a vasectomy put Hepburn off).  They reunited ten years later, in 1964 for “Paris When it Sizzles”.


Hepburn was a style icon, a big star and married to Mel Ferrer.  Holden was in decline…at least physically.  From all accounts, his drinking got out of hand because of her presence.  He made some embarrassing attempts to rekindle their romance.  Which included, but was not limited to–trying to drunkenly climb into her balcony hotel one night.  In 1981, Holden, a long time alcoholic, slipped on a rug and fell at home, cracking his head on a bedside table.  He apparently just laid there, not doing anything to help himself, and then just bled to death, and was found four days later.  That my friends is known as: ‘pulling a William Holden’.

holden hepburn

After “Sabrina” and subsequent research about Hepburn, Holden and Humphrey Bogart (who was rumoured to have disliked Audrey, and was a genuine prick to all those around him) I was feeling unable to do much else but continue resting on the couch.


I searched Netflix for another film; I came across “Valley of the Dolls”, a film I had never seen, but had heard a lot about.  And I soon learned why it was voted one of the “Fifty Worst Films” of all times.  It stars Patty Duke, Barbara Parkins, and Sharon Tate, about a bunch of gals trying to make it in Hollywood, who inevitably succumb to the lure of booze and barbiturates or “dolls”, as they are referred to in the film.


The movie is so bad, but not a “good-bad” kind of movie, it’s just bad…which suits me fine because I’m not really paying attention.  The film has inspired the mother of all internet research webs: from “Valley of the Dolls” to Sharon Tate to Charles Manson, to the Manson murders to “Helter Skelter” to Roman Polanski, then back to “Valley of the Dolls”, and Jacqueline Susann, (the book’s author), which lead to Judy Garland (meant to star in “V of the D”, but was then fired, because of her own ‘doll troubles’).

a Mark Robson Valley of the Dolls Patty Duke VALLEY_DOLLS_D1-1(1)

Garland died in 1969, (the same year as Sharon Tate’s murder), and was found on the bathroom floor by her fifth husband, twelve days after her 47th birthday.  It’s all so tragic, how people destroy their lives, they don’t mean to, sometimes they just…slip, and can never get up again.  The film has ended, I’m not feeling any better, and this blog has taken a terribly grim turn.  But I can certifiably say I’m doing better than the gals in that god-awful movie …but it makes me want to lay off the cold meds nonetheless.

Judy Garland dramatic photoImages Courtesy of Google