You had me at Merlot

It’s no secret that I’m a huge Cameron Crowe fan.  So when my friend Mary gave me a wine stopper that reads “You had me at Merlot”….well, I was beyond thrilled.

There’s just something about Mary.

And what about Cameron? Without him, that play on words wouldn’t exist.

Movies are a part of our vernacular.  Vernacular.  Trying saying that after a couple glasses of Merlot. I dare you. But it’s true.  The vernacular part.  And the other part…about the Merlot.

Now, where was I?

How To Cook A Turkey

In a world of instant everything, movies linger in our soul long after the scent of fresh movie popcorn has gone stale.

We can go on Facebook or Instagram and see thousands of pictures that tell a story.  But would you spend two hours of free time and buy expensive popcorn to see them?

Movies move us…literally.  To another place, time, relationship, trip, journey, crisis.  A good movie will exhaust you and exhilarate you.  All at the same time.

Kind of like sex.

Or music.

Or words.

I listen to film scores.  Often.  I can be doing taxes or writing a pivotal scene and yet, for that moment in time, I am transported to another  place and time.  I may have just figured out that I owe the IRS way too much money but hey, I’m having breakfast at Tiffany’s.  With Audrey, no less.

Lost in the moment.

Moving moments.

Until my husband or one of my sons walk in….

“Where’s the remote?”

“Have you seen my wetsuit?”

“What time is Thanksgiving dinner?”

“I wish Grandma Norma and Boompa were still with us.”

And at that moment, I’m thankful to be in the moment, enjoying the real characters in my life.  They don’t pay a whole lot but they enrich my lives in ways I never knew.

And frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.  Because I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and all the characters in your life….


Or imagined.








Clueless in Orange County

You had me at....I found this sign recently at one of my favorite stores.  I was so smitten, I completely forgot what I came in the store for.   I promptly dropped it in my basket, smiling all the way to the cash register.

But not without a couple of pop quizzes.

Shoppers jabbed each other, pointing and laughing with a familiarity:


That Meg Ryan movie….’Sleepless in Seattle’?






No – the other one.  Where she fakes the big O.

More strangers gazed at one another, stumped by those five little words.


Tom Hanks.  ‘BIG’!


I don’t think so…

A lone woman approached my cart, confiding to the customers  in the checkout line.  A guessing game kicked in.


Tom Cruise. ‘Magnolia’.


No,  the writer…Cameron.


James Cameron?


The other Cameron.


Crowe.  Cameron Crowe.


‘Almost Famous’!!!!


Yeah, that’s it!

Well, almost.  I felt like a Game Show Host, smiling back at them like a Cheshire cat.

As the Cashier rang up my purchase, she waved the sign to another cashier.


Is this from a song or a movie?


Who has time to watch movies?


Will that be all for you, Ma’am?

The Game Show Host kicked in again, refusing to divulge the answer.  Besides, I was slightly annoyed.


Yes….But – “Ma’am” should be banned from the English language.

For those of you who have explored this website, you know I’m a huge Cameron Crowe fan.  And ‘You had me at hello’ is one of my favorite all time one liners.  From the film—



The actor?


The scene?

Jerry Maguire (Tom Cruise) professes his love to Dorothy (Rene Zellwegger)  at a woman’s support group.

As I drove home, I reveled in the impact of screenwriters.  Screenwriters are like bail bonds men.  There when you need them to bail you out.   In that moment, you may not know the film or actor offhand, but when you’re in hot water with the Mrs.,  the Landlord or the Boss,  you can remember a line – verbatim.


You can’t handle the truth!


K-Mart sucks.


Feck you.

 Thanks Ron, Aaron and Cameron.  You had me at hello.


JESSEP – Jack Nicholson.   A FEW GOOD MEN.   Writer:  Aaron Sorkin

CHARLIE- Tom Cruise.  RAINMAN.  Writer:  Ron Bass

ANITA  – Zoey Deschanel.  ALMOST FAMOUS.  Writer:  Cameron Crowe









The Graduate

Mike Nichols directed one of my all-time favorites, The Graduate, starring Dustin Hoffman, Ann Bancroft and Katharine Ross.  It was written by the incomparable Buck Henry who penned the one liner that advised Dustin’s character (Benjamin) to get into this new field:  “Plastics.”

And do I even have to mention the music by Simon and Garfunkel?  I didn’t think so.

Freshman at Alcatraz on Mom's Day

The Freshman at Acatraz on Mom’s Day

The graduate in my life this year is my youngest son, Stevie.  Ironically,  he graduated  from San Francisco State University with a degree in Environmental Studies with aspirations to rid the world of plastics.   The entire family headed north to commemorate the monumental day.  Final score: four college graduates.   As the endless summer was starting, our tuition payments were ending.    And we have empty wallets to prove it.

My friend, Rose and I hit the road first.  I warned Rose,  aka Stevie’s Godmother, that I had watched Thelma and Louise the night before.  Another classic.   A Ridley Scott film based on Calli Khouri’s Oscar winning script  starring Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis; with a breakout role by some new guy named Brad.

Yes, a great film but a lousy choice  if you’re setting out on a seven hour drive through two of the busiest freeways in the world.  We had plenty of coffee so what could possibly go wrong?  Rose  let me drive her car which was a good idea as Rose was voted “Worst Mom Driver”  – by all three of her kids’ friends.   That’s almost an honor.  A Lifetime Achievement Award.  Isn’t it?   Think about it.   No carpool nominations.  No frantic calls from  neurotic Moms on overdrive to pick up their Einstein from their Physics for First Graders  course.    Brilliant, Rose.

As I was printing up directions, Rose called with big news.  She downloaded  “Fifty Shades of Grey” by E.L. James; and she would  read it aloud during our drive.

I thought to myself…”Then what?”

That night, I  mentioned it to my husband during pillow talk but he was clueless.  I explained that it is the latest, greatest,  naughtiest  S&M erotica book for women.  Once they start reading it, they can’t put it down; along with that glass of wine on their nightstand.

My husband perked up.  “Then what?”  No problem.  “It’s a trilogy!”

The next morning, I warned Rose that I watched the chic  flick of all time.  From here on out, she was Thelma and I was Louise.  She laughed lightly to which I replied rather abruptly ala Louise.   “I mean it!   No Grey matter ’til we hit the open highways, north of LA.”   As it was, my hair turned one ugly shade of gray as we crawled through the worst LA traffic I’ve seen in a decade.  So I  suggested my Thelma start reading  after our first pit stop.

My husband called as we passed by Magic Mountain:   “So, what page you on?”

“The ‘we need more coffee, it took two hours to get through LA and Louise isn’t in the mood right now’ page.”

One quick pit stop and two coffee refills later, we were armed and dangerous.  We  whipped by  the Madonna Inn, San Luis wineries and Stanford without even a mention of the book.  Instead, we swapped horror stories and cherished moments about parenting, sibling rivalry, report cards, team Moms and overbearing Dads; while juggling our respective careers.  This Thelma and Louise had survived.  We were still in the game of this thing called life.   One day we  would have time to take long, lazy vacations to read the entire Grey Trilogy in one week.

For now,  though, we had to navigate the Bay Bridge in  the thickest fog I’ve ever seen in San Francisco.  Good thing I packed that retro purple leather bomber jacket.

The rest of the family arrived the next morning.  For the next four days, we celebrated with the graduate. We dropped into Stevie’s  job at Doc Martens on Haight Street. We visited a winery in Napa Valley. We even rode across the Golden Gate Bridge on the open roof top seats of a 3-story bus; and my shades of gray never looked better – like a Brazillian blow out.   Later, this Thelma and Louise loaded up on every kind of  Trader Joe’s gourmet goody to go with our six bottle value pack of Chardonnay as the newest members of the Sterling Wine Club.  But we learned that we could have got the exclusive wine from TJ’s a whole lot cheaper.  Later on Uncle Paul would join us for the celebratory feast on Saturday night to toast our losses and our gains.

But first:  the big day.  By Saturday, the fog had lifted and the sun made a special appearance on the foggiest point in San Francisco.   Hence, we spent four hours on the field of SFSU on  the hottest day that I can ever remember in San Francisco.  Ever.    The purple leather bomber jacket stayed back at the condo.

Twenty-three years flashed before my eyes as I sweat in those bleachers.Stevie Pirate!

 Then, suddenly, it was all over.  Stevie was now Steven.

Was it worth it?

Preschool jitters; little league, middle school angst; high school pranks?

Homework wars, SAT scores?

Drivers license, prom night,  broken hearts?

College tuition, housing, Top Ramen, cheap coffee.

Blood, sweat and tears.

And more tears?

Worth every last shade of gray.











Golden Globes Winner 24/7

I love the Golden Globes for so many reasons.  It’s entertaining, relaxed and of course,  irreverent.  Kind of like Thanksgiving with a few drunk relatives to keep things interesting.  It determines the family favorites.   The ones that didn’t piss off any relatives.  Or the ones that did but we tolerate them anyway.  And  the ones that keep the family together, year after year, with talent, grace, civility and fun.

Kind of like Meryl Streep.

Did I really even have to say her last name?   I loved watching her at the Kennedy Center Honors….she had more damn fun than anyone in the room.  Or was she acting?  Doesn’t matter.  Whatever Meryl does, she does it better than anybody else.  No prima dona rumors swirling on the set.  No family chaos in the headlines.  So refreshing in this era of overnight successes.

Yes, there are overnight successes that do have class.  Too bad, most of it’s low.

That’s why Meryl’s star shines bright, year after year.  A class act.  Then and now.

I’ll drink to that.  Cheers!


California Surf Museum Film Festival

This weekend, the California Surf Museum in Oceanside hosts a great festival.  If you haven’t seen this museum, you’ve denied yourself one of the joys of life in Southern California.  In addition to the museum, they host an annual film festival.  Tomorrow I’ll be seeing the young filmmakers showcased.  Then there will be a screening of “The Board Meeting”  followed by a lifetime award to Skip Frye.  A great way to spend a Sunday.

Congratulations Skip!

Check out their website at



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