And I Quote, Part 2

A few weeks ago, I confessed to you my love for quotes. When I see one that strikes a chord and makes me connect with it, I will write it down. This all began during my divorce, when I began collecting quotes that captured the gamut of emotions I was feeling at the time. Gradually, I started collecting other types of quotes as well. Herewith, are a random sampling of my non-divorce quotes.


When I captured this first quote, I didn’t know who Colm Meaney was, but his words resonated with me:

“Creativity. It’s the ability to look at a situation with a unique—sometimes tortured, sometimes demented, sometimes humorous—vision.” – Actor Colm Meaney

“One of the greatest gifts you can get as a writer is to be born into an unhappy family.” – Pat Conroy, author of Prince of Tides.

“Dreams are extremely important. You can’t do it unless you imagine it.” – George Lucas

“Marriage was Lucy and Ricky.”

Ode to an American Baby Boomer Childhood

“We were, after all, a generation raised on happy endings. War was Bob Hope entertaining the troops. Marriage was Lucy and Ricky. Old age was Jimmy Durante—‘Goodnight, Mrs. Calabash, wherever you are.’ Disease, death, disaster, happened on the news to foreign people in foreign clothes speaking foreign languages.” –Author Marly Swick, from the book, Paper Wings

“The smell of paraffin bombards me. The olfactory system engages. The hypothalamus clicks on. Look out! Here they come—childhood memories!” – From article about Crayola crayons in Smithsonian magazine, November 1999


Whenever my mother baked, she used Venezuelan vanilla, which, unlike the kind you find in the states, which smells a bit of alcohol, has the scent of pure, sweet vanilla:

“Vanilla was always there for you—in your ice cream, in your rice pudding, in your sugar cookies, in your birthday cakes.” – Patricia Rains, The Vanilla Cookbook

Pop Culture

This one was written more than 10 years ago and, if you ask me, not much has changed. In fact, it’s gotten worse.

“Each of the four decades preceding the 90’s has found its identity in some crystallizing event or upheaval, some moment that gave the times their meaning. For the conformist 50’s, it was the House of Un-American Activities Committee hearings; for the revolutionary countercultural 60’s, it was JFK’s assassination; for the jaded, cynical 70’s (also known as the Me Decade), it was Nixon’s resignation; for the go-go 80’s, it was the economic boom that followed the ’83 recession; and for the 90’s, God help us, it was the O.J. saga, a prolonged Hollywood Babylon spectacle that confirmed the prevailing national interest in sex, death, celebrity and televised car chases.”  –   From “The Tabloid Decade,” an article written by David Kamp for Vanity Fair magazine, February 1999.

“They say you can’t live in the past, but of course you can; that’s practically all pop culture does now, is live in the past. The past is a permanent tape loop, constantly being sampled and updated to create a new montage. Through the miracle of editing, Fred Astaire now dances with a vacuum cleaner, John Wayne sells beer. We’re all Zeligs now. ‘Let me sing forevermore,’ Sinatra sings in ‘Fly Me to the Moon.’ For better or worse, you got your wish, daddy-o.”  – From “When They Were Kings,” article about the Rat Pack, by James Wolcott for Vanity Fair magazine, circa 1999.

American Tragedy

Toward the end of the 90’s, one of the most horrific crimes on school grounds, rocked this country to its core, resulting in the town’s name to forever be associated with this tragedy: Columbine. At the time, many asked, where were the parents? How did they not know? Here’s one writer’s take:

“Every parent knows that raising children requires bicycle helmets, Beanie Babies, notebook paper, prayers, skill, the grace of God and plain dumb luck. But what many of us don’t ever come to grips with is this: we must take responsibility for the world our children inhabit. We make the world for them. We give it to them. And if we fail them, they will break our hearts ten different ways.”  — From “Where Were the Parents?” an article written by Amy Dickinson for Time magazine, in reference to Columbine High School tragedy. May 3, 1999.

Freedom of the Press

I’m not sure if this next one is talking about journalists or paparazzi. Maybe both.

“Let me tell you about our profession. We are the meanest, nastiest bunch of jealous, petty people who ever lived.” – Seymour Hersh, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist


You’re probably familiar with this one, but it never hurts to be reminded:

“We are all part of a complex web of life and whatsoever we do to the web, we do to ourselves.” – Chief Seattle

What’s Love Got to Do with It?

“If equal love there cannot be, let the more loving one be me.” – W.H. Auden

“There are times when I feel a little suffocated by it. There are parts of me that still want to push that affection away. I’ve always been used to being the caretaker; everything’s been done on my terms. Now everything has to be 50-50 and it’s hard. I’m learning to accept love…but I still want to be calling the shots all the time.” – Elton John, 2000

And one more…

“Joe, if what you’re saying is true, then I still don’t care.”  — Dave Foley’s character, Dave Nelson on an episode of News Radio.

A Genuine Gritty Christmas

My kids are home! Which means no time to blog (and also why I did not post yesterday). No time for anything at all except spend time with Sarah and Josh and make sure they are well fed so that they know how much their mother loves them. That’s what mothers do when their kids descend on the home front. Besides, it’s the holidays.

So I’m spending more time than usual in the kitchen. I’m making fancy dishes like coconut shrimp, Sicilian chicken tortellini with mushrooms, and baking their favorite treats, including chocolate chip banana bread–until they’re so full they beg me to get stop cooking!

And then there’s our annual Christmas Eve tradition: Going to the movies.

Jeff Bridges and Hailee Steinfeld make "True Grit" a winner.

Seeing a movie on Christmas Eve is the best because most folks are gathering at home with loved ones, which means that movie theaters are relatively empty. Plenty of seating, plenty of parking and hardly any traffic at all. So it’s a great time to see a new release.

Most years we have no problem deciding on a film, though choosing can be tricky. If it was just up to Sarah and me, we’d pick a comedy, a British drama, or a chick flick. But with Josh, that’s not going to fly. He prefers action.This year, Sarah wanted to see “The Little Fockers” and I wanted to see “How Do You Know.” Josh was interested in “True Grit.” I like to let the movie critics contribute to the decision process but Josh and Sarah don’t take much stock in their reviews, whereas I trust them implicitly. There’s been many a film I’ve wanted to see, but have put the kibosh on once I read the reviews.

So, while letting the critics help us decide is out, allowing Rotten Tomatoes, where filmgoers get to rate the movies, is in. Which is how we learned that the “Little Fockers” and “How Do You Know,” ranked near the bottom (11 and 34%, respectively), but the score for True Grit (95%) was through the roof. So despite my misgivings about the film, I plunked down $39.50 for three tickets to see “True Grit” starring Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon and a breakout newcomer named, Hailee Steinfeld.

First, let me tell you why I didn’t want to see it. I saw the original when I was 14 and did not like it one iota. My brother Cesar, dragged me along and made me sit through it twice (yes, back then moviegoers could sit through two, even three showings of a film and no one said anything or tried to kick you out). Forget the fact that Westerns are not my thing. Cesar convinced me to go because, as he put it, I’d love the story about a girl with moxie, which, he assured me, I would be able to relate to my own life (which proved false, as I never had the desire to avenge anything). So I went with my brother to see the John Wayne film and I downright hated it because, moxie or no moxie, Kim Darby, who played the role of the young girl, could not hide the fact that this movie is a Western. And I DON’T LIKE WESTERNS!

But now I’m a mom and Josh wanted “True Grit” and Sarah was willing to see it too. With memories of the original very much intact, I braced myself for two hours of agony. And I could not have been more wrong.

The Coen brothers have revitalized this story in a big way. It’s fresh, it’s exciting. Funny and compelling, too. The writing is crisp and witty. And the young Steinfeld is sensational. If I could’ve stayed to see it twice, I just might have. It is that good. And best yet, it didn’t at all feel like a western to me. If you ask me, it had more of a feel of the film, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, than an ordinary, humorless western.

Yes, I love spending time with my kids. So much fun and yet so fleeting. The house is a mess with all their stuff strewn about, but I don’t care. We’re spending Christmas Day together, watching basketball games. (Guess whose choice that was?) Two of us are still in pajamas and one of us (me) is not, due to needing to take Henry out for periodic walks. We’re noshing on leftovers, and I can’t think of any place I’d rather be except with my kids. All grown up but still wanting to be here. With their mom–that’s me!