Coronado: Just Across the Bridge

When you live in Southern California, blessed with year-round sunshine, blue skies and breezy weather, you don’t have to go far to feel like you’re on vacation. Take last weekend. On Memorial Day, the family and I–with Oliver and Henry in tow–made a day trip to Coronado, an island that’s just minutes away, reachable by crossing the Coronado Bridge or taking a ferry.

It’s a treasure to be certain, home of the beautiful and majestic Hotel del Coronado or, as we locals call it, The Del. It is a hotel rich with history. The Del has served as the backdrop for several movies, including one of my favorites, Some Like it Hot, with Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon.

L. Frank Baum (The Wonderful Wizard of Oz) did much of his writing here, and many a U.S. president has checked in for a stay in one of its many well-appointed rooms.

Coronado is a spectacular place, indeed. Go there and you are immediately overtaken by its pristine and natural beauty, bright colors, and its openness and a grandeur that harken back to days of yore. And, of course, we couldn’t spend the day there without taking a few photographs. A feast for the eyes!

Wish you were here?

The Hotel del Coronado.

The Hotel del Coronado.

Strolling along the walkway by The Del.

Strolling along the walkway by The Del.


The average cost of a home here is out of range for most of us.

Lucky is the person who can afford to live here.

Or here.

Or here.

I just love Jacaranda trees, particularly when they're in full bloom!

I just love Jacaranda trees, particularly when they’re in full bloom! (By the way, see if you can spot Henry!)


Fields of gold

Of course, since it was Memorial Day, we came across a good many flags, including this vintage one.

Of course, since it was Memorial Day, we came across a good many flags, including this vintage one.

Even the dogs put on their best patriotic colors!

Even the dogs put on their best patriotic colors!

Sock monkeys, too!

Along the main drag, known as Orange Avenue, there are many boutique shops and restaurants that cater to outdoor dining. Plus, you'll find an abundance of beautiful flowers.

Along the main drag, known as Orange Avenue, there are many boutique shops and restaurants that cater to outdoor dining. Plus, you’ll find an abundance of beautiful flowers pretty much everywhere.

That's my daughter posing in front of the San Diego skyline, as seen from Coronado.

That’s my daughter posing in front of the San Diego skyline, as seen from Coronado.

So, next time you’re visiting San Diego, be sure to add Coronado to your must-see list. But, in the meantime, what’s your favorite vacation spot near your home?

Finally, this is as good a time as any to welcome the more than 300 new followers my blog has gained since I started the Lightning in a Jar series (which, by the way, returns later this week). And, a special thank you to all my followers. You are the best part of blogging!

I’ve Got a Crush on—Who?

Everyone has crushes, right? I can mark my entire life, not by decade or major milestones—First Communion, high school graduation, college, marriage, childbirths, etc—but by the crushes of my life, both celebrity and school. Herewith, is my top-tier list of a lifetime of crushes. See if you can guess which are not the celebrities.

Leslie Caron and Louis Jourdan in "Gigi."

Louis Jourdan:  One of my favorite film experiences was seeing Gigi, which was released when I was three. I adored this movie, which had a young and stylish Leslie Caron frolicking all over Paris. But I fell in love with Louis Jordan, her love interest. I actually saw this film five times when it was still in the movie theater. Mr. Jourdan sent my little heart palpitating—to the moon!

Tony Curtis:  I think I was five when I realized Tony Curtis was a hunk, even before I knew what that meant. I remember wondering if he’d “wait” for me. To grow up, that is. If you saw him in 40 Pounds of Trouble or Boeing Boeing,  you know what I’m talking about.

Fred:  I was in Mrs. Coletti’s first grade class when Fred walked into my life. Those deep, brown eyes! Those Groucho Marx eyebrows! Would you believe I faked having a party just so I could invite him to my house? I don’t know what I planned to do once he got there, and I’ll never know because it didn’t take long for him to figure out he was walking into a trap.

Sir Paul McCartney:  What an experience it was to see the Beatles perform on The Ed Sullivan Show. I was all into the music. She Loves You, I Saw Her Standing There. But it was Paul who stole my heart. I even had an “I Love Paul” button that I proudly wore on my shirt. It was like being pinned by the Beatle himself!

Curtis:  Just like Charlie Brown, I had a little redhead that got away when I was in third grade. Oh, I was head over heels for that boy. He put my science fair project to shame, when he brought in a log cabin he made, complete with electric lights that turned on and off. The allusive Curtis refused to talk to me, that’s how shy he was. And, I was equally shy and so I never said a word to him, but admired him from afar, pining for the day that I would become Mrs. Monica Curtis. Alas, it wasn’t meant to be.

The late Davy Jones with Maureen McCormick as Marcia Brady (The Brady Bunch).

Davy Jones: Hey, hey, we’re the Monkees! OMG, who didn’t love Davy? Me and Marcia Brady went all gaga when he entered the room. Gorgeous eyes, cute British accent; he may be the reason—the source of my love for all things British. In fact, most of my crushes from this point on were Brits.

Cliff:  In junior high, Cliff was as shy as they come. Why did I like all the shy guys? My friends and I would call him up, then hang up as soon as he answered. All I needed was to hear his voice. No one said, “Hello?” better than that boy.  Cliff’s school locker was two down from mine, and in between us, was the locker of a mutual friend, John, who was a great go-between. Between classes, I would ask John, “Does Cliff like me?” And he’d find out and respond during the next period, “Yes.” I was on Cloud Nine.

I contrived another party just to invite Cliff, and this time, I went through with it. Cliff arrived with his best friend, Barry. The two of them went in on a gift for me, which I’ll never forget. The Association Greatest Hits album, which featured one of their hit songs, Cherish. I was sure Cliff meant that as a secret message for me. He wanted me to know he cherished me, but didn’t have the words to say it himself. Well, Cliff, if you’re reading, I cherished you, too. 😉

Pierce Brosnan: Ah, the eighties. The decade of the television mini-series. I first encountered Pierce in The Manions of America, a drama about Irish immigrants during the Great Famine. Pierce was Drop Dead Gorgeous. That’s all I have to say. He sealed the deal for me in Remington Steele. Full disclosure: it was the first and only time I ever wrote a fan letter and the letter paid off. Three months later, I received a response and a 5X7 signed glossy. My life would never be the same. Side bar: A lot of people didn’t like his role in Mamma Mia, let alone his singing, but to me Pierce was divine and yes, he sounded exactly like Bruce Springsteen. So, sing on, Pierce!

Colin Firth: Two words. Mr. Darcy. Three words. Pride and Prejudice. Colin is THE man, THE one. My blogger pal, Mediating Mummy or, as I call her, MM, and I have major crushes on Colin. Her blog keeps me up to date on all things Firth. I will see any movie he’s in, even if it’s a bit part. I don’t care. He’s Colin Firth and that’s good enough for me. Recommended double feature: All five hours of Pride and Prejudice, starring Colin Firth (accept no imitations!), followed by Bridget Jones’ Diary.  You will not regret it.

Jason Isaacs: This little hottie I actually deplored when I first saw him in the Harry Potter films. He plays a meanie, after all. Lucius Malfoy. But then I saw him in the BBC production, The State Within, where he plays a British Ambassador based in Washington, D.C., in a terrifying, action-packed conspiracy thriller that will have you on the edge of your seat, I kid you not. Bloody good fun! Bonus: He’s starring in a new NBC series, Awake, that has gotten lots of buzz.

So, tell me. Who have you had a crush on?

Remembering Tony Curtis

40 Pounds of Trouble

Image via Wikipedia

Now it can be told.  Tony Curtis was my first love.  Sure, I was only seven years old.  But in my estimation, I was old enough to have a major all-out crush. And Tony Curtis was the one. For the first time I found myself wondering if a grown man like Tony Curtis could wait for me until I was, say 17?

The movie that did it for me wasn’t “Spartacus,” “Operation Petticoat” or even the much acclaimed “Some Like it Hot.” Nope, the one that made me swoon for Tony Curtis was a little known film called “40 Pounds of Trouble,” which came out around the time that I myself weighed 40 pounds, give or take.  And how I wished I was the one referred to in the title!

“40 Pounds of Trouble” is the story of a little girl (like me!) and a guy and a sexy gal (played frothily by Suzanne Pleshette) who are on the run in Disneyland.  Filmed on location, it was this seven year old’s fantasy and dream all rolled into one.  To be on the lam with Tony Curtis—and in Disneyland, no less?  What could be better? Somebody pinch me, please!

Of course the press wasn’t as kind.  The New York Times said of the film, “The trouble with ‘40 Pounds of Trouble’ is that it is just too hackneyed and dull.”  Perhaps in retrospect, they were right.  But at the time, I ranked this film one of the 10 best of the decade (and this from a little girl who hadn’t yet lived 10 years).  But Tony, with his swarthy good looks, heavy New York accent, eyes as blue as the Caribbean waters, and flair for comedy, melted my heart instantly.

I was a faithful fan all through my childhood, waiting breathlessly for each new release of a Tony Curtis movie—“Captain Newman, M.D.,” “Goodbye Charlie,” “Sex and the Single Girl,” and of course, one of my all-time favorites, “Boeing Boeing.”  In this one, Tony is a playboy living in France and juggling three different girlfriends, a typical sixties view of the American male.  Filled with sexual innuendo and lots of sexism as well, I was too young to care.  Seeing Tony Curtis in full cinemascope was enough to make this star-struck kid a bonafide fool for love.

Ah, Tony Curtis.  I will miss you always.  Thank you for lighting up my life, and filling my dreams. If only for a little while.