Why Bridget Jones Is One Of The Greatest Heroines of Romantic Comedy

Bridget Jones Diary is the ultimate fairy tale. Girl gets the guy—a GREAT guy—despite her myriad imperfections. What’s not to love?

Most movie heroines are anointed with a single bad trait, like when they make Katherine Heigl clumsy (but only slightly less beautiful) in 27 Dresses. Unlike those heroines, Bridget has enough flaws to fill a suitcase. During the course of the story, Bridget wedges herself into a pair of Spanks, botches an introduction at a book launch party hosted by her employer, fails to quit smoking, accidentally cooks blue soup, and fishes leftovers out from under the seat cushions of her couch.

As someone who often stumbles for the right thing to say, is losing the battle with gravity over my sagging a*@, and can’t figure out how to get the meat and veggies to be done cooking at the same time—I identify with Bridget’s imperfections.

I especially love that Bridget is a slob, complete with plates and magazines strewn across her living room. When I watch her walk out of her apartment with a pair of underwear static-clung to the back of her skirt, I think I’ve been there. Bridget makes me feel a little less embarrassed by the ever-present pile of half-dirty clothes on the floor next to my bed.

Yet despite all of this, Mark Darcy, a man who folds his dirty underwear, loves her anyway. Just the way she is.

I’m not saying that finding a man—or partner—is something everyone needs. Or that it should even be a goal. But if you do end up with someone, it’s nice to think that it’s someone who commits to you fully aware of your entire diverse portfolio of imperfections, quirks, and odd habits.

What Bridget lacks—and which endears her to me even more—is an extreme make-over moment. You know, the point in the story where the heroine finally gets what she wants courtesy of her startling physical transformation at the hands of either a professional stylist, fairy godmother, or a friend who plans to go to cosmetology school. Think Cinderella, Rachael Leigh Cook in She’s All That, Anne Hathaway in Princess Diaries, and Olivia Newton John at the end of Grease.

The message is: If you can figure out how to get pretty you will win the guy and—as an added bonus—become ruler of a clique or small, but charming country. As far I know, this has never worked out for anyone in real life—at least not long-term.

Yes, I admit that I secretly wish Angelina Jolie’s stylist would materialize in my bedroom and show me how to properly create the smoky look with my make-up. And I seriously need to start doing Pilates. But deep down I know that no change to my outsides is going to improve my relationship with my husband—or improve my career prospects. And I would never trust a man who had only noticed me for the way I looked. (Tried that with a few men I met in bars when I was single and, well, let’s not go there right now.)

Another Bridget plus: She doesn’t have to modify her personality or change her character to win her man. Sandy in Grease couldn’t find happiness until she went trampy. In The Proposal Sandra Bullock is all business, cold to the point of being nasty to everyone around her. When she finally gets the guy, it’s because she has toned down her all work-no play personae. Ryan Reynolds would have never loved her just the way she was.

Bridget’s story is quite the opposite. She doesn’t have to reinvent herself to gain her prize. All she has to do is realize that she’s not a great judge of character when it comes to figuring out whom to date. Who hasn’t been there?

So cheers to Bridget. She causes most of her own problems, thwarts her own career, can’t remember to do her laundry, has a jiggley tummy, and says stupid things. Yet in the end, Darcy loves her anyway: Just the way she is.

Isn’t that what we all really want?

Happy New Year to My Cheesie Friends

Wouldn’t it be great if every item on your todo list had to do with cheese?

My friend Kate sent this to me and I had to share. It comes from PoorlyDrawnLines.com

Screen Shot 2014-01-02 at 9.38.16 AM

Best wishes for a wonderful and cheese-filled 2014.


I Know How This Blob Of Clay Feels

between confidence and doubt

Rough, terse, and uneven, there was something unsettling and yet familiar about the rough countenance of this sculpture at the Biennale Arte 2013 in Venice. It begged to be poked, stretched, shaped and shaped. I wanted to pick it up, poke it with my fingers, and model it into something more tangible and defined. Help it become whatever it was that it was trying to become.

Then I noticed the name: “Between Confidence And Doubt.”

I resemble that remark—and that sculpture, I thought. Far too often, I am that blob of clay. Transitioning, shifting, evolving. Vacillating because I’m trying to get somewhere new, or make a change—and I’m not sure that I can. Or that I should. Or that I have the energy to do it right.

I find myself in that place more often than I like to admit.

Anyone who says anxiety, optimism, persistence and dread can’t come in the same package–is wrong.


Mesmerized by a Silent Venice Night

cannaregio at night

It’s ten p.m. Ron and I have just finished another amazing Italian dinner. We stroll back to our hotel holding hands, wading in the silence. When we’re almost home, we stop at the top of a stone bridge. We stare down the canal. The air is cool and the water shines like polished marble. [Read more…]

Progress on Getting My Book Published

I wanted to update all of you on the progress of my book. The manuscript of of And Then We Ate Gouda: Scenes from a Cheese-Filled Life, is done. It’s a mini-memoir that celebrates the foods and flavors that punctuate our lives and memories.

I was an unsuspecting child when a grilled cheese sandwich changed my life forever. Who would have known that a single square of American sandwiched between two slices of Wonder Bread and spread with margarine would launch a lifetime of love, adventure, cheese, and cheese-love?

Writing this book is a big deal to me. I’ve always looked at authors—people who’ve published books—as the top of the writer food chain. To me, authordom is an elusive club I want to join. I’ve issued a challenge to myself to see if I can do it, if I’m good enough and persistent enough to make it happen.

I’ve always wondered that about myself.

Now I’ll finally know.

I sent pitches to agents a couple of weeks ago. So far, two have asked to see the proposal. TWO!!!! It doesn’t sound like much, but I have to tell you that I’m thrilled to death. All I need is one—the right one.

I keep telling myself that this is just one step on a very long road. I’m excited and nervous and scared and hopeful.

Cross your fingers for me. I promise to keep you posted.

Living My Dream for My 50th

turning 50

I’m turning 50 on October 24. I started preparing months ago. Life coach, career coach, book coach. Pretty much anyone I thought could help me figure out what I want to do next with my life—and how to get there. So I could be a new and improved 50-year old version of myself.

I feel like I’m in the home stretch of the race and [Read more…]

Julie Goell’s Art Continues Through Parkinson’s

julie goell mosaic

After a Gaudi-filled trip to Barcelona, my cousin Julie Goell came home and created this bright-colored tile mosaic on the floor of her bathroom.

Julie can do anything, really. Build a funky chandelier out of paper. Paint, glue, hinge, and sew together amazing puppets. Sing opera. Or at least she could, before she got Parkinson’s disease. [Read more…]

Baked Pasta Trumps Hostess Anxiety

Baked Pasta

I’ve been working on conquering my hostess anxiety. Again. Because I’m tired of not being able to have people over to eat. My latest treatment tool is baked pasta.

It probably doesn’t surprise you that creamy, saucy, steamy hot pasta can cure pretty much everything. In retrospect, I should have figured that out a long time ago.

So here’s what happened. [Read more…]

Madame Butterfly

tiger swallowtail

Just look at this Tiger Swallowtail I caught floating through the Atlanta Botanical Garden. I’ve seen thousands of Tiger Swallowtails in my life, but I don’t remember any of them having these Caribbean-blue peacock-plume like spots at the bottom of their wings.  Nor do I remember any of them being this big—maybe a full five or six inches across.

I did a little research when I got home. Turns out that female Tiger Swallowtails have blue at the bottom of their wings. Males do not.

You go girl!

PS- Mental note: Pay closer attention to things in the future. Who knows what else I’m missing out on? (Ron says lots.)

PPS- (or is it PSS?) If you love Botanical Gardens as much as I do, here is a list of 55 awesome ones: https://www.sproutabl.com/gardening/botanical-gardens/

Grandma Practice

little boy with muddy fingers

I love my cousin’s kids. I can feed them cake for breakfast, buy them a toy train with an ear-piercing whistle, and let them play in the mud.

When I’ve had enough, I get to send them home.

It’s their parents’ problem to deal with their soot-cloaked clothes and sugar-induced hysteria.

I certainly don’t want a toy train with a piercing whistle in my house.

When the time comes, I’m going to be a fabulous grandma.