Love in Time of Corona

… between Amsterdam, New York and Milford, PA

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bloggers block

Bloggers block?
I started up a few times since yesterday’s comments. But then pippi longstocking, my first bitch commenteur, came into my mind. like a new member on the panel of my inner voices. when i wrote something personal, she said ‘well you don’t have much to say’, when i tried to express an opinion she said, ‘you are assuming an awful lot’. i was rattled but not deterred. since here i am.  call me oversensitive. ask my husband. i am. i am big, strong, opinionated and oversensitive. blogging may be therapy. may toughen me up. may cure me. so bring on those bitches.
before i left milford i wrote a letter to the local paper. an open letter to the local public school. DV sent all parents an e-mail saying that if they were offended by obamas speech (three weeks ago) on the importance of a good education, then they could keep their kids out of school. you can guess at the drift of my letter. so. not even an hour after pippi’s comment donna calls me and reads me the rebuttal letter from shelley in port jervis. shelley compared obama to hitler, called me a racist and a facist, an obamaddict, turned my name into “barbed” and more. scary hateful stuff. i’m glad i’m here and I won’t be writing any letters to the miami papers anytime soon.
husband arrived. Monday night at 9pm.
we are happy (shut up pippi) he’s finally here. i get to bitch and gossip with him. i get to go to parties now. mr. chow tonight. the press opening of the W hotel. i get to be a grown up. a glamorous grown up. i get to wear my designer dresses. do my hair and make up. wear heels. i get to do what i want with him between the designer sheets of the W hotel, after which i will sneak out like a mistress and go back home, around the corner, be mommy and tuck in my girls.

Miami is getting funner every day.


children – not a weakness, not even in fashion

kids in the rain

us in the rain

anna wintour says her kids are her weakness. after watching her in The September Issue i  see why.  weakness to Anna is the urge to be warm, encouraging, open, funny and sensitive, emotions which, as the center of the fashion world, Anna does not broadcast.  but around her daughter, who says fashion is entertaining but silly,  anna shows (big gold) buttoned up affection that sizzles with loneliness and when her daughter  says no mom i wont  be your successor (anna thinks vogue  her royal court). i will be a lawyer. anna hears,  she will abandon me. and i’ll be alone with my weakness. i dont care about anna perse, but i care about her power as icon of fashion. i just wish she wasn’t such a bitch cartoon. after all she is a mother, an ex wife, an influential leader and boss. but in her windowless world wintour is not a role model for  modern women.

i evolved in fashion a decade after she did, london in the eighties and new york in the nineties.  and i remember it as inspired.  wild,  inclusive, free, and magnanimous.  but  fashion  is no longer the arena where creative women can express themselves. its the industry  where we can get lost in the insecurity of everything that we are/have not.

anna wintour is at fashion’s core, and at the core of anna wintour is the belief that her children are her weakness.


YO ANNA. children are a strength. all the emotions our children make us feel, compassionate, vulnerable, angry, protective, love, fear, are our strength. not just as mothers. but as women who are bosses, leaders, wives and friends. it is where we, women, easily connect with each other. its where we feel comfortable in the strength of our numbers. its where we  have each other’s back. it’s where we stand apart. it’s where we rule. even in fashion.

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Photo 108

friends call and write and say but how are YOU doin’? for the last two weeks i had no idea. but today i do. i had a normal day. finally. phew. i had LUNCH with a friend! problem is normal days don’t make great blogs. minor accomplishments like the twins finally getting their textbooks or  helping their popularity by  designing the 4th grade halloween flyer, or a swim at sunset, with a great blue heron drinking the pool water outlined against a bright pink sky, palm-trees like golden crowns lit from below, a half moon sliver, white and red lights driving up and down collins avenue, are all glorious and happy and good, but not as entertaining as a TB scare. well at least alastair is still freakin’ out. he’s where i was at three weeks ago.  calling every ten minutes. where is the blue tote. my proposal crashed. i have an ear infection. the doctor says i dont have an ear infection. i’m having dinner. i met with mark. i dont know how to do it all. i’m never gonna get everything in the car. he leaves monday morning and when he gets here we’re gonna have some fun. W hotel press opening on wednesday and thursday with dinners at mr chow, two nights in a suite included, a party for todd oldham, and more … at which point i will become the liz smith blogger of miami beach, so dont tune out yet. there is good fluff to come.

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the muse is not amused

a desk, a chair

a desk, a chair

its hot here. in case anyone is wondering. its 93, 96, thunderstorms and ohso muggy, no hurricane so far (just read Zeitoun, freakin’ myself out). this is not the month to move to miami for the weather. its the month to move to miami for school.
i have another child you know. my muse. and she’s pissed. i haven’t paid her attention in weeks. packing, driving, school issues, TB scare, not having a chair or desk. excuses, excuses she wails in my ear. my inner ear. i tell her i have a blog you know. its getting 200 hits a day you know. i’m not your fucking blogging muse and if you think i’m a mere blogging muse then i’m fuckin’ outta here she screams. thats the thing with muses, they can threaten to leave. kids dont. at least not yet. so i tell her. tomorrow. we’ll work on the novel tomorrow (i’m sneaking the next blog in now). she’s huffy. doesn’t believe me. arms crossed tight against her chest. not looking me in the eye. we’ll see she says. you have that principal at 11. i don’t see how you’re gonna fit me in. how we’re ever gonna finish those extra 10,000 words debbie (my agent) wants. its all forming in my mind i tell her. bullshit. a book doesn’t write itself, she says. thats my line i say. and i’m very very excited about it and debbie understands. you wish, she mumbles. i appreciate you. i sweet talk. she likes flattery. goodnight, i say. she doesn’t answer. i hope she hasn’t left.




iona is being wexler tested. to see if she qualifies for ‘gifted’, as in thou shall be gifted the best education the public system has to offer. don’t get me started. i’m just complying. I’m here on hibiscus island. in the home of dr. trushin. an elderly jewish lady who’s been testing for 40 years. iona is in good hands. she’s nervous. mommy what if I’m not gifted? my dutch communist father’s genes convulse in me. you are gifted no matter what, i say. there are knick-knack’s everywhere. in “the room where moms sit”, (is there another room where dads sit?) you may encounter my husband, she says, he likes to chat with the moms. i havent seen him yet but a chiwawa stops by, sniffs my leg, trembles and tootles off as if its wearing high heels. there are three wooden cats in pink spotted pajams fishing off the edge of an old vcr system. (knick-knacks I said). on the glass coffee table: russian dolls, a soldered couple made from scrapmetel dances under a tiny streetlight, a clump of coral, sharks made from driftwood, a collection of swarowski mice (rats?), a rainbow lead glass unicorn in the glass sliding door that looks out over a small kidney shaped pool.
picture perfect come retire on hibiscus island.
i think I’m just gonna leave and drive around for a bit… call my mom in amsterdam. how are the girls? every other house is for sale; miami vice style, spanish style, modern concrete boxes, adobe style, lapidus style, fifties modern bungalows (my favorite), all lush and palms and yachts on the private docks. its tranquil. i drive off the island. onto the busy causeway, the miami business skyscrapers rise ahead of me, biscayne bay on both sides, the docks where vast cruise ships are moored next to container ships. its a city. not just a beach/gay paradise/ eurotrash sundestination/retiree community. miami is a city and its beautiful. it reminds me of a tropical amsterdam.

dr trushin calls me into her office. iona scored very well she says. but she was shy. i get the feeling she’s been sheltered, protected from the world until now. you got that right, but how could that impact her iq score negatively i wonder but do not say. i’m pleased. i tell her about the twins. the tears, the dread of the scary spanish teacher yelling at the bad kids that starts their every day. take them out of that class right away, she says, sounding like a jewish granny. i want to hug her. i love her. i’ve been suffering too, not knowing what to do. she just gave me permission to have a chat with that principal and take a stand. i have an appointment at 11 am tomorrow.

oh and yesterday, while wondering what i’m doing here, i assembled IKEA stuff. i now have a desk and a chair at which i write this and life is much improved.

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she – he

she: why am i here?

he: because it’s a great idea to move to Miami for the winter–to write, to swim, to observe the vibrant flora and fauna…. to expand our daughters sense of the world.

she: so when are you comin’? we miss you. i need you, i haven’t had a conversation with an adult in a week.

he: next tuesday, its gonna be great, hang in there, i miss you too.


happiness – a luxury product

photo: iona gordon

photo: iona gordon

OK. so. this has little to do with me doing miami. but. its been on my mind, like second foremost, after TB. a friend sent me a link this morning to a study. about women and happiness, and apparently women are getting less happy all the time, even as i write this. when i get a link like that i always look who wrote it. M or F. check box. when its M i pretend that the study was conducted and written, not by say Madeleine Albright, Gloria Steinum or Hilary Clinton but by my husband. so. lets ask him if i appear happier then when we were first together, and he’ll probably tell you that he doesn’t think so. ask me and i will tell you that i am, just about one million thousand and three times happier now than twenty years ago. i still love him madly. i adore my kids. i just bitch more now, cause there is more to bitch about. then ask me what would make me  happier than, say yesterday and my answer would be:
1. if he remembered, after 15 years, that wednesday is garbage day. 2. if he put his cereal boxes back after use. 3. if he talked less about models  4. if i could make time to do some lucrative work/not feel so guilty about no longer being the superduper #1 breadwinner. 5. if i wasn’t constantly reminded by everything, TV, the supermarket, my kids, my job, my gay neighbors, other moms, ads on buses, billboards and facebook, that i’m no longer somewhere between the most fabulous, gorgeous, sexy age of 30-40. 6. I would definitely be happier if i could be less politically correct and not worry about swearing in front of playdates, enjoy secondary smoke, get drunk, get stoned, flirt outrageously, drive too fast in a snazzy car, leave the kids at home alone to hang with my friends more often, use plastic bags at the supermarket, drink lots of little bottles of Poland Spring (that have been in my hot car for weeks), worry less about hunger in africa, obama, peace/war, scream at rude teachers, actually really slap my neighbor, eat without thinking about what and how much, use aerosol sunblock on the kids, feed them high fructose corn syrup because its in EVERYTHING, did not have to kid-compete with other mothers/get them into the “gifted” program asap or else they’ll fail as human beings, and make a mess, and fall on my face and just screw up completely occasionally (and know that i’ll be ok). the other thing i think when i read happiness studies is al those women in the third world who hold a starving child to their chest.  not for one minute do they wonder how happy they are on a scale from 1-5. they may wonder how totally fucked they are on a scale from 1-5. and when i read the results of these pop-studies i reckon we, the lucky ones, score  a big fat 5 on the scale of increased privileged fuckedupness.


infectious disease scare

kiki in her new IKEA bed

kiki in her new IKEA bed

leila in her new IKEA bed

leila in her new IKEA bed

a total panic moment this morning. visions of being quarantined, if not evicted from miami. earlier this week kiki and leila had a TB screening shot for school. if within 48 hours there was a welt on their arm I’d have to let the doctor know. after 48 there was no welt. just designer fiberglass burn – as far as i know not contagious – and i did not check again. until this morning i noticed a red welt on kiki’s arm. what’s that? its from the shot that nurse gave me. show me. it was worse on friday, she said. why did you not tell me? i thought it was supposed to do that. what about leila? hers was merely a slight discoloring. i went into denial. if i don’t tell anyone no one will ever know. its nothing. just look at them. they glow with health. lets go to the pool. but. the responsible mother voice said. what if.  i wished alastair were here. he would look at it and. and what. well at least we could look at it together. i called him. kiki tested positive to the TB test i blurted out. your kiddin’. well she’s got a welty rash. and on the internet it says she’s been exposed. it also says thats she’ll have at least six months of heavy antibiotics or possibly chemo. how did she even get it? we guessed at all the friends that could have given her the  bacteria (turns out we’re quite bigoted when faced with a dreadful disease). let me call AE alastair said. he’s the best radiologist in miami. i went on google. i looked at rashes and compared them by holding kiki’s arm against the screen. will i have to go to school tomorrow? have you been scratching this? no, well, only when we had the rash from the chair. AE called me. not to worry he said. false positives happen all the time. if the skin test is indeed positive then they’ll need a chest x ray and only 1% of those is ever positive. don’t panic he said. i love your blog he said. and welcome to miami and call the doctor. it’ll be fine he said. i called the pediatrics weekend number. how can we be sure the rash they have is from the TB shot? the nurse said before putting me on hold for five minutes, leaving me with her illogical logic. she came back on the phone, call us tomorrow to schedule a new test. phew. just another test to eliminate the side effects of our fiberglass chairs, while all along I’d feared instant action, beach-wide health warnings and being barred from school. the remote chance of the TB bacteria is clearly not anthrax. and. it turned out that the garden crepe at IHOP was surprisingly delicious but IKEA a predictable nightmare. over crowded. not a thing in stock that the website quoted as a green item at my nearest store. beefy but ignorant staff. couldn’t fit everything in the car. kiki ended up wedged between two mattresses, which, i told myself was safer than a seatbelt. and worst of all. very worst of all. there are now five chairs in the garage waiting to be assembled.


no share the blogue

the morning light hits the roofs of  aqua like a greek village forming different shadows and angles on the pale pastel walls and balconies. after looking at trees for twenty year i find this view of color blocked concrete glorious. i have to be careful here cause i’m treading. alastair and i talk about this. treading. like a lot. his territory. my territory. like the brazilian bum. that was his. he saw it first. and i saw the russian boytoy first. but. architecture is his. no argument here. he may make me sign a disclosure. if that’s what its called. or get a restraining order. or a gag order. so. this is all on the architectural merits of aqua for now. BUT.  he got himself a blogue on wordpress the day after i did. and guess what! he called it alastairdoesmiami. now.  if thats not treading. don’t read it until he changes the name. you can always support him by going to his Wall Street Journal blogue called Wall to Wall. yeah right. its not like blogging hardship for him. he already has his platform. with, like a million hits a day. while I’m struggling here. the struggling blogger. thrilled with getting 150 views yesterday. for which I’m ohso grateful. off to IHOP for the girl’s -you’ve-done-great-in-school  saturday morning treat. go figure. after thinking that the country will make them into balanced humans IHOP is their favorite destination. to IHOP and IKEA. and maybe a test drive a groovy red convertible or two. I’m sure there’ll be a blogue in it that’ll be all mine. mine. mine. mine.

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r rated


sexy toyboys by the aqua pool both gay and straight, iona, without contact lenses, wonders if they are cute, cute enough for her, desperate to have a crush. no darling that one is not for you, he’s with the short, bold russian billionaire, and he’s a cokehead, see how he paces, white toweling robe over his shoulders like he’s redford/gatsby himself, never off his cell throwing his head back in affected laughter. no not the other one either sweetie. he’s with that older lady, no she’s not his mom, yes he does have an amazing six pack. lets go to the ocean.
where a large glistening brazilian bottom beckons twenty yards upbeach. she’s not wearing a bathing suit, mommy, actually she is, its called a thong. no she’s not, I cant see anything. well it kind off goes between her butt cheeks, iona explains. ohnogross! but the twins are mesmerized. so is a nerdy little guy who comes running by. he checks the bottom out. he slows down. he turns. he stops. he casually loiters to the water’s edge. sits down in the surf. he looks around. he cant help himself. the bottom appears to be asleep. he gets up. he runs twenty yards. he turns. he runs back and crosses the bottom from the other side. she looks up. realizes she has pulled. sits up. flicks her long black hair over her shoulder. runty guy keeps running, pretending not to look. she turns over. now tanning her front, legs spread apart. he runs back. he dives like baywatch into the ocean and drifts casually not far from us. i think he likes her mommy, kiki says. i sigh. i roll my eyes. maybe we should go home and watch tv, iona says. america’s next top model is on. good idea i say, opting for the lesser of the evils.