Barbidoesmiami

How to Stay Sane in the City of No Shame


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five things i like about miami

for a while i wasn’t so connected to my inner glamour puss, like it was time for earth mother to take over, but miami brings out my cyd charisse, party girl ( party girl where do you play tonight? party girl party girl where to be gay tonight? girl.. )

1. for pre-disco slow lead up to friday night partying, we had the ultra civilized reopening of simpson park where miami architect chad oppenheim designed a gorgeous new archway entrance made from slatted wood and native flora like orchids that will eventually take over and create a magical overgrown effect like the drawbridge to sleeping beauty’s palace. The arch leads into the 5.5 acre park of native hardwood hammock first conceived in 1913 between 15th and s. miami avenue downtown miami. landscape designer enzo enea and chad donated their time and collaborated on the revamping of the park. alastair and i took  our rum cocktails and got lost along an endless white shell trail that snakes through the patch of forest past benches, a pond and plaques that twitter with environmental information about birds and bushes.  audi, of the cars, in a green gesture sponsored this time warp, as a gift to the ultra futuristic downtown community.

simpson park

simpson park

new entrance

new entrance

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2. on we went the mondrian hotel, designed by other dutch man marcel wanders, for a mojito. alastair likes the big hotels. he likes the over designed pools, the pretension and grand promises. the mondrian overlooks biscayne bay and the sunset, a barely caught bright red rim on the horizon, before the industrial harbor lights took over and did an equally magical job, while i sat below giant blowing curtains, on a giant rug, in fake  louis seize oversized fauteuils and scatter pillows the size of emperor mattresses. we sipped more minty rum and wondered how long we’d stay here, eight more months? if the glamour will wear off or if we’re hooked . through the magical simpson park gateway,  for like another hundred years?

moon behind giant outdoor mondrian curtains

3. onto a birthday party at barbara becker’s house, WOW, she’s a force of feminine nature! in the perfect what would I do if i won a hundred million (serving fast, hitting hard and within the lines) house with a to-die-for art collection, a gatsby-esque  lawn sloping towards the bay with even better views of the docks, cruise ships and container cranes, scattered with poolside wicker terrycloth-lined king-sized nests, an aquamarine jewel pool centerpiece, and gorgeous thirty plussers grooving to Donna Summer, the Bee gees and Michael Jackson. i felt lucky. sam, whose birthday it was, and another force of nature, gave a rousing speech and i realized that Miami women rock. i may no longer be in the top ten of hostesses of the mostess, but I’m so fuckin’ inspired. miami goddesses rule.
birthday girl sam

birthday girl sam

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4. another goddess, ilona,  married to chad of the magical arch, gave a where-the-wild-things-are first birthday for H, her firstborn son, who had not yet seen the film and who probably won’t remember that birthday of all birthday (does anyone?), his first, the one that sets the bar for years to come,  beyond the photos and the videos. but i will remember this one. and so will my twins. they were in fact the perfect age and they’d seen the movie. they were down. and obliged as exemplary birthday guests showing H how to limbo, smash the wild-thing pinata, greedily grab as many pinata innards as they could carry, stuck the tail on the wild-thing and ate the wild-thing sized chocolate chip cookies (20″ diameter), while more good looking adults hung around the wild-thing sized food table stacked with wild-thing sized hamburgers the size of  footballs, wild-thing sized mushrooms the size of baseball caps, chocolate bars the size of bricks, cupcakes the size of beach buckets, empanadas the size of Michael Jordan’s sneakers and malted milkshakes in every flavor in vases rather than glasses. the sendak wild-things were invited and would’ve loved this bash, but I guess their agents  had them busy signing licensing deal, elsewhere…

kiki and leila and wild thing pinata

kiki and leila and wild thing pinata

wild thing sized cupcake and burger and kiki and me

wild thing sized cupcake and burger and kiki and me

5. sunday afternoon. we were meant for another party. at the bass museum. for kids. i was primed, but hard as i tried, my mini-mees  were poopers and would not be moved from  poolside. defending their rights with lines like: just because you like to party doesn’t mean we always have to, we only get two days off and school is very hard, we are tired, very tired, its the first time since we’ve lived here that we ask something from you, you wanted us to come to miami so here we are, we can all relax, we are finally having some fun.. leaving me to wonder where they get the maps to these guilt trips. ok already, i said. . we’ll have our own party. yeah the gordon pool party only for gordon party girls they said.

and daddy. yes daddy can come too…

iona

iona

kiki and leila by iona

kiki and leila by iona

iona's most elegant leap

iona's most elegant leap

gordon party lunch

gordon party lunch

next week: north beach elementary halloween party in the cafeteria, from 2-4 on Wednesday where I shall be a chaperone to 200 out of control fourth and fifth graders, cant wait. the bass museum party on thursday night followed by a restaurant street fair crawl around little havana on friday and  the drag halloween event on saturday, after trickatreating with the girls dressed as bumblebee, corpse bride and twister board.

suggestions on what Alastair should wear and where to buy such in miami in right size are most welcome…


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my DJ tiesto dinner party

kiki and tiesto, picture by iona

kiki and tiesto, picture by iona

So i went from daily blog to weekly blog, whatcanisay, Miami is too much of too much, and all the time. we gave our first dinner party last night, no soft launch but straight to a-list, esther, susie, walid, iran, michele, tom, victoria and eric. five power goddesses, four  masters of the miami universe. my last cooking event was the brueghel picnic at morgans so my bar was high.  i planned four small courses for ten, but  found that DJ tiesto is not a dinner party cooker/giver , at least not in his miami candyland bachelor pad, although the candyland bachelor pad cupboards hold a large array of cocktail and champagne glasses, a silver icebucket and drawers full of nacho chips. I was in need of plates, thirtysix plates. i had  six plates,  groovy oversized designer plates the size of UFO’s, i considered “sharing”. the oval glass boontje table holds nine people uncomfortably, but only six of those designer plates. off to target i went. list: plates, salad plates, entree plates, dessert plates, tablecloth, masher, handmixer (can you believe tiesto didn’t have a mixer), candles, napkins, vase. once there i added  a microwave, you’d think right? but no there wasn’t one. my sense of accomplishment somewhat diminished when i got home to find that one guest had requested to add a friend ( aka social miami goddess, so i wasn’t gonna say she should stay home) only i was short again, do the math, i was four short. solution: i would wrap/serve the salad course in muslin. off to linda’s fabrics downtown miami, woohoo, havana cubana candyland! frills and froofs,  lame, lace, tule dipped in gold glitter, i felt so northeast boring looking for plain muslin, so i got two yards of white and silver lace to wrap my greens, tied with a  blackandwhite plaid tafetta ribbon, project runway here i come.

miami beach idiosyncrasy: no fresh fish. no real fishmongers within reasonable range. yes ocean, fishingboats, water everywhere but fish purchase choices are Publix – smell the rank fish section as you pass the soft drink isle, or epicure – twenty dollars for a pound of salmon.

call me crazy extrvagant but i called samaki in port jervis, where simon, the owner, called me crazy and extravagant by implication, and ordered a side of their kippered salmon, my most popular milford dinner party dish. hey i couldn’t afford to experiment 100%, a-list, first miami dinner, which arrived by fedex the next morning. so here’s the menu: 1. polenta (with mascarpone, peppers, spring onions and parmesan) with mixed not as wild as i hoped mushrooms. 2. salad wrapped in cuban party lace (lettuce, arugula, watercress, beets steamed in orange juice and ginger, orange segments, pecans).3. kippered salmon over creamed parsnips, with a side of aged scotch.4. nociella icecream, hot chocolate sauce, crumbled almond cookie with real mint tea. they liked it. they really really liked it. phew. and they had fun. well actually alastair and i had fun. it was the first dinner we’ve ever done where  all our guests know each other better, way better, and way longer than we do. so we sat back, yes alastair sat back, listened, laughed to outrageous anecdotes of miami social craziness and secured an invitation to THE beach halloween pageant where alastair has to dress  in drag and walk down a runway to be judged.

and so his i-wanna-be-americas-next-top-model dream will finally come true..

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a few name tags

a few name tags

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love those dye-fed flowers

love those dye-fed flowers

kids eat first

kids eat first


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miami vice meets baywatch

update of this week’s don johnson moments:

1. saturday disco at W hotel – well that was one sure way to feel really old , in holland we say – I felt like Miep from Meppel, which roughly translates into feeling like  one’s granny. i like discos. at least i remember liking them, and i think I could like them again.( maybe there’s a market for age appropriate discos for us studio 54 generation, that open early, allow good old fashioned coke and overt displays of  everything while dancing wildly with oneself) problem at W- the wall-disco is that they card  people for being too old, like over 30, and I’m sure it was only my husband’s WSJ card that got us past the five humongous bouncers. once inside I wished we had been bounced all the way back to milford. at least in milford, when I watch people ride the bull at the tom quick inn, I have a sense of snide control over the local culture. not at the W wall. ah-ah. no way honey.  i mean what’s with those pole dancers? (without poles but still), girls with spray tans in like negligable panties, something even more miniscule over implanted boobs, and wearing boots that are made for walking (all over me) . cry to gloria steinum et all:  gloria what the fuck? is this women’s self empowerment? there were  four of them. one in the east, one in the west, one in the north, one in the south where I was sitting, gyrating her naked bottom in my face. drooling playboys stood and watched staring right  into her crotch. their young dates/girlfriends stood clutching their ugly handbags (what has happened to handbag design? – thats another blog) looking bored, neglected and too intimidated to dance themselves.

2. sunday visit to vizcaya:

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3. miami baywatch beach.

please dont think husband and i go to the beach every day. we’re much too northern guilty calvinist for that. but we  had a picnic yesterday. after a morning’s work (trust me). i call anouk when a baywatch type (male) runs past clutching his pathetically small orange floatie (how can he possibly save people on that?), looking intently at a totally flat ocean. I say, hang on a minute anouk. i look. i too could be a lifeguard. the way i looked so well. i scanned and scanned and saw nothing. no drowning babes. no screaming girls. no sudden heart attacks at eight feet deep, no shark fins lurking for attack. it was quiet and peaceful. sorry i said to anouk. nothing going on. next thing i’m almost run off my towel by a speeding atv. whathefuck? i say to anouk. i just almost got run over. next  a spray of sand hits me in the mouth. what the… another atv. manned by a  buff brown girl, looking intently at the ocean. i’m still looking too. anouk is talking. i feel like a bad friend. first i move here and then i’m all  distracted. so i pretend to concentrate on anouk. but i’m not really (sorry anouk). a policeboat speeds into the area. next three jetskis join. then i hear the fire engines coming down collins road, screeching into the parking lot. by now a hundred people are standing in the water, husband one of them. peering. we’re all peering like crazy, hoping to be the first to spot IT. but what is IT? what are we looking for? if its a drowning person he/she’d be drowned by now. if it’s a shark attack one of those people standing in the water would know by now. it has to be a body. a dead body. i think it must be a body i say to anouk who is in her 25th street NYC apartment. i have to go i say . i’ll call back later. i feel so left out, standing in the sand.  trying to relate on the phone to anouk who could so not relate. fine she says. be like that, she thinks. liberated from the phone i too wade into the water. whats going on? i say to husband. he ALWAYS knows what’s going on.( how does he do it?). some woman in the akoya (a rather tall building on the beach) saw a body floating right here, while she was on her treadmill, (he points at nearby buoy), so two policemen went up to doublecheck and they saw something too. cool i say (i know, how very rubbernecky of me). so we watch while the homeland security hormone (or is it a gene?) kicks in and  see it perform all along  up and down the beach. atv’s everywhere almost running over small children and dogs (never mind its an emergency), boats and jetskis spraying macho fountains between two ocean markers, sexy guys with their (pathetic little orange) floaties lurching into the non existent surf. what time is it? i ask. its 2.40. ohshit. the twins. pick-up at 3 under the tree in the school yard. oh shit, and i’m all wet. and ohshit i wanna know. husband says there is no body. if there was a body he would’ve seen it. really? she’s delusional, he says. like schizo.  he points at a pretty young woman in back leggings and tank. i can tell, he says. just look at her. she’s like glenn close. really?i say.  i look at her, all pretty and blond and glenn closey. then i look at the 50, 60 men running around like crazy. hmm. there is POWER in that one phonecall she made. see them run. 911- i see a BODY- floating outside my window, and see how they come running. its now 2.50. i should be at the school in 5 minutes. i have to leave i say. i’m staying husband says, even though he KNOWS its a false alarm. i go. of course i go. i’m three minutes late. the twins are pissed. but wait till  you hear what happened, i say. lets go back to the beach to pick up daddy. will we see that body? they ask. when we get back all the police cars have gone. the beach is quiet. no atv’s or jetskis or orange floaties. its like i made it up. where is the body ?the girls say. both excited and concerned. there never was one. daddy says. we don’t know what she saw but it wasn’t a body. maybe it was a dolphin that was hurt, leila says. yes and maybe he swam away when he saw all those boats, kiki says. i think thats exactly what happened i say.

i hope that dolphin is ok, leila says.

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perfect day

okay. so what if it’s a great day in milford. i’m happy for you.
all of you on FB saying how gorgeous it is there. today. especially today. best day so far. mark even posted a picture of amber (our dog who stayed behind with mark and christian who rent our house) and THE most delicious looking pastries he’d made in my kitchen displayed on my kitchen table. i felt the tug, i admit it. it’s a conspiracy. but you know what. it was a gorgeous day here too. it has been every day this week, i wasn’t gonna tell you but ….
today was sooooo perfect.
i took the kids to school. they’re happy. they’ve made friends. iona even has a boyfriend. she is in “gifted” classes, getting A’s. the twins are tolerating spanish. they made a new friend across the street,
so i got back home by 9am. kissed my gorgeous husband. and we wrote. he downstairs. me upstairs. 1500 good words for the novel. then i made us a picnic. and we went to the beach for lunch. clear blue sky. 90 degrees. perfect turquoise ocean. no one around. we swam. we floated and we gloated. but i wasn’t gonna blog and brag.

until i opened Facebook.

mark's best

mark's best


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i am the original cursing mommy

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Letter to Ian Frazier, re “easy cocktails from the cursing mommy”. New Yorker, September 14th.

Excuse ME. mr. Frazier.  but i’m it. i am the original fuckin’ cursing mommy. not  you  mister fuckin’ ian frazier. you gotta be too fuckin old. do you have twins? you’re a guy, for chrissake. your wife probably makes you your fuckin’ gimlets. and gimlets are so goddamn dated. i design my own fuckin’ cocktails.  THE MOTHERS HELPER. for instance. it has appeared in several cookbooks, thank you very much mr. frazier. it’s served at bars left in my wake. it bloody well works a fuckin’ dream. when the shit hits the fan. around six every day. when (why the fuck do they give them so much) homework hasn’t been touched. no edible shit  in the fridge. iona getting hysterical and depressed from eating a box of motherfuckin’ cheezits. twins  killing each other over the only surviving piece of shit DS. amber, our dog,  in neighbors yard trying to kill their bitch dog. my horny husband loiters down, i’m goin for a swim wanna come? i say whatya think? whos gonna do fuckin’ dinner? he shrugs. acts like i’m frigid. i say fuck off. he says you’ve turned into one nasty cursing mommy. so there you have it mr. frazier.

i’m fuckin’ IT.

and this is when i turn to: THE MOTHERS HELPER.
I grab the largest lemonade glass from the shelf.
fill 1/3 with vodka
1/3 with real (SIMPLE) lemonade
1/3 seltzer
add ice, slice of lemon and a sprig of mint if available.

aaahhh. sweet.

yes, mommy is having some lemonade. no you cant have a sip. get your own. and get your effing homework. NOW. i stick my head in the fridge. it looks more promising already. perfectly fine meals can be created with half a bag of baby carrots, half a packet of thin sliced chicken. an onion. a cannister of parmesan cheeze, some frozen ravioli, apples, bananas and bread.

i finish THE HELPER. i thank THE HELPER. i sit down with the twins. i say. you guys wanna make dinner while i do your homework. its a fair trade. oh mommy you’re  so funny, you really like lemonade dont you? hell i do!

the next post from the original cursing mommy:  how to organize a goddamn pool party for my hyper twins and their ADD friends  at the too fuckin’cool to crack a smile aqua pool and not be evicted for being too fuckin’ loud, not gay enough with too many kids, using too many bright colored, non AQUA logo, towels, jumping, splashing, diving, playing,  and have sicko wild time.

easy cocktails from the cursing mommy, in the new yorker, by ian frazier. LINK:

http://www.newyorker.com/humor/2009/09/14/090914sh_shouts_frazier


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Mr. CHOW and me at the W Hotel

suite at the W

suite at the W

groovy chandelier

groovy chandelier


call me paranoia (no pippi i did not say paranormal*, thats your schtick). paranoia. like one moment i love it here, the next i’m like what the fuck. taking the kids to school with a hangover, possibly still drunk, is a first. leaving said husband at 1 am, in the sexy, what the hell your wife will never know decor of his W suite, is also a first. not soon to be repeated. dinner is fun. although too many pr girls, too few guys at our table. but. around us. dozens of tables with men. men on business trips. retired men. young men and old men. a new demographic for me. old men. very old men. not sure that i’m flattered. a table of three clearly very wealthy, very well groomed geezers. still with the times cool: they wear their crisp PINK shirts with wide white cuffs and enormous lapidus style gold cufflinks, outside their slacks. eye me. talk and laugh and look around at me. they almost point. i feel like a sophomore singled out by seniors (pardon da pun). later mr chow floats by, doing obligatory i’m the star you came to meet handshakes around our table. shakes mine. i’m not gonna say anything. but said husband does. she knew you back in the day in london. he says. (i cringe, he must get that all the time). yes i did i smile. london 1976, when i was hot and you were hot, i came to the knightsbridge restaurant all the time. i drop some mutual friends names. he does the math. 33 years. wow thats along time. he says. its jesus’ lifetime, i say. (where did that come from?). but he died. mr. chow says. he sure did i say.  and we’re still here. we both say sounding strangely proud.

note to W: after twoandhalf ginger mojitos (delicious) it is: A. really hard to find the WC and 2. impossible to distinguish which figure is wearing the pants and which the dress. case in point: i come out of the booth, still somewhat adjusting myself, and the booth next to me opens and a guy steps out, also quite clearly still adjusting himself in that way guys do.
he acts shocked. i’m shocked. i’m not sure i’m the one who got into the wrong WC. isn’t this the mens, he says. i wonder if he says this all the time. i wash my hands. i hope he’s gone. i leave. but there he is. loitering. studying the pants and the dress on the cutouts. phew, i was definitely in the loo with the dress. thats when i get the feeling he gets it wrong all the time. conveniently. i wonder if he ever scores that way.
i get back to my spot to find that mister miami has finally arrived. sits next to me. i tell him my girls call him eeyore. why he asks. this is why: last week he got stuck in our mini elevator. the one with the astro turf and flowers on the walls. just like a milne illustration. he was in there for what? ten minutes. the girls panicked. when we finally got him out. he said. i’ve been stuck in worse places, in that “I suppose they will be sending me down the odd bits which got trodden on. Kind and Thoughtful. Not at all, don’t mention it”, kind of way. i explain. he tells me it’d make a good blog. him getting stuck in tiesto’s elevator.

so here you are. tom. this one’s for you. and by the way tom. your comment about being graceful and homey. that suggestion is under consideration.

* for details on pippi see comments from philipa in – children are never a weakness – post

black and white: the theme

black and white: the theme

dvider

divider

before he got stuck in the elevator

before he got stuck in the elevator


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tototototototototo

ceiling in w

ceiling in w

oh my god

or

OMG

OMG OMG OMG

toto

toto, wake up

TOTO

what? I’m sleepin’

I know, I’m sorry, but

what? Its one forty in the am, what?

TOTOOOOOOO

WHAT? what what what?

WERE NOT IN MILFORD ANYMORE!

you wake me up for that?

YEAH?

well,duh,  you know the drill. get your ruby slippers…

I didn’t bring them

whatdoyoumeanyoudidn’tbringthem?

they’re a bit dated, you know the square heel, the round toe, i just didn’t think they were right for Miami.

well you’re fucked

I know, I’m fucked. I cant tap my heels, i cant say there’s no place like home, i”l be living at the W hotel forever

yep. now lemme go back to sleep.

ok

goodnight

goodnight

sterling silver fuji water holder

sterling silver fiji water holder

two sterling silver fiji water holders

two sterling silver fiji water holders