Barbidoesmiami

How to Stay Sane in the City of No Shame


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betwixt and between…

barbi?

Barbi is back in Miami

Only I’m not quite back to being Barbi, and I wonder, was Barbi a character I created for living in Miami last year? Do I want to be Barbi forever? Do I want to do Miami forever?

Am I lost between Milford and Miami and me and Barbi?

me

I am lost between Milford and Miami and me and Barbi.

So, since I’m not Barbi, its kind of hard to blog  Miami style.

I’ll start with the kids, to keep the focus off me.

Iona is at DASH with lots of homework, fun homework like do ten art works using soy sauce, soap and candle wax and there are lots of cute boys so she’s tired but inspired.

Kiki and Leila? They’re fine too. Oblivious to the drama that goes on at their school.  That screwed-up underfunded, overpopulated public elementary school. And Miami Beach has many entitled super-moms running around (I admit to being guilty myself), who are all confused about wanting and trying to get “the best for their child” in this – classes too big, teachers too stressed, Gifted/not Gifted principals too scared, no budget for nothing, job insecurity, not good enough UNIVERSE. We’re all in it and we all feel lost in it, like there is no there, there, no truth, no path, no mentor or inspiration, its just a get-through-it-in-one-piece processing plant. BUT. The girls like their teacher, She’s funny, they say. Funny is good! They come home and do their homework, so they want to please her….

But me, I’m betwixt and between…

Husband was here for five days. We had a big meeting with a potential client (fingers crossed). Then he stayed for our early anniversary. We first met on September 2nd 1990 and got married on September 4th eight years later. Twenty years! But thats another blog, the love blog, the relationship blog. The pink lava lamp blog. Still I don’t mind telling you that being betwixt and between on your anniversary is very romantic. I can recommend the uncertainty, as if nothing can be taken for granted. There is no need for fancy hotel rooms with scattered rose petals, or a million candles around the tub, or a ring studded with meaningful diamonds. I take the flutter of betwixt anytime over all that. And the shiver of between…

But  he’s gone back for work in NYC. And my car broke down. It rains and its grey like Holland. So I rearranged the furniture. The designer couches and rugs and Arad chairs of our Tiesto bachelor pad are all muddled up.  We now have a TV corner, how bourgeois, and can, for the first time in a year change the channels lying down instead of  walking around the corner of the hidden designer shelving system. Much better. Its cozier  but also more photogenic  in a World of Interiors kinda way.

But I wonder, where do I start picking up on me? Am I working or caretaking? Am I facilitating or building an awesome third career?  Am I a writer, a fashion designer, a book designer, an environmentalist, a mother, a wife, a bill payer, check chasing, budget balancer (yes I’m definitely that ) ? Am I at home or am I lost in Miami?

Where is home?

Milford is home, because that’s where my heart is the fullest.

favorite spot, over the stream...

But the rest of my family disagrees. The girls think its boring and husband thinks its HillBilly… (my husband is so not HillBilly but I have an inner HB)

This kind of family division causes betwixt.

I be twixt. I be twixt in a who the fuck am I? where the fuck am I? kinda way.

Oddly I don’t seem to mind it. I may even like it. Its nothing like being bored or the feeling that I should be somehwhere else because I’m already somewhere else.

Maybe I don’t quite mind it because – did I tell you this already? – I got an order for 900 t shirts to be embellished with Plastic is Forever from Barneys!

Barneys New York!

Loomstate Tee with Plastic is Forever

For Spring 2011!

Thats a lot of beach plastic. Thats a lot of harvesting and cleaning beaches and I will post my progress on my Its a Man Made World blog.

So that is one person I WILL be: a beach-plastic comber, during September, October, November, I shall be crouched over the coral-pink sand of the Bahamas filling my bags with plastic garbage…

I look forward to it. Its just when I add all the other stuff I also have to do to that order. Thats when I start to be twixt. Like can I do it all? Be it all? Be here and there and there as well.

But maybe we all feel like that all the time now? Like what we do is never enough and at the same time too much. Too much choice of stuff like options for anti-aging, to name an example, so many ways, creams and pills and remedies that I may need but will never get around to trying.  Or all those causes, like at the check-out of Publix for helping poor hungry kids and at Walgreens for helping Haiti, and on FB posting pink ribbons for breast cancer, and an Inbox full of ways to help out in the Gulf, and then there are those PTA meetings I should attend. I want to do them all, end up doing none and then I feel guilty.

And what’s with making money all of a sudden? Someone has turned off the middle-class money faucet, and I’m pretty sure it wasn’t Obama.

Then I worry about Obama.

I can’t watch TV because I get too upset. About what those mad hatter tea-partiers are doing and getting away with. The bile they stir into their BP logo tea cups. The general ignorance of who funds and fuels (oil) their fire of hatred. And why? When I get on that train of thought I get so betwixt that between is not even an issue.

But I wonder, Milford versus Miami aside, do we all feel this way?  Like where the hell are we headed and how do we turn this around?

Are we lost because so much of our lives are no longer familiar?

Maybe familiar is out and betwixt is in…

Iona's eye by Iona


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Janice Dickinson’s rules for success…

page from my journal

Someone kicked my door.

Janice and her sister Debbie stormed into my room. Debbie held a bottle of wine and Janice grabbed and opened my portfolio.

You can throw all this crap out, she said. If it isn’t shot in Paris they call it merde, shitte. You think you have some cute editorials? Some nice Dutch covers? Honey, they’re gonna piss on them. They’re gonna make you feel like hideous shit.

She pulled the cork from the bottle and filled our plastic cups.

So prepare yourself for the worst.

I wondered what she meant as I watched her, manically moving her bare feet back and forth through the orange shag carpet.

She never stopped talking.

Paris is not Amsterdam, she said. Things are different here, harder, and you’ll only work if you follow my, the Janice Dickinson, rules of success and survival.

Janice had become a star overnight but she was also pretty wild. I wasn’t sure what could I learn from her.

She put one finger in my face as if we were counting together.

The Janice Dickinson rule to success … ONE, she said, you need fabulous editorials for your portfolio. TWO – you have to get booked by ELLE, they do the hottest shoots – once you’re in ELLE, everyone else books you. THREE – the only way into ELLE is through the photographers, Demarchelier, Toscani, Bensimon, and Jean Loup Sieff. So. you have to make your booker send you to them and get these guys to notice and want you. Do whatever it takes. Every photographer you see is a horny rat. Don’t bother with any of them, if they’re not well known they’re not worth it. And always make sure you focus on what you need. Great pictures for your book.

Her loud raspy voice and in-my-face attitude made me claustrophobic. This room was too cramped for her, with the bright walls that were painted in a pattern of a psychedelic mushroom cloud of yellow, orange and red.

A-bomb on acid, she said. Mine is blue. Same decorator, different LSD I guess.

Two white molded plastic beds sat along one wall. Another globular blob was both my closet and desk and I had to walk across my bed to get to a bathroom where the toilet and the sink overlapped.

So my sweetie, she said and poked two fingers in my ribcage.

Next is my rule for survival. These rooms suck, every night you’ll wanna escape. But as soon as you go out alone French men will hit on you – like they’re cavemen who think every girl wants to get laid.

I didn’t believe her. In Amsterdam I always went out by myself. Why would Paris be so different?

Believe me, she said. You’ll find out. BUT. Armand, Christa’s millionaire partner, provides the solution. I call them the Playboys.

Who are the playboys? I asked.

Greasy rich guys who like to play with us, you know, party boys, jet-setters. They show up every night. Like dating models is all they do.

You mean the agency uses us as escorts?

Janice hooted.

You’re so bubblegum. Armand invests in this agency for the perks and guess what, we’re the perks!

I’m not a perk.

Honey, just use these guys the way they use you and you’ll have fun.

She got up and stretched theatrically.

Chill, you’re gonna be huge.

Debbie had not said a word, as if they had an agreement that Janice made all the noise, but on her way out, as she stood in my doorway, Debbie turned, blew me a kiss and whispered:

Sleep tight, don’t let those French bed bugs bite.

I lay down on my bed.

What was that all about?

It was still light outside and people were laughing in the street below. I was restless, my energy bounced off the walls and I had to go somewhere. See the Eiffel tower. Walk along the Champs Elysee. Have a glass of wine on a terrace. But I hesitated. What if there still were playboys downstairs, waiting for me?

This is an excerpt, for more from THE BLACKBERRY DIET


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No LOVE, just PRAYing for the end so I can EAT…

Last night I saw Eat Pray Love. All about a woman who is lost. Right?
I hated it. (I didn’t get past page 30 of the book either). And I wondered. Why? Why do 300 million people love this story in 48 languages, buy it, get inspired by it, and I hate it.

Like I wanted to leave. I wanted to scream over everybody’s head, why are you buying this  BULL SHIT ?

Anyway.

I think I figured it out. It lacks authenticity. Credibility. Like when Precious makes good we cheered for her. We admired her for facing horrific challenges and demons. But this?  This is the cliche of a spoiled pretty woman lost. Really, she’s more enviable than pitiable. She tells us she’s desperate but  shows us a gorgeous home, handsome husband, intellectual parties, NYC at its brownstone best, cutest actor rebound boyfriend, rambling apartment in Rome, all the prosciutto, basel and Chianti she can consume, fabulous funny friends who adore her, then onto the super cleaned-up version of India where she befriends the “I don’t want to have an arranged marriage” cliche Indian girl while scrubbing picturesque mosaic floors (all along her hair is Fekkai perfect) ending with the inevitable photogenic Indian wedding ceremony. Then onto Bali (How awful, are we suffering yet? I am, by now I’m so hungry seeing all that Italian food earlier) Anyway. Once there she finds out, like duh, that “giving” makes her feel good about herself, things start looking up… and finally she smiles!

BUT THEN.

While bicycling through a gorgeous landscape she gets hit by Javier Bardem in his white jeep.

JAVIER BARDEM!

Tell me, who here doesn’t want to get run over by Javier Bardem?

STILL…

Now she’s pissed off about that too!

After several scenes ( I only stayed this long because my friend Jessica swore there was steamy sex with Javier) of Roberts and Bardem  having fully clothed sex behind  bamboo doors the story reaches its end. (Phew).

The last scene is straight from the Bachelorette, radiant Julia at the end of the jetty, sun setting on the horizon, waiting for her knight in shining armor …

Fade out to “and they lived happily ever after.”

(Apparently not entirely, in real life the couple’s struggles continued because Javier, had “immigration” problems).

Now there is a movie I may watch:

Javier (without papers) in Arizona…. running his white Jeep over Julia Roberts on her bike…

Any suggestions for the title of that movie…?


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Meet Janice Dickinson

Excerpt from The BlackBerry Diet:

photo: Jaap de Graaf

I was seventeen when I left home for Paris.

Two weeks after I’d finished high school and one year after my stepfather ran off with our babysitter.

On June 7th 1976 I arrived at the bottom of the stairs that led to Christa’s Modeling Agency.

Covers from Elle, Marie Claire, and Vogue went up the walls and familiar faces stared down at me and seemed to say:

We’re much more beautiful than you’ll ever be – go home.

Home was not an option. I was done with all that; My childhood, school and my wild mother who was indulging her new-found sexual freedom by taking a different lover for each day of the week.

All done. Even if these other models were prettier and skinnier and sexier, I’d been invited by Johnny Casablancas, the world’s hottest model agent, to meet with his partner Christa and try out for the couture shows in July.

There was no way was I going back. Modeling was a stepping stone to my dream career as a fashion designer. Through modeling I’d meet famous designers, wear amazing clothes and make enough money to go to art college.

I hesitated and someone tapped my back.

Allez. Allez. Go, go,

I’m Katja from Amsterdam, I’m here to see Christa.

Ah oui, I’m Christa, the woman said.

I followed her upstairs and she left me behind in a small reception room.

Purple psychedelic letters that spelled Christa were all over the walls and a patent white sofa was jammed between the wall and a door. Pictures of Pat Cleveland, Linda Morand, Kim Alexis and other familiar faces surrounded me. The stale smell of Gauloise cigarettes and strong black coffee made me nauseous and again I felt the urge to leave. Maybe I should enroll at the Rietveld Art Academy in Amsterdam.

Behind a glass door was the bookings room and I could see four bookers working the phones from a series of desks crowded with photos, calendars and charts. They were busy talking to clients. They pulled model work sheets from a central shelf and checked available dates for each girl. On the other side of the room three bored-looking models leaned against a windowsill. One of them, she looked familiar, must’ve cracked a joke and the other two laughed. Then she turned and stared at me like she’d just spotted the ugliest creature in the universe. To my horror she moved towards me. She pressed her face against the glass door and pushed it open with her forehead. This girl was crazy and she scared me.

Hallo, I said.

My voice shook.

I’m Katja from Amsterdam. Christa told me to wait here.

Then I knew. She was Janice Dickinson – the hottest model in Paris. She was the one, the badass American, on all those covers in the stairway.

Janice grabbed my clammy hand and dragged me into the office. The bookers and the other models stared at me but no one said a word. Even the phones seemed to stop ringing.

Janice turned around and put her face against mine.

I wondered if she was going to kiss me but instead she sniffed the top of my head, my hair, my face, my shoulders, around my back, to my breasts and down every inch of my body. She stopped at my crotch like a dog and made a disgusted face. Everyone laughed. I wanted to send her flying through the glass.

But I just stood like a stupid grinning giraffe.

Honey, she announced. You’ve got what it takes! Welcome to Paris, the capitol of lonely horny models.

more from  The BlackBerry Diet:


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The BlackBerry Diet – a novel by Barbara de Vries

“Youth is something very new.

Twenty years ago no one mentioned it.”

– Coco Chanel.

The BlackBerry Diet


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Barbi does Port Jervis

annual soap box derby Port Jervis

Port Jervis is not Miami. Port Jervis is not the Hamptons. Port Jervis is in New York State but its so not the Hamptons.

In fact its probably the most un-Hampton place in NY State.

So. You may ask yourself. why is Barbi in Port Jervis? ( called PJ for short, which some locals take literally and wear their Walmart PJ’s to the supermarket, liquor store, gas station, gun and ammo shop or  while lounging on their porch). Port Jervis lies on the Delaware river  in a forgotten corner of NY, about 90 minutes from NYC. It became a destination when the D&H canal which ran down the Delaware river and transported coal, lumber and other raw materials and the railroad were built. But now Port Jervis, like so many industrial US towns, is a shadow of its former self with hopes to become the next Hudson creating artists lofts, galleries and coffeeshops, a dream that diminished as soon as the recession hit two years ago.

It’s the car.

PJ has the only dealership close-ish to Milford which will fix specific GMC related issues, like that stupid back handle coming off the stupid hatch door.

So.

This car, which husband calls HIS car, instantly becomes OUR car when one chump is needed to sit waiting at PJ GMC … for an hour which becomes two  or more….

And so here I sit, my MAC  secretly plugged into an outlet under the seventies oil stained nylon couch (my battery is lazy nowadays)  wearing my Marc Jacobs skirt, Loomstate Tee,  orange espadrilles in a casual isn’t this just the perfect place to blog, kinda way.

I could go across the street to Homers, the oldest diner in Port Jervis, which was established 1807 or thereabouts, and has not been renovated since. The old geezers sitting at the bar, morning after morning, are the kind for which David Lynch writes entire movie scripts. I usually sit on the other side in a sickly green booth with vinyl seats that are held together by ducktape that’s held together by duck tape that’s held together by duck tape that sticks to my legs. Faded, no not sepia, pictures on the walls show them good ole days when PJ was booming, with proud men standing by a steam engine or a canal boat full of huge logs. They look independent, strong and ever so American. White haired relatives of those strong souls now carefully count their nickels and dimes as they pay for their eggs, bacon and white toast all for $2.99. I had breakfast at Homers last week, when I brought the car  in for its “evaluation”. I cant do Homers again, not twice in one summer.

Over the last eight years, between driving the kids to school in Glen Spey NY and keeping my horse at New Hope Farms, I used to pass through Port Jervis several times a week.

New Hope Farms is the best horse boarding deal in New York State (if you don’t mind traces of cultishness). Its an Olympic sized complex, built in the seventies by the Reverend Moon. Yes him, Sun Myung Moon of the Moonies. Turns out one of his 16 children, a daughter, was an equestrienne on the Korean national team. Moon was sure  she’d do better if she trained on American soil and so he built her a complex all to herself.  No expense spared. New Hope Farms is probably the only thing in PJ that can hold its own against the Hampton.  One wonders why he picked this spot. Was it cheap acreage? Was it inconspicuous? Was it complete ignorance about USA horseyness? (I mean Kentucky or Virginia come to mind)  It’s a mysterty but there it sits. 3000 acres with an Olympic sized arena surrounded by three long barns with about 150 sparsely occupied 100 sq ft stalls.

The place is run by a Moonie, now officially called a member of the Unification Church (which may make her a Unifier?) a bi-polar woman who one day acted like she loved me and my horse at New Hope and the next threatened to evict me for leaving the tack room light on while  grooming.

One very cold winter the local pony club moved in so the kids could ride in our arena. The huge, big enough for Olympic trials, arena. Unfortunate;y the young riders knew no arena protocol. They just rode like crazy little Disney ponyclubbers wherever their ponies fancied trotting. These crisscrossing little ghostly creatures (why were they all white?) made my large black Oldenburg very nervous.

I was doing an extended trot on the diagonal and suddenly there, right in front of us, crossed one such white pony. Lubek (my horse) jumped to the left while I headed on the diagonal as planned, causing us to part, me flying to the ground, and landing hard on my lower back.

FUCK!

Echoed across the cavernous arena bouncing of the 4500 aluminum spectator benches. Flags of every country in the world, which hang dustily in the rafters, fluttered in shame.

F U C K !

I shouted again. Adding:

FUCKING PONIES EVERYWHERE!

I got up but my back was not cooperating. Instead I stood bent in a downward-facing-doggish pose waiting for help.

(Little did I know that saying FUCK within Unification-Church grounds was a crime punishable by death)

A dozen (mothers of those out-of-control pony clubbing girls) mouth’s hung open. Their riding instructor passed the reigns of my horse to me as if she just handed me the gun with which I’d shot one of her white ponies.

The energy turned to shun, and quite possibly stoning to follow.

I stumbled out of the arena, handed my horse to one sympathetic friend, grabbed a handful of snow, shoved it in a plastic bag, shoved the snow bag into my breeches and drove myself to the emergency room.

I was flat in bed on a cocktail of muscle relaxers and Vicodin, a lovely vacation-like combination, for a week.

As soon as I returned to New Hope I was summoned into “the office”.

A lecture followed. A lecture about using “that word”. A week later I was called into the office again and got a second lecture about using  “that word”.  A week after that I got my third lecture about using  “that word” (you get the picture). Was she giving me the Moony brainwash and repeat after me, again and again – bad word – bad word – bad word – treatment?

But.

It didn’t work. FUCK is still my favorite word. So there Mister Moon, Mister Moon…

Anyway I’ve digressed. But as you can gather, my car is still not fixed, so I wandered down my Port Jervis memory lane.

Now, if you don’t mind, I wander back to the Hamptons for a minute, while I’m still waiting.

Because I’m pretty sure that you can’t say FUCK in Hampton boarding stables and arenas either. I’m sure Kelly Klein never says FUCK  when she falls off her horse (she may mumble it and then claim she said muck).

However.

I know.

For a fact.

That:

In the Hamptons you can say FUCK-OFF when some asshole in a vintage convertible Mercedes (red) steals a long awaited parking spot at the Citerellas parking lot. I’ve heard mothers say  FUCK YOU ASSHOLE when a Porsche going 50 miles an hour  brushes her Peg Perego stroller in the middle of  the Newtown Lane zebra crossing, gay guys say SHUT THE FUCK UP when someone dares to speak in the movie theater. I’ve heard a fat new member say WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING IN MY SPOT  at the Devon Yacht club, and anyone will tell you that it was FUCKING awesome to run into Naomi Campbell at Scoop who was on  her cell saying what a FUCKING asshole her driver turned out to be.  Retailers will complain that their rents are  through the FUCKING roof and realtors say that the market is FUCKED compared to three years ago. Not to mention that the traffic is always FUCKING awful and the local corn the best FUCKING corn in the entire world, make that universe…

Anyway

The car is  fixed, and I’ve somehow forged a blog about FUCK, Port Jervis and the Hamptons

So. I’m done.

I’m outta here.

So long PJ…

In case you think I’m just bitching here a few  links to the most desirable places in PJ:

Samaki, for the best smoked fish in the north east.

The Blue Parrot, the coolest restaurant at 17 Front Street

The Creamery, a real old style dairy bar on the river

Bowling in one of the most authentic alleys still around

and of course the antique shops on Front Street.