Love in Time of Corona

… between Amsterdam, New York and Milford, PA

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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


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.


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.


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:


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?


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).


I know.

For a fact.


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…


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.


Barbi does the Hamptons

Well, I’m here in Easthampton. (We left the day after my glorious birthday party, which still reverberates like a happy crystal…)

But I’m not really.

Like I do not venture beyond the compound of our hosts. I know. Some of you will think, well, if she likes Miami Beach then what’s so wrong with the Hamptons?

I’ve been trying to answer that question myself. Maybe I’m even writing this blog because I want to figure it out.

I know its not the obvious. Its not the A-types that are too master-of-the-universe-ish to stop at STOP signs, that will steal the last smoked duck out of your shopping cart at Citerella’s, cause wicker-burn by using their wicker baskets as tools of advancement in the Farmer’s Market’s line, or give you the finger when you point out that there is in fact a line to get onto the Shelter Island Ferry. Its not them. All that stuff is kinda funny in its own Hamptons way.


I’ve been coming here for more than twenty summers. I met husband here. He had a lovely Tech-Built home right on the beach. Every summer we spent a few weeks there (our days wedged between those of renters, siblings and parents).  Iona was christened on our beach and two years later we got married in the same spot, Iona frantically trying to plant her “flower girl” sunflower in the sand. The twins spent the first weeks of their life under a mosquito net on the deck overlooking the bay. We gave many infamous July 4th parties enjoying our (Devon Yacht Club) neighbor’s fireworks and were complicit in George Plimpton’s last wish to have his ashes blown in one last glorious glittering fire work shower over Gardiner’s Bay.

Then we sold the house, to Piccaso’s daughter Maya, and moved on. Still we come back every summer, stay with friends for a week or so. Husband has such yearnings here, for a childhood lost, for the way life used to be, for lost possibilities, expectations, friends and an ex-wife. He even wrote a book, Weekend Utopia, about the vanished dream that is the Hamptons.

But I don’t yearn. Not for the days when we first met here. Not for the years between then and having kids, not for my wedding day, the parties, the family dinners on the porch watching fiery sunsets… I enjoyed it all, but I don’t pine. Not at all.

So I wonder about this blanket of melancholy that covers me.  Here, now, just off route 27 in Easthampton. Could it be that  a layer of one of husband’s shadows hovers over me?  Like  one of his smaller ghosts is trying to rattle me? After all we’ve been together 20 years, like practically 24/7. I’m not trying to pass the buck, but shit, I’m happy when he’s happy so why not pick up on his melancholy?

It’s curious. We’re going home tomorrow, after the memorial service of an old friend’s mother, and I know I’ll be myself again as soon as we head west.


I’m the kind of person who wants to know what bothers her now, right now, right here, analyze and fix it.

Maybe. In this case of Hampton Blues I’m just going to have to let it go….

Just breathe deep…

and let it go….

Iona connecting with a Hampton sunflower

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Barbi does Milford

or home sweet home….

There is, I realize, no place like home, and our house in Milford feels a lot like home, even while I’m still into de-renterfying mode, like why is our wireless network suddenly called Casa Cielo? Why is there no longer a phone in my office and where the hell is the egg tray from the fridge? I ask myself are these my pots and pans underneath this black crust? was that really a mouse running out of the fridge? And wasn’t my shower curtain  white and not ombre´ brown…? Every day holds another renter trail surprise and all lead to the inevitable conclusion that renting and owning are two different states of mind and thats putting it nicely…

Still, I have a gorgeous home. My home is me. My home is us. Alastair, Iona, Iain, Kiki and Leila. I wish I could carry my house, like a turtle or a snail, to Miami Beach and to Eleuthera, and everywhere else I fancy living.

You have a question? About the town of Milford? What is it like? Actually, its pretty cute but culturally a bit disappointing. I’ve been here 22 years and given the chance the good ‘ole boys still call me a newcomer. An accent (the UK Queens English), a past in New York City (and beyond), and a wardrobe that may include a few designer labels, will earn anyone here that title. Newcomer. Like immigrant. Someone who  does not belong. (A strange phenomena on this New Conservative American landscape, like really, which generation earns the righteous right to say they belong? First? Second? Third?)

The big disappointment came in the guise of Dunkin Donuts. On main street. Right next to the lot that had been bought and earmarked for our airy, lightfilled and green new library, designed by Fred Schwartz , the super fabulous architect from New York, who won the competition for this new building. Unfortunately to us, Milford’s new generation, the entire venture was perceived to be organized by so-called Newcomers. The ones that had lives in New York. Those terrible uppity outsiders who think they are better than everyone else. Thus the new library  split the town in two. The good ole boys did not want this library and riled their troops as if a nuclear power plant was taking root right in the center of their town. While we were in Miami a referendum was held in Milford Borough, population 3500, which sealed the fate for the county (population 40,000). Result: No modern-architect-designed-green-library would disgrace their cute “historic” town.

However. After citing that no chains like Dunkin Doughnuts, Home Depot or flat-roofed modern structures would find their way into the Borough center (“over our dead body “) the town officials somehow  thought that, instead of expanding the Milford mind,  Milford waistlines could benefit from some expansion. Dunkins opened and, insult to injury, it borders the proposed, and purchased, library site, overlooking the stream, the Knob and the Victorian walk along the Sawkill Creek, which no DD consumer will ever appreciate.

And while I’m at it, can anyone tell me what’s with that third new fireworks store, the first thing one sees when arriving – Welcome to Milford – Historic town?  For some obscure reason, this fireworks store is the only business in town, (who are they related to?) that doesn’t  have to adhere to the strict signage ordnance (cute, small and historic) and has its own patriotic (tell me what’s so patriotic about fireworks, their sound of gunfire?) huge banners and flags and other in-your face-paraphenalia that tells the newly arrived visitor, NOT, “welcome we are a cute historic town”, BUT, “howdy we are a loudmouth, keep small children indoors, gun touting, heavy-drinking, devil-may-care kind of place where Bikers are Welcome, liberals and librarians – Keep Out.”

So. I love my house. It is perfect. It fits me like a glove. But Milford, after showing years of improvement, the Fauchere, the Black Bear Film Festival, the annual Music Festival, the efforts of Dick Snyder, Sean Strub, Peter and Reggie, Hilary, Nancy and Darryl, Donna Hamilton, Alan Greenbaum, Jerry Beaver and Nancy Pitcher, and many others, seems to be slipping towards the appeal of the mass dumb-down culture, like the Dunkin Donuts and fireworks stores, Turkey Hill gas stations, smoke and lottery shops and tight Park Service regulations instead of organic farmer’s markets, funky independent boutiques and many good, cool bars, music/poetry cafes and restaurants.

But I know Milford won’t give up. We still have the Patisserie, the Waterwheel Cafe, the movement to renovate the old movie theatre, the Indigo Arts building with 7th Street Coffee, and all power to them. Yes to those who may have lived in New York, and who know the cultural trends and  call for originality, creativity and independence…

Speaking of which, Iona’s birthday, fourteen this time, was yesterday, July Fourth, and her adoring, adorable Dad, bought her a MACBook. She is in heaven while the rest of us are envious. Jealous of the speed with which she goes online, the perfectly white key board, the options and features that come with it.

Of course Iona had it all, call it fall-out from my omnipotent “singing telegram mother”. Birthdays have to  be the perfect balance between gifts and wrapping, appearance and content, guests, friends, family, cake, singing, food and love. I think I scored 80 out of a 100. A brief but loud spat with husband knocked 20 points out of Iona’s otherwise perfect birthday chart… but who knows, maybe, in the end, that’s the best gift of all – the lesson that perfection is a mere rainbow which stretches from one unreachable yard to another and that in reality God is found in the details, including the small imperfect details like fights and conflict, which complete the whole circle of our existence….

Celebration fireworks and dinner-theatre at J Morgans Puett’s  on Saturday night…

…the Mildred’s Lane saturday night events, our other home away from home sweet home.


inner voices and Dear Abby…

photograph: Robin Saidman for Harpers Bazaar, Model: Barbi

I hear voices in my head. Don’t you?

There’s my mother’s voice. She is the chief, CEO, President, mother of  the voices, although I dont think they talk among themselves all that much. They talk to me. Sometimes when I ask, mostly when I don’t ask at all. Like when I’m just doing my own thing,suddenly mothervoice will say isn’t it time you go to bed (or get up)? Or its been sunny all day and you haven’t been outside ONCE. Then there’s the Judge Judy voice. She mainly speaks up inside the car. That fuckin asshole ran a stop sign, and you have a car full of kids, he’s guilty, guilty, guilty of your wrecked vehicle (she helps me imagine the worst scenarios), he has to pay the millions of rehab bills your insurance will not pay, he is FUCKED for life! (she takes things way too far). Then there’s the Oprah voice. She has me on the show inside my head and tells me how much she likes my books, my jewelry, how much she adores ME. But she’s a quiet one. Usually just pipes up when I’m in a creative phase. Then there’s the Elle McPherson voice. (yes its Elle MC Pherson and not Kate or Giselle). She tells me how she’s aging much better than me, she’s thinner, less wrinkly, has better hair and her tummy is perfectly flat. She gloats about being invited to all the  best VIP parties and modeling the lingerie collection she designs herself. Ha, I tell her, but your love-life sucks. Fuck you Elle Mc Pherson-voice ! Then there’s my Amy voice. My friend Amy Ferris. She tells me whether I’m funny or not. She’s the one I want to hear laughing. My Amy Ferris laughter voice is very potent.

Then there’s my inner Dear Abby. Do you have an inner Dear Abby?I mean is it NORMAL to have an inner letter writing, yes and banal women’s problem Red Book style counselor inside my head? I write a her little notes and wait. She’s ever so reasonable (but sometimes it takes her a while to get back to me), and always tries to see both sides of the issue. I wrote to her, inside my head, last night:

Dear Abby, I have a problem. (of course I have a problem I’m writing to you, [thats another voice, my impatient teacher voice] get on with it already) The bed in our Miami candy land bachelor pad is a queen size, yes you’d think it would be Emperor, and the one back home in Milford is a King. By now you know I’m 6 feet long. And husband is 6.5. Well. I sleep on about 1/3 of the bed, or maybe its 1/4. I’m cool with that. I don’t move much when asleep. But here’s the problem, he moves around a lot. He’s very busy and interacts with the pillows. All the pillows. He hugs them and discards them. He loses them and looks for them. He even talks to them. He has long arms. And this is the part that I need to address: When I’m soundly asleep on my two feather pillows he slips his hand under them like a ferret burrowing a nest. Right under my ear. My sound asleep soft fuzzy, REM zone, head. Frrettt, trrt, trrttt. He scratches at the cotton pillowcase. He turns the hand over. He makes a fist. Its like a restless ferret. So now I’m awake and I carefully take his hand and put it back inside his 3/4 of the bed. I go back to sleep. But its also a persistent ferret. You get my drift? I keep putting it back, it keeps coming back, ferreting. Then, if its a very bad and busy night for the ferret, he will, yes really, he’ll suddenly and unannounced, when I’m fast asleep again, yank the pillow from under my head! Like if he cant burrow on my 1/4 he’l justt have to take the pillow back to his 3/4! This is by far the worst domestic sensation anyone can have in the middle of the night, while asleep. It makes me mad. Really really mad. So I yell at him. I wake him up. Curse and call him names. Of course he has NO idea what I’m talking about. None. A ferret? He says. What ferret, where? I guess its like sleep walking. Or Jekyll and Ferret. And it ruins the rest of our night and sometimes even the next day. So dear Abby what do I do? I love my husband and I like sleeping with him. But…

I’m still waiting for her to get back to me.


Vicodin, the mother’s helper…

Last Saturday morning I reached for clean knickers in the freshly done laundry basket and ping, my back went out. Dont do this to me I said to it, not now, (not ever actually) but it did anyway. It did it badly just to spite me. It doesn’t do it often, maybe two, three times a year, usually when i’ve been sitting in a bad chair, same position for a while, like writing and making jewelry are really bad for my back and they are the two things I really need to do (for my sanity) after making lunchboxes, driving to and from school twice a day, shopping for supplies for my family, that fucking dishwasher, homework, and cooking. But when I get fully into doing my two favorite things, which actually make me money, my back goes out. This is really unfair. Because, lets face it, the other stuff is boring. There are scales of boredom, like driving with the kids to and from school is not acually so boring because we usually have fun, but driving back alone, along the same streets twice a day is boring. Buying food is unbelievably boring, the same isles, the same shitty choices, the same rickety rusty carts, I mean the entire Publix aesthetic is just too upsetting and boring. I hate it. Making lunch boxes every morning has a certain creativity to it, its low on the scale of creative activities, but it rates in a  pathetic way. Then there is cooking. Now I LIKE to cook. I’m a good cook, or so they say, I just dont like feeding, as in whats for lunch? Whats for dinner? Twice a day. Every day. I’m the kind person who likes surprises, challenges, sudden upsets, throw me a curveball and I’m there, ready to play, but the same thing every day, day in day out eventually makes me angry. Anyone can do this shit, in fact a robot would be better  because it wouldn’t get  annoyed. So WTF you say? Didn’t Barbi just party around Art Basel? Yes I did. And  I took all those pictures. And I met interesting people who get to be creative all day long, like men with wives like me. Like my husband.  I wish I had a wife like me. Someone who pathologically has to make it perfect for everyone else.  So anyway my back goes out last saturday morning. I’d been making more beachplastic jewelry because there was an  increased interest after Art Basel when I wore this  new piece that everyone loved. I really need to create a full collection to start retailing. I want to find a retail partner. I want to be recognized for doing something creative, like all those  Art Basel types. So I’m excited. And  frustrated. Like I never have a enough time to actually do what I need to do to get to where I want to get. So, what usually happens at this point of frustration is that my back goes out. Make sense? Now I cant do anything at all. I cant sit. I can shuffle sideways like a crabby crab. But I cant write, I cant make jewelry. So I take a Vicodin. I like this stuff. Not only does it stop the pain, but it also stops my pissed-off ambition dead in its tracks. Now I’m mellow. I don’t give  a shit. But not everyone else in my family is equally mellow. Its Sunday. The day to do things “as a family”. We haven’t been outside Miami since we arrived, my husband says. So he gets us invited to The Keys. They have a boat, he says, we can go fishing. I’m not sure about boating I say. But I take another Vicodin and now I don’t give a shit. So we go, over an hour in the car, sitting, then a long leisurely lunch, sitting, then we drive to the boat, sitting, and then in the boat sort of sitting (in a hopping kind of way)  at 30 knots over big waves, woohoo, what fun cry the kids, bang bang bang goes my back.

What a lovely family outing. Only by the time I get home I can’t actually get out of the car and  my husband says in a I-know-best kind of way: You really shouldn’t have gone on that boat. Really? It must’ve been the Vicodin that made me do it.

I wake up the next day and realize that someone has come along with superglue and glued my right eye shut.  Its pink-eye mom, the girls say. Hurray, now I’m blind and crippled. I will just have to stay in bed. I take another pill and sleep till two. Then I get into the jacuzzi bath for the first time since we moved into this house. I do some gentle stretching. I take it easy while my husband notes how taking the kids to and from school really cuts into  his time to work… HELLO!

Still I’m good for doing homework and making dinner. I go to bed at ten.

This morning I’m sore but I can move enough to resume the daily chores. And the bills. I need to do the bills. And the twins science project is due on Thursday. And the fridge is empty (again). And Christmas is coming. And all I wanna do is make more jewelry. I think I’ll take another painkiller instead. At least then I won’t give a shit and l may even be caught humming: … all I want for Christmas is more Vicodin, Vi-co-din, Vi-co-din…

beach plastic comes in every color of the spectrum, the new piece

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The Art Basel Miami Diet, how to lose ten pounds in just five days

dessert at the Rubell Family Collection opening of their Beg, Steal and Borrow exhibition


Easy, they dont feed you here! Events, aka VIP parties, are planned from five in the afternoon through three in the morning, back to back, overlapping, six layers deep, some are even called dinner, BUT, they do not actually feed food. Drinks yes, but dinner, not quite. Maybe its the recession, maybe its fashion, but if a plastic cup filled with three shrimp and a hot pepper passes you between seven and ten, count yourself lucky. Except for Fendi’s dinner at Mr. Chow last night. Well kinda, it was dinner for one, so what was I supposed to do while Alastair ate? Well, I drove Michele Oka Doner to a few events that included Jordan, her son, and when I went to pick Al up at Chows the Peking Duck was just being served so I kinda crashed an empty chair and got enough calories to stay within the Basel Miami diet limit, before we returned home. I should have yielded earlier, I thought, to the donut wall, the symbolic dessert installation at the Rubell family collection, a wall with a thousand donuts hung on nails, for the picking.

But little did I know…

Tonight I write here, its past midnight, lick the peanut butter from my lips, and I wonder, but, more of THAT tomorrow….

it wasn't me

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rabid raccoons and rabbis

Thanksgiving dinner


It was fun and now its over. The last of the turkey was fed to the cats. and the raccoons, our guests have left, its quiet. Iona misses her friend Amanda and the twins are bummed, they love a full house, parties, action, and opportunities to dress up in glitzy gowns. Yes i said raccoons. And cats. Just up the street, at a large abandoned theater, there live a dozen homeless cats and four raccoons with their two raccundles. and every evening we collect our leftovers, get in the car, and park in the lot and i sneak out, weary of those either maternal or rabid raccons, and dump the food. Usually one tiger-striped cat with huge serious eyes walks out and sits right under our rolled down window. and stares. She stares us right down and we try to figure whether its a grateful stare, or a take-me- home-with-you stare, or a fuck-off-we-dont-need-your-food stare, or a I-remember-the-humans-who-abandoned-me-here-stare. or just a meditation stare before she tucks in. Then there’s the black alpha cat who always gets first dibs, and a ginger  one who lingers until there’s the invisble sign that she too can join the feast. Tonight one raccoon was eager, it may have been the liver laced, wine soaked, cranberry dotted gravy smell, and tiptoed like she was drunk in high heels across the beam from my headlights, dove into the food, found a large turkey bone heavy with meat and carried it, head held high as if she was afraid  to get her loot dirty, into the bushes where one youngster waited for her like a Tim Burton shadow against the white wall.

I have a hunch that this ritual of feeding cats and coons will be the sole reason my twins will finally fall in love with Miami.

Last night we held a small screening here, at our candy-land-bachelor-pad, of the movie that Roland, dear friend and godfather to all our kids, has made. This film follows three of his Bronx high school students over several years in their attempt to escape the ghetto  through writing poetry. The movie is a powerful and touching piece of work, which will be shown by PBS sometime next year. As all twenty of us sat quietly and watched and listened to loud, intense rapping and slamming, another, even louder noise, seeped in through the open windows. Alastair and I looked at each other. WTF? A street fight? On our ultra secure Aqua island? A spousal argument? The new neighbors?

Rowdier shouting and hooting competed with the rap poetry that echoed from Tiesto’s Bose sound system.

Words like: You cant have sex!!! Bounced from the street walls. And no masturbation!!!

I peeked outside and  through another open window across the street I saw ten young Hassidim men and their Rabbi sitting around the dinner table. The ten men cheered as if the Rabbi had just scored a goal.

As we finished Roland’s movie and ate a second Thanksgiving dinner, more loud and explicit sexual warnings about  the pre-marital relationship were delivered across the way, whether we liked it or not, as we wondered what was going on, how long it would last, and where it would lead. (Any explanations? )

Tomorrow is the day before Art Basel Miami launches into its week of over-the-top art events. Alastair and I will be blogging it all. Both here and at his new blog, Alastair Gordon, Off the Wall, so stay tuned for more from rabid Miami….

the godfather

roland, leila, evonne, turkey chef and tom

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thanksgiving in miami

gordon models

aah Thanksgiving.

I scan my emotional radar for signs of homesickness. hm. there are a few pockets. I think of a fire in the fireplace, of picking Roland and Ian up from the train, preparing the turkey in my pajamas, and seeing the forest in the the fog through the glass wall of my kitchen, the bare wet trees beside me, the streams and falls  swollen and roaring, a last yellow leaf falling reluctantly past, the sound of shooting far away because hunting season opens on monday, Roland  at the kitchen table cracking nuts and catching up on the news of the year, the girls peacefully playing or watching a movie, the smells of the turkey mixed with smoke from the fire, the long walk to the waterfal before we eat, amber straining at her leash, setting the table with layers of plates and late or dried flowers and plants from the garden, Donna arriving with yet another evolution of Happy Feet, the dancing penguin who became a dancing turkey, and last year a dancing Obama, and Anouk with Zeb and Zoe, and then finally as its now dark, lighting the candles and sitting around the long table  fifteen or more, kids and friends and family, and holding hands and saying a prayer of grace and thanks, and tucking in, and pouring the wine, and laughing and telling tales of Thanksgivings past…

But I’m here in Miami. Its ten thirty. I anticipate. I’ve already done thirty laps in the pool. I set the glass table for ten. Arranged the designer chairs alongside the ones from IKEA, I opened all doors and windows to let in the sun and air, so fresh after a night of rain. Roland is here, I’m thankful, it would not be Thanksgiving without him. Al is preparing the turkey. Evonne just called, her voice still raspy from sleep. Their flight to Miami was four hours delayed and they didn’t arrive at the Fontainebleau till two this morning. Iona is eager to see Amanda. Together they’ll make the  sweet potatoes with marshmellows. And so it will be different, but I’m excited and thankful for all of it, the memories and the day that lies ahead. For my family and my friends, the ones who are here, the ones who are elsewhere on the planet…


on the topic of women and inhibition


A pill that blunts female inhibitions?!
No matter how men try to get into women’s sex heads, the results are always funny. And scary. I don’t know how many women chemists worked on this new pill that is supposed to re-awaken our desire (is it really so asleep? Not in Miami Beach!) but judging from the quotes in the Boehringer press release a bunch of men take the credit, and after being released on Bloomberg all the top Google results are macho sites touting this much anticipated drug, by men, by bankers, counting on their shares becoming gold as women start having more sex and their world will be a happier and richer place.
Maybe what Boehringer calls “blunted inhibition”, am I the only woman who feels misunderstood by this misogynist pr line, is really a survival mode. Like a way to not get pregnant again, and not be judged for having an abortion (how will our culture balance and consolidate Viagra, this new pill, unwanted pregnancies and right to lifers?) This unblunting pill’s clinical trials, the so-called Bouquet studies, dubbed Violet, Daisy, Dahlia and Orchid (are we throwing up yet?) showed that their test-women took the drug daily (therein lies the money, otherwise why not just pop Ecstasy when this woman in her thirties and early forties finally finds the time to get to bed while her man is still awake) and after taking it for three to six weeks displayed the side effect of feeling tired. Pardon me? And this is BEFORE feeling horny? Now I’m confused. Don’t we, the smart ones, the women in our thirties and forties and fifties, KNOW (without studies) that we’re sexually blunted because we are ALREADY tired? Like DUH! And now men have designed a drug that will make us tired yet horny? Either they’re just dumb or I’m lost.  And how do they know that this drug blunts only the sex inhibition part of the frontal lobe? What about the other inhibitions? Like the inhibition that stops certain women from getting in the car with the wrong guy, use a condom, or leave the kids home alone to go on a hot date? Isn’t inhibition in some cases just a word for each woman’s own interpretation of common sense? And how exactly can this safety valve be selectively controlled by a drug that increases our sex drive?
Really? My sick “undersexed “sisters, is our disinterest in sex a legitimate medical condition, called by researchers HSDD (hypoactive sexual desire disorder), and are we gonna try this one? Hands up by those who admit to HSDD? Hands up by those who sometimes simply feel too tired? Hands up by the men who want more sex than their partner does? Hands up by the men who take Viagra?
More AHA!: Boehringer faces the loss of 1.5 billion dollars in annual revenue when their two older medicines, Mirapex for Parkinson’s disease and Flomax to treat enlarged prostate, lose patent protection next year. Poor poor Boehringer.
I agree with the notion that HSDD is a clear example of a disease created by pharmaceutical companies to make healthy women think they need medicine. But what do I know? Sitting by my Miami Beach pool where women of all ages  wear almost nothing and are buff, nipped, tucked, filled, implanted, and look like they have sex all the time. I mean Christ, Miami wouldn’t be safe if these women took this drug as well, the whole city would be bounding up and down, causing tidal waves.
Call me old fashioned but I’ll stick with the notion that a nanny (for the kids), a vacation, a husband on a diet so he’s nice to reach for under the covers, a few hunky young men around the pool or the supermarket for fantasy value, maybe a Percoset, a drink, a joint or Ecstasy (note to Internet Police, I’ve never touched the stuff) are likely to cure most cases of HSDD. But hey, who am I and what do I know? To be blunted, I’m just a menopausal bitch with young kids, who likes sex but is too responsible and inhibited to say let me do something for Boehringer’s shareholders and get horny more often…