Love in Time of Corona

… between Amsterdam, New York and Milford, PA


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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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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.


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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.