Barbidoesmiami

How to Stay Sane in the City of No Shame


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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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she – he

she: why am i here?

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

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

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


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happiness – a luxury product

photo: iona gordon

photo: iona gordon

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


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r rated

DSC09448

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