Barbidoesmiami

How to Stay Sane in the City of No Shame


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Beyond Miami Beach…

As Advised by Great White Dog

I find myself annoyed. Am I annoyed with Miami? After eight years of living here?

Much has happened in that time. We lived here during Obama’s his entire presidency. When we arrived there were many unspoken agreements that had shaped the local culture over the twenty preceding years, from the wild-west eighties until the crash of 2009. “As long as we are having fun” was one of them. Being serious was boring. I was called a Debbie Downer at a dinner party, when I talked about water in the streets as a result of climate change (that BTW, had made every guest late for the party). Don’t get me wrong, I like having fun, but my idea of fun is  different from dressing in skimpy but expensive designer clothes, drinking outrageous cocktails, clamoring around celebs and music so intense that the only possible interaction is taking selfies with your “friends” (while hoping for one with that star).

Yes guilty, my initial blogs were all about those parties. As an outlet for my culture shock. And, after years of working in NYC and living in Milford, PA with small children, these parties were so alien, so different and took me so far outside myself, that it felt like something I needed, in the way that getting really drunk sometimes feels like a healthy dose of vitamin C. It wore off fast, the so-called glamorous lifestyle, one that I had always walked away from, in Amsterdam, Paris, London and New York. It just isn’t me. I like to drive myself hard and if I don’t accomplish stuff I set out to do, I get depressed. I do not dream of retiring, shopping and sitting by the pool for the rest of my life. I need to be heard and seen and not for gossip and what I wear. So when the party dust settled I got to work on being relevant in Miami, no matter what it took.

It took a lot… I gave it my best… I feel depleted… I can’t say I conquered and I’m kind of over trying (… plus I’m getting shit done in other parts of the world).

And yes, I realize it’s not all about me and I’m not alone. Three months into 2017 and this worn-out feeling is a national depression. Up and down the East and West Coast we aspired to be part of a wave of hope that Obama brought with him. One that I saw as a way to change and save Miami, with talks of rising sea-levels, an ocean full of plastic, recycling and up-cycling, the right for all kids to an inspired public education such as DASH, affordable housing instead of 20% occupancy in condos and private homes worth billions on Miami Beach, air-conditioned year-around.

But if it felt like I was swimming against the stream over the past eight years,  I am now swimming into a Tsunami. Will the already lavish parties get even bigger and crazier as the 1% feels empowered, emboldened in their greed and need to flaunt it, with Miami Beach as the perfect stage for competitive one-percenting? Living less than a mile from Sunny Isles, with its six Trump Towers, and the highest concentration of Russian investments in recent years, Russia’s unabashed imperialism is palpable. And after the cuts to environmental protection, the NEA, healthcare, public transportation, education, housing and human and women’s rights, what will happen to the other group, the full-time residents and working class whose statistics show that Miami’s income disparity is one of the largest in the country?

Yet it is all about me. Also. About what I can give and do and how I will spend the next twenty years of my life optimizing who I am, what I have learned and how I can reflect this back on generations to come. In another year the twins will leave for college. I will be free from the school calendar, driving and feeding and other hands-on mothering. I look at them, and how they act and feel, and I remember being seventeen and practically jumping out of my own skin with impatience, anger even at being told what to do by teachers, parents, the system. The nervous restlessness that I now recognize for what it is in my girls – their booster engines filled with ambition for their future and need for autonomy, propelling them forward. As I see this in my daughters I recognize it in myself, four decades older than they are, but the impulse is the same, I am getting ready for another shift.

So I am annoyed at Miami. Or I am just annoyed. I am practically jumping out of my skin with irritation at the status quo, and like a very old teenager I’m going to use this urge to amp it up some and get more shit done…

(But maybe not in Miami).

 

Links to projects elsewhere:

PORTFOLIO SITE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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ner jippie t-shirt me

Today’s funniest searches that lead to my blog:
  • you can’t pray away the gay (huh? Barbi in Miami?)
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  • pictures of ringo starr swimming (ew!)
  • trippy pinata

My contribution to the search engines for today:

  • Gigantic  diet  addiction Carla Bruni
  • Acid Angelina twins in topless bar
  • Gay spouse shocker custody

I’m coasting on writing entries inspired by these, making them real somehow… hey and subscribe to my blog … I need more faithful followers and less whackos and perverts!


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Miami Beach Round Up, ten best …

Remember? getting ready to leave Milford September 2009...

Nine months since I packed the car in Milford and headed south with three kids, six bags, and loads of movies. Nine months since we did what we wanted, in a fuck the consequences kinda way, like – get outta town – hop on the bus gus – life is a beach – fuckem if they cant take a joke – the experience will do us good – life is too short  – broaden the horizon – migrate like a nomad – follow the sun and live your dream…

So what was it like? Living the dream on the beach? It was just like life. But sunnier.  It so wasn’t Milford. It was so Miami Beach. But it was life nevertheless. Husband and I still had fights. So did the twins. We still had homework and laundry and rashes and crushes. I still got rejection letters and I still cared when they came. Only it was 78 degrees in February. Only some days we said lets have lunch on the beach, and I made sandwiches and we hopped on our bikes and ten minutes later lay in the sand, stood in the surf, without guilt, on a Tuesday afternoon.

When I look back there were some memorable moments, quite a few actually, like I have a top ten of my high and low moments of nine months at the beach:

Best Parties:

1. October>The Halloween cross dressing party for grown ups, after candy rounds with the kids, going back home and dressing up with husband, have a scotch in the bathroom while he tried to get into a bra and pantyhose, making myself up like a man, and leaving the house around 11 instead of coming home at 11. Coming home at 3 am. Drunk and stoned. Not done that in a while great start to our Miami Beach party season…

2. Which concluded with a party on Biscayne Point a few weeks ago when husband wore his pajama striped pale linen pants and I wore new white silk pants, and  our host dropped his glass of red wine at our feet, splashing it mostly over husband ‘s pants and within ten minutes of our arrival I’m sitting with my feet in the pool, for once wishing for high chlorine levels to help remove the wine stains, and look through the gauze curtains to my left only to see husband in his white y-fronts standing by an elaborate four poster bed while host holds up pant after pant, as if they’re at Prada together. Me thinks, well, thats the fastest A has ever gotten out of his pants at a party and how gay is that host? Not at all it turned out, he had buxom brunette twins in matching shorts and fishnet stockings launching around, bored and clearly waiting for the party to be over. One well-groomed older lady referred to them as “the hired help”. Still, it turned into one of the best parties when Tray Lockerbie, a young singer from Nashville stepped out with his guitar, sang a few songs and inspired three more musicians to come out, including husband. They jammed, we sang. We danced. Got home late, husband in different pants from the ones he left home in – a sign of a good time had…

Miami icons: Sam, Esther, Iran

3. Our  dinner parties at our Aqua Candyland Bachelor Pad like the one  in honor of Eyjafjallajökull and Zaha Hadid who could not make it home to London because of the ash… four fabulous Miami Matriarchs: Sam, Iran, Kathy and Esther, dishing and gossiping and one-upping with stories of their wildest Miami moments…

Zaha and Barbi in the Tiesto candy-land elevator

4. The twins birthday party by the pool, voted best party by them, in 90 degree weather, ten ten-year old girls and two boys (pretending they were at their own separate party) going wild. Iona came to the rescue, miraculously, like a pied piper, rounded them up and bossed them around into orderly games that included hula hoops, diving for prizes and water guns. All a sweaty, hamburger-scented blur to me.

twin birthday

5.  Top best moment beyond, over and above parties: Finding out that Iona got into DASH. A top-ten-ever-proud-mother-moment.

6. The “gifted” test of the twins. A controversial public school moment, where I bought into the system that separates the so-called gifted kids from the rest, and puts them in classes that are superior in method and level of teacher. Hm. Ok, some another time shall I rant about this. Anyway. To get there from here, my girls needed to get an IQ test of sorts. Now. You have to know that over the years opinions by various teachers on their intelligence and the ability to apply themselves have varied. I never wavered, but was often worn down by  negative reports that included notes like “unable to concentrate”, “reading impaired”,  “incomplete homework”.  So this test was a test. A test about who was right. Was my conviction just motherly love? Like Kiki said, “of course you think we’re smart, you’re our Mom!” She thought the teachers were the only authority, and when “gifted” teacher, Mr Spagnola, told their class that they were “the worst class in the school” the last nail had been nailed into their “see Mom, we’re stupid” coffin.

NOT SO.

my smart twins

They tested brilliantly. Smart, ahead of their age, eloquent, sensitive and insightful. A weight of self-doubt fell off my shoulders, the veil of insecurity was lifted from their aura. Just one silly test was all it took. I know its all relative, the Wizard of Oz is right about certificates, but, but, it was a good Miami moment.

7. The day I moved into my small sunny studio at Ofer Mizrahi’s utopian village alongside the tracks on 4th North Court. I’d had my eye on the small,  like 250 sq.ft, studio for months –  a palm-tree just outside the french doors, surrounded by young painters, designers environmentalists and architects. A place of my own to escape to… for more look under # 7 in my Worst Miami Moments…

8. My Mom’s visit. Showing her all my favorite things and seeing her health improve in the sun, surrounded by  granddaughters and love.

love

9. Getting my scarves into Base at the Delano Hotel, making clothes again, finding local women who can sew and bead and enjoy making my stuff while getting paid, and realizing that I can start my business here and help clean the beaches from plastic pollution and maybe make a difference in the environmental consciousness of Miami. All of which is recorded here:   http://itsamanmadeworld.wordpress.com/

blue beach plastic silk scarf

10. Marriage. We have been together 20 years this Labor Day. Twenty years is longer than I lived in Amsterdam by two years. Its ten years longer than my life in London. In twenty years everything happens. E V E R Y T H I N G. Jobs come and go. Money comes and goes. Parents die, kids are born. Friends die, friends are born. Dreams die, dreams are born. Together we lived in Tribeca and on 9th Street, we lived in an old terracotta factory on the Raritan Canal just outside Princeton which flooded during hurricane Floyd and a week later I was pregnant with twins. We moved to Milford, we built our dream house, we moved to Miami.

Alastair Gordon at Tiesto @ the Fontainebleau

Love. I learned that love changes. That love isn’t static but more like a pink lava lamp. Sometimes we are completely one, sometimes we are at odds, but we always come back together with more love, more intensity and more understanding.

Miami was his idea. We needed it, he said. We needed sun as in light, and parties.  He challenged us and some days this made me mad. Some days I did not want to be Barbi in Miami, I wanted to just be Barbara again. But now, a year later, he has left for Milford and I miss him. And I love him more for making us do this, and for taking me into our marriage deeper than ever before…

Alastair, Kiki and Leila leaving Miami Beach, back to Milford....

Iona and I are here for two more weeks, while she does her DASH summer camp and I enter ten more memorable Miami moments, coming soon….