November 30, 2010

Giving Thanks and Other Games

This was our third annual hosting of Thanksgiving with friends (second in Garrison).  It's such a wonderful thing to do, and enjoy;  Spending the holidays with friends.  After I moved away for college and worked my way to the West Coast, my thanksgivings were split each year between my father in California, or going to Virginia to see my mom. When she moved to Germany for 3 years, it was either spend it with father, if he was in town, or quite often spent with a friend and her family.
    As quite often predicted, those dinners can be fun, but awkward. Being a stranger at someone's table presents interesting opportunities...  questions.  Things to be answered or quietly redirected.  Usually the color of my hair was a hot topic.  These were good times and bad.
   When I moved to New York with my german boyfriend, I started to do Thanksgivings with my Manhattan friends.  Not a unique thing for young manhattanites.  These are usually a group of 20something couples and singles displaced from other parts of the country or Europe.   They were big fun meals, and well cooked. The conversation was hot and easy going.
   When I met my husband, it changed again.  He being from Manhattan, and having parents in the city changed the annual holiday ritual.   What was interesting though (his parents being divorced) going to his mother's for Thanksgiving was a different variation on my previous "friends" Thanksgiving.  Her dinners included her friends from New York.  And they all rivaled in culinary skill.  It was interesting to partake in a different kind of ritual.
   But she moved out west.  And oddly enough timed, right after we had twins.  And so, we sometimes had dinner with his father, or my mother in Virginia.  Maybe once with my father, who had moved to Colorado.   Basically, alternating 4 sets of grandparents each year between Thanksgivings and Christmases.   Not easy.
   So about 4 years ago, we decided traveling during the holidays sucked. About the same time, we started making a whole new group of friends in Brooklyn.  At that point  most of my Manhattan friends moved away... got married, started their new routines.
   Family is very important to me.  They will always be there for you no matter what.  As will best friends that were made when your younger.  But when your an adult, friendships become a different kind of family.  A new family.  You have the same interests, same struggles, same dilemmas... and joys.  It so nice to open a bottle of champagne, play backgammon, cook together and then sit down with your friends and loved ones, and share a delicious meal.  And say, Thank you for being there for me.  Thank you for being my friend.  And thank you for sharing this meal with us.

The Hike

The Place Cards

The Bird Chefs
The Cooks

The Little Eaters

Glass Identification

Backgammon Tournament

Tournament Winner

Photos by Jelle Wagenaar (kitchen scene by me).
Attendees this year: Nick and Victoria Sullivan, John and Eva Midgley, Jelle Wagenaar and Daniela Jung, Suzanne and Mark Warfield + Florence, Charlie, Luke, Jake, Fred, Nico, Jackson and Dean.

November 24, 2010

Ladies and Gentlemen, Introducing my new obsession: Ayaka Nishi the amazing Jewelry designer!

I fell down a dark, dark rabbit hole, and woke up in another world... one where I was embraced by beauty. By the delicate, and intricate work of Ayaka Nishi.

I can't even begin to tell you what my favorite pieces of Ayaka Nishi's jewelry are... Bone, Coral, Honeycomb, Spiderweb, Insect Wing, Fossil, Feather... I could slither into anyone one of them... wrap my mind, body and soul with them, and make them a part of me. Because that's just what they are... bone and skeletal embraces.... Honeycomb textures to wrap yourself in. Spider-web necklaces to adorn the collar and fish scale rings to make your finger come alive.

And when you visit her website, you are greeted with a video, that is married in symbolism. Gorgeous, and eerie... a bracelet in the shape of a spine, laying in the desert... like the remains of a dinosaur's skeleton...  to remind us, that when living creatures return to nature, we too become bones.

The eyes of the woman, when the flower emerges from her mouth, remind me of Man Ray.  The feathers, of a once forgotten era... they've become a favorite in the deep dark world behind heavy velvet curtains, with heavy lidded ladies and thin eyebrows.

As a child, Ayaka grew up surrounded by beauty and nature in Japan... the ocean, a slumbering volcano, the woods, green hills and meadows to roam. Watching and touching, she absorbed the textures and sights around her, and has incorporated their beauty and essence into her work.

Visit Ayaka to see more, learn more, and fall in love.

http://www.ayakanishi.com/ - website
http://www.ayakanishi.com/lookbook.html –online look book

Dear readers, this is my last post till next week. I'm off for the long Thanksgiving Holiday. If you haven't had a chance, take this time to enjoy nature. Close the laptop, breathe deeply of the air around you, and go for a long walk... preferably on your own. Leave your phone at home.
Much love!

November 22, 2010

The Ladies' Night Out with Lady Rizo Unescorted at Joe's Pub

I don't know if this ever happens to you... but it does happen to me... sometimes. I get invited to an event, or show, and I don't know anything about it. I assume it's one thing, and it turns out to be completely something else.

Well that's what Friday night was for me. I expected some Mediocre burlesque show that involved torchlight songs to a lonely audience. Part of the problem was, I'd never been to Joe's Pub, even after 18 years living here. Shit, has it been that long already? Yes, actually, I moved here the day after halloween of 1992. Oh.. I digress. The other problem is I didn't bother to look into who Lady Rizo was. But in retrospect, I'm glad I didn't. Because the surprise of seeing someone so absolutely engaging, fabulous, talented and charismatic as this, was better to be experienced than explained.

So without further ado, I bring you Lady Rizo!

There were many costume changes...

And a little gaga thrown in...

Thankfully, I recorded some of it.  You too, need to experience the gorgeous voice of Lady Rizo:

After our dinner and show, we were not quite ready to head home to Brooklyn, so we wandered back to where we met up earlier, the B bar.

 The B Bar and Grill, situated across the street from the brand new Bowery Hotel, was formally known as the Bowery Bar. Flowing over with life, cute bouncers, and the usual moronic men who don't understand, "get lost"... we eventually found our way over to where the DJ was, and started dancing. I didn't make it home till 2:30 in the morning.

I want to thank the ladies who ventured out to see Lady Rizo and go dancing; Victoria, Deborah and Eva, and especially thank Suzy for arranging such a fabulous evening!

November 19, 2010

Norisol Ferrari: The Queen of Fur, Leather & The Exotic

Get ready for your sexy fur and leather induced orgasm...

One of Norisol Ferrari's earliest memories is of lying on the floor of a Neiman Marcus fur salon dreaming of being surrounded in this finery for all of her life.  Born and raised in New York, with  Venezuelan roots and years of traveling, Norisol's began a lifetime appreciation and love of different cultural aesthetics, beauty and timeless glamour. Each one of her pieces is a hand-made work of art and many of them are one-of-a-kind creations.  At the core of her work are historical uses of classic men's tailoring grounded in utilitarion philosophy.

"It comes down to empowering my costumer with what is important to them and inspiring them. In this incredible and sometimes difficult journey we call life, we often need reminders of the wonderful world we live in – a coat, made from nature’s bounty and designed to fit perfectly, protecting us from the elements while holding us safely in comfort has a way of making us feel like the magnificent beings we are."

visit www.norisolferrari.com/ to experience her collection.

November 16, 2010

Devious Daughters of West Point...

Well, I guess you could say, I'm a devious daughter of West Point.   My father went there, and graduated in '54, with honors, and at the top of his class.  That little bit of information, explains a lot about me. Why I'm a fuck up in school, and why I'm incredibly anal and technical.

From a very, very early age, I wanted to be a soldier and I spent many hours in front of a mirror with dad's military hats pretending.  I'd stuff my white button down shirt with tissue, so I could be the ann margaret of cadets, and stuff my long stringy blond hair up into the military cap.  I'd throw on some of my dad's funny 70's glasses, and cock my hip out to the side, pretending I had such things as hips, and put my hand in salute.  Aye aye, sir!

But I never really considered the whole picture. To me it was about dressing up. Playing with the boys.  Being tough, but feminine.   It wasn't until I was about 15, when we moved back east from our ideal west coast life, and we traveled up to West Point to visit the stomping grounds of where my father spent those formative 4 years, that I realized it was a lot more than dress up.   I could barely handle having my father tell me what to do... how would I handle being pushed around by hundreds of men.  Here I learned the endless tales of hazing, and bullying. The long hours of studying.  The drills, and the chills from the chilly stone dorm rooms.  It turned out not be quite as sexy as I thought.  Life is not a movie.  

20+ years later, my father went through his closet, and remembering my love of his uniforms, decided to send them to me.  I was like a kid at Christmas time, opening up that box, pulling out his cadet marching uniform and hats.   I don't know that he would love the idea of me and my friends dressing up in them.  But I don't think he'd hate it either.  I won't wear them out, especially up near West Point, where we oddly now have inherited a country estate right across the river.  It would be disrespectful to him.   But I think when the girls get together, and dance around the fireplace playing dress-up... it's okay.

But I wonder what those young cadets would think...

Reading on the subject of Women in West Point.                                                                                  

Porcelain On Steel | Women of West Point's Long Gray by Donna McAleer

The United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, admitted, for the first time, in 1976, female cadets. Porcelain on Steel is their story, and the stories of the hundreds of women who have graduated from there since. It is a story of obstacles overcome that is unique in American education.
In a straight forward manner, the author paints a stark picture of the prejudices encountered by the first women who attended, and how they coped. We are given a glimpse of their courage, and resoluteness. The reader gets to know West Point, what makes it unique, and how it changed, for the better, as a result of a gender integrated corps. We see women who became all that they could be, and much more than they originally aspired to be as a result of their army experiences, which began as plebes in that intimidating establishment that has no equal in the vast expanse of colleges across the land.
The book encapsulates stunning career success stories of many of these women graduates, both in and out of the military, and the reader's heart cannot help but be warmed by the unanimous, graceful, gratitude of these strong ladies for the chance that their West Point education and experience gave them.

November 12, 2010

I Wanna be Where the Boys Are... and kick butt!

I've been meaning to publish this post for quite a while. Really, right after I saw the movie about the Runaways. But for one reason or another, I kept delaying it.
Maybe because, I felt... jealous. How do I explain this?

Well, I was listening to the Runaways when I was a kid.. when they were playing live. I didn't know how cool or interesting they were... I just knew I loved their songs. I gleefully watched Suzi Quatro on Happy Days when she played Leather Tuscadero. Leather was the younger sister of Fonzie's girlfriend, hot-rod driver Pinky Tuscadero. I just thought she was the coolest. Laying there on my stomach, with my chin resting in my hands, elbows propping me up. I absorbed her swagger, her clothes, her attitude. Little did I know, that Quatro was vital to Joan's career, and Joan adopted many of Suzi's qualities including her shag haircut and style. But I recognized that they had the same style. Not knowing that who influenced who. Or for that matter, that they even knew each other.

But I eventually learned. Those were the days, when I listened to music but didn't bother with the details. I was a child after all. I never saw them play, only listened to them on a record. I was a tomboy who liked skirts, and I loved to play with the boys. I wanted to be as cool and tough as them too. I used to even put on my brother's little league baseball uniform, and pretend to be a boy.

When I saw The Bad News Bear in the movie theatre, I identified with Tatum O'Neil. A tomboy with a dress. And then I'd listen to the Runaways, and rock out, and think, girls are just as good as boys!

And then there is a memory of Cherie and her sister, Marie Currie. When I was 16, my very first boyfriend had their album, and showed it to me. And I looked at it, and recognized Cherie. There was one of my heroes. But my sick boyfriend just liked her because she looked like jailbait. And I didn't realize... I didn't think.. that was all a part of her look. And that was the whole way Kim Fowley tried to sell them... his vision of a band that isn’t about "women's lib, but women's libido". But these weren't women... they were girls.

So jealous.... why was I jealous. Because I felt (and don't you sometimes), like they were mine. They were my special band. And then here they are...

...depicted so perfectly, in perfect likeness by these adorable actresses. I guess I just wish, I could play that game too. And be young again, and pick up a guitar and rock out, instead of just being the betty on the beach.  It never occured to me, to pick up a guitar.

But it's never too late. I finally did 4 years ago. And I loved it. I played where the boys go... and I went beyond.

Here are the originals: The Runaways


Kristen Stewart (on left) & Joan Jett

and Dakota Fanning, in the famous corset

Originally worn by Cherie.  It looks like the same one.

Last word.  I found an amazing critique on the movie over on the blog Cellar Door, which you can read yourself if interested.  But I love her quote:
While “The Runaways” doesn’t succeed in everything it tries, I still wish that all those crazy 14 to 19 year olds who are convinced that there is nothing more romantic and relevant for a girl to do is swoon over two guys and suffer from unfulfilled desire until she’s married would see this, and have an epiphany that changes their lives profoundly. This is a movie about girls trying to (partly unsuccessfully) break out of the boundaries of gender stereotypes, and OF COURSE IT’S A PERIOD PIECE. 
She is right about that.  There is no rush to get married.  There is a lifetime ahead of you. I did not get married until I was 32, and then didn't have kids till I was 35.   This way there would be no regrets about what I did before life became more about responsibility and others, and instead, you could be just a little selfish.  That is the luxury and privilege of being young.  You can be selfish, if there is no one to feed, but yourself.

November 10, 2010

Kitty needs a home!!!

         Do you live in Brooklyn or nearby?  Do you want a kitty?   I found this sweet, lovely female cat the other night, and she is looking for a home.   She is almost a year, and super friendly.   I'm allergic, so I can't keep her, even though I want to.   It's just too much for me and my family.   She has taken up much of my time in the last two days, trying to find her a home.. but all the shelters are full, and the foster homes are full.   If I can't find a home for her tomorrow... I just don't know what I'll do...

Meet Kitty:

You know how to contact me if your interested.
Hurry though...
Her time is running out.


November 8, 2010

Makin' the Lemon Bars while drawing the Style Bubble T-Shirt Winner!

Hello Ladies!
Well, shameful that we only had two contestants for the Style Bubble T-shirt. But hey, Lucky for H and Ren! Yea? The Lucky winner of the Style Bubble T-shirt... is...
Congratulations Ren!   I hope you enjoy the shirt!  It's [byoo-tuh-fuhl]!

But since we only had 2 contestants, I decided that I'm going to give the "runner-up", H for Hannah, another "extra" T-shirt I was given. This one, called Ghost Girl, by Victoire Boutique.

And now...  feast your eyes on my Lemon Bar!!!
Made it Saturday, and it's gone already!!!

Ladies, email me your address and I'll send you your T's right away!