Posts Tagged ‘Children’

Christmas in the post-War United States

Christmas in the post-War United States (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Let me clear up something from Christmas Eve.  I thought Laura and Jim and their two girls were coming to dinner, however, I was wrong.  Last night’s open house also included Laura’s sister Sarah and Jeff, Laura’s friend Sarah and Jim’s parents, Jim and Jenny.  And then, as the evening wore on, a couple came bearing champagne and children but they stayed just long enough to say hello and good-bye. Then two more couples came and about that time, Peter and I had finished washing all the platters and were working through the glasses and so we beat a retreat upstairs where the silence was blessed.

I‘m mentioning the number of people because I assumed that on Christmas Day we would be with Laura and Jim and their family, as we knew it.   Turns out we were going to a huge house and a lot of family and friends.   Supposed to be there at 3:15 and transporting everyone actually required 2 cars and 4 trips.  It does sound bizarre doesn’t it?  You know what the real problem is? CAR SEATS!  If you’re a follower of this blog, then you know about my misadventures in October with the black tractor-trailer they call their car.  The thing is enormous but in actuality only the driver and two adults can ride in the car!  3 kids = 3 car seats.

 Laura and Jim’s house should only be described in superlatives!  First we passed the Guest House and the gardener who was vacuuming up leaves. (I thought seeing the gardener on Christmas Day was unusual).  It was stunning with a wide-open floor plan and a chef’s dream kitchen.  Later I learned that the gardener comes every day and not only cleans up the yard, he also restocks the bar refrigerator and anything else that needs attention.

I met Steve and Amy who are the Captain and crew for Jim’s 106 ‘ boat.  Steve was saying how the boat would leave shortly for the Caribbean where it would remain for the winter months and the family would fly down for some long weekends.  At one point I thought he said something about the boat being out of water for several months and so I asked him who else did he captain for and his response was “No one, Amy and I only work for Jim”.  Welllllll ok then.

 I spotted two men dressed in black and sure enough they were servers and very efficient too.  Some day I’m going to throw a party where someone else serves the food and cleans up. My Trifle was a big hit but I think the pumpkin chocolate tiramisu needed more sugar.

 I walked to the edge of the property backing up to the Intercostal Water Way where yet another of Jim’s boats was stored out of the water.  Across the canal was an extremely wide stretch of property; If this was New York, you would only wonder when will they build a high rise?  This being Florida, chances are they won’t build a hi-rise apartment building but they could build a few houses.  Jim bought the property and has guaranteed his privacy and his view!

 It was getting dark and all of a sudden a parade of naked little girls streamed into the pool  (which is kind of an infinity pool).  They had a blast – who wouldn’t running naked in and out of a pool, shrieking and splashing.   Watching them enjoy themselves is proof you can take pleasure in another person’s fun.

Time to head home.  Try to visualize Ed carrying Fletcher in cradle seat, Chiara, Finley and Frankie in second seat with Juanita driving, Linda seating on the console and me in the passenger seat (which I ‘m supposed to share with Linda).  Our very own clown car la famiglia style!  Getting everybody in was a feat in itself but backing out of a narrow curving driveway that had trees and rock islands proved to be an exercise in misdirection and miscommunication!  Dennis was directing from the front, Joel was in the back guiding us past the rocks and when I looked out the window and saw we were headed towards the rocks, I screamed!  Poor Juanita, everyone was shouting directives…. Dennis, the I’ll take charge guy told Juanita to get out and he would back out.  Mind you the car does have the back up map displayed as well as a beeping system that warns you as you are backing up into an object.

 If you thought that was the end of the evening, you don’t know the Berti’s.  Led by my daughter Chiara, fueled by my nephew Justin and instructed by my son, Joel, we all settled into the living room to play a game.  Well, not everyone-the little girls were put to bed, some of the adults opted for TV and the rest of us (the competitors) delved into Cards Against Humanity.  A modern day board game that involves picking an answer to some really sick questions, which meant the answers were sometimes quite disgusting.  The game is self-described as:   Unlike most of the party games you’ve played before, Cards Against Humanity is as despicable and awkward as you and your friends. HO, HO HO, I remember when after Christmas dinner we would all sit down and play Monopoly.  I know what you’re thinking…how dull, times have changed.  HA HA HA, you never played Monopoly with the Berti’s!!





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I‘m so excited for my friend, Murray!  His photographs are featured in a forthcoming book for children ages 2yr-6yr and those of us young at heart! The book is available as a pre-order now from Amazon.com

http://www.amazon.com/Frisky-Brisky-Hippity-Alexina-White/dp/0823424103/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1324253499&sr=1-1  or readily available at the end of February.

I am so fortunate to have him as a dear friend, family actually and that he graciously allows me to post his photos for my pleasure and yours.  Many of you have commented over the past couple of years on how much you enjoy his artistry and talent.  ME TOO!

Madison Square park, squirrels, Frisky Brisky Hippity HOp

Frisky Brisky Hippity Hop

Photo by Murray Head

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Joel Berti

Joel is 40 years old today!! ! OMG, it’s hard to say it out loud!  How is it possible that my first born child, my son, is 40 years old?   This IS the only time I’m going to admit in writing that I actually have a 40 yr old son.

It doesn’t seem that long ago…I was supposed to attend one of my best friends’ wedding.  I had a doctor’s appointment that morning  and then I was going to be off to the wedding.  Well you know where this is going;  the doctor examined me and said “you’re not going to any wedding, you’re going straight to the hospital.  Where is your husband?”  I said, “He’s at work”.  So the doctor said, “Well how are you going to get to the hospital”?  “I’ll drive myself”!

So I called my husband’s office and left a message (these were the day before cell phones) and drove off to the hospital.  By the time I got there, I was a little panicked.  I was having contractions and  didn’t know what to do with the car so I pulled into the Emergency Room parking lot and parked the car.  As I was getting out of the car, a cop came running over, shouting, “Lady you can’t park there”!  I looked at him, started to cry and said, “I’m having a baby”!   Oh boy, that did it – he said, “Don’t  move” and went and got me a wheel chair.  Meantime, uh, where was that husband?

A couple of hours later, the nurse brought me a bundled blonde haired boy and I said, “Oh no, I had a girl”.  She assured me that this was my baby and I insisted that I had a girl. After one more go around of this conversation, she snatched the baby from my arms and said words to the effect that perhaps tomorrow I would feel differently about this beautiful little baby boy.

She was right of course.  Joel has my heart.  I love him for so many reasons;  he is a good person, kind-hearted, he never says anything bad about anyone, he is a gentle soul.  He is easy-going (sometime way too laid back for me), creative, a thinker, an artist, and smart enough to look inward often and assess what he sees.  He seeks the truth in all things, is often naive about people he meets, he adored his baby sister and often let her tag along with him and his friends.  I’m so happy that she flew out to California yesterday with Finley and Francesca to be with him on this landmark birthday.

I thought this post might be like an open letter, telling Joel how proud I am of him, how much I love him and hope that he is happy in the life he has chosen for himself.  He is very different from Chiara in so many ways and their lives are as diametrically opposite as the coasts they each inhabit. 

I wonder if he’s ever going to marry and settle down.  The path doesn’t seem to lead in that direction, time will tell.  I’d like to see him as a father, he seems so at ease with his nephew and nieces. 

Astrology, therapy, numerology, Frank Sinatra, new wave, Pseudolous, older women, younger women, surfing, GCA waiter,  room-mates, acting, writing in his journal, lactose-intolerant, allergic to my cats, Charlie Brown, Wilie Wonka, Mr. Smee, Hartford Stage, “why don’t you model?”, a vintage motorcycle, house music, Father Sarducci, Acme Theater, preppy Izods, Louise’s, La Jolla Country Club, bartending, catering, PB+J’s, oh those blue eyes,  tuna fish, sometimes  poor, playwright, roofer, Bee Pollen, beard-no beard, penguins, vintage tee shirts, Wrangler corduroy jeans, Halloween

Now if only he would return calls and call his mother more often……

I love you Joel Berti – Happy Birthday!!

Joel Berti

Joel in San Diego 2008

Finley Ray, Joel Berti, Finny

Joel and Finley

Sneak Joint, Joel Berti

Joel at The Sneak Joint in San Diego

Halloween, Joel Berti

Pumpkin Carving

vintage motorcycle

Ready to Roll

january 23 2005, Joel Berti, Lori Berti Press

My Wedding 2005

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Chiara Clark, Frankie, Francesca Clark, St. Thomas Moore RC church

Francesca's Christening

My beautiful daughter and her baby girl, Francesca.  Today was the day of Frankie’s baptism and she seems concerned as to what’s going happen next.  The water was bad enough!!!

The Christening gown that Francesca is wearing was worn by her sister, Finley Ray last year and by her mother Chiara, 34 years ago.  In 1977 I purchased the gown from an antique dealer I knew who dealt in vintage baby clothes.  At that time, she said the gown was 50 years old.

It was thrilling for me to see this beautiful piece of antique linen, a family heirloom now, worn by the youngest family member. And isn’t she just beautiful too?


St Thomas Moore RC church, Frankie, Francesca Clark, Chiara Clark

I'm not a donut, why are you dunking me?

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