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Posts Tagged ‘Juanita’

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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It’s only Saturday morning and already this weekend, I am struck by the assortment of friends and acquaintances I have in my life and the different world we all live in.

First and foremost because of the gravity of the situation, there’s my friend, Josh.  Josh called me (actually woke me up) this morning with a phone call and one sentence, “Turn on CNN and call me at the office!”.  Groggily I went into the den, and tried to remember what channel CNN was on.  OMG what a horrible shock – an MAJOR earthquake in Santiago, Chile.  Josh’s partner and my friend, Ricardo lives in Santiago.   Josh had spent the holidays there and was expecting to meet Ricardo in Prague on this coming Tuesday.  Thank God, Ricardo called Josh’s cell phone at 3:00 am and had left a message that he was safe as was his father who lived even closer to the heart of the city.  No further communication from Chile; you can’t get through on the phone, you can’t reach LAN airlines, the airports are closed and since Ricardo is a chief resident at the hospital, we can only assume he is there.   Please keep Chile in your prayers, it is so upsetting that this event is following so closely on the heels of Haiti.

ANOTHER EARTHQUAKE – My nephew Justin, lives in Japan and I have just tried to reach him thru Facebook because I’m not sure how close he is to the epicenter of the earthquake that struck there.  Apparently that quake hit offshore and the major concern is a tsunami – I know he surfs so he must be somewhat close the shoreline.  As I type  this and listen to the CNN minute by minute coverage in Chile, I am learning how quickly a tsunami can spread from shore to shore, country to

The volcanic Ring of Fire

country and even continent to continent – especially if the country is in the Ring of Fire (see photo). Do I have to worry about my own surfer son, Joel, who lives in San Diego and lives well within tsunami wave range?

Closer to home, several of my friends are clearly living in worlds apart. Last night I took Peter and his lifelong friend Murray out to celebrate their joint birthdays.  After a delightful dinner at Compass, a restaurant on the Uppper West Side, we went to see the show, BAWDY at the Triad BAWDY is an old time burlesque show; complete with bumps, grinds and tasteful striptease.   The show is headlined by Jesse Lutrell, a very talented, very energetic and very gay performer.  He is a gifted young song and dance man and he sings in a story-centric style, so reminiscent of the cabaret and nightclub acts dating back to the American birth of vaudeville.  SO how did we happen to be at this show?  In two words; Grace Gotham.  It so happens that Grace Gotham a/k/a Sarah Liston is a friend of ours.  We hadn’t seen Sarah and her husband, Dave in quite a while and were we ever surprised to learn that our friend, wife of an Episcopalian  Deacon and member of our local Community Board, was actually performing burlesque!!! Well why not? Sarah is a published writer and you can read all about her journey into burlesque in an article published in the magazine, Marie Clare which I have published on this blog.  She’s a hoot and very good I must add – and yes she really can make her tassles twirl.

Then this is the weekend that The Glen Beck show airs where my sister-in-law, Juanita is in the front row of the audience.  She sent an email blast to all of us with the air times.  I told you she wasn’t a blood relative!! So I am DVR’ing this program (with explicit promises to Peter that we will only just see her and shut it off) at a time when I’m sure it won’t interrupt another really important show I might be watching like Grey’s Antatomy!! LOL Now we know she is in another world.

Next, my dear friend and mentor, Joyce is in the hospital recovering from knee replacement surgery.  She is in her mid-seventies and has the body and muscle tone of the someone 20 years younger but any surgery as you get older is serious.  I’m happy to report that she seems to have come through it very well and may even be home tomorrow.  And then rehab starts.

Lastly, we are leaving in an hour to get out to Port Jefferson, LI to attend a surprise birthday party for my daughter’s mother-in-law.  Because of the misery of the snow, our car is snowed in and this being Manhattan, even if we dug it out (good thing we bought that extra shovel last week!), we would never find a parking place when we got home.  The streets in Manhattan are very messy because when they plow, all the snow builds up around the cars.  We have to take the LIRR and to board that train, we have to go diagonally across town to Penn Station.  Believe it or not, we will be leaving our apartment at about 1:55pm and should arrive in Port Jefferson Long Island at 4:40pm.  In that amount of time, I could have driven to the Jersey Shore and back or to Connecticut.  And then we have to come home again.  It’s going to be a long day….

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