Absolute Corruption

December 22nd, 2013 § Comments Off on Absolute Corruption § permalink

Can’t speak of this, because the phones might be tapped. I suspect this blog is being monitored. All I know is we’re in Miami Beach, and corruption is afoot.

Miami is well known for corruption. And I could tell stories about the strange things I’ve seen here as a kid (and, as a matter of fact, I have–I wrote an essay years ago that I really should revise and submit). Crazy things that simply don’t happen anywhere else in the country.

But now it’s reached the upper echelons. It’s gone higher than anyone would have reasonably expected. Corruption has tainted that which was once pure and good.

They’ve gotten to the Tooth Fairy.

This is the only explanation of which I can think: Last night, Doodles had a wiggly tooth. So wiggly it was driving him to distraction. Finally, he just got up and stood in the bathroom going at it until the tooth came out. Great.

“Do you want to leave the tooth here or wait till we get home?” I asked him.

The boy shrugged. “I don’t care.”

I suggested, “Let’s wait till we get home.”

“Okay,” he said.

But then my mother, the Nana, said, “No, no! The Tooth Fairy will come here! You should leave it here!” She was pretty insistent and went on for a bit about how the Tooth Fairy can come to Miami Beach.

I figured it had been a long time since my mom had seen the Tooth Fairy, so I acquiesced. The boy left his tooth under his pillow. I stayed up late, because I wanted to have a little chat with the fairy–you know, let her know that Pie is going to be having some massive tooth work done in the near future. Tooth Fairy and I chatted, she told me she left $2, and that was that.

Until this morning. The boy came running into see me. “The Tooth Fairy left me $12!”


He said, “I got two one-dollar bills and a ten-dollar bill.”

I asked, “Was the $10 wrapped up in the $2?” figuring it was late and maybe the Tooth Fairy had just made a big fat error.

“No,” he said. “It was separate.”

“Are you sure?” I asked. “I saw the Tooth Fairy. She said she was going to leave you $2. Did she accidentally leave you a $10 instead of a $1?”

“No! It was a separate $10. It wasn’t with the $2. It was separate.”

Which must mean that clearly the Tooth Fairy left $2, but the Nana got to her. I bet the Nana is using teeth in some crazy art work.* Why else would the Nana have been so insistent that the Tooth Fairy come to Miami Beach? The Nana must have pressured the Tooth Fairy–I don’t know, for the boy’s tooth? for other kids’ teeth? who can know? Whatever it is, the Tooth Fairy must have sold the tooth either to her or on the tooth black market. I’m only assuming the Tooth Fairy felt a moment of guilt and compassion and decided to give Doodles a cut of her profit,

Corruption in Miami. I’m telling you, it’s real. Protect your family.

* You think I’m exaggerating about the Nana? This is the Nana’s artwork. This all sounds a lot more plausible now, doesn’t it! (And it explains a lot about me, too, doesn’t it?)


January 3rd, 2013 § Comments Off on Brrrr § permalink

This morning when I woke up, I thought about a run. My general rule is that if the temperature is above 20 degrees, I’m willing to run in it solo. I’ll run in lower temperatures, but only with friends. A quick peek at weather.com showed the temperature was 23 degrees. I was excited for a nice brisk run. And then something made me look back and I saw that 23 was the high for the day. I had to click on the “right now” for the moment’s temperature. Which was 3 degrees. With a wind chill of -9 degree. Hello basement elliptical trainer!

I hate coming home from Miami Beach.

Miami Beach is such bliss. We spa’d it. We ate it. We drank it. We visited tourist sites. We visited friends. We had ice cream.

Making art with Nana

Making art with Nana

Fairchild Tropical Gardens

Fairchild Tropical Gardens

First year she made it up till midnight

First year she made it up till midnight

Kayaking on Biscayne Bay

Kayaking on Biscayne Bay

Relaxing on New Year's Day

Relaxing on New Year’s Day

But it’s not real life and as much as I always say I’d like to move back, I know that the fun we have comes only from being there once a year. Plus, as much as I complain about the cold, I have become fond of the change of seasons.

And coming back has its upsides. Right before we left, I sent my new novel to my agent and she responded telling me, “It’s not there yet.” I was blue about it for a bit, but then I gave myself the distance of the break and I have a whole bunch of new ideas I’m really excited to try. I’ve also been on a huge family history kick (but that’s a post or twelve for another time), and I met some relatives while home who showed me old pics and I discovered some relatives I didn’t even know I had, and it’s all providing fabulous inspiration for my novel, which takes place in 1935. With my bounty of information, it’s time to dig back into the novel!

So I’ll just make more tea, wrap on another scarf, and get back to business. 2013. It’s going to be the year of the novel!

Post-Bourbon Blues

January 3rd, 2012 § 1 comment § permalink

Ah, the return to civilization. It’s never pretty, is it? That forced detox when the bourbon doesn’t come three times a day (although to be honest, the first drink of the day was generally vodka as we never made it to the brunch that serves a bourbon bloody Mary, and I did love the gin-focused Verde Intuition). The reinstatement of (moderately) healthy eating when you don’t have the Frieze ice cream within walking distance and friends who egg you on to consuming obscene quantities of food. The end of daily pool frolics and free nightly babysitting.

Highlights from the trip? Too many to list them all. The Seaquarium.
Dolphin at Seaquarium
Little girl spa day. Big girl spa day. Grown-up dinner. Sushi night.
Sushi Boat
The rooftop deck of the hotel Adam and I escaped to for the night. Beach.
South Beach

Pool. Seeing friends I haven’t seen in close to a decade. Gin. Champagne. Vodka. Wine. Bourbon. Duck fat fries. Fried chicken.

The boy had fun getting to use the tools in his Nana’s art studio.
In Nana's StudioI proved I’m old by going to the diviest bar in Miami Beach and getting into an argument with a friend about… semicolons. Adam discovered an app that let him control the bar jukebox from his phone. I don’t think I’ve seen him that excited since he discovered bourbon. We ate at a new restaurant, Yardbird, which Adam had been reluctant to try. He ended up eating there three times in four days (even going alone one of those days, his hankering for chicken and bourbon was so mighty). I learned what a “food baby” is (thanks to Tuna’s “My food baby hurts”; you thought I had forgotten about that, didn’t you Teener?).
At Yardbird

It’s 21 degrees out it’s almost dark at 4:20 p.m. We don’t make it easy for ourselves, getting home around 3:30 and having to return to a full day of school/dance/Hebrew school/Cub Scouts at 8:15 the next morning.

Here’s a New Year’s resolution for you: I resolve next year to not come back from our trip to Miami Beach.

Sigh. Next year in Miami Beach.

Rough Life

December 24th, 2011 § Comments Off on Rough Life § permalink

Vacation dilemma #1: What will the holiday drink be? I’m a firm believer that Whiskey Sours shouldn’t be drunk when it’s above 50 degrees. Mojitos? Possibly. A little out of season, but still acceptable in this 78 degree weather. Lemon-Drop Martinis? Always a safe go-to drink.

Tonight, alone with my husband (can you imagine?) at a bar outside overlooking Biscayne Bay, I found a new love: Verde Intuition. Gin. Lime. Basil. Cucumber. And something yummily sweet. Perfection.

Vacation is on!

Beach Bound

December 24th, 2011 § 1 comment § permalink

I am wearing Miami Beach shoes on a Boston morning. Cold tosies! We had a mad dash this morning, getting the house clean for our house sitters (the smell of latke oil lasts for months), but we made it out.

Traveling with not-so-little kids is so different than traveling with little kids. For starters, I have a purse. Filled with my wallet, a book for me, my phone. No loose Veggie Booty floating in there. No wipes or changes of clothes. No having to carry their overloaded packs.

Of course there are also the downsides. Driving to Logan, the boy backseat drove. Which you all know is my job. “Dad, it says ‘airport’ over there. You’re in the wrong lane.” The girl chimes in, “Where are you going? The sign says parking is that way!”

Remarkably Adam found his way to not only Logan, but also to parking. We got here ridiculously early as I heard a rumor that a lot of goyim fly today, too.

Speaking of goyim, we’ve already started tracking Santa. For a bunch of Jews, we’re a little obsessed with this. As of this typing, he’s in Papua, New Guinea according to Google Maps.

This morning: Starbucks latte. Tomorrow: Well, still Starbucks as my favorite cafe con leche place will be closed for Christmas. But Monday! Monday will be Cuban coffee day.

Going to Miami. Benvenido a Miami.


Who Are We? Out for Kicks…

November 10th, 2011 § 6 comments § permalink

…Senior, Senior ’86!

Yes, I’m that old. Yes, my 25th high school reunion is this Saturday. Bite me, people. I’m 43. Get over it. Anyhoo, I’m not going to Miami Beach this lovely weekend in November, where the drinking is hot and so is the weather. I had planned on it, but life got complicated, and instead, I’m here in Massachusetts, most likely working the elementary school rummage sale. You may envy me now.

I know that lots of people had unusual high school experiences, but I truly feel that my high school was different. I’ve discussed it before. I’ll do it again. Because it’s my blog. So I can. If you don’t like, you can bite me. (Are you sensing a theme? It’s possible I’m a little cranky tonight.)

I went to a school known as Beach High. Yep. Beach High. Short for Miami Beach Senior High. But Beach High is a more fitting name. Even our mascot was odd. Hi Tide Harry. Did you get that? Hi Tide Harry. No, not “high.” “Hi.” Wonder why the scores at our school were never very good? But at least I had Hi Tide Pride. And open lunches. Where we could go wherever we wanted, which generally meant going to the corner sandwich shop for a colada of cafe Cubano, which pretty much meant we spent all of 5th and 6th period literally jumping out of our seats (and until I just read that Wikipedia description, I never realized a colada of coffee is meant to be shared! We simply called a colada of coffee “lunch.”). And driver’s ed where the teacher yelled at us for not going fast enough on the highway. A school where being Jewish meant you didn’t take gym (because there were a rash of us kids who were “allergic to grass,” [let’s not comment on the other lunch time activities] which conveniently meant I could still play badminton. Yes, badminton! Again, bite me, people!). One of our assistant principals–the disciplinarian of our school–was arrested for solicitation on Collins Avenue, back when Collins Avenue was not the Collins Avenue we know today. Your high school might have had snow days; my high school had “riot days.” Our school has been featured in Porky’s (the old building) and blown up in Band of the Hand (the school I went to; it’s been remodeled since). Where at the pep rallies the cheerleaders recited a cheer–complete with motions–that went:

Go bananas, go go bananas
Go bananas, go go bananas
You lean to the left,
and you lean to the right,
you peel your banana,
and UNNGGHHH take a BITE!

How is that an acceptable high school cheer? The parking lot was filled with Mercedes and even a Porsche. We dissected cats. We had teachers who said things like, “Too bad, so sad. Got a dime? Call someone who cares.” Our school graduated Baba Wawa, Mickey Rourke, Andy Garcia, Ellen Barkin, all alums. Ah, Beach High.

Yes, I’m going to miss out drinking and partying with the kids I drank and partied with 25 years ago. Not that I remember all that many of them. But a few I do. And I’ll miss them. But then I’m pretty sure that the other luminaries from my class aren’t going either. What you ask? Which luminaries, other than myself, are there?

Oh, we had quite a class. And in the illustrious class of 1986, we had some shining stars. Like Nevin Shapiro. The man who singlehandedly brought down the Miami Hurricanes. Oh, I’m sorry? Not enough for you? How about Brett Ratner. The man who singlehandedly brought down the Academy Awards this year. Let’s just say, not much has changed since high school. The Class of ’86. A classy bunch.

Oh yes. I’ve got Hi Tide Pride. I’ll just be displaying it up here in the almost-frozen North. If you’re at the reunion, have some Boone’s a mojito for me.

Home Again, Home Again

January 2nd, 2011 § Comments Off on Home Again, Home Again § permalink

The boat is emptied of children, the last café con leche has been drunk, and the girl’s tears over leaving sunshine and Nana have been dried. The trip is officially over and we’re heading back to slushy Massachusetts.

Sigh. But it’s only temporary because I’ve convinced the family to move back to Miami Beach. And by convinced, I mean they yell, “Nooooo!” while I put my fingers in my ears and sing, “La la la la la! I can’t hear you!” Pie says she’d miss her BFF, Doodles says he’d miss ice skating, and Adam says he’d miss having a paycheck. Whatever.

[Interjection: I love that at 8:42 a.m. in the Miami Airport, the Barcardi Mojito Bar is open for business! Of course, I’ll be passing because everyone knows you don’t have a Bloody Mary after dark and a mojito before 7 p.m. But it still makes me happy just by its existence.]

We started 2011 off right. Hangover be damned, I wasn’t going to start the new decade without a run. So I ran the eight miles to my cousins’ house, accompanied for half of that trip by Stoney of the R.V. (also known as Claudia’s other half. Hi, Claudia!), who actually rode a bike. At the cousins’, café con leches (what else?) started the day, and the kids all took a quick dip in the hot tub. And then it was an afternoon on the boat.

These photos taken by Ollie.

Let’s talk about the boat, shall we? Ollie’s had this boat for, oh, almost all these years we’ve been going to Miami Beach for New Year’s. The boat has this front area, which folks like to lay on and let the wind rush through their hair and relax. Only to get to the front area, you need to walk around the side of the boat. And I’m scared to walk around the side of the boat. I have this incredibly irrational fear of docks, getting on and off the boat, and being on the side where there’s very little railing. I can’t watch my children being put on the boat—it terrifies me. I need to have at least two adults flanking me and holding onto me as I step the six inches from the dock onto the boat. I’ve always looked longingly at the front of the boat, but it was never to be a reality for me.

Until. Until. Until yesterday, when I said to Tuna’s husband, “I wish I could go up there.” And he said, “Why don’t you?” And I replied, “Well, I can’t walk around the side?” And Tuna’s husband pointed down and said, “Why don’t you just go inside the boat, and come through the hatch?” Um, hello? There’s a hatch I can go through? Why has no one mentioned this to me in, oh, the past four years? Sure, enough, you go into the main bedroom (yes, there are three bedrooms and two bathrooms on this boat), climb up on the bed, and hop up through the hatch. And even better, when you’re there, people will bring you Bloody Marys! Freakin’ people who never told me about the hatch!

[Note: I spoke too soon. The girl’s tears are back. I said to her, “You can’t cry. I already put in my blog that you stopped.” She said, “Then you have to erase that.”]

After the boat, it was back to the hot tub and then dinner with my ‘rents. And now, now we wait for our plane. In a most sad way. Well, at least for me. Adam is playing with his iPad, Doodles is reading one of the three new Calvin and Hobbes book he got, and Pie is playing with her new Tag reading thingy. And me? I’m thinking about stone crabs, light-up mojito tinis, unlimited free babysitting, and runs on the beach boardwalk.

Only 357 more days till we get to do it again.

It’s the End of the Year as We Know It

December 31st, 2010 § Comments Off on It’s the End of the Year as We Know It § permalink

I’ve discovered where the performers who aren’t good enough for Storyland go: to the HumAnimals show at Jungle Island, which, apparently, is an “artistic fusion between the human and animal worlds.” In other words, it’s a bunch of not-quite-there acrobats in really bad costumes. Welcome to Miami, folks.

The boy and I are at Jungle Island alone this year, because all the girl wants to do is… Actually I have no idea what the girl wants to do. I only know what she doesn’t want to do, which is everything that isn’t ice cream or mani-pedis. The Yogi Bear movie? Terrifying. The Metrozoo? Kind of okay. Lunch outside on Lincoln Road? She hates eating outside, don’t I know that? I can think of a few new year’s resolutions I’d like to make for her.

So I’m doing the only rational thing one can do: I’m dumping the girl on the Nana. The Nana has no problems, with her broken elbow and all, appealing to the whim of one very demanding girl. The boy is happy with his grandfather. Which leaves me plenty of time to spaaaaah. Yesterday was the grown-up girls’ day, which means instead of candy cane ice cream at the Frieze, we drank lemon drops in the pool at the Standard. A definite win for the grown-ups.

And now I prepare for the annual New Year’s Eve party. I’ve baked cookies. Made some pomegranate syrup for bubbly drinks. I’m going to get dressed and head over to my cousin’s house. Where I shall eat, drink, and make merry. Tomorrow, perhaps, I’ll have some resolutions of my own, but I wouldn’t count to much on it.

Happy end of 2010!

Soothing South Beach

December 29th, 2010 § Comments Off on Soothing South Beach § permalink

The purging of the medicine cabinet has gone. Two bottles of Nyquil from August 2008 have hit the trash. I’m debating the 2000 Vicks Rub, because, really, it’s just a smelly thing. Maybe it’s still okay? Or maybe I’m just turning into my parents?

We’ve been here for four days and there’s much to report, but I’m drowsy from my burgers and beer and I need to be pleasantly in the mind set of relaxation as tomorrow is spa day. Just didn’t want to completely disappear from view.

For Art Basel, pink snails appeared all over Miami Beach, and they all still remains. Pie is making a game of counting them when she finds them. So far, she's up to nineteen.


January 4th, 2010 § Comments Off on Re-Entry § permalink

Dropping Pie at preschool today, I fully expected a completely meltdown. She bawled for an hour on the flight home last night because she wanted the Nana. Her first words upon waking this morning were, “I want Nana!” But it’s when you most expect anything from children that it least happens and vice-versa, isn’t it? She gave me a smooch and ran off to her classroom. I, on the other hand, am ready to crawl back into bed and not come back out till the tulips do. Readjustment after the Miami Beach trip is always hardest on me.

Spa day at the Standard. More martinis and cafe con leches than I could count. Movies–first run!–in a theater, on a big screen. Boat rides. New Year’s party. Breakfast outside on Ocean Drive. Ice cream. Shorts. Walking to dinners out. Swimming for the kids. Family. Friends. I so don’t want to be back in Arlington.

However, there are a few pluses. I will say that I do enjoy an excuse for hot chocolate and we have that in spades. I whipped up another batch of homemade marshmallows this morning. Boy do I love me them homemade marshmallows. They melt so much better in a cup of hot chocolate. And our friends up here are amazing. Our plane got in a few minutes late and out the window we were greeted by a world of white. We rushed out, got luggage, and the car. We went straight from the airport to drop Doodles and Adam’s off at a cub scout meeting. Pie and I went home to shovel… only Beetle and her husband had already shoveled us out! Can you ask for better friends than that? While Pie was mildly disappointed, I was quite thrilled.

And now it’s time for some new year’s reflections, I suppose, but that will have to wait for a later post, as one of my resolutions is to get back into the swing of writing, and since I’m off soon to get Pie for gymnastics, I better get a few pages written.

Welcome back to real life!

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  • Who I Am

    I read, I write, I occasionally look to make sure my kids aren't playing with matches.

    My novel, MODERN GIRLS will be coming out from NAL in the spring of 2016.

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