Category Archives: written

Amorous Leverage

clift_hotelLet me give you some context for my stay at the Clift, I feel it’s an important part of the writing process to provide a context. After all, isn’t that what authors do, even those of reviews? Give you a lens with which to see a thing anew?

I was at the Clift for research.  As a writer, which I have said I am, every gig counts theses days. Writing copy for the backs of dog food bags, for off-brand air freshener, “Morning mist of lilies bring nostalgia to air” (It was solely meant for Chinese restaurants in middle America. The owners of the brand felt clunky sentence structure leant the product authenticity. Finally! A legitimate use for the dangling modifier!) or for politico blogging. I leapt at the chance to travel to San Francisco to write for a line of artisanal, bespoke fortune cookies started up by a pair of waif-ish Brooklynites each sporting the same long stringy blonde hair, no relation.

The Clift proved to be an excellent base for my trip, ostensibly to research the plight of Chinese migrant rail workers, who the ladies thought originated “fortunes” but really it was perfect for me to work on my memoir.

The Clift has a lovely wood paneled bar downstairs called The Redwood Room. Cozy up with an old fashioned and try to reel in one of the attractive ladies. Perfect for a self important young writer to cast a line but lure no ladies in, at least that first night. The Clift stocks the best Malin + Geotz products and I made use of all of the shampoo for a mini-bar fueled marathon bubble bath.  Thank you for the iPod dock stereo. It furthered my comfort, letting me indulge in my guilty pleasure, Sum 41. There’s something about the late 90’s that’s soothing to me.

The furniture is all beautifully designed by Philippe Starck. A sleigh bed whose potential for amorous leverage would not go to waste on this trip. A pure white arm chair nestled in the corner. A modernist Louis XIV bench and the aforementioned mini-bar combination TV stand.  It’s a wonder that they got all of this in the room seeing as it must have been a grand total of 264 sq ft. Kudos to the ingenious designer who crammed all that tasteful furniture in as well as covering both walls with mirrors. Perfect for giving the illusion of space and also for a narcissist who can’t help but gaze into every reflective surface to fuss with his hair until its just so. They even included curtains for if you have body image issues or are afraid of the Candyman or something. Those curtains remained open for the duration of my stay.

I did get out to do some research and the ever attentive staff called me a cab. Eating at Mission Chinese counts as research. I spent most days either at the bar or tucked into my well apportioned room writing the story of a beleaguered adolescent coming of age in the Cleveland suburbs whose passion is ignited by a sandwich that has the fries in the sandwich. It’s really the only thing Cleveland has going for it other than the proliferation of 10 cent wing nights.

The sheets were white and comfortable to me. When I did finally entice a woman up, she informed me that they were “no less than 600 but no more than 800 thread count Egyptian cotton” as if there weren’t any other kind. I did not invite her back, though we had our one blissful night where I got to observe myself in action ad infinitum, thanks to those clever mirrors.

On waking we enjoyed the basket of pastries and coffee delivered by that attentive staff again. Both were very, very good but at $42 not worth picking up the phone for unless you are trying to avoid another conversation about linens. Yes, the towels are luxurious and the size of sheets. It was as if this woman was making her bridal registry off just one night at the Clift. That’s how good this hotel is.

I would recommend the Clift and I would return since the hotel inspired the sum total of my work: “Neon means you’re unique” The fortune cookie company is in Brooklyn after all.

Tell me it’s useful on TripAdvisor.

On the setting of not just the sun but your life

Just below the Tropic of Cancer and 17 degrees above the Equator, lies the island paradise of Nevis. Nevis is not the place you would expect to find a gathering of charming septuagenarians, but the perfect place for a children’s author and her companion researching a new book, “Grandpa’s Gone: A child’s guide to dealing with loss.” Montpelier Plantation Inn was an unexpected place for on the spot research. The average age of the other guests was around 68. At one point, we suspected a premier service of checking on the sunning bodies with a mirror under the nose was in the offing. But it was a great place for a little R&R (Rest and Relaxation). R&R stands for ‘rest and relaxation’: it’s an acronym. The gentle cooing of birds and the nattering of aging Brits by the pool made us feel truly, colonially comfortable.

The room was fine. The bathroom needed a reno, but the king sized bed with fine linens were outstanding. As was the view of the sea and setting sun from our private veranda. It was as if we were watching the sun set, not just over the water, but over a dying empire.

Montpelier has three dining options, very fine privee dining in the sugar mill, fine dining in the main house and casual at the pool side bar. They post the menu daily for the fine dining and one would never think to see Stilton cream and Parmesan frothed pumpkin risotto on a menu in the Caribbean, but at Montpelier such continental gastronomic concoctions are de riguer. That’s French. The food is not bad, not at all, it was one of the allures for us. We just expected a little less cruise ship gourmet and a little more tarted up island rustic. Being from New York City, it’s hard to forget that you can’t get Tonkatsu style ramen delivered at 3am. We did enjoyed the Spanish theme night with bocerones that were likely FedExed in and, better than the tinned ones in Whole Foods. The staff incredulously honored my request for a hang over curing fried egg a top their Angus beef (really?) burger and my companion’s desire for a simple jerk chicken sandwich (on a bun, not a wrap, please). Given my incomplete and anecdotal survey of the clientele, the chef is working to the best he can with the lowest expectations from his diners. It’s as if the nose-to-farm-to-tail-to-table movement blew right by on the Trade Winds. Do get the spiney lobster scramble and any of the salads with passion fruit vinaigrette, they are the few dishes that seem to use local ingredients.

Also, explore the grounds! There’s a tennis court we didn’t use, lovely botanic gardens we didn’t stroll around and a spa we did not get rubbed at. We usually slept in until well past solar apex. Although, we did enjoy a night of pure excess topped with a late night excursion out to the fields to find the best part of the grounds, a hammock. Perfect to lull a dopamine overloaded brain in the breezy tropical moonlight. We did use the pool, though it could use a heater, lest the cold water shocks a guest into a slightly premature heart attack.

Over all, Montpelier was charming, the staff attentive and the rum punch on arrival delicious and sorely needed. I would recommendMontpelier to any one who wants to enjoy a secluded retreat and see what’s in store for them as life is waning. If you like your beach time well spent with doddering British ‘mums’ and avuncular Scottish ‘pups’ then use the private beach and shuttle. Thankfully, we never woke early enough to catch it and we spent our time on Pinney’s Beach which is a $15 cab ride from the hotel. We would definitely return! If only for the hammock and the glimpse into America’s future as the next empire in decline!

2013 is totally going to be my year! 5 ways I’ll get a man!

Guys! Just look at my new glasses! You know 2013 is going to be my year! I am going to get a total make over and radically change my life! I am going to get a husband this year! Oh yeah! Just you wait and see – I’m going to change into the Cheryl that banker dudes will be lining up around the block to put a ring on! Here’s how!

1. Get a job in “fashion”! Screw this comedy/day job bullshit. All the husbands are going for fashion chicks. Lord knows, I could use one of those guys! AND –  It’s not a job that anyone is ever sad to see you leave either. Catty bitches, I can’t wait to count myself among them. They can’t wait to talk about how fat any girls thighs actually were after they’ve left. “Gross! Her ass left an imprint on her chair even! Ew!” My man won’t be threatened by my job in fashion, but he’ll probably cheat on me with those catty bitches. I’ll just be prepared and  have cleaned out my closet to make room for all those forgive-me-presents I’ll get in handbag form.

2. Use “totally”, “totes” and “totes-mcgotes” more! How are I’m going to get a man if he thinks that I’ve actually have thoughts and can use vocabulary. Any man that gets a six figure bonus is lying when he says he wants a smart girl. He wants some one who went to Barnard just to be able to say she went to Barnard. Who majored in International Studies or some other marriageable subject. Not anything that would get her a career, or anything crazy! I can fool them!

3. Three words for you – Brunch, BRUnch, BRUNCH! That’s right! I am going have to spend my Saturdays either with my catty co-workers at brunch, or with my catty friends bitching about my catty co-workers, or trying to draw my man into conversation with either set of catty bitches while consuming over priced eggs and prosecco mimosas. I will not be a real lady unless I’m brunching hard core.

4.  Anal. No one wants to buy before they try any more. Where’d the good old fashioned days go?

5.  Listen only to Taylor Swift, Nikki Minaj and David Guetta while doing Pilates and Kegle exercises. Because I don’t need any music that will give me any ideas in my pretty head or distract me from the most important things about snagging and keeping a man. Keeping your stomach and pussy tight!

Here’s to 2013! When I spend all of my disposable income on eyelash extensions, manicures and dinner “dresses” from BeBe! That should work, right?

how you know that you are a real New Yorker

I love New York with it’s weird puddles when there hasn’t been any rain, it’s judgment of you based on your footwear choice and it’s fine sense of the ridiculous. I feel like New York is often lovingly vitriolic, just like Martha in “Who’s afraid of Virginia Woolf?” But at times, I hate it’s every changing nature. Things move so fast and so slow here. You blink and your favorite bar/restaurant/discount clothing store is gone. That is how you know that you are a real New Yorker.

When what used to be there matters to you more than what is there now.

When this dive bar that I loved so much, passed so many early evenings, post electropop band practice knocking back Stoli Vanilla and Sodas with lime transformed into….

This charming date place…

It’s a completely different atmosphere. I was thrown at first when I walked in. I knew that this used to be something else, a place that mattered to me a lot, but I couldn’t quite place it. It came on slow. Remembering sweaty nights, poor choices and friendly bonding all white washed over into a supremely art directed experience. The older me, loves this place. The cheeses, the oysters and the choice wines. But there’s a little noise in the back of my head that misses the summer nights at the dive bar when I’d get up to get a drink and the back of my legs stuck to the vinyl seats, tear up with a satisfying sting. A sharp pull at my skin in contrast to the soft drunk I was.

holiday traditions or the feeling you are in a drunk time machine

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It’s that time of year for holiday cheer and traditions that you can pass down for generations to come, Your uncle ranting against the “Mexicans” – to him everyone that isn’t white bread American, is a “Mexican” including white Europeans with accents. So charming, Your middle aged aunt trying desperately to keep up her youth and competing with your cousin, her daughter. “Yes, these are new this year! 36Ds! Aren’t they great! You can touch them later.” And your grandfather trying to drunken teach you how to Lindy hop despite the fact that he did that last year, and the year before and the year before that. And, really, Lindy hop? Why not something a little cooler, like West Coast swing? All of this while you are trying to keep down some overcooked ham and mac and cheese made with orange cheddar. Traditions are great! Didn’t this all happen last year?

This year, I am cultivating a few new holiday traditions of my own. I should start now to make sure that they are fully solidified before I use them to torture my future children. First, I am just going to other peoples families for the next few years. There is nothing like watching some one else’s parents faces sink in disappointment. Schadenfreudelicious! I can study them, so when the time comes, I can replicate that deep, deep wrinkle in the forehead that says, “I can’t believe we paid for college for this” without saying a single word.

Second, I am working on cultivating a sense of classism. Racism isn’t going to cool that much longer, but it’s always going to be ok to hate on the poor! My idea of charity is going to be making sure that no child goes with out a set of ALF pogs this holiday season.

Lastly, I’m truly cultivating my high functioning alcoholism. If there’s anything that I have learned all these years of knocked over trees and stupid wet Christmas tea towel fights, is that a controlled drunk is the best kind. You get to walk out of there with a serious buzz and your sense of superiority intact. Even if your ass is wet from getting slapped with a reindeer towel.