Sunday, July 12, 2015

Una reflexion sobre la 'ropa de andar'

Una vez Carolina Herrera me dijo que no entendia que las mujeres tuvieran 'ropa para andar por casa', refiriendose a esa ropa a la que no le damos demasiada importancia y usamos para ir al supermercado, o cuando tenemos que caminar por el barrio a comprar algo o llevar la ropa a la tintorería.
Segun ella "toda la ropa es importante y todos los momentos merecen ir bien vestidas, lo mejor posible"-.Carolina es una mujer tan perfecta y tan pulida que comprendo lo que dice y de esto hemos conversado mucho...Aunque yo realmente no sigo ese consejo porque soy muy haragana, y SÍ tengo 'ropa para andar', que en NYC es ir a la esquina a comprar algo, llegarme al CVS o darme una vuelta al Whole Foods. No lo puedo remediar...¿O es una costumbre cubana eso de tener ´ropa de andar'?
Siempre pienso que NYC es perfecta para ser anonimos y ponernos esos leggings viejitos, o esa blusa tan suavecita que hemos lavado tres mil veces. Bianca Jagger me dijo en una ocasion --mientras la entrevistaba sentada sobre la tapa del inodoro del baño de un hotel mientras ella envuelta en un albornoz blanco se maquillaba en el espejo del lavamanos-- que ella comprobaba si un hombre realmente la queria "cuando aceptaba mis viejitos ropones de dormir,esos casi raidos"..Y recuerdo que aquello me gusto!
En aquellos dias Bianca estaba quedandose en aquel hotel neoyorquino con el millonario Olivier Chandon, que murio en un accidente de coche poco despues -- y esa mañana andaba por el cuarto -¡terminando de vestirse!- mientras aquella rara entrevista tenia lugar. 

Mari Rodriguez Ichaso, Nueva York, June 2015

Monday, January 12, 2015

My Cuba in a near future?

After reading so many articles on Cuba´s future great wealth (famous real estate entrepreneurs are already buying half of Havana!) -and foreigners ready to travel & invest their many $$$ -- I will find very difficult & expensive to even visit Cuba one time!

 Probably will find myself saying "Please, can you spare a hotel room for 3 days...I am Cuban!" --and be looked at with a ´eye-rolling expression´ by a new hotel manager, who will say...
"Oh, she is one of those older exiles, retired, not wealthy nor relevant.Tell her we are fully booked". 

Yes....I am positive it will be cruel and we -the older and uber 'dignified' and proud exiles- will be at the end of the line! 

Even now many non-Cubans (inc. journalists) -or very 'casual' Cubans, who never thought twice about the island -think they know about Cuba more than this dedicated & patriotic 'cubanita'. 

Yes, it will be SURREAL! Sad, cruel and very surreal. 

Monday, January 5, 2015

My first home in NYC!

What a surprise to find this article in The New York Times about The Whitby! 

When we moved to NYC in 1969 we lived in this historical building 7 years, thru the crazy NYC's 70's. 

By chance. not knowing its History nor the kind of 'show biz' wild neighborhood it was in -mami found this large furnished apartment walking distance to our jobs (papi and Leon 2 blocks away) and 4 blocks to my job as Ticket Agent for Iberia Airlines. It was only $300 a month -and she took it instantly! 

And it was quite an esperience!

Prostitutes in hot pants and super-pimps & flashy pimp-mobiles shared the streets with dancers from the Rockettes and artists! Mami would go to work skipping drunkards sleeping next to the Broadway theatres & in her naive way asked them "please dont drink so much". It was such a surreal time, but we always felt safe. And now I realize we were in the midst of an amazing time in New York.

Since I was single my 'dates' would always be surprised that such a nice family lived in such a 'hot' area of NYC.  And in that apt 114, sitting on a black sofa while visiitng my father, I met my future husband Orlando Jimenez Leal!..Many friends & family used that living-room sofa bed when visiting NYC -and my brother even brought his French girlfriend Francoise (and her 9 months old son Papoose!) to live with us.  When she left to Paris for good we all cried at the baby´s departure! 

What a grand NYC beginning for all of us!

This is the NY Times article

The Whitby, on West 45th Street in Manhattan, before the year-end Christmas party for residents. CreditNicole Craine for The New York Times

On a ceaselessly rainy day this month, the residents of the Whitby gathered inside the lobby of the grand old building in Manhattan for its annual Christmas party. Children crawled and darted around the legs of clustered parents. Plastic folding tables were laden with nuts, cold cuts and pizza. Soda and wine sloshed in disposable cups while the lights and ornaments twinkled on a small artificial Christmas tree.
Conversation turned predictably to children and work, as well as to the shows people had seen. More often than not, these were one and the same.
“I’ll be out on a job and see someone I think I recognize from a past gig,” said Paul Ford, a rehearsal pianist and frequent Stephen Sondheim collaborator who has lived at the Whitby since 1983. “We’ll get to talking, and it turns out I know them from the elevator.”
Since it opened in 1924, the Whitby, a stout beige building with 217 units on 45th Street just west of Eighth Avenue, has attracted artists, performers, writers and stagehands. In fact, it was the first residential building in the city created especially for them, not least because performers were often shunned for their odd hours, odd lifestyles and, most of all, odd bank accounts. A “No Theatricals” sign from the era hangs in the management office as a joke.
Paul Ford, a rehearsal pianist, in his apartment at the Whitby, where he has lived since 1983.CreditNicole Craine for The New York Times
“Most actors were considered deadbeats in those days,” said Austin Colyer, who has spent most of his life at the Whitby since moving there in the 1950s. A frequent presence on Broadway until the past decade, this lean 85-year-old was also active in its union, Actors’ Equity, and founded the Whitby’s tenants association to combat a string of nasty landlords in the 1970s and ’80s. His apartment is stuffed with 130 bound collections of Playbills from all the shows he has seen over the years.
“People used to stop me all the time in the hallways and ask if I could get them into Equity,” Mr. Colyer said, sitting in the lobby where he regularly holds court. “And I’d always say, ‘Sure — just tell me what you’ve been in.’ ”
Mr. Colyer may be among the last of his generation at the Whitby, but he is not the last of his breed.
An item left behind in the sink of a newly vacated apartment at the Whitby attests to its residents' passions. CreditNicole Bengiveno/The New York Times
For all the changes that have come to Broadway, where the only thing more drastic than the astronomical ticket prices are the astronomical rents for apartments in the area, the Whitby has largely remained a bastion for performers and their patrons. But rather than being a haven for struggling artists, the building is now much more a home for successful ones.
“Like any New Yorker, I guess I was worried about the changes,” said Micki Frein, president of the co-op board (the building converted from a residential hotel in 1986). “But in spite of everything, the building still attracts artists and creative types. They just love the character of it, since most things in the neighborhood are shiny and new or totally rundown.”
The property, at 325 West 45th Street, was built by one of the most successful development partnerships of the prewar era, the builders Bing & Bing and the architect Emery Roth. They are responsible for such standouts as 1000 Park Avenue, at 84th Street, and the Southgate, on East 52nd Street. The Whitby was less distinguished though still impressive, with its three sturdy bays and rippling brick cornice. What the actors especially valued, though, was the telephone service, a rarity in the day that kept them apprised of all their callbacks.
Michael Apuzzo, a dancer, in his living room-bedroom. He has a Murphy bed that tucks into a cabinet so he can clear enough floor space to practice. CreditNicole Bengiveno/The New York Times
Among the stars who came to reside at the Whitby were Doris Day, Betty Grable, Clarence Derwent, Diane Ladd and Wallace Shawn, as well as Al Capone, though legend says it was the showgirls, not the amenities, that drew him there.
Michael Apuzzo came two years ago for proximity to both Broadway and Lincoln Center, where he regularly performs as a dancer with the Paul Taylor Dance Company. It helps that Broadway Dance Center is across the street.
Like many units in the building, his first-floor studio is small and spacious, a testament to Roth’s keen use of space. The walls are decorated with mementos from tours with the company to such places as Istanbul (decorative tapestries), San Francisco (photos on the beach) and Spoleto, Italy (a festival poster). Mr. Apuzzo has a Murphy bed precisely so he can keep the center of the room clear to practice.
Hayden Wall, an 11-year-old actor, and Austin Colyer, 85, until the past decade a frequent presence on Broadway, are neighbors. CreditNicole Bengiveno/The New York Times
“It’s so nice to walk through the building and hear people singing or playing the piano,” he said. “It’s inspiring, and you know you won’t bother anyone when you’re rehearsing.”
One of the youngest thespians in residence, Hayden Wall, 11, feels a connection with the building, as though the spirits of past performers are inspiring him as he makes his Off Broadway debut in “The Soul Doctor.” His parents started renting a one-bedroom apartment from its owner, leaving behind their suburban home in Syracuse, and now the family spends most of its nights in two beds at the Whitby, so their son can chase his dreams.
“I feel honored to have the torch passed to me,” he said.
Even those who do not work in the theater tend to have some connection. Ms. Frein, the board president, used to be a theater manager and wanted to stay close to her friends, even though she went into finance decades ago. Emilio Casarez and his partner both work at JPMorgan Chase, but rather than a downtown loft or uptown sprawl, they chose the cozy Whitby so they can visit the theater on the nights they are not working late.
Douglas Bellitto, a broker at Brown Harris Stevens who once aspired to the stage, handles many sales in the building these days. He is just as likely to sell an apartment — like a recent one-bedroom for $485,000 — to a pediatrician from Philadelphia as he is to a successful playwright.
“Her daughter is a ballerina, though,” Mr. Belitto said of the pediatrician, “and they come here at least once a month for the shows

Monday, December 22, 2014

Anxiety revisited...

I am already anxious! Xmas and (especially) New Year's produce these emotions. 

Ever since we left Cuba in the late 60's nothing can 'calm down' feeling overwhelmed at this time of the year.   I am so lucky & grateful for everything- but cant shake this feeling of 'unease'! 

'Scars' of the trauma of leaving my home & everything I owned (my books, my Diary!) -since at the time all that was permitted to take with us was "a suitcase with 5 changes of clothing, 2 pairs of shoes and an umbrella" No books, no little memories, no jewelry, not even an old scarf from my deceased grandmother! 

To this departure -were added very hard & painful initial years in exile. 

Thus, every year these scars come back to 'haunt' my usual happy self. And on January 1 a sense of newness makes it all OK -and happiness starts again.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Reflexiones sobre las nuevas relaciones entre Cuba y Estados Unidos

El anuncio de que los Estados Unidos -de pronto, de un plumazo y sin ningún cambio en la situación en la isla- ha decidido normalizar relaciones con Cuba -me ha dejado enormemente confundida y con un profundo dolor. Lo que puede llamarse ´dolor en el alma'.

Siento que se ha ´bendecido´ y se ha dado una recompensa, a los Castro por haberse mantenido 'fuertes' durante 55 años, luchando contra los Estados Unidos y en el camino pisoteando los 'derechos humanos' de los cubanos dentro de la isla. Y el "Premio a la Dictadura más Vieja del Mundo" es reanudar relaciones con ella y comenzar a darle todo tipo de facilidades. No lo entiendo. Buenio, si...realmente si lo entiendo.

No soy vengativa en lo absoluto, ni 'anticuada', ni intransigente, ni radical, ni nada de eso...pero el dolor de lo que ha sido la tragedia de Cuba -y lo que hemos sufrido los que vimos nuestras vidas cambiadas radicalmente, y a lo largo de 55 años hemos sufrido tantos horrores y tanto dolor, desde que comenzó la Revolución Cubana, no podemos aceptar sin dolor -y estupor- lo que  ha anunciado el presidente Obama.

Por supuesto que nunca he estado a favor del embargo (¡que en realidad solo existe en cuestiones de bancos y finanzas porque con Cuba comercian cientos de países, incluyendo los Estados Unidos, aunque tienen que ser pagados en cash!) --pero pensaba que la concesion de ciertas libertades tenian que ser parte del  'deal' para que los Estados Unidos abrieran esa puerta. Pero no, no ha sido así.  No hay promesa alguna de libertad de expresión, ni de prensa, ni el permitir el Internet, ni nada de nada....

Y ayer Raul Castro dijo en un discurso al parlamento cubano que seguirían siendo un país comunista y que nada iban a cambiar. Y alli mismo se ovacionó y se recibió como si fueran ´rock stars´, a los espías convictos para dañar a los Estados Unidos, que fueron devueltos a Cuba. ¡Increíble!  Un día que se llamó una Celebración del Triunfo Contra la Agresión Americana.

Todo me parece tan indigno porque basicamente se trata de ´money, money, money´' --y la cantidad de nuevos millonarios que aparecerán en Cuba dentro del propio gobierno, donde ya muchos lo son, al estilo de los oligarcas rusos que han surgido -y en los miles de personas (incluyendo muchos cubanos exilados que ya están salivando pensando en los McDonald´s y los Home Depot que van a abrir en Cuba) que también se harán millonarios .- o más millonarios aún- pensando en lo maravillosa que será esta 'apertura' --aunque el gobierno de Cuba les pida 'participar´ en estos negocios.

Sí, el puro dinero será lo más importante de esta nueva política....La verdadera razón. Y algo que ni siquiera se ha tratado de 'envolver´ en otras explicaciones. Además de  todo esto coincide con una gran conveniencia politica ¡porque este verano ya Vladimir Putin demostró con muchos gestos su enorme interés de que Rusia fuera de nuevo un 'player' importante en la escena política cubana! Y los Estados Unidos no querían que Rusia -¡de nuevo!- les acaparase Cuba, y todas sus riquezas, a solo 90 millas de sus costas. Asi de sencillo. Dinero, política y poder. 

Por lo que el dolor de los que a lo largo de 55 años perdieron familiares en el paredón de fusilamiento, o pudriéndose en las cárceles, o ahogados en el mar --no tiene ya la menor importancia.  Es un ´non-issue'. Como lo es el dolor de los que -como me sucedió a mi, a mi madre, a mi familia- vieron sus vidas cortadas, rotas, interrrumpidas, desviadas, convirtiéndonos en exilados en una época en que huir de Cuba -y evitar en muchos casos la cárcel- era la única escapatoria.  Ese dolor -¡que fue horrible porque cuando nos fuimos de Cuba me dormi llorando de tristeza muchas noches!- de nada ha valido -- y eso me hace sentir muy impotente y me da mucha rabia. ¡Una posición anti-castrista digna y decente no ha servido de nada!  ¡Que estúpido idealismo y decencia política!

Me imagino que eso ocurre todos los días en este mundo tan corrupto --y mi dolor lo comparten millones de personas que han sido tan solo 'fichas' o 'chivos expiatorios' de un momento político.  Y ahora veo que el haber sufrido por Cuba desde los 14 años ha sido una pérdida de tiempo y ´un peso muerto´ que he llevado colgado del cuello, inutilmente, día a día.  Y la verdad es que hubiera hecho mucho más facil y feliz mi vida, sino hubiera existido --y mi adolescencia y juventud hubieran sido mucho más ligeras de equipaje, más 'light' y más 'normales' -- como me correspondía como cualquier niña que tenía planes e ilusiones ---¡como me las había imaginado cuando crecía en una Cuba libre! ---sin la guadaña de la Revolución cortándome los sueños.  

Ahora empieza otra etapa. Y aunque me duela el alma, ojalá que traiga -algún día- la libertad que los cubanos de la isla se merecen. Veremos a ver qué puedo añadir a estas reflexiones cuando pase 1 año y en las próximas Navidades tengamos nuevas realidades.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

A new little person in our lives

Miren my grandaughter is almost 3 and already a 'little person' that fascinates all of us. She is becoming a little girl -not a baby at all!- and this transformation is absolutely enchanting!

I love to see how her mind works, the spontaneous reactions to all that surrounds her, the train-of-thoughts, and her intelligence. Also is wonderful to observe how she talks. In Spanish to her mom, to Yazmin and to me...and switching automatically to English when she talks to her father or anyone that she 'feels' dont speak Spanish!

I enjoy so much her love and seeing her scream my name "Ita" when I arrive at her house ir when she sees me. It is heaven!

Yes, there is a new member of the family and a new 'person' created by God's magnificence that has arrived in our lives.  So beautiful and healing!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

I love my wedding pictures!

I have been reading again some of these posts and looking at pictures --and feel truly happy that even the sad memories get better as time goes by, and they stop hurting --and suddenly you see the good side of things and can even laugh at so many funny things that came hand in hand with tears and a deep melancholia. 

Thus, since I love my wedding pictures --and have never looked better!- I want to share them with you. I was so young and so in love! 

My brother Leon took these pictures one very early morning of April 1972 up in a park in Westchester County. The 'hippy' white eyelet dress, so 70's and so romantic cost me $19.99 at Alexander's on Lexington Avenue and it was perfect for the times. Mami made the ribbons with tiny flowers and bows for my hair --and the flowers were purchased in a flower shop in the 42 St subway station.  And I looked so modern and great!

Fourteen people attended the 6pm wedding on April 29th 1972 because Orlando did not want a 'big' wedding, so we had a almost non/existent crowd of guests at the chapel at the Holy Cross Church on 42 St. which had suffered a devastating fire days befor the wedding --and it was in shambles!

But I was very happy and loved my brother logging his reel to reel professional tape recorder to the church so I could get married as the Beatles played "She loves you...yeah...yeah...yeah" and "All you need is love...all you need is love"...It was soooo wonderful!

At the end my father seemed so serious....he later said -as 9 of the 14 guests had dinner at Pier 52, a seafood restaurant on 52 St - "Ah...and I always wanted her to be a nun!"- which was such a melodramatic lie that the tragic remark was laughed at and ignored...The wedding never had printed invitations, no wedding list at stores, no preparations  --and a lot of my friends were never told I was getting married....Crazy!....But on the other hand there was no stress whatsoever...Not an ounce of stress!!...And it was such a cheap albeit cute and slightly 'hippiesh' wedding....And at the end of all it was a pretty wedding of 2 people who were very much in love. 

The next day we went on an amazing honeymoon to Rome, Capri, Athens, the Greek Islands, Istambul and Madrid...All First Class, a gift from TWA!!      

After a difficult marriage and a divorce ---the truth is that I only can remember good things...especially how cute my wedding happy love made me feel... and how pretty I looked! 

I wore that wedding dress about 4 years later, when Mari-Claudia was born!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Miren mi nieta ya es una 'niñita' de 2 años y medio

Es imposible tratar de explicar el amor que siento por mi hija y mi nieta.


Bye bye Andrea y Tatiana…¡El puesto está a punto de ser ocupado!...El príncipe reinante Alberto ha cumplido con su deber ¡y Mónaco tendrá un heredero con todas las de la ley!

 Después de muchas especulaciones -y lo que parecía una telenovela que amenazaba con volverse predecible y aburrida -en Mónaco las cosas han cambiado y no solo la princesa Charlene está embarazada sino que a la pareja real se le ve más ‘enamorada’, con aire de estar muy contentos y hasta han afirmado sentirse “muy emocionados”.

 Ah, pero mis impecables ‘chismosos’ de siempre me cuentan un cotilleo ‘jugoso’; que la única que no está contenta es la princesa Carolina porque ya se había ilusionado con la idea de que su hijo Andrea –tal como había dispuesto en un arreglo a la Constitución el fallecido príncipe Rainiero en el 2002 - se convirtiese eventualmente en Su Alteza Serenísima, Príncipe de Mónaco. ¡Y de momento esa posibilidad terminará cuando en el mes de Diciembre un futuro heredero del trono llegue al principado!

 Alberto, de 56 años y Charlene, de 36, fueron vistos en el nuevo Monaco Yacht Club agarrados de la mano y a ella –toda muy virginal con un vestido suelto blanco- hasta se le notaba el comienzo de una ‘panzita’ de embarazo. El príncipe sonreía mucho ¡cosa rara en los últimos años!- y agradecía las felicitaciones de los asistentes mientras que Charlene –con cara de mujer ‘embelesada’, lo que últimamente ha perfeccionado (¿no se han fijado?) --sin demostrar en su rostro nada que no sea divino y perfecto en su vida- se agarraba de los deditos de su marido con gran amor. ¡Su Nirvana!

 Mientras tanto, me han dicho que Carolina su hermana –quien en las últimas semanas ha pasado más tiempo en Paris, cerca de su hija Carlota y su pequeño nieto Raphael, y parecía haber dejado ‘desocupado’ su territorio en Mónaco- está furiosa y no puede disimular su enfado porque al ser la mayor de la familia- siempre sintió “que ella era ‘la’ que debía heredar el trono”. Y como en Mónaco la ley favorece a los hijos hombres por encima de las hijas mujeres- se consolaba con que fuera su hijo mayor Andrea (quien incluso se casó por la iglesia y bautizó a su hijo Sasha como corresponde a un buen católico preparado para reinar) quien ocupara un día el mando del Principado. ¿Y qué piensan de esta noticia Andrea y Tatiana? Dicen que “realmente no les afecta mucho porque son felices con la vida privada que llevan con su hijo y no necesitan para nada llenarse de obligaciones y protocolo al ser los príncipes de Mónaco”

Pocos saben que a Carolina le importa tanto el mundo de la aristocracia y los títulos -¡y adora tantísimo su condición de princesa e hija primogénita de Rainiero y Grace!- que ha no se ha divorciado legalmente del príncipe Ernesto de Hanóver  -aunque viven separados desde 2009- porque al hacerlo perdería su rango de Alteza Real, un título que ahora la pone por encima de su hermano Alberto y su cuñada Charlene, que solo son Altezas Serenísimas. ¿Se imaginan?  Al ser parte de la Casa Real de Hanóver, Carolina ocupa una posición entre la nobleza muy superior a la de un Grimaldi, quienes no son muy respetados entre la realeza europea, que llama Mónaco “un principado de opereta”.  Igual que desea que su hija la princesa Alexandra Hanóver (oficialmente Alexandra Charlotte Ulrike Maryam Virginia Prinzessin von Hannover) –de 15 años y quien vive con ella- mantenga todos sus privilegios como hija de un príncipe que es jefe de una de las casa reales, que aunque no ocupan un trono, más antiguas e históricas de Europa. Como les hemos comentado en otras ocasiones, si no hubiera sido por inesperados cambios y giros hereditarios de las dinastías -¡Ernesto de Hanóver hubiera sido hoy en día rey de Inglaterra y Carolina su reina!

 Desde el matrimonio de Alberto y Charlene en el 2011 el pueblo monaguesco rezaba por un heredero legítimo, porque los dos hijos ‘fuera de matrimonio’ del príncipe Alberto no tienen derecho a heredar. Y esto que existe Alexandre Coste Grimaldi un varón de 10 años que hubiera podido ser el ‘heredero’ si Alberto si hubiera casado con su madre la azafata Nicole Coste -¡aun después de su nacimiento! -y que aparentemente tiene una buena –aunque discreta- relación con su padre.

Tanto él como su media hermana Jazmin Grace Grimaldi, de 22 años, son ilegítimos ¡pero al haber sido reconocidos como hijos por el príncipe Alberto tienen pleno derecho a recibir parte de su vastísima fortuna –¡la que tendrán que compartir con el bebé que llegará! -y que todos esperan sea un varón porque si es mujer tiene que cambiarse de nuevo la ley para que pueda gobernar.




Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Thinking about Princess Diana

Today -as her first grandchild arrived- I am thinking a lot about Princess Diana, whom I met briefly in 1995 at a Lincoln Center awards ceremony.

It was such a great entrance the one she made!  She had a recent suntan and looked so young and full of life with a navy slim dress and a great pearl and blue saphire choker.   At the fashion event she was honoring her friend Liz Tilberis -Harper's Bazaar editor in chief, who later died on ovarian cancer-  and her eyes smiled and showed such sincere friendliness.

She had the same way of looking at people and connecting with them that I noticed when I met Audrey Hepburn also in NYC, at a Casita Maria benefit months before her death. (Audrey held my both hands when we met and I told her how much I admired her and how beautiful she was!)

This photo is from the day I met Diana. I was invited as a 'guest' , yes, very fancy  -and was not there as one more journalist on a throng of writers and a huge paparazzi crowd (where I have been many times!) --thus I was able to say hello and exchange a few words..She had done her hair different that night and was SO nice, with a firm handshake and great smile.

Thus today, I wish Diana had been here with us. I still feel so sad about her tragic death!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Las Flores: Mensajes de Armonía de la Naturaleza

¿Hay algo más lindo que las flores?  Son un mensaje de armonía de la Naturaleza y junto con los pájaros y los diseños de sus plumas --y los peces, sus colores 'degradé' y su ritmo al nadar por las aguas, son señales de que -sin importar para nada las explicaciones científicas de los átomos y el origen de la vida - nadie ha podido explicar esos milagros de vida y belleza.

Las peonías blancas de esta foto son una de mis flores favoritas. Son medias salvajes cuando ya van abriendo y van cambiando sus formas. ¡Tal como hacen los tulipanes que se mueven como bailando un divino ballet!

 ¡Qué bueno es tener la capacidad de 'ver' estas cosas y disfrutarlas mucho y con absoluto regodeo!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

¿Ir -o no ir- a Cuba?

En relacion a Cuba creo que los exilados que nos fuimos de la isla en sus momentos peores de fusilamientos, racionamientos, Comites de Defensa de puros espias, represion absoluta, sentencias de carcel a hombres y mujeres de 20 y 30 años, etc. hemos perdido la batalla en materia de 'que otros nos crean, comprendan la represión que hay allí, y nos hagan caso'.
Los cubanos que salieron más tarde y vinieron por otras razones (la miseria) y para quienes las razones idealistas no importan tanto, con su deseo de volver a ver Cuba y ligereza al ignorar el pasado, quizás contribuyan a que nuestra 'verdad' nadie la oiga.

Esos cubanos y muchos 'viejos' exilados y sus hijos, viajan a Cuba como si nada hubiera pasado. Y por eso no me extraña -aunque me repugna y me molesta muchisimo- que extranjeros que ni saben dónde está Cuba en el mapa, vayan a Cuba a divertirse.

Es algo muy complejo. Si tuviera mi madre en Cuba claro que iria a verla y le mandaria todo lo que pudiera. Pero el 'ir a Cuba´ es el pan de cada día en Miami --siempre me sorprende eso- y eso ha roto ese ´rigor moral´que tenia el exilio por décadas y era de cierta forma un tipo de ´honor´: no regresar a Cuba mientras alli estuvieran gobernando los Castro con la mayor falta de libertad.
Ahora eso no importa. Y nuevas generaciones que no vivieron lo que vivimos nosotros (incluso en nuestras propias familias) no consideran lo que les pasó a sus abuelos o a sus padres, y van a Cuba y la pasan regio.

 Asi es la vida. He tenido que aprender a controlar mi tristeza y mi rabia en todo esto --especialmente cuando en cosas de trabajo o en viajes, el decir que naci y me crie en Cuba 'explote´una serie de 'ohs´y ahs' sobre mi maravillosa patria, los Mojitos, las playas, etc. de montones de extranjeros que la visitan y han visitado.
 Esto lo esribo como un ´sound off´ porque llevo 3 dias de presentaciones y reuniones de trabajo rodeada de gente latinoamericana encantadora que cuando les digo que soy 'exilada´ cubana me miran como si tuviese 3 cabezas...y no se ni que decirles. Y contarles la Historia es imposible. Y ademas no les interesa.

Monday, March 11, 2013

The luck of some


I remember the moment when beautiful Princess Yasmin Aga Khan (whom I had interviewed many times, and happens to be Rita Hayworth's daughter with prince Aly Khan) told me point blank:

"Being happy in LOVE is just a question of good luck. Nothing else matters...Beauty, money, talent...nothing matters!...Either you are lucky at it...Or you are not. And whatever one does to try to change this is totally useless"

I thought at the time that she was probably talking out of her own unfortunate personal experiences --and maybe a bit embittered and radical about all that had to do with ...LOVE...But as years have gone by, and as I have met countless horribly unpleasant, dumb and unatractive people who have enjoyed amazing happiness in LOVE --her words have come back to haunt me many, many times.

How in the world these people reached these peaks of happiness???...They are usually highly unatractive either phisically and/or in character and personality...They are mostly ugly, insensitive, sort of dumb, totally lacking wit, style or any special talents...But LOVE is always at their side!...They must be blessed with amazing good luck for sure, since any other explanation does not fit the bill.

As the Spanish proverb says: "La suerte de la fea la bonita la desea" and it must be true since most of the pretty women I know are not as lucky in LOVE as one would think they would be. And some horrendous ones, in looks as well as in personality, live in paradise and their men just adore them!

Case in point: Some years ago, when I was very good friends with many famous celebrities (and for some reason went out with them all the time)I was invited to a high/power brunch at New York's Metropolitan Club, hosted by this well known Manhattan doctor and his wife, in honor of my (then) good friends Placido and Marta Domingo. Since I arrived early at the elegant club, I went into the Ladies Room to check out my makeup, etc., and was surprised to see that the bathroom attendant was a Latin woman who looked quite unkempt and even dirty. How in the world they had hired this woman in such a 'chi-chi' place?...I mention this because that club is a very prestigious and 'aristocratic' one --and as I put on some lipstick my eyes darted to the appalling bathroom attendant, this woman dressed in a stained black dress (the hem was undone and hanging on one side)-and wearing very worn out black heels, which were in need of lifts and a good cleaning. It was quite a sight!...And when I was about to leave, give her a dollar tip, as is the custom...she quickly smiled at me, and left the bathroom.

Of course this horror of a woman (I am not exagerating at all) turned out to be the wife of the famous doctor (a very handsome tall, white haired man!) and the hostess of the elegant brunch!!...How embarassing would have been if I had given her the dollar tip!...And to top it all, during the dessert toast, to make things even more amazing, the elegant doctor told Placido how lucky they both were of having married such magnificent and great Latin women!

I almost cracked up --and never forgot that moment. It felt like a joke...The woman being toasted as 'magnificent' even had offensive table manners and at the end of the meal used a toothpick (WHERE did she find it, since there were definitely no toothpicks at the Metropolitan Club?)....I was floored. And to this day that image comes to my mind everytime I wonder about the many mysteries of LOVE and LUCK.

Yes, this is the way it seems to be. Luck might even be pre/determined...Who knows?...But it definitely works like clockwork when it comes to LOVE...Just look around and check it out! You will see how true it is!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

The daughter of my daughter: Miren Antonia Coffey at 13 months

The love one feels for a grandaughter -especially when she is the daughter of my wonderful only child- is absolutely magnificent! This baby is such a blessing. I adore her.

Keeping true to the dreams of our youth....

Saturdays -as my friends know- is my 'mommy/daughter' day.

The day Mari-Claudia and I drive around to different New York and New Jersey neigborhoods and  towns --and start discovering places and things. A few hours where we talk, , exchange thoughts, reminisce and fall in love (and out of love sometimes) with peoples and places. 

One of our favorites is the discovery of new ethnic areas filled with churches and temples of different faiths, and rows of identical homes --and supermarkets and bakeries that we duly visit, and all kinds of stores and boutiques. This we love and is very exciting.  Other times we justfind new 'malls' and yesterday in Clinton, New Jersey we visited a huge store of fashion accesories called "Charming Charlie" (it must be Koren owned, since only Koreans call stores Happy Store, Nice Boutique or maybe Charming Charlie) --with jewelry, shoes, scarves and purses in every shade of the rainbow...From pastel sherbets to dark and dramatic black hats...And every one of them absolutely horrible!  It was amazing we could not buy one single item. And when I picked a bracelet MC deemed it "muy visto... everybody has it" -and immediately was left behind. No way to spend money there!

Later we had lunch at one of our favorites: "P.F.Chang's" -which we learned of in Miami, since they dont have a Manhattan branch- which was delicious, as usual. And the best was the great message of my fortune cookie:  "Keep true to the dreams of your youth"....Wonderful words although not always possible -but still very 'up' and nice to hear.   Especially yesterday when thoughts of the past and my very young years were all around my mind!  My conclusion is that even though I dont remember very well the many, many, many dreams of my youth --I have been pretty 'true' to myself ever since I can remember.

The only downside to all this talk about youth?  That  -no matter how young we feel, how youthful our looks and how youthful and cool our 'outlook' of things are-  people start calling us "Señora" and use the formal "Usted" instead of the youthful "Tu".   And the worst part of it all is that they do it öut of "respect", like their moms and grandmas told them to do!  

Is there a fortune cookie with a message to dispel this heart breaking myth?

Friday, March 8, 2013

Momento de hablar boberías...¿pero con quién?

Estoy en un 'mood' tan tranquilo, que realmente me da sueño....¿Será que una pierde interés por las cosas de tanto tenerlas?  ¿Como esa canción de que "usamos tanto el amor que lo rompemos" o algo asi?   ¿O todo se debe a que estamos en medio del invierno ---y el día de hoy -gris, aunque no oscuro, con una suave nieve cayendo muy lentamente'- se siente que transcurre demasiado despacio?  No sé...

Pero hoy, por ejemplo, hubiera caminado 1 cuadra a su casa --y me hubiera encantado poder hablar con mi mamá. Tonterías incluso. Y reirnos y hasta ser un poco ´chismosa´ y comentarle cosas.  Porque realmente a las madres les podemos contar todo lo que se nos ocurra --y siempre nos escuchan porque somos sus hijas --y porque nos quieren y porque son pedazos de nosotros. ¡Eso tan cierto eso de ser carne de mi carne y sangre de mi sangre! 

Porque cuando le quieres contar algo a un amigo podemos molestarlos, o tomar tiempo que no tienen, o porque realmente no les interesa lo que -llena de entusiasmo- comienzas a contarle...y de pronto notas que esa persona 'no está ahí' realmente  y no está conectando contigo ---y es el momento de cambiar la conversación y terminar el cuento sin el ´punchline´ o sin las reflexiones normales.  El interrumpir a alguien con una llamada, o un cuento, me preocupa, porque trato de ser considerada con los demás. Pero ese ´disconnect´ me pasó el otro día con una amiga ---y comprendí que a ella solo puedo hablarle de moda...o de su perrito.

Pero si mami viviera -o papi, que siempre estaba listo para compartir una cosa divertida, ingeniosa o curiosa- mi cuento de ayer y de anteayer y de mañana, les hubiera encantado y yo me sentiría tan contenta.  También esto de 'compartir' tiene que ver con la gente. Porque hay personas que no escuchan. Y otras que no quieren enterarse de nada. Y hay quienes no tienen capacidad para vivir más allá de las 500 palabras que conocen.

A mami hoy le contaría cosas curiosas, interesantes, y le hablaría del "vestido de raso azúl". que cuando era una casi-teenager en La Habana, era la palabra ´código' entre nosotras- significando de que mi imaginación iba demasiado rápida --y "te preguntas y te contestas tú misma".  Y si le contara que de pura casualidad, por un contacto de Lindekin (que jamás uso porque no me gusta) me topé con alguien del pasado, le hubiera parecido súper interesante.  Y hubiéramos visto fotos antiguas...y la conversación hubiera vuelto atrás 40 y tantos años...¡Y comentaríamos que esa casualidad me ha permitido cerrar un pequeño círculo de mi vida que siempre quedó un poco abierto y como rodeado de preguntas!  Y comentaríamos cosas de aquellos momentos en nuestras vidas recién llegados al exilio...Y de otras personas y de otros momentos, porque esta es una semana muy concurrida  y con muchos eventos  --y pronto estáríamos hablando de su propia vida y de sus propias casualidades, y de sus propios recuerdos -- y habríamos establecido unos momentos encantadores.  ¡Qué pena que mami no está!

Porque a los hijos 'aunque tengamos con ellos una gran relación- no les podemos comentar estas boberías --- porque ellos nos quieren ver siempre fuertes, inmunes a estas cosas, muy 'mamás' y muy 'papás' ---y listos para hablarnos de ´sus´ cosas, porque una madre -como ya les dije- siempre lo escucha todo. 

Así es la vida. La rueda de la fascinante vida. Aunque en el camino pierda algunos trozos.

Monday, March 4, 2013

The pleasure of a piece of art

Yesterday, when I saw Alexandre Arrechea´s sculptures lining up on Park Aveue I felt such joy!

Joy because they are such wonderful & imaginative pieces of art.  A very witty and original concept, that produced in me an exhilarating emotion.  That special and unexplainable feeling that great art always brings to my heart and soul.

And I also felt enormous pride because Alexandre is Cuban!!!  How wonderful!

I am not a 'connoiseuse' of art, nor a critic, and my appreciation is really very raw, coming from the way shapes and colors and concepts ´hit´ me.  Maybe growing up surrounded by paintings in my home in Cuba and visiting museums with my mother since I was a little girl, created this curiosity and love for art.  And as I grow older I find tremendous joy at finding pieces that strike me and make me take more than one look. 

Like I felt in the last Art Basel Fair in Miami, that had amazing things! Or every time I see the beautiful art deco details of London´s Claridge´s! Or the great Picasso that Mari-Claudia was involved in selling in auction!

Art is something free we can enjoy without spending money, nor going thru big efforts. What a gift! And what a shame that some people do not know how to discover its beauty and intelligence. They miss so, so much!

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Reflections as the year starts...

2013 started and my "To Do" list is growing. There are so many things to do! It's overwhelming.

This sucession of people, places and things line-up and many times repeat itself, making me want to do something radically different.  Take a dare step. Taste new experiencies.

Maybe I should go to India? Or to China? Or to one of those boutique hotels in Bhutan smack in the heart of the Himalayas? Or maybe I should accept those many yearly invitations to tour vodka productions fields in Holland, or vineyards in France -although I dont drink and wonder how I could cope with this fact when I will be given spirits and wine tastings every second! As you can see, the choices are many and quite different.

Of course, I do lead a very exciting life -due to my labor as a journalist- and I love it. But sometimes I wish I was one of those totally relaxed and sort-of-lazy Matisse 'odalisques', lounging around in loose clothes in exquisite rooms filled with amazing printed cloths, flowers and a divine 'laissez faire' ambiance. My image of the perfect solitude!

The truth is that by nature I am not ambitious at all and have a penchant for lazyness and a life of contemplation and wonderful solitude. But "la lucha por la vida" (the fight for Life- as my father always called our daily need to work and earn a decent living) when I was barely 19 years old forced me to become strong, hard working, respectful of my peers and slightly ambitious. And living in a big city -Havana, Mexico City and New York- boost my energy and helped overcome my tendency for becoming that divine odalisque. 

This is why when I go to Miami -as I just did- the ocean, the beautiful blue skies and the palm trees become one more like the Crystal Slipper of Cinderella. But the one the stepsisters wanted to fit and tried and tried ---to no avail.  A friend of mine said this to me -and I have taken this comparison  like my own.  And the image of  'paradise' I see all around me when I drive over to Key Biscayne and Miami surrounds me with its skyline, sailboats, yachs and gorgeous views -become that Crystal Slipper I want so much to 'fit' ---but it will never be part of my daily life. What a shame that 'paradise' will never be mine -- since I need New York's bustle, wild energy and crazy changes of weather! 

But -at least now, when the year is young and we are still in the planning stages- I hope I will do some 'new' adventureous things. They are much needed for sure.