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.