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Artsy Fartsy Weekend

I didn’t really realize it until yesterday… Poor little Gracie has been inundated with art and antiquities nearly every day of her life since the day she was born. Let me set the stage for you… A week after Gracie was born I took her to an antique show. Don’t worry, I covered up her little carriage so no gross antique people would breathe their germs all over her. For the first year of Gracie’s life before she could walk, I would put Gracie on her blanket in the middle of the room and I would make a circle around her of art books so that everywhere she looked she would see beautiful art.

Gracie started working at an antique shop when she was in kindergarten. I swear to God she did. My mother’s best friend, Kathy, opened a shop in Newport Beach filled French imported antiquities and I worked there alongside my mother and Kathy. We would also take Gracie to our Chinese importer where she learned about altar fruit, lacquering and blue and white porcelain. After school, we always brought Gracie to the shop and she would stay with me until closing time. Gracie helped unpacking shipments and watched my mother arrange vignettes. I’m pretty sure we taught Gracie how to move an armoire easily with the help of a Persian rug by her 5th birthday. Gracie has been to every antique show, fleamarket, estate sale, museum and exhibit on the face of the earth from Paris, London, Spain, Los Angeles, North Carolina, Atlanta, Italy, New York and beyond. My proudest moment was when I took Gracie to the Louvre for the first time and we were rushing and rushing inside of the museum to get to the Mona Lisa and when we finally got there Gracie stopped dead in her tracks, not a word came out of her mouth and she looked up at the painting with her big blue wide eyes and a little tear of joy trickled out. Be still my proud heart.

Throughout junior high and high school, Gracie helped with my antique shop every day after school. She was a professional by this time. Now that Gracie is in college in Paris, her art history classes are coupled with museums and exhibits on the weekends.

And, my influence is not all that she has coming at her. Gracie’s father, Dylan, is the president of Walla Walla Foundry. The foundry helps super famous artists like Jim Dine, Richard Prince, Maya Lin, Kiki Smith, Matthew Barney and Paul McCarthy facilitate their artwork. The artist Paul McCarthy is controversial right now in Paris as he put up rather obscene sculpture in the middle of the most hoity-toity square in Paris, the Place Vendôme. Apparently the artist was physically assaulted by a not so art loving villain and the offending artwork was vandalized as well and eventually taken down. You can read the whole article HERE. Gracie’s father flew to Paris over the weekend to take Gracie to a dinner party with Paul McCarthy himself and after a talk at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts.


 Gracie and her father also attended the Fiac, Foire International d'Art Contemporain. According to the official site the Fiac is held under the soaring glass roof of the Grand Palais, where seasoned collectors and first time visitors come from all over the world to look at and invest in the work of important modern and contemporary artists. Top international galleries from all over the world present work by up-and-coming artists at this prestigious event.
Everyone who's anyone in the art world will be present, as this is a true tastemaker's event, a place to spot the next greatest talent and perhaps invest in some artwork.”


Poor Gracie. All she probably wants to do is go to the movies and get a hamburger but no such luck in this family. This evening, poor little Gracie, will be forced to look at photos of her mother’s artful weekend in Paris as well. As much as I wanted to take Gracie on our excursion outside of Paris this weekend to Château Chantilly, I relinquished her to her father because I know how to share. This is more than I can say for some people (mother of my husband’s children.) David and I popped up early Sunday morning to head out to the château. But first, I made my French husband drive our car to McDonald’s for an Egg McMuffin and to Starbucks for a latte. This takes about two hours in Paris. I can’t even describe well enough the intense eye rolls and look of disgust on his face as I happily ate my American smorgasbord on the way to the French château.

I decided after visiting Château Chantilly, that châteaux are not all purpose. Some châteaux are better in the spring, some chateaux are better for the winter and this château, Château Chantilly, was perfect for fall. It definitely had an autumnal theme running throughout. Think hunting lodge or should I say hunting Château…Hundreds of oak trees, hunting tapestries, roaring fireplaces, hunting trophies of elk and even a centuries-old tiger, dog statues guarding the entry, and acres and acres of forests. All I could think was, “This is the perfect château for Thanksgiving.” More eye rolls from my husband (Has he not realized by now that he married a snob?)


Château Chantilly is known for its insane collection of artwork. We were thoroughly impressed. We would walk through a great salon and Boom! A Delacroix. Then around the corner Boom! A Rafael. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed an Ingres! It was crazy. Crazy wonderful!


We decided to tour the grounds in a golf cart that we rented because I’m fat and lazy. Just kidding, I have ALS. By the way, don’t you hate when people are in a wheelchair because they are fat. I just want to kick them. Anyway, we toured the grounds which was technically a forest for hours. In the middle of the forest we saw statues, little chapels, a Hamlet, an Anglo-Chinese garden, an orangerie, and even a kangaroo enclosure. I love rich people and their eccentricities, don’t you?


At the end of our day, my husband always likes to visit the gift shop. We bought a beautiful book on our favorite room of the château, Les Singeries de Chantilly. The room nearly took my breath away. As you know, I love anything chinoiserie and this little room did not disappoint. It was an animal themed chinoiserie petite salon. I almost had a decorating heart attack. The painted panels date back to the 1700s and depict little animals doing everyday tasks. There were little monkeys, bunnies, swans, flamingos etc. The colors were so rich… Blues and yellows and greens and golds. I was ready to put an offer on the château as soon as I saw the ceiling because remember whenever I go castle visiting I pretend I am castle shopping. Take a look…


To top off our marvelous day we decided to have tea and dessert in the forest in the little hamlet. So, in case you don't know, crème Chantilly is what we Americans refer to as whipping cream. But, this ain’t no regular whipping cream. Not to be crude, but this was the best thing I’ve ever put in my mouth. It was so delicious my husband and I talked about it the entire ride home. The entire ride! Château Chantilly is famous for this cream. We had a moist spice cake with a big plop of crème Chantilly. When my ALS specialist neurologist suggested that I fatten my little body up, I am pretty sure he was referring to crème Chantilly. We ate so much crème Chantilly that we basically rolled out of the Hamlet like fat royalty stuffed on foie gras and cream. It was obscene, deliciously obscene.


So that was our artful weekend. Gracie and her father with Paul McCarthy and his controversial artwork and David and I with our Delacroix’s and crème Chantilly. Not a bad weekend. Stay tuned to the next blog post because on Wednesday we are going to the Salon du Chocolat!

*Something you don’t know about me? I decided that the best person to replace me if I pass away and to take care of Gracie would be… A gay interior decorator married to a gay fashion designer who is having a lifelong affair with a gay museum curator. Don’t you agree?

Happy Halloween. Old-school Halloween.

Well, holy moly, I am certainly impressed. I am impressed by everyone who left comments on yesterday’s blog to help that reader. See? See how amazing women are? You all took the time out of your lives to help another woman. That’s why the female race is superior. Don’t argue with me, it’s true. I hope this woman takes our advice and frees herself but we need to remember that “You can lead a camel to water but you can’t make him drink.” We have done our part by offering advice and if this woman really wants help, she will act on our advice. Bravo everyone.

Don’t worry, we’re still going to talk about Halloween today, but I want to tell everyone something. In all of the emails and comments that I received from the readers, you all say how brave I am and how courageous I am etc. etc. etc. Here’s the thing…. I am not. I am the furthest thing from brave and the furthest thing from courageous. I am scared every morning when I wake up until I go to sleep. I worry about everything. I stress, I panic and I worry.

My main concern is obviously my daughter. I worry that after I pass away no one will care for her like I do. She is only 19 years old. Who is going to baby her, who will understand her like I do, who will she go to when she needs help, who is going to take her shopping, who is going to watch Modern Family with her, who is going to help her pick out her wedding dress, who is going to spoil her children like a grandmother would, who is going to be me? Who is going to me? I don’t have these answers and it scares me to death.

My second worry is always my immediate health. I could be having a perfectly normal day and then boom! I choke on my own saliva (gross) and nearly die. I nearly die every single day. Yesterday, the caregivers almost dropped me three times. Today, the nurse almost ripped out my feeding tube. My diaphragm pacer is slightly red and now I think I have to go to the hospital. Sometimes I can breathe, sometimes I can’t and all day I worry. I’m not a hypochondriac, all of this shit is real. Thank you all for your compliments but I am not brave and I’m not courageous, I am just me. Sometimes I think I am the perfect person to get ALS because I can handle it but sometimes I think I am the worst person to get ALS because I’m such a scaredy-cat. I’m scared my caregivers are going to accidentally lock themselves out of the apartment and I am stuck, I’m scared they are going to poison me, sometimes I’m scared they are going to kidnap me, I’m scared when the nurses change my bandages (I scream in French, “don’t touch me.”) and they think I’m crazy. I’m scared my wheelchair wheels are going to get stuck in the cobblestone streets of Paris and I am going to go flying forward and smash my moneymaker. :-) I am afraid when we take a walk on the crowded streets of Paris that some idiot is going to burn me with their cigarette. I am pretty sure every day I’m going into cardiac arrest. Are you getting the picture now about how not brave and how not courageous I am. I am a big fat baby but thank you for thinking otherwise.

 Okay, now that we have that cleared up let’s get back to Halloween…
This is the last installment of my Halloween tirade because I’m boring myself with all of it…
Let’s take a step back today and admire the Halloweens of the past...

*Something you don’t know about me? I am 100% obsessed with reality TV. Other than news programs (BBC, CNN, Jon Stewart and Bill Maher) the only television I watch is reality TV. I have watched every single episode of every single Real Housewives. If Andy Cohen, the producer of the Real Housewives, ever got sick I could step in and host his show about the housewives, Watch What Happens Live!, in a blink of the eye. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that I like the housewives in person. Most of them are totally trash but those are the ones I like to watch the most. I will admit that there are some housewives that I do like...

I like…

Shannon (Housewives of Orange County) because she is intelligent, neurotic, spot on and I really like her house.

Carolyn Manzo (Housewives of New Jersey) because she is wise, a good wife and a good mother but I hate her house. So suburban and I think she might be a hoarder.

Yolanda H Foster (Housewives of Beverly Hills) because she is one of my best friends for the past 12 years and because she is blunt, honest (even if the truth hurts) and one of the best mothers I’ve ever seen and she dresses really well. Yolanda is your friend because she wants to be not because she has to be. If she hates you, you’ll know it. She also has a great sense of humor.

Lisa Vanderpump (Housewives of Beverly Hills) because she is a hard worker, she’s not stupid, she’s diplomatic, speaks fluent French, is a good mother and wife and I love love love her house.

Brandy (Housewives of Beverly Hills) because I have realized that she is actually a girl’s girl and she is sensitive.

Carol Radziwell (Housewives of New York) because she is a great writer, I love love love her apartment especially her sofa, she’s brave, confident and I think she has a wickedly dry sense of humor. I think I would like to be friends with her.

Kenya (Housewives of Atlanta) because she is brutally honest, cuckoo, transparent and I like when she twirls out of a room like a lunatic.

Mama Joyce (Housewives of Atlanta) because she is both the best and worst mother. A pure joy to watch this train wreck especially when she takes off her shoe at a bridal salon and tries to hit Candy’s best friend.

Bethany (Housewives of New York) because she fucking made it happen… On her own. She might be my favorite housewife because she is cool, a good dresser, smart, a hard worker, has real emotions, a great mother and I love that she wasn’t afraid to get a divorce and it puts a big fat smile on my face to know that she is now richer than all of the other nouveau riche housewives that treated her like the servant. In your face, Jill Zarin.

Heather Dubrow (Housewives of Orange County) because she is educated, has a great vocabulary and knows how to use it, is a good mother even though that little one Colette is out of control, she is always appropriate, well mannered, evolved, aware, sure of herself, can recognize her own flaws, and most of all I like her because I love love loved her house and I am so looking forward to her new house.

 Now that I have finished being nice, there is always the other side of the coin. Next up is a little list of the housewives whose behavior makes me cringe and that I pity because they are such morons… But they are my favorite to watch.
I don't like...

Teresa (Housewives of New Jersey) because she is a liar, a phony, two-faced, uneducated, married to a buffoon, dishonest, abuses the spray tan and as tacky as all get go. She deserves to go to jail. I do, however, feel bad for her children but sometimes things have to get worse before they get better. She actually needs a rebirth.

Tamara (Housewives of Orange County) because she is total white trash, impulsive, filled with rage, completely phony and fake cries, will lie right to your face, and makes bad judgments.

Nini Leakes (Housewives of Atlanta) because it is a clear case of money and quasi-fame going to one’s head. She brags about how much money she has and acts as if her million dollars is $1 billion. Does she not realize that I still see that she lives in a prefabricated brick home in a cheap gated community? It’s embarrassing when your purse has more value than your house. I will say however, I think she is a good mother and a good wife.

Vicki (Housewives of Orange County) because she is typical Orange County. Tacky tacky tacky. Tacky clothes, tacky shoes, tacky jewelry. She has a grotto for a pool. The barbecue is the focus of her backyard. She has huge arrangements of silk flowers in her house. She has no class, no elegance, is disrespectful, is loud and I think she has a bully and a member of the Mean Girls Club. She might be the president, actually no, she would be the treasurer. However, I respect her work ethic.

Ramona (Housewives of New York) is the housewife that makes me cringe the most. She is a loose cannon, crazy eyed, can dish it out but not take it, has no decency, inappropriate, doesn’t seem like she would ever donate to charity, gets slushy drunk, I don’t know how she makes money from that crappy jewelry she sells, and is kind of violent. I will say, however, that I think she is a good mother and has raised a sweet daughter.

Carlton (Housewives of Beverly Hills) because oh my God. I almost got physically nauseous watching her adult themed orgy party complete with pole dancing entertainment. Really Carlton, you are a Wiccan? Did you say that out loud and are you aware of how stupid that sounds? I hate when people try to overly be outside of the box. It is so obvious that she is trying to get attention by naming her children these ridiculous names... Destiny, Mystery and Cross. It is so annoying and I have decided to change her children’s names to Kathryn, Ava and Pierre. Her house? Don’t even get me started… Too late. It is a burgundy brothel house of horrors. She is trying to make her husband into a macho, Chrome Hearts jewelry wearing, tattooed, sex fiend but is actually just a nice Jewish boy. She’s also too muscular, it’s not ladylike. However, I do think she’s a good mother when she’s not trying to make out with the children’s nanny.

See? I told you I’ve watched every one of them. I also watched Housewives of Miami and DC but they don’t count. Do you want to hear the worst of this? Since I live in Paris and I have no access to American TV, I actually buy these episodes of the Housewives on iTunes. It is my guilty pleasure. Whenever I speak to Yolanda, I always beg her to please, just please slap someone. I won’t say anything about Taylor (Housewives of Beverly Hills) or Kim Richards (Housewives of Beverly Hills) because it is not my style to prey on the weak. Oops, I just did. As you know, I am not a fan of “victims.”

Looking forward, I do have a favorite new reality show. It’s called, Chrisley Knows Best. Is it about a wealthy family in Atlanta whose household is run by my parenting doppelgänger, patriarch Todd Chrisley. He is hysterical and a true father, husband and family man. I love how he puts GPS on his children and how he throws their cell phones into the lake and calls them morons and doesn’t trust them as far as he can throw them but loves them with every inch of his heart. And, I love love love their house. I love all the fabrics, wallpaper, bedding and closets. I can’t tell if he is gay. It’s like he is, but isn’t.
Okay, I’ll shut up now. Sorry about the weird disjointed blog today… I might be off my meds or on them… I can’t tell the difference anymore.

Happy Halloween. Haunted Château

There are a lot of spooky places in Paris. I took Gracie to the catacombs of Paris when she was little. The Catacombs are deep underground the streets of Paris and house the remains of 6 million people. The bones are all artistically arranged, of course. I continued my reign of terror with Gracie as I also took her to the Conciergerie in Paris which is a former prison where Marie Antoinette awaited the guillotine. Gracie was so terrified that she could hardly look into Marie Antoinette’s cell. Gracie decided the best thing to do was to just stand still and close her eyes. She was even too scared to run. I had to carry her out. It was hysterical… I should have my parenting license revoked or at least suspended.


The most scared I have ever been in my entire life is at my grandmother’s house. She had a big old stone house and everything was beautiful and warm and cozy… Except the basement and the attic. It was like a house of horrors up in the attic and down in the basement. I was always convinced that I saw blood on the walls. I wouldn’t even go there as an adult if you paid me.
There is nothing spookier than a haunted house but there is also nothing chicer than a haunted château, non? Take a look at these photos of abandoned châteaux in France. By the way, in my mind, abandoned means haunted.…

A toute!

*Okay, I’m here today to ruin our happy-go-lucky Happy Halloween series. I have a feeling this blog could go two ways… You might hate me or you might agree with me. Regardless, I will still like all of you… Maybe. Here’s the scoop.… I received a “comment” on my blog yesterday that stirred up some emotions. A woman who identified herself by first and last name and was aware that her comment was public, wrote that we all have our burdens to bear… She said my burden was ALS and her burden was an abusive husband.
Now, being me, I could not just let this comment slip. Now, also being me, I wasn’t very empathetic. My response to her was that yes, I do have ALS but I cannot run away from it. She, having an abusive husband, can run away. The two are not similar. I told her that if she was smart enough to get on a computer and write a comment on a blog, then she was smart enough to stand up and walk away. The only way she wouldn’t be able to walk away was if she was hostage and I doubt that is the case if she’s reading my stupid blog. In this day and age, in my opinion, there are no excuses to stay in an abusive relationship unless you want to. There are shelters, there are hotlines, there are charities and there is the police. I am fully aware that this is not an easy out. I realize that even if you get a restraining order against your douche bag husband that he could violate the restraining order and still hurt you, and maybe even kill you. But guess what? He would do it anyway so you might as well try to leave. I don’t fancy the notion that you should stay in an abusive relationship for the children. That means you’re a shitty mother. Your job as a mother is to protect the children, so grab the rugrats and leave. I also don’t fancy the notion that you should stay in an abusive relationship because your douche bag husband is the sole financial provider. Walk away, get a job and support yourself. Like I said, there are plenty of charities that will help you get on your feet. Hell, I’ll help you get back on your feet. I also don’t fancy the notion that if you were raised in an abusive family then this is just the circle of life. No, it’s not. It is up to you to break the abusive chain. No matter what excuse you give me for staying in an abusive relationship, you are wrong.

You are not brave enough, you think, to walk away? Yes you are. Women are stronger than men. Do you think a man could ever have a baby? No, that’s why women were chosen to have the babies because we can handle it. Gather your courage and walk away

No matter how scary it may seem to walk away and start life on your own it’s better than being abused by your douche bag husband. You don’t agree with me? Well then, stay in that relationship and see how that works out for you, idiot.

 Remember what Maya Angelo says, “When you know better, you do better.” I know that this woman knows better.

Do you think your husband will change? Nope, he won’t. Remember also what Maya Angelo says, “When people show you who they are, believe them the first time.”

Maybe this woman was reaching out to me and telling me that she has an abusive husband as a way of asking for help. Good for her, if that’s the case because she came to the right girl. I will be her superhero, I will be her wonder woman and I will guide her out of this rabbit hole that she has gotten herself into. Maybe all of you can help as well. If I can help her while I have ALS, you all can help as well. Even if you have cancer, you can do it between your chemotherapy. The only way I’m going to let any of you off the hook for not helping this woman is the following… If you are in Africa, working with Doctors without Borders at an Ebola clinic…you are off the hook. If you are caring for any sick child, a child in need or a child in danger…you are off the hook. If you are working in any capacity to get the African schoolgirls back who were kidnapped by Boko Haram…you are off the hook. If you are at Oscar de la Renta’s funeral…you are off the hook, obviously. But, other than that, no one is too busy to help this woman. Leave your advice for her in the comment section and maybe, just maybe, something one of us says to her will flip the light switch back on and she will see clearly.