Cast Blog: #RHONY

Lost In Translation: Sleep Deprivation Can Kill

Carole counts the hours she didn't sleep in London and plots a future Woody Allen collaboration.

I have a pitch for a movie; I'm going to call Woody Allen about it. My working title is Lost in British Translation and it goes something like this:

A middle-aged American woman arrives in London on business. After a very long day's shoot, starving and unable to sleep, she crosses paths with three other American women at a luxury hotel. The chance meeting turns into an unlikely bond as they shop, have high tea, go on television, and attend a dinner turned AA meeting. It culminates in a bizarre all-nighter where the girls get nasty and dirty with some boozin' and eatin' and realize they are in the throes of a sleep deprived mid-life crisis.

This is how Oscars are born.

Monday, the first day of London Trip:

10 am wake up in New York
1 pm buy suitcase, pick up dry-cleaning
2 pm lunch with agent, who would really like to see my finished book (soon, I promise and leave him with the check)
4 pm pack
7 pm cab to airport
10 pm leave on redeye flight, from Kennedy airport to Heathrow

Tuesday, 12 pm, arrive in London
(Up 19 hours)

Tolstoy or Shakespeare, or maybe Clint Eastwood, said there are really only two basic stories to tell: A Man Goes on a Journey and A Stranger Comes to Town. He forgot, though, this third universal one: Four Americans Don't Take Ramona to London and Go As Long As They Can Without Food or Sleep.

It was sunny when we landed, and Mark had gift pouches, and we giggled in the car so that was all great. But the more I didn't sleep, the more things started to bug me.

1pm, London
Arrive at hotel, where there's an important message for me: d'Artagnan called and wants his blue cape back. No, I like my cape. I'm keeping it.

I was grouchy this trip, it snuck up on me. So everyone started to bug me a little, and I started to bug everyone a little, back. LuAnn was bugging me and I was bugging LuAnn. Heather bugged me when she made us stand up and I was bugged when LuAnn stood up after I didn't stand. Sonja was bugged because I didn't wear a bra and I think Ramona and Aviva had our room bugged. Also, sleep deprivation is loosely connected to an autoimmune bug whose symptoms sometimes manifest as paranoia. Did you know that? I'll come back to it. (Up 20 hours)

Meanwhile, back in New York one very shapely prosthetic leg got a new Superfan. Ramona is completely smitten with Aviva's leg. So am I. Can you believe how amazing it looks? Ramona is right, it looks better than her real unshaven one. And true to her nature -- and her tag line -- Ramona asks the questions a lot of people are thinking. Aviva is so patient answering even the most detailed questions about it -- the shape, the toes, the flat-footed leg vs. the high-heeled one. Aviva has an elegant way of demystifying artificial limbs. Here is a confident, beautiful woman who struts around with her prosthetic leg in a bikini. I'm not sure she could have sent a stronger and more positive message about prosthetic limbs.


4pm, London

London is a horrible place to shop. That bugs me. The pound here translates to almost exactly $1,000 dollars, for anything. It leaves a lot of people shaking their cans in subways, Sonja makes a good point. Still, it was a nice treat to wander through my old neighborhood. (Up 23 hours)

I try not to get poignant about much. Life is long and if you get sentimental about everything you wear out fast. But Notting Hill was a nice period of time in my life. I came here for a visit a couple of years after my husband died. I planned to stay for a week and I stayed 24.

My new novel, The Widow's Guide to Sex & Dating, started here -- the idea and my original notes for it. I transitioned here. I went from being a widow to just a girl again. There was a boy involved, naturally. The terrain was all new. It was an awkward time, it was a fine time. It was a good start.

8pm, London

So, Sleep Deprivation can kill you. Did you know that? You can actually die from it, we could have died. We almost died, we practically died, we were thisclose to death. We didn’t sleep.

Heather is high energy. Wow. Egg pods, egg drops, what? What are "egg drops"? I thought it was a soup. LuAnn drew a blank. Then I thought maybe it was street language because Heather is gangsta chic. But I looked it up in Urban Dictionary -- nothing.

On the other hand, while Heather is taking 20 meetings an hour and building her international empire, Sonja, LuAnn and I are literally dying. Not only from no sleep, but also now from starvation. Did you know that your body starts to eat itself when you starve it? It eats your fat first, then your muscle, then whatever else is left. By the time we got to introductions at Heather's dinner half of my internal organs had collapsed. It's why I couldn't stand up. Then someone announced he was Queen and LuAnn knows the Radziwills (of course!) and I'm a Suck-Up People Pleaser who will say whatever you want to hear as long as I don't have to stand and you give me a little food. (Up 27 hours)

In the end, it's Sonja who gives the classy toast. Right before she orders. . .the ribeye. Plot point.

There is a disorder associated with lack of sleep called Fatal Familial Insomnia (FFI). It belongs to a class of diseases that includes --– drum roll, please -- Mad Cow Disease. Yes, Mad Cow, which we all remember started in England and this is another reason I can't stand up at Heather’s dinner, and also why I'm increasingly grouchy -- I ordered the ribeye, too! Sonja and I are having mad cow hallucinations from the beef and lack of sleep. She heard music playing in her egg pod toilet and I couldn't even pee in mine because my endocrine glands were shutting down.

The toilets were a rip off of the Orgasmatron, anyway. I'm telling Woody Allen when I call him about the movie.

After dinner we went to Annabelle's, a private club that we got into because of Sonja and LuAnn's Olympic-caliber name-dropping. We got back at 3 am. And then, like 10 minutes later, I got up. I have now been awake for almost 34 hours.

5:40 am, Wednesday
Heather's bathroom

Anecdotal reports describe soldiers staying awake for four days in battle, or unmedicated patients with mania going without sleep for three days. But we're not Navy Seals, we're spoiled Housewives and we need our sleep or medication. But there's a TV show. Heather is on television. Heather has all this energy! Heather looks so awake! Where did Heather get so much energy?

She nailed her interview, of course. I could have slept in. Winston Churchill said, "We think too much the good luck of the early bird, and not enough the bad luck of the early worm.' I'm a late worm. There's virtue in it, and good luck.

9pm London, Wednesday

Finally, what you've been waiting for -- the nasty and dirty and the boozin' and drinkin'. This is it: Middle-aged Girls Gone Wild. Not so boozy or dirty, really. I measured LuAnn’s hips and then her waist to see how fertile she is. Then we braided our hair, took polaroids, talked about boys and, of course, Ramona. (Up 49 hours)

Who brings up Ramona? I do. Crickets.

Speaking of Ramona, I think she still needs work on her Heather impersonation. And I'm impressed with how many people at her table know the Heimlich Maneuver. I don't know the Heimlich Maneuver. Don't sit next to me if you're going to choke. Aviva, I bet, knows how to do it on herself.

So tell me something, I'm still groggy. Did this trip even happen? Or is this whole episode a lulling Twining Tea dream sequence. Do I wake up in next week's show a giant bug like Gregor Samsa? (Gratuitous literary reference). Did Dorothy ever actually meet the Wizard? Did anyone really shoot Bobby Ewing? Did Don Draper cheat on Megan with that girl and kill her then stuff her beneath the bed?

Total days without sleep so far: 2.1. We're nearly Navy Seal certified.

It's bloody late, mates, and I'm zonked. Ta-ta until next week.

Poll Question:
What’s the most bizarre place you ever bonked?

THIS JUST IN: My publisher emailed me today. What Remains is back on the NYTimes Bestseller List!! I’d like to thank all the people who bought it and read it and have tweeted me about it. It's meant a lot. Amazing! If you haven't and are interested you can buy What Remains here. Contact me on my website here. Follow me on Twitter here, Facebook here, Pinterest here.

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Dorinda: I Was Surprised to See How Open Bethenny Was

Dorinda weighs in on the Luann/Carole drama and discusses Bethenny's willingness to open up about her past.

So we’re back from Atlantic Titty, as I like to call it. Strangely, that trip left me feeling more connected with the women. It’s not easy making friends—especially at my age and after the life I’ve lived—but I’m starting to feel “familiar” around them, if that makes any sense. The sheen of being a “NY Housewife” isn’t entirely there anymore, because I’m one of them, you know? During and after the Atlantic City trip, I started to feel more comfortable, more at ease, and more like “one of the girls.” Considering how they carry on sometimes, I’m not quite sure if that is a positive or a negative just yet. Maybe a little of both? I don’t know…It’s always interesting to put eight women together for a few days, that’s for sure. You see the politeness slip a bit, the “veneer” get a little cloudy, and you really see them in all their glory—and in all their realness. All and all, it was a fun trip…and a bit of a learning experience.
The good news is this: Never a dull moment! For example, Ramona is great about having the never-ending birthday that never ends (redundancy intended). In reality, her birthday is November 18, but the celebrations start shortly after Halloween and continue throughout the month of November, Thanksgiving be damned. It’s like Ramona Heritage Month. Our next stop on the birthday train was at Fishtail with ALL of her friends. And I mean ALL of them. These girls run the Upper East Side with an iron fist. They basically buy out every season at Bergdorf’s before it makes it to the floor. They’re a fun crowd—colorful characters—and Bethenny was right: It’s like the Cantina’s greatest hits from Star Wars. Of course, they’re all jockeying to be Princess Leia, though c’mon, Ramona’s the birthday girl. We know she’s the princess in our midst. After all, it is November…
I don’t typically run with these girls, but over the years of living in this ‘hood and being one of those “ladies who lunch,” I guess I can comfortably say I’ve claimed my seat at the table, so to speak. Seeing Heather, Carole, and Bethenny there was like spotting animals that wandered into the wrong habitat. Not really their “downtown diva” scene, but the effort is all that matters. Carole, babe, I know you're coming back up “here,” but I think that hat needs to stay downtown. “Hobo chic” doesn't really play well north of 57th Street. I do like how Heather is versatile and adapts to any and all situations and just knows how to turn it on (though “mama” and “holla” are as out of place as Carole’s beanie, in all honesty). Watching Bethenny was the most entertaining for me: She just wants nods and smiles and gets out as fast as possible. Kinda wish she would’ve taken me with her…there’s only so much chat about personal shoppers, the traffic on Fifth Ave., and what a disaster DiBlasio is that one can take before they start obsessing over fine lines and poodles.
By the way, I wish I had been invited to the boxing match! I love boxing! It’s such a rush and makes you feel alive. You saw that first-hand. Boxing takes the meekest of beings and makes them want to see blood (ahem…Kristen). Wow, girl, you got into it! Don’t let that “pretty” thing fool you; she was ready to jump in and knock some teeth out. I was very impressed. Last time I saw her this excited, it was when another box of Manolos just popped up out of nowhere. I like this side of you, KT. It shows what I’ve seen in you all along: real passion is your super power.

Oh…and then there’s the Carole/Luann situation getting some more meat on its bones. This one is a hard one, because I get the way Luann feels: She’s a mom, and it’s her niece at the center of this issue. At the same time, I also get Carole’s perspective. She's never been a mom, of course, but she lives a very youthful life, downtown, surrounded with young people. I believe her and Adam really do have some sort of connection—no doubt about that. Is it love? I don’t know, but obviously it is something. I hate to get involved with people’s private lives—it is so personal and really private. At least to me. I draw the line at critiquing one’s decisions. As long as they’re happy and the person they’re with is happy and they’re not hurting anyone by being together, then I’m fine with it. The details of the Carole/Adam tryst and the family connection to Luann is still a bit cloudy to me, so I don’t know. I just hope they work it out, because it’s gotten pretty heated and tense. Let’s face it, they were great friends, and I hope they find a way to rekindle that friendship. Listen, I’m just trying to figure out my life and my relationships again, and I’m trying to keep it simple. Naturally, that means keeping other people out of it. Am I right? You're welcome.
Speaking of private lives…I was so surprised to see how open Bethenny was about her past and her family. In may ways, she and I grew up around the same people. My grandfather loved race horses, being around the track and all those characters—some of which were colorful, to say the least. Evel Knievel was one of them, so that might give you a sense…
But despite how I could relate to some aspects of her childhood, it was a tough scene to watch at the end of this episode. Listen, we’re all looking for love. Some of us are looking for a love we once knew, others for a love we see others enjoy, and some are just trying to find what love means to them. In the end, we all want to be needed, wanted, and desired. But there’s nothing that completes that quest quite like a mother’s love. One can “suck at relationships” till they’re blue in the face, but not finding love or a mate to love you or make you feel loved is, at its core, entirely conditional. It truly depends on the who, what, when, where, and why…and all of those rely on you. They are yours to determine. A mother’s love, however, is unconditional. It’s a given. It’s something that gives those of us blessed to have it, an accelerator, a momentum in life. Knowing you have a “home” in someone’s heart because they are part of you and you are part of them is sometimes all you need to go take on the world. Without that mother’s love and affection, it’s got to be difficult to not feel lost. That said, not having that in your life really makes you appreciate it so much more, right? You come to value how priceless and profound an unconditional, immovable love can be. This is why Bethenny is such an amazing mother. So devoted, so compassionate, so unconditionally in love with her daughter…it’s inspiring to see and moving to a fellow mom. As you’ve come to see, Bethenny’s a titan through and through. She found it in herself to foster that momentum and catapult herself into the big leagues. Would she have had the same drive and determination had she not experienced that kind of pain? Is that where she gets that hardcore, no-nonsense attitude to petty crap? Is that why a clash with Bethenny is like clashing with no other titan?
It’s all fascinating to me. And now that I finally feel like “one of the girls,” it’s some of the best popcorn drama I’ve ever seen. I almost can’t wait to watch what happens next. It’s all so…yummie.

Till next week, xx!

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