Well what a show this one was! Remember this show as described by Bravo is a "docu-drama", and this week's episode is proof positive of that.
The first instance of this was the dinner party at Jill's. Bethenny's call to me was not the first we'd heard of this dinner party, but it was the first I'd heard of it becoming a girls' night. We chatted about Pamella Roland and other things, and during the conversation I jokingly asked if I could bring Simon along, he'd wear a dress, etc. After the conversation I wasn't really clear what had happened - whether it was seriously a girls' night out or not. I mentioned it to Simon, we went over the phone call a couple of times and in the end decided that while it might be a weird situation, so much had been made out of it that he couldn't not go. Let's be clear here. I'm not a huge fan of girls' nights out because I think it's a sexist concept, and women shouldn't need to feel "freer" without men around regardless of their relationships to them. It really bugs me that some women give away so much of their power by giving lip-service to the need to escape men. Having said that, I fully respect other women's desires & opinions and for that reason would never insist on bringing a guy to a girls' night when it genuinely wasn't OK. I'd either decline the invitation, or go alone (and I've done both).
That night, Simon and I turned up as expected to Jill's. Jill and Bethenny playfully made much of Simon being there, said that he didn't belong but he was welcome anyway, etc. LuAnn was very gracious to Simon. Then we met Ramona. She definitely hadn't known that Simon was coming, and was horrified. It was a pretty uncomfortable situation, one we didn't create but one we knew would make great television. Ramona was very angry that Simon was present and made some pretty over-the-top comments. We were both pretty shocked, but tried to smooth things over. Things calmed down a bit and we sat down to dinner, a great meal put together by Bethenny - I still want that recipe for the sauce!
Here's what no one expected: midway through the meal and a conversation she initiated about class, Ramona got up and announced she was leaving. She'd apparently had other plans following the party, which begs the question -- if she knew she'd be going out later on with girlfriends, why get so upset about spending 45 minutes at the beginning of an evening in mixed company? But if in the moment she'd forgotten to tell anyone, it could have been part of her reaction to feeling ambushed. As Simon said, here's to absent friends. The next surprise came during François' birthday party. I was a bit disappointed that very little footage of his party made it in; it was a terrific party complete with a clown and bouncy castle for the kids, and my Mom had flown in from Dallas for it. It was great to share his party with her and introduce her to everyone, including Bethenny. I had invited B to come to the party since she wants to be a mom, to let her have the experience of being with a group of boisterous four year olds without being obligated to take any home with her! Was pleased to see that we had a friend in common as well so B had another person to chat with - as usual in NYC there's only one or two degrees of separation between people instead of six. I wasn't going to ask her for relationship details; if she wanted to, she'd talk. But after asking about Cookie, her dog who had been sick, we were suddenly having this intense conversation while surrounded by four year olds. That's life, and when emotions happen you acknowledge them.
I was pretty surprised by B's interview reaction to our house as that wasn't really the reaction I got from her in person. I do understand, however, that if someone isn't used to seeing a partially renovated house, it could be a shock. I'm sure anyone who likes renovating will understand our point of view. We have been fully involved in the process - this isn't like past renovations when we've just moved out and let the crew get on with it. We aren't planning to flip this house; we love the area and are going to stay put. We learned quite a lot from our last renovation, and one new thing we're dealing with, (and yes it takes time) is caring for & restoring the original detail. This isn't an apartment where we can just knock down walls and throw in a new kitchen in 10 weeks - we've done that before but this is more involved.
We're very lucky to have purchased a house that has only been owned by a handful of families over the century it's been standing, and almost all of the detail is intact, though hiding under various bits of sheetrock, paint, etc. It takes time to care for it properly, and it also takes time spent living in the house to figure out exactly where it makes the most sense to put new bathrooms, etc. When we moved in I was 7 months pregnant so we didn't start any work until early 2007. Since then quite a lot has been done, digging the foundation of the house down two feet, underpinning it and creating an additional basement level. Unfortunately not much footage has been used on that level - it's beautiful.
With the basement having been finished just before filming the show, we're just now getting to other areas of the house, starting with rewiring the electrics and moving water and gas pipes around. We're just now looking at cosmetics. It's going to take time, and it's not going to look particularly pretty while we're in process. That's fine, particularly as it means we don't have to be vigilant about the boys fingerpaint or bicycles ruining anything. I remember our last renovation, when a cousin of mine came to visit. He'd been up to visit pre-renovation, and again once everything was done. His comment to me was, "I saw potential, but I didn't see this. You guys are artists." Well, we're not artists, but we know what we like and how to create it. What else happened this week? We went to opening night at the Metropolitan Opera, an amazing evening and fantastic performance. Natalie Dessay was drop-dead brilliant as Lucia di Lammermoor, and not only was the singing technically stunning but the acting was wonderful as well, which can't always be said in opera. I wasn't sure how much I was going to enjoy the music as I'm not a huge Donizetti fan; I go more for Strauss, Wagner, etc. However Mary Zimmerman was directing and I've been a huge fan of hers ever since her 1001 Arabian Nights at the Lookingglass in Chicago, back when she was a grad student and I was a freshman.
Opening nights are fun, and once it's all over you can look back at the pictures, perhaps throw on a CD of the music and relive the evening. There were some nice photos to look at. The Met photographer got some brilliant ones and kindly sent us copies, and I did wind up appearing on Bill Cunningham's page in the style section of the New York Times - Mr. Cunningham is a lovely gentleman whom we met at the premiere of Tan Dun's The First Emperor a couple of years ago, and every time he has shot Simon and me, whether at the opera or other events, we've always had a nice chat, including last week at the Brooklyn Ball celebrating Louis Vuitton and Takashi Murakami. All in all it was a magical night; both the music and the company were fantastic. Finally, it looks as of the time I'm writing this blog that there will be a story running in In Touch Weekly this week about photos I shot a few years ago. I'd wound up back into modeling a little bit - on the maternity end mostly - both during and in between pregnancies. It's a time of huge change for any woman, and I wondered what my body would look like after the first, and then the second child. After both pregnancies I was very happy (and surprised) to get my shape back almost immediately.
Having been back in the modeling world at the time, shooting photos is a very normal thing to do, and I wanted to celebrate getting back into shape and also document the changes in my body. I wanted to make sure I had photos of the slightly loose belly, the linea nigra, the lush hair and of course the extra up on top. I did several photo shoots with photographers I knew through modeling, and am pleased with all of them. I particularly like the photos done with a great photographer who is also a dad. We'd done several fashion shoots together, he understood this idea and ran with it to create a great set of photos.
While I never thought they'd be published anywhere, I was made aware that this was happening last Friday when In Touch called me to say they had them. They asked me for a comment and I said more or less what I'm saying here. You can see them in the magazine this week, and Jim has a few on his website as well. Celebrate the power of womanhood!