Finally! At long last, my birthday weekend arrived, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was as nervous and tentative as I was excited.
I think the first thing you’ll realize is that my house is a real lived-in home. It’s so comforting, so cozy, and so warm, that it really is my sanctuary. I still feel so blessed that I was able to enjoy it with Richard for those years we were married, and when I’m there, I can still feel his presence…it’s weird to some, but I find comfort in it. It’s also comforting to know I have that home always there, just waiting for me to show up and catch up with myself. Of course, I knew what I might be getting myself into by inviting the girls over for a birthday dinner. This weekend was going to be a juggling act: relaxation meets possible obliteration. I mean, after my first birthday dinner at Petrossian, where I had a front-row seat to my own crucifixion, I was almost relieved to know my next potential slow death would happen on my own turf.
I knew Bethenny couldn’t make it and Sonja was still up in the air about it, but I’d have plenty on my hands with Luann and Ramona, Carole and Heather, and Kristen. I get such a little thrill out of people’s reactions to the house. I worked hard to make it what it is, so it’s nice to hear it be appreciated—and the girls sure did appreciate it. All part of being a hostess with the mostest, and I love it. Until you start up on things that are inappropriate or disrespectful or just plain sloppy…like the damn “grinding with John” incident. Ever get annoyed by hearing the same loud commercial over and over again? Even the commercial jingle just makes you clench your teeth? Right…well…Do these girls have nothing else in their lives, or are they so bored that they have to focus on this? Still?! Weeks later?! What’s up with that?! Weird, creepy, obsessive, and good old fashioned irritating. I reached my boiling point on this topic, babes. I am over it. SO over it.
Let’s break this down into Eight Simple Rules For Not Getting Bitched At:
1. Make no mountains out of mole hills. (It wasn’t a big deal.)
2. Don’t rehash and belabor things. (The topic has been exhausted.)
3. Take responsibility. (You’re an adult and weren’t forced to do anything.)
4. Be a gracious guest. (You embarrassed me at my own cocktail party.)
5. Show off your manners and be polite. (You’re my guest, once again.)
6. Take the shade someplace else. (Especially when it’s about me.)
I’m not one for living in the past, and at this point in my life, I just aim to be happy. So…
7. Be happy for me.
And if you can’t be…
8. Leave me alone.
Simple, right? Fair? Thank you and you're welcome. Now that that’s behind us, let’s start this fun, beautiful weekend in the country…“How amusing, how delightfully droll.” (My Broadway friends will get that one.)
So we went to dinner at The Red Lion Inn, which was first opened in 1773. Isn’t that amazing?! I started working there when I was like 16 and worked there though college. We had a beautiful private room, which was always reserved for the VIPs that dined there. And here we were: the VIPs who dined! It was especially nice to be the patron and not the waitress! It was so much fun to share that with the girls and being there brought back such great memories. The menu is filled with country goodies like chicken pot pie and, yes, grilled raven…or as The Countess calls it “blaka birduh.” Prego! Just good country food, and I love it. Of course with the drinks flowing, the topics of conversation turned to gossip, and everyone’s favorite topic: Bethenny. Why?!
It was really great waking up the next morning with all the girls there. Felt like I was at a slumber party back in college again. Heather had given me a little birthday present, which I absolutely loved. It is not only beautiful, it was so incredibly thoughtful. Lady Morgan was definitely channeling some Transylvanian chic with her black florals and fur cape, wasn’t she? I loved it! When she pulled up, I knew the weekend would be a fun one. She came wearing a cape and bearing gifts. Naturally, I thought we should all go Christmas shopping, and I gathered all the ladies of the manor and ordered our coachman to take us into town. How dainty.
I grew up in Great Barrington, and boy has it changed. Railroad Street was once filled with bars, and now it’s one speciality shop after the next. No drunks, just designers. When Soul Cycle arrives, I’ll really know Great Barrington has truly made it.
Back at the Blue Stone Manor House Building Place, as Carole/Ramona would call it, I was lighting fires—real ones—to keep these cold hearts at least lukewarm. I took in a few moments with my brother John and his husband Mark, having a good laugh about how funny life is. After all I’ve been through and they’ve experienced with me, here we were, waiting for the girls upstairs. (Again, you Sondheimites will appreciate that one.) We decided to have a nice dress-up dinner party and make the most of it. I love dressing for dinner; it creates an “old world” feel, and it makes things a little more fun and memorable. Once the ladies came down to the living room for some pre-dinner cocktails, I sat there and just smiled. THIS is what I was wanting Petrossian to be! We have the 40s chic look to the dark and sultry Morticia Radziwill, to my Pucci Pucci Pucci. (I love me some Pucci!) Once the champagne was popped, BAM! THE B WAS BACK!
Bizen, the local Japanese restaurant, sent one of their extraordinary chefs to prepare a spectacular feast, but I wasn’t aware of Bethenny’s allergy. Heather was. We were soon all aware. Very aware. So aware, I felt myself developing allergies on the spot. I don’t really understand why it blew out of proportion so much, BUT, I will say that I know Heather was trying to be helpful. I also know that Bethenny hates attention and certainly wouldn’t want to call this kind of attention to herself at a dinner party, because it’s potentially embarrassing and definitely distracting. Watching this back-and-forth, as you’ve noticed, makes me so uncomfortable. I just want to line 'em up and start slappin’. Just don’t understand why it has to be so much tension about every little thing. I feel like we should all get reminders on our iPhones that say “Choose your battles wisely, bitch.” I sat there next to John, looking at Luann and Sonja, asking myself, “Why can’t I just have a peaceful birthday where we drink some sake and have a fun night?” Singing “Happy Birthday” to me wouldn’t hurt either, by the way.
Look, I think people go through their sh-- their own way, and we have to be there to help them, not critique or send them a running commentary about it. Each journey--divorce, death, depression, and loss of any sort--can be such a lonely, confusing time. Our job is to let the person know we’re there for them. Maybe not offer an analysis or a solution, but just make them aware that you’re there to listen and help them how they NEED to be helped. It needs to be their decision, not your prescription.
When Richard passed, my mom called every day and asked me simple questions. We had short conversations, we had long conversations. It was comforting to hear these simple words at the end of each one: “I’ll call you tomorrow.” That was precisely what I needed. To know that she was there, available, and willing to be there again when I needed her next. That was a good 50% of the comfort I needed. And each day got better and better.
Thankfully, after the storm clouds cleared, civility and normalcy…ahem…“normalcy” returned. One thing I’ve definitely learned is this: Each dinner makes me more and more aware of the different personalities in play here. No one in this group means harm, but we are all quite different, so the perception of what we are trying to achieve may not be what is actually perceived. The road to hell is paved with good intentions, as they say. I was just practically desperate to pop some more champagne, lighten the mood, and hope we could move on and party. I thought, “Hell, maybe I’ll even get a late nite kissy form Lady Morgan.”
After all, it’s MY party and I can cry if I want to!
Until next week, xx!
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