January 6, 2010
Happy New Year to all!
Our Big Fat Celebration
So was your New Year’s Eve? Ours was kind of a giggle-fest. We learned in early December that there was no sparkly New Year’s Eve event, dinner, or soiree in Miami that you could attend for less than 250 bucks a person. Even our own building’s party would cost 500 big ones! A cabana at the Fountainbleu was 25 grand. Bet they sold a lot of those! We considered going out for Chinese Food and renting a movie, but Mark wanted to celebrate. Lucky for us, a country club in town was soliciting our membership. They had already treated Mark to a round of golf. Then they invited us to – Ta da! – their New Year’s Eve Party (normally 500 bucks a couple) as their guests. Mark didn’t think we should go. We weren’t likely to join the club and he’s very ethical about taking gifts under false pretenses. Me, I’m more of a bad girl, willing to push that ethical envelope. And besides, my facebook friends convinced me that by going, maybe we’d love the club so much that we’d join. Yeah! That’s true. We just might join! The Head of Membership promised to seat us with hip people from New York that she was certain click with. I was psyched. New friends! Yippee! Being new to Miami, I could use a few of those. I got all decked out in my finest evening wear – even pulled the fake diamonds out of the vault.
When they seated us, we were sure there was a mistake. Our dinner companions were all over 90 (as in, YEARS OLD!). I am not even exaggerating for comedy sake. Don’t get me wrong, they were lovely people (who had served in World War I). Truly, I have nothing against old octogenarians. I aspire to be one someday. But these were the hip people the membership director thought we’d click with? Maybe we’d misheard her. Maybe she promised to seat us among people with replaced hips. Of all the couples at our table, Mark and I had been married the longest, but only because we hadn’t buried any previous spouses.
Here I was, celebrating with people as old as my grandparents. Can you imagine how irked I felt when Mark happened to mention that the nude beach by our house was having the biggest nude New Year’s Eve party anywhere in the world. We could have gone to that for free and I wouldn’t have had to dress up!
But back to our new (old) friends. They tried to talk us out of joining the club, claiming it had seen better days. There was lots of reminiscing about the massive shrimp they used to serve in the glory days of the club. Louis, the man next to me, fell asleep while we ate and then, well, the picture says it all. Yes, he looked like Janet Reno. I’m not complaining. And there actually was a silver lining. This evening reminded me of why I love my husband so much. Mark finds the fun in any situation – there he was, downing whiskey shots the elders, twirling their wives on the dance floor, admiring Jules’ open heart surgery scar. He even got us the name of the best prostate man in South Florida. Irving showed me a thing or two about the cha cha cha and he did a pretty mean tango. Eventually, the ball dropped and we thanked everyone and left, crashing the party at our own building, which was in full swing. It turned out to be super fun. Lots of dancing, drinking and singing with the neighbors. Next year we won’t be such cheapskates. We’re going to the party at home.
Quinn Holiday Letter Portion
As you know, I’m kind of famous for my Quinn Annual Holiday Letter. This year, I’m shaking things up and writing a Quinn DECADE Holiday letter instead. Yes, I’m a maverick, just like John McCain.
Mark lost a lot of hair over the past ten years and for that he is sad. He attended tens of national and international track meets (including the Olympics) and for that he is happy. He worked his ass off for a subsidiary of AIG until he’d had it. Then he said, “Take this job and shove it,” kind of like the song. I was really proud of him for that. And it served AIG right! After he left, they didn’t know what to do. The company completely fell apart and had to be bailed out by the government. Ah, sweet vindication! Mark has spent the last year and a half at home hanging out in shorts (no, not boxers), trading stocks, and blasting CNBC from every TV set in our house all day long. I’ll be happy when he goes back to work, which is going to be soon. Actually, I loved having him home for the last eighteen months. He does all the laundry, cleans the kitchen, walks the dogs, gives me massages, pays the bills. He has been the perfect house husband.
Schuyler went from being a tween to a woman over the last 10 years. She graduated from high school and went right to Stella Adler Acting Conservatory. Now she has her own apartment in NY, a job, and pursues her passion every day. She loves it. Frankly, I’m jealous. Wouldn’t it be fun to have your own Manhattan apartment (that mom and dad pay for!) and go to acting school? Plus, she’s so beautiful and sweet and adorable that nice guys line up to take her out on the town any time she wants. Ah, that’s the good life.
In the last decade, Sam went from being an adorable, talkative little boy to being a withdrawn, angry and then a considerate, cool teenager. Don’t you hate it when kids go through those awkward stages? Anyway, he was pretty pissed when we ripped him from the only life and friends he’d ever known and moved him to the hell-hole known as Miami Beach. He took his anger out on his parents (I know you’re surprised). I was just about to have him kidnapped and sent to one of those wilderness camps where he would hopefully experience an epiphany and realize how much he appreciated and wanted to please his parents. But then, without resorting to drastic measures, he miraculously turned around and became the Sam we knew and loved. Maybe it had to do with getting a car. Perhaps it was that he started to work out. Or who knows, maybe he overheard me plotting his abduction. All I know is that I have my boy back and for that, I’m grateful.
Finally, moi. At the beginning of 2000, I was at American Express slogging away in the trenches. By 2001, I’d been fired. After that, I started Smart City Kids, left that business, wrote a novel about the experience, then wrote 5 more books – 3 novels, 1 young adult novel that didn’t sell (rats!), and my newest book that comes out this summer – Testing For Kindergarten (more about that in future newsletters). I’ve gotten involved with Hollywood (something I never would have imagined in my whole life), lost a few pounds, gained a few and lost a few again. At least I haven’t lost my hair. I’ve bought and sold two apartments in Manhattan (what a schlep!), moved to Miami, and took up mahjong (no, not really on the mahjong).
I attended lots of Mama Gena Classes, which I adored. [For those of you interested in Mama Gena's classes, she's doing one mastery program this spring - just click this sentence to go to her site]. Oh, besides two new cats that we got in ’01, we got two puppies that are so cute. The first puppy (Olive) was Schuyler’s bribe for moving to Miami. She immediately abdicated responsibility and Olive became mine. Lesson: Never trust a child who says she’ll take care of the dog that she has been begging for. She won’t. The second puppy (Bronco), I got against strict orders from Mark not to buy another dog. But he has forgiven me. If you’ll click below you can watch a short video I made about them. It started out as an innocent playtime video but then, mid-play, vultures began circling and the situation became dire. Click below to see how Olive saves Bronco, her little brother:
Oh my goodness gracious, now how did that picture find its way into my newsletter. Well, since it’s here, let me explain. Those are two of my dear Mama Gena friends, Joanne Porzio (with pearls) and Amy Aho, who got to meet Huge Jackman and Daniel Craig at A Steady Rain on Broadway. Hugh and Daniel auctioned off their undershirts and naturally, Joanne bought one (after lots of back and forth bidding and front-row flirting with Hugh). It was for a good, charitable cause. Do you see what happens when you take a Mama Gena class? You develop new found chutzpah to bid on Hugh and Daniel’s delicious, sweaty tee-shirts and then you get to hang out with them backstage (Hugh and Daniel, not the tee-shirts).
Friends Who Are Doing Cool Things
I have so much to report in this department! First, my brother, Michael, opened the coolest, hippest jewelry store in Denver, Colorado. It’s called Sonny’s Rocks. Visit them next time you’re in Denver or check out their website at http://www.sonnysrocks.com/. Tell him you’re my friend and he’ll probably give you a huge discount.
Hooked for Good
My friend, Vicki Kline (we had our first babies within months of each other), just started a website called www.Hookedforgood.com. Check it out for some very cool merchandise. What woman doesn’t need cute hooks to hang her purses from?
My friend, Robin Newman (we met at Canyon Ranch, where she was lecturing), has started a site devoted to women who become mothers after age 35 called www.motherhoodlater.com. Their blog is terrific and it’s a fantastic place for any mom who takes on motherhood later in life to find others going through the same experience. For all you single women out there, Robin also wrote the book, How to Marry a Mensch. Robin actually followed her own advice and married a mensch. Then she had a baby later in life and, well, you know what happened next.
Know Shampoo and Body Wash
I do have the most creative friends! George and Scott have developed the BEST “green” shampoo, conditioner, and body wash. George and Scott were my hairdressers in NY for years. They do Meridith Viera’s hair and were instrumental in getting me on The View. Well, now they’ve invented these amazing bath products. If only I could send you the smell through this computer, you would plotz! These products smell so fragrant and delicious. They are like a fresh burst of grapefruit and leave you feeling so clean. I use the products every day. Try them at http://www.knowhairandbody.com/.
South’nfrance Bon Bons
If you’ve never tasted the Bon Bons made by my dear friend, Charlene Dupray, what are you waiting for? Charlene left a big job in NY to go to Wilmington, NC with her husband to follow their dream – opening a chocolate factory. That’s Charlene in the picture with her cute French hubby. The bon bons are absolutely delicious and not expensive. My favorites are the coconut bon bons. If you yearn for chocolate and want to support two people who followed their passion, check them out at http://southnfrance.com/.
Okay, now we’re out of the section about cool things my friends have done. I don’t know the author of this book, but I do admire her. If you haven’t read The Help, definitely pick up a copy at Amazon.com. It’s about maids in the south during the 60′s and the women they work for. Having grown up in the South and seeing this phenomenon first hand, I found the book fascinating. I promise that you won’t be able to put it down.
Facebook and Twitter
If you haven’t found me on Facebook, I’m at karen nedler quinn. I’d love to be your friend. That’s my current Facebook picture. Schuyler and I took it at the photo booth at Sonny’s Rocks. If you’d like to follow my hilarious escapades, I can also be found on Twitter at karenquinnnyc. Frankly, I’m still figuring out Twitter but it’s fun to see what my friends are thinking and doing, plus I’m following some very smart people who have way more profound thoughts every day than I do.
Happy New Year to you all. Thank you for reading my newsletters. It means a lot to me to stay in touch with you. May all your dreams come true in 2010.
P.S. If we haven’t talked in a while (or even if we have), let me know how you’re doing. I love hearing good news and even bad news when it’s spun correctly.