summer-dinner-party.jpg There are as many ‘personal chefs’ in Palm Beach as there are swimming pools.  I see them in their white chef coats and Mario Batali crocs at Publix Super Market chatting each other up as they fondle the passion fruit.  I have had to resist the urge to run up to them and say, “I personally know Wolfgang Puck … personally!”

Palm Beach residents love to dine together.  Restaurants flourish, but elegant dinner parties reign! They always have.

So, what does one do in a town where an intimate sit down dinner is for forty people? If one is a Texas DNA challenged, Left Coast Malibubi, “Y’all come on over and I’ll cook up something” works. During the season of Madoff, a small home cooked dinner - while not the rage – does earn a few sophisticated nods of approval. Besides, it gives me a certain pleasure to psychically push aside the personal chefs at Publix so that I too can fondle the passion fruit with the same sense of authority!

Trying to find something different that is relatively easy to do at the last minute and actually tastes good is the goal.  I have gone through the various BBQ and Mexican dinner menus, all of which were adored by my if-I-see-one-more-beef-tornado-on-my-plate-I-will-scream friends. And, I do relish their fawning looks of gratitude over the unexpected but delicious déclassé fare!

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ImageEveryone wants to move to Maine these days...It wasn't like that when we were growing up. In fact, very few people that lived here wanted to stay here, but they couldn't afford to move. No one knew where Maine was, they would stare blankly at you like it was a foreign country.

My neighbors are still the neighbors that I have had for the last fifty years or so. They watch out for you in a non-cloying way just as you watch out for them. That is just what you do in a small town. I always am thankful that my nearest neighbor is over a half mile away except for my sister's house a mere 100 feet away.

It is heavenly to be in a dense oak tree forest on a bucolic lake watching the snow storms make their way across the frozen lake. It has been peaceful and people-less for the last 35 years. Neighbors in seasonal cottages that stayed a month or two but never more than that – until now.

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Dear Mr. Fruit Cart Guy On My Corner:

fruitstand.jpgI do not know how old you are.
I do not know from what country you hail.  
I do not know whether you are married or single, straight or gay.
I do not know where you live.
I do not know if you have children.
I do not know whether you own a dog, or a cat, or a ferret.
I do not know where you get your fruit.
I do not know where you go when you need to pee.
I do not know if you use mousse or spray-on gel to get that Elvis-like wave in your hair.
I do not know what drives you to put blueberries on sale one day (2 cartons for $5) and strawberries on sale the next (2 cartons for $ 4)


I do not even know your name.

But I do know this...


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sandy1Darkness has flooded my room. I nervously try to avoid pressing power buttons on any of the number of electronics that surround me. Has the power gone out? Did we buy enough if it did? When will it come back on? I go to plug in my computer and to my dismay, the charge light comes on. Hurricane Sandy has completely spared my apartment building—and for the most part my neighborhood: Bushwick Brooklyn.

And I feel nothing but gratefulness for that—but sadness for all that I am seeing across the East River.

My friends on the Island are without power. Those in the lower east side, and most below 34th street- my fellow New Yorkers are too. The subways have flooded, the tunnels are closed, and homes have been destroyed. Cars are floating down the streets—the Brooklyn Bridge Park Carousel is now a submarin-o-sel, and a hospital was evacuated late in the night.

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ImageRecently at my dentist's office I told one of the assistants that she looked great. Her skin glowed, her hair bounced and her body looked lean and firm. "Thanks. I'm killing myself doing that P90X program," she said.

Oh. P90X. In case you haven't heard of it, it's an intensive (some think masochistic) home exercise program that relies on cross-training: a mix of cardio, strength training, yoga, and stretching. As for the diet, it's high protein and low-to-no carbs. Think skinless chicken and egg whites. If you even fantasize about pasta or potatoes, you need to drop and do 50 push-ups.

The assistant added, "You should see my husband though. He has lost 12 pounds in two weeks. He looks amazing!"

"He's doing the P90X too?" I asked.

"No. He's on the soup diet," she said.

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