I’m back after a wonderful, quiet, Bravo-free week in Wisconsin. I didn’t see RHONY, Top Chef Masters, or Project Runway and didn’t miss them, either. I did read “Gone Girl” by Gillian Welch and cannot recommend it enough – terrific writing, magnificently drawn characters, and an unparalleled plot. I’m rested and ready to get back to this nonsense.
I missed a lot of reality TV news while I was gone, too, so right now all I’ve got is:
* The Oof-Ifs are splitting up! Dr. Paul filed for legal separation yesterday and has already moved out. I’d heard rumors over the summer that they had an open marriage, which obviously didn’t work for them. RadarOnline is saying they are officially divorcing, others are saying this is just a separation and not necessarily permanent.
* Juicy Joe Guidice rejected the last plea offered and is going to trial for using his brother’s information to get a fake driver’s license after his was revoked due to DUI and various other driving infractions. He could face 10 years in prison! RealityTea has been speculating that Teresa is angling for a spin-off centered on her and the girls on their own while he’s in jail, which (a) makes me wonder whether going to jail is all part of the plan, and (b) question whether there’s anything at all the Guidice’s won’t do for fame and money.
* Brooks “Donn2″ Ayers is threatening legal action for defamation against ABC for the 20/20 episode featuring his babymama. He claims there were untruths said and he didn’t get a fair chance to speak his side.
* Rumors are circulating, meanwhile, that his ladyfriend Vicki Gunvalson may not be asked back to RHOC. I personally think we’ve all seen enough of Vic so I wouldn’t complain, but who knows. The same rumors suggest Briana would replace her and I am sure there’s no way in hell that’s going to happen.
* The Jumbellinos are also threatening a defamation suit, in their case against Tamra Barney, for the “Jesus Jugs” comment and other obnoxious statements she’s made. Jumbo made the rather astute observation that if Tamra had called someone “Jew Jugs” there would be an uproar, and he’s completely right about that. Whether the Jumbellinos can recover from Tammy in a defamation lawsuit is a whole ‘nother matter.
* And finally: although initially RadarOnline reported that Kyle Richards’ annual white party was totally boring, it seems someone caught The Glands in the bathroom doin’ it with an unknown person.
Back to New York, where there’s a chill in the fall air and Carole is curled up on her leopard print couch adorned curiously with cheetah pillows (animal print on animal print? Do leopards and cheetahs get along, in either the decorating or the animal worlds?) making a call to her sister in law Teresa on her Blackberry. I, too, remain a Blackberry girl – we’re a vanishing breed, it seems. Carole and Teresa discuss her novel about widows dating, which has been four years in the making and is now in the final stages. Carole is worn out with the whole thing, and I can’t blame her. Between the fact that she’s been telling the same story about the same people for four years, and the fact that she writes bent over her coffee table with the curtains drawn, I’d be burnt out and cross too.
Enough of that, time to pack for Miami! Let’s talk about Carole’s apartment for a minute: I’m not claiming to have vast experience visiting Manhattan apartments, but I’ve never seen one (at least a semi-regular one) with an upstairs. And what’s up there? Just the closet? Or is Carole’s bedroom up there, too? She seems to have a two-story living room which makes for an intriguing little duplex, far more fabulous than the mediocre pad Jill ZAAAAARIN was so busy bragging about in seasons past. The stairs, though, frighten me – no railing. Neither child-safe nor drunk-safe. I’d be kersplat in a heartbeat. Carole phones Aviva, who tells her the weather is fabulous and Ramona “has a lot of energy”. That RAMONA Pinot Grigio is rocket fuel!
Morning dawns and Sonja hops into the airport transport vehicle with Carole, who is wearing a cuddly Santa Fe sweater and white jeans. Which seems incongruous (and controversial post-Labor Day) until it becomes clear that the good people at Bravo directed a lot of “white wardrobe” for the weekend and since Carole’s only going for one day with one small bag she’s going to have to work with it. Sonja is going to shack up at Aviva’s fancy Bal Harbour pied-a-terre, while Carole is going to stay with her friend Ranjana the jewelry designer at her palace in the sky.
Which is where we go next, as Carole welcomes Sonja, Vi, and Mo to Ranjana’s for a lesson in face yoga. Ranjana’s place is the penthouse in the “coolest building” in the performing arts district, or, as Mo immediately declares, an “up-and-coming” area, meaning that Ranjana bought it for cheap. “Buy cheap sell high!” she shouts. Ranjana’s eyes narrow. “Ramona has a gift for opening her mouth and sticking both feet in,” says Carole. I don’t care what she paid for it, Ranjana’s apartment is exquisite – all white with pops of color and orchids abounding, walls of windows overlooking the sea and sky. AND she’s got a sizable plunge pool on her terrace!
Which is why the ladies are in swimwear – they are going to do their face yoga in the pool. Why? I guess so we can check out these old broads in their bikinis and see what they’ve got. Ramona and Sonja are in black bikinis with short tunic coverups. Vi is also in a black bikini, with a brown camo-looking sheer caftan. Carole is in a white bikini with a yellow and turquoise tunic, and Ranjana is wearing an age-appropriate maillot under her caftan of many colors, like Jesus. Despite coming dressed to swim, Vi didn’t bring her swim leg, it seems, which has Mo all worked up. Mo is shouting at Vi that she CAN’T GET HER LEG WET! Vi is in the water anyway and seems not to know how to respond to Mo’s panic. I am starting to wonder whether the camera angle (with Vi placed behind Ranjana), Vi’s body position, and the overall awkward vibe of the situation (Mo and Sonja are not in the water) is because Vi took her non-swimming leg off?? Which would and should be no big deal, but people are weird about that stuff. Not just freaked out, but pervy, too.
Ranjana starts the face yoga with a bunch of neck stretches and fish faces. Mo does not think this is fun. Carole things Mo and Sonja are in need of the most face yoga of the group, which is true. Ranjana starts doing some tongue exercises which provoke an assortment of totally unnecessary double entendres from the old hookers on the pool deck before Mo decides she’s had it and starts trying to drag Vi from the pool. “There’s wet and there’s wet and there’s wet,” she shouts. Not really, there’s wet and there’s dry, actually. Vi is holding her ground, literally and figuratively. I think she took the leg off.
Back at Vi’s fabulous Bal Harbour pied-a-terre, which is like the UES of Miami as she reminds us… again… Sonja is in Ramona’s room showering, because the two old hookers first got in Sonja’s shower, broke it, and had to relocate. The bathroom is bigger than half my house, which is a good thing because those two broads are “doing their thing” and you know that can go all night and needs a lot of space. Sonja’s in a towel while Mo is wearing some white-and-blue bandage dress from Forever 21. Mo is going to be 57 years old this year. This is what we call mutton dressed as lamb, my friends. Next thing you know, Reid’s in there, too. The hookers chase him out but let Mario stay in his silky blue blouse. “Why does Mario get to see her naked?” Reid asks. Because Sonja and Mo “doing their thing” for Mario is how the Singers keep things spicy!
Anyway, it’s dinnertime, and Vi uses a profanity in directing Mario to extract “the girls” from the cavernous bathroom and bring them out to the table, which features autumnal flowers because it’s fall, white wardrobes notwithstanding. Carole thinks Mo is trying to prove that she’s MORE FUN than the girls who went to London, specifically Heather. While Mario attempts to get the randy broads out, Vi confides to Carole that Mo was really annoying her about the leg business. And so it begins – the first wheel has fallen off the cart. Clink.
The reason for this dinner, of course, is the much-anticipated introduction of Vi’s octogenarian sex addict father, George, who she thinks would be just perfect for Sonja. Sonja is intrigued, having been advised on the subject by Harry, her former f%^&mate and George’s former son-in-law. Friends share! George, as it turns out, looks like the pug in dentures in the dog food ad. You know which one I mean. He’s orange with big white teeth and a resemblance to Ed McMahon. Which wouldn’t make me want to knock his boots, but it’s really his charisma (and the vague suggestion of wealth) that reels the ladies in. George gets busy flirting with Mo, who is eating it up with a spoon. Mario is giggling uncontrollably, which is what he does every time he sees a delicious disaster developing. He loves this sh*t. He’s a worse Househusbandwhore than Simon Van Kempen. I think if George offered cash to Mario to rent Mo he’d take it.
Over butternut squash bisque the talk turns to Vi’s promiscuous ex-husband Harry, who everyone loves and who learned all his best tricks from George. Mo doesn’t like this. Reid says he doesn’t mind, because really he’s the only one who should, but that wasn’t it – Mo doesn’t think it’s nice to talk about Harry because she thinks everyone is dissing him. Vi thinks Mo is telling everyone what they can talk about. Mo leaves the table to rearrange the menu with the kitchen staff. No salad, go straight to the protein and veggie, no starch. She’s not just going to tell them what they can talk about, she’s going to tell them what they are going to eat. Who does she think she is? Sonja in the City?
With Mo away, Carole asks George the last time he had sex. It was that morning, he says. With himself, she asks? What is with Carole’s preoccupation with masturbation? She’s like Judy Blume, talking about it all the damn time. No, George doesn’t need to do that – he has friends. George does the nasty tongue waggle thing, which makes her shriek the same way I would, and then offers to give her her “first squirting orgasm”. ERMAGHERD. Giggling Mario is now under the table. Even Sonja is revolted, although given that he “looks moneyed” and has “major real estate” she’ll suffer through.
“Ask my dad why his last relationship ended,” suggests Vi. OK, why? Well, George was dating a 35-year-old after Vi’s mother died, but he cheated on her with a 23-year-old. George is pleased with himself. Vi finds this appalling. Mo disagrees – he had just lost his wife and wasn’t ready for a committed relationship. So it’s all the girlfriend’s fault. Oh, the ever-scintillating logic of Mo Singer.
Tomorrow comes and the crew troops down to George’s cabana for some sun. George folds Sonja into a lingering hug, tells Mario he looks like “Jack Lalanne,” which makes Mario giggle again, then compliments Mo’s legs. Mo is so flattered that he noticed. They park it on the frigid beach in a brisk wind. George tries to grab Sonja’s ass before engaging her in discussion about her kinkiest experience ever and multiple orgasms. That’s it for her – Sonja decides she needs a nice boring guy like Reid because this is ridiculous. I wonder whether this encounter factored into her recent decision to embrace celibacy. I want to be celibate just thinking about the prospect of horny old f#$%ers like this.
The beach being too windy, they troop back to the hot tub. George declines to go in – “I’ll get erect. I don’t wanna.” Mo starts in on Vi about the leg again, but thankfully for her sake stops before Vi has to tell her “what she thinks about her suit”. Yes, let’s talk about that suit. Mo is wearing a turquoise ruffly Paris Hilton monokini that frankly looks a little stretched out. Doesn’t look good on Paris, doesn’t flatter Mo’s ripply midsection. Sonja is wearing a red bikini that looks like one my sister owns – Bleu by Rod Beattie, the “gilt” model. Aviva is in a rust bikini, same as yesterday’s black one. Mario is in army green trunks that look like ones my husband picked up in a Shopko in Park Falls, Wisconsin, after forgetting to bring his bathing suit on our summer vacation AGAIN.
Our last night in Miami falls and the group is going to a show and part for Art Basel, whatever that is. Can’t be that important because no one explains. Mo was so excited that George complimented her legs that she chooses to wear a shirt as a dress. As Tim Gunn recently remarked, if you can’t tell whether something is a shirt or a dress, it’s a shirt. Sonja forgot her hair was in a sloppy showertime ponytail and is wearing a red drapey thing with no undergarments. George is so turned on that he pokes his erection in her butt when she tries to recline on the bed the group is offered for seating. Sonja leaps off the bed and that’s it for her. George is an orange old virile daddio with some erection helper called “horny goat weed” in his pocket, and she’s over it. “What happened to the old fashioned way of getting turned on – doggy style?” she asks. What indeed. My mom’s dog breaks wind, loudly. Please tell me there is more wine.
Back in New York, Carole has returned to the city and takes the Kountess shopping. “What a hidden downtown treasure,” Lu chortles. Now wait just a minute. The store they are in is called C. Wonder. I shop at C. Wonder – just ordered something online two weeks ago, in fact. It is indeed a treasure, but it’s hardly hidden and certainly NOT particularly downtown. Any store with a monogram section is not downtown. I love this place, but I am not downtown. I am Preppy Handbook, and so is C. Wonder. The point of this contrived outing is for Carole to confront Lu about having offered to borrow clothes from Naeem Khan, Ranjana’s fashion designer husband. Carole is embarrassed about Lu’s grifting and “diva qualities”. Lu is mortified – she wouldn’t dream of encroaching, she just thought bestowing Mr. Khan with the good fortune to have the Klassy Kountess wear one of his garments in public would be such good PR! Carole points out that Michelle Obama wears his stuff. ‘Nuff said. Lu wants to go to the fashion show with Carole. Nothing like inviting yourself to a fashion show you can’t get into.
Back in Miami, Mo is much more receptive to Curious George’s flirting than his original prospect, and Vi is alarmed. Vi asks Sonja how she handles Mo’s “overbearing nature”. Sonja says she kicks Mo out when they are at home in private, and suggests Vi do the same. This is going to go well. Why is Eddie Vedder hovering in the background?
Next time: Heather brings over a mockup of the new Sonja in the City website, and who’s there for the review but Mo! The Klassy Kountess engages in some dreadful mockery of Native Americans, and has a dustup with Pepe. Will it be adieu to Le Peu?
Second Helpings Lasagna
Did you know Sunday was National Lasagna Day? I don’t know how July 29, of all days, became National Lasagna Day, but it is. I have been making this lasagna for a solid 20 years now. It’s not only incredibly easy, but against ALL ODDS my middle son asked for seconds last week when I made it for dinner! This has never happened before with anything! He even wanted leftovers for lunch the next day! Tears pricked my eyes, that’s how overwhelmed I was by this food success. JP never likes anything mushy – perhaps we have turned a corner.
1 box lasagna noodles (regular or the no-cook kind, doesn’t matter)
1 extra-large jar spaghetti sauce (32 oz.)
1 large (24 oz.) and 1 small (16 oz.) container small curd cottage cheese
1 lb. shredded mozzarella
1/2 c. shredded parmesan
2 10 oz. boxes frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed of excess moisture
1 t. salt
1 1/2 t. Italian seasoning
1/2 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. black pepper
Preheat oven to 275. Combine cottage cheese, parmesan, 2 eggs, salt, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, and black pepper in a large bowl. Spread a generous 1 c. spaghetti sauce on the bottom of the deepest rectagular baker you can find. Cover with a layer of uncooked lasagna noodles. Spread with half the cottage cheese mixture, then sprinkle with one of the two boxes of spinach. Cover with 1/3 the mozzarella. Spread mozzarella with a generous 1 c. spaghetti sauce, then add a layer of noodles, the remaining half of the cottage cheese mixture, and the remaining box of spinach. Add 1/3 of the mozzarella. Cover with remaining spaghetti sauce, then a final layer of noodles. Cover with mozzarella. Wrap with a layer of saran wrap topped with a layer of aluminum foil. Put dish on a cookie sheet to catch drips and bake at 275 for 1 1/2 hours. Remove foil and saran wrap, increase heat to 400 and bake for another 20-30 minutes until lightly browned. Let sit for at least 15 minutes before serving (longer is even better).