Thursday, January 31, 2008

Martial Law

At Slammers last week, a grinning fireplug (coarse red hair and freckles) urged me on.

I grabbed his shoulders and moved him back to arm’s length, saying

Cum dicis ‘Propero, fac si facis,’ Hedyle, languet
Protinus et cessat debilitata Venus.
Expectare iube: velocius ibo retentus.
Hedyle, si properas, dic mihi, ne properem.

I like the James Michie translation.

When you say, ‘Quick, I’m going to come,’
Hedylus, I go limp and numb.
But ask me to hold back my fire,
And the brake accelerates desire.
Dear boy, if you’re in such a hurry,
Tell me to slow up, not to worry.

Homoeroticism in early '80s music videos

These two guys are likable and totally incapable of being "fierce". In fact, they are rather bland and homely in a really sexy/hot way. I have taken in a few of their vlog presentations. This most recent at Bilerico is the best. Like having a chat with a gay couple over (not coffee) herbal tea. You will find their blog here. Doably cute.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

A Simple Pleasure

I am watching C make one of his inventive salads.

The components:
baby spinach leaves
mixed field greens
soy nuts
chunks of fresh pineapple, honey dew and cantaloupe
dried mixed berries including cranberries and cherries
Black Castello cheese
Saint Augur cheese
mango and ginger Stilton cheese
ground pepper
powdered ginger

The dressing devised on the spot:
black currant nectar
sunflower oil left over from marinated artichokes
hot pepper balsamic vinegar

Like a mouthful of summer.

(I think my favorite food pornographer and both cuisinartists would approve.)

Fort Lauderdale Morning. Waiting for the taxi.

Every time I go away, I swear it evaporates until I get back. This is true of all places by the sea.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

in the funnies

Saw this in the paper today. Tomorrow I fly back north. C and I have been away from each other for almost one month which is the longest time we have spent apart. Sure hope he recognizes me at the airport. Sure hope he's at the airport.


Only in America can one go from self-destructive scoundrel to respected elder statesman in less than a lifetime. Alexis de Tocqueville talked about the sloughing off of "skin" that America does, forever renewing itself from old to young, in contrast to what other cultures do.

What private energies and what public yearnings produce a creature like this and a national appetite for him? We are a people obsessed with such transformations and are always eager to be watching when such heros revert to type. It's as if we want to teach ourselves trite lessons derived from our own silly preoccupation with the rise and fall of humans, and from our need for reaffirmation of the fallibility of all and any.

I think the funniest thing I ever read about his appearance (and I wish I could recall whose words they were) was that "He doesn't have a head. He has a container for a head." Now my question is how does anyone end up with forehead furrows that go in both directions. Like plaid. Extraordinary.

photo: AFP/Getty Images

Monday, January 28, 2008

The rather unsettling bottom line

If Barack Obama were 100% white would we be interested in him, and would he have gotten as far as he has politically?
If Hillary Clinton were a male would we be interested in her, and would she have gotten as far as she has politically?
Unfortunately, the answer to both questions is "no". Our hankering after these two is based in disturbingly large measure on the fact that one identifies as black and the other as female. At a time when we should be examining their intelligence, ability and accomplishments, we are fascinated with and fawning over accidental qualities rather than substance. That is the elephant in the ring with them.
Not to worry. Either will be a tremendous improvement.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Slightly less of a Luddite

With his help, I finally managed to add a song to this post. This isn't the first time he's helped me and I am envious of the ease with which he handles this medium and wish I were more skilled at it considering the amount of time I spend doing this.

Next challenge: using the books C gave me for Christmas, I'm going to attempt a redesign of the look of this place. The whole blog may crash, but in time, "the Rockies may crumble, Gibraltor may tumble, they're only made of clay, but.."

New Kitchen

UPDATE: for the folks having troubling viewing this, let me know if this newer upload is visible, thanks)

I spent the whole day working up this design using Adobe Illustrator, a program I have barely touched (From New York, C, who knows it like the back of his hand, walked me through some of its wonderful mysteries). You may notice the absence of refrigerator. It's being moved to what is now adjacent storage space that houses the hot water tank and the A/C unit. I found all the needed tiny appliances (they are costly because they are tiny - go figure) on a site called "Compact appliances". We will also be replacing the hot water tank with a wonderful new gizmo that is no larger than a camera and instantly heats the water that passes through it. I'm getting a Lieber refrigerator (expensive) and granite counters, but I think I can save money by getting the cabinetry through IKEA. We will also remove the wall separating the kitchen from the dining area allowing me to view the ocean while mincing garlic. We will also replace the indestructible but quaint white ceramic tile floor with something more dazzling. Something like those shimmery old New York sidewalks loaded with mica. Haven't quite found it yet. I met with a reputable contractor whose work I admire and who charges a set fee for labor only. Meanwhile, in New York, our ill-fated renovation is now in the hands of a lawyer who will get our deposit back from the despicable and non-performing company we hired almost two years ago. These projects can be great fun when they involve the right people, and cheaper when you do the design and the shopping yourself. It's now 2AM on a Friday night and I'm still home thinking about cabinetry. Somebody slap me.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

O les Beaux jours

Not all there.

Regarding the commented interest in a t shirt featured in this post, I have been gently reminded by my patient husband, who has grown accustomed to my faded memory and total blurring of reality, that the "nsfw" was indeed his idea and that he guided me through the lettering and kerning etc. All I did was work the paint. I did choose the color and the ironing board cover that ended up stuck to the letters! (Even the sweetest of designers can be tempermental...)

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

PART time

I've received email from a few friends expressing their disappointment over my going back to work (referenced in a previous post). It seems that my eschewing the workplace has been enviable to many. Here is my assurance that my soon-to-commence return will be part-time.

The delightful aspect of this is that my new employer found me via this little boutique of a blog. An anonymous reader invited me to consider a possible affiliation with a New York City based, well established, rather prominent and private foundation. They were seeking someone to write their web content, and also to act as "writing coach" for their staff. I came close to not responding to his message, suspicious that it was not on the level. When he suggested lunch, I talked it over with C and came to a "why not/nothing to lose" conclusion. I was worried that the guy might be a stalker or might have some ulterior motive for meeting. These concerns evaporated when I met him in person, over lunch, and during the subsequent interviews with the foundation's president and staff. All charming, friendly and intelligent. And what a luxury to join a team that already knows the basic details of one's personal life. No need to reassume the veil I wore constantly for the past twenty-five years. Also, appreciative of my Floridian inclinations, they have tailored my presence among them to allow for ample time down here in Braindeadlia.

I won't be detailing this venture herein. Contrary to what some of you presume, this blog is not a drawerfull of total disclosure. I do have secrets, and besides, I have always given the words that walk out of me license to compose their own realities and opinions. You'd never be sure about what's real or Memorex. I am simply looking forward to flying north for a week of this and am not at all thinking of it as work.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Monday, January 21, 2008

Suzanne Pleshette

The entertaining Suzanne Pleshette has died.

As a youngster, I envied her having Troy Donahue as a husband and wished I had been walking by when she put him out with the trash after eight months.

I always thought she should have had her own line of bedding at Bed Bath & Beyond, hawked as "Pillow Case-Suzanned Plush Sheets!"

Friday, January 18, 2008

More on the possibility of a monastery .

To live in healthy community.
To live together, under one roof, with men (and women – why not?) who find and build “home”.
To establish a refuge in which all the nonsense and the madness of the world is rectified through frequent sharing, thinking and discipline.
To be bound to the pursuit of what is really valuable and lasting.
To support each other without binding each other.
To grow together.
To age together.
To love together.
To die not alone.

Is it so far-fetched?
Imagine coming home to the monastery from a day’s work (and I don’t see why those of us with gainful employment outside the walls might not keep it), knowing that there will be food and relaxation and discussion and laughter and commiseration and rest and safety and love.

The house would have a pervasive peacefulness about it even when the “monks” were engaged in spirited conversation and celebration.

There would be no need for robes. We are not talking about “mouseketeers” or Shriners. There might be ceremony and ritual and music and art and writing of all sorts. There would be some rules, but only those that facilitated the common good.

Monks could be coupled or single or polyamorous. Contemplative or chatty. Industrious or reflective.

Each couple or single or polyamorous unit would have his/her/their own room. There would have to be plenty of bathrooms. One giant kitchen. One giant dining room for communal meals. Several gathering rooms. Some kind of central hall that would handle the convening of the entire community. I hesitate to call it a chapel because I don’t want to exclude those who while wrestling with the concept of God are not inclined to common prayer, but I would not exclude that possibility. And oh let there be a beautiful garden.

And let there be frequent visitors for we are folks who love the good company of lively people.

Sounds irresistible, and, some would say, impractical, but think of the community that already exists through this mechanism that we already share. Would this not be the next step?

I need to think more about this.

Look. Behind that door. That's where they live.

The author of the blog HT always makes his point in a thought provoking way. In his review of a travel book, The Way of the World by Nicholas Bouvier, he says the following:

I for one, in my travels, have missed the time when the world was still exotic. Everywhere I have been – Thai beaches, Himalayan foothills, Qinghai, Istambul – I seemed to arrive too late, in the wake of developers, cinder blocks, mass tourism, and the Coca-Cola Company...The world is becoming a less varied place, homogenized and less interesting.

This process starts at home (Think mainstreaming of gay culture/excavation of the underground. Think the exposure of privacies of any kind via the net.) and ends on those farthest flung beaches where we will always find the comfortable service of an ATM machine and the logos of our familiarity.

Heaventree, if all your energy goes into devouring the miles before you, into seeing all that can be seen, into learning the nuances of yet another dialect, into yearning to wear the feathers of some exotic creature not yet photographed, either death and infirmity will arrest you (unless, like a vampire, you are doomed unhappily to roam the streets of many centuries), or you will reach the end of all roads and find yourself back at your starting-line.

Instead, I will go to that one place for which there is no guide book and no translation. The one place for which I carry no currency. A place where the provocations buzz with static. Where transactions are still difficult. Where daily plans are upset by the eruption of the sudden coup breaking thin walls. I will turn and walk into my own head where the vistas are endless and the landmarks curious. I'll be leaving the door open behind me, but only a fool...

So this is what it means to seek the monastic. I think I have finally reached that point. I can think of nothing more satisfying than to establish a monastery in which men might live in common and in pursuit of all that is wonderfully unknown within them. Not the silly and caricatured monastery twisted with rules of celibacy and poverty and various worried controls, but one in which the communal life supports those interior journeys that only the luckiest among us ever finally make. First, I suppose I'd need a building. I wonder who'd be the first through the door with a suitcase?

Thursday, January 17, 2008

We could have told them that.

Are scientists just realizing that it's chemical? A few of us were talking about this just last week. How, on some nights, you can walk through the crowds at the bars/clubs/baths/beach and be invisible, but on other nights, they're all over you, and you literally run to the mirror to see what special coalition of features you are presenting that makes you irresistible that night. Of course you see nothing different. On some nights, a man emits a cocktail of tastables and smellables that draw other men to him. This may follow a lunar cycle. Let the charting begin. Last Friday night, I was successfully "off the charts". Let's see, that was Jan 11th. Between the new moon and the first quarter. Hmmm. The moon will be in that position again during the week I start my new job in Manhattan...Then again, it might have been the garlic.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Sonny and Cher and Letterman

I don't know why this is important to me, but it is. Can twenty years really have gone by since then? TV doesn't get much better. It's in 2 parts.

And, I will go to the beach.

Hardly what I would have thought

I saw this over at Manhattanchowder. I'd rather Dayton.

You Belong in Dublin

Friendly and down to earth, you want to enjoy Europe without snobbery or pretensions.
You're the perfect person to go wild on a pub crawl... or enjoy a quiet bike ride through the old part of town.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Is it now time for hysteria?

This about does it for me. I'm not leaving the house, going to the gym or touching anyone ever again. These bugs are evolving faster than our ability to retaliate. My own non-medically educated opinion? Within five years, they will have wiped out the human race, leaving a very quiet planet with the exception of beeping smoke detectors wanting their batteries changed and then giving up. It certainly does alter one's long-range financial planning. From the Wall Street Journal:

Resistance of Superbug Grows
New MRSA Strain
Hits Communities
Of Gay Men Hardest
January 15, 2008; Page D5
A highly drug-resistant superbug is gaining resistance to more drugs and burrowing deeply into the gay communities of San Francisco and Boston, researchers said.

Sexually active gay men are 13 times as likely to have this strain of the highly resistant bacterium, known as MRSA, or methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus.

More worrisome still, the new strain of MRSA called USA300 is growing resistant -- or unresponsive -- to three or even four classes of widely used antibiotics.

MRSA causes deep and stubborn skin infections and has been called the most common cause of skin infections treated in the nation's emergency rooms. It also more rarely can cause lethal invasive infections such as pneumonia or sepsis (blood poisoning).

Several drug classes that have lost their punch against the worsening strain include families that contain: penicillin, erythromycin, clindamycin, tetracycline and fluoroquinolone drugs such as Cipro, said Binh Diep, researcher at the University of California at San Francisco and first author of the study in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

The toughest strain also now is resistant to mupirocin, a topical antibiotic drug used to clear MRSA from the skin surface and nostrils where the bug is known to colonize even people without an infection.

The study emerged from a retrospective review of charts from 183 patients treated for MRSA at the San Francisco General Hospital's Positive Health Program, an outpatient clinic used by people with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. An additional 130 patients were studied at Boston's Fenway Community Health clinic.

The review of charts found gay men age 18-35 to be hardest-hit. ZIP Codes around San Francisco's Castro District, a largely gay neighborhood, were heavily affected. Previously, MRSA infections have been documented in sports teams, prison populations, gym-goers and the community at large.

Skin-to-skin contact, including sexual relations, are believed to be major ways the bug spreads from person to person. But Henry "Chip" Chambers, chief of infectious diseases at SF General and a study co-author, said heavy antibiotic use is "the most important factor" that the superbug's toughest strain resides among gay men.

Unlike resistant infections of the past, which thrived mainly in hospitals, MRSA runs rampant through the community and can crop up in people with no recent antibiotic use.

"It's more virulent than standard staph," said Shelley Gordon, an infectious-disease specialist in private practice at California Pacific Medical Center. To avoid using the wrong drug and fueling even more resistance, she urged testing for drug resistance, adding, "doctors in emergency settings have to be hip to this and do cultures."

Write to Marilyn Chase at

Sunday, January 13, 2008

At Bill's Filling Station

He reached into his pocket for a pair of hedge clippers to snip the woody roots that had grown out of his hips and were twining about the legs of his barstool. Standing up slowly, he braced himself against both the bar and my shoulder while proclaiming “I am going H-O-M-E to B-E-D with my ten pillows.”

“Ten pillows! Don’t suffocate”, I warned.

“Oh no. I put them between my legs and all around my sides.” He leaned into my ear to deliver a serious secret. “I’m in the hotel industry. I get them for free.”

I wanted to say something nice even though we had had no conversation requiring a coda. “Well they really are better than a man. When they get lumpy, you can toss them out and get new.”

His sweet tired laughter trailed behind him like broken glass as he fluttered his fingertips and wove an uncertain path to the door.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

At the Gay Beach

The components of this picture are the same every day.

The sand. The sun. The ocean. The gulls. The men. Their significant swimsuits. The staked claims of their umbrellas and towels. Their sunglasses and innumerable small containers for music, messages, drink and lotion. Their little worries.

Nearby, the newfangled lifeguard shrine with its elusive Apollo crouches on spokes like a non-invasive lunar landing craft as collapsible as a beach chair. Its oracle gazes at the mortals but speaks not. Every year, his face is new, and every year, the false rumor is spread that he has taken flesh at one of the bars where these men repair at night.

There is ritual to be observed. The sudden standing up of one man adjusting his suit before his scrutinized walk to the water. The arrival of a gym-built Miami-Cuban with its murmured and appreciative judgments. Various grand promenades announced and executed in pairs for the reviewing of the peripheral attendees. The magnetic drifting in the water of two men floating closer and closer to each other. One blames the undertow with a sly smile. (On-shore bets are placed on his success.) The sudden leap of collective heart as a flawless and glistening specimen who seems to have run here all the way from Sydney jogs by without a glance at the crowd.

A small plane swoops low in passing. It trails a banner that reads “Men, get back in the game with Nutri-System.” The heads of all the men are silent and tilted upward and turning slowly to receive this message. In unison, they suck in their guts for five seconds before the anxiety passes and happy distention returns.

Such is the unbearable weight of life here in Braindeadlia.

A difference?

I don't know any gay or straight Fort Lauderdale bloggers. In Manhattan our blogger family thrives and embraces and enlivens and protects and cheers and does all those other things that make up a real family. Maybe I just haven't found the "door" down here. Anyone out there? Anyone know one? All it takes is one, with a good sidebar.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Sol Lewitt for sale at Christie's on January 14th.

Here is our Sol Lewitt which will be auctioned at Christie's on Monday. We are told that the art market is strong with foreign investors and guys who just got their year end bonuses leading the pack. Also, Sol Lewitt (1928-2007) is a huge name in American art and a very good investment. Plus, unlike so much of his work, this will fit over your sofa. Calling all collectors. You can phone in your bid, or, you can bid live on line. Go for it. Mama needs a new kitchen.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

While waiting to see Sweeney Todd, I saw

What to do.

Over at Joe, he's made two recent posts that interest me greatly.

I'll cut to the chase. Here in Fort Lauderdale, I am no stranger to those venues providing the probabilities of good friction for the price of a beer or a "six month membership". I seem to have become a sort of sexual "common denominator" in a town replete with men of all ages, ethnicities and accents. Is he forty-five? Is he Jewish? Is he Spanish? Is he hairy? Is he smooth? Is he local? Is he married? All of these questions and more have been asked of me, and the guessed responses make me smile with the mystery of an explorer with a blurred passport. Two nights ago, at a well-attended and very well-designed sex club called "Slammers", someone finally got it right.

A young and shirtless man inserted himself into our feverish quintet and began to sample our various exposed parts. Because he was handsome and buff, we made room for him, wagon-training our backs to all other onlookers who hooked their chins over our shoulders as if to glimpse or sniff the stew in the making.

The new boy made the rounds of each of us, appreciating our components. When he came to me, he suddenly stopped his manipulations, and, looking into my eyes, he said with a startled voice, "You're sober!"

Without thinking, I returned his gaze and simply said, "Yes." The circle seemed to freeze as each man looked at me with the curiosity we reserve for Iranians, police officers, or Klingons. I had never realized just how obvious this frequent condition of mine really is. I could sense their sudden mistrust. There would be no retrieving the energy of this team which split quietly into other groupings as if the caller at a square dance had diplomatically smoothed over the moment of my unmasking.

This is, afterall, the unusual (and now unveiled) truth about me. I am often clear-headed among those who are not. Because of this, I have been able to find my way out of the jungle and back into your village where I stumble into the square asking you all for a drink of water with a promise to tell you what I have seen in those terrible dark places you dare not visit. I tell you of my voyages and while you sleep I am away by the light of the next full moon.

Sadly, I must report that, of late, some beautiful young men have offered themselves up to me, a total stranger to them. I look at these men incredulously, wanting to speak to them of the repulsion they create in me. Their asking me for unsafe sex is like handing me a gun or a knife and whispering a request for its brandishing. I want to tell them how that makes me feel. Like a daredevil in a circus act. Like a hoary and senior Wallenda, grown stupid with altitude and willing to shove my children onto a weak wire without a net. They want me to waste them and that is supremely unattractive. I want to tell them how their behavior makes them as cold to the touch and as colorless as a gravestone. When I walk away from one of them, I can hear him mumble his disappointment. Later, I watch him get what he wants from someone else. I catch his eye and he looks up at me vindictively as if to say "See what you could have had?"

I drive home knowing that we don't protect men by closing bath houses and patrolling the dark corners of bars. That's like stepping on the roach that runs across the floor. It accomplishes nothing. It's time for men like me to shoulder some responsibility for the young, stupid, drunk or drugged who are practically unreachable in daylight. I wonder how much of a difference could be made if, in the course of a night, as I thread my way through a crowd of beautiful young men, I were to single out just one of them as I passed by (Maybe the one with the nervous and insecure darting eyes. The shiny black fauxhawk. The third drink in his hand. A closet full of A&F) and lean in close enough to deliver a private message, "You're beautiful. Keep it safe. Don't lose it." Would he thank me? If he turned his back to me or looked away with annoyance would it matter? I'd have done the right thing, and if it happened often enough, and if it happened in those darker more sinister venues where the deadly decisions happen, would we not be able to avert some of the pitiful mistakes that young men make and then regret too late?

I really have no choice. It seems to be my calling. Look for me to become somewhat unpopular in some places as I perfect my approach of encouragement for good behavior and intolerance for the bad. This would certainly work better if we were all doing it, and so I am requesting that you try it as well, you who are fellow explorers. Don't let me be the sole "vox clamantis in deserto". You'll pay two dollars for a coat check or a buck for a security box for your wallet. Surely you and I can add this one inexpensive little responsibility to our nights out: to tell one young man that he is beautiful and that you want him to stay that way for many years to come.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Braindeadlian Art Fair

Two lawyers, a psychologist and a priest attend an annual "art" exhibit in Fort Lauderdale on its "posh" boulevard, and are so shocked that they refrain from comment. Shifting gears, they laugh and acquire food and drink. here are typical of the more than 500 exhibitors. Let no one again upbraid me for calling this place Braindeadlia. I love it for other reasons.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

More on the Hudson Yards project

I love it when the venerable agree with me, and kudos to Ms. H for describing those towers as "sex toys".
(Thanks to Gavin for calling this to my attention, knowing that I have already spoken of it. Twice.)

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Postcards from the Dredge

The unfortunate decimation of the quaint beachfront of Fort Lauderdale continues despite the fact that most new development has been arrested by the reversal of the real estate market.

We took a walk along that stretch of Route A1A that runs along the beach on the barrier island in the neighborhood of the gay guest houses. We were surprised to see that The Natchez, a New Orleans style guesthouse has been demolished. We suspect that the developers will now wait a few years before thinking about erecting whatever tasteless behemoth they had in mind.

Next door, the old Howard Johnson’s is still standing but it is empty and stripped of its emblematic restaurant cupola and of all signage that bore its name.

Meanwhile, one block over, the new Trump building is already up but not completed. It looks like one hull of a hulking hull of a ship. I bet they are nervous about the market for it.

Here is a good example of the sort of frightening replacements that have sprung up in the last five years: the clunky La Cascade with its gruesome faux Spanish make-up and faked grill work over flat panels where there should be windows.

Some favorites remain. Here is The Premiere where the neon still glows at dusk. (The fabulous Birch Tower behind it has lost much of its ocean view because of the new Hilton and the W on A1A). You can still lounge by the pool at The Premiere if you don’t mind gazing at the overflowing dumpster. Little uncomfortable details like that multiple in this neighborhood and are signs of psychological abandonment that mark its demise.

Some of the lovable old silliness remains:

We came upon this beautiful and flawless turquoise GE stove that had been put out with the trash. If only I had room for it, I’d have strapped it to my back and brought it home. I thought of how much Eddie would have loved it. He probably would have found a way to fit it into his luggage.

Here is the Blue Dolphin, a minor example of the old Fort Lauderdale.

My quick renovation gets rid of the front parking, replaces the bad replacement windows, adds central air, clears the encroachments, trashes the ugly awning and restores what I suspect would have been the original parapet over the entrance.

Where A1A meets Sunrise Boulevard there is a little cluster of honkytonkness where all that is left in terms of commerce are the sellers of tattoos, bikinis, and pizza. Many of its buildings are empty. This little suffering corner is now prime to become a gay oasis serving the two dozen gay guesthouses that are within walking distance, and drawing residents from Wilton Manors who ought to have a place on the beach where they can mingle with tourists.

This building in particular would make a great café/bar. (Behind it is the Holiday Inn, also now empty.) Its twin across the street had been a popular biker bar with French doors on the second level opening up onto the narrow wrap-around balcony with filigreed wrought iron railings. It is also closed. A deco version of that same idea would work well here.

I just don't know where this town is headed, but it is so easy not to think about it when there is sun on the sea, and that is almost every day.

Feast of Saint Stephen

Note: It is never appropriate to wear a t shirt that references a place while you are actually in that place. It is always appropriate to wear a referential t shirt when you are more than 300 miles from that place. (Wearing a Provincetown t shirt in Manhattan is disputable.) Here we lounge in front of Peter and Bob's tree at The Palms. Peter makes an annual pilgrimage to Neiman Marcus to buy ornaments on sale on Dec. 26th. He now has a complete set of Barbie Dream ornaments.