Thursday, February 26, 2015

Great Expectations


Back in grammar school my family used to spend our summer days swimming and lounging at the Fieldston Bath and Tennis Club in the Bronx, or Kelton’s as we all called it, because the Kelton family owned it. The experience of growing up there was brilliant. I will quote myself here from  http://hollyramoswrites.blogspot.com/2013/08/jesus-died-for-somebodys-sins-but-not.html (click if you want to read the whole thing)
“Every summer my family would join this amazing pool club right there in the Bronx on Broadway around 236th street, The Fieldston Bath and Tennis Club. The high falutin’ name was not a great indicator of the pool club experience. The pool was indeed fantastic and there were clay tennis courts, but the club was populated by predominantly Irish, Jewish, and Italian working class families from the north Bronx area, chilling out, smoking, drinking, cursing, swimming, having a ball.

At a certain time in the day the air took on the dreamy smell of cookies baking from the Stella D’Oro factory next door. I cherish those summers spent swimming all day, running around free like a wild animal, tanned and chlorined, eating french fries and ice cream and playing pinball till 9pm when the sun finally set and the workers threw us out. We could have stayed all night as well.”


My family joined the pool club when I was in first grade and continued till I was in fifth or sixth. I was a little girl there and became an adolescent, interested in guys. I was in that pool when I heard that Elvis had died. I spend the prime summers of childhood, girlhood rather, when my life was being molded, in that space with those folk.

The story I want to tell is that there was a man who had some stock in the business, he was either the manager or a partner. We’ll call him Mr. Shoeman. Mr. Shoeman had two daughters who I saw as very different from me and my working class family. I experienced them as having a lot compared to my having very little.

One year the pool club had a plywood wall put up for some reason and hosted an art contest for kids to decorate the unsightly wall. The wall was divided into sections that were numbered and you could sign up for a numbered space and draw or paint something to be entered into the contest. There would be several “winners,” depending on type of art and age group.

I read the rules very carefully, and signed up for my age group and category of art, which was abstract. I did a psychedelic design that had depth and color. I was very proud of it. I feel like I was in 3rd or 4th grade, not sure exactly. As we got past the deadline for the entries and closer to the announcement of the winner, I noticed that I was the only person in my category, meaning that I was a sure winner. I was thrilled to be a winner and felt my work to be brilliant. 

A day or two before the winners were announced a board was nailed over my drawing. I was thrown by that but accepted that it was part of some construction and still looked forward to my name being called as a winner.

Finally, the day had come to announce the winners and we all gathered around the pool while someone spoke over the pa system. The older Shoeman girl won in her category. And then they announced my category, the one that I was the only person entered and they called the younger Shoeman girl’s name as the winner.

A moment before I could taste the winning acknowledgement and then there I was, in a blink of an eye, left in devastation. My home life was a mess and I was prone to self-blame and I spiraled in shame, pain, despair, you name it. I had no one to talk to and no one stood up for me. No one went to the judges. No one held my hand. No one talked to me about life. The adults in my life did not belief in a kind compassionate safe universe where abundance flowed from an unlimited source. They did not know how to right a wrong or even empathize with the victim of a wrong. They might have believed that I was a fool for thinking that I might win. I know I thought that, and I wonder where that thought originated.

Anyway, it’s all better now.  My blog is named after my life. All transformation is possible. My core beliefs have evolved beyond that working class ghetto life. My cells have realigned. I am safe and happy and allowed and manifesting. I only write this because I was thinking about the Oscars and competition and contests and winners and it reminded me of this: that even when you think something is a guarantee, a shoe-in, it might not be. ** AND ** The opposite is true too. Even when you think it is your one and only chance, or that you’ll never have the chance again, or that you are too old or it is impossible, or you can’t or wont- you are wrong. I try to practice cultivating desire and detachment and allowing for miracles again and again. All Transformation is possible.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Oscar night part 2



I will pick up where I left off...
Tom and I were staggering out of the Governor’s Ball and we were both feeling the exhaustion of the day. It was around 11:30pm. He asked if I just wanted to go home. I did and he had a fever, but instead of being practical, which I am every day, I said that this was a once in a lifetime and we should go out for a little bit. We met up with our pals and went to the Elton John party, which was waning. Chic had played and the place went insane, but by the time we got there the dance floor was still cooking but not much else was going on. Johnny Dynell and Chi Chi Valenti, my friends from New York, were Djing and it was amazing to say hello to them. My tribe, my people, there in the chaos of Hollywood. Chi Chi and Johnny are the two coolest people on the club scene, bar none, and great individuals in general. They were the brains and founders of Jackie 60, a hang out of mine in the 90’s in New York in the heart of the meatpacking district before it was developed.

Jackie 60 was a brilliant gay and straight dance club but also an underground art performance club that took things to the next level. They had readings and plays and performances of every kind each week that were mind blowing. I was very lucky to have been an honorary member of House of Domination, the in-house method-go-go dance troupe, led by Kitty Boots. I also performed there as an insane Manson girl lip syncing to a Charles Manson recording on Cult night, another time I got to play Giulietta Masina opposite Antony Hegarty, of Antony and the Johnsons, in a mini version of Juliet of the Spirits on Fellini night. You get the picture. And here they were, mi familia, to hug on Oscar night. Too cool. But I digress…

Lastly, we hit the Vanity Fair party, which we did not have invites to , but we were told that all we had to do was show the Oscar and that would get us in and it did. We rolled down the limo window, held up the Oscar and the gates open for us.

The party was packed with stars. So many great faces. Most of the nominees, and David Oyelowo, Quest Love, Vin Diesel and many others. There were Parisian macaroons and In and Out burgers being offered to the hungry guest and again alcohol flowing wildly. We danced and talked and people watched and stayed out till about 2:30. Then Tom and I stayed up till about 5am, enjoying the last few moments of being child free. The next day we rolled out of bed around noon. Tom went to work with his fever and I picked up the kids before going back to work myself.  

Just so you know, Tom doesn’t have pneumonia and the fever is gone, just a nasty cough lingers. We made it through awards season alive. I ate cookies for dinner two nights in a row and today I had a box of champagne truffles for lunch. I NEVER do that kind of stuff. I am talking about not eating like that in decades, and here I am 3 days in a row. Re-acclimating is a bitch.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

i pulled it off! here are some details...


So I pulled it off! Everything worked. I loved how I looked. It poured raining on my frizzy “Latina” hair and somehow I looked good. All a miracle. Today I feel beat up and tired, much recovery needed. I want to fill you in on everything. Forgive my slowness in the speedy modern world of technology.

First of all, no swag. None. Only the stars get it. What ever, who needs stuff?

Second, I have no dirt to dish, only kind words, the whole affair was top notch. Here goes…

Getting there took longer than expected due to the rain. There were all these protestors on the street as we sat in limo drop-off traffic. They had megaphones and ranted about sin. It was pouring rain and felt a bit like a Fellini film. We went with two friends and that made the whole event even more fun, almost like the prom I never went to, gowns, diamonds, tuxes and limos!

Everyone working the event was so kind. They handed us umbrellas until we got under the tent and walked us to the red carpet. Many famous people were going in by that time but a few people wanted to talk to Tom and take our photo. Again, very Felliniesque to be in that chaos with fans screaming and lights flashing. J Lo, Cumberbatch, Travolta, Reese, all strolled by looking great. We ran into Rene Russo and her husband, director of Night Crawler, Dan Gilroy on the security line and chatted because we had met at the Indie Spirit Awards the day before. We chatted with Mayor Garcetti too. Smashingly fun.

The actual show was really fun. We had great seats. After Tom won and Oprah said hi to me, things got crazy good, not because of my good fortune but because Common and John Legend’s performance was so powerful, worthy of the standing ovation. Then they won for best song and the speech was standing ovation quality as well.  Also, Lady Gaga was amazing and Julie Andrews was stunning. I was on my feet more than I was sitting and my hands hurt from clapping. But most of you saw all that. What you did not see was the mayor come back and take a photo with Tom and the Oscar but we will post it at some point.

When the show ended we were hungry but we hung out in the lobby talking and trying to meet up with our friends before going to the Governor Ball. We saw everyone walk by. Rosamund Pike’s dress was my favorite, other than mine and one vintage Chanel from the 5o’s. Eddie Murphy looked like a million dollars and everyone was very nice.

The Governor’s Ball was swingin’. Sergio Mendes played and will i am made an appearance. I did not drink but there was champagne everywhere and more for the asking. There were hors d’oeuvers coming by constantly and I ate a full meal and then some, including lobster salad and baked potatoes with caviar and potato pancakes with salmon. Then came dessert but I just had a few bites of chocolate for some energy. I was definitely in shock by this time. I could not tell if I was hungry or had over eaten. I was moving slow and had nothing to say and just wanted to sit on a quiet couch alone for a bit. It took us a while to organize our brains and call our limo and make our way out of there. There were coffee and espresso stations and white leather couches and heat lamps on Hollywood blvd as we waited for our car. Anything you wanted was there for you, free, with great service and a smile. We felt so spoiled….we were. I am too tired to go on… more tomorrow

Monday, February 23, 2015

4 favorite oscar moments



I am getting reaclimated to planet earth, so this is going to be short-ish, I will elaborate as the week goes on.

1.   Before I got dressed for the event I walked to Geslons for a snack. time was getting tight. As I was going into the store, feeling stressed, a guy in a tuxedo carrying a box of pastries ran out the door screaming in major stress “I AM SO OVER THIS SHIT!” I wonder where he was headed that night?

2.   Tom and I were sitting about 10 rows back form the stage on the isle, 8 rows away and directly behind Oprah and Steadman.  When his category came up, the ushers walked us to the nominee box on the side of the stage. After Tom won he went backstage to do press. I walked back to my seat across the front of the stage, past all the movie stars and up the isle right past Oprah. She was relaxing into Steadman, casual and free. I looked at her as I passed with my beaming smile and she looked directly at me and like only a southerner could do, said “Hi ya!” playful, and loose, and dare I say, flirty! I beamed even more and said hi back and continued to my seat. Oprah flirted with me!

3.   Tom winning was too amazing for words! 

4.   Tom had the Oscar so we could walk up to anyone and be more of a peer than a fan and actually chat. That was really fun. The only person I cared about to approach, other than Oprah, who I did not see, was David Oyelowo, who was amazing as Dr. Martin Luther King in Selma. He was at the Vanity Fair party and we three talked for a good while and I got a hug! So sweet!

There were a bunch more cool things but you will have to wait till tomorrow. Alas, back to my life and work and changing diapers, where champaigne and caviar does not flow from an unlimited source. I packed up the $52,000 watch and the diamond earrings to return. At least I get to keep the dress!!!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

The Oscars and WE. Oui.


Dear Friends,

What can I say? Thank you and I love you. Odd how this event is bigger than our wedding, but it is. It is televised for one thing, and millions of people are watching. Crazy. The energy is big, there is no way to minimize it.

We have dear friends watching our kids today and other dear friends hosting our kids in a sleepover tonight. Such kind brave souls. Thank you. It is only the 3rd time in 5 years that we are not with Nova overnight and the first time without Perry. I feel teary and miss them already, AND I also feel elated about 28 glorious child free hours!! 

Thank you to everyone. I am in awe of the generosity of so many people helping us out with clothes and jewels and time and money and childcare and verbal support. So much goodwill, it is incredible. Who knew the Oscars would bring out the best in everybody? All of your kind words of support and encouragement have carried me to this point and mean so much as we hobble across the finish line. I prepared almost everything last night so it should be smooth sailing. We are going to eat chocolate, our drug of choice, and have a great day and night. I plan to be in my body and enjoying the ride.

Thank you kind folk for all of the love, texts phone calls, emails and thoughts. You have been coming out of the woodwork in such a sweet way, sincere and touching way. It’s so odd, I am not even nominated and I am not an Oscar fanatic but this is very emotional. I am feeling you and carrying you all in my heart and representing you all, the Ramos’s the Reynolds, Inwood, New York, the lower east side, the moms and dads, family school, old friends and new…we are going to the Oscars! Oui. Jeepers, this reads like MY acceptance speech. Tune in tomorrow for the scoop…

Love, Holly

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Indie Spirit, the final stretch, and urgent care...


Today was the Indie Spirit Awards. Let me back up. Tom has been running himself into the ground. He was running a fever last night and had pink eye. He went to bed after 1am and needed to be at an editing panel at 8:45, then Indie Spirit, then parties and dinners. At 4:30am he was up and miserable and wondering if he should go to urgent care. I suggested that he needed to cancel everything today so he would not end up in the hospital. I really want him to be alive.

Also, I just wanted to mention that my son has been congested and I am sleeping with a chopped onion by the bed and the vaporizer on, so every night I am steaming in onion smell. I am also run down and have been eating raw garlic each night so I smell like onion and garlic. We are all a bit of a mess, but surviving and thriving, somehow.

Anyway, Tom was up for the panel this morning and said he felt better. He is drawing from his very last reserves right now. I get it, this is his moment. I had a sitter come at 8am and I went back to bed and then I could not get up. I set the clock but I just could not do it. By the time I woke, I had 50 minutes to be ready to get leave for the Indie Spirit Awards. A car was getting me at 12:10 and then picking Tom up at the panel at 12:45 to get us to the awards, a tent on the beach in Santa Monica by 2:00, with a soft start at 1:45, whatever that meant. Well we would find out.

I was about 20 minutes late, but the driver said take your time. I was so unorganized and I left the house without checking anything, without my shoes on, without my makeup finished, I just could not do it. I finished everything in the car. I knew that if we left at 12:30, we would still get tom by 12:45, so everything was cool….except..

We got to the Indie Spirit tent a few minutes after 1:30 and the lot was empty, everyone was inside. A publicist came up to us and said, “well, they announced the first award and you won, congratulations”. Yep, he missed his award. Missed it by about 5 minutes. It was my fault. Tom did not even bat an eyelash. I felt terrible but he was thrilled to win and said not to worry about it. That’s my guy.

The “soft” start was actually 1:30, and editing was the first award. This part of the event was not televised. Director Damien Chazelle accepted for him. Tom walked in a winner and shook a million hands as we made our way to our seats.

The rest of the event was great. Food, fun and film, c’mon!. I sat at the same table as lovely Scarlett Johansson, the great Wim Wenders and the great Bennett Miller, director of Money Ball and Fox Catcher.  Forgot to say anything to them. My brain was on overload, less from star struck than from overdrive. I got to see so many talented people and had a conversation with director Jason Reitman about stunning photography, like Eggleston and Arbus, but my brain was so tired I could not recall the names of photographers I love like Jamel Shabazz or Danny Lyons. Oh well, next time.

Tom is at urgent care right now. Knowing him, he will make it through tomorrow and can collapse on Monday. The finish line is close. Tom is a winner no matter what happens tomorrow. This whole thing is fun and great and crazy and perfect. Thank you everyone!
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Ps. just found out the watch I am wearing is $52,000. glamour..

pss. I had a tee shirt I made for myself in 7th grade that I dyed purple and wrote in marker “this ain’t rock and roll, this is genocide”

oscar related event, anyone?


Tonight I went to a super fancy Oscar related event. It was a cocktail party at a private home. Me, Tom, and Oprah sat on the couch talking and laughing while Common played jazz standards on the baby grand. Not. That is what I imagined it would be, but I was wrong.

I was more dressed up and grown up then I have ever been in my life. I wore a $30,000 ish diamond encrusted watch and a fuchsia raw silk floor length dress from India with mirrors embroided on the chest.  So glad I did because almost every other woman wore a black short dress with heels. The event was like a nightclub minus the joy de vivre of people loving music. The event was a power networking amazing gathering, just different from what I expected. This trip is so interesting.