Archive for November, 2005


Tuesday, November 22nd, 2005

Not being able to get online for any length of time makes it difficult to work on anything much less a blog. As the city continues to make baby steps forward, things like internet service grow scarcer. The fridge came yesterday, but the phones they say will take more than a month. Cable, forgetaboutit, the Can says probably end of December. But what colors my day is not that Mom’s house got broken into again by the deranged stalker who she says was looking for her gun, or that N immediately took care of boarding up her windows so now she is truly holed up there, or that it has been near impossible to work without distractions without being able to get online, no, I think it is ending a 15-year relationship and not even knowing where to begin to unravel a life so enmeshed that I can’t tell if that is his black turtleneck or mine?

The LaLa will be finished and I will live there. S is looking for an apt in the French Quarter – his plans are to stay here for a year and give his business a go. D and N have both said at separate times that he should go back to San Francisco but I know how he feels, when we left the first time in ’95 both of us felt like we didn’t have to go back there. Even though in ’96 the pull of EHDD was enough to hurl us back. Shades of years past – “I don’t want to go.” “I’m going with you or without you.”

L played this the other night – Shirley Horn:

Music by Johnny Mandel
Lyrics by Alan and Marilyn Bergman

Where do you start?
How do you separate the present from the past?
How do you deal with all the things you thought would last,
That didn’t last?
With bits of mem’ries scattered here and there,
I look around and don’t know where to start.

Which books are yours?
Which tapes and dreams belong to you and which are mine?
Our lives are tangled like the branches of a vine
That intertwine.
So many habits that we’ll have to break
And yesterdays we’ll have to take apart.

One day there’ll be a song or something in the air again,
To catch me by surprise and you’ll be there again.
A moment in
What might have been…

Where do you start?
Do you allow yourself a little time to cry,
Or do you close your eyes and kiss it all goodbye?
I guess you try.
And though I don’t know where
And don’t know when
I’ll find myself in love again,
I promise there will always be
A little place no one will see:
A tiny part deep in my heart
That stays in love with you.

Oh the possibilities!

Saturday, November 12th, 2005

B was in the paper today, front of the Living section looking dapper in his poet hat. I called N and they ran into Ponchatoula and bought every paper. Then I went for a walk with L and the dogs. L still processing the K denouement. I’m processing everything. We went to the M’s house last night for dinner and walked into a a strange atmosphere – so subdued there it felt as if everyone had gone to sleep. And actually S did fall asleep at the dinner table and then on the couch. I had a chance to read W some Lemony which is always enjoyable. We went to Pal’s when we got home. The crowd was pleasant and we proceeded to drink too much. S said he is depressed and I began to tell him about the elderly woman I talked to in line at Dorignac who told me she lost everything, said it took her a lifetime to accumulate all that and she wasn’t about to start over. Then she said the gumbo is good here and I said yes it is. The lines were so long you would have thought it was a holiday. He said no, I’m depressed about us. I said oh. Told him that after our last talk I felt that we had cleared the air and he said yes, but now what. He said I want it to work out. I said I agreed but I don’t know if it can. We’ve passed into a zombie stage of knowing that things cannot go on like this but now what? It’s so sad it is hard to contemplate.

Dinner with N and I told her about what S and I have been discussing – she said she is sad but understands – she said Rachel disappeared for a long time and she feels her back and that might be the problem.

Today was a productive day of clearing the yard and moving back to the Can. Back where our belongings are all neatly in cardboard boxes and our desk dominate the living and sleeping spaces. There was a feeling of comfort. But I think back to when Sue handed me the note when she was cleaning the house in Marin and I was on a conference call and the note said “I can find you no comfort” and I laughed and hugged her. Almost welped up. She wanted my duvet cover for the comforter on my bed. I on the other hand wanted comfort.

Last night N sent a note about the spec house and how it should be for people who don’t have the advantage of picking and choosing and not about profit. I’m anxious to put all of this to some purpose but S is paralyzed and overwhelmed. He said he needs time off – I told him to call C and go to Hawaii for down time between his SF trips. I need time to be alone – I feel like I’m grinding my teeth half the time and my jaws ache from it.

There are too many moving parts all leading to a sort of lunacy that never gets resolved. Two heavy nights of drinking in a row and tonight I’m nonplussed by the cures of alcohol. The Muse calls to me but doesn’t come to me and I feel stunned by my inability to get to the other side of any of what I want to know better.

Mom says everyone is stunned here and I agreed, people running redlights and walking around like the walking wounded but yet picking up the pieces and going on in the best way possible but some have no pieces and some have no places to put their pieces. So it’s a lot of making piles but not really moving forward – just sideways.

And through all of this murkiness I see possibilities.

Machine Gun Thoughts

Friday, November 11th, 2005

Today a knock at the door and a call to action – the big trailer had arrived to haul the trash but one cell phone call away determined they were on the wrong street – no, the right street – we can’t live like this – the smell and the piles of trash – but indeed we are on the wrong street and the trailer left after we had all moved our cars and they went to Ursuiline which was what? in need more? not

N last night was caustic in her pov of me – Rachel disappeared for so long that I was getting used to her being gone – then now she’s back – but I’m sad N said for what it might mean for you and yours. I’m sad to N – it’s all not lining up in any neat package – and the garbage is upsetting as well as the fact that trying to find a structure to call home has been daunting when meanwhile you have the land that is home.

The Can is reopened albeit we don’t have a fridge because we confuse them with our wine fridge and they think we are okay. Wines bought at the Cork to support them. Dorignacs a zoo because where do you buy food these days? It’s so daunting.

At the Milan last night P gave us the story of C and T and she was hot for T but it was hit and miss and then Katrina hooked T up with B which she said in all good heartedness good for you and then they came back and there was C who was a smooth operator not to mention endowed – I fucked him, P said just matter of factly – then added – Of course. But then C went after B and T was left holding the trick bag. There was a debate on well endowed versus not and then someone brought up the curve – if that were in play – the curve is the great equalizer takes the “prettiest dick I’ve ever seen” (a quote) and pairs it to the rare curve and then everyone was listening very attentively to the conversation.

More, more, more

Wednesday, November 9th, 2005

As more people return to NO, the trash is starting to pile up all over again and the smell on N’s block is disgusting. Despite all that there have been other places – like going to Krakow – as well as much needed conversations -that have helped to lighten the load somewhat. Tomorrow N and I will go have dinner and discuss our lives – she’s bored in Ponchatoula and I’m crazy in midcity.

Over in Krakow, meeting new reporters, always a reminder my company draws the slightly offbeat to its bosom and suddenly you find yourself in an intimate conversation with someone you met only moments ago. J’s story touched me and also gave me pause – a reminder, like Katrina of the tenuousness of life – Alistair helped her feel great love but suddenly and sadly was swept away in one slip and fall in the shower, but then Dolan there to sideline her yet again. Or M’s tragic past that she is every day overcoming. And C’s Juliet, who has turned out to be the one he wants to have ‘babies’ with and make music with, or S’s need for the bitchy type – regardless of gender – to offset his complete and utter giving over of himself to love/infatuation/adoration/one night stands.

The flight and arrival was fraught with tiredness and disconnecting and ended up heading straight towards a movement into assessment and clarity. At least it seemed that way, it’s just so hard to tell with so many moving parts grinding against each other. S said I flip around but he misreads cues.

I am re-engaging with work and that is good. Have lots to do before end of year. We’re going on trip during MLK weekend – Jan 14th weekend. A wants me to take S so she can take T and I’m not sure what to do. S said if I take S then he’s going to Vegas – just be on red alert. Maybe I’ll just opt for a spa weekend and forgot all about the entire scenario.

The Can might open on the 15th and that would be great. I’m also joined fully at Salvation – a gym – not my spirit but my energy needs saving. Today BP almost killed me – so out of shape one week away has made me.

Still awaiting W’s guitar to come in. We spent a few hours together and he started out by saying, “Rachel, I want you to know that I want to go to New York with you but I cannot go without either my mom or my dad. My dad may come and then I will go.” I said oh really and said, “I would have thought by now you would have felt comfortable enough with me to spend the night.” He said, “Comfortable here in New Orleans but if we go outside New Orleans I need my dad to come with me.” I understand I told him. Then he said, “But I want to go to New York.” So I said, “Well Auntie Michelle lives in NY, maybe your mom might want to visit Michelle and then you could go with her there and see NY and it would satisfy your one parent with you need.” He just looked and screwed up his face and did not say anything.

We then scooterized through park with him on full tilt and me running full steam after him – almost didn’t need a workout afterwards. Then a stop at the playground and I took scooter and helmet and went to bench to watch. He was distracted by crying little girl and then lost sight of me and I could see him panicking as he looked for me and he came running to the bench and said I didn’t think you would sit here because I don’t ever sit here. And I said it was the only empty bench.

Then we were off to the pond where the butterflies were lovely and graceful and he said his friend kills butterflies and I reeled back in horror and said don’t you ever kill a butterfly – they are objects of beauty. We took our shoes off and put them in the cold water of the fountain. And he decided he needed to frolic and so he did. Almost with an abandon as if someone had let him loose and he was going to get the most out of it he could. I saw a penny on the ground and got out to pick it up and make a wish and he insisted he needed that penny. Then he saw all the pennies in the fountain and decided to claim a replacement for me. So we both made a wish – May New Orleans Rebuild Quickly – he whispered this wish to me and then we said it out loud. Then he allowed me three pennies and three private wishes.

I hope New Orleans rebuilds quickly but we are in the who knows what is going on stage and that is disconcerting. Our neighborhood is piled with even more trash as more people return and either clean out tenants or their own personal belongings all damaged by Katrina. The smell outside is frightening. S opened the door to put out the trash and I almost gagged back in the kitchen. But there’s good news – gas is coming on in the neighborhood. The Can is opening on the 15th. The Times Picayune was delivered to our smelly doorstep this morning. N’s Jasmine bloomed in back. The Mirlton Man came by yesterday calling out – I’ve got Alligator Pears, I’ve got Cabbage, I’ve got Bananas – things are vying for normalcy amongst the smelly curbs and cross painted houses.

We went to Pal’s tonight and K, the bartender, said contractors from out of state have been showing up alongside regulars – they think this is play town she said, asking for discounts on the drinks, healthier pours, inquiring about how she fared in the storm (a standard insert into conversations these days) – she told him to fuck off and that is why I will keep going to Pal’s.

Sadly K has chosen T and has broken it all off with L – L is trying to take the high road – told her to never call him again, basically lose his number, and has recalibrated his thinking on the matter and she is decidedly too young for him. But now he says he has nothing to dream about or occupy his mind against the every day of this haphazzard existence he has found himself in along with the rest of us.

No one wants to be alone. Everyone I know who is alone seems happy but they long or have the urge to merge. Then there are those who are merged and you just ask yourself what motivates them to stay. A long time couple down the street seem comfortable, content but when I asked N she said, are you joking?, they’re miserable. N tells me all the time how mean B is but she desires him still. And doesn’t that make it compelling? How do you know when it is time to leave S asked me, you have been there before? I said this happened then, this happened this time, you don’t know, it’s more knowing that you can’t stay then it is time to leave, because you know that staying might not make either one of you happy. How do you know when to leave? How did I know I needed to come back to NO, how did I know that even despite the fact that Katrina came in and shook up my dream come true (not to mention ruining people’s lives) and has turned this city into a post-war zone and it might take five years to get it back to equilibrium that I still wanted to live here – that’s knowing. You need that kind of knowing. Never run away from, always run to – isn’t that the motto you should live your life under?

Truth is no one can know – no one not here can know what compells you to be here or what it is like. L and I were walking through the park yesterday and a guy came along with a black dog and L said, “that’s not your dog?” and the guy said “No, I stayed you know and the National Guard forced me out and I feared they would shoot my dog.” I looked at him and he said, “You don’t know, you weren’t here.” Then he said, “I knew my dog would be okay, I left him set up, but he wound up in Maryland and had heart worm problems so he is being treated there and needs about six months recovery.” So L said, “Whose dog is that?” The guy said it was his neighbors. And I said, “Love the one you’re with huh?” and he said, “Done it before.”

I’m adrift, S says. Unmoored we all are. I told L this morning when I went to look at the nagahyde rat pack bar he pulled out of a trash pile and carried home – “hurt my back Rachel” – that sitting in his kitchen provided a degree of comfort – of stability – that I didn’t have and looked forward to – sitting in my kitchen – which kitchen would that be? We’re so unmoored. And yet K took the best offer – a house and marriage – what goes on?

Krakow Bound

Tuesday, November 1st, 2005

They’re finally picking up the trash around here and the weather is ideal and so it must be time to leave, no? Poland will be a diversion for sure and in the meanwhile trash will be picked up, Lilli Belle will come home, and we’ll proceed with the next chapters. Last night reading Lemony Snicket to W, his grandmother (Judie) called and he was excited to speak with her and between talking to her like a little adult and alternating to a five-year-old thumb sucker – the changes were so vast and now they just become exponential.

I’m being sent off with longing and Krakow offers a respite from the gnawing.

Rocked Lilli Belle last night in her little burrito wrapping – N says the nurses say she is a quiet baby – her flush on her face is strawberry. And her fingers and toes are so long. The size of her feet looked like a toddler’s. Already more than she should be.

Time to attend to business.