Archive for February, 2006

The Coven

Tuesday, February 28th, 2006

Early rise to start Fat Tuesday – we had a plan – and we followed through and the first stop was the R Bar where the scene was quite wonderful – riffs on Broke Back Mountain, pregnant uniformed schoolgirls, flamingos, the best was the blue street sign Flood and St. Claude, and lots of others. Then to the Friendly Bar where the spectacular unfolded from St. Ann coming through – there is nothing to describe sitting in the midst of sparkly priests, woman on stilts dancing, vampire parents with bat children, a skeleton reading the Times Picayune, and so on and so on.

If anyone wonders why any of us are still here in New Orleans, they missed Mardi Gras, they haven’t had fried chicken at Dizzy’s, and there is no Chez Nous gumbo recipe to be handed out to anyone. Yes, we are here because it is wonderful. Absolutely wonderful.

And after, there is dinner at L’s with the coven in its glory – L cooking for the gals – delicious earthy lentil soup, perfectly toasted brusccheta, and red wine. Everything was on the table – not one subject untouched and somehow there was a second wind. My favorite take away was how Steve Earle was paraphrased for the breakup – I don’t have a fearless heart and I can’t get you through the scary parts.

It’s all good – we’re happy, we had a great Mardi Gras – and we will survive the years it will take to rebuild our city and we have survived the personal mess that we all got ourselves into – and you know what? The Bean is doing all right, I’m doing great, and there is no need to worry about us because we are going to do just fine.

By the way, Denzel Washington running on the bayou is quite a wonderful thing to behold.

Pain, real and imagined

Monday, February 27th, 2006

Wasted day feeling like I was carrying a 70 lb person on my back through the 9 hours of parades yesterday – went to the Quarter to have lunch with S and got some cool stack shoes with red flames on them and some more purple stockings for tomorrow. Then home for the much needed nap that never really gelled because the phone kept ringing. P called and said there was a little fright with L but that all was well again.

Later L called and I went and met him for an afternoon walk around the bayou with the Bean and his boys. That is the first Arlene has been out since her episode and I walked her easily. L was asking me how I am doing with everything and I told him I had been fine but in the last forty eight hours had developed a jones that wasn’t abating and I was trying to find a place to put it so that it didn’t wreck me – he said you have to – we can’t grind on this kind of stuff – but then again – what else? You try to find a place to put things and those feelings burst out when you least suspect it and no matter how you fight to put the monster back in its hiding place, it rears its head and you are paralyzed to do anything. As we were passing C&P’s house L said why don’t you come over tonight and I told him I was not even going to go over there and watch him sassify with his bad self and we both laughed so hard L bent over with his head between his legs. I laughed so hard I almost cried.

Then came home and mom and S came over bringing some Middle Eastern food with them and we went to see the LaLa because S hadn’t seen it yet. There was a big gash in the front porch step that was disheartening – out of the blue – don’t know how it got there. But then we came back here and ate and talked and drank some wine. Meanwhile the Can slipped a note under the door that my rent is going up by $200 just because they can because the place is full. That is the post-Katrina reality – rents and real estate going up to some abnormal heights as if the people who have chose to stick it out here should be penalized for the lack of 300,000 other people who have decided not to.

It’s hard to see S in the state she is in – RSDS – chronic pain – caused by a freak accident over two years ago from a dentist visit – she’s a mess and can’t seem to pull out of it. Brings mom to tears and you just keep thinking of ways that she might be able to pull out of it but then it seems like doors close and hardly any open. Towards the end of dinner she went and lay down on the sofa and mom cried and I just shook my head. Because there is nothing anyone can do about it to make it all better and S doesn’t seem to be able to pull away from the pain medication that is the only thing that is keeping her from driving off a cliff.

Meanwhile the Can is a mess – all of S’s boxes are here and there as we went up on top of the loft closet and pulled down everything that is possibly his to take with him to California and now the truck arrives here on Thursday – bringing all the cabinets for the LaLa to store here – and to pick up S’s stuff on Friday. I’ll be at a conference after Mardi Gras in Orlando and when I return S will spend one more night here and then leave on Saturday. Back to California, his home.

Detail Girl

Monday, February 27th, 2006

L said it is a Southern thing that I cannot tell a story without digressing but Eudora Welty said Southerners live their narratives and that’s what I am trying to tell him – it’s all about the details. So when he said have you heard from? and I said well and then digressed.

The Falling Dangermonds were on display again yesterday – S said he fell several times on the float and I fell yesterday pre-cocktails while running – my knee is skinned close to where last Mardi Gras’ scar is – and so some things never change.

Yesterday the plan was to wait for the night parades, but L was starting to hedge and N and S both called to say the crowds were nuts already for the day parades so I got itchy and when mom and S cancelled lunch I went on to the parades. Met all the peeps at the corner of Perrrier and Napoleon and P came over to meet us and the parades were fun fun fun. Jello shots from the Milan, lots of beads, and everyone in costume. At one point S turned to me and said I should kill you – I laughed. We were at the Milan during one of the breaks and we met a 6’10” basketball player and his friends who decided to join us at the table – one of them asked S if I was his girlfriend and S said no, my ex-wife, and he said how could you leave her and S looked at me and said I am going to choke you. And so it is.

Bacchus was awesome – the Baccagator as big as ever – but I could not accomodate one more bead around my neck – and finally backed away from the front lines to observe the spectacle from afar. N’s daughter-in-law B is cute as a bug with her big lip earrings. D&B kept texting but we never saw them as the crowds grew denser. At one point S and I walked towards N’s corner to give him jello shots but he wasn’t there and so we distributed them to the gratefully unknown.

Meanwhile, S came home and ended up spending the night here after he fell asleep on the couch – and I dreamt of marathons and angels and woke with a longing to get back to the ease of making plans for marathons and for the casualness of dropping by. Yesterday, S walked over to N’s to use the bathroom and I said snatch W up for me and give him a kiss but S said W was busy having fun and barely noticed him – he said he kissed N bye. And all of these absences make my entire body and mind ache like something has been ripped from within leaving gashing wounds behind.


“A Certain Cemetery”

What do you do when your angels
Have all flown away?
There’s an ache through my body
That just won’t go away

Here’s a picture that we took last fall
See there you haven’t aged at all
But you, have a smile I haven’t seen around
Lately you’re as dark as this town
And I know it seems like nothing changes
Days go by and we just age
Well, killing time can feel so right
In your bedroom without the lights
Let’s get old together
Make promises and lie but never
Let this city get the best of us
Grow apart from the things we love

Make a wish with a coin in a fountain
They pound the floor when they say we’re
Making too much noise in the apartment below
We’ve got no morning jobs to go to
Late night dreams and a whole lot of wishing
All the secrets that we’re not telling
Cities sometimes just blend together and it feels we’ve
Been away forever
We should really only have one care
To get back to the room that we both share

So whisper and tell me where I went wrong
Tell me why everything around you lost its shine
Why nothing glows
Tell me why you’re waiting, or what you’re waiting for
Never seen when opportunity is at your door
Let’s get out of this mess
No one will even know we left
No use on dwelling on the thing you’ll soon forget

When this is over, it’s alright

Angel of Death

Saturday, February 25th, 2006

Strange evening spent doing girl things with my sister and mother – looking at catalogs, reading girly magazines, eating dark bittersweet chocolate and salty potato chips – and talking. Good grief I didn’t know S could talk so much – after a while I zoned out and thought my head was going to explode. Then I returned to the can and saw the Angel of Death with his sickle in front of the entrance – he was smoking a cigarette and I thought about my joking around that I have 3 more smoking days left – but it was like waaza – what goes on?

And I was thinking about the last few weeks where everytime I was about to make a move someone said that is bold and so at first I hesitated and didn’t do what I was about to do. And now I kind of do it and get the comment after the fact. Here I was the one who kept saying know thyself but really “bold” – I don’t consider the things I had in mind bold – but maybe.

Arlene is bereft of any exercise as I am keeping her under close watch. She’s fine, but I don’t want to risk anything till I know more about what is causing her episodes.

L is out again tonight – he’s been a social butterfly these days – after a long day of parading I told him I am glad not to be him tonight – meeting new people and having to be “on” – I was happy curled on my mother’s couch.

C – the mailman – came up to the apartment today and handed me back all my letters I mailed – I looked a little puzzled since he had woken me from a nap – and he told me that he had mailed my mail the other day but that stamps had gone up to 39 cents – I said no one told me – and he laughed. I just love this guy. He brings me my LaLa mail and leaves me notes in my mailbox. And now tells me personally that stamps went up in January. Who knew?

How is it possible for someone to talk about their cat for so long?

Tucks and Plungers

Saturday, February 25th, 2006

Last night, at the last minute N and the Snake called and we jumped in the car and got there right when Hermes was rolling – the first of three parades. We had a good time hanging on our corner with all our friends – right across from the apartment that S and I used to live in 11 years ago when we moved here for those 11 months. I caught a blinky jester – the prize catch – and later B came over from a block over and said that W had wanted the blinky and one was thrown and it fell and broke on the ground and N was trying to salvage it, little batteries and all, and that just touched my heart. But apparently J caught a big bag full of blinkies and everyone got one. But soft spot for N gathering the little batteries on the ground. Sigh.

Got up this morning slowly and got ready for a day of parades, L and I went to the gym and got off to a good start and then worked our way to the Milan for cocktails at 10:15 AM – we went to our spot and met all our friends out there except N and the Snake who opted out – and then the parades rolled. S’s parade was second in the line up and I had made a big sign for him out of pink construction paper and cut out Victoria Secret models and taped them all over so that he would not miss me. He was on a float that had a statuesque woman in a short red dress – perfect.

Unmasked, he threw plungers decorated with feathers and beads and two big plastic bags filled with nothing but red beads for me. The float went by so quickly that I had to run to keep up and he seemed frantic tried to get through his beads and throw as much as he possibly could. The day was ideal – about 78 degrees, sun shining – so much for the 100% chance of rain prediction. B & D & J came over from Colliseum the block over where W was hanging out. D said “W doesn’t like parades” – and I had to laugh. Thought he might like them this year but guess he hasn’t developed a taste yet. Miss him.

Endymion was cancelled as the big storm that was hitting Dallas is on its way here right now with black skies covering the entire area. It’s now going to roll tomorrow after Bacchus so it will be back to back uber parades tomorrow night. P arrived this morning but haven’t seen him yet – will check in with him later. He wants to be PC and I’m certainly not PC at the moment. I’m PU.

Muses – not The Muse

Friday, February 24th, 2006

Arlene’s EKG and Xrays showed nothing but a slightly enlarged left ventricle – now the next step is take her to the eye doctor because in her one blue eye her retinae is enlarged which could be normal because she has two different colored eyes but it could also mean other things – like neurological damage, cardiovascular issues – so we’ll see if the eye doc can shed light on what is causing her episodes.

Picked up S last night in the Quarter fully stocked with to go cups of Rum and Coke and starter beads – I told him we were going to have fun – and we did until… We met D&B and J and walked over to Fat Harry’s for some burgers (not going down that parade no food too many cocktail route like last week) and we sat on the curb and ate while the spectators assembled. Then the parade started – first with Babylon and then Chaos – meanwhile I walked over to the Milan to use the bathroom when I got the SOS call that J had been on B’s shoulders and took a nose dive into the street. They took him back to the room to monitor him and ran into an ENT guy near the parade route who checked him and said to just monitor him for 24 hours. Meanwhile, S came to meet me and we went and caught up with N and the Snake, J&T who are in town, and then D, A&C, K and several others joined us.

Muses was awesome – I’ve never seen it before as it started after I left for California. The Camel Toe High Steppers, the Bearded Oysters in the white plumes, great floats, and lots of excitement. Flambeaus where out in spades. The butterflies or as N called them “the bugs” were gorgeous and surreal. All in all it was a very good parade. The music was good.

J was able to come to the parade although he was skittish about being lifted up and definitely was not going on anyone’s shoulders.

Then we headed to the Milan for a night cap and S & I decided to head back to the Quarter, but on the way we encountered major parade obstacles and couldn’t go anywhere so we backed up and went back to St. Charles – catching the parade yet again – and wound up at the restaurant where Houston’s used to be – it’s a new concept restaurant for them but it looked like the old restaurant only with white table cloths and the PRICES were about three times what Houston’s used to be. And then S & I got into it – one more time around.

I woke up this morning just feeling wretched about the evening but when I spoke with S he said he was fuzzy on the details – so there it is – better fuzzy than clear sometimes.

It’s cold, windy, and overcast here and everyone is worried about rain on the parades – particularly tomorrow when S rides in Tucks.

Prayers for the Bean

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2006

The electrician called with changes so I went and picked up S and brought him to the LaLa to field questions then it was such an outstanding gorgeous day – 84 degrees and sunny – we looked for a place to eat outside. S wanted to go to a new restaurant called Stanley’s on Decatur because he said they have the best shrimp poboys but we ended up at Dizzy’s sitting outside and having fried chicken that was so unbelievably juicy and delicious. The guys sitting next to us had just got back to town – one had 8.5 feet of water and was in the process of jacking up his house. Our waiter evacuated to Atlanta and said he was so glad to be home because he hated the hills and missed his home state – he just got back two days ago. It was buzzing around there with the restaurant having just opened a couple of days ago and it was good to see and feel the buzz particularly on this fabulous day.

S went off to pick out throws and beads and then to get plungers from Home Depot for his ride in Tucks on Saturday. He is coming by later this evening to go through boxes. He doesn’t know yet if he has to wear a pig or Friar Tuck costume.

Heard from D that her grandfather passed this Saturday in Shreveport – called B to offer my sympathy and learned that R & B’s mother passed on Monday – I had just spoken with R last week and he said his mother was not well, but had no idea that she was so ill. So more calls to offer sympathy.

S comes in tomorrow and is staying for 8 days with mom. Haven’t seen her in a while. Oil and water we’ve mostly been in life despite having grown up side by side. Mom’s clan is driving in for a visit on Saturday but that’s a big parade day so can’t manage Metairie and Uptown on the same day. So will just have to drive out and see them soon.


Arlene The Bean – spoke to the vet at length and she goes in tomorrow for cardiac tests and possibly a stress test. If that is normal, then an ultrasound. And try to figure out what is causing her episodes. She’s my life line these days – if she goes I am taking the poison pill.


S and I discussed unrequited love this evening in the heels of seeing that movie last night – he told me when we were leaving the theater that he felt bad for me watching it. Ha. I’m numb – it was gut wrenching – it’s all gut wrenching – but I’m trying to keep the rose colored glasses on because I can’t sink into the quagmire of sadness for a while – need hiatus from sadness – I pulled out all the boxes that were obviously S’s architectural books and drawings and then was left with all the “what” boxes – he finally got here and didn’t so much as look at a box. It was a low evening. Sometimes we talk and it is a good exchange and supportive, and sometimes we talk and it is all about why is this happening to me, to us, to everyone? The Bean just watched and I thought about the stress she has been under – absorbing our stress – Katrina stress – toxins that were sprayed all over this damn American Can that became a cesspool in the wake of the storm – and I want to keep my eyes on the light at the end of the tunnel because surely there is one?

We hope for the best – like right now when she saunters over and licks my ankles then lies at my feet – we cling to the absolute truth – and try to deal with all this mess – this mess that doesn’t seem to get any unmessier – the pile of it just doesn’t seem to glow with that toxic waste sadness that it had for so long – the glow has dimmed – now it’s just about keeping that pile tidy and working around it in the clean yet spare spaces that remain.

It’s heady times when the weight of a word like “moron” causes everyone to feel like he shouldn’t have said it, I shouldn’t have said it, and really would calling him “moron” be the deal breaker? Emotional weight gets put on words, on boxes, on inanimate objects that don’t really give a damn about our emotional weight – the unbearable lightness of being – of being inert – and so we need Mardi Gras – we need the parades tomorrow to lift the pall that has suddenly gathered again for another hurrah.

And the Bean – she needs to be healthy and fine – secular prayers for her tonight – she is truly one of the innocent and provides me comfort and shelter from the storm.

LaLa starts singing

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2006

Yesterday S and I met with the contractor, the electrican, the framer and finally see some progress percolating on LaLa. About damn time. It’s warming up around here in a balmy kind of overcast way but the weather report says that the next parades will be cold and possibly rainy for Muses in particular on Thursday night.

Exchanged some nice missives with a new friend about being born anew – The whole point of having your feelings jolted awake – whether through pain or pleasure – is to know your capacity to feel – what you do with that knowledge is who you are in the end – right?

Later had an excellent session with E – she, is not want to offer opinions lightly, but said she highly recommends a man hiatus as I get my house in order so to speak. I told her that would be easy as I am ruined by a man – makes for an easy hiatus. We also talked about home and its strong meaning in my life – I told her I haven’t had a home in over eleven months but somehow that felt comfortable. She alerted me to the fact I grew up moving all the time and lived a good portion of my life in hotels so that way of life is familiar and almost nurturing – so it’s not a surprise that I am able to make home where I happen to be. We also talked about LaLa and the kind of sometimes overwhelming reality that I will be making it a home, by myself, and what that entails.

E commended and reiterated this morning via missive my “willingness to look at things” – ha – “eyes open.”

L called from California and may meet me in La Jolla when I go for the reporters’ conference in April – a quick girls get together – they are thinking of child #3 – ee gads – we better do girl’s trip now since I was hoping she would come here to NO after LaLa was done.

Finally L had his dogs back and we all met for playdate this morning and the Bean was so excited she was jumping up and down when she saw Renny – but alas she had an episode in the playground – stumbled and almost collapsed. So I am taking her off playground from now on, just walking the bayou and minor ball throwing when no walks. But I’m worried – she’s my life line right now – and it really worries me. She’ll be 11 in April and I don’t know what is causing this but it is frightening.

Saw Woody Allen’s MatchPoint last night with S – they’ve said it is his magnus opus with Scarlett Johansen his new muse – it was gutwrenchingly fabulous if not familiar. Then to pick Tito Schipa for the music – haunting – the Patsy Cline of Opera. S came back to the apartment with me for a cocktail as our stomachs were all knotted up from the movie and while trying to relax the fire alarms went off all through the Can – so I took him back to the Quarter and finally got to bed past midnight last night for another night filled with dreams.

Beat Your Head Against the Wall

Monday, February 20th, 2006

Lower 9 – utter devastation. Got out and walked around in it with Nanc in our cowboy boots, and both of us came away feeling lost and hopeless. We spoke about T and how they are having a rift and she said, he can’t know what we are going through here – if he knew he wouldn’t withhold his love. “We need our friends more than ever” K told S. Elizabeth’s was closed so we went to Bywater BBQ for lunch and had delicious lima beans and corn bread. But even lunch had the pall of the lower 9 hanging over us and all we have to continue to get through. She asked me about N and I said I’m trying to give him 2% – and she said “oh really” – and I said I’m cool with that – he’s in a rough place, and I don’t love him less for it but I am trying to love me more.

Home, gym, pick up Steve.

Dinner, cocktails, conversation all good. Why can’t you forgive him but you can forgive me? “I dunno. He’s the only man I had real man love for and I can’t get over what he did.” He was able to segment in miraculous ways – he loves you – misses you – he is not the only one to blame. “I want to offer you some insight into him, but I just fear that he will hurt you.” Will? Come on.

It all comes down to how did my life become so different in the last year? How did all of us go from that to this? If you connect the dots it all seems simple but like S said if the dots had connected he could have accepted it easier – oh, uh, so could I.

And yet, I go back to Sue, my Portuguese housekeeper – I can provide you no comfort – when she meant she couldn’t find the comforter I hung on the line under the deck – no one, not anybody, can provide us comfort – we must endure and hope enough time passes to make some of this make sense and put the rest in that category of things that just don’t make sense but they are what they are.

And in the end we are left with far more questions than answers. And that’s the uncertainty that Katrina has left us with – wasn’t she about teaching us how to live with uncertainty? Isn’t that the lesson?

Dirty Mistresses

Sunday, February 19th, 2006

Watching Gray’s Anatomy just out of casual boredom and not ready to open my new novel and it’s an episode where the very hot doctor shows up from the recent past – Mark – who had an affair with his best friend and colleague’s wife – he said his $400/hour therapy taught him that under his rugged, self-confident exterior – he learned inside he is filled with self-loathing and self-deception and that he has a pathological capacity for destruction. [Crush or fade?]

When asked why his wife cheated – was it because you didn’t have children? Husband says, I don’t know. Maybe I was an absent husband.

Wife said, “We were all good friends.”

Wife asks Mark why he has come back, Mark says, “I miss you.”

Side conversation, “The beast within has been awakened.”

Mark says, “How can you forgive her and not me” to husband. [Question?]

Mark in bar waiting for wife, “What if just this once the universe came down on the side of the dirty mistress?”

Narrator: Like children we never give up hope.

Fiction, nonfiction, so it goes, art mirrors life, and sometimes reality is more bizarre than fiction. “No one knows all.”