Archive for April, 2006

Moss Man was Schizophrenic

Sunday, April 30th, 2006

Jazz Fest began under auspicious momentum – it started with Meow that led to an explanation, then to another Meow to ameliorate a hot topic, and well, by the third Meow – I was wondering why I was even bothering to respond to anyone. Pick up P and walked into the Fairgrounds with all the full expectation that music heals the soul, satisfies the soul, and just makes you happy. And it did. The weekend moved from Johnny Sketch and the Dirty Notes, to Bob Dylan, to Irvin Mayfield to BeauSoleil, to Kim Prevost and Bill Solley, to Hugh Masekela, to John Mooney, to Sonny Landreth, to Allen Toussaint and Elvis Costello, and Bruce Springsteen and the Meters and well, Sunpie in a garage, need I say more.

Highlights were walking to the Fest the first day and stopping by the LaLa when I saw a bunch of guys sitting on the porch, turns out they were there to do the a/c but one of them had written on the plywood covers for the window – “Gone to the Fairgrounds, Joe” and I thought about when I evacuate and put those boards up and they will still say “Gone to the Fairgrounds, Joe” – Saturday the walk to the Fest was great – I stopped at N and the Snake and then went by L’s to pick up A – and when I arrived I was hit head on with Master W – who I spent the afternoon with hanging out and listening to music and eating Cuban “medianoche” sandwich and then sitting under a tree and eating ice cream. Very nice. Favorite line out of him was when I said “do you want some water” and he said “bottled wata, one dolla” just like the hawkers outside the fence – or when he said “you smell so good” and I wanted to tell him how smell very much matters in humans. Very underrated.

Later caught up with L and C and G and then again with A and watched Hugh Masekela and met so many others – John who pinned the dollar to me first – and then Jeremy whose birthday was Friday – and he pinned another dollar – a tradition to pin dollars to your shirt on your birthday – of course I was stretching a little since mine is not until Tuesday. Then to TC’s to meet up with K&K with G and P and K said, I just learned about you and S – so sorry. And across the street was the old N house that looks better actually than any house they have been in since – in some weird way.

Hung out on G’s porch watching the spill out from the fairgrounds and M stopped and struck up a conversation – she is in North Carolina – just before Katrina she was trying to get a regional theater started and had all her ducks in a row – when suddenly blow up – she vowed to come back because there is no place as this. G said this is the most interesting place in the world right now. She agreed. I agreed. We all felt it was good to be here.

That night went to Liuzza’s again and then to Cooter Brown’s after showers and then to the Maple Leaf for a revisit of Johnny Sketch where we were positioned between the AARP group and the debutantes on X – bizarre confrontations but we just enjoyed the music.

Sunday morning at T&M’s brunch and M did an ice sculpture of a Fleur de Lys and T welped up and then we all went down with her – as N and I were making our way around the table getting the alligator sauce piquante and the shrimp remoulade – someone said Moss Man wasn’t at Jazz Fest anymore and N said what happened to Moss Man and a woman said – he died – and we all said oh that is so sad and she said – straight faced – Moss Man was a schizophrenic – and I, with food in my mouth, spit it out and had to duck into the stairwell because I was laughing so hard and N, who maintained her composure into the stairwell let it out and we both were doubled over.

I pinned another dollar to my blouse and again was surprised how many people came to pin dollars for my birthday. A tradition. Love it. L said asked how I liked Sonny Landreth and I said all right, not crazy about it – and he said that someone said after Jimmy Hendricks, Sonny Landreth was the bomb – and I was like, huh. Not for me.

When I got to the Meters – L told me to sit down – she kept one eye on me and one on C who was wearing a globe on his head and who I met up with doing the sacrificial watermelon dance – and then R came over and knelt down and said I am a licensed foot massager and you have to take your boots off and let me give you a foot massage – he then pulled out a tin of shea butter and proceeded to give me the deepest most wonderful foot massage while the Meters played “they all asked for you” and J pinned a $10 bill on my shirt – very nice. L looked at me and said when you are ready to get serious let me know. And I just said pishaw.

I have had two foot massages in the past five months from complete strangers – I have to say for someone who loves foot massages as much as I do – it surely is a sign that this is the right place.

A turned me onto a song by Devendra Bunhart – called Chinese Children – that I bought but sadly the IPOD died yesterday. So now IPOD must be my birthday present to myself. Sigh. I bought another bubble wand and was enjoying myself and a little boy came up with his small bubble bottle and blew a tiny bubble at me – and I waved the giant butterfly wand that I had and made bubbles go everywhere and P asked “how old are you” and I said pishaw and then this guy who kept coming back and forth and back and forth finally said do you know why bubbles are round and lo and behold I knew I knew him and it was J who cancelled our lunch when I was trying to recruit him for a source and suddenly he was like – call, reschedule – and I was like right.

N and I sat in the Mercedes for a long time by the dumpsters talking about all things this evening – my favorite line from her was “you’re too much to be anything but” – and finally she made her way home with her back tire flat and me with my weary self.

Good JF – very good. Hard to believe the city that care forgot, that the world forgot, can pull off a three day weekend of music that rivals anything anyone has ever heard. And supply delicious food like stuffed mirliton and pecan catfish, crawfish bread, medianoches, etc.


Thursday, April 27th, 2006

There is something about women that needs no training – they just get it – last night G said “adopt and I will help you raise her” and then at about 3:30 today when I was at war with the car wash and threatening to take a case of coke if they didn’t do something about the jammed machine, N called and said “cocktail” and I said, “are you kidding me?” and was able to then spend the next four hours laying everything out on the table and then when we had nothing else to spill, we entertained ourselves with D and A who decided they wanted to follow us anywhere.

But it was at 8:25AM this morning when I was debriefing with the contractor and she looked at me right in the eye and said two little words that made me stop in my tracks – and I realized she knew everything and understood everything and I said – damn, it’s uncanny, but I think I do belong to a tribe, where I need no translation or explanation because two words suddenly encapsulates an entire experience and forms an unshakeable bond.

S called last night and said her new wisdom tape suggested we “train people how to treat us” – she also signed the next email ZMOTO – and I cracked up.

So today my hat’s off to women – may I always be surrounded by strong, witty, and wonderful women – because that is what makes oh what a difference to me.

S and I had a vexing email exchange that centered around Marin – then the other S text me this evening and said “I know why I am single – one word – Marin” and I had to respond “ZMOTO” …….

Operation “Thank You”

Tuesday, April 25th, 2006

Woke early to walk the Bean – yesterday was her birthday – she is now 11 years old and she is doing so much better than before when she was having episodes. Met up with L and the boys and we circled the bayou catching up on the past week. Then we saw K who said that her JF crawfish party is on hold because her house isn’t done and there are no crawfish. Apparently there is a shortage because of the drought and the salt water – I too was looking forward to a boil and was all ready for it. L and I left K and then the stone fox came running up on cue – such a lovely smile. Later S suggested a trip and fall, which made me howl.

Was looking through the fridge before going to the grocery and there sits the chocolate pudding and yogurt for W and in the freezer is the cinnamon toast and chicken nuggets – still can’t throw them out – vestiges of my heart. Last night N was saying how she missed W and wondered if we would ever see him. She too can’t throw out the little cups of chocolate ice cream that I left in her freezer for him. Sigh. One day the little man will be an adult and make his own decisions about friends.

L called and N wrote to tell me about the but-her-face on campus who was wearing a tee shirt that said “I’d fuck me” – N said she wore it without a touch of irony – totally game faced.

From last night till today my time has been consumed by “human error” – my credit card that got inadvertently cancelled and the new one never put into the system due to “human error” – the eyeglasses that were off in their script ever so slightly but enough to make me sick – and when I refused to let it go the woman finally measured the lenses and admitted “human error” – and so on and so on. The contractor won’t call me back. Some siding has gone up on LaLa and the plumber has been roughing in the addition but little else is happening there. I left two messages – both unanswered – asking to please call so we could debrief. Nada.

Went for a quickee run because I got caught up with work and couldn’t get out sooner but the weather had cooled so it was a good run, if not brief. Hurried back and knocked on H’s door and he said it was going to rain and I said come on and so he and I solo approached the garbage in the bayou. He said they had a banner day at the French Quarter Fest and that it was happiness all the way around drinking mojitos and enjoying every bit of it. He said Charmagne Neville was playing and that he and T know her, she played at their wedding, and they were up front and she sang “What a Wonderful World” and when she got to the part about friends shaking hands – and she reached down to shake T’s, tears flooded T’s face and Charmagne lost it – just balling. I was welping up as he told me.

We marched to the bayou with rubber gloves and one pathetic rake and were able to really make a dent in the Dumaine bridge where we pulled out six bags of trash, a big wool blanket and some branches. Everyone who walked, ran, drove by yelled thank you, I appreciate you doing that – and then it started to rain – K drove by and dropped off another rake, and at the end N rode up on her bike and brought cold beers – which were very needed by that time. We saw a turtle coming up from the algae and a dead fish and two mallards checked us out from a distance. H knew the name of the turtle which was something something elegans and I said there is nothing elegant about that turtle and he said wipe him off and he is beautiful – he’s camouflaged.

I took gumbo to L’s and we ate dinner and listen to some good music. He said he has been in a real good place lately – and I kind of know what he means. Life is short, but it’s so wide – and vast – and oh the people you’ll meet, the places you’ll go, and life you’ll live – it’s all up to you.

Nature Abhors a Vacuum

Monday, April 24th, 2006

Lay in bed last night with L in the bed next to me watching our pay per view movie and afterwards turned to Gray’s Anatomy which was some weird montage of previous shows – and so here is the montage since I’ve been incommunicado. First of all it is raining kids – L is due in Sep but now S is due in Oct and she shouted in the phone “I’m having a Libra” for whatever that is worth. I told her how last time I spoke with D she was chastising me about my affair and how wrong etc etc and S said, well she has been on her high horses lately, I’m 3 months pregnant and told her I was feeling the baby move and she said flat out “impossible!” and I said well it feels like it and she declared “gas bubble” so obviously she knows all.

On the way out S had called and it seems he is a hot commodity in SF where his professional and personal services are in high demand. The man is calling to him but he is not ready to go back to that chestnut.

Talked to my brother R on the way out and he asked why not just get back together with S and end all this nonsense and I said if it were that simple, don’t you think I would?

Nature abhors a vacuum – and so in thinking about this child to adopt – K appeared at the conference with his two Chinese daughters – one left on the side of the road, one left in a park – and you say what when they send you the photo and you have to say yeah or ney – like D said – who says ney? And what I say is that I sat in the hot tub and looked at the little girls jumping in and out of the pool – the way the one said mommie to E – and it sounded just like any other kid with any other mom saying mommie and that was it.

P said if you don’t have a preference and I said I don’t – would probably prefer a girl since I am one and it would be easier to role model for a child – and then he said if you are willing to accept biracial you move up the list. Again – these girls are left on the road, these are too dark – I’ll take them all. It’s amazing that there is any question about taking them. When I met L instantly we fell into talking about stuff and she said she is starting a family at 49 – she said how old are you? and then she said, you have plenty of time – amazing huh to hear that?

Then C who is my beloved French philosopher and musician extraordinaire – who said at dinner “with some people there is a link and it’s like a string stretched from your heart to theirs and when they are away it always tugs on you with a miss and you always feel that string sometimes the tug is tighter and sometimes it is slack, but it’s always there.”

And P who has just joined the group and I instantly liked him and when he told me how he coerced this wild cat to come to him – by lowering his eyes and meowing – he said cats run from you if you approach them wide eyed – and then the cat finally came and it meowed back for 10 days in a row! I told him about my last race and how good it felt and he repeated my words and I said are you mocking me and he stroked the side of my mouth with the back of his fingers and said “I wouldn’t mock you dear Rachel” – wolf? or woof?

H brought me German chocolates because he is a big strapping German always bearing gifts and then the other H brought me a present from China – a small bottle that someone with very tiny exact hands painted a picture from the inside with a small pen – I just marvel at the time it took to do such a thing.

D met me when I arrived in La Jolla and the excitement I felt was palpable so much so that I text L and said I was waiting to see if the hope that appeared in front of me was able to carry the week. And D was great – he looked a slight bit older and his irreverance which I love was somewhat more mellow – but I left him with some good advice and a feeling of connecting. I went for a long run this next day with A and S and had a stitch in my side that wouldn’t settle as we got lost trying to find our way down to the water – a big belly laugh from them both as they said in getting ready for the conference they performed all of their to do list which included some “ahem” items. It gave me perspective.

I ended my trip with L meeting me at the party – she said she wasn’t expecting to walk in on such a diverse group – she expected like all work conferences to see a bunch of “same” type people – more homogenized. The Alpha’s were playing when she arrived – J had renamed the band the Alpha’s after seeing my group tees that I made – oddly for the next 24 hours L and I were mistaken for sisters many times even though she and I see no resemblance – a waitress at George’s in La Jolla said it’s the smile. S said it’s the voluptuousness when I told him. L and I walked, talked, shopped and had cocktails and it was so comfortable being with her I sensed an ache of when I would be back home and our distance would again resume.

My favorite take away from one of the women was the guy she said she was a fool over who said “I always thought we’d be together” and her friend said well maybe if he would have called you might have been. Big laugh. She said “he gave me nothing.”

And then when L and I were talking about our week to come and I told her about the bayou clean up and the concert and the Jazz Fest and P coming to visit – she said well “the guinea pig comes home with H for the weekend.” And then we talked about how sad for the little guinea pig that he lives in that dark classroom.

R cornered me and gave me a debriefing of her past decade of woes that made me think – geez Louise – my life’s travails are all not so bad in comparison.

Having breakfast sitting with one of my favorite musicians, I commented that the eggs reminded me of ophanage eggs and he reminded me that he had grown up his entire life in one – he equates it to prison – his mother came to adopt him when he was 8 but then he went into another one. You don’t know what creates a person’s edge and then you start seeing the cracks below the surface – the ones they have filled in with a wink and a smile – and you realize that yes, we all live lives of quiet desperation or not.

I flew home next to the man whose hand was tatoo’d with “I Love My Wife Teresa” and arrived to see that hardly any work had been done on the LaLa and so I went to pick up the Bean – today’s her 11th birthday – and N and the Snake welcomed me with cocktails and red bean cakes and open arms. Plus the house has been painted and much to N’s chagrin – T told her it was Tulane’s colors – so now she has to go get a big LSU flag to hang out front.

I went reluctantly to La Jolla and I came reluctantly home – joy comes from such odd places – I went kayaking in the Pacific and rode the waves out among the dolphins and sea lions and looking back at the sheer cliffs and the California awe – but it wasn’t till later on Sunday sitting with L at George’s and looking down at the same spot that the beauty transcended – and the resort was pristine and gorgeous with fireplaces and gathering areas everywhere but I started feeling like I was in Disney land and longed to be back here in the uncoordinated architecture – but then back, parking a block from N’s house I walked through the piles of debris from yet more exploding houses and I felt unhinged – it costs $50K for a US adoption – it now costs $200 if you don’t have your dog on a leash at the Can – tomorrow we clean the bayou, Wed we hear music, Friday P comes in and JF begins – no guinea pigs this weekend – and no photographs of smiling faces – L brought a photo of T with H at a picnic table – the smiling faces were lovely.

My love S signs off from Poland via SD – kisshugsqueezelickmunchbite…

The Enthusiast Meets Restraint

Wednesday, April 19th, 2006

When I was putting together the God and Jesus CD for N and the Snake for Easter Sunday, I put Western Wall on the playlist, which is an Emmylou Harris and Linda Rodstadt song. I remember Emmylou talking about this kind of music – how it is all about restraint. And you can hear it in both of their voices, the holding back, the waiting a beat, then issuing the lyrics steadily. I was thinking about this because S told me to say hello to the stone fox on the bayou and yesterday morning I said “Good Morning” to him but thought to myself how enthusiastic I sound – like Good Morning, there’s a song in my heart, and isn’t the world great! – the poor guy was mid run in the already humid air. L just looked at me and I said, cute, huh? And L said “nerd”, then when L saw him lap the second time and smile with those lovely dimples, he said okay, I’ll give him cute. Then I came home to quickly change for a run and was running across Canal Street and the light changed and so I hopped on a concrete barrier and tried to balance and was dancing around to get my balance and this guy drove by and smiled and made me smile and I realized I am not going to be anything but an enthusiast, nor do I want to be.

Everything Spins

Monday, April 17th, 2006

Today was the first day of summer here in New Orleans – hot summer – yikes. I packed up all my sweaters – don’t think there is a rat’s ass chance in hell there will be cool weather for a while. And so I sorted – clothes – shorts, tank tops, sweaters and stopped there. I just don’t know where to sort them to. This apartment is so jammed up it is crazy – I have stacks of teak outdoor furniture next to the gas grill next to the dining table, sofa, chairs etc – it’s really nutty. People come by and they look and they just kind of raise their eyebrows and don’t say anything.

Meanwhile the siding went up on the front of the LaLa – went up in that a patch of it went up – but exciting nonetheless. The plumber was there – HOORAY – and he was a trip – something out of a noir novel. Then I got the carpet samples and the one I thought I’d pick for my office – which is one we actually saw in California – ended up being kind of yucky when I saw it – and the “Prada Bag” design was the one I loved – go figure.

I was IMing with R today setting up a drink in Chicago and during our catch up he said a broken heart is good for you dude – keeps you hungry – plus you’re strong – Mr. Wisdom over there. I promised to smack him when I see him later.

We have a bayou clean up planned for Tuesday the 25th so the Jazz Fest visitors don’t see how gross the bayou looks right now with all the trash floating along the corners. BUT Jazz Fest around the corner – yippee!

Watching the mayoral debate tonight I was reminded of how frightening politicians can be – Peggy Wilson – good god – what is up with that?

He has risen

Sunday, April 16th, 2006

Rode my bike this Easter morning to West End – I haven’t been able to get through there since the storm but it’s an area that I have had an affinity for through the years. As you come around the corner of West End Park boats sit on top of boats and restaurants have evaporated into the water. Brunings, Fitzgerald’s, Maggie’s, all gone not necessarily because of Katrina – first it was because of the city trying to get money from the West End visitors and now it’s because a storm took the half dilapidated buildings and the few restaurants that were hanging on and wiped them off the face of the earth. The park has boats in it. Each boathouse is so devastated – one after another – it sends a chill when you think that coming back from California – I had a dream to purchase a boat house as our home, and there was another fantasy with P to reopen Maggies and serve boiled crabs and seafood on the picnic tables outside. Now it is frightening to follow the boathouses out to the point – each one looks like someone threw a bomb inside and the explosion just happened moments ago.

There is a point in your life when you have to say yes to the possibilities and focus your mind on forward movement. So the entire way back along the lakefront I rode with hands outstretched and balanced my bike while listening to “She’s a good hearted woman, in love with a good timing man.”

Then Arlene and I drove to Ponchatoula to the Armenian Easter feast at the camp. We took a boat ride on the Tangipahoa, which the Snake says has been designated a scenic waterway – and that translates to home owners along the water way not being able to remove fallen limbs. We passed the rope swing, which is now crowded by gnarly limbs that have floated and congregated underneath the tree. We cruised towards dead lake, when I caught a flash out of the corner of my eye and we all turned to see Renny running down the banks and swimming towards us – he had followed us all the way from the camp. So Renny came with us to see the alligator, turtles and snakes. He looked like Lassie or something, desperate to catch up to us.

Back at the camp, we drank sangria and ate roasted lamb, tabbouleh, pilaf, asparagus, and home baked bread – everything cooked to perfection. C&K sat next to me – they have not figured out if they are going to raze their house or sell it as is, W&B are trying to buy a house but prices where houses haven’t flooded are up, A&K aren’t buying at all, and R is just back from Amsterdam where she was away on a fellowship and she and M don’t seem to be talking house. I found a little porcelain Jesus for the Snake to wear in his goatee and he had his black dome cap and guayabera on which made his own personal Jesus a fitting accessory. More sangria and some twist later, everyone laid back and enjoyed the bon homme.

Nagin was on tonight talking about decisions he made leading up to the storm and the mandatory evacuation. I was lying on the couch watching him talk and I felt like it was some absurdist play whereby someone was reeling off a moment in my personal life where decisions were made that in hindsight make no sense but yet there did not seem to be any options – the train had already left the station and it wasn’t like you could whistle and call it back in. At that point there was sheer force that kept things spinning out of control. And the spin didn’t stop when the storm did, it’s like I remained in the eye for months afterwards in Texas, and still the long way back to New Orleans, and the gale force was spinning out of control until it culminated in Charleston (a city we might be modelled after if enough people don’t come back) and yet when the spin stopped, the after effects of the storm – the denouement – went on and on and on ad absurdim – I was thinking how funny as I watched Nagin talk about the storm how all my friends and family thought I was out of my mind even in December – because we came back from Charleston and N made his decision that night, that very night somewhere around 2 in the morning, but I kept waiting for him to tell me what that decision was. They say the heart lets go long before the ego. Maybe that was what was holding on beyond its time, I simply don’t know anymore, but no wonder my people almost staged an intervention.

Today I brought N a hostess gift – a large leopard print frame I got half price at Something Different the other day. I replaced the toothy smiling person the manufacturer had put in it with a photo of N and I under a red umbrella, smiling, at Jazz Fest last year. She couldn’t stop laughing. Said she couldn’t wait to burn it.

The load

Saturday, April 15th, 2006

It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it. So says Lena Horne. And that could be said about New Orleans and how she is carrying herself after the storm. There are odd things that happen here like C’s $20 bills all being counterfeit and the ink running when she placed them on the copper bar, or the stripper who could speak to the parallels of the tsunami and the flood, but it’s definitely New Orleans on the rebound and recover when it stages it’s Crescent City Classic and the gun goes off and you high five Nagin even though you won’t vote for him, you know he did the best he could and he stayed with his ship even when it was going down, then out of the blue groups of musicians show up playing New Orleans classics, or the lone trumpet girl blows hard when you pass, and two guys making hot dogs hand them complete with relish to the runners, at the two-mile mark instead of a water stand, it’s beer, and you keep running into friends running with you, standing on the sidelines, and one rides by on a bike and asks for your water.

I read something recently that says memories are set to music. So when I left P and M at the gun shot and was high fiving Nagin, “I like the way you move” was on full blast from my IPOD, and when I turned down Rampart “Who Shot the LaLa” was on, cruising down Esplanade “Iko Iko”, turning on City Park the Wild Magnolias came on as I waved to H&T, then it was “My Humps” as I passed the bayou stone fox perched on his bike, and coming across the Finish Line “A Certain Cemetery” was nearing the end where the lyrics says it is going to be all right.

Last night S and I had virtual cocktail hour as I opted to stay in and miss yet another NOLAFUGEE fiesta (I saw J standing on the neutral ground holding up a nolafugee business card around mile 4) – having gotten little sleep Thursday night. I went to bed early in anticipation of the race but woke at 3AM in a state of torture about the Ventahood gone missing from my front porch, and about a dream I had woke from about N losing his breath and not being able to get his breath back and I couldn’t give him mouth to mouth and I woke shaking and sweating from the dream and then couldn’t shake the thought of him in need, so from about 3 to 4:30, I read my book to get the creepy feeling out of me and Arlene grew very annoyed with the light on. And when it was time to get up early I was not wanting to pull myself out of the bed but I did and the cab driver was a wonderful treat on the way to the Quarter – he was a big big guy with his seat pulled all the way to the back – he wanted to talk about Global Warming and Organic farming and so we did, all the way to Jackson Square.

He dropped me off in the grey area where my line up was supposed to be. And I took my place amidst a crowd of runners who were all smoking. This last Wednesday was a month since I have smoked – I felt cleansed to say the least watching them all take long drags before beginning a 6.2 mile trek. Then I overcame my time projection – my 5K was 9.3 min miles and this 10K I was able to do exactly 10 min miles and that was stopping for water and fixing my IPOD – so I was happy with my time and I walked into the stadium to the jambalaya, beer, band and did a complete about face and walked home – the bayou stone fox rode by me and this time I said hi – I stopped in at the LaLa and found my Ventahood and felt like a nutball but whatyougonnado – I was relieved – the columns were bubble wrapped by R, who finally listened to one thing I said and started taking care of LaLa.


Thursday, April 13th, 2006

Here is my horoscope for today, which I include because it is pertinent: There may be a comfortable place between serving others and being selfish. Your sweetness inspires you to act in a selfless manner, but you have the common sense to realize that you must also take care of your own needs. Avoid getting swept up in a cause, unless it is a personal issue that is close to your heart.

And speaking of causes – we all went out to rally to have the monstrosity that Bell South erected torn down. And of course, there was the person who said “hundreds of thousands of people were displaced and you are going to rally about this?” and you dismiss that one because you know there is truth in his statement but you fight the fights you know you can make a difference on. But after the rally a woman in the neighborhood found out that in taking down the structure it would delay our land lines by perhaps another three months. She questioned the rally and whether it was worth it.

My friend H countered with his own wisdom on the matter: “The original plan for the I-10 was for it to go over decatur street and have all six lanes overlooking jax square. the argument that ensued was largely led by a single person, who luckily won. that argument delayed NOLA having an expressway to the east. (the alternative, claiborne wasn’t much better!) If you’re willing to tradeoff your neighborhood for 3 months of service everytime something needs to be done, than you should just move to metairie where there are no restrictions…. If they offered to put it in her yard, because every neighbor needed service, what would she do?”

Tales of the city continue – walking around the bayou with the dogs, a friend of N called to her and pulled his car over – J – works for the fire department and lost everything. Then went to Pilates and T brought me a sweet, thoughtful card that said – “Only time can mend a broken heart” and inside “But alcohol makes a damn good patch” and his sweet words. What a dear. Then onto Something Different, which sadly is going out of business because there is not enough business but I guess in some good way I got 50% off on birthday cards. N called to say that she was stuck on the Causeway exit with a flat tire waiting for AAA to come who gave her nothing but problems for not having renewed and she said “how can I renew when I haven’t gotten mail since August?”

News that G, my new friend, might move to Knoxville because she can’t take the city anymore and her family is there. It’s all saddy.

I broke down crying after my second run in with the finish guys at my house. Because when I first met R and he was disputing something that S and B had decided on, I said look S is an architect and B is a craftsman so I trust their opinion on this – well R can’t seem to let a minute go by everytime I see him to dis either S or B – finally today he said who is this S anyway – and I said he is the architect of this house not to mention my estranged husband. Then I left but had to go back over there and so this time I told them that I don’t appreciate being argued with on every detail – and then I said I am trying to do this without any skills whatsoever or any innate knowledge about how a house is built and S is in San Francisco and B is no longer working with me and I knew both of these people and trusted them – I don’t know any of you and so far every person I have dealt with has caused as much damage as good – QED the bobcat tear in the porch, the window smashed from the sheetrockers, the wood floor in the bathroom pulled up even though it wasn’t supposed to be. And then I just started crying and everyone stopped in their tracks and the room got very quiet. Then they all started talking at once about how they were going to treat the house like it was theirs and they would make sure every detail was perfect. And I was so beside myself, I just said, okay then, and left. AGHHHHHHHHHH!

Met C at Brasserie for a cocktail that turned into quite the evening – later, we met up at the R Bar with M who we both think we know from elsewhere but no one could remember where. She introduced us to C who “dances” at one of the clubs in the Quarter and it just so happens was staying at a cute B&B down the street with a hot tub – so we all went – accompanied by the documentary guys from Nebraska – who are doing a Sri Lanka vs New Orleans documentary – trying to compare the two tragedies – C’s room was all the way in back, tucked way at the end of a lush path of elephant ears, pokeweed, and lizard’s tail, we all got in the hot tub that was set to chicken bath temp and had a very interesting conversation about Cuba, Nebraska, Sri Lanka, New Orleans – a serendiptitous evening. Then C and I walked back to our bike and truck and went home.

C is on her way to Australia for four months hoping for an epiphany – I need to start a campaign to get people to stay or come to New Orleans – instead of everyone leaving.

I rode my bike through the park the other day and marvelled at the wildlife – the hunch back common racoon that crossed City Park Avenue causing me to slow down, the turtles on the logs in the pond, a yellow-crowned night heron that was on the banks of the pond, the little blue herons that are abundant in the bayou, the lone great egret that appears from time to time in the bayou, the viceroy butterflies that make my heart go pitter patter when I see them. All of the glory of nature that is right here at my finger tips is cause for celebration.

Higher Ground

Wednesday, April 12th, 2006

On the phone with my media sources who are saying we are at a tipping point with advertising spending because there is a saturation going on with industry and media and no one is expecting any kind of robust growth any more. Oh joy. It used to be that you could look at media and it was a harbinger or a yardstick by which to measure the economy – and in doing so right now – I still contend that we are in measured growth mode and right now there are no big catalysts for anything different – so sit back and make your adjustments.

Back at the ranch, or the city that care forgot, the alarm guy called me, or rather his wife did, and she said her husband had driven by the LaLa and it looks like things are happening – I laughed – told her things are happening somewhere else or at least at tortoise speed – she went on to say she is going to write a book about post-Katrina life – no one would believe it – she said every project she has workers who don’t show up, or they show up one day and not the next, materials are no where to be found, everybody needs something yesterday. She said two of her friends’ husbands had heart attacks, another friend’s husband died of a heart attack, another friend divorced – all because of Katrina. I told her my husband and I had separated after my wanting to come to New Orleans for 15 years and now he was back in California and I was here, living with this after mess.

Then R and her mother came, who cleans my house, and she just moved back into her house on Carrollton and is cooking out of the bathroom as she waits for people to work on her house. She’s worried no one is returning but I told her I heard the old Rober’s is becoming a Walgreens and that Harry’s Ace is going to reopen as well Angela Brocatos ice cream. In one of those weird twists, she wound up in Arlington during the evacuation while we were there and I didn’t know this till later. She ended up convoying with us back to New Orleans in October and stopping with us at Prejeans to eat lunch. R asked me if because of all of this I was sorry to have left California – and I just bit my tongue because earlier in speaking to one of my favorite media sources I was looking over my notes in the database and saw what he told me last June – “Rachel, are you fn crazy, leaving Marin for New Orleans!” – I think back to that house in Marin, the gorgeous garden, the rust colored hills in the foreground and I remember feeling like a two-ton elephant was sitting on my chest and I remember calling S down the street and telling her that I was reading in my garden book about 100 tips how one woman had made an exact replica of her house to house her hose and in reading that I started screaming on the inside and couldn’t stop and I feared that I was going to implode or decay – and to think not too long later my life blew up into a million different pieces and now like Humpty Dumpty all the King’s horses and all the King’s men can’t put Rachel Dangermond back together again. And some days that is good, and some days that is horrible.

In trying to move to higher ground, some things just drag on me. In December, N told me V believed “understandably so” that I was trying to steal their children. That statement pissed me off but then stuck with me. I began looking into how true that possibly could be. Apparently, in the wild with elephants and penguins, females steal babies and scientists are not sure why. Some possible reasons could be the childless female believes she is better suited to raise the chicks/calves or it simply could be selfish behavior. In “March of the Penguins,” the movie introduces this concept but forms no conclusion – from the movie: “One of the most baffling forms of behavior of the penguin comes when a mother loses her chick, either due to its being unable to endure its first storm, or due to other reasons such as predators. When a mother loses its chick, they have been known to actually attempt to steal another mother’s living chick – presumably in order to deal with the grief of the loss. This behavior has amazed scientists, as it is an emotional outburst opposed to an instinctual behavior. I thought about how convenient a theory it would be to say that I with 10 miscarriages under my belt “went after N to get W” but you know what? – bullshit – I am a human being, evolved, not an animal, and much as Nick being a father was another dimension of him that is attractive, the fact that he was a father is the very part of this story that blackened my soul. Further, with W, it has always been a mutual attraction – just as with any two people despite our age difference – even if he, as a child, does satisfy some of my mothering tendencies – I have truly loved him more as a friend than as anything else.

I really am weary of others playing the childless card with me to justify their own theories about my motivations – as my friend BJ said – some people do things that others don’t like – some actions aren’t intentional – I still believe in love, I still believe I acted wrongly in deed, but rightly by my heart. And for all of those not in favor of me – GET OFF OF MY CLOUD!

N and the Snake, M, and T&H are all convening in Lafayette Square to see Nathan and the Zydeco ChaChas today. Hoping these ominous rain clouds dissipate soon.

The alarm guy’s wife said she has a cartoon she used to keep on her desk that is a priest and a nun talking and the priest tells the nun – god doesn’t give you more than you can handle – and the nun says, yeah but does he remember who is who? She said it was time to pull it out and put it up again.