Archive for May, 2006

Positive Attitude Ladies!!!!

Tuesday, May 30th, 2006

That was one of my stand out lines in Desperate Editors – a skit we editors put on at the reporters conference two years running. Think we need a new sitcom, but since I have so many Bree like qualities – red hair, positive attitude – it is easy to fall into character when need be.

Last night G picked me up and we went to Delachaise to meet E – who by the way turns out has a blog – – and has a Panamanian mother so we seemed to have a lot in common. He was there to tell us about how to get a patent on the product G and I are working on. But turns out he was more than that – he was a New Orleans enthusiast and (read his blog) he had a very positive attitude about where the city is and where it is going and it was great to get to know him because the world, this city, needs more people like him.

This morning the Bean and I headed out alone with L still in Arkansas and N still in Virginia, and as we were crossing over the footbridge I caught the BSF running up and we both smiled big smiles since we haven’t seen each other in two weeks. Then it was back to my desk for work and trying to figure out how the television upfront season is going thus far – it’s not – and later it was two hours at the gym trying to recoup a weekend of no exercise and what feels like an ever increasing middle – thick as a tick.

Today was E day and we had a nice session recapping all the events – she agreed that the J cum N missive seemed so unfeeling as to be almost from a robot, and that the S communications were sad indeed (she secretly, I believe, hoped we would be together again). But she felt that I was making good strides in getting my creative juices flowing on some new business ventures and that I seemed to have opened up recently and become more aware of the world at large. A positive transition, no doubt.

When I left her G called and we talked about some ideas for the product, then I went by the LaLa to get mail and saw L out with his three dogs – having just picked them up from the kennel. He brought his mom back from Arkansas and she was home while he walked. We spied the Snake across the bayou and I went to meet him at the end of the footbridge to say hi to him and Renny. Then coming back across ran into A who was walking Layla. A was gushing over a new business venture he has which he feels is going to be a major step in helping to rejuvenate the city. He was enthusiastic and excited about creating a new business out of an old business at Ocshner where he practices and he talked about all the good that will come from it. “This is an exciting place to be,” he said echoing E’s comments to G when she first came back to the city and what he writes about on his blog – we are living in interesting times in one of the most interesting cities in the world.

You have to want to be here right now – really before it was easy to say oh I live here because the living is easy – well it’s not easy here anymore – it’s frustrating and frightening and exhilirating – but you are surrounded right now by one fourth of the people who lived here before and every single one of them want to be here now more than ever and I second that emotion.

Dinner with mom – arroz con gandules, I brought it over and she said “Puerto Rico” – because that is what it reminds us of. We caught up on everything and she said at one point – “honey you are entering the best phase of your life – the next years will be wonderful so sit back and enjoy the journey.”

Tomorrow Cowboy Mouth is in the square – and I am going to be running late because by my own personal miracle I’ve scored the hottest flashing guy in the city to come look at the LaLa and so I am meeting him late in the afternoon. I left a message for my MIA contractor and said if the guy with the front windows couldn’t get his sorry ass over to the house to install them this week I’d get them from someone else and he could eat the ones he has. I hired P’s wife E to do the two busted windows and now it is a matter of finding that old float glass to match the rest of the house. D – the new contractor – is meeting me with R the flashing guy – and well, maybe we could be taking some real positive steps in the right direction for a change.

I’ve come back to this city where I have such deep deep friendships and I’ve made a handful of new friends in the last two months – two of which are knock your socks off friendships – G keeps calling me her new best friend and T writes this evening “avoiding J tomorrow, but I miss you” – and you tell me – do you think this is possible anywhere else in the world? I’m here to tell you it is not – New Orleans is unique and it attracts unique and creative people who do not fear social intimacy.

I believe in miracles – after all – look at me now.

Release Yourself of Reason and Father Figures

Monday, May 29th, 2006

I couldn’t wait this morning to get on my bike – a two hour bike ride later and I still didn’t want to get off of it. I LOVE FLAT LAND. God knows why – it’s flat, you don’t have vistas, but I just like it for some inexplicable reason and to be able to ride so close to water – bayou, lake, puddles – it’s great.

Two things I forgot in my past writings but was reminded of during the day are worth mentioning.

Father Figure
The first is a story about elephants first told to me by H the other night, and then S at Riddles offered clarification of the story. It happened in the KwaZulu-Natal’s Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Park in Africa where the park service relocated adolescent elephant bulls and the orphaned youngsters were left to fend for themselves. The young bulls were going into lengthy ‘musths’, as a dog would go into heat, much longer than a normal elephant in a normal setting. They then formed a gang and started raping and killing white rhinos, an endangered species. Obviously they were displaying extreme aggression. One person in the park had the idea to bring in adult bulls to “straighten out” the gang of elephant juvenile delinquents. The adults were reintroduced, and life turned back to normal.

Release Yourself of Reason
Before I left for the elephant weekend, H and T came over to celebrate H getting faculty at LSU as well as his belated birthday. The Snake came too. When I returned from my weekend there was a piece of paper on the counter that said in my handwriting “release yourself of reason” so I emailed H and asked if he had been the one talking about this or was it the Snake? He writes:

Re: Release yourself from reason

A friend of mine from graduate school (AM) shares the same fetish that I do: we both love to hear ridiculous TV evangelists. T cringes when I sit in front of the TV enjoying this crap and the faces of the believers in the audience. Anyway, on a trip to Australia, A recorded a sermon by a preacher entitled “Release yourself from reason.” The preacher carefully describes how each moment in a human’s life is ruined by the inclusion of reason or rationality. Releasing one’s self from reason builds immunity to the tricks and hoaxes that would otherwise be noticed by the rational person. This sermon quickly became our most favorite and we use it to describe anyone (guest lecturers, politicians, republicans) who happily ignore the obvious. It is also the most honest sermon I’ve ever heard: in order to believe what the preacher did, you quite frankly have to be irrational… Don’t you just love it?


My missives this morning garnered responses that left me sad but hopeful, because they release me from reasons to linger in the past and provide me turbo fuel to concentrate on my future. Tonight, I’m meeting G with a friend of hers, E, to talk about trademarks for our product. I sent an email to S at Riddles midday that said let’s do the book. I have not heard from A about putting together our book proposal but I’m still excited about that project as well. The flashing guy called me this morning out of the blue right before I left for my bike ride and he is coming by the LaLa Wednesday – hallelujah – and then I called D, the new contractor, and he agreed to meet us. T sent me an email saying she wanted to hear all about my elephant weekend and said that J, turned out to be a loon as in lunatic, by the fourth date he was crying over how overwhelming life is – where are those BULLS when you need them? – I sent a note to my other friend, T, to tell her she helped me passed a milestone by setting an example for me. Then S called to catch up, we went over the many realizations we have both come to in our behavior towards, in and around men, and how the best part of this age is that we have finally come into our own. Besides it’s raining men in Marin again – everytime she puts herself out there they come – kind of like, if you build it they will come, well if she offers it they are there, so lesson to S, come out of your shell little missy.

Another blessed day – good friends, the Bean, my favorite city in the world, some R&R under my belt, new projects to work on, and doors swinging open like its Grand Central Station. The head guy at my company sent a missive out the other day that says we are not up for sale anymore and we are going to go this alone – so now we can all roll up our shirtsleeves and get down to brass tacks. Can I get an amen?


Monday, May 29th, 2006

Cerebration is the product of thinking and I did a lot of that while at the elephant sanctuary this weekend. The product of which is that I am shedding my skin and at the same time trying to keep the old me on life support. It’s sad and difficult to let go of the old me – I’ve grown very attached over all the years. But I’m up to the challenge because I have faith the new me is going to be a whole lot better.

I arrived to a group of people and a place that for whatever reason share an affinity for elephants. S and H came to it via jobs at zoos when they were very young and starting out, others came to love elephants because they are fascinated by their size, intelligence, and community, still others came to their love of elephants because they love all animals big and small and want to love them. Like M, who kissed the muddy tough hide of Booper and couldn’t stop kissing her. Others were there because those they love, love elephants and by proxy they have come to love the creatures too.

The good thing is that S and I spoke about a book project we might work on together, which was good news for me. S looks and talks just like Billy Bob Thornton. Kind of surreal.

There are 13 elephants at Riddles – 10 Africans and 3 Asians. The hardest part about meeting them was dispelling the myth that a human can have a deep ultrasound type connection with one of these mammals. As H said, “They are too big for you to buddy up to them.” The good part about being there was to see how healthy the animals were and adaptable to their environment. PETA would have you believe they are suffering because they are not in the wild, in their natural habitat, but PETA would have them dead rather than alive in captivity.

It was educational observing the human group as well. The young couple and the couple that had been together 17 years as well as S&H who have been together much longer and share a strong common bond besides their children – that being the elephants – they have a deep admiration for each others skills and knowledge of elephants. The 17 year couple operated as a single caring unit – D took care of T because he knew T took care of him. At home they shared children in common, but out there on the sanctuary they shared their love for each other in common. On the plane ride home there was a quote by a woman that said to all men – “Knowing that you love us makes us strong.”

Every morning I rose early and walked through the meadows. All through the day I learned about elephants – their history, their needs, their ways – and I learned about people – their infinite capacity to love and take care of those they love. And at night I lay in bed and cried – so sad to be letting go of the old Rachel, so scared to be allowing the new Rachel to be fully alive.

But even as I got on the plane to come home, dragging the old Rachel and all of her life support system like a ball and chain through one airport terminal after another, I realized it/she was getting old and tired and she/it was holding me back from my better life. So the new Rachel woke up in her bed this morning and said to whomever she needed to that she will not be friends with a man who broke her heart and to the man who did not value her or a marriage enough to understand give and take – she said leave me alone right now, I won’t be stonewalled by you. The truth that came so easily to me this morning – or to the new me – is that I was rendered paralyzed for a long time for fear of losing S, then of losing N, that I behaved like a dote towards them, while my needs went unfulfilled. This is so unacceptable to the new Rachel for whom I have put out the red carpet.

In Pachyderm Paradise as L called it, I learned a lot about the behaviour of mammals – I learned about how consistency tells a lot about a person. In an article I read on the way to Arkansas, a psychiatrist asks you to remember what your first argument was about as a couple – S and I my first real argument was about not getting married because he did not want children and I did. He stonewalled me but refused to get a vasectomy, which made me believe he would change his mind. The psychiatrist posits that the first conflict is what you argue about throughout your marriage. While the simple truth is that having a child or not having a child seems like the crux of what went wrong in our marriage – the real, underlying truth is that we wanted different things and we entered a marriage knowing that and to make it work I had to give up what I wanted. And one day I woke up and giving up something as big as having a child was not acceptable anymore.

While I gave one pachyderm a pedicure, S said to me that I held the file with confidence as if I had worked on horses before, and I thought if I have all this confidence why do I not employ it for what I truly want? The world is bigger than the people I now know and the places I have been and the music I have heard and the stories I have told. Having the charge of continuing my narrative – why limit my next chapter to more of the same, or to what I know, what if a moose knocked on my door bearing a box with a key and a map to me?


Thursday, May 25th, 2006

Yesterday at Venus, L and I were talking about her weekend – her husband’s 5 year old nephew drowned in a lake they frequent. She said the mother was in the car with their 8 day old baby nursing her when the father came running that he couldn’t find him. The horror. Then I was seeing M and she and I were talking about past relationships. She was married to a man who kidnapped her children and took them to Pakistan and thankfully she got them back. She said with her current husband, who she says looks just like George Clooney, that she is happy all the time. I was telling her about some things that have been on my mind lately and she said in her adorable Spanish accent, “marriage is like the levees Rachel, you have to look where they’re weak and fix it, so no water comes in.”

At one point M who does my hair, L the best waxer in the world, M who does my pedicure and G were all in the room, speaking in Spanish about the fact that the man who beat the woman to death in Lafrenier Park is suspected to be Hispanic – this was almost as horrible as the woman being beaten to death.

Any Day Above Water is A Good Day

Thursday, May 25th, 2006

You can only be young once. But you can always be immature – Dave Barry

Had a heart to heart with L, man of mystery, told him I’m not up for prime-time, said I am fickle these days, he said no worries, he is fickle too – so we are going to go get a gelato and be neighbors when I get back from Arkansas – which feels a whole lot better than trying to date. He’s a hottie and a nice guy, so what the hell, more men friends, just what I needed. Then I ended up seeing him late last night and didn’t have to go through the whole spiel again.

Long bike ride in the morning and wound up back by the LaLa and W and L were there. Said they drove up and laughed cuz no one was a the house as usual. I told them very funny – ha ha. So I said I was hoping the new contractor would take the project on. They said that would be good as the “idiot” who was doing the siding kept talking about how much a fuck up Bud was (jealous) and how much money he makes ($75,000 a year) – L said “what do I care how much that little twerp makes?” and W said, “yeah, I make $7500 a year, so there” – those two are a comedy team. Anyway I told them I moved the tub myself and got wedged in the doorway and ripped the box – I asked them if they could fix it for me. When I was leaving I said “have a good day” and W said, “any day above water is a good day darling.”

Had a long talk with M, who left OTR many years ago – she has been trying to adopt in China but she’s gotten caught up in this whole abrupt shutdown that is going on. There was a baby selling ring in Hunan that caused the Chinese government to locked down all the orphanages – they investigated and turns out none of the babies recently adopted in the US had anything to do with this but there are all sorts of concerns there – they are lifting the one baby quota, they have startling evidence that some villages have no girls in them whatsoever and the national average is pitting 120 men to each 100 women, and with the economy improving China is starting to look very hard at its prior adoption policies. Meanwhile M tells me Vietnam has opened and there are other places. She warned that domestic adoption is tough because her cousin recently paid all the medical bills for a woman who changed her mind at the last minute. And M said this happens often. Oh well – what’s harder miscarrying your own babies many times over or being out of some money so that someone else can have a baby – I’d take the latter, hurts less.

Had tickets to see Pretty Girls Make Graves last night at HOB but got distracted with G after the concert on the square watching Anders Osbourne – T had come with us but then left with J, the architect, to go to dinner – G and I hit the Marigny running then wound up at Ralph’s later. Met a guy there J who stayed during Katrina – he was telling us his tale about how he had 100 cases of water and how he had stayed through Betsy and knew what to do.

The Man

Tuesday, May 23rd, 2006

So P came by to look at my windows at the LaLa and he’s going to take care of them. Then E, the electrician came by, and goodness he is cuter than I even remember, and he looked at the Ventahood and told me what to do. But then, D, came by and he is the man – he totally got the house and knew what was going on and said that all the people I am calling are the right ones – the sheet metal guys, the flashing guys, the deck materials, etc – so we’re going to talk again in two days to see if he will sign on. Meanwhile the other contractor – MIA – what the hell? – it is consumer terrorism and incompetence at best.

There have been pow wows up and down the Can over this dog issue – everyone is writing management to get the dogs out of this building – it’s become some sort of galvanizing incident that has the lesbians on the second floor up in arms – the woman with the big bull mastif talking up a storm with me at each passing – R down the hall with his new little puppy Huey, both such dolls, are beside themselves over this – I keep finding R in the thick of each pow wow. Anyway consensus is the dogs go and maybe even T should go with them. H told me later that he had turned in a letter I had drafted for him – he said “you are very attentive, you remembered everything I told you” and I said “H, you were stoned, I wasn’t.”

L, man of mystery, wants a dinner date this week but I’m going to see about cocktails instead since I have date tomorrow night and leave Friday to spend the weekend with the elephants.

Good session with E – we talked about how Katrina has just made everything exponentially glaring. We had a good hearted talk about how things stand at the moment with contractor, with work, with the house, with S, and all was extremely positive and she said she applauds my progress – hip hip hooray. She just went through her daughter’s high school graduation and said it was the equivalent of a wedding with all the side events that surrounded it and all the out of towners attending.

One of my nieces emailed today with some complicated issues that we went back and forth on – she said “you’re the only one in the family I can talk to about this issue because I know you are nonjudgmental and so liberal” – ha! – of course I was flattered but must admit the “liberal” part of it was like hmm, is this how you girls perceive me – but then figured it could be worse. What’s weird is how grown up she sounded in her email – like, wow, when did that happen? It’s quite amazing to see these kids grow up and have kids and act so grown up – sometimes more than me.

I called the book publisher today about A and my special Katrina project and then tried to find an industrial designer for G and my business venture. One of my colleagues said she is going to try to push for an early sabbatical – I just learned you can only take it in your completed fifth year – which my time is truncated by the fact that I freelanced for a long time before committing to a salaried position and so my start date is only four years ago – meaning it’s not till 2008 that I get my sabbatical – a big WAAAAAH – I want it now too.

Somebody has found the blog and is spamming me big time every day – none too pleasant.

A writes from Australia that she went back and faced J and is done with him before it went anywhere – thankfully – I told her to run run run away from that situation as fast as she could – one of the silver linings of my recent life’s education – I can now proselytize to others about how to stay away from needy men.

From Amy Rigby’s Little Fugitive CD

Needy Men pretend that they got it all under control.
They don’t want to steal your soul, but that’s not true, they do.
Needy men have a yen for making a hen out of a dove, never got their mother’s love, so they want yours, of course.
They’re always calling on the phone.
Wish they could leave well enough alone.
We’ve got too much of our own to deal with, got nothing left to feel with, they’re taking it all.
They want to whisper in your ear. It’s just like looking in the mirror.
We’re living everyday in fear of losing ground while they’re looking around for somewhere to fall.
Needy men intend to work it all out one of these days and in the meanwhile they seek ways to fight the unweak – you and me

Do You Canoe?

Tuesday, May 23rd, 2006

Sometimes steps forward are in a positive direction just because they are not backwards. Someone asked me this morning who I haven’t spoken with in a few months how I am, was I over N – and I was like N who? And I told her that S and I have been talking about the possibility of us again and that had us both perplexed. Sometimes doubt means don’t and sometimes doubt means wait and see. And so we are in wait and see mode. It seems as if the entire world would like to see S and I get back together – and surely he has behaved as a gentleman throughout this whole ordeal – but I think we both deserve to find out what is best for both of us and despite a deep abiding love for each other, we have to make sure we want the same life, in the same city, with the same components.

Meanwhile, yesterday was a busy work day that was interspersed with the gnarlyness of living here and the delight – I woke to walk the bayou and met up with N who is on her way out of town. We passed a baby blue canoe that someone had left on the bayou yesterday. We both commented on how nice a canoe it was. Then I went home to a note on my door from T – the guy with one of the German Shepherds that attacked me – it said he was getting a muzzle for his dogs so all was right with the world – and he had left this note on everyone’s door. And so I printed out a photo of my leg – with the canine teeth marks and the large bruises and taped it to one of his notes on the elevator and wrote UNACCEPTABLE at the bottom – then I ran into H in the hallway and he came with me to see management at the Can – H, C and P were aghast at the bite and took a bunch of photos and said the dogs are definitely getting evicted. H said he’d write a letter too.

Then back to the Can to work and I saw an email from the Faubourg group that the canoe was up for grabs – apparently someone had used it during Katrina and wanted to return it but since no one had claimed it – it was anyone’s for the taking. I went to get H – who was already stoned – remember his backstory – lost his job after 23 years – off the booze but now on the weed – so he came with me and we took Big Blue to get baby blue and brought the canoe to the LaLa. So I have a CANOE – yee ha!! – now I need some oars – but it is an awesome canoe.

My contractor and the workers were a no show again at the LaLa – the floor guys sent a completely different Mexican crew over and they were very nice and fixed the guest bathroom floor that Sean had messed up and they put the new flooring down in the guest/kid’s room. I called the other contractor and made an appointment to meet him at the house today. P called and said he’d do the windows for me and he is coming by around the same time. So sometimes changing gears doesn’t have to mean a setback – it can be a push forward – secular prayers that D turns out to be the right man for the job.

The Bean and I came across the big white dog that lives downstairs walking up Toulouse – her paw was shaved just like both of the Bean’s – I asked if she had been sick and her owner said she had gotten dehydrated from vomiting and diarrhea and wound up in the hospital. I asked if it was pancreatitis like the Bean and the owner said they feared that but it didn’t turn out to be. Poor Katrina dogs – their shaving bears the mark of her.

I see E today – haven’t seen her in two weeks. She was worried about me so I called her from NY and said, surprisingly well and well adjusted – and told her about the Bean and then she was worried about the Bean. It will be good to catch up.

QUOTE of the day:
The fact that man knows right from wrong proves his intellectual superiority to other creatures; but the fact that he can do wrong proves his moral inferiority to any creature that cannot.
– Mark Twain

Roller Derby Girls

Sunday, May 21st, 2006

The Bean and I went for our first walk together in over a week – it was cool outside at 6AM and the bayou was gorgeous with the clouds reflecting in the water. We passed Boo who had dove in to chase a nutria with his mama yelling at him to get out. Then I went for a long bike ride that was fantastic – I mean it was other worldly – I rode back and forth along the lakefront with the sky blue water arms outstretched and a guy came by on his bike and we tried to high five as he put his arms out and he almost crashed into the side. We laughed. Lovely day really – a day where you feel like you are the luckiest person in the world to be you and to be where you are and to be doing what you are doing – how roaringly fantastic life can be sometimes.

Back at the Can – I caught back up with G who was thinking of returning to Bacchanal for round two today – I bowed out. L is getting ready for a golf trip and was cleaning the house. T called to say she had heard the trumpets blowing hallelujah last night and I applauded her resourcefulness – we’ll see what develops for her there. S – serial kisser extraordinaire – rang from Chicago having been out till 4:30 in the morning – I told her I was up at 4:30 myself and was trying to stave off the work week.

Went to the LaLa to try to figure out what to do there. I swept and then got in a little bit of a pickle and had to send an SOS to N. She came over with Renny and helped me unwedge the tub that I was trying to move myself. K rode by on her spiffy pink Bianchi bike and came in for a look see. And then the two of them were off to go find cap and gowns for the Monday graduation. Mom came and met me – we went to MOE’s to have lunch on the Avenue. It was a warm day but pleasant and we sat outside and had Belgium beer and sandwiches and she commented what a beautiful place the neighborhood is and I said – you too could live in a beautiful place too and not the slums of Metairie. But right now pricing is through the roof and so we have to wait. S & M walked by, they have a guest house down the street, and were on their way to a friend’s pool.

The roller derby girls were having a fund raising car wash at Liuzza’s by the Track so after lunch, N and I took our cars to get washed – pretty good job I must say. N said she saw the photograph exhibit at NOMA and the LaLa house is in one of the photos.

L, man of mystery, texted that he is in Atlanta and would catch up when he returned. I think G was headed back to Bacchanal and I saw C and K at MOEs getting sandwiches – C had presided over the wedding last night at Bacchanal – that was his first time there and he said he is definitely going back. It’s a wonderful place to spend lost time. G sent my cell # to T who was asking for it while we were sitting there yesterday.

Another wonderful day in the Big Easy – I have an answer to S’s question – what do I have to offer? – ME! – in all my glory – irresistible me.

Nagin – Meet the new Mayor, he’s a lot like the old Mayor

Sunday, May 21st, 2006

Went to throw away my vote Saturday morning and then picked up G to take her to Bacchanal to get some wine for a dinner party she was going to – we hooked up with M there and decided to do a tasting which was actually some good wines, then of course, others came – A being the completion of the group and everyone had to buy the table a bottle and so we stayed for the rest of the afternoon. M has a new contract for a horror movie that I asked for a cameo in – a screaming cameo. A showed us her tatoo of a lotus with waves behind it that is a post-Katrina tatoo – the lotus symbolizes that from adversity comes knowledge. She described the tatoo her husband C has – only it is still in outline form – but it is an entire narrative of the Katrina experience from his shoulder down to his hand. C came later and we saw it first-hand. I met again another A, who is a dwarf, she told us about a movie “Midgets from Uranus” that sounded very odd but then who’s to say.

G and I caught up on everything over the last week and made plans for our business venture. Meanwhile one of the women at the table told us about her open marriage to her husband – G said she could understand since she has attention deficit with men anyway – later G and I both agreed when we left, more power to her, but tough row to hoe. Since we lingered so long – N, the Snake and L showed up with the entire contingency as S&S were getting married in the garden. G and I played wedding crashers and then finally left.

And then the votes started coming in.

So Nagin is the “new” mayor – not what I expected, but there is a possible silver lining – if it sends a message to the black community to come back and rebuild in New Orleans – otherwise New Orleans is again on its own to face the ’06 hurricane season, to face the rest of the United States who forgets why New Orleans matters other than as a place to drink, and to face our obstacles here on the home front – a place where garbage never seems to get collected, where funding evaporates, where progress stagnates. The city that care forgot.

I call it a place with atmospheric valium as it has a calming effect on my otherwise hyper drive.

A and I came up with a coffee table book idea that we are going to look into – she text her photographer friend and he said yes to all of it – so now to proceed – so many business ventures, so little time. I called P to come spend a day with my windows and E answered and said they were at a wedding in California – I told her to get on her knees for me and tell P that I needed him – just one day – and she said she would. The Snake came by and talked me out of a decision for the LaLa that was going to become costly and timely and so I breathed a sigh of relief and will proceed accordingly. I’m spending the day there today sweeping and cleaning up and getting ready for the floor guys to come on Monday. Mom is coming by and I’m picking up sandwiches at MOE’s, which has finally opened and is a little too tempting with its gelato station.

I’ve given up on the time table for the LaLa – end of June, no way – end of summer, who knows – before, after, during a hurricane, most likely – I’m now convinced I have to oversee getting everything done right so that it doesn’t need to be fixed or redone later and that is my true calling here.

Shedding those unwanted pounds

Saturday, May 20th, 2006

When I picked up the Bean I noticed the vet had lost a substantial amount of weight but I didn’t comment on it because I was busy with getting her settled and greeted and then showing him my leg where I was attacked by the dog – leaving the house yesterday morning one of the two big German Shephards attacked me in the hallway and bit a chunk into my thigh. The dogs are being evicted according to the Can’s management – I’m not the first one they have attacked. But as I was checking out several women were around the counter paying their exorbitant vet fees and all commented to him how good he looked and he beamed and didn’t seem to want to leave the little round.

H was doing my hair and told me that his wife has lost her shape and that he himself spends two hours a day in the gym because he loves it and is almost addicted to it and said that if he doesn’t work out, he doesn’t eat that day and he said “do you think I’m obsessed?” and I was like, ur, um, slightly. And his next client came in and sat in the chair talking to us and said the driver’s ed teacher at the high school was given a DUI when he drove himself and the student into the canal the other day.

Lunch with BJ at Parkway and he ordered the catfish and shrimp poboy and it was mounds of both and he could barely finish one half – not the guy I used to know who could have perhaps polished off two in one sitting. He’s here on a competition that his firm won – a design for a building that offers nothing to New Orleans but a theoretical idea that will never be built, no one will be able to live in it, and yet the AIA bestowed their blessing and rewarded them for mentally masturbating over design. Fucking architects – how about building something that means something, that does something, that has a purpose – now is not the time for art – we don’t have the luxury of time when June 1 is pressing forward and lots of people still don’t have a place to live. My own contractor is moving around between properties not finding home in any of them.

Another flat bike tire replaced, several dogged calls about wood windows from the early morning meeting with K, my contractor, who is shipping her husband off to go work on a project so she can have some peace of mind. She shrugs “he’s codependent” and laughs it off. She tells me she has fired the woman who “didn’t” order my terrace decking material and what can you do? You gotta believe her and go with it because the decking materials mean little when it is a flasher I need the most. I told L, the plumber who reminds me of Ralph Cramden from the Honeymooners, that I need a flasher and he said “hey Walter, flash Rachel would ya” – ha ha, very funny – all my subcontractors are very funny. When I came back with BJ, L said, “showing him the tour of what hasn’t been done?” – ha ha ha.

Went to a party last night at N’s house – graduating poets – J, whose two sets of parents were there and who is adorable, “sit there Rachel, and I’ll take care of you” – I said “you are on buddy” – then his darling A who I just almost crawled in her lap she was entertaining me so much. And T, who G put in her radar, who is cute no doubt, but A is way more entertaining. And J was there having lost yet more weight and her Victorian face with those now larger eyes and her new curvy shape, she still watches from the sidelines wanting to join in but not knowing quite when the moment is to leap. And A came midway, with J still out of town, they are both enjoying the success of their well received books and have been doing tandem book tours, and her little pearl earrings and little necklace and her tiny waist and fingers from being a model for years before finding her author’s voice – N and I were sitting by her purse and I said “let’s go through it and see if we find something of interest” but it was crammed too full to dissect.

And the other J was engaging as he spoke about his three different structures of poetry and how he and others approached form – I told him I admire poetry most of all, along with singing and sculpture, as great art forms that I seem to have no entry into and he said, you write, so you could write poetry and I said no, no, no, it is a visual art and I don’t have talents in that area. And M was there with L, who sat across from me and wanted to tell me all the things that are wrong in her life and I said, honey, flip it, you have the power to change all of what you just said, and she said I know that but yet I still can’t, and I said you can, just say that and you will, and she was hunkered in a weird self-effacing stance but later into the night when she was leaving she seemed a little brighter – but she sounded like she wanted to dump M and didn’t know how to do it – why she would choose a forum where M was an invitee and she a guest to leak this information to me, an unknown, is strange but maybe natural, to seek counsel from somebody who listens. But it all revolved around her body, because it has caused her to gain weight she said – the whole ordeal – but I think it isn’t the 30 lbs she wants to lose, but instead the 200 lbs sitting next to her that will make her feel slimmer, better.

Weird dreams last night – could not turn on my right side at all with my aching tennis elbow and my new lump on my thigh from the dog bite – so trying to flip this way and that to get comfortable in the midst of weird psycho dreams and at one point I opened my eyes and staring back at me was a blue one and a brown one – Arlene – probably happy to be home but curious as to what makes me so restless at night – she thumped her tail and licked my left arm.

S is on his way down to LA to see his brother and babysit his niece and nephew this Saturday night – perplexing – we carved through yet more layers of our marriage and how the landscape shifted and he wonders now that I know my mind in the midst of all we have undergone, what is it that I am offering the other at the end of the day? Curious question.

Today we vote for our mayor and hopefully begin again.