Archive for June, 2006

Nick & Jessica’s divorce

Friday, June 30th, 2006

I’ve never figured out who Jessica or Nick is but they appear in the news and tabloids quite often. I consider it a blessing that I have escaped knowing them. Today I went to the attorney’s office and signed my own divorce papers in order to expedite my home refinancing – which after today needs to be expedited. Orleans Sheet Metal showed up – T with the beautiful mouth, who has taken over his daddy’s business after the old man died last January.

While I was waiting for T and company to arrive, H from around the corner on St John Court appeared with her son J and she asked me how it was going and I said, “well I expect to be in before the end of the year, but that might be optimistic.” And she said, “You see that house over there across the bayou from yours, the one with the four crepe myrtles in front of it? that woman is 91 years old. She was born in that house and so it goes to show you that living on the bayou makes you live longer.” People say a lot of things and some of the times the things they say are true or at least do give you comfort and you want them to be true.

I brought K and N to the Parkway for catfish sandwiches after the Orleans group left. It was bustling in the Parkway, which having seen photos of how high the water got, is a good thing to behold.

Last night when I got home, I knocked on J’s door to get my package. She said how are you Rachel? And I said a little road weary. She hugged me tight with all her body and said in her soothing (ex-nun) voice, you’ve been through a lot dear, you deserve to rest. That too was a comfort. So when I was at Whole Foods today I picked up some flowers for J. The woman behind the flower counter said, “those are nice” and I said yes, they are. I’m getting some for me and my neighbor. She went into a story about how she bought some for her daughter but had her son give them to her and she was so thrilled that her older brother would get her flowers she squealed and I said, well I waited a long time for flowers until I finally got it – buy them yourself! We laughed. I appeared at J’s door with the flowers and she said, “how beautiful. but why?” and I said “because you deserve flowers” and she hugged me again, tight, full body hug.

Between house meetings and client calls and getting back my New Orleans legs, I decided to call an old friend for dinner but the conversation – again as it has done of late – spiralled into a quagmire of misunderstanding – E warned me about this – people who have known you a long time get used to the fact that you have no boundaries or you make no demands – so when you get healthy they don’t like you – it happened when I was young – my brothers used to cajole me into making their beds and doing things for them and I lovingly did it, till I found them making fun of my acquiescence one day behind my back and I stopped – and then suddenly I was a “bitch” when I refused to indulge them – it’s similar to what happened with S, when I made demands our life changed, it is happening with my friends, first L, who I set boundaries with and he crossed them, then N, who tried to trap me in her own web of self pity, today the conversation just left me feeling raked so I opted to spend the evening alone – solace is sometimes the best comfort. I walked along the bayou to the LaLa and K and N were still there working on the house.

I went in because Arlene was pulling there and it became apparently clear after we went over a lot of issues that the three 11 x 4 windows that caused my first miscarriage as we salvaged them from the warehouse EHDD had been in for 20 years, which we dragged from place to place, are not going to work in the addition – they are the weak link. So now, step back, and rethink the whole enchilada. When K pointed out that the flood light was in a bad place, I told him I was filled up with things that need addressing and couldn’t work on the flood light position tonight. The Bean and I walked slowly back to the Can in the gloaming, in the sultry breeze that made the air delightful. I thought not of all that needs to be done, but of all that has been done.

I would say I have gone through a door – I don’t know when, I don’t know where, and I wish I did so I could have brought ceremony to that moment – but I feel the least co-dependent I have felt in 23 years of marriages, and I feel the best I have felt in 23 years, and my thoughts are on the now. My buddy J who I am going to Nantucket with at the end of July wrote about our trip – I had just seen B in NY – I told him that my life forward is about being around positive people who bring love into my life – and they are those people. Blessed is all I can say.

You don’t come to blessed accidentally. Who are Nick and Jessica? No one wrote in the tabloids today that Steve and Rachel’s divorce is imminent – just waiting for Steve to sign. And if they did, who would care? E in R’s office, the attorney, said, oh my, so many divorces – and I said excuse me, thinking she was making a personal reference to me, and she said no, I mean we have been doing so many divorces since Katrina. And I said well there has been other things as well – babies conceived during Katrina, people reconnecting – it isn’t all rent and asunder – there has been some mergers and acquisitions as well.

Boys and Girls

Thursday, June 29th, 2006

I was thinking about a couple of things that I wanted to jot down when I was taxiing into JFK – I wore my “Drove my Chevy to the levee but the levee was gone” tee shirt on the plane and you can’t believe how many people approached me to just talk about their experiences. I was in the elevator in NY and a family got on with all the girls wearing some fashion of Fleur de Lis pendants and I said “New Orleans?” and they were smiling and seemed normal – Boarding the plane for NO, John Besh came up and I said I was thinking about you having seen him at Dean and Deluca a couple of trips ago when he was talking about opening up a jazz themed restaurant with Marsalis, he looked good, lost a little of that Katrina weight, and said he was on the Today Show promoting Louisiana Shrimp. N said she saw him on the Food Network and they showed clips of the restaurant and there was a clip of Nick and Steve sitting at the kitchen table.

I worried because when I was taxiing in at the NO airport, I had this feeling that I might be entering some kind of dark vortex and it has the potential to suck you in and make you have evil thoughts such as “The world is going to end anyway, so why bother” – but that is not a Katrina phenomenon, the sentiment was in the air long before our city was almost wiped out. The more I thought about it, it wasn’t really about not caring, it was perhaps that you have this life, which is a puzzle, and you are sitting there cross-legged trying to put the pieces of the puzzle together and the old pieces don’t really fit with the new pieces but they kind of look like they should.

I went with my gal colleagues and did the pole dancing class and that pole kicked my butt – I’m covered in bruises from “trusting the pole” a little too much. Then together in the cab to dinner it was nonstop “let me see that lipstick,” “I just got these shoes,”” is that a self-tan?,” “I got my hair done before I left” – just all that kind of hen talk that goes on when girls congregate without men. Moments later I was commanding a table of 7 men (a mix of clients and salesmen and traders) and it was another universe, nonstop shop talk, with me providing the fodder. I know for a fact had it been saleswomen, women traders, and female clients – we would have snuck in a few statements on the current skinny jeans trend and/or permanent mascara.

Later on the dance floor I was a house on fire – my joy in dancing is unparalleled – and that I have not been doing enough of.

What is my standard response to those who ask about New Orleans? – “It is getting better! We still have issues with trash piles. And those of us in the throes of home construction are suffering immeasurably at the hands of higher costs and inordinate time delays.” (This was made crystal clear when J showed me a photo of a second home he built – a big barn looking structure – on his family’s land up north – and it basically was done in a matter of 5 months – he started the project in November and they have already been using it.) And when they ask about Katrina and I tell them my pat responses – “better, trash, construction,” they say, it’s so hard to imagine. And I respond, yeah you’re right, it’s even hard for me to imagine.

Someone responded to my blog the other day and said Gina, who I had quoted, had gone through this ordeal for a reason and perhaps that was to help others and by doing that would help herself.

Yes, what is the reason for all of this suffering? I ask myself.

I touched down to three voicemail messages about Orleans Sheet Metal not being able to come at 11, Todd can’t make it, says the woman on the other end of the phone. My carpenter K calls saying that the manufacturer shipped nylon sash chord instead of cotton. That the decking material was not delivered. And the concrete board just didn’t work out so he took it back and bought Chinese redwood and he can’t find cedar siding anywhere in the city. And oh, by the way, can N (his son) and I borrow the canoe?

Then mom called to say the initial estimate to fix the Volvo is $6000 – and I said, well, hopefully the full estimate will total it and she informed me she didn’t have collision insurance – and I beat my head on the car window – [I gave her my Volvo when we returned from Texas because her car broke down. She had an accident in it the very next day. It prompted me to take her off my insurance.] Of course. I took a deep breath and stopped the self flaggellation and said, you know it’s only money. And said to myself, thankfully she didn’t kill anyone. She’s okay.

I thought about Mexico – and how it really isn’t that far. But then I took a deep breath – the Bean was sitting beside me, smiling, having just been rescued from the pokey.

And so I begin my affirmations – The LaLa will get done and be wonderful. Cotton or nylon, in the end it doesn’t matter.

I’m left to contemplate what does matter and I’m not sure I have those answers down pat anymore – the ones that so easily rolled off my tongue.

Do girls just want to have fun? Is family important? Should you return to a place just because it haunts you even if cosmic events render it a swirling caldron of unappetizing gumbo? How long does mid life crisis last?

The Big Apple

Monday, June 26th, 2006

I happen to like New York.

The electricity kept going out in the Can last night – and interspersed with waking knowledge that this was happening was concern for those polar bears trying to grab onto an iceberg and only getting shards – then drowning from the long distances they have to swim to get to a safe haven.

When the lights go out the Can has emergency lights that switch on – I wasn’t here for Katrina so I missed the eerie feeling of being housed in an emergency building.

I’m going to NY where they have only now digested 9/11, and leaving NO where Katrina’s toll has not been fully measured, and somewhere in the airspace between the two I will blink and think of what T said the other day that “we are moving through something here” and when I open my eyes we will be on the other side of that progression.

R said this morning “I have a good feeling this year” and I believe him, because I do too.

Days of Summer

Sunday, June 25th, 2006

After seeing an Inconvenient Truth this afternoon, today’s heat seems to possess some underlying evil besides having robbed me of my energy. It was interesting to watch Gore present an issue by layering it with his own personal tragedy and loss – usually it’s the woman’s narrative that reads so intimately. Through adversity comes knowledge – again strength of character is forged through life’s tough experience. I think of S, whose experience up until last year had been fairy tale – he’d hate the word lucky, but it was. Last year, about this time, we all thought we were lucky, but bam, the cards had something else in store for us. When I think of the human tragedy of Katrina and parallel it against the personal tragedy of the past year, I think that I have too much knowledge and would like to crawl in a hole. Gore’s right, it is an inconvenient truth, and it makes a mockery of sitting in Canal Place, in the a/c, having just bought a pair of shoes – it’s all a farce.

I corresponded with a potential new reporter who asked what we do at my company. We as researchers seek to tell the truth in a world (Wall Street) full of lies. Sometimes we are rewarded for telling the truth and sometimes we are telling an inconvenient one because the herd wants another truth.

Truth is Beauty and Beauty Truth and that is all ye need to know – or at least that is what Keats wrote. The truth is sometimes we get stuck, in a life of our own making but we marvel at how we got there and we wonder how to get out. This morning like every morning, Arlene tugged to the LaLa, a gale force pulling against the leash. She wants to be in that house, she wants to hang on the porch. I don’t allow myself to think of it as home yet, because it needs more time, more money, and more something something to get there. But she’s simple, she’s an animal, and she likes to hang on the porch and watch the bayou. She prefers it to being cooped up in an apartment on the third floor where she can’t see the outside.

She and I had plans to canoe but after my long bike ride this morning I came home and worked instead, putting off the canoe till later in the day when the heat wasn’t so oppressive. On a whim, I dashed out in the late afternoon for a movie, a documentary that talks about Global Warming, about big events like Katrina – Gore used the best of Nagin – the emotional no nonsense Nagin – to quote from – he outlined a scenario of utter catastrophe but a solid hope that we possess the ability to right what is wrong right now.

I sat in the dark theater and thought about this ability – why I couldn’t stop myself from doing wrong – I came home and wrote down my own obstacles to progress and one of them is forgiveness. I didn’t fall in love with N lightly, I was drawn to him like a moth to a flame partly because I could no longer live S’s idea of the perfect life, partly because he said all the right things at the right time and partly because I made him up. I embued N with everything I believed he had the potential to be, while ignoring the obvious.

In the meantime, I think of moving home and Katrina almost erasing home and at times, as guilty as I feel for saying this, I wonder why me? It’s a horrible feeling, this survivor’s guilt. Good god, I lost neither house nor all my personal belongings much less a loved one (well I lost plenty love ones but not to death) and to be so petty as to have that thought makes me want to hit myself on the head with a brick. E would say “Rachel, go easy on yourself, okay?” and I say “okay” obediently but then secretly go on wearing the barbed wire under my shirt.

Sitting in the dark theater, two elderly couples sat behind me and one told the other about the “twins’ bar mitzvah” and how the “twins are boring really – dull looks on their faces” and the one guy told a joke about a tourist coming to New Orleans and sitting on a plane next to a New Orleanian. The tourist says “I hear there is a lot of crime there” and the native says, “it’s not that bad” and the tourist asks, “well how should I protect myself?” and the native says, “you won’t be in neighborhoods that are bad, you’ll be in well-lit tourist parts of the town, so no worries,” the tourist thanks the native, and after a little more chit chat the tourist asks the native what he does in New Orleans, and the native says, “I’m the rear gunman for a Coca Cola delivery truck.” All four erupted in laughter. Was it missing S right at that moment, missing being a couple talking nonsense with another couple, that made the tears start gushing out, or was it fierce underpinning of truth in that stupid joke? 15 minutes into the movie, they were still giggling and ended up walking out – all four of them. What?

The pool at the Can has been so crowded all day – who are these people? – I have never seen any of them before at the Can. Today, I bought a new baby blue bikini. I’m thinking of a surfer camp or a fire dancing workshop for vacation if I can get away from the LaLa’s day to day neediness. D was down at the pool with her husband – she said, “I’ve seen a lot of progress at the house lately.” I told her what a difference a competent contractor makes. When I think of those punk morons that were at that house and didn’t appreciate it and gave me such grief I could just become a fireball myself.

Last night I dreamt I had sex with Vince Vaughn all night long. What goes on? If I could dream like that every night, I’d sleep as often as I could.

PreKatrina Haunts

Saturday, June 24th, 2006

My landline at the Can got turned on today and lo and behold I had 25 voice mail messages on there – some pre-Katrina:

Aug 27 – 4:59 PM – Les calling from El Dorado where he went “in case” Katrina hit – he said, “y’all must be busy having a hurricane party”
Aug 28 – 9:20 AM – Nick calling saying “someone’s having a fit because he can’t find his Star Wars sticker book – can you grab it?”
Aug 28 – 10:45 AM – Lisa calling to see if we were evacuating.
Aug 28 – 11:30 AM – Lisa again.

This afternoon, went to meet mom for lunch at R&O’s and she ordered what looked like an awesome soft shell crab poboy and I got my favorite – shrimp remoulade and a cup of gumbo (when is Commanders re-opening?). She had followed me there and almost got into an accident pulling into R&O’s parking lot. After lunch, three hours later, I was contemplating my new roller device to take the canoe out when she phoned – she had been in the parking lot of Whole Foods on Vets for 3.5 hours because she had crashed into 3 parked vehicles and had been fielding ambulance, police, Whole Food employees, other drivers questions in the hot sun – they had towed the Volvo saying they thought it was totalled. She said it was as if the car hydroplaned but “there was no water.”

Meanwhile her towing service calls her once they get the car to Kenner and said the battery was dead and they couldn’t get the windows up so she had to come there and put garbage bags on the window because it looked like rain. I said I’d go do that but she said “no, it isn’t going to rain” – we hung up and the sky opened up – pouring, lightning, thunder – water water everywhere.

My mother is going to be 71 in December, but it feels as if she is perpetually 14. I have been her mother all my life. For some reason, I derive no joy from this angle of motherhood.

L called and wanted me to join him and T at Pal’s – they’ve been on the night crawlers tour of New Orleans since T got here last Monday. L’s own mother awaits in El Dorado, awaiting his care very soon.

S called and booked a ticket to come here July 4th weekend – hip hip hooray – we’ll go to Paul’s going away party at Bacchanal on Saturday when she gets in – and then she has to leave on Monday afternoon.


Friday, June 23rd, 2006

I have written many times over the years about how much I love my company – the people are one step from normal – a step in the right direction – anyway the following is an example of why I love them – this comes with permission from the founder of the company and he sent the message to the people who actually work in the San Francisco office – most of us work all over the world from our home offices:

From: Craig *****
Sent: Thursday, June 22, 2006 2:41 PM
To: San Francisco
Subject: a challenge to who we are

Dear San Francisoains that work at OTR: Today I was on my way out on this beautiful day and decided that I may as well go up to the roof maybe to catch a couple rays … and to my surprise a huge party was starting to take place there … there was the making of a Tiki hut, good food, ample booze and fun people … at first I thought oh well I have been too wrapped up in my own stuff and once again OTR has gone to the next level and created a great party … as a matter of fact this one looked like it had potential to be one of the best if not the best.

And this is what challenged me..much to my surprise, the party was being hosted by our beloved neighbors Softagon! Surprise of all surprises … like the Russians launching Sputnik, the discovery there is no Santa Claus or Easter Bunny this really shook my confidence in who we are….it is one thing to have our research challenged by others but to be out partied by our neighbors? I couldn’t bear the thought and fled the building (only to discover the US lost in the world cup).

But after many hours thinking about this and in my old and wiser years, instead of yelling I have decided to take this as a challenge so basic it is a challenge to who we are: we must out party the partiers…

So I promise to use my power to neutralize the dark forces on the third floor that might not want to commit the financial resources to make us great again….but who is with me? Who will lead instead of follow and help us create a party that is unmatched for summer supremacy?

In the meantime, please go up and enjoy their party while I shake my head at the Old Ship saloon and think about how great we were……….help!!!!!!!

C’est Levee

Thursday, June 22nd, 2006

So you think about things in their macro and micro perspective and as I mentioned the other day everything can only be known in contrasts. So when I lay in bed and rode the earthquake at the hotel in SF and then fielded the call from my doctor an hour later saying there was a problem with my mammo – suddenly carrying the cross of New Orleans, the daunting job of finishing the LaLa, the soul ache of divorcing a man I spent a third of my life with, the heart ache of having been involved with a man I clearly now know I don’t know, of the complete and utter loss of a little boy who took my breath away everytime I held him my arms – it all came clear to me today when I walked into Ochsner’s Breast Center and sat in chairs with a lot of women with frightened looks on their faces that they, like I, had probably gotten up that morning and taken a shower and didn’t put on lotion and each had looked down at their breasts and thought – I kind of like my breasts – so as I sat in one of the new fangled waiting room cubicles (possibly some new thing where as not to group too many of you where you have to look at each other) with an attractive woman in her mid 40s with her hair neatly pulled back in a pony tail – we were both clutching the hospital gown which naturally didn’t cover our breasts – through the speakers came the 8th Barbra Streisand song since I had walked in the place and I looked at the woman and said – what’s with the Streisand marathon? – she smiled thinly – and I thought what if – what if the diagnosis today for me had not been benign – what if the next few years were about sitting in rooms like that wearing hospital gowns (an inside joke), with other women who shared illness in common, listening to Babs sing “What Kind of Fool Am I?”

There was a time when we were down and out
There was a place when we were starting over
We let the bough break
We let the heartache in
Who’s sorry now

And the doctor called me in a dark, wood panelled room and said “you are not normal but that might be normal for you” – and I said, with a haughty laugh, that’s a relief! Asymmetrical massing while the rest of the female population is symmetrical and for one week I was wondering if my will was in order or if I had to throw out all my pretty bras.

Down at the pool later with L and her son the J-man – I tried to coax him into the water which felt lush and cool against my skin – I had a deep deep jones for W and missed his body in the pool and his goggles with the tags that stick out on each side like some gila monster – I missed his loving arms and voice – and I missed the height, depth and breadth my soul can reach when feeling out of sight and the greatest casualty of all is the loss of our love – because we were linked – he was my love child. The J-man called me Ocho and remembered seeing Cars and I opened my arms to him as I heard someone call Sophie across the pool to a little girl with big red floatees on her arms and again the water felt lush and cool against my skin.

I am not normal, nor am I living in normal times, in a normal city, with a normal mayor, with normal friends, and a normal past, and possibly – oh god I hope – not a normal future. But all of these abnormal things today seem sweeter than they have ever seemed. C’est Levee!

A Political Embarrassment

Thursday, June 22nd, 2006

Quote of the day comes from Jay Leno:
“If God had wanted us to vote, he would have given us candidates.”

Traveling to different cities – NY, SF and Chicago and it is not as if people have forgotten about New Orleans or Katrina – they saw the images, they retain strong feelings for their visits here, no they all say in unison – I’m so sorry about the mayor getting re-elected. Only one person said – “You know, he made that mess so I guess maybe it falls to him to fix it.”


Well, I’ll tell you – this is citizens unite time – it’s like depending on your health care provider to make you all better – this is a time when all and one need to help themselves and New Orleans! United we stand, divided we fall. Nagin or not.

The Aftermath

Wednesday, June 21st, 2006

NYT quote of the day:
“I thought I could weather the storm, and I did — it’s the aftermath that’s killing me.”
GINA BARBE, of New Orleans.

Indeed Gina, coping mechanisms kick in and help most people endure crisis. As I lay in bed on Thursday morning last week and felt the 4.7 earthquake in San Francisco, I thought eh, are natural disasters stalking me. Later when I was served up my exact words in a painful delivery, I thought manmade disasters are definitely laying in wait for me.

Reading Douglas Brinkley’s The Great Deluge I howled about a man on a roof who Mitch Landrieu was trying to rescue. Mitch said, come down man, we’re here to help you. The guy said, No! I want to be rescued by a helicopter! I relayed this to N and she said, I love this place! Bunch of nutballs.

I walked the Bean late last night – the weather amazingly beautiful since I’ve gotten home – and passed an impromptu party on the bayou – D with her husband the biologist for the Corps (he said the bayou and the lake are the best quality they have been in decades) – they were with friends whose son was fishing – he caught a big perch while I was there and everyone screamed, titillated by a fish. When I walked away from them and got about 100 yards, I heard them scream again.

K the carpenter brought his son back from Houston – they actually live in Michigan – N is a darling boy – when I went by the LaLa after being away K took me aside to say that he doesn’t pass judgment on people and that J – the guy I called a moron – was only being held down by S and that he was behaving accordingly – I didn’t stop to tell him that was all very well if he believed that but I don’t really want a moron working on my house.

I admire altruistic behavior – I just don’t possess it. It’s why I couldn’t become a teacher. In the end, I didn’t want to undo years of bigotry and sexism and racism these kids’ parents had spoonfed them. I have had to overcome my own upbringing and am still working on it – along the way I hope I have helped people understand their own motivations by sharing my experiences – but I have done that through caring not through some higher consciousness that I feel compelled to prostelytize about – thank you K for your insights – I’ll take them into consideration when J installs the next vent so high up in the ceiling that it is a good foot and a half from the lowest rafter.

My job this week is to prepare for a monster marketing trip next week – mentally, physically, and otherwise. It’s also to prep Arlene for her first trip to the Pet Emporium – a kennel – the pokey – oh horrors! It comes highly recommended but I hate putting her in the pokey and thinking about how she might feel abandoned to strangers.

The NYT had an article about the suicide rates in New Orleans – having never contemplated suicide until the last 7 months and then many times over – I can relate – but I thought it was my only personal hell that was making death seem more attractive than life for the first time to me – from the article: “New Orleans is experiencing what appears to be a near epidemic of depression and post-traumatic stress disorders, one that mental health experts say is of an intensity rarely seen in this country. It is contributing to a suicide rate that state and local officials describe as close to triple what it was before Hurricane Katrina struck and the levees broke 10 months ago.”

And in the aftermath Gina we are left to ponder how ephemeral it all really is – and after plunging the depths of sadness we will rise up, wiser and by that, better prepared.

The Real Life Shuffle

Monday, June 19th, 2006

The IPOD Shuffle meets the Real Life Shuffle

E says “I remember when you first came in, you told me, ‘I am a sexual being'” (S downloads the Dead Kennedy’s version of Too Drunk to Fuck after I play him Nouvelle Vague’s cover – mine is all breath and giggles, the girl’s version – his is ramming guitar)

New Orleans and I have been in a drought – on day 137, mine ended, albeit temporarily – on returning to NO, I smelled the rain in the clouds in the plane – the city and I are in sync. (“Absence makes the heart grow fonder, and the mind begins to wander back to happier days,” Loudon Wainwright III)

Out for long run along Aquatic Park then up through Fort Mason and along the Marina Green headed towards the bridge – sensory overload of sage, eucalyptus, and lavender in Crissie Field not to mention memories of a past life (Linda Ronstadt sings “I’ve been higher than the high sierra, lower than death valley can feel…I’ve been wrong, mostly right, right about me and wrong about you.”)

S says his dad showed slides of when they were kids, grouping the chronology along each kid rather than family – S noticed his mother always held him, whelped him up in his overly sentimental state – I whelped up when he told me (I.O.U. the sunlight in the morning, and the nights…that time can’t take away – Lee Greenwood)

The Cougar left for Colorado and called to say the young waiter is making a documentary on Cougars such as herself – she says, you are the only person who calls me a Cougar (“Fuck the Pain Away,” Peaches)

In his “gay” apartment (well appointed, neat), S and I sit on the sofa and hold each other, crying, his heart has turned to stone, mine is a wreck (“You and I know the reason why, I’m gone and you’re still there,” Rachael Yamagata)

My relatives were kicked out of Spain in 1492, the great Jewish diaspora, they left Istanbul after it became Constantinople, another Jewish diaspora, they came to Cuba and left during a revolution – the year I was born – and I was forced temporarily to evacuate New Orleans – so now I ponder another hurricane and no place to live – the eternal wandering Jew (“I don’t know how to get home, God, what do I do?, I’m a thousand miles away, lying next to you” – Jewel)

In the TT, listening to the Raconteurs – Jack White is a genius – (“I miss being mrs tonight,” Loretta sings – S says I don’t remember this song.)

S, my contractor’s partner, said “Calm down, Rachel” – perhaps the worst thing you could ever tell me – and J tells me earnestly, when I laugh and tell him, “as if you could calm down” (“I am not a pretty girl, or a damsel in distress…don’t ya think every kitten figures out how to get down, even if you never show up?” Ani Difranco)

The doctor calls and says there is a problem with my mammo and I need to come back in – S reaches under the table at the Rotunda and takes my hand when I tell him, then says “I’m here for you” – G emails she wants to go to the appt with me – and to N, I say it is my left breast that looks odd, “you know the one covering my heart” – (“You always hurt the one you love,” Clarence Frogman Henry)

S tells me at the bar at Houston’s with a French Dip in one hand – on her way to Colorado – “you know what would be good? a boy toy, someone like Peter G, adorable and adoring” echoing what L said earlier, “let’s go trolling at the Bulldog” – I told L, I refuse to pick up boys with an 8 month pregnant woman – again my girlfriends all want me to be better, normal, or whatever it is that isn’t this (“I want to make it all right. I’m going to fall down on my knees,” Blues Explosion)

I tells me I need to get a staff and learn to fire dance – she does it with chains – having learned it for Burning Man – I said better yet, you come when the LaLa is done and fire dance on the bayou for me – but I think she’s right I might need to learn a fire dance of my own (“Your picture is on my wall, it helps me remember you, and I recall how I’m amazed, I still love you the same, yes I’m amazed I still love you the same,” MoZella’s version)

Mom says when I pour my heart out on the phone to her, lying upside down on the king size bed in Chicago, “honey, you needed comfort, now close the door – embrace your freedom” (“I’m not angry anymore,” Concrete Blonde)

Madonna says the air condition hurts her throat, so we all sweat and sway as she hops and skips across the stage (Forbidden Love – Love without guilt, love without doubt…Rejection…Don’t go near the fire, don’t go in the dark, Don’t give in to your desire, ’cause he’s gonna break your heart, Let go, let go) – Madge, you look awesome!

O says watching Madonna cavort on a lit up horsey, “I want to wear white tights when I’m 50!”

Home to get a divorce, build my house, and be a New Orleanian – renew, rebuild, rebirth – (“Don’t you feel like trying something new?” Joe Jackson)