Archive for September, 2007

Jet lag that comes much later – but from where?

Sunday, September 30th, 2007

I didn’t have jet lag in Turkey, or when I returned, I didn’t feel it in Shanghai, or when I returned to New York. But around Wednesday, in New York, I started getting the jet lag shake down – is queasiness a part of it? – I fall asleep at odd times as if I have been drugged – I can’t sleep when I’m supposed to – and I have this constant feeling like my stomach might turn inside out with just the slightest provocation.

After my bike ride today, I ate some chicken salad from Canseco’s that I had doctored with fresh tarragon from my garden, and then I cut up a sweet, juicy cantelope and had a few slices. I went to the couch to read the Sunday Times Picayune, and called my mother and left her a voicemail. That was at 1:45 in the afternoon. At six o’clock, I emerged from a coma that had left me bewildered and sad that my day had passed and now I know that I won’t be able to sleep tonight without aid – but my stomach says, no aid, no nothing – queasiness again.

I look up remedies online and one study suggests that woman are more susceptible to jet lag than men because of estrogen. The study also suggests Viagra as an aid. Now I ask you, if I had traveled to my destination, all medicated up on Viagra, I think I’d have a lot more problems to grapple with than sleepiness and queasiness, don’t you?

On being undefined, unwritten

Sunday, September 30th, 2007

I was talking to S about the dating scene and he told me about a woman who had all her self-definitions at the ready. He reminded me of a job interview I had years ago in San Francisco, where the woman asked me, “how do you define yourself?” and I wasn’t quite sure what to answer. And I said, “how do you mean?” and she said, “well, I’m a lesbian, a hiker, a _____” – I don’t even remember what the blanks were for her but I know this – the blanks still exists in me – I am not sure I want a definition – how about defying definition? How about a little mystery instead of definition?

Do you know what it means to miss New Orleans?

Sunday, September 30th, 2007

I took Steve to the airport this morning and then came back ready for my long bike ride – the MS bike ride is this coming weekend – and as I was having breakfast, the sky turned dark and the rain came. So I sat on the porch with a cup of green tea and J came over and had a cup and we watched the rain come down. When it seemed like it had broke – I got on my bike – and headed out to the lakefront along the way spotting herons and egrets and then pelicans as I neared the lake. It felt good to finally be back in the city I love and to have nothing but a bike ride as my goal for the day.

I went right at the lake and towards the Leon C Simon bridge and there were people lined up along the sea wall fishing. I doubled back towards the Causeway and as I rounded the bend near Lakeview, I noticed that the bright red roofed lighthouse had been torn down. It’s been a lasting symbol of Katrina – that is until you turn down towards the point and West End and see block after block of devastation – lake houses all ripped apart from the inside.

The construction continues along the 17th Street Canal, where the Corps has installed a mega pumping station and the squatter shacks that made up Bucktown have all been wiped off the map, given over to large concrete retaining walls and giant pumps so inhuman in scale but they seem silly when you think of the gale force of a Category 5 headed straight at them.

Passing by the toll booth to the longest bridge over water, my ride takes me closer to the water, as the narrow path that goes all the way to Kenner has only a few small rocks between it and the lake. There is a fury in the lake causing white caps and as I get halfway down the path, the water starts lapping at my wheels and pretty soon I am riding on water as the waves crash all the way up to the grassy levee on the other side of me and the path. It does give me pause – but I continue onward – needing to get my miles in before next weekend.

As I pass the casino in Kenner, I have just a little more left before the path turns to rocks and yet I can’t get passed because of a big gush of water that has made a gulley in my way. So I turn and head back, into the headwind that is gathering more strength and causing me to pedal at about 8 mph. My stomach is tight – still queasy from whatever is going on since China that I can’t shake – and then the rains come – for the next half hour I am pedaling against a headwind that is so strong, I am clutching the handlebars, and the rain is soaking me from head to toe.

By the time, I’m in front of R&O’s, where Bucktown used to be, the rain has let up and the wind has died slightly, but not enough to make me want to follow the lake back, so I divert through Lakeview and again there is sadness – Robert E Lee is stripped of its top coat of asphalt, and the once flooded houses are still in a state of disrepair. At Marconi, a new curb is being laid for the border of City Park and a fresh patch of flowers are there by the sign. Along the way, in the soccer fields, young boys a ball in a game that must have just started as everyone looks so fresh and clean while I am stippled with mud and grass.

I pass under the overpass as the train goes by; in front of me, a mother on her bike stops to let her child in back watch the passing train. Then I smell hamburgers cooking on a grill and my queasiness gives way to hungriness as I enter City Park. A lively group has taken over Pop’s Pavillion where music and conversation fill the air along with smells of food.

Along the bayou, almost home, I am re-energized and feel I could ride another 40 miles, which I’ll have to do next weekend.

Tin Roof Blowdown

Sunday, September 30th, 2007

A bunch of people recommended the new James Lee Burke – Tin Roof Blowdown – saying it was one of his finest Dave Robicheaux mysteries not just because it dealt with Katrina. I don’t think so. I think Burke’s descriptions of New Iberia and New Orleans are some of the most evocative ever written, but this book was a boiler plate redo of past novels with the characters starting to border on cardboard cut outs. When Clete’s girlfriend du jour turns up dead, his reaction is about as dark as a paper witch on Halloween. Not to mention the Katrina references are all shocking and very rarely soulfull about possibly the biggest event to color the landscape he so adoringly describes.

Home Is The Most Important Place in The World

Saturday, September 29th, 2007

My friend and I were comparing our favorite billboard ads and his was the Marlboro Man, hands down – I said I loved the VW bug that said, Life’s Too Short To Be Miserable, Enjoy – and showed a yellow bug (almost like a happy face on wheels). IKEA has a new billboard up that I saw that says Home Is The Most Important Place in the World – and just arriving home after two weeks away – I must admit – the one who wrote that copy knew what s/he was talking about.

Superman panties replaced with Wonder Woman boyshorts

Saturday, September 29th, 2007

Well the superman panties saw their last trip – and so Wonder Woman boyshorts are on the way.

Hey guapa – how do you say in American?

Friday, September 28th, 2007

I got a call last night from my Turkish friends here in NY trying to hook up – Merhaba, Rachel, canikom, askim, they tell me and it brings me right back to Istanbul and puts a big smile on my face.

Then I keep saying how-da and way – okay and hi respectively in Chinese – this goes round my mind when I pick up the phone.

And next I received an email from a friend in Spain who writes:

Hola guapa:

Muchos besos, guapa y no te preocupes. Tú vales mucho y a lo mejor ahora es mejor que estés sola, para “curarte” de la separación de tu marido. Todo se va a arreglar en tu vida, ya lo verás. Pero como siempre, las cosas buenas tardan siempre en llegar.

Cuídate mucho, Rachel y no te preocupes que todo se va a arreglar.

Which basically translates into “the waiting is the hardest part” in American.

Larger concerns go largely ignored by the day to day of the ordinary

Friday, September 28th, 2007

I keep walking by all the police and black limos here for the General Assembly at the United Nations – there are pockets of crowds and streets roped off – and I walk around lost in my own thoughts.

Avra – Greek for yum!

Friday, September 28th, 2007

Met a client at Avra for lunch and it was worth mentioning – Avra – we started with the Gigantes (large lima beans in tomato sauce) and grilled octopus (which I admit I was reluctant to have but they were delicious) and then I had the lamb salad – all delicious and a delightful environment – french doors leading to a seating outside. Definitely worth checking out if you are in NY.

Today is the first day of the rest of your life

Friday, September 28th, 2007

And so the saying goes, and when the day starts at 4AM, you think there is plenty of time to accomplish everything you want to do with the rest of your life. A walk to Central Park, packing, meeting with clients, zipping to the airport on an earlier flight, getting home, seeing friends and beloved dogs, sleeping in one’s own bed – I look forward to today and all the possibilties, anticipation, and fulfillment it holds.