Archive for January, 2009

Mother may I?

Saturday, January 31st, 2009

I know it is not me who is bewildered by the age of my mother and the “burden” of what to do with her. I hear it from all of my friends who have an aged mother. But the drama at the other end of the line is increasing on a daily basis, the flood of tears driven by fear, paranoia, and utter self pity are increasing, and the anxiety it produces in me on a daily basis is increasing.

Should she be driving?
What will we do when she can no longer care for herself?
What am I supposed to do as a daughter?
What will make her happy?

Today, I stopped by and was trying to tell her she needs to get on Medicaid, which means she should get rid of the paltry savings she has that is keeping her from it and pay off a bill instead. She said the only reason I need to be on Medicaid is if you put me in a nursing home. And then she almost started crying.

I curled up in a ball on the sofa and just closed my eyes and before I knew it, I had drifted off to sleep for fifteen minutes because my phone was ringing and I jumped up and had to race out because I had to get back across town.

I called her when I got home and said I won’t put you in a nursing home. The only reason why you would go anywhere is if you need medical help. We hung up again with her on the verge of tears, her saying she has so many things to tell me but there never seems to be enough time.

Time? Now is the time – Say it. Live it. Enjoy it. This is the time, Mother.


There is always the solace of poetry

Saturday, January 31st, 2009

Among Other Things

The rest
have driven to the mall.
Any second now
it’ll be too dark.

This close to the edge,
among other things,
I read.

Leaves rattle overhead.
Little pockets
of canned applause
sift through
the screened porch
in next door’s yard.


Real Estate highs and lows

Saturday, January 31st, 2009

The Spanish Custom House is having open house every day leading up to the auction. Today they had two women in antebellum dresses and parasols hanging around the house. We walked over with the dogs and poked around – a dream house for sure. Everyone walked in with curiosity and walked out with the dream of what they would do if they had this house.

Later, I went to look at a house for sale down the bayou with a friend. Same situation as with my house, it was built in 1929 (younger than the LaLa) and has been in the same family forever. Now they have all died and the children are trying to sell it. We then went next door because they also own that house where they grew up – a beautiful white house with a gallery all the way around on both bottom and top floor. The ship captains house I called it forever, and she said it was built like a boat and used to have to huge palm trees in front that looked like stove pipes. She said there were five kids raised in the house and there was always a sixth kid from somewhere living with them. A house full.

I thought of when we are dead and gone and our child is left with our house. What will it mean to her? Real estate or home?

Then we went over to look at another house for sale and it was so charming, so New Orleans, a tree lined street with charming cottages and lovely cottage gardens. The joy of seeing a house you could live in fills you with hope. There was a swing on the front porch. I remember the swings I looked at for the LaLa’s porch and how they never quite worked because you would either be facing one of my neighbor’s house or the other instead of the bayou.

I came back to the LaLa – still in love with it and the bayou – but hopeful that one day the mortgage that is attached to it feels less like a ball and chain and more like the investment it was supposed to be.

The week begins at the end

Saturday, January 31st, 2009

From Sunday to Saturday there has been monkeys on my back juggling major to minor challenges and constantly hitting me on the head and chattering in both ears. The noise ranges anywhere from what are you going to do about your mother to how are you going to pay your mortgage if you lose your job to Wolfie.

The times they are uncertain, annoyingly so, and just when you think you got it all under control, fwap, they pull a rug out from under your left foot then your right foot and your dancing so fast you don’t remember what the music is anymore.

That has been the week.

From what to do about Wolfie, who we love, but whose appearance in the house has made normal daily routine more everything. To contemplating a baby – the biggest disruptor of a life and couple – and routine. To the state of the union.

I read somewhere that New Orleans’ unemployment is half of what the nation’s is. Know why? There are no jobs here to begin with.

Okay so like I said the week begins at the end. Today I had the first breath of space in my mind. Just mindlessly having to go from Home Depot to Loews to another Loews and finally starving, I went into a place and sat down and ate a salad and watched the chaos of the dining room – small babies, young kids, old people – everyone just going about their lives with nonstop chatter, and eating, and drinking.

Later, I was sitting in traffic and looked up and on a balcony a man stood drinking Coca Cola from a can and smoking a cigarette.

The day was gorgeous – beautifully sunny and cool – a spectacular day.

Next door, my neighbor was making grits and grillades and the whole neighborhood smelled the goodness. We are preparing for his annual party for the Mardi Gras Marathon that passes in front of our houses. This year we get mile 23, we used to get mile 10 – makes a big difference. The 23 mile runners don’t have near the sense of humor that the half marathoners do.

Now to make today last forever.


Friday, January 30th, 2009

If you haven’t seen Slumdog Millionaire, go now! I’ve been over the top stressed with work, not able to leave my desk and get any yoga or pilates or exercise in, barely even walking the dogs, not even hula hooping (which I did for only 15 minutes on Wednesday). It has caused me to feel, how shall I say, TENSE.

So I’ve been mopey and pouty and in a general clenching teeth mode. Last night, fed up with this rigid state of being, we up and went to see Slumdog. The director, Danny Boyle, did an excellent job – from start to finish the movie sucks you into this other world with engaging characters and nonstop action. Bravo Danny!

Even the soundtrack was fabulous, apparently following the Indian trend of bringing music forward as part of the storytelling, the composer, A.R. Rahman used a unique compilation of music – awesome and fresh.

Need an escape, the purest and easiest has always been a good movie, go see Slumdog – it won’t disappoint.

Equal pay for equal job

Friday, January 30th, 2009

If you did not already know President Obama signed into law today the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act granting equal pay for equal job. Believe me when I tell you THIS IS THE BEST NEWS I’ve heard since he won the election.

Should you own a pet?

Thursday, January 29th, 2009

When we found Wolfie, she was emaciated, had had at least one litter of puppies, was not spayed, had heartworms, had fleas, and was filthy. She didn’t have the tag but I never looked for the owner. Whoever owned her, shouldn’t have.

Since finding Wolfie, I’ve heard from people who have jobs like you and me, who perform extraordinary miracles on the side. One woman has rescued 500 German Shepherds in her lifetime. Another woman with a corporate job founded a transport company to help dogs find homes. Several other women have been one stop foster homes and final homes for dogs that have been abused, abandoned, adrift.

Some people are not fit to have dogs. So many people are fit to have children who cannot adopt – because of money, sexual orientation – the hoops they make you go through, the money it costs, the contacts you need to have, it’s ridiculous. Yet, you can own a dog even if you are a moron, even if you are evil Michael Vick, even if you are an ignorant know nothing who doesn’t deserve a dog like Wolfie.

Now, I hear the economy is causing people to abandon their pets because they can’t afford them. People, listen up, if you can’t be a responsible pet owner, don’t be one.

Rapid Rachel and the new protocol

Thursday, January 29th, 2009

The word of the day is malediction – the act of calling down a curse that invokes evil. Well, consider that the malediction the cosmos dinged me with is impatience.

Patience (?p?-sh?nz) is the state of endurance under difficult circumstances, which can mean persevering in the face of delay or provocation without becoming annoyed or upset; or exhibiting forbearance when under strain, especially when faced with longer-term difficulties. It is also used to refer to the character trait of being steadfast. Antonyms include hasty and impetuous.

The typical adjective used to describe me is fast, speedy, rapid. People are always saying whoa to me and I’m always puzzled. I am hasty and impetuous, hardly patient. Well, I’m learning patience but it’s a surface act and my insides meanwhile coil in knots as I try to talk outside of warp speed, or try to move at a more human pace, and everything that is inside of me that is wound up like a top can start spinning out of control at any given moment and I’m always aware of the danger of letting it.

So what does it take to get patience? I have few things I carve out for myself – writing in my blog, walking my dog, hula hooping. But it seems like those small things that I love most are always squeezed out by other things vying for me. But because I talk too fast, I move too fast, I think too fast, I’m able to keep them in my daily routine most of the time – without which I might explode.

The tortoise and the hare – I’m losing the race.

Missed it by a day

Wednesday, January 28th, 2009

Wednesday that feels like Monday – a friend used the acronym – BOHICA – I’ll let you figure out what a day like that means with an acronym like BOHICA. But meanwhile, Wolfie, she is becoming more family member like – funny how that happens. Her heart worm treatment will start very soon. When she is going through it, we will have to keep her and her new found best friend Loca apart so that she doesn’t get riled while the injections are killing off the worms in her heart.

Meanwhile, on other things – three days of no exercise – a mind swirling with data – and now to find my center again.

I’m still sad about John Updike’s passing. I finished a book, which came highly recommended, by Martha Grimes, Foul Matter. So many accolades for a truly uninspired book and unimaginative writing – nothing to recommend it and I kept saying that but stubbornly reading it through to the end like I am want to do sometimes.

I left the book in the back of the airline seat and the guy sitting next to me called to me that I forgot my book and I said I left it on purpose. I have only one book I want to read right now – the Everyman edition of Rabbit by Updike – in memoriam. So sad, so missed.

The elusive pulchritude

Wednesday, January 28th, 2009

I was walking the streets of Boston and was impressed by how many beautiful men Boston seems to always have. What prompted this was a man crossing the street, with gorgeous eyes and a chiseled face and how he looked right into my eyes. I mentioned this to this person next to me and he said, “What’d you care?”

Later, I was speaking to a colleague about the bar in Nine Zero where I stayed. He said, Lindsay Lohan had been there the week before. And I said flippantly who cares about Lindsay Lohan. He said well you have a lot in common, “Red hair, smoking body and a hot girlfriend.” Cute, I said.

Walking up to the Jet Blue terminal at JFK to get on the plane home, I instantly knew I was in the right place as the crowd waiting were all misfits. I asked one guy if they had called my seat yet and he had three teeth in his mouth and could barely respond. Near the door, I counted at least three women who badly needed their hair washed and styled. And then a woman directly in front of me kept losing her pants not to mention she had on humongous underwear.

When we landed in New Orleans, there was once again that smell of overly ripe that seems to appear only minutes before we land at Louis Armstrong International Airport. And as I walked through the terminal on the way to my car, I noticed distinctly that all the people on my plane seemed to pair up well with all the people waiting around in the lobby.

Misfits one and all. Then I drove down the I-10 with trash tumbling in the wind and turned off of City Park Avenue onto Moss Street and saw the bayou and a gaggle of geese were waddling across and I had to stop to let them. Home, I thought, there’s no place like home.