Archive for March, 2009

Ode to Miss America Eel

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

Today I went to see Flower’s baby – do you know how long I’ve been telling Flower to have a baby, before it’s too late, before her biological clock betrays her? And now, she has one, a full fledge Flower eel baby who is so beautiful since she came via C-section that we have dubbed her the Miss America Eel. To see your friend become a mother is such a transition that it bring tears to my eyes not to see just the infant at her breast, but the woman she has become.

This has happened with other friends and it never ceases to amaze me.

A montage of Chicago

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

Amidst the muscular architecture and loud wail of the El, I wonder sometimes how people live in Chicago when it is the second city. It’s big, but not huge. It has so many things, but not everything. It lives it’s life in the shadow of New York and yet Chicago is its own beast in the jungle. Today we had Italian at the Italian Village, a three story homage to low and high Italy and it rained and it sleeted and it practically hailed. But Chicago’s buff shoulders kept us secure.

Choices become us

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

Kierkegaard said “We create ourselves by our choices.”

And how that works with the rest of what you know is this: everyday if you are a sentient, thoughtful, functioning human being, you are asking yourself if what you are doing in life as the master plan is meaningful, then you are toiling over your decisions to do this or that, your friendships and relationships to family, your productivity at work, your end game – you’re asking this question, “Have I done the best I could?” And somedays you say blech, I’m shit, and some days you say, Men Love Me, Women Love Me. But most of the times you feel like you are treading a thin tightrope between meaningful and meaningless and a reaction that is either wow or what the fuck?

We create ourselves by our choices. I want to be a better me, but I’m constantly amazed at how vulnerable and fragile I can be when pounding my chest to an audience of apes. I choose to not be so unknowing, so unaware, so reactive and yet, I’m me every time I look in the mirror. I’m me.


Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

My 50th birthday celebration got kicked off in earnest this weekend and the first stop was Commander’s Palace for lunch where they still pour 25 cent martinis and cosmos despite the fact that the dining room looks like it came out of the Royal Palace. My birthday cake was in the bread pudding souffle while the man flamed bananas foster.


Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

Here is the Stella calling contest we went to on Sunday, when the primal Stanley wails for his demon lover:

Figuring out who you are

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

I’ve spent nearly a half century becoming self-actualized and amazingly thought I was there when I hit a road bump the last week. A friend, who is a social worker, told me about this personality test, the Enneagram, which has a high degree of accuracy in defining how you deal with life and its challenges. I scored a Number 2 – which is referred to as The Helper with almost as equal high scores in Number 7, The Enthusiast and Number 8, The Challenger.

I looked at the definitions of all three and feel more closely aligned with the #7 personality type and the test says if you are a woman and your Two score is highest, look at your next two high scores—women are often taught to play the role of the Two whether it is their basic type or not.

Type Two in Brief – The Helper
Twos are empathetic, sincere, and warm-hearted. They are friendly, generous, and self-sacrificing, but can also be sentimental, flattering, and people-pleasing. They are well-meaning and driven to be close to others, but can slip into doing things for others in order to be needed. They typically have problems with possessiveness and with acknowledging their own needs. At their Best: unselfish and altruistic, they have unconditional love for others.

Basic Fear: Of being unwanted, unworthy of being loved
Basic Desire: To feel loved

Key Motivations: Want to be loved, to express their feelings for others, to be needed and appreciated, to get others to respond to them, to vindicate their claims about themselves.

Although I see myself in Type Two a lot, I think I fall more in line in personal relationships with Type Seven. I’m not called Zea for nothing.

Type Seven in Brief – The Enthusiast
Sevens are extroverted, optimistic, versatile, and spontaneous. Playful, high-spirited, and practical, they can also misapply their many talents, becoming over-extended, scattered, and undisciplined. They constantly seek new and exciting experiences, but can become distracted and exhausted by staying on the go. They typically have problems with impatience and impulsiveness. At their Best: they focus their talents on worthwhile goals, becoming appreciative, joyous, and satisfied.

Basic Fear: Of being deprived and in pain
Basic Desire: To be satisfied and content—to have their needs fulfilled

Key Motivations: Want to maintain their freedom and happiness, to avoid missing out on worthwhile experiences, to keep themselves excited and occupied, to avoid and discharge pain.

Type Eight represents more of who I am in business:

Type Eight in Brief – The Challenger
Eights are self-confident, strong, and assertive. Protective, resourceful, straight-talking, and decisive, but can also be ego-centric and domineering. Eights feel they must control their environment, especially people, sometimes becoming confrontational and intimidating. Eights typically have problems with their tempers and with allowing themselves to be vulnerable. At their Best: self- mastering, they use their strength to improve others’ lives, becoming heroic, magnanimous, and inspiring.

Basic Fear: Of being harmed or controlled by others
Basic Desire: To protect themselves (to be in control of their own life and destiny)

Key Motivations: Want to be self-reliant, to prove their strength and resist weakness, to be important in their world, to dominate the environment, and to stay in control of their situation.

When I was seeing E, I learned one of my goals in life is to combine my Type Seven and my Type Eight personality traits because I was bifurcated – my personal relationships were marred by my self-sacrificing while my business relationships were flawed by a quest for perfection. I guess they all come together in Type Two, but that personality is more of a patch and not a true path.

Message in the bottle

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

In Chicago, can’t sleep – want to be home face to face to see my gf and heal my heart. I was reading an article in the WSJ about how important face to face business meetings are and I know for sure they are uber important in personal relationships. Through email and text and voicemail messages the human slips away and what gets said is washed of emotion and empathy.

Here is my horoscope today – how appropriate as I’ve been trying to figure out how to communicate my recent behavior – that I was trying to make sure she was happy at the expense of my happiness and it backfired:

March 31, 2009
Taurus (4/20-5/20)
You’re getting closer to a very special person in your life, and it’s only natural that you might be feeling a growing sense of responsibility towards them. But make sure you draw the line at being responsible for their happiness. All you can do is support them and respect their choices. If they are looking for answers, you have to make it clear that you don’t have them. Help them learn that the solutions they seek lie within them, not in another person.

In the company of men

Monday, March 30th, 2009

I flew Southwest to Chicago and man, I missed Jet Blue. SW changed from the ABC lines to the 1-5, 6-10, 11-15 towers to stand by while in line. It’s still cattle being herded onto a plane. Why can’t they assign seats? And worse I picked to sit between two large men on the front row but unlike Jet Blue where the flight attendants save space for the front rows to put their luggage overhead, I had to walk four rows back to tuck my bag in.

I sat back down and the man on my right kept trying to engage me in banter even though I had the entire Sunday New York Times under my nose. So when he said about the Southwest women that got off as we were about to push back that any of those women could have been his fifth wife, and turned to me and nudged me and said that is supposed to be funny, I responded, “Or they could have been mine.” That quieted him down.

Later he got to me about the pizza he ordered once with 100 ingredients. He said what are the four things you don’t put on a pizza ever under any circumstances – I said pineapple. Damn, he said, I agree there are five things you should never put on a pizza – anchovies, shrimp, jalapeños, or salmon. Now pineapple. He wanted me to go out with him and his buddies to have a real Chicago pizza and despite the fact that I was running solely on banana fuel, I declined.

But when I found out he had a chihuahua, I had to regale him with my chihuahua joke and that got a good belly laugh.

City of my soul

Monday, March 30th, 2009

My girls trip collided with the annual Tennessee Williams literary festival held and so Tennessee became the theme that tied everything together – from discovering New Orleans from his eyes, to watching his inner life dramatized for better or worse – Tennessee bought a house on Dumaine that he said he wanted to die in as I say I was to die here at the LaLa. Turns out he choked on a prescription pill bottle cap in a hotel instead. And now one Dr. Lutz owns the house and some rental property nearby where Steve rented an apartment when we first separated. As always with New Orleans, the only bow you can really wrap around is the one of interconnectedness.

Tennessee arrived in New Orleans a straight laced, buttoned up, Episcopalian from St. Louis, by the end of two months he was riding towards California on the back of a motorbike in a pair of shorts and flip flops holding onto a clarinist he had met. But he had already discovered that New Orleans was the city of his soul and it was here he spent and wrote and lived most of his life – through the agony and ecstasy of a gay writer’s life in a time that was a changing.

When Marlon Brando yells for Stella in his primal rage, the passion he is channeling comes straight from Williams, who polished his voice in the streets of the Quarter.

Doesn’t anyone stay in one place anymore?

Monday, March 30th, 2009

The girls left for Boston
I am leaving for Chicago
Tatjana is returning from Europe

Coming and going, going and coming, and always too soon.