Archive for May, 2009

Stella in a glass

Sunday, May 31st, 2009

We rode our bikes this morning to the Marigny and had one of those delicious ice cold Stella on draft in those great Stella glasses. We live in a magical place and even riding through out of the way neighborhoods, it was good to see people porch hanging and the preparation around Claiborne for Super Sunday.

Yes, it’s that time again, Super Sunday, another festival. The Mardi Gras Indians will be performing down on the bayou at 4 today and will march and parade in all their feathered finery.

Star Trek

Sunday, May 31st, 2009

Last night we went to see Star Trek at Canal Place and then headed over to Slice on St. Charles Avenue for pizza.

I’m a trekkie and though the movie was fun, it just was not a good movie for Star Trek. I love Captain Kirk’s braun against Spock’s brain, but instead this movie spent too much time hitting you over the head to establish the characters, and didn’t have a new message.

Star Trek was a great new world back then when they put a black woman, a Russian, a Chinese, and several other mixes of personalities and cultures on one ship that encountered real life dilemmas and provided broad minded fixes. This Star Trek seemed nothing short of a video game. I’d say the shaky camera effect of old were not substantially enhanced with the technology we have today.

It was fun in a banal way, but I think the franchise has so much more to offer – a real movie with real characters exploring real future issues.

If this continues, they will come

Saturday, May 30th, 2009

Let’s face it, it’s not the crime that keeps people from moving to New Orleans, it’s the heat. And summer are usually pretty unbearable. But the weather lately has been so gorgeous. When we were sitting on the bridge the other night listening to Riccardo Crespo and his Brazilian music, someone said, “Wouldn’t it be great if it was like this all the time?” And I said, no.

If it was good weather, we’d be California.

15 miles and what do you get?

Saturday, May 30th, 2009

I rode out to the lakefront this afternoon after spending an hour trying to upload a photo album to Facebook that never worked. The ride was incredible. I went through City Park and along the bike path that follows the bayou, and then to the Lake and then over to Ponchartrain Beach and beyond.

People were in the lake swimming, fishing, cruising, eating, kissing, walking, biking, skating – I just love that.

I raced my bike up the turn around hill like a little kid and felt so happy to be home.

Aborted bike tour

Saturday, May 30th, 2009

We drove for hours in what felt like evacuation traffic yesterday afternoon to get to St. Francisville, where we were headed for some R&R and a bike ride to fundraise for diabetes. We should have taken the traffic as a sign to turn back, but we didn’t.

Hours earlier, I had called the B&B where we were staying to ask some questions and got a chilly reception from the woman who answered. I should have taken that as a sign not to go, but I didn’t.

We arrived at the B&B, Butler Greenwood Plantation, I went to the main house and the woman said, “You don’t have a reservation,” before I could get the kink out of my driving leg or say hello. I said we do, my name is Rachel Dangermond. She looked behind me to where Tatjana was getting Wolfie and Loca out of the truck to give them a quick spin so they could stretch and pee, and said, “You did not make a reservation for dogs.”

I said I did, we reserved here because we could bring dogs. She said, “The dogs are not allowed on the porch, or near another cabin, and never to be off leash.” I said, don’t worry. She said, “They are not allowed on any porch.” I said, they’re not going on a porch. She said, “They are on the porch!” I turned and saw Tatjana walking them – Loca headed in one direction sniffing and Wolfie headed in another and I called to her “Don’t let the dogs on the porch!”

Tatjana narrowed her eyes at me. I should have taken that as a sign to leave, but we didn’t.

The woman went on to say the dogs had to be on a leash three times as if she had Tourette’s syndrome. I said, no problem and smiled. Then she proceeded to lecture me on where the dogs could be – in front, in back, never on this side, never off leash, never by another cabin. I wanted to turn around and get back in the truck and come home, but I smiled and said thanks.

She proceeded with more rules – “Are you going to leave the dogs in the cottage by themselves when you go out to dinner?” No, we aren’t going to dinner, I said. “No dogs are allowed on our furniture.” My dogs don’t get on furniture, I brought their beds. Still smiling.

Then I asked her how far the high school was because the bike ride on Saturday morning started from there. She said it is a half mile down the road but you cannot bike there because of the road construction. I sighed, went back to the truck and drove towards the Gazebo cottage.

I got to the cottage, half crippled by my psoas that had constricted to a leathery knot, we unloaded the truck and put everyone in the makeshift yert or gazebo as they wanted it to be known. There were stained glass church windows hermetically sealing the yert into one claustrophobic, airless, sightless prison. Outside, on the wraparound porch, there was one plastic chair on it – one lonely chair – remember the rule of relaxation and nirvana? two chairs. Another portent.

I tried to take a deep breath. Tatjana tried to calm my nerves. We decided to have a beer then take the dogs for a walk – to the front (allowed), on leash (allowed) – so they could unwind as well. I had this feeling that instead of booking with like we did last weekend, we were now booked at

Then we walked to the front, under the spooky mossy oak trees. I was musing how the last owner of Oak Alley had all the moss removed from the alley of oaks because they scared her. Lightning bugs were igniting everywhere and charmed us out of our mood. We then came back to the yert and went inside.

The claustrophobia started again.

The dirty sponge, the roach, the dogs panting and circling, all wound up, the two burned tortillas till I got it right and finally made us a wrap, the feeling that we had no place to sit, to unwind, to see outside. The peacock roaming the grounds squacking loudly and shaking the dingle berries on top of his head back and forth, as if he too, wanted out, had gone nuts here at

I set the alarm and got my biking gear together. We lit incense. We ate our wrap. Then T put me in bed and gave me such a deep massage I fell fast asleep.

But I awoke at 3AM, my heart racing, anxiety attacking me from all angles – I hate this place! I don’t want to ride my bike on roads that are being torn up! Fuck the doyene of Butler Greenwood and her plantation rules (read: it ain’t a plantation, the yert/gazebo is kitsch-o-rama, our house is way better). I had tried to zen her back, smile, not let her ruffle my feathers, give her the benefit of the doubt (bad day?), but now all I could think in my own Tourette’s fashion was we’re so outta here!

I write this from home, safe on the bayou, all of the family – Bam Bam, Wolfie, Tatjana, Loca and me are SO HAPPY TO BE BACK AT THE LALA, we kissed the ground we entered. Coincidentally, I was wearing a tee shirt that said DO YOU KNOW WHAT IT MEANS TO MISS NEW ORLEANS?

Then this was my horoscope:

May 30, 2009
Taurus (4/20-5/20)
Mutual respect may feel like a dying art today when you are forced to deal with someone who uses arrogance to get their way. Luckily, the encounter will be fairly brief. You can try to teach them a lesson if you really want to, but it might be much more amusing if you just let them behave the way they want to and just walk away, laughing. You cannot be responsible for the behavior of other people, so do not let yourself get caught up in it.

The lifescape of time moving too fast

Friday, May 29th, 2009

We’re headed to St. Francisville for the Tour de Cure this weekend for me to ride a half century. That’s about all I can muster given that I haven’t been on my bike much in the recent weeks. We looked at our calendar a few months ago and said GADZOOKS we are busy and it’s true. Here, there and everywhere.

But at the end of the day or at the end of our life, which we hope is long, when we are sitting on the front porch in the rockers, I want to have a plethora of memories to pull from … otherwise the stories we tell will get old fast, and our ability to pull in passerbys to come sit a spell with us will be in short supply.


City Park

Friday, May 29th, 2009

Today I walked through the park with just Loca, our customary fast paced cadence, and I saw the park again as if for the first time, moss hanging from the trees, ducks and swans gliding across the still lagoon, green green everywhere, and interspersed were bikes, and a boom box, and a man fishing, and many different sorts walking, running, skating, and again I was grateful to live near such beauty.

The artist within

Friday, May 29th, 2009

This morning walking Loca on our longer route through the park, I was admiring the sculpture garden and thinking about the child we are going to adopt. Last night, at dinner, we were talking about not having or putting expectations onto your children, and yet this morning, I found myself holding a secret desire for my child to be an artist of any variety. The reason is that without a vehicle to communicate all that is inside of you, I think there is a tendency to go crazy.

Our good friend took third prize in an architectural competition in Zagreb we learned this morning. His take away, aside from a nice chunk of change, is that he followed his inner voice instead of creating what the jury might select.

Even I with a simple blog, find sometimes when someone tells me they are reading a particular piece or commenting on something I have written, fight the urge to edit my writing for someone.

The urge to create is universal and how it manifests itself is often beautiful even if what inspired it is not.

Of course, then there is low culture

Thursday, May 28th, 2009

A source just sent me this site which is an aggregate of funny text messages.

Pretty hilarious. A few of my personal favorites:

(585): Saw a guy smoking a cig holding it with a fork and driving WTF?

(832): I love hooters. This dumb bartender is saying how coffee dehydrates you so that’s why she sometimes just eats the coffee grinds. wake up.

(440): i have nine cents in my fucking bank account… not even a dime

(518): I am at the point in my high where i now know/understand chinese.

As the season draws nearer

Thursday, May 28th, 2009

June 1st is the official start to the hurricane season, so far our family album is filled with names like Katrina, Rita, Gustav and Ike – they are all photographs of exile – this year we all hope for better. Tonight on the Magnolia Bridge, a Brazilian singer will play music and we’ll walk down there to listen to him. I will cast my wish to the water under the bridge that this year, 2009, we all are spared having to leave our homes.

after an apocalypse
China 2008

All public celebration is
canceled for three days
of mourning, but the trees
on nan hai da dao
can’t resist a confetti shower
after rain. They scatter
yellow rainbows where
we walk, remember
the dead but dance for
the living, shower
each going on
with flowers.
They have lived after
seasons of dying before.
They know ends
are fashioned from fragments
gathered in the shattered
middle of things that will not last.

after an apocalypse
we prepare for floods
we know all about gods
and promises

Five million is not as hard as one
who has taken shelter
under a walkway
that leads from an English garden
to a fortified high rise
promise of luxury.
Five million is a puzzle
for an engineer,
distant as a collapsing star,
a cipher in a book of equations,
a design problem in a textbook
for the next hundred-year storm.
One in shadows is an
other, undeniably
fragile as oneself.
One and one and one and one,
on and on and on and on.
Not five million.
Five million one
by one, every one
displaced, displacing.
See her and you are homeless as any buddha.