Archive for June, 2009

The sun and the moon

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

It takes a long time for some notions to be digested, yet it seems like every theme does come to closure in a full circle. In early 2008, when I developed this tightness in my lower right hip, my massage therapist said that she had a vision while working on me, when she was on the left side she plainly saw a screen door swinging freely back and forth and when she was on my right side, she saw an old heavy door with a cowbell on it opening and closing, it was an antique door, something you would see at a General Store.

In the months that followed as she worked my body trying to uncoil this tightness in my right side, she spoke about the feminine side versus the masculine side. I had worries that my masculine side was overdominating my feminine side because I was in a relationship that might be emphasizing that side of me.

Over a year later, when the tightness was not going away, I started acupuncture treatment. Remarkably, after a few months of that coupled with massage and a curtailing of Pilates, I started to find some relief. But anything that I did out of alignment would come back to that spot and cause me days of incredible stiffness.

Then in yoga, Michele started talking about balancing the breath and how if you are too left dominated, then you are too passive and you don’t have good boundaries, and if you are too right dominated then you are aggressive and in constant to do mode so that you are keeping busy so as not to just be. So for our yoga practice lately, we’ve been doing a lot of unsticking and balancing of the breath channel. And it’s amazing how claustrophobic I get when closing off one side or the other.

Today, in savasana, I got it. I have been on a journey to learn balance for a long time and the left side of me, the side that is about sitting on the screen porch and relaxing is eclipsed by the heavy duty mercantile side of me that is constantly going in and out of the General Store getting and spending (laying waste my power).

In my marriage of many years, we approached our thirties and forties with our careers in mind. He went to work each morning and worked long hours, and I went to my desk early in the morning and stayed long hours. Our success multiplied and we bought cars, furniture, art, houses, and lots of fine dining along the way. We were living the right side. The left side was not even a shadowy figure, it was barely there.

Now here I am at 50 trying to learn a new path, one that will lead me to balance work (I no longer care to accumulate one damn thing, give me experience any day) and just being. To give each equal time and equal weight.

These are two powerful forces, the sun and the moon, I have great Mardi Gras masks of each one. I’ve been the big red sun for too long now, I’m going to have to put the same energy into being the big yellow moon.

I Ching strikes again

Monday, June 29th, 2009

A friend went to see the I Ching Master in Shanghai and found out some skinny for me. He said that there is a chance we will adopt before the end of the year, but if that doesn’t happen then it will not be until May 5, 2010. He also said that T and me make the perfect couple and we are very supportive of each other. But he said in 2010 there could be some small problems that might develop and we will have to work through them, but on the other side of these speed bumps will be harmony.

Let’s recall Mr. I Ching Master was the one who told me to the date, time, and birth about my meeting Tatjana so I put a little faith in what he says.

The interesting thing is that when I was hearing about how he said T and me are perfect for each other, I thought about how when you find your match, that you sort of ease into the day to day of being a couple and perhaps don’t take the time to marvel at just how easy it is to be with each other or how much joy the other person brings to your life.

Love is a many splendored thing but really it’s the daily habit of love that is the most precious part of it.

Wake up and smell the vodka

Monday, June 29th, 2009

This morning on a typical Monday, where my day begins with way more than I have time to do, I walked Loca around the bayou and back along the shady street behind us and then hurried up to go take my mom to the doctor. I guess I don’t even have to say what he told her – quit drinking – but what was different about this doctor was he was stern and compassionate at the same time. He opened her chart and showed me the last ten years of his appointments with her. He said, “Look here in 2002, where I write – QUIT DRINKING!!!” “Look at 2004, where I say, ALCOHOLISM related.” “Look at 2006, where it says Spoke to her about drinking.”

He told me there is no doctor that can help her, she has a choice to quit drinking or she will die from some alcoholism related disease – like internal bleeding, liver malfunction or you name it.

Then he turned to her and said, “You could blame what’s happening to you on anything, but what is killing you is alcohol. Your family meanwhile has got to bear the burden of your choice.”

I had a poker face the entire time and then I just asked him point blank – “If she doesn’t quit drinking, then what?”

“She will die from this.”

Later, I got a call from a friend about the IChing Master I had seen in Shanghai, she told me he said that my mother might be okay because people born in winter can handle excessive drink better than others. He said tell her to avoid the color red in 2010.

Not going to pull any punches

Sunday, June 28th, 2009

There was another incident in the neighborhood last night at guess where? Pal’s – one of my neighbors sends this missive around:

At aprox. 2:30 am last night, two masked gunmen kicked in the front door of Pal’s and ordered the bartender and the hired security man to the ground. The criminals then proceeded to confiscate customer wallets. One customer attempted to overpower a gunman and as a result of the struggle was shot. Thankfully, that customer, a neighborhood resident and regular at Pal’s, has been released from the hospital and is expecting to fully recover.

Another neighbor writes in response:

Have yet to visit the place. I’m missing out on all the action as well as drinking with stupid people! Rushing an armed thug? If someone gets the drop on you, you’re done. Don’t look at them, do what they say and hope for the best. Better yet, don’t go to Pal’s.

Born on the bayou – well, almost

Sunday, June 28th, 2009

I forgot to go say happy birthday to my across the bayou neighbor – on June 22nd, she turned 94. We were on our way over to the museum today and passed and saw her sitting on her porch. She looked great. I tried to call Happy Birthday from the car but she couldn’t hear me so I jumped out and went over to wish her happy birthday. She said, “Well. Aren’t you going to ask me how old I am?”

I said, “How old are you?” Even though I knew because she had told me before.

I told her she is my inspiration – watching her walk around the bayou every day.

She said sitting on her front porch was what she couldn’t live without. I told her I felt the exact same way.

We are incredibly fortunate to live in this house, on this bayou, around these people, in this city – once on the porch a day is a recipe for joy.

The Art of Caring

Sunday, June 28th, 2009

How appropriate that the New Orleans Museum of Art would be featuring an exhibit about the art of caring when it seems I and everyone else I know is in the process of coming to grips with aging parents. The photography exhibit features a wide range of images from motherhood to aging to death. A small exhibit, but well worth seeing.

City Park in all its splendor

Sunday, June 28th, 2009

Summer in New Orleans has its own special quality – mainly hot, but also lazy and a step out of time. I walked with Loca over to City Park and we took a different path this morning over by where all the new landscaping and hardscaping is – to the right of the museum. It is really lovely what they have done there and as we rounded the bend of the large lagoon, we were tickled pink to see the two black swans preening, and geese a plenty.

We have everything we want right here.

My bragging rights

Sunday, June 28th, 2009

We had friends over last night who are getting ready to head out of the country for a year and another friend came with them. I was showing him around the house and telling him the blow by blow of how this house came to fruition, except having done this tour before I’ve shortened the lengthy monologue I used to perform.

The truth is I earned my bragging rights about this house. I remember when T moved in I told her I had sent Steve a thank you note for this house and said to him it was a gift of love (his response was uh, it wasn’t supposed to be). Then later when T would tell the story she would strip S’s response from the narrative and say only that it was a gift of love from him. For some reason, this had the effect of making me bristle and I think it’s because I thought people might assume this house had been handed to me on a silver platter by some rich ex-husband.

There was no silver platter let me tell you, and my mortgage is still gargantuan and the headache and heartache that are the foundation of this house are only now waning. I think about when I first moved in when I would be stricken by a paralysis of missing my marriage, my life before so intensely that it would take my breath away. Those episodes got fewer and farther in between as time went on.

The money it took to make this house is only substantial in external currency terms, the fortitude and tenacity it took to manage Steve’s graceful design against an unsympathetic work force is something that no marathon medal could ever compare with – post Katrina, with little know how and lots of spunk masking my sorrow, I feel like I built this house nail by nail.

So when I’m waltzing with a white wine spritzer through the LaLa and telling the story of how it came to be, I feel like I earned the role of doyenne and the bragging rights that come with it.

One perfect night in New Orleans

Saturday, June 27th, 2009

We rushed to get ready with Michael Jackson blaring on the stereo – PYT, pretty young thing – and we got all dolled up to go out on a date. T had bought us tickets to see Henry Butler at Snug Harbor, and she made us delicious Wodka Tonics. Not twenty minutes later, we were in T’s Toyota Matrix (which I highly recommend, $15K off the lot for a 2005 and it is a little dream zip-around town car). The summertime evening air was glorious – a nice sultry breeze keeping the heat at bay.

When we turned onto Frenchman Street, I had to stop for a blind man with a long staff crossing the street – it was yours truly, Henry Butler, making his way down to Snug.

We Kojaked and looked across at the Spotted Cat and noticed the name over the door now said Jimbeaux’s – which is unfortunate – but hey, we heard some great music spilling out of the door and people hanging around the doorway and so we slipped in to see the Panorama Jazz Band – free – okay, it’s not free – you should tip the musicians heavily in New Orleans, they deserve it – but it’s free. And they were cooking.

After one song, we walked across to Snug and went inside after consulting July’s calendar where we found that Tom McDermott plays free every Saturday and Sunday at 3PM – FREE – okay, ya with me? We went upstairs and another couple joined us as we listened to Butler get warmed up and then really bring it home ending his set with some new tunes from his PiaNOLA Live CD. Awesome. He does a cover of Dock of the Bay.

Then when we came downstairs, we bought the new CD and Butler was standing there with the other musicians and I went over to him to get him to autograph the liner and he was pretty charming. He had that cool, sort of nice way, and I said, “When are you going to leave Colorado and come home?” He said he was never there and just used it as a base. I said, “Then New Orleans could be your base.” And he said, the airport was better in Colorado. I said, “Well you got me there.”

Okay, but wait, there’s more, we met up with yet another couple who had just arrived for the summer and the six of us walked over to the bar in back of Cafe Brasil and had a beer and chatted. Then we left everyone and headed on our own, driving over to Port O Call where we walked in and were hungry for burgers but not grooving on the ambience, so we headed instead to Buffa’s and sat down with the television playing back to back Michael Jackson videos – Thriller to Beat It to Rock with You to Billie Jean – and we struck up a conversation with a nice man at the bar who was describing the horrors of his 14 year old nephew to the very cute bartender.

We chowed down on some big thick juicy burgers and drank a Corona, and grooved to the ambience and to Michael, and let me tell you, I have just described to you a perfect summer evening in New Orleans.

So much to learn, so little time

Saturday, June 27th, 2009

I would like to know the following:

1) India – ever since I read a Passage to India now almost 30 years ago, I have fantasized about India. I would like to  know India, not just visit it.

2) Turkish – I want to speak Turkish with some degree of conversational ease.

3) Parent – I want to be a mother.