Archive for August, 2009

Nantucket and the pulchritude

Monday, August 31st, 2009

We took the ferry from Hyannis to Nantucket this year, instead of flying – I hate that tin can of a plane as well as the ups and downs of the flight there. As soon as we got on the boat you could see that Nantucket look everywhere – I don’t want to call them Arians because that is not it – but there is a certain look to the people going to Nantucket and it is sort of a cross between Patagonia and Ralph Lauren.

There is something about them though – a sense of entitlement that sort of creeps me out even though I love Nantucket and everyone who I actually do know that goes there in person is terrific and down to earth. They were sort of unaccommodating on the ferry, then they just don’t want to move tables so that the cafe can fit you in, and they sort of look stiff.

Maybe it’s a read that I have coming from New Orleans where most if not all people are just downright friendly.

However, one night at the Galley, watching the ocean with the sky and sea blurring into some sapphire blue and a sun that was blazing red and dropping like the New Year’s ball, and then looking around at all the white faces, blonde hair, and blue eyes, I saw a natural harmony with the scene that made me think of The Great Gatsby or maybe just a life in fiction, a parallel universe to what the one I am in.

Can you delay your gratification?

Monday, August 31st, 2009

There is a test where you put a marshmallow in front of a child and ask them if they want it. If they respond yes, then you propose something to them – “I will leave the room for twenty minutes and if you don’t eat this marshmallow, then when I come back, I’ll give you two marshmallows.”

This is supposed to assess if your child has what it takes to delay their gratification – something that is considered paramount to the development of good life skills.

Nature versus nurture

Monday, August 31st, 2009

Last night, standing in JFK late in the evening, ready to come home, I watched a mother and her son enter the scene, sit down on the floor and begin to interact. The boy wanted his toys and he wanted to dump them all out. She allowed him to pull out a couple of toys. He chose two black sleek airplanes and he wanted her to play with him. He said he wanted to destroy the universe but since he was so young, it sounded more like dithstroy de universh. Then he wanted to destroy her plane. Then he wanted her to fight back with his plane.

At the very same time, in the commotion of everyone waiting for a plane, another mother walked up with her daughter of a similar age. They went and sat by the window and the little girl imitated everything the mother was doing, from tucking her dress under to sit on the floor, to pushing her hair back clumsily with her hand. Then she proceeded to talk almost nonstop to the mother. What is this, what is that?, where is this person, why is that person calling.

A friend sent a link to how men communicate. But what I want to know is as we move more towards enlightenment, does anyone really believe that men and women are actually ever going to understand each other? I hope so, but just puzzled as to if that is possible. But I’m equally puzzled that there is a lot of truth in this article but I didn’t really understand this when I was in the thick of it and when I really could have used this information. It wasn’t that I wasn’t aware of this, it’s just that I didn’t understand it. It took 50 years and three marriages and lots of male interaction to get what the men in my life were all about – I just wish I would have understood them a long time ago, or rather I wish I would have understood who I was a long time ago.

What girls can solve given the opportunity

Monday, August 31st, 2009

While I was returning from Europe, I picked up a Herald Tribune. I had been avoiding news while there and had glanced once or twice at Financial Times or the Wall Street Journal while in hotel lobbies but on reading the headlines had opted not to be in the know. The Tribune was pretty interesting as it was dedicated to the global concerns of women from every angle imaginable – from microfinancing success stories to US business women who had touched the glass ceiling and decided they were more interested in helping others up the ladder than shattering the barriers erected by men.

I went on my annual girl’s trip this weekend. It was an inopportune time given that I had been away for vacation just beforehand, that mom was still no better, and I was up to my ears in work alligators. But take it, I did.

This was my third trip – I missed last year because of my sabbatical and Croatia. We met once again in Nantucket and although I had made ample preparations for Tatjana and the animals to evacuate in the event of a hurricane, I didn’t think I was walking into one myself. Hurricane Danny decided to follow, as if I were the magnet.

Trapped in our Noah’s Ark wonderful house on the island, we were afforded the opportunity to problem solve on a micro and macro level as we could do little else. Returning home, I felt I had been away to a woman’s seminar on all of Life’s major issues and I felt like I came back armed with good advice, suggestions, insights, and warm fuzzies from spending time with five other terrific women – with personalities that some might describe as larger than life – and I felt grateful I had gone on the untimely trip and I felt more than ever that Hillary Clinton is very correct in stating in areas where women are fully vested, terrorism, fanaticism, and hunger seldom occur.

Here’s to women and the continued ascendency of their voice in global affairs.

The Dutch say yes we do!

Monday, August 31st, 2009

I’ve been meaning to call the mayor myself – Mayor Nagin that is – and ask him just what is going on. I get updates from a stream of different organizations that are involved with pushing for progress here in New Orleans. But today, one day after the four year anniversary of Katrina, I’m not sure we, the citizens of New Orleans know more than we did pre-K.

Over the last few years, I’ve eavesdropped, overheard, and been told that there are those in our city that are actively engaged in conversations with the Dutch as they seem to have figured this all out already. Like the Dutch, I believe we have to make friends with water and quit trying to get rid of it. We all live in New Orleans BECAUSE of the water, not in spite of it.

Here is a good clip of Mary Landrieu in Holland – I wish it contained more insight about what is currently happening in New Orleans. I understand the levees are at the level they were preK but hell, we all know that was not sufficient. If you happen to feel like it, pass it around to your friends, would be good to know that other people see that there is an answer and that the solution is political.

Ode to a tomato

Monday, August 31st, 2009

I suffer through the winter with Tatjana wanting the crappy tomatoes that are imported from god knows where and I saw like a mantra – wait till summer, wait till it is tomato season. But this year despite the tomato bush reaching maturity, despite the tomatoes fat on the vine, all of them died an early death.

In the grocery store every tomato we bought sucked. In the green market, the tomatoes sucked.

In Nantucket this weekend, the waiter said the tomatoes have sucked. Everybody except one woman I know in Virginia has had a horrible tomato year. The Nantucket waiter called it the blithe but he was only mispronouncing blight (I think). There is a blight that is ruining the tomatoes left and right.

So sad, summer is over, not a decent tomato in sight (sigh).

Imagine me and you, and you and me

Monday, August 31st, 2009

I walked Loca through the park this morning, happy to be home, happy to be here in New Orleans, happy that Loca was behaving. I saw a woman looking at a bird in the tree in the middle of the lagoon. I said to her, “It must be fall if the cormorants are back.” She said, “It’s an anhinga.”

I told her I thought  it was but I had been corrected by someone when I said anhinga, the person told me they’re cormorants. Well the truth is the cormorants come back around the same time the pelicans do. But we (me and this woman) don’t think the anhingas are migratory.

Last week when I got back from Portugal I saw the male of this anhinga pair with his jet black wings stretched fully out. The cormorants and the anhingas are the only birds I know that air dry their wings.

The woman said this anhinga pair had been around in the last couple of weeks but they have been here for a few years. That would make me believe they are migratory since I just noticed the male a week ago and haven’t seen any for a while.

The cool thing about anhingas is they skim the water and have long snake like necks. The tell on them is that cormorant has a stubby tale like a crow and a hooked beak. The anhingas are pure snake in length – straight long beak, long straight tale and those long snakey necks.

On the horse, off the horse

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

Mom’s progress is moving sideways. They keep trying to put her on an aggressive program of getting her into long-term acute care and out of a hospital room, but it seems one step forward creates a hokey pokey dance that leaves us right back to where we started from – or perhaps we are inching ahead but it doesn’t feel like it most days. She still has a trach, a vent, a feeding tube, and an itch to get the hell out of there.

No matter which way I slice and dice it a part of my mother’s life is over – the one where she lived independently and held the promise of something about to happen. Now I feel as if the future has been revealed and it’s tolerable if all goes well but not anything any of us would aspire to.

I’ve resolved myself to keep a poison pill by my bed should I live to an age when one thing could unravel everything.

Hump day and the heat is returning

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

We had a waft of cool air that came to ease our summer woes and trick us into fall. But the heat returns and so there is only one response and that is to head to the beach. This weekend I’ll join my girls for our annual girls’ trip – I still marvel how during my 16 years of marriage I never took one of these girls trips thinking they were ridiculous – AS IF! – there is nothing like a weekend spent in the company of smart, pretty, and fun girlfriends to renew your soul – and the beach, well that adds a whole other dimension and also stretches my summer out just a tad more – I’m not ready to call it quits.

Senator Ted Kennedy – RIP

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

Such a shame Senator Kennedy died – not only for what he has done, but what he could have done to help Obama pushed through a health bill. Rest in peace.