A million years ago a friend of mine who was a born again Christian had a bumper sticker on her car that said FOLLOW ME and anyone who asked her what it meant she felt obliged to tell them. Christianity unlike Judaism has always been into proselytizing, a weird thing if you ask me. Well I just had the umpteenth person follow me on Twitter, but the truth is that I do nothing on Twitter, so why are all these people wanting to follow me? I used to use Twitter to update Facebook to drive readers to my blog and then I got tired of all that effort. So now my Twitter is just twittering away with nary a tweet to be had on it. Why follow me anyway? I’m a blogger, you know, and I’m blogging about one person’s experience in the world, and sometimes it might have a universal application, and sometimes it might even help one person, but most of the time, it is just about how to get through the day with a smile on your face.
Archive for January, 2011
So there are many reasons to love being a mom, to love being the mom of a cool kid, to love having a kid, but possibly the best is what a friend and colleague of mine said to me the other day that after dealing with all the stuff that goes into work – some awesomely great and some awesomely a drag when you see your kid it’s amazing – and I say to see your kid running up and down the hall saying his name that he just learned – Constantin Pavlovic Dangermond – and he is smiling ear to ear, you just want to jump up and down and run down the hall with him.
The other day when I was holed up in my office for what seemed like eternity and ran downstairs because I had forgotten to pay the nanny there sat three kids on the front porch soaking up the sun, not a care in the world, eating bread.
Ah to be young and jobless (note: there is nothing cool about being old and jobless).
Since I had paid to park all day for jury duty and I got out just before I had to get home for a call, I walked over to get some lunch at Italian Barrel, my favorite Italian restaurant possibly in the United States. It’s right across from the Mint and it’s owned and cheffed (is that a word?) by a woman from Verona. Sitting at the bar was Pell James, who until she left I never knew about, but then learned quickly that she was an actress and had been working on a movie here in our fair city. Something about the lips tipped me off that she wasn’t run of the mill (they were puffy) and something about how thin she was made me look at her jeans, which certainly looked like they were actress jeans – I was thinking about this as I had missed my work out today because of jury duty and had been sitting in an uncomfortable chair wondering if I was going to have to eat Skittles from the vending machine, when the opportunity to have a decent lunch arose and although I had made some sort of commitment to myself to eat only salads from now to the rest of my life, I actually had the homemade fettucini with tomato basil sauce instead.
I made a vow to myself to never have puffy lips and to get over ever being skinny. It works for me.
The subject of fraud is a hot one today as I was trying to use fraud in a sentence as a response to an attorney’s question today and didn’t understand the proper usage – one does what to you? Commits a fraud to you? Does fraud unto you? How does that sentence construction work. I got home to learn first hand how it works as someone stole my credit card info on January 26th while I was in New York and committed fraud (to me, against me?) by charging up all sorts of wonderful things like a Celtic onyx bracelet and the likes. Now my credit card which was on multiple vendors automatic payment lists is now kaput.
I was summoned to jury duty this morning despite having postponed the inevitable for as long as possible. After being herded from one room into another room and shuffled down the corridor with the number eight on a white sheet of paper, I was asked questions by strangers. On one side, the plaintiffs and lawyers (all related) and in Brooks Brothers suits, on the other side, the defendants (out of towners) and their lawyers (all in, ahem, weird suits and ties) – my mind was quickly saying don’t naturally go to the well dressed, well heeled, vote for the scrappy ones, but in the end the scrappy ones didn’t want me. I think I said visceral twice when responding but what really caught their attention was that I, pardon me, like 15 of the 35 potential jurors had had a bad experience with a contractor post Katrina (who hasn’t?) and so I was also not following their logic – do you think someone could commit fraud if they never met you in person and looked you in the eye – uh, excuse me? Could you repeat that question?
I wasn’t selected. I then was herded back to the big room to await my next fate, and luckily as they were calling out the names bingo parlor style, I was not on the list. Hooray. However, I do have to call in for jury duty tomorrow.
Ah, the great unwashed, and here I am, their peer.
I was looking through some of the education programs the New York Times offers and saw one on African Art and Artifacts and thought that would be an interesting course to take with T. But the sad truth is that I can’t remember things that I’ve already learned like the other day when I was walking the dogs and couldn’t even recite the Pledge of Allegiance:
“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
Einstein once said never memorize what you can look up in books, and today that goes more than double for the internet. What a resource – find a phone number or lyrics to Amos Lee’s Flower song with just the touch of a button. It’s sort of nutty huh?
So the one thing you cannot find online is experience or the learning for pleasure that comes from taking a course about something compelling but strange to you. I took a course in architecture as an adult extension course years ago in California. I took it with a friend who was also married to an architect. It was fun. I’m not sure I can remember much about it though. And that my dear is the sad fact of my brain – it is a sieve. Only the big chunks of experience are stuck and can’t get out.
If you had any doubt as to why the Huffington Post has become so popular in the world of news, check out this step by step page on what is going on in Egypt right now and why what is going on has more to do with a youth uprising than you think.
My best loves were love at first sight, but I have to admit to having had some loves that weren’t so easily predictable. Loca for instance was not love at first sight, but she has, well, grown on me, if for nothing else than I am like a convicted convict’s mother, only one who would love her. Meanwhile, I was at Petco yesterday when a woman came charging in with a 40 pound dog in her arms asking for a vet. Turns out the dog was running across Tchoupitoulas, almost got hit by several cars, and she caught the dog and was looking for a vet. I took one look at the cute brown mutt and said, “What’s this?” sticking my finger under a metal chain that was attached tightly to its neck. “Looks like he busted the chain,” said the woman. “I can’t get it off.”
I asked the cashier for a pair of scissors and cut the plastic tie holding the chain and whispered to the woman, “Don’t return this dog to its owner.” She said, “No way.” Then I said, “You got lucky. This one is a keeper.” And I could tell by the way she smiled back and went to go look for a collar that that dog had found his mistress and that woman had found her dog. Love at first sight.
Last night, we went to see The King’s Speech which is up for a number of awards. Everyone I know who has seen it has highly recommended the movie. One friend said “Better than I expected.” Another said, “Oh, I loved that movie.”
It was a nice movie. Perfectly acted by perfect actors. And I don’t know if it was the bad popcorn at Canal Place but in the end I was not as thrilled with the movie as say The Queen, which like The King’s Speech, was based on historical moments in the British monarchy, but was so profoundly portrayed by Helen Mirren that the movie had a way of quietly sneaking up on you in that British sort of way, where understatement is glaring and peculiarity of character puts the stamp on the eccentric.
In the afternoon, I had been at the costume shop on Magazine having stopped in quickly to see if I could find something that approximated a lion tamer’s hat for Tin to wear for Mardi Gras. Five of us are going as animals and we wanted Tin to be our keeper. But instead, he will wear his Indian outfit and be our little prince who keeps exotic animals such as zebra, lion, monkey, tiger, etc. When I found a unicorn outfit that would fit him perfectly, I thought well, it’s warm, it’s one piece, and it’s easy and I called the zebra and she said, “No, no, no. It’s a better story if he is different. As a unicorn, he becomes one of us.”
It made me think this morning as the rosy dawn was appearing behind the houses across the bayou about the witch of Mojacar. There is a witch that sits by the entrance to the city and she casts a spell on the people who travel there either favorably or unfavorably. This came up yesterday, when T and I were talking about a person who had had an unfavorable experience in New Orleans. And I mentioned a friend of our nanny’s who was robbed not once, but twice, and decided to leave New Orleans.
I thought perhaps there is a witch that sits at the entrance to the I-10, who decides who gets to experience New Orleans favorably and who gets to experience it unfavorably. And so that it is not so much up to us if we will enjoy, if we will get, if we will stay in New Orleans as it is the spell that is cast on us from the moment we arrive.
In my twenties, my brother told me I was a romantic and I bristled, me, never. But for years, I’ve harbored a secret wish to live in the French Quarter and have a menial job while I write. That was the dream I had when I was in California, but now that I’m back home and living on the bayou, my dream has now morphed into retirement in the Quarter. We talk about T selling her condo uptown one day and transferring to a Quarter condo and turning over the LaLa to Tin so we can live the pedestrian gadfly life of the Quarter.
I lived there when I was in my twenties, on Burgundy and Governor Nichols, across from Cosimos. It was quite the life as I worked as a hostess at Arnaud’s and spent my life in places like the Chopping Block, Marty’s, the Golden Star now Meaux Bar, and Cosimos. I have a scar on my right shin from falling into a manhole on Royal Street one night walking home from dinner with the first love of my life, who is now dead.
For the Tennessee Williams Festival one year, I went on a walking tour because I thought it was being led by an old professor of mine, Dr. Kenneth Holditch. Unfortunately, that day he was not up for the walk but he did do the introduction. Nonetheless, the tour was so wonderful as we walked along and basically relived Tennessee’s life. Across from one of his old apartments was a small hotel for sale. I dreamed one day to own it and live out my days there.
As I was finishing Where We Know New Orleans As Home, I came across some wonderful depictions of the Quarter, written better than I could have, so I’ll include them here:
There used to be a pelican in the neighborhood of Jackson Square. … I was a symbol. I am still a Symbol in my ghostliness. I betoken the old-fashioned life of the Pelican State that is passing away. I represent the quaintness that is dying out, and the antiquated thing that shall soon become as ghostly as myself. The old city is becoming Americanized, and I am glad that I am dead.
from Lafcadio Hearn “The Pelican’s Ghost” (1880)
I am in New Orleans and I am trying to proclaim something I have found here and that I think America wants and needs.
There is something left in this people here that makes them like one another, that leads to constant outburst of the spirit of play, that keeps them from being too confoundedly serious about death and the ballot and reform and other less important things in life.
The newer New Orleans has no doubt been caught up by the passions of our other American cities. Outside the “Vieux Carre” there is no doubt a good deal of the usual pushing and shoving so characteristic of American civilization. …
At any rate there is the fact of the “Vieux Carre” — the physical fact. The beautiful old town still exists. Just why it isn’t the winter home of every sensitive artist in America, who can raise money enough to get here, I do not know.
Sherwood Anderson, “New Orleans, the Double Dealer, and the Modern Movement in America” (1922)
New Orleans may be too seductive for a writer. Known hereabouts as the Big Easy, it may be too easy, too pleasant. … The occupational hazard of the writer in New Orleans is a variety of the French flu, which might also be called the Vieux Carré syndrome …
When the French Quarter is completely ruined by the tourists — and deserted by them — it will again be a good place to live.
Walker Percy, “Why I Live Where I Live,” 1980