More will be revealed.
Archive for April, 2011
So day one was just a primer, sort of like when you haven’t exercised for a while and you go for it and then you come home with all these aches and pains. Today was the real Jazz Fest, a simply gorgeous day, and every time I turned around I was near someone I wanted to talk to, sitting and listening to a band I wanted to hear, and just all around enjoying myself.
I started at a neighbor’s party where Tin started with cake and then moved to a hot dog and I spoke with a woman who had adopted a daughter from China nine years earlier, who recently had been declared legally blind from the malnutrition she had suffered in the orphanage.
Then we strolled over to the Fest, and a woman strolled beside me with her four year old asleep in the stroller, she was from California and she had adopted her daughter from Ethiopia just one year ago, the little girl is still learning English.
We went by GoGo’s when we got inside the gates and bought myself a birthday present, and then headed to Congo Square where Tin got to jam with the Hot 8 Brass Band and ran into a friend who sat with us for a spell. Then we ventured to the Kid’s Tent and watched the African American Society perform dances, drums and singing. From there we headed to get white beans again and then came back to catch Trombone Shorty being interviewed at the Allison Miner stage where he played his trombone in the most intimate and fabulous way that had Tin mesmerized.
As we were leaving we stopped back at the Gospel tent to catch the end of the Rance Allen Group that was Fab U Lous! To my left was the woman from California, her daughter dancing up a storm, and the song was all about do you have something to be thankful for?
Oh yes, indeed I do. Exhibit A:
We stopped at another neighbor’s party on the way home at the old Spanish Customs House. He is knee deep or thigh deep rather in a two year renovation but he is truly tackling it in its purity. We were outside on the lawn because the floors were all dug up, they were terrazzo added years after the house was built. This house is possibly the oldest structure in Louisiana. The land was purchased in the early 1700’s and the house is believed to have been built in 1784 by Santiago Lorens but you should read the blog Lyndon is keeping on his renovation.
There was a blanket spread on the front lawn with crayons and kids coloring so Tin jumped right in despite having spent a long day at Fest.
I had to pull him away much to his chagrin to get him home and bathed and ready to fly out in the morning. On the way around the bayou we stopped and bought a lemonade from our neighbor’s son, and by the time we were on our porch, six different neighbors had stopped to sit and recollect the day. A magical day.
We’re hoping that all the people passing by for Jazz Fest will take a photo of themselves and the bridge as they cross over and then send it into our blog.
I missed Trombone Shorty jamming with Jeff Beck, I missed Mumford & Son, and I missed Might Cloud of Joy in the Gospel Tent, so today, different approach. We have a party going and a party coming back and then I have to get Tin’s hair washed and ready for bed so we can catch an early flight out to Atlanta in the morning for my nephew’s wedding.
Deep breath, rev your engines, on your mark, get set, GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.
Okay, I’m the Energizer Bunny and could usually see more music at one day of Jazz Fest than the average bear but I must admit that Jazz Fest with a toddler changes everything.
We hurried over to see the Brass Band Throwdown at the Kid’s Tent and that was just a warm up because then we went over to Congo Square and set up base camp which consisted of two chairs, a blanket, a tethered umbrella, cold drinks, a hot potato, a toy trumpet, two drumsticks, books, and god knows whatever else I managed to bring. We saw the Bahamas Experience featuring Raphael Funky Nassau Munnings and the Baha Men and that was before Donald Harrison took the stage and really jammed with the most colorful and funky get down Mardi Gras Indians I’ve ever seen.
Tin played the trumpet, the trombone, the drums and anything else he could get his hands on but he wouldn’t eat his yogurt and couscous, he wouldn’t eat crawfish bread, he wouldn’t eat anything until the end of the day when he devoured smothered white beans and rice. And then wearily, we made our way home stopping ever so briefly at Swirl to say hi to the girls:
If tomorrow is day two, I’ll be a monkey’s uncle.
Jazz Fest begins in earnest today at 11am and it is a panopoly of musical genres, crafts, food, and the whole shebang. A local musician recently said he preferred French Quarter Festival because it highlights all local music, but I have to say, I love the cornucopia of sounds that come out of Jazz Fest where gospel goes hand and hand with We Landed On The Moon. The stroller is geared up, Tin last night read his Jazz Fest book and told my friend at the end of the book, “HAPPY JAZZ FEST EVERYONE AND SEE YOU NEXT YEAR!”
We’ll be hitting the Fest later today and I can’t wait!
I spoke with a friend who is battling herself, her ties to her philandering husband and desire for the young casanova who is playing cat and mouse. “I can’t help myself, I keep texting him even when he doesn’t answer,” she told me.
I spoke with an acquaintance who said she finally ditched the boyfriend who won’t kiss on the mouth and is now obsessed with the one who got away. “I am stalking him on Facebook, I don’t know why,” she told me.
I spoke with a long-time friend who said she attended a conference and stalked her ex- married lover and got just this close. “I can’t help it, I just wanted to see if he was still wearing his wedding ring,” she told me.
I spoke to myself about this time with Tatjana gone for two weeks I am acknowledging how much I miss her when she’s gone and yet looking forward to the space of being alone. Neither feeling scares me, I tell myself.
“Love is what we are born with. Fear is what we learn. The spiritual journey is the unlearning of fear and prejudices and the acceptance of love back in our hearts. Love is the essential reality and our purpose on earth. To be consciously aware of it, to experience love in ourselves and others, is the meaning of life. Meaning does not lie in things. Meaning lies in us.”
I’ve spoken before about this woman I met in New York many years ago while attending a Woman in Media conference that I was invited to – she was a Life Coach type speaker and after she spoke, she came and sat down next to me in the audience – I was sitting near the front but to myself – and I whispered to her that she looked better with light brown hair than the blonde photo that was on the flyer. After the next speaker, we both got up to go mingle and found ourselves standing next to each other again, I offered her a hypothesis of a gal-pal of mine who was struggling through some personal stuff and she said to me, never you mind about your friend, keep this in mind, the best place to be is airborne, swinging between the branches.
She had just spoken to the group about how letting go of the familiar handlebar and about to grab hold of the next secure bar put you in a precarious position or at least that is how you will feel – precarious. But the truth is you are in the best place, the interstitial between known and unknown – the place where all things are possible. And why is it so hard for us as human beings programmed to cling to let go and enjoy the space?
I cut out a photo of a woman looking straight ahead but with one foot about to step off the precipice – it read: Sometimes the best place for a woman to be is out on a limb. I pasted it into my scrap book.
Yesterday, I was watching Ruby and waiting for Tin to wake from his nap and a neighbor friend stopped to sit with us on the porch. She is in charge of quality control at her large corporation and she made a comment about my other neighbor who had just returned from work, looking a little harried at first, but who then donned the Jazz Fest banner they were about to put up as a cape and held up a wand and came out twirling it on the porch. She said to her, “Good, you need life work balance.”
Then she turned to me and said, “She’s just like her father, a hard worker, but works too hard.” And I said, well tell me about that because I’ve been going through a lot of questioning in my mind over the last nine months about work, life and of course, balance. We meandered through subjects that included work, age, relationships, children, and running and at the end of this happenstance conversation on the front porch of the LaLa, I had an epiphany of where I am in my life – on a ledge.
But while I’ve been clinging and yelling HELP, people around me have been killing themselves literally. A neighbor hung herself last week, another neighbor’s boyfriend blew his brains out and there was a vigil for him just a little down the bayou from where we were sitting – they sent a toy boat into the bayou and set it aflame while a friend strummed her guitar. My other neighbor friend had been to the vigil and was returning with three others I knew who were getting in their car to go home. She came and sat with me and another friend who had stopped by to sit on the porch – now it was evening – Tin was in bed – and she brought a book that Marianne Williams had written about life changes, and career changes, and about letting go of money as the main goal and embracing other currencies, ones of social worth and import.
I thought about life, about how fragile it is and overwhelming to some of us, and how incredibly exciting a ride it is to others. And I figured that in this transitional state where I am learning to be in love with a partner who does not need me, to work at a job where what is expected is not for me to be up all night but to be smart and to use the almost 52 years of wisdom I’ve accumulated, and to be a mother to a child that has already pretty much mapped out where he needs guidance and where he needs independence, that I’m killing myself by fearing that I’m going to drop off when I take the next step, when in fact, I’m about to launch.
In the words of Tony Bennett who I was lucky enough to see at Jazz Fest a couple of years ago, “The best is yet to come.”
My friend curated a show at the Fair Grinds Coffeehouse called Bayou St. John: Portrait of a Neighborhood, it was the third in a series she has done starting with Your Mama N Dem and Gluttony. The artists so generously donated proceeds from their sales to the ReBridge effort and one artist in particular gave 100% of the proceeds to ReBridge. So I bought it. Well not just for that reason but because I loved that these two women spent the time looking for things found in and around the bayou and built a terrarium out of it. The title of the piece is A Lifetime of Happiness Lies Ahead of You. It is still on display there until August 1.
Since I got an earful from a few gal-pals today about men and all the ways they make us crazy, and my response to each was to acknowledge it and let it go, you’d think that I was channeling some of this lifetime happiness wisdom and yet all of this sage advice comes from someone who was in the fetal position last night as my email once again went kaput and no longer feeds through my Blackberry – I’m so over consumer electronics I could spit – and then this morning I missed yoga as I had to be on the phone with not one but three techs who couldn’t help me and have not heard one peep from Laughing Squid the company who hosts my site and every time I logged onto their site to register a complaint I was greeted with a big large sign on the right that says VOTE FOR LAUGHING SQUID which made me want to pummel my screen.
So last night when we were watching Due Date with Zack Galifianakis and Robert Downy Jr, and Tatjana kept referring to Downy’s character as the asshole because he reacts and explodes over Galifianakis’s inanity, but Downy was the one I was totally relating to, so I thought to myself as I almost pummeled the screen when visiting Laughing Squid’s site for the umpteenth time today that maybe I’m an asshole and so who the hell am I to give advice on how to achieve happiness or at the very least equilibrium when it comes to the rules of engagement of men and women?
Which brings me to why I bought the terrarium to begin with, isn’t there something serene and optimistic about two women who collected objets de art from the bayou and created this art piece for an art show to then give away any monetary gain back to the bayou bridges – now that is so Lion King.
This morning the wind was blowing so strong that it actually kept Loca in check as we circled City Park. A man said to me as I passed him, beautiful day huh? Is he kidding I thought, but I could see he wasn’t. You have to be from here to know that the arrival of Jazz Fest means the real beginning of summer because no matter how cool or pleasant it is right now, it will pass by the first day of Jazz Fest. And then the Fest’s weather will be shrouded in mystery during the entire time – will it rain or not? being the largest question our pea brains can fathom.
I saw for the first time today a news flash about the storms in the Midwest and South, about the floods, and about the tornadoes, see what happens when you lift your head up for a moment, you realize we are all going to hell in a handbasket.
But this morning I sort of agreed with the guy, I love a wet Gulf wind and a slightly overcast sky to make the park look like it is cast in technicolor and the feeling that gravity is holding me down here with the other mere mortals.