Archive for July, 2011

State of the Union

Thursday, July 14th, 2011

We’re headed across the pond to unplug and recharge. While gone, I have crafted this survey to check in with you and see where you are at this point in life. Please take a few minutes to answer the questions in this survey, it’s totally anonymous, and I will share the results when I return.

Bon voyage!

Two steps forward and one back

Wednesday, July 13th, 2011

I was plunging into my to do list today that made it seem like someone had turned up the treadmill by about 1000 notches. Seriously. I couldn’t catch my breath because the big rock on my chest felt like a boulder that an elephant was sitting on.

Victory lap – there is a good chance I will be able to refinance the house (check), I was able to use a free ticket for an upcoming trip (check), I was able to get a decent room rate for the conference I will be attending (check), I was able to cross a dozen other things off my list including catching up with someone who has been high on my list to get in touch with (check, check, check) and at some point in the afternoon I realized something that made all of this forward motion seem ridiculous.

I am going to miss Tin’s first day of school because I will be at a conference. I almost cried when I realized it and so Tatjana has offered to film his walk across the bridge to the Montessori school that day.

Boo hoo.

Svaha! Kapara!

Tuesday, July 12th, 2011

The weekend respite was good for me, but I came back to the stress ball that I can’t seem to extricate from my throat. I formulated a plan for work that at least gave me some satisfaction and now am ready to execute. My horoscope today was perfect for this part of my life:

July 12, 2011

  1. TaurusTaurus (4/20-5/20)

    Things are improving in your work or school life, in part because you are taking a bigger initiative and letting your curiosity lead you into new directions. You’re not taking no for an answer, nor should you. In conversations today, soak up the empty spaces with more questions — five minutes of inquisition can uncover a lifetime of new directions to explore. The outdoors will hold a strong appeal for you — the dramatic weather serves to relax your mind and invigorate your energy.

Then I went to yoga where the word of the day was svaha (pronounced swaha) which basically means so be it, move on, which I am so down with and from now on that is going to be my word up – Svaha!

It reminds me of a word my father used to say a lot which is kapara, which is a Hebrew word used mainly by Sephardics to say throw it back to the universe. It is also a pet name for a loved one, a good person, much like canikom is used in Turkish, so kapara is used in Israeli slang. But my father used it with only one meaning, when you are licking your ice cream and it slides off the cone and hits the floor – kapara. Or in my urban dictionary, whatyagonnado?

The reason why all of these things are coming together under one roof is that my anxiety level is through the roof and I called a halt to all work being done on the LaLa – the porch will not be water proofed, it will just get a coat of paint, the skin on the back addition will not be replaced with hardee board it will just have its holes patched and painted, the termites will be treated but we won’t get the several thousand dollar contract. And as far as anything else this house needs – well, get in line sucker is all I have to say.

It’s Rachel time.

Nantucket dreams

Monday, July 11th, 2011

I sailed away this weekend to Nantucket on what has become an annual retreat. I gained more laugh lines, I traded pounds of worry for pounds of delicious treats, I reverted to the little girl who lives in me and loves a good time with good friends.

To find a friend is rare, to find a group of them is nigh impossible, but I, dear readers, fell into a bowl of milk when in 2006 I was invited into this group of women and began my excursions to the lovely island of Nantucket where hollyhocks and hydrangeas vie with blue skies and lush green meadows for the very picture of serenity.

I’m going to sleep in my bed tonight and count my lucky stars that I went where I went and came back where I came back. I walked in the door of the LaLa to Tin yelling, “Mommy mommy, I love you!”

Temporarily stepped out to see what condition my condition is in

Thursday, July 7th, 2011
What the Mapmaker Knows

O is the ocean and t the consequence
of time at the edge
of a landscape of dots plotted into the plane
with a constant scale.

Any place can be located and later divided
by cultural and social data and sketched
on a napkin—disregarding distance
and leaving only the little one knows.

Description is reductive: a shirt on the back,
buttons on the front, a mind that is willing
to enact its own explosive end. What idiocy
the world is made of:

fierce justifications, landmines and such,
a plaid shirt, a rifle upright.
Day and night, an empire
of uncommon horror: the murderer singing,

“Every moment all that matters is me.”
Tick-tick in the drifting dark.

Mary Jo Bang

Spring 2011


State of the Union

Thursday, July 7th, 2011

I’m going to take a much needed respite from myself because I have come this far and I’m bewildered by life. As our summer vacation approaches, I’m once again at a high pitch, a frenzy I seem to have a talent for working myself into around this time. It comes from feeling like I have to do it all with alacrity that rivals the velocity and speed of something only a physicist might imagine. Then I come undone.

This pattern has become so familiar to me by now that I almost laugh at myself. Almost.

I’m declaring myself once again to be powerful rather than petty, to be anchored in the now, to be lapping at the bowl of milk I fell into so long ago with such luxurious ease.

I’m marching again into the unknown with the conviction everything is going to be okay.

I’m going to take a few days off from contemplating, fretting, observing, talking back.


Free falling

Thursday, July 7th, 2011

I dreamed the other night that I was buying tickets for a marching band and had left Tin in the car and three ladies abducted him and I was running as fast I could after him but not moving and woke screaming Tiiiiiiiiiinnnnnnnnnnnn!

A friend, who spent half his life with his partner, is visiting us because he is on a friend hopping trip in the U.S. after his partner died of cancer last year. He said he remembers the moment when he almost died in his arms, in the middle of a seizure, his mind knowing his body was no longer serving him. But what comforts him was the smile on his lover’s face in the days leading up to his death.

On a stopover to see friends in New York, a friend of a friend made a phone call, “The raccoon’s back, I’m going to get the pepper spray.” The next phone call was the hospital, he was in a coma, having fallen out the window onto a rock. He died days later. His partner still trying to piece together the moments in between the phone calls.

Bastille Day looms in my near future, two years from the date my mother called and said, “I need to go to the emergency room.” This from a woman who refused to be taken to the hospital when 70% of her body was covered with bruises from falling. We were walking home from the Ponce de Leon festival, one too many margaritas in us, the moon glossy over the bayou, passing the Spanish Customs House when I got the call. I remember that moment as if I was standing still in time and I often, unfortunately, go back to it, knowing what I know now and wonder if it would not have been best to have just put her back in bed and let her die in peace.


Wednesday, July 6th, 2011

In that pendulum of life, sometimes it is actually refreshing to hit bottom. Down there in the quagmire, covered in yuck, you realized just how good a hot shower feels, you suddenly see clearer that the chains that bind you are of your own making, and what you realize is that perhaps you have found a way to negotiate the “quiet life of desperation” that all of us live.

In a telephone conversation with a man yesterday who I have never met before, he mentioned he reads my blog, calling me “our own Anne Sexton” which I thought instantly hinged on my contemplations of suicide now and again (and ahem, most recently), but in reality I think he meant more I am confessing my soul to the world in the way Sexton did – giving weight to the mundane and taking victory laps when deserved.

At the end of the day, I’m astounded by how remarkably wonderful my life is even if at times it does feel like I am swimming through jello, suffocating in a woman-made green haze of goo. Glory to the moments when I break free.

Just Once

Just once I knew what life was for.
In Boston, quite suddenly, I understood;
walked there along the Charles River,
watched the lights copying themselves,
all neoned and strobe-hearted, opening
their mouths as wide as opera singers;
counted the stars, my little campaigners,
my scar daisies, and knew that I walked my love
on the night green side of it and cried
my heart to the eastbound cars and cried
my heart to the westbound cars and took
my truth across a small humped bridge
and hurried my truth, the charm of it, home
and hoarded these constants into morning
only to find them gone.

Anne Sexton

Some good news for the hood

Tuesday, July 5th, 2011


As seen on their Twitter and WordPress:

Historic Uptown literary establishment, Maple Street Book Shop, is soon to expand into two additional historic New Orleans neighborhoods, Faubourg St. John and Faubourg Marigny. The Faubourg Marigny shop will be located within The New Orleans Healing Center at 2732 St. Claude Avenue and will be open for business in late June. The Faubourg St. John location is at 3141 Ponce de Leon #1 and will be open for business later in the summer. Both locations will house used and new books.


Loosening up the noose

Tuesday, July 5th, 2011

Isn’t it odd that yesterday on the anniversary of this country’s freedom from its oppressor, I was feeling more trapped than ever? How strange. I went to yoga and guess what the message was – freedom – how coincidental, not. Freedom is the right to change our mind even about something we have decided on and yesterday when we were going over all our options here at the LaLa that ranged from all three of us living in my office while we rented out the house to selling the house (not our favorite and the one that depressed us the most), I just kept thinking wtf? When did owning a house become a noose around my neck? In other words, how did I get here and how do I get out?

I was speaking to someone who grew up in this area and he said the old timers wonder how long us newcomers will stay or are we just a passing trend like the Californians who moved to Portland and Seattle during the explosion. I guess my lack of freedom yesterday came from not knowing whether I should cling or release – which is healthier in the long run?

Today, I was able to get into chaturanga with relative ease (how’s that? this was impossible last year) and I still struggled with crow albeit I’m much better than I was and side crow, well that is still a work in progress. But isn’t it most likely that tomorrow is completely unknown and there is a good chance one day I will be sitting on the front porch – now wrapped as the fungus and mold are being treated and pieces of wood rotted are being ripped out and replaced – and feel a great whoosh isn’t it great to be alive and on the bayou feeling? Women grow old on this bayou – 105 years old the oldest I know of personally.

I’m momentarily back on the horse, in a need of a getaway which is coming soon, and able to admit that perhaps I don’t know everything and just maybe the best is yet to come.

July 05, 2011

  1. TaurusTaurus (4/20-5/20)


    You’re entering a new phase of maturity right now, and that means you’ll be making much more difficult decisions — but you’ll also be feeling a greater sense of freedom than ever before. People have been looking to you as a source for wisdom lately, and you’ve helped some of the folks you love most find a new sense of fulfillment in life. You have a lot to be celebrating right now, so make sure you party in style. Call up the people who are the most special to you and get together to have fun.