Archive for January, 2012

When work is good

Monday, January 30th, 2012

I met two of Tatjana’s longtime friends this weekend and we had the weird opportunity to work on a project together – mainly putting up the Nolli Plan that I have been moving from place to place for about 15 years. Mind you, they were coming here on vacation and had little advance knowledge that a project of this size and scope was awaiting them. It was awkward to think guests and friends were going to actually work on a project that we would be the beneficiaries of – because really who has time for other people’s projects, I ask you?

But at the end of the day, it was interesting to get to know someone from a different slant, the perspective of work and organization. With level heads and an actual level, everyone performed according to their abilities and I actually worked a power drill (which last time I did, it was a disaster), and at the end of the day we had mounted the Nolli Plan and had sealed it in museum grade plexiglass. Sort of hard to believe but there it is.

So our friends went back to cold and rainy Seattle leaving all the sunshine here in New Orleans to wait for their return, where they have earned the right to call the tree house (aka the tower) of the LaLa as their home away from home.

1000 non words

Monday, January 30th, 2012

The weekend came and went with a dinner here for guests, a birthday party for Tin’s classmate, a dash to Spotted Cat, a costume affair at the Pussyfooter’s Blush Ball, a Jazz Brunch with Evan Christopher, James Singleton, and Steve Masakowski, and the drummer whose name I can’t remember, then there was the PROJECT (putting up the Nolli Plan), and then dinner at Three Muses and Gal Holiday & the Honky Tonk Revue.


And then Wall Ah (read: Walla! or Voila!)

It really is true

Sunday, January 29th, 2012

Yesterday, we took our guests to see Panorama Jazz Band playing at the Spotted Cat. Tin brought his “trombone” (a drumstick and the xylophone stick) and put on a first class performance. It’s almost worrisome the concentration he has and adoration for certain musicians (he followed Ben Schenck around like a puppy).

After the first set, we stayed for one waltz and then came home to change into our costumes to head to the Pussyfooters’ Blush Ball and blush you would because as our friend from Seattle said, he hadn’t seen so many woman, half naked, in one room possibly ever. Given the same event (unlikely in Seattle, he said, but just go with it), there would be a bias towards men, gay men, and that’s that. And Big Sam’s Funky Nation was right on beat to rock the crowd and get them going.

I was able to drag out my Barbie outfit for one more ride and it’s definitely possible I had the best outfit there. Thanks Cree McCree for making a divine hat and thanks Macy’s for carrying that godawful but wonderfully sparkly pink gown.

At the end of the day, our friends from Seattle were so impressed by their day walking through the Garden District, eating at the Butcher, hearing Panorama at the Spotted Cat, and then going to a Mardi Gras ball with half naked hotties. They kept looking at us as if to say, “Was that fantastic or do you do this all the time?”

All the time.

Unfriend me now!

Sunday, January 29th, 2012

There is an article in the Sunday NYT about how to break up with a friend. As I number them, there are many approaches. I remember when I was in a budding friendship with a young man and we hit a snag, he asked me if I would now give him perfunctory greetings on the bayou much the way I was doing with an old friend. What other answer is there but yes. There is no room to hold grudges, and sometimes there is no way to explain your position, get to the heart of the other’s position, and get both of you to gel. Things just are what they are.

Two days ago, a friend told me that she marvels at how I can sit back and not react sometimes when people say or do things. I said I learned this from my ex-husband. Things that have no clear resolution by airing them, are best left to what I have now coined as AID – Avoid, Ignore and Deflect.

Years ago, my company hired a man in a similar position to me, paid him double and gave him carte blanche, but I smelled a rat. I said in fact to my boss that when it comes to this guy, “That dog don’t hunt.” And hunt he did, peeling off our clients and starting up his own business that mimicked ours. But before he left he told my boss that in fact, it was me, who was the “cancer” in the company.

Not too long ago, out of the blue, he showed up on my Facebook and wanted to friend me, and I said yes, because I don’t censor Facebook.

And about six months later, I was writing about a sensitive topic of which I can’t remember what it was now, and this man wrote something pretty horrid, so I wrote back on my Wall, “I never did like you.” And he thought I was kidding. But I wasn’t. Recently, during the State of the Union address I was tweeting during Obama’s speech, but turned to Facebook during the GOP rebuttal and the Tea Party address. Of Daniels, all I did was quote him – a niagra of debt and other pat phrases he had used and I said he looked like a zombie. Of Mr. 9, 9, 9, I did the same.

It was getting late, but suddenly a message popped up, from my “friend”:

January 24: I just read your two most recent posts. I used to think you were intelligent. That is no longer the case.

Me: You are such a liar – you never thought anything.

January 24: Well, I actually did think you had some useful attributes. But not many.

Me: You are hilarious.

January 24: And you are the perfect example of the type of person who I rather enjoy “unfriending”. Be gone silly woman.

Me: Mmm, bye bye as they say in California

January 24: Bye bye indeed!! And you are right, and I apologize for not being honest. But I never did like you. Not one bit. I feel better to have that off my chest.

Me: You are really hilarious.

As you go through life, you lose friends that mean a great deal to you and you carry that grievance in little pouches inside your heart. You have spats with old friends but come through them, you drop some friends because they turn toxic, you make new friends and are often pleased and sometimes disappointed, but the fact remains, if you blink, and really don’t like someone, all of the time in the world doesn’t assuage this fact.

The good news is that there is an endless supply of people out there who will love you for who you are, support you and nourish you. So sometimes unfriending is just a way of clearing the way to have those people come into your life.


Saturday, January 28th, 2012

The yoga movement in New Orleans is nascent, but in the last ten years, and in particular post Federal Flood, yogis have helped raise consciousness to a radically new level. One of my gurus, Michele Baker, has driven around the worst neighborhoods in this city (where crime happens frequently) with her guru, Sharon Gannon and both of them ommmmm’d. That’s right, they came to where healing was needed and they ommm’d to try to send healing vibes into the deep gashes that exist in this city.

I read recently about a few women who have a prayer group and what they do is drive through the worst parts of the city (where crime happens frequently) and they pray aloud for the people and souls in the area in order to help it heal and to hopefully stop the violence.

Today, as we were in the backyard of one of Tin’s schoolmates, at a birthday party, I heard a marching band and so Tin and I and the rest of the kids went running to the front of the house to see who and what. It turns out it was a second line prompted by Silence is Violence that was marching for a community picnic aimed at raising the awareness of young people about the violence in this city. We went to the corner to enjoy the spectacle, but I couldn’t help but think of Pervella’s video that I posted earlier where she says, what happened when we just threw rocks?

So if yoga is helping to raise the consciousness of people, and those who pray are taking it to the streets that need it the most, and Silence is Violence continues to march for peace, maybe, just maybe, things will shift around here.

Breaking down your own beliefs

Saturday, January 28th, 2012

I was listening to a journalist talking about covering Iraq and going there with preconceived notions of what their collective beliefs and attitude towards America are, but he said, after he had interviewed ten people, he realized the story was zigging and zagging and basically the truths were only half truths and beneath them lay alternative stories and perspectives. In the end, he realized that having spent time in Iraq he came to revisit his own beliefs about America.

He was speaking nine months after Obama had been elected president and he argued that Bush’s war on terrorism brought darkness into the world whereby Obama simply by talking about a more inclusive world had delivered us. And more to a hawkish point, would do more to combat and foil terrorism than the Imperial America that Bush was advocating.

Later, Moyers was interviewing a doctor from Venezuela who had moved to the U.S. and had started a movement in her poor, Latino community to bring diabetes awareness and care to a wider audience. She did this by developing an army, armed with information and experts with diabetes who had learned to control their disease, she began to infiltrate and promote an awareness campaign that was so grassroots in its origins, they spoke at laundromats, grocery stores, parking lots, and little by little the message started spreading and sticking till nearby hospitals and clinics began to take notice.

The wars we fight resonate beyond the front lines, which war do we want to be involved in, which are the ones worth dying for, isn’t it time that we as a country made that decision, rather than the likes of Dick Cheney or George Bush. There is a time when the followers began to hate themselves for following stupid leaders, and right now I wonder how we as a people spent eight crippling years under the reign of a petty thug.

The best of the best

Saturday, January 28th, 2012

Last night we stayed in and made dinner all cozy like in our Euro kitchen. There was crawfish etouffe and slender green beans with julienned carrots sauteed in brown butter as well as lemon ice from Brocatos. Instead of an etouffe recipe I have used for years, I made John Besh’s version and it was, I must admit, the best ever. I did do a little of my own doctoring to his recipe, adding lemon zest from one whole lemon and more dashes of Crystal and Crystal Hot.

But more importantly we huddled together in the candlelight and the red glow of our Turkish lantern to weave more threads into our narratives. It so important to understand how much you control the editing of your own story.

Don’t numb it down for me

Friday, January 27th, 2012

I met a friend for lunch the other day and we talked about life and how particularly with a child it is like ground hog’s day, where every day the same things have to occur or else – such as making food, getting them dressed, getting them to sleep. I saw another friend who said sometimes she feels numb to everything a lot of times and then turned and said, “What is that?”

I don’t know, but I do know. I was speaking randomly to a mother who was watching her children, who told me she had been adopted and she had lots of friends who were adopted and that she had a theory that adopted children have unique qualities all their own – the girls are promiscuous and the boys during adolescence have self-loathing. At the same time she could have easily said, “The sun comes up every morning for adopted children.”

I just wonder why it is that there is this, hey, psst, over here, got a minute, let me tell you something and most of the time, I’m left scratching my head wondering is that all there is?

I try on a regular basis not to let life numb me – and I have reason enough to want to numb myself through drinking and such recreation, but in the end, it gets me no where. I like that I don’t believe my child has to grow up fitting any stereotype, or that my life has to conform to anyone’s idea of normal. That makes me numb.

Find that real you, fast

Thursday, January 26th, 2012

I met last night with two intelligent and creative people who are at the cusp of sprouting wings. How they are doing this is by the seat of their pants. One is helping the business world go paperless, with a little help from some online tools such as,,

What we all agreed on is in this brave new world the best asset you can have is to be authentic. And that’s not easy to do. To be authentic, you must have conviction that your unique voice and talents make a difference to others. So just showing up is no longer good enough. As Thomas Friedman writes about in this article, average is no longer good enough.

For those of us in our late forties and fifties, marching orders are to work towards the expression of our talents (learned and innate), but for children maybe it’s time to reconsider the cookie cutter education children are receiving in schools that educate to standardized test rituals. Imagine American schools teaching and guiding children towards their authentic self.

The Waldorf School teaches a child just this – to grow from within, to develop executive function, to ignite creativity, and to open their eyes to the world that is around them. I can’t imagine a better way to arm your child for a future where average is no longer good enough and everyone must be able to radiate and leave a unique stamp on this world.

Bore me to tears

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

We were running late to school this morning because I opened that great can of worms called my contacts and the lack of sync-ability with Outlook, Address Book, and my iPhone. The Apple rep told that I needed iCloud and I felt like yelling iWONT!

I’m sick of technology at the moment having watched T trying to recoup her back up from Carbonite and everything being all over the map, and me with this umpteenth round of contact losses. Big major pain in the petuti.

So we get in the car after Tin is dawdling his way to the truck and as we start driving, Tin says, “Look, the sun.” And sure enough in the thick of the clouds was a little bit of sun peaking out. He then said, “It’s a beautiful day.”

Okay – so he undermined my bad mood. But later I was speaking to parents about boredom and one told me that a visiting speaker at Waldorf had said that boredom is good for kids, because it means that something big is about to happen.

You can fill in the blanks there – because they have a rested mind, because there is space, because they have finished everything before and are ready for the new, because there was capacity to conceive of the new.

But the reason I’m writing about this is because boredom is good for adults too – and we don’t get a lot of it these days because of technology. Instead we are always fixing something or recouping, or backing up, or what have you. But to sit on the stoop, the couch, the stairs and just be bored – what a blessing!

So try to schedule boredom into your overwrought routine.