Archive for January, 2013

Whatever happens you can handle it

Thursday, January 31st, 2013

I was listening to Drew Barrymore talk about her life and how her experiences helped make her stronger. Well I concur, Drew, my life has shaped me into a survivor – forget about what from – just life in general I’ve survived is all I want to say.

Today was the usual dose of the dosey doe – a little shrinking by E who continues to tell me that all the wrongheaded decisions I made were actually based on all the information I had at the time and so they weren’t wrong at the time. Then meet the landlords, get the keys, pick up doors, meet the guy with the doors, he’s late, go get keys made, they don’t make those kind, go somewhere else, etc.

But other things happened along the way. Yesterday, a new wrinkle in the house sale which came out of left field. Today, a chance meeting with a stranger at the coffee shop after signing the lease evoked other dreams on the bayou – 916 Moss Street – I said I always wanted to buy that house and turn it into my writing house and he said he had always wanted the same thing.

Life’s crazy, a friend said to me when she called from San Francisco last night. I was already in bed and almost asleep. Life’s crazy alright – crazy and insane. I spoke with a friend just now who said to me, “Doesn’t matter, Rachel, whatever happens, you know you can handle it.”

Wow, I told her, you know something, you’re right. I can.

Karma – and what you make of it

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

A friend stopped by today, a singer who has that Abbey Lincoln sultry jazz voice. We were talking about karma – as I told her I just paid my debt for an affair I had now eight years ago – I paid that debt for seven hard years. So I’m done. I have no balance on my karma. She said do you really believe it was karma. I said since birth I was always someone who had instantaneous karma. So I’m sure that’s what just happened to me. I could never even steal a piece of gum where someone didn’t steal my car within hours. Payback is hell.


But as Lena Horne said and I really do love this quote, “It’s not the burden that weighs you down, it’s the way you carry it.” And so I think that is where my learning curve has had to kick in. Today I woke thinking I understood the day’s tasks at hand only to receive the most ridiculous request, which made me just throw my hands up and say fuck it. I had just been putting together a list of attributes of the house and who to call and what the paint colors were – seven years of my life’s blood – and what, not good enough? WTF?

So I got in the bath. That’s right. I ran a bubble bath and I immersed myself in the six foot deep soak tub drowning myself in the soothing waters and just whispered happily, “Doesn’t matter if I stay or I go. Either way I’ll be fine. This much is true.”


Karma, at the end of the day, is what you make of it. And though I’ve been in the throes of some horrific payback, this much I know is true. I won’t ever have an affair again.

And as for all that has happened to me in the past seven plus years – I grew – I grew twenty feet tall, I’m an Amazon, and I am still growing tall – tall enough to eat the leaves from the trees like a giraffe.

Oh yeah.


Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

Last night I went to a Waldorf parent teacher meeting and the eurythmy teacher, Jeremiah, walked us through a wonderful movement to Maya Angelou’s I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings. It was so wonderful, peaceful, exhilarating that I’m hoping he takes us up on our plea for adult eurythmy classes.

I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings

The free bird leaps
on the back of the wind
and floats downstream
till the current ends
and dips his wings
in the orange sun rays
and dares to claim the sky.

But a bird that stalks
down his narrow cage
can seldom see through
his bars of rage
his wings are clipped and
his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings
with fearful trill
of the things unknown
but longed for still
and is tune is heard
on the distant hillfor the caged bird
sings of freedom

The free bird thinks of another breeze
an the trade winds soft through the sighing trees
and the fat worms waiting on a dawn-bright lawn
and he names the sky his own.

But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams
his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream
his wings are clipped and his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing

The caged bird sings
with a fearful trill
of things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom.

Maya Angelou

Calling all friends

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

January 30, 2013
Taurus (4/20-5/20)
Since when did you get the idea that you could ever be a bother to your friends? No one expects you to go through anything tough alone … so if you’re feeling overwhelmed, under-whelmed, or just plain-old-blue, call up a friend for a chat and a giggle. Pick someone who knows you inside and out, so you’ll feel totally at ease and uninhibited. The engage in some back-and-forth. Leaning on and supporting each other is the rhythm of friendship. Get with it and boogie down today!

Nearing the end of a chapter

Tuesday, January 29th, 2013

A couple of days ago they took Ms. Marie to a nursing home. I’ve spent nearly eight years watching this woman walk around the bayou in a smelly coat and bubble hat in 90 degrees or 40 degrees. Ms. Marie was “almost” born on the bayou, she was born a few blocks from here and moved into her house when she was a year old. She lived there with her cousins living in the house next door and grew up during the Great Depression. She will be 97 years old this year, if she makes it to her birthday.

I got out the bubble wrap and was carefully packing my puppets from Asia, my wooden ducks from Bali, my monkey masks from Ubud, my elephants from Africa and the bayou was twinkling in the evening light. I talked to these objects and said, “I know you thought you were here to stay but we’re going to a new place and for a while you’ll have to be in hibernation. Think of it as a well deserved rest. And when you come out, everything will be better than before.”

A person can get hung up on the sadness of endings. I didn’t plan on ever packing my things again and moving, and now here I go. I was speaking to a friend at Zumba last night and told her about my earlier confusion this weekend about whether to stay or accept the new offer. I told her that another friend had asked me how did it feel to decide to stay and how did it feel to decide to go. The woman at Zumba said, “You must have felt happy thinking of staying.” I said, actually no. I felt sad, resigned to keep working at this rubic cube and the weight of it on my shoulders. I said I feel like I have born the burden all by myself for so long that it is freeing to think that I am moving into a situation which will be so much easier to handle, alone.

Since the day of the 2005 Federal Flood until today, months shy of the 8 year anniversary, I have had to go deep in my pockets, deep in my reservoir of strength and courage, deep in my patience trove, deep in my psyche to keep the dream of the LaLa afloat. I have done this alone and I’m done doing it alone. The thought of leaving, of renting an apartment for a mere $850 a month, plus storage for the rest at $159/month, is so doable, I might just walk off the planet.

A neighbor walked by and said she had heard that I would be leaving the neighborhood because its just too hard for me. I said actually I rented an apartment right across the bayou and my living room window looks at the LaLa. I’ll be on the same side of the bayou as Ms. Marie, only she won’t be there, she will have moved one step closer to her final resting place.

My tchotchkes, ojects of art, paintings, memorabilia will head to hibernation, awaiting the light of day. Meanwhile, my metamorphosis will continue as I shed the old and welcome the new wings that are bursting to come out.

Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose

Monday, January 28th, 2013

I spent the weekend revisiting staying at the LaLa and what that would look like and so when a counter offer came on Saturday evening, I was suddenly back on the fence about what to do. Should I stay or should I go? The ultimate decision. A friend said to me, “What did it feel like when you thought about staying?” I said, comfortable, okay, and I began thinking about how to make it work. “What did it feel like when you decided to let it go?” Freedom, I said, free from this problem solving mode that I’ve been in for over seven years. “There’s your answer.” And so it was. My answer.

I let it go, dear reader. I let it go.

Tin and I went to see T rex the miniature float parade and I ran into my doctor who asked how the medication is going. I said I didn’t know I was supposed to be on any medication. His nurse has not called – or at least she has called and left messages but then is never there when I return them. So it’s back on the Thyroid meds as my levels are low and that does explain why I feel like a blimp again.


I rolled the dice on the counter and here is what they said:


And I wholeheartedly agree.

So I started packing the boxes and went and bought bubble wrap, and I started once again to dissociate myself from the LaLa and think about the road ahead, the road to my freedom and I started feeling better about it all. Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose.

Tin and I smudged the house to rid it and us of the last residuals of negative and blocking energy that has held me back from reaching nirvana.

Setting the pace for Monday

Monday, January 28th, 2013

Happy Monday to you all! Hope your day is starting as well as mine, um, well maybe not at 4:30 AM like mine started, but at least a sunny day and a good feeling.

A blogger and consumate doodler posted the best version of my Monday morning – so I’ll share it with you here:


I’m not sure this house is the right fit… money is a little tight!
Doodle by ana traina ~ 2013 ~

Decisions, decisions – done

Sunday, January 27th, 2013

January 27, 2013
Taurus (4/20-5/20)
If there has been a power tug-of-war going on in your life, today is a good time to grab the rope harder, lean in, and give it a good hard pull — chances are, everything will come over to your side with a big splash! You have been underestimating your strength, being tolerant of other people’s ideas and allowing them to convince you that they have the other hand. You should remind yourself that the only person in charge of where you go, what you do, and who you love is you.

My soul mate

Saturday, January 26th, 2013

Yesterday was a rough one. I went to pick up Tin at school and heard he had had another emotionally rough day and so when we got out to the playground and his friends were playing keep away from Tin and he started crying, I figured it might be best to just come home and chill out. He said he wanted to watch Cars and though this has never been allowed, I said whatever, let’s do it.

He said he wanted to watch it together so we crawled onto the sofa and started watching and halfway through the movie, the TV died. That’s right, it just up and died. And that’s when I thought I would have my meltdown because originally when I was moving out, I didn’t need two televisions, but because I’m trying to rent the house for Super Bowl and Mardi Gras etc. I do need the two. SO now what? Buy a TV for the rental – gadzooks.

So I called my repair guy and I also called Sears to see if the TV was still under warranty. The woman who answered at Sears said we might be able to order you one, because yours is not under warranty and I said I need it now because I’m renting for Super Bowl and she said, I didn’t know people rented out their house for Super Bowl and I said honey, I do what it takes to survive.

She told me that she had lost her job of 15 years with the local bank and had to move out of town because after twelve months of not working she needed to just go somewhere to find work. She’s now living in Mobile, Alabama. But she said she had to pull her child out of college because she couldn’t afford it and needed him to work and help out.

I said, oh do I feel your pain. And then she said this: “I never wanted to be a single mother.”

And I knew that I had found my twin, my soulmate, because she was singing my song. We both lamented what was and could have been and then she said to me, “If I win the lottery, I am going to look you up, sista.”

Later, Ernest came and fixed the TV and fixed the broken speaker and it cost a total of $50. While he was here, my friends dropped by with their kid and my friend who is a huge costumer for Mardi Gras said this year she was going as “Living with the Unknown” as her theme. She told me all the intricate details of what that would look like if it was either cold or hot and I just wanted to hijack her theme because I thought it was so fitting for this year.

Getting comfortable with the unknown. Not knowing. And so forth. Then I put on my ball gown so she could see it since I’m returning it to my friend this weekend, and she took this photograph of me – no make up except for lipstick.


A White Paper on Home

Friday, January 25th, 2013

My assignment from E (therapist) is to answer the question, “What stops you from accepting help?” and my assignment from D (life coach) is to let go of the logistical questions and answer what is home?

Tall order from my two mentors.

Today at breakfast, Tin had brought all of his cars and trucks and planes – there was Lightning McQueen, Squishy, Dumper, Mater, and the rest and he ate his pasta (that’s what he wanted for breakfast) and I drank my decaf and we both were looking outside at the sunny day. It’s 74 degrees here in New Orleans and it’s January. Tin was talking about the relationships between the cars and at some point he was eating and talking with his mouth full and I asked him to finish chewing before he spoke. And so he took a long time chewing and then he looked up at me and said, “This is our home, isn’t it?”

And I almost started crying, or rather my eyes welled up and I looked at him with no answer – will the LaLa sell, will we stay, will we leave, where will we make our home and I just said, “For now it is.”

I have been conjuring up the spirit of my mother but I’ve also enlisted help from my grandmother. Looking out at the large windows in the back yard of my neighbor, I see windows lined against the fence that are weathered with paint peeling and old glass, and for some reason it made me think of my grandmother, and her farm in Franklinton, and how comforting it was to know that she and her home were always there during so much of my young transient life.

I want more than anything else in the world to have a home. I want this for me and I want this for Tin.

What does home mean to me, it is that hug that I need from my grandmother right now, it’s the familiar in the face of the uncertain, it’s a place to rest and to have shelter from the storm. Home is at the core of who I am.

What does home feel like? It’s inside and outside beautiful aesthetically but also in its quirkiness.

Why has this home, the LaLa, wrecked so much havoc on my life? Should I blame myself for having a dream to come home to New Orleans and live here with my husband and have a child? Should I blame myself for the 2005 Federal Flood? Should I blame myself that my then husband didn’t share my dream of family? Should I blame myself that when I needed my job and salary to be dependable it was not? Should I blame myself that carpet baggers ripped me off when I was building the LaLa? Should I blame myself that the elements – sun and water – conspire to keep maintenance of a house so overwhelming? Should I make myself complicit in the facts of the reconfigured dream I conjured of a family here?

A home is where you lay your head down and rest. A home is where you enter with an open heart. A home is where you share meals together.

Home is at the core of what I yearn for in life.

by Marie Howe

Johnny, the kitchen sink has been clogged for days, some utensil probably fell down there.
And the Drano won’t work but smells dangerous, and the crusty dishes have piled up

waiting for the plumber I still haven’t called. This is the everyday we spoke of.
It’s winter again: the sky’s a deep, headstrong blue, and the sunlight pours through

the open living-room windows because the heat’s on too high in here and I can’t turn it off.
For weeks now, driving, or dropping a bag of groceries in the street, the bag breaking,

I’ve been thinking: This is what the living do. And yesterday, hurrying along those
wobbly bricks in the Cambridge sidewalk, spilling my coffee down my wrist and sleeve,

I thought it again, and again later, when buying a hairbrush: This is it.
Parking. Slamming the car door shut in the cold. What you called that yearning.

What you finally gave up. We want the spring to come and the winter to pass. We want
whoever to call or not call, a letter, a kiss–we want more and more and then more of it.

But there are moments, walking, when I catch a glimpse of myself in the window glass,
say, the window of the corner video store, and I’m gripped by a cherishing so deep

for my own blowing hair, chapped face, and unbuttoned coat that I’m speechless:
I am living. I remember you.