Archive for June, 2013

Boys of Summer

Saturday, June 29th, 2013

So Tin said goodbye to his best friend for the summer as he is leaving Monday for France and Tin will already be in Spain then Croatia when he returns.


Like all good friends, their relationship is not always smooth, but unlike adults, their highs and lows are spaced across seconds instead of months or years. Their playdate today yielded tears, anger, and hugs and giggles.

For me, the mom, bearing witness to boys growing up and developing is the greatest gift in the world – #colormelucky.

When will I rest?

Saturday, June 29th, 2013

I have subscribed to the adage that I’ll sleep when I’m dead for many years now, but honestly the bed has been tugging me for a while. Between moving yet again this month, traveling to San Francisco for an in-depth seminar on facilitating race dialogue, working on a research project, and being the mother of a 4-year-old – rest/sleep/down-time has not come easy.

Last night, friends came over and we went to grab a drink nearby because I had run out of tonic, but the drink turned out to be more than one and the bar snacks turned out to be a trough of food that now conjures up nightmares of excess. And no, wait there’s more, I came home at midnight ready to tuck in “late” and had another friend visit who didn’t leave until 2 am. No rest for the weary.

This morning I woke to the sounds of an almost hurricane and forced myself to get up for Zumba only to learn once I had taken my first sip of coffee that the class had been cancelled due to weather. Which of course, gave me time to work on a post, I had been thinking about from last night.

But I want to go back to that moment last night when my eyes were rolling back in my head and my friend was talking about the push pull of romantic desire — I want to find out why each time the struggle was mentioned my right eye would pop open for a moment and then I’d be lulled back into the dreamy state wherein I believe that matters of the heart get figured out on their own no matter how much thought and intention any of us put into it.

I truly want to rest from trying to figure it all out – right now.

Begin again, the story of your life

Thursday, June 27th, 2013

I’ve finally arrived at the other side of “when this is over, I can breathe” and now it’s about doing more than just getting through the days. This afternoon, I’ll be on It’s New Orleans again to do a podcast on my new work – writing and speaking about race and parenting. I’ll be talking about a new book I’m working on as well as the workshops I’ll be facilitating. If you’re in town stop by; if you’re not, I’ll post the link when it is published.

Happy Hour today! Flow Tribe Andrew Duhon comedian P H Fred and covering all sides of the Supreme Court decisions, Rachel Dangermond. Join us at Casa Borrega on OCH Blvd just up from Café Reconcile 4pm. Or catch up

While meditating this morning the sunlight streamed in from the window and made me acutely aware that our lives are the manifestations of our imagination, so what do you imagine your life to be today? I imagine I’m beginning a new journey, where every day I am grateful for the gifts that come my way and aware of sunlight.

And the day came when the risk it took to remain tight inside the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.
~Anais Nin


Clarity is the new black

Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

At the end of 2012, I was given the gift of clarity and once I had it, I embraced it. Clarity is a wonderful thing to have and with it you can move the world. I met a woman at a retreat I was recently attending who said that there is no need for argument when you have clarity.

She also told me this: “Do what is easy, effortless and enjoyable. Stay away from what is difficult, disciplined and depressing.”

I have now taken her words on as my new wardrobe. You’ll be hearing more about this in a minute, so stay tuned.

Confucius say

Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

A woman who goes on journey, comes home changed.


Changing Lenses

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013

Looking down on the bay, I always wonder at how blue it is.

The Tenderloin doesn’t change – grit, grime, and those left behind.

Joe says, “You got another mansion, Rachel” right when I’m feeling things are tight.

People weave in and out of your life, brushing up against you and jostling you around, coming back in to hold a mirror that shows where you’ve been and how far you’ve come and all the while you can sit back and say, “Things are different now” or you can change the lens and say, “Nothing’s changed.”

Lusting for Lagniappe

Sunday, June 16th, 2013

So when I lived on Moss Street I was known around town as the white chick who should be taken advantage of – everyone, including a few friends, thought that my money grew on trees and they should avail themselves to it at every opportunity. And seeing how I grew up with a father who liked nothing more than to spend his money and treat everyone in the room or block, what the hell did I care – let them all have it.

But something’s changed radically over here on Cleveland Avenue – the first was my hiring a carpenter to do a few things and him charging me less than his usual rate. Why? He was being nice. Or how about when I went to Lowe’s to get some pegboard and a guy walked me through the store and picked out my pegboard and put it in a cart and handed it to me (read: he didn’t work there). Blush – okay. Then there was the guy I hired to wire my stereo and computer etc. who also works at a cabinet shop and saw that I needed a few things and decided on his own to do it for me. Say what? People helping me for no good reason – no one wanting to rob me blind or pad their invoice? Yep – it’s all different around here.

A friend and ex neighbor stopped by and brought me all sorts of goodies – that included Bonerama’s new CD with Dr. John accompanying on Indian Red. All thoughtful gifts that she went out of her way to bring me.

So today for Father’s Day, I invited Tin’s godparents over to celebrate God/Father’s day and we made waffles – truly delicious waffles with green onion sausage and scrambled eggs and watermelon and big plump juicy ruby red strawberries. And I think I’m still full from brunch.


When they arrived they came in with bottles of wine and two prints of Tin taken by a photographer/writer friend of theirs in town. I’m telling you the lagniappe just keeps a coming and me, I’m lusting for it. Then another friend stopped by with a bottle of conditioner for Tin and a novena for me blessing the Spirit House.

Bring it on, I roar to the universe. A gal could get used to lagniappe real fast like.

The Gift of Nothing

Saturday, June 15th, 2013

Last night, I was supposed to go to a school meeting and also to an anniversary celebration for a friend’s business (seven years) and to see a friend play music down the street, and walk two blocks to watch two local songwriters sing their music and instead I stayed home, alone.

To the overstimulated, I say withdraw and rest.

Since Tin has been watching The Adventures of Tin Tin at Tatjana’s and since I let him watch Cars the other day here, he has been overstimulated by the violent and rapid images of these videos and it has affected his playing and his imagination. So we both agreed to stop allowing this into his life – we are the gatekeepers and therefore can control what he sees. We both agreed Professor Balthazar has much more to offer a child than either of these videos.

A friend sent me a link to a YouTube video about a man who has spent his life observing through a camera life’s subtleties and he’s composed a video about it – it’s his gratitude journal – about how every day is a gift to us and if we noticed it we will have received that gift. He said:

When people see my images, a lot of times they’ll say, “Oh my God.” Have you ever wondered what that meant? The “oh” means it caught your attention, makes you present, makes you mindful. The “my” means it connects with something deep inside your soul. It creates a gateway for your inner voice to rise up and be heard. And “God”? God is that personal journey we all want to be on, to be inspired, to feel like we’re connected to a universe that celebrates life.

So today, when there is a lot of ways that you might stimulate yourself and overstimulate yourself, try instead to do nothing but notice and be grateful for the gift of this day.

Love, R

The Spirit House

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

When I went to see the Dalai Lama I bought some prayer beads that I intended to use as a rosary of sorts to count off the things I am grateful for, but instead I took my beads to my friend who has just had most of her innards removed because of cancer.

My friend said she had started a gratitude journal already and that made me feel good about her path ahead. I was thinking about all the things I’m grateful for as I came home and one of them would be Cleveland Avenue. It’s not the bayou, it’s not the LaLa, but on it dwells my Spirit House through and through – let me explain …


I was unsure about what I wanted when I left the LaLa – build a new house, buy a house, mortgage, construction, rent – what have you – I was adrift, but some steady moving sidewalk brought me into this house and sent chills up my spine when I was inside. Every house has a Spirit and this one said to me, “Take your shoes off. You’re home!”


After I moved in, I was in the kitchen stacking dishes in the cabinet and making breakfast for Tin, and I had this glorious sense of peace as I watched him eat. Cooking for my loved ones is always at the top of my priorities – QED: last night, I had friends over to help me hang my artwork and I made gin & tonics, shrimp curry and jasmine rice with fresh broccoli. Yum. We hung one painting.

I like the idea that this house is not as precious as the LaLa was – the LaLa was a closed deal, it was pre-designed, pre-ordained, and I always felt like a custodian rather than a dweller. This house feels like I could do whatever the fuck I want and who the hell cares but me – it’s my house – it’s my whatever I want it to be. Hence the chalkboard walls in Tin’s room and in the kitchen with messages to remind myself of this fact.


When the LaLa was up for sale, a guy I know walked through the open house with his new girlfriend – later, my neighbor told me his girlfriend said the house had bad energy. I don’t believe it for a second – I believe my neighbor had issues and if the girl indeed said that then she doesn’t know energy from shmenergy. I embodied the LaLa and all the problems I had within that container – I was in a seven year change that brought about so much collateral damage, I’m surprised anyone is still speaking to me.

This house has a different energy. It says come in, relax, be. Every moment Tin and I have spent together in it has created a soulful sense of place for me, for us, here.


So this brings me back to the Spirit in the House. I had read up on feng shui – and moved some things around in this house to align with those principles. The main one is to locate your center of being the furthest away from the door with a commanding position looking towards it.

Another principle I read was your bed should have a solid headboard especially if you want to enjoy a healthy sex life. So I happened upon a walnut bookcase headboard, which was perfect for me. And two days ago, when I was trying to plug in my clock and moving the king size bed out of the way while crawling under the headboard, I saw something taped up in the headboard on the other side of the bed from where I sleep. It was a miniature Saint/Spirit/Statue.

As the Spirit revealed itself to me, it made me smile so big I thought my face would crack.


I taped the Spirit back in its corner and felt once again that joy/gratitude/love is something you pass along and the more you push out, the more comes back at you, like this endless tide.

And understanding this, and for everything, I am grateful.

A time to run and a time to rest

Monday, June 10th, 2013

I ran out of steam about 2PM this afternoon – my internet was still not connected and there was an over abundance of boxes with stuff in it stacked all over the living room. And there I was – toast. Unable to even think straight and unable to move an inch. The muscles in back of one knee had congealed from the heavy lifting of Sunday’s 10 loads in the F150 move. Oh my god – I just need to rest.

Tin’s room is done. I finally got my clothes hung in my closet this evening. The internet is up and the phone is working but little else. The comedy of errors continues but does not bother me – my movers – one sharp and one not – the one not put the return of my washing machine down the wrong hole causing it to flood my entire carpeted walk in closet. But that wasn’t enough – he also hooked up the hot water to the cold water and so all my delicates were boiled alive.

The refrigerator delivery guys who refused to take the doors off even as my neighbor kept saying from his porch – “Ya gotta take the doors off” – now have to reload and do it again as the water line proved to be fail proof but the refrigerator seems to be the problem – so that big ass fridge now nicely stocked with food finally – has to be switched out.

I found a credenza for my TV and stuff on sale – 40% off – and got it and learned today that it basically really can’t hold the stuff and so it all got so mixed up I still don’t know what the final answer was – but I knew there was nothing I could do about it.

And those bookshelves – well I agonized over what to get and finally just walked into Canal Street Liquidators and plunked down $200 for three large bookshelves and put those in last night until midnight. Done. Stick a fork in it, in me, it’s done.

I then went to go clean the apartment even though there was not an ounce of energy left in me. And on the way back home I stopped in to see my friend who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer – they took our her kidney, her ovaries, her uterus, and her appendix. She wanted to spoon last night with her husband and couldn’t because it was so painful. She starts chemo soon.

Honestly, this is a woman I admire – a tough bird we like to call them – but they’re the kind of woman who give strong love, who make things beautiful, who glue a family together and whose heart beat is mirrored by each member. Why does she get cancer? There are so many crotchety, unhappy, unhealthy, unfit to mother, unfit to love women in the world why would this bright light be dealing with this?

I came home and looked around at the stuff everywhere that I have moved here and there and packed and unpacked and cleaned and used and cried over. I walked around like a cripple – my knee about to give out – and I thought of how life is – I thought about this with no sense of irony as I placed all my clothes in the walk in closet where the carpet is now dry. I thought now that I finally have all my clothes hung in the same place, all nicely on the rack, a hurricane is going to wipe this whole house away or I’m going to explode or something about crossing the i and dotting the t (even though I’m still a few thousand boxes shy from really being able to say this) made me think that something is about to change in my life because I’ve been pushing so hard to get to here and the universe has been showing me for a while that my plans are meaningless and even less so when they seem certain.

In this hyper reality where flux is what you set your clock to, it’s good to know that your delusions have fallen away and now all you hold is the certain truth that change is gonna come.