Archive for August, 2013

In the year 5774, que sera, sera

Friday, August 30th, 2013

We’re sneaking around the corner again and coming up upon Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. It’s that time of year when God trots out the Book of Life and decides what will be. During the ensuing ten days after Rosh Hashanah, there is time to ask for forgiveness from anybody you have wronged and to pray for forgiveness for yourself. It’s, as you might imagine, a time for reflection. Who have I hurt? And how have I hurt myself?

This is a year of abundance for me – my cup continues to runneth over. I moved into my lovely home and the gifts have just kept a comin’. A couple of days ago, a friend and neighbor told me she wanted to donate to me several palms – queen palms and palmetto palms – for my landscaping. My landscaping was ground zero and now it is about to become a tropical oasis. Yes, that is just one of the many gifts that have arrived at my doorstep as I’ve said to the Universe, “I accept gifts. I don’t always have to be the giver.” And boy, I hit the jackpot on this change of philosophy.

I spoke earlier with a friend, struggling with her chemotherapy – we spoke of work and I was telling her as soon as I had clarity the doors started flinging open. I’m on my way to Baton Rouge to speak to the State Department of Family Health and Welfare about my workshops on race and parenting. My first workshop is scheduled for January. My book is underway. My next career is in its nascent stages but already feels 99% complete, as if it has been waiting for me.

Another friend has been talking to me about her relationship and forgiveness, trying to find out how to forgive and love and not be subsumed by the dysfunction of another soul. My only advice is to keep walking the path of clarity – does this feel right? does this make you feel good? The answers should be a simple yes or no, anything that is complicated, I fall back on what my same friend told me a while back, “God does not do confusion.”

Now that, I believe. Clarity is a balm for this troubled world. So as the New Year preparations get underway, remember next Thursday to have honey with your apples or bread to symbolize a sweet life [I’ll be dusting off my shofar], and remember to pray for peace (read: NO WAR IN SYRIA). My grandmother was born in Aleppo, Syria before she moved to Constantinople and met my grandfather, which is where they married and then left when it became Istanbul. There is a part of my DNA in Syria and I just read that a few hours ago a playground was bombed there.

Playgrounds and Bombs do not mix.

So in the year 5774, let’s all try to tune up our souls and to conspire to greatness and to aspire to peace and to inspire by the very light we become. It’s our year dear friends – it’s time to make a difference.


Dog Day Afternoon

Wednesday, August 28th, 2013

It was National Dog Day this week and I was posting old photos of my dogs on Facebook and reminiscing about the good old companionship that I received from them. I also have been enjoying Heidi who stayed with me during July and some parts of August and who is on loan to me right now as there have been two armed robberies on my block in the last week. But National Dog day goes to Loca – my most difficult relationship other than Blacky – the cat.

Loca came to me at a time when I was resource limited – in the sense of emotional stores – and she needed a home. She had black eyes that would stare a hole in me and I felt that I couldn’t turn away from her. After all, there I was in 2007 with only one dog, and she was a geriatric, and everyone after Katrina was opening their home to all sorts of destitute animals – cats and dogs – it was raining them for a while.

I took her in, and in a one on one situation she was a good dog. She loved Arlene, and almost treated Arlene as if she was her long lost mother. And there I was, a mess. A royal mess and trying to get unmessed and there was Loca, crazy with energy and just wanting to be loved.

And I took her in. Took her into my heart. Took her into my home. Despite the fact that our love didn’t come easy. But we did eventually bond and that was our life, until it wasn’t.

Our life changed with the entrance of many other people and pets that came into the household and made Loca even more nervous and anxious than she had been before and then when things got really squeezed, when we moved to the back of the house to rent out the front to ride the waves of change yet again, she became impossible.

I had always thought that with all that energy, Loca should live in the country, like the dogs that used to populate my grandmother’s house that got fed out the side of the kitchen and lived a life of independent and wanton discovery rather than the passive existence of urban pets. And on Thanksgiving day 2012, Loca found her country home among the creatures that populated my cousin’s country Dr. Dolittle Farm. She would join Julio the goat along with cows, bulls, sheep, rabbits and Jake, the little black lab puppy, in the biggest romp of her life.

In February, my aunt said that Jake had died suddenly and so Loca became top dog there. She also became a fat dog, and spent her afternoons running across the holler to my aunt’s house to sit at her feet as she rocked on the front porch. Something about that image, of Loca being with my aunt, of her living on a farm, of her being in the country that is a landscape that continues to haunt me from my childhood, made me happy and less sad about having to part ways with her.

Then today I learned Loca died. She had developed a nasty habit of chasing cars and got hit by one. Much in the same way that my mother’s dog, Max, had died when she left my dad and ran away to her childhood home with Max in tow. My mother was a dog lover and I had my friend, Kim Frohsin sketch the likeness of Loca for my mom’s headstone because one time when Mom was watching the animals, she tripped in my bathroom and couldn’t get off the floor and Loca came over to her and laid down beside her and looked into her eyes with that stare of hers.

When my mom was dying she told me she would return as a dog. That’s how I would know her presence. Which dog? Hard to say – there have been so many in my life. I’m convinced my father came back as Samm, but which dog will be my mother, I’m not sure. It might even be Heidi because she’s such a stunning beauty and puts on her makeup every day.


But National Dog day is about Loca, who is now in dog heaven, may she run in peace.


Feels Like Home

Sunday, August 25th, 2013

You make a house a home. You can take that as a truism. My house feels so much like my home that I am thoroughly reveling in the feeling of really enjoying it. Two large items came into it to complete the picture. The cupboard found at Ricca’s that I boldly offered half of what they were asking and got it at that price and the baby grand piano that my friend gave me at a steal because he was upgrading.



Today I woke to the Sunday New York Times and my God on Sunday playlist and I needed to pinch myself because I couldn’t believe the good fortune of this house having found me. I was listening to a woman on my Ipod while I was in Spain, an inspirational recording a friend had given me, and she said that 99% of every creation is complete. In other words, this house was waiting for me at the right time and I walked in and made it a home.

I have tons of outdoor projects that I would like to do, but as my uncle used to always say, dinero no hay, and so I will sit with this incompletion of projects and focus on the work that lies ahead. I came back from Spain and the book I had begun to write before I left transformed itself while I was away and now I will begin anew in earnest. Having had a week of computer zombie freak out, the time to begin will be this week and perhaps as that woman said it is 99% complete already since I have it in my head.

And now the ability to enjoy being home, to enjoy all the beauty that surrounds me and makes me feel warm and cozy, is here to relish.

Tomorrow my little prince returns and while I have enjoyed every moment of quietness and repose and the freedom to place a pen on the coffee table without some little munchkin writing on the furniture, I miss him more.

And this little piggy ran home

Friday, August 23rd, 2013

Okay so I didn’t gain ten pounds, I just had weight from vacation – you know how delicious Spanish beer and cheese is and now I’ve shed some of it, so there. And as far as not having my hair ever, ever grow back, I’m totally fine with that too.

So here’s what I have to say about depression – it depends on what is going on. Jetlagged, detoxing from a vacation, and hearing your hair will never grow back makes you look depressed to some people who are not looking at the whole picture.

The whole picture is this, I returned, baked from no sleep and a friend came over in relationship hell and I wound up dancing and hula hooping in the backyard and not sleeping – for two days, I had a serious lack of sleep and then I went and had blood work. Oh joy.

So now, I have seen my endocrinologist, my therapist (who I haven’t seen in a while) and my obgyn and gotten a mammo and I survived a week of believing I had a virus on my computer only to learn that it was the anti-virus software some idget told me I needed that has caused all these problems. Yes, that’s right. Sophos – the antivirus – has caused my virus, which wasn’t a virus really, it was just an annoying deterrent to anything being able to run smoothly on my computer.

There you have it – re-entry folks was challenging, but I’ve made it to Friday and right now everything seems to be working again, just in time to get back to work in earnest.

yay [no one said].

Let me say this about that – I’m damn lucky. I have a great and awesome life. Who knows what I did in my previous lives to deserve this one, but I’m going to throw this week out the window and begin anew again.

This, my dear reader, you can do too.

My only real challenge is to figure out how to get my stereo to crank louder so that the next time I’m having an impromptu party I can goose it without shutting down the stereo. This is my major complaint right now – my stereo isn’t loud enough. I called the guy who does my stereo and had to admit that yes I am 54 years old and shouldn’t be wanting to blow the windows out but I do, I still do.


Tin – one year later

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

It’s one of the most amazing things in life to watch your child grow up.

Tin 2012 vs Tin 2013 – Summer in Spain

1) gets his own milk and water out of the fridge and even brought a glass to me

2) ridiculous (still) about his clothes and what he wears – crazed lunatic more like it – but he dresses himself for the most part

3) said he was “passed Louis Armstrong” and took no particular joy in music for the first time

4) draws like crazy – people, planes, cars, trains, monsters

5) got amazingly more handsome

6) makes friends with people of all ages – people buy him gifts (bracelet, shirt, ice cream, candy)

7) negotiates everything down to the most minute detail of life

8) his Spanish comprehension increased


Outline of a trip

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

1) First week sick with a virus – visit to clinic – antibiotics, pain meds.

2) Second week it’s Levante, which means the winds are from the east and cause the sand on the beach to pelt you with what feels like tiny pieces of glass; it is so hot you can’t move and there is no a/c; and there is a pressure system that makes you feel like you are carrying around a ball and chain.

3) My remedy for these issues – read: Post Traumatic Slave Disorder, The Unusual Career of Jim Crow, La Verdad Sobre el Causo de Harry Quebert, the Middlesteins, Number Nine Dream – the last two were my least favorite.

4) Observations: Spaniards have no physical boundaries and are not too good with lines. The best thing about Spain is either the olives or the wine or the beer or the people – or all of the above. Our group of friends in Zahara de los Atunes has expanded to a pretty large group – we no longer fit in the same house so we had to have two separate parties.

5) Fifteen days went by like one long exhalation.

6) Re-entry was spoiled by a computer virus. It’s all about the virus.

7) As good as it was to go away, there is no place like home.

The Ramones are famous there

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

Every hipster I met from Madrid to Zahara wears a RAMONES tee shirt.

Anxiety cocktail

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013


No sleep

Forgotten thyroid pill

one pot of full strength (Spanish) coffee to cope with 4 year old

two ice cold beers to calm down


walk up and down hot streets

throw up



Yatch Club

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

A man walked by while I was sitting in a cafe in Madrid. His tee shirt said YATCH CLUB. I giggled so hard I almost peed my pants. Oh could I have some fun over there with the English language.

Relationships are …

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

I was driven to the airport by a friend who had come back to the U.S. suddenly in crisis – she had sublet her apartment, gone out of the country to be with her boyfriend and secured a number of gigs while there. Then it blew up.

I arrived in Spain to learn that my dear friend was leaving her partner after twenty years as he wrestled with whether there was love left.

I arrived in New Orleans to learn that my dear friend who had just gotten engaged had called it off after more had been revealed.

Last night, a friend came over to tell me he is splitting up after 18 years with his wife.

Someone asked me recently if I know anyone who has a good relationship.

I do know people who have a good relationship. Not perfect. But loving and supportive.