Archive for April, 2014

Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow in New Orleans

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

Driving down Bienville Street past St. Margaret’s Long-Term Care Facility – a frail and elderly woman in a plastic chair sat out front smoking a cigarette. #remindsmeofmom

Driving down Galvez Street right at the gloaming and little kids out in the streets on bikes, jumping rope, playing ball and folks coming home from work. #backintheday

Driving down Spain Street looking for St. Roch Community Church, I lower window and ask a guy on his porch, and feel bad when he gets up and comes all the way down to the street – then I realize why – he has a trach and speaks through a box and it is only a little above a whisper. #countyourblessings

St. Roch Community Church where people from all different backgrounds gathered to join in the conversation on Race Reconciliation. #standingroomonly

Driving Tin home from the airport late last night and he overheard me telling Tatjana that Stella has diarrhea and I had to move Heidi’s head away from her butt. #everhearafiveyearoldlaughwithhiswholebody?

Driving Tin to school this morning and Stephanie Jordan was singing Believe in Yourself. She’ll be at Jazz Fest on my birthday in the Jazz Tent. #playingmysong

What do your fifties look like?

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

My mother told me about different age landmarks – 25 you think you know it all, 35 you realize you didn’t know anything and so you set your sights ahead, 40 your sexuality awakens and then you enter your 50s – young lady, she wrote me, this is when you become a woman.

Damn, if my mother wasn’t the smartest woman in the world. What is different about the 50s than the other years – well, you arrive with a story, many stories, a history, a past, several pasts, you are still a sensual being but sex doesn’t define you, it orbits planet you.

Invisible you say – no, that’s for shrinking violets. If you are not seen and heard, it’s because those receptacles are closed in the one doing the looking, the hearing. A woman in her 50s is not trying to make herself small and when she commands a room, it’s not because her dress is too short or her cleavage too revealed, it’s because the years that have gone into her making have created a masterpiece, a prism where light enters and reflects back through a colorful kaleidoscope.

A woman in her 50s is a cathedral whose welcome is akin to being submerged in holy water. Don’t worry about her scorn, there is none, she left judgment back in her 40s when she too was comparing herself to others.

If you think you know what it’s like to be a woman in her 50s, you must be one, because otherwise how could you know?

Friday’s my birthday and I’ll be 55 years old and as I just told my friend, my 50s have been revolutionary. I wish yours to be the same.

That tapping sound you hear

Monday, April 28th, 2014

I told Tin that when he left for Croatia the first thing I would do is boo hoo and then I would sit and tap my fingers waiting for him to come home. No one tells you this about parenthood. They don’t prepare you anywhere for this love. The love that has you in life with someone who blames you for everything and shows you his absolute worst side whenever there is an opportunity and yet, you can’t imagine being without them. What is that all about?

What I do know is that while he is away – he is growing in leaps and bounds – he is experiencing new and familiar people and places and he will come home richer from the experience. Everyone needs a grandmother and he has one there as well as friends and family.

I, on the other hand, could have spent this time resting – reading – and lolly gagging – but instead I’ve spent it racing around with friends and going about untethered save for Stella’s short leash. It’s interesting because as much as I strain against the leash, in the end, I love the comfort of our rhythms – the one that has me thinking about three square meals for Tin and potty/play/nap time for Stella.

We build a box and then we try to figure out a way to climb out of it.

I wonder what human ant farm box would look like: running past our parents…swirling the light fantastic…falling in love and out and in and out and in and out (and always too soon)… and then taking a deep breath, looking back, throwing our heads back in laughter and then going to sleep…for a very long time.

Another revolution is approaching for me and that tapping sound you hear is me calling my son home – he’s been gone too long.


If you listen very closely

Sunday, April 27th, 2014

If you listen very closely you will hear the sound of my heart beating. If you are still and listen closer you will hear my joy. If you move in closer you will get a view of the magic that is in me.

And so it is that I ended my crush last night right before bed. I fell back in love with my life and all those hearts in my eyes stopped bouncing up and down and making cupid curlicues in the air.

My niece is here and I made us all huevos rancheros for breakfast – she said that it makes her smile to know that the little kids she teaches and her aunt and a friend of hers who is 70 all talk of love.

Oh, yes, indeed. It’s love that causes our warm blood to seek all the corners of our skin and makes us dance in the night. Love of life. Love of self. Love of lovers, crushes, and others.

To all the lovers I have known and the places in my heart you occupy: I love therefore I am.


Years and Years

Saturday, April 26th, 2014

Flower is here visiting me and we were talking about people we know who are having a relationship stumbling block. As all do. We discussed her side and his side and our side and could only agree on the fact that in a relationship even the participants are hard pressed to know all the details of their own truth.

When you try to sit down across from each other and talk about what it is you want, what would make you happy, what you need to thrive, words often fall short. And often you’re scared to speak the words for fear that you might regret what you wished for or worse, get what you ask for.

We went to Jazz Fest yesterday to mingle with the crowds and listen to the beautiful Laura Mvula singing so clearly from the stage and to eat, hear, see and touch all the rest of the Fest and what it has to offer. Jazz Fest has grown too big, too expensive, and is too much – and yet, I still get a thrill from it even when it overwhelms me.

I finally went by and got a book my friend did – she signed it – for years and years. And that’s what it feels like right now. The other day sitting in the coffee shop and looking out the window I spotted a dog with a grey muzzle who I last saw as a puppy. Recently, I passed the house of a friend who no longer lives there because his marriage has disintegrated. I walked by the apartment that was Tin and my holding station between homes. I run into another who tells me that something I wanted so desperately eight years ago has come to pass – and now it’s water under the bridge – the irony escapes me.

I tell my friends about a crush I have now – friends I count on to tell me the truth – they respond: I’ve become so obsessed I’m becoming a bore – I laugh them off but I know my capacity for self deception better than most and I know that if you wait a minute, even obsession becomes indifference, both a part of the same force inside of us.

I am that young girl, that middle age woman, that lover, wife, daughter and friend. I am the girl on fire and the one who collapses on the sofa. I keep turning and turning hoping to smooth out my rough edges only to realize that they don’t really go away, even after years and years.


Proceed with Love

Thursday, April 24th, 2014

E. E. Cummings

love is a place
& through this place of
love move
(with brightness of peace)
all places

yes is a world
& in this world of
yes live
(skilfully curled)
all worlds

Making time for adult time

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014

With Tin out of the country visiting family, I’ve seen my downtime go into overdrive. First night, he was gone, I rested and then it’s been Katie bar the door. Thursday night was Vino and Vinyl at a friend’s house with new and old friends.


Friday night was an African gal’s night here with a viewing of three episodes of An African City and all of us fabulous women dressed in African garb and eating an African potluck. An African City is sort of like Sex and the City in Ghana. Now that was fun and the food was yum!

Saturday was Earth Day with friends and then a wretched night with Stella reacting to the Ivomec given to her for demodex. Sunday was lounging for the lord and a nice walk with Heidi – literally I spent sometime just laying on the grass in the backyard soaking up the rays and grooving with nature.

Monday was back to work then champagne with a friend and then dinner out with another friend. Tonight is drinks and apps with friends. Wednesday is a dance with a group of friends, Thursday a dear friend comes to town, my niece comes to town, Friday Jazz Fest starts and on and on until very soon my adult time will come to an end – happily as my miss my little rascal so much, but it is going by in the blink of an eye.

I’ve been wildly untethered from my parental role and am catching up with all the friends I rarely see and taking up the invites that I generally decline and yet, at the end of the day, I miss the reason I’m a mom – Tin – and I have to say there is not a lot of me time in this life. [Note to self: schedule downtime, Rachel time.]

Age is more than just a number

Sunday, April 20th, 2014

I came across this article written by Roger Angell in The New Yorker about his life in his 90s. If you ever think about aging, about dying, and mostly about loving, read it:

Getting old is the second-biggest surprise of my life, but the first, by a mile, is our unceasing need for deep attachment and intimate love. We oldies yearn daily and hourly for conversation and a renewed domesticity, for company at the movies or while visiting a museum, for someone close by in the car when coming home at night. This is why we throng and OkCupid in such numbers—but not just for this, surely. Rowing in Eden (in Emily Dickinson’s words: “Rowing in Eden— / Ah—the sea”) isn’t reserved for the lithe and young, the dating or the hooked-up or the just lavishly married, or even for couples in the middle-aged mixed-doubles semifinals, thank God.

Trust the process

Sunday, April 20th, 2014

A friend of mine was telling me that she has always moved very quickly into relationships and she has made a vow to take her time this next time around. She’s gathering wisdom from African proverbs and sayings, and one woman writes not to act like this is the last love you might ever have and to take time to know him before committing. The woman says that if you cannot take it slow then you must have something in yourself that you are still working on and that needs to be cleared up before you can take on another.

What I like about her African advice is that it says men also want to have relationships – something I think our society would like us to forget. I was just on the phone with a friend of mine who has the urge to merge with his honey and he is looking for the same thing my gal friend is – companionship, trust, and love.

I likened my friend’s talk about courtship to most things in life – we are always in a hurry to get to the finish line instead of enjoying the run – and as my friend, recently courted by her now big love, says, “You have to trust the process” and the process is you.

Earth Day in New Orleans

Sunday, April 20th, 2014

I have friends in town from Florida so we went to Earth Day Fest at Louis Armstrong Park yesterday. A friend of mine’s nonprofit sponsors the festival and kudos to her for pulling it off. New Orleans is not a bastion of environmental sensitivity – albeit it has become one post 2005 Federal Flood. So many silver linings from that event – they are too numerous to count.

We had ourselves a good time listening to music and sitting on a grassy knoll and even got treated to an Aikido demonstration (albeit I almost wound up on the stage because the sun was frying me).

And I got to wear my “Easter” hat – which was actually my wedding hat when I married my first husband in 1984 – thirty years ago – is that possible? The hat has come through these years pretty much intact – can’t say the same for myself!