Tuesday, November 29, 2005

of anger and sadness or when you'd have rather not received that forward after all

I'm back from New Hampshire. It was wonderful and I already miss it. I am grateful for my New York family, and soon I'll be back in NOLA with my parents and friends there. I'm finding myself still frustrated with insensitive people. I wish it wouldn't affect me so much. I wish I could let things roll off my back.

But I get angry and sad even now - 3 months after this happened. It's really time for me to go home. It's too hard to just keep stomaching the utter inability to truly comprehend what happened 3 months ago. I need to see it for myself in order to really let go of the anger. My anger with the government, with the friends who don't know what to say, with so many things and people. The list goes on and on.

I hate having this list. I wish I could throw it away. I wish I had something better to do with these feelings than wish for the government to have built secure levees, to wish for friends who don't even try to contact me to reach out to actually make an effort, for the empathy that doesn't exist in some people's hearts. For a home for my parents and my friends who are also homeless. For security and for the integrity of the city's heritage and history. For all the kind elderly I'll never see again.

It breaks my heart every day. It really does. And stupid things like forwards about Katrina from an ex-boyfriend just make me want to scream. Why do they care? They don't even deserve to even talk about my beautiful city. They just remind me of the banality of everyday. The banality that is eating up this country and eating up so many people in their pursuit to just be "normal." Whatever that is.

I know not everyone knows what to say. My mother reminds me of this pretty often. But how about asking something so simple as "how are you?" or just saying "I care about this and I care about you."

Why don't people learn this instead of the American pursuit of happiness: life, liberty, the freedom to care about only oneself and an SUV. I realize that everything I say just points back and the "me, me, me" nature of this list. I know it. But I feel like I'm feeling too much. It's like being 13 again, but without the promise of being able to escape to college where people might understand you.

It's hard to realize that grown up life is full of people who still hurt your feelings even when they care about you and full of people who - even when confronted with the facts - find it easier to just shut their eyes.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Going to New Hampshire

I'll be in New Hampshire until (most likely) Monday night. Tim and I are driving to NH with his mom and youngest sister today. It's really cold in New York so I can only imagine how much colder it is in NH. I am going to freeze, but the air will be fresh and there will be mountains and pine trees. I hope I'll have plenty of time to knit and drink coffee.

Have a wonderful thanksgiving. This year, I'm just happy I'm alive. Same goes to the rest of you New Orleanians. Don't let Katrina get you down. We have each other. Somebody eat some cornbread dressing for me. Lord knows that doesn't exist in New England.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Now *this* is what I'm talking about

Coffee culture in New Orleans.

I had been going off coffee as of the spring and summer of this year. I said to myself that after iced coffee became a form of torture rather than pleasure (ie: summer turns to fall), I would try to cut it out altogether because hot coffee is just not as tasty as iced coffee, in my opinion.

But of course, Katrina came in and screwed up everything so I needed to stay on the coffee in order to stay sane.

Slimbolala was kind enough to give me an update on the coffee shop situation in NOLA. I was thrilled to hear about the closure of the horrific monstrocity that occupied the former location of rue de la course. I was also heartened by the picture I've posted above. It's of Cafe Luna on Magazine Street. Also, note that in the background, the Starbucks across the street is still closed. My dad seems to think that many businesses are still waiting for their insurance money and don't seem much point in reopening until the money comes in. Good luck waiting. In my wildest dreams, NOLA will become a town full of mom 'n pop establishments by locals for locals. They are the ones who want their lives back together so why crowd them out with Starbucks, etc?

That's my two cents for the day.

Also, did you write/call these representatives?

Monday, November 21, 2005

I still love the Indigo Girls (and other reasons why I will never be a hipster)

I have too much to read. I know this is a typical complaint, but at the moment it's kinda crimping my style. I can't believe I just used a phrase like that. Who am I? Some nemesis of Sarah Jessica Parker from her "Square Pegs" days? Or better still, Jesse Spanno's cousin on "Saved by the Bell?" I don't know.

I'm just tired. New haircut happiness is still running strong, but tonight, all I really wanted to do is go to bed with "Nylon" magazine, ice cream and "Gilmore Girls" on dvd. I stayed home to read and rest because I've been wearing myself out and needed another night in.

And should I try to take Monday off work? I already asked for it, got it, and then returned it. Is it legit to take a sick day when "sick day" = "if I drove back to NYC from New Hampshire on Sunday, I would most definitely be sick of my boyfriend?" There is a question for the ages.

I guess I'm just frustrated because I can't make plans. The plans keep changing. It's become a rather nasty theme in my life over the past couple years, but especially over the past year. You know, it's really wrong that you spend your entire childhood shuttled around in plans: pre-school, lower school, middle school, high school, four years of college to end up in adulthood conditioned to dealing with life on a school calendar and increments of four years.

This all comes as no big surprise. What is a big surprise is that despite being well aware of these facts, I know my frustration comes from the inability to rely upon a concrete plan.

I'm tired for a number of reasons, but mostly, I just want everything to stop changing, okay? I guess staying home was a nice way to hope the world would just stop spinning for a little while. While on the phone with my mom tonight, I realized that there is a steady little stream of air traffic air space visible from one of my windows. I watched plane after plane zoom by on their way to Laguardia. How soon til I can get home and assess just how much my notion of home has irrevocably changed? My dad told me today that he doesn't want me to spend too much time at our house in Lakeview because he doesn't want it to give me nightmares. I think he wanted to say that he wanted me to remember the house as it was instead of as it is. A cesspool. A lot of molded stuff. Things that were so precious. Things that made our lives bright. Things that reflected a collected life. A composed life. I loved having friends over to my house. When I was home, I prefered having everyone over for dinner rather than go out. I had so many pictures of my friends and my family: birthday parties with hats, crepe paper and crepes with nutella, late chats on the sofas, impromptu concerts by my brother.

And now it's all gone. And I know that it's what you bring to things that gives them significance. Does this have anything to do with signifiers and signified? I'm just a girl from New Orleans. My brain is kinda fried and it probably always was thanks to bathing in that Mississippi river water for my entire childhood.

But anyway, I just ache for familiar things. I'm really looking forward to returning to Hanover, NH. I cried last year at the lunch counter at Lou's because I felt like things had changed so much. Or I had changed so much. I shouldn't think Hanover never changes, but I would like to buy some chocolate covered ginger at the Co-Op, walk around Occum Pond, admire Baker Tower and take a fleeting glance of Frat Row.

My reading really stinks. I just want to read familiar things, and yet I get attracted to new, different things.

All the same, I've been listening to the Indigo Girls non-stop. I have to thank Rachel for replenishing my collection. It's usually a sign of crisis for me to be listening to them this much, but "Ghost" hasn't been on repeat, don't panic.

I just need a familiar voice. My first "real" concert (not Jazz Fest, not street performers or the symphony at the zoo) was an Indigo Girls concert at the Saenger Theater in New Orleans. I went with my friend Becky. I can remember it like it was yesterday. Buying the tickets at the Ticketmaster booth in Maison Blanche (a New Orleans department store that has long since been closed) and sitting in the balcony. We even had a celebrity sighting: Kathleen Turner (mean) and Dennis Quaid (nice).

At the end of the concert, they said everyone should stay so that they could film a video. It was for their song "Joking" (It was the "Rites of Passage" tour) and they asked everyone to empty the balcony and crowd the floor. Becky and I stood on seats in the center.

I've never seen the video. Someone claimed to have seen me on VH1 at 2 in the morning sometime in the 90s.

I would love to see Becky and I frozen in our awkward haircuts from 1992. Me in a long braid and her with permed curls. But it might hurt too much to think of how she's married and living in Alabama with a mess of dogs and I live in an apartment in Brooklyn, still reading all the time. Reading myself into a corner.

Maybe it's better when memories stay as they should be - in your memory.

The Indigo Girls have this new song that says the "new road is an old friend." I have to shake my head and laugh that Emily Saliers and Amy Ray still bring levity to my commute home and my general well-being. That sustained relationship and the fact that this entry points towards the 13 year old me who will never leave a particular place in my heart and general sense of self-protection.

Sunday, November 20, 2005


PLEASE contact congress and tell them that New Orleans must be rebuilt and protected from further harm. The United States needs New Orleans. To think that writing off one of the nation's largest ports is a good idea is a joke. The Times-Picayune has provided a list of contact information for various folks in Congress. Please consult it and contact representatives and senators. We need your help and we need it now. Not sometime in the near future, but now. Thank you.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

tomato and mint

tomato and mint is such a great combination. i rarely have it, but when i do it reminds me of a time when i would fix angel hair pasta and whip up a sauce with tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, and mint leaves fresh from my mom's garden. you would think it would have a delicate taste, but it is bold and light at the same time. i ate it tonight with baked eggplant, brown rice and plain yogurt.

moroccan food in harlem with kwanza and marisa. i was sad earlier today when i booked my flight home for christmas. suddenly, the new New Orleans is no longer an abstract thing, but will soon become all too real for me. accepting that i'm not going home to spend christmas in my blue room, or lounging on our brown corduroy sofas: it's real. i'll sleep on an air mattress on the floor for 18 days in my parents one room efficiency.

i don't know how it will be to be so tangibly close for so long, but we'll have movies, wine, warmth. And the French Quarter. I can walk to Kaboom Books, Croissant d'or, rue de la course or cafe du monde. Will I wake up to the sound of barges on the river, calliopes, the clip clop of mule hooves from the tourist buggies.

are there still tourist buggies?

will the city taste the same? will it be what i remembered? i will have a direct flight from JFK to prepare me. A train take me home. i haven't seen my father since june when i wore a beautiful periwinkle satin strapless gown and danced the night away after kari finally married jared. i didn't even have a bite of her wedding cake.

but i am looking forward to new memories: glasses of wine in the courtyard, combing the Quarter as a FQ native, no longer being a resident of Lakeview.

i don't know how to wear my nostalgia. do i dress it up in smiles and necklaces? do i leave it out on the curb for goodwill?

i guess this isn't something i can anticipate. i'll just have to be there and listen to the sound of the city: ghosts from my past, all the vivid people of my present, and what i hope will be the city's future. and mine, too.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005


A reason just given by an online suitor for why things would not work out, why we were not "a match." It's a sly approach because it sounds like a combo of personality and physical attributes, but its meaning is far more blunt.

"of or relating to the body as distinguished from the mind or spirit"

It's not me, it's you....

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

From Sunday

The past three weekends have been so completely gorgeous. Last weekend so much so that I spent most of the weekend in Prospect Park, admiring leaves, chatting with Alison and Gifford on Saturday and reading and laughing with Tim on Sunday. I read Mary Gaitskill's VERONICA and found it to be one of the best things I've read all year which is saying a lot for a year that included NEVER LET ME GO, THE TRANSIT OF VENUS, THE LITTLE FRIEND, THE YEAR OF MAGICAL THINKING, BRICK LANE, THE DEW BREAKER and ON BEAUTY. So I highly recommend you go out and read it.

I'm already going to be late for a brunch in Carroll Gardens so I should really be on my way; however, I have been feeling guilty about not writing. I don't know who is actually reading this, but in case you were worried, I'm really alright. There are good days and bad days, but like most New Orleanians, I'm still working out life day-by-day. As Joni Mitchell croons, "Everything comes and goes, marked by lovers and styles of clothes. Things that you held high and thought yourself were true marked by changes as they come down to you."

But I'm really not melancholy. I'm just riding this sense that everything has ruptured and changed irrevocably. I really can't put up with fairweather friends any more and I just won't.

So the leaves are turning and so am I. There's only so much energy and I would rather be joyful than be frustrated so I'm working with what I have. I hope you're doing the same.