Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Molly Ivins Can't Say That, Can She?

First Ann Richards, and now Molly Ivins. It took me by surprise to see that she'd died. And so young. And from breast cancer. I hope that the 2008 is so spectacular that God decides to send her down to earth as a special correspondant. She will be missed.

(And I never knew she was a fellow seven sister grad!?)

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

green tea and almonds

All afternoon, I munched on raw almonds and drank cup after cup of green tea from my petite Bryn Mawr college class of 2000 mug. It's a rather dainty mug as cups go and the school crest and all of the lettering is sky blue. It's a perfect mug for the eccentric tea/coffee machine happily tucked away in our floor's tea pantry. My constant musical companion of the past two days has been Regina Spektor. Her songs "Field Below," "Samson," and "Hotel Suite" are gems I'm happy to brand into my mind during these slate cold January days.

Somehow, these minor things established a nice little rhythm that helped me get through the afternoon. I'm home now and I'm not exhausted. Usually I come home and need to decompress. Today it's different. I want to keep working, thinking about work. It's easy. It feels like a natural gesture. I'm going to cook a light supper and get back into my work. Light some candles, make some more tea. Try to get to sleep early. I'm no fan of winter (wan skin, short days, chapped hands, stuffy subways), but I do appreciate the fact that it forces me out of my social ways and into a homebody's existence.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Colts, we'll help you cook the bear gumbo

Here's a shot after Reggie Bush's phenomenal, graceful touchtown.

Here's Gifford reacting to the total bullshit calls that the refs continually made throughout the course of the game. I wanna know the names of the people who paid off the refs on behalf of the Bears. I'm going to remember this. I would be okay with a clear victory, but one paved by the refs? No way. It wasn't the field. It wasn't the weather. It wasn't the talent. It was the refs that made the game. I'm no sore loser. This was a joke.

But you know what?

In the end, a good time was had by all. Eight native New Orleanians were able to meet up with five NOLA allies, hoot and holler with likeminded folk, and sing the songs we've known all our lives.

"Who dat say they gonna beat them Saints?
Who dat? Who dat?"

With a lousy sinus infection, I couldn't partake of the Abita beer on hand, but I did eat some Zapps chips. There was chili, tabouli, lots of chips and salsa, and amazing lemon icebox pie.

I had Robutussin DM and antibiotics. I've spent the weekend in bed so that I could be well enough to watch the game.

But hey, there's always next year. Maybe this time in the Superdome for the NFC championship. NOLA has a lot of great memories and we will have many more. Bless you boys! We believe. Thank you 2006-2007 Saints for giving us something to hope for during this miserable period of NOLA history and thank you for showing us that Cinderella stories sometimes do come true.

Saturday, January 20, 2007


There is nothing more that needs to be said.

I'm anticipating that bear gumbo will be as tasty as dirty bird gumbo.

Monday, January 15, 2007

not just a holiday

(Frenchman Street, Faubourg Marigny, New Orleans, December 2005)

I salvaged two books from my house in New Orleans. An out of print YA book called Midnight Hour Encores: Bruce Brooks that I couldn't bare to let go of. I'd read it as a comfort book in college, having read it countless times in New Orleans as I grew up. The other book was Margaret Fuller's Woman in the Nineteenth Century which I studied in one of my favorite classes in college. I would show up with my PJ's coffee mug full of coffee, stressed and tired, sitting next to my prof in a class of eight students, missing Paris, and sure of just one thing: when I graduated, the first thing I would do would be to move back home.

To New Orleans.

The was nothing I wanted more. I just wanted to be home.

Margaret Fuller kept me company and challenged me. I should have been an English major.

But really it was the context of everything that consumed me. And so being a History major still feels like the best fit.

Sitting in my new closet, miles and miles away from the place where I once wore rubber boots, a gas mask and gloves, I was reacquainted with these two old friends. A long stint in Ziploc bags in my parents's freezer had killed the mold and the smell. Water hadn't reached them, miraculously. Somehow they were high enough on the bookshelves in the living room. Why they were there was anyone's guess. Every book in my bedroom was destroyed. The bookshelves fell apart and spilled all my precious favorite books, journals, letters, photos into the messy stew of toxic water in my room.

A few things managed to float in sealed plastic boxes. A couple smelly photos that also managed to lose their smell after months upon months in a box with baking soda. I saved three. A photo from Senior year of high school, a mess of us at Mona's on Bank Street. A photo from my 18th birthday party. A photo of me and my friend Naomi in my Merion slit during sophomore year of college.

But when I opened Margaret Fuller, a photo fell out like a leaf. It was a photo from my twentieth birthday dinner. Two very old friends and myself. Smiles, beautiful faces. And at the top of the photo, prisms that hung from the light fixture in the living room.

It felt like a gift. Something given back. Something to remind me that there's always some kind of a return. I don't have much left from my post-Katrina life, save the memories. I've had to let go of so much without so much as a goodbye. And I'm one of the very lucky ones. People like Joe Lieberman think there's no reason to press an investigation of the White House's shameful lack of response to the broken levees in New Orleans. It's time for a change. Today on MLK jr day, I hope people recognize the injustice in this country and do their part to keep the conversation alive, to never adopt an apathetic position, to speak out when there's occasion to do so. To just be gentle with one another. To listen. To act. No matter how small an action, it's worth the time.

In some ways, it feels like the year really begins now with this day. It's a celebration of hope, of faith. We are capable of so much empathy and joy. Let's spend today looking outside ourselves and learning more about others. I'm thinking about my fellow Louisianians, my fellow Gulf Coast residents. I think about all of the people who live in a city where Sean Peyton offers the only shred of leadership they've seen in years. I think of my aching hometown and the tears just fill my eyes. I am trying to find a way to serve New Orleans. The cheering and screaming on Saturday night was so cathartic and imbued with meaning. We celebrated the triumph of spirit above the Road Home, FEMA, the federal government, the Army Corps of Engineers, the carpetbaggers. New Orleans will rise again. We remember, we believe, we shall overcome.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Bless You Boys

What a night. WHAT A NIGHT!

I need to write more later, but for the first time in their 40 year history, the New Orleans Saints have advanced to the NFC championship. I can't put into words what this means for the city of New Orleans, but I'm looking forward to Chris Rose trying to force Philadelphia to make good on his bet that should the Saints win, Philadelphia gets C. Ray Nagin.

I can say this much: I feel sorry for my neighbors. We NOLA natives screamed at every play. And my hoarse voice was worth it.


Saturday, January 13, 2007

being a bag lady is not good for long-term back health

I came home from work tonight with a bag of yarn and a half-knitted scarf, two New Yorkers, an O magazine, a New York Review of Books, six books, two travel coffee mugs, several lip glosses, a change of clothing, ipod, cell phone, wallet, keys, and another oddball knitting project. I didn't let myself bring home more books, more stuff.

And I wonder why I am a glutton for back massages?

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

something heartening, something upsetting

Good NOLA related reading from the New York Times.

Sunday, January 07, 2007


I've been back in Brooklyn for a week and so far, so good. I have been cooking up a storm. I made a massive pot of veggie chili last weekend and I made a big batch of baby lima bean soup (thanks to the Camelia Beans from NOLA) so there's plenty food in the freezer. One of my new year's resolutions is to make sure there is always a meal in the freezer, ready for me to reheat and eat. That way I don't have to resort to take out when I get home late, cranky, tired and hungry. I also never really did much in the way of keeping a pantry, but with a new roommate and a fresh start, I'm going to work on this. I'd like to be sure I have more than dried beans, water, and wine to offer friends when they come over to visit.

Another new year's resolution is to try to make my own coffee. I had the grinder and my brother had given me a Melitta one-cup coffee filter (goodbye clunky coffee maker!!) so I got some beans from Gorilla Coffee on New Year's Day and now I'm good to go. I'm enjoying the process of making coffee; smelling the brewing process, taking pleasure in making it for myself and taking the time to do so. I have my PJ's coffee travel mug for traveling on the MTA.

I need to finally sign up for a yoga class at work. And I need to try to stretch and exercise a smidge at home. That's why I have dvds: so that I can exercise and watch them as I do sit ups and leg lifts. I would like to start running at some point in the next two years and I need to get limber. My problem with running has always been that I either get a stitch in my stomach or some kind of cramp in my shoulder. Not only would stretching more be beneficial to my running career, but it would also work out the stress I keep in particular parts of my body.

I'm also going to try to read more books than I did last year. I try to beat myself every year at this. Last year I read 66, just scraping by 2005's 65 books. I had hoped to read 75 at least, but that didn't happen. Maybe if I didn't read the NYT,, the New Yorker or the New York Review of Books... and blogs. And I'm not giving up knitting. Also, I've been trying to write more in my notebook on the way home, rather than just read. Either way, I would like to try to read something by Faulkner this year, reread all of Alice Munro and discover new favorites. Also, it may be time to reread Middlemarch. We'll see.