Words of Wisdom

From a post at New Orleans Slate:

We here in New Orleans watched the NASA shots of Sandy headed your way. She was huge, well organized, aimed at you, and we knew how that felt. She was perfect, as Katrina was, actually beautiful when viewed from the safety of a distant satellite lens. We saw the targets on your backs and understood, possibly as no other group of people can.

Initially, there was some bitter grousing about our having had to defend our City's right to exist and be rebuilt, something you might not have to do. We weathered the nasty comments about our being idiots living below sea level and even nastier comments about tax payer money being wasted on morons and ingrates and freeloaders. These comments were ubiquitous after Katrina, but we wouldn't wish what you're dealing with on anyone because we've been there.

We endured extreme heat, while you folks have to deal with unbelievable cold, as the power went out and stayed out. We are also a city in which some people don't have cars, so we understand the New Yorkers who are utterly stranded as the subway tunnels have turned into something better navigated by gondolas than train cars. We know as we see aerial views of Asbury Park, Seaside Heights, Atlantic City, and all the coastal towns that what we're seeing in no way shows us the length and breadth and depth of the devastation  We know you aren't overstating it when you say it looks like a war zone. We understand the loss of everything you own. We know the tears you'll shed as your kids' yearbooks and baby pictures are gone forever. We understand your toughness, your determination to rebuild, your compassion for your neighbors, and your statements about your family being fine and your losses were "only stuff."

We get it.



Now that Hurricane Sandy is heading for New Jersey, how soon before we begin to hear any of the following:

1.  Why would they build a city in such a dangerous place?

2.  Why would anyone who lives in such a place not take the personal responsibility to own a car in case they need to evacuate?

3.  Doesn't this present New York City with a "silver lining"? A "blank slate" upon which to re-imagine itself?

4.  Why should a cab driver in Detroit care about rebuilding a city in a flood zone?


Isaac via FB

Thank you, Facebook, for making this hurricane a much more enjoyable experience, since I was able to communicate with friends and family the entire time, even when we were without power for almost a week. Obviously, I didn't blog during that time, so here's an FB account of how I spent my hurrication.

(And true confession time: I am an extremely sarcastic person--not in a mean way--just in a dry humor sort of way. It's an inherited trait and/or survival skill I got from my father. And besides, w hat else is there to do while waiting for a hurricane/riding out a hurricane than exercise your somewhat odd sense of humor online? 

August 25
If I were a meteorologist, I would call it the CONE OF DOOM just to make things more fun.

August 26
Shit. I guess I'm buying batteries and beer today.

I just heard that Jim Cantore is headed this way. Y'all know that means we're all going to die, right?


Adventures in Homework

She did, actually, pick Pants on Fire as the winner of the 2011 Louisiana Derby. I'm so proud.  


Election Prayer

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to not engage my conservative Facebook friends when they post annoying and/or offensive stuff. Amen.


Stand Up and Get Drunk

Okay, so, that game pretty much sucked. And I hate it when I actually agree with something that Bobby Hebert says, like if the Saints don't win next week against the Chiefs, we should all go throw ourselves off the Huey P. Long.

But I suppose it's just things returning to normal, and I should be used to it. After all, I started watching the Saints during the "glory days" of Mike Ditka and Ricky Williams. And for some reason, I continued watching them during the Jim Haslett/Aaron Brooks days. (I blame my husband.) So, it appears we're back to the status quo. I can live with that.

On the plus side, I love the group I watch the games with. If you can still be laughing your ass off when the Panthers get yet another touchdown, it's a good day, all in all, right? It even came complete with a dramatic reading of Chris Kluwe's letter to the bigoted, homophobic Maryland politician during halftime. (Can you say "lustful cockmonster?") I also learned, although I probably could've lived without knowing about it, that some women are capable of putting a whole chicken in places that it really shouldn't go. The salmonella possibilities are endless. And horrifying. (Google it.)

Anyway, there's always next year, right? And I'm sure Jeff Duncan will make me feel better in the morning. #wegotthis


Peace and Isaac

Mostly, my anger from Katrina is gone. Mostly, I'm over it. I still get overwhelmed with sadness sometimes, but, as Kenny and I discussed this evening, it's not sadness for my own personal losses anymore. Am I still going to be sad sometimes about having no tangible record of my life before age 35? Sure. But mostly, when I get sad about Katrina, it's a sense of melancholy, an overwhelming feeling of sadness for what the people of this area went through--not what I personally went through. And sometimes, the heartache and anger of what everyone here had to suffer, of how people died, and of how some people never recovered, is enough to make me want to curl up into a ball and sob. But for the most part, I'm okay.

All of my friends and family members in other parts of the country have been heartbroken on our behalf that we had to deal with Isaac on the anniversary of Katrina. But to be quite honest, I couldn't think of a more fitting way to spend that day. I didn't have to watch the national news coverage of, what I'm sure, was a "devastating blow for the Gulf Coast," because I didn't have any power to watch said coverage.  From what I've heard, it was quite the heart-wrencher. I may have felt bad for us, too.


Questions You Have to Get Used to When You Live in a Hurricane Zone

Why don't you just sell your house and move?

Did your house flood?

So, it really wasn't anything more than a little rain?

Why do you live there?

Don't you want to move here?

Jim Cantore seems concerned. Are you?

I'm looking at the radar on the Weather Channel right now. Are you sure you're okay?

This is what it looked like. For 30 hours. That weird blowing sound would be the 75 mph gusts. All in all, to be quite honest, not a big deal, now that I'm a hurricane veteran. But DO NOT ride it out without a generator. That part really sucked.



Dear Baby Jesus--

I am trying so hard, so very, very hard, to be apolitical on Facebook.  My conservative friends post all sorts of crap about how Obama is the Worst. President. Ever.

They seem to have all forgotten that George W. Bush is the asshole that dragged us into this mess.  And even though, according to some Facebook test I took, I agree more with the Green Party candidate's platform than I do with Obama's, I will still vote for him. And I even don't comment on their crap. But bless me Jesus, for I have sinned.  Tonight, I just coudn't take it anymore. Today, Mittington Romney III went there and made a joke about how no one ever asks hiim for HIS birith certificate. Gee, Mittens, could it be because you're a pompous prick who is so obviously WHITE, despite the fact that you belong to a religon that most people consider a cult, and in spite of the fact that your family fled to Mexico so that they could practice polygamy?

And yet somehow, you're now questioning the validity of the President's nationalism? Really? Because what, he's black? And a Kenyan Muslim, Socialist, Communist, Facist, Nazi? (Note to detractors: you have to pick one--he can't be a Socialist AND a Communist.)


Ways in Which I am Old

What Peter Gabriel looks like in my head:

What Peter Gabriel actually looks like now:


I'm doing this because I saw it on Bayou Creole's blog and I still can't sleep, damnit.  I'm going to bed after this, I promise. 6:00 a.m. comes awfully early....

A. Age: 43
B. Bed size:Queen (wish we had a king, but our bedroom's not big enough)
C. Chore you dislike:  Ironing. I'd rather play volleyball.
D. Dogs:  Tchoupitoulas, a golden retriever. Tchoups for short. He smiles.
E. Essential start to your day: Sitting on the porch for 10 minutes while it's still dark outside, getting eaten alive by mosquitoes, but enjoying the hell out of a coke and a cigarette. (I know, I know, one day, maybe I'll quit.)
F. Favorite colors: Favorite colors to wear? Black, white, and khaki. (I'm crazy like that.) Favorite color in general? Mossy green.
G. Gold or silver: White gold, with silver a close second. I hate yellow gold.
H. Height: 5'8". I rarely feel short around another woman, but when I'm with somebody who's 5'10" or 5'11", it's very disconecerting.
I. Instruments you play(ed): Took piano for seven years. Still can't play much other than chopsticks, Mary had a Little Lamb, Heart and Soul, and One Tin Soldier, which I taught to myself. (I can't read music worth a damn, even though I remember that every good boy must find.).
J. Job title: Director of Global Health Research (I know, it cracks me up, too.)
K. Kids: Emmeline

Equal Opportunity

The purpose of this particular post is about the ridiculousness that is election season. Dear God, if there is a god (which I believe there is, although my god isn't Roman Catholic), please let this horror end. I am an unabashed liberal. A progressive, some might say. I believe that there is one god, regardless of your faith--you can be Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, agnostic or atheist. (Hell, you can even be some freaky ass religion like Mormon or Scientologist. Who am I to judge?) But we all still all have the same god, and he is a god of love.

So nothing pisses me off more than a quote like this, from a "pro-life," "Christian" Republican:
'America, America is just more than a place, though. America is an idea. It's the only country founded on an idea. Our rights come from nature and God, not from government. That's right. That's who we are, that's how we built this country. That's who we are. That's what made us great. That's what made us great. We promise equal opportunity, not equal outcomes.'


Aurora and the Ridiculousness of Our of Media

As usual, Athenae says it way better than I could, so I will just link to her:

I cannot make my doctor's office stop showing The Today Show no matter how much I beg. The nurses like it, she says to me. Okay, but after five minutes of it in the waiting room my blood pressure spikes to stroke levels. The morning after the Aurora shootings, before anybody even knew what this was, we were having a panel debate on whether you should "be worried about taking your kids to this movie." First of all, the fucking thing is rated PG-13 and is incredibly loud and violent so no, you shouldn't take your (young) kids to this movie. Not that that stopped half a dozen people at my midafternoon showing from bringing toddlers. I swear the next time a retail spot opens up next to my 'hood's theater I'm snagging it for a drop-off babysitting service for the kids' sakes. I hope that two-year-old keeps you up ALL NIGHT with his nightmares, geniuses. Second, though, WHAT THE FUCK ON EARTH. Really, that's our major concern right now, if you should take your kids to a movie because somehow one dude who went on a rampage at Batman means every movie is now dangerous? You know what's dangerous? The WORLD.

The Exorcist

Dear Mittens: Is this really who you want as your VP candidate?


Meanwhile, Back in the Gulf....

What BP is telling us:
Since May 2010, more than 6,000 seafood specimens have been collected by the FDA, NOAA, and state agencies in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida. The FDA also has visited over 100 seafood processors and wholesalers across the Gulf Coast, collecting seafood samples and inspecting processing plants for biological, chemical, and physical hazards. Levels of residues of oil contamination in seafood have consistently tested 100 to 1,000 times lower than the safety thresholds established by the FDA.
What the FDA is
telling us:
Because of the hard work and cooperation of Gulf fishermen, seafood processors, and state, local and federal health and fisheries officials, American consumers can feel confident in the quality and safety of Gulf seafood.

What the foreign press are
telling us:
Gulf of Mexico fishermen, scientists and seafood processors have told Al Jazeera they are finding disturbing numbers of mutated shrimp, crab and fish that they believe are deformed by chemicals released during BP's 2010 oil disaster. Along with collapsing fisheries, signs of malignant impact on the regional ecosystem are ominous: horribly mutated shrimp, fish with oozing sores, underdeveloped blue crabs lacking claws, eyeless crabs and shrimp - and interviewees' fingers point towards BP's oil pollution disaster as being the cause.

What the U.S. press are
telling us:
Don't print up the official stationary yet, but reality star and entrepreneur Kim Kardashian has designs on political office. More specifically, she'd like to be the mayor of Glendale, California.



For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the sun? And what is it to cease breathing, but to free the breath from its restless tides, that it may rise and expand and seek God unencumbered?

Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing. And when you have reached the mountain top, then you shall begin to climb. And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then you shall truly dance.

The Prophet
Kahlil Gibran


Zombie-Eyed Granny Starver

"The Ryan cult was very much on display last week, after President Obama said the obvious: the latest Republican budget proposal, a proposal that Mitt Romney has avidly embraced, is a 'Trojan horse' — that is, it is essentially a fraud. 'Disguised as deficit reduction plans, it is really an attempt to impose a radical vision on our country.' The reaction from many commentators was a howl of outrage. The president was being rude; he was being partisan; he was being a big meanie. Yet what he said about the Ryan proposal was completely accurate. Actually, there are many problems with that proposal. But you can get the gist if you understand two numbers: $4.6 trillion and 14 million.



All of these lines across my face
Tell you the story of who I am
So many stories of where I've been
And how I got to where I am

But these stories don't mean anything
When you've got no one to tell them to
It's true...I was made for you

I climbed across the mountain tops
Swam all across the ocean blue
I crossed all the lines and I broke all the rules
But baby I broke them all for you

Because even when I was flat broke
You made me feel like a million bucks
You do...I was made for you

You see the smile that's on my mouth
It's hiding the words that don't come out
And all of my friends who think that I'm blessed
They don't know my head is a mess

No, they don't know who I really am
And they don't know what
I've been through like you do
And I was made for you...

All of these lines across my face
Tell you the story of who I am
So many stories of where I've been
And how I got to where I am

But these stories don't mean anything
When you've got no one to tell them to
It's true...I was made for you


Grace and Grieving

This comment, written in response to an editorial written by Charles Blow in The New York Times, sums up completely how I feel about the Trayvon Martin case:

"The thing that's different about Trayvon's murder--that shows me a different America than the one I grew up in--is that EVERY parent sees in Trayvon their own child. That Zimmerman saw a black face as a weapon turns the stomachs of millions as a hallmark of a more repugnant time in our history--yet one that lingers in the shadows with nauseating effect when it now surfaces."

No matter what the outcome...

If Trayvon is proven to have "started" the fight that left him dead because George Zimmerman followed him, thinking he didn't belong.

If Trayvon had a record as a "troubled" teen, one who had been suspended several times for wrong-doing.

If he was wearing a hoodie, which made him a criminal in some people's minds.

He was a child, a human being. He didn't desrve to be killed, no matter the circumstances.

In high school, I stole a stop sign, smoked pot every once in awhile, sneaked off campus for lunch, and skipped class ocasionally. I'm also pretty sure I owned a hooded sweatshirt. Did I have it coming? Would it make a difference if I said I'm white?

This is my issue with the Trayvon Martin case. He didn't deserve to be shot--from everything I've heard, he was hunted down and killed by someone who thought he was "other" because of the color of his skin. Prove me wrong. And God help us all if we truly haven't evolved past that.


More Money than God

Just as I'm sure around 200 million other people have done tonight, my husband and I have figured out how to spend the $640 Mega Millions jackpot.* The problem is, even after paying $300 million in taxes, using $200 million to start a foundation that pays for scholarships, healthcare costs, and finding homes for stray animals, giving $75 million to friends and family, buying a couple of houses, several cars, and a boat, and Saints season tickets for life, AND renting out the Cedar Point amusement park once a month for the foreseeable future so I that can ride some really cool roller coasters, we still have about $70 million left over, give or take a few mil. Problems, problems.

*We will not be checking to confirm that we didn't win until tomorrow, in order to prolong the fantasy a little bit longer.


Ways in Which I Rebel

Ever since we bought our dishwasher back in 2007, the drying function hasn't worked. Clean dishes have to sit in there for about three solid days before all of the water evaporates off of them. It's a real pain, as far as household pains go, especially since there are always at least about 30 plastic cups from Mardi Gras in there, which, for some reason, seem to take three times as long as the average dish to dry.

My husband (you know, the one who never notices that green light on the dishwasher that means the dishes are clean and can be unloaded) constantly gets on my case about the fact that I don't hand dry every Mardi Gras cup as I take it out of the dishwasher.  To me, this is unnecessary labor--they'll dry eventually, right? Even if they are stacked up in the cupboard and therefore it takes some of them at least a week to dry.

Kenny seems to think this will cause a mildew problem. And perhaps it will, but we have about 876 Mardi Gras cups, so if we lose a few to mildew, no big deal, right? Wrong. That man loves his Mardi Gras cups like they're gold-plated or something. Also, I have way more pressing things to do than lovingly hand dry each Mardi Gras cup--like vacuum up the approximately five pounds of dog hair that accumulate in our house on a daily basis. 

So, after several years of getting scolded for not putting the cups away properly, I've finally figured out a fool-proof method.  I stack the cups without drying them, then shove them way in the back of the kitchen cabinet and move a couple of stacks that have dried to the front.  Problem solved. And most importantly, I haven't been discovered yet.

I also like to furtively throw away Mardi Gras cups every chance I get. Sometimes, Kenny finds them buried way down in the trash and brings them back into the house again. But it's always fun when I'm able to successfully throw away a cup. It's the little things that keep a 17-year relationship fun, you know?

Yes, I know, I need to get out more. Welcome to an exciting Saturday night at my house.


F*ck Roger Goodell

Did the Saints have a bounty program when they shouldn’t have? Yes. Were there lots of other teams with similar systems in place? Yes. Does that excuse the Saints’ behavior? No. Are the penalties being handed down by Roger Goodell outrageously excessive? Absolutely.

It feels as if Goodell has just told the entire city of New Orleans to go fuck itself.  An entire year of suspension for Payton? Give me a break. I know that “everybody else does it, too” is not a defense. But I honestly don’t feel that the Saints were intentionally trying to seriously injure other players, regardless of what’s being said in the media.


A Letter to My Daughter, 03/12

Dear Emmeline:

Seven years old. How is that even possible? Everyone says that time passes more quickly as you get older, which is most definitely true. But nothing makes time speed by at such a ridiculous rate as having a child and watching her grow up. Sometimes, my heart aches for the little-bitty girl that you used to be, just as I know that, several years from now, I'll long to have the seven-year-old back.

This has been a big year for you. The tooth fairy has now visited our house six times, and you're quite the snaggle-puss. You recently discovered that the tooth fairy had left one of your teeth behind, secreted in a box I fill with mementos of your childhood, and you were quite confused until I told you that I'd explained to her that I thought it would be nice to keep one of your teeth for you. You accepted this grudgingly but wanted to know if the tooth fairy wanted her money back, seeing as how she didn't get to keep the tooth.


Mardi Gras 2012

I'm officially exhausted, after going to 24 out of the 26 parades. God, do I love Mardi Gras. And I know there's lots of discussion out there about people being too territorial on the parade route, but I have to confess, I'm a parade junkie and love getting as close as possible.

How close? Close enough to almost get hit in the face with a tuba by St. Aug, close enough to catch beads from Bret Michaels, and close enough to interact with the flambeaux. I would like to add, however, that no tarps, caution tape, roped-together ladders, parade chairs, or any other barriers were used to make sure I had a good spot. If you want to be up front for all of the action, then you actually need to get there early and be up front.  Nothing makes me crazier than the people who lay 12 ladders down next to each other on the parade route hours ahead of time and then don't actually stand in "their" spot until the parades start rolling.


How to Piss People Off During Mardi Gras

Decide that not only do you need to clearly mark your own space on the parade route on Bacchus Sunday, when most of the Saturday parades are also having to roll, but that you need to do so with a tarp that is clearly a lot larger than the six people in your group need. These people hogged that much space all day long so that their kid could play football during parade breaks.


The Tide is Turning

Divided Court Rejects Proposition 8
A federal appeals court has declared California's 2008 voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional, concluding that the prohibition served no purpose other than to "lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians."


Another Time and Place - Dave Von Ronk

When first I met you years ago
In another time and place
The thought came to my mind
I'd never seen a kinder face

Dear 2012

You know what? So far, you really suck and have me on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Is this what you had in mind? Is this payback for not (really) believing in that whole Mayan calendar thing:?

Let's recount what's happened so far this year, shall we? On day what, 39 or something? Of 365?


I Heart James Carville

Carville to GOP: You have a disaster on your hands.
"It's been a terrible time to be a Republican. There have been many moments during this process that have caused me great joy. Certainly the events of Thursday, ending with the CNN debate, and even the Fox debate Monday night, have helped ease the pain of my beloved Tigers' and Saints' recent defeats.

I mean, most people thought it was kind of a watermark when your Tea Party gang booed the golden rule. You know, I've spent some time in Philly and they have always thought they were pretty radical because they actually booed Santa Claus and Willie Mays. Philly, I've got news for you -- you ain't got nothing on South Carolina Republicans. They just aren't buying any of that do-unto-others garbage."


For A Friend

Gone From My Sight
--Henry Van Dyke

I am standing upon the seashore. A ship, at my side,
spreads her white sails to the moving breeze and starts
for the blue ocean. She is an object of beauty and strength.
I stand and watch her until, at length, she hangs like a speck
of white cloud just where the sea and sky come to mingle with each other.

Then, someone at my side says, "There, she is gone"

Gone where?

Gone from my sight. That is all. She is just as large in mast,
hull and spar as she was when she left my side.
And, she is just as able to bear her load of living freight to her destined port.

Her diminished size is in me -- not in her.
And, just at the moment when someone says, "There, she is gone,"
there are other eyes watching her coming, and other voices
ready to take up the glad shout, "Here she comes!"

And that is dying...


I Love Having Parented

Don't Carpe Diem
"I think parenting young children (and old ones, I've heard) is a little like climbing Mount Everest. Brave, adventurous souls try it because they've heard there's magic in the climb. They try because they believe that finishing, or even attempting the climb, are impressive accomplishments. They try because during the climb, if they allow themselves to pause and lift their eyes and minds from the pain and drudgery, the views are breathtaking. They try because even though it hurts and it's hard, there are moments that make it worth the hard. These moments are so intense and unique that many people who reach the top start planning, almost immediately, to climb again. Even though any climber will tell you that most of the climb is treacherous, exhausting, killer. That they literally cried most of the way up."


Love Is...

The sheer amount of bodily fluids (and solids) that you will willingly allow another person to smear on you because said person is your child.

And How Was Your Weekend?

Mine pretty much sucked, thanks to that game. It started out ugly and stayed that way for quite some time, in between Pierre Thomas getting knocked out cold and Drew Brees throwing an interception that resulted in a second 49ers touchdown, both within the first quarter.  At least the friends I watched the game with were entertaining. And I made a couple of excellent hors d'oeuvres. (If you haven't yet been to the Pioneer Woman's blog to get recipes that involve meat, and cheese, and bacon, and butter, you should go now.)


Just Stuff

So far, 2012 hasn't started off that well. Everyone I know was ecstatic to put 2011 behind us. I really don't know what it was about 2011, but it just kinda sucked. It felt like we were in the doldrums or something. So, 2012 was supposed to be the year that things start getting better (depending, of course, on that whole Mayan calendar thing).

But so far this year, which has barely just started, I've gotten to discover that our house was broken into and that the only thing stolen was my jewelry. Not the funnest way to start the new year. Especially since there I was, telling everyone how Katrina had made me realize that stuff is just stuff, that it was not something to get emotionally invested in, and then somebody had to go and steal my stuff.


Auld Lang Syne

I officially gave up making resolutions, or at least big, supposed-to-change-your-life resolutions, when 2011 rolled around. I tried (unsuccessfully) to quit smoking during 2010 (and 2001; and 2005). Failed. I've made the this-is-the-year-I'm-finally-going-to-lose-some-weight resolution more years than I can count. Big resolutions like that seem to set me up for nothing other than failure. (And 2011, by the way, the first year I resolved not to resolve anything, is the year I finally got with the program and lost 25 pounds--go figure.)

So as 2011 left and 2012 arrived, I resolved again to stay away from resolutions. But then I realized, after looking at the pictures I took on New Year's Eve, that I have one resolution that has been a part of my life for 10+ years and that I plan to keep for good. It's an excellent way to start the new year off , and I swear, if nothing else, it makes you feel happy for years to come.