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February 25, 2014

Nighty night.

Monday’s over. I’m still feeling a bit used up, but that’s on its way to remedying itself; aside from the fact the Disturbance In The Force has gone on long enough, I simply don’t have time for it. The work schedule for the next seven days is a doozy, contains several double-shifts and the numbers we’ll be tending to are through the roof. It’s an incredibly busy time at the restaurant/bar, starting with The Wednesday, as we refer to it here. When referring to the days leading to Mardi Gras (this year the 4th of March), we don’t even bother saying “The Wednesday Before”. It’s just the Wednesday, the Thursday, the Friday, etc.

I have yet to plan any travel for the year and I swear it’s making me antsy. I was comparing travel notes with a friend the other night, telling her how I’m mean to continue my annual goal of Five New Cities this year, even with the move. She indicated she’d rather know one place well rather than five in a more cursory manner; I know that’s what many prefer, but I guess I’m just World-Hungry.

What’s slowing me down is the sheer number of happenings in my new city which I’ve never experienced before: Carnival/Mardi Gras, French Quarter Fest, Jazz Fest, etc.; there’s a space of 11 days in April between FQfest and Jazz Fest where I might be able to sneak away. Since I’m not starting the travel until we’re 1/4 of our way into the year, these will have to be longer, more robust trips, which is fine. Bring on the carryon suitcase, the black clothing and the scarves; I’m ready.

For now though, I’m focusing on the days leading up to Mardi Gras. I wandered the CBD this afternoon with some girlfriends, and at one point I caught a reflection of myself in a window: a woman with a big smile, wearing pink glitter Sperrys and carrying a pair of bronze wings. Just a regular Monday afternoon in New Orleans, and a lady with a plan.

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Snippets and Fragments

February 20, 2014

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I believe:

  • that love, in all its complex little variants, finds you when it is good and ready. And then hits you over the head in the nicest way possible. 
  • that people can and do, in fact, change – when they’re truly ready to.
  • that I may never be able to hear “I’ll Fly Away” without tearing up. Miss you, Ma. 

[John Boutté’s version of I’ll Fly Away]

 

Como Tu Decías

January 1, 2014

My parents had quite a few New Year’s Eve traditions / superstitions, I can’t even remember them all. There was something about grapes; grapes were eaten in the hours leading up to midnight, but something about that makes me feel it was more about snacking than anything else real.

Some of the things from when we were kids we take with us and others we ignore. I do remember my Mother used to say that the way you bring in the New Year sets the tone for the incoming year itself. Because of this, on New Year’s Eve we had to clean our rooms and make sure everything was tidy before we left the house to join some family party that our parents dragged us to.

Another thing Mom made us do was grab our suitcases after midnight and run down the street and around the corner with them. This was supposed to bring lots of travel in the new year. Midnight would strike, and we would hug and kiss everyone in the room, and then she would give us the eye and we would grab our bags, run outside, and down the street dragging our suitcases behind us.I’m sure we were making quite the racket, and what a sight it must have been to see my mother, then me, then my little brother, all running down a city street to the corner, like a family that was late for a flight that wasn’t there.

Tonight, I applied a little bit of her logic when the clock struck midnight. I was holding a fistful of cash in one hand and a cocktail in the other, and hugged and kissed my new friends. I got caught up with bar patrons and suddenly I remembered. I ran behind the bar, grabbed my tote bag, told anyone listening, “be right back, I gotta take care of a New Year’s thing”, threw my bag over my shoulder, took a left out of the bar and ran down to Royal Street. I’m certain it didn’t look out of place at all in the midst of the hubub of activity in the French Quarter. 

Happy New Year. See a little more of your world in 2014. Maybe I’ll see you out there. 

2013! What. A. Year.

December 30, 2013

I’ve been going through photographs and trying to put together a highlight album and it’s damn near impossible to do in under 250 photographs. It’s been a great year: It started in New Orleans (during my visit) at the stroke of midnight on January 1, and it will end here. In between there were visits to St. Louis, Vancouver*, Seattle*, Louisville*, New York, Mexico City*, Washington, D.C., New Orleans twice, St. Louis again, Pittsburgh*, Buenos Aires*, and New Orleans twice more, including the one-way flight that finally moved me here (the _*_ denotes a city I visited for the first time this year).

Living in the French Quarter is proving even more magical than I initially imagined it to be. Even when I have a trying shift at work, stepping out onto the street brings a deep sigh and an involuntary smile. Even the madness of Bourbon Street, which I don’t much enjoy and thought I would find to be an intolerable nuisance, just makes me giggle a bit as I swerve my bicycle around the intoxication pouring out into the street.

I’ve been here a month. Everything is so uncertain, but for the first time I embrace it, the not knowing. It’s exciting, in a way. I didn’t carry out the relocation here the way I’ve been running my life for close to ten years; if I had, I would have paid down more debt, but that would have kept me at a job I didn’t care about anymore, in a role I actively didn’t want to be in.

It was time to jump.

And now, even with all the uncertainty, I feel myself pushing many big, heavy doors open. There are about a dozen different opportunities with varying paths right now, and I’m pursuing them all. Some of them have me venturing out on my own to chase what is sure to be a difficult but worthwhile passion; others have me continuing the career path I embarked upon most recently, and still others have me returning to previous career lives.

And while all this unfolds, I’m slinging drinks, making conversation, smiling up a storm. Networking, I think they call it.

Look through the photos, if you like. There were some good moments this year, and many of you are part of the memories. Thanks for that.

 

Chemistry

December 27, 2013

I crave it. Don’t you?

I’ve had tastes of it, many different kinds. To be fair, sometimes it’s been more than a taste. I’ve gorged on it.
Often.
But I never get my fill.
Yes, I definitely crave it. The closeness. The wordless exchanges. The touch without touching, the sensation of falling into the rhythm of another person’s breathing, comfortably.
Without thinking.
The thinking, sometimes it ruins things. 
As much as I crave this intensity, I just as fiercely desire my alone time, my independence. I could have a fantastic, attentive lover in my bed, fall asleep in his arms, and awaken in the middle of the night only to scheme how to get him out, away. I have things to do, you know. He’ll be in the way. And as addicted and insatiable as I am when it comes to carnal, physical intimacy, I just as rabidly protect my moments of introspection, of self-examination. There’s a gap, and not a small one, between long-term intimacy and solitude, both things I want.
Or hell. Maybe I just want time to pet the cat.
So I wait for him, for that spark; he whose touch will come easily, who will be attracted to, or at least respond well to, my easy lean into being affectionate, but will also have enough going on in his life to exit, or allow me to exit, stage left when ready.

 

Christmas

December 26, 2013

I spent some time looking at photos tonight while I put together a little project, and I’ll get a pretty photo book in a couple of weeks for my efforts. But tonight I walk away satisfied and feeling that the past three years have been exceptional. I have no regrets, and I really did achieve just about everything I set out to do. I’m looking to narrow my focus so I can continue this success into 2014, since my biggest challenge right now is that the ideas flow faster than I can capture them, and there are simply too many. An excellent problem to have, and I know it.

Actually, there’s only one thing I’d change, if I could. I started Christmas off right at midnight missing her.

They’re not kidding. The holidays really do stir up all the emotional crud, don’t they? Even the cheesiest Christmas carols become… meaningful, somehow. ergh.

It was only two Christmases ago that we went on that crazy cruise to Cozumel, where by Christmas Day we were so grating on each other’s nerves that I spent most of the day on the sundeck with my iPod. As much as we adored each other, we had a three-day limit on being around each other 24/7.

Looking through photos is always like walking through a minefield. The one that set me off tonight was one of her on the balcony of our cabin on the ship, looking out to the sunset. I can’t even see her face, it’s a picture I took from behind her. My mother, looking out to the ocean where her ashes were eventually scattered.

Only two Christmases ago, and I don’t know how many lifetimes ago it feels like. Several. Many.

For now I’ll have to hang on to what I know she’d do: smile, shake her head a bit, and tell me there’s no point to living in any part of the past. Move on, or the world moves on without you.

Tips and Other Gratuities

December 15, 2013

Aside from cash tips, here’s what I got out of working on a busy Saturday night during holiday season:

  • one compliment that I look like Sandra Bullock
  • multiple compliments on my holiday antlers
  • a nice conversation with Leroy Jones who now knows me by name (!)
  • a flyer giving me the heads up that American Horror Story is filming up the street on Tuesday and Wednesday, so I will now be on the lookout for Jessica Lange
  • the “in” at Preservation Hall (thank you, Katja!)
  • a 2AM meal with JMB to compare notes on New Orleans and possible future projects
  • seeing some New Orleans burlesque talent across the counter at the diner where we had said meal, which of course justifies eating a club sandwich and half a waffle at 2AM.

I’ve got that “can’t wait to see what’s next” feeling…

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Gratitude unlocks…

November 29, 2013

Love this little card; it was one of the last things I packed and one of the first I unpacked. I love keeping it close as a reminder.

Here’s to remembering how lucky we are and how much we have.

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Echoes

November 24, 2013

echoes

My apartment, she’s a little like a ghost right now. I walk through rooms and only find white walls and wood floors. The clock I forgot to take off the bathroom wall ticks, ticks, and echoes through the apartment, a second hand that was already too loud amplified several times over.

I go to drop things into wastebaskets that aren’t there anymore, reach into places for things that no longer exist in that space.

Four more sleeps, and Bayley and I are off to start our next chapter.

It’s been a long time, if ever, that I’ve done anything this big and impactful simply because I want to and my soul draws me to it; there is no love interest I’m doing it for, no promised job or venture. In talking to people and explaining my motivations, I realize that it’s not only me but it’s just rare overall for someone to follow their heart’s calling this directly.

Most people have been really encouraging, so much in fact that the conversation often takes a bit of a surreal turn:

“So – you don’t know anyone there?”

“Very few people, some very new friends. I just love it there.”

“And, you have a job already?”

“Not yet.”

“That’s AMAZING!”

Part of me thinks people are having a good chuckle and the “Holy shit, she’s lost it…” discussion behind my back, which would be perfectly fine.

My little abode awaits, as does the city I’ve fallen so deeply in love with that I’ve finally packed my most cherished belongings and my furry sidekick because I need to see what happens when I unite person, place, and things I adore.

Let’s go.

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Redmoon: Boneshaker

November 3, 2013

I attended Redmoon’s Boneshaker, a wild costume party event spectacle that promised among other things visual delights, fire, and the musical stylings of Mucca Pazza. It did not disappoint.

From wine bikes to kegways (Segways with kegs) to gorgeous ghouls feeding you s’mores like some sort of dark communion ritual: I’m in. 

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