“Our memory fragments don’t have any coherence until they’re imagined in words. Time is a property of language, of syntax, and tense.” ~ Siri Hustvedt, from The Sorrows of an American

Maximilien Luce 1896 oil on canvas Moonlight on Charleroi Canal
“Moonlight on Charleroi Canal” (1896, oil on canvas)
by Maximilien Luce

                   

“I don’t know what map I misread,
its roads now slipped into dust,
what cul-de-sacs and one-way streets
could have brought me to this,
my life driven as if through fog into a river.” ~ Judy Jordan, from “Fragments in February”

Tuesday afternoon. Rainy and cool, 50 degrees.

I think that my body is trying mightily hard to succumb to my annual fall cold, but I really don’t have time for that. This time last year I had a houseful of company, and I was heading for yet another case of pneumonia, but this year I made sure that I got a pneumonia vaccine along with my flu shot, so maybe . . . fingers crossed.

So, we’re back from our epic New Orleans trip, and I don’t even know where to begin, so how about if I just ramble a bit and see where it takes us? You good with that?

Emil Nolde Half Moon over the Sea 1945
“Half Moon over the Sea” (1945)
by Emil Nolde

Great.

So we finally made it past the boundaries of Hampton Roads last Monday around 8:30 a.m. (or so) after getting turned around almost immediately, this after a planned departure time of 6 a.m. (yes, I know, although we did pull out of the driveway before 7). We both thought that we knew where we were going, but apparently, not so much. Picked up the rental the evening before, and even that turned out to be a mess: We were supposed to get an Altima, but the guy at the counter said that the Altima was in bad shape, so he talked Corey into a Mustang convertible.

Okay, so at one point in my life the idea of traveling in a Mustang convertible would have been awesome, but the very thought of traveling for 16 hours in such a low-slung car made me uncomfortable, so another trade, and for only $10 more a day . . . ended up with a Mazda CX5 (I believe), which was pretty comfortable and great on gas; however, the upgrade pretty much negated all of the bargain shopping I had done online, along with the discount that I had found on one site. Oh well . . .

“The silence of landscape conceals vast presence. Place is not simply location. A place is a profound individuality. Its surface texture of grass and stone is blessed by rain, wind, and light. With complete attention, landscape celebrates the liturgy of the seasons, giving itself unreservedly to the passion of the goddess. The shape of a landscape is an ancient and silent form of consciousness.” ~ John O’Donohue, from “The Celtic Underworld as Resonance”

The drive wasn’t too bad as far as road conditions and weather, nothing like the great blizzard we drove through a few years ago, and we arrived in New Orleans around midnight (I think, it was kind of a blur). The good news is that our hotel was right in the French Quarter (Place d’Armes, definitely worthy of repeat visits), and they had upgraded us to a suite at no extra charge. We had a lovely balcony, and the ambiance was so nice, very old New Orleans. Parking, however, cost us $30 a night, so we made mental notes to try to find street parking for the second night, which we were actually able to do. Woo Hoo.

Konstantin Korovin Moonlit Night period Winter 1913 oil on canvas
“Moonlit Night. Winter” (1913, oil on canvas)
by Konstantin Korovin

So we got up early on Tuesday after only about six hours sleep and headed out to the first company that Corey wanted to visit. The website had stated that applications would be taken at both locations, but the New Orleans office directed us to their other headquarters, which was in Galliano. Our game plan had been to go to the NOL office first and then to Cut Off and then to Covington. That plan was changed immediately and we had to regroup and head to Galliano. Unfortunately, the first company seemed completely disinterested in him, which was a set back as this was his first choice.

Fortunately the second company on our list was just down the road from Galliano. This company was very interested in Corey, but the downside was that they weren’t hiring until February. The good news is that they are building a bunch of new boats/ships and have plans to hire 300 people in early 2014, so it looks very promising; however, by the time Corey finished speaking with the recruiter it was 3 p.m., and there was no way that we’d make it to Covington in time to speak with anyone before COB.

This meant a bit of a delay as we had planned to leave late morning Wednesday and possibly to stay somewhere on the route home. We had no idea how much of a delay it would turn out to be . . .

“On the door it says what to do to survive
But we were not born to survive
Only to live” ~ W. S. Merwin, from “The River of Bees”

Tuesday evening, back in New Orleans, we roamed around the French Quarter, spent some money, and had a wonderful dinner at a restaurant that wasn’t too pricey. Best crab cakes I’ve ever had—hands down. We had originally brought going out clothes with us, but neither of us had the energy to change, get gussied up, as it were. Fortunately, it doesn’t seem to matter what you wear (we saw one guy in a Spiderman outfit, and another one in some kind of monster get-up with spikes—pictures to come).

Nicholas Roerich Spell period New Moon period 1938 tempera on canvas
“Spell. New Moon.” (1938, tempera on canvas)
by Nicholas Roerich

So we acted like tourists, drank libations as we meandered along the streets, bought souvenirs and a few Christmas presents, then headed back to our very comfortable room and slept the sleep of the very tired. On Wednesday morning we had breakfast at the famous outdoor Cafe du Monde (only two blocks from our hotel), home of the famous delectable beignets. I inhaled my portion and delighted in my very large cafe au lait. Then back to the hotel to check out and get back on the road to Covington and company number 3.

Now while Corey was doing all of these interviews, I was hanging out in the car, pirating wi fi and trying to do something to amuse myself, mostly tumblr and some lazy magazine browsing. Company number 3 turned out to be super interested in Corey and said they’d be in touch. We plotted our route home, found a nearby Sam’s Club, gassed up, and as we were pulling out of the parking lot, Corey got a call from #3 asking if he could come in and fill out paper work. Second big Woo Hoo.

Great news, but . . . he needed to do a drug test and physical, as well as an agility test, and none of that could be done until . . . wait for it . . . Thursday . . .

“Change comes like a little wind that ruffles the curtains at dawn, and it comes like the stealthy perfume of wildflowers hidden in the grass.” ~ John Steinbeck, from Sweet Thursday

So there really wasn’t a choice, was there? I called the rental company, added another day, and we regrouped, again. Fortunately #3 paid for our hotel and breakfast for Wednesday night/Thursday morning. Small woo hoo only because it was a regular hotel and not the très cool accommodations from which we had just decamped, but hey, free . . .

Eugene Fredrik Jansson Moonlight Night 1896 oil on canvas
“Moonlit Night” (1896, oil on canvas)
by Eugene Fredrik

Thursday morning on to clinic for physical. Three hours later (I really don’t know what they do that takes three hours, but Corey said it was a whole lot of waiting). Slight hiccup on his physical (nothing major), and then around the block to the physical agility place.

Finally at 3 p.m., we were done. Decided to go ahead and eat dinner then hit the road so that we could try to make up some time (hooray for 70 mph speed limits and radar dectectors). Found a little locals restaurant and finally had our genuine Po Boys, shrimp and oyster, respectively. Full stomachs, weary bodies and minds, we hit the road around 4:30.

Everything had happened so fast, and we had had so very little time between everything that I think we were both kind of shell-shocked by this point.

“I’m forging my note to the future, recording
all I know of this moment before
the moment completes itself” ~ Chris Forhan, from “The Taste of Wild Cherry”

Corey drove for a while. I took over in the middle of the night. We stopped in a rest stop somewhere and napped for an hour like about 20 other weary travelers and many, many truck drivers (did you know that Virginia doesn’t let you do this? Of course not.). Anyway, we pulled into our driveway a little after 10 a.m.

Milton Avery Harbor at Night 1932
“Harbor at Night” (1932, oil on canvas)
by Milton Avery

We’re both still processing everything. Corey has to go back in December for training, and we’re not sure how many weeks that will be, and there is a possibility that he’ll go straight from training onto a ship. So much to digest.

Brett and the dogs were very glad to have us home; the dogs had apparently pined away for us and had made Brett’s life miserable.  Corey immediately fell into bed, but I was too wired by then, so I unpacked and cleaned, hoping to exhaust myself, but that never really happened. The weekend was a total blur, and I feel that I am so far behind that I may never catch up.

“You must make decisions knowing those decisions make you.” ~ Rakishi, from “The son without his father”

Anyway, here is where we are: Corey has a job, but is still in denial, kind of that other shoe dropping thing, you know? He can’t help it as he’s been bitten in the butt more than once by supposed job offers. I keep telling him that this company is different—well established, big, good reputation, not like some of the companies he’s had to endure in the past. He won’t be on tugs, but off-shore supply vessels (OSV’s). He’s anxious at the idea of starting over, but the good news is that this recruiting guy really seemed to like him and was already mentioning Corey upgrading his qualifications.

Nicolas Tarkhoff Paris, Montparnasse at Night c1905
“Paris, Montparnasse at Night” (c1905, oil on canvas)
by Nicolas Tarkhoff

So it’s Thanksgiving week. My body aches all over, and I haven’t quite recovered from the five days of whirlwind activity. The house is trashed. I am totally unprepared for Thursday, and truthfully, it’s beginning to hit me that Corey may not be here for Christmas. So much is still up in the air, and the trip ended up costing us a small fortune, but it was so worth it. We had a really nice time together, got to experience another new place with each other, had some great food (as my stomach can attest), and it looks like we’re about to embark on a new path.

Hard not to be anxious, but trying to be calm. Anyway, that’s the quick and dirty version. Lots of little details in between that I may tackle later before they slip through the sieve that is my brain. Until then . . .

Peace.

Music by London Grammar, “Nightcall”

                   

No crying, calling out, complaining…

No crying, calling out, complaining,
This all will pass, like the green of gold,
Like the white smoke of apple blooms,
And I won’t be as young as I used to.

Already, your blood isn’t as quick as it was,
I tell my heart—and it’s getting colder.
White birch roots stitch the ruddy fields
And you’ve lost the urge to wander.

Lips and eyes, emotions:
Where are your fire and anger,
Where your floods?
All were fresh, now are errant, scattered.

My wants are sparer now, leaner,
Or maybe they were just a dream
—Like the moment morning flashes green—
And I charged past on my sorrel steed.

We’re all, all of us in this world soon to spoil.
Copper leaves are tumbling coyly from the maples . . .
World-weary drifter, be forever grateful
To have faded fast, in early petalfall.

~ Sergei Esenin, trans. James Stotts

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“The first thing you notice about New Orleans are the burying grounds—the cemeteries—and they’re a cold proposition, one of the best things there are here . . . Greek, Roman, sepulchres—palatial mausoleums made to order, phantomesque, signs and symbols of hidden decay—ghosts of women and men who have sinned and who’ve died and are now living in tombs. The past doesn’t pass away so quickly here.” ~ Bob Dylan

New Orleand by Beadmobile FCC
New Orleans by beadmobile (FCC)

                   

“It is impossible to capture the essence, tolerance, and spirit of south Louisiana in words, and to try is to roll down a road of clichés, bouncing over beignets and beads and brass bands” ~ Chris Rose, from 1 Dead in Attic

Road trip to New Orleans, LA. I’ll be doing lots of singing to tunes on my special playlist all the way, much to Corey’s consternation. Going for job purposes, so we won’t be here nearly long enough to do the real tourist thing, but I’m hoping to run across some interesting finds (again, much to Corey’s consternation). I sorely need an infusion of color in my life, but to be honest, I’m mostly looking forward to the food. I’ll let you know how things turn out.

In the meantime, I found this lovely little bit about what Mardi Gras and New Orleans are really about:

To encapsulate the notion of Mardi Gras as nothing more than a big drunk is to take the simple and stupid way out, and I, for one, am getting tired of staying stuck on simple and stupid.

New Orleans 45 by paparutzi fcc
Image by paparutzi (FCC)

Mardi Gras is not a parade. Mardi Gras is not girls flashing on French Quarter balconies. Mardi Gras is not an alcoholic binge.

Mardi Gras is bars and restaurants changing out all the CD’s in their jukeboxes to Professor Longhair and the Neville Brothers, and it is annual front-porch crawfish boils hours before the parades so your stomach and attitude reach a state of grace, and it is returning to the same street corner, year after year, and standing next to the same people, year after year–people whose names you may or may not even know but you’ve watched their kids grow up in this public tableau and when they’re not there, you wonder: Where are those guys this year?

It is dressing your dog in a stupid costume and cheering when the marching bands go crazy and clapping and saluting the military bands when they crisply snap to.

Now that part, more than ever.

It’s mad piano professors converging on our city from all over the world and banging the 88’s until dawn and laughing at the hairy-shouldered men in dresses too tight and stalking the Indians under Claiborne overpass and thrilling the years you find them and lamenting the years you don’t and promising yourself you will next year.

It’s wearing frightful color combination in public and rolling your eyes at the guy in your office who–like clockwork, year after year–denies that he got the baby in the king cake and now someone else has to pony up the ten bucks for the next one.

Mardi Gras is the love of life. It is the harmonic convergence of our food, our music, our creativity, our eccentricity, our neighborhoods, and our joy of living. All at once.

~ Chris Rose, from 1 Dead in Attic

Music by Buckwheat Zydeco, “Buck’s Nouvelle Jole Blon” (this version of Jolie Blonde appeared in the credits of The Big Easy)

                   

Harmony

You know the Beatles could have
afforded another microphone,

but George would always stand
in the middle and step up to

Paul’s when it was time to
join in. Because that’s the way

harmony is, you need to share the
electricity, the voice, the words.

Just the way we do when we drive
in our cars with the radio on,

the windows rolled down with fall in the
air, dead leaves swirling in the wake,

or in the spring, the earth damp and soft,
the air hazy with pollen. We hear

the song that moves us, crank the
radio and sing along, at the top of

our lungs, as if we just joined
the group. In tune out of tune,

country western, rock and roll, we want
to harmonize. A whole country of

would-be stars losing love, finding love
with the radio in different

cars, on different paths, the dark
road rumbling beneath.

~ Stuart Kestenbaum

“August rain: the best of the summer gone, and the new fall not yet born. The odd uneven time.” ~ Sylvia Plath

Felice Casorati, Il sogno del melograno The Dream of the Pomegranate 1912 oil on canvas
“Il sogno del Melograno” (The Dream of the Pomegranate), (1912, oil on canvas)
by Felice Casorati

                   

“Having experienced both, I am not sure which is worse: intense feeling, or the absence of it.” ~ Margaret Atwood, from The Blind Assassin

Monday afternoon, Labor Day. Partly cloudy and humid, 80 degrees.

Well hello. Many thanks for holding on during my dry spell, brought on by the complete and total distraction of gutting and renovating the sole bathroom in our 1950s rancher. I’m hoping that now that most of the work has been completed, I can sit here for a few hours without feeling guilty that I am not tiling or grouting or whatever.

We’ll just have to see, I suppose.

Galileo Chini 1922Terme Berzieri  Frescos
From Terme Berzieri Frescoes (1922)
by Galileo Chini

In the past few weeks my creativity has been limited to finding content that might be somewhat interesting to post here as well as rapid skimming of my tumblr dash. Several times I have sat here, thinking about all of the things that I want to say, and then I would think about all of the things left undone, and I would stop. Now that I’m here, I can’t think of a damned thing to say. I guess I’ll just keep going and hope that I arrive somewhere along the way.

Corey is on his way to the Azores. His departure was abrupt but necessary as he had exhausted his unemployment benefits, and unfortunately, the gulf companies in which he is interested prefer that applicants come in person. Since it’s not exactly a short hop to New Orleans, we decided that the best thing for now was to say with his current company. Not ideal, but it works for now.

“Life hurls us like a stone, and we sail through the air saying, ‘look at me move.’” ~ Fernando Pessoa, from The Book of Disquiet

I know that it’s not August any more (header quote), but I’ve been saving that quote, and I’m going to use it. I mean, “the odd uneven time”? Perfect description of these days.

I’ve noticed that in recent weeks, more and more pictures have appeared on my tumblr dash featuring orange and red leaves on trees, so I suppose I’m not the only one yearning for fall. Unfortunately, it seems that once again I have missed summer, and I”m not entirely sure that that was a bad thing this year. First there was the very uncomfortable side effect of my face swelling whenever I hit any kind of heat, and then there was the whole renovation thing. Between the two, I barely made it into the pool for any kind of relaxation, and now that Corey has left, the pool is just kind of sitting there, needing to be vacuumed and treated.

Felice Casorati, Preghiera The Prayer 1914
“Preghiera” (The Prayer), (1914)
by Felice Casorati

Not so much my thing. Eamonn was supposed to help with that . . . still waiting . . .

Speaking of kids, Brett started school last week. There was a major snafu with his financial aid; apparently, even though I completed the FAFSA in February (a new early record for me), it didn’t go through. Who knew? And, get this, we made too much money for him to qualify for his grants. Seriously? I mean, really? Geez.

By the way, Olivia started walking a few days ago. So cute. And we added Lex to our telephone plan for her belated birthday present. I was too worried about her being with the baby and not having any way to contact anyone for emergencies. It’s only a few dollars a month, and we got her a new phone, so that’s one less thing that I have to worry about.

Speaking of new phones, we upgraded mine, which would ordinarily excite me beyond belief, but I didn’t even bother to do anything with it until a few days ago. More of that time management thing.

“There are days that walk
through me
and I cannot hold them.” ~ Katherine Larson, from “The Gardens in Tunisia”

So, besides all of the mundane, day-to-day life stuff, what else is new?

The puppy seems to have regressed and has decided that she is no longer house-trained. I am sorely not amused . . . I’m telling myself it’s the heat and the biting flies.

I’m very behind in my writing project with my friend Mari. I haven’t mentioned it here because I wanted to wait until I was sure it was going to work. Unfortunately, I’ve been the one to fall behind. That’s next on my things of wanting/needing to do.

Vittorio Zecchin Mille e una Notte
“Le Mille e Una Notte” (The Thousand and One Nights), (1914)
by Vittorio Zecchin

And of course, because it’s fall, my thoughts have turned toward going back to school. Ask me what I’ve done as far as preparing for my GREs . . . correct. Nothing. I’m still in that middle of the road place in which I’m not entirely sure if wanting the degree is enough of a reason for pursuing the degree. It’s an old argument, one that I have yet to resolve. I’ll probably be 80 and still contemplating this.

God, one of these days I’m going to finally figure out what I want to be when I grow up, and I’m fairly certain that it isn’t what I thought.

“One tries to go deep—to speak to the secret self we all have.” ~ Katherine Mansfield, from Collected Letters, 7 September 1921

I ran across an image of a painting by Italian artist Galileo Chini, which led me on a search for more, which led me to explore the whole Liberty school, which is what the Italian version of Art Nouveau is called, apparently. What struck me was the resemblance to Gustav Klimt, one of my favorite artists; I’ve featured Klimt on here several times. Anyway, the exploration led me to several blogs, almost none of which included names of the works of art, nothing about the media or the dates created.

Galileo Chini La Primavera Classica 1914 panel
“La Primavera Classica” (1914, panel)
by Galileo Chini

A particular pet peeve of mine.

I mention this because I received an e-mail from someone informing me that I had infringed on copyright of a poem that I featured a while back. The infringement was completely unintentional, and I really felt bad because I try to do my due diligence.

What’s the point to all of this? Well, there is one, actually. Copyright was one of my favorite courses when I got my publishing degree; it’s something I wish that I knew more about, or even worked in. And the whole Linkedin thing that I’ve been doing has been tormenting me because there are all of these advertisements for jobs in the publishing industry. I read them, and I say to myself, “I could that. And I could do that. And that, too.”

It’s so frigging depressing. Not just because the jobs are all in big cities, but more because of the reality of my life. The whole disability thing. I’m in the middle of filling out yet another round of forms, and I had a meeting with my pain management doctor so that he could fill out his forms, and it didn’t really hit me until he started talking that I really am limited.

I hate this more than I can say.

“I want to resemble a sort of liquid light which stretches beyond visibility or invisibility. Tonight I wish to have the valor and daring to belong to the moon.” ~ Virginia Woolf, from A Writer’s Diary

I’ve been dwelling in the past in my recent thoughts. It’s not a good place to be. But I keep arriving at various crossroads in my life, and I cannot help but wonder what might have happened had I chosen differently.

Remember that scene in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade in which the old knight says, “You have chosen wisely”? I haven’t felt too many times that I have chosen wisely.

Galileo Chini Canale a Bangkok c1912-13
“Canale a Bangkok” (c1912-13)
by Galileo Chini

I’m not talking about my love life, my decision to end my long marriage or my decision to take a chance again, to allow myself to love Corey. Not those decisions. No, all of the other life-changing decisions. Far too many to go into here, at the end of this post. Suffice it to say that so many times I wish that I had chosen wisely, but I have always, always, always been led by my heart instead of my head, and this impulse has led me to think, or rather, not to think too well.

Everything from buying this house to making a u-turn that led to my Calais being totaled. Choice? Fate? Something else?

I know. Why dwell? Why not dwell . . . I mean, for most of my life I was always the one to make the big decisions, and granted, a u-turn is not a big decision—I just happened to remember that—and it’s not that I’m necessarily bitching about that because control and I are good friends. I want control. I take control. It’s just that sometimes having control isn’t necessarily the best thing.

Damn. I don’t even know what I’m saying at this point. I think that I’ll stop for now. I knew that the more that I wrote the more that would want to come out, and now I’m not really making sense.

Welcome back. I think . . .

More later. Peace.

*All images are by Italian artists working in the Liberty style, the Italian version of Art Nouveau, so named after the firm of Liberty and Co. in London. 

Music by Damien Rice and Lisa Hannigan, “Don’t Explain”

couldn’t choose, so I posted both . . .

Music by Robert Plant and Alison Kraus, “Killing The Blues”

                   

Traveling

If you travel alone, hitchhiking,
sleeping in woods,
make a cathedral of the moonlight
that reaches you, and lie down in it.
Shake a box of nails
at the night sounds
for there is comfort in your own noise.
And say out loud:
somebody at sunrise be distraught
for love of me,
somebody at sunset call my name.
There will soon be company.
But if the moon clouds over
you have to live with disapproval.
You are a traveler,
you know the open, hostile smiles
of those stuck in their lives.
Make a fire.
If the Devil sits down, offer companionship,
tell her you’ve always admired
her magnificent, false moves.
Then recite the list
of what you’ve learned to do without.
It is stronger than prayer.

~ Stephen Dunn

My Version Of The Bucket List

starry_night-400

Starry Night by Van Gogh

The Bucket List

 This list has been circulating for a few months, and I posted it with my answers already. However, this list has a few new questions, and I added a special question the end. But for the sake of this post, I thought that I would elaborate a little on my answers to some of these questions.

Things you have done during your lifetime.

(X) Gone on a blind date: I have done this twice in my lifetime. The first time was such a disaster that it is still imprinted in my memory after all of these years. I was working at the newspaper, and a friend (using the term loosely here) wanted me to come to a Halloween party. I didn’t really want to go, so I made the excuse that I didn’t have a date. She said that that wouldn’t be a problem as she knew the perfect guy for me. Those are scary words, people.

His name was Mark, and he sold spices, as in salt, pepper, seasoned salt. He also drove a white Corvette which he told me that he liked to drive very fast. The street that I lived on at the time was a dead end and not very long, but somehow, he managed to top 40 mph in just a few seconds before hitting the brakes at the stop sign. I was supposed to be impressed. I wasn’t. The night went downhill from there.

(X) Skipped school: In my senior year of high school I skipped French class 17 times in one grading period and still managed to get an A. Madame Thomas was, shall we say, oblivious. I would stick my head in the door and say, “Madame, I have rehearsal for the senior play today,” and she would wave at me. Very nice woman.

(X) Watched someone die

( ) Been to Canada

(X) Been to Mexico

(X) Been to Florida

( ) Been to Hawaii

(X) Been on a plane: When Alexis was one, her father and I took her on a plane with us. We were flying to Massachusetts for a family vacation to see his grandparents on his dad’s side and to introduce the first great grandchild. Alexis was fairly good until she had a messy diaper right as the fasten seatbelt sign came on because of turbulents. She was most unhappy that I wasn’t changing her, and made her unhappiness known to everyone on the plane. It was a wonderful flight.

(X) Been lost: I would just like to say that Corey deserves some kind of award for this, and as soon as we are able, I’m going to buy him a phone that has a buit in GPS.

(X) Gone to Washington, D.C.

(X) Seen and/or swam in the ocean. Which one(s)? Atlantic, Pacific

(X) Cried yourself to sleep

(X) Played cops and robbers

( ) Recently colored with crayons

(X) Sang Karaoke: I am a karaoke ham. Lola really comes out to play when there’s a microphone around.

(X) Paid for a meal with coins only

( ) Been to the top of the St. Louis Arch?

(X) Done something you told yourself you wouldn’t

(X) Made prank phone calls

(X) Been down Bourbon Street in New Orleans. Before or after Katrina? Before. When I was a teenager, my parents and I went to New Orleans to visit his cousin. We went down Bourbon Street one night, and it was pretty incredible. All of the doors were open to the bars, and since I was behind my parents, I managed to catch glimpses of things I had never seen before. The best one was this man dressed in drag coming down a ramp from the ceiling to the middle of the bar. He had this wonderful feather headdress on and a few pasties and strategically placed feathers. I still remember that they were peacock green.

Bourbon Street was wonderful in those days. My daughter and her boyfriend visited just before Katrina hit.  When I saw the devastation on television, I was so overwhelmed with sadness at the destruction of New Orleans and the deaths of all of those people.

(X) Laughed until some kind of beverage came out of your nose

(X) Caught a snowflake on your tongue

(X) Danced in the rain: I love rainstorms, but I hate cold rain. Often during summer storms, I am tempted (or at least I used to be) to run outside in a bathing suit and wash my car in the rain. It makes perfect sense to me.

(X) Written a letter to Santa Claus

(X) Been kissed under the mistletoeblowing-bubbles

(X) Watched the sunrise with someone

(X) Blown bubbles: My old lab Mokie was an absolute fiend for bubbles. When the kids were all younger, they had those bubble wands that would make hundreds of bubbles at once. Mokie used to bark in delight and jump high into the air trying to catch as many as possible. It was so much fun to watch her, but we would have to stop her because she would completely exhaust herself.

( ) Gone ice-skating

(X) Gone to the drive-in movies: One of the drive-in movies that I went to was The Exorcist. I went with several friends. They watched. I hid behind my hands the entire time. I was a real coward when it came to scary movies when I was younger, and that’s because my dad let me stay up one night and watch a scary movie with him, and I had nightmares about it for months. I still remember there was a coffin scene and maggots. Scarred for life.

( ) Been deep sea fishing

( ) Driven across the United States alone

( ) Been in a hot air balloon

( ) Been sky diving

( ) Gone snowmobiling

(X) Lived in more than one country. Which one(s)? U.S., England, Philippines

(X) Visited another country. Which one(s)? Scotland, Spain, France, Morocco, Mexico, Cayman Islands, Philippines

starry-sky(X) Laid outside at night and admired the stars while listening to the crickets

( ) And watched a full lunar eclipse while listening to Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon”

(X) Seen a falling star and made a wish

( ) Enjoyed the beauty of Ole Faithful Geyser

(X) Seen the Statue of Liberty

(X) Been to the top of the Empire State Building

( ) Gone to the top of Seattle Space Needle

(X) Been on a cruise

(X) Traveled by train

( ) Traveled by motorcycle

(X) Been skiing or snowboarding: I used to love to snow ski and water ski, and believe it or now, I was actually pretty good at it. I used to go snow skiing a lot during college. If I got on a pair of skis now, I would probably end up in traction for life, and that kind of makes me sad because I loved the feeling of racing down the slopes.

(X) Been horse back riding: We won’t discuss the time the horse threw me the first time I went riding with a person of the opposite sex that I was trying to impress with my horse back riding skills. Damned horse knew it, too.

(X) Ridden on a San Francisco Trolley

tropical-rain-forest
Tropical Rain Forest

(X) Been to Disneyland or Disney World

( ) Truly believe in the power of prayer: Unfortunately, not in a long while. 

( ) Been to the top of an active volcano and seen hot lava

(X) Been in a rain forest

(X) Seen whales in the ocean

( ) Been to Niagara Falls

( ) Ridden on an elephant

( ) Swam with dolphins

1. Any nicknames? Not any more

2. Mother’s name? Ethelda/Babe: My mom was the baby of 12 children. She’s probably lucky they remembered to call her to dinner.

3. Favorite drinks? Hot tea, Pepsi, and wine occasionally. I used to really like microbrewed beers. I probably still would if I ever had occasion to drink them.

4. Body Piercings? ears

5. How much do you love your job? Don’t have one any more

6. Birthplace: Norfolk, VA

7. Favorite vacation spot: the Caribbean

8. Ever been to Africa? Yes.

9. Ever eaten just cookies for dinner? Yes. And I have also just eaten chocolate for dinner.

10. Ever been on TV? yes. I did a few television interviews when I worked for the Museum, but the most fun was when my former husband and my three children and I were featured in a commercial for the Museum. The kids were absolutely adorable.

11. Ever steal any traffic signs? no

12. Ever been in a car accident? yes

13. Drive a 2-door or 4-door vehicle? 4 door

14. Can you drive a standard shift car? yes. I love to drive standard shifts, but I’m hard on clutches, and they are expensive to replace.

15. Favorite pie? Homemade apple pie. My mom-in-law used to make me a homemade apple pie every year on my birthday because it was my favorite. She also used to make the most amazing strawberry/rhubarb pie. 

16. Favorite number: 7

17. Favorite movie(s): The English Patient and The Lord of the Rings

18. Favorite holiday? Christmas

19. Favorite dessert? Depends on mood: cheesecake or hot fudge cake

20. Favorite food? Salmon with tequila sauce

21. Favorite day of the week? Sunday afternoons are my favorite time for reading a good book. When the house is quiet and no one is around, and if I can keep the dogs from barking at air and leaves, then I can consume a novel while wrapped up in a soft blanket. Good times.

22. Favorite brand of body soap? Depends on season. Usually some kind of liquid body wash that is clean-smelling or that smells like lavendar

23. Favorite toothpaste? Colgate Total

24. Favorite smell? Lilacs or Rosemary

25. How do you relax? Read a book or write

26. How do you see yourself  in 10 years? In the islands

27. Furthest place you will send this message? Germany

28. Who will respond to this the fastest? No idea

                                                                                                                                        

 
Big Question: What is the one thing that you feel deep in your heart that you must do before you die?

great_walls
Great Wall of China

Travel. I want to see Ireland because it’s someplace that I’ve always wanted to go. I want to visit Wales for the same reason. I’d like to go to Greece because it is such a beautiful country. I also want to see the Great Wall of China. I’ve always wanted to go to Australia and Iceland, and I’ve also always wanted to take an Alaskan cruise. Then I want to spend the rest of my days someplace that is warm and green and lush and near clear blue water and far away from Wal Marts and malls in general. I don’t want to be living in a cookie cutter house in the suburbs. I want to be able to go outside and get in my hammock, or sit under a tree with a laptop and write.

I don’t know that I’ll ever have these things, but this is what I wish for. I don’t want to have lived without living as deeply as possible, without sucking “all the marrow out of life and end my days as if I had never lived.” I know that it may sound like a cliché, but from the first time I heard Thoreau’s words, I knew that that was what I wanted to feel before my end of days.