Friday, December 22, 2006

And to all a good night!

Merry Christmas, guys. I wish you the brightest of holidays and a moment of peace.

The little tree in the picture is my first in a very long time. Though tiny, it is the right size for my studio apartment. Pumba hasn't knocked it over yet, either.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Let's raise a glass to the bitter end?

"If you ever wanna find me, I can still be found, taking the long way around."

There's a nasty rumor going around that suggests the Dixie Chicks are planning to split up after the Grammys. It's been a tough couple of years for the Chicks, and I couldn't blame them for getting tired of fighting for their own opinions. But I hope they don't give up.

I'd miss them terribly. I bought their first album, Wide Open Spaces, after "I can love you better" got stuck in my head. I assumed it would be bubble-gum country sung by three dumb blondes since that's the impression I got from their their first video. Instead, their songs of heartbreak, hope and excitement has become very personal for me.

Just over a break-up with a cheating bastard? Play "Sin Wagon" while you get ready to go out on the town.

Finishing high school and leaving home for the first time? "Wide Open Spaces."

Tucking your baby in for the night? "Godspeed (Sweet Dreams)" or "Lullaby."

Each of their albums show the Chicks' growth as women with full lives, and I would hate to miss out on the next chapter. Hopefully, their break-up plans are just rumors.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The Way You Make Me Feel

I'm back in my own music video. Every step lands in time to the songs that are blasting on my new iPod. A friend found a deal on a used iPod, and I couldn't say no. Now I'm bopping along to Michael Jackson, Prince and Scissor Sisters.

I've already caught myself singing aloud on the sidewalk and wiggling just a bit on the subway.

Saturday, November 25, 2006


My cell phone up and died on me this weekend, right in the middle of a text message. (Thanks for the sweet call, Roi. I'm glad you and Nacho had a good time!) The folks at Sprint kindly provided me with a much better phone than I had before (say cheese!) but I lost all of my phone numbers and text messages.
Since I don't have anyone's numbers memorized, I can't call anyone until they call me first. Yes. I'm a dorkus maximus. Call me!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving, guys

My family seems more spread out than ever this Thanksgiving. We are staking claim to five states now, with no plans to get everyone together. Instead, we are all making our own plans. The chef and I are making dinner with our New York friends, and some of the Arkansas/Oklahoma people are getting together later this weekend. Others are spending this Thanksgiving alone.

I hope that everyone in my family knows that I love them and that I miss them.

Happy Thanksgiving, family.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Contagious giggles

Oh, man. If you can watch this without getting tickled, you are made of stone.

Friday, November 17, 2006

My London London Bridge Wanna Go Down

I ducked into H&M last weekend and suddenly felt old. I didn't know any of the songs that were blaring over the loud speakers, and all the pretty young things were singing the words under their breath. I sort of recognized the London Bridge song, but only because a blogger used it in a headline a few weeks ago.

I became my mother right then and thought, "So this is what the kids are listening to these days."

Gah! I'm going over to iTunes to scope out the Top 100 songs of the day... maybe I can still catch up.

Update: Oh, I remember why I tuned out of Top 40 radio. There's only one good song for every 20 that suck. And now, back to our regularly scheduled programming...

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Mom, here's something for your calendar

The chef and I set a date for our wedding!
We're getting married June 24, 2007, in Anaheim, California.
I will mail out the STDs soon. No, silly... Save The Date cards.
(I think that's my first wedding joke.)

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween

Kissing pumpkins
Originally uploaded by typingelbow.
Yay for pumpkin carving! Double yay for not cutting your finger off while pumpkin carving!

There are lots of new pictures up at my flickr page. Head over there to see pictures of John and I on our engagement night. I am floating about two feet off the ground.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Veritas ... truth

John asked me to marry him tonight, and I sobbed loud enough for everyone in the restaurant to turn and gawk. I said yes.

I am getting married to the chef, a wonderful man, next summer. Please wish us luck and many more lovely dinners by candlelight.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

This sentence just kept getting worse:

(As heard last night at Brandi's CD-release party)

"Did you hear about the guy who was caught being sexually inappropriate with a dead dog in front of kindergarteners?"


Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Today's WTF:

Scott Adams, the creator of the Dilbert comic strip, has apparently cured a rare neurological disease in himself. Whoa.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Bite leash? Heal bites?

Did you know that "A rebel bet, Hi slut" is an anagram for Elisabeth Butler?
Or that "Blew pig Tony" and "Web typing, lo" are anagrams for Typingelbow?
I discovered these today by visiting this anagram site.
Thanks to 123 for the heads up.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Smoke 'em if you got 'em.

I've had four cigarettes in the last two months. I had one while watching the sunset in Italy, two with Julie and one at the infused-vodka bar with Megann.
I'm pretty proud of myself for getting out of my daily habit, but I didn't come this far alone. I've been on the nicotine patch. I plunked down $250 for all three stages of the patch, and I've slowly worked my way through the system.
I started with the 21 mg patch, hereby known as the My-arm-is-going-to-fall-off stage. It lasted a full month, and every patch made my skin itch and my muscles hurt. I couldn't carry my purse on the patch arm because it would start throbbing. But 21 mg cured my need for a cigarette. Plus, I had vivid dreams every night.
Then I moved on to the 14 mg patch, which was a lot easier on my body. During that two-week stint, I still had movie-like dreams, but my muscles were rarely sore. I never felt nauceous on 14 mg.
Now I am about to finish the 7 mg patch. It's so small that I forget I'm wearing it. I've only got two days left on the system before I'm supposed to become a non-smoker on my own.
I'm really nervous about the end. I cheated on the patch four times, even though my physical addiction was all but over. I'm afraid I'll immediately want to light up and puff. With the patch, I'm not nervous about hanging out with my smoker friends, but what if I break down when the first excuse comes along. (I'm wearing red today. Must be time for a smoke!)
Does anyone have any advice? (Other than "Quit crying, you big baby!")
In the meantime, I'm going to savor my last two patches.

Friday, October 13, 2006

The heat is on... it's on the streeets!

my spider pumpkin
Originally uploaded by typingelbow.
The floor was freezing when I got out of bed this morning, and I actually had to turn the heat on in my apartment.
Guess the beach season is over.

I'm craving chili and cornbread. And maybe a little pumpkin carving.

Friday, October 06, 2006

I need a camera phone

The chef and I decided to turn off the football game last Sunday in favor of sunshine and live people. We wandered down 14th Street to the Chelsea Market and shopped for fun foodie stuff. (I bought some strawberry/black pepper mints that rock.)

We also took a little food tour. We stopped at Spice Market for an amazing ginger margarita, some delicious crispy egg rolls in a green frothy dipping sauce and an "okay" order of tuna with daikon and coconut milk.

Then we twiddled our thumbs (and peeked in Batali's new restaurant, Del Posto) until Morimoto opened at 5. We sat in the downstairs lounge, which was decorated to feel like the inside of an expensive vase. We drank a Red Dragon cocktail and a sake martini. The food was awesome. We shared three oysters that were topped with foie gras, sea urchin and teriyaki sauce. Then we dug in for Duck Duck Duck, an entree that featured duck prepared three ways and three sauces for dipping. The miso sauce was my favorite.

There was another feature of Morimoto that convinced me to go back: the bathroom. The stalls were very private, with walls and a door that ran from floor to ceiling, and a lighted mirror box along the back wall cast a beautiful glow in the stall. (I never thought I would say something like that about a crapper.) But it was beautiful, and by the end of my brief visit to the bathroom, I had developed some romantic feelings toward the can. See, the toilet was equipped with a pre-warmed seat and a row of instructional buttons that you can direct to spray warm water in the front or back (oscillate or pulse were also options for the wash), plus a warm-air dryer to pamper your tushe.

I could hear other occupants giggling and sighing in their own stalls. So when I emerged with tousled hair, I said to them, "Man, I feel like I should give that toilet my number." When I got back to my seat at the bar, John asked me why everyone was laughing in the women's bathroom. I suggested he grab a newspaper and go find out for himself.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Two things....

1. I got glasses to correct a little astigmatism in both eyes. I can make out faces from farther away, and I'm becoming a pro at cleaning my lenses while I lecture the masses at the podium.


2. The pictures from Italy are done. Go here to watch the slideshow.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

My traveling partner

Oh, the places you'll go ... with D.J. G-mom.
No, the pictures aren't up yet, but here's a sample. Grandmother and I had just boarded our Mercedes-Benz tour bus in the Rome airport when we took this shot. I think it's the only picture of us that doesn't include at least one glass of red wine in the frame.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Buono giorno

The pictures from Italy are coming, dear readers. Grandmother and I had an amazing time overseas, and I can't wait to share it with you. I'll upload the pictures this weekend while I sip my last bottle of their wonderful red wine. Grazie.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Five years later

Memorial in Brooklyn Heights
Originally uploaded by typingelbow.
This memorial was burning brightly on the promenade in Brooklyn Heights tonight. Here are a few other photos.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

"I'm so tired I could scream."

Well, I'm off to Italy if we can ever get Grandmother's luggage back from American Airlines. They've apparently sold her bag into slavery and won't give it back until hell freezes over. Jeez!

Hopefully, I'll have some lovely blogs to share when I get back next week. Take care until then!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Guest blogger: Keith from Nola

My friend Keith sent me a response to this morning's blog. I begged him to let me post his e-mail for you guys to read. After some arm-twisting moments, he agreed. - typingelbow


Aw, you’re very sweet. Thanks for the kind words on this strange day.

People often ask what this whole experience has been like. What is it like to live in New Orleans? How do you feel about seeing your house now? It’s all so raw— even a year later — that it’s still difficult to process.

Initially, I used to think that the best way to describe the chaos, turmoil and fear was to say that it felt like someone blindfolding you, spinning you around and asking you to cross an interstate. That is what it was like in those first few weeks. We didn’t know anything. We didn’t know what we had, what we had lost and where we would end up. Remember, we didn’t actually get to go back into the city to see our house until Oct. 3.

Now that we’re a year away from all that, we know the tally of loss but we have to live with the overwhelming weight of the long road we have ahead to rebuild our lives and city. Do you realize that it will take 15 to 20 years to rebuild this city? I will be pushing 50 when we start to realize the fruits of all this hard work. I think few people realize this. That is why this is so different from something like 9/11. When they said 80 percent of the city flooded, they meant it.

The thing that bothers me most in the Katrina coverage is the Katrina clichĂ© that just about every reporter who parachutes in here says: I’m shocked by the lack of progress I see here. Of course, they are usually saying this in a live shot from the lower ninth ward (which was a mess before Katrina).

My answer is — what did you expect? You can’t rebuild an entire city in a year. My parents are very well off and they have yet to move out of their trailer into their almost finished home. And they have tremendous resources. It is taking so long because there aren’t enough workers to rebuild this city fast enough. That is a simple reality. Mix in insurance problems, job setbacks and uncertainty about which neighborhoods will be viable and you’ve got lots more reasons for the delays.

My street, a success story by most accounts, is still dotted with trailers and will be for some time. America has never dealt with anything like this and most people outside of the city will never grasp its magnitude.

Anyway, I appreciate your blog entry and your voicemail. I’m glad you called. (And remember, we couldn’t have spoken to you very long during or after our evacuation because none of our phones worked! I still remember the moment I understood the scope of this disaster. It was when I sent you that text message Monday evening: The levees are breached, it’s all over. We found that out and understood it before the mainstream media caught on. It was during a live phone call with a staffer over at Tulane Hospital who said that water was rising about six inches an hour and that there were whitecaps on Canal Street. Do you remember that text message? I wish I had saved it.)

I’m about to go walk the dog on the levee of all places. They are ringing bells throughout the city at 9:30. I’ll probably go to Jackson Square today And maybe have a po-boy at Mothers.

I’m not sure what to do to commemorate today. But I do know what I’m doing tomorrow. I’m getting together with Chris, Verena, Peter and his wife for wine, cheese and “Project Runway” Wednesdays. I’m bringing a birthday cake. We’re celebrating Aug. 30, the end of Katrina anniversary coverage! And maybe the fact that we’re all still here.



Today is the day the waters rose in New Orleans.

My friends' houses filled with muddy water, some floating off their foundations, others just sagging like a wet paper bag. Very few of my friends stayed to ride out the storm, and all of those who did now have their own Escaping New Orleans tale. I'm ashamed to admit it, but it was a long time before I offered to listen to their escape stories. I was afraid to hear about how badly the city had turned on them. I just blocked them out. If they called, I would e-mail them with my condolences. I offered them my couch in New York, but I didn't offer them my company over the phone. I didn't let them tell me about how my beloved New Orleans, with all its character and charm, had suddenly become a death trap. Or how they were scared when they were trapped in the Superdome and stories of rapes, beatings and starvation kept circulating.

I only wanted to hear about the rebuilding, about the people moving back to the city. I didn't give my friends a chance to share their scariest moments with me, even though they had been there for me when I was afraid.

I spent two years living in the Crescent City, and during my first big storm, I was struck with wonder as the rain fell horizontally in seemingly no breeze. The rain came down sideways like that long before the howling winds started up. At first, the wind sounded like far-away screams, but as they grew louder and closer, I couldn't get used to hearing them all around me. We had a party that lasted long into the night. Eating and drinking by candlelight, we joked through most of the storm. The rain and wind were still blowing when I finally went home, and a friend offered to stay the rest of the night with me. We curled right up on that tiny futon bed and listened to the wind all night.

Only three of my close friends still live in New Orleans today, down from about a dozen before the storm. I've stayed close to the one who is rebuilding his home by hand and mostly lost touch with the ones who moved to Ohio, Colorado, Texas and Florida.

My friend Keith, the one who is rebuilding, says it's too soon for him to commemorate Katrina. He's still living in it every day, and there's been too little progress in the city to celebrate anything. Right now, he's commemorating survival.

I think I'll give him a call.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Cowboy Baby

Cowboy Baby
Originally uploaded by typingelbow.
This was the cutest little cowboy at my high school reunion. I promise to tell more of the tale soon. It involves a fireball, a broken windshield, fried pickles and fireants.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Three Princesses

Three Princesses
Originally uploaded by typingelbow.
Happy Birthday, Ru!
Thanks for the cupcakes and champagne. I'm happy to be part of your phone tree!

Friday, August 11, 2006

Winning with a Jack on the river

I've recently been learning how to play poker, Texas Hold'em specifically, and I crossed a weird line today. I read my first poker-related news report and liked it. (Check it out here.)
I don't know how it happened, but I actually enjoyed reading about each big hand that lead up to a former Hollywood agent making $12 million by playing cards.
Part of this is the chef's fault. I watched him play poker online for a while and before long, I was shouting advice to him from the couch. Finally, he showed me how to log in for my own games. We only play for fake money, but it still feels great when I win a hand or knock someone out of the game.
I'm getting the hang of some of the lingo, and my favorite hand is Ace/King suited. The fact that I have a favorite hand is probably enough cause for some intervention.
Speaking of addictions, this is day 11 on the patch with no cigarettes.
See you at the tables.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Reunion countdown: 10 days to go!

Oh. My. God.
75 people, including about 20 kids under the age of 5, are coming to the high school reunion picnic next week. In South Arkansas. In August.
They'll have to invent a new term for heatstroke after we're done.

Bless his heart, the chef has agreed to help me cater this sunny shindig. He's never been to El Dorado, Ark., before, and I'm not sure he knows what he's gotten himself into with all this. It's going to be hot. as. balls. (Sorry, but no other phrase really covers it.)

Ah, well. It'll be good to finally meet all of my high school buddies' sweethearts and babies.

Nine years, 347 days down; 10 days to go.

Monday, July 31, 2006

That was my favorite year

If you talk to me on Wednesday, you'll have to lean in close.
I'm going to the Dixie Chicks concert Tuesday night, and I expect to be completely hoarse the whole next day. I know every song in the band's book, and I'm gonna sing them all at the top of my lungs -- sort of like karaoke, except no one will have to listen to me. (Well, except for my concert buddy, Trillian. Sorry, babe.)

Thursday, July 27, 2006


Know what's funny? Watching a bunch of stoned girls sing the James Bond theme song using only the word vagina.

VA va va va va VA VA va va va va VAH va va VA-GIN-A!! dum da dum....

I almost fell on the floor laughing when I saw that bit last night during a preview of Shout! The Mod Musical, an off-Broadway show that opens tonight.

The play is about five women coming of age during the 1960's, and it follows each woman's storyline as they sing songs that were popular in England back then. I knew about half of the songs, but I think my Mom would recognize them all.

I loved Green Girl's sweet-n-slutty role, but Red Girl was definitely the funniest, even though I saw the understudy in the role.

The show gets a little sloppy with the British accents, but the singing is powerful. I got chills during Yellow Girl's rendition of "A Preacher's Son."

Take your mom or aunt to this one and see if she can keep from clapping along during the last few songs.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Quote of the day

Oh, man. Direct your browser to The Show with Zefrank immediately. He's the cutest nerd imaginable, and he never blinks. I'm completely hooked on his daily video blog because he just slides the jokes right in with the news a la "The Daily Show."
I was watching an archived piece and snorted my diet coke when he said, "Global warming, like herpes, will go away if you ignore it."

Thanks, Ronie, for the heads up!

Monday, July 17, 2006

Burning flame

As I was sitting down to bitch about how hot it was in the city today, "Abracadabra" came on the radio.

Every time you call my name

I heat up like a burnin flame.

Burning flame, full of desire

Kiss me baby, let the fire get higher.

So I smiled as the last of my teeth melted instead of griping. But it was hot. 96 degrees with an index of 105. That's warm for this big pizza oven of a city. I think my blood is thickening. In New Orleans, I sometimes woke up drenched in sweat, even though my house was air conditioned. The temperature down there can hit 90 before the sun comes up.

But here, well, I've gotten used to using wimpy deodorants. I rarely sweat through my shirts, and I sometimes throw a sweater in my bag to combat my always-freezing office. The heat got me a bit today, though. I walked about 30 blocks in the sun this morning, and I definitely needed something stronger than SECRET by the time I got to the office. Oof.

Still, it was cooler here than my family's home in South Arkansas. They're probably having people drop dead in the Baskin-Robbins parking lot.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Grin and bling it.

The lesson here: don't go cheap on your grill. Add that to the list, folks. It's just not worth it to save a buck on mayonaisse, mattresses or your tooth rocks. You'll be disappointed every time.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Six Feet Under

Warning: Spoiler Alert! If you've never seen Six Feet Under in its entirety, stop reading now, go put all five seasons at the top of your Netflix queue and start watching immediately. You'll thank me later.

I missed the entire Six Feet Under phenomenon when it aired on HBO the first time. Thanks to the miracle of Netflix, I too have just had my emotions wrangled by all five seasons of this amazing show.

John and I would watch at least two episodes on the nights we received the Netflix delivery, and we watched four in a row more than once.

I really miss the characters, even though they pissed me off more than I thought television could. In the end, I thought Brenda was the most admirable and Claire the most matured.

I played "Transatlanticism" by Death Cab yesterday and cried all over again.

A question for those of you who have already seen season 5.... was Maggie pregnant when she was on the phone with Ruth? If so, Nate had the strongest swimmers in history!

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Try not to blow your thumb off!

Fireworks over Manhattan
Originally uploaded by typingelbow.
Happy 4th, guys!
I am so glad we're getting a four-day weekend! I've got a lot planned... My friend Keith is coming up from New Orleans to admire Madonna's twins from the third row, so I'll get to spend some time with the Big Easy crowd; I might lose $20 at a poker party; the beach is calling my name; and I sense a few afternoon naps in my future.

Catch you guys later.

Oh, and I took this picture on Puerto Rican Day while standing on the promenade in Brooklyn Heights.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Attack of the killer oven!

Fireman party at EB's!!
Originally uploaded by typingelbow.
Gibbons (in the picture) was one of eight firemen who dropped by the house last Saturday. I wish I'd been doing a photo shoot for next year's NYFD calendar, but instead they came by to see if my oven was trying to kill me.

My carbon monoxide alarm went off twice while John was making chicken jello (stock, you know, for sauce and other chef-y things). The second time it went off, I had a little headache--which could have been a touch of hangover--so I called the city's information line, 311.

They didn't even let me get my question out before transferring me to 911 and sending a flock of firemen to my door. They decided we should get the oven checked out before using it again, so they turned off the gas and left.

An hour later, the gas company showed up. Their guy waved a loudly beeping wand around the room and declared the oven to be an "immediate hazzard."

So John and I are eating energy bars and cold salads for dinner these days. And I didn't even manage to get any signatures on my firemen calendar.

Hopefully, my landlord will return my call soon and hire a new-oven fairy that delivers up three flights.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

No time for sleep

Mary B. came up for one last visit before she heads off to Tennessee for graduate school. She's about to become my only family member with a grad degree. She's my favorite smarty pants.

While she was in town, we managed to eat...
pizza at Grimaldi's
fried chicken from the chef
ice cream from Cold Stone Creamery
octopus balls on East 9th Street
freeze-dried ice cream at the Natural History Museum. (blech. coffee creamer.)
and jellybellies from Dylan's Candy Store.

We also guzzled a few drinks, including...
licorice and blue coconut cocktails at Sushi Twist
frozen mojitos at Havana Outpost
margaritas at Dave and Buster's arcade (We killed a bunch of zombies there.)
one beer at Hank's Saloon, we escaped before the country music made Mary B.'s head explode
and jasmine milk bubble tea.

It was a wonderful visit, and I miss my baby sister so much. Good luck in grad school, pumpkin!

Friday, June 02, 2006

I thought Typingelbow had died

OMFG! I thought I accidentally offed Typingelbow just now. When I started my blogger account, I somehow created two blogs. One with 96 posts and one with only my first Blogger post.

When I joined YouTube today, I accidentally plugged in my gimpy Typingelbow blog and to fix it, I had to kill the less viable e-twin. I broke out in a sweat when I hit the scary button at the bottom the page, "DELETE THIS BLOG." I was afraid that I was fucking something up and would lose all of my posts. I hit the button and PANICKED when I couldn't get the page to show up again.

God, when did I start caring so much about this thing? I've only got about a five regular readers (Hi, Brandi, John, Mary... um. George. and. Alejandro) but it gave me a shock to think I might've erased everything.

Well, Typingelbow did not die today, and in fact, you three readers will be treated to more videos, now that I've figured out YouTube. However, I can't seem to reach any of my archives on the homepage. Well, who needs to read about my past anyway. Onward!!

UPDATE: The archives on the right are back in business. Now you can read the post about Pumba coming to live with me or the one about Jane Fonda's nipples.

A Friday funny

Titanic: The Sequel

This might be really old, but man, it made me laugh. Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Aw, Katie

I don't even watch the damn Today show, but I was bawling when they started the Goodbye Katie Couric episode this morning. They showed clips from all the news stories she's covered, and the waterworks started when this one Hurricane Katrina victim was crying and said, "Help me, Katie."

From there, I cried through flashback reels of the Oklahoma City bombing, Columbine and the World Trade Center. I had to turn the TV off, because I would just weep right through all the nostalgic montages they are about to show. It would just be embarrassing to cry during the "Hairstyles through the Years" reel.

Five Senses of Vermont

John and I took a road trip with some friends to Vermont for Memorial Day weekend. Six hours and five diet cokes later, we rolled up to the big house on the hill and marveled at the weather. It couldn't have been more gorgeous.

Sight: Sailboats on the sparkling water.
Sound: The wind streaming over the top of the convertible's windshield.
Smell: Chicken and ribs on the barbeque.
Touch: The sun warming my shoulders as I paddled the canoe.
Taste: We house was filled with foodies, so we ate very well. 15 different cheeses, lush salads, pate, roasted corn, strawberry rhubarb pie and ribs so good they made me tear up a bit.

UPDATE: I took the picture of the dog in the sidecar at a gas station on our way to Lake Champlain, and the sunset shown from Julie's backyard.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Welcome back, Chicks!

I have so missed the Dixie Chicks since their last CD, Home. I know they've been off having babies and pissing off the red states, but I'm glad they are back to making music.
I learned to like some country music by growing up in South Arkansas. Back then, you either learned the words to Garth Brooks and George Strait's songs, or you bought your own CDs. We were broke, and I still know the words to most of George's Where the Sidewalk Ends album. I'm not sure that poor kids in El Dorado have many more choices now, since the same Top 40 DJ is still on the air down there. He probably still ends every broadcast with his nasal tagline, "If you can't be good, be good at it."

The Dixie Chicks are one of the few holdouts from my country days, and I buy every new CD on the first day they become available. I bought this one in a store instead of on iTunes because I heard they need a stronger showing in the stores to do better on the charts.

Cheers, Chicks! Welcome back.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

A nuance of dating a chef

John and I were watching a B-movie horror flick called Hide and Seek on Skin-a-max today. A killer had been wielding a knife on everyone who walked through the door for about 30 minutes. Creepy Dakota Fanning was starting to cry because she knew the bad guy was finally going to come for her.
Suddenly, John gets all excited. "Honey! That's the knife I gave you!"
I looked at the blood-stained blade on the screen and glanced over at my overly cheerful boyfriend. He was staring at the knife and getting a little nostalgic. I guess it did make an awfully clean cut.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

About 3,652 days ago

Good lord. Ten years ago this month, I graduated high school. PCHS, baby! Class of '96 says Turn it Around and Let's Get Down!! (Why didn't our teachers balk at that sign in the gym? It hung for weeks!)

I'm working with some of my high school friends to get our reunion together this summer, and it's been amazing to reconnect with these people. A lot of us went to a tiny school together from kindergarten through the 12th grade, and we knew so much about each other. Ti drove a pickle-green Beretta. Ashley and Lauri were the pageant winners. Craig could sell ice to Eskimos, and Jen always had a smile for everyone.

On graduation day our high school superintendent said something I still remember. He stood at about eight feet tall and rarely cracked a smile in front of the students. It was during one of his rare sentimental moments when he said, "Remember this day, guys. This is the last time all of you will ever stand in the same room together. You're going to go off to college or to work, and you'll never be all together again."

It felt like a blow to me, since I'd had classes with these same people for my entire waking life. But I was bad about keeping in touch, and it's only been since we started talking about the reunion that I've actually talked with anyone from my class at all. We've all got different lives now.

Now it's time to get together again. I wonder how many of our 46 graduates will come. I wonder how many of them have kids that look like them. I wonder if I should bring pictures of Pumba to share.

CALL FOR COMMENTS: I would love to hear your reunion stories. Did you go to your 10-year? Were you excited to see anyone in particular? Did you get any souvenirs or do anything particularly fun?

Friday, May 05, 2006

What I meant to say...

My grandmother, D.J. G-mom, had to send a HELLO?! letter to get me to tune back in to the family this week. She sent an e-mail to say that she'd sold the house, cashed in the stocks and was planning to move to Fiji with a man she met over the Internet.

Her plan worked. We all started calling her and emailing each other like crazy. It was a great way to get our attention.

So, obviously, dear readers, you are not the only ones I've been ignoring these days. I thought about you this morning when I was walking to the train and spotted a tiny baby bird lying on the sidewalk. It fell out of the tree, I guess, because it didn't even have fur yet. Uh, I mean feathers. Anyway, I should have moved it off the path, but I didn't even slow down to take a good look. A block later, I walked through an essay that had been scattered across the street, but I didn't stop to read it. A couple of blocks later, I saw some crumpled thong underwear on the sidewalk. (No, I didn't stop for it either.)

It would be hard to find more interesting things just laying on the sidewalk, but I just kept walking. Maybe it's time to slow down a bit.

Friday, April 28, 2006

When I wasn't sleeping

I stayed home sick yesterday and slept about 18 hours. When I wasn't snoring, I finished reading 102 Minutes. In it, two New York Times reporters describe the people who tried to survive September 11th in the World Trade Center. The book's imagery snuck into my dreams. I'm not sure I'm ready for all the 9/11 movies slated to debut in the theaters this summer, even if Maggie Gyllennhaal is in most of them.

I also ate homemade chicken soup (Yay, John!) and watched a couple more episodes of the second season of Six Feet Under. (Yay, Netflix!) No spoilers, please, but could these people get any more screwed up?? Nate's got a baby coming from the hippie vegan, Brenda is doing random strangers in the bathroom, Claire is falling for Brenda's batshit crazy brother and the mama is tangling with the Russian mafia. Yeesh.

Friday, April 21, 2006

A sad day

It’s taken me a while to be able to admit the truth, but you should all know about the change that’s happened in my life. My iPod died a sudden death about three weeks ago. I was sitting at the bar in Park Blue when I reached down to grab my purse and pay the check. One of the straps was caught under the leg of my barstool. I tugged at it without looking, and everything spilled out onto the floor.

I discovered the dead cell phone first. It was a flimsy flip-phone that had already been mostly smashed during Mardi Gras, and this last tumble broke the stupid thing in half. I stared at the blank screen, smirking because I had already gotten most of the phone numbers off of it. As I bent to gather the rest of the stuff that had dumped, I saw it. My iPod was lying face down on the ground, looking very small and alone. I gently turned it over and wiped the beer off its face. Nervously, I pushed the on button, but it was too late. It started making a squealing, cranking sound as the hard drive headed for the light. Before it shut itself back down, it flashed 0 of 0 in the upper left corner of the screen. My 2,540 songs were gone; the soul of my electronic buddy had passed.

My mind flashed to the subway, where I would have to listen to the metallic voice tell me to STAND CLEAR OF THE DOORS 30 times a day; and to my neighborhood jogging path, where I would have to sing to myself to keep up my pace (The only songs that ever come to mind are Janis Joplin’s “Mercedes Benz” and Tori Amos’ “Silent All These Years.” No, I don’t know why.)

I didn’t cry on the spot, but the grief has been hitting me slowly. I have missed the pod as much as I feared. I discovered a lot of new bands with the iPod, and browsing iTunes sort of kept me up to date with today’s pop music. Now, I don’t recognize many of the bands listed on iTunes’ Top 100 list. All teenagers are going to call me Mrs. Butler and assume that I have three kids and a minivan. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.) Every once in a while, I’ll remember a snip of a song that I haven’t heard since pod died, and I’ll sigh again. All the music is backed up at home, but I can’t take it with me.

There is some relief though. I’ve rediscovered Internet radio, as well as some stations that are commercial free. And Katie was kind enough to hook me up with new music before she flew home, so I’m really getting to know these new cd’s, more than the others I bought during the pod days. Those just got mixed into the random play, and I never really knew them from beginning to end.

I’ll probably buy another iPod, eventually… maybe this one will have the video option. I’ll just have to figure out some way to keep it from cracking on the barroom floor.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Central Park

John and I escaped to Central Park last weekend to do some people watching. We packed a bottle of wine, a blanket and some deli sandwiches and settled in for the show. It was the first really beautiful weekend of spring, so everyone and their brother had come out to the park. You could have hopped blanket to blanket without ever touching grass on the Meadow.

So we had a great lunch, laughing and napping. When it was time to go, I got one extra surprise... a pigeon pooped on me. It was headed for the top of my head, but I leaned over just then to grab my shoes so it hit my arm and belly instead. I laughed so long that my stomach hurt.

This was the second time I've been popped by a pigeon in Manhattan, and it called to mind this perfect poem from gradeschool:

Birdie, Birdie in the sky
Why'd you do that in my eye?
I'm not sad. I won't cry.
I'm just glad that cows don't fly.


The picture above is one that John took of a flowering Dogwood tree in Memphis, Tennessee.

Sorry I haven't posted much recently... I've been outside in the sunshine as much as possible. Since my last post, I attended my first Seder (thanks, Julie!), wished Katie well on her journey back to New Orleans and eaten Easter dinner with Mika, Julie and John. It's been a full week already, and it's only Tuesday. Coming up this weekend: a Yankee's game and Brandi's solo show.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Five senses of Memphis in April

John and I went to his friends’ wedding in Memphis this weekend, and we had a great time.

The sights: the dogwoods were blooming (pictures to follow), and I could see Arkansas just across the Mississippi River. I waved hello.
The sounds: the restaurants and shops along Beale Street pipe blues music onto the streets, even during church hours on Palm Sunday.
The taste: Ooooh, the barbeque... ribs and pulled pork so good they turned me into a carnivore for the weekend. Plus smoked wings, catfish, tamales, sweet tea, potato salad and baked beans. We didn’t get any peanut butter pie, though, so we’ll have to make another trip soon.
The smell: the Memphis airport smells like Corky’s BBQ.
The touch: the warm sunshine made me forget how flat my thin hair gets in the Southern tap water.

It was a beautiful wedding, and the weekend felt like much more than just two days. Congratulations, Chris and Sarah! Come visit NYC soon.

Monday, April 03, 2006

My five seconds of skateboarding glory

I grew up in the '80s, when skateboarding first became cool. I was always envious of the mean punk kids who skateboarded down the street and scared the little old ladies. I thought that if I could just learn to ride one, I would be instantly rebellious and, well, rad.

I grew up in the country, and there were very few rules about how and where I could play after school. Rule one: stay within listening distance. My Dad can do that really loud call-a-taxi whistle, and I had to go home when I heard that. Rule two: don't jump on the Goodwins' trampoline unless there is an adult watching. This was back before the manufacturers figured out that fewer kids would die on those things if they put handy little net fences around the trampolines. (I broke that law only once, and within five minutes of jumping alone, I landed on my back on the circular metal bar. Then I flopped out onto the ground. My Dad had looked out the window long enough to see me jumping without an adult, but he didn't see me fall, so I still got in trouble, limp or no.) Rule three: No skateboarding.

So the first chance I got, around age 10, I convinced one of the older kids across the street to let me sit on his skateboard. (Can you tell how rebellious I was? Not, Lemme take that thing down a half-pipe. Not, Hey man, where can I get one of those? No, it was Can I sit on that for a second? Shocking.) I sat down and pulled my feet up on the board. SHOOSH! The board zipped down a hill that I swear hadn't been there two minutes before. I screamed and rolled off the board, sending myself into a concrete gutter and the board into the street. It was then that I learned the meaning of asphalt rash. My heroic skateboard adventure took all the skin off my left knee and planted a dozen little rocks in my forearms. I have no idea what story I made up to tell my Dad about what happened, but I certainly didn't admit the truth. In retrospect, I think my parents probably didn't have anything against my becoming a skateboard punk... they more likely took one look at my lack of grace and figured they'd try to head off this disaster.

So, given my lame skateboarding skills, this little dog really pisses me off.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Ohio blue eyes

Julie and I saddled up to the bar for salads and a quick drink after taking in a chick flick. Next to us sat a middle-aged suit with gray hair and blue eyes. The guy is kinda wobbling on his bar stool when he asks us, "How far is it to 57th Street?"
"About nine blocks that way."
"Is that far? I'm in town for a pharmaceutical convention over at the Javits Center--I come to town about three times a year-- and I usually stay at the Crown Plaza near Times Square, but they wanted $300 a night, and that's too much. Tonight, I'm staying at the Holiday Inn at 57th Street."
At this point, this guy has told us more about himself than any non-homeless stranger has in a year, so I'm nodding politely and Julie is rolling her eyes.
"I'm so hammered. I came in here three hours ago for a drink on my way back to the hotel, and I started talking to these Irish guys. Now I'm smashed."

"You definitely nee to catch a cab then. You can't wander around in Hell's Kitchen smashed," I say.
"I know."

Minutes pass while he stares at his last beer.

"Hey girls, sorry to bother you, but how far is it to 57th Street?"
We start cracking up. This poor guy from Ohio is so cute, and we're a little afraid he's gonna get mugged on his way home. I tell him so.
"You think I'll get mugged?!"
"Well, I would mug you."

He starts again with his story about how he's in town for a pharmaceutical convention, so we start fucking with him.
"Where are you staying? Have you ever visited Ohio? Why didn't you stay at the Crown Plaza, I've heard that's a great hotel."

We finally convince him to catch a cab. He pays the bill and goes.

Julie and I were having a good laugh about how cute the little Mid-Western guy was and how we're sure his wife is worried about him hanging out in a bar in Hell's Kitchen for three hours. Then the bartender came up to tell us that the guy was actually in town for a pornography convention and that his "pharmaceutical" company really manufactures and sells vibrators for women.

My jaw dropped and Julie says, "Dammit! We could've gotten some free samples!"

Monday, March 20, 2006

Goodbye, Bulgarian Hip Hop Club

It looks like the Bulgarian Hip Hop Club downtown is closing its doors to make room for a hotel.

It's sad. I loved dancing in a club that plays songs in other languages while groups of foreign men yell the lyrics at the top of their lungs and suddenly raise their beers while they hold a note I don't understand. I hope they keep the party going somehow.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

hearts and smiley faces

When your totally sober sweetheart puts his bath towel on the floor to pad your knees while you throw up into the toilet because you drank too much on your welcome-to-your-late-20s birthday, you know you are lucky in love.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

I couldn't sleep the night before

My friend Brandi never has to wonder whether I trust her completely. I proved my utter faith when I let her put a blindfold over my eyes and lead me through the streets of Manhattan. In heels. And a skirt that only let me take small steps.

After a couple of blocks of clutching her arm (how do newly blind people get used to that? i was nervous everytime i heard someone coming near me), we stopped at a door buzzer. Now, Brandi had let it slip that part of my surprse birthday party included dinner at a Korean BBQ place, but she still wanted me to wear the blindfold so that I wouldn't see who had come to the party until she removed it and everyone yelled Happy Birthday.

So it didn't make sense that we were going into a house with a door buzzer. We walked up two flights of stairs (well, she walked and I wobbled blindly) and I finally heard the strains of Holiday by Madonna. SURPRISE! It was a karaoke party at my favorite ghetto singing bar!! A bunch of my very awesome friends were there, including a few from work who did a helluva job pretending like there was nothing going on. Moving from person to smiling person, hugging each one while my heart pumps madly from having people suddenly scream in my face... it's one of those freeze-frame moments that will surely replay at the end of my life. I just kept saying, "Oh, yay!"

There was a HUGE, beautiful cake from John (along with those damn candles that refuse to BLOW OUT ALREADY!) Megann made crawfish turnovers and crab-stuffed peppers, and there was enough liquor to wreck 100 livers. Oh, yay!

We boozed it up and sang until our voices gave out, and I went home beaming.

Thanks for throwing me such a fun party, you guys. It beats the heck out of OD'ing on drugs to wrap up my 27th year. On to year 28, starting in about 12 hours. I hope it's as fun and adventurous as this year has been.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

The concert in Bed-Sty

My first apartment in New York was in Bedford Styuvesant, Brooklyn. I picked it because it’s near Fort Greene, where my New Orleans friends live, and I paid just $645 a month for my own (tiny) bedroom in a three-bedroom share. It felt a little more run-down and sketchy than Fort Greene, but it was the best I could find after moving to the city with no job.

I was staring at my computer a few months after I moved into the place when I heard the familiar sounds of a marching band outside. The drums were thumping, and suddenly voices boomed out on a microphone. I couldn’t hear what the guys were saying, but I heard a big crowd yell back in response. It sounded like a huge outdoor concert, and I was tempted to go out in search of the fun. But the skies were filled with thunderheads, and the rain had been coming down all day.

“Who in the world is giving a concert in Bed-Sty in the rain?”

Now I know. Next time I’m curious about something like this, I won’t let a little rain squash my interest. I watched the movie last night, and the whole thing seemed a lot like a rap version of Woodstock. People traveled from other states to see the show, even though they didn't know who was playing or exactly where it would happen. And I was just a few blocks away. Dammit!

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Mardi Gras photos are done!

Let the pictures tell the tales for now.

There are three batches of photos for your viewing pleasure. One set shows general Mardi Gras shots: parades, the French Quarter, costumes and a few pictures of my friend Keith's former brunch palace. (You'll know it's his house when you spot the Madonna picture that still hangs in the bathroom.)

To see this slideshow, click here.

The next batch of photos is from a trip I took with some friends to the Ninth Ward. That neighborhood was one of the most devastated by the storm because the levee at the Industrial Canal gave way there. The destruction there is total, and walking around feels like exploring a graveyard. It was a thriving, working class neighborhood, and I understand that many of the residents haven't been able to get back and see the area post-Katrina.

To see the slideshow of the Ninth Ward, click here.

Finally, there's also a slideshow dedicated to Mardi Gras Day. It was the most beautiful Fat Tuesday I'd ever seen. I got out of bed to see Zulu, witnessed the Mardi Gras Indians in the Treme and wandered through the Quarter, all the way to Frenchman Street. I'm so glad I got to be part of such a glorious day.
To see the Fat Tuesday slideshow, click here.

I am so glad I was in that number.

The food. Oh, the foooood!

My mouth is watering. I remember slurping the oysters out of their cold shells and burning my lips with the boiled crawfish. Both go well with ice cold Abita beer.

I ate shrimp and oyster po'boys, Zapp's potato chips, and turkey sandwiches dressed with lettuce, tomato and mayo. I had a bowl of marvelous shrimp and grits and devoured all the dilly beans and green olives I could find.... luckily, a lot of them were hiding in Bloody Mary's. Yay!

Except for one shrimp po'boy, a sushi dinner, and a homemade meal of steak and potatoes that Keith made, I took pictures of everything I ate during Mardi Gras.
Here is the slideshow.

Friday, March 03, 2006

My ovaries just started pulsing

I don't have baby-itis. I swear I don't. But when I saw pictures of my friend Ronie's youngest baby, my ovaries twinged.
Click here if you can stand seeing cuteness incarnate. (At the site, click on galleries and then Baby Gray.)

I'm not responsible for any men who are about to find out their girlfriend's diaphrams won't hold water anymore.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Tired on Fat Tuesday

It's been quite a week, guys. I've had hilarious fun and seen some awful destruction. I'll have pictures for you, probably by the weekend. Except for one shrimp po-boy and some sushi, I photographed everything I ate at Mardi Gras, from the homemade jambalaya to the parade-route corn dog. I'm giving up cigarettes for Lent, and I drank a couple of extra bloody marys for good measure.

I am happy that I still have a home in New Orleans.

Talk to you more soon.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Mardi Gras bound

Sorry I've been so lax about posting this week. I've had a lot of fun during the past few days (Happy Birthday, Mary! and Nice to meet you, Chris!) but now I don't have time to catch up with everyone.

My plane leaves at 9 a.m. for New Orleans. I'm not sure what to expect from my post-Katrina city. I know a lot of my old friends will be in town for the weekend, and I've packed a hot-pink boa for emergency use. But I'm a little nervous to see how New Orleans is faring after its mass evacuation.

For you, dear readers, I plan to photograph all the foods I eat while I'm in the Crescent City. (If I don't lose my camera in the crush of revelry, I'll tell my story in pictures.)

Until Ash Wednesday,


Saturday, February 11, 2006

Blizzard '06

Well, this pretty much means that Brooklyn will only get a half-inch of snow, but I'm going to attempt to semi-live blog about today's snow storm. (Semi-live because I feel a nap coming on.) Here goes nothing...

4:20 p.m. It just started with the flurries, but they seem to be melting as they land on my fire escape. Riveting, no?

Pumba is taking a very long, determined bath on the couch, and I am jealous of his flexibility.

5:35 p.m. Breaking news on the Blizzard of 2006, folks! It's getting dark.

I'll keep you posted as events unfold. (Well, for a while anyway. My friend Kevin just called to tell me that blizzard-or-no, he'll be having his big party tonight in Washington Heights. So I'm going to brave the wet sidewalks and flurries to raise a glass with him at some point tonight. Sorry, I suck at this up-to-the-minute reporting.)

7:13 p.m. I just got back from the store, and I can now confirm that it is in fact snowing. It's not sticking on the sidewalk yet, but stuff is coming down steady now.

For my part, I have no idea how real live bloggers find interesting stuff to talk about on these sorts of reports. I completely understand why I'm in the weekly reporting business now. Anyway, I'm off to make some bloody mary mix and mash a potato. More details to come...

8:20 p.m. Here's one last update before I head waaaaaay uptown for a pre-blizzard party. And the news is.... it's snowing a little. Hopefully the situation will hold while I go toast Kevin's first NYC house party. Roi's coming with me, so I'm sure much mayhem will ensue.

3:15 a.m. Party's over. Roi and I went to the Diner 24 in Chelsea and John joined us after he got off work. We watched the snow blow into town while we ate excellent French toast and just-okay Macaroni and Cheese. Here's the fire escape picture.

That's enough minute-by-minute reporting. The snow is coming down. See y'all in the morning.

9:25 a.m. My blogging about the storm did nothing to ward off the winter. By golly, we've got ourselves a real storm going.

I'll share pictures from the party when I get out of bed for real.

Chinese New Year

A lotus dance?
Originally uploaded by typingelbow.
John and I took his parents to Chinatown when they were in town last weekend. It was fun watching John's mom pop her first big confetti firecracker gun thing (what are those things called?)

Watching the parade revelers made me think of Mardi Gras (I leave in about a week!!), and I rung in my first Chinese New Year celebration with the year of the dog.


There's a blizzard coming tonight, so John and I are running out to the store to buy food to cook tomorrow. Three cheers for being snowed in with a chef!!

Also, three big cheers to my sister, Mary B., for kicking the GRE's ass!

And four cheers for my dad for passing his own test. I am so proud of you, Pop!

Friday, February 03, 2006

Photos from home

I just found my friend BILLLLLLL!!'s Web site! He's a marvelous photographer, and he included on his site my very favorite shot of his (the Mardi Gras Indian at the right.)

Bill can talk about camera lenses for eight hours straight, as long as there's enough Guinness at hand, and he buys new cameras just to see how they frame shots he knows by heart. Feel free to check out his site here.

I love looking at his photos because BILLLLLL!! loves the same parts of the country as me, namely the Dirty South and New Orleans.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Yes. I am cruel

I bought a cute magnet, shown as a poster here, to put on my refrigerator. It's called Love is Colorblind, and I thought it would be funny to see what John said about it since his reds and greens all seem to look pink. Well, he was with me when the package came, so I gave it to him. Now, this is proof that I'm a cold-hearted BIOTECH who will surely bear children that will suffer my bad karma, but I just fell on the floor laughing when he stared at it and couldn't see the heart. I kept screaming that Love is Blind!!!, and I just got a case of the giggles that almost killed me.

So I figured that when John asked me to take a picture of my refrigerator, he was planning to joke about either the magnet or my habitual need to cover white space with nostalgic, dusty mementos. The expected blog came this morning, and yes, he was ready to poke some fun at me for laughing at the colorblind. But OMG!!! He posted a link to a colorblind magnet on, and SO HELP ME, HE PICKED THE WRONG MAGNET! And he can't see it to know that it says "18" instead of a heart. See for yourself at John's blog. I am gathering bad karma with a bulldozer right now... I just can't stop laughing about this.

Help me. I love this wonderful colorblind man.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Me as South Park eb

Brandi Rooney made this portrait for me. I think it bears a striking resemblance, complete with the iPod.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Happy Birthday, Julie

Julie's Birthday Cake
Originally uploaded by typingelbow.
My friend Julie threw a great party last weekend for her Thirtysomething birthday, but today's the real day. (I hope the candle wax came off the television, honey.) Thanks for throwing such a fun bash!

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Weirdness in the water

I have been getting the weirdest text messages today:

"How do you say failure in Australian?"

and then, from someone else,

"Yay for albatross!"


Wednesday, January 18, 2006

I'd probably be cast as Violet

I like what the guy said about New Orleans being more of a Neapolitan Ice Cream than just plain old chocolate.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

New Pictures are up!

New Flickr pictures!

To see Christmas in South Arkansas, click here.

To see New Year's weekend, 2006, click here.

Hey, it only took me three weeks to get them all posted... Like a herd of turtles, I tell ya.

Friday, January 13, 2006

click-clacking for one year

I just realized that I forgot my own anniversary. (I'm sleeping on the couch tonight, obvies.)

I've been moving all my old blogs to this site from Myspace, and I noticed that I've actually been blogging for one year.

Happy anniversary to me!!

Thursday, January 12, 2006

A special winter's day

The sky is blue.
The sun is golden.
People are in love.

What a wonderful day!

Monday, January 09, 2006

Mardi Gras Mambo

Cue Mardi Gras Mambo, because it's eight weeks to Fat Tuesday. I’m heading down to South Louisiana because, as Chris Rose says, I want to be in that number.

I’ve got my favorite beads ready (all the strings that hang down to my knees and the one with M-U-S-E-S spelled out in blue) and I’m starting to think about costumes. (Would anyone give me crap if I revived Little Red Riding Hood again?)

But as I’m mentally packing my ratty suitcase, I know that I’m in for a smack in the face. I’ve been living in New York for a year and a half, so I was long gone by the time Katrina washed part of New Orleans away. From 20 states further North, I felt detached from the destruction, as the storm ran many of my friends out of town. No really, some of them had to put on tennis shoes and literally run out of the city.

Now the friends who stayed (there weren’t many) tell me that things are getting a little better down there. The mountains of trash are dwindling. Most everyone has gas and electricity again. You still wouldn’t want to drink from the tap, but why would you do that when there’s Abita Amber on tap anyway?

My buddies are starting to sound hopeful. They’ve seen more businesses open back up, and it seems like most of the bleeding has stopped. That is, the people who stayed so far might actually stay through the year. ((A friend of a friend recently declared that she wouldn’t help anyone else pack their shit to move out of New Orleans. Call her if you’re just moving to a new house, but expect only eggs on your windshield if you’re leaving town for good.))

So I’m headed down to the greatest free party on Earth to help out any way I can. I wanted to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity, but the coordinator says the group won’t be building anything during Mardi Gras. I can see why a hammer in one hand and a hand grenade in the other might be a bad idea, but I really wanted to do something productive between parades. (Survivor’s guilt anyone?)

So, I’m looking for other ways to contribute to the city in some way. My best idea: Gluttony. I’m going to go shopping for all the New Orleans food and drinks and trinkets I’ve always wanted to buy. You can’t buy HovĂ© in New York. Or Water Meter Glass for that matter.

And those restaurants I couldn’t afford when I was down there last year? Well I’m knocking on their doors this trip.

If I can’t rebuild my friend’s houses, I’ll at least buy them dinner and visit with them for a few hours. I’ll be a free-wheeling tourist, just like the ones the visitor’s center always loved.

And maybe some bright idea about how to really help will strike me as I stand by the tree at Milan Street and St. Charles Avenue.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Is it 2007 yet?

I tried to hit the ground running this year.

I had fantasies of blogging every day and washing my dishes as I dirty them and cleaning the litter box before Pumba stages another revolution and poops next to the box in protest of the gross factor that has overwhelmed his toilet (again.)

I was going to call my mom twice a week and floss twice a day and go to the gym to bobble frantically for at least 45 minutes a day or until I can't see my tummy poking out from under my gigantic boobs when I sit down in front of my computer.

I was also going to wake up early enough to eat a healthy breakfast, wash all of my potentially stinky parts and shave the hairy ones, carefully choose my clothes for the day, read the New York Times, check some funny Web sites for a pre-work chortle and brush Pumba's long hair so that it won't clump into orange dreadlocks every two days.

Then, with all the free time I would score with my efficient model for living, I would concentrate on quitting smoking and drinking only red wine as it is best for maintaining one's overall health.

Well. That didn't happen.

Instead, I still hit the snooze bar at least 5 times before I get out of bed, leaving me with time for a spit bath and a quick scrounge for a hair barette that was trained in the art of hair flattery. I open a can of wet food so that Pumba won't starve while he pickets the litter box with an MTA sign he scavenged in Midtown. I pause to consider a bowl of cereal for breakfast and remember that the milk in the back of the fridge expired in September. So I pop two tylenol for breakfast and read the paper on the way to the train.

And no, I haven't seen the inside of the gym this year, yet. I'm sure David, the too-damn-cheerful aerobic-boxing teacher thinks I've died, probably from tripping over my own wrist wraps, again. So I'll be buying some black pants with an elastic waist band instead. Black is always in fashion, right?