26 May 2007

Could be worse

Lee and Fidel

One of the pleasures of my weekend gig as a Girl Reporter is that it is freelance, so I don't have to take an assignment if I don't want to. When I go out on a story, I want to either 1) get to have fun or 2) learn something cool.

Today fell into the fun category.

Assignment: Cajun Music and Food Festival.

I strolled in with my press pass instead of paying $15 to get in. Listened to the music, yakked with anyone who would talk to me. One of the benefits of the job is that you can stroll right up to any local harmless eccentric like the guy above and chat them up for a while, and they will be thrilled to tell you their life story.

(The man in orange is Lee. He said he has loved Zydeco music since the first time he ever heard it. He and his friend Fidel compete to see who can come up with the wildest outfit. (Don't tell Lee, but I think Fidel - in the background - has a lock on this one.) He embroidered the snakes on his pants and customized those green Crocs to be toeless. He drew pictures on his t-shirt with permanent markers - accordions, fiddles, the Native American Kokopelli symbol "and other Cajun stuff."

He plays his washboard tie with two teaspoons, strumming along with the band. I'll bet the band loves that. He said "When I hear this music, I can't sit down. I just gotta dance.")

I ate some beignets, drank some coffee. Bought a big silly Mardi Gras necklace for $3 from the local teen beauty queen. It was a fundraiser for something...This photo is my tribute to Mocha Momma who is always licking something in photos.

Went to a cafe, drank more coffee, wrote 450 words. Done. The check will be in the mail. I will deposit it in the BlogHer fund.

Nice work if you can get it.

I know I have badly neglected Linkateria lately, but today there are new links - a cool blogger, an amazing story about homeland security, and the White House screwing up (again).

24 May 2007

This may be the last time

There is a photo that I haven't been able to look at without crying since my sister died. It is of all five of us siblings, arms around each other, laughing in a park.

It was taken maybe a dozen years ago, maybe 15. We didn't know when it was taken that it was the last time we would all be together in the same place at the same time. We were just having a picnic, worrying about the beans burning and the yellow jackets buzzing around, watching the kids, eating and drinking and laughing.

We didn't know that we would leave that picnic and never have the opportunity to get together again - distance, time, disability and money conspired to keep us apart.

Every time I look at it, I think of the gospel song by the Blind Boys of Alabama - "This May Be the Last Time."

When I first heard it, it didn't seem like a gospel song. "This may be the last time we sing together. This may be the last time, I don't know." (The Rolling Stones also did a slightly different version. Ahem.)

But since then, I have come to realize the importance of that message. It may always be the last time, and you really never do know.

Your loved one may walk out the door and never come back. YOU may walk out the door and never come back. You may never sit down to a meal together again. You may never again hear that stupid story that always makes you laugh every time they tell it.

This may be the last time. It seems like a sad message, but it is also a joyful one if we truly get it. Because it may always be the last time, our mission is to maximize the number of moments where we remember that every time is special.

I am lucky to have a lifetime of zany memories saved up from my sis. Because she got it a long time ago. She always said "You have to do stuff so that when you are old and lying in bed looking at the ceiling, you have something to look back on."

I had more fun sitting in traffic with her than I have had doing supposedly entertaining things with jerks (like going to the Gipsy Kings concert with Leslie, remember, Gael?).

Because if you are going to sit in traffic in an unrefrigerated truck with a highly perishable product (flowers) on a 100 degree day, the only way to pass the time is to belt out "Freeway of Love" with your windows down, right?

My sister got it, and I thank her for helping me to remember as often as I have been able to.

22 May 2007

Tour du neighborhood

In my neighborhood, people aren't afraid of a little color on their houses.

Or on their businesses. We like SMALL businesses here.

We have fine restaurants (order right there on the sidewalk. They were closed or otherwise there would have been a line).

And fancy modern conveniences.

You can get beautiful fashions for your kids.

We have entertainment! This is 2 blocks from my house. I haven't been in, but the drunk guys who stagger out covered in glitter say it is fun.

No trip through the neighborhood would be complete without a stop at the Hell's Angels motorcycle club. They are actually pretty quiet (for a biker gang. Oh, right, it's not a gang. It's a CLUB!)

That's my neighborhood. Stop by sometime and say hi.

21 May 2007

Sweet dreams

Last night I dreamed of my sister.

She was standing in her kitchen in white painter pants and her paisley blue and white Indian shirt, watering her plants.

This was odd, because she hadn't stood up in maybe 10 years.

"Should you be walking around?" I asked.

"I'm a little wobbly, but I'm okay," she answered.

That is what I choose to believe. She is somewhere learning to stand again, not quite 100%, but getting there nevertheless.

20 May 2007

Iambic blogometer

The grief report, since all of y'all encouraged me to spill: I made it til 11 a.m. without crying, a major improvement.

Last night my sister's memorial service took place back in Illinois from 6-8 p.m. Just at sunset, a little Cheshire-cat-smile moon showed in the sky with venus shining brilliantly right next to it: a rarity. Haven't grieving people always looked to signs in the heavens for comfort? I suppose we do it because that is all we can think to do.


My sister's flickr set. I didn't even know she had added me as a contact, somehow, and today I miraculously found these few photos that say so much to me. I love the blurry one - it is just perfect.


The bad news is that my hair is in mourning, too. A slight misunderstanding about just how dark "Medium Brown" home hair dye is and a timing problem due to the effects of an engrossing novel have left me with a color of hair that would do Imelda Marcos proud. A nice, glossy almost-black.

Fortunately it is semi-permanent dye, though. Clairol claims the color lasts for 28 washes. Let's see...if I wash it 3 times today, and twice on weekdays...


I awoke last night with these words from my last post in my head:
A certain blogger - Vicious Rumours - went way out of her way for me. She took it upon herself to help me out and came through in a big way.
I thought "Damn, the rhythm of those sentences are all messed up. I should get up and rewrite them."

Do you do this? Write by rhythm? I don't know how it works, exactly, or what the rhythm IS, but it drives me nuts if it is wrong. I am more conscious of it in my paid writing than on my blogs, which are more conversational.

Tell me I'm not crazy. Does this make sense to you?
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