Clearing my head in the smelliest place in America

This blog is stream of conscious. I apologize to those that are bothered by this style, but I knew of no other way to write it.

I had a panic attack at the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas. There were just so many kids there, buses full of them swarming everywhere. It didn’t help that I was coughing like someone with consumption and hadn’t slept for days. It was one of two touristy adventures while in New Orleans, and a repeat of a much-enjoyed experience with my sister 14-years ago. When the docent found me hiding behind some plant life and digging desperately in my bottle of sedatives, he merely said, kids, and walked away. Even after the drugs kicked in, the trip was rather ruined, and there were still swarms of children. I walked back to my hotel shaking my head and lamenting that nothing is ever as good as you remember it.

I am a realist and have never placed any stock in psychics and the like. With the exception of ghosts, I definitely believe in ghosts. So it shocked me when I was drawn to stop at a tarot reader on the northwest edge of Jackson Square. I sat down in front of him, and not wanting him to “read” me, said nothing and took a neutral body posture. His first question was, “Are you descended from an Indian tribe?” I answered simply, “Yes.” He looked at me again and said, “Creek” I shook my head, yes. He handed me a deck of cards to shuffle, and when I handed them back he said, “I don’t need to read these cards for you. You know what they say.” As he placed the cards on the table, I felt impressions. As he read the cards, I realized that he was absolutely accurate. Then he said, there is a man in your life that you must get rid of forever.

Sitting in the chapel of Christ Church Cathedral waiting for the 12:15-weekday service, the vicar told me about the church, when it was built (1840), and how it had to be built outside the city limits of New Orleans. Episcopalians were not welcome in a city filled to the brim with Catholics, but evidently, there were enough of them that they built a magnificent cathedral.On the trolly ride back from the Garden District, I reflected on being an outsider when your beliefs were only slightly different. I mean, we are the Anglican Catholic Church after all. As someone who has always been an outsider, I found sitting in that church strangely fitting. I could imagine myself a hundred odd years ago worshipping in a way that my neighbors would not approve. The only place that I ever “fit-in” was in Austin and that is because no one “fits in.” We are all a bunch of misfits who find other misfits that we like enough to tolerate.

If you can’t sleep because you are coughing so much that you are afraid that the neighboring room is going to complain about the noise, you might find yourself reading and watching a great deal of television. At some point, though, you have to admit to yourself that you are getting sicker and call your insurance for permission to go to urgent care. And what an urgent care that it was! It had 18-foot ceilings with plaster walls, marble floors, ancient wooden benches, worn smooth by wear, and leather chairs. I saw a doctor within 5 minutes of arriving, was given prescriptions for an antibiotic and the good cough syrup and was out the door in 15 minutes. Lesson learned, you are not invincible at 40, and if you are coughing like a crazy person then you shouldn’t be walking 8

Checking out for my sanity

My friends, I admit it, I checked out sometime early last week and I’ve yet to check back in again. I enjoyed New Orleans, talked to no one but shopkeepers and waitstaff. It was blissful. More than anything, I was able to knit together some of my still unraveling ends. Sometimes, you have to admit to yourself that you aren’t at 100% or even 50%. That you are climbing your way out of a very deep hole and there are some things that you can’t handle yet. You have to leave it to others, who you trust to act in good faith, to carry on the good fight.

Because, right now, I can’t afford to read, watch, or listen to the news. I know what’s at the bottom of that shaft. I’m not sure that I will make it out again, and my legs are still wobbly and my hands are still shaky. I will get stronger. Until then, know that I love each and every one of you. Each voice, each post, and each protest. Someday soon you will have a sister in arms again.

Not quite mid-life

Earlier this week, a friend called and congratulated me on being middle-aged. I assured her that I wasn’t as I planned to live long past 80. Since she and I both trained at The Population Research Center at The University of Texas at Austin, you see that this conversation became boring very quickly to the casual observer.

It did make me think. What does it mean to be “not quite mid-life?” I look at my closest friends from college, and we all have young children (under 5-years-old). There are years of jiu jitsu, ballet, art, etc. classes to drag children. Eighteen birthday parties to plan, throw, and remember the specific allergy of each child. Years of school plays, class parties, teachers’s presents, and school supplies. It’s difficult to equate that with the traditional idea of middle-aged parents, who are either empty-nesters or have children in high school. Where do we fit in? Hmm… I’m trying to determine that. I’m 40 and I have a 2-year-old.



All my little princelings

“He should appear to be compassionate, faithful to his word, kind, guileless, and devout. And indeed he should be so. But his disposition should be such that, if he needs to be the opposite, he knows how ” – The Prince, Niccolo Machiavelli

I have been thinking about Machiavelli, and I think that he got a bad rap. Sure the first part of The Prince is a royal bore these days, but the second half is pure psychological gold. That man understood human nature in a way that most people haven’t the capacity to comprehend.

In the quote above Machiavelli acknowledges that a person must be capable of all things. That appearance is as important as actuality. But, more than anything that it is important to know when it is time to change tactics and to do so with grace.

Though my favorite piece of advice is one that every mean girl learned in elementary school, it is better to be feared than loved.

Walking the edge

Don’t tell me it doesn’t matter.

Don’t tell me that even you believe.

Loneliness makes you both blind and dumb

But that doesn’t last forever.

I’ll always be the truth teller

The harsh reminder of flaws

It’s the way I live my life

I know exactly who I am

The flaws of my life

I am my own harsh reminder

2017, I have no hopes for you

First, I apologize for the lack of proofreader.

In past years, I have begun January 1st with either hopes or trepidation. However, this morning, I woke up with an empty feeling inside and realized that I have no hopes 2017. No good. I merely have a feeling that things may go terribly wrong, that our country is being run by those with no concept of history or politics, and that we should all be afraid of Vladimir Putin. Then again, why should anyone listen to me when the greatest political and academic minds of our time worldwide have been warning about this for the last 6 months.

My final statement on the new year is that I hope to see you all in 2018.