Thursday, March 31, 2005

I found me again, after all this time...

I’m baaaack!!

Heh heh… here’s the deal my peeples: it is as if someone switched on the overhead and all of a sudden TA-DA!! Here I am. I’m not entirely sure how to describe the last few months, but it felt like walking around in some strange blue viscera. Not acting, only reacting. Not living, just being.

But something somewhere got kicked around enough that it has finally clicked. Epiphanies are popping and burgeoning like Jiffy Pop on a hot coil. Seriously, I feel as if my head could just float off into the ether if it wasn’t attached to my neck.

Wanna know the great and insightful thoughts I’ve come to accept? They’re biggies. They’ll change your life. Really. Ok, maybe not. But my life is going to be different. Here’s a few:

I don’t have to live in yesterday. Yeah, yeah. A real no-brainer, eh? But for whatever reason, I’ve been cartin’ around my life’s Magna Carta for YEARS. Why? ‘Cuz I thought it was necessary to remember where I’ve been in order to figure out where I might go. Guess what? That’s all well and fine for history books and the like, but for your own personal growth? Feh!! If I’m going to make the same stupid mistakes over and over, particularly in the love arena, then I’m going to do it. I’m not going to teach my heart to fear or to judge. Screw it. Bring it on! I’m not askeert of making another mess, so long as I know how to clean it up!

I don’t have to do what is expected of me. Another headthwacker, yes? Well, I don’t know who the hell made the rules for ‘Middle-Aged Women’, but this is one handbook I’m tossin’ to the river. I may be 39, but nobody can tell me that I have to act, dress or do things a certain way. I may not be stylish, but I DO have style. If I want to shave my head, dance to the rutabagas in the grocery store or wear a damn mu-mu to work, then by gum that is what I will do. I’ve always been ruled by comfort, and if something doesn’t feel right (clothing or otherwise), I ain’t gonna own it. My bare nekkid personality is what has gotten me this far. Why dress it up now?

I can do whatever I want. That’s right. You heard me. This is, of course, barring those unethical actions like killing somebody for a moon pie or pillaging and plundering small villages just for fun. But I can take myself out on a date and have dinner alone (contentedly). I can tell someone I don’t really care for them as a person, but they’d make a fine dung beetle in my book. I can take the afternoon off work to go dig in the dirt. I don’t EVER have to cow-tow to a supercilious twit just because the bourgeosie say so. And I sure as hell don't have to conform to whatever the vogue says is the shit.

In other words, my friends:
Laugh a lot, love a lot and live life to the fullest. Why’re you saving yourself for later?

Who dat snappin' back? |

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Crawlins in N'awlins

Hellooooo!! Yeah, yeah... I've been bad and nasty 'bout not telling you all what fun you missed out on. Truth be told, I've been suspended in this mellow haze since getting back on Monday, and just haven't felt like trying to put the trip to words. Sigh... now I'm back in my world and nothing seems normal. It's odd. I forgot that this is what vacations do to me. Part of my mind is still crawlin' around on Bourbon Street looking for the sweet nectar of a Hand Grenade, another part is flying above the clouds reflecting on everything I did and felt and ate and drank, and yet another is simply sitting on the front porch of the Elysian Fields Inn drinking coffee, smoking a cigarette and writing haiku while soaking up that lovely southern warmth. Alas and alack, this is Iowa and my head needs to be back here now...

But... for the purposes of this post, here is a most abbreviated version of my trip: DAY 1: Napoleon House for a Muffuletta and jambalaya; shopping, shopping, shopping; Delmonico's for one helluva dining experience!!; sitting at the piano at John LaFitte's drinking Pimm's cups and having the piano player taunt me; decking a police horse before the stroll back to the inn; DAY 2: late lunch at Muriel's for crabcakes and grilled tilapia... not to mention GREAT bloody Mary's; the aquarium where I petted a baby nurse shark, a skink and some starfish; the Marigny Brasserie for a most decadent salmon topped with Boursin cheese and salmon roe AND the best damn cosmopolitan of my life... it was a *cucumber* cosmo; twisting ankle #1 while walking back to the inn (and NO, I was not drunk); DAY 3: brunch at Brennan's **ohmigawdhowfilling**; meeting Seven and getting incredibly intoxicated (the only time I did so, by the by); eating caviar-topped raw oysters somewhere I can't remember whilst spouting off what I'm sure was a great deal of nonsense; stealing a rubber shark, dancing at Oz, and really wrenching ankle #2 on the drunken zag home; DAY 4: skipping brunch at Arnaud's because I was too hungover and the jacuzzi was calling; finally able to drag ass down to the Quarter to meet the guys; walking to a cemetary only to find it was closed for the rest of the day (drat!!); much strolling about which included a brief stop in Harrah's where I promptly gave them $10 and called it a wash; more strolling about; swamp tour!!; final dinner at a restaurant called SukhoThai that had some of the best tom yum soup; home to bed in order to get up at 3:30 a.m. to catch flight home.

Now then, I could go into some pretty serious detail about most anything listed above (except anything in Day 3 that follows 'meeting Seven'), but I'll simply bore you with a few choice stories:

Story #1: Delmonico's
I've eaten in some very fine restaurants. I cannot say that any compared to the service at Emeril's Delmonico. I like being waited on hand and foot (who doesn't?), but this was amazing. Ok, I understand putting the napkin in your lap for you after you are seated, but to be johnny-on-the-spot (no pun intended) to remove and replace when you get up to use the lavatory? Um... whoa. And, of course, not one person at our table came close to even touching the bottle of wine Victor ordered; there was someone there to fill up your glass every time it got to an indiscernable level of 'just-below-acceptable-fullness'. I was curious if they would chew my food for me should I ask, because the food... oh my. I gained a ton o' weight that night. I discovered that 'wedge' salads are big thing there... a 1/4 or 1/8 of a head of iceberg lettuce (I wrote a haiku about this that I will share at the end of this post). Confronted with this wedge o' lettuce, at first I was unsure how to attack. But once I got a taste of that bacon bleu cheese dressing, that leafy pie was demolished. I also had the Veal Marcelle, a delectable concoction of veal medallions with saute of jumbo lump crabmeat, field mushrooms, asparagus and sauce Hollandaise. Um, yeah, right?!! No such thing as room for dessert, but I did try the ice wine Victor ordered. Instead of tellin' y'all about it, look it up. The grapes are only grown in one place in the world (as far as my limited knowledge goes) and if you can find a small bottle of it, IT'S WORTH IT. Ice wine now ranks right up there with mead in my book of favorite beverages.

Story #2: Meeting that Dawg, Seven
After an explosively large brunch at Brennan's, Mark, Victor and I parted ways. They headed to zoo and I headed off my first lone adventure. I had about an hour to kill before we were to meet at the Cat's Meow on Bourbon Street, so I just meandered about soaking up the sights and sounds of the French Quarter. I actually found the old guy who plays water goblets somewhere on Royal. Twitch and I had first heard him two years prior when we had been there, and that time the man moved me to tears. Phenomenal. I moved on to listen to a hillbilly band playing on the street a few blocks up. One guy I remember in the crowd looked like a nice corporate fellow: cropped hair, suit, tie, etc. BUT. He had this very long, thin beard that, when he walked, flowed over his shoulders like some commercial for Tresemme conditioner commercial. Wish I'd taken a picture... Anyway, on with the story...

I found the Cat's Meow, but they weren't quite open yet, so I sat on the curb and hung out. Got to watch some young slip of a gal puking her guts up in a trash can. Yep, that made my brunch sit all the better. Did I mention that I was uncomfortably full? Anyhoo, the doors opened to the bar and I went inside, seated myself at the bar and ordered a club soda (with just a smidgen of vodka) to help ease my troubled innards. This thing came in a quart cup, but who am I to turn it away in all its grandiose largesse? Seven arrived about 10 minutes later and I spotted him right away. He may have been a little surprised to see me as I told him I'd be the fat girl in a blue shirt. Yeah, I was feeling extraordinarily large when I called him. We sat at the bar for a bit and were sort of nervously conversing about blogging, life and the like, but decided to head for quieter pastures when two somewhat exhuberant gals got up to sing Joan Jett's I Love Rock 'N Roll. Maybe I forgot to mention the Cat's Meow is a karaoke joint. When my eardrums started to bleed, I suggested we head to my favorite bar, the Chart Room (on the corner of Chartres and Bienville for those of you who make it down to New Orleans in the future).

Now, the Chart Room is really mostly a dive. Don't judge me. But they have a good jukebox (played at a reasonable decibal level for all the old farts who hang out there in the afternoon) and drinks are cheap. Yes. I said cheap. You can get a vodka soda or domestic beer at the Chart Room cheaper than you can at George's in Iowa City. In a matter of a few hours, our table became Drunken Bloggers Central. Ok... maybe 'Bloggers' should be singular. I had an absolute BLAST!! Seven is amazingly easy to talk with and I may have spilled my entire life story to him in one of those 20 minute segments I don't remember. I took lotsa pics that I'll post somewhere when a) I figure out how to do it, and b) when I load them onto my computer.

Somewhere around 6:30 or so, Mark and Victor met us after their zoo adventure, whereupon we drank even MORE. Then we apparently went to an oyster house somewhere (no, I don't remember the name OR where it was located). I kind of remember a two-tiered dish that was piled with all sorts of oysters and other edibles, and for some reason, drank someone's Coca Cola that was the best coke I'd ever had. I think it was sometime after feasting that we all parted ways (sorry Seven!!). I don't remember saying goodbye, but I do remember bits 'n pieces of the walk back to the inn. I remember dancing at Oz with Victor while sucking down a hand grenade; I do NOT remember swiping a plastic shark from some girl's drink. I remember crossing Esplanade, but do NOT remember twisting my ankle or getting home. Like I said, Cooter was the epitome of persona intoxicata.

Anyhoo, in a nutshell, that's wee bit of a rundown of my not-so-nefarious activities in the Crescent City. And now, for a few haiku that capture, for me, the essence of particular moments:

Dinner at Delmonico's
A wedge of iceberg
treading in bleu cheese dressing;
'Twas simply divine.

The John
Got bombed at the John.
Strong drinks and terlets lined up
flush against the wall.
**This was a bar close to the inn where we went one night. And yes, they really did have 'toilet chairs' lined up against one wall. But I didn't really get bombed...

Seven on Saturday
Seven and I met
and came straight to the Chart Room.
Yes, drinking ensued.

Well, my peeps, there you have it. Some of it. Sorry it took me all this time to get it scribbled down... sometimes putting things into words takes away some of the nuance, and I kind of wanted to hoard my thoughts for awhile. Anyhoo, happy Saturday everybody!!

Who dat snappin' back? |

Friday, March 04, 2005

Dickie... the killer cock

Without further delay, the story of Dickie. The killer cock...

As many of you know from the sheep bathing story, my mother fell heavily into country livin' when they bought the farm. The first thing to happen in Mom's countrification was the procurement of a coop full o' layin' hens and the struttin'est cock you ever did see. He got his name, Dickie, for a reason.

Now if you remember, my mom does tend to 'dabble' in nature, but sometimes her dabblin' can be seen as downright interference. I think Dickie got it into his little peabrain that he 'n the missuses were only getting their gourmet feed (yes, my mom would, at times, cook for the chickens...) for the sole purpose that my mother could raid the nests of his harem and kidnap the ova of his progeny. So he started gettin' a little on the threatening side of cockdom.

Just let me say for those of you who have never had the pleasure of being up close and personal with a rooster: please take note of the look in their evil beady eyes and the length of their spurs. 'Cuz if they're lookin' at you all nasty-like, rest assured they got absolutely no damn reason to NOT flay you open like a ginsu knife with those treacherous weapons attached to their feet.

One summer morning, my mother was in full swing of her usual morning routine: taking out scraps for the chickens, throwin' some stuff on the burn pile for later, collectin' eggs, pickin' over the garden... just all the mundane things one does in the summer when one lives on a farm. At one point, Mom was standing at the burn pile marveling over the fact that some watermelon seeds had taken purchase and were sprouting viney arms to the sun, with little teeny tiny balls o' melon clinging surreptitiously as if they didn't belong.

Little did Mom know there was an evil presence behind her with a half wit of the same idea that something did not belong in this yard. While bending over to check out the new, somewhat miraculous growth in her burn pile, my mom heard an unforgettable *whirring* sound that raised the hair on the back of her neck. She straightened up, turned around and....

THERE WAS DICKIE. THE KILLER COCK. Coming straight at her like the scene outta 'Psycho' except this little bastard was sportin' a cockscomb instead of a wig and four-inch spurs instead of a dagger. It all happened so fast, but the little bugger filleted my mom as deftly as my Uncle Butch does catfish. I'm not sure how she managed to get away, but Dickie left his mark: a deep five inch gouge on the inside of her calf. After two days of bleeding and seeping, she finally allowed my stepdad to take her to the hospital for it. Good thing, too. Barnyard goo-gak is NOT good stuff to have in a wound. By the time I showed up, a week after it happened, the battle scar was an angry purple pucker emanating tendrils of the most vile yellow and still *ack* seeping. In short, it was nasty.

Now then, let me ask you: if this had happened to your mother, wife, sister, whoever... would you or would you not put the cock DOWN? I may not believe in the death penalty for people, but if you have something on your land that is a physical threat to you and yours, I say put a bullet in its brain. But no. My mom adored Dickie. "It's not his fault he's stupid," she'd say. "He's just trying to protect his girls." Yeah, Mom. I ain't buyin' it.

See, I'm not so sure this cock was as stupid as we all thought...

One morning I decided to go out and do the morning rounds for Mom. She'd gone to town for groceries and my stepdad was extremely busy carmelizing the onions for the French onion soup I'd requested for breakfast (it's a very delicate business, that). They both told me there had been no further threatening behavior from Dickie, so I really shouldn't worry too much. That was my first mistake.

Second mistake: wearing shorts and a pair of old Birks.
Third mistake: turning my back on Dickie... but it was only because I couldn't find him around the chicken coop and assumed he was off in the pasture somewhere.

Once again, though, there was a human at the burn pile. **WHIRRRRR**

I turned around to see the barred rock bastard comin' right for me. I don't know where he came from, but I sure wasn't going to stick around waitin' for him to give me the shiv, so I started running around the burn pile. Dickie's hot on my trail. A few times around the burn pile, once around the barn, down the hill to the garden, back up the hill to the burn pile... and it hit me. "I AM SMARTER THAN THIS ROOSTER." So I stopped running. Dickie stopped about eight feet away from me, boring hot holes of hatred into my skin. I leaned over, slipped off a Birk, and *whoosh!!* threw it at his head.

I missed.

More running ensued. Another stop. The last Birk goes flying, this time glancing off Dickie's side. That seemed to really piss him off and he came at me with more of a bloodthirsty look in his eye than before. I admit it. I was utterly horrified at this point. With bare feet I went running toward the house, skewering my feet on the shower of tiny thorns from the black locusts. I might mention that this entire time I had been screaming for my stepfather. I also might mention that my stepfather is pretty deaf. (He lives with my mother, after all...)

By the time I burst into the house, feet bleeding, hyperventilating and broken out all over in a cold sweat, Allen was just finishing up the carmelization process. I ran downstairs to where my gun (a Colt .22 revolver) was kept, flipped open the barrel, no ammo. I ran back upstairs shouting to Allen "Where's the ammo?" "It's in the upstairs closet, honey." Upstairs I went, rooting through the ammo box for the appropriate box of shells, loaded the Colt, stuffed extra rounds in my pockets and back downstairs I went.

"Ang, what are you doing?" my stepdad asked, almost as an afterthought.

"I'm gonna go out there and kill that son-of-a-bitchin' psycho cock you got runnin' around in the yard!"

Now, my stepdad is an extremely easy-going guy. Not a lot sticks in his craw, if you know what I mean. When he speaks, it's deliberate. Sometimes it's downright slooow. So imagine my reaction while he very pointedly tells me that I should not kill my mother's killer cock, but rather, I should teach him a lesson. Well, in a body wracked with adrenaline, it was all could do to muster "I. have. six. lessons. right. here."

Alas, it was not to be. Allen would not let death become Dickie. Instead, he showed me where they kept the cane and the super-soaker filled with ammonia water. Then, he showed me how to casually wait for Dickie to get close enough to squirt in the eyes and then, while dazed, bean him lightly on the noggin with the cane. I still think shootin' the bastard was more humane.

Epilogue: Dickie died about a year later. Cause unknown. According to my mother, it was due to being drop kicked by a large Puerto Rican.

Who dat snappin' back? |

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