Real Life can be just so… in your face… that I want to slap the bitch.
“Stand down you hellish beast”, I call from the high air of my parapet walk.
“Do not venture forth or I will send my slayers to the field of battle to slay your slayers”. (I’m a poet Queen).
At this point I am opening my ermine cape so that it catches the wind and rises high around me so as to create a dramatic moment. I am also hoping that it doesn’t come down around my face because that would just look stupid.
Thank God. It’s working. The breeze is in my favor this morn.
“Hedrick! Gather my men! Arm them with sharp knives and hot coal. Place on their heads the Tall Hat and wrap their bodies with linen of olde. What? I don’t want to hear a God damn thing about the laundress and the futility of next day service. Get it done man!”
“Genevieve! For the love of God, where is that wench? Shit! You fool. Don’t startle me like that! Gather ye court and take shelter in the Royal Cellars and do not, I repeat DO NOT let me hear a cork vent a barrelet- until I alight, of course”.
“Jester! You fool! This is no time for levity! Go seek the fishmonger and the butcher and the pastry maker. Have them stock my pantries with their wares. Tell them they will be highly compensated, that my advisers will dine at sunset, and that my subjects can eat cake. Not one word about my sorry ass cousin-Queen of France. Cake means ‘leftovers”. (Jesus, does no one research historical fact anymore?)
“Bidwell! Accompany me from the turret to the yawn across the palisade. Have the footmen barricade the drawbridge and draw the footbridge. Yes, we do have many bridges, you sot… Forget it. I’ll do it myself.” (Jesus, it’s hard to get good help these days).
“Valet! Take my steads and render them with caution. I will expect no damage and all my finery still present upon my return”.
My skirts sound so good. I really must remember to thank my dressmaker after the battle.
Welcome Your Majesty. It is our pleasure.
“Of course it is. And have me not disturbed until the battle is won…
“Or they get hungry”.
Welcome Her Majesty. It is our pleasure. Of course it is.
First Course: Stone Crab & Caviar served with MV Charles de Cazanove RM Brut, from Reims, Champagne, France.
Second Course: Lobster Bisque served with MV Henri Giraud Fut de Chene Brut from Ay Grand, Cru, Champagne, France…. I have people there.
Third Course: Oyster Carbonara served with 2010 Maison Champy les Combottes from Pernand-Vergelesses, Burgundy, France.
A le Coup de Milieu or a palate cleanser for you peasants. In this case a Crescent City Cooler of Guava rum, Angostura bitters, ginger ale & lime juice. Delightful Barkeep. Just delightful.
Fourth Course: Pan Roasted Skate fish wing (cousin of sting rays) served with 2012 Domaine Gauby les Calcinaires from Cotes Catalanes, Southern France.
Fifth Course: Tournedo of beef and Chanterelle Mushrooms, served with 2012 Caymus, 40th Anniversary, Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Vally, California
There comes a time in every life when cold steely eyes, at the end of a tunnel you never thought you’d have to walk through, are winking at you, and you’re speechless- unless you’re like me, then you write a blog post, because you can, because you need to.
I mentioned, only briefly, and without fanfare, that I would be MIA for awhile.
I am back- at least temporarily.
My mother has experienced a medical emergency, one that was not unexpected, and yet, it always is- unexpected, and as I sat with her and looked deeply into her big brown eyes, I saw what she was seeing- those damn winking Reaper slits, taunting her to come hither, to give-up, to enter the darkness, and I begged her to turn around, to slap that bitch in the face, to muster her natural born stubborn soul and fight back, because we still desire her company, and her wisdom, and there are new babies still to come, and who will I complain to when the world pisses me off and I need her to tell me to ‘take a deep breath’ and ‘it will all work out’.
But, there she lays, frightened and confused, unable to control her environment, her body, unable to string more then a few words together in a whisper, unable to be young again.
However, she has strong moments, I’m told.
I’m ‘told’ because I’m not there. I’m the daughter whose life has abandoned her mother to distance and marital obligations, living far far away and only able to participate through technology.
I fear that this will be my legacy to her; the daughter who wasn’t there, and I’ll have live with that because she won’t be there to tell me ‘it will all work out’, but I know in my heart, a heart that she seeded with love and watered with reason and cultivated when I was too stupid to see the weeds for myself, that she loves me still. That she loves me always.
Without the roadmap of her lifetime of challenges, through the thick and thin of disappointing marriages, the loss of her one true love, the true grit of working every damn day of her life- she remained a steady float in a rocky sea.
The term ‘Roll Model’ doesn’t even begin to define her.
And so it is that I find myself considering the journey of Life, the passing of time…
and the solitary ache of inconvenient truths.
You gave me the keys to the Kingdom my Queen.
Thank you- forever.
Yes, it’s THAT time of year again: The Season of the Witch, All Hallow’s Eve, Trick or Treat, the Night of Mischief and, most definitely (my eyes are bleeding), really age-inappropriate costumes.
You know it’s true. You’ve worn them.
Every damn year you consider if you can pull-off that Wonder Woman costume just one more time. Or God forbid, you’re married to someone who insists on exercising his inner cowboy, complete with chew and spurs, except his belly is rolling over the belt buckle and he wants you to dress as Pocahontas but with a push-up bra and fish-net stockings.
So, in the hopes that you will have the foresight and good taste to not embarrass your family any more than you normally do, let me suggest a few guidelines for choosing that one perfect costume that represents your inner ‘freak’.
Wear comfortable shoes. I know this sounds dull, but unless your going to sit in a chair all night and swing your delicate ankles to and fro, or you’re looking to get laid and insist on the ‘fuck-me’ stiletto-on-high, wear something on the dogs that can carry you without real blood seeping from the toes, or the inevitable ‘trip’ as you make your entrance, which just defeats the whole purpose don’t ya think?
Wear undergarments…. under. That’s where they’re meant to be. You are NOT Madonna. SHE isn’t even Madonna anymore.
Practice wearing your costume. Trust me. Reach for something. Bend down. Sit. Walk up stairs. Sip a drink. Eat from a fork. Get it properly fastened for God’s sake. I’ve seen all of these simple tasks in EPIC FAILURE mode. Sorta like; rip, shred, oops, aaaahhhh, gurglegurgle, shit, I’ve broken something…. kind of failures. They are amusing, I’ll give you that, but I doubt you want to be on the receiving end of everyone else’s ‘Night To Remember’… or maybe you do?
Garter Belts. All I can say is that if you are of a ‘certain’ age, and you actually REMEMBER garter belts, and trying to keep your skirt down all day long as you navigated your way to the girls room for a change of you-know-what, they just look trashy. They really do. Would you want a male to wear a jock strap where the sun CAN shine? I thought so.
If your costume is accompanied with accoutrement ( think: whip, parrot, roller skates, a pyramid) make sure you know how to use them, drink with them, fit in a cab, or through the door- which is probably where you’re going to be directed if you take up too much space, or catch on fire. How did Cleopatra do it, I’ve always wondered?
Consider the weather. Hot. Humid. Cool. Windy. Nothing is more uncomfortable than pitting-out your Marie Antoinette gown, feeling your face melt off, not being able to fully share your I Dream Of Jeannie muffin-top under a coat, or having the torch on your Statue Of Liberty get-up bent over in surrender at a
$100 per plate Republican fund-raiser fancy Halloween party (just sayin’). It might even get you on the no-fly list.
False is Fine. Eyelashes, boobs, butterfly wings, wigs, blood, pretending your actually enjoying yourself. It’s one night for God’s sake. You can fake anything, am I right?
I have a sort of litmus test I put some decisions through: What would a 60 year old Sophia Loren do? She was beautiful. She aged well. She had class. She had a long-term successful marriage and two awesome children. I was not, nor have ever been, a Sophia Loren, but would I wear a French Maid’s costume? Sophia says ‘No’. I agree with Sophia.
I’m all about pushing ‘limits’. Yes. Push them. But don’t loose sight of the long-term repercussions. We are all grown woman for the love of God, And you know what a PUSH means. Be an ADULT. An ADULT.
And unless you look like Heidi Klum (after several children- God how I hate her) then stay away from the pussy.
We all have people. You know, like the people next door, the people we meet, the people we work with, but I think when most of us use the term ‘people’ they are imagining family.
My birth family was pretty small– just my parents, my sister and I, one set of grandparents in the city of our suburb, and the other set in a trailer next to the Seminole Indian reservation in Central Florida (long story).
My father was an only child. No one in his extended family liked each other much. The back-breaking manuel labor of working the railroad lines and drinking away your salary at the end of the week which resulted in weekly bar brawls fueled by cheap hootch and pissed-off wives, had seen to that.
My mother had two sisters, but one had run-off with a priest to Texas and the other stayed in Florida (My parents moved to Ohio from sunny Florida because they were always bucking the trends).
I grew-up being told that my Dad was English (and maybe Jewish somewhere along his line since that’s what I remember hearing behind closed doors when my grandmother was pissed at my grandfather) and being certain that my Mom was French Canadian because I could barely understand a single word I ever heard those grandparents’ speak and when my mom was really pissed at me she swore in French, which, btw, does not have the intended effect.
Later on, after I married into a large family, and became aware that they not only knew a lot about their heritage (Czech/Swede & English) but that they were proud of it, I wanted to know more details about mine, but by that time all of my grandparents had passed and my Mom & Dad didn’t really know more then that, and I wondered, ‘What’s wrong with you people?’ (which is something I’ve asked myself repeatedly in a myriad of situations over the years), but because it was 1991, and our son’s First grade teacher told use we needed to get this new thing called a Personal Computer for the house because she just knew it was going to be the future and she thought Chase should write that future, and I said, ‘Are you kidding? Do you know how much those things cost?’ so we took out a loan and bought a first generation PC that was about as big as the freezer in our fridge and had it’s own room- I was able to do the research.
On my own.
And it has been quite a ride.
Before there was Ancestry (dot.com) there was the Ancestry Repository of the Church Of Latter Day Saints (which maintain that one should know who their ancestors are so as to have them greet you at the Pearly Gates and show you the ropes as you negotiate with The Lord in Heaven because if you thought LIFE was a negotiation ETERNITY’s gonna be a bitch), and they just happened to have a lot of information transcribed and available on the interwebs and since now I had access to the interwebs I dialed-up and if there wasn’t an electrical storm outside and there were no incoming phone calls, I was in my own kind of Heaven.
Twenty-four years later, I have unearthed:
* That one female ancestor had 18 children. Are you frigging kidding me? She had a baby every year after her nuptials….and then she died. Who wouldn’t?
* That one of my paternal great grandmothers birthed 14 children (again- really?) and that the oldest child was committed to an insane asylum four months after she died, (and her husband married her sister) and where she – my aunt, remained for 30 years, with her teeth removed because she bit another inmate and that inmate died as a result of those wounds. Interestingly, my father had never heard her name mentioned in all of his life. Not one visitation is recorded over those 30 years. She is buried next to her mother.
* That the golfer Tom Watson is my paternal grandfather’s Uncle’s son.
* That many of my ancestors owned and operated saloons with ’cause of death’ listed as ‘liver failure’.
* That one of my gggrandfathers hold’s two industrial patents on mechanisms that were pretty much obsolete by the time he filed them. One was a beer bottle holder that rotated tabletop-style. The other was a very complicated drapery rod. Why? I don’t have a God damn clue. His wife finally kicked him out and his last census record is in a flop-house in another state. He lists his ‘Occupation’ as ‘Inventor’. It should have read ‘Clueless’.
* That one ggrandfather died in the Spanish Influenza epidemic of 1918 and is buried in a Pauper’s Field. Make of that what you will. I know I have.
* That another ggrandfather was a Justice Of The Peace. He mostly married his family members- to each other.
* That my maternal grandmother was an illegal alien until she was 54 and would have remained illegal if immigration services hadn’t knocked on her door at 2:30 in the morning threatening to deport her. I can imagine her hysterics in French. “Mais je na bebes dans ce pays!”: But I have babies in this country! “Mon mari honnete homme, le poissson trop, mais bon!”: My husband good man, he fish too much, but good!, and “Je tue personne!!: I kill no one! The officers probably just gave up. She got her papers pronto, btw.
* That there have been a few ‘pre-mature’ births of ‘full-term’ babies along the way- just sayin’.
* That 1st cousins married–a lot. A few had to get special dispensation from the Catholic Church- and they did.
* That I have ancestors that have fought in the Revolutionary War, The French and Indian War, The War of 1812, The Civil War, and each World War. My father’s cousin Jimmy, the only child of my Aunt Irene, died on an army base here in the States, during the Korean War, without ever seeing action. His death certificate remains ‘classified’. I don’t know where he’s buried.
* That there has never been a fortune made that wasn’t lost.
* That I’m only the second to graduate from College (after my father) and the first female. I am the ONLY person that ever went on to graduate school– until recently.
* And that, I am, of course, a direct descendant of Royalty.
But one of the most interesting tidbits that I have unearthed was that some of my PEOPLE are buried right here in Louisiana- and they’re Cajuns (Which were Acadians expelled from French Canada by the British because they wouldn’t sign an Oath of Allegiance to the Crown).
They were rounded up in the woods of Nova Scotia and herded onto ships in the Bay of Fundy, crammed hundreds over capacity, to Baltimore, Maryland, in the year 1761, to rot on the docks, until the City procured transport to French territory in the South, and they landed in New Orleans, and made their way upriver to St. Gabriel, and mingled with slaves and Indians and malaria and exotic spices and started all over again.
And I found them….
These are my people too.
Who are yours?
All cleaned and dusted off. Hi family!
St. Gabriel Cemetery
Iberville Parish, LA
St. Gabriel Catholic Church built by the Acadians and recently renovated.
I am Ebola. I’d like to introduce myself.
I am an ancient virus. I have lived a million life times.
I was birthed in the primordial ooze of a forming living planet.
I laid in the soil and waited for a root to take me up into a fruit.
I laid in the belly of the winged creatures that feasted on the fruit- still not a perfect host, just a resting place.
When I was younger, I waited in the excrement of the creature, in caves which gave cover to humans during storms, but this proved inefficient, so I mutated and slept in the blood of the creature itself, confident that it would find another host for me, all the while waiting- waiting for perfection.
And I was not disappointed.
My vessel, the Chiroptera, the Bat, often found the tender skin of swine a pleasant diversion, and so did I.
My perfect host was only one-step away.
And it is You.
I exist only to replicate. I have no other desire.
I am mighty and swift, hoping that in your attempts to attend to your dying, and in the hysteria that will surely be the result of the gruesomeness of my presence in your bodies, you will be careless.
And you have been.
I LOVE America-aside from hitching a ride on a man who knew he had been exposed, I didn’t wait too long to really get going, and you accommodated… when this human began to have bloody stool, you sent him away with an antibiotic.
By the time I was fully vested in his body, he was quarantined, but in a hospital that was simply not prepared for my dedication to my life’s work.
In fact, two of the women who ministered to his needs, have become my next generation, and you allowed one of them to get on an airplane.
I can not say ‘Thank You’ with enough humility.
Please don’t have your health care providers fully trained in infectious disease control, or provide them with proper gear. Your communities don’t really need to dispose of contact material in any more then a paper bag in the local dump- or a garden hose.
Please don’t ask people where they have travelled to- always believe them.
Please don’t require the people that have cared for my host tell you where they live, or to not get on mass transportation. I thought your allowing Nurse#2 to return from Cleveland even though she was already feeling ME was brilliant. Keep that up.
Please continue to disseminate the ‘We’ve got this under control’ attitude. So Wild West. I’m hoping to get out there, actually.
Maybe a train?
And stop debating the merits of attending to ground ZERO in West Africa. It’s a waste of time.
In closing I would just like to say I appreciate your generous welcoming, and I really enjoyed Dallas.