occasional: lemons|sugar

07 April 2006 @ 11:21

TOCLE returns and bunnies, too

The first two weeks of March were a lovely reprieve from the TOCLE (tide of crappy life events) that began in 2005 and has been seeping into 2006.

Had a fun weekend with RainbowSocks in New Orleans. We lounged in her ghetto-chic Bywater apartment, and I got some work done on the crazy quilt for BabySocks. Pictures to follow, if I can remember where in hell I left the digicam... Driving in, I saw that piles of debris still litter her neighborhood and the surrounding areas - the Bywater and the Marigny. The schools and many of the businesses are still empty husks. Some of the houses have come back, been repainted, or at least re-inhabited. Others are scrawled with angry grafitti and the ubiquitous tags from when the National Guard were sweeping every building for bodies. Streetlights and traffic signals are still hit or miss. Mostly missing.

The city is starting to swarm with groups of students who've come to do volunteer work over their springs break. Blessings upon them. Many are sleeping on cots in warehouses because that's the only kind of housing. It can macabre work - still finding the occasional body in the wreckage of a house, eight months after the storm. Blessings upon them.

I digress...

The next day we picked up her brother Brilliance and his physicist roommate. Drove all over Tchoupitoulas, Magazine, and St. Charles (Uptown and the Garden District) in search of lunchtime food. Everything was closed, closed, closed. Bars, restaurants, po-boy shops, grocery stores, cafes. You name it, it was closed. Sign of the times. I thought I was going to have to munch on one of my passengers (I was driving, bad idea when I'm starving). Finally ended up with sub-standard, outrageously-priced cheeseburgers from a grungy little 24-hr bar on St. Charles. I guess since it was the only place open for miles around, they could serve and charge whatever the hell they wanted. Opportunistic pigs - I shake real cheeseburger at you!

We learned that Brilliance's lady is coming in for a visit from France. (She was supposed to come last fall, but the hurricanes laid waste to those plans... especially since Briliance didn't have a house anymore). Also learned that his physicist roommate is considering turning in his job with the Military Industrial Complex to do the Peace Corps. I'm not sure if he's serious or just twisted from the stress of writing a dissertation.

After the outrageous cheeseburgers were consumed, RainbowSocks and I tried to browse around the city. Again, everything was closed, closed, closed. The neighborhood bookstores, craft shops, coffee shops, whatever. Closed. I don't think there's a single Starbucks open in the entire city, even in areas that were relatively unscathed. It's like the end of the world... We ended up at a little local cafe that had wi-fi and crossword puzzles, spent some quality time outside in the sunshine.

Went to the French Quarter to wait for my brother, the JazzCowboy, so that we could catch a movie (Capote). Crowds were sparse for a sunny weekend afternoon. There was a really dismal street performer in front of Jackson Square. He had these weird, dirty, knee-high puppets that he pretended were performing Jimi Hendrix and some bad disco songs. It was a pity for the few forlorn bunches of tourists, since the French Quarter street performers are usually an excellent bunch.

And this is odd...

RainbowSocks and Brilliance have both observed a strange influx of young people coming into New Orleans over the past few months. These are mostly 20-somethings who dress in faux-Russian Peasant style like some kind of romanticized Chekhov characters. They often have small dogs, call each other names like "Sascha" and tend to speak in nursery rhymes or quasi-political gibberish. And not even Communist gibberish. I haven't seen them yet myself, but JazzCowboy says he's seen them in the university areas, too. They don't seem to be political at all, nor are they quoting any of the standard Russian classics. Nor are they musicians. They do not seem to be volunteers, and they are far beyond the pale of the local culture of New Orleans gutterpunks. As far as I can tell, their posing lacks all sense of place or irony.

In other news...

Trouble in Moppet-land. L'ange has been put on short days due to early contractions. We're anxious to keep the Moppet in her incubator for several more months, so croon soothing thoughts at her... Being put on short days means that L'ange gets to work short shifts, mostly sits, and is generally cushioned from doing anything strenuous or stressful. Also means that she is bored out of her mind. Zen and the art of high-risk pregnancy...

The Beloved is taking the State Dept exam again this weekend. Then comprehensive exams start next week. Mix in various bits of family stress, and there's a recipe to make anyone's head explode. Poof. But he's mostly fine - talking to himself quite a bit more than usual, but otherwise we'll get by.

Had a brief bout of medical mayhem ourselves, not fun, but things turned out well. The stress of it also inspired me to run a new job search - partly for financial reasons, but mostly for an avocation. my job is ok and i have the best co-workers, but i want to get back into work that i really love, too. have several fun prospects, and so far one great interview. Keeping our hopes afloat.

Am meeting my mother for cocktails tonight after work. I heart martinis.

Easter is coming up and I am surrounded by devout Catholics and small children. This means two things (and keep in mind that I'm pagan). I've been eating fish every Friday since Mardi Gras. Also, I am making a herd of small bunnies to distribute amongst my nephews and nieces and other small acquaintences. The bunny pattern is courtesy of the very creative and generous Hillary at Wee Wonderfuls. I'll post pictures later. In the meantime, go to her website and checkout the bunny gallery. Supercute. (I particularly liked the Kimono bunny and the herd of Crown Royale/Royal Tenenbaum bunnies.) Some of the bunnies in the gallery look a bit demented, inadvertently or deliberately, I'm not sure. I just hope that mine don't come out that way - chances are even, since I'm pretty new to the whole sewing thing. I'd hate to traumatize my flock of children by giving them skewed bunnies...

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