Wednesday, November 05, 2008
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
Monday, October 20, 2008
The lovely and talented Aimee over at GreebleMonkey is at it again with her monthly GreeblePix Contest. Here is my entry into the fray:
Sunday, October 05, 2008
I lost a friend last week.
Not someone I'd call at 3 in the morning, crying on his shoulder, but a long-time theatre friend, a Mardi Gras friend, a coffee-with-whatever-bunch-showed-up-that-morning friend - and that rare person who was far-more outrageous than I could ever dream of being.
You always knew when Steve was in the room.
Or 3 blocks away.
Steve's bicycle was festooned with odd (read that as borderline NC-17) ornaments and geegaws, garlands and bells - and when he spotted you, you were greeted with a "Yoohooooooo!!" in a voice that could pierce the thickest New England fog.
Steve was a wonderful dancer, a strong singer and one of the most alive people i think I've ever met. One time at a party, he pulled me aside and said, "Come on, we're gonna put on a show." He pulled me upstairs where he threw a wig and scarf at me - having already selected his own impromptu ensemble - and then jumped out on the balcony overlooking the courtyard where our friends were partying, and started belting out "Let Me Entertain You." I followed up with "Nowadays" from Chicago.
Now that was a party.
Steve was also a great costume designer - here's the photo I snapped on him in 2004. Outrageous to the end, Steve finally succumbed to leukemia after a more than 2 year battle.
I will miss him - and New Orleans is a little less beautiful and delightful for his passing.
Yesterday, I learned of another passing: my friend Coleen Salley, storyteller, author and bon vivant extraordinaire. Coleen was the Distinguished Professor of Children's Literature at the University of New Orleans, wrote many children's books and taught future generations all about the joy of reading and sharing books. My dear friend and fellow book-lover Susan Larson writes a wonderful tribute to her here.
"I don't want children to read just to perfect their reading. I want them to love books for the joy of it."
Coleen smoked and drank for most of her life until doctors told her to (um, strongly recommended thatshe out to) shape up. I don't blush at much, but she swore like a sailor and saw and did more in her life than most of us can imagine. I was fortunate to live in her neighborhood, a stone's throw from St. Louis Cathedral, and get invited to many of Coleen's infamous parties - Christmas soirees before the Caroling in Jackson Square - author parties with Hudson Talbot and others I cannot even recall, due to that fourth Brandy Mild Punch.
New Orleans is a helluva lot less fabulous with Coleen's passing. She's telling wicked and wonderful stories to the angels now.
Life is too short to be angry all the time or to read bad books - or to tell other people what a bad book is. Coleen's passing only more dramatically points to last week's Banned Books Week.
I had every intention of posting a long diatribe on the virtues of reading banned/challenged books, and the evils of censorship, and blah blah blah. Truth is, the real world intruded. So, do your homework, check out sites like this and talk to other folks about why you think certain books aren't right for YOUR kids - but support people's choice to read what they want.
NOTE: during my research on banned books, I stumbled across this blog site. I've posted about books and some of the (perhaps) misguided challenges to them, but I had never encountered anyone who was against one of my all-time favorites, Guess How Much I Love You. The rationale? It bothered her that the parent always has to out-do the child. Really? That bothers you? Did you really read the book? What say you, parents?
Other than that, I had planned on writing an Elegy to the Letter G. Thanks to Governor Palin, the final G - which until now been on life support, but still doing moderately OK - slipped away quietly on Thursday evening, never to heard from again.
Folks, please do your part. Don't let final G be forgotten. Let us not become a nation that is merely runnin', walkin', hopin' and wishin'...but please, remember the G.
Dreaming is not just a thing of the past.
One final thought: I am willing to bet that Sarah Palin was “that girl” in High School - not exactly pretty or smart, but aware enough to see where the power lay. And just charming or shrewd enough to know how to play people to do things for her, to subtly bully people out of the picture - making others’ lives a living Hell for crossing her.
If a real poll could have been taken of her peers, I would bet they’d vote her Most Feared.What training. Now, she’s just a small town bully who never left high school, never learned anything that wasn’t advantageous to her assent, no critical thinking skills and no awareness of the world around her. A brainless bully.
A dangerous bully. A bully who aspires to Cheney-like bullying. And if that doesn't scare you, I doubt little will.
Thank you, John McCain, for Sarah Palin - the gift that keeps on giving to the Barack Obama Campaign.
Sunday, September 21, 2008
Shiny things to distract the masses.
Fuzzy words, repeated ad nasuem.
Hypocritical cries of sexism.
Wimper, wimper..."Deference"...Wimper, wimper.
Are you kidding me?
This woman is nothing more than a diversion from the ISSUES.
Pay her no mind - It kills me that MSM is dedicating time to analyzing her wardrobe, dress size, eyewear model, et al.
Are you freaking kidding me? Is she suddenly Paris Hilton's BFF?
The last time I checked, John McCain - the lying sack of shit bastard - was running for President. NOT the the ill-informed, dangerous harpy at his side.
Focus, people. It's his proposed policies and his historical voting that are under review here, not what designer she's wearing. Yes, she too is a hateful, lying sharlatan - a purveyor of patent medicines, a quack - but this is NOT her campaign for President.
Look at what McCain has done and NOT done. Get informed about his lies and misrepresentations.
There is so little time left. Get Angry. Stay Angry.
Like the saying goes, "If you aren't angry, you aren't paying attention."
Please, folks. Pay Attention.
Our future depends on it.
Saturday, September 20, 2008
OK, I am not so good at expressing myself politically, but thankfully, there are a lot of people out there who can.
I won't paste the letter from Frank Schaeffer as posted at Huffington Post, but please check out this link: An Open Letter to All Republicans From a Former Religious Right Activist
Read it. Send it to people you know.
It's brilliant, eloquent and exquisitely written.
And given the life this man has led, even more powerful.
There is so much crap flying around out there about all the Presidential candidates - it is our responsibility to get informed, stay informed and vote for what is best for the future of our country.
And in a closing fit of snarkiness, I give you this:
Pay no attention to the crazy moose-lady behind the curtain.
This is my first time playing along with Singular Saturday - to see what others are saying with an essential economy of words, please zip on over to Jenn In Holland - Something to Say.
Posted by Ambassador at 9:41 AM
Monday, September 15, 2008
Tough to tell this close up,
Friday, September 12, 2008
So, with all apologies to Stephen Sondheim (along with my utmost admiration):
Mardi Gras, one day...
Next day it's FEMA and Bush.
One day, it's State Farm,
We've had the best, and seen the worst,
Stayed through Katrina - the levees burst.
Come Hell or high water, and we're here...
Thursday, August 28, 2008
You must learn all the words to the Star Spangled Banner. It's our national anthem, and you're an athlete - you've heard it a quadrillion times in your athletic career. Can't sing? So what. At least mouth the right words - did you see the gusto with which Lisa Leslie of the US Women's Basketball Team was singing? That's what I want to see. From every last person. That includes you, audience.
OK, back to Gustav.
Unlike before Katrina, this time - if the prediction is dire - we will leave BEFORE the storm. Load up the truck, head North into MS. Try to telecommute from there. Yippee.
And tomorrow just happens to be the 3rd anniversary of the landfall of Katrina. And the beginning of Southern Decadence weekend.
We are as ready as we can be - oh, and add to all that, we are knee-deep in fundraising season for the New Orleans AIDS Walk (September 14). (Just in case anyone wants to sponsor me, you can check out my Walk Page here. Thanks!)
Sorry, but I tried to process too much at once there, and my mind seized up on me. We'll do what we have to do to stay safe. We'll get out of harm's way and we'll be prepared. We'll be with family and we'll take care of each other.
So, take care of yourselves - I will post as much as I can when I can and have the energy and presence of mind.
For now, peace and good thoughts. Pray if you do.
And tell the people you love that you love them.
Thanks for listening.
Love, your Ambassador
(I'm the taller one...)
Sunday, August 24, 2008
Monday, August 18, 2008
Saturday, July 26, 2008
For those of you who've read old posts of mine, you know that I have been a member of the United Methodist Church for most of my life. A friend of mine jokes that both she and I were Methodist in vitro. But recently, I've taken a break. A sabbatical, if you will, although the irony of the etymology of that word is painfully apparent.
You see, as a matter of official doctrine, the United Methodist Church (UMC) is OK with having gay congregants, accepting their time and donations, but they won't ordain them. Well, that's not quite fair - they subscribe to the liturgical version of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell".
So, if you don't tell your bishop or other church leader that you are a well-adjusted, caring homosexual in a loving, committed relationship, you can perhaps have the opportunity of being posted to lead a Methodist congregation and continue to serve the community at large.
Or we'll have to dispatch you from the pulpit.
It gets better.
The following is directly from archives of umc.org, and while I acknowledge that each section is quoted out of its greater context, it is no less troubling. Until recent years, I had only been vaguely aware of the Church's official stance; seeing it in print is...well, heartbreaking.
For nearly 20 years, church law as recorded in the Book of Discipline has included a ban on the ordination of "self-avowed practicing homosexuals" and has espoused "fidelity in marriage and celibacy in singleness." And while acknowledging the "sacred worth" of homosexuals, church law condemns homosexual practices as "incompatible with Christian teaching."
And my life is incompatible with Christian teaching? I thought I'd lived a fairly decent Christian life - now, I don't want you to think that I have lost faith. My faith is strong and sure and deeply personal. But I have lost some great measure of faith in the UMC. And that hurts too.
The dichotomy of espousing fidelity in marriage but denying marriage rites or even union blessings to gay couples is at the very least contradictory. I don't know if any of you've ever come across this reference, but it speaks louder to me now than when I first heard it 20 years ago:
"We have forced gay people into the red-light districts, forced them to meet each other in bars and lurid places - then we call them promiscuous sinners." Adele Starr, founding President of Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG)
Jus this week in the weekly newsletter, our new choir master wrote an eloquent appeal to the congregation to consider joining the choir. I do miss the music, but not in the way that I thought I might. There was a time in my life, not so long ago, that despite whatever I was facing in my life, however deeply my faith and belief was challenged, that music lifted me up. I cannot begin to count the times in my life at Rayne that were full of grace through music. But for now, those strains have been silenced.
And for now, I am here. Not so very far away, but no longer where I was.
Friday, April 18, 2008
Friday, April 11, 2008
You may not know this, but…
I love you most when we touch.
From the moment you take my hand in yours
(and yes, I’ve noticed you do that more now than ever before),
all the in-between-hours and in-my-head-worries melt away…
and I am with you.
When I sit in the chair and pull you to me,
to hug me as you stand there—
my arms around your waist,
you bending to kiss the top of my head—
I know one thing:
if I didn’t love you already,
that hug would push me over the edge.
At the end of the day,
there’s such ease in the positions we assume—
your feet in my lap,
maybe shoulders or heads to be rubbed too…
but always touching.
Eventually, it’s the side-by-side-legs-entwined-lovely-time
when more of our skin is touching than any other time—
and love pours out—me to you, and back to me effortlessly…
and I sigh that sigh.
We will not stay like this through the night,
but the morning will again find us wrapped up in each other,
holding as much as possible
before the day and the in-between-not-touching-you hours begin.
And when my days are like they are
and I cannot touch you because you are not there,
please don’t think that I begin to love you any less.
I just recall the last time we touched, and how it made me feel…
and I smile that smile.
We joke about my lonely nights and hours,
pining away by the phone,
and we both laugh…
but the truth is this:
I ache more than you imagine to have you next to me…
holding my hand, touching my leg, stealing that little tender kiss…
A simple “I love you” is an extraordinary thing…
but I thought you should know that more than anything…
I love you most when we touch.
Sunday, March 09, 2008
Not the kind of friend. But. The. Friend.
Now, mind you, this is a beautiful cypress plank floor, just about a hundred years old, refinished innumerable times and worn in all the right places.
Beneath that floor is nothing. Buildings in this part of Louisiana are NOT insulated. Actually, below that beautiful floor was lots of cold air and occasionally the dulcet tones of two cats "in love". (I believe the phrase in Olde Disney-speak is "twitterpated".)
OK, so I had an airmattress on the floor - and was scant feet from a fabulous vintage, working gas fireplace. Still...floor.
It was a glorious week, despite some odd events at work and getting rained on whilst biking home. Old friends are worth the rain and the floor.
Because there were hugs involved here too. Many Hugs. You may have read about them here or here.
And a wonderful dinner where we had Old Friends meeting New Friends and...well, just getting each other like you'd hoped.
"Most friends fade,
New ones are quickly made
But us, Old Friend...
what's to discuss, Old Friend?
Here's to us!
Who's like us?
Merrily We Roll Along
It was a wonderful week...
Friday, February 29, 2008
Two friends, one filled with wanderlust, the other preferring the creature comforts of home.
Yup. That's us...Can you guess which one is which of us?
OK, that was too easy. But, now go read the books...and then read them to your kids if you have any.
And then be REALLY envious.
Because Soccer Mom is coming to stay with me.
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
But, for those of you who know me well,
Not a joke.
Saturday, February 23, 2008
Someone is heading to New Orleans...that is, if she can ever get home from TN.
And I have a gift for her.
Decades ago, glass beads were all that the Mardi Gras krewes through, but they were expensive and tended to shatter when they hit something too hard.
It's all fun and games until someone loses an eye.
But, now - in recent years, companies have started selling these beautiful glass beads again. Two years in a row now, I've been lucky enough to snag a couple pair of them at the Krewe d'Etat and Hermes parades.
And I have a bunch for SMID to pick from when she arrives in New Olreans in about 10 days - she says she's coming for work, but we know the real story...she's just coming for the glass beads.
And I can't wait to see her!
Wednesday, February 06, 2008
This is the view from my front porch yesterday morning - as the Krewe of St. Ann gathered to start their traditional walk through the French Quarter. Please click it to see the details!
Ice Queen and King
A little breezy!
It was a marvelous day, and I am still sore for walking and walking and walking and posing and taking pictures and everything. But, oh...it was wonderful!
Friday, February 01, 2008
"Does the Flap of a Butterfly's Wings in Brazil set off a Tornado in Texas?" Edward Lorenz, 1972
The weather reports for Mardi Gras are NOT looking great, and I figure if all those moths and butterflies start beating their wings, they can be the change (hey, I even managed to slip in some contemporary political rhetoric!) that saves our day...
Heck, even the caterpillars can help out - grab the branch with several pairs of your back legs while bouncing on the leaf in front of you with your anterior, thereby creating a similar effect to your adult relations. I've seen Nature, I grew up on National Geographic...I know what you can do and I know where you live...
(Does this chrysalis make me look fat?)
One, Two, Three!
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
That Guy is:
- Usually drunk (or still drunk) during the before-noon daylight hours
- Slightly stooped from wearing far too many beads for way too long
- Often missing an article or two of clothing
- Staggering dangerously close to traffic
- Frequently heard bellowing vastly erudite things, such as "Woohoo!" and "Mardi Gras, Yea!" and that ever classic "Show me your t*ts!"
Oh, there's a costume to be worked on. Like all the best costume ideas I've had, it came way too close to Fat Tuesday (and while I was showering)! I just got a new toy (my shiny new Canon SK100IS!!) and thought I might just take this Mardi Gras off from costuming - yes, it's a verb. I could wander around, taking many gigabytes of photos...just a regular shutterbug.
Wait. That's It!
Shutterbug. Cheap Plastic shutters on the front. Wings. Antennae. Colorful top. Striped Legging. Comfortable footwear. And my Camera.
Simple, easy, inexpensive, adaptable to weather changes, uncomplicated for bathroom breaks, and doesn't hinder the act of drinking. It passes all the tests!!
Monday, January 28, 2008
Oh, and he calls me Uncle Monkey.
Couldn't you just eat him up with a spoon?
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Complimentary - of the nature of a favorable remark, a kindness, a free something.
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
That being said, back to Mardi Gras:
This will be my 16th Carnival season as a resident of New Orleans. Several times each year, I get asked by people who don't know me if I "go to Mardi Gras."
I have a two stock responses for this question:
And so can you.
Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday, Shrove Tuesday: This is the day before Ash Wednesday each year, the culmination of the Carnival Season, which begins on Epiphany, January 6th). As Ash Wednesday moves each year in accordance with the date of Easter (which in turn is dictated by the date of the full moon following the vernal equinox, explained very well here), Mardi Gras can fall anywhere from February 3 to March 9.
We good so far?
It’s a shame that so much of the fun and joy of Carnival has been tarnished by the antics and misbehavior of drunken tourists and college students – this celebration is so much more than flashing body parts on Bourbon Street. In fact, most New Orleans residents stay far away from that part of Bourbon Street around this time of year.
Parades: Once upon a time, before the floats outgrew the streets, parades rolled through the French Quarter – my home for most of those 16 years. These days, it’s only a handful of the Walking Krewes that actually parade the Quarter. Painted Maypole provided a great description of the parade atmosphere, which I have inserted here with her blessing:
The floats are fairly interesting, but what sets parades here in New Orleans apart from anywhere else that I know of is the amount of STUFF that they throw… Going to the parades is an event. Often we gather with friends for a party before the parade, then walk to the parade route. We take coolers and food. We deck out in our Mardi Gras finery. Down in the city many families wear costumes.
Now, these parades are sponsored by the founding “krewe” – the organization that recruited members and put up the money to make the magic happen.
Have I lost you yet?
Throws: The scenes broadcast on the Travel Channel often feature beads showering the crowds - what you don't see are the dozens of other marvelous items that are hurles, tossed, lobbed, whatever. The list is seemingly endless - in addition to Beads (and the variety within beads is mind-blowing too - cheap plastic beads, grand ornate beads, oversized blinking beads, rubber ducky beads, body part beads, tiny glass beads, beads with krewe medallions, beads that play music or even speak, and on and on...), you may be so lucky as to catch (or have gingerly handed to you, depending on the object's heft):
Stuffed animals of every variety (Yes, PM, even Sharks!!)
Squishy skull heads
Bespangled shoes (pumps, to be more specific)
Panties (new, usually emblazoned with the krewe logo)
Plastic Dolls, Cigars, Spears, Cups, Frisbees, Crawfish, Alligators, Cockroaches, Hats, Dinosaurs, Swords, Skeletons, etc.
Masking: While I can think of no one who's ever been arrested for violation of this, there is a city ordinance allowing revelers to wear Masks ONLY on Mardi Gras, dawn to dusk, and no other day of the year. There is a long history of international notables coming to New Orleans to Masque, mingling with native and tourist alike in total anonymity. (Brooke Shields, post-Andre Agassi, Isabella Rossellini, Nick Cage, et al.)
Ranting & Rambling in New Orleans
This is reaching for it
This is wishing that a moment would arrive
This is taking chancesT
his is almost touching
What the beauty is...
"The Beauty Is"
from The Light in the PiazzaBy Adam Guettel
Blogs I Lurk...
- ► 2009 (40)
- ► October (3)
- ► September (5)
- ► February (5)
- ► 2007 (55)