New Orleans wooed me & wowed me & left me begging for more.
Every flower box on every wrought iron balcony, every whiff of shrimp & desperation, every puddle of questionable liquid, every broken & beautiful face I saw... made me feel like a kid at a candy store. Wide eyed & wanting to devour it all. (Not literally. That would be unsanitary & require a lot of intense detox).
I could get lost in that city. In the stories, the history, the character & unabashed liveliness.
It reminded me of all the good things about Asheville. (Hugs to you Asheville people out there).
I feel super fortunate to have had the opportunity to go to Mom 2.0 Summit. And extra specially fortunate to have gone with Anissa. You know, my boss who has graciously gone through a bunch of shitty stuff & has literally lived to tell her story with candor, humor & one working hand? I'm more than thankful that I got to be her "pusher." Lord knows she pushes me right back in a different but equally helpful way.
Here is just some of the awesome shit that happened:
- The conference was at the Ritz Carlton. It was a rare, luxurious treat for me. The beds were plush. The flowers were fresh. The round-the-clock cookie bar was a dream. The champagne was free flowing. And the staff was beyond wonderful (especially Johnnie, Quentin, Heidi, Anne, Janis, Russell, Gary, Cody & Lehi). The building itself though is rather ill-equipped for the disabled. It was truly sucky. It was like one frustrating obstacle course after another for Anissa's wheelchair. Even on the illustrious Club Level, the portable shower stool that was provided managed to collapse underneath her. Fortunately, she wasn't alone & she didn't break her ass. I have a lot to say about that which is why I'll save it for another time.
- I got to hang out with & get to know more of my fellow Aiming Low homeys. Just as I imagined, they are as big hearted & hilarious & good looking in real life as they are behind the glowing screen. I've got mad love for this motley crew. We've got a good thing going. It's fun as hell to be a part of.
- I also met a handful of women that I have been admiring on the internets. You know, the women whose blogs I actually avoid reading altogether because one click & I am virtually sucked into their colossal magnetism. They receive a lot of attention & in my opinion, are well deserving of it. I had the pleasure of talking about naked butts & how the city was haunted & turning down offers from big wigs at major TV networks & how being a mom is hard as shit. I even had an embarrassingly teary moment with one after looking her in the eyes & genuinely thanking her for hanging her balls out there. These women pour their hearts into their work. These women aren't afraid to be themselves. These women make my gutter brain seem normal. These women give me hope.
- Thanks to Sandi, I had a hurricane at Pat O'Brien's. Did you know one of those things has 4 shots of rum in it? I sucked half of it down & quickly found myself texting people incoherently in the bathroom. I also had the quintessential Bourbon Street experience. I can see the huge draw it has. Booze & boobies are attractive to lots of people. Especially those who want to fully escape from the drain of their everyday lives. Part of me wanted to jump in & join em. And the other, more sober part of me wanted to go around & hug people. It was overstimulating & eye opening & fucking depressing.
- While I was still a little shell shocked & walking down the street, I told a stripper standing in a doorway that I liked her butt.
- I got a massage at the Ritz Spa. It was heavenly, of course. It probably would've been even more relaxing if I had shut my mouth. But my masseuse was fascinating & after I asked, told me stories of all the celebrities he's rubbed on. He told me the story of how a particular star awkwardly stared at him the entire time. It was either John Travolta, Robin Williams, Tina Fey or Suge Knight. I can't tell you which one. My body & I need to send a big, HUGE thanks to Body Logic MD for the gift card.
- I learned shit! My favorite session was the one led by Alice Bradley & Eden Kennedy. They made writing for a living seem attainable & not so g-dang scary. They said the kind of things that switched light bulbs on for me. Their words need to be painted & framed & hung over my desk so I'm reminded everyday to keep going & keep practicing & keep creating. Right next to: remember that not everybody is going to like you & that's okay! That one in particular was screaming at me.
- But my favorite moment had to be when I ran off to see another side of the city. I jumped in a cab to surprise an old friend who was playing her guitar & singing her sweet songs at the Three Muses down on Frenchmen Street. It was the kind of encounter that felt like a movie complete with a night time, impromptu stroll & a sprig of Nawlins' night blooming jasmine tucked behind my ear. Sarah Quintana is the perfect mixture of laissez faire & bon temps.
|photo courtesy of Norbert Sushemil the trumpet player|
This woman, who was a girl when we first met, is pure talent, soul & heart. I look at her & recognize how lucky I am to even know her. There is so much to say about Sarah & that whole night. Instead, I will pause & give you this:
And these: (I recommend playing them simultaneously. Listen above & watch below).
All of these seemingly serendipitous experiences & intertwining relationships & shared words & budding ideas & profound fortunate moments & profound unfortunate moments (not a good time for an inaugural hemorrhoid flare up) have all taught me some invaluable shit, y'all. It is molding me further & helping me solidify the things I know to be true. My intentions, the things that motivate me to my core are rooted in who I want to be & who I am becoming... someone who remains honest & brave & ridiculous & free & selfless & stupidly thankful. Someone who is aware of the presence of a loving God.
Another cool thing? While I was away, Zack taught Ruby how to say "WOOOHA" like Busta Rhymes. And he also made nunchucks out of a broken lamp.