Monday, September 05, 2005

A Tale of the Perfect Weekend

"Robin Hood and Little John
Walkin' through the forest
Laughin' back and forth
At what the other has to say
Reminiscin', This-'n'-thattin'
Havin' such a good time
Oo-de-lolly, Oo-de-lolly
Golly, what a day."

Seeking Shelter in the Beekeeper's Garden

There comes a time in every hurricane evacuee's life when they really have to look around their place of refuge, assess the situation, and say, "Man, I seriously need to get the hell out of here." For me that moment came when I found myself sitting on a couch in Jackson, blankly watching MTV's "Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County" marathon and realizing Hey, I've already seen this one. Yes, my hometown is in ruins. My beloved Crescent City is mostly underwater. I'm sure I'm about to be uprooted once again. But becoming overly familiar with the cast of "Laguna Beach"? Now THAT'S tragedy. Fortunately, there was a way out.
See, Lizzie and I had tickets to see Tori Amos in Houston this past Saturday (tickets purchased LONG before anyone had ever heard of Hurricane Katrina.) And seeing as how everyone in my family is accounted for and I'm unable to get down to Biloxi or New Orleans just yet, I figured there was no real harm in keeping the plan. So, Lizzie hooked a brother up with a Southwest Airlines flight out of Jackson and away I went. Now, given the stress of the last week, we figured we owed it to ourselves to make the most of our shiny happy weekend. Specifically, we made a pact to meet Tori Amos. Did we make good on this pact?....Well, they say a picture is worth a thousand words, so here's two-thousand words:

Neither of us is particularly crazy about our pictures. I think I look kinda chunky in mine (despite my recent weight loss, thank you very much) and Lizzie doesn't like the way the sun was in her face. But that's not the point. The point is that we came, we saw, we met Tori. And of course the show was pure awesomeness. (As per our request, Tori played "House of the Rising Sun" in honor of New Orleans. How cool is that?) Also, by an angelic turn of events, we were invited to help out during Tori's soundcheck. While listening to her warm-up we rolled 150 posters, for which we were given free tour programs autographed by Tori and Neil Gaiman. Sometimes you just have to smile and accept the fact that somebody up there likes you.

This of course is the 13th time I've seen Tori in concert, but the experience was unique in that this is the first time I've enjoyed seeing Tori's opening act. Usually, you see, Tori has these boring singer/songwriter-types opening up for her -the kind of people that have you repeatedly checking your watch and wondering when Tori's finally gonna make it to the stage. This time, though, she had one of my favorite new bands, the Ditty Bops, whom Lizzie accurately describes as "ragtime-bluegrass-country-plucking-with-a-touch-of-smart-a**" Do yourself a favor and check them out: They're just too much fun. Even more fun than the Pepsi commercial with the sumo wrestling chickens. And yes, we met them too (the Ditty Bops, not the sumo wrestling chickens from the Pepsi commercial.)

Too cool.

From the Mouths of Babes

In addition to this remarkably hands-on concert experience, I had another moment this weekend that I want to share with everyone out there in BlogLand. Friday night while dozing off in Lizzie's living room, I had occasion to eavesdrop on a conversation that took place between four of her young cousins. It seems they'd caught a frog (or "shrog", depending on who you ask) out in the yard and were discussing what they could do with him and where they could find more. To this, Lizzie's cousin Caitlyn (age 3-4) said they could find a lot of "froggies" by her house. (Despite my overt lack of most paternal qualities, I have to admit that I love hearing kids add "-ie" to animal names, so that frogs become "froggies" and kittens become "kitties".) Caitlyn's house, it's worth mentioning, is in New Orleans, which is what prompted her little brother Jake to state very matter-of-factly, "Our house is under the water."
Later on, the young cousins were discussing the family cat, Gracie, and Caitlyn made it known that she loves "kitties" and wishes they had one at her house. Right on cue, Jake once again let everyone know: "Our house is under the water." I just had to laugh as I sat there feigning sleep. The media is so ready to complicate everything about the storm in an effort to sound all eloquent and humanitarian. But in my mind, Jake says it best. You want to know about Hurricane Katrina? Here it is. "Our house is under the water."
Gotta love it.

All in all, it was just the perfect weekend - exactly what I needed so I could take a deep breath and come back to Jackson with a clear head. And so, my love and sincerest thanks to Lizzie and her family for taking in a refugee or 2 or 20 and giving me something to write about. Mwahs and handshakes all around.

As Long as I'm Talking About Kids...

As long as I've got ye olde paternal instincts revved up, I think I'll go ahead and post a picture I"ve been admiring in recent weeks:

This gem comes to you courtesy of my good buddy Steve "Cure Boy" Morris and his daughter Elise. The thing I like most about this picture is the way Steve is smiling down at her with genuine adoration and amusement. You can tell he's genuinely amazed by this little person. *thoughtful sigh* I'm such a softie.

One Last Thing

During these difficult times it's good to remember that laughter is the best medicine. Bearing this in mind, I'd like to direct everyone's attention to: This is the most fun you'll ever have with Barbie dolls, courtesy of my Crescent City gal-pal Jessa. I defy any guy to walk away from this without saying "He didn't have the GOODS, man. You know what I mean" like a hundred times.
By the way, Jessa made a point in one of her recent blogs ( that she's tired of hearing everyone blaming the President and FEMA for not attending to the Katrina situation in what they consider a timely fashion. I couldn't agree more. We can't politicize this situation; it's time to put all that aside and do the right thing.

That said, I'm gonna close this out, wishing everyone the very best and hoping that I'll hear from everyone soon. Much love, all.


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