The Melancholic Lobster Expedition

At some point in 2011, my love affair with food was getting hot and heavy.  I decided that many of my next travels should be determined by a food destination. I wanted fresh lobster from the waters of Maine.  I wanted blue crab from Baltimore.  I missed the food in New Orleans.  I wanted to sit in a real Irish bar in Boston, maybe the same one I visited when I just turned 21 and pissed off the owner.  I wanted hatch chiles in New Mexico, and whatever random stuff I found along the way. And that is just the domestic portion of the list.  There is an international portion as well.

The long list of cuisines and cities was pinned to the bulletin board above the desk in my home office.  It was a thrilling idea, immediately followed by melancholy.  It saddened me to know that, despite being in a relationship, I would be crossing these cities off, alone, as usual.  My boyfriend at the time, preferred to spend his money on building motorcycles and hot-rods, and trying to get him to discuss potential future travel ideas was like pulling teeth.  I liked what he was into, but my heart always yearns to travel.  It had started becoming apparent how much we wanted different things out of life.

Months later, as I was booking a burlesque tour, giving myself a month to not just perform, but have some time alone, assuming it would be good for me after dealing with a couple of blows to my spirit.  I realized that I could easily visit a couple of food destinations from my list as well, and from there on, I had built a food tour within my burlesque tour!

The Melancholic Lobster Expedition is just one of many snippets during my month-long solo journey, best summed up as:  A burlesque dancer travels around the country, taking her clothes off for enough money to eat and drink her way through a multitude of various regional cuisines.  Simultaneously seeking relief from the mourning of a breakup and the loss of her father, she wrestles with professional struggles in Austin, Texas after having relocated from a successful and happy life in New Orleans.

Its almost formulaic- travel pairs well with stories of redemption and healing, relationship troubles, finding oneself, and completing goals that may seem silly to other people.  The funny thing, is that the travels did not help matters, and where one would assume that all that eating, drinking, dancing, socializing, and alone time would have made for a happy ending- I just felt shittier when I got back.

It took a few years to pick my ass up off the ground.  But I look back on these bittersweet memories of travel, heartache, and personal growth, and I write it, because it feels like a tension that I have to get out of my chest.  I wrestle with it feeling like I am trivializing my life to sound book-worthy.  That is the hard part of writing memoir.  But I know it will inspire and entertain someone, someday down the line, like many writers have done for me.

Portland.Maine.2012_43 Continue reading

In the Dark and the Light

New Orleans, 2010?

Oh lordy, don’t let me fall apart now…

Sitting in my bathtub, the door was shut, the lights off, and the shower curtain closed. The sun was going down, and the bathroom was getting dark as I decided to turn the shower on while sitting in the hot bath water, trying to escape into the waterfall of warmth.  Was I trying to recreate the safety of a womb?

“This is it”, I thought,” this is what it feels like to crack”.  I knew that I was starting to lose it, after leaving the last burlesque practice on a sour note.  I think I yelled at Ben.  I shocked myself enough to not really know what I even said. Continue reading

“All of me. Why not take all of me?” A Katrina Memoir pt. 2

Jackson Square from a 2006 Motorola flip-phone

Jackson Square from a 2006 Motorola flip-phone

Do you ever talk about something so much, and you are so aware of it, that it even annoys you? I feel that way about New Orleans. It is to the point where I worry that I am going to annoy the people closest to me who hear about it the most, or else it will make them worry that I will leave them to return to that city.

I figured that one way to mentally move-on from my nine years in the Crescent City (yet simultaneously celebrate my cherished memories), is to pay tribute through writing everything out, getting it out of my head and into a story for whoever stumbles upon my writings. That should help, right?

One reason why I miss New Orleans since I left in 2011, is because of memories like this one:

Triggered every time I hear the old jazz standard, “All of Me”, I think about this young crazy chic who was rumored to be a prostitute, who used to sing this song once a week, alongside the jazz band that played nightly at my work. It was a restaurant called Angeli on Decatur- a late night joint in the French Quarter of New Orleans, two blocks from the banks of the Mississippi River.

For a few months after Hurricane Katrina, I had the privilege of working in a beautifully chaotic work environment. The kind of place where you needed a stiff drink when the shift was over, where you commiserate with co-workers over the hell you went through for the fat bankroll in your pocket. It was a unique time for a restaurant in this day and age: cash only, disposable dishes and utensils, a packed house nightly, sympathy and hyper-gratitude in the tips flowing into our hands left and right.

We were one of the only restaurants open in the entire city after Hurricane Katrina and in addition to that, we had jazz bands play every night of the week. It was full of community spirit and joy- to be back and see the familiar faces of those who waited out the storm, or had the fortune to come back (not to mention something to come back to).

Things were all nice and dandy until a neighbor reported the restaurant for noise disturbances, even though we cut the music at 10pm, and she lived in the FUCKING FRENCH QUARTER, on a busy street. We even knew who she was- she was one of our customers! A friendly one that we liked! This street had been traditionally festive with a casual neighborly style of nightlife for awhile now. Its not like it was Bourbon Street, full of thumping bass, and screaming frat boys celebrating their spring break.

We felt like she just betrayed the whole neighborhood. Personally, I feel like even if you have never been to New Orleans, there is a universal understanding of what kind of neighborhood the French Quarter is: a location in the heart of the city, full of people. This is where people “do things” (wink-wink)… Continue reading

Wine and relationships

Driving a 14 hour drive from Pensacola to Austin the other day, I started getting really sick of music.
Sick of what I had, and not in the mood for anything new, I decided to find some podcasts to listen to.

I was in the mood for listening to something that was going to be insightful without making me zen out so much that I wasn’t paying attention to traffic. I browsed through stations through my Stitcher App, to the “Lifestyles and health” menu, and then furthermore to “Dating and sexuality.” Continue reading

Man up, and have a damn good rosé

Listening to:

Detroit Cobras – “I’ll keep holding on”
(Album: Mink, Rat, or Rabbit)

 

Its too fucking hot here in Central Texas to drink red wine right now, so I’m on a rosé kick.

It took awhile for me to realize that I could drink rosé without worrying that I would die a poor trailer-park mom with 6 kids running around barefoot with food all over there faces, and beer cans strewn all around the broken down cars in the yard.

I don’t know what did it, or who did it, but something about pink wine just scared the shit out of me. Continue reading