Boots on the Ground in Party Town


DSC01822Well, I finally arrived in New Orleans (actually Metairie) at 9:30 last night where  Captain Billy and Peggy, my friend Mark’s parents, so graciously fed me and put me up for the night.  In a few minutes I’m heading to the Hilton at the foot of Poydras to check into my Rocckus room,  (as opposed to Romper Room, one of my favorite shows of youth–appropriate as Mardi Gras is one big grownup Romper Room!) , but will return later this week.  The Captain and Peggy also put me up for Mardi Gras 2011 (you can see their picture on the WHY page) and again for Jazzfest last year.  Now here I am again.  I can’t say enough about their generous hearts and bountiful hospitality, a trait found throughout New Orleans–one of the many reasons I love this city.  I just hope they don’t come to regret it!  I’ve had such a wonderful time every time I’ve stayed here that I just keep turning up like that proverbial bad penny!



“[Mardi Gras is] a year of preparation and perspiration that unfolds over several weeks like a military campaign hell-bent on spreading heaven throughout the darkest months of the year.” –quoted from WHAT Is ‘My Year of Mardi Gras?

Is it arrogant or improper to quote myself?!  Oh, well.  I’m at Mardi Gras now so I’ll bet my lucky boxers worse sins are being committed as I write.

I include this quote, though, because it’s a bit of writing of which I’m proud.  I think it’s quite a good descriptor of what Mardi Gras is and what it aims to accomplish.  Despite the bad publicity it receives, Mardi Gras is a collective celebration of life that focuses the energy of an entire city towards the powers of light and goodness.   That’s alright by me.  The world would be a better place if more communities focused their collective creativity and energy on communal festivity.  The world needs more, not less Mardi Gras, so let  ‘Operation Enduring Bead-dom’ begin!




On The Road Again…Somewhere In The Florida Panhandle….


Greetings From FLI’m currently lost somewhere in the Florida panhandle taking a blog break in a fast food joint I’d never frequent were it not for my need for connectivity.  (Bad food; Good marketing!)  Well, actually I’m outside Pensacola, but it sounds more romantic to imagine I’m an early Spanish explorer uncertain of just where in the swamp I am.   In the age of GPS, getting lost is becoming nostalgia–a memory to be rescued from the shelves of dusty antique shops by thrill-seekers craving a bygone rush.

I left Jacksonville at 10:30 this morning feeling about half as prepared [Read more…]

Today Is The First Day of the Rest of My Mardi Gras


This morning I awoke unemployed.  By choice.  This is the first time in five and a half years I haven’t gone in to work at Sterling House and Clare Bridge of Jacksonville,  two assisted living facilities housing adults with dementia and/or failing health where I worked as an Occupational Therapist and Coordinator for Physical, Occupational, & Speech Therapies.  I worked with with special needs children in schools for five and a half years prior to that, so this is the first time in eleven years I’ve awoken without a job as a therapist.  And it’s the first time I’ve been unemployed without the excuse of grad school since 1998 (and that was not by choice.)

Every hobo's journey begins with a first step...and a first beer!

Every hobo’s journey begins with a first step…and a first beer!

This plan has been percolating for nearly a year but it feels surreal now that the seed of what was once just a crazy idea (for I ALWAYS have crazy ideas percolating) has grown to fruition.  The rush of emotions I’m experiencing is as diverse as the interests that spurred me to cut bait and chase my muse.  I’m excited, scared, sad at the relationships I’m leaving behind, eager to make new connections, optimistic, hesitant, confused, overwhelmed, focused, confident and, strangely, a bit guilty.  In a time when so many people are desperately unemployed, I feel a twinge of guilt walking away from a secure, well-paying job, even if it was driving me nuts.  My burnout has been smoldering for years and deep down I knew I wasn’t as effective as I once was, but that’s just a poppycock excuse to the depression-era generation whom I served.

[Read more…]