on the verge…

i feel like i’m on the verge of having some answers, of breaking out of my slump, of emerging from the darkness. really, i do. i’m not *quite* there yet, but i can visualize getting there very soon.

so much change, so much transition, so many new ideas in my head. so many possibilities. i’m still sad sometimes – don’t get me wrong – but the better days are starting to outnumber the worse days, at least. i’m starting to get a little excited about what might lie ahead.

first things first: yes, i am still looking for a roommate. or alternately, looking for an affordable 1 or even 2 bedroom (a girl can wish!) apartment somewhere in midcity, bayou st. john or the fairgrounds area. i currently pay around $700 including utilities where i am, so if i could find something in that range (or less) elsewhere and could live alone, i’d do it. of course i’ll still have to give my landlords a month’s notice, so there will be some overlap, which will be costly, but if the right place finds me, i’m willing to do it. finding the perfect roommate who wants to move in at the end of the month is still the easiest option, though. i’m just trying to cast my net wider now. please let me know if you know of something either way.

second, the yard sale was on saturday. thanks to those of you who stopped by. i sold a few things of my own, and thankfully i thought to put some of my t-shirts and signs out, and actually sold a few. i made more selling my crafty crap than my yard sale crap. perhaps it’s a sign? hmm.

my neighbor karen, who hired me to help her with the yard sale, is going to do it all over again next saturday, since she didn’t sell all her stuff. so if you didn’t make it by and wanted to, 8am-noon on saturday – 4705 iberville. there’s still an incredible amount of stuff, it’s crazy. it’ll mostly be indoors this time, though, to make things easier. after this one, everything that’s left is going to goodwill. really.

third, i’m still working with my friend nita, helping her sell her stuff on ebay and craigslist. since it worked out so well for karen and her craigslist sales, i’ve decided to make a little website for nita to have a place to put up pics of all the stuff that hasn’t sold on ebay or bigger stuff that’s hard to ship or stuff that just seems like it’d sell better locally on craigslist. i’m still tweaking the basic setup at the moment, but if you’re interested in keeping up with what’s for sale each week, you should bookmark it: magicmonkey collectibles. i’ll post about it again when i’ve got it all fully loaded.

and last, i’m kinda thinking i might actually try to do this odd jobs/personal assistant/errand-running/jill of all trades biz idea. but i need a catchy or punny name. any thoughts? i’m usually really good at coming up with these things but at the moment i got nothin’. leave me a comment if you have any ideas. i’m pretty convinced at this point that if i play it right – work the “i have time to do the things you don’t have time to do” angle, as well as the organizational/motivational angle (yeah i know, funny to think that i, of all people, could help motivate and/or organize anyone, but apparently i work well with people who are even MORE disorganized/overwhelmed by their stuff than i am!), i think it’ll work. i’ll offer everything from pet sitting and dog walking to creating basic websites/blogs, graphic design, writing/editing, ebay/craigslisting and yard/estate sale organization to running errands, courier services, general labor, and whatever odd job anyone’s willing to pay me to do. whatever i don’t feel qualified to do or don’t want to do, i can refer out to friends who do that kind of work, since i know a few carpenters, painters, house cleaners, and all-around handy folks. i dunno, i’m thinking it might actually work. just have to figure out how to target-market outside of my own social circle, i think.

that is all for now. keeping myself busy. how’s everybody else doing? leave me some comments – i’m tired of only getting spam on this blog!


my friend deuce says i’m scrappy. and she’s right. i have managed to scrape by, scrounging all kinds of crazy work over the years without having to ever get a “real” job. though i’ve mostly been a freelance writer/editor, club dj, and most recently artist/crafter – my “main” gigs -  i’ve dabbled in all kinds of crap since my last days working at tower records in the french quarter back in 1993 – my last regular job out in the world where i worked 30-40 hours/week.

over the years, i’ve worked in some capacity as a: landscaper, bar back, house cleaner, community activist, paralegal/investigator, personal assistant, screen printer, dog sitter/walker, housesitter, blogger, eBay assistant, data entry/gallery assistant, photographer, film festival projectionist, a/v tech, film curator, publicist, promoter, booking agent, event organizer, graphic designer, and, most recently, census enumerator. i’m sure there are other things i’m not remembering right now.

but one thing i seem to keep coming back to, over the years, is selling stuff. i’ve always been a big fan of thrift/antique stores and yard sales, and have always been a collector of various things. but at many different points in my life, i have supplemented my income by reselling things, as varied as cds, records and books to random collectibles, clothing, furniture and all sorts of other items. it’s kind of where i first got the idea of doing art/craft out of recycled objects, this dealing in “things.” it’s a fun game, trying to figure out what items you can score for cheap and then find someone willing to pay you more for… but i guess it all comes down to the fact that i just love objects. things. i like to make them, i like to find them, i like to collect them, i like to sell them.

so yeah. in this time of flux in my life when what i keep thinking i really need to do is find some regularly occurring work – aka a “real” job, even if it’s just part time – what seems to keep dropping in my lap is more of the scrappy gigs. when i first returned from festival, my friend nita told me she really wanted to start liquidating her lifetime accumulation of collectibles with the eventual goal to clear out her house so she can sell it and move. it at first seemed really overwhelming, cuz let me tell you, she has a LOT of amazing stuff in her house. but we started breaking it down into manageable bites and we’ve been steadily listing things on eBay every week and slowly things are selling and moving out of the house. we’re not really on a time table – we’re moving pretty slowly, in fact – but it’s been a steady thing. i’m not making a ton of money on it but i think it will eventually pay off, and nita is a dear friend who has helped me a lot over the years and it feels good to be helping her do this big thing in her life.

i haven’t really been thinking of it like a “job”… more just like a “gig,” a side thing to keep a little money flowing, to pay for the groceries or whatever while i keep looking for other, more regular, work. but as i’ve been spreading the word that i’m working on nita’s “estate sale” via facebook and twitter postings, another friend has now approached me about helping her sell off a crazy amount of stuff she has had accumulating since well before katrina. this one feels more like a “job” cuz it has a time limit – she asked me to make a website with pictures of lots of the stuff that will be for sale, list bigger items on craigslist and eventually work towards a big yard sale in october – and she’s paying me a generous hourly rate. it’s less of the collectibles/art variety and more of the household every-day stuff variety, but it’s still a vast amount of stuff, much of it in new or gently-used condition and for which she should get decent money.

it occurred to me yesterday that, with a little effort, i could probably turn this into a “job” – self employment, obviously, but something regular enough to call it a job. i kind of really enjoy the work, even though much of the listing-on-the-computer part is tedious, it’s fun poking around in other people’s stuff and learning what other people are willing to pay money for. but are there enough people who want to de-clutter or sell unwanted things who are willing to pay me a decent hourly wage and/or percentage of their sales and don’t know how to do it themselves? it’s not rocket science, you know, selling things online. but there are some tricks and shortcuts and after doing it in one form or another for the last 15+ years, i guess i do know a thing or two about it. but enough to make my rent and bills each month? i don’t know. and how do i find those people who would be interested in this type of service?

so this is what i’m pondering right now, while i continue working on both of these projects. i haven’t stopped looking for other work – in fact in the past few days, i’ve registered with three different temp agencies, so maybe that will pay off with some kind of work, and i’m still hustling to get that security gig working saints games at the superdome – but i think i’m really just not very good at this “looking for a job” stuff. i write and send out resumes and cover letters for all kinds of jobs. i check craigslist, worknola.com, idea village, nola.com classifieds, simplyhired.com, and a dozen or more other local job boards on a regular basis. i check the internal job listings of and submit applications to all kinds of corporations and companies that i think sound good to work for (whole foods, ups, home depot, etc.). i’ve put my feelers out with friends who work all over the place.

so far, nothing. not even a call back. so how can i not keep doing this other stuff that keeps falling in my lap and is generating me some amount of money?

oh i just don’t know. i guess what would be ideal would be to get one or two part-time gigs that were closer to “real” jobs, meaning, working for someone else who was willing to cut me a paycheck, AND keeping doing the other gigs that seem to keep falling in my lap. wouldn’t it be a nice problem to have to be really super busy and have MORE money than i knew what to do with for a change?

that’s what i’ll be envisioning for now – more than enough. more than enough work. more than enough money. more than enough love. no more scarcity for me, thanks. it’s all about abundance now.

this too shall pass…

yes, those are my feet. (nice ankle-sock tan, eh?)

yesterday i went to a decadence pool party with some friends. the pool ended up being more of an oversized bathtub, about 6’x10′, though very pretty. i wasn’t really feeling like immersing my entire body in water, but i did dangle my feet in. hence, the photo. it somehow seems fitting for this entry.

i had hoped when i got back from fest this summer that i would get better about writing in this blog. but even though i hardly get any traffic to it on a daily basis, it’s ended up feeling way too public for me to write about what’s going on in my head and heart these days. i’ve mostly been relegating any writing i’m doing on those topics to my livejournal, which is more private, and really, i’m hardly writing there either. i write in my own private journal sometimes, but that’s not for public consumption in any way. just a place for me to work stuff out. and clearly, i need to be working some shit out right now.

without much of a crafty or other work life happening right now, i find i don’t have all that much to say. yeah, i went to decadence. there were semi-naked gay men in crazy outfits. lots of people were drunk. i’m glad i got out of the house on such a pretty day and went to the party and parade, and yes, a part of me does still enjoy these kinds of displays of public theater that are so commonplace here in new orleans… but mostly i wasn’t really feeling it. the parade was incredibly short, i saw only a handful of dykes that i wasn’t there with, and i clearly was not fucked up enough to be having all that much of a good time. (i chose not to drink too much because i’m trying to be nicer to body right now and not contribute to the depression i’m already fighting.) i did drink a few beers, but passed on the everclear jello shots being sold out of someone’s front door on royal street that everyone else was consuming like candy.

i took a bunch of photos. these guys were my favorites:

after the parade we all went back to the pool party and i hung around for a while, ate a brat and a burger (thanks y’all!), but after a bit, i just realized i should just go home. i just wasn’t feeling it and didn’t want to bring anybody else down. i was sad i missed the black men of labor 2nd line that went right by the house a little later after i’d gone, but oh well. it’s new orleans… there will always be another parade, another 2nd line… thank goddess.

so anyways. today i’m supposed to be writing my music column, possibly my last one for them, but i’m having a hard time getting going. i’m listening to this new disc by a band called the drums. they are kinda perfect for my mood today, retro emo a la the smiths or joy division, with song titles like “it will all end in tears” and “i need fun in my life.” <sigh>

yeah. i do need some fun in my life. i’m working on it, and for the most part, i feel like i’ve been doing a really good job of self-care and trying to be positive. i’ve been exercising regularly, taking my vitamins, and getting out of the house and socializing a LOT more. i’m taking the baby steps. i’m just having a rough patch. everybody has rough patches.

this too shall pass. hopefully sooner rather than later.


i’ve had so much on my mind that i’ve wanted to get out, written down, since i got back from fest that i’m just now getting around to absorbing the fact that the fifth anniversary of katrina and the levee failures is right around the corner. i haven’t really let myself think about it all that much yet.

i’m not exactly sure what i’ll be doing on the 29th, the actual date of the anniversary, which is a sunday this year. i do know on the 27th and 28th, i hope to be simultaneously engaged and distracted by the goings-on of the rising tide conference, the annual so-called nola blogger conference. i went last year for the first time and really enjoyed it; it made me feel more connected to the online community here in nola, even though i only knew a handful of people in attendance and i didn’t really do much to introduce myself or meet many new folks. but i did pick up a whole new bunch twitter followers, as i brought my laptop with me and live-tweeted for much of the day, and in turn added dozens to my follow list… many of whom i’ve really enjoyed interacting with over this past year and have since met in real life. i think this year’s event is going to be huge, and i’m hoping i will be motivated to come out of my shell a little bit more and actually meet more people.

what to say about new orleans, five years after? i never really know how to answer the questions of “how’s new orleans doing?” i got asked that a bunch of times at festival. it’s a complicated question with a complicated answer, that, unless you are living here, is difficult to understand.

i read recently somewhere that my part of town, mid-city, is considered to be 95% “back,” whatever exactly that means. and if i look around my neighborhood, the immediate streets around me, on the surface, that seems to be true – particularly in my part of mid-city, near the cemeteries. life seems pretty normal and well-adjusted. but upon closer inspection, which i had the opportunity to do in my time with the census, as the first block i was assigned was my own, things are not always what they seem. as i walked my block and knocked on every door, i was amazed to learn that there were 12 vacant houses – some which had been sitting up since the storm, some of which were in some state of being repaired – in just my city block alone. (a city block means not just the side of the street i live on, but walking clockwise around all four streets of the plot of land that constitutes my block until i end up back at my house.) i have lived here for two years and i had never noticed there were so many empty houses!

so yeah. “back” means something different in different parts of town. of course, if you are uptown on the “sliver by the river” which did not suffer flooding for the most part, things might not look all that different than they did before the storm. much like the french quarter, which also did not flood. but if you are driving around, say, gentilly, or lakeview, or hollygrove – all neighborhoods i spent a LOT of time in while doing the census – you realize, recovery is a block by block thing. some blocks look great, and others are wastelands. many many empty lots where houses used to stand; many many dilapidated structures that really ought to be demolished but struggle to remain standing, mostly untouched since the storm; and many in-progress and recent renovations, for the lucky.

is the city functional again? well, probably slightly more functional, actually, than it was before… what with the new mayor working hard and the DOJ working to try to rehabilitate the NOPD. there is reason to be hopeful, though we’ve got a LONG way to go. but it’s hard to say unequivocally that new orleans is mostly “back” or that things are largely back to “normal.” because it really does depend on who you are, where you live, and what your circumstances are.

for me personally, it’s a mixed bag. on the surface, yes, i am “back” in the physical sense, living in new orleans, even in mid-city, two blocks down from my old apartment. i have a lovely home, a loving girlfriend, two cute cats and a dog. i’ve been able to pursue my dream of making my living as an artist/crafter for the past few years and have made a pretty good go of it – well, until the economy tanked. i’ve reconnected a little with many old friends and am slowly figuring out ways to become a contributing member of the community again. all in all, it would seem like the traumas of katrina have faded from my life, five years out.

but dig a little deeper, and well, life has its ups and downs. i find myself at a crossroads about my work/career life and my relationship with money, and i have sadly come to the realization that i’m lonelier now, being here in new orleans and not feeling terribly connected to those who were previously my closest friends, than when i lived in louisville and didn’t know anyone. it’s that proverbial “alone in a crowd” feeling, where i know so many of the people around me to some degree, having been part of this community since 1990, but don’t feel close really to anyone.

so the answer to whether i am personally “back” or not is… depends on which day you ask me. i don’t feel like i’ve managed to crawl back into my pre-k skin entirely and i fear i never will… but i’m working hard right now to transform the journey i’ve been on in the past five years into a better, new version of me, just like the city is trying to reimagine itself not simply as the city it was before the floods, but a new and improved city deeply rooted in its past but looking to the future.

the trick is to not get bogged down in what used to be and what has been lost, but to envision what can be, and what there is to look forward to.

wish me/us luck.