Crawfish guy

Well. I realized two things today:

1. No matter how many years I’ve been doing this, or how many stories I’ve heard, or how many hurt kids I’ve seen, or how well-trained I am, or how supportive an agency is: some days will just be hard. There will always be thirteen-year-olds committing suicide. There will always be live-in boyfriends beating little kids up. There will always be caregivers dying and overwhelmed teachers flying off the handle. There will always be anniversaries of deaths and seven-year-olds whose first response is to stab someone with a crayon. Kids will always make fun of other kids’ teeth and shoes, even if their mother has just died. Even if the kid is an excellent singer. There will never be enough resources. I will never go home and feel okay about it.

2. In New Orleans, sometimes a crazy guy will run after you with a boiled crawfish and say, “Good mawnin! Good mawnin!” moving the crawfish’s little mouth up and down like a puppet, and you won’t know it at the time, but at the end of the day, you’ll feel overwhelmed and discouraged and crawfish guy will make you smile.

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2008, we did the best we could.


January
Moved to Belize. *Carry-on bag wouldn’t fit in the overhead compartment. Attendant made me take out bulge on top, which happened to be a Ziploc gallon-sized bag of underwear. Held underwear on lap for duration of the flight.

Lived on an Iguana reserve. Learned how to do laundry with a hose. Experienced Belizean wedding and funeral in the same week. Set out to teach everything I knew about conflict resolution, drugs, and AIDS. Learned everything I know about love. Got accepted into grad school.

February Caught a parasite, hiked to the top of a ruin, swam in a cave, experienced my first Belizean election and confirmation. Fought a piñata. Lost.

March Overcame fear of spiders. Discovered a new love for choco-bananas. Played with a monkey. Met real Guatemalan Indians in Guatemala. Bought skirt from them. Watched the Ruta Maya river race. Said goodbye to the Caribbean. Understood that life would never be the same.

April Got a niece! Heart opened a little wider. Fell in love with her.
Turned 27. Panicked. Cut my own bangs.

May Got another step-family. Danced! Celebrated! Laughed!
First laid eyes on my new city, New Orleans. Stabbed my foot with a parking lot spike.

June Went back to work at Boys and Girls Club. Happy to find that I still loved the kids. Got shingles. Thought I was dying.

July Sold everything I owned on Craigslist. Moved out of Fort Wayne (ten years!) Received Carrie Bradshaw as a parting gift.

August Moved to New Orleans. Found the two-story target, which I had previously thought was an urban legend. Took a family vacation to Destin. Came back. Became acquainted with city life. Loved it. Went to Tulane for student orientation after a month of waiting. Got evacuated for Gustav at lunch.

September Stayed evacuated for two and a half weeks. Went back to school. Dropped ten pounds for lack of friends.

October Made friends! Gained ten pounds. Heard that Taylor Fort Wayne would be closing. Felt orphaned. Dressed up like a ninja and fought pirates on Jackson square.

November Watched history unfold in the TSSW building with snacks and wine. Found out Bry and Jess are pregnant again. Went to Belize. Delivered school supplies. Painted a cafeteria. Provided flood relief with two armed guards on the Guatemalan border. Became acquainted with Big Mac and Quarter Pounder, the tarantulas. Realized I had not overcome fear of spiders. Had the sweetest reunions I could ever imagine at San Marcos School.

Learned that a plan is usually unfolding around me even when I am not still or patient enough to see it. Discovered that if I feel lost even for a second, all I have to do is ask for help. Understood the beauty in a prayer that goes, “Hi God, I’m an idiot and I don’t trust myself. Could you make this one clear for me?” Trusted completely. Found out I am purposed. Convinced Tulane I am purposed. Doing last semester internship in Belize!

December Wrote a thousand papers. Failed a final. Got all A’s!
Watched snow fall in New Orleans. Saw Lily take her first 3 steps.
Went to Chicago. Smile.

The Great Snow of 2008, and other silly stories.

I think you probably heard, but it snowed in New Orleans.

This was not just a little dusting; it was a full inch. School was canceled. Businesses pushed employees outside to run willy-nilly through the yard and throw snowballs. The entire city fell apart at the age line and turned six-and-a-half, simultaneously.

I’d heard there might be snow on the North shore, so when my mom woke me up with a text that said, “snow?” I turned on the TV and rolled over. I only jumped out of bed when Good Morning America and the Today show were preempted by local news standing at Audubon Park frantically and joyfully screaming about how blinding it is when it falls heavily. And white! I waited patiently for Geraldo to show up and walk sideways into the wind.

Kids were rolling around and spreading snow all over their bodies. Adults were sledding on suit coats and building thousands of teeny, tiny 6-inch snowmen, and then adorning them with full-sized hats and scarves and carrots and sticks. We were encouraged not to venture out if we didn’t have to, because the roads were very, very bad. The bridges and overpasses were closed, and government offices closed in two parishes. I ran outside to take pictures, and found clumps of people gathered all over the sidewalk and streets staring up at the sky. Most had their tongues out.

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I called the Red Cross to make sure they were still open before I ventured out in the snow that wasn’t yet accumulating, and they asked me if I was comfortable driving in “this”. I told them they could count on me. They said good, because Orleans parish was in a Level One snow emergency and they were in the midst of pulling together staff and volunteers for two standby cold weather shelters.

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All day stations played, “Let it snow” over and over, and it has since been referred to as the Great Snow of 2008. If you go to Tulane’s website, you’ll see an entire photo album and slide show documenting happy students playing in the lawn with scarves and hats to lure prospective students into thinking, “See? We have Christmas, too!”

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It was a joyous and happy Christmas miracle. It melted by dinner, and the next day was 65 and sunny. Just how I like my snow—beautiful, then gone.

Here are some pics of the Christmasy city yesterday-

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Santa and His half-brass Band

When right in the mall there arose such a clatter, I got up from the food court to see what was the matter.

Only in New Orleans would Santa and half a brass band saunter around the mall singing.


Finals Week

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As of now, I am one-quarter Master Social Worker.
(You can call me Master for short.)

I vote yes to Oreos in my sleep

Happy Election day, New Orleans!

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Watch out for Ambien, stomach!

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Excuse me, do you know where all the ninjas are?

Halloween in the Orleans: A picture monologue

Leaving the apartment
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Me- you rode your bike here?
Will- yeah
Me- as peter pan?
Will- yeah. high school kids kept yelling fag.
Me- I can totally bust into this ATM with my ninja star

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Pirates vs Ninjas: the final showdown

Pirates Corner

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Hey, is that a Ninja?
Me: (run)

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Excuse me, do you guys know where all the Ninjas are?

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Stretching Ninjas

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Me stretching with the ninjas

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Lined up and ready at the stroke of 5…

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In case you ever wondered what ninja shoes look like

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We came to win

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(I’ll scale the wall and drop down on all the pirates.)

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The Fight on Jackson Square

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Pirates won- big surprise, since there were 50 of them and 8 of us.

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Pre-parade Happenings with Social Work friends/Ninja Turtles

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Krewe of Boo Parade

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A good looking group of social workers:

You guys come over here!
No! YOU guys come over here!
NO! You guys come over here…

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Scrounging for candy on the parade route

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Costume Change: Attacked by a shark on Frenchman St.

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Me: look at my friend Shea. She sure does look delicious, yes?
Shea: oh God. Somebody get this shark away from my face.

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Early morning breakfast with Marie Antoinette

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Elvis or Racism?

Originally I planned to attend a community event that was not centered on racism. I wanted to do the New Orleans Film Festival or German Fest or anything light and fun. But then professor Chaisson offered extra credit points to attend the 10th annual Diversity Convocation where Tim Wise was speaking, and I reluctantly agreed, rolling my eyes. The thing is, she said there would be food. It gets me every time.

Apparently, this is how I felt about racism: reluctant and eye-rolly. It’s not that I didn’t think it existed or wasn’t a current issue; it’s not that I didn’t think diversity was important or necessary. I just didn’t understand what it had to do with me. After all, it wasn’t my idea. I’m in social work! I’m here to fight injustice and help people—other people, like, international kids or people affected by trauma and things. Racism just wasn’t really my platform.

(Stay with me, here.)

Then I heard Mr. Wise speak.

As it always does for me about a thousand years after every one else, a light bulb came on during that hour-and-a-half, and I realized I had never really gotten it. While I listened when people told me about white priviledge and institutional racism, and I agreed that somewhere someone was probably being treated unjustly, I could not wrap my mind around the concept that I was where I was because the system was set up for me to achieve. I’ll admit I thought that sounded a little bit conspiracy theory-ish. I’ll also admit that subconsciously for that theory to be true, I had to accept that my successes were not necessarily achieved in my own right, but through a series of opened doors I was able to walk through that, in some cases, my peers of color were not.

Mr. Wise explained it in this way, which helped in my understanding: Mr. Wise is an educator who travels around and speaks to groups about racism. He got this job because immediately after college, two guys offered it to him. He was 22, and the two guys who offered him the job were people he knew from Tulane: a professor and a classmate. He was able to go to Tulane (even though his family was at poverty level) because his mother was able to go to the bank and secure a $10,000 loan. His mother would not have been able to get the loan had his grandma not been able to co-sign the loan on her home’s collateral. His grandma’s home was appraised at a higher value—enough to cover the loan’s cost—because it had a higher property value and sat in a neighborhood that had been established as white in the 50s and 60s and retains higher property values even to this day.

So, to recap, Mr. Wise got the job from two guys he knew (1st degree) from Tulane (2nd degree), which he was able to attend thanks to his mother’s loan (3rd degree), which was awarded to her through his grandmother’s cosigning (4th degree) based on a higher-valued house in a traditionally established white neighborhood from the 60’s (5th degree). That’s 5 degrees and 50 years removed from the original racial act—and this man is still benefiting.

This is just one example of hundreds Mr. Wise listed, but when the light came on, I felt immediately burdened by my newfound understanding and heartbroken over my idiotic lack of others-awareness (as opposed to self-awareness, which I then realized I might have in excess) in how I relate to everyone else.

For this reason, for the impact it had on my racial worldview and the fact that even driving around this morning on the I-10 felt less sunny knowing that the I-10 high rise project had plowed through oak-lined park areas in the Treme neighborhood where black folks used to gather and live in the 60’s— to transport white people in and out of the city from suburbs—I decided to reflect on this community event instead.

Taken from the convocation program, Mr. Tim Wise is one of the nation’s leading anti-racism educators working toward dismantling racism. He has spoken in 48 states, on over 500 college campuses, and was chosen as the 2008 Oliver L. Brown Distinguished Scholar for Diversity Issues at Washburn University, originally named for the lead plaintiff in the Brown v. Board of Education decision. Obviously, the man has credentials.

As he spoke, I raced to jot down notes but at some point just put the pen down and listened, which worked out much better. I’ll first share a few points that were of interest, and then I’ll explain the importance of the event from a social work perspective.

One of the points Mr. Wise gave that made a lasting impression on my understanding of institutional racism was that prior to 1964, every white person was elevated BY LAW. This fact is so alarming it makes me wonder how there could not be institutional racism today if the supremacy of Whites was actually mandated 50 years ago. How would you ever get rid of such a mindset, especially considering those lawmakers and abiding citizens, plus children born to those same lawmakers and abiding citizens are still part of the current generation and population.

Another point I took as both interesting and funny was when Mr. Wise said a poll had been taken asking people if they thought racism was still a problem. Only eleven percent of those who took the poll reported that yes, racism was still a problem. Randomly, a different poll was taken asking people if they thought Elvis was still alive. Twelve percent reported that yes, Elvis was still alive. Mr. Wise (in humor) compared the two and noted how funny it was that more people believe Elvis is still alive than believe that racism exists in the United States.

Mr. Wise continued to make the point that in 1962, a time most people would now identify as an outright racially discriminatory decade, a similar poll was taken which asked if people believed both Blacks and Whites had equal rights, and if black school children had the same opportunities as white school children. In 1962, seventy percent of people said yes, Blacks and Whites had full equal opportunities, and 87% said yes, black school children had the same opportunities as white school children.

Mr. Wise’s point was that white people didn’t see it in 1962, a time that was clearly discriminatory, and most of us don’t see it now for this reason: white people are asking white people if racism exists. He pointed out that it’s pointless to ask the group NOT being oppressed if oppression exists because they are not the one experiencing it. You wouldn’t ask a man if sexism is operating. You wouldn’t ask the able-bodied if they were able to get into the building tonight. Of course they were. In order to find out the extent of oppression and marginalization, we need to ask the oppressed and marginalized. And then, when they tell us it’s happening, we need to believe them.

How does this relate to competent social work practice? Obviously this could relate in every possible area given that our primary mission, according to the NASW, is to enhance human well-being and help meet the needs of all people, with particular attention to people who are vulnerable, oppressed and living in poverty; but for right now I’ll focus on one specific relation to this event and social work: education. To quote my friend Kayla: If we don’t know, we absolutely cannot understand. If we don’t understand, then we’ll have no motivation to change anything.

We carry the responsibility and the duty to educate ourselves on every social issue—even when we don’t think it relates, because it always does. It’s the social part of social work. We do not exist to help and treat ourselves.

I’ll admit that after 7 hours of school and 3 hours of work, it was only natural to feel reluctant about sitting though another lecture in spite of the food and extra credit benefit. But it was my duty as a social worker to educate myself on the ways in which institutional racism is impacting all of us. If I hadn’t, I’d be right back to where I was on Wednesday at 6:29 pm: yeah, but what does this have to do with me?

Prince vs. Michael Jackson

Other appropriate titles for this post:

• In which I hit myself in the face with a bed frame
• Moving the entire Southeast Louisiana Red Cross down 8 flights
• An early morning sprint down St. Charles avenue

Last Friday, I moved out of the Med District downtown into a loft-type apartment on St. Charles Ave, uptown. When I got up the six flights to my new apartment and my key didn’t work, I had no choice but to call it a night. When I say ‘call it a night’ I mean I dumped all my stuff on the floor and met some people at Republic for the Prince vs. Michael Jackson DJ battle.

I got there at eleven, which I thought was appropriately late for someone approaching 30. But apparently eleven is the new 5:30. I made it just in time for the geriatric beer specials and sat down at an empty lounge area to wait. There were some little business cards with the Uptown Salon logo on the lounge table, and I wondered why someone had left all their business cards around. It wasn’t until I was served a bucket of champagne that I realized I was sitting in Uptown Salon’s reserved booth, and that Republic thought I was the first member of Uptown Salon to arrive.

I sent this text to Sprinky: I hit a new low. I’m at a club by myself drinking $2 miller high life in someone else’s booth waiting for a DJ battle between Michael Jackson and Prince to start. Where did things go wrong?

I was about to call it quits, but then Prince showed up. Everywhere.

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Michael Jackson followed.
And then my friends.
I’m not sure if Uptown Salon ever made it, but I should send them a thank-you for the champagne…

Prince and Michael Jackson at the DJ booth discussing weather or not Billy Jean was his lover-

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The next morning I met the furniture guy at 8:30, and the leasing agent let me into the apartment. This is what she said: Oh, there is a trick to unlocking the apartments. You didn’t know? (Hello. How could I have known that, lady?)

The apartment is amazing- full skyline view of the city, open loft-type floor plan, HUGE closet- think Carrie Bradshaw in the brownstone- and cheaper than where I was living before. Before you get jealous, realize I am only talking about 450 square feet of goodness. But for me, it’s perfect.

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I spent two days moving and still have not unpacked. I did, however, put together a desk, a futon, a bed frame and a bookshelf and arrange them all myself. And then I hit myself in the face with the bed frame. I was trying to put bed elevators underneath, and the bed shifted and fell on my face. The next day I went to school and introduced myself to all my potential employers at the internship fair with a black eye and small gash.

I also spent Thursday morning moving the Red Cross, which has been displaced for the entire three years following Katrina. They’ll fling open the doors to their original pre-Katrina office tomorrow morning on Canal Street. The chapter has been functioning out the 4th floor of the T-mobile building in Metairie—which has no elevator. We lined up 50 people up and down 8 flights of stairs and moved the entire Red Cross, one box at a time, in an assembly line from the fourth floor down.  It was exhausting, but I felt happy to help considering how unreal it is that this chapter, among everything in the city, is just now moving home for the first time, and I helped carry a box. Or two. Hundred.

On Friday, as if my body really needed the extra early morning sprint, I walked out of my apartment and caught a glimpse of the Tulane shuttle turning the corner a block-and-a-half away. I thought my days of chasing the shuttle were over. Turns out, the only thing worse than chasing the shuttle down Tulane Avenue is chasing it up St. Charles where my classmates can see me. I crossed my fingers hoping that no one was on the streetcar that day.  It was an ugly, panicked run, knocking old men out of the way and flinging people to the side with my bookbag…

The most annoying part happened when I heaved myself onto the shuttle and flopped down, gagging and coughing and sighing and looking around saying, “Thank GodI made it!”

We just sat there for another 5 minutes.

When I walked into Tools, totally stressed and falling apart at the outfit/hair seams from all the running, Allison said, “Brooke. I saw you exit your apartment this morning.”

She didn’t laugh right away, which was nice.
I asked if she’d seen everything, and she said she had.  She said she wanted to yell out after me, “Don’t worry! It’s only Tools!” but I was too fast.
Anytime I picture myself sprinting down St. Charles Avenue at 7:58 am, I laugh out loud.
Here are some pictures of the weekend:Social Work crew at Superior

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These jokers were at Lucy’s on Saturday before the New Kids on the Block show.  1992 threw up all over the room:

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Shea and I at the park on Sunday observing children for the Theory lab-

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Seriously, we’re legitimately observing. Don’t call the police. (You kids want some candy?)

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Social Workers Gone Wild- the TSSW picnic

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Note the face and the hair below. I was just coming off a triple back layout with a half twist.
Karine’s like, Oh God! Not the half twist!
Tiffany’s like, If she dies I’m getting it on camera.

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The poor kids we kicked off the moonwalk

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Tim teaching kids how to fight in preparation for the Pirate vs. Ninja flash mob on Halloween night.

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I love SGA for planning this picnic. It was fun to see everyone outside of class and outside of all the little groups. And for the record, our volleyball team won.

And then I woke up in the Cafeteria, naked.

Dearest friends and family.

I know it’s been forever, but besides the fact that I have no more time for writing (which isn’t really true, because I do it anyway) I was paralyzed for a short time by the fact that 58 new people who don’t really know me are all over my internet space.

Don’t worry, I invited them. Then I went and started a giant group on facebook. Then I realized this internet business is a two-way street (which my grandpa always warned me about) and realized they can see all my pages and my pics and my notes, too. That’s why you may have received a little message ex-naying any comments about how many new friends I have. Not cool. Equivalent to waking up in the cafeteria, naked…Anyway, Elaine wants an update.

I currently live in the Public Health building downtown. I am not a Public Health student. I am a Social Work student, uptown. This is how things typically go for me. Always in the wrong place at the wrong time.

I’ll post some pics of my apartment downtown, but you should know, in two weeks I am moving uptown. It will be fantastic. For starters, I expect less mold. Also, I will not have to park on the 4th floor, take the elevator to the 2nd floor, walk across the skybridge, walk through the hospital, walk across another skybridge, take the elevator the 3rd floor and walk to the end of the hall to get to my apartment. Also, I’ll have a pool. Oh, and complimentary coffee and pastries in the morning. I expect 3-5 more friends after my chocolate party, poolside.

Current apt:

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Yes, SJP is doing just fine. But she’s always staring off into space. I wonder if she’s not adjusting well.

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Here is my home office, which doubles as my bed:

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I searched all my files for a few pics of the campus. Here are two from welcome weekend in August while I was working in the bookstore:

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(As a side note, I emailed Intervarsity last week and found a small group to join on Tuesday nights. They were very welcoming even though I walked into their living room off the street and said: Hi, I’m Brooke. The guy who emailed me about the meeting wasn’t in attendance, so I can imagine it all seemed very street peddler-ish, especially when I started my tap routine and held up a sign asking for 5 dollars. They could have called the police. Instead, they invited me to sit down, thank GOD.)

Next. Sprinky’s sister, Christy—who I partially evacuated to during Gustav—came to visit yesterday. I was totally free to be out and about with no party-of-one situations.

(Like those even scare me.)

In 48 hours, Christy and I have eaten more food than we could handle. Christy weighs about 95 pounds, and had you been following us with a camera, you would have seen her eat 4 bites and slip off to the bathroom or something, and me digging into her plate looking over my shoulder. That’s a lie too. She outright gave me everything—jambalaya, margaritas, fajitas, ice cream, hummus. I had to roll myself home.

While we were out, I tried to snap some pics of the city. I live off of Canal, so anytime I leave my apartment after 9, I run into these guys, on the corner of Canal and Bourbon.

Me, playing the invisible trumpet with the band (one time I peed my pants playing the invisible trombone at Joe’s Crab shack—Engler, Jill, Lainey & Sprink, I’m tagging you on this one):

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And, while I’m at it, me playing the invisible violin with the band in Prague:

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Typical scene. Walking down the sidewalk behind a guy with a Tuba.

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At Sucre (dessert boutique)-

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Me with SJP. I came home and the house was trashed. She pulled this deer-in-the-headlights look on me.

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Thank you and goodnight.
(I miss you guys.)

Somehow, I will get off work for this.

Pirates vs. Ninjas Flash Mob

Meeting Time: 4:50 PM, Friday, October 31, 2008.

Where: Pirates meet at the corner of St. Peter St. and Chartres St. or Pirates Alley. Ninjas meet at the corner of St. Ann St. and Chartres or Pere Antoine Alley.

What: When St. Louis Cathedral clock bell strikes 5:00, Pirates and Ninjas should run to meet directly in front of St. Louis Cathedral and the back of Jackson Square. All Pirates and Ninjas will “pretend” to fight for exactly two minutes…. at the end of two minutes ALL Pirates AND Ninjas should be dead! An air horn will sound at exactly 5:02 PM and ALL Pirates and Ninjas will disburse immediately.

Other: Fight will be filmed and put up on youtube… if you don’t want to be identified later, wear a mask or cover your face. Do NOT interact or interfere with camera crew.

Disclaimer: Please do NOT bring any real weapons or anything that could potentially hurt someone or get you arrested. We want to have fun and pretend to fight. Do NOT actually hit ANYONE with ANYTHING (including your fist).

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Six steps and a patch

Hey Guys.

Turns out, graduate school= no time to write. In fact, this very second I am putting off 30 pages of Making Task Groups Work in My World to write this update. I’m risky like that.

The thing is, crazy Ike is right outside my window knocking things around, and Chelsea Handler’s book, Are you there Vodka? It’s me, Chelsea (which I got 60% off thanks to my nice gig at the bookstore) is staring up at me from the night stand begging for a quick chapter or two. I need a break.
I came home and the building next to me was on fire- FIRE- and smoke was coming into our lobby. Also, we were having 50mph wind gusts that blew open all the doors at Starbucks on Magazine St. (I know, what am I doing at a Starbucks on a street like Magazine, right? Comfort in familiarity…) and I couldn’t walk around outside without having to hold onto a building. I decided today was not the day to quit updating. I need a program with at least 6 steps and a patch.

School is overwhelming and time consuming, and I am in full list mode. I walk around with a highlighter crossing off things like: call the grandpa, microwave dinner, wash face, etc. because I have forgotten how to manage my time. I set my alarm 20 minutes earlier than necessary because I know that I will need to lay in bed and pretend to feel carefree. Even with the structure, every single morning I end up running down the street trying to catch the 7:45 bus at 7:46 with my keys, phone, granola bar, sweatshirt, ipod and bookbag hanging off me.
I have not had time to unpack from Gustav yet, either, so every morning I dig through laundry baskets and boxes to find an outfit that is less wrinkled than other outfits, and spend another 15 minutes locating things like my watch, or earrings or matching socks. Usually I forget my lunch or something and spend $7.50 in the food court on carrot sticks and a diet coke, which I am half-tempted to eat in a bathroom stall for lack of friends, still. I wonder if they are secretly lunching in some special grad school cafeteria laughing about my 4 inches of grey hair. I have not yet managed to color it, because finding another Hannah is a hard task.
Even harder are things like biostatistics and health and economic development and policy: the core of the MPH program, which I did not understand would be the case. I could spend 5 years explaining the confusion of the last week and the revelation of an outdated program description on the school’s website (from 04) or I could just tell you that I dropped the MPH component. It was not the program for me. I am strictly an MSW girl now, focusing on Disaster Mental Health and International Social Work. This decision saved me $30K and an extra year of school, thanks to a competent and honest advisor and a surprising ability to advocate for myself. But you should have seem my face in that biostatistics class-omg.

Whatsoever things are praiseworthy:
In the middle of this mess, an anonymous friend paid the balance for my Belize trip.

(Stop. Breathe. Smile. Breathe. Relax. Breathe. Cry.)
This friend has pointed my over-ambitious, under-resourced heart straight to God’s eyes. He sees me. He sees Belize. He loves me. He loves Belize. He can juggle what I can’t, and he helps us care for each other.
I love you, friend.
What I need now is a good coffee with my good friends. I would give anything for a Saturday brunch or Firefly run to sit down, throw my purse on the table and say, “You guys will NEVER believe the week I had…”