Just a dirty girl from the dirty south…co-parenting a baby boy in New Orleans.

Happy 2nd Birthday Wilder

October 27, 2015

To my amazing son Wilder for his 2nd birthday:

It’s hard for me to relate how quickly time seems to pass, now that you are the star of our lives. I don’t think anything has the capacity to speed time quite like parenting. It feels like just yesterday I was gazing upon you in the hospital with a sense of determination, love and fear. Now I am lucky if I can get you to stay still long enough for me to catch a quick glimpse of how much you change with every day that passes. You are a dynamic force of wonder and I continue to learn from you. I never knew that my heart had the capacity to love the way it loves you.

This past year has not been without its struggles. I feel as if I mirrored your growing pains in many ways. As you learned to walk, run, communicate and understand, I also had to re-learn many of these things in my post-pregnancy body. I thought, perhaps foolishly, that by the end of your first year of life, I would be “back to normal.” I now know that “normal” is ambiguous and the introspection that has accompanied your arrival has proven that it will no doubt equal a lifetime of learning for both of us. I feel honored to be not only your teacher but also your student.

You have made so many accomplishments over the past year. You went from speaking about 4 words your first year of life to having a vocabulary that rivals many of the day-drinkers at your Poppa’s bar. At 14 months you would say the phrase “tick-tock” so often that it prompted me to get a tattoo of a clock on my arm. You were a little late to walking, but you caught up quickly. When you were 17 months, your Daddy took you on a trip to New York, and you returned walking like a pro. I guess the saying is true that everybody has to walk in New York. Also around this time you began singing little nonsensical songs, which we all encouraged as much as possible. By the time you hit 18 months old, you knew all of your letters. My mother used to tell me that I had memorized the spelling of simple words by this age, and I never believed her until you came along. It was also at this time that you began clapping for yourself whenever you accomplished a task. I hope that you will always have a strong sense of self-accomplishment.  At 19 months you traveled to Texas with your Daddy, Clint and me to visit your Maw Maw and Aunts, and you also took a trip to Florida with your Daddy & Poppa. That month we started working with flashcards of words and shapes and you learned all of them within weeks. Your vocabulary grew tremendously as we introduced you to new words. One of my favorites was “alligator” which at 20 months you would pronounce as “alli-na-na-nah”. By the time you were 22 months old, you arranged blocks to spell the word “dog” which you proudly exclaimed to me. That same month you started school at the Jewish Community Center uptown, where you promptly began referring to all the other kids in your class as “babies.”  I will never forget you waving from the car window saying “Bye, bye babies.”

Most of the time you and I share is spent reading, drawing, dancing and playing with toys. You are especially fond of your blocks and small plastic animals. While you will play alone, you prefer interaction. Poppa and I enjoy the way you will come and get me, taking me by the hand to join you in whatever activity you are engaged in. Poppa likes to play outside with you. He has you in the yard with him as much as possible, and loves taking you to the park. He encourages you to get dirty and jump in muddy puddles. He also will take you with him on errands throughout the French Quarter. You have developed a hefty fan base. You have some very sweet friends including: Arthur Douglas, Franui, Ellis, Baby Henry and Baby Lucian. You are still a huge fan of Peppa Pig, but we have also introduced Sesame Street, Little Einstein’s and classic Scooby Doo into your repertoire.

As you grew over the past year, it seems the world did as well. Your Poppa closed the bar he co-owned for 10 years and moved the business to a new location, which was both heartbreaking and exhilarating. The city of New Orleans finally passed a smoking ban for Orleans parish which was met with much controversy, but doesn’t seem to have changed much of the bar business. Your Daddy & Clint purchased the lot next door to their house meaning that you are going to have even more amazing outdoor space to explore. I left my job at Lucky Pierre’s after determining that I wanted more time with you. The biggest and most exciting change of the outside world though was the Supreme Court legalization of gay marriage nationwide. It is my hope that you will never remember a time when people questioned gay marriage. This decision of the court was an enormous victory to people of all sexual orientations and a step toward improving human rights.

This past year has been a rough one for me. My psychical health dipped to an all-time low and because of that I spent a lot of time worrying that I wasn’t able to be the “perfect” parent. While I will always strive to put your needs and desires first and foremost, I have accepted that there are times that I will make mistakes. I have missed my mother, father and brother in ways that I never knew possible. I am saddened that they will never feel the sheer elation of getting to know you. I have felt incredibly alone in ways that I would never wish upon anyone. I have felt profound sadness at this feeling of loneliness, knowing that I have so many people who love me, yet not being able to let that love pierce the darkness of my sadness. I have swallowed my pride and reached out for help and have found an amazing support system. I have learned that it is better to embrace these challenges and allow you to see me struggle and work through those struggles, than to pretend that everything is perfectly fine. I have learned that things may not go exactly as planned but as long as there is love and honest communication, nothing is impossible. I have learned the bittersweet lesson that a family is not something that can be easily made.

I have also felt love and happiness at its zenith. I have never laughed as whole-heartedly as I have laughed with you. One of my favorite memories of this past year is when you began purposefully clasping my hands around your waist when you are seated in my lap. I know this may sound trivial but this minutiae action melts my heart every time. You have inspired me in so many ways. I found the courage to once again change my career because of you. I have made the time to write seven new one-act plays and two short stories. I have made my health a priority and sought out the best doctors to address my adrenal dysfunction. I have learned to be more receptive to help from others. I have recognized and embraced the immense love that I have for your Poppa. I have been brave in talking about my fears, and have learned that I am rarely alone in the way I feel. I have found patience that I never knew I had and I continue to practice being a good listener. At the heart of all of these accomplishments is my love for you.

Thank you, Wilder, for an extraordinary 2nd year of parenting. You continue to make every day a new adventure. I think I speak for your entire family when I say that none of us could have ever imagined the astounding changes you would ignite. I am so thankful to get to share this life with you, and I cannot wait to see what this next year brings.






Happy 1st Birthday Wilder

October 27, 2014

To my amazing son Wilder on his 1st birthday:

It’s been quite a year. It feels to me as if it has flown by and I think I truly understand what people mean when they say that children grow in the blink of an eye. As I sit here at our dining room table on Pauline Street, it is hard for me to believe that one year ago I was in labor with you (although I had no idea when it first started). You came into our lives a month early and you were born with your eyes open and a strong cry coming from your lungs. When the doctor raised you from me, you locked eyes with your Papa Andy and I think that bond has blossomed into something even more beautiful than any of us could have imagined.

This first year hasn’t been without its challenges. I think the toughest part for me was understanding and relenting to the changes that would happen to my body and mind once you were here with us. I have always been a very independent woman, to a fault at times. I was frightened even during my pregnancy that I would somehow lose my personal identity once you arrived. Although I was completely enamored by you the moment I first saw you, I know that part of me remained guarded as if your mere presence would rob me of my complete individuality. That’s not to say that I didn’t feel that strong, nearly unnatural, maternal bond, but it is important for you to know that I didn’t want motherhood to rob me of my personal ambition. It hasn’t. It has propelled me into new and exciting decisions, such as buying a house while pregnant, and taking a new job shortly after your birth.

You are perfect in a way I never would have imagined. I have done some amazing things in my life- crazy, wonderful, exhilarating things that have filled me with joy and wonder. But none of it, and I mean this with all my heart, will ever compare to the absolute elation I feel every time I hear you laugh. It is such a beautiful sound that I have no doubt it could shatter the windows of heaven. I live to hear you happy and to know you are content. I can’t explain it, but I can only hope that in your lifetime you experience something as fulfilling.

As a family we have all struggled with our own issues this first year. It isn’t easy to make a family, especially one that you want and hope will last. We have each embarked on personal journeys with the decided goal that we don’t burden you with our bullshit. We have talked with our friends and families and sought out family therapy. Your existence alone has made us better people. We have been forced to confront the things that make us uncomfortable and work through them. We have gained a deeper and more honest respect for each other and the past events that have shaped our respective characters. You have become an intricate piece in the puzzle that connects us all to each other. Our love for you has made the journey to self-discovery one worth embarking on.

You have developed quite a fan club in this first year. Luckily you have some pretty amazing parents (if I do say so myself) that have exposed you to many eclectic, beautiful people. Your Daddy Lee and his partner Clint have welcomed you into their world of art and film. Lee has taken you to his art studio countless days where he has created some remarkable works of fabric art, along with making you a custom wardrobe. Clint has opened your eyes to the world of film, as at barely a few months old you went to your first movie at The Prytania as part of a film fest he helped procure. They have introduced you to many wonderful friends who have hugged, kissed and loved you. Oh, and your Daddy’s family has been over the moon since you arrived. They live in Texas, but that hasn’t stopped them from visiting many times, to celebrate all major holidays and events with you. Your Maw Maw loves you endlessly, and always laughs at the videos your Daddy sends. You have traveled to visit them a few times, and always had a fun trip. Your Daddy always wanted a baby and he has been the most amazing father. He is very dedicated to providing you with a healthy, happy life. He and Clint have completely remodeled their home and you have been a huge motivator. He loves you endlessly and the two of you are like peas in a pod. Sometimes when you look at me, especially when you smile, I see your Daddy’s face as clear as day. His heart is complete with you in his life.

Your Papa Andy has owned Flanagan’s Pub since you were born. You have spent more time in that bar than most alcoholics have. In the bar you have had the opportunity to meet a myriad of interesting folks, locals and tourists alike. You have always loved the bar – the lights, the people, and the energy. In fact, many a night when you were a bit fussy Papa would take you to the bar and you would be happy nearly right away. You and Papa have a special bond. I think this is because he has spent the most time with you. A little secret is that Papa never wanted kids. He even originally thought that I shouldn’t have any. The minute we knew I was pregnant, all of that changed. He has been your biggest fan. When you wake in the middle of the night, your Papa is the one who calms you. He loves you more than any of us ever thought possible. His family loves you too. His sister has visited you and has given you endless hugs and kisses, just like your Daddy’s family. You are the apple of your Papa’s eye and that will never change.

I never expected that a man would hold such sway over my heart, but you certainly do. I wanted you even before you existed, and I feel absolutely blessed to your mother. You are constantly changing and evolving to your new senses and the world around you and it has been an absolute pleasure to be a part of that. In this first year you have overcome some stomach issues, which plagued you in your first few months of life (perhaps your first struggle). You have developed unique and interesting relationships with all your parents as well as your pets (Kara is your dog- she has made that clear). You love taking a bath and swimming in a pool. You tend to prefer savory over sweet. You talk a lot (not many clear words, although “duck” was your first one) and use your right hand to elaborate on what you are saying. Your schedule consists of generally an 8:30 am wake time and an 11:00 pm bedtime. You are adaptable and not easily frightened or aggravated. You only had one cold during your first year of life. You are well liked and very social. Your favorite toys are a red stuffed monkey that your Papa received from his father and a stuffed rat named Rodney. Your favorite color appears to be pink. You aren’t walking quite yet, but you are trying very hard. Your crawl is mesmerizing and you are quick as hell. Your favorite thing to watch (yes- we are awful and let you have screen time) is Baby Einstein. You absolutely love it and crack up at the puppets, especially the zebras. You like to have a pacifier, which we call a “bink.”

I have been fortunate enough to have an amazing support system made up mostly of friends who love and adore you. Of special mention are the following women who have loved not only you (you are adorable) but also me (not as cute) and supported us this first year. Your Aunts –Amanda, Catherine, Christine, Crystal, Daphne, Dawn, Delsie, Dori, Ellen, Jackie, Jessica,  Jo, Keith, Laura, Liza, Marcella and Melissa. Your Uncles – Misty,  Dan and Henry. Your god-parents – Cathy and Cody. The list could go on much further, as I’m sure your other parents have people to add too. You are one well-loved little boy.

Thank you Wilder, for making us all better people. Thank you for teaching us lessons we never knew existed. Thank you for renewing my sense of wonder and excitement. Thank you for making every day an adventure. I love you so much and feel honored to have been able to share this last year with you. You are my heart, my soul and my true inspiration ( I may have stolen that from an old song – but you’re too young to call me on it.)






Sick Days.

October 5th, 2014


Wilder is 49 weeks old.

There are people that I have encountered in my life that I want to help. I don’t know if part of me seeks out this type of relationship because it satisfies me on some level to feel like I am a savior, or because I am just a glutton for punishment. Either way I often find myself in the predicament where I want to “fix” someone I love by taking away their pain or suffering, whether it is physical or emotional. One of the beautiful things that has developed since the birth of our son has been that I invest so much less of my time and energy into these futile exercises. I’m not saying that I don’t still deeply care about the people in my life, nor do I turn a blind eye when they ask for help, but I have become guarded about recklessly dolling out emotional support. As the catch phrase goes – “Ain’t nobody got time for that.” It is utterly exhausting to attempt to help someone who has no interest in helping themselves.


That being said, I have continued my quest for a healthier self. I have been sticking to a more structured schedule which has allowed me to make it to the gym more frequently (which is so important to my mental health) and I have become more aware of the foods I am choosing. It is often hard to make the best nutritional choices when I feel like I am always in a rush. The good thing is that we don’t really buy what I would consider “shitty” food – not many processed items, and we never eat any type of fast food. I worry about Wilder’s eating habits and don’t want to set him up for failure by feeding him crap. He loves vegetables and eats a wide variety of new things. His new trick, which he discovered this past Tuesday, is feeding the dogs from his highchair. He holds food out to get their attention, then drops it and giggles. Sometimes he will hand feed Kara, who has asserted herself as his dog. It’s hard not to laugh at his antics.


Wilder is at an adorable age. It is very exciting to spend time with him in a way that is very dynamic. He is truly like a little sponge, soaking up the world and all its experiences. Andy was bringing me to work one morning this week and we passed Lee getting Wilder out of the car at Saint Coffee. Part of me felt so sullen, feeling frustrated that I had to go into work instead of being able to spend the day with them. I am extremely grateful for my current job, but part of me still wishes that it wasn’t a 40+ hour a week gig. I completely understand the old adage; there are not enough hours in the day. Andy has been under a lot of stress with the opening of Voodoo Lounge. He often falls ill when he extremely stressed and that was the case this past week. He was very sick and confined to his bed for nearly 24 hours. Wilder and I hung out and had a fun time, but he missed Andy cuddling with him. Thankfully the illness only lasted about two days and then things were back to normal. I truly hope that in the future we are in different financial situation so that monetary issues don’t hold such sway over our lives.

Wilder began making a new sound this week. He has been babbling along and does this thing with his right hand, almost like a preacher at a pulpit. But the new sound is a high pitched whine that he makes when he wants water. At first I thought it was really cute but soon it became likened to that sound in Dumb and Dumber and much less entertaining. Regardless, I am glad to see his communication skills expanding. I look forward to a time when he can talk. We read books together every night and he has definitely become more interested in them, actually staying still to listen to what I am reading. Those moments with him on my lap with a book are some of my most precious.


I love having Fridays and Saturdays off because having a week day off means that I can get a lot of 9 to 5 business errands taken care of. What I don’t like about it is that Andy is remarkable busy on these two days so we have very little time together. While I try very hard to be reasonable and understand that our schedules are even more hectic than normal because of the bar situation, I still find my frustration getting the best of me at times. I say it all the time, and I really mean it, I am grateful that Andy is so opposite of me in his reaction to things. I am the hot-headed aggressive one and he is the indifferent passive one. A match made in heaven? Only time continues to tell. Because Andy had to go to work, Wilder and I took a ride to visit my cousin Lisa who is expecting her first child. I like to bring Wilder around so she can see just what she is in for. We had a fun visit, although the unemployment of her child’s father has me a bit uneasy. Lisa is significantly younger than me, and a resilient girl. She actually reminds me a lot of myself. I wish her the absolute best in her relationship but having gone through nearly a whole year of being a parent, I can attest to the struggles and difficulty that no words can really prepare you for. I know whatever happens, she’ll make it through.


Wilder developed some red dots on him that were rather startling. Of course I did what no parent should ever do – I consulted google image. That resulted in an immediate appointment with the pediatrician who was nice enough to see Wilder on a Saturday. Andy took him to the doctor because I had fallen very ill late Thursday night. Dr. Capone asserted that they were most probably flea bites. Nothing too serious. Lee and Clint made sure their cats were up to date on their flea meds and the problem took care of itself. I, on the other hand, was having a rough time.  I had woken on Thursday night feeling very sick to my stomach. I made it to the second floor bathroom and noticed that I was pale as a ghost. I tried to get back upstairs but fainted in the hall, luckily I had called out to Andy so he found me and helped me come around. I crawled back up my stairs and got into bed. I didn’t get out of bed nearly all day Saturday and Sunday. The control freak in me absolutely hates being sick but I had no choice but to take it easy. I did however clean the entire house. Puke bucket not far from reach.

I made an appointment on Sunday to get Wilder’s hair trimmed by his Aunt Jo. I figured it would be nice to get his little bangs trimmed at the very least. I coordinated with both Andy and then Lee to make sure the time would work. Just as I felt everything had been scheduled properly, Andy confessed that he didn’t want to take him in for a haircut. He got very emotional about it. I found it to be incredibly sweet. Needless to say Aunt Jo got a visit the next day but no hairs were trimmed.



September 28th 2014

Wilder is 48 weeks old.


I’m back, and glad to be here. I want to begin with an apology for not posting for the last six months. It has been a turbulent time with some really fantastic high points and a few dark, low points. I am grateful for all the women who have approached me over the last few months with positive comments about this blog and gently encouraged me to come back to it. I have every intention of eventually completing entries for the past weeks. Thankfully, although I have slacked on the blog, I have written in my own journal every day. The perfectionist in me did not want to post anything current without chronicling the past, but the realist in me knows there are only 24 hours to each day. I think the break from posting here was equal parts lack of time, and desire for privacy. Our family, like most new families, has had its struggles and victories. I wanted to give us all space before I put things out there on the internet. I feel like we have grown together in a beautiful way, and while I do not assume we will go effortlessly into the future, we now are better prepared for the turbulence that is parenthood.

It is nearly impossible to fill in the last six months quickly so I beg you, dear reader, to have some patience with me. Several things have changed. I am now a manager at Lucky Pierre’s in the French Quarter. I’m still working 40+ hours a week, but at least now I truly care for my job. Lee is back in school studying interior design and doing quite well, which we are all proud of. Andy had to face the sad news that Flanagan’s will be closing its doors forever on November 9th, as the owner of the building refused to renew the lease. He has been there 10 years, so this was quite a blow. Luckily his business partner purchased the Voodoo Lounge on Rampart Street, so he is working at both bars until November. This has made things much more hectic for our households. Wilder has continued to grow and become lovelier by the day. In late June Wilder started spending two nights a week at Lee’s house and that has been truly wonderful for the relationship of Lee, Wilder and Clint. We sought the help of family therapy in early summer and it has been immensely helpful for all of us. I highly recommend it.  Wilder has traveled to New York, Texas and Florida – all trips without me, and he did great. This summer has taught me to be immensely thankful for good health and to love those around me. I think for now that is a sufficient, albeit brief, catch-up.

On Sunday the 21st I attended a memorial for my dear friend Veronica Russell. I had known Veronica for 8 years and I, like all who knew her, was shocked by her passing. She was a mere 44 years old when she passed away leaving behind a legacy of accomplishments in the New Orleans art community and beyond. I had first met Vee through roller derby. But it was her enthusiasm on the stage that drew us close through the years. When I wrote my first play, I envisioned her and Chris Lane as the lead characters. I knew they were the only two who could pull it off. By some stroke of luck, they agreed to be in my play and those rehearsals have become some of my fondest memories. I had never before written a play, let alone produced or directed one, but with the help of Chris and Vee, we somehow made that play sell out for every performance after opening night. I learned so much about theater and myself during that time. I credit Veronica with helping me to become the playwright that I am today. Our relationship was so fruitful and although I am terribly saddened by our community’s loss, I am beyond grateful that she chose New Orleans as her home and influenced so many of us here.


Photo by Sally Asher

Wilder went with me to the memorial, and stayed for the beginning of it. I went on stage with the roller derby girls and we sang “You Are My Sunshine” which was devastatingly beautiful. I wanted to stay all night to support Sally, Trixie and Chris who poured their hearts into making the memorial perfect, but I had to slip out early. I’m not comfortable with public displays of grief, as they make me feel entirely too vulnerable. I also know that my tendency would have been to drink to numb those feelings, and I didn’t want to travel down that road. I came home with Andy and Wilder instead and looked through some old photos of Veronica and myself and cried softly in my bedroom. She will no doubt be missed by us all.


Photo by Shadow Angelina

Having had a three day weekend one would think I would be in a good mood returning to work. That was not the case. While I do love my job, it doesn’t come without its drama. One of our mangers- in- training made a small mistake that became blown out of proportion by one of the drag queens. Drama with drag queens, you don’t say?!? The original incident was less important than the bullshit that followed. It was cleared up, but not without listening to 5 different versions of what was supposed to be the same story. At least things aren’t boring there. Thankfully the day went by rather quickly. Lee and I had plans to attend Vinsanto’s New Orleans Drag Workshop Dragulation. It was a fun night and the performances were amazing. I think several of the queens will make a nice addition to our club. But more important than the actual show was that Clint watched Wilder for us while we went and was able to get him to bed all on his own. This is a BIG step. I’d say it was a spectacular evening.


On Tuesday Wilder had his fist tumble out of the bed. He was napping with Lee on the futon at the studio. Lee got up to switch the fan off and in those few seconds Wilder climbed right off the bed smacking his head on the ground. He had a little goose egg on his forehead. Lee felt so terrible, which is exactly how I had felt a few weeks back when Wilder fell on the bookcase catching his mouth on a shelf and busting his gums. Of course we all strive to watch him every second and be aware of the dangers that tend to be present everywhere, but it goes to show you how quickly things can happen and how resilient little kids are. I called Dori and told her about it and she said she wrote Paul’s first tumble out of bed in his baby book. Guess it happens to nearly all parents at some point.


Wednesday brought a new addition to our crew at Lucky’s. A previous neighbor of mine started working with me in the morning helping to get the club set up. She has a four year old son who has had his share of health problems which has kept her from being able to commit to full time employment since his birth. It was great to reconnect with her, and I am happy that the hours work for her schedule. Talking with her made me think about the challenges that stay-at-home mothers must face when trying to re-enter the work force. There is little recognition for the hard work that it takes to be a stay-at-home mom. I don’t think I could happily do it all the time. I’m glad that her coming to work with us has opened my eyes to this issue.

Thursday mornings are always busy because Lee keeps Wilder on Monday and Wednesday nights. I was able to fit in not only gym time, but a pedicure before work. For me, pedicures are less about relaxing and more about simple maintenance. My toes were beginning to look like talons. Work was a blast because we had group rehearsals today. The girls (I always call them girls, even if they are biologically men) were working on Lady Marmalade, and it was awesome to watch it come together. My cousin Crystal even stopped by and we had a really nice visit. She is training for a half-marathon in November and is doing so well. I can’t express how proud of her I am. She seems to be happier and have a better outlook on life. I think having a goal is good for all of us, even when it is something that makes us uncomfortable at times. I was excited to pick Wilder up after work because I had missed him. Although I am very grateful that he spends time with Lee and Clint, I have to admit that I miss him a lot when he isn’t home with us. I suppose that is a good thing.


I woke on Friday to the strangest dream about Cody. (Cody moved back to Oregon in June). In this dream he was essentially “breaking up” with me as a friend. We were at a prom or some type of formal function and he was walking out with me when he produced a list of all the reasons he could no longer be my friend. The list was very thorough and quite shocking. I woke up and immediately texted him. He laughed about it and we had a phone call which brought a smile to my face. I thought for sure that after a few months of Cody being gone, I wouldn’t miss him as much, but that hasn’t proven to be true. I hold on to the hope that one day he will move back. Andy had graciously let me sleep in so I returned the nicety by purchasing him a purse on the internet. A chrome bag actually, but he calls it a purse nonetheless. Andy spent the day working so Wilder and I got to hang out. We went shopping then went to Flanagan’s to visit Andy. We also went to Taylor’s gallery and hung out for a while. Taylor loves Wilder and the feeling is reciprocated. Wilder loves the gallery and is quite the conversation piece for people perusing the art.  We dropped back into the bar before heading home and I immediately handed Wilder to Andy over the bar so I could use the Ladies room. I heard a customer say “I love this place” and it made me sorrowful to think of Flanagan’s closing. There is smoking and video poker at the new bar, so Wilder isn’t allowed to be in there. As much as I know change is inevitable, some things I’d like to make last just a little longer.



On Saturday Wilder made 11 months old! We celebrated this by taking a three hour afternoon nap together. Growing is tough business. When I woke from our lovely nap, I had a text message that my cousin Lisa is expecting a baby girl. This is fantastic news, and I’m excited that Wilder is going to have a female cousin to play with. Also, perhaps the presence of another baby will spark my family’s interest in mine. They haven’t been much involved in Wilder’s life and while I understand their reasons, it still is something that has bothered me. Lee’s family lives in Texas and they have spent more time with Wilder in his first year than my own.


Andy, Wilder and I went to a Project Lazarus fundraiser at Catherine’s house that night. It was a lovely party and Wilder was a hit. We saw many people we knew and ran into a couple that had been in our birth class with us. Their daughter had just made a year old. They questioned us as to whether or not we would be having any more children. It seems as though Wilder is at the age where this has become a common inquiry. As much as I love the idea of another child, I don’t love the reality of one. I think that Wilder will be our only child. They agreed that their daughter would probably be their only child as well. I hear this from a lot of parents and it’s something that both surprises and encourages me. Perhaps Wilder won’t be a weirdo if he’s an only child. Only time will tell.


Photo by Catherine Cauley

I got frustrated with Andy late Saturday because he went out after the fundraiser and then didn’t answer his phone several times when I tried to reach him. When this happens I do not fear he is doing something scandalous, I fear he is hurt or dead. New Orleans is a dangerous city and crime is never far from ones front door. I think the combination of the wine I had at the fundraiser and my own fears made me react strongly but I truly hate to worry about someone. I made my point, even if it wasn’t the best delivery.

The week ended with a pleasant day at work followed by quality time with Wilder. I have gotten in the habit of trying to put my phone in a different room when we are playing so that I can be present in our interactions. I remember when I was younger, desperately trying to get my mother’s attention when she would be on the phone and how angry it made me that I felt ignored. I don’t want Wilder to feel this way especially if I am doing something trivial like checking Facebook. It’s an interesting time in history to be a new parent. There is so much technology that can be both good and bad. I finished the week feeling very inspired about future writing projects. Now if I can just find the time to make them come to life.


Picture perfect.

March 23rd 2014

Wilder is 21 weeks old.


The week began with what is usually a big party day for me – St. Patrick’s Day. This year though it consisted of a quick Guinness and a small shot of Jameson, then home to my dumpling of a son. Part of me was glad that the holiday fell on a Monday so I didn’t suffer too badly from feeling like I was missing out on all the fun. Andy worked because as one can imagine, a place named Flanagans gets busy on St. Patrick’s Day. I had a wonderful night at home with Wilder, as he was in a happy mood and we took a few pictures to memorialize his first Irish holiday. I have this tradition of having a drink with my former employer, Jason, on St. Patrick’s Day if he is in town. I knew that he wasn’t in New Orleans, but I texted him anyway to keep up with traditions. I also decided to inquire how his new club was going. He had recently opened up Lucky Pierre’s at 735 Bourbon Street after a long period of the location being completely closed. We had hung out briefly on Mardi Gras day during the adventure that Cody and I shared. I mentioned to him in my text that if he ever needed a day manger I would be interested in the position. He was responsive to that suggestion and told me that he would be in touch. I immediately felt a sense of excitement and fear. I know that I need to find a new job, but change always brings up anxiety in me, even if I know if it is change for the better. I want to be a better parent to my son and a better partner to Andy and I know that this begins with finding a job that makes me hate life a lot less.


On Tuesday I told Cody about my text conversation with Jason. He responded in the way I expected, with depressed indifference. I know that I will really miss seeing Cody every day if I do find another job and while I’d like to imagine that he would come with me, I know he doesn’t have the financial bravery to do so. He does understand my absolute need to find a new path of employment though and I can only hope that if a new opportunity comes to fruition that he would be happy for me. I find myself so frustrated with the negativity at my work. I know that I will always have to deal with unhappy people, I just hope my next job isn’t a company full of them.



Cathy returned from her travels and will be with us for a limited time before she goes home to Texas for a bit. It was so good to see her and I am glad that she is part of our extended family. We moved to our new office suite in the building which was time consuming and annoying. It just goes to show, we  moved to a much nicer office with a lot more space and amenities and everyone was still miserable about the whole thing. I know part of the misery is because it will no doubt be a limited time before we move again. Being a consultant pays well, but the lack of certainty in your financial future is annoying. I was at work on Wednesday night until nearly 10 pm and my cousin stayed until 11 pm. All of that for an employer who doesn’t honor overtime pay. Just another obvious reason I will not be making myself at home in the new office.



Wilder had a revelation this week when he discovered his penis on Thursday. He has obviously touched it before, but not with the intent and interest he exhibited this past week. Now every time I take his diaper off, he immediately reaches for his penis, as if to check to be sure it is still there. I think it’s awesome that he is gaining body awareness. If he is anything like his parents he will have no qualms about nudity.


Amanda helped to ease the pains of moving to a new office by dressing up as the King Cake Baby mascot. It was equal parts terrifying and hilarious. On Friday, Cody, Patrick and I went to lunch at Flanagans. It turned out to be the one day that the cook didn’t show up for his shift and so Andy was kind enough to go in the kitchen and make us food. We had a quick meal and a few beers then headed back to the office for an unproductive Friday afternoon. When we got off work, Amanda and I went to R Bar because our friend Jo was guest bartending there. What was supposed to be one drink turned into quite a few. We had a great time and I felt like it had been forever since Amanda and I went out for a post-work drink. Luckily Andy didn’t have any pressing plans and he was okay with me staying out after work and not coming right home. Later that evening Cathy watched the baby while Andy and I had a dinner date. We went to Slice. We were having a good time until Andy said something that pissed me off, but instead of letting it ruin our evening. I just let it go. Sometimes I feel like I’m getting a little better at this whole relationship thing. It’s only taken ten years.


Wilder must have been really happy to have Cathy watch him because he was apparently exhausted and slept nine hours straight for the first time ever. Andy and I both woke up several times to check on him. That’s something I didn’t realize, but even on nights when he sleeps long hours, I still wake to check on him. We had the photo shoot for our Easter picture on Saturday. I had scheduled it so that everyone would be available. I was a little frustrated because I was told that Clint had somewhere to be, so I rushed through the group picnic shot without feeding a cranky baby. Everyone looked quite dapper, and it was an affair to get Lee, Clint, Andy Cody and Cathy all together. Amanda was nice enough to come and snap the group photo. I was able to capture some really great images of us but I didn’t quite get the one shot I wanted. Clint ended up staying the entire time and I was kicking myself in the ass for rushing the picnic shot when I didn’t need to. I was grateful though for the pictures we managed to get.



That night we went to Pauly and Louis’s art-show in the Bywater. Andy, Lee Kyle, Wilder and I had an excellent time looking at the beautiful works of both boys and mingling with our friends. Cody met me there and then Andy dropped him & me off at the R Bar. Daphne was guest bartending on Saturday night so we began drinking there. We left R Bar and went to Lucky Pierre’s so that I could show Cody the place that I was hoping to work at. We caught part of a burlesque show which was entertaining, but it was apparent that the place needed some direction. We left there and headed to good old Flanagans where we had more drinks and some really delicious fried oysters. We probably could have called it a night there, but I wanted to make an appearance at a friend’s wedding reception in the Bywater. We caught a cab and went to Bacchanals where the timing turned out to be perfect. We caught the beautiful bride outside and were able to wish her and her new husband congratulations. Andy happened to be heading out to meet us so he picked Cody and I up and gave us a ride to Allways Lounge. The three of us watched The Dirty Dime Peep Show, which Cody had never seen. It was a filthy, fun time. After that show, Andy went home and Cody & I went to Mimi’s for the final round of drinks of the night. When I got home, I sent Cody a bunch of texts that thoroughly embarrassed me the following day when I looked through them. Sending drunken pictures is my hobby.



As one can imagine I had a horrible hangover today. I attended Ellen’s birthday brunch at Coquette. The food was delicious and the company was phenomenal but the place was absolutely freezing. I had to leave before dessert because I wanted to die and I was a few degrees away from vomiting. Ellen understood. She’s been in my shoes before. I spent the rest of the day lying around feeling awful. Veronica came over this evening so that we could do some preparing for Chris Lane’s birthday roast which happens this coming week. I think we have some really good material. It was lovely to spend an evening with Veronica, even if I was feeling the pains of my private bar crawl last night. Wilder was in a happy mood and he enjoyed having some lovely company as well.


The tooth is mightier than the sword.

March 16th 2014

Wilder is 20 weeks old.


I started the week with a case of sun poisoning, which left me extremely lethargic. I am usually very diligent about wearing sunscreen but I was hadn’t realized that Crescent Park is nearly devoid of shade. I made it through the work day with the promise of an evening to relax because Lee Kyle stays over on Monday nights to spend time with Wilder. As an added bonus, I get to spend time with him as well. We got into a deep discussion about cultural appropriation and why that has been such a hot topic around New Orleans lately. I loved having this discussion with him because I know some of his art has come under the scrutiny of others. I feel it is very easy to judge the intentions of others when you aren’t engaging in a true discussion with them.


I was inspired by my discussion with Lee Kyle and the next day I emailed a dear friend of mine to ask his feelings on cultural appropriation as he is a different type of artist, and quite successful. He had an eloquent response to my inquiries which included a discussion of classicism and its effects on neighborhoods and attitudes. He brought up “the parish” which is Chalmette, where my family is from. I am not sure why but my response to this reference really stuck with me and forced me to think about my family. I tried to pin-point the moment that I began to feel a sort of shame over my family who was from a place synonymous with blue-collar workers, ignorance and racism and I think it was when I first returned for college and was going to Tulane. I found myself very emotional over the whole thing and ended up talking with Lee Kyle about it that night while I cried. Obviously because all of my immediate family is dead, I can’t have these talks with them. And I cannot apologize to my mother who I know I always made feel less intelligent than myself. I think that is the real kicker. I never want Wilder to feel embarrassed of where he comes from. I hope that he is always prideful of his family, regardless of how different we may be from the norm. It’s amazing all the new perspectives that have overwhelmed me since I’ve become a parent.


Wilder had his belated 4 month visit to the doctor this past Wednesday. He is growing like a weed and weighed in at 16 pounds. He was given a clean bill of health and the doctor agreed that the shape of his head is improving. I had a rough day at work because I got into an argument with one of my co-workers. He was declaring that he didn’t expect to live into older adulthood and I found his comments to be fairly insensitive, seeing that he knows the history of mental illness and suicide in my own family. Sometime our office just isn’t big enough for everyone’s attitude and psychotic breaks. I left work feeling sad and overwhelmed, still dwelling on my feelings from the day before. I went to the park with Andy and felt the frustration of the silence that has become too common place between us. He never really asks about my day at work because he knows my response is going to be that it was awful, and I hate it there. I am hopeful that we are just going through a phase and this isn’t our future. Quiet reflective walks of self-doubt and un-fulfillment.


Thursday marked the beginning of a new stage in our lives as parents. Wilder began teething and it was far, far worse than we expected. I was honestly just getting used to being a parent to an adorable four month old. We were having a really good run. He wasn’t having his nightly screams and our time together was peaceful and lovely, then Thursday came. Wilder stayed up nearly all night screaming and pulling at his tiny mouth. Nothing was soothing him and I was sure that at some point he would pass out from pure exhaustion. I felt that the doctor must have activated something in him the day before, because she had warned us about teething and then it was upon us, like a giant fucking wave. And I think Andy and I both felt that we were drowning. I don’t know how the three of us we made it through the night, but we did. I called the doctor’s office first thing in the morning and they assured us that everything that was happening was normal. Perfect! Now just to deal with his until he has all his teeth. No problem, right? I don’t need sleep or sanity. My heart hurts for little Wilder and his inability to rationalize pain. And poor Andy. He is really such an amazing human being. He handles situations like this with grace and patience. Wilder and I are both very fortunate to have him. Pray for us.


Friday fell to pieces pretty quickly. With a little over two hours of sleep in the preceding 24 hours, it was easy to predict that I was going to lose my shit at work. I did. My boss called and yelled at my cousin about my deadline, which in my defense was pretty pointless on his part. She came to approach the subject with me and I just started my normal tangent of “Fuck this shit. I guess I’m just going to have to turn over a half-done project because apparently when someone is actually trying to do something they get rushed. Maybe I should fuck-off like the majority of people in this company and I’ll have all the time in the world.” Crystal just let me rant and then told me not to worry about it. I’m not going to worry, I just hate the way things are handled in the company. I need to find another job desperately. That night was Hope’s birthday and we went to her party at Flanagans but both Andy and I were too tired to really celebrate. Working a full time job and being a parent is fucking exhausting.


Saturday was a lovely day. Ellen came over in the morning with the girls and she reminded me not to take parenthood so seriously. I am so glad that she is such a big part of our lives. Andy and I have hope in our future because of her and Joel. Here’s to all the parents out there who continue to have their own personalities after they have kids. Andy watched Wilder so that Amanda, Lee Kyle and I could go see Equis. While there were parts of the play that I found fault in, I truly enjoyed it and my amazing company. After the play we three laughed so hard while I took pictures of Lee and Amanda on the porch of a blighted house in the Marigny. It will probably be a Starbucks by next year.


Today welcomed Daphne back from Europe. She came over with gifts for all of us. She does this every time she travels and by the time Wilder is a year old, he is going to have an entire collection of treasures from all over the world. The day continued with more fantastic company. Liza Rose came by with her son Oren who fell in love with the dogs. By early evening we had a house full of kids. Katya was in town visiting Jackie from France and she stopped by with her two daughters and one of Jackie’s “kids”. Wilder loved all the young company and he jumped excitedly in his little bouncy seat. Katya picked him up and sang sweet French songs to him and he loved it. He laughed and smiled the whole time as if she was telling him sweet secrets only they could understand.





Magic & mushrooms.

March 19th 2014

Wilder is 19 weeks old.


This past week was a whirlwind. Monday began very early with a cranky Wilder who didn’t sleep very soundly on the first night in our hotel suite. He woke at 6 am and instead of going back to bed, we got up for the day. I had plans on going for a Lundi Gras morning jog through the quarter, but walked with the baby over to the French bakery instead and ate too many croissants. I let Andy sleep in with the hope that one of my friends would stop by to visit, but it was a cold and quiet day. When Andy woke he went to the bar and I hung out with Wilder while he worked his way through a few screaming fits. I couldn’t blame him though, as I get the same way when I don’t sleep well. When Andy returned I took a nice long nap and had a serious bout of sleep paralysis, which I used to get rather frequently when I was younger. I blamed this incidence on the probability of ghosts in our hotel suite. Later Andy and I went for a stroll and he bought me a few new dresses, which I was very grateful to receive. Lee Kyle came over later with his sewing machine to make some last minute fixes to our costumes for the next day. Andy went to play a show at Allways and I had every intention of going until I realized that it was fucking freezing outside and didn’t want to walk any further than across the street to the bar. I did just that and ended up staying out later than I had planned. Andy met up with me after his show and by the time the two of us made it back to hotel, I was being drunken –bitchy about being hungry. I caught on quickly to my mistake, stopped being so ridiculous and instead of eating something, we had sex and went to bed.


Waking up on Mardi Gras day I discovered that it was raining and really cold. In the mid-thirties cold. In fact this was the coldest Mardi Gras I can remember. At first I was very fearful that the day would be ruined. We all got up around 8:30 and began to put our costumes on. The plan had been to meet the St. Anne’s parade down by Mimi’s, which is something that I do every year. But one step out on the balcony and I knew there was no way I was going to make that happen. Cody showed up a little after we awoke and he hadn’t slept yet, so I sent him up to the bed in the loft. Jennifer Jane stopped by and we had an impromptu photo shoot on the bed in our costumes. I decided that I needed to get my shit together if I was going to enjoy the day, so I had some toast and a beer and ate some mushrooms. Not long after that, my hangover started to catch up with me and the corset I was wearing provided no relief from the nausea I was experiencing. Misty, John and their friends stopped in and I was not very social until I excused myself and went upstairs to throw up. I awoke Cody to the sounds of my vomiting, which I suppose is par for the course on Mardi Gras day. Thank god Misty and her crew had stopped by because they got the party started. Ellen was working at the bar, but her husband Joel brought their daughters and I started to feel much better about the day. Cody got up and we headed over to Flanagans. There were quite a few people there waiting to see our costumes, and I immediately had a cocktail thrust into my hand. What followed was an amazing day of wandering the quarter with Cody, enjoying the mellow high of mushrooms combined with the sweet buzz of good whiskey. I was extremely grateful that Lee Kyle (who is diligently sober) agreed to be responsible for Wilder so that I didn’t have to be on baby duty at all. We went to One eyed Jacks and danced in the VIP section while people watched. We went to Flanagans over and over and (haphazardly) hid in the liquor closet at one point, laughing at our own stupid jokes. We wandered in Jackson Square and lamented the fact that the freezing rain had cleared away all the cross bearing bible-thumpers. We danced in the streets with wandering bands and I made Cody take my picture with two cops (I was dressed as a pig). We went to Monaghans which brought back many wonderful memories for me, and Cody met some adorable Icelandic people who come to New Orleans every year for Mardi Gras. He talked with them for over an hour. We headed down to the Hustler Club and had a cocktail with the owner and his girlfriend and made a cameo in a reality series called Adventures in Boobyland. We held hands and walked fast to stay warm. I made out with a few people and convinced others to make out for my viewing pleasure. Finally after we were very intoxicated, we stumbled back to Flanagans for a final drink and to meet up with one of my friends visiting from out of town. He and his crew came over and we sat on the balcony, overlooking the end of Mardi Gras while eating pizza and talking lovingly. After my friends left, Cody and I both showered and watched a wakeful Wilder while Lee tried to nap and Andy went across the street to the bar. Wilder was wide awake and still ready to party for quite some time which required some Baby Einstein. When Andy returned from the bar around 1 am Cody and I went upstairs and cuddled and slept. I woke around 9 am and joined Andy and Wilder downstairs, feeling better than I expected to be.







Ash Wednesday arrived and we needed to pack up all our crap and get back to the house. I had lofty goals of working a half day, which I laughed about not long after waking. Cody helped us haul everything into the car, then grabbed a cab and headed back uptown. When we got home I unpacked our things and started some laundry while Andy ran to pick us up some take-out. After eating some fried chicken (which is a very rare occurrence), I took a wonderful long nap. I felt a little remorse over my intoxication, which I lovingly call a “shameover” but decided not to waste any energy on it. Sometimes you just need to let things go.



Andy took good care of me on Wednesday and I was ready to reciprocate when he fell ill on Thursday. He started experiencing really bad stomach pains coupled with a slight fever and vertigo. Lee Kyle had Wilder while I was work and when I got home I kept him away from Andy in case his illness was contagious. I called the doctor’s office on Thursday and they called me early Friday morning saying they could see Andy that day. They ended up running a series of tests which determined that he has some intestinal issues that required medication. He was very worn down on Friday after spending all day at the doctors and hospital, so Lee Kyle stayed over and he and I kept Wilder away from Andy once again.


On Saturday Wilder and I got up at 6 am to make the most of the day. We met Dori and her son Paul at the park, which allowed her and me a chance to catch up outside of work. I was surprised at how well Wilder did in the sun, as he generally shows a strong aversion to direct sunlight. Dori gave me a jumperoo that had belonged to a friend of hers. When I got home, after cleaning it thoroughly, I put it together. Wilder loved it. He actually made his first “real” laugh that day while watching the dogs from the new perspective it provides. He finds the dogs very entertaining. If he gets upset I will often take him outside and hold him while I play catch with Kara. He giggles when she brings the toy back and sits waiting for me to throw it. Free amusement.



The week ended with Andy finally feeling better. I was able to escape the house alone and go for a jog at City Park. When I returned home Andy, Lee Kyle and I took Wilder to check out the newly opened Crescent Park on the riverfront. It was a beautiful day but I should have worn sunscreen. Andy felt well enough to watch Wilder for the afternoon, which allowed me the chance to meet up with Amanda for a few beers. We went to Marie’s and enjoyed the weather while drinking with a few other day-timers. We then called Cody and had him meet us for lunch at Santa Fe. After a few pitchers of margaritas we were feeling great. We went for a stroll through the neighborhood and ended up encountering a fellow who lives in the attic apartment of the Luling Mansion, home of the old Jockey Club. He told us the history of the beautiful building, including his own personal, charming story. After that awesome diversion Cody and I headed back to my place, and Amanda went home to hang out with her husband. We decided to bake a cake for the evening’s viewing of the season finale of True Detective. I must admit that Cody is far better baker than I (although most people are). The cake turned out to be delicious, and we even hid a golden king cake baby in it (in reference to the yellow king) which Lee Kyle got in his slice. The boys and I all quieted down to take in the episode and Wilder fell asleep calmly on my shoulder. It was a perfect night.







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