Sunday, September 24, 2017

Tongue Twisted - or - The Time I Met Poppy Tooker

I think most of you are familiar with Poppy Tooker, the radio host for NPR.  She's the one who drawls out the name of her show - Lou-weeee-siana Eats.   It a great program that covers history of local foods, processes and techniques.  She also interviews famous chefs and travels for food related stories.  I like to drive around doing my Saturday morning errands listening to her.

Most of you probably are not familiar with my old, long-lost pug - Took.  Took was my very dear buddy for many years and I still miss him very much.  He was playful all his life - like a puppy.  So I always affectionately called him Puppy Tookie.

Maybe you can already see where this is going.

So one day my friend Pemmie, who owned the Oil & Vinegar store in Covington, invited my friend, Dian, and I to a book signing at the store.  Poppy Tooker was going to be there to sign her newly- released book.  We agreed and showed up.  Dian, who knows everyone in this hemisphere, introduced me to the author.  And then lightening struck.  The verbal disfunction of a lifetime came over me. It was the most bizarre moment.  I opened my mouth and blurted,  "Nice to meet you PUPPY TOOKIE."

I shook my head and laughed, a little embarrasesd.  "Sorry," I said, "I mean, PUPPY TOOKIE."  I laughed again.  "No, wait  I mean PUPPY TOOKIE."

At this point Poppy was staring at me and starting to pull back her hand, a little afraid to shake mine.  I just know she was full-on having thoughts about 'crazed fans' and was thinking of making a break for the door.  I glanced over at my friend Dian.  I felt horrified.  She looked mortified.  Later she told me that she thought I was having a stroke.   I had to wonder myself.

I finally just mumbled something like, "Sorry --I --- I have a dog."  Then I just gave up.  I walked away laughing, red faced and kind of mystified.

Dian said a few words to Poppy and then followed me.  "What is wrong with you?" she hissed.

"I know!  This is even weirder than normal for me!" I said, shaking my head,

A couple of weeks later I learned that Poppy would be doing another book signing at an art show.  I decided to try to make amends.  So I painted a little painting of her in her wonderful, signature fork and knife earrings.  When the art show came around I went and found her.  She saw me coming and looked around for an escape.

But I was ready.  All morning I had practiced her name,  "It's not Puppy Tookie, it's not Puppy Tookie! Just stick with just Poppy and you'll be alright."  I walked up and said loudly, "POPPY!"  Once I got her first name out right, It was like a spell was broken. I explained to her about my dog and gave her the painting.  I think she got a kick out of the whole thing.  She is a pretty gracious person and we were able to laugh about it in the end.

My takeaway from this is that it's not every day you get to fix something you screwed up so when you do, be grateful.  And I am grateful.  Thanks for the do-over,  PUPPY TOOKIE.  Aw Dammit!

Sunday, September 17, 2017

On Being a Chameleon

There is nothing certain in this life except change.  Some people fear it.  You'd have to be crazy not to be wary of some of it - it can be dangerous -(e.g. the changes you go through when your house floods from a hurricane.)  But life is full of lesser changes (e.g. job changes, location changes, changes in marriage status, changes in social status, changes in style ,etc, etc, )  and, for the most part, I've always embraced them.  Welcomed them even.

When I was younger I used to watch and admire people who dug into their stations in life and stayed in line and came out the other side in one piece, steady and strong.  I still admire them.  They were the kind of people  who knew who they were and stayed true to themselves -  they made life-long friends, held one kind of job, in and around one location.  I used to think something was wrong with me because I had a VERY hard time with that.  I'd be on a track going along just fine and then I would hit a point where other ideas, adventures - yes changes - would occur to me.  I would have thoughts like "What if I did that?  What if I became this person?  What if I lived over there?  What if I studied that? "  And those thoughts would not be fleeting.  They would haunt.  But here's the main thing - I loved those thoughts.  Still do. These were the moments in my life that brought great joy and excitement.  They brought the juice.

It took many years for me to accept the fact that I just like changing it up.  It is who I am inherently.   I like tasting different aspects of life - and I like doing it in different locations with different lifestyles, wearing different types of fashion and in different occupations.  I accept now that it is OK for me to go where my heart sings.  And to be a chameleon.

And so without planning ahead to live such a life - it was organic - I find that there's a long list of chameleon-like changes that have occurred.

For instance:

Locations:  I've moved over 30 times in my life.  I own a house and keep it rented out just in case I ever decide to stop moving.  But that hasn't happened yet.  I've lived in many states and in other countries.  I've even lived in many neighborhoods in my own beloved hometown of New Orleans.

Lifestyles:  I've lived in mini-mansions, on tropical islands and dead-broke in a motel.

Occupations:  I've been an employment counselor, a life coach, a real estate consultant, a pastry chef,  a caterer, a law clerk, a copywriter, a public relations manager, a marketing manager, a psychic, a pie company owner, an exercise instructor, a dress shop owner, a radio show host, an author, a speaker, a sales person who has sold art, cars, software, clothes, cell phones & yoga retreats, and, of course, I've been an artist.

Studies:  English, Law, Medicine, Business  & Culinary arts.  (I studies all these and I ended up becoming an artist - go figure!)

Hair: Even my hair has gone thru the changes, I've been red, blonde, brunette, streaked, with blonde and blue, long, short, medium and chock full of extensions.

And we won't even talk about the fashion styles changes I've been through!

Of course, I've paid a price for these changes.  They have been exciting, thrilling even.  And interesting.  I've led a fairly interesting life (isn't that a Chinese curse?)  But they've cost me.  They've cost me a lot of money.  They've cost me, with a few exceptions,  the luxury of lifelong friends, relationships and resources.  They've cost me marriages.  I've made peace with myself over all this - you can't have it both ways.  I couldn't.

Either I had to do all those things in order to find the real person I am - the one who will stay (perhaps this incarnation as an artist)- or the next adventure is right around the corner.  I never know.  And it's OK either way.  I figure I'm healthy so I've still got a couple of decades left to find out. Knock wood.

My biggest take away from this life - the wiser (read older) I get, the more I realize that it's not the WHAT or WHERE I AM in this life that matters.  It is the HOW I AM IN THIS WORLD that counts.

Ever onward.
#NewOrleansart #Jaxfreyart


Mama Jax from New Orleans, LA.
Jax Frey is an artist who creates bold, colorful, super-textured paintings of all things New Orleans. Look for Jax's line of New Orleans mini paintings, her favorite painting series of New Orleans women called the Gumbeaux Sistahs (I love those chicks!) and other favorite Jax products on her website - I hope you enjoy your visit here and your comments make my day!

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