Thursday, June 28, 2007

While I Am Away

For the last few days I have been working hard, much harder than I have in a long time and I don't miss the late hours at the office. It isn't much fun. Instead of feeling sorry for myself I managed to take advantage of the free time and, in addition to working a ton, I have been able to relax (a bit), do some things around the house, and spend time doing things I don't normally have a chance to do (quiet, peaceful dinner with mom; morning coffee with Jen and Betsy; dinner at GG and Papa's George's house; a few longer runs without a dog and jog stroller; dentist appointment - the first in three years-and not without consequences; and long, long, long hot showers). Clearly, it hasn't been all bad. I am looking forward to seeing everyone, especially the bug, and to spending some time relaxing over the next week.

Apparently La Luz is having a grand time with Nana, Papa-T, and her cousin Liam. Here are a few glimpses into what life has been like for her for the past few days:

I am not even sure she realizes I am not around.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

On My Own

I got back to New Orleans a few hours ago and am pretty misreable already. I miss Christian, La Luz, and even Loki more than imagined I would. I figured I would use this week to work hard, organize the house, clean up, and do things I don't normally have a chance to do. Instead, I am feeling unmotivated and lackluster, wishing I hadn't agreed to be away from the gang for an entire week. I hope the week will go by fast and that I will find a way to be productive during this time, as opposed to spending every night on the sofa drinking wine and watching bad tv.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Maybe It Is More Information Than You Wanted

Below is Christian's comment to my 200th post. All of it is true (well, not the part about the sticky movie theater floor, that actually really grosses me out in a major way). I think he knows me pretty well and his memory is much better than mine.

Books...Helprin, Hemingway, and anything that McSweeneys the publisher does...she is McSweeney's obsessed. She might even list a new McSweeneys book under favorite smells, she actually smells them. Bands...She forgot Jeff Buckley and REM. She went to Georgia partly due to REM so if she didn't like them then we never would have met. I owe my marriage to Michael Stipe?? yikes. A love of Jeff Buckley was one of our first things that we shared She currently makes me listen to Blonde Redhead all the time. She also loves all the music her brother Josh makes, and he made her fall in love with Sigur Ros and Blonde Redhead. Movies...She can list various films that she loves but Julie just loves the movie experience more than anything. The smell of popcorn, sticky coke covered floors, the taste of a well made icee and the few minutes of previews make a perfect evening for Julie. She created in me an appreciation for movies, all kinds of movies, she is not a judgmental moviegoer, she just appreciates the experience. Some Foods she missed... Grapefruit, I think she has had a grapefruit a day for the past 5 years. GELATO, if you read this regularly you know by now that Julie likes to make a weekly GELATO trip. Coffee but especially PJs coffee. I remember my first PJS experience with Julie like it was yesterday. In her high school yearbook they said that she would be the most likely to own a PJs. If you add up the cost of every cup of PJS she has had I bet she would own several cafes. Some random things that Julie loves... A really clean counter A freshly made bed, military corners buying fresh fruit, no seriously just buying fresh fruit Travel Shopping for books and CDs(all this is a dying art form) Lounging by a pool She might deny it but she loves to brush her teeth, it takes me about 60 seconds it takes Julie like 3 minutes. And I know she likes it, she really likes it. She likes driving a clean car Julie's favorite thing right now is a Lucy Face Grab. When Lucy is really excited about something and she needs to tell you about it, she gently grabs your cheeks with open hands, pulls herself to about 3 inches from your nose and proceeds to tell you how great the thing is that has made her so excited. We call it the Lucy Face Grab and Julie smiled all night the last time it happened. It is a rare experience but I am certain it is Julie's favorite thing right now. I love you! And we will both miss you next week.

And because they are so cute, two pictures of La Luz that mom-mom took earlier today:

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Don't Know What I'll Do

This is my 200th nolababy post. I had no conception of what I wanted the blog to be when I started. I had no long-term goals. Mostly I just wanted a place to record my thoughts about life with La Luz and it has served me well in that respect. I think most bloggers do special posts when they reach the 100th post but that one came and went a while back and I must've been busy editing discovery responses or microwaving meat sticks. At any rate, I figured I should include something a little different for my 200th post. I don' t have time to do a list of 200 things about me you might not know so you will have to be satisfied with a list of some of my favorite things and other odds and ends.

Favorite Books/Collections
Into Thin Air, Naked, Their Eyes Were Watching God, Who Will Run the Frog Hospital,
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, Unbearable Lightness of Being

Favorite Bands/Musicians
Radiohead, Beatles, Cocteau Twins, Wilco, the Decembrists, Elliot Smith, Belle and Sebastian, Coldplay (yea, so), the Innocence Mission, the Stars, any band Mark Kozelak sings with

Favorite Movies
LA Story, Magnolia, The Big Sleep, Grand Canyon, So I Married An Axe Murderer, Red/White/Blue, To Live, Raise The Red Lantern

Favorite TV
Lost; Entourage; Big Love; Little People, Big World; Top Chef; Rescue Me (if it ever comes on again); The Daily Show. One day about a year ago I decided I shouldn't watch MTV anymore and now I don't, ever.

Favorite Drinks
Iced Coffee, Water, Wine (white and red just not sweet)

Favorite Smells
Night blooming jasmine, sweet olive, Votivo red currant candles, aveda shampure shampoo, La Luz after a bath, burning sugar cane fields

Favorite Pastimes
Reading, listening to music, watching movies, running, pilates, traveling, photography, hanging out with Christian, La Luz and Loki

Favorite Foods
Breakfast but only the sweet stuff - no eggs or breakfast meats, sushi, ice cream

Heights, public speaking (well, looking like an ass, and I worry that is what happens when I speak publicly)

Coming home after a long day of work, a good book, a good cup of coffee, a good song, a good
movie, traveling with Christian, group hugs

We are off to Atlanta on Saturday. Christian, La Luz and Loki will stay for two weeks, I will be back here to work for a week and then will join them in Atlanta for 4th of July. In the interim, there likely will not be much to report, so posts will be few and far between.

Here are a few pictures of La Luz, looking like a rapscallion, from earlier today:

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Clap Your Hands

We celebrated La Luz's birthday once more today at Ashfin with a bunch of her buddies. There's nothing like icing and cheese puffs to turn a bunch of clean, well-dressed toddlers into absolute messes. Overall I think the party was a success. Suffice it to say that it is difficult to capture the attention of twelve kids between the ages of 6 months and 3. I am glad that the only planned event was to sing Happy Birthday because that, in and of itself, was no small task.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

May The Dear Lord Bless You

We celebrated La Luz's second birthday today with family, presents, and a Dora birthday cake. La Luz is in the middle of some sugar-coated dreams, with a new toy in each hand. It seems like yesterday when she was like this (birthday):

and then this (first birthday):

and now here she is today:

Monday, June 18, 2007

Happy Birthday, Beautiful

Tomorrow you turn two Lucy bug and you will have to forgive me if I am resistant to your desire to grow up, act big, and become independent - but it is all happening so fast. There were so many questions that I was supposed to find answers to when you were a baby, still tiny and fitting so easily in the crook of my arm while I rocked you and daydreamed about the things we would do and convinced myself that I am not crazy for bringing you into this world. Back then when you were first born and still now you reminded me, constantly, that you will always be an island of perfection for me in this imperfect place, my constant assurance that there is good and wonder and light.

There is no doubt that you are growing up and so I am forced to make a memory of things that I love the most, as if it were possible to pick...

I love that you still ask me to rock you to sleep at night. It is the same routine that has been in place since you were born, the same routine that has survived through sometimes slight and sometimes profound variation over the course of the last two years. It started with rocking in proper chairs like the one we picked out for your nursery before you were born and then there was rocking in borrowed chairs and on the edges of double beds and in the corners of dark, quiet closets - tiny places of solace and peace set aside for you when you had no room to call your own. And now, in the place you know best, in your room designed from top to bottom by your father and me to be precisely the most wonderful, comfortable place imaginable, the type of place we wanted to be able to give you in the very beginning and couldn't.

I love that when we are rocking you still ask me to read Tumble Bumble, just as we have every night of your life and notwithstanding the fact that you have the entire book memorized and are often overheard reciting it to your dolls. You want to hear it from me, in my voice, with my commentary and if nothing else about my day is predictable I know, at least, that you will want me to read Tumble Bumble and I know that I can do that right.

I love that as you are drifting off to sleep you name all of the parts of my face - eyes, ears, nose, mouth, and giggle hysterically and then you ask me to do the same and to tell you all about what you were like as a baby and what I would do to make you laugh.

And now you are not a baby at all, each day becoming a bit further removed from what you were like when you needed my help to do the simplest of things. Now you can and want to do everything on your own. You dress yourself, parade around the house in my shoes 'running errands', beg to drive the car, talk on cell phones, read books to yourself and your animals, change and feed your babies, feed yourself, recite your favorite songs, list your favorite characters, name your favorite animals, shout your ABCs, count to ten and twenty and sometimes in Spanish and almost have me convinced that you are ready to be out of diapers. You speak in complete sentences and have no trouble getting your point across. You understand directions and convey your thoughts with ease. You have a great sense of humor, even if we do not always agree. I promise one day you will understand why I do not think Goofy is funny. You are courteous and always ask permission, beginning your requests with, "can I..." It is polite and lovely. Your most admirable trait is your sensitivity and sympathetic nature. You are able to recognize sadness almost instantly and are always there to comfort someone with kind words and hugs.

You are all of these incredible things and have become this person in just two years and I can only imagine what you will do tomorrow, much less in your lifetime. Instead of all the questions and the lingering doubts, the only questions now are, "why do I deserve this and will I be able to hold up my end of the deal?" You filled my head with grace and my heart with love and there is no room any more for the questions that plagued me. All there is room for now is the joy and the light that is you, and for even a day of that I am the luckiest person in the world.

Happy Birthday Baby Girl

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Ease Your Feet In The Sea

Our beach weekend started off in the Children's Hospital ER on Wednesday night after La Luz caught a pop fly way up over home plate, arching at about an 85 degree angle, with her foot. She caught it with her foot either because I did a great job of moving her or a terrible job. I am not sure because it all happened so fast but every second of it broke my heart. Aunt Margot, still in scrubs from work earlier, helped us cut through some of the red tape so we were in and out and home with a contusion diagnosis in a matter of hours, which, for an ER trip, is incredible. La Luz detested the x-ray machine and I am sure her foot ached and she was a little scared by all of the attention but, for the most part, she remained in good spirits for the duration of the night:

We left for the beach after a long and stressful day of work on Thursday and it was perfect because I felt like I couldn't get out of town fast enough and wanted to put as much distance as was realistically possible between me and the office. It worked, for the past three days, this is what life has been like for me:

In addition to being the last day of my beach vacation, which is terrible and something I don't want to think about, it is also an incredibly special day because it is Father's Day. On Father's Day in 2005, La Luz broke my water at 8 a.m. and gave Christian a Father's Day present that I will never top. The Charles Grant jersey came close, but not really. So, Happy Father's Day to Pop and Christian and Papa-T. Thanks for being the wonderful fathers that you are.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

New Togs

Here's a picture of La Luz on the sparkling clean kitchen floor (Christian spent the better part of the day on hands and knees scrubbing every square inch of floor space in our house) and wearing the new pants mom-mom picked out, the new shirt Christian picked out, and the new Chuck-T's that I ordered for her and finally arrived:


While Christian was busy cleaning La Luz went to Ashfin for 'camp', followed by an afternoon with mom-mom and evening with GG and Papa George. By all accounts, it was an excellent day.

Monday, June 11, 2007

We Walk In Song

Courtesy of Christian, I had some new tunes to listen to at work while I was wallowing in self-pity, thinking about him and La Luz and how they would be palin' around all day, thick as thieves and something like this by the time I returned from work:

The May mix, or rather the March, April, May mix is in and it is filled with some gems:

Feist - My Man, My Moon and 1234
Peter Bjorn and John - Young Folks and Objects Of My Affection
The Clientele - Since K Got Over Me and E.M.P.T.Y.
Lavender Diamond - Open Your Heart and You Broke My Heart
Laura Veirs - Don't Lose Yourself and Cast A Hook
Gruff Rhys - Candylion and Lonesome Words
The Innocence Mission - Love That Boy and Into Brooklyn, Early In The Morning
Dean Warehem & Britta Phillips - Words You Used To Say
The American Analog Set - Million Young and The Kindness Of Strangers
The Submarines - Peace & Hate and Brighter Discontent
Voxtrot - Everyday and This Place Has Got No Soul, Kid

Generally Christian included one song for him and one for me, though there is some overlap and it is occasionally hard to tell. My favorites today are the Lavender Diamond song, Open Your Heart, and the American Analog Set song, The Kindness of Strangers. Lavender Diamond opened for The Decembrists last time they played here and I enjoyed their set but found them to be a very strange group. I think the songs on this mix are beautiful. I always enjoy a good Innocence Mission song and can't help but love anything Dean Warehem and Britta Phillips do, so those songs were nice treats. The Peter Bjorn and John songs are more for Christian and La Luz, all that whistling is a bit much for me but I have seen them dancing to it. The Voxtrot songs were more nice surprises and I loved the Submarines and the Clientele tracks as well. The Gruff Rhys songs are the most interesting by far. They are reminiscent of something but I can't figure it out yet - great use of the xylephone in the intro to Candylion. I have no idea where the lead singer (Mr. Rhys, perhaps) is from but his accent sounds French or Portugese, no tellin'. The Feist and Laura Veirs songs are perfect. Christian probably heard them and knew instantly I would love them - beautiful female vocals, perfect melodies, so sweet and so lovely.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

The Sun Is About To Come Up

Christian went to a bachelor party in Mississippi over the weekend so La Luz and I were on our own. We chilled out for most of the weekend to ensure that La Luz had a full recovery. By Friday evening she was feeling better and had enough energy to practice her newest trick:

I watched Mira Nair's, Vanity Fair with Reese Witherspoon on Friday night. I loved it. I thought it was beautiful to look at and made the story much more interesting to me. For some reason I struggled through the book, all the while believing that I should have been much more entertained. The movie filled in all of the missing links for me.

On Saturday, fueled by the scones and brownies that Jessie dropped off, La Luz and I went to the Crescent City Farmers Market and ran a few errands.

I watched a few episodes of Big Love on Saturday night, yet another recorded program that I knew Christian would not ever want to see. I am starting to get a bit addicted to it and I have no idea why. I don't particularly like any of the characters. I feel no sympathy for any of their struggles and I find the whole story bizarre, and yet, I am hooked. I can't explain it.

Christian returned Sunday around noon to La Luz's screams of delight. My usefulness to her had long worn off and she needed a new face to look at. By Sunday evening she was outside, running after Loki, playing at the park, and covered in sweat.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

What's He Got

La Luz and I had a long night together on her floor. She moved around the entire night, kicked me periodically, babbled incoherently, insisted on having her diaper changed at random times, and generally prohibited me from capturing more than an hour of sleep at a time. I blame it on the ridiculously high fever. By morning her fever was down and a trip to the doctor confirmed that her tonsils are red and swollen and her throat is covered in white dots - probably a virus, maybe strep - the results are not 100% in yet. I 'worked' from home this morning and was completely unproductive. The only thing I accomplished was folding four t-shirts and two towels. I couldn't even manage to get La Luz to eat or drink. This is what she was like with me:

In stark contrast, here's what happened when Christian got home from volleyball and I headed off to work this afternoon:

Apparently, while I was gone she ate a plate of macaroni, drank Pedialyte and, I guess, wore some sunglasses. Somehow it just doesn't seem fair.


La Luz lounged around all day yesterday at mom-mom's feeling generally lousy and running a bit of a fever. By around 8 o'clock last night she had been without fever for a few hours, was in a great mood, and seemed to have rebounded. Thinking she was okay, I headed to Sucre with mom and Aunt Margot to meet up with AJ, Uncle Edward, Mary and Sarah. Sarah is in town for just a few days to take care of some of the wedding stuff so I wanted to have a chance to hang out. In the hour and a half that I was gone La Luz's temperature went up to 105 and I think Christian was about to kill me for not hearing/answering my phone. It was a long night last night and La Luz is still dragging so I am working from home today and will be take her to the doctor this morning to try to fix whatever is wrong with her. Despite feeling so bad, she still made an effort to smile for the camera.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

What It's Like Out West

With the exception of a few trips to Houston and then my honeymoon in California, I have very little exposure to what lies west of New Orleans. Pop returned from his road trip with Richmond late last night and we joined him and mom-mom for dinner tonight and got to hear about some of the highlights of the trip. We also got to check out the great loot Pop and Richmond picked out for us - a stuffed moose for La Luz (which she refers to as her deer) and a t-shirt from Yellowstone, buffalo jerky for Christian, and a cool Yellowstone trivet for me which will come in very handy. It sounds like they had an incredible time and I only hope that I have a chance to see some of what they have seen sometime in my life. Here's just one picture of some of the sights.

Richmond said he will be posting more on his flickr site soon so I will eventually have a link.

I have some work to do tonight and am edgy because La Luz seems to be - maybe - sick. She wasn't acting like herself tonight and was running a bit of a fever and refused to take any Tylenol. I guess it is just one more thing to complicate the already somewhat confusing and chaotic summer schedule - who is going where when, who is dropping off, who is picking up. What would we do without mom-mom? This would all be almost impossible. So, here I sit, fingers crossed, hoping this will pass and tomorrow morning she will be back to her old self, singing in her crib and instead of juggling schedules and making plans I will be daydreaming about my future trip out west.

Monday, June 04, 2007

And Then Suddenly

Tonight two very important pastimes came together for some incredible entertainment - the nightly changing of various dolls' and animals' diapers coupled with the nightly game of dress-up involving whatever pair of my shoes La Luz decides to dig out of the baskets. The result:

In addition to Sunday evenings, I also hate Mondays. I don't have a problem with any of the other days and, in fact, I love Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sunday mornings. Today it was rainy and gray and I had trouble concentrating. I watched the clock, a lot. I daydreamed about the beach, a lot. I wasted time thinking about what I would rather be doing and I ended the day feeling generally less productive than I would have liked. I spent 45 minutes outside on the front porch enjoying a little bit of sun that snuck out at the last minute and watching La Luz look around the yard for one of the neighborhood cats - again, unproductive but this time, blissful.

Today I got further details from the guys at Phoenix recycling about their program. They hope to get started by the fall and they anticipate that the cost will be $15 per month. They intend to reduce the price, depending on participation. For obvious reasons they are not circulating fliers so the news is being spread via word of mouth. I want to see this program succeed so please, those of you in New Orleans, consider joining and send the guys at and email so that you can get on their mailing list.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Take Me Away

In retrospect it seems like we packed an incredible amount of activity into 48 hours. I suppose that is why I am not necessarily feeling well-rested. I don't like Sunday nights; I never have. I hate thinking about the doldrums of the work week, the routine, the ennui, the stress. It is a shame that I have not figured out how to suck every last bit of joy out Sunday night instead of spending it preoccupied with what lies ahead. I made a valiant effort tonight. La Luz, Christian, and I went to the museum around 8 to catch the Femme Femme Femme exhibit, which is open tonight until midnight. I am a total procrastinator and waited until almost the zero hour to catch it and I am glad we went. La Luz enjoyed it too - though I think she was most excited about leaving the house at night, in p.j.s, with bun bun and about the stop at Brocato's for ice cream on the way home.

Friday night was an uncharacteristically late night for us. Earlier in the day Christian took the Lifesavas, a hip hop band from Portland, on the Katrina tour. The Lifesavas contacted Christian because they are friends with the Decembrists, the band that Christian took on the same tour a few months ago when they were in town for a show. Hip hop is absolutely not my thing. Way back when I used to dig A Tribe Called Quest and De La Soul but that was about the extent of my interest and my ipod is noticeably devoid of any sort of hip hop these days. The Lifesavas gave Christian passes to their show so we decided to check it out even though it didn't even start until 11:30. I did not have high expectations going into it but the show was excellent and opened my mind a bit. I guess I am not too old to be exposed to new music. Who would have thought that I would enjoy the music of a band who has a guest appearance by a gentleman named, Smif' N' Wessun.

La Luz and I met up with Jen, baby Betsy and Michelle for coffee on Saturday morning. It was wonderful to see Michelle. We were in law school together and now she lives in Houston and I get to see her very rarely so it was a nice treat to spend a few hours with her. After coffee, I headed to the north shore with Jessie and Tiffany to spend the day in the sun at Kim's where we lounged around in the pool and were, essentially, waited on hand and foot by Brad. It was absolute luxury and a rejuvenating afternoon for me. Meanwhile, Christian and La Luz went to the Freret Street Festival where La Luz apparently danced until she dropped while watching Sunpie. On Saturday La Luz spent the night at mom-mom's so Christian and I had a lovely night to ourselves - dinner at Martinique, which was excellent and then we went to see, Knocked-Up. It was crass but totally entertaining and hilarious.

We spent most of the day today doing yard work. Christian unearthed the beach toys in anticipation of our upcoming beach vacation and La Luz immediately started playing with them. I think she is ready: