Tuesday, November 27, 2007


I am on a 6:15 flight to Atlanta tomorrow morning and am already dreading what it feels like to be awake and cold and getting gussied up in a suit at 4:30 a.m. I would much rather do just about anything, even hand-pick pieces of Loki's dog hair off of Christian's winter coat. I have to be in Atlanta for work for a few days and I decided to take an extra day to spend time with my family while I am there. I wish Christian and La Luz could come with me but we just couldn't make the schedules work. I hate leaving them for anything more than a full day of work, but somehow I think they will be okay without me around for a few days.

Monday, November 26, 2007

A Little Cyber Shopping For Stuff I Think Is Cool

As I get older I do less Christmas shopping each year. Somehow it has just worked out, thankfully, that we stopped focusing on buying stuff and started concentrating on just enjoying being together for the holidays. Nevertheless, there are still a few things that catch my eye now and then and it is really hard not to get caught up in the consumer frenzy that surrounds Christmas - black Friday, cyber Monday - it is all so silly and yet, at least on some level, it is making me want to purchase stuff.

Here are a few of things that I think are cool and wouldn't mind buying for myself, my friends, and/or my loved ones:

Reidel stemless wine glasses. Prefect for the wine-guzzling klutz.

Timbuk 2 laptop messenger bag because it holds everything an attorney needs but is a great disguise.

Banana Republic shirt in cranberry red because it is totally festive and looks like it would fit like a glove. The best part is that nobody would notice if you didn't brush your hair.

Neutrogena Minerals powder in Illuminator - for those of you who, like me, are too old not to wear makeup.

Ipod Nano - because, thanks again Apple, it is just so tiny and oh-so-cute.

Book Two of Lian Hearn's Otori series because Book One was such a great read.

Garmin pedometer that does all kinds of crazy things associated with your workout. I doubt I could get through the manual that likely accompanies it though.

A gift certificate for a few solo-reformer sessions at Romney Pilates. Wow. Totally indulgent but perhaps even better than a massage?

Don't get me wrong, I don't need and have not asked for any of this stuff. It is just that now and then I enjoy a bit of shopping and daydreaming and what better day to do it than on Cyber Monday.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Giving Thanks

I am holding on to the last few hours of my Thanksgiving vacation and stretching it out as long as possible. At the end of a break I always have an urge to stay up all night in an effort to prolong the awful inevitable. If I weren't yawning already I might stand a chance. I can't complain too much though, the next few weeks should be nice. It is my favorite time of year after all. It always seems like work is a little more laid back during the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

We spent most of the past few days in Thibodaux with the rest of my extended family. It was great to have a chance to visit with my cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents. I accomplished almost everything on the list and, most importantly, feel very well-rested for the first time in a long time. The energy is thanks, in large part, to having a ton of help with La Luz and is also due to the fact that the country air turns La Luz into a hibernating bear. She took four hour naps and slept until 9 almost every day.

La Luz spent most of the weekend playing with her t-ball set, throwing rocks in ditches, chasing the dogs, chasing the dogs in the golf cart, chasing the dogs while being held by her cousins, looking for the horses, feeding the horses sugar cubes, and picking satsumas, oranges, and grapefruit. I am surprised she is not orange considering how much citrus she ate in 4 days.

I read a ton (magazines and my book - which is excellent and totally frustrating and has taken whatever small amount of pleasure I had in grocery shopping away entirely - even shopping at Whole Foods - forget it, it is not enjoyable anymore). I also managed to fit in a ten mile run to keep up with the marathon training program. The best part of the run (other than the scenery) was that I finally outran Loki. I don't think he has exerted any energy, save what it takes to eat a bowl of food, since then.

Here are some of the highlights:

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Dust Off The Dungarees

Tomorrow after work we are headed to the land of satsumas and sugar cane for four days of uninterrupted r and r. There is nothing I enjoy more than being away from the day to day distractions and stresses of my life. I have no lofty goals for the next few days. I am realistic. However, I plan to at least attempt to do the following things:

1. get some sleep, real sleep, extra sleep because I have been feeling a bit on the grouchy side lately;

2. read my book because I have only read about 10 pages in the last three weeks';

3. work on La Luz's potty training in a major way;

4. read some of the recycled magazines courtesy of the Haynes family;

5. figure out some new hairstyles to tame La Luz's increasingly unmanageable hair;

6. solve the mystery of why La Luz suddenly cannot stand to have her hair washed and practically has a coronary at the mere mention of the word 'bath'; and

7. remind La Luz about the importance of sharing and being nice to other people, even when you really don't feel like it.

I managed to take a couple of pictures of La Luz tonight after we returned from the Miracle on Fulton Street extravaganza. Incidentally, if you are in New Orleans and dig Christmas you should definitely check it out. The Fulton street alley is completely decked in trees, ornaments, and lights. There are 'snow' machines, carolers, bands, food, beverages, Christmas displays, Santa (replete with sled), a gigantic gingerbread house, the list goes on. We spent about an hour there with La Luz tonight and she loved every minute of it.

So, here she is after a rare moment of allowing me to touch her hair with a brush:

and watching the Peanuts Thanksgiving special.

She watched it all the way through and even laughed. This was certainly a proud moment for me.

Happy Thanksgiving everybody!

Monday, November 19, 2007

In Just 11 Hours

It would have been less time away but after work I was on a mission to find these Dora yogurt drinks that La Luz has recently become addicted to, so I didn't get home until closer to 7:00. So much happened during the time I was gone from 8:00 this morning until I returned just a few hours ago. Most notably, I returned to find that Christian had weasled his way into 'most favored parent' position. Here's the look I got when I suggested La Luz might want to spend some time with me while Christian enjoyed a minute or two to himself:

I also missed out on La Luz's first movie-watching experience. Christian took her to see Bee Movie and she loved every minute of it. It stands to reason, she did it about 100 times in utero, including the night before her birth.

They also apparently got bored for a bit there because they came up with all of these quasi-gymnastic moves and made me sit through the routine. Twice.

At the end of the routine it was clear who had the better day.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Me Vs. Them

Christian and La Luz officially started their Thanksgiving break on Friday. Needless to say, it was a vastly different weekend for the two of them than it was for me. Earlier today I felt the creeping dread of the start of the work week. It is a short week, but Monday is always Monday, no matter what. As I started getting anxious and began running around the house 'organizing' things, the two of them lounged around on the sofa, chased each other around the house, and made plans for the week ahead - none of which included me.

I can't complain, I indulged a bit this weekend. I played, well practiced, a lot of tennis since I have become completely addicted. I also managed to fit in a long(ish) run.

I usually take tons of pictures over the weekend but, for some reason, we have been too busy the past few days. Here's one Christian took on Friday night before leaving the house for dinner at Ninja. La Luz has decided that, from now on, she needs to wear her Dora backpack any time she leaves the house. Weird.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Here's What I Missed

November Tunes Make Me Think Of Cool Days

Here it is, fast on the heels of the Halloween mix, and it is quite good:

1. No One's Gonna Love You - Band of Horses
2. National Anthem of Nowhere - Apostle of Hustle
3. Jealousy - Spoon
4. I Dreamt Love Was a Crime - The Foxgloves
5. Open - Dub Pistols
6. Falling Off My Feet Again - The Siddelys (am I reading your writing right?)
7. When Did You Heart Go Missing - Rooney
8. Boy With A Coin - Iron & Wine
9. Watch Me Fall Apart - Hard-Fi
10. Spring Succeeds - Olivia Tremor Control
11. Suckers - Super Furry Animals
12. Teardrop - Jose Gonzales
13. Choir Vandals - American Analog Set
14. So Blind - Ladybug Transistor
15. Human Hands - Sondre Lerche
16. Butterly Nets - Bishop Allen
17. Selfish Team - Travis
18. To Die In East LA - West Indian Girl
19. Too Beautiful to F*** - Broken Social Scene
20. Tokyo Moon - Windmill
21. Carnival on 7th - Clientele
22. People Have a Way - Matt Pond PA
23 Shoot the Poet - The Cribs

I could very easily have some of the artists and titles juxtaposed and/or spelled incorrectly. I had a tough time reading Xian's handwriting.

My favorite and the most delightful surprise is the Bishop Allen song. I love it and of course Christian would have figured it out. If I could pick theme music, I supposed this would be it. Usually this is how my life feels. I also really dig the Band of Horses song and I think the Apostle of Hustle song is really going to grow on me. I already like it but think in about 5 listens I am going to love it. Jose Gonzales' version of Teardrop is beautiful. It might be hard to mess up that song though. Of course I also love the Siddely's (is that their name) song. I know that one is for me because I can't imagine Christian can make it through more than about 20 seconds of that song. There's some other really good stuff on there, the Fox Gloves song is beautiful, even if a touch depressing. The Hard Fi song is also very intense and dark but I love the cadence and know that is why this song is on the mix. The Dub Pistols is just silly. I can always count on Christian to make me laugh and keep things light. Thanks for that one pal. Same with the obligatory easy melody. It wouldn't be a mix for me without Travis or Coldplay I guess.

No La Luz pictures today. I am going straight from work to a Bar Association dinner and I think she will be in bed and (hopefully) asleep before I get home.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Stumbling A Little

I think La Luz has finally peaked in the terrible twos phase. Generally speaking, disciplining La Luz has been easy, and maybe that is part of the problem. I haven't ever had to yell or scream at her, never reprimanded her in a major way, never spanked or grabbed (not that I necessarily ever would), and never used 'time out'...until tonight.

I came home from work a little bit early, 6:00. Wow, I know, how nice of me. I was totally excited to see La Luz, particularly since I knew I only had an hour of play time before the bed and bath routine was supposed to begin under the new regime. Because I was excited to see her, I guess I sort of got up in her face a little and she said, "get away from me" and sort of swatted in my general direction with a limp hand. I backed up a bit but continued my probing questions, "what did you have for dinner? was it delicious? are you feeding your baby? how nice of you. how was school? are you ready for your thanksgiving feast tomorrow?" It was, apparently, too much to process and she did it again, this time with more exasperation and force. I decided that 'time out' was in order. I really had to think on my feet. I improvised and decided that the steps would be a good place for her to sit and think. I remember seeing the steps used in an episode of Nanny 911 once and it seemed to work well. So, I put her there, stifling laughs the entire time, and she cried. I left her there for two minutes and begged for contrition but, at the end of it, she wasn't all that remorseful, which kind of made me laugh. I know it is important to establish rules and boundaries but I am wondering if I have the first kid who is resistant to such things. Maybe it just won't work on her? Maybe this was just a fluke? After all, how could someone that looks like this

possibly merit punishment, ever?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

When 5 Feels Like 9

I love daylight savings. I love the cold weather that is supposed to come with it. I love the holidays that follow fast behind the time change. I love the light mornings and I even love the dark nights. This year the time change has impacted me greater than any other year I can remember, however, and it has not been all good. At work I find myself becoming restless, unfocused, and ready to start 'wrapping things up' by about 4:30. By 5:30 I am wondering how people are still in the office. I think to myself, "are they crazy? It is dark out there". The most unfortunate side-effect is that La Luz is exhausted by 7:30 so we had to move her bedtime up. Daylight savings has drastically cut in to our evening playtime during the week and I am not happy about it.

Here she is, during the brief 45 minutes we were together tonight, playing on the kitchen floor:

Monday, November 12, 2007

The Two Sides Of La Luz

As La Luz gets older her personality becomes a bit more defined. She was born on June 19th and, as a result, is a Gemini. I don't really buy into astrology much but I have always been entertained by how most of the people I know tend to have traits associated with their particular astrological sign. For example, I am a total Libra. I crave consistency and balance, avoid controversy and thrive when things are fair. My mom is a Libra and is much the same way. My little sister is a Gemini and has always had a split personality. It is because of my experiences with Molly that I was both fearful of and fascinated by what La Luz's personality would be like. Maybe it is because she is 2 and 1/2, but lately I have had the opportunity to see two very different sides of La Luz. The interesting part is that La Luz's mood can change in a matter of seconds, and the swings are profound.

On the one hand there is this, 'don't mess with me, in fact, don't look at me' nonsense:

and then, just seconds later there is this, 'awww, shucks, it just little old me' ball of love:

It keeps things interesting for sure.

Happy Birthday to Aunt Lucy and to La Luz's Argentine aunt Toita! I hope you both had wonderful birthdays. We love you!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Fly In And Take Me Away

The weekend was completely packed with exciting activities. The high point was, of course, the visit from Nana and Papa-T who always make life extra-special when they are around. The low point was, perhaps, La Luz's temper tantrum on Sunday night when I refused her third request for Cheetos. They are the natural version of Cheetos, but I am still not convinced that I should let her eat them on demand, to the exclusion of well-balanced meals. I am actually not even sure what natural means since I haven't read the label and bothered to compare them to regular Cheetos.

La Luz was completely spoiled this weekend, we all were. Nana and Papa-T babysat on Friday and Saturday night so we were able to attend the volleyball party on Friday night and see a movie (Darjeeling Limited, which was sort of excellent, incidentally) on Saturday. We kept Papa-T and Nana busy all weekend. We even managed a quick trip to the zoo, dinner at Frankie and Johnny's with Mom-mom and Pop, and breakfast at Bluebird. Small wonder La Luz was wiped out by 7:00 tonight.

I started tennis lessons this weekend and loved it. I have talked about taking lessons for years now but just wasn't ever able to make it happen, until now. I am really looking forward to my next lesson and I hope that I stick with it and improve. I want to be able to play Christian and have it be, at least a little bit, challenging for him. I haven't played in years, except for that one time in lawschool when I tried to play Christian and he just laughed at me and then got mad. Consequently, I am very sore, but I guess that is a good thing.

Here's La Luz, outside of Audubon Park with Nana and Papa-T:

and at the airport, helping Papa-T get his plane ready for the flight back to Atlanta:

and with Nana, sad to see her go:

Time and distance don't yet make sense to La Luz. She knows that Nana and Papa-T live in Atlanta and that they get to see her cousins and her Aunt Susan and Uncle Marty, but she doesn't understand that it means that she can't see them whenever she wants. It sort of makes me sad when she tells me that she will be waiting for Nana to wake her up from her nap and I know that isn't possible. I suppose it is what makes the weekend visits so special.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Cutting And Pasting

No pictures today because La Luz is still not feeling great. Christian took her to the doctor this morning and it turns out she has a virus. The weirdest part about her diagnosis is that the doctor believes the intermittent limp is viral tendonitis related to the cold/cough. Apparently the doctor has seen five or six kids over the past few weeks with identical symptoms. The good news is that with rest, motrin/tylenol, and plenty of fluids, La Luz will be back to her old self in no time. I hope that she rallies tomorrow because Nana and Papa-T are planning on flying in town for the weekend, weather permitting.

Here are a few pictures of the recent additions to Gallery La Luz. It appears they have been busy at school:

Tomorrow is Aunt Margot's birthday. Happy Happy Birthday Aunt Margot, with all of our love.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

It Should Come As No Surpise

The cold weather is here and, along with it, La Luz's first, full-blown illness of the school year. It is remarkable that she has lasted this long without getting sick, so I cannot really complain. By this time last year La Luz was on her third or fourth infection and another round of antibiotics.

It is sad to see her feeling so lousy and pathetic. She has no appetite, no energy, and no interest in anything in particular. She spent the majority of the afternoon and evening under piles of blankets watching Toy Story. In addition to the cold or whatever illness she is fighting, La Luz has been dealing with an intermittent limp for close to 2 weeks. There is really no explanation for what triggers the limp and it is completely inconsistent. I guess the doctor will be able to tell us what to do about it when Christian brings her in tomorrow morning. She is a mess, as if the cold and limp were not enough, La Luz has been raising eyebrows at school lately because she has somehow figured out that if she doesn't go to the bathroom at all while she is at school nobody can bother her about the toilet or a new diaper. As a result, she has figured out how to make it from 8:30 until 3:30 without going to the bathroom. I think her motivation is obvious and I am somewhat impressed with her will-power, but I would like to hear the pediatrician tell me that she is going to be okay and that I am not doing anything wrong.

I tried to take a picture of her, so rosy with fever and sweet with lethargy but she wanted nothing of it. Maybe I will have better luck tomorrow.

Happy Birthday to AJ and Sarah with all of our love and best wishes. Sarah, we miss you and hope you are having a wonderful time on your honeymoon!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

So Here We Are And There We Were

I had to work late tonight - the kind of late I used to work years ago when I only had a dog to take care of and La Luz was not even in my wildest dreams. I am sleepy. I have a busy day tomorrow and (probably) on Thursday and, in addition to my job, there are some other things causing me to feel preoccupied and restless. I missed La Luz tonight. She was fed, bathed, and in bed long before I made it home. My favorite part of the day is the time I spend getting La Luz ready for bed, so my heart breaks a little bit every time I miss out on it.

Here we are last night, just right together:

Monday, November 05, 2007

Just Two Wheels

I recently took mom's old Mesa Runner mountain bike (probably one of the first, mass-produced mountain bikes on the market) to GNO to have a baby seat installed on it. Our bikes were destroyed in Katrina and we never got around to replacing them. Lately, La Luz has been very into bikes and the idea of riding around on a bike. I also need another good cross training activity if I am actually going to run the marathon at the end of February, so I decided I should get a bike and that I should put a seat on it. Seats are much more expensive than I anticipated. Instead of buying a new bike and a new seat, mom and pop said I could use the Mesa Runner since it was basically sitting in the shed at their house. The seat was installed last weekend and La Luz was hooked after just one ride. She asks to go on a bike ride every day and when we can't, she stares out of the kitchen window onto the back deck where the bike rests, just waiting for a ride.

I have vivid memories of riding around on the back of mom and pop's bikes. I will never forget what it felt like to ride on the back of the bike and see the world from that position, so unlike driving and even walking. I think La Luz feels the same way. Here she is on Saturday morning all geared up for her ride:

Sunday, November 04, 2007

A Very Portervent Weekend

Most of the past few days have been consumed with Sarah and Cheairs' wedding and every minute of it has been lovely and memorable. I enjoy family events because it usually means that many of my cousins will be around. Over the past few years it has been tricky gathering everyone together. Even though we don't see each other often, we are a close group and are able to pick up wherever we last left off. I am sure we have our parents to thank for making sure that we grew up as close as brothers and sisters. The Banos cousins are dispersed far and wide - literally from coast to coast and even in other countries. It was sort of incredible that we were all together for the wedding on Saturday and I am now kicking myself that I didn't force everyone to sit still long enough for a PWAC CC picture. I am not sure why I didn't think of it on Saturday night. I suppose I was too busy doing important things like, oh, watching La Luz spin around on the dance floor with Christian and, well, wondering when it would be time to cut the groom's cake.

Sarah looked incredible, as usual. She has an amazing sense of style and impeccable taste. It was evident in even the smallest details, which made for a remarkable wedding.

I have tons of great pictures but I don't want to post them until I have permission from Sarah and Cheairs, so maybe in a few weeks when they return from their honeymoon. In the meantime, here are a few:

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Practice Makes Perfect

Tonight was the rehearsal for Sarah and Cheairs' wedding on Saturday night. All in all, I think we did a great job. There is something about the ASH chapel that brings out the cut-up in all of us, but I am sure we will be on our best behavior on the night of the wedding.

Here's La Luz, in one of my favorite places, fountain-side in the courtyard, a place just as comfy as home: