Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Movie Night

After work, Jessie, Tiffany and I snuck off to the Palace for the twilight showing (that means $5.50 guys!) of Baby Mama. I love Tina Fey and have enjoyed everything she has ever had her hand in, so it was an easy choice. The movie was entertaining, a nice escape form reality. I had seen most of the funniest parts in the previews but I still really enjoyed it.

I am pretty sure Tina Fey's little girl has a cameo in it too - check it out.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Doorbells and Sleighbells

My list of things that I think are really awesome and that I would like to have has grown. Here is my latest obsession:

It is compact, apparently easy to use, and comes in great colors. Orange is always the best option around here if offered. It holds 60 minutes of video footage - wow. The price is reasonable and I can guarantee that I will use it, maybe even to the detriment of my Canon. I have already dropped a few hints to La Luz about possible mother's day gift ideas.

Here's La Luz earlier tonight in the closest thing she has to Hornet's turquoise. Go Hornets.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Expert Texpert Choking Smokers

Christian and I watched Julie Taymor's Across the Universe the other night. It is tough convincing Christian to watch a musical, so I was actually surprised when he suggested it. I was even more surprised that we both liked it. At its lowest moments it is not unlike an extended music video, but at its best it is beautiful, quirky Julie Tamor. The music is, of course, The Beatles, which is always good - even when sung by someone other than Paul or John. The storyline is entertaining and very reminiscent of Rent, but it never really felt stale. I recommend it to anyone who likes the Beatles and is not totally impatient with musicals.

From what I understand, the movie that we see is not the movie that Taymor made. She did not have final cut and that's Hollywood politics for you. That said, her essence is still very much a part of the movie. I would love to see the thirty or so minutes that didn't make the final cut because I imagine they are very interesting.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

And The Audience Applauds, Jazz Fest 2008, Part I

Christian and I braved some of the worst weather we have had in months to spend some time at Jazz Fest yesterday with friends. It was possibly one of the stupider decisions we have ever made (and in fairness, I was the one driving the decision while Christian was kindly obliging). Needless to say, we were only out there for a few hours when they shut down most of the stages due to the weather. Just walking from stage to stage was tricky because of the mud and flooding. It was also cold (courtesy of the rain) and windy. I don't ever remember another time that I was cold at Jazz Fest and I will never forget this one.

On the positive side, there were very few lines for food and beverages and the weather made for some great people-watching. I loved the facial expressions - everything from totally miserable to absolutely over-joyed. There was a 300 lb woman in a swimming suit in front of me - the kind with the skirt that grandmas tend to wear. It made my day to see her spinning in circles, doing what she could to protect her belongings from the deluge, and belting out the words to "Moving Out". Yeah, we were watching Billy Joel (again, my choice, not Christian's). I sort of have a soft spot for him because it reminds me of my first stereo and listening to the radio for hours on end. But, I do not know his music well and I do not own any of his cds. I generally recognized most of the songs (even knew the lyrics to a few) until he played something called Zanzibar. Yea, no clue. At any rate, it was worth the inconvenience to see him perform. He was a great sport about the weather and had lovely things to say about NOLA, a place that I happen to dig a bit.

We ended the night at Slice where we were finally warm - thanks in large part to multiple glasses of red wine.

I am looking forward to some drier weather next weekend. La Luz has not missed a Jazz fest yet - even when in utero - and I promise I will not complain when I am covered in sweat.

A little lovely La Luz, snuggling with Hoppy during the rainstorm earlier today.

Happy Birthday Scarlet. My present to you was standing in the rain watching Billy Joel. I couldn't take a picture, for obvious reasons, but has some great ones so check them out.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Spring Fever

I don't know what is different about this year, but for some reason I have been having a weird allergic reaction to the change of season. The pollen is making it almost impossible for me to wear contacts, something I have done for over TWENTY years. I can't make it through a week without switching to glasses and for the better part of today (until I could get home and switch to glasses) I felt like I had a sharp object plastered between my eyelid and cornea. The problem is compounded by the fact that I just don't see well when I wear my glasses. My eyesight is so bad and my prescription is so strong that glasses give me a very odd view of the world. I can't describe it any better than to say it is almost like looking at the world through the bottom of a fishbowl. Not to mention, my eyes look like they are about the size of dimes because the lenses are so thick. I also can't really drive in my glasses or exercise because it is just too tough to see. Needless to say, it makes me miserable when I have to wear them.

The pollen from the oak trees is thick and I have seen tons of caterpillars around town. My guess is that they are stirring up the pollen and that is what is causing me to feel this way. I have heard tons of people complaining about allergies so I know I am not alone. I just don't understand why it is bothering me now considering I have never had allergies before.

Pollen notwithstanding, we have still been spending most of our evenings outside. La Luz was out with mom-mom this evening chalking up the sidewalk. Here she is enjoying the pollen-filled air:

Tomorrow is Aunt Susan's birthday and I wish we could be in Atlanta to celebrate with her. Have a wonderful birthday Susan, with all of our love!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

More Favorite New Things

There are a few recent additions to La Luz's list of favorite things. The first is the new nightgown that Nana brought with her from Atlanta. La Luz refused to take this thing off. I had to bribe her to get her dressed and out of the house. Here she is on the front porch on Sunday afternoon, a time when most people are dressed for the day:

Another favorite is Cotton, the Scottie dog that she begged Nana to buy her at the toy store in the French Quarter. The store is called The Little Toy Shop and it is very nice. If you happen to be in the neighborhood and are in need of a present for a kid, stop in. I think they have a good mix of toys and the prices are very reasonable.

La Luz and Cotton, Royal Street:

Finally, La Luz discovered beet soup. Christian and I fight over it when Nana makes it and it generally lasts less than 24 hours when we are around. Now we have additional competition. She loves the stuff and I am amazed. I suppose she is young enough to embrace the color instead of fearing it:

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Best Seat In The House

Notwithstanding the swing on the front porch during weather like the kind that we have been having lately, the most comfortable place to be is the window seat in our kitchen. As if answering some prayer to the internet sent out sometime around Christmas, Nana arrived in NOLA with a lovely cushion and multiple pillows for our once drab and uncomfortable and terribly under-used window seat. What was once an eyesore is now a beacon just begging to be the place where the first cup of coffee and last glass of wine of each day should be enjoyed. La Luz initially thought that it was a bed for Loki and then guessed that, perhaps, it was her 'big girl' bed. Eventually she decided that it is just one gigantic doll bed. Consequently, I have to compete with baby dolls and stuffed animals for a little quiet time by the window.

Isn't it perfect? Nana is a true wiz at sewing. I am looking forward to our next trip to Atlanta because she promised she would teach me how to make pillows. I love decorative pillows, but they are generally overpriced and hard to justify purchasing. I would be psyched if I could figure out how to make them myself.

Monday, April 21, 2008

They Were Busy In The Rows

Here is my vegetable garden. I am very excited about it and we have been completely on top of the watering and miscellaneous garden tending. Granted, the garden hasn't even been in place for 48 hours, but I am confident I can make this work. La Luz and I have already eaten almost half of the basil leaves, but that's okay because more will grow soon.

They revived the gardenia plant and it really looks like it is going to bloom this year. Wow. Gardenias are possibly my favorite. I hate that the flowers turn brown so fast, but when they first bloom the smell is incredible.

This is a shot of the green pepper, yellow pepper, roma tomato, banana pepper, creole tomato and beefsteak tomato plants:

This is a shot of the cucumber and two other types of tomato plants. We eat a TON of tomatoes in this house. One of my favorite snacks is a tomato cut up with sea salt and cracked pepper. The satsuma tree is just to the left. We probably won't get much fruit this fall, but by next fall there should be plenty.

The only remaining vegetable to plant is the radish. Papa-T showed me exactly where to plant it so it should be a simple task.

The gardeners, resting at last

I will keep you posted on the progress.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Ring Toss Just Ain't Her Thing

Nana and Papa-T were in town over the weekend and brought some incredible weather with them. Once again, we spent most of the weekend outside, which is precisely what I love doing most on the weekends.

We met Mom-Mom and Pop for dinner at Frankie and Johnnie's on Friday night and ended up at La Divina for some gelato. I had a combination of sweet cream and Louisiana strawberry. It was perfect. La Luz had something called ping-pong. The selection was made based on color (oddly enough, it was pink she chose and not orange). I don't remember the description other than that it included red cream soda.

I woke up early on Saturday morning to take advantage of the incredible weather and met Gerrish for a long(er) run. After my run, La Luz, Nana and I headed to the farmer's market to pick up a few odds and ends and then drifted around the French Quarter a bit. We picked up mufelattas from Central Grocery for lunch and got home just in time to provide a much-needed break for Christian and Papa-T who spent the entire day doing yard work. The real purpose for the yard work was to get the back yard into a manageable state again, but somehow I completely lucked out and, at the end of the day, became the very proud owner of a vegetable garden. It is something I have wanted to do since we moved-in and something I have put off doing because I felt overwhelmed. My father-in-law has quite a knack for gardening and basically set us up with everything I would ever want in a vegetable garden and some simple instructions for maintenance. I think I can make this happen.

Nana and Papa-T left this morning and La Luz, Christian and I spent the remainder of the day at the Sacred Heart fair. We didn't win the tuition raffle but we had a great time. La Luz was not particularly curious about any of the games (other than the gigantic waterslide and I wouldn't let her go on it since we didn't bring a swimming suit and I just knew she would climb all the way up to the top and totally flip out) and had to be encouraged to do just about everything. She is not great in crowds and does not have a big sense of adventure. Even something as benign as a ride on the merry-go-round became anxiety-inducing for her as she became trapped in a tiny seat when she tried to exit the wrong way. Blue snowballs, chewy sweet tarts and a little bit of the Soul Rebels were more her speed, and I think I get it. I know a couple of people who react the same way around fanfare.

Here she is with Nana

and with Papa-T

She was heartbroken when they left this morning.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Where Rocking Horse People Eat Marshmallow Pies

La Luz and Christian had a jam session earlier tonight. They are practicing all of their Beatles favorites. I am not exactly sure what they are practicing for, maybe Nana and Papa-T's visit this weekend.

Christian found a bunch of very interesting videos on You Tube. The most disturbing one, by far, is the one he found for Piggies. It is all about an abattoir. Somehow La Luz managed to find the joy in it. I supposed it is much in the same way she screams with delight when Darth Vadar is on screen or in the way that she always asks to be the evil stepmother when we play Cinderella. I have always sided with the good guys, the ones fighting the good fight, without exception. It is interesting to watch La Luz's personality unfold and to see just how much and in what ways her personality deviates from mine. Taking up for the bad guy is out of the question as far as I am's just not in my nature, but I suppose someone has to do it.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

New Style

La Luz spent the afternoon at AJs and came home with these incredible sunglasses, courtesy of Mrs. Porter:

She felt extra-special in her new shades and didn't want to take them off, understandably.

We took a walk to Creole Creamery tonight after dinner and Christian introduced La Luz to the world of shakes. We kept getting her to repeat that phrase from There Will Be Blood, "I drink your milk shake". I could've done it for hours but after about the fifth time La Luz was bored with my game.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Happy Anniversary Mom & Pop

Tonight we celebrated mom and pop's 37th anniversary with a delicious dinner at GG and Papa George's house. Wow. 37 years...that is a long time. Congratulations and thanks for being such a beautiful example.

La Luz was in rare form tonight. She was particularly hyper. While we were at GG's she did her usual laps around the sun porch. Tonight she added a few new tricks, including climbing under the table and pretending to be a cat (that acted and sounded much more like a baby). She really didn't stop talking until I finally put her in bed and turned the light off.

Here is a picture of La Luz and Christian watching Return of the Jedi earlier today. Mesmerizing. Clearly the Star Wars obsession is not some passing fancy:

Monday, April 14, 2008

The Force Is Strong With This One

I think the Star Wars obsession is a little weird and has started a bit on the early side. La Luz isn't even three after all. Her new favorite toys are the Yoda and Princess Leia figurines that Christian scrubbed about three times after rescuing them (and about 50 other figures) from our flooded house after Hurricane Katrina. Since La Luz no longer puts things in her mouth as a reflex and because I watched Christian soak and scrub the toys I really don't have a problem with La Luz actually playing with these things. I remember Christian was totally bummed out when all of these figures (most of which were still in their original packaging) were destroyed during the hurricane so I am glad that at least some good can come of it.

I also have Star Wars to thank for La Luz latest, favorite hairstyle. She refuses to let me put her hair in pony tails unless I bribe her but she actually asks for Princess Leia buns. I love getting her hair our of her face and she loves pretending to be Leia.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

We Would Sing And Dance Around

La Luz is now obsessed with two of Christian's favorite things - Star Wars and The Beatles. It is almost unbelievable that both obsessions manifested this weekend. In addition to a few other things, the most important events over La Luz's weekend were watching The Empire Strikes Back on Saturday night and listening to The Beatles all weekend long. I should clarify, however, that the songs are limited to the ones that deal with animals and include her name and my name - so the choices are not many, though, relatively speaking, The Beatles wrote a ton of songs about animals.

We spent most of the weekend outside because the weather was perfect, even if a bit cold. On Saturday La Luz and I went to the Farmer's Market. Here she is enjoying a mango popsicle:

and some milk from Smith's:

Check out the beautiful irises.

We spent the evening watching Christian's last club volleyball game of the season. Coincidentally, the one volleyball game we made it to was the one game all season where Christian yelled enough to get a yellow card. Lucky us.

On Sunday I met Kelli for a long-ish run in City Park and we ended up meeting up with Christian, Mike and the kids at Russell's for brunch. It was great to get a good run in and visit with Kelli. After brunch we headed to the French Quarter Festival. It was packed, which was great to see. There is so much good music, so much great food and excellent people watching - and it is all free. It was the perfect way to spend the day.

Here's La Luz with the balloon sword at Jackson Square. The nice clown made her a wand, thinking that most young girls would like to have a wand. Unfortunately, La Luz saw a boy with a sword and flipped out and insisted on a sword too - I know that is Christian's influence.

She kept saying that she was "just like Luke Skywalker". Good grief.

We ended the day with a bbq at Gerrish's house, which was totally relaxing. I think I kept La Luz up way too late on a school night though. I hope I will be able to get her out of bed in the morning. She has been tough to get moving in the morning lately.

Christian and I went to dinner at Lola's and a movie on Friday night. Dinner was delicious, as always. The movie, Smart People, was sort of "meh". I knew Christian was going to hate it when he discovered five minutes in that Sarah J Parker is in it. I don't get what he has against her. She doesn't bother me in the least. Dennis Quaid was terrible in the movie. His character is miserable but somehow I felt like I would have enjoyed it more with another actor - not sure why though. The girl from Juno was great, but basically played the same type of role as she did in Juno so it was nothing new. Overall I give the movie a C and would not recommend it necessarily. Poor movie choice notwithstanding, the night was great. We even had enough time to swing by the book store so that I could pick up a travel guide to Seattle. Christian has a conference there in July so I am trying to plan a trip around the conference. We are thinking about including a trip to the San Juans/Victoria/Vancouver/Portland. I am starting to get excited about the idea of a vacation and traveling somewhere I have never been.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Twilight With My Light

During the spring and summer months when daylight savings is in full effect I find myself racing to get home before the sun goes down entirely. I love the last half an hour or so of daylight and I love it even more when I am outside with La Luz. We ate our dinner on the porch tonight and watched the people out walking their dogs, and those on their way to dinner, and then some moseying about with no particular purpose. It is a relaxed and lazy time of day. Dinner was followed by popsicles and sticky hands and faces.

Here she is, sticky and sweet:

I am having some weird over-exposure issues with my camera when I take pictures outside during the period of time right after the sun goes down. I apologize for the annoying contrast in those pictures. I need to try a few different settings and see if I can fix the problem.

The weather is supposed to be nice this weekend (at least after tomorrow night). I am looking forward to the farmers market, French Quarter Fest, a night out with Christian, a long run on Sunday morning, uninterrupted time with the bug, and catching up on some sleep. What else are weekends for?

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

More Stuff I Like

I have also been enjoying this quite a bit lately:

I am not really a beer drinker. I will have the occasional Miller Light and I have been known to drink a Hoegaarden with a lemon or orange wedge here and there, but that's about it. The Abita Strawberry Lager is incredible though. I could drink one or two a day and be a happy person. It has also turned my mom (gasp) into a beer drinker again. I think the last beer she had before I gave her one of these was a Dixie back sometime in the 1908s. Good thing this stuff is seasonal.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Things I Like Now That It Is Warm Again

There are quite a few things that are very appealing to me now that it feels like summer outside. One of my favorite things to do during the warm weather is take a walk here for some ice cream.

It is the perfect way to end an otherwise usually hectic day. La Luz doesn't really like ice cream but she loves the idea of ice cream. The selection process is usually long and involved and, on most occasions, ends with her figuring out a way to eat around the ice cream. Her choices usually involve cones and gummi bears and they never taste particularly good. I will occasionally go out on a limb and try something interesting, but most of the time I am satisfied with sorbet or (yawn) the sugar free vanilla with sugar free chocolate sauce. Lately I have just been eating whatever strange choice La Luz makes and then decides she doesn't like. For me, it is much more about the activity than it is about the ice cream. Don't get me wrong, I love ice cream. It is probably one of my top 5 favorite foods. I just know better...usually.

Here we are earlier this evening, just before our stroll down the street. The selections tonight were Cotton Candy (La Luz) and Blueberry Mojito Sorbet (Christian). As usual, I had a good bit of both and you can probably guess which flavor was best.

Monday, April 07, 2008

I Go In Circles

After enjoying the sounds of Danny T, La Luz put her fancy moves on display again at the Latin American Festival on Sunday. The festival is much ado about nothing but there was some good music and great dancing. La Luz wasn't exactly busting out any of those great moves, but I get the sense that she has some rhythm in her blood and I know it didn't come from me. I suspect it might have something to do with Nana, someone who, among many other wonderful attributes, has the ability to find the beat in just about any song. It is impressive and enviable and I hope that she passed it along. Incidentally, Nana's birthday was last week and I never got a chance to post a Happy Birthday message on the blog - so happy very be-lated birthday Nana with all of our love!

After working up a sweat doing her best salsa we treated La Luz to a snowball. Guess which flavor she ordered. Bonus points if you can name the location (Kitty your vote will not count, it wouldn't be fair):

Sunday, April 06, 2008

There Is Such A Place

I am glad to be home. My trip was okay but I missed Christian and La Luz terribly and, on my way back to NOLA on Friday, I got caught up in one of the worst thunderstorms and airport nightmares ever. I will spare you the details since everyone has a story about missed flights, unhelpful airline personnel, irate Germans, and overnight stays on airport concourses. All of the stories are remarkably similar. Suffice it to say, the trip to Virginia was much easier than the trip home. To make matters worse, while I was stuck in Charlotte, Christian was stuck in Atlanta on his way home from Myrtle Beach.

We managed to make it to Thibodaux in time for the party for Jonathan and Jennifer on Saturday. It was a beautiful day for a party outside. I have some great pictures and will try to post them over at banosfamilia at some point this week. La Luz particularly enjoyed dancing to the sounds of Danny T, the seemingly stoned, one man Cajun band. I think you have to be stoned to do what he does. I guess the best way to describe just how bizarre this man's set up is is to say that it involves an ironing board. I would post a picture but I didn't get his permission. Here's La Luz getting her Fais Do Do on:

The past two days were spent much like this

and this

Off to Lafayette for a hearing tomorrow morning and then I think it will be back to the usual routine around here...looking forward to it.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Just A Few Thoughts

Things are getting a bit hectic around here and will be for the next few days. There is plenty going on so there probably won't be too many posts for the next few days. I am off to Richmond for a quick work-related trip and hope, maybe, to find a few free hour to visit Sarah and Cheairs. I am particularly interested in seeing Cheairs' urban vegetable garden - it sounds sort of mind-boggling. And while I am on the subject of gardening, here is a picture of the lantana growing in front of our house:

Christian hacked it back a few months ago and I almost cried fearing that he had destroyed it. Quite the contrary, the lantana looks better than any lantana I have ever seen anywhere and the butterflies love it. Christian specifically landscaped the front yard with butterfly-attracting plants, just to provide some entertainment for La Luz.

Here are a few pictures of La Luz on the porch, waiting to catch a glimpse of some butterflies.