Sunday, March 28, 2010

Miami Bound

Things have been a little hectic around here between Christian's trip to Nachitoches and my upcoming trip to Miami. I have been stressed out and totally preoccupied with work and the timing isn't great because there is plenty going on around here - but I suppose that is the way that life works. And I guess it isn't fair to say that it has been THAT busy because I did have time to see Wicked with mom on Thursday night - it was excellent and far exceeded my expectations - had dinner with Molly's friend, Jeremy, who is in town for the story corps project - check it out at www.storycorps.com, took James on his first streetcar ride (he was absolutely terrified at first - I guess Mr. Tough Stuff does have some fear), and spent hours outside enjoying some incredible weather.

Luz, with ballet hair courtesy of her babysitter, Lauren:


James, first streetcar ride. He eventually enjoyed it:


Luz, wearing my old heart pearl jewelry from 8th grade. She loves this necklace:


James, testing out his favorite new toy:


I am looking forward to seeing Miami. I have always wanted to check it out, but wish it could be under different circumstances. I would prefer to have Christian with me and to see it without the stress of work hanging over me. I also don't think I will have too much free time, but I am going to try to fit in a quick trip to South Beach.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Great Minds

On totally separate shopping trips in completely different cities, and at different stores on different days, Nana and Mom-Mom both had a sense of how Luz should be fashionably dressed this spring. I guess plaid is the thing:


It is a total coincidence and something I didn't notice until I was cleaning out Luz's closet last weekend.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

What Is Good For NOLA Is Good For Me

They filmed a bit for the new HBO series, Treme, right around the block yesterday. We were warned about the filming and told that parking would be restricted and our patience was requested. The information was met with great resistance from our neighbors. God forbid someone/something should hamper their ability to park on the street for a day and don't even mention the fact that someone might *gasp* make noise outside at 6 a.m. on a MONDAY. Let's just say that there was a ton of bellyaching going on and it made me bristle. I don't understand why I constantly find myself surrounded by people with myopic views about life and how to live it. Why is it that I instantly appreciated that a little inconvenience is a small price to pay for the good that Treme can do for NOLA - and I don't need to run down the list because you are all smart enough to recognize why it might be important to let this film crew do a good job.

I was busted by a reporter from ABC yesterday morning while I was taking out the trash. I was still in my running clothes, hadn't brushed my hair and am lucky I had (I think) blown my nose a few minutes before going outside. I panicked a little at first, wondering if I would get busted since I was supposed to be working from home (and really, I was, I just took a break to take the trash out - okay, okay, and I wanted to check out the craft services tables lined up outside of my house and make sure there weren't any stars loitering about). At any rate, it is a feeble attempt on the part of the local news people to make a big deal out of nothing. It is just a bunch of people lamenting the fact that they can't park in their regular parking spot and that movie-making is a noisy business. Newsworthy? Um, I don't think so, but maybe it was just a slow day.

In case you missed it and want to see my 5 seconds of fame, here you go:

 

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Soccer Season

Something happened last night...some serious rain and then a weather system of sorts right behind it blew through town and we woke up to really really cold and uncomfortable weather. I am generally a cold weather girl but I am ready for summer this year.
We were able to enjoy a tiny little bit of beautiful weather on Friday night at Luz's last soccer practice. I brought Christian's Canon with me and managed to get a few decent pics. I think I am getting used to it:




Despite the unseasonably cold weather and Kansas' loss (which means it is really unlikely that I can win my bracket competition at work), we had a great and exhausting weekend. Christian and I tried out a new restaurant and Luz was transformed into a butterfly. We also did some laundry, stocked up on groceries and other odds and ends during a late-night shopping excursion to Target, and got the front of the house ready for the Treme filming starting tomorrow morning at 5 a.m.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Another Reason Why I (Heart) The Iphone

Here's a pic Kelsea took of Luz while they were at the zoo earlier today. She used the toy camera app on her Iphone and I think it totally rocks:


How rad is that?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A Sunbeam To Warm You

We did not do anything in particular to celebrate St. Patrick's Day this year. I managed to get a festive bow in Luz's hair and found a green and white shirt to stuff James into, but that is about it. There was no block party at Parasol's for me this year. Additionally, despite his many subtle (and not so subtle) hints, I did not even make Christian a traditional dinner of corned beef and cabbage. I just don't like corned beef or cabbage and the thought of smelling cabbage and looking at and having to touch the corned beef was too much for me to take. Sorry pal, maybe next year.

We had a peaceful evening, well, as peaceful as it can be with James running into things, throwing things, and having periodic meltdowns. We spent some time outside enjoying the sunlight:





and Luz practiced her photography skills and took a picture of her St. Patrick's flower arrangement:


The pictures are taken with Christian's Canon Powershot. His version is an SD790 IS. This is my favorite pocket-sized, digital, point and shoot (non SLR, of course) but I am not thrilled with the quality of the pictures this one in particular takes. I am wondering if maybe this one is a dud because everyone else that I know that owns a Powershot takes incredible pictures. Alas, I have to take my camera into the shop and see if it can be repaired. If not, I will have to start thinking about what to do. I am lonely without it.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Heartbreaker

I dropped my camera a few days ago and the shutter has been a bit fickle. It works, but it takes coaxing and it certainly doesn't work with quite the ease and convenience that an SLR is supposed to offer. So, maybe I am not in the market for an e-book reader; maybe I am in the market for a new camera?

While digging through some of my archived photographs I came across this little guy:


This is a picture of James one year ago. There is not even a hint of what he looks like today, which, in my opinion, is very little like Christian and nothing like me. There are, perhaps, traces of his grandfathers, but I think that is only because of his size.


I am telling you, this life thing is racing by and it is breaking my heart into a million tiny pieces.

Monday, March 15, 2010

My Latest Crush

Have you seen this little guy:


I AM IN LOVE

Yes, I know, the look and feel and smell of new books (only new ones, most of you know how I loathe crusty, old books and only take hand-me-downs and loaners from fastidious family and friends), but e-book readers are the way of the future. We have to adapt and learn or else we become dinosaurs and can't function in the world. We will become like the people that still cash checks at Winn Dixie and shrug their shoulders at the mention of the internet as if to say "do you think little old me could ever navigate something as foreign as the world wide web?" C'mon, we all have to do it. We might as well do it in style.

I am seriously in the market for an e-book reader. At least I think I am. If any of you have done the research please fill me in on which one I should consider. I have a soft spot for anything that comes from camp Apple, but I will consider a Kindle or some other e-book reader simply because I hate the name that Apple selected, and because I have a feeling there is a huge disparity in price and/or function.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

St. Patrick's Day in the Irish Channel


I don't really know quite what it is about St. Patrick's Day parades but, even as a little girl, I recognized something strange about the whole event. I guess as I got older I started to understand that the strangeness factor is likely nothing more than just an incredible amount of inebriation. There's a good reason why you feel oddly violated when a drunk old man with ruddy skin tricks you into accepting a flower in exchange for a kiss. As a child it was all very innocent and, though I certainly remember not really thinking the deal was quid pro quo, as I got older I definitely recognized that something wasn't quite right. It was around that time that I started hiding from the marching crews and deciding that I could live without the flowers. In the interest of full disclosure, I recall a brief period of time in my teenage years and early twenties when I reveled in it all, easily sifting through the dirty old men to find cute Irish boys.

On Saturday afternoon I sucked up my fear of drunk Irishmen exchanging flowers for kisses and braved the St. Patrick's Day parade with the kids. The weather was perfect, the parade was only an hour late, and the men weren't THAT drunk.





James enjoyed his first bike ride and both kids were psyched to see Meenakshi and Uncle Richmond (who was in hiding the past few months finishing his dissertation).

We are still trying to regain our footing after losing an hour of precious sleep last night. The extra daylight is nice, but it is going to be a big adjustment. At 8:30 both kids were still wide awake. Tomorrow morning is going to be very interesting.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Get Ready

It is positively balmy outside and, I daresay, a bit stuffy inside. We are entering daylight savings and looking at weekend temps hovering around 70 degrees. I am looking forward to a lot more weekend time spent like this:




These pictures were taken last Sunday morning. We met my friend Julian for a picnic brunch and lots of running around along the lake in Mandeville. What a beautiful way to spend a Sunday morning.

I found a link to our favorite Spanish singing duo's website. Check it out: www.tunatarragona.com

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Una Tuna

GG and Christian clarified that the Spanish duo is referred to as a 'tuna', a medieval Spanish fraternity of troubadours (usually students) who travel around singing for tips to pay for their tuition, traveling expenses, etc. The word is derived from "estudiante" or some variation of that word. These guys, Alejandro and Rafa, are traveling across the U.S. and then down the Pan American highway to the southernmost tip of Argentina, a trip that Christian has been dreaming of doing for as long as I have known him. They are, needless to say, inspiring and very sweet.

I videoed the song they played for us on the front lawn with the Flip. The lighting is terrible but the sound is good and I think you can appreciate how incredibly odd it all seemed...such a lovely, unexpected event.

video

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Madrid!

Christian and I attended a Sociedad Espanola dinner at Mardrid tonight. The restaurant relocated from the far reaches of Kenner to a very unassuming, one story brick cube on Harrison Avenue in a still somewhat desolate stretch of Lakeview. There is absolutely nothing enticing about the building itself but the meal was incredible. There were about 60 people in attendance and the restaurant was filled beyond max capacity. I was impressed that the chef and waitstaff could accommodate everyone and that the food was so good. I generally don't expect much when dinner is banquet style.

The dinner started with sangria (which was good but arguably the low point on the menu simply because it was on the weak side - this problem was remedied by the bottle of wine that someone at our table ordered and shared) and the glasses were refilled throughout the night. Bread was the second item out on the table. I am a huge fan of bread and it can easily make or break a dining experience for me. This bread was toasted to perfection and served with a delicious garlic butter. Maybe it is fair to say that the bread was so good because it was a delivery device for the butter. Tapas followed - bread with diced garlic tomatoes in olive oil, topped with Serrano ham, which was perfect - and then a roasted pepper with shrimp, some sort of sauce and (maybe) chickpeas, which was also perfect. The paella came next, steaming hot and filled with delicious bits of seafood and meat. The meal ended with a cool flan. You have to like flan to be able to appreciate what a wonderful desert it is...I love flan, it makes me think of my father, and I never miss a chance to eat it. It happens rarely, but in this case the dessert ended the meal on a high note. Christian and I picked the lucky table because one of the women ordered a magnum sized bottle of champagne from Spain (her family owns the winery where the champagne is produced). She was so impressed that it was available that she couldn't resist.

What happened towards the end of dinner is something that I really don't even know how to properly explain. A random duo of Spanish guys dressed in some sort of official, old-timey garb showed up and started playing some traditional Spanish music causing all of the ladies in attendance to get up and dance and swoon and disrobe (well, their jackets). It was something. I thought it was a group that was paid to perform for the occasion but later found out that these guys are traveling around the world singing songs and collecting tips (and kisses?). I guess Christian can explain more later, he decided to take them to see Rebirth tonight since they are only in NOLA for 2 nights and have never been here before. He brought them home with us and I think Molly (who babysat for James and Luz) had no clue what was going on. They played Besame Mucho on the front lawn and I just kept worrying that my neighbors would be like "whuuu" or that James would wake up or that I would wake up and think, "now that's not the kind of thing you dream about often".

At any rate, here they are, on our front porch, just minutes ago.


I am still not even sure what just happened. It is all very surreal. Who are these people?

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Sunday Evening Races

After a picture-perfect weekend we spent the last few minutes of sunlight watching my Uncle Walker's horse, Cut West, race at the NOLA Fairgrounds. Luz and James love watching the races and do not care if their favorite horse comes in first, last or somewhere in between. I love that it is free (with the exception of a few bets that Christian makes each time) and that it is outside (if you want it to be) and that there is great people-watching.

We were there in time for sunset and there really isn't anything like enjoying 65 degree temps, looking out at the sky while the sun goes down, and watching a few horses tear around a track. The icing on the cake was dinner at Crescent City on the way home with the Joneses, Mom, Josh and Ashley. Luz and James took great naps today so I assumed dinner would be easy. Sometimes it works just fine, other times it is more challenging and there are no really great rules to guide you. I gather that it just has an awful lot to do with luck. Neither Luz nor James made it easy tonight; there were many laps around the restaurant, a few tantrums and a possible disturbance of neighboring diners. But still, with plenty of helping hands, we were able to enjoy a lovely dinner.

I am off to watch the Oscars so I will have to tell you later about the birth of my twin cousins (well, second or third cousins) late last week, my first experience in a packed bar surrounded by a bunch of Indigo Girls fans, a delicious dinner at a local restaurant I have been dying to try, and Luz's first road race. Until then...

Waiting for the race to start:


Pointing to Cut West:


There is no need to be on shoulders to see, but Christian's got a workout today:



Sunset, magic lighting, Luz and James playing sweetly:

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

A Multi-Tasker's Dream Come True

Following a very small office fire I started working from home. My initial reaction was something along the lines of "I cannot believe this is happening to me. I am the luckiest person in the world". After about a week it turned into "This is sort of scary and I am really starting to freak out". A few days ago I turned a corner and have fallen into a lovely, comfortable routine. I was warned by fellow work from homers that it takes a little getting used to, that there is some skill involved, and that I needed to be patient. There is no doubt that I prefer the order of the office and that I certainly thrive in that environment. Working from home on a consistent basis is definitely not for me. That said, I do think that I will now be able to handle working a few days from home each month with ease, particularly when every other day is spent in the highly-organized, over-functioning office. In the interim, I am trying to enjoy my peaceful days. Loki and I have a nice routine - a quiet cup of coffee once the house quiets down around 7:45, a load of laundry, a few dishes, maybe a bit of cleaning, then work, then bark at the mailperson (Loki, not me), then lounge in the sunshine (Loki, not me), then eat lunch, then lounge in the sunshine again (Loki, not me). Actually, I think Loki has it pretty good. I will take his schedule.

Loki, lounging:

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

M I A M I

At the end of the month I am heading to Miami for a few days for work. Although I am totally stressing out about the logistics of leaving the kids and Christian behind for three days (particularly when there is a random holiday for Luz and not for Christian during that time period), but I am really looking forward to seeing a city that is totally new to me.

I am going to be very busy while I am there and will keep the trip as short as possible to avoid making things really tricky at home; however, I think I should make some time to squeeze in a little fun.

For a great overview of Miami in 72 hours or less, check out Jessie's recent posts on her blog, www.gimleteyed.blogspot.com.

If Jessie didn't cover something you feel is a "must see", let me know and I will add it to my growing list.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Sailor Suit

I have been waiting for an opportunity to dress James up in the precious sailor suit that Aunt Margot and Uncle Walker gave him for his birthday, so I used dinner at GG's house for the perfect excuse.

I remember my brothers and all of my cousins wearing sailor suits when we were growing up and I have always thought they were adorable without being too 'fussy'. I am glad I got some pictures because at the rate that he is growing it might not fit him next time I try it on him. The daycare ladies informed us the other day that his nickname has been changed from Big Sexy to Big Hungry.

Here's Big Hungry, looking too cute


With Xian:


Charming Laura, Molly & Charlotte:


And with Mama:



Luz was all dressed up and looking cute too: