Wednesday, March 30, 2011


My beautiful grandmother, James and Luz's GG, celebrated a birthday earlier this week and, although I could not be there in person for the cheers because I was making my way home through the lovely Eastern Kentucky mountains, I was there in spirit.

And when I finally made it home very late last night after what seemed like hours and hours of somewhat risky travel through fog and up and down narrow mountain passes and then thunderstorms dumping hail, I saw this picture and it took my breath away:

When I am 84 I would like to be just like her. Happy Birthday GG, with all my love.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Warm Weather Weekend

It is hard to believe that it has been a week since my last post. There is no question that it was a crazy week, but I can usually muster at least a post or two. I have been incredibly busy at work and James has become increasingly challenging to put to sleep at night so the time to write even a quick post has dwindled substantially, along with any bit of energy I had to be creative.

Fortunately, we had a lovely, mostly mellow weekend enjoying the warm weather and I managed to catch up on some of the things I love most - time with Christian and the kids, running, reading, taking pictures and cleaning. Well, I did not really clean, but I did pick up all day every day...toddlers are messy, and so are 5.5 year olds for that matter. Christian took my car to the car wash today too, so I guess that sort of counts as cleaning.

Before I enjoy the last few minutes of my weekend I wanted to share some pics of the kids I took during the soccer game on Saturday...I was playing around a bit with the camera, using some manual settings and I edited the pictures on the computer for a 'cleaner' effect because the pics are not properly exposed. Interesting. I still love the auto setting because I am lazy and don't really have the time to learn enough about the proper shutter speed and f-stop combos...but this was fun,

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Loki, Lok, Lokinator, Oakley

Over the past few months we noticed that Loki seemed to be slowing down. His barking slowly decreased in volume, duration and frequency to the point where it is now pretty rare to hear that incessant barking that used to drive me batty. His ability to run 10 miles is long gone, in fact, 3 is a stretch these days. He has lost 8 lbs since his check-up in October and he seems just sort of, well, old these days.

There's no question that Lok, once the main focus of our attention, became second in line after Luz was born and then third in line after James was born, but he has to feel the love. First thing in the morning and last thing at night, I spend a few minutes with him reminding him he is loved, scratching the backs of his ears, tempting him with treats and daydreams of running through the sugar cane fields. We have our quality time together. And, yeah, I occasionally forget to fill his water bowl and maybe he misses a meal or two, but I have always been the one to take him for long walks at sunset and interesting runs around NOLA at daybreak.

It is clear to me, though, that our time with Loki is special right now, and so when the sunlight is just right and he seems so perfectly content I smile and try to remember to be thankful that he is why Luz and James will always love dogs.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Mardi Gras 2011 - Part 3

Thoth Sunday is always the highlight of Mardi Gras for me. After an absolute washout on Saturday for Iris that left us trudging through calf-deep flood waters, the beautiful sunny Sunday was a welcome treat. The crowds were horrendous because the rain on Saturday resulted in the relocation of Endymion from the usual Mid-City route to the Uptown route following Bacchus. The shift is always a total bummer for everyone involved - Endymion in Mid-City is a huge tradition (not one I have ever really participated in, but an important one for Mid-City folks) and adding another parade, especially one with a fan base like Endymion, to Sunday makes for a logistical challenge and an exhausting day.

I know...complaining about a day of parades sounds silly but there is something to be said for simplicity and restraint. In my opinion, there is some merit to the idea that we should return to the old days of one parade a day and one or two stuffed animals per parade.

We took it all in stride, paced ourselves, made friends with territorial parade-goers who roped off large portions of the neutral ground making it almost impossible to get kids to and from the ladders, and most of us made it to and through all of the parades...most of us.

The highlight of the day/night was not even the parades - though Bacchus and Endymion were beautiful to watch - so perfectly bright and big and entertaining - but hanging out with family and friends who made a special trip just for the occasion. We loved meeting new babies out and about for their MG debuts and catching up with old friends and family members we do not see often.

A few other highlights from our week were the annual ASH Krewe of Smocks (despite the relocation to the gym because of the rain), Friday po-boy lunch with the family, and Proteus and Orpheus Lundi Gras night (two beautiful parades - in two totally different styles - old and new).

Mama on the ladder...up there just to catch one of my friends in Thoth...snagged my favorite catch of the year...a set of Saints bobble-heads which were shared with friends and family before I could snap a pic. On Sunday Lucy started out in purple play clothes but it only lasted an hour - she ultimately settled on her go-to pink gown:

Barbara and Auntie Ruthie...boas:

Betsy with my sweetheart - world's best baby ever - goddaughter, Eliza:

Lu and Edward...his first MG...and I think he is hooked...and yes, she is in costume:

Lundi Gras morning...this is how tired everyone was...unfortunately some of us had to wake up and go to work:

Lu with Emma, waiting for Proteus to start...note modified Snow White costume in this shot:

Celebrating Papa-T's birthday...this one is in here to show you yet another costume...this time with a feeble and frightening attempt at makeup as well. Gag.

Mama and Superman, waiting for Rex:

MG day meltdown...Superman had enough:

Headed home after Rex...I get the feeling next year we will not be able to avoid the truck parade:

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Mardi Gras 2011 - Part 2

We were lucky enough to have Nana, Papa-T, Aunt Ruthie, and her sweet friend, Barbara join us for the second weekend of MG parades and festivities. They stayed at a bed and breakfast just a few blocks away and had no trouble getting to and from our house on foot for parades. They managed to pack in a ton of activities while they were here. They did not miss any parades, made it to the French Quarter a few times, and still managed to have enough energy to keep up with the kids. It was great to have them around and, honestly, I don't quite know how I would have managed the Thursday night parades without their help since Christian was riding.

Here are a few of the highlights:

The start of the demon/monster heads flanking the float. It is a sub-par picture because my camera was totally uncooperative when I took night photos. I still have not figured out what the deal is:

Nana, Ruthie & Barbara, parading:

Aunt Ruthie & Barbara were interviewed for the WDSU 10 p.m. broadcast that night; they were famous:

Incidentally, that news person did a number of 'stories' MG week from the back of Lucy's original, yellow MG ladder, this one:

It is hard to mistake! Oh, and don't be fooled by the white sweater, she was in a lovely pink, taffeta number that day, it was just a little chilly in the morning.

Papa, not looking too psyched to be up on the ladder again. Check out Luz...Thursday night was the white with gold lame ball gown...such a statement and yet she looked so natural, so comfortable, so matter-of-fact in it all night:

C, Thursday night, looking for Nana, Aunt Ruthie, and Barbara...tacky MG boas ready to go:

Here is Richmond, about to unload some cups (incidentally, maybe I have lost my touch, but I seem to have caught substantially fewer cups this year...wonder if less were thrown):

Another Thursday night float - entertaining satire:

More to come...

Sunday, March 13, 2011

MG 2011, Part I

For the past two years I have really enjoyed Mardi Gras but I have also found that I am turning into a bit of a curmudgeon. The crowds tend to bother me more than they used to, the territorial parade goers get under my skin with their roped off sections of land and bottomless buckets of chicken, and the length of the season wears me out. I suppose I just don't have the stamina I used to have and, now that I have kids, there is a new, exhausting, dynamic - there are ladders and snacks and drinks and bathroom breaks and bead sorting and defensive and offensive parade watching and tears and melt-downs and absolute, blithering-fool type exhaustion. That said, I cannot imagine living anywhere else and missing out on two weeks of celebrating.

We spent the first weekend of the Mardi Gras season watching parades with friends who were in town from Atlanta. It was their first MG experience and it was just right - great weather, just a few parades, and not too much of a crowd. I think the they enjoyed every minute of it and headed back to Atlanta with bags filled with beads and trinkets.

First parade of the season...dusk (incidentally, I believe parades look best at dusk):

On the porch...taking a break...looking back at the pictures I see this is when the 14 days of dress-up started...Lu has on an old leotard and skirt here, harmless enough, but it escalated as it got closer to will see...suffice it to say I washed more costumes than underwear over that two week period of time:

Waiting for the next parade to start...

Enjoying some cotton candy...there was plenty of this going on:

We also visited the float den to check out some of the floats in Christian's parade. I love seeing the floats in the den - such a cool sneak-peek of what the parade will ultimately look like. Lucy and James love it too - mostly because they get to climb on the floats.

Lu, on Christian and Richmond's float:

James, helping Uncle "Ichman" get last year's rain-out beads ready for loading:

Group shot with Karen, Davy and the kids...saying goodbye after a weekend of fun ending with breakfast at P.J.s:

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Mardi Gras NOLA

We are wrapping up about two weeks of parades, parties, missed naps and hangovers of all types. Sleep has been scarce, peace and quite no where to be found...but the ballerina fairy princess and Superman enjoyed every minute of the fun and were thrilled to share it all with family and friends.

I will tell you all about it soon but in the meantime I am knee deep in beads, empty beer cans and a house rather in need of cleaning. Until then, I leave you with a pic of the dynamic duo on our walk home after our last parade of the season: