Sunday, February 26, 2012

It is a perfect Sunday night...a little rainy, comfy p.j.s, house mostly organized and ready for the start of the week and a three-day work trip, and the Oscars are on.  I allowed Luz to stay up a little past her bedtime because she was so enthusiastic about it.  She was inspired and awed and reacted exactly like I did as a child, imagining herself there one day. She was also incredibly confused about why Hugo was winning so many awards (neither of us has seen it yet, but now we are curious).  I love watching the Academy Awards.  I look forward to it every year and am thrilled that Luz enjoys it too.  I will have someone to watch it with now.

We had a nice, relaxing weekend filled with the mundane things that have to happen at the end of a long vacation.  There were a few trips to the park (Luz's newest obsession is dribbling and the incessant bouncing noise inside of the house makes me nuts; James' newest obsession is pretending he is in a marching band - he plays all the parts with gusto - one of these days I will get it on film, that activity, though incredibly entertaining, also makes me nuts),  a new haircut for James, soccer, READ class, one last longish run to prep for the marathon, and cooking (meatballs with  tomato sauce and patatas bravas with two different sauces - neither of which were great, except the aioli - try as I might, I just never get it totally right in the kitchen).

All in all it was lovely weekend that went by way too fast.  It is hard to believe how different things looked just a week ago:

I miss the endless fun, but getting back to the daily grind is ok too.  Now we just need to think of what we should be giving up for Lent.  Nobody around here is ready to commit to anything yet...we want to be good and sure we pick something significant.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Ash Wednesday

We are enjoying some quiet time, getting things back in shape around here at the house, and basking in the fabulous Mardi Gras afterglow.  It was a lovely couple of weeks and we were so fortunate to have plenty of time to spend with family and friends.  It is back to reality, for sure, and with that comes a bit of post-holiday depression for me.  After all, who would not enjoy an excuse to spend days and nights hanging out with family and friends, drinking beer and watching the greatest free show on earth.  I look around the house and smile when all around me I see evidence of a rather good time...

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Joints Are Jamming Packed

The rain was intense tonight but Luz and Christian refuse to miss out on a single float.  James and I were little soldiers and tried to make it through the second parade, but we just could not do it, there were not enough Skittles to bribe his tired 3 year-old body.  I was happy to head home with him and to miss the deluge.  He is excited though, we all are.  Friends and family are in town.  We have an excuse to stay up late and eat bbq and Zapp's potato chips and drink beer and wine (and king cake flavored vodka) long after bedtime.  And it feels nice.  If you have never experienced Mardi Gras in NOLA, you need to do it as soon as possible.  It is exhausting, but it is the best.

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Whole Street Is Jumping

Carnival season is in full swing here in NOLA and, consequently, there is not much leisure time around here.  Luz and Christian are in full parade-going mode and will not miss a single float.  James and I are still warming up and require bribes to get out there for every parade (Abita beer in a can for me, cotton candy for James).  I was even less motivated on Sunday after a long training run and a nasty wipe out mid-way through it (my knees are swollen and bruised and totally achey - my fingers are crossed that rest, ice, and IBP will get them back to normal by Wednesday).

We are looking forward to a chaotic week and a house filled with friends and family. Unfortunately, the house work is not complete.  I was hoping to have it freshly painted and nicely decorated in time for the weekend, but it has been so rainy that everything is behind schedule.  Overall, even with just a coat of primer, it is a huge improvement.  The addition of the transom numbers on Friday night made a big difference too.  Incidentally, if you are looking for someone in New Orleans to put your house numbers on your transom, check out  The guys there were very helpful and did a great job.  I will take a picture of the handiwork soon so you can see for yourself.

Oh, and tomorrow is Valentine's Day...I know, it is a silly holiday, but having children makes even silly holidays more fun.  There is something to be said about spending one day out of the year thinking about the people that make your heart full, right?

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

King Cake Taste Testing

Luz got the king cake baby last week so tomorrow it is her turn to bring the cake.  I saw the old timey Gambinos sign while cruising around in Metairie last week, as I tend to do now that I work out there, and I started to feel nostalgic.  So, I stopped by today and picked up a Gambinos king cake for Luz, one for Christian to take to his homeroom, and a one for me to eat this weekend (I plan to run a bunch of miles and will need a good reward).  

I am not wild about the packaging (something about all the plastic makes it look less appealing) but the sugar to bread ratio looks about right.  I got a traditional one, as usual, and it looks like it has cinnamon on the inside.  I am looking forward to trying it and am curious to see if it rivals my current front-runner, Haydel's.  I will let you know...

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

R. E. A. D.

For the past six months James and I have spent a peaceful hour together on Saturday mornings at R.E.A.D. The weekly, hour-long class focuses on reading enrichment and development through movement, music, art, and creative play.  I wish I had known about the program when Luz was little because I know she would have enjoyed it.  James looks forward to Saturday mornings and I do too - not just for what it provides him - but because I like the one-on-one time together.  At the end of each class the kids can check out a backpack that centers around a book(s) or a theme.  Last week we had 10 Little Monkeys. This week we have a zoo themed backpack.  The socialization and the learning that happens on Saturday mornings at R.E.A.D. are worth every penny of the cost.  He might not know his colors, but he can sit still for and appreciate a good story.  Let's see if this increases his chances of getting into our Nursery school choice next Fall...truly, nothing is automatic in the world of education these days.

I highly recommend the class for anyone in the NOLA area with a little one looking for some interaction with other kids and enrichment.  There are classes during the week and I know we would go more frequently if I did not have to work.  You can check out the R.E.A.D. website at  Oh yeah, and if you sign up for a class, you get a cool shirt like this one:

Sunday, February 05, 2012

The weekend was filled with all kinds of awesomeness -

1.  Our first Mardi Gras parade of the season (and the only reason it did not rain on us was because I carried around a gigantic, golfing umbrella all night);
2.  Excellent dinner at Iris with friends;
3.  Sleeping as late as we wanted this morning since the kids spent the night at mom-mom's house;
4.  The last piece of Ikea furniture assembled;
5.  A major excursion to Kenner Target to stock up on more Mardi Gras supplies (do not be jealous - there was not a stitch of Jason Wu clothing on the shelves); and
6.  A LONG training run out of the way...I have one more really long one and then I think I can start to taper, finally.

The bad news is that I think I now officially have either allergies or a cold, so I am going to sleep.  But first, a little more awesomeness, because you do not have a heart if this does not make you smile :

She went to see The Blue Man Group today with Christian (thanks to mom-mom) and she LOVED it. It was entertaining to listen to her recount what happened and to attempt to explain it.  I gathered that she was trying to think of a diplomatic way to say "you had to be there"... which makes total sense.

And if you have not seen The Steven Gleason Story, watch it here -

It will break your heart all over the place.  I have said it before and I will say it again and again and again, life is fleeting and filled with joy and sadness all of the time.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Sneak Peek

Just in case you are as excited as I am to finally see a fresh coat of paint on my house...

It is just primer, but if you look very closely you can see two variations of what will ultimately be the house color.  Christian - who, I have recently learned, is actually profoundly color-blind, cannot even detect the two shaded areas. The shutter color is close, not quite right yet, but getting there.  Now, if it would just stop raining...

Wednesday, February 01, 2012


As soon as I packed up my office on the 40th floor of One Shell Square and moved out to the suburbs, super-awesome things started happening downtown.  Many things were in the works long before I made the switch, but seeing (and - occasionally - experiencing) these incredible changes makes me miss being in the CBD.

There is the beautiful Merchant in the old, and recently renovated, Maritime building on Gravier St.:

This place is a little oasis in the middle of downtown NOLA, a perfect blend of cool and delicious.  Although pretty much everything on the menu is tasty and the crepes look fantastic (I have not indulged...yet), my favorite treat is just a classic iced-coffee, expertly blended with fresh roasted Illy coffee.  It is the perfect pick me up and my new favorite iced-coffee destination.  If you are curious, peruse the menu, it does not disappoint :

Another new discovery is City Greens.  Someone just like me ate one too many Subway sandwiches ( over 10 years I probably ate at least 1,000 6 inch, whole wheat, veggie and cheese sandwiches) and then thought, "I can do better than this".  City Greens is a modern, impeccably clean, incredibly fresh, express-service salad bar with interesting ingredients, signature salads, and a build-your-own option.  I cannot wait to go there again and again and again.  Thank you, thank you to the person who was just like me.  Now, will you please open one in Metairie?  Oh, and some of my friends would like you to carry Diet Coke.  Go see for yourself at

Those are the two places that stand out most because I have experienced the wonder.  There are two additional recent destinations I am looking forward to checking out.

There is a truly urban grocery store, courtesy of Rouses, which opened the week I moved to the suburbs and I almost cried.  I cannot tell you how many times I wished there was an easy in-and-out grocery store I could stop at on my way home from work or during my lunch break. Now it exists, only it is no longer useful to me.

There is one last gem...the newly restored (and seemingly totally rebuilt) Hyatt.  It is beautiful and, at least according to my friends, does not disappoint.  I am hoping that my first Hyatt experience will be next month for Brad Pitt's Make It Right Foundation Gala.  Tickets start at $1,000.00 and I am hoping someone might need a date.  You can check it out at