February 2009

Ham and Cheese

Art & Photography
Family Photos

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In the lead.

Haydel’s is the current King Cake Champion in this house.

At least, until we’ve tried a MacKenzie’s.  Must not leave a stone unturned!

Oh, and Haydel’s?  They put the baby IN the cake, the way nature intended.

Family Life in NOLA

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The gift the gives back.

Important business, this reading Heifer International’s newsletter.

No, really, Mom.  Did you know you a flock of chicks is only $20?

Thanks, Heifer.  With YOUR help, we’re just one pants-less morning away from Potty Trained.


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Getting lucky.

Technically, this is a bad photograph of a ladder.  I was giddy with the camera.


Home and Renovation

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Photohunt: Bridge

Foot bridge from the end-of-the-line PeruRail train station to the town of Aguas Calientes, a tourist mecca with the distinction of being the closest habitable place to Machu Picchu. This is exactly the kind of place I try to avoid at all costs. So believe me when I say staying here is worth it, in order to wake up in the middle of the night and get to the sanctuary by dawn.

I will finish that travelogue. I will. I will. I will!

See more bridges and learn about Photohunt here.
More of my Photohunt here.

Art & Photography

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Treasures Underfoot

Art & Photography

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Today’s Headlines

Breaking news, 11am this morning:


Afternoon addition:


Evening release:


Family Photos

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Pleas for Posts to Please, Please.

What posts did you read during the month of January that made you more aware, more informed, or more moved about our world?

Alejna and I are kicking off our first Just Posts Roundtable… and actively requesting links to posts!  Here’s the jist: posts on personal blogs that make the world a little smaller, brighter, better.  They could have environmental insight, show passion for health, take a stand on inequality, tackle the global economy, address community violence, debate a solution to a pressing problem, or highlight a person or organization that deserves a little attention… you get the idea.

Just Posts for a Just World.

Have something in mind?  Submit it to the monthly roundtable: justpostsroundtable at gmail dot com.  Need more information?  There is a permanent page up with the 4-1-1.

Send in submissions by Saturday (February 7th) to be included in the Roundtable post on Tuesday, February 10th.  Nominators get a nod for reading and sending submissions and writers get a nod for writing.

Thanks to everyone and happy reading!

And extra thanks to Jen, Mad & Su!


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Did you find the baby?

My children will one day describe the torture we inflicted upon them during Carnival season by waiting nearly a month to buy a king cake.  But we did it, officially: we have had our first King Cake. In our defense, we tried to buy one a day or two earlier, but Whole Foods had nothing but “Berry Chantilly” left and that just wasn’t happening.

On recommendation, we got one from Rouse’s.

The baby is thrown in the center these days, which is a shame, but there you have it.  Will wanted the baby something terrible, even before we opened the box.  He has been asking for King Cake since they made one in school… on Epiphany.  Poor guy waited a long time.

I’m a bit of a local oddity in that I don’t have a favorite King Cake.  Yet.  I do know that I’m not into the fruit fillings.  Last year, I stood in line for a Randazzo’s cake and it was good, but a bit too cinnamon roll sweet for me.  Rouse’s was good, but I think I’d opt for cream cheese next time as the plain seemed like something was missing?  We are open for suggestions on who to try next.

Will is especially ready for more.

Family Life in NOLA

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Out in the back.

Remember the back of our house?  All that damage from that storm, um, how many years ago?  One would think we’d have wrapped up all that work, right?

We’re getting there.

Actually, this picture, representing what the back has looked like for the last three months, is now officially OUTDATED.

But it took some time.  First, Paul had to trim in the windows.  This took a couple of weeks, working in the evenings.  Note that the wood fits in perfectly without needing to be ripped.  (That was completely planned, of course.)

Below is an example of the finished trim.  Paul got the inspiration for the design based on our friend Bryan’s handiwork.  Bryan is actually the only living person on earth who is actually MORE detail oriented than Paul in his home renovations*.  So Bryan did a decorative strip on the top of his windows (just like the one seen on the window base) and routed a groove up the sides of each trim board (I’ve seen the pictures and it really is pretty impressive). 

Paul has been doing nothing but talking about this beautifully detailed trim since he visited Bryan last summer.  You think I’m kidding? Invite Paul over to your house and within 5 minutes, he’ll point out all sorts of details in your trim and tell you about his friend in New Hampshire who gets poplar for, like, .40 cents a foot and does all his own trim detail by hand. Paul even wants to TAKE DOWN all the other trim he’s done in the entire house and REDO it.  I’ve tried to explain to Paul that the reason Bryan and the family won’t come for Mardi Gras isn’t because they would be repulsed by our unadorned trim; it’s because they are tightly packed in snowbanks until April. This may have talked some sense into Paul, because he was fine just trimming the windows like this for now.

A full window, trimmed out.

The little study window.

Seriously, you want on Paul’s good side? Maybe have some computer problems that need fixing? COMPLIMENT HIM ON THE WINDOWS. Just trust me on this.

With the windows trimmed, we were about ready for the next big push: painting everything.  Thankfully, these are 9′ ceilings (not the 12′ walls covered in thick dirty oil-based paint that we need to paint in the rest of the house) — so they are much easier to paint.  To do the study and the family room, we used 10 cans of paint this weekend.  Paul showed mercy by doing the ceiling painting himself and all the high cut-in.  Everything has three coats of paint… primer and two color.  Including the trim.

Also, it was really, really, REALLY easy to paint the trim around the windows because of how perfectly the trim was done.

Paul and I were able to accomplish all of this progress (including the requisite caulk, sanding, vacuuming, and even the insertion of some light cans) because my parents took the kids for the weekend.  We worked until after midnight both Friday and Saturday and were up working by 8 each day.  We both really, really hurt. If my hair looks a little stringy, it’s because I can’t lift my arms above my shoulders to wash until Tuesday at least.

Here is the color in the study. It sort of looks like we are tentatively planning a nursery room, doesn’t it?

More of the family room. The paint theme for the room is, “this is suppose to be our happy place!”

Incidentally, Paul keeps calling the family room “the game room,” our office “his office,” and the outbuilding, “his workshop.”  I’m letting him be delusional about all that for now, since he looks all cute icing his sore arms in the bathtub.

* I just wanted to add, as a point of proof and respect, that Bryan’s perfectionism is only outdone by his wife’s patience.  As I remember, they slept in their dining room for several YEARS as Bryan worked on their bedroom.  She also patiently worked around not having kitchen counters (Bryan hand made them from soapstone, of course) and cabinets (he went to woodworking school to learn how to do this the right way) for more than a few years.  All the while she is raising three kids (including twin boys) in the middle of nowhere New England.  When I start to think, ugh, let’s be done already!, I need only think of them and shut my trap up tight.

Home and Renovation
Home and Renovation

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