Archive for December, 2008

Pediatric Waiting Room

…fun stuff right? It is crazy how when you become a parent the things that really stick out in your mind are no longer the great party you went to or the new illicit narcotic you tried but instead are the little things that make your life more convenient i.e. things that keep your child happy. When you have a toddler suddenly the things that stick out in your brain are the things that kept him happy for just one second so you can take a breath that is not giving life to another rendition of ‘Itsy Bitsy Spider.’
That being said we were in the Pediatrician’s office on Monday for the little one’s 2 year check up. When we first started going to Tulane Pediatrics at Lakeside they were in a trailer out behind the hospital then they moved onto the first floor of the all glass medical building next to the hospital. This was hardly a step up, the trailer had been cleaner and more child proof. Every time we would come in they would talk about how wonderful it would be when the offices that were being remodeled for them were complete. Each nurse and receptionist would get a sort of dreamy look in their eye as they talked about how nice everything would be then. I wanted to believe in their dream of a better office space but after two years I had almost forgotten about the whole thing.
Then this Monday we walked into the best Doctor’s office waiting area I have every seen. Each wall is painted a different but complimentary color. The sconces on the wall have actual multi-colored marbles incorporated within them to soften the light. There is a large plasma screen television playing Cartoon Network and two steering wheel consoles built right into the wall for children to play with. As if that were not enough the consoles depict ethanol levels and how much battery power the virtual vehicles have remaining (so with the times). Are you still not impressed? In each of the patient rooms there is another play set built into the wall. Again this keeps the little guys occupied but also gives the Doctor an opportunity to see them playing and discovering something new. Let me also say every single person on staff has been nice, informative and understanding. If you are still not impressed then I know two things about you 1. you do not have children and 2. I know who to call next time I need to score (as if that ever happens).

More perspective on the gay adoption issue (or possibly non-issue)

Today’s Times-Picayune posted an interesting update on the current gay adoption conflamma. It seems that back in the heady days of helmet-hating Mike Foster, something called the “Commission on Marriage and Family” was established–presumably to talk about, you know, marriage and families and stuff. It’s never been very active, but the folks at Forum for Equality are concerned that the adoption case will spur the commission–which is now appointed by the similarly helmet-hating Bobby Jindal–to push new legislation banning gay adoption. That wouldn’t be surprising, given the fact that (a) we’re in the bright red state of Louisiana, and (b) the committee’s membership includes folks like Puritan-at-Large Tony Perkins. However, other members of the commission seem somewhat more level-headed:

Jindal appointee Gene Mills, Louisiana Family Forum director, said he believes gay rights advocates are simply overreacting to the Arkansas vote and California voters’ rejection of same-sex marriages. Mills’ group bills itself as “your voice for traditional families.” He said the commission could yield ideas such as continuing to make it harder to divorce; devoting more resources to job training for single parents; and increasing state prisoners’ opportunities to interact with their children.

But Mills and [commission chair Senator Sharon Weston Broome, D-Baton Rouge] demurred on the question of gay adoption. Mills said, “That’s really up to the Legislature.” Broome did not offer her position.

Asked through his aides about the commission and specifically about his position on gay adoption, Jindal released a one-sentence statement: “I believe family is the cornerstone of our society and look forward to the commission’s work on how we can do more to support healthy families.”

At least one member of the clergy serving on the commission said he has no intention of parroting views of the traditional social conservatives….

The Rev. Chris Andrews of First United Methodist Church in Baton Rouge said he wants to discuss ways to help all families, regardless of composition. He said he will resist any attempts to reduce the likelihood that a child might be adopted.

“In general, I would view adoption issues through the lens of whether an individual or couple has the ability to love and care for a child, ” Andrews said. “I do not think that is something that is limited to a particular sexual orientation.”

–full article at NOLA.com

Am I being a total Pollyanna? Am I putting too much faith in the common sense of our elected and appointed officials? Or am I being lazy? Probably all of the above.

Note: none of this is to say that I want kids–I have four dogs, which must be the equivalent of at least one child–but as an adoptee myself, I understand the value of placing kids in good homes. I fail to understand how anyone can argue against that.

Dining on the Bayou

Last night I ventured across the old Hwy 11 bridge which leads directly to Micheal’s for dinner and some catching up. I went to visit with my old friend, Tim, a lead forecaster at the NWS. I always run into him when he comes across the lake to the city for Mardi Gras parades and Jazz Fest but we never get to sit down and catch up. It was my turn to make the drive and there are a number of notable chefs who have restaurants on the Northshore that I have wanted to visit.

Micheal’s is a modest establishment on the bayou of Eden Isle. They rebounded quickly after Katrina and maintain their spot as Fitzmorris’ only four-star rated restaurant in Slidell, it was a good excuse to get our foodie on. We both had the signature dish, the Black Forest Filet, which isn’t on the menu but usually available. This creation is a filet stuffed with blue cheese, a dried cherry reduction and a lump of fresh crabmeat on top. It was worth crossing the scary bridge at night. . . which wasn’t as scary as imagined. The service was excellent and the portions were perfect and the little crustinis and bread would pass the test of even the strictest palate.

While I am on subject of food, I also wanted to pass along the news that our own Craig Geisecke’s restaurant, J’anita’s has been given a thumbs-up by Zagat’s for 2009 as a Creative Newcomer and got high marks for the quality of their food, value and service . . . Congrats to Craig for all his hard work and suffering over the past year to make this dream a reality. Announcement

New Christmas Tradition?

After spending two days in the house opening presents and watching holiday movies we were ready to get out of the house so the family and I went down to Markey Park in the Bay water. This park has just had a brand new playground installed and word around the park is there are more updates to come. The playground is one of the Little Hands playgrounds that the Allstate Foundation is building around the city. Going to the park on Christmas Day was a brilliant idea, the weather was great and we had tons of fun being outside. There is also one aspect of this playground that I have never seen in a play set before but hope to see it many times again. There is a glockenspiel type instrument built right in next to the bridge and slide that most playgrounds have. The notes are clearly marked and the music to four songs is etched on the metal so kids can learn to play. My little one loved playing the notes and hearing them ring and I am sure many other little ones will enjoy this new playground in the future. We just might turn this into a Christmas tradition. It just felt good to get out and sort of spread the Christmas spirit with the world.

Christmas Eve Poem 2008

Teddy Bear House 2007 (3)

In case you were going to load the pets in the car and take them for a non-evacuation ride through Xmas in the Oaks this year . . . forget it, the City has spent all the CDBG money on the Carousel. You still can’t do the driving tour of Christmas lights in City Park, which was a staple pre-K. Burger King’s onion rings in the drive-thru might just have to do instead.

I found this sweet little poem for this year’s Christmas Eve post. I tried my very best to actually tie it to France but was unable to do so. Its only provenance is from those rascals in Australia. I still liked it the best of all my candidates this year.

French Prayer

Little Jesus of the crib
Give us the virtues of those that surround you
Make us philosophical as the fisherman
Carefree as the drummer
Merry in exploring the world as the troubadour
Eager for work as the bugler
Patient as the spinner
Kind as the ass
Strong as the ox that keeps you warm.

Alexandra, at the Alliance Francaise, provided this French translation of the poem for me today.

Prière au Petit Jésus

Donne nous les vertus de ceux qui sont pauvres d’argent mais riches d’amour, simples mais respectueux des autres, fidèles dans leur croyance comme dans leurs racines mais tolérants dans leurs actes.

Fais nous philosophe comme le pêcheur ou le vieillard, insouciant comme le musicien ou l’enfant, joyeux de découvrir le monde comme le simplet, vif au travail comme le moissonneur, patient comme l’artisan, brave comme l’âne et fort comme le bœuf qui te réchauffent.

I attempted to translate the poem myself but I know I would likely have made an error and there’s nothing more insulting to the French than botching up their language. I thank l’Alliance for their response. I have taken classes there in the past, it is a charming place and very well organized. They have a new course beginning January 5th, 2009 if you’re interested. They offer small, intimate classes. We’re fortunate to have l’Alliance as a resource in New Orleans. A New Year’s resolution, perhaps?

Valid response or fighting words?

The unnecessarily long and painful path toward the approval of government bridging loans for General Motors Corp. and Chrysler LLC has exposed a new threat to Detroit. It’s one that Michigan consumers may want to keep in mind as they consider their expenditures, vacation options and even retirement plans.

The problem here centers on certain southern states — Mississippi, Louisiana, Georgia and, in particular, Alabama — where certain bone-headed senators seem to have forgotten that the Civil War ended, with the appropriate outcome, almost 150 years ago.

During recent Congressional hearings, these ‘good old’ southern boys made it clear they could care less about Detroit’s survival and blocked passage of emergency loans in the Senate, leaving it to a decidedly reluctant President George W. Bush to approve the financial relief package….

So what should be done about this attempt to put Michigan out of business? The suggestions from readers came in thick and fast.

Apparently Alabama is quite a tourist destination for Michigan residents, so perhaps they will want to find other places to spend their hard-earned dollars. The southern state is also heavily favored by retirees from Michigan, but maybe that could change, too.

One other thought raised by readers concerns disasters; not the financial kind we are all experiencing, but the natural variety — droughts, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods — the sort of calamities that afflict southern states on a regular basis.

As you point out, federal taxpayer money flows freely in these circumstances, and so does free assistance from northern states, including Michigan. Detroit automakers, for example, gladly helped with vehicles and personnel when Hurricane Katrina slammed the Gulf Coast.

Is it time the South is reminded that a mean-spirited attitude is not a smart play when the whole country is on the ropes?

–full article at The Detroit News

Mid-City Bonfire Battle

Mid City Bonfire

Yesterday, life in the ‘Little Difficult’ began with an email circulating the news that the Nagin administration has decided that it will suddenly enforce the bonfire ban this year, a passive/aggressive threat to the Annual Mid City New Year’s Eve Bonfire on Orleans Ave.

MCNO has been informed that the City of New Orleans is taking steps to
prevent the New Year’s Eve Bonfire (typically in the 4200 Block of
Orleans Avenue), due to the risk to public safety and violation of a
number of City codes. An informational session will be jointly hosted
by NOPD, NOFD, and Parks & Parkways on Monday December 22, 2008 at
6:30pm, at Grace Episcopal Church, 3700 Canal Street. The purpose of
the session is to proactively inform residents and business owners
about the City’s enforcement plans for the night of the event.

Today, it sounds like Mid-City is ready-to-rumble over the survival of this 70-year long tradition. The official flyer from the City and news can be found at the Mid City Neighborhood Blog.

This is Councilwoman Midura’s District, I sent her an email this morning and got this quick reply:

It’s illegal and extremely dangerous. I am 100% supportive of the Fire Department’s effort to protect the neighborhood from a terrible tragedy. It’s against the law. Come to the meeting next week and raise your idea with the Fire Dept. They will be able to tell you whether or not it’s permissible under the law. I cannot support anything that is against the law. It would be contrary to my duties as an elected official sworn to uphold the law.

I replied that I believe some safe compromise could be reached since no such tragedy has ever materialized.

Give her a ringy-dingy; Phone: (504) 658-1010.
Email: smidura@cityofno.com

The Times- Picayune picked this up today.

Xmas Dance Pageant

Cindy's Little Scholars Dance Pageant (9)   Cindy's Little Scholars Dance Pageant (13)  Cindy's Little Scholars Dance Pageant (16)

Today I was heading down N. Broad St. to run an errand, traffic was stopped for Cindy’s Little Scholars Annual Dance Pageant. The parade is part of a fundraiser, which included Santa, who was gettin’ dowwwn.

Snow Freak Out

Snow Day Dec.11th, 2008 (34)   Snow Day Dec.11th, 2008 (30)

I didn’t even know I was capable of having a full-out freak out at 8:30 in the morning . . . but I woke up realizing that it had been raining for nearly 24 hrs and though I didn’t have to, something made me get up and look out the window. I called my buddy Mags at work and squealed while getting my shoes on, grabbing me camera, and spilling coffee on my sweater as I high-tailed it to Audubon Park and the Teddy Bear House.

I haven’t been this excited about anything since the insurance company finally paid the remainder of my Katrina claim ! It was really beautiful. This was a far better snow than the one on Christmas Day in 2004, that snow was merely a technical snow, but magical because of its timing. Today’s event was a snowman kinda snow! I am so happy I am done with exams and was able to really relish the beauty of it. I felt sorry for my niece who was taking a final, she missed our two-hour winter wonderland ~ !

IT IS SNOWING

I live in the Marigny and it is snowing. It has been for about fifteen minutes and it is starting to lay on the car. This is so amazing!!

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