Tuesday, December 26, 2006

More Louisiana Christmas

Here are some more pics from Christmas Eve...

Christmas morning...

John and Ricardo--hams....

Hunter and Hannah

A Louisiana Christmas

Ethan and Sofia

We came to Louisiana to visit Mama and Dad, John, Shelly, Hunter and Ethan--we arrived and set up the mountain of gifts under the tree, had some nog, and got to visiting. The next night we went to see the Nativity Story, very sweet. And then yesterday we celebrated Christmas, as always, eating a great dinner together and then opening the gifts. We played Pictionary at the end of the night which was nice. It's the first time Hunter was old enough to join in the game and it was so much fun!

Today we drove to Baton Rouge and visited Renee, Jason and Nicholas. I love how we can just pick up and reconnect, no matter how much time we've spent apart. It was so nice when they lived here in my mom's neighborhood and I could just sneak off and visit for a little while.
Tonight my cousin Santiago and his wife Fini arrive from Argentina for a visit. I haven't seen him for years and years, since he lived here with mom and dad and went to school at University of Louisiana (woo-hoo alma mater). Then tomorrow we go home because Ricardo's cousin Alicia, with husband Tom and sister in law Mercedes arrive for a visit to ring in the new year!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Why I don't go to malls...

Katie and Hannah earlier this year

Today Hannah met a friend of hers at the fabulous, new, Northpark Mall. Sofia and I decided to stick around and shop while Hannah hung out with Katie. I hadn't been to the mall for a long, long time--a year? It wasn't as crowded as I thought it would be, or maybe it just doesn't feel as crowded now that it's so huge! We had a good time, and actually did get some gift shopping done. It was so overwhelming though, there is just so so so much stuff, many beautiful things vying for my attention.

I figured out what it is that unsettles me about shopping at the mall. Even though we bought several items, there is just so much that we could buy, there's so much that is 'wantable'. Instead of a feeling of satisfaction, I walk away feeling somehow deprived, knowing that I could have bought so much more but didn't, knowing that the girls want so many things there, and that no matter how much we buy, there would be that many more things that didn't get bought that were just as nice. It's just too much!

For the first time this year we have actually made lists of things we've been hankering for. It's so much easier to buy for each other, and it's nice to be able to tell others in the family that "perfect gift". Otherwise, it's just a shopping frenzy, without knowing if you'll actually make the mark, and that's what I hate the most about shopping.

Well, I hope all your excursions are fruitful!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

True or False?

I get a lot of email...solicited and unsolicited. Whenever I get a forward, it's automatically a red flag because most of what "goes around" is just not true!!! I use a couple of websites to check things out whenever I'm not sure, one is www.snopes.com and the other is www.urbanlegends.com. I got an email the other day from an unknown source, truly a sad story about a baby dying unexpectedly, with a blog of the family including a link to a website where you can donate funds in the baby's name. Ok, I hate that I've turned into a total cynic on these things, but it just didn't feel right. The blog only had a few entries, starting in September for a baby that "died" when he was 18 months old. The parents of young children I know either don't have time at all for a blog, or if they do they really keep up with it and use it as a way of staying in touch with everyone. I don't know anyone who knows anyone who knows these unfortunates who thought I should hear about their tragedy a week before Christmas. I checked on snopes and urbanlegends and neither one had the story...so maybe it's for real, and if so I'm really sorry and sad for this family.

So, while I was on the Urban Legends site, I was browsing the top 25 recent and crazy things going around on the web, and then the list of Christmas stories, and this one that's actually TRUE is worth checking out. Can you imagine being this guy's neighbor? You would end up having a seizure by the end of the holidays with the light effects going at you each night.


Monday, December 18, 2006

Parranda on the News

We were on Fox news last night! Here's the link:


I'm not sure how long the link will be live, if anyone knows how to save it, to youtube preferably so it can be viewed from there, please let us know!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Parranda 2006

(Dulce, Carla, Paola and Maria Conchita)

Last night was our last Parranda of the season...well, maybe just one more! If it happens it will be a last minute thing. It's been a lot of fun this year, it went by so fast! Here are some of our favorite moments of Parranda 2006:

  • A really pregnant Venezuelan woman dancing a "tambora" with her husband--so that's how venezuelan children come out knowing how to dance! (Carla)
  • The abuelita (grandmother) dancing and coming to ALL of our performances (Hannah)
  • Ricardo acting like he was mad in the middle of a song and that he wouldn't sing anymore, and everyone sort of panicked, except the guys who were 'in on it' (ok, that's Ricardo's favorite, definitely not mine...)
  • Sofia playing a new instrument, tambora--although I love when she plays the furruco, but we really needed another tambor player
  • Renee and Shawna at Zaguan, I had so much fun that night. The energy of the audience was awesome and I had a blast watching Renee and Shawna watching everything around us!
  • Our Parranda Emergency when Conchita lost her voice, and Nayi came to solo at the Navidad Latinoamericana, it was great having her back!
  • Our new logo and shirts!!!!!! Hannah seems to think there's a danger of us going memorabilia crazy, but I just want caps, keychains, pens, sunglasses, cups, boxers...

For all the details on parranda, bookmark the blog: http://parrandavenezuela.blogspot.com/

That's my update for Parranda 2006!

Friday, December 15, 2006

What I want for Christmas

Today our AmeriCorps grant went out into the ether of e-Grants....That's what I want for Christmas, funding for the next three years. Other things that would be nice:

  • a house that runs itself without our having to maintain it
  • landscaping for our yard
  • 4 day weekends so we can run around having fun and being busy for 2 days, then lounge around the house for two days (instead of one OR the other)
  • electronic equipment that can read my mind and never needs recharging
  • a self vacuuming car (hey, we have a self cleaning oven...)
  • clean air every day

And of course, peace on earth, healthy friends and family, and lots of love and laughter. Did I mention funding for the next three years...

Thursday, December 14, 2006

End of an Era

(Sofia, Sarah, Hannah, Mary and Rebecca, l-r, on our *last* Friday night dinner at Starfish)

We rarely realize the last time we do something. For example, when the girls were little and crawled into bed with us in the middle of the night, it was always a sweet disruption, then one day they stopped doing that. I remember when Sofia used to "make" me tuck her in bed every night, and then one day she just stopped asking, I miss that! We don't realize it's the end of an era until it's long over. I guess I'm getting to an age where melancholy for how-things-used-to-be starts creeping in...

Here's the latest thing that's disappeared from our life. Since the begining of the school year we have had a fixed date at Starfish Restaurant every Friday evening. "We" is an assortment of families living in Oak Cliff whose children go to Harry Stone or Townview. Whoever showed up was meant to be there that night. We've celebrated birthdays, traded summer stories, made plans and laughed a whole lot. The food was good, with wonderful sweet potato fries, awesome desserts and a byob policy that suited us perfectly. We were pretty much regulars and thought we had started a tradition that would last forever...and then Starfish closed...WHAT? Not wanting to let go, we went to Vitto's last Friday. We're going to have to come up with some sort of plan because we can't stop getting together...it's the end of the Starfish era and the begining of....

Monday, December 11, 2006

Weekend Fun!

( Renee and Ricardo on their way to cheer on the Saints)

We had a fabulous weekend! We had a good time with Renee on Saturday, including a rocking performance of the Parranda Venezuela at Zaguan. We tried to prepare Renee for how CRAZY it can be at Zaguan when we perform but it even exceeded our own expectations! I'm not sure how many folks attended but I'm thinking it was upward of 100? 150? Fortunately, Shawna came early to the house and then hung out with Renee that night. Like the typical little kid with friends in the audience I kept looking at them and stepping out of "stage presence" to talk to them during the performance. It was so much fun to have them there! Then Sunday after brunch at Cafe Jordan and a little shopping Ricardo and Renee went to the Saints - Cowboy game, and the miracle to top it off...the Saints won! The only down turn is that Ricardo lost his wallet...or it was lifted during the game...I think that even that couldn't ruin his happiness that he got to see his beloved Saints in person!!!! It was his first professional football game ever, and to see the Saints no less...and then have them win?! Wow, talk about weekend fun!

Saturday, December 09, 2006

It's cold...

My Texas Toes, unprepared for snow in October, when I was in Wyoming.

It's been really cold here lately, in the 30's at night, but I'm not complaining! I still remember the horribilitating heat (no, it's not a word, but it describes perfectly the horrible and debilitating heat of Texas summer....) So, yes, it's very nippy out, but I'm enjoying putting on my winter duds, including my wonderful collection of Bolivian lambswool wraps.
Today my friend Renee came to Dallas, from Baton Rouge, for a business trip. I'm enjoying having her here so much! We went out for dinner (Starfish is closing? more on that another day...) and then went to Libba's fire. It was nice but we got really cold and came home early. Amazingly, there are no plans for tomorrow during the day, so we'll do something fun and spontaneous (movie? museum? shopping?) and then tomorrow night is the performance at Zaguan. She's staying through Sunday, for the Cowboys/Saints game, and then home on Monday. What a treat!

Monday, December 04, 2006

A Christmassy Weekend

Ricardo in the Bishop Arts District after our performance

On Saturday Parranda Venezuela performed twice. First was our traditional presentation at Casa Trevino here in the 'Cliff. It was really nice as always. The residents of Casa Trevino are all self sufficient older folks and they really appreciate the attention and entertainment. We sing our QUIETEST songs, which is a difficult feat with 3 drums and 10 voices....and then have hot chocolate and give them each a little gift. This year I bought mugs with some candy in them. We had a full house, with some new faces, and were happy to see some familiar faces. It's my favority performance we do, and I always want to come back later in the year, but then time flies and I never do. This year we HAVE TO.

Then we went to each at our favorite pizza joint in the neighborhood, Vitto's, and had dinner before bracing ourselves for the outdoor performance in the COLD evening! Thanks so much to our friends who came out to support us!!! A shout out to the Ehrlichers, Shawna, the Davis Family, Nayi, Pedro and everyone! You really warmed our hearts (the rest was frozen...).

Then today...the four of us went with Shawna, Tristyn and Forest out to the hinterlands of Dallas, to Quinlan Texas, to cut down a Christmas tree. Again, brrrrr, but well worth it! We took some hot chocolate and cut down our tree which is now on the back deck waiting to be put up. It won't be decorated until Tuesday or Thursday unfortunately...hopefully we can put it in water at least.

The reason we couldn't decorate it right away was that Ricardo and I went to a meeting of the musicians who will be playing at the Navidad Latinoamericana on the 16th. It was a lot of fun, we made plans for the event and then sang a bunch of other songs just for fun. It was a nice mix of Argentino's, Chileno's, a Brazilian girl and Ricardo and I. On the night of the performance all the bands will be coming together at the end to sing Silent Night/Noche de Paz in Spanish, Portuguese then English--it was so beautiful tonight, it will be absolutely STUNNING on the night of the performance with 50 voices!!!!

So that was our very Christmassy weekend, the holiday season is officially begun!