Friday, October 17, 2014

Annual Apple Picking Trip

You had what for lunch?!?!

Gene: (Silently burps while drying Violet's hair)
Violet : Yuck! What is that smell?
Gene: Sorry Violet, that's probably my breath.  Daddy had a very stinky lunch today. 
Violet : What did you eat? ... POOPIE?!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Flowers Smell Like Purple

Scene : walking home with Ivy (from daycare) past a building with several freshly planted bushes.

Anna: Oh look at all the flowers! Look at that one, that's really pretty. 
Ivy: Flower!!!
Anna: What color is the flower?
Ivy: Pink!
Anna: That's right, it's pink! Let's go and smell it and find out what it smells like. 
Ivy (smells the flower): Smells like purple.

Monday, September 29, 2014

New Orleans: The City of Oysters

Day 1:
Everything was going according to plan until we ended up stuck in traffic on our way to the airport.  We arrived with a few minutes to spare but the security line was snaking along for what seemed like eternity.  When we finally got through we heard the following announcement, "Klayman, if you're at the gate, please proceed, this is final boarding".  We ran and just barely made it. The trip started off with us being very anxious.  I could see Gene holding back his, "I told you we should have left earlier" lecture.  The flight was pretty quick and we arrived in NoLa at 11am and immediately walked through the French quarter, past Jackson Square to the legendary Cafe Du Monde, where we had fluffy beignets and more sugar than we thought one can possibly consume.
Next we walked to our hotel on Royal street and admired the lovely boutiques and art galleries along the way. Once at hotel Monteleone, we checked out the famous carousel bar near the lobby and made a mental note to return later for some drinks and a ride. 
We continued our voyage thought the French Quarter, this time via Bourbon street.  It was all we expected and more.  At barely 2pm, the street was already starting to fill with college drunks, trannys, loose women and of course street musicians.  As we walked, we took pleasure in seeing all the colorful drinks that people were carrying in plain sight.  Most notable was the hand grenade. A giant lime green drink in the shape of a grenade with a long spout at the end that was roughly 8 or so inches and a giant straw hanging out of it. No one really knows what's inside this drink but I was told it will fuck ya'll up. Next on my list of favorites was "the fish bowl". I am not sure if that's the actual name of the drink but it was essentially a fish bowl filled to the brink with a pink fluid similar in color to liquid Tylenol.  Needless to say we didn't try this concoction.  Last and certainly not least, the "huge ass beer" (second pic from the top) should get an honorable mention because Gene is a beer fan but this was a drink that even he couldn't handle.  It was roughly 50 ounces and most people drinking it needed a straw to get to the bottom of this beast of a bottle.  We walked and laughed and laughed at this wonderful little town where tourist and locals don't have to hide their alcohol in brown paper bags like us NYC folks.  We walked all the way to Frenchman street (aka The Real New Orleans) and then back to the French Quarter for lunch at Acme Oyster House.   We placed order after order of char-grilled oysters in delicious herb butter sauce with a Parmesan cheese crust.  Sitting at the bar, we devoured this delectable treat and made small talk with our shucker: "Stormin" Norman.  He was extremely entertaining but mostly because everything he said was deeply profound and at the same time made no sense at all.  Here are some of my favorite Norman quotes:
  • Oysters are oysters
  • You like what you like
  • I eat what I eat 
You get the point...
We continued to gorge ourselves on dish after dish of deep fried goodness (shrimp, crab, etc.) and with our bellies full, we wobbled back to our room and quickly fell asleep.  We were smart enough to set an alarm so we can wake up in time for our dinner.  The humor of this doesn't escape me.  Let me repeat.  We ate, fell asleep and set an alarm so we're not late for eating again. Normal? I think not.  Unfortunately, we did oversleep but were able to move the reservations to later in the evening.  Sadly we were still full from our earlier meal of grease, butter and cholesterol.  However, August, the John Besh contemporary French restaurant with a focus on local ingredients did not disappoint.  
Now that we were once again stuffed, we were ready to party. Bourbon street here we come!  The street was one giant party where most of the crowd actually walked the street rather than spending their time in bars.  We walked along and entered probably over a dozen bars to order drinks and listen to the live music. We were most surprised at the diversity of Bourbon street as people of all ages and walks of life danced like no one was watching.  There were 20 year old college students and 65 year old grandmas all grooving to the same beat-- the crowd was often more entertaining than the music.  In some bars we were lucky to hear authentic NoLa Jazz, while others played oldies and classics like "I like big butts".  After covering the entire street (twice) we headed back to our hotel for a nightcap at the Carousel bar.  Excited that we made it past 2am, we  came to the room and crashed.  
Day 2:
I woke up at 9am and abandoned Gene to go up to the rooftop pool to read and relax.  Once he was awake, we were on our way to Muriel's for brunch.  The property has a very interesting history, dating back to 1718 when it was first awarded to a young French Canadian named Claude Trepagnier.  In the years that followed, it was passed down the line to several wealthy men, ultimately getting in the hands of Pierre Antoine Lepardi Jourdan who could never quench his thirst for the thrill of gambling and in 1814 he wagered his beloved home in a poker game and crushingly lost the one thing he treasured most in life .  He is believed to haunt the property in spiritual form on the same piece of land that is now Muriel’s. As the story goes, his ghost appears as a glimmer of sparkly light wandering around the lounge.  There is even a table set for him at the bottom of the stairs that lead to the Seance Lounges, where he spent the majority of his time. The brunch was good but the upstairs lounge was much more impressive.  The brick rooms with period furniture upholstered in red velvet sent a chill down my spine - creepy, sensual and dirty all at the same time.  We zigzagged and navigated the upstairs rooms until we found ourselves on the balcony where we basked in the sun and waited for the food to settle.  On our walk back to the hotel we encountered a few street performer but none as incredible as Tanya and Dorise.  Their combo of guitar and violin was breathtakingly beautiful.  We stood around and listened until the scorching sun got the best of us.  Back at the hotel, Gene watched Football and I slept like a baby.  When I woke up we went back to the pool for more relaxing, tanning and drinks.  Our anniversary dinner was later that night at Commander's Palace (another place with a very rich history, dating back to 1880) in the Garden District and it was the perfect opportunity to take the trolley though the various neighborhoods of NoLa. 
Arriving a half hour early, we strolled the residential streets and admired the expansive (and expensive) houses adorned with charming details of southern architecture.  After dinner we hailed a cab and our driver, an older lady named Elizabeth, suggested we check out Snug Harbor on Frenchman street.  We obliged and arrived at the Jazz bistro just in time to catch a 10 pm show of an eclectic four person band (Marcelo Benetti) led by a drummer with a cute Italian accent.   We didn't completely get their sound but it was still a fun experience.  
Day 3:
We woke up early and patiently waited in the hotel lobby to be picked up for our swamp tour.  The bus driver, Ms. Josie, was a chatty lady who kept asking the entire bus full of people how much they were willing to pay for rent as we drove past some of the less glamorous parts of New Orleans?  She would point to a house and say, "That house would cost about $400 a month. Is $400 aight? What about $500, still aight? Well even $600 is a bit more but still aight, ye?  It would get ya'll a bigger house.  Cost of livin' is pretty cheap in n'awlins".  Maybe she was contemplating a career change to a real estate broker? The tour itself was pretty good and Eric, our captain, admitted that he was also known as Mr. Crash and doesn't have the best record when it comes to driving the boat.   He was fine.  We only crashed once.
We saw a bunch of alligators, who were clearly trained to swim up to the boat so they can feast on the readily available treats from Ringmaster Captain Crash.  It felt a bit like a swamp version of the circus as alligators, hogs and raccoons all tried to make their way to the boat in the hopes of getting some food.
The bus ride back was uneventful and besides complaining about her legs cramping up, ms. Josie was pretty quiet.  We were dropped off in the French Quarter where we continued on our food journey, this time to John Besh's Luke.  It didn't disappoint but after having several appetizers, entrees and dessert we had to be carried out of there.  In need of a walk, we strolled through the Art and Warehouse district , past the Casino, through the Historic District and ended up back at our hotel where I once again quickly fell asleep.  Gene, however, was excited at the prospect of winning some cash, so he headed to Harrah's to test his luck at the poker table.   He returned rather quickly with a much lighter wallet and ready to hit the pool again.   
It was late evening when we returned to Frenchman street but this time to The Spotted Cat for some jazz and blues.  Dominick Grillo and The Frenchman Street All-Stars were playing that night and at first they appeared bored with the small crowd, which was evident by their on-stage smoking while playing their instruments.  As the crowd grew, so did the band's confidence and excitement. The crowd began to go crazy, dancing and clapping along as the guy on the trumpet played an insane solo. The energy was palpable; we swayed with the music and longed for this type of bar in Brooklyn.  The only thing better than the music was the ladies room that housed a full size piano.

Once the band finished their set we realized that we still haven't tried alligator sausages.  A quick search on Yelp led us to Oceana Grill, on Bourbon street.  You can imagine Gene's excitement when we walked into a restaurant that eerily resembled TGIF.  Gene was home.  The alligator sausage was slightly spicy, juicy and delicious so I am not complaining.  It was the end of another great night.
Day 4:
Woke up late and grabbed a cup of coffee to enjoy poolside while I read The Hundred Food Journey and Gene mumbled something about his fantasy football league.  It wasn't long before it was time to check-out, have lunch and prepare to head home.   We ended up at Kingfish for our final meal of the trip and just like all of our meals in New Orleans, it was heavy, buttery and delicious.  We miraculously got to the airport with an hour to spare but as luck would have it, our flight was delayed by two hours.  As I sat and drank my disgusting airport wine, I thought about our trip and how fantastic it felt to not have any responsibilities for a few short days.   It was a perfect break but I was ready to return home and be "mom" again.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Mommy, I want ...?

Violet: Mommy, I want a doggie.
Me: Violet, we can't keep a dog in our apartment, it's far too small.  Doggies love to have space and run around outside.  We would need to have a big house to have a doggie.
Violet: Mommy, I want boobies.
Me: Wait. What?

Violet's First Day of Pre-K

Changing Seasons and Changes at Home

September was a big transition month for the Klayman clan. Not only did both girls start new schools - Little Snowflakes for Ivy and A. Fantis for Violet, but here a few other thing that are changing:

  • No more high chair.   That's right, the hideous white and orange contraption is now gone from our living room/kitchen.  Unfortunately it's now taking up half of our bedroom until we can be sure that Ivy won't fall and injure herself....again.
  • Goodbye strollers.  Both girls are walking to school so stroller use is limited to weekends.  I have mixed feelings about this one as the walk to school with Ivy can sometimes feel very, very long.  I often end up getting too frustrated and carrying her half of the way.
  • Violet's bedrail is now collecting dust next to the high chair.  This was another hideous white contraption that made its way to our room for safekeeping until we can rest assured that Violet won't fall off the bed.  The first night we took it off, she immediately fell off the bed, but since then she's had a pretty good record of sleeping in one spot. 
  • Ivy's crib is now a toddler bed. This is probably the least successful transition of the bunch.  Ivy loves getting in and out of bed and has been doing so until the wee hours of the night.  She started to climb out of bed in the middle of the night and makes her way to our room, with blankie and pillow in tow.  Gene and I take turns trying to convince her to go back to her own bed but usually by the third or fourth nightly visit we give up and make room for her in our bed. Unlike Violet, she isn't very considerate when it comes to co-sleeping or staying in one spot. Somehow I am always her cuddle target.