Entries in The Next Generation (64)
City-wise, San Francisco was my first romance. Paris is magnificent and London is endlessly intriguing. Rome smote me with love at first sight, and I'm dying to go back. But New York? New York is home.
Patrick and I have been invited to Passover Dinner by our friends the Leibowitzes every year we've been married, and we've never missed it; last night was my 19th seder with them. (It was Patrick's 21st; he and David have been friends since college.) Passover is always a lovely event, marked by memorable conversation, beautiful and symbolic readings from the family's tattered haggadahs, and delicious food.
When I realized that Passover fell during the kids' spring break this year, I decided to make a day of it. I haven't taken the whole group for an outing in the City since last August, so we were definitely due. My plan was that we would first go to the American Museum of Natural History, have lunch at Shake Shack, then spend the afternoon at the playgrounds and small zoos in Central Park. Last, we'd buy flowers and meet Patrick at the home of our host and hostess.
The weather was brisk and partly cloudy; the kids were quickly glad I'd insisted on bringing their coats. They had forgotten how exposed you are when getting around in the City, but I had not.Our plan went off with only a couple of tiny hitches. When we pulled into parking at the museum, I realized that there were tons of school groups there and that the place would be packed. I polled everyone for their top three spots other than the special Climate Change exhibit we knew we wanted to see (because you could easily spend an entire day investigating all of the halls and exhibits); we came up with "space," "the bug room," and "the whale room."
The Climate Change exhibit is fantastic, but I'll take the big kids back and spend more time there when the museum is less crowded. Here are the kids ogling an ancient TRS-80 computer. I told them, "That's the computer we used in my first programming class when I was 14." I think they got a bit of a clue as to just how old I am. Since we know the museum's layout by heart, we got to our other favorite spots and had a satisfying visit.
Shake Shack did not disappoint. Anne had her first (and second through tenth at least) french fry.After lunch, we drove to the East Side and parked the car in the Leibowitzes' building. We then made our way to Central Park. The contrast between my City-raised kids and my country kids was entertaining. Tess still can't get over her amazement at elevators and subways, and Daniel took it as a personal affront that the dogs were so public about their "business."
Daniel has also decided he doesn't like "exercise" (walking), because it makes his legs "feel not good." Note, however, that whenever we stopped at a playground, he ran around like the happy, energetic young sprout that he is.Central Park Zoo was also a hit with everyone. Christian, James, and Hope waxed nostalgic, while Daniel and Tess discussed at great length the dramatic license taken by the makers of the film Madagascar. It's always great to be at the zoo when they feed the sea lions; Daniel announced that we need to get one of our own. "It will live in your bathtub," he declared.
We stopped at the Tisch Children's Zoo on the way back uptown:
On the way back to our friends' building, Daniel was definitely flagging. Pep talks and Skittles weren't as effective anymore, and I wondered whether we should pack it in and hail a cab. But no; Christian scooped up his little brother and carried him cheerfully on his shoulders for the last mile. My kids are amazing.
All in all, we walked just a few steps (284 to be exact, Jenna) shy of ten miles. The kids were pleasantly tired during the Seder, and we had a great time with our old friends. Oy, the chopped liver was to die for, and the brisket? Like buttah, dahling. The event would have been perfect if Tess hadn't suddenly come down with the stomach bug her sister had had the day before, but she handled herself with grace and a minimum of drama.
On the way home, I mentioned to Patrick that the day would have been perfect if he had been with us on our pre-dinner outings. He expressed the hope that our three-week trip to France in August will be a string of such days. I share that hope. Days like yesterday are the gems in the crown of life: precious, brilliant, and forever shining.
Our oldest son, Christian, was absolutely adorable (don't kill me, hon) in his high school's terrific production of The Sound of Music last weekend. Stay tuned; I'm hoping to upload a video of him as "The Lonely Goatherd" as soon as technology will allow. Thanks for the photos, Mary!
**UPDATED** Here it is (the sound problems resolve themselves after a few seconds):
James got a subscription to Gourmet magazine for Christmas; every month, he pores over each glossy, fabulous issue and decides what to make. Last month, he chose Butterscotch Pudding; this month, he decided to try what was featured on the cover: Strawberry Mascarpone Tart.
Fueled by tonight's success, he's decided to make a Lemon Curd Pavlova with Mixed Berries for Easter. Don't think I'm limiting him to one recipe trial per month; he's just getting going.
Here he is with his masterpiece; we cut it and had a slice about 30 seconds after this photo was taken, and it was delicious. So no, the fruit hasn't fallen far from the tree. And this tree couldn't be prouder.