Archive for October, 2011

From Snooki to Schnitzel

Sunday, October 23rd, 2011

Cati and I are packing up the girls and moving to Germany for a about three years or so.  We’re excited about the new country, culture, and language, but we’re also a bit ambivalent about it.   We’ll be leaving our much appreciated friends and community here in New Jersey, but we have every intention to return.

The new language is daunting to us both, but we are starting lessons next week in hopes of getting up to speed.  The worst part (for me) about learning a new language, is the always-being-wrong part. It’s exhausting and frustrating.  I’m barely fluent with Spanish, so naturally, I still get things wrong and struggle for vocabulary ALL THE TIME; literally, every day.  Just today I learned the Spanish word for rocking chair [it’s mecedora].  It’s frustrating to me that I am approaching 40-years-old and have the Spanish vocab of a slow Spanish kindergardner– yeah, it’s humbling alright.  And lucky for us, Cati and I get to start all that again with a new language– German.

Last week we went on a house-hunting trip to Deutschland.  We found a nice place.  Here are some photos of the trip.


Also, here’s our new favorite song around the house:



Makes you wanna feel/try.

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

We took advantage of the Indian summer we have had lately and spent the weekend visiting friends in Boston.  What a great town.  We left on Friday night near the girls’ bedtime so they would sleep most of the 4-hour drive.  It worked.  We arrived and tucked them into bed at our friends’ place– and then we adults all enjoyed a glass of wine and chatted until around 2 AM.  The next day started earlier than we would have liked, but it started all the same.  We hit the downtown and had a great time site seeing and snacking from street cars.  It was, well, picturesque.

We took the girls to a children’s museum so they could burn some energy.  They had a screaming, running, good time.  Remember, we like our kids nice and tired.

At the museum there was a little green-screen set-up where kids could walk onto their favorite cartoons.  Our girls saw themslves on TV and started dancing around like they were on “Soul Train.”

That was fun, but the high point of the day was when they played in the fountain downtown and got soaked.  Check out the video below:

After that full day, we were able to leave the girls with the baby-sitter (we brought her with us for the weekend from NJ) and we went out to a great steak place with our friends.  It was not cheap, but it was very nice.  I selected the wine for the table, and it was kind of a let down.  It was a 2008 tempranillo from Ribiera del Duero called Tinto Pesquera. It wasn’t that good and I felt like a loser for picking a dud [hey, it happens].  We had a great time all the same.  As the night progressed Cati and I were reminded by the steak and booze that we had only slept 5 hours.  We went “home.”

I remember thinking on the car ride back to our friend’s home how much fun I was having.  Reminiscing is easy, but it’s a rare thing to stop and reflect on the present.  There I was, with my #1 girl, genuinely enjoying a night out with her and my friends.  My babies were “home” sleeping soundly with the sitter and I just felt great. I jokingly thought to myself, “I could die and I woudn’t mind.” Ha.

Before leaving MA on Sunday morning, we enjoyed a lovely breakfast with our friends and we stopped for ice cream at what has been regarded “The best Ice Cream Stand in MA (2010).”  It’s called Kimball Farm. We all enjoyed that too.

Then on the way back to NJ, we broke up the 4-hour drive by stopping in New Haven, CT.  We had lunch on the Yale campus while the girls ran around like they do.

We had a positive impression of Boston. We hope to visit again.

Here’s Boston’s own The Pixies noisily covering The Jesus and Mary Chain who apparently have also felt they could die and not mind.  Enjoy, friends:

Oh, and if I had unlimited access to a time machine, I think I would go back in time to Dallas to sing along with the crowd for this song:

Of course I would only do that AFTER I used the time machine to allow future me to bring myself a sports almanac from the future…and I found and killed John Connor, of course.    We’ll be back.

Too Hot

Tuesday, October 4th, 2011

Recently Cati and I loaded up the family truckster and went to visit our dear friends in upstate NY.  We had a nice time visiting, chatting, and passing the multitude of babies around like Frisbees at the beach.  While in the Capital District we took the opportunity to visit Chef Ric Orlando’s New World Bistro Bar for dinner.  We were feeling cocky so we went with the kids– yeah, that was dumb.  The girls were loud and tired and there was really nothing on the menu they could eat; it was all spicy.  Even the bread is jalapeño bread.  Don’t get me wrong; I am not complaining.  Goodfellas is a great film that is not appropriate for kids, but great all the same, right?  We had no business bringing the babies– live and learn.  Anyway, we ordered the girls a little pizza from the menu and split a plate of the terrific blackened green beans with our friends.  Man, those things are so good.    

The girls started getting unruly so Cati quickly enjoyed an appetizer while I occupied the little ones.  She then left to put them to bed at the hotel; I promised to bring her dessert. I was left with our friends to enjoy the Jerk Chicken.  I guess I was still feeling cocky because I ordered the chicken at spicy level ’10/10.’  Let me walk you through how my first few bites went down. 

Bite #1: “Mmmm, this is tasty.  The chicken is perfectly cooked and moist and the allspice and jerk flavors really come throu…OH MY GOD, THE BURNING! BEER, HELP ME. PLEASE MAKE IT STOP.” 


Bite #3: “Is that you Jesus? Yes, I will walk towards the light with you.”

Bites #4 – 15: More of the above with uncontrolled twitching and sweating.

My eye sockets were sweating– I loved it.  It was an experience more so than a meal. I had to let the plate cool a little to take the edge off the spice.  Once it was a little cooler I could taste more than just burning.  It was really flavorful.  Next time I’ll probably order the level ‘7’ (with humility). Chef Orlando’s style really shines through in his food. His dishes demonstrate his confidence with bold flavors. What a creative chef. I am a fan of his food.  It’s not easy to find a place like that anywhere, really. Albany’s dining scene has a unique gem with the NWBB. I wish I could go there more. 

I did not pose for the photo below and I am actually fanning myself like an old woman in a Southern church service.  I’ll have you know, I cleaned my plate. If I’ve had a spicier meal, I don’t know when. 

Speaking of spicy, Cati and I have been enjoying some German mustard that I brought back on a recent trip.  It’s called Lowensenf Extra Hot, which means “Lion attacking your face and sinuses” in high German [Incredible translation work there, eh?]. This also tastes like burning, but it’s that short intense nose-burn (like from wasabi).  It is so good with bratwurst and greens.


Also, I recently received an order of the soon-to-be-world-famous Christopher’s pepper-sauce.  Yup, upstate NY’s very own.  I ordered three bottles and Chris shared a secret formula he is working on called ‘Lava.’  It was aptly named. 

And now, for no good reason, here are a couple of photos of me and the girls.  The first one was taken in Mallorca this year.  That’s Nina up there.

And this one shows that Natalia can sleep anywhere.  You might be thinking, “Poor thing, she wants to be in bed.” That’s what I thought until we tried to take her out of her seat and she was hanging onto it trying to ignore us and go back to sleep in it.  She actually wanted to stay in it and sleep while I rode her chunky little bottom around the trail; we laughed. Ah, kids.