New Orleans β›ͺ️

I had long promised to take the kids to New Orleans, one of my favorite cities and a place I thought the girls would really like. With Claire almost off to college, this spring break was one of the last chances to take both girls on a trip, at least as “kids”.

Moly has turned into a bit of a Francophile, learning French in school, so New Orleans should be extra fun for her.

So off we went on a five-day road trip to the glorious crescent city.

We decided to stay in Houston for a night on the way since Molly had wanted to see the Galeria shopping center, which was apparently famed at her middle school. Despite many visits to see my parents in House, we had never set aside time to really “do” the Galleria. So we did it right this time – dinner at La Madeline (to match the French trip theme) next to the skating rink and taking our time to gawk at all the fancy stores. We all agreed it was certainly the most celebrated shopping center in Texas, at least. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

Once in NOLA, we enjoyed some surprisingly cool weather and settled into our AirBnB on Magazine Street in the lovely Lower Garden District. I told Molly that New Orleans had a New York feel to it, and she was happy surprised to see how diverse and cosmopolitan it was.

We caught the swamp tour south of town. Despite the non-swampy, we saw more than a few big gators, who were friendly enough. The tour guide recruited Molly as a “volunteer” to jump into the swamp and find some small gators for everyone to bring home. He promised we’d come back to get her in an hour. πŸ˜† Molly was a good sport about the whole ordeal and calmly stayed in the boat.

We explored the Lower Garden District and are a lot of delicious food, including Korean BBQ, Vietnamese, old-school and pizza in our neighborhood. Somehow we discussed World War 2 during our entire pizza outing. It started with, “Dad, can you tell us about World War 2?” πŸ˜† And of course we hade the long-promised beignets in the French Quarter. The beignets took about an hour, but it was worth the wait.

As we ate at the chef’s counter at St. John, I was sitting between Claire and Molly. Somehow they invented a game where Claire spoke Spanish and Molly spoke French, and I had to translate between the two. Claire kept getting stumped on the phrase “slow metabolism”. πŸ˜†

We also enjoyed a crowded streetcar ride down St. Charles to Canal. Claire was drawn to the paranormal on this trip, first hit a voodoo store, which was more of an Apothecary & BotΓ‘nica store. I almost bough some Tabasco cologne but didn’t quite feel it. Claire got her tarot professionally read in the French Quarter while Molly and I had a coffee and Italian soda across the street. Claire’s results were apparently helpful but not discussed with us. πŸ˜‰

We left with plenty more to see in New Orleans, but I am so happy to have brought them to this beautiful and unique city just the next state over. Molly added it to her list of possible places to move because she liked the active, urban vibe. πŸ™‚

Not bad for a quick trip. πŸ‘

Heart-Shaped Hands

Claire has been pretty into making a “heart” shape with her hands like this lately.

She’ll spring it on you. Suddenly there’s just this heart-shaped hand in front of you, and it’s like “whoa!” and she wants you to complete the heart. πŸ˜† Apparently I’m the worst at it. Claire’s like “That’s so ugly, Dad!” πŸ˜‚

Hamburgers and Philosophy

With Claire off at a camp, I had Molly to myself tonight. We stopped by Wataburger at her special request and took it for a picnic on the way home.

At the Whataburger, Molly launched two riddles at me.

The first was “Are there more wheels or doors?” I asked, “Do you mean, like, in the whole world?”. “Yep!” she said.

Looking out at the parking lot and street, I initially said, “It’s got to be wheels.” But Molly pointed out that while every car has four wheels, it has four doors too. And the office building across the streets easily had hundreds of doors. And cabinets. Also, something about legos. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

I was convinced. Doors it is!

At the park, Molly asked if water is wet.

Again, my initial instinct was wrong. πŸ˜†. “Of course it’s wet. It’s water.” After some discussion and demonstrations on the picnic table and sidewalk, we decided that water is not wet because “wet” describes a liquid sticking to a solid. Since water is already a liquid, it cannot be wet.

We googled it and found that “Liquid water is not itself wet, but can make other solid materials wet.” 🀯

Finally, I attempted to “get” Molly with the Dichotomy Paradox, which basically says that in theory, you can never walk from one point to another because no matter how far you go, you always still have halfway to go. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ Real-world experiments showed that this is obviously false in the real world but true in math. Hmm. πŸ€”

Anyways, it was fun goofing around talking philosophical πŸ’© with Molly on this beautiful spring evening.

Picnic pic

Here’s a picture of Claire and Molly at an evening picnic we had the other day.

Check the thoughtful looks on their faces. They must have been having a deep moment. πŸ€“

If life gives you lemons, make wheatgrass shots

When the Great Polar Blast of 2021 hit back in February, all the bushes out front froze to death. Buy August, I had finally accepted the loss and asked the yard guys to cut the dead bushes down without mercy.

Left with a small but barren patch of yard with nothing but dirt and the nubs of dead bushes, I decided to make use of the land (and the automated drip irrigation) to grow some food. I had always wanted to do an urban vegetable garden, and now it was basically thrust upon me, waiting directly outside the front door, teasing me to make it so.

Of course, I could never leave Molly, our curious little naturalist, out of such a plan. She would definitely make it fun and bring new ideas to the table.

So Molly and I went to Sledd Nursery on a Saturday morning to consult with the local experts. We left Sledd with $70 worth of seeds for a “fall” crop and two bags of basically fancy dirt.

At the last minute, Molly added in some wheatgrass starters because she wanted to make wheatgrass juice. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ. I asked her, “Have you ever had wheatgrass juice?” She said no but she had “seen it on YouTube” and it “looked good”. Why not? I’m trying to say yes to my kids whenever I can, to encourage their confidence and curiosity.

We went home and planted patches of broccoli, squash, corn, parsley, and arugula. I crossed my fingers. 🀞

After a couple of weeks, the wheatgrass was doing better than anything else out there.

So we trimmed some wheatgrass (it’s indistinguishable from “regular” grass), tossed it in the blender with some water, and strained the juice. The resulting juice was supposedly healthy but had the bright fluorescent green color of lime Jello.

And it tasted like… grass water. One step away from dirt water.

Molly had a couple of sips and called it a day. “It’s gross, Dad.”

I added salt and Tabasco. That upgraded it to spicy ocean water. πŸ˜‹ I think the rest of the wheatgrass is for me. But thank you, Molly, for the cool idea. Let’s see how you like arugula later.

Watermelon BowlπŸ‰

Molly enjoying a watermelon bowl, noting:

  1. The watermelon is bigger than her head
  2. This is “the only natural way to eat a watermelon”
  3. She has no idea how this whole thing fits in her stomach
  4. A yet Molly persisted and ate the whole thing, while Claire only ate half of hers (and gave the rest to me πŸ˜‹).

Basic Austin Kid

We were heading out for an errand, when Molly notes that she looks like a “basic Austin kid.”

She’s right! And so self-aware. πŸ€”

The Whataburger drink gives it away. This is her favorite restaurant and has previously done a cartwheel πŸ€ΈπŸ»β€β™€οΈ when told we were getting Whataburger.

Two Tortillas, and I’m Good

Molly’s current favorite meal is two tortillas from Taco Cabana. This “meal” fills her up for hours.

And she does not want anything else. Beans? No, thanks. Rice? Nope. Beef fajita tacos? God, no.

Water on the side, maybe. She’s a monk.