September 28, 2004 | Leave a Comment

Move over, Eloise, there’s a new sophisticate in town who does afternoon tea at The Plaza – Orloise.

Grandma didn’t know what was in store for her when she took Orla, with Jenn and Eoghan in tow, on a tour of some of the places to hit when in town – Bergdorf’s, American Girl, Teuscher for chocolate and, of course, afternoon tea at The Plaza.

At Bergdorf’s, Orla made a beeline for Best & Co, where she outfitted herself in pink slippers and a big hair bow. She saw a giraffe that she just had to have, but Grandma thought that it was a little much at $2,000 ! Eoghan, on the other hand, has more pedestrian tastes – he found a christmas gift for himself, at a fraction of the price – a yellow children’s taxi.

On the way out of Bergdorf’s, the woman who sells Judith Lieber purses recognized Grandma and called the kids over, and let them touch the purses as Jenn held her breath hoping they wouldn’t damage any, since they cost an arm and a leg.

Next it was off to Teuscher, where Orla was able to settle for a chocolate giraffe, while Eoghan was happy with a fish.

After all this shopping, a break for nourishment was called for, so it was off to The Plaza for afternoon tea. The children were suitably impressed with the presentation, especially the multi-tiered pastry dish, although they weren’t too impressed when they tasted the food since it was a bit more gourmet than their usual chicken fingers and vegetable lo mein.

The harpist was busy playing the theme song from the movie Eloise. Orla insisted on visiting the Eloise store, and enquired if she was at home, asking to see her apartment. Since Eloise was out of town, in Paris, Orla left a letter for her in her mailbox and decided that she could be the replacement. She insisted on being called Eloise for the rest of the day, and wanted to buy the small turtle in the window, Skipperdee, which features in the movie. Grandma informed her that they didn’t sell turtles in the shop, so Orla tried to persuade Grandma to get a hammer, smash the window, and do a runner with Skipperdee ! It seems Orla may be well suited to a life of crime, as she was smart enough to address Grandma in a whisper, so as not to attract any attention.



Soccer Killer

September 22, 2004 | Leave a Comment

Orla is enjoying city life – and so, of course, is Eoghan. She’s been having a ball at the local soccer league. And although this week saw her first time out for a game, she kept up with the rest of the kids who’ve been playing all summer. She was picked for the red team, and has told her mommy that she wants to practice all week so that she can beat the yellow team next week.

Eoghan has been practising, too, this time at basketball, with child-sized hoops.

They’ve also been enjoying story hour; Orla was fascinated today to learn all about the Grumpy Troll and The Three Billy Goats Gruff. Unlike her Daddy, Orla can be very responsible; she was delighted to be picked today to be a helper, and tickled pink when the younger kids were told to clap for her at the end.

Both kids are true to form in their love of animals, and have appropriated two of the local pigeons, two koi fish and a duck as their city pets. So long as I don’t have to feed them or clean up after them, I’m all in favour of it.



Shrinking Violets

September 17, 2004 | Leave a Comment

Orla and Eoghan – and the rest of us – had a great time this week. Almost three years to the day after 9/11, Jenn came back into the city with the kids.

The children had a wonderful time riding their bikes on the esplanade alongside the river, looking at the boats, and generally enjoying life in the big city.

The highlight of the week for them was a trip to Central Park, where they got to ride on the carousel, not once but three times. Of course, the main attraction was the Zoo; they were delighted to see all the animals, including the polar bear. Unfortunately, there were no zebras, Orla’s favourites, but there’s always the Bronx Zoo.

The only episode that caused Jennifer some concern was on Wed, when Orla was playing in a park by the river. She was building a volcano, it appears, when another little girl came up, about her own age, pushing a doll in a stroller. The little girl’s mother invited her to help Orla with the volcano but she demurred. Orla, indignant at this lack of sociability, proceeded to grab the toy stroller, run across the park, and fling it into a fence, all the while being pursued by the little girl screaming and crying.

Jennifer, of course, was mortified and, apologising profusely, immediately took Orla home before she could do more damage.

I wasn’t too upset that Orla stood up for herself. At least she’s no shrinking violet. And, as I pointed out to Jenn, it could have been worse – she could have thrown the stroller into the river. That’s probably what I would have done at her age ! 



It’s been a week of (mid life) crises here.

Orla hit the ripe old age of 4 on Thursday. She’s all grown up now, and is suffering through an existentialist crisis. Every night now when she goes to bed she has a series of life questions that she ponders. Is she getting old ? How big will she be ? Is Grandma going to kick the bucket ?

She knows she’s four, and she’s excited now that she’s going to spend part of the week in the city. She called me up on the phone the other day at work to tell me all about it : Daddy, I was a country girl, but now I’m a city girl !

She’s looking forward to visiting Central Park Zoo, and going for carriage rides, and seeing the boats on the river. As for Eoghan, his biggest kick right now for some reason is looking out for yellow cars, so he won’t be able to contain himself when he sees all the cabs in Manhattan.

Meanwhile, Jennifer has decided that I’m going through my midlife crisis. And upon doing research on the web she discovered that most men in my predicament choose either to get a young girlfriend, or to lash out on a sports car. Needless to say, she is encouraging me to choose the latter. After all, it’s less expensive in the long run. But she says I can only choose one of the two options !

So on Saturday we were all set to head to the local sports car dealership to check out the latest offerings. I even suggested to Jenn that she call Raven to arrange that, since we were going to be in Danbury where Raven lives, we would all meet for coffee or whatever later that afternoon. We got her on the phone and she assured us that she would just love to meet us at 5PM.

Before that, however, we had to stop off first in Rhinebeck to celebrate Orla’s birthday with a belated lunch with Grandma and Grandpa. For some reason, Jenn was anxious about the time, and hurried us all into the car so that we wouldn’t be late for our 1PM lunch date.

So we pulled up at Gigi’s (a great Italian restaurant in town) whereupon Jenn proceeded in the side door so that we could find Grandma. Rather than turning to the right, into the main body of the restaurant, Jenn turned to the left and reached to open a door into a store room.

I wondered what the heck she was doing, heading into a closet. Then I realised that she was must have been showing off to me, and that I would have been behind the times if, unlike all the trendy people in town, I didn’t already know that Gigi’s was doing so well it had expanded into some extra space. So of course I didn’t let on that I hadn’t known about the restaurant extension and proceeded through the door behind her – only to be stunned by shouts of “Surprise” and “Happy Birthday”, and to see Kevin and Lisa, Anthony and Lucilla, Rob and JP etc. As for Greg and Raven, they must have travelled at light speed from Danbury since they were there, too !

I was flumoxed, or – as we say in Ireland – completely gobsmacked. After all, since I am so smart I had figured out that undoubtedly Jenn was going to arrange a surprise party for me, but since my birthday wasn’t until next Friday then OF COURSE the party would be NEXT WEEKEND. It never occurred to me that she would arrange it early ! I was, uncharacteristically, dumbstruck. She’d gotten one over on me. She and Raven had planned itover the preceding few weeks, and so both thought it was hysterically funny that we had arranged to meet for dinner when at that instant Raven had been arriving in Rhinebeck.

Orla and I had a great time with our joint party. The food was wonderful, and we both enjoyed our favourite desserts, Carvel cake for her and Pavlova for me.