Surrounded by Girls

Sunday, June 29, 2008

I was at Davos, and I said to Bernanke

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Kiddie Wonderland

Melanie showing off a little of her Texan heritage, horseback riding at the Del Mar Fair.

As for the title of the post, Kiddie Wonderland was an amusement park (writ small) in Houston when I was growing up. Actually I think it had been there since the 30s or 40s, and it looked like it! But they had old rides -- cars and planes that went around -- and horses! They had miniature horses that you could ride, and two tracks, one was for faster riding and you were really a big kid when you could ride the "fast lane". I also remember a donkey that would pull a cart around the track for the younger or less adventurous patrons.

Kiddie Wonderland was at Main and Kirby, right across the street from Kaphan's Restaraunt.

Wow. OK... you'll have to forgive me. I'm having a flood of memories. We would always go to Kaphan's with my grandparents, or with Aunt Tootsie and Uncle Morris. This was real, old-time Jewish Houston. At least, that's my sense of it now, looking back. The owners knew my grandfather, which always impressed me. There were two guys running the place. One with white hair and the other without. They had a ballroom of some sort for private parties to the right when you walked in (see the postcard above). That hallway was covered in baseball memorabilia -- signed ball, photos, and other souvenirs. I would always linger there while we waited for our table or on my way to and from the restrooom, which was down by the ballroom.

There was a main dining room, another room decorated to look like a wine cellar, with bottles stacked from floor to ceiling and fake bricks and vines painted on the walls behind them. That room could be separated from the main dining room. There were also two smaller sections with windows outside that ran on two sides of the main dining room.

The food... the kids always got a complimentary (and small) glass of grapefruit juice. That was unique. I remember that my favorite dish was the fried shrimp and lord knows how many times I had it growing up. Later, I remember going with my grandfather by ourselves to Kaphan's for lunch --I can't remember why exactly. He always got the lump crab meat. It was there that he would teach me etiquette. When to take my napkin - right away! - which fork to use, etc. He was always preparing me for a some time in the future job interview. Now I've never had an interview over a meal - perhaps a cup of coffee - but I guess the lessons were more universal.

Kiddie Wonderland closed in the mid-nineties, and I believe that Kaphan's did so as well. It's probably a Starbuck's now. Or a condo complex. But those places - and the people I was there with - are strong parts of my childhood.


Here's what the intersection looks like today.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


Today, in the "reading nook" at Playhouse Cafe

New Year's Eve at TracyMarc's

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Never fails

On the way home from the Father's Day Picnic. The girls spent the best part of five hours at the park and capped it all off with cake and juice boxes (and muffins, bagels, fruit, etc). This was the predictable result. And of course it was the only nap Melanie had.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Happy Father's Day

To me.

Wish you were here

Monday, June 09, 2008

Writer's Block

Not Melanie, but me. However, it was too cute of a photo to not post, caption or no caption.

It's all happening

... at the zoo!

A trip to the zoo with Zoe
(pictured in the middle below) and her mother Anna, who took these photos.

Anna took the photos, save for the one below, which Jenna took. It was one of two that she took but I didn't think we needed to post the one of her foot.

Bike Rally

Everyone enjoying the tricycle, including my friend and co-worker Marc with Melanie, and his daughter Izzy and Jenna.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Why the long face?

This photo, and these others, were taken at Melanie's final day of pre-school performance.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Inadvertent Homage

Detail of the Sistine Madonna, c.1514; Raphael Sanzio

Surrounded by Girls header image, c. 2008; Jeremy Spitzberg

Full version of the photograph here.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Memorial Day Follow-up

Been meaning to post this for a bit now. Laura and I went back to DC over Memorial Day weekend for our friends (and blogging partner) Liz and Neal's wedding. They were married just across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and needless to say, a good time was had by all. It was a beautiful ceremony as befitting the setting.

The girls stayed in San Diego with Grandma Alicia and Stephen, the Unc and Judy, and I believe that a good time was had by all on the home front as well.

Thank you so much for help, and to everyone in DC... it was great to see you!

Portrait of the Artist

Portrait of the artist as a young girl, working in the medium of Volkswagen Beetle.

Sunday, June 01, 2008


Summer time means bike rides in our new bike trailer...

BBQs with friends. This is Miné and Izzy with the girls.

Happy birthday, Marc.

Hanging out at the playground (sorry, you know we can't resist the easy joke)...

And of course, going to the beach.

Wish you were here!