Here's a photo from last summer in CO. We will return Out West in July and already Eitan and Madeleine are dreaming of Martine and Ray's friendly horses. Last night, Madeleine dresses up her elephant Babaar after an evening bath which leaves the stuffed animal soaked. She then wraps a plaster around his trunk to take care of a scrape and tucks him into a make-shift bed next to her own. Finally, Madeleine places an open book next to Babar so that he may read before sleep. I find the two happily asleep, side-by-side.
Thursday, May 31
Sonnet in Berlin several weeks ago. On a lovely spring-summer day I am in Paris for some meetings and to see friends. It is a quick trip returning me to London tomorrow in time for Shakespeare in Regent's park with the Fishers. I watch the French Open as I work. Life is good.
“We are masters of the unsaid words, but slaves of those we let slip out”
Wednesday, May 30
Nathan patiently listens to Madeleine, who may be describing her "worm house" which unfortunately was left uncovered and got flooded this week. The creepies seem to have survived and are set free by Sonnet not to be seen again by us let us hope. Nathan is an avid tri-athelete and may be found on his bike where he rolls 40 miles a day. He also surfs and plays a mean game of fooz ball. Nice rounding skills for the Oxford graduate that is he.
He sure is a retard. Nevada Gov. Jim Gibbons announced a plan to turn coal into jet fuel to raise money for the state. Unfortunately for him and Nevada, Nevada has no coal. Jim also proposed paying for a $3.8 billion shortfall in highway construction money by selling water rights under state highways - it turns out (of course) the state does not actually own the rights. Jim then told a local editorial board he could not pronounce the name of his energy adviser because she was “Indian” — she is Turkish. He is also the subject of a FBI enquiry into whether he failed to report gifts from a military contractor while serving in Congress. The governor has denied wrongdoing and suggested (of course) that Democratic operatives might have paid off newspaper reporters who have written about his troubles with the F.B.I. There is more - like his threat to shut down the state budget unless he gets a security fortress in Carson City. Or his ambitious plan to cut taxes to small business by two one hundredths of a percent. He is indeed a Republican.
Still, Jim retains support from 28% of the state, or about the same crowd who now back our President Bush. These couldn't be the same voters, could they be?
Tuesday, May 29
Eitan at Waterloo station this weekend. We (I!) survive the bank holiday and Eitan begins a football clinic as there is no school (halt-term break). The clinic is three hours each morning beginning yesterday - Madeleine refuses - Eitan loves the footie practice. Today Aggie returns from Poland where she has been on holiday this past week. Eitan and Madeleine greet her with a home-made chocolate cake.
My intern from Columbia Business School begins today and most of the morning is spent getting him settled. Mathieu is from Paris and will cover several countries looking for secondary venture deals.
Monday, May 28
Sonnet and I re-live the 80s and 90s seeing the band which brought our culture "West End Girls", "It's A Sin" and "Suburbia" which they play to our great delight. Think synthesizers, bright neon and disco. Favorite baby-sitter Renata gives us her Sunday evening and with Eitan and Madeleine they watch a movie and eat pop-corn.
We end our morning at Nelson's column and Madeleine and the kids are drawn to the fountains (surprise). While the idea of wetting themselves attractive, the wishful coins awaiting their collection also tempting. The adults keep their eyes open for a splash or disappearance as the square is crowded on the weekend. Here Madeleine explains that that "money is free" after all and she will dry off "straight-away, dad."
"How poor are they that have not patience!" Othello. ACT II Scene 3
We visit sculptor Antony Gormley at the Hayward Gallery on Saturday. Happily Emily has interviewed Gormley for the BBC and gives us the inside. Gormley is known for his fixation on the body, which he describes as "an attempt to materialise the place at the other side of appearance where we all live." Many of his works are based on moulds taken from his own, or "the closest experience of matter that I will ever have and the only part of the material world that I live inside." Outside the gallery his statures are placed on 32 roof-tops visible from the museum's outdoors. Here I photograph one on the museum concrete.
As with so many Many Bank Holiday Weekends we have experienced in the UK, this one is wet and cold. Our first summer in London I recall a weekend-weather cycle which brought the fowl by Saturday clearing up for work. We use today to visit the Southbank Center with the Bilefield-Kasriel s - kids pictured. James Bilefield was an early fellow in Skype, which was sold to eBay for $4.3 billion last year. He is now looking into next start-up opportunities and not too surprisingly has a good selection. His wife Emily Kasriel is at the BBC and recently moved from the art's desk to oversee religion - an important assignment for them and her. This photo taken underneath the Elizabeth Hall - a typically terrible '60s design with an open, dark space perfect for riff-raff now fortunately occupied by skate-boarders.
Madeleine is up before Eitan and chomps some fruit. Eitan rolls downstairs rubbing the sleep from his eyes and the kids discuss the fact that Madeleine up before he. Eitan plays the Arctic Monkeys and blasts away - until Sonnet beseeches him to turn down the "noise." We wink at each other - damn the neighbors.
Friday, May 25
This is the Thames on a muggy afternoon where the river kinks at Mortlake famous for its cemeteries. It is also about where the Oxford-Cambridge boat race finishes at the Budweiser Brewery - smoke-stack pictured. Famously the Thames is tidal until the Teddington Lock or another two kilometres west, "down" stream. Many thousands of years ago the Thames was 10 km wide at this point forming an abundant marshland.
Jan Faber and I catch a matinee at The Globe seeing the bard's Othello. It was riveting through-and-through made graphic as Desdamona's death-bed is sprayed with hot blood. Bravo.
I ask Eitan what he will do with his stack of money accruing on his desk. He replies without hesitation: "save them until I have half a million pounds."
Madeleine fills a clear plastic container with dirt and makes a "warm farm" for a number of her pink friendlies. She fills the "trap" with apples, bananas, leaves and grass so the warms can eat. Sonnet puts her foot down when asked to bring them inside "so they can sleep."
Thursday, May 24
After saying good-bye to Rob, I visit the modern art Museum Ludwig and see some old friends. Ludwig has the largest collection of Picasso's in Europe and also features works of Andy Warhol and Roy Lichenstein.
I arrive home in time to join Sonnet to pick up the kids from school. Sonnet has taken the week off and today assists in Madeleine's class with bakery and other school-time activities. According to Sonnet, Madeleine was proud to show off her mum and introduce Sonnet to her friends. She squeels when she sees both of us at the pick-up point.
Wednesday, May 23
Construction of the Gothic church began in 1248 and took, with interruptions, more than 600 years to complete - it was finally finished in 1880, a national holiday celebrated across Germany. The two towers are 157 meters tall and 86 meters wide. At its completion, the Cologne cathedral was the world's largest building, losing the title to the Washington Monument in 1884. During WWII, the cathedral suffered 14 hits by aerial bombs but did not collapse; reconstruction was completed in 1956. In 1996, the cathedral was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List On. On August 18, 2005, Pope Benedict XVI visited the cathedral when an estimated 1 million pilgrims visited the Dom plaza during the festivities. Resting underneath one has an other-worldly sensation:
how could such a thing be built, by human beings, so long ago?
I'm in Cologne meeting with investors and Rob, who is here on business and me for business and a goof. We stay a the Dom-Hotel next to the Dom Cathedral, which is impressive. More on that later. I arrive after a short flight from London and look forward to a productive day and visits to several museums including Römisch Germanisches, which is about the Roman history.
Switching gears and since Labour came to power in 1997, Britain has granted citizenship to one million immigrants including us. The numbers have increasingly gone up from 37,010 in 1997 to 154,095 in 2006, according to the Home Office. British nationality is entrusted after five years in the country and under one or several continuous visas. It helps if you have have a transferable skill and are not a terrorist, which is asked on the application. When sworn, the soon-to-be citizen must pledge God or the Queen. Sonnet chose the former and I the latter.
Tuesday, May 22
Sonnet and I see Wilco at the Shepard's Bush Empire last night (this the venue were The Who and Oasis first performed). The band is excellent and play super-intense alt-country tunes - nothing similar to current faves The Kooks or Arctic Monkeys. Lead singer Jeff Tweedy uses six or seven instruments but Nels Cline steals the show with his electric guitar that he pounds mercilessly for three hours. The audience and band have a love-in and Sonnet and I enjoy the music. My photo from a mobile.
Sonnet turns a year and we celebrate her birthday. The kids make a mural buy taping 12 blank pieces of typing paper than spend the morning colouring and gluing.
Here is the image every American so cherishes and nets the UK £15 billion a year from tourist receipts (Office of National Statistics). In this case our valiant guard has to fend off - or rather ignore - a bus load of Japanese and Asian tourists who, rest assured dear reader, are queed up the Pall Mall for their chance to mug for photos and make the poor fellow blink. Or move. Or breathe even.
Rob is in town for business and Sunday we meet in Primrose Hill with Dana and Nathan. Already Rob's influence is having an effect on the boy. Rob's trade-finance company is growing and his trip to meet existing and new investors. From London he travels to Amsterdam and Cologne, where I will meet him tomorrow.
"When your back is against the wall, it is time you turn around and fight."
John Major, former Prime Minister of Britain
Monday, May 21
Eitan looks pretty good in his all-70s 'fro and shades. Costume from Paul.
As today is Sonnet's birthday, the kids great her with an early morning cheer then spend the morning crafting a "mural" to mark Sonnet's occassion. First they tape about 12 pieces of white paper together then begins the writing, gluing, coloring, smudging, irritating and fighting. Eitan: "No! Madeleine - that is not how you tape the papers!" Things calm down and a nice work vibe is reached pre-school drop.
OK, we are all mourning Jerry Falwell's passing - may he go to where he deserves. With the living, religious tart Monica Goodling, a former top Alberto Gononzales aid who has pleaded her Fifth, received her law degree from Pat Robertson's Regent University School of Law, formerly known as CBN University School of Law, after Christian Broadcasting Network. Regent's web site, as reported by The Boston Globe, boasts that "150 of our graduates were hired by the Bush administration." This despite a U.S. News & World Report ranking in the FOURTH QUARTILE. In Goodling's graduating class, 60% failed the bar exam on the first try. Whether the 150 working for Bush got there because of merit or insider dealings it makes one mad.
“AIDS is not just God's punishment for homosexuals; it is God's punishment for the society that tolerates homosexuals”
-- Jerry Falwell
Cal shared a piece of the Pac-10 title last year but Jeff Tedford's squad wants nothing less than a BCS berth this time around. One of the nation's most electric players, DeSean Jackson, and very dangerous offense return to help the Golden Bears knock down that barrier. Christian Wright has purchased tickets for the USC game at Memorial Stadium, Berkeley, on November 11. I will do my best to to make the re-union. Photo from the Cal Athletics website.
Paul and I have entered a happy Sunday morning routine, taking our kids for a walk of Richmond Park often while Paul's wife Lorena and Sonnet jog the thing. In tow are Eitan and Madeleine and the lovely Camilla who ensemble take advantage of us dads - in this case, 11AM ice cream from the Ice Cream Truck at the park's gate. Paul lives in the neighborhood and the company he founded - ShipServ - provides e-commerce services to the maritime industry (Paul is HBS '97). Paul is otherwise a Dane from Copenhagen who met Lorena in San Francisco. Lorena is from Buenos Aires and together they are cosmopolitans par excellance. Note Madeleine's bird-spotters.
Joey Jr, son of Joe and my cousin Susan Schady, will shortly leave his Westchester roots for the green golf courses and warm clime of Charlotte, South Carolina, so Joe Sr. may run his family's business. Susan and Joe's new home has a big rap around porch to die for - good for sipping ice tea and watching the kids grow up. It also has a lovely yard filled with trees and flowers. Little traffic, no parental commute and sandy beaches will add to Joey Jr's pleasure. Life is good.
Sunday, May 20
Here's a photo from September 18, 2003. Madeleine still in diapers. Her haircut from the local barber-shop and I think the barber thought she a he. Saying Sonnet was upset would be an under-statement.
Sonnet asks Madeleine yesterday what we should give visiting Rob as a gift. Her reply: "How about that old doll that I don't like?"
At the dentist in the morning I ask Madeleine if she wants me to tell her a story. Her reply: "How about Rotten Teeth Jack?" (I may point out this straight from her head)
Eitan and I watch the FA Cup final between Manchester United and Chelsea. He cries when Chelsea scores the winning goal in double-extra overage.
Madeleine at the dinner table: "Daddy, do you want me to fart?!"
Friday, May 18
Yesterday I take Eitan and Madeleine to the Richmond Arts Centre to make music and choose an instrument. On offer are the majors: winds, strings, keyboards and of course drums. Both kids are drawn to the guitar - and Eitan goes electric. Long-haired rocker and instructor Gary strums Iggy Pop's "Free Bird" and the boy is committed. Madeleine takes her time and investigates the acoustic guitar, reeds and piano. She is also intrigued by the drums but that is a non-starter. Neither wants to leave which is a good sign - make them beg for their medicine, I say.
Thursday, May 17
This is a photo of a Duckie Brown ensemble, taken by me at the V&A. According to Sonnet: "Duckie Brown is a joint venture, founded by Steven Cox, who had spent over a decade in New York designing for others, and Daniel Silver, who had worked as a glove designer and television producer. With no financial backer to satisfy, they design to please themselves, juxtaposing classic tailoring with whimsy. Thus, a conservative silhouette may come in unexpected colours or it may feature unusual textiles or embellishments." Friend Joseph Porterfield and I meet at the V&A to see the program. We then meet Ritesh at Aubaine nearby to have lunch. None of us dressed in colour.
Wednesday, May 16
Madeleine weighs in with her chop-sticks Sunday afternoon. With interest I watch her technique: one in each fist gutting the target. When a gentle bit of instruction is offered she replies: "STOP IT! DADDY!" which turns a few heads and makes me blush. Eitan has a better outcome: "See Madeleine, this is just like a Chinese." Eitan and Madeleine still believe that Asians live upside-down as China is on the other side of the planet. Sonnet rolls her eyes and I do not correct the mis-perception: let them have fun with the idea, I say.
Tuesday, May 15
Here we are this evening at our favorite local which, conveniently, is two minutes from our house and has a play-area for the kids. There is a coal fireplace for the winter or grey London spring. Today I'm up at 0415 to catch the second flight out of Heathrow to Zurich. I have several meetings then catch the return arriving home by 1700. As I tell Sonnet: "at least I got to wear my new tie." I might also add snobbishly - at least it isn''t Cleveland.
Sonnet to Madeleine: "Do NOT shout out the window at the Tesco Man!" (Tesco being the grocery delivery).
Madeleine finds a slug: "Can we bring it home and keep it as a pet dad?"
Madeleine climbs to the top of a tree: "Woo-hoo! I'm on top of the world!"
Monday, May 14
Tommy Thompson, a presidential candidate from Wisconsin, sited a dead hearing aid and an urgent need to use the bathroom in explaining why he said at a Republican presidential debate that an employer should be allowed to fire a gay worker. Speaking to reporters after giving an address at the state Republican convention, Thompson also said Saturday that he had been suffering from the flu and bronchitis and had been admitted to a hospital emergency room three days prior to the May 3 debate. Photo of Butt Head (left, in AC-DC) from the WWW.
It's a rainy day yesterday and Eitan and Madeleine are cooped up in the house all morning. After a wind-fall two hours of cartoons, Sonnet and I motivate and take the kids to Wagamama's, pictured, and a movie - Road to Terebitha, which has a PG rating for scary scenes. Madeleine asks a lot of questions earning a turn-around glare (at a matinee!) while Eitan quietly absorbs the action. He then chooses a toilet-run at the key father-son reconciliation scene. Ah, well.
Beloved horse Charlie in Colorado passes away. Both kids wail real tears of anguish at the news. Madeleine asks if we can remember Charlie by bringing some grass, a few apples and a dandelion to the dinner table - I agree, of course. She also water-colours her friend and asks that we remember him in "horse heaven."
Sunday, May 13
Madeleine asleep. I often tease her that she snores - she doesn't - but this always gets a rise from her. I guess she views it as unladylike.
Yesterday, the family completes the school Fun Run of five miles in Richmond Park beginning at Richmond Gate. Both Eitan and Madeleine are up for the challenge and we join 500 or so runner-walkers on a bright, cloudy morning to complete the race. Eitan and I charge ahead and he does a great job jogging (most) of the course. During our breaks we discuss things like the circulatory system and why one's heart beats faster during exercise. At completion we rally at the school for a BBQ and make-shift game of footie where 30 or so kids joined in.
Friday, May 11
Madeleine during story-time. Photo is blurry as Madeleine is never still, even when transfixed. We are reading chapter books, like James And The Giant Peach, which offer complicated plots and emotional under-currents. Eitan's focus is laser beam while Madeleine drifts in and out with a question. Eitan has a 16 month advantage and the trick is to find a balance so I read a picture book or tell a home-spun story on alternate evenings. Sonnet logs plenty of time too.
London's late night dance scene is alive and kicking and rest assured that Sonnet and I are no part of it (photo www). The last time we disco'd was pre-kids so I'm guessing 1999 (excluding weddings, but that doesn't really count does it?)
Eitan, Madeleine and friend Jackson and I have dinner at Pizza Express to congratulate our week's survival without Sonnet, who returns today. Madeleine FYI loves salami and Eitan is going through a Margarita phase.
Thursday, May 10
Tony Blair gives his Bon Voyage in a brief emotional speech broadcast on all UK channels. He apologises for when he "fell short," and asks the nation to make their own decision on Iraq. He also notes that there are "more jobs, fewer unemployed, better health and education results, lower crime and economic growth in every quarter" since his arrival. Tony will remain in office until 27 June when, presumably, Gordon Brown will become leader of the Labour Party and Prime Minister.
"The British are special - the world knows it, in our innermost thoughts we know it. This is the greatest nation on earth." Tony today
This morning Madeleine points at my chin and says "what's that daddy?" and I explain it is a zit. After a brief explanation of the zit, I tell her she can expect to have them when she is a teen-ager. She sobs.
Eitan and Madeleine had their Spanish lesson yesterday and were wiped out when I arrived home around 7PM. Madeleine adjusts to the full-day ending at 3:20PM and I remember Eitan being cranky when the hours were upped. Both kids making progress with their reading and writing - Eitan is working on "chapter books" while Madeleine completes sentences. We all look forward to Sonnet's return tomorrow. Hurray!
Tuesday, May 8
This post-card photo from Berlin in 1944. It is a particularly chilling image of End Of Days.
Today, the cathedral remains, but gutted, on Gendermanmarkt. The first parts of the structure were built from 1701 to 1705 by the Huguenot community and was modelled after the destroyed Huguenot church in Charenton-Saint-Maurice, France. In 1785 Carl von Gontard modified the cathedral and built the domed tower - pictured.
This collage of Madeleine taken at Lego-land in, and I am guessing a bit, autumn 2004 making her under three. Flash forward to today, when she gives me a huge hug and says: "Dad you are the best!". She also tells me matter-of-factly on the school-run not to step on anything round because "it might be poo."
The most recently reviewed book in my book-club is Flaubert's Parrot, by Julian Barnes, chosen after we thoroughly enjoyed M Bovary earlier this year. (Retired Goldman Sachs partner) Erich remarks from the book he has learned that "parrot soup" in French means bread in red wine, that Nabokov supposedly gets the phonetics of the name "Lolita" wrong, that for a while one could rent a closed carriage by asking for a "Bovary", in reference to the famous scene of passion in one such, which we learn may have been quite cramped. "The whole parrot angle, starting with which stuffed version is the one that sat on Flaubert's desk, is not too interesting, really." It may explain why the Peter Seller's Pink Panther gets such an immediate, if mis-understood, guffaw.
Monday, May 7
We head West to Bath, where we stay with friends Dave and Tabitha and their children 'Netta, John and A-C for the bank holiday weekend. We have known them since Maida Vale when Tabitha and Sonnet shared notes on pregnancy and babies. Shortly after graduating Amherst, Tabitha biked around the world on a BMW motorcycle. Dave is a Managing Director on Morgan Stanley's emerging markets desk and his team of 70 is responsible for p&l of €1B - most productive at the firm. On the way home we visit the RAF airplane musuem and see the old spit-fires, Lancasters, mustangs, a euro-fighter and others. Fun!
On the weekend when asked to say one thing, Madeleine: "on holiday, me and 'netta had fun on the slide and we pushed our buddies in the wheel borough." The photo of 'netta during books-before-bed.
Saturday, May 5
Rancho de Taos in New Mexico was built in 1772 by Franciscan Fathers and enjoys its patron Saint Francis of Assisi. More recently, the church has been made famous by Georgia O'Keefe and Ansel Adams. I took this photo last summer.
Madeleine and Eitan each score a goal at football this morning - Madeleine has three break-aways and on a rip. Perhaps its her purple "all England" shirt. From footie we head for the Prince's Diana playground in Hyde Park and picnic with Iranian shwarmas - a real treat - and carrot juice, which nets a protest from the pip-squeaks. At Diana, the kids fascinate themselves transporting water from a nearby fountain to the sand-pit constructing a "damp castle." My effort to roll up their pants and keep sand from their crack a failure. We stay three hours which is a long time to contemplate life from a park bench.
Madeleine cries big tears as Sonnet leaves for New York City to promote her book. I show Madeleine and Eitan this photograph of the skyline so that they know where she will be. Eitan immediately identifies the Empire State Building and says: "you found it on Google" demonstrating Goggle rates with Mickey Mouse and Ronald McDonald.
Eitan tells me: "Madeleine, seeing a man playing snooker on TV, wants to marry him." He carries mud into the house from the garden singing: "I have some mud, mud, mud. I have some MUD" before I scream at him.
Friday, May 4
Paul Wolfowitz yesterday blames the World Bank for his woes, stating that the the unclear bank rules are responsible for creating questions about his handling of the hefty pay raises to his girlfriend. Recall, of course ,that Wolfowitz's girldfriend Ms. Riza had worked for the Bank when Wolfowtiz arrived in 2005. She was moved to the State Department to avoid a conflict of interest but stayed on the bank's payroll. Her salary went from $133,000 to $180,000 with additional raises to $193,590 while she was no longer at the Bank and receiving a salary from State. Wolfowitz has made his main-stay mission... wait for it... the elimination of corruption where the Bank lends money.
Madeleine and I spend the afternoon together mano-a-chica. We head to the common taking reading materials and other entertainments. She is, of course, immediately bored so I tell her the story about Rikki-Tikki-Tavi. This lasts ten minutes. "Come on dad, I thought you said we were going to have some fun" she exclaims. We sit on the park bench and I tell Madeleine that "if you are bored you are boring" and she rolls her eyes at me. Finally, she breaks through her barrior and follows the travails of a lonely ant returning to its ant home. From there she imagines herself as one with the ants and I watch her imagination at work. It is a good afternoon.
Last night I attend our PTA meeting - me and 20 women. Our main discussion is the fast approaching Summer Fair, which I am overseeing (theme: Wild, Wild, West). Yesterday also was a fair all-hands meeting following the morning school drop. I am happy to report that the mums are coming out in full force, thank goodness (our goal is to beat last year's £14,000 fundraise). During the pow wow, it became known to me that there has been some grumbling about the entrance fee of 50p ("why should the children have to pay?!"). Last night I raise the issue with the PTA and in true PTA fashion we debate the 50p charge for 30 minutes. Time... stands... still....
Wednesday, May 2
There are rumours that the horrible US Embassy in Mayfair (pictured, www) may go up for sale, fetching £300 million according to property experts in London. The building is on Grosvenor Square, in the heart of Expensive. It would likely be converted to a fancy hotel or high-end condos, thought the US Government insists a decision has yet to be made though "no options have been ruled in or out." Hmmm.
Eitan and I watch the Chelsea-Liverpool match last night on ITV. This their second meeting in the EUFA Championships and thanks to Joe Cole's winning goal last week, Liverpool had to win outright, which they did in penalty shoot-outs and long after Eitan to bed.
Tuesday, May 1
Randall Tobias, Deputy Secretary of State and Bush's co-coordinator for foreign aid, resigned yesterday after being found on Deborah-Jeane Palfrey's roledex; Deborah-Jeane, of course, being the founder of a Washington escort service. For Bush, Randall masterminded a policy that required recipients of Aids assistant to condemn prostitution. Mr Tobias, 65 and married, quit after being contacted by ABC in connection to... wait for it... soliciting prostitution. Randall says he had "the gals come over to the condo to give me a message." What tosh.