Monday, November 5

Multi-Tasking Mum

British sport's hero Paula Radcliffe wins the NY Marathon this weekend after two years and a baby in January (photo: Radcliffe set the women's standard in the 2003 London Marathon with 2:15:25 - a feat some say will remain on the books for a quarter century and a miracle to watch, as I did. Unfortunately, Radcliffe has under-performed at her Olympics, where she has yet to meddle despite being one of the world's most consistent distance runners and the only credible Western threat to the African nations. Most recently, she failed to complete the Athen's marathon, a race she was heavily favored to win, due to stomach ailments. Consequently, Radcliffe does not get the kudos she deserves in England. The British punter roots passionately for its sports teams, who are perennially the Bad News Bears of world athletics. No sport is more disappointing than our star-studded football squad, who have yet to deliver a World or European Cup since 1964 when we won it all. The Brits, you see, will accept nothing less than a full championship from their athletes - perhaps this is a layover from the Empire, who knows? Rather than celebrate its world-class athletes in running, rowing, ruby, football and etc., the water cooler condemns the same for finishing second (rugby, World Cup this year); fourth (Radcliffe's 10K, '00 Olympics) and the finals (football and cricket, many, many, times). England understands the sympathies of the under-dog, but also wants the glory of victory. She is conflicted, no doubt, but I am used to the sentiment thanks to the Cal Bears which somehow have the same bull-dog determination but just cannot pull out the Big Win when it counts (our loss to Oregon this year, ensuring Cal's first #1 ranking in six decades, was heartbreaking). A collective Heavy Sigh accompanies the anthem: "Just wait 'til next year, Goddamnit!"

Madeleine does a trade with Eitan - her UK pounds for his U.S. dollars. When I ask if she got a good deal, she happily says: "Now I can buy more ice cream!" (Eitan remains perfectly still at the other end of the table)

Madeleine complains of a head-ache, telling Sonnet matter-of-factly that she will stay home from school. I give her a choice: school or home-work with me all day. Her indignant, teary-eyed reply: "Dad, that is so not what I want to do!"