Monday, April 28
Sunday, April 27
Well, since Sunday, that can only mean Sonnet and Madeleine are at an all-day swimming gala (Madeleine swims 5 races) and Eitan and I at a football match (Sheen Lions 1, Walton Casuals 1; Eitan's winning goal glances off the top goal post, so close, so close). I leave for Paris in an hour or so.
Saturday, April 26
I revisit the Talking Heads and am stuck on their second album 'More Songs About Buildings and Food' which was released in '78. The songs are bass funky and David Byrnes voice unique but what strikes me is how suited the songs are (or were) for Silicon Valley : intelligent and rarely about love and the usual fall backs. Instead the band tackles the mundane with heavy insight. They are geeky.
More Songs was not a commercial success - it reached 29th on the Albums - yet Rolling Stones ranked the album 382 on its 500 greatest album of all time.
"A straight line exists between me and the good things.
I have found the line and its direction is known to me.
Absolute trust keeps me going in the right direction.
Any intrusion is met with a heart full of the good thing."
--David Byrne, The Good Thing, 'More Songs About Buildings and Food'
The Official Website of the British Monarch tells us that the Changing of the Guards at Buckingham Palace takes place as follow:
February 2014 - even days (ie 2, 4, 6, etc.)
March 2014 - even days (2, 4, 6, etc.) PLUS 31 March
April 2014 - every day
May 2014 - every day
June 2014 - every day
We are at the VA Friday evening with friends and it is quite the scene: attractive crowd, bar and DJ spinning electronic Buddha loud enough to be uncomfortable. In short, perfect date venue for the young and broke. Fridays the museum open until late.
Thursday, April 24
Sunday, April 20
Meanwhile, the kids under strict guidance : two hours of revision a day, which they are allowed to break into two blocks of one hour. Eitan has an agenda to the half-hour focused on the sciences : he does algebra and geometry in maths, light refractions in physics and the heart/ circulation for biology (he draws a heart, full scale, which we discuss over steak, medium rare).
Madeleine's recent school card includes all 2s and 1s (on a scale of 1-4) which was her stated objective upon entering Emanuel. My closet nerd.
In the UK, the only school data that counts are the GSCEs, a standardised exam taken around 10th grade covering the first three or four years of secondary school, and the A levels at the end of secondary school, securing one's spot in university. The Brits, I observe, like most, cram. They find it a bit potty to study in between.
Saturday, April 19
Madeleine: "Can we get a cow for the backyard?"
Me: "A cow?"
Madeleine: "It would eat all the grass and spread its lovely fertiliser."
Me: "Not going to happen."
Me: "How about visiting Abbaye du Mont-Saint-Michel?"
Madeleine: "What?! There's a church right next to us!"
Me: "It's something I'd like to see."
Madeleine, grumbling: "There goes the fun from the rest of the day."
Me: "Let's go to the D-Day Airborne Museum in St Maire Eglise."
Eitan, Madeline: "No! No!"
Me: "Come on, it's not that bad."
Madeleine: "Yeah, for you."
Me: "If you guys aren't excited by a bunch of men fighting for the existence of the free world then I don't know what."
Eitan: "We learn about it in school, anyway."
Eitan: "It's not like it's new or something."
Friday, April 18
Madeleine at the Friday market in Vologne: "Can we buy those crabs and lobsters and set them free in the ocean ?"
Me: "No way."
Madeleine: "Come on, Dad, you'll be a hero to these sea creatures."
Me: "Not going to happen."
Sadly no veterans.
Thursday, April 17
Me: "It's the age old question."
Eitan: "Definitely the mountain. That is like a lifetime."
Sonnet: "That's like two lifetimes."
Madeleine: "I think it would be quickest to move the well, and the mountain the longest."
Madeleine: "And the sand a pain in the butt."
Madeleine: "What if you lose the sand or something ?"
Me: "Makes sense."
Wednesday, April 16
The remembrances are simple with several statues and a plaque or two; a French and American flag are at full mast. There is a simple museum (groans from the Shakespeares). Sadly missing are the Veterans. When Tim and I in Normandy 12 years ago we met a bunch of them, now many or most are gone.
"Plans are nothing; planning is everything."
Tuesday, April 15
Sonnet: "I remember a vacation in Ireland with the Orenstein family. Grace planned it for a year, and we went all around, staying in many beautiful places."
Me: "That was a fun trip . .. "
Sonnet: "My esteem for the Orensteins went up when we got a flat tire and - lickety split - Grace, Katie and Jeff got out and fixed it in 15 minutes. My family would have waited 3 hours for AAA."
Madeleine: "You fixed the tire?"
Me: "We did. We had a spare."
Madeleine: "What would happen if two tires went flat and you didn't have a spare ?"
Me: "You'd be out of luck."
Madeleine: "How about if the non-driving tires went out?"
Me: "You mean on a two wheel drive?"
Madeleine: "Yeah. Could you still drive the car?"
Me: "Probably not."
Madeleine: "How about only one then ?"
Me: "Well, the car might tilt a bit. It would be pretty uncomfortable if you were sitting in the back seat."
Madeleine: "So you could do it then."
Me: "If a four-wheel car, then no. If a three wheel car - yes."
Madeleine: "Thought so."
Monday, April 14
Me: "'The Women In Black' is not scary." [Dad's note: Eitan thinks the movie "The Woman In Black" is a scary movie.]
Eitan: "Well it's scarier than Psycho. Or Jaws."
Me: "Yeah, that's because you watched Jaws in the living room and not in the ocean."
Madeleine: "What?! You watched Jaws in the ocean?"
Eitan: "It wasn't scary."
Sunday, April 13
Plus the guy loves California.
What's not to like ?
Wilson Kipsang of Kenya wins the men's race in 2:04.29 (London course record) and Edna Kiplagat, also of Kenya, the women's in 2:20.21.
Mo finishes in at 2:08.20 - not a bad debut - but he says moments after ward interviewed by the BBC (barely in a sweat): "Bit of a disappointment. But you try new things. Live and learn." Just another day at the office.
Today's race includes Kenya's Wilson Kipsang, the marathon world record-holder, Ugandan world and Olympic champion Stephen Kiprotich, defending London Marathon champion Tsegaye Kebede, of Ethiopia, and Kenyan Emmanuel Mutai, the London course record-holder and our very own beloved Mo Farah.
I'm in Paris for the season's change and it is lovely.
Astorg's annual meeting takes place at some marvelous places: the Automobile Club on the place de la Concorde (Wednesday) followed by a gala dinner at musée Jacquemart André; Musée des Arts Décoratifs overlooking jardin tuileries and the sun takers (Thursday) then dinner at la Tour d’Argent offering a magnificent view of Notre Dame from five stories up. Splendid.
And what have I missed at home? Madeleine: "Nothing."
"When spring comes to Paris the humblest mortal alive must feel that he dwells in paradise."
Tuesday, April 8
Monday, April 7
Madeleine organising afternoons with her friends.
Peaches is dead.
"Peaches has died. We are beyond pain. She was the wildest, funniest, cleverest, wittiest and the most bonkers of all of us. Writing 'was' destroys me afresh."
Saturday, April 5
Stan, Aneta and I meet Jeanine, Sunny and Leon+Westlee for lunch at the Portrait Gallery Restaurant.
Leon continues to take beautiful photographs using swaths of light; his studio set up in Oakland while he keeps a foot in Paris.
Beforehand, Guy and I have lunch with Diana, a sworn progressive who was heavily involved in Obama's first campaign and on the Council of the Holocaust Memorial in Washington DC. She is a force of nature, too, and perfectly matched with Guy on politics, insider connections and a desire to make things better.
Friday, April 4
The Sapersteins arrive from Northern California and we are honoured that they are with us. Guy wears Armani.
Thursday, April 3
Madeleine, Aneta and I sit around watching Modern Family and eating ice cream (thank you, Aneta). Before dinner. Madeleine has seen every episode of Modern Family, too - she says, 'more than a hundred ' - and never gets bored (today the first day of Easter Break so plenty of time to go comatose)
Me: "Do you have any gay friends?"
Aneta: "Like five of them."
Me: Men or women?"
Me: "Cool, every girl should have a gay friend. Sonnet does. Madeleine do you have one?"
Me: "A gay friend. Do you have one ?"
Me: "How would you know?"
Madeleine: "I have no idea."
Me: "Right answer. Let's keep it that way."
Me: "What did you think of mom's show ?"
Me: "Anything else?"
Madeleine: "it was amazing."
Madeleine: "It was really creative and imaginative and a lot of thought went into it."
Madeleine: "And I liked the Vespa" [Dad's note: a Vespa 125 from 1949 on display].
Me: "What was your favourite?"
Madeleine: "The red dress with the big front bow."
Me: "Good one."
It is a week long party. Or wedding. In between Sonnet is interviewed by the press, shows various designers, funders and dignitaries around the exhibition, and generally holds it together.
We are surrounded by friends and family who have gone out of their way to support our wonderful curator.
Me: "Are you going to join us at the museum Friday?"
Madeline: "No way.'
Me: "I thought you were a cultured little dude."
Madeleine: "The last thing a kid wants to do is go to a museum."
Sonnet: "It pains me to hear that."
Madeleine: "None of my friends would be caught dead at a museum."
Me: "What do you guys like to do for fun anyway?"
Madeleine: "We like to go places and eat frozen yogurt and be crazy."
Me: "Sounds fun."
Madeleine: "That's just the way it is, Dad."
Tuesday, April 1
This is my 3,800 blog.
"It is to the curator’s credit that the exhibition can raise questions for the fashion cognoscenti about the state of the Italian industry, while allowing a more general audience to appreciate La Bella Figura."
--Suzy Menkes in the NYT on Sonnet's show