Saturday, November 4

The Grill Is "On"

This evening I oversee the Guy Fawkes BBQ. I bring home 800 frozen beef burgers, 500 hot dogs and the equivalents in buns. Eitan re the BBQ: "are you going to be the only one?"
FYI this is the poster I drummed up for the bbq, where I managed to sucker seven volunteers to flip burgers and sausages which, by the way, contain "53% pork fat." Otherwise, the Sheen Mount fireworks celebrating the quartering of Guy Fawkes are impressive and culminate with a bon fire spectacular that lights up the sky. Madeleine is, frankly, terrified and Sonnet takes her into the school for comfort. In all, we, the PTA, sell over 1,400 tickets making the evening one of our top yearly fundraisers.

Eitan, last night, being ordered to bed: "Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday. It's all so boring."

Madeleine this morning on scoring a goal during football: "My coach was really happy, but he did not give me any gold."

Me, discovering the kitchen dishes in the backyard filled with mud: "what kind of a mess is this!?" 

Madeleine, matter-of-fact: "It's not a mess, dad - it's a mud stew."

Thursday, November 2


The Big Day arrives Tuesday, equally anticipated to a birthday or even Christmas. Eitan and Madeleine, costumes on and raring to go, bolt out the door and down the block to Andrew and Karen Pickup's house to meet them and one other family. On the way we pass pumpkins and Eitan amps out: "DAD WE'RE GOING TO MISS EVERYTHING!" Things settle down, and several bags of candy are collected by each child. The neighborhood turns out for the evening, including haunted-houses complete with faux spider webs, a stereo blasting spooky sounds and carved pumpkins. Two hours later, satiated, we return home and Eitan and Madeleine race upstairs to regard their loot. After hours, I foolishly nick a piece of candy not anticipating the boy to count each piece of his hard-earned stash. The next morning, half-asleep, I am accused of pilfering the treasure. No white lie on this one, and when I come clean the response is to be expected. Beyond tears and rage, Eitan marches into his room to hide the candy, and never to trust his paw again.

Tuesday, October 31


Natalie and I see Christian Lacroix at the V&A, definately a sexy affair. Sonnet has been working hard on this installment of Fashion In Motion, which takes place in the Raphael cartoon gallery at the museum. There are five shows today, culminating in a party for the French embassy and various members of the society enchanté.

Natalie and I met in 1997, when she was the Director of Strategy at, her first job after Harvard Business School. Since, she has had a number of Managing Director roles in media companies including Discovery, Fox Kids and most recently Freemantle, where she oversaw the investment progam. When not in the board room or Executive Suite, Natalie can be found with her three children in St John's Wood, the youngest we met several weeks ago at his bris. Today she darts off early to host a Hallowe'en party for twenty trick-or-treaters. I stick around to look at Sixties Fashion, which is on display to February 2007.

Blustery Halloween

It is a blustery fall day in London and just perfect for Hallowe'en. Last night I tell the kids a genuinely scary account of the haunted "Miller's Farm", which has on occassion before entered my bedtime storyline. The gist is two boys who walk across an empty field to explore a deserted wood house on the top of a hill. They see a candle faintly buring inside and then the house comes forward to take them, never to be seen again. Eitan is bug eyed, while Madeleine wales that she won't be able to sleep. Tough going for them!

This morning while walking to school and surrounded by other kids, Eitan (from corner of mouth) tells me to "stop singing dad!"

Monday, October 30


I have the kids today, Sunday, as Sonnet prepares for the Lacroix Fashion-In-Motion at the V&A. Eitan has a mid-day birthday party in Putney, so I take them early to the Putney piers where the rowing squads launch into the river. We find that the "tide is out" and Eitan and Madeleine collect smooth glass bits while avoiding the swans and geese who harass them for a snack. The Thames is clean and tidal, and smells of salt. Other treasures found by Madeleine include tiny shells and water snails and other creatures captured for the moment in puddles. We spend some time talking about the why and the how of the river's tides, but really this is lost against the excitement of exploring the bank side. Here they race towards me as the sun sets across London. The day drifts by slowly thanks to the warm weather and extra hour from day-light savings.


Madeleine and I go to McDonald's in Putney while Eitan attends Elliot's birthday party at Eddie Katz. It's a warm October day, and plenty of people are about this Sunday. We don't often have one-on-one time like this, and I receive lots of approving stairs from curious strangers (wish I had this prop in college). I see that Madeleine lives her life from one treat to the next and we move down the high street from chicken nuggets to chocolate croissants, to lolly pops... each time she demands equal treatment to Eitan's party. Finally, I explode: "give it a rest!" I say. She: "Ok dad -- after I have a treat."

This game continues until I give in - again. "You can just call me a sucker" I tell her. It's pretty clear she has learned today's lesson.

Sunday, October 29


Mickey Carroll, a small-time petty criminal of Norwich, East Anglia, won £9 million in the 2002 lottery. Doing what comes naturally, he bought a mansion in the genteel town of Swaffham, built a racing track in the grounds, and invited all his friends round for a non-stop, drug-fuelled orgy. "I would buy a kilo of coke, 500 ecstasy tabs, 200 LSD tabs and a pound of cannabis," he told the Independent. "This would last us five days." Not surprisingly, the neighbours loathed him. "The reason me and one neighbour fell out was, I was on my field with my mates this black 4X4 drove towards us. I grabbed a bat. My brother-in-law a blade. By the time I could see who it was, I was shouting: 'It's the neighbor! It's the neighbor!' bit it was too late. Someone had already punched him in the head." Things got worse when he set fire to a pile of cars and a mobile home and, as Mikey lovingly recalls, "and we had £10,000 of fireworks - the kind that are like, you know, mortars." The locals prayers were answered when he was jailed this year for terrorising a Christian disco.

Yesterday Eitan and I spent the day with Shai and Ada Weiss, and their children Yuval and Ynon. We visited the Natural History Museum to see the Giant Blue Whale and other acquatics, and learn that "whales have blubber and eat plankton." From there we all go to Carluccio's in South Kensington for lunch. Sonnet has Madeleine to herself, and the girls do some shopping errands and then lunch at The Victoria.

Friday, October 27

Summer re-visited

Yoga, anyone? Sonnet introduced me to meditation and yoga in San Francisco circa 1993 when I would do about anything for her love. Sonnet's favorite remains Bikram Yoga, known as the "hot" yoga and founded in Southern California by a sadist. The idea is to sweat your ass off in an over-heated room filled with mostly naked women (ok, this can be good) covered with industrial carpeting to best capture the smell of sweat and feet. We struggle with our bodies, and mental state for 90 minutes, especially the beginners who sometimes must leave to vomit and/or recover. Afterwards, one's skin feels like rubber and there is a natural "high" similar, I imagine, to an opium coma. I sleep well. My problem is, and always has been my flexibility which is below average. While Sonnet can hit the most challenging poses like the "downward dog" and the "camel," I struggle to keep my balance. Here I can be seen practising the "Triangle Pose" (I think) while in the Sierras.


This is a painting by Eitan. The kids are into their arts and I will post something soon by Madeleine. Last night I return to a wild household, with Eitann and Madeleine dressed in their Hallowe'en costumes, purchased at Woolworths thank you. Madeleine has a grey-green wig and purple and very pointy hat. And of course a broom. Eitan's outfit is a bit more difficult. It is a rubber face mask complete with nose-warts, stringy hair and sagging skin. He wears his pj's so perhaps the full effect is a tad lost. Next Tuesday at dusk I will chaperone the kids around the neighborhood with their pillow cases to hand, and their eyes filled with greed. Eitan already hordes his valuable candy, and is well aware of the pay-day from next week.

Meanwhile and with the exception of some needed rain, we have had an unusually warm autumn with temperatures stuck in the 60s. More to season, the leaves are falling and we have lost sunlight due to our high latitude. Now all I need is (American) football, and Cal to the Rose Bowl.

Thursday, October 26


Madeleine, it is fair to say, is a determined girl (some might argue stubborn). Sonnet and I marvel at this quality on the fooball pitch where she is one of a handfull of her sex, tree-climbing and her household chores (sometimes they get done, sometimmes they don't). Today I watch her set her sights on the jungle-rings, where an older child easily snakes her feet around the bar. Madeleine sets out to do the same, but this is a deceptively easy task. She must pull her weight up, while positioning her head down, to crook her legs in the right position. She makes at least 20 sorties, then takes a break. Looking at me nearby, she growls: "Don't help me dad!" Of course she is also frustrated, and to be sure this is hard work. After the umpteempth effort, she finally figures out the trick and pulls herself up and over to victory. My heart fills with pride, and all of us can relax, mission accomplished.

Wednesday, October 25


Madeleine this morning is in a good mood after having an extra hour of sleep (this week is half-term, so no school). Aggie arrives, and Madeleine chatters away while Aggie and Sonnet plan the day. I sit in the living room with Eitan listening. He: "Those girls sure do talk a lot, dad." Unfortunately for the gang, it continues to rain and Madeleine's beloved Yoga-bugs is cancelled (yoga for kids) presenting an occupational hazard for our nanny. Adding to the bummer is our hard-worked rose petal perfume. Last night we strained the scented water (the petals had been soaking for several days), which I boil to form a concentrate (I explain this to Madeleine and Eitan as I go along: "what is happening when water boils?" I ask. The kids reply rapid fire: Gravity! photosynthesis! Energy! until finally arriving at evaporation.). So how does my perfume turn out in the end? Madeleine: "it smells like cheese pizza dad."

Sunday, October 22


Our day starts at Kew Gardens, where we go to see the pumpkins and other autumnal fair. Eitan and Madeleine collect rose petals, to be turned into perfume (it continues to rain, so anything occupying is good). Katie and I once did this at the Berkeley Rose Garden. A highlight is King George the III's Kew palace, which has undergone a full refurbishment and is now open to the public. It is a dramatic red. We learn that King George, who was King of Great Britain and King of Ireland from 1760 to 1801, sired 14 children, but enjoyed only one grand child. His wife loved him. Of course, he suffered from the blood disorder porphyria, which was mis-diagnosed as madness and so he became a recluse the later half of his life spending much of his remaining time at the Kew house. During this period, Britain lost many of its colonies including the one across the Atlantic.

Sonnet works away at her book, making last moment corrections before the plates go to print.

Kew Gardens photo from the web.


Yesterday we check out the Battersea Power Station, which is open to the public for the "China Power" exhibition thru 5 Nov.

The BPS was completed in 1939 and the first in a series of very large coal-fired electrical generating facilities set up in England as part of the National Grid power distribution system. This sparked off protests from Londoners who felt the building was too large and and ugly, and from those who were worried about the pollution. When it first opened, the station had a 105 MW steam turbine, the largest in Europe, and expanded to 500 MW after WW II.

The turbines stopped turning in 1981 at around the time the BPS became a Grade 2 listed heritage site so saving it from the wrecking ball. In 1997, Parkside International purchased the BPS and its 38 acre lot to build a shopping mall and condo playground in around the building. So far, design delays and inadequate transportation links have prevented construction, but £1.1B has been ear-marked.

My photo BTW is taken from the southside of the BPS, facing North or towards the Thames and Pimlico on the other side of the river. To the left is the railway heading to Clapham Junction and outward South. Famously the BPS was photographed with a giant pig-shaped balloon floating gently above the smoke stacks for the cover of Pink Floyd's rock album "Animals".

Saturday, October 21


We visit the Battersea Zoo, immediately across the river from Chelsea. Sightings include monkies, lemurs, a goat, some otters, a Vietnamese pot bellied pig (remarkably clean despite the mud), an ecu (the fastest bird on the planet) and my personal favorite the African Giant Snail. To touch the snail, one must wet his hand so as not to make it uncomfortable. Hell, I was concerned about the thing going after my kids. After the zoo, we find a nearby park where Madeleine climbs a tree. We entertain ourselves with tackle-and-tickle as Eitan and Madeleine race between "homie", or two trees 50 meters apart. Eitan takes risks I have never seen when promised one pound for a successful crossing. He succeeds btw, to my surprise, applying new "moves". I will adjust of course, but hey that kid runs fast. We check out the Battersea Power Station then Tobias's birthday party. Sonnet finishes her book and all of us are glad to see her when she returns to us this evening.

Rainy day museum

On a wet Saturday morning reminding me of the Cat In The Hat, the kids scatter their junk, er toys, in the living room to create a museum (which I call "the Museum of Modern Junk"). First, the infrastructure is created with couch and other pillows, a blanket floor and of course the gates - 10 water bottles placed at the entrence. My two curators explain the items: scissors, spider man figure, six marbles, magic ink pen for drawing things, Action Man, a bread knife, a football, one slipper, the TV remote (damn- that's where it has been!), a tennis ball, one side of a walkie-talkie, some tape and other things. Eitan and Madeleine then get down to the busy work of labeling each item. Arts, you see, run in the family.

Friday, October 20


Arthur is my first friend in London, whom I met and formed a warm friendship with around running until age and injury prevented this shared pastime. Then, Arthur was the project engineer at TRW (now Northrop Grumman) overseeing a joint venture with O2 to provide a closed wireless network to Britain's police force and ensuring 99% availability (consumer mobile is way less). Arthur today remains my go-to pal on anything geeky, and we often discuss the abstract on a good British ramble which we used to do quite regularly pre-kids (our last walk several years ago started at Waterloo station at 8PM, ending well after midnight. More recently we biked to Oxford). Arthur bikes everywhere on his 20 year-old trusty ten speed (geer shifts on bike frame), and has spent the past three years re-wiring his penthouse near Regent's Park, NW1. Recently I asked Arthur to describe electricity for Eitan, and his response:

"Two parts to the answer

Energy is a thing that makes things HAPPEN, MOVE OR CHANGE. Examples: toaster, when you run, growing plants, driving a car, heating the kettle, burning a candle, even light from a light bulb is energy, light from the sun.

Every now and then, point out examples of energy in action as you go through the day


Energy is conserved: it moves around between objects and changes type, but it never disappears. Examples:
a. The toaster turns electricity into heat
b. When you run, you turn energy in your food into movement AND HEAT (which is why you feel hot when you exercise)
c. Growing plants take light from the sun and make it into plant stuff (and we get the energy back when we run and "burn off" the plants we ate the day before
d. Motion of car comes from energy in gasoline
e. The kettle makes heat out of electricity
f. Candle makes light and heat out of the energy in the wax (which came from the bees which ate plants which got the energy from the sun)
g. A light bulb makes heat and light from electricity



First, rub two balloons with a piece of wool cloth and show that the balloons repel each other. Explain that there are tiny things called electrons that repel (very similar to little magnets) and that we've just put electrons on the balloons from the wool cloth.

Wires are full of electrons. There's a power plant where they have machines that push on electrons and because the electrons push on each other, a push at the power station appears as a push on the end of the wires in your house (demonstrate pushing electrons by putting Sonnet, Madeleine and Eitan side by side (not front to back) in a line pushing pushing against each other's hands. Then you as the power plant push at one end of the line. Your push should propagate through the line and appear at the other end).

Show wires by examining the plug and cords going to all the electrical devices in the house (including lamps in the ceiling)

So electricity is just pushing electrons. So a push at the power station is a push in your house. All your appliances turn the push into some other kind of energy that is useful. Heat from a kettle, the turning of an electric drill (or if you don't have one, show the motor in the vacuum cleaner turning)

Eitan may not get it all on the first pass, but the concepts of energy and electrons are worth getting used to from early on


Wednesday, October 18

Kick the dog when he's down

This cartoon was sent to me by Sonnet's mom Silver, and seeing how today I mailed my vote to the Montrose County Clerk & Recorder for the November 7 mid-term elections, I feel pretty good about this. Heck, if general incompentency and vacent policy can't get voters riled up, a nice scandel does the trick. No surprise here, I vote my party. And no, I do not wish the state to change its consitution to block same-sax marriage. And yes, soliders and ex-combatents should have special rights for access to housing. Furthermore, the minimum wage should go up a bit, and schools should be required to spend 65% of their budget on teaching. Aren't these things basics for a healthy-like society?

Sonnet jogs into work this morning, so the kids and I mess about before the school run. I make up a story on the fly about a talking owl named Sam, and how he meets the Queen. Eitan tells me I'm old, and when I ask him how he knows - he states: "you are losing your hair." Kick the dog when he's down, I say.

Tuesday, October 17

Celia and Ozzie

Ozzie Clark the designer has been in our house it seems like forever - at least since Sonnet curated an exhibition of his work in July '03. Ozzie dressed the rock stars, actors and celebs of the '70s, and his clothes are instantly recognizable to that era and more generally. Celia Bertwell, his wife and design partner, introduced the fabrics that made Ossie's work so distinguishable. Ozzie was gay and his life ended tragically with drugs and a knife in the stomach in '96; he was destitute. This painting which I saw yesterday, and perhaps David Hockney's most recognised, is on display with other works at the National Portrait Gallery in London until May '07. It shows Celia standing, with Ossie and their cat Percy - normally the woman is in the chair. Also the painting captures the separation between the couple, and indeed they split only weeks after Hockney's portrait of them completed.

Sunday, October 15

Sonnet to Tate

Sonnet at the Tate Modern, which used to be the Bankside Power Station and was deceased in 1981, may she rip. The turbine hall, where Sonnet stands, once housed the electricity generators of the old power station, and is seven storeys tall with 3,400 square metres of floorspace. Now and thanks to Unilever, the Tate displays specially-commissioned work by contemporary artists and will continue to do so until 2008. A boat may take one from the Tate Britain, Britain's national museum, to the Tate Modern which we have done before and do again yesterday.

The fashion in London this season and the past is jeans tucked into knee-high boots. This look seems to be everywhere with the young people we see, and the museum is a magnet for the cool, bored and uncombed, as well as us older folks like us with kids (children, you see, can run around with impunity).

Centrifugal force

The Flying Steamroller: we stumble on this strange art-work, owned by a private collector and family in Switzerland. Designed by Chris Burden, the steamroller is a huge sculpture of a twelve ton steamroller that is attached to apivoting arm with a counterbalance weight. The streamroller is driven in a circle until its maximum speed is reached or about 15 mph. At the same time, a hydraulic piston is activated and pushes up the beam from which the steamroller is suspended, causing the steamroller to lift off the ground. Because of the combined weight of the steamroller and the counter-balance, which is approximately 48 tons, the steamroller, once lifted off the ground, contineus to spin, or "fly". On this evening Chris Burden "drives" the thing, and we chat with him afterwards. Neat.

Today we meet Mike & Gretchen Bransford with their kids William (3 mos.), Rose and Henry. After lunch, we go to their closed garden in Kensington where the boys make a "potion factory and a dirt factory" from water, dirt, sticks, rocks, leaves and berries. When asked what for: "you poor it on the badies - it will kill them" (duh).

That river

Madeleine and us find a stairway to the Thames embankment by the Shakespeare Globe Theatre and Bear Wharf.

From the web: the river's name appears always to have been pronounced with a simple "t" at the beginning; the Middle English spelling was typically Temese. The "th" lends an air of Greek to the name and was added during the Renaissance, possibly to reflect or support a belief that the name was derived from River Thyamis in the Epirus region of, whence early Celtic tribes are thought to have migrated. However, most scholars now believe Temese and Tamesis come from Celtic Tamesa , possibly meaning 'the dark one'.The name Isis is given to the part of the river running through Oxford, may have come from the Egypti an goddess of that name but is believed to be a contraction of Tamesis, the Latin (or pre-Roman Celtic) name. Richard Coates has recently suggested that the river was called the Thames upriver, where it was narrower and Plowonida down river, where it was too wide to ford. This gave the name to a settlement on its banks, which became known as Londinium from the original root Plowonida (derived from pre-celtic Old European 'plew' and 'nejd,' meaning something like the flowing river or the wide flowing unfordable river).

Saturday, October 14


"Voluptuous panic upon an otherwise lucid mind" this quote by French writer Roger Caillois perhaps best sums up Carsten Höllers seven story slide at the Tate Modern. There are four of them, and impressive sculptures in their own right. To date Höller has installed six smaller slides in other galleries and museums, but the cavernous space of the Turbine Hall offers a unique setting for his idea. Already there is talk of making this a permanent fixure, similar ot the London Eye. The line is murder and anyway, when asked if he wants to go down the thing Eitan replies "No-o-o way, dad!" Madeleine is a bit more open to the idea, but even she hesitates: "will I die?" she asks.


Today we went to the Tate Modern to see the Carsten Höller five-story slides, which have received a fair amount of attention since the opening this week. Following a foggy football morning, we drive to Chelsea and take the Tate-to-Tate boat, or aproximately 12 minutes East on the Thames. Favorite sightings are the London Eye, Big Ben (of course) and Parliament, Westminster Bridge and barges passed along the way. This photo taken in the turbine hall at the museum, while I chase the kids around while they dart between tourist and other visitors.

Friday, October 13

Art Yard

Madeleine, not to be out-done by Eitan below, shows us her best impressionism in a missive for Sonnet. Madeleine attends Art Yard once a week, where the kids make paper mache monsters, pictures from glue and sand, and finger paints and colourful drawings. Some time ago I introduced the kids to 'ooblix' - a home-made corn starch and water mixture which has the nifty property of being gooey and solid depending on hand pressure (Sonnet has put a ban on this, by the way). It's fun to watch the kids take in their surroundings and produce stuff that means something to them (and us).

Eric Connally, who lives in Somerville and teaches math at the Harvard extension school, has been writing a book for some many years (he is also a member of a group of authors of a series of math books
used in high schools across the country). We have known each other from college, when we painted houses in Providence. Back to the story: Eric's book agent called today praising his work. Knowing Eric, a space will be made in our minds next to Pynchon and Vonnegut and others of same edgy and dogged style.

Thursday, October 12


I spend the day in Rotterdam, at this weird 30 story building which has wi-fi, with Hans and Mike who are partners at Industry Ventures. We meet with Robeco, one of three AAA rated, non-goverment banks in the world, to see if they wish to invest some money in Industry's fund. The presentation goes well, and I spend the afternoon at the Rotterdam airport to catch a late-afternoon delayed flight to Heathrow.

Sonnet and I drop the kids off at school. Madeleine is having hard time of it in the mornings - getting dressed, breakfast, putting on shoes - all these things are met with protests and tears. I recall that Eitan went through the same adjustment to kindergarten, so we cut Madeleine some slack.

Rana and Kambiz welcome their second - Alexander (Iskander) Foroohar, who is delivered at St Mary's and weighs in at 3.83 KG (8.4 lbs). Congratulations!

Sunday, October 8

Sponge Bob

Sunday morning and the kids settle in front of the TV for one hour of cartoons. This after waffles, which they help prepare with Sonnet. Favorite programs are Spider Man and Ninja Turtles for Eitan, and Sponge Bob Square Pants for Madeleine. This morning, Eitan in our bedroom early and when he fails to convince me and Sonnet from bed, says: "What, are you going to just hibernate?" School comes with its good, and its bad.

I leave this afternoon for Paris to rejoin Industry Ventures.

Saturday, October 7

Cool cats

Madeleine's binoculars a present from my trip to Dublin (Eitan got a walkie-talkie). There was a scramble of course around who could use the binocs when we arrive at the wetlands, but quickly I allow Madeleine to make the decision to share. Responding in her self-interest of course, she spends some time spotting a rock, a pigeon and some pond algae. Gone missing are the 160 bird species. Most of the ducks, geese, swans, warblers, kestrels and falcons are free to come and go. Only 20 to 30 rare birds have been brought in specially. Before becoming a bird sanctuary, the land hosted the Barnes-Elms reservoir, which ceased in 1989. Through the miracle of Sir Peter Scott, urban build was checked and the wetlands development cost of £26 million was covered by selling a bit of of the land. The wetlands opened to the public in 2000, and in 2002 was designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

Tonight Sonnet and I dress hip and have dinner at the Barnes Grill with Dana and Nathan to celebrate his 34th.

Susana Hong and Marco Rodzynek have their first baby 30/9 - Sophie Hong. Congratulations!

London Wetlands

We have a busy day, beginning at 0700 when the kids are up and active. 

After breakfast, Sonnet runs to the V and A to do some work while I take the kids to soccer. Eitan and Madeleine are in different groups at different times, so each finds an hour of free-time for themselves. Afterwards and lunch, we head to the London Wetland Centre in Barnes - 40 hectares (105 acres) of created wetland in the center of London supporting "nationally important" numbers of Gadwell and Shoveler duck. 

Yes, here the true British eccentrics (wackos?) turn out in their hi-tech bird-watching gear including various camouflage, army-spec observation equipment, tri-pods and cameras. For us, the centre offers a beautiful setting to run around and spot fowl, huge dragonflies, frogs and other creatures. There are inter-active spots where the kids can feed the animals, or scoop pond water to observe life in action. 

 Contentment occurs on the way out, when we share lollies and ice cream on the way to the car.

Wednesday, October 4

Der Fußball

This photograph of Allianz Stadium is taken with my mobile phone camera and from a taxi as we wisk by on the Autobahn towards Munich's center city. Home to professional football clubs FC Bayen and 1860 Munich, the arena holds 69,901 fans and hosted a number of this year's World Cup games, but not the final between Italy and France which was in Berlin. Depending on the time of year, or celebration, the arena changes color from red to blue to white - it makes me think of a weird cocoon. My driver reminds me that Octoberfest ended yesterday - a national holiday. 17 days of drinking from 1100 to late-night: "by then, the girls dance on picnic tables taking off their bras." He informs me that it is not unusual to drink ten liters a day. The Germans, you see, like their beer.

I am here with Industry Ventures who is raising ther fourth fund.

Monday, October 2

Rocket man

Eitan and I have been discussing the solar system and gravity this past year. To explain gravity in action, we watch the Thames, a tidal river, and discuss how the moon "pulls" the water in and out - gravity. This Sunday drawing pictured brings together Eitan's understanding of the planets around our sun, which is also now being discussed in school.

Yesterday afternoon we attend
Dakota's first birthday party. Dana and Nathan have lots of friends over for the celebration, and there is an abundance of cakes and warm cheer. The kids play with Dareya and children they meet at the party. We, too, make some interesting new friends but refrain from playing hide-and-go-seek, and wolf-wolf-pig.

Saturday, September 30

Gift wrap

Madeleine gets wrapped during Sonnet's birthday party festivities. Mostly she has done an excellent job accepting Eitan's center stage today. There were some tears this morning on our return from football, when she blurted out that "none of Eitan's friends will play with me." But I assured her that I would be there for extra time with her, and that she too would receive a present. This, and a promise of her fair share of cake seemed to do the trick.

Eitan turns six

Today, Eitan's birthday, is also the day of his party which we gamely host at our house. Seven boys and one brave girl join Eitan and Madeleine for, and I consider this carefully, a "free-for-all." Unlike prior fairly mellow gatherings, a group of six year-olds together is a chaos of wrestling, screaming, bull-fighting, and wild emotions. The kids re-united immediately hijack Sonnet's to-the-minute planning and run amuck. We watch in wonder. At one point I find myself in the scrum and hear a most fearful cry: "Hit him in the willie!" which all boys then aim for with their feet and fists. Somehow the two hours pass, in what feels like four, and the parents arrive to pick up their little angels while Sonnet and I shake our heads and promise each other never again.

Some entertaining commments from the birthday:

Me: "who knows where the birthday cake is from?"
Bertie: "IKEA?"

Samual on the cake: "I want the eye! No, the ear!" A fight breaks out over the nose and lips. Ghastly.

Imogen, the only girl and sitting on my lap while the boys rough-house, turns to me and states flatly: "At school, Eitan is mad."

Tobias and Harry play catch with Madeleine's doggy. She screams murder until I arrive to save doggy.

Bertie: "I can chew a banana with my eye-lids."

Friday, September 29


Madeleine, angry with me for having her make the bed: "You are such a lazy lunker!"
Me: "Well, don't you think I work too?"
She: "If you were an airplane pilot, you wouldn't be so lazy."
Me: "Oh? Why is that?"
She: "Airplane pilots work so hard that they sweat all the time and have to take naps!"

Eitan today, one day before his sixth birthday, patiently sorts out two large bags of Milky Ways and Kit-Kat bars to take to his school classmates. I ask him if this has been approved by his teacher, which it has not. "Everybody does this, dad!" he asserts, welling up with emotion. A weak arguement by any stretch, but his anxiety about not spreading birthday joy over-comes my doubts. Off the kid goes - loaded with a bagful of grocery store stimulents more potent than anything I could otherwise find on the street.

Thursday, September 28


Christian Wright was a bit disappointed about my last blog of him, taken in a pub in London where we watched the World Cup together (England v Trinidad-Tobago. We won.). Now, caught in his natural habitat in San Franciso, on his way to dinner at Delfina with me where he knows the waitresses who love him, the kid is living large. Christian is an Executive Director at CIBC World Markets, where he has been since '95 making the Big Bucks. Regardless of his cash flow, our boy has retained his Berkeley roots and remains a champion of liberal causes (he was a cheer-leader and fundraiser for the New York Democratic party when we there together from 1995-97). We now exchange enthusiasms about English football (ok, soccer) and Cal football (er, American football). We get worked up about this stuff. A similar taste in music is also fun - favorites today include the Arctic Monkeys, The Kooks, Razorlite and most acts with an edgy guitar and British twang.


"Real chili hot stuff" - words that end a barrister's livelihood. Now I am all for the good read of People Magazine or Tatler, but otherwise would never consider posting a scandel unless, of course, it somehow presents a certain - shall we say - cultural insite. That is why the case involving Brazilean cleaner Roselane Driza is so involving. According to our investigative press and the Old Bailey, two London immigration judges face dismisal after a "lurid" blackmail trial exposed their love triangle with Driza, a failed asylum seeker, who worked illegally for both of them. Evidence includes text messages, including "chili", and video used for the blackmail. Driza, you see, was convicted of stealing two tapes of judge #1, made of himself having sex with two women, one of them Driza and the other judge #2. If that were not enough, Driza was once married to a serial killer. She faces some jail time and deportation (we hope). According to one judge at the Old Bailey putting a positive spin on the affair: "It does rid us of our rather fusty image." Amen, brother.

Madeleine this morning over cornflakes informs me that she had an ear-ache on our plane ride to America.
She: "Do you know why I had an ear ache dad?"
Me: "No - why?"
She: "Because the plane was moving so fast it pulled my skin. My ear too."
Me: "Well, that sounds pretty painful."
She: "Don't worry dad - there wasn't any blood."
And thank goodness for that!

Wednesday, September 27


Paul and I in Oxfordshire.
The slight "detours" occur after the batteries on Paul's GPS navigator quit.

"It's only 110 kilometers - how hard could that be?"

Paul, a fearless Dane, and I set out for Oxford yesterday in perfect cycling conditions, ie, no rain. Paul and I met during his company Shipserv's series b financing, which was about $6 million. Paul founded ShipServ, an internet shipping supplier, in '99 and today the company sees some $1 billion of transactions on its exchange p.a. Not bad. As for the bike ride, Mr Ostergaard was ready with the latest hi-tech bike and gear, which included navigational GPS, heart-rate monitor, pace settings, distance, speed, gradient, caloric and other trackers... this plus his mobile communicator (run off Microsoft) made us his roaming office. Meanwhile my mountain bike felt like it was dragging a bathtub. We arrived in Oxford 8 hours and 109 km later, resting at All Souls College (pictured) and very happy to take the return train to Paddington and home. Paul captured some interesting data on us, which can be seen at

Sunday, September 24

Family fun

Nathan, Dakota and Dana

We spend the day together in Buckinghamshire picking fruit, discussing life, and comparing notes on parenthood. Dakota turns one this month, which is hard to believe as her arrival seems like yesterday. Dana and I met at Columbia in New York, and lucky us she moved to London in 2000 eventually marrying sweetheart Nathan in 2004. Nathan is a former scholar-athlete at Oxford, which shows while he endlessly rough-houses with our two blissed out, hyper-active kids. Their favorite: "the horse ride" where each takes a turn on his shoulders while "the horse" runs at top speed. Did I mention Eitan weighs 24 kg?

On babies
Me: "Do you know where babies come from?"
Eitan: "Well, they start as a dot in the mummy's tummy. Then it grows and grows until it has arms and legs. It becomes so big, the mum knows to bring it out."
Me: "How does the dot get there?"
Eitan: "She eats it."


Two years ago, Sonnet discovers a working farm in Bucks where we and the kids can pick blackberries, pears, plums and of course apples, depending on the time of late summer. Today, we return for the raspberries, which are red and fat in the warm Indian summer morning sun. Eitan and Madeleine compete to fill their baskets - I charge Eitan 1p per berry, which at first he's OK with, then his sensibilities take over. Upon being fired, I take my services to Madeleine, which draws a howl of protest from him. Dana, Nathan and Dakota join us for a picnic on the farm grounds, while Sonnet prepares to make a fruit tart for tonight. Lucky us!

Madeleine systematically pours water on to the floor during bathtime tonight. When discovered: "really, mom - it was an accident."

Friday, September 22


One more from the runway. Sonnet takes this photograph during Fashion Week in New York. The clothes are designed by Proenza Schouler, who is profiled in Sonnet's book.

Roger and I spend a fun few days together in Paris, finishing last night at a neighborhood restaurant in the 8th arrondisement where we gorge ourselves on foie gras and sardines while drinking red wine. During the day, we run up the Seine to La Cite and Notre Dame cathedral, then return through the Louvre and Touileries Gardens. The weather lovely and warm, with the trees starting to show their first autumn colours.

Wednesday, September 20


Roger visits London, Paris and Madrid for Microsoft, where he is Product Manager, client-exchange services which generates some $1.2 billion of revenue for Redmond. During this research trip, Roger and his reports observe email usage in a sterile environment through a one-way mirror to determine customer habits. This despite lovely Indian summer weather. I think of the interrogation room on Law & Order. In between we have some time to goof around and yesterday we saw the Modigliani exhibit at the Royal Academy. Today, we travel to Paris for work, and stay at the Le Faubourg in St. Honore. Roger was the best man at my wedding and a treat for us, and the kids, to see him and thriving.

Natalie and Justin announce the the birth of their third baby, a 8lb, 2oz boy. As Justin notes, the baby will be named "when one of us gives in." Congratulations!

Tuesday, September 19


Kambiz and Dareya

Dareya Foroohar celebrates her birthday with her friends and family in Hampstead, London (15/9/06). Cake, presents and sweaty kids pile up over the course of the afternoon, where considerable energy is expended on the jumpy castle and slides. Mum Rana is expecting in several weeks, and earns my vote for "Super Woman" (did I mention that she is also writing a lead story for Newsweek on the BP scandel?).

Model, etc.

From Sonnet, the designer here is Mary Ping, who showed her collection on models at the Paul Rudolf foundation, a modernist home on the upper east side. Mary is about 26 and graduated from Vassar College.

Sonnet returns Saturday morning on the red-eye, following a week in New York next to the cat walk (and back-stage). We decide to surprise her at the airport, 6:00AM. The kids set aside their clothes the night before, and promise not to be grumpy ("this is going to be a FUN thing" I say). Accepting the spirit of adventure, and pitch black start, we pile into the car and drive to Heathrow (Madeleine: "whoa, dad, it's really dark out there!"). Unfortunately, Sonnet's flight is delayed and I run out of stories about two hours later. Still, all is forgotten (forgiven?) when we see mum walking towards us with a happy smile.

Sunday, September 17

Summer '06, farewell!

The Wahatoya

I post one last landscape from Martine's ranch. This shot taken in the early afternoon and precedes a storm front which eventually brings lightening and hail. To the right, the sky is black and we can see rainfall across the Rockies. The dirt road angles to the east side of West Spanish Peak (elev. 13,625'). The Ute indians called the twin mountains the
Wahatoya, meaning "Breasts of the Earth."

Cousin Susan Lee Schadey gives birth to a healthy and loud 7lb, 7oz Joseph Lawrence Schady (Joey) in Westchester, New York. Congratulations

Thursday, September 14


Madeleine, from back of the car: "I want to be rich."
Me: "What would you do with all that money?"
Her: "I would buy one bag of crisps and a lolly."

Eitan on what he will will eat at today's birthday party: "I'm going to have a bit of birthday cake, a cup cake, sausages and an omelette!"

On Milk
Me: "Madeleine, what does your milk taste like?"
She: "Apple juice."
Me: "Well, that's interesting."
She: "Do you know where milk grows?"
Me: "Yes?"
She: "It comes from the milky way, where it is bottled."

Sonnet asks Madeleine to clean up her lunch crumbs. Madeleine, on floor with a sponge and forlorn: "I'm just like Cinderella!"

Eitan and I play 20 questions
He: "Does it have a tail?"
Me: "No."
He: "Is it a cat without a tail?"

Madeleine, refusing to eat the dinner I've made: "This is the worst dinner I ever ate."

Madeleine looking at the breakfast I've prepared: "I hate it."

Madeleine re my home prepared chicken: "that's disgusting, dad."

Eitan matter-of-factly informs me that he will quit sucking his thumb if I stop drinking beer.

Last night Madeleine draws a picture for Sonnet's Saturday return, after lights-out. We argue about this for a bit and I explain she can continue in the morning. I return later to find about 40 crayons and paper hidden beneath her bedsheet. She sound asleep, of course.

Eitan, reading with his head in hands: "Aw, dad - this is the worst thing that's ever happened to me!" (14/9/06)

Madeleine to me: "I'll always love you dad - even when I'm a teenager."

I ask Madeleine about the paint on her hands. She, very gravely: "Honestly dad, don't get involved with this." (14/9/06)

Tuesday, September 12

The Line-Up

The reception kids gather in front of their class room, and await entrance into school. The parents stand around and gossip (several mums shed tears today, the first day) while the five or six dads (a rare sighting) huddle together in a corner of the playground talking football. We all know where the power is here, and it ain't with us. Ms. Scotland is the headteacher.

From the school website:
"we area county primary school with approximately 450 children on roll. It was opened in March 19XX on the site of what was Stable House and is set in large, attractive grounds near Richmond Park. There is a playing field, orchard, pond, spacious playground and an outdoor heated swimming pool, which was built with funds raised by parents.

Many classrooms overlook the orchard and four have their own access to it. There is one large hall, which is used as an assembly hall and dining room in addition to being used for gym and drama.

We aim for excellence in all we do and we provide a structured environment in which children and their interests are warmly welcomed."

First Day of School!

Today is Madeleine's first day of reception (kindergarten). She joins her brother, who started Year One last week. Madeleine was rather matter-of-fact about the Big Occasion, and demonstrated little concern or anxiety about her transition from Montessori. Of course Aggie helped her along and we both give lots of encouragement to the future scholar. With a kiss and a wave, Madeleine marches into the classroom with the other students, guided by the very sensible Class Teacher Mrs. Sedden.

Monday, September 11

Sonnet NYC

Sonnet has my digital camera this week in New York, where she is attending the Fashion Week shows. The kids get a break. On her list is many of the 20 designers profiled in her upcoming book "New York Fashion" for the V&A press, which will become an exhibition at the V&A sometime next year. Stay tuned. As for me and the kids, we exhaust ourselves over the weekend at two birthday parties, Snakes 'n Ladders, and various run-around activities. At bday #2, Eitan's new khaki pants rip right down the middle and he is inconsolable (I tell him the Hulk does same). Madeleine does not eat food as she misses mum. Last night I watch "Path to 911" on BBC television anticipating today, 11/9. It airs this evening in the USA.

The Bears rebound Saturday, defeating Minnesota 42-17 at Memorial stadium in Berkeley.

Thursday, September 7


England striker Peter Crouch scores the decisive goal at 46 minutes in England's 1-0 victory over Macedonia (photo from The Sun). What is remarkable about this over-the-head shot is Crouch's size: at 6'7'' he is easily the largest (and gangliest) player on the pitch. Still, Crouch has put 11 balls in the net since donning his England cap 14 games ago. When not for England, he plays for Liverpool. Ok, we'll forgive the silly post-score "robot" moves pre-World Cup. The guy is for real.

Sonnet leaves for New York City today, and will stay with Aunt Marcia in Bronxville and Katie on the Upper West Side. She is attending NY Fashion Week, and will see many of the designers, and their shows, profiled in her book "New York Fashion." Eitan started Year 1 (Kindgergarten or "Big Boys School") Tuesday, and reports that "it's fine", while not relinquishing any further data. Madeleine begins reception, at the same school, on the 12th and enjoys extra time with Aggie until then. Yesterday they were at Kew Gardens for a picnic and day before Lego Land. Lucky kid.

Wednesday, September 6

Nose job

Eitan takes one on the nose at nine months when I take this photo at Lauderdale Mansions (11/7/01). The boy is still crawling and, in fact, won't walk for another nine - why mess about with rapid transportation? Despite a solid foundation of four points, he still manages to fall off his rocker and scrape up his nose. This dinger took place in Paddington Park when - baff ! - down he goes. I feel inadequate as a father - the guilt begins. Sonnet now four months pregnant with Madeleine and we often discuss the mathematics of children - ie, the child-work relationship is not linear.

Cal gets thumped by Tennesee 35-18 in the season opener. The 21 unaswered points in the third quarter kill us. Christian Wright predicts they will win every game hereafter. "The Bear will not quit. The Bear will not die" - Joe Capp, 1982

Saturday, September 2

Nightime creeps

I take the kids to see the cartoon movie 'Monster House' this rainy Sunday (2/9/06). It was pretty darn scary - in fact, Madeleine stands up and walks out of the theatre with Aggie (this takes some courage and I give her credit). Eitan insists he is not scared. Tonight, however, he shacks up with his sister - go figure.

36 minutes to kick-off, Cal vs. Tennessee. Go Bears!

Friday, September 1

Homeward bound

Madeleine at Denver Int'l - note the security stickers, given to her for "good behavior" (Sonnet rolls her eyes).

The drive from Cuchara to Denver was uneventful, other than a six mile farm road detour from the I-25 at Pueblo due to last week's flooding (the southwest has been in a drought otherwise). In Denver, we visit Aunt Beecher, Whitney, Frank, Tess and one-week old Thea, which brings back memories and all sorts of nostalgia from us (esp. Sonnet). We spend the night at a Radisson hotel, with pool and hot-tub, and catch the long-haul flight to the U.K. Eitan is the perfect seat mate, as he watches the digital entertainment for 10 hours including the cartoon move with Bruce Willis "Over The Top" three times (3X). Madeleine has a harder time, but both kids keep it together. Neither slept. At home, Aggie awaits us and Sonnet and I use today Friday to due some errands, and I move into my new office close to home (less than 10 minutes).

This photograph of the flag taken by Eitan.

At the airport beyond security, Sonnet points out that I don't have my camera, which has been left in the rent-a-car (damn!). I call Alamo Denver Airport, speak to a gal who uses her walkie-talkie to speak to a field agent. The camera is located and put on a ground transportation bus to the terminal (guy heavily tipped). I speak to the head of Airport Security, who gives me a red-card, and accompanies outside of the security zone. I meet the bus, collect my camera, re-pass security and race to the gate with two minutes to spare. Sonnet was sure she would see me somepoint in London - and had even told the kids so!