Sunday, September 30


Me: "It must be nice to be a dog. All you have to worry about is your next meal. You don't care where you live. All you want is a little bit of affection .. . "
Eitan: "Yeah."
Madeleine: "Rusty wasn't very happy when you got him neutered."
Me: "Good point."

Game Girl

Madeleine plays 'Vertical Jump', which she says "is a fun game." She sings while she "jumps and tries not to get killed by skeletons."  Normally the rule is no computer games but she finished "Little House on the Prairie" and "Schooled" so I give her a break.

Eitan celebrates 12 - 12! - by making dinner (spaghetti and meatballs), a cake (sour cream chocolate cake with chocolate butter cream icing) and picking a  movie ("Tinton").  Elm Grove, after dispatching Bretford 3-nil, toss Eitan in the air.  Sonnet, Madeleine, Rusty and I on the sideline to cheer along the boy.  He also hums.

Yesterday was Katie's birthday - happy birthday Katie!

Saturday, September 29

Red Robe

Eitan back from a Hampton match (the boys wear their school uniform since an away game) which Hampon wins 3-nil. He now pads around, "Man of the House", Sonnet notes. We watch  the '54 Godzilla, which is dark and awesome : remarkably made within nine years of Hiroshima and Nagasaki : the monster being the bomb unused on Tokyo.

Eitan on the 'A' squad and, he notes, three of his teammates play for academies.  Unlike most public (ie, private) schools, Hampton excels in football which is otherwise considered a sport for the masses - like baseball in the US.  The posh kids choose from rugby, rowing or maybe sailing. Hampton's intake is 50% state schools and so follows demand : in Eitan's year there are six soccer squads.

Madeleine joins the Barnes' Eagles and today has her second practise. Games to follow.

Madeleine: "Do giraffe's eat meat?"
Me: "Hmm?"
Madeleine: "Giraffe's. Are they vegetarian or something?"
Me: "I've never seen one eat a burger."
Madeleine: "Do they sleep in the grass?"
Me: "Doing some homework, are we?"
Madeleine: "I have this new game. Where do Giraffe's sleep ?" (Dad's note: Madeleine has an electronic game)
Me: "In a bed?"
Madeleine: "You are not helping my score."

Friday, September 28

Bluto and Brown

"Animal House", 1978

A further sign my alma mater losing out : Brown not ranked in the Playboy-Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer Top 10 party schools (Univ of Virginia #1).  When I was in college , we took some pride in being #13 and sniggered at places like Columbia and their uptight core curriculum and Latin requirements.  This was Brown in the '80s, trendy and full of confidence : the "experiment", introduced in '68 by Ira Magaziner, of zero academic requirements, pass or no-pass classes and no pluses nor minuses on traditional alphabet grades and anything lower than a "C" gone from the transcript  - well, that was all so vanguard. ..

I still get a lot of heat from my i banking friends who went to Harvard or Wharton Undergrad or some such place where the students forced to, you know, show up.  I recall, post college, interviewing candidates for Financial Analyst jobs and, without exception, the UPenn applicants presentable, able to use an HP12c, and could tell me the difference between a stock and a bond. Brown, on the other hand put up some awful kids ( tweed jackets, corduroy trousers .. one gal told me she had dyslexia) but also the very best . Brown always had something interesting to talk about.

Overall I felt the school got it mostly right : a fun place to learn, be challenged, find one's way and to party. This is all a part of the growing up (of course I did not think this at First Boston, where I was murdered for not knowing a balance sheet . .. ).  And these memories become all the more valuable the farther from the experience

Wednesday, September 26


Not surprisingly, one of Britain's top rated shows, by viewership, is 'Britain and Ireland's Next Top Model' where a bunch of young women live together in close-quarters and compete for the title of, well, being Britain's next top model and a chance to be in the modelling industry. Ghastly but hey I am watching.  It's been a winner since 2005.

Here's the talent pre-screening (from the official website): "anyone with the right to live or work in Britain is free to apply for the show, but must meet the height requirement of 5'8", and be between the ages of 18-23 at the time they try out for the show." A perfect nose, blonde hair and subtle boobs would also be appreciated. But brains and personality count too - here is what Elle "The Body" McPherson has to say on the BBC comparing BINTM to the US "It is uniquely British, the sense of humour and the styling is very British... more hybrid backgrounds... and I think that is really exemplary of what's going on in the UK today."  Well there you go.

This contrasts with the real news suggesting that Scotland Yard failed to aggressively pursue girl-sexual grooming circles for fear of offending ethnic minorities primarily the Pakistanis.

"This is the end. This is literally the end."
--Model on last night's "Britain and Ireland's Next Top Model" finale

Tuesday, September 25

Sheen Lane At Sunrise

I walk by this ugly building, forever with its "temporary and long-term space available," every day on my way to the office or train station. I no longer see it yet, on a cold clear morning , it catches my eye : the sunrise makes it handsome somehow. Certainly urban.  There used to be a cinema at this junction but that was before my time and now long gone.

Rusty and I run at 5AM and I take a flashlight to see the trail in Richmond Park, which is completely deserted and pitch dark leaving only the stars and the bucks groaning and me with my scary thoughts (axe murderer ?).  As the false dawn arrives I remind myself : yes, indeed, we are on a small planet circling a mid-sized star in a universe that has hundreds of billions of them.  Rusty could care less which is the right way about it.

Madeleine: "Do you know what I just realised? I have to show all the new kids around the school." [Dad's note: open-house for the prospects this week]
Me: "You will make a great ambassador."
Madeleine: "I don't even know where the art department is. Or the science lab."
Sonnet: "Did I tell you the story about my friend's husband who was getting his PhD in chemistry and left his experiment in the lab over the weekend ? It blew up the science building!"
Madeleine: "Did he get a PhD for the explosion?"
Sonnet: "Probably not but imagine his Monday morning."

Sunday, September 23

Oh Happy Day

Marcus and Adrienne arrive from Buffalo on their way to Barcelona and their honeymoon. This autumn, Marcus taking a few classes at Niagara University and working with a 501(c)3, supported with a fat grant from Knight Ridder, building a multi-media and information platform for five local charities; he is responsible for the project's design and delivery (NB Knight Ridder a US media and Internet publishing company and the second-largest newspaper business with 32 dailies).  Eventually Marcus's program may be rolled out across the country.

This morning the entire family on site for Elm Grove v. Ashford in the second game of the season. Unfortunately it is wet and cold so not much fun on the sidelines unless you are Rusty, who chases the other dogs across the pitch, buries his head into somebody's Starbucks pastry bag and jumps on Adrienne's white shirt.   The rest of us watch a gritty 2-2 draw highlighted by Eitan, who scores goal #2, coming off the sidelines, inside 30 seconds.  Elm Grove cheer and we dads pat each other on the back.

Madeleine in a tip top mood with her turtles to care for. This morning she de-frosts some blood worms (gross) and carefully measure the feeding amount. She peppers me with questions: where should I put their food? What if the turtles can't get it? Should I refreeze the blood worms and so on and so forth. I direct her to the pet shop - her turtles, her responsibility

Me: "Your turtles are going to live for 20 years."
Madeleine: "Yeah, so ?."
Me: "You will be, like, 30 when they die."
Madeleine: "I guess. .. "
Me: "By then you'll be done with secondary school ..  and your GCSEs, and A levels. University, your first job. First apartment. . . You may be married."
Me: "You might have a kid. Or two."
Me: "Holy catfish that is a lot of work. Does it seem that way to you?"
Madeleine: "The way you say it, it does."

Saturday, September 22

King Kong Vs. Godzilla

I loved Godzilla and a highlight was the epic battle between the two greatest monsters : Godzilla vs. King Kong, which I saw at a now long-gone theatre on Cedar near 4th St in Berkeley (Katie set off the fire alarm going out the wrong exit).  That was '75 while the film from '62.

We had a wonderful carer, Taka, from Tokyo, and with us for maybe eight years including my parent's studio at 1530.  Taka taught me some simple Japanese phrases and translated the Godzilla picture books I bought in San Francisco's Japan-town : they were dense and pocket size, with photographs and cartoon caption in kanji.

Another way to catch the green lizard was Creature Features, hosted every Saturday from midnight by Bob Wilkins (w/ cigar), which occasionally showed Godzilla movies from the '60s. If not Godzilla, it was "13 Ghosts" about a haunted house with, well, 13 ghosts. And a Japanese film where some dudes in a boat land on a deserted island covered in toxic mushrooms .  Or "The Hand", which was a hand that could play the piano and stuff.

But nothing matched Godzilla : his mortal enemies included Mothra (giant moth), King Ghidorah (three headed fire throwing serpant. Real badass), Hedorah the Smog Monster (feeds on human pollution, super badass) and my favorite,Gigan, with his awesomeness abilities like flight, teleportation, abdominal buzzsaw, eye beams and stabby arms.

I've never been to Tokyo but I feel like I have known the Japanese forever.

The Turtle Has Landed

Madeleine gets her turtle(s).

Following a campaign that began early 2011 and moved from lizards to snakes to turtles, Madeleine finally has satisfaction in two musk turtles (she notes: "This is the second best day of my life". Dad's note: getting Rusty #1). The turtles will grow  to the size of a sand dollar (now they are quarter) and named 'Eric' and 'Nelson' on the ride home; they may live 20 years (or until I chuck them over the fence when Madeleine to college). Unfortunately they can't go in the pond , per original plan - apparently so many people have done this with the outdoor types that alien turtles have taken over Britain's rivers and channels - so instead we buy an aquariums kit complete with frozen 'blood worm' that the turtles eat. Or suck on or mash. Whatever the hell they do.

Madeleine thrilled by her new friends and, in truth, the set-up, with its glow light and lively water decorations, is pretty cool.  She has earned the pets, getting into Emanuel.

Madeleine: "Your memory is so much better than mine."
Me: "Are you kidding? You have a great memory."
Madeleine: "I can never remember anything. Like what I had for lunch Friday."
Me: "What did you have for lunch Friday?"
Madeleine: "Fish and chips. With ketchup, since it is only allowed on Friday."
Me: "How about Thursday?"
Madeleine: "I didn't really have lunch because it was some terrible Indian curie thing so I had a snack. Outside."
Me: "See?"
Madeleine: "It was raining, too."

Gucci, Baby

Sonnet returns, 12 Midnight, from Como, where she delivers the closing presentation for the RATTI Foundation's conference.  She speaks about how to display textiles within a fashion exhibition. Before that, she is at Milan fashion week and sees shows by Gucci, pictured. She is there with her new assistant, Lucia, who Sonnet hired for "La Moda". Lucia is a local, and smooths along the operations including organising top level meetings with archives, university profs and influencing agents.  She tells me: "it was a very attractive crowd and the heels were vertiginous." (Photo by Sonnet)

Madeleine and I hang out on her bed talking for 1.5 hours (I know the time because Madeleine says "Gee, Dad, we've been talking for 1.5 hours").  She has a lot on her mind, this kid, and I have to adjust myself : Madeleine is a little person and no longer a child (which she has not been for some time).

The girls at Emanual (Madeleine now tells me) are in to Hollister, Gillian Hicks and Abercrombie & Fitch and "£84 purple leather bags", which Madeleine rejects. I wonder if this effects her friendships ? but she seems to be doing fine : no steadfast goofs like Marcus or Alex, but this will come.

Me: "What do you want now?"
Rusty: "Woof, woof, woof!"
Me: "There you go, let  me get you some breakfast."
Rusty: "Woof! Woof! Woof!"
Me: "Ok, Ok, I'll get the lead."

Thursday, September 20

Taxi, Sir?

Madeleine and I to school.

I talk to James, a black cab driver, about "The Knowledge", which every driver must posses before receiving a taxi license.  It is by far the world's most demanding taxi training course requiring at least twelve 'appearances' (attempts at the final test), after preparation, which can take up to five years.  James took two years to complete his examination but "I was doing it full time", he tells me. The Knowledge based on learning 320 routes (or "runs") which help the driver learn the 25,000 streets and 20,000 landmarks and places of interest in the six mile radius of Charing Cross. Once licensed, the taxi can work anywhere in the Greater London area.  Taxi drivers have 3% more brain mass than the general public, according to taxi drivers.

James works the night-shift,  6PM until 4AM, which gives him more and better fares : after 8PM, rates increase 50%; after 10PM it's double until 6AM. Cabbies make a good living, too :  £70 grand on average or twice London's per capita.  James tells me of a friend who sold his house to train up for the license.

It works, too : I have never, ever, met a taxi driver unable to identify the most obscure London street.

Wednesday, September 19

So 80s

Since I am tripping nostalgic on '80s music , I continue this thread with a long old favourite, Morris Day and The Time, with its seminal '82 hit "777-9311".  This was a top choice from my vinyl collection.

After Prince hit the music scene in the early ‘80’s (the black girls at West Campus introduced us to "Controversy" in '81), he brought along an entourage that was part of the Minneapolis music scene. The Time was the first of several , which also included Sheena Easton.  I took these bands to college with me, dancing to their beats at Brown's Funk Night or Manhattan's Palladium.

The Time, led by the bold, outrageous and flamboyant swagger of lead singer Morris Day, had a funk/rock/dance sound with hard-driving guitar riffs, heavy bass lines, and toe-tapping drums. It was an all freak '80s competition with Rick James whose songs included “Super Freak” and “Give it to Me Baby”, which titillated me and my teen-age peer set. It also led the way for other genre-busting black artists like The Bus Boys and Run-D.M.C.  Not only was The Time blurring and blending music styles, but, like Prince, was making music that had no black or white label or specific audience.

I wanna spend the night with you if that's alright"
--Morris Day and The Time, the second track and lead single from The Time's second album, What Time Is It?

Coltrane And Prison

John Coltrane (who I listen to now) pioneered the use of different modes in jazz and, later, he was at the forefront of the free jazz movement of the '50s and '60s.

I try to get the Shakespeares to listen to Red Garland, Miles Davis and Coltrane but they don't get it, going for Capital FM with its same awful interchangeable screeching songs: Rihanna could be Nicki Minaj who is Katy Perry or Jesse J. It is all crap but, then, this is what my parents must have thought when Sheena E belted out "Come inside my sugar walls" in '84. Ghastly, but I loved it.

I take Madeleine to school on the No. 337 bus, upper deck, front row, staring into the glorious morning sunshine since it is 7:15AM. Madeleine and I practise spelling words from flip-cards, she reads some "Little House On The Prairie" and becomes concerned about the traffic in Wandsworth : tardiness merits a "signature", and she shows me her green-card which, so far, has 12 or 13 "accommodations" for good behaviour and no signatures. Madeleine proving herself to be a striver.

Me: "Don't worry, there are other Emanuel kids on the bus."
Madeleine: "If you get thirty 'signatures,' you are kicked out of school."
Me: "That is so harsh."
Madeleine: "If you get twenty, then you are expelled."
Me: "What happens then?"
Madeleine: "You have to stay in your room. And can only leave to go to the toilet and stuff."
Me: "Sounds like prison."
Madeleine: "It is worse. Plus you have to see the Head Master."

Tuesday, September 18

Sonnet And Rusty

Rusty nabs a treat.

I pick up Eitan from his first school field trip, an overnight to Avon Tyrrel, where the boys do team building exercises like building a raft, climbing structures, communication games - usual stuff. Eitan tells me it worked : "I now know everybody in my form."  In MBA school I had to do similar things usually with alcohol involved.

Eitan: "Rusty. Rusty. Rusty!"
Me: "What?"
Eitan: "He's digging into his balls."

Conference Party

Firing us all up, the cover-promo of the "Renewable Energy Forum 2012" notes : "Identifying value in a rapidly growing asset class."

Sonnet in Milano this week for fashion week and to speak at a conference. She prepares for her 2014 exhibition "La Moda" and so meets lots of fashionistas from academia to aziendale. It's not all shirt skirts and ballgowns.

I wake Madeleine at 6AM (her request) since I run with Andrew. Our gal bravely nods "awake" then  sleeps for a half-hour.   Madeleine has a spelling quiz each week covering 15 pre-decided words. Missing two gets the dreaded "signature", which makes me think (for some reason) of the red light on my phone at First Boston : whenever blinking, some message, usually meaning more work or calamity. Stress.  Madeleine nailed 15 of 15 last week.

"A panel of LPs give their impressions of the current marketplace for renewable energy investment, where they see the value and risks unique to a renewable energy asset and the role of the investment in a wider infrastructure portfolio."
--Renewable Energy Forum 2012 (where I won't be going)

Sunday, September 16


Madeleine is 6.5 adults (green laces) and bigger than Sonnet's foot by a size. Go figure.

Madeleine: "At school, I was in the changing room with the year-nines, and a girl said  'OMG Those are clown's feet!' " 
Me: "And how did that make you feel?"
Madeleine: "Not amazing."  
Me: "I bet. What happened next?"
Madeleine: "Once the girl realised they were mine, she apologised. I told her 'it happens a lot.' "
Me: "You are going to be six foot tall kid."
Madeleine: "Six foot tall. Okay, Dad."
Me: "Just you wait and see."

Fast Food, American Style

Here is what we have for lunch in Delaware (Mind you, I am with a Parisian).

The remarkable thing about US cities, forgotten or unnoticed by Americans, is the homogeneity : Wilmington looks like Austin which looks like Denver which is like Columbus and so on and so forth. Outside of a few Big Cities (and there is an argument that NY or LA are not American but international megalopolises) each has the same nondescript modern skyline, eight or so tall buildings concentrated around each other, highways in and out .. an aiport. Inside one finds a museum, Radisson or Four Seasons, maybe a zoo and, of course, fast food including the Boston Market.

I choose Boston Market (formerly known as Boston Chicken) as I think it our healthiest option for a quick lunch.  I can barely understand the cashier who offers "getasaladandsouplunchcomboforonly4ninetyfive" Huh? My chicken Caesar sandwich something special and I let it be after several bites knowing it could still be there, waiting for me, in two years time.  (Thierry goes for BBQ, pictured)  It is unclear if my credibility enhanced introducing him to the modern American concept of replication/ commoditisation or falls given, well , the food.

In 2007, Boston Market (initials appropriate BTW) had over 600 restaurants in 28 states (last public filing).  No doubt there are more today.

Saturday, September 15

Soda Fountain

From New York to New Haven to Delaware, Philadelphia and finally home - in this case, Berkeley - where I have dinner with Moe and Grace and here we are for breakfast at Saul's.  My parents celebrate their 50th anniversary in December.

Madeleine sits in front of her computer making a list and scratching off names.
Madeleine: "We definitely don't want a musk turtle."
Me: "hmm?"
Madeleine: "Because they are buried in the mud all day and they stink."
Madeleine: "They're also called a stink pot."

Madeleine: "I just thought of a great name for Rusty."
Me: "Oh?"
Madeleine: "Jimmy."
Me: "Jimmy?"
Madeleine: "I just thought of it. I don't know why."

New Day, New York

Thierry and I stay at the NY Palace Hotel on 50th between Madison and Park Ave (disconcertingly I can see my first offices on the 39th floor of Park Avenue Plaza). My room faces east with Queens and Long Island in the distance; the center tower is the old GE Building (570 Lexington) which is Manhattan's 64th tallest at 50 floors and built in 1931. It was bought by Columbia Business School for administrative offices but I don't think there are too many MBAs working there - though I see people shuffling about at this early hour (so clear, I can see the windows are open).  The Waldorf's twin peaks (47 floors) to the right.

We have a bunch of useful meetings : Guardian Life, Columbia, Dupont , others - and while all are welcoming, some more so than others.  Yale's endowment staffed by three Bulldogs who are direct and  serious despite one guy (class of .. '07) in a Patagonia sweatshirt which is a mis-match to my Hermes tie. When I joke the entrance sign states "no solicitations" we get barely a chuckle.

Me: "Madeleine, guess where I am?"
Madeleine: "New York?"
Me: "I'm on the 48th floor of my hotel!"
Madeleine: "Whoa."
Me: "What do you think of that?"
Madeleine: "Do you have to take the stairs?"

Wednesday, September 12

New York Minute

Katie has a perm

Katie and Bill, Katie's college thesis adviser with who she studied Dante, Shakespeare, Don Quixote and Little Red Riding Hood, in the late 1980s. So Wang Chung. Katie and I have dinner on Sullivan St at W Houston which is a trendy part of town not far from my sister's offices (I am saddened to see my favourite go-to diner from '89-90, 'Aggies', is gone). We are joined by Mike, who is lending Katie some advise on ways to invest her founder's richesse which makes sense given Katie's purse stuffed with checks for $37 grand.

Thierry and I to New Haven to visit Yale (all the endowment guys like way casual with the youngest in some logo'd polo shirt. I like).  From there, another meeting in Manhattan and tomorrow, California.
It is the 11th anniversary of 9 11 and small ceremonies mark the event on the local news; otherwise I am oblivious to the observances which do not reach Midtown. The Freedom Tower nears completion and dominates the down-town financial district. Two beams of evening light suggest the World Trade Center which is but a solemn memory.

Tuesday, September 11

Murray Wins

Andy Murray wins the US Open becoming the first British winner of a Grand Slam since .. 1936 (Murray a Scott). Thus caps a remarkable summer of British sport from Wimbledon to Chelsea, the Tour de France (won by Brit Wiggins), Elm Grove and the Olympics. Photo NYT.

It all makes sense somehow that Murray wins New York, too : everything bigger here, where I am now, for several days (Katie and I have dinner with Thierry). For instance : The larger-than-life bellhop (with moustache) at the NY Palace tells me, as I wait for our car, that for 15 years he has greeted some guy on his way to work .. . who turns out to be a producer for the Today program who invites him on the show for his good cheer. He has now done Letterman, Leno and other late night shows as the "happy guy." Of course he does. Just like Murray - it is all center stage, dude.

Sunday, September 9

Still Groov'n

After all these years.

A Trip And A Turtle

Sonnet takes Eitan and Madeleine to Eitan's match against Elm Grove. I prepare for the US.

Madeleine: "Dad if you get a special pet passport can you bring a turtle back?"
Madeleine:  "I've heard it is so much cheaper to buy a turtle in New York."

Saturday, September 8

Mazel Tov

Ben celebrates his Bar Mitzvah in Beliize Park, London. 

We have not raised Eitan or Madeleine with religion nor will they perform the Bar Mitzvah and Bat Mitzvah ceremonies to mark their transition from childhood to adulthood (though they may choose to do so later of course).  Instead, the kids dedicate themselves to sports and drama and other city-suburban activities.  This is the way it was for me, this is the way it is for them. We do not belong to a Synagogue nor are we a part of the London Jewish community (mostly located in North London with its spiritual and physical center Golders Green).  It is an easy gift, religion, and, at Ben's services, I consider, not for the first time, that I have missed out on something easy, something good.

Madeleine: "Dad can we get a turtle?"
Me: "Not this again."
Madeleine: "They don't eat mice or crickets or anything. Plus they like water."
Me: "Yes?"
Madeleine: "Water, Dad, so they don't smell."
Me: "Can we get one and put it in the pond?"
Madeleine: "No. There are fish in there already and it might  not get along with the frog."
Me: "Madeleine, we have Rusty. We are not going to get a turtle."
Madeleine: "So does that mean I can't have one now?"
Me: "Yes."
Madeleine: "How about Christmas?"

Friday, September 7

Daily News

I snap this fellow on the afternoon train heading into town.

Friday evening and we sit around the table eating hamburgers and re-capping the week highlighted by new schools. Madeleine's favourite class, so far, is drama while Eitan likes Latin and chemistry.  Sonnet with the British Film Institute (BFI) to arrange an Italian film festival to coincide with her exhibition La Moda set for 2014.

Eitan: "Look at all the things you have to look out for in Chemistry [Eitan reads from his chemistry book]: harmful or irritant, flammable, biological hazard (biohazard), radioactive, corrosive, toxic, explosive and oxidising.. . ."
Me: "Sounds like a good class."
Eitan: "Apparently the teacher is a bit crazy.  Once he tried to shoot something across the room and it hit the lamp and it crashed."
Me: "The lamp blew up?"
Eitan: "Yeah. It exploded."
Me: "Did he get expelled or something?"
Eitan: "Our chemistry teacher?"
Me: "Yeah."
Eitan: "No. He's still at our school.  Teaching."

We drive to football practise with Joe.
Me: "So what do you boys do on the school bus?"
Eitan: "I don't know. Sit there."
Me: "You don't do homework or something?"
Joe: "The older boys are on the top of the bus. Towards the back. With the girls"
Me: "Do you guys sit with any girls?"
Eitan:  "Dad!"
Joe: "No, we don't really sit near them."
Me: "Where do the nerds sit?"
Joe: "What's a nerd?"
Me: "If you have to ask, it's probably you."
Eitan: "Joe is not a nerd, Dad."
Me: "It's not like an insult or anything. They just sit by themselves... "
Eitan, Joe:
Me: ".. . trying to avoid the spit balls."

Thursday, September 6

Paralympics 2012

Richard Whitehead of Team GB wins gold in the Men's 200-meter T42 Final on day 3 of the London 2012 Paralympic Games (Michael Steele/Getty Images).  The athletes magnificent.

The one time everybody together, like most days now it seems, 7AM for breakfast. I run at 6AM and note the sunrise, which means soon it will be dark at this hour. Madeleine (decidedly not a morning person) downstairs at 6:30AM and Eitan a few moments after. We sit around the kitchen as Sonnet prepares breakfast, frets over an upcoming dinner party, tidies up and makes sure homework and etc. in the right place. She prepares a list for au pair Aneta. Rusty scratches the conservatory door with urgency as two doves scope the backyard - once open, he bolts, yap! yap! yap! (Sonnet: "The neighbours!).

Tuesday, September 4


Madeleine's backpack filled with 16 books and is as heavy as a rock with which, she notes, "I have to walk up four flights of stairs."

Madeleine: "Do you know socks?"
Me: "Hmm?"
Madeleine: "They are like the least important part of the PE kit."
Madeleine: "And if you forget your socks you get a signature."
Me: "That is so harsh! What is a 'signature'?"
Madeleine: "I know! If you get three signatures you get detention."
Me: "Whoa. Good thing Alex isn't in your class."
Madeleine: "I know. Or Nathaniel.  And guess what - I have four accomodations already. Today I got one for helping the teacher get paper and pens."
Me: "That's great. And what does an 'accomodation' mean?"
Madeleine: "Five accomodations is a treat. Ten you see the head of the year. And 20, the head of the school."
Me: "I can see you are really going for it."
Madeleine: "Yeah."

Italians Are Mad

One more from Italy. Marco (purple shirt) crazy, just like everybody else I meet here. It is a wonderful spirit and how different from anywhere else. I could live in Italy no problemo.

Off To The Races

And another sprogue to middle-school. Eitan, up at dawn, readies himself, ties his tie and straightens his jacket.  His back-pack neatly arranged at the front door, pencils counted and necessary forms double-confirmed.  The only thing missing is a shiny red apple.  Sonnet has a wistful look in her eye - proud, yet knowing, in the way that all mothers do : a marathon no longer a marathon once the first steps taken.

Me: "Ready for school?"
Eitan: "Yeah, I guess so."
Me: "Nervous about anything?"
Eitan: "Nah, not really.  Mom how long until we have to go?"
Me: "What are you looking forward to?"
Eitan: "Football try-outs. Meeting the other kids in my form. Mom!"
Me: "I remember the first day of seventh grade.  It was hot and I walked by myself to King Jr High. We got out early and I mowed the lawn when I got home."
Ein: "Bye Dad."
Me: "I was exactly your age now.
Eitn. "See you tonight Dad."

Monday, September 3

Second Floor

Madeleine on the level-two of the No. 337 bus; she reads "The Great Brain".  Photo from Sonnet who accompanies her then catches the train from Clapham Junction to South Kensington.

Silver loved the upper deck of the modern red buses, where she would sit in the front row offering a forward sweeping view of the street below.  She and Stan toured London in this fashion.

Sunday, September 2

Back To Work

Elm Grove in action against Middlesex champions Wembley in a "friendly" on the home pitch. Our side yet a bit creaky, despite a 3-nil victory, following six weeks of holiday (Eitan (and I) ran the 3 mile Park Run yesterday 2 minutes slower than April).  Getting back into shape never easy.

Sonnet takes the family berry picking while I prepare for a Sunday evening return to Paris. Beforehand I will plant some pansies.  Madeleine remains on a high from school and does some homework while noting: "French and Spanish this year, Dad, and maybe Latin next year". I can only marvel.  Labor Day weekend in the US hardly registers though of course I am excited for the college football season despite unranked Cal's opening day loss to WMC conference Nevada at home in the new-stadium opening; ESPN doesn't bother to post the score so I have to search the Internets.  My parents at the cabin.

Madeleine: "Mom, Eitan is licking the table."

Eitan: "Dad pull up your shorts. That is so embarrassing."
Me: "What, did they come down?"
Eitan: "Yes. What if there were people around?"
Me: "So what? Why is that so embarrasing - you see pants all the time."
Eitan: "Yeah, but they're not my dad's pants."
Me: "If that bothers you, then you have no idea how much embarrasment lies ahead."
Eitan: "What do you mean?"
Me: "Imagine, in the future, assuming you like girls, and you are on a date."
Me: "So, Eitan, why don't you introduce me to your little friend?"
Eitan: "That is, like, so never going to happen."