Monday, July 10

ACL Repair

Eitan pre-ops
Eitan is in good hands with Dr Bell, who specialises in knee surgery and has repaired over 1000 ACLs. While it is a serious procedure - Eitan will be under anaesthetics - it is also a routine practice.

Dr Bell reports that the surgery was "completely straightforward". The boy will remain in hospital for one night and home tomorrow.

Sonnet is with him this week.

Sunday, July 9

Go'n To Buffalo

Madeleine receives her final instructions from Sonnet (somehow the dog is always in these moments). She catches a mid-day plane to Toronto with her 60L Gregory Pack stuffed for Buffalo and the JMT (I have gotten to calling her backpack "the house' as in 'you're going to be living in it for the next six weeks').

Madeleine for her part is used to the long-haul flights. She and Eitan went together sans us from Denver to London via JFK when they were 12 and 13.

On the other side will be uncle Marcus to greet her.

Tomorrow she begins her volunteer work the community garden.

The Crew BBQ

Madeleine has some friends over on a lovely Saturday evening. They are all laughter and politeness but we know what's really going on. Sonnet and I weren't born yesterday.

Emily and Lawton are with us for several nights, returning from Munich and other stops in Europe.

Both head for their freshman year at UNC in autumn and full of excitement and admissions stories (enough to freak out Sonnet). Their father, Brad, is the Vice Chancellor of Campus Enterprises and I suggest to Emily and Lawton that they should expect good service (eye roll please, but too polite).

The kids picked up for their flight 5AM Friday which does not stop them from seeing friends until 3AM Friday morning (now it is my/ Sonnet's turn to roll eyes).

I take the dog for a 3 hour hike in Richmond Park which otherwise takes c.60 minutes running and 30 minutes on a bike. Countdown JMT.

Sunday, July 2

Cool Yuf

Bella and Lola hang out with Johnny Depp, Katy Perry and Lady Gaga in el lay.

Madeleine and I watch the women's 400m finals of the British Athletics Team Trials on the BBC.
Madeleine: "Why are they crying?"
Me: "It's emotional. Women cry."
Madeleine: "Great Dad."
Me: "How the heck should I know ? They're your age. You're a runner. And they're women. So you tell me: Why are they crying?"
Madeleine: "It's emotional. Women cry."

Portobello Market

Our first years in London, in Maida Vale W9, a Saturday morning routine included friends (or solo) at Lisboa, a Portuguese bakery on Golborne Road, for coffee, followed by the Portobello market and a search for groovy purchases (me, chords and the occasional age-inappropriate jacket; Sonnet, silver or household items).

On the Kensal Town side, Portobello is a flea market on steroids - stalls selling ancient tools, books, ceramics, table ware, junk - and a colourful neighbourhood that is still working class though seriously gentrified since we first came here (Look over there! (Where?) Here comes Jeanie with her new boyfriend).

The road connects into Notting Hill and becomes densely crowded with high and very-high end shops where one may find Rolexes and antiques. I bought my Yashika Mat dual lens box camera here which is now in Madeleine's room; it is a marvelous camera but the medium format film renders it impractical.

Eitan (in the crowded market): "What's my budget?"
Me: "Well, how much money do you have?"
Eitan: "I thought you were going to give us some money."
Me: "Tell you what. You say 'I love you Dad' and I will give you twenty pounds."
Me: "Easy money. 'I love you Dad.'"
Eitan: "I am not going to say that here."
Me: "Ok no money."
Eitan, whispering: "I love you Dad."
Me, loudly: "What ? Can't here you."
Eitan: "I love you Dad."
Me: "Here's twenty pounds."
Madeleine: "I love you Dad!"

LA Cousins

Erno Goldfinger lives on
Brook, Sonnet's cousin from Silver's side, joins us for five days on the way to a wedding in Greece. With her are Bella and Lola, second cousins to Eitan and Madeleine, and almost exactly the same age.

The crew otherwise live the California dream, not far from the Pacific, and the girls surf the Pacific waves. The kids instantly comfortable with each other and settle into a marathon of Harry Potter movies. Madeleine was to join them this summer but instead will hike the JMT.

From where I sit, they could not be more cool.

Saturday, July 1

Mr Blue Skies

It's flat
Another day, another skyline. This time it is Amsterdam.

Eitan and I have dinner at The Wolseley on a Friday night mano a mano. I order a vodka martini with a twist ("Nice", he says) and him a beer which he nurses two-thirds of the way. We order the same: wiener schnitzel, steamed spinach and fries. Classic.

Eitan is keen to ask questions about what I do, what investment means and how Astorg goes about it. He's decided to concentrate his A Levels (lower and upper Sixth Form begin September - serious stuff) on the humanities including English literature, history, Spanish and politics. Hard to imagine but the boy may never take another math course, unless he selects to do so outside school. We discuss its implication for business as Eitan (I sense) wants to do it.

Unlike the US, where one can faff about in the liberal arts until deciding junior year of college to study economics (OK, me). These Brit kids must decide their interest - and future - at age 16. Who knows what the hell he's going to do for life at this age? Eitan, for his part, doesn't have much fixed beyond the summer (which will be spent recovering from an ACL operation).

That said, Eitan continues to explore and while he won't go to soccer camps and the JMT over the break, he has signed up for piano and guitar lessons, wants to learn bridge and is looking into a few summer business course. Hard to do without any planned structure (the ACL disrupting Sonnet's to-the-hour planning) but we are rolling with it.

Madeleine, from the back seat, in heavy traffic: "Mom just texted and asked where we are and why we are so late." 
Me: "Tell her we went to the mall and we'll meet her when we're done."
Madeleine: "You don't really want me to say that do you Dad?"
Madeleine: "Yep."