Sun, 03/20/16. Ikea.
Today Jean took Gemma to Ikea while I stayed home with Max. Apparently
they saw the bus to Ikea from Paris Bastille in the distance and ran to it
and barely caught it. Then, while in Ikea, they realized it was almost
time to go catch the bus and again had to run to the bus! Ikea was really
fun and Gems loved it. They came home with a train themed rug and lots of
wooden train stuff which Max was super excited about. On the bus there,
only one seat was available so Gems sat on Jean's lap, and on the way
back, two seats were available but on opposite sides, so Gems sat all by
herself. Meanwhile, Max and I played Monopoly and checkers. Max can barely
keep his attention through a game of checkers without playing and joking
around with the pieces, but he loves Monopoly especially being the banker.
He basically treats it like a store, and just gives me some money, asks me
what I want to buy, and lets me buy it. His math is pretty impressive
though. I bought the first two properites for 60 Euros each, and Max said
"120 Euros please." I asked how he knew it and he wouldn't say. Max also
likes pretending to be a French teacher. He gives me some cursive
letters to draw and then I draw them and he grades me.
Today Max had a runny nose, so Jean stayed home with him while I took Gems
to the Musee en Herbe, an art museum for kids, where we had signed up for
a workshop having something to do with painting and Basquiat. It said very
clearly on the website how parents must stay with the kids for the
workshop, so I reassured Gemma I could be with her during it. However,
when we got to the museum, it turned out the workshop was for kids only
and I couldn't even stay in the room and watch. The museum was very
strange, with an artwork by each of a few really famous artists and then a
kind of imitation of it usually involving a caricature cat. Gemma did a
great portrait of a monster with 3 eyes in the atelier and had a great
Fri, 03/18/16. Suitcase games.
Today after school the kids decided to play around with the luggage, and
somehow managed to fit their whole bodies other than their legs in there.
They later got out and put all their toys inside. While they were in
school, Jean went to the gym and was able to run for 20 min straight which
was a personal record and then went over to her friend Karen's, and
I met with Jonatan Gonzalez and skyped with Jorge
Mateu, discussing group theory applied to prototype point processes. At
night after basketball I went out for a beer with Yuval, one of the other
basketball players who's from Israel originally and has lived here for 22
years and has 3 kids here. He opened up about a lot of things, including
his dealings with French bureaucrazy which have been similar to ours and some of
his quite pessimistic views about Europe and its increasing Muslim
population, which surprised me a little. Then a friend of his showed up
and the talk turned to small talk about the weather, the guy's alarm clock
not working this morning, places I should visit
in France, etc.
Thu, 03/17/17. Musee de tourisme.
Happy St. Patrick's Day! Nobody but us seems to celebrate it here.
Today Gemma's class finally had their first field trip. They were supposed
to have one in Nov but it got cancelled due to the terrorist attacks.
Today Gemma's fieldtrip was to the Musee de Tourisme in the Marais, and
both Jean and I went with them. It was probably the lamest museum of all
time, but we still had a good time. Jean and I chaperoned Gemma and 3
other girls, Clara, Hermeline, and Victoria. Victoria asked me if I knew
who Maximilian was. The woman doing the tour at one point broke into a
thick English accent in French, which sounded just like Jean and me trying
to speak French. After school we had a little more French bureaucratic
ridiculousness, as the directrice of the school asked me about Gemma's
rash, and I told her what the doctor said, which is that it is an
infection but once she starts taking antibiotics she could go back to
school. The directrice asked me to get a letter from the doctor. So,
yesterday I called the doctor's office Tue and they of course needed
me to see the doctor again for such a letter, and the doctor was not there
Wed so they made an appointment for today at 5pm, and I went with Gems,
they charged me 26 Euros, and we went to see the doctor, only it was a
different doctor, and she refused to write the letter. Whatever, it's
France, and at least it didn't involve much waiting.
Wed, 03/16/16. Storytime at Shakespeare.
Today after school we took the kids to storytime and nearby Shakespeare
and Co., a well known bookstore with tiny halls and wall to wall crowds of
people. Jean was in love with the bookstore, and on the tiny upper level a
British woman sang songs and told stories in English to Max, Gemma, and
two other kids. It was great. The walls were filled with old books, and I
took two of them out to check their dates and they were 1937 and 1916. I
make the kids say "Bonjour Madame Directrice" or "Bonjour Madame Dupichot"
when they get to school and see the principal every morning, and today Max
accidentally said "Bonjour Madame Dupitrice" and we all cracked up. Jean
got new shoes for Max and Gemma and they look huge. Above are Max's shoes
Tue, 03/15/16. Buzzcut.
Today Jean and I went to this special exhibit at the Picasso museum called
Statues, only for annual pass holders and special groups, so it was really empty. It was
really good and so quiet inside, with just a few adults and several school
field trips. Afterwards, following a delicious lunch at La Theiere, I got
a haircut. The barber shaved the sides, and then asked me in French if I
wanted to keep the hair long on top, and I said no, I like it short
everywhere, so he proceeded to shave my whole head. I've actually kinda
wanted to try it anyway so I'm not disappointed, though Jean doesn't like
it. We picked up the kids and took them to dance class, and were talking
to Eva about whether they have pets and she was talking about the dogs her
parents have and we were saying Finland is a good place for furry dogs
because in L.A. it's hard for dogs with a lot of hair, and people have to
shave them in the summer, so Eva said "Is that what you did with Rick's
hair?" It's been warming up here, with highs around 60.
Mon, 03/14/16. Staph infection.
Randy was noticing how this journal, like Arnold Schoenberg's old letters,
is dominated by this person or that person's health ailments. But, while
you're in it, an illness does just completely dominate your life, even if it
might not seem significant later. Anyway, today was another ailment as
Gemma got a rash on her face so I took her to the doctor and it's a staph
infection so she has to be on antibiotics for 8 days. The doctor said she
can go to school tomorrow though.
While Jean went to French class I stayed home with Gemma and we played
Spot It and checkers, the right way not the Maxie way where any piece can
take any piece any time. Gemma beat me the first time. She then turned her
attention toward making a boat with a pirate flag, clearly inspired by
Sophie's boat at the Luxembourg Gardens yesterday.
Max went to school today and when I
asked him afterwards how it went he said great. But when I asked what he did,
he said he looked for Gemma around
lunchtime and when she wasn't there, he sat on the bench of shame and
watched the other kids play. As a reward for bravely being a trooper and going to school
even though Gemma didn't, we gave him a pain au chocolat, so he was happy.
for the week of 03/13/16.
for the Paris journal from 2015.