Click here for the week of 05/15/16.

Sun, 05/07/16. Auf wiedersehen, Wien.

Today we left Wien and went back to Paris. We had a great time in Wien and it's an interesting city, with its incredible emphasis on music the way Paris emphasizes art. Everyone's favorite experience was seeing the Magic Flute last night, though the skateboard ramp at the park was also a highlight for us. It was sad saying goodbye to Mima and Umpa who we will all miss til we are back in July. One weird thing about Wien is that, of the 5 or 6 songs we heard while in taxis or in stores or restaurants playing the radio, we heard "Don't cry" by Guns n' Roses twice. I've hardly heard the song since 1994. We definitely only saw a tiny slice of the city, but not sure when we will be back. We had a great time, but it didn't seem very kid friendly at all, or even really friendly period. People seemed kind of generally grumpy. Paris is similar sometimes though. Above are some photos from this whole long weekend.

Sat, 05/07/16. Magic Flute.
Today after a nice breakfast we headed to the Prater amusement park, which we quickly discovered was catering more to teenagers with really aggressive roller coasters and spinny rides. Before he hit the Prater, Mima led us to the very nearby cafe where her grandparents, Siegmund and Kamilla Zeisl, ran a cafe back in the day before it was taken over and destroyed by the Nazis. There is a commemorative plaque there with Siegmund's name on it, and words saying that the Nazis stormed this building and killed the people in there, with only one survivor out of the 38 people. In the Prater, we took Max and Gemma on the babiest ride in the whole place, called something like Arctic Voyage, where you have a fake camera and pretend you are taking pictures of the animals like polar bears and walruses, and one of the walruses squirted water at us, and even this was scary for Max who started crying, I guess mainly because it was dark. Then Gemma went with Jean on a log jammer type ride, which was really steep and hairy, but they liked it. After that, Mima and Umpa went home while the 4 of us took a taxi to the Lego store, but they said the German football team legos won't be out until May 16. At night we went with Mima and Umpa to pizza and then the Magic Flute, which was awesome. Max and Gemma were in good moods thanks to a 2 hour nap in the afternoon, and they stayed alert through the whole opera from 7pm to 10pm. It was a really good performance and we all loved it. Tomorrow unfortunately we have to leave. By the way, outside the Prater we needed to use the bathroom and it was difficult, just like it is in Paris. It seems all over Europe, all it takes is a child who has to go to the bathroom, and suddenly an otherwise completely upstanding citizen is instantly transformed, like Dr. Jekyll into Mr. Hyde. One instantly becomes a creature lurking in dark alleys, searching for a dark abandoned building, sneaking into the shadows of hotels or restaurants, avoiding ordinary citizens and policemen at all costs, and sometimes even crawling into dark corners of abandoned alleys to conduct illegal business. The bathroom freedom, along with the easy customer service, is one of the things I'm missing most about L.A.

Fri, 05/06/16. Antoinette.
Today we went to Stadt Park again and the kids played on the skateboard ramp again and then in another part of the park we didn't play in yesterday, where there was an extremely entertaining waterpump. We then got hot dogs and sat in the park eating them on the wonderfully sunny, hot day, with millions of people milling about. We got delicious ice creams and juices too on our way from the park to the Stefansdom, while Umpa answered difficult questions from the kids about Jesus, like "When Jesus came back from the dead, did he look like a ghost?" Umpa answered them very seriously. Then Mima and Umpa babysat while Jean and I went out to the Volksoper to see the ballet Marie Antoinette. It was great and got a huge rousing ovation. The dancing was very modern and good. I can never follow the story at all in ballets but I liked the dance and the music. They had an orchestra pit but the music was coming from speakers, though we weren't sure whether it was live music or not at first. We took a taxi there and tried to find our way back on foot, thinking we could follow the spire, make it to the Stefansdom, and then get back, but the spire we saw turned out to be a different church, so we gave up and took another taxi. Vienna seems pretty big, or at least big enough that wandering around is kind of difficult. Every street kinda looks the same. Max has been composing a piece that lasts 24 hours, and you go to the concert with a picnic basket with several meals and snacks in it and listen to the music all day. He sang it tonight for Mima who is a very willing and enthusiastic listener.

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Thu, 05/05/16. Feeding frenzy.
This might be the most junk food the kids have ever eaten in one day. We got up and ate breakfast in the buffet in our hotel, with veggies, fruit, bread, eggs, yogurt, juice, cereal, this apricot souffle thing, bacon, and a brownie. Then we met up with Mima and Umpa, went to the park where the kids played vigorously on the skateboard ramp and both went simultaneously in the same swing, completely tiring themselves out, and then had lunch consisting of hot dogs, pretzels, juice, and soup. Then we went to the Haus der Musik to see the stairs where each step you walk on plays a different note, and where the kids could do virtual conducting of an orchestra, and see how sound works in these very German and incomprehensible exhibits, and see 3d holograms of Mozart and Haydn. They had a very nice area dedicated to Arnold Schoenberg and his students, where you could listen to little excerpts of compositions by them, and a map of music in Vienna listing 11 spots on the map, one of which was the Arnold Schoenberg Center. Mima was ready to get mad at the lack of reference to Eric Zeisl in the hall of emigre composers, but his name was there and also Willie Zeisl. However, Eric was absent from a list of composers printed in big letters around a staircase upstairs. After a couple hours there, we went back to Mima and Umpa's place stopping on the way for some pastries which served as dinner. We played a great game of memory at the Schonberg Center, won handily by Maxie.

Wed, 05/04/16. Wien.
We rushed after school to the RER and made it to the airport by 12:20, which would seem to be plenty of time for our 1:25pm plane to Wien. However, it took half an hour just to walk to the checkin counter. It was like a mile away. By the time we got there, the man said there was only 3 min left to check in our bags and rushed us over to this woman, who had this conversation with him in French. "It's too late." "No, there's still a few minutes." "No, it's too late." "No, there's still a few minutes." "Ok." So thanks to the nice man, we made it just in time. Our seats on the plane were not together, and again when boarding there was a woman who blamed it on us being late and said "We will see if we can do anything" and then the man right next to her said "We can have you all sit together in the back". So once again a nice French man saved us from a mean French woman. When we got to our hotel in Wien, Mima was in the corner of the lobby waiting for us. We hung out with her for a while and went to the Schoenberg Center to see Umpa, Larry and Annie briefly before they went to see a concert of Schoenberg's 2nd String Quartet and we went to dinner at BierReither. We ordered so much food and Gemma said it was the best meal she'd ever had.

Tue, 05/03/16. Taking it easy.

Today all of us, especially Jean and Gemma, seemed to feel very tired in the afternoon, so tired that Gemma's teacher even mentioned it, so we decided to forget about going to ballet class and we all just stayed home after school. Tomorrow we leave for Wien to see Mima and Umpa. We're all looking forward to it. Gemma has been complaining she wants to get earrings and we had to explain to her that different families have different rules. She had trouble expressing herself but after a while was able to explain her frustration with us having a rule that everyone in our family has to follow, instead of allowing us all to be different, but we explained that we didn't want her to make mistakes and do things that could make her cry, and how Jean's ears got infected was she was a kid, etc., and now she seems ok. I finally got the photos from Provence from my camera onto my computer so am just adding them to the journal as good ones come up on my desktop which rotates through them randomly. Today's is from the streets of Gordes where Gemma and Max got their heads stuck in the hole.

Mon, 05/02/16. Plus de "Non".

This morning I asked if we could possibly take the kids out a little early on Wed to make our flight to Vienna to see my parents, and I got a flat out no from la directrice. So we will rush from school to Charles de Gaulle to make our flight on Wed. Jean and I are still discussing what to do in July between Jul 5 when we are done with school and our apartment in Paris and Jul 20 when we return to Los Angeles. So far all we know is we want to see Max's best friend Elijah and family in Dublin, but not sure what else. We've been doing laundry nonstop since coming back from Hamsterdam and Provence back to back, and constantly have laundry hanging from the windowsills.

Click here for the week of 05/15/16.

Click here for the week of 05/01/16.

Click here for the Paris journal from 2015.