Click here for the Paris journal from 2016.
Click here for the week of 12/20/15.
Sun, 12/13/15. Roller skater.

Given the option of the musee d'orsay or the pompidou, Max and Gemma chose the latter, so we played in the sand castle building place there for a while. Max made his usual pit of mush and Gems made a cube, a cylinder, and a triangle. On the way back we passed by the Notre Dame, which is already decked out for Christmas, and the Christmas markets which were gushing with people. However, the big attraction was this insane guy out in front of the Notre Dame with a ramp and a pole, with no mat or anything. He'd take off his shirt in the freezing cold, go in the street, hang onto a motorcycle to gain speed, rollerskate to the ramp, roll up it, jump, do the splits, and barely get over the pole which must have been a good 12 feet high. We were joking we fully expect to read the paper tomorrow and have the headline be "Roller skater dies at Notre Dame." In the evening we chatted with the Temples which was fun, though I think Max and Gems were still too pumped up from the roller skater because they were bouncing off the walls the whole time. We just found out Kala and Mila won their swim races -- congratulations! And Jean says Marko won a year of free Starbucks? I wonder how that happened.

Sat, 12/12/15. More milkshakes.

Last night Gems slept through the night with hardly any crying! This is a big step for our whole family, finally being able to sleep after a week of very interrupted nights. Our place has become quite a laundromat, and we seem to be doing laundry nonstop and hanging it everywhere to dry. Today I took Max to Park Cluny and we had relay races as well as me timing him to trottinette from one side of the park to the other and back. The world record is 23 seconds. At night we went back to the milkshake diner in a desperate attempt to get Gems to keep eating. It worked again, and I think Gems is basically all better now. Max had a vanilla milkshake which he claims was better than the strawberry and the nutella ones. We are talking about all going to the Musee d'Orsay tomorrow. At night Max and Gems did this mock airplane thing. They arranged the chairs in our dining room, told Jean and me to sit in certain seats, and gave us tickets with our numbered seats on them. They also had us sign separate sheets which were also our tickets, and on mine I had to write my phone number, my middle name, then my full name, then my age, and last my signature as "Dada". It is pictured above, along with Gems's sign for what is not allowed on the plane, including no drool, no cell phones, no singing girls or boys, and no crying babies. Gems delicately buckled us in using hangers and magnets, and Max the pilot announced takeoff and started yelling and screaming "Pop pop pop" over and over for some reason. It was a nice flight, but kinda loud.

Fri, 12/11/15. Milkshakes.

The doctor said cold things like milkshakes and popsicles are good for Gemma's mouth, so today they kids had their first milkshakes ever. They were extremely satsified. Gems got chocolate, Max got strawberry, and Jean and I split a nutella one. They're not the healthiest things in the world, but at least they get calories in Gems which is important. Gemma took one sip and made the biggest smile I've ever seen.
Gems got much better today, and I think will be all better on Mon or maybe even Sunday. Last night Jean stayed with her all night and there was much less crying than previously. Today I bought aubergine colored pants. Everyone in Paris seems to wear brightly colored pants, like red, green, or light blue pants, so I thought I'd get one to try it out. After school today I took Maxie to the park and there was only one kid there, a 7.5 year old named Alexandre, and he, Max and I played a lot. Then Max got tired and wanted to leave, and I told Alexandre in French, and he made a really sad face and said "Oh no."
One random thought I had today was that there are so many possibilities here for the kids to do millions of dollars of damage very easily, for instance by throwing a ball through an old stained glass window or something. I can't imagine what would happen if something like that occurred, but it seems like it could so easily. There's just nothing like that that could happen in L.A.
I'm satisfied with my work progress this quarter even though I've spent very little time doing work. I sent off a revision of a solo paper just before coming to Paris, and then since being here, I've done a grant proposal, am about halfway through one solo paper, have submitted a proposal for a new edition of my textbook, have revised a couple joint papers, the latter mostly thanks to my students Eric and Josh, and have come up with a new idea I might work on with Marc Hoffmann, my main contact here. Interestingly, the new idea is kind of a rarity. I've been an author or coauthor on 87 papers now, and I'd say I've really only had probably 3 or 4 original ideas. That's kinda sad in a way. On the other hand, at least I've had those 3 or 4 ideas. I feel like a lot of published research really is just continuing what others have done and maybe just tweaking it very slightly or applying an existing method to a slightly new area. Anyway, for me, coming up with a new idea here is pretty good. It seems like my written productivity would certainly be higher if I worked more, but I'm not sure my actual contribution (if any) to science would be any different.

Thu, 12/10/15. Diana, the lunchlady.
Last night was awful again, but Gems's mouth seems to be slowly getting better today and she's been eating pretty well. I think probably by Sunday or so she will be all better. Max was a trooper going to school by himself after just getting back from Wien yesterday, and after school he told me he gave Diana the lunchlady her Mozartkugeln. I asked how it went and what he said, and he said only "Avec toi" (with you). She replied "These are for me?" and he said yes, and then he gave her a hug and she gave him a kiss on the cheek. He was very happy about it. On the way to school I asked Max what he was gonna say if anyone asked him how Wien was, and what he liked most about it. "Spot it" was his answer. Anyway, nobody asked him. Joseph, the leader of the bad team, wasn't there today so Nathan, his lead henchman, was in charge but didn't include Max, so Max wasn't happy about that and is looking forward to Joseph's return.

Wed, 12/9/15. Back to Paris, and still sick.

Gems was once again up most of the night. Jean and I can't remember feeling this kind of repetitive sleep deprivation since the kids were newborns. At least Gems has no fever at all, and no runny nose or anything. It's just her tongue, and her gums and cheeks are sore and red too. As a result, she doesn't want to eat or drink anything, and we are forcing her to drink water, soft bread, and popsicles, but we can't get her to eat or drink anything else so she is very weak. Meanwhile, Max is totally fine. Last night listed the top 5 things he was gonna miss about Wien, and they were the elevator, the breakfast, the big bed, the tv, and the playground. We had a very nice and uneventful flight back to Paris. Gems spent most of the flight doing the Rubik's cube with me. After we landed, the French guy who sat next to me told me "I hope when I have kids I am a great father like you." I was quite touched but could only think to say "Merci beaucoup." The kids enjoyed playing the red piano in the Paris airport as shown above, and getting strolled around as also shown above. After getting back to Paris, Gems went with me to the pharmacy, where they said we'd have to see a doctor, and then to the hospital where we very quickly got to see a doctor, and then back to the pharmacy to get basically painkillers for her mouth. They said she has a virus and that it should go away in a few days on its own, but they just gave us stuff to help ease her pain in the meantime. I asked repeatedly about silver nitrate, nitrate d'argent here, which Millie recommended but their only version is for external use only and for age 15 and up. Fortunately the painkillers are working and Gems is finally asleep now. Tomorrow I'm taking Max to school in the morning but Gems will stay home. We got mozartkugeln to give to their teachers and principal, and Max said "You get to give it to your favorite teachers. I want to give it to my favorite teacher too." So Jean asked him who he'd like to give mozartkugeln to, and he said "Diana," the lunchlady at school.

Tue, 12/8/15. Museum of crying, whining, bitching and moaning.

Gems was up all night again crying about her fever blister on her tongue. It's driving Jean and me crazy and we are alternating through the night trying to deal with her. Phew. This was a tough trip and so much tougher since Mima and Umpa left. We have been calling her room the museum of crying, whining, bitching and moaning, and were joking that while one of us would take Max to some other museum the other would stay at the MCWBM. Admission is free. Today while Jean watched her, Max and I went to the Apotheke and got some medicines for Gems, as well as some supplies from the market including watermelon posicles depicted above, and then I took Max to the park to run around with him a little. It was freezing today, and when we got back I kept the extra popsicles on the ledge of our window so they would stay frozen! I now have frozen yogurt pops there too and am calling it my kitchen. In the afternoon we just hung out and napped a little, and in the evening I went out with Max again and got stuff from the market and some hot dogs at the local stand. At night we ate the hot dogs in our room, watched some videos on the computer and went to bed. It is a little crazy how much time we spent in our hotel room this trip. It's a good thing the hotel was so nice. On our second outing today, Max and I jumped on the street train a little bit and Max loved it. Max also made up a song about how the bicycles have their own lane here on the sidewalks in Wien. Tomorrow we leave for Paris.

Mon, 12/7/15. Arnold Schoenberg Center.

Gems was up most of the night complaining about her fever blister on her tongue. Fortunately Mima and Umpa babysat Max in the morning, which was great so I could relax and watch Gems while Jean got some much needed supplies from the market. It's been a little hard to make plans each day because for each proposal there are usually 7 counterproposals, and reasons why we shouldn't have done what we did earlier. Anyway, we all went to the Arnold Schoenberg Center, which was great, and both Max and Gems were really interested in the pudding as well as listening to the different exhibits and playing with the computer with the maps on it. They also liked signing their names on the signin book and drawing pictures in there. In the evening the Calices came and had dinner with us in the hotel, and updated us on their kids and grandkids which was a lot of fun. Gems was not feeling great and stayed in the room with Jean, but Max went and they thought he was an angel with his good behavior.
Last night while Gems was crying, I read the last 300 pages of The Martian, which I thought was exciting and very quick and easy to read, and hard to put down, though not really good in a literary sense. I was hoping it would be more like Castaway with Tom Hanks, which I loved and thought was really innovative, but midway through this book, when the NASA crew decides to override the instructions they get from NASA and start their own rescue mission, it lost me and I realized it wasn't trying to be an interesting study of survival on Mars, but instead was trying for a kind of Hollywood, James Bond on Mars. Jean said it was more like McGuiver on Mars, which is a good way to put it.
At night tonight, we said our sad goodbyes to Mima and Umpa, who leave really early tomorrow morning, like 4am. It was great seeing them and we will miss them a lot for Christmas and New Years, and the next 7 months or so. We talked about possibly meeting them in Salzburg in May.

Click here for the week of 12/06/15.