for the Paris journal from 2016.
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
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
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
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
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
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.
for the week of 12/06/15.