Friday, September 4, 2009

Back to school (and back to work)!

As the red fish swam happily in its bowl, the 3rd of Septembre drew ever nearer. First Mom went back to work on the 31st. (Yep, Papa was actually cajoled into taking a photo for the blog!)

But before that, we had our last, big Sunday brunch of the summer.

The dark haired guy between Henry and Max is Max's friend, Ulysse. For those who haven't heard of Ulysse, well, Mom says he has a suitable first name. He's a charmer. He charmed himself into 15 days of free vacation at our house this summer - bed 'n' breakfast and lunch AND dinner, not to mention clean clothes to bring home to maman... But he's polite and interesting and Papa says that that'll get a guy a good meal in most towns across the world. As you can see in this next picture, Ulysse likes pancakes (or else he's being unnecessarily polite!). At least he was actin' nat'rl nonobstant Mom's climbing on chairs to take pictures during the meal (sometimes Papa thinks Mom is taking this blog a bit too far...)!

Like, Papa wishes the entire world didn't have access to the knowledge that he often forgets to take his apron off before coming to the table and that what he really likes on pancakes is...

...What's the red stuff, you're wondering? Is it apricot jam? Is it gooseberry jam? Is it perhaps something southern French like tapenade? Tomato paste maybe? Non, it's purée de piment rouge! And it's smeared all over his Aunt Jemima pancakes! Yikes!
I'm a pirate but I, Malcolm that is, still prefer sirop d'érable on my flap jacks - sirop d'érable, that's the cool French name for maple syrup, by the way.
After digesting brunch, Sunday and Monday went by calmly but I could already feel the atmosphere at home getting slightly more studious.

Papa is busy learning his lines in whatever room we are not in.

And Henry and I have been very busy building a Styrofoam, Lord of the Rings castle where we're planning on setting up our Warhammer figurines... but it's not finished yet so there ain't no photo! Most of the time, when I'm not cutting Styrofoam board, I'm drawing, like here. Fish or dwarves.

On September 1st, when Henry bought his fish, the weather was downright autumnal : rain and umbrellas on the streets of Paris.

Once the fish got here, Henry learned some basic physics : if you turn a fish bowl full of water in order to try and see the fish, the bowl turns but the water doesn't; so the fish stays in the same spot and you have to move around the bowl if you want to see it! He and Mom were also fascinated by the optical illusion created by the shape of the bowl : if you look at it straight on, sometimes the fish disappears totally! Now you see it.

Now you don't!

Now, I realize this is just a blog and you might think this last photo is some sort of fancy trick picture, like we took it before we put the fish in the bowl or something sneaky like that, but NO! It really was taken seconds after the one just before! Amazing, non? Paraphrasing Dr Seuss, we call this trick : Out, out out with a fish! (Not as noisy as motorcycles in a ball, but not bad nonobstant) All it takes is patience and a fish with good batteries...
And Papa and Mom decided to get rid of the TV because we were all watching too much. We've still got the screen so we can see beautiful, cultural films but no more vulgar, reality TV - we pirates kind of liked reality TV... Now we have to watch the fish in the evenings and/or put up with Mom reading Treasure Island. We've gotten far enough to know for sure that Long John Silver is the worst type of hard-hearted bucaneer who will stoop to killing a man à terre - no pun intended! Reading is so much kinder, gentler than TV in the evening! But, I'm stalling here, pretending fun and Treasure Island and Dr Seuss is learning! The fatal day did eventually arrive. To make it a little easier for us, Mom bought croissants and pains au chocolat...

...and Papa did something for me they say is all the rage in the States this year. At least on the East coast somewhere Gettysburg way...

...yep, the all new, back-to-school foot massage and manicure!

For me and Henry, Mom and Papa decided NO nail polish! And they figured it should be done in the quiet of our very own home. We are pirates and our toenails were pretty grungy after an entire summer of fun and, besides, there was one very good reason why I for one really didn't need an expensive foot job...

Ain't no one at school going to see anything but my NEW SHOES!!!

In the end, Max, the first, the original pontoon pirate - from back in the old days, before blogs, back when ye ol' Patioboat still proudly hoisted the Jolly Roger - yes, that Max, well, he was the first to walk the plank! (We all go at different times, naturally.) "Hurry up Mom, I'm late for my first two hours of my second year of 11th grade..."

Stella flew the coop next,

"Don't worry, Mom, I'll be home at 11am!"
Then Henry went, he always leaves bright and early.

And finally, me. The foot massage kind of put me to sleep again.

Looks like maybe a good school year will be had by all! Stella was scandalized that she actually had 6 hours of school on Friday, "Can you believe it?" she cried at dinner, "I don't have tomorrow off - only the 6th graders!" Mom just couldn't believe it! In any case, we're up to date on the blog. I guess we can relax a bit now!


  1. Ah, those splendid "blue suede shoes", as the song goes... They still shimmer and shine, it seems. Good for you, Malcolm, you must have taken care of them very well.

    Everyone looks great for the first day of work and school. After various wondrously glorious vacations, how else could one look. And foot massages, now that's Top-of-the-line preparation for school; not many have that pleasure, I am sure.
    Thank you Thierry, for snapping a picture of Michelle on the way out the door. I like it!
    Now I am waiting to learn the name of the "now-you-see-her, now-you-don't.
    Love that Physics lesson of the disappearing fish!!!

  2. The proper South Central Pennsylvania pedicure clearly includes sparkly purple nail polish... but to each their own.

    Looks like everyone's excited to be back in school. Shea will keep Malcolm and Henry filled in on all the doings on Cartoon Network.

  3. One of you two pirates: I'd love to see more of that mural up the street from your house. A black horse is always impressive!

  4. Truth is we couldn't find any sparkly green nail polish to match the shoes so... (They're green Mom, not blue, but as the French say : Never argue about tastes or colors! Especially green and blue, wasn't that this summer's big color arguement, Monique?)
    I'm sure Malcolm and Henry will be relieved to know Someone still has access to TV. But I was under the impression Shea was more of a DS specialist.
    Oh, and Arsen, I'm planning on sending you some photos of Parisian walls and windows. We'll see if H and M want to help.
    One more thing folks, the naming contest is over and, I'm sorry to tell you that in spite of all your GREAT names - Stella thought Anglewings was trop stylé - , Henry has opted for the Gettysburg solution : we're calling it LE fish. (The contest was actually a strategem to fire up some interest and get some comments and it worked but not quite as well as Susan's blog post about the weather. Boy, if you want comments, make posts about the weather!

  5. Although I hate to admit that summer is over, I guess it is. Everyone back to his or her "normal" schedule. Wonderful picuters, everyone looks great. But Thierry, red pepper paste, on your pancakes, really? Ee... at least it's better than tapenade!

    So, I didn't quite understand. Is the oddly disappearing fish I call Flame now named LE or Anglewings? I like them both but Anglewings has a particular... flare. Well chosen, Stella.

    Max, you're looking handsome and I'm happy to finally put a face to the name Ulysse.

    Well, my dear pirates, I wish you well on your first full week of school. Keep on blogging!

  6. Oh, ya, and then there's the whole blue, green debate. There is, of course, blue, green and blue-green. Those sparkly, new hoes are defintiely blue-green, don't you think?