Saturday, October 31, 2009

Just Married! 17 years ago... (Jeunes Mariés! d'il y a 17 ans...)

(The Wedding Dance, Pietre Bruegal the Elder, 1566)

Seventeen years ago today, Papa and Mom got married. There were not many guests and no wedding dance but it's a good memory nonetheless.

Il y a 17 ans ce jour, Maman and Papa se sont mariés. Il n'y a pas eu de grand bal dansant ni de festin élaboré, il n'y a même pas eu beaucoup d'invités mais ça reste tout de même un très bon souvenir pour eux.

The civil wedding date was set by the mayor of the XIXème arrondissement for the 31st of October! No one in France knew about Halloween back then but Mom - American born, if not totally raised - sure did and for her, getting married on Halloween was really strange. But then, since getting married in itself is strange and since weddings are basically just good occasions to get dressed up and act a part, Mom convinced Papa that Halloween costumes would be a good way of celebrating their official union. (Doesn't sound like they were really mature enough to be getting married and having kids, does it?) As far as the costumes went, they decided to surprise each other...

Le mariage civil fut programmé par Monsieur le Maire du XIXème arrondissement pour le 31 octobre! A l'époque, les Français ne connaissaient pas encore Halloween, mais pour Mom - née et élévée aux States, même si son éducation ne fut pas typiquement américaine - se marier le jour de Halloween! C'était une drôle d'idée. Enfin, en soi le fait de se marier est une drôle d'idée, n'est-ce pas? Et puis, les noces, ce sont simplement de bonnes occasions pour se déguiser et jouer un rôle, non? Du coup, Mom a convaincu Papa qu'ils devaient porter des costumes de Halloween pour le mariage... (ils n'étaient peut-être pas encore tout à fait mûrs pour la vie de famille, non?) En ce qui concernait les déguisements, ils ont décidé de se faire la surprise.

Mom was very pleased and relieved when she saw that Papa had not dressed up as Freddy but rather as Cat Stevens. And Papa, well, he does look kind of like the Chesire Cat, doesn't he?

Mom a été très soulagée de voir que Papa ne s'est pas déguisé en Freddy. Plutôt Cat Stevens, "Oh Baby, baby it's a wild world, it's hard to get by just upon a smile..." Enfin, souvent Papa se débrouille très bien juste avec une blague!

None of us kids was around back then to admire them, except Max. But he could only hear and feel the festivities not see the costumes because he was still in Mom's belly. That's why she decided to dress up as The Madonna in waiting by Pierro della Francesca. Mom also chose the Madonna dress and halo because, besides being pretty, it was also a fresco that she and Papa had bicycled 50 kilometers to see together when they were on holiday in Tuscanny the year before. That was a good memory, too.

Aucun de nous était là, à l'époque, à part Max, mais il n'a pas pu admirer les costumes puisqu'il était encore dans le ventre de Mom. Eh oui, nos parents ont fauté; Mom était enceinte de plus de 8 mois au moment du mariage. C'est pour ça d'ailleurs qu'elle a choisi de se déguiser en Madonne de l'attente de Pierro della Francesca. Aussi parce que, l'an précédent, Papa et Mom avaient fait 50 km en vélo ensemble en Toscane pour voir la petite chapelle où cette fresque se trouve. Ca aussi, c'était un bon souvenir pour eux.

All in all, despite Mom's Halloween silliness, it remained a rather dignified ceremony. The Mayor did not throw them out of City Hall on their desguised rumps as Mamy had predicted. Actually, he hardly even raised an eyebrow when he saw them. He must see all kinds of weirdos, right?

Tout compte fait, malgré les gamineries de Mom et ses idées lufoques de déguisement de mariage, la cérémonie est restée assez sobre et respectable. Monsieur le Maire ne les a pas mis dehors comme des malpropres (il ne les a même pas regardé de travers - il en a vu d'autres sans doute.) A la fin de la journée, même Mamy avait rallié l'idée des costumes de Halloween : "On aurait dû tous se déguiser!" criait-elle joyeusement après quelques coupes de champagne.

17 years later, we Pontoon Pirates and Stella are with Mamy and Papy in Haguenau and Max is off somewhere with Naïm and his family. So...poor Mom and Papa are all alone at home in Paris for their anniversary... We sincerely hope they don't miss us too much and that they'll still have a tiny little bit of fun without us!

17 ans plus tard, Stella et nous autres Pirates du Ponton sont à Haguenau avec Papy et Mamy et Max est en vadrouille avec Naïm et sa famille. Mom et Papa sont donc seuls à Paris, les pauvres, sans nous, sans personne pour fêter leur anniversaire de mariage... On espère sincérement que nous ne leur manquons pas trop et qu'ils vont quand même s'amuser un tout petit peu sans nous...


Happy Anniversary, Mom and Papa. We love you!

Joyeux anniversaire de mariage, Mom et Papa. On vous aime!




Thanks kids, we love you too! And Happy Halloween to all!

Merci les enfants, nous vous aimons très forts nous aussi!

Et surtout, ne vous inquiétez pas pour nous! Thierry sait encore me surprendre après 17 ans!


Thursday, October 29, 2009

Happy Birthday Monique! (Joyeux anniversaire Monique!)


The occasion calls for balloons!




For Cake, Candles and Ice-Cream!



For champagne at the very least!



For choirs of angels floating down to sing your praises from on high!



(I certainly hope someone over there is taking care of all that for you!)

HAPPY, HAPPY BIRTHDAY MONIQUE !!


And many happy pumpkins too all!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Perfect Pumpkin! (La Citrouille Scintillante!)

Aujourd'hui, nous avons sculpté une magnifique citrouille scintillante!
Pour moi, Malcolm, c'était la première fois.
Today, we carved a magnificent, sparkling pumpkin!
For me, Malcolm that is, it was the first time.

Quand nous avons enfin réussi à l'ouvrir, l'horreur se trouvait dedans! AAHH! Et Maman m'a forcé à y mettre les mains... Beurk!

When we finally managed to get the top off, oh, horror of horrors! AAHH! Mom forced me to clean it out myself... Yuck!

Après avoir fait une recherche sur l'ordinateur, nous avons eu l'idée de concevoir CE visage. Mais j'étais déçu de ne pas pouvoir faire une citrouille comme celle-ci :

After looking on the internet, we conceived of the idea of carving THIS face. But I was disappointed that we couldn't do a pumpkin like this one :

J'ai fait un darn good job! quand même (c'est comme ça qu'on dit un sacré bon boulot quand on est cool et Américain.)

Still, I did un sacré bon boulot (that's the cool, French way of saying a darn good job)!



N'est-ce pas la citrouille la plus scintillante que vous ayez vu depuis celle de Cendrillon?
This must be the most spectacular pumpkin you've seen since Cinderella's, no?

Enfin, celle-ci n'est pas trop mal non plus...

Although, this one's not too bad either, is it?

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Autumn break in the days of the Swine 'flu (Les vacances de La Toussaint aux temps de la grippe A)

Yep, it's already autumn break here in France folks. Every six weeks, we French school children get two weeks vacation. Makes for great family ties! Our parents, like most parents, work so we Pirates get to go and stay with Mamy and Papy for our autumn, midwinter and spring breaks. France is also a small country and has a good mass transit system so we can hop on over to Strasbourg by train in under two and a half hours these days!

Ouais, c'est déjà les vacances de La Toussaint, mes amis. Ici, en France, les écoliers - et les élèves - ont de petites vacances toutes les 6 semaines. C'est génial pour les relations familiales car, nos parents, comme la plupart des parents, travaillent, mais, nous autres Pirates, nous avons la chance de pouvoir aller passer nos vacances avec Mamy et Papy! Et comme la France est un petit pays avec un bon système de transports en commun nous faisons Paris - Strasbourg en deux petites heures seulement!! Un saut de puce!

I, Malcolm that is, didn't get to go to Haguenau with Papa and Henry this morning at 6:30 am because, unlike Stella, I do have Swine 'flu!

Moi, c'est à dire Malcolm, je n'ai pas pu aller à Haguenau ce matin. En revanche, Papa et Henry sont partis à 6h30, eux, me laissant effondré sur le canapé. Vous comprenez, j'ai la grippe A, moi! Température à 39°1 prise sous le bras, toux, maux de tête et tout...

Poor Malcolm! Poor Ronflex!

When I came down with a fever, Mom called the doctor who explained that they are only authorized to do further testing on people with risk factors : asthma, heart murmurs, pregnant women, etc. That's how they knew that Stella's best friend Julie really did have Swine 'flu because she's got bad asthma. And that's how they knew one of Mom's patients had it too because she was asthmatic and was hospitalized for respiratory distress...

Quand j'ai dévéloppé une fièvre, Mom a appelé le docteur qui a expliqué que les médecins ne sont pas autorisés à faire des prélèvements à tout le monde, seulement à ceux qui ont des facteurs de risque : asthme, troubles cardiaques de type malformation, femmes enceintes, etc. C'est comme ça qu'ils ont su, sûr et certain, que la meilleure copine de Stella a eu la grippe A, parce qu'elle est asthmatique. C'est aussi pour ça qu'ils ont su qu'une des patientes de Mom l'a eu aussi; c'était une autre asthmatique.

Doc Gallois also said I could go to Haguenau if I felt up to it because Swine 'flu is only dangerous for people born after 1976. Apparently, in '76, the flu virus was the same as this year's swine flu so elderly folks have already had it and are less at risk than kids, teenagers and young future mothers... Even though I feel great today and I was really sad not to go, Mom and Papa still didn't feel it was a good idea to send me hacking to Haguenau where Mamy, Papy and my cousins Alban and Simon could get the flu... Henry went though (he's been prancing around the house for the last two days singsonging "I'm going to Haguenau!") and he took Mom's Leica with him. That means no new photos for a fortnight folks. Mom's already in an advanced stage of Leica withdrawal, scrolling wildly through her My Images folders trying to find something old, something blue, something borrowed, something! Anything...

How about Christmas 2008? Pourquoi pas une photo de Noël, 2008?

How about an old cell phone photo from New year's 2007?

Ou bien une photo prise par portable le Jour de l'an,2007?

Lisbon, 2006? Ou Lisbonne, 2006?

Poor Mom! Pauvre Michelle!

She's desperate! Elle est désespérée!

Dr. Gallois a aussi dit que je pouvais aller à Haguenau si je le sentais parce que cette grippe n'est dangereuse que pour des personnes nées après 1976. Il paraît que la grippe de 1976 était la même que la grippe A et donc tout le monde né avant '76 a déjà été en contact avec ce virus. Mais même si je me sens super bien aujourd'hui et que je suis très triste de ne pas aller à Haguenau aujourd'hui, Mom et Papa ne pensaient pas que c'était une bonne idée que j'aille toussottant à Haguenau où Mamy, Papy et mes cousins risquaient d'attaper la grippe... Mais, Henry est parti (ça fait trois jours qu'il sautille partout en chantonnant "Moi, je vais à Haguenau!") et il a pris le Leica de Mom avec lui! Ca veut dire que, si Henry ne trouve pas le moyen de mettre à jour le blog, il n'y aura pas de nouvelles photos pendant 14 nuits. Mom montre déjà des signes d'un syndrôme de manque de Leica avancé; elle cherche frénétiquement dans son dossier Mes Images pour de vielles photos valables...Vous avez vu ce qu'elle a trouvé...

Mom thinks Stella probably did have Swine 'flu. I mean, it's basically just this year's version of the 'flu, more agressive than most years and highly contagious. If having a cough and a fever signs the diagnosis, well Stella sure did have a fever (although she told the doctor she didn't because she wanted to go to handball practice and then out to see her sick friends...) and she's still coughing night and day.

Mom pense que Stella a sans doute eu cette satanée grippe A, elle aussi, puisque la grippe A n'est rien d'autre qu'une grippe normale, un peu plus aggresive et un peu plus contagieuse que d'habitude. Si le fait d'avoir une toux et une fièvre signe le diagnostique, alors une chose est sûre, Stella a eu de la fièvre (même si elle ne l'a pas dit au docteur parce qu'elle voulait voir ces copines malades et aller à son entrainement de Hand...) et elle tousse encore aujourd'hui, jour et nuit. La photo suivante montre Stella jeudi après-midi. Bon, nous sommes tous d'accord, elle n'a pas l'air très malade. Mais, Mom dit qu'elle a dormi toute la journée mercredi dans le grand lit et elle n'a commencé à lire et à refaire de la musique que jeudi matin.

This photo shows Stella on Thursday afternoon, home sick from school. OK. We all agree. She doesn't look very sick, does she? (Kind of like Shea a couple weeks back...) But Mom says she spent all day Wednesday in the masterbed. Only on Thursday morning did she start playing music and reading again.

But by Thursday afternoon, Mom and Papa had to lock her in so she wouldn't go back to school in the afternoon against doctor's - and parents' - orders! On Friday morning, she did go back AND she went to handball practice in the afternoon AND she went to see Alice and Julie in the evening whose parents also let them go out...

Jeudi après-midi par contre, Mom et Papa ont dû l'enfermer à clé sinon elle retournait à l'école contre avis médical (et parental!). Vendredi, elle était de retour au collège, elle a participé à son entrainement de Hand l'après-midi et le soir elle voyait ses copines Alice et Julie qui elles aussi étaient de sortie!

(editor's note : some of the teachers and the principal at her school are very worried about Stella. They think she's got a morbid, fusional relationship with her best friend Julie and they're afraid her loud, angry attitude towards some school staff - mostly the prison warden type - shows that's she's in grave psychological pain... This editor says "If that's pain, I want some too please!")

(nota bene : certains des professeurs du collège et Madame le principal sont très inquiéts pour Stella. Ils ont peur que sa relation fusionnelle avec sa copine Julie lui soit nuisible et ils trouvent que son comportement bruyamment colérique envers certains surveillantes est un signe qu'elle est en détresse psychologique grave...ce rédacteur en chef ne peut s'empêcher de penser : "Si ça, c'est de la détresse psychologique, j'en veux moi-aussi!)

Happy Halloween to all!

Bonne Toussaint à tousse, je veux dire, à tous!


(photo credit : pumpkins by Monique and John Magee and Co, Halloween 2005...)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Paret Match in the making (Paret Match : ze making off)

TFunh? Reporter (talking softly but directly into the camera) : Exceptionnally, the editorial staff of Paris Match, your favorite Parisian pirate-people magazine, has invited TFunh? and you to get an inside look at their editing process. Today, the editors are apparently having some difficulty defining this month's cover story. Too many exciting things going on probably...

We were also told that the editors of Paris Match have recently noticed some rising pirate-people-media competition out there in the streets of Paris. So, with their October issue, they want to make sure readers don't desist Paris Match in favor of WWWClash FM on Pirate Satellite.

TFunh? Reporter (whispering) : So, let's just get a little closer. Um, excuse me, can we interupt just long enough to ask one tiny question?

Executive Editor Paret Match : Yeah, sure, we need a coffee break anyhow.

TFunh? : Well, we know this month's top story has not yet been selected but could you give us a small idea about which titles you're trying to choose between?

EEPM (to - BIP - : Yeah, cream. No sugar! That's great, thanks Babe. Turning back to TFunh?) : Um, well, basically we have no really catchy story at the moment. Nothing that seems like good front page material. As always - except in an American presidential election year or when our Big American Brother is thinking of invading a foreign country - October is kind of a slow month. I mean, what have we got here? Le Fish is still alive and well, Max didn't get sent home from Helsinki in shame, Stella doesn't have swine flu just the regular seasonal variety...

- Bip - is too busy rehearsing A Doll's House to make cornes de gazelles these days...So, what's left?...

Oh, yeah, well, Obama did get the Noble Peace Prize but somehow Le Monde got that story before we did... but then, that was the day Max got back from Helsinki and all of Paret Match's top reporters were covering the homecoming festivities...

...Max told reporters that getting nicely fourré in the pouf - even if Henry wouldn't leave him alone - was great after five days in COLD Finland with only Converse Hightops on his feet and thin, Addidas running pants to cover his skinny legs.
(editor's note : Since it's fashionable among Parisian youth to show one's underware, the Addidas pants covered only Max's legs not his rearend.)
Max said, "A warm pouf in Paris - even with Henry jumping on me - sure beats being alone in a hot, Finnish sauna with the naked father of my host family sitting on the wooden bench next to me"...

To - BIP's - great relief, Max said he didn't snuggle in the Finnish sauna but he sure did enjoy snuggling with his favorite flavor of Pringles before devoring them by stacks of fifteen and washing them down with mint flavored Perrier.

Basically, the Paret-Darnay's cheered Obama's prize and Max's return all in the same gulp.

TF unh? : Um, sorry to say this, but that news is so cold it feels like a field trip to Helsinki. Come on now, what's the NEW news around here?

EEPM : Well...

...an Austin Mini did park illegally in front of the Franprix downstairs and we got a good shot of that...

TFunh? : Who's the owner? Frederick Mitterrand*? Jean Sarkozy**? Joey Starr***?

(editor's note : * French Minister of Culture presently at the center of a huge sex scandal. ** President Sarkozy's youngest son presently at the center of a huge political scandal - at the age of 23, he's running for president of the biggest, most powerful, financial district in France. Some people think it's the end of democracy. *** Joey Starr - deserves the most stars, no? - a controversial French rap artist oft' accused of brutality to women and - since he has had two children with the daughter of one of the doctors of Les Bluets - we at Paret Match can attest to having a viable source to back up the well-founded rumors of his bad behavior...)

EEPM : Well, um, we're still witholding all information concerning the Mini's owner in order to avoid having to draw black masks on all our photos...

TFunh? (exchanging confused looks) : ... Unh?

EEPM : Oh yeah, and...

...Halloween's coming!!!

TFunh? : ...

EEPM : Well, Henry's quite excited about it. He was busy making decorations the other day while Max and Malcolm were more interested in gobbling the 16 nems Max bought for a snack (16 nems - that's the cool French word for those things you'll see on the plate in the next pictures - one nem for every year of Max's life!)



Henry also prepared some special Halloween ice-cubes...


...those are real bugs in there, mind! Well, not the spiders but the poor ladybugs were real, we were told... There's a ladybug invasion in Paris this year.

TF unh? : Yeah, yeah, we did a bit on that weeks ago...

EEPM : After 4 nems, Malcolm wouldn't touch the ice-cube concoction but Mad Professor Henry did taste a bit of his own medicine...

TFunh? : ...

EEPM (getting rather desperate) : And...

...Sylvie and Cledo came over for lunch and brought lemon meringue pie!



TFunh? : This is not Homes and Gardens folks, this is Paris Match, you know "The weight of the words, the shock of the photos..."

EEPM : Well, Henry did win 5 times at...


...computer solitaire...and...

...- BIP - ironed some clothes and Stella painted some pictures and...

...she also cleaned her room so some of it got transfrered permanently to the living room while...


...all the important stuff is still right where it belongs : on the floor! And...

...Mom got a cool new scarf she can wear around her neck or...

...as a pareo (a house or beach dress, basically)...

TFunh? (totally unimpressed) : ...

EEPM : Oh, and...

...Halloween's coming! Which Henry is quite excited about!


TFunh? : ...

EEPM : And...

...Malcolm has written two pages of his first novel which he read us before bed the other night!

TFunh? (turning off the microphones and packing up the camera) : UM, we must have gotten the wrong address. We thought this was PARIS Match...

EEPM : No, wait, wait...

TFunh? (leaving) : Sorry, we've got more important fish to fry then Le Fish. We've got NEW news to break. We've got bigwigs to cover...(sound of front door slamming)

EEPM (feebly) : Wait, we've got wigs too...

EE : Oh, phooey! Too bad for them! They'll never know that...

MALCOLM GOT A NEW TRUMPET!!!

video


Too bad for them, huh?

(editor's note : the French version of the Making of Paret Match will only be available in the special features section of the DVD scheduled to come out in 2012.)