Showing posts from 2016

end of December

Spencer Cahoon US visit
A few pictures from my brief US visit.  Spencer's Marine Boot camp graduation picture (Parris Island, SC), tree decorating, neighborhood decorations, historical Kensington photos, Grannie and her exercise class, Axel, Mitchell's new room, Dulles, back in Paris.

Spivak family in Paris
Levallois town hall and Christmas market, seafood market, drinks with Spivak's at Renaissance Hotel Wagram, dinner at traditional French bistro Sebillon Friday night Dec 23.  Check out the food - oysters, marrow in the bone with toast, their famous leg of lamb carved tableside, and crêpes suzettes.  Alex had his favorite fish soup for appetizer.

MORE pictures with the Spivak family around Paris
Sat December 24 - walking through the Christmas Market and manger scene again in our town, meeting up with the Spivak's to walk around town, buy cheese at Alleosse, have lunch (that's beet soup I am having, yum), metro to Moulin Rouge area, past the sex shops, up the steps …

Vincent's classroom open house

I was in the US for Carrie's Dad's memorial service so I missed the last week of school before Winter Vacation (vacances d'hiver).  There was an open house on Friday December 16th in Vincent's kindergarten (grande section 2) classroom JD documented with photos.  Vincent has been working very hard since Toussaint vacation, learning to write, all about Egypt, making a "pyramide en sucre"(pyramid from sugar cubes), and singing.

Dec 16 pictures

December in France

Le Mairie (Town Hall), Levallois-Perret
For the first time since we have lived in France (2009-2012 and 2014-present) we are staying in France for the Winter vacations (vacances d'hiver). So far so good, decent weather, and a visit from cousin Marjorie and her family on their way to Israel.
pictures - Magic'Noël-Ville de Levallois

Spivak family in France!  Dinner last night with the Spivak's and David's friend Paul at Sebillon restaurant. L-R: Bruce, Paul, David, Doug, Daniel, JD, Gab, Marjorie, Vincent and Alex
Live manger scene at the town hall!

Clarence "Nick" V. Kurtz, Jr. 1940 - 2016

Most of you will know who Mr. Kurtz was, my best friend Carrie's Dad.  So many Nick stories!  The memorial service was a wonderful celebration of his life.

November in Paris

Vincent and the Luxor obelisk, Place de la Concorde
We've been busy once school started again on November 3.  JD had a choir concert, and Vincent has been dragging us all over Paris to see everything he is learning about in school. On Armistice Day, a national holiday in France, we went to see the "Luxor Obelisk" Vincent learned about while studying Egypt.  The obelisk was a gift to France from Egypt in 1832 and is covered in hieroglyphics.  We had just missed the military parade down the Champs-Elysees.  Then we had a nice long meal at a classic old bistro, "Le Grand Colbert".

In between, Alex is obsessed with baking moelleux au chocolat, a "molten chocolate cake that combines the elements of a flourless chocolate cake and a soufflé".  Yum.


Vincent's camera

baking baking baking (and the choir concert)

school picture time!

Alex's class, CM2 (5th grade)

Alex 10 1/2  years old:
Vincent, 5 1/2  years old, grande section (kindergarten):

Visiting the mammouth skeleton in Paris...

...that Vincent learned about in his class.
Vincent just finished a lesson on "prehistoire" and we were urged to visit the Musee Nationale de Prehistoire in Paris to see the skeleton of the mamouth, which we did on our last day of vacation. This is the famous huge museum in Paris, akin to trying to find the "ruby slippers" at the Smithsonian.  We went to the wrong building first, but that's ok, it was a cool exhibit of mammals and whales.  And then when we found the paleontology building, well - we had never seen anything like it. No pictures of the lion penis in a jar (felis lion) or all the other stuff in a jar - amazing, gross, cool, a paleontologist's dream.  And then there was yummy lunch in a bistro and a walk across the bridge to the 14 Metro home.


have you ever seen so many skeletons? building collection dates from 1850's:

I/we voted

You better believe we did! This is the sticker from the US, obviously, when I took Grannie to vote early in Maryland.  We voted absentee from France.

Some of the coverage in France:

US election seen from France: America's 'angry white men'

the next day -

Toussaint vacation - US trip with Vincent

Funny Brexit advertising, Paris is trying to lure business from the UK:
Just finished the 2 week Toussaint (All Saint's) school vacation.  Vincent and I flew to the US for 11 days to help Grannie with her 1st cataract surgery.  All went well so we don't have to be around for the second, a friend is taking her.  It was a lovely time to visit the DC area - warm weather, leaves turning colors, and time to visit friends.  Vincent loved riding his new bike Mr. Romano put together for him, helping Grannie rake leaves, and eating some good ole US frozen waffles with syrup.  We had lots of time with Carrie, Mitchell, Natalie, got stories about Spencer at Parris Island (he graduates Marine Boot Camp Dec 2), saw Rose & Beth, Mithchell's band competition, Bert play rugby at St. Mary's College, and Kathleen in Rockville.


more US pictures coming

Halloween in Levallois
Vincent and I arrived back in Paris on Halloween to a sunny, warm day.  I think only the second time I …

Visiting Vincent's classroom

October 19
The day before the 2 week Toussaint vacation is "Open House" in Vincent's Grand Section (Kindergarten) classroom with his teacher Clement.  They have been working very hard since school started.  They are learning about Prehistoric times, cave paintings, and woolly mamouths.

Affinage: the Art and Science of Maturing Cheese

For detailed coverage see JD's cheese blog about his attendance at the cheese course:

the beautiful countryside:

two week cheese course

JD is attending a 2 week cheese course near Lyon taught by the Academy Opus Caseus.:

Essential Foundations for Cheese Profesionals September 12-16, 2016

Affinage: the Art and Science of Maturing CheeseSeptember 19-23, 2016


For detailed coverage see JD's cheese blog:

Alex gets braces (bagues)

Top row braces!  And so the adventure begins...

Alex back to school night
CM2 (5th grade)
Also, there were the requisite back to school night parent meetings.  No pictures from Vincent's except for his drawing:

Barbie museum exhibit

We finally made it into town to see the Barbie exhibit.  It was really cool and also included the history of dolls, and historical Mattel documents and products.  Even if you don't like Barbie you would enjoy this exhibit.

La rentrée 2016-2017

back to school !

Back to school September 1st.  France goes back on Sept 1st no matter what week day it falls on.

Alex is in class CM2 (5th grade) and Vincent is in Grande Section (kindergarten). Everyone was very excited to go back to school.  Vincent's classroom is on the top floor facing the courtyard and he has a male teacher this year.  This is the last year their school will be next to each other as Alex will go off to middle school (college they call it in France) for 2017-2018.

Alex pictures
Vincent waking up, then Alex's school.

Alex told us he had a great first day, he had a desk near the window and could see outside and hear the birds.  He said his teacher was very nice.

Vincent pictures
There are several children in Vincent's class from last year, and a few from two years ago - Xavier, Joseph, Violette, Margot, Martin, Sandro, Houleye, Marvin.   Plus Vincent knows children in the other classes so that's nice.

More pictures from JD's camera
Walking to scho…

Champagne region, Hautvillers

day 1
Quick three day trip back to the Champagne region and Hautvillers, the town where Dom Perignon discovered how to make champagne.  Leaving Paris on Thursday it was a little gray but warm.  We drove through Meaux and on to a small town, Montceaux-lès-Meaux. for a delicious lunch (duck, steak tartare, brie de Meaux) before continuing to our destination and rented house for the weekend.  We drove into Epernay for dinner and decided to have some old school Chinese which was really good.

day 2
Friday, a nice walk around town, to the church where Dom Perignon is buried, then a drive south through the Côte des Blancs champagne vineyards.  Back to a town called Ay for lunch at "Le Vieux Puits"on a terrace overlooking a garden.  The food was amazing, our best meal, and we had champage from Lallier which we then decided to go find for a tasting.  During the tasting we met some nice folks from Wales who knew the tasting host, and we got a private tour of the production area.  Back…