Monday, January 26, 2009

Give the people what they want

I find myself, once a rut.

And so I ask you, my viewing public (such as you are), for your suggestions. What is it that you would like me to write about? Is there anything in particular that your loyal scribe can fill this space with that might tickle your e-fancy? If so, feel free to let me know. I will leave the suggestion box (aka the comment section) open for a few days to garner feedback after which time I will make the fateful decision on what I will write about for the immediate future. Hopefully this will lift me out of my literary rut.

So...what will it be? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

ACHTUNG! Taking a short break...

I'm headed up to Germany for the next few days on business so no blog updates til I get back this weekend...

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Au Revoir Pepere.

Today I am mourning one of the greatest men I've ever known in my entire life; my Pepere. (For those not in the know, we French Canadians call our grandparents Memere and Pepere.) For as long as I can remember Pepere was someone whom I admired and loved tremendously. Growing up he was the kind of grandfather who used to love to play with us and joke around. Whenever we would go up to Claremont to visit Memere and Pepere we all used to fight over who got to sit next to Pepere at the dinner table because he was so much fun. His favorite trick was to steal our milk when we weren't looking and hide it under the table and it took us years to figure out just how he did it (there was a wooden board under the table he put it on).

As I grew and learned more about Pepere I just developed such admiration for him as a man and as a father. Seeing how much he sacrificed for my mother and the rest of his children has always amazed me and continues to be a standard I'll probably never be able to live up to. He truly was the personification of what we call "The Greatest Generation". He was the first generation in my family to be born in the US and he served his country in the US Navy during WWII (In fact he was on a ship off the coast of Iwo Jima as they raised the flag).

Through high school and college I took French classes and I relished every opportunity to sit with Pepere and practice with him. I left for Europe 10 years ago and haven't seen Pepere since then, except at my wedding in 2002. He was already going downhill by that time and it saddened me to see someone who I knew as so energetic and full of life have trouble with simple tasks. In the years since then his health has continued to deteriorate but the news my mother would send said his mind was as sharp as ever, even if his body was failing him. So his passing wasn't a surprise to any of us, it had been a long time coming.

Looking back, I guess I never really got a chance to tell Pepere how much I respected and admired him and I'll always regret that. They just don't make 'em like Pepere anymore. I can only hope to be one tenth the man that he was.

Au revoir Pepere, you were one of the greatest men I've ever known and I'll miss you.

Pepere and the X Man, 2005

Couple pictures of the house

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

The X Man's first day of school is a success.

Well, it turns out that I was nervous for nothing. We brought the X Man to school this morning and he loved it right away. Normally when a kid is new at school here they only go for about a half day for the first 2 or 3 days so they can adapt easier and not get overwhelmed, so I was supposed to pick him up at 11:30. I went to the school at 11:30 and he immediately informed me that he wanted to stay with his new friends because he was having so much fun so I left him for the whole day. I watched him for a little bit and I can't remember ever seeing him happier, he was just loving everything. My heart just swelled up with joy seeing him enjoy his first day of school so much.

We took a few pictures from this morning, you should be able to view them here:

The X Man's first day of school

He can't wait to go back tomorrow!

Saturday, January 03, 2009

The X Man starts school on Wednesday.

Checked out the school yesterday and everything seems good so the X Man is scheduled to start at the Scuola Materna on Wednesday, January 7th. I have to admit that I am a bit nervous and worried about him because his Italian has not returned to him as quickly as I'd hoped since we've been back. But, like everyone keeps telling me, he is young and after a couple weeks of being immersed in it, he'll pick it up very quickly. I guess what worries me most is that he's always a bit shy and intimidated around other kids when he doesn't speak their language. That's the main reason why he never made any friends in Germany - he spent a lot of time at the playground but would always avoid the other kids because they were speaking German.

Anyway, I'm probably worrying for nothing. He needs to be in school and around kids his own age very badly and I'm sure that a few weeks from now he'll be fine. There are several kids in our neighborhood his age and they all go to the Scuola Materna so I'm he'll have plenty of friends his own age soon enough. Giampi is being a tremendous help to us so far as you would imagine. In a way, he seems more excited about it than anyone. The toughest part may be for the wife - she usually goes to bed after midnight and wakes up around late morning so having to wake up early to get the X Man to school by 0830 might end up killing her. Ah, the joys of being a parent...