We’re a dog family. I can’t remember a time when we didn’t have a dog. When I was a baby, we had two golden Labs – Cain and Abel. I don’t remember them at all, but I do remember a golden collie named Lassie. I must have been 4 when we got her. She was sweet and silly, and was run over by a car and killed a few years later. It was my first heartbreak so I remember very clearly. I was in Sunday school then and was glad that there was a heaven, so she’d be waiting for me up there. When my Sunday school teacher said that dogs didn’t have souls, and therefore would not be in heaven, I decided I’d rather go to Hell. Continue reading
When my twins were little, I’d tell them a story every night. Sometimes I’d read a book – Rosie Anderson MacDowell gave Alex his favorite book “Goodnight Moon”, and we read it until it literally fell apart. Sebi liked Thomas the Tank Engine stories. We read Curious George and The Runaway Bunny – But both boys loved Uncle Peter Stories. Those stories were their absolute favorites, and they would beg and plead for an Uncle Peter story. Continue reading
I told a funny story about my sister Julie yesterday (strange, none of my family are speaking to me today…) So I suppose it’s only fair to poke fun at myself as well. As you can see from the picture, I was an adorable little sprout, with crossed eyes and a club foot – but those things sorted themselves out – and thank goodness for our family dentist, who managed to tame my teeth into some semblance of an order, else I’d look like a sabertooth tiger (honest).
Well, I was kind of a nerd, even when I was a baby, and the next door neighbor would come over and pick on me. (He must have been about 3, so don’t go thinking child abuse -) anyhow, he would pick on me, I’d cry, and my mother decided she didn’t want a wimp for a daughter and she would teach me self defense. Continue reading
Since I made a section for family stories, I thought I’d fill it up – then years from now my descendents can find out about their ancestors…
The story today, my dear children, is about Aunt Julie’s hairy legs. She’s over on the other side of the ocean, so she can’t punch me – not that she ever did – she was the Good Child. The worst she ever did was to take all my sleeveless shirts and sew up the straps so she could wear them. Oh, and on my graduation day we drank a little more than we should have, but it wasn’t her fault we fell down the embankment – I pushed her. Continue reading
I never met him. He died at a relatively young age. A polo accident when he was only 35 left him paralysed on one side, and it affected his health.
He ran a riding academy out of a small stables in Neuilly. During the war, the academy and horses were confiscated. When the war finished, he went back to teaching riding and polo. His son took over when his health failed, but never really made a success of the riding school. When Jules died, his son (my husband’s father) moved the ponies to the Bagatelle club in Paris, then sold the stables for a pittance to a developer for apartment buildings.
Family fortunes move up and down. I can follow my husband’s family fortune as it slowly sank. War, health problems, and financial mismanagement depleted the fortune, and today, of the riding stables and farm they once owned, there is nothing left. It’s sad. Only a few pieces of furniture remain that speak of bygone days. A bronze statue of two horses, an ebony table inlaid with ivory, a few knick-knacks. And a photgraph with a broken frame.
~ This post is from my daughter’s first horse show! What memories!
Yesterday was my daughter’s first horse show. She has been mad about horses since she was a baby. My father used to carry her around the farm, show her the horses, and taught her to whinny before she could talk! My husband used to put her on the saddle with him and gallop around the polo field when she was just a toddler, and she started riding ponies when she was three. At eight I enrolled her in the pony club. Now she’s twelve, and she has begged me to let her try competition. Continue reading
I was talking to my little sister Amy, and mentioned that our grandmother, Nana, had given birth to all her children at home. The story she told me, was that she would do the housework until the pains got too great, then she’d go lie down and have the baby, put it in a shoe-box with cotton, (I’m guessing cotton cloth here) and then go back to work. She said, “I was hanging the laundry, felt the baby coming. So I went inside, had the baby and put it in a shoe-box with some cotton. After, I went back outside and finished hanging up the laundry.” She was a tiny woman, maybe a little over 5′ tall. She says all her babies were small, and that they were all born with no problem , with very short labors. Continue reading
You’d think that an author, someone who uses words to work with, would take care that her children spoke perfectly. The truth is, I believe words are for communication, and that can take many forms. One thing that bothers me about the system of teaching kids a foreign language is the sheer lack of fun in it. It’s boring, exacting, and forgettable – whereas language should be fun, forgiving, and most of all – for communicating.
So, my kids learned to talk, but when they made mistakes – if they were cute and made me laugh – I didn’t correct them. They’d learn soon enough a grasshopper wasn’t really called a Hopper Grass.
Here are some of their best words:
Blankety. (Blanket. But blankety is more fun, has more syllables, and can go on like blankety-blankety-blank.)
Splastic. (Who can resist this word? It’s far better than plastic. So we had splastic bags for ages.)
Hopper Grass. (When they found out it was grasshopper, I tried to tell them no, it was really hopper grass. But real words will prevail.)
Tuc-Tuc-peller. (Propeller. The hovercraft we took to go to England and back every summer had huge propellers on the back. They started up with a loud ‘Tuc-tuc-tuc!’ The boys called propellers tuc-tuc-pellers for ages. Well, I never wanted to correct them! lol)
Oh lick lips – (Olympics, Alex & Sebi style).
Bahsketti – spaghetti, what else?
N’guh-guh – this African sounding word was my daughter’s word for ‘bread’, and she would only use it, completely ignoring any attempts to get her to say ‘bread’. Bread was ‘N’guh-guh.’
Ada and Ada – my daughter’s names for her twin brothers. She called them Ada and Ada. The neighbor boy, Arnaud, was ‘Arnaud’, painstakingly sounded out, and she would call Carol ‘Carol’, and Marielle was ‘Marielle’, so she knew people had names. But for a long time, the twins were Ada and Ada.
as yesterday, so we showed up yesterday and were told it was today. Far better than showing up tomorrow and having to reschedule another appointment!
I also hit some golf balls today, and started giving my daughter golf lessons. And for the million-th time I thought how privileged I am, and how lucky I am to be able to get braces for my daughter and be able to play golf.
Alex and Sebi – just out of the hospital. Two months old. They weigh 4 lbs each. You can see where their hair was shaved off for the intravenous needles. Alex (on the left) is slightly bigger than Sebi.
And massage therapy is good, the babies loved that, and carrying them around in the kangaroo carriers was nice for them. Since they had a bottle every 3 hours around the clock, and finally by the time they were 7 months old, it had become every 5 hours, they got a lot of interaction and stimulation. We would take turns getting up for the 5 am bottle, and take turns going to bed at 11 and skipping the midnight bottle, so someone always got at least 7 hours sleep every night. (Usually my husband because he was playing polo, and you can’t play when you’re falling asleep on the horse…) So my sister, Sophie, or Andrea, me (or whoever else was around) would get up at 4:30 to get the bottles ready and then two of us would feed the babies at 5 am, and we’d put them in their kangaroos, and we’d go for long walks in the English countryside.
Here is Alex’s footprint from the hospital. I put it next to a ruler (centimetres) and my business card, so you can get an idea of how big it was.