Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The end of an era

I was clearing out a box of my old papers in my parents' garage this afternoon, and I came across a framed letter that I had saved from 1990. It was from Senator Edward Kennedy, congratulating me on receiving the John and Robert Kennedy Book Award, which I vaguely remember was for being a science geek. In light of his recent passing, it was all the more poignant to find a letter from a man I had never met, wishing me success in college, and saying "I know that this honor, and all the others you've received...are well deserved,...,and I'm confident you have a very promising and exciting future ahead of you."

Having spent most of my childhood in the Boston area, Ted Kennedy was one of the political figures never in doubt. Regardless of what you may think of him, his politics, and his somewhat tumultuous personal life, he was a great and effective legislator, who accomplished remarkable things. It is a tragedy that he did not live to see a health care bill passed, but I hope that it won't be by very long.

Thank you Teddy.

* Cross posted at the knitting blog as well.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

What I did on my Summer Vacation, Version 2.0 - France

Last week saw us packing up and heading to the train to go to France. We spent the first three days in Paris, where we hit some of the key tourist sights, and the girls happily chased pigeons at each one.

We ended up not bringing a stroller and hauled Boo around in a handy backpack kid carrier. Devil got to walk. Alot. And she was an absolute trooper - it was amazing. I think it would be a hard thing for most four year olds to walk around a foreign city for 4-5 hours a day, but she did amazingly well.

On our last day, we (along with 18 bazillion of our closest friends who happened to be in Paris that weekend) headed down to the Champs Elysees for a momentous occasion:

The final stage of the 2009 Tour de France. Total cycling geeks that we are, Himself and I were bouncing up and down waiting for the peloton to arrive. Boo was asleep and Dev sat down on a bag on the ground, surrounded by other peoples' legs, and wondering when it was going to be done with. She got into it a bit more though as the parade started and the riders started coming by.

It was a good stage to watch; since they go around a loop eight times, you get to see them come by over and over, so it's not just a 10 second flash as they go by. We saw Lance and Contador and Thor, and watched the Columbia team try to catch a breakaway. I always thought that at least the first lap around was a slightly more mellow affair, but not this year - they were hauling ass from the first lap. Amazing to see.

Monday, we headed to Geneva and picked up a car before heading back into France. We went to Combloux, and stayed with the parents of a friend in a lovely house with a view of Mt. Blanc. It didn't suck...

Again, we forced Dev to spend a lot of time on her feet climbing mountains. We think it's really important that the girls get out and enjoy the outdoors, and we're not above bribing them to help ensure they have a good time. Or at least so they associate chocolate with hiking! We went through a couple bags of peanut M&Ms, several chocolate bars and a bunch of cookies over the next few days, all of which did wonders for getting the girls uphill.

We headed back to Paris on Friday before heading back to London on Saturday afternoon, tired, with bags full of stinky clothes, and some serious suntans. A good trip all around.