Friday, October 31, 2014

Halloween Photoshoot Fail

Clearly Fifty is not nearly as excited about his bumblebee costume as I was. I thought it was perfect... he's dressed as a bee, and as you know, bees make honey, and since Honey Jr uses bees to help him make honey, Fifty is basically dressed as Honey Jr's little helper, which I thought was pretty nifty. Fifty not so much. I guess I should have let him dress as Super Dog like he had wanted. 


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Behind The Photos XVII

Behind the photos... do you remember these? Since it's been ages, I thought it was time to step back into the past. This edition takes us to February 2011, and a very special event in Le Petit Village... the marriage of Brother-in-Law and Child Bride.

While their wedding wasn't nearly as fancy schmancy as the others in France I attended, I will say it was a whole lot more fun, mostly because we got to take over Le Petit Bar for the reception, which meant that I was free to DJ (I nominated myself for the job which basically meant I set up camp in front of the laptop and wouldn't let anyone else anywhere near it). It was brilliant! I can't say that the other guests enjoyed my musical mix of David Bowie, Blondie and Serge Gainsbourg as much as I did, but I was jamming!

The bride-to-be, my lovely sister-in-law, looking oh so pretty in her wedding dress alongside her proud papa. Here's the thing about the dress... I picked it out! It was only a little over a week before the wedding, and Gregory and I had gone over to Brother-in-Law's house for a drink and I asked Child Bride how the wedding planning was coming along and what her dress was like. Well imagine my surprise when she told me that she hadn't found a dress yet! WHAT?! My head basically exploded and I went full on Olivia Pope; there was a crisis, and I was handling it (red wine included).

I found this dazzling number on the Monsoon website (the same place I found my own wedding dress) and after a nod of approval from Child Bride, we got it ordered and shipped right away. Funny thing though, some people were complaining because it wasn't white... uh, the jig is up folks.

Even though my face is all scrunched up, I have always loved this photo. I wish I could remember what Honey Jr and Gregory were chatting about as we strolled to the mairie for the ceremony, but I'm clueless. Not that it would have been important, I'm sure it was salacious gossip since that's what most of their conversations consisted off (quite the little busybodies those two are).

The really amazing thing about this wedding, was that it was an actual shotgun one. But the thing is, it wasn't a shotgun wedding because of the reason you think (i.e.; La Petite being born a month after the nuptials), it was a shotgun wedding because that's a tradition in parts of France. Even when The Croupier's mother got married to The Croupier's step-dad a couple of years ago, there were shotguns, and trust me, she was not pregnant. And F.Y.I., they do actually shoot them off. It was quite loud.

Isn't this a beautiful shot of Child Bride and her mother? Yes, that young looking lady next to Child Bride is her mother, not her sister. Amazing, right? And it's funny because I'm way closer in age to my sister-in-law's mother than I am to my sister-in-law (like way closer), so naturally, when we were all together, I'd seek out the mother's company. We bond over our shared loved of 90s music and she'd always express her surprise that I knew all of the 'old' songs that she liked, and I was all like, UH, HELLO, OF COURSE I DO, WE'RE LIKE THE SAME AGE! 

 And look at this cutie patootie! Honey Jr, looking all sorts of dapper being his adorable little honey self. Man I miss him, and if I miss him, Fifty must be downright miserable wondering what happened to his BFF. Huh, this post took a sad turn quickly. It's probably a good place for me to sign off. Over and out. 

Monday, October 27, 2014

We'll Always Have Paris


So after my crazy, frustrating, journey to nowhere, I did finally make it to Paris to meet Gregory, but getting there didn't go without a hitch (because why would it?). 

It was a little over a week after Gregory had returned to France when I felt ready to attempt the trip again. 

Sidebar: When Gregory took the TGV to Toulon after arriving in Paris, Mr. & Mrs. London were there waiting to pick him up. They asked where I was, he said I was in D.C. and wasn't coming. They didn't believe him and assumed he was joking. They asked if I was in the bathroom, again he said that no, I wasn't coming. Apparantly they went back and forth like this a few times until Gregory started walking to the parking lot to prove that I was indeed, not in the train station. When Gregory told me this story, I got sad all over again. Poor Mrs. London.  

The flight out of San Antonio looked good, the flight out of Newark looked good (I decided to forgo Dulles after the whole 'people mover' incident) and provided there weren't any crazy catastrophies (you know, like having the plane be replaced by a much smaller one), I was good to go. 

But then my flight from San Antonio was delayed an hour, and I was nervous. I actually had a seat assignment though, so that was good, but having a seat wasn't going to help me if I didn't make it to Newark in time to make my connection. And when we landed in Newark, we had to stay on the runway F O R E V E R because they didn't have a gate for our plane! I was sitting there, staring out the window at the gate that my flight to Paris was departing from, and watching the minutes tick by. I couldn't believe it, unless there was some sort of a miracle, I was never going to make the Paris flight in time. 


When I finally got off the plane, my flight was due to depart in ten minutes! I raced through the terminal as fast as my heels would let me all the while thinking, "this cannot be happening again!" When I got to the gate, I was surprised to find that everyone was still seated in the boarding area. The plane hadn't boarded yet, it had been delayed! HALLELUJAH! And even better, there was a seat for me! I was going to Paris, finally!

After boarding an hour later than we should have, we continued to sit on the runway for another hour. Our flight crew was arriving from Chicago, and they were delayed too (it felt like the whole world was running late that day). I did my best to relax, but honestly, I was incredibly nervous that the flight would be cancelled for some reason, we'd have to de-board, and then I'd get bumped and stuck in Newark. After the whole mess from the week before, would that really be a surprise? No, no it wouldn't be. 


But the plane did take off, and I finally made it to Paris! I hopped a taxi to the 7th to meet Gregory at our hotel to kick off our twenty-four hours in the City of Lights. (A couple of things: 1. there was no way I was messing with more public transportation after the disaster my multiple journeies had been, and 2. our short sojourn in Paris was much deserved I think since our last trip there had been highjacked).

And our quick trip couldn't have been anymore perfect, I finally got to do all of the things I had been dying to do... first stop was a delicious, long lunch where I did my best to shake off my jet-lag with copious amounts of Rosé and goat cheese, followed by a stroll through the Jardin des Tuileries where we discovered there was a Ferris Wheel setup for summer, which of course we had to go on. (I cannot express enough how magical a Ferris Wheel in the middle of Paris is. It's 100%, sparkly, delightfulness.)


After our ride over the Paris sky, we had drinks at my favorite spot in the city to sip a Kir Royale, The Tuileries Bar. (Remember when I tried to get there in March but my fabulous plan was thwarted? Blame it on the Bumders.

I did my best to keep the sleepies at bay and after a quick freshen up back at our hotel, we headed out a few doors down to a cozy, traditional bistro, which was just what I was craving... a bottle of Bordeaux, escargotsteak frites, and a plate of Bleu d'Auvergne and Saint-Nectaire, and that was all for me! (Sara Louise doesn't share food.) 


But don't worry about Gregory, he made sure to get his favorites too.

It was was the most wonderful day I could have asked for, after four years, I finally got my Paris trip with my husband. It was so perfect,  it made the whole nightmare of the journey to get there worth it. (Well, It almost did anyway. A suite at the Ritz is probably the only thing that could have wiped away that pain.)  

Friday, October 24, 2014

frustration


You know how annoying spouses can be? Like whether we (I'm saying 'we' because Lord knows I'm guilty too) intend to or not, we can annoy the c to the rap out of our significant others. For instance, take that photo up there, Gregory is clearly annoying the bejeezus out of me. I mean look at my face for heaven sake... ANNOYED!

But seriously, as annoyed as I am in that photo, I would give my left arm to have Gregory here annoying me right now. It's been three months since I've seen him, almost four months since Fifty has, and the Green Card process has hit another road block.

Back at the end of July, I sent off what technically should have been the last of the documents (the process is staggered, you don't get to send off everything all at once, it's bits at a time) and at the beginning of August, I received an email letting me know that the documents had been received. Unfortunately along with the email came a letter saying that it would be at least 60 business days before the documents would be reviewed. I cannot tell you how crushed we were to find out that it would be October before our case was looked at again.

Fast forward to last week...

On Saturday I received an email telling me that a file with instructions was on its way to us! I got so excited! I thought, "this is it, this it... the interview is happening soon!"

Wrong.

Last Thursday afternoon the instructions arrived in my inbox; the instructions that said that I had to resubmit the forms that I had sent in August because there was a problem with two of the answers I had provided. The next morning I was ready at 6AM to phone the visa center to verify that I was filling out the answers correctly. Miraculously I spoke to a kind lady and after getting the forms sorted again, I had them at the post office by 9 o'clock.

And then yesterday, the road block... I received the receipt of documents email, but once again, the dreaded '60 days' letter came with it.

#$@&%*!

60 days! Another effing 60 days! Are you kidding me?! No one should have to get that letter twice.

So this means, that unless our file is magically pulled from the bottom of the pile where it has landed again, we're spending 120 days essentially waiting on one set of forms to be reviewed.

 #$@&%*!

Consequently, that also means that Gregory will not be here for Thanksgiving, he will not be here for Christmas, we won't ring in the New Year together, but if I'm lucky, he could make it here for my birthday in the beginning of February.

#$@&%*!


So yeah, this all sucks. We're in a terrible place of limbo not knowing when our lives together can recommence, and then there's Fifty, poor, poor Fifty. I don't even want to know what he thinks about where his daddy has disappeared to, and Gregory is so distraught about missing his dog that he refuses to speak to him on the phone, instead saying things like, "it's better if he thinks I'm dead."

To be honest, none of us are handling this well at the moment. The first couple of months were one thing, but getting that second 60 day letter has broken our spirit and that's why I'm asking you, my friends, to please send every bit of good juju and positive prayers and thoughts our way. Maybe if we try hard enough, we can make some bureaucratic magic happen. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

migration


Now that I've finished telling you the tragic tale of, my road to nowhere, I had planned on topping it off with a happy ending; my time in Paris with Gregory (I did get there eventually). But due to a surprise distraction this afternoon, my brain has wandered elsewhere, so instead of Paris, it's random tidbits of life lately. After all, we'll always have Paris. 

// Can you believe that October is almost over? I can't, I really don't know where the time keeps slipping to. It must disappear to that same mystical place where all of those missing socks go. As much as I always mourn the end of summer, this year I was excited about fall, because for the first time in ages, I was able to watch the new fall shows on TV when they aired. It really is the little things let me tell you, because to be able to see Scandal as it happens and not have to endure spoilers all over Twitter and Facebook, has been marvelous indeed. The only bummer is that I've promised Gregory that I won't watch certain shows until he gets here, so consequently, I have no idea what Jax Teller has been up to (ssshhh!).

// The other big TV event in my house was the premier of Outlander. I'm a massive Outlander fan and have been waiting to see Jamie and Claire come to life on screen for practically ever. The premier of the show was such a big deal in my house, that it inspired Champagne Saturdays, which I managed to keep going for all eight weeks (with the exception of one night when I donned my cowboy boots for a friend's wedding). Champagne Saturday was a big success and came with quite a few interesting combos, like; pizza, cheese, tarte au ratatouille, and my favorite, fried chicken.

// Besides eating deliciously at home, I've managed to get out and about a couple of times, including two scrumptious trips to Austin where I ate the best hot dog on the planet and discovered the delectable joys of truffled deviled eggs. There is some seriously good food in that city. And what I want to know is this; when did Austin become so freaking cool? Don't get me wrong, the city was always one of the best around, but now it's like, crazy, sexy, cool. (Forgive me, the TLC biopic was on the other day and I got sucked into it.)

// And while Austin is undoubtedly amazing, I've been doing my best to appreciate the fun and beauty of my own Texas Hill Country town. That photo of the butterflies up there was taken at a friend's farm here, and seeing the Monarchs clustered together, resting before continuing their journey down to Mexico, made me realize that incredible vistas can be found everywhere, not just in Le Petit Village. But speaking of The LPV...

// B I G  N E W S ! Honey Jr and Honey's Honey are going to have their very own Bébé Honey! Isn't that the most fantastic news?! I'm bursting at the seems with joy for them, my only sadness is that I won't be there to watch Honey's Honey bump grow, and to see Honey Jr become a father because I'm sure he's going to be amazing at it. And Fifty is very sad he won't be there to shower Bébé Honey in kisses. Oh well, I guess that's what vacations are for. 

Monday, October 20, 2014

the road to nowhere {part four}


I cannot believe I'm on part four already! I really didn't mean to go on, and on about this, but I guess I still have a lot of emotions from this trip to work out, my apologies. Let's wrap this up. 

After causing quite the scene with the whole 'people mover' thing, I decided to get the heck out of dodge, or in this case, Dulles. I passed the baggage claim area by and left my luggage behind for the night. The gate agents had told me that it would take about an hour to get my bags back and I really couldn't handle waiting around anymore. Me and my trusty Michael Kors dress would just have to stay acquainted for awhile longer. All I could think of was taking my heels off and having a big old drink, so I walked straight out the doors to meet my savior, Kirsten, who was already waiting curbside. What an angel.

Kirsten took me home to her family and put a cold beer in my hand while her daughter found me some comfy clothes to change into. As every second passed, I could feel the stress slipping away. I ate dinner with their family and spent the rest of the evening outside on the deck, drinking beers and chatting. It was the perfect antidote to the nightmare day I had had. Being rescued by my new friend, Kirsten, was the silver lining to a dark cloud.

Unfortunately for Gregory, he had no idea that I had needed a silver lining...

It was barely past 4AM when my phone rang, "Skippy, where are you?"

"I'm in Washington DC"

"You are not in Paris?"

"No, I'm not in Paris, didn't you get my messages?"

"No. You are not coming to Paris?"

"No baby, I'm sorry, I'm not coming to Paris."

So that was a sucky way to wake up.

At 6AM, Kirsten's saint of a husband delivered me back to Dulles and I went straight to the baggage claim office. I had been cursing myself for leaving my bags overnight since I had woken up, because I was sure that with luck I was having, my bags would be nowhere to be found. But I guess my luck had changed because not only were the two people in the baggage office super, duper, friendly, but they got my luggage situation sorted in only a couple of minutes and then smiled at me and bid me a good day.

And then the good vibes kept right on coming.

At Dunkin Donuts, the guy behind the counter gave me a free coffee with my chocolate donut (the breakfast of stranded champions), I got on my flight back to San Antonio without any hassle at all, and when my mother saw my sad tear stained face when I arrived home (I had been bawling my eyes out on the plane), she took pity on me, and took me out for Chinese food.

So other than the fact that I was supposed to be in Paris with my husband, and had I just spent over twenty-four hours basically traveling nowhere, it wasn't a shabby Sunday. 

Friday, October 17, 2014

the road to nowhere {part three}


The moment when I found out that I was not going to get on the flight to Paris and be able to meet up with Gregory, I seriously almost crumbled. I remember standing at the desk and the gate agent telling me that there was no way it was going to happen, and I had to steady myself because I actually swayed. It was not good.

Traveling standby means that you don't get on lots of flights, and I'm used to that, but this time it felt different, worse, way worse. It had already been twelve hours since I had left my house, and after miraculously managing to get on the tight flight out of San Antonio, only to have a wide open flight to Paris suddenly become overbooked was too much of a roller coaster, especially when I knew that at that second, Gregory was somewhere in the sky between Houston and Paris, content and comfortable in the knowledge that I'd be meeting him at the TGV station at Charles De Gaulle in a few hours. But I knew that I wouldn't be there, and that sucked. And do you know what else sucked? The next flight to Paris was forty-eight hours away.

Well, if I couldn't get to Paris, I needed to get home, but that's when I looked at the time and realized that the last flight back to San Antonio was departing and I had to kiss my ride back home goodbye.

Fortunately, a good friend of my mother's (one of the golden girls that came to visit Le Petit Village a ways back) has a daughter that lives only fifteen minutes from Dulles and all I had to do was call her and she'd come and rescue me. How awesome is that? I was far too emotional to spend the night by myself moping in an airport hotel, so a rescue from a family friend was exactly what the doctor ordered. I gave her a ring and she told me she'd be outside baggage claim in fifteen. Whew! My day was looking up, but first I had to make my way through Dulles.

If you've ever been to Dulles Airport, then you know that they use these bizarre, people-mover buses to transport you from the gate to the arrivals hall. They look like something out of Star Wars, they're these large rectangle things that pull right up to the building, and attach to it, so you walk through a door, directly onto a bus. They're weird yokes. Anyway, I walked up to the 'people-mover area' and saw that there were three separate lines of people formed, outside of three separate doors.

Not knowing which door the next people-mover would come up to, people just kind of picked one and waited. I chose the middle line, it looked pretty good to me. Besides, the line to my right was in the process of boarding a people-mover and it was obvious that some of those waiting in line, weren't going to fit and would have to wait for their door's next go-around.

Now, do you think these people decided to be polite and wait there turn? No, no they didn't. As soon as they figured out that they were going to have to wait some more, but spotted a people-mover pulling up to my door, they started to try to budge their way into my line. And that's when I snapped.

OH HELL NO, I was not having it! I was having a bad day, and I wasn't going to let pushy people be rude and push over me. And that's when I said au revoir to any sense of decorum and ladylike behavior.

"EXCUSE ME! THIS IS NOT YOUR LINE, YOU CHOSE YOUR LINE, SO YOU NEED STAY IN IT!"

(It's possible some head shaking and finger pointing accompanied this.)

I got quite a few looks but let me tell you, I did not care. I was frustrated and those pushy people seemed like the perfect way for me to vent some of my frustrations. They did there best to ignore the mentally unhinged lady that was yelling at them, and continued to push, so I kicked it up a notch.

"HELLO! WHY ARE YOU PEOPLE STILL PUSHING?! THAT'S YOUR LINE OVER THERE!"

They pushed some more.

"DOES NOBODY CARE THAT THESE PEOPLE ARE CUTTING?! NOBODY?! NO?! OK, JUST ME THEN!"

I gave up. We boarded the people-mover but I let my elbows jab like they had never jabbed before, and I spent the ride shooting out as many bad and disapproving looks that I could muster while the rest of the people on board did their best to avoid eye contact with the crazy, people-mover, line lady. It wasn't my finest hour, but for the record, I really don't like cutters.
. . . . . . . . . .

Stay tuned for the next chapter in the continuing saga of my road to nowhere. [SPOILER ALERT: I did make it to Paris eventually, and I pinky-swear to tell you all about it.] 
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