Wednesday, December 24, 2014

The Whipping Father

Not Le Père Fouettard, but Fifty, in his reindeer antlers. He hates me. 
Bonjour, la veille de Noël, we meet again.

How in the name of all that's Christmas is it December 24th again? If it wasn't for the big move and the whole Green Card brouhahah, I swear, it feels like I was just in Toulon for Christmas Eve last year, like a couple of days ago. (That was a good one, remember? Except for the BB gun part of course. Stupid boys.)

So yeah, Christmas Eve snuck up on me, but even though it's here, and the big show is only a day away (and closing in quickly down under, g'day Aussie friends), there was no way I was going to let it pass without my annual re-telling of the tale of Père Noël's (that's French Santa by the way), evil sidekick, Le Père Fouettard.

You know, now that I'm safely ensconced back in the States, I feel like I'm out of Le Père Fouettard's evil grasp. But since there's a Frenchman and a French dog in my house, what if that means he can still get me? Like, he can sense the Frenchness in my Texas home and find his way here. I'm sure if he looks closely, he can follow the baguette crumbs Gregory dropped along his way. Damn you Gregory! Oh well, I guess I have to make sure to stay on the nice list for another year. Yawn.

Originally titled: Nothing Says Christmas Like A Flogging and posted, December 15, 2009.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

OK, this is weird.

I was doing a little reading about French Christmas traditions. I figure since I'm here, I might as well find out the happenings of my favorite holiday, French style. And there is absolutely no use asking Gregory, he is useless at relaying this kind of information.

Anyhoo...

In France, Santa Clause is Père Noël, nothing strange there, but Père Noël has a partner, and it's not Rudolph. It's an evil man named...dun dun dun....

Le Père Fouettard
(Sounds a bit scary doesn't it, thought it needed that dun dun dun.)

According to my sources, the ever reliable Wikipedia, Le Père Fouettard was a guy who kidnapped three little boys, robbed them, killed them, and then chopped them up and put them in a stew.

Holy Reindeer Droppings! How the Fudge does this guy end up having anything to do with Sugar Plums and Mistletoe?

Apparently, Jolly Ol' St. Nick some how discovered the crime (maybe when Le Père Fouettard's name was flashing in red lights all over the naughty list) and magically resurrected the children (nice tie in to J.C. there - it is his birthday after all). Le Père Fouettard ends up feeling bad and becomes St. Nick's partner and goes around with him on Christmas.

But get this, Le Père Fouettard doesn't become all full of holiday cheer like Ebeneezer Scrooge, he's still sinister, so instead of handing out pressies, he punishes all the naughty children instead. Usually with a good old fashioned flogging.

Nothing says Christmas like a flogging.

Safe to say, I'm usually a well behaved girl, but after reading about you know who (don't want to type his name again in case it has some sort of Beetlejuice effect) I'm going to be on my best behavior this holiday season.

Don't want you know who coming to town.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Very merry holiday wishes and Christmas kisses to you and yours!
Joyeux Noël et Bonne Fête! 


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

one week

Here we are, one week into Gregory's winter visit already and I have to say, it feels like he never left. We morphed back into real, normal, life right quick, but I'm pretty sure that the rotten colds we had helped that out some (key takeaway: mucus is not sexy).

As what could probably go down as some of the worst timing known to man, last Wednesday, as I drove to the airport to collect Gregory, a nasty, chesty thing began to wrap its slimy hooks around me, and when Gregory hugged me hello, he stepped back, scrunched up his face and said, "Skippy, you sick?"

Yes, Skippy was sick, and within 36 hours, Gregory would be too.

Our first few days together were spent drowning ourselves in Robitussin and binge watching Outlander (sadly, Champagne not included), but on Saturday night, we did manage to go out on a date. Although I use the term, 'night', loosely. We earlybirded it, as in 5:30 earlybird, and within four hours, we were snoring off our cold medicine.

And then Sunday came and Monday, and then yesterday, and now here we are, Wednesday and one week gone already. But it's nice, and life and all, and that's what I've been waiting for all these months.

Oh, and if you're wondering how Gregory's reunion with Fifty went, here's the clip. Gregory and I were both surprised by Fifty's initial reaction. I told Gregory that maybe next time, he should go easy on the cologne.  



P.S. You'll have to excuse my horrible, shrieking voice, I was a tad emotional. 

Monday, December 8, 2014

tis the season to be jolly


Bonjour lundi! 

This may be the first Monday, in the history of Mondays that I've ever been happy to see, and the reason for my happiness; Gregory will be here in only two more sleeps! I can hardly believe it! He's going to be here for four whole weeks, and while that isn't forever, it's a start.

Here's the thing though, yesterday, as I trimmed the tree, I started panicking a bit about my blog. I had planned on getting loads of posts written and scheduled before Gregory got here so I could spend as much time with him as possible and dutifully stick to my blog calendar and the Monday, Wednesday, Friday rhythm that I've had going on here since I came back in October. But decking the halls took much longer than expected (I'm not complaining, I love a good decking) and not a single word was written.

And then last night I thought to myself, calendar, schmalender, it's Christmastime for Santa's sake! I haven't seen my husband since July and I want to live in every single second of every minute of every hour, of every day of each of the four weeks he's here, and if that means I don't get a blog post, posted, then so be it, so I guess I'm taking another blogging break of sorts.

But since it's impossible for me to completely disappear from y'all lives (nobody gets off that easily), I'll be checking in on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram fairy regularly I'm sure, to splash bits of our holiday cheer about and I'd love it if you popped by to say hi. (I'm going to attempt to film the Fifty, Gregory reunion and you're not going to want to miss that!)

Before I go, I just have to say, thank you. Thank you, to all of you. The love, support, and friendship that you continue to give me is beyond measure. Really, and truly, you're the best blog buddies on the block and I am grateful for y'all. Oy vey! Listen me go on, I'm gonna get all verklempt.

Holiday wishes and kisses to you and yours from the three of us!

Joyeuses fêtes et bonne année! 

Friday, December 5, 2014

Port Grimaud and Cavalaire-sur-Mer

Cavalaire-sur-Mer

You know, there has been so much going on here lately what with Thanksgiving, Gregory's green card issues, and just life in general, that I still haven't gotten around to finishing up the tales of my trip back to France last July, so gather around kiddos, because that's what I aim to do today.

Let's drift off someplace else, shall we... take a deep breath, rid your ears of holiday music, your brain of Christmas to-dos, and let your mind wander to summertime in the south of France... can you hear the waves of the Mediterranean lap? Can you taste the rosé? Good, you're ready. 

It was July, and I was already a week into my visit Unfortunately, even though I had been there for a week, I hadn't seen much of Gregory due to his busy work schedule, so as soon as he finally had a day off, we thought we should take advantage of it with a trip somewhere fun (he might have felt a tad guilty after hearing me rave about Sanary-sur-Mer). 

I don't know whose idea it was, but we decided on lunch in Saint-Tropez, that famed port town of glamorous lore that I had never been too ("too crowded", Gregory would say). And since Saint-Tropez is only a hop, skip, and a jump from Cavalaire-sur-Mer, we thought we'd swing by there afterwards, say hi to The Croupier and see how much her baby had grown since we'd been gone. 

We hopped in the car and left Toulon headed towards Saint-Tropez, but oddly, neither of us were paricularily excited... it started to dawn on us... Saint-Tropez in July, ugh... it seemed like a lot, the town would probably be packed to the gills with all that riff raff that likes to descend upon it every year to rub elbows with Jay-Z and Russian cagillionaires. 

"I don't really want to go to Saint-Tropez" I whined.

"Me, either" Gregory replied.

Gregory and I proceeded to look at each other with whingy, scrunched up faces until he finally said, "I know where we can go." And that's how we ended up going to the quaint village of Port Grimaud, and more importantly, where I ended up eating the most delicious, pasta dish of my entire life.

There are no words that would do the pasta justice, every bite was a culinary delight, so much so, that months later, I'm still dreaming about it... fresh pasta and seafood with just the right amount of garlic and parsley. It was perfect in its simplicity. I WANT IT NOW. 

After Limincellos and coffees, we strolled around the port before traveling down the road to meet up with The Croupier in Cavalaire-sur-Mer. The Croupier hadn't changed a bit, and the seaside town was still as lovely as ever, but this little cutie was much bigger than I had remembered.  

It was the most gorgeous of days... the sun was glistening off the sea, my belly was full of delicious goodness, there was Limincello and rosé, and baby cuddles... it was heaven.

Now take another deep breath and come back to reality. 

Meh. 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

heartbroken


(This post is a follow up to 'Still Frustrated', which continued on from, 'Frustration') 

Well that's that then.

After five weeks of trying everything I could to finally get my Congressman's office to request Gregory's Green Card be processed sooner rather than later (instead of merely checking on the status as they seemed to be content to do), I have failed. 

This is the email I received from them yesterday:

Dear Sara,
Listed below is the email response we received. Unfortunately, the US Embassy in Paris denied the expedite request. We will continue to check on your case accordingly. As soon as we receive any information, it will be forwarded to you.
... ... ...
This is a follow up to your email dated November 24, 2014 concerning the immigrant visa petition filed by Sara Louise XXX on behalf of Gregory XXX with assigned case number XXX Per correspondence from your office, the National Visa Center (NVC) forwarded an expedite request to the  U.S. Embassy in Paris, France.  The response from the U.S. Embassy indicates that they are not willing to accept this case for expeditious processing.

And once again, I had allowed myself to get my hopes up when last week I was finally told that if I wrote a letter, detailing the hardship reason that we needed the visa expedited (and in fairness, I'd hardly call getting it finally processed after thirteen months 'expedited'), the visa center would send it on to the embassy in Paris for review. 

Foolish me, I thought that my Congressman requesting this expedition on behalf of a constituent that's going broke because she and her husband live in two separate households in two separate countries would be reason enough. I guess not. 

So here I am, broken, That's how I feel, broken and empty. There is nothing left for me to do. I am merely a tiny speck on the back of the NVC and they don't care. I have to wait 120 days for one set of documents to be reviewed and there is absolutely nothing I can do about it. At least there are only 17 days of the second '60 day wait' left to go (but then again, that's day-days and not business days, so who knows... at this point I feel like the process is never going to end). 

On the bright side, I will see Gregory in a week or so when he comes to stay for Christmas, but on the dark side, he will have to go back afterwards and I don't even want to think about how we are going to feel when that day comes. I better start stocking up on waterproof mascara.  

P.S. Here's a thought... how about before we focus on immigration reform for people who entered this country illegally, why don't we try and address the problems within the process, for those who are trying to do it legally, because receiving two back-to-back '60 day wait' letters, is inefficiency at its finest.  

Monday, December 1, 2014

Behind The Photos XIX

Today's edition of Behind The Photos picks up a couple of weeks where the last one left off... Gregory and I had celebrated our first wedding anniversary in Lyon, and sadly, the day after we returned home, my father passed away. So we went to the States for a couple of weeks, but when we came back, not only had spring arrived in Le Petit Village, but so had La Petite.

Having this bundle of cuteness to to hold and cuddle after saying goodbye to my dad was the best way to help me through the grieving process. Circle of life that is.

When winter would finally leave us, and spring would trinkle in, we would have apéro outside every chance we got. It was always just the handful of us, sitting outside the bar on haphazardly strewn chairs (i.e; practically in the middle of the road) enjoying the warming weather and the solitude before the tourists came. Looking at this photo is surreal for me now, it's only been eight months since I left The LPV, but this photo seems like a lifetime and a whole other world away. It's hard to believe that was my life.

This would be the highlight of our Friday night... a car would pull up and we'd see if whoever was inside had any ideas if there was anything going on or what we could all get up to. They usually didn't. It made me feel like I was seventeen years old again looking for a party.

And once it was warm enough, we couldn't wait to start barbecue season. Here's Brother-in-Law manning the grill with his father-in-law watching over him. And of course there's Gregory doing something ridiculous. I'm not sure what he's got in his hand but it looks suspiciously like a machete. Considering this next barbecue photo, that wouldn't surprise me at all...

This. I have no words for this. I remember taking the photo and I remember being every bit as confused about it then, as I am now.

Whenever I come across this photo in my album, it never fails to make me smile. There's Gregory with Child Bride's little sister, Wolf (that's her actual name, true story). Since she's Gregory's and my sister-in-law's sister, she's kind of like our little sister too, and Gregory teases her as such. Like here for example, when he not only stole her bracelets, but her chocolate cake too. If you ever wanted to know who would steal candy from a baby, well now you do, Gregory would.


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