Wednesday, January 28, 2009


We've just come back from the hospital. We saw the same person as yesterday. She did a sonogram and confirmed what I had suspected. The little egg sac is gone. So, I'll take this moment to kiss little Spot the Sequel goodbye and send his/her little self right on up to Heaven.

This has been an eye-opening experience for us. We've learned that having a baby over here will be VERY different. We'll try again when we're sure we're ready to handle what comes with it. Look for a new segment of Spot in the springtime, maybe.

Here's to you Spot the Sequel. Godspeed.

A quickie?

I'm gonna try to make this one quick since the last one was so wordy (in fact, I'm not sure many of you have made it through it yet), but...well, we'll see how that works out.

First of all, one (actually two) of my friends asked me while I was in Houston if I had read "Skinny Bitch." Ironically, it was next on my list. I had even brought it to Houston with me in case I finished my Augusten Burroughs book. One of the friends said, "Well, be prepared to become vegetarian." I started the book on the flight home.

Sure enough, because of all the descriptions of the slaughterhouses and the thought of meat being a decomposing carcass, I gave vegetarianism a thought. Mainly because I can see how it's true that we humans can get all the protein and iron we need from veggies. And I can even see the argument for being vegan since we can get all the calcium and vitamin D we need from veggies, too.

BUT... I like meat. I really do. I don't eat it CONSTANTLY and I believe the meat I eat is raised, killed and prepared responsibly. Does it sound like I'm rationalizing? Maybe I am a little. All I know is that, right now, a life without eggs, butter, yogurt, cream, roasted free-range chicken and my own homemade pasta is not realistic. In fact, it sounds like Hell. I don't make these products the center of my life and I do go out of my way to make sure that the products I do use come from humanely-treated, organically raised animals. So, I guess I'll never be a skinny bitch... Well, at least not a Skinny Bitch... Not right now anyway. I will continue to live by "Everything in moderation," eating a little bit of everything and moving my ass enough to burn off what I eat. But it almost got me, I tell you. Almost.

So, I went to the hospital yesterday. It's not like I went to the HOSPITAL, but more like hospital with little letters. First of all, organization-wise, it was a MESS. No one knew where we were supposed to go, there was no real "line" to ensure we would be the next seen. We spent a lot of time waiting while people stood around talking to one another. This is pretty par for the course in France. I looked down and shuddered as I saw dust bunnies and 50-year-old dirt which had become a part of the floor. I told Sam I wanted to go home, but he just pulled me close and gave me the side-squeeze. "Look at all the fucking dirt! I might as WELL have the baby at home... At least it would be cleaner." He said, "Joj, this place is like 200 years old." I came back with, "And they didn't discover mops between then and now?"

Finally, we got processed, handed a page of stickers with my name and a UPC on it, and told to wait outside "box" #2. *eye roll* A curly-haired woman who seemed younger than I invited us into the "box" and asked us to sit down. We were followed by what I figured out later must be an intern. As Curly sat on the other side of the desk, asking us questions and then hunt-and-pick typing information into a computer, I noticed that her white hospital uniform wasn't very white and was ever-so-see-through. I wondered why, especially on a cold day and in a building that felt like a big ancient morgue, she wouldn't wear some sort of undershirt. Her front pocket was weighted down with a humongous phone/walkie-talkie and a collection of tattered papers.

From the first day of my last period, she figured we were/are 7 weeks 4 days pregnant and then asked me to step into another "box" (this time it meant closet) and undress. I still didn't get anything to put on, I still had to walk out into a room of three people with only a shirt and socks, but at least I wasn't still wearing my shoes and winter scarf and at least I was spared the whole having to get undressed in front of people, nazi concentration camp-style, fiasco.

I had told Sam that if she didn't wash her hands or put on gloves, I was going to run out of there naked. And when she picked up a speculum and came at me with it without putting on gloves, I said, "Oh yeah, um, I forgot to tell you that I have a slight senstivity to latex." She said, "Oh, that's okay." I squeezed my eyes closed and tried not to think about what that probably meant. But then, I heard the familiar SNAP of latex on wrist and was relieved.

She got the speculum in there and then murmurred something to her intern about blood and blah blah. I tried not to eavesdrop. Then, she said, "We're gonna do a quick sonogram." I lifted the bottom of my shirt. "No, we're gonna do it from inside since it's so early." I nodded and braced myself. Memories from my last experience flooded into my head and it was all I could do to fight back tears. But she talked to me the entire time, she was gentle and she made sure to ensure my comfort.

There is a spot in there. A Spot. Spot the Sequel. Back in 2003, when I had a miscarriage, a doctor did an internal sonogram on us and pointed at a little spot on the screen and said, "See that spot? That's your baby. It's still in there." A week later, Spot was gone. So, this time, she said, "Well, the egg sac is definitely younger than your dates would indicate. That could either mean we just need to wait and see if it's going to progess. It could also mean the beginning of a miscarriage. There's no way to tell right now."

I nodded feeling a strange sense of deja vu.

For one, the whole Spot thing came to mind. And for another, with both Lily AND Laurel, when we went in to have a sonogram early in the pregnancies, we were told both times that the pregnancy was about two weeks younger than my dates indicated. THEN, around 20 or so weeks, they'd do another look-see and say something about my dates being wrong by two weeks... Like my babies go through some sort of gestational growth spurt or something in utero. *shrug*

Sam took me out to lunch since we had the day to ourselves. I got home, played on the net a little and then took a nap. When I got up, I had ridiculously painful cramps and enough bleeding to really worry me. Strangely enough, I don't have the gut-burn I did with my last miscarriage. I remember waking up in the middle of the night feeling like my uterus was on FIRE. This time, I just feel like someone with an iron grip has their hand on my ovaries and is squeezing them like a pair of stress balls or something. So, am I ovulating? Is that the reason for the blood? Are my ovaries just shutting down in preparation for the pregnancy or something? Or, am I really having a miscarriage?

I'm okay either way. I know most people won't believe it, but I really am. I WANT a fourth baby. I hadn't planned on it being right now, but I won't turn it away. And if my body says "no" to this one, (or Spot the Sequel says "no" to us), I'm okay with that, too. I know it's a natural part of the process, this weeding out of a bad match. But I'd just like to KNOW, you know? If I'm having a miscarriage, I'd like to go ahead and get it over with and get back to my normal life--a life of beer, hard exercise, picking up my kids, dieting a little and whatnot. If I'm not miscarrying and am in fact pregnant still, I'd like to know so I can get back to my pregnant life--a life of thinking about babies, staring at my new (smaller) diapers, patting my belly, telling people about the pregnancy and whatnot.

Last night, the building association has a "pot" (that means a small party where we stand around and drink champagne and eat finger food) in order for the residents to get to know one another. We weren't going to go because I wasn't feeling well and we're all a little shy over here. But then, Sam felt bad. "They're trying to organize something and I keep having this picture of two little old ladies sitting downstairs by themselves eating toasts and feeling all alone."

"Then, get your ass dressed and go down there."

He came back 2 minutes later. "I didn't even get off the elevator. I could hear a lot of voices and figured they're all okay."

"Then, go back down there! Take Lolo with you. Everyone loves Lolo. Put in an appearance and then come back."

He grumbled and whined, but I talked him into it.

He came back a few minutes later with a champagne glass in one hand and Lolo in the other. "Okay, Mama, you have to come down. They want to meet you and they specially prepared stuff for kids and there aren't any kids down there."

I sighed and patted my belly, but threw on a shirt and scarf and helped get the kids shoes on.

He was right, there were about 20 little old peeps down there. It was cute because, of course, they LOVED our kids and all three of our kids acted like all of these people were there for them. Like this was their party. The old peeps loved that. As it turns out, there were three other kids there (just older than ours). Ryan is really good at playing with older kids, though. I tried to be the invisible mommy type chasing after my kids, but several sweet ladies cornered me and tried to point me in the direction of mommy groups in town and international organizations and whatnot. I thought that that was SUGAR sweet even though I really don't see myself looking into that right now.

My point in bringing this up is that Sam told everyone that we were awaiting our fourth baby. So, I had to smile and nod every time someone asked me. What I wanted to say was, "We'll see." But I know that would have spurred that uncomfortable, I-need-to-take-a-shit look. No one likes to talk about it. I don't personally mind talking about miscarriage. I think NOT talking about it makes it even worse than it really is. But I know that there are generational, sociocultural, linguistic and other differences.

I did tell Ryan's teacher. Since everyone was working and both girls were at daycare yesterday, I volunteered to go get Ryan. I had decided that I'd get him and take him to the kebab resto to split an order of fries. (Kids in France have a "gouter" or snack around 4--they call it their "four o'clock", their "quatres heures"--and most kids' parents bring them a gouter to school when they come to pick them up.) Since the teacher doesn't get to see me very often, she wanted to catch up. She told me that for the past two weeks, Ryan has made some SPECTACULAR progress. That he has actually been focusing more on the exercises they are doing. I told her that I had noticed. That he had actually be ASKING to do exercises in his workbook at home. All. By. Himself! Then, I told her that barring a few current complications we were having right now--that we'd know in a few weeks--we might be having a fourth baby. She, working with moms and kids all the time, took it like a champ. She looked at Ryan and said, "Soooo, you might be having a new baby, huh? You want a boy or a girl?" I wish everyone would react this way.

I just don't see how I can still be pregnant. I can't imagine that I am. I am just bleeding like crazy. And... TMI ALERT!!! TMI ALERT!!! there are pieces... tissue... when I look down into the toilet bowl. Pieces can't be good right?

Ugh! Wish I could just freakin' KNOW!!!!

Anywhoo, I'm at home alone with all three kiddoes today. Sam has a lunch thingy he has to go to and it would have been difficult for him to juggle the lunch and the whole picking Lily up from daycare thing, so I told him to let her stay home. So far, so good. I just with I could explain things better. I told Ryan that we weren't sure the baby was going to stay in my belly, but that if it didn't we'd just make a new one in a few months or so. I told him not to worry but that I do need to take it easy. He seemed to understand. I want him to know something as close as possible to the truth but still something he can understand. *shrug*

Okie dokie. Wasn't a quickie much, was it? Sorry.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

So much to catch up...

Okay, first of all, I haven't checked, but I don't think I blogged about the email I got from the AMD, did I? If so, either be prepared to read it again or skim ahead. The email was actually from his assistant. And I got it while I was over there in Houston and at a time when things were really busy and I didn't really deal with it much because I didn't have the time or energy (or mental capacity) to really put it anywhere. But now that I'm "home," I've put some more thought into it.

So, he said that they had to pass on my MS because today's market hinges so much on "high-concept." Maybe you know what that means, but I had to Google it. So, I guess it means "easily summarized." If the market wants that, he's right, my novel is not the novel for this market. I mean, it takes me more than two sentences (and really three or four to do the job well) to summarize this novel. I don't think that makes it a bad novel (though I don't really love it, personally), just that it's really not right for the time. Part of me WANTS to feel rejected. I sort of want to use this as an excuse to give up and do other things. But another part, the writer gut part, wags its long scaly finger at me and tells me to get back to work. And that's what I'm doing.

I wrote the AMD (well, his assistant) back and asked if they were now accepting email queries and he said yes (this wasn't the case in the past). This only makes things better for me in the end because it means no freakin' huge ass MSS to send to who knows how many people. I mean, if I were still in the States, I might send paper ANYway because I understand the tactile/tangible element that paper brings, but DUDE, the expense of sending it over there knowing that it's only going to be shredded in the end? Yikes. So, since AMD asked for my other project, I'm in the throes of revising it. As soon as I get 60 pages (and I'm not far now), I'm gonna send it to Boudy and get his reaction before sending it on to the AMD (and while waiting for AMD's response, I'm going to revise like a maniac just in case he asks for the full MS). If that doesn't work, I have the business card of an agent who said she'd like to see my stuff. Now, this isn't an agent to whom I've actually spoken but rather one that my friend (N) from Houston talked to after she (the agent) turned his (N's) project down. Can you believe that? He pitched my shit after she turned his down! What a buddy!!!

I don't know what has gotten into me. I have so much going on in my life what with the new kidling brewing in my gut, and the farm research/obsession... I just figured the writing would take a back seat. But, I think the rejection of the novel has freed me to actively look for representation on my REAL work... My memoir work... The stuff I REALLY wanted/want to publish after all. It's almost like the novel fiasco forced me to work on other things so that they'd all be put away when it was time for the memoir stuff to take the stage. Hmmm...

Now for the catch up part... So, after the race, Rach and I went to see Slumdog Millionaire... I can't even express how hard it ROCKED, so I won't try. I will say that Rach summed it up when she said, "Thanks for making me see that. I wouldn't have gone on my own and I'm really glad to have seen it."

Afterward, we went to my fave wing place cuz I was jonesin' (read: pregnant/craving) for some wings (even though I had just split a huge buttery popcorn with Rach) and she wanted to watch the Steelers/Ravens game. We get there and order just in time for something exciting to happen on the screen behind me and my quiet, calm friend turns into this screaming maniac. Where did THAT come from? It was so weird. I mean, on the one hand, she never looked cuter. Her face was all flushed, her eyes all a-twinkle, her smile wide and bright and she just freakin' glowed. On the other hand, because the TVs weren't up very loud, her expression of excitement got her no small number of shut-up looks from the tables around us. She, of course, was oblivious, but I saw them. Part of me wanted to run (the part that actually put my menu up to hide my face). The other part of me wanted to jump over the partition and slam my fist into this bitch that was giving Rachel a dirty look. Why shouldn't someone enjoy their team's success over a pile of steaming bird carcass? If they didn't want that to be the reaction, they wouldn't have like 8 big flat screen TVs showing the Steelers game, now would they? But, I didn't do either. I sent a dirty look right back at the bitch and enjoyed my wings.

But, by the time I had gorged myself with junk food, I was exhausted. My original plan had been to walk down to Half-Priced Books and browse, but since I had already bought a butt-load of books and knew I probably wouldn't have room for more, I asked Rach if we might just go back to the hotel at half-time so she could watch the game in our room. Part of me wanted to protect her from the fuckers in the resto, but the other, selfish, part of me wanted to go back and play on the internet so I wouldn't have to listen to the game and try to fall asleep.

I came back to the room in the last few minutes of the fourth quarter and heard Rachel SCREAM. Then, she said, "You must be a good luck charm." The Steelers had made a touchdown right when I got back. It is usually the opposite with me. That's one of the reasons I stopped watching football: Every time I root for a team, they lose. Every time. Glad to know my luck has changed.

The next day (MLK day), Morgan was off from school and I had told Shannen Morgy could hang out with Rach and me. So, I went over there early and did a load of laundry (and tried to do some of Shannen's but her damn dryer HATES me). Afterward, we went back to the hotel to pick up Rach so we could head up to Cypress and visit a friend I hadn't met yet. You know how Rach and I met on Well, this chick is a CM, too and has been my Myspace buddy for a long time (matter of fact, I still can't remember how we "met"... maybe I saw she was living in Houston and started bothering her?). Anywhoo, I HAD told her that I'd give her a half hour notice, but I didn't tell her that it would be through the Internet. So, when I showed up in Cypress at my fave TexMex resto up there (La Hacienda off of Telge... the old fave of me and my long lost friend B, may she RIP) and called E (yes, ANOTHER E), she was like, "Huh?" So, I was like, "I'm here. Come eat chips." And she did. And it was good. Sorry to be so Biblical, but that's the way it was. For all these months, I have been laughing at her hilarious comments and her spunky, hip emails, I had expected her to have a spotlight and a microphone that followed her stand-up act around in real life, but no, she was just a normal pregnant chick (well, from the front... from the back she doesn't even look pregnant, god-DAMN her!!!!). Don't get me wrong, she was still funny and full of giggles and quips, but I did kind of regret not having her to myself so I could see the full E Show, complete with buh-dump-dump-CHINGs after every sentence. I mean, I'm glad Rach got to meet her, but I don't know... I guess I'm sorta (okay, VERY) selfish in pregnancy.

Anyhoo, so after hanging out with E for like THREE HOURS (!!!!), Morgy, Rach and I headed in the the Spaceship down to Galveston to bawlk at the Hurricane Ike damage. I'm gonna choke up if I go into too much detail, but let me just say that it was bizarre seeing Brodies in a near pile of rubble. To see our old picnic tables gone. To see freshly (and absurdly colorful) painted houses next to piles of debris that used to be houses. That's all I really have to say about that.

We dropped Morgy off at Shannen's and headed back to the hotel. I wanted to go see a movie, but Rach was pretty tired. I HAD to go, though. Boudy had emailed me that he would be off on Monday, but I didn't see a way to fit him in what with the Morgy and the E and the Galveston and whatnot, but since I was on my own for the movies, I figured it was the perfect opportunity. I mean, it wouldn't be the "good four-hour chunk" of talk time he requested, but it would have to do, right?

So, to kill time, we met up at the wing place (yeah, what are you going to SAY about it? You think you can eat wings in FRANCE? Well, let me tell you... NO! Not only that, even the "great" wing places in Charlotte don't serve my fave flave of Gold Rush (honey mustard mixed with mild buffalo) and the one place that would mix them together at my request stopped doing it, so the only damn place I can get my good stuff is in freakin' State College, PA and H-town dammit!). We ate and gabbed and gabbed and ate until I looked down at my watch and noticed that we had missed all potential movies by at least half an hour. YAY!!!! Now that's some good gabbin'. Since the place was closin', we tried to find another that served beer and stayed open late, but nothin' did, so we just went back and sat in the hotel lobby and talked about Obama.

*sigh* Yep, as surprised as I am to say it, Boudy has been brainwashed by the Church of Obama. I guess when you live in Houston, surrounded by the folks who put both Tom De Lay and W into the big white house, hope and change are even more glittery words than in other places. I mean Boudy was even almost more smitten that you, Mi. *sigh* I'd hate to see you two together... I'd be afraid you'd start speaking in tongues or something. *eye roll*

The conversation ended on a good note, though. Once I had him convinced that I didn't HATE O-blah-ma and that I, too, am all for "hope" and "change" and toothpaste recommended by 9 out of 10 dentists, he relaxed and we talked about writing. I'm so excited to know that he has promised to send me some of his stuff when he gets a chunk. I can't even DESCRIBE this dude's writing, y'all. All I can say is that it is TANGIBLE. Like you can hold his stuff in your hand and smell it and taste it and fall in love (or at least become infatuated) with it. I can't WAIT!!!! And though he CONSTANTLY forgets that my writing isn't fiction (saying things like, "I think your novel needs..."), his comments on my stuff have always been good, deep, reflective ones, so I'm looking forward to that, too.

We parted ways at 2am. I slept well that night.

The next morning, after breakfast, Rach and I monopolized the "business center" and played on the computer. Then, as we were walking out, we noticed that the inauguration was on. Earlier, when I was up in the room getting something, I noticed that people actually boo'ed Bush as he was introduced. I was STRUCK by a strange emotion. Shame. I hate Bush (well, not the human himself but nearly EVERYTHING he represents), but I have enough class not to stoop to boo'ing for fuck's sake. Are you kidding me? I mean, are we hanging out on the playground or something here? In my opinion, that just set the "circus" scene for the whole ceremony. I was ASHAMED because I knew that the WHOLE world (including parts who would normally have been ASLEEP) was watching. *sigh* And I was, for a second, ASHAMED of being American... For one second, that boo'ing cancelled out all the pride I felt for being someone who had voted for the first AA president of the U.S.

So, anyway, we sit and watch the ceremony. And we nod our heads and say, "Nicely put," during several parts of Obama's speech. And we squirm uncomfortably during the parts where he seems to still be on the campaign trail. And we wonder out loud what kind of purpose any of that would have other than to be all "nanny nanny boo boo" in Bush's face (which doesn't really accomplish much, if you ask me). I mean, the fight has been won, right? Why couldn't he just have said, "You asked for change, I'm here, let's do this?" Ugh.

And then, all the fucking pompous pomp and ball shit. Don't get me started on how much of that could have fed starving children or planted fields of sustainable grains or bought countless trios of rabbits for developing villages around the world and how disappointed I was that O-blah-ma didn't start his new era of "change" by setting a new precedent and asking his donors to call off the balls and instead just eat some sandwiches and do Karaoke night or some shit. I understand the need for the swanky new pope-mobile-esque Caddy limo and stuff. I understand that nearly the ENTIRE state of Arkansas would love to see this guy take one to the forehead and that he needs to be protected (and especially his kick ASS wife--who really SHOULD have run for prez--and their two gorgeous angelic girls)... But... I'm just sayin'... All the rest makes me wanna puke. And it disappoints me.

But then... THEN... we went to Fogo de Chao. We had been planning to go there since she got to Houston. It was going to be our post-race iron/protein reward. And BOY was it rewarding. It was SO cool to be there with her because she SO appreciated it. She kept GUSHING about how great it was and how they need to have one in Charlotte and how she felt like a princess because the service was so good and the food even better. It was AWESOME to go there with someone who isn't non-chalant, but instead FULL of life and appreciation. It made it even better for me!

Afterwards, we went to Pasadena to drop by Grandma Lulu's house for a quickie visit. Aunt C came home right after we got there so we got to see her, too. It was great to see them again, because when you visit Lulu, there's no pressure to do anything except sit and talk. She always crochets and the tv is always on in the background and it's just like, well, hangin' out. No pressure to really get into DEEP conversation or whatnot (though, ironically, we usually do). The only setback is that--though Grandma is a self-proclaimed Dem--she watches fucking Fox News. And there was this white-blonde haired fuck on there bitching about Obama, etc. Ugh. AGAIN, I'm no Obama-ite, but I did vote for him and I AM hopeful. What maybe disgusted me the most is that I actually AGREED with the Fox Motherfucker because he said something along the same lines as what I said above. About the expense. Ugh. Double-ugh. Moving on.

So, after a day of gorging on carcass and visiting grand-peeps, we went back to repack. And repack. And REPACK. I had to seriously WORK to get it to where one of my suitcases would be 50 pounds (and actually still CLOSE) and the other would be just under 70 pounds. I knew I'd have to pay a fee for the 70 pounder, but wanted to make sure not to pay for the other one. I had to keep wheeling the suitcases down to the workout room and weighing them, then taking them BACK up to the room, rearranging and going back down to re-weigh. I guess I could have tried to haul all the shit downstairs since the workout room was empty every time I went down there, but, meh.

With both suitcases perfectly packed (to the point that I didn't want to open either one for fear of ruining the delicate balance of the universe), I went to sleep.

The next morning, I made my way over to Shannen's around 5am with little white paper sacks full of Kolaches and donut holes. This was to be our "Last Breakfast" before I would leave the next day. And since she had to leave for work around 7:30, we couldn't really meet anywhere cuz that'd mean she'd have to get up and get ready around 4am. *eyes bulging* It was good to see her and Morgy one quick last time, but it also made it hard. There I was, still in Houston, all day and didn't get to see my sis. She did call me at one point and tell me she had seen McLovin, the guy from Superbad (okay, it wasn't the REAL McLovin, but it looked like him). And then, I called her to tell her I had heard the "techno twins" commercial she had told me about--at which point, we decided that our new sister names were Splad and Sveeder (I'm Sveeder, by the way... and proud of it). I just don't feel like my sis and I got much QUALITY time together. She's got this boyfriend who lives with her. He's really super nice and cute and Latin and stuff, but he's a really keep-to-himself-er.

So, several times when she and I had plans or whatnot, she'd be like, "You know, I don't really feel like ________. And F is off work/home from work/etc. So, you go on ahead." I can't lie and say I didn't feel slightly ditched, but then again, I was spending my evenings NOT with her but instead with all my other friends who work day jobs and can only get away in the evenings. I felt bad that I didn't get to spend more just hanging out time together. We did have that rockin' pasta party epiphany with the Jeff Galloway thing (that changed my life!!!), so that was good, but I can't help but be excited about her coming over here so I'll have her all to myself and won't have to share her with her Latin Lovah (as sweet and as nice as he is... I mean this guy would get up and make his breakfast before going to work and leave me some of it in the pan because he knew I liked it... how freakin' cool is THAT? I mean, I'm feeling all guilty just THINKING about it!!!).

When I got back, Rach was up, I gave her her Kolache and after the quick scarf-down, we headed out for some errands. We went to Target and exchanged my new camera since it had fritzed out on me after the race. It came back on but I didn't want to get all the way to France and realize that I should have exchanged it. I bought a Beyonce CD and shamefully sought out the new Britney one. They were out! I can't believe I'm actually admitting my disappointment. I actually had Rachel ask the guy about the CD because I didn't want to be seen buying it. Like getting an adult to buy your booze, smokes or porn for you when you're a wayward teen, eh?

Then, we went next door and closed down my WAMU account. I had opened it when I started free-lance cuz it make things easier for tax purposes to have my own business account linked to my own business, but since I haven't sold anything in so long. *shrug* They tried hard to keep me, going on and on about free, etc. But they've already cancelled my account once because there hasn't been activity on there for over a year, so, I'm thinking nah. Then, we went to JCPenney to buy a couple of bras since my sister's dryer ATE mine (I told you the thing hates me!).

With that done, it seemed sort of silly to do anything but head to the airport. I mean, we stopped for gas and a last snack food binge (well, Fritos honey-bbq spiral chips and a humongous Gatorade... neither of which I can get over here) and then made our way to the terminal. I figured it best for Rach not to have to deal with the whole rental car shuttle fiasco (plus, I know how she likes to lose herself in her book and she seemed really ready for that), so I took her directly to her departure terminal and hugged and choked back tears as I said goodbye and thank you for coming and running and putting up with me and my smelly frenchness. Then, I went to the rental car place which was about as painful as sleeping on a cloud. Dude, if you ever rent, go Enterprise, yo! I used to do Avis all the time because they were cheap and I thought they had good service. Turns out, Enterprise is CHEAPER and I've NEVER had such great service! EVER!!! I thought that getting to the actual terminal with my behemoth suitcases was going to be a problem, but it wasn't. There were those free luggage carts everywhere and the shuttle bus driver was super helpful and everything. And though I was like FOUR HOURS early, the Air France counter still let me check in and got those huge ass bags off my hands and only made me pay for the big mean heavy one.

Since I knew I couldn't take my Gatorade through security, I sat, ate my Fritos, drank my Gatorade and finished my Augusten Burroughs book (*sigh* ahhhhhh the LOVE... I think I pretty much WORSHIP Augusten Burroughs... why didn't HE run for prez?). When all that mess was over, I made my way through security, stopping only to chat with the guard about the half marathon that he said he wished he had done. "I've only ever run the 5k." I told him he absolutely MUST do the half next year and that he wouldn't regret it.

Then, as I sat at my gate, marveling that there seemed to be nobody there, I noticed that the Duty Free shop had little packages of NASA stuff. I couldn't resist it. Ryan just absolutely LOVES space stuff (and really, Lily does too). So, I bought the humongous backpack full of stuff: Shuttle, rocket, lunar module, moon buggy, two or three space dudes, a flag, etc.

My flight was easy and quick. Like I said, there was NO ONE on the plane. I got mine and the two seats next to me all to myself. Every four-seat console in the middle of the plane was occupied by just one person (and I suddenly wished I were one of them because though i had three seats to myself, I couldn't really lie down all the way like those in the middle). I finished Hancock and In Bruges (which I had started on the way over) and watched the Dark Knight (and cried like a baby at the end because I knew there'd be no more Ledger behind that Joker... dude, I'm choking up again... aw, Heath... why'd you have to play with pills? *sniff*). I started to watch Journey to the Center of the Earth, but got sleepy and tried to nap.

Know what? If you ask for a vegetarian meal (like I did) you get your meal a good 20 mins before everyone else. Try it. You can also ask for a halal meal and get it early. And usually the food is better. I'll admit, I was hungry like an animal and could have eaten THREE or FOUR of those, but it probably would have been the same had I gotten a regular meal.

I did have to keep putting my feet up on a pile of pillows at the other end of my three seats in order to try to ward off swelling. As soon as I'd put my feet on the floor, I could feel my calves filling up with fluid. Even though I was afraid my feet would swell to the point I couldn't put my shoes back on, I took them off anyway. And everything was good for most of that first flight.

As we landed in Paris, I realized the amnesia. You know, it took me a day or two once in Houston, to get back into the groove of being American again. There were only really 48 hours of "in France, this" and "in France, that." But now, as I saw Paris heading toward me, I could FEEL myself starting with, "In the States...." It only took ten days back home to change me back. Or to strengthen that American half of me. To wake it up.

In Paris, they took my toothpaste. Yes. Because I guess the limit is 100ml or something and my toothpast was 160 or something? The guy kept going on and on about how he was SO surprised it didn't get caught on my way TO the U.S. *eye roll* What the fuck ever! I don't CARE! I said, "Look, please take it if you want, I just don't want to miss my flight." He apologized and a teensy part of me DID sort of mourn my delicious Arm and Hammer Sensitive with Whitening that I'll never find over here, but I have a couple more tubes here. I'll just have to be stingy with them and make Sam buy his own goddamn toothpaste.

The landing announcement woke me up. We were arriving in Lyon. I got a jolt of lightning through my gut and could suddenly not hold still. My leg started tapping and my butt wiggling like I had to pee. I missed my kids. Not in theory, not in heart, not in mind. Physically NEEDED to hold my babies and rub my cheeks on theirs and smell their milky baby breath and hear their little voices. I needed my kids like a junkie needs a fix. When I went to the baggage carousel and found that one of my bags was missing, the only thing I thought was, "Shit, the presents were in there" cuz I wanted to have stuff to give the kids. I did the quick reporting thing on my bag and then rushed out to meet Sam.

There was no arms-thrown-open greeting in spite of an email he had sent me while I was away saying that he was depressed and wanted to "go home... and I don't know what that means except that home is wherever you are and when you're not here, I'm not good and I can't function without you." That must have dissipated with time because there was no, "Welcome home, luvah" embrace or anything. He only bitched about my bag being left in Paris and how we'd have to come back around 3pm to get it or wait until the next morning to have it delivered. *sigh*

We went home, he went and bought me a kebab and once it was in my stomach, I fell into a coma.

I was awakened by "Mimi, Mimi!!!!" and giggles and this blonde haired being throwing herself on me and this other strange child who had aged a thousand years pointing at me and releasing a primal scream that I actually HEARD translated in my bowels as "It's HERRRRRR!!!! My MOTHER!!!!!! SHE'S HERE!!!!!" And then, I was being tackled by these beings, covered in slobbering kisses and having my hair pulled and fingers pinching my nose and tiny fingernails tickling my throught and little hands slapping my tummy. I'll never forget that welcome. Never. It's burned in the happy place of my heart.

Around 3 we got a call that my bag was there so we RUSHED out to the airport, I went in and grabbed it while Sam stayed with the sleeping girls in the van. We knew we wouldn't have time to go home first, so we went straight to Ryan's school and parked illegally in the rain while Sam went to get Ryan. I kept waiting, watching, my feet twitching, until I saw the running brown-haired animal. I jumped out of the van and threw my arms open, the animaly jumped into my arms, covered my face in kisses and threw back his head, eyes closed, talking to the sky, "You're here. You're finally back!" I cried as I told him to hop into the van so we could go back home for his surprise.

He LOVED the backpack of space stuff. So did the other two girls. He played with them all afternoon and even came to my bedroom in the middle of the night to wake me up and tell me, "Mom, thanks for the great space stuff surprise." What a kid!

I know this is already really really long and I WOULD propose to come back later and finish it, but I can't guarantee that there'll be a time when I am free to write or have the energy to do so... So... I'm going to plod forward and hope you'll stay with me or go pee and come back to finish.

Since before I left, I have been cramping. Since that monster OB/GYN jammed that sonogram wand up in me. I have been cramping. I cramped pretty mucht the whole time I was over there and I actually wondered whether or not it was a good idea for me to do the 1/2. I almost didn't do it. But, I figured that since I had done three while pregnant with Lolo, it couldn't hurt. That, and well, whatever was going to happen was going to happen. I can't spend 8 months on bedrest. If the pregnancy was supposed to happen, it was just going to have to survive my habits. I mean, it's not like I'm an alcoholic or a junkie or anything. I'm a runner (and not even very fast, at that).

So, I ran. And as you know, it went FABULOUSLY. I didn't have any ab pain. And actually, the cramping stopped during and after the race. But, the NEXT day... the day we spent so much time SITTING (in the resto, in the car to Galveston, etc.), I came home to find a leeeeetle spotting when I went pee.

Then, it got worse.

And worse.

And now, it's to the point where it looks like it's almost a period. So, I figured I'd lost the baby. Or was loosing it. And though I felt NO GUILT for having gone to TX NOR for having done the 1/2, I knew that all the people around me would razz me about it anyway if I lost it. Or was loosing it.

I didn't know how to feel. I mean, I've miscarried before. Back then, we were TRYING to get pregnant and REALLLY NEEDED to get pregnant. This time was a welcome surprise but a surprise nonetheless. And since the last miscarriage, my thoughts and feelings have changed about gestation and pregnancy. I have come to see that, at least for me, the pain of miscarriage is more about the loss of the IDEA of the child rather than the actual BEING in the womb. At this point in the pregnancy, the only thing this being brings me is crazy vivid dreams, hella vertigo and constant peeing (and don't get me started on the eating). It's not a BABY per se. It's pre-baby, if you will. It's an idea. It's a possible name. It's a where-are-we-gonna-put-it and where-will-it-sleep and did-we-bring-the-newborn-clothing-with-us? I'm not trying to say that it's an inconvenience. We really ARE ecstatic about the thought of a sixth family member. Lolo will just eat him/her up (I'm not sure how literally I mean that) and I think Lily will be at the point where she'll want to help take care of the baby. But, if I miscarry, I won't be DEVASTATED like I was with the last one.

I won't sit around and mull over all the reasons why. I won't grieve and blame and cry. I'll sigh a great sigh, cry a few tears at the postponement of the Idea and move on.

But, the hard part is the limbo. You can't really know where to put it if you don't know what the fuck is going on. Am I losing it or not? I'm reminded every time I go to the bathroom that hey, I'm pregnant and that hey, I'm probably losing it.

So, yesterday, I told Sam that he either needed to take me to the hospital or go buy a test. He bought a test. It took like 15 seconds to turn positive, so we're still pregnant. The only thing I can think is that I'm still ovulating. Or that I ovulated and am passing the egg? I don't know.

What complicates this whole thing is the OB/GYN/Sage-femme thing. I haven't been really seen by anyone. And we're not sure where to go, who to see or whathaveyou. So, today, Sam called the hospital and they said that I should come in and get seen and that I can even go ahead and fill out the paperwork to be seen there regularly. SOOOOOO, here's the way I'm understanding it.... A regular GYN is just that. A GYN. He/she MAY follow a pregnancy, but most DON'T deliver babies. They do pap smears and prescribe birth control, but they don't know nu'in 'bout birthin' no babies, Miss Scarlet! You know how many OB/GYN practices will be housed in the same complex as a hospital with a maternity ward (in the States)? Well, instead of the maternity practice being NEXT to the hospital, I think... I THINK... in France, there are doctors who work IN the hospital. They'll follow your progress and even most likely be the ones to deliver your baby. Now, hospitals in France are PUBLIC, meaning funded by the state. So, there are RULES about quality and standard care and whatnot. But there are also private "clinics" in which you're not sure WHO is there when or what or how or whathaveyou. I'll avoid those like the PLAGUE, thank you very much.

So, we're going to wait until tomorrow when Lolo and Lily and Ryan will all be in school, and we're going to go to the hospital to get seen.

The other cool thing about the hosp is that you're SURE to have NICU facilities (unlike the private clinics). The setback is that you aren't sure to have a private room and stuff like that, but to tell you the truth, frankly my dears, I don't give a damn. I am not shy about nursing my baby around strangers and I'm not usually put off by others in my same situation (which any chick sharing my room will be, right?). Plus, though the normal period you stay in the hosp post-partum here in France is three days, I'll bet you I'll be wanting to go "home" after 12 hours!!! We'll see. We'll see... Might be nice to have someone waiting on me all the time. Especially if my sister in law comes over to watch our other kids and Sam can spend a lot of time a the hosp with me. This hasn't been the case in the past. In the past, I've had to stay at the hosp all alone so Sam can take care of whatever other kid/s are still at home. It'll be nice to be able to spend some time with just Sam and the new wiggly before bringing him/her home to the other parasites.

So, there's that.

Oh, I went to see Twilight last night. I know, I know, hold on to your girdle, it wasn't MY idea. But, I have to say, *deep breath and a gulp* it... wasn't... that... bad. I mean, dude, it could only be BETTER than the fucking lame ass book, right? Actually, it took the few things I liked about the book and REALLY bled that shit through, so I was actually impressed. I wasn't, however, impressed with Ms. Meyer's attempt to be Stephen King by having her own little cameo in one of the diner scenes (yeah, that's here with her laptop at the counter), you sneaky little self-serving you-know-what. (Can't STAND her and recognized her immediately.) But overall, the movie was H.O.T. I HATED both main characters in the book and I was actually pretty in like with them in this one. Ironically, the one character I liked in the book, Jasper, was a bit of a empty shell in the movie, so that was bizarre. I'm not surprised at my dislike of Jacob Black, however, since I pretty much couldn't stand him in the book either. This movie MIGHT (I say/stress MIGHT) be the only reason I MIGHT (eh? Might.) read the third book. IF I get done with all the other books I own and IF I have a two month period in which to read her banal drivel. MIGHT.

It was cool to hang out with Flav and Gilles again, too. By the time I had gotten to the theatre, they had paid for my popcorn/coke and Gilles was in line to get my ticket because they had a free one! How freaking sweet!!!

Afterwards, I kidnapped them and made them come back to my house and eat a lamb's lettuce salad garnished with tabouleh and artichoke "bottoms."

Okay... Lolo is crying and I'm sure your eyes hurt and you have to pee.

Monday, January 19, 2009

A blur...

So much has happened over the rest of the week/weekend that it's all sort of a runny blur. I'll try to get it all in, though. What happened to Thursday? Where did it go? In my memory, it's just a hole.

I remember Thursday morning I had a lovely breakfast of kolaches and donut holes and DELICIOUS coffee with my Oracle. We talked about EVERYTHING both of us has been going through. She and her spouse split up since the last time I saw her and while breaking up sucks, this one was a good move. He was passive-agressive and pretty toxic for her. I'm sure he would have made SOME docile woman very happy, but the Oracle really is a powerhouse of strength and energy and deserves to either be alone and blossom or to find someone who ENHANCES who she is. I mean, I'm glad she was with him for a time because I think he presented her the opportunity to learn to really love and appreciate HERSELF (through no major effort of his own, though). Anyway, she's also onto a new spiritual path and shared it with me in the form of a sort of head massage which put me almost instantly and desperately into a deep sleep.

The one thing I definitely remember about Thursday is that I met up with the Lesbians for dinner. I hadn't seen them in SO long. And their daughter, W, has grown into a little LADY!!! When did THAT happen? I just saw them Christmas before this past and it seems like she was just a little curly-headed girl. Now, she's all manners and twirly skirts and flowing (but still curly) silken hair. Silken everything. This little girl is just downright edible. The first thing she did when she saw me was give me a bookmark she had made in "school" that day! We all went to a great South American resto called Cafe Red Onion where I had a Brazilian Chicken which was a PILE, no, a TOWER of food. It was a huge patty of eggplant--breaded and fried and topped with cheese and a jalapeno, under a thin breast of grilled chicken which was topped with another kind of cheese sauce, and this was under aNOTHer breaded eggplant patty and topped with a handfull of baby greens fastened together with a long thin slice of raw zucchini. It was DELICIOUS!

We caught up on all the good stuff. They let me go on and on about the farm and all my hippy craziness and then they jumped into the Prius (a.k.a. The Spaceship) for a ride around the parking lot.

Oh YEAH!!! NOW I remember what happened to Thursday. Shannen worked from home because Morgan wasn't feeling well. I met up with them later for lunch and took them to the Tomato (the real name is Sweet Tomatoes) and then to Old Navy where for once in my lifetime, I tried on maternity clothes in a store and they actually FIT ME!!! woo HOOOOO! In the past, I have always weighed over 200 pounds when I GOT pregnant. I usually have to order that stuff on-line. This was my first time to leave a maternity section with clothes on my arm. In fact, because so much was on clearance, I got about 8 shirts and two pairs of pants for a hundred bux!

Friday, my friend (well, she's also my ex-boss at the library) drove all the way down from Temple, TX to have lunch with me. We went back to our favorite Tex-Mex resto who has this AWESOME avacado sauce that they serve with the salsa (and NO it's not guac, though it resembles it). We caught up on all that has happened since we saw each other last. She's a librarian, of course, and at her new job has much more personal freedom than she had where we used to work before. I'm so jealous and happy for her. I wish I could describe what a light E is. First of all, she's breathtakingly GORGEOUS. She's like six feet tall (maybe even taller) with crystal blue eyes and a blinding smile. But that's not all... She is RADIANT. And not like the pig in Charlotte's Web. I mean, the room literally does light up when she walks into the room. And as she walks across any space, all heads turn. She's one of the most graceful people I have ever met. Not that pretentious ballerina shit. She just has this mesmerizing carriage. I can't describe it with any success, I guess. I give up. But, there's MORE. She's just grit. She looks like a statue, a model, a beauty queen... but she's a RAGING feminist and though her voice is all sweetness and southern drawl, there's nothing sweeter than when she says "fuck" in a sentence. I'm tellin' you. When she gets all excited because Gloria is the keynote speaker at the Texas Library Association (TLA) conference this year... Priceless.

After lunch, we met up with another librarian, another friend and another ex-boss (all the same person). We had a short coffee/catch-up at Starbucks before heading to Half-Priced Books (where they didn't have much--though I did get some swanky new calendars) and then to Borders where I bought almost $200 worth of paperbacks of their suggestion. I've been out of the library loop for a couple of years and since I DO still want to be a librarian right when we get back, I think it only prudent to stay up to date on what the kids are reading. And normally, I would do this through the LIBRARY, but since I live in France now where it's almost impossible to get English new releases...

Afterward, we said goodbye to E and TT and I went out for a quick dinner of Chinese food. As we chomped on sushi, spring rolls and yummy greasy lo mein, we caught up on what's up with her daughters--who, the last time I actually SAW them were still "kids" but who are now "young women" ... the eldest went off to college for crying out loud and the youngest is a successful freshmen in high school!!! I'm old!!! We talked a little about me, but the great thing about this blog is that it helps keep me from monopolizing EVERY conversation because peeps are already caught up on my going's on, yeah?

So, we make our way to the theatre cuz we're gonna go see Milk. Let me just preface by saying that I don't know HOW I can be such a fag hag (or as they're now calling us "fruit flies"--thanks Kat and Andy!) and not know who Harvey Milk was, but I didn't and I didn't have any idea what that movie was about. *sigh* Anyhoo, we get there and the movie isn't showing anymore. It was showing the day before. I checked the time. So did TT. And I even said to her the day before, "I've heard that it won't be here for very long," (because my moo told me it wouldn't be) and sure e-fucking-nough, it was GONE. I was furious!!!

I called Shannen and asked her to look it up and see where else it might be playing and she found it was only playing in one tiny theatre downtown. It wouldn't be playing until almost ten. Shannen said that FCO (sis' boyfriend) and Morgy (neice) were asleep when she got home and that she was bored and lonely. I looked over at TT and got the ok to invite Shannen. We jumped into the car and zoomed down to Shannen's place (and dropped off my books) and zoomed back down town.

We got there early, got our tickets and since we had a few minutes to kill, we went to the Buck. River Oaks is in a chic-chic part of town, but it's also a part of town where the locals are, how shall we say... a bit limp-wristed!!! MY KIND OF PLACE, in other words. We go to the Buck, and the barista starts razzing me about something and since you know how I am with the fruit, I gave it RIGHT BACK. He finally says, "I LIKE you." If I had a dime for every time a gay guy said that...

Then, we milled about, window shopping the vintage high-end consignment stores to kill time, discovering that instead of going to the crowded Buck with no chairs (and Shannen hates Starbucks' coffee) we could have gone to a cute little coffee house on the OTHER side of the theatre. Live and learn.

We go into the theatre and stand in line to get into the room when a trio of fruities come stand in line. Again, some razzing ensues and again, I dish back out and again, Head Fruit says, "Ooooh, I LIKE her!!!"

TT calls it my Streisand quality. I puff up and beam with pride.

Okay, back to Milk. Again, I say, I don't know who this Milk kid is or what this movie is about and I LIKE that because I like surprises. But let me tell you, I'm not sure if I've ever cried that hard before. Ever. I'm still shaking just thinking about it. I am now and forever in LOVE with Sean Penn and that's all I'm going to say about it.

I hated saying goodbye to TT, but feel lucky to have gotten to spend the evening with her rosy apple cheeks (just the best cheeks in existence, really)and her sparkling laugh. I just love the heck out of that librarian!

So, Saturday, FCO comes in after only having been gone for about an hour and says that he's been given the day off. PERFECT! So, I kidnap them all and take them out for a southern breakfast buffet we used to frequent on weekends. Piles of scrambled eggs, biscuits, gravy, hashbrowns and yummy Mexican concoctions! We were surprised and horrified to find out that the delicious coffee over which we were gushing was actually a liquid coffee syrup... GRODY!

Afterward, we went to Goodwill where I got FUCKED out of $63... Listen, back in Charlotte, Goodwill is the place you go to get a good deal and help some folks out. Well, at this Goodwill, I paid more for some of those used items than I would have paid at Target. Ridiculous. I'm still fuming over it. The guy totally marked up the prices right there in front of me but because there was a huge long line behind me, I didn't stand up for myself. You all know how testy thrift store shoppers can get, right?

After that, we three girls went down to the Expo to pick up our race packets and then headed out to the airport to get Rachel. Then, all of us went back down to the our downtown hotel to drop off suitcases before going back to Shannen's.

I made sure not to stay up too late Saturday night but I couldn't help it. Shannen called me at one point and said, "I'm pinning on my race bib and packing my bag... I'm sniffling because we're supposed to be doing this together." I told her to get her ass down there to our hotel and that Rachel had already okayed Shannen to stay with us, but she said no again.

I did hit the hay around 9:30 (not bad) and only got up twice to pee (obvious uterine parasite related activity). Rachel and I met Shannen down at the GRB and then I went and joined my Fort Bend Fit family, took our group picture, said our group prayer and did our loud ass FBF "HOO YAH!" and walked away sniffling.

I thought the race was going to suck the big one. It was hot, I was over-dressed (but I didn't want to shave my pits and I didn't want my legs to chaff, so I wore long sleeves and capris), I was undertrained and pregnant. But, I was amply-hydrated and with two of my favorite people.

I told myself that I would start the race, do one/one's (run a minute, walk a minute) the whole race and see what happened. Shannen stayed with me until about mile 8 but I could see that she was tense... Like a horse who wants to run free. I told her to go on without me. "Are you sure you won't be mad?" I said, "If one of us is going to be mad, I think it should be me and that you should go and do your best." She almost cried but took off. With both of them gone, I actually think I sort of went into race mode, finally. I ran at my own pace and at my own comfort level and I didn't try to run two/one's but kept it at an even run/walk system. At one point, though, I thought I was going to DIE from the heat. My visor, though protecting me from the sun was actually causing me more harm than good. But my hair is just long enough to get in my way. I stopped at a medical tent and asked if anyone had an extra rubber band. Nope. Sorry. "What do you need it for?" A girl with wavy brown hair asked. "My hair." She reached into her pony tail and handed me her hair tie. I started crying. I'll never ever forget her. Ever.

I ran on. I beamed and choked up at friends who saw me and yelled my name telling me that I "looked good out there!" At strangers who are in Fort Bend Fit... newbies this year who I never got the chance to meet/know who still yelled out HOO YAH!!!

And then, I ran under a bridge upon which was written, "Only 1.5 miles to go."

WHAT? REALLY? I looked down at Gary (my Garmin) and saw that if I only had 1.5 miles to go, I was going to beat my time from the LAST time I ran this damn race all knocked up!

I tried not to sway from my one/ones... but someone called out "JOELIE!!! HOO YAH!!!! GO GET 'EM GIRL!!!!!" I smiled, picked up my feet and ran in the last half mile!

Undertrained, over-dressed and unprepared... I did a race PR (personal record) of 3:07:45 beating my 2007 time of 3:20:42.... As I stepped over the last mat, still whispering to myself, I realized what had happened and burst into sobs.

I want to go into how Rachel and I went out for a movie and wings, but that'll have to wait. I gotta hang with Morgy today cuz she doesn't have any school and it's getting close to time for me to go get her.

All I have to say it, "I did it. I ran that bitch." Enjoy your MLK day!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Catchin' up...

So, Tuesday, the dude with the luggage finally tells me that he's coming at 2pm. I try to fight it a little until I realize that meeting him in the middle somewhere is only going to take away from my free morning time. By then it's ten. So, I call my breakfast date and say, frantically, as USUAL, "Let's go!" We find a Denny's that's about half way and we high tail over there. By the time we get seated and settled we have about 45 minutes. This is after having planned a four-hour morning getogether. It always seems to happen this way with us.

We spend our "morning" eating piles of junk breakfast food: eggs over-easy, double bacon, hash browns, pancakes and grits with cheese! And we talk about farms (cuz it turns out, Miss Breakfast Date is as obsessed as I am about having her own instructional farm/B&B!!! I invited her to move onto mine, but she has her own, pretty developed plans for Oregon and Raw Foods. But still, it's nice to have a fellow.

After I left her, I came back to my sister's side of town and went to Goodwill in search of pants for Ryan. But guess what? It's winter in Houston right now (and actually pretty chilly) so, peeps aren't donating their jeans yet. I got a couple of sweaters for myself and headed back to my sis' because I was exHAUSted.

While reading/writing a few emails, the luggage guy showed up and with that done, I passed out, relieved to finally have closure on that front. But about an hour into my nap, my mom called. I was SO out of it, I didn't know where the hell I was or what I was doing, why I was here, what the hell that noise was. And then, she was like, "What are you doing sleeping in the middle of the day?" I said, "I have a parasite in my uterus." She said, "Oh, I have to go, the doctor's calling me in."

I hung up and started to fall back asleep thinking I had dreamed it until she called back again, "What? You have a parasite in your EARS?"

"No, my uterus!"

She laughed. "Oh, the doctor's here, I gotta go."

I decided to get up cuz the whole thing made me question whether or not I was in some sort of parallel reality or something.

I got ahold of Chris Boudreaux and asked him if he'd like to go out and have some vegetables with me and it turned out he needed to detox a bunch of bad food, too. So, we headed to my favorite grazing place in Houston, Sweet Tomatoes! Oh, the nostalgia! I usually try to slow down and really EXPERIENCE "the Tomato" but was so excited to finally be hooked up with Boudy again that I couldn't concentrate on really soaking up the food experience. Really, I suspect, that part of it was because the food really isn't as good as I thought it was in my memory. I think my body misses home. (I really do seem to smell more and even sweat more... I still haven't figured out if it's the change in diet or the pregnancy hormones manifesting themselves OR maybe a combo.)

Anyway, Boudy and I had a great conversation. So distracted was I by our awesome connection that I barely even noticed my food. I mean, I ate it but like I said, i didn't really EXPERIENCE it. We talked about teaching ESL and about writing and farming and blah blah blah. As usual, I monopolized the conversation, but I can't seem to help it when I'm around him... He just seems to give me so much energy. I sort of feel like he's some kind of soul sibling or something. I mean, usually, in emails or on the phone, I feel like I'm a little yippy dog saying, "Hey! Hey! Hang out with me!" (and maybe he feels like I'm like that, too) but when we actually get together in person, I feel really connected to him. He reminds me of writing. Of gut-good writing. I remember reading his stuff and really feeling transported. Okay, I'm starting to gush and that's just silly. But ANYWAY, the connection was really good for me.

Afterwards, I met up with Miss Breakfast Date again to have a dessert and to finish our conversation. By the time I got home, I felt like I was going to have to hold my eye lids open with toothpicks or something. And I don't have the gate key to sister's apt. complex, so I just sat there in front of the gate, pretending to talk on the phone waiting to tailgate a car who DID have the key. I didn't even have Augusten to keep me company.

Then yesterday, I had a blast shopping. I went to Bed, Bath and Beyond and actually found both the pressure canner and the canning funnel I wanted so badly. Then I went to Terrrrget and bought some pants for Ryan. Went to Payless and got six pairs of shoes for less than a hundred bux. I rushed back downtown and picked sister up and ran out to the east side of town to grab my great-grandma and haul us all off to lunch. She treated us to all-you-can-eat catfish at Sudie's (and all I can eat is probably the equivalent of a normal order of catfish and I always feel like I've wasted her money and why don't I ever just learn to ORDER a plate of catfish instead of assume that I'm going to eat a bucket full?). We went back to her place to look at pix of the kids and talk about eating pecan pie she had made for us (but we were so full we just took it home).

When we got back to sister's apt., we played "Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?" and apparently I am. That's good news.

We then went to the pasta party organized by my marathon training club. The guest speaker was the AWESOME Jeff Galloway who totally re-inspired me and made me think that yes, I CAN do this half marathon in my condition without dying though it may be my last for a year or so. He was just AWESOME!!!! And, everywhere I went, all my old runnin' peeps were like, "You look SO GOOD!!!" which made me feel gorgeous--which I needed because I've put back on about 10 pounds in the past couple of weeks (4 or so since I've been here and eating out for nearly every meal and barely moving more than to get up to go pee).

I know these past few paragraphs sound like one big run-on sentence (maybe they are) but I'm rushing through the account so I can get ready to go breakfast with another friend. A friend I call my Oracle. I'll tell you all about it later. And dinner tonight is with The Lesbians and their daughter. You'll have to wait until tomorrow for that (although tomorrow is just as busy, so we'll see).

Off to hose down the pits.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Back in the Saddle...

So, I went to lunch with my wing-chick. I could have eaten a thousand wings. I only had nine. But DUDE!!! I'm DEFINITELY going to have to do "free-range wings" when I get my farm. DUDE!!!

Then, I went and hung out with one of my old writing buddies and her two perty kids. She had just gotten back from VA, so I was glad that she didn't turn me away when I called for an impromptu visit. It was awesome being around some kids... I needed a fix cuz I'm missing my babies.

I went to Target again. Can I just say how much I love Target? I know, I know, half of that shit is made in China and whatnot, but I got all kinds of things I needed that would have cost me double in France. I KNOW that I won't be a patron of the store when I get back to the States because I'm committed to supporting the ma's and pa's of the world, but since our focus right now is on the "farm fund," I have to get my stuff where I can get it cheap-ish. Am I rationalizing? Probably a little. I'm just dazzled by Target. I'm going to Goodwill today, too, though and I know I'm going to be practically orgasmic in there.

Then, I went out with my ex-boss and one of my heroes, Miss Lynne. She took me to this INCREDIBLE Thai resto and we had soup, rolls, pad thai and curry and ginger tea and coconut ice cream with honey drizzled on it and peanuts crumbled on it... *salivating* We spent THREE HOURS talking and catching up. I feel like I've had a long massage. Relief. I hate when I go too long without seeing my Lynnie. It was so great to get a fix. We always laugh so hard together. We get the same jokes and we have the same urgent, desperate love of librarianship and the same optimism and love of life and love of children and love of books. *sigh* Yep, it was a good fix.

On the way home, my sis called me and told me that the luggage guy had called and said he wouldn't be able to deliver my stuff until TODAY from 8 to noon... Guess when I was supposed to have breakfast plans with a friend who only has a certain four-hour period free all week? Yep, you got it. 8-12!!! So, I had to call and revise those plans. Sux cuz I NEVER get to see this friend anymore and when I do it always feels like a drive by cuz I'm running around crazy. Since I have no kids with me and I had my morning free, I was hoping she and I would get to gab all morning. Blah. So, maybe I'll be able to kidnap her for lunch and/or coffee later. Still sux.

Chris Boudreaux, if you're reading this right now, you need to FB me or something cuz we need to go have a beverage and/or victuals tonight. You hear? C.B.... you hear? I'll find you and see what we can work out.

On the way to go see my friend for lunch yesterday, I passed by an intersection where Mexicans/LatinoAmericans (legal or not) wait for big "jefes" to drive up in their twin cab, extended bed pick-ups and take them off to work. I had seen footage and had heard about it (mainly because I have an uncle who used to say, "Yeah, I need to go pick me up a truck load of Mexicans before lunch" *eye roll* and *barf*), but I had never seen it with my own eyes in real life. I was filled with a crazy mix of emotions.

Mainly I was morbidly curious. Like seeing a celebrity or some endangered species in the wild or something. But I was also deeply ashamed for some reason. The jefes pull up and the Mexicans FLOCK to the truck and beg to be picked up. "Me! Me! Pick ME!" and you KNOW they have families to feed (either here or there). And I think about all of my friends who are SO glad to have jobs right now and how these Mexican guys must be even EXTRA thankful and nervous, but also somewhat able to nanny-nanny-boo-boo the privileged Americans who have been looking down their noses at Mexicans for all these years. Now we're all in the same big boat. Well, not me... But that made me sad and ashamed and guilty, too. That I am so okay right now financially. I mean, don't get me wrong. I've been a Mexican. I have clandestinely eaten food off other people's plates while bussing my tables as a waitress. I lived in my car. So, maybe a part of me feels like I've abandoned my peeps or something. Like when you're THAT poor and savage, even though you're constantly competing for survival, you feel this deep sense of community or family with the others. Like a flock of pigeons or seagulls or something. "Mine! Mine!" We all scream, but when all the food's gone, we're brothers again. And now I'm full and comfortable and whatever and I feel like I've left them behind as I motor off to buy my camera that I think I "need." *eye roll* Very conflicting emotions and thoughts.

But I welcome these kinds of things because I really do NEED that. I NEED to be reminded that I have nothing... NOTHING to wine about. Yeah, yeah, it's all relative and actually, that life was so much more simple and rewarding (because EVERY morsel of food or whatever was SUCH a wonderful thing... I mean, I'm not sure I've ever TASTED my food more than when I didn't HAVE any)... but still. I need to be reminded to absolutely TASTE and EXPERIENCE and APPRECIATE everything in my life. Even just having the freedom and opportunity to come back here and meet up with old pals.

I thought about something else about a mile later... there were a couple of Mexican guys with leaf-blowers, doing the gutters along the highway. And you KNOW that while their blowing the dust out into the street, by the time ten or twelve cars pass by, that dust is going to be RIGHT back in the gutter. What a waste of gas, energy and effort. But those guys aren't complaining because, well, it's winter and it's not 100 degrees outside and they're going to get paid and have enough to feed their families.

There you go. Me being "melodramatic" again. I hate that word. Sorry Mi, but I do. I always feel like when someone's telling me I'm being melodramatic that I'm overdoing it or overexaggerating. But who gets to decide what that means? I mean, I'm NATURALLY dramatic and more outwardly expressive than "most" "NORMAL" people. So, it's not "over" anything, right? Why do THEY get to be the ruler against which I am measured? Nah. I don't think so... Maybe everyone else is UNDERexaggerating. Maybe everyone else needs to be more dramatic? I'm going with that. Cuz I like me and I like feeling everything and really experiencing everything. Hate to be cliche and all Dead Poets Society and whatnot, but I'm a marrow-sucker. I'm a carpe diem-er.

Okay, if you're a certain ex-writer buddy of mine and you haven't contacted me because you're somehow pissed off at me and you don't want to get together later today to just gab and snack on something even though you are already going to be in Houston tonight for your meeting, I'll understand. I'm not gonna chase. My feet hurt. But, I wish you'd write cuz it seems a waste NOT to pretend there's no tension and hook up to talk about writing while we're in the same zip code for a day. Yep. Wish you'd write. Then again, I guess email works both directions, huh?

My sister says I stink. Huh. I probably do. I still don't shave the pit gardens or wear antipersperant so there's a high chance I smell like human body. I showered and I perfumed, but that's all anyone's getting. And I'm not apologizing. Well, okay, I'll apologize to my sis cuz she has the same freakishly strong sense of smell I do, but beyond that, nothin' doin'.

Where's that luggage dude!!!???!!!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Houston... We have a problem...

I made it. That's the important part.

My flight from Lyon was delayed an hour and a half because the -5 degree C temps froze the toilets and the pilot decided that we couldn't hold our pee for the ONE HOUR it takes to get to Paris. *eye roll* But, whatever.

I got to Paris in the gate ACROSS from the gate where I was supposed to leave for Houston, but OF COURSE, there's no direct link between the two gates and I had to take the shuttle around the dang place to get to the other side *eye roll--and get used to these cuz there're gonna be a few*. I get there and find out that my plane hasn't started boarding yet even though it is supposed to leave in 15 minutes. I take this as an excellent sign... Until I get to the security checkpoint because there are like 500 people in line.

A guy in front of me goes to an officer and says something about Seattle. The security guy lets him pass through a short line. I go to him and smiling say, "Houston!" He lets me through. It takes FOREVER to get through the checkpoint because I brought my laptop (but SO glad I did, yo) and because I put my Garmin and MP3 player in my laptop bag and they have to re-x-ray it over and over to make sure it's not a bomb. But I MADE it. I was sweaty and panting, but I MADE it. I had a great seat and great seat mates who helped me reshift the luggage in the overhead compartment so I would have enough room under my seat for my big ole feet! I watched Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist based on the book by one of my fave authors (David Levithan)... I actually have an autographed copy of that book, I think. And I watched that movie with Scarlet Johanson and Penelope Cruz set in Barcelona (don't know the name). It was slow-starting but had some great parts (and some HOT parts, helllooooooo?). I also started to watch Hancock but fell asleep and then started to watch In Bruges, but started talking to my neighbor and ran out of time but both seem like decent movies and I might try to see them while I'm here.

Our flight was only a half hour late, but... well... my luggage didn't make it in. And since I don't plan on waiting here all day (and I have a dinner date) I'm not gonna wait for them to deliver it... I'm gonna try to go out there and pick it up if they'll let me (can't see why they wouldn't) cuz they said they wouldn't deliver until after 6.

When I got to the rental car center, the dude gave me a Prius for only three bux more per day than the rate I had for any other midsize--Priuses usually rent for like $54 a day, so that was a STEAL. So, I got to drive my hybrid through H-town on my old roads to my sis' house.

When I pulled into her apt. complex, the gate was closed and I thought I'd have to wait forever to get someone to go in so I could tailgate, but just then, I look over at some crazy lady waving at me and it's my sis! We went back to her apt, where she stowed my laptop and we went out to have yummy Mexi food!!!! *sigh* It's been so long! Went to Target and bought a TradFone for ten bux! Awesome deal! So, now I have a cell. AND Barbie "princess" *barf* costumes were on sale for ten bux, too, so I bought two of them (they are 42 Euros in Lyon... about 55 or 60 bux... so two for $20 seemed like a good deal to me... couldn't pass it up).

I didn't do too bad on sleeping. Managed to stay up until 9pm so that I could stay asleep the whole night... BUT I woke up around 1:30am wide awake and bored and hungry. My sis had hidden my laptop case in her closet and she and her boyfriend were sleeping, so I couldn't get to my Augusten Burroughs book. Probably a good thing since instead, I went back to bed and managed to sleep until almost 5am. An afternoon nap and a nice hot shower and I think I'll be "on time."

Like I said, I got dinner plans and I'm trying to hook up with my ex-running buddy (and current wing-eating buddy) for wings for lunch, so cross yer fingers.

It's so weird and empowering to be all on my own like this. Especially driving. I'm afraid that since it has been six months since I've driven (and even longer than that since I've been able to go 80 like I always can in Houston) AND since I don't have my kids with me, I think I might be driving like a teenager. *blush*

But as cool as it is feeling like an independent woman, I miss my babies. I'm constantly looking around cuz I feel like I've misplaced something. And every time I set something down, I still set it FAR away from the edge of anything so that Lolo can't reach up and get it. *giggle*

Well, I gotta get Shannen's house key copied today, so I had better get going. Since I have the apt to myself in the mornings, I'll prolly try to update you guys on all the meniality. tee hee hee. You might want to take a hiatus from reading me this week if you don't like the banal (sp?).

Saturday, January 10, 2009


Just dippin' in real quick to say hi and farewell... Well, I'm not really gonna go to Texas and just stop blogging... Had you fooled though, didn't I? However, just in case anything happens to me, like my flight goes down or whatnot, let me just wish y'all the best and happiest and most productive of lives, okay?

It's been a rough week for me. I had a little tense episode with the neighbor over Ryan marking up their wall while he was down there and A's dad punishing Ryan right in front of us without discussing it with us first (had he simply done that, he would have known that Ryan had already been punished). I don't know what moron leaves an ink stamper in a room alone with two five-year-olds and expects the walls to stay perty anyway, but who am I to judge? You'd think she'd never heard of the Mr.Clean Magic Eraser sponge, eh? (FTR...we went to the store and BOUGHT her one, though, so she'd be able to experience the awe.) I wanted to rip the guy a new one but decided to wait until I get back from TX to tell him he overstepped a boundary (I mean, I'm all for scaring the shit out of kids to keep 'em straight and whatnot and letting them suffer their own consequences... but a little notice would have been nice... not only did it suck, but it made us look bad authority-wise... like that guy is OUR parent, too and that random people are allowed to punish our children without our knowing/permission... okay... I'm letting it go now before I get all pissed off again.)

And then there was the horrific experience with the OB/GYN yesterday. Long-story-short, he had me strip down to my pubes (with my hoody, winter scarf and tennis-shoes still on *eye roll*) right there in the exam room (even though he had a bathroom). He pretty much yelled at me the whole time for even being there because, as he said, it was "too early." Trust me, I didn't want to be there, but it was his secretary who sent us there. Then, when he did the VAGINAL ultra-sound, he actually answered his fucking CELL PHONE while the fucking WAND was inSIDE of my you-know-where. He was pissed at having been called, "yet again" and when he let the caller know that, he shoved the wand further up inside me and took it out on ME. I felt like I was being raped. I spent the rest of the day crying and sleeping it off.

Needless to say, I'm looking into getting a sage-femme (midwife). As it turns out, OB/GYN's don't deliver babies. They follow your progress up to six months and after that, you go to the hospital for your care (WITH or without your midwife). Well, fuck that. I don't need no damn doctor if he ain't gonna be there to catch the fucking baby anyway, right? I'll get me a "wise-woman" to follow my progress, do my sonogram and whatever blood tests need to be done and catch my baby when it comes flying out--as they usually do. When it comes right down to it, I know HOW and WHERE the baby comes out. I don't usually need to talk to anyone or hold anyone's hands or anything. I just close my eyes, concentrate nice and hard on feeling every second of my body working to do the thing it was MADE TO DO and when it comes time to push, I curl myself into a letter "c" and pop that puppy right out. Like shellin' peas, yeah?

So, anyway, right now, I'm cookin' and cleaning. Sam has threatened to feed the kids on canned ravioli while I'm gone and I'll have none of it. I'm making four quiches (two that'll stay in the fridge and two that can be frozen), a lasagne, a big pot of lentil/potato/carrot soup, and an apple pie (maybe two). I might also make a gratin cuz those are good and keep well. But just to compromise, I bought some jars of organic ravioli, organic pasta and organic pasta sauce... You never know.

I'll hit y'all from Stateside. I got lots of peeps to see and only a week to see 'em. I can't WAIT. And stay tuned to see if I make it past mile three on the half. Tee hee hee...

Peace, y'all.

Oh, yeah... Should I die...Chris Boudreaux and Barbara Wright are the only people on the planet other than myself who knows my laptop password... Y'all don't let my shit go unpublished, okay? That's all I ask. I die, publish my shit, yeah? Thanks.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


I'm French!

I got a thingy in the mail the other day telling me to stop by this office to come pick something up and when I got there, the lady said, "Okay, this is a notice telling you that you are French and that you have been French since April 28th, 2008 since it's retroactive." Dude. Now, I'm waiting for my French birth certificate. *eyes bulge* I'll send a copy of that in and get my French Carte d'Identite (I.D. Card... kind of like our SS#, but not really). And then I can get my French passeport. Craziness.

I don't feel any different, though. *grin* It's not like, upon reading the notice, I got this swell of pride in me and suddenly puffed up at the sight of the French flag or anything. However, I WAS inexplicably happy about it. I did grin. I even said, "Look, I'm French! And have been for almost nine months!"

What a crazy year!

DUDE!!! This pregnancy has started with a vengeance. First of all, I don't usually feel this much vertigo this soon. I'm usually oblivious until the middle of the second month (meaning like in two or three weeks). And I don't usually start having the funky strong cravings until after the third or fourth month. And the vivid dreams don't usually get surreal until around six months. But I'm having ALL of these symptoms.

Yesterday, I had a crazy strong craving for the stinky cheese pizza. I called Sam and BEGGED him to get me one. And told him I want one all to myself. He said, "Noooo, you won't be able to eat a whole one." I was like, "uh-HUH... I'm eating for TWO." He got the pizza and sure enough, I didn't make it past the second piece. It MIGHT have had something to do with the fact that he got a "Fruit de Mer" pizza (seafood pizza) and that after one whiff of it I wanted to throw myself off of the balcony and actually had to go into the living room to eat my two pieces. *eye roll* I was sick the rest of the evening and had to drink an Indian Tonic to burp up all the nasty gas the stinky cheese gave me.

And then, last night, I dreamt that I was smoking a cigarette. Oh, it was DELICIOUS!!! It's been so LONNNNNG since I had a drag off a cigarette. Then, all of a sudden, I had one in each hand and was tandem dragging. *sigh* And someone looked at me and said, "Aren't you pregnant?" And I said, "Yeah," blushing. "But, the baby's not really hooked up to the central line yet... it won't feel a thing." *eye roll* Whatever. I don't have any real life desire to start smoking again, but I can tell you that dream smoking is lovely and I hope I do it again and again during this pregnancy. That way, my oral fixation gets its fix but my lungs and unborn child stay toxin-free.

Okay, the big news of the day: I got word from the AMD!!!!!! Well, it's from his assistant, but close e-frickin'-nough!!! He wrote to thank me for following up. He said that yes, they had indeed received my submission and that it was near the "top of the pile" and thanked me for my patience. woo HOOOOOOOO!!!! Okay, it's not a, "Yes, we love you! Please send us all you have!!!" But it's better than, "No, you suck. Don't write back." Or, "Nope, we never got it, you've wasted the past three months biting your nails over it. Will you send it back to us again so we can give you another three months of psychoses?" I would have been content with a, "Well, we like most of it, but these following things need to be fixed and sent back to us: blah blah blah." But I'm JUST FINE with a, "We have it. Don't worry. We'll be in touch shortly." That's what he said. He said, "shortly." *sigh* I'm so relieved. SO relieved. That'll tide me over for another three months if they need. That's probably how long it's going to take me to finish revising my France memoir.

You know another awesome thing? I've already got the sequel in my head. But it's from the point of view of the other character!!! *sigh* I'm dying to write it, but I won't go near it until 1) I finish my France memoir revision OR 2) AMD writes me back before then and says, "Give me more!" Oooooooh, I just got CHILLS!!!

I LOVE being pregnant... It's like hormonal LSD!!! It makes everything so damn intense!!! I'm crying constantly already. Mostly the good kind of crying. Like looking at my kids and being struck dumb by how downright breathtakingly gorgeous and precious they are and how lucky/blessed I am to have everything/one/emotion/etc. I have. Good stuff. Euphoria. *shiver* I think it'll be good for my writing.

I'm making choc chip cookies today with the neighbor's older daughter. And I think I'm going to break out the pasta machines and make a huge mess of homemade pasta for the family to eat while I'm gone to Houston. Some ravioli, some lasagne, some macaroni and cheese. I'll freeze it all so that Sam only has to reheat it in the oven. I'll probably make a thick lentil/potato soup, too, since it's so damn cold right now.

I've got a whole list of folks to see (um... contact me if I haven't contacted you about that yet) in Houston and a whole long list of stuff I have to buy (anyone know where the hell I can buy a pressure canner that works with an induction hob?). I need to buy up some second-hand clothing before that fucking bogus ass law goes into place (Google it... it was supposed to make the big toymakers have to test their stuff before selling it to the public, but what it's doing is driving small toymakers (and other Stay-At-Home-Mom-made products) out of business... It also includes the future sale of clothing for consignment stores and thrift stores. I almost NEVER buy new clothes. I always buy them from thrift stores. I'm really fucking pissed off about this stupid ass law backfiring and affecting the wrong people. I've signed a petition on it, but I'm afraid...


Alrighty kids... I'm off to the kitchen.

Monday, January 5, 2009

A New Beginning...

New Year's Eve was great. We invited our new buds over but Flavia and Gilles were the only ones who didn't have plans... I'm so glad!!! It was awesome just being us four. I made two quiches--one Quiche Lorraine and one spinach-goat cheese--and Flavia made a tartiflette which is like a gratin, but you cube potatoes, put them in a bath of cream and milk, sprinkle in lardons (like a cross between ham and bacon), slice an entire wheel of stinky Reblochon cheese in quarters and lay the cheese over the top and pop it into the oven for an hour. DAMN that shit was good!!! I also made pigs in blankets--with home made honey mustard and home made sweet and sour plum sauce, hummus with pita wedges and no-bakes for dessert.

The kids got to stay up late watching movies and the grown ups rang in the New Year watching 80's videos and talking about the world. It was low-key, but just perfect for how we wanted to start 2009.

On Friday, the neighbors downstairs went out of town for the first to go skiing in the Alps. They asked me to feed their cat and their fish. I did it on Thursday and Friday, but on Saturday, I stopped by their place on their way down to the garage as we were on our way out of town for the afternoon. But the key wouldn't go in the door. I was like, "Shit, someone has messed with their lock. Maybe someone broke in!" And then, I wished I hadn't touched the door just in case the perps left prints... yep, that's me, the American getting all CSI on it! *eye roll*

I went down to the garage and sent Sam back up to try. No avail. We called them and left a message on their cell to ask if they had ever had problems with the key. Then, when we got back home, we checked downstairs with the concierge to see if she had a key but she wasn't home.

So, yesterday rolls around. They're due home around noon, so I pop my chicken in the oven (see details below) so they'll have something to eat when they get here cuz I know they're not going to be getting in their place... It was SUNDAY so there's nothing open. They get here, we eat lunch while we wait for the cops and the locksmith to get here.

Turns out somebody put tiny pieces of metal into their lock and destroyed it. WELLLLL, about a week after they moved their stuff in (the moved in but then went on vacation), they came back and weren't home half an hour before there was a knock at their door. THEIR downstair neighbor pointed his finger at A (5 year old) and said, "It's her!!! That little cretin (sp? in English?) has been running up and down the hall, jumping up and down and making all kinds of noise. Well, A's mom politely asked him not to put his finger in her child's face and that she would talk to A about the noise. A few days later, A's mom reached her hand into her mailbox and found a pile of cat shit. I kid you not. A's mom went and filed a complaint but the cops didn't even want to take the complaint because it would mess up the crime statistics in our neighborhood... my eyes ACHE from rolling them so much!!! Are you freakin' KIDDING ME??? Anyway, so we all have a pretty good idea who put the metal pieces in their lock.

Then, I went out to the movies last night with Flavia and Gilles to see "Burn After Reading." AWESOME flick!!! There were two parts that were so violent I shouted out, "Oh my GOD!!! Oh my godohmygodohmygod!!!" and made myself look like a bona fide American! Afterwards, we sat at the bar and drank beer. I was pleasantly tipsy when I got home.

Then, the day went as planned today... I've been feeling a little tired lately and well, I have been dizzy. I thought about going to the doctor to see if I had the same ear infection Lolo seems to have (she actually has SNOT leaking from her ear... it's a perforated ear drum *eyes bulging*). But I just couldn't be bothered. Then, around 10am, I got the irresistible URGE to eat a tuna sandwich with hard-boiled eggs, chopped up pickles and sliced apples and covered in mayo just like my grandma used to make. Then, just immediately after, LENTILS sounded SO GOOD. Then, I remembered the leftover chicken in the fridge (well, the carcass, I should say) and ran in there to pick off pieces of the yummy, nutty meat (it was a nearly wild chicken, so the meat was a little more resistent to tear off the bone, but SOOOOO rich and nutty and yum!). Then, I saw the bowl of leftover mashed potatoes. I added a little too much milk (making it slightly soupy, but whatever) and nuked it. SOOOO good. Then, the tuna sandwich popped into my head again. I could almost taste it. I even licked my lips.

Do you know what I'm getting at?



Yes... Enceinte means pregnant. I'm gonna have a baby!!!

So, anyway...WOO HOOO!!!! See, told you this damn body wouldn't wait for spring time. I'm not sure what I'm going to do about the half marathon now, but I AM sure I'm not going to run a full this year. However, I told my sis (and this applies to you, too, Rachel) that if she wanted to still race somewhere, that I'd accompany her to the race and wait at the finish line and cheer my ass off!

As for the chicken... It's called a chapon, here in France. It's a humongous male chicken that is, like I said, nearly wild. I mean, culinary-wise, it's classed amongst the same category as, like, pheasants and quail and stuff (except for size). And when you buy it from the market, it comes with it's head and neck in-tact because people like to serve them that way. ICK. It's beady little eyes were staring up at me... Anyway, I searched the internet how to cut and cook it and I think I did a fine job. I made a brine of salt water, apples, onions and garlic and got that to boil. I turned off the burner, plunged the bird in and put the lid on. I think I left it in there for about half an hour. Then, I took it out, slid herbed butter up under the skin and roasted it in the oven (about 15 mins at 240 degrees C and then another 45-60 on 180 degrees C). I made some mashed taters to go with it and served it to the neighbors. We had dessert wine and King Cake for dessert!

Ryan and A ran around all over the place with their gold crowns on.

So, there you have it... You're all caught up on everything. As is to be expected, I'm a little tired, so I'm gonna head on outta here.

Oh, p.s. before I go... I'm working on my France memoire... the one I wrote a long time ago. I'm making some pretty good headway, so I think I'll send it to the AMD by March or so even if I DON'T hear anything back from him by then. So there!