Friday, May 23, 2008

I love LA

Or at least the few days I spent there with my friend Jen!! I don't know how everyone else is, but I have very few friends that I feel like I can actually just exhale and be myself around. I don't have to be guarded about what I think or say, I can just be honest. That's Jen. She lets me just be me, and she still seems to love me, though I can't see how sometimes. I have known Jen since I was 2 and she was 3. We were neighbors when my family lived in San Antonio. Maybe it's all the years of knowing me that have toughened her to my personality.

With my life all crazy right now with trying to think about a wedding (more about that later), getting paperwork done, trying to deal with money (or lack of), visitation schedules for friend and family and all kinds of other things, it was nice to visit someone else's life. Jen and her husband Jay just bought their first house and are busy working with a contractor to make some changes and decorate. She is also getting a masters degree in holistic nutrition AND is pregnant with her first baby. She has a full plate. We did things like shop for maternity clothes (gotta love a size 2 pair of maternity jeans), look at things for the new house and also were able to fit in a quick touristy visit to Hollywood Boulevard. We even had lunch with Lauren Graham from Gilmore Girls. What I mean by that is we were eating at the same sushi restaurant that she was. I also got some pictures by my favorite Hollywood star that we passed. Of course I can't find the cable to download my photos right now so I'll have to add them later....grrrrr....

I have been back in Houston a few days and now I'm headed to Lake Travis for a family weekend. It's been nice being home in Houston and seeing my friends, but I have to say, I'm ready to go back to Lille. I miss Cyr and seem to be easily frustrated and upset by everything that goes wrong. I don't think I'm normally this grumpy. Maybe it's just today that seems completely irritating. Oh well, only 12.5 hours left until it's Saturday. I'll post photos later.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

A few days in Kerrville

I've been in Kerrville, TX for the last few days enjoying my cousins Lisa and Mark and their two girls Asher and Cate. They are so great, they own and run an ice pack business called Ice-Ease. They are super great, click the link or go to and order a few if you live in the US. They saved my knee after my surgery and are great for all kinds of injuries. One of the things I love about the packs is that Lisa and Mark actually make them there in Kerrville. No kidding...they have all these crazy machines that mix the blue stuff, seal the bags then they ship them off. Made in the USA and a family business, you don't see that often these days.

So anyway...I had the best time!! We did all kinds of fun things all weekend long. We went to a wildflower farm and looked around. Cyr has asked me how they can be wildflowers if they are raised on a farm. The only witty comeback I can think of is that maybe the flowers are not wild as in not domesticated, they are wild as in they really like to party and if you look closely they really sway pretty seductively when the wind blows. That's all I got for a response. The picture isn't that great, but you can get an idea of how the flowers looked.

It's just so Texas; the flowers, the cows in the background. I love it. We also went to three softball games. Both of the girls play softball and Lisa coaches Asher's team while Mark coaches Cate's. Too bad they are not very involved parents eh? Haha...the girls did great, both got good hits and had a great time.

On Sunday we picked strawberries and even dug up potatoes at a farm! Well, Asher was the farmer of the bunch and used a pitchfork to pull up the potatoes and Lisa and I gathered them up to take home. It was really fun to be outside doing something with the family.

They also had blackberries but they were not quite ready to be eaten yet. Guess I will have to go back another time to get those. You can see here how the strawberries grow in rows on the ground. They are such a bright red when they are ripe that you can't help but taste test a few while you are picking. As Lisa said; it's a good thing they didn't weigh Cate and I before and after the picking session. We would have owed a lot more for our strawberries. I'm fairly certain I consumed more than I donated to the family box.

We ended the day with a trip to Coopers BBQ in Llano, TX. This place is amazing...check out the grill! You order the meat you want and they plop it on a tray that you take in to be weighed where you pay. If you want it with sauce they dunk in the huge vat at the end of the pit and then plop it on the tray.

Sunday night ended with a concert by Cate and Asher that included dancing and singing. Very entertaining I must say.

The girls are so fun to be around, I'm going to miss them when I leave for France. It's funny, it's not like I saw them very often when I lived here, but the option was there. If I wanted to make the drive I could do it, now it's a bit more difficult to visit.
I leave Thursday for LA to visit Jen, the first friend I ever made. We met when I was 2 and she was 3. We were neighbors in San Antonio. Can't wait to see her!! Hope everyone had a good Mother's Day.
Love you Mom!!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Houston and a dress

I have been back in Houston for a week now. So far most of my time has been spent with Cyr and friends going to dinner and catching up. I have not really spent a lot of time with my family, but since I am going to be here until June 2nd I still have time.

It's funny, I used to hear people talk about how cheap things are in the US, now I am one of those people. I just a conversion of what gas costs in Lille versus Houston. Gas/diesel fuel is sold by the liter and if you convert it to US dollars and gallons it comes out to...uh...$8.20 a gallon for gas in France right now. That is why they all walk and take public transportation! It's also why most of the cars are small and get like 50 miles to the gallon I guess. I also think clothes are cheaper here too.

Speaking of clothes...I bought a wedding dress!! Once again I have confirmed that I am buyer. I typically know what I want and then just buy it when I find it. I don't take 2 months to research things and compare the best price. I can't believe people will spend 3 months buying a car only to save $300. That's like 50 cents a month or something. So I went to Ventura's in the Heights thinking it would be super tacky but I wanted to take a look anyway. I walked in and sure enough, loud dresses and a few wedding dresses. Then a woman says; "oh no, our wedding section is in the back!" She takes me into this HUGE room with nothing but wedding dresses. It was really strange to pick through them. I pulled 6 and tried them on. I narrowed it down to 2 and held them so my Mom could help me choose. Both were beautiful, but I went with the first dress I tried on which was also the first one I pulled. The second was gorgeous and was beautiful on, but I felt like I was playing dress up. I'm not a princessy type of girl, so the beading and shiny things looked like it was made for someone else. Both my Mom and my Aunt Mary (who cried, awe!) agreed; the dress I chose looks like it was made for me. I also bought my veil. There were a few other girls there trying on dresses when I was there. They all looked like they should have been dressing for prom as opposed to a wedding. So young!! It was so fun trying on dresses. Makes you want to get married more than once. To the same person of course. :-)

This weekend I am going to visit my cousin in Kerrville and get some good Texas time in. I'm also going to try to find shoes and am hoping to visit my new cousin Colton as well. I was so sick I didn't want to expose him to the petri dish of germs I probably had all over me last week.

Cyr left on Saturday to head back to Lille. Sunday I went with a friend to an Astros game and had a great time. I cried during the National Anthem, ate a hot dog and sang during the 7th inning stretch. It all felt so American. In a fantastic way. Being back makes me miss Houston a little. It really is a great city, you just have to work a little harder to find things to do here. Not like Austin where fun is right in your face and you just stumble over great things to do. I'm not ready to come back just yet though, I'm really looking forward to getting back to Lille and speaking more French.

My friend V's house was struck by lightening and the house along with both of their cars were completely destroyed. Currently the family is in the process of moving into a rent house and trying to buy clothes and things for the kids (two boys age 3 and 5) to wear to school and other items needed for everyday life. Thank you to all that have emailed me to ask about how to help out. Right now they said the easiest way to help would be in the form of a gift card. If you would like to help, just email me or post and I can send you an address you can send a gift card to. Anything from groceries, clothing, home depot or even gas cards I'm sure would be welcomed. Thanks to everyone for offering help. I hope none of you are ever in her position, but if you are just know that people do come together to help.