Monday, November 30, 2009


Well, last week was crazy, just like everyone's week I'm sure. We went to San Antonio to visit friends like we always do. And it was great, as usual!

My Mom and her friend Kathy actually did the stake out thing for Black Friday. For those of you who are not familiar with this day of consumption; Black Friday is the Friday after Thanksgiving Thursday and is typically the biggest shopping day of the year. By this I mean that more people go shopping on this one day than any other day of the year. Because of this, stores often have one day sales on items with crazy low prices. The trick is that they only carry a limited number of these items, so if the Wii is on sale for $149.00, they might only have 50 of them, so you gotta get there early. Well...Mom and Kathy did just that.

The Target: Nintendo Wii for $149.00
The Store: HEB Plus
The Plan: Get there early and be aggressive
The Players: Susan's Mom and best friend Kathy
Rooting on the sidelines: Susan, at home in bed wishing them the best

The store opens at 5am, so the girls arrive at the HEB Plus at 4:30am with 30 minutes to spare. When they arrive they estimate that there are actually about 300 people ahead of them and others are pouring into the lot to stand in line.

They have grocery baskets tied together to form one long aisle that snakes back and forth to keep the people in line. Once in line they hear announcements asking everyone to "please remember to remain calm", "remain in a single file line" and "there will be only one entrance open to the public and there will be no running once these doors open." I picture them having lavender incense to calm the nerves and playing Enya over the loudspeakers, but that could be a slight exaggeration.

After listening to a woman state to Kathy "I should have just come over here after the game last night" and being absolutely serious about this, 5am finally arrived. The doors opened and people walked in an orderly fashion to the entrance. Once inside the doors the speed walkers come out in force all heading to the electronics section. A slight frenzy of wide eyed fully awake men and women search for the special items they have come for. Mom and Kathy see the Wii display! They rush up to it, sick arms through holes and pull out one Wii each! Success I say!!

I'm sure it was a bit anti-climactic to stand there with Wii in hand, no blood having been drawn, no threatening words having to have been thrown around. Maybe the sounds drowned out in their ears and they heard silence...or...they started looking around and finding toasters for $5, cameras for $50 and other great things!! They did however report a wounded comrade. A woman was heard crying and talking to security because a man took her Wii out of her basket! The security guards then offered to have her identify the man and said they would get her Wii back for her. No news on if this happened, I wish her luck though.

So that and 2 extra pounds on my hips was Thanksgiving. Again, I didn't actually go on this adventure, but I almost feel like I was there. :-)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Friends in Epinal

The second stop on our tour, after Nancy, was Epinal. Epinal is a really cute city just about an hour south of Nancy. The hour flew by, it seemed so short compared to the painful trip to Nancy. Next time we might have to just find a place just outside of Paris to regroup. Although I really did like Nancy once we got there.

But I digress, back to Epinal. Cyr's best friend lives here with his wife and new baby. You can see here Martin with his little girl, Julietta, swaddled to his chest. Can you see? I looks like he has a big growth, but it's just little Julietta snuggly tied onto her Papa so she keeps warm and feels secure!
I can't believe I didn't get more pictures of the baby...but she will show up in later posts once I get Cyr to send me a better picture of her. In the above photo we were walking (hiking in the US) up a big hill to get to an old fortress that is still standing. While walking along I saw a sign that said "Parc des animaux" and I thought, "oh, they must have little statues or something." Well. They actually had animaux!
I really thought some kid was going to get his/her fingers eaten off by these pigs. They were pretty agile even with all that fat on them!
I think these were Alpacas. I was told they were not Llamas and that's all I can think of.
And Bambi of course!
Then we walked around and saw what I am sure is where women who wear short skirts or Daisy Dukes buy their bread.

Get it? Hoochie?!
And here is where women used to wash clothes for the men-folk. We actually saw TWO of these! I don't know if it was a very clean town or if people still use them, but this one was covered so I think I would go to this one. Yes. I would go to this one and supervise while some man did my wash for me. It would have to be a very small man that I could bully into it, but I might be able to find one...

If you notice there is a little Virgin Mary at the back. I think it's there so that the woman could immediately ask for forgiveness when they were cursing the fact that they were born women or that their men were so dirty.

I also thought it was quite interesting how the city was built. Here we have a very old church and right up next to it is a shopping area. Check out how they are almost fused together. Now the church is older than the shopping area, and there is a tunnel on the left side of the photo so you can walk through (the church wall, not the photo) to get to the other side of the church or the shopping area. My only guess is that there was a building there before that was replaced. Odd though eh? I mean...where does the property line end and why did they put the windows behind the church wall?!

To end this post I'll show you are friends walking ahead of us down from the main fortress area. The large columns used to support a bridge that went across the gap there. I have to say, I thought it was a really cute little town. I also really like Martin and his wife. They live so simply. They eat healthy foods they buy almost daily, they don't own a car and walk everywhere (we did have to help them buy and bring home a fridge, but once that is over they are set), they live in a really cute apartment where they can walk into town. Makes me want to simplify.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Halloween Break!!

Ok - do plan to continue with the Tour de France blogs, but really wanted to post some of the pictures of our little Halloween Gathering we had!! I really didn't think people would show up, but they did.

Here is my darling husband and I. He was a cowboy, complete with bolo tie, hat. a big buckle and jeans tucked into his boots. I was a Germain Bar Maid. Or maybe St. Paulie's Girl. I bought this dirndl when we were in Munich and have been counting the days until I could wear it. It was so fun!

Here are the Grim Reaper and a Sexy Vampire;

Dorothy was there too..

Even Cleopatra stopped by with some friends!

The one in black and white might look like a nun. In fact she was "A Bad Habit" (harhar!) with a stickie of curse words and a drink always in her hand. :-)

Anyway...thought those were fun to share. There were a lot of others that showed up, but I didn't get pictures darn it.
Hope everyone had a good Halloween! We made sure and kept Duncan (our all black cat) inside and hidden away from creepy people who might want to harm him. So we all made it though the weekend with only a slight headache on Sunday to remind us of it. Not to mention about 5 lbs. due to all the candy and cupcakes I ate...

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Fancy Nancy

Dear Continental,

What ever did I do to you? Why hast thow forsaken me?! I am not quite sure what I have done to deserve to always, and by always I mean the last 4 flights to France I have taken, be sat in a seat that has a broken television, but I am sorry. I am truly sorry. Maybe it was that time I accidentally left a 1/2 a dozen used tissues in the thing that holds magazines. I was really sick and I actually just forgot. At least I put them in the barf bag and didn't just let them sick up the Sky Mall! I shudder to think what you would do in revenge for me spreading my germs not just within a bag made for puke, but in the seat back and onto the magazines. I just hope this public display of regret will find it's way to your little, cold, aerodynamically shaped heart and allow me a functioning entertainment system the next time I fly overseas.

Hugs to you Continental,

Ok, so now that that is out of the way I can get on to talking about our trip! Our flight, other than the 1/2 broken tv, was fine. It must have been our row, Cyr's only got 1/2 the channels too. He actually watched Ice Age II without the sound. There is a man with an imagination I tell you.

When we landed in Paris at 8:30am we marched our sleepy drunk (drunk from no sleep, not really drunk and about to drive) selves to the rental car place. The computer was down, so they couldn't tell us actually what we were going to be charged, but she is sure that it will be the same as on our receipt. Bien sur! Being the risk takers we are we decline the extra insurance and head out to find out little Citroen that will be our part time home while in France.

We then begin to drive to Nancy. I believe Nancy is about 3 hours from Paris. I say "believe" because we hit the road, got into a little morning traffic, then headed out. About an hour into it we needed coffee and a break. We stopped at a little roadside eatery thing. Those of you who have been on French highways will know that there is a gas station and typically a real restaurant thing near by. I get a cheese plate and a coffee, Cyr opted for an apple tart and coffee. I had to use the rest room of course. There I was greeted with the cutest little potty in France! It was right next to the baby changing station and was just for itty-bitty-butts! I took a picture but not sure if you can tell how small it is. You can see the little cleaner by it and those are usually about 2 foot tall. I wanted to put something next to it to show it's size but I wasn't about to put my purse on the ground in the rest room. Ewe, you will just have to use your imagination. Cyr thought I was nuts to take a picture but I just had to. :-)

We then get back on the road.

About an hour and half later I ask him; "how much further?" It says on the GPS but it seems odd we are so far. He taps expertly on the little gps making it blink and hop from screen to screen. How he knows that things so well amazes me. Then I hear; "Aach." then a "mumble, mumble" and maybe a "bordel" thrown in for good measure. Well friends, while we were taking our little break we wanted to be safe so we took the GPS in with us. Somehow it got all tapped about. Well, it had changed routes and was taking us to Lille. We had driven about 45 minutes out of the way. Please remember that this is after a 9 hour plane ride where Cyr got about 3 hours sleep and I didn't sleep at all.

I couldn't be angry, and I wasn't. I was however not a very patient or understanding person by the time we got to Nancy. I mean to tell you that I would have gotten out of the car and physically assaulted someone if they would have gotten in the way of our getting to the hotel.

Once we actually got there it was great. Here is a shot of our hotel room. High, high ceilings with crown molding, check out the door, it's put in at an angle. Odd eh?

The pictures of the room were taken on Day 2 of the trip due to sleepy irritation the day of arrival. I know you are not supposed to, but we fell into bed and had a good 3 or 4 hour nap. It was so tasty...but not as tasty as this:

Beer and fondue. Oh yeah. Welcome to France. Tune in next time for some animal fun!