Monday, August 31, 2009

I want to wear all black and dance with my eyes closed...

Last night Cyr,two of my cousins and I went to see Depeche Mode. It rocked. I could end the post here!

I don't know if you are a fan of Depeche Mode, or even if you know who they are. But I can tell you that I was all kinds of into them, The Cure, NIN, Violent Femmes, even Pet Shop Boys, OMD, Erasure, New Order and really anything you could dance to. So going to this concert I was wondering if everyone at it would be around my age (that would be mid to late 30's) and if any young people would be there.

Let me tell you...this thing was better than the airport! There were old people in skimpy clothes, young pale thin people wearing the white t-shirt with skinny black jeans outfit, stoners, a guy with a Dungeons and Dragons shirt, preppy people, it was all over the board! Cyr and I were out there representing the "we have real jobs but are still cool without being arrogant" crowd. It's a big statement but I think we got it.

The really strange thing was being able to purchase beer legally this time. You mean we don't have to sneak hard liquor from our parents bar or go buy Boon's Farm Strawberry Hill from the seedy guy that will sell to us?! Killer! It was nice to catch a whiff of the throw backs smoking clove cigarettes and witness the interpretive dancing of the cool kids. It made me want to go to Numbers here in Houston and see if the old gang was still there. Sort of. I mean, I kind of like my memories the way they are. I think I might be disappointed to see if everyone turned out to be consultants who cover up their tattoos and drive sensible cars. I like to think that many of those people actually did end up in music or dance or film (maybe they changed their names so I don't recognize them) or something like that.

I used to go dancing 3 nights a week when I wasn't in trouble with grades or for doing something stupid. Most of the time we didn't even drink, we just loved the music. We didn't have cell phones, we never called to see where someone was or who would be there. We just showed up and hung out with whoever walked in. Heck, we didn't even know how to get in touch with most of the people we knew from the club. We came home late, smelly with sweat and a film of cigarette smoke so thick it would discolor your bedsheets if you didn't shower before sleeping.

Looking back it was a great time. I don't want to go back though, I like my memories the way they are. I have a lot of good ones and enough bad ones to make me cringe every now and then so that I don't forget to try not to repeat stupid mistakes. It was nice to hear the music and walk (or dance) down memory lane. It was even nicer to dance back into reality and sleep with my husband in our home that we now have together.

Ewe...that was a little sappy. Sorry about that. Don't worry, something funny will happen soon that I can write about. I'm sure of it.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Immigration Work

Well, I knew it would come. The day I actually took the time to see what it will take to get Cyr a Permanent Residency Card so he can work here without a visa. He is on an L1 with his French based company right now. Don't get me wrong - his job is great and he doesn't plan on leaving it, but we need to get him set up so that if something happens with the job he can legally stay here since he is my husband. Right now if he looses his job we have to head back to France. Hey...maybe I should hold off on this thing now that I think about it...

I called the US Citizen and Immigration Services to see how to proceed. Turns out it's a little different because we were married in France, so technically we are already married we just have to file a bunch of things. So...I actually have to file that I have a "relative" that I would like to bring into the US. That sounds so strange, a "relative".

So there are about 6 forms to fill out, fees of around $2,500 when it's all done and then we wait I guess. The lady told me we don't need an attorney, just to file all the paperwork. I'm trying to take it slow. I printed out all the forms and all the directions for the forms and have them organized. The next step is to actually start filling them out.

The truth is I hate paperwork and filing and things that require me to check up on them. I like to do something and be done with it. This process will surely turn into a huge monster and I'm not looking forward to it. Cyr will have to do most of the paperwork, but I know I won't be able to keep from taking charge. I just have that pushy personality that I think if I don't get involved it won't get done right. So be prepared, over the next few months I'm sure you will all hear bout how crazy this process is!

Feel free to post any tips if any of you out there have done this before! Remember...I'm American, he is French and we got married in France and we are living in the US with him being here on a work visa.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Work Redemption

Well, we made it back from Florida unscathed. No hurricane, not even any rain to speak of actually.

Turns out the meetings went really well. I think I even received a little work karma. One of the people I presented to responded to my "Thank You" email with the following:

"On a personal note…as I meet and work with many people from many companies I must say you personally provide an aura of energy and positive vibes that I rarely see in individuals…and you do an excellent professional job in your work…it was very much a pleasure meeting you and hope everything works out well!"

Get out-a-town man! I have to say...I was so flattered it was hard to not forward this to everyone I work with. Is that bad? Is it wrong that I want to parade my compliments around like a set of perky boobs and flat abs? I was, in fact, able to contain myself and only forwarded it to the person I presented with. Of course, he does own the company, and he did forward it to the rest of the group. Alas, I also posted it here, on the internet for all the world to see. Ewe...I think I'm done now. I have officially overdone my prideful display of a compliment.

I better be careful or my good work karma will bite me in the butt with the "pride" thing. That may have already happened actually. I mean, I have not heard if we won the deal yet...

The past weekend was great, Cyr and I just hung around the house, watched movies and relaxed. I also discovered that Duncan is shedding fur like crazy. It's like he is actually molting or something. So now I'm trying to brush him once a day to remove the hair in an orderly fashion as opposed to having black hair flying around the house. I hate it when there is a nice ray of sun pouring in a window and just when you smile and think; "Ah, the sun, how beautiful!" you see floating hairs and dust and think: "Ah, the sun, it shows me how I need to dust!" Poor Duncan, he's a little behind for the summer shedding thing, it's been hot here in Texas since March or so. Guess his little body is still on French time.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


Well, lucky me landed some meetings in Fort Lauderdale, Florida!! We came over Monday and had an hour to actually go down to the beach, it was so nice. The water is warm, the sand is white and the sun was out. There were also lots of surfers out there as the surf was up pretty good. I played around in the water but after about 10 minutes of being beaten to a pulp I decided to sit on the sand and feel what it's like to relax in the sun. I almost forgot. It was as good as I remembered. The only thing that could have made it better was if Cyr was with me. And I was naturally a size 6 but able to eat and drink whatever I want...

Yesterday we had two meetings. I think they both went well. I didn't say anything stupid and no one asked me to get my head out of my ass (see August 11th post). That's always a good sign isn't it? The second meeting was actually kind of funny. The woman who was meeting us brings us to her office. She tells us she will have work coming up she would like our resources to help out with. I tell her we don't have a contract, she tells me to send her one and we should be able to start in about a month. She ends the conversation and we leave. 15 minutes. No kidding. If this deal closes it will be the fastest deal in the East! She knows our resources so she feels good going directly with us for the work. She's also (as you might be able to tell) a no-nonsense kind of person. Very nice, I think you could even say "friendly" but not into small talk. I like that. You know where you stand.

So today we have the morning free. And today there is a hurricane coming to the area. Just when I thought I could get some fun in! At least we had the hour on Monday, that was good. So now we are trying to get back to H-town prior to the natural disaster that is potentially heading our way makes landfall. Wish us luck!

Friday, August 14, 2009

My Clean Colon

Not to get too graphic here, but Cyr and I went on a "cleanse diet" for three weeks. No, I did not talk him into this. Yes, he wanted to do it!

A good friend of mine did this and was talking about it when we were out with her a few weeks ago. We decided that maybe we should do a little detoxing ourselves. Now I know these things don't work. I have read many studies and seen the BBC "Truth About Food" episode where they take tests before and after a "cleanse" and the after results are just like the before. Only the people loose weight. To be honest I am not concerned about having a toxin free body. I'm concerned about being a little too heavy right now. So I say "Yeah baby, let's do this thing."

This, I can say, might also be another reason I have not blogged in a while. I have been in a bad mood for about three weeks. This cleanse thing involves taking all kinds of fiber pills and green seaweed pills and vitamins. It's 21 days long and you can't eat meat for the first 10 days. You can only eat fruits, vegetables and these protein shakes that you can add frozen fruit to. No bread, pasta, sugar or salt. You can eat 1 serving of lentils a day and you can have sea salt, just not regular salt.

You are also supposed to try to eat only organic foods the entire time. Being as I am not Bill Gates or a Rockefeller we did not adhere to the "organic only" portion of this cleans. Which really probably means I ate more pesticides during my cleanse than I do normally now that I think about it. So I would make trips to the grocery store and buy things I have never purchased before, come home and look them up on the internet to see how to cook them. I would buy things that I thought sounded good like acorn squash, or butternut squash. We also purchased a food processor! You laugh...but I have used that thing 3 times in the last 2 weeks and Cyr has used it a few times too! I wonder how long we will continue to use it though...

My favorite was the butternut squash soup and the eggplant babaganouch which is pureed eggplant, garlic, tahini and olive oil. Apparently I don't like to chew much. So anyway, we came out the end of this me a 11.4 lbs lighter and Cyr down 15 pounds! My goal is to keep 6 of it off. I am rather certain I have gained back 4 but am refusing to get on the scale. Denial ain't such a bad place you know...kinda nice.

The diet was hard though. We both became a little snippy. We actually once got into an argument at the grocery store. It went something like this:

Me: I need to get some lentils, they are over on this aisle.
Cyr: I don't want to go into the aisles because I don't want to look at what I can't have. I get frustrated. We can only eat the food on the outside of the aisles, the fruit and vegetables.
(He, bless his heart, only listens to hears the second part of my sentence.)
Me: I need to go get the lentils.
Cyr: I told you I don't want to go into the aisles!
Me: Grow up!
(continue as if listening to two children argue.)

Poor guy was so traumatized by all the fruits and vegetables in his system he couldn't bear to be even close to carbohydrates! I was also short tempered so I didn't much help the argument. We actually ended up laughing, but we were serious for a while there!

My advice to anyone looking to "cleanse"? Take a shower.

Just kidding, I actually feel great. I hope I can keep up all the veg a fruit eating. I also learned how to cook some good healthy meals. Not too bad, but really really not fun at all. One cool thing, Cyr and I each had two beers the other night and that was all we needed. I knew that diet was good for something...

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Where my head is.

No, I'm not going to talk today about what I am thinking or how centered I am, or even about how I bailed on the blogging for a while. Instead I would like to talk about a sales call I had a few weeks ago that makes me smile when I think of it. I'm even smiling right now as I type this. It's one of those crooked smiles with a nasally "Humph" attached to it at the end.

So I started this new-old job about 2 months ago. I say new-old because though the job is new, as in I just started working for this company, the job is in fact old because I have done this job with these exact people at a different company. The great thing is that this new company is the cream of the crop of the last place. So it's the smart folks, the ones you trust, the ones that you are (fairly) sure they won't be looking for every opportunity to screw you out of something. Plus I'm good at it. I know the industry and who the creeps are, what to watch out for, how to qualify a lead and how to close them to become my client. It makes me feel good to be talking to people and dressing up again.

After a few weeks on the job I was able to book a meeting with a potential client that everyone at my company has had a hard time with. He is a no-nonsense guy who makes quick judgments about people, is extremely self assured and has a lot of influence with the software vendor (which he no doubt likes very much this power). He is also the decision maker of what company gets to do their software implementation. Well I want that to be us of course. So we go to his offices for a meeting. It's me and one of our Partners who is technical.

We get there early, get everything set up for the meeting and the Partner turns to me and says:
"This guy really likes you. I can see that he likes working with you."

I am excited that he has seen this and my chest sticks out a few more inches. Which doesn't hurt the sales presentation I tell you...

The "guy" in question has left the room so we can speak freely. He had to get something from his office and said he would return in a few minutes, so I am to watch through the conference room doors to see when he returns because he might need me to open the door to the area to let him in. He doesn't have his security badge.

Not 5 minutes after The Partner has told me how much this guy likes me, the "guy" walks in, points at me and says:
"YOU need to get your HEAD out of your ASS."

I think he is joking.
"Oh, you caught me, we aren't working right now."

I'm also shocked, I can't recall ever being asked to remove my head from my ass. I also note that I actually don't seem to have my head up my ass. I know this because although I am not sitting on the most comfortable chair in the world, I'm not particularly uncomfortable and I can see him clearly. I am sure my vision would be impaired in the "head up the ass scenario", but I see him fine.

"I have been waiting at that door for 10 minutes. I made so much damn noise that a person down the hall heard me and had to come let me in."

"No shit sir? A thousand humble pardons!!"

Ok, that's NOT what I said, but it did cross my mind. I actually apologized, I could not believe I didn't see him through the glass, across the waiting room through the other door. I am also a bit shaken, so when he poses his next question I don't really give the best answer.

"So, I don't have time for you to do your sales pitch in this meeting so just tell me why I should use your company as opposed to the other one."

"Uh. Because you like me? Well, you used to. You see, I'm really a great person and the people I work with are great and you would be just an idiot if you went with those other losers. Trust me on this Sugar-Bear, I have hear stories that would make your chin hair fall out."

Ok, I didn't say that either, but I wanted to. I actually stammered, gave some newbie answer then The Partner jumped in. I spent the rest of the prep time trying to blow it off and pretend I wasn't upset. The meeting went well, we showed them we were smart. Then we left.

I asked The Partner about it a few days later. His response:
"Really? That didn't even register on my radar. I thought he was pissed at you for giving a short sales pitch during the meeting when he asked you not to."

Damn...whoda thunk?! I spent the next two days trying to figgure out which I should be upset about; the missed door thing or the 5 minute pitch to tell the group the name of the f-ing company I work for and what we are here to accomplish today.

To bring you up to date:
It has been decided that I will be upset about neither one of these things. The truth is that I don't know if I want to win this deal. Ok that's a lie, of course I still want to win it, but if we do I hope I, along with our project team, can manage to keep our respective craniums out of our rectal areas for the duration of the project. If we loose it then I don't have to worry about it.

Is that the work-version of kissing a frog?

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Are you still there? I have taken a little break. Ok, I flaked. I became, for a while, one of those people that you can't count on. One of those people that says "We should do something for your birthday! I will plan something!" Then 3 months after your birthday that same person says "So, what did you do for your birthday?" I don't want to be that person. So I'm back. Planning your birthday. Really I'm just blogging again...

I have decided to return!! I am going to log my first re-entry into the blogsphere with something I have been promising for a long while; pictures from our Honeymoon in Egypt. Yea!!

I was married last October in France to my wonderful French husband. Then we got transferred back to Houston. We had not taken a vacation, so we packed our things in a container to be put on a boat to sail to Houston. Two days after the container left France, we set off for Egypt for a week. The interesting part for me was that it was through a French tourism agency. It came with tours and guides and everything. Since it was French all the guides spoke French and the people on the boat spoke French. By day 3 I would walk down the hall and people would say; "Ah. Yew ah zee American no? Bonjour!" No kidding...even the staff knew who I was. I would typically manage a shy "Oui. C'est vrai. C'est moi." Translated; "Yes, it's true. That's me." Closest I will ever get to being a rock star.

But no more are a few pictures. The first one is our boat. Ok, it's not really our boat, but all mostly look the same so I thought I could pass it off as ours. They raft up next to one another about 5 deep and when you get off your boat you have to walk through other boats until you get to the land. Very interesting. It was a little old, but we didn't mind.

Next we have the Philae Temple. Now you know my secret to knowing where the heck the pictures were taken! Seriously...though they really were all different and had unique things about them, I could NEVER remember the names of the places we went.

The temples were so large it was mind blowing. The carvings were also done like 5 inches deep into the stone. It was just crazy! Some even still had color on them, but my cynical self things that things might have been touched up a bit...

Cyr taking a photo...

Arc of the Covenant.

Not really, it's something else but I can not for the life of me remember what. Isn't that awful? Sorry to all you Egyptian artifact buffs.

And here we are next to a huge granit statue. Yea, they had granit. Not found anywhere near where we were...but there they were, these huge statues. I really have a hard time imagining these places being built by mere human hands. I know they took hundreds of years to complete, but it just seems an impossible task.

And here we are, the happy couple...

So to end this post I will tell you 10 things I learned while in Egypt.

1 - The French really do eat everything with a fork and knife. Even even apples (cut with a knife then eat portion), oranges (peel with a knife), and dates (use both knife and fork). Learned on the boat of course.
2 - You can take the girl out of Texas, but you can't take the Texas out of the girl. I ate all the above fruits and other items with my hands.
3 - Don't sit on the high-pressure-suction-toilet when you flush. I never made this mistake after we felt the change in cabin pressure while flushing. That thing was serious.
4 - I thought Cambodia was a poor country. Egypt seems even poorer.
5 - Sometimes it's ok to pay an extra dollar for something. The person selling you things probably needs it more than you do.
6 - You get the best price on things you don't want.
7 - It is hard to travel in Egypt as a single female. I don't mean "not married" I just mean alone. Cyr would walk across the room and 3 men would be on me asking me questions and calling me "Gazelle". I traveled 6 weeks in Thailand and Cambodia all alone and never once felt as uncomfortable as I did in Egypt at times. Not all the time of course, but the markets are harsh.
8 - You have no idea what the term "hard sell" means until you go to Egypt. These people are relentless. You must develop a tough skin and be firm. If you do this you can have one of the best vacations in your life. If you don't you will be angry and frustrated ever time you leave the boat.
9 - It was one of the most beautiful places I have ever been and I can't wait to go back.
10 - If you are scared to go to Egypt don't be. I would suggest going on a river cruise if you are nervous about it because you have the guides that will help you and you can roam around alone if you choose. I encourage you to go and spend your money there. I still have some perfumed oil I wear and get compliments on it every time I do. I also don't think it's a very "kid friendly" place and was always surprised to see tourists with children there.

It was an amazing trip. Next time I want to cross over to Jordan and go to Petra.

Oh, thanks for the emails from you folks out there who check in every now and then. I'm alive and well in Houston. But I'm back in the world of blogging!! Until next time, Assalam o alaikum (Peace be upon you).