Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

Well here it is, turkey day, my absolute favorite American holiday. I miss the cranberries, the gargantuan turkey, the pumpkin pie and all the food fest favorites. Most of all I miss the idea of getting together to be thankful. The world is not an easy place to be in for so many people in the world, some are fighting to live another day, some are praying for a day with no bombs, some are hoping they'll manage to keep it together a little while longer... Watching the TV news is just depressing and scary, I often wonder what kind of world we'll have in the future.
We have not been doing all that fantastic over here either. Though I love my job, I am having a really hard time staying there.  I work for someone who never questions himself, never compliments and only criticizes, thinks the worst of people and the best of himself, nothing is ever ever his fault, thinks he knows all and knows better than anybody else, believes being a boss means working less and barking out orders, etc... Basically a narcissistic ass! It had started out so well, it's just a real disappointment, and being disappointed in people I believed in is just about what I hate the most in life. I love the customer contact, and  according to the comments left on the website they seem to really appreciate me too. You know me, I can talk to anyone! Also I am having (yes, again!) surgery on Dec 13th, no biggie, just my toe. But it'll have me away from work for 2 months.  The idea is to also stay off my feet in hopes of getting rid of this really bad tendinitis I have in my heel. Of course, having a job that has you running and stomping around isn't ideal. Either way, there hasn't been a single day without pain since my accident, some days are better than others, but EVERY DAY involves pain and often anger at my physical state. Of course I have gotten myself in a nice vicious circle, I hurt so I don't exercise, so I get fat, so I get depressed, so I eat, so I get fat, so I hurt more. Fun fun fun!
Chris is looking for a job as well as looking into opening a burger truck. Not just your standard burger place, the real American burger that we only see on tv here in France! Good fries, onion rings, pulled pork bbq sandwiches, salads and desserts, etc...  We believe it'll be a hit, the hardest part will be getting the project going and financed! However staying at home, seeing me work and hurt, the stress of it all is not easy for him, and I have not been the most patient person either!
Daniel is going to be 15 soon...13 days! How did he grow up so fast!!??  I know it's a typical mom thing to say at every birthday, but 15? Really? He is taller than me, his voice has changed, he is loud, smelly, doesn't know what to do with his body, his legs are getting hairy, he has muscle definition in arms, and most of all he is ALL the obnoxious! I mean bad! He has a built in natural authority repellent too. Oh! and totally bi-polar! He has tried twice to intimidate me with his size, puffed chest and all, you can imagine how well that worked out for him...
But here's the thing, despite the stress, the tension, the pain, the fears and the daily crap I get handed at work, I am thankful. Blessed really! I have a great relationship with Chris, my relationship with Daniel will get better as soon as his hormones and brain chemistry get back on track, I have a tiny apartment in one of the most beautiful places on Earth, four, count'em, four awesome cats, good health care, great family (cousins and all too!), food on my plate and all jazz!  Really, some would dream of having my life. So on a day like today, it is good to remember that I have it pretty freaking good! (even if I don't have any fresh cranberries...just sayin')
To all of you friends and family, near and far, I love you and I am thankful for your presence in my life.  All of you have influenced me one way or another and each of you has forever touched my heart. Thank you for that.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

I am also infected

This was on facebook, posted by a page called EXPOSING THE TRUTH. Now I have to be honest and say that sometimes I feel like calling bullshit on some of that page puts our. But this morning, Chris shared the post and so  opened it to read it. First reaction?? DANG! This is long!!! Often I turn around from my chair at my desk and just ask Chris to give me the short version of what a post is about. Ironically enough, I didn't want him to think I was too stupid or too lazy to read a long text so I stopped myself in mid-turn, clothed my mouth that was about to say the words "what's this about".  Funny I should behave exactly like what is described in this article. So yes it's big, a strain on the eyes and yes you want to read it skipping every other line. So do ctrl+ to enlarge your page so it's easier, and read ALL OF IT!!! You will recognize yourself in these lines. Maybe you'll feel inspired to be less perfect...I am going to try....

As a warning, the following post was written in complete desperation. I have recently learned some very sobering truths from people that I love dearly. These truths have set in motion a quest within me to do whatever I can to make a change. Today is not geared at funny. Today is geared at something greater. Read it to 

the very end. I promise you will be affected in a way you have always needed to be. I spent more than twelve hours writing this post because its message is that important to me.

I wonder. Am I the only one aware that there is an infectious mental disease laying siege on us right now? There is a serious pandemic of “Perfection” spreading, and it needs to stop. Hear me out because this is something for which I am passionately and constantly hurting. It’s a sickness that I’ve been trying to put into words for years without much success. It’s a sickness that I have personally struggled with. It’s a sickness that at times has left me hiding in dark corners and hating myself.

And chances are it’s hit you too.

What is the disease called ”Perfection”? Perhaps a list of its real-life symptoms will help you better understand it. We live in communities where people feel unconquerable amounts of pressure to always appear perfectly happy, perfectly functional, and perfectly figured. “Perfection” is much different than perfectionism. The following examples of “Perfection” are all real examples that I have collected from experiences in my own life, from confidential sources, or from my circle of loved ones and friends. If you actually stop to think about some of these, you will cry as I did while writing it. If you don’t, maybe you’re infected with way too much of this ”Perfection” infection.

“Perfection” is a wife who feels trapped in a marriage to a lazy, angry, small man, but at soccer practice tells the other wives how wonderful her husband always is. “Perfection” keeps people from telling the truth, even to themselves. My husband is adorable. He called me a whore this week because I smiled at a stranger. When I started crying, he said he had a game to go watch. I love him so much.

“Perfection” is a husband who is belittled, unappreciated, and abused by his wife, yet works endlessly to make his marriage appear incredible to those around him. ”Perfection” really does keep people from being real about the truth. You would have laughed, guys. She said that I suck at my job and will never go anywhere in life. Then she insinuated that I was a fat, rotting pile of crap. Isn’t she the best?

“Perfection” is a daughter with an eating disorder that keeps it hidden for years because she doesn’t want to be the first among her family and friends to be imperfect. She would give anything to confront it, but she can’t because then the “Perfect” people would hate her as much as she hates herself for it.

“Perfection” is when a son has a forbidden addiction, and despises himself for it. “Perfection” makes us believe that nobody else could understand what it is like to be weak and fall prey to the pressures of the world.

“Perfection” is a man who loathes himself for feeling unwanted attraction toward other men.

“Perfection” is a couple drowning in debt, but who still agree to that cruise with their friends because the words “we don’t have the money” are impossible ones to push across their lips.

“Perfection” is a mom hating herself because she only sees that every other mom around her is the perfect mother, the perfect wife, and the perfect neighbor. I’d give anything to be Mrs. Jones. Today she ran 34 miles, cooked six complete meals, participated in a two-hour activity with each of her seven children, hosted a marriage class with her husband, and still had time to show up for Bunco. What this mom doesn’t know is that Mrs. Jones is also at home crying right now because the pressure to be “Perfect” never lets up.

“Perfection” is a dad hating himself because he can’t give the same thing to his kids that other dads do, and then hates himself further because he takes his self-loathing out on his kids behind closed doors. You know what would have been nice? If you were never born. Do you realize how much money I’d have right now? Now come give Daddy a hug because I can force you to give me validation.

“Perfection” is a child hating herself because the boys at school call her fat, and when she goes home she tells her mom that school was fine. Her mom never stops to question why her daughter doesn’t have any friends, because her mom doesn’t want to think that anything might be less than “Perfect”.

“Perfection” is a man feeling like a smaller man because his neighbor just pulled in with a new boat.

“Perfection” is a woman who is so overwhelmed that she thinks about killing herself daily. “Perfection” makes it so that she never will because of the things people will think if she does. How could I make my suicide look like an accident? If I kill myself, I don’t want anybody knowing that I ever had any problems. She never stops to look at why she wants to do it, because healing means admitting imperfection.

“Perfection” is a man who everybody heralds as perfect, and inside he is screaming to be seen as the faulty human being that he always has been. Because to no longer be “the perfect one”, that would be freeing.

“Perfection” is a woman having an affair because she’s too afraid to confront the imperfection in her marriage.

“Perfection” is a twelve-year-old boy killing himself because he is ashamed that he can’t stop masturbating.

Stop, and read that one again.

There is a twelve-year-old boy buried 20 miles from where I sit because the “Perfection” that has infected the people around him infected him to the point that he deemed his own life worthless. “Perfection” pushed him to take his own life over something most of us would consider negligible in the life of any teenage boy.

“Perfection” is my friend’s cousin swallowing hundreds of pills because she just got the news that she was pregnant, out of wedlock, and the shame was too much to bear. She was only attempting to cause a miscarriage. 24 hours later, she closed her eyes and never opened them again. She is dead because of the “Perfection” infecting those around her. We’d rather you die than shame this family. Thanks for taking care of that, honey. By the way, we’ll do the right thing and make ourselves out to be the victims now. We have to. We’re infected with “Perfection”.

I could go on. This is all a small sampling of the disease called “Perfection”. You have brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, extended family members, neighbors, friends, and children who are ALL these things, yet none of us will ever know. “Perfection” is a hideous monster with a really beautiful face. And chances are you’re infected. The good news is, there is a cure.

Be real.

Embrace that you have weakness. Because everybody does. Embrace that your body is not perfect. Because nobody’s is. Embrace that you have things you can’t control. We all have a list of them.

Here’s your wake-up call:

You aren’t the only one who feels worthless sometimes.

You aren’t the only one who took your frustrations out on your children today.

You aren’t the only one who isn’t making enough money to support your lifestyle.

You aren’t the only one who has questions and doubts about your religion.

You aren’t the only one who sometimes says things that really hurt other people.

You aren’t the only one who feels trapped in your marriage.

You aren’t the only one who gets down and hates yourself and you can’t figure out why.

You aren’t the only one that questions your sexual orientation.

You aren’t the only one who hates your body.

You aren’t the only one that can’t control yourself around food.

Your husband is not the only husband who’s addiction sends him online for his sexual fulfillment instead of to you.

Your wife is not the only wife that is mean and vindictive and makes you hate yourself.

Why didn’t somebody, anybody, put their arm around that 12-year old boy and let him know that they loved him and would always love him? What was he being told and taught that he would end his own life over something that almost no teenager can control? Maybe that beautiful and wonderful boy would still be alive if even one person had broken down the “Perfection” that completely controlled all those in his life from whom he desperately craved validation.

Why didn’t somebody, anybody, tell a beautiful pregnant girl that there was nothing so big in life that it couldn’t be made right. Maybe that incredible young woman would still be alive. Maybe her now one-year-old child would be learning to walk or say “Mommy” right now. Maybe.


The cure is so simple.

Be real.

Be bold about your weaknesses and you will change people’s lives. Be honest about who you actually are, and others will begin to be their actual selves around you. Once you cure yourself of the disease, others will come to you, asking if they can just “talk”. People are desperate to talk. Some of the most “perfect” people around you will tell you of some of the greatest struggles going on. Some of the most “perfect” people around you will break down in tears as they tell you how difficult life is for them. Turns out some of the most “perfect” people around us are human beings after all, and are dying to talk to another human being about it.

You’ll love them for it. And you’ll love yourself even more.

Let’s not forget this quote: “I went out to find a friend and could not find one there. I went out to be a friend, and friends were everywhere.” Somebody who is being a friend doesn’t spread “Perfection”. Somebody who is being a friend spreads “Real”. Then, and only then, can we all grow together.

I am not perfect, nor do I want anybody to think of me as such. Here’s my dose of real:

I once stole a box of money that was meant for a child with cancer. There was more than $150 inside. That was 12 years ago, and I still hate the person in me that did that.

I believe in God, but not religion. It took me 30 years to find the courage to say that. It took me 30 years to believe that I could be a good man and still believe that.

I once got so angry at my wife that I hit the wall. The dent is still there, haunting me every time I see it because I never thought that was something I would do.

I once sat in my bedroom crying uncontrollably because I felt like everybody thought I was fat and ugly. I was a full grown man.

There are some people I avoid bumping into in public because I feel like I’m not as good as them.

I judge people harshly who share the same features that I hate about myself.

Sometimes I’m sad. Sometimes I’m not funny. Sometimes I just want to be alone. Sometimes I stay at home on a weekend because I just don’t want to see the “Perfection” going on around me. Sometimes I want to drop-kick a perfect person’s head across the room.

“Perfection” infects every corner of society. It infects our schools. It infects neighborhoods. It infects our workplaces. This is not to say that there aren’t a lot of genuinely, happy people. I am one of those people. Most of the time. There is nothing more beautiful than a person finding true happiness in who they are and what they believe. No, this is not me trying to diminish the happiness in others. This is merely me pathetically attempting to put a face on a problem that I see everywhere but few people ever notice.

This is me, weeping as I write, asking the good people of the world to find somebody to put their arm around and be “real”. This is me, wishing that people would realize how beautiful they are, even with all of their imperfections. This is me, sad and desperate for the girls in this world to love themselves. This is me, a very imperfect man, trying to help others feel a little more perfect by asking you to act a little less perfect.

Will you help me spread “Real”? Tell us below just how perfect you aren’t. You never know who might be alive tomorrow because you were real today. You never know who needs to feel like they aren’t alone in their inability to be perfect. Even if you comment as an anonymous guest, please comment. Tell us what you struggle with. Tell a sad or dark secret. Get vulnerable. Get real. Let’s see if we can get 1,000 people showing the world that we’re not defined by perfection.

And please, *please please share this post*. If you want the people around you to start being real, you have to be real first. If it’s your first time here, we’d love to have you follow us. I promise it’s not always this intense (or nearly this long). I’ll post something really funny tomorrow. Credit Dan Pearce Single Dad Laughing

Friday, November 2, 2012


Here is the latest picture of Daniel (most of you saw it on fb). 
This was at my cousin's wedding. 
For Daniel this was his first tie, first dressy shoes, etc.... 
He just looked so dang good, I have to share. 
He'll be 15 in a month, can you believe it????

Thursday, November 1, 2012

ok, so where are we at for this whole catching up session...?

Despite the pain I feel in my foot, I like to try and take walks with Chris. We may not go real far, but every minute is bliss. I mean look at how beautiful it is!!!

Chris and I still like to go to cemeteries, though after the death of one of my mom's cousin, I have had a hard time going back. These were taken before Pierre's death. In the spring, there are so many flowers.
is this not the most beautiful resting place ever??

great tombstone, mountain rocks and plants

with spring came our baby cows!!!

One day we went up to the top of the mountain to see these chamois. You can only go at sunrise if you want a chance to see them.

July 14th! We had great plans to go see all the city's fireworks from the fort, unfortunately we got rained on, I had to put away my (new) camera quickly

Summer time brings flea markets...and dolls!

In July we had a big bbq with all our neighbors and some friends. We were glad Donna was here for it...  It was also a good way to say goodbye to a couple of friends who left for a year long trip around the world.

The firefighters came to do some training next door. Donna was thrilled and found it really interesting, so I took some pictures for her. Not that I was complaining, some were pretty cute!!

of course you now know about Annie, she's got ALL the cute going on

Columbine (in the back) got very ill this summer, we almost lost her. It was just awful! after weeks of treatment, daily shots, lab work and a hefty vet bill she is all better. It was a close call and we were so relieved to see her get better.

We went to an outdoor classic car show in Aix Les Bains. I never get tired of this show, it's always so fun, we see lots of neat cars, talk to interesting people, etc....

So, we've lived here for 3 years and we FINALLY went to this church in a village nearby, we've known it had art in it, just never got around to going. We were not disappointed.

Did you know that there are crocuses in the fall too????  This is the village of Saint Hugues En Chartreuse, really nice village, I'd totally live there!

 Fall is here

It started snowing last week end (Oct 27/28), I'll post a couple of pictures later, we ended up getting a meter of snow! (that's over 3ft)

first snow

Just before the snow, I had a close encounter with a wasp. It was fascinating watching it for so long

YAY!!!! I do believe I am caught up!

As far as news from us go:
Donna was here this summer and unfortunately got really ill. We ended up staying home most of the time, she did manage to go to a couple of museums with Chris though, and luckily we live in such a beautiful place with lots of pure fresh helps.
Daniel started 9th grade (that is still middle school here). He is doing really well and seems to be more motivated than before...let's hope it lasts... 9th grade is an important year here, there are finals for a diploma at the end of the year. Here in France, kids are asked very early what they'll want to do for the rest of their life, I hate that. Daniel seems to be pretty motivated to be a steward. I think we might go for a professional high school so that when he gets his baccalauréat he'll also have had job training and easier access to being a steward. we'll see. Tastes change to the rhythm of a teen's hormones....
Chris is doing well, he is finally free from Harley and has done a lot to get through it all. he is now in the early process of developing his own business.
As for me, well I am getting foot surgery in December, on my toe to be exact. The idea is to also rest my ankle. The cartilage in my ankle is starting to chip away, I have osteoarthritis and of course being overweight AND having a job that keeps me on my feet don't help. Unfortunately there is little to do for now, I was told that I had to wait for my ankle to be in really bad shape before I can get some sort of surgery to "fix" it or for a prosthesis. Neat huh? ugh!!!
Yesterday Chris and I celebrated our 18th wedding anniversary. We've been through it all and yet our life together seems to be forever meant to  be.
Well here we are, all caught up! Glad that's done!!!!
All of you, family and friends, I miss you so very much and wish the miles didn't separate us so. Not a day goes by that I don't think about you.
Sending hugs your way...