Saturday, October 29, 2005

Winner of "The Name Bilbo for a Day Contest"

The results are out early! The suspense was killing us! Plus, we won't be here on Monday.

Dear Readers:

Bilbo was thrilled by your response to his contest. And I was surprised that his blog entry received the most comments since C'est La Me's inception. Well, dear readers, I hear you and it is our goal to give you what you want! I'm happy to announce that there will be plenty of more Bilbo to read and talk about! Having received many submissions, I found it difficult to choose just one. So, despite my prior comments about "the best of" contests, I have decided to use the same format in this contest (which means that Bilbo will be called each name for a one-hour period throughout the remainder of the day). Now, for the contest results:

For the Most Original and True to the Halloween Spirit Category: Bilb O'Lantern. The runner-up in this category: Bil-Bat. The bronze level: Grebbleshis (although, I'm not convinced of the spelling. I think it means: hee bee gee bees in Dutch?). In fourth place: Satanic Miaou, and in fifth place: Pumpkinmiester.

For the Sweetest Name from My Niece Meagan Category: First place goes to Flores (because your Mom loved the Flores family so much growing up!). Second place: Bubba; and third place in this category: Phyllis (even though it's a girl's name and Bilbo is a boy!)

For the Most Bizarre Name from My Niece Erin Category: Shaniqua (again, this seems like a girl's name, Bilbo is a boy.)

For the Most Disturbing Names from My Nephew TJ Category: Crispy (and, I can tell you, he doesn't taste good fried, Uncle Fred experimented with Tempura batter and Bilbo's tail. You know the French, they'll eat anything! I have to get all my French jokes out before I go there! For my French audience, please don't be offended, my jokes are only directed towards Fred, not all French people).

For the Not Halloween Appropriate Category: Tournee du Chat Noir

For My Personal Favorite Category: La Petite Croute (the little scab!)

For Bilbo's Personal Favorite Category: My Owner Needs to Get a Life (although, it did hurt Fred's feelings, he is a bit crazy about Bilbo, I know!)

Friday, October 28, 2005

Serendipity or Black Magic?

With Halloween fast approaching, I was getting concerned that I wouldn't find the proper costume. A pirate? Maybe, but poking an eye out seems so permanent. A witch? No, I could be that any day of the year. An elf? Fred may not let me change back! A space alien? Tom Cruise could kidnap me. Just when things were looking dire, a Halloween miracle happened of such proportions that it would make just about anyone believe in ghosts, goblins, and the Great Pumpkin! I was transformed into Rod Stewart in just under 2 hours. Although I had shown my new hair stylist some pictures of how I would like my hair, she clearly could sense the stress I was feeling over my costume and saved me. She sheared my locks into a very smart shag, bordering on a mullet, and gave me some brassy not-so-strategically placed, and rather wide, streaks. Luckily for me, I've also been fighting bronchitis over the past few weeks and have developed a raspy Stewart-esque singing voice. I really have no idea what I did to deserve such good fortune, but I'm genuinely thrilled with my costume!

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Did I Marry a Scientist or Scatologist?

Fred came home yesterday complaining that the lock on the handicap bathroom at the lab didn't work. It was hard to keep a straight-face given the irony, but I know how important this issue is to him so I listened intently. In France, the stall doors are floor-to-floor and wall-to-wall, just like Nordstrom's. And although Fred has assimilated very well to our primitive way of life in the U.S., the bathroom door has been a concept he cannot accept. I suspect it may be the reason we are moving back to France. Fred detests using the "regular" bathroom at his lab because he says that his coworkers peer through the one-inch gap to see if someone is in there. For a country where people frolic on the beach naked and accuse us of being puritanical, I find his modesty a bit curious. I think he's paranoid, which I guess constitutes a disability, so in the end, he is entitled to use the handicap bathroom. Not so ironic after all.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Tara Reid Ruined My Honeymoon


Fred and I honeymooned in Biarritz. We had such fond memories of the several days we spent there -- eating at tasty restaurants, experiencing the relaxing benefits of thalassotherapie, window shopping in fine boutiques and local shops, lounging and sleeping in. Now, our sleep will be marred by nightmares of Tara Reid. We had the misfortune of watching "Taradise" on E! TV. I knew that I should have leaped for the remote control as soon as I heard her show was up next, however, I was hoping to catch a glimpse of some of my favorite sites and perhaps pick up some tourist tips for our next trip to the Pay Basque. My mistake. Instead of visiting local eateries to sample authentic poulet basquaise or tasting the region's wine offerings, Tara sat on the beach drinking Foster's (uh, it's Australian for beer, Tara) and sexually mauling every Rugby player, police officer, and mammal in sight. She is a very scary lady (I mean female). I had always thought we'd return to Biarritz someday to relive our honeymoon. Who knew it would be to perform an exorcism of Tara Reid from our thoughts? Visit Biarritz at http://www.tourisme.fr/biarritz/

The Rock doomed me…

[Foreword: Dear Readers (aka, mom), you are in for a special treat today. I am thrilled to announce that after days of prodding, Fred agreed to prepare the following piece for C'est La Me.]

Today, I decided to go watch a highly intellectual movie: Doom featuring The Rock. For those who don’t know him, he is an ex-wrestler who was featured in great movies like The Scorpion King, The Mummy Returns, The Rundown, and Walking tall -- a list of potential Oscar-winning roles that likely made Russell Crowe throw a telephone at his publicist for not securing him the lead in these movies.

After arguing with Amy for 2.5 seconds to see if she wanted to join me, I took the car and drove to the theater alone. After getting my ticket, I decided to get a soda and candy. I got a medium Diet Coke (I'm watching my carbs) for $3.65 and realized that it was still probably half a gallon of soda (viva America)!

The movie was released only 3 days prior so I arrived 20 minutes early as I thought that I might have trouble finding a seat. I guess that not everybody was thrilled by this potential blockbuster since only two other people were in the theater. Since I am social person, I decided to sit the farthest I could from them to have some space and peace and quiet.

The good thing about the movie theaters in the U.S. is that you have a lot of leg room; I can tell you that the theaters were not designed by Airline engineers. Twenty minutes later, more people showed up. It is amazing how sometimes you can feel like a cow attracting flies. Although the room can fit 200 people, the crowd of 20 flocked to me. Maybe it's a survival thing. They were just trying to get warm, the air conditioner was in full-force.

The movie finally started. Let me try to explain the complicated plot to you: a bunch of scientists on Mars decided to do some genetic research on humans and things went a little out of control so they sent the Marines to fix the problem. I love when they make the scientists the bad guys, maybe if they were paying us more we wouldn’t join the dark side…oops, sorry I was getting a little personal here.

Don’t you hate people that talk during movies and don't you feel that they always tend to sit near you? Behind me were three teenagers who were talking about what they thought might happen next. After 30 minutes, one of them said: “I think that somebody is going to die.” And of course, somebody died 5 minutes later making the teenager very proud of himself. I was thinking: “duh, you are watching an action movie, what did you expect it’s not like you predicted that Bruce Willis was dead in The Six Sense?" Anyway, I watched the whole movie, and I won’t tell you the end except that the hero wins and the bad guy loses. It is not a great movie but I am an easy viewer and an easy viewer is like a cheap drunk you don’t need a lot to enjoy what you are consuming.

Monday, October 24, 2005

The Crust of a Tree

Here it is just 5 weeks before we depart to France and I can barely pronounce my new last name, let alone introduce myself or ask where the toilet is in French. As always, Fred has come to my rescue. After months of promising ourselves that we would only speak French at home, Fred has jumped into action and taken it upon himself to identify and teach me important French words and phrases to ease the sting of my transition. For example, today he taught me how to say "écorce", which means "tree bark" (or his English translation, "the crust of a tree"). He also taught me "Elle pète plus haut que son cul". Translation: "She farts higher than her ass". Translation: "She's full of herself". I have no idea what to expect when I arrive in France if these are the key words that Fred feels I must know before we leave, but I'm picturing a bunch of stuck-up French women passing gas in trees.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Around the World in 6 Hours . . .


I enjoyed a wonderful dinner last night at one of my favorite San Francisco restaurants, Plouf (http://www.ploufsf.com/). "Plouf" means "splash" - like the noise made from skipping stones. I love the ambience, as much as the food. It's located in a small alley in a row of restaurants that is adorned with miniature white Christmas-style lights.

At the table next to us was a group of French people chatting away. It was exciting, yet scary! I realized that soon this experience would lose its novelty and become my life. The melodic murmur of French diners soon would be an overwhelming reminder that I am a foreigner struggling to learn a language and a culture that are not my own. As I sat across the table from Paula, making jokes and catching up on life, I realized how much I will miss my life here - my friends, my family, my assuredness, my ability to express myself. I know these things will come, in time.

On the BART ride home, I continued to think about what awaits me in France: the difficulty of making jokes in a foreign language, understanding cultural references, and eating horse. As I pondered these thoughts, little did I know that Tom Cruise and Fred were experiencing the very same thing back in Walnut Creek! When Fred picked me up, he greeted me with "Konnichiwa, Watashi wa Reverdy Frederic" ("Hello, My name is Frederic Reverdy").

I thought it odd that my husband was introducing himself to me as a stranger (actually, I had no clue what he was saying); however, he explained that he was in the process of learning Japanese, inspired by the struggles of Tom Cruise in The Last Samurai - which he had just finished watching. I knew Tom Cruise had inexplicable cosmic powers (I mean, he did get Katie Holmes pregnant), but were they really strong enough to reach through the T.V. screen and teach Fred Japanese? Is this just the first step in Tom Cruise taking over my husband in an effort to gain the French citizenship that he so desperately wants (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/8545431/)?

I'm a little worried, as I fear Fred just may be susceptible to the teachings of L. Ron Hubbard, he does like Dungeons & Dragons. Don't worry, I'll fight hard for him! Tom Cruise is no match for me (I'm certainly taller and probably weigh more!) Stay tuned and sayounara!

Halloween Contest ~ Your Chance to Win ~ Enter Now!


No, not the kind of contest from elementary school where your fellow students voted on the "scariest", "funniest", or "most original" costume! I hated those contests, probably because my mom always threw my costume together last-minute. Like, in first-grade, when she sent me to school dressed as a prostitute (she basically dressed me up in her clothes . . . wait, that didn't come out right!) and, another year, when I went as a trash bag (she took a Hefty bag, stuffed it with newspaper, and cut out limb-holes. She also taped KFC chicken bones to the outside, which was really scary because dogs and homeless people chased me all the way home from school).

The Halloween Contest that this blog is hosting is "The Name Bilbo for a Day Contest". The winner will receive the rare opportunity of renaming Bilbo Dixie for Halloween Day. He is a little black cat, after all, and he does have fangs that protrude from his mouth. He's also missing his front tooth, which is kind of scary.

Here are the rules: You have until 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, October 27 to post your submission in the comments section of this blog. Fred, Bilbo, and I will review the names over the weekend and vote. The winner will be announced on Monday, October 31 by 12:01 p.m. (but, we'll start calling him the winner's name when we wake-up.) If you are not contacted, that means you didn't win or I forgot.

The prize is a $50.00 donation made in Bilbo's name (yes, Bilbo's name, not the name he will be using for one day - he'll deserve some recognition after surrendering his identity) to the San Francisco SPCA. In the interest of full disclosure (and because contest rules require): I'm taking the tax right-off.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Speaking of Peter Pan . . .


I live in a fantasy world! Day after day, I peruse French real estate websites (this is one of my favorites), imagining myself as the Madame of the Chateau (not that kind of madame!) directing my help on how to poach my breakfast egg just right . . . okay, not really. But, I do picture myself there, directing my help (Fred), okay seriously, I do picture myself there enjoying wine, cheeses, and the good company of my wonderful friends and family (the wonderful was meant to modify friends only, just kidding, family, I'm short on material this morning!). I've attached a couple of my favorites, one near Chablis, the other near Burgundy (a complete coincidence that they are both located in wine regions - although, it does please me!) Both properties have cute little guest apartments too! Fred reminds me that buying a vacation home is not a practical investment, considering we don't own a primary residence. But, I thought all Parisians had country homes?!? I knew things would change as soon as I agreed to move to France. He's already depriving me the necessities of life ; )

Burgundy: http://www.real-estate-in-france.com/002Bburgundy.htm

Chablis: http://www.real-estate-in-france.com/001Bchablis.htm

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Back from Never Never Land!


Peter Pan is making a come back, and I'm not talking about a movie! Yesterday, at the Levi store in San Francisco, I noticed a dark brown suede boot on the counter. It looked familiar to me (because I used to have a pair -- in junior high!) I recall dancing the night away in them to Dead or Alive's "You Spin Me Round" at Knott's Berry Farm's Cloud 9. I've attached a similar pair, in black, on eBay, of course! These boots have caused a real dilemma for me. I'm in the midst of unloading what I considered out-of-style crap in anticipation of our move. I already dumped (I mean generously donated) a ton of stuff at the Goodwill when we relocated to the Creek. If I had only saved my velour knickers (real knickers, not GAP pedal pushers, or British panties - real ones, the kind that fastened at the knee and poofed out a bit, Oliver Twist-style), I would have shown those Parisians that I had real style and flare! Those damn boots are making me rethink every ugly garmet that I hold up as I contemplate the "donate" or "pack" pile!

Monday, October 17, 2005

Coach or Cargo?

Over the weekend, our cat Bilbo received his Delta Deluxe Pet Carrier from Amazon.com. According to the AirFrance guidelines, Bilbo is slightly over weight -- by a pound or two. He must be 11 pounds (with his carrying case) to ride with us in the plane. Over the past few weeks, we have tried to slim him down through a strict exercise regime of throwing toy mice bathed in cat nip across the living room. We've been as successful as getting him to exercise as I have been getting me to exercise! Let's just say he doesn't have a broad attention span. After a few tosses, he quickly retires to the comfort of his bed (See Exhibit "A"). I have visions of the fat American and her fat cat deboarding in Paris, fulfilling all the stereotypes. Interestingly, although not surprisingly, AirFrance has stricter weight guidelines for pets than the U.S. airlines. Perhaps Bilbo should take up smoking, that may help him slim down.

Exhibit "A"


Bilbo . . . thinking of losing weight. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Six weeks . . .

Fred and I are moving in six weeks. I can't believe how quickly time is passing. Luckily, most of our items are packed; however, there still is a lot to do. Most importantly, we want to spend as much time with our friends as possible. Tonight, we had dinner with Meriem and Dimitri, the couple who introduced us. We barbequed (we're trying to get as much in as possible, as we suspect we won't be doing much of it in Paris). Meriem suggested bringing a hibachi grill with us to France. Dimitri did not think it would go over well with the neighbors. Fire hazard. Eventually, we'll have to get one as Fred is looking forward to cooking hamburgers and hot dogs for all of his French friends. Having been in the U.S. for five years he's learned to enjoy many of our customs, earning him the nickname among his countrymen as "le Americain".