Saturday, December 22, 2007

What a difference a year makes.

So as it turns out, not only did we finally move into our dream apartment, but we managed to sell our not-so-dream apartment for a handsome profit in record time for this time of year--less than 3 weeks. After meeting our real estate agent to sign the sales paperwork we went over to the French In-laws for a quick mid-week celebratory dinner. OK, since the real estate agent’s office is near their house, I invited myself over for dinner and champagne because A.) David’s mom is an amazing cook, B.) I am too lazy to cook, and C.) I will use any excuse to drink their champagne and they always let me.

Anyway, so this nice surprising end to 2007 got me thinking. Maybe instead of feeling bullied by my “to-do” list I should look back over the year and make a list of my accomplishments. Drumroll please.

Madame K’s Triumphant List

of Achievements 2007.

1. I dissed Gwen Stefani in BUST magazine’s international issue and managed to get a lot of hate mail, but also ended up meeting a new friend out of the deal.

2. I did a better job of getting out and seeing local galleries and exhibitions and ended up finding there were some decent things going on in my area. As it turns out Eastern France isn’t the cultural wasteland that I thought it to be.

3. My little decorative painting business really blossomed into a full blown business complete with a fat client list and repeat buyers. I stopped calling it “my little side gig” and started calling it “the thing I do that pays my student loans”.

4. I chopped off all my dead hair and went au natural. It was probably the biggest and coolest thing I’ve done for myself in quite some time, and it was totally worth it. I’ve never loved my hair so much and just been OK with it even on the days when it misbehaves. Plus I just think having hair that naturally defies gravity is kick-ass.

5. I spent a month at the Vermont Studio Center and had an amazing time working and meeting other working artists. Also, I survived the April snow storms like a champ.

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6. FrenchBoy and I took an amazing roadtrip to Montreal, Toronto, Niagara Falls, and then scooted over to Chicago for a few days before ending up in Indianapolis to see my momma graduate from college….for like the 4th or 5th time. It was great fun and we learned a lot. Mostly we learned that we are never taking another road trip in North America because the damn speed limit is to low.

7. One lovely weekend in May we met new friends Bruno and Annick while enjoying dinner at the lovely home of Jean-Jacque and Noelle. This was a real treat because FrenchBoy and I are such trolls and we have a hard time making new friends.

8. Dude---we went to Poland! And not only did we have an really really extremely lovely time seeing Banana Rama live, we witnessed Kelly’s marriage proposal to my good friend Kasia. Magic!

9. We went to Paris again finally and saw Kara Walker’s retrospective at ARC/Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris.

10. My work was in a show at a gallery in Luxembourg and got invited to a fancy 4th of July party at the American Embassy.

11. After 2 years of weekly classes, I finished teaching three lovely ladies English. I miss them dearly of course, but it’s at least some comfort to know that I am responsible for helping 3 people learn to speak a new language. Dude, that’s awesome.

12. We finally moved into the Barbie Dream House. And since then I’ve been out of my mind with glee while walking the streets of Metz.

13. And last but not least, FrenchBoy and I celebrated our 4th wedding anniversary over sushi.

Hmmm. Not bad 2007. Not bad at all.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Tag, you're it.

Tracy Helgeson tagged me on my other blog like....10 days ago, but I'm happy to repost it here as well. Ok, here we go:

5 Things you don't know about me:

1. I was born in Pella, Iowa, a little dutch colony which oddly enough was the childhood home of Wyatt Earp. Each year they hold this insane Tulip festival to celebrate their Dutch heritage or something. My parents were students at Central college at the time I was born. And in fact I am supposedly the first Black child to ever be born in the city. My birth made the newspaper and little old ladies from town came to sneak a peek at me. Or so the legend goes. *rolling eyes*

2. I’m crafty! This is probably true of mosts artists, but I am really good at…just making stuff. I sew handbags, make jewelery, decorations, pillows, table cloths, and soon I will try my hand at doll-making. I made the above bag years ago. I still think it's adorable.

3. There are 2 things I've always wanted to do: I always wanted to learn to play the guitar. (I’m actually adding that to my to-do list for 2008. ) and I've always wanted to write and publish short stories. I've always been a writer, but I've never published anything. I just finished reading Blake Nelson's Paranoid Park (can't wait to see what Gus van Sant has done with it!) so now I'm toying around with the idea of writing Young Adult or YA fiction. Being a grown-up is over-rated anyway.

4. I can’t draw. I mean I do it, but not well. In fact I’m pretty horrible at it. So much so that I thought I’d maybe try to do the NYSS drawing marathon to loosen up and learn how to do it again. I’ll add that to my 2009 to-do list.

Sol y Flores Para Liora, 1997. Juan Sanchez. Duotone Lithograph from photo plates with Collagraph from two sintra plates, acrylic paint, silk roses, Handmade Paper.

5. And last but not least: I really hated graduate school. A lot of it just had to do with being at a weird place in my life, but in general I found all but a few classes quite miserable and all but a few of my classmates quite intolerable. If it weren’t for a handful of good professors like Juan Sanchez and a few friendly buddies like Jeff Sonhouse and Tricia McLaughlin‎, I think I would have just packed my bags But alas I did finish.

And here I am.

Ok, that's it. And now I will tag these 5 folks:

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Where the hell have you been?

I've been in Metz. Between getting aquainted with my new city and doing Christmas preparations, I've been all over the place. Here's a photo dump of the last 2 weeks of my so-called life:

So it’s Christmas here! The whole city is lit up..... like a Christmas tree and frankly it’s wonderful. I will admit I’m mostly into Christmas because of all the foodz and eatingz of things, but the lights are pretty too.


Also I meet up with Mademoiselle R on Wednesdays for lunch and drinks and talking and wandering. It’s fun to have a wandering around town partner. Last Wednesday we wandered into a little local dive called Cafe Mathis. In the summer they have one of the best terraces in the city, but in the winter everyone huddles into their tiny location and lingers over drinks or lunch.



That particular day the locals were in rare form. The drunks at the next table were singing old French pop songs in between puffs of their cigarettes. I kept thinking, “Am I in a French film?” It was just that surreal, but lovely just the same.


After lunch and drinks I stumbled home, happy to be able to explore the world on foot and stopped to take photos of the extension of the Christmas market in front of the gare.


Hey, wait….

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nativity scene1

Crap! Someone kidnapped baby Jesus! (or perhaps the creepy cow ate him?)

Ahhh, yes the Christmas Market. Even after 2 cups of watered down “vin chaud” I wasn’t feelin’ it. Dude, what’s the big frickin’ deal? It’s just a bunch of over-priced crap you can buy at any time of the year. And I am most certainly not eating snails cooked and sold out of a little wooden barn.


Family Marche Noel

But whatever the French In-laws seemed to really enjoy it. And FrenchBoy is even adorable when he’s Christmas window shopping. (Check-out that pout!)

David Christmas fairy

Oh also---yesterday I was at Café des Arts and I decided to try the special “Christmas beer. It was good, but let’s be honest...

Christmas beer

It’s basically a marketing ploy in which bars use Jesus’ssss birfday to trick you into buying the same old beer with a teaspoon of cinnamon added to it, but for 3 times the normal price. But whatever that’s what you get when you’re a sinner and you get drunk for Jesus’ssss birfday.

And that about brings us up to present. More later!

Friday, December 14, 2007


On December 13th FrenchBoy and I celebrated our 4th wedding anniversary. Well, actually we have 2 wedding dates: one for the legal ceremony, and another for the religious ceremony, but for us, December has always been when we felt married.


david sushi

We didn't really have anything planned for the occassion, but at the last minute I got us dinner reservations at Osaka, the only good Japanese restaurant I know of in Metz.


It was a great dinner not only becasue the food was better than we expected, but because we spent time laughing and joking about all the stuff that we'd been through, the insanity that went into planning both of our weddings days, the 3 months worth of paperwork and translations, and most of all we talked about how fast the time has gone by. I know it's a clichee, but dammit, time really does fly when you're having fun. And I just gotta say, I love FrenchBoy more than the day we got married. How is that even possible? I swear it just gets bigger and better every day.

And now, for more delightful cheesiness, Wedding Photos!


I can't quite remember what my brothers and I were laughing about 2.5 seconds before walking down the aisle, but I vaguely remember a joke about them throwing me down a flight of stairs.


"I feel happy!"

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My DIY Bouquet that weighed 25 lbs.

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Each reception table was named after a character in Pulp Fiction (FrenchBoy's Favorite film). So naturally we named the children's table "Honey Bunny". The head table was named "Marcellus" of course.

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I have no idea why FrenchMother-in-law beat up the ring bearer and stole her 'lil pink pillow. I didn't see it, but I heard it was brutal. That's just wrong.

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My DIY flower arrangements complete with matching pink jewelry.

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Nothing says I love you quite like matching titanium.

I look pretty here, but my teefs look gi-normous! Be careful, I may bite you.


"Here kids. Take these bubbles and then go somewhere and shut the f*ck up and don't ruin my wedding reception. Thanks.

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Doesn't FrenchBoy look exactly like his Nanna?

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French Father-law tryin' to look hard with his dark shades....eventhough he cried like a baby through about 50% of the ceremony.

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This is what happens when you put me and my 2 brothers in front of a camera together.
Just for reference. Right: Marcus, Left: Antonio. Center: Drunk Bride.
"If we smile any harder, our faces will break and the pieces will fall into our champagne."

So for those of you who are rolling your eyes and sighing at all the wedding cheese. Listen. After selling my one good kidney to pay for the photos and the dress, you're damn skippy I'm gonna whip the wedding photos out any chance I get. Hell, I'm still working on how to wear the dress again. Seriously, Pamela Anderson has nothin' on my bosoms when I'm wearin' that dress baby!

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Aaah, good times.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

And the winner is...

Can someone explain to me how we got this far into the week without talking about Sunday night's Miss France competition?

Ok, fair enough, maybe not many of you actually watch this show, but it’s totally your loss. You can learn more about French history and culture from watching the Miss France competition with a group of French people than you could learn from every article on wikipedia combined. Dare I say it’s...educational?

Now, before I can go any farther, I have to brag that I actually picked Ms. Reunion as the winner before they had even gotten to the semi finals.

I believe when I saw her strut down the runway for the first time my exact words were:

“That b*tch is in it to win it!”

And win it she did.

Besides learning a little bit of history about all the departments I barely knew existed, I got a chance to hear all the different accents from all the regions of France, see traditional costumes of the regions, and best of all I got to hear FrenchBoy’s family comment on each and every girl and the region they represent. You can’t buy that kind of edu-tainment folks.

My personal comments:

Ms. Guyane and Ms. Guadeloupe had it goin’ on!

Ms. Rhone-Alpes walks like a drunken horse.

Miss Pays de Loire needs a Big Mac.

Miss Paris has zero rhythm.

Don’t believe me? Judge for yourself. And please watch all the way to the end for the fake lip-synching Black gospel choir and the descending drag-queen angel.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

My So-called Blog.

Yeah. I haven't been blogging. *snort*

I think the whole moving thing really is alot more disorienting than I had realised. We've been in our new home three weeks now and I still can't manage to keep any type of schedule! This of course is disasterous for an organizational control freak like me. I mean, I can't even seem to wake up at a regular time each day. I've even cut back on the cocaine and the drinking and still I can't seem to get it together. Some days I'm up at 7AM and other days I manage to turn off my alarm in my sleep and then wake-up at 8:30AM completely disoriented.

I don't know what it's like where you live, but here it gets dark at 4:30PM and the sun comes up shortly before 8AM. Folks, that's a whole lot of night-time. I'm sure my disconbobulation is all related to my need for more sunlight hours, so Frenchboy is getting me this for Christmas:

Hopefully the fake early sunrise will help my brain chemicals or something. If not I will say f*ck it and become a vampire because as an early Christmas gift I bought myself this:

and this...

Laugh if you want to suckers, but vampires rock and at least when the weather is too cold to leave my house I won't be stuck watching dumb-ass French television. Seriously. You can die from watching the Dukes of Hazzard dubbed into French. Fatal I tell you. I meanb--these people still watch Starsky and Hutch for Christ's sake! Desperate times call for extreme measures, and thus---Buffy and Angel to the rescue.

Oh, Oh! And speaking of Christmas....


Can you tell I'm excited?

In fact she's coming for Christmas AND New Years. I will have her for 2 whole weeks. And I think she may even be an ordained minister by the time she gets here.

That's right folks, that means that if you happen to be in our neck of the woods from Christmas Eve until the first week of January, she will be available for all your baptism, marriage, and exorcism needs. Plus she's really affordable. You can even pay her in champagne. (No Crémant accepted please.)

Oh Oh Oh and speaking of my family---my mom recently became a grandma for the second time. Look at this cute lil bugger.

His name is Landyn Antonio. Or as his father calls him: "L.A." And he's mad fly sitting in the "Boppy" I bought him. I want to send a special Thank You shout out to my youngest brother Tony for making this baby. Landyn's arrival assures that my mom will stop pestering me about when FrenchBoy and I will make an ungrateful little crumb-snatcher of our own.

Let's see what else. Christmas in Metz, yadda yadda yadda and a quick shot of the Christmas Carousel in Centreville. I want to get drunk on "vin chaud" and ride that thing!

With any luck I will talk French boy into riding on it with me later this evening if we go to the Christmas market. But chances are slim. He's a bit tuckered out from doing 6 holes of golf in the pouring rain this afternoon. (A+ for effort sweety. D- for timing.)

OH OH---yesterday I ate my first bûche de Noël . One down, only 49 more to go untill I reach my goal for this year of 50!

p.s. I was joking about the cocaine and the drinking. I would never cut back on my drinking.