Fidelity Cards Make Me Travel for FREE

Posted by Analyse at 3:39 PM

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

I have always been a fan of fidelity cards and I love the advantages. I have 3 active cards:

1. Lufthansa Miles and More where I'm a Frequent Traveller (silver member). Since Lufthansa is a member of Star Alliance group, I could earn miles even if I always travel with Thai Airways. My cumulated miles could get me 3 round-trip tickets to the Philippines. But well, I still need to wait before I could use them.

2. KLM Air France Flying Blue where I'm an Ivory member (Skyteam member). Since I seldom travel to our US sites, I hardly cumulate points. But Frenchguy's raking quite a lot because of his frequent stops in the US. We already travelled to the US for free. We even offered a vacation to La Reunion (French Department) to my SIL, for 4 person! Not bad, right?

3. SNCF Grand Voyageur where I have the très grand voyageur status. It's a fidelity card offered by the fast train network here in France (and some parts of Europe). And just like the previous fidelity cards, this one is also a member of a big group, my favorite supermarket included. So I cumulate all the s'miles (that's how they call their point system) in one card and enjoy the advantages at an accelerated pace.

I just ordered 2 round-trip train tickets for my coming vacation this Saturday and had them the next day at my mailbox. Efficient! Free! And mind you, I just saved 180€ in just one click.

In fact, my OB Gyne discouraged me to take the car for a 6-hour drive so we decided that Frenchguy and Louna take the car (since we have quite a lot of stuffs to bring) and I take the fast train. At least I could change position, walk from time to time, and travel time would be much lesser. That's cool.

That is to say, I'll be on vacation starting this Saturday. For two weeks. So this not-active blog will be much less active in the coming weeks. Ciao!

PS: Check out my 7th Month Update at Ma Crèche Privée.

He Did It

Posted by Analyse at 9:47 PM

Monday, July 28, 2008

Frenchguy finally hit the start button. He officially debuted his triathlon dream last Saturday at the Lac des Settons (~100 km from Dijon). An hour, 29 minutes and 28 seconds was the time he took to finish a total of 500 m swim, 21 km bike and 5 km run - pause to change accessories in each step included. Not bad for a debutant. Well, at least he wasn’t the last one to arrive and Louna was overly proud of his Papa.

Swim - At the starting block, Frenchguy lost among the participants.

Bike - Frenchguy aiming for the dangerous curve at the last uphill slope before the finish line – bike category.

Run - Arriving at the finish line with Louna (notice the cumulated time on the right side of the finish line). She joined her Papa around 5 meters away from the finish line. She was then interviewed by the announcer to which she willingly replied.

Next destination: Hawaii, USA for the Ironman Triathlon Challenge (just dreaming, lol).

More pictures below (click on the icon to access the album):
Triathlon Lac de Settons

A Tragic Death for a 3 Year Old

Posted by Analyse at 2:10 PM

Thursday, July 24, 2008

I was listening to the morning news on my way to work yesterday and I was again caught by this disturbing incident seemingly propagating like a plague across France. It's the 3rd incident I heard in less than a year.

A father forgot his daughter inside the car leaving her for a day under the scorching heat of the summer sun. The little girl died of dehydration. Worst is that, the father left his son at school that morning, then drove his way to the nanny's place to leave his daughter. He passed infront of the nanny's house but did not stop. He continued driving till he arrived at work. At midday, he took his car for a quick lunch nearby without noticing his daughter. Afternoon came and his wife called him up to check if he already fetched their daughter as she's not at the nanny's place. The father then realized that he forgot his daughter inside the car. He quickly ran to his car only to find his daughter dead.

Such incident would surely change a man's life for forever. I wouldn't like to blame or to judge that father. He surely didn't do that on purpose. Who would, anyway. I would just like to share the story to all moms and dads out there. To warn them that such incident could happen. Be careful with your little ones. At that age, they're not capable to open cars yet. And with car security measures nowadays, they couldn't open it anyway. And to those who see babies and toddlers left alone inside the car, that they call proper authorities for intervention.


Sunday Getaway

Posted by Analyse at 9:35 PM

Monday, July 21, 2008

Summer is timidly starting here in Dijon and it starts to be tiring. Though I already arranged our winter clothes, a pull-over each morning is still a necessity. So each time a sunny weekend is announced, we make sure that an outdoor activity is planned.

Arnay-le-Duc was the chosen destination this weekend (~45 km from Dijon). The initial plan was for Frenchguy to debute his career as a triathlete. In fact, he just bought a road racing bike which he wanted to test but unfortunately not delivered this weekend. The seller lent him another one which evidently was not customized to his size. So he half-heartedly abandoned the plan and contented himself in watching the participants.

To those who, like me, are not into sports at all and have no idea what triathlon means, it's simply a ...swim, bike and run kind of sport. Easy for me to say but imagine this: you swim 700 meters in a lake at a temperature around 21°C, then bike a total of 24 km with of course an up and down slope, then run 5 km up to the finish line - with a quick halte at a common platform where participants change, take or leave their bike and other accessories related to the activity.

It was an interesting triathlon watch as we were able to observe the experts. In fact, after swimming, they just remove their overalls and caps, then slip on their bike shoes and off they go. Just before arriving at the platform, they already removed their shoes (right picture) so they just wear on their running shoes (most of them without socks!) without changing to their running clothes (right picture shows the champion that weekend. He's in fact France's champion - junior category). A stop at the platform only takes them a few seconds!

Loads of professional racing bikes at the platform, each probably averaging to 2000€! Frenchguy suddenly felt tiny with his undelivered bike, lol. But he's a neophyte afterall and not seeking for national competition.

I was teasing Frenchguy because he planned to swim without the overalls (meaning he would consume all his energy just by swimming alone), then change from swimwear to his biking clothes (which he bought the day before!) and finally, change from biking clothes to his running shirt and short! And why not add the Ipod to the package while we're there, don't you think so?

Well, he learned a lot of tactic and he would surely be more prepared when he finally debute his triathlete career. In the meantime, he still needs to wait for his bike, lol.

During those time, Louna had only one objective in mind - play with the water. She was able to persuade me to dip his feet into the lake (swimming wasn't in the initial plan so I didn't bring anything). Then seeing that she would eventually soak her skirt, we removed it before any accident happens. But the playful kid finally end up wearing but her undies.. so she went home with her skirts.. without her panty!

On Pregnancy, Maternity Leave and Everything that Goes with It

Posted by Analyse at 2:38 PM

Friday, July 18, 2008

Third Trimester Ordeal

The curse of the third trimester started to hit me.. real hard. Sleeping pattern had been a sort of lottery. Sometimes I win (which means I sleep well). Most of the time, I lose. I was like a walking zombie at work yesterday so I asked Frenchguy to sleep on the other room last night so I could sleep better. Lo and behold, I had a relaxing sleep and I was on a better mood this morning (which didn't last till this afternoon).

But even sleeping presents an inconvenience. I'm obliged to sleep on one side (preferably left side.. but I'm used to sleep on my right side :( and with the weight of the baby bump, I end up having backaches. All that cumulates with the baby actively kicking me, the shortness of breath, leg cramps, and all the inconveniences that go with pregnancy that even writing this entry already makes me tired.

Birth Classes

I already started birth classes, to at least sooth the pain, but that one hour session of sophrology only gave me.. but one hour of relaxation. And since I'm not that much of a fan of yoga and zen stuffs (because I'm a cool person by nature), I didn't really appreciate the benefit that class offered me.

Aqua Gym

So I do aqua gym on my own with a small dose of jet massage from time to time. This exercise really relaxes me. It gives me a moment of calm and lightness, a moment where I commune with my baby without feeling the inconveniences. But I couldn't stay floating on water eternally, lest I want to transform myself into a mermaid.


All these feelings of fatigue leave me intellectually and physically drained. I lost my usual energy. I'm a result-oriented person. And a stubborn one. I hate leaving things half done. I've heard that the big boss jokingly recounts how he's incapable to chase me out of the office because I wanted to do a lot of stuffs before my maternity leave. But that would most probably change. I start to be more convinced that I'd leave sooner than I wanted.

I started transferring my projects to some of my colleagues. With a heavy heart. I hate starting something and leave it half done. Yes, I already said that, alright. But that's how I feel. I don't take engagements lightly, and that's causing me problems at times.

Maternity Leave

I'd be on vacation August 4-15. But I've always told my boss that I'd be back and would try to work till end of August. If I would follow the old system wherein expecting moms are obliged to take their maternity leave 6 weeks before D day + 2 weeks of pathology leave, I should normally stop on August 8.

With the state of fatigue I am in right now, I'm afraid my OB Gyne wouldn't allow me to work till end of August and force me to stop earlier. The bump is heavier by the day. I've checked my first pregnancy pictures and my current bump size corresponds to my 8th month, Louna time. And geez, I'm only on my 6 and a half month of pregnancy!

New Experience

I've written that second pregnancy is a sort of déjà vu. But what I'm experiencing right now is totally new to me. I'm a strong woman – never sick, could adapt to any kind of environment, never cries. I hope Frenchguy believes me when I say I'm tired and not take that as an alibi. He's not used to hear me complain about difficulties of pregnancy. But it's been 2 weeks that I'm in a bad mood so please, don't force me to smile when I don't feel like it. Got that?

Innocently Sweet

Posted by Analyse at 9:17 PM

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The doting Maman had just chronicled some of her sweet Louna's innocent remarks at the Crèche Privée. Read it here.

Less Vacation Time for the Frenchies?

Posted by Analyse at 8:14 PM

Thursday, July 10, 2008

June to August is a very busy period in France. .. Errr, I mean, the Frenchies are busy with their vacation. But not for long. A new reform has been adapted recently to pass from 218 working days per year to 235 days !!!

Ano daw?

Well, to be clear, let's take my case. I'm on a daily rate. I'm not subject to the famous 35 h/week rule. I work a lot more than that. And I'm not paid for overtime. But I have a flexible time. I manage my time. I could start at 9am and finish at 7pm on one day. Then work 8am to 3pm the next day. As long as I finish my job as planned, then no problem.

With this system, I enjoy a total of 36 days of paid leave for a 218 working days/year distributed as follows:

- 25 days Congé Payé - paid leave
- 1 days Pont Payé - Normally taken once a legal holiday is situated on a Thursday, for example, to have a longer weekend. Additional day which we could actually take anytime.
- 2 days Congé d'Ancienneté - linked to length of service
- 8 days Réduction de Temps de Travail - declination of 35h for employees on daily rate

With the new system, it seems that we have to give up our RTT and some official holidays if we want to keep the 25 days CP! To think that they allowed encashing RTTs to boost the buying power just this year! What would happen to that? How could we encash RTT this fiscal year, for example, if we won't have any?

Let's say we would increase the productivity of industries and all the other sectors with this measure, would that also mean increasing the salary of employees since we would be working more? Or better yet, daily rate employees pass to hourly rate and we tax the companies for overtime?

Hmmm, strange that I haven't heard any possible strike/rally regarding this matter. Is it because the main victim of this measure is at the executive level and nobody cares because most work more than the legal number of hours anyway?

Hay buhay. But if this measure could really boost the economy, then go, even if it only answers to the question of productivity and counters the measure on improving the buying power. Let's give change a chance.

She's Biking!

Posted by Analyse at 10:35 PM

Saturday, July 05, 2008

I'm a proud mom. Please bare with me. I just can't help it. Every little bit of new skill is chronicled in this and Louna's blog. Well, only parents could probably understand me. Know what? My daughter just learned how to bike on her own! See her live here.

Not My Lucky Day

Posted by Analyse at 9:54 PM

Thursday, July 03, 2008

I was in our Paris office last Tuesday and Wednesday and I think I had the unluckiest day among my travel days. After work, me and my colleague headed to the RER station (metro train serving the outskirts of Paris) to go to our respective destinations. He's headed back to Dijon and me, to my hotel. Taxi wasn't an option at 5pm. Too much traffic. Metros are more efficient.

Not that day. Apparently, a metro employee was agressed the day before and they decided to go on a surprise strike. It was a hot day and there were no taxi available. I was stranded for over an hour. (Well, I was able to work with my laptop nevertheless).

Arriving at my metro destination, I thought the hotel was just a kilometer away (I checked their website before), so I thought, a bit of walking would surely do me good. But after an hour of being stranded in a not-so-cozy place, all I had in mind was a cold shower, a quick dinner and a wifi connection to send the emails I prepared during the wait.

The one-kilometer walk became more or less 3 kilometers and the tired and impatient yours truly started to get irritated. Arriving at the hotel, I quickly reserved the taxi for the next day and a table for dinner that night.

7:30pm. Pronto. I was already sitting at the restaurant, alone, sipping my heavenly fresh-squeeze orange juice. I thought This should be a quick dinner, I still have emails to send before I doze off. I checked the menus, 37€ minimum for a complete dinner. Not bad. But I need to do it quick and anyway, I have less appetite when I dine alone. So I just ordered for the main meal and dessert. I should have known it's a chic restaurant. And when they say chic, it means loads of protocols (and less quantity, of course). And the protocols led me to finish my meal at 9:30pm!

Next day, Wednesday, I was already waiting for my taxi at 8:30am (I was hoping to be able to work before the seminar starts because the goddamned wifi at the hotel didn't work!). And the taxi arrived 15 minutes later because of too much traffic jam. The unlucky day continues.

Arriving at home, I tried to connect again to wifi, and hélas. Still, it didn't work. And since I already prepared my emails on my laptop on my way to Dijon (on the train), I hated the idea to re-type them all over again on our home pc. Kainis.

It turned out that it was my laptop which had a problem that's why I didn't have wifi connection. Hay naku, gusto kong sabunutan yung computer technician because of that. Hirap ng buhay buntis!