Virtually real- Virtuellement vraie

Micheline Harvey: Virtual Assistant, real person/Adjointe Virtuelle, mais tout à fait vraie

Je suis vraie – I’m real March 15, 2017

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Je suis vraie

Je suis vraie, je ne sais pas être autre chose. Je ne connais pas bien les règles du jeu. Vous savez, ce jeu où il ne faut surtout pas montrer à quelqu’un qu’il nous plaît, où il faut demeurer distante, mystérieuse, évasive et floue? Ce jeu où il ne faut surtout pas rappeler le mec ou le texter trop souvent, car cela voudrait dire que je suis trop disponible, trop enthousiaste, trop facile?

Je ne suis pas facile. Mais si je m’intéresse à toi, et que j’ai décidé de te le montrer, tu as de la chance. Je ne m’ouvre pas à n’importe qui, et peu d’hommes peuvent capter mon attention, m’intriguer, et garder cette attention. Alors, si tu m’intéresse, je vais te le faire savoir. Je vais soutenir ton regard, je vais te sourire beaucoup, je vais te parler, t’écrire et te montrer qui je suis, incluant mes pensées bizarres, mon sens de l’humour un peu douteux, mes passe-temps étranges, tout!

Si tout cela te plaît, alors dis-le moi. Parle-moi, dis-moi comment tu te sens, sois présent, écoute-moi, appelle-moi, laisse-moi t’écouter, serre-moi fort, fais-moi rire, ne m’oblige pas à me demander ce que tu penses, ne me laisse pas me soucier de mes réactions ou des tiennes, ne me laisse pas me faire du mauvais sang et stresser sur le foutu jeu. Sois vrai. Si tu m’as charmée, tout ce que je veux c’est que tu sois vrai, aussi.

On ne sait jamais ce qui va arriver, court terme, temps partiel, long terme ou juste l’histoire d’un bel été? Mais pourquoi s’en soucier quand on n’a rien d’autre de certain que le moment présent?

On perd tellement de temps avec ce jeu. Et pourquoi? La vie est courte… comme ils disent! Il faut déguster la bonne nourriture, boire le bon vin, danser si on en a envie, montrer nos sentiments, prendre des risques, même si la situation semble compliquée ou sans espoir. Une véritable connexion est une chose beaucoup trop précieuse et rare pour la laisser passer!

***

I’m real

I’m real, it’s the only way I know how to be. I can’t play the game. You know, that game where you’re not supposed to show someone that you like them, where you’re supposed to remain aloof, mysterious, coy, and unclear? That game where you are not to call him back or message him too often, because that means you’re too available, too eager, too easy?

I’m not easy. But if I like you, and I’ve decided to show you how I feel, you are lucky. I don’t open myself to just anyone, and not just any man can catch my eye, intrigue me, and keep my attention. So, if I like you, I’ll let you know. I’ll hold your gaze, I’ll smile at you, I’ll talk to you, I’ll write to you, and I’ll let you see who I am, strange thoughts, quirky sense of humour, crazy hobbies, everything!

If you like all of that, then let me know. Talk to me, tell me how you feel, show up, listen to me, call me, let me listen to you, hug me hard, make me laugh, don’t let me wonder what you’re thinking, don’t leave me to worry about my reactions or yours, to wonder and stress about the game. Be real. If I fell for you, all I want is for you to be real, too.

We don’t know what it will lead to, short term, part time, long term or just a fun summer? But why worry about that when all we have is right now?

We waste so much time on this game. And for what? Life is short, as they say. Eat the delicious food, drink the wine, dance if you feel like it, express how you feel, take a chance, even if the situation seems hopeless or complicated. A true connection is a terrible thing to waste!

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BIG DECISION # 4 – LIVING IN THE MOMENT September 21, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — matamich @ 6:52 pm

be-present1-300x298  I told you to stay tuned for Big Decision # 4 and here it is. Living in the moment, or living in the “right now”. Actually, I’m a little late on writing this post, because I’ve been moving toward this and doing it for quite some time now and I think I’m finally getting the hang of it.

Living in the moment is difficult. We are raised and coached throughout our lives to plan ahead, to prepare for the future, to work toward the next goal, the next achievement. We take this lesson and start to live life waiting for the next big purchase, the next big trip, that fun thing we’ll end up doing soon if only we do this, and that, and make this much money… and so on.

By doing this, we often forget to live in the moment. We fret, and worry and complain, and wait while life is happening all around us, opportunities are popping up, friends want to see us, new friends arrive, and new adventures show up. If we keep living for the future, or dwelling on the past, we will never live the present moment to its fullest and really, we don’t have any guarantee for the future, we don’t know how much time we have left. We only have right now.

I’m not delusional. I do have plans and projects that keep me happy, but I also savor each and every minute of every day.

Living in the moment has brought some wonderful, surprising, fun and even scary things to my life. Sometimes I don’t think straight because I’m so fully invested in the right now, but at least I can say that I have lived each moment to its fullest.

And I’ve never felt more alive.

 

Mich and Mum do Memphis or The Bucket List Trip September 13, 2016

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August 11th 2016, 5 am departure, which means that Mum arrived the day before, and Mich desperately tried to go to bed at 9 pm and get at least a few hours of beauty sleep before getting on the road to travel the almost 2,400 km (one way) to FINALLY meet her King.

 

Mum and Mich get a choice seat on the bus that is definitely not as “Grand Luxe” as Mister François Reny (our tour guide)… who will now be known as Buddha, claimed in his publicity.

 

The bus is just okay. We are disappointed at the lack of leather seats, cup holders, charging stations and leg room. Autre bémol? Buddha asks the passengers NOT to use the bathroom. Uh, wait, we are driving to Tennessee and we can’t use the bathroom? Is this even legal? Should we have contacted human rights? It is agreed that they will have comfort stops every 2 hours, max. This would have been nice, and it was for a while, until Buddha started falling asleep all the time and snoring and rolling around his front seat and almost falling head first over the ramp and into the stairs or straight through the windshield. Nobody would attempt to wake him up, so the comfort stops started to get few and far between. Thank God, the bus driver is a rock star. And pretty cute, too.

 

First meal was at a Cracker Barrel restaurant. Best meal of the entire “road” part.

 

First stop – Toronto. Quick run around the base of a very impressively… um… erect CN Tower and Mich can’t stop thinking about off-color jokes and double-entendres, which would thoroughly scandalize her mother, so she keeps them to herself. Several photos later, they have a drink on a lovely terrace in downtown Toronto, and do some people-watching before the bus is due to leave.

 

Night 1 – Mississauga. Decent hotel, comfy bed. All our rooms have two Queen sized beds. YEAH. We are so tired at the end of the day that we just zonk out. Decent breakfast the next morning at the hotel and we hit the road again.

 

Rough road day, we drive through Detroit which is creepy and wonderful and impressive with its abandoned hotels, plants, homes, etc. Too fast to get any good pictures.

 

Night 2 – WKRP in Cincinnati! (Does anyone remember that show?) – Decent hotel, comfy bed, no water pressure. We hit Applebee’s, for a very late dinner.

 

On route to Nashville, we get to watch Elvis concerts and Elvis movies on the bus, and then Buddha talks a bunch of bullshit (name dropping) with several mistakes and wrong information (which drives Mich crazy!) and then he falls asleep. AGAIN. BO-RING!!!

 

There are 16 free seats on the bus, so the girls play “seat tag” and move around, stretch out their legs and get comfy, as do other passengers.

 

Night 3 – Nashville!!! During our stay, we hit Broadway where there is country music coming out of every door, we have the best hamburger in the universe (I’m not even kidding) and do some shopping. Mich gets a Cowboy hat! We visit the Country Music Hall of Fame and wander around downtown Nashville. Hunky cowboy bouncers at every door. Mich wanders around the city, looking for PK Subban and his purple cowboy hat.

 

Emotional moment number 1 – we visit RCA’s Studio B in Nashville and they play ARE YOU LONESOME TONIGHT for us, in the very studio where Elvis recorded it, with his X on the floor where he stood, and in complete darkness. Mich cries softly throughout the entire song, people keep asking her if she’s okay when they turn the lights back on. She swears she saw and felt Elvis standing right beside her, since she chose the chair beside the magical X on the floor, without even seeing it. The guide explained the significance of the X and of her chosen chair, later.

 

Quick dinner and then we go to the Grand Ole Opry where we see a 2-hour show featuring Vince Gill and friends. Mich is searching for Dolly Parton…

 

On the road again, destination Memphis!

 

We arrive in Memphis, drive around and see Mich’s Boyfriend’s high school, his first house in Memphis (he was born further South in Tupelo), his second house that he bought with the royalties from his Jailhouse Rock record, then we hit the rough parts of Memphis. Mich desperately wants to get off the bus to take pictures of the run down shacks and abandoned buildings, but they tell her it’s dangerous and she is kept inside. Dammit!

 

Then we hit Beale Street, blues music coming out of every door. We walk around, do some shopping and Mich drags Mum to a Blues Club with an outdoor courtyard featuring a live Blues band and… wait for it… an Irish Diving Goat! It must have been a drunk goat? Drinks and drinks later, Mich becomes a bit salacious with the Elvis life-sized statue in the park and Mum drags her off. Dammit. I only wanted to verify if he was really LIFE SIZED (ha ha ha).

 

Day 2 in Memphis, we have lunch at Gus’ Famous Fried Chicken. Very Southern comfort, but also very good. Mich gains 10 pounds in one sitting (not really, but it feels like it).

 

We visit Sun Studio where Sam Phillips’ secretary discovered a 19 year-old truck driving Elvis who walked in to make a $4 record for his mother. Mich gets to sit at the secretary’s desk and pretend Elvis just walked in to her office. Mich gets worked up again, so Mum drags Mich into the Studio and they take turns posing with Elvis’ authentic microphone.

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The Studio visit was not included in the tour, but Mich insisted to Buddha that they could NOT miss this since they were already in Memphis! Buddha was insulted at her for questioning his planning, so our small group of rebels who wanted to visit the Studio were abandoned in downtown Memphis to talk 2 km back to the bus that was parked in front of the famous Peabody Hotel where the rest of the group went to watch the ducks take the elevator back up from the fountain… BO-RING!!! Ducks? Who cares about ducks?

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Luckily, nothing bad happened, but let me remind you that we were walking in 34 Celsius heat in the South and it was humid. We are by the Mississippi River! Mich led the way, while the two men in the group insisted that she was going in the wrong direction and wanted to head in the opposite direction (toward the roughest part of town!). Mich was in the right direction and saved the day.

 

We had supper at BB King’s with another live blues band. Mich ate her ribs, downed her drink and then… as soon as the band started playing … she leaves her purse with Mum and hits the piste de danse with “Papa” and his wife (other members of our group)! Our waiter gave Mich two thumbs up.

 

Day 3 in Memphis,   the girls get beautiful because they are invited to Graceland!!!

 

We visit the house in the morning… and it is indescribable! WOW! Mich can see Elvis coming down the stairs from his still closed-up and private upper level area. She takes her slow sweet time visiting each room downstairs and then the offices, the trophy room, the music room, TV room jungle room (hell yeahhh!), and the gorgeous grounds. Elvis goes through, around and all over her. Mich is in heaven. Emotional moment number 2 – The grave. She falls to her knees in front of Elvis’ tomb with tears in her eyes. She puts a token from her office on the grave (small tiger figurine, because his karate nickname was Tiger) and spends several minutes on her knees (wishing Elvis was standing in front of her instead of being six feet under…!).

 

We then visit the private planes, the archives, the car museum, do some shopping and get a bite to eat.

 

Return to the hotel for a quick shower and change, food, and we return at night for the candlelight vigil to honor Elvis’ death.

 

Surreal experience, with Elvis Presley Boulevard closed to traffic, people building shrines along the street, Elvis impersonators right and left, and tons and tons of people holding candles. The girls deface Elvis’ stone wall with some private messages in permanent marker. When the dark comes, all you see is a sea of candles and all you can hear is soft Elvis slow tunes played from the speakers atop the stone gate. People speak in hushed tones, the atmosphere is very peaceful, very loving. Sadly, it starts to rain HARD, but we still make it up to the grave again, with our umbrella and an impromptu lovely girl from Cleveland who has no umbrella (total stranger) and stays tight with us under the umbrella until the end. We are soaked. Elvis wanted a  “Mich wet t-shirt vigil”, for sure!!!

 

Back to the hotel to dry off. By the way, during this entire day and night, Buddha is never with us and we find him sleeping on various benches throughout the day and evening. He sucks as a tour guide.

 

Day 4 in Memphis, we head out to Tupelo to see where Mich’s sweet baby was born. We meet the mayor and shake hands with him, we visit the shack where Elvis was born, his church, watch a short movie about his childhood and go to eat at his favorite snack bar. Mich gets to put her ass where Elvis put his ass, sit in his booth and recreate an iconic picture of Elvis in that very booth. We eat an Elvis burger, fries and have a root beer. Visit the park where he gave his free concert in 1957, the hardware store where he got his first guitar and his grade school.

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Back to Memphis for days 5, 6 and 7.

 

We then hit the road to head home. First stop, Cleveland, then Niagara Falls where Mum gets to finally see this force of nature (Mich has done the Falls before). Plenty of photo ops, walks, a great meal and adventures in the kitschy part of NF and we visit Niagara on the Lake and head on home to Québec.

 

It was a great bucket list trip!

 

We finished the adventure by attending the Elvis Experience concert and I introduced Mum to the genius behind the Elvis. She was thrilled. Perfect ending to a very Elvis trip.

 

That is all, baby! Bucket list check!

 

 

Of my tribe – or when you miss someone who’s not in your life, but probably should be April 5, 2016

Filed under: My view/mon point de vue — matamich @ 2:20 pm

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I choose my friends and the people who stay in my life through a gut feeling, a feeling of recognition, the comfort of being around them, and of being understood.  In short, they “get me” and I can tell. The feeling is visceral, strong, unmistakable, and comforting. It feels like “home”.

The feeling can hit you like a ton of bricks and come from someone you have never actually met.

And yet the way they talk, the way they write, their beliefs, their likes, their quirks, their sense of humor, interests, passions… all this speaks to you in a way only a member of your tribe can.

Most of the time, the members of your tribe will find you, or you will find them, and life is good. You can spend time with them, talk with them, work with them, create with them, laugh with them, confide in them, and fill the world with your combined ideas, energy and love. You will have each other’s back, and create memories that will last forever.  They will always be your home, and you will always be theirs.

But what if suddenly, someone crosses your path online, or you see this person speak, or perform, or work a crowd at a function… and you immediately know this person is of your tribe? You can feel it. Everything this person does, and says, and believes speaks volumes to you. You crave this person’s energy, attention, words, quirks, laughter, interests, passions, smile…

But remember… you haven’t really met yet.

And so you miss your tribe member, which seems weird and unreasonable, but you can’t help it. And you hope the universe will conspire to someday make your stars collide.

How many soul mates or members of our tribe do we completely miss because of geography, timing, and circumstances? Or does destiny put them on our path, no matter what?

 

There is no such thing as a runner’s body June 30, 2015

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Surprisingly, I took up running almost two years ago and am still going strong. I had never thought about being a runner, but I do admit to dreaming about running across fields, beaches, trails, as if I was going somewhere, without actually knowing where.

I love almost everything about running. Yes, even the heat, the slow runs, and the times when I huff and puff and can barely get going at all. I have a love-hate relationship with the hills. I hate going uphill, but I love going downhill.

I love listening to the music from my running playlist, being outdoors, getting fresh air, competing with myself. I love the feeling of belonging, kinship, having our own special secret and feeling sort of badass when I meet another runner on a trail, or running down the street, and we smile at each other.

I admit, when I started, I thought I’d end up with one of those lean, mean athletic bodies like the competitive runners on TV. And I thought it would take no time at all.

After running regularly, at least three times per week for several months, eating healthy, doing pilates and core training, I was forced to accept the fact that there is no such thing as a runner’s body. Runners come in all shapes and sizes. Our weight often does not change at all after we start running, or sometimes we gain weight, because of all the awesome muscles growing in our calves, thighs, and butts and replacing the fat (fat takes up three times more space than muscle for the same weight).

I don’t look like an athlete. I am not super lean. But I can outrun almost everyone I know, because most of the people in my immediate entourage are not physically active.

What I can’t stand is when, at a family gathering, the random in-law asks me for the umpteenth time “Are you still jogging?” and when I say yes, gives me the slow head-to-toe once-over without saying a word.

What? I don’t look like I’ve clocked well over 1,200 km of running in the last 20 months or so? I’m not skinny enough for you? You can’t detect my amazing leg muscles under my clothes?

To hell with you… you sedentary, judgmental in-law! How far can YOU run?

 

Do you arrive empty-handed?

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When invited to someone’s home for a meal, a party, a cocktail, an event, even if the host/hostess tells you that you don’t need to bring anything, do you arrive empty-handed?

As a rule, I always bring something. If I am not required to contribute a dish in a pot-luck setting, and am not asked to bring my own wine, I still bring an extra bottle for the hosts, something I have baked, flowers, a kitchen gadget, some artfully arranged and colorful dishcloths, a book, a toy for the family pet, something!

When I receive guests, I am surprised to see that I usually get nothing, except from one or two close friends who always bring something nice. I don’t entertain very often. My house is small and it’s difficult to find a date when my husband is at home and not out riding his motorcycle and our potential guests are available to come over. I also cherish my privacy and quiet time. But when I do, I can plan, prepare and serve a kickass brunch for 10, supper for 8 and the food will be good, the table will be beautiful, everyone will eat at the same time, their meal will be hot and there will be plenty for everyone.

And yet I usually receive no hostess gift to thank me for my hospitality, my food, and the effort I put into making it an overall great experience.

Is the host/hostess gift a dying tradition? Has etiquette changed? Or do most of my guests simply not care?

 

My Getty misadventure August 21, 2014

 

 

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I will never deal with Getty Images or any of their other sites, ever. Not that I dealt with them before, really. I take very good pictures and usually use my own images for anything I post on my professional virtual assistant website.

Almost two years ago, I used a tiny thumbnail photo to accompany a blog post on a secondary page of my website. This page gets very little traffic. The photo was found via a web search for copyright free photos, was very low quality and I ultimately left it up for less than two weeks because I didn’t like how it looked on screen.

Last November, I received a letter that I thought was junk mail, was delivered via general mail, not even addressed to my name (only to my company name) and looked like a bad photocopy. Long story short, I was shocked to see that Getty Images was demanding that I pay them $850 USD for the unauthorized use of a copyright protected image that they apparently owned. Attached to this junk mail type letter was a very poor quality copy of a screen shot of my blog with the photo in question. No writing could be clearly made out, there was no date for this screen shot, and the photo itself was blurry and nondescript.

At first I could not even remember the photo, and then I was disgusted and surprised that Getty was demanding such an outrageous amount of money without even sending a cease and desist notice.

Their junk mail type letter mentioned that they had attempted to contact me several times without success, but I received no messages from them, no other mail and they did not try to contact me by telephone. I have caller ID and voice mail; therefore I know this for a fact. They lied in their letter.

It was all so ridiculous that I forgot about the letter for several months and did not hear from them during this time; until they started to have different people from NSCIP Solutions in Florida e-mail me constantly. These people only used their first names which I found quite bizarre and unprofessional. Their e-mails demanded that I pay $850 USD to “settle the matter”.

I sought out legal advice through a lawyer friend in Florida who found an IP law specialist near me who was kind enough to look into the situation and give me advice. At first, the recommendation was to ignore them unless they kept writing to me, demanding money. So when they continued their harassment, I went on the Getty Images website and determined that the cost of the image, in high resolution and for at least 2 months of use was $350 USD, which is nowhere near the amount they were demanding. I wrote to them with this information and received many e-mails from different people at NSCIP who did not appear to be talking to each other about my case, as none of them had a clue what the other had written or said. It was simply burlesque to see them trip over themselves, and very unprofessional!

I have recently started to receive offers – oh I’m sorry, I mean DEMANDS – to settle for lower amounts, starting at $659 USD, then $450 USD, and now they’re throwing around demands for $300 USD.

I keep asking them to stop harassing me and get their stories straight as one day I would receive an offer to settle for one amount, and a few days later a different person would re-send me the $850 USD demand.

This company’s bullying techniques are despicable and make me sick. I had no intention of infringing on any copyright laws and am sympathetic to photographers who need to be paid to earn a living. I am a freelance worker myself. However, I doubt that Getty owns most of the images in question (they flat out refuse to offer up any proof of ownership when asked) or that they give any of this extortion money to the photographers.

I have offered to settle for $150 USD which is more than generous in my opinion and is really only to get these assholes off my back and out of my e-mail inbox.

I know that Getty has been called out on this and is highly discussed online, but I doubt that they care. I think that the employees of NSCIP should be ashamed to work for Getty.

Avoid Getty Images at all cost! I know my colleagues and I will be avoiding them from now on.