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Showing posts from July, 2017

IN MY FRENCH HOUSE LIVES A FRENCH CAT

Give Sylvie a basket to snooze in and she's happy, particularly if the basket had just held fresh-picked tomatoes and is surrounded by lemons, herbs from the garden, wine, and a cook book.

It's time to put up a bunch of our cat pics.









HERE is one of a series of articles on the trials and tribulations of bringing Mimi and Chloe to France.




THE TOP OF QUARANTE

I often tell people that I live at the top of the village of Quarante. During my (almost daily) walk the other day, I realized that's an exact description. The church steeple is to the right. City hall is to the left partially covered by a tree. And that's us in the red circle in the middle. Always a bit of a breeze. The swifts keep the bugs under control. Nice view from my office window that directly faces the camera. Definitely at the top.

You can follow my walk as shown in a post from last spring HERE.


WINE PAIRINGS: OLD RULES - NEW RULES

Let me be clear from the beginning, I am not a connoisseur. Of anything. I have opinions. I provide them to you for free. You'll have to decide their worth.

We live in the south of France, once Languedoc-Roussillon, now Occitanie. A friend calls our region the largest vineyard in the world. It is precisely that, the largest single wine-producing region in the known universe.  Seven times Napa Valley. Three times Bordeaux. More wine produced than in the entire USofA. So even if you are a friend of Bill, it's hard not to absorb a modicum of knowledge concerning the ancient art of vinification, if only through osmosis.

(For those not familiar with the term, being a friend of Bill means that you have forsworn alcoholic beverage in the manner of Bill W., a founder of Alcoholics Anonymous.)

Anyone can drink wine, of course. The trick would seem to be to pair wine appropriately with the food being served. Articles and websites and books that discuss the rules for pairing wine with fo…

PRIVACY OR SECURITY: MUST WE CHOOSE?

I try not to get caught up in the hurly-burly of the 24 hour news cycle. I don't subscribe to the English-language television and radio options that are available to me here in France. Instead, I depend on the written word - on paper and online - giving me the ability to step back a bit and see if I can detect a bigger picture. So I skip over the latest Trump silliness. (No, we didn't meet with the Russians. Wait a minute. We did meet with the Russians but not about Clinton. Wait a minute. The Russians said that the meeting would be about Clinton, but it really wasn't.) I skip over the latest missteps by Theresa May and her gang of Brexiteers. (If you're an English-speaking expat in Europe, you know what I'm talking about.) And I only take passing notice of the latest Tour de France updates. (Is it me or are there more disabling crashes involving favorites this year than previous?)

If I don't worry about the latest political dustup that has everybody else on te…

THREE YEARS IN FRANCE - AN AMERICAN EXPAT'S REFLECTIONS

Have you wondered what it might be like to pick up and move to another country? Americans are lured to retirement havens in Mexico, Costa Rica, or Panama. They say that Eastern Europe is beautiful, safer than the evening news might suggest, and relatively inexpensive. Southeast Asia is hot, but it's cheap. Remember, though. I'm not talking about investigating a vacation home, time share, or other form of shared ownership. I'm talking about a permanent, sell out and ship the furniture sort of  move. For most Americans, the thought has never crossed their minds.

Think about it. Think about moving from one state to another, from one town to another, even from one neighborhood across town. Add the need to learn a new language - if you aren't multilingual already. Add the need to deal in a new currency and the need to learn the ins and outs of currency exchange. Add metric measurements. And a new healthcare system. And a new bureaucracy to navigate.

Daunting? You betcha!

Re…

COTE SUD, SAINT-PIERRE LA MER: QUICK TAKE

Cancer Support France is a network of affiliated agencies that provide translation and other services and supports to English speakers in France whose lives are touched by cancer, those with the disease as well as their friends and families. Our friend Annette organized a four-stage bicycle ride, from the medieval city of Carcassonne to Sete on the shores of the Med, in support of CSF. At noon on the third day, friend Nicola and I joined the riders to shoot some video to be used in upcoming promotions.

And we had lunch.

Cote Sud is one of those seaside joints right on the strand that's surrounded by all of the commercial claptrap that one would expect to find in a Mediterranean beach town that invites tourists. Expectations were low. We were pleasantly surprised.

A long row of tables had been set up to accommodate our party of forty or so. The menu was limited - two types of salad, four mains, two desserts. Our little party of four all opted for the salad with tomatoes and mozzare…

THE PRIVILEGED FEW: AMERICAN POLITICIANS

To my European friends, this is a true story. Not fake news. True. You really couldn't make this stuff up. No one would believe you.

Republican Governor Christie is in a budget battle with his Democrat-controlled state legislature. They are at an impasse. Without a budget, government services not considered vital are shut down and the staffs are furloughed. Among those services/staffs affected are those associated with New Jersey state parks. Yes, it appears as though state parks in New Jersey will be closed for the 4th of July holiday. And that includes state beaches like my particular favorite, Island Beach State Park. How out of touch can New Jersey politicians be, closing beaches during one of the most awaited summer vacation weekends of the year.

Out of touch? You ain't heard nothin' yet. How about this? Governor Christie, not about to have HIS family's vacation ruined, piled his clan into a state helicopter and spent Sunday afternoon on one of the closed beaches…