Monday, May 28, 2007

Sidebar Switches; Sunday Scribblings

And So Forth is evolving, and I have made some changes in my sidebar. So if you used to be on this sidebar and you're not anymore, don't despair! I've just moved you to one of my other blogs, which is probably a good thing for all concerned as they have much bigger readerships!

France Fanatics have been moved to La France Profonde.

Favorite Foodies and Wine Links have been moved to Cuisine Quotidienne.

And So Forth started out as my "just for fun" blog, and I am trying to keep it diverse and light-hearted -- the latter does not apply to any posts about George W. Bush, though.

I have found an anchor for ASF through my participation in Sunday Scribblings, a site that gives weekly writing prompts and posts bloggers' takes on them.

Usually I post my Sunday Scribblings on And So Forth, but this week my post was food-oriented, so you can find it here on CQ.

(Cartoon by Dave Walker courtesy of We Blog Cartoons.)

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Speak Out, Jimmy!

These are the times that try men's -- and women's -- souls.

So even if former presidents are not supposed to lash out at other members of "the club," I think many of us can understand Jimmy Carter's recent remarks.

Does anybody feel like comparing the Iran hostage "crisis" with the Iraq war debacle?

I'm sure you do, Jimmy. So speak out. You're 83 years old. You deserve it. And so does he.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

I'll Be In Paradise...

I'm leaving on Thursday for a six-day trip elsewhere in there won't be any Sunday Scribbling for me this weekend.

I know I'll see people so busy, but will I see Terry meet Julie?

And if I did, would I recognize them after all these years?

Sha la la...

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Why I Live Where I Live - An Interview With Myself

Sunday Scribblings ' prompt for the week is "second chance."

I had just been thinking how fun some of the earlier prompts were, and I'm definitely up for this idea:

"Is there a Sunday Scribblings prompt you would like to use again?"

Technically, I'm not "using it again" since I wasn't Sunday Scribbling at the time of this prompt: "Why I Live Where I Live." But I look as it as a second chance for me to do write about this subject, and also a first chance for some of you to learn a little more about me.

1. Why do you live on the planet Earth?

Because I'm a human being and I think it's the only place we can live.

2. Why do you live in France?

Because I married a Frenchman in 1990 and professionally, it seemed like the best choice for both of us. He was in a professional field that would have been difficult to exercise in the USA; I already spoke French, had teaching experience, and was a committed Francophile. So here we are, seventeen years later.

3. Why do you live in Aveyron, in the deep depths of la France profonde ?

When French people ask me what I'm doing "lost in Aveyron," they usually figure my husband must be Aveyronnais. It's hard for them to imagine why else an American would live here. But actually our move to this area was strictly a professional decision -- we had been living in Tours, and my husband found a better job here. I followed.

4. Why do you live in your village?

When my aforementioned husband first moved down here, three months before my daughters and I did, he rented a house in this "village." I moved into it -- both the village and the house -- sight unseen. Later, since we wanted to buy a home, we limited our choices to the same village, because we liked it here, or Rodez, where we both worked.

5. Why do you live in your house?

Like a lot of expats, I always imagined that in France I would buy vieilles pierres -- an old stone house. But that never worked out. After looking for a house to buy for over two years, we finally decided to have one built. My husband designed it and did most of the construction work. We may not stay here forever, but it's a great home for now.

For more about second chances, click here.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Pink Departments and Blue Departments

When it comes to election time, the USA has red states and blue states; France has pink departments and blue departments.

In France's election this year, it is amazing to see the clear-cut geographical boundaries between the departments that voted for Ségolène Royal (pink) and those which went for Nicolas Sarkozy (blue.)

I can't vouch for the total accuracy of the map though, because it shows the Aveyron (third up from the bottom center) department as voting for Ségolène Royal, but the official site of the Ministry of the Interior shows the opposite. I assume the latter site is correct!

By the way, the choice of pink is not related to Ségolène's being a woman --pink is simply is the traditional color of the French Socialist party.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Google Bayrou, Find Sarkozy?

I was just writing to my parents in the USA about the French presidential race, and I wanted to send them the name of the new party François Bayrou is forming. I couldn't remember if it was "le mouvement démocratique" or "démocrate", so I did a Google search for Bayrou, and this is what came up at the top of the page, the day before the election between Sarkozy and Royal:

Sarkozy-Royal au 2nd tour Réactions, interviews, commentaires Suivez l'événement sur Europe1
Le Vrai Sarkozy Ce que vous ne savez pas de Sarkozy Son expérience et son talent

All right, Bayrou isn't in the race anymore, so maybe the first link is legitimate. But how did this extremely pro-Sarkozy YouTube video come up in second place on a search for "Bayrou" the day before the election?

Well, first I suppose I should point out that it's a commercial link. But doesn't it seem a little wrong for Google to sell space for that link under searches for Bayrou?

By the way, by not removing the actual links above, I am not in any way trying to work as a secret force for Sarkozy! I'm just "showing it like it is."

In a country where equal media time for the candidates is controlled to the second, it's interesting to see how the world's biggest search engine has been harnessed in a last minute attempt to reach out to Bayrou's voters.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Et moi loin de toi...

English-speaking expats in France come in two categories: those separated from home by an ocean, and those separated from home by the English Channel.

The latter hop back to see their family for long weekends. They take low-cost flights, sometimes only paying less than 75 euros round trip -- taxes included. They don't deal with a significant time difference. They are really no further from home than a Parisian living in the South of France.

Ocean-separated expats live a different experience. We never go home for a long weekend. We save money for a very expensive trip every year, or even every few years. We try to extend our stays as long as possible, which may pose career or family problems. The time zone difference and ensuing jet lag make the trip a major undertaking.

An ocean, for all its wide open space, remains a formidable barrier.

Tu es à huit heures de moi
Je suis à des années de toi
C'est ça être là-bas...

(Extract from the song "Lettre à France" by Michel Polnareff . He wrote the song about his exile in the USA, but it can work both ways...)

This post was inspired by this week's Sunday Scribblings prompt: "ocean."

For more "ocean" posts, click here.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007


Add Bush's veto to the list of grievances...

Ashes, ashes, we all fall down.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Sunday Scribblings Serendipity

I didn't think I would participate in this week's Sunday Scribblings session, with the prompt of "wings," because I was away on a trip. As I explained in a comment on the site:

"I won't have a post for the wings prompt because I am taking off on a little trip to see a friend who will be flying away from France to the USA...possibly forever."

It was a very emotional trip. Not only did I have a great visit with the woman who is moving back to the USA, who was my best friend in France from 1992 to 1995, but I also returned to the part of the Touraine region where I lived for those three years, and where my second daughter was born.

On the first leg of the journey home, I noticed the name of the regional bus service that was taking me from Tours to Châteauroux: "L'AILE BLEUE," or the blue wing.

For more Sunday Scribblings about "wings," click here.