Sunday, January 30, 2011

Fresh photos: Friday in Rodez

rue Aristide Briand, Rodez, January 28 2011

I've been carrying my camera around lately again, and it's been a good time to do so.

I have seen the deepest blue skies, and the most striking contrasts between shadow and light.

Sometimes passers-by look at me a bit strangely when I photograph scenes like this:

They probably can't really place me; I'm not decked out like a tourist -- there aren't many in Rodez in late January, at any rate. But I certainly don't quite look like a Ruthénoise either.

And why would I want to photograph a building like this?

They may not know, but I'm sure you do.

rue Aristide Briand, Rodez, January 28 2011

Thursday, January 27, 2011


I have decided to cut short on NaBloPoMo.

27 posts in a row is pretty darn good, and January is starting to look pretty darn long.

I know "I'm almost there," but I don't like to post just to post, and that is what I have been doing some days...

Keep checking in! I am not dropping this blog by any means!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Paris report

Good flight...very rainy and depressing weather in the morning upon arrival...spent 6 hours in an interesting and productive meeting...had un verre with a colleague staying in a halfway decent hotel in la rue des now going to find a decent bite to eat, and then will go to bed early...have to leave the hotel at 6-ish tomorrow morning to catch my plane home, and then to go straight to work....

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Off to Paris for work

One of "my" corners of Paris, January, 2010

Three or four times a year, I fly from Rodez to Paris for work-related meetings.

This professional approach to going to "la capitale" has given me a very different vision of the City of Light.

Usually, I don't even spend the night.

My typical day "meeting in Paris day" moves seamlessly from my car to the airport to a plane to a bus to a quick walk to a windowless building to the RER to the airport to a plane and back to my car.

This week I am lucky; the grand business expense total made it actually cheaper for me to spend the night in a hotel and fly back the next day than to do the whole trip in one day.

So tomorrow evening I will get a tiny taste of Paris.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Tangled up in blue

The church in Anglars, Aveyron, January 23, 2011

Blue is without a doubt my favorite color, and since putting up my nifty header with those nice blue shutters, I have felt like posting as many photos as possible that highlight this hue.

It's helped that we have had some of the greatest blue sky lately. It may have been -12° centigrade this morning where I live -- just over 10° Fahrenheit -- but it was also fabulously sunny.

After shopping a bit in my village and then the nearby village of Bertholène, the sun inspired me to take a drive off the Nationale 88 and onto some back roads. I ended up in a tiny place called Anglars, which happens to have a lovely little church.

I set off to photograph the church, but the star of the show turned out to be the sky.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

This is what I did today...

...and this is where I did it.

I am not much of a shopper, but my foray into the French winter sales was quite pleasant.

More on the subject to come!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Dusky blue sky over Rodez

This photo really didn't turn out the way I had hoped; I am aware it is not that clear, and Notre Dame de Rodez hardly looks as stunning as she actually did when I took the shot.

But it is a nice example of the gorgeous, dusky blue skies I have been noticing this week.

The weather has been cold and clear, and blue skies help remind me that the days are, finally, getting longer.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

NaBloPoMo, or the triumph of quantity over quality

Today, after scraping the ice off my car, I will be leaving for Rodez at 7:10 am. I won't be back until quite late in the evening because we're having an open house at work.

So basically I'm just checking in here to fulfill my NaBloPoMo duties.

It's definitely an example of quantity winning out over quality, but I will be proud (and relieved) when the month is over and I can say I have posted 31 days in a row.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

I wish I had a favorite café...

I've already revealed here that I am, unfortunately, not much of a market person.

Neither am I much of a café person, although in my imaginary life here in France, I would show up every day at my favorite Rodez café to sip a coffee or a glass of wine...

However, I have to admit I don't have a favorite café in Rodez.

But I like the looks of this one.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Teacher Tuesday

If you're a blogger, you probably know about Music Monday...and Wordless Wednesday...and Theme Thursday...and perhaps even other little or not-so-little "blogging events" that make the blog world go round.

But do you know about Teacher Tuesday?

As far as I know, it's a Twitter invention.

I became somewhat involved in it at the beginning of the school year, when my teaching intentions were flying and my professional inspiration juices were flowing.

Not that this isn't the case anymore; I just don't have the time or energy to tweet about every minute detail involving my career.

I do wish I did.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Rodez weirdness 1

While I love to photograph scenic shots of Rodez, I also enjoy capturing some of its weird places.

About three years ago -- already! -- I ended up, for some reason, out and about on la rue Béteille.

This is not a frequent activity for Ruthénois.

The mere mention of this decrepit yet strangely fascinating street will often bring on gasps and knowing looks from locals.

I'm not sure if this old Midi Libre façade had been visible all along, or if it sort of reappeared from behind another wall when the street was being "redone"... but personally in 13 years of driving up the street, I had never noticed it.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

People kill, but guns help...a lot

It's been a long time since I've posted about another blog post.

Today, however, I read a post by one of my blogging contacts that is so powerful that I want to share it by every means possible.

I think many of us have been struggling with the implications of the Tucson shooting last week. I know I have.

And I have wanted to say more; but here is a post that says it all.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Fresh photos: Views of my village

The door to the primary school my daughters went to

I have never really blogged much about the small town where I live.

Somehow the term "village" doesn't quite seem to apply, although some do use it. In fact, I just did.

Others call it a village dortoir, or bedroom community, which to me describes the place more aptly.

A road to somewhere that I take sometimes

The place is not without its charms, but it doesn't have an old town center as such, so it's difficult to capture its feel.

It's a great place for sporty mountain bikers, or hikers who spend hours marvelling about the wonders of the scrubby causse. But of course I'm not one of those.

Sheep safely grazing between old farms and housing developments

These photos were taken on my weekly trip to the recyling bins -- not a lot of village charm in that, is there?

Friday, January 14, 2011

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Theme Thursday: Jump

Jumping through teen life in Rodez

This evening, I was a woman with a mission.

I am doing NaBloPoMo.

I had decided to get by with a little help from a friend: Theme Thursday, the site that has been "Preventing Blogger Burnout Since 2008."

Today's theme was "jump."

I was sure that somewhere in my youngest daughter's thousand-plus Facebook photos, there was a photo imitating this one.

I found it -- do you have any idea how long it takes to open a Facebook photo page with over a thousand pics?

But oops -- they were vaguely trying to imitate this one, albeit in a slightly jumpier way.

Whatever. My post is done for today.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Just saying...

I almost wonder if all the political finger-pointing at Sarah Palin and co. (which I haven't hesitated to participate in) may be masking the real issue.

For the moment, we can't really know if the deranged criminal responsible for the Tucson shootings was directly -- or even indirectly -- influenced by right-wing rhetoric.

We DO know, however, that he was able, apparently legally, to buy the now-infamous gun that contained so many bullets.

Instead of so much debate about whether this tragedy was caused by the vitriolic political climate, it might be nice to see a little more discussion of gun control out there.

Just saying...

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Another year, another NaBloPoMo

I've been cruising along pretty well with getting this new blog started, I must say.

NaBloPoMo (a platform for those who want to blog every day for a month) has been a big help.

The theme for January is "friends," but when I do a one-post-a-day month, I don't always stick to the official NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) theme.

It's interesting to see how NBPM, to make it really short, has developed over the years.

If my memory serves me right, it used to take place only in the month of November, and the base site was, well, pretty much just another blog.

I don't think there were themes at the beginning, either.

Now NaBloPoMo has become a full-blown social media site, with friends, profiles, an email function, and all the other accoutrements of our online era.

The possibilities the site now offers make my head spin.

Do you have any memories about what NaBloPoMo used to be? And have you ever participated in it?

Monday, January 10, 2011

Music Top Tens 1: Songs by the Kinks

When I was keeping up a blog called And So Forth, which annoyingly doesn't seem to show my photos anymore, I posted from time to time about music.

I plan to eventually scratch And So Forth from my personal Web places, but not before mining a few significant posts.

One is a list of my Top Ten Favorite Kinks songs.

Of course, it has evolved a bit since then, as top ten song lists tend to do.

Here it is in its current version, without extraneous linkage or commentary.

Be warned: someday I may come back to this and write a post about each and every song...

1. Days

2. Shangri-la

3. There's Too Much on my Mind

4. Waterloo Sunset

5. Oklahoma USA

6. Strangers

7. 'Til the End of the Day

8. Lola

9. This is Where I Belong

10. Victoria

Sunday, January 9, 2011


Yesterday's shootings in Tucson, Arizona have shaken me to the bone.

I wanted to spend my online time today commenting on blogs, but decided to dedicate all my online activity to the victims, gun control, and restoring sanity to the US.

As I write, much is being made of Sarah Palin's now-infamous crosshair chart, and some are blaming the Tea Party and Palin, either directly or indirectly, for the tragic incident.

It may be a little early to make such a clear-cut connection; however I find the remarks from the sheriff overseeing the case telling.

It has been an emotionally exhausting day, as I found myself getting obsessed with the issue, and wanting to be able to do something about it. But what?

I may be joining a pro-gun control advocacy group, for starters.

Any suggestions?

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Fresh photos: Today in Rodez

Rodez, late morning; January 8, 2010

Call it serendipity.

I was planning a post about photos today, and it's funny how one of my best online and real-life friends blogged on the same subject.

Unlike myself, Loulou has not experienced a drought of photography inspiration. More power to her.

Speaking of "power," I stumbled upon the joys of photography when my husband gave me a Canon PowerShot S45...a long time ago.

The model has apparently been around since 2002; I must have gotten mine shortly thereafter.

One of the many "weird places" in Rodez; January 8, 2010

When I was blogging at La France Profonde, I got into cropping my photos. For example, I would have cut out the mailbox and the whatever-it-is door-on-the-right from the above. But they're part of what I see; I think I'll be doing photo vérité from now on.

L'Hôtel du Cheval Blanc, Rodez; January 8, 2010

This is one of the places that has fascinated me for years in Rodez, although I've never stepped through its door. On the ground floor there is some sort of strange café -- I think it used to be a restaurant too.

A long-standing American friend of mine has sipped various drinks there, and recently told me that if I wanted to go, he "should probably go with me."

Would anyplace in Rodez really be that daunting for me in broad daylight? I mean, it does have a Facebook page, after all.

At any rate, I hope I will make it before it closes down or is remodeled.

And I will try to take some photos.

Friday, January 7, 2011

My Five Year Diary Days

As you can probably tell from the few posts already written here, I've been thinking a lot lately about means of communication, past and present.

I grew up in a family of diary-keepers. I had diaries starting in double-digit childhood; at first, they were one-year diaries. But I quickly followed my parents' footsteps in keeping 5-year diaries.

I hate to think that I don't know whatever happened to these early diaries; they're probably still somewhere in my parents' closets, which is a rather scary concept.

2010 was the last year of my latest one, and I haven't replaced it. I stopped writing my four lines a day somewhere back over the summer, and never got back into the habit.

The principle is a fun one, though. I often noticed how similar events would happen on the same day, or how weather would repeat itself, and was interesting to be able to go back over how past years had unfolded.

This summer I tried to find a 5-year diary online for my mother, and had the darndest time. I finally ran into one, by chance, at Village Books in the Fairhaven district of Bellingham, WA, and scooped it up.

However, when looking for images for this post, I found plenty of UK sites that seem to still be selling 5-year diaries.

I'm vaguely tempted.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Good old-fashioned emails

Along with my desire to get back to blogging, I have also felt like writing good old-fashioned emails.

So instead of working up a nice post for tonight, I spent quality computer time writing some details to my parents about our recent Christmas trip to Brussels.

These details will have been shared with them before they were shared with you.

And isn't that the way it should be?

In the social media frenzy, have we lost our sense of communication priorities?

Sometimes I wonder.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

A few words about Wordless Wednesday

Align Center

The uncropped version of my first Wordless Wednesday photo for La France Profonde

On November 7, 2007, I posted what was to become the first in a series of 100 "Wordless Wednesday" photos.

I didn't even know I was participating in a weekly blogosphere event, and in fact I never got into posting my photos to the official "Wordless Wednesday" site.

This photo got 16 comments, however -- probably a record for my Wordless Wednesdays.

In keeping with the January NaBloPoMo theme of "Friends", it's fascinating for me to see who commented on this photo over three years ago.

In fact, I'm still in touch with many of the commenters, whether through blogs, Facebook or Twitter:



Randal -- it was his first comment.


If you're reading this blog, you probably know at least one of them.

I'm not planning on doing Wordless Wednesdays any more, but may use Wednesdays as an excuse to excavate through comments past...

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Not to market, not to market...

It's sad to say, but this is my only market-related photo of Rodez

When I lived in Montbazon, near Tours, and in Albi, I used to be a market-goer. What self-respecting shopper who lives in France isn't?

Somehow in Aveyron, this laudatory habit went by the wayside.

First, my toddlers got in the way.

Then, my work schedule got in the way.

After that, ecological compunction about driving back to Rodez (36 km round trip) on a Saturday morning when I had made that commute all week got in the way.

Recently, a commitment to buying produce from my village's grocery has "gotten in the way," although this certainly stems from good intentions.

I do make every effort to buy locally -- it just doesn't happen at the charming Rodez markets.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Back to school, relaxed and refreshed

I don't work for the French public school system, so I don't benefit from the generous and frequent "vacances scolaires" that regular teachers get.

I worked and indeed had class up to and including the 23rd of December. (Education nationale teachers would gasp in horror at that.)

Some of my colleagues even taught on the 24th. But I lucked out on that score, and was able to take Christmas Eve off, followed by a full week of vacation since my building closes down between Christmas and New Year's Eve.

That break was apparently sufficient for me, as I went back to school/work today relaxed and chipper.

I hope this good cheer can last me through the long, cold, dark months ahead

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Found luggage

Brussels International Airport, Dec. 25 2010

(All photos courtesy of Thierry Jouanneteau)

As some of you may know, the four of us went to Brussels for Christmas.

The departure from Aveyron was an adventure in itself; an extremely chilly surprise snowfall had hit here on Christmas Eve, making us modify our plans for getting to Toulouse's Blagnac airport.

Rather than having a cozy little Christmas celebration at home and leaving for our 6:40 am flight in the middle of what promised to be an icy night, we decided to scrap celebrations and flee to the Blagnac Ibis hotel on Christmas Eve afternoon.

All Toulouse-Brussels flights had been cancelled on the 24th, so we also left not knowing if we would be spending Christmas Day in a cosmopolitan winter wonderland, or sadly driving back to Aveyron to open our presents.

You can imagine our joy when we got to the airport and found out our flight would be taking off with little delay.

We had four suitcases, including Charlotte's -- ironically, a carry-on -- which she didn't hesitate to check in along with ours.

When we got to Brussels, we noticed some rather large groups of suitcases neatly sitting about, but we did not feel concerned by this. After all, what could go wrong on a direct 90-minute flight?

The scene was not so alarming early in the day

To make a long story short -- because this could become a very long story -- two of our suitcases came through right away.

The third popped up, bereft of all labels and ID, an hour and a half later, giving us great hope for the little carry-on that could.

Three hours after that, we gave up on finding Charlotte's suitcase in this mess:

At this point, we figured it was time to move on

Fortunately, she was able to live off our clothing for our short stay.

And we kept things in perspective. During our 5 hours hanging out around the Brussels luggage carousels, we met travellers who had gone through much worse: some were spending their fourth day trying desperately to recuperate baggage in Brussels.

And for us, the good news is that her suitcase made it to Toulouse today and will be delivered to our doorstep tomorrow.

My lesson learned? If travelling in extreme winter weather, limit yourself to a carry-on -- and keep it with you at all times.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year; Happy New Blog

Photo courtesy of Thierry Jouanneteau

I'm most excited to be wishing you all a happy and healthy 2011 from a new blogging space.

A little over a month ago, after letting my "expat" blog La France Profonde lie wordless and photoless for over two months, I realized I missed blogging.

Many of my close blogging buddies have been led down the Facebook/Twitter path, and I have followed. But as I started making an occasional post to La France Profonde in November and December, comments floated in.

And isn't it a lot more satisfying to get a comment on your blog than a Facebook notification, or a Twitter DM, RT, reply, or mention? It certainly is for me.

But I need a clean slate.

Since starting La France Profonde five years ago, I have begun to feel more and more disconnected from the image of myself as "An American in Aveyron," blogging primarily about a little-known, bucolic patch of France:

I am now French AND American.

I don't see much of Aveyron's lovely countryside since I spend all week in a modern school building in Bourran, Rodez's new, modern business area.

I go to Paris more often than I go to Millau.

And I have so many other subjects to write about: travel, music, teaching, books, social media, food...and why not the occasional "this is what's going on in my life" post that blogs were meant to be for?

I could, of course, do all of the above from La France Profonde, but I somehow don't want to denature its original purpose.

That's also why I'm not going to bid it adieu. Someday, if time and inclination allow, I may go back to blogging about Aveyron.

But for now, this is where I belong.