Sunday, November 22, 2009

The walls come tumbling down

(Flickr image courtesy of Courosa)

My mind is elsewhere these days. Any readers of my blog (formerly blogs) have certainly noticed a slowdown, and may be wondering if it will all come to a screeching halt soon. I used to write three blogs: one is on hold indefinitely, another has been put to pasture for good, and this one is, well, limping along.

If I used to comment on your blogs, well, that isn't happening so much anymore either. Yet I'm online at least as much as I used to be -- it's just that my Internet time is increasingly being spent on activities related to teaching.

Teaching. That's what I've always done for a living, by the way. And it's something that has been carefully kept out of my blogging life. You have only to look at my Blogger profile: "I've been living, working, cooking and raising a family in France for 19 years."

I've covered the "living" part on this blog for nearly 4 years, with a little bit about my family thrown in now and then. I covered the cooking part for almost as long on Cuisine Quotidienne.

But working? I made the conscious decision to keep that out of blogging.

I think that is going to change soon. (Fear not -- if I start a teaching blog, it will be on a different site!)

Of course I would never write one of those "this is what's going on at my job" blogs, the type that gets one fired. But since getting involved in Twitter, I have plunged into the world of teaching philosophy, methods for teaching English as a foreign language, and have discovered fabulous websites and blogs by teachers who are not counting their work hours.

I want to be part of all that -- again. I realize that while teaching here in France, I have built very French-style walls around my work life and home life. And it's been for the best of all possible causes: being available for my daughters. But they are increasingly doing their own thing, and with that void, my passion for teaching has returned big-time.

It was never really lost, it was just left at work when I went out the door in the evening.

Now it's with me all the time, the way it used to be in my pre-family days when I was teaching in an American high school.

My mind is elsewere these days -- and it feels great.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Betty and Loulou's adventures, Part 3

A new, cozy and colorful salon de thé called "La Toile Cirée

(2014 Post-script: La Toile Cirée is now closed)

Until the day before she came, I was ever so excited about Loulou's visit to Rodez, planned for the 10th and 11th of November.

Then Rodez went weather-crazy, as it is known to do.

I had to go into town on Monday the 9th: the wind was whipping, it was pouring sheets of rain, and it was just oh-so-barely over freezing. I also found out that Chez Marie, the cheese merchant/restaurant that Loulou really wanted to try out, was going to be closed for those two days.

"This is a terrible idea," I started to think. "She's going to hate Rodez" -- who doesn't when the weather gets so dreadful? "She's going to freeze to death."

Well, she did freeze, although not to death, but my other dire predictions did not come true.

The weather was downright chilly, true, but we were able to warm up over hot chocolate at a new salon de thé that I had never been to. And Loulou liked Rodez, calling it "sophisticated" (!) and well kept-up.

(Shadows in the Rodez cathedral; photo courtesy of Loulou)

Rodez does have its dark, gloomy side, as we discovered in the shadows of Notre Dame de Rodez. And I learned that it is mossy. Being from the Pacific Northwest, I had never noticed the moss, but Loulou pointed it out to me. Yep, it's there.

She even claims that cattle she had seen as she was driving up had moss growing on them, but my husband and I are still waiting for photographic proof on that one!

Speaking of photos, I suffered two camera malfunctions, one on each day, so I don't have much to show for her visit -- but take a look at her blog for a lovely shot of Le Trou de Bozouls, which is ten minutes from where we live.

Loulou, thanks for braving the elements and making the your way to Aveyron!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Wordless Wednesday 71

(Photo courtesy of DAPHNE Jouanneteau)