Sunday, March 29, 2009

A tribute to three true friends I've made through blogging

Two weeks ago I posted about a blogging award that had been given to me, and in the comments that very day, I got another one. Tina of Life in the slow lane at Squirrel Head Manor sent me the above award with this definition:

These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers. Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more..."

I'm very flattered that Tina, whom I've never really had much contact with, has been quietly following my blog and chose me as part of this category.

But, as usual, to pass the award on I'm changing the rules a bit. No, make that a lot. I'm going to recognize the three bloggers that I feel I have become true friends with, in every sense of the word.

I don't want to be exclusive -- there are plenty of you out there who are best blogging buddies, that I would love to meet one day, and that I've known for quite a while now. You have all become part of my life.

But there are three special gals who end up being the object of phrases that roll off my tongue in everyday conversation: "I have a friend who..." "One of my girlfriends..." and "Yeah, I was talking to a friend about that the other day..."

These are three great bloggers who also grace my email box, my Facebook page, and my Twitter page -- okay, except for one on the Twitter page, but maybe I'll convince her.

I guess, even though it sounds a little corny, I'm writing this to thank them for being my friends.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

What's so funny 'bout peace, smiles and understanding?

A recent post over at Chez Loulou has gotten me thinking about the role of smiling in French culture and American culture.

Loulou just got back from a stay in the States, and writes:

First, there's the smile.
Wow! I guess I've always been aware of how often Americans smile, but it had somehow slipped my mind. I mean, everyone smiles. At seemingly everything.

Her take on it is neutral, but she has clearly become accustomed to the more reserved French facial expressions.

I, on the other hand, truly miss the American smile. And reading Loulou's post, entitled Not So Subtle Differences Between America and France, made me remember my own rather painful experience with adjusting my personality and behavior to fit into French standards.

I used to be a big smiler. But somewhere along the line in France, I figured out that big smilers were sometimes taken for big idiots. And over the years, I have definitely changed my smiling habits.

Part of the change was in reaction to remarks from my husband, who just can't stand the American tradition of "smiling big" for photos. A few other smile-related comments came up in our relationship, but I'm not going to splay them all over this blog. It was all very unsettling to me -- I had never imagined that smiling could be subject to criticism.

Starting to teach college-age students in 1995 also modified my smile quotient -- the constant cheery and "up" attitude that I had used teaching in the USA seemed to confuse and bemuse them. I learned that to be taken seriously, I had to act at least somewhat serious.

But mainly, my smile subsided as a gradual part of fitting in, of acting like the people around me.

And this all makes me feel rather sad.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Wordless Wednesday 53

(Photo courtesy of Thierry Jouanneteau)

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Award time

My blog hasn't received any awards in a while, but Le laquet from Chez le laquet was kind enough to bestow this one upon me. I like the French look and wish I could be a bit more chic like that, mais sans le petit chien.

Spring has finally sprung here, so I spent some of the day gardening -- and actually enjoying it. But now that evening has fallen, I feel way too lazy to pass the award on.

I may do so at a later date, when I get back in good blog-following habits.

Life has been oh-so-busy, and I'm looking forward to the burst of energy that the arrival of spring, as well as an upcoming visit to see one of my favorite bloggers, are promising to give me.

But I'm not quite there...yet...

Sunday, March 08, 2009

In a fowl mood

Between exciting football victories, griping about winter, thoughts of getaways, and more griping about winter, I haven't brought you much true France Profonde rurality of late.

We have been getting an occasional sunlit afternoon, and last week my husband was lucky enough to catch these hens and roosters basking in the warmth of a farmhouse yard.

I wonder why this guy would be so curious about what was going on inside the house when it was such a fine day outside?

The grand king of the courtyard definitely appeared to rule the roost, and seemed to know it too:

He was persistent in his curiosity about the other side of the window:

Maybe he was jealous of another creature's creature comforts?

(All photos courtesy of Thierry Jouanneteau.)

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Wordless Wednesday Trickiness

For my fiftieth Wordless Wednesday, I had a little fun. Or let's say that London blogging buddy Tinsie and I had a little fun.

You see, somewhere along the line, we figured out that we were Wordless Wednesday-ing at exactly the same pace. At one point, she got a little behind -- but at my urging she posted a few extras to catch up.

The idea was to do something special for our 50th.

Well, neither of us came up with any extravaganza of an idea, but this is what ended up happening:

I scoured Tinsie's WWs for a photo that I especially liked -- in this case, it was one that quite literally called out my name -- and posted it as mine.

Of course, she did the same. And no one noticed a thing.

If you have a few minutes, do check out Tinsie's blog "Thoughts in a Nutshell" -- especially "Slaving Away?" her brilliant recent post about being laid off. She is a true eternal optimist.

PS: As I post this, the hyperlinks to Tinsie's blog don't seem to be working right. I'm not sure why. If you access the blog through my own blog And So Forth, (in the sidebar under "Friends From Afar") though, everything works well. I hope this problem is cleared up by the time anyone reads this!