Monday, May 31, 2010

NaBloPoMo: An inglorious conclusion

(Click on image to feel the pain of my abysmal evening, and no, this is not OUR declaration.)

My husband and I fill out our French taxes online and, normalement, we had until June the 10th to do so.

Then suddenly this afternoon, for a reason too confusing/personal/mundane/inane/all of the above, it became necessary for us to file online today -- as in this evening when I got home from work at nearly 7pm.

Consequently, I almost forgot to do this last NaBloPoMo post.

I will wax eloquently about my month of daily blogging at a later date...maybe June the 10th?

Sunday, May 30, 2010

La fête des mères

Leesa of News from France, who has got to be one of the nicest bloggers in the whole wide world, was kind enough to send me this photo for "La Fête des Mères."

Merci Leesa! Your thoughtfulness knows no bounds!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Of NaBloPoMo and feed readers

Only three days to go.

This is my third NaBloPoMo, and although I haven't necessarily engendered a lot of comments, I have enjoyed the theme: "Looking Up." It led me on a treasure hunt through my photos, and I found quite a few where I had pointed my camera lens upwards.

Another advantage of participating, for me, is that it does get me back in touch with my blog and the blogosphere. During the month, I installed a new feed reader: Feed Demon. It's a desktop application and gets a little buggy if you don't use it regularly, but I find it more intuitive than Google Reader.

Then, through @chrisrat, I got onto something really fun: Feedly. This little toy swallows up your RSS feeds and spits them out into something that looks more like an online magazine than a bunch of files.

So, to sum up this rather rambling post, NaBloPoMo always brings me some new discoveries, and this time around has been no exception.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Looking up in Paris 3

Same blue sky as yesterday's post, and the same great trip: April 2008 with my youngest daughter and two of her friends.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Looking up in Paris 2

Apartments near the Eiffel Tower...wouldn't that be a nice place to live?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Looking up in Paris 1

One of the great things about my current professional situation is that I get to fly up to Paris for meetings three or four times a year.

My time in the capital city is always limited, and most of it is spent in a windowless conference room. But I always try to make the most of the business trip by stopping off at a café before and after my meeting.

Monday, May 24, 2010

My Back Pages 1


For Music Monday, for NaBloPoMo, for Bob Dylan's birthday -- and because I need something to write about today -- I have decided to go back over some of my music-oriented post for my now-defunct blog And So Forth.

It was a heady bloggy time, when I was writing three blogs and posting about subjects as diverse as politics, music, the media, Aveyron, wine and cooking.

It was November 18, 2007, and I wrote this tribute to one of my favorite Bob Dylan albums:

"I have been trying all day to listen straight through Blood on the Tracks without too many interruptions. It's 7:30 PM and I'm practically halfway into "Shelter from the Storm," so I think I'm finally going to make it.

If not, I think I can do without 'Buckets of Rain.' It's one of the two songs on the album that doesn't do it for me, along with 'Meet Me in the Morning.'

Those two songs aside, though, I don't think I will ever tire of this album. Sometimes I think it's Bob Dylan's best. And I have to disagree with Jon Landau when he wrote in 1975:

'Blood on the Tracks will only sound like a great album for a while. Like most of Dylan, it is impermanent.'

So why does it ring so true 32 years later?"

Sunday, May 23, 2010

I'm home...

...from an absolutely lovely weekend. More about it later.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Off to Toulouse again

This post will be photo-less, and barely more than an expanded version of my Facebook status update -- but at least I'm fulfilling my NaBloPoMo obligation.

Busy weekend ahead: my husband and I are off to Toulouse for the 25-year reunion of his engineering school class. A reception, visit of the school, dinner out, and Sunday picnic are on the program.

We'll be staying with friends and the weather is looking lovely - - even almost hot.

Fortunately I have Monday off so will be able to catch up with the usual weekend duties then.


Wishing you all a good weekend!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Theme Thursday: Pets

THEN:

From left to right: Titine (2000-2008!), Cutie (I don't know, she was one in a series of second guinea pigs), and baby Blackboard (2005-2010.)

NOW:

Bunny Boy, born in 2009, acquired in 2010...a sweet, quiet dwarf rabbit.

He's all the pet I need for the moment.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Looking up in Toulouse 3


The paintings that adorn the covered passageway on the Place du Capitole in Toulouse are, in my opinion, a good example of the whole being more than the sum of its parts.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Halfway Lost in Google Image Search Land

The relevance, or irrelevance, of this photo to today's post will be explained below.

Maybe it's the fun NaBloPoMo theme of "looking up" that has buoyed my efforts, but so far daily blogging hasn't been a chore at all.

Today I wanted to do a simple post of about four words, such as "Halfway through NaBloPoMo." Okay, that's three words, but who's counting besides myself?

But I decided to look for a photo because, well, I've almost always posted with photos. Such was the error of my ways (she writes an hour later.) Go find a good photo to illustrate the notion of "halfway."

Yep, I liked that one, but it was copyrighted and I generally live by those rules.

Then I got lost in Google Image Search Land.

"Halfway house." I hadn't thought about the notion for awhile. It conjured up some vague image of my parents telling me about some child of friends' of theirs who had gotten "mixed up with drugs."

Halfway is the name of a bike model, or a style of bike, or some such. Not that I really care, but there were sure a lot of photos of it messing up the efficiency of my Google Image Search.

Halfway, Oregon. Yes, fellow Pacific Northwesterners, there is a Halfway, Oregon. Did you know that? I didn't. Apparently it got darn cold there in 1948-1949. I would have liked to use a photo of this town for my post, but the one I found was copyrighted too.

An old menu from a restaurant called The Halfway House. Cool! The restaurant was in Seattle. Even cooler! There's a post about it on a way cool site called VintageSeattle.org. I just had to take a break to bookmark it so I can never look at it again.

A Ramones album called Halfway to Sanity. I could surely use this photo, and did:

But it didn't really illustrate anything I wished to convey in this post, and the word "halfway" didn't come out very well visually.

So, I went with the Wikipedia Media Commons photo of "Snowdon Mountain Railway No.2 climbing towards Halfway Station..." because I'm halfway through NaBloPoMo, and still chugging along.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Looking up in Toulouse 2


As I was looking up over my cappuccino in this rather grand café on the Place du Capitole, a noisy and rude dispute was going on at the till. Something about the service being slow and a woman missing an appointment over it...the city police eventually showed up, but all was well by then.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Looking up in Toulouse...

...this very day. Not the greatest light, but a great outing.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Theme Thursday: Mystery

This is my first foray into Theme Thursday, which sounds like great fodder -- no, I meant to say "source of inspiration" -- for NaBloPoMo and future blogging as well.

Not being one to ponder the mysteries of life, what first came to my mind when I saw the theme was the mystery novel genre. I seldom read mystery or detective books, although tut-tut's clever take on the theme reminded me that in my childhood I read quite a few.

A few summers ago, my father suggested this series, and I read two or three:

Pleasant enough stuff, but nothing that drew me into the genre enough to want to discover new authors.

My second thought about "mystery," was, not surprisingly, music-related. The song "Mystery Dance" by Elvis Costello is not one of my favorites from his album "My Aim Is True," which otherwise I love dearly.

The image search for it led me into a strange time warp -- did that song really come out on a 45? The proof is in the picture.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Looking up 7: Contrast


Montepellier, 2006. I thought I was taking a picture of the buildings, but they turned out dark and almost gloomy compared to the splendid sky.

As I do this "looking up" theme for NaBloPoMo, I have been going through a lot of my photo files from trips and outings.

Generally here at La France Profonde I post about Aveyron; or if I travel, I just write up a post or two and never look back at the photos.

The result is that I have plenty of shots lurking around that will probably get online only if I get more involved in Flickr...but who really needs another social network?

Sunday, May 09, 2010

One thing that is not looking up


The world from my window, May 8, 2010


So I took you a photo to show you how depressing and gloomy the weather is here, and it doesn't actually look that bad.

But it is.

Pluie. Pluvieux. Averses isolées. Nombreuses averses. Pluvieux. Bruine. Petites pluies.

I have to hand it to the CityVox Rodez weather site.

They have plenty of vocabulary to tell us that we're in for more of the same, because "Pluie" was for today and the next six descriptions tell us what's coming up.

Last weekend, I kind of enjoyed the unseasonal weather, thinking it was nice not to have to be out breaking my back in the much-neglected yard. This weekend I felt the same way -- on Saturday. It practically put a song in my heart to think I wouldn't have to yank out a week all weekend.

I also kept telling myself that I had seen the weather forecast for next weekend, which will be a 4-day one for me to boot, and that it would be gardening weekend. Indeed, a few days ago, la météo for le weekend de l'Ascension was looking pretty darn good.

Things change.

Oh, and did I tell you we had a snowstorm on Tuesday evening?


Saturday, May 08, 2010

Looking back at looking up 1

If I'm going to get through NaBloPoMo, I think I will have to mine all available material. And lo and behold, I already have a few posts on this blog that correspond perfectly to the theme of "looking up."

For example, in December 2008 I was looking up at Notre Dame de Rodez and reflecting on how the weather at the top of her towers can actually be different than what pedestrians are walking through down below.

The title of that post -- and perhaps several others I've done -- was "Looking Up, Things Are." And that is something I have learned from blogging and carrying my camera around.

There is a whole world above my head that I had frankly never taken the time to examine before creating La France Profonde.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Looking up 3: Flowers and a wink from opticians

Opticians would be good at thinking about looking up, it seems to me.

I don't know if this eye-catching balcony in Colmar was set up by the opticians working below, or if it is just the balcony of the apartment above.

But I have to give the opticians some credit for the clever shop name: "Clin d'oeil" (wink -- but the expression includes the word "eye" in French.)

If you needed glasses, wouldn't you like to take a look into this store?

Monday, May 03, 2010

Looking up 2: taken in one funky place

A memory from one of my more recent trips

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Looking up 1: taken on the day I met a blogging friend who became a real friend


A quick warning to anyone planning on following my NaBloPoMo foray this month: it's going to be all about photos.

The theme is "looking up." I realize that since I started blogging in December 2005 and, at the same time, taking a number of digital photos, I have become much more aware of things above me, and have taken many photos of them that have never worked their way into this blog. This is my chance to use them.

For some posts, such as today's, I'm going to try to entice you with a little clue that will make you wonder where, when and with whom...or else I will tell the story behind the photo.

It's going to be fun.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

The tug of blogging

I wonder if my blogging future is going to look like this: general sloth and non-involvement, with an occasional burst of activity thanks to NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month.)

I believe NaBloPoMo was originally November, but now this Ning group proposes a monthly theme for anyone who wants to latch on and try to post every day for a month.

I had no intention of getting into this for May, but this morning an email arrived announcing that the theme would be "look up." I signed up.

If anything, it will be a good chance to post some of the many photos I have accumulated of rooves, windows, shutters and the like!

See you for the next 31 days...