Monday, July 06, 2015


Before the day became too hot, we decided to walk to the lake. It was a little after 7:00.

"Look, a squirrel," Rick said.


"Where the branch is shaking." He posed his camera to where the squirrel was disappearing thru the branches making a shot impossible.

"Nuts," Rick said, not realizing the pun.

(photo from Google images)

Sunday, July 05, 2015

The more things change...

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Man seems to fight about stupid things. Probably going back to the caveman who may have argued that some gods said skin the mammoth from the top down and others thought that the mammoth should be skinned from the back end to the head.

Take this paragraph from  talking about a deep theological dispute throughout the Middle Ages, which occasionally lead to violence and condemnations of heresy. 

"In the year 1053, Roman Catholic churches were closed in the Byzantine capital of Constantinople and their unleavened consecrated bread was trampled upon in the streets. One Byzantine church leader denounced the used of unleavened bread, writing “'you call bread panis; we call it artos. This is from airoel, to raise, signifies a something elevated, lifted up, being raised and warmed by the ferment and salt; the azym, on the other hand, is lifeless as a stone or baked clay, fit only to symbolize affliction and suffering.'”

Religious intolerance has caused hundreds of thousands of deaths over the centuries and not just Muslims against Christians, but Christians against Christians.

And think all the arguments about what is modest or not.

At the beach the other day with half-clad people, I wished I could plunk Jean Calvin down in the middle. If he weren't already dead, he'd have had a heart attack at the lack of modesty. His narrow mindedness made dancing, music and almost anything beautiful a sin. Yet he would probably love the modesty of the Burka.

Today, especially in America people fight about Happy Holidays vs. Merry Christmas and other nonsense. They fight about the treatment of a piece of cloth not knowing everything behind it. There is still a lot of my god is better than your god so do as my god says or else.

Man seems to get his knickers in a twist, as the Brits say, about things that a few years later have no meaning.

Something to think about when one gets up a soap box.

Big Fish Little Fish

Dear NSA...

Wikileaks just published that you were spying on 29 Brazilian politicians including their president. And earlier, even though you got caught once spying on Angela Merkel, it was revealed that you also were spying on her over the Greek negotiations.

I know you are spying on millions of people all over the world, mostly little fish, but which do you find more effective? Us little fish or those big fish?


Bakery joys

We were invited to a house concert and pot luck and the invitation came after the stores were closed. So the best thing was to go to a wonderful bakery to take a dessert.
 They have a decorated cow out front.

 They use wood to fire their ovens.
 And it is all mouth watering.

Saturday, July 04, 2015

Color safari

It started with my friend Karrie, who someone described as a Fruit Loop in a bowl of Cheerios, which she should take as a complement. Her zest for life, her imagination, her creativity make her a special person.

She just started a color day for photos first by putting on Facebook yellow pictures and invited friends to do the same. The next day was blue then brown. Because I was packing to go home to Geneva, I looked through existing photos and came up with the right color photos.

Today Rick and I left early to do the errands, but it was also a safari to come up with white photos. It was lovely and cool by the lake.

Thank you Karrie for being such a lovely Fruit Loop. What fun tracking down colors.

Friday, July 03, 2015

Canicule lessons

Canicule is French for heat wave.

Yesterday, it was 42° on our balcony which was shaded. That's 108°F. The official posted temps are lower, but not by much.

In 2003 when when 35,000 people died from the heat according to New Scientist 14,000+ of them were in France alone. So far no death toll has been published for any country.

Many were old.  Now some Swiss cities are checking on old people. If they don't respond to a phone call, they send someone to their house.

I remember that in 2003 in my office we were told to keep shades down (no air conditioning) lights were off, and bottles of water were brought around to each person. Work was closed at 15:00. 

There is no end projected on the weather channel for this canicule. I want to break any car that isn't fuel efficient and if I wrote my thoughts on what I would like to do to climate deniers, I would be picked up by the police.

wet feet

French toilets in the not so distant past were holes with places for feet. They were everywhere, restaurants, public toilets, etc.

One just angled and in many cases held their breath for cleanliness was limited and odor was not.

BUT when ya gotta go, ya gotta go.

Over the years they were replaced with normal toilets. Along the highways stops were normal toilets housed in little buildings usually surrounded by trees and pretty views.

Thus, I was surprised when we stopped outside of Grenoble to see a pristine, odor-free modern version.

One doesn't forget how to angle, so angle I did.

I must have taken too long (it had been a long time between stops) and suddenly the floor of the toilet, my feet and the bottom of my slacks received a thorough an automatic washing process. I was grateful that my aim was such that only water touched me.

Vive la France.

On the road again

We have to be in Geneva on Monday.

This weekend close to half of France will be on the road as they head to their July holiday locations.

There is a canicule, a heat wave. Our car is a pretty green but not air conditioned.

At least there was a breeze and despite dreading the trip, it turned out quite pleasant.

Loved the ceramic area map at the rest stop where we ate. 

 I wonder if the expression when pigs fly will be replaced by when trucks fly?

 Past and present. Wind turbines next to nuclear plants.
And we were rewarded with the wonderful rock formations around Grenoble.

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Not a blog I wanted to write

I am facing a second bout of breast cancer. Like the first time I intend to blog my way thru it. As a writer putting scarey things into words helps.

It could be a lot worse.

I just posted several blogs that I wrote on what was happening over the last couple of weeks, but wasn't going to tell people until I knew for sure. I also wanted to make sure certain people learned about it from me directly.

Last time I produced a book. Having cancer in a language not your own is harder. This book was intended for anglophones in a francophone environment. Any money earned will go to cancer funds.

I also want to blog it to convince women to get those mammograms.

I will do what I have to do and make the experience as meaningful as it was the first time.

I would rather eat chocolate.

Read the blog here.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

8.7 millions report to crime bureau

Imagine that

When you fill out required tax forms you had to send them to a Financial Crimes Enforcement Network even though you never did anything wrong. Wouldn't you feel wrongly accused of being a criminal?

Your are under threat of penalties from $5,000, $10,000 or half your life savings if you make a mistake in this or that form.

Imagine that you can't save for your retirement.

Imagine that you can't make any investments-

Imagine no bank, investment house or insurance company will do business with you.

Imagine your bank

Tells you to pay up your mortgage in 30 days.

Closes your accounts.

Rescinds your charge card

Rescinds your debit card

Won't give you a loan for a car, your business or any reason.

Imagine your company

Can't deposit your paycheck because you have no bank account

Denies you promotion because you are American and the post requires that you can have signatory power on its accounts.


Have to give up your role on a board of  a social organization because it will show up on a bank account and even if you are the only American among hundred of members all their financial info will be reported to the US.

This is what is facing 8.7 million Americans including those that have only had the misfortune to be born in the US (and only spent a short time there) or to a US parent living outside the US. If you couldn't live with those fears, than you will understand why expats are upset.

Tomato caviar

I never bother buying tomatoes from a supermarket or anywhere until I ferret out real ones in the summer normally from a farm.

At the marché a man had a variety and tomato smell fills the air.

I pick one up to inhale the aroma and experience olfactory visions of a tomato sandwich or tomato with some of Joel’s olive oil and bit of my basil from the patio. The bread had cooled from the bakery.

He takes another and cuts it in half. “Caviar de tomato,” he says and gives us a chance to suck on the seeds and juice. He explains the different varieties. There is passion in his voice.

I select three, one with a strange nob on the top much like a chignon. “It has personality,” I tell him.

As he packs up my tomatoes he puts in an extra as a gift.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Internet safari

Friday there was a fire that took out the SFR transformer and antenna. We noticed the water planes overhead as we sat talking with friends at a café (photo from a previous year).

Everyone who is on that service is without internet, phone or TV. It is now Monday late and nothing.

Fortunately in the nest I have livebox and in this canicule we are cooler than we would be downstairs. Bless my daughter for throwing a tantrum about air conditioning. She was in her 30s and mumbled about cooked mothers without it.

The boys at Hostalet are on and said we can sit at our outdoor tables as long as we want.

Still if we have to go on an internet safari to other villages we won't be happy.

However on Thursday we are going up to Geneva.

Disappearing cows and safety.

I do not use Google for searches except for images.

I went to because they claim they don't keep any information. Therefore reporting my information to government agencies has to be limited.

When I tried to go on Swisscow a few days ago there was a new logo.

Was it safe, I wondered.

I went to their about section.

" is the safe alternative is the efficient alternative for anyone who attaches great importance to data integrity and the protection of privacy. Contrary to search engines, users at don’t leave any tracks. even does without countless analyses of their visitors. Their topics, IP addresses and personal information, are not stored or used for any additional business. All the servers are located in Switzerland and neither the US nor other data snoopers can get their hands on this information."

I may miss the cute cow but I know I have an alternative to snoopy search engines.