(the misadventures of an expatriate corporate dropout)

Friday, November 27, 2009

cou cou

well, hello dave ...... and everyone ...

I've been suffering. from blogger's block. and loneliness. and winter malaise. and a bad case of the whines.

and I just couldn't seem to get myself to move the fingers to the keys.

I'm not out of the woods. but I've also been suffering from blogger's guilt. I mean, I love my dear little blog. and the few of you who seem to keep returning to hear me kvetch. or prattle.

when I go back and read the first year or so of my blog, it was much more regularly entertaining. not a rehash of my to do or got done list. so those of you who bear with me are especially dear, because you really aren't getting your money's worth lately, are you?

so let's see. I turned another year older this week! I ate a grilled cheese sandwich on Thanksgiving! I bought a 'mutuelle' policy that will even pay for 'thermal cures' and 'kine-massage'...basically a top-up insurance policy, including prescriptions, glasses and dental for 32€ a month! I have a crush on my insurance man, Mr. Saad. He's a quite handsome Algerian man, a former European footballer, semi-pro ... who has patiently explained all sorts of things French to me as pertains to insurance and the like (health, home, etc.). Of course, he will benefit too as I enroll in some of his programs ... he is a broker vs. agent for one firm, so that's a bit nicer, no? he brought me some lovely biscotti his wife made and next visit promises cheese.

what else. I attended an extremely cool blues concert on Wednesday at Les Toques in Perigueux. Les Toques is fast becoming a favorite hangout. It is a fairly quick 20 minutes or so from my house. It is a beer and wine bar, with good house wine and a broad selection of beers. There have been some missteps. Like the fact they insulted my good friends Amy and Eric, which makes me feel a bit traitorous about going (does it help or hurt that they have Eric's photo up on their myspace?). And the time I went to eat there and their filthy, lazy waitress made me not want to return (I was hopeful the last time I went, because she wasn't there ... but alas, this time she surfaced and seemed to quite drunkenly spend more time dancing with the guests than serving ... hmmmm, is she the owner's mate or something? ugh).

But I've been lonely and bored lately and this is a place I feel comfortable going alone (the proprietor is Irish, I believe, and always recognizes me and greets me warmly) and thus I've gone a few times recently and actually enjoyed two concerts, both blues. Last one was a French group ... but Weds was a treat with an American blues group. This group included an 80 year old bluesman named Tomcat and another fellow named Bob who has his own club in Phoenix called the Rhythm Room and looked like a 60s throwback with his mod styling and slicked-back hair. But this man could blow the harmonica like nobody's business. All I can say is that if this evening was any indication of the music to be found at his establishment, (and you live or are visiting Phoenix)...get there soon!

The club was packed with musicians, French, there to revel in some real down-home blues. I arrived hours early. The place was empty and I snagged a table right by the stage. I was treated to rehearsal and soundchecks, which was really like a little private concert. Tomcat was fucking amazing. 80 years young, dressed to kill, full of vim and vigor and flirtinglike there was no tomorrow .... (which in his case, maybe .... mais non!) what a hoot! not to mention the fact that he had this throaty, sexy voice and could play and sing his ass off. I stayed through their last set and got home around 1:00 a.m.

I also joined a 'ladies who lunch' group... a collection of 34 English women and (now me!) who enjoy a monthly lunch at local restaurants here and there in the area. I went for my first lunch on Thursday, at a Moroccan spot - tasty, and was entertained and amused at the scene. There were 23 or so in attendance at a long table, 12 and 12 facing. As the lunch and wine progressed, the group I was facing ... who had the couch and pillows side, were lounging about in groups of 2 and 3 ... chatting and visiting, reclining in front or behind each other ... it was like some sort of Roman holiday scene with ladies of a certain age in attendance. I joined to force myself out a bit, and I figured one day per month saturated with English speaking won't ruin all of my French. We'll see where this goes ... :P

I also attended a nice Art Expo night with my new friends Claude and Jean (French) ... it was at the chateau in Nontron and was quite lovely. There was a scene of performance art/poetry, sculpture and artworks and wine and hors d'oeuvres passed around. All very civilized and fun! It was here I discovered a tapisserie (upholstery course) teaching the old techniques for fateuils and such, and I've enrolled for January.

So you can see I've been making the effort to get out amongst them. In addition to these bits, Jean-Yves and I have spent a couple of our typically giggle-filled afternoons together. We've cooked lunch together, once at my place and afterwards we watched Vicky, Cristina, Barcelona together ... another lunch was at his place where he rustled up some of the biggest gambas I've seen in awhile.

But ... lately I've had these bouts of feeling like there's a sort of dark hole in my pond, where the water is swirling and swirling, trying to pull me downwards ... that dark hole has visited me before ... its a numb and lonely place that I don't want to visit ... the pull is steady and hard to avoid but thus far I've managed.

I'm tired of feeling alone and lonely. and that has nothing to do with France. Mostly it is fine. I'll be fine. I'm on the upbeat IRL ... hate complainers. but here with only my poor readers to suffer through the black moods I sometimes harbor, it is you kids ... you who pay the price. le sigh!

mais puis ,,,, je ne regrette rien!


Michelle said...

I was going to write a comment about reading about everyday life not being boring. But I turned my blog ID private and stopped blogging because I had nothing to say.

There was also a certain amount of discomfort about being tracked by 'stalkers' following blog links on my facebook, reading my comments on blogs, tracking them back to my quiet little blog and trying to discuss my blog in conversations. It was irksome. If I'd wanted a free for all,I'd have linked to my own blog on facebook.

Ha, so you see from my waffle, that maybe the urge to write in the Land of Blog has not left. Just trying to work out the way that is less ick for me.

I've never imagined you as a lady who lunches, but completely understand why in these circumstances you would go down that path. I think you are brilliant in being proactive in ensuring that you don't fall into that pit and get swallowed up. Would love to go to that club. Maybe not to eat, but the atmosphere sounds brilliant. How lucky to have a little House of Blues so close to home.

Good news about the insurance. I just hope you never need it:)

The Pliers said...

Just a note to say that I'm happy when I get to hear about how your life is going in Brantôme. I'm delighted to hear that you got your mutuelle purchased and that you appreciate your insurance man. That's saying a lot!

The activities that you have inserted into your life in an effort to encourage yourself to get out and about more with others sound really nice and are a good hedge against simple isolation exacerbating le cafard that you mentioned. I hope that it passes away as springtime comes again.


Anonymous said...

For being sad, you've certainly been busy! It is great that you have so many outlets there for socializing and getting out of the house. I'm a bit jealous. HA!
Bon courage, as they say. Always nice to read your posts.

Randal Graves said...

Sure, we pay the price, but blogging is free. If you don't count the churning innards that often lead to such electronic outbursts, or, as is the case, black holes. Just make sure you're not on the ship of a madman (don't tell me you forgot that horrible 70s flick).

Kathleen said...

Are you kidding?! Whatever you write, it's always entertaining even (when you're whining) and the opportunity to read about someone's adventures living in France when the writer is so transparent,(not to mention someone who has such a good sense of humor and hutzpah), is always a delight. You rock girl, even when you're down in the dumps.

C'est Kim said...

I'm a very upbeat and optimistic person, and I very much enjoy the holidays. Having said that, this is the only time of year when I actually think a lot about being single -- lots of parties to walk into by myself, sitting by myself at church, seeing families together at some of the holiday movies, etc. So there are definite ups and downs. Hang in there. This, too, shall pass. And your blog is always interesting to read.

amy said...

I dreamt we were having lunch, only I'd forgotten to buy bread and wine. We still had a good time! Hope we can have lunch for real, soon. PS don't worry about Les toques - glad you've found a good hangout there and Toby the owner really is very sweet.

Riana Lagarde said...

this time of the year, the descent of the ferriswheel is always depressing to me. but it will go up, right? it always does. sounds like you are being festive regardless and having a good time getting out and about. i've been trying to think about what to blog about today all day long and i have come up with diddly-squat. i am right there with you!