When you move to another country and pretty much everything you bring with you fits in 4 suitcases and 2 backpacks, you’re going to have to buy a lot once you arrive and get settled in. We sold our house in the US fully furnished, down to the silverware and plates, so we needed a place here that had everything included. We achieved that during our first year by renting a house normally used by weekly vacationers so everything we left behind was suddenly available to us once again. Because it was a compact (read “small”) place, anything new we bought had to have more than one function since storage was limited. I wrote about it in Double or Nothing and we’ve been able to stick with that ideal for the most part. Then we bought our own house and the rules got relaxed a bit. Read the rest of this entry
We don’t have a guest room, as such, in our new house and that fits in well with the “Double or Nothing” philosophy we adopted when moving to France. In a nutshell, it just means that anything we buy here to replace something that we’ve left behind in the US must do more than one thing. For example, the top of our wine rack, right by the front door, gives us a place to empty our pockets after being out for the day and the drawers below that give us storage for pens, paper, maps, and notebooks. We needed a mixer for the kitchen so we got a “robot” that transforms into a blender, food processor, juicer, and a grinder. The patio table converts into a workbench. With the possibility that friends and family would be staying with us, we needed some kind of bed to turn the den into a guestroom. Ever-resourceful Bill ordered one and popped down to the wine store at the end of our street to pick it up. Read the rest of this entry
The last time we had an octopus in the kitchen was…never except now, with the new house, there’s one there 24 hours a day and we couldn’t be happier even though it keeps us in hot water. Literally we have all the hot water we want, on demand, from this machine you see pictured here hanging on the wall in our kitchen. Anyone familiar with the old television game show question “Is it bigger than a breadbox?” will understand its size. Updated to our current location, it’s as tall as a baguette, as wide as a beret, and all of those pipes keep us toasty throughout the house. Read the rest of this entry
Despite the title of the Rolling Stones’ 1965 hit song (and today’s blog post), according to the lyrics, they were never able to get any satisfaction. Luckily that’s not the case with overseas visitors who settle in France, according to a recent survey I read about last month. In fact, we find ourselves in a country that ranks 4th out of 45 countries when respondents were asked about the quality of life, and we totally agree. Read the rest of this entry
Growing up in the 1950s and early 1960s in the southern US meant that we experienced some hot summers without air conditioning. Schools didn’t have it, so it was a good thing that summer vacation extended from June 1 to September 1, and private homes certainly didn’t. Once my brother and I were old enough to mow lawns for other people, guess what was the first thing we both bought for our bedrooms: window air conditioners. What a glorious summer that was! Read the rest of this entry
We had a robot delivered last month. In the US you might think of it as a multi-function kitchen machine but here everyone just calls it a robot and we don’t even have to pronounce the “t”. As you can see from the photo, this is not just your standard food processor, but oh so much more. Just as those “but wait, there’s more” television commercials tell you, it slices, dices, chops, and juliennes. It’s a blender, a mixer, a grinder, and a juicer. Where is it all going to fit?
There’s a series of books devoted to what you should eat instead of something else. There’s the original version, one for kids, for eating at restaurants, for supermarket shopping, for 350-calorie meals, for drinks…. The idea is that when you’re faced with a food choice there’s usually a high calorie, high fat option and a much healthier selection. On one of Carcassonne’s main shopping streets is a gourmet grocery store where those choices are amazing. Read the rest of this entry