I created frogblog (with Vincent’s help) so I don’t have to make new web pages every time I want to share my thoughts and experiences with you all. If you leave a reply, I’ll get an e-mail letting me know. Theoretically.

This blog looks good in Firefox, a much better browser than Explorer, which doesn’t follow The Rules (aka web standards).

Romance Daylight Time: That’s what the time zone I live in is called. Really (according to my computer). How apt.

I’ve spent most of my time enjoying my French family and learning my way around. That is, learning how to be a resident. I already knew how to get from monument to monument pretty much, but I never had to worry about where to get a loaf pan (Vincent and Nico asked me to make meatloaf). I’ve also been comparing the baguettes, éclairs, and pains aux raisins at the local bakeries. And different heavenly cheeses from the cheese guy at the marché (open air market). There are over 400 kinds in France and I want to try them all!

Socialized Medicine: You can get in to see your doctor the day you call. Doctors here also make same-day house calls. 24/7. A normal doctor visit costs about 30 euros. The house calls cost about 50. Labs make house calls too. So the doctor comes to your house, prescribes meds, and calls the lab if he wants tests. Then they come and take blood or whatever. For that service AND the lab work, you pay about 70 euros. And then you can even get a partial refund on all of the above expenses if you send in a claim form…

A medication I paid $50 for in the States (my HMO paid the other $50) costs me 17 euros here. And it would be less if I had national medical insurance, to which, as a legal resident, I am evidently entitled, even though I don’t contribute to the social security system here. So disabuse yourselves of all your notions about socialized medicine. And demand affordable healthcare from your government (if you ever get a chance again).

Oddity du jour: Nico turned 13 and I wanted to make him a cake. But in the grocery stores (I went to a few), where they have the flour and sugar and so on, I couldn’t find baking soda. So I went to my friendly neighborhood boulangère (baker lady) and asked her where to get it. She said the pharmacy. Okey dokey.

Diversion: Haven’t done too many touristy things since I arrived. Some lunches (checked out the Mexican restuarant a couple blocks away, which has a better-than-decent quesadilla and pico de gallo!), shopping, and happy hours with my friend Elaine before she left. She is a former student of mine who just finished her BA in International Business at San Diego State who was here for her final semester. I also managed to get in a couple of visits with Terry, my best pal from grad school, who’s been living here since we left Monterey (in 1997) and decided to move back to the States just as I was arriving.

I discovered an organization called WICE that looks intriguing. Its members are mostly women of many nationalities and they do cultural activities, writing workshops, bilingual reading groups, stuff like that. I’m going to check them out at an open house in October. Vincent says it looks like an organization for desperate housewives. It does, kinda… I submitted a poem to the journal they publish (my latest MagPo; they don’t discriminate against refrigerator poetry).

I’m working on a few projects, including the online company idea I started working on years ago and haven’t touched since I dropped that ball in 2005. A couple of programmers in Carlsbad are working on it with me.

Culture: Elaine and I went to a couple of museums; saw a great exhibit of Marilyn Monroe’s last photo shoot at the Musée Maillol and went to the Musée Marmottan Monet, which houses the world’s largest collection of Monet’s works. Vincent and I are going to see one of his favorite bands, The Divine Comedy, in concert in October.

Weather: Thanks to global warming, San Diego’s climate came with me. It’s been in the 70s since June, for the most part, except for a major heat wave in July, which was hotter than all but about three SD heat waves in my 20+ years there, and occasional très cool thunderstorms (brief and warm), and about twice as many rainy days as there would be in San Diego, which means 8 or so. I’m sure I’ll be whistling a different tune in a couple of months, but Sophie wore tank tops to school the last week of September, which is unprecedented, according to Vincent. It just started to get a little chilly this week.

Food Drive: If you happen to think of me one day when you’re in the coffee/tea row or passing the wall of insta-dinner envelopes in your friendly neighborhood humongous grocery store, please pick up some Red Zinger (Celestial Seasonings) and envelopes of taco and enchilada sauce seasoning mixes (mild for the kiddles) for me. If you send me the tea, I recommend you take it out of the box and stick it in an envelope. It’s really expensive to send stuff here! If you’re coming to visit, I might ask you to bring me some dried pinto beans or Crystal hot sauce (better than Tabasco!) or whatever else I can’t find here that I’m craving… I will be eternally grateful!