Sunday, January 22, 2017

Dreaming of France -- Picking a Place to Live

Thank you for joining this weekly meme. Grab a copy of the photo above and link back to An Accidental Blog. Share with the rest of us your passion for France. Did you read a good book set in France? See a movie? Take a photo in France? Have an adventure? Eat a fabulous meal or even just a pastry? Or if you're in France now, go ahead and lord it over the rest of us. We can take it.

If you were going to move to a new country, how would you choose where to live?
My husband and I have narrowed it down to a specific region of France. We chose it for the climate and the home prices, but how do we choose a town or a village?
We'd like to live in a charming village that has a market each week, and we'd prefer a town with a bakery and a few restaurants.
As we look at the map, there seem to be endless villages to choose from.
We searched for charming villages in the area and then we cross referenced with some of the best markets. Here are a few of the contenders:
Pezenas
Photo from TripAdvisor
Its Saturday market includes artisanale food, flowers, and clothes, according to golanguedoc.com. But the market gets crowded in the summer, according to the website. It might be too touristy for us, since an article on creme-de-languedoc.com says it has arts and crafts shops, restaurants and antique shops. That might be a terrific place to visit, but too we want to live in a village that is overrun with tourists throughout the summer? We've done that before when we lived in Florida, but, of course, the tourists and older people came in the winter for the warm weather. We definitely plan to visit Pezenas in May when we travel to France.

Roquebrun
This is another town that made the list of charming and best markets, but the article begins by saying it isn't easy to get to. That might discourage tourists, but it might also block us in more than we want. 
I think I might like to nestled against the mountains like this. 
This village has a market on Tuesdays and Fridays and is known for its wines, according to golanguedoc.com. A river runs along the town too, providing for some water activities like canoeing. 
Photo from flckr
That might be fun.

Olargues
The final village that makes both articles is the medieval town of Olarques. Apparently, it has a market on Sundays that features food, including cheeses and wild boar pate.
Plus, Olargues even makes the list of 151 most beautiful villages in France.

I'm interested to explore all of these places, plus so many more, and I hope that it just feels right when we find it.
How bout you? How would you narrow down where to live if it didn't depend on a job? What criteria would you choose?

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Readers' Workouts -- Goals


Joy at Joy's Book Blog has built up a community of people who love to read and work out.
This week she's blogging about goals.

I'm not great about setting goals for the new year. I have decided I'd like to easily be able to run 10 miles on the weekend, like I used to with my friends. But I haven't actually done anything to make that happen.
This morning I ran four miles in the rain with
the temperature around 50 degrees. Warmer
than it should be for January.  This pic is
from another winter run in the rain. 

I've had some long runs in the new year, including a 7-mile run last week, but my body is still adjusting to a new way of eating.
I haven't eaten meat since Christmas Eve. I didn't give it up for any noble cause, only because I felt so sick for days after.
It started a few weeks before Christmas. I did a 6-day juice cleanse, drinking only fruit and vegetable juice. Then when I started eating again, I noticed that meat upset my stomach. I tried to avoid meat, but as I visited family or went out, it seemed like meat was always served. On Christmas Eve, I made mozzarella-stuffed meatballs. I only ate one, but my intestines felt swollen and inflamed. So I haven't eaten any meat since. Even the smell of it cooking can make me feel sick.
I never would have predicted I could give up meat. I have loved it forever -- a nice juicy cheeseburger, marinated chicken on the grill, pulled pork sandwiches. But the memory of how sick I felt for several days prevents me from being tempted.
I've eaten some fish, but notice that I feel very full after that too, so I'm sticking with mostly fruits and vegetables. Still, I find myself eating too much bread so that I'll feel full.
Anyway, as I'm figuring out how to eat without feeling sick, there are some days when I have walked rather than run, and I just need to be satisfied with that.
On the positive side, I have successfully reached my step goal on my Fitbit every day this year, even with some days of bad weather.

I wonder if I can reach 10,000 steps every day of the year. That might be a good goal.
Hope everyone else is enjoying an active January.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Dreaming of France -- The Other South of France

Thank you for joining this weekly meme. Grab a copy of the photo above and link back to An Accidental Blog. Share with the rest of us your passion for France. Did you read a good book set in France? See a movie? Take a photo in France? Have an adventure? Eat a fabulous meal or even just a pastry? Or if you're in France now, go ahead and lord it over the rest of us. We can take it.
There's something exhilarating about the purchase of the airline tickets to France and the confirmation of hotel reservations.
It puts a zip in my step as I imagine that day in May when I'll be learning abut the southwestern region of France, the area where I hope to move during 2017.
The area we are thinking about stretches along the Mediterranean, from Marseille over to the Pyrenees Mountains of Spain. It has been called Languedoc- Roussillon, but the new name of the region is l'Occitanie.

Sete is a town along the Mediterranean that really is just a spit of land between the Mediterranean and another large body of water. Love these colorful boats.

 Here's a photo of the fortifications at Beziers, another city near the Mediterranean. It looks so similar to Avignon with the pale stone fortress.


The Canal du Midi also runs through region, passing near Carcassone. I couldn't find a good photo of Carcasson, so I'll just have to take one myself when we're over there.


And who knows, we might end up buying a house that has a view of the Pyrenees. It may be hard to choose between the sea and the mountains.
Hopefully, we'll love this region as much as we enjoy Provence, because the prices for houses in this area are much less expensive than in Provence.
The photos included here come from Pixabay, which shares pictures free.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Selected Feature Review -- Paris Runaway

Yesterday, Kirkus Reviews Magazine notified me that a review for Paris Runaway had been "selected as a feature review."

That  means that way back on page 132, they include their thoughts about Paris Runaway -- which were good overall.
But in addition to the entire review, they included a quote from the review at the top of the page.

I love that they experienced Paris with Sadie and that my use of concrete language stood out.

The placement of the review might be only for the dedicated who thumb through the pages to the end, but I'm grateful to be included.
Here's the link for anyone who wants to visit. It's at the bottom of page 132, but here's how the review looks.
 It starts at the bottom of the page then jumps to the top of the next column



Thanks to Kirkus Review and to everyone who supports my writing. I'm grateful and hope you'll visit the page, as well as consider reading Paris Runaway.
Here's the link on Amazon for paperback or Kindle version. And if you have Amazon Prime with the books, you can probably read it free.