Let’s Talk About “your” Big But


wild palombe.  four of these babies given to us from a friend.


PeeWee : But what? Everyone I know has a big “But…? C’mon, Simone, let’s talk about *your* big “But”.

Who knew that PeeWee’s Big Adventure would be so deep.  Somehow this gem hit our screen a few weeks ago and carrying an arm load of laundry, I walked into that scene.  So you think, “yeah?! How about MY but??”

What’s my big but?  I can tell you that it was not this:  I always wanted to start a grassfed beef farm strung together with bailing wire in a country where I don’t speak the language and have a fourth baby in a house missing windows and doors yet has flush toilets, BUT …

I always wanted to do more musical theater, BUT I got paid more doing modern dance.  (I CAN’T EVEN BELIEVE THAT’S TRUE!)

I always wanted to be on Colbert, BUT I need to write a book first.

BUT what.  But, I’m glad I’m here.  Each day is filled with unknowns and problems to solve.  We have HUGE projects that will take years to perfect.  It’s the ultimate slow food.  I shed my microwave long ago.  I’ve given up processed foods.  I’m growing my produce.  Slowly.   Hopefully.  Expectantly.  BUT please don’t make me leave.


When I was a dancer I started dating this high-tech dude.  We’d go to parties.  I’d meet his peeps.  Pretty much on cue, they’d launch the “so, what do you do?” line of conversation.  I’m not sure if it’s an American thing, but people who “do” tend to ask “what do you do.”  As a dancer, from their perspective, technically I “don’t.”  So my answer to “what do you do” was somewhat disappointing.  Occasionally what I don’t would be entertaining when the “do”s equated “dancer” with “stripper/feely girl.”   Now that I’m older and wiser, the better question at those parties would be “what do you don’t?”  What you don’t is your big but.  You see, I’m a loner.  A rebel.  You don’t want to get mixed up with a guy like me, Dottie.



Working At Home. This was a status used by many at the place I used to work (computer geek stuff. They’re crazy like that). There was a positive correlation between degrees in Fahrenheit and number of employees “wah-ing” that day. As degrees in Fahrenheit increased so did the peeps who would W.A.H. Today and yesterday have been exceptional Spring days. Temperatures measuring close to 30 C (86 F!). It’s when the weather is fantastic, the kids are at school, the cows are in their rectangle and I’m working with Brent on some physically difficult task as we get our farm started that I think “fuck yeah! This is fantastic!” I’m Working At Home. I want to set my status, but the only person who cares is also WAH. Last night I sat out with the kids in the dark while they took candles around and solved mysteries. The frogs were croaking a symphony audible by us and any neighboring farm within a kilometer or two. One of our cows had a baby. Our little newborn has decided to sleep through the night. The grass is growing like … grass. Mama-say mama-sah ma-ma-coo-sah.


(photo by Mr. Curtis)


(photo by Mr. Curtis)

DSC_0607.JPGThis is Tosca’s spot while dinner is being prepared.  Always after a crumb, she’s right there for any morsel that falls her way.


I’m not sure if it was Michael or Brent who found this little gem on the internet, but let me tell you right here, right now, everytime I walk by this poster, I start singing this classic Lionel Richie song.  It’s so bad it’s good, but now bad.  An ear worm I would prefer to avoid.

You’d Have To Be Asleep To Believe It

la liberte

I’ve read many books about people moving to France enjoying the lifestyles, the culture, the language and the food. Great books. I’m enjoying the lifestyle, the culture, the language and the food. I started to blog about the differences. Hey, look at all the cheese you can buy, but where’s the orange cheese? Or blogging about the cool things they have here.  Diesel diesel everywhere! Quickly, I found myself duplicating a common theme. Yes, it’s great here and my experience is no different in that respect. But the real question is why the heck did I give up my high-status shoot-me-an-email High-Tech Career with power meetings and status updates. Why leave my fast, yellow Porsche out in the cold rubbing seat to bum with a new daddy. My newly remodeled house with fancy water tap that turns on in the presence of your soapy hands and a range that turns up to eleven with 360XBTUs. I personally planted almost every plant in that yard. Why leave a beautiful, though cold, city that has everything I could possibly need. Including more than three private kindergartens, if selected, that will extract seventeen thousand US dollars from me to usefully educate my child. I was settled in Seattle so what’s with the big move?  Why France?

The last post I wrote on this blog was about the market and the amazing produce. Then, I stopped. Nothing. What happened in May? How about June and July? Was I around in August? September, I don’t remember. October is here, I’m here ready to get on with writing something , anything about what is going on over here after uprooting my family from the prototypical path laid out before us. The American Dream. What was my American Dream lacking? Did moving to France have anything to do with America? I don’t think I moved the family to France to get away, but rather to discover. Right now, here in October, I can’t articulate why, but I think I’m on to something.

I’m not knocking the American Dream or maybe I am.  As George Carlin put it, “it’s the American Dream ’cause you have to be asleep to believe it.”  Or as James Truslow Adams, the coiner of the phrase (yes, I wikipedia-ed American Dream so there) explains, “The American Dream is that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone …” mumble mumble European upper class “It is not a dream of motor cars and high wages merely, but a dream of social order in which each man and each woman shall be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately capable, and be recognized by others for what they are, regardless of the fortuitous circumstances of birth or position.”  I got to a point (or a pointless), I think, where it really was about motor cars and high wages where the dream of social order and innate capability were put on the back burner, low-pri, minimal ROI.  People in America ask “What do you do?”  In the past five months, people ask me “How’s it going?”  ça va? ça va.