Thursday, December 31, 2015


This blog post marks a milestone for Melanged #1000! Who knew on Aug. 30, 2010 when I began blogging here about my life and adventures in France that I'd still be at it 1000 posts later. It all began with a big 'YES!' and led to that first winter house sitting for Laury. That 'yes' led to another the following year as I began living in France full time. It's affirming to realize that there have been at least 1000 things about my life that I felt were interesting enough to share. There have actually been many, many more. I feel the abundance.

But Melanged Magic isn't my first blog, you know. I began my blogging career here at Musings from Red Bell Farm. If you click on the link, you'll see the post that brought me from Iowa to France. Other posts will show you what happened between spring of 2011 and fall of that year when I made the big leap to becoming an ex-pat. Musings began on Christmas Day 2007 and 445 blog posts later, it went on hiatus as I began life full time here. And during that time I also kept two other, short-lived blogs: Dona Nobis Pacem, a spirituality blog of 160 posts and Red Bell Reads, a blog about books and music that only lasted for 17 posts before fading into history. 622 additional blog posts! Add that to 1000 on Melanged Magic and even I'm impressed. No wonder I'm not so enthusiastic about trying to blog every day now.

That being said, Melanged Magic continues. Life is interesting and full of adventures. You'll continue to read about them here. In the meantime, I'd like to wish you a joyous end to 2015 and a hopeful, auspicious beginning to 2016!

Monday, December 28, 2015


A friend invited me to come for an early supper last night. She had leftovers from Christmas dinner that she wanted to share. Didn't have to ask me twice! We began with butter-sauteed shrimp and a glass of white wine on her terrace. The view couldn't have been prettier.
As the sun began it set, we moved inside for a yummy main...confit du canard with a vegetable roast of parsnips, squash, potatoes, carrots and onions. And of course, a bowl of Brussels sprouts which are traditional for an English Christmas dinner. Then a cheese platter followed by homemade mince pie. I'll help you clean up leftovers anytime, Janie!

Sunday, December 27, 2015


Moonrise over Saujac
This was the view from my upstairs window on Christmas Eve as the moon rose over Saujac. The muted pinks and lavenders of sunset blended perfectly with the luminous moon veiled by a whisper-thin layer of clouds along the horizon. It murmured 'peace on Earth, goodwill towards men' to me.
Moonrise over Saujac
Christmas Eve 2015

Monday, December 21, 2015

Murder in Mazerolles

Disclaimer: This is not a Christmas story. Be forewarned that there is blood and violence involved!
There was murder in Mazerolles Saturday afternoon! This normally peaceful and picturesque village was shocked as gunshots rang out and reverberated across the valley towards Najac. The cause of this violence was the unexpected presence of three intruders marauding through the quiet village. Dogs were set a-barking in alarm. Two of the terrorists met their demise at the hands of a village marksman in the high village where they were hiding. The third escaped and tore along the tiny ruelles attempting to avoid a similar fate. He forced his way into an enclosed courtyard through an iron gate....

but there was no escape! He was efficiently dispatched as he cowered beneath the garden's banana tree. His lifeless body was dragged across the stone to cold storage leaving evidence of his execution behind.
The villagers breathed a sigh of relief. There was mixed reaction, though, to the swift hand of justice. Women and children once again felt safe, but some questioned the need for the capital punishment meted out. The names of the marauders were not released, however you can learn their identity by clicking on this link, and read the story of the murders on Facebook at the Mazerolles City Fan Club page where you'll also find a photo of one of the terrorists!

Friday, December 18, 2015

Whimsical Window

My favorite window in Cajarc
is all decked out for Christmas.
It makes me smile every time I walk by!

Friday, December 11, 2015

A Story for Christmas

When I was preparing for my move to France, I knew that I would need a few reminders of home especially at Christmas time. I brought along my collection of santons, some of my favorite Christmas CD's and my three favorite Christmas movies..."Christmas Vacation," "How the Grinch Stole Christmas," and of course, "It's a Wonderful Life." I decided not to bring my favorite Christmas book, though, and packed it away in storage. I've regretted that decision every Christmas for the past 4 years! This year I did something about it...thank you, "A Redbird Christmas" arrived in yesterday's mail and I'm thrilled to have it to read Christmas day.

"A Redbird Christmas" is a sweet story by Fannie Flagg, one of my favorite storytellers. It's a little bit of magic, a little touch of romance and a whole lot of community fellowship and neighborly love. It's definitely a feel-good story and one that would be wonderful as a read-aloud bedtime ritual in the days leading up to Christmas. Your kids will love it and so will you!