Brive Festival 2018


Once my trip to Normandy with the band was over, I hung out with Littlest for two days before we dropped him off at his grandparents’ for the weekend to go to a music festival in Brive-la-Gaillarde. It has the no-nonsense easy-to-remember name of Brive Festival.

Not really being into standing for long amounts of time in large crowds, I haven’t been to a music festival in a while so this was sort of an exciting change of pace. The festival ran Friday to Monday nights but since J wasn’t on vacation we just went for Saturday evening.

We also got to walk around Brive for the afternoon as there was a small Off festival. It was actually a pretty charming town, smaller than Poitiers but with multiple record stores and hand made/art shops.

Our evening of the concert consisted of Eddy de Pretto, Brigitte, and Orelsan. I had come across Eddy de Pretto while watching the Victoires de la Musique a few months ago (let’ be honest I was a little late to the game) and he is way interesting. As the mom of a little boy, I get that his hit Kid is an important and also catchy song, but also it breaks my heart so I’m not sure I’ll ever hum along to it.

So I bought his album when we got home.

I already had Orelsan as a sort of Mother’s Day present from J. I’ve found him to be one of the rare artists who gets more interesting as you listen more (sort of the opposite of every song on the radio that is over played), and his show was wildly satisfying.

#eddydepretto #brivefestival festival #brigitte #orelsan

A post shared by Julien Fergeau (@julclimber) on

J’s third picture in the series shows Orelsan without sound (since our phones aren’t great recording devices for such heavy bass).

Anyway it was really fun and interesting to get out and see live performances from these people.


Beaches, Part 2

With the band I took a trip up to the Etretat area in Normandy last week to play a couple of concerts.

More precisely, we slept and played music in Yport:


In between our two concerts we did some strolling around the cliffs, first at Étretat:

We walked along the cliffs and then drove back down to the beach for a very expensive but totally worth it drink with a view.

The next day we did the exact same thing at Fécamp but replaced the drink with crêpes.

Normandy is always beautiful and the omnipresent hydrangeas were in full bloom.  We were helped by the great weather which was a good 5 to 10 degrees (C) below the temperature in Poitiers. I should have brought a sweater to be honest.

On the drive back home I took a picture of this rest stop map where I found the village I went to on my first trip to France back in 1996 as an 11-year-old:


The collège that our penpals went to was in Le Mêle sur Sarthe but they actually lived in minuscule villages nearby because their parents were primarily farmers. It was nice to find it on a map because my 11-year-old brain hadn’t retained the spelling and so I haven’t been able to find it since.

Beaches Part 1

After a wonderful but brief outing at Chatelaillon Plage last year, my parents decided to spend some real time on the Atlantic Coast and rent a house for a whole week in the Vendée this summer. My dad found a place in La Tranche sur Mer and we spent a week there (J just a three-day weekend). We were right by a family-friendly beach where we went mostly in the morning because Littlest’s primary source of joy from sandcastles was the part where he destroyed them and we wanted to avoid conflicts with other kids.

The first Saturday we were there the Tour de France came through. Otherwise we stuck to mostly beach and ice cream related activities.

I made a brief exit to the Ile de Ré (not actually the Vendée but Charente Maritime) to play a gig with the band.

I can’t tell you a whole lot about La Tranche sur Mer’s activities (including surfing lessons) since ours were entirely oriented around spending time with Littlest. J and I did go one evening into the town center for moules-frites on the main square and they were delicious, and we did get artisanal ice cream pretty much every day. There are activities for kids including a cinema that we could do if we go back when he’s older.

The Past Weeksssss

So many weeks! Well, like three or four. The truth is I haven’t been home much. Hopefully I’ll have time to write more about the specific things going on because they did involve traveling and music, but here’s a summary:

  1. Grading and jurying the bac
  2. Visiting with my parents who came to town
  3. Going to a beach house in the Vendée for a week with them (and with J for part of it)
  4. Watching France’s win at the World Cup
  5. Galavanting off to Normandy with the band
  6. Going to one evening of a music festival

Now we are home for the coming week, and then running off to the Alps again for two weeks of family vacation with some other rock-climbing friends.


Outside Online: Tough Love: A column for adventurers, and though I don’t completely adhere to the metaphors in this specific response, it’s an interesting read

14 Surprising Things About Parenting in France: This should really be “surprising things about parenting in a village in Provence”, and not “France,” but it was also a good read.

Authors steer boys from toxic masculinity with gentler heroes: Future reading for Littlest? (For now he’s pretty into farm animals)

Minnesota novelist Marlon James offers peek at new series he calls ‘African Game of Thrones’: I’ll get on board with this.

The Buffalo sentence explained

Trevor Responds to Criticism from the French Ambassador about suggesting that the French World Cup win was (also) a win for Africa

Autisme : comment on veille sur la santé des enfants qui ne parlent pas

We Are All Public Figures Now (about the twitter story about a man and woman who sat next to each other on a plane)

Hopefully I’ll be back soon during Littlest’s nap time this week to write about the places I went.


In the midst of the sh*t storm that is US politics, let’s focus on something completely unrelated.

J finally finished renovating the wall where our gigantic wood stove used to be, so we’ve been able to rethink our living room, including putting away Littlest’s many toys which used to just have a sort of designated spot to be at the end of the day.

We’ve been trying to teach him to put toys away before getting out other toys. Sometimes he’s into it and sometimes he doesn’t care, but I think the message is getting across.

So most of his toys are stocked in different boxes that go in this basket, which used to be for logs for the fire. The sort of loose end toys go in the bag.


He also has this little drawing and reading space, or more like a space for pushing chairs around half the time.


And his little car gets parked between two cabinets.


As my life is a constant and lonely struggle against clutter, I’ve found some solutions for the bathroom that seem to help.


Since I always go to bed before J, he undresses in the bathroom and his dirty clothes live there. Our bathroom is a little tight for space so I found this hanging laundry hamper at Alinea and stuck it on the towel rack. It works pretty well.


I mean, sort of.

For over a year I subscribed to Birchbox and accumulated a good number of toiletries pouches and pretty boxes that I used to keep things vaguely sorted in the bathroom


Make-up , eye care, sleep aids, and a first aid care pouch top right


It’s not perfect but at least it’s pretty.

Recently I found a product to get rid of all the gross graying grout in our shower that no amount of cream of tartar and scrubbing with a toothbrush could get rid of.



LOOK AT THAT WHITE GROUT. Would you believe that’s not a BRAND SPANKING NEW shower? (Ignore the grubby stainless steel fixtures.)

Finally, J made a bookshelf for Littlest’s growing book collection as well.


Littlest enjoys putting his books away now (sometimes) so in all honesty, they are not usually right side up or even the right direction like they are in this picture. It’s a motor skill in development. (All his more fragile books are in a higher shelf in the closet which I don’t think he’s happy about.)

Any satisfying anti-clutter tricks out there?

The Past Week

This past week for me consisted mainly of:

… dealing with the dystopia of kids being separated from their parents at the border. Feeling utterly powerless, I did give a little money through ActBlue. Otherwise I just read too much about it, for example:

From the Huffington Post: Former Border Patrol Agent To Current Agents: Refuse Orders To Separate Children

… thinking about how to fix my lawn moss problem. Sometimes in times of political crisis we have to obsess about things that don’t matter.

… collecting my masses of English bac papers to grade. Here’s what French teenagers on Twitter thought about it.

… putting my trusty old 98 Toyota on the internet for sale.

… watching La Casa de Papel.

… listening to OrelSan’s latest album in my new car (including the 3+ hours of driving I did to get my bac papers). It gets more interesting with every listen.

… turning 34 and going out for dinner in a jumpsuit.

Other random reading:

Emily Writes: How to give birth – the definitive guide

VERY informative: How Internet Ads Follow You Around. Turns out Facebook messenger is probably not listening in on my conversations.

The Past Week

Classes are over for the year and only a few meetings are left, which leaves me with some free time before I go pick up my bac papers (85 of them!) on the 22nd.

It’s been weird—Littlest is still going to the nanny’s most days as it’s in her contract, so I’ve been doing some yard work and taking some naps. It’s luxurious.

With nothing else of interest to report, here’s a little reading:

The Most Overlooked Reason Why Kids Won’t Listen

Vox: I used to be a 911 dispatcher. I had to respond to racist calls every day.

Allaiter ou pas – pourquoi tant d’émotions ? ?