A Few Things

Hello, Friends. How have you been? We spent the last week in Brittany and it felt great to take a break from my laptop.

Things I want to discuss with you:
– How France has handled reopening — what school and church and errands and vacationing is like.
– Our trip to Brittany (you can see highlights here and here).
– Updates on the house renovation. Things like tile for the bathrooms, the light fixtures in the office, and updates in the garden.
– The frustration between creating content for Instagram versus creating content for the blog.
– The American passport and having kids that can’t get to us.
– My emotional visit to La Cressionnere (the house we used to rent when we lived here before).
– Mental health updates.

I owe you blog posts on all this and more. I find I’m having a hard time managing my time and can’t quite put my finger on the reason. Is it stress from current events? Renovation overwhelm? Depression? Not sure. But I always miss it when I’m not updating regularly, so even though it’s Sunday while I type this, I wanted to share my Friday link list. : )

Here are a few things I’ve wanted to share:

-“In the end, Trump did what he said. He built a wall around America and made the world pay for it. He just never told Americans that they’d be stuck inside.”

-How black slaves were routinely sold as ‘specimens’ to white doctors.

-Scientists discovered broadcasting the sound of a healthy coral reef on underwater speakers in dead areas along the Great Barrier Reef resulted in life returning and thriving. Twice as many fish visited those areas with speakers vs spots without speakers.

This article about the Portland Place couple is woah.

-I love this project from my niece Rachel — cool campaign that teaches kids mental health skills, dance routines and cardio, strength and stretch exercises through interactive videos.

-The billionaires and country clubs that received small business loans from the government.

-Ford employees ask the company to stop making police cars.

-Why do American cities waste so much space on cars? What the future could look like without them.

-A budgeting game for teens I made up.

-I’m so angry about the murder of Vanessa Guillen at Fort Hood. As details come out about the case, it’s more and more horrific. Defund the police and defund the military while we’re at it.

-I was sad to hear of Ennio Morricone’s death. We listened to the soundtrack from Cinema Paradiso while we drove through Brittany.

-Have you ever heard of Keratosis Pilaris? It’s when you get lots of harmless little bumps, typically on your upper arms. I have KP, though mostly don’t notice it, but when I wear short sleeves in the summer I remember. I’m trying this CeraVe lotion for rough & bumpy skin to help minimize the bumps. Have you tried it?

Here are some tweets I saved for you:

-An info-packed thread on how police violence increases crime rates.

-Do you believe in writer’s block?

-Hah! Four years of experience for something that has only existed 1.5 years.

Please watch this.


This is horrific.

-I try to stay up to date, but I missed this conspiracy altogether.

It’s so gross.

Entertaining responses. Some thoughtful, some silly.

-Another one with really good responses.

-Sometimes it feels like every other country has figured this out.

What 2020 feels like.

I hope you’re having a wonderful weekend. I miss you already.


19 thoughts on “A Few Things”

  1. Well, i think you do a whole hell of a lot! Awesome posts! I wish I was that shark in the birds’ talons for the view.

  2. We use raw African shea butter for KP and it works in a few days! We’re in Kenya and it’s available at farmer’s markets, but I’m sure you could find it in France too.

  3. You need to REST, and enjoy our wonderful weather. It’s weird to live in 2 countries at the same time; I experience that feeling with Mexico, being in France (I work with Mexico). I can never totally rest, because these countries have different paces and the french way of life is definitely much more laid back. It is also so comfortable in France, we’re so lucky that I feel guilty that I’m enjoying it whilst I should be in Mexico, suffering like the rest of my fellow mexicans. Maybe you’re going through something like that? I’m thinking of quitting my mexican job to try to be 100% in France. You’re doing so much!

    1. We live in CT and our son (first born) is supposed to go to Canada for college. If he is even granted a student visa (they have announced remote learning only for the fall) he will have to walk over the border and take a cab to college. I am a K teacher with is immunosuppressed … and I worry about my teens with our stricter family rules about social distancing than their friends… so much to worry about… I understand your feelings

  4. Pamela Balabuszko-Reay

    It’s hard to put our finger on what feels off when so much feels off. It’s ok to take a rest.

  5. Every single “few things” post has me falling down a rabbit hole of great articles and twitter feeds. I cannot waste any more valuable mornings. Quit it Gabby! Ha! Don’t quit it. I love your thoughtfully selected links! Thank you…

  6. I love that you wrote “I find I’m having a hard time managing my time and can’t quite put my finger on the reason. Is it stress from current events? Renovation overwhelm? Depression? ” It seems to be a good strategy to notice when you are “off” and to wonder about why. I’ve been distracting myself from the world by re-reading the Kristin Cashore Graceling series (YA book series). My daughter came home at the beginning of the COVID crisis because she wanted to be with us during this trying time. And now her New Zealand university is back to normal and she is stuck here in the US wondering if she made the right decision back in March. She can’t even book a ticket back to her life that she had embraced so fully.

  7. Loved the Medium article and this line, “Americans have a toxic combination of ignorance and arrogance that makes them unwelcome travelers.” Ouch. But so true. Also, hope you get whatever rest and self-care you need.

  8. I had the bumps on my arms as well for years. Gave up gluten for other reasons as my doctor and I worked out through elimination trials that I was sensitive to it. Bumps have now disappeared. I am not sure if their is an actual connection but have heard the same from others. I of course did this for other reasons and the bumps being gone are just a side benefit that I hardly noticed. Thanks for another great post!

    1. There’s also a connection between the stomach and brain – a gluten free diet might help mental health problems. I’ve had a few unexplained panic attacks and recently tested positive for celiac. I think the bumps on my elbows have improved/are smoother too since going gluten free.

  9. I’m still in shock reading about the city council woman, her neighbor, and the police in OK! When will this madness of abuse and destruction going to end? These women and their life journeys are forever changed because of one of them trying to do what is right for others. I hope for justice for them and so many others!
    Take care of yourself, Gabrielle. You do so very much to help inform your readers.

  10. Mary Zimmerman

    Another great product for Keratosis Pilaris bumps on the upper arms is Amlactin lotion. It used to be available only by prescription, but is now over the counter. I’ve gotten it at Costco as well.

  11. I used to be a voracious reader, but have finished only one book in 4 months. I go to Instagram constantly interspersed with a short busts of cleaning and shooting emails to my state legislators and local commissioners. My last email to my state senators was about investigating sexual harassment in the armed forces and military academies.
    I am an adult in a safe environment and my concentration is shot. I can not imagine how students will learn online this fall.
    As if there is not going on in The U.S., your twitter threads led me to more details about Ghislaine Maxwell’s arrest and arraignment. It’s interesting that she is in the same jail where Epstein was. I just hope she lives to name names. Or, will it be Covid or an “accidental death” with the cameras on the blink?

  12. I’ve thought about that Norman, OK tweet almost daily since reading it, and every time I’m filled with cold rage, fear, and nausea.

  13. I noticed when I used the Ordinary Buffet I’d wipe the excess on my arms – basically on a lark. It worked like a charm! I think it’s the hyaluronic acid. I bought just the straight hyluronic acid serum from the Ordinary and now put that on after I shower. It’s been great. Even the redness that goes along with KP and seems to linger for months and months is gone

  14. I have KP, and my daughter also does. I’ve found CeraVe to really help. Weirdly, my skin was totally smooth when I was pregnant and when I was receiving chemo…at least the chemo thing makes sense because it kills all of the rapidly growing cells, and KP seems to be exacerbated by dead skin cells. Hope the lotion helps for you!

  15. My arrière grand père was from Brittany, and that’s what I named my oldest daughter (who was born in 1989). Unfortunately, there was a new character on a soap opera about 6mos later named Brittany, then every baby girl for years was given that name and watered it down. She’s actually legally changed her name to Bree because ‘Brittany’ became an insulting name like ‘Candy’ or ‘Brandy’, insinuating a brainless bubble head

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