The Final results

The clouds were such a pretty color

Sorry I didn’t post this yesterday, but Mondays have a habit of getting away from you for some reason.

 

Sunday was a weird day for the election, because the EU canted to daylight savings time overnight and you all know how that messes everyone up. On top of that, unlike the beautiful weather we’d had for the first round of voting, the sky was grey and menacing the whole day. We were worried that people wouldn’t get out to vote.

But we needn’t have feared; even more people voted the second time around. I suppose that here in our canton, the citizens wanted to be sure their voices were heard.

Jean-Jacques Aulombard, the independent candidate, won 908 to to 801. That is an impressive win for an area that is very heavily Socialist.

Now it remains to be seen whether having a councilman who gets along with city hall will be able to make things happen for the good of everyone. I think our last councilman underestimated how frustrated the voters were by the bickering that kept any progress from occurring. Perhaps if he’d understood that, he would still be in office.

Ciao for now,

Randy

Optimized for iPad

Loving the spring

For those of you with an iPad, I’ve just added a new feature that optimizes PossumWorld for iPad, giving it an app-like feel. You won’t notice anything different on your regular browser, but if you check it out with Mobile Safari, you’ll see a new look.

 

Ciao for now.

Randy

 

And the winner is…

No one yet! But that is to be expected in an election that has candidates from more than two parties. Although it does sometimes happen, in most races there is a second round.

As many of us predicted, the independent candidate, Jean-Jaques Aulombard had a globally higher number of votes than the incumbent, Roger Rosich, although the results in individual communes were mixed, with Rosich beating Aulombard in some of them and vice versatile in others.

Generally, in most of the elections, turnout was less than 50%, but in our canton, it was 69%. That kind of turnout tends to favor a challenger more than an incumbent, no matter where the race is held, as it’s usually an indication that people want a change.

The percentages were: Aulombard (independent) 43.12%, Rosich (socialist) 39.88%, Pierre Alberola (NPA, which is the Communist party) 8.22% and Gregory Seillier (Front Nationale, or super right wing) 8.79%.

Interestingly, there is no candidate from the UMP, which is the party of President Sarkozy. Our region tends to be very socialist, so the success of a non-affiliated candidate is truly a statement by the people.

Indeed, if the voting had depended ONLY on Chalabre, M. Aulombard would have actually won by a landslide. He is well thought of in the village, and his proposals are extremely popular.

I think his results elsewhere would have been even better as well, but there was an article in today’s paper pointing out that someone had gone around to other villages and stuck UMP labels on his posters, as if he was the candidate from the UMP, clearly an attempt to sway voters away from him. America isn’t the only place where politics is a dirty game.

We’ll be out bright and early to vote this coming Sunday, and I think I can guarantee that we won’t be the only ones!

Ciao for now,

Randy

Possums in the Springtime

First: we got to see the Super Moon last night on our final tinkle-break before bedtime. It was truly beautiful and BIG! We had a rather dramatic sky with partial clouds, that only served to highlight the moon further. Must have been many happy werewolves around the world.

Second: although we still have another day or so before it is officially spring, the weather has decided not to wait and is gloriously heralding the season. As usual, once the weather turns nice, the villagers use any excuse to turn out to enjoy the sunshine. And, that brings me to…

Third: today was the first round of elections for the Cantonal representative. I suppose it would most closely align with  County elections in the U.S. (not sure about the UK).

The Socialists have held the seat for a long, long time, but the director of our local retirement home is running as an independent candidate. That is making for a very exciting election, because the current county representative doesn’t get along with the mayor and town council. This makes for rather complicated local affairs, because communication is strained to say the least.

Having an independent who is well liked by almost everyone, stands to help move along any new projects. And, the candidate has a lot of excellent ideas for things that would be good for the village, the county and the community.

JM and I went to vote, and noticed on our voting cards that this was the eighth election in which we’ve participated since our arrival here. To be fair, since most offices are not decided on the first round of voting, but take a second vote, that really means four election cycles.

Elections in France are always held on Sunday, so people don’t have the excuse of working to not vote. In our case, we don’t remember going to an election here in bad weather, which must certainly help with the turnout. But this election surprised us by how many people were in our Mairie voting! We actually had to stand in line almost out the door, so that means a very, very good turnout I would imagine. I honestly don’t remember any municipal or county elections in L.A. that could boast as high a percentage of voting in all my years there.

Voting here is done by hand. That is: there is a piece of paper printed with each  candidate’s name. You take one of each of the ballots and an envelope, then you go into the voting booth and put the ballot of your choice in the envelope, tossing out the others. You seal your envelope, go up to the table where the officials are sitting, hand in your voting card or national ID card (even though they all know who you are!) and they look you up in the voting register. Once you are found, you are asked to put your envelope in a clear, locked box, and you sign the register and they stamp your voting card. You can see the envelopes in the box and no one can tamper with them. Then, they are counted by committee at the end of the day. It’s a totally non-technical system and works flawlessly.

But voting here is more than a civic duty. It’s also a great social outing. We ran into loads of people we know and everyone stands around chatting and enjoying the sun. You feel as if you have participated in a special occasion and come away feeling good about being part of the process and part of a the social fabric of a village.

I don’t think I ever saw anyone I knew at an election in L.A. Certainly we never spoke much to anyone. And, by the last years there, we just voted by mail, so it didn’t have any real feeling of anything about it.

We may know the results of the election tonight when we take the dogs out before bed. If there is no majority, then there is a run-off election next Sunday. JM thinks there will be one, but I’m not so sure. I think people want a change as much here as they do in the U.S. and UK, so I’m thinking the independent will get a decent majority.

JM tells me he is  always right; so I guess we’ll have to wait and see!

Ciao for now.

Randy

Feeding Raw

We’ve passed the two month mark with me changing the dogs over to raw and I thought I’d report for those of you thinking about it or just interested in how it’s going. 

As far as the dogs are concerned, it is a rousing success! Shmoo hasn’t fussed once about not eating  since we started and Peaches, who didn’t mind the old way, is even more excited about mealtimes and if I’m five minutes late in putting down their dishes, she comes to watch me with drool coming out of her mouth. 

I really am delighted to see Shmoo rediscover his love of food. I’ve always felt uncomfortable that I couldn’t tell if he was off his food because of illness or boredom. And, the dog who wouldn’t eat if there was a vegetable on his plate, now licks up every last molecule of food, no matter what it’s origin. 

I have calmed down a lot in worrying over whether I was feeding them properly or not. After all, the humans in the family manage to survive quite happily on the food I prepare, so why should the dogs be any different?

The cost is harder to compare, since I buy the meat for them with my weekly shop and the frozen chicken patties come with my frozen food order for our food. However, if I consider what I pay per kilo versus what a kilo of dried food costs for a premium brand that I have to get shipped from Germany, I think it’s very similar. First, most supermarkets here sell leftover meat for animals, so it’s not a special order. It’s all meat that was fit for human consumption, but may be cuts that are a day past when they can sell them for people or just scraps that would otherwise be thrown away. Also, the guy we buy our beef from gives me 10 or 15 kilos of scraps for free when he delivers my order. 

I buy a dried veggie mix that I rehydrate, salmon oil and a super greens blend of stuff like kelp, wheat grass and digestive enzymes from the pet food store I use and I do buy dried meat treats. But that’s all stuff I bought anyway. 

The dogs, who looked good before, look even better now. Peaches had a kind of thin coat, even in winter, and now it’s much, much thicker and both dogs feel soft and silky to the touch. 

I suppose the downside for me is that I no longer have as much freezer space for the humans’s food and I do spend a bit more time in preparation, but that’s really just a matter of thinking about meals a bit ahead of time more than anything else. 

So, all-in-all, this has been a positive experience for all involved. 

Ciao for now,

Randy

I’m not dead!

Kathryn wrote this morning wondering if all was well, and it made me realize it has been a long time since I posted.

There isn’t really a GOOD reason, it’s just that life its ownself (as my dear friend Raven would say) has managed to get in the way. And it’s not even anything very exciting; just the day-to-day of daily existence.

I must admit that dealing with two sets (I suppose it’s really 1 1/2 sets, since I only have a mother) has been very draining of late. Mom doesn’t need a huge amount of care, but because she has absolutely no short term memory, even to the point of forgetting how to use her telephone half the time, it means that everything I do do for her takes longer, because I need to explain it over and over and over again.

JM’s parents are another story. His mother has had every test in the book, and none of them seem able to come up with a diagnosis of why she has dementia that is worse than my mother’s, even though she is ten years younger and has no other health conditions to account for it. My personal theory is that she has a very severe case of depression that is going untreated, and possibly is even bi-polar. But she puts on a good face when she goes to the doctor, so they don’t see it. My FIL is living on that long river in Egypt, denial, so HE says there is nothing wrong with her.

However, her behavior is so irrational much of the time that it has become almost impossible to have any kind of discussion with her. JM is depressed about it, and we both know that there is nothing we can do. You cannot help someone who is not willing to help themselves.

Those things, coupled with the normal stuff one has to do in a day, seem to take all my  energy, so that when I do sit down for a few quiet moments, I usually don’t feel like concentrating enough to write. And that’s bad, because writing this blog is actually something that I enjoy, as I enjoy my contact with all of you who take the time to read me.

There actually ARE things happening here in the Possum Kingdom. We were approached the other day by one of the town councilors and asked if we wanted to be part of an association that is forming to create a project dealing with sustainable agriculture, local growers and farmers, etc. It is all very exciting and we said we would help, although it is far, far out of our area of expertise! The idea is to buy the old retirement home in the village, renovate it into offices, classrooms, etc., and both provide meals for the school, the elderly and disabled who currently get meals through the nursing home and possibly others (to be determined), using all local products. There would be an organic vegetable patch and deals made with other local growers, and there would be seminars, students, etc., learning about the whole thing.

I’m sure I’ve explained it very badly, but this is based on a fifteen minute conversation in the gardens, so I don’t have a lot more info at the moment. I would assume there will be a meeting eventually, and then I will know more.

I love the idea of this, because it’s something I believe in strongly, as those of you who have read me for years know. It will be good for the environment, good for the village and good for those of us who will also be able to purchase some of these products. I’ll write about it as it progresses.

Ciao for now.

Randy