Se donner de la peine pour faire quelque chose

Fennel field (c) Kristin Espinasse
Cabanon and field of fennel near the town of Orange.

se donner de la peine pour faire quelque chose

     : to go to a lot of trouble to do something

Click here to listen to the following sentence in French

Il s'est donné beaucoup de peine pour réussir.
He went to a lot of trouble to succeed. 

 

A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE...

by Kristin Espinasse

Writing Lesson Number 1: Show up at the Page

Three times each week it is the same effrayant feeling. Today it was no different. Lying there asleep in bed I gradually gained consciousness. My eyes were already open when I found myself gazing at my husband's back. There were his deep scars (post melanoma), there was his bent hair, or "pillow head", there was that poetic point at which the curve of his torso meets the curve of his hip.

It is the most delicious part of the day, those fleeting few seconds of quiet observation--before thought ticks in, dispersing the peaceful moment. And they are the most nerve-racking, those seconds that follow.... when apprehension arrives. I turn over and peer out the porte-fenêtre, as if by shifting the body a shift in perspective will follow.

The position of the morning light falling, just so, on the grape vines, this is my alarm clock. I know it is 6:30 a.m. But the question remains: Quel jour est-il?: Saturday?... Sunday? Around this time my husband's alarm chimes in, with a hint... 

Then it hits me and there I feel it, beating at the walls of the soul's chamber! Butterflies begin to flap wildly and take flight. I am carried forth, with the papillons, to the following, undeniable conclusion: this is not a day of rest.... this is not a day of repos....

THIS IS STORY-WRITING DAY!!!!

The pressure is on! As a self-appointed écrivaine (when no one else is hiring, you've got to hire yourself!) with a self-appointed deadline (11 a.m. each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday)  there is the alarming realization that I now have 4 hours and 26 minutes to create une édition, one that will be automatically pulled from this blog's server and delivered to readers inboxes at around 10:59 a.m.! 

This is where faith comes in. After the initial panic (What to write? What-to-write?!-What-to-write?!-What-to-write?!) there is nothing left to do but to work. The words will come....
 
Panic subsides as I grasp at a few scraps or impressions, letting them continue to bubble up to the surface of memory. But how will the broken bits and fleeting pieces add up to a meaningful story? Temptation comes haunting--the temptation to throw in le torchon and just give up. Çela ne vaut pas la peine! 

That is when I am reminded that it is all beyond me; I need only to let go... and let the story set itself free. I am no more than the fingers through which the words will flow. That is my only job. Heaven knows.

--
(This story was written in 2011, when the blog went out 3 times each week....)

FRENCH VOCABULARY

effrayant,e = frightening

la porte-fenêtre = French window

Quel jour est-il? = What day is it?

le papillon = butterfly (also, a fickle person)

le repos = rest

un écrivain, une écrivaine = a writer

une édition = (newsletter) edition

le torchon = (dish)towel

Çela ne vaut pas la peine! = It's just not worth it! 

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Blossoming in provence

P1030695
The next time you are asked to conjure up a peaceful image... try this one! Do you see the sunflowers in the far right corner? 

P1030697
The rocks on top of this cabanon help hold down the roof tiles when the Mistral wind blows!

Thank you for the time you've spent reading my column. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that ongoing support from readers like you helps me continue doing what I love most: sharing these missives from France. Your support is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is fast and easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi 
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"I have enjoyed this blog for years and watched your children grow up. You are staying strong through all the changes. Merci pour tout."
--Betty D.


Atterrissage: Made it to The Mile-High City! Winetastng today

IMG_20180913_101131_815

Thanks to The Vineyard Wine Shop for this photo montage. Today's tasting is from 3-6p.m. 261 Fillmore Street, Denver, CO 80206. Tel : 303 355 8324 We look forward to seeing you there!

 

Today's word: un atterrissage

   : touchdown, landing

 

A DAY IN AN AMERICAN LIFE 

La Ciotat to Denver

On est atterri ! We made it to my sister's in Denver and, after a home-cooked meal (thanks Heidi) of grilled chicken, taboulé, and du mesclun, extra câlins from my niece and nephew, and a good night's rest (rocked to sleep by Colorado cricket song!), we are revigorés and ready for today's wine dégustation over at The Vineyard Wine Shop. It's Denver's oldest wine store and today they'll be featuring Domaine du Banneret (Jean-Marc's uncle's wine) as well as another vineyard close to my husband's heart: La Mascaronne.

Chief Grape tells me there will be du monde, so if things get crowded please do not leave without at least saying un petit coucou. We would not want to miss any one of you! 🌞 

I will post a photo on my Instagram, veuillez nous suivre la-bas ? 

Mille mercis et peut-être à tout-de-suite, 

Kristi 

 

FRENCH VOCABULARY 

on est atterri = we've landed

le mesclun = mixed lettuces

le câlin = hug, cuddle

revigoré(e) = refreshed, revived, revitalized 

la dégustation = winetasting

du monde = a lot of people

un petit coucou = a little hello

Veuillez nous suivre la-bas ? = would you please follow us there? 

Mille mercis et peut-être à tout-de-suite = a thousand thanks and maybe we'll see you soon

.facebook_1536861198959"Wild flowers at Beaver Creek" by Heidi Stiteler. Borrowed this picture (and a few other pretty things) from my sister. So good to be here with her! 

Thank you for the time you've spent reading my column. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that ongoing support from readers like you helps me continue doing what I love most: sharing these missives from France. Your support is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is fast and easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi 
♥ Send $10    
  ♥ Send $25    
    ♥ Send the amount of your choice


"I have enjoyed this blog for years and watched your children grow up. You are staying strong through all the changes. Merci pour tout."
--Betty D.


Se pointer: to show up

Jean-marc espinasse
Come see Jean-Marc and me! We'll be in Denver next week, for a wine tasting of Provence and Chateauneuf du Pape wines that Chief Grape exports to Colorado. This event will take place September 13th from 3 to 6 PM at The Vineyard Wine Shop, 261 Fillmore Street, Denver, CO 80206. Tel : 303 355 8324 We look forward to seeing you there!

Today's Word: se pointer

    : to show up, turn up

Click here to listen to Jean-Marc read the example sentence
Le simple fait de se pointer permette d'obtenir des résultats avec le temps.
The simple act of showing up allows you to obtain results over time.

Improve your French pronunciation with Exercises in French Phonics.


A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE


    by Kristi Espinasse

In one week and two days we leave for Denver! I have been preparing for the 4-week absence by checking off the following liste de choses à faire:

- finir les impôts
- trouver une robe pour le mariage de Kirsten
- choisir un cadeau pour les mariés
- cadeaux pour ma nièce, mon neveu, et ma soeur
- faire un double de clé pour Mom
- finir l'article pour France Today
...et cétéra pantoufle...

....You'd think filing expat taxes (late, I know) was the most difficult thing on this list to accomplish. Mais non! It's another item that's causing so much détresse! It regards the deadline for an article I am writing. The problem is, the more I nitpick at the words, the more I confuse the story!

Let's face it: there is no point to that story (or, possibly, to the one you are currently reading), which brings me to a general observation: People get pretty upset about pointlessness. There's that fear of wasting one's precious time. 

It reminds me of the Colibri fable--the story of a hummingbird who, drop by drop, worked to put out a forest fire. "You're getting nowhere!" another creature in the forest commented, watching the little bird labor on.

Colibri responded, "Peut-être. Mais je fais ma part." Perhaps, but I am doing my part.

The French even have a verb for this... se pointer. It means to show up. So, if all else fails (if this story for which I have labored seems pointless), please remember you've learned at least two good words today. They might even change your life.

*    *    *

Mediterranean forest
There are no colibris, or hummingbirds, in France, so I leave you with a picture of a Mediterranean forest. This beautiful place, "La Gache", was right behind our former vineyard, in St Cyr-sur-Mer.  

FRENCH VOCABULARY
une liste de choses à faire = to do list
les impôts (m) = taxes
une robe = dress
le cadeau = gift
la détresse = distress
et cétéra pantoufle = a funny (old French) way to say etc... (funny, because "une pantoufle" is a slipper)
un colibris = hummingbird
Talk at Shakespeare and Company in 2010
Good news. There'll be a second meetup in Denver, at the Alliance Française, on October 4th. More info soon! (Picture from my talk at Shakespeare & Company bookstore in Paris, in 2010.)

Thank you for the time you've spent reading my column. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that ongoing support from readers like you helps me continue doing what I love most: sharing these missives from France. Your support is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is fast and easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi 
♥ Send $10    
  ♥ Send $25    
    ♥ Send the amount of your choice


"I have enjoyed this blog for years and watched your children grow up. You are staying strong through all the changes. Merci pour tout."
--Betty D.