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Entries from January 2005

gaspiller

gaspiller (ga-spee-yay) verb
  1. to waste; to squander (money)

Also:
le gaspillage = waste
un gaspilleur/une gaspilleuse = a squanderer, spendthrift

Expressions:
Quel gaspillage! = What a waste!
gaspiller son argent/son talent/temps = to waste one's money/talent/time

...........................
Citation du Jour:
Nous avons gaspillé nos richesses car nous nous sommes laissés aveugler par l'attrait de l'avoir au détriment de notre bien-être intérieur... paraître devient plus important qu'être...

We have wasted our riches as we have been blinded by the attraction of having to the detriment of our internal well being... to appear becomes more important than to be...
--Daniel Vranckx

......................................
A Day in a French Life...

Don't miss the story, now part of this book, that originally appeared here and accompanied the words below!
..................
References: le plat du jour = the dish of the day; A table! = time to eat (Everyone to the table!); le repas (m) = meal; une habitude (f) = a habit; les pâtes (fmp) = pasta; hyper (très) = really; le gaspillage (m) = waste; poivron grillé (m) = grilled pepper; la soupe de cresson (f) = watercress soup; l'estomac (m) = stomach; pomme de terre (f) = potato; rescapé(e) = survivor; Beurk! = Yuck!

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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--Candy T., California


le lardon

Salut from Provence where the snow is now melting. Yes, la neige! A few days ago, our village, which borders the sunny Côte d'Azur, was snowed in (according to this desert rat) and so today's recipe, which includes lardons, was on the menu du jour. Speaking of lardons, another Bacon quote today...

le lardon (lar-dohn) noun, masculine
  1. bacon cube; cutting remark
  2. (informal) child, kid

Also:
le lard = bacon

Expressions:
une tête de lard = pigheaded
ne pas jeter son lard aux chiens = to be stingy
rentrer dans le lard à quelqu'un = to attack someone
venir comme lard en pois = to be timely
(se) faire du lard = to (sit around and) get fat

.........................
Citation du Jour:
L'espoir est un bon déjeuner, mais un mauvais dîner.
Hope is a good breakfast, but it is a bad supper.
--Francis Bacon

...................................................................
La Tartiflette -- Comfort food for the French

Tartiflette is not a traditional dish from the Savoy region but was invented by the Reblochon cheese trade union to increase sales of their product.

A trivia bit: "reblochon" is from "reblocher," which means, "to milk again." How's that for a useful verb?

You can make the following recipe in a casserole dish or simply throw all the ingredients together stove top, adding the cheese and covering the pan with a lid so that the cheese melts down.

For an easy cheesy recipe, use these ingredients:

5 or 6 potatoes
one medium sized onion, chopped
bacon, chopped
one disk of reblochon cheese (or camembert)
salt and pepper

Instructions:
--Parboil the potatoes, cool, then slice them (not too thin)
--Sauté the onions in a little butter. Add the lardons.
--Add the potatoes, salt and pepper. Mix well.
--Cut the reblochon cheese lengthwise and put both halves atop the casserole to melt. Cook 15 minutes stove top or in the oven at 325°F.

Bon appétit!

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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"Your blog has added much richness to my days for many years. High time to acknowledge your generosity toward your readers, by offering some small support."
--Candy T., California


un pépin

Megeve_1 le pépin (pay-pehn) noun, masculine
  1. pip, seed
  2. snag, hitch
  3. (informal) umbrella

Also:
sans pépins = seedless
une pépinière = nursery (of young trees)

Expressions:
avoir avalé le pépin = to have swallowed the seed (to be pregnant)
avoir un /des pépin(s) = to have a problem(s)

...........................
Citation du Jour:
Serrer trop fort le pressoir donne un vin qui sent le pépin.
Where the wine-press is hard wrought, it yields a harsh wine, that tastes of the grape-stone.
--Francis Bacon

........................................
A Day in a French Life...

What do the French like to do after a day of intensive winter games? Write thoughtful poems, évidemment!*

The five teams (organized according to which lodge the participants were camped in) left Serre Chevalier for Briançon and climbed aboard le téléphérique,* destination: a formidable mountain chalet, une étoile* in the night.

"It is a nice restaurant," the cable car operator mentioned, as we stepped from platform to the suspended cars, which did not halt, but continued to inch forward and upward, disappearing into the black sky.

"Have a lot of people gone up tonight?" I asked.
"No, just three cable cars are leaving now."

As the doors closed I heard him mumble something about the wind, and how the lift had been shut down earlier for safety...

Crammed into le téléphérique like veritable sardines from Marseilles, I switched my mind -- still obsessing about a tumbling cable car -- to the French, now bien parfumés* and coiffés* after the races they'd participated in earlier that day. The French women, who would spend the weekend sans maquillage* by day, hair tied back à la queue de cheval,* now had glossed lips, penciled eyebrows, mascara and fluffy locks. If they were pretty before, now they were traffic-stopping canon* in their fashionable pointed-toe boots and high heels. Jean-Marc had cautioned me not to wear les talons,* due to the ice and snow, and so the French women now towered above me, a reminder to never follow a fashion tip from my husband--be he French!--ever again.

The food was good at the restaurant and, incredibly, pas très chère* considering the lieu.* For a 35 euro forfait,* the three-course meal included an apéritif before the repas,* wine à gogo* during, and coffee après.* (The nail-biting cable car ride was also included.)

After une bonne Tartiflette* and a blueberry tart, the 5 tables were assigned words and asked to compose a poem. Le pépin* was that the words were--comment dire?*-- not very poétique.  Here are a few that I can mention:

--le moniteur = (ski) instructor
--la bergerie = sheep barn
--le forfait = fixed price, package deal

The other words were related to anatomy and served to colorier* the spontaneous prose. I might have mentioned them to you here, if they weren't so--seedy--or, like my favorite grapes, if they were sans pépin.*

...................
References: évidemment = obviously; le téléphérique (m) = cable car; une étoile (f) = star; bien parfumé = well perfumed; coiffé = styled (hair); sans = without; le maquillage (m) = make-up; la queue de cheval (f) = pony tail; canon = gorgeous; le talon (m) = heel; pas très chère = not very expensive; le lieu (m) = place; le forfait (m) = fixed price; le repas (m) = meal; à gogo = galore; après = after; une tartiflette = a potato, bacon and cheese casserole; le pépin (m) = the hitch; comment dire = how to say; colorier = to color; sans pépin = seedless

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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"Your blog has added much richness to my days for many years. High time to acknowledge your generosity toward your readers, by offering some small support."
--Candy T., California


un balai

Balai - Sweeping in the French Alps (c) Kristin Espinasse

un balai (ba-lay) noun, masculine
1. a broom, brush
2. windshield-wiper blade

Also:
les balais = (informal) years "avoir trente balais" to be 30-years-old
balayer (ba-lay-yay) verb = to sweep
la voiture-balai = the last car in a line of wedding guests' cars (usually with saucepans attached to it)

...................
Expressions:
Du balai! = (Get) out!
un coup de balai = a massive employee layoff
passer le balai = to sweep the floor
balayer devant sa porte = (to sweep before one's door) to correct one's own errors before criticizing another's

.................
Proverb:
Un vieux balai connaît les coins.
An old broom knows the corners.

(A new broom sweeps clean, but an old broom knows the corners.)

.......................................
A Day in a French Life...

Don't miss the sizzling story that originally accompanied this edition. Order the book!

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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"Your blog has added much richness to my days for many years. High time to acknowledge your generosity toward your readers, by offering some small support."
--Candy T., California


un ours

Chalet = Cottage (c) Kristin Espinasse Jean-Marc and I trekked north over the weekend, to les Alpes du Sud or the Southern Alps. While we didn't spot an ours, I'll tell you what we did see tomorrow...

un ours (oors) noun, masculine
  1. a bear

Also:
un ours polaire = a polar bear
un ours savant = a trained or performing bear

.....................
Expressions:
être un peu ours = to be a bit gruff
avoir ses ours = to have one's period
vivre comme un ours = to be at odds with the world
tourner comme un ours en cage = to pace up & down like a caged animal
un ours mal léché = (a "poorly-licked bear" or one not well cared for by its mother) an uncouth person, a misanthrope

.........................
Citation du Jour:
La parole humaine est comme un chaudron fêlé où nous battons des mélodies à faire danser les ours, quand on voudrait attendrir les étoiles.

Human speech is like a cracked tin kettle, on which we hammer out tunes to make bears dance when we long to move the stars.
--Gustave Flaubert

...........................................
Animal Expressions:  Part II
by Barbara Barles

- Devenir chèvre
"To become goat"
= s'énerver, s'impatienter / to get worked up, to lose patience

- Ménager la chèvre et le chou
"To arrange the goat and the cabbage"
= se conduire de façon à ne vexer personne.
to behave in a way so as not to vex anyone

- Avoir un chat dans la gorge
"To have a cat in one's throat"
= être enroué / to be hoarse

- Avoir mangé du lion
"To have eaten lion"
= faire preuve d'une énergie surprenante.
to show amazing energy

- Chercher des poux à quelqu'un
"To look for bugs on someone"
= lui chercher querelle à tout propos.
to argue with each point

- Laid comme un pou
"Ugly as a bug"

- Mettre la puce à l'oreille
"To put the flea at the ear"
= se douter de quelque chose.
to doubt something, to make suspect

- Mettre la charrue avant les boeufs
"To put the cart before the horse"
= commencer par où on devrait finir.
to begin at the point where we should have finished.

- Vendre la peau de l'ours avant de l'avoir tué
"To sell the bear's skin before killing it
  (To count one's chickens before they hatch)
= (du succès) disposer d'une chose avant de la posséder.
(on success) to dispose of something before possessing it.

- Une peau de vache
"A cow's skin"
= personne très dure, très sévère.
someone who is very hard, very severe.

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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  ♥ Send $25    
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"Your blog has added much richness to my days for many years. High time to acknowledge your generosity toward your readers, by offering some small support."
--Candy T., California


la chair

A nice surprise for you today: Barbara is back with more delightful French phrases. Enjoy her column in French or English.

la chair (shair) noun, feminine
  1. flesh

adjective: flesh-colored

Also:
la chair de poule = goose bumps

Expressions:
en chair et en os = in the flesh
donner chair à = to give life to
être ni chair ni poisson = (to be neither fish nor fowl) to be indecisive

.................................
Proverb
L'épine dans la chair d'autrui est facile à enlever.
The thorn in the flesh of another is easy to take out.

.................................
Animal Expressions     by Barbara Barles

Dans la série des expressions imagées, la langue française en compte de nombreuses faisant référence à des animaux, plus ou moins évidentes dans leur signification, mais toujours amusantes à entendre!

Je vous propose un petit aperçu de ces proverbes et métaphores, auxquels les français sont si attachés.

                    *     *     *

In the series of picturesque expressions, the French language counts many which include an animal reference, their significance more or less easy to understand, but always fun to hear!

Today I offer you a little glimpse of these proverbs and metaphors to which the French are so attached.

- Un froid de canard
"Duck cold" (weather)
= un grand froid  / freezing cold

- Une faim de loup
"A wolf's hunger"
= une grosse faim / a great hunger

- Avoir la chair de poule
"To have the flesh of a hen"
= avoir des frissons sous l'effet de la peur ou du froid / to have goose bumps from the cold or from fear.

- Sauter du coq à l'âne
"To jump from rooster to donkey"
= passer d'un sujet à un autre sans transition / to pass from one subject to the next without transition

- Entre chien et loup
"Between dog and wolf"
= à la tombée du jour / at the end of the day

- Etre comme chien et chat
"To be like dog and cat"
= ne pas s'entendre / to not get along

- Avoir du chien
"To have dog"
= avoir de l'élégance, de la classe / to have elegance, class

- Courir deux lièvres à la fois
"To chase two hares at once"
= poursuivre deux buts différents / to pursue two different goals

- Dormir comme un loir
"To sleep like a dormouse"
= dormir longtemps et profondément / to sleep deeply, for a long time

- Avoir des fourmis (dans les jambes par exemple):
"To have ants" (in one's legs, for example)
= ressentir des picotements nombreux / to feel a tingling in the legs

- Etre comme un poisson dans l'eau
"To be like a fish in water"
= être à l'aise dans une situation donnée / to be at ease in a given situation

....................................
Barbara Barles is a French legal expert based in Toulon, France.

Words in a French Life: Lessons in Love and Language from the South of France
The Ultimate French Review and Practice: Mastering French Grammar for Confident Communication
Mastering French Vocabulary : A Thematic Approach
2000+ Essential French Verbs: Learn the Forms, Master the Tenses, and Speak Fluently!

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    
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"Your blog has added much richness to my days for many years. High time to acknowledge your generosity toward your readers, by offering some small support."
--Candy T., California


la grève

la grève (grev) noun, feminine
1. strike

Also:
un(e) gréviste = a striker
une grève de la faim = a hunger strike
une grève surprise = a lightning strike
une grève sur le tas = a sit-down strike

Expressions:
faire grève = to strike
se mettre en grève = to go on strike
être en grève = to be on strike

.........................
Citation du Jour:
Dans grève, il y a rêve.
In the strike, there is a dream
.
                      (Anonymous)

......................................
A Day in a French Life...

I have two new colleagues to keep me company today: 9-year-old Max and 7-year-old Jackie. I must say, they ARE experts in reporting (just don't call my daughter une rapporteuse*) and they DO know the French language better than I (I'll never get over the fact that I spoke French eons before they were born, and now they regularly correct my grammar).

"What, pray tell, are they doing home today?" you ask. "In France, don't kids go to school on Thursdays?"

Why yes, they do! Indeed, they should! (On Wednesdays they don't go to school. They make up for that by attending l'école* Saturday morning. Lovely emploi du temps,* n'est-ce pas?)

But today, yes, today (hopefully only today!) is la GREVE. Teachers are on strike and a sign posted across the school's entrance reads: "FERME." (Pronounced, fair-may). Very unfair if you ask moi.*

So I have two choices:

Put the kid colleagues to work:
I could relegate them to the packing and shipping department of Four Frogs Press: have them lick stamps and attach 1 euro and 45 centimes worth of timbres* to the 1-book orders and 2 euros 13 to the 2-book orders. Then we could go to the.... post office. Wait a minute. La Poste is on grève too!

Which leaves us with le deuxième choix:*

Go with the flow. Speaking of flow, I forgot to list the other meaning for grève, which is:

--shore (of sea) or bank (of river).

I think that we will walk down to the river today and skip stones across its shimmery surface. We'll chant:

     Que sera sera
     On sera grévistes, voilà!*

Yes. In the spirit of camaraderie, we'll strike too. Our cause: (Well, we can't think of a cause just yet). But we'll take a moment to observe la grève, and remember that some things are just out of our control. That what will be will be.

.....................
*References: une rapporteuse (un rapporteur) = a telltale or tattler; emploi du temps (m) = schedule; une école (f) = a school; moi = me; un timbre (m) = stamp; le deuxième choix (m) = the second choice; Que sera sera, On sera grévistes, voilà = what will be will be, We will be strikers, so there!

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


"Your blog has added much richness to my days for many years. High time to acknowledge your generosity toward your readers, by offering some small support."
--Candy T., California


une coquille

une coquille (ko-kee) noun, feminine
  1. a shell  2. a scallop (decoration) 3. a misprint (typo)

Citation du Jour: La vie est ce que notre caractère veut qu'elle soit. Nous la façonnons, comme un escargot sa coquille. Life is what our character wants it to be. We fashion it, as a snail does its shell. --Jules Renard

Vieilledame_1 A Day in a French Life...

When I am old and wrinkled--well into the troisième age*--I want to race through the shores of Brittany on my bicyclette*--that most groovy of French bikes with a locomotive engine!

I want to be an eccentric vieille dame.* I don't want to care about what anyone thinks, as long as I am not imposing on their philosophie de vie.* I'll ride my old bike along the seashore. I'll wear black goggles and wrap a long wool scarf, in orange potiron,* around my neck. Off I'll fly, scarf ends flowing in the wind.

I'll let go of  the pedals, WEEEEEEEEE----- and sing a song by Yves Montand, or a tune from Les Misérables, depending on my mood.

I'll pack a picnic with all my favoris.* Inside the panier* there'll be boiled eggs, anchoïade,* Gratin Dauphinois,* pungent cheese, a soft baguette and a flask of Earl Grey. There'll be tangerines to eat and a few squares of dark chocolate.

I'll gather delicate coquilles* from the foamy seashore and tie them to my shoes. You'll hear a seashell jingle when I pedal by.

My voice will be agreeably hoarse, not from les Gauloises* or le vin* but from whistling all the day long; a habit I'll have picked up at the beginning of the century, when that Frenchwoman cautioned: "les femmes ne sifflent pas! Women don't whistle!" That's when I puckered up and blew another tune. And another. Then one more.

I hope to have a dear old friend, one that much more excentrique* than I. She'll dye her white hair rouge vif* or aubergine.* We'll tchatche* about the current generation and how people need to loosen up and 'profiter un peu de la vie,' enjoy life a little, like us.

I'll say, "Pépé--les oursins!"* and my old man will return from the rocky pier where he has spent the morning hunting sea urchins. When he cracks open their coquilles, revealing the mousse-like orange roe, I will remember that real treasures don't come with a price tag.

I want to live near the seagulls so that I may slumber beneath their cries and wake up to the whoosh of the sea. I'll push myself to a stand, smooth back my white locks, adjust a faux tortoise comb, and say "Dieu merci!"* for another day.

When I tuck myself into bed at night I will, once again, empty mes coquilles* into an old metal cookie tin, a treasure from long ago. The shells will runneth over.

...................................................................................................................
*References: mobylette (f) = a bike with a motor; un goéland (m) = a seagull; quatre-vingt-dix = ninety years old; le troisième âge (m) = retirement; une bicyclette (f) = a bicycle; une vieille dame (f) = a venerable lady; une philosophie de vie (f) = a life philosophy; orange potiron = pumpkin orange; favori(te) (m/f) = favorite; un panier (m) = a basket; l'anchoïade (m) = anchovy purée mixed with olive oil; un Gratin Dauphinois (m) = a potato casserole with milk, butter and cheese; une coquille (f) = a shell; la Gauloise = brand of cigarettes; le vin (m) = wine; excentrique = eccentric; rouge vif = bright red; aubergine = eggplant purple; tchatcher = to chat (away); le pépé (m) = grandpa; un oursin (m) = a sea urchin; Dieu merci = Thank God

Also:
coquille d'oeuf = off white (paint)
coquille de poisson = scallop of fish
coquille Saint-Jacques = scallops
coquille de beurre = pat of butter

And:
coquillage (m) = shellfish
coquillettes (f) = pasta shells

Expressions:
rentrer dans sa coquille = to withdraw into one's shell
sortir de sa coquille = to come out of one's shell

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


"Your blog has added much richness to my days for many years. High time to acknowledge your generosity toward your readers, by offering some small support."
--Candy T., California


la moelle

la moelle (mwal) noun, feminine
  1. marrow; pith, core

Also:
la moelle de boeuf = beef marrow
la moelle épinière = spinal marrow
la moelle osseuse = bone marrow

Expressions:
corrompu jusqu'à la moelle = rotten to the core
n'avoir pas de moelle dans les os = to be weak
se ronger les moelles = to worry a lot
tirer la moelle = to extract the essential in something
sucer la moelle de quelqu'un = (lit: to suck the marrow from someone) = to ruin someone

............................
Citation du Jour:
Je voulais vivre intensement et sucer la moelle de la vie. Et ne pas, quand je viendrai à mourir, découvrir que je n'aurai pas vécu.

I want to live deep and suck the marrow out of life. And not, when I come to die, discover that I have not lived.
--Henry David Thoreau

......................................
A Day in a French Life...

(The story that once appeared here, along with the French vocabulary below, is now a part of this book!)

....................................................................................................................
*References: niçois(e) = (person) from Nice; un gilet (m) = cardigan; la place (f) = square; chez moi = at my place; l'orthographe (f) = spelling; peu importe (peu importante) = of no great importance, of little significance; la dragée (f) = sugared almond; le marché (m) = market; un légume (m) = a vegetable; quel beau temps = what a beautiful day; la soupe du jour (f) = the soup of the day; le panneau (m) = the sign; étranger(-ère) = foreigner, outsider; la soupe au  pistou = vegetable soup with basil and garlic; après tout = after all; le pot-au-feu avec son os à moelle = French stew of vegetables and beef with its bone marrow; fricassée de poulpe = octopus fricassee (stew); le soleil du midi = the southern sun; ça n'existe pas = it doesn't exist; pas de patates = no spuds

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


"Your blog has added much richness to my days for many years. High time to acknowledge your generosity toward your readers, by offering some small support."
--Candy T., California


transpirer

transpirer (trahns-pee-ray) verb
  1. to sweat, to perspire
  2. to transpire; to come to light

synonym: suer

Also:
la transpiration (f) = perspiration, sweat; transpiration

.........................
Citation du Jour:
Le génie est fait d'un pour cent d'inspiration et de quatre-vingt-dix-neuf pour cent de transpiration.

Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration. --Thomas Edison

......................................
A Day in a French Life...

(The story that appeared in this column, included the French vocabulary* below, is now a chapter in this book.)
................................................................................................................
*References: le canapé (m) = sofa, couch; chez ma soeur = at my sister's; le beau-frère (m) = brother-in-law; un cabanon (m) = cottage; transpirer = to sweat

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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