Previous month:
February 2005
Next month:
April 2005

Entries from March 2005

la cachette

la cachette (kah-shet) noun, feminine
1. hiding-place; hideout

Expressions:

en cachette = on the sly, secretly
en cachette de quelqu'un = behind someone's back

..................................
Citation du Jour:
Durant l'absence de pluie, ce sont les jeunes arbres qui jaunissent les premiers. Les vieux ont des cachettes souterraines qu'on appelle expérience.

In the absence of rain, it is the young trees that turn yellow first. The old ones have underground hiding-places that we call experience.
--Félix Leclerc

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

The first words I hear when the iron gates open and the kids rumble forth from school--even before "Salut, maman!"*--are: "Tiens, prends ça! Here, take this!" Max and Jackie are so weighted down with knowledge and instruction, craft projects and other take-me-homes that they are bursting to share some of it with me.

On Tuesday I waited before the school entrance, admiring this season's colorful, frou-frou* skirt on the French woman before me. I stood in comfortable obscurity, wearing à peu près* the color on the stone wall behind my back.

"Tiens,"* Jackie said, arriving at a snail's pace and handing me a wet serviette de plage.*
"Hi!" I replied, taking the towel. That's when the bathing suit tumbled out. All two pieces of it. She had apparently snuck the two-piece to school for the weekly trip to la piscine.*

Earlier, I heeded her request to not include another rikiki* towel while packing her pool things. Along with a jumbo towel, I had included the pretty pink maillot de bain,* the one that covers her from ear to toe. (The une pièce* with the pretty daisies that her marraine* gave her for Christmas.)

Not the two-piece with the red hearts.

"Jackie. You know you are not supposed to wear a two-piece for swim class. N'est-ce pas?"*

My seven-year-old studied me for a moment, two chocolate-brown disks with a thick, forest-green border staring up... her father's eyes. Lifting my hand to her temple, I was temporarily mesmerized by those eyes. My hand pushed back her hair, soft wheat-colored locks that would soon turn chartreuse with the onset of summer, and swimming à gogo* in a pool of chlorinated, copper treated eau.*

"This hair probably hasn't seen the inside of a swim cap either!" I thought. Which brought me back to the present. "Jackie--your bathing suit!" I said, referring to the swimsuit switch.

"Je l'ai fait en cachette, maman. I did it on the sly, mom," she said, raising her eyebrows and pointing those brown disks northwest. The crinkle in her forehead, the upturned lips. That expression! I forgot all over again why I was mad at her.

"Well, if you do that again, I'll find a nice little cachette* for the two-piece. D'acco taco?"*

"O.K., maman," she said, skipping ahead of me, vainqueur* once more.

......................
*References: salut, maman = hi, mom; à peu près = just about; frou-frou = frilly; tiens = here; la serviette de plage (f) = beach towel; la piscine (f) = swimming pool; rikiki (riquiqui) = tiny; le maillot de bain (m) = swimsuit; une pièce (f) = one-piece; la marraine (f) = godmother; n'est-ce pas? = isn't that right?; à gogo = galore; l'eau (f) = water; la cachette (f) = hiding-place; D'acco taco (our family's version of  'D'accord' = O.K.); le vainqueur (m) = winner
The French word cachette is referenced in these books:
Points of View: Revised Edition
Points of View: Revised Edition by James Moffett and Kenneth R. McElheny
Ecrits: The First Complete Translation in English
Ecrits: The First Complete Translation in English by Jacques Lacan and Bruce Fink

Thank you for the time you've spent reading my post. 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


"Sent with love and gratitude for all of your wonderful, insightful and creative stories and photographs. My life is enhanced reading your books and blogs beyond measure! May you continue to be blessed doing what you love and feel the gratitude of your devoted readers. Appreciation, hugs and love to you and your beautiful family!"
--Lisa


malentendu

DSC_0062
A pizza parlor in Nyons.

malentendu
(ma-lahn-tahn-dew)
noun, masculine
misunderstanding.



Recently, the kids and I were invited to my husband's office for a "Welcome the New Employee" apéritif. The three of us Q-tipped our ears and shined our shoes in hopes of looking our best before heading over to Jean-Marc's new office to hear him speak.

After the apéro, a few of the employees, along with the director and the company's founder, decided to dine at a nearby eatery. When we were invited to join them, I signaled sharply to the kids as a reminder that we must keep our act together! 

At the reception desk, we waited patiently for our table. To pass the time, the men smoked clopes, the children played a game of pool, and I maintained my new role of Delightful Wife. 

Our act was running smoothly when one of us began rocking from foot to foot. No matter how hard I tried, I could not hold it any longer and so tottered over to the reception desk to ask a pertinent question:

"Where is the 'vaysay' please?" I posed my question in French, trying hard to pronounce the unusual word for "restroom."

"Vaysay?" the receptionist questioned. Confused, she turned to her colleague, who tried to translate. 

"I think she's asking for un whiskey." 

Shocked as much by the misunderstanding as by the indelicate manner in which the women spoke about me (as if I were invisible!), I shot a casual look over my shoulder to assess any damage to our family's carefully constructed first impression. What a relief to find the director and the boss carrying on as if they hadn't heard a thing.

I returned my attention to the women behind the desk. 
"No! Vay-say. I would like.... un toilet!" I whispered, hoping to shush them up, but it was too late. 

"Madame wants a whiskey!" the receptionist shouted over to the maître d', who stood across the room at the bar.

It took a few flailing arms to get my point across, at which point the maître d' offered a VIP escort—past the director and the boss and over to the restroom. So much for avoiding a scene. Next time, best not to act


To help edit this story, click here. Did you enjoy this anecdote (was it clear enough)? Thanks for sharing in the comments box

French Vocabulary
une clope 
= a cigarette
vay-say = pronunciation for "W-C" (water-closet, or restroom)
un apéro  = short for "aperitif," or drink. Apéritif also refers to a cocktail party
maître d' = le maître d'hôtel = headwaiter

Thank you for the time you've spent reading my post. 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


"Sent with love and gratitude for all of your wonderful, insightful and creative stories and photographs. My life is enhanced reading your books and blogs beyond measure! May you continue to be blessed doing what you love and feel the gratitude of your devoted readers. Appreciation, hugs and love to you and your beautiful family!"
--Lisa


tremper

Theegghunt_2   
La chasse aux oeufs / Egg hunting in Provence

tremper (trahn-pay) verb
1. to soak, to drench

Expressions:
se tremper = to have a quick dip
tremper les lèvres = "to wet one's lips," to take a sip
trempé(e) = drenched
avoir une caractère bien trempé = to have a set character
être trempé jusqu'aux os = to be soaking wet

Proverb
Si tu vois la barbe de ton voisin brûler, tu peux mettre la tienne à tremper.
If you see your neighbor's beard burning, you can put your own to soak.


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

I search the kitchen for récipients.* I pull a salad bowl from the cabinet--trop gros;* I take a soup bowl from the armoire*--pas assez profond.* I settle on an old wine glass, a jam and mustard jar, a see-through coffee cup and a tumbler.

Jackie runs up to me wearing a frilly dress with a black velvet haut* and a white chiffon bas.*
"You'll need to change if you want to help out!"
"D'accord!"* she says, spontaneously obedient.

I measure out ten tablespoons of balsamic vinegar, annoyed when I can't find the 79 cent bottle of clear stuff.

Jackie returns, her brother in tow. They are both wearing their pajamas. Max tosses the orange and blue tablets--one in the wine glass and one in the jam jar. Jackie plops the yellow and red tablets into the coffee cup and mustard jar. Three sets of eyes dart to the remaining green tablet. "That one's mine!" I say, swooping it up and dropping the pill-sized disk into the tumbler.

We watch the tablets fizz. The colorful, effervescent display livens up our vieillotte* cuisine.

Next, we take turns emptying one-half cup of eau du robinet* into each glass. "O.K.--stir!" I say, and the kids each take a fork and scramble the water until the tablets are completely dissolved.

I have waited until the eleventh hour before beginning The Project. I estimate we are about one-third of the way through.

"Allez!" I say, bending the wire egg dropper (one egg dropper--two kids! Who put this egg-coloring kit together anyway?) and handing it to Max. Jackie and I watch, with bated breath, as Max lowers the cooked, brown-shelled eggs into the dye.
"Careful!" I say.
When Max reaches for a third egg, Jackie has a fit.
"O.K. Now it's Jackie's turn! Doucement, Jackie...*"

Time to laisse tremper* the eggs for thirty minutes. (Last year we followed the package's instructions for "three minutes" and the brown-shelled eggs surfaced without color).

"There's still the painting to do," I think, staring at the tray of (messy) metallic colors.

Jean-Marc pops into the kitchen: "It's so nice what you do," he says, as if I have had this kind of patience from the get-go. I look down, lashes fluttering, and my cheeks turn the color of the oeuf rouge.*

....................................................................................................................
*References: le récipient (m) = container; trop gros = too big; une armoire (f) = cupboard; pas assez profond = not deep enough; le haut (m) = top; le bas (m) = bottom; d'accord = O.K.; vieillot(te) = out-dated; l'eau du robinet (f) = tap water; Allez = Come on! (let's get moving); doucement = carefully; laisser tremper = to let soak; l'oeuf rouge (m) = red egg

The French word "tremper" is referenced in these books:

A Student Grammar of French
A Student Grammar of French by Malcolm Offord

The French-Canadian Heritage in New England
The French-Canadian Heritage in New England by Gerard J. Brault

Doughs, Batters, and Meringues (French Professional Pastry Series)
Doughs, Batters, and Meringues (French Professional Pastry Series) by Roland Bilheux and Alain Escoffier

Petits Fours, Chocolate, Frozen Desserts, and Sugar Work (French Professional Pastry Series)
Petits Fours, Chocolate, Frozen Desserts, and Sugar Work (French Professional Pastry Series) by Roland Bilheux and Alain Escoffier

The Soups of France
The Soups of France by Lois Anne Rothert and Don Smith

Webster's New World Concise French Dictionary (Webster's New World)
Webster's New World Concise French Dictionary (Webster's New World) by Chambers Harrap Ltd.

Food and Beverage Service Manual
Food and Beverage Service Manual by Matt A. Casado

Thank you for the time you've spent reading my post. 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


"Sent with love and gratitude for all of your wonderful, insightful and creative stories and photographs. My life is enhanced reading your books and blogs beyond measure! May you continue to be blessed doing what you love and feel the gratitude of your devoted readers. Appreciation, hugs and love to you and your beautiful family!"
--Lisa


la motte

La_motte_2                
The village of La Motte in the Var region of France

motte
(mowt) noun, feminine

...used in the following terms:

la motte de terre = lump of earth, clod
la motte de gazon = turf, sod
en motte = balled
la motte de beurre = lump or block of butter

Citation du Jour
Deux mains jointes font plus d'ouvrage, sur la terre,
Que tout le roulement des machines de guerre.

Two joined hands do more work, on earth,
than all the movement of war machines.
--Victor Hugo

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

What could be more French than butter cut from the slab? Growing up in Arizona, the butter we used came individually wrapped in printed wax paper. Our 'motte de beurre'* was a rectangular cube--one in a box of four. As a kid, I enjoyed the butter 'sandwiches' at Mary Moppets pre-school, as well as peanut butter, butter and honey sandwiches that I made for myself at home. As you can imagine, I was a wee bit potelée.*

                                     *     *     *

In an  historical épicerie* in Draguignan, one with a handsome bordeaux-colored shop front, jingle bells on the door and a window filled with colorful tea-cups, tea pots and a glass coffee-press or two, I watched the French women order their groceries. Pointing to the slab of butter in the chilled section of the shop, the lady in front of me said, "Deux cents grammes de beurre, s'il vous plaît, Madame." I watched the third generation shopkeeper fetch a knife (a knife of knives, one that would send a band of butter knives running for cover in a knife block). Knife in hand, she reached into the cooler and lopped off a section of butter. She placed le beurre on the balance,* wiped her hands on her apron, and said, "Deux cents dix grammes, ça vous ira, Madame Durand?"*

As I watched Madame wrap the pale yellow lump in paper, I wondered whether that butter was salted or unsalted. Probably unsalted. The French eat only unsalted butter.

"The French eat only unsalted butter," I repeated to myself, shaking my head and smiling, remembering one in a number of opinions I'd formed about the French before moving to l'Héxagone,* including: "French women don't diet" and the "French are naturals when it comes to class, style and manners..." I continue to sort through these myths, as I settle, more comfortably each day, into this French life.

................................................................................................................
*References: la motte de beurre (f) = block of butter; potelé(e) = chubby; une épicerie (f) = a grocer's shop; la balance (f) = scale; deux cents dix grammes, ça vous ira? = two hundred and ten grams, will that be O.K.?; l'Héxagone = France

Thank you for the time you've spent reading my post. 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


"Sent with love and gratitude for all of your wonderful, insightful and creative stories and photographs. My life is enhanced reading your books and blogs beyond measure! May you continue to be blessed doing what you love and feel the gratitude of your devoted readers. Appreciation, hugs and love to you and your beautiful family!"
--Lisa


épuiser

Coquelicots  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Max, some time ago... 

Epuiser

(ay-pwee-zay)

to exhaust, to wear out


Max has paired an orange-and-blue T-shirt with red sweat pants. I gaze at my son, thinking about how I need to explain to him the basics of fashion. For one, he needs to learn the rule on colors that clash: "No wearing orange with red!" 

On second thought, forget about the color wheel! Precious few years remain in which I'll be able to witness daily this wake-up-and-dress-with-abandon innocence. Besides, my mission this morning is not to critique Max's wardrobe, but to find him a project.

Earlier, at the breakfast table, when I could no longer eat in peace after the kids began bouncing off the walls, I realized I might channel some of that energy... into home improvement! 

"You know those baseball cards of yours?" I ask Max.

My son looks lost.

"I mean, the basketball cartes..."

"Quoi?"

"Oh... I'm talking about the cartes de foot—the ones you like to trade with your friends!"

"Ah, oui..."

"Well, if you sweep the back patio—really well—for, say, one-half hour and not five seconds—then I will buy you a pack of those cards. How much do they cost, by the way?"

"Quarante centimes," Max answers, grinning from ear to ear.

"O.K., that'll work!"

Max begins his chore with gusto, sweeping, swooping, and swiveling that brush-on-a-stick. Occasionally he stops to admire his reflection in the porte-fenêtre....

He turns the broom sideways... and heaves up the make-believe ten-ton barbell. When the champion weight lifter is satisfied with his world record, he returns the barbell/broom to its vertical position and resumes sweeping the patio.

Noticing him push the broom hard against the ground, making great exaggerated swoops, I intervene:

"Max, you are going to wear yourself out if you continue like that! Watch me," I suggest, taking the broom. Accomplishing a few feather-light sweeps across the patio, I begin to sing:

Il ne faut pas t'épuiser
Non, non, non, ne t'épuise pas...

I sing as only a mother can, before her child and no other, belting out the make-it-up-as-you-go tune.

Il faut pas t'épuiser
Non, non, non, ne t'épuise pas...


I stop the broom in its tracks, to experience a flashback of a similar scene. I am at my mom's cabin, near Saguaro Lake, back home in Arizona. I am pushing a three-ton broom around the living room.

"Here, give me that!" my mom says, stubbing out her cigarette. She proceeds, light on her feet, to sweep the hardwood floor of her salon. She is in full make-up, though we are an hour's drive from civilization, and her hair is gathered into a French twist and secured by a battalion of bobby pins. She is wearing cowboy boots, the ones with the spurs. Instead of singing, she's humming. "Don't struggle so," is her message. "Lighten up and the job will be easier."

"Watch this," she says, sailing across the room, with the broom in her hands. In the background, televangelist Freddy Price is spreading the Word, causing us to pause now and again to shout "Amen!"

Mom's got that broom and she is fluttering across the wood floor, with the lightness of a butterfly.

"I used to sweep like you," she says, "until I learned to sweep like this!" As I watch her, an overwhelming urge is building in me to sweep! I want that broom just as I want to try on a new pair of roller skates. My mom hands me the broom and returns to her desk to paint her nails copper. Behind her, there is a wall of books. I recognize the hardbound editions; I can still see them perfectly in my mind, just as they were placed on the bookshelves of my childhood.

There were, among others, Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand, James Michener's The Source, and My Mother/Myself by Nancy Friday. And there was Mom's treasure: William Gurnall's The Christian in Complete Armour, the epic masterpiece written between 1655-1662. She had the giant red leather three-volume set.

Her library aside... the image of my mom sweeping returns to me whenever I find myself making a brick wall out of any hard-to-begin activity, whether it be writing or washing floors or rearing children. The more I push, the more I struggle, the more I wear myself out and despair.

I hand the broom back to Max and return to the breakfast table to observe him from the window. He pushes the broom, stopping to pass it between his legs, then sweeps, sweeps, sweeps, to stop again and make another pass. Only a kid could make a basketball out of a balai. Only a mother-in-spurs could tame a two-ton broom into becoming a butterfly.

As for me, I'll quit building brick walls today and remember to flutter instead of fluster, to pass or dribble instead of pound and tremble, to lighten up like the papillons that fly across the soon-to-bloom poppy fields outside my door.

Il faut pas t'épuiser
Non, non, non, ne t'épuise pas...



French Vocabulary

le petit déjeuner = breakfast
la carte = card
les cartes de foot = soccer (trading) cards 
quoi? = what?
quarante centimes = forty French cents
la porte-fenêtre = French door
il ne faut pas t'épuiser = you mustn't wear yourself out, no... don't wear yourself out
le salon = living room
le balai = broom
le papillon = butterfly

STORY EDITS
Thank you for offering any edits, here, in the comments box. Note: You are reading the most recent edition of this story - if you notice any formating glitches, please point those out too! Click here to submit a comment. 

Thank you for the time you've spent reading my post. 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


"Sent with love and gratitude for all of your wonderful, insightful and creative stories and photographs. My life is enhanced reading your books and blogs beyond measure! May you continue to be blessed doing what you love and feel the gratitude of your devoted readers. Appreciation, hugs and love to you and your beautiful family!"
--Lisa


garer

Garer_4 se garer à l'italien... (There's a nice, tiled sidewalk under there somewhere.)

garer (ga-ray) verb
1. to park (car)

also: se garer = to park a car

Expressions:
se garer de quelque chose/quelqu'un = to steer clear of something or someone

...........................
Citation du Jour:

On trouve dans la Bible beaucoup de situations du monde moderne. Par exemple, Noé, cherchant pendant quarante jours une place pour se garer.

We find many examples of modern life in the Bible. Take, for example, Noah, who searched for 40 days for a place to park
. --Laurence Peter

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

...I hope you'll read (or re-read) the "parking story" I wrote last
September. Just to entice you, I've included a nice photo with it at:
http://french-word-a-day.typepad.com/motdujour/2004/09/cabosser.html

Thank you for the time you've spent reading my post. 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


"Sent with love and gratitude for all of your wonderful, insightful and creative stories and photographs. My life is enhanced reading your books and blogs beyond measure! May you continue to be blessed doing what you love and feel the gratitude of your devoted readers. Appreciation, hugs and love to you and your beautiful family!"
--Lisa


briller

IMG_7091
My mother-in-law and Jackie. Photo taken at the time this story was written, in 2006

briller

bree ay

to shine

 

My mother-in-law and I are lounging on the back porch, sipping le coca and eating pistachios. We chat about tout et rien, while admiring so many wildflowers that have sprung up across the lawn. 

Michèle-France has borrowed her son's T-shirt; the words on the front read "Señor Frog's." Under the title, there are four caricatures—all grenouilles. Two of the frogs have on sunglasses, the other two, sun hats. All four frogs are wearing striped swim trunks. My belle-mère's pearl necklace is peeking out of the T-shirt; the combination of frog-T-shirt-with-pearl-accent makes an amusing, if unintended, fashion statement.

"Il fait chaud ici," my belle-mère says, pinching her wool pants. "I don't know what to wear this time of year."

Sitting beside her, wearing a tank top and corduroys, I can relate. "Moi non plus!"

"En avril, ne te découvre pas d'un fil ..." my mother-in-law begins to recite a popular dicton.
I beat her to the finish: "En mai fais ce qu'il te plaît!

As we laugh I catch a closer glimpse of my belle-mère. Michèle-France's fingernails are painted a glossy red. They are not too long, not too short: simply elegant. The string of gold beads around her wrist adds a delicate touch. My own nails are chipped and rugged. I would rather take a nap than paint them.

"Mothers don't always have time for les petits soins," my belle-mère sympathizes. Her words assure me she's no judge. She knows I am not lazy. Her eyes lock on the wildflowers as her thoughts take her back to early days, to rearing three turbulent children. "Only one year apart in age! First Jean-Marc, then Cécile, then little Jacques." She shakes her head, tapping it comically for effect. Her exaggerated gestures are humorous but, like a clown's tears, they distract us from the suffering heart within. I know she didn't cope as well as she would have liked to. When will she forgive herself?


"Nice shoes..." she offers. Our thoughts drift back to the present.

"These old things?" I tease my mother-in-law, who laughs.

"Well I've had THESE for eons!" Michèle-France retorts.

I look down at her patent-leather loafers, as if seeing them for the first time. Suddenly, they represent so much to me: a lifetime or two (my son's and daughter's), the duration of our belle-mère/belle-fille friendship, and the number of years that I've known my husband. The dainty loafers with the chic square buckle have appeared at marriages and baptisms, as well as funerals and hospital stays. I've seen them buffed, I've seen them battered. But today, oh happy day, how they shine!

. 

Your Edits here please. Thanks for pointing out any grammar, punctuation, or story-construction problems here in the comments box. On the other hand, if it's a smooth read, thanks for letting me know that, too!


French Vocabulary (under construction... anything missing?)

 

la grenouille = frog
la belle-mère = mother-in-law
tout et rien = everything and nothing
un dicton = a saying
en avril, ne te découvre pas d'un fil, En mai fais ce qu'il te plaît = literally "in April, don't remove a string (of fabric); in May do as you please"; Note: this saying hints at spring weather. A warm day in April can fool people into wearing less clothing (and catching a cold when cooler weather sneaks in!) May temperatures are more stable and one can "do as one pleases". 
les petits soins = fussings (little self-care treats)
la belle-fille (f) = daughter-in-law

 

Thank you for the time you've spent reading my post. 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


"Sent with love and gratitude for all of your wonderful, insightful and creative stories and photographs. My life is enhanced reading your books and blogs beyond measure! May you continue to be blessed doing what you love and feel the gratitude of your devoted readers. Appreciation, hugs and love to you and your beautiful family!"
--Lisa


le bourgeon

Bourgeon = Bud (c) Kristin Espinassele bourgeon (boor-zhon) noun, masculine
  1. bud
  2. pimple, spot

Also:
le bourgeon gustatif = taste bud

Citation du Jour:

Le plus timide bourgeon est la preuve qu'il n'y a pas de mort réelle. / The most timid bud is proof that there is no real death. --William Blake

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

Do not miss the story that originally accompanied this post!

Thank you for the time you've spent reading my post. 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


"Sent with love and gratitude for all of your wonderful, insightful and creative stories and photographs. My life is enhanced reading your books and blogs beyond measure! May you continue to be blessed doing what you love and feel the gratitude of your devoted readers. Appreciation, hugs and love to you and your beautiful family!"
--Lisa


un volet

Volet - Shutter (c) Kristin Espinasse 

Never miss a word or photo: sign up to receive these posts. Photo of blue volets taken in Roquebrune-sur-Argens...

le volet (vo-lay) noun, masculine
  1. shutter
  2. constituent (politics)
  3. (folding) section, part (of leaflet, program)
 

A Day in a French Life... by Kristin Espinasse

The shutter outside my window flaps open, then closed, open, closed... CLACK CLACK CLACK! CLACK CLACK CLACK! I finally get up to latch it, then to steal back into bed for a sleep in. That's when the second shutter begins its flapping... Ah, v-a-c-a-t-i-o-n.

(an update from Spring Break 2010 in Serre Chevalier)



  
***

Words in a French LifeBlogger Espinasse has taken a step backward in the evolution of media by converting selected contents of her Web log into a book. Beginning students of conversational French will profit from many of these brief entries, and supplemental tables of expressions go far to demystify French idioms for anyone wishing to speak and write more fluent French. —Booklist

Expressions:
trié sur le volet = hand-picked
trier sur le volet = to choose with care
ouvrir/fermer les volets = to open / close the shutters
sortir/rentrer les volets = to lower / raise flaps (aviation)

Citation du Jour:
L'homme a ce choix: laisser entrer la lumière ou garder les volets fermés.
Man has this choice: to let the light enter or to keep the shutters closed.
--Henry Miller

Thank you for the time you've spent reading my post. 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


"Sent with love and gratitude for all of your wonderful, insightful and creative stories and photographs. My life is enhanced reading your books and blogs beyond measure! May you continue to be blessed doing what you love and feel the gratitude of your devoted readers. Appreciation, hugs and love to you and your beautiful family!"
--Lisa


fichu

Cafe_2fichu(e) (fee-shoo) adjective
1. (bad) wretched, lousy; rotten; (capable)  able

Expressions:
c'est fichu = it's had it
être bien fichu(e) = to be well put together (physique)
être mal fichu(e) = to be under the weather, to feel lousy

.....................
Citation du Jour:
Quand tout est fichu, il y a encore le courage.
When all is lost, there's still courage.
--Daniel Pennac

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

I sat at the café in Lorgues, shivering next to my coffee and stalling for my appointment at le Baracavin, where I was to leave in dépôt* ten books for sale.

La serveuse breezed over and I handed her three coins totalling 1 Euro 40, before downing the last of my noisette.* To the man standing behind me, I said, "Avez-vous l'heure, s'il vous plaît?"*

"Bien sûr,* little woman," he said, offering a wrist. I tilted my head to read his watch: 10:55. Time to go. I noticed his tattoo, just above the watch, "60" it read. I guessed it to be his age.

"Merci, Monsieur," I said.
"Oh, it is a pleasure, really," he replied.
"May I sit here?" he said, pulling up a chair and sitting down anyway.
"Could I offer you a coffee?" he continued.
"Oh. Yes. I mean no! Yes, you can sit down, but I have to leave now."
"Just a coffee?" he said.

I remembered my mom's extended stay here last year, and how she knew everyone in my village because she judged no one and no situation, and found each and every person and situation interesting.

"D'accord,"* I said, "but I'll have to leave in a few minutes."
"Deux cafés!" he said to la serveuse.*

I looked at the other patrons, and was sure they were thinking: "Now there's a real tart!" (or 'une poufiasse' as they say here).

"What do you do?" he said.
"J'écris."
"Me too. I write!" he said.

Quelle chance!* Surely I'd stumbled upon the editor of the local paper? Non! Paris--he's with a Parisian publishing house. Pourquoi pas?* I could not believe my good fortune.

"Regardez,"* he said, opening his wallet. Inside, at least a dozen neatly folded squares of paper. He carefully selected one and offered it to me. I noted the strange business card format, but didn't lose hope.

Unfolding the flimsy paper, I found these words stamped inside:

                    Remy DuPont
          Un Coeur Libre ("A free heart")
       Si vous le désirez (If you so desire)
                Tél: 06 24 17 00 75
             Pourquoi Pas? (Why not?)


Trying to look composed, I carefully refolded the paper and stuck it in my pocket.

"I'm looking for a wife," he said. "You married?"

Quelle question!* Don't I look married? There I sat, in four layers of clothing, a day old coiffure* and chapped lips.

And just like that, my illusions of literary success in the small town of Lorgues were fichu,* kaput. Chapped as my lips.

....................................................................................................................
*References: en dépôt = on consignment; une noisette (f) = a small coffee with a few drops of milk; s'il vous plaît = please; bien sûr! = of course!; d'accord = agreed; la serveuse (f) = the waitress; quelle chance = what luck; pourquoi pas = why not; regardez = look; quelle question = what a question; une coiffure (f) = a hairdo; fichu = kaput

Click on book cover to read more stories in my book:

Book

Thank you for the time you've spent reading my post. 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


"Sent with love and gratitude for all of your wonderful, insightful and creative stories and photographs. My life is enhanced reading your books and blogs beyond measure! May you continue to be blessed doing what you love and feel the gratitude of your devoted readers. Appreciation, hugs and love to you and your beautiful family!"
--Lisa