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Entries from March 2007


This image (taken in Trans-en-Provence) seemed a little more classy than the other one that was set to appear here. * * * Oh, no! you say, such a lot of potty talk lately! Believe me, I'd rather chat about French farm hens or even Frango mint shakes (how I miss them!) but when you gotta go,... Read more →


Sainte Céciliens and the art of conviviality. convive (kon-veev) noun, masculine and feminine guest (at table), fellow diner * * * Rarement nous pouvons découvrir un homme qui dise avoir vécu heureux, et qui, son temps fini, quitte la vie content comme un convive rassasié. We rarely find anyone who can say he has lived a happy... Read more →


Le bercail / Home. (Picture of Uncle Jean-Claude installing the temporary "stairs" until we get the chance to build some...) le bercail (behr-kie ["kie" like "pie"]) noun, masculine 1. fold, sheepfold 2. home, the family fold Quand les bushman d'Afrique du Sud rentrent au bercail, ils s'enduisent la langue de boue pour exprimer leur attachement à leur... Read more →


Our dog, Braise, in all her French glory--and towering over her kingdom of Ste Cécile. saigner (say-nyay) verb to bleed Quand le lion saigne, les chacals reprennent courage. When the lion bleeds, the jackals regain courage. . After searching for weeks, I found the first clue smack in the middle of the hallway. And I didn't have... Read more →

Where pigs and poules once roamed. The little barn before the bulldozers arrived. le chantier (shon-tee-yay) noun, masculine 1. building site (construction); workshop, ship-yard 2. a place where great disorder reigns ("lieu où règne un grand désordre") -Petite Larousse 2000 The famous words of Général Lyautey: Un chantier vaut un bataillon. A workshop is worth a battalion.... Read more →


Independence Day: My son Max is headed to Italy! crapulerie (krap-ew-lair-ee) noun, feminine 1. villainy 2. a dishonest act [from "crapule" (scoundrel) and borrowed from the latin "crapula" (intoxication") -- synonyms include "la canaillerie" (a low trick) and "la fripouillerie" (roguishness)] * * * Car on sent là...toute l'écume du monde, toute la crapulerie distinguée, toute la... Read more →


Sweet competition for that ol' classic menthe à l'eau. la menthe (mont) noun, feminine 1. mint Some accidental wisdom from a 19th century French distillery book: ...on doit prendre la menthe au moment de sa floraison. ...we must take the mint the moment it flowers. --from the "Nouveau Manuel Complet du Distillateur Liquoriste" by Lebeaud, de Fontenelle... Read more →


It's a rat race even for plants: French hollyhocks trying to ketchup catch up to the vines above. ketchup (keht-chuhp) noun, masculine 1. ketchup (or catsup) Sure, point it out. "But ketchup isn't a French word!" you argue. Yahhuh it is! (Well, more of a word than yah + uh-huh or "yahhuh" which, though fun to say,... Read more →


Une bribe, or fragment of an scene; taken during summer break in Brittany. As for today's word, "une bribe," (pronounced ewn breeb) how about beginning with a French definition?* Bribes, then, are "phrases prises ça et là" (sentences taken here and there) and "passages décousus d'un text, d'une conversation" (disconnected passages cut from a text, from a... Read more →

The fixer-upper where we are fixing to move to. The glass is shattered, the dream intact. une niche (neesh) noun, feminine 1. alcove, nook, recess; kennel, doghouse 2. trick, prank, hoax La vertu, comme le corbeau, niche dans les ruines. Virtue, like the raven, nests in ruins. --Anatole France . Aunt Marie-Françoise is showing me the emerald... Read more →