Previous month:
October 2007
Next month:
December 2007

Entries from November 2007

étourneau

Etourneau
Stumbling over the vines... a swarm of soûlards or drunks. Read on...

étourneau (ay-toor-no) noun, masculine

  : starling, star (bird)
  : scatterbrain, featherbrain, birdbrain (you get the picture)

Les aigles ... volent seul... ce sont les corbeaux, les choucas et les étourneaux qui vont en groupe. Eagles ... fly alone...they are crows, daws, and starlings that flock together. --John Webster

                                *   *   *

In books: "The Boy Who Drew Birds." John James Audubon, who was born and raised in France, was sent to America at age 18 to avoid service in Napoleon's army... Read on, here.
.

Column
Imagine a vintner's field in wintertime. Row upon row of dark, leafless vines... trunks over which a spray of rust-colored limbs (or so the morning light, reflecting across the unpruned field, would have us think). Now imagine that woody, glowing champ* disintegrating from the "waist" up (this, before your
very eyes)! Watch as the vines seem to lose their combined "heads," if not their minds!

Les étourneaux...
They are called "scatterbrains," tout simplement.* Not the vines, which appear to be losing their heads, but the birds who've alighted, eaten, and are now, once again "altitude bound" -- by the thousands! The visual effect of so many migrators "unmoored" is, if not stunning, sobering.... to the birds at least.

For while the birds themselves aren't scatterbrains, they sometimes act that way after feasting on the fermented fruit which, this time of year, might as well be grape-size "shots" considering the alcohol inside those wrinkled raisins.*

Now this would explain the odd swerving flight pattern that some exhibit--those birds that can't seem to hold a feathered finger to beak while "walking" a straight line (for starlings are known to walk and not hop). Like that, they commonly flunk French breathalizer tests before jamming jail cells from Lille to Paris, all the way down to Marseilles.

A former fêtarde* myself (and still a bit featherbrained from it) I shake my head and cluck my tongue on hearing those birds, beaks-a-begging, try to get out of jail time by pleading with the French cops, swearing that they are merely scatterbrained and not at all soûlard!*

                              *     *     *

Update: One of our birds seems to have landed on my friend Ann's Paris bistro table. Can you see its bloodshot eyes and that telling grenache-stained grin?


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
References: le champ (m) = field; tout simplement = quite simply; le raisin (m) = grape; fétard(e) = merrymaker, partyer; soûlard(e) = drunkard
.
:: Audio File :: 
Listen to Jean-Marc pronounce today's French word and quote:
Etourneau. Les aigles ... volent seul... ce sont les corbeaux, les choucas et les étourneaux qui vont en groupe.
Download etourneau.mp3
Download etourneau.wav


Stocking stuffers and more for your Francophile:

Words in a French Life: Lessons in Love and Language from the South of France
Magnetic Poetry Kids' Magnetic French Kit
This French Bingo version promotes vocabulary enrichment and hones perceptual skills.

Thank you for the time you've spent reading this post. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that a one-time contribution helps me continue doing what I love most: improving this journal. 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


gui

Gui
Mistletoe in them thar hills! The Tuscan Vauclusian countryside.

gui (gee ["g" as in "get"]) noun, masculine

  : mistletoe (gui de chêne) or "Druid's plant"

Le respect que les anciens Gaulois avaient pour le gui et particulièrement pour celui qui croissait sur le chêne, est connu de tout le monde.

The respect that the ancient Gauls had for mistletoe and particularly that which grew on the oak tree, is known the world over.

          --from the "Dictionnaire provençal-français" by S. J. Honnorat

In Gift Ideas: 365 Days in France Calendar 2008 (A Picture-a-Day)
.

Column
by Kristin Espinasse

On a Sunday afternoon balade,* we (Jean-Marc, an aunt, two uncles, the kids and I) stepped outside and into a bit of kissy kissy history.

While the undulating hills surrounding the town of Cairanne resemble a famous Italian countryside, Tuscan they're not. This is the land of the Vaucan -- or rather "voconce". Here in the Vaucluse, over these pine-scented hills and across the red sea of vines below, a certain group of Gallic tribesman once puttered and maybe even puckered up....

As we stepped off the thyme-scented path to catch our breath, the men in our party took a moment to free an ailing tree. The oak's trunk was riddled with ivy until Uncle Jean-Claude and Jacques went to work, liberating its limbs.

As the men pulled down the ivy, freeing the frail tree, Aunt Marie-Françoise pointed to something high up on a branch. Next, she began talking about druids, potions and parasites! Her French words fashioned images in my head, of white-haired wizards and Gallic magicians intent on finding a potion for... parasites?

Lost in language and a very surreal tale, I tried to understand the foreign words, one of which returned again and again as if to illustrate Aunt Marie-Françoise's point. Gui... gui... gui... she repeated, pointing to the oak's branch. Gui... gui...gui...

That is when--poof!--a giddy Gallic ghost appeared in time to whisper a clue. This is what the ancient Gaul said to me (a bit shy and stuttering was he): "Gui...gui...gui... GUI-ME a kiss?!"

Kiss? Ah...mistletoe! I refused the bise* (what with, you know, Jean-Marc in tow!) but thanked the French phantom for the clue. As for the French word for mistletoe, who knew?

I observed the "parasite," its translucent white globes the size of cocktail onions. I'd never seen Gaulois* mistletoe before but can tell you that the Gallic version is grander than the store-bought stuff. Like mistletoe on Miracle-Grow!

Still, I'm not sure what druids, potions and parasites have to do with all this. And the question remains, should I have accepted? Should I have puckered up and given that Gallic ghost a kiss?

                               *   *   *

Post note: With a better understanding of language, specifically its building blocks, I might have been able to piece together the meaning of druid and how these ancient Celtic priests might be called "they who know the oak". Here now from the Online Etymology Dictionary (etymonline.com):

Druid... from O.Fr. druide, from L. Druidae (pl.), from Gaulish Druides, from O.Celt. *derwijes, representing O.Celt. derwos "true" and *dru- "tree" (especially oak) + *wid- "to know" (cf. vision). Hence, lit., perhaps, "they who know the oak."

More on the Druids, those "knowers of oak" from Wikipedia.org:
"The Druids were polytheists, but also revered elements of nature...such as the sun, the moon, and the stars, looking to them for "signs and seasons". They also venerated other natural elements, such as the oak, certain groves of trees, tops of hills, streams, lakes and certain other plants, especially mistletoe [GUI] and holly.

More on mistletoe ... druids and cures... at the end of this letter!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~French Vocabulary~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
une balade (f) = walk, stroll; la bise (f) = kiss; Gaulois(e) = Gallic

In Film: Academy Award, Golden Globe and BAFTA nominee for Best Foreign Film, Joyeux Noel (Merry Christmas) tells the true-life story of the spontaneous Christmas Eve truce declared by Scottish, French and German troops in the trenches of World War I.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
:: Audio File ::
Hear Jean-Marc pronounce today's quote:
LE GUI. Le respect que les anciens Gaulois avaient pour le gui et particulièrement pour celui qui croissait sur le chêne, est connu de tout le monde.
Download gui.mp3

Download gui.wav

Terms & Expressions:
  au gui mener = to the mistletoe go, to lead to the mistletoe
  au gui l'An neuf = mistletoe for the New Year

Shop:
Le Petit Larousse Illustre 2007: an exceptional French dictionary!
Michel Thomas Speak French For Beginners: 10-CD Beginner's Program
Top 10 Ways to Improve Your Spoken French
In Music: Edith Piaf: 30th Anniversaire

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
More on druids... how mistletoe can disarm an enemy:

"The Druids considered the mistletoe to be a sacred plant and believed it had miraculous properties which could cure illnesses, serve as an antidote against poisons, ensure fertility and protect against the ill effects of witchcraft. Moreover, whenever enemies met under the mistletoe in the forest, they had to lay down their arms and observe a truce until the next day." --from www.culture.gouv.fr

Thank you for the time you've spent reading this post. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that a one-time contribution helps me continue doing what I love most: improving this journal. 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


tirailleur

Indigenestirailleur (teera-yuhr) n.m.
skirmisher; soldier, infantryman, sharpshooter; sniper

Example sentence:
Les tirailleurs de l'armée française d'Afrique ont contribué par leur courage à  placer la France parmi les puissances victorieuses de 1945.

The sharpshooters of the French African army contributed, by their bravery, to putting France among the victorious powers of 1945. --from the book "Paroles d'indigènes Les Soldats oubliés de la Seconde Guerre mondiale"


Book: A Savage War of Peace: Algeria 1954-1962

.
Column
by Kristin Espinasse

The upside about those glaring plasterboard walls, here in our unfinished farmhouse, is their potential for bringing the "big screen" home (this, with the help of a laptop and a projector). The downside about home cinema is getting four Franco-American film critics to unite. (Jean-Marc likes historicals, I like drama, and the kids like Jamel Debbouze [read: comedy]). Recently, our tastes teamed up in the tear-jerker "Indigènes,"* a film about the forgotten North African soldiers of WWII.

Eight-eyes glued to the plasterboard screen, we witnessed the power of hope amidst prejudice and unreward as the "indigenous" soldiers (aka the Algerian Infantry Division) arrived in France from the colonies to help free their "motherland". The following, from OpenDemocracy.net summarizes the film's subject matter:

In 1944, the French army had 550,000 soldiers, more than half coming from the "empire": 134,000 Algerians, 73,000 Moroccans, 26,000 Tunisians, and 92,000 sub-Saharan Africans... They were also too often used as cannon-fodder, second-class soldiers: fed more poorly, clothed more shabbily, paid less, rewarded rarely, promoted hardly, humiliated routinely. [The film] Indigènes reminds us of all this.


If one can marry comedy with tragedy, then actor Jamel Debbouze offered just the featherlight sweep needed to lighten four heavy hearts who, turning from the plasterboard "big screen," paused now and again to ask ourselves, Why?

                                     *     *     *

Post note: In 1959, during decolonization, pensions for the North African soldiers were frozen. In 2006, after viewing the film "Indigènes," President Jacques Chirac acknowledged the money owed and reinstated pensions. In view of the almost fifty year time lapse, many veterans were not able to collect as they had since passed on.

Les Indigènes: a film by Rachid Bouchareb. See this film in French with English subtitles

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
References: les indigènes = natives (Algerian, Tunisian and Moroccan soldiers were referred to as "natives")

:: Audio File ::
Listen to Jean-Marc pronounce today's word and quote:
Tirailleurs. Les tirailleurs de l'armée française d'Afrique ont contribué par leur courage à  placer la France parmi les puissances victorieuses de 1945.
Download Tirailleurs.mp3
Download Tirailleurs.wav

In Gifts:
Henri Cartier-Bresson 2008 Calendar
"Quiet Corners of Paris" for More than eighty of the loveliest, most tranquil, and sometimes hidden places in Paris are celebrated in this charming guidebook
Vine therapy by Caudalie
Evian Travel Trio: Pure natural Evian mineral water propelled by nitrogen.


Related Words & Expressions
  tirailler = to pull at, to tug at
  tiraillement = tugging, gnawing pain, tightness
  tiraillements = friction, conflict

Many thanks to readers for submitting these WWII book recommendations:

1. Is Paris Burning?

2. Wine and War

3. And There Was Light: Autobiography of Jacques Lusseyran, Blind Hero of the French Resistance

4. Suite Francaise

Thank you for the time you've spent reading this post. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that a one-time contribution helps me continue doing what I love most: improving this journal. 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


paix

Paix
Warmth and light in the town of Montpellier.

paix (pay) noun, feminine
  : peace

      Qui vit en paix avec lui-même vit en paix avec l'univers.
      He who lives in harmony with himself lives in harmony with the universe.

                                                --Marcus Aurelius
.

Column
by Kristin Espinasse

(The following is a prayer* that fell out of a book on my husband's nightstand... [I wasn't snooping. Really, I wasn't!] The English translation follows...).

Seigneur, faites de moi un instrument de votre paix.
Là où il y a de la haine, que je mette l'amour.
Là où il y a l'offense, que je mette le pardon.
Là où il y a la discorde, que je mette l'union.
Là où il y a l'erreur, que je mette la vérité.
Là où il y a le doute, que je mette la foi.
Là où il y a le désespoir, que je mette l'espérance.
Là où il y a les ténèbres, que je mette votre lumière.
Là où il y a la tristesse, que je mette la joie.

Ô Maître, que je ne cherche pas tant à être consolé qu'à consoler, à être compris qu'à comprendre, à être aimé qu'à aimer, car c'est en donnant qu'on reçoit, c'est en s'oubliant qu'on trouve, c'est en pardonnant qu'on est pardonné, c'est en mourant qu'on ressuscite à l'éternelle vie.


                               *     *     *

  Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace;
  Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
  Where there is injury, let me sow pardon;
  Where there is discord, let me sow harmony;
  Where there is error, let me sow truth;
  Where there is doubt, let me sow faith;
  Where there is despair, let me sow hope;
  Where there is darkness, let me sow light;
  And where there is sadness, let me sow joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood, as to understand; to be loved, as to love; for it is in giving that we receive, it is in forgetting ourselves that we find, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.
.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
References: prayer = (the little card that tumbled out of the book, and on which the prayer was printed, attributes the prayer to "Saint François" [Saint Francis of Assisi]. The prayer is commonly known as "The Prayer of Saint Francis")
                        
Clunycover_2
The Guide to Lodging in France's Monasteries
A Pilgrim's Guide to the Camino de Santiago: Camino Frances
From Martyr to Monument: The Abbey of Cluny as Cultural Patrimony



.................................................................................
:: Audio File :: 
La paix. Qui vit en paix avec lui-même vit en paix avec l'univers.
Download paix.mp3
Download paix.wav
.
Gift shop:

French Demystified: simple enough for a beginner, challenging enough for a more advanced student
French Country Diary / Appointment Calendar 2008
In French music: French Playground (various artists sing in French)
Grey Sea Salt from Guerande, Brittany
.
End Quote:
Garde la paix en toi, ensuite offre la aux autres.
Keep peace in yourself, then offer it to others.

                                            --Thomas A Kempis

Thank you for the time you've spent reading this post. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that a one-time contribution helps me continue doing what I love most: improving this journal. 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


buissonnière

Vaucluse_sky
"Vauclusian sky" by Jean-Marc

buissonnière (bwee-sohn-yehr) adjective
   : living in bushes

When a French student skips class, s/he goes and "lives in the bushes" for a day... We call this "ditching"; here in France it is called "l'école buissonnière" (literally "bush school"). Borrowing the bush term, and backtracking to my Arizona childhood, we hooksters (hooky players?) might've called ourselves "Creosote Class Cutters"* or "The Desert Scrub Club"....

*creosote bush: desert shrub of southwestern United States and New Mexico having persistent resinous aromatic foliage and small yellow flowers (definition from onelook.com)
.

Column
by Kristin Espinasse

         (...faire l'école buissonnière = to play hooky...)

After allowing my daughter a ditch day yesterday (French teachers are on strike...does this count?), I thought "why not take one yourself"? So this morning I lingered a bit over breakfast, putting an extra heaping of strawberry jam over yesterday's stale cinnamon toast and having a second cup of coffee
while letting thoughts percolate. That's when--bingo!--it occurred to me that I might continue in this lazy mode... if only it weren't for the work load! How can one take a day off when one has a column to write?

Steal, of course.

                                      *     *     *
(The following post was "lifted," along with my work load, from my husband's wine blog. I hope you'll enjoy his updates about our wine adventure. You'll also learn the outcome of that Wine Label Poll we had last month. For now, I wish you bonne lecture*!)
.
Jean-Marc writes...
.
Dear wine lovers,
All our tanks have now finished both their fermentations (alcoholic and malolactic). The four filled tanks we have express their "terroir" identity with, of course, the grape variety's influence. What is interesting here is that depending on "terroir" and with the same grape variety, the wines express
themselves very differently....

(To read the rest of this post (and to view Jean-Marc's tasting video!) click here.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~French Vocabulary~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
bonne lecture = enjoy (the reading)
.
:: Audio File ::
Listen to my son, Max, pronounce today's word and expression
(this feature is now available at the blog under :: Audio File ::)
Download buissonniere.mp3
Download buissonniere.wav
.
Gift shop:
Provence 2008 Calendar
Cavallini Paris France, French themed assorted stamps in tin with notepad
"La France" Magnetic Puzzle -- learning tool includes the French regions and French departments with their specialties
In French Music: Pop à Paris - More Rock n' Roll and Mini Skirts

Thank you for the time you've spent reading this post. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that a one-time contribution helps me continue doing what I love most: improving this journal. 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


chaton

Max_and_coco
Culture color clash, but cute: my boys. Max (12) and Coco (10 weeks).


chaton (sha-ton) noun, masculine
   : kitten

In books: French for Cats: All the French Your Cat Will Ever Need


     Les caresses n'ont jamais transformé un tigre en chaton.
     No man can tame a tiger into a kitten by stroking it.

                          --Franklin Delano Roosevelt
.

Column
by Kristin Espinasse

My son, Max, and I--two self-appointed mother hens--are on night watch. It is our duty to help a five hundred gram furball feel welcome and at home. Though our new pet--un minet!*--seemed to warm to our unfamiliar farm....when night fell so did his furry little heart.

Perhaps cats' hearts aren't furry, but they can be fearful. So when the crying and miaulement* became hard to bear, Max and I redoubled our efforts (adding song to our midnight bag-of-tricks). But when two dozen refrains of "Meunier Tu Dors"* didn't work we were desperate.
"She wants her mommy," I said to a sleepy Max.
"'He' does. 'HE' wants his mommy," Max corrected.

That's right: she is a he. I keep forgetting. It must be that ultra feminine coat he has on. His fur is as long as the Côte d'Azur and, the color, cool as the Paris skyline in wintertime: mostly gray with hues of blue (that bit of Provence, you know, thrown in too).

"Blue or gray, she's one big furball!" I say, as she, er, HE, curls up at our feet. "...un grand boule de poil!'" I repeat.
"Non, UNE boule de poil," Max corrects.
"Ah, so "furball" is feminine?"

OK, I can remember that: furball is feminine. Now to get the minet to forget (forget his mama... so we self-appointed hens can get some shut-eye.)


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~French Vocabulary~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
un minet (une minette) = kitty cat; le miaulement (m) = meowing; Meunier, tu dors = Miller, You're Sleeping

     More books: The Cat Who Walked Across France &
    The Cat Who Went to Paris
.
  Shopping:
  Romantic Paris 2008 Wall Calendar
  Madeline In Paris: 2008 Wall Calendar
  Tune Up Your French: Top 10 Ways to Improve Your Spoken French
  Chansons Pour Noel: Songs for Christmas (in French):

Thank you for the time you've spent reading this post. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that a one-time contribution helps me continue doing what I love most: improving this journal. 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


coin du feu

Coin_du_feu
When a coin du feu feels good!

le coin du feu (kwan dew fuuh) noun, masculine
    : fireside

Mais il existe un havre où l'on peut toujours savourer une relation authentique: le coin du feu chez un ami auprès duquel on peut se défaire de ses petites vanités et trouver chaleur et compréhension.

But there is another realm where we can always find something true, the fireside of a friend, where we shed our little conceits and find warmth and understanding.

              --Kressmann Taylor, author of Address Unknown
.

Column
by Kristin Espinasse

The words "Chestnuts roasting on an open fire" meant little to the pint-size Phoenician who once sang them. More than thirty years later, and Jack Frost still isn't hanging outside my window. (Though it is snowing in parts of Provence...)

One thing roasting "fireside" in my childhood home was cheddar cheese, this, over a flour tortilla (and this, beneath the oven's grill). As for snug fireside seating, my mom got creative: she pulled a few chairs across the cramped linoleum floor, flush with the oven's open door (on which we set our
feet -- all four!).

(Wait a minute... isn't this account of "My Mother Stuck Our Feet into the Trailer Oven!" the stuff of a gritty memoir? Move over Frank McCourt. Step aside Mary Karr! On second thought and before I get caught--like that guy who wrote about alcohol, drugs, rehabilitation and whatnot--I'll have you know the oven's "fire" was low, and that's as far as my gripping tell-all goes!)

Back to my story, which takes place early morning in the desert, near Christmas time....

...Feet resting on the oven door, box of black licorice between us (or orangettes,* depending), my mom fueled her fire for fiction, and I, warm and toasty beside her, watched literature light up her face...

                                        *     *     *

Should mom make it back to France (quelle chance!* quelle chance!), she'll now have a fireplace on which her feet might dance. And I might roast chestnuts beside her, listening, as she spoke, of rearing us girls while damn near broke.

                                     /---/

A chestnut recipe for you -- with instructions in French & English! Click here:
http://french-word-a-day.typepad.com/recipe/2007/11/cream-of-chestn.html

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~French Vocabulary~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
orangette (chocolate) candied orange peels; quelle chance! = what  luck!

    Book references: "Angela's Ashes: A Memoir" by Frank McCourt
    "The Liars' Club: A Memoir" by Mary Karr
    James Frey's "A Million Little Pieces"
.
:: Audio File ::
Listen to Jean-Marc pronounce today's French word & quote:
Coin du feu. Mais il existe un havre où l'on peut toujours savourer une relation authentique: le coin du feu chez un ami auprès duquel on peut se défaire de ses petites vanités et trouver chaleur et compréhension.
Download coin_du_feu.mp3
Download coin_du_feu.wav
.
Gifts and shopping:

The Complete Pepin: Techniques and Recipes (DVD)
In music: Paris' Most Beautiful Songs
Made in Provence: Savon et Cie Bath Salts: in calm/soothing lavender
French Alphabet Blocks -- complete with letters, numbers and animal pictures
.

Thank you for the time you've spent reading this post. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that a one-time contribution helps me continue doing what I love most: improving this journal. 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


songe

Songe
Our totally off-topic photo-du-jour: "Italian Wine Cooler". Picture taken in Alba, if I remember correctly. Note: no need to edit the photo captions. Photos will  not appear with the chapters.

Songe
 
(sohnzh)

noun, masculine 

   dream
          


A Restless Writer Dreams
When William Faulkner, famous American novelist, poet and Nobel Laureate, came to stay with us here at the farm, I offered him a fold-out cot.

I could have offered him our bed,
but, you know,
he got the other instead.

As for my lack of fuss
(no guest towel, no pillow, no spare toothbrush),
who knew I was hosting a literature buff?

That's when it finally dawned on me
that there, in a cap and a long white nightie,
was a 20th Century celebrity!

Oh Glory be, there were we...
Faulkner, yours truly
and several bottles of eau-de-vie.

"Your imagination is good," said he....
 
"But we haven't got all night,
so pull up a chair
and I'll teach you to write!"

That's when so many tablets,
not of stone...
but of wood chips,


appeared out of nowhere
to receive the writer's
savoir-faire.

Then, like Moses channeling words from above,
Faulkner wrote down truths on how to write without fear—
and always with love!

And though his words were addressed to a restless writer, 
they are dear to everyman—
so get out your highlighter!

Here is the wisdom that the prize-winning author wrote down,
on wood chips, no less,
for there wasn't any holy stone lying around!

He said:

"(one)...must teach himself that the basest of all things is to be afraid; and, teaching himself that, forget it forever, leaving no room in his workshop [âme*] for anything but the old verities and truths of the heart..." He went on to say that it is a human "...privilege to help man endure by lifting his heart, by reminding him of the courage and honor and hope and pride and compassion and pity and sacrifice which have been the glory of his past."


Fast, fast, fast...
I copied down the writer's words
but the clarity of my dream wouldn't last.

By the time I awoke,
my memory bank
was flat broke.

I was still the restless writer that I had always been,
without any special favors
from the man with the golden pen.

                               *     *     *

Post note: While the dream, above, was vividly real, the two excerpts, in the penultimate paragraph above, were taken from William Faulkner's acceptance speech for the 1949 Nobel Prize in Literature.


French Vocabulary

le lit = bed

l'eau-de-vie
(f) = brandy

le savoir-faire = know-how, expertise

l'âme (f) = soul

 

====Note: any text from here, on, will not be included in the book.=====

Your edits here, please!

Update! The format of the above story was radically changed (see the previous version at the end of this post!), following Nancy's helpful suggestion (see comments box). That said, I am not sure about including this story in the book compilation. Please don't be shy, send me your thoughts.

And thank you for continuing to search this story for any typos or blips or inconsistencies in formatting. I appreciate your efforts! Click here to submit corrections.

 

===And text beyond this point will not appear in the book===

If you love writing and France you may enjoy these books: A Writers Paris: A Guided Journey For The Creative Soul & Literary Paris: A Guide


:: Audio File ::
Listen to Jean-Marc pronounce these French words:
Songe. L'espérance est le songe d'un homme éveillé.
Download songe.mp3
Download songe.wav

Shopping:
Top 10 Ways to Improve Your Spoken French
Learn French in a Hurry: Grasp the Basics of Français Tout De Suite
In French Music: Edith Piaf: 30th Anniversaire
Learn French chez vous with language software:

Related Terms & Expressions:
  en songe = in a dream
  faire un songe = to have a dream
  un songe-creux = a visionary
  songer = to dream
  la songerie = reverie
  songeur, songeuse = pensive (adj.); dreamer (noun)

 Here is the previous version of the story

A Restless Writer Dreams
When William Faulkner, famous American novelist, poet and Nobel Laureate, came to stay with us here at the grape farm, I offered him a fold-out cot. I could have offered him our bed, but, you know, he got the other instead.

As for my lack of fuss (not a guest towel, pillow or spare toothbrush), who knew I was housing a literature buff? That's when it finally dawned on me that there, in a cap and long white nightie, was a 20th century celebrity!

Oh Glory be, there were we...
Faulkner, yours truly ...and several bottles of eau-de-vie.
(Thank God neither of us was tipsy!)

"Your imagination is good," said he. But we haven't got all night, so, if you like, pull up a chair and I'll teach you to write!

That's when so many tablets, not of stone but of wood chips, 
appeared out of nowhere to receive the writer's savoir-faire.
Then, like Moses channeling words from above,
Faulkner wrote down truths on how to write without fear—
and always with love!

And while his words were addressed to a restless writer, they are dear to everyman—so get out your highlighter! 

Here is the wisdom that the prize-winning author wrote down, on wood chips, no less, for there wasn't any holy stone lying around. He said:

"(one)...must teach himself that the basest of all things is to be afraid; and, teaching himself that, forget it forever, leaving no room in his workshop [âme*] for anything but the old verities and truths of the heart..." He went on to say that it is a human "...privilege to help man endure by lifting his heart, by reminding him of the courage and honor and hope and pride and compassion and pity and sacrifice which have been the glory of his past."


Fast, fast, fast... I copied down the writer's words but the clarity of my dream wouldn't last. By the time I awoke, my memory bank was flat broke. I was still the restless writer that I had always been, without any special favors from the man with the golden pen.

In booksThe Bilingual Edge: Why, When, and How to Teach Your Child a Second Language 

Thank you for the time you've spent reading this post. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that a one-time contribution helps me continue doing what I love most: improving this journal. 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


attentionné

Bien_vivre_2
The handpainted sign reads: "To live well: love well and let others say what they will". ("Pour bien vivre, bien aimer et laisser dire.")
.

attentionné,e (ah-tohn-syon-ay) adjective
.
  : thoughtful, considerate
.

In books: A *bilingual* classic that fits kids' language-learning needs
.

 

Column 
When my father returned home to Idaho, from France, he had a few foreign banknotes left over from his trip. Thoughtfully, he tucked the paper euros into a book and sent the money to me.

When the slim volume arrived, I admired its gold cover... until I remembered the gift inside (and dived in)! The cash lasted only seconds in my hand before my son walked into the room, his sleeves inching up and over his growing wrists....

And so I put the pognon into my pocket, the kids into the car, and the cash into two new winter coats. The children warm and snug, I returned home from the store to feel the chill of Hiver's approach. Shivering, I reopened my father's book and the warmth of his words enveloped me.

                                *     *     *

(My father's inscription read: "I'm very proud of you. Love, Dad.")


See a photo of my dad, here, at the end of this post, and discover the book Dad sent: "The Snow Goose" (set partly in France...). After reading that book, I ordered this French-themed story by the same author.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
References: le pognon = cash, dough; l'hiver = winter
.
:: Audio File ::
(Uh oh. My French speaker is out in the grape fields, drilling holes for future vines... Perhaps, with a bit of payola, I can get my pint-size Francophones to "parler" on Wednesday...)


Gifts for a Francophile:
Race to the finish with this sleek new version of Mille Bornes, the classic auto race card game.
Fallot Dijon Herbed Mustards - Set of 4 French Mustards

 

Thank you for the time you've spent reading this post. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that a one-time contribution helps me continue doing what I love most: improving this journal. 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


fondre

Fondre
Medieval (and very-nearly-melts-the-heart): Les Arcs-sur-Argens, Var.

fondre (fon-dr) verb
  to melt, smelt, merge
  to slim down

     Le même soleil fait fondre la cire et sécher l'argile.
     The same sun melts wax and hardens clay.

                                            --Clement of Alexandria

In books: The Discovery of France: a narrative of exploration--full of strange landscapes and even stranger inhabitants--that explains the enduring fascination of France.
.

Column
A trail of sawdust leading out of our house, followed by potato chips (leading out of a handyman's hamper) means our parqueteur* is on lunch break. I peek through the kitchen window and watch the would-be lumberjack sitting on the steps en face.* Finally at rest, he soaks in the sun and shares a hearty casse-croûte* with two canine colleagues (a male and female dachshund that doze while their master is paid to pose).*

"It looks like he's finished," I say to the girls who gawk alongside me. "Do you want to take Monsieur Yves his coffee?" My daughter and her friend, Manu, light up. "Oui, oui!" they agree.

On a wooden tray, I set a demitasse cup over a matching saucer. Beside the tiny tasse* I tuck one, two, oh-why-not three, colorfully wrapped caramels. I add a jam jar of sugar and a spoon before handing the tray to the girls who attempt to balance the plateau* between them. Remembering the obstacle course that is our front porch (with ladders and cords to trip over), I caution the candy/coffee caterers to find another method of transport. The girls quickly divide up the tray (Jackie taking the coffee and two caramels, Manu the sugar, a caramel, and spoon). I hand Manu one more bonbon, for balance, and off the girls trot.)

Minutes later, the girls return. I notice the coffee cup is already empty... the wrappers too.
"Well, did Monsieur Yves like the bonbons?" I say.
"He said that he's on a régime!"*
A diet? I think about the trail of greasy potato chips and wonder if he's counting carbohydrates... and candy?

"Well, then," I questioned. "Where did the caramels go?"
"Down with his diet?" the girls supposed.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
References: le parqueteur (m) = parquet layer, flooring contractor; en face = across from; le casse-croûte (m) = snack, lunch; pose (poser) = to put down (floors, tiles); la tasse (f) = cup; le plateau (m) = tray; le régime (m) = diet

Shop for sweets-n-French treats:
                ~ Melt-in-your-mouth French caramels from Normandy ~
                    ~12 French Alsace & Guignol Costumed Lollipops ~
.
:: Audio File ::
Listen to Jean-Marc pronounce today's French word & quote:
Fondre. Le même soleil fait fondre la cire et sécher l'argile.
Download fondre.mp3
Download fondre.wav

Terms & Expressions:
  fondre en larmes = to dissolve / burst into tears
  faire fondre = to melt (chocolate, cheese...)
  fondre dans la bouche = to melt in the mouth
  la neige fondue = slush

Shopping:
Joyeux Noel: Learning Songs and Traditions in French (K - Grade 4)
French in Action : A Beginning Course in Language and Culture
French Country Diary: 2008 Calendar

Thank you for the time you've spent reading this post. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that a one-time contribution helps me continue doing what I love most: improving this journal. 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