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Entries from March 2008

pépier

Marseilles
The deep blue port of Marseilles, where we spent the weekend touting Rouge-Bleu wine.

pépier (pay-pyay) verb
  to chirp, to tweet, twitter

...now we know where the words "shhh! not one peep out of you!" come from.

Also: un pépiement = a chirping, twittering

:: Audio File ::
Please welcome my guest speaker, Beatrice, who will pronounce the French words "pépier" and "un pépiement" via a charming southern French accent: Download ppier.mp3 . Download ppier.wav

.
Book Signing / Wine Tasting :
Meet me in Paris and New York this month! Click here for details :
http://a-la-recherche-du-vin.typepad.com/rouge_bleu/2008/03/april-visits.html
.

A_day_in_a_french_life
This week I am experimenting with Twitter,* a "social messaging utility" (or micro blogging service) where the user, or "tweeterer," *continually* answers one simple question : "What are you doing?"

If you read my recent essay on "forgetfulness," then "tweeting" may seem an obvious solution to this one's attention-deficit disorder. However, the updates (or "tweets," in Twitter lingo) that I'll post are not only for me... but also for those armchair travelers ("twavelers"?) who wish to stay connected to this French life... in real time.

To receive the updates, or "twupdates," here from the wine farm, just go to the right-hand column, half-way down this page, where you'll find my (thrice-weeklydaily) "Twitter Updates".

Not sure if such "tweeting" will add quality (or chaos!) to the French Word-A-Day twog (that's "blog" in Twitterese)... I guess the only way to find out is to "twy".

I leave you now with a short list of famous "tweople" using twitter:
Barack Obama http://twitter.com/BarackObama
Hillary Clinton http://twitter.com/HillaryClinton
William Shatner http://twitter.com/WilliamShatner

Also tweeting are:

Downing Street (The official twitter channel for the Prime Minister's Office based at 10 Downing Street.) http://twitter.com/DowningStreet

CNN http://twitter.com/cnn
The New York http://twitter.com/nytimes

Former Twitterers include :
Dave Letterman http://twitter.com/DavidLetterman as does
Steve Jobs http://twitter.com/SteveJobs

Those yet-to-tweet include our own French President:
http://twitter.com/sarkozy

More French tweets:
  Martin Menu http://twitter.com/MMartin
  Loic Le Meur http://twitter.com/loiclemeur
  French Word-A-Day http://twitter.com/ecrivaine


                                       *     *     *
PS: As promised, here is the transcript of Friday's French dictation:
http://french-word-a-day.typepad.com/recipe


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~References~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Twitter = learn all about it, here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twitter


~~~~~~~~~Shopping~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Diorshow Mascara: super volumizing, lengthening, and curling mascara
Mistral soap : a best-seller! Hand-crafted in the heart of Provence, and made according to a three-hundred year old tradition
"Ville de Paris" & "Service des Egouts" written on these replica Paris Cufflinks
Fleur de Sel. Gathered from the salt beds of Camargue, this subtly flavored salt will add burst of flavor to your food.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Special thanks to Claire Fontaine and Susie Hollands for helping to spread the word regarding our Paris and New York visits!

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


abrégé

Roussetlesvignes
A corner cafe in the French village of Rousset-les-Vignes

abrégé (ah-breh-zhay) noun, masculine
  an abstract, summary

"en abrégé" = in brief, in a nutshell ; in miniature; abbreviated (word)

Listen to my brother-in-law, Jacques, pronounce the French words "abrégé" + "en abrégé": Download abrege.mp3 . Download abrege.wav.
.

A_day_in_a_french_life
Je suis navrée!* Terribly sorry for filling your inbox, Wednesday, with two copies of my "canard."* To make it up to you, this one'll be quick-n-court.* Here for you now, is my mother-in-law's recipe, one I've been meaning to share. And, pour abréger,* I'll let YOU write the rest of this post... by dictation! So
grab a pen and listen, now, to Michèle-France read her vote-winning recipe:

"Croquettes 'Fin de Mois'" : click one of two formats to hear the recording:
MP3 file: Download croquettes-fin-mois.mp3
Wave file: Download croquettes-fin-mois.wav

PS: See the written recipe in the next edition or, rather, in the next "duck"!*


~~~~~~~~~~References~~~~~~~~~~~~
je suis navrée = I'm terribly sorry; le canard (m) = journal, gazette; court =
short; pour abréger = to cut it short, to be brief; Croquettes "Fin de mois" =
End of Month Croquettes); duck = French nickname for newspaper, journal...

In French Film: The Mad Adventures of Rabbi Jacob - A classic comedy
.

~~~~~~~~Shopping: A Few of the Things on My Desk~~~~~~~~
Larousse Concise Dictionary: French-English/English-French
Moleskine Reporter (I love the "flip-top" and quadrille lines!)
Caudalie spritzer - refreshing! and with a great minty / rosemary fragrance!
My favorite "stylo"!: Varsity Disposable Fountain Pen
.

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


chahuter

Cheval
The ponies of Provence stand before Mont Ventoux and a lone French mas.

Book signing / wine-tasting in Paris & New York City:
http://a-la-recherche-du-vin.typepad.com/rouge_bleu/2008/03/april-visits.html

chahuter (sha-hew-tay) verb
  1. to make a racket, to create an uproar
  2. to heckle, to tease

"Chahuter" comes from the word "chat-huant" and once meant "to cry like a screech owl." "Un chahuteur" ("une chahuteuse") is a rowdy or disorderly student and "un professeur chahuté" is a teacher who cannot control his class.

===============
     Audio File:
===============
Listen to my daughter pronounce these French words: Chahuter.  Chahuteur  Chahuteuse.
Download chahuter.mp3. Download chahuter.wav
.

A_day_in_a_french_life
One of the best parts of parenthood is watching your children try on hats. My favorites are the hats of courage, generosity, and empathy. And then there are those that leave my heart heavy. Such hats are bulleted, having been pierced by the horns of hell. My daughter wore one of those yesterday.

                    (In the School Parking Lot... )

"Everything okay?" I ask my ten-year-old, who sinks into the passenger seat with a sigh. Her answer is a swift: "No!"
"Did somebody hit you?" I ask, noticing her hand holding her ribs.
"Yes!"
"Who hit you?!"
"No one," she now insists, changing her mind. "Just take me home!"
"Tell me who hit you!"
"It doesn't matter! I want to go home!"

My daughter's defensiveness was suspect, so I followed my hunch.
"Did you say something that might have upset someone?"
"No!"
"Jackie, tell me..."
"Mom! ALL I said was 'Geraldine, c'est ma cousine'!"

My daughter doesn't have a cousin named Geraldine, so I guessed the saying was some sort of code... one that didn't sit well with the Hitter.
"Was it "Geraldine" who punched you?" I asked, fishing for clues.
"Maman!" Jackie said, impatiently. "Just take me home!"
"I will, after you tell me what happened."

When next my ten-year-old whipped up a barrage of false hysterics only to hide herself and her secret behind it, I pulled my car keys out of the ignition. I am familiar with the "Tasmanian Devil" tactic wherein the guilty party creates all-consuming chaos as a way of slipping out of the spotlight of sin. And while she would have me lose my footing, deep-down, my daughter wants my legs anchored to the ground so that she herself won't veer off course.

I stared out the window, wishing for peace to return to the car. Meanwhile, Jackie kicked the side-board, hissing something about her heartless mom. I even quieted my breath, lest the seconds of peace that were slowly returning be disrupted.

I was a mean kid once. I made Spittle Shake for "Donna", who wore thick spectacles and had knots in her hair. Some thirty years later, more than sorry, je suis navrée.* What had led up to that evil, edible "experiment"? Or am I mean at heart and, more importantly, did I pass this trait on to my daughter?

I wondered about name-calling when Jackie told me that the culprit wore glasses. Was my daughter the perpetrator, after all? Had she, in saying the purported insult "Geraldine, c'est ma cousine," taunted a classmate with what might be the French equivalent of "Four-Eyes"?
"No, Mommy!" Jackie protested she hadn't said it... at least not to her face....

A back door of the car opened with a cheery "Hello!" Max was out of school and would, minutes later, piece together his sister's story....
"Oh, her," he said, of the Hitter. "I'm not surprised she hit Jackie. That girl is mean to everyone!" he confirmed.

"Maybe she is mean because she is sick of being teased?" I said, in an attempt to restore order and justice. Still, my daughter was hurting physically, and, beneath the facade, morally. But what was, after all, the moral to this story? What was I to say to my daughter, who had tried on the "bully hat" only to be bullied back? Should I say "two wrongs don't make a right?" or... "Turn the other cheek. A kind word turns away wrath? Love your enemies? Do unto others"...? Perhaps a Spittle Shake maker shouldn't preach. Instead, I said what my heart felt:

"Are you sorry?"
My daughter looked down to the floorboard of the car and only then did her bully hat fall off. Hats off to her, I say, for her newfound humility... and to Donna, for forgiving me.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~References~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
je suis navrée = I am (profoundly) sorry

French idiomatic commands in the book Colloquial French Grammar


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Shopping~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Caudalie Beauty Elixir : Part-toner, part-serum mist of essential oils and plant active ingredients. Smoothes the skin, tightens the pores, and provides an instant burst of radiance, as it stimulates microcirculation. (I keep a bottle of this in my purse and on my desk!)
Vive les verbes français! Sure, you can parler français. You can even converser en français. But can you also jacasser (chatter), radoter (ramble on), cancaner (gossip), and faire du boucan (make a racket)?

Lego Make & Create Eiffel Tower kit lets builders re-create an impressive replica of this famous Parisian structure -- based on original blue prints!

Goldilocks in French (with accompanying CD) presents an engaging reading of Goldilocks and the Three Bears in both English and French that will entertain kids while they hear correct French pronunciation. You can read along with the narration or learn along with your kids!

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


Pâques

Mustard_flowers
White mustard flowers near the town of Travaillan

Below, you will discover a popular French adage (and nifty weather predictor!). It says that if you have sunshine and mild times at Christmas, watch out! You're in for cold weather at Easter! I can vouch for that. This morning the grape fields were blanketed by snow! And only yesterday "snowy" flowers covered the countryside.

Pâques (pak) noun, masculine

  : Easter

            Noël au balcon, Pâques au tison*
       
Christmas on the balcony, Easter by the fireside.

*un tison (m) = a half-burned log

Listen to my mother-in-law, Michèle-France, pronounce today's word & proverb:
Download paques.mp3 . Download paques.wav

.
A_day_in_a_french_life
"If this is Pâques," I asked Jean-Marc's aunt, then what do the French do on Easter Monday? After a thoughtful pause, Marie-Françoise answered. "On récupère de la fête!"

Well, I could relate to that! There we were, all eighteen of us, halfway through a 10-hour Espinasse family festin. If a mere eight of those hours were spent eating, that's because we were sensible enough to take a two-hour break from the interminable table.

Our "pause digestive" sent us outdoors, chasing wild "col vert" mallards from the marais beyond the backyard vine fields. Only, the duck detour was short-lived when an ice-cold wind numbed our ears--as well as our envies. Fireside, my French family settled into a *seated* siesta. Impressed, I noticed the not-so-novice nappers who could nod off without even falling from the chair!

Marie-Françoise and I went upstairs to chat in a second-story study.

"People sometimes ask about the French equivalent for "Happy Easter," I explained. If the answer is "Joyeuses Pâques" then, tell me: What is the exact translation of the word Pâques?" After another thoughtful pause, my aunt came up with a suggestion.

"Cherchons dans le dictionnaire!"

Flipping through the pages of Le Petit Larousse, we found a definition. There, below "papyrus"--and just above paquebot--the French words in between yielded the answer:

PAQUE n.f. (from the Greek "paskha," and from the Hebrew "pessah" [passage])

1. Fête annuelle juive qui commémore la sortie d'Egypt du peuple hébreu.... (Annual Jewish festival that commemorates the exodus from Egypt of the Hebrew peoples...) 2. Agneau pascal. (Passover lamb.)

Further down the page, just after the word pâquerette, and one column across from paraclet, the word Pâque gains an "s" and loses its femininity:

PÂQUES n.m. (from pâque)

1. Fête annuelle de l'Église chrétienne, qui commémore la résurrection de Jésus-Christ.... (Annual festival of the Christian church that commemorates the resurrection of Jesus Christ.)

I admit to having felt the need to sleep on all that information and, by this morning, I was ready to piece together some of what I'd learned. At the breakfast table, I turned to my husband to share some facts.

"I learned a little about the word Pâques yesterday," I informed him.
"Alors," Jean-Marc replied. "Just what does the word EASTER mean?"

"Easter? Easter! But Aunt Marie-Françoise and I didn't look THAT one up!"

"Well, if I had to guess," Jean-Marc said, "I think it has to do with the word "east," the direction in which people walked during the Exodus."

Though I didn't tell my husband, the truth is I was as impressed with him and his Easter answer as I was with those not-so-novice nappers, who never did fall out of their chairs.

.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~References~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Easter Monday = le lundi (m) de Pâques; On récupère de la fête! = We recuperate  from the festivities!; le festin (m) = feast, banquet; la pause (f) digestive = digestive pause; le col (m) vert = green-collared; le marais (m) = marsh(land); une envie (f) = desire; Cherchons dans le dictionnaire! = Let's look in the dictionary!; le Petit Larousse (m) = French/French dictionary (recommended); le paquebot (m) = liner, steam(ship); la pâquerette (f) daisy; le paraclet (Le Paraclet) (m) = an advocate, The Holy Spirit (le Saint-Esprit), the Comforter; alors = well, then

French chocolate Easter egg (c) Kristin Espinasse

A French chocolate Easter egg for sale at the baker's. 

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


oublieux

Mimosa
The bright flowerettes of a mimosa steal the spotlight from a beat-up blue fence in the town of Camaret.

April in New York City. Jean-Marc and I will be in NYC on April 15th & 16th. We'd love to meet you. Click here for more information on our wine-tasting event.

oublieux, oublieuse (ooh-blee-uuh, ooh-blee-uuhz) adjective
  deliberately forgetful

The word "oublieux" comes from the verb "oublier" (to forget). "Oublieux de" means "quick to forget" (a kind deed, for example) as well as "neglectful of" (something).

:: Audio File ::
Listen to Jean-Marc pronounce the French words oublieux and oublieuse:
MP3 file: Download oublieux.mp3 Wave file: Download oublieux.wav

Example sentence:
Les charognes de la pub s'apprêtaient à entrer sur la scène de l'Histoire, les crevures du patronat devenaient oublieuses des petites suées de la Liberation ou de Mai 68'. The publicity vultures were getting ready to come on to the stage of History, the damned employers were becoming forgetful of those moments of angst of the Liberation or May 68'.

                  *from the book: Short Stories in French: New Penguin Parallel Text
..

A_day_in_a_french_life
The plan for today, remember, was to republish that list of "(under) 50 Ways to Say Goodbye in French." Only, on whiling away the early morning at the breakfast table, eating leftovers from the kids' plates and polishing off the last scrap of toast while ignoring the barking beggar* at my knee, it occurred to me that I might've neglected to think about something....

Moments later, after scouring my computer archives to retrieve last year's "French Goodbyes" post, I realized that I had already republished the list... just a few weeks ago. Mince!* How could I have forgotten? Now what to do?

Well, why not begin by fretting about amnesia? And wouldn't this be a good time to have a midlife crisis? Why not get that "crise de la quarantaine"* over with already? At least I'd be ahead on *something,* and not behind, like behind this foggy wall of forgetfulness.

     (And now, A Conversation Between You and Me...)

"Amnesia?" you say. "We could have told you that! The ipso facto vérité* is: you've forgotten several things this past month! What about that Recipe Poll* you had us all involved in, promising to "bake, burn, or blog" about the results? And those pictures you were going to post from your lah-di-dah "US Tour"?

Um, er, uh....

(By the way, did you know the French seem to have only one word for "um," "er," and "uh"? You'd think they'd have at least three!....)

"You're getting off-topic!" you protest.
No, I'm just getting distracted again!
"Well, try to pay attention!" you suggest. "...But, out of curiosity and, now that you've mentioned it, just what *is* the one word for um, uh, er?"
Oh, glad you asked! It's "Euh!"
"How enlightening!" you say, unconvincingly. "Now on with the program!"

Okay, so back to our topic, euh, "amnesia".
"No!" you say. " Originally, the topic was "How To Say 'Au Revoir' in French"!
Oh, right.... "Bye," then!
"No! You are supposed to POST the list, the one that you FORGOT you had already posted a few weeks back!"

Oh, dear. Amnestic confusion would explain things... or the repetitiveness associated with, you know, repeating things. I mean, the repetitiveness associated with memory loss. As in "Did I already tell you that?" Case in point: forgetfulness beautifully explains the origin of the popular expression "bye-bye"! Proving, wouldn't you agree, that I am not the only one who repeats herself!

Before I forget, here's that list. I've freshened it up a tad or a "toot" with the French equivalent of "toodeloo!"... Don't miss it, here.
.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~References~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
barking beggar = our dog, Braise; mince! = yikes! la crise (f) de la quarantaine = midlife crisis; la vérité (f) = truth; The Recipe Poll = (see left-hand column, here)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Books~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
:: The Living Unknown Soldier: A Story of Grief and the Great War ::

In February 1918, a derelict soldier was discovered wandering the railway station in Lyon, France. With no memory of his name or past, no identifying possessions or marks, the soldier given the name Anthelme Mangin was sent to an asylum for the insane. When the authorities advertised his image in an attempt to locate his family, hundreds of relatives sought to claim him as the father, son, husband, or brother who never returned from the front. Read The Living Unknown Soldier.


~~~~~~~~~~~~Shopping~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
French Demystified : A self-teaching guide "simple enough for a beginner but challenging enough for a more advanced student"
Pronounce It Perfectly in French: with exercises in sound discrimination and accurate sound creation.
The organic French herbs kit contains a specialized mix of herbs, perfect for French cooking
In music: C'est L'amour: Romantic French Classics

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


Simple comme bonjour? Coucou & Best ways to begin a letter or email in French

Pyracantha
Pyracantha over a Provençale stone wall in Les Arcs-Sur-Argens... and Max and Jackie on their way home from school. Coucou, les enfants!

coucou (koo-koo) noun, masculine

    1. Hey there!
    2. peek-a-boo!

Audio File: 
Listen to Jean-Marc pronounce today's word and this phrase:
Download coucou.mp3 . Download coucou.wav

Coucou, c'est nous! Nous espérons vous voir à Paris le dix avril et à New York le quinze et seize avril ...à bientôt!
Hi, it's us! We hope to see you in Paris the tenth of April and in New York, on April fifteenth and sixteenth. See you soon! .


A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE

Simple comme bonjour?

    by Kristi Espinasse

If only greetings were, as the French say, simple comme bonjour. It takes me many a hem-n-haw moment, staring at the computer screen, to decide just how to greet someone in an email. Isn't "Bonjour" a bit predictable? Why not spice things up with "Salut!"? Or, better yet, "Coucou!"? On second thought, "Hey there!" might be too informal when emailing someone for the first time....

"Cher." Now there's a start! "Cher" (or "Chère) is a perfectly respectable way of greeting a fellow internaut. Though the "cher" salutational might be somewhat stuffy or overly sentimental--it's safe!

The bad news is, there just isn't much to choose from on the Gallic Greetings Menu. With so many ways to say "goodbye," you'd think there'd be more ways to say "Hi!" Would we be stretching things to include "Allô!" to our list? (Allô is more of a question than a salutation. Besides, its usage is reserved for telephoning.)
.
THE CHEAT-GREET
So sometimes I cheat-greet. That is, I refer to the sender's mél... to see how they began their letter. I'm always surprised to see that it began with "Bonjour." So simple... Why didn't I think of it? Well, as my husband sometimes says to me, "Why be simple when you can be complicated?"

Because Complicated is my middle name, which brings us to word order: first, middle, and last. Just where does one squeeze in one's French greeting? After all, those French are known to re-arrange word order, foiling us language learners every time! So why should a "simple bonjour" be any different?

The answer is, of course, that the cart goes before the horse, so that we, for example, "Salut Simone" and not the other way around (one doesn't write "Simone Salut", does one?). One could argue that in the second case we are, effectively, doing the "Simone Salut," or saying a ceremonious "hello" to our dear friend, Simone... so why the big deal about word order? 

REBONJOUR
When one is behind the horse AND the cart, that is, when the greeter has already passed by with his greeting, only to return again (like when you are writing for the second time in one day to the same address), that leaves us with the wonderfully original "Rebonjour." Hot diggety dog! One more precious entrée on our French Greeting Menu. Few and far between are the occasions for me to feel superior, so the least I can do is feel slightly smug when pointing out (if only to Self) that the email sender, who already wrote me this morning, is writing  again--but with an ultra-gaffeuse "hi"! In France, one doesn't repeat-greet (or say "Bonjour" two times in one day). One "Rebonjours". (Rebonjour, Simone!)

Finally, some people leave out that salutatory "something" altogether. Take my husband, for example. When emailing me, he never writes "bonjour," "salut," or even "hiya". And forget "Chère"! He doesn't use my first name either, as others unkeen on two- and three-word greetings might. He simply calls me....

(Attendez un moment, you don't really expect me to share Jean-Marc's term of endearment for me, do you? After all, there are limits to even online journals.) 

Bon, time to sign off... Now do we end with au revoir? or à bientôt? or how about amicalement?  There are just so many ways to say goodbye in French!


FRENCH VOCABULARY

simple comme bonjour = easy as "hello"
cher (chère) = dear
Allô = Hello?
le mél (m) = abbreviation for "messagerie électronique" (e-mail) a.k.a. "le courriel"
Why be simple when you can be complicated = Pourquoi faire simple quand tu peux faire compliqué?
gaffeuse (gaffeur) = blunderous
attendez un moment = wait just a moment

A horse and a cart

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


écran

Beaded_door_screen
A beaded door screen of sorts ... or of sorted beads!

écran (ay-krahn) noun, masculine
  screen, shield

La nécessité est l'écran mis entre Dieu et nous pour que nous puissions être. C'est à nous de percer l'écran pour cesser d'être. Necessity is the screen set between God and us so that we can be. It is for us to pierce through the screen so that we cease to be.
--Simone Weil, French philosopher, author of Gravity and Grace
 

:: Audio File ::  Listen to today's word and hear the French quote:
Download cran.mp3
Download cran.wav
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A_day_in_a_french_life
Week-ends are a mixed blessing for those who do not have to go to work. You wake up to the delicious reality that there is "no rush." But the reality is short-lived. There may be no haste, but what about waste? The pressure is still on to do something industrious before the week-end slips away.

Social engagements aside, there's always housework or grocery shopping to do. But who wants to set the tone for a relaxing week-end via the head-deadening drone of the vacuum? And why leave the house only to join hordes of shoppers? That leaves the internet. But what kind of wool-between-her-ears woman would while away her week-end on the World Wide Web?

"Good morning, Max," I say, as my son wanders over to my desk, where I am sipping and surfing, getting my morning caffeine and ezine fix before the "house" wakes up. I don't like my son to see me this way : "collée à l'ordi" or "glued to the computer" as my daughter would complain. Because it is the week-end, I cannot argue back about its being my job--this sticky business of working from home.

Over the phone last week, my grandmother continued her list of mea culpas, including the confession that she needed cigarettes and coffee (an hour before the household began to stir) in order to face four children and a hectic day. She must be referring to the pre-dawn, perfectly-independent-of-others "Mommy Hour". And while her screen was made of smoke and nicotine, mine is made up of HTML and requires electricity for "steam". My grandmother used her smoke screen to let her day filter in gently, lest it overwhelm and defeat her before the caffeinated courage kicked in. Je peux comprendre.*

"Mommy," Max says, before I've finished my first cup. "Do you want to go for a walk?"....

I've got mea culpas of my own: guilt over not parceling out my day in a more productive, pleasing-to-all way. Lying in my grandmother's arms last month, my head over her heart, I, too, confessed: to being forty and still so far from faultlessness. Life seemed a series of stumblings. Get up. Trip. Get up again.
Trip again. No wonder some of us need a morning net through which to filter life--if only the screen could catch us!

While my grandmother can no longer drink coffee or smoke, soothing to her now is that screen or filter known as Faith, through which life's trials pass gently... and often with the pull of a helping hand: I reach out for my son's. "I'd love to join you for a morning walk!" I say to Max, who responds with a smile even in his eyes.

I don't want lazy weekends--or life itself--to slip by. Forget industrious or independent, perhaps it is with others that time is best spent. Dependency or, rather, interdependency, has its place. More than caffeine, nicotine or even a computer screen, some of us can no longer function without another's help. Just as I had wheeled my grandmother from her bed to the bathroom, my own son "wheeled" me out of my Saturday morning rut... to where life is vibrant and very near full bloom.
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~References~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
*Je peux comprendre = I can relate
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~~~~~~~~~~Terms & Expressions~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
  un écran de fumée = smoke screen
  un écran de protection = shield / screen of protection
  l'écran solaire = sun screen & l'écran total = total sunblock
  le petit écran = television
  le grand écran = the big screen (cinema)
  faire écran à quelqu'un = to screen or shelter someone

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Shopping~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Lego Make & Create Eiffel Tower kit lets builders re-create an impressive replica of this famous Parisian structure -- based on original blue prints!

Paris Umbrella : the beautiful design will put a swing in your step whether you're singing in the rain or sheltering your skin from the sun!

In Video Games: Travelogue 360:
Paris holds something new for each of its visitors. It's up to you to discover these new places and share them with the world! As a writer on assignment for Travelogue 360 magazine, you'll explore the city and its renowned landmarks, for hidden gems waiting to be discovered. Locate items hidden in 3-Dimensional views of the Eiffel Tower, down the Champs Elysees, under the Arc d'Triomphe, and others of Paris' most beloved landmarks. Find your own Paris in this incredible voyage.
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In French Music: "Motifs" by Paris Combo.With a sound made up of equal parts bossa nova and classic chanson transported almost unchanged from the 1960s, plus American jazz, Argentinean Tango, bal musette and the Manouche swing made famous by Django Reinhardt, Paris Combo undeniably personifies that city's aesthetic. --Christina Roden
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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


pépin

Cairanne
Leaves of Grass ... beyond which the village of Cairanne slumbers.

From the Big Grape to the Big Apple: meet us in NYC as we ditch these vines... in time to let you taste our wines! Jean-Marc and I are organizing two events: a book signing* & a wine tasting. (The tasting will be on April 16th from 4-7pm. I'll post the location soon!)

* Book signing at Crawford Doyle Booksellers: April 15th, from 4:00 to 6:00. RSVP here.

pépin (pay-pahn) noun, masculin
  seed, pip, grape-stone

sans pépin = seedless
Un pépin, in argot, is a mishap or "pétit problème". Did you know that you can also use the word pépin in place of "parapluie"?  (Zut ! Il pleut et j'ai oublié mon pépin!) Mille mercis to Corine T. for the example sentence!
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Today's Quote:
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
                                          :: Audio File ::
Listen to the French word "pépin" and hear the French translation of the quote:
Download pepin.mp3 .
Download pepin.wav
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Seedless grapes! Like Caesar salad,* Cheez Whiz, and corn tortillas, these plump and juicy raisins* "sans pépin" were partly responsible for the separation anxiety that I felt upon moving from Phoenix to France.

The French have anxieties of their own, mind you. One of them is waste. This is not a culture known for separating the wheat from the chaff. Instead, the French find a way, and not a waste, for everything. (Think Radish Leaf Soup.) So why should it have been so surprising to find their pips intact?

Of course French grapes would have pips! What a waste of French toothpicks if the French took the pips out of their grapes. I guessed Real French Men Didn't Eat Pipless Grapes, and left it at that. Years passed, with a lot of pips wedged between my own teeth as I slowly adapted to French culture and its crunchy cuisine.

Then, just the other day, while pushing the grocery cart past several stands of brightly-wrapped chocolate eggs, I saw a sign! "Raisins Sans Pépins". How things change! Giddily, I filled the child-seat of my cart with the wonder grapes.

Cheese has changed over the years, too. When I was a kid, you could spray cheddar from an aerosol can just like you could spray your new Farrah Fawcett hairdo to a concrete halt. Just "point and shoot" to up your calcium intake in one Americana instant. Those were the days.

I marvel at modernity, where French grapes have lost their pips and American cheese its "zip". Fast cheddar is a faux pas. "Slow food" is in--and it had better be raw! I'm delighted to think that Real French Men may now be eating seedless grapes, but I'd make a concrete blond bet that they'd draw the line at spray-on cheese... or fromage* that flies!


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~References~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
salad = (it's the romaine lettuce part that's hard to find!); le raisin (m) sans pépin (m) = seedless grape; le fromage (m) = cheese

Book: Thomas Jefferson on Wine: (seedless grapes, and more, inside the book)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Shop~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Colorful "French words" metal bucket with wooden handle - practical and stylish. Great for the beach or for gardening!
Antique red stripe pot holder and matching dishtowel set with ABC sampler (hand embroidered) French import
Jesus of Montreal -- French language film about a theatre-loving priest who decides to commission a contemporary Passion Play. Nominated for the 1989 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.
Mini Oilive Oil and 2 Vinegars Gift Set: includes a delightful burlap and wooden sack containing a fig syrup, balsamic vinegar and virgin olive oil.
Handy, pocket-size: Moleskine City Notebook - Paris

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


mise

Misenbouteille_2
Babé and Jean-Marc preparing for the first bottles to arrive...

Cheryl_jamison_2 I wrote* about Cheryl and Bill Jamison's visit to our place a few years back... I hear they've written about it too! Join me in the rush to buy a copy of their latest book "Around the World in 80 Dinners: The Ultimate Culinary Adventure"

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Today's word:
mise (meez) noun, feminine
  the putting (of something in a place) ; placing

la mise en bouteilles = wine bottling
(more expressions at the end of this post...)

Si vous voulez faire de la mise en scène,* n'achetez pas d'auto. Prenez le métro, l'autobus, ou allez à pied. Observez de près les gens qui vous entourent. If you want to do a little change of scenery, then don't buy a car. Take the metro, the bus, or go by foot. Observe, close up, the people that surround you. --Fritz Lang
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*la mise en scene also describes the atmosphere of a film, play, or other performance.

Listen to my son, Max, pronouce the French word "mise" and read today's quote:
Download mise.mp3

Download mise.wav

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It took eight of us to cork, cap, and "carton" 7,200 bottles of Rouge-Bleu* wine yesterday. The rented bottling-contraption-on-wheels was delivered to our vineyard and hooked up to a cement tank in the wine cellar. We had only to step up to the platform and into the truck bed to begin work.

IMG_4084 I enjoy repetitive tasks and so was happy to win the post of packager. I shared this job with Babé* (baah-bay) a former school principal and "Rebel Retiree". If there's one thing Babé hates, it's slow-motion. To really annoy her, just slow the conveyor belt or stop feeding it altogether in time to "refuel". I loved watching Babé puff out her breath and râle* each time the bottles quit flying.

Babé and I caught those bottles as they careened forth from the engine's entrails, which hissed, grumbled, and spat like an ornery old cat. When the bottles weren't delivered fast enough, Babé crawled across the snaking conveyor belt to retrieve them. For this, she was scolded by Uncle Jean-Claude, who warned her that machines were without mercy, best not to get caught in them!

Unlike Babé, panic is my initial response to everything. Catching fast-moving, fragile merchandise is no exception. "They're going to crash!" I shrieked, when the first bottles sped toward us. Looking out of the truck, to where the bottles were headed, I imagined a pile of wet, broken glass.

"T'inquiète!"* Babé said. I watched her hands, all twelve of them, spin, swooping up bottles and packaging them, as she saved herself from idleness and sin.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~References~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Rouge-Bleu = http://www.rouge-bleu.com ; Babé = term of endearment for Elizabeth; râle (râler) = to grumble or complain; t'inquiète! = don't worry! (idiomatic command used in colloquial French)
More French idiomatic commands in the book Colloquial French Grammar


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Shopping~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Featured Francophile Must-Have: charm up any bathroom with this so-French soap holder

French Vintage style utensils pot
Paris Themed Decorative Gift Tags
Eiffel Tower Coir Doormat, for a France-friendly welcome
In French music: Quelqu'un M'a Dit by French First Lady Carla Bruni-Sarkozy

~~~~~~Terms, Expressions... French Idioms~~~~~~
être de mise = to be acceptable
bien mis(e) = nicely turned out
soigner sa mise = to take pride in one's appearance
remporter la mise = to carry the day
la mise à l'eau = launching of ship
la mise en jeu
= the bringing into play of something
la mise en pratique
= the practical application of something
la mise en liberté = the releasing, release
find more definitions in this dictionaries:
Robert and Collins Senior: Dictionnaire francais-anglais, anglais-francais (pricey, but there may be used copies available)

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


futé

Door_curtain
Curtained doors and French charm in the village of Serignan

                      :: Bonjour New York City! ::

If you happen to be in the Big Apple next month, then let's meet at Crawford Doyle Booksellers, a small store located around the corner from the Metropolitan Museum between 81st and 82nd Streets on Madison Ave. I'll be there, perusing the stacks, on April 15th, from 4:00 to 6:00. RSVP here.
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futé
(foo-tay) adjective
  sharp, smart, astute, crafty

une petite futée = a sharp little thing, a clever one
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Think out of the box? No, the French don't think out of the box. They think out of the cone! Make that the culinary cone: handmade of clay, shaped like a pyramid, only with rounded edges, and glazed in a fiery stove. You guessed it: Tagine!*: an epicurean essential when you cook Moroccan instead of Provençale.

On Saturday night, I got to thinking about tagines. Specifically, if we were set to eat Tagine Chicken, then how come our hostess just placed a bright-red Dutch oven in the center of the table? Back to thinking out of the box ... or cone....

Aurore, our hostess, explained: "Tagine, simply, is the name for Moroccan stew. But you don't need a tagine to cook a ragout. Any slow-simmering pot will do!"

Aurore's breezy reply matched her style: witty, warm, and improviste;* a style she's been perfecting ever since marrying Alain, the quick-to-criticize "cook". You might say Aurore and Alain are the French version of "The Honeymooners"*. He's Ralph, she's Alice. He's the wise-cracker, she's the clever counter-attacker.

While seated next to Isabelle, discussing language, I kept my ear partly tuned to our hosts' playful banter. "Carrots!" Alain remarked, of his wife's simple entrée. "Darling, carrots will render you agreeable!" she countered, citing a famous French dicton.* Aurore had a witty comeback for every one of Alain's teasing criticisms. And though many of the French-language subtleties eluded me, I could appreciate Aurore's character. But, how to describe it in a word?

Meantime, Isabelle and I, seated in the couple's crossfire, were discussing the French word "futé".* While Isabelle tried to explain its meaning, Alain launched another playful vexation. On hearing his wife's witty retort, I looked over to Isabelle. "Futé... I get it!" I said, impressed with our hostess's endless repartee, thoughtful words not to be confined to a box, let alone a culinary cone.

~~~~~~~~~~~~References~~~~~~~~~~~~
tagine = http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tajine ; improvist(e) = improvised; honeymooners = http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Honeymooners ; carrot dicton = Les carottes, ça rend aimable = Eating carrots makes you agreeable; futé = clever

              Get yourself a tagine! - read the rave reviews here.

A must read: "Cooking at the Kasbah: Recipes from My Moroccan Kitchen" by Kitty Morse


~~~~~~~~~Shopping~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Featured Francophile gift: Paris Metro Subway Apron
Tune Up Your French: Top 10 Ways to Improve Your Spoken French
A French salon favorite: Kerastase Volumactive Shampoo
Le Creuset Round French Oven

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