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Entries from June 2008

épargner

Catnap (c) Kristin Espinasse
"Threadbare" chair + free front porch: The economics of napping, in the southern French town of Sablet.

French word post-its: stick 'em around your house for easy language learning. Order here.

épargner (ay-par-nyay) verb
    : to save

épargner quelque chose à quelqu'un = to spare someone something

Listen to the French word épargner and hear the following quote in French: Download epargner.mp3 . Download epargner.wav

        "Un sou épargné est un sou gagné."
        A penny saved is a penny earned.

                                        --Benjamin Franklin


A_day_in_a_french_life

               << Provençal Penny Pinching >>

This post was to be titled "Domestic Dimanche,"* that is, until I tallied up my day spent basking in bucolic bliss... and realized how it all added up to good business! (Remember Benjamin Franklin's "Un sou épargné est un sou gagné"?*) Now to find an economy of words to share this sou*-saving story....

                >> Cheap Thalassotherapy <<
Sunday began with a bike ride out to the Aygues River. Pedalling feverishly, following in my daughter's tire tracks (with thoughts of cool water carroting us forward), I zigzagged along the pebbles and dirt path. Once in the river, holding hands with my little girl, I waded over to some river "steps" (not exactly a waterfall) to recline on a mossy rocher*--dos à l'eau*--and let rushing water drum therapeutically against my out-of-whack lower back. Ahhhh.

              << "Teak Oil" for Cheap "Goils" >>
Fresh from the river regime, I felt relaxed enough to take on a nagging DIY project: the refinishing of our picnic table. Forget teak oil--which can cost an arm and a wooden leg--instead I took Aunt Marie-Françoise's advice... and used a hands-on kitchen remedy: regular ol' salad oil. "Any kind'll do, the cheaper the better". I chose a French favorite (ISIO 4) for its "omégas essentiels"* and its cell-renewing abilities mentioned on the front label. "What's good for the body," I reasoned with a toast, "is good for the bois!"* Not fifteen minutes later, turning my relaxed back on our newly bronzed beauty, I shook the can of
oil: just enough left to revive my mother-in-law's ten-day-old tapenade. Miam miam!*

                >> Frugal Freshness <<
After lunch, I headed to the washing machine.... Truth be told, I don't usually look both ways before hanging my laundry on the clothesline.... but this was no ordinary clothesline... This was a line of rosemary bushes! What would the neighbors (their window shutters at a slight peep) think? I'd been meaning to try out Monsieur Farjon's "tumble-dry tip" ever since he gave me all of those botanical cuttings. When last he came to visit, he pointed to the rosemary shrubs that line our driveway. "You can hang your linens there," he said simply, matter-of-factly, of another era-ly. He mentioned the disinfecting qualities of the romarin* (here, I tried not to be offended) and the great scent that would infuse my linens after they literally steamed themselves dry, flung out over rosemary, beneath the sizzling summer sky.

Finally, all this Provençal penny pinching was not lost on me... for I figure my neighbors were let in on the savings spree... Think about the free entertainment!: the knee-slapping comedy that was one impressionable American decking the driveway shrubs with wintry white sheets, frantically pinning the flapping edges to the swaying rosemary tufts.

                                          *     *     *

In books: Growing & Using Rosemary: Storey Country Wisdom


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~References~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

le dimanche (m) = Sunday; un sou épargné est un sou gagné = a penny saved is a penny earned; le sou (m) = penny, cent; le rocher (m) = rock; le dos (m) à l'eau (f) = one's back to the water; omégas essentiels = essential omega (elements); le bois (m) = wood; miam miam = yum yum; le romarin (m) = rosemary


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Shopping~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
A good French pocket dictionary
 
Vine Therapy: Caudalie VinoGo Weekend Kit

Vintage Tidbit Dishes (great for France lovers or word lovers):

In French film: "Sky Fighters (French title "Les Chevaliers du ciel", literal translation: "The Knights of the sky") is a 2005 French film ... about two air force pilots preventing a terrorist attack on the Bastille Day celebrations in Paris." --Wikipedia

Thank you for the time you've spent reading my column. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that ongoing support from readers like you helps me continue doing what I love most: sharing these missives from France. Your support is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is fast and easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi 
♥ Send $10    
  ♥ Send $25    
    ♥ Send the amount of your choice


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


droguerie

Drogerie (c) Kristin Espinasse
Not many medicinal plants in here... but you'll find some in today's story, below. Photo taken In the town of Orange

 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Summer Reading~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Petiteanglaise I really enjoyed the book Petite Anglaise: In Love. In Paris. In Trouble. If you love France and have ever dreamed of moving to the Hexagon, then you might like  reading about how one "Petite Anglaise" followed her Francophile urgings and, rucksack on her back, traveled into the country, gradually built her nest... and once and for all unpacked.


foliole (fol-ee-ol) noun, feminine
    leaflet, one in a number of tiny leaves

...and, there seems to be a matching verb, "folioter", which means "to number
the "feuilles" or pages in a book": to paginate (synonym = feuilleter).

Listen to the French word "foliole": Download foliole.mp3 . Download foliole.wav


A_day_in_a_french_life

                         The Botanical Bouquet

He brought me exotic acanthus, its flowery gray and white "tail" trailing from a plastic sac... Looking inside, I saw more wild plants: chardon,* bourrache,* marrubium, and something he'd sub-labeled "Paris Fog". I peered deeper into the bag's recesses, my fingers pushing through the herbal jungle. There was fennel, "patience," "pastel," and mélisse....* The leafy list went on and on.

I could not identify what I was looking at but listened to Monsieur's explanations, which he delivered almost as an apology. I would observe, eventually and first hand, how he was forever excusing himself for the knowledge which he wore like a thorny crown, there, above a beautiful botanical mind. His gift or "don" as he called it, was passed down from his grandfather, a paysan* like himself, and a man he never chanced to know. And while Monsieur could identify hundreds of plants growing in Provence, and even tell you their name in Provençal, he insisted that the information did not interest others these days. "People prefer to sit in bars, drink beer, and play the lottery."

As Monsieur spoke to me I realized, with glee, that I no longer sat in bars, drank beer, or played the lottery... and I hope that'd somehow count me in as "interested party".

This conversation took place on Portalet street, a peripheric road running round our village center. I had been close to dozing as I sat behind the fold-out table that doubled as an author's booth, while book fair traffic filed past.... That's when Monsieur strode up in a freshly pressed shirt, appropriately the color of asparagus, sack in hand. I'd seen him earlier that day when I thanked him for the information that he had given me regarding a certain fleur rustique,* one I had been eyeing on every French curb and in every rock garden.

There I now stood, beneath the giant plane trees, unrolling stalks, leaves, and different plant "breeds," carefully setting aside the humid newspaper which Monsieur had used to keep the botanicals fresh. Inside, each wet wrapping, beside a stem or a stalk, I found a hand-written explanation, in pre-war penmanship, authored by my septuagenarian friend.

"That one you can plant," he said, adding: "in a shady place...." It will grow white flowers... "What's its use?" I asked. Monsieur shrugged his shoulders, repeating: "It will grow white flowers". "Pretty white flowers!", I decided, promising to find a shady spot in my garden.

"This one you can eat"... he offered. "Like spinach." I looked at the little brown foliole* leaves, no bigger than tears, and wondered how to prepare them for the palate? The scribbled note read "Patience Officinale" (a.k.a. "Monk's rhubarb"). Hmmm.... pie! "I think I saw this growing in our vineyard," I realized, excitedly.

I studied the handwritten notes, some included anecdotes. "Acanthe molle," the first one had read. There were definitions and trivia, too, like this one for the acanthus: "Emblème des sculpteurs, artistes... Symbolise l'amour des arts.... sa feuille ressemble à une patte d'ours..."* I glanced over at the plant's leaves. Sure enough, they looked like bear paws to me.... The note continued: "With these, the Greek sculptor Callimaque (Callimachus) decorated the Corinthian columns in the Roman temples. The church (here) in Sainte Cécile is decorated with them...." I made a mental note to waltz over to our town's chapel and look for "bear paws" inside.

Next, I carefully rewrapped the plants, some medicinal, some ornamental, some edible... all for which I was thankful. But how to express such gratitude? Why not begin with an appropriate French verb (perhaps "planter")? And why not make up a flower name to offer in return?

And so, like that, I planted a "Calico Kiss" there on Monsieur's cheek, right over the blushing redness.

                                           *     *     *
P.S.: Here's a book I just ordered: "Of People and Plants: The Autobiography of Europe's Most Celebrated Healer" ...not sure how it will read, though I did get the thumbs up from Monsieur, who has the same book in French.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~References~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
le chardon (m) = thistle; la bourrache (f) = borage; la mélisse (f) = balm; le paysan (m) = countryman; la fleur (f) rustique = rustic flower; la foliole (f) = leaflet; "Emblème des sculpteurs, artistes... Symbolise l'amour des arts.... sa feuille ressemble à une patte d'ours..."* = Emblem of sculptors, artists... symbolizes a love of the arts... its leaf resembles a bear's paw.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Shopping~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Organic Borage herb 100 Seeds - Borage officinalis

Art poster: Bouquet De Chardons by Vincent van Gogh

The scent of Provence: Sauvage Fenouil Candle by Diptyque

Words in a French Life: Lessons in Love and Language from the South of France

Thank you for the time you've spent reading my column. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that ongoing support from readers like you helps me continue doing what I love most: sharing these missives from France. Your support is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is fast and easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi 
♥ Send $10    
  ♥ Send $25    
    ♥ Send the amount of your choice


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


guidon

Guidon
I am letting go of the handlebars today... and letting someone else write the story du jour. Enjoy Cerèlle Bolon's memories, in today's column

GUIDON (gee-dohn) noun, masculine
    : handlebar

Terms & Expressions:
les moustaches en guidon = handlebar mustache


Audio File : listen to my daughter pronounce today's word and read her example sentence:
Un Guidon. Avec un guidon, on peut diriger le vélo.
With a handlebar, we can steer the bike.

Download guidon.mp3 .Download guidon.wav


A_day_in_a_french_life
As I type these words, I hear the whistle of a cricket just outside an open window ... where the insect's song hijacks a cool morning breeze to steal into this quiet writing room and so assert summertime.

This fresh minty morning, with its lackadaisical "cricketing," counterbalances so much caffeine, suggesting a new rhythm. Why not slow down this summer?

...why not let go of the reins of rigidity, throw one's arms up in the air and latch on to the coattails of cricket song? Why not follow that beatnik breeze -- its balmy kiss still wet on my cheek?

Today, I pass the writing reins to a French Word reader... and writer from my hometown of Phoenix, Arizona. Enjoy Cerélle Bolon's essay. As for me, toodloo, I've got some catching up with Cricri* to do.



Meeting Maurice (by Cerélle Bolon)


1959
As a Mademoiselle Magazine Guest Editor, one is asked to list three well known individuals one would like to meet and interview.  What an opportunity!   I knew it was unlikely that I would be able to meet the people I had in mind, but why not give it a try!?

My first choice was Frank Lloyd Wright.... ( Click here to read the rest of this story...)


~~~~~~~~~~References~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
cricri
= the sound (or cry) that a French grasshopper makes :-)

In French film: "Love Me Tonight" with Maurice Chevalier

In French music:
Maurice Chevalier: Valentine

Lo*Jo : Au Cabaret Sauvage


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Books~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Easy French Reader begins with the adventures of two friends, an American and a Parisian, as they learn about their respective cultures. This is followed by readings on the history of France, from ancient Gaul to the present. The final section features four abridged short stories by famous French authors.

Quiet Days in Clichy by Henry Miller
This tender and nostalgic work dates from the same period as Tropic of Cancer (1934). It is a celebration of love, art, and the Bohemian life at a time when the world was simpler and slower, and Miller an obscure, penniless young writer in Paris. Whether discussing the early days of his long friendship with Alfred Perles or his escapades at the Club Melody brothel, in Quiet Days in Clichy Miller describes a period that would shape his entire life and oeuvre.

Thank you for the time you've spent reading my column. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that ongoing support from readers like you helps me continue doing what I love most: sharing these missives from France. Your support is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is fast and easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi 
♥ Send $10    
  ♥ Send $25    
    ♥ Send the amount of your choice


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


péquenaud

Newspaper
Front cover of today's paper (that's me, on the right, holding a book)

péquenaud(e) (payk-no, payk-nowd) noun
    : (pejorative) redneck, hick

Une vraie péquenaude avec son tablier bleu, son sécateur, sa petite pelle.
A real redneck with her blue apron, pruning shears, and little shovel.

                       --from the book "Les marionnettes" by Marc Bernard

Hear the French word péquenaude and listen to today's quote: Download pequenaud.mp3 .



A_day_in_a_french_life
At "Lire Entre les Vignes" the first wine and words fair in my hometown of Sainte Cécile, the author, editor, and winemaker participants were professional and prepared: armed with posters, brochures, catalogues and muchos merchandise they decorated and stocked their stands.

Here's a run-down on my debutante day amid the pros:

Arrived two hours early to check out my "booth" (the end section of a very long table, the rest of which was reserved for the local winemakers).

Studied my new and exotic pen name (an innocent misspelling of my prénom*) which the fair organizers* taped to the fold-out table, indicating my placement.

Populated my "domain" with all of five book copies for sale; stared at the empty countertop space and wondered how to cleverly fill in the "blanks". Maybe I could sit on the edge of the table instead of behind it? That'd sure take up space.

Erected a laminated mini poster with a book blurb from the 2006 Simon and Schuster catalogue. Spent the day repositioning the poster after it blew over, time and again, landing in my lap, with each passing breeze.

Got my chair stolen when I wandered over to the buffet to sample some lunch.

Stole the chair from the French editor to my right.

Played with my neighbor's wine aroma discovery kit (those winemakers sure know how to reel in the traffic) sniffing the various sample jars and trying to guess between thyme, rosemary, mint, fleur d'oranger...) when traffic waned.

Convinced self that self was really just here to make contacts, that book-selling was not "l'idée du jeu"*.

Changed sales tactic: began a self-defeating book giveaway.

Did a "troc" or "trade" with winemaker Elisabeth Plantevin - exchanging one book for three generous packets of hand-picked rose trémière* seeds. (Score!)

Shrugged in agreement with René, the editor from "Editions Grandir" when he pointed out that wine sells better than books, "n'est-ce pas?" Oui.

Admitted to René that it was I who stole his chair earlier.

Devised a plan to "serve words" at the next book fair: could hand out non-alcoholic French verbs and sparkling adjectives in fluted glasses...

Finally met Judith "with the blue shutters": the American to whom the villagers have been trying to introduce me, going as far as to give me directions to her house "avec les volets bleus". Hope she'll come and visit me "with the white shutters" sometime soon.

 

Jumped for joy, literally, when a group of enthusiastic American tourists stopped by my booth for autographs. (Never mind that they are friends* of mine).

Invented quirky "compromise sales of your own book" tactic number three by recommending somebody else's book* entirely... this, to said group of American tourists (after getting caught inhaling pages of
"Petite Anglaise"* while hidden behind the book's hardbound cover).

Sold two books (hurray!): one to a German wine salesman, another to an Australian wine journalist. Decided that male wine workers buy books, even if their clients don't.

Learned (from the Australian man) the French word for "redneck": péquenaud. (This, after I pronounced the English word "better" as "beDDer". Chalked it off to 13 years of trailer park parlotte*.)

Shook Monsieur le Maire's hand, a little too enthusiastically, before traipsing off to the toilets to hide.

Met Sonia (new in town, from Senegal). Recruited a few passers-by for Sonia's English lessons. Wondered why I myself wasn't giving English lessons after learning how lucrative they are... in comparison to authoring books....

Got interviewed by three journalists (score, score, score!): two French,* one Australian (the "redneck" guy; this interview will take place at a later date, giving me time to tidy up my péquenaude American accent).

Got sun burnt when my booth was not profiting from the shade of the plane trees, furthering my redneck reputation.

Chatted up the town botanical genius, Monsieur Farjon, who returned to my stand at the end of the day with a surprise.... Stay tuned.

La-provence 
("Portrait of an American" in this morning's paper--and that's our mayor, far left.)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~References~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
le prénom (m) = first name; fair organizers = Lire Entre Les Vignes was organized by the dynamic duo that is Brigitte Bourchette and Corinne Renoud-Lias (a.k.a. owners of our local bookstore "Feuilles des Vignes"); l'idée (f) du jeu = the name of the game; la rose trémière = hollyhock; friends = http://frenchcountrywines.com/; someone else's book = Petite Anglaise : In Paris. In Love. In Trouble. You might love it :  http://PetiteAnglaise.notlong.com ; parlot(t)e = talk, chitchat; French (journalist) = Bernard Sorbier http://www.bernardsorbier.fr/

                                                              *     *     *
A special treat for you today: Avignon In Photos :
 http://avignon-in-photos.blogspot.com/ Mille mercis to Kim Dement.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Shopping~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The practical and very neat Provendi revolving soap fixtures have adorned public school washrooms throughout France for years. Now they're turning up in the most chic places. Lightly scented, vegetable-based 300g soaps snap (new style) or bolt (original) on to the chrome-plated bracket rod and rotate with the motion of the hands.

A virtual miniature confiserie, the "Flavors of Provence" tin includes all of the specialties of the house, in individually-wrapped tasting sizes.

In French Film: Jean-Luc Godard Box Set

"La France" Big Magnetic Puzzle featuring Map of France, great learning tool includes the French regions and French departments with their specialties

Dinner in Paris: Authentic music from France

Thank you for the time you've spent reading my column. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that ongoing support from readers like you helps me continue doing what I love most: sharing these missives from France. Your support is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is fast and easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi 
♥ Send $10    
  ♥ Send $25    
    ♥ Send the amount of your choice


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


fille

Boulangerie (c) Kristin Espinasse
A bakery in the town of Camaret sur Aigues, in the heart of Provence.


~~~~~~~~~~~~Book signing / Wine-Tasting~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I know it's a long shot, but if you happen to be in the vicinity of Sainte-Cécile-Les-Vignes (45 minutes north of Avignon) on Sunday (10 a.m. to 4 pm), then please stop by the town center, where winemakers and writers will have their "words" and their "wines" on display. Jean-Marc and I hope to see you there. Look for our booth!

Urban Crayon Paris: The City Guide for Parents with Children

fille (fee) noun, feminine
    : daughter

Telle mère, telle fille.

Like mother, like daughter.

                            --Ezekiel

Listen to the French word "fille" and the above quote: Download fille.mp3 . Download fille.wav


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

           (We Three: my daughter, my mom, and I)

At ten-years-old:
I liked motorcycles and baseball.
My daughter likes mascara and karaoke.

We both loved swimming...

I liked to wake up at the crack of dawn.
She loves to sleep in late.

I loved frogs.
She likes ladybugs.

I was round.
She's a stick.

I ate tacos.
She eats tapenade.

When I lied, my face turned crimson.
When she lies, hers turns convincing.

I collected desert wildflowers and gave them to the neighbors.
Jackie fancies bamboo, has a carnivorous plant, and is giving in other ways.

I was once called a bible beater and went and hid.
She got called "Blond!" once and was livid.

My daughter speaks in French and in English.
I spoke in English and in Tongues.

She has a godmother and a godfather.
I had a mafia of angels.

Jackie's great-grandmother and her grandmother were Catholic and Atheist, respectively. Mine were Mormon and Jack Mormon, respectively.

Jackie's table trick is to eat the eyes right out of the fish on her plate. She
learned this from her great-grandmother, a French woman who survived WWII. My trick was a disappearing act involving any food placed in front of me (except fish eyes). I learned this from my American grandmother, an excellent cook, who smoked her morning cigarette in the trailer's "salon" and called everyone "Hon".

Jackie's mom has healthcare and a mutual.
My own mom had a mutual agreement with my sister and me: what you say is what you get and whatever you say Don't Say You're Sick!

I really, really wanted a live-in dad.
Jackie really, really wants a horse; she already has a Father Hen.

When my mom got mad at a man, she moved on, took her kids with her.
When Jackie's mom gets mad at her man, she throws (virtual) plates, then meditates.

Jackie's mom is over-serious, over-sensitive, and over-anxious.
My own mom was over-generous and, sometimes, over-the-top.

Mom let me dig up the back yard once. "What the hell, let her make a pool."
Jackie's mom is a control freak, doesn't cuss.

I had a sister who was prettier than I.
Jackie looks like her.

At my daughter's age, I once started a fire in the field behind our trailer park, almost making homeless our neighbors, mostly retirees. I admitted this to Jackie (on confiscating a lighter!), who wanted to know whether I ever told my parents. (Mom, Dad: are you reading?)

I had a crush on Doug Pearson from kindergarten through eighth grade. He had dimples, or fossettes, and did a mean impression of Gene Simmons: fake blood, black eye-liner, and all.
Jackie's heart is faithful to horses: four-legged rock-stars each and every one.

I automatically pledged allegiance to the flag.
My daughter questions whether Sarkozy will keep his promises.

Jackie and her mom wear the same shoe size: 7.5
My own mom is one size smaller, though she is larger than life.

I was a real softie, though my daughter is really not so tough as she thinks she is. (Perhaps we are not so different after all?) And, every once in a while, I catch myself following in my mom's leopard-patterned, untamed tracks. Secretly, it comes as a relief: to free-up the over-serious, under-the-countertop, once carefree fille.*



I wrote a similar hommage to my son in "Words in a French Life" (see the chapter "Enfance").


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~References~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
fille (f) = girl; hommage (m) = tribute


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Shopping~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

French Wooden Alphabet Blocks for kids. Makes a great baby gift.

My French Coach by Nintendo. Playing My French Coach for 15 to 20 minutes a day is all you need to become fluent in French, no matter your age. The simple touch screen interface lets you spend less time learning the game and more time learning French.

12 DOUX Soaps in a Jar : Hand-crafted, one at a time, in a tiny family-owned soap factory in the South of France, DOUX soaps are milled FOUR times for an unbelievably creamy, luscious bathing experience. Following techniques passed through generations, the soaps are then formed into perfect ovals using a
100-year-old mold

Specialty of Aix-en-Provence since the XVth century, the Calisson consists of almonds and candied fruit mixed together in a smooth paste, covered with royal icing.

Thank you for the time you've spent reading my column. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that ongoing support from readers like you helps me continue doing what I love most: sharing these missives from France. Your support is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is fast and easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi 
♥ Send $10    
  ♥ Send $25    
    ♥ Send the amount of your choice


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


éveiller

Butterfly (c) Kristin Espinasse
Smell the roses, see the butterfly's wings... slow to a snail's pace but not so slow as to sleepwalk through the day. Read on in today's story. (Photo taken with this camera at Domaine du Mas de Martin, not far from the village of Saint Bauzille de Montmel)


"Fluenz French": Next-Generation French Language Learning Software


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~EVEILLER~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
éveiller (ay-veh-yay) verb
  : to wake up, to excite

Literally "to pull from sleep" (tirer du sommeil)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Hear my daughter pronounce today's word and quote: Download eveiller.mp3 . Download eveiller.wav   
    On ne force pas une curiosité, on l'éveille.

    We don't force curiosity, we awaken it.  --Daniel Pennac

Never miss a word : get yourself a French Word-A-Day widget! :
... installs at your Google homepage, in Facebook, MySpace... and elsewhere!


A_day_in_a_french_life
"Présent!" It is what my son replies when his teacher reads aloud his name for roll call. Every French child answers the same life-affirming way: "Présent!"*

The affirmative "Présent!" is so much more lively than bland ol' "Here!," don't you think? And did you ever notice the word's dual meaning: present/present which, whether in French or English, hints that when we are "here," present in the moment, we receive the "gift" of clarity -- where even the mundane takes on magnificence.

I would like to shout "Présente!" to somebody each day or, better yet, each hour!--if only to remind myself that I am truly awake. An hourly roll call might pull me out of this mental slumber. Lately, fueled by caffeine and routine, I manage to get by on automatic. The not-so-sensational sensation could be compared to sleepwalking through sauerkraut, though my mother-in-law would call it "pedaling through choucroute."* The vivid imagery that her words call forth is enough to wake my senses--if only that of sight, and if only in the mind's eye--otherwise, it's the same old grind, day after day, though it be a Gallic one and who am I to complain?

Recently, I decided to throw that old foe "Predicable Routine" for a loop. I began by tying my shoes... Next, I headed for the door instead of the coffee pot... and so marched, one foot after the other, out of the house and into the countryside's "classroom".

"Présente! Présente! Présente!" I affirmed, to the whispering reeds and leaf-chattering trees that agreed, enthusiastically, to take roll call for sluggish ol' me.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~References~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
présent(e) = here; la choucroute (f) = sauerkraut


~~~~~~~~~~~~~Ooh, là là!~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Good News!: You can now order our wine online:
    * Domaine Rouge-Bleu ("Dentelle" 2007) *
    Click here: http://union-square.notlong.com


~~~~~~~~~~~Shopping~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
For the francophile who has everything: Eiffel Tower sink strainer / drain Plug

Merci Pour le Chocolat (2000) Starring: Isabelle Huppert, Jacques Dutronc
http://www.amazon.com/o/asin/B00008AOTB/frencwordaday-20

Learning & Development Toys: Mon Arbre Genealogique (My Family Tree): Imported from France.

Moulin Rouge 1000 Piece Jigsaw Puzzle

Natural fresh mayonnaise with no chemical additives from France: Made of the freshest ingredients: sunflower oil, egg yolk, Dijon mustard, fresh lemon juice, salt.

Thank you for the time you've spent reading my column. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that ongoing support from readers like you helps me continue doing what I love most: sharing these missives from France. Your support is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is fast and easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi 
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"Your blog has added much richness to my days for many years. High time to acknowledge your generosity toward your readers, by offering some small support."
--Candy T., California


collier

Poppies-coquelicots
Near Roaix (Vaucluse). No colliers here... just coquelicots.
.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~Ooh, là là!~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Good News!: You can now order our wine online:
    * Domaine Rouge-Bleu ("Dentelle" 2007) *
    Click here: http://union-square.notlong.com

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


collier (kol-yay) noun, masculine
    : necklace, collar chain

Be sure to check out the "Terms & Expressions" section, below...


A_day_in_a_french_life

:: "Sweet Dreams" & Breakfast table conversation ::

Ten-year-old (dreamy) daughter: Guess what you bought me in my dream?
Forty-year-old (groggy) mommy:  Voyons*.... a horse!

Dreamy Daughter: (giggles) No...
Groggy Mommy: Hmmm.... un cobaye?*

Dreamy: (giggles) No...  un collier de bonbons!
Groggy: A candy necklace? Ouf!* That's much less expensive than a horse!

Dreamy : (giggles of agreement)
Groggy:  So, you eat bonbons during the day, silly you, and you eat bonbons in the night now, too. Well, that must be sweet!

Dreamy: Yes, it WAS... until you woke me up for school!



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~References~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

voyons (voir) = let's see; un cobaye (m) = guinea pig (also "un cochon d'Inde"); ouf! = phew!

Lucien Georgelin Old Fashioned Candies in glass tin (Coquelicot Poppy flavor)


Audio File: listen to today's word and the following expressions: Download collier.mp3 . Download collier.wav


Terms & Expressions:
  collier de chien = dog collar
  collier de serrage = clamp
  collier de perles = pearl necklace
  collier de fleurs = garland, lei
  donner un coup de collier = to put one's "all" into it, to make a special effort

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~More shopping~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Bijou, Bonbon & Beau (book): Newborn kittens make themselves at home on a Paris stage to the delight of the dancers as well as the artist who quietly sketches them. This adorable picturebook will appeal to cat lovers, art enthusiasts & ballerinas big and small.

"Paris Sweets: Great Desserts From the City's Best Pastry Shops" by Dorie Greenspan

In French music: Kyo

Pave d'Affinois: soft-white French cheese, tastes similar to Brie.
http://www.amazon.com/o/asin/B0001219MA/frencwordaday-20

French film: In PARIS, JE T'AIME, celebrated directors from around the world have come together to portray Paris in a way never before imagined

Thank you for the time you've spent reading my column. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that ongoing support from readers like you helps me continue doing what I love most: sharing these missives from France. Your support is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is fast and easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi 
♥ Send $10    
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"Your blog has added much richness to my days for many years. High time to acknowledge your generosity toward your readers, by offering some small support."
--Candy T., California


taquiner

Pic-st-loup
Near Montpellier, in the Hérault department: the mountain of Pic Saint-Loup.


taquiner (tah-kee-nay)
  : to tease

French idiom:
taquiner le goujon = to go fishing

:: Audio File ::
Hear French
Listen to Jean-Marc pronounce the French word taquiner and read the idiom: Download taquiner.mp3 . Download taquiner.wav
 
 
If you enjoy French Word-A-Day, you might like to help support it:


A_day_in_a_french_life
Rule No. 1: A French Farmer must dress like a French Farmer and not like a fancy-schmancy Phoenician...

                                           *     *     *
Not all of the grapevines that surround this farmhouse belong to us... which explains why once a month or so, a beat-up van, a couple of roaring tractors, and a regular ol' bagnole* become a part of the changing pastoral picture outside our kitchen window.

Recently, that scene became animated when a few seasoned farmers (dressed in fading farmer threads, faces burnt tomato red) began to tease my newbie farmer husband (sporting a tan and dressed in a hand-me-down polo from my American brother-in-law, and chinos... the pants are souvenirs from Jean-Marc's white-collar days.)

Here, now, is a scrap of that conversation, for your own amusement:

Thread-bare Farmers, shouting taquineries* from across the field:
"Oh eh! Il faut travailler. Ce n'est pas le club méditerranée ici!"
(Hey you over there! Time to get to work! This isn't Club Med, you know!)

Jean-Marc (feathers slightly ruffled... having taken the bait):
"Mais... Je suis allé VENDRE du vin ce matin!"
(But... I've been out SELLING my wine this morning...)

Thread-bare Farmers' rip-roaring riposte:
"Oh eh! Ce n'est pas le Club Med ici! Hehehehehe!"

Rule No. 2 : A Newbie French Farmer Must Never Explain (lest he be teased again and again).


                                                     *     *    *
Post note: Jean-Marc took a rare day off yesterday and, along with friends, we visited Anne-Marie and Christian Mocci of Domaine du Mas de Martin (beneath the picturesque Pic St-Loup, not far from Montpellier. Their wines, olive oils, and secluded rooms for rent are recommended:

On our way home, we stopped by Chateau Gres Saint Paul (in the town of Lunel) for some lively, round-table conversation with the winemakers. If ever in the Hérault region, check these places out!


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~References~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

la bagnole (f) = jalopy (car) ; la taquinerie (f) = teasing


~~~~~~~~~~~~In Gifts, Gourmet, and more....~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The Way of the World: Originally published in 1963 under the title, L'Usage du Monde, the book became a cult classic in France and was translated into several European languages. Because it covers countries that have become accessible to all peoples through world events and the media, it seems appropriate that the book is available for the first time in English. -Library Journal

My French Coach by Nintendo. Playing My French Coach for 15 to 20 minutes a day is all you need to become fluent in French, no matter your age. The simple touch screen interface lets you spend less time learning the game and more time learning French.

In French Film: The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (Winner, Golden Globe Awards, Best Picture of the Year)

Thank you for the time you've spent reading my column. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that ongoing support from readers like you helps me continue doing what I love most: sharing these missives from France. Your support is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is fast and easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi 
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"Your blog has added much richness to my days for many years. High time to acknowledge your generosity toward your readers, by offering some small support."
--Candy T., California


interdire

Radishes
First radish harvest. The leaves are a bitten, the vase (an old roof tile) is chipped, but the flowers are thriving.

Note: If this page is loading incorrectly, or freezing up, and you are using Internet Explorer... then you might want to view this post in another browser, such as Firefox. You can download this last version instantly and for free here.

interdire (eh-tehr-deer) or (un-tair-deer) verb
  to forbid, to prohibit, to ban

:: Audio File ::
Listen to my daughter, Jackie, pronounce today's word and recite the verb's conjugation: j'interdis, tu interdis, il (elle) interdit, nous interdisons, vous interdisez, ils (elles) interdisent:
Download interdire.mp3. Download interdire.wav


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Never miss a word: add the French Word Widget to your desktop!

The last five French words: guetter, seuil, deuil, pipette, brouette
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


A_day_in_a_french_life
by Kristin Espinasse

Braise-The-Dog has been banned from the garden after a series of "neck-breaking" no-no's (that is, if vegetable stems can be said to have necks). Bref,* here's a recap of her recent crimes:

She lay down on the lettuce -- Cric!*
Set her fesse* down on the courgettes* -- Crac!
...and rolled herself right over a bed of radishes -- Croc!

"Sors! Sors! Sors!"* I shouted, frantically waving a handful of just-picked radis.* "That's it! Basta!* You're out!"

And off trotted Braise,
...strut, strut, strut,
lettuce leaves still sticking to her lazy butt.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Vocabulary~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
bref = briefly; Cric (as in "Cric! Crac! Croc!": the Canadian French equivalent of Snap! Crackle! Pop!): http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cric,_Crac_et_Croc ; fesse(s) (f) = bottom; la courgette (f) = zucchini; sors! (sortir) = out!; le radis (m) = radish; basta! = enough!

Easy French Reader: A fun and easy new way to quickly acquire or enhance basic reading skills



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Shopping~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

More than eighty of the loveliest, most tranquil, and sometimes hidden places in Paris are celebrated in this charming guidebook

In film: Into Great Silence Nestled deep in the postcard-perfect French Alps, the Grande Chartreuse is considered one of the world s most ascetic monasteries....

Refreshing mosterizing mist: vine therapy by Caudalie

Thank you for the time you've spent reading my column. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that ongoing support from readers like you helps me continue doing what I love most: sharing these missives from France. Your support is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is fast and easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi 
♥ Send $10    
  ♥ Send $25    
    ♥ Send the amount of your choice


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


guetter

Guetter (c) Kristin Espinasse
In Gigondas: watching for intruders... or maybe a new pal or two to play with. Read about another dog in today's story column.


Smart French : learn French from real French people:


guetter (geh-tay) verb
  to watch, to guard
  to watch for, to lie in wait for, to be on the lookout for
  to threaten; to ambush

Listen to today's word, "guetter": Download guetter.mp3 . Download guetter.wav


Add a little French to your own blog, website, desktop, or online network (Facebook, MySpace...) http://www.widgetbox.com/widget/french-word-a-day
.

A_day_in_a_french_life
As promised, here is the rough-n-tumble translation of "Ma Vie de Chien." The tribute was written by Marie-Françoise Vidal (a.k.a. "Aunt Marie-Françoise"), after her dog, Jaby, made it over "Le Pont de l'Arc-en-ciel".*

                                My Life as a Dog

I domesticated my animal nature : instincts, needs, rhythms, and vital joy -- in order to live in your house.

I listened and learned, ears perked, to your orders and to your intonations. I understood your codes.

I knew how to constrain myself to go gently, so as not to knock over the child, the grandmother and the "petit animal à moustaches."*

From each one of you, I knew how to take or to ask for flattery and play. I loved your company, whether playful or calm.

I was proud of my duty to guard the gate, the front step, and the household, watching for intruders.

And I still had my own secret kingdom out in the garden, or while out on a walk, where I could unleash in nature the original power of my senses.

I entered into this bond with you without fear of submission -- for we gave one another respect.

When next I had to die, it was without knowing sickness or decline. I left dignified and without complaint, all the while understanding your tears.

In our exchanges, I taught you different and specific emotions : that of animalité* : those instinctual codes that you had lost. I offered you another relationship with nature.

For all of this, I am proud, and I know that you will have other dogs so as to continue this partage.*

                                  *     *     *
If you would like to leave a message for Marie-Françoise, in response to her story, you can do so in the comments box below. She would be delighted to hear from you! Also: Read or listen to this story in French (halfway down story column in this post.)


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~References~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Le Pont de l'Arc-en-ciel = The Rainbow Bridge (fictional place over which animals go after death); le petit animal à moustaches = the little whiskered animal (the cat); l'animalité (f) = animality; le partage (m) = sharing.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Gift Ideas~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
A French Alphabet Book of 1814. This charming primer on the alphabet captures the essence of everyday life among the French aristocracy in 1814 in a uniquely detailed series of watercolor drawings made as an alphabet book for a young French aristocrat by his uncle.

12 French Alsace & Guignol Costumed Lollipops

Rick Steves Convertible Carry-On: Easily converts from a smart-looking suitcase to a handy backpack

Listen to French... (In music) Tour de Charme by Patricia Kaas

Durance olive oil hand cream

Thank you for the time you've spent reading my column. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that ongoing support from readers like you helps me continue doing what I love most: sharing these missives from France. Your support is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is fast and easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi 
♥ Send $10    
  ♥ Send $25    
    ♥ Send the amount of your choice


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