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Entries from October 2009

Olive Cake Recipe! Savory cakes and Cake aux Olives

Franc
For the purposes of this edition, and so as to remain neatly "in theme," we'll call the little guy in the lower left "Frank."

franc, franche (frawn, frawnsh) adjective
  frank, true, free, exempt

...and the verb "franchir" : to cross, step over (out), overcome

:: Audio Clip & Example Sentence::
Hear our son, Max, recite today's quote: Download franchir.wav
Sans franchir sa porte, on peut connaître le monde.

Sans franchir sa porte, on peut connaître le monde.
Without stepping out his door, one can know the world.
--Lao-Tseu
.

                                                           Column

(Note: the following story was written two years ago.)


Madame Delhome's floors are so clean you could lick flan off them. As I tiptoe over to our neighbor's sofa, I shudder to think about my own floors until my mother's wisdom comes back to comfort me, "Don't worry about the dust, Honey, people feel better about their own homes when they walk into yours."

While that is some comfort, I don't want Madame Delhome to feel bad about how her flan-lickable floors make me feel (messy), so I won't share any nuggets of wisdom with her this early on in our friendship. Instead, I'll take off my shoes.

I ask the kids to take off their go-dass,* too, before three of us wrestle Braise back out onto the front porch. (Moments earlier, when we left for cocktails at the neighbor's, our dog fancied a swim in the stream and a "dry off" in the powdery earth, the same powdery earth, I realize, that seems to be stuck
to the kids' socks!)

Barefooted, the kids and I finally sit down on madame's rustic-style leather sofa while monsieur and madame settle into the matching wood-trimmed chairs. Jean-Marc is seated next to madame. I make narrow eyes at the kids, reminding them of their manners before each of us accepts a slice of olive cake from a blue earthenware plate.

The cake aux olives* is rich with cubes of gruyère cheese and bits of ripe red tomato beneath its golden crust. The snack is heavenly good but when madame offers to give me the recipe I tell her, "Please, don't trouble yourself." What I really want to say is "By all means! Write it down carefully and don't miss even one ingredient!"

Remembering my dream of having a vegetable garden, I turn to Monsieur Delhome.
"I saw a man down by the stream working in a potager,"* I say, knowing all the while that the garden-in-question belongs to Monsieur Delhome.

"That would be Monsieur Blanc," Monsieur Delhome, points out. "I let him work on that parcel, as he loves to garden!" That "parcel" is right next to a parcel of our own and I think about how easy it would be for Monsieur Blanc, who loves to garden, to expand his project south...then we all could enjoy the fruits of his labor!

"I have always wanted a vegetable garden!" I hint. "Do you know of anyone...who might like to, uh, borrow a bit of our land for tending?" I notice that Monsieur Delhome looks confused and so I repeat my indirect wish. "It would be nice to know someone who enjoys gardening...".

"What exactly do you want, Madame Espinasse?" Monsieur Delhome demanded, putting an abrupt stop to any vagaries. Just then I felt an olive stick in my throat.
"Are you asking me to send Monsieur Blanc over to work your field?"
"No," I protested, embarrassed. Though I wanted exactly that.

The directness that Monsieur Delhome was asking for reminded me of another of my mom's nuggets of sagesse:* ask and you shall receive (but be clear about what you need and don't beat around the bush!). Still, words do not come easy and we leave the Delhomes' with my worrying about the flaky impression that I have made.

A few weeks later Monsieur and Madame Delhome stop by for a visit and present me with a beautifully illustrated book on gardening. Inside, there is a handwritten note including warm words of encouragement. I point to the book's cover where an elaborate arch of roses shades a grassy path leading to a beautiful vegetable garden--one prettier than I have ever imagined.

"What exactly are you implying, Monsieur Delhome?" I say, practicing Monsieur's direct approach along with some newfound initiative. "Do you think that I could make a garden as pretty as this?"
"Pourquoi pas?"* monsieur questioned, looking me directly in the eyes.

As for the Delhomes, they seem to have a little more faith in their new neighbor's abilities than she herself has.

My family and I love to read your feedback. Comments welcome -- click here. You might honor my Dad's request, by listing your city (and Mom would be delighted if you would add a few words about the weather...)

French Vocabulary

go-dass (pronunciation for (la) godasse) = (slang for) shoes; le cake (m) aux olives = olive cake; le potager (m) = kitchen garden; la sagesse (f) = wisdom; pourquoi pas = why not?

Madame Delhome's Cake aux Olives:
  (update: I seem to remember that the recipe that Madame jotted down for me was without tomatoes... as in the story... and with ham)


--150 g. olives noires et vertes denoyautées
(about 5 oz of black and green olives, pitted)
--250 g. jambon (8 or 9 oz of ham)
--4 oeufs (4 eggs)
--150 g. comte (approximately 5 oz) of comte (or gruyere)
--150 g. farine (roughly 5 oz) of flour
--4 c.s.* huile d'olive (4 soup spoons of olive oil)
--15 cl. lait (something like 5 oz of milk)
--1 sachet levure chimique. sel. poivre. (1 packet of baking powder. Salt and pepper to taste.)

I have not made this cake so please don't throw eggs at me if the above calculations don't pan out! With that cautionary note in mind, I'll try to translate the recipe's instructions...

--Scald (or "ebouillantez"--and what a verb!) the olives and cut them in two. Cut the ham and cheese in cubes. Preheat the oven to 350F.
--In a mixing bowl ("une jatte"), place flour, baking powder, salt and pepper. Make a "well" ("un puit") with the dry ingredients, in which to add the following: beaten eggs and milk. Mix well.
--Add oil, olives, ham and cheese. Mix again.
--Pour mixture into an oiled pan (rectangular). Cook one hour and fifteen minutes (approximately).
--Bon Appétit!

DSC_0018



Terms & Expressions:
  jouer franc jeu = to play fair
  le franc-parler = plain-spoken
  avoir les coudées franches = to have elbow-room
  la boutique franche = duty-free shop

In Gifts and more...

Exercises in French Phonics  Exercises in French Phonics, bestseller by Francis W. Nachtman, on French pronunciation and how to pronouce French words correctly!

Mille Bornes (Card Game).
First published in 1962, Mille Bornes (pronounced "meel born," French for "milestones") is an auto racing card game whose object, for each team of two players, is to be the first to complete a series of 1,000-mile trips.

 

Paris Metro Subway Tea or Kitchen Dish Towel


La Bonne Cuisine de Madame E. Saint-Ange: The Original Companion for French Home Cooking.


Kitchen Gardens of France - be inspired!
Your House, Your Garden: A Foolproof Approach to Garden Design
French Before You Know It Deluxe. Enhance your speaking ability with Pronunciation Practice.
"Four Queens: The Provencal Sisters Who Ruled Europe"
Fallot Dijon Herbed Mustards - Set of 4 French Mustards

DSC_0058
Braise & Smokey's Excellent Adventure. While the kids, the husband, the mother-, the brother-, the sister-in-law and I visit Morocco (a trip two years in the making!) the rest of our furry family will be "séjouring" in Vaison la Romaine... Chez Ellen and Mark. Not sure whether the Sullivans will have time to update their blog... but you might check in just in case!

Thank you for the time you've just spent reading this French word story. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next letter, please know that a one-time contribution helps me continue doing what I love most: improving these posts. Your support is vivement apprécié. Donating via PayPal is fast and easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! 
♥ Send $10    
  ♥ Send $25    
    ♥ Send the amount of your choice


"I’m a high school French teacher, and I love how your blog gives me everyday vocabulary and glimpses of French character and tradition. Your gentle expression of your faith and rare transparency of emotion inspire me."
--Melanie


contretemps

Golden retriever puppy, body leash, car, travel (c) Kristin Espinasse, french-word-a-day.com
Braise & Smokey's Excellent Adventure. While the kids, the husband, the mother-, brother-, sister-in-law and I visit Morocco (a trip two years in the making!), the rest of our furry family will be "séjouring" in Vaison la Romaine... Chez Ellen and Mark. Not sure if the Sullivan's will have time to update their blog... but you might check in just in case!


CONTRETEMPS (con-truh-tahn) noun, masculine
    : mishap, mischance
    : hitch; delay, inconvenience
    : syncopation (music) ... and see story, below, about " a shifting of the normal accent, usually by stressing the normally unaccented beats...." (Dictionary.com)
 

Expressions & Examples:
arriver à contretemps = to arrive at the wrong moment
jouer à contretemps
= to play out of time

.
Audio File: Listen to today's word and expressions:
Download Wave or Download MP3

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


(Note: the following essay was written in December 2008)

The French word "contretemps" means, among other things, "a note played against the beat". I wonder whether that is why art means more and more to some of us lately, enough to dare us to put meaningless obligations aside in order to pursue creative activity (or "creativity"), and so make a swift turn, marching to another drum beat: our own.

Break apart the word "contretemps" and you get "against time" which explains why artists find it difficult to dabble in their division (you know, the art department). Who's got "temps" to sit quietly, waiting for the muse? And so we must make it (time and art): we shove a few things aside, allow the dust to build up, let the cat eat dog food, don't care about our hair... wear holes in our socks and dive into design when and where we can. If the muse is present, great!, if not, then ainsi soit-il!* Nothing's stopping us now.

Contretemps: Part Deux...
As commitments creep in, and you feel as though your plate were too full, duty dripping over at the sides, you might be tempted to invent a contretemps* in order to excuse yourself from the whirlwind. Who wants to be in a crowded, cacophonic room, when one's own soul-centering salon beckons? A reading lamp with a warm golden hue dancing beneath the dusty lampshade, a pile of favorite books, a jam jar full of colorful felt markers and a sketchbook by one's side... music musing in the background. When's the last time you were there, in that cozy chair?

Contretemps: Intermezzo
(We'll now take a break in the midst of this dilemma, its theme having to do, we think, with "art 'against time' or 'time against art'"--whether that be the art of writing, of painting, of singing... or simply the art of living...)

Contretemps: Conclusion
My mom* sent me a video the other day. "For Jackie and Max," her note said. I clicked open the link and found myself carried away by a quirky Canadian creator: a filmmaker, in all due respect. And I *do* respect the dues and bad days that an artist pays to get to such freedom. For isn't that the end result of art: when the viewer (reader, or listener) is liberated, from time and space? Off we fly, if not contre le vent,* then, somehow, "contre temps" and time's constraints.

I hope you'll enjoy these videos by Andrea Dorfman.* The thoughtful lyrics, by Tanya Davis,* which accompany the first video, will have you clicking the replay button again, and again.

Please forward this post to your favorite artist! Comments welcome -- click here. (Please don't forget to honor my Dad's request -- by listing your town! If you want to make my mom's day -- then add what the weather is like today, in your area :-)







~~~~~~~~~~~References~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
ainsi soit-il
= so be it; un contretemps (m) = an unexpected circumstance (preventing one from making it to an appointment, etc...); my mom = Jules, aka Mama Jules; contre le vent = against the wind

Sponsor an edition of French Word-A-Day. Contact Kristin!

In Gifts and more...

La Bonne Cuisine de Madame E. Saint-Ange: The Original Companion for French Home Cooking.

Words in a french life Words in a French Life: Lessons in Love & Language

In French music: ZEN by Zazie!   

French for Kids: Learn French (DVD)  

French film: La Vie en Rose

sacoche, Jean-Marc, winemaker, Paris, France (c) Kristin Espinasse
Speaking of artists... here is one that creates wine! (That's my husband, pedaling his portfolio in Paris. Won't you buy his wine ... for Thanksgiving?)

Thank you for the time you've just spent reading this French word story. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next letter, please know that a one-time contribution helps me continue doing what I love most: improving these posts. Your support is vivement apprécié. Donating via PayPal is fast and easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! 
♥ Send $10    
  ♥ Send $25    
    ♥ Send the amount of your choice


"I’m a high school French teacher, and I love how your blog gives me everyday vocabulary and glimpses of French character and tradition. Your gentle expression of your faith and rare transparency of emotion inspire me."
--Melanie


percer

Cairanne, France, roman numeral ancient antique Clock "E Paget et Cie" Morez-du-Jura(c) Kristin Espinasse, french-word-a-day.com
A clock in Cairanne. It is time to put this word journal on automatique—but only for the next three posts. Beginning Wednesday, we will revisit the word-a-day archives—in time for our family to take a mini-break. I am already looking forward to telling you more stories dans un petit semaine.

percer (pehr-say) verb

    to pierce


percer quelque chose à jour = to see right through something
percer ses dents = to cut one's (baby) teeth
percer la foule = to force one's way through a crowd
se faire percer les oreilles = to have one's ears pierced

Verb conjugation: je perce, tu perces, il perce, nous perçons, vous percez, ils percent => past participle

Audio File & Example Sentence: Download Wav or Download MP3

Le vétérinaire a percé l'abcès.
The veterinarian pierced the abscess.
.

A Day in a French Life...
Kristin Espinasse

Bright and early this Monday morning I found myself barking at an elegant French woman. Talk about out of character... and how we just cannot predict our behavior from one day to the next. Mostly, like a three-ring circus, we surprise and outdo ourselves with each subsequent act, no matter how unrehearsed... There we are, dragged along with the drama of life, kicking and barking -- mouths muttering and ajar.

"ERrrr-uff. ERrrr-uff! Like that," I explained to the veterinarian. Next, I watched expectantly... only the vet just tilted her head.

There she stood, that French woman, in her black high heels and hose with her doctor's frock covering her elegant clothes. Blond locks fell in curls around her shoulders. Her eyes were a sparkle of blue powder and black mascara. Her skin was a-glow with self-control.

After another round or two of barking, I stopped to catch my breath. The veterinarian again tilted her head, this time to the opposite side.

golden retriever puppy, face, months old (c) Kristin Espinasse, french-word-a-day.com
It was then that I realized to what extent our beloved animals transform us. One day we are carefully picking the lint off our shirt—tak tak tak—and the next day we are carelessly covered in puppy fur, having lost track.  We let down appearances... and become real, if only for a splendid instant; thus does our well-kept façade fall off, peel by peel.

There, in an impeccably clean office, I stood barking beside my puppy, who sat sagely on the examining table. "He is so quiet these days", I said, of our chiot.* "Since the attack, he hardly talks at all."

"ER-ruff! ER-ruff! He barks like this at feeding time. ER-ruff! ER-ruff! -- apart from that il est silencieux."*

The véto* stood, head tilted, studying me as a doctor does a troubled patient.

"C'est fini, ses soucis," His worries are over, she assured me. As for the golf-ball size abscess (which appeared just last night!) it was nothing to worry about. The vet pierced the lump and I watched, dumbfoundedly, as it disappeared. She then prescribed another round of antibiotics and assured me not to worry another minute about it. Il va bien, notre Smokey!* she said, lovingly.

I was so relieved that I felt like barking my thanks. Instead, I selected a few carefully chosen words from my well-dressed human vocabulary: Merci beaucoup!

On the way out of the vet's office, I patted Smokey's head appreciatively. I'd get my chance to bark blessed thanks to him... once we were safe, in our sound-proof car -- on the road to recovery again.

*   *   * 

Update: After the vet removed a half-dozen staples last week, she noted that Smokey's face was broken: his cracked cheekbone and brow bone would eventually heal on their own (this meant his face would be less round, slightly fallen on one side). As for his tongue, which has hung out since we found him passed out, post accident, it may stay that way forever: it turns out his jaw was displaced during the attack. I guess all this just gives "our Smokey" more character. He is awfully sweet to look at, crooked or not.

Thank you for your thoughts. All responses to this story are welcome in the comments box.

French Vocabulary
le chiot (m) = puppy; il est silencieux = he is silent; le véto (vétérinaire) = veterinarian; il va bien, notre Smokey = our Smokey is doing well


Pizza herbes

Herbes de Provence (Special for Pizza) in Crock:
Herbes picked in Provence with a blend of oregano, thyme, basil & marjoram

Pre de Provence Lavender Soap. Imported from France: Pré de Provence, literally translated, means "Meadow of Provence." Transport yourself there with this triple milled savon.

Un, Deux, Trois: First French Rhymes:
...a collection of 25 traditional nursery rhymes for children

French Exambusters Study Cards:
Over 1500 questions and answers written by certified teachers and professional translators with a focus on exam preparation. Highlights the essential French grammar and vocabulary you need to know to test well. Prepare for quizzes, tests, AP, PRAXIS II, SAT II, CLEP, and N.Y. Regents Level I-III. Helpful for travelers!

 

Cairanne, La Petite Jeannette, superette, window shutters (c) Kristin Espinasse, french-word-a-day.com

La Petite Jeannette superette in Cairanne, Vaucluse, France

Thank you for the time you've just spent reading this French word story. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next letter, please know that a one-time contribution helps me continue doing what I love most: improving these posts. Your support is vivement apprécié. Donating via PayPal is fast and easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! 
♥ Send $10    
  ♥ Send $25    
    ♥ Send the amount of your choice


"I’m a high school French teacher, and I love how your blog gives me everyday vocabulary and glimpses of French character and tradition. Your gentle expression of your faith and rare transparency of emotion inspire me."
--Melanie


lumiere

Droguerie, painted shop sign, Vaucluse, France, street lamp (c) Kristin Espinasse, french-word-a-day.com
"Droguerie... et Lumière" from the Cinéma Vérité photo archives.

In Upcoming Events: Jean-Marc will be hosting a Domaine Rouge Bleu Winemaker's dinner on Monday 23rd November in Copenhagen. Menu and price will be fixed. There are only 40 seats. Booking has to be made directly to The Wine Company by e-mail: thewinecompany@private.dk, phone +45 22 24 68 82 or fax +45 38 80 74 82

la lumière (loo-myer) noun, feminine

    : light


Advertise your business, blog, B&B or language program here! Contact Kristin.

Audio File & Example phrase: Download Wav or Download Lumière

Et la lumière fut...
And then there was light...

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


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

This week marks the seventh anniversary of French Word-A-Day -- and what better way to celebrate than with a bouncy, jouncy, full-of-beans puppy king!

Smokey is back! I woke up this morning to the puppy we had lost one week ago. Back was his bark-or-bust attitude of gratitude (okay, he's got the attitude... and we've got the gratitude) which brings me to my next point: remerciements.*

golden retriever puppy (c) french-word-a-day.com

Thank you for the encouraging messages, for the helpful tips and information, for your empathy and for your ever warm hearts and smarts.  We are, my family and I, in awe and amazed by so much generosity of spirit. Speaking of "spirits" tchin-tchin!* and cheers to you!

Back now to today's 7-year-celebration (French Word-A-Day's birthday!):
Mille mercis
* for joining me on this French word and writing journey. It began in my soul, some time ago. Effectivement* the seed of skreeb* was first sewn in a child's heart... and has, by fits and starts, continued right up to this bright, shiny, most luminous road mark: SEPT. Sept années!* 

LIVE YOUR DREAM

Oh, what a voyage this has been! I'll never forget seeing those words, back in my saguaro-studded stomping grounds: the Arizona desert. I didn't know then that I was about to embark on the voyage of an expat ecrivain.*

This breakthrough happened at the car wash... (in retrospect, what better place for transformation to take place?). After my car reappeared from behind a giant, swirling, automated mop, I took the cue and headed over to the cash register, to pay for the cleaning. I was handing over my money to the cashier when, in the time it took the caissière* to search for la monnaie* I caught sight of the poster on the wall behind her. Three simple words would rewind and restart my heart.

Live Your Dream.

It was the second time I had seen this message... Live Your Dream. I remember thinking, Yes, but how? HOW?

My dream was two-fold: to live in France ... and to write in France. But back then, as a receptionist-turned-car salesman (mine were the scale-model variety, sold via mail order catalog), I could not figure out how to further my career. Therein lies the problem. Often, it is not a matter of furthering something -- not when it is foremost to end it!

We Need to End Before We Can Begin
Since moving to France, my life has been a series of endings and beginnings. I am learning to be grateful for those endings and for the trail-blazing beginnings without which we would cease to grow and become that which we were designed to be (and only God knows that mystery).

Our task today is to chance to live our dreams. If I am to be a writer then I must live the writing life....

Your turn to fill in the blanks of the following sentence:

If I am to be a(n) ______, then I must live the _____ life.

Maybe, at this point, you are doubting (as I did, back at the car wash "Yes, but how... to live that life? The answer is simple: by a bold beginning... or even a shaky first step.

Would you like to share some of your affirmations with us in the comments box? I would love to know what you dream to be!

I leave you with a photo of my dear mom, living her dream of painting. I can just hear her saying "If I am to be a painter, then I must live the painter's life!"

Comments welcome. Thanks in advance!

bike with basket, stone fireplace, old floor tiles, painting , france, candelabra (c) Kristin Espinasse, french-word-a-day.com

French Vocabulary

Tchin-tchin = cheers!; mille mercis = a thousand thanks; effectivement = actually; skreeb (French pronunciation for "scribe": writer); sept années = seven years; un écrivain = writer; la caissière = cashier; la monnaie (f) = change

Exercises in French Phonics  Exercises in French Phonics, bestseller by Francis W. Nachtman, on French pronunciation and how to pronouce French words correctly!

Mille Bornes (Card Game).
First published in 1962, Mille Bornes (pronounced "meel born," French for "milestones") is an auto racing card game whose object, for each team of two players, is to be the first to complete a series of 1,000-mile trips.

Caudalie Lip Conditioner
hydrates and repairs dry, damaged lips with a powerful blend of antioxidants and nutrients.

The Conscious Cook: Delicious Meatless Recipes That Will Change the Way You Eat
A former steak lover himself, Chef Tal struggled for years on a vegan diet that left him hungry and filled with cravings for butter and meat. By applying traditional French culinary techniques to meatless cuisine, he found that he could gratify his cravings for rich flavor and fat.


golden retriever puppy, ancient champagne rack (c) Kristin Espinasse, french-word-a-day.com
"Boys will be boys."
A healing jaw and a traveling paw: Smokey is on the mend. (photo by Jackie Espinasse)


Thank you for the time you've just spent reading this French word story. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next letter, please know that a one-time contribution helps me continue doing what I love most: improving these posts. Your support is vivement apprécié. Donating via PayPal is fast and easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! 
♥ Send $10    
  ♥ Send $25    
    ♥ Send the amount of your choice


"I’m a high school French teacher, and I love how your blog gives me everyday vocabulary and glimpses of French character and tradition. Your gentle expression of your faith and rare transparency of emotion inspire me."
--Melanie


subir

golden retrievers, straw hat (c) Kristin Espinasse, french-word-a-day.com 

golden retrievers, france, straw hats (c) Kristin Espinasse, french-word-a-day.com
"Méfiance & Insouciance" ("Mistrust & Unconcern").

The pictures above show Smokey's parents, Sam & Braise, illustrating the concept of "méfiance" (see Sam, left) and carefree "insouciance" (see Braise, right). Smokey's family trusts that he will move from one emotional stage to the other, before long (we hope!). (See the original photo at the end of this edition.)

subir (soo-beer) verb

    to suffer, undergo; to be subjected to

Check out this verb conjugator for the French word subir.


 

 

Yabla French Video Immersion.
The fun way to learn French



Audio File & Example Sentence:
Download Wav or Download MP3 file

Le chiot a subi un gros choc emotionnel suite à l'attaque.
The puppy suffered a great emotional shock following the attack.



 

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


Gone is the puppy breath. Gone is the bubbily chubbily jubilance. When two attack dogs mauled our 9-weeks-old puppy, stolen was his "childhood" innocence. That carefree trust-all esprit* has been replaced with méfiance*. Gone is the gung ho glee.

golden retriever puppy, accident, healing, mother, puppy (c) Kristin Espinasse, french-word-a-day.com

Manque de chance.*

golden retriever puppy and mother, shy, cuddle (c) Kristin Espinasse, french-word-a-day.com

Huffy-puffy playfulness has been replaced with post-traumatic stress. Whereas one week ago our puppy basked in make-believe:

I'm a mighty musketeer -- just look at me, here!
See me soar -- me and my puppy power galore!
Superhero, superdog -- watch me
charge across the room... and wrestled that wooden clog!
Grrrr-umph, Grrrhumph -- now watch me wag my tail in triumph!

These days our puppy--who used to wrestle the roots of towering trees--is afraid of rustling, feather-light leaves. 

Like this it's been four days now that he's been camped beside me (and his mama, there, see?).

golden retriever puppy, healing, argile, clay, face, bite (c) Kristin Espinasse, french-word-a-day.com

Where once her soft stomach was his second home, now Smokey's mother backs away, twitches her nose and groans.

DSC_0060

Looking down in my lap at the shaky survivor, I try to read our puppy's mind. Here, from what I can gather, is what Smokey is thinking:

Rejection, dejection, this is no vie de chien.*
I thought I was supposed to chase butterflies...
instead of hiding from them.

golden retriever puppy dog (c) Kristin Espinasse, french-word-a-day.com

Update: Our puppy continues to make physical progress never mind his emotional distress. The staples in his throat and cheek will be taken out, hopefully, on Friday. He is eating well and he wags his tail, gratefully, when we call his name (whether that be "Smokey," "Smokey Bear," "Smoke-Meister," "Smoke-A-Roo," "Smokester," "Mister Smokey," or simply, lovingly "Golden Smokey!"

Comments and messages to Smokey are welcome and appreciated.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~French Vocabulary~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
la méfiance
(f) = distrust; le manque (m) de chance = unluckiness; une vie (f) de chien = dog's life

 

golden retriever adult dogs, straw hat, floor tile, clay, provence, france (c) Kristin Espinasse, french-word-a-day.com
Back when Sam came for a visit, last June... following their amorous escapade in Marseilles... he left a few of his genes behind. "Smokey" and his siblings were born some 9 weeks later! Braise looks like a happy camper, n'est-ce pas? Ah, les femmes enceintes -- how they glow!

Shopping:

French Clockmaker sign :
a reproduction of an old French merchant's sign

Au sourire de l'âme
French music by Pep's (recommended by my son, Max)

I'll Never Be French (no matter what I do):
Memoir of living in a Small Village in Brittany

Songs in French for Children
...including Alouette, Sur le Pont d'Avignon, Claire Fontaine, Prom'non Nous dans les Bois...

Learn French in your car :
comprehensive grammar and vocabulary for beginners and advanced students

Thank you for the time you've just spent reading this French word story. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next letter, please know that a one-time contribution helps me continue doing what I love most: improving these posts. Your support is vivement apprécié. Donating via PayPal is fast and easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! 
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"I’m a high school French teacher, and I love how your blog gives me everyday vocabulary and glimpses of French character and tradition. Your gentle expression of your faith and rare transparency of emotion inspire me."
--Melanie


une plaie

golden retriever, injured, accident, star pillow, books, nightstand, argile, plaie, heal (c) Kristin Espinasse, french-word-a-day.com
Smokey and his new silver cheek. Our vet stapled Smokey back together: his cheek and upper jaw were mended and several more staples were used to patch up his throat after a couple of attack dogs wandered into our yard on Friday. Read on, in today's story column just below.

une plaie (play) noun, feminine

    : wound

une plaie béante = open/gaping/wide open wound

Audio File and Example Sentence: Download MP3 or Download Wav file

Please help translate the following quote (in the comments box). Merci!

Le trafic de faux médicaments dans les pays en voie de développement est une plaie béante planétaire. -Bloob


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

Wounded

(Dear Friends, I will spare you of unnecessary heartbreak and share with you, now, the bright ending to today's story: our puppy is home, safe, and recuperating. As the veterinarian said, on Friday, "normalement, il doit s'en sortir."  ("It looks like he's going to make it.")

--Kristin

*   *   *

It feels as if weeks have passed since the accident; in reality, only three days ago our puppy was mauled by two attack dogs.

It happened on Friday, just before five in the afternoon. I was on my way out the door when Jean-Marc called down, from his office upstairs.

"Fais rentrer Braise et Smokey avant de partir*...." he said. My brain processed the bits of information: Braise, Smokey... outside? I had not realized our dogs were déhors.*

We had had an unexpected visit from a friend, just minutes before... the dogs must have slipped out then. During the brief moment of inattention, Mother dog and son wandered over to the edge of the property, where two stocky chiens* were roaming -- having escaped, we would later learn, from their fenced yard some five kilometers away....

I had been upstairs folding clothes when I heard the excited aboiements*... which I thought to be coming from the field, where hunting season is underway; of the barking, I remember thinking: "les chiens de chasse ont dû trouver leur proie".*

Little did I know that the prey was our two-month old golden retriever and that these were not the hunters' dogs.

Just as soon as Jean-Marc had spoken, I ran out the door, calling after our dogs.
Braise! Smokey! B R A I S E: il est où Smokey?!*

I quickly ran over to the field and saw Braise excitedly pacing back and forth, barking and crying. I followed her over to the edge of our property, to where the land drops off a few feet -- level with the brook below. That is when my eyes locked on our lifeless pup.

I automatically turned away, horrified, having seen our young dog lying on his side, stiff as death.
"Il est mort!"* I screamed, seeing blood streaming.

Innocence Downed
Our playful puppy had been brought down by something savage. Was it the pack of dogs that I had heard earlier? Or was it a hunter's bullet? Could a wild boar or a renard* have attacked? What -- or who -- did this to our sweet puppy?

I ran toward the house screaming for my husband, but the Mistral wind muffled my cries.

Not long after, Jean-Marc, having heard shouting, was by my side.
"Qu'est-ce qui se passe! Il est où?! Il est où Smokey?!"*
"Il est mort!"*

I pointed to the edge of the property line and Jean-Marc took off, following les taches de sang* which began at the end of our arrière-cour.*

"Non!" He shouted, on seeing our pup. "Ce n'est pas possible. Ce n'est pas possible!"*

I watched, heartsick and immobile, as Jean-Marc reached down to collect our puppy off the ground.

"I can't look. I don't want to see!" I said as my husband approached.

"Il est toujours vivant!"* Jean-Marc said -- for at that very moment... a soft beating could be felt from within the little furry body that hung in my husband's arms.

At that point I could bring myself to look... beyond the crimson jaw and neck where the dogs had aimed to kill.

Smokey's tongue hung from the side of his mouth, which was full of fresh blood. Along with his tongue, he was entirely immobile...

...except, we soon discovered, for his lovely chocolate brown eyes, which followed, calmly, the figures hovering above him. Smokey's chocolate eyes looked left, then right. As he lay cradled in solid arms, there, above him, two frightened faces released tears of hope as they looked down at their lucky dog.

*   *   *

Read an update of the story, here. More updates continue in the archives.

Comments & messages to Smokey welcome. Our puppy loves to hear our voices read your messages. It does seem to comfort him! Meantime, I'll continue to sing him Amazing Grace... "that saved *an amazing dog* like me!" (he loves that one too!)

Post note: I won't mention which breed of dog attacked our puppy. The important thing to remember, as my mom, Jules, always says, is that dogs are animals (though some like to think of them as "children") : they have their instincts and we must always remember that -- and be aware of the dangers whether it is our dog or another's.


French Vocabulary

Fais rentrer Braise et Smokey avant de partir = bring in Braise and Smokey before you leave; dehors = outside; le chien (m) = dog; un aboiement (m) = barking; les chiens de chasse ont dû trouver leurproie = the hunting dogs have found their prey; il est où where is he?; il est mort = he is dead; le renard (m) = fox; Qu'est-ce qui se passe! Il est où?! Il est où Smokey? = what's happening? Where's Smokey?; les taches (f) de sang = spots of blood; une arrière-cours (f) = backyard; Ce n'est pas possible = it can't be; il est toujours vivant! = he is still alive!

 

 


painted shop sign, books, reading, candlelight, awning, Hyérès France (c) Kristin Espinasse, french-word-a-day.com
A sign outside a book shop in the old town of Hyérès. Hundreds more photos over at my private photo journal.

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: presents exercises in sound discrimination and accurate sound creation

French language software:
Rosetta Stone Personal Edition contains everything you need to give the voice inside of you a new language. The method used recreates the natural way you learned your first language, revealing skills that you already have. This approach has won numerous awards, and has been adopted by countless organizations, schools and millions of users around the world. Join the language revolution today. Only with Rosetta Stone.

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.

Thank you for the time you've just spent reading this French word story. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next letter, please know that a one-time contribution helps me continue doing what I love most: improving these posts. Your support is vivement apprécié. Donating via PayPal is fast and easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! 
♥ Send $10    
  ♥ Send $25    
    ♥ Send the amount of your choice


"I’m a high school French teacher, and I love how your blog gives me everyday vocabulary and glimpses of French character and tradition. Your gentle expression of your faith and rare transparency of emotion inspire me."
--Melanie


la journee mondiale de l'alimentation

grenade or grenadine in France, market basket, price label (c) Kristin Espinasse, french-word-a-day.com
A basket of pomegranates at our local superette.

la journée mondiale de l'alimentation

    : World Food Day

.
Audio File & Example Sentence:
Download Wav or Download MP3

Listen to Jean-Marc pronounce the following French words:

Aujourd'hui c'est la journée mondiale de l'alimentation. Comme dit Coluche, "Quand je pense à toi, je pense à moi." Today is World Food Day. As Coluche says, "When I think of you, I think of me."

.

red bicycle, yellow wall (c) Kristin Espinasse, french-word-a-day.com Today is World Food Day!

On this day, many of us are asking ourselves: What can I do to help the hungry? As students, armchair travelers, artists, autodidacts et encore, we are an eclectic and a creative group -- capable of conceiving solutions to try to meet the needs of those who have no food to eat.

Those of you who are ready to change a life -- ready to act now! -- I invite you to check out these charities -- or to list your own favorite charity for those in need:

Food For the Poor (Kristin's recommendation)

One (Jean-Marc's recommendation)

(List your favorite charity...)
 

 Or check out Charity Navigator to find a charity not listed here.

 

 

 

*   *   *


Suze la Rousse, milemarker, road sign, Drome, France, D59 (c) Kristin Espinasse
...a sneak peak at tomorrow's Cinéma Verité photo gallery.
.

In Gifts and more...

The Life of a Simple Man :
I reread and reloved this book over summer vacation.
Read it in English or read it in French.

Paris door mat:
an original gift for a francophile!

Olive Oil Infused With Herbs de Provence :
with thyme, rosemary, basil and tarragon


The Chorus (A family film favorite!)
When he takes a job teaching music at a school for troubled boys, Clément Mathieu is unprepared for its harsh discipline and depressing atmosphere. But with passion and unconventional teaching methods, he's able to spark his students' interest in music and bring them a newfound joy! It also puts him at odds with the school's overbearing headmaster, however, locking Mathieu in a battle between politics and the determination to change his pupils' lives!

Thank you for the time you've just spent reading this French word story. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next letter, please know that a one-time contribution helps me continue doing what I love most: improving these posts. Your support is vivement apprécié. Donating via PayPal is fast and easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! 
♥ Send $10    
  ♥ Send $25    
    ♥ Send the amount of your choice


"I’m a high school French teacher, and I love how your blog gives me everyday vocabulary and glimpses of French character and tradition. Your gentle expression of your faith and rare transparency of emotion inspire me."
--Melanie


caviar d'aubergines

Old French sign, handwritten, chalkboard, wooden door, eggplant, peppers, aubergines (c) Kristin Espinasse, french-word-a-day.com
"Aubergines." An old door/former shop front in the town of Suze-la-Rousse.

caviar d'aubergines (kah-vee-ahr doh-behr-zheen)

    :  eggplant caviar
.

Audio file & Example Sentence: Download MP3 file or Download Wav

"...profiter des bontés de cette généreuse saison des récoltes et courir acheter aussi des paniers d'aubergines et de courgettes, pour... ratatouille et ... caviar d'aubergines." --from Le Soleil

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


Marseilles, 1992...


I fell in love with mousse before caviar. In the first case "mousse" was a charming street in Marseilles... and "caviar" was what was waiting for me at the end of that winding road, just a French football field from the sea.

There, in my future mother-in-law's kitchenette on Rue des Mousses, I watched as she hashed, pounded, and sweated -- putting all her concentration into cooking, her mind not having healed just yet. I watched, as droplets fell from her wet brow into the mixing bowl below, only to disappear into the roasted vegetables before the latter were pulverized. If only pain could be broken into as many morsels.

After the sweaty chore, my mother-in-law would sit on the end of her bed and cry and I, newly exported from America, would watch wide-eyed. 

It occurred to me to share with her all 24 years of my growing knowledge base... based principally on positive thinking... with heaping of hallelujah, a gallon of gospel... and a ounce or two of Epictitus:

"Where there's a will there's a way!" I would say, encouraging my mother-in-law to snap out of it. "You can do all things...." I'd sing.

But like all artists--literary, culinary, or other--my mother-in-law was going through a blue period. A French blue period (which was doubly blue... or doubly negative). She coped as she could and coping meant cooking -- and not trusting in an "otherhood". That is when I learned that my mother-in-law was an atheist. How, I wondered, could one cure this?

I looked into my cure-all bag, and soon saw that I was all out of tricks... and so I sat down beside her and filled my heart with sticks. When the sharp stick ends began to poke through my now bleeding heart--

I realized...

...that what was missing before, was my ability to empathize.

*   *   *

It is seventeen years later, now, and I think about those "24 years of wisdom" -- all that good gospel sense that I tried to talk my mother-in-law into, there, on Rue de Mousses, in a room no bigger than a shoe. It didn't stop my own blue periods (which would come soon after) from sweeping in, like paint across a canvas en lin,* it didn't spare me from the storms that follow sin, it didn't humble me as misplaced pride will again and again.

*   *   *

Last week I received a letter from my mother-in-law in which she thanked me for "ce temps que tu m'as accordé alors que Maxime était haut comme 3 pommes... je recevais des courages de toi...".*

As I re-read the tender letter, I take a moment to treasure my "incurable" atheist : she is a gift to me in spite of our differing beliefs. I have learned so much from her and, I hope, reciprocally, she from evangelical me.

*   *   *
Post note: I was looking up a recipe for caviar d'aubergine (that is what my mother-in-law was making me, in the opening to today's story)... when I happened upon this treasure of a video. If you love characters, as I do, then you will appreciate this informal Frenchwoman. Watch her pulverize garlic with the palm of her Provençale hand! (if you are reading this edition via email, you will need to click over to the blog to view the clip).

Would anyone like to share their recipe for caviar d'aubergines in the comments box? Many thanks for this, and for all of your comments.

 

~~~~~~~~~French Vocabulary~~~~~~~~~~
en lin = on linen; ce temps que tu m'as accordé alors que Maxime était haut comme 3 pommes... je recevais des courages de toi... = this time that you have given me back when Max was "tall as three apples"... I received courage from you

Paris metro towel

Paris Metro Subway Tea or Kitchen Dish Towel


La Bonne Cuisine de Madame E. Saint-Ange: The Original Companion for French Home Cooking.

     First published in 1927 to educate French housewives in the art of classical cooking, LA BONNE CUISINE DE MADAME E. SAINT-ANGE has since become the bible of French cooking technique, found on every kitchen shelf in France. A housewife and a professional chef, Madame Evelyn Saint-Ange wrote in a rigorous yet highly instructive and engaging style, explaining in extraordinary detail the proper way to skim a sauce, stuff a chicken, and construct a pâté en croûte. Though her text has never before been translated into English, Madame Saint-Ange's legacy has lived on through the cooking of internationally renowned chefs like Julia Child and Madeleine Kamman, setting the standard for practical home cooking as well as haute cuisine.

Visions of France: See the breathtaking beauty of southeastern France from a spectacular vantage point. Shot in high-definition from a helicopter-mounted camera, these two programs afford dazzling views of historic Provence, and the world-famous Mediterranean wonderland The Riviera. Order this DVD.

Thank you for the time you've just spent reading this French word story. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next letter, please know that a one-time contribution helps me continue doing what I love most: improving these posts. Your support is vivement apprécié. Donating via PayPal is fast and easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! 
♥ Send $10    
  ♥ Send $25    
    ♥ Send the amount of your choice


"I’m a high school French teacher, and I love how your blog gives me everyday vocabulary and glimpses of French character and tradition. Your gentle expression of your faith and rare transparency of emotion inspire me."
--Melanie


une idée fausse

Shakespeare and Company bookstore, Paris, France (c) Kristin Espinasse, french-word-a-day.com
Shakespeare and Company: an historic expat bookstore in Paris. Still soaring from the high of speaking at the American Library... I marched right into Shakespeare & Co. (before Fear had a chance to bully me and lie to me again...) and offered up my new public speaking services... To get this new gig--I acted as if--as if I had the confidence and composure of a conquistador (never mind that my previous speaking engagements included passing out on the floor). Convinced, they signed me for an author's talk on March 1st! 

Pronounce It Perfectly in French - with exercises in sound discrimination and accurate sound creation. Order your copy here.

idée fausse (ee-day fowce) noun, feminine

    : misconception

(The verb is "suer" : je sue, tu sues, il sue, nous suons, vous suez, ils suent => past participle = sué)

Audio File & Example Sentence: Download Wav File

Une idée fausse, mais claire et précise, aura toujours plus de puissance dans le monde qu'une idée vraie mais complexe.

  (Please help me to translate this sentence in the comments box!)



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

The following are some idées fausses, or misconceptions, that were running around my hopeful mind during the week leading up to my (once feared and dreaded) public talk:

...When my talk is over I will be okay again...
...
After my speech I can relax, let go...
...Life will begin again
after the speaking event. I will be able to taste my coffee, feel the breeze on my skin... I will smell the autumn air once again... my senses will no longer be dull (all-consumed with cowardice).

I will go home, put on my favorite soft robe and cozy slippers
and enjoy a cup of hot chocolate....  I will experience bliss. I will have my reward. Imagine this!

The strange thing is: none of these things happened. Instead, I had a revelation:

The joy, the bliss, the aliveness that I believed would be mine after this tortuous trial (a.k.a. The Speech)... instead took the place of it. Instead of feeling like the proverbial deer caught in hell's headlights, during my speech I felt the power of love, warm and bright.  I never felt so alive! The speech was the reward.

Could it be that public speaking is the best-kept secret? And that 99.9 percent of the earth's population (that is, the percentage of people that are petrified by public speaking) are depriving themselves of what is, in reality, a powerful instant -- a divine drop of distilled life?

Public speaking may be, after all, the best-kept secret. If you want to hog the spotlight (and all of the "life" that comes with it) then keep on perpetuating the idée fausse that public speaking is something that will kill you. (It will kill the Ego... so add that to your "Gifts I receive from Public Speaking" list.)

But if you want to join the revolution, and begin to murder the misconception, then please tell someone today that they WILL be okay the next time they have to speak, publicly; that the secret reward that nobody is telling you about is this: speaking can be bliss!

(We'll talk more about this on Friday, when I'll post another list of tips and techniques that worked for me....)

Amicalement,

Kristin
(former fainter, aspiring orator)

Post note: It is important for me to remember that nothing is ever "a given". That is: I have not conquered my fear of public speaking (Coach Conchita, and others of you, might beg to differ). The truth is, as long as we have our fickle "feelings" we won't be spared of what amounts to internal warfare. But we can take winning steps to counter this, and experience the bliss, when we recognize our God-given gift of confidence and assurance.

One of the most common fears that public speakers have is the belief that they will lose control of themselves in front of an audience. For me, this meant that I might somehow come undressed during my speech! (One tick that you will witness--when you view my speech--is this: I kept placing my hand over my heart -- not because it was beating violently (it wasn't)... but because I feared the snaps on my back might come undone (as they had in gym class... before my bra busted, some 20 years back!). Horror of horrors that this might happen again, now--in front of an audience! And so all that obsessive hand-to-heart business you see amounted to my checking (and rechecking) to make sure my "underwear" was still "there".

Witness this tick for yourselves in the video from my Paris talk! See the video immediately, when you sign up to become a supporting member of French Word-A-Day.

Finally, here is a book that I have just ordered. I am excited to learn and grow in the area of public speaking. Won't you join me? Check out this book and read along with me!:In The SpotLight, Overcome Your Fear of Public Speaking and Performing

 

Comments ~ Corrections ~ Stories of your own...

Thank you for sharing your thoughts in the comments box. Please forward this post to a student or stilted speaker. I hope it will help someone and eventually open the door of opportunity to others.

*   *   *

 

Shopping:

French Demystified: A self-teaching guide "simple enough for a beginner but challenging enough for a more advanced student"

French language software:
Rosetta Stone Personal Edition contains everything you need to give the voice inside of you a new language. The method used recreates the natural way you learned your first language, revealing skills that you already have. This approach has won numerous awards, and has been adopted by countless organizations, schools and millions of users around the world. Join the language revolution today. Only with Rosetta Stone.

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.

French music: Jacques Brel

Restaurant in Paris, Chez Julien, Lou Pescadou, 2CV, citroen (c) Kristin Espinasse, french-word-a-day.com
 "Parisian Parking"-- why not forward today's edition to a friend? Or sign up a family member for French Word-A-Day?

Thank you for the time you've just spent reading this French word story. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next letter, please know that a one-time contribution helps me continue doing what I love most: improving these posts. Your support is vivement apprécié. Donating via PayPal is fast and easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! 
♥ Send $10    
  ♥ Send $25    
    ♥ Send the amount of your choice


"I’m a high school French teacher, and I love how your blog gives me everyday vocabulary and glimpses of French character and tradition. Your gentle expression of your faith and rare transparency of emotion inspire me."
--Melanie


jalon

Eiffel Tower, Tour Eiffel Paris France (c) Kristin Espinasse

It was a dream come true to speak in Paris at the American Library. Read on, in today's story column. (Picture taken with my camera after the speaking event, as Jean-Marc and I walked back to our hotel.)


jalon (le jah-lohn) noun, masculine

    : milestone

 

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

The night before last I stood outside the American Library in Paris thanking the woman who had discovered my blog in 2005 and contacted editor Amanda Patten, in New York, who eventually offered to publish my "Words in a French Life"* through Simon and Schuster.

Out there on the wet library curb the Paris skies had stopped pouring, the rain had subsided -- and so had a lifetime of fear inside of me. I was overjoyed and presently thanking Ann for more than discovering my writing. For, this time around, Ann was helping me to discover the ability to express words off paper. Little did Ann know what a milestone--quel jalon*--this was for me to parler en publique*... and now that the author event in Paris is over, I can finally admit to a big secret:

I passed out the first time I spoke publicly.

And one more secret:
I passed out the second time (years later), too!

Back then, before an audience of peers, my heart began to thump wildly, my skin began to cry a light coat of cowardice, my bones beat (as if they had hearts of their very own) beneath my now soaking skin, and my head clouded up, only to spin... Next thing I knew I was staring at the blurry ceiling above me, my head having hit the floor.... J'étais tombée dans les pommes!*

I have avoided public speaking ever since.

But when Ann contacted me about the Paris speaking event, back in June, I made a decision that I was not going to let this fear control me any longer -- or keep me from enjoying the opportunities that have come my way (though I had spoken in Paris once before, before a group of writers, I have canceled speaking events in France, and avoided them back in the States).

Motivated now to move beyond my crippling fear, I enlisted a coach: Coach Conchita to be exact.

Coach Conchita (a.k.a. "Mom," who lives in Mexico) and I practiced for one intensive week before the event. Coach Conchita, if she had been present in person (our sessions took place via internet and over the phone) would have been wearing a felt fedora with a lengthy purple feather, a leopard poncho, and spurs on her polished boots, that is -- if she had had the luxury -- but luxury (in the material sense, for Mom's spirit is solid gold) left her some time ago. Lately she is trying to keep afloat after the swine flu fiasco which has brought ruin to her fellow compatriots and to herself.

To keep her thoughts and mind off this trying time, Mom generously threw all of her energies into forming me and there began her own signature boot camp ... for would-be speakers who, by fear, have cramped.

During Coach's colorful sessions, I drank in her every word, practiced her every point. I did this religiously as my Coach's name might imply: Coach Conchita, who had set me free 41 years ago, was about to send me on my way again and I went willingly with an enthusiastic amen!

I wanted so badly to overcome the angoisse.*  I was motivated, finally. But when Coach ordered me to film my practice episodes, I almost balked. I didn't want to see my nerves on film (just as one hates to hear one's voice on tape). Mom persevered, giving me instructions on how to hold up... and how not to cower down. Her advice was so fun and funny that I almost forgot my fears. Some of her tips:

SAUTER:*
(Mom writes): First of all I want you to jump up and down about ten times before you even come onto the screen - I want to see color in your cheeks and feel life!

HAVE FUN
Pretend you have had 3 glasses of wine and you are telling a new friend the story.  Speak to just one friend you want to entertain with this story - glitter and giggle and smile and laugh.  

LET YOURSELF GO!
Let down all of the screens you are hiding behind and... LET IT RIP !!!!

Coach Conchita offered many golden tips and I followed them all to the T until I could not wait to pass this latest life test -- and try out my new orator's ailes.* 

Finally, it would be ungrateful of me not to share a remarkable remedy that worked for me:
I prayed that panic right out of my little heart... 

Comments are welcome and appreciated! Click here to respond to this post. Thanks, again, to Ann Mah (please see Ann's forthcoming novel) and the équipe at the American Library, for the warm welcome. Thanks also to Catherine Sanderson, who spoke at this event about her books (Petite Anglaise and French Kissing). Catherine was brave to show up (she is due to have her second child any day now). Best wishes to the family.

 

The Puppy Profiles continue...
Five of Braise's puppies found homes, but our golden girl put her foot down when it came time to give away the only boy. (Well, that's my story, anyway...) The fact is, we had always hoped to keep one of the babies.

golden retriever puppy, month old, france (c) Kristin Espinasse, french-word-a-day.com
Meet "Smokey" (who was to be named "Jackson"... until the kids met another Golden Retriever on our vacation in Austria. Its owner explained how she came to name her golden "Smokey":

"My husband is a fireman," she said.

There are no pompiers in our family, but that didn't keep us from warming to the Austrian woman's story... and to the name Smokey.

Shopping:

Pizza herbes

Herbes de Provence (Special for Pizza) in Crock:
Herbes picked in Provence with a blend of Oregano, Thyme, Basil & Marjoram

Pre de Provence Lavender Soap. Imported from France: Pré de Provence, literally translated, means "Meadow of Provence." Transport yourself there with this triple milled


Tune Up Your French :
This book is structured around numerous key areas for improvement, covering everything from tricky grammatical structures to gestures, slang, and humor.

Map of French Cheese (Fromages de France) on Printed Towel:
Printed with a map showing France through their famous cheeses

Thank you for the time you've just spent reading this French word story. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next letter, please know that a one-time contribution helps me continue doing what I love most: improving these posts. Your support is vivement apprécié. Donating via PayPal is fast and easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! 
♥ Send $10    
  ♥ Send $25    
    ♥ Send the amount of your choice


"I’m a high school French teacher, and I love how your blog gives me everyday vocabulary and glimpses of French character and tradition. Your gentle expression of your faith and rare transparency of emotion inspire me."
--Melanie