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Entries from November 2009

Carte de Fidelite

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Name this photo (taken in the nearby village of Suze la Rousse)

 


la carte de fidélité (lah kart deuh fee del ee tay) noun, feminine

    : rewards card, discount card (loyalty card)

Audio File and Example Sentence: Download Wav or Download MP3

Avec votre carte de fidélité, vous recevrez dix pourcent de réduction.
With your rewards card, you receive a ten percent discount.

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

Waiting in the supermarket checkout line, I overhear the man in front of me flirt with la caissière.

"Non, je ne suis jamais fidèle!" he boasts, and his eyes brighten like a predator having zeroed in on his proie. Those same self-satisfied eyes leave the young cashier, to fall upon the forty-something femme in line behind him. Hands in his pockets, his heels lift, then touch the ground, lift, touch the ground with one, two, three counts of immodesty, baby.

Next, Monsieur I'm Too Sexy for this Supermarché, swings his big ego eyes over to the cashier—then back to forty-something me—for a conspiratorial glance. I look away, no conspiratorial glance receiver am I! 

The adolescent boy, standing next to his flirting father, looks as if he'd rather be passing the dreadful BAC, cleaning out his closet, or sitting through a six-course meal with the former monks at his private Catholic collège—he would rather be anywhere but here, listening to his father drag la caissière.

Eventually, the caissière responds to the shopper-seducer's comment, by an abrupt handing over of the credit-card receipt and a sarcastic smile. With that, our playboy trots off.

When it is my turn to be greeted by la caissière, I receive another conspiratorial glance.
"Ils disent tous ça!" the cashier complains. "All the guys that come here say the same thing: 'Je ne suis pas fidèle'!"

'Ce n'est pas tellement original!" she says, referring to all the customers who have come up with the same recycled retort. I nod, sympathetically, but our conspiracy is short-lived when the caissière switches swiftly back to business mode and fires off the same question that had, only moments ago, caused her such a hassle:

"Vous avez une carte de fidélité?"

***
Post note: Just like Mr I'm Too Sexy for this Supermarket, I realized, soon after, that I, too, had forgotten my carte de fidélité... only I didn't trot out of the store, as he did, but was a bit bummed to not get credit for all those groceries.

Comments Welcome & Appreciated: click here

French Vocabulary

la caissière (f) = cashier; non, je ne suis jamais fidèle = no, I am never faithful; la proie (f) = prey; la femme (f) = woman; le supermarché (m) = supermarket; le BAC (baccalauréat) = French exam / school leaving certificate (high school diploma); le collège = junior high school; ils disent tous ça = they all say that 

***

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Mediterranean Island Life (c) Kristin Espinasse

A Day in a Dog's Life...
by Braise and Smokey

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Day-old baguettes just hit the spot... a step up from those sticks, anyway.

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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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--Melanie


s'egarer

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"Winter Provisions"

s'égarer (ay gar ay) verb

    : to lose one's way

French Verb Conjugation:
je m'égare, tu t'égares, il s'égare, nous nous égarons, vous vous égarez, ils s'égarent pp= égaré

 


ne nous égarons pas!
= let's stick to the point!

s'égarer du droit chemin = to stray from the straight and narrow

s'égarer dans des détails = to lose oneself in details
 

...More expressions in the Robert Collins Dictionnaire

 

 

 Audio File & Example Sentence: Download Wav or Download MP3

Nos invitées se sont égarées sur le chemin qui amène au Domaine Rouge-Bleu. Our guests lost their way along the road that leads to Domaine Rouge-Bleu.
;

RECHERCHER... S'EGARER... TROUVER!
The Road to Domaine Rouge-Bleu

by Suzanne Dennis... with Margaret et Portia
 
Late in the afternoon … late in September … our last full day in Provence … we set out to find Domaine Rouge-Bleu.  We included my mother Portia, my sister Margaret, and me.  We had dinner reservations in Gigondas … but first … a long-anticipated visit with Kristin and Jean-Marc Espinasse. After years of following Kristin’s blog, reading her book, and watching Jean-Marc’s progress with their vineyard and wines, we were looking forward to finally meeting the Espinasse family and to tasting their wines.
 


Suzanne5
Staying in the lovely Maison des Pelerins in Sablet not far from Ste. Cecile les Vignes, and remembering Kristin’s offer to just call when we were in Provence to arrange a visit, I realized we had arrived at the height of la vendange!   Each morning when we opened our windows, we could see the grape gathering in the vineyards below Sablet.  As we drove through the countryside, we saw the grapes ready to be picked and also the bounty of the harvest piled into orange carts traveling from vineyard to cave.  What was a delight for us I knew was incredibly hard work for Kristin and Jean-Marc. This was confirmed when reading Kristin’s posts and seeing her photos.  La vendange AND puppies … surely the Espinasses did not need to have us descend upon them.  Mais, non! 


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Kristin invited us to come and emailed a map that, without a printer, I had to replicate by hand.  I didn’t copy it exactly leaving off a lot of side roads.  Because of my shorthand, we became lost. We turned around at a collège, stopped at a pizzeria, and I inquired at un marché.

Because I only understood some of what the helpful residents of Ste. Cecile les Vignes told me in rapid French, we winged it and began to search!

 

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(photo: Margaret)
I thought I was leading my sister (who was driving) and my mom on a wild goose chase.  We drove down a dirt road into “no man’s land” amidst vineyards but thankfully turned around before offending anyone or being chased off. I turned to my sister suggesting, “It’s ok; let’s just go to Gigondas. I will email Kristin and apologize.”  (Our cell phone had lost power so we couldn’t phone from the road).  Margaret looked sternly at me and said, “This is the one thing you have wanted to do since arriving in Provence so we will find Domaine Rouge-Bleu.”  I had been calling out the names on Kristin’s map along the way and at the point when I was ready to abandon our search, Mom said, “There’s the sign!”  And indeed it was.  Mom had spied the pancarte and we knew we had found the right road.


 

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In minutes we arrived at our destination.   Jean-Marc greeted us with a warm “Bienvenue” and escorted us to a table under the tree, where we joined a couple from Los Angeles, and Kristin, who was holding one of the puppies (Sugar).


 

Suzanne
(left to right: Margaret, Sugar, Angela and Bob Fowler, Portia, Jean-Marc, Suzanne)


Over the course of an hour, as the sun began to set and a light Mistral stirred the leaves, we tasted wines, gazed out at the lovely countryside agreeing with Kristin that it looks a lot like Tuscany.  We had set out from Sablet to find the Espinasses, we lost our way and had to search, and finally discovered warm and welcoming people, lovely wines, and the most splendid way to spend our last evening in Provence.  And of course we brought a little bit of Provence back home with us … the wines of Domaine Rouge-Bleu!
  

***


Suzanne Dennis grew up in Monrovia, CA, but now lives in Monroe Township, NJ, just east of Princeton. She is a senior administrator at Brooklyn Law School in Brooklyn Heights (oldest neighborhood in NYC). Suzanne and Margaret's mother, Portia, were born in Duluth, MN, and grew up in Nashwauk, MN and So. CA.  She was a Navy WAVE in WWII stationed on Treasure Island, San Francisco, where she met her husband, an ensign in the Navy.  She now lives in Durham, NC, and is writing her memoirs.

Margaret Dennis was born and raised in Southern California. She moved to Durham, NC, in 1997 to take a position at Duke University. On the side, she sells antiques in Hillsborough, NC. Yes, her luggage was filled with "finds" from brocantes and puces in Paris and Provence!


Each September, Suzanne, Margaret, and their mother, Portia, travel together, they having been to Canada, Oxfordshire and Devonshire, Paris, Venice and Provence.


Thank you for leaving a message for these ladies in the comments box. (And please wish Margaret, who is recovering from a cold) "bon rétablissement"! Don't we all wish we had a sibling like Margaret, one who reminds us of our chemin... just when we are about to make a U-turn... and give up on our goal.

This just in... Angela and Bob's response:

Hi Suzanne ~ Yes, we are here! We, too, got lost that afternoon trying to find Domaine Rouge-Bleu. Fortunately, while driving home after picking up her children at school, Kristin spotted us parked at the side of a country road (trying to interpret that infamous map!) and led us the rest of the way, getting there just a few minutes before your arrival. But the frustration was well worth it -- such a warm, friendly welcome by Kristin and Jean-Marc -- and such great wine (and adorable little puppy!) It's not often that tourists have an opportunity to experience even a little slice of real life in France. Our bottles of Rouge-Bleu didn't make it past our next stop, near Lyon, visiting the family of a high school girl who stayed with us two summers ago to work on her English. (Fortunately, we have a source at a wine store a half-hour drive from our home -- how lucky can one be!) As we told Kristin, we thought it might be a faux pas to give a gift of wine from one region to those in another (they live in the heart of the Beaujolais), but they said absolutely not -- they loved it. We enjoyed meeting you, your sister and mother -- and Bob especially enjoyed chatting and sipping wine with Portia! We thank you and Kristin for posting this little story as a reminder of our visit. And we wish you, Margaret and Portia many more years of such wonderful family vacations. Angela and Bob Fowler Monterey Park, California


French Vocabulary


la vendange (f) = harvest; la cave (f) = cellar; mais non = not at all; le collège = junior high school; le marché = market; la pancarte (f) = (road) sign;
la bienvenue (f) = welcome 

 

***

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And here's a puppy healing update for Becky: Smokey is full of flageolets (or beans, if you like). He is one jumping, burglar barking, puppy machine (by this, I do not mean "maker of puppies", no! I mean he just keeps on going -- as a paper shredder (so long Arizona Highways, goodbye William Blake), a stuffing sucker (au revoir couch cushion), or a  meuble muncher (that little antique bassinet... the one in which we store books and magazines? It now sports a few new "etchings"). I guess you could say Smokey's got all of his energy back and then some. As for his wounds, they continue to heal. Some things take time.

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"Réserve de Chasse" (and Vines on Fire) just outside the town center of Sainte Cécile.

English Grammar for Students of French: The Study Guide for Those Learning French

Clean Provence. Eau De Parfum Spray

Sweatshirt "Provence-Alpes-Cote D'azur"

Sea Salt by La Baleine -- a classic on every French table

 

 

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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--Melanie


bibi

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"Cuttings"(c) Kristin Espinasse. The bright orange leaves, fallen, along with their newly-cut branches, are like flames over nature's snowy moquette de fleurs.

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bibi (bee bee) pronoun

    : yours truly, me

Audio File & Example Sentence: Download Wav or Download MP3

Cette année, la dinde et les marrons c'est pour bibi. A moi la lourde tâche de recevoir dans la joie, la bonne humeur - et la déco adéquate bien-sûr. This year, the turkey and the chestnuts are for yours truly. Up to me the heavy chore of receiving in joy, in good humor -- and with adequate decor, of course!
                --from aufeminin.com "Bientôt les Fêtes : 10 astuces pour décorer ma maison

Questions for Bibi...
Today: a Question & Answers section!  Here is a recent question, received just last night, from Roseann:

Kristin- Do you live in a postcard shop? What is that thing to your left in the jumping photos? It looks like one of those twirl-around stands with postcards on it......... Roseann


Hi Roseann, Re that thing in the jumping photos, several people, including Laura and Christine, asked the same question, wondering, of the diversified decor, "Are you in a restaurant?".

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Though it is unlikely that I would wear my house robe to a restaurant (or, d'ailleurs, to a postcard shop...) only to set up hurdles and then jump over them, I will always aspire to greater heights of creative, cut-past-the-status-quo country life. Having only just set out on the path to unselfconsciousness... I am finding that the road to une vie sans gêne is a l-o-n-g one!

Currently, I am only comfortable wearing my bathrobe in my own bercail--or, à la limite--as far as the end of our front porch.

But, to finally answer your question...

=> No I do not live in a postcard shop (though, living in a postcard shop, whether in Phoenix or Paris, would be cool!); the photo was taken in our kitchen and partly in our front hall.

The postcard rack was a $25 find at a troc shop, in Draguignan. It doubles as a tall and twirlable photo display where family and friends are welcome to leave their photos close to our hearts (which are often in the kitchen, near the wine-for-him, chocolate-for her, cookies-and-kibbles for them, both kids and chiens): thus the strategic placement of the photo stand).

My turn to ask you all a question...
(Note to newsletter readers: Please click over to the blog to answer--and to see other answers!):

Comments
Comments and corrections are most welcome. Do you have more "Questions for Bibi"? Add them to the comments section.

French Vocabulary

une moquette (f) de fleurs = carpet of flowers; d'ailleurs = for that matter; une vie (f) sans gêne = a life without self-consciousness; le bercail (m) = fold (synonym for "home"); à la limite = at most; le troc (m) = second-hand shop; le chien (m) = dog

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***

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Current state of the Provençale landscape... it's pruning time! Fiery leaves on nature's floor... white "mustard" flowers, scented "snow" galore.

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Tra-la-la! Summer's scorched grass is gone... the flowers are back! I love to tip-toe over the fallen petals, Smokey says, after my latest edible attack!

***

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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


concours

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I took over a dozen photos of Isle sur la Sorgue on Sunday. See them in Saturday's Cinéma Vérité!

 

concours (kohn koor) noun, masculine
    : competition; examination

Audio File & Example Sentence: Download MP3 or Download Wav

Notre fille a réussi le concours de saut d'obstacle sans fautes (sans faire tomber les barres).
Our daughter succeeded in finishing the obstacle-jumping challenge without fault (without knocking down the bars).
.

A Day in a French Life...
Kristin Espinasse

For my daughter's latest concours de saut, we arose avant l'aube to drive the 45-minute journey to Isle sur la Sorgue...

The weather forecast was bleak so we wore our K-ways and brought our parapluies. After an early-morning averse we were rewarded with mild temperatures and a drizzle- and drip-free day... in time for my daughter to complete the CSO challenge sans fautes!!!

 

Aunt Marie-Françoise, Uncle Jean-Claude, and Kiwi The Canine arrived in time to félicitent our 12-year-old cavalière and to join us for a picnic of merguez, frites, and Domaine Rouge-Bleu rosé, bien sûr!

Seated in the grassy parking lot, either par terre or, if lucky, on a portable chair, we watched Jean-Marc pass around his wine to the other cavalières' parents and, comme ça, we properly celebrated our girls' performances.

Speaking of our own girl, encore bravo! Jackie!

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We left Braise and Smokey behind (grosse faute), for there were almost as many dogs at the event as horses! Our goldens would have had a blast... and loved meeting that precious bouvier bernois puppy)...

So that our dogs wouldn't be completely left out, we decided, on returning home, to re-enact the concours de saut -- or obstacles-jumping challenge! Because we are used to setting up these kinds of obstacles in our home (...), we set up the CSO course illico presto. The only new addition to our game was maman.... and maman waited patiently for her turn, just after Braise, who set the standards pretty high as you can see, here:

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I don't mean to make excuses for my own pitiful performance, but I had a housedress handicap... (After a sleepless night and an exciting day at the horse event, I couldn't wait to get home and change into my pajamas).

Anyway, I was off to a running start....

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... hoping to lift-up over the bar, with the help of my hands... My daughter had to lower the high bar (really, just a mop handle) for me and, I admit, remove the second obstacle-bar (which was actually a fishing pole.)

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On clearing the bar and landing I received félicitations from an ever-encouraging eye-witness, Braise. Cowabunga! Braise says. (In the background you can see one of Jules's paintings and the bike shebought me so that I might experience endorphins instead of "story stress". Thanks, Mom, but as you can see, I am enjoying endorphins this way, too!)

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That's Smokey, Braise's son, who cheated by passing under the bar instead of over it. Cheater, cheater, potiron eater! Just in case, let's do a replay and see if we can catch him en train de tricher... I see one paw under the bar, n'est-ce paw, n'est-ce paw!, and you?

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Fashion note: those are my son's socks and the slippers are from Jean-Marc. The robe was a find, by my belle-mère Marsha, at a troc shop in Sun Valley. My mom wore this very robe to the cancer clinic in Marseilles. Not counting the previous owner (wonder who she was?) the robe has quite a history (and quite a few holes, now that the pupster, Smokey Dokey, high-fives me each morning (missing my hand, his claws catch at my robe). My sister bought me the pj top... and the pj bottoms were purchased in the latest century (before leaving on a trip with friends, and wanting to have matching pjs. Now to get in sync and actually wear the top that goes with it...

But back to our home-style concours de saut... Here comes Jackie to steal the spotlight.

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Talk about putting Braise and me to shame! Is it any wonder that she's the one who wears the jodphurs around here? Congratulations, Mademoiselle -- we are so proud of you!

***
Many thanks to Jackie for taking the "concours" photos of Braise et moi.
Comments, corrections, weather forecasts--and stories of your own--are always welcome and enjoyed.

French Vocabulary
le concours (m) de saut
= jumping challenge; avant l'aube = before dawn; K-Way (so named after its brand, like "Kleenex")= raincoat; le parapluie (m) = umbrella; une averse (f) = shower of rain; CSO = Concours de Saut d'Obstacles; sans fautes = without fault; féliciter = to congratulate; la cavalière (le cavalier) = horsewoman, horseman; la merguez = kind of spicy sausage; une frite (f) = French fry; bien sûr = of course; parre terre = on the ground; comme ça = like that; la grosse faute = big mistake; bouvier bernois = Bernese mountain dog; illico presto = right away; la maman (f) = mom; la félicitations (f) = congratulations; le potiron (m) = pumpkin; en train de tricher = in the middle of cheating; troc = trade

 

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Les Fers à Cheval (c) Kristin Espinasse

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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


retirer

Carpet of Flowers & Cabanon (c) Kristin Espinasse
"Carpet of Flowers & Cabanon" (c) Kristin Espinasse: hundreds of French photos at Cinéma Vérite.

retirer (reuh-tee-ray) verb

    1.  to withdraw;  to take back
    2. to remove, take away
    3. to take out; to redeem
    4. to reprint (photos) 

... there are many more meanings for "retirer", add to this list, here. The verb conjugation is: je retire, tu retires, il retire, nous retirons, vous retirez, ils retirent. pp = retiré
. 

Audio File & Example Sentence: Download Wav or Download MP3

Quand mon fils m'a taquiné, en disant que j'étais vieille, ma fille a crié "retires-le!"
When my son teased me, saying that I was old, my daughter shouted, "take that back!"
.

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

I am driving the kids home from school, singing a silly French chanson--something I have just made up, based on the latest grammar correction I've received from my French son--when the latter puts a stop to my singing.

"Bon, ça suffit!" Max implores me to arrêter and, with that, I pull a very long, comically sad face.

"Oh, you look so old!" Max teases, "when you make a face like that!"
My mouth drops even lower and my eyes are now great big bawling balls.

"Max!" Jackie protests, "RETIRE LE!"
"So old! SO OLD!" Max repeats, ignoring my darling defender.

My mouth drops even lower, so low that it might reach my clavicule if the jabber jabbing continues.
"Old, old, old," Max snickers, stealing a surreptitious glance, to see whether he's hit a nerve, by chance...

(Oh, he might have hit just the littlest nerve, but mostly he's hit a funny bone!)


I continue to make funny faces, but my daughter, in the back seat, is taking things a little more personally.

"RETIRE LE!" she orders her brother, determined to defend me (or, simply, determined to have a young mom?). From the back of the car, Jackie grabs her brother's long locks:

"RETIRE LE!!!" she demands.
"Vieille! vieille! vieille!" my son snorts, undeterred by his sister's claws.

That's it! There's a limit to my half-baked humility, wizened woman I am not.

(Enter Aggravated Ego!...)

With one hand on the wheel, I reach over and pinch hold of the freckled French nose to my right.

"TAKE THAT BACK!" I order my son.
"RETIRE-LE!" Jackie repeats, menacingly.

But apparently my son is a martyr, for he would rather be tortured tress-less, pinched peau*-less, than give in to a couple of raging and aging opponents.
.

***
Comments welcome here--and thanks for telling us from which city you are writing (and how's the weather?)
.
French Vocabulary

la chanson (f) = song; bon, ça suffit! = alright, that's enough!; arrêter = to stop; retire-le! = take that back!; la clavicule (f) = collarbone; vieille (vieux) = old; la peau (f) = skin

 

"A DEMAIN"
by Jean-Marc Espinasse

Mercredi dernier, la France a obtenu sa place pour participer à la prochaine Coupe du Monde de Football.

Cette qualification s'est faite dans la douleur face à une vaillante équipe d'Irlande qui aurait aussi bien mérité de l'emporter. Mais cette victoire est surtout entachée d'une grossière double faute de main de la part de Thierry Henry qui a fait la passe décisive au buteur.


"Deux mains" consécutives sur le ballon, comment l'arbitre n'a t-il pas vu cela ?

A l'heure où les caméras vidéos sont partout dans le stade pour filmer le match, comment se fait-il que l'on n'autorise pas la vidéo dans ce genre de rencontre capitale ?

Tradition vous diront certains. Et bien aussi traditionaliste que je puisse être, je pense que la vidéo aurait plusieurs aspects intéressants dans le Football.

En premier lieu, cela empêcherait les éventuelles corruptions d'arbitres car à chaque action litigieuse, les 4 arbitres se concerteraient devant le « replay »avant de prendre une décision. Ensuite, pendant la rediffusion de la vidéo, les joueurs pourraient se reposer et se parler. Enfin, la télévision pourrait passer quelques spots de publicité pendant la prise de décision, ce qui financerait par exemple des caméras vidéo supplémentaires.

Le Rugby, sport encore plus traditionnel a adopté la vidéo depuis bien longtemps et cela a été un franc succès.

Pour ce qui est du Football, la vidéo semble reportée à..."deux mains".

Homework:
Translate Jean-Marc's article. If you feel your translation is correct, then please help us all out by sharing it in the comments box. Merci!

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Smokey's infected bumps are receding. The clay cataplasm (that the vet authorized!) is working, along with the antibiotics. Thanks to everyone who wrote in with tips and information. I will be sure to keep you updated on Mr. Smoke's progress. For now, enjoy these photos of our "puppy pleaser" (here with my daughter). As you can see, he is so eager to obey (or simply, to get that treat)!

Our little golden is also full of energy as witnessed by the full-impact welcome I receive each morning, after Smokey lands, four paws and full force, on top of me the moment I enter the cuisine for my much-needed morning coffee. From now on the coffee will have to wait!

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When you buy products from Amazon, via the following links, you help support this French word journal at no extra cost to you. Thanks for remembering to click over to Amazon via any of the links in this blog or newsletter. Three suggestions for today:

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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


se tirer

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Escape with me to Suze-la-Rousse (pictured here) and here!
.

se tirer (seuh tee ray) verb

    : to escape, to get (oneself) out of, to make tracks

se tirer tout juste = to just scrape by (financially)

Audio File & Example Sentence: Download Wav or Download MP3

Allez, on se tire!
Come on, let's get out of here!

 

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

Have you ever been a guest in a house that looked like a museum? I have... just last night!

The floors were polished stone, the walls were glass and so was the plafond!* The well-heeled hostess with the high hair and savoir-faire* was showing me around, when she paused and made a request.
"Would you go and get the plateau de fromage?"* With that she pointed straight on, to a vast corridor. I thought about how grand the house was, and how far one had to go... just to change rooms and get a plateau; this, to me, was the downside of "upscale" living.

Much obliged, I left the kitchen... passing by the cooking island, and the second refrigerator, and the second dishwasher... to the second pantry.

Midway down the hall, I entered a dark garde-manger,* where I saw two more doors. I headed to the one pouring out lumière* over the pantry's floor.

I could just glimpse the cheese platter on the counter beyond, a table-top made of wood particles -- nothing like the glimmering comptoir* in the first kitchen.

Entering, I noticed how narrow the room was, un endroit si étroit* that it must be only for storing things on shelves.... narrow like a library aisle, even slighter.

Just looking at the room made me uneasy--claustrophobic--and so I quickly went to collect the cheese platter, only the room was so slight, the ceiling so low, that I could hardly move forward to fetch le plateau.

Reaching for the platter, I noticed there was a sink... and even a stovetop with a pan and some fried eggs in it. But how was there room enough to cook in this antechamber? And was that our lunch? If so, who cooked it? And how could somebody be made to work in such a tiny area -- when there was a spacious kitchen farther on?

I was beginning to wonder about our hostess, but remembered that things are not always as they seem -- perhaps she herself cooked our meal from this tiny chamber -- so as to keep the main cuisine* pristine?

I quickly left the room and found my way--down the hall and past a palatial entrée*--to the dining room table, where the high-haired hostess was busy talking about the history of the house, who the architect was... and what you called this kind of style... of house that went on mile after mile.

Another guest arrived, carrying a platter of drinks. The hostess quickly responded to the intrusion: "Just set them there!" she said, showing her impatience at being interrupted.

As the hostess talked on, I focused on the floor-to-ceiling glass windows, and thought about the trouble in caring for them all -- yet another downer in upscale living, I guessed.

"How often do you have to wash these windows?" I inquired.
Every Saturday, she replied. "We have a laveur de vitres".*

I thought about the window washer and wondered whether it was the same person who left the frying pan on the stove, before disappearing somewhere. But where?

I looked over at the guest who had just set down the drinks tray, wondering Was she really an invitée?*

"How long does it take your laveur de vitres to do the job?" I was curious to know.
"All day," Madame replied, before changing subjects back to the history of her house.

It was true that our hostess had a remarkable house, even if there were a few quirks, but I longed to return to my own chez moi.*

In spite of the size of the room, I began to feel the need for space--and oxygen--so when the hostess reclined in her chair and fell back into her coma of conversation, I slipped over to one of the French doors, slid it quietly open, and gasped for air.

Next, I turned to the other guest and whispered: Allez, on se tire!* Let's get the heck out of here!

***

(So much for last night's dream.)


Thanks to those of you who left answers in the comments box, explaining the difference between "un rêve" and "un songe". If I understood correctly... un rêve (like the one in today's story) is something that we do when we sleep. "Un songe," on the other hand, is something we do when we're awake, as in "daydream". Any more thoughts on dreams and daydreams? Your thoughts are welcome in the comments box.

French Vocabulary

le plafond (m) = ceiling; le savoir-faire (m) know-how, expertise; le plateau (m) de fromage = cheese tray; le garde-manger (m) = pantry; la lumière (f) = light; le comptoir (m) counter; un endroit (m) si étroit = such a narrow area; la cuisine (f) = kitchen; une entrée (f) = entrance; laveur (laveuse) de vitre =window cleaner (person); une invitée (un invité) = guest; chez moi ("my chez moi "== my home; Allez, on se tire! = Come on! Let's get out of here!

***

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.

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Words in a french life

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

French language software:
Rosetta Stone Personal Edition... recreates the natural way you learned your first language, revealing skills that you already have.

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"Curtain Braid" (photo taken in Suze-la-Rousse). How to you like your home: cozy or contemporary. Answers here, in the comments box.
.

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Braise and Smokey Dokey, nap time again... and again. Those are Christmas Crackers -- just arrived from England, sent by friends Kate and David (their daughter, Amanda, bought our sweet village home in St. Maximin, some ten years ago). They've since sold it and moved on... but our friendship continues. See the shadow on the chest? Those would be my bike's handlebars! Also pictured: A love note from my daughter, a painting from my mom, a horse drawing from my daughter...

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


reve

Wings & Bars (c) Kristin Espinasse
Ever dream you could fly or jump from sky to sky? Photo taken in Morocco: enjoy more pictures!

.
un rêve (rev) noun, masculine

    : dream

un rêve d'enfance/d'enfant/de gosse = a childhood dream
tu peux rêver! = Dream on!
rêvé(e) = ideal, perfect
un rêve qui devient réalité = a dream come true
...do you know of other expressions? Thanks for sharing them with us, here.

.

Audio File: Download Wav or Download MP3

Y a-t-il une différence entre "un rêve" et "un songe"? Partagez vos réponses, ici.
Is there a difference between "un rêve" and "un songe"? Share your answer, here.
.

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


In the past week I have picked up a new bedtime habit: the imbibing of copious amounts of cocoa. So much chocolate do I measure into my steamed milk, that by the time I drink to the bottom of the cup, the rest must be spooned up!

I wonder whether it is the chocolat chaud* that is giving me such vivid rêves?* ...Dreams in which I am forever walking, chasing or being chased by things.

Being a rêveuse,* nighttime is my favorite part of the day.
"This is my favorite time of day!" I say to my daughter, as we tuck ourselves into bed, first she, then, further down the hall, I.

I just can't wait to see what the mind has stirred up for the big screen that is my dreams. Across green pastures and through busy souks, I am at once peaceful or terribly spooked.

"Where did you come up with that?" I often ask the director behind the dreams.
"Ah," says she, "'tis but a remix of the day's happenings."

***

Comments
Do you remember what you dreamed about last night? Did you dream in French or English, in color or in black and white? Comment, here.


French Vocabulary

le chocolat chaud (m) = hot chocolate; un rêve (m) = dream; une rêveuse (un rêveur) = dreamer

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DSC_0001
I took this photo on Saturday morning, on the way home from the (second) veterinarian's where I got more antibiotics for Smokey... and more conflicting advice. The wound beneath his eye has gone down, but the wound beneath his "chin" is still full. Will be heading back to the vet's again soon... to think about Kathy's advice (from the comments box) to:

...ask the vet whether he/she can sedate the pup and 'debride' (dee-BREED) the wounds thoroughly. This means an aggressive cleaning of the infection and removing any dead tissue as a result of the infection...

***
Re comments and emails: I am reading each and every one and regret not being able to answer personally, at this time. I enjoy and appreciate every note you send! Thank you!

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See his wounds on the left, beneath the eye -- and on the bumpy right, above the mouth.

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Still, he is full of beans, our Smokey (here, pretending to be a donkey). As for that bone, Smokey says: "And me? And ME?"

Update on the clay treatment: the vet said this is fine -- but to keep the clay off the sore's opening. I'm finding it tricky, now, to apply the clay and spare the open "plaie"! So I have abandoned clay for the moment and am keeping the wounds clean. .. though one of the wounds has a very small opening (with a big pulpy area beneath it!) The vet questions whether the wounds were closed (remember those staples?) too soon (taking with them some fur and other debris...). This is why Kathy's "debreeding" advice, above, makes a lot of sense to me.

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


la guerison

DSC_0024
A Higher Love : something only God and Dogs (and all pure-hearted creatures in between...) can teach.

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la guérison (gair-ee-zohn) noun, feminine

    : healing

en voie de guérison = getting better
la guérison par la foi = faith healing
la guérison rapide = rapid recovery

Audio File & Example Sentence: Download Wav or Download MP3

Pour tous ces cas, le traitement à l'argile... complète le soin pour accélérer la guérison et permettre une rapide cicatrisation. For all these cases, the clay treatment completes the care for accelerating healing and permits rapid closing up (of wounds).

--"Argilothérapie: un trésor de bienfait également pour nos animaux," Le Monde Francophone du Chien - Nov 8, 2006


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

La guérison continues... If Smokey is oblivious to his oozing scrapes, this is because, like most "kids" his age, he's too busy playing to take notice of his plaies.*

One of Smokey's favorite games is "Jouer à Faire Semblant"* (he loves to pretend he is a Kangaroo!). Boy, can our boy jump! I regret to not have any photos of Smokey The Kangaroo in action. Meantime, here are some slide-by-slide images of our thrice-daily routine, wherein our kitchen comptoir* is transformed into Care Clinic Supreme:

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There's our (Kangaroo) outpatient, patiently awaiting his clay cataplasm. But first we need to clean his wounds... Currently we are using eau oxygenée,* though I hear (thanks to readers sharing knowledge in the comments box) that gentle soap and water is better, for the hydrogen peroxide is pretty harsh on the newly regenerated cells.

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Looks can be deceiving "King Kanga" (as Smokey fancies himself) is not so sad as he seems—he just hates that word on the box to his right, the one that rhymes with "peril".

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Here we have "Kanga The Conqueror" jumping to it -- or simply standing up so that we might reach the second wound, there above his neck (where he had a half-dozen staples removed after the two-dog attack, four weeks ago). Kanga kindly, patiently, lets me apply the green mud, after the peroxide. (I have wet the powdered clay, which comes in the form of marble-size "pebbles". Aunt Marie-Françoise suggests setting the dry clay in the sun, before wetting it, to absorb even more healing properties, vitamins, I guess...).

As soon as the clay dries on Smokey's face, I notice the thick white bead forming on top of the dried clay: it is the infection, having been expressly pulled from the inside out! I dab the infected "pearl" with a clean towel, to dry the area, and re-apply the wet clay. "Pearl" after white pearl, the infection is leaving our puppy's wound.

(Re photos, click to enlarge... In the above photo, note the tea pot, in case Smokey fancies a cuppa. He fancies a lot of things, especially things with strings -- like that he got the better... of my favorite robe and sweater!)

Back to "mud," we are using green clay. For those of you who wrote in, alarmed, and wondering whether I had, in desperation, run out to the river bed to collect copious amount of diseased dirt -- no worries: I am using "argile brute séléctionnée" (carefully selected and quality-controlled "argiletz" clay).

After applying the clay, the wet "poultice" (this is a new word for me... thanks to "The Other Jean-Marc" and other commentators, who thoughtfully wrote in...) quickly dries... and ends up on our floor. I don't mind the clay covering our floor and ending up in bits and dust. In fact, I am hoping the clay's "pulling" qualities (which are working so well, I can attest, to drain our pup's infection!) will suck out those grease stains (see them there, beneath the chair, in the photo just below?). Jean-Marc thinks they'll just disappear on their own... those stains, and that our terracotta (clay...) floors are pulling them in. Every time my husband fries (and spills something) he says the same: no worries, ça disparaîtra! As if, by hocus pocus! Sounds hokey to me!

Then again, neither of us can now deny the "pulling" powers of poultice. 

***
Comments welcome, click here! Please use the comments box (as my inbox is limping at the moment... from the weight of unanswered email... and guilt).

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Oh, do I have plans for those newly-roasted peppers which are currently marinating (skinless now) in a bath of thyme, rosemary, and savory... and olive oil from our friends at Mas de Martin! (And garlic power, too. I was too impatient, this time, to cut up fresh garlic.)

Plan A is to cut up the peppers and put them in the next olive cake (or olive "loaf" if you prefer) along with feta cubes.... Plan B is to take half the peppers and make pipérade (I have no idea what that is, but I think the name is funny. I'll make an "au pif" ("by guesswork") Provence version, with inspiration from my belle-mère's tapenade recipe... Voilà Provence + Tapenade = Pipérade!

What would *you* do with these red and yellow roasted peppers? Comments and recipes welcome!

French Vocabulary

une plaie (f) = wound; jouer à faire semblant = to play make believe; le comptoir (m) = counter; l'eau (f) oxygenée = hydrogen peroxide

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***

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A Little Bit of France : (a gift basket with gourmet French favorites). See the selection here.

Paris quiz Paris Quiz: How Well Do You Know Paris?
This fun book is a perfect stocking stuffer, the perfect book to take to Paris to use for a scavenger hunt, and perfect for the armchair traveler who loves trivia. There are more than 400 multiple-choice questions, by arrondissement, ranging from obscure lore to facts about well-known buildings, streets, and statues with fascinating and often humorous histories.

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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


argile

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"Le Roupillon" (The Snooze) : the healing qualities of rest. Smokey, leaning a sore cheek on mamma's fur, so soft and sleek.

 
argile (ar-zheel) noun, feminine

    : clay
.

Audio File & Example Sentence: Download Wav or Download MP3

Tous nous sommes faits d'une même argile, mais ce n'est pas le même moule. We are all made of the same clay, but not the same mould. --Mexican proverb


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

 

It has been 4 weeks since the attack and our puppy's wounds are still open. After several visits to the vet, who assured us all is well, we are still concerned about our dog's recovery -- especially after the feedback of friends.

One reader wrote in to tell me that her dog, having survived three more months after an attack, eventually succumbed to its infected wounds.... Another reader warned that, due to the location of the plaies* (near to the brain), we must be persistent in clearing up this infection -- lest it get into the blood stream and cause brain damage

Needless to say, we are anxious for Smokey to heal, illico presto!* I will be taking him back to the vet. Meantime, Aunt Marie-Françoise, who helped us with yesterday's mise-en-bouteille,* has prepared a healing pack for our puppy: argile!*

Marie-Françoise related to us several first-hand temoignages* on the efficacy of argile. It began with her own dog, who was scheduled to have its leg amputated after an infection reached the bone and began ravaging it. As a last resort, my aunt applied a clay pack to the wound. The argile, she explained, pulled the infection right out! Each time she changed the clay, she could see the pus. The last few changes of the dried clay contained only a rose-colored liquid: the healing was complete. When she returned to the doctor to view the X-Rays, the latter was speechless: Ce n'est pas le même chien que vous m'amenez, Madame!* My aunt assured him it was. Her dog's bone had reconstituted itself as the infection cleared. The bone went from "cotton" to costaud!*

Marie-Françoise shared two more incidents in which argile treated a deep wound. In one case, a child walking along the beach stepped on a needly oursin.* One of the urchin's needles was driven in, beneath the skin,  impossible to remove. My aunt wrapped the child's foot in argile, which eventually dried, pulling out the needle from deep inside!

A similar case involved a foot injury, this time the foot belonging to a hunting dog who had followed its master deep into a thick patch of roseau.* The bamboo-like reeds were broken in bits along the ground and one of these bits got stuck, painfully, between the "fingers" of the dog's patte.* The long and thick splinter was lodged deep into the dog's foot... until Marie-Françoise made up an argile paste and wrapped the dog's wound. The splinter was sucked right out thanks to the "pulling" properties of clay!

Like that, our Smokey is covered in green argile on the left side of his face and just below his jaw. I will be taking him back to the vet soon, for a professional avis.* Meantime, please keep our pup in your prayers and mille mercis, mes amis,* for your letters, comments, and healing remedies. I have read each and every email and comment and regret not having the chance to get back to you at this time.

Amicalement,

Kristin

In books: Living Clay: Nature's Own Miracle Cure & products: French Green Powder Clay or Indian Healing Clay

Comments are most welcome. Mom and I agree that your words and stories are the best part of French Word-A-Day. We love learning what city you're are writing in from (this was my dad's excellent idea) and the local weather report, too!

Corrections are always appreciated -- and most often needed! Add them to the comments box, or send them to me directly.

French Vocabulary
illico presto = right away; la mise-en-bouteille (f) = bottling; l'argile (f) = clay; le témoignage (m) = testimony; Ce n'est pas le même chien que vous m'amenez, Madame! = This is not the same dog that you have brought me, Madame!; costaud(e) = strong; un oursin (m) = sea urchin; le roseau (m) = reed; la patte (f) = paw; un avis (m) = opinion; mille mercis, mes amis = a thousand thanks, friends; amicalement = warmly (kind regards)

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Un, Deux, Trois: First French Rhymes:
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Pictures from Yesterday's Bottling

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That's my gorgeous husband (who recorded today's sound file. Did you listen to it?). If you could put a voice to this photo, that voice would be saying "Veuillez acheter mon vin?" Would you please buy my wine? (Here are some locations, places in the U.S.A. and Europe, in which to buy Domaine Rouge-Bleu!

And, below, Aunt Marie-Françoise (middle), and Babé (bah-bay) right.

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It was cold (we bottled the wine outside, on board the rented bottling truck)! We all had our bonnets on! The black and green bonnet that I am wearing was a gift (for my son...) from a reader in New Zealand. Thanks, Sarah!

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...10,000 bottles waiting to be filled, three ladies overly chilled! It took all day to do the work.

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One of our mascots, "Kiwi" (my cousin Audrey's dog. Buongiorno Cousin Audrey, over there in Italy. Thank you for your Facebook message!)

Uncle Jean-Claude, below (yikes, I forgot to ask permission to post Uncle's photos. I hope that's okay). He turned 70 recently. I wished him belated happy birthday, yesterday, to which he replied, 'I've gotten over a hurdle (in French: "J'ai passé un cap!" Notice he also has a cap on his head. Oh, the cold we suffered at yesterday's bottling!)

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Rouge-Bleu Winery Visits: Readers tell their stories
Still up for some stories about life here at the grape farm? Read Larry Krakauer's report about his visit to our winery. He brought his lovely wife, Margie, along with him. See all of the photos at his site.

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


petit boulot

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My brother-in-law, Jacques, modeled for me in time to snap this picture of our latest récolte: olives!


petit boulot (peuh tee boo lo) noun, masculine

    : little job

Audio File & Example Sentence:  Download Wav or Download MP3

C'était quoi votre premier petit boulot?
What was your first job?

.

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

I sometimes wonder what my children's occupations would be, had we lived, instead, aux États-Unis.*

Would my daughter be a paper boy (the little mêtier* that brought me so much joy)? Would my son bus tables for a $1.81 an hour? I'll never forget the greasy stench on my clothes, how I couldn't wait to return home and shower.

At nine I delivered the news, and at 14 I refilled coffee cups, self-esteem buoyed by all those thank-yous! I liked being in contact with people and I know my kids will enjoy the same.

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Meantime, we live on a farm
... and work with grapes... and a few olives.... That makes my 14-year-old a seasonal vigneron* and an occasional olive catcher:

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Max, searching for olives.

The pros of olive-catching include a clean-air environment (no breathing in exhaust fumes when standing on a street corner, pitching the Sunday news)...

And the occasional offer to aider* ...as when an uncle shows up, unexpectedly, with a helpful hand or two.

Both jobs are made sufferable by grateful remerciements* which, had we lived... after all... in the Etats Unis, would still equal a simple thank you.

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"Uncle Jacques" 

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Question / Comments :

I'm curious to know: What was your first job? Please put your answer in the comments box -- for all to enjoy!

Corrections
...are most welcome! Please check the blog first, in case I have already updated it with changes!

French Vocabulary
les États-Unis (mpl) = United States; la récolte (f) = harvest, gathering; le métier (m) = job; le vigneron (m) = wine farmer; aider = to help; le remerciement (m) = thanks, thanking

***

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.

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Pronounce It Perfectly in French: presents exercises in sound discrimination and accurate sound creation

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"Smokey Dokey"

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I could not get our puppy to pose in front of the keys... let alone say "cheese"....

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I take that back... Smokey was a very good poser.
T'was the camera lens that lacked the poetry of Chaucer...

As for "how's Smokey doing?": he has two worrisome wounds that continue to fill up and empty out. He is still on antibiotics and we are keeping him clean with hydrogen peroxide or eau oxygenée.... and his mama, Braise, regularly washes his wounds with her tongue. I am wondering whether this is just reinfecting things?)

Cinema Verite
(excerpt from the Saturday edition with 12 favorite photos from Morocco):

I would like to return to Morocco as an invisible woman -- invisible blond hair, invisible white skin. In this way I might finally capture the natives, a ghostly photographer chasing Whim.

Feedback from a Cinéma Vérité reader:

I couldn't wait to see these and I must say that I am hooked on your style of photography. These are like looking through a National Geographic magazine only something deeper is captured through your eye. The vendors, the daughter in Blue and or course every picture by the sea - all are simply alluring. --Karen

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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."
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