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Entries from January 2010

mansuetude

 Caromb
Caromb, next-door neighbor to the beloved towns of Bédoin and Crillon-le-Brave. 

mansuétude (man-sooay-tood) noun, feminine

    : tameness, gentleness, "mercifulness"; leniency


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A Day in a French Life...

by Kristin Espinasse

We were watching, she and me—that is, if heliotropes can see.

Watching...

I, through my camera's viewfinder
and she, the sunflower, gazing unencumbered,
without binoculars or a "digital blinder"

 DSC_0054

I followed her example, lowered my camera lens, and observed, unhindered, the scene before us: raw and real now that it was no longer grist for a photo mill.

"I'll tell you a secret," said she, the sunflower in the window sill above me...

"Open your eyes, your very own lenses, and you will see love... if you pay attention—and open up all of your God-given senses.

I studied the rubble outside her window and wondered where love could be hiding there?

 DSC_0047

I followed the sunflower's gaze, to a fragile figure down the lonely lane...
On closer look I saw a man—
baguette tucked under his arm, a cane in his other hand

 DSC_0055"There," said she, gazing affectionately. "Do you hear his whistle?"
"No, I hear mumbling. He is talking to himself... I think he is grumbling!"

"Listen closer, Dear," said the sunflower—
and I wondered, do sunflowers have ears?

"Pay attention," said she... "Remember to open your eyes—and your ears! Soon you will sense love, ever-present, quite near!


 DSC_0059
I noticed how she turned her head,
as certain flowers do, following the light as some follow whim.

Only she was chasing "Love" pure and simple, not the passing fancy kind.
Love, as personified in this mumbling man with his loaf of bread and vocal mind.

 DSC_0059-1

I wouldn't have believed her (she and her "Love" theory)—

Had not time stood still
when the man with the cane turned
and smiled up at the flower in the window sill.

***

Pronounce it Perfectly in French

Pronounce it Perfectly in French with Audio CD: this program emphasizes speaking, sound discrimination, and standard intonation patterns that are typical of native French speakers. Words and sounds are put into a variety of conversational contexts for students of French to practice and perfect.

 

51Qckm1DSfL._SL500_AA280_ I Heart Paris Shopper: made of recycled material

 





A Day in a Dog's Life...
by Smokey "R"

 DSC_0027
If Mama Braise sees my table manners she'll have a fit! So don't tell her. She won't put up with any mamsie pamsie behavior—not since my "accident". She's just trying to toughen me up.

But I do get tired sometimes... My jaw was displaced during the attack, making it hard for me to lap up liquids (most of the water falls out one side of my mouth, when it isn't drooling out the other! Good news is I have just discovered this position which lets in the maximum of liquid—and all I have to do is lower my jaw. Yee haw! high-five! and gimme a paw!

P.S. you might have noticed my new signature "Smokey R". "R" is not for "Robinson"--it stands for "Russell". I get the name—and my good looks—from Gramma K's dear Uncle Rusty.

DSC_0020

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


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


mamie

DSC_0094
Meet Madame Alberte. It's cold out, but inside Madame's nest there's enough warmth for new friends: feathered, furry, and foreign, like me. Come along and see...

mamie (mah-me) noun, feminine

    : granny

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

I was hoping she would talk to me. Chances were, she would, for as I advanced along one of the many ruelles that make up the village of Roquemaure... yes, as I drew closer, so did she.

From her little, lace-lined first-floor window, she caught my eye. The closer I came, the more she leaned out of her fenêtre... until we might have brushed shoulders with each other, as two pedestrians crossing on a cobbled street.

"Bonjour, Madame."
"Bonjour," said she. "What a beautiful day it is!" She declared, and I knew right then and there she was a Glass Half Full type. In fact, it was very cold outside, and my hands took turns warming themselves first in one coat pocket, then in the other. How else could I keep a hand free to photograph the village surrounding me?

I paused to take a picture of the window next to Madame's and watched, surreptitiously, as Mamie studied me.

 Rustic Window

"May I take your photo?" I asked, transferring my gaze from the somber shutters... to the window with the bright stickers and colorful mamie leaning out.

"Bien sûr! Mais..." (and here, Madame reacted as any modest mamie might) "je ne suis pas très présentable."
"You look lovely," I assured her, while admiring the auburn color of her hair and the little heart pendant hanging on a chain. Madame smiled softly, revealing a single "pearl" just beyond her lips... With only one left, it was indeed precious. Next, she closed her mouth for the photo.

 DSC_0093

When I showed her her portrait she agreed, "Ce n'est pas mal du tout!" said she, as in is that really me?
"May I post your photo? I have a blog..."
"Un grog? You would like a grog?"
"No. A blog... I have an on-line journal and would like to post your photo."
"Ah, bien sûr! Please mention my son, who has a vegetable stand just outside of town... le jardin "Île de Miémar" à Roquemaure!" She added, with a chuckle, "the publicité won't hurt him!"

With that she told me stories of her heroic and helpful son, as any mother might. As she spoke I stole glances inside of her home-sweet-home. There was a chatty parrot, "Paco," to her left  and a floppy-eared rabbit to her right. I longed to see what other furry and feathered friends she had tucked away inside.

Perhaps it wasn't too late to change my story... from a blog... back to "I'd like a grog!"? Mamie could have the warmed rum all for herself and I would sit beside the rabbit and listen, cozily, to Mamie's 73-year history.

***
Comments are appreciated. Thanks for responding to this story--or sharing it with a friend.

French Vocabulary & Audio File:
Listen to my daughter, Jackie, pronounce the following French words Download Wav or MP3

Ma grand-mère française préfère que je l'appelle "Granny" au lieu de "Mamie". Et ma grand-mère américaine préfère que je l'appelle "Grand-mère, au lieu de "Grandma." Elles sont compliquées, les "grandmothers," n'est-ce pas? My French grandmother prefers that I call her "Granny" instead of "Mamie".  And my American grandmother prefers that I call her "Grand-mère" instead of "Grandma". They are complicated, grandmothers, aren't they?

une ruelle (f) = alley(way), lane
la fenêtre (f) = window
la mamie (f) = granny
bien sûr, mais je ne suis pas très présentable = of course, but I am not very presentable
ce n'est pas mal du tout = it's not bad at all
la publicité (f) = advertising

***

Emile Henry 

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Pronounce it Perfectly in French

Pronounce it Perfectly in French with Audio CD: this program emphasizes speaking, sound discrimination, and standard intonation patterns that are typical of native French speakers. Words and sounds are put into a variety of conversational contexts for students of French to practice and perfect.








A Day in a Dog's Life... by Smokey Dokey

 DSC_0037
Smokey says: Sometimes we get a bad picture. We mustn't get discouraged. Instead, remember: we all look better in person, especially when we smile!

By the way, these flowers are for you as a reminder: Never mind the bad "posies"—and don't forget to smell the rosies.

 DSC_0046

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


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


Que Faire a Aix-en-Provence? / What to do in Aix-en-Provence?

 Caromb, France
"Empty Niche Syndrome." Photo taken in Caromb.

What To Do in Aix-En-Provence?
I received the following letter from a reader and hope you can help by submitting tips on what to do and see in Aix! 

Kristin,
 
If you have a moment, please...  I am thinking about planning a trip to France in late August of this year and would really like to visit Aix-en-Provence as part of that trip, perhaps even stay there as my 'home base' while in France.  I'm hoping to stay for 8-10 days, and would like to visit Paris for a day and see some of the countryside.
 
I think it would be fun to stay in Aix as it will be fun to see some of the things you've spoken about before and have a better mental picture when reading your thrice-weekly column...
 
I'm sure you probably get this question a lot, but is there any way you can give me some helpful tips on visiting Aix-en-Provence?
 
Thanks so much!
LeNora

.

Que Faire à Aix-en-Provence? / What to do in Aix-en-Provence?

Friends, please share your Aix-en-Provence tip and suggestions here. Tell us which restaurants, bistros, and cafés to visit. What about B&B's or hotels? Is there a room to rent in the area? What about activities and must-sees? What are some neighboring villages that are worth a visit? Share your tips and ideas here!

See also:
What to do in the Loire Valley? Que Faire dans la Vallée de la Loire?
What to do in Paris? Que Faire à Paris?
Where to Rent a car in France? Readers share their best finds. 

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


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


mi-vitesse

 DSC_0063
Walk or drive or bus or bike... but go somewhere new & inspiring this week.

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mi-vitesse (me-vee-tess) adverb

    : half-speed

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

I drove to Roquemaure for my mom. I did it because I got tired, fed up with feeling guilty. You need to get out, Mom had said. Park your car by the river and write in a different environment. Go and interview the baker...chat up the cheese-maker. Drive somewhere new each day....

As I said, I drove to Roquemaure because my conscience told me to. I pepped myself up for the journey using a little altruistic philosophy, "What good are we as homebodies, self-conserving casanières?" I thought about the Monsieur and Madame* back in Saint-Maurice-sur-Eygues... I would never have met them had I stayed at home, and they might never have smiled that way, the way they did at that certain hour, on that certain day.

And so I pulled on my boots, packed a pomme and some pain ... and headed out, direction Orange, to the Gard, au lointain.

I had driven through Roquemaure once before, last spring, with Mom—on the way to Max's basketball game. It shouldn't be that hard to retrace my "steps," I reasoned. By my calculations, Roquemaure was a 30-minute drive from our farm....

On the outskirts of Orange I passed a bustling marché paysan—red cabbage, carrots, and lettuce coloring up the stands beneath the gray of an ordinary winter day. Farther outside of town, I recognized the apricot trees! They were missing their delicate pink buds (how I had wanted to photograph them last time! but we were running late for basketball). Soon, I reached the Rhône river and stared at the massive metal bridge that would soon close the gap between an ordinary life—and the novelty awaiting me on the other side.

Driving cautiously over the pont, I sensed a tickle of excitement and noticed how the car picked up horsepower, as certain animals do. The next moments were lived at full speed, instead of the usual mi-vitesse.

I smiled knowing Mom would be proud of me, not to mention a few other adventurous ones—now looking down on this late bloomer, smiling at what they see.

 Stolen Kiss (c) Kristin Espinasse
Postnote: I soon made it to my destination in time to witness this stolen kiss... and to meet a few new friends. Perhaps I'll share them with you sometime. Yes?

Comments are the best part of French Word-A-Day!
Question: if you were to steal a moment out of your busy week: where would you spend it? And with whom?

French Vocabulary and Audio File: Download Wav or MP3
A l'approche de la ville, le train avance à mi-vitesse. Approaching town, the train advanced at half-speed.

le casanier, la casanière
= stay-at-home, homebody
une pomme (f) = apple
le pain (m) = bread
au lointain = in the distance
le marché paysan (m) = the farmers' market
le pont (m) = bridge
mi-vitesse = half-speed

Words in a French Life Blogger Espinasse has taken a step backward in the evolution of media by converting selected contents of her Web log into a book. Beginning students of conversational French will profit from many of these brief entries, and supplemental tables of expressions go far to demystify French idioms for anyone wishing to speak and write more fluent French. —Booklist

 Top 10 Ways to Improve Your Spoken French

Got Nintendo? Playing My French Coach for 15 to 20 minutes a day is all you need to become fluent in French

Kindle
Wireless Reading Device.
Readers LOVE it. Kindle

 Michael
At Vincent's market in Phoenix, with Michael, from California.

A few recent interviews that you may enjoy (I know Mom will...):

A Taste of Garlic "Kristin Espinasse Interview" by Keith Eckstein

Blurb Blog: "From Blog to Book to Sales" by Eileen Hansen


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


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


et patati et patata

 DSC_0108
Meet "Rif" and "Raf"—a couple of French gastronomes that I met while photographing Roquemaure yesterday... Please share their funny story, below, with a friend... and be sure to check out the comments box to this edition, where readers have been asked to share their favorite potato recipes!

.

et patati et patata (ay pah-tah-tee ay pah-tah-tah) expression

    : and so on and so forth

.

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

I overhear the funniest conversations while photographing these neighboring villages. Yesterday, after a lot of ruckus coming from a window above, I stopped in my tracks... and chanced to look up.

Incroyablement, this is what I heard:

DSC_0105 Rif*: Dude, what's for dinner?

Raf*
: Patates!

Rif: But we had patates last night...

Raf (showing a slight distasteful look reserved for "commoners" a.k.a. "Plebeian Pigeons"): No, Rifford. Last night we had gratin dauphinois and the night beforethatwe had purée à la truffe.

Rif: And tater tots before that...

Raf
: No, Rifford. Our class does not eat "tater tots". We dine on Les Tots de Tator (that's "tah-tor"). It has a better ring. You must keep apprised of the ring of things—and quit talking like a commoner!

With that, Raf strutted off, his feathers decidedly ruffled or ruh-felled, as Raf would have us say.

And Rif... Rif took advantage of a back-turned Raf... to stick out his tongue at the snobby bird—and not miss the chance to get in the last word:

"And don"t forget Friday's fried potatoes in eggs or—as you'd have me say: "frih-tah-tahs"...
Or Thursday's hash browns (or "pommes sautées"—have it your way)...

...et patati et patata! Potatoes today, potatoes tomorr'ah!

 DSC_0106

*Rif (short for "Rifford"—a name that his "refined" friend (Raf) gave him... for use whenever Raf's around... fancying himself King of the Town.

Raf: (short for "Rafael de Roquemaure" a self-appointed name that this pigeon uses when he struts through the neighborhood, pressing ahead of the simpletons or "Plebs").

Oh, and speaking of potatoes... here is a favorite book of Rif's, one that he finds exceedingly eatingly helpful for his nutritional well-being. Highly recommended! Buy a copy for a sugar sensitive, moody pah-toody friend (like Raf, for example!):

Potatoes Not Prozac: Solutions for Sugar Sensitivity (Paperback). Lose weight, heal depression, and stop cravings. Check out all the enthusiastic reviews, here!

Comments are the Best Part of French Word-A-Day:

Did you enjoy this story? Let me know and maybe we'll bring Rif and Raf back for another laugh! Also, long live potatoes! Today, share with us your favorite potato recipe. If you don't have the recette, no problème, tell us what you love and we'll Google it :-)


French Vocabulary & Sound File
Listen to my daughter pronounce the following words: Download Wav or MP3

incroyablement = incredibly
une patate
= potato, spud
un gratin dauphinois
(m) = a potato gratin with (more or less): milk (or cream) and cheese (such as gruyère) and muscade (nutmeg)
et patati et patata
= and so on and so forth

 

 

Shopping
In film: French postcard: American exchange students come to Paris to study the language for a year...
English Grammar for Students of French: The Study Guide for Those Learning French
Tune Up Your French!
Top 10 Ways to Improve Your Spoken French

 potato recipes The Williams-Sonoma Collection: POTATO

Raclette Grill -- just boil up some potatos... and add toppings to the grill Raclette grill

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


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


veille

DSC_0083
Last night my bed felt as cozy as the steel walls of a Paris train station...
.

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veille (vey) noun, feminine

    : sleeplessness, wakefulness

from the Latin, "vigilia"

Also:

en veille = watch (nightwatch)
en mode veille = in sleep mode
la veille = the day before
veille-sommeil = sleep-wakefulness

Please help add to this list in the comments box.

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

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

I was up late last night with a touch of insomnie. What is usually a warm and cozy bed... felt like a camping cot over which I tried, in vain, to rest a chatty head.

Under the couvertures there seemed to be a draft...  for I could not get the chill out—no matter the extra blankets... or the robe piled over all that.

Pajamas legs now tucked into my chaussettes...  I slipped my chilly hands under my arms and burrowed down deeper into the bed in search of warmth.

The room temperature had not changed and the blankets were the same... I could not understand where sommeil had gone... were it not for an over-active brain

Where thoughts danced around like the larmes of a clown,
faster than laughter beneath the "big top"
before the tent is finally taken down.

***

Share your comments here -- and while you're there, why not share a remedy for insomnia or sleeplessness. Merci beaucoup :-)

French Vocabulary & Example Sentence:

Listen to my daughter read these words: Download WAV or MP3

Les horaires veille-sommeil peuvent être perturbés en de nombreuses circonstances. Un bon exemple est le jet lag syndrome (syndrome du décalage horaire). Periods of sleep-wakefulness can be perturbed by numerous circumstances. A good example is the syndrome of jet lag. (LE MONDE - Le Monde Interactif - Mar 15, 1989)

la veille (f) = sleeplessness
une insomnie (f) = insomnia
une couverture = blanket, cover
une larme (f) = tear

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***

 DSC_0005
Smokey"s tech tip: Difficulty reading the e-mailed edition? Then click over to the blog!

A Day in a Dog's Life...
by Smokey Dokey

The picture heretoforthoverandabove (just practicing my vocab, as my Gramma K is wont to do...)
was taken back when I was a wee munchkin. Now I'm a tee-hee munchkin!

Those thereyonderbehind are my sisters. There were 6 of us in the litter and I was the only boy. Tee-hee! More pictures of my sisters coming soon—so stay tuned and tell your friends about my column—where we're learning some English for a change!

Love,
Smokey 

***

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  1.  Top 10 Ways to Improve Your Spoken French
  2. Got Nintendo? Playing My French Coach for 15 to 20 minutes a day is all you need to become fluent in French,

Kindle Wireless Reading Device (my dad and belle-mère love theirs!).  Check out Kindle here. Kindle

Eiffel Tower cookie cutter handcrafted by artisans to last for generations Cookie cutter

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


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


tristesse

Delphinium or Lupine near Orange (c) Kristin Espinasse
Are there seasons in Heaven? A field of French flowers for a favorite Uncle.

Help spread the French word: if you enjoy these thrice-weekly visits to France, perhaps a friend would too? Please forward today's edition or share the blog. (Smokey would like to add: "for those who don't fancy French... then please tell an animal lover about my own column: "A Day in a Dog's Life". There's somethin' for everyone chez nous!)

tristesse (tree-stess) noun, feminine

    : sadness

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

We need to keep this simple today. Simple as sadness.

For while love is sometimes a mystery...
can sadness be put in the same category?

No, sadness is simple... as love should be.

Sadness is frank. Sadness un-peels itself and off goes the coat, then the sweater, then the shirt... eventually bearing our hearts, our very hurts.

While our hearts hold on to Haiti, some people question the Pourquoi of it all: "Why would God do this?"

Adding to the tristesse is our own personal misery. My dear sweet Uncle Rusty (Jules's 66-year-old brother) passed away on Friday. Three months ago he was fine. Three weeks ago he learned he had cancer.

Along with others out there, I try to compose my thoughts about tragedy, calamity, and being taken "unawares" from this earthly "comedy". It has all happened so fast.

While others question the Pourquoi—and so slip into doubt and hopelessness, I am busy making a pact with my dear Uncle up above:

For as long as he looks down on me...
I promise to "smile up" and make him proud of what he sees.

We can choose to tangle ourselves in complexity (ever demanding Why? How could it be!) or we can get busy straightening out our arms, holding out our hands, helping others along, in love and simplicity.

***

Every comment is appreciated. Thank you.

Update (from my mom,  Jules):

Thank You all of my FRIENDS AT FWAD, Yes, I am still crying - your messages are helping my broken heart. Rusty was the shinning star of my life as a child, even until my 20's. I followed him around just like a little puppy, he was everything to me. Rusty was a mechanical man, when I received my first baby-doll stroller he dismanteled it in one day. He built me tree-huts and then moved on to building doon-buggies and jet-boats before they were even invented. When I was 10 and Rusty 13 a friend from California brought him the plans to build a skiff-type boat, that had a stand up bar which he held onto and a 35 hp. motor on the back. We spent all of our afternoons after school (me sitting in front of his stand-up bar with the controls mounted flying up and down the Colorado river chasing mud-hens. We looked like we were on a flying carpet-coffee table. In the evenings we would dance the jitterbug together. So many wonderful memories... XOXO JULES

***

French Vocabulary & Example Sentence: Download Wav  or  MP3

La tristesse ne manque pas de s'exprimer [sur Facebook]... "nous tenons tellement de choses pour acquises. Prions pour le peuple d'Haïti". There is no shortage of messages of sadness  [on Facebook]: "We take so much for granted. Pray for the people of Haiti". (FranceSoir: Séisme en Haïti)

pourquoi = why; la tristesse (f) = sadness


***

DSC_0081

A Day in a Dog's Life...
by Smokey Dokey

Of all the members of our family... I am the one who most resembles our dashing Uncle Rusty. For one, we have the same color hair! Secondly, we have the same sweet hearts. Also, just as you, Dear Uncle, were a handy man, I fancy myself "handy mutt". More about those talents that I have inherited—from I know now who... in future episodes.

Love (and don't forget to forgive others, as we dogs do),
Smokey

Shopping

French Word-A-Day book For those of you who would like to order my latest book—and catch up on the word a day summer archives, click here.

Kindle Wireless Reading Device

The Kindle Store offers top U.S. and international newspapers. Subscriptions are auto-delivered wirelessly to your Kindle

 

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" Sweatshirt

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

crepe maker  Crepe Maker -- don't forget to buy some Nutella to top off these crepes! Nutella

 

 

***

French Word-A-Day in the news, er, "in the blogs":

A Taste of Garlic "Kristin Espinasse Interview" by Keith Eckstein

Blurb Blog: "From Blog to Book to Sales" by Eileen Hansen

Ann Mah's Dreaming of a French Life

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

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"Bird on a French Limb" (c) Kristin Espinasse. I hope the folks over at Cinema Verite don't mind my sharing this photo. I will make it up to them this year—just as soon as we are completely "un-snow-bound"... and I can get out to the local villages and photograph the French towns!
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défavorisé (day-fahv-or-ee-zay) adjective

    : disadvantaged

Update: in case you missed it—I posted a cooking video yesterday... co-starring Smokey! See it in the story column, here or at Youtube. Some of you asked what kind of video camera I use: the ultraHD camcorder, "Flip" -- I love it!
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A Day in a French Life...
by Kristin Espinasse

Yesterday flew by and thank goodness for that—for we worked dehors, beside the snow, bundled behind gloves, coats and, for some, a woolen hat!

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                         (bottles to be filled with Domaine Rouge-Bleu rosé...)

We were busy with another wine bottling, or mise-en-bouteilles and, what with friends here to help, we hardly felt the pain as the day whittled itself away.

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                                                          Cathy and me.

Busy packing boxes with rosé wine for exportation, we might have finished in half the time... were it not for the electrical situation...

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Our farm being the last on the electricity line... we had to make do with what was left of the village "juice". What with all the other freezing farmhouses ahead of ours, and snowbound families trying to keep warm inside, electric consumption was up... as extra heaters got turned on and coffee pot percolated for yet another soothing cup.

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And so it was that machine power out there in the snow was stop and go—this, when it wasn't excruciatingly slow!

"Oh, a cup of coffee... wouldn't that be nice?" I entreated my husband who replied "no dice!"

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       Jean-Marc--scheduling, programing, orchestrating this wine bottling

There was no question of firing up so much as a 900 watt coffee pot, not when we needed all available electricity for our bottling machines... where juices—both electric or grape—were a precious commodity... unlike cappuccino. Of this there'd be no debate!

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Steve

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Ian helped us at the vineyard before heading home to Vienna.

French Vocabulary and Audio File :
Note: our Francophone kids are at school and my French husband is bottling wine again today... so you are stuck with my reading these French words of the day! Listen in Download Wav or Download MP3

Étant la dernière ferme sur la ligne d'éléctricité... on était bien défavorisé!
Being the last farm on the electricity line... we were truly disadvantaged!

défavorisé = disadvantaged
dehors =  outside
la mise-en-bouteille (f) = bottling

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


enneige

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French footsteps in the snow.

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enneigé (eh-neh-zhay) adjective

    : snowbound, snowy
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A Day in a Dog's Life...
By Smokey Dokey

This is my dear maman (a.k.a. "Braise" [BREZ, like PEZ—the candy—and we LOVE bonbons don't we?!]).

She is a true-life angelun ange de neige!

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She is the bravest soul that I know: she once saved my life.

To boot, she knows how to organize her day and, on her to-do list—or liste des choses à faire—she never forgets to pencil in "play". Here she is teaching me how to make angels in the snow...

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...As for my other mom, or the "bipedal primate having language and ability to make and use complex tools"*...

As for that one... she is a work in progress (bless her heart—not everyone can be a snow saint). Here she is, in the following video, trying to spread her wings—and break into bucolic broadcasting:

[Note: after hours of trying to upload her video, my "bi-pedal" mom a.k.a. "Kristin" failed... so much for a primate's ability to use complex tools.]

Back to breaking in to broadcasting—we'll continue to try to upload this video... meantime Kristin will continue to try to break into something in 2010... what with Grandma Jules coaching her, how could she not:

Just break "AND RUN WITH IT!" Grandma Jules cheers...

Whatever "it" is, these ticklish, ficklish femmes—would-be hellions were it not for saving grace—never know: for isn't that how life is: just when we think we have something in our hot little hands—we fumble... and let it go. And why? Because we are always following our nose.)

Enough philos-oh-fille.

Love (and remember to forgive others, as we dogs do),
Smokey
P.S.: See the full version of this film in Saturday's Cinema Verite!

Leave Smokey a comment, here.


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French Vocabulary & Audio File: Listen to my 14-year-old son, Max, pronounce the following words: Download WAV or MP3

Puisqu'on était enneigé, je n'ai pas pu aller à l'école.
Because we were snowed in, I could not go to school.

enneigé = snowed in

la maman (f) = mom

Braise = ("Braise" means "Brittany" (in Breton) — it also means "ember"

un bonbon (m) = candy

un ange de neige (m) = snow angel

une liste des choses à faire = "To Do" list

* definition of homosapien from onelook.com

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


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


pif

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Of vines and designs. What do you see in these vines? Dancers? Waves? Share your vision, here in the comments box.

le pif (peef) noun, masculine

    : nose (slang), schnozzle

au pif = at a rough guess, at random
cuisiner au pif
= cooking by guesswork
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A Day in a French Life...
by Kristin Espinasse

Being snowed in for the weekend brought out the pioneer-survivalist inside of my family and me, along with a snowy sprinkling of creativity.

What with the roads around our farm frozen full of snow...  my family and I got to thinking: did we have enough food in our frigo?

A quick inventaire revealed two pints of milk, four eggs, and a funny looking root... shriveled and tough as an old French boot!

So as not to be stuck with a chewy omelette de gingembre, I riffled through the cupboards, the congélateur and even the drawers!

A note in the freezer read "selle d'agneau"... lamb something... (What "selle" was I did not know... but we needed to eat, so out came the selle, and into a marmite!)

I added herbs and spices to the cubed viande...
turned the last bottle of vinegar balsamique on its "ear"... added two old potatoes (cubed), an onion, and a tomato for good cheer!

Four hours later and wouldn't you know... it all tasted délicieux—just like Provençal daube!


"C'est excellent, c'est bon! Encore, mamannous l'aimons!" Outside the window, the icicles grew and grew, but inside the farmhouse four presque pioneers enjoyed the magic of "make do".

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Post notes: Read about how Jean-Marc eventually drove the tractor to town for groceries... and see a favorite photo gallery of our snowed-in farm in Cinema Verite.

Finally, if I am having fun in the kitchen, this is with many thanks to my friend Ann Mah. Ann invited me to speak last November, at the American Library in Paris... after which we had a bite to eat.

At the table Ann inquired, "Do you enjoy cooking?" When I mumbled something about not knowing, Ann said that she sincerely doubted that, and even suspected the contraire...

Ann's remark put espoir in my oven and a tickle in my teapot! And since, I have been cooking everything from croissants to beef—cracking open cookbooks, but doing things mostly au pif!

 

It is my pleasure to announce Ann's forthcoming book, Kitchen Chinese.

Kitchen Chinese by Ann Mah I could list a dozen reasons why you should order Ann's Kitchen Chineseillico presto—instead, I'd like to simply say merci beaucoup!: without Ann, my Simon & Schuster book may have never seen the light of day: it was Ann, whom I had yet to meet and who, living in Beijing at the time, forwarded my blog to la grande maison d'edition. Five years later, and a move to Paris, and Ann's book is about to see the light of day. Would you please join me (via the comments box) in wishing her Hip hip hooray! (It helps to say it as the French do):

 

Eep eep oooh rhay! Eep eep oooh ray!

More about Kitchen Chinese:

After her magazine career craters, Isabelle Lee, the narrator of Mah’s super sharp debut, leaves New York to reconnect with her family roots in China. Her familiarity with the language and culture limited to “kitchen Chinese,” Isabelle lands a job at a magazine for the expatriate community in Beijing and finds a circle of friends. However, her relationship with her big-shot attorney sister, Claire, who’s lived in China for a while, gets off to a rocky start, with the two not knowing quite what to make of each other. Isabelle’s Beijing immersion, coupled with her chick lit arc, provides a refreshing and fun narrative, helped along by a fantastic heroine whose insights into modern China and the expatriate experience will intrigue readers. It’s a great start for a writer with much promise. — Publishers Weekly

Thank you for ordering Ann's book illico and eep eep vite! Click here! Then tell a friend or a fellow foodie about it.

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French Vocabulary & Audio file
(uncut! hear my daughter... and me... pronounce these French words:  Download MP3

le frigo (m) = fridge

un inventaire (m) = inventory

une omlette de gingembre (f) = ginger omelette

le congélateur (m) = freezer

la selle d'agneau (f) = lamb saddle

la marmite (f) = cooking pot

la viande (f) = meat

balsamique = balsamic

délicieux = delicious

la daube (f) = stew, casserole

C'est excellent, c'est bon! Encore maman—nous l'aimons = it's excellent, it's good. Mom--we love it!

presque = almost

un espoir (m) = hope

au pif = by guesswork

illico presto = right away

merci beaucoup = thank you so much

la grande maison d'édition = big publishing house

vite = fast (this word is not pronounced on our sound file)

 

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A Day in a Dog's Life...
by Smokey Dokey

I think I'll be a photographer when I grow up. Here are my first two subjects: Grandma K (she thinks we need to find a better name for her... she has this thing with "words") and that's Robert Kral, who came to sample some wines back in November. No, Robert is not wearing a party hat, or even a reef--those are papyrus shoots (between you and me, they're the only greens that Gramma K can grow. Just don't tell her I told you so!)

love and bisous,

Smokey

P.S.: who needs a yardstick to measure snow when a gool ol' paw will suffice?

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


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