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Entries from March 2010

la tempe

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la tempe (lah tomph)

   :  temple (anatomy)

la tempe grise = gray temples

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

"Gaining and Losing Gray Matter: a Story in two Sequences

Première Partie....

At Mas des Aigras (restaurant), where we are celebrating 20 years together, my husband is staring at me over a plate of French sushi. I follow the slant of his glance before reaching up to swat my temple.

"What are you looking at? What is it?! "
"Les tempes grises," says he.
"I quickly tousle my hair, trying to camouflage the white above my ear.
"Je n'ai plus 20 ans," I say, looking away. Next, I notice all of the young women in the room before turning back to my husband, questioningly.

"J'adore tes tempes grises," he smiles, and I realize, malgré le gris, that he is noticing only me.
.

Deuxième Partie....

I am late fixing dinner again. I forage through the fridge to the cabillaud I'd made... I'm not sure when...

I open a can of salmon and add a little to each of four plates. Hungry eyes watch, wondering Will it be bouillabaisse?

"Fish is good for the memory!" I explain, hoping to draw attention away from the sloppy presentation.

The four of us sit down, the last one guiltily so.

"Fish is good for the memory," I point out.
My son looks up, giggles, "Yes Mom, we know...."

Four forks poke and push and pause.
"Fish is good for the memory!" I say, hoping to get my family to eat... and not sit lock-jawed.

Instead they laugh and then it hits me--
What with all this "Fish is good for the memory"...
It sounds as if I were forgetting things...

Perhaps that's true, perhaps it's not.
What is sure is that I've gone gray at the temples
as for "les oublis" I'm giving salmon and cod a shot.

***

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Ce ne sont pas les tempes grises. Qui m'empêcheront de t'aimer encore... It isn't gray temples that will stop me from loving you again... (lyrics from George Chelon's "L'Amour C'est Bien Beau")

la première partie = the first part
le Mas des Aigras = hotel-restaurant near Piolenc
les tempes grises = gray (white) temples
J'adore les tempes grises = I love gray temples
malgré le gris = in spite of the gray
la deuxième partie = the second part
le cabillaud = cod
la bouillabaisse
= fish soup
les oublis = memory lapses

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***

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

Check out my new thumbnail gallery! You'll see Ma and My's (is my's a word?) morning routine: It's called "keeping little Smokey clean!"

Here I am already 7 months old and Ma can't stop fussing....

Love,

Smokey
P.S.: sorry about the funky colors. Gramma K is "flash" phobic. She tries to use natural light... which might have worked in this instance had she changed her ISO settings...

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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 
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rendre service

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                                    "The Snow Kid" Max, 14-years-old.


rendre service (rhondr sair-veece)

  : to assist, be of help, to do a favor for someone

Audio File: 

Listen to Max:  Download MP3 or Download Wav

Il cherche toujours à aider son prochain. Il est toujours prêt à rendre service. He's always trying to help the next guy. He is always ready to assist.

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

Salut from snowed-in Sainte Cécile. Though we are blocked here at the farm... there is much to be thankful for: the internet works, the heaters, too.... As for food we have oranges, bread mix, enough odd ingredients for a "seven-day stew" (I'm remembering Mom's knack for "growing a soup": just keep adding "unlikelies" to it--and stew it!).

While we are fine and cozy here, I have a few friends that are in need of your collective ear. Please have a look at the following notes (one in English, the other in French...). Thanks in advance for any ideas!

1. Help our friend in Portland, Oregon...

To friends in PORTLAND,OREGON: We need your help!

Looking for anyone with a connection in "SUSTAINABILITY" (social + environmental + economic) who might be able to help a friend in this field. Please contact Kristin for more details.

Again, if you have any environmental contacts--in this very specific field--sustainability--your help is most appreciated!

***

2. Answer Bernard's question: Can I bring my dog to U.S. National park?

Bernard writes: Suite à notre rencontre au Mont Ventoux, je vous ai indiqué que j'ai l'intention de me rendre dans l'ouest des États Unis pour y faire un reportage photographique. Comme j'ai l'intention d'emmener Pixelle avec moi, je voudrai savoir si dans les parcs nationaux, les petits chiens sont autorisés... Je ne voudrai pas prendre le risque de rester bloqué à l'entrée d'un parc à cause de ce détail.

Any ideas welcome in the comments box!

***

 

 

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

Smokey says: Sheesh! It's been a while since you've seen photos of moi. And look at how grown up I've become! 

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"Everything OK, Mr. Max. Somethin' in your eye?"

Since we last spoke, Ma and I both got "fixed"... but, as you can see, that little "proceedure-ey" didn't rob us from our joy de vie.

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Hope you enjoyed these photos and please bug Gramma K for more!

LOVE,

Smokey-in-the-snow

 

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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--Candy T., California


desaxe

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                        Giving my first talk at Shakepeare and Company.

désaxé (day-zack-say) adjective

    : unhinged, unbalanced

***

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

Désaxé refers to a "mentally disoriented" person. It also means off-centered. I might have been both on Monday night, while speaking before an audience in Paris. Truth is, I did not feel the familiar disorientation, at least not mentally. There was calm, peace, and deliverance on the day of my discours.

Oh to be delivered from the chains that bind us!
Troubled and tortured no more! Free to enjoy daily life without the nagging nerves that keep us from the present moment, detached from those oft-crossed connections that cry feed me, fill me, comfort the out-of-control me.

By grace I have been set free in other areas of my life and so recognized the miracle on Monday night. And it didn't even matter that my body trailed behind, still smarting from injuries of times past. As my skin sweat, as my nose ran, as my hands searched for a place to rest behind the mic and the brightly lit stand... my mind juggled, with ease, enough inner conversations to amuse even Docteur Freud et Cie.

There, in a second story arrière boutique packed with books and book lovers, I stood. My back to Notre Dame, which lit the rippling River Seine below, I looked out over the hushed room, far as my blurry eyes could see. That is when that proverbial pin dropped, giving volume and clarity to the clatter of voices within me.

Untroubled yet astonished by the mind's ability to juggle, I listened to the handful of conversations in my head... and marveled at how words marched out of my mouth, by memory.

As my speech continued to deliver itself I tuned in, now and then, to the other speakers within. One of them was saying: You need to wipe your nose. In about thirty seconds it will drip, you have another twenty seconds to talk, but, I'm warning you, get ready to pull out that Kleenex in your pocket.

Another voice, busy taking account of the number of frozen faces in the room, went like this: they look so serious. They may be bored. Yes, the audience looks bored! Get ready to bifurcate at the next paragraph... Lighten up, speed up, or perhaps a joke? No, don't take the risk. Steady goes...

Meantime, the first voice reminded, Okay, time now to search for that Kleenex. Perhaps you can turn your head, toward Notre Dame? No, that would be even more conspicuous. Why not use your scarf? Just act as if you are drying your sweaty brow.

A third voice suggested: Indeed, you are going to look very bad wiping your nose. This voice was dismissed by another, which argued, You'll be horrified if it drips! It is okay to wipe your nose. Blow it if you have to!

While one voice monitored my vital signs and another, my speech—getting all my memorized points across to the audience, a fourth voice monitored the obstacle course beneath me: Careful not to trip over the mic cord, it said. Keep your lips close to the mic, but don't burn your chin on the light bulb, just beneath.

If the look on my face was one of amusement and delight, the video camera (there to my right) was sure to be capturing it all. I would later learn that the captured image was completely désaxé (with the sweaty speaker all the way to the right of the screen. Looking at her, I watch her wipe her brow, her nose. I watch as she runs her hand through her hair. I watch as she takes in a deep breath before stepping up to the mic, at which point she nearly steps off screen. It doesn't matter that her body has not yet caught up with her mind. Off-centered or désaxé, she is doing, after all, just fine.

 Kristin Espinasse
Note: I had difficulty uploading the video but will get that to you soon! Look for it on Monday..Because of trying to work out the video "soucis," I did not have the time to put together a vocabulary-and-sound section. Very sorry! (See update, below!)

Le Coin Commentaires

Share your comments about the word or story here. Thank you!

 

- le discours = speech
- une arrière-boutique = back of the shop

Newforest writes: I think some of the inner voices may have said a few things to you in French but your brain quickly turned the words into English. For example:

- les chaînes qui nous attachent = the chains that bind us
- s'essuyer le nez = to wipe your nose
- you need to wipe your nose = tu dois t'essuyer le nez
- se moucher = to blow your nose
- Mouche-toi = Blow your nose!
- une plaisanterie = a joke


Pizza herbes

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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


librairie

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Thank you, Robin Katsaros, for photographing my talk at Shakespeare & Co. and for hosting me & Jean-Marc (left, Kristin Espinasse; center, Heather Hartley (poet & Shakespeare speakerine), and Jean-Marc).

librairie (lee-brare-ee) noun, feminine

    : bookstore, bookshop

Attention! Careful not to confuse "la library" with "la bibliothèque" (or "library")

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

If Shakespeare and Company, that historic bookshop on the Left Bank--the little librairie that sparkles, like star dust, in the midst of Notre Dame... yes, if  this "beatitudinal" bookstore  has a mission statement it surely is this:

Be not inhospitable to strangers, lest they be angels in disguise

For this is the message we feel and see as we loll about in the historic librairie. This wisdom is written on the walls and stamped on the hearts of the "hospitables"—those volunteer-employees who reside in the store of George Whitman and daughter Sylvia, with whom I am smitten.

But back to lolling about...  I have never lolled the narrow halls of Shakespeare's Parisian walls. But I have gone gawking and shaking in their midst. Perhaps it is the literary "librarians" or the clientèles-écrivains? For customers are sure to see, in this beloved bookshop nommé Shakespeare & Cie, writers of both prose and poetry.  And they might as well be rock stars to we would-bes.

...we would be writers, poets, or novelists...

Novelist... I've not yet realized all of the goals on my "Kinds of Writing I'd like to Know How to Do" list.

And so it is that walking into Shakespeare & Cie bookshop still takes my breath away with a whoosh and a heart rapidly beating. Once inside and walking within a sea of poetry, prose, and fiction—my faith flutters at the possibility that one day I might court so many words and, eventually, ask to marry them...

First comes love, then comes "marriage," then comes BOOKS in the golden carriage.

Books of fiction, poetry and mystery... But for the moment I remain a shy suitor, a femme-écrivain ever chasing after words that whisper "Catch me if you can!"

***
Postnote: I had the honor of speaking at Shakespeare & Company last Monday night. I will share the video with you on Friday! Meantime, don't miss these articles on my talk. Merci to Adrian and Sion for writing about the event!

Adrian Leed's "Telling Tales About Success"

Sion Dayson's Kristin Espinasse: Of Bribes & Wine

 

:: Le Coin Commentaires ::
Have your say about the French word of the day—or share feedback on today's story. Click here to comment.

Sound File Download MP3  or Download Wav

Listen to my daughter, Jackie, pronounce today's word in the following phrase:

On achète les livres dans une librairie.
We buy books in a bookstore.

Next Meet-up! Jean-Marc (only)  will be in LOS ANGELES  next month and elsewhere in the States... meet him!

 

 

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Hilary, with Sylvia Whitman, sold copies of my Words in a French Life.

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Before my speech, Heather (left) and Jemma (right), of Shakespeare & Company bookshop, took me out for a drink.

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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    ♥ 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


fontaine

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Just an expression for you today... we'll be back with more words on Wednesday. Meantime, thank you for your break-a-leg letters of encouragement vis-à-vis my Shakespeare & Company talk tonight... which brings us to today's quote:

(Dans la vie) "Il ne faut jamais dire: Fontaine, je ne boirai pas de ton eau.”
(In life) "We must never say : Fountain, I will not drink your water."

***

Postnote: more about what this quote means to me when we return mercredi! Thanks go to Newforest for helping me translate today's proverb.

:: Le Coin Commentaires ::

To leave a note, please click over to the blog, then find the comments link at the end of this post. Thank you!

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A dream discours in Paris. More on Wednesday.

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