Previous month:
July 2010
Next month:
September 2010

Entries from August 2010

affolement & Recipe for Zucchini and Potato Gratin

Balcony in Nyons (c) Kristin Espinasse
I heart lonely chairs. More pictures of Nyons in an upcoming Cinéma Vérité.

affolement (ah-fol-maohn) noun, masculine

: panic, perturbation, unsteadiness

verb: affoler: to cause panic and s’affoler: to panic.
.

Sound file & Example Sentence Download MP3 or Download WAV

Pour l'instant, l'heure n'est pas à l'affolement.
Now's not the time to worry.

 

 

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

Affolement, it is the French word for panic—that feeling of s-p-i-n-n-i-n-g!

Part one of the wine harvest begins this week and the first team of harvesters are arriving e-a-r-l-y. And though I have been keeping notes (grocery lists and "choses à faire") it is impossible to pencil in the unexpected or l'imprévu, no matter how often my crayon hovers over the lists, trying to anticipate fate.

Who? What? Where? When? Why? How? are no longer a journalist's formula: these are the "askings" of an anxious organizer. As I jot down mind matter (all those pensées that prevent peace) I can't help but remember "the best made plans" and wonder whether these lists aren't partly in vain? De plus, I am learning that dotting the i's and crossing the t's of rigidity (there's that word again) only ever ends in flurry: Dame Chaos will invite herself to la fête so one might as well join in and get used to whim! (Never mind that I have scotch-taped myself into place, in preparation for a flurry of fate.)

***

In other, more important news, Jean-Marc, who, for the next month—and for the duration of the wine harvest—will be known as "Chief Grape," had a tiny run-in with fate: while readying his farm equipment he was stung (just over the eyebrow) by une guêpe! It is painful just looking at him and all that ballooning of skin.

I look into his eyes, one no bigger that a sliver:
"Does it hurt?" I ask, pushing aside my list.
"Non, c'est juste un peu gênant." No, it's just a little annoying, he replies.

And somehow his answer strikes... lines through my lists... taking all this "chaos" and putting it, somehow, right.

 

French Vocabulary

un affolement = panic

chose à faire = things to do (list)

imprévu (adj and n.m.) = unforeseen, unexpected

le crayon = pencil

la pensée = thought

de plus = what's more

la fête = party

la guêpe = wasp

    => learn a quirky tip, or une astuce about getting rid of guêpes, or wasps. Click here for the story "Uninvited Guests Guêpes"

non, c'est juste un peu gênant = no, it just a little annoying
 

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


DSC_0008

Today I get my staples and stitches removed! In anticipation of the event, I've "loosened"  a part of my cone (exhibit A, above. Notice the jagged plastic, next to my teeth!).

DSC_0015

All in a day's work!

RECIPE: Gratin de Courgette & Pomme de Terre

DSC_0008

Have I showed you a photo of my brother-in-law lately? He and his girlfriend came over yesterday. Mariem helped me put together a casserole for dinner as we sat at the kitchen table slicing zucchini and potatoes and chatting about "quick and easy harvest recipes!"

When the slicing was done, Mariem added a little olive oil to the glass baking dish and the two of us went about layering the vegetables, knocking hands as we worked.

We began with a layer of thinly-sliced potatoes, then a layer of zucchini... then salt and pepper and a tiny pouring of cream (we mixed store-bought béchamel + heavy cream, a.k.a. what was on hand.) Mariem's five-year-old boy joined in and I watched, awed, as the vegetables disappeared into the casserole dish. Finally, we topped the legumes with one last sprinkling of salt and pepper and the remains of the cream... then into the oven (150°C -- or 300°F) for one hour.

I had some garden fresh tomatoes on hand (a gift from my friend Houria) and we tossed those with olive oil (a gift from Alexis, who is back, joining us for this harvest) and parsley and salt and pepper. A light dinner or, as the French would say juste ce qu'il faut...

When you buy any item at Amazon, via the following links, your purchase helps support this French word journal.

"La Vie En Rose" cooking is fine compilation of rustic French foods... --Publishers Weekly. Check out this book for click here to order!


Rosetta Stone French Level 1, 2, & 3  teaches you a new language naturally, by getting you to think, live and breathe the language. Read customers reviews here.

Paris shopping bag

I Heart Paris Shopper: made of recycled material. A percentage of sales will support the nature conservancy. Order one here.

Paris Window Mural
A Paris window in your kitchen or bedroom or bathroom... Click here to order a window mural.

 

Thank you for the time you've spent reading this post. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that a one-time contribution helps me continue doing what I love most: improving this journal. 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


"Sent with love and gratitude for all of your wonderful, insightful and creative stories and photographs. My life is enhanced reading your books and blogs beyond measure! May you continue to be blessed doing what you love and feel the gratitude of your devoted readers. Appreciation, hugs and love to you and your beautiful family!"
--Lisa


clandestin

"Cruisin'" (c) Kristin Espinasse
Two things I love about Italy (see the second in today's story...)

Free Subscription for students and lifetime learners... click here

.
clandestin(e) [klhon deh sten (steen)] noun

: stowaway

(adjective: underground, secret, illicit)

Example Sentence & Audio File:  Download WAV or MP3

Au retour de Sicile, les enfants ont découvert quelques clandestins dans la voiture! On the way back from Sicily, the kids discovered a few stowaways in the car!
*

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


On our long drive home from Sicily, Max and Jackie moaned and slapped at their arms and their knees. Ça pue et il y a des bêtes! It stinks and has bugs!

The kids were complaining about a couple of stowaways with which they had to share the back seat.

DSC_0016Jackie wrinkled her nose and Max leaned far away from the pest-ridden, poussièreux passengers, but the kids' theatrics did not win them any sympathy from the driver.

DSC_0014 "Your mom would like to keep those chairs," he said, of the cobwebbed clandestins

There, in the front seat, I heaved a sigh of relief. It looked as if those throwaway stowaways were truly mine to keep! I had not sorted through the Sicilian trash bins pour rien, had not tippy-toed past the broken glass, lifted the tossed toilet seat, the rotten tomatoes, and the rancid meat only to have to return the chairs to the trash heap.

Through a cloud of flies I had not in vain tried to save three rustic lives. But there was no way of saving us now from the stench coming from the back of the car....

"And your mom would like to keep the cabbage..." he explained, referring to the 7-day-old chou (one of the many garden gifts from our landlord, and while it was easy to know how to prepare the eggplants—as for that smelly chou... what to do, what to do?).

 

DSC_0035
Home on the range... a temporary cover for the chairs until I figure out how to saw wood for some new seats. Wish I'd paid more attention in 7th-grade carpentry class.

Le Coin Commentaires

Corrections, questions, and comments are most welcome. Please click here to leave a message.

French Vocabulary

ça pue et il y a des bêtes! = it stinks and there are bugs!
poussiéreux (poussiéreuse) = dusty, dust-like
clandestin (m/f) = stowaway
pour rien = for nothing
le chou = cabbage

 

DSC_0166

Finding one of the chairs....

When you buy any item at Amazon, via the following links, your purchase helps support this French word journal.

French Wall Soap Holder

French Wall Soap Holder for a touch of French! Click here to order.

French Demystified...simple enough for a beginner but challenging enough for a more advanced student. Order this self-teaching guide.

Paris shopping bag

I Heart Paris Shopper: made of recycled material. A percentage of sales will support the nature conservancy. Order one here.

Paris Window Mural
A Paris window in your kitchen or bedroom or bathroom... Click here to order a window mural.

Thank you for the time you've spent reading this post. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that a one-time contribution helps me continue doing what I love most: improving this journal. 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


"Sent with love and gratitude for all of your wonderful, insightful and creative stories and photographs. My life is enhanced reading your books and blogs beyond measure! May you continue to be blessed doing what you love and feel the gratitude of your devoted readers. Appreciation, hugs and love to you and your beautiful family!"
--Lisa


avant-propos

Chaise (c) Kristin Espinasse

Pull up a chaise and let me tell you a little about this newsletter's beginnings... (photo taken in Nyons.)

avant-propos (ahvahn pro poh) noun, masculine

: foreword (to a book or a story)

 

Correct Your French Blunders Correct Your French Blunders: How to Avoid 99% of the Common Mistakes Made by Learners of French. Speak and write French as if it were your native tongue! Order here.

 

Sound file and Example sentence: listen to Kristin pronounce these French words:Download MP3 or Download Wav

Aujourd'hui, lisez un avant-propos de cette gazette.
Today, read a foreword to this gazette.

 

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

After the illico post, I received this request from Anne, who writes:

I am a French teacher "et bien sûr, j'adore French Word-a-Day!" It occurred to me today, as I was reading and enjoying your lovely photos of your daughter and your dogs, that I should require my students to read French Word-a-Day! I think they would love it, too. Any chance, that before September, you could make one of your postings an introduction to you, your family, your occupation, your vineyards - for those who may just be joining? (I think us old-timers would enjoy it, also!)

Thank you, Anne, for this request. I have been meaning to update the "about" page and this is a wonderful invitation to begin....

You mentioned a personal introduction... 
My name is Kristin and I have written this word journal since October 2002—the year I gave up the self-defeating folie of contacting magazine editors, daily, with writing proposals or queries. It took one hundred seventy-seven rejections (façon de parler...) before I had an inspiration: maybe this was the wrong path? Or maybe editors are the wrong audience for my writing?

DSC_0138
Making faces at Smokey, trying to get him to smile for the camera.
.
Stepping off the beaten track for a mindful minute, I determined what it was I loved in life: France (I had managed to graduate with a degree in French... only I did not know what to do with it) and writing (the profession I had secretly wished to pursue, but reasoned that only "real writers" were permitted into that area).

So much for reasoning. I set out on a new path. My dog-eared copy of Writer's Market collected a thick layer of dust as my own guided-by-the-gut gazette—and the French words inside of it—began to be polished via a daily word journal titled "French Word-A-Day." Inside, I posted a French word and a story to illustrate the word (and in so doing re-ignited a writing dream....).

Since that day, I have not veered from this voie--a freer path. And though liberty comes with its own constraints (revelations! revelations!), there is nothing like being able to wake up in the morning and snap up the Moroccan jingle bells from one's doorknob—and wear them around one's waist if one so fancies.

DSC_0046
 

 


Anne, you asked me to talk a little about my family and our activities...

We moved to this grape farm in the Vaucluse three years ago, when our son Max was 12, our daughter Jackie, just 9, and Braise-The-Dog only 1 (her own son "Smokey "R" Dokey, in now the same age!).

In 2006 my husband, Jean-Marc, realized his dream: to have his own grapevines and to make his own wine!

JME in heaven
Thank you to "Wendy and Alan in Sicily" for this photo!

At the end of the month we will "attack" our 4th harvest. This year should be a little less chaotic, as the home improvements are finished (we now have doors and windows, whereas the first season we went without...). And whereas last year's harvest corresponded with the birth of sextuplets (on the part of Braise-The-Dog), this year ought to be a cake walk or une marche du gâteau. Well, we can always hope so.

***
Voilà for an avant-propos for Anne, who had actually asked for an introduction... a word that I have just checked in my dictionary:

introduction: the act of beginning something new

What a wonderful word: introduction!  I will try to address this one with each post: a new beginning. Thank you for reading! To share this word journal with your students (or friends or family), click here to access the sign-up form. Subscriptions are free.

Le Coin Commentaires
Questions, corrections, and comments are most welcome. Thank you for using the comments box, click here.

French Vocabulary
la folie = madness

la façon de parler = manner of speaking

la voie = way, road

voilà! = there you have it!

 

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

Smokey says: I love cake! And, thanks to surgery and bees, I've had my fill of comfort food lately. What's more, with the harvest around the corner, Gramma K  is experimenting in the kitchen! I hear her muttering something about "Perfection isn't gonna stop me now!" Stay tuned for some recipes... meantime, need any kitchen supplies? Remember, when you buy an item at Amazon, using the following links, your purchase helps support this French word journal.

Copper bowl
Copper mixing bowl. Mauviel, a French family business established in 1830 and located in the Normandy town of Villedieu-les-Poeles, is the foremost manufacturer of professional copper cookware in the world today. Order here.

Mixing bowl
Creuset mixing bowl.

<= Gramma K has big eyes for this one...

DSC_0012

We've got lots more stories, words, and photos for you. A très bientôt!

Thank you for the time you've spent reading this post. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that a one-time contribution helps me continue doing what I love most: improving this journal. 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


"Sent with love and gratitude for all of your wonderful, insightful and creative stories and photographs. My life is enhanced reading your books and blogs beyond measure! May you continue to be blessed doing what you love and feel the gratitude of your devoted readers. Appreciation, hugs and love to you and your beautiful family!"
--Lisa


enflure

hats or chapeaux in Sicily (c) Kristin EspinasseShade in Sicily. More photos of Italy in this weekend's Cinema Vérité.

enflure (on-fler) noun, feminine

: swelling (of cheek, etc)

also enfler (to swell) and enflé = (swollen)

Sound File and Example SentenceDownload Wav or MP3

Notre chien a été piqué par une abeille. Sa "bosse," c'est l'enflure d'une piqûre. Our dog was stung by a bee. His "bump," it is the swelling of a sting.

 

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

"Bobbing for Bees in Elizabethan France"

DSC_0010

Smokey is doing just fine after Friday's "stitching up" chez la vétérinaire (this following his attack by two dogs last fall. The first surgery, which left him with staples across the neck and the cheek, also left behind one stubborn wound, which would not close).  

If his furry face is swollen, this has more to do with curiosity than with surgery: on Saturday morning our Golden happened upon the honey hive!

Manque de chance! I had just fitted the one-year-old rescapé with one of those plastic head cones or "e-collars,"(e" for "Elizabethan," after the resemblance of the cone to Elizabethan-era fashion). Such space collars are designed to keep a dog from licking its wounds or, worse, from scratching them.

(We won't go into details regarding the farce involved in assembling a deceptively simple e-collar. Bref, it is a wonder more pet owners don't end up wearing them—as one does a straitjacket—for by the time the enigma of all those flaps and all those buckles has been solved, Insanity's onset is apparent in the e-cone assembler.)

Having fitted the cone around Smokey's neck, I stepped outside for some needed air in the garden, where I noticed how quickly our pup adjusted, undertaking normal activities (eating, roughhousing with Mama Braise, adventuring) unhindered by the constrictive cone circling his head.

DSC_0003

Satisfied, I turned my back on the dogs and went about a few chores in the flower patch: the belles-de-nuit were ready for seed-harvesting and the cherry tomatoes (propped up with the help of the hollyhock's trunk) had a new crimson crop on offer. I tossed a few tomates cerises into my mouth while discovering the latest developments in the jardin.

My eardrums began to tickle and I turned to have a look at the front gate. Commotion in the periphery of my gaze had my eyes darting over to the wooden beehive, where Smokey had just stuck his head! Next, I saw our dog spring backwards from la ruche! He threw his coned head to and fro, then, on hind legs, he reached his front paws forward and began swatting (in vain...). That is when I understood or "got it": our patient had bees in his bonnet!

I took off running, my own arms flailing and swatting while a high pitch issued from deep inside of me, a mad and murderous menace directed at those bees! All that shaking and shrieking soon sent the swarm to pick on other life forms. As the bees settled on the lavender and the last of the sunflowers, I knelt down to look at Smokey's face, just beyond the not-so-protective cone.  Calm eyes starred back at me.

Stoic Smokey had not so much as yelped for help—not even when the two-legged tornado chasing him and those bees quit spinning—at which point he pushed his nose past the limits of the e-cone and kissed the dizzy woman, recognizing her as his own.

DSC_0017

Le Coin Commentaires
Corrections, comments, and stories of your own are most welcome. Thank you for leaving messages in this comments box.

French Vocabulary

chez la (le) vétérinaire = at the veterinarian's
manque de chance! = bad luck
le (la) rescapé = the survivor
bref = in brief
la belle-de-nuit = "lady of the night" flower
la tomate cerise = cherry tomato
le jardin = garden
la ruche = beehive

 

SmartFrench Audio CDs Intermediate/Advanced

French Demystified...simple enough for a beginner but challenging enough for a more advanced student.

 

KINDLE: carry thousands of  educational books with you to France & beyond.

Tune Up Your French: Top 10 Ways to Improve Your Spoken French

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you for the time you've spent reading this post. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that a one-time contribution helps me continue doing what I love most: improving this journal. 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


"Sent with love and gratitude for all of your wonderful, insightful and creative stories and photographs. My life is enhanced reading your books and blogs beyond measure! May you continue to be blessed doing what you love and feel the gratitude of your devoted readers. Appreciation, hugs and love to you and your beautiful family!"
--Lisa


troisième age

Nyons (c) Kristin Espinasse
Stair-painting in Provence = creativity in the Midi. Share some arm-chair travel with a friend or a family member: send someone a free subscription to French Word-A-Day. Click here

troisième age (twa zee em ahze)

: senior citizen

 

Sound File:
(a little behind the scenes clip today in which I demonstrate to Jean-Marc how I want him to pronounce today's phrase. Can you hear him tell me "(why not) do it yourself, then" (fait le toi-même): Listen Download Wav file or  Download MP3

A quel âge commence le troisième âge?
Senior citizen. At what age does one become a senior citizen?
.

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

"Elvis in ancient France"

Ah, if only you could have seen me dance! My mother-in-law sighs as we walk arm in arm in the land of olives: Nyons, France.

J'étais fine comme un haricot! You can't imagine it. Je dansais! Mais JE DANSAIS! My belle-mère insists.

"Careful! Hold on! Use the arm rail!," I order my belle-mère, who responds with one of the many moxie mouthing offs that she carries up her stubborn sleeve, even in sleeveless summertime:

"Ne me fais pas crier Manon dans toutes les langues!" she barks, soliciting stares from passersby. What they don't know is that the loose-lipped woman hanging onto my arm is only teasing me. Do not fire up my temper! she is saying, in so many colorful French words. But her technicolor temper doesn't scare me.

The truth is, she is happy for the fussing over by her American accompagnatrice. As I guide her up the ramp and down the smooth and sloping-with-centuries stairs, my belle-mère feigns indignation, though it is hard to hide that frustration of dependency and need--especially for one who used to dance the twist at high speed.  And don't get her started on The King of Rock:

"J'ai adoré El-veece! How do you pronounce his name?" She wants to know, her thoughts dancing with nostalgie.
"El vuss," I answer, steering my belle-mère over to the hand rail with a strong suggestion that she uses it. We are climbing the village stairs for a view of the red-tiled rooftops.

"You probably are too young to remember him," she sighs, admiring the hilly housetops below with their range of red tiles, some missing, some cracked, some covered with mold.

I racked my brain for memories. Elvis was alive in the 70s of my American childhood, but I was too busy listening to David Bowie....

Ground Control... presently that is our goal as we navigate the uneven floor of France. Tripping over so much as one cobblestone might put my complice in the hospital. Surely Elvis would sympathize were he watching the two women advancing with caution. If I listened closely I could hear an angel's voice: the King himself singing tenderly to us:

When I'm growing old and feeble
stand by me...

I cradle my belle-mère's forearm and listen as she spills her heart. Fear, she explains, has consumed her in this, her troisième age. She tells me about the recent freak accidents of her women friends "of a certain age": Catherine was pouring detergent into the washing machine when she lost her balance, fell, and shattered her knee. And Sabine was strolling through some foreign town when, slip.... what followed for both women were months and months of rehabilitation.

I thought about my own mom whose life took a turn after she slipped. One moment she was mopping the floors with her balai espagnol... and the next she was lying helpless on the cold wet tiles. She had broken her hip. She came to France to heal only to learn she had breast cancer. A double mastectomy followed.

My belle-mère falls back and I just catch her elbow in time for a discreet "save". By the way we rock and nearly roll over the ancient cobblestones, you might think we were dancing. DANCING! And what with Elvis's paroles piping in on the loudspeakers of our minds, That's All Right Mama, I like to think we were. We can turn our frailties in to footloose and fancy free, if only in our make believe. 

Ma Belle-Mère
That's my belle-mère, on the right.

Le Coin Commentaires
Questions, corrections, and stories of your own are welcome here in the comments box. Click here to leave a message. Merci d'avance!



French Vocabulary (any help with the vocab section is much appreciated. Do you know the definition to one of the French words in today's story? Thank you for sharing it here, in the comments box!

 

French blunders Correct Your French Blunders: How to Avoid 99% of the Common Mistakes Made by Learners of French. Speak and write French as if it were your native tongue! New and used copies available here.

Emile Henry

A French standby. Strong, durable, all Emile Henry cookware can be taken directly from the freezer to the hot oven, can go under a broiler and in the microwave; freezer and dishwasher safe. The natural clay is unsurpassed for conducting and retaining heat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rosetta Stone French Level 1, 2, & 3  teaches you a new language naturally, by getting you to think, live and breathe the language. Read customers reviews here.
.

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

Smokey says: "I'm no line cutter... but try telling that to the Pinscher, the Rottweiler, and the Samoyed,    all of whom watched, beady-eyed, this morning as the veterinarian whisked me away from the salle d'attente into the lurky murky non beef jerky room beyond....

DSC_0122

What the impatient patients didn't know was that I was going straight into surgery... while they were waiting for vaccinations. (I'd rather be getting vaccinated!)

DSC_0125
But today is the day to re-stitch things. My wound never closed and when a bone began to stick through the opening, alarm bells rang!

DSC_0132
Wish me luck! (That's Kristin explaining to me a little about today's procedure and how all will work out.... Do I look as though I am believing her? I hope I am!) Comments welcome here.

Read the story about Smokey's attack and see a photo of him at nine weeks old, stapled back together.

Thank you for the time you've spent reading this post. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that a one-time contribution helps me continue doing what I love most: improving this journal. 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


"Sent with love and gratitude for all of your wonderful, insightful and creative stories and photographs. My life is enhanced reading your books and blogs beyond measure! May you continue to be blessed doing what you love and feel the gratitude of your devoted readers. Appreciation, hugs and love to you and your beautiful family!"
--Lisa


chut!

Shiny Happy Petals!
Sicilian photos coming soon. For now, here's our twelve-headed tournesol (around twelve flowertêtes per plant)! And never miss a photo or French word: Sign up for FREE email delivery and receive this edition in your email box.

chut (shoot)

: shhh!

Sound file and Example Sentence:

Listen to my mother-in-law pronounce today's word:

Download MP3

or Wav

 

Chut! Elle dort. Il ne faut pas la réveiller. Quiet! She's sleeping. We musn't wake her.
.

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

Chut! My belle-mère is sleeping and I'd like to finish this letter before she wakes up. Only a thin wall separates us, so slight that the rattling of the keys on this clavier is enough to tickle her esgourdes to a start: the start of a new day.

Ça y est. Elle est reveillée. It is time to go and play. I would hate to leave my mother-in-law alone while I pass the morning fussing and fretting over each and every word, like some kind of writer nerd.

Ça baille! There's a lot of yawning coming through the wall. It seems Michèle-France is not sold on starting the day. Maybe the sound of Vauclusian church bells in the distance will sweeten the chore? Or the peppermint breeze coming through the open window? ...or the plate of Moroccan cookies left over from last night's festin (we celebrated my brother-in-law Jacques' 40thChut! chut! Don't tell him I told you....)

Un troisième bâillement.... A third yawn... and a forth and now a fifth! Quelle marmotte! She must be exhausted after yesterday's train ride from Marseilles to Orange. Comme d'habitude, she travelled with two chocolate cakes and two pots of homemade tapenade. The only other item in her bag was a nightgown and a dog-eared copy of Télé Loisirs. She's got our number: just a couple of busybodies out here in the country. She's prepared to watch TV while her son and her daughter-in-law work like bees.

But each day presents a new chance for turning the tables, for shaking up the still waters of rigidity. I'm going to surprise my belle-mère today—with a more playful spirit, tee-hee!—just you wait and see!
.

Le Coin Commentaires
Questions, corrections, and stories of your own are welcome in the comments box. Click here to leave a message and merci d'avance!
.

French Vocabulary

chut! = shhh! shush!

la belle-mère = mother-in-law

le clavier = keyboard

les esgourdes* = ears *argot (the term may no longer be current. Any thoughts?)

ça y est = that's it

elle est réveillée = she's awake

ça baille! = there's yawning!

quelle marmotte! = what a marmot! (what a sleepy one!)

comme d'habitude = as always

la tapenade = olive spread

Télé Loisirs =  Television Leisure (magazine)

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

DSC_0001
The "Alpha" giving me a warm welcome home. Tummy pats sure beat bubble baths (see below!)

DSC_0055

With my flying nun ears or esgourdes.

DSC_0018
Real Dogs don't take baths... or so I tried to convince them! By the way... I turned ONE yesterday (in case you are so inclined—you might send me a line. Click here :-)


When you shop at Amazon via any of the links at French Word-A-Day you help support this free French journal
.

Sara midda's South of France: a sketchbook Sara Midda's South of France is a place of ripening lemons and worn espadrilles, ochre walls and olive groves, and everything born of the sun. It lies between the Mediterranean and the Maritime Alps, and most of all in the artist's eye and passion. Read the glowing reviews, click here.

 

In film:  Paris Je T'aime Paris I love You.

Eiffel Tower Cookie Cutter - handcrafted by artisans to last for generations. Order here.

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

Words two Lessons in Love & Language...

Please keep my book in mind for your gift-giving needs! Makes a fun and educational cadeau for a Francophile or a would-be Francophile! Here is an excerpt from the introduction:

After less than three months in Lille, fall semester ended and it was time to return home to the desert. While my classmates headed back to Arizona, I found a way to stay on in France, with permission from the department adviser to do an independent study. In exchange for college credit, I wrote about French culture as I had experienced it in Lille and in my new town, Aix, where I had moved. I was just buying time; for what, I did not know. What was sure was that I did not want to leave France. Not yet.

***
"Take a great trip with a memorable travel book . . . and lose yourself in the South of France."-- Real Simple

Order a copy here. Merci beaucoup!

Thank you for the time you've spent reading this post. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that a one-time contribution helps me continue doing what I love most: improving this journal. 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


"Sent with love and gratitude for all of your wonderful, insightful and creative stories and photographs. My life is enhanced reading your books and blogs beyond measure! May you continue to be blessed doing what you love and feel the gratitude of your devoted readers. Appreciation, hugs and love to you and your beautiful family!"
--Lisa


illico

Jackie and Smokey "R" Dokey
"La Réunion": Daughter Jackie and Smokey "R" Dokey. So sweet to "re-meet".

illico presto (ee lee ko press toh)

right away

French synonyms: immédiatement, aussitôt, sur-le-champ (immediately), tout de suite = all at once

Example Sentence:

Il faut partir illico presto! We need to leave right away!

.

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

To the tune of  a spinning machine à laver, I try for the nième fois to write a suitable opening phrase. It looks as though it may take a while to ease back into the rhythm of writing after a three week "wandering off." (My family and I have been on vacation à la sicilienne.)

Meantime, I will try not to let so many false starts and rapid stops lead to writer's block. If there is one thing I have learned from writing it is to just keep on "applying," to plod on past the snares, hiccups, slips, and blips. Sooner or later a story will form, never mind how many times you trip.

DSC_0006

Meantime, our dogs are having no difficulty at all reinserting themselves into daily life here at the grape farm. The first thing Braise and Smokey did on arrival (home now from the Chambre de Chiens) was to plunge into this reinvigorating ruisseau, only it took some coaxing to get them there (one or two tossed sticks eventually lured them into the water's chilly midst).

DSC_0005

And with an electric blue libellule looking on, the goldens swam whilst an endeared daughter became the picture of fond.

DSC_0008
After the "bain de brook" Jackie and I scrubbed the dogs with bubble-gum-scented shampoo. (Smokey got the double dose, Braise, the one over).

DSC_0047
I leave you with a photo of Smokey showing off his new bubble gum scented fourrure before a sky of tournesol fleurs. Many thanks, by the way, to Uncle Jacques for watering all our plants while we were away. They look better now than when we left them....

Back now to easing into everyday life. I've got a second load of laundry to hang on the line and a dozen or so sunflowers to admire while there's still time.

Amicalement,

Kristin

Le Coin Commentaires
Comments, corrections, and stories of your own are welcome. Click here to leave a message in the comments box.

French Vocabulary

la machine à laver = (clothes) washing machine
nième
= umpteenth
à la sicilienne = Sicilian style
la chambre de chiens = (a play on chambre d'hôte: bed and breakfast, in this case for dogs)
le ruisseau = stream, brook
la libellule = dragonfly
le bain de "brook" (ruisseau) = a bath (swim) in the brook 
la fourrure = coat, fur
le tournesol = sunflower
une fleur = flower

DSC_0043
Smokey says: pictures of Sicily coming soon. Don't miss a one of them and click here to sign up a friend or family member to French Word-A-Day, it's free and full of vocabulary!

Thank you for the time you've spent reading this post. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that a one-time contribution helps me continue doing what I love most: improving this journal. 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


"Sent with love and gratitude for all of your wonderful, insightful and creative stories and photographs. My life is enhanced reading your books and blogs beyond measure! May you continue to be blessed doing what you love and feel the gratitude of your devoted readers. Appreciation, hugs and love to you and your beautiful family!"
--Lisa


le repos

DSC_0290
Dog Days down South. Photo taken in Presa while the car-chaser was off-duty...


le repos (reuh poh) noun, masculine

: rest

 

Siesta in Sicily

Bonjour from the lava looming foothills of Etna. This « thrice-weekly » journal is on sabbatical for the next two weeks while its ink-pushing editor lets vacation get the best of her.

As I type this dispatch, leaves rustle on eucalyptus trees, a scooter screams outside on the street, its riders chatting away in Sicilian speak. Earlier, I listened to church bells and rooster "yells" and, last night, the gargle of goat herders followed by clanking bells and wagging tails as a troupeau made its way up the steep piedmont, toward a sleepy volcano in the distance.

Distance… it is a holiday maker’s method--just enough of it to result in a rupture with rat-a-tat rhythm, space sufficient to separate from one’s usual speed in time to dip in to a reposante Sicilian retreat.

………………..

Note bene:  This journal resumes on August 18th. Enjoy the break.

Comments are welcome in the comments box following this post at http://french-word-a-day.typepad.com

 

DSC_0277
Lovely Man.

Thank you for the time you've spent reading this post. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that a one-time contribution helps me continue doing what I love most: improving this journal. 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


"Sent with love and gratitude for all of your wonderful, insightful and creative stories and photographs. My life is enhanced reading your books and blogs beyond measure! May you continue to be blessed doing what you love and feel the gratitude of your devoted readers. Appreciation, hugs and love to you and your beautiful family!"
--Lisa