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Entries from May 2014

Shutterbug in French

Field of wheat and poppies (c) Cynthia Gillespie-Smith
All photos in today's post are by Cynthia Gillespie-Smith. 

I once believed the French had a charming word for everything. Today's term is an exception--for there is no equivalent for "shutterbug" in the language of love! Instead, let's feature the English word and then we'll get our French fix in today's definition. (We'll also have a little fun with the pronunciation guide, just below :-)

shutterbug (shoo-tair-boog)

    : un passionné de photographie

Audio File: I was counting on Jean-Marc to pronounce this English term as a Frenchmen would. But his English is too good! So we practiced a few times (imagine coaching a Frenchman in French phonetics--when you've got a thick American accent!) We ended up with a mixed result. Enjoy it, and this example sentence: Download MP3 or Wav file

    Un shutterbug c'est un passionné de photographie.
    A shutterbug is someone who is passionate about photography.

 

A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE... by Kristin Espinasse

Jean-Marc must have told me three times, "I'm so happy you are getting together with Cynthia!

Yes, I was looking forward to seeing my new friend, too. It would get this casanière out of the house--and might even make my husband feel less guilty for his golf getaway today.

But Jean-Marc need not worry about golf envy on my part. I'm a shutterbug. Or was... It's been years since I've felt those photographic endorphins course through my veins. Oh I've had a few photo sprees, in the year or two since moving, but nothing like those lazy and free photo journeys through Sarrians, Buis and Rochegude to name a few.

This would be my second photo sortie with Cynthia, who studied photography in California, photographed for various NGOs in several parts of Africa, and freelanced in US and Europe. Cynthia also worked in the photography department and photographed for the National Geographic Society. Here in France, she was director of photography for Blue Coast Magazine in Nice, and in 1994 launched French Foto Tours Inc. in Provence to lead workshops in France, Italy, Spain, and Mexico.

How's that for a cool new friend?

Mon amie sympathique arrived at 7:30, an hour and a half after sunrise. "I can't believe how early the sun is coming up!" Cynthia said, as I fastened the passenger seat belt and we sped toward Cuges-les-Pins, before the prized morning light turned dull. 

As for photo opportunities, Cynthia had mentioned a barn door not far from the stables where she keeps Zahra, her jument. We could start with that rustic subject--la porte de grange--and work our way through fields of wheat and poppies, to the town center for coffee.

Arriving in Cuges, it was now clear why they put the OK Corral here. I've driven my daughter to the wild west theme park a few times, but never having ventured off the beaten track I had not noticed this was a horse town! Looking out the window I saw fields of equine grazers, barns, and trailers scattered everywhere. 

Meantime the shadows were scattering, too--creeping right across the bright barn door we'd hoped to capture! 

"Not all shadows are bad," Cynthia assured, and I'd soon understand how fallen ombres could enhance a photo. But not this time (the barn door's shadows weren't so interesting), so we trekked through the tall grass laced with wildflowers--to the cemetery and vineyards beyond--in search of other unsuspecting subjects. I leave you with those now, along with the helpful notes Cynthia added to her pictures. I'll be keeping the tips in mind for the next time Jean-Marc plays golf... and I follow him out the door for some practice. Some shutter practice :-)

 

Cynthia Gillespie-Smith

 Flat light for people can work well

French cemetery (c) Cynthia Gillespie-Smith

Long shadows make this work

field of wheat and poppies (c) Cynthia Gillespie-Smith
Lots of depth of field so everything is sharp (or acceptably sharp)

wine farmer (c) Cynthia Gillespie-Smith
Converging lines enhance this one

Kristin Espinasse and converging lines (c) Cynthia Gillespie-Smith
Converging lines and high camera angle add to this one.

French Vocabulary

la casanière (le casanier) = homebody
une sortie = outing
mon amie = friend
sympathique = easygoing, pleasant
la jument = mare, or female horse
la porte de grange = barn door
l'ombre (f) = shade

First-French-Essais-book-coverPictures Galore! Even the photo captions in this book will grow your French Vocab!

See my pictures of Provence in the book First French Essais, "the book that takes you to France." The photo descriptions include useful and fun words that will quickly and easily build your vocabulary. Order your copy here.

 

 

 

Kristi and cynthia

Self portrait. This last photo is just for fun. In keeping with Cynthia's helpful notes, I'll ad this one: "French window shutters and shutterbugs, help to distract from unsightly electric cords (right). 

*    *    *

Next up: MOM! Please wish Jules bon voyage. She will soon arrive in Amsterdam for a 5-hour layover before arriving in Marseilles--this after 24 hours of travel time from her home in Mexico!

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


French for "from scratch"

Jean-Marc Espinasse Wine Spectator

Taken from The Wine Spectator magazine, the line just above, inspired today's expression...

from scratch

    : à partir de rien, de zéro

Audio File: Listen to Jean-Marc read the following sentence Download MP3 or Wav file

Créer un vignoble à partir de rien, c'est pas commun aujourd'hui.
Starting an estate from scratch has become rare around here.

Paris Monaco Rentals

France and Monaco Rentals: short-term holiday rental properties throughout France. Click here for pictures.



A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE... by Kristin Espinasse


When our alarm rang at 5:45 this morning I mumbled "Good night!" in French.

"Bonjour,"Jean-Marc replied. The creaking of our armoire, a wedding gift from 20-years ago, was a splash of cold water to my face and now my mind was percolating away as my husband pulled on his threadbare jeans and searched for a warm enough shirt. Early mornings in the vineyard are cold, even if the nearby beaches are already hot with Bardot lookalikes.

Thankfully my husband has eyes only for vines. That is why we call him Chief Grape. I waited until Chief left the room to stretch out over his side of the bed. It's not fair to rub it in, when you get to sleep in.

Next I heard our coffee-maker, which sounds just like Jean-Marc's prehistoric tractor. Both machines hum like dinosaurs! Come to think of it, this all must be music to my husband's boyish ears--a thundering overture for his daily grape adventure.

Just like a kid Jean-Marc ran back into the room this morning, to share an exciting discovery: an article about his labors in the Wine Spectator!

"I can't wait to read it!" I cheered.

Returning to bed now, with a cup of Tyrannosauras Joe, I clicked open my email to search for the link Jean-Marc had promised to send me.

I found it, and a whole lot more. My husband's note read:

Thank you for making my dreams come true

I Love you

Jean-Marc

 
*    *    *
Here is the link to that wonderful article on Jean-Marc and I leave you with a few photos taken over the years, just after today's sponsors.

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Sponsor's Messages:

"Paleo French Cuisine" Paris Book Festival Winner and Amazon best seller. Check it out here: http://buff.ly/1u0asXp 

Provence Dreamin'? Maison des Pelerins, Sablet. A Vacation Rental Dream in the heart of the Côte du Rhone.

 
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Jean-Marc's first harvest (at his own vineyard). He was stick thin, having put all his weight into his first cuvée.

1-DSC_0023-001

He gained back those kilos, along with experience as he continued to make his prize-winning wine

3-DSC_0025

That serious look! His mind is so often on his grapes.

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Serious look and seriously cramped working spaces -- all in the name of wine!

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2007, in a cramped kitchen full of harvesters. That first year was the most trying, as evidenced by the scarecrow figures smiling back at you. Jean-Marc was NOT blessed with a vineyard wife, a tough broad who works beside him in the vineyard, then hurries back to the kitchen to make lunch for the entire crew. But that didn't stop Jean-Marc from making the leafy crown you see above, and naming me Queen of Harvest--La Reine de la Vendange--an award given to the one who tries, all the same. It was generous and thoughtful of Jean-Marc to write me that note this morning. But it is he who made his own dreams come true, with all that hard work and determination. So proud of you, Chief Grape!

Kristi at harvest
2007. In need of a good strong cup of Tyrannosauras Joe. 

To comment on this post, click here.

Thanks for sharing this post, and for reading the article about Jean-Marc.

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


We will never forget

Memorial Day Omaha beach France

I will never forget watching this American speak to the lost soldiers on the beaches of Normandy. Today we honor those who lost their lives, au champs d'honneur.

Memorial Day

    : jour des soldats morts au champ d'honneur
     (day of commemoration of soldiers who were killed in action)

Audio File: Listen to Jean-Marc read the French definitions, recording today's sound file from his field of vines where he's paused to remember soldiers: Download MP3 or Wav file

Le Memorial Day est un jour de congé officiel aux États-Unis, célébré chaque année lors du dernier lundi du mois de mai. Historiquement, il était nommé Decoration Day, en l'honneur des femmes et hommes qui perdirent leur vie durant la guerre de Sécession. (Wikipedia)

Memorial Day is an official holiday in the United States, observed each year on the last Monday of May. Historically, it was called Decoration Day, in honor of women and men who lost their lives during the American Civil war.

A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE... by Kristin Espinasse

On La Fête des Mères, yesterday, we were gathered round the picnic table, eating barbequed moules, salmon, and aubergines, when the irony of it all hit me. Mothers Day in France is the day before Memorial Day in the States.

I looked over at my 19-year-old son, amazed. Thank God we've never known the draft

Mothers Day was never more meaningful--celebrated the day before remembrance day. So much to be grateful for: my son, freedom, and most of all those who fought for it. 

On this day we often hear the free citoyens promise: "We will never forget." Let's remember, now, by honoring those who lost their lives, les soldats morts au 'champ d'honneur.' 

Click here to leave a message.


Omaha beach barbed wire
Do you ever take your freedom for granted? (Photo taken from inside a bunker on Omaha Beach.)

July ceremony

Thankful for his freedom. Our then 16-year-old son, Max, during his French recensement militaire, or military duty.


Omaha beach memorial
Sacrifice. Courage. A soldier remembers:

"I started out to cross the beach with 35 men and only six got to the top, that's all." --2nd LT Bob Edlin

J'ai commencé la traversée de la plage avec trente-six hommes, six seulement sont arrivés en haut des falaises.

American Cemetery Normandy
The Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial is one of many American cemeteries in France. To comment, click here.

Thanks for sharing today's post with a friend.

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


brindille and a fun and sustainable activity + Winner of book giveaway!

Les brindilles-twigs

Notice the flower bed to the right--filled with hand-picked brindilles! Twigs = free mulch, and they're fun to gather, too! (Had I to redo this picture, I'd put bright fluffy pillows in the garden chair, and hang beaded curtains across the cabanon's entry. Can you picture it?)

New

Beautifully renovated and decorated home in the Luberon. 4 bedrooms and a study with a sofa bed, each with ensuite (full) bath. This villa comfortably sleeps 7-9 adults.


une brindille (brein-dee)


    : twig, stalk, sprig

ramasser des brindilles = to gather, collect, or pick up twigs

Audio File: Listen to Jean-Marc. God knows I should! Download MP3 or Wav file

Les brindilles sont des rameaux minces. Ces petits morceaux de bois protègent et nourissent les plantes. Twigs are thin branches. These little pieces of wood protect and nourish plants.

Thanks to modern technology, I can now email my husband the example sentences (such as the one above). He then uses his Smartphone to do the recordings (killing the motor of his tractor, in time to do me the favor.) Then, presto!, he emails the file to me and it travels virtually--across the vine fields to our bedroom--where I type up these editions) How about that?!
 

A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE... by Kristin Espinasse

"Twiggy"


That rough patch we went through, me and you-know-who, eventually smoothed itself out--and would you believe a new passion grew out of it? I'm not talking about a rip-your-clothes off passion (not when my family--and you, Dear Reader--might be reading), no, I'm referring to a new interest, an accidental hobby that's keeping me grounded these days.

Funnily enough, it was a real rough patch--one teeming with rocks, weeds, and concrete--in which my husband and I signed The Peace Treaty, using garden picks and not Sharpies. I had been bee-lining it through the yard, on my way past Jean-Marc (harrumph!), when I saw the riot of weeds in the cobbled stone lit. Ever since moving here, in the fall of 2012, I'd been meaning to tame that flower bed, but all the misplaced concrete was a put-off.

That's when I remembered a sure-fire remedy: Sweat Equity! It's a tool we sometimes use when suffering from The Couples' Blues and it goes like this: Why not put our energy into building up our homestead instead of tearing it down? Fast as that Jean-Marc and I were ripping out the weeds and chiseling concrete, with a goal of planting one more lavender row (oh the rows we've sowed!...).

Removing the misplaced béton from the bed was tough business--requiring a sledge hammer and a ton of elbow grease. My husband teased me when he noticed I'd sneaked off to work on a side-project, but I assured him my work was just as vital: by gathering all these little sticks, or brindilles, I was making sure my partner's work would not be in vain. (The last time Jean-Marc cleared a garden bed for me--it quickly grew back its weeds!)

Brindilles or twigs


By piling, around the plants, these broken branches--or what the French called BRF*--we could keep weeds from growing back--as well as keep moisture in! Plus, the twigs would eventually decompose, nourishing the lavender in its tidy row (a further advantage of all the hand-picked twigs: neatness). 

Hunched low to the ground, I noticed how relaxing the twig-gathering activity was. Were those endorphins coursing through my body? As my fingers roamed the earth's floor, I marveled, uncovering all kinds of treasures. Aside from twigs, there were broken faïences, dried almonds from the tree above, and even a metal pendant with rhinestones. Gosh, maybe it was platinum with diamonds? What did I know? 

I tucked the charm into my pocket, just as I'd done as a kid, filling my poches with findings from the wash, or flood bed, behind our neighborhood. How invigorating to roam the Phoenix desert, weaving in and out of the palos verdes, hunting for treasures and returning with wildflowers for my mom and the neighbors.

Scooting over to the Provençal boules court, on my hands and knees, I hit pay dirt. Some of the planks, which line the court, were rotting--shedding small piles of sticks. Mulch city! But there was competition, and I watched the omnipresent ants hauling off their share!

Les fourmis weren't the only obstacle. Gathering twigs when Smokey's around, c'est presque impossible! My golden can't resist poking me with his nose until HE is the unique object of my attention. And this is how I quickly became a one-armed forager. Luckily, the activity is just as agreeable with a furry arm rest on one side and, below, l'embarras de choix -- or an embarrasing variety of choice. (Don't you love the French expression for abundance?)

Back now, foraging beside my husband, who has almost finished excavating the flower bed, I notice he has on his new favorite shirt (you can see it at the end of this post). He's got a real color theme going for this summertime, and it's neon jaune. His shoes are yellow, too--and so is his Smartphone!

"I've got a new name for you," I say.

"Ah, bon. Qu'est-ce que c'est?"

"Mellow Yellow."

The joke is not lost on him and we both laugh at how riled up we can get when we disagree on things.

Next, I'm careful to laugh at myself. Passions are an all or nothing thing for me. I can't just collect a few brindilles, I've got to have a giant stick factory!

What a picture, squatting there, fists full of my favorite new commodity, a mile-high wood pile growing beside me. Just call me "Twiggy."

 

Comments
To respond to this story, click here. Note, I'm still editing today's post, feel free to share corrections in the comments box. Thanks. Will add to the vocabuary section soon, here

French Vocabulary

le lit = bed
le béton = concrete
la faïence = earthenware
une poche = pocket
*BRF = bois raméal fragmenté ramial chipped wood

 

New rental in Provence. In the charming village of Sablet--this spacious home is the perfect place to return to after sightseeing, bicycling or hiking. See pictures here.

  Seeds of Hope Jane Goodall

WINNER of our book giveaway....

Dana, are you reading? You were comment number 30 (automatically generated number) in the "humble oneself post" and you've won Jane's book: Seeds of Hope: Wisdom and Wonder from the World of Plants. Email me, Dana (who wrote "Those naughty dogs might have led you to a new friend"), and I will ship you your book. Félicitations!

Smokey and rock wall
 Out of time now... so much more to say about les brindilles. What a soothing activity, now part of my daily routine. P.S. Can you spot Smokey? And the boules? No, that's not a hulo hoop! It's a piece broken off of my husband's wine barrel. Hey... more mulch! Comments welcome here.

Missed a story? Check out the archives!

Thanks for sharing this post with a friend. :-) 

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


French? No, Jane Goodall speaks Chimpanzee!

Jane-Goodall-Aurelien-Raynaud-sculpture
How serendipitous to write about Jane Goodall--on the 215 anniversary of British paleontologist Mary Anning! Cheers to all the dirt-beneath-their fingernails women who help us understand, appreciate and consciously care for the world we live in. 

Mas la Monaque: rent this beautiful French home

Mas la Monaque - Rent this beautifully restored 17-century farmhouse. Click here for more pictures.


une place (plass)


    : seat

réserver une place = to book a seat

Audio File: Listen to Jean-Marc Download MP3 or Wav file

    On arrivera un peu en retard : tu nous garderas deux places?
    We'll arrive a little late. Can you hold two seats for us?

See the French man behind these husky sound recordings and read about the job he once offered me, before I corraled him into recording for me! Read First French Essais.

A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE... by Kristin Espinasse

When Nancy offered to hold a seat for me at the Jane Goodall talk in Aix-en-Provence, I began to stutter (if one can bégayer via email). It was a thoughtful offer from my new friend, but, quickly doing the math, I realized 5 more amies--and my husband--also needed seats! I could not ask Nancy to sprawl out across 7 seats--lounging inconspicuously at a sold-out event (even if I sensed she was gutsy and would probably do it!)

Standing in line with Jean-Marc, a crowd encircling us, I wondered would there be any good spots left? My telephone suddenly rang with the answer! It was my longtime pal Chris. Turns out she was inside the auditorium. She'd already tossed her coat over two seats, suggesting we get to them before she could no longer fend off the crowd!

My savior! So far the night had begun with two assertive women, and now a third was soon to appear--all but beating her chest with her fists!

As the speaker acknowledged her audience, Chris and I looked at each other. We were amazed by Jane Goodall's foreign language greeting--in Chimpanzee! There stood, center stage, a cultural icon--an 80-year-old esteemed scientist--grunting like the "primitive" heroes she had befriended years ago!

The crowd roared as they clapped, delighted by the unusual bonjour. Talk about down-to-earth! Elbowing Chris, I shouted, "That was so cool!"--my own language as simple as uncultured as a chimp's. But who's to say apes are so simple?

For the next hour Jane Goodall talked about our closest relatives: they made and used tools like us, fought like us, loved and empathized like us. Madame Goodall's affection and respect for chimpanzees was palpable, and she couldn't resist holding hands, from time to time, with the dashing chimpanzee seated beside her--a wonderful creation by sculptor Aurélien Raynaud. (Psst! Mom, are you reading? You're going to love this artist's studio! and his statement:

The animal touches what is deepest in us. This is to regain what we have lost, rather than trying to humanize it. Learn to be guided by another form of intelligence and win humility lacking in our civilization. --Aurélien Raynaud (pictured, right, below).


Aurelien Raynaud

For the second half of the two-hour talk, the soft-spoken anthropologist shared her love of plants. And here is where my interest in Jane Goodall began! As a budding gardener with a growing interest in permaculture and food forest design, I came to listen to what Jane Goodall has to say about seeds, "weeds," and trees: the one in danger of disparition, the second often considered a menace (instead of medecine), and the third--well, what would life be like if you couldn't nap beneath an old oak?).

Jane began with a question -- one I had been so curious to know the answer. "Why, you may be asking, would an 80-year-old woman spend 300 days of the year travelling and lecturing? Why wouldn't I just stay at my beloved Gombe (where Jane studied chimpanzees), and continue learning?"

Here we learn that in 1985, during a conference, Jane learned about the shocking conditions of zoo animals. Seeing her friends, the apes, caged, turned Jane the scientist into Jane the Activist!

In addition to being a voice for animals, she speaks out about the environment. Citing the fires in San Diego and the record sècheresse in California, Jane talked about the agricultural practices that were leading to global warming. 

The subject turned dark, but Jane managed to keep things light, using humor and props to keep us encouraged. My favorite prop was one of the stuffed animals that tag along with her during her talks. This one was la vache. (See the little cow in the background, beside the little French girl who presented Jane with a glorious bouquet after the talk).

  Jane Goodall translator cow

 Jane and her translator are charmed by the sweet French girl who offered a bouquet after the talk.

The cow is her spokesperson against factory farming. As she held up her cuddly friend, I slunked down, little by little, in my chair--thinking of my own dear friend, my tireless supporter, the one who gets me out of bed and through the day. Her name? Café-au-lait....

My mind filled with images of factory farmed cows, crammed one against the other. As thoughts began to torture me, an American in the audience spoke up: 

What can we do to help, Jane?

It was such a simple question and Jane, who has the ability to answer questions as fast as they are fired off, didn't disappoint:

Each person can use their skills and abilities to change things!

As Jane's words soaked in, I looked around the auditorium. There was the sculptor, Aurélien, who had devoted his career to representing the voiceless ones... and there was my friend, Chris, who had brought two of her daughters to listen to the environmental talk. And Nancy (who I hoped had found a seat...) was busy photographing what remained of the bees, intent on sharing her findings.

And then there was me. Too chicken to even save a friend a seat! (I thought about my friends Cari and Andrea who were running late to the event.... They finally made it and were perched high above in the rafters. Cari is an artist and Andrea a psychologist--they were bound to incorporate tonight's talk into their work--on canvas and sur le canapé!

This reminded me of my medium--my keyboard! I could get the word out too. Share Jane's message about how if each one of us did even a tiny bit, the result--multipied by billions of earth dwellers--would result in undoing some of the damage we have caused.

"When I see young children today," Jane shared, "I think about the world we have left them to grow up in."  The environmentalist's comment caused my skin to prickle, as I remembered thinking the same when my son was born 19-years-ago....

And that was before we were aware of GMOs.

Comments
To respond to this story, click here.

Check out Jane Goodall's latest book Jane Goodall's latest: Seeds of Hope: Wisdom and Wonder from the World of Plants. I will announce the winner soon (Sorry I didn't get a signed copy).

Interested in permaculture? Check out this book.

  1-DSC_0019

My 19-year-old, Max, helping to buy a grapefruit tree for our permaculture garden. Now, each time Mother's Day, Christmas, my birthday or you-name-it-celebration comes along, I ask for a plant or a tree or seeds :-) To comment on this post, click here.

Provence Dreamin'? Maison des Pelerins, Sablet. A Vacation Rental Dream in the heart of the Côte du Rhone. 

Have you read Chef Alain's award-winning book?: Living Gluten and Dairy-Free with French Gourmet Food yet? Yum! http://buff.ly/1g5FSrh

 

Jean-Marc and Kristin Espinasse

Me and my date for the Jane Goodall talk. Photo taken a day before, at a family picnic. Thanks, Cousin Audrey, for the picture. To comment on this edition, go here.

Share this post and spread the word!

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


faire amende honorable

 
1-grapevine trellis

Another leafy front porch, not far from the lieu du crime... read on in today's French-vocabulary infused story column. Thanks to French reader, Brigitte, who offered today's vocabulary word.

HulstonExclusive French made clothes now available to purchase on-line. Thomas Hulston Collections.

 
 

faire amende honorable (fer-ah-mahnd-oh-no-rahbl)

    : to apologize, to make amends

AUDIO FILE: Listen to Jean-Marc Download MP3 or wav file

...le coupable doit donc faire amende honorable et dédommager les intéressés.
...the guilty party ought to make due apology and compensation to the victim. (Linguee.fr)

Easy French Step-by-Step: excellent reference book for building grammar, comprehension and speaking skills.  Order here.


A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE... by Kristin Espinasse

(Continued from Part 2. of Our Dogs Stole Neighbor's Chickens story)

As I stood on the unfamiliar doorstep, clutching a forgiveness plant--trying desperately to read my neighbor's lips--another woman sat beaming in a garden chair. Occasionally, I would look over at the platinum-haired angel, each time gaining the courage to deliver my apology or, as the French say, faire amende honorable.

Moments before, I had found the sprawling stone mas, which was visibly divided into two or three units, each in varying stages of renovation. As I walked hesitantly down the dirt path, sensing my way to the correct address, I was greeted by a friendly bulldog. Reaching down, ankle level, I petted him as I scanned the mysterious property. No worries, I breathed, I need only to continue in my furry greeter's tracks, to reach my destination.

As I and Mr Greet rounded the batisse, I saw a porch engulfed by bright green leaves, the screen gate open to the turquoise blue sea en face. No matter how nerve-racked I was, the scene tickled my senses. Approaching the entrance of the humble abode with the regal view, I glimpsed, beneath the green leafy rideau, warm terracotta tiles that beckoned, "approche, approche!" But it was the woman with the platinum hair and honey-kissed skin that drew me in.... 

(And this is where you found me, previous chapter, babbling my mea culpa to la maîtresse de la maison--who stood beside the woman in the chair.)

'The woman of the house' was just as my son described her: blond, younger than I. This is how I knew to direct my apology to her, and not the smiling woman in the chair, with the platinum hair (who I soon learned was the foreign aunt--who maybe didn't speak French? I wondered...).

If only circumstances were different! For a moment I imagined what it would be like to be on a completely different mission. I might be here to report on the tumbledown farmhouse overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. I might have stumbled onto this bucolic spot to interview the charming characters who graced the sea-breezy terrace.... but no, hélas, there was nothing breezy about the reality of the situation. My dogs had stolen three of the neighbor's hens. The time had come to make amends!

The potted flowers (now limp in my hands) were never intended as payment for the chickens. A beloved animal is priceless! The blossoming comfrey was only a break-the-ice gesture; if all went according to plan, I would gain my neighbor's trust in time to convince her to come with me on an all-expenses-paid chicken spree. It was a delicate matter, I knew, and I could only imagine how hard it would be for my neighbor to consider new and different chickens. But what else could be done? I'd tied up my dogs (this, after building a dog pen last year) and I was now looking into an electric fence.  

Somewhere during my apology, the platinum-haired lady cheering me silently, I handed over the potted plant, taking care to pull out the note I'd written detailing my plan. 

That's when the young woman took a step, and then another, until she stood beside me. She looked over my shoulder, peacefully, as I read my apology:

I am sorry for the pain I have caused you... I know new chickens won't truly replace the ones taken from you... but I would like to drive you to the store of your choice, to pick out some more hens....

My written note was as fumbling as the voiced version, and no sooner had I finished reading than my neighbor looked at me squarely...

"Thank you. But I cannot have any more chickens..."

"Oh, I'm so sorry..." The thought that I may have snatched, along with the chickens, the will to continue raising chickens was too much to bear!

Seeing the color drain from my face, my neighbor explained. "I am not mad at you. I appreciate and am touched by your apology. I can see you are upset and I understand this was a terrible accident." Motioning to her yard, she offered, "I have no fences either--for my chickens or my dog. An accident was bound to happen."

I looked around the free-range yard as a few cars zoomed past, along the road above us. But maybe we could build a chicken hutch for their safety? Surely there were supplies, at the chicken store....

Before I could voice my thoughts, my neighbor said, "I can't take any more chickens as I am moving. I had promised the chickens to another neighbor...."

I noticed the hesitancy in her voice as she paused, studying me. Was she remembering my remark about wanting chickens of my own? Could it be that she was considering giving the last hen... to me?

The sea breeze circled us like a question mark. I still had no answers, only a feeling: that the one who'd incurred loss.... wanted to give!

How this memory continues to soothe me! By sharing my personal story of the chicken-heist, I'd invited in a host of critics who shared their outrage in the comments box. It all made me think... Were I a little more clever, I'd stick to happy-go-lucky stories! As it is, I'm tied to a leash, just like my dogs, as I follow my heart's lead. Ce coeur battant, this beating heart--it's the guide that tugs me forward as I drip ink across these pages, emptying a soul's well into a universal puit. Surely, deep down, our stories run together?

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French Vocabulary
la bâtisse = building
en face = opposite (across the way)
le rideau = curtain
la maîtresse de maison = woman of the house
le puits = well

Provence Dreamin'? Maison des Pelerins, Sablet. A Vacation Rental Dream in the heart of the Côte du Rhone. 

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Jackie-jumpsuit

We are so proud of our daughter, Jackie, who is progressing in sewing class (she's at a vocational school, studying la mode, or fashion. This is her second project, "The Blue Jumpsuit". You should see the zippers and pockets--and the cuffs! Also, give Jackie a shout out, today, wishing her luck on her first day interning! She'll be in Marseilles for the next two weeks, working beside seamstresses in a popular men's clothing manufacturer's! Go, Girl! Go!!!!!

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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To humble oneself + what to give someone you've unintentionally hurt

Letter of sympathy
Russian comfrey and letter of sympathy (with misspellings), reads Sir/Mam, I offer all my regrets for the loss of your chickens. I am sincerely and deeply sorry for the pain this has caused you..." (Read on, in today's story column.)

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se rabaisser (seuh rah bay say)

    : to humble oneself, to show humility or respect

Audio File: listen to Jean-Marc: Download MP3 or Wav

Je me suis rabaissée devant le potager, en visant mon plant préféré. Et puis, je l'ai arraché!
I lowered myself before the kitchen garden, and targeted my favorite plant. Next, I yanked it out! 

  At only $8 Exercises in French Phonetics is a great tool for improving your French.


A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE... by Kristin Espinasse


I left Annie's whimsical garden with a bag of stinging nettles and a mission: to plant the medicinal orties and, secondly, to heal an open wound--celle de ma voisine.

The orties, no matter how menacing their bite, would be easy to manage; I needed only to wear gloves to transplant them. As for the pain we'd caused our other neighbor--I was not sure how to proceed... so I followed--hanging on as my body whisked forth my soul, over to the field just below.

There in my own jardin, I landed. Walking past the flowering consoude, with its ornamental purple bells, I knew instantly it was the one. I had just given a seedling to my friend Cari, keeping the mother comfrey--all decked out now in blossoms--for myself. Even then I knew I should have given the best away, and patiently waited for the seedling to grow into another purple-belled marvel. It wasn't too late this time around....

Se rabaisser (the French translation for "to humble yourself") literally means to bow down, and this I did before the royal purple bells of Symphytum x uplandicum--the noblest subject in my potager.

I knelt not as a worshiper before an idol; I met the ground as a broken heart falling in pieces! If the act was dramatic, it encompassed more than the sorrow for my neighbor's lost chickens, it carried with it the weight of other trespasses--both personal and universal. Isn't that what it feels like to be deeply sorry, or navrée? As though the weight of a world's sins rests on your guilty shoulders. 

Kneeling there, the rocks below me drove their jagged edges into my skin. But I felt only the pain of shame as I searched for words.

 "Please let there be understanding--and forgiveness. Please heal this pain."

There was nothing I could do to bring back the stolen chickens. And only God knows how hard I try to keep our dogs inside our property lines. The best I could do was to reach out to my neighbor: apologize, ask what I could give or do, and let her see the human face behind the unknown perpetrator. 

As I stood there, now, on a foreign doorstep--my heart thumping in my throat, my arms holding out a potted plant its leaves going limp before my very eyes--my new neighbor studied me, her lips a straight line.....

 (A suivre/To be continued here in Part 2 of story)

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Note: highlighted links within the story refer back to previous journal entries:

Annie's garden (including part one of today's story)
Kristi's garden (picture)

FRENCH VOCABULARY
celle de ma voisine = that (wound, blessure) of my neighbor
le jardin = garden
la consoude = comfrey
le potager = vegetable patch
navré(e) = deep sorrow, sadness for one's mistake

New rental in Provence. In the charming village of Sablet--this spacious home is the perfect place to return to after sightseeing, bicycling or hiking. See pictures here.

  Seeds of Hope Jane Goodall

Plants are the best gift, no matter the occasion! An olive or peach tree, aloe or comfrey! They nourish, improve the air we breathe, and are often healing. A book about plants is the next best gift of all. I am offering one copy of Jane Goodall's latest: Seeds of Hope: Wisdom and Wonder from the World of Plants.

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Leave a comment in today's comments box.  You can say anything at all: respond to today's story, or tell us your favorite plant. Click here to comment and enter.

P.S. I can't promise, so don't hold me to it--but if I manage to get a signed book on Monday night--when I go to see Jane Goodall speak in Aix!!--then I will include the signed copy in the giveaway. Otherwise the book will be shipped to you directly via Amazon.com. Good luck!

Thank you for sharing this post with a friend.

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


A lively French expression + a creative use for an old T.V.!

Lemon-tree

Manigances is not the word of the day, but if it were I'd tell you all about our dogs shenanigans. Instead, read about my prized neighbor, in today's column.

Mas la Monaque: rent this beautiful French home

Mas la Monaque - Rent this beautifully restored 17-century farmhouse. Click here for more pictures.

 

une ortie (or-tee)

    : stinging nettle, white nettle

Ortie-stinging-nettle

Audio File: Listen to Jean-Marc:
Download MP3 or Wav file

Faut pas pousser mémé dans les orties!
Don't push it (don't test grandma's patience!)

A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE... by Kristin Espinasse

Once our golden retrievers were safely home and I'd finally claimed my husband's Forgiveness Flowers, I raced back up the hill to Annie's house. My 74-year-old neighbor lives at the edge of our north field, beside the borie-shaped well--where she had seen me chasing our dogs. I needed to let Annie know everything was okay. And I had to make sure no harm had come to her chickens!

I made my way past sky-high wildflowers, which grace the edge of Annie's place. Parting a curtain of giant yellow marguerites, I glimpsed Annie. 

"Ça va, Annie?" As soon as I said it I slapped my hand over my mouth. "Oups! I haven't brushed my teeth. Better not come close to me!"

"And I haven't got any teeth!" Annie countered, smiling to prove it. We shrugged our shoulders and kissed each other through the laughter. 

"J'ai un problème," I began. I told Annie about our dogs latest fugue--in which they were spotted stealing another neighbor's chickens! All chaos broke loose when yet another neighbor began ambushing the golden thieves, chasing away our dogs with grapefruit-size rocks!

"Are you kidding? They could have killed Smokey!" my son argued, when I spoke of the apology due our neighbor. It was my 18-year-old and his sister who had found our dogs, thanks to the foreign field workers (on the neighbor's property), who also filled the kids in on the drama. Using their muscular arms the Spaniards told the story of the stoning. Max pieced together the excited Spanish, and learned about the violent attack -- this time on our dogs. 

"Put yourself in their shoes!" I said to Max, trying to reason with my son. "They lost three of their own animals!"

"No they didn't," Max said of the rock-throwers. "The other neighbor did!"

That's when my husband put a stop to the argument. "On va laisser ça comme ça!" We're going to leave things as they are (no one was going to go anywhere!), he said, pointing out that the neighbor had yanked one of our dog's (telephone numbered) collars off, during the ambush, and so threatened to call the police and report us. We'll settle things then, my husband seemed to be saying.

Annie listened to the drama as I recounted it. "I've got to apologize to the poor lady who lost her hens. But I'm not sure which house is hers--the three homes are so close together. What if I end up at the mad guy's house? The one who tried to kill our dogs (believing his hens were next on the menu).... It was, as the French would say, une situation très délicate.

 Annie sighed, and held out her arm. "Come on, let's go have a cup of coffee."

Annie didn't have the answer, but the arm-in-arm stroll through her garden, and the drip coffee--reheated and served in mustard jars--eased my distress.

In this cozy atmosphere, I babbled on about my stubborn husband and son, as Annie shook her head, remembering aloud her own fiesty family. Soon we were laughing, even if the subject was tender as a feather (those poor chickens! I felt sick with regret!)

Rounding Annie's garden, passing by the wall of bright orange capucines and the riot of artichokes--I spotted the upturned T.V.

"Oh, Annie--you are my kind of friend!" 

The old T.V. reminded me of our knob-turner from the 70s. Only, instead of getting tossed out when flat-screens came along, this T.V. ended up in the garden--as a flower pot! My eyes trailed up the tree peony that came rocketing out of the broken screen--talk about 3D!

Annie seemed a little embarrassed, and began explaining she'd run out of plant-holders, but I assured her the solution was pure genius!

Annie was tickled and it showed in her step as she tugged me along, now, to see the rest of her garden-- including rows and rows of fava and green beans. "I finally planted a potager this year," she said, and I remembered her gardener husband. How many years since he had passed? Wouldn't he be delighted to know his wife was growing things again! 

"You did all of this?" I praised, and for my attention I received another excited tug. This time we were off to see the prized irises!

Those flowers were beautiful indeed, but it was the knee-high patch off to the side that really caught my eye. 

"Les orties!"

Annie looked surprised by my interest. "You can have them all!"

"But don't you eat them?" I questioned, believing every French woman must have a repertoire of recipes for nettles.

"I can't stand them!" Annie admitted, "ça pique! ça pique!" She grabbed her trusty pick and motioned for me to stand back, refusing my offer to help.

Watching Annie, an old French expression trotted my mind, embarrasingly so:

Il ne faut pas pousser mémé dans les orties! (Don't shove grandma into the nettles patch!)

The lively expression caused me to smile to myself, guiltily, and when Annie turned to hand me the sack of orties, she couldn't know what I was thinking.

I was thinking about the miracle of living the French expressions I'd once only memorized from a book! I was thinking about how things only got better and better, once you stood up, dusted yourself off, and went in search of love. 

I was thinking about how I was now the proud new owner of orties! Not everyone is in search of stinging nettles--not everyone finds in them a pot of gold (or a pot of vitamins, when you make soup!). But then there was a time when I wasn't in search of stinging nettles either, preferring to adorn my outside rather than adore my inside.

The more I hang with geniuses like Annie, the more I get my priorities straight. And a big priority, presently, was to go find that poor chickenless neighbor--and to apologize.

A suivre... (to be continued, click here for part 2)

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The highlighted links within the post will bring you to more pictures. Simply scroll down the linked page to find them:

  1. Our golden retrievers - see Smokey's dad, too!
  2. Forgiveness bouquet - Jean-Marc is seriously good at picking wildflowers
  3. Borie-shaped well  (you'll also see pictures of our home)


French Vocabulary
la borie
= round stone hut
la marguerite = daisy
la fugue = runaway
la capucine = nasturtium
le potager = kitchen garden
les orties = stinging nettles
ça pique! = it stings!

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Provence Dreamin'? Maison des Pelerins, Sablet. A Vacation Rental Dream in the heart of the Côte du Rhone.


Vegetable garden and nettles patch
I planted the stinging nettles below the boulder (left). I did have a doubt... maybe they'll spread like rumors and become a nuisance! But then I'll have plenty of nutritious nettle soup one day! See 101 Uses for Stinging Nettles

  Wildflowers-chardon

Here are some wildflowers coming up in the lower field. You can just glimpse the lawn chair (right) where Aunt Geneviève rested after our family picnic, over a week ago.

If you enjoy this word and photo journal, please share it with a friend! And many thanks for reading.

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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"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


To ask for guidance or advice in French

Jean-Marc and Kristi-golfing

Today's metaphor involves a bowling ball. With no such picture in my photo archives, I offer a not-so-close second: la balle de golf. (In the photo--taken in 2005, near Bandol--our daughter, then 8 years-old, seems to be imitating me. In reality, she's getting ready to roll down the grassy hill. Don't worry about the ball, it won't reach her. I won't even be able to hit it off the tee).

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Beautifully renovated and decorated home in the Luberon. 4 bedrooms and a study with a sofa bed, each with ensuite (full) bath. This villa comfortably sleeps 7-9 adults.


le conseil (kon-say)

    :  advice, counsel, guidance

Audio File: Listen to Jean-Marc: Download MP3 or Wav file

Le conseil. La nuit porte conseil.
Counsel. Night brings cousel.

A tool for improving your French pronunciation! At only $8 The book Exercises in French Phonetics is a great deal.


A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE... BY KRISTIN ESPINASSE


There is an encouraging dicton in French that promises: La nuit porte conseil ("night brings counsel"). Turning over in bed, I stared out the window--searching for the answer. There were several problems, but I began to sense one solution that would solve every single souci!

Like the bowling ball that knocks down all 10 pins, all I needed to do was to roll out of bed and continue in a straight line, on target! Action brings reward, and no sooner did I push back the bed covers when I heard barking on the horizon. The first pin was about to tumble! It seemed our missing dogs were back from their latest fugue. But I would need to catch them before they dashed off again.

I tied on my shoes and shot up the path behind our house, where Jean-Marc was watering his newly-planted grapevines. (If my husband wasn't chasing down our dogs the moment they appeared, it is because I have more luck coaxing Braise and Smokey back home.)

"They ran that way," Jean-Marc said, pointing his hose toward the woods. My husband's words ricocheted across the vine row, which may as well have been a line of deadpans--if such a variety of grapes existed. Of course it didn't, but there was no mistaking the emptiness in his voice. Obviously he was still smarting.

I paused in my tracks, feeling all the weight of my metaphoric bowling ball. And then I remembered: Just keep rolling. I'll eventually get to that pin: first the dog pin, then the husband pin!

I continued on, direction les chiens! Halfway up the forest path, my husband shouted: "If you want to find the dogs, I told you they went that way!"


Whereas my husband's voice had been empty, this time he seemed annoyed. Oh boy. We had a ways to go before patching things up again! Even as I ran toward the dogs, I was recalculating just how long it would now take to reach the husband pin, having understood his distance! 

No number appeared--for it was impossible to estimate how many minutes, hours, or days until I would reach the husband pin. I raced into the woods, reaching our two smiley golden retrievers. Amazing how well off they always are, just when I think they've been run over by the nearby TGV!

Gripping one dog collar in each hand, I turned toward home, fully intent on rolling right on past the grumbling husband pin. Forget him! Only, owing to the uneven terrain of the vineyard, and the dogs---which yanked me left and right--this prideful bride was delivered right to her husband's side!

(Around about here my bowling metaphor has lost steam, so we've thrown in a stubborn bride to keep things alive and kicking!)

The dogs paused as I came face to face with my husband and, looking at him, as if in a mirror, I recognized something: myself. That's when the number came to me. Zero. In no time at all we could make up--if we would just see the other's pain and feel compassion.

"Thank you," I mumbled, motioning to the found dogs. It was all I could manage before Braise and Smokey yanked me away, to the left, to the right--all the way down the path towards home.

When I got there I moved the bouquet of wilting wildflowers inside.  They had sat outside in a bucket for two days--ever since my husband collected them for me, apologetically. It was time to accept them. Time to protect them.

 

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French Vocabulary
le dicton = saying
le souci = worry
la fugue = running away
le chien = dog
le TGV = Train à Grande Vitesse, high-speed train 

 New rental in Provence. In the charming village of Sablet--this spacious home is the perfect place to return to after sightseeing, bicycling or hiking.


Wildflower bouquet
You should have seen these 3 or 4 days ago! The wild gladiolas have withered, but the flowers are still in good shape. Can you name some of them? Jean-Marc tells me that every specimen was taken from the field where he just planted his baby vines. In the background you can see Mom's painting of Jean-Marc's wine. And that's Jean-Marc's grandfather's couch. The neat thing about this old canapé, is the way the arms fold down. Jean-Marc's grandfather napped there, and JM likes to rest here too.

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


An Elephant in the Room? Chez moi?

Elephants in France

These elephants were spotted on a French door--and in the window--of a home in Pernes-les-Fontaines. As for elephants in the room, read on in today's missive.

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l'éléphant dans la pièce

The English expression "elephant in the room", which literally signifies [in French] "éléphant dans la pièce" but which mustn't be translated as such in French, designates "something very important and very obvious, that we should therefore see, but that we don't want to admit or recognise and that we don't want to talk about" (French translation and credits, below)...

 AUDIO FILE Download MP3 or Wav

L'expression anglaise « elephant in the room », qui signifie littéralement « éléphant dans la pièce » mais qui ne doit pas être traduite ainsi en français, désigne « quelque chose de très important et de très évident, que l'on devrait donc voir, mais que l'on ne veut pas admettre ou reconnaître et dont on ne veut pas discuter ».... (from Anglais Practique - Practical English)

Provence Dreamin'? Maison des Pelerins, Sablet. A Vacation Rental Dream in the heart of the Côte du Rhone.


A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE... by Kristin Espinasse

I received an email, day before yesterday, from a longtime reader. Her message echoed another reader's note, received, coincidentally an hour before:

Dear Kristin,

I wonder why you have never mentioned your cats after they disappeared. It's the elephant in the room: we know you must be heart-broken and so are so many of your readers, vicariously. This may sound weird, but it's hard to just go on and forget them, as a reader. Maybe I missed an update. I don't wish to cause you pain by saying this.

--L

No matter how good-intentioned the inquiry, I shriveled inside. But before clicking shut the email, the words "elephant in the room" reached out and brushed me--as gently as a 200 pound trunk.

I sat back, trying to find the humor in the current situation. "Well, that's not the only elephant in the room!" I croaked, and I shook my head, as if shaking it would loosen the laughter inside of me. Instead, it seemed to tighten the invisible noose around my neck.  You certainly know the feeling, Dear Reader, if you've ever loved.

But today, the breakthrough came and my feet are touching the ground again. The cats are not back but my relationship is intact and, suddenly, the tears have broken loose--like rain over a scorched desert.

Re the elephant in the room. They have been there all along. They are scattered across these story archives, disguised in pink tutus, little sparkle wings on their backs. None of us have the monopoly on Happy Ever After. If we did, why would we ever try?--to grow, to change, to fly

 

Kristi and Smokey

Me and Smokey. Dog therapy: stronger than a shot of gin, and without the side effects of medecine.

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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