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Entries from January 2017

A Tip Jar, a Girl, and Wings

Street-artist
A father putting his artistic talents to work for rémunération. I once had a bird like the little girl's. When it sat on my shoulder I felt invincible. So why is it hard, now, to do certain things? Where are my wings?


Bonjour, dear Reader,


I have been busy around here lately. "Here" refers to this French word journal, which I began in 2002.  Since quitting a full-time job at a Swedish owned vineyard in 2003, I have made this newsletter my vocation. Writing it is my life. I am entirely devoted to bringing you these updates which I hope are educational, entertaining, and worthy of your time.

This year's améliorations include the addition of a twice-monthly bilingual post (thanks, Jean-Marc!), the return of our vocabulary section and, coming up, a summary and sound file of all the mots we have learned each month--words salt-and-peppered into these real-time stories, tucked around the roast chickens, mixed into the yogurt cake, absorbed in context along with the aroma and beat of this ever-changing French life.

Any ads you see here help to cover some of the expenses involved in maintaining the French Word-A-Day site. But if you wish to support the effort and time that go into creating this free language service, your contributions, via this link, are greatly appreciated.

Merci infiniment,


Kristi


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


"I have enjoyed this blog for years and watched your children grow up. You are staying strong through all the changes. Merci pour tout."
--Betty D.


Undressed in Aix: A surprise warning posted in Jackie's apartment building

Escalier stairs bicycle


Wish to speak French fluently? 30-Day French
will teach you everything you need to know to speak French on your next trip to France with 30 lessons based on real-life conversations. Click here.


TODAY'S WORD: la cage d'escalier

        : staircase, stairwell


EXAMPLE SENTENCE, read by Jackie:

Ma cage d'escalier est plutôt du style ancienne époque.
My staircase is mostly in an old epoch style.

Download MP3 file and listen here


Improve your French voice, try  Exercises in French Phonetics


A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE

    by Kristi Espinasse


"UNDRESSED IN AIX"


This weekend Jackie returned home to rest, study, and to faire son linge. I notice she brings her draps each time which tells me she has grown to appreciate the value of clean sheets. Is there anything better at the end of the day than getting into a bed of crisp, fresh-scented linens?

Though our 19-year-old was home all weekend, we rarely saw her. Holed up in her room she crammed for upcoming exams, surfacing three times a day for meals or to check on her clothes which, owing to gray skies outside, dried on an étendoir in front of our fireplace.

Sunday I carefully set the table, hoping to clue-in all three family members (Max was away skiing) that we were going to eat together! Hélas, there was a live match de tennis during mealtime (Nadal vs. Federer) so Jean-Marc rigged his computer to the TV and shouted intermittently at the screen -- causing Jackie and me to attack back:

Putain! Ça va pas de crier comme ça! (Jackie)

Oh! Arrête de crier! Tu va me donner une crise cardiaque! (Me, copying Jackie's tirade, only without the cuss words). Reestablishing law and order, Jackie and I continued our cozy conversation at the lunch table--she in her fuzzy pantoufles, and me wearing several layers to keep warm in our chilly farmhouse. At the center of the table, a just-out-of-the-oven poulet rôti brought us further back to our senses, with the scent of fresh herbs, slow-cooked onions, garlic, and butternut squash tucked beneath the bird.

"I'm glad to hear you're comfortable in your apartment," I said, as we ate. "One of the things that most attracted me to it, when your father and I were looking for a place for you, was the building's staircase. All the other apartments we saw had dark, narrow, grungy stairwells leading up to the studios. But when we walked in off the street to your building, it opened up beautifully! And for the same rent as the others (with their fire hazard staircases) you could have this grande escalier!

Jackie agreed, sharing that the cage d'escalier was historic or, as she called it, from the ancienne époque. Next, she laughed...."It's so stylish that a magazine is coming to do a photo shoot there."

"Really?"

"Yah. There was a notice posted inside my building. It warned that the models would NOT be dressed."

"You're kidding!" I snickered, picturing male models draped across the Rococo-plastered guard rails....

"NON! NON!" Jean-Marc howled. "NOOOOOON!"

Jackie and I set down our forks and burst out laughing. Federer must have missed the ball. :-)

*    *    *

Plastered stairwell

Stories you may have missed...

Student housing: The 5 apartments we looked at in Aix-en-Provence

No clothes dryer? How France has taught me to go green.



FRENCH VOCABULARY
Increase your vocabulary with this list. More tools here.

faire le linge = to do laundry
le drap = sheet
un étendoir = drying rack
putain! = expletive, worse than dammit....
Tu vas me donner une crise cardiaque! = you're going to give me a heart attack!
la pantoufle = slipper
le poulet rôti = roast chicken

Train blue stairs and restaurant in Paris
Stairs at the famous Train Bleu restaurant in Paris's Gare de Lyon. Booking.com has a great selection of rooms. Reserve your hotel, B&B, or house in Paris or any city, here.

PARIS METRO CUFF - Unique bracelet and great gift for those who love Paris. Click here.


APRONS, French-themed - keep the tomatoes in the tart and off of your nice shirt.

PARIS PEACE T-SHIRT - "so many people have stopped to ask me where I got it" -Betty.

French country cooking mimi thorisson

A captivating journey to off-the-beaten-path French wine country with 100 simple yet exquisite recipes, 150 sumptuous photographs, and stories inspire. Order Mimi Thorisson's book here.

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


"I have enjoyed this blog for years and watched your children grow up. You are staying strong through all the changes. Merci pour tout."
--Betty D.


Bilingual French Story and Book Hotels in France and beyond

La Boite a Fleurs shop in Ramatuelles France

Want to speak French fluently? 30-Day French will teach you everything you need to know to speak French on your next trip to France with 30 lessons based on real-life conversations. Try it out.

TODAY'S WORD: la sève

        : sap, lifeblood

Parlez mieux : Pronounce it Perfectly in French or  Exercises in French Phonetics


BILINGUAL STORY by Jean-Marc

Il est temps de tailler la vigne

Download "It is time to prune the vines" - Jean-Marc's bilingual story


Une fois que toutes les feuilles des vignes sont tombées, que la sève est redescendue, il est temps de tailler la vigne.
Cette opération est très importante car elle conditionne la prochaine récolte.

Chaque année, lorsque la Nature revit au Printemps, la vigne va produire un certain nombre de sarments en fonction de la taille qui aura été effectuée et ces futurs sarments produiront les futurs raisins. Plus la taille est courte, moins la végétation sera importante et plus faible sera la récolte mais meilleure sera t-elle, probablement. Il faut donc penser à la fois aux aspects quantitatifs et qualitatifs avant de tailler chaque pied de vigne et chaque vigne est une nouvelle équation à résoudre.

Même si c'est un travail physique (surtout lorsque la vigne est basse) et répétitif, j'aime faire cette opération. Marcher dans l'herbe produit des arômes uniques. On y découvre aussi quelques coccinelles qui seront, je l'espère, porteuses de chance pour la récolte à venir.

            ENGLISH TRANSLATION

It is time to prune the vines.

Once all of the vine leaves have fallen, and the sap has fallen back, it is time to prune the vines.  This mission is very important, as it influences the next harvest.

Each year, when nature comes back to life in springtime, the vine will produce a certain amount of shoots depending on the pruning that will have taken place, and these future shoots will produce future grapes. The more severe the pruning, the less growth there will be and the less of a harvest there will be - but a better one, surely. It is necessary, then, to think of both quantity and quality aspects before pruning each vine and each vine is a new equation to solve.

Even if it is a lot of physical work (especially when the vine is low to the ground), and repetitive, I love this mission. Walking over the wild herbs produces unique aromas. You also discover a few ladybugs that will be, I hope, lucky charms for the harvest to come.

***
If you enjoyed Jean-Marc's story and would like more bilingual posts by him, let us know in the comments.

    Stories you may have missed...
    Terms of Endearment to help you prepare for Valentine's Day

Saving Our Skins Building A Vineyard Dream in France

By a fellow winemaker... Carol Feely's book is "A tale about life, love, and taking risks, while transforming a piece of land into a flourishing vineyard and making a new life in France". Read Saving Our Skins. Order the book.


Kristi and jean-marc using secateurs to tailler or prune the vines in winter
Did you enjoy Jean-Marc's bilingual post? He's added these photos (taken of us, 10 years ago), to illustrate his story. Thanks for sharing it with a French learner.

FRENCH COUNTRY DIARY 2017 - the popular and beloved engagement calendar.

KITCHEN TOWELS by Garnier-Thiebaut.

PARIS PEACE T-SHIRT - "so many people have stopped to ask me where I got it" -Betty.

The charming port in Cassis France

My friend Barbara (remember Barbara and Noelle, her Jack Russell?) asked if I could recommend a hotel in France. I sent her the site we use, called Booking, and she and Noelle easily found a place on the port in Cassis (the hotel welcomes dogs!). Because people are always asking me for hotel recommendations, Barbara encouraged me to sign up for Booking's affiliate program. I'm thrilled to have just been accepted! (Thank you, Barbara!). Jean-Marc used Booking when we went to Santorini, Greece, and recently, to book an apartment in Roses, Spain. My family used Booking last summer to rent a chateau for our family reunion here in St Cyr-sur-Mer (wish I'd been an affiliate then!) If you are looking for a hotel or an apartment or a lovely "bastide" anywhere in the world, thank you for using my affiliate link. Any revenue helps keep me doing what I love most - writing for a living. Please bookmark this Booking link so you will have it next time you need to reserve a hotel--or simply visit my blog, where you will see the Booking banner. Merci beaucoup for  your support!

Booking.com

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


"I have enjoyed this blog for years and watched your children grow up. You are staying strong through all the changes. Merci pour tout."
--Betty D.


Hygge in French: Cozy weekend & Magret de Canard: Easy 3-Ingredient Duck recipe

Max drinking rose wine from Mas des Brun and cooking magret de canard with pears honey and figs
Our 21-year-old, Max, came home from Montpellier for the weekend and cooked a cozy meal for the whole family. Read on in today's missive, below.

Please welcome our new sponsor:
Japonism and the French Impressionists : free interview with newsletter signup at www.fluentfrench.com


TODAY'S WORD: le magret de canard

        : fillet of duck, duck breast


EXAMPLE SENTENCE:


Maxime nous a cuisiné des magrets de canard selon la recette que je lui ai donnée
.
Maxime cooked us some duck fillets according to a recipe I gave him.

ECOUTEZ - Download MP3: Maxime nous a cuisiné des magrets de canard selon la recette que je lui ai donnée    

Improve your speech with Pronounce it Perfectly in French


A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE

    by Kristi Espinasse

If you keep coming across the word hygge, it's no wonder--you are reading too much news! Hygge is all over the media, even in France. According to Le Monde there is no French translation of the Danish word, a term synonymous with "snug" and "cozy" and involving friends, family and comfort food--all squeezed together, like a warm câlin:

"En France, point de hygge. Le mot qui s’en rapprocherait le plus dans notre vocabulaire est un emprunt à l’anglais, le cocooning." In France, no hygge. The word that comes closest, in our vocabulary, is borrowed from the English: cocooning.

This weekend our family cocooned. As the pumpkin vines (and their newly-formed globes) withered beneath the cold outside, inside we gathered together in snug comfort and warmth--in pajamas and fluffy pantoufles, before a crackling feu de cheminée. Whenever the kids are home things are automatically hygge around here. It's the scent of my son (what is that cologne he wears?), the softness of my daughter's voice, and the messiness created when siblings congregate in the kitchen, before the TV, and in the foyer, with our dog Smokey--fur ball extraordinaire.

This past weekend was extra hygge thanks to the layer of comfort Max added to the mix: our son cooked his father's specialty, magret de canard, for dinner while we relaxed under the covers (a fluffy blanket, or plaid, is key to cocooning--as are les coussins, or throw pillows.). And when Jackie called "à table!" I noticed our daughter had lit two candles, in the old brass candlesticks--a wedding present from Aunt Ruth and Uncle Bill, in Seattle.

From Denmark to France and back, somehow, to the States, I'm wrapping up this cozy little post, sooner than usual--keeping things short and snug as a hug. As for the recipe: score the fatty side of the duck and fry both sides. Add sliced pears to the melted fat.  Cook until fruit is soft. Pour honey over. Bon appétit!


***
Locate a cozy Bed and Breakfast in France. Enter you destination here.

Stories you may have missed...
Souler, Claquer, Hurler - Our son throws a party and my plan to escape to the hotel backfires. Read the lively trilogy, here.



Booking.com
FRENCH VOCABULARY

Increase your vocabulary with this list. More tools here.

la pantoufle = slipper
le feu de cheminée = chimney fire
le câlin = hug, cuddle
le plaid = throw blanket
le coussin = pillow
à table! = everyone to the table now!

Want to speak French fluently? 30-Day French will teach you everything you need to know to speak French on your next trip to France with 30 lessons based on real-life conversations. Try it out.


The little book of hygge
To read all about the concept of hygge--cocooning in French--read The Little Book of Hygge, here

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


"I have enjoyed this blog for years and watched your children grow up. You are staying strong through all the changes. Merci pour tout."
--Betty D.


Bavarder: Catching up with a friend amidst canine chaos!

Help translate
I needed help translating part of Tessa's story (below), so I posted this phrase on Facebook--and chose Joy's lively entry. Then Jean-Marc recorded another entry... and Olivier suggested a word replacement or two. Oups! Many chefs in today's post.

Don’t be afraid of the Caviste! : get the free pdf « Buying Wine in France » (By FluentFrench.com). https://goo.gl/2oprW9


TODAY'S WORD: bavarder

        : to chat, talk, chatter

EXAMPLE SENTENCE:


Malgré Thomas, qui n'arrêtait pas d'aboyer et de pleurnicher, on a bien bavardé.
  -Translation by calligrapher Joy Fairclough- with help from Olivier Hermon


ECOUTEZ - Hear Jean-Marc pronounce the example sentence in French: Download Bavarder

Néanmoins, entre les pleurnichements et les aboiements de Thomas, nous avons bien bavardé, sans arrêt.

Want to speak French fluently? 30-Day French will teach you everything you need to know to speak French on your next trip to France with 30 lessons based on real-life conversations. Try it out.


A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE

(The following post was written by Tessa Baker)


I have just come back from Kristi’s house in St Cyr-sur-Mer, my little dog Thomas made what was meant to be a tranquil trip with dear friends into a manic frenetic trip. How can a small dog turn life upside down to such a degree I had to cut my visit in half? In short his overwhelming desire to leap about and have fun with Smokey was less than peaceful, and whenever we tried putting either one of them in another room or outside Thomas made such a noise about it, we were being driven to distraction!

Malgré Thomas, qui ne s'arrêtait pas d'aboyer et de pleurnicher, on a bien bavardé

Still, in between Thomas whining and woofing we managed to chat, pretty well non stop. That's what we do when we haven’t see each other for a while. There is something so magical about a long friendship that has blossomed and grown over the years. That special feeling that we have when we know that the other person knows us a least as well if not better than we know ourselves. That special feeling we have when we know and feel safe, so safe in the other person's love for us that we know we are loved unconditionally, where ever we are, whatever we are doing and how ever we are being.

The magic or even the jewel of a friendship that has blossomed and grown over the years is that we can listen to one another with out judging, that we can tell each other truths without anger and that we can leave one another’s company loving each other more than before if it is possible. I always come away from Kristi and Jean-Marc feeling this way. My dear friends who I will love always.

I am home now, and Thomas, exhausted, is lying asleep in his chair and I am writing this little piece for Kristi. We were discussing blogs and blogging and comme d’habitude I was bemoaning the fact that I don’t get very many readers and don’t know how to get myself out there more. Kristi said “Well Tess, it’s simple you just have to blog more and make it interesting.” Well it is simple really. So it is my resolution to blog more and make it more interesting. Thank you Kristi I shall start thinking of a good blog for Saturday and I will dedicate it to you. Make sure you read it!!

Tess's blog: click here
Tess's website: Painting Trips in Provence

Kristi and thomas the dog walking along the dig in Les Lecques
My dear friend Kristi with my dear dog Thomas!

Stories you may have missed:

Amitié: What Balzac said about friendship.

Accidental Cassoulet: a recipe and the mystery of love


AMAZON GIFT CARDS - for that hard-to-buy-for one on your list!

FRENCH GROCERY GOURMET - including French delicacies like herbs, mustard, cakes


PROVENCE TABLECLOTH, French-themed linens for the house.

PARIS PEACE T-SHIRT - "so many people have stopped to ask me where I got it" -Betty.

Booking.com

Walk with tess
Thank you, Tess, for writing today's entry. It was a pleasure to walk with you and Thomas, here in the port of Les Lecques.

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


"I have enjoyed this blog for years and watched your children grow up. You are staying strong through all the changes. Merci pour tout."
--Betty D.


Amitie: What Balzac said about friendship

dog sea Port in cassis france
Today, a rendez-vous with friends in Cassis and Aix-en-Provence. Meet sweet Noelle in today's story. Photo by Barbara Barrielle

TODAY'S WORD: amitié

        : friendship

EXAMPLE SENTENCE:


Ce qui rend les amitiés indissolubles et double leur charme, est un sentiment qui manque à l’amour, la certitude. What makes friendship indissolute and what doubles its charms is a feeling we find lacking in love: I mean certitude. -Balzac

ECOUTEZ - Hear Jean-Marc pronounce the example sentence in French: Download Amitié


Provence & French Alps Tours – Two regions of France in affordable, small group tours since 2009. Majestic mountains, Provence colors. Wine/cheese tastings, Michelin Star cuisine. Click here.


A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE

    by Kristi Espinasse

Yesterday, I headed to Cassis to meet with my oldest friends in France--(oldest in années d'amitié). We decided to rendez-vous in Cassis, where Corey and her husband, Yann, have renovated--avec une telle élégance!--an apartment overlooking the seaport--and all those charming wooden fishing boats, les pointus

I needed to pick up our friend Barbara (who you met here), who was arriving from Aix, so I programed google maps to take me to the train station in Cassis. Halfway there I held tight to the wheel as a woman with an accent worse than mine (she pronounced Cassis KAY-SIS) led me into a dark, snaking canyon. Did you know there was such a place behind KAY-SIS??

Trop tard! It was too late to turn around now. As the road got worse and worse, with more pot holes, less tarmac and less space, I shook off any spookiness by focusing on the voisinage.

Look at all these houses! Was one for sale? And this close to good ol' Kay-sis! Maybe we could get a deal on one of these! I began to see train tracks and realized my GPS guide, while she needed to improve her accent, knew a good short cut to la gare! And I thanked Mademoiselle Kay-sis for getting me there in time to pick up Barbara and Noelle (Barbara's adorable Jack Russell), and for getting us down to the port in time to have lunch with Corey....

Barbara-corey-kristi
Barbara, Corey, and me


It's turning out to be a friendship kind of week. Today Jean-Marc drove us to Aix-en-Provence to have lunch with Kirk and Anne. We had misjudged our timing and, after making two wine deliveries, we arrived 15 minutes early at our hosts!

"Let's walk around the block!" I said to Jean-Marc, but he saw me lying through my chattering teeth. I could not spend one more minute outside in the cold couloirs of the centre ville.  My scalp was frozen! 

We shut our eyes to etiquette and rang the bell! Kirk was barefoot when he opened the door (a telltale sign we were en avance). But the whoosh of warm air that escaped from the apartment, enveloping us, was worth a thousand faux pas!

Stepping inside, the warmth was layered with spicy aromas coming from the kitchen, where Anne was making la soupe aux lentilles. Surrounded by so many layers of heat, we were now warmed from scalp to feet!

Anne-kirk-jm-aix
Jean-Marc presenting Anne and Kirk with one of his first bottles of Mas des Brun rosé.


Stories you may have missed...
Anne and Kirk, Corey and Yann come to our place for lunch, in the story Sobriety Does Not Equal Foolproof Entertaining!


FRENCH VOCABULARY
Increase your vocabulary. More tools here.

une année = year
une amitié = friendship
avec une telle = with such
le pointu = traditional Provencal wooden fishing boat
trop tard = too late
le voisinage = neighborhood, vicinity
la gare = train station
en avance = early
le couloir = corridor
faux-pas = etiquette mistake
la soupe aux lentilles = lentil soup

Want to speak French fluently? 30-Day French will teach you everything you need to know to speak French on your next trip to France with 30 lessons based on real-life conversations. Try it out.

 

Large scarf
Oversized scarf shawl can be worn in many ways, many colors order here.


 So many great wool scarves and warm stylish layers for winter click here.

French delicacies - including herbs, mustard, cakes

LAGUIOLE STEAK KNIVES bring memories of Provence to your table.

Booking.com

Jean-marc-neighbor
Jean-Marc giving his first bottles of Mas des Brun rosé to our neighbor

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


"I have enjoyed this blog for years and watched your children grow up. You are staying strong through all the changes. Merci pour tout."
--Betty D.


Bilingual post, broche, and Jean-Marc's surgery is today

Sommet-jean-marc
Over a year ago, at the summit of his life, my husband took a hard fall. The accident changed the course of our lives. We put our vineyard up for sale and, just yesterday, sold our boat in preparation for our move. Read Jean-Marc's poignant update in French and in English and listen to his reading in today's sound file.

TODAY'S WORD: la broche

        : pin, rod; brooch

Want to speak French fluently? 30-Day French will teach you everything you need to know to speak French on your next trip to France with 30 lessons based on real-life conversations. Try it out.



EXAMPLE SENTENCE:


Aujourd'hui, mon chirurgien doit enlever les broches de mon coude.
Today, my surgeon must remove the pins from my elbow.

ECOUTEZ - Hear Jean-Marc Click here to listen to today's story in French



A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE

    by Jean-Marc Espinasse

Il y a 15 mois, alors que tout "roulait" pour moi, je suis tombé en vélo me facturant le coude. Ma vie et celle de ma famille a peu à peu basculé vers le doute et l'incertitude.

Aujourd'hui, mon chirurgien doit enlever les broches de mon coude.


Le soutien de tous, le travail sur moi, et le temps commencent à faire leur effet positif sur mon moral. J'espère que cette opération chirurgicale marquera la fin de ce douloureux épisode de notre vie et le début d'une ère nouvelle où joie de vivre et projets seront les maîtres mots.


Fifteen months ago, while everything was going so well for me, I fell off my bike and fractured my elbow. My life and that of my family's took a turn, little by little, toward doubt and uncertainty.

Today, my surgeon must take out the pins in my elbow.


The support of everyone, therapy, and time are beginning to have a positive effect on my morale. I hope this surgery will mark the end of a painful episode in our life and the beginning of a new era where joy of life and projects will be the key words.

Jean-marc-boat
Jean-Marc and his pal, Nico. We got so much out of this little boat, which Jean-Marc used to cruise up and down the Mediterranean coast from La Ciotat to Sanary-sur-Mer. I'll bet one of Jean-Marc's "projects" is to spend more time fishing! We will find another boat!




Stories you may have missed...
1. Broken bones and broken French: Jean-Marc returns from hospital
2. Jean-Marc's open letter: Why I'm turning the page



Dream-home
Following two missed opportunities to buy this bastide, we may have a third chance! After consulting with Sophia, at Provence Search, I learned more about real estate transactions in France--along with some good news: I learned the house we love has not been sold and how we might improve our chances with the sellers. In thanks for Sophia's help, I am included this ad for her consultancy company. Don't miss the many helpful articles at her site--including buyer/seller etiquette in France:

PROVENCE SEARCH – Provence and Côte d’Azur fully licensed buyer’s agents with access to 100% of the market. Your dedicated agent pre-screens properties for you, reports in detail, organises your viewing trip, negotiates and assists you throughout the purchase. After-sale we remain your local contact. Read more here.

Reach 25,000 email readers. Place an ad in the French Word-A-Day newsletter. Click here.



Bicycle poster

A selection of posters, here,  including this Tour de France vintage Météore.


GROCERIES - including French delicacies like herbs, mustard, cakes

FRENCH KNIT REUSABLE ECO SHOPPING BAG - made and knit in France!

PARIS PEACE T-SHIRT - "so many people have stopped to ask me where I got it" -Betty.

Mr sacks
Content to let others pass him by these days. It's been a humbling year. Photo of Jean-Marc with his trusty leather sacoche called "Mr Sacks". Mr. Sacks went with him to the hospital this morning, for the elbow operation. The two will stay overnight. If you'd like to leave Jean-Marc a message in the comments I know he will appreciate your kind wishes. Merci beaucoup!

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


"I have enjoyed this blog for years and watched your children grow up. You are staying strong through all the changes. Merci pour tout."
--Betty D.


Soulagement: Relief after a stormy delivery at our vineyard

Smokey bottles
There's a dog in there somewhere...and he looks hopeless. But there is a happy ending to this story. Read on.

TODAY'S WORD: un soulagement

        : a relief

EXAMPLE SENTENCE:


C'était un soulagement de voir que la mise en bouteilles s'est bien déroulée.
It was a relief to see that the wine-bottling unfolded well.

ECOUTEZ - Hear Jean-Marc pronounce the example sentence in French: Download Soulagement

Improve your spoken French with  Exercises in French Phonetics


A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE

    by Kristi Espinasse


Jean-Marc was highly agitated about the upcoming wine-bottling which would take place at our vineyard. In the organizational phase, nothing was working out. This began when the first bottling truck could not make it up our hairpin allée privée....

From there it was a scramble to find un prestataire, or wine bottling service provider, who could find a way up our driveway. In the end, no one could, so Jean-Marc found another way... He called our friend and fisherman, Jean-Michel. Jean-Michel had a powerful 4X4. The wine bottling machine (on its own giant wagon) could be dropped off at the local pizzeria, Chez Henri, where our friend Jean-Michel would then reel the one ton wagon up our hill! Well, that part went very well, avec une telle efficacité! Thanks, Jean-Michel!

If only the same could be said about the bottles delivery. Same problem: getting a large truck up the hill. After many tries, and much strain on Jean-Marc, he finally took the matter into his own hands. Bypassing the transport service, which was stuck at the bottom of the road, he called a local truck rental and transferred all 3000 bottles from the giant truck to la camionnette. Many broken bottles later, the relay truck arrived in front of our cellar.

Only now the race was on, at sundown, to get 3000 bottles unloaded from the van. This was done bottle by bottle!

I could not believe the scene when I arrived for the last leg of the delivery. Bottles and broken glass everywhere! Jean-Marc, having ordered the second truck, had rushed to the store to buy giant garbage bags in which to catch so many bottles coming off the second truck. Two men stood inside the camionnette, transferring bottles  to Jean-marc, who caught them in the giant bags.  Jean-Marc had been running a race from the store to the pizzeria back to his winery, and the strain on his face was as big as his racing heart.

I stood beside my husband with a giant bag of my own, but I could only catch half the weight in bottles. We hurried back and forth from the van to the cellar, as bottles poured out of the sky.

It was dark and cold out when the last bouteille was emptied from the truck.  Jean-Marc told me to go inside. "C'est bon. Tu peux rentrer à la maison, chérie."

Thinking the trial was behind us, I began making soup and running a hot bath for the weary winemaker, who I expected would arrive any time now. Only he still had not returned from the cellar, an hour later. Fearing the worst (had all those bottles toppled over him?) I headed to the door when the phone rang. Jean-Marc was on his way in, after some final arrangements in the cellar.

After the transport disaster, there was no reason to believe the actual wine bottling--scheduled for the next day--would go well. Jean-Marc had every reason to fear more chaos, and so took out all of his soucis in a fitful night of sleep. But the big day came and went, yesterday, and it was a peaceful bottling day at that!

Jackie and friends

Our children's friends came to help us. Though Max was away at school in Montpellier, his good friend Antoine arrived, using all his skills garnered from working in restaurants. A key player in yesterday's production line, he was also a sight to behold as he glided, like Fred Astaire, back and forth from the cellar to where the bottles came off the production line. In between receiving and stocking bottles, Antoine kept the area tidy, sweeping debris out of the way and picking up broken glass from the night before.

Jackie ditched a day of school to offer helping hands. She called her friend Pauline and her boyfriend Jeremy, who respectively loaded bottles onto the machine and moved them through to ticketing. And my rockstar sister-in-law showed up, ever ready to help! Cécile's job was to construct the wine boxes in which I, near the end of the line, set the bottles coming off the conveyor belt.

Jean-marc-bottling

Jean-Marc supervised the whole productive chain, moving all the wine in the process - from the tank, where he literally tipped the last drop out of the 2000 liter container, to the last bottle which he stacked, with the help of Fred Astaire, at the back of the cellar.

Keeping up with the conveyor belt, which spit out bottles for me to catch, I had to stop every now and then to behold la sérénité that washed over the entire enterprise, to cleanse a once-defeated winemaker. If you could only have seen the look on his face. C'était la paix.

In the box

We will keep you posted about where to find our wines in the US. For the moment, it will be available in the Spring in OR, TX, DC and Southern CA. We can also ship within France.

Please email Jean-Marc (jean-marc@mas-des-brun.com) for more details.

Stories you may have missed:
The Serenity Prayer in French and in English, click here
 


FRENCH VOCABULARY
Increase your vocabulary with these words. More tools here.

une allée or voie privée = driveway
un prestataire
= a service provider
avec une telle efficacité = with such efficiency
la camionnette = small truck or van
une bouteille = bottle
un souci = a worry
c'est bon = everything is under control
tu peux rentrer = you can return
à la maison = to home
c'était la paix = it was peace

Net bag
My sister-in-law showed up for the wine-bottling with this great bag! In it, she had a few bottles she was returning to us. And when she left, that evening, it was filled with herbs and kale from the garden... and a few more bottles, filled with our wine! To order this eco bag, click here.



SUPPORT THIS JOURNAL
You can also support this site when you shop for necessities or gifts using any of the following links to enter the store.

GROCERIES - including French delicacies like herbs, mustard, cakes

FRENCH KNIT REUSABLE ECO SHOPPING BAG - made and knit in France!


WORDS IN A FRENCH LIFE: Lessons in Love and Language from the South of France

PARIS PEACE T-SHIRT - "so many people have stopped to ask me where I got it" -Betty.

 

Pizza
Jean-Marc took this photo of his team at lunchtime, where we enjoyed pizza and a traditional Galette des Rois. To see a video of the bottles coming through the wine-bottler-on-wheels, follow us at Instagram


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


"I have enjoyed this blog for years and watched your children grow up. You are staying strong through all the changes. Merci pour tout."
--Betty D.


False friends, la déception, and it wasn't meant to be?

Olivetrees
Home sweet home...for the moment. But where will "home" be this summer?

TODAY'S WORD: la déception

        : disappointment, blighted hope

EXAMPLE SENTENCE:


Apprendre que nous ne pouvions plus acheter cette jolie bastide, était une grande déception.

To learn we could no longer buy this pretty bastide was a big disappointment.

ECOUTEZ - Hear Jean-Marc pronounce the example sentence in French, Download Deception

Improve your spoken French with Pronounce it Perfectly in French


A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE

    by Kristi Espinasse


We begin the new year with une grosse déception. Before I go further, I should point out that déception in French doesn't have the same "tricky" meaning as in English. The two words seem to be false friends.

"Blighted hope"

One of the definitions for la déception is "a blighted hope". How true! How true! when considering the house we just lost (the second one if you count our current home...the one we have to sell in order to turn the page.) Jean-Marc assured me that if we moved from here, he would find us a place I would love. And he did--or had....

Dream-home

We were set to sign for this Provençale bastide two weeks ago when everything suddenly fell apart. During the formal meeting in which both parties were present with our respective notaires, the sellers learned, for the first time, of our complex situation--that in order to sell our vineyard and so have the funds to buy their bastide, many contingencies would need to be met. (Or as my sister, who sells homes, put it: you have a very long escrow on your place! It was enough to scare off any seller!

I completely understood the surprise the sellers endured, and felt badly for them and us. Just like that the dream home was no longer on our horizon, never mind I had already moved into it in my imagination--assigning each of us a room in the sunny bastide and even placing all the furniture--going as far as to argue with my daughter about where to put the couch! I surprised Jean-Marc with a plan for his new cellar and I even planted, in my mind's eye, a row of lavender under the clothesline for fresh smelling sheets.

After all this naive planning, I watched our dream go down the drain as the "promise to sell" meeting broke up and everyone went home. Oh, non! We would NEVER find a place like this again! A place that was move-in ready--no need to paint or re-tile or knock out walls. (After 22 years of fixing up houses our lungs were coated with demolition powder. Enough!)

But the dust on this  decision didn't have time to settle before we received another call! After a few days of reflection and looking into the details of our own home sale, the sellers decided to go ahead and sell us their beautiful home. They would take a chance on us dust devils after all!

Beautiful view

I was ecstatic! Going over all the pictures of the new house, my mind resumed its planning--with even more elaborate details. This hopeful time around my mind went to work installing bee hives in the back yard, knocking out the kitchen window for a bigger view (more dust, but who cares now!), and setting up Mom in her own apartment, off the kitchen (Mom, if you are reading, this is in the future. Continue your mission in Mexico--passing out Tickets To Heaven and feeding orphaned horses! You're young. We're young. But just in case--we all have a future  place to live!!).

This time around Jean-Marc began planning too!--suggesting we organize a neighborhood pot, or "meet the neighbors cocktail" when we arrive this summer. Yes, of course! A great idea! I could almost feel our glasses clinking, even if I couldn't yet make out the faces of our future neighbors!

And then we got the call.

It came late Tuesday, the eve of the signing. The deal was off for the second time! Our 6-month escrow was just too risky for the sellers, after all.

                                *    *    *

That saying comes back to me now. Man plans. God laughs. Well at least one of us is laughing! Meantime, I have been swallowing a lot of pointed aggravation these past three days. Perhaps all this barbed emotion will finally clean out these dusty lungs--thick from years of home renovation. Au revoir to the seemingly perfect-for-us house. Is it true what they say--that something even better awaits? Ça reste à voir.

Vines2

Stories you may have missed...

Simple hospitality in 2017 - updated post, with recipe for cappellini primavera!

Lâcher prise, finding peace

FRENCH VOCABULARY
Increase your vocabulary with these words. More tools here.

la bastide = farmhouse or country house
le notaire = (in real estate transactions) attorney, lawyer, notary
un pot = drink, cocktail
ça reste à voir = that remains to be seen


French eco shopping bag
French reusable eco shopping bag. Two styles: shoulder handle or classic handle. click here.


SUPPORT THIS JOURNAL
Shop for necessities or gifts using any of the following links to enter the store.

FRENCH GROCERIES - including French delicacies like herbs, mustard, cakes

MADE IN FRANCE ECO SHOPPING BAG - pictured above


PARIS PEACE T-SHIRT - "so many people have stopped to ask me where I got it" -Betty.

Bandol beach
Jean-Marc and I are actively looking for a place to live, and discovering neighborhoods we've never seen before. Follow me on Instagram where I share photos in between these blog postings.

MERCI BEAUCOUP
When you take a moment to forward this post to someone, they may enjoy this French word journal.

 

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


"I have enjoyed this blog for years and watched your children grow up. You are staying strong through all the changes. Merci pour tout."
--Betty D.


Recipe + Hospitality + gardons les choses simples (one pot meal in the Land of 5 Courses)

Kristin-espinasse-2017
Bringing in the New Year at a party in Marseilles. Thank you Christine and Thierry, for your wonderful hospitality!

TODAY'S WORD: avoir hâte de

        : to look forward to


EXAMPLE SENTENCE:


En 2017, nous avons hâte de passer de bons moments avec notre famille et nos amis.
In 2017 we are looking forward to spending good times with our family and friends.


ECOUTEZ - Hear Jean-Marc pronounce the example sentence in French: Download Avoir hate de

Improve your spoken French with Pronounce it Perfectly in French or  Exercises in French Phonetics


A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE

    by Kristi Espinasse

The last two meals we've had at home with friends represent most of my goals in the new year. "Keep it Simple" "Go with the Flow" "Use what you have" and "Be yourself!" are mantras we hear time and again, but putting them into practice is pas si simple que ça! Until grace appears...in the midst of it all. I now realize that la grâce is all I need in the new year. Grace and trust!

When Jean-Marc invited Nico and Carol for lunch, I said, OK. What will we eat?  And, comme d'habitude, my husband answered simply.

"We'll have oursins. I'll go and gather them!"

Sea-urchins

...and comme d'habitude, I said, "But we can't just have oursins!" After a deep breath, I thought. Well, why can't we?! Just because we are in France--The Land of 5 Courses, doesn't mean the French never have a one-pot deal! Besides, if oursins weren't enough, we could have a little something with them. Gardons les choses simples!

Finally, after all these years, an epiphany: I no longer have to host as the French host. I don't even think the French are hosting as they used to: it is a new era! 

Soon we were enjoying a hand-to-mouth déjeuner on the front porch--on the 31st of December! Jean-Marc stood before a bucket filled with sea water and fresh-caught urchins. Using nifty sea urchin cutters, he easily opened the spiny globes and passed around his favorite sea urchins on the half shell. I brought out homemade Oven French Fries and we all enjoyed reaching into the roasting pan (the oven's roasting pan and not something more refined) for the last crispy bits of patates. It was a delicious moment with good friends. I wish I'd gotten a picture for the souvenir!

In the New Year I will get pictures of all such moments. The images help me to remember--and they serves as wonderful meal planners, too....

Kristi-cappelini-primavera
Serving Cappellini Primavera. photo: Barbara Barrielle

On January 2nd my longtime friend Barbara, who I hadn't seen in years, came by. I decided to keep to the one pot meal deal, serving the Cappellini Primavera (simply spaghetti--but a fancy name is worth 4 courses!). It was gratifying to make a meal with what was surviving winter in my garden: basil, fennel, parsley, kale, and even a large (if not fully ripened) tomato! Topped with olive oil, lemon, and walnuts this is one meal I will remember to serve again! (Recipe below.)

Barbara-Charlotte-kristi
My dear guests are framed by sunflowers on January 2nd. I am so proud of both my guests and my flowers!


Barbara brought her daughter, Charlotte, born the same year and days apart from our Jackie! When the girls were little, we enjoyed pushing their strollers together, side by side in St. Maximin. The next time we'd see them, Charlotte would be 9... And that was ten years ago! I wish Jackie had been here to talk with Char, who is also half-French-half-American. She is studying political science at Tulane University in New Orleans. Char is  interested in international intelligence and she is putting herself through college with the help of the US Air Force.

What a pleasure it was to spend time with friends who are good at setting and meeting their goals. I encourage you to follow Barbara on Instagram, where she shares travel/food/wine adventures in France and beyond @barbarabarrielletravels . You can also follow at Charlotte @charslit .

While you are there please hit the "follow" button and follow me @kristinespinasse. I have more simple meals and more of the simple life in France to share with you in 2017. Many thanks for reading and for sharing this word journal!


Jean-marc-looking-forward
Look at that smile! Love this picture of Jean-Marc, taken after our one-pot lunch, where he served his 2016 Mas de Brun rose. photo by BarbaraBarrielleTravels


Stories you may have missed: The Anonymous Gift We Received + The Accidental Shoplifter


FRENCH VOCABULARY

Increase your vocabulary with these words. More tools here.

pas si simple que ça = not so easy as that
comme d'habitude = as usual
un oursin = sea urchin
le déjeuner = lunch
une patate = spud, potato

Grateful for today's sponsor:


Provence & French Alps Tours – Two regions of France in affordable, small group tours since 2009. Majestic mountains, Provence colors. Wine/cheese tastings, Michelin Star cuisine. Click here.

YOUR AD HERE. Reach 25,000 readers. Place an ad in the French Word-A-Day newsletter. Click here.



Compilation
RECIPE
You are going to love this easy, quick pasta dish. For the primavera, use any greens on hand. I used kale, parsley, basil, fennel. I also had a green tomato and a small yellow zucchini (the round kind)

-sauté all the veggies in oil. I didn't have an onion, but that--and garlic--would be a nice place to start!
-cook the cappellini (or spaghetti) according to package instructions, approximately 3 minutes. Drain
-toss cappellini with olive oil and half a lemon.
- add extras like chopped ham and walnuts (mussels would be good, so would pine nuts)
-sprinkle with parmesan and bon appétit!

Make it better! Add your suggestions to this recipe here in the comments box.

Cappellini-primavera

SUPPORT THIS JOURNAL
Shop for necessities or gifts using any of the following links to enter the store.

GROCERIES - including French delicacies like herbs, mustard, cakes

FRENCH KNIT REUSABLE ECO SHOPPING BAG - made and knit in France!

FRENCH COUNTRY DIARY 2017 - the popular and beloved engagement calendar.

Jean-Marc-and-Kristi-january-2nd-2017
Photo of Jean-Marc and me, taken by Barbara. Thanks, Babs!

MERCI BEAUCOUP
When you take a moment to forward this post to someone, they may enjoy this French word journal.

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


"I have enjoyed this blog for years and watched your children grow up. You are staying strong through all the changes. Merci pour tout."
--Betty D.