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Entries from June 2017

Vocabulary Roundup - Listen to all the French words we learned in June

Colonie des vacances
Did you miss a post this month? Pas de souci. No worries! Here are all the words and stories from June, accompanied by recent photos from our area (St Cyr-sur-Mer). Click on the title links to access the posts and even more photos. This is a good post to share with a friend, who would like to learn French, as they will get a good taste of this language journal.

Ready to begin? Prepare to scroll down the following list, then...

CLICK HERE TO BEGIN LISTENING TO JEAN-MARC PRONOUNCE ALL THE WORDS WE LEARNED IN JUNE

 

1. L'Un Pour L'autre: Deciding With or For a Family Member

l'un pour l'autre = for each other, one for another
une larme = tear

une chaise roulante = wheelchair
*correction: le fauteuil roulant

et ainsi de suite = and so on
douceur = gentleness
un sourire = smile

Le bonheur est l'art de faire un bouquet avec les fleurs qui sont à notre portée. - Anonymous
Happiness is the art of making a bouquet with the flowers that are within our grasp.
Le bonheur est l'art de faire un bouquet avec les fleurs qui sont à notre portée. - Anonymous
Happiness is the art of making a bouquet with the flowers that are within our grasp.

Le bonheur est l'art de faire un bouquet avec les fleurs qui sont à notre portée. - Anonymous
Happiness is the art of making a bouquet with the flowers that are within our grasp.

Photo bomb toddler chouchou
Photo bombed by a French toddler and his doudou while taking this photo of the blue door.

2. Happiness is...A Notre Portée
le bonheur = happiness
l'art de faire = art of making
la fleur = flower

Bastide rose
House along the sea near St Cyr-sur-Mer

3. Ça Passe ou Ça Casse + Doggy Bags in France

(story re-run: click the link above)

Houses along the port of Madrague

4. Racines: My Father's "Cousins Germains"

Reverse Dictionary:

maiden name = le nom de jeune fille
catching up = le rattrapage
fishing village = le village de pêcheurs
sundown = le coucher du soleil
to be supportive = être d'un grand soutien

Boulder in Mediterranean

5. Oh, Pétard! The Things You Hear & See When Eavesdropping
oh, pétard! = oh my gosh!
La Fête des Pères = Father's Day
le papa poule = father hen
et si on... = and what if we...
se garer = to park
le sentier = path
littoral = coastal
la plage = beach
le caillou = pebble, stone

Reinette

oh, pétard = oh my gosh!
La Fête des Pères = Father's Day
le papa poule = father hen
et si on... = and what if we...
se garer = to park
le sentier = path
littoral = coastal
la plage = beach
le caillou = pebble, stone

6. Le Coton-Tige + French Doctor's Thoughts on Cleaning Your Ears

oh, pétard = oh my gosh!
La Fête des Pères = Father's Day
le papa poule = father hen
et si on... = and what if we...
se garer = to park
le sentier = path
littoral = coastal
la plage = beach
le caillou = pebble, stone

nager = to swim
le fond marin = seabed
se boucher = to clog up
désagréable = unpleasant
le coton-tige = cotton swab
un aspirateur = vacuum
un gant de toilette = wash mitt

Motorcycle-at-port-de-la-madrague
Motorcycle parked at the docks of Port de la Madrague

7. You'll Love This Term for "Family Reunion"!

une cousinade = family reunion
la belle-mère = mother-in-law (also can mean "step-mother")
la belle-soeur = sister-in-law
le soin = care
le mas = old French country-house/farmhouse
le livreur = delivery man
un agneau = lamb
le pois chiche = chickpea or garbanzo bean
le poulet = chicken
la canicule = heatwave

Maison des pelerins
Spectacular views from every window, a charming, private courtyard, comfortable spacious rooms, and air-conditioned bedrooms make Maison des Pèlerins very inviting all year round. View this rental property.

Thank you for your orders, which help support this free language journal.

une cousinade = family reunion
la belle-mère = mother-in-law (also can mean "step-mother")
la belle-soeur = sister-in-law
le soin = care
le mas = old French country-house/farmhouse
le livreur = delivery man
un agneau = lamb
le pois chiche = chickpea or garbanzo bean
le poulet = chicken
la canicule = heatwav
une cousinade = family reunion
la belle-mère = mother-in-law (also can mean "step-mother")
la belle-soeur = sister-in-law
le soin = care
le mas = old French country-house/farmhouse
le livreur = delivery man
un agneau = lamb
le pois chiche = chickpea or garbanzo bean
le poulet = chicken
la canicule = heatwave

 This type of wash mitt, or gant, is the traditional washcloth in French homes

La ROCHE-POSAY sunscreen is rated top by Consumer Reports

THE FRENCH LOVE THESE BEACH TOWELS - quick drying, good-looking

Bonjour AuRevoir doormat

To order "Bonjour/Au Revoir doormat", click here

 

 

Sentier littoral st cyr
Suivez vos rêves ils, connaissent le chemin - Follow your dreams, they know the way

oh, pétard = oh my gosh!
La Fête des Pères = Father's Day
le papa poule = father hen
et si on... = and what if we...
se garer = to park
le sentier = path
littoral = coastal
la plage = beach
le caillou = pebble, stone
oh, pétard = oh my gosh!
La Fête des Pères = Father's Day
le papa poule = father hen
et si on... = and what if we...
se garer = to park
le sentier = path
littoral = coastal
la plage = beach
le caillou = pebble, stone
oh, pétard = oh my gosh!
La Fête des Pères = Father's Day
le papa poule = father hen
et si on... = and what if we...
se garer = to park
le sentier = path
littoral = coastal
la plage = beach
le caillou = pebble, stone
oh, pétard = oh my gosh!
La Fête des Pères = Father's Day
le papa poule = father hen
et si on... = and what if we...
se garer = to park
le sentier = path
littoral = coastal
la plage = beach
le caillou = pebble, stone
oh, pétard = oh my gosh!
La Fête des Pères = Father's Day
le papa poule = father hen
et si on... = and what if we...
se garer = to park
le sentier = path
littoral = coastal
la plage = beach
le caillou = pebble, stone

Whether you have read my journal for 15 years or recently signed up--help keep this language website going. A small donation is a great help. Click here to send support.

Thank you for the time you've just spent reading this post. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that a one-time contribution helps me continue doing what I love most: improving this journal. Your support is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is fast and easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! 
♥ Send $10    
  ♥ Send $25    
    ♥ Send the amount of your choice


"Kristin, Your tips and experiences on French and life in France are the best resources I can think of to keep my French alive."
--Amy


You'll love this term for "family reunion"!

The picnic tables strung together
This weekend there were more than 30 of us seated at the table for our family reunion in Fuveau. Listen to the previous sentence, in French, below.


"une cousinade"

    : family reunion

Click here to listen to Jean-Marc read the next sentence in French

Ce week-end nous étions une trentaine de personnes à table, lors de notre cousinade à Fuveau


A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE...

by Kristi Espinasse

On our way to our family reunion (which, I just learned, the French call charmingly enough une cousinade, Jean-Marc added a total of 5--five-- delivery and pick-ups to our journey--in keeping with his efficient nature! This meant that instead of a direct route to Fuveau, and a later departure, we were now going to stop in La Ciotat and then weave in and out of the impossibly narrow streets of Marseilles in order to deliver wine (and pick up another family member. This last part doesn't count in my grumblings. Neither does the fifth stop (to the cimetière in Fuveau, where, in front of his father's 32 year-old grave, we held hands with our hitchhikers (my belle-mère and ma belle-soeur) as well Jean-Marc's brother, Jacques, and his adopted family. Reaching for the back of Jean-Marc's shirt to stem my tears, I forgot about early morning alarm and all the rushing around, and could only think how lucky I was to be a part of this close-knit family who remained incredibly stoic during the impromptu tribute.

Last stop: Geneviève's (Jean-Marc's father's sister), where memories were about to come flooding back to the day Jean-Marc first brought me here to a previous cousinade (assembly of cousins?) 24 years ago. The house and the property are the same, but Jean-Marc and I kept remarking how exceptionally beautiful is all was. Perhaps after trying to keep up our own home and garden we can now appreciate the yard work, and le soin it takes to keep an old mas in good shape.

Michou michele-france jacques
Aunt Michou (read quenelles story), left, Michèle-France (read "bodyguard"), and Jacques, who taught me to make the famous French Yogurt Cake

We arrived 30 minutes early, thanks to our efficient livreur, and found plenty of shade beneath the trees and coolness atop the soft mossy grass. Early-birds, we had the chance to watch all the family walk through the front gate...

Cousins from Aix-en-Provence, cousins from Chateauneuf-du-Pape, cousins from Paris, more cousins from Fuveau... The elders looked youthful and the youths now looked like adults....

French cousins
The kids still call it the "kids table" (la table des enfants) whether or not it's still true! Our son Max, left, cousins, cousins, and Jackie second to the right. Farther back, the adults.

Five folding picnic tables were set side by side to accommodate over 30 family members in comfort and style (Uncle Jean-Claude of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, who is featured as one of France's Top 50 Winemakers) added the finishing touches by placing tree leaves beside the Gerber Daisies. Magnums of Jean-Marc's Mas des Brun Rosé and bottles of Jean-Claude's Domaine du Banneret were added, bien sûr!

We soon congregated around the covered patio, parallel to the main house, to sample the delicious line-up of appetizers. Deep-fried zucchini, samosas, hummus, and pizza tided us over before the couscous arrived (and a choice of  agneau with pois chiches or poulet with green olives and lemon).

After lunch we found many ways to cool off in la canicule:  dive-bombing into the pool or chasing each other around the yard with squirt-guns (this began with the youngest, two-year-old Baptiste, who chortled with laughter while dousing everyone. But, in the end, you had to keep all eyes on the elders, who really got into the game. Everything went to pot when old and young began grabbing for buckets, which were the best revenge!). 

As I sat at the table or walked around Genevieve's house and garden (among so many drenched family members), familiar objects brought back memories--from the coconut ice-bucket that appeared each year on the table (brought, each time, by cousins Pierre and Muriel who originally received the exotic bucket as part of a flower arrangement--only to discover it made the perfect ice box!) , to the hidden loft inside the house (how Jean-Marc wanted to show me that all those years ago...) , to the missing swing set (recently replaced by two veggie beds, to the great disappointment of my brother-in-law, Jacques. The second youngest cousin, back then, he flew high into the air thanks to the bigger cousins, who gladly swung him).

At the well or puit looking for that famous bottle of champage
Our son Max, Jean-Marc, Cousin François, and Jacques, in front of le puits, where at each get-together a lot of scheming goes on about how to retrieve that decades-old, well-chilled bottle of champagne at the bottom of the well. It was Jean-Marc's father, Gérard, who came closest one year. Only, when reaching water level he could not (or would not!) contort himself within the narrow well so as to go head down into the water. His grandson, Max, on hearing of his grandfather's near-win, was game to try. Thankfully, at 22, Max still sometimes asks his mom for permission. (My answer: NO!!)

Mariem cecile genevieve sabine
Cécile, Geneviève, and cousin Sabine.

Thank you, Geneviève, for getting us all together. Les cousinades at your home--and at your sisters and nephews and sometimes chez nous--will always be some of the happiest times of our lives. And the souvenirs we made, Saturday, are treasures to be enjoyed over and over again in our minds.

*    *    *
To leave a comment, look for the link at the end of this post. Talk about the importance of family reunions and share your stories.

USEFUL FRENCH VOCABULARY
une cousinade = family reunion
la belle-mère = mother-in-law (also can mean "step-mother")
la belle-soeur = sister-in-law
le soin = care
le mas = old French country-house/farmhouse
le livreur = delivery man
un agneau = lamb
le pois chiche = chickpea or garbanzo bean
le poulet = chicken
la canicule = heatwave

Ceciles bench
The bench Cécile made for us, in our dining room.

Good news for my sister-in-law, furniture-maker Cécile Espinasse. She will be permanently showing her designs (furniture) at a boutique in Aix-en-Provence. If you find yourself in Aix, please stop in to see her (call ahead, to make sure she'll be there).

The boutique is called  "Aix Potentiels"
La boutique des créateurs provençaux
7/9 rue fermée 13100 Aix en Provence
Du lundi au samedi de 10h à 19h
 
 
Family at the table
More family stories in the book Blossoming in Provence. Your purchases help support this French word journal. Mille mercis.

Boxer-dog-espadrilles
For a large selection of striped espadrilles click here. And for these striped "smoking slippers", worn by my friend Tanja, click here. All sort of style (solid colors, too) here

FOLDING PICNIC TABLES WITH BENCHES

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

DOORMATS BIENVENUE/A BIENTOT
- see a selection here

BEAUTIFUL FRANCE PUZZLES - this one with 2CV

La ROCHE-POSAY sunscreen is rated top by Consumer Reports

THE FRENCH LOVE THESE BEACH TOWELS - quick drying, good-looking

Bonjour AuRevoir doormat

To order "Bonjour/Au Revoir doormat", click here

Thank you for the time you've just spent reading this post. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that a one-time contribution helps me continue doing what I love most: improving this journal. Your support is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is fast and easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! 
♥ Send $10    
  ♥ Send $25    
    ♥ Send the amount of your choice


"Kristin, Your tips and experiences on French and life in France are the best resources I can think of to keep my French alive."
--Amy


Bilingual post: Le Coton-tige + a French doctor's thoughts on cleaning your ears

Maison des Pelerins ancient door in Sablet Provence
Spectacular views from every window, a charming, private courtyard, comfortable spacious rooms, and air-conditioned bedrooms make Maison des Pèlerins very inviting all year round. View this rental property.

Don't put anything smaller than your elbow in your ear. Ne mettez jamais rien de plus petit que votre coude dans votre oreille. Don't miss the rest of this post...and thanks for sharing it with a friend who might enjoy learning French.

"le coton-tige"

    - cotton swab
    - cotton bud
    - Q-tip

Coton-Tige: click here to listen to Jean-Marc read the following text in French

Particulièrement polluants, les cotons-tiges en plastique seront interdits en France dès le 1er janvier 2020. Dans le cadre de la loi Biodiversité adoptée le 20 juillet, le Parlement a interdit la mise sur le marché de ces bâtonnets très utilisés en France pour l'hygiène ou le maquillage, mais entrant dans le triste classement des plus gros déchets retrouvés sur les plages et dans les milieux . --La Fin du coton-tige

Particularly polluting, plastic cotton swabs will be banned in France as of 1 January 2020. Under the Biodiversity law adopted on July 20, Parliament has banned the placing on the market of these sticks widely used in France for hygiene or makeup, but falling into the sad ranking of the biggest waste found on the beaches and in the environments. - "The End of the cotton swab"

BILINGUAL UPDATE
by Jean-Marc, winemaker, nature lover

Whether writing about falling off his bike in Marseilles or spending a day in his favorite coastal spot, Jean-Marc is always happy to contribute a story for us. Enjoy today's....

Avec les beaux jours et la chance d'habiter à proximité de la plage, j'ai redécouvert le plaisir de nager en mer. Se faisant, j'aime bien mettre la tête sous l'eau, pour admirer les fonds marins...et quelquefois "braconner" quelques oursins.
With this beautiful weather and the chance to live near the beach, I rediscovered the pleasure of swimming in the sea. So doing, I like to put my head under water, to admire the seabed ... And to sometimes "poach" a few sea urchins.

Violet sea urchin
Sea-urchins

Néanmoins, ces derniers temps, j'ai remarqué que mon oreille droite se bouchait dès que je mets la tête sous l'eau. Et le temps passant, j'avais de plus en plus de mal à la déboucher ce qui était assez désagréable. J'essayais bien d'utiliser un coton tige pour la déboucher mais cela fonctionnait de moins en moins bien.
Nevertheless, lately, I noticed that my right ear was corked as soon as I put my head under water. And as time passed, I had more and more trouble uncorking it which was very unpleasant. I tried to use a cotton swab to unclog it but it worked less and less well.

Finalement, je suis allé consulter un "ORL" (Oto-rhino-laryngologiste) qui m'a regardé l'oreille et m'a dit que j'avais probablement un bouchon. Avec un tube et un aspirateur, il a retiré sans difficultés ce bouchon et en a profité pour nettoyer mon autre oreille.
Finally, I went to consult an "ENT" (Otolaryngologist) who looked at my ear and told me that I probably had a blockage. With a tube and a vacuum cleaner, he easily removed this plug and took the opportunity to clean my other ear.

Je lui ai dit mon étonnement à voir autant de saleté dans mes oreilles, moi qui me les lavent régulièrement avec un coton tige.
I told him of my astonishment to see so much dirt in my ears, I, who wash them regularly with a cotton swab.

Il m'a alors fortement déconseillé d'utiliser cet ustensile. "C'est comme passer le balais et mettre la poussière sous le tapis" m'a dit-il. Pour se laver les oreilles, rien ne vaut un gant de toilette et du savon.
He strongly advised me not to use this utensil. "It's like sweeping dust under the carpet," he said. "To wash your ears, nothing is works better than a washcloth and soap.
"

To comment on Jean-Marc's story, find the link at the end of this post.

Jean-marc about to swim off boat
I hope you enjoyed JM's article. He is happy to return to his beloved sea, now. Remember "Don't put anything smaller than your elbow in your ear" :-) Ne mettez jamais rien de plus petit que votre coude dans votre oreille--çela dit, that said, you may gently clean your outer ear with the help of these items.

This type of pocket-shaped wash mitt, or gant, is the standard washcloth in French homes. Do you remember seeing these in France? Share in the comments and you can order a few here

SAVON de MARSEILLE soap with olive oil. Perfect for all skin types. Order here

Beach near La Madrague  vue of La Ciotat Parc du Mugel

"Beaucoup de gens jettent les cotons-tiges dans la cuvette des toilettes plutôt que dans la poubelle de la salle de bains. Et ils font en effet partie des déchets les plus présents dans les milieux aquatiques. En 2015, nous en avons ainsi retrouvé pas moins de 16 226 dans les rivières ou sur les littoraux européens. Mis bout à bout, cela équivaut à trois Tour Eiffel et demie !" -Antidia Citores, of Surfrider Foundation

A lot of people toss cotton swabs into the toilet bowl rather than in the bathroom garbage can. And this makes up a good part of the waste most often found in aquatic areas. In 2015, we found no less that 16 226 (coton swabs) in rivers or along European coastlines. Put end to end (these coton swabs) this equals three and a half Eiffel Towers! Surfrider Foundation

La Madrague beach yellow flowers
The beach at Port de La Madrague in St. Cyr-sur-Mer

Dear Kristin,Thank you so much for your amazing assistance in my French language learning. 😊 -Divya

Your "Day in a French Life" story, and your language lessons, are worth many times this amount to me. -David

Thanks for all the great stories you've shared over the years. I feel I've become a part of your family in France! -Augusta

THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT
Whether you have read my journal for 15 years--or recently signed up--help keep French Word-A-Day going. A donation of any amount is a great help.

Thank you for the time you've just spent reading this post. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that a one-time contribution helps me continue doing what I love most: improving this journal. Your support is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is fast and easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! 
♥ Send $10    
  ♥ Send $25    
    ♥ Send the amount of your choice


"Kristin, Your tips and experiences on French and life in France are the best resources I can think of to keep my French alive."
--Amy


Oh, pétard! The things you hear (and see) when eavesdropping

Scottish brush and wooden fence
On Sunday, we took the long way to the beach, enjoying one of the many sentiers, or walking paths--this one fragrant with sweet-scented Scotch Broom! What with the perfumed air and feel of the sea's breeze, it was a sensual Father's Day morning--especially when my ears began to be tickled by a funny Southern French exclamation soon after we arrived at the beach. With that I introduce today's southern expression:

"Oh pétard!"

    : Oh my gosh!, wow!, #$@!&

Click here to listen to Jean-Marc pronounce the following expression


Oh pétard! T'as vu ce qu'il a ramassé le pêcheur?
Oh my gosh! Did you see what the fisherman brought in?

Note: OK, it might be a stretch to translate "Oh, pétard" (a word that likely comes from the more profain "putain") as "oh my gosh," but it seems right to me -- and it would fit with the example in the following story. If you have another translation, feel free to share it via the comments link at the end of this post.

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

On Father's Day morning Jean-Marc and I woke up to a kid-less house. As we sat there in bed drinking our coffee, I sensed a lull in our normally racy morning (no, not that kind of racy!). I realized that if we did not come up with a plan for La Fête des Pères, we might wallow in our empty nest.

"Want to go for a walk?" I said, looking over to a crest-fallen Papa Poule.

"Oui. Et si on se gare vers..." Jean-Marc said yes and suggested parking in a new location which would give us a brand new itinerary (last month, when Jean-Marc and I began a walking program, we had come up with various routes to mix things up--and we timed them so that a 15-minute walk" or a "30 minute walk" could be chosen, depending on the mood.

We parked our car alongside a vineyard and took up the marked path beside it...and 20 minutes later we were dipping our toes into the shimmering Mediterranean. This was the best circuit yet--a forty-minute walk with a refreshing dip in between!

Typical house at La Madrague port

A typical house at Le Port de La Madrague. It is my dream home (second only to the one we are currently selling--but it is not sold yet....)

Beach along le sentier littoral

Arriving at the first beach along the Sentier Littoral (no, those are not naked people. Naked beaches are farther west!)

Typical house at La Madrague port

Aw! Can you see the father and child to the left? To the right, you can see the area near Parc du Mugel in La Ciotat (worth a visit!)

Typical house at La Madrague port

Claiming our 6ft by 4 foot digs with the help of these colorful, handy towels that you see all over our area--and, we discovered, in Sicily too! As for the pebbly bed beneath us, I reminded myself that rocks are used in therapy (reflexology? I don't know, but it seems that those smooth cailloux pressing into various points along the back could be a good thing just as a thumb pressing in and massaging those same muscles would release tension). And now that Jean-Marc has joined me in the fear of recurring skin cancer (he had a spot removed on his temple) our chapeaux, or sunhats go with us wherever we go (I think he needs a wider brim on his hat, but this is a good start).

Typical house at La Madrague port
Cool clear water enticing everyone in for a swim! And a nice view of La Ciotat way across the bay.

Now, back to our story...

After Jean-Marc and I staked our place and waded out to sea over a slippery floor of giant rocks, we turned to look back at the shore and saw the beach beginning to fill up. It was now 10 a.m.

Still, the tiny creek was clear so we luxuriated in the cool water. Joyeuse Fête, Happy Father's Day! I kept repeating, rewarded each time with a salty kiss before my husband disappeared under the water (he would later pay for this by a plugged up ear and temporary loss of hearing).

Looking around I was suddenly filled with joy. Seeing life from the sea's perspective helped change my own outlook. Peering down into the crystal water to glimpse the depths of the Mediterranean, cares faded into the sea-grass far below. As I glided backwards like an otter to the shore, little schools of fish appeared, proof that shallow waters hold their own delights.

Sitting down on my towel, I was a few feet away from a family who had secured a spot on the plage--now full with beach-goers. The woman and man were about our age, with teenagers. The mom wore a chic two-piece (black with a strapless top). She looked elegant and well-postured which made it all the more surprising when she began to talk....

"Oh, pétard! Oh pétard!" she kept saying, looking out to sea.

My face beneath my hat (like a giant blindfold), I wondered if one of her three teenage sons was roughhousing out on the sea. Finally, after a few more Oh, pétards, curiosity got to me and I sat up and searched the pebbled horizon.

Next, I heard her gasp, "poissons!...poissons!" and I narrowed my search - to finally spot the fisherman who had come in with his catch. What a sight he was with fish dangling from his belt!

Typical house at La Madrague port
The fisherman with his fish: la seiche (cuttlefish), le mulet, and various poissons de roche

Two morals of this story:

One...

L'habit ne fait pas le moine (Don't judge a book by its cover): the French woman was elegantly composed, but she was not stuffy--as witnessed by her vernacular: street French. I will definitely add Oh, pétard to my vocabulary and think of her each time I enjoy the pleasure of saying it!

And two...

Ne fait pas la gueule - "don't make a face" when people invade your space. You just might learn something from them, see something you wouldn't otherwise have seen, or learn a few new French words thanks to such cozy proximity :-)

FRENCH VOCABULARY

oh, pétard = oh my gosh!
La Fête des Pères = Father's Day
le papa poule = father hen
et si on... = and what if we...
se garer = to park
le sentier = path
littoral = coastal
la plage = beach
le caillou = pebble, stone

Typical house at La Madrague port

A Few Notes

I am excited to be quoted in Ann Mah's Food52 article about French salads. Please check out "Don't Cut Lettuce With a Table Knife, and Other Salad-Eating Rules"

The Sicily post Racines: My Father's Cousins Germains, or First Cousins, has been updated in case you missed it. Thanks for reading!

On Sunday, I reposted a favorite story about my Father - and his no-nonsense approach to swimming in France.

Kristi swimming

Thank you for the time you've just spent reading this post. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that a one-time contribution helps me continue doing what I love most: improving this journal. Your support is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is fast and easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! 
♥ Send $10    
  ♥ Send $25    
    ♥ Send the amount of your choice


"Kristin, Your tips and experiences on French and life in France are the best resources I can think of to keep my French alive."
--Amy


Racines: My father's "cousins germains" or "first cousins"

Porticello sicily
The fishing village of Porticello, Sicily, where we had a memorable meal and celebration.

"RACINES"

    : roots

Hear Jean-Marc pronounce the following sentence. Click here RACINE

La famille - Comme les branches d'un arbre, nous grandissons tous dans de différentes directions, mais nos racines ne font qu'un. Family - like branches on a tree, we all grow in different directions, but our roots are one.


A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE

by Kristi Espinasse

I was going to title this post: Family Reunion in Sicily, but that could be misleading--you might assume we have Sicilian roots. While that would be exciting, the fact is, on my father's side of the family we are English (my maiden name is Ingham).

Before joining my Seattle Family in the coastal village of Trabia, my daughter Jackie and I (with the help of speed-reader Mama Jules) did some catching up on our family, thanks to Cousin Laura (my dad's first cousin) who wrote a lively book documenting our family history. From entrepreneurs in the lumber business to artists, musicians and writers (a famous novelist and screenwriter)--and, recently, a therapist and a rug designer--we are, like all families, an eclectic group.

Recollections and Reflections
In addition to writing this family treasure, Cousin Laura owned a travel bookstore in Seattle called Marco Polo Travel Resources. The space was designed by family member and Pacific Northwest architect Roland Terry (more about Roland, below).

It was a great chance to spend time with these thoughtful creatives on the singsong island of Sicily--where art and history intersect with the rugged turquoise coastline and the most delicious dish in the world: CAPONATA (Sicily's version of ratatouille? Add sugar, balsamic vinegar, some celery, capers and green olives!) 

Happy birthday Laura

More than a family reunion, we were here to celebrate Cousin Laura's 80th birthday, which we did the final night -- after a week of visiting Palermo, Erice, and other Sicilian towns. My favorite was Porticello--a small, unassuming fishing village. My cousin Erik (Laura's son, and the rug designer) arranged for all 15 members in our group to eat a traditional Sicilian dinner at a private residence facing the port at sundown.

Lemons in sicily

We didn't actually see the sun go down from our table--located in an inner courtyard, beneath a sky  of lemons. Surrounded by citrus trees we dined on antipasti and quickly added a few dishes to our list of favorite foods in the world (that caponata...as well as panella--Sicilian fritters made from chickpea flour. Oh, là là!!)

Around the time the cake was served, we listened to Cousin Bill (Laura's brother) give a touching toast to his sister. Laura's response echoed her brother's sentiments: family is everything!

I leave you with a few pictures (more on Instagram) and some books to check out. Thanks for reading and see you next week!

Cousin Fred
To the right, my cousin Fred. I only saw Fred once each year, in summertime, when visiting my family in Seattle. Fred and I are the same age and he has followed my blog from the beginning -- always supportive and encouraging of my writing endeavors. Thank you so much Fred! Fred is Bill Ingham's son, see Bill's book just below.


William ingham

William Ingham: Configuration of Forces - one precious memory from this trip was watching a conversation between Cousin Bill and Jackie. Two generations apart, and from different cultures, these two chatted up a storm over dinner. If you enjoy contemporary art, pick up a copy of this book on William Ingham's Abstract Expressionism

Roland terry

From the comments to this post:

In the 1980's Roland Terry, who was basically retired by then, shared some office space with an architectural firm for which I worked. He was the grand master of Northwest Architecture, his beautiful, distinctive buildings admired to this day. Because of his reputation, I stood in awe of him before even meeting him, expecting some imperious individual to come into our office. I couldn't have been more surprised to meet a warm, pleasant, kind, dear man! It's exciting to learn that he was a relative of yours. I so enjoyed meeting you and Jean-Marc in Seattle several years ago and continue to read and enjoy French Word-A-Day. You and your family, including Smokey, are special to me. --Joanne Johnson

A book on Roland Terry's work:

Roland Terry: Northwest Master Architect - I am excited to be connected to this Northwest Architect, even if I can't say exactly how we are related! (Update: Roland Terry is my paternal grandfather's first cousin). He appeared at all our family reunions and my youngest cousin, Roland (soon to be nine-years-old) and every bit as brilliant, was named after him. Click here to order the book Roland Terry: Northwest Master Architect

CAPONATA - My new favorite food. Makes a great side dish. Have it alongside couscous, pasta, rice...or on it's own with good bread. Click here to order.

FOUTAS - once again these colorful, absorbent towels were seen everywhere along Mediterranean beaches. Order one here

Kristi and erik

Many thanks to my cousin Erik, who organized this family reunion. Do check out his site Lindstrom Rugs . Bye for now...I am off to cook up some Caponata and will share the results with you very soon. For Sicilian recipes, this book might inspire you:

Muller Sicily

Sicily, The Cookbook : Recipes Rooted in Traditions by Melissa Muller


Muller sicily back cover

Thank you for the time you've just spent reading this post. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that a one-time contribution helps me continue doing what I love most: improving this journal. Your support is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is fast and easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! 
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"Kristin, Your tips and experiences on French and life in France are the best resources I can think of to keep my French alive."
--Amy


Ça passe ou ça casse + Doggy bags in France

Boulder and bouganvillea
In the 5 years we've lived here, I have posted photos of our home here and here and here. This one, of Jean-Marc's DIY waterfall (a garden hose secured by a few rocks) shows the boulders on the side of our farmhouse and the almond trees that shade them in summertime. You can also see the giant agave succulent. The flowering vine is a bougainvillea.

Ça passe ou ça casse. As we wait for news on whether or not the sale of our vineyard will go through, we are going to take a few days off and join my American family on vacation in Palermo. To see photos, hit the follow button my Facebook or Instagram page.

"ça passe ou ça casse"

    - it's make or break
    - it's hit or miss
    - it's sink or swim
    - it's do or die

=> Listen to Jean-Marc pronounce today's expression, click here



A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE
by Kristi Espinasse

In preparation for our trip I looked high and low for a story to repost and settled on this one about DOGGY BAGS IN FRANCE. You'll learn as much from the readers comments as you will from the story, so click right here to begin reading :-)


Dogs-of-france
Picture taken near Biarritz.


Provence Vacation Rentals - Sablet Home courtyard

SABLET HOME- for high quality vacation rentals in the heart of Provence. Recommended by readers. Click here for photos.

Thank you for the time you've just spent reading this post. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that a one-time contribution helps me continue doing what I love most: improving this journal. Your support is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is fast and easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! 
♥ Send $10    
  ♥ Send $25    
    ♥ Send the amount of your choice


"Kristin, Your tips and experiences on French and life in France are the best resources I can think of to keep my French alive."
--Amy


Happiness is... a French quote about le Bonheur

Mas des brun bouganvillea

A one-line metaphorical update on the sale of our vineyard here in St. Cyr-sur-Mer: For 7 months now, despite a mountain of bureaucracy involved in the transfer of our property, and with a few thousand miles to go...it seems we are about to come in for a rough landing--and I can almost see us all (Mama Jules included) spread out, along with all of our belongings--across a parched yard in La Ciotat where we will slowly pick up the pieces, water the garden, and move inside, to a new chapter of our lives.


"à notre portée"

    - within our reach
    - within our grasp
    - available to us
    - upon us

Listen to Jean-Marc read the following quote


Le bonheur est l'art de faire un bouquet avec les fleurs qui sont à notre portée. - Anonymous
Happiness is the art of making a bouquet with the flowers that are within our grasp.

(At the end of this post, see the bouquet Jules made for my belle-mère, with the flowers she found here at the vineyard.)

Provence Vacation Rentals - Sablet Home courtyard
SABLET HOME- for high quality vacation rentals in the heart of Provence. Recommended by readers. Click here for photos.


Mama Jules with the bouquet she made
My Mom and the bouquet she made my mother-in-law.

THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT
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Thank you for the time you've just spent reading this post. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that a one-time contribution helps me continue doing what I love most: improving this journal. Your support is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is fast and easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! 
♥ Send $10    
  ♥ Send $25    
    ♥ Send the amount of your choice


"Kristin, Your tips and experiences on French and life in France are the best resources I can think of to keep my French alive."
--Amy


L'un pour l'autre + Deciding with (or for?) a family member

Window with bougainvillea
The room Mom usually stays in when she visits us from her home in Puerto Vallarta. This time we gave her Max's room, as he is away in Montpellier and will soon move to Mexico. But will Grandma Jules be there when he arrives? Read on.


TODAY'S WORD: l'un pour l'autre

        : for each other, one for another

Audio File, click here: Listen to Jackie read the following quote in honor of the writer Brian Doyle


Soyez tendres l'un pour l'autre. Soyez plus tendre que vous avez été hier. --Brian Doyle
Be tender to each other. Be more tender than you were yesterday.  --Brian Doyle



A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE

    by Kristi Espinasse

My Mom arrived Monday night after a tearful voyage from Puerto Vallarta to Marseilles.  Those larmes fell unexpectedly, on arriving in Mexico City for the first leg of her journey....

Jean-Marc had arranged for une chaise roulante and assistance to meet Mama Jules at all three landings, to avoid her rushing from gate to gate with a previously broken hip. But as soon as the first assistant arrived to help Mom, she dissolved into tears. The man spoke kindly to her in Spanish, offering to wheel her to the restroom or to the café for a meal. His douceur became a balm and soon other angels surfaced from the beams of the bustling international airport.

Another young man locked eyes with Mom as she coasted by the column against which he was leaning. In that capsule moment he offered un sourire de compassion et de tendresse which soothed Mama Jules all the way to the next departure gate et ainsi de suite....

By the time Jules arrived in Marseilles, she was almost her old self again, except that one part of her would be gone forever. Last August 7th after her husband passed away, Mom began a new chapter all on her own, alone in Mexico. And when she moved from her condo to a tin-roofed studio, we always knew this was a temporary situation....

Three days have already passed since Mom arrived for a two-week visit. And I find myself stopping as we walk along the boardwalk or pausing as we chat on the front porch. I'm trying to grasp this capsule moment lest any detail be lost forever in indecision.


***
To leave a comment, click on the link near the end of this post.


Mom looking inside le frigo
My dear Mom, jetlag, and the munchies.

FRENCH VOCABULARY

l'un pour l'autre = for each other, one for another
une larme = tear

une chaise roulant = wheelchair
et ainsi de suite = and so on
douceur = gentleness
un sourire = smile

La ROCHE-POSAY Anthelios sunscreen - Consumer reports ranks it among the best

FRENCH GOURMET ITEMS - including herbs, mustard, coffee, tisane, chocolate, cakes

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

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

THE FRENCH LOVE THESE BEACH TOWELS - quick drying, good-looking


Sablet home rental village accommodation where to stay in provence france
  SABLET HOME- for high quality vacation rentals in the heart of Provence. Click here for photos and more details.

 
Posts you may have missed;
Bilingual story by Jean-Marc, click here

Thank you for the time you've just spent reading this post. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that a one-time contribution helps me continue doing what I love most: improving this journal. Your support is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is fast and easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! 
♥ Send $10    
  ♥ Send $25    
    ♥ Send the amount of your choice


"Kristin, Your tips and experiences on French and life in France are the best resources I can think of to keep my French alive."
--Amy