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Seeing spots? Relax, those are floaters! Les corps flottants et le champ visuel....

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Today's word: une tache

    : spot
    : stain, mark

une tache de rousseur = freckle
une tâche de vin = wine stain

The English translation follows below, in bold. Click to listen to the French:

Les corps flottants sont des taches sombres qui se présentent sous la forme de points, de cercles, de lignes ou de
toiles d'araignée et qui semblent se déplacer dans le champ visuel. (site: Inca)

A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE

by Kristi Espinasse

The beaches are so packed here in La Ciotat you cannot see the sand....so Jean-Marc led the two of us to a secret hideaway! There, on slippery flat rocks disappearing into the sea, we relaxed at sundown with Les Ciotadens, or locals (picture from JM's Instagram account...)

After my husband slipped into the sea I followed him from the shore, my eyes on his snorkeling tuba, until my gaze was lost on the blue horizon. That's when I began to see the spots. Qu'est-ce que c'est? Looking left, looking right, I noticed how the gray dots (over my eyes? or in the air in front of me?) floated off-center...until I could not quite focus on any one of them. Next, "stringy bits" began passing by adding to the flotsam in my eyes! 

Sitting on my beach towel my head turning slowly from side-to-side, my eyes chasing the (internal? external?) "shadows," I was stumped as to what I was seeing. An optical illusion? Brought on by low blood sugar or some kind of carence--like a lack of iron or something

As soon as my husband returned from the sea, and his oursinade, I told him about the "flying spots!" Realizing this must've sounded batty (come to think of it, I saw those too! ), I kept a low profile until I got my sister Heidi on the phone... 

(No, my sister confirmed, she had never seen spots parading past her range of vision....)

Worried I was becoming a hypochondriac, I hung up and googled "seeing spots" and voilà! A satisfactory answer: les corps flottants.

Floating bodies are dark spots in the form of dots, circles, lines or cobwebs that seem to move in the visual field.

WebMD goes on to say: Most floaters are small flecks of a protein called collagen. They’re part of a gel-like substance in the back of your eye called the vitreous. As you age, the protein fibers that make up the vitreous shrink down to little shreds that clump together. The shadows they cast on your retina are floaters.

I also learned these "floaters" can be connected to diabetes, which brings me back to blood sugar... No matter how much cinnamon-laced oatmeal I eat, my brain still feels "wrung like a sponge" by the time I have finished writing one of these posts. After four hours of brainwork, my cerveau feels starved, pressé comme une orange. Did you know nerves and the brain depend upon normal sugar levels to function properly?

Voilà. Today's post was a public service announcement--for those of you who may have, like me, worried you were seeing mouches or toiles d'araignées--in addition to all those spots. They're just floaters and you're ok! (Though you might have your vision and your blood sugar checked....)

Wishing everyone a lovely weekend. And thanks so much for reading!

FRENCH VOCABULARY
le ciotaden = a person from La Ciotat
un tuba
= snorkel
qu'est-ce que c'est? = what is it?
une carence = deficiency (vitamin deficiency)
une oursinade = hunt for oursins, or sea urchins
le cerveau = brain
pressé comme une orange = squeezed like an orange
la mouche = fly
la toile d'araignée = spider web 

Kristi and jackie at beach in la ciotat
With our daughter, Jackie. Read the Desiderata poem in French, in a post written for my daughter in 2014

Thank you so much, Kristin, for all of these wonderful years of French Word A Day. I'm a retired French teacher and regularly used your blog in my classroom. And now I read for my pleasure alone!! --Cheryl

Thank you for the time you've spent reading my column. If you have enjoyed more than a little vocabulary here today and are looking forward to the next post, please know that ongoing support from readers like you helps me to continue writing and publishing these educational missives from France. Your support is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi
 
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"I’ve really enjoyed reading your stories over the years & hope you will continue to delight us with your beautiful photos and thoughtful & charming antidotes of life in the beautiful south of France."
--Jacqueline

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