l'ici et maintenant

Window in Serignan, Vaucluse (c) Kristin Espinasse

Share today's "photo du coeur" with a friend...

l'ici et maintenant

    : the here and now, or le moment or l'instant présent

Audio File: (I'm afraid our super French word pronouncer (Chief Grape) is away... that means you're stuck with me and my recording. Listen at your own péril...): Download MP3 or Wav file

L'ici et maintenant. Dans l'ici-maintenant je ressents de la paix.
In the here and now I feel at peace.


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

My husband is running a bath, this after two days without water. Our plumber was able to temporarily fix our reservoir, meaning that tonight our beloved Chief Grape will escape the dreaded bird bath—and youpi! for that, for it is no fun standing in a vintner's bucket, pouring cups of cold water over a tired body.

I am in the next room, folding clothes (in order to free-up the bed, so that we can eventually get some rest). As I fold, I listen to glorious sound of rushing water, along with the occasional squeaky shift of a man settling into his bath. 

Max strides into the bedroom and plops down onto the bed. "I'm going to rest here a bit," he says. 

I turn towards our son, amazed at his decision to spend time with his old lady. My étonnement increases, when our 16-year-old offers an apparent compliment: 

"You smell like pamplemousse," he remarks. 

I touch my cheek, remembering the moisturizer that I have just put on. It has a citrus scent? I hadn't noticed... in fact, I hardly remember putting on the lait hydratant

Inhaling another whiff of grapefruit, I am transported to the present moment, having stepped off the ruthless timeline of the past (in which I am regretful of those things I've left undone—anything from unanswered emails to the sinkful of dishes) and the future (in which I worry about our water problem and my upcoming surgery). But here, in the pamplemousse present, I awake to life around me, including the unchacteristic attention of our teenager.

"Tiens," Max says, handing me one of his earphones, which I stick into my oreille, following Max's example. I push the clothes out of the way and lie back on the pillow.

"Can you tell me what she is saying?" Max wants to know. It isn't the first time I've been asked to identify English lyrics, only, the music is usually not to my liking (i.e. it is rap, instead of rhapsody).

I recognise the song by Dido. Quelle coincidence! It was once a favorite of mine... I listen in, intent on clarifying the words for Max:

My tea's gone cold, I'm wonderin' why
I got out of bed alone
The morning rain clouds up my window
and I can't see at all...

As I communicate the lyrics to Max, he begins to sing along with me... 

and even if I could it'd all be grey
but your picture on my wall, it reminds me
that it's not so bad, it's not so bad...

As Max and I sing, I hear splashing now and again, as Jean-Marc relaxes into his bath. To him the noise coming from the bedroom must surely be an amusement, what with Max and me belting it out like a couple of tone-deaf dogs...

And I want to thank you for giving me
the best day of my life...
Oh, just to be with you,
is having the best day of my life.

I muse at how perfectly the lyrics fit this treasured moment of togetherness. Though I can't be sure that this is the best day of my life... I am quite certain, here in l'instant présent, that this is the best minute of my life.

As for the other worries and regrets, they just don't exist in the peaceful here and now, where a mother-and-son duo howl like a couple of hound dogs:

 And I want to thank you for giving me
the best day of my life...
Oh, just to be with you,
is having the best day of my life....


***
Le Coin Commentaires
I love to read your comments--and so does my mom! So please don't hesitate to leave a message. If you don't know what to say (personally, I get very nervous and tongue-tied when it comes to leaving comments on blogs!), simply say "bonjour" and be sure to let us know which town your are writing in from (this is my dad's favorite part). Click here to leave a comment.

Psst... Mom and Dad, if you are reading, check out the recent article in ASU News: Expat alum offers Francophiles a word a day! Mom, Dad, I know how worried you were when I came in close to last in my class--almost failing high school. But I've been working hard, ever since, to make up for that! Click here to find out how.

French Vocabulary

youpi! = yahoo!

un étonnement = surprise

le pamplemousse = grapefruit 

le lait hydratant = moisturizer

tiens! = here!

une oreille = ear

quelle coincidence! = what a coincidence!

l'instant présent = the present moment, the here and now

DSC_00121

The vinter's buckets that I mentioned in today's story. Just imagine Chief Grape's bird bath dilemma!

 

Blossoming in Provence

 S'il vous plaît...

S.V.P.!: I need your help in getting out the word of my latest book! 

Thank you very much if you have already purchased a copy of Blossoming in Provence. Your purchase is one of the best ways to help me to continue publishing these educational "stories in a French life". 

If you enjoy this free newsletter, please consider supporting it by buying a copy of my book.

You might consider buying a copy for a friend of family member. Would someone at your office or at your school enjoy these short stories? Blossoming in Provence is a book for all ages. Both men and women enjoy the book, making it a perfect gift for a birthday or even for Valentine's Day.

Thank you very much for your support and for helping me to get the word out about Blossoming in Provence. When you click over to the page at Amazon, you will also notice the possibility to share the page via Twitter and Facebook and email (let your mouse hover over the "like" button, just beneath the books title.

Voilà. I've peddled my book for the month! I appreciate your patience and will now take off my sales hat and put back on my chef's toque (it is time to send out this post and to hurry and prepare lunch for the kids).

Pamplemousse

While editing my photo archives I discovered this picture, taken a few years after I wrote the story, above. Serendipitous, considering the pamplemousse scent that Max describes.

Thank you for the time you've spent reading my column. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that ongoing support from readers like you helps me continue doing what I love most: sharing these missives from France. Your support is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is fast and easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi 
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"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.


entretenir de grands espoirs

DSC_0093
Are you seeing the broken glass... or the pretty watermelon building in the back? Do you practice positive or stinking thinking?


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entretenir de grands espoirs

    : to have high hopes
 

Audio File: listen to my son, Max, pronounce today's expression and these words:
Download MP3 or Wav file

 J'entretiens de grands espoirs! I have high hopes!

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

Say this: "j'entretiens de grands espoirs!" (I have high hopes!) Now say it again, this time with gusto: J'entretiens de grands espoirs!!!

I say this lately, avec ou sans gusto. No matter how green or Gallic the grass is just outside my window, no matter how peaceful the Provençale prairie beyond, I fight a "negative thought" battle all the @*$!#& day long.   

It is a battle of the mind and it takes a heaping helping of "high apple pie" mentality to fight it. Speaking of apple pie, I've put on weight lately....

(And there they go again, the brain "bad guys" that would have me focusing not on others, but on my thighs. That is how they keep us stuck, in a muck, ever convinced we're out of luck.)

Though my mother taught me to identify negative thinking, my thoughts have a mind of their own and, drone drone drone, on they march relentlessly. I think they're out to get me.

And so I write. Funny (sometimes laughable) stories. It helps to keep those unruly thoughts focused by filling up page after blank page, ordering the thoughts lest they find the time to order me.

"Keep a watchman at the gate," Mom always says. I like to imagine an armed soldier, my very own "brainguard" (stronger even than a bodyguard!). As the defeating thoughts approach, my brainguard raises an arm, level with its shoulder. The upright palm at the end of that arm is almost touching the face of the intruder, so close that the intruder could read the wrinkled life line upon it. But the thought intruders are too dumb to be palm readers.

"Halte! L
et me see your papers!" my brainguard barks at the unwelcome thoughts. Because the thought impostors are
dumb 
by nature (after all, they can think of nothing better to do than to amuse themselves via so much taunting and fearful thought flaunting), they've forgotten to falsify their passports. In fact, they forgot their passports altogether!

Easy as that, my brainguard sends them on their way. But the thought impostors only get as far as the bridge before, piddle brains that they are, they forget why they've headed off. And so they turn back for another attack.

Sometimes my brainguard falls asleep at the gate and I have to come up with other ways to stave off the savages. One of my new favorite weapons is singing. Just sing louder than the voices in your head.

Personally, I fancy the rubber tree song:

...just what makes that little ol' ant think he can move that rubber-tree plant...

After all, we've got to have high hopes if we are to continue to believe in the good that is out there, high apple pie hopes with dollops and dollops of determination.
 

:: Le Coin Commentaires ::

To leave a comment, click here. Merci d'avance!


 

Smokey and Soeurs (c) Kristin Espinasse
  Hang in there! (Smokey and the
soeurettes at 6 weeks...)

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Words in a French Life

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Thank you for the time you've spent reading my column. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that ongoing support from readers like you helps me continue doing what I love most: sharing these missives from France. Your support is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is fast and easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi 
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"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.


aviver

Poppy (c) Kristin Espinasse

It's Vagabonde Vendredi -- time to stray from our comfortable way. I have been saving this favorite flower from my garden for you. Enjoy!

THE GIFT OF GAUL

 Click here to sign up a friend or family member to French Word-A-Day. It's free & inspiring.

 
 
aviver (ah-vee-vay) verb

 

    : to stir up

French verb conjugation:
 j'avive, tu avives, il avive, nous avivons, vous avivez, ils avivent past participle: avivé

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

Pour que la muse vienne vous visiter, bousculer vos habitudes, avivez votre matinée! For the muse to come and visit you, shake up your habits, stir up your morning.

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


Take a new path each day. Shake things up. Do the unexpected

These things run through my mind as I type, fresh dirt beneath my fingernails, along this chattering clavier. (Have you ever listened to the sound of typing?  Stop. Ecoutez! What do you hear?I hear the sound of hailstones hitting the front patio. Did you hear it too? Type on and listen closely... Oh, chameleon keyboard, when I am in the moment, listening with all my might, I hear falling pebbles of poetry.)

It is always a good time to be in the moment. The same goes for writing a thrice-weekly journal on a deadline. This edition will go out, automatically, "preprogramedly," in four hours. Between then and now a lot could happen... such as:

Bees! I could bolt back outside, to where I left my trowel... and look at bumble hides. Yesterday, while visiting with the Dirt Divas (pictured, below), Doreen pointed out the blanched-butted bumblebees.  (Did she call them "white bums"?)  Just thinking of their name makes me light.

Light, this is how I'd like the next four hours to pass—légèrement—and not lourdement. "Heavily" happens when we're over-serious. Why not be neither heavy nor lighty-flighty... why not shoot for "whimsical weighted"?

But back to "what could happen in the next four hours"... Isn't this an exciting thought? Perhaps one might leave the work desk and take a spin around the block (or building, or airport, or internet café) or wherever this letter finds you reading....

Then, there's always a free moment for a one-minute meditation: time to clear the mind and replace any negative (defeating, fearful, muckity-puckity pensées) with positive ones or, better yet, Godly ones.  "Meditate on the Word" my mom, Jules, might tell me. She might also tell me to do something new (and so be renewed?), such as ride my bike to Camaret and give my new friend Liliane a jam jar of jardin jewels: those ruby and sapphire and citrine splendors in the garden.

(Alas, a few hours have now passed... and I haven't managed to lighten up. Worse, I feel weightier than before. Perhaps this is the ol' "one step forward, deux en arrière" snare?)

Never mind. What's important is to keep marching on and with a sing-song in one's step. And if, by chance, you need a guide, you might chance to follow a certain blanched-bumed bee hide...

as it bumbles,  and as you stumble, from one good intention to the next. At least you tried :-) 

 

:: Le Coin Commentaires ::

Thanks for stopping in to say "bonjour" today. Click here to comment. 


 No picture of the blanched-bottomed bumble bee... Will you enjoy this blue-winged one instead?
 
  Blue Wings (c) Kristin Espinasse

  

 The dear
Dirt Divas (Malou & Doreen), who never fail to make one smile. I hope their generosity is contagious. 
  DSC_0008

   French Vocabulary

écouter = to listen to
légèrement = lightly
lourdement = heavily
le jardin = garden
deux en arrière = two (steps) backwards

 

"PAL POETRY"

There's fan fiction and now "pal poetry": study my latest poem (on the previous page)... and see  how Newforest gussies it up here, below, finding just the right French words and making it even more meaningful:

 ............................................................................................

"Le Point du Jour"  

(Poème de Kristin revu par 'Newforest')

........................................................................................... 

 

 

 Ce matin je me suis levée avant les ipomées. 

Coucou, levez-vous!

Je me suis penchée vers ces fleurs matinales

Qui dorment encore, serrant leurs pétales.

Coucou! Levez-vous!

Plus loin, les grillons répètent sans cesse leur cricri strident,

Mais les jolies fleurs bleues, pas encore éveillées, 

Savourent les plaisirs d'une grasse matinée.

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

  Morning glory
  Photo by Andrew Farrell

 


 

 

 

Poetry vocabulary 


 

- une Ipomée = Morning Glory

  

 

 

 

 

(un volubilis is a synonyme)

   

 

 

 

- se pencher = to lean over

  

 

 

 

- encore = here, it means still (still asleep)

  

 

 

 

- serrer = to tighten, to grip tightly

  

 

 

 

- un pétale = petal 

  

 

 

 

- plus loin = further

  

 

 

 

- le grillon = cricket

  

 

 

 

- sans cesse / continuellement = non stop

  

 

 

 

- le cricri is the French word for the sound made by crickets

  

 

 

 

- (être éveillé) = (to be) woken up

  

 

 

 

- savourer le/les plaisir(s) de ... = to enjoy

 

- faire la grasse matinée = to sleep in 

please help me to thank Newforest for this new and improved poésie. Click here to leave a comment. 

  


 

 

***

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Thank you for the time you've spent reading my column. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that ongoing support from readers like you helps me continue doing what I love most: sharing these missives from France. Your support is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is fast and easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi 
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"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.


un filleul

Filleul
(photo of my husband, Jean-Marc, and his filleul, Matthieu)

Easy_speak_frenchEazyspeak French teaches 800 vocabulary words; quickly extends conversational skills

un filleul (fee-yul) noun, masculine
1. godson, godchild

Also:
filleule = goddaughter
filleul de guerre = adoptive son (in wartime)

Mon filleul va bientôt partir, ainsi la guerre va devenir plus personnelle pour moi. My godson is going over soon, so the war's about to get personal for me. --Garry Trudeau.

                                                                          Column_5
"I love Marseilles. When I was young, I loved to feel the Mistral wind blowing through me. I would stand still and just let it whip through my hair. I can no longer bear the Mistral. But I still love Marseilles." --Mme. Chollet

In the spice-scented salon* of the Chollet's home, I marvel at four generations of French women, one as beautiful as the next. The great-grandmother, with her dark chocolate brown hair and large clip-on earrings, recounted her passion for the windy city. Curiously, her lust for Massalia* skipped a generation, to her granddaughter. Her very own daughter (seated beside her, dressed all in black and looking very Cannoise*) prefers La Côte d'Azur, explaining, "Les Marseillais* are violent like the wind that blows through their city! The wind is mild in Cannes."

I sat facing my friend Corinne, her mother, and grandmother, thinking about how my feelings for a city that I once called home had changed. I didn't always like Marseilles. At one point I despised it. Returning now, as a visitor, I am enchanted by this historical town founded by the Greeks over 2600 years ago.

Earlier, as we motored through the 8th arrondissement, past the Bagatelle (where Jean-Marc and I were first married, but that is another story...) I found myself wondering how, newly arrived, I could not see the charm and beauty of this ancient city. Back then, Marseilles felt like a perpetual attack on this desert rat. (I would not recommend moving from warm, dry Phoenix to cold, windy Marseilles; Chicago to Marseilles, why not, but Phoenix/Marseilles--forget it!)

The cruel wind, the absence of a "user friendly" anything, the aggressive, unsympathetic government employees who threatened to deport me, and the lack of edible tortillas were just a few elements that wrecked havoc on the successful integration of this Phoenician, in a town founded by the Phocaeans.*

But now, 14 years later, I can't help but be caught up in the whirl of this action-packed, passionate, multi-ethnic ville.* Marseilles IS violent. Like its famous Mistral wind, it kicks, pushes, whirls, stomps, spits, and sometimes slams, daring you to cling right back to it, for the ride of your life.

My first child came into this world via Marseilles, kicking and screaming like the wind, which might explain his constant joie de vivre. (My daughter was born in Aix-en-Provence, and is reserved like the Aixois, or citizens of Aix.)

But, returning to our story, and to the Chollet's cozy salon, we were about to celebrate the birthday of a little guy who had just turned two. Matthieu, pronounced "ma-tyeuh," is my husband's filleul* (and the birthday boy in question).

Matthieu's mother, Corinne, had prepared five desserts for the celebration and, knowing what a good cook she is, I got in line illico* to sample the gateau au chocolat,* crumble au poires,* Madeleines, gateau au yaourt* and a brownie...or two.

Next we watched the birthday boy (dressed in a t-shirt that read "J'ai 2 ans!" I'm 2!) boogie and chanter.* And what did he sing? A song about St. Tropez! I take it that passion for Marseilles has just skipped another generation.

.................................................................................................................
References: le salon (m) = the living room; Massalia = Marseilles' original name; une Cannoise = a woman from Cannes; les Marseillais = the people of Marseilles; Phocaeans = inhabitants of an ancient district of central Greece; une ville (f) = a city; un filleul (m) = godson; illico = right away; gâteau au chocolat (m) = chocolate cake; crumble aux poires = pear crumble; gâteau au yaourt (m) = yogurt cake; chanter = to sing

Hear French spoken:
Listen to Jean-Marc recite today's quote: Download filleul2.wav
Mon filleul va bientôt partir, ainsi la guerre va devenir plus personnelle pour moi.

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.


haleine

haleine (ah-len) noun, feminine
1. breath; breathing

Expressions:
avoir mauvaise haleine = to have bad breath
tout d'une haleine = in the same breath
avoir l'haleine courte = to be short of breath or short-winded
perdre haleine = to lose one's breath
rire à perdre haleine = to laugh until one's sides ache
reprendre haleine = to catch one's breath
discuter à perdre haleine = to argue non-stop
retenir son haleine = to hold one's breath
un travail de longue haleine = a long and exacting task
d'une seule haleine = in the same breath (without interruption)
tenir quelqu'un en haleine = to hold somebody spellbound; to keep somebody in suspense

...........................
Citation du Jour:

Contre la mauvaise haleine, un seul remède: le téléphone !
There is only one remedy against bad breath: the telephone!
-Michel Chrestien

......................................
A Day in a French Life...

(Don't miss the story that originally appeared here, along with the vocabulary below--now a part of this book!)

.............................................
*References: noisette = hazelnut; beurk! = gross! le dégoût (m) = disgust; arrête (arreter) = stop; ça suffit = that's enough! embêter = to annoy; encore du camembert, s'il te plaît! = more camembert, please!

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.


une panne

une panne (pan) noun, feminine
1. a breakdown

Also:
panné(e) = broke (c'est une panné = he's penniless)
une panne de courant/d'électricité = power failure
une panne de moteur = engine failure

..........................
Expressions:
en panne = out of order
panne sèche = out of gas
tomber en panne d'essence = to run out of gas
laisser quelqu'un en panne = to let someone down
avoir une panne d'oreiller = to oversleep
rester en panne devant une difficulté = to be stumped (by a problem)

..........................
Citation du Jour:

La plume de l'écrivain est aux pensées ce que le filet du chasseur est aux papillons.

The writer's pen is to thoughts what the hunter's net is to butterflies. --Paul Carvel

("En panne" for a good "panne" quote, I offer a "pen" quote today! Note: "panne" and "pen" have the same word origins.)

....................................
A Day in a French Life...

(Les Risques du Métier)*

Max and Jackie have writer's block. My 9-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter were in charge of a weekly column for this newsletter. I had this all set up to where if one kid backed out, then the other could write the column. That's when my little écrivains* in residence came down with writer's block. Simultanément.*

"Je ne sais pas quoi écrire," (I don't know what to write) Jackie moaned.
"J'ai mal au bras," (My arm hurts) said Max, patting his wrist.

The inkwell has dried up. Une "panne sèche" of the pen. Plus rien.*

I do not know how to translate writer's block into French. I guess you could employ the verb "coincer" which means "to be in a jam". I should get writer's block too, but when your dream is to put out a daily edition there is no time to be kwen-say* over a few words, be they French or English.

"We wouldn't say coincé" my husband informs me over the phone. But he doesn't know the French word for writer's block either. "Perhaps 'une panne'?" he says.
"Panne.." Une panne is a breakdown or a failure.
"Une 'panne d'idées,' or 'une panne d'esprit'..." he offers.
"That would be a failure of ideas, of wit or of mind..."

Perhaps. Peut-être. ("Pas de panique!" I tell myself.)

All I know is that we had better not have too many more of these "panne" episodes, or I'll be panhandling for a living, my pen dream having petered out.

....................
*References: les risques du métier = work hazards; un écrivain = a writer; simultanément = simultaneously; plus rien = nothing left; kwen-say = pronunciation for "coincé" = stuck; pas de panique! = not to worry!

Update: writer's block = "le syndrome de la page blanche"

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.


lâcher

lâcher (lah-shay) verb
1. to release, to loosen, to slacken
2. to let go of
3. to come out with
4. to leave, to walk out on

se lâcher
1. to let oneself go (to speak frankly)
2. to speak one's mind

Expressions:
lâcher prise = to let go, to lose one's hold
lâche-moi les baskets! = get off my back!
lâcher des sous = to fork out (money)
lâcher le morceau = to tell the truth, to come clean
lâcher le peloton = to get a lead on (the rest of the pack)
lâcher la bride à quelqu'un = to give someone more of a free rein

........................
Citation du Jour

Combien de gens meurent dans les accidents, pour ne pas lâcher leur parapluie.

How many people die in accidents because they didn't let go of their umbrella. --André Gide

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A Day in a French Life...

Don't miss the story that originally appeared here, check out the book "Words in a French Life: Lessons in Love and Language from the South of France".

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*References: une crique (f) = a cove, bay; un dimanche après midi (m) = Sunday afternoon; profitez bien! = take advantage (of the day!); un oursin (m) = a sea urchin; le déjeuner sur le sable (m) = lunch on the sand; un éclat de rire = a burst of laughter; un maillot (de bain) m = a bathing suit

Thank you for the time you've spent reading my column. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that ongoing support from readers like you helps me continue doing what I love most: sharing these missives from France. Your support is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is fast and easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi 
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"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.


omettre

omettre (oh-metr) verb
1. to omit, pass over, to leave out

Expression:
omettre de faire quelque chose = to fail, omit, neglect, to do something

........................
Citation du Jour

Un voyageur est une espèce d'historien; son devoir est de raconter fidèlement ce qu'il a vu ou ce qu'il a entendu dire; il ne doit rien inventer, mais aussi il ne doit rien omettre.

A traveler is a kind of historian; his duty is to faithfully recount what he has seen or what he has heard; he must not make anything up, but also, he must not omit anything. --François René de Chateaubriand

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A Day in a French Life...

Omission. It is the same word in French as in English. Some say omitting is a form of lying, and that a lie is a lie whether it is outright, downright, white, delivered in French, English or otherwise.

"Omettre" is the French verb for "to leave out." When the churchlady phoned yesterday afternoon I told her Max would not be attending evening catechism class each Tuesday night this fall. (I left out the fact that he would be attending basketball practice instead.)

Omettre is pronounced "oh-metr," sort of like "Oh Maitre!" which can also mean "Oh God!". Speaking of Dieu, or God, I hoped He wasn't listening to my telephone conversation...

When the churchlady remained silent on the other end of the line, waiting for me to fill in the blanks as to why Max would not be attending Caté class (pronounced "kah-tay" and short for "catéchisme") this year, I said:

"On a un problème avec son emploi du temps."*
"Ah, bon?"* the churchlady said.
"Oui!" I said. I couldn't very well tell her, "He has basketball practice at the same hour," could I?

"Yes, you could!" my husband said that night at dinner, adding, "Pourquoi pas?"
"That's basketball before God!" I replied.
"Mais, non!" he assured. "There is simply--tout simplement-- 'un souci'* with Max's emploi du temps* this year and he will not be able to do both caté and basketball. It will be up to him to choose."

And so he chose. "Le Basket!"* he said. And his enthusiasm was hard to deny.

* * *
One can "mentir par omission" and I do just that as I grit my teeth and finagle together just enough French words to tell the churchlady everything except, "Our son has chosen basketball over Caté." By the end of the conversation, the churchlady is a bit perplexed and very, very concerned about me. "You know, if you ever want to talk," she says, "You can always call me."

This is a small village. Sooner or later the churchlady will find out that Max has swapped the holy hour for the hoop.

Later that night I slither into bed and say a prayer: "Dieu, je vous promis de continuer avec le catéchisme de Max l'année prochaine (si c'est possible) je veux dire, s'il y a pas de basket à la même heure l'année prochaine. Pardonnez-moi pour mes péchés."*

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*References: We have a problem with his schedule; Ah, bon? = really?;un souci (m) = a concern, worry; emploi du temps (m) = timetable; le basket (m) = basketball; God, I promise to continue with Max's catechism next year (if possible) I mean, if basketball practice isn't at the same time next year. Pardon me for my sins.

Thank you for the time you've spent reading my column. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that ongoing support from readers like you helps me continue doing what I love most: sharing these missives from France. Your support is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is fast and easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi 
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  ♥ Send $25    
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"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.


cabosser

Deuche_1 A Day in a French Life....

Yesterday we drove to the centre-ville* to buy the children's lunch tickets (a.k.a. les tickets de cantine). The little lime green squares of paper with "Cantine Scolaire Municipale" printed on one side are for sale at the Town Hall, a building sandwiched in between La Poste and la boucherie.*

Motoring into town, we made a left past the old iron kiosque à musique* and turned into the narrow and crowded parking lot.

"Je vois une place!"* said Jackie.
"No, that parking place is marked 'handicapée', " Max replied.

After a few trips around the parking lot, I found a half-space next to l'Office du Tourisme. My car is short and compact and easily fits into even the most étroit* of spaces. I pulled in to the familiar spot (which is usually empty due to its impossible size) and, comme d'habitude,* ran right into le réverbère* which, by the way, is a funny name for a lamppost.

PAF! as they say here (BOOM!)
"T'as cabossé la voiture maman!"
"No, I did not dent the car!" As for the lamppost, I wasn't sure...

Max got out of the car and ran up to the post to inspect for damage.
"Don't stand there like that Max, the police will come over!"

Not that I was hiding from les flics,* I knew I hadn't done any damage. (I've hit that pole on two previous occasions, so far not a scratch!)

My 9-year-old stood there, nose to the fender. "Max, hurry up, quit being so conspicuous!"

I looked left, then right. Nobody seemed to have noticed the bump. Looking left again, I saw the grand-mère sitting on the bench in front of the Office de Tourism. I froze before the would-be rapporteuse.*

We studied each other in silence until the thin straight line of her mouth turned up. With that she simply nodded her head. Not far from her, a chipped blue 2CV,* bien cabossé, was parked under an old Platane* tree. I imagined she had her own run-in with the lamppost at some point or another. And you might say we were now soeurs, or sisters in crime.

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*References: le centre-ville = town center; la boucherie (f) = the butcher's; kiosque à musique (m) = a bandstand; je vois une place = I see a place; comme d'habitude = as usual; un réverbère = a lamppost; un flic (slang) m = cop; une rapporteuse (un rapporteur) = a tattletale, étroit = narrow; une Platane (f) = a plane tree; 2CV (Deux Chevaux = "two horses") = a car by Citroën

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.