Petits Oublis: 'Forgetfulness', Etourderie, and verb conjugation (listen to it!)

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Experience a Lavender & Vine painting tour. Join our small group with professional instruction at the peak of the lavender season! 10% discount if you sign up in February. Rates and tour info here.


Today's Word: l'oubli

    : forgetfulness, oversight, memory lapse

*New: Don't miss the verb conjugation for oublier, just after today's vocabulary-packed story below...

ListenL'oubli n'est pas un ennemi de la mémoire. C'est un phénomène non seulement banal mais aussi indispensable, qui lui permet de faire le tri dans la masse d'informations qui nous parviennent en continu et qui ne peuvent pas être toutes engrangées. Forgetfulness is not an enemy of memory. This phenomenon is not only banal but also indispensable, allowing it to sort through the mass of information that reaches us continuously and that cannot all be collected.

A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE by Kristi Espinasse

I am beginning to concerned about this latest series of petits oublis... so I've decided to come here to talk about it with you. I'm guessing a few of my readers are aged 50 and above, and will have a thing or two to say about the topic of forgetfulness, or  les moments d'étourderie.

When last I misplaced my key and asked Mom if she had seen it.she replied, Darling, you left it in the front door. (Was that a concerned look on her face? The walking-on-eggshells tone in Mom's voice tells me something too: Is it my mood again?) I remember responding in a nonchalant way, Oh, thanks Mom--yes, I was in the middle of bringing in the groceries, I explained.

And yet I feel anything but insouciant about memory lapses, forgetfulness, oversights, flakiness, and forgotten appointments that are becoming some sort of norm lately...

As someone who does not drink, does not take medication, regularly challenges her brain by speaking a foreign language, eats a (mostly...) plant-based whole foods diet, walks daily, prays and gets plenty of sleep how could this be happening to me? 

A few possibilities come to mind: as a ronfleur, or snorer, chances are sleep apnea may be affecting the quality of sleep... And then there is the anxiety that I arrange my life around--it is why I no longer drink alcohol and why good nutrition, sleep, exercise and, recently, therapy is helpful to me. And yet...

When I left the kitchen robinet running for 10 minutes the other day (the irony! I had been filling a bowl in which to wash mes patates...and so recycle the water afterwards!), and then left the oven on after serving the oven-baked fries... I was alarmed at the latest oversights! But panick doesn't help things, now does it? Peace, after all, plays a big part in a well-functioning brain!

So, dearest reader, please chime in in today's comments box with your own thoughts on forgetfulness a.k.a. les petits oublis. Meantime, may those of us concerned with memory lapse take heart in the following thought (whether you remember it or not!):

L’oubli favorise l’innovation, libère la pensée et stimule la curiosité. Forgetting promotes innovation, frees thought and stimulates curiosity. --Simon-Daniel Kipman


*    *    *

There are many tools to help with our memory--including the exercise of conjugating French verbs! Listen to Jean-Marc conjugate the verb oublier

Verb conjugation oublier

j'oublie
tu oublies
il oublie
nous oublions
vous oubliez
ils oublient

French country diary 2019
A tried-and-true memory aid is a good old-fashioned calendar... and this one is a beauty: The popular, beloved French Country Diary makes jotting down appointments and reminders a pleasing , mindful activity. Order one here.


FRENCH VOCABULARY
l'oubli = oversight, forgetting
les petits oublis = forgetfulness
une étourderie = forgetfulness, absent-mindedness, inattention
le ronfleur, la ronfleuse = snorer
la patate = potato, spud
le robinet = tap, faucet
insouciant,e = carefree, unconcerned, untroubled

St. P paint
Photos in today's post are from my friend Beth. Check out her popular Lavender & Vine Tour in Provence. A vacation (and all those heady aromas from the French countryside) will do wonders for one's memory :-)

Beth painting tour in provence

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French for peninsula + South of France Memories Tour

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Join sixteen women for twelve unforgettable days exploring the beauty of the south of France.  Deborah Bine aka Barefoot Blogger and best selling author Patricia Sands share their passion for their favorite places with you. Spend six days in Nice and six days in Arles ... only move once! September 15 to 27, 2019.  Click here for details ... four places left!

Today's Word: la presqu'île

    : peninsula

Audio: listen to Jean-Marc read the Wikipedia entry below, click here:

La Presqu'île de Giens et les îles d'Or ont été les derniers sanctuaires continentaux de France à abriter, jusqu'en 1940, une population relique du rarissime Phoque moine de Méditerranée, aujourd'hui en voie critique d'extinction.


The Giens Peninsula and the Golden Islands were the last continental sanctuaries in France to house, until 1940, a relict population of the rare Mediterranean Monk Seal, now critically endangered.

The promise of provence
Inspiration for the South of France Memories Tour, Patricia's book.


A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE by Kristi Espinasse

Avant-hier, Jean-Marc and I were tourists in a charming southern French peninsula called Giens. It's a place we took our kids every summer, to visit Jackie's parrain, Philippe, and his family who had a pied-à-terre there. Sadly, it was sold, but oh how the memories flooded back...the private beach, the barbequed mussels (Philippe's Dad's specialty), chilled Mouresques, and the decadent Tarte Tropezienne we always brought along with us to share. Here is a tiny picture of the private beach from when Max and Jackie were tiny, and already off on adventures...

Max and Jackie on bord

This recent rush of nostalgia was thanks to our son Max. Earlier in the week he helped me with some marketing matters (he's majoring in this in school...) and, in return, he slyly suggested remuneration: There's a kitesurf school near Hyeres...I'd really love to go... my 23-year-old hinted. Tu peux venir avec moi! 

A mother-son day off--how could I resist?


Giens peninsula mediterranean hyeres
When Jean-Marc found out he wanted to go too...

A 45-minute drive later, and we were cruising down the presqu'île and its familiar marais. Though we didn't see any salt marshes, the swampy area was thick with exoticism for us (residents of the straightforward seafront of La Ciotat). But here in the low-lying grasslands around the Mediterranean, you could sense all sorts of wildness--the wind being one of them!

Oh, ce vent! Il n'y a pas un peu trop? A young woman asked, entering the tiny kitesurf shop. I turned around to see the 4th participant in today's expedition. All the kite-surfers were around Max's age, and they were soon exchanging stories. Max was recounting his recent trip to Dakhla, Morroco, where he and Jean-Marc had the chance to fine-tune their brand-new kite-surfing skills. 

The group, wearing wetsuits, lifevests, harnesses, and carrying their heavy kites and boards, headed down to the waterfront, disappearing behind a row of beachfront properties, to board a speedboat that would take them out to le grand large--the wide sea in all its windy glory. Jean-Marc and I tried to follow along the coast, by car, hoping to find a gap among the string of private properties (including one that used to belong to our friends...). Finally, Papa Poule found a front row spot! (picture above).

We waited 15 minutes until we saw the four kites flying high in the sky... And there was Max's! Bright yellow, orange, and red! Jean-Marc and I shared some jumelles to watch the spectacle from our car, where the sun warmed us. Seeing Max dip in and out of the freezing waters made us cold just watching!

We would have been watching for 3 hours--which is about how long the kitesurfers braved the wind & sea. Instead, we decided to pass the time with a little sightseeing...

Port du niel
We began at Port Niel...and it was as peaceful as it looks! Here in winter, il n'y avait pas un chat! There was practically no one around. This made it challenging to find the pie and tea I was hankering for, but where there's a will there's a way. On trouvera, Jean-Marc promised.

Cafe brasserie le duc
Too bad this beautiful café (a Francophile's dream) was closed. We soon realized we would have to drive up the presqu'ile, away from the charming port, to find civilization--and pie!

Kristi and jean-marc
Me and Papa Poule. 'Father hen' stopped at every gap along the coast to look for our son, announcing, il est là! each time.

Book lending lions club
The next time Jean-Marc pulled over to search for Max, I staved off my dessert cravings by focusing on this little book lending library--a rare find in France! It was placed here by the Lion's Club. I'd love to ring them and see if they can distribute these throughout our area! Meantime, where's my pie?

Port du niel giens
It took a while but we eventually found pie and coffee at a commercial pâtisserie (even if I wash hoping for a homemade slice). I did not get a picture of the mini pinenut tart (out of 100 cakes, Jean-Marc and I chose the very same!), but you will find more pictures on my Instagram.

Max kitesurf kitesurfing france
From the look on his face, can you tell Max had a blast? Oui, il s'est régalé! (And that pain au raisin we brought him from the bakery really hit the spot!)


FRENCH VOCABULARY
presqu'île = peninsula
avant-hier = the day before yesterday
le parrain = godfather; sponsor
pied-à-terre= second home, vacation home
une maurèsque = a pastis with sirop d'orgeat (barley water syrop)
le marais = swamp, marsh 
des jumelles (f) = binoculars
il s'est régalé = he had a blast
Patricia and Deborah
Do check out the South of France Memories Tour, lead by author Patricia Sands and blogger Deborah Bines. I leave you with delicious photos from their previous tours.

South of france memories tour
South of france memories tour flowers
For more about the South of France Memories tour, click here.

 

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Ongoing support from readers like you helps me to continue doing what I love most: sharing vocabulary and cultural insights via these personal stories from France. Your contribution is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi
 
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♥Send the amount of your choice

"Bonjour, Kristin, I have enjoyed your blog now for a great number of years, watching your children grow up, your moves from house to house, enjoying your stories and photos and your development as a writer. It's way past time for me to say MERCI with a donation to your blog...which I've done today. Bien amicalement!"--Gabrielle


La Poubelle (when your work goes POOF! into the galaxy's garbage can)

Sunrise in La Ciotat
You've seen this one before...but does one ever get tired of the sunrise in La Ciotat? Besides, who wants to see a picture of a poubelle...

Today's Word: la poubelle

    : garbage can, trash can, dust bin

2000 French words
Increase your vocabulary with 2000 French phrases. Click here to order the book

A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE by Kristi Espinasse

Sometime ago, when we lived at our first vineyard, Smokey and I started a YouTube channel. You may have seen us trying to make something with lentils...or viewed our Yogurt Cake Tutorial. I think you would agree that our golden boy is a natural behind the camera! And, I admit, having my dog alongside takes away some of the behind-the-camera jitters.

Open wine without corkscrew

But as far as vlogging goes, Smokey and I don't have a very good track record. On average, we upload a video every 4 years.... And so on Sunday, 4.5 years after posting How to Open A Bottle of Wine with a Book, I began to feel that creative itch to make a video. Having just returned from the farmers market with a backpack full of goodies, a topic naturally presented itself: We could call our video, What's in My Bag!

Nevermind bad lighting or a bad hair day, Smokey and I were ready to begin filming again! To distract from the gray skies (and our gray whiskers... which have appeared since the last filming...half a decade ago...) we sat within a wide frame and put the focus on the backpack beside us. Malin, non? 

If only we were truly clever we would have been able to save our 4-minute chef d'oeuvre from the ethers of the internet. Gone went the 30-second intro where we ask viewers to send us topics for future videos. And gone went the 3-minutes of footage in which, one by one, we pulled items out of our trusty sac à dos (how Smokey enjoyed grabbing for the parsley and the laitue and the fenouil Not wanting to torture him, I tossed him a datte and we concluded our video with a look at the bright green row of fèves behind us. 

Impec! Satisfied with our recording, we hurried into the house to show it to Jules, who gave it a thumbs up. Go ahead and post it!

If only we had. But no, one of us had to fuss with it (taking screenshots until poof! The footage completely disappeared. Nowhere to be found (not even in the phone's poubelle!

It was hard to let that one go, so, after racking my brain for hours behind the screen of technology, I headed out for a walk to clear my head. And that's when it occurred to me: maybe the universe was sending a message. Maybe I should NOT pursue a new year's goal of making more videos? But then who am I to interpret the universe's message? 

Next I asked my Mom's opinion, my sister's opinion, my husband's opinion--and finally my therapist's opinion. The latter answered with a question: Why are you asking for everybody's opinion?

So, Dear Reader, I won't ask your opinion... instead, I'll ask you to send Smokey and me bon courage. Perhaps we'll return to the farmer's market to refill our backpack, and refuel our dreams.

Warmup video kristi
P.S. Jean-Marc took this warm-up video of me. In it you will hear me answer Jean-Marc's question, What are you going to write about tomorrow? I promise that after viewing it (right here) you won't feel so bad about your own accent when speaking French! To see more Day in the Life videos, look for the follow button at my Instagram account, and keep your eye on my Instagram channel. Many thanks. Note: Instagram  is best viewed on a mobile phone, though you can access it by PC (only you won't see the channel. Not sure why...). Click here for the video.

FRENCH VOCABULARY
malin = smart, clever
chef-d'oeuvre = masterpiece
le sac à dos = backpack
la laitue = lettuce
le fenouil = fennel
la datte = date
la fève = broad bean
impec = impeccable 
Screenshot_20190120-132050
Here's a screenshot from the video Smokey and I made before I accidentally deleted it forever! It's been a frustrating week as far as technology goes: issues with my listserver (which sends out these emails), issues with a built-in editor (which slows down my blog composition sessions), and many discouragements. TGIF! (DMCV: Dieu merci, c'est vendredi!) Enjoy your weekend.

Has a friend forwarded you this post? Receive your own FREE subscription to French Word-A-Day. Click here

Ongoing support from readers like you helps me to continue doing what I love most: sharing vocabulary and cultural insights via these personal stories from France. Your contribution is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi
 
♥ Send $10    
♥ Send $25    
♥Send the amount of your choice

"Bonjour, Kristin, I have enjoyed your blog now for a great number of years, watching your children grow up, your moves from house to house, enjoying your stories and photos and your development as a writer. It's way past time for me to say MERCI with a donation to your blog...which I've done today. Bien amicalement!"--Gabrielle