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Entries from December 2007

brusquer

Brusquer
The blur of the countryside when speeding by...

Gift idea for the French wine lover in your life: The Wines of France: The Essential Guide for Savvy Shoppers by Jacqueline Friedrich

brusquer (broo-skay) verb
  to rush, hustle, hurry

adjective: brusque = abrupt, sudden

Nous appellerons émotion une chute brusque de la conscience dans le magique.
We will call emotion the sudden plunge of consciousness into magic.

                                                    --Jean-Paul Sartre
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Feeling a bit hurried, rushed, precipitated now that the holiday season is underway? On second thought, is "precipitated" the right word...or does that mean rain? No, that's "precipitation". Although when we are overwhelmed we do feel rained down upon or, worse, hail-struck.

Thoughts reeling, I've gotten off the "brusquer" topic already. But isn't that how it goes when we are overwhelmed? The hustle, hurry, and rush have us either running in place...or in every possible direction. Those of us who don't run write lists, I suppose.

Did you know that a French synonym for "brusquer" is "torturer"? Yes, that explains it--and in one evil verb! Time now to release those tortured thoughts, get them out and onto paper. Here for you today, my "To Do" list--or just a few things that I've plucked out of my hail-stricken brain and put down on paper. The English version follows.

À Faire:
-- éplucher les légumes pour la soupe de courge
-- remercier Jeffrey pour les livres*
-- arroser Eve et Rachel (je vous expliquerai plus tard...)
-- vider la laitière litière de Coco
-- trouver la boîte marquée "Christmas ornaments"
-- trouver une nappe propre et un jeux d'assiettes avec les mêmes motifs pour le repas de samedi soir
-- planter le blé de la Sainte Barbe,* peu importe si c'est trois jours trop tard
--créer un compte email pour beau-frère Jacques pour recevoir son fan mail.
--acheter la peinture rouge vif et la moquette léopard pour Jackie. Accepter ses goûts excentriques, hérités de sa grand-mère Jules.
--promouvoir le French word-a-day "blidget" (blog + widget):
   http://www.widgetbox.com/widget/french-word-a-day

To Do:
--peel vegetables for pumpkin soup
--thank Jeffrey for the books*
--water Eve and Rachel (I'll explain later...)
--empty Coco's litter box
--find the box marked "Christmas ornaments"
--find a clean tablecloth and a matching set of dishes for Saturday night's dinner
--plant Sainte Barbe's wheat, never mind if it is three days too late
--create an email account for brother-in-law, Jacques, to receive his fan mail
--buy bright red paint and a leopard rug for Jackie -- accept her eccentric taste, inherited from her grandmother Jules
--promote the French Word-A-Day blidget (blog + widget):
  http://www.widgetbox.com/widget/french-word-a-day

                                      *   *   *
Update: I've crossed one thing off my list, having created an email account for my beau-frère! For those of you who responded to the "beau-frère" post with photos and er... friendship offers, here's his address! Don't take it personally if he doesn't email back right away. He still doesn't know how to access his account and his English is comme ci comme ça.


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References: books = (including this one by Simone Weil); Sainte Barbe's wheat = Provençale tradition: plant the wheat on December 4th, on the festival of Sainte-Barbe. Just sprinkle the seeds over cotton and add a bit of water each day, watching them grow: the straighter and higher, the more prosperous the coming year!; comme ci comme ça = so-so

In books: "Retiring in France" includes information on the cost of living; health services, learning French, and more. Check it out here.

:: Audio File ::

Listen to Jean-Marc pronounce today's quote:
Nous appellerons émotion une chute brusque de la conscience dans le magique.
Download brusque.mp3
Download brusque.wav


Terms & Expressions:
  brusquer une chose = to precipitate matters
  brusquer l'aventure / la fortune = to try one's luck

Shopping:
French music: Noel, Noel!: Noels Francais/ French Christmas music
French film
: My Father's Glory
French cuisine: Fleur De Sel De Camargue French Sea Salt
French games: Mille Bornes: First published in 1962, Mille Bornes (pronounced "meel born," French for
"milestones") is an auto racing card game whose object, for each team of two players, is to be the first to complete a series of 1,000-mile trips.

Ongoing support from readers like you helps me continue creating this French word journal and its newsletter, now in its 18th year! If you enjoy these posts and would like to help keep this site humming along, please know your donation makes all the difference! A contribution by check (click here) or via PayPal (below) is greatly appreciated. Merci!
 
♥ $10    
♥ $25    
♥ Or click here to send the amount of your choice

You can also support this journal by purchasing our book-in-progress, click here.


secours

Jackie_paix
My 10-year-old style-conscious daughter. More in today's story...

le secours (suh-koor) noun, masculine
  help, aid, assistance, relief

                                    *     *     *
Viendra au secours de la peine d'autrui celui qui souffre lui-même.
(He) will come to the aid of the suffering other, he who suffers himself.

                        --Faramarz (12th century Persian author)

In French music: "Avec le Temps" by Leo Ferre
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Living out here in the vine boondocks, where high traffic means encountering one lazy tractor on my morning school run, I care less and less about presentation. Having all but worn my bathrobe while chauffeuring the kids into town, I wonder sometimes about risk-taking and ridicule.

Heading out the door to pick up the kids from school, I hesitate before the shoe pile. Forget it! I am not changing out of my slippers this time. The car is right outside the door. I only need to hop from doormat to car mat, risking but a trail of dust in between. As for hopping, that might be hard given the size of these slippers, which gets me thinking...

What IF I have an accident on the way to school? My daughter would kill me for getting caught in cotton "clogs". I look down at the un-dainty slippers, each one the size of a boat and with enough insulation to temper arctic waters.

Silly thought, that of getting caught. The odds of that happening! I shake my head and grab the car keys before stepping into car, lifting one giant slipper after the other, and pulling out of the driveway.

At a country crossroad where one, two, three, four paths meet--two of which are dirt roads--I slow down. With the help of peripheral vision I sense an object speeding forward to my right. I am amazed to encounter another car!

Right, priorité à droite!* I remind myself, giddy at the chance to give another driver the right-of-way. Only, given the hairpin turn awaiting the other driver, I have to put the car in reverse in order to make room.

As the car passes, and with a great beaming smile on my face, I am the picture of good manners as I offer to willingly retreat for the hurried French driver. Backing up, it is only when I feel myself sliding to the right, that I realize I've nearly ended up in a ditch!

Back to that unglamorous glitch. I look down to the floorboard, toward the foot pedals hidden behind those gigantic slippers. Time to act quickly before secours arrives! I push in the clutch, put it in first, and all but pole-vault the front end of my car into the ditch. Whereas the back end had only flirted
with the fall, it is in forgetting to straighten out the wheel that I dig my own descent.

I quickly put the car into reverse and listen as the engine replies in rip-roarious ridicule. A cloud of dust appears beyond the back window. Each clumsy kick of the clutch sends my slipper-boats sinking into the floorboard until a chilly arctic awareness sets in. I am not going anywhere. I will have to get out of the car and walk to town with those ridiculous "rafts" on my feet.

I look up, as one does for mercy, and notice something in the rearview mirror: two strangers slowly appearing amidst the dust cloud. One man is smoking a pipe, the other has car keys in his hand. I recognize The Right-of-Way driver and co-pilot. I see them jump into the ditch, walk over to the dangling front tire and lift it up--along with the car!

"Avancez,"* they say, holding the car in the palms of their hands.

The situation is surreal and there, behind the wheel, I feel uplifted by the strangers' secours.* I AM uplifted, as is my car! My eyes do a double-take and I see the pipe in one man's mouth, a smile on the other's. Sweat begins to appear on their collective brows.

"Vous voulez que j'avance?"* I say, afraid to run them both back into the ditch.
"Oui, Madame," they answer, politely, painfully, sweat now pouring down.

Right. This is no time to second guess. I tried that with the slippers and who knows if that played a part in this mess? Grinding the gearshift into first, I literally peel out of those men's palms.

                                        *     *     *
Looking back I saw the men waving, unharmed. I had thought it was I the Good Samaritan. Slippers tucked safely now beneath a spared ego, I think again.

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References: priorité à droite = priority (goes to the driver) to the right; avancez (avancer) = go forward, advance; le secours (m) = aid; Vous voulez que j'avance = Do you want me to advance?

    In books:  Learn French in Your Car
    Michelin Tourist & Motoring Atlas France
 
:: Audio File ::
Listen to these French words: Secours.
Viendra au secours de la peine d'autrui celui qui souffre lui-même. Download secours.mp3 or Download secours.wav
.
French Words & Expressions:

  Au secours! = Help!
  appeler au secours = to call/cry for help
  la caisse de secours = relief / charity fund
  les fonds de secours = emergency fund
  porter secours à quelqu'un = to give assistance to someone
  sortie de secours = emergency exit
  le secours moral, mutuel = moral / mutual support
  les premiers secours = first aid

Shopping:
"FRENCH in 10 minutes a day" is a fun, dynamic and engaging way to begin your love affair with French.
Chansons Pour Noel: Songs for Christmas (in French)
French Country Diary 2008 (Calendar)

Ongoing support from readers like you helps me continue creating this French word journal and its newsletter, now in its 18th year! If you enjoy these posts and would like to help keep this site humming along, please know your donation makes all the difference! A contribution by check (click here) or via PayPal (below) is greatly appreciated. Merci!
 
♥ $10    
♥ $25    
♥ Or click here to send the amount of your choice

You can also support this journal by purchasing our book-in-progress, click here.


beau-frère

Beau_frere_braise
My beau-frère, our dog Braise (leaping) and pal. What's that? You want to see a close-up of my brother-in-law? Click here. And for a recent photo, skip to the end of this post.

beau-frère (boh-frair) noun, masculine
  brother-in-law

Psst! Pressed? Haven't got time to say the whole word? Why not try the user-friendly "beauf" (bowf), a popular shortened version. No need to roll a French "r" with that one!

                             *     *     *

Je veux être le frère des blancs, pas leur beau-frère.
I want to be the white man's brother, not his brother-in-law.

                                          --Martin Luther King

                             *     *     *

Different_like_coco:: Featured book :: "Different Like Coco" The rags-to-riches story of Coco Chanel plays out in a wonderful picture-book biography as full of style and spirit as its heroine.
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I call him "Uncle Jacques" even though he is a few years younger than I. Besides brother-in-law, my children's uncle is many things to me. He is our family's cat consultant, for one. (It was Uncle Jacques who rushed out to buy steamed BABY food ("printanière de légumes,"* no less) when our new kitten came down with feline coryza.* Croquettes* are too hard to digest, he cautioned, before sending Coco and me off to the vétérinaire.*

Beside Cat's Best Friend, he is our children's favorite jester as well as my mom's adopted son (after Jean-Marc). And did I mention he is was single (Jacques, that is!)?

Bon,* I won't go on (lest you call me Cupidon*). I leave you with Uncle Jacques' foolproof recipe for gâteau au yaourt.* (update: remind me to post this recipe at the next chance!)

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References: printanière de légumes = spring vegetables; coryza = aka "feline influenza"; la croquette (f) = dry vittles, (cat, dog) food; le/la vétérinaire (m,f) = vet; bon = OK, then; le Cupidon = cupid; le gâteau (m) au yaourt = yogurt cake; bon appétit = enjoy (your meal)!


:: Audio File ::
Hear Jean-Marc pronounce today's quote (see "Audio File" column at the blog):
Beau-Frère. Je veux être le frère des blancs, pas leur beau-frère.
Download beau-frere.mp3

Download beau-frere.wav

French language learning books:
Simple enough for a beginner but challenging enough for a more advanced student, French Demystified is your shortcut to mastering this engaging language.


In Gifts:

Quiet Corners of Paris is a beautifully illustrated peek into eighty-one often overlooked, always beautiful, locales: hidden villas, winding lanes, little-known 19th-century passages, serene gardens, and cobblestone courtyards.

DSC_0008
Mon beau-frère, Jacques.

Ongoing support from readers like you helps me continue creating this French word journal and its newsletter, now in its 18th year! If you enjoy these posts and would like to help keep this site humming along, please know your donation makes all the difference! A contribution by check (click here) or via PayPal (below) is greatly appreciated. Merci!
 
♥ $10    
♥ $25    
♥ Or click here to send the amount of your choice

You can also support this journal by purchasing our book-in-progress, click here.