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Entries from March 2008

brûler

Clothesline
Laundry and early morning light. Photo taken by my mom, Jules.

brûler (broo-lay) verb
  : to burn

Listen to the French word "brûler" in the following quote: Download bruler.mp3 Download bruler.wav
Au travail, le plus difficile, c'est d'allumer la petite lampe du cerveau. Après, ça brûle tout seul. / At work, the most difficult thing is to light the little lamp of the brain. After, it burns on its own.
--Jules Renard

Vintage French Interiors: A veritable treasure trove of ideas for French-inspired interiors culled from the most creative antiques shops across France.
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Column
(Continued from Wednesday's "feu" post*...)

Disorienting it was, the sight of my husband FEEDING the flames that crackled and spat not twenty meters from our own cracked and on-the-mend mas.*

Who? What? Where? Quand?* Yes, that's it: When! I looked at the clock, 6 a.m., and remembered the date. According to Uncle Jacques* we had only a few more days legally to set fire to part of our property. "If you want to burn that heap," Jacques cautioned, recalling the growing pile of renovation scraps, "you'd better do it this week!"

Waving from a window-balcony, I called out to my husband, who darted to and fro, containing the flames lest they up... and go! "Everything okay?" I questioned.
"Don't worry," Jean-Marc replied, pitching another section of Old Chicken Wire Fence onto the flaming heap. "The wind is blowing in the right direction today."

I guessed that that depended. The "right direction" was somewhat subjective. My eyes shot over to two wooden poles, three lines of cord connecting them. "I'd like to keep my clothesline!" I reminded him. Just last week Jean-Marc admitted that the étendoir,* standing only five meters from the fiery pile, might not be spared.

Nowadays, it is the ordinary "preuves d'amour"* that fuel the fire at this wife's core. I watched as my husband rigged the garden hose to the clothesline after water-logging one of its wooden poles. "There, it won't burn now," he said. And in one thoughtful geste,* he put my mind to rest.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~References~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
feu (fire) post = read the first part of this story here); le mas (m) = farmhouse in the south of France; quand = when; Uncle Jacques = the uncle of our Franco-American kids; un étendoir (m) = clothesline; la preuve d'amour (f) = proof of love; le geste (m) = gesture

ClotheslinesIn books: "The Clothesline": Where ordinary laundry becomes an art form.
Traditional wash-day recipes like lavender ironing water and verbena soap.


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Terms & Expressions:
  brûler le feu = to run a red light
  laisser brûler la lumière = to leave the light on
  brûler un espion = to uncover a spy
  brûler sans flamme = to smolder
  brûler la chandelle par les deux bouts = to burn the candle at both ends

~~~~~~~~~~~~~Shopping~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Eric Rohmer's film:  Six Moral Tales - Criterion Collection
A little bit of Paris in your pocket with these tissues.
Practical: French soap on a rope!
In music: C'est L'amour: Romantic French Classics
Street French 1: The Best of French Slang

Ongoing support from readers like you helps me to continue this French word journal, now in its 18th year! If you enjoy and look forward to these posts and want to give something back, please know your contribution makes a difference! A donation by check or via PayPal is greatly appreciated.
 
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feu

Tulips_2
Firey bouquets at a French farmer's market

feu (feuh) noun, masculine
  1. fire
  2. late (deceased)

Listen to French: hear Jean-Marc pronounce the French word "feu" in this quote: Download feu.mp3 Download feu.wav

Celui qui peut dire de quel feu il brûle, ne brûle que d'un petit feu.
He who can say from which fire he burns, burns only from a little fire.
--Petrarch
         
Scoot around this spring with this miniature electric motorcycle! Scaled-down European-styled scooter with powerful electric motor.
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Column
A message to my husband:  Next time, please don't set the vineyard on fire until I've had my first cup of coffee for the day.

I awoke to the crackling sound of rain hitting the aluminum gouttière* just above our second-story window. Looking out the fenêtre,* I saw a Mediterranean sky as my eyes took in one great infusion of primary blue. No clouds, no rain, just the ping, ping, ping and POP! of
crackling...

Fire! I swung open the bedroom windows and stepped out onto the demi-balcon,* where the heat of the flames struck my skin. I reached for the iron garde-corps,* its paint peeling away like the groggy layers of consciousness before my bed-heavy brain.

My eyes followed the train of fumée.* At its source, I saw my husband... fanning the fire! (...to be continued...)


............................References................................
la gouttière (f) = gutter; la fenêtre (f) = window; le balcon (m) = balcony; le garde-corps (m) = handrail; la fumée (f) = smoke

Term & Expressions:
  jouer avec le feu = to play with fire
  mettre le feu à quelque chose = to set fire to something
  prendre feu = to catch fire
  il n'y a pas le feu = there's no hurry (in doing something)
  tout feu tout flamme = heart and soul
  feux d'artifice = fireworks

.......................Francophile Must-Haves..................
In books: Murder in the Rue De Paradis. "Cara Black books are good companions... Fine characters, good suspense, but, best of all, they are transcendentally, seductively, irresistibly French..." --Alan Furst

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly -- an Academy Award nominated film based on the French memoir by Jean-Dominique Bauby.

Culinary Lavender Flowers - imported from the Provence. From the seller: "Lavender is the hot new ingredient. It has been used for years in European cooking and now Americans are discovering lavender's wonderful taste profile. It enhances dishes from soups to desserts. Lemonade, crème brûlée, vanilla ice cream are just a few desserts that are raised another notch with the addition of lavender."

Words in a French Life: build your French vocabulary in bite-sized morceaux. 100 short chapters salt-n-peppered in French, spiced up in English and spiked here and there with flame-resistant Frenglish.

Ongoing support from readers like you helps me to continue this French word journal, now in its 18th year! If you enjoy and look forward to these posts and want to give something back, please know your contribution makes a difference! A donation by check or via PayPal is greatly appreciated.
 
♥ Contribute $10    
♥ Contribute $25    
♥ Contribute the amount of your choice


gars

Rosemary
Olive, rosemary and the colors of pre-Spring (the wagon could use a finished coat...).

gars (gah) noun, masculine (used in informal speech)
   boy, (young) man; guy, fellow

Listen to the French word "gars" and hear the following quote: Download gars.mp3. Download gars.wav

Plus un gars flambe dans la victoire, plus il a peur de la défaite.
The more a guy is carried away in victory, the more he is afraid of failure.
--Michel Novak

Read "Mots d'Heures: Gousses, Rames" -- "a rollicking entertainmentfor word lovers... (that) will delight readers with its Frenchified, phonetic high jinks."
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Column
Because Jean-Marc and I traveled the west coast alone, I missed many of my children's impressions of the United States during our last visit "home".

Returning to my sister's house, where the kids had spent the first week absorbing America in their own French way, I asked Max and Jackie to sum up their thoughts on my native country's culture. That's when two sets of shoulders flew up. Either the kids were unimpressed...or were finding it difficult to summarize some sort of sensory excess.

I pressed the kids for a clue... for any old impression, of my fellow countrymen or our star-spangled nation.
"The stores are too big," Jackie offered.
"But you LOVE to shop!" I argued.
"Yes," Max explained, seconding his sister. "But in all those stores there's just more of the same." I might have pointed out that those checkered slip-on Vans he now wore on his feet were not bought in some frou-frou French boutique.

"Is that all? Don't you have anything else to say? A question maybe?" "Yes," Max answered. In fact he had a few...
"Why, in France, don't we have eggs, waffles, and bacon for breakfast, too? And what does it mean, when they say 'dude'?"

My brother-in-law, Doug, who had spent the week cooking and entertaining the kids, answered the first question after quizzing me about what I feed them for breakfast (traditional French morning fare, I admitted: confiture with toast au beurre*).

"You DO have eggs, bacon, and waffles in France!" Doug pointed out, blowing the breakfast whistle on me. "Just ask your mom to make them for you!"

As for the second question, I doubt the kids picked up the term from my brother-in-law (who, I believe, is more of a "hey guy" than a "hey dude" type) and they didn't hear it from me. Also, I doubt they got it out of the dictionary* where:

  "The term "dude" is an American English slang word generally used informally to address a male individual."

Back in France now, the rush is on to catch up with laundry, email, and Restauration Hell. To complicate matters, I now have two enlightened enfants* -- newbie epicureans who've requested that bacon and a waffle iron be added to the grocery list. To this, I have an enlightening response: Dudes, this American mom will be sticking to boutique breakfasts. Forget dragging out a big frying pan at 7 a.m. In France, we eat small!

~~~~~~~~~~~~References~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
au beurre = with butter; dictionary = dude definition taken from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dude ; un(e) enfant (mf) = child
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~~~~~~~~~~~~Honey, Herbs & More~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Pure lavender honey imported from Provence
Herbes de Provence (rosemary, marjoram, savory, thyme, basil) in linen sachet.
French With Michel Thomas: "The Fastest Way to Learn a Language"
Savon de Marseille /Marseille Soap with Pure Crushed Local Flowers
LIRE is a *French-language* literary magazine. Check it out, here.

Ongoing support from readers like you helps me to continue this French word journal, now in its 18th year! If you enjoy and look forward to these posts and want to give something back, please know your contribution makes a difference! A donation by check or via PayPal is greatly appreciated.
 
♥ Contribute $10    
♥ Contribute $25    
♥ Contribute the amount of your choice