Butterfly (c) Kristin Espinasse
Smell the roses, see the butterfly's wings... slow to a snail's pace but not so slow as to sleepwalk through the day. Read on in today's story. (Photo taken with this camera at Domaine du Mas de Martin, not far from the village of Saint Bauzille de Montmel)

"Fluenz French": Next-Generation French Language Learning Software

éveiller (ay-veh-yay) verb
  : to wake up, to excite

Literally "to pull from sleep" (tirer du sommeil)


Hear my daughter pronounce today's word and quote: Download eveiller.mp3 . Download eveiller.wav   
    On ne force pas une curiosité, on l'éveille.

    We don't force curiosity, we awaken it.  --Daniel Pennac

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"Présent!" It is what my son replies when his teacher reads aloud his name for roll call. Every French child answers the same life-affirming way: "Présent!"*

The affirmative "Présent!" is so much more lively than bland ol' "Here!," don't you think? And did you ever notice the word's dual meaning: present/present which, whether in French or English, hints that when we are "here," present in the moment, we receive the "gift" of clarity -- where even the mundane takes on magnificence.

I would like to shout "Présente!" to somebody each day or, better yet, each hour!--if only to remind myself that I am truly awake. An hourly roll call might pull me out of this mental slumber. Lately, fueled by caffeine and routine, I manage to get by on automatic. The not-so-sensational sensation could be compared to sleepwalking through sauerkraut, though my mother-in-law would call it "pedaling through choucroute."* The vivid imagery that her words call forth is enough to wake my senses--if only that of sight, and if only in the mind's eye--otherwise, it's the same old grind, day after day, though it be a Gallic one and who am I to complain?

Recently, I decided to throw that old foe "Predicable Routine" for a loop. I began by tying my shoes... Next, I headed for the door instead of the coffee pot... and so marched, one foot after the other, out of the house and into the countryside's "classroom".

"Présente! Présente! Présente!" I affirmed, to the whispering reeds and leaf-chattering trees that agreed, enthusiastically, to take roll call for sluggish ol' me.

présent(e) = here; la choucroute (f) = sauerkraut

~~~~~~~~~~~~~Ooh, là là!~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Good News!: You can now order our wine online:
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For the francophile who has everything: Eiffel Tower sink strainer / drain Plug

Merci Pour le Chocolat (2000) Starring: Isabelle Huppert, Jacques Dutronc

Learning & Development Toys: Mon Arbre Genealogique (My Family Tree): Imported from France.

Moulin Rouge 1000 Piece Jigsaw Puzzle

Natural fresh mayonnaise with no chemical additives from France: Made of the freshest ingredients: sunflower oil, egg yolk, Dijon mustard, fresh lemon juice, salt.

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For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety