livre d'or

empreinte de pied

The closest thing to a sleigh that I could find in my photo album. Photo taken in the Piedmont.

SmartFrench  Bestseller in French language instruction:

empreinte de pas (soundfile follows...) noun, feminine

    : footprint

Audio File: Listen to my daughter, Jackie, pronounce the French word for footprint: Download Une empreinte de pas . Download Une empreinte de pas

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

Good morning, good day, hello and happy holidays! If I am up and chirping (in English...), it is because the sun is shining and the extended French family is arriving and I am about to fire up a new household appliance, one that my husband and children presented me with, just this morning: une yaourtière!

Our family goes through a lot of yogurt (it's a French thing, not a hippy-granola thing—and even if it were a baba cool thing: qu'est-ce que ça vous fait? What's it to you?). It finally occurred to me that we are throwing out over a 1000 plastic yogurt containers each year. With a yogurt maker (which comes with 8 reusable glass jars) we won't have to do that anymore. (Though, one day, we will have to dump the machine itself).

Strange things have been happening this past week and now, this side of forty-one-years-old, I am trying to make up for lost time. I find myself sewing odd garments (using "holey items" from the give-away clothes pile), making home-made notebooks from my children's old cahiers (a chichi store-bought notebook will never again have the same charm!), and trying to erase... erase... erase! the years of "hard living". Only, this time around, not with age-defying creams...

I am trying, finally, to erase my environmental footprint. On second thought, it may be too late to erase it—but it is never too late to lighten it.

Just as I begin to question my sanity (having ripped apart yet another old t-shirt and refashioned it into a new "alternative garment") I stop for a reality check.
"Jackie," I say to my daughter, having had a light and friendly mother-daughter chat about what the age of twelve has in store for her (...), a chat in which I explained all of the options, environmental and not, available to her... "Jackie," I say, "tu dois croire que je suis complètement cinglée!" I look down, at all of the scraps I've stitched together, and realize that I cannot tell my daughter what to do, but I can be an example—however poorly-stitched!

"Of course, you don't have to wear these things. It's just an experiment... perhaps even a foucade. I don't know!"

My daughter picks up one of the items. "This one is well sewn," she says of the odd-shaped "experiment". Her encouragement continues.

"Maman, ce que tu fais--c'est bon. Ce n'est pas "crazy"! Même la femme la plus riche au monde aimerait bien faire ça."

And there, amidst piles of rags, I feel like the richest woman in the world.

*    *    *

This week, it's back to the bercail for us. We'll be taking time away from email and paperwork (apart from the notebook-making kind) to spend time with family and friends.

Thank you for reading this French word journal, whether via email or online. "See you" in 2009. Until then, may we dance forward into the future together... leaving feather-light footprints in our wake.

If you would like to respond to today's story, or share a story of your own, please send your words via the comments box. Thank you!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~French Vocabulary~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
une yaourtière
(f) = yogurt maker; un baba cool = hippie; le cahier (m) = notebook; chichi = fussy, formal; tu dois croire que je suis complètement cinglé = you must think I'm completely nuts; une foucade (f) = a passing fancy, whim; Maman, ce que tu fais--c'est bon. Ce n'est pas 'crazy'! Même la femme la plus riche au monde aimerait bien faire ça = Mom, what you're doing is good. It isn't crazy. Even the richest woman in the world would like to do that; le bercail (m) = fold (sheep), home

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