la routine


Serre Chevalier 160-1
A roof over one's head in the town of Monêtier les Bains (French Alps). photo © Kristin Espinasse

Chasing Matisse: A Year in France Living My Dream
I'll Never Be French (no matter what I do): Living in a Small Village in Brittany
Songs in French for Children
including Alouette, Sur le Pont d'Avignon, Claire Fontaine, Prom'non Nous dans les Bois...
In French music: Serge Lama

Today's French Word

anodin(e) (ano-dehn, ano-deen) adjective

    : harmless; innocuous; insignificant, trivial

Audio File: hear today's word and example sentence:
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Ces plantations modestes, le plus souvent des géraniums, sont l'occasion de conversations anodines entre voisins. These modest plantings, the most often, geraniums, are the occasion for easy conversation among neighbors.

Un petit mot from Kristin...
Today, in regards to this edition, we are going to delegate! You will choose the word and you get to translate Monday's French story (she says, putting up her feet and feeling the first tingling sensation of freedom--or just plain bossiness!).

The first person I am going to pick on is Jim who, unbeknownst to him, has already done his share of the work (and is now officially off the hook, but the rest of you are not, so stay with us)....

I read Jim's words last night, in the comments box, and his thoughts both inspired today's word... and got me thinking about the day's question. In regards to my aunt's most recent story (posted in French on Monday) Jim writes:

The word in Tante Marie-Françoise's piece that caught my eye was "anodin" ("conversations anodines"); a similar-looking word in English is "anodyne", which refers to pain-killers or analgesics. Is innocent, "safe" conversation a pain-killer?

Great question. Now tell us what you think, dear reader : does a little bit of conversation légère minimize our malaise? Or would you rather be all alone in your pain and suffering (opting to come out of the cave and talk at the "break of a new day")? Do you have any examples of how la conversation is good for le coeur? Or do you wish people would just shut up! (se taire!) when you are smarting with pain. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us, here.

PS: If that question is just too deep, here's another: What was the topic of your latest conversation? (Mine: work... "Jean-Marc, would you please help me with the sound file?" Jean-Marc "Later. I'm waiting for the consulting enologist to arrive."). Leave your answer here.

Now, back to delegation... I am assigning the translation of Marie-Françoise's latest article to anyone who might enjoy translating it. Thank you for sharing your English rendition of "La Routine" in the comments box, for all to enjoy!

As for me, la délégatrice, I've got beds to make, a patio to sweep, flower pots to primp... and one larger-than-life Mom to greet at the Marseilles airport tomorrow. Hip, hip, hurray ...and "See you" on Friday!

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I stole this photo from my Mom's blog. Here she is, having sweet-talked yet another complete stranger into giving her a ride to the playground. As many of you know, Mom dropped out of the rat race years ago. So far (never mind bankruptcy & a double mastectomy) she hasn't had to look back... as long as she keeps busy looking skyward.

Book recommendation: I don't usually understand sarcastic wit or cynicism, but Jean-Dominique Bauby's The Diving Bell and The Butterfly really touched me. Read the book in one night, or take the time to appreciate Bauby's thoughtful prose, one or two mini-chapters a day. (I haven't yet seen the movie. Have you?)


A Message from KristiFor twenty years now, support from readers like you has been an encouragement and a means to carve out a career in writing. If my work has touched you in any way, please consider a donation. Your gift keeps me going! Thank you very much.

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