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Entries from February 2010

mousse

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Join my "I Love Cabanons" group at LinkedIn or at Facebook ... and share a little cabanon love and lore.


mousse (moos) noun, feminine

    1. moss 2. froth 3. mousse 4. foam 5. apprentice...

...and the funny expression: se faire de la mousse = to get all worked up about something

I Know How To Cook The bible of French home cooking, Je Sais Cuisiner, has sold over 6 million copies since it was first published in 1932. It is a household must-have, and a well-thumbed copy can be found in kitchens throughout France. Its author, Ginette Mathiot, published more than 30 recipe books in her lifetime, and this is her magnum opus. It's now available for the first time in English as I Know How to Cook. With more than 1,400 easy-to-follow recipes for every occasion, it is an authoritative compendium of every classic French dish, from croque monsieur to cassoulet.

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

What you say is what you get. This was a truism at my house when I was a kid. I always wanted to be a writer but didn't begin to say I was one until I moved to France... far from the Valley of the Sun.* That is when I began to feed my fuzzy brain a steady diet of "je suis écrivain... je suis ecrivain!" My cerveau processed the info and, just as Mom had said you reap what you sow in your mind's fertile rows.

I became a writer! I'll be talking about this subject on Monday—at Shakespeare and Company bookshop—and don't think I just said that blasé-ed-ly. Here, I'll try again: I'll soon be talking at Shakespeare and Company!!!!!!

Back to What You Say Is What You Get. This works the other way too, mind you: what people tell you is what you become if you begin to believe it. So be careful what you "let in"—lest you become imprisoned!

But back to another positive example.  We've always called our son "Maximouse". It is a term of endearment (Max + Mousse—"mousse" being a random word choice... just something that made us smile when we said it). And wouldn't you know that "mousse" also means (in the third or fourth sense of the word) "apprentice"? Coincidentally (or not...) Max began to take an early interest in cooking (chocolate mousse?) and, week before last, apprenticed at a local restaurant. Since, his father, his sister, and I, have been the spoiled rotten recipients of his nouveau gastronomy...

Last night we had another verrine... this time, inside the pretty glass we could see sweet layers of Nutella, poire, and la crème fouettée with colorful sprinkles on top. And, night before last,we had homemade crème anglaise!

On Friday, when we said goodbye to Alexis, we celebrated the young man's internship with champagne and saumon fumé. Max had made his first verrine (hmmm, I wonder: does verrine come from "verre" + "vitrine"? ...for the idea behind a verrine is to see through the glass (verre)  "window" (vitrine) to the colorful layers beyond); this time, Max had composed his verrine with layers of chopped surimi, whipped guacamole, la crême fraîche... topping off his entrée with salmon mousse and decorative dill!

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I leave you with a view of Max's îles flottantes (little meringue islands floating on cream... ) Meantime I'll be practicing What You Say is What You Get (or the subconscious and the power of suggestion...):

"I can eat cream and stay sleem!
I can eat cream and stay sleem!"

(These days, I've noticed, my self-talk has a slight French accent....)

"I can eat cream and stay sleem!"


 Photo

:: Le Coin Commentaires ::

Have your say about the French word of the day... or comment on today's story! What are the positive words that you feed your own subconscious mind?

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Meet-ups: We'd LOVE to see you!

 Blurb Kristin will be in Paris on March 1st at Shakespeare and Company (Talk begins at 7 p.m.) Jean-Marc (only)  will be in the Bay area next month and elsewhere in the States... meet him!




French Vocabulary & Sound File
:
listen to Jean-Marc pronounce these words

Download MP3 or Download WAV

J'adore la mousse au chocolat! I love chocolate mousse!

un écrivain = writer
Je suis écrivain = I am a writer
le cerveau = brain
la verrine = a layered entree or dessert served in a see-through glass
la crème anglaise = English cream, a custard sauce with vanilla or rhum
le saumon fumé = smoked salmon
le verre = glass
le surimi = imitation crab
la crème fraîche = sour cream
une île flottante = floating island

*Valley of the Sun = Phoenix, Arizona, my home town

 SPONSOR

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Hotels in France. Visit EasyToBook.com to find the cheapest hotels in almost all France cities.

***


Pizza herbes

Herbes de Provence (Special for Pizza) in Crock:
Herbes picked in Provence with a blend of oregano, thyme, basil & marjoram


Kindle Wireless Reading Device (my dad and belle-mère are addicted to theirs!).

France Magazine subscription

Easy French Reader
: A fun and easy new way to quickly acquire or enhance basic reading skills

In film:  Paris Je T'aime Paris I love You.

Ongoing support from readers like you helps me to continue writing and sharing these educational posts from France. Your contribution is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi
 
♥ Send $10    
♥ Send $25    
♥Send the amount of your choice


"Bonjour Kristi, I've been a reader for years and thought it time to support your blog. Thanks for your frank and genuine stories that have opened a door into real French life."
--Jed

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chatrer

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Photo taken in Oppède-le-Vieux (Luberon). Don't miss this photo's "sisters" and "brothers" in the latest picture gallery!
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France & Monaco Rentals France and Monaco Rentals. Exclusive Vacation Rental Properties throughout France.


châtrer (shaah-tray) verb

    : to castrate, to neuter
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New: Featured Community Question:

What to do in the Loire Valley? Que Faire Dans la Vallée de la Loire? See Jan's question and help answer it, here.
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A Day in a French Life... by Kristin Espinasse
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If our Golden Retriever, Smokey, were here to write his Day in a (Dog's) Life column—yes, here—instead of at the vet's office—he might have captioned today's photo: "Some chats have all la chance!"

He might even wonder why the French word châtrer had anything at all to do with little ol' him...
when, clearly, with the prefix "chat," does this emasculating mot begin!

Oh, walways me, walways him—wish the both of us luck at the veterinarians!

***

:: Le Coin Commentaires ::

Have your say about the French word of the day... or comment on today's story!

.

Meet-ups: We'd LOVE to see you!

 Blurb
Kristin
will be in Paris on March 1st at Shakespeare and Company (Talk begins at 7 p.m.) Jean-Marc will be in Portland next month and elsewhere in the States... meet him!

Merci beaucoup for visiting our sponsors!

French Alps Landscapes, Villages & Cuisine - Unique sightseeing tours: www.french-alps-tours.com  

Votre Vu: luxury skin care. The finest French-made, natural products. Hand-crafted in a family-owned lab, award-winning formulas for 80 years.

***

Best-selling books on the French Language:

Ongoing support from readers like you helps me to continue writing and sharing these educational posts from France. Your contribution is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi
 
♥ Send $10    
♥ Send $25    
♥Send the amount of your choice


"Bonjour Kristi, I've been a reader for years and thought it time to support your blog. Thanks for your frank and genuine stories that have opened a door into real French life."
--Jed

NEWSLETTER SIGN-UP: Has a friend forwarded you this post? Receive your own free subscription to French Word-A-Day. Click here

 

la conduite accompagnee

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What do this dog and I have in common? We were both fragile, yet trusting, passengers over the weekend. Read on, in today's story column. (And thanks to Bernard, a photographer, and his dog "Pixelle" for allowing me to take their photo after I introduced myself to the two in a mountaintop café.)


conduite accompagnée (ko-ndweet ah-kom-pan-yay)

    : (newbie) driving with an experienced driver
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 Words two(Booklist) Blogger Espinasse has taken a step backward in the evolution of media by converting selected contents of her Web log into a book. Her popular blog covers a different French word each day for an English-speaking audience. Espinasse's "definitions" come from her everyday experiences, particularly those provoked by her children's frequent delight at their mother's mistakes, misuses, and mispronunciation of words. Order this book.

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

You should have seen the pride in our eyes—the fierté on our faces! There we were, my 14-year-old and I—Max in the driver's siège and me, shaking, to his right. It wasn't fear that had me trembling, it was the shaky ride and the newbie driver by my side!

As our family car came coughing down the country lane, my husband, who was in the grape field, pruning, looked up. Were we insane?

With Jean-Marc still staring, a sourire now stretching across his face, the crazy train passed and I, inside, reached over my son and honked the horn, in pride. "This," cried the klaxon, "is the day a driver was born!"

The back wheels all but lifted off the ground as our car came to a hasty halt just a few feet from the front gate. With that, the driver casually stepped out, only to pick up his heels, jump up and down, and shout!

Ça y est. Jaaaai connnnnduiiiiiiiit!

***
Post note: After Max was already in the house (probably bragging to his sister) I slowly unhooked my seat-belt and clambered, like a crab, out of the car. Once the ground settled, I took a moment to memorize a milestone of my own and a song by Elton John brought the treasured souvenir home.

I'm still standing....

Le Coin Commentaires
Have your say about the French word of the day, or comment on the story.

***

Best-selling books on the French Language:


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French Vocabulary & Sound File
Listen to my friend, Rachel, pronounce these French words: Download MP3 or Download Wav

La conduite accompagnée, c'est, pour un parent, une expérience à ne jamais oublier!
Accompanied driving, is, for a parent, an unforgettable experience!


la fierté = pride
le siège = seat
un sourire = smile
le klaxon = horn
Ça y est! = That's it!
J'ai conduit! = I drove!


~~~~~~~~~~~Gifts & More~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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.

Rosetta Stone French Level 1, 2, & 3

Fluenz French 1+2

Name This Photo

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Another character I met in the mountains. Name this photo, or this one, below.

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Ongoing support from readers like you helps me to continue writing and sharing these educational posts from France. Your contribution is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi
 
♥ Send $10    
♥ Send $25    
♥Send the amount of your choice


"Bonjour Kristi, I've been a reader for years and thought it time to support your blog. Thanks for your frank and genuine stories that have opened a door into real French life."
--Jed

NEWSLETTER SIGN-UP: Has a friend forwarded you this post? Receive your own free subscription to French Word-A-Day. Click here

 

rigolo

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I was standing on a medieval bridge, over the Nesque River, when I took this photo. I did not notice the tiny mouse until I posted the (larger version of this) photo at Cinéma Vérité. That's when Margaret pointed out la souris. Next, Newforest commented on the"la girouette" and, like that, we all learned the fanciful French word for weather-vane!

 Camille Claudel
Camille Claudel: A Novel (fiction): Camille Claudel, an old lady confined to the Asylum for the Insane in Montdevergues, France, reviews her life. Order this novel.
.

rigolo, rigolote (ree-go-low, ree-go-lowt) adj

    : funny, comical

Also: rigoler (to laugh)

Meet-ups: We'd LOVE to see you!

Kristin will be in Paris on March 1st at Shakespeare and Company (Talk begins at 7 p.m.)
Jean-Marc will be in Iowa City next month and elsewhere in the States... meet him!.
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A Day in a French Life... by Kristin Espinasse
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At the cheese shop in Pernes-les-Fontaines, the woman in line ahead of me stepped up to the counter and this is what she said:

"Je voudrais de l'Emmental." As an afterthought she added, "sans trous."
"Vous voulez de l'Emmental sans trous?" the flummoxed fromager questioned.

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My mind began to wonder about this "trou-less" transaction. Did the customer really ask for Swiss cheese without holes? Was this possible? Was it prudent?

But before I had the time to further try my mind, a proposition was put forth:
"Mais,"argued the cheesemaker, "the holes are the best part!"

A collective nod could be seen from beyond the cheesemaker's vitrine as the clients in the fromagerie agreed that les trous are, indeed, la meilleur partie!

***

:: Le Coin Commentaires ::

Have your say about the French word of the day or comment on today's story! Did you enjoy this edition? Then don't forget to forward it to a friend!

French Vocabulary & Sound File: Download Rigolo
Listen to my daughter, Jackie, pronounce these words: rigolo, rigolote

Le fromager est rigolo!
The cheesemaker is funny!

Je voudrais de l'Emmental (m) = I would like some Emmental
sans trous
(un trou) = without holes
Vous voulez de l'Emmental sans trous?
= you would like some Emmental without holes?
le fromager
= cheesemaker
mais = but
la vitrine = (shop) window
la fromagerie = cheese shop, cheese dairy
la meilleure partie = the best part


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A Day in a Dog's Life... by Smokey "R" Dokey
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Just showing off my new medal. Whaddaya think?

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You can barely make-out Mom's medal, just above my nose. It reads "Braise" (BREZ) of course. Our phone numbers are on the back, in case we forget them. (This is the embarrassing part. I mean, as if I'm absent-minded...! I may be furry, but I'm not a forget-me-not! Wait a minute, I AM a forget-me-not!)

Love,

Smokey (Which, by the way, rhymes with QI or "quotient intellectuel"—that's "IQ" in English. Only, we dogs have "High-Q")

 Eggplant caviar
Eggplant Caviar: use with toast or crackers as an apéritif. Lovely alongside hard-boiled quail's eggs (as my mother-in-law serves it!) Order a jar!

Rosetta Stone French Level 1, 2, & 3

Fluenz French 1+2 

Ongoing support from readers like you helps me to continue writing and sharing these educational posts from France. Your contribution is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi
 
♥ Send $10    
♥ Send $25    
♥Send the amount of your choice


"Bonjour Kristi, I've been a reader for years and thought it time to support your blog. Thanks for your frank and genuine stories that have opened a door into real French life."
--Jed

NEWSLETTER SIGN-UP: Has a friend forwarded you this post? Receive your own free subscription to French Word-A-Day. Click here

 

pressé

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Today's story takes place in this cheese shop, in Pernes-les-Fontaines. More photos here.


France & Monaco Rentals France and Monaco Rentals. Exclusive Vacation Rental Properties throughout France.


pressé (preh-say) adj & past participle (presser)

    : hurried; urgent

être pressé de partir = to be in a hurry to leave
c'est pressé? = is it urgent?

Best-selling books on the French Language:

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

In the town of Pernes-les-Fontaines we were pressed—pressed! pressed! pressed! for time.  At least this was the signal that I was getting from the man motioning to me from outside of the fromagerie....

There stood my husband, arms flapping in frustration. He was impatient to get to our gîte on time to cook lunch for friends; he had pintade, olives, les tomates séchées, pâté, and wine waiting in the car for our weekend getaway. All he needed now was his willful wife, who was standing her ground in the cheese shop.

"Pfft!" puffed the willful wife. "Ça lui apprendra la patience! This'll be a good lesson in patience for him!" I mumbled to the others in line and my blase remark covered up the eager-to-please partner inside of me: truth is, I hate to make my husband wait.

When next I looked out the window, my itching-to-go époux was throwing both arms up to the sky in one illustrative example of impatience.

"Just look the other way," the man in line behind me suggested with a snicker. The others in line agreed, in one cheesy conspiracy: "Oui. Ne le regardez pas," they giggled.

I followed the man's magical "turn your head away" tip and, just like that—in one abracadabrant POOF!—all of my soucis left me (though I can't say the same for the married man with flailing hands standing outside of the fromagerie...).

***

Le Coin Commentaires
Have your say about today's French word of the day or comment on the story.
***
Meet-ups: We'd LOVE to see you!
Kristin will be in Paris on March 1st at Shakespeare and Company (Talk begins at 7 p.m.)

Jean-Marc will be in Washington DC next month and elsewhere in the States... meet him!



French Vocabulary and Sound File: listen to Jean-Marc pronounce these French words: Download Audio clip

Ne le fais pas attendre. Il est très pressé!
Don't make him wait. He's in a big hurry!

la fromagerie = cheese dairy, cheese shop
la pintade = a pheasantlike bird, a type of guinea fowl
la tomate séchée = sundried tomato
pfft or pfut (exclamation) = bah!
ça lui apprendra la patience! = that'll teach him patience!
un époux = husband
Oui. Ne le regarde pas! = Yes. Don't look at him!
abracadabrant(e) adj = fantastic
un souci = worry

SPONSOR

Hotels in France. Visit EasyToBook.com to find the cheapest hotels in almost all France cities.

Cartes-postales Cartes Postales: an album--with vintage flair!--for post cards

Berlingot
Les Berlingots tiny sweets in the shape of a cube, or dice. Its name is said to come from the game of jacks, or osselets which was called berlingaù in Provençal.


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A Day in a Dog's Life by Smokey "R" Dokey
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Back when we were six weeks old (photo taken in October). Two sisters are missing from this photo (they were playing with their puppy dolls (having a tea party) on the front patio.

Hello Friends,

Just a flashback for you today. See here my sisters and myself (the goodlooking guy to the left). It may seem as if my team is losing. In fact, I am practicing my first steps as a gallant Gaul—letting my big sister win (lest she sit on me, chew my ear, and trot of with a grin!)

Love,
The Smokester

If you enjoy my doggy column (or "Grandma K's" Day in a Life) then please forward this post to a friend!

Ongoing support from readers like you helps me to continue writing and sharing these educational posts from France. Your contribution is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi
 
♥ Send $10    
♥ Send $25    
♥Send the amount of your choice


"Bonjour Kristi, I've been a reader for years and thought it time to support your blog. Thanks for your frank and genuine stories that have opened a door into real French life."
--Jed

NEWSLETTER SIGN-UP: Has a friend forwarded you this post? Receive your own free subscription to French Word-A-Day. Click here

 

pimenter

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We spent Valentine's Day in Marseilles (not the easiest place for a wrinkling wife to keep her husband focused on the love of his life!). Posters, such as this one and the one below, were plastered all over the city. Dozens of demoiselles en dentelles. Oh no!

Meet-ups: We'd LOVE to see you!

Jean-Marc will be in IOWA CITY next month and elsewhere in the States... meet him!
Kristin will be in Paris on March 1st at Shakespeare and Company (Talk begins at 7 p.m.)
.

pimenter (pee-mohn-tay) verb

    : to give spice to, to spice up


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

The Gift of Listening

For the record, he did not forget a present on Valentines Day.

Though, je dois admettre, I have never received anything like it before, from mon amour. True, it is a useful gift!—and I certainly could not enjoy life without it, nor, perhaps, could you.

Without dallying any longer, I'll spill it—or, rather, sprinkle it: My husband gave me salt and pepper on Valentines Day.

No, I'm not using anymore mystical metaphors here—my better French half really did give his sweetheart seasoning! On second thought... looking at things that way—spice for Valentine's Day—I can't help but appreciate the accidental entendre.

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"Accidental" or pas fait exprès, for my husband did not set out to buy spice for his bride on Cupid's Day. Although it did turn out to be the perfect topping to our overnight getaway, the one that brought us to Marseilles and, eventually, to that charming little place (where we had our cafés au lait...) on V-Day.

While Jean-Marc read the morning paper, my eyes scanned the boutique-bistro. The walls were lined with sweet and spicy temptations (chocolate and praline spread, honey, jam... as well as some specialty seasonings). As my husband read the sports pages, I commented on the sweet and savory products for sale, especially that attractive salt and pepper duo.... I admired the attractive baies roses inside the glass salt mill and commented about how nice and useful the salt and pepper set would be on our kitchen table!

But my Valentine didn't seem to be listening to me and, after 16 years of marriage, I have learned not to take it personally. Instead, I let Jean-Marc catch up on his favorite games while I practiced one of my favorite sports: people-watching. I studied the clients at the café, and the writer inside of me fell in love with each and every character. Oh, the stories they could tell!

When the handsome personnage facing me shook out the newspaper, folded it, and set it down beside the empty coffee cups and crumbs, I knew it was time to head home.
"Tu es prête, ma cherie?"
"Oui, allons-y!"

At the check-out counter Jean-Marc paid the waiter. Next, he paused, turning to me. "Chérie, would you like the salt and pepper?" And just like that, I got all giddy. Turns out he had been, after all this time, listening to me.

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:: Le Coin Commentaires ::

Possible topics of conversation.

  • Would you like to comment on today's word or photos?
  • What did YOU get (or give) for Valentine's Day?
  • What is your favorite French term of endearment?
  • Have you given "the gift of listening" lately and to whom?
  • Are you the jealous type? Or is he (or she)?
Thank you for sharing your answer/s here, in the comments box.

French Vocabulary & Audio File:

Listen to these French words: Download Pimenter
Il n'y a rien de mieux qu'un weekend en amoureux, pour pimenter sa vie à deux.
There's nothing better than a romantic weekend to add spice to life as a couple.

la demoiselle = young lady
en (la) dentelle = in lace
je dois admettre = I must admit
mon amour = my love
entendre (double-entendre) = double meaning
pas fait exprès = not done on purpose
le café au lait = coffee with milk
une baie rose = pink peppercorn
le personnage = character
Tu es prête, ma chérie? = Are you ready, dear?
Oui. Allons-y! = Yes. Let's go!

Merci beaucoup for visiting our sponsors!

French Alps Landscapes, Villages & Cuisine - Unique sightseeing tours: www.french-alps-tours.com  

Votre Vu: luxury skin care. The finest French-made, natural products. Hand-crafted in a family-owned lab, award-winning formulas for 80 years.

***

A Day in a Dog's Life... by Smokey "R" Dokey

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Here, I look like something in between the flying nun and a cranky cat. By the way, no worries, it's just Ma and I playing.

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We are full of Golden Lab love for each other.

And tenderness, too....

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See how tall I am? That makes this an even higher love!


bises,
Smokey-Doo


Pizza herbes

Herbes de Provence (Special for Pizza) in Crock:
Herbes picked in Provence with a blend of oregano, thyme, basil & marjoram


Kindle Wireless Reading Device (my dad and belle-mère are addicted to theirs!).

France Magazine subscription

Easy French Reader
: A fun and easy new way to quickly acquire or enhance basic reading skills

In film:  Paris Je T'aime Paris I love You.

Ongoing support from readers like you helps me to continue writing and sharing these educational posts from France. Your contribution is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi
 
♥ Send $10    
♥ Send $25    
♥Send the amount of your choice


"Bonjour Kristi, I've been a reader for years and thought it time to support your blog. Thanks for your frank and genuine stories that have opened a door into real French life."
--Jed

NEWSLETTER SIGN-UP: Has a friend forwarded you this post? Receive your own free subscription to French Word-A-Day. Click here

 

stagiaire

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Our new stagiaire even helps with the dishes! Alexis is helping Jean-Marc here at the vineyard. 

stage (stazh) noun, masculine

    : internship, training period

faire un stage = to do an internship
le/la stagiaire = trainee, intern

Speaking Bettery French  Speaking Better French: The Key Words and Expressions that You'll Need Every Day. Order here.



***

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

While our son, Max, is making meringues and scrubbing saucepans at a local restaurant, another young man is interning at our farm! Twenty-year-old Alexis (Alex-ee) began un stage here at Domaine Rouge-Bleu on Monday....

While Jean-Marc can ease up a bit now that he is receiving extra help on the vineyard, I am back in first gear, climbing up a steep mountain of ménage. The souci isn't the extra laundry to do or the extra beds to make (Alexis is living independently, in his own garçonnière), no, the worry that I am referring to has to do with "le menu".

When it's just us folks to feed, the living is easy--and often cheesy! Indeed, a plate of fromage and homemade bread, yesterday's casserole (or Monday's instead?) will suffice. When you set aside pride there's suddenly a motley potley of possibilities just waiting to be tried!

But when an elegant young Frenchman issued from a family of fine taste arrives—here—to what might otherwise be known as a kitchen dive, who could blame the hillbilly hostess for wanting to run and hide?

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Hélas, hiding in a closet won't get the noonday meal on the table: but a little effort will. I leave you now with this week's menu... before I dash off to roast some potatoes.

Lundi:
Les Petits Pois Cassés avec Jambonneau dans son Bain de Bouillon à Gogo

Split Peas with Ham Hocks in a Bath of (vegetable) Stock à Go-go

Mardi: 
Les Pâtes au Roquefort accompagnés de "Wraps Laitue Fanée"
Roquefort Pasta with Wilted Lettuce Wraps

Mercredi:
Le Poulet "Thierry Yaké" avec du Riz Collant Accidentelle
("Teri Yake" Chicken With Accidental Gluey Rice)

Jeudi:
La Bolognaise, Assortiment du fromages... suivi d'une Tarte Aux Pommes-Peanut Butter

Bolognese (Hamburger) Pasta, an Assortment of Cheeses... followed by a Peanut Butter and Apple Tart.

Vendredi:
Les Côtelettes de Porc Endormies dans Leur Sauce de Soja servi avec Pommes de Terre Provençal.
Pork cutlets Put to Sleep in Soja Sauce and Served with Provencal Potatoes. (Whoops! No time for fancy pancy potatoes. These may get wrapped in foil and baked!)

Voilà. A little bit gastro and a little bit goofy. Just the kind of comfort food that this accidental stagiaire—and mère—can share.

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Here's Alexis talking to his Mom. Aww. On second thought, maybe he is telling her he has a stomachache from the motley potley peanut butter cake?

Le Coin Commentaires
Have your say about today's French Word of the day. Would you like to comment on the story? (Would you like to leave Alexis a message? Just click here. He'll enjoy that!)

***

Next Meetup: PARIS! On March 1st at Shakespeare & Company bookshop I will be talking about writing, publishing, and--bien sûr--blogging!  (Begins at 7 p.m.) See an excerpt from the talk, on video here.

French Vocabulary and Sound File
Hear my daughter pronounce the following French words: Download Stage

Alexis fait un stage dans notre domaine viticole.
Alexis is doing an internship at our winery
.

le stage = internship
le/la stagiaire = intern, trainee
le ménage = housework
le souci = worry
la garçonnière = bachelor pad
le fromage = cheese
la demoiselle = the young lady
la gastro (gastronomie) = gastronomy
hélas = alas
une mère = mother (note: this word is missing from the sound file)

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French Demystified: A Self-Teaching Guide

I'll Never Be French (no matter what I do): Living in a Small Village in Brittany

Learn French In A Hurry: Grasp the Basics of Français Tout de Suite

 


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apprenti

DSC_0111
Random photo from the Luberon. More in my weekend photo journal.
.
Wine Tasting with Jean-Marc! Meet him in New York and elsewhere in the States...

un apprenti (ah pran tee) noun, masculine

    : apprentice

synonyms: un stagiaire, un mousse*

Words in a french life Next Meetup: PARIS! On March 1st at Shakespeare & Company bookshop I will be talking about writing, publishing, and--bien sûr--blogging! (Starts at 7 p.m.) 

Blogger Espinasse has taken a step backward in the evolution of media by converting selected contents of her Web log into a book. Beginning students of conversational French will profit from many of these brief entries, and supplemental tables of expressions go far to demystify French idioms for anyone wishing to speak and write more fluent French. (—Booklist) Order a book.


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

I was singing my tone-deaf tonsils out when, THUMP, I fell off the bed—
and landed on my...

Hmmm... perhaps this part is better left unsaid?

The sight of this not-so-frilly fall, was all it took, yes all
for my son to double over and guffaw in his southern French drawl.

(Can laughter have an accent? And, by the way, can tonsils be 'tone-deaf'?)

Never mind. I picked myself up off the ground, dusted my robe, and cleared my lungs for another chorus run:

My son is going to work to-day!
My son is going to work to-day!
Oh yea, oh yea, oh yea, oh yeaaa
My son in going to work to-day!

Next, I reached for my camera and snapped a picture of my son
just a prized souvenir for a tone deaf mom who'd landed on her bun.

 DSC_0003
14-year-old Max, tying his tennis shoes. The only "dress" requirement, for the restaurant in which he will be working (during winter vacation), is good gripping godasses.* Sounds to me as if he'll be working in the slippery parts of the establishment, perhaps paying his dues, doing la plonge!*

Le Coin Commentaires

Have your say about the French Word of the Day! You may also respond to the story or share an anecdote of your own. Click here to comment and don't forget to include your name and your location. Merci beaucoup!


French Vocabulary & Sound File

Download Apprenti


Notre fils va travailler pendant cette semaine de vacances comme apprenti dans un restaurant. Our son will be working during this week of (winter) vacation as an apprentice in a restaurant.

un/une stagiaire (m) = an intern
un mousse
(m) = ship's boy (though Max will not be working on a ship, he may be doing "la plonge" or "dishes," so this seems to be a fitting synonym!
une godasse (f) = shoe (attention! this is a slang term!)
la plonge (f) = dishwashing

***

A Day in a Dog's Life... by Smokey R. Dokey

Je sais... I know... you haven't seen a lot of me lately. Suffice it to say that I am growing...

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and growing...

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and growing!

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While I am growing on the outside, I'm counting on all of you to be growing on the inside, like hot from the oven humble pie. A spoonful of humility never hurt anybody—something we dogs know instinctively.

Love,

Smokey
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Ongoing support from readers like you helps me to continue writing and sharing these educational posts from France. Your contribution is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi
 
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rein

 DSC_0200
Seasons in Provence: "Winter" (c) Kristin Espinasse. More info about Provence in Julie Mautner's "The Provence Post": for those who live in, travel to or just love the South of France!

Note: this picture-filled edition is best viewed online. Click here!


le rein (leuh rehn) noun, masculine

    : kidney

Audio File and Example Vocabulary:

Click to hear my daughter pronounce une greffe du rein (kidney transplant)


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


I have met so many lovely people since moving to a wine farm in the Vaucluse. Some of these travelers have shared their story of our meeting, here, in this journal. Today, we have a very special account that is sure to move you as it has others the world over. I hope you will share your thoughts in the new "Coin Commentaires" and even share this story with another. It could save a life as it has our friend Maureen's. Special thanks to Carelle and Mahmood for permission to use their daughter Nai's photographs in the following story. And thank you, Newforest, for the suggesting "le Coin Commentaires" (a.k.a. "comments box"). What better day than today to share our thoughts in our new "coin".

Maureen's Story


Like many Americans I became a “Provence-phile” after reading Peter Mayle’s book “A Year in Provence”. Now, twelve years later, my husband Lee and I continue to visit Provence every year. These visits are all about the wonderful people of Provence, their serene life-style and their superb wines.

In October 2008 we found our way from the gîte we were renting to the Rouge Bleu farmhouse, less than five minutes away. We had made new friends in L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue who told us that their neighbor, in Houston Texas, imported French Country Wines. They assured us the wines were wonderful and the wine makers, Jean-Marc and Kristin Espinasse, were delightful people. Our friends were correct on both points!

The scene as we approached the farmhouse was truly hectic as the harvest was still in progress.  Jean-Marc was providing direction to several of his workers while others were scurrying at a frenetic pace to get the grapes harvested and ready for the “crush”.

Jean-Marc mistook us for part of an English speaking wine tour that was not due for a couple of hours. He explained that Kristin was not available and very politely asked us to return later at the “scheduled” time. Rather than correct his mis-perception and further distract him from the harvest we left.

When we returned, we were lucky to have a few moments alone with Kristin before a group of eight of their friends from Marseilles arrived to taste (and hopefully purchase) his wines. They brought their male golden retriever to get to “better know” Kristin’s female golden retriever, Braise. Pandemonium ensued!!
  DSC_0011
(Braise, hiding in the lavender and rosemary patch. Sam, in pursuit.)

Braise was NOT ready for such a commitment and resisted all attempts of her would-be suitor. Her retreat took her around the yard, through the house and back again numerous times with Kristin’s children, Max and Jackie, in close pursuit. With each trip around the circuit the barking and yelling became louder!

DSC_0002 Unfazed, Jean-Marc continued to expound on the many virtues of his wines. The increasing noise level prompted a response from Jules, Kristin’s mom, who was visiting. From her bedroom window on the second floor, above the courtyard where we were seated, she inquired loudly. “What is going on out there? I am trying to take a nap!”

For Lee and I it was difficult not to break down laughing at this crazy comedy playing out in front of us. It was a truly memorable and insightful introduction into the lives of Kristin and her family.  As we prepared to take our newly purchased wine and leave, I told Jean-Marc how much I liked his wine-stained T-shirt. Without hesitation he stripped it off and tossed it to me with a stern warning of “Don’t wash it!” Kristen yelled across the yard, “wash it wash it!” The evening had provided another wonderful Provencal memory to savor and share with our friends.
 DSC_0049

In the few quiet minutes before the arrival of their friends from Marseilles, we enjoyed talking with Kristin. She asked many questions prompting me to share my “special story” with her.

I lived as a Type-1, insulin dependent diabetic (juvenile diabetes) for 44 years since I was diagnosed at age 11. I suffered many of the complications, feet problems, vision loss, nerve damage, and kidney failure. In 2006, our annual visit to Provence had to be hastily arranged for July. I was going to be added to the kidney transplant list. This meant I could be no more than six hours from my hospital in Atlanta, Georgia. With the prospects of dialysis (or worse) looming and the fear that I may never see my beloved Provence again, it was a bittersweet visit. There are over 100,000 people on the waiting list for an organ transplant in the USA; another is added to the list every 11 minutes; 18 die every day waiting for an organ.

On April 27, 2007, the medical nightmare ended.  I received the “Gift of Life,” a kidney AND a pancreas from an organ donor killed in an auto accident. The next day I was insulin free, no longer a diabetic. Although I still must deal with the diabetic complications from years past, I am healthy, happy, and able to visit “our” Provence.

After the transplant surgery I recovered sufficiently to make our September 2007 visit to Provence. This visit was an entirely different and a vastly better vacation!!  I was no longer tied to a very tight regime of constantly checking my blood sugar, eating and taking insulin to manage my diabetes. I was “FREE,” no longer diabetic! This was the first year we rented our now-favorite gîte close to Kristin and Jean-Marc.

Some wonderful, loving and caring people make my “special story” possible. It crosses geographic boundaries as well as the perceived boundaries of religion and culture. This demonstrates again that people the world over share the same values.

The first of these wonderful and caring people was Naiyareh Karimimanesh, a beautiful 28 year-old Iranian-American woman, who died in the auto accident. At the age of 16, “Nai” as she liked to be called, had the maturity and compassion to become an organ donor and have it displayed on her driver’s license. This simple act saved my life and the life of another woman that was within hours of death due to kidney and liver failure

  Nai-72-3


Nai was beautiful on the inside as well. She strongly believed that diversity makes us richer and stronger as a society. She had recently passed the bar exam and was working for one of the more prestigious law firms in Atlanta, but her intent was to dedicate herself to defending the rights of women in less developed areas of the world where they suffer from cultural and religious abuse.

With the love and guidance of her parents, Carelle and Mahmood, Nai became an incredible woman.  At the time of Nai’s tragic accident they were half a world away in Iran visiting family. For us it is still unbelievable that when confronted with the worst possible news, the loss of their only child, they were able to give permission for Nai’s organs to be donated, saving the lives of two women they had never seen.

In April of 2008, near the first anniversary of my life-saving transplant surgery, we received the first letter from Carelle and Mahmood and responded immediately. I had not written after my surgery because I could not find adequate words to express the dichotomy of my emotions. I was grieving for the parents of this young woman and their unimaginable loss but at the same time happy with my incredible good fortune to have received her organs and a second chance for life.

We began a correspondence via the organization that coordinates organ transplantation in Georgia. The process is slow, designed to shield the identities of both the donor’s family and the recipient until both sides are emotionally ready to meet. From their wonderful letters we knew we were ready to immediately meet Carelle and Mahmood. However it would be just after we returned from Provence in October 2008 that we were provided names and contact information. I could not sleep for days before our first phone call. I still did not have the words to express my emotions. All worries vanished within minutes of first speaking to each other. It was clear that our lives would be forever linked.


 Nai-54-1In January 2009 they came from California and stayed with us for a couple of weeks. They introduced us to their friends in Atlanta, many of Iranian descent and of the Baha’i faith as well as some of Nai’s friends from law school. These remarkable people are coping with the lost of their only child by focusing on the positives that came from her death. In April, Lee and I flew to California to be with Carelle and Mahmood to mark the second anniversary of my transplant and the loss of Nai. As a tribute to Nai, Mahmood arranged for a three-hour interview on Persian satellite TV to tell “our special story” and to promote organ donation. The program aired in North and South America and via Internet feeds to the whole world.

Days after we returned from our October 2009 visit to Provence, Carelle and Mahmood visited Atlanta again to support my fund raising efforts for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF). The 2009 Atlanta Walk for a Cure raised over 1.9 million dollars for diabetic research. Maureen’s Dream Team was renamed to Maureen AND Naiyareh’s Dream Team raising almost $10,000.

In Nai’s memory Carelle and Mahmood continue to support charitable efforts around the world to educate and build better lives for women. To learn more about Naiyareh go to her website.)

I am so grateful for the “Gift of Life” that has given me more time with the people I love. I am continuing fund raising for JDRF to help find a cure for juvenile diabetes. (To support this effort visit www.jdrf.org.) Lee and I also are volunteering with Life Link to promote organ denotation. (To become an organ donor visit www.lifelinkfound.org or www.donatelife.org; In the UK visit www.uktransplant.org.uk.)

We are grateful to Kristin for allowing us to share my “special story” with her and her followers on French-Word-A-Day.

Maureen Templeton-Adams & Lee Adams

Le Coin Commentaires

Thank you for sharing your thoughts and encouragements here in the comments box. I know that Nai's family and Maureen and Lee, will be delighted to read your notes.

Postnote: Jean-Marc, on hearing Maureen's story, said that is was a shame that French driver's licenses didn't offer the organ donor's info (as the US driver's licenses do. What about other countries?). In France, it is necessary to carry a separate card.

 DSC00584
Nai's mom, Carelle, and Maureen (left and second to left, respectively) at the JDRF Atlanta Walk for a Cure along with Maureen & Naiyareh's Dream Team

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Ongoing support from readers like you helps me to continue writing and sharing these educational posts from France. Your contribution is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi
 
♥ Send $10    
♥ Send $25    
♥Send the amount of your choice


"Bonjour Kristi, I've been a reader for years and thought it time to support your blog. Thanks for your frank and genuine stories that have opened a door into real French life."
--Jed

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en avant

 DSC_0216
This picture, snapped on the way back from the Luberon, has me singing Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah

en avant! (ahn ah vahn) expression

    forward march!
.

Words in a french life Next Meetup: PARIS! On March 1st at Shakespeare & Company bookshop I will be talking about writing, publishing, and--bien sûr--blogging! (Starts at 7 p.m.) 

Blogger Espinasse has taken a step backward in the evolution of media by converting selected contents of her Web log into a book. Beginning students of conversational French will profit from many of these brief entries, and supplemental tables of expressions go far to demystify French idioms for anyone wishing to speak and write more fluent French. Order a book here. (Booklist)

..


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

Here at the farm we were without phone and internet for two days and by the time I finally got Mom on the line she had a LOT to say, given her role of maman inquiète.

Speaking of LOT, I am reminded of a story that Mom still tells me, a lesson on letting go of the past and forging forth....

 Lots Wife

To illustrate the immobile, stuck state we find ourselves in when we dwell on the passé again, and again, Mom reminds me to focus on the horizon or "home" and not to look back like The Woman Who Turned To Stone.*

That would be Lot's wife, the one who was told to flee the fallen city* and warned to never look back... but in the time it took her to hesitate (to mourn her "things" and the good ol' days) it was already too late....

I often picture this scene in slow motion. I see the woman turning back... her face now looking over her shoulder... until, alas, she is frozen in her very tracks! In one simple image we comprehend that looking back is a dead end. It "hardens" us to the present moment, turns our senses to stone, keeps us stuck and far from home.

"Home" may be a destination, though we sometimes question whether home is ahead of us... or something we left behind. Then again, some say "home is where the heart is" which, as anyone reading this might agree, our heart's location (if not plain to see) is surely not behind us in a dimming city.

***

Post note: I had planned on telling you about our string of misfortune last week... oh well, out of time now. En avant!

Salon de Talk Talk

Please use the comments box to share your thoughts (for those of you who have sent in email, I am very sorry for the delay in getting back to you... It may be a while. "Home" as mentioned in today's story, is calling me--along with my family's needs. Thanks for your understanding! Now join in for some fun and chat away, here in the talk talk room.

P.S.: This column may be going through some growing pains... as we search for a name for the comments section (do you like "Salon de Talk Talk"?). Also, Jules (a.k.a. "Mom") has urged me to frame the story column because all these characters seem to run together. When I suggested a line of asterisks she insisted on "hugs and kisses" (hence all these XOXOs...)

French Vocabulary: une maman inquiète = worried mom; le passé (m) = the past; The Woman Who Turned To Stone = Lot's wife (Genesis 19:26) and "stone" (rather, she was "fashioned" into a pillar of salt); fallen city = Sodom

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A Day in a Dog's Life....
by Smokey "R" Dokey

 DSC_0019 DSC_0020

Talk about The Woman Who Turned To Stone! You should have seen Immobile Me after I woofed down something that remains a mystery. I scared Gramma K silly! After one lifeless day I am back to my normal self again. Now if we can get Gramma K to quit feeling frightened.

Love,

Smokey

Ongoing support from readers like you helps me to continue writing and sharing these educational posts from France. Your contribution is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi
 
♥ Send $10    
♥ Send $25    
♥Send the amount of your choice


"Bonjour Kristi, I've been a reader for years and thought it time to support your blog. Thanks for your frank and genuine stories that have opened a door into real French life."
--Jed

NEWSLETTER SIGN-UP: Has a friend forwarded you this post? Receive your own free subscription to French Word-A-Day. Click here