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Entries from March 2011

Sur la production de la passion

P1000893
In pursuit of one's shadow... read on. (P.S.: ever seen the shadow of a tongue?)
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Sur La Production de La Passion
(On Manufacturing Passion)

During a telephone conversation last night, Mom and I talked about passion and peace (a dichotomy?) On the one hand, our passions drive us... and yet we are always looking for the road to La Paix.

"I spent several hours cruising the internet yesterday," Mom tells me. "I navigate from one creative site to the next." It is all overwhelming in the end. Finally, Mom concludes:

Perhaps I need to manufacture my own passion!

...Maybe I'll go out and buy some paint thinner... but then, I am so happy here (away from the blank canvas), resting quietly by the window, sharing this chocolate-chip cookie with Breezy!


Some say peace is what happens when we give up our passions. Just a thought and, along with Mom's cookie, quelque chose to snack on today....
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Le Coin Commentaires
Your thoughts are welcome here, in the comments box.

P1000890
 
Mustard-flower passion beneath still-sleeping vines.

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Some are passionate about orchids... here's a wild one for you.

Thank you for the time you've spent reading my column. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that ongoing support from readers like you helps me to continue writing and publishing these educational missives from France. Your support is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi
 
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"I’ve really enjoyed reading your stories over the years & hope you will continue to delight us with your beautiful photos and thoughtful & charming antidotes of life in the beautiful south of France."
--Jacqueline

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panier

Pêle-Mêle in the Panier (c) Kristin Espinasse

Though you can't see it, this basket has a hole in the bottom... which reminds me of a wonderful French idiom: "un panier percé" ("a pierced basket" or a spendthrift!). The expression is très imagée (one can easily visualize money falling right through the hole of the basket, as the reckless spender practices that iffy prescription known as "retail therapy"!


le panier (pan yay)

    : basket

(from the Latin panarium, "bread basket")

Audio file :Listen to Jean-Marc pronounce the following "panier" expressions:
Download MP3 or Wav

mettre tous ses oeufs dans le même panier = to put all of one's eggs in the same basket

réussir/marquer un panier (basketball) to score a basket

un panier-repas = a packed lunch, lunch bucket

le dessus du panier = the pick of the bunch

un panier à salade = a prison van, or paddy wagon

 

Would anyone like to add to/comment on these panier expressions? Thank you for sharing them in the comments box.

 

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

The following meditation "Soyez Enfant" is in honor of my mom, The Ultimate Babe! 

Au fait
, or by the way, this is Jules's cherished panier (pah-nee-ay)... so well loved and so often used... that it finished with a great hole in the bottom of its "shoes"

I tried to find different uses for the wicker panier (so as not to have to store it, or, worse, throw it away) but its latest incarnation (as a laundry basket) proved a flop (too many disappearing socks!). Then, just yesterday, when trying to find "lodging" for a homeless flower pot... SHAZAM! the little panier whispered here - I - am!

I leave you with this thought for the day, from a favorite Frenchman, François Fenelon. This passage is from a chapter called "Knowledge Can Stand in the Way of Wisdom"....  

Soyez enfant

L'enfant n'a rien à lui
Il traite un diamant comme une pomme
Soyez enfant.

Rien de propre.
Oubliez-vous.
Cédez à tout.
Que les moindres choses soient plus grandes que vous.

Be A Babe

A baby owns nothing. 
It treats a diamond and an apple alike.
Be a babe.
Have nothing of your own.
Forget yourself.
Give way on all occasions.
Let the smallest person be greater than you.

Let go*English text from the book "Let Go" by François Fenelon. Order a copy here

Le Coin Commentaires
Please join us now in the community corner: comment about today's word or story or bilingual "Babe" passage -- or add your own thought bubble for the picture at the end of this post. You might take the opportunity to ask a question about France or French life. Click here to leave a message.   

 

P1000698 
Smokey says: Strange... but, for some reason, I don't feel so lopsided anymore... 

To see the flowers on the other side of this doorstep, click here.... and thanks again to Doreen for brightening up our entrance!

 

Thank you for the time you've spent reading my column. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that ongoing support from readers like you helps me to continue writing and publishing these educational missives from France. Your support is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi
 
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"I’ve really enjoyed reading your stories over the years & hope you will continue to delight us with your beautiful photos and thoughtful & charming antidotes of life in the beautiful south of France."
--Jacqueline

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Joyeux Anniversaire, Chief Grape!

Jean-Marc Espinasse
"Vintage 1967"

Joyeux Anniversaire, Chief Grape! To leave a birthday wish for Jean-Marc, click here.



 

Thank you for the time you've spent reading my column. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that ongoing support from readers like you helps me to continue writing and publishing these educational missives from France. Your support is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi
 
♥ Send $10    
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"I’ve really enjoyed reading your stories over the years & hope you will continue to delight us with your beautiful photos and thoughtful & charming antidotes of life in the beautiful south of France."
--Jacqueline

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


parler métier

I believe I can fly (c) Kristin Espinasse
"She going places... only, sometimes, she wonders just where... " (pictured our 13-year-old daughter, Jackie)

parler métier (par lay may tyay)

    : to talk shop

Example Sentence: Aujourd'hui, Jackie vous invite de parler métier avec elle: est-ce que vous avez un boulot qui vous plaît? Today, Jackie invites you to talk shop with her: do you have a job that you like?

"Mon Futur Métier" by Jackie Espinasse

Note: the following letter was written by 13-year-old Jackie. Mille mercis to our friend Newforest, who edited the French text. For the ENGLISH VERSION, click here.

Bonjour à tous. Vous allez bien? Moi, ça va "nickel"! J’ai une question à vous poser, (si vous pouviez y répondre j'apprécierais beaucoup). Est-ce vraiment aussi dur qu'on le dit de trouver du travail? Je me pose beaucoup de questions à ce sujet, car (malheureusement) moi je n’ai pas beaucoup de notes brillantes!

En ce moment, les professeurs nous répètent tout le temps qu'on doit savoir dès maintenant quel métier on fera quand on sera grand. Quant à moi je suis un peu perdue car je n’ai pas trop d’idées à propos de ce que je voudrais faire dans l’avenir.

Travailler dans la mode pourrait être la solution idéale car LA MODE me passionne! Le problème c’est que ça va être dur de trouver un patron qui veuille d’une fille qui n'a pas de bonnes notes. Ils préfèrent celles qui ont un bon bulletin!

Vous allez tous me dire: "IL FAUT TRAVAILLER !" Je suis d'accord mais j’ai vraiment peur de me retrouver dans un métier que je n’aimerais pas....
Choisir un métier pour l'avenir, ce n’est pas aussi facile que ça ... je vous le dis!
S’il y a des gens qui travaillent dans le domaine de la mode, SVP donnez-moi quelques idées sur votre métier. 

Merci d’avoir lu.

--Jackie

Le Coin Commentaires
Do you have a response for Jackie? Can you relate to Jackie's "what to be when I grow up?" dilemma? Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us in the comments box.

English Version: I have put my translation in the comments box. Corrections welcome! :-) 

=> To read Jackie's previous story, about the right to wear makeup, click here.

 

FRENCH VOCAB LIST by Newforest

- nickel = nickel.  It also means spotless, spick-and-span (objects, a room...)  
- ça va "nickel" -> familiar for "ça va très bien, tout va parfaitement" = everything is fine  
- trouver du travail -> here, travail = employment
- dès maintenant = as from now
- un métier = a job, a profession
- être un peu perdu(e) = to be a bit lost, a bit hopeless
- le patron = boss, employer
- les bonnes notes = good marks, good results at school
- le bulletin = school report
- il faut travailler = we / you've got to work
- je suis d'accord = I agree
- l'avenir (masc) = the future

 
 
P1000543
Near the town of Jonquières: a mustard-flower patch beneath the olive trees. Beyond, the rosemaries share their spot in the sun with so many dried leaves. 
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"Going Places" with Braise and Smokey. To the left is le ruisseau, or little brook -- the water there feels so good to these furry, webbed feet! The vines to the right belong to our neighbors, Jean-Marie and Brigitte.

51Qckm1DSfL._SL500_AA280_ I Heart Paris Shopper: made of recycled material

French Demystified...simple enough for a beginner but challenging enough for a more advanced student.

Thank you for the time you've spent reading my column. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that ongoing support from readers like you helps me to continue writing and publishing these educational missives from France. Your support 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


"I’ve really enjoyed reading your stories over the years & hope you will continue to delight us with your beautiful photos and thoughtful & charming antidotes of life in the beautiful south of France."
--Jacqueline

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


la piqure

Sundial

Have you been vaccinated lately? As an adult, the DPT vaccination "rappel" or "booster" is every ten years... more in today's story. Thank you, David and Susan Howell, for the photo, above (part of Saturday's Cinéma Vérité gallery... Don't miss it!
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la piqûre (pee kyer)

    : prick, sting, bite;  injection

faire une piqûre à quelqu'un = to give somebody an injection

Audio file: Listen to Jean-Marc: Download MP3 or WAV

Je ne me souviens pas de ma dernière piqûre contre la diphtérie, le tétanos ou la polio. Et vous? I do not remember my most recent injection for diphtheria, tetanus, or polio. What about you?
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A Day in a French Life... by Kristin Espinasse

According to a vague notion that has surfaced in the forefront of my brain, it is time, once again, for a children's vaccination. High time! 

I sklunk into the doctor's office like Mère Indigne, but our family physician quickly puts any misplaced guilt to rest. "Ne vous inquiétez pas." Apparently, I am no later than the average French parent.

Thirteen-year-old Jackie takes a seat on the vinyl-covered examination table. The doctor has just yanked away the wrinkled paper cover from the previous visitor, replacing it with a fresh paper.

After darting around the eclectic room (an extension to the doctor's private home) Doc returns, having produced a piqûre. I automatically look the other way and advise Jackie to do the same. Doc agrees, but Jackie can't help herself. One understands, after all: who can resist the natural instinct to keep one's eye on the enemy?

I remind Jackie that she won't feel a thing ... thanks to the topical anesthetic or "numbing" EMLA patch I stuck on her upper arm one hour earlier.

And, just as hoped, in the time it takes Jackie to ask "Est-ce que ça va me faire mal?" the doctor is already tossing the syringe with the needle into the special wastebasket.

Next, our doctor consults Jackie's carnet de santé, specifically the page titled:

Vaccinations antipoliomyélitique
Antidiphtérique
Antitétanique
Anticoquelucheuse

I hold my breath as the doctor counts, with the help of the fingers on her left hand. 

"Cinq. C'est ça. Elle est bien à jour!"

Ouf, I let out a sigh of relief. "But why 'five'"? Aren't they different, the vaccinations? " I ask, looking at the foreign names in the health-history book. 

My question sets the doctor counting again, this time aloud, sans doigts. I realize she is counting the age and the corresponding vaccination (one at three months, one at 18 months, and one every five years thereafter... Voilà, cinq!)

And when I point to the strange and differing "vaccinations" in the health record, Doc explains that those are simply vaccination brands: "Pentacoq", "Revaxis", "Infanrix"....

Such names had heretofore conjured up in my mind mysterious potions for mysterious diseases. Turns out they are, basically, the same group of three vaccinations (the ones with the "coq" ending have the anti-coqueluche (Whooping Cough) vaccination to boot.

 The next rappel, Doc explains, will be in Jackie's 18th year, and then every 10 years thereafter.

I am struck by the "every ten years" part... in time to factor myself into this equation. I hadn't thought about the dreaded "booster" shot since waiting--tetanisée, paralyzed with fear--in a line of shaking classmates... sometime (just when???) back in grade school.

"Does that mean I need one too?" I ask our doctor.

"It would be a good idea!" Doc replies.

"But is it obligatoire?"

"No," she admits, it is not mandatory. At my age it is facultative, or optional. But it only takes a few frightful examples, and the reminder of increasing world migrations (here, the doctor cites the increase of refugees) to convince me.

As the doctor scribbles a prescription for Revaxis, she hesitates:

"I forgot to ask... Would you like me to prescribe one of those no-pain patches for you, too?" 

"Mais oui!" I answered, once again feeling guilty.

 

Le Coin Commentaires 
How to you feel about adult vaccination? Did it, as it did for me, conjure up the idea of a voyage to a Third World country (something needed only for such a trip), or have you, too, been wondering lately about your own health records?

What do you think about those "facultative" vaccinations? 

Also, are you good at keeping health records? And do you have a special "records book"? Thank you for participating in today's discussion in the community corner. Click here to access the comments box.

 

French Vocabulary

une mère indigne = an unfit mother

la piqûre = injection, shot

Est-ce que ça va me faire mal? = Will it hurt me?

obligatoire = mandatory

le carnet de santé = health-records book

cinq = five

c'est ça = that's it

Elle est bien à jour = she is well up to date

ouf! = phew!

sans doigts = without fingers

le rappel = reminder, booster

tétanisé(e) par la peur = paralyzed by fear

mais oui! = yes, indeed!

 

Bilingual Poem....
Thanks to Patti and "Dnny" for translating this beautiful poem... click here to see the poem and to add your own translations or suggestions. 

"Fleurs, Abeilles" (c) Kristin Espinasse 

Some say bee piqûres aren't all that bad. What say you? What about any natural paths to immunization? Do they exist? Comments welcome in the comment box. Click here. 

Thank you for the time you've spent reading my column. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that ongoing support from readers like you helps me to continue writing and publishing these educational missives from France. Your support 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


"I’ve really enjoyed reading your stories over the years & hope you will continue to delight us with your beautiful photos and thoughtful & charming antidotes of life in the beautiful south of France."
--Jacqueline

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


randonnee

"Roof Support" (c) Kristin Espinasse
Leaving France behind... in the following edition. Picture taken near Sablet and Gigondas (that's Mont Ventoux in the background); today's photo may as well be titled "How to Keep Your Roof on in the Windy Vaucluse". (Squint your eyes in time to see the rocks that are holding down the roof tuiles...)

une randonnée (ran doh nay)

    : walk, ride, outing, excursion

une randonnée à pied = hike
la randonnée = hiking
le randonneur, la randonneuse = hiker

Audio File:  Listen to Jean-Marc pronounce these French words Download MP3 or Wav

Le mois dernier, nous avons fait une longue randonnée dans le désert. Last month we had a long hike in the desert.
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 Exercises in French PhonicsExercises in French Phonics bestseller on French pronunciation and how to pronouce French words correctly! (click here)

 

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

Note to newsletter readers: the underlined words in the following text correspond to stories from the archive. Click on the words to read the passages.

Last month I visited family in Mexico and in Arizona and, in both countries, I had the chance to meet up with readers of this blog. The friends in Mexico taught me restaurant etiquette, or "How To Send Back an Order!"(simply complain: "These eggs are as cold as a dead man's butt!"). So far I haven't had the occasion to use the insult. Maybe you have?

Meantime, no dead butts in Arizona... where we busted ours for an early morning randonnée. The pressure was off from the get-go (the theme of the meet-up was The Horizontal Hike...)  and we walked slow enough to sip coffee as we strolled. I leave you with those photos...

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One last cuppa before heading to the trail... from left to right: that's Herm, Naoma, Sharron (Herm's wife), Lynn, and Judy.   

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From left to right: Rita, my sister Heidi, Karen, and Susan.

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Judy, Ann, and Gaelle, whom I kept calling "Susan". Now I'm having doubts about "Ann", whose name I may be mistaking...

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Chasing our shadows into the desert... In the lead, that's Gabriel, his sister Monet (left) and their mom Ronnie (behind Gabriel). C'est moi, to the right, in the beige pants.

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These three to the right (Ronnie, Heidi, and Karen) were focusing in on the baby coyotes that barked or howled or yelped (???) excitedly up the hill.

P1000227 

This is Randy, who drove over from Cave Creek, AZ. I informed him of my short-lived waitressing job in Cave Creek (in a former life in the desert...). Randy had never heard of "The Desert Deli" and I began to wonder whether it was all a dream... one great mirage!

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Stone Sculpture... Those Palo Verde branches are tickling the têtes of Ronnie, Monet, and Gabriel. Can you hear them giggling?

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These two desert dwellers belong to Lynn (that's her husband, left) and Ronnie (that's her son, Gabriel, right)...

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There's Lynn and her husband. And that's Ann (I think...), right. "Ann" didn't sign my guest book (or did she?). Now I'm having doubts...

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There's You Know Who... and that's my sister, Heidi. Cute photo, non? I wished I had on what my sister had on (don't we always?) but my legs were "blanc comme un cachet d'aspirine" or white as a pill, so it was "no deal".

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And this is Karen, left, who, along with Herm, made this French meet-up possible! Many thanks again to Herm and to Karen for everything. (And thanks, Karen, for the lovely scarf! It has that European elegance... yet there's a certain Aztec flair!)

 

P1000249 
This is Herm, whom you may know from the comments box. He occasionally shares a poem with us there. This time he shared one with me, here, as a souvenir of our Horizontal Hike. I had the chance to meet many of the "characters" in the following poem.  Herm writes:

Welcome to my space on the planet
in a secluded wash just off the trail
Join in with my friends... The critters,
singing birds and a few colorful quail

With Palo Verde trees on both sides,
It's a pleasantly cool and shady spot
Especially good in the midst of summer
when the dry winds blow un-Godly hot

Occasionally someone on their daily
hike will leave the trail to take a peek
At the rare saguaro cactus down in the
wash, a one of a kind, said to be unique

The excitement, the wonder in their eyes
and, oh, the surprised look on the face
they stand in awe... they can't believe
Siamese twins; bodies joined at the base.

--Poem by Herm Meyer
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Le Coin Commentaires
Corrections, comments, and stories/poems of your own are welcome in the comments box. Tip: this is a good place to ask and answer each others questions on France and French life! Click here to leave a message.
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Thanks for visiting today's sponsor!

 

In film:  Paris Je T'aime & My Father's Glory

In the kitchen: Emile Henri Provençale Pie dish in azure blue! 

In the garden: I'm looking forward to planting sunflowers again this year. Why not plant some with me? Click here and choose a packet!

Az desert

Thank you, Herm, for sending in this photo. Herm writes:

Here's a photograph of a photographer photographing a photographer photographing a Stone Sculpture.....

Thank you for the time you've spent reading my column. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that ongoing support from readers like you helps me to continue writing and publishing these educational missives from France. Your support 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


"I’ve really enjoyed reading your stories over the years & hope you will continue to delight us with your beautiful photos and thoughtful & charming antidotes of life in the beautiful south of France."
--Jacqueline

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


cahier

P1000552
A couple of Max's cahiers from 4ème (8th grade). More than in the classroom, cahiers are used in many French establishments...  

 le cahier (keye yay)

    : notebook, exercise book

(from the Latin "quaterni" or "set of four": the first cahiers had four pages... from the pliage, or folding, of one page)

le cahier d'exercices = workbook
le cahier à spirale = spiral-bound notebook
le cahier de textes = homework notebook 

Audio File: The sound files will return soon... now that Chief Grape is back (I'll get him, shortly, at the airport in Marseilles).

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

The Art of Bookkeeping

I am at the bank trying to deposit a royalty check (made out in US dollars). I watch as the mademoiselle behind the counter is overcome by a look of doubt.

"Et qu'est-ce que c'est comme société?" she interrogates, pointing to the name at the top of the check.

Mademoiselle's question sounds like an accusation in the ears of the homebody who is hearing it. Standing there in muddied boots and an unironed chemise I wonder whether my appearance has anything to do with things? No, I reason. You are once again reading too much into it (besides, it's impossible to see my boots from where she is sitting). 

Meantime, Mademoiselle is waiting for an answer...

"C'est une maison d'edition," I point out.

I am instantly ashamed of the smug feeling I have just enjoyed in announcing that the check has been issued by a publishing house! But any puffed-uppery is short-lived when, like soiled clothes tossed into a laundry chute--I am abruptly released from Pride thanks to Truth. (Truth is, the young teller makes more money in one month than I have made in six months of book sales... and the exchange rate sure doesn't help things!)

I watch as Mademoiselle Money-Maker reaches for a thin spiral notebook; inside, I see handwriting scrawled across les pages quadrillées. Next the bank teller practices what I have come to know as "French Data Entry". Forget, for a moment, France's history of being on the cutting edge of data processing (remember Le Minitel?), the French still revert to ink when it comes to documentation.

I stare at that flimsy cahier. Will she note the check information in there? Will my money be safe?....

Since moving to France, I have seen and been intrigued by the modern-day uses of scholastic notebooks by the likes of dentists, secretaries at town hall, the local garagiste, and, now, the banker. Record-keeping at its French best! In the flip of a curlicue-covered page (French longhand is unmistakable), my dentist can tell me my children's oral history. (Note: the same dentist also has the latest Mac with which to view those cool tooth diagrams on the big screen... I guess cahiers are more for documenting than for drawing). 

Such old-fashioned ways and means for information recording are a breath of fresh air in this technologically chetchy society. But I have to admit that it comes as a relief when I notice the bank teller doing a backup (...and typing the check information into a computer database).

All that scribbling in the cahier seems like a lot of extra work... but then again... if Mademoiselle's computer ever gets fried as mine once did... then I am grateful knowing it's all been documented--my not-so-smug salary--via dotted I's and crossed T's.

 

Le Coin Commentaires
Have you, too, noticed the French tendency to use cahiers to record data? Is it just me? Or do the French have a tendency to note... and to note encore!? Share your experiences... and ask/answer questions in our community corner (aka the comments box!)

French Vocabulary

la mademoiselle = young lady

Et qu'est-ce que c'est comme société? = what kind of company is it?

une chemise = shirt

C'est une maison d'edition = it's a publishing house

le Minitel = in the early 80s, pre World Wide Web, the Minitel (picture a small computer terminal) was an online-information resource (users could look up telephone numbers, reserve train tickets, do online banking... way back when!)

les pages (f) quadrillées = the cross-ruled, checked pages

le cahier = notebook

le/la garagiste = mechanic 

Flower Charm (c) Kristin Espinasse


"Fanfare on the Front Porch" Thanks again and again to the Dirt Divas for coloring up our world. These flower arrangements were created by Doreen. She gave them to me at Malou's house, after tea and a "books-n-gardening" meeting. We loaded the freshly planted pots into the trunk and I drove wildly, excitedly home. So much so that when I opened the trunk there was dirt everywhere. I tucked the clumps of plants back into their upended pots... and followed Doreen's instructions: put the two outside (in any weather), and the others indoors until the threat of frost passes.

I could not imagine, then, that from the clumps of dirt and scattered greens... up would come this jubilant scene! P.S.: Doreen had apologized for the plastic containers, suggesting I set them into something a little more eye-catching. I hope these boots will do the trick! Many thanks encore, Doreen and Malou. I hope to see you here again very soon! To comment on the flowers or to share your own gardening notes, join us in the comment box, click here.

You will find more stories and photos of the Dirt Divas in the "Garden" section

 

Exercises in French Phonics Exercises in French Phonics is... 
" a great book for learning French pronunciation"
"useful and practical"
"high quality material, good value for your money" --from Amazon customer reviews. Order your copy here.

 

Thank you for the time you've spent reading my column. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that ongoing support from readers like you helps me to continue writing and publishing these educational missives from France. Your support 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


"I’ve really enjoyed reading your stories over the years & hope you will continue to delight us with your beautiful photos and thoughtful & charming antidotes of life in the beautiful south of France."
--Jacqueline

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


sourire

Mamy In The Window (c) Kristin Espinasse

Smiles and good wishes for all today. Isn't that what's needed? The following French poem was spotted in the neighboring village of Rasteau. Some "happy nester" had taped it to their front porch window.... Thank you, Newforest, for translating the text. (When you have read the poem, you might come back and visit the Mamie in the window above: click here...) 

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"Le sourire" (smile)... we have visited this attractive word before (here and here)... so I searched for a synonym (in English we have "a grin" (a big smile that shows your teeth) and "a beam" (a wide, happy smile)... but all I could find in French was "une grimace" (which didn't seem like a match to me!) So sourire it is and sourire it will be! Enjoy the following poem and remember to put on a smile ce weekend.

"Un Sourire"
"A Smile"

(Note: listen to the Jean-Marc read this text: mp3 or wave

Un sourire ne coûte rien et produit beaucoup,
A smile does not cost anything but produces so much*,

Il enrichit ceux qui* le reçoivent,
It enriches the person who receives it

Sans appauvrir ceux qui le donnent.
without impoverishing the one who gives it.

Il ne dure qu'un instant,
It lasts only a few moments,

Mais son souvenir* est parfois éternel.
But its memory may sometimes last for ever.

Personne n'est assez pauvre pour ne pas le mériter.
Nobody is poor enough not to deserve it.

Il crée le bonheur au foyer, soutient les affaires,
It creates happiness at home and sustains businesses,

Il est le signe sensible de l'amitié.
It is the visible sign of friendship.

Un sourire donne du repos à l'être* fatigué.
A smile brings rest to the weary soul.

Il ne peut ni s'acheter, ni se prêter, ni se voler,
It cannot be bought, nor can it be loaned or even stolen,

Car c'est une chose qui n'a de valeur
For it is something which has value

Qu'à partir du moment où il se donne.
Only from the very moment it is given.

Et si quelquefois vous rencontrez une personne
And if sometimes you meet someone

Qui ne sait plus avoir le sourire...
Who no longer knows how to smile...

DSC_0020
                         (Left: Smokey's Dad, "Sam", sans sourire...)

Soyez généreux, donnez-lui le vôtre!
Be generous, give him yours!

Car nul n'a autant besoin d'un sourire...
As no one is more desperate for a smile...

Que celui qui ne peut en donner aux autres. 
Than the one who is unable to give a smile to others.

 *poem by Raoul Follereau (1902-1977), who established World Leprosy day and who, throughout his life, shared his compassion for victims of leprosy--as well as for victims of poverty, indifference, and injustice.

Le Coin Commentaires
Join us now, in the community corner. Respond to today's message, offer a correction, or ask each other questions about French or France--this is your chance! Click here to leave a note

 And don't miss this lovely poem, by William Weber. You might offer your translation in French...

Newforest notes:

* (but produces) so much* - or: 'but produces a great deal'

* “ceux qui” = 'the people who', but I left it singular: the one who)

* "l'être" = the human being – here, I translated by -> 'the soul'

* "son souvenir est parfois éternel". I could have said: 'its memory may be eternal' but I decided to repeat the verb to last, so here is my choice: its presence may sometimes last for ever.

Merci encore, Newforest, for translating Raoul Follereau's "Sourire" poem.

 

Thank you for sending your in your wishes, in response to the "seisme" post (here). Here is a "word cloud"... made entirely from your messages of support (to view messages, or to add your own, click here) : 

 

Capture plein écran 18032011 065107

Thank you for the time you've spent reading my column. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that ongoing support from readers like you helps me to continue writing and publishing these educational missives from France. Your support is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi
 
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"I’ve really enjoyed reading your stories over the years & hope you will continue to delight us with your beautiful photos and thoughtful & charming antidotes of life in the beautiful south of France."
--Jacqueline

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haut les coeurs!

"Heart in Burgundy" (c) Kristin Espinasse
Current events have us wearing our hearts on our former façades... and it's a good thing, n'est-ce pas?

haut les coeurs (oh lay ker)

    : lift up your spirit, take heart, be brave! have courage!


Thank you, Carolyn Foote Edelmann, for today's French expression: Carolyn writes, in response to Monday's seisme post:

Small thought - watching their dignity and fortitude, I think [the Japanese] may not want to be called 'victims'.

My Provencal neighbors had a phrase which sounded to me like "o, liqueurs!" - but was, in fact, HAUT LES COEURS! - [High the hearts]... I love it that this word, in France, implies "to infuse with courage".

Thank you for linking those of us who love France with a country I am taught to love (having lived through Pearl Harbor) as I never thought I would, watching their fortitude in the face of the impossible.

 

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

Universal Love

I am rooting through the medicine chest, looking for the small blue box that contains my mouth guard. I haven't worn the protective shield in over a month, but I need it now. Teeth grinding is up, along with that ticky tremblement just beneath my eyelid. Twitching and grinding - it is the body's way of responding to those things that are out of its control: like our dog's destructive behavior, like Japan, like Mother Nature.

I grab the small blue box and pry it open... when something flies past me... landing with a TING!  I bend over, narrowing my eyes, ignoring the annoying tremblement de la paupière. 

I see a heart lying there, on the floor... t'was a heart that had fallen out of that toothbox...

Suddenly it all comes rushing back to me...

I see myself back in Mexico, packing my bags. I see my mom reaching to hug me. I hear her voice: "I've put a little surprise in your toothbox... open it up when you are on the plane."

I'm on the airplane now... reaching into my backpack for the blue box. I open it up and there, beside the plastic tooth guard, is the tarnished locket-heart.

I hear Mom's explanation when I call her that evening to thank her.

"It was a gift," she says.  And she tells me the story of the bus ride, when the Mexican "street man" stepped on board. 

Listening to the poor passenger who had taken the seat behind her, Mom sympathized, pointing to her own losses: she took off her hat and pointed out her thinning white hair. Then she pounded on her chest, pointing out her missing breasts!

When she put her hand on her hip, the man could not possibly know about the once broken bone. Mom didn't have the Spanish words to tell him.

And so, without translation, the odd couple on the bus shared their rotten luck, without drama, without fuss. And when Mom stood to get off the bus, so, too, the Mexican man stood up.

Humblement, the street man reached into his frayed pocket and pulled out the little tarnished heart-locket. He closed Mom's hand over the gift, before sending her off with a mutual heart-lift. 

***

Standing there in the bathroom looking down at the treasure in the palm of my hand... I feel the quiet peace that has swept in all around me. The world outside the bathroom door might be in a state of chaos. But I no longer feel swept up in it, shaken or tossed. 

 

 Le Coin Commentaires
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  July2005 039

Mum's the word! Jackie (pictured sans maquillage, age 7) thanks you for your feedback on her story! She's written three more articles... one of which is très "edgy". (She doesn't seem to have a problem with self-censorship, as her mother does!) I warn her that posting the story might get her kicked out of school. Her roll-of-the-eyes response? "Et alors, la liberté d'expression? What about freedom of speech?" 

Exercises in French Phonics Exercises in French Phonics is... 
" a great book for learning French pronunciation"
"useful and practical"
"high quality material, good value for your money" --from Amazon customer reviews. Order your copy here.

Thank you for the time you've spent reading my column. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that ongoing support from readers like you helps me to continue writing and publishing these educational missives from France. Your support is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi
 
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"I’ve really enjoyed reading your stories over the years & hope you will continue to delight us with your beautiful photos and thoughtful & charming antidotes of life in the beautiful south of France."
--Jacqueline

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seisme

Image made with tagxedo.com

En étant tous des enfants de la terre, on vous envoie, cher Japon, nos pensées les plus sincères. As fellow children of the earth, we send you, dear Japan, our most sincere thoughts.

seisme (sayeezm) noun, masculine

  : earthquake


Audio file: listen to our son Max (Download MP3 or WAV), who wrote these French words:

On se sent tous concernés par le seisme au Japon.
We all feel affected by the earthquake in Japan. 
. 

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

Cousin Audrey is back in France. She returned from Japan last week after representing her parents' vineyard in an international wine fair. 

Though here in Provence, her thoughts remain with les Japonais. All of us join Audrey in searching for words to comfort those who are living in turmoil and fear. I hope the following mots de soutien will help you to express your own feelings at this time:

Quand... 
(When) 

Il n'y a pas de mots assez puissants...
(There are not words strong enough...) 

pour
(for) 

ce désastre, cette catastrophe, cette épreuve,
(this disaster, this tragedy, this catastrophe, this trying time)

Quand on est tous touchés, et on se sent tous impuissants...
When we are all touched by it, when we feel powerless...

Voici quelques mots pour exprimer notre soutien/pour encourager:
Here are some French words to help express our support/to help encourage

"Courage à vous!"
Courage to you!

"La Force!"
The strength (to carry on)!

"Un gros soutien au peuple japonais..."
All our support to the Japanese...

"Une très grande pensée pour le japon"
All our thoughts go toward Japan. 

"prières pour les victims"
Prayers for the victimes

"On est de tout coeur avec vous..."
We are wholeheartedly with you 

On peut envoyer ces mots avec...
We can send these words with...

l'émotion / emotion
la compassion /compassion
les larmes / tears

***

To share your thoughts or wishes or ideas on how to help les japonais... leave a message of support in our community corner. Corrections welcome.

 

P1000463
On pense à vous. Thinking of you. Wildflowers from Cairanne.

Chief Grape in the USA: 03/14 : Meet Jean-Marc (and taste his wines!) in San Francisco on March 16th from 5 to 6 30 PM at the K&L SF Wine store (638 - 4th Street) and in many other US cities !

Thank you for the time you've spent reading my column. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that ongoing support from readers like you helps me to continue writing and publishing these educational missives from France. Your support 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


"I’ve really enjoyed reading your stories over the years & hope you will continue to delight us with your beautiful photos and thoughtful & charming antidotes of life in the beautiful south of France."
--Jacqueline

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