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Entries from January 2012


The Christmas decorations are still up in the town of Grignan. Have you taken down your holiday decor? Click here to comment

le sang-froid

    : calm, equanimity, imperturbability

Audio File: Listen to Jean-Marc (I am told my husband has a beautiful voice! Don't miss it): Download MP3 or Wav file

Lors de situations conflictuelles, çela aide pas mal de garder son sang-froid!
During situations which involve conflict, it helps quite a bit to keep calm!

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

When Jean-Marc was inspired to clear out the cellier—on Christmas Eve—I did my best to contain my annoyance. Not to be unthankful, but couldn't he have chosen any other day of the year? A day, say, when our extended family wasn't about to arrive for Le Repas de Noël? After all, there were any other number of last-minute things to do besides emptying out the mudroom!

Ten years ago I would have manifested the strong opposition that I currently felt regarding my husband's absurd sense of timing. As manifestations go, it would have been a subtle one (I might have sulked), yet packed with menace (continue doing your own thing... and I'll fly back to America. You'll see!).

But such manifestations were for naught (my then boyfriend put a stop to the nonsense by buying me a one-way ticket home!)

We've come a long way, Chief Grape and I, though the first years of intercultural marriage were as shaky as the pile of junk that now lined the outside of our mudroom, nearly blocking the entrance where our guests were due to arrive in the next hour or so! To my amazement, the entryway was now cluttered with everything from a broken globe to a lonely lava lamp. 

I stood staring at the chaos. Instead of order and polish we now had dust and "demolish"...or so it looked from my blurry perspective. No matter how far I think I've advanced along the path of sagesse, I'm always astonished at how quickly I can lose my footing when I lose sight of the horizon in time to notice a weed along the way.

No use staring at the lava lamp and its dusty company. Remembering to "look up!" I experienced a radical change of perspective. What had appeared to be disorder... was beginning to look like order! I looked beyond the piles, past my husband, and into the cellar.... The shelves looked neat and tidy—and you could actually see the floor!

Motioning toward the stacks, Jean-Marc explained, "Jacques is going to help carry these things to the car". 

Bien sûr! My husband's timing was not so absurd after all. He had simply waited until his brother's visit (tonight, for Christmas Eve dinner), to haul off the junk. 

Once again I am reminded that what might not make sense to me, may very well be clear in the grand scheme of things. 


Le Coin Commentaires
To leave a comment, please click here

Read about that one-way ticket home in the introduction to Words in a French Life

French Vocabulary

le cellier = storeroom

le repas de Noël = Christmas dinner

la sagesse = wisdom

Both photos in today's edition were taken in the town of Grignan, where we had a lovely stroll and a bite to eat, on Friday, with friends Toni and Gary. (We ate at Le Poème de Grignan. It was delicious!) Can you recommend a restaurant in Provence? Click here to share it with us!

Capture plein écran 21122011 083440
The photo, left, was also taken in Grignan, during another sweet stroll with my aunt and uncle. The picture was snapped so quickly -- almost as an afterthought. Had I known it would be used for the book's cover, I might have swiped the neighbor's pot of geraniums, and placed it near the door! Just as it is (without anything "blossoming") we'll chalk it up, this flowerless "Blossoming" cover, to one more quirk of French life.

Meantime, I would like to take a moment to send out an enthusiastic appeal to anyone who has not yet purchased a copy of my book: 

Please support a self-published author--each time you do, you make the world a more creative place! 

Click here to buy a copy of my book. Merci beaucoup!



Further Reading:
Check our Larry Krakauer's blog, in which he writes about his visit to our vineyard. Click here. You'll even see a photo of my brother-in-law, Jacques, whom you read about in today's story.

Ongoing support from readers like you helps me continue this French word journal, now in its 18th year! If you enjoy these posts and would like to keep this site going, please know your donation makes a difference! A contribution by check (click here) or via PayPal (below) is greatly appreciated. Merci!
♥ Give $10    
♥ Give $25    
♥ Give the amount of your choice

To purchase our book-in-progress, click here.

Bonne et heureuse Année 2012!

Best wishes from Kristi
Proud wife, or femme fière. I snapped this picture last July, during a special dinner, in Colmar, in honor Chief Grape! Given today's theme (which is partly on focusing), I hope this picture fits the bill—j'espère que celle-là fera l'affaire! P.S. If you are looking for a cozy and delicious restaurant-bistro in Colmar, Jean-Marc and I very much enjoyed Mina and Jérôme's warm welcome at La Cocotte de Grand-Mère!

Bonne et heureuse année

    : best wishes for a good and happy new year

Audio File: Listen to the following "good wishes" letter: Download MP3 file or Wav file

Bonjour les amis! 

Just a little mot for you today, as we are heading to Aunt Marie-Françoise and Uncle Jean-Claude's for lunch! I can't wait to see them as well as their lovely daughter, Cousin Audrey, who is in from Italy—and with her handsome boyfriend, Julian (non, il n'est pas italien!). 

I leave you with these meilleurs voeux:

Bonne et heureuse Année 2012.
Have a good and happy 2012. 

Concentrez-vous sur les bonnes choses!
Keep focused on the good!

(et soyez sage, aussi!)
(and be good, too!)


Bien amicalement,

Kristin & Jean-Marc

Le Coin Commentaires
To leave a comment, click here. We would love to hear from you! Be sure to note your city (my dad loves to know this part!) 

Note: in cased you missed it, the highlighted names in today's story will take you to the following posts:

Aunt Marie-Francoise = click on the previous link to read about a family tradition of making lavender wands! Also see a beautiful picture of my aunt-in-law!

Cousin Audrey = read about the tender complicity that I share with Jean-Marc's youngest cousin.

Uncle Jean-Claude = discover this family's vineyard in the historic village of Chateauneuf-du-Pape

French Vocabulary

le mot = word
non, il n'est pas italien = no, he is not Italian
les meilleurs voeux = best wishes
bien amicalement = best wishes, yours 



Julie Mautner's The Provence Post BOOK GIVEAWAY! Julie Mautner at The Provence Post wrote a very kind review of French Word-A-Day in her latest post. Read it and enter to win a copy of Blossoming in Provence

Click here to go to the book giveaway post.



Chinese Mulberry tree and golden retrievers in France (c) Kristin Espinasse
Two things are helping me to keep that inner joy going in the new year: 1) a change of perspective 2) focus (on the good). Here Mama Braise and Son Smokey illustrate these tips...

Chinese Mulberry tree or murier and golden retrievers in France (c) Kristin Espinasse
Mama Braise: "Smokey! Keep your chin up. Eyes high on the horizon, Son!"

"Atta-boy!" (Mama Braise, right. Son Smokey, Left). If you are new to French Word-A-Day, you might not be aware of Smokey's near-death experience (read about it here). Mr. Smokey R. Dokey is quite an inspiration for all who are trying to heal.

How will you keep that inner joie kindled in the new year? I'd love to know your secret for a peaceful heart. Comments welcome here.


A Word About Some of the Ads You See on This Blog

I received the following letter last week:

"Very disappointing to see a political ad on your blog.   This is a sensitive time in America politically and financially.  Seeing the Warren ad on your blog, has given me pause to continue with your blog..."

Please note that some of the ads you see at French Word-A-Day are automatically generated, by Google! Thank you for your understanding and very sorry if some of the ads are inappropriate or not to your liking. —Kristin

To leave a comment on this topic, click here

Ongoing support from readers like you helps me continue this French word journal, now in its 18th year! If you enjoy these posts and would like to keep this site going, please know your donation makes a difference! A contribution by check (click here) or via PayPal (below) is greatly appreciated. Merci!
♥ Give $10    
♥ Give $25    
♥ Give the amount of your choice

To purchase our book-in-progress, click here.