reine de beaute

étourdie + Win a French antique!

Kristin Espinasse. Photo by Alison Johnston Lohrey

To win the mysterious French antique, on offer in today's story, simply say hello, here in the comments box + let us know where you are writing in from. After randomly choosing a number, I will announce a winner on Friday. More about the giveaway, in today's story column.

Photo by Alison Johnston Lohry (Note to self: next time you post a photo of your person, choose any other post title... besides "Scatterbrained"! P.S. do you see a scar on my forehead? Ta da! This photo was taken four months after the first operation and a week before the second operation, the one mentioned in the previous post.)

 étourdi(e) ay-toor-dee

    : scatty, scatterbrained; flighty


Audio File: listen to our daughter, Jackie, pronouce today's word and example sentence: Download MP3 or Wav file

Il est bien étourdi; mais, entre nous, son coeur est bon. 
He is quite featherbrained; but, between you and me, he has a good heart. —Voltaire, Complete Works of Voltaire 

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


I am having a fickle of a time deciding what to write about today. It isn't a matter of writer's block, or la page blanche, the difficulty here is l'embarras du choix! So many possibilities! Which path to choose when it is just too tempting to amble down each windy road and lose oneself in that whimsical place affectionately known as "Just Around The Corner"?

Enough dreaming, it's time to choose a topic! Let's see...

I might tell you about our daughter's renewed passion for  jumping (BMX bikes, this time—and not horses!). Jackie's hobby has me aching to line our concrete terrasse with mattresses! I watch, from the kitchen window, as our 14-year-old builds a new jump, adding yet another vineyard stone beneath the wobbly ramp (a repurposed wooden shutter) after each adrenaline-rich stunt.... 

Then again, I might write about some of  the readers who come to visit. But then there have been so many.... To write about one would be to leave out the others. Quel dilemme! Perhaps I could backtrack... beginning with a photo from the most recent visit? (See the end of this post.)

Encore une fois, I had thought to write a story about a thank-you gift, the one I am trying to think up  for the surgeon's assistante that I see this afternoon (stitches come out today!). What to give someone whom I know nothing about, but whose gentle confidence has touched me? Du vin? Des fleurs? 

I should also update you with the good news: Max, 16, passed part of his driver's exam!: oui, il a réussi le code! This brings him to the "hands-on" part of the exam: the actual driving with an instructor! (such a relief to turn over the co-pilot seat—still wet from my sweaty, gripping hands—to a trained teacher!)

As for writing topics, I also thought this might be a good time to bring up the subject of email... please forgive me if you have sent in a note and if I haven't gotten back to you! I am trying, but no matter how many activities I cut out, in order to devote time to answering email, I still can't manage to keep up with incoming messages. I feel terrible about this... please know that I read and appreciate every single word you send, whether via email or via the comments box. Thank you so much! 

There were about four or five or fifteen other lovely things, in addition to your treasured notes, that I wanted to talk to you about today, but time is up! So I will get to the fun part of this scatterbrained offering, this anti-essay that ran away to that curious "Just around the corner" place...

The G I V E A W A Y !

 In thanks for reading this French word journal, I want to offer you the chance to win a little treasure! The trésor is currently a secret, but here's a hint: anyone would love it: young or "wizened", man or woman. If you like French antiques, you'll love this historic memento, one from my collection... one I adore and would love to offer you!

You might frame the antique... or wear it (making an eccentric necklace or an avant-garde pin?); you could put it in a glass box or make a whimsical collage.... You could carry it around in your pocket as a lucky charm or use it to mark a page in a book (never mind the bulk!). It could make a cool paper weight... though you might have to tie an extra something to it.

To win this antique simply leave a greeting here, in the comments box, along with your city. Example:  "Hola from Jules in Puerto Vallarta!" 

 I will post the winner's name on Friday. No matter where you live in the world, you may enter the giveaway, by leaving a comment here. (Sorry, but no comments via email).

French Vocabulary 
(section under construction... please check back!) 

 la page blanche = "the white page" or "le blocage de l'écrivain" (writer's block)

l'embarras du choix = a great variety of choices, an embarrassing number of choices

la terrasse = a paved area (sidewalk) or patio

quel dilemme = what a dilemma

encore une fois = then again

assistant(e) = assistant

du vin = some wine

des fleurs = some flowers

oui, il a réussi le code = yes, he passed the driver's exam

le trésor = treasure


Alison Johnston2

I had a good tchatche, or chat, with artist, fiddler, and writer, Alison, who lives part of the year in the postcard pretty village of Sauve. Photo taken by Jackie Espinasse.

A Message from KristiOngoing support from readers like you keeps me writing and publishing this free language journal each week. If you find joy or value in these stories and would like to keep this site going, donating today will help so much. Thank you for being a part of this community and helping me to maintain this site and its newsletter.

Ways to contribute:
1.Zelle®, The best way to donate and there are no transaction fees. Zelle to [email protected]

2.Paypal or credit card
Or purchase my book for a friend and so help them discover this free weekly journal.
For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


Hello from Lambesc. What's with the wind today?

Betty Gleason

Best wishes from Hobe Sound, FL at 59° Sounds like life is just humming along. Enjoy!


Hello from Durham, NC. Warming to 62 here. How is the weather in Provence?

Patricia Rafalko

Bon jour from Toms River NJ...

Dottie Bennett

Bonjour de Pell City, Alabama près de Birmingham. Il pleut ici!

Shane Cook

Bonjour/Hello from Austin, Texas!

Pamela McGrath Solomon

Greetings and bonjour from Long Island, New York!


Greetings from Wayne, New Jersey, USA on a foggy morning.

Tim Averill

Hello from Beverly, MA from Tim and Lauren Averill, both Lunatiques in our own right!

Dale Birdoff

Bonjour Kristin! I'm writing from Bethesda, Maryland...but my heart is toujours en Provence.


Hello and best wishes from Cape Town, South Africa.

Noel Smith Katz

Bonjour de Sidi Bou Said, Tunis, Tunisie

Josee Fauteux

Bonjour en direct de Princeton, New Jersey.

Mary Mumbrue

My name is Mary. Greetings from Evanston, Illinois.


Bonjour from Angela in Sussex,England.
The snow has finally gone - it's a grey day but spring is coming!
Glad to see you looking great Kristin.

Leena Jaanimagi

I always look forward to your e-mails - always been a Francophile. Thanks from Hamilton, Canada.

Robin Wood

Bonjour Kristin,
Je suis à Londres, Angleterre où il fait beau aujourd’hui


Bonjour from Vanessa in Lausanne, Switzerland. Je suis americaine, mais maintenant, j'habite en Suisse Romandie! I love learning French with your word-of-the-day emails! :)

Patrine Baptist

G'day from Adelaide,Australia....and Namaste because I am an Indian migrant.

Iulia Dumitru

Hello from Cologne, Germany!

Elaine Griffin

Bonjour from rainy Pittsburgh, PA

Diana Morais

Bonjour de Afrique du Sud! I have recently started learning French and am loving your blog!


Hello Kristin! It's a quiet morning here in Western Springs, IL - just west of Chicago.


Hello from the village of Clair, New Brunswick, Canada! Bonjour du village de Clair, Nouveau-Brunswick, au Canada!


Hello from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the land of Carnaval!!!!
:-) bisous,

Sylvia Duckworth

Hello Kristin, from Sylvia in Toronto, Canada. I love your blog... your life is my fantasy!

Tom Powell

Bonjour from Albemarle County, Virginia, and thank you for this marvelous thrice-weekly visit to France!

Ruth Fuchs Hallett

Bonjour de New York, "la grosse pomme," la ville qui ne dort jamais.

David Falcone

Bonjour from Philadelphia, Pa.

Marika Ujvari

Greetings, Kristi, from Windsor, Colorado!
When my morning starts with your blog, I go through the whole day with a smile on my face. I love to read your stories!


Hello from Beaverton, Oregon!

ann marie bercy

Hello from New Castle, Delaware

Bill Honan

Bonjour Kristen from Bill in Annapolis, Maryland


Hi Kristin,

My 17 year old, Lauchlin, just completed his driver training and now has his license...wierd to see him drive out of our driveway alone!!
xoedie from Halifax, Nova Scotia

p.s. come visit!!

Kathy Kern

Bonjour from Glenside PA.
Love your blog!

Marion Bown

Bonjour and hello from Austin, Texas!

Alice Evans

Hello from sunny Sydney! Alice


Hello from Pittsburgh, PA!


Bonjour from Toulouse. We are recent American transplants and I have great fun testing mon mari's french by using some of the phrases you introduce. And my children constantly correct my pronunciation . Also mon atelier des langue has enjoyed reading your pieces. -- Paula

Anita Schaab

Bonjour from Oak Park, Illinois!
Truly enjoying your words and thoughts!

Jan Leavey

Salut from Jan in Manchester, England!

Dana Strout

Salut from Camden, Maine, USA. Where the mountains meet the sea!

Deanna K. Douglas

Bonjour from Deanna in Washington, D.C. Je voudrais vous remercier pour votre blog extraordinaire.

BarbarA Bilder from Brittany

Bonjour from Dinan in beautiful Bretagne.

Rick Macemon

Bonjour, CaVa? from Rick in the Hollar - Smithville, TN (just south of Nashville)

Leyna Ely

Bonjour from Columbia, South Carolina! Thank you so much for sharing your experiences and photos with us!


Hello Kristin from sunny Melbourne, the world's most liveable city!

Elaine Rysner

Greetings from Evanston, Illinois from a Grandmother of four who began French studies 27 years ago and continues to this day! I'm now part of a delightful group that meets once a week just for the pleasure of speaking French.


Bonjour from West Simsbury,CT. I am a new subscriber -adore yor site and your books. Bon courage!


Bonjour, de Washington, D.C. Ca Marche?

Barry Stein

Greeting from Albany NY. It is a very strange winter indeed here in northeast US. No snow!

Maxine Tomashefsky

Hello from Lincoln,England. Originally from Southern California, USA. I Love Your Blog:-)
We are looking to move to France in the next year maybe we can visit you on our property search.


Salut from Portland, Maine and the French classes of Portland High School. In class this week we're learning Joe Dassin's Aux Champs Elysées, featuring your very word of the day! (...deux amoureux, tout étourdis...)
Bonne journée à tous.

Paul Blackburn

Hello from Johannesburg, South Africa

Kathy Shearer

Bonjour, Kristen, from Emory, Virginia. I enjoy your musings as well as the lesson. From a fellow writer.


Bonjour from Strafford, Pennsylvania.
I so enjoy your pictures and stories. Thank you for sharing a little bit of your life in France with us.

David Jacobs

Hello Kristen, from Santa Clara, California! So glad to hear you are recovering well, and such a blessing to have that much email from your fans!

Diane Rincones Hess

HI! Y'All from the sweet town of Aiken,South Carolina home of the largest urban forest in the USA.


Bonjour du village Vero Beach, Florida. Love your column!
Be well. Harlie

Liane Sperlich

Salut from liane in Tacoma

Bob Irwin

Hello from Dallas, home of Air Liquide Electronics US.


Bonjour from Simsbury , Conecticut.

Robyn in Strasbourg

Bonjour from Robyn in Strasbourg, originally from LA!! I love your stories and of course your beautiful pictures. And since I married a French man and am expecting a baby, my mom has enrolled in French classes. So I bought her your book to learn some new words & phrases :-) Thanks for sharing your life with all of us online!!


Bonjour from Lebanon NH, USA

Anne Boykin

Hello from Newnan, Georgia, United States!

Maureen Carmody

Hi there from the Emerald Isle, Ireland, Collinstown, Mullingar in the Irish Lakelands.

Sarah Browne

Bonjour! Thanks for all of the help your emails have provided in boosting my vocab :) Sarah Browne, currently in Bulkington, UK but excitedly in the process of relocating to Annecy, France! Wishing you a speedy recovery x

Joan Zehm

Hello from Maine USA . Have a gay
day. Joan Zehm

Julie from Edinburgh

Bonjour Kristin - you look a million dollars - so glad you are on the mend. Gros bisous from Julie in Sunny Edinburgh Scotland

Thomas Rabalais

Bon Jour a la Shreveport, Louisiane.

Carol Pratt

Bon jour Kristin! Je suis en Irlande maintenant, mais j'habite en Eugene, Oregon pendant plus de cinquante ans.

Doreen Sharabati

Bonjour Kristin, from sunny (and warm) Ft. Lauderdale, FL. You're amazing!!

Cheryl Hilton

Bonjour à partir de~Traverse City, Michigan

Katie Dyer

Bonjour a la parte de Katie de Lower Macungie, PA

Jim Lesser

Hello from Jim in Hightstown, New Jersey.

Phoebe L.

Hi from Phoebe in Melbourne, Australia :)
Your posts are always very interesting, and I really like the pictures you post!


Hello from Nashville, Tennessee. Every one of your posts is a lovely gift. Thank you

Deborah Carter

Salut Kristin! Greetings from Melbourne Australia, where it has been 38C today and is still a hot, humid night! What a far reaching mix of addresses you have received! Everyone values your mix of warm anecdotes, family life and frenchy tales!

Marianne Porteus

Bonjour from the "Big Apple", NYC!

Tonya McNair

Hello!!...from Little Rock, Arkansas...How do zeez people write you at 1:32 pm from Ft. Lauderdale FL when it's just now 6:34 AM CST in Little Rock, AR??
How do we enter to win an antique? I'm flying to Paris on April 20. Does that give me a leg-up?? LOL. You are such an inspiration!! I work an hourly job and am squeezing out enough to get over there for a week!! YeeeeeHaaaaa! Thank you so much for what you share with us!!


Bonjour from a warm and sunny St. Pete, Florida. But my barge/peniche is sitting in the icy canal in Toul, France.

Rob Fox

Bonjour de Rob Fox, Tiburon, CA

Carol Howard

Bonjour from Carol in Baltimore (who would rather be in Paris).


Hello from Concord Massachusetts (west of Boston)!


Hello from Houston, Texas in the USA... But I would rather be in a lavender field somewhere in Provence or sipping tea at a charming outdoor cafe in Vauvenaurges....


Bonjour Kristin! Rhiannon - London/Carcassonne

Megan Davies Thomson

Hello! Bonjour! Salut! Christine... so lovely to see your beautiful face again looking so well healed. I had been worrying about you ever since I saw and read about your first operation. Bon courage and speedy healing again this second time around.
For your competition, I am an antique Kiwi (or is that antiquated(?)) reporting in from the Loir et Cher (Dept 41) and I do so enjoy your emails/website so please keep up the good work. Merci beaucoup.


Slàinte mhath! from Perth, Scotland - where it is a beautiful sunny afternoon.


Bonjour from Lauderdale-by-the-Sea FL

Lorri Murray

Hello from New Orleans, Louisiana where we are in full swing celebrating Mardi Gras!


Kathy Nieder

Bonjour...Salut...Buenos Kathy à Louisville, KY

Irene Sietmann

Hello Kristin from Irene in Rochester, New York. It's so nice to get your stories from France. They serve as a much needed glimpse of Europe for me when I can't be there.

Alynn Snyder

Bonjour from an 80 year old fan in sunny Ormond Beach, FL

Laurel Moranz

Bonjour Kristin! Laurel---Skaneateles, New York


hello From Ireland

Robyn France

Salut from Winston-Salem, NC--always love your sense of humor and self-doubt --so honest and true.

Cynthia Perryman

Hello from Atlanta, Georgia, where it is 17 degrees one morning and 60 the next!

Really enjoy your writing and glad all is well ! Since I am a painter (mostly scenes and people of France), I love your photography, too. I also import antiques from France, so I am now intrigued by your "surpris".

Tracy Snyder

Hello from Tracy in Wichita, Kansas USA!

Shobha Varthaman

namaste from Shobha, India.

Michelle Taylor

Bonjour de Michelle, Kincardine, Ontario, Canada! C'est évident que tu as beaucoup d'amis, partout dans le monde!!!

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)