la prise de conscience


"Another Cabanon" (c) Kristin Espinasse
Recently, while editing photos in Picasa (Google's free photo-editing software), I noticed they offered a newer version. After hitting the update button... I tried out a tool called "effet lomo" (lomo effect?). The result is seen above (I snapped the photo while driving to the dermatos the other day). Which photo editing software do you use? Thanks for sharing your answers here, in the comments box.

Come see our family vineyard! Visits are by appointment only... but don't let that formality scare you away! We would love to see you for one of our convivial wine tastings! If you plan to be in Provence, leave us a message here, in today's comments box, and we'll add you to one of our upcoming April, May, June, (...) get-togethers. Jean-Marc and I hope to see you one of these days!

contrarier (see sound file, below...)

1: to annoy
2. to frustrate, to thwart
3. to alternate
4. to force to write with one's right hand

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Audio File: listen to Jean-Marc read these French words: Download MP3 or Wav file

Quand j'ai vu que les chiens avaient creusé des trous dans le jardin, j'étais bien contrariée!
When I saw that the dogs had dug holes in the garden, I was very annoyed!

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

Everything's Coming Up Choses!

I think it was one of the plantes grasses--you know, those low-maintenance types, the kind you see on every mémé's window sill?--yes, I believe it was one of those that flowered first, sending out little yellow blossoms, fine as baby's breath, sassy as firecrackers!

Next, I discovered periwinkle-color coureurs beside the garden steps. The vinca had bloomed! and for the first time in the two years since Malou passed me the cuttings!

I knelt down beside the small scattering of flowers (there were one... two... trois!), appreciating the exact shade of blue, and giggling "Pervenche! Now I have pervenche, too!"

Buoyed by success, I waltzed over to one of the messy, unmade flower beds, where I discovered that Doreen's what's-her-names had flowered too! It now seemed safe to give that plant a name.... Madame Quelque Chose! Not only had Madame flowered, she had become fertile--in time to send out offspring! One of the "little springs" must have landed in the tiny crack beside the cellar door, where the seedling was now blossoming!

High on hope, feeling as invincible as the irises which were budding right alongside the rest, I might have floated blindly past the first bêtise... bêtise, to say the least--for the dogs had dug up 'The Eye's Feast'! (well, that's what we might have called them, those curly-leafed blossoming things for which the Latin name escapes me).

Speaking of escaping... there go the guilty ones! Smokey and Braise are now running like blazes to hide behind the Whaddayacallits (just what is the name of that bush? Oh, never mind. I've got work to do in the garden, beginning with a couple of very big holes to fill!). Quelle bêtise!

Post note: (or "turning trous into treasures"") I didn't stay ruffled for very long... but soon had an inspiration! One of those holes was the perfect size in which to plant the grand courge plant... it had been such a little courge plant when my friend Caroline carefully uprooted the seedling from her flower pot and gave it to me. And now a bright yellow flower has appeared! Beneath the blossom an olive-size pumpkin is growing! Off to tuck that one into the newly-dug you-know-what.

The Comments Corner

 To respond to anything in this post, click here. Hint: the comments corner is a great place to ask questions about French and life/travel in France. Your collective knowledge and helpful answers to each others' questions are appreciated!


French Vocabulary

la plante grasse = succulent

la mémé = grandmother

le coureur = runner

trois = three

la pervenche = periwinkle

la bêtise = bit of mischief

le trou = hole

la courge = squash


Smokey in the window...



In case you're feeling inspired to add a caption to this photo... please share it with us here, in the comments corner!


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LES PORTES TORDUES (The Twisted Doors): The Scariest Way in the World to Learn & Hear French! Mystery, vocab, grammar, Audio!

Kelly and nancy in oregon
At Corkscrew in Portland- Nancy, left, and Kelly on the right

David Wolff JoAnn Calfee Cindylee Giammona
David Wolff, JoAnn Calfee, Jean-Marc and Cindylee Giammona. Cindylee writes: 

Here at the wine bar, Corkscrew, miles from our home in Hawaii, my dose of France converged over clinking glasses of wine, tabled with two other women readers of your blog. We enjoyed the wine and atmosphere immensely. My disappointment to lose out on a bottle of the, sold out Lunatique, was replaced by my prize bottle of Mistral, as you can see by the smile on my face. Aloha and all the best, Cindylee


Do you have a photo from Chief Grape's wine tour? Or maybe you have a photo from your visit here at the family vineyard? Send it to me with a "permission to post" and I will share it here. Merci!


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