Popsicle chairs (c) Kristin Espinasse
Summertime in the seaside town of Cassis. Don't these chairs look like fruity popsicle flavors (that is, if flavor could be visible to the eye)? Grape, blueberry, citron vert, melon, framboise....

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juilletiste (jwee-ay-teest) m&f

    : a July vacationer

Audio file: Listen to Jean-Marc read this definition: Download MP3 or listen to Wav file

Un juilletiste c'est quelqu'un qui prend ses vacances au mois de Juillet, et un aoutien c'est quelqu'un qui prend ses vacances au mois d'Août. A juilletiste is someone who goes on vacation in July, and an aoutien is someone who goes on vacation in August.


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

Today, instead of a story, here is a list for you. I hope you'll respond by answering some of the questions that follow each item. Merci beaucoup!

Currently reading: La Bête Humaine. I am cheating, reading Zola's story in English. So far I prefer his L'Assommoiror even his Joy of Life—to his novel The Beast Within, but I'm sticking with the story, which is said to be one of his best (Germinal is also recommended... wondering if I should have ordered that one instead?) P.S. I'm no "classics expert". I just enjoy the way Zola writes about human nature.

    => Tell us what you've read lately or recommend a book. Click here.

A "compliment" I received the other day (by a friend of my daughter's): "C'était bon! Tu cuisines mieux qu'avant!" (It was good. You cook better than you used too!).

    => What is an accidental insult you once received? Share it here.

Eating more of this: salade de pommes de terre 

    =>I'd love to know your favorite ingredient in potato salad... I hope to improve my own! Pickles, celery, red pepper? Any tips for potato salad dressing?

During a recent conversation with Mom: "I'm your mother. You can tell me anything!"

    => Who can you tell anything to? Who do you go to to unburden your heart? Click here.

Summer staple: les shorts en jean. Last year it was khakis, the year before that I wore a white knee-length peasant skirt all summer long, changing tops according to the mood.

    => What is your summer staple? 

New favorite pastime: watching documentaries on YouTube! I loved this Indian video on terrace vegetable gardening (could not understand a word, but was inspired all the same!). Update: I just discovered the subtitles and will be watching this one again.

=> Please recommend a documentary.

=> P.S. you might enjoy this inspiring story of an American urban homestead.  One commenter wrote that the ability to grow one's own food might be more valuable, in the future, than an MBA! Do you agree or disagree with that statement? Comment here.

Recent day trip: to a beach in Saintes Maries de la Mer. Looking around the beach, where there were more topless women than usual, I commented to my friend, Suzanne, that we were the only ones wearing a one piece. Suzanne corrected me: she herself was wearing a tankini

    => Every felt the odd one out? Where were you at the time? Click here.

Latest nag: (to husband): "Please cover up the plate when you put leftovers in the fridge! Less moisture loss!  Fewer odors!"

    => Do your family members stick stuff in the fridge like this? Or is it a French thing? Share here.

Getting a kick out of: the tomato plant that is growing out of our compost bin! Will it produce tomatoes now that it has produced little yellow flowerettes?

    => Do you make compost, or black gold? 

Yesterday's dog mischief: while out on a walk with the dogs through the vineyard, we surprised a family of quails. The mama and her chicks scampered off in every direction, effectively throwing Smokey and Braise off track! I can still hear Smokey, "Which way did he go? Which way did he go?" 

Best Kept Secret: It's true, we've been keeping a very big secret from you (!). Enough said. Stay tuned.... (You may have to wait a few weeks or a few years.... but I will let you know as soon as I can! The gag order is torturing me! The waiting is even more torturous!)

Déja Vu -- you too? Do you ever catch yourself existing in the same moment as yesterday and the day before and the day before that? I'll never forget lying in my bed each night, in a studio apartment in Aix-en-Provence, staring at the intricate shadows cast across the ceiling.  Night after night, there I was again—my eyes tracing, or studying, the same designs from above.  22 years later, and it is the same phenomenon of "I know this moment, it's the same every day. Here I am again, in this exact position!" 

    => Do you ever catch yourself in the "same place same position" twilight kind of zone? And do you ever feel a little creeped out about it? As if such moments were the mileposts in one's life span?


 To respond to any of the questions or thoughts in this post, thanks for clicking here!

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Really enjoying our weekly wine-tastings, which spice up a very regular routine here at the vineyard! Speaking of spice, it was hot-hot-hot the day this picture was taken. From left to right, the glowing cheeks belong to: Charlene, Judy, Karen, and me. P.S. the next wine-tastings are July 16th (4pm) and July 24th (5pm). Leave a message in the comments box if you would like to join us!

Grammar notes and more

Several readers wrote in about the musée mistake (musée, it turns out, is masculine.) Just goes to show that each time I think I've learned a grammar rule (i.e.: words ending with "e" are usually feminine) one of those famous French exceptions pops up! 

Jim Herlan's email was especially helpful. Here it is along with a good tip:

 I believe that "musée" is masculine.  Thus, "le musée."  A good general rule is: English words with Latin roots that end in -um are masculine in French, as in "museum" or "le musée,"

Yoga Harvest. See photos from our 2010 harvest:

Laundry Harvest -- and don't miss the "corvée" or "chore" post, with funny pics from our 2010 harvest  


Can you guess which one is Smokey (those ears are a giveaway). What is Mama Braise saying? "Son..."

Forward this edition to a juilletiste--or to anyone who could use some armchair travel!


A Message from Kristi on this blog's 19th anniversary
Thank you for reading this language journal. In 2002 I left my job at a vineyard and became self-employed in France. "French Word-A-Day" has been my full-time occupation ever since. Ongoing support from readers like you helps keep this site ad-free and allows me to focus on writing. My wish is to continue creating posts that are educational, insightful, and heart-warming. If my work has touched you in any way, please consider supporting it via a blog donation.

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