une lèvre (levr)
du bout des lèvres = half-heartedly
A Day in a French Life... by Kristin Espinasse
On Thursday Smokey and I were feeling inspired to film another video. It would be a good way to take the mind off Friday's dermato appointment (bad news, the new year will begin with more stitches...), and so we threw our collective energies into demonstration—a cake demonstration!
I dusted off the dining room table before setting out all of the ingredients for the traditional French gâteau au yaourt. Jean-Marc happened to be passing by, and his unexpected appearance made me nervous.
"Ça va la star?" As soon as he saw the video set up he couldn't help but poke fun at the self-styled présentatrice. And it didn't help things to be caught wrestling our handicapped dog up onto the dining chair.
"Oui, ça va," I said casually, grabbing Smokey's slippery legs and heaving my furry cohost up onto the seat only for him to come tumbling down on me once again.
Jean-Marc shook his head.
Never mind what he thinks. I'm going ahead with my project! And so what if my husband's presence is unsettling, this is a good opportunity to learn to block out all outward distractions! ...But first, I might put the outward distraction to work.
And so I had Jean-Marc hit the "record" button for me, seeing as it was several feet away from where I was sitting (admittedly on top of my cohost, should he slide off the set once again).
Jean-Marc did as I asked, only he couldn't help but try to frazzle me on his way out the door (stopping to wave at the camera and, in so doing, dispelling my concentration).
Never mind - just get on with it, I told myself. With the camera rolling, I grabbed the bottle of vegetable oil—as one would grab a baton—and I ran with it!
So much goes through the mind while the body tries to remain poised before a camera. As I cracked the eggs, their shells as stiff as my own exterior, I realized that seconds were elapsing without words. Say something! You've got to say something! I panicked.
"In France we have these beautiful brown eggs...."
After a bit more stammering I caught sight of my cohost, who was having a sudden attack of stage fright. Pausing to mollycoddle Smokey almost cost me the rest of my concentration, but soon we were back on track.
The video was finished before we knew it and I decided to go ahead and upload it for our Youtube subscribers, a modest number of viewers who might, if we were lucky, have a thing or two to say about my and Smokey's latest vlog effort.
But before uploading the clip, I stopped to review the footage and that's when I noticed how parts of it were unflattering. Specifically, there were a few "middle-aged moments" that made me cringe.
"There are some bad angles," I admitted to Jean-Marc. "I look a little old."
Jean-Marc smiled, "that's because you are old!"
His sourire broke the news to me softly, and though he was teasing I saw glimmers of truth and was surprised by the effect that truth had on me. I felt energized! No, I was not old, but I was no longer a young woman either. With this realization I could now begin to enjoy the freedom of not having to try to look like one.
"I'm posting the video!" I smiled and hurried to my room to upload it.
Only, once the video was live, it wasn't thinning skin or a slackening jaw that drew my attention, it was a bizarre puckering reflex that caught my eye. On viewing the footage I noticed how, every minute or so, my mouth would suddenly contort. I watched, amazed, as my lips screwed up and over to the side. It looked as if I were trying to suck something out from between my front teeth, something like chewing tobacco!
The ungraceful gesture taught me a thing or two about myself. One, no matter how much control we impose on our bodies to remain poised, there will always be a little unruly part of ourselves hell-bent on breaking free, and two, no more excuses about my bad French--with pucker lips like these, pronunciation ought to be a cinch.
Enjoy the video and thanks for your tips on how to improve!
The recipe for the yogurt cake is found here.
le dermato (dermatologue) = dermatologist
le gâteau au yaourt = yogurt cake
Ça va la star? = how's the starlet
la présentatrice = the show host
oui, ça va = yes, everything's fine
le sourire = smile
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For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety