Un feuilleton: French for soap opera + recipe for Pumpkin-Ginger soup
Things to Do in Paris - 2013

Un meli-melo - a collection of miscellany, hodgepodge

Wildflowers (c) Kristin Espinasse
That's Mama Braise and she's got two wildflowers just for you. Do you know what kind they are? Reaching my ankle, they are low to the ground (unlike poppies, which would have been my guess... ) Click here to classify this fleur sauvage in the comments box.

un méli-mélo (may-lee-may-loh) 

    : a collection of miscellany; mishmash, hodgepodge
    : chaos; muddle

Cool! While researching the French word méli-mélo, I learned a neat English word: farrago = "a confused mixture" (and a good name for my wardrobe.... more on that at the end of this page)

Audio File: Listen to today's word and the following examples: Download MP3 or Wav file

méli-mélo de la mer = seafood platter
méli-mélo de légumes = an assortment of vegetables
feuilleton mélo (mélodrama) = a soap opera 

Aujourd'hui un méli-mélo de choses à partager avec vous. Today a mishmash of things to share with you:


Chaussettes (c) Kristin Espinasse
The white tights I wore to my wedding were as sexy as socks. I'm still trying to avoid French fashion "don'ts" or fautes à ne pas commettre. Meantime God gave me a French daughter--and budding styliste (stee-leest)--who helps when she can.

P.S. If you are new to French Word-A-Day and enjoy reading about life in France, you won't want to miss my wedding story... and the surprising female guest that Jean-Marc invited. Read it for free, here. (The story also appears in the book Blossoming in Provence)little cabanon in the back (c) Kristin Espinasse

Irises? Lilies? Two patches of these purple beauties have bloomed next to the stone cabanon, above the oliveraie. Spring is near... To comment, click here.

Jean-Marc will kick off his USA Wine Tour in March!  Click here for more info and to see what other cities he'll visit.  

Pronounce It Perfectly in French - with exercises in sound discrimination and accurate sound creation. Order your copy here.

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.

Ruth Fuchs Hallett

They look like anemonies.

Eileen - Charlottesville, VA

Hi Kristin,
I like this word méli-mélo. We have alot of that going on sometimes at our house.
I enjoyed clicking back to the story - petite amie - I would have had a bouncer at the church door to bounce her right out of there!
I love the picture of you and Smokey by the water! The color of the water is gorgeous! The flowers in the photo, are they wild roses?
Thanks and have a nice weekend!



Pat Cargill

Love seeing views of your new home-more, please! Crocuses have been popping up everywhere around here, and one of the best parts of recent days was cleaning leaves out of the water garden on a warm afternoon. Spring is coming! Woohoo!


Balloon flowers?

Fleur de Lisa

How beautiful Kristin !Must be Hydrangea bush (Hortensia) ~ glorious poof pom poms of flower heads. The flowers color is arrived and determined by the relative acidity of the soil. Your lovely blueish poofs are due to an acidic soil (pH below 6) - flower color closer to blue. They are even lovely to keep as dried poofs! Warm regards salutations à vous tous ! ~L

Lynne Penny

Hi Kristin, Pretty sure the flowers are anemonies.

Kristin Espinasse

Ruth and Lynne, that is just the term I was looking for: anemonies - or anemones. Now that I have the term I could look it up, and indeed these fit what I am seeing:

Eileen, thanks for taking the time to visit those posts and to comment on them!

Maryli and Pat, your note reminds me that crocuses would be good to plant, too. Enjoy yours!

Louise, I had to look up balloon flowers. What a funny and delightful term!

Fleur de Lisa, we had hydrangeas or hortensias when we lived in Les Arcs, but these in the picture are something else. I will need to get a close-up shot for you. Thanks for the info.

Sophie Day

Yes, anemonies, as the first commenter noted. Thank you for the pumpkin recipe. It will be perfect for the upcoming snowy weekend in New England. As for your picture of the sentier, you live in a beautiful place with a beautiful chien!

April Lane

The little cove where you and your doggie went for a walk looks so idyllic. Is it private? If I am blessed enough to ever return to the south of France, I want to explore some of the smaller coastal villages and less populated areas...just like the picture you shared. Thanks so much for these peeks into a much nicer "vie". :)

susan standke

looks like a beautiful ranunculus to me!!!!!!!susan


Hi Kristin,
I so love this blog, you are such an inspiring person. I always look forward to reading it, as it brightens my day! I wish that we had flowers blooming now but we have a foot of snow on the ground and expecting more. This is winter in central New York. I do love the beauty of the snow though.
I've been looking for a word like un meli-melo. I'm putting together a French gift basket to be raffled off for our animal rescue sanctuary. I've included a copy of your book, Blossoming in Provence. I love your writing style and your honesty. ( I'm looking forward to reading your new book.) The gift basket has soap, books, sachets, chocolate, etc. Would un meli-melo be the right word to use under the title of the basket?
I also love the pictures and stories of your puppy-dogs. They always make me smile.

Kristin Espinasse

Thank you, Mary! I appreciate your adding my book to the pastiche of presents. Hmmm.... pastiche? méli-mélo? mélange? Can anyone help find a word for a delightful assortment in a basket? Then again, having another look at the examples (méli-mélo de légumes, méli-mélo de la mer) I would say go for it: méli-mélo de cadeaux!

Cate Salenger

They look like anemonies to me! Not sure of the spelling, however.

Bettye Dew

I printed a copy of your "Dog Therapy" post to use in a class I plan to teach on writing personal essays. It's a wonderful example of how an everyday activity like walking a dog can incorporate so much: setting, characters, dialogue, personal reflection, and, in this case, vocabulary instruction. Thanks for your beautifully written essay.

Lynne Storm

Hi Kristin, This is my first comment even though I have been monitoring you wonderful blog for a long time. The big blue flowers next to the cabanon look to be Iris. It is time for them to bloom and much too early for hydrangeas anyway. Your writing is generous and brave and I enjoy it very much even though my french doesn't really get all that much better. I need to come to France and STAY for a while. That should do the trick. Best wishes, Lynne S. in Austin,Texas

Edie Schmidt


What a lovely spot for walking and a nice shot of you and Smokey. It may be a dog's life, but he looks happy to me!

Edie from Savannah

* I gave an attractive and interesting book on French cooking with herbs that I saw on your site to one of my sisters for Christmas. She's enjoying trying some of the recipies.

Donna Bender

Hello, Kristin - I became a member of your French-Word-A-Day mailing list on June 27, 2005. I have enjoyed all of your stories and watching your children grow. You are a wonderful and entertaining writer and have opened up the beautiful country of France to me. I fell in love with France on my first and only trip there in Sept. 2004, and you have enabled me to continue the romance. I shall return someday soon, with a (hopefully) much better vocabulary than I had on the first trip, thanks to your French lessons. Merci beaucoup pour le mot du jour. Je l'apprécie. Très cordialement, Donna Bender

joie in carmel

Hi Kristi,
Meli-melo, that is going to climb right up there with another favorite of mine you put up last year.....ceci et cela. Could these two be interchanged? This and that/hodgepodge?

Bonnie P.

Blooming this early before Easter, they're probably Lenten Roses (Hellibore). Here in Colorado they're one of our first signs of re-birth of the garden:)


Hi Kristen,
Meli-melo de cadeaux----perfect!
Merci beaucoup,

Julia ~ Falling Off Bicycles

Wow! So envious you have flowers blooming! I saw my first crocuses on Wednesday, then Thursday we got a foot of snow. Looking forward to bright colors and SPRING soon.

Enjoy, Kristin! xo

Bill Facker

Attention! There's no doubt about the flowers .. those are most definitely the dreaded Purple Ankle Snapper ... and, if my eyes do not deceive me, the particular variety in your photo is the most dangerous of all, complete with fangs and venom. Please, please be on guard for the safety of your family and the puppies, Kristin! They do have a wonderful aroma, however ... :-)

Young Paciello

Kristin - Yup, they are definitely anémones. When I went to Israel 1n 1987, they were covering the hills where Jesus preached 'the sermon on the mount' and were referred to as 'the lilies of the field'.


The flowers are...pretty!

Kristin Espinasse

Bill Facker, LOL. I will be on guard lest the Purple Ankle Snapper attack!

Thank you all for taking the time to comment or to read the comments. I enjoy every word you type into this box. Merci encore!

Judi Dunn

Dear Kristin... Your story of the 'other woman' was funny and touching! fifty-two years ago I was in the same situation as you when we married, as I had been 'coup de foudre' when I first spotted my intended at college in NYC! Here we are, 2 children later , one 50 and one 39! We just celebrated our 52nd Anniversary on Feb. 4th! May you and Jean-Marc spend pmay happy years together... Best wishes, Judi Dunn, Tallahassee, Fl.


Our dear Kristi,
Another wonderful post and gorgeous pictures!Not only your beautiful home (Braise!Smokey!)but I can almost enjoy the flowers' fragrance from here(!) They absolutely fill me with Spring.Such a wonderful time of year!Especially to be sharing together,near and far!
Your belle-mere's Pumpkin Ginger Soup is absolute heaven.Am off to Whole Foods to get the ingredients and make it for supper tonight.
Kristi, two (of what I think are) really helpful ways to learn (and brush up on) French are Yabla, and Bien Dire magazine (with the audio). I learned of them thanks to you! You had mentioned them on your blog and they have helped me immensely.
Each one of your posts is just a breath of fresh air and never fails to fill us with smiles.(AND is always something to look forward to!)
What a super way to start the weekend!
Love, Natalia XO


Kristin, I smiled reading your big-surprise story about A Who attended your wedding.. :-) .. and a comment above about a reader "inviting a bouncer to the door of her wedding." :-)

Well, to me it showed how DONE he, your husband, had been with her! To me it means -- he was DONE-DONE at that point! Soo, done :-) that he had even invited her to the wedding.

I would not have been upset, I would have seen this gesture as a sign of total and mutual reconciliation between them. After all, and after being our ex-s, most of them are still normal, or even very-very good people some folks may even prefer to keep a FRIENDLY and occasional contact for years after. I see it as perfectly ligit.

Wonder what others may wish to say at this point?


.. oh, sorry, I meant LEGIT.

Debbie Swanbrow-Quenaudon

I am wondering if it is a native flower. It doesn't look like one based on my quick check at the link below.


Maybe it's a special hybrid balloon flower but it has too many petal/layers, like a rose. That's why it makes me think of a poppy...but not with that color. I'm curious and stumped. love to know, but as always, I love your "oh so personalized" writings. You are a highlight in my day. Gros bisous à Smokey!


Coucou Kristin: je suis une revenante. J'espère que tout s'est bien passé pour la tribu Espinasse. J'ai loupé tes plusieurs anecdotes, car j'ai eu mal aux yeux et je ne pouvais pas lire de longs textes. Je reviens pour te dire combien tout ça m'a manqué.




My guess: ranuculus. :D


Oh no - did you change the feedburner settings because after so many years, your message is not showing up in my email, just one or two sentences and a continue reading on the web link. =\

Vera Marie Badertscher

Love the expression meli-melo. I thought when I saw it, that it was going to have something to do with honey, but then I was probably thinking of Greek. They have an expression (not sure if I'm spelling it correctly) etsy-ketsy (or itsy-kitsy) that means, approximately what we mean when we hold a hand out, palm down, and waggle it back and forth--"like this-like that".

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.)