alerte meteo
to come undone

objet-trouve - see what's been found in today's edition!

book cover, sheep, france, (c) Kristin Espinasse
Lost sheep are just one of the things I've found lately (this was a cover I did for a book, whose title was changed to Wish, Prune, Pray: Spirited away to a Wine Farm in Provence. I eventually printed the book, but lost the sheep photo. Then I quit printing the book and found the sheep photo. More about the book some other time, today I talk about a more precious finding...)

objet-trouvé (owb-zhay-troo-vay)

    found object, found art

HulstonExclusive French made clothes now available to purchase on-line. Thomas Hulston Collections.

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

Ever since our kids were little, I've tried to get them to record the words for this French language journal. It's a hit or miss proposition and usually their father, who is also Francophone, ends up speaking into the microphone.

One of the treasures I have today is an archive of their innocent voices as they sometimes struggle to pronounce their native language (yes, even my husband struggles at times. So don't feel so bad about your own efforts!).

I didn't get as many enregistrements as I would have liked to, when the kids were younger, meaning the sound bits I do have are all the more valuable to me.  So when I realized, several months ago, that one of my favorite pieces had been lost to cyberspace, I was sick with grief. I had lost Max's recording of the beloved and inspiring poem by Rudyard Kipling. (At 10-years-old, he had recited the French translation by André Maurois!) 

Zut de zut! (Zewt-deuh-zewt, or "rats!") It was my fault for transferring the file to another web domain. (I had used one of those URL shortening sites, whose specialty it is to take a long browser link and cut it down.) This way I could post a shorter link in my blog, as well as track the number of times the link was clicked.

Live and learn, or, as the French say vivre et apprendre. I let go of the loss and the pinching regret, and continued to fine-tune my blog, nurturing it with new stories and polishing the old ones in my archives.

While working on a collection of stories, I happened on the poem again. Quel dommage, I thought, as I glanced at the page. And then I saw something I had not noticed before. There, to the side, was the original link... The recording had been there all along, I just had not seen it!

I got to thinking, isn't that how it is with so many things--and, even more profoundly, with people? How many times have we thought we have lost something, only to discover it has been there all along?  

To comment on today's word or story, or to read the comments, click here.

French and English version of Rudyard Kipling's poem + Sound file! 
Practice your French and French pronunciation: listen to Max's recording of the famous poem click here

  books Kristin Espinasse

 Here are some other books, published since 2003. Blossoming in Provence is missing from this collection, so is another called Pear Portraits.... Click to enlarge the photo. The book in the upper-left was my first. It was no thicker than a brochure, but it was a book to me.

book pear basket amour en cage chinese lantern (c) Kristin Espinasse
This book wins the shortest print run. Only two copies! The book was the result of our first auction at French Word-A-Day (in 2008, for one of Mom's paintings). Long time reader, Diane, had the winning bid. I sent her a framed painting of "Pear", and made a hardbound book of the exciting auction to sell my mom's painting.

To comment on this post, click here.


A Message from KristiOngoing support from readers like you keeps me writing and publishing this free language journal week after week. If you find value in this website and would like to keep it going strong, I kindly ask for your support by making a donation today. Thank you very much for being a part of this community and helping me to maintain this site and its newsletter.

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


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Beautiful cover. So serene.
Two year's ago my husband died of acute leukemia- five weeks after diagnosis. Other widow friends shared their coping skills with me, for which I am eternally grateful. A colleague took her husband's wedding ring and had the jeweler shape it into a heart that she wears on a gold chain around her neck. I had similar plans for my husband's ring. I put it in my bedside table. Months later when I was ready to reshape our love, I looked for the ring; I couldn't find it- anywhere. Another loss. I grieved and berated myself. My children assured me that I COULDN'T ever LOSE his ring; surely I would find it. Last week as I was putting a tarnished silver pin into my jewelry cleaner I saw something sparkling in the bottom of the jar. La voila! la bague- shining as bright as a headlight. Les retrouvailles can be sweet.

Kristin Espinasse

Martha, what a beautiful story of your "retrouvaille". My own heart fluttered!

I love the idea of turning a loved-one's ring into a heart. My thoughts go out to you.

Robyn France

Beautiful story and beautiful comment. Isn't it wonderful how life has a habit of giving you a lift just when you are ready but no expecting it.

Kate O'Kula

A beautiful story, Martha. Such a gift.
And what a delight to hear the found poem read by Max as a child. It is almost dawn this chilly October day, my cat is playing dog (she fetches), I have my coffee and the soft light of a candle. This is a found moment, for sure. My gratitude to you! Oh, and let's remember St. Anthony, patron of lost things or maybe better stated, patron of things found.

Tom B, Jersey City

What a beautiful story, Kristin, made even more so by Max's eloquent reading! Thank you!!


So glad you hadn't lost the sound clip. I've heard similar stories from friends about lost (really lost) photos or other precious digital items or computer crashes that wipe out all their data. So I say, "But you can get it/them back -- you do back up your files, right?" Almost always the answer has been, "No."

It's a very expensive project having computer data recovered, so at a minimum it's worth backing up to an external hard drive once a week. But much better, safer, and easier is to subscribe to an online service like Dropbox or Mozy or any of a number of others. Your files are automatically backed up every time you work on them. If you have more than one computer the files are synchronized, so if you change a file on one computer the changed file is synched to the other computers. If you accidentally delete a file you can (in Dropbox, which use these days) still get it back for a certain period of time. The services are easy to set up, and once you've done that you can forget about them.

End of lecture!

Sarah LaBelle near Chicago

I remember that you made a link to that story not so long ago as 2006, when I had not yet found your blog. It is fantastic that you still had the file of your son reading the poem!

Today, like the first time I saw it in French, I read it myself, then listened to your son read it. Fantastique !

Make the ring into a pendant, now that is an idea I might use.

Thanks for the notion.

Linda R.

Good morning, Kristin. I remember Max's original reading and thinking at the time how beautiful it was. I will go into today's story and listen again and surely smile. Thank you for sharing.

Kathleen from Connecticut

Kristin ,

I just listened to Max reading the poem . It was wonderful and I'mso glad that you were able to find it.
Sometimes things are right in front of us and we just don't see them or they are so obvious that we over look them.
Here in Connecticut, the leaves are changing into their majestic colors and slowly blanketing the ground, only to be blown away for the long winter.


Nancy, San Antonio, Texas

I love starting my day reading your post with my coffee. You always seem to relay a heartfelt/universal idea. Recovering, reclaiming, finding - cleaning out the baggage and finding a part of ourselves that we thought was long gone. It is a wonderful feeling. Your recording of Max is so moving - that precious young voice. So glad you found it. Hope you are having a wonderful day.

Joanie Clark

I love the cover of the book. As always you show us what a remarkable eye you have for lovely things.
My precious son died four years ago from colon cancer and there are still, and will always be, days when I think my heart will break when I remember certain things about him. The other day I was berating myself and wondering if I really had been a good mother and provided all that was important in his life. While cleaning the garage I found a small plastic box that I had placed in a very safe place. When I opened it I found letters he had written when he served a mission in Argentina, 20 years ago, for our church. All of the letters were still in thier envelopes except for one. This letter was laying open and in it he expressed his sweet love for me and his sisters and what a wonderful life he had been blessed with. Tender mercies!!

Ginny Bear

After all the beautiful previous comments I feel kind of out of place, but I have a question about French pronunciation. It's not surprising that we native speakers of other languages have difficulties with French pronunciation, but I'm wondering why both your son and husband sometimes "struggle" to pronounce their own language. Is it because of dialect differences, disconnects between spelling and pronunciation, or what? Thanks!

Kristin Espinasse

Kate, your found moment was peaceful for me, too. Thanks!

Passante, excellent reminder about the backup possibilities. We were lucky to have a local student help us retrieve all the info off an old computer of mine that had smoked up (then died!) after storm and electricity malfunction. Thankfully, Maxs file was save on my blog.

Joanie, thank you for sharing your son with us. So happy you saw his letter.

Thank you all for the kind wishes. My turn to wish you a lovely day. 


Our dear Kristi,
What a beautiful and inspiring post today!And that gorgeous cover!
Things have been rather topsy turvey at our
house, and your gifted words filled me with needed inner peace.
Love, Natalia XO

Kristin Espinasse

Chère Natalia, Sending positive thoughts your way. Hang in there and know that many of us reading your note are thinking of you. XOXO

Judith, now that is a treasured recording!

Cynthia Lewis (Eastern Shore of Maryland)

Thanks so much for your touching story today. I loved hearing Max's ten-year-old voice reciting "If": a very special poem.

I noticed that Judith Dunn's and Mary Jo Nairn's comments are posted with your 31 March 2006 FWAD where Max recites "If".

Amicalement, Cynthia

Diane Young

The cover of the book with sheep is lovely. So is the title. I like it much better than the successors. You have been a prolific writer for years now and always gift us with your blogs. Merci beaucoup!



I just listened to my precious MAX - what a treasure this audio is for me. I can now hear his sweet little puppy voice any time I want. I could cry it is so sweet. Thank you.

Loved your story too, they are all are a great writer.



Karen from Phoenix

Loved hearing Max's voice. Audio recordings are so wonderful. Can we get any of the older books.

xoxo Karen



I'm glad the recording of Max's voice wasn't lost after all. How sweet and poignant for you to be able to hear his 10-year-old voice again; as a parent of grown children I can well understand your concern over possibly losing the recording!


Jim Alsip

Kristin, it is obvious from the cover of your book in today's post that you already have much of the material and the photos available to act on my previous suggestion. Thus, I look forward to learning of your forthcoming publication in the very near future :-)

Faye Stampe, Gleneden Beach, OR

Thank you for sharing Max's sweet reading --- it was beautiful! And some of the comments were very moving & thoughtful.

I always enjoy your columns ---- thanks again!

Stay well!

Julie Farrar

As always, you make us stop and think with your post. It's late today and I'm watching my St. Louis Cardinals in the playoffs (win this on and on to the world series). However, I will make a note to think actively about something I feel I lost and look a little harder for it. And thanks for sharing Max reciting the poem. I think i was about his age when I memorized it myself.


Oh Martha,Me too.My husband died suddenly of a pulmonary thrombosis about the same time.I was living in the Northeast of the country,and 5 months later,moved to Nashville to be near my daughter and her family.
I was lucky to have so many reminders,but his glasses....did I lose them in the move? I too was despondent.Richard ALWAYS had them hanging around his neck..I stopped looking and the glasses came to me when least expected!
Thank you Kristin.You make my early morning coffee time so relaxing .Your poignant writing about important life matters blur the trivial .

Eileen deCamp

Hi Kristin,
I love the cover of the book and I love the framed display of your books! The recording of Max reading the poem is so sweet. I love your Mom's description "sweet little puppy voice". I was smiling while listening to his little boy voice!

Kristin Espinasse

Your messages really cheer me. Ironically, it is now I who has lost something-- the dogs ran off. I am sick about it, as now we live near cars and trains. After searching on foot and by car, still no sign. Please keep them Braise and Smokey in your thoughts and prayers.

Kristin Espinasse

Theyre back! Muddy, but back!


Hi Honey,

So sorry you had to go through ´Dog´s Dissapear Drama´... I love you Kristi.



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