Winetasting meetup + Three ways to say "spring fever"
peau de banane: soothes the skin, whitens teeth

See you at Monday's meet-up & How to say fingernail in French


No time to go into details about this week's blog hijacking. Just happy to be back on line! Hats off to my blog provider, Typepad, and their indefatigable SWAT team! (photo of airplanes taken yesterday, from the garden)

Join Jean-Marc and Kristi for the April 28th wine-tasting in St. Cyr-sur-Mer. 10 euros. Email jm.espinasse AT

ongle (ohngl), masculine

    : fingernail

Audio File: Listen to Jean-Marc: Download MP3 or Wav

L'ongle peut être considéré comme un témoin du plus ou moins bon fonctionnement de l’organisme. The nail can be considered as a warning of the more or less smooth running of the organism. 

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

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

My husband and I were reading the morning news in bed when I caught sight of mon ongle and gasped. 

"Qu'est-ce qui se passe?" What's the matter? Jean-Marc asked.

"It's my fingernail," I said, turning it from side to side before the morning light. The top of the nail was dented and there were ridges running vertically up and down the surface. It wasn't like that before, I thought. Not this one!

"Regarde." I pointed out my thumbnails to Jean-Marc, adding that both were so deeply grooved they were beginning to crack in the middle. This I was already aware of. As a matter of fact, the "pouce problem" had caused a lot of frenzied internet searches. But the index fingernail, that was new.

"Pourquoi ça fait ça?" my husband asked.

"I don't know. I'm trying to find out." According to Google, horizontal or vertical nail ridges meant anything from disease to trauma. I'd ruled out that latter, certain not to have smashed my nails playing pétanque recently.

"You know, it's like those roses you plant at the beginning of the vine rows...." Using a familiar language, I shared with my winemaker husband what I had just learned: our fingernails are an indication of our health. "When the roses begin to whither, the vigneron has enough time to move in and treat the grapevines before they, too, drop off. Same thing with les ongles."

Maybe a nutritional deficiency was causing my nails to weaken? It's true we are eating less meat...

"On mange plus de viande rouge," I pointed out. 

"C'est vrai," Jean-Marc agreed, only his nails didn't seem to be affected.

"Mange des lentilles," Jean-Marc offered, reading my mind. He was right, there were other sources of iron besides boudin and foie de porc (two entries that ranked highest on the fer list, followed by grissons--whatever those were....).

"Et le persil--that's full of iron!" I remembered.

Jean-Marc laughed, citing all the liters of parsley pesto I'd been making lately, as if by presentiment. But my husband got an extra good chuckle when I shared yet another possible cause for the nail anomaly:

"Le vieillissement. Look, it says aging could be the culprit!"

I stared at my iPad, where a screen full of grooved and cracking fingernails haunted me. I'd done yet another "ridges in fingernails" search and was now facing the results.

"Donne-moi ça," Let me see, my husband said, reaching for my iPad.


Jean-Marc paused and I saw the concerned look on his face. He was clearly surprised that I would question for one moment his sympathies. 

Aha! I recognized the low-profile bully that still lurks within me: her name is LSE.*  She whispers stuff like "you're weird" and "who cares about your stupid little problems?" But this time I caught her! Just in time to push her off the bed and refocus on the person seated next to me.

That the half-naked man beside me wanted to look at some ugly deformed nails in an effort to understand what was bothering me--this was deeply revealing.

Something between alchemy and the laying on of hands, my husband's words were mysteriously healing. It no longer mattered what it was that was eating at me (or my fingernails). The important thing was--


 *    *    *

Comments: click here
*LSE (Low Self Esteem) can attack anyone at any age, anytime. It doesn't matter your race, what country you live in or your profession or religion. It tells you you're unworthy, not good enough. It focuses on your failures, no matter your successes. Help kick its butt by spreading love


French Vocabulary
qu'est-ce qui se passe = what's happening?
regarde = look
le pouce = thumb
pourquoi ça fait ça? = why's it doing that?
la pétanque = game of boules
le vigneron = winemaker
le persil = parsely
le boudin = kind of sausage
le foie de porc = pork liver


Some of you asked what was under the borage flowers (in a previous photo). That was my mother-in-law's tapenade! Here's more flowers and some kale too. I love to carry this seed basket to the garden, never knowing what to sow next. Yesterday it was les belles de nuit, or "beauties of the night"--which were pushed into the wet soil like girly adversaries in the mudboxing ring!

 "La Trouvaille"--a true find in Provence! Affordable vacation rental in our beautiful old stone house in the charming village of Sablet. Click here.

Provence Dreamin'? Maison des Pelerins, Sablet. A Vacation Rental Dream in the heart of the Côte du Rhone.

Book award

It didn't matter that the library, above, wrote--suggesting I enter my book for an award. I still questioned whether I wasn't an impostor. Looking at the entries before mine--intellectual books, researched memoirs--it seemed dishonest to apply. But I did! I sent in my First French Essais for The American Library's Book Award. Wish me luck! 

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