apprendre à se connaître
An Elephant in the Room? Chez moi?

Quelle idée! = What a crazy idea! Or was it?

Petit pois

Normally, when panhandling for website donations, I post an attractive picture (a window decked with geraniums, a field of poppies, a stone cabanon). Looking at today's photo, I notice the pan is smudged with fingerprints and should have been polished before the snapshot was taken, haphazardly.

Before the last-minute photo was shot, I could be found at my desk, canceling all of the automatically scheduled donations to my blog....

Well, now how dumb is that? The thought did cross my mind, but I brushed it aside.

And when the 45 readers who'd signed up in 2009 for a scheduled yearly donation to my word journal--when they began emailing, moments after the cancellation--I wondered once again. Well, how dumb was I?

Now I'm busy emailing everyone back, with this explanation:

Hello Cate (and Roger and Sandy and Lee and Denise....)

Many thanks for checking in. I have decided to change the yearly automatic donations to "donate when and if you like" :-)
I will be sure to mention it [future "support opportunities"] in the newsletter, jingling my tip jar loudly when I'm feeling bold!
Take care and many thanks for all of your help over the years.

*    *    *

I hope I have made the right decision. I must have--for it comes as a relief to have released certain readers from what could have felt like an obligation. 

Re boldness, I'm feeling it now as I rattle my tip jar! If you enjoy this word journal and would like to help support it, then you can pitch in here, via this donation link.

As for the photo: those sweet petits pois are a gift from my neighbor, Annie. Despite horrible back pain, she planted a beautiful potager this year. And the muguet de mai, or lily of the valley, is from Aunt Geneviève, who offered an additional potted version: "You can plant it in your garden," she said. "It will spread into a carpet of little white bells!" Now there's a lovely thought or two--a little more poetic than my rattling tip jar.

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


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Eileen deCamp

Hi Kristin,
I was a little perplexed when I received the cancellation email this morning. I thought maybe it was because you stopped Cinema Verite or maybe you were stopping your blog. I was thinking we were all going to be surprised and sad with a FWAD Au Revoir! Thanks for clearing that up! :-)

Kristin Espinasse

Eileen, yours was the last automatic donation I unsubscribed--but not without an appreciative wink when hitting the button! Thank you for all of your support!

Annette Heath

The picture is a pure delight...sugar snap peas and muguet de bois, most lovely, little, fragrant flowers that are the flower of May! I have always loved them and it may have something to do with my May birthday which I share with Max. They aren't easy to grow here and are considered rare. I recently inquired of a florist about the cost of a bridal bouquet of them. She said about $300. or more. (They were the entire bouquet of Kate Middleton.) So your photo is divine. I have access to amazing fresh vegetables, but no sugar snap peas as yet, and certainly the muguet de bois are sorely missing. My Mother had some in her garden in shade, and I recall her saying they need some shade. P.S. Nobody would notice smudges on the pot when the photo is so beautiful!

Leslie in Oregon

It is a wonderful photograph, Kristin... two of the best delights of May! I have fond memories of giving a posey of Muguet des Bois to my Swiss host/mother each May 1, when I was an exchange student in Neuchatel and then in Lausanne. To echo Annette above, be sure to find a spot for your plants that is in at least partial shade, and water them generously. (They loved a shady, moist spot under the wide eaves of my last home.) Coincidentally, I am on my way to find some Muguet des Bois at local nurseries, to plant next to my Bleeding Heart.
Thank you for the opportunity to contribute in some small way to your blog, Leslie

Sarah LaBelle near Chicago

Lily of the valley spread wonderfully when they are happy in the soil and the sunlight. At my first house with a yard, I decided to pull our everything else in one patch where the lily of the valley were spreading on their own. It was fantastic when they all came in bloom. Their leaves do fade earlier than fall, or did in my garden. I think I put some annuals after they faded.

So many friends thought of them as weeds! Such a relative term. Now I love to pick them at peak bloom for small vases I collected for such short flowers.

Where I live now, they do well under some tall trees, but do get sun at some hours of the day. They get no care, live from rain only.


I love lilies of the valley! I have tried several times unsuccessfully to grow them here! I think it is just too hot. But, I keep hoping I'll find a spot where they will survive. I won't give up hope until I have tried every shady/partial shady spot here! :)

Kate Zeller

Just wanted to let you know.... I was a paying subscriber early on, then finances changed.... But I'm still a regular reader.
I changed my website (not the blog, that was always free) from subscription only to free in Dec. so you are not alone in your decision. Times and the internet have changed. Bonne chance!
Oh, and I have been showing your books around in my French classes - just so you know LOL

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