Pin: A Provençale Christmas story
bluffer + mother-daughter trip

Winner is announced! + faire monter la mayonnaise


As the end of the year approaches, I'm running out of steam... and so have devised a GIANT HEADLINES approach to this posting. (Photo taken yesterday, in Evanos, France.)


"faire monter la mayonnaise" = to give more attention to a subject--to stir up interest. We will learn more about this word in a moment....

AUDIO FILE: Listen to Jackie read today's definition 
Download MP3 or Wav file

Faire monter la mayonnaise--çela veut dire: donner plus d'importance à une affaire.
To stir up the mayonnaise--this means to give more importance to a subject, or to call attention to it.

My heart is beating very fast... as I am one click away from discovering the winner of our "one week free rent in Provence" contest. 

For most of these drawings I use random number generator....

This time it picked number "561". All I have to do now is comb through 10 pages of comments (100 comments per page) to find out who, among 1021 entrants, has won. Here goes.... And the winner is....


Off to match A.M.'s signature with the email address listed with this comment. A.M., if you are reading, Félicitations! I will put you in touch with Cynthia and you two can work out the details of your prize. Please take lots of photos for us when you get there!

(Update: To be clear, and in case anyone with the initials "A.M." is reading... the winner's email address begins with "abatc").

Espalier pomme reine de reinettes

Yesterday was my birthday and I received the tree of my dreams: un espalier! (Espaliers are those trees that have branches trained horizonally along a wall or support. See it, above, next to a very old, uprooted grape vine. And that is our golden, Breizh, who began having seizures last month. Keep her in your prayers!)

Almost as delightful as the arbre, is the word's original meaning: "something to rest the shoulder against." (This comes at a good time, as my arm is sore from all the ELBOW exercises I am doing lately. (See the journal entry for "luxer"

...or "pippins" are the kind of apples that will grow on this new tree! Because espaliers produce more fruit in less space, we should have plenty of fruit for une tarte tatin--a French apple pie that was born of this famous variety!  

I am reading a facinating and inspiring book by French woman, Bea Johnson. Bea has managed to turn her house into a ZERO WASTE home. Last year her family of four produced so little waste that all it took was a one quart jar to contain all their garbage (in fact, the family no longer has a poubelle, or trash can, at home!). Extreme? Qui sait? (Who knows.) I'm reading it for the books ability to open my eyes to that which I can minimize.... 

Read along with me when you download the ebook here!

The main tip in Bea's Zero Waste Home--is to refuse (of the 5 R's she lists: refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle, rot -- refusing is the most important: don't even let the waste enter your home! Bea gives a wonderful example of refusing those free shampoo and conditioner bottles offered by most hotels. I shared this with Jean-Marc (a freebies collector!) and he instantly agreed to stop this compulsion! He even said that awareness about such freebies will help monter la mayonnaise--or stir up a topic many of us don't think much about. (Idem for all those free pens. As Bea says, we are offered a free stylo and immediately we think "Cool! Free pen!" but we don't consider the bigger picture: accepting freebies encourages the production of more (cheaply made) freebies, which end up in landfills across the globe.

I hightly recommend ZERO WASTE HOME. Read it for the awareness, the education, and the intention it'll stir up--like a good, homemade mayo!

I hope we know each other well enough by now that I can share the news. I've quit toothpaste! In as little as one-two-three (items, minutes) you can stir up a wonderful treat for your teeth, via this natural dentifrice:

* 4-5 tbsp French green clay, or this kind
*2-5 drops essential oil (organic grade): peppermint, rosemary, or other...
*pinches of sea salt (though some say this harms enamel, I like the taste)
*optional: water

I added enough water to make a paste (some say to stir with wooden spoon, but I used metal). And some people sprinkle the powder directly on their tooth brush and then add water.  Option: Instead of green clay you can use baking soda (food grade).

  • Green clay powder has another benefit: it remineralizes your teeth!
  • And remember when I used it on Smokey, after his attack? Story here.


New rental in Provence. In the charming village of Sablet--this spacious home is the perfect place to return to after sightseeing, bicycling or hiking. Click here for photos. 


Jean-Marc, wheeling my presents to the cash register.... The espalier is in good company: blueberry bushes to warm its feet and another kumquat tree!  

Thank you very much for reading my French language journal this past year. Your comments and encouragements helped keep this blog going!  May the following cheers keep your own dreams fueled and may you continue to live the kind of life that brings you the most peace and joy:

Allez! Continue! et surtout BON COURAGE!
Keep going! Keep on! and especially GOOD LUCK (be strong, be brave) 


Kristin Espinasse

 Photo taken in Evanos, a tiny hilltop village not far from Bandol.

A Message from KristiFor twenty years now, support from readers like you has been an encouragement and a means to carve out a career in writing. If my work has touched you in any way, please consider a donation. Your gift keeps me going! Thank you very much.

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