Faire bisquer + Should this blog close-up shop?
Choucroute + Winner announced

French Word-a-day: Coucou & Catastrophes!

Today's Word: coucou! (koo-koo)

    : hi there.

AUDIO FILE: Listen to Jean-Marc pronounce today's expression. The first words in the example sentence are: "Coucou c'est nous..." Can you make out the rest of the sentence? http://french-word-a-day.typepad.com/motdujour/files/coucou.mp3

A DaY IN A FRENCH LIFE by Kristin Espinasse
"Lost in the Shuffle"

Coucou les amis et amies!

If today's format looks slightly off, you should see the wildhaired woman behind it! "I AM A WRITER!" she repeats, "and must learn to work under every kind of circumstance." Today's CIRCONSTANCE is this: computer APOCALYpSE. Not one ORDINATEUR in the Espinasse household works--not mine, not Jean-Marc's, not Jackie's--not Smokey's!!! 

Is it something in the water? L'eau d'Armageddon!

Given the technical snag, or PEPIN, I am moved to try something called "moblogging." Mobile blogging is an option my blog provider offers and it (finger's crossed!) works like this: 

From my Smartphone or iPad, I type my post into an email, then send it off to a secret private SUPERHERO address which automatically posts the contents to my blog. Next, my blog post is SYNDICATED, or picked up by a third party (my listserver), who then distributes it to my FAITHFUL (still with me?) subscribers.

All this would be fine and dandy if I were writing you but a simple love letter each week. But it's all those bells and whistles that accompany these BILLETS DOUX (love letters) that slow things down--"bells" like the soundfiles (technical GONGS) that accompany these posts and whistles such as sponsors (insert cat whistle here and be sure to have a look at the pretty girls listed below!)

Composing these posts is not, as you can see, a straighforward thing. But neither is love. (Will you still love me if today's post is a formatting nightmare? Remember, the chaos is TEMPORAIRE!)

Cross your fingers with me now, and pray that today's post goes out... Ending up in your inbox in one piece!

Love and pantoufles,
P.S. For those few are grumbling, "Enough! This blog is sinking quickly!" I encourage you to jump ship now! (And for the rest of you DEARHEARTS who are joining me on the bow of this Titanic letter, let us continue, cheek to cheek now, sailing off into shimmering horizon.....)

Pantoufles = Slippers. (Nothing to do with love, except for the lightness one feels)


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Michael Abulencia

Got it Kristi, and it was delightful as usual.
Came across your first book that got me started on this trip with you so many years ago, "Words in a French Life" the other day. Decided I would dust it off and re read it on a Caribbean cruise we're taking next week.
Have a great day,

Sophia van Woensel-Mose

Good luck with all the cyber misery Kristin. Technological glitches make us feel so powerless! I recommend the 80% rule. If everything goes well with your posts 80% of the time, then you're doing really well! Also keep in mind that you having some tech problems now and then makes the rest of us feel better.

A friend just had her site hacked after three years of building up SEO and clients. All gone. On that note; I'm sure you already do this, but just in case - don't forget to back up your site now and then . . .

Bon weekend and bises,
Sophia xx

Kristin Espinasse

Michael, I am delighted to know youre re-reading my book.  Thank you and Happy sailing!
Sophie,  enjoyed learning the 80 percent  rule. Takes the pressure off!

Margy Henderson

Kristen, I love reading your blog and your photos are always so lovely! A friend invited me to be on your mailing list last year. My husband and I bought a gite complex in the Charante Maritime last year and spend 5 months (Summer) there and the rest of the year at home in Australia (Manly). We have a small amount of French and constantly working on learning more but it's a hard slog at our age (late 50s!). Reading your love letters calms me down about our French - I think its because I realise I can't learn it all in just one year so I become more patient with myself.
I also admire that you have maintained your blog and been so dedicated for so long. I started a blog about our French Gite Experience and didn't get to it nearly as often as I'd have liked - every few weeks if I was lucky! So you have my admiration and I am inspired to get back to it more regularly this Summer when we return to our lovely French life in May.

karen wilson

I have an image of all your readers and you in pantoufles, heading off in a boat (not the Titanic though!) through a lovely turquoise sea, knowing there will be lots to see and do on the journey and of course sometimes one has to make a detour around a reef, or bale out the boat, rig the sails differently to catch the changing wind... But it will all be part of the journey! Thanks and good luck with fixing the computers. xx Have a good weekend Karen

Kristin Espinasse

Thank you, Margy! And, Karen, love your vivid note about all of us in our pantoufles, or slippers, enjoying the turquiose sea and mostly smoothe sailing. :-)


What went wrong with your computers? I haven't had any problems since I switched to a Mac a couple of years ago. I do still run a couple of old Windows programs in a virtual machine - and it's only the virtual machine that crashes. Get something more reliable! :-)

Kristin Espinasse

John, my computer crashed after an automatic Windows update (we think). There was a thunderstorm during the update and it may have sparked a malfunction. Then, after Wednesdays hailstorm, Jackies computer (already missing one key... the L I believe, and the S, went AWOL. Jean-Marcs computer freezes, occasionally, and Smokeys computer? He ate it, of course! (Kidding! We dont give our dogs computers but encourage them to play outside in the sunshine!)

Jackie Durham

Good job, I'd say you're an undaunted writer!Glad to know the procedure from the iPad.


Good job Kristin! I'm certainly still with you after quite a few years now. Also understood Jean Marc's contribution. Replying from Barbados today, but heading home soon to N.Ireland. Keep it coming! Joan

Chris Allin

Coucou Kristi,

Do tell! What is going on in Paris and New York in April? Sounds like it could be exciting!

Kristin Espinasse

Thanks, Joan. Enjoy Barbados!
Hi Chris, we are not, hėlas, going to NYC or Paris (I borrowed that soundfile from a previous post.)

Chris Allin

Too hopeful! I was excited that I actually understood Jean-Marc.

He has posted the most amazing photo of vineyards on Twitter/Instagram!
Definitely worth a look!


Sevahn Merian from Michigan

Happy Friday Kristin! You are simply the best. Great photo of you. Thanks for working so hard at everything you do to keep this charming blog afloat!

Patricia Sands

There's always something, isn't there? Whatever the catastrophe, Kristin, you handle it with charm and humour. Whatever the problem, there's always a solution! On y va!


I so love your posts. It is as if I have a very good friend living in my favorite part of the world. Even if the "bells" are silent and the "whistles" not in working order, I look forward to opening my e mail every Friday for your post. I have purchased your books and others of your suggestion and all of them are truly pantoufles!
Thank you for being OUR amie!

Pat Cargill

For all those who want our fearless FWaD writer to have "something more reliable," contributions can be sent to... You perseverence shines through once again. I do hope I will be on that boat in pantoufles (FABulous word!) on a touquoise sea. A cold gray day in SW Virginia.

Josephine Girardin

Coucou, c'est moi!
J'adore cette expression.
I don't remember when I started reading your posts, but it's been several years. Love having this connection.
Bon courage avec les ordinateurs!

Bruce in Northwest Connecticut

Hey, Kristin —

As you can no doubt tell by now, your jury-rigged post came through perfectly, despite all the seeds you faced. Brava!

Oh, wait. That's Italian.

Anyway, we your faithful readers are all delighted to be sailing off into the sunset with you.

Just one complaint: I didn't see any "pretty girls listed below" — except your lovely self, of course.

Kristin Espinasse

Bruce, re all the pretty girls, thats what happens when I mix so many metaphors within one post! But I trusted one of my editors would straighten things out (I was waiting for you to update cat whistle to cat call. Much funnier given the context! Thanks for visiting my pretty girls (sponsors, including guys... if Kirk at Music and Markets is reading) and for the wonderful compliment!

And thanks to each one of you for these delightful notes above!

Happy weekend :-)

Nyla Witmore

I actually clicked on the houses and am getting really interested for next year. Instead of lugging around all my oil painting gear, I might just bring sketchbook and journal... And relax more.

Kristin Espinasse

Nyla, thanks so much for clicking on my sponsors links. They are all the loveliest people and this is reflected in their properties (and France tours, as with the Music and Markets tour!) P.S. love your paintings, Nyla!

Cassie Alexandrou

Dear Kristin,
Success! Wow, I'm so impressed with your technological expertise. I would have been tempted to go back to bed and pull the covers over my head. I'm so glad you bravely hung in there. Your words never fail to cheer me. Merci beaucoup!


Dear Kristen,

One of the things I love about your blog is your honesty about life and daily living. To be honest, I found this rather amusing because it just speaks to all of us about what can go wrong and often does. So rather than being concerned or even critical, I was cracking up, I hope you don't mind! I certainly wasn't taking pleasure in your misery, but just reminded about life and all its foibles.

I hope things improve but know that we your readers love what you do and are inspired. Keep up the good work, my friend.

With best regards from my new home in Atlanta,



Coucou Kristin! It's the Mercury retrograde, so ordinateurs often go haywire at this time. Regardless, you handled the situation gracefully and with a fabulous sense of humour, as always. :)

I'm so joining you, cheek-to-cheek, on the boat! And I have a feeling that this Titanic will not sink, but will emerge through the clearest of waters to the most brilliant dawn.

Dawn Bouchard

Ooolala! Bless you for persevering and conquering techno-land's latest challenge ... and on a Friday no less! You're the best - enjoy your weekend!

Eileen deCamp

Coucou a vous! I heard the hibou say coucou early this morning!
Love and pantoufles back at ya! :-)

Kristine Moore

Kristi, we are considering renting a house in entrecasteaux for 2 months....do you think it is a safe area? Thank you so much for your response and keep up the good work! Don't listen to naysayers, all they have to do if they are unhappy is unsubscribe! Just the touch of a button! 😀


No grumbling here, I think it came out just fine. And I have to say you sound very peppy, much like your old self.

Trina, St. Petersburg, Florida, USA

"The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails."
~ William Arthur Ward, American Writer

Your blog is not going the way of the Titanic, Kristi! And there are many of us happy to be invited on this ride with you :)


Ha ha! Smokey has an ordo. In our house, our golden refers to his ordo as his LABtop!


We have some wooden pallets (from the building site opp our house), so maybe we can strap them together and make a raft - I'm having a dire day too, so could do with sailing off to turquoise seas or maybe just drifting....keep blogging (or is it moblogging now?).


Hi Kristin,
Just wondering how your mother-in-law is doing. We, on the blog, can't help but take an interest in her...hope she is well!

Joanne Ablan

Oy Vey, Kristi! You have more dogma than the Pope to persevere in
the midst of all the technological and political complexity. You must
have a hotline to Machiavelli or you would have lost family, readers, and blog by now. Should the going get too rough, you could always
write lyrics for the Wayside Shrines, a musician cooperative in NYC!
Joanne, Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA.


I always smile at your perseverance in writing. You seem to truly enjoy writing, so your love of writing about your life should not depend on whether anybody reads it or not or love you or not, n'est-ce pas?
but merci bien for your blog, I enjoy reading it with the little sprinkling of french. I''ve been at it since the kids were pre-teen, je pense:)

Cynthia P. Lewis

...so delighted to see FWAD in my "mail" this morning! You had quite a few hoops to jump through in order to send it out today; thank you for all of your efforts. Your writings will sail along on calm waters again once your computer is behaving itself. Bon week-end and best wishes.(lovely photo of you!}

Sherry in Kentucky

No worries. It is beautiful as usual. Technology is a wonderful thing when it behaves, but persevere and all will soon be right again.


Mercury in retrograde . . .and you persevered. Bravo~


Our dear Kristi,
In spite of an upside down day created by computers(aaarrrgh!)you again have brought smiles to our morning(Thank You!)
Your words paint pictures and your pictures captivate our imaginations!We so appreciate the love and creativity you share with us.
What a pleasure and privilege!

Stacy ~ Sweet Life Farm

Yesterday was a strange day from the start with a tragic accident (not for me but for a friend’s neighbor’s animal) and much else gone awry. It must be in the stars.

I dreamt about you last night! We had a brief (too brief) chance meeting at a fair. You were with your beautiful sister and Jules. I did get to hug you and we promised to see each other soon!

Joie in Carmel

I am not going anywhere and computers, disgruntled commenters, bad weatther and all be da_____! No one said life would be perfect, so people should learn to deal with it....you have and quite beautifully I will say. Oh, and "pantoufles" is another of those words I love. Oh, and I think I know why.... In the book and movie "Chocolat" it is the name of Anouk's immaginary friend the rabbit.
Congrats to Jacquie and have a lovely week-end.

Susan Hodgson

Thanks for working through all the computer trails. Would have missed hearing from you today. Have been having a sad winter, and reading your Blog has help on some off my worst days. You brought sunshine to my soul.


DON'T YOU DARE GIVE UP!! You'll get haunted by elderly fans who pass on if you do.

A thought about computers "Whoever said patience is a virtue, never had a slow computer".


How disappointing to learn that despite the audio-file message from Jean-Marc, you won't be visiting NYC this coming April! It was so nice to meet you during your visit many years ago at the bookstore on the Upper East Side - you had just published Words in a French Life. I am one of your biggest fans.

Carolyn R Chase

Way to go, Kristi! Where there's a will there's a way, even with computers. Glad technology offered you some options and you persisted. It's not the format, it's you who is delightful to read. And I love seeing your posts on Facebook as well.

susan klee

The post came through just fine -- no problems on the receiving end ;-)
When I learned French (100 years ago), "cou-cou" was used the way we use "peek-a-boo" and the British use "peep-oh" with children. Do we still use it that way, or has it become entirely "Hi" ?
Thank you for all of it, Kristen. Merci mille fois.

Beth Hartmann

Pantoufles are also good for self-comforting, like mac and cheese ou des pates avec du fromage. I commend you for going through all the grumblebumps of writing on a phone or tablet and then the hoops of getting the post to us! des baisers... Beth

Joan L.

Coucou a tout le monde et bon weekend! Joan L.

Cheryl in STL

Look at all of us, ready to don pantoufles and hop onto whatever boat you're on! I love that word, pantoufles, too. My future daughter-in-law is from Kauai and slippers for her are what I would call flip flops. Maybe we should just use pantoufles to avoid confusion! Bon courage with all that techy stuff!

Leslie in Oregon

Thank you for working through the many challenges thrown at you to put out today's post. A lesson (to us) in perseverance! I enjoyed the resulting post and empathize with you. Now, off to your Instagram account!

P.S. If you end up getting a new computer, you might want to take a look at a Mac. After one too many crashes of my PCs, I switched to the Mac line ten years ago and have had no crashes since. My computer guy tells me that's not unusual.

John P Senetto

Kristin, Great pic of you, looking quite hot!
I too started reading Words years ago and feel like an old friend.
Thanks for your help with my French!



Beverly Aigen

Hi Kristen, so sorry about the computer issues. Awhile back you recommended a film, I believe it was called Divers. ?? Help - I can't find it on Google. What am I doing wrong?
Love to you, Smoky and the family. Xx

Diane Young

I think you're an absolute genius. I don't understand anything you've done but I applaud your efforts as here we are in the Comments section without my having the faintest idea how to google over to your blogger. I will probably miss your photos but that is so unimportant in the grand scheme of things, which is to know you are still writing. Just rejoice in your cleverness and know we're still with you. Bonne chance with l'ordinateur.

Sharon Auckerman

Hi Kristin, I hope you don't abandon your blog, I really look forward to reading it (sometimes three or five days after you have posted it) and looking at the pictures you post. You are my one stop shop. I have you on FB, but not as exciting as reading the things that are going on in your life and looking at your pictures. That said, I know how tiring and difficult it can be to come up with stories each week, much less more often that once a week. So I understand the stress and desire to let go of this responsibility to your readers. Oops! Did I say responsibility? I think of it more as an expression of what is happening in your life and staying in touch with friends. I feel like you are my friend and I am certainly yours, even from afar. And as your friend, I will be supportive of whatever you decide to do.

Andrea Hughes

Coucou Kristin,
I applaud your dedication to your readers, but I for one would have understood if you had been unable to send out your missive due to technical difficulties. I'm guessing that, as a whole, we are a pretty understanding group! Thank you for your efforts to continue to reach out!

Kathleen from Connecticut

Coucou Kristin,

Couscous....Great word as well as pontoufles. Computers are great until they don't work correctly. Your blog came through perfectly.
I have read all of he comments,and you have a very educated group of readers.
Yes, how's your mother-in-law. Hope that she is doing better. And how about Jules? I hope that she is doing well.


Pantoufles. Heard that one the first time in January 2014 when we dropped off our preschooler for his first day in French preschool. In addition to not having a single word of French or any friends, he aso lacked "pantoufles." Now the little sonuvagun corrects my grammar, has playdates, and always puts on his pantoufles when he gets to school. And he frequently wakes me from an afternoon nap by saying, "Coucou, Papa..."

Stephen  Keissling

Dear Kristin
I am new to your posts and love them....they are marvelous, though I may be falling in love, so that might be influencing my judgment.....nevertheless, please don't stop.


Coucou Kristin, one little typo:


I am usually not a contributor nor a commenter, but I read your posts when they come in, save many of them, and enjoy them immensely. I may have missed why you think this is a sinking ship, but, for what it is worth, thank you. I hope you continue.


Please don't stop your posts!!! I love them and look forward to them so much. I also save them and enjoy them immensely. They always put a smile on my face and in my heart. You affect so many people and bring a little bit of sunshine into our days. I can relate to all your self doubts and insecurities and things that don't go the way we hoped they would - we all have them. I am also my own worst critic, but you have such a wonderful gift of touching so many lives in a positive and uplifting way. I understand it is a lot of work and you have been doing it for a long time, so you need to do what is best for you and your family, but just know that you are greatly appreciated, wanted, adored, and loved, and you will be whatever you do!

Luci Lewisohn

You're such a wonderful writer, Kristen. I look forward to this blog and love your stories. Your good humor constantly comes through. Yours is not a sinking ship, pantoufles or not. We all need renewal from time to time. Only you can decide whether a sabbatical is on your horizon. If you do take that path, I will miss you enormously. Whatever you decide. I'm right there cheering you on; and so very thankful for all that I've learned and enjoyed from your hard work. XO

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