How to say "to handle things, to manage" in French: gerer
risk in French + an update from Kristi

gaver + winner announced

gaver (gah-vay)

    : to stuff, to fill up

se gaver = to stuff oneself

  ça me gave = I'm sick of it
  je me suis gavé = I outdid myself! I rock! Look how good I did!

A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE... by Kristin Espinasse

This morning when I woke up in my daughter's shoebox apartment (140 square feet -- 70 for her and 70 for me), I was as quiet as a mouse. Slipping on pants and a top, and checking and rechecking my keys as I do these days, I carried out the morning routine I've established since we came to Paris 11 days ago: breakfast for my child.

It is as though I have one more year to make up for all the parenting fails I've accrued since my kids came into the world 20 Springs ago. And then I catch myself. I've done the best I could do at the time.

One thing I've learned is that kids use positive reinforcement, too. "Thanks, Mom! That's so nice of you," Jackie says, when I come back with croissants and a surprise -- the chocolate chip pastry with cream in the center.

And I've learned that our kids see things in us that we can only suspect. "You are fragile," Jackie says, when I jump at the littlest things, like the string of shells dangling on our shoebox window.

"It's only the breeze," Jackie points out.

Venturing back to the window, my heart still thumping, I watch the wind carry off the debris of the city, from the Paris rooftops down to the ground and into the gutters, to be washed away by the morning sweepers. Inside my mind a similar sweep is taking place, only I don't know which direction the litter is going in sometimes. 

"Jackie," I say, "pick a number between 1 and 156."

"39," my 17-year-old says. "What for?"

"We are picking the winner of the antique giveaway. Watch," I say, as we scroll down the page, looking to see which name in the comments box corresponds to the 39th comment.

"Ah, the winner is a 'Jackie'! Just like you!"

"Ouai! Je me suis gavée!" my Jackie cheered. 

"Yes, you outdid yourself!" I agreed, reminded, now, of another golden thing kids teach us: to pat ourselves on the backs once in a while.

*    *    *

Postnote: Féliciations to Jackie S. comment number 39 - I will contact you for  your address, and mail your key from Paris.

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Lis Steeden

Hi Kristin -

Glad you are having a wonderful time in that shoe box of your daughters'.

When I saw the title of todays' French- Word-a-Day I thought - does Kristin know Danish?

Gaver = Danish...just thought you should know that...!

Continue to have a wonderful time in Pariii...and in the meantime I can report there's lotsa thunder and rain around in my part of la belle Provence - and thank goodness for that, as the air needs a good 'cleaning' - it's sooo hot and so very close...

Lis :)


Wonderful thought on the parent-child connection. We will always want to tend to our "babies". What a gift. You are a mom par excellence. Fresh French pastry in the a.m.! And I don't know why you are feeling fragile, but i hope you are OK. Sending good vibrations from California. A la prochaine~


Congrats to the Jackie who won! And your Jackie sounds so mature. I think of her as such a little girl, and she is no longer... Hope you are both enjoying yourselves in Paris, although how could one do anything else but enjoy oneself in Paris?


I absolutely love this new idiom you taught us today. You and Jackie both outdid yourselves.

Ophelia Paine

I've never heard this expression before! Not a surprise really, but it's always fun to learn something new. BTW, we are renting the Provence Dream House with some friends in September to celebrate some significant birthdays. Thank you for posting such a beautiful place!


That is the sweetest story ever.


I note you use "Ouai". Is this a typo or is this an emphatic form of "oui"?


Our dear Kristi,
Today's post wrapped us in hugs and brought tears of joy for the beautiful,loving mom/daughter relationship you and Jackie share. What a blessing and a gift! And how privileged we are to share this with you.THANK YOU!
Lovely,LOVELY photos!
Kristi,I cannot envision you as fragile. Please know that you remain in our prayers to feel better and stronger every day.
Natalia XO

Joan L.

"Gaver is a new word for me... Merci! Joan L.

Marjorie Cannon

So enjoyed today's post. Even with adult sons, time together is still appreciated.
Love to you, pretty lady!

catharine ewart-touzot

I have found, my children are now 43 and44, that after they left for college,and visited me off and on in France and Switzerland..they got married, had children..during that time we "visited", and then with each of them, a boy and a girl..I got to spend special time with them, with each of them and that indeed has been really special.


Thanks for sharing another lovely family story.


Always a joy to read your stories. Special women in a special city - enjoy those wonderful pastries. Each day is so precious and you two seem to know how to really enjoy them. Merci.

Lori H

Always a pleasure to read and see what you have to share with us. I have yearned to learn the French language for years, my fear of failing keeps me from moving forward. I have apps. Books, cd's etc.. Any suggestions

Augusta Elmwood

Hey, Kristin, did you see them carry off the padlocks from the bridge ?? Quelle dommage !

Ellen A.

A beautiful capture of this moment betwixt being a mother and a friend. How sweet and memorable. Thank you, Kristin, for reminding me that I can still connect with my independent daughter by sharing special moments with her. Bless you both.
To Lori H who wants to learn French: the best way is total immersion. Volunteer or get an au pair or nanny job with a family, or work on a historic renovation. Join WOOF and volunteer on an organic farm. France is waiting for you.


The way I remember this word is because that is how they used to make the fois gras, "Le gavage" ugh! But it helps me wih vocabulary. Funny how gaver and baver are so similar!

Heather Stove

Kris tin, your posts are a delight and your eye for beauty fabulous. You bring joy to my day.

Kristin Espinasse

Thank you for these lovely comments! I sometimes get mixed up when it comes to responding, bit please know I appreciate every single  word.
Lis, loved learning this is a Danish word, too.
Ophelia, mille mercis for renting at Mas de Perdrix. Wishing you a wonderful visit, and I hope we can see you and your group for a wine tasting, if time permits.
David, yes, ouai is used in informal spoken French, among teenagers.
Sorry if Ive missed any questions. I hope to offer a new comments section, making it easy to respond to specific comments. Warmest wishes.

Cynthia P. Lewis

Wonderful to hear your "voice" again ... for it does seem that you are speaking to each of us. I'm so glad that you and Jackie are getting settled in and enjoying yourselves. I'm loving your photos and comments on Instagram. Thanks so much and best wishes!

Trina, St. Petersburg, Florida, USA

YOU outdid yourself, Kristin ... by raising such a lovely young woman and caring daughter.

Love the Instagram photos also. I don't have an account, so can only view :)

Diane Young

Toujours une maman. C'est bonne.



I'd define "ouai" as the equivalent of an American teen's yeah, yup or even "yessss!" No doubt there are similar casual versions of yes in British and Aussie English too.


I find myself thinking of you frequently, hoping that whatever has jangled your nerves is not any of the unpleasant scenarios I have been imagining. Hope you will be feeling more like your old self soon.

I suspect that your wonderful daughter is treating you just as you have been treating her. You know, what goes around comes around! How would the French phrase that?


Mother-daughter --- the ties that bind, stretch out, thin out, and then blessedly snap back. Every minute of both being in the same place is a gift of the Gods! You and Jackie have had those special moments, as I have had especially, most recently with my daughter - (thank you for your lovely response about her news at our wonderful 'meet-up')! I love today's word and Jackie's confidence and use of the word! Great Instagram photos - it looks like you went to Montmartre and Pere Lachaise. I'm glad you're enjoying your stay in Paris! Safe trip home!

Kristin Espinasse

Thank you for your thoughtful note, Barbara.  And thanks to all who have written in. I am feeling better now.  Going to ease back into The Old Me =-) All best wishes.

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