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Entries from March 2016

Pronunication Blooper & Spring Fever in French

Wildflowers-chardon
         Printemps here at our vineyard.

"It’s spring fever. That is what the name of it is. And when you’ve got it, you want — oh, you don’t quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!" -Mark Twain. Don't miss hearing the French version, below.

TODAY'S WORD

    : fièvre de printemps = spring fever


Mas-de-perdrix-rental-provence-franceMAS DE LA PERDRIX
The perfect home to rent in France. Celebrate special occasions with family, friends. Click here.


FRENCH BLOOPER - ECOUTEZ!
I'm not referring to last week's audio file--the one mispronounced by me! Today's blooper, by Jean-Marc, is heard in the first part of the example sentence, below. Listen to the accompanying file. Can you hear the cuss word? What was it? Listen to the end for the entire example sentence. And mille mercis to my husband, who, in between farming his grapevines, does a wonderful job recording these French words!
=> Download MP3 file or Download Wav


Et ça, vous savez ce que c'est? C'est la fièvre du printemps. Parfaitement, c'est comme ça que ça s'appelle. Et quand on l'a attrapée, on a envie - ah, on ne sait pas vraiment de quoi. Mais ce qui est sûr, c'est que cette envie, elle est si forte qu'elle donne mal au coeur. En fait, on dirait que la seule chose. - Mark Twain


SABLET HOME - for high quality vacation rentals in the heart of Provence. Click here for pictures.

FRANCE & MONACO We offer exclusive short-term holiday rental properties throughout France and Monaco. Click here.


A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE

    by Kristi Espinasse

"Guilt & Spring Fever"

Last Monday I burst out of bed, excited to tell you about the treasure I found in the municipal poubelle. The essay was going to be called "Dumpster Diving in France."

Then I realized that in order to fully appreciate a key element of the story (cardboard, though that is not the treasure I'm referring to), you would need to first understand why I prowl around for it in the neighborhood trash bins, and why not everyone appreciates its juste valeur as a garden accouterment (see Shamed by the Married Man's Mistress).

I was set to write both stories last week, only, after posting the first, I fell into a slump so deep I could not even thank you for standing up for me faced with that long-legged, round-bunned, honey-haired garden critic!

I think this set-back had to do with breaking a personal writing rule: Write about your own faults, not those of others (and if you do write about the faults of others, make sure they are your husband's and make sure they are funny!).

(If I would break that rule more often, oh the stories I could tell you!)

Then again, the lull last week--one continuing on into this bright sunny Monday--could be due to a kind of vapor. It is reaching for me again now, curling its fingers around my guilty shoulders, pulling me out of my writing chair...towards all that cardboard and straw that covers my garden like Christmas wrap! Those invisible vapor beads are the scent of spring!

The sweet and musky fragrance of the earth as I rake my fingers through it, c'est enivrant! Intoxicating! What a joy to be able to plunge my hand into the ground for the first time since beginning this gardening odyssey, some 6 six years ago. Back then, I would try in vain to push a seed into the concrete earth. Since, I've learned to pile cardboard, straw, (and any organic matter that my dog won't eat) over the earth. Wait a few months and that concrete is moist sand in my hands.

Or something like sand. All I know is that sitting beside a patch of fragrant earth--and running my hands through its softness, sensing its possibilities--it's all I want to do these days. I can't explain it. Mark Twain can't explain it. But he endeavors to, here, in the end of his famous passage on la fièvre du printemps:

En fait, on dirait que la seule chose qui nous ferait plaisir, ça serait de partir, de quitter toutes ces vieilles affaires parce qu'on les voit tous les jours et qu'elles nous fatiguent."

It seems to you that mainly what you want is to get away; get away from the same old tedious things you're so used to seeing and so tired of, and set something new. That is the idea; you want to go and be a wanderer....

Oui, oui, Monsieur Twain, c'est ça! I want to be a wanderer, wandering the winding paths of beans, wildflowers, and trees, and tucking in, from time to time beneath their shady leaves. Sitting snug between the aloe vera and a carpet of parsley, snapping up sweet sprigs to chew while looking out over This Great Green Work in Progress, I am satisfied even before I have reached the final course, whatever that may be, wherever that may lead.

I need not go anywhere else. And if ever I am missed, you know where to find me. Just follow the scent of spring.

Amicalement,
Kristi 

  Narcisses
To comment on today's story click here.


BORDEAUX AND THE DORDOGNE small group tour Sept 19-27 - culture, cuisine & wine. Click for itinerary.

PAINT PROVENCE on holiday.  All inclusive art trips. Great sights, food, wine and painting skills. Click here.

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Strawberrytree
L'arbousier. The strawberry tree in our permaculture garden. More updates at Instagram

Thank you for the time you've spent reading my column. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that ongoing support from readers like you helps me to continue writing and publishing these educational missives from France. Your support is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi
 
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"I’ve really enjoyed reading your stories over the years & hope you will continue to delight us with your beautiful photos and thoughtful & charming antidotes of life in the beautiful south of France."
--Jacqueline

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Onion & Shamed by the married man's mistress!

  My-permaculture

My permaculture garden (photo taken in August 2014). A cat fight almost happened here....


TODAY'S EXPRESSION Occupe-toi de tes oignons

    : mind your own business

Literally: take care of your own onions!

Mas-de-perdrix-rental-provence-franceMAS DE LA PERDRIX
The perfect home to rent in France. Celebrate special occasions with family, friends. Click here.

FRENCH PRONUNCIATION
Improve your spoken French with Exercises in French Phonetics
Listen to Kristi pronounce today's phrase:Occupe

    Occupe-toi de tes oignons: Download MP3 or Download Wav




A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE

    by Kristi Espinasse

Sometime last summer, a married man and his mistress visited our vineyard here in Bandol wine country. We had, earlier that day, been on a coastal walk along the Mediterranean sea, one in which I lagged behind the honey-haired vixen, whose skin-tight cutoffs hinted of a perfect, bikinied body just waiting to expose itself (later, when we reached the creek, I skipped the swim, opting to remain in long shorts and long sleeved shirt--hat and sunglasses hiding my squinty spying eyes).

Any discouraging thoughts during that hike were about to rise to a new level when we returned home. Smokey, our 7-year-old golden retriever, bounded down the driveway, clearly on his way to greet the movie star who was now stepping out of her car. I followed, a few steps behind, watching my gullible dog who surprised me by looking past my guest and almost knocking me to the ground! 

(Thank you, Smokey!)

Meantime, Jean-Marc motioned to the man to follow him down to the wine cellar, turning to offer a suggestion for the women: "Chérie, why don't you show CC (I'll call her "CC" for "Curvy Cutoffs") your garden?"

Oh yes! My jardin! It was encouraging to think that, while my guest had undeniably remarkable attributes, I had a remarkable secret garden!

Make that "somewhat" secret. On occasion, depending on my mood, I invite guests to visit my experimental garden, beginning the tour with a cutesie warning: "Please keep in mind," I giggle, "This is not Versailles!"

I don't know why I do this, as the word cutesie makes me cringe, but nothing like the way my guest would cringe when she saw mon jardin!

The look on CC's face was more than bewilderment. The corners of her mouth turned up and she let out a laugh that ruffles my feathers to this very day.

"It's called permaculture," I said, naively believing this would shut her up in time to learn a thing or two. 

"C'est moche! It's ugly!" CC snorted, holding her toned tummy for composure.

"Ugly" was a bit exaggerated. Sure, parts of my garden were covered with smashed cardboard (some of which still had packing tape dangling from the ends). Normally there would be straw covering that up, only I ran out (thus the upended chairs). Looking around my garden, I wondered what it might be to see it with fresh, heavily mascaraed eyes....

Studying my long-lashed and long-legged critic, who was fit as a firecracker, I decided to appeal to her health-minded side: "But there are no chemicals used in this garden! It is organic!" I said, hopefully. 

Having one last look around my Not Versailles garden, she snickered, "I would rather eat chemicals!!"

Shocked, I watched as she disappeared down the garden path,  to join the boys in the orderly wine cellar. Smokey, hardly noticing her when they crossed on the path, came to join me.

We sat down on a choice sheet of cardboard, big enough for two gullable souls. My arm resting around Smokey's shoulders as we stared past heaps of compost. I thought about a lot of things, including all those previous garden visitors ("c'est moche!" CC was probably only saying what the other visitors were thinking!). Oh! And that stupid cutesie intro of mine, This is not Versailles

No. This is Beverly Hillbillies! I grumbled, ripping off a stupid piece of packing tape and shoving it in my pocket (to be tossed in the trash later, if I remembered....). No wonder my butt is bigger than hers.  My jeans are stuffed with crumpled up balls of packing tape! 

For a time, I told myself that CC's comment didn't bother me at all. But you know it did. Eventually I pulled myself up off the cardboard ground, kicked aside a rotting patch of straw, and planted a few more rows of beans.

It is only now, in writing about it, that I realise that I may finally have the last laugh. For someone whose initials sound like "see see", my garden critic sure lacks vision! Just look at the forest of dark green kale rising up among a motley crew--okay mottled bunch of mulch! Look at that bed of parsley (I may not be as sexy as you, CC, but you should taste my recipe called "Pesto in Bed")... and all that cardboard beneath the upended chairs, it will soon be replaced by rows and rows of thriving fava beans. On and on, in row after crooked row my little goofy garden grows!

According to a popular feel-good saying, It is none of my business what you think of me (or my garden!). The French say it another way, which is in keeping with the theme of our story: Occupe-toi de tes oignons. Mind your own business. And I notice, dear reader, that when I mind my own organic "onions" I am much more at peace with the world.

Amicalement,

Kristi
 

Kristi-holding-kale
My Mom took this snapshot in August 2014. It reminds me of how much stronger I am, emotionally and physically, after spending time in the garden.

COMMENTS
To leave a comment click here.



1-IMG_20140227_172918
The back yard where I garden. In my mulching frenzy, I accidentally covered up these beautiful (cornflowers?) with cardboard. Will they ever come back? Last night I planted more fava beans in (what I think was....) their place.


I am thrilled that my dear friend, Tessa, has joined my sponsors below. Thanks, Tess!

PROVENCE PHOTO WORKSHOP - Improve your skills with a 5 day workshop this summer. Click here.

SABLET HOME - for high quality vacation rentals in the heart of Provence. Click here for pictures.    

PAINT PROVENCE on holiday.  All inclusive art trips. Great sights, food, wine and painting skills. Click here.


Thank you for the time you've spent reading my column. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that ongoing support from readers like you helps me to continue writing and publishing these educational missives from France. Your support is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi
 
♥ Send $10    
♥ Send $25    
♥♥ Send the amount of your choice


"I’ve really enjoyed reading your stories over the years & hope you will continue to delight us with your beautiful photos and thoughtful & charming antidotes of life in the beautiful south of France."
--Jacqueline

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Poem + The French word that looks like Hate, but has a totally different meaning

door in Cassis France (c) Kristin Espinasse
        Sunny photo taken in the port of Cassis.


Hâte-toi de bien vivre... Make haste to live and consider each day a life... Seneca


TODAY'S WORD: Hâte

    : haste

Also: avoir hâte de faire quelque chose =
to be eager or anxious to do something: J'ai hâte de te voir! I can't wait to see you!

ECOUTER
Listen to my daughter, Jackie (soundfile recorded 10 years ago!), pronounce today's quote: Download hate.wav or

Hâte-toi de bien vivre et songe que chaque jour est à lui seul une vie.

 
Terms & Expressions:
sans hâte = without haste, in a leisurely way
à la hâte = hurriedly, hastily
en hâte = fast as you can
hâter = to hasten, bring forward
hâter le pas = to quicken one's step
se hâter = to hurry, to force
se hâte de faire quelque chose = to hurry to do something
hâtif, hâtive = forward; premature; precocious, hasty




A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE

    by Kristi Espinasse

I was staring at the empty branches of our dogwood tree,
willing its wooden limbs to quiver and send forth so many rosy blossoms, 
when I recognized a vague longing coming from within.


I stood up and walked over to the north window,
threw open the painted green shutters
and saw a small feathered creature pacing back and forth 
over a bed of crumbling leaves,
just above the would-be strawberry patch. 


I recognized another restless soul throwing its own will around,
this one willing so many worms to pop out of the cold ground!


I looked at my dogwood,
the red robin at its frozen patch,
neither of us able to get the universe to dance for us. 

On days like this the worms rejoice and the dogwoods, 
still as they are, cause willing hearts to stir.

It is hope that keeps us going.

 


I hope you enjoyed this excerpt from Blossoming in Provence. Have a lovely weekend.
Amicalement,
Kristi

To leave a comment, click here

BLOSSOMING-IN-PROVENCE

De Bouche à Oreille, or word of mouth, really helps people to find the French Word-A-Day blog. Thank you so much for sharing today's post with a friend and for supporting this free language journal. 

Thank you for the time you've spent reading my column. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that ongoing support from readers like you helps me to continue writing and publishing these educational missives from France. Your support is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi
 
♥ Send $10    
♥ Send $25    
♥♥ Send the amount of your choice


"I’ve really enjoyed reading your stories over the years & hope you will continue to delight us with your beautiful photos and thoughtful & charming antidotes of life in the beautiful south of France."
--Jacqueline

NEWSLETTER SIGN-UP: Has a friend forwarded you this post? Sign-up to receive your own free subscription to French Word-A-Day. Click here


Back in France and a Writing Tip

Mynieceandnephew
My darling niece and nephew, in Puerto Vallarta.

If I were to give one tip to an aspiring writer, it might be this: keep it simple! I will try to exercise this astuce now, having returned from Mexico to share about the rich and multifaceted visit with my family!


TODAY'S WORD : RESTER SIMPLE

    : keep it simple


FRENCH PRONUNCIATION
Improve your spoken French with Exercises in French Phonetics
Listen to Jean-Marc pronounce today's word & example sentence:
Download MP3 or Wav file

Rester simple, c'est une des règles de vie que mon beau père m'a transmis.
Keep it simple, it's one of the life rules that my stepfather gave to me.


Mas-de-perdrix-rental-provence-franceMAS DE LA PERDRIX
The perfect home to rent in France. Celebrate special occasions with family, friends. Click here.




A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE

    by Kristi Espinasse

"Home, now, from Mexico"

If I tossed and turned in my bed last night, it was owing to something I had forgotten to do--something our Mom used to do for us as children: nous border dans notre lit or tuck us into bed.

Without my sheets and blankets pinned down, I was loosed, last night, in a stormy sea of sheets, hit, now and again, by a chilling draft coming in from the bottom and the sides of the bed. Adding to the commotion was a looming confusion: Mexico, France, Mexico...France.... And who is that holding me?

No, I am in France! I realized, waking this morning to my husband's embrace, and to shuttered windows,  rays of light streaming in across the red floor tiles. They might have been my mom's shiny terracotta, across which I rolled my valise, now filled only with memories. Some of my favorites were these:

The scene you see at the opening of this post
That's my niece, Reagan, and my nephew, Payne, bounding into the ocean. Their enthusiasm is a gift I have taken home with me!

The Welcome Crew at the Airport
Otherwise known as "Mom, John, and Breezy" (their 9-year-old bichon frise). After 24 hours of travel (Marseille-Madrid-Mexico City-Puerto Vallarta), these familiar, smiling faces were embracing! 

John-home
John. My sister, Heidi, took this photo of our beau-père.

TheLastLion
           Mom at the bookstore "A Page in the Sun"

The Last Lion
Whether hiking up and down the cobblestone streets of Puerto Vallarta (stopping to shake her bootie during a live outdoor Zumba class), or rushing to the golf course, where we might "borrow" one of the golf carts and freewheel across the field.... my Mom was her usual spirited self. She rested for a day, in between each of these escapades. Please pray for her as she may need a few surgeries in the coming months, including a hip replacement. You sure wouldn't know it, would you! 
 Mom-kristi-video
Heidi-in-mexico

My Sister Heidi
Who shared everything in her trousse de toilette with me and always had ideas about where to go and what to see! But I am not as adventurous...and when she mentioned ziplining (scaling the Mexican treetops via a cord) I backed out! More about Heidi, here.

Piano-man

Meeting So Many Endearing Characters
Including the piano man, above, and Kim, Hilda, Adriana, Lourdes, Sahil, Sam, Chuck, and the stranger in the airport bathroom (a 6ft tall black goddess in full lycra with waist-length hair and Kim Kardishan's derriere) who, seeing me struggle to squeeze dried toothpaste onto my toothbrush, offered me her dentifrice. Just when you feel invisible in a sea of strangers, a solid manifestation of kindness smacks you in the face, like a peppermint kiss.

With that I will end this little photo essay - keeping my writing vow to rester simple. Wishing you all a lovely rest-of-the week. And many thanks for reading.

Amicalement,

Kristi

COMMENTS


Heidi-reagan-payne-kristi
                              Heidi, Reagan, Payne, and me

PROVENCE PHOTO WORKSHOP - Improve your skills with a 5 day workshop this summer. Click here.

SABLET HOME - for high quality vacation rentals in the heart of Provence. Click here for pictures.           

FRANCE & MONACO We offer exclusive short-term holiday rental properties throughout France and Monaco. Click here.

YOUR AD HERE. Place an ad in the French Word-A-Day newsletter. Click here.

Marignan-airport

Touching down in Marseilles last night. More photos from my trip, click here.

FORWARD THIS POST
If you enjoyed today's column, thanks for taking the time to share it. 

Thank you for the time you've spent reading my column. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that ongoing support from readers like you helps me to continue writing and publishing these educational missives from France. Your support is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi
 
♥ Send $10    
♥ Send $25    
♥♥ Send the amount of your choice


"I’ve really enjoyed reading your stories over the years & hope you will continue to delight us with your beautiful photos and thoughtful & charming antidotes of life in the beautiful south of France."
--Jacqueline

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Amicalement + Farewell & How To Say Goodbye in French

Petanque
In case I did not say a proper goodbye, before leaving to see my family in Mexico, I offer you now dozens of au revoirs to make up for it! The next post will go out around March 10th. Miss you already!

TODAY'S WORD

quitter
(kee-tay) verb
  1. to leave, to quit
  2. to give up, vacate, forsake
  3. to exit

FRENCH PRONUNCIATION

Hear Jean-Marc pronounce today's quote: Download wav

Il faut se quitter souvent pour s'aimer toujours.
You need to leave each other often to love each other forever.

A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE


I am fascinated with farewells (of the e-mail kind) when I'm not downright fussing over how to end my own courriels. Signing off after even the briefest note is cause for over-reflection, and I sometimes stare for minutes at the blank screen before relying on the same old (boring?) standby:

Amicalement,
Kristi

While gros bisous still sounds a little too intimate, I ask myself if tchao--something I love the sound and French spelling of--isn't a bit hip or sort of pretentious sounding (tchao darling!)? Oh well, I never know, but I am game to try all of the farewells noted below.  I hope you will too!


Ways to sign-off or say goodbye in French:

à bientôt = (see) you soon
à très bientôt = (see) you real soon
adieu = goodbye (forever)
affectueusement = affectionately (love)
à la prochaine = until next time
à tout à l'heure = toodeloo
amicalement = (literally: "in a friendly way") yours, best wishes, regards
amitiés = (amitié = friendship) yours, best wishes, regards
amitiés sincères = sincere regards
à plus (or "à+" or "@+") = later
au plaisir = with the pleasure of seeing you again
au revoir = goodbye
avec toute mon amitié = with all my friendship
bien à toi = yours
bien à vous = yours
bien affectueusement = yours affectionately
bien amicalement = best wishes
bien amicalement à vous = best wishes to you
bien cordialement = warmly
bien des choses à tous = best to all
bien/très respectueusement = with much respect
bisous = kisses

bisous à tous = kisses to all
bonne continuation = keep up the good work
bonne journée = have a nice day
bons baisers = big kisses
cordialement = cordially
d'un (d'une) ami(e) = from a friend
encore merci = thanks again
grosse bise = big kiss
gros bisous = big kisses

je serai toujours là pour vous = I'll always be there for you
je t'embrasse (je vous embrasse) = big kiss, with love
je t'embrasse très fort = great big kiss, with lots of love
meilleures salutations = best salutations
meilleurs sentiments = best wishes
merci = thanks
mes amitiés = my best wishes, my best regards
mes salutations respectueuses = yours faithfully
mille baisers = a thousand kisses
plein de baisers = lots of kisses
salut = bye
salutations = salutations
salutations distinguées = distinguished salutations
tchao (also à tchao!) = ciao, bye
tendresse = fondly
tiens bon (tenez bon) = take care, hang in there
ton ami(e) = your friend
toute mon amitié = very best wishes
très cordiales salutations = warm salutations
votre ami(e) = your friend

...and last, but not least:
Ciao for now!
Kristi
 
COMMENTS
To comment, click here.

Kristi driving ape truck
à plus! Catch you later! Thanks for reading these posts and for checking out these French-themed products:

Paris Peace T-shirt - "so many people have stopped to ask me where I got it" -Betty. Click here

Tour de France Roadmap T-Shirt and don't miss the boxer briefs!  Click here.

Beautiful French Kitchen Towels by Garnier-Thiebaut. Order here.

Espadrilles -  seen them everywhere this time of year -in the south of France and elsewhere! Click here.

Thank you for the time you've spent reading my column. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that ongoing support from readers like you helps me to continue writing and publishing these educational missives from France. Your support is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi
 
♥ Send $10    
♥ Send $25    
♥♥ Send the amount of your choice


"I’ve really enjoyed reading your stories over the years & hope you will continue to delight us with your beautiful photos and thoughtful & charming antidotes of life in the beautiful south of France."
--Jacqueline

NEWSLETTER SIGN-UP: Has a friend forwarded you this post? Sign-up to receive your own free subscription to French Word-A-Day. Click here