A Mystery: Diriger, benir, and the anonymous gift we received
Recipe + Hospitality + gardons les choses simples (one pot meal in the Land of 5 Courses)

To wish + Heureuse année, bonnes resolutions, and to get on one's nerves!

port alon saint cyr-sur-mer south of france golden retriever smokey wooden picket beach fence

A favorite place to walk and talk. Conversation with my daughter in today's story.

TODAY'S WORD: se souhaiter

        : to wish one another, to wish each other


Le 31 Décembre à minuit les français se souhaitent une bonne et heureuse année et prennent parfois de bonnes résolutions pour changer leurs habitudes.
December 31st, at midnight, the French wish each other a good and happy year and sometimes make good resolutions to change their habits.

ECOUTEZ - Hear Jean-Marc pronounce today's example sentence in French:
Download MP3 soundfile


    by Kristi Espinasse

Yesterday, I found my daughter sitting in the sun on the front porch. "Hey, what are you up to?" I said.

"I was thinking about going for a walk at Port d'Alon."

"Oh..." Walking alone along the littoral is not a good idea. A week ago while hiking with my husband we encountered Charles Manson (or his look-alike, who acted just as étrange as he bee-lined towards us, shirtless in winter, waving his arms and babbling in French. We remained calm until he finished his one-way conversation and disappeared down the path). For this reason, I was about to talk Jackie out of the coastal walk when suddenly she asked if I wanted to join her.

How could a parent turn down an invitation by her child to walk in nature? What an immeasurable step up this was from the mall request!

My teenager drove and I did my best not to grip the door handle or suck in my breath each time I sensed a threat. "It's not you, Honey. It's the other drivers, who cross over the median!" Soon we made it down into the calanque, its parasol pines so tall they leaned over, ready to snap. To our surprise the park was teeming with people. Mais bien sûr -- ce sont les vacances de Noël!

Jackie took charge of Smokey (as she has ever since our golden retriever ran off with my arm, dislocating my elbow), so all I had to do was walk and not say Annoying Mom Things--and so spoil this privileged time together.

I bit my tongue when we passed a nice young man (Jackie's age? Her type?) who was training his border collie. I watched as the dog weaved in and out of his master's legs, on command, then jumped--twirling in the air!

And it did not escape me when the young man looked over at the girl walking her golden retriever.... That's when I began herding us over toward the (single? local?) entraîneur, but my daughter had her eyes on the shoreline, which seemed to pull her toward the salty waters.

"Il fait tellement beau!" she sighed. "Ready to hike?" and with that Jackie turned abruptly toward the sentier.

Half way up the path, we were immersed in the scent of pine and surrounded by blossoming pink bruyère! "Isn't this beautiful?" I asked, only to notice my daughter's eyes were glued to her phone.

"Ça me saoule!" she complained.


"He is still sleeping and it's 2 pm! He hasn't answered ANY of my messages!"

"Who? Your boyfriend?"

"IL ME SAOULE!" came the confirmation.

"He get's on your nerves? That would be a good French word of the day--SAOULER!" I smiled, trying to get my 19-year-old to laugh about it. IL EST SAOULANT! I shouted, for good measure. But that would be the extent of any weighing in on my part.  This young love would have to figure it out herself. All I can do is try, when the occasion arises, to herd her toward the more chipper, engaging, and interesting types. They are there, in her midst, weaving in and out of her path--jumping for her attention. She just hasn't woken up to them yet.


Stories you may have missed: The town we are moving to and Did you know this rule for cheese?

Increase your vocabulary with these words. More word-building here.

le littoral
= coastline
une calanque = sea inlet (story and bilingual post here)
étrange = strange
mais bien sûr
= but of course
ce sont les vacances de Noël!
= it's Christmas break!
il fait tellement beau =
the weather's so nice out
le sentier
= walking path
la bruyère = heather flower
saouler = to get on one's nerves

Jackie and Smokey, earlier this year

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la bruyère - heather blooming in the Mediterranean forest

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Thank you very much for reading this journal over the year. Wishing you a peaceful, happy, and healthy 2017!

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