Alarming news at the Dentist's + Jackie applies for Fashion school in Marseille
Cécile's New Wheels! Vespa...Guêpe...What does a wasp have to do with the Italian scooter by Piaggio? + se faire chaler

La Flemme! Why everyone's so lethargic, paresseux, and feignant this time of year--and what France has done to remedy it!

Midway through the fountain renovation, things turned pink....


Je m'en veux
. I've been feeling so guilty about this lassitude that's set in around here lately. I should be doing the grand ménage de printemps--or putting away all our stuff that's been crammed upstairs during our remodeling.  At the very least I should be writing to you--catching up on a few stories about our petit bassin (it's been repaired!) or our home (the rez-de-chaussée has now been renovated!). Instead, I am puttering around. How to say that in French? I should know--it's my favorite thing to do. To putter!

And then this morning, bingo! ça y est! I realized it is La Fête du Travail here in France. Not only is it OK to be a loafer or a slacker or even a couch potato today--but we are to be giving our fellow feignants dainty white flowers on this le premier mai. Read all about this lackadaisical behavior in the post The Muguet Tradition in France.

I'm off to putter around, or tourner en rond (need a better translation...), in the garden, in the house, or wherever I (and my dog--for Smokey's a good putter pal) fancy. Click here for the original May 1st edition and thank you very much for reading!


la flemme! = (something between "ugh" and "I don't feel like doing anything!")
je m'en veux = I feel bad
la lassitude = weariness
le grand ménage de printemps = spring cleaning
le rez-de-chaussée = ground floor
La Fête du Travail = Labor Day
le petit bassin = pond, little pool
ça y est! = bingo!
feignant(e) = lazybones
le premier mai = the first of May
tourner en rond = to go round in circles
...and then there's an "empêcheur de tourner en rond"--or a "spoilsport" in French
amicalement = "yours"--part of a list of ways to sign off in French correspondence

Poisson fish for pond fountain epinards spinach for garden
His name is Joe--named after our chef de chantier, or site foreman, who took over where Fountain Guy left off. There beside Joe, on the car seat, is les épinards (spinach). Off to plant some more greens in my garden. P.S. We have 6 more fish to name. Your ideas are welcome, in the comments box below!

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Janet Gottsacker

Love your writing! I am in southern France right now enjoying so much of what you write about! Merci!


Why not name one of them in honor of Smokey's mom?

We had a beloved Cockatiel who talked up a storm. He was a hoot. He was named after a dog in Italy, whose name was Isaiah (pronounced Ee-sah-ee-ah). We always called him Isa. I would love it if you named one of your fish Isa. Especially if you see one of them is more mischievous than the others. Our Isa ruled the roost, including riding around on our golden Bear, then after Bear, our current golden Crosby.

If we were not now spending half the year in France and have in the US, I would get another Isa. But it's too hard to get them back into the US after you take them out.

I can't wait to see pictures of your fountain & little pond.


Happy puttering, Kristi! Joe looks very handsome. As for names for the other fish, how about Georges and Sebastien?

Suzanne Dunaway

ILike Loulou or Lulu as a name for anything, why not a fisih? Also Penelope and Zoe and Alexandre. Yes, spring fever....feels sexy.


Kristie ! c´est la fête des travailleurs, pas du travail ...
xoxo Cécile


I love puttering!! The trick is being ok with it!! My daughter had two goldfish she named Pete and Repete as they looked very much alike! Maybe the spelling was Peat and Repeat :). Congratulations on finishing your remodeling projects-from this side it seems like they went very quickly! Love to see photos!

Patricia Sands

Bonne fête du muguets! I love this tradtion and am sending you a virtual porte-bonheur of fragrant muguets! Can't wait to see photos of le petit bassin. I am in "Nana" mode this week staying with two of my grandchildren and they suggest you call one of your fish Elmo. :-)

Chris Allin

Elmo would be cute as a name for a fish! It was once defined to me as representing...Enough, Let's Move On. Seems that is what finally happened with the fountain. And then along came Joe!

Roseann Milano

Or Nemo

Anne Winner Anderson

I believe it's a requirement of goldfish stewardship that at least one must be named "Goldie."

Audrey Wilson

I didn't get the real thing but a card on F.B
Interesting you say"putter" ,we Brits would say "potter" & a possible translation of the phrase is " to take a turn round the garden"
Happy May 1st !

Kristin Espinasse

Uh-oh! je confonds les fêtes. Aux Etats-Unis c'est Labor Day.... Au fait c'est quoi la difference entre La Fête du traivail et la fête des travailleurs?

Sharon Upton

You could name one Mai!

Maureen Winterhager

Hawking !!!!


Unless they changed the spelling since I lived there, I believe the word for lazybones would be feneant.


Manfred or Maurice or Yogi or Ditto (since they so much alike). I am going to putter and potter today. Except my sky is cloudy so will have to be inside. Thank you for your charming stories.

joie in Carmel

Puttering...."un peu de ceci et cela". With me I am not sure if my puttering isn't procrastination. I guess the difference is that something does get done with puttering....the fun things like getting fish for the pond and planting in my case, lettuce, strawberries, herbs and tomatoes. How about Joe's mate could be Sally and I like Sebastian also.

Jane Marceau

you have to have a fish called Wanda


Our dear Kristi,
Puttering is swell with me on any day!
And THANK YOU for making me feel it is okay and I am not alone in enjoying!
How about Verne(after 20,00 leagues Under the Sea???)
Natalia XO

Gail Accuardi

On yes, a fish called Wanda!


Yes, but Labor Day (in the U.S.) is in September.


And we call May 1 May Day, which coincides with International Workers' Day (marked in many countries of the world). So it's easy to confuse the dates and names...

Andrea Hughes

How about "Cousteau" as in Jacques Cousteau...


Happy May Day, Kristi & JM. I can't wait to see how your renovations turn out and of course the fountain/pond when it is finished. As for fish names, have you already gotten the other fish? If not, I would wait until you do before naming. You might want to name them based on their personality or how they look.

Marianne Rankin

For the fish, how about Finley? Or Circulator (round and round in the bassin)? Or Voyageur?

How will you tell the fish apart?


je ne sais pas s´il y a une fête du travail mais la fête du 1er mai en France symbolise la lutte des travailleurs et des syndicats pour obtenir des acquis sociaux, des augmentations de salaire, des réductions de temps de travail...


Fouiner, bricoler : To do something leisurely or unproductive. Enjoy the holiday!

Leslie in Oregon


Leslie in Oregon

Congratulations on the successful repair of le petit bassin and the completion of the renovation of le rez-de-chaussée!

Is Smokey going to be allowed to immerse himself, or at least stand, in le petit bassin when it is hot? After all, as a Golden, he has two coats...and loves water! Will the water in le petit bassin be deep enough for him to swim in it?

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