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Entries from April 2021

Arsenic in my omelette? Animal instincts + French vocabulary you won't find in a textbook (like the slang word for concierge...)

Irish cob horse in provence
A scene from Cousine Sabine's, where we enjoyed Sunday's "cousinade" or family reunion. The horse is an Irish cob.

Today's Word: un abreuvoir

: watering hole, drinking bowl, trough, birdbath, fountain

Click here to listen to Jean-Marc read in French and in English

Study the sentence below, then click on the following sound file to hear the French and English
On peut conduire un cheval à l'abreuvoir, mais non le forcer à boire. You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink.

A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE by Kristi Espinasse
I was in our chicken pen, refilling the water bowl and collecting the "oeuf du jour" when I had an inspiration: Go over and flip the straw bale! that inner voice whispered.

"Come here, Edie," I said to my chicken and the two of us headed over to a knee-high botte de paille. Ready? Flip! And there, on the underside of the humid mass, the potato bugs were teeming! Dozens of them! What a feast my little hen would have!

"Go on Edie! Eat! Bon appétit!

Edie approached the writhing wall of insects and cocked her head, left, right, left...and her pupils dilated as she moved in for a closer look. If you know chickens, you can picture my hen's jerking motions, which I feared would scare off the bugs. "Go on, Edie! before it's too late!" (If you know potato bugs, you'll recall their protective mechanism: these “roly polies” instantly curl in on themselves, making a repulsive hard shell barrier).

"Edie! What's the matter with you? Look at that live feast! A veritable bug buffet. "Eat, Edie, eat while you can!" But my chicken just stood there, her neck seesawing, her head jerking as her giant side eye followed the critters up and down the slithering wall. I had the urge to take her by the beak and lead her to the high protein lunch but the use of force would have been unkind, not to mention futile.

On peut conduire un cheval à l'abreuvoir, mais non le forcer à boire

It reminds me of the saying, you can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink. (You can present somebody with an opportunity but you can't make them take it!) Clearly, Edie wasn't seizing this chance to swap out those bland pellets for some crunchy isopods!

Frustrated and disappointed, I left my cocotte to her own devices and went to check in on Mom, whose studio is across the driveway from the poulailler. Mom and a newly-groomed Smokey were in bed watching cat videos on Youtube. 

Giving my best impersonation of a stubborn, wide-eyed, head-jerking chicken, I recounted the story of the Supreme Potato Bug Festin that Edie refused. Mom and Smokey were amused and when I was done flapping my wings and pecking at thin air it suddenly hit me, another kind of folly: we act the same before our own Beloved's gifts (whether that be God, a loving family member, or friend). We fail to recognize the goods being set down before us--whether food, advice, or care. We think we know better. We go and eat soggy, day-old pellets instead.  

"See you later," I said to Mom and Smokey, leaving my beloveds and heading around the corner into the house for an afternoon nap. Before I fell to sleep I surfed the net and there is where I saw a serendipitous post from a permaculture site I follow. Can you believe they were talking about potato bugs? Quelle coïncidence! It turns out potato bugs or "cloportes" are excellent workers in the garden as they eat up heavy metals in the soil, such as mercury, cadmium, arsenic, and plomb de la terre which are dangerous to humans. 

La Sagesse de La Nature/Nature's Wisdom

Aha! If my hen turned her beak at my generous offering it was because her instincts were telling her Don't do it! Don't eat that! 

Yikes! If she had eaten those metal-charged crustaceans, would I then have arsenic in my omelette? Lead in my Eggs Benedict? Francium in my frittata?  Adding to the confusion, the internet says potato bugs are okay for hens to eat. What then, is the answer? If not to let my chick decide for herself, and trust her own animal instincts!

It all makes me think about the current times we are living in. So many of us are trying to lead our stubborn loved ones to the water. But we can't make them drink it! It is frustrating, unnerving, disappointing! As for me, I am glad my chicken did not drink the "water" I offered her. After all, what do I know? I would do better to entertain friends with my Jerky Hen Impression than to tell anyone what to do.

Bonne chance et bon courage. I'll be back next week with more French words. If you enjoy this letter, please share it with a friend.

Amicalement,

Kristi
P.S. Some trivia: did you know "cloporte", or potato bug, the subject of today's story, is also French slang for "caretaker"? Cloporte means "concierge" in French! It is fun to think we have hundreds of concierges in our garden :-)

P.S.S. Please consider following my Instagram account -- apart from the photos I post of our area in France, it is a good backup. Should this newsletter experience a glitch, you will always be informed of a new post via Instagram 

FRENCH VOCABULARY
un abreuvoir = trough, watering hole
l'oeuf du jour = egg of the day
la botte = bundle (also "boot", see post)
la paille = straw (paille expressions, here)
boire = to drink
le poulailler = henhouse, chicken coop
le festin = feast, banquette (see post here)
la cocotte = chick, chook, in French child speak (see "baby talk" post)
le plomb = lead
la terre = earth, soil
bonne chance = good luck
bon courage = be brave
amicalement = kind wishes

Sainfoin fleur flowers
In front of Cousin Sabine's, a field of pink "sainfoin": a plant of the meadows which was formerly cultivated as fodder. Une plante des prairies qui était autrefois cultivée comme fourrage. Below, after one of Cousin Sabine's relatives hung it there decades ago, an old mailbox disappears into a venerable plane tree.

plane platane tree swallows mailbox

A Message from Kristi on this blog's 19th anniversary
Thank you for reading this language journal. In 2002 I left my job at a vineyard and became self-employed in France. "French Word-A-Day" has been my full-time occupation ever since. Ongoing support from readers like you helps keep this site ad-free and allows me to focus on writing. My wish is to continue creating posts that are educational, insightful, and heart-warming. If my work has touched you in any way, please consider supporting it via a blog donation.

Ways to contribute:
1. Send a check
2. Paypal or credit card
3. A bank transfer, a great way to send your donation as there are no transaction fees.

Or purchase our online memoir, The Lost Gardens


What does “Féerique” mean in French? + compare translations of our bilingual book synopsis

Kristi and Jean-Marc Espinasse
Photo of me and Jean-Marc in 1991. Today, enjoy an extended sound file in French as Jean-Marc summarizes our story. Now that our vineyard memoir is written, we have arrived at a critical step: finding an agent and then a publisher for the hardcopy edition. Your help is vital! Please study the following synopsis in English and in French, and help answer the questions that follow.

Today’s Word: féerique

-magical, stellar, enchanting, fairy tale

The Lost Gardens is the story of a man who pursues his dream of making the ultimate Bandol wine. After experiencing the harvest at his uncle’s vineyard in the world-renowned Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Jean-Marc Espinasse makes a life-changing decision. He quits his job as an accountant in the cosmopolitan city of Marseille, and moves his young family, including his American wife, to an isolated domaine in the windy, inhospitable Rhone Valley. There begins an unbridled pursuit of his wine fantasy, which takes him on a whirlwind of bipolar ups and downs.

In a take-turns husband/wife narrative, Jean-Marc chronicles his battle with a longtime mood disorder, aggravated by a mysterious family tragedy, and his painful struggle as he comes up against a never-ending string of obstacles at the vineyard--from a near-death accident in his wine cellar, and again on his tractor, to the ultimate threat of a lawsuit which leads to his final breakdown and loss of the winery. In her chapters, Kristi shares her determination to stay sober on two consecutive vineyards, her own struggles with anxiety, and her escape into blogging and gardening. Throughout the story, she considers the mystery of love as she analyses her difficult relationship with her soulmate, from its fairytale beginning in the South of France to a total breakdown of the heart when the love is lost, somewhere among the wine and the vines.

With the vineyard and gardens slipping away, the couple has nowhere to turn but to each other. Through the storm there emerges a story of faith, hope, and love, and what it means to stay committed in the darkest moments.

Audio recording: Click here to listen to the book synopsis in French

The Lost Gardens est l'histoire d'un homme qui poursuit son rêve d'élaborer le nec plus ultra des vins de Bandol. Après une vendange chez son oncle, dans le célèbre vignoble de Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Jean-Marc Espinasse a une révélation. Il quitte son emploi de comptable dans la ville cosmopolite de Marseille et installe sa jeune famille, y compris sa femme américaine, dans un domaine isolé de la Vallée du Rhône, venteuse et inhospitalière. C'est là que commence la poursuite effrénée de son rêve de vigneron, qui l'entraîne dans un tourbillon de hauts et de bas bipolaires.

Dans un récit à tour de rôle, Jean-Marc raconte son combat contre ses troubles de l'humeur de longue date, aggravés par une mystérieuse tragédie familiale, et sa lutte douloureuse contre une série interminable d'obstacles au vignoble - d'un accident qui frôle la mort dans son chai, et un autre sur son tracteur ou la menace ultime d'un procès qui le mène à sa dépression finale et à la perte du vignoble. Dans ses chapitres, Kristi parle de sa détermination à rester sobre dans deux vignobles consécutifs, de ses propres luttes contre l'anxiété et de son mode d'évasion dans le blogging et le jardinage. Tout au long de l'histoire, elle se penche sur le mystère de l'amour en analysant la relation difficile qu'elle entretient avec son âme sœur, depuis son arrivée féerique dans le sud de la France jusqu'à son désespoir lorsque l'amour se perd, quelque part parmi le vin et les vignes.

Avec ces jardins qui leur échappent, le couple n'a plus qu'à se tourner l'un vers l'autre. À travers la tempête émerge une histoire de foi, d'espoir et d'amour et de ce que rester engagé signifie dans les moments les plus sombres.

QUESTIONS

1. An important question that publishers will want to know is this: What other books out there on the market resemble our story? In reading the synopsis above, does our account bring to mind anything else you have ever read with a similar theme? Please name those books in the comments section.

2. Does the English-to-French translation reflect the subtleties within the text? Do you have any suggestions or corrections?

3. What new words did you learn today via our text? We hope this bilingual edition has been as helpful to you as it has been to us. Thank you very much for your help with our book!

For more about our story and/or to purchase the current online edition, click here.

Our farmhouse as Mas des Brun

Jean-Marc and Kristi Espinasse
Photo of Jean-Marc and me by Suzanne Delperdang Willis Land. The "Real Men Drive Tractors" was a gift from our friends Chris and George. Thank you for sharing this post with anyone who may be interested in our story. 

A Message from Kristi on this blog's 19th anniversary
Thank you for reading this language journal. In 2002 I left my job at a vineyard and became self-employed in France. "French Word-A-Day" has been my full-time occupation ever since. Ongoing support from readers like you helps keep this site ad-free and allows me to focus on writing. My wish is to continue creating posts that are educational, insightful, and heart-warming. If my work has touched you in any way, please consider supporting it via a blog donation.

Ways to contribute:
1. Send a check
2. Paypal or credit card
3. A bank transfer, a great way to send your donation as there are no transaction fees.

Or purchase our online memoir, The Lost Gardens


Wish us luck (Souhaitez-nous bonne chance)! + Putting the cart before the horse (la charrue avant les boeufs)...

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“Do not send a letter... we don’t live there any more.” This beautiful calligraphy by Joy Fairclough, captures the beauty and romance of what many imagine to be life on a French vineyard. Jean-Marc and I share the true blood, sweat, and tears reality in our memoir, The Lost Gardens which we have just finished writing. Fêtons çela!

Today's word: un ouvrage

    : book, work, publication

Click here to listen to Jean-Marc read the following in French and in English:

Nous sommes heureux de vous annoncer que, après deux ans de travail, nous avons terminé notre ouvrage, The Lost Gardens. We are happy to tell you that, after two years of work, we have finished our book, The Lost Gardens.

A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE by Kristi Espinasse

On April 12, just before noon, after two full years of effort and dedication, my husband and I posted the very last chapter of our memoir, The Lost Gardens. And just like that, ça y est, we finished a book--un livre, a tome, a memoir, a work, un ouvrage--if not a magnum opus. (Just putting that last term in for the fun of it, reminding my serious self to do things for the fun of it--pour le plaisir de le faire. Not that writing this book was a pleasure...).

Ce n'est pas si simple que ça
Years ago at Karen Fawcett's (creator of "Bonjour Paris" one of the first websites on France) I remember sitting on the floor beside the prolific author Cara Black, who had, by that time, written a half-dozen books in her Aimée Leduc series, set in Paris. We were gathered around a coffee table, seated on couches, fauteuils, or assis par terre. I turned to Cara and said, regarding a new book she had begun: "It must be easy for you....I mean, you have written so many!"
 
I will never forget her response: "The next book is no easier to write than the first." 

What a lesson this was, and it has encouraged me many times since. Whether writing this blog post or a magazine column or a book, I still struggle, still sweat it out--partly because I am still putting the cart before the horse which seems to be the way I operate in life, writing being no exception. More than letters and words, I tend to invert entire passages so that after laboring for a while I realize I've gotten it all backward (les choses sont un peu à l'envers). I can't seem, from the get-go, to present an idea, an essay, a story, in its logical order. But that doesn't keep me from writing--it only keeps me from a smooth delivery.

When things get choppy, I take a break and pace around the house or the yard or the neighborhood or the town. "You are writing!" I remind myself. "You are still writing. If it were easy everyone would be doing it!" It helps so much to remember that the struggle is part of the process. And while it does not get easier to write, it is a skill that builds, a discipline that strengthens. Writing is an effort that feels good in the end. 

If writing this book was a struggle for me, for my husband it was a calculated risk. Jean-Marc admits in the last chapter that he feared writing this vineyard memoir would “stir the bad sediments in our common barrel”.... 

I had better leave you with that pour le moment. It is time now to contact a literary agent (ouf! And not a divorce lawyer!). Meantime, the next challenge is to compose a short review of our finished book and this step is most difficult. How to distill this dual-narrative--this story of our vineyard and the story of our marriage--into a few gripping paragraphs...in time to wow a publisher?
 
Souhaitez-nous bonne chance. Wish us good luck!
 
*   *  *
 The online edition is available for purchase. Read it this weekend and enjoy dozens of meaningful photos!


FRENCH VOCABULARY
un ouvrage = a work, a book
fêtons çela! = let's celebrate 
ça y est = there you have it
un livre = a book
pour le plaisir de le faire = for the fun of it
ce n’est pas si simple que ça = it’s not so easy as that
le fauteuil= chair
assis par terre = seated on the ground 
les choses sont un peu à l'envers = things are a little backwards 
ouf! = phew!

REVERSE DICTIONARY
to put the cart before the horsemettre la charrue avant les bœufs
 
BYE FOR NOW
I leave you with an article published in our local La Ciotat magazine.  You will find today’s word “ouvrage” somewhere in the text... 

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A Message from Kristi on this blog's 19th anniversary
Thank you for reading this language journal. In 2002 I left my job at a vineyard and became self-employed in France. "French Word-A-Day" has been my full-time occupation ever since. Ongoing support from readers like you helps keep this site ad-free and allows me to focus on writing. My wish is to continue creating posts that are educational, insightful, and heart-warming. If my work has touched you in any way, please consider supporting it via a blog donation.

Ways to contribute:
1. Send a check
2. Paypal or credit card
3. A bank transfer, a great way to send your donation as there are no transaction fees.

Or purchase our online memoir, The Lost Gardens


Demain il fera jour: A reminder not to take work (life, everything) too seriously + Escapade to Porquerolles Island

Bike rental on porquerolles island France
If today's word is too easy for you, détrompez-vous. Think again. This letter has a lot more to offer when you read to the end.

Today's Word: la plage
1. beach
2. track of music
3. time span, range

Listen to Jean-Marc read the following in French and English

Porquerolles, ses plages de sable fin, ses eaux turquoise et transparentes. C’est un véritable paradis à quelques minutes de la presqu’île de Giens en bateau. -Hyères Tourisme Porquerolles, its fine sandy beaches, its turquoise and transparent waters. It is a real paradise, a few minutes away from the Giens peninsula by boat.
 

A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE by Kristi Espinasse
Sand, Pétanque, Sea urchins and a "Be Here Now" mindset

Lundi dernier, on my husband’s 54th birthday, we boarded une navette and cruised over to the island of Porquerolles. It was the week before France's 3rd confinement and this 3-day getaway was like a large breath of liberté before lockdown.

The ferry was almost empty. We huddled at the back of the shuttle, enjoying the open-air seating with the other passengers, some dressed in shorts, some in sundresses, all of us wearing masks. Within 15 minutes we arrived in Paradise. Like the other two islands in the Îles d'Hyères, Porquerolles is known for its crystal clear, turquoise waters and fine sandy plages. There are few cars on the island (only those needed by the local businesses), bikes are the way to get around.

"I prefer to walk," I said to Jean-Marc, as we headed past some bike rental shops and made our way to La Plage d'Argent, a 25-minute marche from town. The scent of eucalyptus filled the salty air as we passed fields of wildflowers, a vineyard, and an impressive community garden full of potager beds! "Maybe we should move here?" I challenged Jean-Marc.
"Pourquoi pas!" said he, kiddingly. We would probably get island fever after the first month. Et puis tout se sait sur une petite île! On a little island, there are no secrets!

Donkeys on porquerolles island
The donkeys are slightly camouflaged. Can you see them, left of center?


"Regarde! Il y a des ânes." There were a trio of donkeys in the maquis. A sign posted nearby said that these animals help débroussailler, or clear away of the dry undergrowth which could lead to fires. "We could have used those!" I said to Jean-Marc, remembering the yearly visits by the police to our vineyard, threatening une amende if we didn't get our property cleared before the heat of summertime.

This reminded me: the last chapter of our vineyard memoir was due tomorrow! I also had a blog post to create and send out in 3 days... and a sinking feeling told me today was the deadline for my France Today article on Cairns (or rock stacking in France). I knew when Jean-Marc planned this escapade, that it would fall right in the middle of a week of deadlines--but this trip was his birthday present. I began to sweat over this decision to put everything off until our return, when a little voice within piped up....

Aujourd-hui, c'est aujourd'hui!  Today is today!

Everything in life needs a balance, especially for those who are self-employed and pressuring themselves to stay on top, to not slip or fall behind. If there is one life lesson that I cannot seem to learn it is this: Keep it in the day! A chaque jour suffit sa peine. Be here now! L'instant présent! Or, as Jean-Marc's Mom always said, Demain il fera jour.

Tomorrow is indeed another day! I reached into my bag, grabbed an apple and began eating. I never eat when walking. And I am never late with work. And I never play pétanque (but would, by the end of our périple). 

Ironically "nevers" don't exist on Never Never Island. Et heureusement! I took another bite of my apple and caught up to Jean-Marc, who was heading down to the beach. Aujourd'hui, c'est aujourd'hui! I said. Happy Birthday! Joyeux Anniversaire! Thank you for this getaway, ce dépaysement! With that, we set down our only beach towel (having forgotten to pack another), and kicked off our shoes. Feet in the sand, I unpacked our picnic: last night's omelet tasted delicious on the beach, along with bites of poutargue (a sliceable mound of dried fish eggs--we're addicted!), an avocado, cheese and the main course: les oursins! Jean-Marc put on his wetsuit and headed out to the rocky edge of the beach where he found the urchins among a lot of seaweed (an astuce learned from a friend. Normally they're found clinging to rocks). 

Our stomachs full we shared the beach towel for an afternoon nap. The next two days were rebelote--or much the same: long leisurely walks to the beach, a simple, delicious casse-croute (and more oursins) followed by un roupillon. It was a wonderful birthday celebration, and a good break all around. And when thoughts of work returned throughout our stay, so did my belle-mère's wise words about keeping it in the day:

Demain il fera jour.

 

Porquerolles
More photos on my Instagram

FRENCH VOCABULARY
détrompez-vous! = think again
lundi dernier
= last Monday
la navette = shuttle, ferry boat, water bus

le confinement = quarantine
la plage = beach
la liberté
= freedom
la marche = walk
pourquoi pas? = why  not
le potager = vegetable patch, kitchen garden
tout se sait = there are no secrets
regarde! = look
un âne = donkey
le maquis = scrubland, shrubland, brush
débroussailler = to clear (dry grasses)
une amende = ticket, fine
une escapade = getaway, break, trip, escape
A chaque jour suffit sa peine = Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof
demain il fera jour = tomorrow is another day
le périple = journey, trek
et heureusement = and thank God for that!
le dépaysement = change of scenery
un oursin = sea urchin
une astuce = tip, trick, hack
rebelote = same thing again
le casse-croûte = snack
le roupillon = nap, siesta
la belle-mère = mother-in-law

 

IMG_0705
Domaine de l'ile - one of 3 vineyards on this island full of character. See more photos of this paradise:
https://www.french-word-a-day.com/2013/04/what-to-do-on-porquerolles-island-que-faire-sur-l%C3%AEle-de-porquerolles.html

IMG_0702
Jean-Marc and his urchins cutters or coupe-oursins, and on the right urchins on the half shell.

More stories: The last time we went to Porquerolles, our kids had a wild party at the house, click here

Read about the creative "mop spear" Jean-Marc invented while on the island: more here


IMG_0727


Kristi and Jean-Marc
Aujourd'hui, c'est aujourd'hui! Bye for now and remember to enjoy the day by living in l'instant présent.

A Message from Kristi on this blog's 19th anniversary
Thank you for reading this language journal. In 2002 I left my job at a vineyard and became self-employed in France. "French Word-A-Day" has been my full-time occupation ever since. Ongoing support from readers like you helps keep this site ad-free and allows me to focus on writing. My wish is to continue creating posts that are educational, insightful, and heart-warming. If my work has touched you in any way, please consider supporting it via a blog donation.

Ways to contribute:
1. Send a check
2. Paypal or credit card
3. A bank transfer, a great way to send your donation as there are no transaction fees.

Or purchase our online memoir, The Lost Gardens


France's "Cité de L'Espace" and SpaceX "dearMoon" + Jules is ready to fly the coop.

Port in la ciotat wooden boats or pointus
Our little wooden boat, an authentic French “pointu” left the old port Monday for a special mission...to accompany my Mom beyond the limits of La Ciotat. Find out what this floating craft has in common with spacecraft in today's intergalactic missive.

Today’s word: une fusée 
     : rocket, space rocket 

Audio File: listen to Jean-Marc read the following French and English:
Un milliardaire japonais offre huit sièges pour un voyage autour de la Lune à bord d’une fusée développée par Elon Musk. Japanese billionaire offers eight seats for trip around the moon aboard a rocket developed by Elon Musk

A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE by Kristi Espinasse 
"Entrée gratuite" (Free entry). When I read a news article in Le Monde about a Japanese billionaire giving away 8 tickets to the moon, I ran to show it to my Mom. "His name is  Yusaku Maezawa and he's offering the SpaceX flight a.k.a. "dearMoon" to artists who are willing to push the limits of creativity. 

"When is it? And how long will it orbit?" Mom wanted to know.
"The rocket launches in 2023 and it's a 7-day tour if you make it past the 4 screenings!"
 "Let's do it!" Jules said, sitting up in her bed. After pushing her paintbrushes aside, mourning her husband for several years, this intergalactic journey (even the possibility of it!) was just what the doctor ordered. So, on a whim, we both signed up and made it through the first screening (as did millions of other earthlings: all you had to do was send in a picture and fill out a form). But by the second screening, I got cold feet and backed out. Yesterday's newsflash in Paris Match about the latest SpaceX rocket fusée exploding freaked me out. My fearless Mom, however, was chiche to continue! 

IMG_0117
A souvenir from my SpaceX candidature. 

Two More requirements
Those making it past the first two screenings now had a unique challenge issued by billionaire Yusaku Maezawa, who is known for his own flamboyant marketing stunts:

1) Come up with your own publicity stunt to get the word out about our dearMoon SpaceX mission.
2) Create a useful tool/gadget for the lunar trip 

dearMom and dearMoon
Now all we needed was a way for Jules's candidature to stand out...and some sort of gadget! Last Thursday, while busy with our annual carénage (boat maintenance) it hit us! Why not parade Mom around Provence in this little wooden boat--this historic pointu?! It was sort of symbolic: a ride that begins on a humble floating vessel and ends on a trillion-dollar rocket.

"And ends on a rocket..." Oh God, will my dearMom be okay on the dearMoon mission if she makes it past this third screening? Did we really want Jules to take this risk? What if she disappeared forever in the galactic heavens?

"Honey, I am ready to move on!" Mom reassured me.

Meantime, my sister-in-law, Cécile, who helps sand and paint our boat each year, painted the words dearMoon over both sides of the pointu... and in place of La Ciotat (our town), it now read "La Lune/2023." As a further attention-getter, Jean-Marc put 8 cases of wine in the back of the newly painted boat, topping the boxes in a visual display of bottles and bottles of rosé. (Hoping to kiss up to the Japanese billionaire--who is also a wine fanatic--I had these cool wine labels printed. Look closely at all the details on the label...  (Maybe Yusaku Maezawa will be chiche to make wine with us here in France if all goes well! What do you say Yusaku? Are you reading? Please take Mom to the Moon! She is the perfect candidate and will be your Most Fun crew member!)

DEARLUNE

Crystal Goggles--Le Must!
As for the spacial gadget.... To put all chance on our side, we contacted our daughter, Jackie, who works for the historic French crystal company, Baccarat, to see if they would be willing to make some mock-goggles using their luxury crystal for the lenses. Jackie immediately drew up the plans and the CEO OK'd her design! Turns out the dearMoon "monture" is a méchant marketing booster for Baccarat as well! 

Moon or Bust!
On Tuesday, Mom, dressed in her favorite Frida Kahlo cape and boarded the little wooden boat--taking our golden retriever Smokey with her. "Look!" Mom said. She pulled two pairs of Baccarat goggles out of her bag, fitting Smokey with his own pair. "Jackie sent an extra for bonne chance!"

Jean-Marc hitched the little wooden boat onto our 4X4 and we were off, Jules and Smokey in tow! Taking all country roads and passing through little towns along this special pèlerinage to la Cité de L'Espace (Toulouse is Europe's capital of aeronautics, hosting the headquarters of the Airbus Group) everything went beautifully until we reached La Ville Rose--Toulouse's other nickname...and we now know why....

More than rose, we noticed a lot of red. Red faces! Our spacey entourage was met with hostility as angry French protesters stopped us at the city limits (having seen all the news coverage of our dearMoon "craft" advancing toward their famous city).

Jean-Marc and I sat wide-eyed in the front of our Jeep, while Mom and Smokey looked onto the crowd from the little wooden boat where they sat, literally goggle-eyed. The protest signs read: VA JOUER SUR L'AUTOROUTE!!! 

Whew! That's a seriously méchant French insult that means GO PLAY ON THE FREEWAY! It turns out the Toulousaines were livid to see us promoting an American/Japanese Outer Space adventure...when France had a rocket of its own to promote (can anyone tell me the name of that rocket? Hmm? Does France have its own chereLune?).

"What are they saying?" Mom shouted to us, as she poured glass after glass of rosé, trying to appease the protesters (many were accepting the wine, and some were helping themselves to a case of it!).

Jean-Marc and I looked at each other, unsure of whether we should break the news. Suddenly, we both turned and shouted:

"April Fools! The signs read April Fools!"

"Oh, that's a good one!" Mom said, raising her glass "cheers!" (The protesters raised theirs with jeers!)

And off we drove, with Mom and Smokey in tow. Mom shouting back at the crowd. "We're off to play on the freeway--the Intergalactic Freeway! April fools! April fools!"

 

Mom cape
I hope you enjoyed today's April Fools--and hopefully Jules will too when she wakes up and reads it :-) I really did sign up for the dearMoon mission...and so did dearSmokey, see below....

FRENCH VOCABULARY 
une fusée = space rocket
entrée gratuite = free entry
chiche = game (être chiche = game to do something)
carénage = boat service, maintenance, careening
la lune = moon
méchant = wickedly awesome
la monture = eyeglass frames
le pointu = little wooden boat from Provence or the Mediterranean
le pèlerinage = pilgrimage

Smokey DearMoon astronaut crew

A Message from Kristi on this blog's 19th anniversary
Thank you for reading this language journal. In 2002 I left my job at a vineyard and became self-employed in France. "French Word-A-Day" has been my full-time occupation ever since. Ongoing support from readers like you helps keep this site ad-free and allows me to focus on writing. My wish is to continue creating posts that are educational, insightful, and heart-warming. If my work has touched you in any way, please consider supporting it via a blog donation.

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