Update from Kristi + Rester dans les parages = to stick around
How to say "shortcoming" or "vice" in French + recipe reminder: "La Tarte Tomate"

A few recent photos, "the best days of our lives", and a strange French word for hoarding

Grotte st marcel bidon ardeche pools cave underground
A grotte (La Grotte Saint-Marcel) we visited in Ardeche, on a recent getaway in a rented camping car.

Last month I didn't have the guts to tell you that I had planned on taking the entire summer off from faithfully updating this French word journal. Instead, I promised, "I'll check in with you in June..." Let that be a lesson that putting off the inevitable only takes the joy out of borrowed time!

This pause kind of feels like borrowed time, but now that I've confessed I'll own it: I will cherish this summer and all that's in it: my 74-year-old Mom, our 84-year-old dog (in human years), our seemingly 100-year-old chicken, my kids (grown now, but coming for a visit soon), and my husband, who somehow fell to the end of this list....

Speaking of years/age/time... I will share with you a favorite phrase I've begun repeating each day. I hope you will too, even if you don't feel it. "These are the best days of our lives!" I love singing this reminder to my Mom, who I am happy to report, is on DAY 11 of regular walking. You could say our late afternoon stroll is one of the blessings this summertime break is giving us. 

Another is good food!

"I feel like I am at The Ritz!" Mom says, every time I bring her lunch in bed. I am now taking the time to prepare a meal for Mom each day. I began this vacation by baking chocolate chip cookies, which we ate every day (until day 9 of our "challenge"). Since, we are enjoying (in the place of cookies) seasonal fruit: les cérises, les abricots, les pêches et les figues... As for lunch, we are having a lot of grilled and chilled items that can be saved in Tupperware and arranged colorfully on a plate the next day. I love having on hand grilled eggplant, grilled salmon, as well as potato salad, lentil salad, chickpeas, boiled eggs--and I have found some delicious cooked shrimp at Monoprix... Admittedly, crumbled feta ends up on just about everything! It all tastes delicious on a hot summer day, and the effort is minimal when you plan ahead. 

Apart from planning, I am clearing out. I have been sticking to a "7 things a day" goal for ridding our home of stuff or "le superflu." Even on days when motivation is at its lowest, I can still manage to clear 7 pieces of paper out of a pocket or a purse or a sack. Even a small receipt counts and it all adds up, doesn't it? I now realize that even if I cleared 7 things daily for the rest of my life I would never run out of le superflu (and we are not hoarders! This brings up an interesting (if useless) French word for today: la syllogomanie = compulsive accumulation). 

Speaking of superflu, that may be the theme of this petit sabbatique: identifying and eliminating the excess in my life in order to focus on and spend more time with the essential. I can assure you that this blog is an essential. And that makes you, dear reader, an essence--an indispensable quality of it. After all, I wouldn't be here writing today if it weren't for you. Merci beaucoup!



P.S.: my husband is back at the top of my list...after he almost got thrown out with the slow-cooker. Ouf!
For some juicy summer reading, click here to read our passionate vineyard story, in our memoir "The Lost Gardens".

I'm also taking a break from social media, WhatsApp texts, email, and the rest... for a good rest. Take care and enjoy your July/August as well. Hugs from here, from Smokey and me. (My Mom, Jules, took this photo.)

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:
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Or purchase our online memoir, The Lost Gardens