A Special Request + Playground in French (and wild and free learning!)
Wednesday, December 22, 2021
The little stone cabanon at our vineyard. Do you remember the heart door?
Today's Word: la cour de récréation
: playground, schoolyard
Audio/Listening: Click the link below to hear Jean-Marc pronounce the French words in the following story. Then scroll down to the vocabulary list to check your French comprehension.
Click here to begin listening
A (Birth)DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE by Kristi Espinasse
Recently the word "recreation" jumped right off the page of the book I was reading. For the first time, the meaning revealed itself right there in the spelling: RE-CREATION.
Waouh! Quel mot!
From the Latin "recreare," récréation literally means to create again, to renew--though most of us understand recreation as "an activity done for enjoyment when one is not working."
Speaking of not working that's my plan for my birthday! And while Miss Manners says it's uncouth to announce one's anniversaire on social media--it is A-OK to shout it out on the playground (etiquette dictates if you're under the age of 12, you can run around telling everybody it's your birthday)!
According to my passport I'm way past the age of 12, but today we're pretending we're on the playground--at a long table decorated with balloons and gifts. And it would give me so much pleasure, Dear Reader, to open those imaginary cadeaux--and discover a certain memory you have from this blog. Will you share your souvenirs? Is there a word or story that comes to mind? A recipe, un truc or une astuce you'll never forget learning here? Or maybe you have a special connection to this newsletter (you had to read it in high school, and now this many years later you are still reading?). It would tickle me to know.
Thank you very much for playing along and, on that note, may this cours where we meet weekly remain a creative playground—an alternative classroom where we may nod in respect to Miss Manners while running wild and free!
P.S.: I could write a book about how much I have learned from you, beginning with grammar (when I began this blog I didn't know the difference between it's and its). Thank you for all you have taught me. I think about you, your words, your advice, your personal experiences, and sometimes I even dream about you when I am sleeping!
le cabanon = little stone hut or shed in Provence
la cour de récré = playground, schoolyard
waouh! (or ouah!) = wow!
quel mot = what a word
un anniversaire = birthday
autrement dit = in other words, put another way
le cours = lesson, class
la cour = courtyard, schoolyard
le cadeau = present, gift
le souvenir = memory, recollection
amicalement = yours, kind regards, best
Words not included in the sound file
un truc = a thing, a trick (hack)
une astuce = a tip, a hack
Speaking of a word's meaning suddenly revealing itself, don't miss the story "Mangeoire"--just in time for Christmas.
My birthday 15 years ago, surrounded by my nephew, niece, and kids. Thanks, Heidi, for the cupcakes!
A Message from Kristi: Ongoing support from readers like you keeps me writing and publishing this free language journal week after week. If you find value in this website and would like to keep it going strong, I kindly ask for your support by making a donation today. Thank you very much for being a part of this community and helping me to maintain this site and its newsletter.
Ways to contribute:
1. Paypal or credit card
2. A bank transfer via Zelle, a great way to send your donation as there are no transaction fees.
Or purchase my book for a friend, and so help spread the French word.
For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety
When I first started reading your blog, I lived in the US. I've lived in France now for over 9 years and I love living here.
I can't point at a special blog or topic (though I do appreciate that you write about the everyday...your family, the dogs, and your Mom). What I can say is, "Thank you."
Posted by: Ray Stoddard | Wednesday, December 22, 2021 at 12:50 AM
And I almost forgot...Happy Birthday!
Posted by: Ray Stoddard | Wednesday, December 22, 2021 at 12:51 AM
Posted by: Sharon Marchisello | Wednesday, December 22, 2021 at 12:56 AM
Kristi, you have bared your heart for so many years to us, your readers. I have loved and have looked forward to not only this blog but also your books. I’m amazed at what a prolific gardener you are and what beautiful homes you’ve created. I love hearing about your children your husband and especially your mother. Your blog is so special. Thank you so much.
Posted by: Barb Friedman | Wednesday, December 22, 2021 at 12:58 AM
I’ve been following you for ten years at least! It truly warms my heart to feel I know your family even though we have never met. I’ve made some of your recipes and cried majorly when Smokey died. I lived in France for a year and you are my ongoing connection to my love for France, to far off friends, to families that all share many attributes, to love shining through every phase of living, to hope for those confronting obstacles, to the gift of writing and it’s thread of tieing things together, to hope and compassion in everyday living.
Thank you for opening your heart and soul to your readers. We love you without reservation 💕
Posted by: Leslie in SC | Wednesday, December 22, 2021 at 01:06 AM
Oh, where to start! There are so many stories of yours that touched me. All the stories about Jules and her painting, the kids and their milestones, Jean-Marc and le sac 🤣, the trials and tribulations of building vineyard...Smokey being attacked and his wonderful recovery, and you and your garden, and all the times you were afraid to put yourself out there, and you did and it was wonderful and not nearly as bad as you thought it would be.
It's been a pleasure being let in to share all those wonderful experiences with you all these years. Joyuex anniversaire, Chere Kristi. May there be many, many more! 🥰
Posted by: Deborah | Wednesday, December 22, 2021 at 01:10 AM
Bon anniversaire, Kristi! I've been reading your blog since 2013. I currently live in the US, but I was an English teaching assistant in Pont-à- Mousson in 1999-2000 and prior to that I stayed for a week with a French shepherd and his family in the Ardèche region (long story). I have so many fond memories of France. Thank you so much for this blog. I read every post and am relearning some of the French I've forgotten. You are a wonderful writer!
Posted by: Gwen | Wednesday, December 22, 2021 at 01:12 AM
Your photos drew me to this blog and to Instagram. Those window shutters painted in a special shade of blue all around your part of France are in my memory for good. A box of notecards I had included some with those same window shutters, so I knew the photo was taken in France.
The bicycles, and the long series of chair photos are also images in my mind from you.
I loved learning about olive trees, almond trees, fig trees, and grape vines. Only your blog could teach me about those.
Posted by: Sarah LaBelle | Wednesday, December 22, 2021 at 01:19 AM
It must have been very early in the life of your blog when we discovered each other. Having lived in Paris (briefly) in the ‘70’s and traveled in the south with my wife, I was drawn like a magnet to your words and have never stopped reading. Perhaps the most important event for me was the day I clicked on a link on your website to French-Wine-A-Day. It changed my/our life forever! Much love & bonne anniversaire!
Posted by: Tim Smith | Wednesday, December 22, 2021 at 01:20 AM
My special memory is the reading you did at Shakespeare and Company. It was my last night in Paris on that trip and I made sure I was all packed up and ready so I could concentrate on listening to you! And...I sat next to Ann Mah! Bonus author! It was a delightful evening, one I will never forget!
Posted by: Cheryl in STL | Wednesday, December 22, 2021 at 01:21 AM
Our dearest Kristi ~ I have followed you for many years, even had a chance to meet J-M for a wine tasting & dinner in Washington, DC. That was long ago! I have been touched by your willingness to open up to us about your joys and happy times as well as the difficult ones. What a journey. I would love to see again your recipes, one for a yogurt cake and also, did you have an olive oil cake recipe? My college-aged niece made one for a family dinner this week.
Much love and best wishes on your birthday. You are a lovely soul, brave and true. Toujours,
Patty in cold Roanoke, Va. xxx
Posted by: Patty Cargill | Wednesday, December 22, 2021 at 01:28 AM
Happy Birthday! I have been reading for many years now. I love all the stories but especially loved when we got to meet up with you and your sister here in AZ. It was such a joy that I got to meet Herm as well. What a special person he was and enjoyed dinner with him and his wife Sharron for years. You brought us all together, that is so special. Big hugs.
Posted by: Karen Cafarella | Wednesday, December 22, 2021 at 01:37 AM
Your blog connected me to Tess and Tess brought me to the little stone cabanon where we painted the landscape and helped with the olive harvest. Fun times!
Posted by: Valerie | Wednesday, December 22, 2021 at 01:38 AM
I live every post you send us, but the o e I refer to often is your yogurt cake recipe- tres´ Délicieux! Joyeuse anniversaire 🎈
Posted by: Michele Gorman | Wednesday, December 22, 2021 at 01:42 AM
Maybe you are thinking of when Smokey’s mother, Braise, passed away? Smokey is still here!
Posted by: Tish | Wednesday, December 22, 2021 at 01:51 AM
Cheryl, I was there that night, too, at Kristi’s reading at Shakespeare and Co with the lights on Notre Dame out the window. What a wonderful evening that was with Kristi!
Posted by: Tish | Wednesday, December 22, 2021 at 01:55 AM
Kristi - happy, happy birthday! I have been a follower of your blog for over 12 years and remember Smokey as a pup when he was attacked. Thank you for sharing your life in France! And I love Smokey!
Posted by: Tish | Wednesday, December 22, 2021 at 02:01 AM
Bon anniversaire! I am so thankful for your blog...I learn so much. I appreciated the tomato pie recipe. Delicious! I am now recreating with grandkids on the playground. It is good to be back there.
Posted by: Valerie Porter | Wednesday, December 22, 2021 at 02:02 AM
Bon anniversaire/ Happy Birthday - I live a bit in France when I read your blog. Your sorties touch me - each differently. I miss Smokey's mom. But I adore him and seeing how your children have grown and finding themselves in the world. You stories bring home how much we are all alike and yet have our own uniqueness.
Posted by: Lynn | Wednesday, December 22, 2021 at 02:30 AM
Bon Anniversaire, Kristi! I have been following your blog for so many years, I can't even remember how long! The first time I read it, I was captivated by your unpretentious writing style, your beautiful, artistic photos, and your enjoyable stories of daily life in a country I have long desired to visit but have never been able to! I have also loved getting to know your family, especially as your kids have become young adults. Oh, and I love your tomato tarte recipe! Yours is the only blog I have stayed with and read every issue that comes out. Thank you for sharing your life with us, and may God bless you with many more years of writing!
Posted by: Mollie Baker | Wednesday, December 22, 2021 at 02:32 AM
Happy Birthday, Kristin!
I remember your honest blogs about your facial skin cancer, the anxieties and the resolution. Yes, I'm more cautious now in the sun. Thank you for sharing an authentic life!
Posted by: Gail Schilling | Wednesday, December 22, 2021 at 03:00 AM
Happy Birthday 🎂 🥳 🎉
I just love your stories and your descriptions of French life.
Posted by: Susan Grekian | Wednesday, December 22, 2021 at 03:08 AM
The stories about acts of kindness always make me cry.
I have many favorite parts—certain photos: the blue of your friend’s pants on the cover of First French Essais, the view of the sea from your writing desk at a vineyard, the birds with all different wing patterns flying over the sand.
That yogurt cake!
That tomato tarte!
I have savored the blog for years now.
Posted by: Leslie NYC | Wednesday, December 22, 2021 at 03:14 AM
I especially remember how sad I felt for you and the family when Braise passed away.
I know that for you it was losing an important member of your family.
I have been reading your stories for many years and I have kept you all close to my heart.
Bon anniversaire et "many more". Janine
Posted by: Janine Cortell | Wednesday, December 22, 2021 at 03:26 AM
Bon anniversaire Kristi! You haven't changed a bit!
I have enjoyed your blog for so long now I have forgotten how I first found it! I believe we were still living in Germany.
Joyeux Noël to you and your family!
Posted by: Eileen | Wednesday, December 22, 2021 at 03:36 AM
Bonne fete. Thank you for sharing your journey filled with ups and downs. I wish you health and much happiness in your new year ahead.
Posted by: Jo-Anne | Wednesday, December 22, 2021 at 03:42 AM
Kristi, Happy Birthday!🎂🎊
I have been reading your blog since the beginning. I remember visiting Rouge Blue and tasting your wonderful wine and also meeting Braise and Smokey. I was so sad when Smokey got attacked and when Braise died. They are/were such special dogs. Then came Saint Cyr-Sur-Mer and lastly La Ciotat. I constantly make the tomato tart and do variations on it. It is great when tomatoes are in season, but actually anytime if you use heirloom tomatoes.
I loved the bicycle series, where you posted such great pictures of bicycles in so many settings. I love reading about Jules, and Jackie and Max and of course, JM and you.
Thank you for joining us as we celebrated 2 anniversaries in La Ciotat.
Merry Christmas 🌲
Posted by: Kathleen Bidney | Wednesday, December 22, 2021 at 03:48 AM
What joy you have brought to me - just reciting your life in France, and particularly the marvelous photos you've shared. I so much miss living there in Dijon, and being part of the neighborhood life - joining in their protests over the bus route changes - chatting over the fence - amusing them as the crazy Americaine. With your "letters" it feels as though I continue to be there, at least in spirit. And with our open heart and frank tales and adventures, you permit me to join you. I have particularly enjoyed your Mom, as I lost mine in 2005. They'd have liked one another I think. So on your birthday let me say that it is you who has given the gift.
Posted by: Carolyn R R Chase | Wednesday, December 22, 2021 at 03:51 AM
Bon anniversaire, Kristi!
I connect with your stories, because your life could have been mine, had I chosen to remain in France, rather than returning to the US after two years.
No point in speculating “what if…”, but it comes to mind periodically. No regrets though. Life has been good, but France still calls to me. I will always love its language and culture, it’s cuisine… all relived through your blog! Thanks for helping to bring back my fond memories of my life in France!
Posted by: Andrea Hughes | Wednesday, December 22, 2021 at 04:03 AM
So many posts I have enjoyed about your family, pets (including the chickens), your gardens and more! Those April 1st posts come to mind when I would fall for the fun you were having with us. I am a little wiser now but have no doubt you have the words to pull the wool over my eyes once again!
Thank you and Happy Birthday! 🎁🎊🎈
Posted by: Georgia Schall | Wednesday, December 22, 2021 at 04:20 AM
Happiest of Birthdays!
My favorite post was the one about Les fleurs de cimetière…. Your poisson rouge posts are always hilarious. My mom, a retired schoolteacher, found your blog early on and we’ve been loyal followers ever since.
All the best,
Posted by: Alanna Strong | Wednesday, December 22, 2021 at 05:34 AM
During our visit to France in 2012 for French “recyclage”, a friend told us about your blog. We liked it. We were staying nearing Orange and signed up for a “dégustation” at Rouge et Bleu. We moved to the Orange area and also managed to get to a “degustation” at your “mas” near Bandol. It has been a pleasure reading your blog.
PS— one time waiting for our TGV heading for an outing in Paris, a young American asked questions concerning the trip. She had been at Domaine Rouge et Bleu for the “vendange”! Sweet moment. (Sometimes, the French word is just not replaceable by the English one.)
Posted by: Muriel | Wednesday, December 22, 2021 at 07:53 AM
I remember when Kristi got an email from Simon and Schuster, saying that they wanted to publish her blog posts into a book (Words in a French live). She was so excited and happy. And this was so much deserved.
Posted by: Jean-Marc | Wednesday, December 22, 2021 at 07:59 AM
You have shared your joys and struggles over these years! I feel like I have been with you from the start! Our numerous travels in France have been the highlight of our lives. We almost got to one of your readings! I have made some of your recipes and been amazed at your gardens. I must not omit the courage of your sobriety while living on a vineyard! Bless you and happy birthday! Mine was last week but I have grown so much older! Jan on Cape Cod
Posted by: Jan Greene | Wednesday, December 22, 2021 at 01:55 PM
Happy Birthday! I remember seeing one of your blog pictures on a co-workers computer screen. I was so excited. Signed up for your blog and have been enjoying your stories ever since. It's been over 10 years. Thank you for every story. Have loved following you. Cindy
Posted by: cindy domasky | Wednesday, December 22, 2021 at 02:06 PM
(A description of your blog.)
You are incredibly human and so Divine. Thank you for sharing yourself, your beautiful life, and always gently bringing up ‘food for thought’ … It’s no wonder you have such a huge and adoring following!
Happy Birthday! 🎉🎊🎈 You are the gift! You are joy. You are love.
~ a fan in Florida
with extraordinaire dreams of France 🇫🇷
Posted by: K.J. Laramie | Wednesday, December 22, 2021 at 02:06 PM
Happy Birthday Kristi!
One of my favorite stories was the one of Gus and Paulette from Florida.. While traveling in France in May of 2012 we had the wonderful privilege of coming to your home for a wine tasting, and who should be there but Gus and Paulette!
It was a wonderful day indeed, not only hearing their story,but also meeting you and Jean Marc!
Posted by: BeckyFar | Wednesday, December 22, 2021 at 02:07 PM
I have always admired the gracious way you respond to corrections, seeing them as a way to learn. I actually have a refinement of the definition of playground. The public playground would be called a terrain (or aire) de jeu, the cour de récréacion is just for a schoolyard or school playground. I have been reading your blog since I found out about it in The American Library Association journal, Booklist, when it reviewed your book Words in a French Day, which I bought and loved. I remember many poignant moments in your blog, but one was especially sweet, when your son said that there was no girl at school prettier than you! Bonne anniversaire!
Posted by: Leslie Duffy | Wednesday, December 22, 2021 at 02:09 PM
Your shortbread pie crust has changed my life. So easy. So delicious.
Posted by: Pat | Wednesday, December 22, 2021 at 02:27 PM
Happy Birthday! Thank you for all of your interesting posts. I love words, and I especially love the word "saperlipopette" that you introduced!
Posted by: Trish | Wednesday, December 22, 2021 at 02:28 PM
Bon anniversaire, Kristi. I look forward to your posts and love how you share your French life , even the ups and downs. Braise and Smokey posts were especially moving, and I love to still hear about Smokey. Thanks for sharing your life with so many Francophiles. I confess I read your posts in English. I am guilty-too old to improve what little French I know. We happily had 3 weeks in France in Oct and got down your way but not to La Ciotat. Keep sharing France with us.
Posted by: Norma | Wednesday, December 22, 2021 at 02:57 PM
Cher Kristi, hope this is your best birthday ever!! We have been faithful followers of you since 2007. We were lucky enough to vacation in Provence just a few Kms from Rouge Bleu. We have so many good memories of our visits with you, Jean Marc , Jules and the kids. Our favorite post, which we are so grateful for, the “Story of Nai.” Nairayeh was a young woman who died in a car accident and her parents, agreed to donate her organs. I received her pancreas and a kidney. This life saving surgery has given me 15 (and counting) wonderful years to enjoy life, making and sharing wonderful memories with our friends and my husband Lee.
Thanks again for sharing our SPECIAL story and promoting organ and tissue donations. You may have saved many lives by posting our story.
Maureen Templeton-Adams et Lee Adams
PS we just meet Lynn and Ron McBride (SOUTHERN FRIED FRENCH blog) we knew through you blog. Celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary with an Apero with them in Charleston SC.
Posted by: Lee & Maureen | Wednesday, December 22, 2021 at 03:09 PM
💗 Thank you, Maureen, for sharing your story again. The great loving kindness of organ donors is a beautiful testament that love endures. I am so happy for you and wish you many more years of living your own beautiful life! I was just in Charleston visiting my great-nieces, students at CofC; love that town! Have a happy holiday❣️🥂
Posted by: Patty | Wednesday, December 22, 2021 at 03:59 PM
Cher Kristi, Bon Anniversaire!
I have enjoyed this blog for almost 10 years now! It started in French classes (at your alma mater - ASU), and I have kept reading, both for the French and because I just enjoy your genuine, gracious, sweet blog. I makes me smile, cry, and laugh. I've been able to live in France (vicariously) through your stories and it delights me to imagine it! Thank you for sharing your life in France!
All the best to you in the coming year! ♥
Posted by: Beth Fiacco | Wednesday, December 22, 2021 at 03:59 PM
Bon anniversaire! Hope it will be a wonderful birthday...and hope your new personal year will bring much joy and EXCELLENT health to you and to all your family members.
I have been getting your blog since 2009....have just appreciated your openness and all the sharing you do of your life, its ups and downs.
Thank you for all this and for YOU!
Posted by: Ms. Laraine Lippe | Wednesday, December 22, 2021 at 04:05 PM
Bon Anniversaire, Kristi! I have looked forward to opening your blog for many years now. You allow your readers to participate vicariously in your daily life in France, and everyone loves that. I tell my daughters, jokingly, that I wish I knew as much about THEIR thoughts and activities. I admire your skill in shaping your stories into an essay form; you're quite the pro. You know how to share your life and yet maintain the level of privacy that family members surely desire. That's a balancing act. I have enjoyed so many of your stories, particularly ones that involved your kids when they were young. Another period that is vivid in my memory is when you were learning how to serve the relentless meals and take care of the needs of the people who came to help with the grape harvest at the first vineyard. I felt anxiety and exhaustion along with you.
Posted by: Bettye Dew | Wednesday, December 22, 2021 at 04:19 PM
bon anniversaire, Kristi: May you & your family celebrate many more; may the holiday be pleasant, joyous & may the coming year bring you all good health, prosperity & good friends! A check will soon be in the mail!
Posted by: ann | Wednesday, December 22, 2021 at 04:22 PM
Bon Anniversaire! Fete-le bien!
Posted by: Lynne Shima | Wednesday, December 22, 2021 at 04:25 PM
I found your first book yesterday at my library used book area in Plano TX. What a wonderful holiday gift! Have also shared your site w/a dear friend who loves all things French. Looking forward to reading through your lovely stories, and gaining more understanding of the French language in this truly wonderful way. Best wishes to your family, and the happiest of New Years...
Posted by: Carol | Wednesday, December 22, 2021 at 04:41 PM
Wishing you very happy birthday. I may be your newest reader, signing up during the last year. I read the archives start to finish in a few weeks, dodging covid. 20 some odd years of your life in short form! Our lives are so different but I couldn't wait to get back to the next "chapters". Your openness, sense of humor, daring, caring, loyalty, etc, etc, just shines through across the miles, years, and cultures. Happy to make your acquaintance!!
Posted by: Karen in NY | Wednesday, December 22, 2021 at 04:50 PM
I love that a photo you posted prompted me to paint it in acrylic. And that I had the chance to send it to you when I was in Paris.
I hope you are still enjoying it.
Posted by: Roseann | Wednesday, December 22, 2021 at 05:37 PM
Bonne fête, ma belle Kristi. Amicalement, Bill Crow de Vancouver Nord
Posted by: Bill Crow | Wednesday, December 22, 2021 at 06:37 PM
Bon anniversaire, Kristi! What fun to have another reason to celebrate during this festive season! Decades ago when I began learning French I fell madly in love with France. I have been reading your blog since the beginning, and it serves as my intimate connection to France and all things French. Your taking all of us into the arms of your family has given me the opportunity to learn new vocabulary, customs and traditions as we watch your children grow and your relationship with Jean-Marc bloom. Now that Jules is living with you, I feel even closer for I, too, live with my son and his family. Perhaps you could do a little interview - or a series of them - with Jules to connect us with her perspectives.
With a grateful heart, I wish you all Joyeux Noël!
Posted by: Gabrielle | Wednesday, December 22, 2021 at 08:08 PM
Kristi, happy birthday to you! I have been reading your blog for soooooo long! I especially remember meeting Jean-Marc and his wines after introducing him to Tim and Phyllis. Seems like ages ago. And my favorite memory was finally meeting you, and J-M, for lunch on the beach ! We hope to do it again someday. In the meantime, have a wonderful Christmas and a happy, healthy new year!
Posted by: Joanne Fischer | Wednesday, December 22, 2021 at 08:46 PM
Bonne fête Kristin
Hope you and your family have a happy and healthy Christmas and coming new year.
PS I enjoy your posts. Especially how you are so honest and don’t sugarcoat life. Also some of my French that I haven’t spoken since 1956 is rekindling because of your blog.
Posted by: Jerry wood | Wednesday, December 22, 2021 at 09:07 PM
Cabanon, au commencement. Later – many, many souvenirs, grace a vous (sorry – no accent marks available). Happy Birthday – and keep writing!
Posted by: Sue J. | Wednesday, December 22, 2021 at 09:39 PM
The happiest of birthdays to you. I wish all things wonderful to shower down on you in this new year.
My birthday was Sunday, your dear mother Jules, and I are of the same vintage. I have followed you since she told me about your "new adventure" over coffee in P.V. years ago.
Posted by: Vance Anderson-Inks | Wednesday, December 22, 2021 at 10:19 PM
Bon anniversaire! As a (now former) French teacher, I have found your blog to be a frequent reminder that French culture is not just something that my students learned from a textbook. I used a number of your posts in discussions, and as lessons. My favorite one was Jackie's lament about not being able to wear make-up, which I used as a springboard for teaching reflexive verbs.
I have also appreciated your courage in addressing your sobriety. I also love les poissons d'avril.
Merci pour tout.
Posted by: Joan | Thursday, December 23, 2021 at 12:11 AM
Bonne Anniversaire, Kristin! Thanks for sharing your family, your home, your dreams, your heart, your soul, everything with us. What a gift you have given us! May you receive many wonderful ones.
Posted by: Augusta Elmwood | Thursday, December 23, 2021 at 03:52 AM
Joyous Birthday, dear Kristi! There are bits and threads from your many stories woven into my memory as if I experienced the event right alongside you. What is most precious about this to me, is in this tapestry of you writing candidly about your daily life, I am made to feel as if there is not miles or years between us.
May your birthday fill you up with joy, love and peace!
Posted by: Stacy | Thursday, December 23, 2021 at 04:14 AM
How about Le/un Terrain de Jeux?
Posted by: david ouellet | Thursday, December 23, 2021 at 04:33 AM
I went to France in 2007 and I wanted ‘everything French’ when I returned to the States. I found your wonderful blog and never looked back! The two entries that grabbed my heart the most are the attack on Smokey and the cancer on your forehead.
I’ve loved everything else too. I fondly remember meeting Jean-Marc in Houston. I was as excited as if he were a movie star!
Posted by: Babineaux Shirley | Thursday, December 23, 2021 at 04:37 AM
Bon anniversaire, Kristi! I admire your courage in starting a family in a culture where you do not speak the native language. My favorite stories are about the adventures you have on vacation. Merci pour les histoires de voyage!
Posted by: Joanne | Thursday, December 23, 2021 at 07:37 AM
Bon anniversaire en retard Kristi! I don't remember when I started reading your blog, but it was years ago, when I still lived in the US and I fell in love with it for its amazing honesty and your beautiful writing style. It is the only one that has stuck with me all these years. When I moved to Cassis, it felt as if almost knew someone nearby, even though somehow, time seems to fly by and I haven't kept in touch as I would like to, I know you are there! Thank you for the pleasure of reading you and Happy Holidays to you and your family.
Posted by: Colombe | Thursday, December 23, 2021 at 02:11 PM
Bonne anniversaire, ma chère Kristi. My favorite memory of this blog is your April Fool's Day story of being sent on the train to Paris with a toothbrush to clean in the catacombs. Ooo la la - you had me going until almost the end. But since Jed and I had our vineyard adventure (we ripped out the vines this summer) about the same time that you and Jean-Marc had yours, your stories from that time connected with us. I have two of your books and they are also a wonderful companion en lieu de France. Merci beaucoup.
Posted by: Pam Horovitz | Thursday, December 23, 2021 at 05:49 PM
Hi-I keep a journal of phrases and poems that strike me, and here are quotes from two different entries you made, both maybe maybe 6-8 years ago, that I have often thought about.....
"Little did the berger know-and little do we all know-that out there, somewhere, someone is trying to comfort us without us even knowing."
and this one-
(after describing cats scrambling for food under a restaurant table)....."Love is sometimes the same way, appearing in scraps. And suddenly, strutting along through life, tough as nails, we are dumbstruck by our hunger."
When I read through this journal, I come across these quotes, and they always make me smile. So you see, it is interesting what can stick in your mind.....
Posted by: Dana Van Reeth | Friday, December 24, 2021 at 12:17 AM
I have no specific example. JUst the fact that my heart takes a big leap and my whole body relaxes in anticipation. Your words are a repose from the stress of every day life. And for a few delicious moments I immerse myself in your French life. Happy birthday.
Posted by: GAIL v | Friday, December 24, 2021 at 01:41 AM
You are always in my thoughts and my KITECHEN with that incredible tomato tarte......
Thank you for all of your shared times with your family, your inpiring writing, and I hope there will be many more to come. Joyeux Noë and bonne anniveraire whenever that is.
Posted by: Suzanne Dunaway | Friday, December 24, 2021 at 07:06 PM
Bonjour Kristi. I have been reading your articles for at least fifteen years. I read them during my lunch period at work, and strived to learn a new french word or two each time. I also have made your tomato tart with moutarde! Oh la la...it stirred up a controversy with my friends. They are all so precise on what should go on a pizza, but never moutarde. But, 98.7% of them loved the moutarde on the pizza under the tomates. I am forever grateful to you for being you in your articles.
Posted by: Kurt Burk | Saturday, December 25, 2021 at 01:28 AM
I think I’ve been reading your blog from the very beginning and have loved watching your kids grow up, meeting your marvelous mom, falling in love with Smokey and meeting Jean-Marc in person at a Southern California wine shop.
Posted by: Susan Carter | Sunday, December 26, 2021 at 12:23 AM
After reading your blogs for years (decades?), I went to a sweet little italian restaurant in my town (Eugene, Oregon) solely because they had wine from Rouge-Bleu. It was a wonderful restaurant, since closed, but we went there many times and I always thought of you and Jean-Marc.
Posted by: Cheryl | Monday, December 27, 2021 at 07:51 AM
Are your posts available in French? If so, how did I miss this and how do I read them in French? I would love that... albeit so much easier in English :)
Posted by: Jeanine | Tuesday, December 28, 2021 at 01:43 AM
There are a dozen bilingual posts in this blog’s archives, but the rest are in English.
Posted by: Kristin Espinasse | Tuesday, December 28, 2021 at 08:55 AM
I’m very late to this party, however I will still take this moment to wish you a belated happy birthday. As well, to tell you that I have been reading your blog for many years. I can’t recall how I found you, however I do recall that taking the few short minutes to read it, was my few stollen moments of « me time » when my children were young (they are now into their mid 20´s). You blog has made me laugh and tear up, but mostly connect to authentic family and community life and relationship stories, that resonate with me for one reason or another. Thank you! Wishing you many more happy birthdays.
Posted by: Mary-Jo Johnston | Wednesday, December 29, 2021 at 05:33 PM
Le 22 décembre c'est aussi mon anniversaire so I send you special wishes for a shared birthday, sometimes lost in the Christmas holiday preparations.
I live in Idaho (Boise) and have noted your past references to Sun Valley, which I also visit regularly. I am a very non-confident French-language student and have dabbled since high school and college but have never had the opportunity to be in an immersed setting where I can gain skill and confidence. Reading your very friendly posts (and books) have been my way of continually connecting with the language and the culture. Thank you for sharing your personal stories and journeys so I can get my "cadeaux" from you regularly. Merci!
Posted by: Jolene Schow | Wednesday, December 29, 2021 at 06:08 PM
I remember the day we barged into your not-yet-finished home in the north of Provence. It was cold and windy, some weeks after harvest, and you didn't have heat or much of anything. But still, you were the kind host and took time to brew some tea or coffee and place a plate of biscuits on the table. Thank you so much for that precious memory. Jann has been a subscriber for some time and is constantly telling me all she has learned from you. We both purchased The Lost Gardens and appreciate so much how you both shared your life story with us. Happy birthday and many more to come. Sending kind wishes from distant Healdsburg.
Posted by: Gerry and Jann Forth | Friday, January 21, 2022 at 02:54 AM
Gerry and Jann, Jean-Marc and I are touched by your message and those memories. Thank you for sharing them. 💕💕
Posted by: Kristin Espinasse | Friday, January 21, 2022 at 06:59 AM
I remember being so moved by the story of your daughter and her eventually awful experience in Florida. To have been far away from her at that time must’ve been so difficult for you. I empathized! My then-20 year old in the late 90s had a negative situation arise while completing study abroad in Guatemala. I’m sure that “fellow-feeling” is why this one sticks in my mind. You’re adept a writing about universal values, an in another language, too. We are only as happy as our children, yes? Bon anniversaire!
Posted by: Paige Kelly Hendricks | Friday, October 28, 2022 at 03:09 PM