A Special Request + Playground in French (and wild and free learning!)
Les Étrennes: This French new year's custom will have you digging in your pockets

Cloué au lit (Nailed to the bed): La grippe, les frissons

Moustiers Sainte-Marie Faience shop
Random photo of a Faïence/earthenware shop in Moustiers Sainte-Marie. The picture is off-topic, but it's a lot prettier than a photo of "la grippe". Also, there is a picture of Mom and me in our pajamas at the end of this post, so if you don't usually click over to the full version of this letter, you might try to today :-)

Today's Word: La Grippe

    : flu, influenza

Audio/Listening: Click the link below to hear Jean-Marc pronounce the example sentence + French words in the following story. Then scroll down to the vocabulary list to check your French comprehension.

Le mot "grippe" vient du bas-allemand "gripan" qui signifie "saisir avec des griffes." The word "grippe" comes from the lower-German "gripan" which means "to seize with claws."

Click here for the sound file

A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE by Kristi Espinasse
"Nailed to the Bed"

Bonne Année! I missed you last week when I was clouée au lit (that's a colorful way of saying "laid up in bed"). I can't remember the last time I had the flu, but I won't soon forget this one, and all the uncomfortable symptoms (listed in order of arrival):

le mal de tête
la toux sèche
les frissons
les courbatures
les sueurs
les oreilles bouchées...

Struck down by the flu virus, I began to wonder if my son was right about his vitamin theory, because after two weeks of cramming supplements...je suis tombée malade!

"Did you get it from Dad?" Max asked, and that was the extent of his interest in my weeklong convalescence. Jean-Marc was a little more sympathetic, bringing me tisanes and asking each morning, ça va mieux? No matter how old I get I still feel guilty (like a kid ditching school) staying in bed. So by day three I did some laundry, made lunch for my family, and tidied the house. But my body whispered, Repose-toi, repose-toi! So I crawled back in bed for a couple more days--in time for the second round of fever (there's even a name for that in French: V grippal):

"La fièvre baisse vers le quatrième jour puis remonte entre le cinquième et le sixième jour : ce phénomène est décrit sous le nom de « V grippal » The fever drops around the fourth day and then rises again between the fifth and sixth day: this phenomenon is described under the name of "V flu".

Just when you think you might be getting better...la maladie grabs you again! (Interesting how the word "grippe" (from the German "gripan") means "to seize with claws").

Fervex (only available in France?) is my family's go-to for colds/flu. The powder comes in little packets. Mixed with water, it has a nice citrusy taste and chases symptoms away (giving a false sense of well-being, hence the feeling you can get up, cook, and clean...). And Doliprane  (paracetamol?) was vital in relieving the headaches and muscular pain in the beginning. But there's no pill for boredom, which crept in by the end of the week.

My Mom and Smokey visited several times, relieving some of the ennui, but this also brought with it some sadness: our 12-year-old golden is riddled with bumps or "masses", both hard and soft. (Two have grown quickly in the past month.) I just can't face what might be coming at some point in the future. But for now, Smokey is barking, dancing for his food, and taking his job of being Mom's best roommate ever very seriously.

I don't know what 2022 will bring but I don't want to fear it. Instead, it helps to remember that each day is a new beginning. So let's go it one day at a time, taking Smokey's valiant lead: to bark, to dance, and to be the best friend ever--and may it be a beautiful year ahead for all of us.



Clou nails in an old French door
After today's expression "cloué au lit", here's an old French door in Sospel, France, decorated with clous or nails. If you enjoy these posts, please share them with a friend and help others find my newsletter. Merci beaucoup!

bonne année = Happy New Year
cloué au lit = bed-ridden
le mal de tête = headache
la toux sèche = dry cough
les frissons = chills
les courbatures = aches and pains
les sueurs = sweats
les oreilles bouchées = clogged ears
ça va mieux? = is it better?
repose-toi bien= rest well

A few words that didn't make it into the sound file:
la maladie = sickness, illness
l'ennui (m)
= boredom
la tisane = herbal tea
amicalement = yours, best wishes, regards

Recently I began brainstorming on paper in preparation for these posts. It is a fun way to get a story going, without any pressure.

Jules and Kristi
When Mom gave me new pajamas for my birthday, I had no idea I'd be living in them for the next two weeks. Thankfully Mom didn't catch my flu. She's as healthy as a tiger (make that a leopard!)

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Although I switched from French to Italian after loosing my heart to our part time home, I’ve enjoyed your posts and books since almost their start. Stay strong. Keep writing!


Hi Kristi,
'nailed to the bed' s a wonderful expression, in any language - very suitable for my teen son, who is impossible to get out of bed each day without a lot of complaining and delay - at least I now have a phrase I can laugh about when I see him resolutely burrowing into the duvet when he should be in the shower or at the table! Thank you for this!!!
Also, what fabulous pj's...you and your Mom look like exotics going to a dance or festival - unlike the figure I struck on 3rd Jan when I went outdoors in the early hours, barefoot with my t-shirt nightdress on (logo on front called for a morning coffee!)Normally I never venture over the doorstep in my bedclothes but I did manage to scare off a thief cutting through the chain of a neighbours motorbike - yes, I looked VERY SCARY indeed!!! The downside is the cctv footage was handed to the police and I feature on it looking like a scarecrow - wishing I'd worn something fancier like those glorious pj's!
Glad to hear you are now recovered from La Grippe but saddened to learn about Smokey's masses - I've read your blog for over a decade and loved hearing about Brieze and Smokey - long may he continue, through this new year. In some ways it's good your Mom told you about the extent of the changes, as it alerts you to make the most of every moment with darling Smokey - times to treasure. He is such a sweetie and animals in the family do add so much joy de vivre - they know how to live in the moment and are non-judgmental, demonstrating unconditional love daily. Know you will be giving him many hugs and cuddles but please give him a massive hug from all those who have so enjoyed his presence via your blog.
Bon année to you and your family,

Sharon Marchisello

I love learning new expressions and enjoy the way you incorporate them into a story about daily life. Hope you're feeling better now. Happy New Year!

Catherine Stock

Not Covid then? 😷

Bonne Année!

melinda m way

did you test for Covid?

Suzanne Dunaway

Were you tested for Covid?

Kristin Espinasse

No, I tested negative.

Kristin Espinasse

Yes, the results were negative.

Kristin Espinasse

Yes, the results were negative for Covid.

K. J. Laramie

So very sorry to hear of your illness! But you are surrounded by so much love and pretty pajamas😁… Glad you are feeling better.
As to dog tumors, my beloved Boston Terrier started them when he was getting on in age. Naturally, I conveyed my worries to the Vet at which point he offered expensive surgery. His assistant who owned many dogs and had become a friend to Max (our dog) and me, said quietly after the visit, all dogs get them, she sees it all the time, it is very common, and not to worry. We didn’t, Max lived to a ripe old age, and I guess I’m supposed to share this!
Stay healthy, all of you!!

Kathleen Bidney

I am so glad it was the flu and not COVID. I don’t know anyone who has had the flu - it seems like everyone is getting COVID. A week of rest can be boring but you got healthy. Did you eat lots of chicken soup? I love the PJs - they had to help lift your spirits.
Poor Smokey. He has been through a lot, and he is such a wonderful, loving dog - companion to you and your mother. Let’s hope he still has some years to go.
Stay healthy and give Smokey a hello and a big hug from Dean and me.

Kristin Espinasse

Thank you for sharing your experience, K.J. Years ago, I had several growths removed, but I do not want to put Smokey through any more surgery. Our goal is to keep him comfortable, and we are hoping for more years with him 💕

Kristin Espinasse

Loved your story, Lorraine! Thank you for sharing and thieves beware! 😂

Sue J.

best roommate ever – love that! Hope you are feeling better!

Cindy McD

Chère Kristi so sorry you have the flu. Type A flu hit many here and led to double pneumonia in one family member. There is a drug, XOFLUZA, my 16 yr old grandson took after testing positive for the flu that knocked it out after only a couple of days. Of course it may not be available in France. Je te souhaite un rétablissement complet.
Bisous pour chère Jules et xoxo pour Smokey ❤️❤️❤️

Chris Allin

Dear Kristi,

Hope you have fully recovered from the flu. Your descriptive words brought back memories…

I am so sorry about Smokey. We dealt with the same issue with our last pup, a 12 year old cocker. Our daughter’s Henry, now 13, also has lumps and bumps, as well as cataracts and loss of hearing. Three episodes of seizures have brought us to appreciate every day with him. Our dogs offer us so much love and devotion. It hurts to watch what they go through at this age.

Love, thoughts and prayers for Smokey…

Ophelia Paine

So sorry for Smokey.... and for you. He has been such a lovely member of your family for so many years.

Glad you do not have COVID. I think we may all wonder if we have have that virus everytime we have a cold. Lots of boosters in our future.

Reposez-vous bien -- toi et ta mère et meilleurs voeux pour une année pleine de paix et de joie.


Hi Kristi, very sorry to hear that you've been "under the weather" (now that's a strange English phrase!) with la grippe - but pleased to hear that your Covid test was negative.

Donning my medical hat (or stethoscope) can I caution you against taking too much paracetamol (acetaminophen in US parlance) - the active ingredient in both Fervex (500mg) and Doliprane (1000mg). The maximum recommended safe daily dose is 4000mg, easily exceeded if you take both.

Incidentally, you could save yourself a lot of money if you were to buy generic paracetamol and will find it just as effective at reducing fever, headache and general aches and pains.

Angie Quantrell

Oh, no! I do hope you are feeling much better! And that no one else gets it! Yuck! So sorry to hear that about Smokey. What a sweetie!


Your symptoms sound exactly like those that my husband and I experienced a little over a year ago, when we were sick for over 3 weeks, with Covid. Really terrible. It's rare to hear of someone with the flu. Hopefully you didn't have a false negative on your test. Nevertheless, you survived and got through it.That's what's most important. I love your new PJ's! Sorry to hear about Smokey. It's very hard to watch our fur babies grow old and start to feel the ravages of old age. Treasure every day you have with him. Wishing you and your family a happy and joy filled new year.

Kristin Espinasse

Hello Ian,
Thank you for this information. I will try the generic in the future. In general, I try to avoid paracetamol and was unaware of the dangers until recently. Your message is appreciated!


Hi Kristi,
Oh, what a way to start the year! I hope you are feeling better and I love the photo of you and your mom in your matching PJs! The first photo is lovely! I would walk into that shop just because it looks so cute!
Bonne Année!

Jeanine Woods

Je suis désolée que vous étiez malade avec la grippe, mais merci a Dieu que ce n’était pas Covid. J’ai un chien qui a onze ans et elle a arthrites. C’est difficile à voir nos chiens avec des maladies, mais je prie que Smokey continuera danser, aboyer, et donner de l’amour pendant longtemps. Bonne année à vous et votre famille, chère Kristi.

Suzanne Dennis

We are all so focused on COVID we forget that this is also flu season! I am glad you are feeling better. I empathize about Smokey. Not only did I meet him as a puppy and remember when he was so horribly injured, our 13year-old Westie, Bijou, is having kidney issues and possibly a nerve tissue tumor. But she looks forward to walks, like to cuddle, plays with Gemma and runs to get her meals! It is one day at a time with her. Hugs to Smokey and I love those pjs!


Chère Kristi,
Prend soin de toi. Je te suhaite de la bonne santé en 2022.

Carolyn R Chase

Being bedridden with a sickness is even more boring because one doesn't even want to read.

Our empathy with Smoky - we just took our big black Briard to the vet this morning to have a front toe (that has a tumor) removed. He's 10 and a half. We just hope it hasn't metastasized.


Happy New Year!

I am glad you are feeling better. Your recent illness as well as situation with Smokey is something I can relate to as nearly the same has happened to me. 2021 was not a good year but the end was the worst. Ove our one month away from being 15 Husky died of possible bladder cancer just theorized the week prior. Then two weeks later I had covid. Staying in bed is hard for me too but it was a much needed respite from constantly being in the go. Sometimes we just need to stop and take care of us. I wish you all the best for this new year. Great pic of you and your mom. Say hello for me.


Wow! What a week for you and Smokey. Glad you are well and not the Covid but very sad to hear about Smokey health issues. Everyday is a new day and I like our attitude "one day at a time". very positive and really what else can we do? Hugs to you and your mom and a special scratch of the ears for Smokey. nancy

Joanne Fischer

So sorry you had to start the new year not feeling well but hope now you are back to your old self! Sending hugs too for Smokey. It is never easy to think about our furry friends getting sick. All the best to your whole gang for this new year!

Cynthia Lewis

Dear Kristi,

I'm so sorry that you have been ill with infuenza. Miserable is the only way to describe it as I think
back many years ago when I had it. Those fabulous pajamas must have helped with your recovery!

On the 22nd of this past December (your birthday?), you asked your readers to tell you about a special "souvenir" they had from one of your past blogs. Now this is a hard task since they all are special to me, but one popped into my head right away.
You were writing FWAD early one morning just at sunrise. Max was a little boy then and he came into your room. You must have been searching for the french word for daybreak, because I remember Max saying, "It's 'l'aube', Maman."
Now there's a word I've never forgotten thanks to that sweet scene.

Always, my thanks for FWAD and best wishes for all of your family, Cynthia. PS: Please pardon my very late "souvenir".

Shirley  Babineaux

What a fabulous post Lorraine! Empathetic newsy and full of love. 💋

Leslie in Oregon

I'm sorry that you have had a bad case of what seems to have been the flu. I don't know if you had had a flu vaccination for the 2021-22 flu season before you got sick, but you may want to get one for the next flu season. I haven’t had a noticeable bout of the flu since I began getting those annual vaccinations about 12 years ago.

Smokey's lumps may be lipomas, i.e., a mass of fatty tissue. “Lipomas in dogs are benign, noncancerous tumors that grow from fat cells.” “They are extremely common” and “more likely to develop as a dog ages.” “Labrador Retrievers, Doberman Pinchers, Miniature Schnauzers, Cocker Spaniels, Dachshunds, Golden Retrievers, and Weimaraners develop more than their fair share of lipomas, but any breed can develop them.” “There is usually no reason to treat lipomas, as they pose no threat to your pup unless they are uncomfortably large or in an awkward location.” (Source: https://www.petmd.com/dog/conditions/skin/c_multi_lipoma )

Each of our Golden Retrievers had lipomas, and my remaining dog, 16-year-old Bob the Long-Haired tweenie Dachshund, has them. Most of Bob's are soft, but some are quite hard. Bob’s veterinarian checks them as part of his every-six-months
well-senior-dog examinations.

In response to your earlier query: almost all of my favorite FWAD posts have been about Smokey and/or Brieze.

Peace, Leslie and Bob

Sheryl Wells

Oh, Kristi, so sorry you were so sick. But I love the pajamas. Such a pretty print. Our golden, Mulligan, will be 13 on Jan. 17. We too worry about him at this age. He is taking expensive pills to help his arthritic hips and back. But still he acts like a puppy at times. He had the fatty lumps. Two had to be excised because they broke open. Ugh! But so far they have not returned.

Take care Stay warm We are having very cold mornings here in Scottsdale.



Get well SOON. Many thanks for Word a Day, in spite of not feeling well.

Kristin Espinasse

Thank you, Cynthia. 💕Your memory of that day and that word really brings a smile. I will share it with Max. 

Barbara Stephano

Coucou Kristi, Pas la façon de célébrer la fête de Rois! Prend bien soin de toi .
Les pyjamas sont très chers ifs et exotiques comme tous les deux.
Bisous, Barbara

Clare Yeager

If needed, you might ask your vet about treatment for Smokey with Essiac, which my vet used to treat my dog with lymphosarcoma. Essiac is an herbal concoction from Canada that I brewed chez-moi. Did extend my dog's life.

Kristin Espinasse

Thank you, Clare. I will note it down. 

David Schrock

I clicked on "subscribe" (about 5pm on 1/7/22) and included my email address, expecting to receive an email fairly soon by which I would confirm my subscription. None has been received, but maybe I just need to allow for more time.

Kristin Espinasse

Hi David, Bienvenue! I checked and your email is subscribed to the newsletter. One post goes out each week, and the next should be ready by Thursday or Friday. Glad to have you with us.

Cerelle Bolon

'VERY elegant in your new pajamas, Ladies! So sorry you had the flu. Had it once and that was enough for forever! And we all love our wonderful dogs, and we feel that we KNOW Smokey so we hope for the best help possible for him. Life goes much too fast and we have to love each moment of our lives and that of our dear dogs. Wishing you all good health and the best of everything in the New Year. Sending some sun from Arizona, too! Hugs

Kristin Espinasse

Thank you, Cerelle, for this heartening note 🐾🐾 and for the sun from Arizona.
Every note here in the comments is a ray of sunshine. Merci ☀️💗

Leslie NYC

Dear Kristi,
I think you deserve to hit re-play and relive New Year's in the snazzy pyjamas and more energy. I was away for the holidays and plan to celebrate this coming week. When we are grown up, we can do what we like!
Bonne année nouvelle!


Yes, well said. There's a very good article by the Harvard Medical School on the dangers of acetaminophen in multi-symptom cold and flu remedies: https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/cold-and-flu-warning-the-dangers-of-too-much-acetaminophen-201601279065. The article also offers this important piece of advice: "Finally, keep in mind that in most cases, viral illnesses such as the common cold and flu generally get better on their own with rest, fluids, and time."
I suspect that the Fervex people (and other such companies) are happy to make money from your misery, knowing full well that it is not really necessary. I believe it also contains a lot of sugar so definitely a bit of a wolf in sheep's clothing.

Kristin Espinasse

Wayne, Thank you very much for the link and the eye-opening info on acetaminophen. I will be even more careful about this medication, though it has provided so much relief for the aches and pains. Time to find an alternative!

Stacy Lund

Dear Kristi,
I am so glad you are on the mend! That flu sounds horrible - yet it is behind you now! I adore the photo of you and Jules in your matching pajamas! It brightened my day. Cheers to dancing, laughter and living one day at a time, and in doing so, see the beauty in this world. Much love!

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