La Cotisation: How much money I earn blogging $$ + a retirement pension for Americans in France?

boucherie butcher shop french typography shopfront
“La Boucherie” in Pélissanne—Notice the lettering on this shopfront (can you translate the French?). I love typography and have always loved language even if I am still capable of butchering French. In today’s story, you’ll understand why... 

The Butcher of Paris by Stephanie Phillips fiction about FranceFor our True Crime readers: The Butcher of Paris  I've not read the book (read at your own risk) but the title goes along with today's story :-)

Today's Word: la cotisation

    : subscriptions, dues; contributions (social security)

French Audio: Click the link below to hear Jean-Marc pronounce the French words in today's post. Then scroll down to the vocabulary section to practice your French comprehension.

Click here to listen to the French vocabulary


A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE by Kristi Espinasse

After completing my tax return early this year it was time to celebrate at the beach with my husband and our dog in nearby Bandol. But the festive feeling dampened when, shortly after submitting ma déclaration d’impôt, I received a registered letter from the French IRS informing me my 2021 earnings were insuffisant.

Insufficient earnings? "What does the French government care if my earnings are lower than usual?" I asked my husband. Jean-Marc was perplexed, too, until he remembered our tête-à-tête last year when we sat down to figure out how I might be eligible for retirement benefits in France. (Turns out, I could use the points accrued in the States, adding them to the points I am finally accruing in France. But that was not all...).

"When you registered for French social security, one stipulation was that you earn no less than the SMIC (minimum wage) in order for your quarterly cotisations to be worthy of your future pension. According to les règles, if you do not earn the equivalent of the minimum wage you are either suspended from the pension points program or assigned another job.”

Assigned another job? But that’s crazy! For one, how am I to fit into a French workplace when I practically butcher the language? And two, I like working from home in my pajamas (teaching French...).

As for insufficient earnings, last summer’s sabbatical was to blame. Back then I justified the break: “most teachers have summer off...” Only I’m not a teacher, but a professional blogger "in the educational sector." Writing, like teaching, is a low-paying job, but for years I have managed to make a wage from blogging and, added to my husband’s, it was enough for us...but apparently it was not enough for the Powers That Be.

Speaking of The Powers That Be, isn’t it eerily Orwellian how the government in France gets to decide what job a future social security recipient will do from here on out? Then again, after so many government directives these past two years, it isn’t surprising.

WHERE’S THE BEEF?
A breakdown of my income shows that in 2021 I earned 15,140 euros (roughly 1400 less than French minimum wage) from my job as un écrivain. This amount includes my earnings from blogging, income from freelance writing, and author royalties (sounds impressive but for 2021 book sales I received a check from Simon and Schuster for a grand total of $138). As you can imagine, any plans to retire and live off royalties are as absurd as the government reassignment scheme I will attempt to explain next:

As per the 1999 "rematch program" the government reassigns workers to more gainful employment, as such, postal workers are becoming hairdressers (making for a choppy outcome if you’re the customer..), gas station attendants are now boulangères (bringing in more bread for a living...), and now a blogger is being reassigned as...drum roll...

“Une Bouchère.”

Blinking my eyes I reread the registered letter, which underscored my transformation from blogger to butcher as “the opportunity to carve out a better retirement.”

“Just who makes these bizarre ‘rematches’?” I asked my husband

“I don’t know,” Jean-Marc snickered. “Artificial Intelligence?” 

That’s it! Artificial Intelligence- or A1 (like the famous steak sauce...) Oh là, my mind is already preparing...to prepare meat. But how can AI justify my not-so-meaty qualifications? I mean, apart from butchering la langue (tongue—an edible delicacy in France) aren’t I under qualified to work as a butcher? Come to think of it, as one who turns 55 this year...I join the ranks of older workers who are neither over- or under-qualified, but disqualified for most jobs.

But back to butchering, is this the French government’s idea of une blague? I mean, the only thing I could possibly butcher is an April Fool’s joke.

***
Voilà, dear reader. On this 1st day of April, did you fall hook, line, and sinker for the story? Or, as my husband said, was this one too far-fetched to believe, trop gros à croire? Let me know in the comments. And many thanks for reading and sharing this post.

Jules in La Ciotat boucherie butcher shop
As a final twist to today's tall tale, here's a local butcher shop that was transformed into an art supply store here in La Ciotat. (That's my mom, on her way out of the store with more paintbrushes.)

In books: RETIRE IN FRANCE: is the most comprehensive guide to retiring and moving to France. This book will guide you through the entire process, and help you through the problems with detailed checklists and exhaustive information: from preparing your home, selling it, getting your long-stay visa and residency permit, shipping, getting a car in France, finding an agent, buying a new home, going to closing, furnishing, and settling in France in comfort and ease. Order the book here.

FRENCH VOCABULARY
la boucherie = butcher’s
la cotisation
= contributions to social security 
la déclaration d’impôts = tax return 
insuffisant(e) = insufficient, inadequate =
tête-à-tête = one-to-one discussion
le SMIC “salaire minimum interprofessionnel de croissance” = minimum wage
les règles = rules
un écrivain = writer
la boulangère = baker
la bouchère = butcher
la langue = (double meaning: tongue and language 
une blague = a joke
trop gros à croire = too far fetched to believe

Boucherie in provence
I leave you with one last boucherie photo, taken while strolling with Mom in Brignoles, years ago. Corrections to this post are always welcome and appreciated. Merci d'avance.

A Message from Kristi
Thank you for reading my 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 the creative process of writing. My wish is to continue offering 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 of any amount.

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
Thank you for reading my 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 the creative process of writing. My wish is to continue offering 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 of any amount.

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


Goodbye La Bise: This Pandemic Marks The End of a French Kissing Custom

La Ciotat empty boardwalk plage lumiere beach palm trees
Empty streets in La Ciotat. But this isn't the only reason why citizens here may be spared from the coronavirus. It has to do with an unusual sanitary practice dating back to the plague. More, in today's story.

Today's Word: épargner

    : to spare

Click here to listen to Jean-Marc read the French below:

La Peste épargne La Ciotat. Grâce aux mesures sanitaires, au courage des femmes, la cité maritime se préserve du terrible fléau. -Frequence Sud.fr

La Ciotat is spared the plague. Thanks to sanitary measures, and to the courage of the women, the maritime city preserves itself from the terrible plague.

Epargner was word of the day on Dec. 15, 2008, with an alternative meaning

A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE by Kristi Espinasse

Since President Emmanuel Macron declared the current Covid-19 pandemic une guerre sanitaire we, along with many countries, have been careful to respect the government-imposed confinement. Each night our family gathers to watch the news, to learn how Paris and Grand Est are faring. Yesterday, when Prime Minister Edouard Philippe warned the virus is spreading quickly to other parts of the Hexagone, and that protective gestures are now a matter of life and death, we all felt a chill creep in. 

"This will be the end of La Bise for the rest of France..." our son, Max, predicted.

THE END OF THE KISS
Currently, all French are practicing les gestes barrières, including no more bises, or "salutation kisses"--a habit that's been easiest to break for citizens of our town because we've been out of the habit for 250 years. As those of you who have visited La Ciotat can attest, our seaside town is the only place in France that does not practice la bise. The ritual kiss was ended during the 18-century plague, where La Ciotat had the lowest mortality rate. 

WOMEN WRESTLE THE TOWN FREE FROM THE VIRUS
According to town records, if La Ciotat survived La Peste, it was thanks to an army of determined women who guarded the city ramparts, literally pushing the fleeing Marseillais and other non-Ciotadens off of the mur de peste

Wall built to keep out the plague-Mur_de_la_peste
Mur de la peste. Plague walls such as this one can be seen around La Ciotat. photo from Wikipedia

Pierre-Edouard Lemontey writes: Le petit port de la Ciotat échappa au fléau par la sévérité des femmes, qui se chargèrent seules d'en garder les avenues. The small port of La Ciotat escaped the scourge by the severity of the women, who were responsible for guarding the avenues alone.

It is not clear what the men--Les Ciotadens--were doing during the epidemic (playing boules, as we will soon see?), but according to numerous sources including our city's website, the bravery and efforts of les femmes Ciotadennes saved the town. Having survived the plague, La Ciotat would go on to become the birthplace of cinema, as well as the town where boules or petanque was invented.

This brings us to Fanny. All who are familiar with the popular game of petanque will recall the Kiss Fanny tradition. According to this Petanque site:

Being fanny (être fanny) means losing a game of boules or pétanque without scoring a single point— losing 13 to zero. (In the USA, we call that a “shutout” game.) Having to kiss Fanny is the ultimate humiliation for boules players everywhere.

Fanny_Le_Rituel
You do not have to literally kiss someone's derriere... a photo or a statue will do... 

THE BUM BONJOUR
If you ask me, this unusual ritual is second only in humiliation to another tradition, known by locals as La Fanny. This bonjour gesture involves, as you guessed, the fanny or behind, and dates back from the time when La Bise or social greeting kiss was outlawed in an attempt to protect citizens from the plague, which had already killed 60 percent of nearby Marseilles' population.

Centuries before the elbow bump would be the socially acceptable salutation during a pandemic, those brave French women who guarded the cobbled streets of La Ciotat came up with a new way to greet: They called it "La Fanny" in honor of the bravest in their Bubonic army. Their heroine, Fanny, returning home from an exhaustive day wrestling plague-ridden subjects over the fence, and in a bid to protect her family/friends from catching the malady that she herself might be harboring, refused la bise. Turning away her cheek and pulling her arms close lest they carry traces of the disease, Fanny jiggled her bum in what would become a quaint and cheeky bonjour.

LA CIOTAT'S CHEEKY HELLO
The tradition caught on and all citizens began using the new, more sanitary, greeting, affectionately known as La Fanny. To this day our town is the only place in France that does not practice la bise--instead, it does the bum greet.

I admit this was the main reason I ruled out The Cheeky City back when we sold our vineyard and needed to move on. Sanary! Bandol! La Cadière! I begged Jean-Marc--anywhere but La Ciotat. As someone who is easily embarrassed, I knew I could not bear to greet our new neighbors via a--pardon my French--"butt bonjour."

BUMMED (A WHOLE NEW MEANING BEHIND BEHIND
But when Jean-Marc found this charming bungalow with a yard where I could plant my permaculture garden, I was bummed (in another sense of the word)!  Reading up on the culture of the bum bonjour--La Fanny--I learned there are many ways to practice the cheeky greeting.  There is a version or... a bum for everyone! Everything from....

The well-heeled/upper-class/Aristocratic Fanny (involving a slight turn to show your backside...a bum curtsy if you will... to the casual/blue-collar Fanny (a no-shame jiggle-jiggle-jiggle of the derrière!)--all are fitting and acceptable ways to say hello here in La Ciotat (but don't try this in Paris--or be regarded as a country bum-kin).

DON'T SHAKE HANDS - SHAKE YOUR BOOTY!
Beyond Paris and the countryside, other countries would do well to follow our cheeky example here in La Ciotat and avoid passing along an illness. Anglophones, for example, could shake their booty instead of shaking hands. So remember: Don't shake. Shake, shake, shake! instead.

Somewhere in the midst of it all, I have found my own comfortably conservative version of La Fanny. Please stand with me now and let's practice the bum bonjour together. Here we go....

Show us your backside...
and...
Jiggle-jiggle-jiggle! (giggle giggle giggle)....
 

I call this version the "April Fools' Fanny!" Enjoy it and be sure to share it with a friend.

Amicalement, 

Kristi 
P.S. If this was your first April Fools of the day, let me know in the comments, below--or tell us what jokes have already been played on you. I leave you with a picture of my sister-in-law and me greeting family à la Fanny. Both of us are doing the April 1st version, bien sûr! That's Cécile pointing out the Jean-Marc is doing it the wrong way! Isn't that what siblings are for? To help us with our social étiquette? :-)

P.P.S. As usual, your corrections are most helpful and appreciated. See a typo or a grammar mistake? Let me know in the comments and thanks in advance!

La fanny
I hope you enjoyed today's history lesson, a reprieve from the news.  And while the bum bonjour may not spare us from COVID-19, staying home will help save lives!  Take care everyone. Stay home. Before long we will all be kissing again! Vive la bise! 

A Message from Kristi
Thank you for reading my 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 the creative process of writing. My wish is to continue offering 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 of any amount.

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


In the face of bankruptcy : A creative solution to "resserrer les cordons de la bourse"

Phare Barbershop Dog La Ciotat France
A controversial "Salon Mixte" in our area.  Photo (c) Le Phare Barber Shop

TODAY'S WORD : resserrer

    : to close, to tighten, to strengthen

resserrer les cordons de la bourse = to spend less, to tighten the purse strings

Hear it. Click here to listen to Jean-Marc read the following French sentence

Notre ville resserre les cordons de la bourse.
Our town is tightening its purse strings.


Easy French Step-by-StepEasy French is a bestseller, recommended by readers. Order a copy
And in today's story, more about Frexit and why the French--and man's best friend--will be well-coiffed by the time France leaves the EU.


A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE

by Kristi Espinasse

Will France leave the EU? It's a question many of us are asking. George Soros predicted it will happen. Frexit or no Frexit, the current economy has forced some French commerçants to come up with creative ways to keep their doors open and not shuttered and padlocked. But when the pet groomer went bankrupt and our local hair salon began catering to dogs--tongues started wagging!

Not everyone was happy about sharing shears with a sheepdog or having their hair highlighted beside a hound....

dogs in truck bed hound chihuahua, bulldog, jack russell, mexico, leashes tents
Outside our newly "mixed" hair salon, a motley crew awaits crew cuts! These four-legged clients must wait in the parking lot because a two-legged client was unwilling to sit beside a slobbering 4-legged client!
Resistance
As expected, some French citizens formed "La Résistance" by opening illegal shops in their own homes. This trio (including our son Max and his grand-mère Jules) operate out of our kitchen and call themselves "The Bootlegged Barbers." Here, with the help of an electric "tondeuse à cheveux," they are assisting a young man who was shocked to find his chair at his barber's was now occupied by a 4-legger (scroll back to photo at the beginning of this post....) 


Because our family is dog friendly (we’ve shared our lives with two golden retrievers), we were not bothered by this unique--if not exactly cut-and-dry-- arrangement at our hair-cutter's. Just this morning, as I sat with a head full of tinfoil (a technique used to lighten one’s locks), the clients to my right, a couple of Hungarian Pulis, began scratching. 

"It’s the curl relaxer,” my hairdresser explained. “Time to rinse!”

Rasta fur Hungarian puli dog
Last time these two showed up at our salon they used up ALL the shampoo. The rest of us had to get by with a smelly (if hip and trendy) vinegar/baking soda lather!

I watched as the Rasta dogs trotted over to the sink, and jumped up onto the chair beside it—that's when the white-haired woman in the next seat grumbled.

“This is a salon – not a toiletteur!  

Calme-toi, Maman,” the hairdresser said, “times have changed since you ran the business. We now live in an equal opportunity society."

The hairdresser reasoned with her elderly mother: “You think you’re shocked about our furry clients. Think how upset she must have been (my hairdresser paused from lathering her mother's white hair) "...arriving in France where men and women share the public restrooms!"

I was amazed my hairdresser had read my story in our town's gazette, in a section in the back which profiles locals. Last week I wrote about the culture shock I'd gone through when moving to France. I shared the first time I walked into a unisex restroom--right past a classmate at a urinoir! This was in Lille, France, at a high school which had just welcomed our exchange program from Tempe, Arizona.)

So this is what it must feel like for my hairdresser's mother, a traditional French woman, to share her comb with a canine. I offered a sympathetic look and shared some advice that helped me all those years ago, back at the open urinal. “Il faut simplement fermer les yeux!” Just close your eyes!

And what was our surprise when every furry client in the shop closed theirs. 

As our village doyens and our village dogs learn mutual tolerance at our new and controversial "Salon Mixte," I will close this edition by sharing three facts: this was posted at midnight here in France, on est le premier avril, et c'est un poisson d'avril. Do not be fooled if you click here again.

 
 
Teckle dog
Un teckel à poil dur et sa maîtresse- patiently waiting their turns chez le coiffure? At what point in today's story did you know this was "une blague"? Let me know in the comments at the end of this post.


FRENCH VOCABULARY

un commerçant = store keeper
toiletteur pour chien = dog groomer
une tondeuse à cheveux = hair clipper, hair cutter, trimmer
calme-toi = calm down
un urinoir = urinal
Il faut simplement fermer les yeux! = Just close your eyes!
un teckel à poil dur = a wire-haired dachshund
la maîtresse = mistress
une blague = joke
c'est un poisson d'avril = it's an April Fools' joke
on est le premier avril = it's April Fools' Day
chez le coiffeur = at the hairdresser's
 

Writing in paris
April 1st presents a rare challenge to write fiction! 
Last year's post made some readers angry enough to sign off!. The year before, and in 2013, readers simply felt sorry for me and my strange penance at the Paris Catacombs! (pictured: a rare chance I had to write in Paris, when my daughter had an internship there in 2015.)


 
Dog rainbow
Coucou - Hi there! Support the time, effort and costs that go into preparing this French word journal.  A small donation helps so much. Click here. Merci beaucoup!

Le salon shopfront France Brignoles haircut beauty parlor April Fools shampoo shampooing coupe balayage hair highlights

A Message from Kristi
Thank you for reading my 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 the creative process of writing. My wish is to continue offering 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 of any amount.

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


Back--With Exciting News From France! The Jetaiau Spectrum

Journal-physics
My article in Paris's Journal of Applied Physics. You are viewing the April 1st edition. I stood in line for 8 hours at our local newsstand to obtain copies of this historical printing of yesterday's pivotal discovery of The Jetaieu Spectrum.

Bonjour! It is a pleasure to be back! During my two-week absense, I have had the privilege,
 in connection with France News Media, and physicists from Grenoble and Marseilles, to be able to report on the March 31st discovery that has all of us glued to our televisions. Please take a break from the U.S. media and read my first-hand report from France, which breaks down yesterday's important discovery, one that is already changing the way most of us behave.

Have you recently told a lie? Said you were one place when you were really somewhere else? The Jetaieu Spectrum will reveal more than lies--it is already revealing, live and in technicolor, everything that has ever happened since the beginning of time.  

Today's word: Spectre

    : spectrum

The Historical Past, projected in 3D before your very eyes
Given the exciting news of the existence of The Jetaieu Spectrum, which will enable us to view, via segments of imprinted molecular mass, everything that has ever happened in the history the world, it is both haunting and awe-inspiring to notice the word origin of today's word, "spectrum": spectre or ghost.  
 

Our Transparent Past & Future:
The Jetaieu Spectrum and why you are now undressing before 7 billion humans
    
    by Kristin Espinasse

France is in the news after this week's riveting discovery of The Jetaieu Spectrum. First reported in Paris's award-winning Journal of Physics, by a Franco-American blogger, the March 31st discovery may forever influence or even control human behavior.

Those of us who have been glued to the news for the past 24-hours are beginning to comprehend The Jetaieu Spectrum (TJS). 

Briefly, TJS is the imprinted "film" of history as recorded by the very atoms, molecules, or "fibers" of the atmosphere which have been here, absorbing information, from the beginning of time (according to scientific law, matter can never be created nor destroyed. Absorbant and energetic, it actively collects imprints of all it comes into contact with.) 

Think of how cartoons are created. We have all seen a demonstration of the plate-by-plate pictures that, when quickly flipped, bring to motion so many "prints". Now you understand why everyone is so excited about the Jetaieu Spectrum.

With Jetaieu technology, these molecular "prints", carefully collected and transcribed onto microfiche, are viewable in the same way we see motion pictures - with the visual image projected onto any screen (computer, wall, etc). In a nutshell, we can now view past historic events, in the same way we click on to Youtube to see a video!

To better understand this discovery, I invite you to hold out your arm. Now place an imaginary ruler between your nose and the tip of our outstretched arm. Every trillionth of a millimeter of space between your face and the tip of your finger is a specific, marked location in time and space. Whatever happened--or happens in that precise geolocation is atomically recorded just as light, hitting a leaf, leaves an imprint on the surface below it.  

Up until now we didn't know about those molecular "recordings" that encompass every inch of space around us. Today the scientific community is rushing to reveal the images thanks to the Jetaieu Field Spectrum Lazor, which "slices" through billions of layers of imprinted molecular history, to reveal, for example, just exactly what took place in the very spot where you sit right this moment. Just what existed there 600 years ago?

Thanks to yesterday's breakthrough, you can view that scene live on The Human History Cam! (If you have noticed a lag on the internet, this explains it: currently millions of people are rushing to view these visual recordings. Note: The HH Cam site crashed at 5 a.m. this morning, but is up and running now--splashing everyone's most intimate moments across the internet!)

Are you wrapping your head around this? Light hitting the subject (you, me, the leaf...) records onto these invisible fibers which make up the atmosphere around us. These imprints can never be concealed or erased - according to the laws of physics you cannot obliterate mass. To express it another way, think of this: Big Brother actually exists, in the form of molecular mass that has been recording--filming as it were--our every move (and those of our ancestors) for as long as mass as existed. It's all there, nestled into the topography of photons and electrons!

Pause now and take a moment to think about this molecular footage that scientists are rushing to transcribeIt means that whatever you do, whatever has ever been done by anyone, is and has been recorded from the beginning of time. For scientists it is just a matter of unraveling the imprints, layer by layer, at the exact quadrant along the spectrum or atmospheric field in which they happened.  Seeing these "recordings" has the scientific community racing the globe, to historic sites like Jerusalem--and to a recently discovered knife in yard in California.....

Imagine seeing Jesus walk on water before your very eyes!
Or Eve eating biting into the apple. (And for non-believers, imagine the exact moment when fish began to walk and apes morphed into humans!) Soon--perhaps as early as midnight tonight--all debated events--did OJ kill Nicole? What about the Lockness Monster?--will be viewable to all, once The Jetaieu Spectrum is transferred from molecular imprint to wide-screen for public viewing--something happening as I type this! Meantime, for those of you reading this in your underwear--I suggest you get dressed FOREVER! 

Unless you are reading this in the dark.
After dark (the absence of incriminating photo-transparent light) all historical records stop. Perhaps this explains the natural impulse for thieves to act after dark? Or why some make love at night?)

With the help of a JTA Field Spectrum Lazor, shaped like a paper fish and able to cut through the invisible layers of recorded matter, we can soon see the history of everything that ever happened in a given space. Well, maybe not in our generation, as the process of uncovering the layer of condensed matter is time-consuming (it takes 82 hours to uncover three seconds of history! But technology is changing this very moment and transcription is speeding up--enough for The Human History Web Cam to offer reels of our immediate past to anyone with an internet connection and a computer screen!) 

So if you wanted to see, for example exactly, what I've been up to over the past 12 days since last you heard from me, click on the Human History Cam, enter the date and hour in question and my geolocation at the Institute of Physics in Paris, and even scroll back to whatever scene you want to view. The scene at 6:45 this morning? Maybe not -- I was in the shower! 

This all leads to the great ethical debate: how to erase the information that is recorded--and currently viewable by anyone? 

In the meantime, I will  shower in my underwear--as I did this morning! And I am not too worried about what you will see, when you click on the Human History Cam and locate me. You can even see if my underwear has hearts or ducks or little paper fish--which in France, today, stands for "April Fools!"

I leave you with a soundfile for some of today's French words.

Atomic Love,
Kristi
(French physicist and reporter for a day) 

 

ECOUTE-Listen to Jean-Marc pronounce Jetaieu (je t'ai eu = you've been had) and "poisson d'avril"
Download MP3 or WAV

Je t'ai eu! Poisson d'Avril!
You've been had! April Fools!

  Nectarine
Until the Jetaieu Spectrum is discovered--and it very well may be one day, you can see what I'm doing, image by image, when you follow me at Instagram!


FRENCH CLASSIC NET SHOPPING BAG - made and knit in France!

PARIS METRO CUFF - bracelet and handy map!


TISANES - FRENCH HERBAL TEAS - My family drinks them every night, to help drift off to sleep.

PROVENCE LINENS FOR THE HOME

LAGUIOLE STEAK KNIVES are for sale in many of the local French market stands.

FRENCH KITCHEN TOWELS by Garnier-Thiebaut.

PARIS PEACE T-SHIRT - "so many people have stopped to ask me where I got it" -Betty.

 

A Message from Kristi
Thank you for reading my 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 the creative process of writing. My wish is to continue offering 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 of any amount.

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


Your best wishes needed at this time.

Very sorry for today's hasty letter. I'm in a hurry as I need to be in Paris by 9 a.m. for three days of community service. The authorities contacted us after the herdsman I wrote about filed a complaint. Turns out we are being prosecuted--not for misrepresentation but for empoisonnement! That punk rock shepherd I profiled in January is now claiming his herd suffered gastro-entérite--or le gastro--after grazing in our mustard pasture. (Jean-Marc had sown la moutarde as a cover crop or soil amendment before planting his vineyard.) 

The fact that sheep waltzed onto OUR property to enjoy a free meal doesn't seem to faze the French police, who informed us that when we made the verbal agreement, allowing the berger's flock to feed on our land, we were unwittingly taking responsibility for the said grazers' santé.

I am trying to see the good in this even if I am reluctant head out, now, for some punitive community service. The 8-hour chore I have been assigned is absolutely surreal:  le nettoyage des ossements des Catacombes ( the cleaning of the catacombs ), i.e. Paris's underground cemetery of bones.

It took a moment to understand the punishment, owing to the confusing French legalease, and misleading words such as le nettoyage de l'ossuaire municipal. ("Ossuaire" threw me, but I recognized the terms municipale and nettoyage and so assumed I was to clean the floor of Town Hall--and not a wall of skulls and femurs!

Good news is the State is paying for my train ticket. All I am to do is to provide a personal scrub brush. (The municipal order that I received via registered mail contained a small packing list.)

  • votre brosse à dents (your toothbrush)
  • un flacon d'huile d'olive (a small flask of olive oil)
  • le plan des Catacombes de Paris (map of Paris catacombs, see attached).

A further note--an instruction, actually--states "une goutte par tête" or "one drop per head"). I guess they'll fill me in on the rest (is the olive oil some sort of skull emollient?).

We are scheduled to meet in the underground cavern, in one of the bony tunnels . I've printed out the map of the former stone mine-come-cemetery. So much for claustrophobia! Off now to catch my train. 

Amicalement
Kristi

P.S. If they think I'm bringing my own toothbrush--get out! I'm taking Jean-Marc's. He's the one that got us into this mess! ...And if you believe that you will believe today's entirely fishy story:-) Click here to learn what the French do on April 1st.

COMMENTS
Were you fooled by today's story? At what point in the letter did you know this was a blague, or joke? I'd love to know! Click here to comment.

Map-of-Paris-Catacombs

 I have never been to the Paris catacombs. Have you? Would you like to see the historic underground cemetery? Join the discussion here in the comments section.

 Crypt of the Sepulchral Lamp in the Catacombs of Paris. Photograph taken by Michael Reeve, 30 January 2004
Paris catacombs. (Photo: Michael Reeve)

FRENCH CLASSIC NET SHOPPING BAG - made and knit in France!

PARIS METRO CUFF - bracelet and handy map!


TISANES - FRENCH HERBAL TEAS - My family drinks them every night, to help drift off to sleep.

PROVENCE LINENS FOR THE HOME

LAGUIOLE STEAK KNIVES are for sale in many of the local French market stands.

FRENCH KITCHEN TOWELS by Garnier-Thiebaut.

PARIS PEACE T-SHIRT - "so many people have stopped to ask me where I got it" -Betty.

A Message from Kristi
Thank you for reading my 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 the creative process of writing. My wish is to continue offering 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 of any amount.

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


Poisson d'Avril - April Fool's Day in France & Paper Fish Tradition

P1000911
It's April Fish Day in France and Smokey's hunting for a live one... Smokey Dear, you still don't get it, do you? But then, I don't understand how the French got "fish" from "fool" either ("fool ish"?).

.
Poisson d'Avril! (pwah soh(n) dah vreel)

    : April Fool!

Audio File: listen to Jean-Marc pronounce the words in the following sentence: Download MP3 or Wav

Attention à votre dos... aujourd'hui, c'est "Poisson D'Avril"!
Watch your back... today's is "April 'Fish' Day"!

 

A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE... by Kristin Espinasse

Today is April Fool's Day and all across France people are minding their backs... lest a sneaky jester attempt The Paper Fish Attack!

In addition to inventing histoires (and oh, by the way, this is the very last "word-a-day"!), the French will be fashioning paper cutouts (shaped like un poisson) in time to tape them on some aloof one's back. (So soyez prudents and be on your guard!) 

At the venerable age of thirteen, Jackie tells me she is too old for the traditional fish cutout, that she and her friends will be honoring the tradition by taping embarrassing notes to each others dos:"Tapez-moi" and "Je suis nul(le)" rate among the most popular signs.

I think the blagueurs would do well to expand their repertoire: in place of "Hit Me!" and "I'm a Dork!", they might embarrass their targets by tacking on one of these messages:

"J'ai besoin de tendresse!"
I need love!

"J'adore les guili-guili!"
I love tickles!

"Chantez-moi une chanson d'amour"
Sing me a love song!

Chuchotez dans mes oreilles, SVP!
Whisper in my ears, please!

Voilà. Up to you to procure a roll of tape and a pair of ciseaux in time to design your own Fish crimes! Colleagues, teachers, bus drivers, babies, grandparents... all are fair game today! 


Le Coin Commentaires
Join us now in the community corner. Ask and answer each others questions and help to make this an enriching place in cyberspace. (P.S. is it April Fool's or April Fools' ?)  Click here to leave a message

 


French Vocabulary... followed by Related "April Fool" Terms

une histoire = a "story" (as in "tall story")
un poisson = fish
le dos = back
Tapez-moi! = Hit me!
Je suis nul(le)! = I'm a zero!
blagueur/blagueuse
m/f = jokers, jokesters

Related Terms on April Fools'
se gausser = to mock
un canular = a hoax
faire un canular à quelqu'un = to play a hoax on someone
une plaisanterie = a joke
accrocher un poisson = to stick a fish (on another's back)
la victime du canular = the victim of the prank

 

 

April Fools and paper fish for Poisson d'Avril in France tradition (c) Kristin Espinasse
Back in the day... Jackie made these when she was 8-years-old. Read about them, click here - you'll also read about the roof tile thief!

A Message from Kristi
Thank you for reading my 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 the creative process of writing. My wish is to continue offering 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 of any amount.

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