avoir la tete sur les epaules & Jackie's return

avoir la tête sur les épaules (ah-vwar-lah-tet-soor-layz-ay-pawl)

    : to be sensible, to have a good head on one's shoulders

Audio File:
listen to Jean-Marc pronounce today's expression: Download MP3 file or Wave file

Pour faire un si long voyage seule à 15 ans, Jackie doit avoir la tête sur ses épaules. To go on such a long trip alone, at the age of 15, Jackie must have a good head on her shoulders.


A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE

    by Kristin Espinasse


Jackie's back! After a 4 week stay with her grandparents in Idaho, we met our daughter at the Marseilles airport. We are so proud of her for travelling solo from Sun Valley to Salt Lake City--then on to Paris and Marseilles. At the age of 15 she navigated the various airports, waited for long stretches for connecting flights, and got through customs--without any assistance at all. Bravo jeune fille! Tu as bien la tête sur les épaules!

Nearing the airport exit, on our way to pick up Jackie, Jean-Marc suggested we search the sky for her plane. After all, how many other avions were arriving at 5:12pm? 

"There she is! There's our girl!" I said, pointing to the sky above the deep blue Mediterranean. Our heads were craned before the windshield as we watched the plane descend like a metaphor. Thanks to this voyage de découverte, Jackie was gaining in Independence and confidence--learning to fly with her own wings or, as the French say, voler de ses propres ailes.

Entering the airport périphérique, I learned our plan was to meet Jackie at the zone de livraison des bagages.

"Baggage claim! Why aren't we meeting our daughter at the gate?!" 

Before Jean-Marc had a chance to answer, I bet this was part of the plan: he was rooting for our daughter to make it all the way through the voyage--from security check in Ketchum, Idaho, to baggage claim in Marseilles, France. 

"Go ahead," he encouraged me. There's still time to meet her at the gate. While Jean-Marc parked the car, I hurried toward the terminal.

Speeding to meet Jackie, I took a wrong turn in Hall 4--the arrival and departure terminal for international flights. By the time I got to "arrivals" (downstairs) the gate was clear. Everyone had already met up with their loved one. 

At baggage claim I ran into our friend Astrid, who was there to pick up her son from a similar trip (his voyage of independence took place in Miami, Florida). There was no time to chat; after a quick bise I sped off to find my daughter--but ran smack into Jean-Marc instead. With a giant ear-to-ear smile he announced our girl was waiting outside on the curb.

Pushing past my husband, I darted towards the tall glass doors--all but smashing in to them. Why weren't they opening? The answer came quickly enough as the doors slid open automatically, revealing the empty sidewalk beyond.

But where was she? Was this some sort of father-daughter prank? I give in! I give in! Bring on the much-anticipated reunion! I scrambled to and fro in frustration until... Was that she?  Beside the parking meter there was a tall figure with a mane of long blond hair. The apparition stopped me in my tracks and got me doubting.  

No, this was a woman. Studying the stranger's body language--upright, yet relaxed--I didn't recognize my girl, who tends to slouch. 

But could it be Jackie? I picked up my pace again--deciding to run around to the side and get a better look before bounding in and swooping her into my arms. I've made the mortifying mistake before, of embracing a complete stranger. With a bit of caution, the embarrassment might be avoided. 

But love throws all caution to the wind. Racing, now, toward the upright woman, whose back was to me, I threw my arms around her. My joy was sprinkled with relief on hearing the sound of her voice.

"Maman! Maman!"

*    *    *

That's my girl. Welcome home!!!

 

Valerian flower a.k.a. Le lilas d'Espagne (c) Kristin Espinasse

Before picking up our daughter at the airport, I saw this butterfly while watering the garden. As the papillon softly flapped its ailes, I thought of Jackie. This picture is for her. The leopard wings are just her style.


French Vocabulary

bravo jeune fille! = way to go, young lady!

tu as bien la tête sur les épaules! = you've got a good head on your shoulders

un avion = airplane

le voyage de découverte = discovery trip

voler de ses propres ailes = to fly with one's own wings

le périphérique = beltway, ring road

la zone de livraison des bagages = baggage claim

le hall = air terminal 

la bise = kiss

maman = mom 

 

  Outfits for Misfits (c) Kristin Espinasse

Black, black, or black? What to wear to the concert in Arles? Lately I'm picking my husband's brain for fashion advice. He didn't like the shoes here (the ones on the right are my daughter's), but suggested the black flip-flops my mom had left behind. Good idea! Let's go casual.

Panier du potager (c) Kristin Espinasse
Kale, parsley, zucchini, favas and tomatoes. Next year I'll remember to plant corn and melons and carrots in our potager garden

Smokey and Love Salad (c) Kristin Espinasse
Smokey: I love me some fruit salad. Recipe at the end of this story.

*    *    *

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

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

Or purchase our online memoir, The Lost Gardens


How to say snack in French?

Visan, France (c) Kristin Espinasse
The faded painted sign above reads "Cafe de la Mairie". (photo taken in Visan) I am pairing today's story--which takes place at fashion school--with window fashion. Enjoy the colorful scenes that decorate this edition and please consider forwarding it to a friend.

un en-cas (or encas, pronounced "on-kah")

    : snack

French definition: 
Repas léger en cas de besoin. Light meal in case of need.

Other ways to say snack in French: un goûter, un casse-croûte, une collation, and "quatre-heures" (for the four o'clock snack kids eat, often after school)

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

Jackie and I arrived half an hour early for her second stage of the year, in the town of Six-Fours-les-Plages. Her first internship (in St Cyr, last fall) was at an optical shop, but this second experience is more in line with her career goals: she hopes to work in the fashion industry. Specifically, she dreams of being a styliste personnelle for the stars. 

Standing in the hall at the lycée professionnel, I keep my 15-year-old company as we wait for class to begin. To pass the time we study our surroundings. Near the entrance there is a bald mannequin dressed in a red and black flamenco skirt. On the walls pictures of runway shows feature futuristic outfits the students have created. In another frame, outside the secretaries' office, there is a delicately beaded handkerchief, something my grandmother might have made.

Like fallen beads, a nostalgic instant is dispersed when a teacher in horn-rimmed glasses bustles by us. Her arms are hugging a collection of dummy heads. It is amusing to watch as the collective heads of hair are further dishevelled by the purposeful gait of the hurried teacher, who disappears into a room full of hairdryers and sinks.

Returning my gaze to our immediate surroundings, I wonder if one of those wild-haired wigs is destined for the flamenco dancer? Qui sait? My attention turns now to all the French teenagers huddled in groups, waiting for the class bell to ring. They are wearing tight or flouncy skirts, leggings or baggy pants, inch-thick eyeliner or none at all, leaving me as much in the fashion dust today as I was at their age.

Curious, I look to see what Jackie is wearing. She has on her favorite T-shirt: all white with a large impression of the rapper Eminem. Over this, she's wearing a classic button-down jean shirt she's swiped from my closet. Wrapped around her neck there is a thick crocheted scarf in army green. She's got on her low-riding jeans and red Keds (or the French equivalent of red Keds, whatever that is). Overall, Jackie's outfit is a study in contrasts and it would take confidence to mix so many different styles.

Speaking of self-assurance, how would my daughter do during lunch hour? I remember how uncomfortable I felt as the new kid at school during lunchtime, when I would buy a sandwich in the cafeteria only to steal outside to hide on the outer limits of the dining hall, opposite the parking lot, where all the freaks hung out (the jocks were congregating with the cheerleaders at the picnic tables, and the artsy types seemed to go home for lunch to restyle themselves). 

In case Jackie couldn't find a friend to eat with, I packed her a trusty en-cas, something she could quickly consume in between classes. By the way, I hoped she would last until lunch... and not get hungry during the long morning session.... I remember suffering humiliation when my stomach cried out during quiz time. At a time when only scratching pencils could be heard, there would be those condemning gargouillements coming from beneath my desk!

In a room full of French language majors this was embarrassing enough, but for my daughter, who would spend the morning in a room full of fashionistas, a squawking stomach could really cramp her style!

 ***

Comments or corrections welcome here

French Vocabulary

styliste personnelle = fashion consultant

un stage
= internship, training program

lycée professionnel = vocational school, trade school

qui sait? = Who knows 

Gigondas window (c) Kristin Espinasse
Window in Gigondas 

 

Blue shutter clay maisonnette (c) Kristin Espinasse
Beaded curtains and a little house on the sill.

Easter window (c) Kristin Espinasse
 In theme with Easter... a beloved window in Gigondas

DSC_0077
In window accoutrements we have this stylish "echo window" with a rooster.

DSC_0076
A favorite window in Caromb. To comment on any item in this edition, click here.

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

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

Or purchase our online memoir, The Lost Gardens


c'est déjà pas mal

Block party in French (c) Kristin Espinasse
"A path of one's own." Our daughter Jackie in 2005, in Queyras. Keep marching toward your dream, My Girl, and don't forget to enjoy the sights along the way! More about our recent pep talk in today's story column. Forward it to a struggling student. (Note: the sign reads "block party".)

A few seats are still available at the Washington DC wine dinner with Jean-Marc on March 20th -- click here for more information.


A word and an expression for you today, as I couldn't choose between the two:

c'est déjà pas mal

    : not bad at all, nothing to sneeze at; it's a good start

The second entry, the term pep talk, goes with today's story. Only I couldn't find a good French equivalent so I'm including these examples found on line (I ran out of time to translate them. If you'd like to help, you can share your translation in the comments box, for all to enjoy).

Mon quart de travail a débuté par un pep talk, discours de motivation du superviseur à son équipe. --L'Actualité, Volume 25

La crise est trop profonde pour qu'un pep talk, un discours « motivateur » ou un cri de ralliement puisse agir efficacement. --Renaitre a la Spiritualite: Essai  By Richard Bergeron

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

"You were laughing in your sleep last night!" I said to my daughter, who is sharing my room while her father is away.

"I love it," I assured her. "Always laugh! Laugh and be positive as much as you can in life."

My suggestion wasn't fazing Jackie, who stared out the window wishing to skip school. "Can't I have just one day off?"

The kids always try to work me when their dad is out of town. Usually they succeed in getting one ditch day each, but as school gets more and more demanding I can't in good conscience give in. Besides, I promised Jean-Marc to keep both slackers on track.

As we drove the country road to school, passing the newly pruned olive trees, I noticed how the ground was covered here and there with pink blossoms. The almond trees were dropping their dainty coats. A new stage was unfolding.

I looked over at my daughter, "Just think. Your career is about to begin! This fall you will be enrolled in fashion studies. You are on your way!" I reached over and patted Jackie's leg.

"Ouai," her deadbeat response was one interminable sigh. I knew what was bothering my girl. She's told me many times before: "Et si je ne réussis pas?"

"Of course you will succeed!" I smiled at my passenger.

There she sat, in her army combat pants and bad girl sweatshirt (no words on the black shirt, just three hand gestures. I couldn't make out their meaning, but the symbols--including a fist--seemed to say Don't mess with me!). On the outside she looked tough but inside she was sucking her thumb. The insecure future loomed ahead of her.

Entering the school parking lot I recognized one of the pions whose job it is to welcome students.

"Je peux me baisser? Can I duck down?" Jackie pleaded to return home to bed.

I knew my daughter was tired, but I did not realize the extent of her spring fever. Now was a good time for a pep talk!

"Look, you need to get to class today. Listen to the lecture and that's half the work! Be kind to your future self--don't make her have to struggle tonight by trying to learn the material all on her own.

Jackie seemed to awaken to the suggestion. Maybe she was finally able to make the listen in class  less work at home connection.

"I could go to permanances and get my homework done..." she considered.

"Study hall... Great idea! You're future self will love you when she is relaxing in front of her favorite program tonight instead of falling to sleep on her math book!"

"But I'm too tired to go to school today!" Jackie said, falling back into her rut.

"Look, Choucou. It may not be obvious to you what all these classes are adding up to. But they are all paving the way to your future freedom! One day soon you will be exercising your dream job--if you will just keep showing up and opening your mind to the... possibilities." (I betted "possibilities" sounded better than "lessons", so I used it trusting Jackie's subconscious to make the switch!)

"Look at me," I chimed on, "I may not feel like working today, but I will go home now and write my column--never mind my lack of energy. This is how I practice my dream of writing for a living. Once I sit down to type the first few lines of my story, I'll get in the groove--and so will you. What's important is to begin!"

I continued with my pep talk, tossing in several points on the power of positive thinking, something, I admit to my daughter, that I still struggle with. "But we have to continually keep our thoughts up!" I cheered.

Kissing Jackie goodbye I quizzed her. "Do you understand what I am saying?" I smiled.

"I'm getting half of it," she admitted." Je retiens la moitié de ce que tu dis."

"Oh..." I said, feeling my spirits sink... until I remembered to take my own advice.

"Mais c'est déjà pas mal!" Yes, that's not bad at all!

 ***
To comment on this story, click here. To share your own stories of pep talks and school struggles and positive thinking or pulling yourself up by your bootstraps click here.  


French Vocabulary:
ouai
= yah
le pion
(la pionne) = monitor
la permanence = study hall
chouchou = sweetie 

 


Valencia-siff
 Yay! Just received an update from Valencia Siff (pictured left) who tells me that Chief Grape's winetasting in Virginia was a success. I'm teary-eyed seeing Valencia's touching message (thank you, V.! P.S. You are beautiful!). A few seats remain for the D.C. tasting. Please check this page with a link to reserve your seat. 

Colorado Provencal (c) Kristin Espinasse
From the photo archives: Colorado in Provence! This site in Rustrel, France, is known as Le Colorado Provençal. Posting it for all our Colorado friends. Naner naner!

Colorado Provencal (c) Kristin Espinasse
Around Rustrel, another lazy French village with crawling roses and sleepy benches. 

Thanks for forwarding this edition to a friend. 



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

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

Or purchase our online memoir, The Lost Gardens


la honte!

P1010404

Photo: Nothing to do with today's word... just a slice of country life as it looked here at the farm one week ago.

la honte! (lah ohnt)

    = how embarrassing!

Exercises in French Phonics Exercises in French Phonics bestseller on French pronunciation and how to pronouce French words correctly! (click here)

 

 

A Day in a French Life... by Kristin Espinasse

"Why is it We Do The Very Thing We Set Out Not To Do?"

(In a parking lot, somewhere in a busy industrial zone...) My daughter and I are walking arm in arm, following the shade that our bodies make. We swerve to the left, to the right, let our heads fall together, and then to the side. The dark figure on the sidewalk contorts, following our every move and it is our delight to throw out another command or two. What a thrill it is to be in control, finally, to watch our image do what we tell it to!

Earlier, when we arrived at the shopping center for a beauty consultation, Jackie repeated her request:"S'il te plaît, Maman... Please, Mom, do not tell the saleswoman, 'My daughter does not need to wear le maquillage'!"

I quickly translated her plea: by informing the saleswoman that my daughter did not need makeup, I would be announcing: "She's too pretty for the stuff!" And such a remark would be "la honte" to my daughter.

Compte sur moi! I promised. Even though I feel my daughter does not need makeup, I knew it would be a surprise and a treat to offer her a cosmetics lesson. (After her essay on maquillage, we received many thoughtful responses and tips, one of which was the suggestion to have a makeup consultation.)

Fastoche! I thought. I'd worked in a department store and I'd witnessed the girls at the makeup counter offer customers free lessons. I figured that after Jackie's lesson, we would purchase the fond de teint that she had been asking for (to camouflage les boutons, she explained).

With this plan, I led my daughter into the makeup boutique. After I inquired about a makeup lesson, the woman behind the counter consulted her cahier.
"Voyons... la leçon de maquillage... çela coute 25 euros." 

"Vingt-cinq euros? Does this include a gift with purchase?" (I was hoping it might cover the cost of the fond de teint that we were in the market for...)
The woman shook her carefully coiffed head, Non.

Wondering what to do, I translated the figure into US dollars: $36! What if we purchased something?...

The saleswoman confirmed: "With a purchase of three items, we can offer you the makeup lesson." With that Jackie and I hurried over to the makeup display case, but the first item my daughter saw (lip gloss) was 32 euros ($40)! With this "three item" scheme, the lesson would end up costing nearly $100!

I tried to negotiate with the saleswoman. "You see... she's only thirteen..." I pointed out, looking over at my daughter, who was showing the first signs of la honte

There, I'd done it! I might as well have said "she doesn't need to wear makeup!"

Strangely, instead of taking the clue that I'd gone and done the very thing I'd promised not to--I chose this moment to give my daughter a lesson in consumer relations... 

"Don't be embarrassed, Sweetie. It's normal to talk about the price for something!" I said to my daughter, looking over at the saleswoman for confirmation. Only, the saleswoman stared blankly back at me.

I ignored the whispering beside me, "Maman.... Maman!

The saleswoman's reaction only fueled my determination for a winning outcome (couldn't, after all, this be a gagnant-gagnant, or win-win situation? As it was, the boutique had no other clients. Was it too much to ask for a makeup demonstration? The two saleswomen were standing around and it might also be the chance for them to practice the métier....)  

I tried reasoning: "It's just that... instead of buying grocery-store makeup I had the idea that I would treat my daughter to..."

But any fanciful ideas were immediately cut short when my daughter began poking me, determinedly.

"Jackie!" I admonished the arm-poker. After a few more bumbling lines, the irony of it all occurred to me: this great effort at economy was, in the end, at my daughter's expense!

Like that, we sklunked out of the makeup boutique, one of us feeling like a has-been, the other feeling like Honte personified.

***

Half an hour later I study the thick shadow ahead of me, watching as it glides forward, at ease. We turn our heads right, then left... Arm in arm my daughter and I march forward, laughing now and again at the funny contorted figure on the pavement. 

"I'm so sorry for embarrassing you!" I repeat to my daughter, who shakes the sack in her hand in response. "It's okay. This is just fine!" I had wanted to buy her a step-up from the grocery-store makeup....

With that we head to the car, swerving from side to side, our shadow following along, in real time. I shook my head at my "step up" makeup plan. All that really matters, in the end, is that we are in step with each other.


Le Coin Commentaires
To respond to this story click here.  

 

French Vocabulary

s'il te plaît, Maman = please, Mom

le maquillage = makeup

compte sur moi! = count on me!

fastoche! = nothin' to it!

le fond de teint = makeup base, foundation

les boutons (m) = pimples

la leçon de maquillage... çela coute 25 euros = the makeup leçon... that costs 25 euros

Maman! Maman! = Mom! Mom!

la honte = shame

P1010470
Forget about the weeds. Rest easy. Smokey and I. (Photo by Chief Grape)

51Qckm1DSfL._SL500_AA280_ I Heart Paris Shopper: made of recycled material

French Demystified...simple enough for a beginner but challenging enough for a more advanced student.

 

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

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

Or purchase our online memoir, The Lost Gardens


parler métier

I believe I can fly (c) Kristin Espinasse
"She going places... only, sometimes, she wonders just where... " (pictured our 13-year-old daughter, Jackie)

parler métier (par lay may tyay)

    : to talk shop

Example Sentence: Aujourd'hui, Jackie vous invite de parler métier avec elle: est-ce que vous avez un boulot qui vous plaît? Today, Jackie invites you to talk shop with her: do you have a job that you like?

"Mon Futur Métier" by Jackie Espinasse

Note: the following letter was written by 13-year-old Jackie. Mille mercis to our friend Newforest, who edited the French text. For the ENGLISH VERSION, click here.

Bonjour à tous. Vous allez bien? Moi, ça va "nickel"! J’ai une question à vous poser, (si vous pouviez y répondre j'apprécierais beaucoup). Est-ce vraiment aussi dur qu'on le dit de trouver du travail? Je me pose beaucoup de questions à ce sujet, car (malheureusement) moi je n’ai pas beaucoup de notes brillantes!

En ce moment, les professeurs nous répètent tout le temps qu'on doit savoir dès maintenant quel métier on fera quand on sera grand. Quant à moi je suis un peu perdue car je n’ai pas trop d’idées à propos de ce que je voudrais faire dans l’avenir.

Travailler dans la mode pourrait être la solution idéale car LA MODE me passionne! Le problème c’est que ça va être dur de trouver un patron qui veuille d’une fille qui n'a pas de bonnes notes. Ils préfèrent celles qui ont un bon bulletin!

Vous allez tous me dire: "IL FAUT TRAVAILLER !" Je suis d'accord mais j’ai vraiment peur de me retrouver dans un métier que je n’aimerais pas....
Choisir un métier pour l'avenir, ce n’est pas aussi facile que ça ... je vous le dis!
S’il y a des gens qui travaillent dans le domaine de la mode, SVP donnez-moi quelques idées sur votre métier. 

Merci d’avoir lu.

--Jackie

Le Coin Commentaires
Do you have a response for Jackie? Can you relate to Jackie's "what to be when I grow up?" dilemma? Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us in the comments box.

English Version: I have put my translation in the comments box. Corrections welcome! :-) 

=> To read Jackie's previous story, about the right to wear makeup, click here.

 

FRENCH VOCAB LIST by Newforest

- nickel = nickel.  It also means spotless, spick-and-span (objects, a room...)  
- ça va "nickel" -> familiar for "ça va très bien, tout va parfaitement" = everything is fine  
- trouver du travail -> here, travail = employment
- dès maintenant = as from now
- un métier = a job, a profession
- être un peu perdu(e) = to be a bit lost, a bit hopeless
- le patron = boss, employer
- les bonnes notes = good marks, good results at school
- le bulletin = school report
- il faut travailler = we / you've got to work
- je suis d'accord = I agree
- l'avenir (masc) = the future

 
 
P1000543
Near the town of Jonquières: a mustard-flower patch beneath the olive trees. Beyond, the rosemaries share their spot in the sun with so many dried leaves. 
P1000473-1
"Going Places" with Braise and Smokey. To the left is le ruisseau, or little brook -- the water there feels so good to these furry, webbed feet! The vines to the right belong to our neighbors, Jean-Marie and Brigitte.

51Qckm1DSfL._SL500_AA280_ I Heart Paris Shopper: made of recycled material

French Demystified...simple enough for a beginner but challenging enough for a more advanced student.

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

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

Or purchase our online memoir, The Lost Gardens


se maquiller

Flowers for Maman (c) Kristin Espinasse
Our little girl is growing up... and writing her own anecdotes! Read Jackie's story ("Ma Routine") and mille mercis to our Francophone friend Newforest (whom many of you know from Le Coin Commentaires) for helping with corrections and suggestions. P.S.: The picture above was taken when Jackie was 7... and lagging behind on a field trip... in time to cueillir quelques fleurs

se maquiller (seuh ma kee ay) verb

    : to put on makeup

le maquillage = makeup
le maquilleur (la maquilleuse) = makeup artist 

Example sentence:
Selon vous, à partir de quel âge une fille peut-elle commencer à se maquiller pour aller en cours? In your opinion, from what age can a girl begin to wear makeup to class?

.
Ma Routine
… par Jackie Espinasse, 13 ans

(Note: to read our daughter's story in English, skip to Le Coin Commentaires, where I have offered my translation... corrections are welcome in the comments box.)

Le matin je me lève entre sept heures et sept heures dix. C’est ma mère qui est obligée de me réveiller, car à cette heure-là, je suis encore trop fatiguée pour ouvrir les yeux et sortir du lit ! Elle m’oblige à me lever, car il faut bien que j’aille au collège.

Quand je me lève, mon premier réflexe c’est de regarder à la petite fenêtre de mon couloir pour voir quel temps il fait dehors. Ensuite, je descends les escaliers, et je vois mes chiens qui sont toujours excités à cette heure-là car ils veulent que je leur donne leur petit déjeuner.

Alors, je leur sers à manger, puis, après, je mange, tout en étant à moitié endormie.

Capture plein écran 11032011 085256Quand j’ai fini de manger, je monte dans ma chambre, j’allume la radio, et je m’habille tout en écoutant de la musique. Puis je me coiffe et, en me coiffant, je me pose toujours cette même question: « Pourquoi mes parents ne veulent-ils pas que je me maquille ? » Moi, personnellement, je n’aime pas mon visage quand il est sans fond de teint, sans crayon noir, sans liner, et sans mascara ! Pour ma part, je trouve ça triste que mes parents me privent de maquillage pour aller au collège car, en plus de ça, c’est mon maquillage que j’ai payé moi-même, avec mon argent de poche!

« A tous les lecteurs » :
Pouvez-vous, s’il vous plaît, dire à mes parents que c’est injuste ?

Mais bon, bref, après cette petite routine matinale, je me brosse les dents, et finalement, vers huit heures dix, Maman me conduit en voiture au collège.

Et voilà.

P.S. : Je n’aime pas le collège !

 Le Coin Commentaires
To respond to Jackie's story or to leave her a message click here. You will also find the English translation here.

Have a second for another short-short story? Please read "Fille"

 

P1000470-3

(Smokey) Boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing (c) Kristin Espinasse
This picture of Mama Braise (left) and Smokey desperately needs a thought bubble or a speech balloon. Your ideas are welcome in the comments box. (Put your mouse over the photo for mine) Merci d'avance!

Check out Vivian Swift's book...

Capture plein écran 11032011 093941

 When Wanderers Cease to Roam...

  A charming, illustrated celebration of puttering, doodling, daydreaming, and settling down after years on the roadOrder a copy 

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

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

Or purchase our online memoir, The Lost Gardens


beurre

DSC_0308
Jackie. This is my daughter and she tells the best stories, just like her grand-mère, Jules. (photo taken in 2010)

"It is a delicious thing to write, to be no longer yourself but to move in an entire universe of your own creating. Today, for instance, as man and woman, both lover and mistress, I rode in a forest on an autumn afternoon under the yellow leaves, and I was also the horse, the leaves, the wind, the words that my people uttered, even the red sun that made them almost close their love-drowned eyes."

-Gustave Flaubert (thanks to Jim Fergus for sending me this favorite quote!)


le beurre (bur) noun, masculine

    : butter

Please jump right in and share your butter/"beurre" terms and expressions here. I'll begin...

beurré(e) = plastered
avoir un oeil au beurre noir = to have a black eye
le beurre de cacahouètes = peanut butter
(your turn. Get out your dictionary then click here and share beurre terms and idioms)

Audio File : Listen to the following sentence: Download MP3 or Download Wav

Il était une fois un philosophe qui aimait les jeux de mots. Il appelait, par exemple, le butterfly: le beurre qui vole. (translation below)

A Day in a French Life... by Kristin Espinasse


(On the Origins of Flying Butter)
 
This morning my daughter scrubbed down, head to toes, with Betadine. Next, she said she was hungry but did not eat, nor did she drink so much as a drop of water.

We were running late to the Clinic de Provence after Jackie took extra care with her hair, blow drying it, straightening it, exercising all her control over it. Finally she shut off the sèche-cheveux, and voiced her little heart out: "J'ai peur, Maman."

"Did you take off all of your nail polish and jewelry?" the nurse quizzed.

"Oui," Jackie replied. Next, my 12-year-old was given a pill that made her eyes droop until she turned over in the hospital bed, from her back onto her side.

I wanted to brush my hands across her face, but wondered about the iodine/detergent surgical scrub that she had showered with earlier. Would I just be putting germs back on her face? My hand reached for her hair, instead.

"Can you remind me of the story you told me last night?" I asked my girl. "About the butterfly...."

My daughter nodded her sleepy head and said...

Il était une fois un philosophe qui aimait les jeux de mots.... Il adorait aussi les butterflies dont il renommé "Le Beurre Qui Vole"...

Once upon a time there was a philosopher who loved to play with words. He also loved butterflies which he renamed "flying butters"...


As Jackie told me her story my mind wandered back to the simple surgery: only two teeth to remove. But why the need for an anesthesiologist? Why put her completely to sleep—was it necessary? Couldn't we have waited for the teeth to grow and push past the gums before having them extracted?

The door to room 103 burst open and two infirmières collected my daughter, as one collects an umbrella while rushing out the door, late for work. I wanted to shout "be careful!" Instead, I stepped out of the nurses' way.

As the gurney careened down the hallway on the way to the bloc opératoire, I overheard one of the nurses assure my daughter, "Ce n'est rien". Just a little operation. With that the trio disappeared into a sterile chamber.

As I stood there staring at the empty hall, a little old man in a bathrobe hobbled by, slowly, softly, like a butterfly.


Butterfly in france

 

French Demystified...simple enough for a beginner but challenging enough for a more advanced student.


I Know How To Cook The bible of French home cooking, Je Sais Cuisiner, has sold over 6 million copies since it was first published in 1932. It is a household must-have, and a well-thumbed copy can be found in kitchens throughout France. Its author, Ginette Mathiot, published more than 30 recipe books in her lifetime, and this is her magnum opus. It's now available for the first time in English as I Know How to Cook. With more than 1,400 easy-to-follow recipes for every occasion, it is an authoritative compendium of every classic French dish, from croque monsieur to cassoulet.

***

Still itching for stories from France? You will ADORE Lynn McBride's blog It’s called Southern Fried French (www.southernfriedfrench.com) and it’s about living the good life at the 14th century Château de Balleure, with her friends  and chatelains Nicole and Pierre.

 

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

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

Or purchase our online memoir, The Lost Gardens


fille

Boulangerie (c) Kristin Espinasse
A bakery in the town of Camaret sur Aigues, in the heart of Provence.

 
fille (fee) noun, feminine
.    
 : daughter

Telle mère, telle fille.

Like mother, like daughter.

                            --Ezekiel


Audio File:

Listen to the French word "fille" and the above quote: Download mp3 . Download wav


A Day in a French Life...

by Kristin Espinasse

            (We Three: my daughter, my mom, and I)

At ten-years-old:
I liked motorcycles and baseball.
My daughter likes mascara and karaoke.

We both loved swimming...

I liked to wake up at the crack of dawn.
She loves to sleep in late.

I loved frogs.
She likes ladybugs.

I was round.
She's a stick.

I ate tacos.
She eats tapenade.

When I lied, my face turned crimson.
When she lies, hers turns convincing.

I collected desert wildflowers and gave them to the neighbors.
Jackie fancies bamboo, has a carnivorous plant, and is giving in other ways.

I was once called a bible beater and went and hid.
She got called "Blond!" once and was livid.

My daughter speaks in French and in English.
I spoke in English and in Tongues.

She has a godmother and a godfather.
I had a mafia of angels.

Jackie's great-grandmother and her grandmother were Catholic and Atheist, respectively. Mine were Mormon and Jack Mormon, respectively.

Jackie's table trick is to eat the eyes right out of the fish on her plate. She
learned this from her great-grandmother, a French woman who survived WWII. My trick was a disappearing act involving any food placed in front of me (except fish eyes). I learned this from my American grandmother, an excellent cook, who smoked her morning cigarette in the trailer's "salon" and called everyone "Hon".

Jackie's mom has healthcare and a mutual.
My own mom had a mutual agreement with my sister and me: what you say is what you get and whatever you say Don't Say You're Sick!

I really, really wanted a live-in dad.
Jackie really, really wants a horse; she already has a Father Hen.

When my mom got mad at a man, she moved on, took her kids with her.
When Jackie's mom gets mad at her man, she throws (virtual) plates, then meditates.

Jackie's mom is over-serious, over-sensitive, and over-anxious.
My own mom was over-generous and, sometimes, over-the-top.

Mom let me dig up the back yard once. "What the hell, let her make a pool."
Jackie's mom is a control freak, doesn't cuss.

I had a sister who was prettier than I.
Jackie looks like her.

At my daughter's age, I once started a fire in the field behind our trailer park, almost making homeless our neighbors, mostly retirees. I admitted this to Jackie (on confiscating a lighter!), who wanted to know whether I ever told my parents. (Mom, Dad: are you reading?)

I had a crush on Doug Pearson from kindergarten through eighth grade. He had dimples, or fossettes, and did a mean impression of Gene Simmons: fake blood, black eye-liner, and all.
Jackie's heart is faithful to horses: four-legged rock-stars each and every one.

I automatically pledged allegiance to the flag.
My daughter questions whether Sarkozy will keep his promises.

Jackie and her mom wear the same shoe size: 7.5
My own mom is one size smaller, though she is larger than life.

I was a real softie, though my daughter is really not so tough as she thinks she is. (Perhaps we are not so different after all?) And, every once in a while, I catch myself following in my mom's leopard-patterned, untamed tracks. Secretly, it comes as a relief: to free-up the over-serious, under-the-countertop, once carefree fille.*

                                               *    *     *
Note: this story was written over a year ago, when my daughter was ten. She turned twelve today. As for Jules, you'll have to ask her her age. Birthday wishes are welcome in the comments box. Merci beaucoup!

Waterpark Lorgues 015

My mom, Jules, in 2003 (after her first mastectomy!). That's Jackie on the left.




Puppies and Harvesters

DSC_0023Jacqui, Kristin, Pamela and the pups.

Note: there are now three "Jackies" here at our farm: my daughter, American Jacqui (pictured here) and Scottish Jackie.

Salut from Sainte Cécile, where the sky is pouring down rain and our harvesters are braving the muddy grape bog below. The heavens are howling; between grumbles, the sky spits fire helter skelter across the Provençal paysage.

I am waiting for the soaked soldiers to return, waiting with a pile of towels, hot coffee and Nutella...

***

Update: (one hour later...) the harvest continues beneath the still streaming sky. I hear howling in the distance, only, this time, it isn't coming from the heavens....

"Boot camp!" that's what Mom used to call harvest time. The harvesters might call it GRAPE CAMP!

The following edition is in honor of my Mom's and my daughter's birthday (September 23rd and 18th, respectively). Joyeux Anniversaire Jules and Jackie! Je vous aime.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Shopping~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

French Wooden Alphabet Blocks for kids. Makes a great baby gift.

Urban Crayon Paris: The City Guide for Parents with Children

My French Coach by Nintendo. Playing My French Coach for 15 to 20 minutes a day is all you need to become fluent in French, no matter your age. The simple touch screen interface lets you spend less time learning the game and more time learning French.

Streetwise Paris Laminated City Center Street Map

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

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

Or purchase our online memoir, The Lost Gardens


une roue

Cartable or French schoolbag (c) Kristin Espinasse
Back to School or la rentrée. Max and Jackie in 2004, at our old home in Les Arcs-sur-Argens

une roue
(roo) noun, feminine
1. a wheel

la grande roue = the Ferris wheel
une roue dentée = a cogwheel
un bateau à roues = a paddle boat
véhicule à deux/quatre roues = two-/four-wheeled vehicles
une roue de secours = a spare wheel or tire
une roue de transmission = a driving wheel
la roue de la Fortune = the wheel of Fortune
la cinquième roue du carosse = an entirely useless person, thing

Expressions:
être en roue libre = to freewheel, to coast
pousser à la roue = to lend a helping hand
se mettre en roue libre = (fig.) to take it easy, to do as one likes
faire la roue = to do a cartwheel, (also) to strut about, to swagger; to spread its tail (peacock)

Le succès est comme une grande roue; on ne peut vraiment apprécier la vue que l'on a d'en haut que si l'on redescend quelques fois. Success is like a Ferris wheel; we can only really appreciate the view that we have from up high if we come down a few times. --Yvon Deveault


A Day in a French Life...  by Kristin Espinasse


Six-year-old Jackie is already asking for wheels! Put-putting along the autoroute in our micro car, Jackie shrieks when a cherry red sports car whizzes by:

"Ooh là là! Une FAY-RAR-EE!"

"No, Jackie, that isn't a Ferrari. That is a Toyota!" her brother insists.

My daughter has been hounding me for wheels for some time now. To be clear, she is only asking for two wheels (and not the kind you see spinning under French teens as they speed through the village, zig-zagging through traffic). The wheels Jackie longs for are attached to a hefty, multi-pocketed cartable.

I don't blame my daughter for wanting wheels on her schoolbag—you should see the amount of books she has to carry home each day! After one year of yearning for such a schoolbag-sur-roulettes, her wish was granted. Thursday morning she gingerly wheeled her new bag into the schoolyard....

Soon enough she discovered that the cartable à roulettes wasn't so easy to navigate through the hordes of bag-encumbered élèves. So she pushed in the collapsible handlebar, hoisted the bag onto her back, and threaded her way through traffic to class.

This morning at breakfast she inquired about graduating to four wheels. "Maman," she began, "quand je serai grande, tu m'achèteras une voiture?"  I'd better start stashing euros aside now. The good news is I'll have an extra year to save as French teens don't start driving solo until they are dix-sept years old.  

French Vocabulary

une autoroute
(f) = a motorway

fay-rar-ee = pronunciation for Ferrari

un cartable (m) = schoolbag

une roulette = a small wheel

une élève (f) = a student

maman (f) = a mother

dix-sept ans = seventeen

Wheels
Update: Jackie, 5 years after this story was written... The wheels get bigger every year. Soon she'll be driving.

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

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

Or purchase our online memoir, The Lost Gardens