petit bateau pointu (c) Kristin Espinasse

le badinage (bah dee nazh)

    : bantering, repartee

Also: badin, badine (adj: lighthearted, playful) and badiner (to banter, to jest)

sur un ton de badinage = in a bantering, or jesting, tone
Je ne badine pas! = I'm not joking! 

Audio File: Listen to Jean-Marc pronounce these French words: (Download MP3 or Wav file)

Le badinage ou la taquinerie - c'est bon pour la santé!
Bantering and teasing - it's good for one's health! 


Capture plein écran 06062011 070826

The Most Beautiful Walk in the World: A Pedestrian in Paris

“One of the smartest nonfiction titles for summer reading ... Baxter tracks both the city’s history and the many celebrated figures who have savored the art of walking in one of the world’s most beautiful capitals.” (Christian Science Monitor ). See the reviews, and order the book here.


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

Le Badinage Prolongs Life!

My mother, my son, and I are sitting in la salle d'attente. Mom needs a refill on her medication, Max needs a refill on his prescriptions for asthma and allergies, and I need a booster shot. Doubtful, I open my purse and root through its contents, checking to make sure that I have brought along with me the vaccine. In France, one brings one's pre-filled syringe (sealed and packaged) with one to the doctor - a requirement that still seems outlandish to me. 

Next, I reach up and pat my arm to make sure the EMLA patch (which looks like a big Band-Aid with a creamy, medicated disk in the center) is working. Poking again and again at the patch, I am uncertain. "Strange... my arm doesn't feel numb..." I say to my mom.

I notice that rascally gleam in Mom's eyes that tells me she is about to take this latest whinging -- and run with it. And all it takes is an emphatic "PFFFFT!" for me to understand her feelings about the prissy patch. After having two breasts removed (one in France, the other in Mexico) and a steel plate put into her leg, Jules is not going to let me get away with fretting over a mamsy-pamsy piqûre. Indeed, the woman who pulled out her own troubled tooth while deep in the jungle of Mexico is not going to give too much sympathy to her over-protected daughter.

In my defense I point out that it was the doctor who offered to prescribe the numbing patch, that it wasn't anything I requested. But any explanations were met with rolled eyes and another exclamatory "PFFFT!".
Witnessing the taquinerie between his mother and his grand-mère cherie, Max lights up, always game to join in and pull my leg. Only, this time, he shifts his attention to his grandmother, who is ever ready to join him in another round of plaisanteries.

I listen to the two spar, giggle, and poke each other and when the playfulness gets a little disruptive, I butt in--

"Hey, watch the plants! You'll knock them over!" and "Max! Put that chair down!"

My attempt at controlling the grandmother-grandson duo is met with more Pfffts! and more clucks of the tongues as the two look at me beady-eyed and cynically - only to resume their bantering.

Mom grabs a revue from the stack of magazines and paddles Max with it. Max responds by running circles around Jules until she is dizzy with laughter. (Thank goodness nobody else is around.)

Their voices rise and I am obliged to give another warning or two:

"Shhhh! There are patients in the doctor's office. Max, baisse le ton. Mom, keep it down! The doctor is never going to give you your anxiety medication, Mom, if she sees you are THIS GIDDY!"

Only, it's too late, the door to the doctor's room swings opens and out walks a confused duo: doctor and patient.

The patient exits cautiously... and I stand to greet the doctor. I introduce my mother and quickly offer an apology for all the racket.

The doctor studies our family (two grinning faces and one sour gueule) and gives her diagnosis -- only mania is not the conclusion.

Lui, the doctor explains, pointing to Max, il est en train d'ajouter des jours à la vie de votre maman.

Noticing my dear mom, who was glowing with youthful entrain, I could not argue with the doctor.


French Vocabulary

la salle d'attente = waiting room

un appareil photo = camera

EMLA patch = a dermal anaesthetic in the form of a medicated, cream-filled patch that numbs the skin prior to a shot

une piqûre = injection, shot

la taquinerie = teasing

baisse le ton = lower your voice 

la gueule = face

Lui, il est en train d'ajouter des jours à la vie de votre maman. = He is adding days to your mother's life.

l'entrain (m) = spirit, liveliness (and "avec entrain" = with gusto)

The book I took with me, and enjoyed, on break last week. And my little carnet for jotting down vocabulary, stories, recipes, uplifting words and more! Re My Antonia, by Willa Cather: the writing, especially the descriptions of the countryside in Nebraska, is beautiful. For those of you who need a page-turner with a plot, this isn't it. For those looking who enjoy pastoral writing and a little history, give this book a try. Several anecdotes within the book were eye-opening and I enjoyed the botanical and culinary notes which are scattered throughout. Thanks to those in the "Nebraska Invasion" group*, who gifted me this and another book. *Anne & Lang Anderson; Vikki & Terry Ferris; Steve & Teresa Plamann; and Doug Richard

Check out the latest prices for Kindle, click here and consider ordering today! Your purchase helps support this free language journal. Merci beaucoup!

cheese and mint quiche tart menthe chevre
Those goat cheese and mint tarts I told you about in a previous story... Want to make one? Just take fresh goat cheese (or the log-shaped version found here in France), cut in slices and place in the bottom of the tart. Next, add plenty of mint leaves. In a bowl, beat two or three eggs and sour cream (or liquid cream). Add salt, pepper, and herbs (thyme, rosemary...). For extra goodness, sprinkle on some gruyère. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes (not sure about temperature...) The pie crust is store-bought (it unrolls and voilà--is ready to go!). Update: I forgot to mention toasted, sliced almonds! Throw some of these onto the tart, too!

A Message from KristiOngoing support from readers like you keeps me writing and publishing this free language journal each week. If you find joy or value in these stories and would like to keep this site going, donating today will help so much. Thank you for being a part of this community and helping me to maintain this site and its newsletter.

Ways to contribute:
1.Zelle®, The best way to donate and there are no transaction fees. Zelle to [email protected]

2.Paypal or credit card
Or purchase my book for a friend and so help them discover this free weekly journal.
For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety