How to be productive (hint: par tous les moyens!)

Global Culinary Escapades
BORDEAUX AND THE DORDOGNE small group tour Sept 17-25 - culture, cuisine & wine. Click here for itinerary.

PAR TOUS LES MOYENS 

    : by any means

Audio File: Listen to Jean-Marc read today's quote

Click here for soundfile

Tous les moyens sont bons quand ils sont efficaces. Jean-Paul Sartre
All means are good when they are effective.

A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE

    by Kristi Espinasse

Some mornings I set out in three different directions. Should I write about this event? Or that one? Or is today "laundry day"? (a.k.a. what household business needs taking care of)? This three-pronged fork in my daily chemin is both a privilege and une peste --for when it comes to working for oneself, there are no hours. You can even take the day off. But at the end of the semaine you must have something to show for your efforts.

More likely, at the end of the morning you must have something to show for your efforts. That is ma façon de faire.  And though I can usually crank out a post (or keep on top of our family's laundry), some mornings I'm just floundering. The 11th hour (it's 10:56 now...) is about to sonner, and what do I have to show for my efforts--besides getting the dog and my husband fed? (No offense to either one of them.)

QUE DALLE!

I have ZIP to show for my efforts!

Here's what I do when that happens: pace. (Walking liberates ideas). Next, I pick one thing on my three-pronged list and finis-le! Earlier, I thought about finishing "the laundry," but when it comes to productivity, writing trumps all! Which explains why my words are polished..but my home isn't (tidy, but not polished. Not by any means. Which brings us to "by any means"...) The secret to completing a project is to get to the finish line par tous les moyens

Ouf and voilà. I leave you with that nugget of wisdom. I hope it was a nugget. Or maybe it was just a dust bunny? un mouton de poussière?... Plenty of those under my couch....

P.S. Today's post on productivity wasn't even on my 3-pronged chemin. (It wasn't planned.) But tumbled out while I was trying to figure out how to repost my story of sobriety. Talk about beating around the bush!  If you'd like to read that story, "So Much for Anonymity," click here. First read to the end of this post. Merci!

Moutons sheep in lorgues france c kristi espinasse
(dust bunnies or moutons?)

FRENCH VOCABULARY
par tous les moyens = by any means
le chemin = path
la peste = pest
la semaine = week
la façon de faire = way of doing something
sonner = to ring
que dalle = nada, nothing, zip
finis-le! = finish it!
ouf = whew, phew
voilà = so there you have it
un mouton de poussière = dust bunny (ball of lint on the floor)

Shopping:
Embryolisse cream - my daughter and I both use it! 
Zaz -- you must listen to this artist (thanks, Reader Dave). The song Eblouie par la nuit will move you like no other. Order here.
Walk in a Relaxed Manner - a book I'm reading about the Camino
Nespresso capsules (Thanks, Dad, for reordering coffee from my site, via these links. I got a little commission for your purchase!)
Hanging laundry in Nyons France (c) Kristi Espinasse

Thank you so much for reading these stories and for the time you've set aside to learn a French word or two. If you feel you have learned more than a little vocabulary, here, and would like to reward my efforts please know that a one-time contribution is not only a great support, but it is vivement apprécié. Simply use the quick links below (they'll take you to PayPal). Merci beaucoup! 
♥ Send $10    ♥ Send $25    ♥ Send another amount


Pour vivre heureux, vivons cachés - to live happily, live hidden. But what does this really mean?

My desk and almond blossoms

Recently I was telling some new friends just exactly what it is I do for a living. Since October 27th, 2002, I have maintained an online personal journal in disguise as a French Word-A-Day. That is to say, in order to get people to read my essays, I've dangled a carrot outside of my writing window. That carrot is the "word of the day." And here you are, Dear Reader--receiving more than you bargained for!

It hasn't all been wine and roses. (Well, there has been plenty of wine, none of which I drank after February 2003...) But you already know that. The question is: do you know too much? I hope not. For I have done my journaling best to "Keep it light. Keep it educational. Keep it inspiring." And for those tricky times when only the truth of a situation would enable this narrative to continue, without too much confusion, I tread carefully, sharing enough information to get us all to the next chapter of this French life.

If all this sounds like adieu--far from that! Loin de là! For as long as I have carrots in my garden...I will be dangling them out of my virtual French window.

Amicalement,

Kristi

*    *    *

Pour vivre heureux, vivons cachés

    : to live happily, live hidden
    : great honors are great burdens

A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE

    by Kristi Espinasse

The French have a popular saying: Pour vivre heureux, vivons cachés. (To live happily, live hidden). But what do these words really mean?  And where does the famous saying come from? Discover, today, the wise fable by Florian (Jean Pierre Claris de Florian), in French and in English. You'll also be able to hear the poem, read aloud by Jean-Marc.


LE GRILLON

Un pauvre petit grillon
Caché dans l’herbe fleurie
Regardoit un papillon
Voltigeant dans la prairie
L’insecte ailé brilloit des plus vives couleurs
L’azur, le pourpre & l’or éclatoient sur ses ailes.
Jeune, beau, petit-maître, il court de fleur en fleur,
Prenant & quittant les plus belles.
Ah ! disoit le grillon, que son sort & le mien
Sont différents ! dame Nature
Pour lui fit tout, & pour moi rien.

Je n’ai point de talent, encor moins de figure ;
Nul ne prend garde à moi, l’on m’ignore ici bas !
Autant voudroit n’exister pas.
Comme il parloit, dans la prairie
Arrive une troupe d’enfants.
Aussitôt les voilà courans
Après le papillon dont ils ont tous envie :
Chapeau, mouchoirs bonnets, servent à l’attraper.
L’insecte cherche vainement à leur échapper,
Il devient bientôt leur conquête.
L’un le saisit par l’aile, un autre par le corps ;
Un troisième survient, & le prend par la tête :
Il ne falloit pas tant d’efforts
Pour déchirer la pauvre bête.
Oh ! oh ! dit le grillon, je ne suis pas fâché ;
Il en coûte trop cher pour briller dans le monde.
Combien je vais aimer ma retraite profonde !
Pour vivre heureux, vivons cachés.

Click here to listen to the poem in French: Le Grillon The Cricket fable by Florian Pour vivre heureux vivons cachés 


Cricket grillon sketch
  image and text from Wikipedia

THE CRICKET

(AKA "TRUE HAPPINESS")

A poor young cricket, small and shy,
Passing retir'd his summer hours,
Beheld one day a butterfly,
       Flitting among the flowers.
Of ev'ry color, ev'ry hue,

The gaudy insect well might boast.
From flower to flower it gaily flew,
Alighting where it pleas'd him most.
"Alas!" the pining cricket sigh'd,
"What diff'rences us two divide!
While Nature does so much for him,
For me she nothing does at all.
I'm void of sense and coarse of limb,
With figure despicably small;
I'm heeded not, am lone and lorn,
And might as well have not been born."
But while the cricket thus complain'd,
A sudden uproar round him reign'd;
A troop of children rushing by,
Came hunting for the butterfly.
With nets, and hats, and kerchiefs too,
The gaudy insect they pursue.
He struggles hard to get away,
But falls at last a helpless prey.
One seizes on his wings of gold;
Another at his body aims;
A third upon his head lays hold;
In short, each one the insect claims,
But leaves him mangled, dead, and cold.
"Ah, ha!" the cricket said, "I see
What 'tis a brilliant thing to be.
If such the cost to those who shine,
I ought no longer to repine;
But to live happy I must be
Contented with obscurity."


Order a copy of the Fables of Florian.

Buy the song "Le Grillon" by Florian...start your 30-day free music trial

Le papillon the butterfly

Thank you so much for reading these stories and for the time you've set aside to learn a French word or two. If you feel you have learned more than a little vocabulary, here, and would like to reward my efforts please know that a one-time contribution is not only a great support, but it is vivement apprécié. Simply use the quick links below (they'll take you to PayPal). Merci beaucoup! 
♥ Send $10    ♥ Send $25    ♥ Send another amount


Eblouir + A quote that will make you leap out of bed each morning

Church door in Roussillon France
"For my part, I am constantly dazzled by the phenomenon of life." Pour ma part, je suis sans arrêt ébloui par le phénomène de la vie. - René Barjavel Do not miss the entire quote. Use the link below (when reading this by email) to click through to the online version of this post, where you will hear the recording in French.

EBLOUI
(from éblouir, to dazzle)

    : dazzled, awe-inspired, blinded; carried away

Improve your French pronunciation with the book Exercises in French Phonetics
With the Kindle Paperwhite E-reader you'll enjoy reading with larger fonts.


A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE

    by Kristi Espinasse

I was about to tell you the story of an amazing encounter... when I got sidetracked looking up the word éblouir. A web search led me to a French sci-fi author and his dazzling thoughts. I leave you with René Barjavel's words, read aloud by Jean-Marc. The English translation follows...don't miss it.

Click here to listen to Jean-Marc read the following text

Il ne suffit pas d'être en vie, il faut être vivant . C'est à dire savoir à chaque instant qu'on est au coeur d'un prodige et être en contact, en harmonie avec lui. C'est difficile, mais lorsqu'on parvient à en prendre conscience, on en reçoit un perpétuel émerveillement qui paie au centuple des effors que l'on a consentis. .. Le plus souvent, nous voyons, mais nous ne regardons pas, nous entendons, mais nous n'écoutons pas. Les choses nous bousculent au lieu que nous portions la main sur elles. Nous devrions en disposer pour notre bonheur, et ce sont elles qui nous possèdent pour notre angoisse. Pourtant chacun de nous est au centre de tout, au milieu de l'univers entier. Chacun de nous possède les portes que le créateur (ou la nature, comme l'on voudra) lui a données pour y pénétrer. Mais nous oublions de les ouvrir. Pour ma part, je suis sans arrêt ébloui par le phénomène de la vie. --René Barjavel


ENGLISH TRANSLATION
(It's a rough translation. Feel free to offer corrections in the comments box, below)

It's not enough to be alive, you have to feel alive as well. That is to say, we have to know at every moment that we are in the heart of a prodigy and we are in contact, in harmony with it. It's difficult, but when you realize it, you get a perpetual wonder that pays back a hundred times the effort you've made. Most often we see, but we do not look, we hear, but we do not listen. Things jostle us instead of us getting a grip on them. We should get rid of this for our happiness, and it is this that brings on our anguish. Yet each of us is at the center of everything, in the middle of the entire universe. Each of us has access to the doors that the creator (or nature, if we prefer) has given him to enter. But we forget to open [those doors]. For my part, I am constantly dazzled by the phenomenon of life. --René Barjavel


The immortals rene barjavel

Some books by René Barjavel
The Immortals - "This book is a masterpiece of politic/fiction. Barjavel shows amazing mastery and errudition in creating an incredible fiction that happens to fit all the major events in the world during the cold war." Amazon reviewer. Order the book

Une Rose au Paradis - "Love this book, but he is also my favorite author." -Isa
 
Ravage - (French edition) "what would happen if there was suddenly no electricity, and no way to bring it back? This scenario is visited by Rene Barjaval in "Ravage". Hauntingly predictive, this book will make you think" -Amazon reviewer
French door in Les Goudes fishing village Marseilles France
Searching my photo archives for a door to illustrate today's quote, I found this one (taken in Les Goudes fishing village in Marseilles). It reminded me of why we don't always open the proverbial door: because we are so often distracted by all the flotsam that hides it.

Church door window in Roussillon France Provence
Feedback from a reader of this word journal....

I found this blog by accident around 2004 and was enthralled with the concept. As a school administrator and former French teacher, I encouraged my language teachers to use the blog as a resource in their classes. For years and years I have been a devoted francophile. Kristie, you provide a service that includes entertainment and education. Your photos are inspirational. I look forward to reading your blog as often as you can write it. Do not stop! --Gabrielle

Thank you so much for reading these stories and for the time you've set aside to learn a French word or two. If you feel you have learned more than a little vocabulary, here, and would like to reward my efforts please know that a one-time contribution is not only a great support, but it is vivement apprécié. Simply use the quick links below (they'll take you to PayPal). Merci beaucoup! 
♥ Send $10    ♥ Send $25    ♥ Send another amount