C'est La Fête des Meres quelque part. Somewhere, it's Mothers Day (Just not in France)

My dear Mom
My precious Mom usually puts on her makeup lying down. In a pinch, she'll do things the conventional way. What I love about this picture are all the familiar items: her fish purse, her Panama hat, her compact mirror....


Something you don't know about me: I am (superstitious is not the word) very disciplined about not working or writing on Sunday. For me, it is a day to honor God (or Mom. And by that I mean "God or Mom" and not "God, or Mom"-- an absence of a comma in the first instance is used to distinguish the difference between the two (for some people there is no difference between the two). To me, most definitely there is!  Read on, in today's letter to Mom.

Dearest Mom,
 
It's a rainy Sunday here in La Ciotat and I'm feeling a pang of the blues. I wish we could be together--along with Heidi, Reagan, Payne, Max, and Jackie--for one big Mothers Day bonanza with you as the guest of honor!
 
Please forgive me for not sending a card or a gift. The Servicio Postal Mexicano ran off with such parcels 26 years ago, when you moved to Yelapa and I, to Marseilles! And no matter what we could send you it would not express our love and gratitude for you as our Mother anymore than these words which come from my heart, and Heidi's too...seulement, like a clumsy soeurette, I've hurried ahead (time zone in France vs Denver!) to deliver the message to you first :-P

Your feet resting on the open door of the oven (turned down low, warmth in an Arizona winter) you'd put down your racy book or The Bible and pause to tell us the story about Heidi and me looking down from the clouds and choosing our parents (we even chose different Dads!). This has always been a favorite story of mine, one I tell your grandchildren. But I know, deep down, it was God who chose YOU for us, and for good reason: you have shared your faith with us, and this faith is our anchor, our sustenance--our very espoir!

This is the biggest gift of all and you are the conduit. That makes you a direct pipeline to Heaven! But there must be a more poetic image for such a loving connection: It is your Motherly arms holding us whilst God is holding you. 

No matter how far away you are you are still protecting us. Though you had a broken tin roof over your own head for the past two years, you managed to keep a solid roof over our heads. One day we will write that story together, you, me, and Heidi, and share it with the world. Ceci c'est un début.
 
We love you, Mom! Aside from la foi, thank you for the stories, the solid rooftops, and so much more. It would take a pipeline to the beginning of time (where those letters and packages to Mexico ended up?) to measure a Mother's generosity, most especially la tienne.

Love,
Kristi

P.S. After posting yesterday's essay, several people said, including my Dad, that the woman in the story, the person I most longed to be, is you.

*    *    *
Happy Mothers Day to all who celebrate, including my dear Belle-Mère Marsha, in Seattle today--and Lynn-Lynn too (I've a few Belle-Mères up my sleeve!). We are especially thinking Michéle-France, my belle-mère extraordinaire.

FRENCH VOCABULARY 
seuleument = only
la soeurette = little sister, kid sister, little sis
l'espoir (m) = hope
ceci est un début = this is a beginning
la foi = faith
la tienne = yours
la belle-mère = mother-in-law, also means stepmother

Mom on wheels
A favorite picture of my fearless Mom (I know, I know, you don't capitalize "mom" in that last sentence. Here's a bumper sticker for those grammar sticklers--tack it on the back of your car (my own rides a motorcycle or a horse): "M" for Mom, period! 

Thank you for the time you've spent reading this post. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that a one-time contribution helps me continue doing what I love most: improving this journal. Your support is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is fast and easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi 
♥ Send $10    
  ♥ Send $25    
    ♥ Send the amount of your choice


"Sent with love and gratitude for all of your wonderful, insightful and creative stories and photographs. My life is enhanced reading your books and blogs beyond measure! May you continue to be blessed doing what you love and feel the gratitude of your devoted readers. Appreciation, hugs and love to you and your beautiful family!"
--Lisa


Profiter de la vie

Jean-Marc wooden boat
My old man, who records the sound files for this word journal. Merci, Jean-Marc!

If only we'd stop trying to be happy, we could have a pretty good time. -Edith Wharton
Si seulement on essayait d’arrêter d’être heureux, on pourrait peut-être profiter de la vie.

Today's Words: Profiter de la vie

    : to enjoy life

Audio File: click the words below to hear the soundfile:

Profiter de la vie


 DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE

    by Kristi Espinasse

When I am old and wrinkled—well into the troisième âge—I want to race along the shores of Brittany on my Mobylette, that most groovy of French bikes with an engine!

I want to be an eccentric vieille dame. I don't want to care about what anyone thinks, as long as I am not imposing myself on their philosophie de vie. I'll ride my old bike along the seashore. I'll wear black goggles and wrap a long wool scarf, in orange potiron, around my neck. Off I'll fly, scarf ends flowing in the wind.

I'll let go of the pedals, WHEEEEEEEEE... and sing a song by Yves Montand—or a tune from Les Misérables—depending on my mood.

I'll pack a picnic with all my favoris. Inside the panier there'll be boiled eggs, anchoïade, Gratin Dauphinois, pungent cheese, a soft baguette and a flask of Earl Grey. There'll be tangerines to eat and a few squares of dark chocolate.

I'll gather delicate coquilles from the foamy seashore and tie them to my shoes. You'll hear the jingle of seashells when I pedal by.

My voice will be agreeably hoarse, not from les Gauloises or le vin but from whistling all the day long—a habit I'll have picked up at the beginning of the century, when a certain Frenchwoman cautioned: "Les femmes ne sifflent pas! Women don't whistle!" That's when I puckered up and blew another tune... and another... and then one more!

I hope to have a dear old friend, one who is much more excentrique than I. She'll dye her white hair rouge vif or aubergine. We'll tchatche about the current generation and how people need to loosen up and 'profiter un peu de la vie,' enjoy life a little, like us.

I'll say, "Pépé! Les oursins!" and my old man will return from the rocky pier where he has spent the morning hunting sea urchins. When he cracks open their coquilles, revealing the mousse-like orange roe, I will remember that real treasures don't come with a price tag.

I want to live near the seagulls so that I may slumber beneath their cries and wake up to the whoosh of the sea. I'll push myself to a stand, smooth back my white locks, adjust a faux tortoiseshell comb, and say "Dieu merci!" for another day.

Before I tuck myself into bed at night I will, once again, empty mes coquilles into an old metal cookie tin, a treasure from long ago. Looking over at my seashells, I will give thanks: my cherished, tired tin runneth over.


Hat-freckles
When this story was first written, I didn't have a dog and could not know one of the essential vital ingredients to happiness (besides my old man) in one's golden years.

French Vocabulary
Listen to the following list of French words: 
Download MP3 

le troisième âge
 = retirement
Mobylette = a particular model of moped, a vintage Mobylette
une vieille dame = a venerable lady
une philosophie (f) de vie = a life philosophy
orange potiron = pumpkin orange
favori(te) = favorite
un panier = a basket.
l'anchoïade
(m) = anchovy purée mixed with olive oil
un Gratin Dauphinois = a potato casserole with milk, butter and cheese
une coquille = a shell
la Gauloise = brand of cigarettes
le vin = wine
excentrique = eccentric
rouge vif = bright red
aubergine = eggplant purple
tchatcher = to chat (away)
le pépé = grandpa
un oursin = a sea urchin
Dieu merci = Thank God
Paint provence with Tess

First-fava-bean
We both love to putter in the garden. It's fun to collect fava beans.
Le Levant Island

Thank you for the time you've spent reading this post. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that a one-time contribution helps me continue doing what I love most: improving this journal. Your support is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is fast and easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi 
♥ Send $10    
  ♥ Send $25    
    ♥ Send the amount of your choice


"Sent with love and gratitude for all of your wonderful, insightful and creative stories and photographs. My life is enhanced reading your books and blogs beyond measure! May you continue to be blessed doing what you love and feel the gratitude of your devoted readers. Appreciation, hugs and love to you and your beautiful family!"
--Lisa


On the positive side: after the attempted break in, getting to know the neighbors (including somebody famous!)

poissonnerie la ciotat fish on ice thon loup dorade fishmonger
We're meeting our neighbors, thanks to our local fishmonger. Read about this endearing personnage (seen in the last photo) in today's story. 

le voisin

    : neighbor

Example sentence & Sound File

Click here to listen to Jean-Marc read the soundfile


Quand la maison du voisin brûle, c'est ton affaire aussi 
When your neighbor's house burns down, it is your business too.


A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE

    by Kristi Espinasse

She wears miniskirts that could get her arrested, but that is not why her nom d'affection is "Bifteck." I call her this for the way she fries up steaks at home after selling fish all day (the smoke sets off the "damn combo alarm," the one that warns of fires or thieves). But especially, I call her this, for the way our loveable personnage has helped "beef up" neighbor relations around here. Her fish stand, turns out, is the local hub or old-fashioned "water-cooler," as we would say back home.

I went to her poissonnerie the day after my run-in with the intruder. "Comment ça va?" Bifteck inquired, her long blond braid embellished with an island flower.

"Ça ne va pas du tout!" I said. "Il "était là. LA! Dans ma fenêtre!!"

"Peuchère!" Bifteck hurried around her fish stand to sympathize. Next, she proceeded to tell anyone within earshot what had just happened to their very own neighbor--moi! Like this, I met a lady my age who lives down the street... (the neighbor with that oeil-de-boeuf window. I'd always wondered who lived there!). She told me two men in a camion blanc have been circling the neighborhood. The pair knocked on her door and were insistent about giving her an estimate for some roof work she did not need. 

Next, I met the biker in flip-flops and a tank top, who lives a few doors down and who never lets solicitors beyond the front gate. Holding a sack of just-bought supions, he warned, "It's often a ruse to case your home!" 

Finally I met another voisin, who looked to be around 70. "Do you know who you are talking to?" Bifteck took me aside. "He's a world-famous chef d'orchéstre. He's so kind, but a true tête en l'air !" I ran home to google my neighbor who, turns out was 90! I wondered, did he know Harry--beloved South African conductor who also lived in Provence. Harry... Maybe it's not too late to write about that dinner at my friend Cyn's in which we spent a melodious evening, huddled around her piano, Harry's fingers dancing on the keyboard.

That night is now blurring in my memory, as are the specifics of Thursday's break-in which is more and more like a bad dream. If only the police had taken fingerprints. If only some item, some piece of evidence--a glove, lighter, or God forbid a knife (Bifteck found one after her own home invasion.  The police were able to get fingerprints, catch the guy and put him in the la taule for 5 years!).

But back to Bifteck, our local fishmonger, who is the strength of our voisinage. I've been to her stand 3 times since that chilling encounter at the bedroom window, and each time she cries out the news (like all crieurs or fishmongers worth their salt). And each time, a huddle of neighbors forms around the paella, or near the tuna, or by the coquilles saint-jacques, to listen to what happened to one of their own. The solidarity that ensues is enormously reassuring. As the saying goes:

Quand la maison du voisin brûle, c'est ton affaire aussi. When the neighbor's house burns down, it's your business too!


FRENCH VOCABULARY REVIEW
le nom d'affection (terme d'affection) = term of affection 
le bifteck = steak
la personnage = character
la poissonnerie = fish store, fishmonger's
il était là, dans ma fenêtre! = he was there, in my window!
peuchère! = you poor thing! what a shame
un cambrioleur (une cambrioleuse) = burglar
supions = small squid
oeil-de-boeuf = bull's eye window
le camion = truck
le blanc = white
le voisin = neighbor
le chef d'orchéstre = conductor
tête en l'air = scatterbrained
la taule = slammer
le voisinage = neighborhood, vicinity

Poissonnerie fish shop fishmonger
Thank you, Jean-Marc, for these beautiful photos of our neighborhood warrior with the purple flower in her hair.

Thank you for the time you've spent reading this post. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that a one-time contribution helps me continue doing what I love most: improving this journal. Your support is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is fast and easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi 
♥ Send $10    
  ♥ Send $25    
    ♥ Send the amount of your choice


"Sent with love and gratitude for all of your wonderful, insightful and creative stories and photographs. My life is enhanced reading your books and blogs beyond measure! May you continue to be blessed doing what you love and feel the gratitude of your devoted readers. Appreciation, hugs and love to you and your beautiful family!"
--Lisa


Alone & Face to face with a burglar! Seule et nez à nez avec un cambrioleur!

Golden retriever smokey
Many people wonder how would their dog react should a break-in occur. I now know the answer. This picture says it all.

Today's word is "effraction," for "break-in". The following is a sentence by sentence account of a chilling run-in with an intruder on Thursday night--while alone in my home. After you read it, I would like to know your tips on securing your home--and yourself--as I am currently obsessed with the topic.


Thursday night Jean-Marc was with friends in Marseilles, watching the European semi-final soccer match (Marseilles vs. Salzbourg). Thirty-five minutes away (by car), here in La Ciotat, I settled in for the night, with my golden retriever on the floor beside my bed. Normally, Smokey is stationed downstairs, but when I'm alone we brake the rules.

I had closed my shutters around 8 p.m. before it was dark out. Lying in bed I was watching a crime show on Youtube when I heard a noise in the kitchen. I hit the pause button on my iPad and tuned in to the downstairs area. It must be our new dishwasher, I assured myself, returning to the scary program I was watching.

I continued to watch until I heard a distinct shuffle in the room below me (a former garage now enclosed, and currently used as a storage room--accessible from our driveway). After a few more "knocking around" sounds coming from down there, I determined it was my husband who had surely changed his plans and was unloading something from his car into the store room. It was around 9 p.m.

He was making such a ruckus that I told myself it had to be Jean-Marc--as no burglar would be that loud... 

Next I heard loud scraping, as though he was moving steel furniture. What the?... The grating was getting closer and closer until, suddenly the noise shifted to the shutters beside my bed, on the 2nd floor!

Something was out there on the ledge. I wanted so badly to believe it was my husband....who had climbed up the side of the house?  I recognized the familiar screeching of our un-oiled wooden shutters. It sounded as though somebody was swinging them back and forth outside the room beside mine!

The most chilling sound came next: not a pop, not a bang, not a crash of glass--it was the sound of forcing. Instantly I knew: somebody was breaking into the next room via that window. Within seconds, via blunt force, they would be inside our house!

The next moment happened in a matter of seconds--so quickly my dog did not even react! I flew out of bed and shot right to the tiny hall that joins the two upstairs bedroom rooms. I needed to let the burglar know this house was not empty. Someone was home! I flipped on the light to announce my presence. I still wanted to believe that it was my husband, but when I turned into the room and flipped on the second light I was absolutely horrified to see a dark figure hunching beside the window trying to force it open!

I could not believe my eyes. How could this be happening?

Remembering a friend of mine who surprised an intruder in her home in Marseilles, I did exactly as she did and charged right toward the intruder! A glaring window separating us, I could not see hair or skin--only the L-shaped form which took up the window's ledge and sidewall. My fist raised, my other hand holding my mobile phone, I shouted OH! OH!

I had heard my husband bark those words in parking lots, as a car was about to back into ours. OH! OH!--two forceful grunts that signal HEY! BACK OFF! WHAT THE HELL DO YOU THINK YOU ARE DOING!!

Those two grunts--and my fist which punched the air in front of me with each step forward--and the figure in the window startled and began to turn away. Whether it jumped or clamored back down, I do not know. But when I felt certain it was off the outside wall, I threw open the window and shouted:

AU SECOURS!
AU SECOURS!
AU SECOURS!

Looking around, all the neighbor's shutters were closed (unlike the one in the second bedroom where I was shouting from. The shutter I had left open, earlier....). And the silence. Not one person opened a window or a door. 

I quickly shut and locked the window and began fumbling with my mobile phone. Only I couldn't manage to dial I was shaking so badly! Fumbling and fumbling my first attempt to call my husband failed. Instead, I got our old home number. I could not manage to disconnect the call in order to try another number.

Finally I re-diled and got my husband, in time to tell him what was happening. Meantime on the landline I had dialed the 3 digits--what I thought was the French equivalent of 911.( I was wrong in thinking it was "118"!)

That's it! It's "112".... 

I was now on the phone with a dispatcher, who connected me to "17" (the number I should have dialed first: the police). But I panicked during long hold in which a recording said over and over, in French "you are at the municipal police. We will be with you shortly.... It went on forever, as I kneeled down low beside my bed. No lock on my bedroom door.

Though my legs were trembling so badly, I was not that afraid anymore. I knew the burglar had run off. Still, I was too scared to go downstairs and check to see if the police were there. The minutes passed as I listened for the buzzer at our front gate. 

"I can't believe they are not here yet!" I said to Jean-Marc, who stayed with me on the line the entire time. 

"I'm now 20 minutes away...in Cassis. I'll be there soon," my husband assured me.

Twenty minutes? What if the intruder came back? Was he still lurking around the yard? I could not bear 20 more minutes! My voice now shook along with my legs "Please don't hang up!"

Next, I was startled by the buzzer. Surely it was the police. But what if it wasn't? 

Just like the woman who had charged toward the window 20 minutes before, I did not hesitate to hurry downstairs and open the front door. In the distance, I saw three shaded figures behind the front gate.

They said nothing.

I moved closer. "C'est le police?"


Post note: It was the police, arriving 20 minutes after the emergency call--almost at the same time my husband arrived from Marseilles! They did a tour around the property with their flashlight, took no fingerprints, and were gone. I was left feeling like an old lady who had heard noises in the basement.

I still can't shake this uneasiness or the memory of the figure in the window or the cracking sound of the frame about to burst. I keep thinking, What would the intruder have done, once inside?

Thank you for sharing your knowledge with home security and self-defense, in the comments below. Any reassurance is appreciated as well! As my neighbor said, "they won't be back." I hope she is right.

Amicalement,

Kristi

Thank you for the time you've spent reading this post. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that a one-time contribution helps me continue doing what I love most: improving this journal. Your support is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is fast and easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi 
♥ Send $10    
  ♥ Send $25    
    ♥ Send the amount of your choice


"Sent with love and gratitude for all of your wonderful, insightful and creative stories and photographs. My life is enhanced reading your books and blogs beyond measure! May you continue to be blessed doing what you love and feel the gratitude of your devoted readers. Appreciation, hugs and love to you and your beautiful family!"
--Lisa


Cécile's New Wheels! Vespa...Guêpe...What does a wasp have to do with the Italian scooter by Piaggio? + se faire chaler

deux-roues motorscooter vespa piaggio
You see two-wheelers ("les deux-roues") everywhere in France, whether scooters, mobylettes, bicycles, or trottinettes--this compact form of transportation is one way of outwitting traffic in Marseilles and Paris. Read my belle-soeur, Cécile's, story in today's all French edition.

Today's word was supposed to be guêpe, but in a last-minute switch-a-roo, it is now the more interesting phrase "se faire chaler", which I bumped into while editing Cécile's story. 

SE FAIRE CHALER

    : to invite someone to hop on the back of your bike

Street French 1: The Best of French Slang. Easy-to-use book teaches the essentials of colloquial French. Order it here.

Audio File & Example Sentence read by Jean-Marc:

Click here to listen to the sound file


Vraie guêpe avec sa taille fine, ses flancs ronds et son moteur qui bourdonne, le scooter créé en 1946 par Piaggio revient en 2013, baptisé 946. Entre-temps, Vespa a conquis le monde. Allez. Viens. Je te chale!
    --Challenges.fr (except last sentence)


A true wasp with its slim body, its round sides and its motor that buzzes, the scooter created in 1946 by Piaggio returns in 2013, baptized 946. In between, Vespa has conquered the world. Go ahead. Come on! Hop on the back and I'll take you!


C'EST LE PIED! (IT'S AMAZING!)

by Cécile Espinasse

Ça me trottait dans la tête depuis quelques temps...l'envie, avec les beaux jours, de ne plus prendre les transports en commun pour me rendre à mon atelier, et traverser la ville pour toutes ces choses du quotidiens. Bus, métro, tramway, qui sont bien pratiques évidement mais avec le soleil on a envie de prendre l´air...

Je ne rechigne pas non plus devant la marche à pieds bien au contraire, cela permet aussi de découvrir de nouvelles rues, des pépites qui nous rappellent que des trésors sont cachés un peu partout dans la ville.

Mais il faut avoir le temps, et ce n´est pas toujours le cas. L´alternative qui s´imposait s´appelle "scooter"...

ET scooter vespa deux-roues

J´ai donc commencé mes recherches sur internet avec un site français qui a beaucoup de succès, j´ai nommé "Leboncoin". Sur ce site on peut vendre ou acheter tout ce qui est possible d´imaginer et dans toute la France.

Il y a des annonces de professionnels et de particuliers. J´avais évidemment un budget maximum que je ne voulais pas dépasser mais comme mes dernières expériences remontaient à mon adolescence je me sentais un peu dépassée.

A cette époque mon frère Jean-Marc qui a un an et demi de plus que moi avait une mobylette, il était donc logique dans ma tête qu´un jour viendrait ou moi aussi j´en aurai une. Mais ma mère n´était pas très chaude et je m´impatientais...Je me retrouvais donc à me faire chaler par les amis, à l´époque c´était sur un solex. Nous n´avions pas toujours deux casques, et ma mère qui connaissait tout le monde dans le quartier et travaillait beaucoup avec sa voiture nous surprenait . La sentence était la suivante : "Chaque fois que je te vois sans un casque sur la tête, tu attends un an de plus pour avoir cette mobylette!" Autant vous dire qu´au bout de 3 fois j´ai oublié l´idée d´en avoir une... !

Bref, des années après je me sens un peu perdue, ne connaissant pas grand chose à tous ces nouveaux scooters..Si ce n´est, en avoir conduit il y a 4 ans durant mon voyage au Cambodge,où je me suis beaucoup déplacée en deux-roues.

Nous avons aussi une rue à Marseille qui est presque complètement dédiée à la vente de véhicules d´occasions, mais plus on a le choix plus on se perd, moins on y comprend quelque chose...Mais mon œil commençait à s´aiguiser et, ce qui n´avait aucune importance il y a encore quelques mois commençait a réellement captiver mon attention.

Il y avait aussi la question de l´assurance à étudier, pas simple non plus: j´ai mon permis moto, mais les nouvelles lois disent que si l´on n´a pas été assuré entre 2006 et 2011 il faut faire une remise a niveau pendant une journée dans une auto école et payer 180 euros... Je me suis donc rendue sur place pour m´inscrire, et là! quelle n´a pas été ma surprise de m´entendre dire haut et fort et sans complexes que si je voulais payer pour avoir mon attestation sans faire la remise a niveau c´était possible !Ça, c´est toutes les magouilles de Marseille. Et... je n´ai pas dit non car finalement ça m´arrangeait bien...

Cette remise a niveau je l´ai faite un dimanche avec une amie qui possède un scooter. Nous sommes partis sur son engin et j´ai pu me familiariser avec "ET" comme dans le film ! C´est le nom de son scooter qui ne ressemble pas a grand chose et qui du coup ne donne pas envie non plus d´être volé, ce qui est une grande spécialité ici...Elle m´a même précisé une technique pour ne pas se faire voler ses rétroviseurs : Elle met un bout de scotch autour pour faire croire qu ´il est déjà cassé ! Ça m´a fait beaucoup rire ! Il faut être stratégique !

Vespa PX
Vespa PX

Et puis voilà, je me suis finalement décidé pour un Vespa, ils ont toujours été à la mode, réputés pour avoir une bonne mécanique et beaucoup de style !

Du coup j´en voyais partout, je reconnaissais même le bruit bien spécifique qu´ils font ! Il y a quelques modèles vraiment mythiques genre le "PX" et les rares annonces pour ce modèles ne restaient en ligne que quelques heures, une poignée me sont passés sous le nez...

Vespa Cosa

J´ai finalement jeté mon dévolu sur un modèle, le Vespa "COSA", vendu par un particulier amoureux des vieilles mécaniques et qui m´a assuré du bon entretien de la machine. La bête a du style, démarre au quart de tour elle est robuste et nerveuse, je suis en train de l´apprivoiser. Je me méfie des voitures, et des heures de pointe, il faut rester bien vigilant mais aujourd’hui je porte un casque et des gants !

Cela fait 15 jours maintenant que ma vie a changé, que je vais au marché, à l´atelier, à la mer, chez les amis, en Vespa ! Je vais même pouvoir aller jusqu´a la Ciotat embrasser Kristin et Jean-Marc ! Le pied !

 

--
For more of Cécile's creative work check out her Facebook page, Courbes et Diagonales, where you will see her designs. 
 


SELECTED FRENCH EXPRESSIONS


c'est le pied!
= It's great! It's amazing!
trotter dans la tête
= to run through your mind
prendre l'air = get some fresh air, go outside, go for a walk
rechigner = to do something grudgingly
dépassé(e) = overwhelmed
se faire chaler = to invite someone to get on the back of your bike
bref = in short, anyway
autant vous dire que = and let me tell you
la magouille = scam, scheming, cheating 
passer sous le nez = to slip through one's fingers (miss an opportunity)
jeter son dévolu (sur quelque chose) = to have one's heart set on
démarrer au quart de tour = to start right up (also "to fly off the handle")

FTT2019
Following another successful and busy season, France Today Travels are back with a choice of five inspiring trips for Summer 2019! Learn more.

Deux-roues in collioures
A "deux-roues" in Collioures, France

Cherry red vespa in Montmartre
Cherry red Vespa at the base of a vineyard in Montmartre, Paris

Midnight blue vespa scooter in Paris
Midnight blue Vespa in Paris

Vespa scooter in aix-en-provence
Vespa scooter in Aix-en-Provence. Can you see Cécile's nephew, Max, in the background? He'll be home from Mexico in 12 days. Who counting?!!

Thank you for the time you've spent reading this post. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that a one-time contribution helps me continue doing what I love most: improving this journal. Your support is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is fast and easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi 
♥ Send $10    
  ♥ Send $25    
    ♥ Send the amount of your choice


"Sent with love and gratitude for all of your wonderful, insightful and creative stories and photographs. My life is enhanced reading your books and blogs beyond measure! May you continue to be blessed doing what you love and feel the gratitude of your devoted readers. Appreciation, hugs and love to you and your beautiful family!"
--Lisa


La Flemme! Why everyone's so lethargic, paresseux, and feignant this time of year--and what France has done to remedy it!

Midway through the fountain renovation, things turned pink....

"LA FLEMME!"

Je m'en veux
. I've been feeling so guilty about this lassitude that's set in around here lately. I should be doing the grand ménage de printemps--or putting away all our stuff that's been crammed upstairs during our remodeling.  At the very least I should be writing to you--catching up on a few stories about our petit bassin (it's been repaired!) or our home (the rez-de-chaussée has now been renovated!). Instead, I am puttering around. How to say that in French? I should know--it's my favorite thing to do. To putter!

And then this morning, bingo! ça y est! I realized it is La Fête du Travail here in France. Not only is it OK to be a loafer or a slacker or even a couch potato today--but we are to be giving our fellow feignants dainty white flowers on this le premier mai. Read all about this lackadaisical behavior in the post The Muguet Tradition in France.

I'm off to putter around, or tourner en rond (need a better translation...), in the garden, in the house, or wherever I (and my dog--for Smokey's a good putter pal) fancy. Click here for the original May 1st edition and thank you very much for reading!

Amicalement,
Kristi


FRENCH VOCABULARY REVIEW
la flemme! = (something between "ugh" and "I don't feel like doing anything!"
je m'en veux = I feel bad
la lassitude = weariness
le grand ménage de printemps = spring cleaning
le rez-de-chaussée = ground floor
La Fête du Travail = Labor Day
le petit bassin = pond, little pool
ça y est! = bingo!
feignant(e) = lazybones
le premier mai = the first of May
tourner en rond = to go round in circles
...and then there's an "empêcheur de tourner en rond"--or a "spoilsport" in French
amicalement = "yours"--part of a list of ways to sign off in French correspondence

Poisson fish for pond fountain epinards spinach for garden
His name is Joe--named after our chef de chantier, or site foreman, who took over where Fountain Guy left off. There beside Joe, on the car seat, is les épinards (spinach). Off to plant some more greens in my garden. P.S. We have 6 more fish to name. Your ideas are welcome, in the comments box below!

Thank you for the time you've spent reading this post. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that a one-time contribution helps me continue doing what I love most: improving this journal. Your support is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is fast and easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi 
♥ Send $10    
  ♥ Send $25    
    ♥ Send the amount of your choice


"Sent with love and gratitude for all of your wonderful, insightful and creative stories and photographs. My life is enhanced reading your books and blogs beyond measure! May you continue to be blessed doing what you love and feel the gratitude of your devoted readers. Appreciation, hugs and love to you and your beautiful family!"
--Lisa


Alarming news at the Dentist's + Jackie applies for Fashion school in Marseille

Impasse gagliardo rochas blanc
Thursday we went to Marseille for a few appointments. Jean-Marc took the opportunity to drive us through our old neighborhood, in Le Roucas Blanc (our first home was there on the left, behind the house with the blue shutters--at the end of the Impasse Gagliardo. On the hilltop, you are seeing the Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde). We also passed the church in which we were married...see it at the end of this post.

Today's words: "sans dents"

    -- without teeth

French Slang: Do you speak the real French? Essentials of French Slang book, order here.

Example sentence and sound file: 

Click here to listen to the audio file

L'homme naît sans dents, sans cheveux et sans illusions, et il meurt de même, sans cheveux, sans dents et sans illusions. --Alexandre Dumas

Man is born without teeth, without hair, without any illusions, and he dies the same way: without hair, without teeth, without any illusions.



A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE

    
by Kristi Espinasse

I am sitting next to a pile of clothes on my bed, trying to wrestle my foot into a high-heeled espadrille, the third pair of chaussures I've tried this morning. "You are only going to the dentist," Jean-Marc points out.

"Yes, but...she's so chic!" My behavior perplexes me as much as my husband, but I can only shrug my shoulders: I am a chameleon, most comfortable disappearing into the background. The neighborhood where Sylvie, la chirurgien-dentiste, is located is in a fashionable quartier in Marseille, and all my efforts to fit in will be en vain. In vain--such is vanity! I end up pulling on a pair of cowboy boots as old as my firstborn. I know the women in Marseille will be wearing ballerinas or sandals, but the women back home in Arizona...well what do I know about Arizonans anymore?--I've lived in France half my life!

And it is showing. At 50, I soon learn my teeth are in grave danger of le déchaussement: loosening and eventually falling out!

"You have beautiful-looking teeth," Dentist Sylvie (who I met at Flavia's) assures me, but beneath it all la maladie parodontale is underway. Sylvie shows us (I've dragged Jean-Marc along for a consultation, too) our radios. "Do you see those tâches noires? Evidence your bone mass is diminishing!"

Having worked on the American military in Italy, Sylvie's assistant, une hygiéniste dentaire (also named "Sylvie"); chats with me about my countrymen until I am relaxed. She lowers the examination chair to get a good look at my pearly-whites (or pearly-wrecks?). A few flicks with a sharp metal probe and she runs right into inflamed gencives. "Not good!" As she alerts the other Sylvie, I am remembering past warnings, from my own belle-mère (Lynne, in Seattle, who lectures internationally on dental health), and another favorite dentist, Robert, back in Les Arcs-sur-Argens, who warned that if I did not begin wearing a mouthguard, for bruxism, I'd be in trouble down the line.

Here we are 20 years down the line and it seems this inflammation is, in part, related to tooth grinding (which may be related to anxiety). Stress has indeed been linked to periodontal disease! And gum disease is linked to everything from heart disease to erectile dysfunction (i.e. not flossing your teeth could lead to trouble below the belt). If that, dear reader, isn't motivation to floss your teeth and brush twice daily what is? 

I leave Sylvie's office with an estimate for something called surfaçage radiculair (tooth planing and scaling) and something called "les Inlays-Onlays" (ceramic tooth fillings) which are designed to repair all those holes in my teeth, from nightly grinding. Overwhelmed, or dépassée, from all the information (and the cost estimate...) I wish I could just go home and gargle with salt water--like my wise Uncle Tucker! Wouldn't that, eventually, clear out all that bacteria living up underneath my gums? Or is something more radical (scraping around the roots...the "tooth planing") needed? One thing is sure, this dentist appointment chez Sylvie has been a wake-up call and I am grateful for that: I promise, from here on out, to brush my teeth twice a day, floss, rinse my mouth after every meal and to once and for all quit being such a worrywart! Stress seems to be at the root of every illness, doesn't it? More than gargling with salt water, I'd do well to take a chill pill!

Jackie vintage gucci belt
Our daughter who turns 21 in September.

From the dentist's office we headed to Le Cercle des Nageurs--the oldest swim club in Marseille--and where Jean-Marc and I had our wedding reception back in 1994. We were here to meet our daughter for lunch, and then take her to her meeting at IICC (Institut International de Création Et de Coupe). What a coincidence! 23 years earlier, pregnant with my son, I tagged along with my friend Suzanne who, like Jackie, had an appointment at this very same fashion school.
Kristi and suzanne at bagatelle mariage
That's Suzanne, to my right. This was our Town Hall marriage. The church wedding was a few months later (church picture below)

I vaguely remember walking up La Canebière, searching for the building which was located beside a cathedral. And I can almost see Madame Ortega, with her shiny auburn hair who is presently greeting us...but not before chewing out her assistant (who up until now had done a smashing job showing us around) for leaving the door wide open.

"What do you want--all of our computers to be swiped? GO CLOSE THOSE DOORS!" Having put her cohort in his place, Madame took her seat. My eyes took in every inch of this colorful personnage, all the way down to her red-lacquered toes. Jackie was as intimidated as the rest of us, and vowed after the meeting never to be in the crosshairs with Madame.

For the second time that day (after the dentist's) we were given a rundown of fees.... and my mind reeled with it all. I looked over at my daughter (who was still agonizing over the school workload she was about to commit to) and I said, "What if we just chuck it all and go live on a horse ranch in Montana?"

What with these cowboy boots, one of us would fit right in!


--

Notes: Chirurgien-Dentiste Sylvie Bensoussan offered me a bilan, or dental check-up, in her state of the art office at 7 Parc Jean-Mermoz. More info at her website.

I am now using and loving this toothpaste and have bought soft-bristle toothbrushes for JM and me. It's a start! On my goals list: to get an oral irrigator. Would love your thoughts. Do you use one?

Update: Thanks to your recommendations I have ordered the Electric Rechargeable Sonic Toothbrush 

FRENCH VOCABULARY REVIEW

les dents = teeth
les chaussures = shoes
le chirurgien-dentiste = dental surgeon
le déchaussement = receding of gums, loosening of the teeth
la maladie parodontale = periodontal disease
la radio = X-ray
la tâche noire = black spot
la gencive = gum
hygiéniste dentaire = dental hygienist
la belle-mère = mother-in-law, stepmother
surfaçage radiculaire = root planing
dépassé(e) = overwhelmed
personnage = character
le bilan = assessment, appraisal, check up


Jean-Marc and Jackie in the office at IICC marseille
Jean-Marc and Jackie, at her rdv at IICC Fashion School. I wonder if my friend Suzanne is reading, today, and if she remembers her own interview in this historic room!

Saint Antoine de Padoue church eglise marseille
Saint Antoine de Padoue, the church in Marseille where Jean-Marc and I were married in 1994.

Thank you for the time you've spent reading this post. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that a one-time contribution helps me continue doing what I love most: improving this journal. Your support is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is fast and easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi 
♥ Send $10    
  ♥ Send $25    
    ♥ Send the amount of your choice


"Sent with love and gratitude for all of your wonderful, insightful and creative stories and photographs. My life is enhanced reading your books and blogs beyond measure! May you continue to be blessed doing what you love and feel the gratitude of your devoted readers. Appreciation, hugs and love to you and your beautiful family!"
--Lisa


Caboter: A relaxing, agreeable thing to do along the coastline in France

Boat ride coast near calanque de figuerolles la ciotat cassis 
Ça y est! Part 1 of our La Ciotat renovation ended this week! We've been busy tying up dozens of loose ends, so it was wonderful to get away from it all via a little boat ride up the coast! Read about a breathtaking petite escapade from La Ciotat to Cassis in today's column, below.

Today's word: caboter

    : to navigate from port to port along the coast

Example Sentence, Audio File read by Jean-Marc

Click here to listen to the soundfile

Dimanche nous avons caboté dans les anses de La Ciotat jusqu'à Cassis.
Sunday, we navigated along the little coves from La Ciotat to Cassis

The book Pronounce it Perfectly in French emphasizes speaking, sound discrimination, and standard intonation patterns that are typical of native French speakers. Order here.

Women at DRC
Autumn excursion in France, especially for women - "Women in Burgundy: Life, Laughter, and the French Paradox” October 18 to 27, 2018 - includes two nights in Paris. Click HERE for details.

 
A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE 

    by Kristi Espinasse

A Black Eye, A Boat, and delicious Boquerones!

Jean-Marc got a pretty good deal when he rented us a little boat from that guy with the black eye. The pleasure craft was a semi-rigide or bâteau pneumatic, as seen in the opening photo to this post. If only you could see the type who rented it to us. Had he gotten into a fist fight or bar-room brawl last night?

"Normally, I rent out my boat for full-day only," our lanky loueur explained, as we stood at the new port in La Ciotat, right across the street from the historic Éden-Théâtre. (La Ciotat is the birthplace of film. The guy handing us our clés de bâteau could've been a young Al Pacino...) "I was able to make an exception, this time, and rent it to you for only a half a day, he said, because my girlfriend gets off work at noon, and, as her husband is watching the kids today, I'm taking her out for un petit tour de bâteau...."

So that's how he must've gotten his shiner, his oeil au beurre noir! And how we got a smokin' deal on our little boat--ours for 3 full hours, which began near Parc du Mugel and ended in Cassis with the most delicious lunch in the whole wide world: a simple baguette-and-sardines sandwich which we ate on our boat which anchored in a turquoise blue calanque.

I recounted the coastal adventure--especially the delectable picnique sur le bâteau--to my mom, in Mexico. Reliving our cruise vicariously on the other end of the telephone line, Mom explained just why that sardine sandwich tasted so darn good. I cannot remember exactly Mom's poetic words, but poetry had something to do with the experience: It's the salty air, the sea's mist, the atmosphere, Mom said. The senses are heightened along the Mediterranean coast.

Everything must taste better when you are relaxed and dépaysé, or "in a change of place." (Some would say everything tastes better in France!) I leave you with pictures of our little périple across the coast.

P.S. Those delicious "sardines" were actually boquerones--or anchovies in vinegar and olive oil. Jean-Marc sells them in the Marseille wine shop where he works, but you can find them online, here. Whatever you do, don't leave any oil/vinegar in the package--soak everything up with the rest of the baguette. C'est une tuerie! It's to die for! ...Which brings us back to where we began--and the guy with the black eye. He's anxious to retrieve his boat as he's got a hot date. Mais gare au mari! (Watch out for the husband!!)


FRENCH VOCABULARY REVIEW
le type = guy, bloke
loueur = one who rents out (apartment, boat...
la clé = key
le bâteau = boat
un oeil de beurre noir = black eye
la calanque = rocky inlet or creek along the coastline
boquerones = fresh anchovies
un périple = a little journey
une tuerie = to die for
gare à, gare au = watch out for
le mari = husband

Coastline littorale between la cioat cassis

Grotte or cave people on paddle boards mediterranean sea  la ciotat cassis
Paddleboarders approaching une grotte, or cave.

Figuerolles calanque beach la ciotat coastline
Paddle boarder heading toward the beach at the popular Figuerolles calanque

Ruiins near cassis france sea
Our little boat arriving going past Cassis and some ruins along the coast. We passed a lot of kayakers, too.

Near calanque En Vau this is Port Pin

Swimming in the calanque en vau near marseilles

Never without my hat, after a couple bouts with carcinoma. If you haven't read my story, here's motivation to wear a hat!

La ciotat shipyard yachts boats

Returning to the famous La Ciotat shipyards, where yachts are now serviced (before, in times past, this was an industrial port)

Sailboat on the mediterranean france calanque cassis la ciotat semi-rigide

Thank you for the time you've spent reading this post. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that a one-time contribution helps me continue doing what I love most: improving this journal. Your support is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is fast and easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi 
♥ Send $10    
  ♥ Send $25    
    ♥ Send the amount of your choice


"Sent with love and gratitude for all of your wonderful, insightful and creative stories and photographs. My life is enhanced reading your books and blogs beyond measure! May you continue to be blessed doing what you love and feel the gratitude of your devoted readers. Appreciation, hugs and love to you and your beautiful family!"
--Lisa


Glâner: a useful, necessary, verb for Earth Day 2018

Earth Day 2018 Glaner figs Agnes Varda dumpster diving
April 22nd is Earth Day. Reading about our earth's demise has me thinking of a little known French verb -- a verb underdog if you like.  Meet the humble Glaner ("to glean"). Certain French artists highlighted the practice years ago--making the art of gleaning as fashionable as the art of wandering. In other words, it's time to glaner as you flâner! Please read today's story.

TODAY'S WORD: 
glaner (glah-nay) verb

   to pick, to gather, to glean


ECOUTEZ/LISTEN:
Listen to Jean-Marc read the following text: Download MP3 or Wav file

Quand vous ferez la moisson dans votre pays, vous ne moissonnerez pas vos champs jusqu'au bord, et vous ne glanerez pas ce qui pourra rester de votre moisson; vous laisserez tout cela au pauvre et à l'immigré. - Leviticus 23:22

When you harvest the crops of your land, do not harvest the grain along the edges of your fields, and do not pick up what the harvesters drop. Leave it for the poor and the foreigners living among you.

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

In the dramatic opening scene of her memoir The Glass Castle, Jeannette Walls is riding in the back of a New York taxi, wondering whether she has overdressed for the party to which she is headed, when she sees something that knocks the wind right out of her Park Avenue sails.

Out there on the curbside, an older woman wearing rags is rooting through a dumpster. On closer look, the garbage picker is Jeannette's own mother! 

As I read the page-turner memoir, I could only imagine how a daughter's heart seized up on seeing her intelligent, artistic, and once athletic mother resort to rooting through the trash. What had brought her to this? And, more curiously, why was the waste picker smiling?

It wasn't until I saw the fascinating documentary, The Gleaners and I (Les glaneurs et la glaneuse), by French filmmaker Agnès Varda, that I began to see this touching scene quite differently, and even to recall a few gleaning episodes of my own. Before writing about those, I will share some of the eloquent descriptions I gathered from viewers' reactions to The Gleaners:

... a wonderful documentary that reminds us of how much we produce and waste in the world and how the disenfranchised (and artistic) make use of that waste to survive... The characters Varda encounters are equally compelling and interestingly are not portrayed as whiny or blameful of others for their situations: they simply state how they live and we are left impressed with their ingenuity. (anonymous)

One of my favorite scenes in the film is when we are introduced to a wizened Chinese man in Paris living at home among a heap of dumpster gleanings. He has taken in a boarder—a happy-go-lucky black man who hunts the day long for discarded food and items that he himself will repair and give away to those less fortunate than himself. "Somebody might need this," the ragpicker says. Evenings, the Chinese man will cook up the dumpster chicken in one of the ovens that his resourceful roommate has brought home. As the men prepare to dine together, seated on crooked chairs and ever amazed by their "fortune", I have to reach over and hit the pause button. Have you ever seen such sweet faces, such sparkling eyes, than on these two lovely men who care for one another and for others? 

In another scene, we observe a clean-cut wirey man stooping here and there as he scours the market stalls in Paris at the end of market day. Here and there he pops a broken piece of celery or apple or lettuce into his mouth... "Beta carotene! Vitamin K! I'm a biology major," he explains, adding that though he earns a salary, he still needs to eat and by the way, he's vegetarian! He admits that cheese is a little more difficult to find, but there's plenty of tossed out bread. We later learn that though he holds a scientific diploma, this biologist chooses to sell papers outside the train station. In a touching "who'd have thunk it?" scene, we see the same garbage picker volunteering his time, each evening, to teach refugees English. His carefully illustrated blackboards featuring, among other objects, a hand-drawn bike and its phonetic word equivalent, attest as much to his selfless and caring soul as to his professionalism and skill.    

There are several other heart-awakening moments in which Agnès Varda steadies her lens on the outcasts who in turn teach us more about the art of living than we will ever glean from the pages of any New York Times bestseller on the subject. The rag-wearing, sometimes toothless characters could write volumes on the subject. Meantime they have more meaningful pursuits: getting by, while managing to smile at life. 

As for my own dumpster days—as a privileged child—I'd root unselfconsciously through the trash bin (one we shared with the neighbor), ever amazed at the ongoing source of riches (in this case--cans of Hamm's beer which could be recycled for cash after stomping the cans flat!). Our neighbor, a single, middle-aged woman, regularly replenished the trash bin with this blatantly underestimated source of income! I began to feel sorry about her loss, which to me related to her pocketbook and not her liver health (I had no idea that all those cans equaled addiction). 

I regret losing the desire to salvage things (publicly, at least, though the occasional foray through a stranger's trash still happens), but I am grateful to live here in France, where gleaning is alive and well and rooted deeply in the culture! How many times during family outings has an uncle or a cousin or a grandma stooped to pick up a tumbled down apricot or a chestnut, or paused to uproot a lonely asparagus or a bunch of herbs from the edge of a neighbor's yard. "Have you seen what they charge for this at the markets?" my in-laws shake their heads. Soon they'll make up a fresh batch of herbs de provence--more fragrant and delicious than can be found on any supermarket aisle. 

When my husband returned from the States after his multi-city wine tour he brought me an unexpected surprise: two charming rush-bottom chairs!

"I found them in the airport parking lot," Jean-Marc explained, "beside the dumpster." I admit, if he had brought those home 15 years ago--as a consolation gift for his two-week absence, I might have been hugely disappointed! Nowadays, I don't want the ill-fitting T-shirt that he had quickly rung up at a pricy airport trap shop. (I'd rather have a couple of bars of chocolate, or, in this case, some adorable chairs!) 

Each time I look at the chairs, I feel the same kind of affection one feels when looking at some of the characters in Agnès Varda's documentary. They are quirky. They are imperfect. They are charming. They are lovely. And, as one of the men in the film said, "they are needed."

Gleaners-and-i

    - To see a preview of this wonderful film, click here.
    - Rent the entire video here or let us know if you found --gleaned it -- it somewhere ! Thanks.

Film maker Agnes Varda turns her camera lenses toward modern day gleaners--the poor, the dispossessed, the ecologically aware and the alienated--to paint a new but still somewhat romantic image of those follow along behind the parade of life, picking through its remains. - Jean E. Pouliot

I enjoyed seeing parts of France not normally seen on the screen or by tourists. In fact in some ways this documentary could serve as a kind of travelog so widely does Varda and her camera travel about the French countryside and cities. - Dennis Littrell

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

Thank you for the time you've spent reading this post. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that a one-time contribution helps me continue doing what I love most: improving this journal. Your support is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is fast and easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi 
♥ Send $10    
  ♥ Send $25    
    ♥ Send the amount of your choice


"Sent with love and gratitude for all of your wonderful, insightful and creative stories and photographs. My life is enhanced reading your books and blogs beyond measure! May you continue to be blessed doing what you love and feel the gratitude of your devoted readers. Appreciation, hugs and love to you and your beautiful family!"
--Lisa


Dégouliner: the rain trickled, dripped, and poured but it didn't keep us from touring La Ciotat

Cement church tiles in la ciotat France salamander
Something about these reptilian tiles tells me they are not as old as our church (built here in La Ciotat in 1603. The cement tiles, it turns out, were set down 8 months ago, during a partial renovation). I do like them, though, and you? Some say the salamander is symbolic. Of what, I wonder? My friends from North Dakota and I had hurried into the 400 year-old église to escape the deluge outside. More, in today's column, below.

Today's word: dégouliner

    : to drip, trickle, bleed 

Example Sentence and Audio File, text read by Jean-Marc:

Click here to listen to the sound file

Couler lentement, goutte à goutte ou en filet. La sueur lui dégoulinait dans le dos. Peinture qui dégouline du pinceau. -les-synonyms
To slowly pour, drop by drop, or in a stream. Sweat trickled down his back. Paint that drips from the brush.


A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE


    by Kristi Espinasse

Il y a des jours comme ça!  Grrr! I've lost the previous version of this post--poof, just like that! At times like this I am tempted to jeter l'éponge, or throw in the towel. Speaking of sponges and serviettes (oh, the power of French words to get us back on our feet again!), we could have used those last week, during le déluge. Instead, my friends from North Dakota and I ventured out into la pluie--unwilling to let a few too many raindrops gâcher notre vie!

Brian Miranda Erin  Smokey golden retriever
First stop: home! Brian, Miranda, and Erin stopped by our (still-under-renovation) house, to pet Smokey.  Wearing K-ways with built-in capuches they were ready to face the upcoming cloudburst, or rafale de pluie.

Church door la ciotat France notre dame de l assomption vieux port boats
Beautiful carved wooden door and anciennes tomettes carrées. Looking out to the Vieux-Port from inside Notre Dame de L'Assomption

Briocherie la ciotat franche vieux port potted tree
How would you like to live behind a briocherie? Would you be tempted to stop there each morning? I hope you are reading closely, because this is a first hint about some news we have to share with you. Here's hint number two: the next time someone asks me the following question, I may be able to say "Oui!"...

"Kristi, do you know of a place I can rent in La Ciotat? A darling little place overlooking the port? One where I won't mind climbing 3 flights of stairs to get to that magnificent view?"

Enough hints. On to the next pictures (all taken by Erin) which have nothing to do with the upcoming news (except that they are near the historic old port of La Ciotat--just like that neat short-term rental unit!)

Kristi miranda brian la ciotat square
Standing with Miranda and Brian in La Place Sadi Carnot. This little square is usual alive with bistro tables and people enjoying the sun, but, as stated earlier, pas de soleil today! A note about Place Sadi Carnot--it was part of the ancient cemetery, surrounding the church, in Roman times.

Cafe de l horlage

Boucherie orientale
The scent of roasted chicken drew me and Miranda (still wearing her trusty capuche) right into this Boucherie Orientale.

Voilà, those were just a few more photos from my friends visit. You can see part one (Cassis) here. And Miranda has written more over at her blog. If you click on the smaller photo near the end of this blog, it'll start the seconds-long video of the stormy sea. What a contrast to those beautiful and peaceful tree blossoms in the foreground! 


FRENCH VOCABULARY REVIEW

dégouliner = to trickle (rain), drip (paintbrush), run (make-up)
gâcher la vie = to ruin one's life
une église = church
une éponge = sponge
le déluge = downpour, torrential rain, The Flood
la serviette = towel
K-way = windbreaker or raincoat
la capuche = hood
les anciennes tomettes carrées = old square terracotta tiles
la rafale de pluie = cloudburst, blowing rain, rain squall

Merde!: The Real French You Were Never Taught at School (Sexy Slang Series)
Paris-themed mini umbrella 
T-Shirt "I Don't Need Therapy I Just Need to Go to France."
La Roche-Posay sunscreen - rated top by Consumer Reports
Nothing says "summer in the south of France" like these wonderful quick-drying towel used in Mediterranean countries


Women at DRC
Autumn excursion in France, especially for women - "Women in Burgundy: Life, Laughter, and the French Paradox” October 18 to 27, 2018 - includes two nights in Paris. Click HERE for details.

 

 

Dogwood blossoms or some other kind in la ciotat on the beach
"Cercis siliquastrum." These beautiful arbres de Judée, or Judas trees, are blossoming all over town! You can just see the raindrop on the edge of that lower branch of this "redbud tree"... the drop about to dégouliner or trickle down to the ground. I hope you enjoyed today's périple, or trek through La Ciotat. See you in a few days.

Thank you for the time you've spent reading this post. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that a one-time contribution helps me continue doing what I love most: improving this journal. Your support is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is fast and easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi 
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