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Kristin Espinasse
France
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An all-French edition, comme ceci, caused a few of you to head for the hills last time. Relax! Even if you don't read French, tell yourself, "of the 1000 most frequently used English words, some 50 percent come from French." Well, maybe this is an exaggeration (as was that sudden exodus to the hills, or collines... speaking of which, look at the beautiful scene, above). Thanks to my belle-soeur, Cécile, for today's picture and for your pittoresque words, as in your example sentence, below, from the last line of today's story. Today's word: accrocher : to hang (something) up on Le réveil fut majestueux, comme accroché aux nuages... The awakening was majestic, like hanging on the clouds ... Audio File... I have a surprise for you today. Our son Max is back from Mexico. It is he who has recorded today's file. Click here to listen to it. Click here to listen to Max read the example sentence, with accrocher ESCAPADE EN LOZERE par Cécile Espinasse Quand les emplois du temps sont serrés, et que l´on a quand même envie de se dépayser il faut savoir anticiper ce qui n´empêches pas les belles surprises. De longue date était prévue cette... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at FRENCH WORD-A-DAY
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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... Continue reading
Posted May 13, 2018 at FRENCH WORD-A-DAY
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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.... Continue reading
Posted May 12, 2018 at FRENCH WORD-A-DAY
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Thank you, Jacqueline, for this definition of "peuchère"--it is the best I have read. It is an endearing term, one I love hearing around here. For more about Serge Baudo, the chef d'orchéstre: https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serge_Baudo
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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... Continue reading
Posted May 9, 2018 at FRENCH WORD-A-DAY
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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... Continue reading
Posted May 5, 2018 at FRENCH WORD-A-DAY
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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... Continue reading
Posted May 3, 2018 at FRENCH WORD-A-DAY
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Hi Mary, I forgot to say, she did ask me about my mouth guard, which I wear faithfully these days.
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Helen, I am deeply touched by your comment. Thank you for your service. I hope you will never again feel like you are not doing enough. And I do hope you managed to have a guilt-free, lovely and lackadaisical day. Sending you all best wishes and hugs. Xoxo, Kristi
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Uh-oh! je confonds les fêtes. Aux Etats-Unis c'est Labor Day.... Au fait c'est quoi la difference entre La Fête du traivail et la fête des travailleurs?
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"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... Continue reading
Posted May 1, 2018 at FRENCH WORD-A-DAY
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Thanks, Jacqueline. Off to fix this now...
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Chris, That is actually Suzanne behind me, and my friend Pascale to the right, in the front. :-)
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Hi Mary, I forgot to add that the dentist did ask me about my mouth guard, which I wear faithfully these days.
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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... Continue reading
Posted Apr 28, 2018 at FRENCH WORD-A-DAY
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Love it! JM calls me his petite sirene!
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A, Thank you for catching that one. I have updated the blog.
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Jean-Marc says it is 16 degrees celcius (60F). It's cold, but tolerable.
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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. 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... Continue reading
Posted Apr 25, 2018 at FRENCH WORD-A-DAY
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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,... Continue reading
Posted Apr 21, 2018 at FRENCH WORD-A-DAY
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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... Continue reading
Posted Apr 17, 2018 at FRENCH WORD-A-DAY
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Thank you, Judith, for the info on Êtretat. That makes sense, as it did not seem like these, in Cassis, would be the highest.
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Hi, Roseann, No, I do not know them. From the link you sent me they seem to live in another town.
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Hello, Brigitte, so good to hear from you and learn about your connection to La Ciotat. We love it here. Hope to cross paths with you sometime.
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Out now! Jackie Clark Mancuso's latest in her much-beloved Hudson series: "An expatriate dog in Paris meets a young stray and helps him search for home...via a whirwind tour of Paris with stops at Hudson's favorite haunts." Order a copy here. un temps de cochon : lousy weather, beastly weather, Thanks to my friend Dominique for sharing today's expression! Audio File: Quel temps de cochon: click here to listen to the sound file Quel temps de cochon! What lousy weather! BORDEAUX AND THE DORDOGNE small group tour Sept 17-25 - culture, cuisine & wine. Click here for itinerary. A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE by Kristi Espinasse My friends from North Dakota just visited us here in La Ciotat and got soaked! Erin, Brian, and daughter Miranda (joining us from Slovakia, where she's working with Cru (an international campus ministry), are avid hikers, used to the rugged outdoors, so we didn't let the pouring rain and this veritable temps de cochon hold us back from some local sightseeing. We began our tour at the Parc du Mugel, but no sooner did we drive into the parking lot than the sky opened up and it began to pleut de cordes! That's... Continue reading
Posted Apr 13, 2018 at FRENCH WORD-A-DAY
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