Seeing spots? Relax, those are floaters! Les corps flottants et le champ visuel....

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Today's word: une tache

    : spot
    : stain, mark

une tache de rousseur = freckle
une tâche de vin = wine stain

The English translation follows below, in bold. Click to listen to the French:

Les corps flottants sont des taches sombres qui se présentent sous la forme de points, de cercles, de lignes ou de
toiles d'araignée et qui semblent se déplacer dans le champ visuel. (site: Inca)

A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE

by Kristi Espinasse

The beaches are so packed here in La Ciotat you cannot see the sand....so Jean-Marc led the two of us to a secret hideaway! There, on slippery flat rocks disappearing into the sea, we relaxed at sundown with Les Ciotadens, or locals (picture from JM's Instagram account...)

After my husband slipped into the sea I followed him from the shore, my eyes on his snorkeling tuba, until my gaze was lost on the blue horizon. That's when I began to see the spots. Qu'est-ce que c'est? Looking left, looking right, I noticed how the gray dots (over my eyes? or in the air in front of me?) floated off-center...until I could not quite focus on any one of them. Next, "stringy bits" began passing by adding to the flotsam in my eyes! 

Sitting on my beach towel my head turning slowly from side-to-side, my eyes chasing the (internal? external?) "shadows," I was stumped as to what I was seeing. An optical illusion? Brought on by low blood sugar or some kind of carence--like a lack of iron or something

As soon as my husband returned from the sea, and his oursinade, I told him about the "flying spots!" Realizing this must've sounded batty (come to think of it, I saw those too! ), I kept a low profile until I got my sister Heidi on the phone... 

(No, my sister confirmed, she had never seen spots parading past her range of vision....)

Worried I was becoming a hypochondriac, I hung up and googled "seeing spots" and voilà! A satisfactory answer: les corps flottants.

Floating bodies are dark spots in the form of dots, circles, lines or cobwebs that seem to move in the visual field.

WebMD goes on to say: Most floaters are small flecks of a protein called collagen. They’re part of a gel-like substance in the back of your eye called the vitreous. As you age, the protein fibers that make up the vitreous shrink down to little shreds that clump together. The shadows they cast on your retina are floaters.

I also learned these "floaters" can be connected to diabetes, which brings me back to blood sugar... No matter how much cinnamon-laced oatmeal I eat, my brain still feels "wrung like a sponge" by the time I have finished writing one of these posts. After four hours of brainwork, my cerveau feels starved, pressé comme une orange. Did you know nerves and the brain depend upon normal sugar levels to function properly?

Voilà. Today's post was a public service announcement--for those of you who may have, like me, worried you were seeing mouches or toiles d'araignées--in addition to all those spots. They're just floaters and you're ok! (Though you might have your vision and your blood sugar checked....)

Wishing everyone a lovely weekend. And thanks so much for reading!

FRENCH VOCABULARY
le ciotaden = a person from La Ciotat
un tuba
= snorkel
qu'est-ce que c'est? = what is it?
une carence = deficiency (vitamin deficiency)
une oursinade = hunt for oursins, or sea urchins
le cerveau = brain
pressé comme une orange = squeezed like an orange
la mouche = fly
la toile d'araignée = spider web 

Kristi and jackie at beach in la ciotat
With our daughter, Jackie. Read the Desiderata poem in French, in a post written for my daughter in 2014

Thank you so much, Kristin, for all of these wonderful years of French Word A Day. I'm a retired French teacher and regularly used your blog in my classroom. And now I read for my pleasure alone!! --Cheryl

Thank you for the time you've spent reading my column. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that ongoing support from readers like you helps me continue doing what I love most: sharing these missives from France. 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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"Your blog has added much richness to my days for many years. High time to acknowledge your generosity toward your readers, by offering some small support."
--Candy T., California


Move Mom into the wine cellar? + France wins!

France wins world cup fracro soccer
Notice the cushion on the bench, left. More in today's story!

Today's Word: le but

    : goal

Click here to listen to Jean-Marc read the following words:
Le but. Hier soir La France a marqué quatre buts pour gagner la finale de la Coupe du Monde de football. Goal. Last night France scored four goals to win the soccer World Cup.

A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE

Homeless Wine and Homeless Widows
 (and the World Cup Win!)

    by Kristi Espinasse

There is no tranquil place to write today, so I'll dive right in--along with the pounding of hammers and hearts (just had a heart-to-heart with our 23-year-old, Max, who had a setback of his own). Now he's back on track and I can begin this Monday morning edition where I left off: wondering how to focus on writing whilst construction workers are swarming on the opposite side of this wall (and there goes the jackhammer! And here comes a request for a pencil, and could someone open the gate? So another truck can arrive? And, Madame, do you have a cup? For what? Coffee? Oh, I can make you that...).

Bon, bref: We are creating a cellar for Jean-Marc's soon-to-be homeless wine! This was the solution to Where to put our homeless Mom?...but back to wine:

Since we sold our vineyard and then moved to La Ciotat, all Jean-Marc's vin has been stocked in a converted garage-studio. We now need to clear the studio of its floor-to-ceiling vintages and place le vin somewhere else....Voilà for the little cellar that will soon piggyback our kitchen (walk out the kitchen door,  turn left and walk into the 2-meter wide caveau. It will be ready in 10 days. Mom will be here in 7... On ne s'ennuie jamais!)

Last night I looked across the living room. Thirteen of us had our eyes peeled on le grand écran as France led against Croatia in the 2018 World Cup. A ceiling fan whirled above us, moving the humid air in circles around our sweaty bodies. Our two couches were filled and a bench and chairs held the rest of us supporters.

I kept looking for Mom, wondering where we would put her in a scenario like this? Would our new colocatrice be watching the game with us? (It would depend on her mood. If down, she'd be under a pile of covers in the wine cellar (soon to be her studio). If she were feeling up, she'd definitely be watching the match with us, her cup runnething over with rosé!

But would she behave? That is always the question. And it's a moot point trying to answer it. The best I can do is ask myself the very same: Would I behave? Will I?

This is the entire fear I have behind Mom living with us, because, in the end, the only one we can control is ourselves.


To be honest, even I found it difficult to behave during the World Cup Match. Case in point: While daydreaming during the match of all matches, you've just thought up a way in which your guests could be a bit more comfortable. Wait! Do not suddenly spring up and search for seat cushions while everyone's eyes are on the soccer ball. God forbid you'd walk past the screen during a but, or goal, and block another's view!

As I learned last night, goals happen quickly and unexpectedly. And so do the changes in life--hammers, hearts and all. Perhaps the best we can do is not to block another's vision, whether our own, our guest's, or, ultimately, God's.

*    *    *

Heidi mom 2018
My sister, Heidi, and our Mom, Jules. I can't thank Heidi enough for flying to Mexico to help Mom during this transition...first to Denver, then on to France.

FRENCH VOCABULARY

le but = goal 
bon bref = in short
le vin = wine
le caveau = wine cellar
le grand écran = the big screen
le supporter = fan
la colocatrice (le colocataire ) = roommate, joint tenant, housemate
Kristi
Kristi here. Happy to announce a new way to support this French word journal: via check! If you are interested, email me at kristin.espinasse@gmail.com

Thank you for the time you've spent reading my column. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that ongoing support from readers like you helps me continue doing what I love most: sharing these missives from France. 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


"Your blog has added much richness to my days for many years. High time to acknowledge your generosity toward your readers, by offering some small support."
--Candy T., California


When an expat's expat parent comes to live with daughter in France: After 25 years in Mexico, Mom is moving in!

Window and shutter in Mexico
Au revoir Mexique. Our Mom is about to begin a new chapter in France!

On ne s'ennuie jamais

    : never a dull moment

Click here to listen to on ne s'ennuie jamais

A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE
A blow to her wings, not to her spirit! 
by Kristi Espinasse

My mom has been an expat in Mexico for 25 years (the same amount of time I've been in France). Now, following a recent coup dans l'aile, or blow to her wings, Jules will be moving into our nest and we are going to take things au jour le jour (just as the birds do!)

Petit à petit l'oiseau (re)fait son nid.
Jean-Marc and I will be researching the administrative side of when an expat's expat parent comes to live with American daughter and French son-in-law in France. (Kicking myself for not applying for French nationality after all these years. It would come in handy about now!). Meantime there are some non-administrative pépins, like where to put Mom...now that our two kidults have moved back in for the summer. As the French say: On ne s'ennuie jamais.

I'll be back with you later for an update. D'ici là, meantime, please send Jules and my sister, Heidi, (who just arrived in Puerto Vallarta) bon courage. They'll need it. They have two days to turn the page on a colorful chapter in Mom's life. On to the next! 

Jules in st-cyr-sur mer at la madrague
We may need a second bagnole now. How about this Méhari? Perfect for a sunset drive here in La Ciotat...

FRENCH VOCABULARY
un coup dans l'aile = a blow to the wings
au jour le jour = day by day
Petit à petit l'oiseau fait son nid = little by little the bird makes its nest
le pépin = glitch, hitch, snag
on ne s'ennuie jamais = life's never boring
d'ici là = meantime
bon courage = good luck
la bagnole = car 
la maman = mom, mother, mama...comme Mama Jules ♥ 

Heidi Kristi Mom Jules wedding day
Surrounded by my sister, Heidi, and our Mom, Jules at my 1994 Wedding in Marseilles.

Thank you for the time you've spent reading my column. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that ongoing support from readers like you helps me continue doing what I love most: sharing these missives from France. 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


"Your blog has added much richness to my days for many years. High time to acknowledge your generosity toward your readers, by offering some small support."
--Candy T., California