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Monday, April 27, 2009


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Jules Greer

Kristi Darling - you have filled my eyes with tears of memory ... I didn't expect this little gift of your writing this morning. If everyone only knew how true each of your words are - you make me feel like I am living in the mist of a poem. Poem is not the correct word for this little story - what is (in French-of corse.)?

Simona Berga

Yes, if that would make her happy.
And maybe Agnes is forever hot or uncomfortable wheraring anithing.
I just found you month ago, I am artist-painter, and I am totaly in love with France, good day Simona

Jan Francis

What a poignant picture of a slice of life...evocative, excellent writing.
I really enjoy all aspects of French Word-a Day. A great way to learn French-it's especially helpful having vocabulary words scattered in a story like this one. Merci!


There but for fortune, go you or I... The words of a song came to me as I read your posting this morning. I admit I cried.It would be a better world if we all reacted like your mother, with compassion. Merci.


Kristin -- As others have said, what a beautiful story and so beautifully written.... I agree with Carol. Would that we all had the compassion and love your mom showed Agnès.

As usual, I am reading three stories at once, and I also enjoyed Jules' magical story of her 10-year-old encounter with a magnificent gypsy woman. So visual! Sounded like the beginning of a short story or perhaps a fable? to me.

Bonne journée to you both.


A very moving story indeed, told with accuracy in the details, a cold head & a warm heart, true compassion and really great talent.

Kristin, I didn't join ´French Word-a-day´ years ago, so, never heard about Agnès and her brother Jean-Pierre before. You described them at length today, but I'd like to read a bit more about them in your archives. Could we have the dates of your newsletters mentioning them, please? (so cool to have the archives at our disposal since the February change over, and such a good idea to have, now, each newsletter coming with a date!)

I wouldn't wear my best clothes to do housework... but in the morning, I would sometimes do the washing up in my dressing gown if I feel like it. The most important thing for me is to feel comfortable … and not too hot. Have I ever done, like Agnes, any housework in my underwear??? Never, but, wait a minute...
The water in our area is “très calcaire” (very chalky) and leaves marks sticking everywhere, so, the sooner it's wiped out the better. Soap, when used with chalky water, leaves very sticky & sort of greasy (dirty) marks. I always clean the bath, and the bath screen -glass panels- immediately after my shower (which runs over a bathtub). I might even carry on wiping the tiles, window sill and washbasin. When I am doing that, I am not even dressed yet! … so, I have to confess I can do part of my housework with … nothing on!

Gardening has got a tendency to take over housework, except in the winter. Even in the middle of a hot summer day, I wouldn't do gardening in my underwear! What do I wear? old clothes. I love old jumpers, big T-shirts, tunics, tatty trousers, wide shorts (!), ancient looking anoraks... I keep the gardening clothes in the ´gardening drawer´ at the bottom of my chest of drawers.
I would very happily get changed into an appropriate gardening outfit, right now.... (rather than doing housework, or else!) but unfortunately, it's pouring with rain at the moment and the BBC weather forecast for my area in the UK is... a cocktail of light and heavy rain all day with a big drop in temperature.
Hmmm, should I wear my good old gardening clothes anyway, and do THE indoor job I keep putting off? (I'm talking about Goal No2, publicly mentioned and described in FWAD on the 17th April!...)

Tom Hamilton

I thoroughly enjoy your stories,commentaries and photos every morning. I learn a little also.


Thanks for the nice feedback!

Simona : glad you found us. Bienvenue! And if you have a site/blog for your art, feel free to share it here via a link in your next commet.

Chère Ophelia: happy catching up and thanks for reading!

Newforest: I only wrote one story about Agnès & Jean-Pierre (not their real names!), but would love to write more about the sassy teller some day. (No room in this story). As for the archives, you won't find this story either (it has been moved forward). I think the original date was sometime in 2006 (can't remember now that I've pushed it forward). I have edited and added a lot to the story, for clarity and added detail. For those who have this story in their email archives, you'll see the changes. As for me, I've lost my email archives, since Le Big Fry! This is not a complaint, it actually feels freeing to look forward ... instead of backward!

PS: Newforest: how's that room-emptying going? Making any progress?


A touching story, Kristin. What I find so interesting is that you are so quick to comment on the visual aspect of these people (for our benefit, I wonder?) not questioning what might be going on inside their saddened souls yourself. I believe that everyone has their time to blossom, and sometimes it takes an unfortunate moment to bring it out. JP is a perfect example and I hope that the same goes for Agnes when she rises above the grief and realizes that their mother is no longer suffering but in a place where no one is judged by their outward appearance but by their inward beauty.

Allison Geary

Kristin - This is a remarkably touching story. It compels us all to look a little deeper at those familiar faces and situations that we encounter each day. Your story is so full of humanity. Thank you!

Betty Wasser

Thank you for your continuing story. I do enjoy reading your adventures when I have the chance.

Nancy Shalen

I have a question, not a comment. I need a new up-to-date French/English dictionary. I'm comparing the Collins Robert and Oxford Hachette. Both come highly recommended. The Collins is almost three times the cost, but I really want the best one available. Do you have any opinion?

Sandy Maberly

In response to Angela's comment..... Kristi is a master (or mistress) at her craft...painting a picture through words of life that surrounds her. The fact that her words cause us to reflect upon the contents of her characters' "saddened souls" reveals Kristi's own compassionate nature (not the lack of it!) Bravo, Kristi. Thanks for keeping our minds agile and forever inquiring.

Robert Carlson

You're right, I think the "sassy teller" deserves some more attention! Can you imagine an American bank teller giving such advice to a customer? Another reason the French are so charmingly different from us. I really think it's time for another book from you, filled with the quirky characters you encounter.


The Oxford Hachette French/English dictionary, latest edition (4th, 2007) is excellent. The best for you to make up your mind is to go to a bookshop and spend a bit of time looking at words, in both the Oxford Hachette and Collins Robert.

I didn't work more than a (short) hour and did a lot of turning around! I have a psychological "blockage" about that job!
Actually, it stopped raining. After this tea break, I feel I'll step outside to do some gardening, in spite of the cold wind!


Robert: thanks for the encouragement, always needed!

Newforest: I can so relate to that kind of a blockage. Those are "monster rooms", second only to "monster paperwork"!

Sandy & anyone interested: thanks for "getting" the story. It is one thing to describe a character (necessary when painting a portrait), another to judge him (or her). Hopefully, we learn from the characters around us, no matter the outward shell.

Susie, the francophile from Indiana

Kristin, your writing is both evocative and provocative. Having been to many of the villages in Provence many times, the pictures you draw with your writing are clear and touching. Today is a prime example.

And don't tell anyone, but yes, I sometimes do as Agnes does. But I don't think anyone else knows!

Charles Shinn

Great writing Kristin! Loved the depth of description . One of your best pieces in my humble opinion. Here's hoping your sense of humanity will spread amongst all of us readers.


No,I don't do my housework in my underwear because I DON'T WEAR UNDERWEAR! :)

Marianne Rankin

Sorrow knows no boundaries. In spite of various cultural and linguistic differences, we are all human, and have more in common than we often know. Bon courage to Jean-Perre and sa soeur.


Oh Kristin, this one breaks my heart. How understanding your mother is! My mother, now 101, tries so hard to be cheerful and face things bravely, but it is very hard..and we all face the inevitable, not knowing how it will be for us. We each need to be more understanding of others, don't we?

Karen from Phoenix, AZ

I have been reading the posts and thought I would throw out to all. I am a Organizer and it seems some of you are having trouble tackling room/rooms/paperwork. Maybe I can help. Give some tips. Thought I would throw that out there.

Great story Kristin as always. I look forward to reading them.



Kristin, yet again you have captured the intimate side of the lives of near strangers in your village. You take the time to stop, watch, listen and tell their stories with such heart. Thank you! Danielle

Rosemary Lockhart

What a beautiful and loving story. It touched my heart. I like your mom. Rosemary

Evening Hérault

I don't think I'll ever think of pantoufles the same way again without being reminded of your sad, moving little story. Thanks!


Les larmes aux yeux.

Lisa Kiely

dear kristen,
i'll admit, i don't always read your stories on the day you post them. My life's journey is rarely in sync with my email, but I always save them and come back to them when I have a moment. This story touched me and I thank you. It evokes in me feelings of sadness, love and ultimately hope. Thank you for your beautiful gift.


Very touching and well written too. Thanks a lot.

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