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Monday, January 21, 2013

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Eileen - Charlottesville, VA

Bonjour Kristin,
Nice picture of Caroline and she was so thoughtful to put together a care package for you. I also love the idea of putting together a care package for a homeless person. What a kind idea! I was thinking of putting together one for Tara. Just a few things she likes from home. She is having a wonderful time in Antibes and has been down to the Italian Riviera too!

Eileen - Charlottesville, VA

Hi again,
I forgot to ask if the painting of the bottles was one painted by Jules?

Valerie

Hi Kristin,

So very thoughtful and touching of course - of Caroline. Bisous to all!

edie

Hi Kristin,
I LOVE the cork grape bunch! How creative and meaningful!

xoedie

Cathy

Love the new label for Mistral! How are you lovely people? Miss seeing you. xx cj

Ellen Davies

The label. Is perfect. Sort of van Gogh meets Lautrec meets great graphics. Where can we buy this wine? We live in Uzes in the Gard.
Ellen

Betty Tuininga

Delightful item Kristin! We never outgrow those pleasant little surprises...especially those which are given with such loving care! Surprises and thoughtfulness have no age limit or expiration date!

I confess as a newbie to this column, I am not familiar with your original label for the vineyard Kristin...

Love the new label. As a graphics person and artist, I found it very eye catching. It has such great visually appeal and a sense of movement that makes one stop and take a second look...the ample white white space is key. Refreshing to see when I am so used to seeing what I consider tasteless advertising these days

Madonna Meagher

my 21 year old son is studying this year in Paris. he asked for me to send him a care package for Christmas. He was missing his home here in Massachusetts. I was not too excited since anything I might send would be expensive to mail, and he might be charged a hefty custom's tax in France. But, I finally found a small box and sent him: a kindle reader, a pair of "base layer" thermal underwear for coldish mid-winter coldness in Paris, his childhood Christmas stocking with a card and some lip balm, and some pictures of home, both in a small album and some on a cd. He finally received the package after Christmas but was very happy and said it "hit the spot". A care package is a good thing. and latest report is that the lightweight thermal base layers are being used. it snowed in Paris and has been damp.

Katie Dyer

I love the new label! I collect santons, and one of my favorites is the vieux berger au mistral. How appropriate that he be on the new label! And, I love the tribute to the previous label with the two silhouettes of the twisted vines.

Jean Marc, when will you be in New York? Will I be able to buy my annual case of Mistral?

Jeanne

Having just sent a birthday care package to our 33 year old son, who still loves opening the surprise box, I was particularly struck with today's entry. It also made me think of the packages my father sent us..He enclosed a bit of everything - from specialty food items to socks! I received his last package several days after he passed away. I still have the box he addressed....

Dave Navarrre

I love the label. Sometimes, I help out in a local wine shop and when you can tell a story about the wine to customers, it not only helps sell the wine, but makes the experience more meaningful to them. Part of the joy of wine is the journey it takes one on. In the US, drinking French wines about which one knows the story can transport one, for but a moment, to France. Even those who do not know the story of Domaine Rouge Bleu will be able to enjoy that sense by the image and the name. Well done!

Kristin Espinasse

Eileen, thanks for identifying Moms painting. I left out that important info, and a few other items in todays letter.


Katie, so glad you saw the vine tribute. Wasnt that thoughtful of Caroline and Thomas, to put the echo of the old vine, from the previous bottle, on the label? Thanks for seeing it!

Madonna, loved reading about the care package to  your son. We should never underestimate what such a gesture means to our own children (lately, I am having this lesson again and again with my daughter). P.S. those thermal underwear were a GREAT call. IT is freezing here.

Edie, the grape bunch is, as you said, so meaningful. Since moving, we have not really put out any souvenirs from our previous life. The grape bunch is perfect!


Cathy, we miss you too! 


Ellen, love your description of the label! Re where to buy: visit their Facebook page and leave a message https://www.facebook.com/DomaineRougeBleu?fref=ts


Betty, Here is a picture of the labels: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=469567283064228set=pb.469526396401650.-2207520000.1358778561type=3theater


Jeanne, thanks for sharing the touching story of your Dad, and for his great ideas. Who doesnt love socks--a key comfort item!


Dave, great to read your feedback. A label that evokes a story is a meaningful one!

Iz Campbell

Acts of kindness enrich the lives of both giver and recipient, don't they? I am enchanted by your lovely observation that the thoughtful paquet de soins from Caroline brought pleasure also to us, who simply read about it. Thank you, Kristi, for giving us windows into your French life with weekly vignettes and photos. Quel cadeau!

Cynthia Lewis (Eastern Shore of Maryland)

Dear, dear Kristin, your writings are a care package for each of us every time we read FWAD. You make us feel grateful and hopefully more compassionate and thoughtful. And then your readers add their comments and experiences which reinforce your thoughts. A letter can be a care package of words. Mille mercis, Cynthia

mimi aka cigalechanta

I do like the Mistral label. Are the wines available in the Boston area? I've made trivats using the corks. And a friend made me a box. Someone made a wreath that was impressive.

Tina in INdiana

I love to surprise friends with little gifts and what a blessing when one surprises me! I loved reading this story today! :)

Erin

Thank you for the reminder of how nice it is to be thought of by someone for no special reason in particular. I often have "the best intentions" of doing such things for others, but the busy-ness of life always gets to me and the moment passes.

To share a similar story of your cake that didn't make it to its intended berger recipient - I once made cookies to welcome new neighbors, but when after 3 days we couldn't connect in person, I ate the cookies instead of leaving them at the door with a note! When we finally met them I was brave enough to relate that story and it was a nice ice breaker for our new friendship!

Cathi Burgoyne

Love this story and the pictures. Beautiful.

Thomas

Hello to you all and thank you very much for your lovely messages regarding our new Mistral label. We were very anxious of your reactions but thanks to you all we now know it was the right decision!

Dear Ellen, we would be delighted to meet you and introduce you to our wines if the travel from Uzes is not too far for you (be careful lots of envious readers live a continent away from the domaine!)

Just email us at [email protected] as we are sometimes in the vines or some place else. It will be our pleasure to meet you!

Dad in Indian Wells, CA

You are the care package that I received so many years ago. You are the precious gift that keeps on giving day after day and year after year. We all love you for the beautiful and thoughtful person that you are.

Kristin Espinasse


Erin, glad you mentioned best intentions. I feel so guitly for all the best intentions that never materialize! But to want to comfort another--or to spoil or surprise or make anothers day--is a good thing to be focused on.


Thank you all for these lovely remarks and responses to the story of Carolines gesture. To borrow borrow Cynthias idea: all of your comments are individual care packages!

There was so much I did not have time to fit into the story, like how down-to-earth and funny Thomas, Carolines partner is, and what a great cook Caroline is (and the sweet and savory care items she has given us. I also ran out of time and so didnt get to talk about the excellent mini photo album that she made of the harvest! What a thoughtful thing to do! And much more.) 

Kristin Espinasse

DAD, Jean-Marc and I were both reading your comment, when I looked over and saw tears in Jean-Marcs eyes. Of course I am bawling my eyes out to! Thank you, my precious Dad. God gave me you! What a gift!

Edie Schmidt

Kristin:

An unexpected gift is always a treat!
Yesterday a friend came by with a wonderful, still warm plate of meatballs with beans and greens. We had them for dinner with some roasted potatoes and smiles on our faces.
Your dad's comments were very touching and sweet.
Take care,

Edie from Savannah

Julie Farrar

Kristin, what a lovely coda piece to your story about making the cake for the berger. Who could have imagined that as you typed those last lines someone was making a present for you. This story makes me want to look around to see to whom I should be directing a care package. You're writing sure has been on a roll.

Martine Simmons

May I quote your dad, Kristin, when I write to my children? After the holidays, they went back to their life, from their roots, with wings to fly, but love will sustain them for ever.

My suggestions for "care-package": panier-réconfort ou colis-réconfort.

Lorrie Kazan

Lovely, as always, and I especially enjoyed the picture of the new vineyard "dog."

Just a caution, however; never give chocolate to a dog. I can kill them. You can check that with the vet to see if thinking has changed.

Would be great if you could find a way to have color pictures in your book. Your photographs are so wonderful.

Lorrie Kazan

omg! It not I can kill them!!!

Too lazy to preview your post? It can be deadly.

Kristin Espinasse

Edie from Savannah, that sounds absolutely delicious! Lovely friend of yours!


Julie, enjoyed learning the word coda. Cool!


Martine, thank you so much for the translations, including panier-réconfort. Its perfect. May I add them to the definitions list? 


Lorrie, good to get the no chocolate for dogs message out (and no grapes, either!). Re the pictures, Jean-Marc took the ones of Carolines gift. The other photos are from Caroline and Thomass Facebook page, by various harvesters (thanks, C Ts harvesters, loved seeing all of your photos from the vendenge!) And the photo of Caroline and Thomas, here at our new home was taken by JM or me -- or maybe Maggie or Mike... the English couple that sold us this home.


Lorrie -- MDR (LOL!) happens to us all the time, here in the comments box. We hit publish then, yikes! the mistakes suddenly shout out. No worries -- ever!


French Word-A-Day http://french-word-a-day.com


Book: Blossoming in Provence:


http://www.amazon.com/o/asin/1467929794/mdj-20 

Latest video from France/sign up to our channel:
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Kristin Espinasse

Update: another excellent blog, via the first one mentioned in todays post, about what to include in a care package for the homeless. This blogger keeps extra care packages in her care. Great ideas here: http://wheremyheartresides.com/2012/11/07/hope-for-the-homeless/

Janette Calder

Hi Kristen ! I follow your article each week and often talk about it with the French conversation Class I teach at our local Seniors Centre. There are 12 in the class. They ask if I speak French with a Scottish accent (45 years in Canada) and I tell them about the Auld alliance between Scotland and France and my ability to roll my "r's" is quite natural.
Anyway I am really writing to tell you that when I sized down from a house to an apartment one of my friends came around on moving day and brought me a large basket of paper towels, toilet rolls, nice soap, bath salts etc. It was wonderful - there was a bottle of wine too!
amicalement, Janette Calder

Bill Facker

It's exciting to know Domaine Rouge Bleu goes forward, and seemingly with another nice couple "at the wheel". Just think of it, Kristin .. you and Jean-Marc created a lasting name and legacy as you lived, loved, and grew together in St Cecile. Few can claim that in a lifetime. Congratulations are in order. I'm anxiously awaiting the first taste of the next chapter in Bandol! Aloha, Bill

Skip Anderson (skip@skipandersondesign.com)

Hi again, Kristin...

Good to hear back from you. Karen and I still share, and very much enjoy, your column. The link you requested (or am I pressing this upon you?):

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CARE_Package

All the best to Jean-Marc et votre famille,

Skip...note new e-mail, s'il vous plait.

David Rhum

Dear Kristin,
Robert Frost was thinking of you.....

I went to turn the grass once after one
Who mowed it in the dew before the sun.

The dew was gone that made his blade so keen
Before I came to view the levelled scene.

I looked for him behind an isle of trees;
I listened for his whetstone on the breeze.

But he had gone his way, the grass all mown,
And I must be, as he had been,--alone,

`As all must be,' I said within my heart,
`Whether they work together or apart.'

But as I said it, swift there passed me by
On noiseless wing a 'wildered butterfly,

Seeking with memories grown dim o'er night
Some resting flower of yesterday's delight.

And once I marked his flight go round and round,
As where some flower lay withering on the ground.

And then he flew as far as eye could see,
And then on tremulous wing came back to me.

I thought of questions that have no reply,
And would have turned to toss the grass to dry;

But he turned first, and led my eye to look
At a tall tuft of flowers beside a brook,

A leaping tongue of bloom the scythe had spared
Beside a reedy brook the scythe had bared.

I left my place to know them by their name,
Finding them butterfly weed when I came.

The mower in the dew had loved them thus,
By leaving them to flourish, not for us,

Nor yet to draw one thought of ours to him.
But from sheer morning gladness at the brim.

The butterfly and I had lit upon,
Nevertheless, a message from the dawn,

That made me hear the wakening birds around,
And hear his long scythe whispering to the ground,

And feel a spirit kindred to my own;
So that henceforth I worked no more alone;

But glad with him, I worked as with his aid,
And weary, sought at noon with him the shade;

And dreaming, as it were, held brotherly speech
With one whose thought I had not hoped to reach.

`Men work together,' I told him from the heart,
`Whether they work together or apart.'

Natalia

Our dear Kristi,
What a wonderful post!You once again gave us not only the privilege of being part of your life and sharing your friendships,but also another really worthwhile insight to remember: pass on the kindness given to you. Besides prayer,that is precisely what Jesus wanted us to do for each other.
Keeping this thought close to my heart, there couldn't be a better way to start the week.
THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!
Love, Natalia XO

suzana rose borlovan

Kristin another great post thankyou, Caroline and Thomas and Mirabel welcome to this world of blogging, hope you have time to enjoy a good read every now and then. Your work is impeccable.

Lorraine Whitten

I meet with an old friend with whom I traveled to France together. She survived Katrina and numerous other battles. Is finely back after 8 years. I'm giving I love the new label. I'm giving my friend your website. Southern Oregon is having a Southern France winter day; clear and cold and beautiful. Wear your hat!

Sarah LaBelle near Chicago

The link to the photos of the labels did not work for me. Instead, while logged in to facebook, I searched for Domaine Rouge Bleu, and got the right page. There is a photo of Caroline holding a bottle with the new label and Jean-Marc holding a bottle with the prior label. Very nice!

Kristin Espinasse

David, that was beautiful. To be reread again soon!

Natalia, you always spread kindess and cheer, wherever you go.

Vicki, San Francisco Bay area

Acts of kindness and gestures of caring bless the giver, as well as the receiver. It can take the focus off of our worries and bring us joy. Thank you for the reminder, Kristin. As far as someone unknown out there to comfort us, there are angels unaware.
To Caroline and Thomas, your kindness to the Espinasses and your creativity are a pleasure to view. I hope to taste your Mistral one day!

Karen Bailor

I was just introduced to your Blog today by my good friend, Pat, who is a wine specialist, and a lovely person. Thank you for sharing your thoughts in this way. I feel 'gifted' just reading them!

Christine

Caroline and Thomas,

I love your "Mistral" label. It looks very much like my Mistral santon- which I like so much I keep it out all year!

Karen from Phoenix

I feel as if I receive a care package every time I read your blog Kristi. You give so much of yourself to us, your readers. I am so blessed to have you in my life.

xoxo

Karen Whitcome - Towson, Md  USA

Great post today. Very thought invoking. And, I had no idea about the stages of olive oil. Why don't I ever wonder about these things that I just take for granted on the grocery store shelf?

To Caroline & Tom: I am so very impressed with how your energy and creativity took right off from Day One and still continues. It shows what can be accomplished where this is passion.

JacqBrisbane

Endorphins flowing everywhere! What a wonderful, multi-faceted post! Many things I wanted to say have been expressed already.
How admirable that your words have elicited all these positive, life-enhancing messages.
Thank you David Rhum for the wonderful poem.
Thank you Betty Tuininga for opening my eyes more widely!
So many times I have read and viewed things anew thanks to your blog and the comments from your wonderful community of readers.

An Australian care package would no doubt contain a jar of Vegemite (you have to be born here to like it, I think!). A care package from Belgium should contain a jar of 'good' chocolate paste.
My darling mother used to mail me asparagus, parsley and endives grown by my father, as well as gaufres aux amandes she baked. She lived in Adelaide and I worked in the Outback, where fresh vegetable were hard to get...
Thank you Kristin for bringing us all together.

Karene

Beautiful writing, Kristin,and lovely comments from everyone too.

I have been following Caroline and Thomas' facebook page ever since you told us about it. It's been fun to see all the pictures!

nadine goodban

PAQUET - CADEAU I would call it. Bien bonne idée pour dire à quelqu'un qu'on pense à lui/elle.

nadine, napa, CA

Diane Young

A surprise care package is one of life's most wonderful gifts. Thank you for sharing with us. Your blogs are like a care package to your readers. Merci, chere amie.

Mary Colburn-Green

In Greece I met a woman a few years ago from Australia who lauded the anti-cancer properties of Euphorbia Peplum, a relative of the milk weed. She swore that she and her husband had removed skin cancers from their face and even one from her eye that had long roots by applying the sap of the plant. I proceeded to research it and found a lot of science from Australia where they are looking at how to get it into the health system. So bravo for finding it in France. I tried to get seeds to no avail. We live a bit south of you in the Aude in a small wine growing village (St. Jean de Barrou). If you succeed with your plants and have seeds, could I get a few from you just in case the big C should crop up on our skin. I enjoyed your first book. Bought it on a recommendation from a FB friend and look forward to my French lessons chaque jour. Passez un bonne journee. Mary

Kristin Espinasse


Mary, good to read about your friends experience with Euphorbia and skin cancer. In my research, I have come across one big precaution: keep it far away from the eyes, or risk blindness!  I have not used the plant as I am not 100 percent sure it is the right type of Euphorbia that I have here (it should be euphorbia peplus). If anyone reading can have another look at the photo, in the post above, to help identify it, that would be helpful. And I would be happy to send the seeds, once the plant is identifyed and once it goes to seed. For more information, check out this skin cancer forum: http://www.topicalinfo.org/forum/default.asp?CAT_ID=1

Elizabeth Hamiton

What a great pic of Caroline with her lovely hat! I was fortunate enough to meet both Caroline and Thomas on our family's recent trip to France. Timing was perfect and we helped out as volunteers with the harvest for a day. A back-breaking but incredibly fun experience. It is one of our fondest memories of our stay in Provence and to meet another lovely Aussie lady was a great reminder of home. She is truly a thoughtful and generous person so I am not surprised that she put together a "colis de soin" for you. Isn't it the most precious and uplifting feeling to know that someone cares enough to create a special surprise for you?

Marianne Rankin

A care package can be, but isn't always, a surprise, so "colis-surprise" might not be the best translation. And I think "soins" might be a bit too literal a rendering of "care." Martine's "paquet reconfort" comes close, in my opinion.

A care package ideally would have one or more items for the "soul" of the person receiving it, as a morale builder - for example, the interesting and creative cork sculpture sent to Kristin.

Above all, though, it should contain items that are near-necessities. When I went through a really poor spell in college, and wrote to my mother that I was running out of everything and had almost no funds, she sent me a couple of care packages that addressed my immediate needs, such as toothpaste. I specifically remember shampoo (Prell in those days, in unbreakable plastic tubes), and some mini-coffee cakes that were great snacks, by themselves or with a cup of tea. The items weren't numerous or expensive, but valued especially because I knew I would use them. I was a faithful correspondent, and I believe she also sent stamps. To this day, I occasionally look for the little coffee cakes she had enclosed, and while eating them, remember the effort she made to ensure that I had the essentials while away at school.

Susan

For Madonna Meagher -- you must mail or send the gift yourself and mark GIFT on the customs form. Because: if you order an item from an online store have it delivered to France your son will have a tax ... But if you have the item sent to you and then you resend via mail (or better, I suggest FedEx ) marking GIFT on the customs form -- your son should not have to pay a tax on a gift. FedEx delivers it straight to his door and he does not have to go to LaPoste to pick up and haggle re any tax ....

Kirk Woodyard

Love the line drawing of the old shepherd in the wind. This special santon "Coupe de Mistral" was created in 1952 by our local santon maker in Aix, Santons Fouque. He's also bracing against the Mistral's blast on their logo. He and his companion, La Renaude, are available on their website.

Kristin Espinasse

Susan, thanks for the info on shipping a gift package to France -- so helpful.


Kirk, loved learning about the story of the santon Coupe de Mistral. (I did not realize he was a berger. How serendipidous, after this:


http://french-word-a-day.typepad.com/motdujour/2013/01/berger.html

Diana Barron

Dear Kristi, loved this week's blog and as the extremely proud mother of Caroline you can imagine it brought more than one tear to my eye.
I always love reading your news but this one was extra special, I can't wait to be there again. I look forward to seeing you and JM at the end of this year! I also love what you say about Thomas - I quite agree!
With much love and hugs Diana

Aimee

I have followed this blog since almost the beginning and thank you for sharing your french life so openly. I'm American, travel often and some of my dearest friends are European and so we have been sending many "care packages" over the years across many borders. Some staples...gummies of all kinds, biscuits/cookies, extra socks, peanut butter, cupcake equipment, special almonds, nail polish, vitamins, beauty products, peeps, funny cards, and something unique from the latest business trip du jour. It has become an unspoken cherished tradition:) Also, when my best friend was in the military he really loved getting packages from kind strangers.

I agree, there doesn't seem to be a great translation in French; these are really gifts that feed the soul and/or often fill an urgent baser need and link us to loved ones far away (cadeaux sans frontieres).

gmdelac@optonline.net

What a lovely label for Le Mistral - clever but not cloying, And Kristin, how happy we are that you have such good friends May you all stay well and happy, continuing to send "care packages."

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