petite amie


Mustard field
A week or so ago in France: mustard fields. Makes you want to throw your arms open wide, and run right through les champs jaunes. Ah, freedom!

Headlines from the French press for you today, and several author and poet signings in Paris. Check out these events at the end of this letter:

                                    : : : Merci! : : :
Thank you for the "mini-bios"* that you are sending in. It is a real pleasure to get to know each other via your words and stories. From newbie fathers to newbie empty-nesters--and the rainbow of "kin" in between--we make up one flourishing Francophile family. Check us out, here and leave your own mini biographical sketch while your there.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~French Wine Growers Fair~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

If, by chance, you happen to be in London this month... please stop by and see us at the French Wine Growers Fair. More info (and free tickets!) here.

élu(e) (ay-loo) adjective
    : chosen, elected, successful

le président élu = president elect

Example sentence and sound file: Download elu.wav .Download elu.mp3 

Barack Obama élu président des Etats-Unis"
Barack Obama elected president of the United States. --Le Figaro

The forecast is looking good here on our cobble-stoned corner of France today:


...pouring rain, the kind that makes a bride-to-be nervous. The rain reminds me of our wedding day, back in 94', and the gray skies that threatened to "gâche"* it. The outlook didn't look good until one of the French guests chimed in. "Wonderful weather!" she seemed to be saying. Next, she shared this old French adage:

"Mariage pluvieux, mariage heureux!"*


I woke up, this rainy morning, with news from my husband:  "Obama a gagné!" You wouldn't know it from the weather. Then again, a certain French adage would have you see things differently: who says sun is the ideal backdrop for success? Besides, I have always loved the rain. It is soulful. It is romantic, as is Paris... as is a wedding... as is a new Prez. Mariage pluvieux, mariage heureux!

It is still dark out and, tip-toeing over the puddles, on my way to the get bread, I steal into the warmth and light of the boulangerie.* Behind the glass counter I see croissants... and I see doughnuts. There are brownies, too. I feel that flutter of patriotism and half-expect the baker to say "Hello!"

The next client who enters offers a customary "bonjour," eyes fixed to the paillasson* where he dries his caoutchoucs.*

"Bonjour, Monsieur," I reply. Seemingly light-years away from home, I am grateful for the cozy tradition of community. Fourteen autumns later, book-ended by gray skies, I am still in France, still trusting those French proverbs about rainy days and happy futures. And, more importantly, I am still listening to my husband (never mind the stubborn "ear muffs of impatience" that I can still pull on like blinders). Yes, I am still tuned in to my "better French half," who tells me with genuine delight:

"Félicitations, chérie. Tu as un nouveau président."

Comments, corrections, and suggestions are welcome in the comments box.

la pluie
(f) = rain; gâche = (borrowed from the French, "gâcher" = to ruin, to spoil); Mariage pluvieux, mariage heureux! = a raining wedding equals a happy marriage; Obama a gagné = Obama won!; la boulangerie (f) = bakery; le paillasson (m) = (door)mat; les caoutchoucs (mpl) = galoshes; Félicitations, chérie. Tu as un nouveau président = congratulations, dear. You have a new president

~~~~~~~~~~~~Homework / Extra Credit! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Here are some headlines from this morning (French) press... would you like to translate them? Thank you for using the comments box as your scratchpad:

"Barack Obama élu président des Etats-Unis" --Le Figaro

"Victoire écrasante de Barack Obama, premier président noir des Etats-Unis" --AFP

"Elections US - Barack Obama, la renaissance du rêve américain" --France Soir

"McCain, très digne, félicite Barack Obama" --Metro France

"Le nouveau président-élu des Etats-Unis Barack Obama a reçu l'appel de son rival John McCain concédant sa défaite" --Métro Montréal


"La lame de fond démocrate a emporté des bastions républicains" --Le Monde

"La victoire de Barack Obama «n'est pas un raz-de-marée"
"La victoire d'Obama marque la réconciliation de l'Amérique avec le monde" --L'Express


French Alphabet Blocks -- complete with letters, numbers and animal pictures
In French Music: Pop à Paris - More Rock n' Roll and Mini Skirts
Tune Up Your French: Top 10 Ways to Improve Your Spoken French
Chansons Pour Noel: Songs for Christmas (in French)

~~~~~~~~Paris Book Signings - Meet authors!~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Meg rwb poster pic format  Meg, at The Red Wheelbarrow Bookstore in Paris, just sent me a note with some upcoming events--and you are invited!

November 14th: Anne Marsella will read from "Remedy" and present her new book "Patsy Boone". The latter is French but Remedy is in English.

Agnes Desarthe will be reading from her book Chez Moi.

November 25th:  There will be a poetry reading with Beverley Bie Brahic, Elizabeth Haukass and Jonathan Regier.

December 4th: Meg writes that she and the RWB equipe will be with Robert Camuto for the Paris launch of his new book Corkscrewed at Juveniles, a bar-resto where there will also be a wine tasting to go with the book signing.

For more info, check out the Red Wheelbarrow blog:

A Message from KristiFor twenty years now, support from readers like you has been an encouragement and a means to carve out a career in writing. If my work has touched you in any way, please consider a donation. Your gift keeps me going! Thank you very much.

Ways to contribute:
1. Send a check (to this new address)
2. Paypal or credit card
3. A bank transfer via Zelle, a great way to send your donation as there are no transaction fees.

Or purchase my book for a friend, and so help spread the French word.
For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety