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Entries from April 2009

crapaud

My soon-to-be 14-year-old, Max 
I didn't have a picture of a toad, but my French encyclopedia tells me that "crapaud" is synonymous with "prince"... and what mom doesn't think that much of her own son? Meet Max, my 13-year-old. Max is in charge of writing today's story. Enjoy his bi-lingual column, below! PS: Max detests this photo but has given me permission to use it... in exchange for one blue star! Would you like Max to explain the star system that we have recently incorporated into our routine? Perhaps that would make for a good future story?
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Soap Temptations for you (and me!):
Traditional French Wall Soap holder and Marseilles soap (this one is on my wish list!)

For little kids: Globe-Toddlers Adventures in France!
 
 

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un crapaud (krah-poh) noun, masculine

    : toad

More about les crapauds in this Wikipedia entry:
"
Le juvénile est têtard puis crapelet. Les crapauds coassent, sifflent ou flûtent." The young crapaud is a tadpole, then a "crapelet". Toads croak, whistle or..." (play the flute?...)

As you can see, I had a little difficulty translating the above example. Feel free to share your own interpretation, in the comments box. Do you know of any "crapaud" terms or expressions? Anything "crapaud" related is welcome in the comments box!
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Les drôles de crapauds
par Maxime Espinasse

Un soir j'étais avec ma grand-mère quand des crapauds coassaient dans ma piscine (elle est tellement sale, personne n'ose la laver !). Ma grand-mère était tellement fatiguée qu'elle m'a dit « I can hear your mom talking ». J'ai rigolé et je lui ai expliqué que c'était des crapauds. Ils coassaient tellement fort que c'était embêtant pour dormir. Bref, on aurait dit qu'ils jouaient à cache-cache et quand un crapaud trouvait l'autre ça faisait beaucoup de bruit. Quels drôles de crapauds!

English version :
One night I was with my grandmother when the toads were croaking in my swimming pool (it is so dirty that no one dares to clean it!). My grandmother was so tired that she said to me "I can hear your mom talking." I laughed and I explained to her that those were toads. They were croaking so loud that it was difficult to sleep. In short, you would have thought they were playing hide-n-seek and that when one toad found the other it made a lot of noise. What curious crapauds!


                                    *   *   * The End (Croak!) *   *  *

Would you like to read more bi-lingual stories written by Max? Do you know of any other young adults who might enjoy this column, too? Please share French Word-A-Day with a young friend today! Meantime, if you enjoyed today's story, you might leave Max un mot in the comments box. Merci d'avance!

Bench & Flower pot in Sainte Cécile
I love the colors on French walls, the lazy benches, the lace in the windows... and the flowers in this pot. Does anyone know what kind of fleurs these are? Apparently they are easy to care for. I see them everywhere this time of year!

Ongoing support from readers like you helps me continue creating this French word journal and its newsletter, now in its 18th year! If you enjoy these posts and would like to help keep this site humming along, please know your donation makes all the difference! A contribution by check (click here) or via PayPal (below) is greatly appreciated. Merci!
 
♥ $10    
♥ $25    
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jardinage

Red door 
I love this red door, which decorates the side of a mas in the town of Serignan. The owners must think I am a garden stalker... Each time I take this side road, I slow my car to a creepy crawl... in time to enjoy this lovely corner with its bricks, chipped paint and crumbly wall. 

A few temptations before we begin this edition:
1. Words in a French Life: Lessons in Love and Language from the South of France
2. Learn French with Rosetta Stone Levels 1, 2 & 3
 
3. Coffee Sugar Flour and Tea red white metal check traditional metal canister set--in French!

Tin canisters

 

le jardinage (jhar-dee-nazh) noun, masculine

    : gardening

faire du jardinage = to garden, to do some gardening

Audio File: (note: these audio files will return soon... with the return of our tech master, Jean-Marc... who has been away--but will soon return to sort out our computer crash problems!

 

A Day in a French Life...
by Kristin Espinasse

I need to leave for the airport in Marseilles in the next hour, to meet Jean-Marc--who has just completed his two-week wine tour! I hope my husband will be delighted by the changes taking place here at home: this, thanks to some jardinage!* After losing electricity, week before last, it finally occurred to me to throw all that nervous energy into digging, planting, and pulling (mauvaises herbes*). The pulling part, I am discovering, is an effective stress reliever (perhaps better than pulling on... and snapping... the nerves of those around us?).

Tools of the trade 
That's me, the newbie gardener (the driving gloves are a dead giveaway).

Before I sign off, I wanted to share a wonderful gardening site by my friend Bonnie Manion. I had the chance of meeting Bonnie last year, when she and her husband, John, visited our vineyard along with our friend Jacques Combe. I learned that Bonnie is an avid gardener... and that she adores her chickens! Her gardens and hens have been featured in several publications and, lucky for us, she publishes her own column over at VintageGardenGal. Perusing her blog archives, you'll enjoy the French antiques that make their way into her backyard... center stage along with those star chickens, her "Hollywood Girls"!

I'll be back on Wednesday, with more about the planting and propagating (a new English word for me...) going on 'round here.

Tree garden
Mom and I have been transplanting local varieties (wild orchids, irises) that push up and grow in groves (droves? troves? how about in loads!) along the neighboring canals. We'll see how they do. P.S.: That's Braise in the lower right corner. She loves to sit on plants and flowers, or "scratch her back" over the strawberry patch. Grrrrhhhhh!

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Comments, corrections, and stories of your own are always welcome and appreciated. Thank you for using the comments box!

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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~French Vocabulary~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
le jardinage
(m) = gardening; les mauvaises herbes (f) = weeds

I leave you with an excerpt from the weekend edition, Cinéma Vérité:
I hurried through the narrow, winding streets, aware of a hush... it was my own breath exhaling in awe before the endangered architecture: the old painted storefront façades. There was a "Droguerie" in rusted tones, orange and red, and a blue "Alimentation du Moulin". My heart sank, knowing that anytime now the old French façades would be painted over. Construction and renovation loomed, threatening to strip yet another French village of its colorful character.

(15 photos were published, along with the story. It's not too late to enjoy them. More info here.)

Ongoing support from readers like you helps me continue creating this French word journal and its newsletter, now in its 18th year! If you enjoy these posts and would like to help keep this site humming along, please know your donation makes all the difference! A contribution by check (click here) or via PayPal (below) is greatly appreciated. Merci!
 
♥ $10    
♥ $25    
♥ Or click here to send the amount of your choice

You can also support this journal by purchasing our book-in-progress, click here.


talon

Talon (c) Kristin Espinasse 
When vines look like vultures... or eagles... Do you see the "bird's" talons? This photo, taken last week at a neighboring vineyard, is a close up of the vines featured in yesterday's edition. To comment on this photo, please click here -- and thank you for your thoughts!
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talon (tah-lohn) noun, masculine

    : heel (shoes); crust (bread); stub, tail

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Today's edition is informal (no list of idioms, no vocabulary section, no story--no writer deadlines...) after all, it's Saturday... and Saturday rhymes with vérité! So here's a heads-up: I have just posted a behind-the-photographic-scenes story over at Cinéma Vérité. The essay is called "The Fading of France". I encourage you to read it and to see the gallery of 15 photos that accompany the post. Sign up now to the weekend edition, "Cinéma Vérite," and join me as I travel around Provence. Click here to begin.

Thank you for following French Word-A-Day -- now in its seventh year and still free as a bird with French talons.

Amicalement,

Kristin
PS: I swiped today's word from the story over at Cinéma Vérité... Don't miss it!

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Ongoing support from readers like you helps me continue creating this French word journal and its newsletter, now in its 18th year! If you enjoy these posts and would like to help keep this site humming along, please know your donation makes all the difference! A contribution by check (click here) or via PayPal (below) is greatly appreciated. Merci!
 
♥ $10    
♥ $25    
♥ Or click here to send the amount of your choice

You can also support this journal by purchasing our book-in-progress, click here.


vexer

Yellow field (c) Kristin Espinasse 
Shapely blue hills and yellow fields between Cairanne... and good ol' Sainte Cécile.

 
Songs in French for Children : sing along and improve your French via song!
 
vexer (vex-ay) verb
    : to hurt, to offend

se vexer = to be/get offended
vexé comme un pou ("angry as a louse") = livid, hopping mad
(additional idioms and expressions welcome in the comments box. Merci d'avance!) 

Verb conjugation:
je vexe, tu vexes, il vexe, nous vexons, vous vexez, ils vexent
past participle = vexé
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A Day in a French Life...
by Kristin Espinasse
  
2 p.m.: I am lying beneath a pile of covers, a mismatch of blankets handmade by my mother and my grandmother in colors that contrast just as their piping personalities once did.
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I am wearing jeans, wool socks, a ski-sweater, and a parka. It is too cold to type, so I am memorizing these lines in time to write them down when warmth returns.
 
A few rooms over, the covers are piled high in a similar fashion, over Mom. In addition to warm clothing, she is sporting a wool bonnet and mittens. She has pulled the hood of her sweater up over her bonnet. When we are on speaking terms, she shows her eyes. When she's really mad, vexée, she pulls the wool cap down over them so that my eyes meet little snowflakes that decorate the bonnet's edge...
 
Edgy. We have been without heat for over a week. The temperature is beginning to test us so that even a hot temper and a spark in one's spirit... are not enough to take the edge off this cold.


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Comments, corrections, and stories of your own are always welcome and enjoyed by all via the comments box. Thank you for making this a fun, upbeat place to meet and to share information and experiences. So don't be shy -- jump in and share your own slice of life!
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Yellow vineyard (c) Kristin Espinasse 
Du pareil au même ("more of the same") : I hesitated between this photo and the one at the top of this edition. Here, you can just make out Mount Ventoux in the upper right corner. I love the giant yellow carpets that cover the vineyards this time of year. Wouldn't you like to picnic or catnap here? 

Ongoing support from readers like you helps me continue creating this French word journal and its newsletter, now in its 18th year! If you enjoy these posts and would like to help keep this site humming along, please know your donation makes all the difference! A contribution by check (click here) or via PayPal (below) is greatly appreciated. Merci!
 
♥ $10    
♥ $25    
♥ Or click here to send the amount of your choice

You can also support this journal by purchasing our book-in-progress, click here.


partager

Mom and me
Mom and I at the Roussillon Book Fair last September. I didn't have many books to sell... so I dragged Mom to the event to fill up some space.
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A few temptations before we begin this Wednesday morning edition:
  Mere Poulard, traditional butter "galettes", packaged in a colorful tin box
  Cartes Postales: A Delightful Album for Postcards
  Jolee's Boutique Paris Stickers : good for notebooks, art boards...


partager(par-tuh-zhay)
    to share; to divide

Audio clip (Note: the sound file will be away for a while...)
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A Day in a French Life...
by Kristin Espinasse

Ever since mom arrived for a two-month stay I've noticed an ever-so-slight reluctance I feel on the part of sharing things. It began with my trusty slippers: "Here Mom, you can wear these." My husband had left on a two-week business trip; I could just borrow his slippers, I reckoned. Flopping around the house in pantoufles* twice my size, I couldn't help but envy Mom and her fluffy, form-fitting, "foot" digs.

Then there was the hairbrush she needed (I gave her mine and went back to using a comb), the garden shoes (I'm getting by with my son's sandales de piscine*), the camera (pictured, above), and the books (Mom and I have a way of glomming onto the same reading material, so that magazines and books that had up till recently been ignored... now have us asking one another "Are you reading that now? May I have a look for a minute? (hopefully more...)".

Of all the things that we are currently sharing, it is the computer that is most emotionally wearing... Last Monday night Mom accidentally hacked my ordinateur*! On Tuesday I woke up to find myself locked out of the log-in screen. And so the downward spiral began (ending with Le Big Fry, completely unrelated to Le Hack).

Sharing is a virtue that we are taught from a very young age, where jealousy and injustice lurk around every "claimed" corner (This, here, is my turf!). Of all the things we share, perhaps friendship is the most valuable ... So after the slippers, the brush, the garden shoes, the camera, the books, the computer... it looks as though I''m now sharing you, dear reader! Here's a message I found just yesterday, in "our" comments box:

HI TO ALL OF MY FRIENDS -
KRISTI AND I ARE SHARING MAX'S COMPUTER SINCE THE "BIG FRY". I MISS HAVING MY OWN LAPTOP...THEN I WAS ABLE TO CHECK "COMMENTS" several times a day. I miss all of you, Kristi is busy bossing me around, I have managed to meet three new people out in the vineyards surrounding Kristi's house. One a very handsome FRENCHMAN driving a red tractor - collecting all of the old vine stumps that are no longer alive, I waved him to a halt so I could take photos of him dumping the stumps in a giant pile. I managed to extend the normal three kisses on the cheek into kisses each time I felt we had a camera shot worthy of a reward...he.he.he.

Kristi wants to lock me in my room. I also met a beautiful woman from Marocco (sp?) out trimming the vines, I have been taking her a hot cup of tea around 10 a.m. each morning, plus some candy I have swiped from Kristi's STASH. Her name is Alise and she has invited me to her village Rasteau---I think this is supposed to be one of the most beautiful villages in France...I will take photos for all of you and have Kristi post them when I do a little story.
Please pray for me to have the strength to be the MOTHER Kristi needs at this time of her life...
XOXO
JULES
 

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Comments, corrections--and stories of your own--always welcome in the comments box. We love reading your words, too.
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~French Vocabulary~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
la pantoufle
(f) = slipper; les sandales (f) de piscine = pool sandals; un ordinateur (m) = computer

Ongoing support from readers like you helps me continue creating this French word journal and its newsletter, now in its 18th year! If you enjoy these posts and would like to help keep this site humming along, please know your donation makes all the difference! A contribution by check (click here) or via PayPal (below) is greatly appreciated. Merci!
 
♥ $10    
♥ $25    
♥ Or click here to send the amount of your choice

You can also support this journal by purchasing our book-in-progress, click here.