"le french flair"--How to translate this expression in English?
secours + how to say "first aid" in French?

How to say "to miss a class" in French

Calico cat in a window



(loo pay)


to miss (a class...)


After his hearty lunch of poulet rôti, spicy eggplant ratatouille, and rosemary potatoes (and seconds of all three!), I suspect that my son is brimming with health and not at all as sick as he claimed to be when the alarm clock rang this morning. ("Aïe! J'ai mal au ventre!" he complained. Feeling sympathetic, I let him stay home from school for the morning.)

"Well, well, Max, you certainly seem to be feeling better! Maybe I could take you to school now and you won't miss your afternoon classes?"

"Mommy," Max pleads, "I need a whole day off!"

"Well then, you'll have a lot of classwork to catch up on, so don't come crying to me!"

Max offers me a disarming smile before asking what's for dessert. I bring out a bowl of aromatic garriguettes—strawberries so sweet you'd swear they were sugar cubes blushing in disguise. I pass Max the can of whipped cream, figuring that he might as well enjoy his sick day even if he is guilty.

As he eats, he reviews which classes he has missed:

J'ai loupé les maths...
J'ai loupé la musique...
J'ai loupé la téchno...

Listening to my son's losses, I try to balance the debit. Though Max missed math, music, and technology, he didn't miss doing the dishes (this, without my asking), he didn't miss making me a surprise cup of tea ("C'est bien chaud!" he announced, his shining eyes carefully steadied on the steamy surface of the tea lest it spill as he walked), and he didn't miss collecting a handful of roses (after he slipped out to the garden, scissors in hand). Finally, he didn't miss selecting a vase (our best coffee cup in the cupboard) and arranging the flowers into an attractive bouquet before delivering them to my desk. "For you, Mommy," he offered.

"J'ai loupé un peu d'histoire." I missed a bit of history, too, my son admits as I poke my nose deep into a pink blossom. Learning about another "louped" class, I feel slightly annoyed. Then I get to thinking about Max's history book and all the "important stuff" that is recorded inside for students to study and recall. Why shouldn't this moment, too, be memorized? How unworthy of note one boy's stolen day may seem to historians, who will never document the sweetness of this tea, or record the gift of a tender heart.


 Note, this post has comments from when it was originally published. Go ahead and add any edits to the comments box. Click here, then go to the end of the page to leave an edit!

French Vocabulary

le poulet rôti = rotisserie chicken
Aïe! J'ai mal au ventre! = Ow! I have a stomach ache
j'ai loupé les maths = I missed math
j'ai loupé la musique = I missed music
j'ai loupé la téchno (technologie) = I missed technology
c'est bien chaud = it's very hot
J'ai loupé un peu d'histoire = I missed a little bit of history

:: Audio File ::
Listen to me pronounce the word "louper" before my daughter reads the following quote:
Download MP3 or Download Wav

  Il ne faut pas louper le coche,* mes amis!
  We musn't miss our chance, my friends!
--Henriette Chardak
     *coach, barge; rater le coche = to miss the boat

Terms & Expressions:
  louper son cours = to miss one's class
  louper son bus/train = to miss one's bus/train
  louper le coche = to miss an opportunity, to miss one's chance
  louper son coup = to miss one's chance
  A ne pas louper! = Not to be missed! (program, event...)

Verb conjugation:
je loupe, tu loupes, il/elle loupe, nous loupons, vous loupez, ils/elles loupent => past participle: loupé


A Day in a Dog's Life...
For the next 10 days Smokey and Braise will be vacationing at a chambre de chien, a doggy equivalent of une chambre d'hôte. We'll be dropping them off a the B&B (Bed & Bark?) in Rochegude, on our way to Serre Chevalier. Smokey, pictured left, doesn't look very happy about this... (you should see Gramma K's face, which is even longer!) but there will be no room for dogs in the little Alpine chambre that we will be renting. While we're away, French Word-A-Day will continue, with selections from the archives. (There will be no posts on the 9 and the 12th.)


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For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety


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You have a caring, sensitive son. One who knows how to care for himself while caring for others! Happy Easter. Jeanne
(82 here in Ohio today!!0

Pat Cargill

Sometimes we need these "mental health days" as they are sometimes called when one misses work and physical health if more intact than not! Spring days are a perfect time for this. I think you made the right decision and Max was more showing his appreciation than assuaging his guilt with his sweetness to Mommy. Tu es une bonne maman! Happy Spring from a gorgeous early morning in Roanoke, VA--where birds are chirping under a clear blue sky, trees are greening out, and Maxine is lying here curled up dreaming of chasing chipmunks around the backyard. Happy vacation!

Karen in Towson, Md. USA

Coucou (One of my favorite French words)

I loved these delectable words that you wrote: "strawberries so sweet you'd swear they were sugar cubes blushing in disguise."

Our sons are the same age, Kristin. We've had this happen to and I think that, because they grow up so fast, they love their down-time at home and they miss that special time with mom. I agree with you. It's a time "a ne pas louper" for either of you!

Aww - poor pooches. They know what's going on as soon as you start the laundry for the holiday trip. I love these photos of them with the colorful flowers.

Have a wonderful vacation! I'll be looking forward to stories and photos. (Speaking of the mother-son thing: my son and I are headed to Puerto Rico with another mom and son for a few days. We'll be making "un peu d'histoire" ourselves! It was the boys idea. Aren't they great?

Coucou (one of my favorite French words)
Karen - age 53
Finally sunny and warm in Towson, Md.


Kristi, We've had a few mental health days with our boys (now 24 and 21) in the good ole days when they were living at home. In fact, we made up a rule. They could take one day per school year, where we actually let them stay home. They didn't have to pretend they were sick, it was just their day. We called it a "mental health" day, too. They got to do whatever they want. Kids have so little control over their lives it was one simply way they could do it "their way". But I actually like your way better. I would give anything now to have a day of homemade tea, flowers from the garden and a "Thank you Mommy" memory in my heart. xo Robin

Bill in St. Paul

The dogs look so sad. Just be sure the chambre de chien gets Smokey and Blaise's names right. We had our golden Theo (Theodore) "stay" at a chambre de chien but my wife had hurriedly written his name down and the whole time we were gone Theo was called Moe. The owner said "No wonder he never responded when I called him."

Have a great vacances, Kristin et famille.


Here's an illustration I've used that teaches us type "A" personality adults that our schedules (and therefore the schedules of our children) are not always the most important things.

'In his book, The Effective Father, Gordan McDonald wrote about Scottish lawyer and author James Boswell most known for his bio. of Samuel Johnson. In his published works he often referred to a special day in his childhood when his father, Alexander Boswell, took him fishing. The day was fixed in his mind, and he often reflected upon many things his father taught him in the course of their fishing experience together that stayed with him the rest of his life.

After having heard of that particular excursion so often, it occurred to someone much later to check the journal that Boswell’s father had kept and determine what had been said about the fishing trip from the paternal perspective. Turning to that date, the reader found only one sentence, “Gone fishing today with my son; a day wasted.”

P.S. It's uncharacteristically warm here in Detroit...great weather to celebrate Good Friday with my congregation this afternoon.


What a sweet son you have, Kristin. Everyone deserves to play hooky occasionally. And Max definitely showed his appreciation. Bon voyage to your family. We'll miss your new entries but look forward to les histoires nouveau.

And your description of the strawberry feast reminded me of that wonderful French ambrosia I ate last summer and wrote about.

Paul Heffron

Beautiful story, Kristin.

Pamela pamela

Kristen I was so touched by your "date" with your son..I too have savoured such days now they have become phone calls from University,usually as he is making dinner..History goes both ways...
Several years back we had a flood in oour kitchen where a ceiling pipe broke in single digit weather.. A hot steamy whale of water saturated 2 floors..I was alone with Hart as my husband and our daughteer were away on the otherside of the world...so the 2 of us cleaned the mess up in shifts..A building contractor cam and "bubble wrapped the gaping ceiling hole..after 3 days a truant officer called form school quite upset with my excuse by why Hart was not in class..When I explained the severuty of the situation and that this 13 year old kid id this for aand with me..I suggestd that maybe learning had many sides and learning how to deal with a surprise disaster such as this was a life lesson..He cowered gracefully,told me to let Hart get some rest and send him back when he was ready..That week will be something that both of us shall wear for the rest of our lives..These moments can't be duplicated but they are ours to own..May your roses stay fresh all week and perfume your house..Spring keeps us sharp with gratitude..I have joined your friends blog Tongue in Cheek...
Would love to meet you some time..We will be returning to Antibes for the summer on April 20th...Happy Easter...pamela pamela

Pamela pamela

excuse my typiing errors...I was called to rescue....by my husband as I was writing this...didn't proof pamela pamela

Ophelia Paine

What a beautiful day...strawberries, flowers and a loving cup of tea. Sounds wonderful.

I remember our oldest coming home from school one day at about age 8. He plopped on the sofa and said simply, "Mom, I need some time at home to do nothing." I felt terrible, of course, that perhaps I, we, life had asked too much of him, pushed him too hard.

I just told my husband I wanted to "louper" this weekend and head for the beach. : ) What a great word.

Thanks and have a great weekend.

Kristine, Dallas

As most before me have stated, everyone needs a mental health day here and there. And as you so eloquently put, it might not get written in the schools history book but it has been written into your Heart book.

Joyeuses Pâques !


I am learning French via Rosetta Stone in anticipation of coming to Paris for a year, and they suggest the use of "manquer" for "to miss". Can you tell me when to use manquer versus louper?

Candy in SW KS

Oh, I miss my son! There's something so tender about a mother/son relationship. When Andy was little he loved going to the local arcade where he could win tickets for his grand accomplishments. Then he could trade in those tickets for prizes that were worth different amounts. I was so touched when he spent all the tickets he had been saving for a year, to "buy" me a Christmas present. Those are the most wonderful memories. I'm so glad you and Max had that day together. Enjoy your "Springtime in the Alps". It's sunny and supposed to be in the 80s today in SW KS. Blessings to all of you.


Good for you! Sometimes they just need a day to themselves.

Sandy in FL

You are a wise mom!! What a special day to savor and remember. ( :


Vous etes une bonne maman! Je souhaite que etait ma mere! Laurie


You helped make a very special day for your son. I'll never forget the day my mother surprised me in 2nd grade by picking me up unexpectantly and taking me to Disneyland with my cousins. I don't remember any other day in 2nd grade, but I do remember that one. Your story brought tears to my eyes.

Auntie Barb

This tender heart you speak of has clearly been inherited.

Lorena Meunier

What a lovely story of a relaxing day at home with your son Max! It was a special mental health day for both of you.
- Have a wonderful week away! I empathize with you having to take Braise and Smokey to a chambre de chien because our cat Kitzel has to stay at a chambre de chat while we're away next week on the Delaware coast. - The French verb "se manquer" means to miss someone or something, for example, the French for "I miss you" would be "tu me mangues." Please correct me if that's not right. - Bon voyage! Lorena

Children and adults need an occasional mental health day

Tonya McNair

I absolutely loved the story of the "louped" schoolday! I love all things French, especially the people, food, beautiful buildings,land and the language!! LOL.

It is a bright, colorful, breezy morning here in Little Rock, Ar. But, though I'm grateful to have a job, I must work in a kind of cave. The good news is that the company for which I work saves lives every day. It is the American Red Cross.

Bless you and your loving son,

Karen in Towson, Md. USA

Pamela (pamela) - I like that.

I also love your words about Spring - that it keeps us "sharp with gratitude". Beautiful words for a beautiful season of growth and renewal.

Edie Schmidt

Bonjour Kristin:

I think my favorite city in France is Strasbourg. I have a sweet son like you. He's now a new dad living in Massachusetts with his charming French wife and lovely little daughter but about 5 years ago he was a postgrad student living in Strasbourg. While he was there we visited him twice and really enjoyed our visits. My husband and I are both artists and love photography as well so we found much to enjoy on our visits to that quaint and charming city.
I think we all need special places and special days in our lives,

Edie from Savannah


Good morning,

My son has not been playing hooky this week, since he has now finished high school, but he has been sick. He migrated his way upstairs out of his basement bedroom, to our livingroom couch. He has been wanting me to watch movies with him. This is rare since he is now 17. We both have enjoyed it very much. This time also has brought much conversation. Though it is rare for a teenager, it seems, to talk to a parent so much, he has always been this way, and for that I am grateful. I may not always like what we talk about, at least we have that dialogue. They do grow up fast, and for some time I had been thinking not fast enough....TEENS!!! But this week has been nice, despite the fact he has been sick.

Have a wonderful Easter with your family! I will be at work, but plan to give the kids a surprise Easter basket tomorrow. They think I will not for the first time ever, since they are older now.

Take care,


Marianne Rankin

I'm curious about the "techno" class Max has; what do they learn in it. Also, about the French educational system generally, since I recall you mentioning that he might get a special certification (diploma?) in food preparation/restauranting.

The day you described was special, and I hope you will always remember it.

After my husband passed away, I let my son have one school day a year to remember Dad. It wasn't always on his father's birthday, but whatever day was selected. We didn't spend the whole day on that, but sometimes looked at pictures for a bit, or did other things his father especially liked, such as going to a museum or historic site.

I don't think there's any question that some (not all) students today feel pressured. Psychologically, a day of break is helpful. This year in our area, students had a windfall of over an extra week of no school, because of blizzards. It appears they won't make up the time, either, because parents' schedules are already set and can't be changed. Local and state governments are still mumbling about this.

Anyway, savor the wonderful treasures that such a day can bring.



I loved your story about your "mental health day" with Max. We all certainly need these in our highly structured lives and like another poster commented, spring is the perfect time to do this. I too have a son and this sounds like something he might do as well. Le lien entre une mere et son fils est un lien tres precieux et cheri. May you always have these special moments with your son to remember for ever.

Kristin, When I was a student in elementary school in Toulon some 30 years ago, they still wore "tabliers" or smocks to cover and protect their clothes which I suspect was a holdout of times gone by. Do they still do this in preschools and elementary schools? I'm just wondering!

Enjoy your vacation in Serre-Chevalier and I look forward to reading posts about your trip when you get back.



My mom used to call it "the 8 o clock sickness" (it was to late to go to morning school by 8) Everyone should have that opportunity now and again. And as your story today reminds us, it's often the one on one time that helps us "recover".
I hope you all have a wonderful get away.

Sandy Maberly

Looking back, you can never be sorry that you missed a day of school, but missing out on a special day with mom.....well, that's a day Max will always remember. I hope you all have a fantastic vacation. Mark and I are on our way to France tomorrow and then onto Germany mid month. We'll be thinking of you!

Linda D.

Spring has sprung here on Long Island and I can thoroughly identify with Max's desire for a mental health day. I think that letting kids take a guilt free mini break from school also encourages them to learn how to manage their own time. The memories we make on those unstructred days together will last a lifetime. Far too few of us take pride in learning self care, thinking it wasteful or selfish when nothing could be further from the truth. Mental health days are a great way to recharge the batteries and connect with those we love. Max sounds like an absolute sweetie and your day together was priceless.
Much love to you all!

Remi Enobakhare

Aw....! All the considerate ways that your sweet Max showed love to his maman brought big tears to my eyes. Even now that my boy is in college and *towers* over me by about a foot, I LOVE it when he *stoops* to hug me tenderly and calls me "mommy." :) Sigh... we never stop being their mommies... caring about every little hurt they have; worrying about them...

Remi Enobakhare

And you're SO right... those moments of personal history are SO important! And in the course of your life, those prove the most valuable. :)


Reading your blog entries is always such a highlight in my day, and I especially loved this one. I adore Max, he's a little boy with a heart of gold. I am a mom of two grown boys, and now have a five-year old grandson. Little boys have a special gift for melting hearts, don't they? (and of course, so do little girls!)


Oh, I forgot... for your mom: I am 62 years old. We don't have a favorite French town yet, only Paris, but when we visit Paris this summer we are going to work on finding one. We might start with a day trip to Reims, or perhaps Chantilly or Champagne. I hope some others mention their favorites, that may influence our choice!


Max is really a special young man, who deserved his day away from school without really being too sick to enjoy it. Love to Braise and Smokey, who look adorable even when sad. It's sunny & chilly in Southern California.

Leslie H

I have to say thank you to Marianne for the wonderful idea! My husband passed away six months ago. My son is seven and I think that I just may start the same tradition with him. BTW, his last film "Bedford: The Town They Left Behind" is now available on DVD.
A gorgeous day here in Washington, DC!

Marianne Rankin

Hi, Leslie H,

Did your husband produce the DVD, act in it, or what? As your son gets older, you can share his father's interests with him, whether military history (which my husband knew a lot about) or other subjects.

You and your son will be in my prayers. This is a difficult time for you. Treasure every moment.


Your son is a sweetheart, Kristin-- even if he did skip school!


And bonnes vacances! Enjoy the time with your family!

Annette Heath

My favorite French word....without a doubt it is "la poubelle". En anglais, the trash can, garbage can....these words cannot compare with the lovely sound of la poubelle!


I remember one day my son did not want to go to school, so we played hookey at a beautiful local park noted for it's tree plantings from around the world, and we spent the day drawing. I vividly remember that time whenever I look at the drawing. I also passed on to my kids that "almost everything can be solved with a cup of tea", so I just smiled at your story. Oh, and I also remember my son with his nose in the opening buds, asking me,"Don't you just love to smell the floweres?" You are blessed, as I am, and smart enough to enjoy it while you have it. Thanks for provoking these wonderful events.


I also have a question au niveau de la langue. What is the difference between "louper" and "rater"? If I had to guess I would say "louper" is plus familier?

Joanne Johnson

It would be very difficult to deny Max anything! What a handsome and dear young man! Thank you for your continued good words and beautiful photos. Enjoy your getaway to Serre Chevalier. Happy Easter!


Thank You for all your pictures, words, stories, etc!! It's a pleasure learning french!!! Happy Easter!!!


One of my favorite posts of yours, Kristin! Have a Happy Easter weekend and lovely trip. Hope it's not raining there like it is here in Paris.


What a multi-talented Max! Charm, wit and a genuine love for his mom. You have raised him well! Savor the moment--I suspect this will be one of your favorite memories from his teenage years. Speaking of savor, who wouldn't give their teeth for a bowl of garriguettes! It's an understatement to say that my daughter loves strawberries, and I still remember the first time she tried some garriguettes at age 18 months while visiting her French grandmother one summer. How those blue eyes of hers lit up! Her younger brother will have his turn at them the next time we make a warm-weather trip to France. Thank you for allowing me to use your memorable moment to indulge in one of my own!


Your luncheon menu made me hungry. Would you share your recipe for ratatouille?


A wonderful description of a lovely day. Thanks!
Poor Braise and Smokey. But maybe they'll like the B&B? Some of them are quite nice.
You must take photos of them greeting you when you go to pick them up after you get home.

Have a wonderful vacation!


Raquel Medeiros

I remembered my high school times. In the future, I want to have a sweet son like Max. Have a wonderful vacation.
Rio de Janeiro

Leslie H

Sorry, Marianne--it's taken me so long to get back to the computer--don't know if you'll check this again. He produced, directed, and edited the film. It's a documentary--no actors in it.

Jennifer in OR

What a beautiful day!

Pat Cargill

Leslie, my deepest condolences to you and your family on the loss of your most talented husband. His work has touched many and provided important reminders on the power of possibility and the need to Never Forget. We watched "Paperclips" not long ago and I was so moved by this story and appreciative that it was made into a documentary. I live in Roanoke, Va, near Bedford and look forward to seeing his Bedford documentary. Many thanks for sharing with us, Pat Cargill

Pat Cargill

For a moving memorial to World War II history, specifically D-Day, see:


located in Bedford, Virginia.

Pat Cargill

"Paper Clips" - of course.

Pat Cargill

Marianne Rankin: I love hearing that you offer your son a day off in memory of his father...sweet. Wish I had had more time to talk w/you in D.C., but at least we shared the memorable wine tasting dinner together. Best to you and yours, Pat


Thank you, Pat :)

dara buchanan

j'ai aimé ce blog ! j'ai dû le lire ma classe française dans highschool aujourd'hui ! de wichita Kansas

Marianne Rankin

To Pat Cargill - yes, too bad we didn't have more time to chat. Roanoke is a long way from here, but if you get to the area again, you can look me up. I'm in the phone book - or you can send a message via the blog!

To Leslie H. - I will look for the Bedford DVD. I heard that per capita, Bedford lost more men in WWII than any other city/town in the whole USA. Since I don't know much else about the situation, viewing the DVD should be informative.

I'll keep you and your son in my prayers.


Kristin- Loved reading this again. This is definitely a keeper for the book. As a retired teacher, I do support the missed day- so worth it for the spirit(s) (yours and his!).
A quick note about the misplaced modifier in your opening sentence unless it is you who had the hearty meal!

Tim Averill

I agree that someday you might tackle louper, manquer, and rater.

J'ai raté le train, j'ai loupé ma classe, mais tu me manques ma chèrie!

Kristin Espinasse

Thank you, Jackie! I hope his fixes the problem:

After his hearty lunch of poulet rôti, spicy eggplant ratatouille, and rosemary herbed potatoes (and seconds of all three!), I suspect that my son


What a sweet son!

A couple of copy-editing notes:
2nd paragraph: 'when lunchtime comes around, I noticed' - I would change 'noticed' to 'notice', since you tell this story in the present tense.

Also, there should always be a space before '...' (end of the same sentence, and in 'J'ai loupé les maths ...', etc).

Kristin Espinasse

Thank you, Linda! Ive updated the line to the present tense. Re the elipses (sp?), I see your point. However, Id better leave as is... following all the other elipses in the book (too many to change). 

Bill in St. Paul

I don't know that I agree with Linda on having a space before the ellipsis. I consulted my "College Handbook of Composition" and "Handbook for Writers", neither of which shows a space before the ellipsis, but then these books were published back in the late 50s and early 60s. I'll consult with my book publishing son-in-law.

Sushil Dawka

Hi Kristin,
Your description of the strawberries was, ummm, delicious!
Perhaps Max meant to plead: "I need a whole day off."
Best wishes...



Do you want to center the title etc., as you have for other vingettes?

Consider leaving another blank line between these two:
"even if he is guilty.
As he eats, he reviews which classes he has missed:"

Blessings Kristin

Diane Scott

Love this one! What mom has not caved in to an "ailing" child just for the treasure of a "stolen" day with him or her? BTW, elipses do have spaces on either side as well as between each period according to the Chicago Manual of Style.

Maureen Walsh

Your story brought back a flood of memories of when my own children (now 29 and 26 years old) were in school and also occasionally needed a "day off". How quickly the years fly.

I have a copy-editing question: Should you add a period inside the parentheses in the first paragraph making it ("Aïe! J'ai mal au ventre!" he had complained. Feeling sympathetic, I let him stay home from school for the morning.)
Thanks for letting us be a part of your publishing. ;>)

Sandy Maberly

I suspect that my son is (was) brimming with health and not at all as sick as he claimed to be when the alarm clock rang this morning. (changed the present tense verb to past)

Only, when lunchtime came around, I noticed my son's healthy appetite... (changed verbs to past tense to be consistant)

"Well, well, Max, you certainly have the peach!" I declared, as the French do when pointing out how good they feel. (past tense for declare)

Max flashed me a disarming smile before asking what was for dessert. I brought out a bowl of aromatic garriguettes—strawberries so sweet you'd swear they were sugar cubes blushing in disguise. I passed Max the can of whipping cream, figuring that he might as well enjoy his sick day even if he was guilty.
As he ate, he reviewed which classes he had missed:
(just put all verbs in past tense)

Listening to my son's losses, I tried to balance the debit. (added past tense)

"J'ai loupé un peu d'histoire." I missed a bit of history, too, my son admited as I poked my nose deep into a pink blossom. Learning about another "louped" class I felt slightly annoyed. Then I got to thinking about Max's history book and all the "important stuff" that is recorded inside for students to study and recall. (changed to past tense).

I do love this story, Kristi.



This story was sweet. Your son seems a lot like you : Very warm, kind, with humor.

I have a Master's degree -- but I honestly don't see a lot of errors. I am too interested in the stories.

I have read all of the stories, please don't labor too long on these somewhat small corrections.

Kristin Espinasse

Thanks for these latest edits. Most of them are in! 

Sandy, I can now see my mistake; unraveling it will be a little tedious! But I have an idea: I believe it is the second paragraph that is throwing the present/past off. I think if I remove the paragraph it will solve the problem (I can then leave everything in the present), without taking away from the meaning.

Im a little fuddle-minded at the moment. Can anyone verify that taking out the second paragraph would work.

Thanks! I look forward to transferring this story over to the manuscript template!

Charles Orr in Flat Rock, NC

Another keeper! Suggestions:
1. "Feeling sympathetic, I let him stay home from school for the morning)" seems to be missing a period at the end.
2. "I need whole a day off." needs rearranging a bit.
3. In "Learning about another "louped" class I feel slightly annoyed." I would consider adding a comma after "class".

Charles Orr in Flat Rock, NC

I don't see that the second paragraph ("Only, when lunchtime comes around,...") is causing a problem, but I think you could do without it.

You have 3 verb phrases that occur at the same point in time in the past (before the healthy lunch}: "as he claimed to be", "he had complained.", "I let him stay home...". I would put them all in the same tense, and the simplest way would be to drop "had" from the second one. Then they would all be simple past tense; I don't think that the pluperfect is needed since your main story is in present tense.

Hope this didn't muddy the water further!


1. Suggest just a period, not ellipses after "appetite." (It closes the topic of the previous paragraph.)
2. Give the French for "have the peach"? That's not an English-language expression, so it sounds weird.
3. The can of whipped cream? (It's already whipped, right?)
4. Never document... or record (not "nor")

Recently discovered your blog (you'll never guess how) and it's wonderful... thanks for the invitation to help edit.


I don't do grammar, but I see that many of your readers do, so I'll steer clear of this personal minefield. I love the story. I think that you should give the French for "have the peach" rather than the English, which is not part of our usual lexicon.


Another good one!

Rosemary herbed potatoes. I don't think you need "herbed". Sandra

Charles Orr in Flat Rock, NC

"I need a whole a day off." now has an extra "a" before "day".

Also, I agree that including the French for "have the peach" would be more clear, and it's a good expression to teach the reader.

Kristin Espinasse

Thank you very much for this latest round of edits!

EL, Id love to know how you found this blog.

Kristin Espinasse

Charles, Thanks for catching that! I had looked for the a the last time, but couldnt see it.

Betty Gleason

Minor point: it is whipping cream when it is liquid in the carton; it is whipped cream in the can. I just checked the label of the can in the refrigerator. Hugs for healing.

Priscilla Fleming Vayda

I came to the edit late in the day but I think that with the suggested nips and tucks that the story reads well. "Loper" is lovely and I think that the only reason all the editors-in-waiting and English and French majors make suggested changes is that once in print, little miscues do stand out. So keep up your writing, take a deep breath during the editing phase and relish the moment when the printing is done. Bonne Chance, Priscilla

Priscilla Fleming Vayda

Should have had my editor standing over my shoulder ... should have read louper. Hate it when I miss a U.

Bruce T. Paddock

Hey, Kristin –

You seem to have solved the present/past problem perfectly.

In the first sentence, you use a serial comma (the one between “ratatouille” and “and.” While I prefer serial commas, you haven’t used them in any of the stories I’ve checked thus far (e.g., “which were taut, tanned and untamed by nylons ”) from the previous vignette.

“Ratatouille” isn’t in the vocab list, and it does exist in English as well, so maybe it shouldn’t be italicized.

Somehow, “Max shows me a disarming smile” makes it sound as if the smile were intended for someone else. How about “flashes me” or “shoots me”?

In the last paragraph, do you mean “memorized” or “memorialized”? (Sample usage from Merriam-Webster: an exciting period in history that has been memorialized in many popular books and movies)

What a sweet little piece this is.

(Hey! How’s that for tersity?)

Bettye Dew

1. My suggestions for 1st paragraph: After his hearty meal of blah, blah, MY SON SEEMS TO BE brimming ...

2. Delete the one-sentence 2nd paragraph, which is unnecessary and confusing, time-wise.

3. If you delete 1. and 2., then you'll probably need to add an "I say" speaker attribution in the 3rd paragraph.

This way, you are not BLATANTLY telling the reader that Max is faking, but readers are getting the idea from the tone and circumstances and from their own experience.

Cap. for Mommy in "For you, Mommy."


I love the sentence "strawberries so sweet you'd swear they were sugar cubes blushing in disguise." :-)

Does Max call you "Mommy" (or "Mom" now that he is older)? :-) Very exotic in France! That would be his mother's influence!!

Dawn Bouchard

"How unworthy of note one boy's stolen day..."

Maybe a little less awkward way might be:
"How un-noteworthy one boy's stolen day..."

Precious times definitely worth noting! Last week my 19-yr. old son (youngest of 4) & I had one of those 'noteworthy times' as well and it's safely stored away in this mom's 'scrapbook of the heart' :)

Sharon Marchisello

I would capitalize "Mommy" in the sentence, "For you, mommy."
This sentence seems a bit awkward:
How unworthy of note one boy's stolen day may seem to historians who'll never document the sweetness of this tea, or record the gift of a tender heart.
The correction above in the previous post would work. Here's another suggestion:
One boy's stolen day may not seem noteworthy to historians who'll never document the sweetness of this tea, or record the gift of a tender heart.

Kristin Espinasse

Thank you for your edits and suggestions :-) I see what you mean about the awkward wording in the last sentence. Id better leave as-is for now...

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