point du jour
remettre au lendemain


Poppy (c) Kristin Espinasse

It's Vagabonde Vendredi -- time to stray from our comfortable way. I have been saving this favorite flower from my garden for you. Enjoy!


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aviver (ah-vee-vay) verb


    : to stir up

French verb conjugation:
 j'avive, tu avives, il avive, nous avivons, vous avivez, ils avivent past participle: avivé

Audio File & Example sentence: listen to Jean-Marc:  
Download MP3  or Wav

Pour que la muse vienne vous visiter, bousculer vos habitudes, avivez votre matinée! For the muse to come and visit you, shake up your habits, stir up your morning.

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

Take a new path each day. Shake things up. Do the unexpected

These things run through my mind as I type, fresh dirt beneath my fingernails, along this chattering clavier. (Have you ever listened to the sound of typing?  Stop. Ecoutez! What do you hear?I hear the sound of hailstones hitting the front patio. Did you hear it too? Type on and listen closely... Oh, chameleon keyboard, when I am in the moment, listening with all my might, I hear falling pebbles of poetry.)

It is always a good time to be in the moment. The same goes for writing a thrice-weekly journal on a deadline. This edition will go out, automatically, "preprogramedly," in four hours. Between then and now a lot could happen... such as:

Bees! I could bolt back outside, to where I left my trowel... and look at bumble hides. Yesterday, while visiting with the Dirt Divas (pictured, below), Doreen pointed out the blanched-butted bumblebees.  (Did she call them "white bums"?)  Just thinking of their name makes me light.

Light, this is how I'd like the next four hours to pass—légèrement—and not lourdement. "Heavily" happens when we're over-serious. Why not be neither heavy nor lighty-flighty... why not shoot for "whimsical weighted"?

But back to "what could happen in the next four hours"... Isn't this an exciting thought? Perhaps one might leave the work desk and take a spin around the block (or building, or airport, or internet café) or wherever this letter finds you reading....

Then, there's always a free moment for a one-minute meditation: time to clear the mind and replace any negative (defeating, fearful, muckity-puckity pensées) with positive ones or, better yet, Godly ones.  "Meditate on the Word" my mom, Jules, might tell me. She might also tell me to do something new (and so be renewed?), such as ride my bike to Camaret and give my new friend Liliane a jam jar of jardin jewels: those ruby and sapphire and citrine splendors in the garden.

(Alas, a few hours have now passed... and I haven't managed to lighten up. Worse, I feel weightier than before. Perhaps this is the ol' "one step forward, deux en arrière" snare?)

Never mind. What's important is to keep marching on and with a sing-song in one's step. And if, by chance, you need a guide, you might chance to follow a certain blanched-bumed bee hide...

as it bumbles,  and as you stumble, from one good intention to the next. At least you tried :-) 


:: Le Coin Commentaires ::

Thanks for stopping in to say "bonjour" today. Click here to comment. 

 No picture of the blanched-bottomed bumble bee... Will you enjoy this blue-winged one instead?
  Blue Wings (c) Kristin Espinasse


 The dear
Dirt Divas (Malou & Doreen), who never fail to make one smile. I hope their generosity is contagious. 

   French Vocabulary

écouter = to listen to
légèrement = lightly
lourdement = heavily
le jardin = garden
deux en arrière = two (steps) backwards



There's fan fiction and now "pal poetry": study my latest poem (on the previous page)... and see  how Newforest gussies it up here, below, finding just the right French words and making it even more meaningful:


"Le Point du Jour"  

(Poème de Kristin revu par 'Newforest')




 Ce matin je me suis levée avant les ipomées. 

Coucou, levez-vous!

Je me suis penchée vers ces fleurs matinales

Qui dorment encore, serrant leurs pétales.

Coucou! Levez-vous!

Plus loin, les grillons répètent sans cesse leur cricri strident,

Mais les jolies fleurs bleues, pas encore éveillées, 

Savourent les plaisirs d'une grasse matinée.








  Morning glory
  Photo by Andrew Farrell





Poetry vocabulary 


- une Ipomée = Morning Glory






(un volubilis is a synonyme)





- se pencher = to lean over





- encore = here, it means still (still asleep)





- serrer = to tighten, to grip tightly





- un pétale = petal 





- plus loin = further





- le grillon = cricket





- sans cesse / continuellement = non stop





- le cricri is the French word for the sound made by crickets





- (être éveillé) = (to be) woken up





- savourer le/les plaisir(s) de ... = to enjoy


- faire la grasse matinée = to sleep in 

please help me to thank Newforest for this new and improved poésie. Click here to leave a comment. 





Sixty Slices of Life... on Wry  Sixty Slices of Life... on Wry (The Private Life of a Public Broadcaster) is a tongue-in-cheek memoir, proceeding chronologically from what the author learned about life from his dog when he was eight, to when he learned that he was an old man in the Paris Metro at age sixty-eight. Click here for more info.

Exercises in French PhonicsExercises in French Phonics is... 
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Tune Up Your French: Top 10 Ways to Improve Your Spoken French In French film: Le Trou In a Paris prison cell, five inmates use every ounce of their tenacity and ingenuity in an elaborate attempt to tunnel to freedom. Based on the novel by José Giovanni, Jacques Becker's Le Trou (The Hole) balances lyrical humanism with a tense, unshakable air of imminent danger. Order this film.

A Message from KristiOngoing support from readers like you keeps me writing and publishing this free language journal week after week. If you find value in this website and would like to keep it going strong, I kindly ask for your support by making a donation today. Thank you very much for being a part of this community and helping me to maintain this site and its newsletter.

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


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Debbie Ambrous

Dear Kristin,
The bumblebee is beautiful as a jewel too in your jardin. I tried unsucessfully to take a picture of a bumblebee when we recently visited France. They just won't stay still! Coincidentally, my mini-calendar with French words for each day has "Tres occupe" and the explanation below it says "Busy as a bee". Well, I must be busy as a bee in a few minutes after I finish my coffee.
Bumbling along,
Debbie Ambrous

Bill in St. Paul

My method of taking a new path is, as I've mentioned before, getting lost, going down a road I've never been down before. I love to get lost in France by using lesser traveled roads, and as long as you know the major roads that surround you, you cannot be truly lost. Have a great weekend, all!


Kristin, I love all of your posts. The one minute meditation is perfect. Yes, we all need to clear out heads to receive the moment. Thanks for the reminder to "aviver" my moments. Mary


I HAVE to send this post to one of my dearest friends as your words mirror hers from today's email... she will love to share your company as we all do. Love to Jules, there's nothing better than mediatating on the Word. Thanks Kristen!


Since you enjoy waxing poetic, you might like reading Ray Bradbury's Dandelion Wine. There's one scene where two boys are out picking berries with their dad on the first day of summer, and the dad is moved by the beauty of the woods:

"He liked to listen to the silence, he said, if silence could be listened to, for, he went on, in that silence you could hear wildflower pollen sifting down the bee-fried air, by God, the bee-fried air! Listen! the waterfall of birdsong beyond those trees!"

I've always loved that combination of words!

It's going to be in the 70's in Manhattan Beach, California today!


Hi Mindy... from a new fan of the Dandelion Wine passage :-)

Barbara, thank you for forwarding the post!


Quelles belles photos, chere Kristin! The advice is also beautiful and makes me feel less melancholic to know that I have a friend in sud de la France who is shaking off weighty burdens and visiting her garden! Blessings, xo

Audrey Wilson

I am a new subscriber & am finding your site a great help with vocabularly. I like the lay out too. Photos , poems & stories are all great to see & read .

Jacqui McCargar

I love the photo of the Oriental Poppy Kristi, it reminds me of my first visit to France in the spring. The fields of bright red poppies are breathtaking! (Of course I was a bit too early for blooming lavender)
I wish we had them here in California too.

Have a great weekend everyone and enjoy your gardens! I myself am off to plant some more strawberries, yum!
Jacqui in Santa Rosa, Ca supposed to be in the 80's today


vagabonde vendredi...such a wonderful phrase Kristin. your post is so inviting and I want to join the digging divas. Just wondered if Camaret is Chamaret the village a few kilometers outside Grignan...we lived there years ago, loved it and I use Chamaret for my email...Cara


Salut Kristin,

Great post today and thanks for the underlying wisdom that was so pleasantly imbedded in story.

A phrase that I find helpful in breaking out of the everyday live patterns is:

You have to go out on the limb.....That's where the fruit is.

Herm in Phoenix

Jules Greer

Kristi Honey, I felt like we were having a cup of coffee together when I read todays post....Thank You for sharing this moment with me. I love your two new girlfriends, the Dirt Divas should be a weekly club for you, I want to join.




thank you for today's lovely email : )


Dear Kristin,

Loving your photos of late, and this poppy is exquisite!

Love your site... Hugs.


Wow!! Thanks for the beautiful photo of the poppy. Today's blog is especially good. Mille mercis.

Marcia Fritch

Bonjour,Kristin. Thank-you for today's special message. The poppy made me smile and wish that I was there to enjoy it too! The message was a great reminder and I hope that it will stay with me throughout the day - meditating on the Word and focusing on the positive are the best ways to walk through life. Blessings to you. Marcia in Iowa

Stacy, Applegate, Oregon

Thanks for brightening up my day! Now, it feels as if your farm is just down the road from mine. We’ll share bumblebees and canning jars filled with homegrown flowers…makes me smile.

Thanks to Mindy for sharing the magical, right-in-tune lines from Dandelion Wine.
Also, love your new friends, the Dirt Divas!

Karen (in Towson, Md) Whitcome

This photo is so happy. :o))
You are the French Georgia O'Keefe, me thinks!!

Thanks for a lovely virtual visit via your post. Tu avives my soul aujourd'hui!!

Kathleen Heckathorn

Bonjour from Lake Forest, California. Thank you for a lovely story. Loved the bees and the Dirt Divas!

Karen (in Towson, Md) Whitcome

I especially liked the gussied up last line of the "pal poem". Well done, you two.


Lovely images today...."falling pebbles of poetry" and "jam jars
of jardin jewels"....must be spring in your part of the world! Bonjour and thank you for lightening up my day!

joie  carmel,ca

Your prose is inspiring.


les ipomees is much a lovely word!


Jules Greer

Hi Kristi (My little Angel)

It's 77 degrees here in Puerto Vallarta this morning with a light ocean breeze floating in through my patio...I wish you were here. I sense a slight depression floating through your post, I hope it has lifted for the weekend. I imagine all of your fans forget that you are literally planted in the center of the Rhone Valley and that when a hail storm arrives it could have an impact on your baby grapes and your life. The kids are in the mist of surging hormones and the house needs to be cleaned again...You may have accidentally heard some of the 'world's news' - a big NO!NO! to creativity and joy of life.

Once again I am reminded of how very special you are and how much joy you bring into my life with each post which comes directly from your sincere heart, the struggles you must overcome to shine your little light each time you sit down at your computer to brighten our lives with your words. When I first glanced at your post I felt the deja vu of seeing my own words to you, how pleased I was to know that these little words of wisdom are planted deep within your heart. You must always remember to run the right race through life, and this I know you are doing. You have been true to yourself, a merry heart which you were born with.

You need to refresh yourself --- and I think it is OUR JOB to stand by you and now it is time for us all to remember that we need to fill you up with love and appreciation to keep your little engine running so we can reap the good feeling we all receive when you place your heart on your keyboard.

I love you Honey - you are very special and I could not imagine facing my days without your wonderful words to light my path.



Nicole lidji

No comment , this is just to tell you what a refreshing delight it is every morning to see the lovely pictures , read the stories and refresh my french .
Merci mille fois ,


What beautiful photos!

I always enjoy your photos, but these were particularly striking!


Yesterday, I stopped in front of the splendid poppy, amazed to see its petals, usually like very fine “papier chiffonné”, take an appearance of “soie chatoyante” (= shimmeing silk)! Effect of the sun after a bit of rain? your camera? your artistic flair? This photo was playing delightful tricks on my eyes. I read the title and thought the powerful bright red was there, ready to “aviver” everyone's mood and feelings. No poppy around me today... so, "mille et mille mercis" for sharing its invigorating beauty with us.

'Take a new path each day'
I didn't go any further than the first sentence, as I was pulled away from my laptop, but, during the day, “la petite phrase a trotté dans ma tête”... I'll let you know about the swirl of ideas (and questions) it produced.


shimmeRing silk ....


TAKE A NEW PATH EACH DAY... Yesterday, this idea that ran through your mind when starting to type your newsletter, became, during the day “une petite phrase trottant dans ma tête”... and here is what went through my mind:

Do I want to take a new path each day? Does 'a new path' mean a different approach, a new facet of the idea I had yesterday? Or was yesterday a failure, so, I've got to change my mind, be more patient, refresh my inspiration, revise my ways of doing, of thinking? try harder, start again? … and take yet a new approach the following day? and a different one the day after... and so on? Wouldn't that make me tired and always unsatisfied (excitement wearing off)
Or is it that today, I should concentrate more on something, and tomorrow, on something else ? … which is easier to do, I suppose, when you are on holiday or when your grown up children have left home. In that environment, with no timetable, no schedule, the word “path” seems to go back to its original meaning. It goes hand in hand with 'exploring' everyday a new village, a new area, either on foot, bike, by car or even by boat... discovering places and meeting new people? or … if staying at home with plenty of time at your disposal, would it mean 'exploring' cooking, baking, or doing craftwork, gardening ... at your own leisure? ... and with the clock out of sight? There is the inevitable 'time' factor to take into account –> what's left over once the routine 'jobs' are done and nobody else needs your attention, your time.

Then, with a big smile on my face, I thought about my mother-in-law (she died 10 years ago at the age of 84). For her, a different 'path' each day would have meant -> a different 'task' for each day of the week, and back to square one on the following week! Once, she told me that each day of an ordinary working week, (plus husband, children and home to look after) meant a different chore, a different task. She said she used to follow her mother's steps Hmmm, I wasn't following exactly her steps! As for following my own mother's steps, she, sadly, died too young. During her last years, she had no choice of path to take, except the path traced by her illness. Back to my mother-in-law:
Monday was Wash Day,
Tuesday: Ironing Day
Wednesday: Mending and Sewing Day (and finishing the ironing, of course). Embroidery if nothing left to do.
Thursday: Market Day (and chatting to friends in town)
Friday: Cleaning Day (and finishing any odd jobs)
Saturday: Baking Day (very proud of it! Actually, it was the most creative of all her 'tasks')
Sunday: Day of Rest (although she wasn't religious and didn't go to church)
A bit of a 'Victorian' approach?..., yes, of course. BTW, gardening was done mainly by her husband, very proud of his flowers, vegetables, his soft fruit bushes and his hedges...

Kate Horsley

I am seeing a kindred spirit here when I thought I was just coming to tighten up my French. I blog about 3 times a year rather than 3 times a week and I struggle to come up with something I believe is worthwhile. As a student of French, as a writer, as a meditator, I thank you.

Kate (www.katehorsley.com)


- A bumblebee is “un bourdon”
- Kristin, your little “Belle” (you know...) may tell you about another meaning of the word “bourdon” in the world of “cloches”. Ask her.

*** To Doreen
and all those puzzled by 'the bumblebees with a white bum!"
The famous bumblebees with the amusing nicknames given by Doreen and Kristin are..........
---> 'Tree Bees' (Bombus Hypnorum)
In French ---> “les bourdons des arbres”

In England they were first spotted in 2001, on the Northern edge of the New Forest.
They've got an orange-brown thorax, black abdomen, and a 'white tail'.

Info and photos:





sue manning

Your mother is a very wise woman. My mother always said when your soul is restless,God (whatever your definition) is speaking to you. It's taken many,many long years and a road less traveled for her words to sink in.Also, my organic farmer friends do not refer to "dirt" but "soil" for she is the mother of man and without her there would be no civilization. Here in Western North Carolina since 2002, the state has lost more than 6,000 farms and 600,0000 acres of farmland to development.
I treasure my visits to my daughter & family in Lille where eating is a spiritual experience I feel I am eating as close to the way our Creator intended as possible instead of the genetically modified foods so prevalent here in the states. Europe, especially France, is way ahead of the U.S. in this matter. So, I will continue to grow some of my food and support the local and regional farmers who give us what we NEED not what we want!
You are a very gifted writer, such a way with words! And your photography grabs me by the throat! sue in Cashiers, N.C.

Marilyn Lindahl

Loved your poem. I just finished reading La Gloire de mon Pere. The same spirit lives in your poem.


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