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mauvaise herbe

faire d'une pierre deux coups

carry-on suitcase and golden retrievers
Pictured here: The Welcome-Home Committee... headed by Smokey R. Dokey, left. And that's his mama, Braise (brez, like "Pez"), right. I'd say the Comité de Bienvenue could use a good bath! (Yet one more way for this time-challenged traveler to stay awake during le décalage horaire. Read on!)

faire d'une pierre deux coups

    : to kill two birds with one stone

Audio File: listen to Jean-Marc pronounce this French expression: Download MP3 file

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

It is good to be home! It might be even better to be in bed... but I have learned that when arriving in France in the a.m., one must stay awake well into the p.m.!  else suffer le syndrome du décalage horaire!

One way to keep awake is by keeping up one's French word journal... so I'll tell you about a new expression I learned just this morning, while waiting for my TGV train at the Charles DeGaulle Airport (Terminal 2 is also a train station!):

faire d'une pierre deux coups = to kill two birds with one stone

The French version is so much gentler (no sacrificed birds!) and yet the expression retains all its punch! Speaking of sacrifices, I am putting this "two hits out of one stone" expression to work... by working off this jet lag here on line. In the end, I will have stayed awake for a few more hours... all the while updating this site. So it's a win-win gagnant-gagnant kind of deal. Now to convince my body of this "winning" logic when its internal clock is feeling cheated!

Apart from blogging, I spent some quality catch-up time with Jean-Marc, the kids, and also the dogs, who, I discovered, were covered with olive-size burrs! They had been on more than one vineyard adventure while I was away. It will take several more hours--and a good pair of cutting shears--to free them of their "trophies" -- but this ought to be another fine way to keep awake on this sunny Provençal day.



Smokey Doodle Dribble. A thought bubble might read: "I wonder how many treats are in that carry-on bag? And all for me!" Do you have another thought bubble to add?

Le Coin Commentaires
Corrections, comments, and stories of your own are welcome here, in the comments box.


FYI! Meet Jean-Marc in New York this coming March 7th for a tasting of his wines or later in many other US cities.

French Vocabulary
le Comité de Bienvenue = the welcome-home committee
le syndrome du décalage horaire = jet lag
gagnant-gagnant = win-win 

With my dear Dad, who drove  back from California (with his lovely wife, Marsha). More pictures to come... Read a story about my dad, here.

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


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I'm still groggy here (in DC) or I'd surely come up w/something snappy for the thought bubble:) I don't have an excuse for my le décalage horaire, it's just February. Ugh. Meanwhile, let me say that I so enjoy reading your posts, esp. those in the last few weeks. xoxo

Jules Greer

Hi Honey,

I loved every word of your post - I now feel like I have you back with me (in my heart). I thank God for the day you started FWaD because you are always with me.

I loved the photo's of Smokey and Braise, I can see where JM had washed the patio down before your arrival, it is still a little damp.

Big THANKS again for Sandy making your trip possible (not having to mortgage the farm) as you mentioned in the last "Le Coin Commentaries."

I imagine you are off to pick up the kids from school at this very moment - I will now return to your gift book on Fenelon...until you call.

Your Dad looks great - I must have had rocks in my head when I divorced him...but as the Bible says, "All things work together for good to those who trust God." We would never have your beautiful sister Kelly if I hadn't run away. And I would never have found the perfect man for me in John. Kip, you were a hard act to follow, as it took me 25 years to remarry. John says to tell you "Hello" and give a big hug to Marsha.

We are the luckiest family.



Eileen deCamp

Hi Kristin,
Smokey and Braise look happy to see you!The photo of you and your dad is lovely. You look alot like him.
I hope you are over your jet lag!
Enjoy the rest of the week!


Hi Kristin,
I love your blog with all your wonderfull photos.
However I am terribly sorry that the expression gagné-gagné doesn't exit in French. The exact translation for win-win is gagnant-gagnant.
You can ask Segolene ROYAL for that. It's one of her favorite expression.
Best regards

Bill in St. Paul

Great pictures of the dogs. I think Smokey is saying "Come a little closer, I want to give you a kiss." I note with great dismay that Jean-Marc with be in St. Paul when we are in Massachusetts visiting our son, daughter-in-law, and two granddaughters, but even worse, J-M is having a wine dinner at our favorite restaurant, 128 Cafe while we're gone. I hope all readers in the Twin Cities can get over there for great wines and great food.


Those two cuties are just so glad to see you...and have the burrs and whatever whisked away! It's almost........time for sleep now, no?

Suzanne Codi, Washington, DC

I think Smokey is thinking " Oh beautiful human Mom who feeds us and takes good care of us, I'm sooo happy you're home!!!"

And I'll bet you're sooo happy to see them too, burrs, mud and all!!


J'adore the shape of smokey dokey's tongue in this looks like gravity is stretching it to the ground...
They are both so adorable. It must be hard to leave them behind when you travel.


Welcome home. Glad you made it home safely to the welcoming committee. Oh, the burrs!! I don't which is better: dogs free to explore or My jones, contained in his yard. Burrs in poodle hair are disastrous. Be well. Mary

Michael Wrenn

Bonjour de la Napa Valley Kristin,

C'est toujours un plaisir de te lire, et de suivre tes aventures en France et ailleurs. What a wonderful welcoming committee in Mama Braise and Smokey Dokey!

I have to agree that when you arrive in France in the morning, best to try to stay awake and make it to early evening at least to help ward off the jet lag.

I am amazed that after studying French for nearly 30 years, and teaching it for 14, you often still manage to come up with some new expression that I have never heard before. You truly enrich us francophones (and wannabe francophones!)

Thank you again for sharing your world of words and the beautiful people in it. When Jules can speak so lovingly and openly about marriage, lost loves, and new chances at relationships and life, you know you are among special people.

Looking forward to visiting in July! Ça s'approche!

Michael in Napa Valley

Sandy Maberly

Was thinking about you Kristi and hoping all was going as it should (with no hiccups). I know that everyone is so excited to have you home as you are the "glue" that keeps that close knit famille together! Keep your eyes open just a bit longer. You still have so much to "rediscover".

Suzanne, Monroe Twp., NJ

I think your trip gave Smokey some ideas so my thought bubble for him is, "Where to?!"

Kristin Espinasse


Thank you for gagnant-gagnant! I should have caught my mistake (had I read it aloud, I might have heard won-won and realized this was not the one!). Good to learn gagnant-gagnant!

Mom, thank you for your lively commentary, which brings this community to life! I love every word you write. 

Bill in St Paul, as my niece and nephew would say Not fair! Sorry that JM will miss you this time... heres to the next.

Suzanne, thanks for that thought bubble!

Thanks to all for these very kind words! 

(Almost time to sleep now. But Jean-Marc is making a special dinner... so Id best stay awake for it!)

Sandy, what a lovely thing to say. Merci for this and for making the trip possible! 

Suzanne (Margarets sister), just saw your thought bubble and smiled. 

Jan in Colorado

I think Smokey's thoughts are along the line of "I won't REALLY be happy until she unpacks that bag"! BTW, Smokey is looking great and all healed from his past woes. I'm glad your trip went so well and that you had a chance to fill many family squares. Traveling is wonderful but it's always great to get back home!

Jules Greer

Hi Jan, Did you realize Smokey has never regained control of the right side of his tongue - a battle wound he wears with laughter. XOXO



Happily joining "Le Comité de Bienvenue" and guessing that "faire d'une pierre deux coups" was in fact, "faire d'une pierre trois coups", if you count the great joy you gave to your readers to read FWAD ... as soon as you arrived!

It is the first time we have a colour photo of your dad. Now, we know where your blue eyes come from. Your sister Kelley and your daughter Jackie seem to have "quelques traits" qui rappellent le visage allongé de ton papa".
("un trait", here, = a feature
"le visage" = a person's face)

Time to tell you I found the picture with the powerful wings so symbolic... and so beautiful! I felt I had too much to say at the time. Also, the meaning of that delicate shawl offered to you by John was beyond words. I should have added a post in "Le Coin Commentaires", but ... I should have also told you how much I loved to look at the happy picture of Jules, John and You. "Oui, j'aurais dû..., j'aurais dû"... (says the chorus)and I think "tu connais ce genre de refrain"!
le refrain = the chorus

Jules, in spite of what I've just said in the preceding paragraph, I'd like to tell you I was not 'absent' on the 7th and on the 9th Feb... Have a look at the few posts in "Le Coin Commentaires"...
You may smile if I tell you how much you were on my mind on the 12th Feb when I took some pictures of my mauve crocuses, wild pink primroses and light pink Viburnum B... 'Dawn'... In their own humble ways, they represented 'your colours'... and I felt so lucky that on that day, the sky was exceptionally blue (a rare treat).
I'm sure you had a lovely Valentine day! No red roses for me but an orchid (the type I specially love). I finished knitting a very warm scarf, in basket weave stitch, and last Monday, I offered it to my husband. We both calculated how many stitches were needed to make that very long scarf!...
Is there a way to measure love in thousands and thousands of knitting stitches?...

Kristin, I can sense your feeling of being 'back home' with your dearest ones, all mixed with your lack of sleep, tiredness, and that train of emotions when you left Mexico - and then Arizona, and following you all the way back home!
A few extra hours of sleep will do you good!

Marianne Rankin

The sound file still doesn't work. If there is any way to fix it, I would appreciate it.

I thought "decalage horaire" meant time difference, such as between time zones. For example, le decalage horaire between the West Coast and the East Coast is 3 hours. Is that phrase also used for "jet lag"?

I recall reading a book about traveling to Europe, in which it said about jet lag, "Rely on adrenalin and a bath to keep you going till local bedtime!"

Glad you had a great trip.

Herm in Phoenix, AZ

Salut Kristin,

I’m glad you’re home safe and sound! Hopefully, as I write this, you’re resting comfortably and recovering from the travel ordeal.

Jules…. I promise never to repeat any of the stories that Kristin told us about you during our “meet-up” in Phoenix. OMG!

Seeing the photo of Smokey and Braise prompted this little verse (to the tune of Home on the Range):

Home, home in Provence
Where two lonesome “k-9s” do play
And seldom is heard, a phrase or a word
That’s not been in French Word-a-Day

À bientôt


---> About the 'win-win' situation: yes, it is indeed "gagnant-gagnant" (from the verb "gagner" = to win)

---> On the other hand, in a 'no-win' situation / 'lose-lose' situation, there are choices, but, unfortunately, there is no benefit and no way of getting anything that works out. This situation, is "perdant-perdant" (from the verb "perdre" = to lose).

---> There is another expression formed in the same way - it is: "donnant-donnant" (from the verb "donner" = to give. This is a 'give-and-take' situation with mutual concessions, compromises and agreements.

Kristin, I guess at this time, you're no longer fighting to keep your eyes open...
Good night!

Jules Greer

It must be 8:36 p.m. at Kristi's house - I'm here to tuck you in Sweetheart. While you are away in dreamland the mice will play in "Le Coin Commentaires".

Herm - another brillant poem from the master. I crown you resident poet, since Kristi is probably asleep I HAVE THE POWER.

NEWFOREST - i'M off to check out your past commentaires - thanks for thinking of me in your garden.

Marianne - thanks for telling Kristi to get the sound file fixed - I wanted to but didn't dare.
Are you a principal or a professor at a French language school??? You seem to keep us straight. Big hug to you.

Herm - don't believe a word Kristi tells you...after all she IS a Ycrivain.



Jules Greer

ycrivain engagy !!!


First thought that comes to mind, "That's one healthy looking pink mouth!"

Karen from Phoenix, AZ

Glad all is well on the return home. We will miss you in Phoenix. Jules don't worry the stories were wonderful, just as you are.

Those dogs are just way too cute!


Smokey might be saying, "See Mom, I promised I would brush my teeth while you were gone".
I am glad you are back home. I am sure Smokey and his mom missed you. Oh, your kids and husband missed you too very likely.


My thought bubble for Smokey's solo photo is "Oh, boy! The food is going to get better!"

Kristin, I don't know how you manage to post 3x a week! And you kept it up while you traveled! We just started a website in December and I have difficulty posting once a week! Plus, you share so much of your life. And, you teach us at the same time! Merci! You are truly amazing!

Thanks go to Jules for being willing to share you with us while you traveled.

Jacqueline Gill

Sure did enjoy all the stories of your trip to see your mom. Having just read the extra story about your dad, I think he too must be a sweetheart. Your looks are the perfect blending of the two! Such beauty! I am wondering how you managed to weather the situation of parents divorcing--my children suffered very much, no matter how much I tried.
Blessings to you, Kristin, and welcome home--Jackie


I notice the date of this post with excitement; exactly a month from now we will be fighting le décalage horaire on arrival in Provence.
Each time I find a new FWaD post in my email I study it & then invariably spend too much time checking out "just one more" and then another & another of the past postings...
Merci milles fois!


Hi Marianne,

--> "un décalage"
= a gap / a discrepancy ...

--> "le décalage horaire"
= the time difference (number of hours) between two places.
(fuseau horaire = time zone

What about 'jet lag'?
(condition that involves physical and psychological signs and symptoms one experiences when travelling West to East, flying at high speed across several time zones)

I think "jet lag" should be translated in French by
--> "le syndrome du décalage horaire"

to suffer from jet lag
= souffrir du décalage horaire.
"Je souffre du décalage horaire"/ "je supporte mal le décalage horaire".

Wishing you a good recovery from your jet lag and a few days away from FWAD (the fans would understand that very well)

Candy in SW KS

"My maman is home and I'm ready to give her a big slobbery kiss!!!" I loved reading everyone's comments today. Herm's song was fun as I sang it out loud! And Newforest always regales us with great vocab lessons which are informative and fun. Newforest, dear, when you mentioned measuring love with the number of knitting stitches I was reminded of the story of Jonathon and David in the Bible. It says that they were "knit together" in their love. Kristin, so glad you made it home safely. You are fortunate to have so many people who have knit you into their lives. Seems to be a perfect pattern, non? :)

Ophelia in Nashville

What an amazing welcome home committee! I loved reading them this morning and I agree with several proposed bubbles. That's a "I'm sooooo glad you're home!" look if I ever saw one.

Beautiful photo of your dad, too, and Jules' response is so rare. You ARE a very lucky family.

Bon courage pour le decalage horaire.


Smokey said "I could have sworn that sandwich was for me. I love you, Mom!"

Karen W  (Towson, Maryland)

Welcome home, Kristin and thanks for the "trip". It was kind of you to take us along with you.

As the main cargiver to our pets, I think I worry most about THEM more than the children whenever I go away. It was nice of them to "iron in a few wrinkles" or "roll on a few burrs" to show how much you were missed. How does Smokey eat and drink with that poor but adorable tongue of his?

Seeing the use of that "ant" ending (gagnant, perdant)is coinciding with the current lesson on this piece of grammar in my French class. How fun to see it used!

Marianne Rankin

Herm, I like your poem.

Jules, I taught French years ago - not a lot of demand for it these days. But I try to keep up with both the language and the culture, and Kristin helps with that (merci, Kristin!)

Newforest, thanks for the clarification on "decalage horaire."

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