Arizona meet-up & "Shoulda Coulda Woulda" in French
A la recherche du temps perdu

Aussi Froid Que Le Cul d'Un Mort

One of these locals taught me a funny expression when, at a local café, she sent back her fried eggs, complaining they were cold as a dead man's butt! So I promised Lulu (left) that today's not-so-French expression would be in her honor...

aussi froid que le cul d'un mort* (oh si fwah keuh leuh kul dun mohr)

: as cold as a dead man's butt

*(and, gosh, I'll be mortified if I didn't get this translation right... after butchering the shoulda coulda woulda French translation...)

PHOENIX Meet-up: click here  for info on Friday's meet-up in the Valley of the Sun.

A Day in a Mexican Life... (by a damned tourist*)

50 Ways to Please Your Mother

Mom and I are tying our shoelaces and tucking pesos into our pockets.
"You don't want to be one of those damn tourists* who stand there counting out change, holding up the driver and the locals." With that, Jules slaps on her hat and shouts, are you ready yet?!

I suspect we are heading out, after all, for that mountain adventure she's been raving about, on our way to dusty jungle paths far from the typical tourist traps... though by now I am content to remain within a half-mile radius of the marina, especially since my stomach never did settle down completely, not since the pre-flight adventure last week.

Oh, Pffft! Mom gestures, and the unimpressed look on her face reminds me that I do not want to be taken for the namby-pamby neurotic that I really am. 

"OK. So what are we going to do?" I wonder, anxiously.

And Mom, as cool as an accomplice, gives me the gist:

"We're just going to get on the bus, Gus."

Le Coin Commentaires
Corrections are helpful and comments are welcome here, in the comments box.



Bel ria dog of war by Sheila Burnford I am currently reading one of Jules's all time favorite books "Bel Ria". I hope you will read along with me. Check out the story of a darling dog in wartime France. Bel Ria by Sheila Burnford. More than a children's book - any grown up would adore reading this. The vocabulary is rich - a wonderful book for a budding or a practicing writer or a Francophile or a history buff or a dog lover... a great read for all. Order a copy here.








From left to right: Teri, Berthe "Bety", Penny, Lulu, Jules, Breezy, Kristin, and Matt, who is a reader of French Word-A-Day and who emailed, inviting Mom and me to hang out with him and his friends.

We ate with the mischievous group here at the marina, where I've been hanging out all week.


Why venture out when characters like these two bring the best of Mexico right to you? 


Teri and Penny are from Portland, OR... and might've been featured at the top of this post... had they come up with a saucier expression than Lulu's (did they not dare to?).

Fun loving Lulu (see her there in the back?) steals the show once more... that's Matt and I, trying with all our might to stay in the spotlight...

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Eileen deCamp

Hi Kristin!
Great pictures! I was laughing so hard when I read the translation. I was trying to figure it out before looking at the English translation. Have you also heard the expression "as cold as a witch's tit?" Can I even say that here? I hope I don't get booted off. haha
Have fun and enjoy the rest of your time!

Jules Greer

I always loved the song "50 ways to leave your lover" and of course one of the ways was 'Get on the bus, Gus.'




I didn't need the translation so was startled when the subject line appeared in my inbox! Long ago in my student days I inconvenienced a hotel employee late at night (how was I know small French hotels locked their doors). I learned a lot of interesting vocabulary and idioms as he opened the door for me at 2 a.m.

Marianne Rankin

Is "aussi froid que ... mort" considered casual? I'd hesitate to say the equivalent English in most places.

I've added "Bel Ria" to my list of books I want to get around to reading.

Are you going to let us know what happened when you got off the bus?


Hi Kristin, All of these great posts from Mexico are making me homesick for the land where I spent my childhood. Please keep them coming. Mary

Bob Haine

Speaking of similes, as a retired French teacher, I used to marvel at my students' curiosity about "les gros mots",or "naughty words", and would generally resist their pleas for something "spicy", but have to admit I always loved the perfectly descriptive phrase, "il pleut comme une vache qui pisse!" (it's raining like a pissing cow!)


HiKristin, I love the pictures of your adventure in Mexico...lucky you to get to spend time with your Mom in such a sunny place. "Get on the bus, Gus" would so be something I would tell my adult children just to get a rise out of them. Have a wonderful time...I LOVE your blog!


Hi Kristin--You are soooooo lucky to have your Mother. Please have fun!!!

Julie Schorr

I laughed when I saw the reference to "get on the bus, Gus" I loved that song too. I had to explain it was an old song from the 70's to my students who looked at me with puzzled expressions!


"inviting Mom and I to hang out with him and his friends."

Inviting Mom and whom?

Cheryl in STL

That title sure caught my attention and made me laugh, too! I am really enjoying the vicarious trip to Mexico (minus the queezy tummy) and your photos. Your mom is beautiful--inside and out. Loved the "Get on the bus, Gus"! I'm old enough to remember that song for sure! Bonne continuation!


"Fifty ways to please your mother"! That's priceless.

Jeanne of Maumee, OH

Did you make a new plan, Stan? (Krist-an!)

Jim Herlan

Ha, ha, I like your slightly cleansed translation of "cul." A bit more tame perhaps, but that's OK because I don't think the French expression is as strong as the literal translation would be in English.

BTW, how do I send you my new primary e-mail address?

Herm in Phoenix, AZ

Salut Kristin,

Great photos of happy people and we, the FWAD readers, know why they’re so happy. . . . PV has a special visitor!

I hope you enjoy the remainder of your stay in Mexico and that the flight to Phoenix is uneventful. Those of us in Phoenix are sure looking forward to your visit and the meet-up on Friday.

A couple of “cold as” phrases I recall are; “cold as all get out” and “colder than a welldigger's butt in Alaska.”

À bientôt (this time I mean it!)



When I read the title at the very top of this newsletter, I was really wondering what story the expression was going to illustrate!? I quickly realised it had nothing to do with the '50 ways of pleasing your mother'! Ouf! Jules and Kristin are fine and safe!
Then I read the few lines under the top photo. Soooo, the expression emerged because of... what? cold eggs!? AhaahH! Lulu, next time I get eggs out of my fridge, you can be sure I'll see your cheeky eyes and laughing face all around my egg box.

When you get in the right mood, the saucier expression of the day isn't as 'macabre' as it felt when first reading it! It is much more realistic than the only expressions I know with the adjective "froid".
-> aussi froid que le marbre = as cold as marble
-> aussi froid que l'acier = as cold as steel
-> froid comme un iceberg = as cold as an iceberg
Hmmm, nothing extravagant here, comparisons all true and respectable, nothing funny and ..... certainly nothing as daring as the Mexican alternative translated in all its integrity.

I guess you would feel more at ease if the word "le cul" was replaced by "le derrière".

"colder than a welldigger's butt in Alaska" is brilliant!

Temperature dropping down tonight. Outside, "il fait un froid de canard" / il fait un froid de loup = it is bitterly cold, icy cold, perishing cold...

I hope the bus took you to some wonderful exotic places!
I don't know that song and I'm going to googgle the lyrics right now.



And of course, it should be "that's Matt and me" (not "I"), just to complete the English lesson... Personally, I don't know how you keep your languages straight.

Candy in SW KS

Priceless! The photos, the title, the story and everyone's comments! Loved it! Thanks everyone, I needed something to warm me up (to warm my heart - now where did that expression come from?) on this freezing day in SW KS. Hugs to you and JULES, Kristin, and to the entire Motley Crew! :)

gail bingenheimer

Dans ses mémoires, elle parle des folles amours de sa jeunesse.
In her memoirs, she speaks of the mad love affairs of her youth.
Ce romancier a imaginé un lieu de délices inouïes.
This novelist invented a place of unheard-of delights.

dorothy dufour

By chance, my family and I were having a sun break in Peurta Vallarta
at the end of January. What a stunner your mother is! And what a
lovely spot she lives in. Here's hoping your tummy is better and the
rest of your vacation goes smoothly. Homecoming was cold, but at least we have no snow, and primulas are everywhere. Dorothy


Thanks so much for the brain memory has been slipping! I hope you enjoy the rest of your stay with your family. Have a safe trip home! Hope your stomach gets better.

Margaret Boerner

Cul is a lot stronger than butt. In fact, once obscene. I suggest you ask a 40+ French native speaker whether one would actually say that in company.

Jules Greer






Pat Cargill

Since this is such a nicky-picky day grammer-wise, Kristin was correct with "this is Matt and I. Using "me" in this instance is what is most often heard; real booky grammer tells us that standard usage is I. So, I yie yie, Lucy...enuf, already. Great pics today! Where did the bus stop? What did you see? I have a feeling you will tell us soon.
Continued good times w/Mama Jules. (Who takes NO prisoners, I gather. You get on the bus and just PUKE out the window if needs must.) Okaaay, now who's offended!? Ha, ha. Here's to finding a place where a lot can hang out...on vacation, with those we love and those we care about via FWAD. Toodles, dear Kristin.


About "I"
joining forces with Pat's remarks
If, in many public speeches, QUEEN ElIZABETH II said: "My husband and I...", I don't see why Kristin would be incorrect when she says: "Mom and I", and "Matt and I".

offended by the French word "le cul"?
here is a solution:
When translating the Mexican expression in French, simply replace "le cul" by "le derrière" (totally neutral and inoffensive)
In certain contexts, yes, le cul" is vulgar/tabou and can be associated with dirty jokes...In other contexts, it is familiar and slang,. or pejorative.

NB: perfectly 'all right' in:
-> un cul-de-sac (= no through road, dead end)
-> le cul d'une bouteille (= the bottom of a bottle)

Kristin, I'm looking at my little 50ml bottle of "ALCOOL DE MENTHE RICQLÈS" from France (does it ring a bell?). Oh, I do wish you had it with you, right now. I am virtually giving you a few drops on a lump of sugar and your tummy will feel better and better... then a few more drops on another lump of sugar...

Have a peaceful flight to Phoenix
Please, do take it easy!

Vance Anderson-Inks


Herm in Phoenix, AZ

Salut tout le monde,

Get a bonus “Kristin story” at the latest Bonjour Paris. . . .

Also, check her recent stories in the right side column.

À bientôt

Jules Greer

Herm, you are so sweet to post Kristi's stories on Bonjourparis...I have never figured out how to do that little computer trick.

Kristi is busy this morning packing - John is taking her to the airport for her 2:30 flight.

I am so happy...but sad to say goodbye once again to my beautiful Kristi.




Dear Kristin,

Long time since I had time to say hello...did not want to miss telling you that your mom is gorgeously her!

also, thanks for the expression but I would not dare use that anywhere, I suppose one has to be French to use it

Love to you all,


Robyn Daniels

Hi Kristin

Great to hear you are having a good time in Mexico with Jules and Co. Love Jules Frida coverup - Kahlo is one of my favourite aritsts and I loved the film about her with Selma Hayek. Also glad to hear of your getting your angel-wings and improved relations with your step-dad. You know how I love to hear of anything to do with angels (and cats) - my Van kitten Melek got speyed this week and she is recovering well and back to her normal Van antics and athletics. Bet your Braise and Smokey-Dokey are missing you mucho. Here's to many more magic moments with your mom before you return to la belle France.

love Robyn xx

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