beurre de cacahuètes



"Mom and Me".  Photo taken Feb 1st, on arrival: read on... (sorry about the blurry image, but blurry, like love, covers a multitude of sins! That's my lovely mom, Jules, left.)

s'aventurer (sah ven tur ay)

    : to venture

synonyms: se risquer = to risk, oser = to dare


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

I arrived in Mexico yesterday, after almost cancelling the trip when Montezuma's revenge (or what the French might call a very bad case of gastro) struck the night before my flight was to leave Phoenix.

Because the theme of this trip is "to venture out of one's comfort zone", the moment was ripe to dare, or oser, to catch the plane ride to Puerto Vallarta - with a stomach in a million little pieces. And because the only risk was one of mortification and not of "contagion" (it wasn't the flu bug that I was carrying, but the remnants of food poisoning), I enplaned, careful to pack an étanche, or waterproof, paper bag au cas où.... or just in case!

I kept my mind off an upset estomac and on the happy memories that I had made thus far: a moment with my dear friend, Susan, and time with my sister, Heidi, and my niece and my nephew, who gave me a memorable pep talk: "You've got to be a daredevil Aunt Kristi! (We were sitting in the parking lot of Krispy Kreme in our pajamas. I had not wanted to do the doughnut run in pj's and would not dare get out of the car, though my family had gotten me this far."Truth is, I'm just a big wet chicken," I explained to my 7-year-old niece, teaching her the French expression for "coward", which is more than a chicken: a WET chicken! or poule mouillée.)

I watched my niece and my nephew swagger out of the car in flannel wear, along with my sister (clad in a fluffy leopard robe, slippers, and bedhead), and walk in to order doughnuts comme si de rien n'était! as if nothing were out of the ordinary. I began to wonder about reverse culture shock... or was it the new thing in the States to do the doughnut run in one's bed clothes? 

The next morning, with a stomach very much amiss (nothing to do with the doughnuts), I made my flight. The old wet chicken would have stayed in bed an extra day, just in case, but the new daredevil that my niece and my nephew saw in me remembered her guts, however groaning, held them high, and boarded that plane for the ride of her life.

Post Note: the flight was uneventful and, soon enough, any queasiness was replaced by butterflies, or papillons: My mom and her husband, John, were waiting for me at the end of the long hall, just after la douane, or Customs. 

Le Coin Commentaires
Corrections are helpful and appreciated and comments are the best part of of this journal. Thanks in advance. Click here to leave a message.

Phoenix Readers: I would love to meet up with you! We are planning a hike on Feb 11th at 8:30 a.m. (at the Starbucks on or near 7th street and Thunderbird. Stay tuned for a confirmation! Please join us (so far Herm and Karen and Ed and Gail and my sister, Heidi, will be there!) I would be so happy to meet you so don't be shy -- it would make my day--et encore!--to meet you! 


My mom, Jules, and my other "sister", Breezy.

How do you say "sibling rivalry" in French? My sister, Heidi, and I packed a bottle of Jules's all time favorite perfume (now, Breezy, what can you say for yourself? Hum? Hum?):

Shalimar Shalimar Eau de Parfum by Guerlain. Introduced in 1925. Fragrance notes: an alluring, classic fragrance of exotic florals and vanilla. Order here

Note: Whenever you buy an item from Amazon (using the link above) your purchase helps to support this free word journal. Whether you buy a DVD or a dog bone, you will be contributing to this blog. Thank you for your support!

A Message from KristiOngoing support from readers like you keeps me writing and publishing this free language journal each week. If you find joy or value in these stories and would like to keep this site going, donating today will help so much. Thank you for being a part of this community and helping me to maintain this site and its newsletter.

Ways to contribute:
1.Zelle®, The best way to donate and there are no transaction fees. Zelle to [email protected]

2.Paypal or credit card
Or purchase my book for a friend and so help them discover this free weekly journal.
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.


You and your mother are just lovely.

Sophie Day

Ah, you're on central time now. I guess we can expect your posts at the other end of the day now! You and your mom could be jamelles!

richard sinclair

i had the same problem on a flight from costa rica to LAX so asked the flight attendant what to do. he said don't drink anything cold. the guatemalan next to me said don't drink anything hot. sheer terror dreading a GI convulsion with the "seat belts on" sign but i made it home to ojai and the problem lasted two weeks.
by the way my lady friend and i were in pto vallarta for a night and splurged on a fine meal upstairs on the malecon. later found the best mariachi ever and were inspired to donate which is rare for tightwads.


Oh my goodness, this is the kind of picture that made the phrase, "A picture tells a thousand words...." come to being. The love is shining through on both of your faces! I wish my Mom were still alive...seing you two makes me miss My Mom and the relationship I had with her. You two look so happy! xo Robin

Nancy flemming

I love reading your site each day. Your stories are entertaining as well as educational.
Your mom looks so familiar. I am a retired mayor from California and spend lots of time in Puerto Vallarta, vacationing and painting the gorgeous landscape there.
Is your mom involved with the arts there?

Jan in Colorado

My husband and I are going to Puerto Vallarta in early May. I'd appreciate any suggestions you (or anybody else for that matter) have on where to go, what to see and do, and where to eat. Have a great time with Jules and John!

Julie Decker-Steinkraus

You're mother always looks so wonderful; I love her outfits! Also, I thought it was neat that Shalimar is her favorite perfume because it was my mother's favorite, too. Whenever I see a bottle of it I think of her. Hope you have a wonderful visit together!!

Jeanne of Maumee, OH

Have a wonderful visit

Mike Hardcastle

Hi Kristen,

Sorry to hear about your maux d'estomac, I trust you are well and truly over it now.

I find the expression 'poule mouillée' amusing, why 'wet' should add emphasis is difficult to understand but it does. I also like 'tout à fait mouillée' which (certainly in my part of France) means totally drunk, absolutely blotto.

Best wishes,


Cheryl in STL

I'm so glad to hear you made it to Mexico. The picture of you and your mom is perfectly wonderful--we all have a little bit of flou in our relationships! Enjoy the warmth and sunshine! I'm really missing that here in icy, sleety, snowy STL.


Any chance you'll be in Seattle with Jean-Marc for the wine-tasting on March 19? I'd be happy to go on a Seattle walk with you!

Diane Dainis

Your Mom is just beautiful Kristin, you look just like her. Hope you feel better. Enjoy your trip.

Barbara Andolsek Paintings

Jules, you look fabulous!!! Love you both!

Herm in Phoenix, AZ

Salut Kristin,

Great to hear from you and glad you survived all the obstacles along the way. It has to be scary flying with stomach problems.

Add my wife, Sharron, to the Feb 11th list. There is a nice pavilion at the trailhead so those who don’t want to hike can enjoy the scenery and fellowship from there.

I had to write a poem for the lovely ladies in the “Mom and Me” photo:

Delayed by snow . . . 15 inches or more
A journey long from that far distant shore
Anticipation high . . . coiled up like a spring
What grand adventures will this vacation bring?

A mariachi band is playing . . . hear the sound?
In the town square, colorful dancers can be found
The town folks rejoice, they’re happy as can be
A daughter has arrived . . . her mother to see

Laughter shared, stories recalled, tales were spun
It’s way past mid-night and they’ve barely begun
Night after night, feelings and emotions endorsed
A precious mother/daughter bond is re-enforced

À bientôt

Pat Cargill

Glad to hear to made it safely to your Mom's. Have a great visit.

Marianne Rankin

I'm pleased that you were able to make it to Mexico in spite of an earlier canceled flight and an undependable stomach. Hope the vacation is just what you have been wishing for.

"Shalimar" was the fragrance worn by my French IV teacher in high school. She was a Frenchwoman, and kept our class laughing all year long. We made puns in both French and English, and had a lot of "inside" classroom jokes.

Breezy is adorable.

Say hi to your Mom and John for us.


That is a hoot that you ventured out in your pajamas to buy doughnuts at Krispy Kreme. And then you stayed in the car! My brother hasn't let my sister-in-law forget even wearing heavy cotton sweatpants to the grocery store one cold December day....claimed she had "given up!" (I think that line might have been in a Seinfeld show.) I live in a town that is full of people wearing flannel shirts, but I cannot claim to have ever seen anyone out in their flannel pajamas. Also--Jules, you do look beautiful in the colors you're wearing. I love your style!

Karen from Phoenix, AZ

Such a beautiful picture of you and Jules. I hope to meet you one day Jules you shine inside and out, just like Kristi.

Herm, love the poem! It will be great to see Sharron again.

Breezy is so cute.


Nicole lidji

More pictures of Jules please !
Such a vibrant beautiful woman .

Kate Johnson

Dear Kristin, Shalimar was my mother's favorite perfume, as well. I keep a nearly-empty bottle in my vanity and every now and again just unscrew the cap to remind myself of her lovely feminity. Our mothers (only seeing photos of yours) appear to have been always very well-presented, as though they knew someone would be taking photos. Have a wonderful reunion!

Kate in Minneapolis

Karen W  (Towson, Maryland)

Jules, you look happy, healthy and lovely. It must be wonderful to have Kristin with you. Your little french poodle, Breezy is adorable.I wonder if she's ever met her French canine cousins?

Have a wonderfully warm (in more ways than one) visit with your family and friends, Kristin.

Never heard of these crazy donut outings but I think it's wild! It would really take ME out of MY comfort zone. Baby steps, right?

Bon Voyage!

BTW: I loved that poem, Herm.

Sharon Auckerman

Aw! Kristin I have missed you these past few days. I am happy to know you are posting while you are away. I wish you had more time with your family. And if I were in the Phoenix area I would hike with you. It is a wonderful place to hike. Have a wonderful time and tell us all about it.


Sitting in Chicago where 18 plus inches of neige have fallen, streets are empty save for salt trucks and snow plows it was a ray of true sunshine to see the wonderful photo of you and your vibrant mother. My husband and I have been to PV several times and long to return. like tomorrow.
Enjoy the time with her and keep writing!

Trish and JeanClaude

Bonne visite avec votre maman, Kristin. JeanClaude dit: "Etant blondes, vous deux n'avez pas le look Mexicain, donc attention 'a la drague'. Attention aussi a la cuisine très épicée et aux vins très puissants!" Bisous de nous deux.

Jennifer in OR

Beautiful blur!

Also love the clouds and lines reflected in the water.

Eileen deCamp

Nice photo of you and Jules! Breezy is adorable!
My daughter used to run out of the house in flannel PJ bottoms and her UGG slippers. I think she may have even gone to school a few days dressed like that! I did drive her to school one morning in my PJ's, bathrobe, slippers and no make-up and I was so afraid I was going to break down or get pulled over for something!
Enjoy your visit!


Oh my many of our mothers wore Shalimar? Unreal.......I always thought my mother was the only one...the bottles are so beautiful....I keep one of hers always on my dresser.
Have a wonderful visit ........ you 2 are all ways.

Julie F in St. Louis, MO

Glad you know you're on the way to recovery. Enjoy your visit with your Mom.

I love the Krispy Kreme story. I know no proper Frenchwoman would be caught dead heading into a boulangerie unless completely dressed for the day. While I cringe at what some people wear to the grocery store as their regular clothes (not a lark), I do like our American let-yourself-go spirit. The French could use just a touch more of that.


Well, I guess that I fit in the mother role, I wear Shalimar and love it. Maybe the under 60's don't wear it, but you gals should try it, it is so romantic smelling.
Love the picture of you and your mom. You look so much alike - so pretty and wonderful smiles.
Have a great time with with your mom but watch out for Montezuma's revenge. I'd love to be in the warmth of Mexico right now and not in the piles of snow in Connecticut.

Lisa A., CA

I love the photo of you and your mom. Your mom reminds me of one of my mother's friends that is no longer with us. Joyce had a love affair with many colors in her clothing too. Seeing your photo put a smile on my face!! So, thanks Jules for reminding me of Joyce...she was a beautiful person.

Breezy is dad used to have a dog like your mom's, but Jackson was a standard size. He was such a wonderful dog.

Have a wonderful visit!

Ronnie McCarthy

Have a lovely time in Mexico! I live in Surprise, AZ and think it would be a fun way to spend a Friday morning, on the 11th. I look forward to meeting up with everyone in the area that enjoys French Word-A-Day! I just found it a few weeks ago, and am happy that in addition to Rosetta Stone, Cherie FM and my armchair travels to France (both fiction and non) it has been easy and exciting to keep my New Year's resolution of moving past College French I from over a decade ago! :)

Mary Paulson

I have one word for this whole adventure,pictures of you and your mom, Breezy
and everyone else you visited along the way.


It sounds like you are have a wonderful time...was it a mid-night doughnut run? Either way, it take a brave woman to head out clad in a fluffy leopard robe-I like her!
How wonderful to spend time with Mama Jules! Tell her Hello for me and give her a hug :)

Bill in St. Paul

Great picture of you and your mom. Have a great time with her (and, Jules, we'll tell no more embarrassing stories, right?).

Ophelia in Nashville

What a great photo of you both -- two beautiful and loving women.

My husband and I both had la gastro in December. We sympathize.

Bonne visite au Mexique. Hope you are feeling better.

Andrea Robinson

Have a wonderful visit with your mother. You are both so very beautiful and as I have told you before your mother is an inspiration! The lovely bright colors of Mexico just add to her personality! By the way I would never classify you as a wet chicken. It took a lot of courage to transfer you life to France! Even though it is a dream for many of us it takes courage to make that dream come true.


I've been receiving French Word-a-Day now for over six years since purchasing a small house in France. I particularly share your love of photography and was interested to hear you are taking a new camera to Mexico. I am in the market for a similar one for the reasons you said. Having just got back from Australia I found my more bulky present Canon a pain when just going out but wanting to carry a camera with me. The Panasonic is on my short list although I was looking at the model with the 24mm wide angle. Do let us know what you think of your new camera. Thanks and enjoy your trip.

Julie Schorr

You look very happy to be together and I am sure it will be a very memorable trip for you both. Thanks also for the picture of Breezy, the cute little poodle.Have a wonderful time in Mexico with your mom, Kristin. I can't wait to see more pictures! Herm, I loved your poem!
San Diego


Make sure to have some guacomole and a cocktail on the rooftop restaurant up the hill from the Cathedral. Especially as the sun glides down over the Bahia de Banderas.

Georgia Catasca

I admire your love of your mother, your French Family. You are an inspiration to me.

My son bought the "A French Christmas" CD and " Les Portes Tordues" as Christmas gifts for me.

I love your dogs too. My dog is Madeleine. She is a big Pyrenees.

Georgia Catasca

You and your mother look so happy


....I'm hung up on "shopping for something" IN YOUR PAJAMAS......why would one subject other- unrelated - mortals to the sight of unwashed bodies in pajamas? I don't get it? Bed smell - unless slathered with Shalimar - is inevitable.....What does it mean? AND - doughnuts for breakfast??? Isn't that a week's supply of calories in one meal?

@ Patrick: the LUMIX is fabulous. I bought one in Melbourne a year ago and it's with me every day. Also have the CANON EOS - but not on me all the time...too bulky. BUT fab pics....

Christine Dashper

Hi Kristin,

Love the photo of you and Jules, the love really does shine through.

I hope you are fully recovered now and have a great time. Keep inspiring us all to push our boundaries :)



Sorry to hear you were sick! :-( You & your mom are just lovely together. What a comfort to be seeing your mom when you're ill. I hope you are fully recovered and are enjoying your time in beautiful, relaxing Mexico!

I am really looking forward to the hike next week!!! You have chosen a very good time of year to visit!

Fun to read of your Krispy Kreme run....we've never tried in our PJ's...yet!!! LOL

Fred Caswell

It is not so good to be one of or the last to comment. All has been said so well and so "right on!" Donc, AMEN! Comme toujours de Peace

Audrey Wilson

Sisters surely ! What a very attractive lady your Mum is & of course you too !
On another note I'm off to Phoenix in May . My youngest daughter who lives in Alaska is moving to Phoenix next month. A somewhat dramatic climate change eh ??! It will be less of a trek from here . May I ask where you flew from (I live near Perpignan) & when I went on the web there seem to be no direct flights to Phoenix from any French airports or indeed Barcelona

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)