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Entries from March 2011

se maquiller

Flowers for Maman (c) Kristin Espinasse
Our little girl is growing up... and writing her own anecdotes! Read Jackie's story ("Ma Routine") and mille mercis to our Francophone friend Newforest (whom many of you know from Le Coin Commentaires) for helping with corrections and suggestions. P.S.: The picture above was taken when Jackie was 7... and lagging behind on a field trip... in time to cueillir quelques fleurs

se maquiller (seuh ma kee ay) verb

    : to put on makeup

le maquillage = makeup
le maquilleur (la maquilleuse) = makeup artist 

Example sentence:
Selon vous, à partir de quel âge une fille peut-elle commencer à se maquiller pour aller en cours? In your opinion, from what age can a girl begin to wear makeup to class?

.
Ma Routine
… par Jackie Espinasse, 13 ans

(Note: to read our daughter's story in English, skip to Le Coin Commentaires, where I have offered my translation... corrections are welcome in the comments box.)

Le matin je me lève entre sept heures et sept heures dix. C’est ma mère qui est obligée de me réveiller, car à cette heure-là, je suis encore trop fatiguée pour ouvrir les yeux et sortir du lit ! Elle m’oblige à me lever, car il faut bien que j’aille au collège.

Quand je me lève, mon premier réflexe c’est de regarder à la petite fenêtre de mon couloir pour voir quel temps il fait dehors. Ensuite, je descends les escaliers, et je vois mes chiens qui sont toujours excités à cette heure-là car ils veulent que je leur donne leur petit déjeuner.

Alors, je leur sers à manger, puis, après, je mange, tout en étant à moitié endormie.

Capture plein écran 11032011 085256Quand j’ai fini de manger, je monte dans ma chambre, j’allume la radio, et je m’habille tout en écoutant de la musique. Puis je me coiffe et, en me coiffant, je me pose toujours cette même question: « Pourquoi mes parents ne veulent-ils pas que je me maquille ? » Moi, personnellement, je n’aime pas mon visage quand il est sans fond de teint, sans crayon noir, sans liner, et sans mascara ! Pour ma part, je trouve ça triste que mes parents me privent de maquillage pour aller au collège car, en plus de ça, c’est mon maquillage que j’ai payé moi-même, avec mon argent de poche!

« A tous les lecteurs » :
Pouvez-vous, s’il vous plaît, dire à mes parents que c’est injuste ?

Mais bon, bref, après cette petite routine matinale, je me brosse les dents, et finalement, vers huit heures dix, Maman me conduit en voiture au collège.

Et voilà.

P.S. : Je n’aime pas le collège !

 Le Coin Commentaires
To respond to Jackie's story or to leave her a message click here. You will also find the English translation here.

Have a second for another short-short story? Please read "Fille"

 

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(Smokey) Boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing boing (c) Kristin Espinasse
This picture of Mama Braise (left) and Smokey desperately needs a thought bubble or a speech balloon. Your ideas are welcome in the comments box. (Put your mouse over the photo for mine) Merci d'avance!

Check out Vivian Swift's book...

Capture plein écran 11032011 093941

 When Wanderers Cease to Roam...

  A charming, illustrated celebration of puttering, doodling, daydreaming, and settling down after years on the roadOrder a copy 

Ongoing support from readers like you helps me to continue this French word journal, now in its 18th year! If you enjoy and look forward to these posts and want to give something back, please know your contribution makes a difference! A donation by check or via PayPal is greatly appreciated.
 
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coucou

 DSC_0285
High up in the Hautes-Alpes, just above a crack in the wall, there lives a blue-shuttered window with sunflowers, snowflakes, and the spirit of France peeking out.

coucou (koo koo) interjection

    : yoo-hoo

Coucou... it's time to contribute!

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Merci beaucoup for your support! I am so happy to be able to bring you these "thrice-weekly" word & photo stories. Your help enables me to continue.

 

 

Amicalement,
Kristin Espinasse
 

 

 

 

...Re those "furry smiles":

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Son Smokey (right) illustrates The Yoo-Hoo dance. Mama Braise (left) says: "He just doesn't get it! Coucou is an interjection - and not a two-step! 

 

Ongoing support from readers like you helps me to continue this French word journal, now in its 18th year! If you enjoy and look forward to these posts and want to give something back, please know your contribution makes a difference! A donation by check or via PayPal is greatly appreciated.
 
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caissier

Eagle (c) Kristin Espinasse

When vines talk... the "Eagle" (left) is being told by the "Shusher" (right, finger on "mouth") to be quiet, "It's not the end of winter yet... nature is still sleepy." And you, do you believe that vines are more than wood stalks? The characters in today's story do... and they make wine according to the moon!

le caissier (kay-syeh)

    : cashier, teller

feminine: la caissière (kay-syehr)

 

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

When your husband asks whether you would like to volunteer for Friday night's professionals-only dégustation, smile and reply "tout ce que tu veux, cheri"... never mind that you aren't active in the local wine scene, that you won't recognize names or faces, that this dernier détail could lead to embarrassment.

Capture plein écran 07032011 083603 Request, quand même, not to be in charge of the caisse.

Arrive at the mind-blowing Domaine Viret. Ascend the massive stone stairs to the mind-blowing cave. You have never seen anything like it! If this is a biodynamic's cellar, then the Egyptian-inspired reaching-towards-the-galaxy "wine cathedral" must be a tribute to la Voie lactée!

Be amazed by the floor-to-sky vats, the ancient amphorae, and the 20 walkin'-to-their-own-(and-to nature's)-beat winemakers who are busy setting up shop.

Search for the woman who has been helping your husband with PR... Check her out: assess any threat as she strides up and listens to your husband's introduction: "Voici ma femme".  

Wonder whether to kiss or to shake. Notice how the other woman is studying you: were you what she expected? Older? Younger? Bolder? Weaker? Chopped liver?

Study Other Woman, who is wearing that secret magic glittery powder that all beautiful French women wear. Regret the pharmacy "flour" that now feels like dough on your own face. Wish that you'd worn a skirt, as she has done, and black-heeled boots, as she has done... and earrings and a pretty barrette in your thick brown hair! 

Feel like chopped liver for two-seconds flat, in time to pull the full length of body skyward. Nod like a princess when you feel like une grenouille.

Spend next half-hour worrying whether Other Woman likes you or not, sees you as competent or not, would rather you be here or not....

Then get over yourself! After all, you are here to help!

(From this point on refer to Other Woman as "Colleague". Much better. Plus, hope that if she's reading she's not offended by your carefree reporting...)

Follow Other Woman, or "Colleague"... over to cellar entrance, where a small table is set up. Notice cagnotte. Cagnotte!!! Be eternally grateful when Colleague says she'll handle the money.

Nod head enthusiastically when given the easy-peasy-French-cheesy task of distributing the wine glasses. One per paying customer. You can handle that.   

Listen to lowdown: five euros for guests who've reserved (whose names are inscribed on The List); ten euros for those who have not reserved. Wonder why you are listening to The Lowdown, after all, you are only in charge of easy-cheesy glasses-distribution... n'est-ce pas???

Watch Colleague in action: "Sorry, sir, but you have not reserved. That will be ten euros."
Observe as Colleague uses her charm to save a sale "but it is only ten euros for the tasting and the dinner! C'est quand même pas mal, non?!"

Back up Colleague, chirping "Quelle bonne affaire!" ("Affaire"? Attention to word choice, which comes back to haunt you!)

Watch Colleague as customer hands over a 20-euro note. "Vous avez de la monnaie, Monsieur?" "Do you have anything smaller, Sir?"

Be impressed when Colleague gets customer to hand over two fives. Smart woman. Realize we'll need all the fivers/change we can get.

Stare, stunned, when Colleague leaves you to man the stand, with a breezy "I'm off to try some wine..." Regret that you are not a wine-trier, then quickly get over it...

Jump into action!: greet customers, request fives/change, defend the ten-euros entrance fee to those concerned...

Watch, amazed, as the line piles up, with everyone suddenly being related to the winemakers. "Sorry, yes, perhaps, but the entrance fee is still ten euros!... or five, depending!).

Feel mortified when you attempt to charge the owner's wife the 10-euros fee....

Swear you will never again assume that a cashier has shortchanged you... when three times in the evening you accidentally cheat a customer! (Listen like a thug to the reprimand and the tsk-tsk of "Madame, je vous ai donné un billet de vingt!") 

Wonder where in the Milky Way did your Colleague stray? On second thought, be glad for the chance to man the stand. You've learned a lot: for one thing, you are not the pushover you thought you were. Just look at how you plucked up those line-cutters who tried to steal behind you in time to swipe a glass and sneak into the tasting room! Boy, are their butts going to be sore!!!

Learn to decipher journalists (remember what Colleague taught: journalists are not used to paying. Let them by -- just remind them about a write up... hoping one of them will eventually write an article...

Be the One of Them to eventually write the damned article.

 

Le Coin Commentaires
Join us here, in our community corner. Respond to today's story, offer a correction, or ask each other questions about French or France! Click here to enter the discussion or simply to learn from it.

 

French Vocabulary - Click one of the following links to listen to this vocabulary list: MP3 file or Wav file

-> la dégustation = tasting

-> le dernier détail = last detail

-> quand même = even so, nevertheless, all the same, really

-> la caisse (money context) = the till, cash register

-> la Voie lactée = the Milky way

-> une barrette = a hair clip

-> la grenouille = frog

-> la cagnotte = the kitty (in a different context -> the jackpot)

-> une bonne affaire = a real bargain!

-> de la monnaie = some change

-> un billet (money context) = a bank note

-> un billet de vingt = a twenty Euro note

-> ..... "n'est-ce pas"? .... isn't it so?
used at the end of a sentence as an expression of affirmation after a statement - equivalent of 'tag question' in English.

-> "Tout ce que tu veux, chéri"... = 'whatever you want, darling'...

-> "C'est quand même pas mal, non?!" = It's not bad really, is it?!

-> "Vous avez de la monnaie, Monsieur?" = 'Do you have anything smaller, Sir?'

DSC_0049
Chief Grape.

Check out these helpful France guides--filled with travel tips by our readers:


 

Ongoing support from readers like you helps me to continue this French word journal, now in its 18th year! If you enjoy and look forward to these posts and want to give something back, please know your contribution makes a difference! A donation by check or via PayPal is greatly appreciated.
 
♥ Contribute $10    
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fugueuse


Almond Trees (c) Kristin Espinasse

       Almond trees, "lemons", or jalopies... near the town of Orange, France.

fugueuse (foo geuhz) noun, feminine

    : a runaway

=> the masculine is fugueur (foo guer)
=>Also: la fugue: running away ; faire une fugue or fuguer = to run away ; le fugitif (la fugitive)

Sound File: Listen to American-accented French... in today's audio file (the Francophones in the house are doing la grasse mat* or "the sleep in"...):
Download MP3 or Download Wav

Braise, "la fugueuse", est rentrée avant hier après un l-o-n-g périple!
Braise, the runaway, returned day before yesterday.... after a l-o-n-g journey

*faire la grasse matinée = to sleep in  

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

"A Sensational Walk in the Country"

There's plenty of time to collect a branch or two of almond flowers alongside the path, or sentier... for our dog, Braise, is dragging and I have to slow down and turn around several times to egg her on.

"Qu'est-ce qu'il y a, Fugueuse?" I tease our 5-year-old runaway. "Trop fatiguée? Et ben, je me demande pourquoi?!"

Our dog's recent escapade was enough to tire out my very tear ducts! Who knew that tear ducts could ache? A day and a half! One entire night! It was her longest disappearance.

What is sure is that our golden girl needs more exercise, more adventure... and it is up to us to get her out and about every day... else suffer another anguishing all-nighter!

Mmanm's photo's 269

"Come on!" I call, heading out to the river. The surrounding grapevines are leaf-bare and a blurry man is pruning them. I squint my eyes but he still won't come into focus, and so I do the wave: the big friendly whoever-you-are-I-salute-you! wave. It works and the stranger returns the greeting!

Braise would like to be even more amicale... she'd like to mosey over and discover just what's in the farmer's casse-croûte... but her roaming days are over (!) and I shout for her to follow us (not that Smokey is following along any better: he's taken along a picnic of his own in the form of one chewy oreille de cochon).

Between Braise's dragging feet and Smokey's smokey treat (he is obliged to pause every two minutes to lie on the ground and chew), ours is a slow stroll.

There is time to collect several branches of wild rosemary, the purple-blue flowers looking unusually true. After a despairing night, my senses are strangley "bright", so that when the noisy mallards glide out of the ruisseau... I am thunderstruck. I stop to watch in awe as the ducks fly off. 

Quickly, I step over to the stream, which is filled with irises -- soon the yellow flowers will pop out. But I am no longer searching for first flowers... it is the canetons that I'm interested in. When will the baby ducks appear?

Ma and Pa Canard are now circling cautiously above our heads and I understand only too well their concern...

I call after our furry fugueuse and our trio walks on amid flowering trees and morning song. It is time for us to return home from this sensual balade. So much to be grateful for. Yes! Thank God, Braise is back! 

 
Le Coin Commentaires
Join us here, in our community corner. Respond to today's story, offer a correction, or ask each other questions about French or France! Click here to enter the discussion or simply to learn from it.


And here's a recent comment from the What to do in Lyon edition. Margie writes: Wow! This was wonderful reading and many fabulous ideas for Lyon. Could we possibly ask same question but substitiute Strasbourg for Lyon? 

 Hi Margie. Yes, definitely! Stay tuned for the What to Do in Strasbourg - Que faire à Strasbourg edition :-) Meantime, Readers, get your ideas ready... and save them for the upcoming post!

Jean-Marc's USA Wine Tour: Meet Chief Grape and taste his wines in New York this Monday March 7th at Vestry Wines from 4 to 7 PM and in many other US cities !

French Vocabulary

le sentier = path

qu'est-ce qu'il y a = what's up? what's the matter?

fugueuse (fuguer) = runaway

trop fatiguée? = too tired?

et ben, je me demande pourquoi? = well! I wonder why?

amical(e) = friendly

le casse-croûte = snack

une oreille de cochon = pig ears (dog treats). These, and more pet supplies here

le ruisseau = stream

le caneton = duckling

le canard = duck

une balade = walk, stroll

***

Capture plein écran 01032011 193918 The Paris Wife: Chicago, 1920: Hadley Richardson is a quiet twenty-eight-year-old who has all but given up on love and happiness—until she meets Ernest Hemingway and her life changes forever. Following a whirlwind courtship and wedding, the pair set sail for Paris, where they become the golden couple in a lively and volatile group—the fabled “Lost Generation”—that includes Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, and F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald. Read the reviews, here.

Also see:

Nintendo's My French Coach :

Provendi Revolving Soaps The practical and very neat Provendi revolving soap fixtures have adorned public school washrooms throughout France for years. Now they're turning up in the most chic places. Order here.
It's All About Braise!
DSC_0041
Since Smokey, below right, gets most of the blog space... it is time to shine the light on his Mama Braise! Here she is above, in Sept 2009, with Smokey and sisters... 

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And though she lets others jump higher... she is the strongest of all!

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She saved her son... on that fateful day in October, when two dogs attacked and left him for dead. She barked and barked, chasing them away.

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But that doesn't mean she's not une chipie, or "a little devil", ever ready to elope with Smokey's dad, Sam (and ain't he "glam", that Sam (above, left)? Don't miss the story "Lost in Marseilles", when she and her boyfriend almost... almost took the train to Venice for "une fugue amoureuse", or elopement. Click here for the story.

Ongoing support from readers like you helps me to continue this French word journal, now in its 18th year! If you enjoy and look forward to these posts and want to give something back, please know your contribution makes a difference! A donation by check or via PayPal is greatly appreciated.
 
♥ Contribute $10    
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What to Do in Lyon? / Que Faire a Lyon?

Soave, Italy (c) Kristin Espinasse

This photo was taken in Italy, the model reads Holland... but, for the purposes of today's edition, we're going to try to pass this off as France -- specifically Lyon!

What to Do in Lyon? Que Faire à Lyon?

Bonjour!

J'ai trois amies qui souhaitent découvrir Lyon... mais elles ne savent pas quoi faire! Pourriez-vous aider Suzanne, Margaret, et leur "fabulous" maman, Portia, avec des suggestions de lieux, hôtels, restaurants, et autre points d'intérêt?  --Kristin

Hello!

I have three friends who hope to discover Lyon... but they do not know what to do! Can you help Suzanne, Margaret, and their fabulous mom, Portia, with suggestions of places, hotels, restaurants, and other interesting points of interest?  --Kristin

Suggestions for What To Do in Lyon are welcome in the "suggestion box" . Don't forget to check back later to see what ideas have been submitted!

 

Suzanne

Left to right: Margaret, Angela, Bob, Portia, Jean-Marc, Suzanne

 

With suzanne
Kristin and Suzanne

P.S.: Don't miss Suzanne's story about getting lost on the way to our vineyard! You'll meet Angela and Bob, who were also "Lost in Grapes".

P.P.S.: thank you for the excellent recommendations you left in the FAQ area. If anyone needs info about pen pals in France, language schools, or traveling solo... you'll find this and more in the comments to the FAQ post!

Discover these reader-submitted suggestions for:

What to do in Paris - click here

What to do in Aix-en-Provence - click here

What to do in the Loire Valley - click here

What to do on Porquerolles island? - click here

Ongoing support from readers like you helps me to continue this French word journal, now in its 18th year! If you enjoy and look forward to these posts and want to give something back, please know your contribution makes a difference! A donation by check or via PayPal is greatly appreciated.
 
♥ Contribute $10    
♥ Contribute $25    
♥ Contribute the amount of your choice


FAQ

How to Dress Like a French Woman (c) Kristin Espinasse
How to Dress Like A Frenchwoman? I can't help you with that one, but you'll find answers to many more common questions in today's FAQ edition.

Do you have any tips on learning the French language?

Homemade flash cards and repetition were helpful to me. And don't miss these excellent ideas from readers: Best Tips For Learning French.  

I'm looking for a language program in France. What can you recommend?

I cannot personally recommend any programs; however, many of our readers have attended a language school in France and may be able to recommend something in the comments box, below.  

I am planning a trip to France. Which towns should I visit?

Check out these readers recommendations for some popular cities: like Paris and Aix-en-Provence.... and you'll find hundreds of villages mentioned in the stories here at the blog. Check out the French destinations category... and scroll down the pages!

Do you know of any gîtes, B&B, charming hotels, or home rentals?

You will find some homes and apartments listed in the sponsor section, at the top of the blog post or just after the story column. Home owners in France - to list your French rental, contact kristin.espinasse AT gmail.com

I have written a book and would like you to read it or endorse it or promote it:

I wish I could help but the best I can to is encourage you to have your manuscript read by friends, family, and professionals (there are many editing services listed online, see the new search box below).

I am looking for a French pen pal for my child. Would Max or Jackie be interested in corresponding?

Jackie currently has a pen pal—one to whom she owes a letter! (And Max isn't much better at keeping up with writing--beyond what is required for his heavy school curriculum.) If any readers out there might recommend a pen-pal site... answers are welcome in the comments box!

May I visit your vineyard? May I bring a group?

To visit Domaine Rouge-Bleu, please contact the new owners via the website.

I would like to purchase your wine in the States/in Europe/in Malaysia.... can you tell me where to find a bottle?

Contact my husband, Jean-Marc, via his site Mas Des Brun, which will also update you on our vineyard and olive farm. 

How did you meet your husband and was it difficult to adapt to France?

I met Jean-Marc at Le Mistral and yes, it was very, very difficult to adapt--but things got much easier when I began sharing stories. Please read them here or here.

You still haven't answered my question!
Sorry about that. Which question? Thank you for asking it here in the comments box

Even more questions? For your convenience, I am including this cool Google search box. I'm addicted to Google search, and to typing in questions ranging from "How to mourn a cat?" to, less eloquently "What to do when lose temper?" (Google told me to apologize...) 

Kristin and Jules
(Photo of Kristin, left, and Jules aka "Mom".) In other news, I've been working on gardening... or, rather, the garden section here at the blog. Check it out.

Ongoing support from readers like you helps me to continue this French word journal, now in its 18th year! If you enjoy and look forward to these posts and want to give something back, please know your contribution makes a difference! A donation by check or via PayPal is greatly appreciated.
 
♥ Contribute $10    
♥ Contribute $25    
♥ Contribute the amount of your choice