belles fringues

comme ci comme ca

mercerie sew sewing shop
Whoops! That shop sign should read "MERCI"... please help me remove the "ER"... and accept my thanks for your patience as "word a day's" delivery schedule is temporarily interrupted! The next word will go out next week.  Meantime a message from one of our harvesters to Imogen in the UK: Happy Birthday!

comme si comme ça

    : so-so


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

One of the first phrases I remember learning in French was "comme ci comme ça", which describes a "so-so" feeling:


Comment allez-vous?
Comme ci comme ça....

Come to think of it, in the years I've lived in France I've never heard it spoken, that phrase. Perhaps they say it in Paris? or Lyon?

Here down south they say "ça peut aller" and, that's it, ça peut aller today...  as long as I focus on the healing following Friday's surgery for the removal of a lesion on my forehead. I'm not sure what to say about that, but if a picture paints a thousand words, then I'll let the post-op photo speak for me. (Note: I will spare you of the image here! You will need to voluntarily click on the following link to view the picture of my face; warning: faint hearts abstain! On the upside, I think I'd make a good postergirl or "posterhead" for sun block :-) Click here to view the photo--and don't forget to protect your skin and la peau of those you love!


Meantime, the harvest continues and the harvesters are double-loveliest ever. I leave you with a beautiful essay, on "respect", from our youngest harvester, Collin (pronounced "call in"). Click over to Collin's blog to read his missive about wine-making. I think he will go very far, given this philosophy.

  Kristin Espinasse

The bcc surgery on my forehead has been the best excuse to try on all kinds of hats (this photo was taken 5 years ago). I've kept the unsightly surgery wound covered all week, as a courtesy to harvesters! I've got this hat (an authentic GDF Gaz de France cap) in my closet.  What do you think?

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Diane Stanley

Best Wishes, Kristen, for a speedy recovery and healing. In the meantime, you look quite chic in your casquette noire! You will be in my prayers.

Diane Stanley from Oak Ridge, NJ


Hats are great!! Besides, the doctor will probably tell you that you should be wearing them anyway. Try to take some down time, too.
Sending love, Mary

Christine Dashper

All the best Kristen, in line with your mum's theme, think of the H for healing. I hope you will be able to say 'tres bien' soon.

Sending lots of positive thoughts your way!

xx Chris

Paul Heffron

Hi Kristin, Best wishes for a speedy recovery and healing. Paul H.


Hi Kristin, hope you feel better soon. Take care,

gail bingenheimer

Elle est aimée de toutes ses camarades.
She is loved by all her friends.

Pat, Roanoke, Va

Kristen, best wishes for a quick healing and a big "yes!" on the cap - tres official and fetching to boot. Hugs, Dear One.

Linda W

Best wishes for a speedy recovery! I imagine you know this, but you have, in France, what I consider to be the best sunscreen -- Anthelios by La Roche Posay.
And many special sun-protective hats can be found with an Internet search.

Jules Greer

Good Morning my little Angel,

I am so proud of you for showing up for today's FWAD...I don't know if I could have delivered such a thoughtful post this morning. I would still be in bed in a daze. I know that after your first photo much more bruising has occurred and that your eyelids have almost swollen shut. I am still laughing after our phone conversation on Saturday when you told me one of the harvesters popped you on the back of the head reminding you to do something, and another caught you sitting at the kitchen table staring into space and then proceeded to tell you how hard they were all working and what were you doing sitting around in your hat. Are you still keeping your surgery a secret in your everyday life. I am amazed at your strength and humility...I have learned over the years how tough you really are, but this takes the cake.

Through this ordeal you must now learn to pamper yourself - and I hope JM will pamper you too. I want to see a big bouquet of flowers in the next post - plus I think JM should brew you some private label cases of grape juice to honor you for this years harvest...with your own label!

I am now giving you my beautiful black Stetson (the one you gave me after my breast cancer surgery). Also I am going to paint my favorite hat with symbols of you, perhaps I will cover it with words that you have brought to life through your writing.

I am just so happy that you are back and your sweet spirit has not been broken.




Kristin ma chère amie, you are way too beautiful to even notice any scar. Your beauty shines through from your very soul. I am keeping you close to my heart and in my prayers and soon this will be but another interesting page in the adventures of your life. Faites attention à toi, tu es personne spéciale pour moi. Bisous, Cindy


Comme-ci comme-ca has always been one of my favorite French expressions. I too remember learning it a loooong time ago.
When someone asks "How are you" it's a lot nice than saying "eh".


You are so courageous and strong to post anything so soon after surgery. There is no such thing as "minor surgery"! The body hates invasion! God bless you!


Kristin, I enjoy your blog greatly. You paint vivid pictures of your life and your family. Hope all goes well in your healing process.

Herm in Phoenix, Az

Salut Kristin,

WOW! What heart-felt and sincere words of support from Jules. Your Mom’s experience with her own medical traumas must have has given her insight as to the anxieties that you had about the surgery and now the recovery. She obviously suffered with you and is glad it’s over.

Best wishes for a speedy and successful “heal-up”!!!!!

À bientôt

Mike Hardcastle

The typical greeting chez moi, is, 'ca va' the typical reply being 'ca va' or for the more vocal, 'ca va, ca va'.
Farmers don't waste words but are free with their help.


Nancy L.

You gave me a smile today, Kristy! Comme ci Comme ca was a favorite expression of my dear father (who passed on in 2004). He was neither French(his mom was from Denmark, Dad from Italy! a match made only in America!), nor spoke French and had never visited France. So where he picked up this gem I'll never know. But he always said it with a gesture ...a slight tilt back and forth of the hand with the palm facing down. Thank you for the memories today(-:
I am praying for your speedy recovery from surgery. AND we look forward to seeing your smiling face(totally healed) in November!!
xoNancy L.

Nancy L.

P.S. Adore that hat! I am a total hat maven (see FB photos) and have MANY...same with scarves. Can never have enough!

Frank Levin

I heard this phrase on my first flight to France when the pilot used it to describe the weather we could expect upon landing at CDG. He was right. It was partly cloudy/partly sunny.
The Gaz France hat is totally cool. I am surprised Jacky hasn't seized control of it from you.

Jeanne of Maumee, OH

hats are it!!!

Annette Heath

Dear Kristin,
You will see that the tiny sutures,redness, and bruising will disappear in time. The skill of a plastic surgeon is amazing. It will eventually become noticeable only to you...I suspect.

You are brave and beautiful. Your beauty will never go away.

Amicalement, Annette


Articles and content in this section of the website are really amazing. From puneonnet dot com.


...this was perpetrated by the chirurgien cosmétique, hein? Keeping an eye on you, for it might be my fate as well..... sur le nez!! You're so beautiful, Kristin....and I'm sure it will fade to a barely noticeable lower case h in time....LOL. If admiration could heal, all your followers and fans would have you healed in a jiffy. You are admirable!!!

Gail Liebig

All the best healing for you.

John P Senetto

VERY hot!!
you have nothing to worry about, ever.

Candy in CO

I hope you heal quickly, chere Kristin. My mom's favorite Bible quote is: "This, too, shall pass" - and it will, and you will be back in full form (so to speak!) I love your mom's idea of JM giving you your own special case of wine. That should make the days pass more quickly, huh?! :) Hugs!

Alison Johnston


You are a brave belle with a Huge Heart! I love the Hat and your mother! All will be well. I am certain. I look forward to seeing you this fall or winter. I am at home in Sauve!

Fondly, Alison Johnston


We all collect a few scars along the way, bare them proudly! It shows you're a survivor! (I think the hat looks very fetching and chic, though!) Just look upon this as one of the fires the almighty uses to temper our steel. Good Luck, God Bless and my prayers are with you for a quick recovery.


J'aime le chapeau. This is definitely you. I can also see you in a straw or cloth floppy brimmed hat.
Personally I can't wear hats.. I get hat hair, but in the winter I wear ear muffs.

Marianne Rankin

I'm surprised the stitches, etc. are so big for what seemed to be a tiny lesion. But especially with cancer, it's good to take a "margin" of healthy tissue along with what is removed, as a safety precaution. I'm not surprised you wanted to wear a hat, but figure that over time, the surgery will become barely visible.

I think any kind of hat would suit you; this is an occasion, perhaps, to pick up a few more.


The hat you are wearing to cover your scar is wonderful. Where can you buy them?!


I will be thinking of you and wishing you a speedy healing and recovery process. You are so brave to share the process and the photos of you with us. I will make sure to put on my sunscreen every day. You are in my thoughts. Frances from Napa, California (where they are also harvesting and the smell of fermenting grapes is everywhere).


Salut Kristin: What a big cut on your beautiful forehead!
Here's wishing you a rapid recovery! J'espère qu'aucune cicatrice va s'y former. You look sensational with that Gaz de France cap on. And yes, this is the occasion to put on different kinds of head protection.

Mary Catherine Pace

A young friend told me that I should tell people I got my bcc surgery scar in a knife fight in a bar! Colorful, eh? A couple of years later, it is only a faint line. Best wishes, Kristin. What is a life without scars, anyway?!

Susan Carter

Love the hat from someone who has a tiny head and can't wear them as them immediately go down to my nose.

Lorrie Kazan

Had been wondering how you were doing. Sending healing energy and love, Lorrie (in Redondo Beach, CA :)

Johanna DeMay

Dearest Kristin,

Your head will heal and your heat will grow as it fills up with love and good wishes from your friends, scattered all around the world. Be well and happy and healthy! And keep wearing that adorable GDF hat! It really suits you!

Johanna & Will


I read your mothers "notes" and saw the impressive post surgical picture. Your mother is a gem! And, you will be back to your old self sooner than you think. I like the line above, "What is a life without scars, anyway?"

Jody Crocker

Best wishes for quick recovery. My terrible scar from when my cancerous spleen was removed have faded, but we weren't anticipating public appearances from that part of the body. Your face is beautiful & your spirit more so.

Eileen deCamp

Hi Kristin,
I like the hat! I didn't think the surgery site would be so large. The bump didn't seem so big! I am thinking of you! Jules you are a gem and I enjoy reading your sweet, kind words of encouragement.
Love to you Kristin,

Karen Whitcome (Towson, MD. USA)

ouch. :-(

Find strength in knowing that the greater mark you carry is the mark you leave in the lives of your friends and family through your gentleness, creativity and loving heart.

You look great in a hat! Not all of us can do that.

Diane H., Brunswick, Georgia, U.S.A.

You're beautiful in my eyes, just the way I am without hair to my friends. Speed bumps in life make everyone look deeper and appreciate the soul of the individual. I am praying for your swift and complete healing. So generous of you to post despite your hectic life right now. Loved your mom's letter! It said it all.

Angela Fowler

Dear Kristin ~

Having recently had some facial surgery and looking like the "Bride of Frankenstein" for awhile, be assured that it will pass and you will be back to your lovely self in no time. Take time to pamper yourself and remember to use sun block...

Jennifer in OR

You're ultra chic in that hat! Or without it, you are simply beautiful.


"Comme ci comme ça" is a commonly used phrase in Cajun culture.

Bill Facker

You can try on hats for the rest of your very long life .. so hand the camera to Jean-Mark and give us the only unsightly photo of yourself you will probably ever be able to produce in that lifetime! :) God Speed your recovery, Kristin. Wishing you the very best!

Bill Facker

further ... just looked at your post op photo ... Kristin Espinasse, you are filled with a light those cuts can never take away .. Mahalo Nui Loa for being who you are and sharing it with all of us.

Keith McDuffie

Chic hat--but you'd look great in anything!

I thought of wearing a hat to hide a dime-sized spot on the top of my head--the dermatologist even had a go at it twice before all the malignant cells were gone. But I don't like hats, except on others--you, for example. And no, my hair didn't hide the operation--it was right in the middle of my bald spot. That's what I get for reaching the age of 79...but no complaints!

As others have said, your surgery will heal, as mine did. And what a wonderful excuse for wearing such a great hat.

Thanks for your blog. I think it's a heroic task given your busy life. I hope also that some day we get to taste JM's wine in Pittsburgh.


Dear Kristen,
I can't read your mom's letter to you without crying. Her love and wisdom are so right up front and strong. It's a shock to be cut open and sewn back up, but I agree with all the other readers in saying that you remain beautiful. I think it's just time to slow way down and take in all the changes and get in that pampering! If the way forward is with a broken heart, then the way forward is also with a scarred forehead.

Amy Kortuem

Love the idea of stylish hats. You look so beautiful even in that GDF hat, you can be the leader of the trend bringing every-day hat wearing back.

Sending you healing thoughts...

Kate Dawson-Taylor

Rapid healing angels en route xox

Sue J.

Kristin -- Wishing you a recovery of Tres Grand Vitesse. Keeping you in my prayers.

Stacy, Applegate, Oregon

You look tres chic {correct?!?} in the hat.... Reminds me of the photos I have in my album from the last time I saw you {twenty years ago?} are more beautiful today, and my life is more beautiful having known you all these years, this I am sure of! Blessed!!!

vicki archer

I do hope you are feeling better after your surgery.....Enjoy the weekend and I wish you a speedy recovery.....xv


Dear Kristin,

Thank God you receive the care you needed for your skin. All my best to you as you take the time to heal. I love hats as well and you look fabulous in them! Enjoy the chance to wear them more and have fun!

Kitty Wilson

You and Jules, both of you so bodacious inside and out, in terms of courage, insight, love, and all the other fine things that true character requires as well as your physical beauty -- and then, on top of all that, you both look gorgeous in hats! The H symbolic of so much now graces your brow, and as it fades, its significance will also grace your spirit. How cool is that?!! Hugs from across the Atlantic!


Dear Kristin. May I add my voice to all the others-I have had similar surgery-great surgeon here in Bermuda- and have a tiny silver scar on my forehead. Always wear a hat now in the sun. You will heal beautifully.
Love and positive thoughts sent to you.

Jean King

Do not fret about delayed postings. Your health and recovery are far more important! Take all the time you need to relax and heal yourself! Sending positive thoughts for your good health!

anne marie

Il y a beaucoup de gens qui ont des problèmes medicaux à ce moment-ci. Sont-ils les planètss en mauvaise ligne qui nous donnent des maladies?
Moi, j'ai cassée la jambe avec une entorse à la cheville. Quel misère.
Whoa.....bonne guérrison Kristin et tout le monde.

Ronni Lester Ebbers

Best wishes for a beautiful recovery to a beautiful woman who continually enriches our days.



I like hats, and the one you modeled is tres chic. What a big incision!
But it will heal fast...

On another subject, to make you smile, one of my reasons for loving the French language is that there are so many great expressions, that don't easily translate. Like "Elle fait sa visite" to describe a visitor who DOES NOT HELP. They visit a lot, this is such a huge country, and at least in the old days, I noticed that honeymoons were usually spent making the rounds.

No more skin cancer!


DeeDee McDonald

Kristen, I wish you a speedy recovery (inside and out). I am an oncology nurse and see these type of things on a daily basis and all I can say is that it changes our attitudes toward life. We learn not to sweat the small stuff, realize just what is important (and it is not material things). Keep up the good work and stay strong!!


I think Jules should send you one of her hats!

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