How to say "fixer-upper" in French?
etre dans la lune

l'ici et maintenant

Window in Serignan, Vaucluse (c) Kristin Espinasse

Share today's "photo du coeur" with a friend...

l'ici et maintenant

    : the here and now, or le moment or l'instant présent

Audio File: (I'm afraid our super French word pronouncer (Chief Grape) is away... that means you're stuck with me and my recording. Listen at your own péril...): Download MP3 or Wav file

L'ici et maintenant. Dans l'ici-maintenant je ressents de la paix.
In the here and now I feel at peace.

A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE... by Kristin Espinasse

My husband is running a bath, this after two days without water. Our plumber was able to temporarily fix our reservoir, meaning that tonight our beloved Chief Grape will escape the dreaded bird bath—and youpi! for that, for it is no fun standing in a vintner's bucket, pouring cups of cold water over a tired body.

I am in the next room, folding clothes (in order to free-up the bed, so that we can eventually get some rest). As I fold, I listen to glorious sound of rushing water, along with the occasional squeaky shift of a man settling into his bath. 

Max strides into the bedroom and plops down onto the bed. "I'm going to rest here a bit," he says. 

I turn towards our son, amazed at his decision to spend time with his old lady. My étonnement increases, when our 16-year-old offers an apparent compliment: 

"You smell like pamplemousse," he remarks. 

I touch my cheek, remembering the moisturizer that I have just put on. It has a citrus scent? I hadn't noticed... in fact, I hardly remember putting on the lait hydratant

Inhaling another whiff of grapefruit, I am transported to the present moment, having stepped off the ruthless timeline of the past (in which I am regretful of those things I've left undone—anything from unanswered emails to the sinkful of dishes) and the future (in which I worry about our water problem and my upcoming surgery). But here, in the pamplemousse present, I awake to life around me, including the unchacteristic attention of our teenager.

"Tiens," Max says, handing me one of his earphones, which I stick into my oreille, following Max's example. I push the clothes out of the way and lie back on the pillow.

"Can you tell me what she is saying?" Max wants to know. It isn't the first time I've been asked to identify English lyrics, only, the music is usually not to my liking (i.e. it is rap, instead of rhapsody).

I recognise the song by Dido. Quelle coincidence! It was once a favorite of mine... I listen in, intent on clarifying the words for Max:

My tea's gone cold, I'm wonderin' why
I got out of bed alone
The morning rain clouds up my window
and I can't see at all...

As I communicate the lyrics to Max, he begins to sing along with me... 

and even if I could it'd all be grey
but your picture on my wall, it reminds me
that it's not so bad, it's not so bad...

As Max and I sing, I hear splashing now and again, as Jean-Marc relaxes into his bath. To him the noise coming from the bedroom must surely be an amusement, what with Max and me belting it out like a couple of tone-deaf dogs...

And I want to thank you for giving me
the best day of my life...
Oh, just to be with you,
is having the best day of my life.

I muse at how perfectly the lyrics fit this treasured moment of togetherness. Though I can't be sure that this is the best day of my life... I am quite certain, here in l'instant présent, that this is the best minute of my life.

As for the other worries and regrets, they just don't exist in the peaceful here and now, where a mother-and-son duo howl like a couple of hound dogs:

 And I want to thank you for giving me
the best day of my life...
Oh, just to be with you,
is having the best day of my life....

Le Coin Commentaires
I love to read your comments--and so does my mom! So please don't hesitate to leave a message. If you don't know what to say (personally, I get very nervous and tongue-tied when it comes to leaving comments on blogs!), simply say "bonjour" and be sure to let us know which town your are writing in from (this is my dad's favorite part). Click here to leave a comment.

Psst... Mom and Dad, if you are reading, check out the recent article in ASU News: Expat alum offers Francophiles a word a day! Mom, Dad, I know how worried you were when I came in close to last in my class--almost failing high school. But I've been working hard, ever since, to make up for that! Click here to find out how.

French Vocabulary

youpi! = yahoo!

un étonnement = surprise

le pamplemousse = grapefruit 

le lait hydratant = moisturizer

tiens! = here!

une oreille = ear

quelle coincidence! = what a coincidence!

l'instant présent = the present moment, the here and now


The vinter's buckets that I mentioned in today's story. Just imagine Chief Grape's bird bath dilemma!


Blossoming in Provence

 S'il vous plaît...

S.V.P.!: I need your help in getting out the word of my latest book! 

Thank you very much if you have already purchased a copy of Blossoming in Provence. Your purchase is one of the best ways to help me to continue publishing these educational "stories in a French life". 

If you enjoy this free newsletter, please consider supporting it by buying a copy of my book.

You might consider buying a copy for a friend of family member. Would someone at your office or at your school enjoy these short stories? Blossoming in Provence is a book for all ages. Both men and women enjoy the book, making it a perfect gift for a birthday or even for Valentine's Day.

Thank you very much for your support and for helping me to get the word out about Blossoming in Provence. When you click over to the page at Amazon, you will also notice the possibility to share the page via Twitter and Facebook and email (let your mouse hover over the "like" button, just beneath the books title.

Voilà. I've peddled my book for the month! I appreciate your patience and will now take off my sales hat and put back on my chef's toque (it is time to send out this post and to hurry and prepare lunch for the kids).


While editing my photo archives I discovered this picture, taken a few years after I wrote the story, above. Serendipitous, considering the pamplemousse scent that Max describes.

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.

Geraldine Ventura

Bonjour, Kristin,
You must be so proud to have raised such a wonderful son. I know I am thrilled when my sons say something or do something that is thoughtful and complimentary. By the way, I ordered your book yesterday! Can't wait to read it.

Alyssa Ross Eppich

Bonjour a Kristin et a mes amis a French Word-A-Day de Portland, Maine! Sorry for the missing accent marks.......


j'addore votre blog!! I'm also originally American. I'm trying to learn french as my husband and I have rented a house for 6 weeks in St. Chinan. Your little glimpes into everyday life are so precious. Don't stop!!

Janet Moreau

My name is Janet Moreau, I have been getting your wonderful French Word of the Day for agees now - I love it, as I am now late 50's, but in my teenage years, did study French language at school, (a l'ecole) for trois ans. But, I get no opportunity much to practice, so love to learn and try, !! to remember your regular words sent through.
I would so love one day to visit France, and Spain, as I have ancestry from there and England and Ireland, what a mix. Well thank you againfor your delightful, honest and down to earth but very lovely and intelligent comments and interesting photos - you are obviously someone who has a wonderful love of life - joie de vivre and that is inspirational for me. I paint a little and may send you some of my work just to return the favour, of some hopefully, interesting photos. Kind Regards, and Au Revoir, Janet Moreau


Kristin I love reading your blog and the great photos and of course the French. I'm in Brisbane Australia...but in May I will be in France, travelling there for a little 'oliday with the fam. Keep blogging!


Angela Sargent

Hi Kristin
I love that song too.When my husband and I sing along - sounds terrible,but it's funny!I haven't been to France since October and miss Normandy. Hoping to go later in February. In the meantime your word-a-day helps me still "feel" a little French.Any news on whether we can buy your book yet in England?

It's a damp day here in Sussex,England.

Natalie Branchini

WOW! What a beautiful sentiment! Beautiful story! Tears!

Christine from Greenwich, CT

I've been reading your e-mails for about 1 year now. Thanks so much for sharing your French, and bits from your life. I especially loved your story about singing with your son and living in 'l'ici et main tenant.' I'll remember that one for a long time! (I'm American and was lucky enough to have studied at the Sorbonne back in 1990. Still practicing my French every chance I get!)

Merci, et a bientot.

Janine Wilson

Good morning from Maryland, Kristin. What a lovely story. It's so wonderful when my niece and I connect in a similar way - especially when she initiates it! Love that Dido tune as well. Sweet moment indeed.

Hope you're having a very nice day.


Bill in St. Paul

Sweet story of a sweet son. My son used to test me when songs would come on the radio when we were in the car. I knew my groups like ABBA, but barely knew his, even though I heard them all the time. As for learning French, Kristin, I, too, almost failed it in high school. Since then I've taken French in college and from various French schools like the Alliance Francaise. Since I don't use my French with any regularity it doesn't stay with me. Thankfully, the French are very forgiving when I mangle their language. 21 degrees heading for 35 with a couple of inches of snow on the ground in St. Paul, Minnesota.


ah, simple pleasures are the best


You are adorable! I have two sons, much older, 23 & 29 and love moments that you just described. Recently, my 23 year old and I spent a day and evening together in Madison, WI where he is at grad school and we laughed and joked together like two best friends. (he is also the child of mine that is a Melanoma SURVIVOR, so be strong, there are great discoveries happening all the time - check out the Melanoma Research Foundation website!)

Jeri Carlstedt

o.k. here goes...

today's post put a lump in my throat just where it should you reminded me to enjoy l'ici et maintenant...

I have enjoyed your emails for at least a year. You share, with such vulnerability, your heart (la famille) and your soul (vos pensées et vos expériences). I feel as if I know you...obviously, many others do too. You are doing a good work, Kristin, connecting souls around the world.

I live west of Albany, New York in a town called Scotia. Although I grew up in the SF Bay Area in California, I have lived in NY for 24 years. I have 4 children, my 2nd son is Max' age (hence, the lump in my throat as I read your post).

I learned all of my French in 3 1/2 years of high school, plus a semester abroad in Dijon and by hosting many French students over the years. It's a long story but I managed to double major in French and Oral Communications and only take (2) college French classes....that will never happen again at that university! After 26 years working full-time, a complicated personal life do-over, and with (4) children to support, I went back and got my M.A.T. and started teaching high school French in an urban district in Schenectady. This is my 5th year. I have been able to travel to France twice with students, which is my favorite thing in the world.

Thank you for who you are and what you are sharing; your life. I hope to meet you one day.


Doreen Sharabati

For your father, I'm a reader in Ft. Lauderdale, FL and have been for about 1 1/2 years now. Brightens my mornings and keeps one little bit of my brain ticking over in French =)
Warmly (literally)


Enjoying your stories beaucoup! My husband and I are brushing up on our long-forgotten French in advance of our voyage a France this printemps, and your essays are a delightful reintroduction, as well as a great glimpse into daily life. Kathy in Virginia.


Bonjour from Broken Arrow, Oklahoma

Kristin Espinasse

Thank you to all the new commenters. So nice to read about you and to get to know each other.

Janet, wonderful to read about your survivor son! I do not have melanoma. Ill have the basal cell carcinoma removed (this time, on my nose) on Tuesday. 

Judi Miller

Another wonderful story. It's the simple things and moments that make up a full life, isn't it! It was so odd -it made me smile so big when I just now listened to your audio of "l'ici et maintenant" --You Are French, French, French!!! But, in my vision, thoughts, you've always been an American living a French life!! It was such a 'tilt' for me to hear this wonderful French pronunciation from a wonderful American writer! Don't let your kids give you a hard time about your pronunciation ever again! Writing from MS, ducking tornados while visiting my daughter's family -but normally writing from Lake Balboa, CA. (FYI for your Dad) :-) Amicalement, Judi

mhwebb in NM, USA

I love the picture you painted! Before I read it, I was concerned about something that will undoubtedly pass, but you took me away from it. You even caused me to laugh loudly before breakfast (!) at "tone-death dogs". Sometimes it is the slip of the fingers as well as the slip of the tongues that cause the most amusement. Merci for letting it all hang out there! You are a treasure! I, too, have unanswered e-mails and yours is one of them. I apologize. I will get back to you soon, I promise!

susan standke

Your posting today has started my day with singing along to that wonderful Dido song at 5 am before I go off to work.....and remembering precious moments with my own son.....Thank you for sweetening my morning....I actually sang your message this morning.Thank you...susan


Bonjour =)


Bonjour de St. Paul, Minnesota! c'est froid ici mais votre blog est chaud! I'm learning french and love reading your blog. Merci!

Erin Owens

I've followed your word-a-day since 2003 and must say it has been so neat to follow the progression of your children growing up. I can imagine there is at times a language barrier created by the emotional roller coaster that teens go through, and to share this moment of pure understanding with your son is touching. Thank you for continuing to share your personal thoughts in life with complete strangers - it always brings some sort of meaning to my day! ~ Erin in Frisco Texas

Stephanie Beckman (aka Sis)

Bonjour from Toledo, Oh, USA

Linda R.

Bonjour from Cut Bank, Montana, where the wind is howling like a hound dog this morning. It would fit right in with your singing. : )

Julie F in St. Louis, MO

Bonjour and merci beaucoup, Kristin, for such a lovely and loving story on this day when the ici et maintenent for me in St. Louis is a predicted wintery mess on the ground and water in the sous sol (basement) from a broken toilet upstairs.

And, by the way, did you mean to write "tone-death dog" or should it have been "tone-deaf"?

Off to vacuum up some water.

Eileen deCamp in Charlottesville, VA

Hi Kristin,
I really loved this post today! It is nice to savor special moments like this in life!

Jessica Bard

Loved your post today. I needed a little reminder to enjoy the hear and now! - From Jessica in Red Hook, NY, USA


Kristin, what a very precious story - thanks so much for sharing. As I read your columns at work, it is always a good break from a hectic day. I treasure the snippets of French culture (and language) that you share with your readers! And, I must tell you, that after 5 years of French lessons, my husband was very impressed that I read in your latest book your husband's full page of French AND that I was able to translate it without referring to the English page. Thanks again for sharing with us!!

Myra Wood, New Orleans,

Kristin, Your blogs always touch my heart, usually bringing a smile to my face, but this one was different--it brought tears to my eyes. You have a wonderful way of sharing those precious moments that are rare and so treasured.

Bruce in northwest Connecticut

What a marvelous moment.

I had a similar one with my 8-year-old daughter a few days ago. It's amazing how a few minutes spent like that can make the rest of the week worthwhile.

David Navarre

Kristin, congrats on getting your teen's attention. Having spent a lot of time working with teens through Boy Scouting, I know how rare that is! Bonjour!

Bruce in northwest Connecticut

Seconding Jeri's wonderful sign-off: Thank you for who you are and what you are sharing.

Linda Hynson

Kristin, I have been enjoying your posts for a year or so now. I haven't listened to your audio files before, but was intrigued at the opportunity to hear not only your voice, but how your French accent was. I have been impressed at you living in a country where anything short of perfect French is frowned upon. My, you speak beautifully. Thank you for providing these glimpses into not only a French life, but one seen by an American woman. I love your writing and especially your photographs. For us Francophiles, you provide a window to a lovely place far away.


Hi Kristin

For those Francophiles in the Dallas area-be sure to come the the DMA before our great exhibit of Jean Paul Gaultier's fashions leaves this area. As a docent I am not always fond of contemporary 'art, but this proves that current can be a work of art. MY friend Nicole of Dallas agrees


Bonjour from Milwaukee Wisconsin. What a touching story. Reminds me of singing along to songs with my teenage son who has now passed from cancer at the age of 15. Touching and wonderful moments. How smart of you to put aside the laundry and sit down alongside your son. I also enjoyed your recent post on Louis Braille (I volunteered in hospice with a blind man) and saw the article was written by another Wisconsinite. I googled and found her and sent her an email and she responded back! Your words touch people around the world. Make it a great day! Michelle

Leslie Hall

Been following your blog for years, but as a lurker. Decided today was the day to say "hi"and let you know there's a fan in Lakeport, California (also wine country). Love to read about your adventurous life and family.

Peter Jackson

Hello Kristin

I wonder if Blossoming in Provence is going to be available on the Kindle?

Meanwhile, keep up the good work.

Regards from a Franglais home in Calvados. Peter.

Georgia Catasca

Bonjour from Corrales, New Mexico.

I too, have a son, now grown, and he,too, brings great joy to me.


Erin from Canada

Hi Kristin,

Happy New Year! Just wanted to stop in and say that I really enjoyed your story today. In our hectic and busy lives, I agree that it's those special moments together that really count.

P.S. I'm really enjoying your new book. I savour every short story because I don't want it to be finished!

mollie's mom

:) Popping in from Atlanta, Ga. I love to read your posts and practice a word or two of French. I took 9 years of French between HS and college and haven't used it in 20 years. So sad, but I am thrilled if I can translate any part of your posts. Maybe someday I'll take the time to "get it back" I visited Paris, the French Alps, and the Cote D'Azur and Nice and Monaco many years ago (I was 17!) and I still dream of returning. Such a beautiful and wonderful place. Keep touching us with your posts. I look forward to them and won't even open them if I am rushed. I'll save them for later in the day when I can appreciate them :) Thank you, Marcie

Maria Cochrane

Hi Kristen - I love your transparency and your authenticity. I think we all fear that people will like us if we show them who we really are. So bravo for your bravery! It empowers us.
I'm celebrating my 41st anniversary with French. When I was 13, my family moved to Belgium and I was put into an American school half way through French 1 - with no French experience..then in Sept of 9th grade I transitioned into the local Belgian school and had a year of immersion. I started my working life as an Army officer and then worked in an office and then finally went back to school at age 32 to get certified to teach French & German. This is my 20th yr of sharing my love affair with French. I learn so much current French from you...Keep it up and be encouraged.

Maria - newport news, virginia


I only wish I had more memories like the one you shared. Very touching . . . painted such a beautiful picture of the connection of two hearts. xx Robin


Bonjour Kristin,

I didn't realize you were having another surgery. I must have missed this somehow.
Hoping all goes well for you. D.


Bon jour from Montague, Michigan....on the beautiful sandy beaches of Lake Michigan. I have been reading your blog for only a year but it has inspired me to rekindle my love for France and the French language. Each day I take some time to study the French language in hopes to actually use it. Fortunately we will be going to the northwest area just outside of Avignon in late May. Kristin, thanks again for the inspiration and all of your lovely stories.

Valerie Walker

Hi Kristin-

I saw the article in the ASU magazine, remembered playing matchbox cars with you when we were neighbors in first and second grade, and signed up.

Your stories and lessons brighten my day, and remind me of the years I spent living abroad as well. Keep up the great work!

Sharon Inger

Bonjour Kristen,
Et merci. Dites a votre pere qu je suis en Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
Sharon I.

Cassie Alexandrou

Bonjour Kristin,

I started subscribing to your blog about two years ago when I enrolled in a French class at the local community college. I had studied French for many years while in school, but that seems a lifetime ago. I love the French language and have been to France several times -- but that, too, was long ago. My husband and I hope to make a return trip together this year.

Thank you for your warm, wonderful, wise and insightful words. Your stories never fail to touch my heart. You write so beautifully and with such openess (sp?) and honesty, that I feel as if I know you.

Cassie Alexandrou
Dallas, Texas

Reba from San Francisco

Lovely story today, thanks for sharing. You have mastered perhaps one of the most valuable skills in life, being able to appreciate those perfect little moments. Thank you for reminding us all to do the same.

Jean Lillibridge

bonjour from la louisianne. we are off for a couple of hours in the casino! jean

Erina from Orange County, CA

Wow, you have an absolutely lovely voice, and what an excellent phrase. I feel better just saying it. Thanks for your blog!

Angela Fowler

Great story today, Kristin! After an impromptu jam session singing Beatles songs with my would-be musician son-in-law and friends (real life musicians) and my daughter, my 15 year-old grandson paid me the ultimate compliment - "my granny is the coolest" - something I'll remember forever.

We'll be thinking positive thoughts for you when you have your next surgery!

Kristine, Dallas (where it's been raining non-stop! )

As always Kristi, beautifully written!

Herm in Phoenix

Salut Kristin,

Great story today! Thanks for sharing.

That was a nice article in the ASU News. My son graduated from ASU and I did post-graduate engineering work there. So…Howdy alumna!

Sally Richter

Bonjour from Bloomfield, CT. As the mother of two grown sons, I loved today's story. And my sons are now husbands and fathers, and when that happens to your Max, you will find even more moments to cherish, watching them with their families.
As I write this I am home with a husband who has had his second arm/shoulder surgery in 2 weeks. Thinking of you with positive thoughts for your procedure.

Deb Giampa

Bonjour from Barto, PA. I only had one semester in french class many years ago, but your word of the day has inspired me to try and re-learn enough words to possibly get by on a trip to Paris. I love your photos. It's a bright spot in my morning routine.

Helen  Sturgeon

Bonjour from the moutains of farrrrr western North Carolina - Brasstown to be exact! I love your blog - words, pictures and stories. We spent 10 days in Paris last year and are headed for Provence in Sept (after everyone else has come home!) I have absolutely no formal training, so your words are wonderful for me. I speak "guidebook French" with a Southern accent and lots of smiles. Thank you for sharing your life.

Myrna Kettler

Bonjour Kristin et fils,

Merci pour French Word a Day. Je l'aime. Mon
amie l'a partage avec moi.

Auj'hourdi especiallment etait "touching."
L'ici et maintenant. J'ai un fils aussi. Nous
avons eu des moments comme ca. Il a maintenant quarante et trois ans. Quelquefois,
nous encore avons ces mements mais jamais enough. Merci pour tout. Myrna

Myrna Kettler

Myrna Kettler is from Topanga, California

Tom from Detroit

Salut, Kristin. You never cease to amaze me with your exceptional word pictures. I was lost in the mother-son tableau that you "painted" with such talent. I love looking at great art but don't appreciate it as much as great writing probably because, never having painted, I don't know how hard it is. But being a 'word-smith' myself, I know how difficult it is to write something that captures the imagination. Thanks again.

In addition, the presque failures of your youth give me hope for my son who continues to search for that subject or occupation that will fire his passion.

Last word: Here in Detroit (the comeback city, according to Pres. Obama last night) it is still mild and snowless. Still no ice on the lakes and the winter is half-over! What's an ice-fisherman to do?

Faye Stampe, Gleneden Beach, OR

Bonjour Kristin,

I love your posts. They are funny, bittersweet, and sometimes sad. But viola --- that is life huh? I live on the central coast of Oregon. It is beautiful, but miss San Diego a lot.

I am taking French lessons and love to read all of the words from your post. I am going to Paris in May for an immersion class.

Stay well. I didn't know you were having another surg???? Bon chance, and merci for all you do.

Linda Packer

Bonjour Kristin! Thanks for sharing your marvelous moment with your son. It was very moving! I just got all choked up and teary-eyed. You are a wonderful écrivain. You really know how to put the reader right there in the scene with you.

I've been following your blog for a couple months now and enjoying it immensely. Good job!
---Linda in Port Townsend, WA

Victoria, Northridge, CA

I've been reading your blog for the past three years and enjoy it immensely. It's one of my guilty pleasures to take a few minutes away from my busy work schedule to take a "French Word-a-Day break" to catch up on what's happening. Thank you for sharing your life with us.

Today's post really touched me and I think it will touch any Mom who is trying to stay in touch with their teenagers. As they move towards adulthood and try out their wings of independence,those moments are so rare but precious as gold. Congrats on recognizing them and savoring them while they're there.

jeannie herrick

Bonjour from Santa Cruz, CA. I took a lot of French in college, enough to end up with a minor in it, but have little opportunity to use it here in CA. Spanish is everywhere...But I enjoy traveling in France--last May in Paris and Avignon and will soon have a French houseguest whom I met on my trip last year. I enjoy reading your blog.



Bonjour from Park Ridge, Illinois! Thank you for sharing that wonderful moment with your son. It always seems to be those little moments that end up having the most meaning for us, n'est pas? My two daughters are now in their 20's and I cherish all of those little spontaneous moments with them. You brought a smile to my face today! I always look forward to reading your blog and peeking in on your life in France! Good luck with your surgery. I am thinking good thoughts for you.


Oh, yes! And I meant to compliment you on your audio recording. You sound wonderful to me! It sounds truly French to my American ears!

Ginny Ross

Good Morning, Kristin, from sunny Tucson,AZ.
Your story of sharing a precious moment with your son Max brought back memories of the days when my teen age son would rush to his room after school, grab his guitar and sometimes beg me to harmonize with him on whatever song he was passionate about that day. I wasn't blessed with one ounce of musical talent, can't even clap to a beat (I have to watch the audience to stay in sync with the beat), so try as I might I could never get it right and would usually break down in laughter at my own off key voice. He has probably long since forgotten these shared moments, but they are precious memories to me that I will always treasure. Thank you for sharing your sweet story with your devoted followers. And now I must check out Dido and see what I've missed. Obviously he was "after my time".

Iz Campbell

Chère Kristin, I love your vignettes of la vie quotedienne in the south of France! I was in the audience in Paris when you gave that first presentation at The American LIbrary on a rainy night. Despite the stage fright you professed, you came across as genuine and natural, interesting, thoughtful and blessed with a good sense of humor--just like the voice in your writing. My sister-in-law, who has never been to France, follows your postings religiously. She gave me your latest book for Christmas. Youpi!
Amicalement, Iz
from Santa Rosa, California, in the Sonoma County Wine Country, where it's gloriously sunny today. Encore youpi!


Bonjour de Pebble Beach en Californie.

I've followed your blog for years and look forward to each new post. You have a lot of friends out here in cyberspace who are rooting for you. What a nice story about you and Max...he'll forget it, you never will.

Petra Douma

Bonjour from Ancaster, Ontario, Canada. I enjoy reading your blogs since I was in a similar situation with my husband and three children living close to Lille. But since my husband is Canadian, not French, we are back home again where I teach high school French. It is especially encouraging to hear to you were not that good at French in hight school and here you are, married to a Frenchman, living in France, raising two French children and writing books about the French language. What an inspiration!

Ellen in Beverly Hills

The "pamplemousse present" - fantastic!

Karen Stoeckley

To Joan at the top of the comment column! Any chance the house is called La Rive? at the end of the street just above the river? We stayed there for April of 2010 and used the bedroom on the street side so we could leave the window open at night and hear the river gurgle by. It was so soothing. Also the red at the c0-0p is pretty good and the Margarita pizza at the little cafe on the point is excellent.
Karen in Missouri

Karen Stoeckley

WOW! The mail just arrived and my Pimsleur cd's just arrived. Thank you for putting me onto this system. Now we shall see if, by April, I can communicate while we stay in Salon de provence for the month! Thank you !Karen


Bonjour de Melbourne, Australie

Avad Fan

What a minute to cherish. You definitely will never forget it because you shared it with your lucky readers. I'll be waiting for a moment like that with my 16 year old son. Merci beau coup!

Jill Harris

Bonjour de Malibu en Californie

Merci Kristin for keeping me close to France. I spent several
summers in a small village called Jean les Pins ...I was in school
and quite young.

I know about your surgery, but you mention another one in the
future - I have missed hearing about that one.

We live in Malibu on the water, today is so beautiful,like a
summer day.

Thank-you Kristin.....Jill and Jeff


Thank you so much for sharing this. I had a similar moment a few weeks ago with my daughter who was home from college. I was very busy with work and many deadlines, and she asked me to spend time with her. Briefly, I thought of all of the deadlines, clients to account to, work to be missed. Then, I realized that this moment was too precious to miss as she would soon be going back to college on the East Coast. It was a shared time that I will cherish with her. Frances in Napa, California with the wine grapes.


It is a rare to share a moment like that with our teens. Remember the days when they wanted all our attention? Some days I long for those moments to return, when the kids were simple, uncomplicated.

Enjoy those good moments!


Beautiful! What's this smile on my face? The image of you and Max prone wired together~how sweet:) I found myself imagining I was lying back too,,listening - caught in the moment - mouthing the words in my mind slowly remembering the tune... Ha.. Thanks! Having recently almost lost my husband to illness, I have a hard time trying to do anything except just 'being with him'. I agree that even though life has it's necessary functions, contrast the things that challenge, we find ourselves, when we appreciate and share the moments. Life just becomes more real. sigh...Hawaii


Today's "moment" is so sweet, it's made me a bit teary... You're right to treasure it.

I haven't had the time for a while to participate in the Coin Commentaires but hope to be back more regularly soon!


Bonjour Kristin!
Thank you so much for sharing your stories with us. My daughter also lives in France (Paris) since she fell in love and married the Frenchman she met on a class photography shoot there. I've been trying to learn French to better appreciate my visits to France and your "word-a-day" always gives me the fun (and practical) side of the language.
Kathy from Placerville, California


What a great little story you have shared! Occasionally, I share them with my 16 year old son and this will be one of them. Treasuring the simple moments is the best.

Kathy here, living in sunny Los Angeles where it is in the mid-70s.
Thank you, Kristin.

Emilie Quast

Tender sons are wonderful; you've done a good job of getting him to this point.

Alas, the idiom is "tone deaf" meaning you can't distinguish one tone from the other. This leads to "tone death" but isn't called that.

Judy Feldman

What a sweet story! I love the ones about Max. He sounds like such a wonderful person! Love Dido,too. She writes great songs - also like "Sand in my Shoes..."

Lynda Taylor

Kristin, this is my first time to post a comment even though I have read almost every blog you have written. I remember ordering your first book from you, and it arrived with many beautiful French stamps on the package cover and a personal note written inside the book. So, I am way overdue in writing to thank you. Your new book BLOSSOMING IN PROVENCE is delightful. I particularly enjoyed the story about your speaking at Shakespeare and Company. Also, I always enjoy your intriguing photographs. Again, I thank you for all that it must cost you to give us a slice of French life thrice weekly.
Lynda from Tennessee (formerly from Louisiana)
Posted by: Lynda Taylor |

Karen from Phoenix

Loved your sweet story. My boys 26 and 22 live close to me in Phoenix but sometimes I miss that closeness with them. They stayed over on Christmas Eve, so we could have a full Christmas Day together. When they left I got tears in my eyes. I just love them so much and am so proud of the men they have become.

Beautiful day in Phoenix, AZ !

june furey

Once again Kristin, your truly wonderful little stories bring such joy to my heart and soul. Each sentence reveals another word picture opening hearts to the happiness each of us can have from the simple joys of everyday life. This is your senior artiste ami from Auckland NZ sending you greetings for the New Year. At present I am with family but planning to return to the France for my yearly sojourn where I find the ambience of just being there inspires me to further paintings. Your letters keep me updated with my French although my Kiwi accent is still a lot to be desired when it comes to pronounciation I am eagerly awaiting your new book which I will take with me on my trip.
Au revoir June, Akld, NZ

Anthea Carboni

Bonjour de l'australie! Je suis a Perth e il fait extremement chaud - 40C!

I thought at first you were going to tell your son "sorry I'm folding the clothes you can't lie here!" Priorities!

I have just come back from a trip to France and had a great time digging up the French learned at uni many years ago. Parisian taxi drivers are wonderfully chatty! I think you have hit on a grat way to involve otheres in learning a langiuage - a little bit at a time in the context of real life. Well done! All the best. Anthea

Ellen Perry

Hello from East Granby, Connecticut, Kristin. Love your blog and books - I am in the process of reading your latest and enjoying it thoroughly. Your post today was very touching as I have a 16 year old son myself.


Wonderful. My 16 year old son is now 28 and recently married. You will never forget this best minute de ta vie. Il fait beau a Virginia Beach, Va.

MJ Maffie

Salut from Hilton Head Isalnd, SC.
Your word a day makes my day,
Thank you, MJM

Nancy Rial

Have no hesitation at all commenting after reading that- a beautiful moment! One of your very best!

This will probably make it into an anthology in the future, so- to help with the future editing I think you meant tone deaf?

Merideth Hendry

Bonjour from Fullerton, CA USA! I just wanted to say how much I look forward to your Blog and how much I have enjoyed your books. My husband and I spent 6 weeks in France a few months ago, we love France! It was our third trip to France and we are now in the talking stages of trying to figure out if it's possible for us to purchase a home there and which part of France we love the most. Tough decisions!

Thanks again for your wonderful Blog!


Bonjour de Little Rock, Arkansas! (pour ton père). J'aime tellement vos histoires, vous remercie de me donner des souvenirs de mon bien-aimé en France, où je suis resté pour un été quand j'avais 26 ans (maintenant j'ai 50 ans). Je sais que je vais y retourner un jour!


Reading today's blog makes me think I'm watching the TV, seeing you and Max having fun bed while chief Grapes is in the bathroom, prenant son bain. This precious moment with Max will be forever ingrained in your mind. I too, have had those moments with my sons. Une fois, one son also told me I smelled like a pamplemousse; because earlier, I had used the liquid soap with grapefruit scent to wash my face.

Thank you Kristin, for bringing back all those memoreies I had had with my sons when they were growing up. Merci aussi for refreshing the French I have once learned. S'il vous plaît, tout le monde, corrigez-moi si j'ai eu tort. I think RESSENTIR spells with two S. Et aussi, C'est "l'ici-maintenant" avec un trait d'union. Dans l'ici-maintenant", je reSSens de la paix".

Cynthia Lewis

Dear Kristin,
I enjoy your sincere and creative writing so much that each post seems to be my favorite and then another (like today's) follows hard on the heels of the previous one and I know that it is impossible to I just say "mille mercis". I will be thinking of you on Tuesday and I send my best wishes your way......from Salisbury, Maryland.

Jill in Sydney

Bonjour from Sydney, Australia to Kristi, her Mum and Dad. It's Australia Day here when we remember the first settlement of white people on 26 January 1788. Must have been pretty crazy for those convicts from the other side of the world to come here and find instead of it being winter in January, it is midsummer. However today you would not think it is summer here in Sydney - it has been raining constantly as it has all summer. Bill Gates and family have taken a house here for summer - think they might have been a bit disappointed - it has been the wettest summer I can remember. Luckily I am heading off on holidays myself on Monday to Bali! Will look forward to reading all your posts on my return. Lots of love.

Laura in Falls Church

Bonsoir, Kristin,

My sister in Portland, Oregon, has sent me the occasional Word-a-Day and I finally realized I needed to sign up myself, and buy both your books! I took French in high school (had to take the third year by correspondence because the teacher in our little high school didn't know enough to teach me!), and was glad of it when I went to Paris years later. I have let what little I knew slip away (and as a first-grade teacher in Virginia I really need Spanish), so am really enjoying the addition of YOU into my life. Merci!

Frances Raedeker

My daughter Lisa, married to a French chef here in Escondido, CA., forwarded your blog to me and it is the only one I follow with regularity. It is beautifully designed and full of charm, interesting info, as well as your sweet personal story. Very wonderful contribution to our world. Frances in Escondido, California


Hello! (haven't graduated to actually using French yet!) I am a newcomer to your blog. I am subscribed so I read it on email and am glad I clicked on to leave a comment because your online page is wonderful with all those books down the side bars! mmmmm, how I love books. (btw, I did order your latest. I found your blog by purchasing your first)

I am writing from southern NJ, right outside Philadelphia. I plan to take my first French classes in community college in summer session, and am trying to get a little more familiar with it first. (I'm a 48 yo mom and grandma)

I so enjoy the beautiful photos and the little vignettes (wait! isn't that French??) of your life. Thanks!


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