une morsure

comment faire

Jalopy (c) Kristin Espinasse

 "Coincidence is God's way of remaining anonymous." Les coincidences sont une manière pour Dieu de rester anonyme. Thanks to Ardi, for sharing this quote in Monday's comments box.  Does anyone know who wrote it?)

Photo: "The Dawn of Spring"...  near Orange, France. It was worth jumping over a muddy ditch--and parting a curtain of prickly feuilles--to get close up to this floral scene! For a side view of the classic car--and more of these glorious blossoms--click here.

comment faire (koh mahn fehr)

: how to

Audio File: The Francophones have been driven off (see today's story), which means you are stuck with me! Listen to the following sentence at your own péril (especially perilous were the words écrire and jouer)Download MP3 or Wav file

On ne peut à la fois écrire une nouvelle... et jouer chauffeur.* Alors comment faire? One cannot at the same time write a short story and play driver!


* ... in case you are wondering, no! "chauffeuse" is not the feminine of chauffeur.  Chauffeuse is the French word for "low armless chair"...

Grammar note: Wondering where the pas went (after ne peut...)? See Millie's grammar tip at the end of this edition...

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

Note: This column will be back illico presto... just as soon as the slap-happy storyteller either:

1. gets some sleep.... or 

2. quits being solicited for rides:

    a. to the aéroport at (3:58 a.m.)

    b. to school at (8:15 a.m.)

    c. to driver's ed at (9:50 a.m.)

    d. to friends' homes (the rest of the afternoon)

Sheesh! How can anyone pursue the writing life... when the riding life takes over? Off to drive Max to town...


Comments Corner
Just in case today's slapdash baclée offering might have inspired any response whatsoever, you can leave a message here, in the comments box. Thanks!


 Meantime, if you feel like reading a vocab-rich story, try one of these (in theme with today's word!) from the archives:

  1. How to Eat Chocolate Mousse for Breakfast on Monday
  2. How to Mourn a Cat
  3. How to Prune Lavender
  4. How to Know Whose is Whose (Coffee)


 French Vocabulary

une feuille = leaf

illico presto = (see all meanings here -- and some lovely Smokey The Dog photos, too!)

un aéroport = airport

la chapellerie = hat shop

 Another Grammar Tip (...gleaned from the comments box!)

Millie writes:

I remember my French professeur once telling us, in some cases, it is possible to omit the "PAS". Just think of COPS pour Cesser. Oser, Pouvoir et Savoir comme par exemple, il ne cesse de pleuvoir; nerveuse, je n'ose parler en public; elle ne peut venir avec moi; je ne sais qui a raison?

Thanks, Millie. As you can tell, I've been practicing (see today's example sentence!). I hope others will be helped by your tip too!

Have a good grammar tip? Share it here. I will try to post another of your tips very soon, that is illico presto!



Is it any wonder which hat Mom would choose? And you, have you chosen your hat yet? (and don't give us any of that: but I didn't see the black hat!!! How come she gets to choose the black hat? Here are a few more choices, if you like... though it may be du pareil au même--or "more of the same"--from the previous photo.



Another chapellerie... this time in Orange, France.

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Writing about "writing life" - I like the cursive writing of the French. How were your children taught to write? Yesterday, PAris Breakfast had a nice blog on examples of French cursive writing. Are your children required to use computers for school work?

gail bingenheimer

thanks for the "COPS" rule; I'll try to remember it

Janice Hunter

I think it was Albert Einstein who said, "Coincidence is God's way of remaining anonymous." janice

Kristin Espinasse

SLV - They were taught nice penmanship, only it did not last (sometimes hard to read their writing). I think computers (which they are required to use for certain homework) are to blame for a lot of todays chicken scratch (at least that is my excuse!)

Karen Whitcome (Towson, MD. USA)

I LOVE the opening photo and it's partner on the car rental post. I can see how it would stop you in your tracks as you traverse out and about town. Things are budding around here, too.

I have my daughter away at college now and my 16 year old son will get his drivers license in a month. I've always said that I feel I do more driving for them at this age than at any other age. Out and about, (and where we live, my horseback riding daughter had to be driven miles and miles away from town) you arrive home and get started on a task only to get disrupted again. Nothings gets accomplished at this pace.

The only thing that I tell myself after I gripe a little too loudly is that I should enjoy these times - and I do when I'm finally in the car with the kids - because these times will pass all too soon. I know you feel the same but it's so frustrating!

I for one will wait for you to return to us with a peaceful head for writing.


Thank you for this! I have always used 'chauffeuse' (although in jest when speaking Franglais rather than in France) so will not make the mistake again of saying that I will be an armless chair! Is there a feminine version of chauffeur? It would be helpful to know.
Thank you!


quit being so apologetic. Let's get positive again.

Brack Stovall

Today's quote is attributed to Albert Einstein, from "The world as I see it"

julie camp

"Coincidence is God's way of remaining anonymous." Albert Einstein

Sophie Day

I don't understand Millie's explanation. What does "COPS pour cesser" mean?

Carolyn Lieberg

Einstein was borrowing somewhat from Shakespeare. Here is a similar thought, from Othello:

“Trifles light as air are to the jealous confirmations strong as proofs of holy writ.”
― William Shakespeare

Kristin Espinasse

Thanks for the quote attribution!

Sophie, sorry about that--I left off the first bit of information! This COPS grammar tip concerns the "ne pas" discussion that we had in a previous comments box, in which Glenn asked:

I'm confused regarding Jean-Marc's phrase «Kristin ne pourra venir avec moi...» I would have expected a «pas» after «pourra» to complete the negation. Is this simply a typo or is there yet another rule governing «ne» usage that I'm clueless about (explétif omitted) ?"

Mille wrote in, giving some examples of verbs that do not always require the "pas". She offered the COPS acronym, a helpful mnemonic (sp?) aide for remembering these French verbs:


mhwebb in NM, USA

I like the coincidence quote because I frequently say, "I don't believe in coincidence. I believe God is in charge."

Blessings, Mary

Sharon Inger

Oui, Einstein. Isn't it a great idea?

Sarah LaBelle near Chicago

The period after Cesser was a typo, should be a comma. Can you see it now, Sophie? An acronym to aid in memorizing 4 verbs.
The 4 verbs that can sometimes use ne alone for negation, rather than ne ... pas. There is an example of each verb in a sentence to make the rule clear.

COPS is good for English speakers who already use that word as slang for police.

Kristin, hope you get some sleep.


Judi Miller

Still here visiting my daughter & family in MS and things are blooming, sinuses crying, but eyes are rebelling in the gorgeous Japanese Magnolias and "Stinky" Pear trees (as my daughter calls them!). I love your picture of the beginning of Spring-so beautiful. Enjoy the 'blossoming' trees and your 'blossoming' children during all your drives, Mme Chauffeur!

P.S. COPS -great lesson!

Martine NYC

The blessing today was being rerouted to your "How to Mourn a Kitten" column, then "Pipette" with the beautiful, beautiful photo of Lily. It brought back much heartbreak of my own, related to kittens and cats I have rescued and fallen in love with. Each time I have wanted for all the world to save them. Sometimes they have only lived a few days. Another one lived to be almost 22(and with me the last 21 years). Each one was an angel. The brother and sister I have now had difficult childhoods, medically. Who knows how long I'll have them? I can only marvel at how lovely they are.
Thanks for these posts, Kristin.


Today's offering was not "bacle" at all. I love the photo of the blossoming trees; alas, it will be a while before Westchester County sees such lovely flowering.

And speaking of blossoming, I just received my copy of "Blossoming in Provence" and am enjoying it very much!

Julie F in St. Louis, MO

I loved the photo of the trees and classic car. No need to apologize for having a riding life. I did that myself -- in a sense it was what "drove" me back to my writing for fear that I was losing my own self in my children's needs. And thanks for the trips down memory lane with you. (do I get a prize for the most "car/driving" references?)

Herm in Phoenix, AZ

Salut Kristin,

The blossoming trees in your photo are very pretty! Here in Phoenix, the citrus trees started blooming last week. They are not quite as pretty as your trees because the leaves hide some of the flowers. However, the aroma of the citrus blossoms comes through “loud and clear”

Kristin, do you remember the sweet scents of Phoenix this time of the year?

À bientôt

Julius Lester

I sympathize with your duties as family driver. Having helped raise 5 children meant much of my life was spent in my car.
Now that my children are adults, I have my revenge by making them drive me around when I visit them.

The day will come when each child will be born with its own vehicle and robot-chauffeur.

Maureen France

“Coincidence is God's way of remaining anonymous.”
― Albert Einstein, The World as I See It

PapaGuitar, Amherst, MA USA

My friend referred to this period as the taxi years.

Carolyn Chase

“Coincidence is God's way of remaining anonymous.”
― Albert Einstein, The World as I See It

I thought the black hat was great, especially with "Mom"s" style, and the outfit, but was surprised when I was drawn to the pale blue one with the bow in today's email. I'll have to think about that one.


Kristin, hats are always a good idea - especially wide-brimmed ones for very warm spring, summer, and even fall days. As are long-sleeved buttoned-down 100% cotton shirts (that I like to wear over another cotton shirt). And, sunscreen, Kristin, with ZINC and TITANIUM, according to advice given me last spring from a dermatologist. (Hats, long-sleeved shirts, and sunscreen were all, I believed, necessary in our area last year when we had over 100 days of 3-digit temperatures...)

Carolyn Chase

As far as quotes go, I think the one that I found most helpful as a mother was Biblical: "This too shall pass..." - King Solomon. And it frequently comes in handy now, as well.


My beautiful antique key arrived this week! Many thanks again for this piece of France. I plan on framing it in a shadow box and will send a picture soon.

Rebecca Ward

Bonjour, Kristin! This is what I found for the quotation about coincidence:

"Le hasard, c'est Dieu qui se promène incognito."
Albert Einstein

I have, and have read, your wonderful new book (and was tickled to see that the cover was the one I voted for!) Love your postings. Hope you and your family are all well. Keep up the good work!
Sending you greetings from Florida, Rebecca Ward

Carolyn  Dahm,  Sharon, MA

Salut Kristin! Thanks for the beautiful quotation today. I also believe coincidences are from the heavens. Miracles can show up at your doorstep when you least expect them.

I love, love, love all the hat pictures! Jules looks stunning in that black one. I like the lavender colored one on the counter in that picture and also the one on the rack outside towards the bottom with the flower on it. Flowers, buttons or ribbons on hats are my favorite!

Hope Jean-Marc had a safe flight and enjoyed his first couple of days in the Big Apple. I look forward to hearing an update.

All my best to you and your family.


Reading your story about Lily the kitten made me cry and feel not so alone or strange with my sorrow at losing our cat. Kitzel would have been 20 years old in June but he died in my arms on Monday, February 27. At the end all I could do for him was hold him and try to comfort him after he refused to drink or eat. He's now buried in our flower garden. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and heart-warming stories with us!

Zoe Willet

Milwaukee, Madison, Minneapolis, Iowa City--- and NOT Chicago?!!! For shame!


Coucou Kristin, je suis en retard...
Since JM is on his US tour, tu ne peux à la fois écrire et jouer au chauffeur! :-) Thank you for explaining to Sophie re the acronym COPS. I'm happy that you also found it useful. But using Ne...Pas with those COPS verbs, is also not wrong.

With JM's absence, you're now...Mrs Lonely, with all the chores on your shoulders. This reminds me of the time before we moved to USA, my in-laws warned me that I would have to do everything. It's true, in Asia, with the cost of living relatively much cheaper, we had chauffeur, et des bonnes. But I was thinking more of my children’s good education when we decided to immigrate to America. Upon arrival in San Francisco, my younger brother whom my children had never met, came to pick us up. My then three-year-old son asked if he was chauffeur! :-)
Life was hard at the beginning. With my husband going out to work everyday, I was...maid, cook, and "bus driver". I drove a Ford Club wagon, big van, to bring my children, back and forth, all five of them, to high school, to middle school and to elementary school, and all at different hours. And there were also after hours lessons on different days. Now looking back, je me demande comment j'ai pu tout faire?

Regarding the coincidence quote, I have found this..."Ce que nous appelons hasard, c'est peut-être la logique de Dieu." by Georges Bernanos, un écrivain Français.
I wish JM a successful tour and that he makes lots of sales.

Annette Heath

Bonjour Kristin,

I hope and pray those precious dogs are doing well now, especially Braise.

I loved the picture of the Salon de The with the simple, and so lovely Christmas decoration at the door - just a bit of pine and a shiny ball. I love that about the villages in Provence. Oh to see them someday.
Thank you also for the dear photos of Gus and his lovely wife, and the key, the mailbox. It was all so delightful. Many thanks to you and Gus!

Amicalement et merci, Annette


Gus has expressed so eloquently my thoughts as well. The package and wrappings were as thrilling as the key itself! Each layer uncovered more surprises leading up to the unveiling of the actual key!
Unlike Gus, France is not the country of my family, but it is the country of my heart!
I will send pictures of the wrappings/key once they are suitably framed. Thanks again, Kristin, for your thoughtfulness!


CaReFuL - Mme. Tindall taught .... the consonants that are pronounced at the ends of words en français.

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