l'enjeu est grand
Une embuche: Obstacle, pitfall, difficulty in French + My Writing Process, deadlines, and How to finish a post

le piege : the trap + book update

Snowy Vineyard (c) Kristin Espinasse
Photo of the vineyard where we spent 5 lively years! Thanks to your helpful notes, I will be writing the first draft of the memoir in private. Read on...

le piège (pee-ezh)

    : trap, snare, pitfall, booby-trap

Audio: Listen to the following words & example sentence: DownloadMP3 or Wav

  How to properly pronounce French words? Read this inexpensive book!

piéger (verb) = to trap
piégé = booby-trapped
une voiture piégée = a car bomb
un colis or une lettre piégé(e) = a parcel or letter bomb
le piège à souris = mousetrap
la question piège = loaded or trick question
le piège à touriste = tourist trap
tomber dans le piège = to fall into a trap

Un piège, ou trappe, est un dispositif destiné à capturer un être vivant. -Wikipedia
A snare or trap is a device for capturing a live being.

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

I am trying to remember whether the French have an expression for "wow", because a teary wow! is just one of the reactions I am having to your ongoing messages of support, following the announcement that I am writing my memoir.

But isn't a memoir something someone writes at the end of one's life? some people wrote in, a little surprised by my decision.

There are many kinds of memoirs. In book publishing, memoirs are also a way to recount a specific period in one's life. A good book title narrows the scope of the subject; here are a few made-up ones to illustrate this point:  

  • Grappling: My 5 Years at a Wine Farm & How I Stayed Sober
  • Its What It's: How My Blog Readers Taught Me Grammar and Punctuation

(Come to think of it, that second "memoir" might be a lot of fun to write! It is true: I have and continue to learn punctuation thanks to the notes and explanations you send in. )

Though I will not know the title of my book until I have discovered its overriding theme, I like to think it is "A Love Story"--no matter how overused that title is. On the other hand, a How-To title could hint at a good portion of the book's content:

  • How To Become An Author, Editor, and Publisher When You Failed Language Class.

Sometimes book titles are borrowed from one of the chapters inside the memoir (think Me Talk Pretty One Day).

In my book, a particularly chilling chapter recounts a drastic measure taken towards a flawless life. That chapter is called:

  • Waking Up at The Wrong Time : Becoming Conscious on the Operating Table

Indeed, the book itself could be titled after that very chapter. Waking Up at the Wrong Time... such a title would so meaningfully evoke one woman's premature arrival at consciousness.

I realize that statement sounds absurd. How can one become conscious before becoming conscious?

Only eternity knows the answer. And Love is eternal... 

Once again, please accept my deepest thanks for taking the time to write in, following the previous three posts. The process of deciding to write a memoir--then typing the first three chapters online--feels just like going through the towel dryer--one of those old-fashioned French dryers where a flimsy rag passes between two rolling steel bolts. On the other end, out comes the towel, crisp at a piece of paper. It will take 280 to 330 sheets of this kind of paper to tell my story. 

To comment on this post, or to read what others are saying about this topic, please click here

 Another snippet from the book follows, just below my picture near the end of this post.

French Laundry (c) Kristn Espinasse
"Airing one's laundry in  public?" A few people wrote in, concerned about a tell-all memoir. Please trust me to know what to share - and what not to! My Mom has dug out her big red protective marker and my daughter will be reading the rough-draft! 

Jean-Marc will kick off his USA Wine Tour this spring. Check out his itinerary and see if he will be in your area. Click here

One thing I learned from readers' reaction to my post about the risks of writing: depending on your perspective, or life experience, a scene will evoke darkness of light - or both. I am always having to remind myself to adjust my perspective.

That's me, serving dessert. At the vineyard where we lived, we had many, many guests. Rarely did I meet a fellow teetotaler. In the meantime, there was lots and lots of wine to bring out. When Jean-Marc reached past me to pour the wine for a tablemate, I casually moved my plate out of the way, afraid a drop of alcohol would fall into my pasta--what if I ate the tainted food? Could I still believe I was abstinent? Would I be able to claim my end of another year chip

When emptying the bottles for the recycle bin, I would carefully rinse my hands, what if the alcohol seeped through my skin?!
I have relaxed a lot in the recent years. But I don't ever want to get to cozy around wine. The risk to relapse is ever present. 

I had not meant to write any more of my story online, having made the decision to write the chapters in private... and then, these thoughts rushed out. If you know anyone who might benefit from this story, click on the Prologue, or introductory chapter, where you will find a "share link" at the end of the post. From there your friend or family member can read through the first three chapters of my recovery story.  DSC_0390
"Love locks in Paris." Happy Valentines Day to you! Click here for your Valentine... a list of endearing terms and several heart photos I've taken just for you! 

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.

Eileen - Charlottesville, VA

Bonjour Kristin,

Best of luck with writing your memoir! You have so much support from everyone and that must lift you up to know that!

I enjoyed clicking back to the Valentine's post from 2012. I was enjoying reading all the terms of endearment in French. Can I switch mon canard for mon connard! My husband will never know, right? I love the photo of the heart door and the flowers.

You mentioned abstinence today and it is Ash Wednesday. I am trying to give up chocolate this Lent.

Happy Valentine's Day to you and Jean-Marc!

Marika Ujvari

I admire you Kristi for your honesty!!!




Once again I was up and down all night long - praying for your precious little spirit as you wonder around the corners of your mind. I can see once again that you are a step ahead of me as always.

Your post today make me so proud to have at my fingertips one of the most interesting and educational blogs on the internet. You always seem to rise higher and higher.

So much valuable information about language wrapped up in your prose this morning. All those new phrases and words I would never have thought to ask for.

And then I see our dear and precious friend Eileen beat me to the #1 comment spot....but then again the value of not only her love and encouragement shone through for me, but something I always receive from all of your friends...a hint as some part of your post I didn't let register on my first reading. Thanks Eileen, I would have forgot to click on the Valentine post for 2012. Just to pat myself on the back I must share that while surfing the net a few years ago I ran across Eileen...I quickly sent her a note encouraging her to come into Kristi's life via FWAD. I always like to remind Kristi how lucky she is that I found Eileen for her...and she has proved to be one of our most valuable friends. I love you Eileen and so does Kristi.

Looks like I am high and rambling this morning - that's what moms do when they find their children have made it safely onto the next base. Did you all know Kristi was a 'little league baseball player on an all boy team...I would sit on the sidelines and cry each time she went to bat. I was so proud. Looks like she is still knocking that ball out of the stadium...



Cindy McDonald

Chere Kristin thank you for writing your memoir. I am deeply touched by your revelations and equally impressed by your ever improving writing skills. You are a beautiful and sensitive soul. Bonne Saint Valentin to you and Jean-Marc.

Bill in St. Paul

Write on, Kristin, we'll be here for you! Loved the picture of the dogs romping through the snow - reminds me of our dear, long-gone Theo when we'd take him up to the golf course after a deep snow and how he loved to bound through the fluffy white stuff. The picture of the laundry drying reminded me of the many times we've rented apartments or cottages that came with a washer, but no dryer, so that's what we did: aired our laundry as discretely as possible.


Hi Kristen, glad you found us useful, as we do you. I'm one of those people who is quite happy to talk about their inner life (all except a few things). I think its a really useful thing to do, both for us as individuals and for society. I think go for it too, you've plenty of advisors to hold you back if need be!
Giving up alcohol is an amazing achievement, especially if you live in a vineyard!
Take care, Lynne


Oh Kristin, having met you a few years back and seeing the kind of person you are, if you write about giving up alcohol when your married to a wine maker, you have no idea how many people will benefit from this. It will give people the hope, the light at the end of the tunnel what ever you want to call it. It could only help and make all of us love you more. I still love reading your blog and for some reason always come away from it with a peaceful feeling.
Thank you for that.
Mansfield, MA

Catherine Stock

We all have our battles but the way you have tackled yours is most inspiring. My vice, sigh, is gluttony. Being Ash Wednesday, I think I will give up naughty indulgences (I think I know what they are when I see them) for Lent. Will let you know how I do so you will hopefully get some added satisfaction to see your effect on lesser mortals.


Congratulations, Kristin, ça n'a pas dû être facile de devenir abstinente en étant mariée à un producteur de vin.
Doublement bravo!

Karen Whitcome - Towson, Md  USA

Hi Kristin. I may have missed you giving reason for this but I was wondering why you aren't writing the memoir all the way through and THEN deciding on whether or not to share it (for whatever reason) the public. Doing it that way may give the family time to digest and re-digest while you still get to use it for its healing benefits.

JM is your life partner and quite a marvelous one, in all that I have heard and seen of/from him over the years. You should both be as close to feeling 100% ready for the "reveal" as possible, I'm thinking - making sure that his suport is not about being strong enough to "take it" but also in really understanding it's importance.

Karen Whitcome - Towson, Md  USA

Someone just posted this on Facebook. I love it's application to so many things but thought I'd share it with you for it's application here:

"Holding on is believing that there's only a past; letting go is knowing that there's a future." - Daphne Rose Kingma

Kristin Espinasse

Karen, that is what I have decided: to write the story in private, first. I may share excerpts, as I did today.

Mom, thank you for sharing the baseball story - the happiest times!

Bill in St Paul, I love reading about Theo. Rest his soul, bless his heart!

To all who have taken the time to comment, or to read these comments, thank you! It is a pleasure to read your words.

Julie from Edinburgh

Thank you for the Valentine post it is even more lovely second time around. I am glad you are writing in private for the moment. You are a wonderful writer and I am always uplifted after reading your thoughtful words. Happy Valentine's day to you and Jean-Marc


Hello over there!

Have a lovely and sweet St Valentine's Day Kristin and Jean-Marc!

Good luck with the writing of your private story. May it brings you fulfilment, freedom and hapiness. We all know you you will write it with both your heart and guts!

I send you plenty of supportive sun and warmth from Reunion Island!

Kathy in Nashville

Oh, excellent idea to write it privately for the first draft. Even in the telling of it, you may find there are other avenues you want to explore; and that will be much easier if you hold it to the end. Plus, imagine the suspense as everyone waits to read it!

Pat Cargill

~roses r red violets r bleu
your fwAd amis are always
with you ~

hier, aujourd'hui, demain...


Best wishes to the entire family, and my black lab Sophie wags at Braise and Smokey on Valentines Day.

Mim   (Richmond, VA)

Keep posting your lovely photos and some French words and phrases, and we'll wait to read your memoir when it's published!

French Alps American

Kristin, it looks like you made peace with the decision about the book. I'm glad because only you can know what's best for you and your family. It also looks like you'll have lots of support from lots of people through the process. Bon courage with the book!

Kristin - Exton, PA

Dear Kristin:

I applaud your decision to write anything (private or not)!!!! You are wonderful! Thank you for sharing your daily insights, wonderful photos and allowing us a glimpse into your life (which seems somewhat exotic to those of us living in suburbia, USA). Happy Valentine's Day to you and your family!!!

Kristin D.


What a good example you set! No matter the challenge, your constant resolve and ever present positive and beautiful outlook on life is an inspiration. You use good judgement in the decision to write your memoir in private for now, but it will undoubtedly bring courage to others, with it's debut. You deserve the best that life has to give. Happy Valentines Day to the sweetest family in France!
I love that you played baseball on an all boy team! Can you tell us a story from that experience? I'll bet you were a great little hitter!


Bravo, Kristin, for continuing on with your memoir! And it's wonderful that your family will be assisting in the process. I consider it such a joy to have found you, and I look forward to the day when this new book is published. Until then, I treasure each new entry on your blog!

Karene in So. Calif.


Wisdom. You are blazing a path. Hopefully, we all have the courage to follow. Consciousness . That is the journey.
Thank you.


I've been a reader for more than a year, and had read your first book before I discovered this site. At first, it was just more of my large library of living the beautiful and amusing life of an expat. I loved your stories about adjusting to a different language, in a different country. Finding out about your cancer was shocking, and at the time, I told my husband that it was amazing how emotionally upsetting your health crises were to so many people, including me, who had never met you. It was a lesson in the power of the internet community. However, I must admit I spent a lot of time thinking about your decision to write a memoir that laid bare so many personal things. Blogging, and the internet, has broken down personal privacy in so many ways. Putting your story "out there", for ever, is a gutsy move. While I'm sure all your readers love the "skipping through the lavender" stuff, I wondered why we needed to peek inside the most personal parts of your life, and my response was to protect you from who knows what possible adverse results there might be. I'm glad you are going to write your memoir privately. I know that you are smart, and have a lot of family support, but I suspect that writing the whole story, and then sharing it with your closest friends and family first is the right move. Great decision. That said, it is plain to see that your readers love you, and clearly want to protect you. I hope you appreciate that.

Marcia Douglas

What courage it took to reveal your innermost thoughts and anguishes! You never know, though, who you might encourage down the road with your insight from what you have learned and experienced. People young and old struggle with addictions and need mentors to help them find the way. Who better to serve than someone who has walked the same path. My children have struggled with their alcohol consumption, although I have not, I learned fairly early on in my married life that I had an allergy to alcohol. Strangely enough, last Sunday, my daughter called to say that she had nearly gone into anaphylactic shock from drinking a vodka drink. Now, she must become a teetotaler too. She sent me a pic of her covered in hives, red from head to toe. Her throat had constricted. She had to go on doses of Benadryl to fight the swelling and itching. Even beer & wine have the same effect on her. It looks like I passed on my DNA to her ;-) I will pass on to her a link to your blog. I think she will enjoy reading it.

AD Moore

Perhaps writing this memoir, Kristin, is an important part of your ongoing recovery. That might be enough for you in and of itself. It need not be shared, necessarily. I would suggest not publishing it for a while after it is complete. After some time has passed, look at it periodically, and be sure it is what you want to share. Faith in God, I hope, will be an integral part of your life as time goes on. This core belief will hold you on the right path and direct your days.

Tracy Lee Karner

Kristin--I've been reading and enjoying your blog for three years now, I haven't commented because I keep telling myself that you have so many readers, what would one more comment mean? But I realize that it's always scary to write about ourselves, and the more risks we take, the more positive feedback we need.

Writing memoir makes us vulnerable--and it becomes even scarier when we expose our humanity in ways that have a potential to bring on criticism. I applaud your courage, your dignity, your self-respect. Most of all, I applaud the compassion that compels you to share your story for the encouragement of others. Of course there will be criticism because people who do the right thing, tend to bring out the worst in mean-spirited and jealous people. But, more importantly, people who do the right thing (by living with joy, love, honesty & compassion), bring out the best in the millions of people who are looking for the strength to also do right. I love your blog! Keep on!

Bettye Dew

Kristen, your readers have given you some thoughtful advice. Now I'll pass on some from Emily Dickinson. She was referring to poetry, but her words can apply to memoirs as well:

Tell all th truth but tell it slant--
Success in Circuit lies
Too bright for our infirm Delight
The Truth's superb surprise

As Lightning to the chidren eased
With Explanation kind
The Truth must dazzle gradually
Or every man be blind

Patty Blue Garni

Your Amazing Journey .. what is very clear is that you are beautiful, brave and very much loved by your husband and family. Your husband is also amazing .. your relationship (and all of our relationships) is a work in progress but it is clear that there is a common denominator of love and trust. You and Jean-Marc have many friends who want only the best for the two of you. Keep it up. You are an inspiration.

Marilynn Gottlieb

Kristi, I LOVE the title "Waking up at the Wrong Time..." Brilliant! Sounds like a possible metaphor for your whole story. Waking up during surgery would be terrifying, just like the sudden realization of any terrible situation that you have gotten yourself into. But just like the end result of surgery is (hopefully) healing or lifesaving, realizing your situation in time leads to self-healing.
I'm glad you have decided to write your memoir in private, good decision. And hopefully continuing with your more lighthearted blog posts which will serve as a balance.

pat sala

bonjour kristin....think it is remarkable experience to share and after all will probably make you an even stronger person....congratz!!merci, merci for your writing...

Herm in Phoenix, Az

Salut Kristin,

Bonne chance avec votre livre nouveau! It will be a challenge.

A few years ago I started what I call my “Document of Life” (DOL). The early years were easy to do chronologically. Then my interests went into many parallel branches and I had to do them one at a time. I haven’t worked on mine for a while; guess I better get back at that again.

I used a small hand held voice recorder rather than write or type. You might find the voice recorder a hand tool to store thoughts before they escape your memory.

À plus tard

Gwyn Ganjeau

Kristin, I'm so glad you are writing the book privately. that feels so right. his feels like something you are doing for YOU--yes, it has already helped and impacted people, and that's a gift and a miracle when people find things like this at the right time. but i think a memoir is most successfull when it's an examination and process of discovery for the subject. that's the lens that makes it work. if one writes something like this always thinking of the reader, that skews things a bit, i think. and this process gives you all the freedom in the world. you can respond to the process--and your can switch any method, any voice, any style--at any time. it will write you.

I was struck at how (again) perfect today's photo is. you are going into foggy, hazy, unrecognizable terrain. and you will follow the vivid moments one after another to get to the other side.

(what about simply 'Waking Up'?)

Much affection and warm thoughts to you and yours as you do this together.

and thank you for the Valentines! much appreciated today! :)

Kristin Espinasse

Sorry to answer these thoughtful, helpful, lovely comments out of order. Pointing any one of them out does not take away from the value all the others bring--thank you all!

Gwyn, I find your writing tips so helpful (especially your words: but i think a memoir is most successfull when its an examination and process of discovery for the subject. thats the lens that makes it work. if one writes something like this always thinking of the reader, that skews things a bit, i think. and this process gives you all the freedom in the world. you can respond to the process--and your can switch any method, any voice, any style--at any time. it will write you....)


Learning to love ourselves and believe that we are worthy in the face of our real or imagined flaws is, for many of us, one of life's greatest challenges. I believe this book will indeed be a love story on many levels as you go within and revisit the varied aspects of your journey. Once again I have to say how much I admire your courage and your heart. Can't wait to read this when you are ready. Bon courage.

Rosalinda Roll

I am glad you decided to write your memoir in private. This way, you can edit your manuscript with the help of your mom and Jackie, and maybe Jean Marc. There is something to be said for delicatesse.

Leslie NYC

This past week, I had felt like Miss Clavel in the Madeline stories, waking up and saying, "Something, something is not right!" There was this tempest in your comments section. Now the storm has passed.
Congratulations on your decision.
Happy Valentine's Day to you all, and to all your readers!

Cynthia Lewis (Eastern Shore of Maryland)

Kristin, I had just finished writing my comment on Monday when my computer had a gliltch and I couldn't post it, but I agreed with Wylie, Pat and others that your memoir should remain a private endeavor. Your family can enjoy and critique it at the same time. Someday you might want to publish it; whatever you decide, I wish you the very best, Cynthia

P.S. Some time ago, Jean-Marc wrote to Jules who had been in an accident: "Mom, I will take care of you. I want you to come to France". That is a "beau-fils" writing to his "belle-mère". They are both beautiful outwardly and inwardly!


Our dear Kristi,
Another wonderful post (and pictures!) this morning.
We so admire and respect you; both for your talent as a writer, and ,most of all, for the caring,gracious and loving woman (friend!) that you are.
We look forward to anything--and everything!--that you write,whenever you share it with us.
Love, Natalia XO

Dana (San Antonio, TX)

Chère Kristin,
Thank you so much for being so open and honest about your life. You are a beautiful and brave soul. I am really looking forward to reading your memoir when it comes out! You are a huge inspiration to me.

Much love,
~ Dana

Sophie Day

Excellent idea to write your memoir in private! It's your story and you should not have a bunch of people meddling around in it. Although I'm not sure you will be able to stick to your convictions since I feel you are someone who loves to share and seek approval. Both very good feminine traits. Stay sober and healthy. As always I look forward to your future blogs. They help me to stay in touch with my second love, France! Sophie

Bill Facker

They came from every corner of the earth, bearing good will, well intentioned advice, and admiration for that one who is the catalyst and cement for this gathering of higher thinking. They are "Kristin's Krusaders" an intellectual and spiritual force, borne from one womans Patience, Persistence, Discipline, and Talent. This alone is a phenomenal accomplishment, Kristin. Simply continue going inside and trusting what's there. You will tell You how to proceed and it will be perfect. Continue trusting Kristin Espinasse...she hasn't failed you yet. Aloha, Bill

Susie Q. Finley

The Swedes say, "Everybody has a demon, and some people two." But to encourage you, I will say I once owned a dress boutique, and afterwards hated clothes shopping for myself for years! I am a type 1 diabetic, worked in a British tearoom,passed thru the kitchen each day and never snacked on the goodies! Things like what you are going thru can be done, especially if you think of the wine as "a job".Blessings, Susie Q. Finley

Kay in Virginie

Dear Kristin,
I am SO happy and relieved that you have decided to write your memoir in private and will decide later what to do with it. I wanted to say that to you after just reading your prologue, which was so beautiful and poignant. That was all you needed to tell us - and, of course, we all applaud your achievement. The detailing of the story , I am sure, will be immensely important for you but nothing is to be gained by sharing it right away. I am a member of a memoir writing group and there is one member, who writes exquisitely, who is writing about her sister's death. She has let 18 months elapse and distilled in her mind what she wants to say and how. I think that space to ponder what and how to write is so useful. Whatever you write it will involve your family and it seems kindly to ask their permission to share publicly . Good luck in your ongoing journey. You are a courageous and creative soul!

Anny Cleven

Dear Kristi,
I was going to write you today and say that it is not the subject matter that should be kept private; rather, any first draft should be kept under wraps until rewrites, editing is complete and then...Voila! But you figured that out on your own. The picture of you with wine bottles and lovely desserts would be wonderful to include...perhaps a memoir entitled: Sober in the Vineyard!
Bon Chance!

gerard orme

Living in the heart of a Wine area; Sonoma,Ca.; we have many peopel who work in the industry, but, keep their sobriety. Thank you for your article on Anonomity. I have passed on your story to my friends here. Your words will help many who are still struggling to get a grip on their alcoholic usage. For me abstinence was the only key to it all, then came rebuliding of my concept of the world emotionally and spiritually. Your words carry that through to me. Keep them coming. I am looking forward to your memoirs.

Pennie in Canada

Kristi, You are so blessed to have your mom cheering you on. My mom is in heaven now, so I really enjoy you mom's loving notes to you. Merci to you all for opening your hearts to all of us like you do. Your decision to write your next book privately feels right. As for who you are writing for, you are you, and there is only one you, and that is the you your readers love. I had a tearoom for a number of years before I retired, and I stressed in the beginning, wondering if people would come, if they would like what I offered. Yes, and yes, and when I sold it, the new owner carried on the vision with her own touch. We all have something to offer if we are genuine, and you are!!

Sarah LaBelle near Chicago

My view is that you made the exact right decision about this memoir.

Well, two decisions: one, to write it; two, to write it away from the blog.

The parts you have shared are intriguing, well done, showing this is integrated into the whole of you.

I could not post a comment earlier for the deep roots this issue (of drinking or not drinking alcohol) has in me, and my extended family. It had to be your decision, and now that you have made it, I applaud you for the best choice.

Michele Phillips

Dear Kristin,
My partner went cold turkey in 2000 after more than two decades years of drinking. As he says, no one enjoyed drinking as much as he did. It takes an incredible amount of courage and determination to fight that demon. I congratulate you on that ever going battle and wish you continued success. I thank you for your honesty and your heart warming blog. I enjoy it immensely. Let your words be your sword and your heart be filled with gratitude and a creative fire.


Hello Kristin,

There is much to be admired about you. I so enjoy reading your blog and dreaming of a life in France. In fact, I will be in Paris with my dearest friend, to celebrate my 60th!!!How did that happen??? Your honesty is one of the many things that make you special. So few people are willing to open up their heart and souls, even to themselves. You have triumphed over adversity and you are stronger for it. Goddess speed to you and I look forward to reading your memoirs. Cheri

Rob T

In today's post, you say the first three chapters are available, but all I find in the Prolog and chapter 1. Can one view the others?


You must tell the ENTIRE stry, your whole truth, for you to feel good about the book. If you do, I see it becoming amazingly successful. Like being made into a movie successful. (Charlize should play you.)

june furey

Kristen after revealinng with all your honesty your past and opening up to us all, I thought you may like to know I too have experienced being a lonely traveller, escept I was addicted to Dr's prescriptive medication, and eventually resorted to a residential . clinic such as the Betty Ford. I was only the second person at the time who underwent the rehabilitation for such an addiction and being 56 years and no one else to share my desolution, it developed a strength i didn'tknow I had. I spent 10 weeks in the residence, and my return to "normal" life was a great transition. But the experience gave me the tools to cope with the ensuing years. It lead me to my interest in art and travels and a whole new life, I am thankfull I was given the opportunity. to find my other me. may you and your family be blessed your artiste ami June

Valencia Siff

Bonjour Kristin,
Please check your gmail account! You will not believe my good news! Valencia and her students in richmond, VA

Kristin Espinasse

Rob, re the first three chapters being online, I meant three sections are online. You can read the third section and then find the links to the first two at the end of the story, here http://french-word-a-day.typepad.com/motdujour/2013/02/monday.html

Leisa Smith from Australia

Dear Kristi,
You always have my support, as a grateful reader, a fellow writer and as someone in recovery as well.
Draw on the caring and support of your family, dear Momma, your recovery buddies, and your readership as you greet those memories again. We have your back.
Kindest regards,
Leisa x


Happy valentine's Day Kristin,
I love the pictures in this post, especially the vineyard and the clothes on the line. In one of the posts above someone uses the phrase "learning to live with ourselves" and I think that is really what life is about. And I also want to say how much I admire you for your journey in sobriety, especially while living on a vineyard. But, that brings up the question, is it easier now that you no longer live there?
Best to you,
Sharon A



Reference your working title, "Waking Up at The Wrong Time", it sounds to me like you are telling us that you actually woke up at the RIGHT time. Hang tight, and God bless. He'll help.

Linda R.

Happy Valentine's Day from snowy and chilly Montana. I chuckled when I read, "Please trust me to know what to share - and what not to! My Mom has dug out her big red protective marker and my daughter will be reading the rough-draft!" You'll not find two more expert overseers of the family history I'm sure. Bon courage.


Happy Valentine's Day to you, Jean-Marc and the kids. We are sending all our love and support from Santa Fe!!! We will be flying to Houston next month to see Jean-Marc! Wish you could be there too!!

Mike in Paris

You are brave, wise, and beautiful.

I am not sure how I found your blog, but of the dozens I read, yours has snuck up on me as being particularly captivating because it is so personal, so honest, and so attuned to the life between two worlds. And funny!

I admire your courage and look forward to your updates and so-called memoir.

Keep smiling...


Another comment after reading above words from so many.

Do not open a can of worms, they do not come back like pets.
Our paths go so far back and trying to find yourself should stay withing the privacy of and/or family.
Please continue the lovely way you started, and let us share the life you give us, not a background.


"...Please continue the lovely way you started, and let us share the life you give us, not a background.

Posted by:Phyllis Thursday, February 14, 2013 at 06:07 PM "

:-) Yet another perfectionist is speaking. :-)


per·fec·tion·ism (p?r-fek?sh?-niz´?m) noun

1. A propensity for being displeased with anything that is not perfect or does not meet extremely high standards.

Excerpted from The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Third Edition Copyright ©


We all know that Van Gogh was tormented by all kinds of inner demons, and we still love his work! In fact it's one of the most valuable art pieces have ever been created.
Every time I look at this picture http://www.ibiblio.org/wm/paint/auth/gogh/fields/gogh.cypress-star.jpg I see Divine Intervention, not less than that; so perfect (in the artist's sense) it is.

Getting back to Kristin's work to be expressed -- let her try! Maybe she IS another yet literary-Van Gogh-ish-genius to be born. She needs support, and not the warnings. Especially she's got her lovely guardians "with the red thick marker" (her mother) and super sensitive and keen to any harshness teen (her daughter). Under such circumstances I can expect nothing but grand.


... and this is how people appreciate Work of Art -- the price only gets higher with time. Literary work also falls into the same category of ART.

6) A Wheatfield with Cypresses 1889 – U$85.7 million (Was $57 mil)

Sold by son of Emil Georg Bührle in a private sale via Steven Mazoh. Buyer was Walter Annenberg, a Jewish-born American publisher, diplomat, and a philanthropist.

Van Gogh painted this while he spend his life in a mental asylum at St. Remy in May 1889. In his written letter to Theo, “...the wheat field in the sun, which represents the extreme heat... “, describing one of his best sun-drenched landscape in summer canvases.

There are 2 variants of this paintings, the other owned by National Gallery, London.


Pat Cargill

My sense of this blog is that most, if not all, comments have been supportive of K writing her memoir. The thoughtful comments were solicited; we have been intimately included in this writer's process and offer all sorts of ideas, cause we are all sorts of people! No one has remotely suggested that she "not try," chere Francesca. Au contraire! It is a veritable ball field of cheerleaders gathered here! Sis boom bah, mes amis!


Dear Pat:

Speaking of "a veritable ball field of cheerleader" here, my sense of this blog and Kristin's recent inclusion of us, her readers, into the process, that SOME people expect her to continue her blog or her memoir pers se in the "lovely way she started this blog" which is as K herself defined her earlier genre "skipping in the lavender fields". Which is, in my view, also lovely, but as we all may want to keep in mind that a popsicle cannot be used in place of a real and nutritious dinner (for the soul if you wish) some people, and more people than we can even imagine, may also be in need for.

The bottom line of course is that it is going to be up to Kristin to decide what she is going to present us, her readers, with.

Gordon Lyman

Kristin, I like your blog entries, including when you are an observing other people and commenting kindly and honestly. And, I can't remember any times when you weren't kind and charitable. You deserve the same from from all of us and especially from yourself as you write the memoir.
You certainly have what it takes to write a wonderful memoir, and apparently that includes a family secure enough to help you do it, and in a way that you and they can be comfortable and glad about for always.

Frank Chappell

Hi, Kristin

I still think you should get la légion du mérite for what you are doing for the French language. I hope someone nominates you, if that is how it is done.

As for punctuation, there are a lot of stupid rules for punctuation, as there are a lot of stupid rules for most everything. The basic idea is to be understood. I was a copy editor for a while and was always hearing conflicting advice about commas in particular. Now I mostly put commas where I pause, but there are still things like "(noun) that"--where "that" precedes a phrase that refers directly back to the noun, and "(noun) (other words), which"--where ", which" precedes a phrase that refers back to the noun past intervening words. And I usually put my commas, periods, etc., outside a quotation.

Now try to get all that past your editor. :^)

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