The French word for "good"... and an amusing French idiosyncrasy!
Homesickness strikes during passport renewal at the American Consulate in France

How to say "to lose it" or "to come unhinged" in French?

Notre Dame de la Garde in Marseilles (c) Kristin Espinasse
One of the doors on the cathedral of Notre-Dame de la Garde in Marseilles. We visited there, yesterday, after renewing the kids' passports at the American consulate. See the giant gond on the right? See today's expression, below...

le gond (le gohn)

    : hinge

sortir de ses gonds = to come unhinged, to lose it

Audio File: Listen to Jean-Marc: Download MP3 or Wav file

Pendant la periode de renovation, on peut être un peu sur les nerfs. C'est alors facile de sortir de ses gonds! During renovation, one can get a bit worked up. Therefore it is easy to come unhinged!

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

After writing Monday's post, my head was throbbing and my stomach, growling. Even though there wasn't a "real" story to labor over (just a series of dog pictures and French expressions), I am always surprised by the physical toll that writing takes and, when it is over, I feel like a wrung rag (and resemble one, too).

When the writing is finished I need to rest and refuel. I can't handle any more decision making or any more pressure, having pulled out all the stops to meet a self-imposed deadline. So when my 15-year-old appeared in my office (a corner nook of an increasingly cramped bedroom), asking whether a friend could stay the week (it's school vacation time here in France), I began to crack.

"No! Jackie," I growled. "Look around this room," I said, waving my arm from my desk, to the couch, to the bed, to the mattress on the floor. "We are already piled one on top of the other!"

"But Daddy said it's okay!" Jackie informed me.

But Daddy said it is okay? My blood begin to boil. I remember the last time we renovated a house, when--with no doors or windows and construction booby traps everywhere--the very same scenario played out. No! The kids can't have friends over for school vacation! I had said then, amazed at how differently my husband and I saw things.

Six years later, another renovation and we still see things differently! He just doesn't get it! NO. No sleepovers--at least not at our place!

"But Daddy said it is okay!" Jackie insisted, and when I went to argue back, my daughter's words stole my breath: "It's not a problem with him. But YOU are the problem!"

I left Jackie and stomped out of the room to find my easygoing let's invite the world to sleepover during major reconstruction husband. But I knew better than to try to talk sense into him. We would only end up in a shouting match and I didn't want the workers--who were busy tiling the bathrooms-- to be our audience!

And yet... amidst the drilling and the hammering a few more machines were now whirring as two mouths fired up like power saws. But when neither my husband nor I could get our points across (Him: well! if you prefer our daughter watching TV reality shows nonstop during vacation! Me: WHAT?! Of course I don't want that!!) we stomped off--each in opposite directions. 

I stomped out to the vegetable patch to get some green onions for a salad... and that is when I came face to face with the two workers who had been tiling the bathroom. They were seated at the picnic table, their ice boxes open, having lunch. They had already finished work, but I hadn't heard them over all the commotion in my room!

Surely they had heard the excited murmuring in the next room? I smiled sheepishly at the workers. Waving my green onions like a peace flag, I wished the men bon appétit.  

I meant to hurry and disappear, along with my onions and my pride, into the kitchen. Only, seeing the savory plates of the workers, my stomach began to tug at me. Apparently Smokey's stomach was tugging at him, too, for there he sat begging like a mendiant

I pushed the golden mendiant aside. "Off you go, Smokey..." and quickly took his place.

"I meant to tell you what a wonderful job you are doing here. Thanks!" I said to the workers, when my eyes tiptoed back over to those savory plates. "What's that you are eating?" I asked.

"Couscous!" The chef d'equipe said, pushing his plate toward me. 

"Oh, thank you, but I've got something cooking in the kitchen." In reality, there was nothing waiting for me to eat in the kitchen. As I lingered at the table, my blood sugar dropped and dropped (which explained my quick-to-snap temper, earlier. But I wasn't the only one with low blood sugar! My heart smarted again as I recalled my husband's words!).

"Have you ever tasted couscous?" The builder asked, pushing his plate all the way to me.

"Yes. Oh, thanks--but you need to eat your lunch!" I said, pushing the plate back.

"I've finished. Go ahead, mangez!" Monsieur insisted. I watched, eyes wide with hunger, as the plate was pushed back my way. I thought about all the snacks and meals and coffees and chocolates I have offered workers over the years, but never had the situation been reversed like this.... 

I picked up the spoon Monsieur was using and shoveled a bite into my mouth. A sensation of calm came over me. I pushed the plate back, but Monsieur insisted, "Go ahead. Mangez!"

I felt a little awkward but that didn't stop me lowering myself into the seat, beside monsieur, all the while aware of the situational comedy. It was funny how one situation had led to a completely unexpected turn of events: had someone told me twenty minutes earlier that in the next life scene I would be dining with our tile-layer, scarfing down his wife's lovingly-packed lunch, I would never have believed it. Impossible!

And yet, in life, all things are possible. With that hopeful thought, something inside me murmured: Go ahead. THIS is life! This is the authentic moment you are always pining after. So take the risk and finally live it! What are you afraid of?

"I picked up Monsieur's soup spoon. "Well, that ought to calm me down!" I admitted to Monsieur, who, had he indeed heard the bickering earlier would appreciate the comment.

He smiled. "How do you like it?" 

"It's good. Very spicy!"

The worker laughed. "It is Tunisian couscous. My mother makes it, in Tunisia, and my wife makes the sauce here in France."

I remembered both workers were Tunisian. That is when I realized why the other worker, whose seat I'd taken, had gone off to sit on a pile of logs. He must be a practicing Muslim, in which case  it would have been improper to sit with a woman. But this would not occur to me until after I had consumed the entire plate of couscous that his boss, the chef d'equipe, was currently offering me. Only then I would understand the compromising position I had put the men in, and further appreciate their graceful response.

Meantime, what with the colleague waiting at the wood pile, I began to worry that the boss needed to get back to work, too. I started shoveling in the couscous, unsure of whether it was impolite to hand him back an unfinished plate. As I struggled to finish, I noticed how a very large portion remained. That is when it hit me that the boss had not really finished his meal, as he said he had. He'd only finished half of it! He was just being polite by offering me the rest. But should I believe what my ever-anxious thoughts were telling me?

Oh you think too much. I told myself. Be simple and do what you are told. Eat this meal!

And so I shoveled down bite after bite until... what was that? I began chewing on a fleshy compound. It soon dawned on me that this was chicken skin--spat chicken skin! The boss must have rejected it earlier, pushing it to the side of the plate, as one does. And there, in my haste, I'd gone and pushed it back in with the rest!

I sat there in limbo, with the spat chicken skin tucked in my right cheek, unsure of whether to spit it out (as the boss had done...) and so embarrass him, or did I swallow it? Quickly I brushed my hand across my mouth, spat, and tossed the piece into the onion patch beyond (wincing at the assault this must have been to the tall green herbivores, who preferred compost). 

If the chef d'équipe noticed the skin-slinging gesture, he was discreet. I hurried to finish the couscous when Jean-Marc walked passed, stopping in his tracks for a double-take at the picnic scene.

Owing to the absurdity of the situation, there was no way, now, to maintain my cool silence (earlier I had vowed never to speak to my husband ever again!). But I would have to bow down, now, and explain the situation... or buck up and ride it out in pride, with a what are YOU looking at attitude.

But I knew that what Jean-Marc was looking at was slapstick funny. There was no way possible to maintain a holier-than-thou self-righteousness. I had to give in!

I pointed the giant soup spoon at the boss. "He offered it to me," I said, managing a crooked smile.

Jean-Marc laughed back, but his words were addressed to the chef d'équipe, who had handed over his lunch.

"You going to bill us for that one, too?"


Post note: once those carbohydrates went into effect, my perspective changed a bit. The idea of having Jackie's friend over, during renovation, didn't seem like the end of the world, after all. So what if there wasn't an extra bed. The girls could sleep on the kitchen floor or in the bath tub. What was the big deal after all? (As it is, we're sticking with plan A. No sleepovers yet! ;-)

French Vocabulary

mangez (manger) = eat!
bon appétit! = enjoy your meal!
un mendiant = beggar 
le chef d'équipe = crew chief

Hollyhocks on Re Island (c) Kristin Espinasse
Hollyhocks on Isle of Ré. Photo taken last summer.

Good News: Very excited to tell you that France Today magazine is about to relaunch into a worldwide publication and that I have been given the chance to write the last page column titled Le Dernier MotClick here to view the trial offer


Student for hire (c) Kristin Espinasse
Slices of French life. Photo taken last summer. The handwritten sign on the bottom reads: Young serious law students looking for housework and babysitting jobs. I am experienced, dynamic, and responsible. Available every day from 3:30. Contact me. You see these signs in the baker's, in the superette, and in any number of little shops in France. Have you ever put up a sign like this? What did it say?

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.

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For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety


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I love this and also relieved that you too feel exhausted after writing! It takes such mental diligence that I often feel as though I've just spent hours on a puzzle. The expression you've chosen for this story fits beautifully.

David Simmons

Great photo, great idiom, great anecdote....

Pamela Blair

Yes, I put up a sign like that once. It was 1972, and I was in Istanbul, alone, driving a VW van to look at the Turkish ruins. I put up a sign on a bulletin in The Pudding Shop, a place where travelers going East met travelers going West, looking for traveling companions, as I didn't want to drive into the Middle East alone. I received two responses, one from a young man from Canada, and another from a young Texan. They both started out with me, and after two weeks the Canadian flew back to Canada; the Texan, who'd planned to leave our little traveling home to go to Israel, decided instead to stay on with me, and for six months we traveled through Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Syria and Lebanon, where I sold my van. As you say, you never know what (or who) the next moment will bring!

Eileen - Charlottesville, VA

I love this Kristin! I started laughing so hard when you spat out the chicken skin. I was wondering how you were going to get rid of it. I was sure you would have just swallowed it!

I would be too stressed to have any more kids in the house. Maybe Jackie can go to her friend's house. Do you have a tent? Maybe they could do a campout.

Congratulations on Le Dernier Mot! That is so exciting!

Bruce in northwest Connecticut

Wow! So much going on today.

The column is funny, touching, and eminently relatable, as all your best pieces are.

It sounds as if the tile guys are saints.

I agreed with you throughout. Who would be crazy enough to think it was OK to invite a guest into the mess and madness? But now I'm thinking that Jackie and her friend both know what the situation is at the house, and if neither of them minds … why not?

The France Today gig is amazing! Congratulations! I may have to re-subscribe. ("May"? Who am I kidding?)

I love seeing the French handwriting on the signs. Both advertisers described themselves as "dynamic" — it must be a much more common word in France than in the US. I can't remember the last time I heard it used outside of marketing copy.

Thank you, Kristin, for delightening up an otherwise dreary morning.



Felicitations sur Le Dernier Mot!!!

And what a hoot. I loved all of it, chicken skin, internal dialogue & then Jean-Marc's all too knowing crack at the end.
Your fight reminded me of a long bus in Mexico with my husband, every window open, crowded in by nonEnglish speakers, chickens & other assorted livestock. We were at the end of our respective ropes & our bickering rocketed into a full fledged fight, screaming names & venomous insults. The freedom to just let loose in public, breaking the taboo, was grand. When we finished, all emptied out, we just cracked up. Sometimes you just need to let off the pressure.


Marjie Kelley

Yes! Oui! I have "tear-off" signs up right NOW, to advertise the kids' French Camp that I'm offering in June. I've placed one at the local dance school (out of 750 students, surely some would like to learn French, right?) and at the senior center (maybe a grandparent would like to give their grandchildren an eye-opening experience!). Thanks for the photo!


Darling Kristi,

Too funny - I can see it all play out at the garden table and now I have this memory forever.

I love you Honey - I agree with the feeling you feel at the end of your writing session. I don't know how you do this three times a week for us. You must remember that you are really on the 'front-line' digging a trench in the hot sun when you write and it's o.k. to feel the drain of a good days work. You must find a way to reward yourself after each session...alot of people go off to a cafe for a quiet lunch. One day I hope you are free enough to jump up from your desk and announce that you have an appointment down in the village. People do this all of the time. I used to arrive at my office in Scottsdale around 7 a.m. to check out the days schedule etc. - but at 9 a.m. I would relocate to the beautiful Hyatt Resort and have a lovely breakfast and watch all of the tourists. My main goal each day was to meet ten new people and share my joy of the lovely life Arizona had to offer. If you would just tweek your day a little with some pre-planned rewards you would feel much better. I think you have always been too hard on yourself. Now is the time to set yourself free. Send the girls up to the 3rd terrace on the mountain to clear out and set up a little hide-a-way for Grandma, they can camp out up there for a week. They call this 'camp' - it would be good for them.



Bill in St. Paul

Ah, so the French schools are on vacation - that explains why all the students are hanging around in Caunes-Minervois. Kristin, you should try the reverse of eating the workers food: feed them treats. When we had our addition put on the house my wife would bake cookies for them all the time. When it came time to add up the "extras" when the project was completed, they threw in a bunch for free (or never brought them up).


Hilarious read !

Gordon Lyman

Laughed, and the world laughed with you. Beautifully and gracefully done and written..
And I liked your Mom's suggestion. There are lessons here for me. Thanks to you, Kristi, and to your Mom.


Quite an enchanting tableau you paint, Kristin. A journal but a dramatized one with lots of dialog, frequently illustrated with charming photos, presenting your point of view or way of seeing. Perhaps overtime you will find the emerging multimedia capabilities of smart phones and iPads let you do even more, by way of putting several media together, with justice to each--capturing the voices of people, the arguments, with your insertions of text to communicate your personal perspective.



Je t'adore Kristin Espinasse !


Really funny, and somehow touching. I think that your worker realized you were hungry!
And so great about France Today! I am a subscriber and love the magazine. So excited to think that you will have "Le Dernier Mot" !


AGREE WITH THE ABOVE. SORTEZ VOTRE GONDS ENCORE. C'EST FORMIDABLE. Kristin Espinasse you are a jewel, a crazy jewel sometimes maybe but a jewel nonetheless. You are also a wonderful writer and storyteller. Believe me your art does nothing but get better. Two weeks ago hungry tired and having all kinds of irritations tax matters, kid adult kid problems and feeling sorry for myself I blew up at my wife in a restaurant no less threw down my silverware/or some metal and drew the jump and stare from several tables. Then having committed myself to my ludicrous position which I cannot even remember now I stormed out and promptly packed and drove two thousand miles or so to see my brother in Calgary, AB. After two days of essentially mourning with homesickness regret and hunger to be home and try to apologize I set out back home and got caught in the biggest snowstorm on record in South Dakota. I-90 closed a fifth and final time for two days, drifts covered stranded vehicles, truck lined up for miles so after 2.5 days in blizzard conditions I turned south went an extra 300 miles and caught I-80 home to Pella, IA. Denise is still at work the house is dark and quiet and there are signs on all the doors 'DO NOT LET CAT OUT'. We did not have a cat when I left, but now we do, jet black short hair and tolerably cute and sweet. YEP! replaced by a cat, He sleeps where I used to and I on the sofa. Damn that low blood sugar.hahahahhahha. Love to you both, so passionate and alive and brave enough. Yours, Winn


What a beautiful example of a "gond", lovely photo! I'm always surprised by how certain English and French words and expressions share their figurative meanings as well as their literal ones. "Unhinged" corresponds exactly to both French meanings. Good for you for hanging on to your hinges by sticking to what you can manage as far as overnight guests go!


Another good read - and daring write - thank you! Perhaps you could task the sleepover pals with baking treats for the tile layers?

Kristin Espinasse

Winn, tears in my eyes laughing WITH you. Your dear wife is smart--never let her go. I am sure she loves you just as much.

Enjoying and so touched by every comment. Thank you all so much. BTW, Jean-Marc surprised me with the most beautiful bouquet of wildflowers I have ever seen. Wishing everyone out there the patience to bear with one anothers personalities. Just when we think we are riding free--BOOM!--out of nowhere comes another hard won test... And we wonder if we are ever home free.

suzanne dunaway

I'm sure your daughter has more to do or could find more to do that watch tv--thank you, Jean Marc! And how about a compromise--half the week, then your daughter goes to her friend's house?

Faye Stampe, Gleneden Beach, OR

Great story -- especially regarding the chicken skin! Where's the vocab section? mendiant?

Congrats on the France Today gig. I have a subscription and love it. Your writing will be an added benefit!

Stay well!

Marilynn Gottlieb

Let Jackie have her friend over! They can sleep on the floor and have a great time. The teenage years go fast, then you will have an empty nest. In a few years you will all laugh at the chaotic fun.

psychoanalyst mari

Why do you so often surrender your own needs for others? Is it so loving for him to say yes to your daughter when he won't be responsible for the extra mouth to feed? You are as smart and capable as your husband. You erred with the workman's lunch? Jean Marc erred by giving permission to your daughter sans consultation with you. Please do not, as a role model for your daughter, go along with this family myth that mom is the dufus and dad is the sharp one.


Darling Mari,

Somehow your comment rubbed me the wrong way.



Christine Allin


Maybe a gateau yaourt for the tile workers? Smokey could help! (So easy to make..we love it! Hoping for the Chestnut cake recipe for chestnut season this year.) And, Jean-Marc's mother's oven roasted daurade is also easy and out of this world! I was glad to learn there is a term for the way I pif~)

Perhaps someday a family cookbook?

Christine Allin

You go Jules!

From one mother of adult daughters to another...


For Faye, un mendiant is a beggar

Faye Stampe, Gleneden Beach, OR

Thanks Jules -----excuse me ---- As someone with an MA in counseling I can confirm that we all have dysfunctional moments/days! The beauty in this story --- is that it is OK to have a meltdown ----- then regroup ----and see more clearly. Take the time to let things go and focus on the now!

No one needs this psyco babble Mari. Most of us just do the best we can and look at life as a journey --- not analyze every interaction, then come to some baseless conclusion. You don't even know these people --- very unprofessional to give your "professional" take yes?

Faye Stampe, Gleneden Beach, OR

Merci beaucoup Leslie!

Diane Young

Jean-Marc is a pushover and you are the disciplinarian, a tough job. I thought Jules had the best idea. Send the girls up to the third level to camp. Great story and bravo for eating the offered food. I'm sure that's the best of manners. Put the hinges back on and keep going, cherie. This, too, will pass.

Anne Winner Anderson

Great to learn you'll be writing for France magazine, a great publication; Le Dernier Mot is pride of place and you'll provide a refreshing American perspective.

Konnie Warburton

This is the funniest Post ever.... I am there with you with the couscous!!!! I found you through Marianne Houlihan, and have so enjoyed your escapades. We are in France now, in the Aude and at Mr. Bricolage yesterday, I wished someone (thanks to you) Bon Bricolage and was greeted with the warmest smile ever!!! But, back to this post of school vacation vs torn up house vs hungry tummy.... Bonne chance!!!!

Santa Cruz, CA

Dawn Johnson

Loved this post, I did laugh out loud on the chicken skin part too, it was like watching a funny endearing movie unfold. ( Hopefully someday). I can so relate to everything especially the renovation part. It is so hard, with the mess, noise and especially the lack of privacy that seems to go and on. I've had two major projects done this last year and more work being done right now. Ugh! I know it is always worth it in the end and I'm always so thankful afterward, so hang in there and before you know it you will have that dream house by the sea. As for Jackie and her friend, I agree with some of the other reader that say yes, teenagers don't need much in the way of accomodation and it might make things easier for you with them staying busy. Who knows, they might even be a help but it's true, they will be growing up and out so fast it will make your head spin. Cherish the laughter in your home, mess and all.

Bill Facker


Already chewed chicken skin .. now THAT'S some good writing AND some definatively unfortunate "discovering" in a plate of couscous ... this "visual" almost gagged me as much as the pompous proclamations of the self annointed psychoanalyst above. Aloha, Bill

Bill Facker

Really Kristin Espinasse .. what an incredible piece today .. I just can't get that chicken skin out of my minds eye, and that is what great writers do for their readership. Congrats on a beauty!

Aloha, Bill

Stacy ~ Sweet Life Farm ~ Applegate, Oregon

Oh, dear Kristi! I’ve dropped in on my lunch break seeking a quiet moment. I am now drooling over the thought of couscous, cracking up over the stories inside your mind and the image of Jean-Marc finding you sharing the worker’s lunch --- so uncharacteristic for you. I am touched to pieces by your sharing of the bumps of being human and co-existing. Congrats for recognizing the authentic moment while in the moment: savor life’s flavors.

I love Jules’s recommendation of a reward after your writing session and an escape to the village for a quiet lunch. Working from home, schuleding this in would benefit me greatly and balance blood sugar! Shall we make time for it?

Here’s a favored quote of mine which is right in line with your mom’s thinking:

"One of the secrets of a happy life is continuous small treats" - Iris Murdoch

Winn’s comment brought me to tears.

Thank you for helping me through my green smoothie = lunch. Today’s story was just the sweet diversion I needed. Congrats on your new column!

Jim Walker

I follow you regularly but I had to post because today's was hysterical and so human!
Jim Walker

Carolyn  Dahm,  Sharon, MA

Chere Kristin,

Such a great story! How nice of your tile guy to offer you food. Such a lovely gesture and I'm glad you enjoyed the meal.

Felicitations on Le Dernier Mot column! I will plan to subscribe and can't wait to read your first story. What wonderful news for you!

I like Jules' idea of an escape now and then. Lose yourself in a cafe or take a stroll on the beach. We all deserve to indulge in some "me time".

Gretel are very funny!
And you are going to be a guest journalist....perfect forum for you!! So happy :-)
Winn...loved your story too :-)


You had me LOL when I got to the part about the chicken skin! Thanks for my laugh of the day -- very healthy, and my first in a couple of days. (Those guys were generous, but now you can be generous back and make them lunch.)

Stacy ~ Sweet Life Farm ~ Applegate, Oregon

I want to thank you again for the comments section. I find inspiration in the personal notes and stories your wealth of lovely and interesting readers share.

Still giggling in Applegate over today’s story! We sure do think alike....

Nancy,                     Cambridge

Good job today. I found your word of the day choice very in synch with my life at the moment; right now am coping with house renovations (six months late, maybe because I gave up giving the workers treats?) a wedding this weekend (joyous, but....) and the marathon repercussions, so this week has been a "meltdown" on and off...Kristin, great advice from your mother; loved Winn's comments also, (and completely off the course of this conversation,) I want to say to Jules, that I loved her painting of the tango with J-M. That painting is so strong and beautiful it took my breath away. I am feeling very appreciative of the beauty in the world at the moment and hope you will read this message.

Barbara Penn - Palmdale, California

When I was a university student in Atlanta, I posted a note in Spanish on a supermarket bulletin board saying: "Free English lessons". I had several responses from Spanish-speakers from different countries and we would converse in English for 30 min. & then in Spanish for 30 min. I learned that different countries have different accents and vocabulary. This was in 1959 when many Cubans fled to the southeast U.S. and one of my "students" was a handsome "Don Juan" pre-med student whose lessons were cut off when it became obvious that he was more interested in romance than language. I became a high school Spanish teacher in California and taught Spanish and English as a Second Language for almost four decades.

june furey

Kristi thanks you for such a lighthearted post, I receive emails and or tel. calls from my daughter whenever she has a difficult day with family , and I suggest to her tomorrow it will be a new and brighter day, this has been my way of coping with the ups and downs facing us each day particularly with ones family. I think the quote of "Iris Murdoch's" is so true and we should always remember to spoil ourselves a little more often give ourselves a treat. I am so happy to hear you have been requested to write for France magazine. I eagerly look forward to receiving my copy here down under each month. Its my support for an enriched life, now my life has slowed down and at the moment no more long distance travels. I am enjoying trying to compile my memoirs covering last 10years which have taken me to so many different places in France and find I am quite tired after a short time. So I can appreciate your exhaustion when you are also trying to cope with family demands. thank you on behalf of all who so enjoy receiving your posts giving us insights into a lifestyle which many of us would be happy to be a part of. Bonne journee
June G.C Qld

Sarah LaBelle near Chicago

The daughter who such a short time ago was embarrassed to invite a school friend to her farm house -- now wants them with her even through the construction.

Somehow that seems like a good thing, how she fully accepts the new home and the remodelling.

It was a great story about recognizing your own state of mind -- wrung out and hungry, snapping at anything not food, or peace.

Babysitting is an American word that needs no translating to a French word?

Congratulations on the new column! I hope you enjoy the extra outlet for your writing.


Our dear Kristi,
You are such a gifted writer and a friend we are all privileged to have in our lives.
Living through home renovations is never a walk in the park (understatement) and you two are doing a fantastic job of it.
I remember when we were encountering the same situation,my dear belle mere told me (passed down from her belle mere and grand belle mere)--(hard to translate from her native language)--when things are tightest and you fear that you might say something you will regret, take a sip of water and let it fill your mouth (unable to utter anything back which you'll regret).
I can't say I always did this, but I can admit many times I wish I had.48 years now and still one of the best pieces of advice I've ever received.
Thrilled for your new Le Dernier Mot(!!) I just subscribed!! CanNOT wait! Congratulations!!
Love, Natalia XO

cheap nfl jerseys

Love it. Thanks for sharing. I hope you continue to work hard.


Kristi, you take the couscous! How hilarious. AND the spat-out chicken skin! I can so relate to these awkward, unique it-only-happens-to-me circumstances. You handled it brilliantly! I so do love your humility and self-irony and humour. Such a pleasure to read your snippets, unique and educating and so endearing. Thank you!!

Kathleen from Connecticut

Je t'adore France Today, felicitations sur Le Dernier Mot!
What a great we all want things to be perfect when we have guest stay over. Bon chance.
Couscous is a wonderful food and there are so many ways to make it. I love the Isreali couscous, which is larger in size.
Great job on being discrete about getting rid of the chicken skin and I'm sure that onions didn't mind...a little protein.
I love to read your are so open about yor life. You have become a member of many families or we have become members of yours....which ever it is....merci!


Wells Edmundson

Kristin: excellent 'food for thought'...a real buffet of conflict to contemplate...put the girls to work and let Jean-Marc supervise...this will put things in perspective...funny but serious too. Blink your eyes and the kids will be gone/Wells

Leslie NYC

Just brilliant!
You dive into the most awkward feelings and situations without shying away. It's marvelous, moving writing. The second time I read it, I thought of Lucille Ball and her comic timing. What's sweet to me is that the tiler was not only gracious, but probably sensed that you needed to be fed and cared for. He insisted that you let him, which is so human and lovely.

Dana Wilson

Mme. Espinasse,

Je pense que vos photos sont absolument superbe, tous, chacun des uns! Nous, les anglophones, doivent communiquer en français avec vous sur l'internet. Malgré nos fautes. Merci, amie!


I just adore all the "human" traits that you write concerning your situations and feelings. It makes me feel like I know you and that we are so much alike.
I think I would be ashamed to expose my thoughts and life like you do. I admire you..and thank you for all your posts.

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