What does "retour du bonheur" mean and what does this have to do with the word "muguet"?

How to say "a small matter" or "something trifle" in French

Snoopy's philosophy
Earlier this week, on Facebook, I posted Snoopy's message (even if I didn't believe a word of it): Chaque fois que tu trouves de l'humour dans une situation difficile, tu gagnes.

une broutille (broo-tee)

    a trifle, a small matter, a little thing, nothing

Audio File: Listen to Max Download MP3 or Wav file

Ils se sont disputés pour une broutille. They got in a fight over a little matter.

perdre son temps à des broutilles = to waste one's time on unimportant matters
se préoccuper de broutilles = to focus on insignificant details
s'inquiéter pour des broutilles = to worry about nothing
se disputer pour des (ou une) broutilles = to fight over nothing

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

On Monday morning I quietly packed an overnight bag and left it on the edge of my bed. Next, I drew a few deep breaths, clicked open my blog, and began searching the archives for a post to rerun. Though I have gone to work and written stories under more nerve-racking circumstances, this time the energy-fueling crisis could not be put to constructive use--not even for sentence construction (emotional turmoil can be an adept wordsmith).

As I searched for a story to repost, I stopped, now and again, to contemplate the packed bag. If it eventually disappeared from the edge of the bed, it would be the first time in 19-years of marriage that I dared employ Plan B (a night spent alone at a cheap hotel...to think things over). But what would a little room cost? I wondered. I'd spend 60, at least... Surely I could get an off-season room in Bandol for 60/65...? Maybe they'll offer a discount if I stay a week. Will I stay a week?

Don't think about that right now
, I told myself. Wait for that "still small voice" inside to guide you. Meantime, one step in front of the other... Get your work done and then you can decide what to do. 

The argument had been over such a trivial matter. And to think, the day had begun in a deceptively peaceful way! I had passed my husband in the hall, where we exchanged smiles:

"Oh by the way, do we have a smaller one of these?" he said holding up the narrow arm or vaccume cleaner attachment.

"No, I don't think so," I answered, continuing on my way to my room, to dress.

"Never mind." Jean-Marc was chipper. "I think this one will fit down the drain...." 

I walked on in ignorant bliss until, suddenly, my smile fell and I froze in my tracks. The drain? He is not going to put that vacuum attachment down the drain!

The alarms sounded inside of me and that old fear of WATER + ELECTRICITY was paralizing. I thought of the neighbor we lost. The young father, who, along with his wife, worked night and day to fix up their modest village home. And then he was electrocuted (at work. He was putting up the municipal Christmas lights).

Electricity is a big bone of contention in our household. Over the two decades that I have lived with Jean-Marc, I have watched him dabble in DIY work. He is no good at it, he admits, but that doesn't take away his enthusiasm--nor do the trips to ER when he slips! Lately, after long discussions with my mom, I have learned to see Jean-Marc's DIY adventures in a new light: not only is he extremely curious, but such projects are his way of expressing himself--unleashing his inner-artist! Thus, we have the velcro-taped GPS in our car and the duct-taped mop-spear. The perfectionist in me winces at each of my husband's latest "solution creations" which lack for visual esthetique. But, lately, thanks to Mom's help, I can smile at them and even begin to appreciate the quirky man-made fix-its. And I can almost overlook my husband's obsession with refitting all the electric cords (on the microwave, the TV, the lamps...he seems fascinated by the anatomy of the cord. He itches to reveal the wires within the black rubber conduit).

But I draw the line at electricity and water.

"There is a plastic bottle cap stuck in the drain and I am going to vacuum it out!" This, Jean-Marc states with intention, for he knows that I will go hoarse trying to talk him out of it. "The drain is dry," he adds. "There is no worry about water!" 

I pause, knowing that if this conversation continues it will continue at a great expense. Listen, I want to say to my husband, I get it that you need to do your thing. I get it that I am to leave you alone with your projects and schemes. I get it. I get it. But I will never "get" electricity and I am asking you to wait for the plumber to arrive. He's scheduled to be here, anyway, and he can get the bottle cap out of the drain!

Realizing that I was not going to let up, Jean-Marc let go, losing his battle with self-control. This happened somewhere between his urging to, "Trust me that I know what I am doing," and his final desperate plea: "LET ME LIVE MY LIFE!"

I did trust him to know what he was doing and I did want him to live his life (obviously!). Only, as I so often tell our son, "It isn't you I worry about. It's the other drivers!" (Here, it isn't Jean-Marc I worry about. It is the water and the electricity!)

Back in my bedroom, having closed the door on the verbal gunfire that raged on, solo, back in the living room, I tell my daughter: "Get your bag, we are leaving for school now." Only, when I open the door, there stands my husband, goggle-eyed, arms rising up and down.

I see he is waiving the plastic bottle cap in one hand, in the other, the vacuum. Victory is written all over his beet red face.

"I GOT IT! I GOT IT!" he thundered. "AND. I'M. STILL. ALIVE!" 

I stood completely silent and still before the stunning bottle cap-and-vacuum spectacle, not a single of my limbs in motion, yet inside my arms were flapping wildly and my mouth thundered just like his. I was just as riled as he was, only I managed to keep it all tucked neatly inside as I walked right on past the live wire and out the door.

Returning from school, I discreetly packed my bag and waited for intuition to tell me what to do next. Meantime, I finished my post, hit the publish button, then relaxed by surfing the net (that "still small voice" hadn't gotten back to me yet, and I needed distraction from the emotional turmoil).

I don't know how I happened onto the site of a photographer based in Memphis, but I stayed to study every single photo in her touching self-portrait exposition, in which she photographs people sneering or mocking her (seemingly unbeknownst to her) because of her weight. Artist Haley Morris-Cafiero writes:

For my series, Wait Watchers, I set up a camera in a heavy-traffic, public area and take hundreds of photographs as I perform mundane, everyday tasks as people pass by me. I then examine the images to see if any of the passersby had a critical or questioning element in their face or in their body language. I consider my photographs a social experiment and I travel the world in an attempt to photograph the reactions of a diverse pool of passersby.

But it was the photographer's final words that gave me goosebumps: 

I have always had a hard time controlling my weight. My uncontrollable exterior has determined my place in society and I have often felt left out and awkward.

The artist's words hit hard and for the first time I realized that, though we all have struggles and vices, some of us have the added humility of having to wear their uncontrollable sides on the outside--weight and temper being two examples. With this thought came a wave of compassion for all who suffer from outward expressions of their inner conflicts.

Jean-Marc calmed down in time to bring me wildflowers in an attempt to reconcile. Accepting them, I was unable to curb my impulse to point out HIS faults. (I didn't see it as humiliation at the time but--like using a blow torch to put out a lighted candle wick--such words were crushing and unnecessary... and only served to fuel the flame!

 By the third bouquet of wildflowers (it took days--and many bouquets--to reconcile...) I began to see some of my own vices, trickier for myself, or others, to identify as they are hidden on the inside: stubborness, self-righteousness, intolerance, perfectionism, the need to control, over-anxiousness--to name several. Unlike the overweight photographer or the short-tempered husband, I have the luxury of keeping my vices and sins to myself, though I endeavor to share most of them in the stories I write. Afterwards, I can't help but see the humor and the beauty and the value in the struggle of life.

Wedding Jitters
Marseilles, 1994. Would you like to add a caption? See the comments box :-)

Disclaimer: Lately I have received a few emails and comments regarding my writing: 

"I'm uncomfortable when you talk about your struggles with alcoholism," one readers comments. Another writes, "Aren't you afraid you'll lose Jean-Marc--aren't you doing him a disservice by writing these very personal accounts). I worry some other woman will steal him away from you!

Such notes make me cower back inside myself, and I think my writing days are over. If I cannot tell my story--through the lens of humor or whichever lens I'm using for a particular episode--then I might spend my time sorting socks (and some of you will agree yes, Kristin, this would be best!).

"But writing is your gift! Don't let intimidation silence your creativity!" my mom urges me (sure, she's my mom, Moms say that kind of thing... but I feel that kind of thing--not the gift but the words and sentences that will not stop filing across my mind, or chattering in my ears, until they are set down in story form. It is torture, but, three times each week, it is delivery).
Post note: Jean-Marc has always encouraged me to share my story. "If it is the truth," he says, "then tell it."
Taking the week off to be with Mom (she arrives Sunday), so I won't be checking email--but Mom and I will be reading messages here in the comments box. Thanks! (P.S. I never did check in to the hotel :-)

Thanks for visiting our sponsor:
LISTEN & READ-ALONG French/English mystery book & AUDIO CD! Vocabulary, grammar, & quizzes. Great French gift! $34.95
Capture plein écran 02052013 101946
Retro Citroen Kitchen apron... one idea for Mother's Day. Click here to order.

When you shop for any item at Amazon, using the highlighted links, you help to support this free French journal. Merci beaucoup!

  1. Check out Carla Bruni's Little French Songs
  2. A Tour of the Heart: A Seductive Cycling Trip Through France. 

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.

Julie Farrar

Hi, Kristin. I've sent you a note before about the struggle all writers/memoirists encounter when they try to tell their stories. You know those around you the best and where to draw the line. So don't listen to those who pass judgements on which stories you try to tell. You are simply showing yourself as a reader with many sides. Sometimes you feel a need to do more than your witty stories on French country life (although you do that extremely well). I love your fearlessness in writing and need to develop more of it in my own.

While your family is here, please don't stop posting completely. We'd love occasional photo essays because we can never get too much of the dogs or what Jules is wearing (her Frido cape, bien sûr?)

By the way, isn't it time for Smokey-doke to have his own Facebook page?

Kristin Espinasse

Julie, Ouf! I can now quit holding my breath! Thank you for your warm words of encouragement and support and for your humor--a wonderful reward after such a sweaty morning writing. Off to reread your message and any that follow, after. Thanks in advance to all who take the time to respond.

Angela Bell

I agree 1000% with Julie. Write what you MUST and it will always ring true and heartfelt. And it will be important, too, because it will help others, if only by eliciting a smile, awakening a memory, or inspiring empathy.

Denise Givens

Hi Kristin, I agree with Julie and Angela. Tell the stories that you want to tell. I admire your courage in writing, and your stories are inspiring. Some people will always try to judge but you only have to answer to yourself. Know that you have many readers who love your words and always support you!


Bill in St. Paul

I'll second Julie and Angela - keep writing what you feel. I love that wedding picture of you and Jean-Marc. You look like you're thinking "Got him!" J-M looks like he's thinking "Stop squeezing my hand so hard!"

Marilynn Gottlieb

Yes, you are a writer! It is YOUR blog, you can make it whatever you want. (as long as the people involved are ok with it) I can see that some readers prefer the innocent, amusing anecdotes, buy I am impressed by these more real-life stories.

Cindy Ferguson

Greetings, Kristin. I'm new to your life-blog, just interested in chuckling over an occasional french phrase to toss into the attic of my mind. Although I didn't take a great deal of time to truly understand your situation, after jotting down 'une broutille' I chuckled at your story about one french man, electricity, and water. Although I consider myself tolerant and open minded, I admit owning the stereotype that 'french men can be so darned capricious' (aka curious, creative) in exactly this way, leading you to write an entire HUGE paragraph justifying why water+electricity makes you nuts (!). (On the same note, I wouldn't expect a long justification about why it would bother you to own a tiger for a pet because someone you knew was mauled by one.)

If I were in your shoes...no, I could not do it (e.g. "go ahead, dry your hair while bathing"). The constant need to tell myself "je ne give a damn pas" would not bring out the best in me. But somehow, the best in you seems to be flourishing. You are brave for sending out these sacred thoughts into the ether. I enjoyed a few moments of learning and connecting.

Margaret Dennis

Kristin - It is your life. It is your blog. If people don't like to be uncomfortable at times, they have the option of not reading it. So be it.

As for the vacuum and the bottle cap, I had to giggle imaging it. Let's face it, nothing is more stressful than a redo whether it is DIY or professionals. It causes stress that puts even the best of us on edge.

Relax, enjoy your time with your mom. Suggest to Jean-Marc some of that duct tape on the end of a pole might work next time to retrieve objects from the drain!

Margaret in Durham where it can't decide if it is spring.

Tami in TX

You have a God-given gift for writing that should not be stopped, my dear Kristin! No matter what we do in life, as long as we're following His lead and will, we will be on the right path — the path of Truth. There will always be people who don't understand or think we do wrong. We cannot control how others feel. That is their own struggle. You are a treasured child of God! Do what He asks and you'll always do what's right. Much love!!!

Lilian Najarian

I am one of those people who never write, although I always do read your blog because I find it so relaxing and enjoyable and full of warmth and wit. I love it when you express your feelings and observations about yourself and your family. I find such observations to be so compelling. I adore the photos. And, I loved the April 1st story. Never stop being yourself and keep giving your readers something to think about.

Kelly in Chicago

Thank you for sharing your truth. All of it.

Lorrie Kazan (Redondo Beach, CA)

Hi Kristi: Your courage gives the rest of us the courage to tell our stories in our own way. So I agree with Julie and Angela.

We'd all like to think your life--someone's life--was easy and effortless but that's not the full picture.

You're so lucky to have such a creative mom (as she is to have you) and to be a creative person,yourself.


Awesome! Your best story yet!
As a woman also married to someone who feels the need to tempt the fates with his DIY projects, I can completely relate. I travel for my job and we have weekly enforced absences (probably why it all works out, I strongly recommend marital recesses). I think if you pack that bag again, do so with the idea that are not leaving Jean Marc (and not trying to punish him in any way), but are setting out to find yourself! A little self exploration added to the adventure of exploring some place new can bring lots of answers! Also, do not try to stop Jean Marc, but instead, pray that he will not hurt himself. Count on God to take care of your husband's self destructive bent and open yourself to spiritual enlightenment in the process. You will be amazed at the results. Men like our husbands fight back against what they view as controlling females, so step aside and let him go. His problem is likely not with you at all, but something he's been fighting from when he was a kid. Let him work it out.
He could just as easily put some gum or putty on a stick to retrieve the bottle cap, but he chose to go the electricity route, probably because he knew it would get a rise out of you, so just let him do it next time and remove yourself from the conflct. Let him exercise his own judgement and you may find he actually does start to think this harebrained stuff out finally. You need to step out of the policeman role and let him figure it all out on his own. These situations provide a good time for that trip for you, but don't go to the hotel in your town, find someplace you really want to visit and go.
As for weight, I've been heavy for the last several years and am amazed at how other people react to this. All the assumptions they make, all the weird behavior that they express. I think their reactions about my weight say a lot more about them than it does about me. I am heavy due to an illness and the drugs they had to put me on, not due to bad eating habits. I eat healthier than most people and am fine with the weight. I am alive, and that is what counts!! We each need to celebrate our successes, whether it's a retrieved bottle cap, a 50th birthday or a 10 year anniversary of an important pledge!

Trina, St. Petersburg, Florida, USA

I love Snoopy! And Kristin, thanks for all your stories. I love 'listening' to you open up. There is much research on the healing benefits of opening up and on the healing benefits of writing. I agree with your mom. Keep going. Keep writing what moves you. And, if you need a week off ... take it! Or as Julie suggests, just send us a photo essay and wish us well ... as we will wish you and yours. Wishing you peace.

Donna Kelley

you are in inspiration with your honesty...if readers are uncomfortable with it, they are not required to read the blog.

Todd - Texas, USA


I've always told my wife that the secret to understanding the sometimes risky or ridiculous things that men do is to realize that while we may be dopey, we're also very durable. In fact, durability is how we manage to survive adolescence at all.

So, please bear in mind that Jean-Marc, like all of us, has a long history of surviving his particular flavor of dopey behavior and you should simply treat this as a lovable idiosyncrasy that has made him into the man you love, not as a fault to be fixed.

I've got to run -- there's a tall tree I need to climb so I can use my chainsaw on a really large limb. Should be fun! ;-)


Kistin, I have not written before, though I have wanted to. I have your books and have followed your blog for several years. My husband and I have traveled to Houston and even met Jean Marc. We enjoy the Rose and wish for the opportunity to meet you. Your blog today touched my heart and I finally have to write. The very BEST part of all your stories is that you ARE so honest. You are very transparent and you should follow that still small voice and write the truth. It will help others and liberate you.

Sue Lennox

Oh, Kristi, today is one of your best! I envy your ability to express your thoughts so touchingly and humorously. Per JM: tell your story!

Joy Laliberte

I love reading your posts; you are a lovely person, and your family is wonderful. Your husband is an adventurer, an adventurer in the world of "let me see if I can fix it myself." You are an adventurer too, in the world of "let me see if I can express it on paper." Your adventures seem safer than his, but only in the physical realm. Yours provide far more risk in the emotional realm. I'm glad you didn't go to that hotel. That kind of response can become a habit. Not saying that would become the case here, but just something to think about.

Jamie Tharrington

I agree with Marc, if it is your truth, you must tell it. To live in fear lessens us all!By telling it, you open us all up to view ourselves. How can that be wrong?

Thank you for your blog. Thank you for your insight to humanity.


Marie D

Keep writing honestly, Kristin. You have such courage. I doubt you see it that way, but you do. No one's opinion of you or what you write matters, and you're not responsible for the way they respond to your honesty, to your humanness, to your humility. Your mother is right about your gift - but it's not just your writing, it's the content that you choose to share - sometimes raw, sometimes humorous, sometimes contemplative. It's all good.

Christine Webb-Curtis


I am NOT your mother, but I share your mother's sentiment. Writing is your catharsis, your way of re-experiencing what was meaningful in your life, what was funny, serious, sad, silly. I haven't had the courage to write so honestly about the emotional challenges of life but appreciate those who can. Don't for a minute think we don't all gain something from what you say--even if it's uncomfortable. Hell, life isn't always what we dream about as children. And that's o.k. I, for one, love hearing about living in France (since I'll never be able to experience it myself), learning new words in my quest toward something vaguely resembling fluency (or at least comfort) with the language, and hearing the struggles of raising children (My youngest is 25, oldest 42, so you'd think they'd be raised already--but don't get any ideas about that. The journey goes on.), caring for dogs, and all the other details of life.

If your frequency of posting is too much, take it down a notch. I have tried hard to achieve such regularity in my own blog, but I don't have the discipline to do it.

I'll take whatever I can get. And I encourage you to give whatever you can.

With great affection,


Marcia Douglas

Truth be told, most married couples, oh, all married couples have disagreements, it's the resolution that is important. :-) Having read your blog for a few years, I know you always have a good outcome and resolution, rather than just coming on and venting. I tend to be the one in my life that gets into precarious repair situations. My worst was being stuck on the roof and having to shimmy down a big tree next to the house, lol. No one else was home when I went up to check a dormer (stupid me, lol) and no one seemed to notice I was up there frantically waving my arms, though I did enjoy the view ;-) haha. Joke was on me! And I'll never do that again.


We all need to let that light in us shine. Your frankness gives us courage. My dh shares some traits with yours, he likes to be handy in dangerous ways and has a temper when I interfere. He hasn't changed in the 45 years we've been married and he hasn't killed himself yet, so I've learned to let him be.

Thanks for your giving us your blog, it brightens my day everytime!


Kristin, let me give you what they say is the sort of responses that males give, not sympathy but solutions. Most men love tools and the sort of tool, an inexpensive at that, that is used to get metal things out of hard to reach places is a magnet at the end of a stick. Look in Amazon.com; here's one, the Amico Auto Repair Flexible Slender Metal Magnet Pick up Tool. And if you want to stick the offending bottle cap as a trophy on the refrig, here's how: http://www.instructables.com/id/Cheap-and-simple-bottle-cap-magnets/.


Darling Kristi,

What a beautiful rose you are in the 'Garden of Life.' Your fragrance is at its peak as you tap those keys each 'post-day.' As I have mentioned to you over and over lately you are right at the peak of your life at 45 yrs....as the years continue to pass by you will find your fragrance will mellow as the wine of your fields in France.

I remember 45 as if it were yesterday - and I'm soon to be 67. You are a better version of myself in so many important ways. Thank you for constantly refreashing my thoughts with your brave truths on your life...I always learn from you.

Remember 'MOM's bootcamp' starts on Sunday - I'm going to teach you more of my hard-won secrets about how to be a 60's childs version of mellow.

As I told you on the phone last week when you went into the kitchen to find a beautiful vase of flowers from JM...I could almost see him riding his mountain bike down the mountainside - then a little angel would tape him on the shoulder and point out another flowere on the side of the road that was singing in its beauty - "I'm just like Kristi" - then he would have to jump off of his bike to capture you all over again. Thus all of the various flowers of beauty he found as he worked off his stress - little gifts from Above - that keep us on the right track.

Oh how I love you two - the two of you together are so full of life and love, and both of you are so brave to share your life.

I'm thinking about packing today - just thinking, not doing. I always laugh the most when I remember our conversation about the future is coming whether we are ready or not, why not just float through the parts (airport-transfers) that steal our joy before departure. All I really have to do is show up tomorrow at the gate and open my arms for my future.

I love you Honey - always stay true to your one and only self. There is no one else like you in the whole wide world.



Winn Gregory

Once again wonderful story and well written. I totally agree with Jean Marc. Tell your truth. It is interesting edifying and just plain entertaining. At the same time any of those naysayers need to get a life. Sometimes you have to wage a war in this life and sometimes you bleed but nothing is failure like the failure of looking back and saying I could have or should have... As to Marseilles 1994 you are a beautiful couple but the look on Jean Marc's face and the posture and the hand grips say to me he is thinking Wildflower wildflower how can I have a wildflower.

Merrill Hakim

Please do not be bothered by people who cannot handle your revelations. It is your truth, it is important for you to get it out there, and if it makes them uncomfortable, so be it.

Keep up the good work, and all the best,

Winn Gregory

Oh and on my desk heavy old dark walnut desk of 40 years sits a likewise to Marseilles 1994 photo in a little brass oval of a young couple, a slimmer young me and a dark haired beauty who could have strolled in off the beach in southern France and she has a white gown and a white corsage and short brown hair and a white smile all captured decades ago on the hilltop or our little Iowa farm. An angel from Heaven then and to this day. God bless you both, Jean Marc and Kristin and thank you for your work.

avril rustage-johnston

Kristin. It is your forthright honesty which makes your posts so beguiling, but this time I was scared, for you and for Jean-Marc.
Please, if ever you have the bag packed again, wait until you write us about it before taking action. You are dear to me though we haven't met and I couldn't bear to think of you flouncing off and perhaps doing irreparable damage to your marriage. Thank heavens you take time to think things over - and thank heavens for Jules :o)

Diane Young

You are a writer and whatever your fingers tap out is what's meant to be. Never withhold your thoughts and actions for fear of judgment. Writing is so therapeutic and you deserve the right to let it out, whatever is fomenting in your beautful brain. We're all blessed and cursed with weird habits and temperaments (sp?) and what a dull world it would be if we were all alike. You and Jules have a wonderful week and we look forward to your next column. In the meantime, please send pictures of Braise and Smokey to comfort us.

Eileen deCamp

Hi Kristin,

You have to be true to yourself and write what you feel needs telling. You have JM's support and your children support you, so that's all that matters. Have fun with Jules! Can't wait for you to tell some of the stories of what you two are doing together.

My husband also loves DIY projects. He hooked up a stove one time when we lived in Germany and the electricity shot him across the floor on his behind.

I always just say "good luck with that". You can tell Jean Marc next time....bonne chance.

Gwyn Ganjeau

Gosh, Kristin,so much fodder today! I don't know where to start!

First, to me your writing is how you process and understand your life and experiences and relationships. and doing that helps you extract so much more out of it. it is experienced--and then some. No matter WHAT you write, there will be some that are 'uncomfortable' with it--but that discomfort is really about themselves, not you. in rereading that, it sounds judgemental and i don't mean it in that way at all--it's just that everything has a very specific and personal context for each person, and that is theirs. we can't always know what that is--and we don't always need to. we must just let it be theirs. so---write on! we will gobble up every word and lick the spoon dry.

then there's men and women--sheesh. i always assumed the older i got, the more i would understand them. but it actually may be the chiefest proof to me that there is a god--because without some kind of divine intervention, i think the species might have died out. Bless our pea-pickin hearts. we will never tackle a problem the same way. and that's really the good news. and of course the challenge. and finding the humor in it is often the diffuser. I lived in montana for many years and there was a popular adage--well, life outlook really: "If it didn't kill ya, it's probably funny." That's an overstatement of course...there are many things that are NOT funny. but what it says to me is that sometimes it's helpful to look at a difficult situation through a different lens--and often i see the ridiculousness in it. pressure relieved.

Ack--i'm rambling. wish i could be a fly on the wall watching you and jules play. it will make me smile all week thinking of it. eat up every minute of it! :)


You go, girl. And what a gift from Jean-Marc that he encourages you to say what is true. What faith he has in you; what strength in your relationship.
These revelations obviously cleanse your soul, and from reading the responses posted here, they also seem to serve the host of fans you have amassed in the years you have been writing. It can be silently helping someone reading to hear how you turn a potential problem away with your curious intellect, your reasoning and fine heart.
I have always said my passion for people centers on how they celebrate their joys and cope with their challenges. You graciously give us a window into your life and your heart, complete with curtains gently blowing and flowers in the windowbox. Thank you, for your writing, beautiful photographs, and insights into life. You are treasured far and wide.

Paul Guerin

I find the qualities you dislike increasingly in evidence as I grow older. Keeping an awareness of them helps ameliorate their impact on others. Thinking of the good the other brings into your life is like a finger on the balance scale insuring that the negative impulses dont begin to outweigh the positive. Also there's nothing wrong in apologizing to those we hurt , letting them know that once in awhile the crazies take over the ship.

Julie Farrar

*correction: a WRITER with many sides

I think I would have tried the duct tape and wooden pole before the vacuum cleaner.

Finally, go ahead and pack that bag and go. Even if just for the night. Do it openly and proudly. I'm all in favor of women doing solo travel. I fell into it when I was about your age and thought I would explode from the pressures of kids, family, work, house, marriage that come at you in a barrage at that age. I took road trips short and long to hear music, take pictures, write, or do nothing at all. Mostly I just loved being on the highway where no one could reach me unless I decided to turn on my cell phone.


Hi Kristin, Please, always tell your story, your adventure in existence. We are all on this amazing path and your courage to be real is a beacon to all of us who search for meaning and growth in life. Have a wonderful week with your very wise mother. Wishing you laughter and giggles and intimacy and joy.


You have made my day...I can only think of Garbo doing Camille...If you are going to do a Le Grande Gesture you really need a fainting couch and a whiff of Chanel #5. And if you are set to flee do so in pearls and a little black dress and go immediately to the Hotel du Cap or the Negresco..Heroines never go to the local Holiday Inn in Bandol...But I'm glad you stayed.. And what do they say; it works if you work it...and it does and sat is 38

Paul Tanzar


Writers (the ones worth reading) write because they MUST. It is telling that I find I MUST read your blog posts because, whether about France, French, your family, or introspection, they are always a satisfying read. This last one in particular hit close to home, and so will make a difference in my life. Now, how cool is that!

Warmest regards, Paul in Skokie, IL

Tania Russell

Dear Kristin,
I have only been following you for a little while, but today's post in which you shared that someone had commented "I'm uncomfortable when you talk about your struggles with alcoholism" really struck a chord with me. The key words in this person's comment are "I'M UNCOMFORTABLE". The mark of a good writer is to inspire emotions in their readers--some good, but some that may touch a nerve. It is up to each reader to explore these emotions within themselves. The writer should not and cannot self-censor their writing because of how it may affect the reader. I agree whole-hearedly with your mom and Jean-Marc that you should always write your truth. In fact, I think by sharing of some of these more difficult truths, it helps us connect as human beings. Without this honest acknowledgement of the struggles in life, we can tend to forget to treat each other with compassion, and we may feel isolated in thinking that we are alone in our own struggles. Life is not all wine and roses, so I thank you for sharing your good times and your not-so-good times. :)

Laura Isenstein

Kristin, Please don't ever stop writing your blog. I so enjoy learning the French phrases, and most importantly, getting to know you, your family and about your daily lives in the south of France.

Your experiences and feelings reflect those of your readers wherever we reside on this earth. We can identify and empathize with you as well as learn from you. Our humanity unites us.

I have come to know you, beyond our brief chats on the AMAdagio, respect you and count you as a trusted and important friend. I look forward to when our paths will cross again. Until then, we are connected through your blog and your beautiful writings.

Enjoy your time with you mother!

Paul Tanzar

Oh yes, a caption. How about
Him: "She's really mine!"
Her: "He's really mine!"

Kristin Espinasse

Thank you for the laughter and the tears and for your insights and experiences. Thank you for the tremendous encouragement to keep writing. What a gift you have given! And I cant wait to thank my husband, when he gets home. Holding onto the story, unsure of how, whether, or when to deliver it, was stifling. Live and let live. Amen! P.S. Margaret and Holly and Terry, why didnt I think of the tape at the end of the baton? Or the other clever pick-up and retrieve solutions? Wonderful!

Bill Facker

Kristin, once you began writing there was no need to go back and rerun a post .. don't you love when that happens! Sometimes the most difficult moment is that simple act of putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboards). A great post was "born" today because you did sit down to be creative ... thinking you were looking for an old post to run!

joie in Carmel, Ca.

Oh, I am still smiling. Any man who would bring you wildflowers instead of roses is a pushover! And I would rather have wildflowers than anything else. Marriage is not perfect, life is not perfect, people are not perfect. In fact, I think the word should be struck from the English language. If all were perfect, what could we strive for? I think your blog would be rather boring if your life and blog were perfect.
Perhaps you ought to keep that photograph in a frame on your "writing desk" and whenever one of these exchanging of words occurs you both should go look at it and remember why you are both there together.And you know, men will be "men" sometimes and I guess we should let them be once and awhile. But not to overdo it.
ps. I love these new little phrases that you are putting out there.


Hi Kristin

It's too bad some people feel uncomfortable talking about alcoholism. Having grown up with an alcoholic, abusive father and a mother that required constant Librium to cope, I am very thankful that you are writing about it. Too many children of dependent parents in this world have carried an unnecessary weight on their shoulders all their lives. It is just as important that the offspring realize that life does not have to be as it once was. No more guilt.

I admire your courage, not only for yourself, but for your family too. Recognizing a disease and learning to deal with it can bring such an inner peace. May all of us learn from you.

N Vandenberg, San Antonio, Texas

This is a very moving post and I thank you for sharing. I agree with JM - if it is the truth then write it if you want. It feels that you are sharing the human saga of love, growth, expansion/contraction, love, change, love, as expressed by your life. When I feel discomfort reading your posts then I look inward to see what is coming up from my life that needs attention. Thank you for that. And clever fix - its are good to hear about - never know when I might need one. Have a wonderful weekend.


Look at all these comments. You have a gift, for sure. People who are made uncomfortable by honest writing are the ones with a problem. You just let your gift shone forth. It will do everything for you.

Linda Casey

Hear hear to all the the comments .. those of us who LOVE your stories and photos know that you write from the heart .. so write on Viking Princess! By the way, the wedding picture of you and Jean-Marc make me drool with envy. You two are the most delicious couple in France, with the most beautiful pets, children and family life anybody (on the outside looking in) could ever wish for. Don't let a few unkind comments spoil your creativity. Enjoy your mom's visit. We'll see you when you get back. Greetings from the Netherlands. Linda

Mara in Wisconsin

Paul Tanzar's caption belongs with every wedding photo!

As for packing a bag . . . it was only an overnight bag. That means you weren't really leaving, just giving yourself a break from the stress of watching J-M tempt fate. Because you know (and we know you know)--he's worth coming back to.


Kristin, what you share in your writing is Your choice, above all. Don't let others lead you to second guess yourself. That you have chosen lately to introduce some more personal aspects of your life to the blog has made your writing so much more real and relate-able. We have all had moments where we regret our past behavior. That you are sharing your moments makes me realize that I am not the only one who works everyday to improve my temper. There is something powerful in knowing that others walk your same difficult path. Keep the stories coming, and many happy returns!!

Carol McFarland, Arcata, CA

Any writer who speaks from the heart as you do, and with such skill, can always tell the truth. I think your readers often see themselves in your stories and appreciate your candid self-examination. The best part is that you reason your way through your feelings and in so doing, you help the rest of us get closer to our own humanity. As for the tender ones who do not wish to hear about the tough patches....well, they can skip that post! As always, with appreciation...


Salut, Kristin,

Never be afraid to express what you truly feel, as it is your inner self, and that always captures the heart and interest of your readers. I, for one, simply love your blog, and never miss it, and I´m a readers´ reader, having started my love affair with books at the age of 3, and have never let up.
Now, I myself, have become a writer, and to my shock, the other day, found out that, in addition to my first published book, Two Sides of a Tale, I´ve actually, well, not penned, but lap-topped (how´s that for a new verb?) 10 more separate books from that first cat tale (ha!ha!), then went on to write a book on singing technique, then, novels to poetry to socio-political essays. Writing is threatening to supplant my love for singing.
So, write on and never doubt. You write engagingly, wittily and always from the heart. Never doubt yourself.

Suzanne de Chicago

I have been profoundly moved by your revelations about drinking. I sat here in my little home office and said aloud, "What? Really? But the vineyard!" And then I reread your very personal, authentic story. And I continue to be moved. Others have said it--you have courage, Kristin. Your writing has become more powerful as you have dared to reveal these intense, important events in your life. Je t'admire.

judi dunn

.... Kristin.... always remember your inner 'Yoda' ...
'don't think, do!" .... you can never go wrong! We are the fortunate ones to have you share your lives with us... W all love you and wish only the best for you... Judi from Tallahassee, Fl.

Kathleen from Connecticut


What an engaging story. My husband would do the same sort of thing, not matter how much I complained. That is the male species. What would we do without them? When Dean does something that I think is stupid and or really crazy, usually with electricity also, I get furious. I understand. Thank you for sharing and now I know that I am not the only one whose husband does these things.
Keep writing about the things at matter to you. That is what makes your blog so wonderful.


Annette Heath

Chere Kristin, I am NOT your Mother and I would beg you to never allow anyone or anything to put a hold on your creativity and writing. For certain it must be so necessary to you, and for certain it is a huge gift to your readers. Think of how many people whose lives you have touched and enriched. We are all so imperfect and thank God for that. Marriage is a constant journey of learning and loving, as is parenting. Along with you, my life has been so touched by alcoholism from a parent to a husband to a child. We are not alone and we do not need to hide.I did that for far too many years..from shame. My dear Father has left us, my husband was in recovery for almost 20 yrs before he passed, and my son is in recovery...which is unending. My grateful heart says merci, always. When someone you deeply admire shares the agony of the disease with me, I feel such a huge lift of spirit...my shame begins to wane. You are that person I deeply admire. "It is good when you got woman who is a friend of your mind." ...and heart. Annette Heath


WOW!!! I am loving all of these comments for my precious Kristi.



Sarah LaBelle near Chicago

The men in my life (brothers, in laws, and nephews now) do everything carefully and by the book, safety first. So many engineers in the group?

Here, the kitchen drain can be easily taken apart, to fetch out an object like that, and more important, put back together again simply. Is it done the same way in France?

But your story really has not much to do with plumbing or vacuums, does it? It was about fears and fast judgments. Deep fears, as it took you so many days to lose the fear.

It amazes me how you make those emotions so vivid, in the kind of conflict everyone has, with someone important. Knowing now with 20-20 hindsight when you escalated that you might have done better with a whole different sort of response. Next time will be different.

Now I wonder, did we see the photo of the first or the third bouquet of wildflowers, so beautiful?

Sandy Vann


Writing is life..thank you for being the gifted, witty, inspirational and courageous writer you are. Nurture your talent and keep sharing your true stories with us. They are a source of wisdom, such is shared humanity.
JM is adorable for bringing you wild flowers and all of your readers comments so heart warming and genuine. Be true to yourself, your life and your writing...it is the key and beauty of your unique art.
Bon vacance avec Jules. Hugs and best wishes to you and your lovely family.
Off to Corsica! :)

Dave Navarrre

I whole-heartedly agree with the Chief Grape, "If it is the truth, then tell it."

In sharing one's troubles, one can not only find release, but also ease the pain of others with the same or other troubles.

Keep up the good work!


Kristi...Tell your truths! The ones who are uncomfortable with any of them , are the ones that need them the most...and possibly...you may be be helping them to realize the truth about themselves..and give them the incentive to make that first step to get help...Now...Have a great time with your Mom and family ...see you "whenever".


Doubt you are the first wife who,s had a bag packed......it's called life, marriage,baggage we bring with us when we marry.Had a client who had a bag packed for 40yrs of marriage,and when it was out of the closet he knew he was in trouble.
Everytime your husband succeeds with his hairbrain ideas it gives him the encouragement to risk more.....and you fear being a widow.....the trials of marriage I say.....no keep that bag packed.....

Carolyn  Dahm,  Sharon, MA

Dear Kristin,

Once again, you have bared your soul and I'm grateful for it. Your writing is exquisite and so real that your words and emotions just fly off the page and make us feel as if we're never alone. I have felt the same way so many times with my husband and I'm slowly learning to adopt the "good luck with that" attitude that another reader mentioned. Some days they can just make us crazy-but it doesn' t mean we don't love them! Thank you always for your honesty.
Have a lovely time with Jules. Wish I could be there with you!
Much love, Carolyn

Susan in Paris

Him: She's my live wire. I feel the sparks between us!

Her: He's so exciting! Positively electric!

(PS. I am married to a much older than yours DIY French guy with absolutely no electrical wiring training. Thanks for giving me an appreciation of his fascination. The good news is: He's still here rewiring and connecting appliances to his heart's content. Meanwhile, I never blow dry my hair in the bathroom unless I do a dry floor inspection and am wearing my rubber flip flops 'cause he installed the light with the electrical outlet. Do you think the flip flops will protect me in the event of ...)

John Senetto

Over the years since "Words in a French Life", your writings have evolved into such emotion, love and inner depth that I feel you are part of my extended family. I just want to give you a big hug.

Jaime, Napa Valley CA

Stick with your instincts Kristin! I have never written before, but today's post has me writing thank you for sharing so much of yourself with the world through your writing. My husband and I are both Francophiles and have followed your blog for several years. Whatever the subject, it is your humanity and openness about yourself that make your writing so engaging, thoughtful, and inspiring. So glad Jean-Marc and your wonderful Mom encourage your work!


Buy that man a WET VAC! Seriously, I could not live with a person who was toying with electricity and plumbing -- too nerve wracking! Having said that, my 75 year old husband has recently left the doors to our pool cage in the open position. There are small children running loose in our neighborhood and sometimes they run through our yard. If one of them were to drown in the pool because spouse propped the doors open and then left the house for the afternoon -- well, there are no words to describe the potential tragedy. And, there is also a LIABILITY. So, just like you, I've been placed in a precarious position by living with a man who is at best forgetful, at worst trying to give me a heart attack -- or maybe he just doesn't have any common sense? (I wanted to leave, but I'm still with him! But I don't relish the idea of being responsible for someone who is jeopardizing the lives of neighborhood children.) The reasons for propping the doors open? First time he wanted the small lizards to come in so they would eat the spiders. Second time, he forgot to close the door after cleaning the pool filter. Door was open all night -- I discovered it in the morning. Now, I'm a prisoner in my own home, fearing that he'll continue to do this. I feel compelled at least three times a day to check that the doors are closed and locked. Kristin, you and I might eventually be placed in a position where we have to make that leap and leave.

Patty Austin near Bethesda, MD

Dear Magnificient Writer,
Keep at it just the way you do. I struggle w/weight. I have decided to wear it well.

All of us make mistakes, Isn't that why pencils have erasers? All of us have troubles. "That is life." Messy and Complicated, maybe that is why we love to ready your writing while we learn the French language!! Do not the French have a lovely expression for that? C'est le vie (sp???)

Hug your mom for me, visit with her entirely. I lost mine on 4/7 this year and want to hold her hand, sing songs, chitty chat, make carved stamps, draw and paint. And tell Jules we love her writing too!!!!!

As for water and electricity, makes my palm sweat just reading about it. Glad all worked out in the end. As we said in the '70s keep on trucking : )

Ronni Ebbers

Dear Writer

And you are a writer. Writers write. Your sharing makes our lives fuller, makes us laugh at our own foibles and over-reaction and, no doubt, strengthens the ties that make your marriage strong.


Karen from Phoenix

You must write what you know. That is what writers do. You know I have expressed this before, it doesn't matter what people think. You can't please everyone and if they are uncomfortable really it is their problem. Life is to short to worry what other people think. Write, love, live and most of all enjoy.

Wish I was there with you and Jules!!! Big Hug!! xoxo

Nikki Maxwell

Yep, listen to your mum Kristi. Words of wisdom.
Your honesty is breathtaking, courageous and and true.

Mary Catherine Pace

I don't comment very often, but I am still reading your blogs, which means they are still very appealing to me. I loathe journalists who will write or say anything for attention in some misguided and, usually, fundamentally dishonest, claim to "truth." Your posts are thoughtful, respectful of your husband and children, and you don't write about anything that has not been carefully and honestly processed before you publish it. Your struggle is to be honest with yourself, and you do it well. I enjoyed today's post, and most of all, I caught snapshots and thoughts that bring life moments into focus--for you and for any thoughtful reader. Please continue sharing your journey and do not be discouraged by a few critics. Your mom is right!

Faye Stampe, Gleneden Beach, OR

Bonjour Kristin,

I love all of these comments. They all ring true. Please keep writing with your amazing honesty, courage and thoughtful prose.

Your mom is great! Listen to her, and enjoy your time with her. Please keep us updated on your adventures and photos too!

Stay well!


Our dear Kristi,
Your post today has once again wrapped itself around our hearts and made us so appreciate both your gifted writing and YOU as a warm,caring,loving person whom we are fortunate to have in our lives.
Your words never fail to be a breath of fresh air and a joyful insight into your lives--facing ups and downs in marriage as we all must do. The downs help us appreciate the ups (which ,for certain,are way in the majority).
Listen only to your heart and common sense and let the critics go jump in the lake.
My husband has never worn a wedding ring (dislikes any kind of jewellery).He was in a high profile job, is handsome, and had to travel alot. I wish I had a dollar for every idiot who told me I should force him to wear one,lest some woman (floozy was the exact word used) would come steal him away.
I finally asked him why not wear a ring(?) and his reply was : (paraphrased) If I need a ring to remind me I have a wife, we are in deep trouble.
Follow your heart and listen to your common sense, and, most of all,to your dear mom.
You two are awesome!
Love. Natalia XO


Loved this blog post as usual. When I first read DIY, I accidentally transposed the letters and read it as DYI. After reading your entire post, I realize perhaps that's a more apt term for some people: Do Yourself In! I'm glad Jean-Marc triumphed over the electricity. And I agree with the others here who have encouraged you in your writing. You have a gift, and you must be able to share that gift without fear of anyone else's opinion. God bless you!


Kristin: perhaps the reader who expressed their uneasy with "your alcoholism" may have problems with it themself. One day at a time...it's part of our story. Continue to tell your story in your most eloquent way.

Jen in Chicago

While I was walking to Santiago, I wrote in a blog post that I wasn't sure I was equipped to be a good wife to my husband. After I had left the internet cafe and walked a few more miles, I felt horrified that I had written and posted publicly such a thing about my marriage. But what happened was that after reading my post, my husband told me that he never realized I felt that way. And honestly, I don't think I knew I felt that way until I had written it. It was the key to strengthening our commitment to each other. I think sometimes we find ourselves in our writings...right where we are supposed to be :)
I truly love reading your blog... you realize that you are never allowed to quit.. right?

Marianne Rankin

Kristin, you are a human being. We have all experienced many of the same feelings, desires, and attitudes (perfectionism, desire for control, etc. etc.) It's good that you can, at least after a while, be objective enough to see yourself with accuracy, but don't beat yourself up too much.

It seems to me that J-M has been very supportive over the years, and is worth his weight in gold. Others are not perfect, either, and so we take the annoyances along with the pluses.

Caption for the wedding picture: "Pour toujours!"

Pat Cargill

I have not taken the time to read the other comments which, not surprisingly, are many and I suspect are all wholly dedicated to lifting you up and reiterating what we've been saying for years: "LOVE IT, WRITE ON!" and to borrow an old timey phrase from the 60's, "right on,"

Right on the money, honey that your thoughts flow from a deep source within; right on that you are fearless and meet each day with courage and the willingness to go within and THINK about what you are doing, not flitting around bumping into others with unconsidered living. And right on that from time to time, you go beyond the safe place and share topics that, like alcholism, are so important to many of us. When you share like that, you give us hope and through our comments we link mind and hearts together and feel support that might not otherwise be there for us.

I, too, struggle, not like some, but I am unable yet to rise above drinking/eating compulsions. I look forward to seeing Wait Watchers. I consider women like this artist, Haley Morris-Cafiero, as heroines. They, like you, are willing to open up to the world and through brave revelations help us to find OUR COMMON HUMANITY. Too few look beyond the surface of life to find what connects us to one another. This fractured, unconnected world needs all the glue it can get, so

Right on! to open, honest, heart-felt communication. I feel for the person who judged you for speaking openly about alcoholism. I don't understand that way of thinking, but I suspect it comes from fear. And Kristen: WRITE ON!

Herm in Phoenix, AZ

Patty Austin: Yes, « c'est la vie »…. And the song continues…. what ever will be, will be!

The French also have another saying that goes:
« c'est la vie, c'est la guerre, c'est la pomme de terre! » which discretely translated means . . . “Stuff happens!” and might describe the consequences.

Joy Eballar

"Stand in your truth even if your voice shakes!" I LOVE your stories, your bravery and strength and that you are sharing your struggles with us...that all care about you so much. We all (me included) have/had our 'demons' and dragons to fight and those who are 'uncomfortable' with it or say mean things like 'you will lose you husband' are out of touch with human emotions and not very 'enlightened'. Don't worry about them. You are you and I love that. love Joy <3


Kristi...I found this post to be a very tender piece of writing....wonderful! :-)


Love you Kristi, just the way you are. PS - wild flowers are the very best. Always look forward to your posts. Hugs!

Julia ~ Falling Off Bicycles

Remember, we are all mirrors of one another. Best not to let what frightens another encroach upon your experience. Those people are projecting their own experiences on you and appear to have their own issues with addiction and fear of loss of a loved one (respectively). Those comments are about them and their own triggers, not you. I admire your honesty. Brava to you!


Good comment, Julia - I appreciate it. Still, Kristin, I reckon you have compatibility problems with JM (which worries yr. Mum too so she tells you you can't trust yr. own reality, sweeping it under the carpet - I'd watch out). So far as you are concerned, he's insensitive and irresponsible. Doesn't seem to know how to handle conflict and so you get hurt. Sorry. Because it'll remain this way - volatile and fragile - until you two can begin to talk about and discover underlying issues. (Sorry for those who won't just disagree but self-righteously so - please read all the plaudits to truth-telling above).

Judi Miller, Lake Balboa, CA

Electricity and water - a major 'no no' for me, too. I would actually prefer he flip the circuit breakers off before changing a light bulb and there's not even any water involved!! But, any of my 'no don't do that with electricity' always meets with the same 'zapping' back and forth - just like electrical 'noise' between us. It can be very frustrating, but I am always so happy and relieved when all work is finished and he's still standing, the house is not on fire, he is smiling his little boy smile, and I have to admit he was right and it was all ok (well, until the next time I freak out about anything electric!) Your writing about all the emotions that are tapped and zapped is so very, very real and touched home with me and it looks like it touched home with all of your readers as well. You are such an incredible writer - we always 'feel' right along with you because you express yourself so truthfully - never quit doing that! I, like others, am always very excited to see your post in my inbox, and sometimes I even wait to read, to savor it at a special time, when I can savor each word you write! Thank you for all you give! Time to go to sleep, perhaps to dream of wildflowers!

Gary Rodan

Kristin and Jean-Marc: You are an unusual couple in a truthful melange of two different cultures and upbringings. But You are so lucky to have each other. Either of You would be foolish to ever risk losing the other over personal disagreements. Even if Jean_Marc risks his very life, he needs to know your concern is for him. He Supports your lifestyle and allows you to write very personally. That shows great respect for your personal freedoms inside a wonderful marriage. Jean-Marc we readers thank you for our glimpses into normally private areas. So please be careful not to kill yourself! Kristin and us interlopers and Your children would all be devastated. You see we all love You. But it is his life, Kristin, to lead and to risk as he sees fit. Alors, pas plus de >vous deux! Nous Vous aimons!

Gary Rodan

> = broutilles!

Kristin Espinasse

Thank you for all your touching and poignant comments here. It is such a pleasure to think about them. Mirroring, interpreting according to ones past experiences... we all view and perceive the world in our own unique way. It is enlightening and life-changing to learn how others experience a similar situation. Cynical or sarcastic words, accusations or negative assumptions have no place here in the comments section. I like the old saying: Until you have walked in anothers shoes... reserve judgement.

Jen, you have perfectly expressed the dark dark period I experienced after hitting the publish button! ... and the enriching and happy outcome that followed. Off to help my husband with lunch... after a morning of DIY projects (smiles) we are sitting down to a bbq and will enjoy the fruits of our labor. Wishing everyone a relaxing weekend. No matter your struggles, we can all relate, or try to. 

Alyssa Ross Eppich

Kristen, keep writing. People say hurtful things when the details of their own lives are not good. People uncomfortable with talk of alcoholism(it runs in my family) or twitching you about how secure you are with your husband have issues of their own to solve. Do not let it affect what you do, which is paint a picture of your life in a most interesting part of France about a family with whom we can all identify. I really and truly love reading your pieces-continuez-s'il vous plait!


Good Morning my precious Kristi,

How nice to find more interesting comments here this morning - I can read all of them while I enjoy my coffee.










Susan Hodgson

Keep up the good work. As you learn about yourself...so do we learn about ourselves. Thank you for sharing your life with us.

Betty Tuininga

Hi Kristin, Your writing is wonderful and every day as I read your blog I thank Jules for introducing us. You have a wonderful sense of humor and are very human, loving, and real.

I have not alluded to this before, but will speak up in your defense now that there some dissension among your readers. I, at the age forty-nine was hospitalized for a severe eating disorder. It was a facility that also treated people with drug and alcohol addictions. We basically were all alike...addictions all have similar roots and causes. My disorder began as a young child. I went through bulimia for the majority of my life and then became anorexic/bulimic a couple of years before my hospitalization.

Thirteen years later I still battle demons, emotional upsets that can send me to a dark place. I like you, have a wonderful sunny outside but internalize much of my feelings.

Unfortunately, the one thing that people don't realize, and are uncomfortable with, is that addiction in all its forms is all around them. They often turn a blind eye rather than deal with reality. In you case, it is a part of who you are and you are doing a great service to those around you and your readers by sharing your honesty,your humor, and the reality of your life. Its not Camelot.

Keep up the GREAT work! I so enjoy your total your perspective and your life in France.



At about 3 PM on April 12, 2010, Paul Harding checked the Pulitzer Prize website to see who had won that year’s award for fiction. The news, he thought, would provide a nice bit of fodder for a few minutes’ worth of conversation at the start of the fiction class he would be teaching later that afternoon at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where he’d received his MFA a decade earlier. Perhaps he would know the winner’s name; maybe he’d even met the lucky writer. At first, the name of Elizabeth Strout, who had won the previous year for Olive Kitteridge popped up on his computer screen. He refreshed the page a few times: Elizabeth Strouth, Elizabeth Strout . . . PAUL HARDING! / He blinked. It was a joke, surely, or perhaps a hallucination. He refreshed the page again and again. Paul Harding, Paul Harding. / Incredibly, he’d won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction for his first novel, Tinkers, published by Bellevue Literary Press – a small nonprofit publisher founded in 2007 and connected to, of all things, New York University School of Medicine and Bellevue Hospital – after having been REJECTED BY ABOUT FORTY OTHER PUBLISHERS, including virtually all the major New York City houses and even a number of university presses, OVER A PERIOD OF FIVE LONG YEARS. He’d had no inkling that Tinkers was in the running, much less a finalist, far less still a winner. From Poets&Writers Magazine May 2013 article "The Winner’s Circle" by Kevin Nance. (Capitals mine, to point out the rejection faced by writers and the time it sometimes takes to get a book published. Another writer who faced this type of rejection was J.K. Rowling)


I must tell you, I love you...for all the right reasons and regardless of how this may sound ridiculous to others.
God bless and keep you and may He keep guiding you as you listen to Him.


None of us are perfect. Keep sharing your photos and stories. I find it affirming to know that others have struggles too--even if they're different from mine.

Sandy Maberly

I discovered a long time ago that if you look beneath the outer layer of anger, you will always find fear.....fear of loss, fear of inadequacy, fear of failure, etc. The underlying emotion at the base of this anger/fear is true love. Kristi, enjoy your mom's visit and forget about everything but happiness and the love of family! (Jules, go out there and kick some butt!)

Stacy ~ Sweet Life Farm ~ Applegate, Oregon

I get this; been there. Thank you for sharing the whole picture. It is through this reflection we grow in compassion, consciousness and love.

Wishing you and Jules many precious moments together.

P.s. My internet service has been down for a week. Please excuse my absence.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)