appuyer + win this Amazon gift certificate!
Gagner: Enter to win a one-week rental in Provence!

Tirer au sort + Prize giveaways


I would have never met GUS, had he not entered to win one of these blog contests. Proof that the best part of these giveaways is getting to know readers! (Pictured: wrapping for the antique key that Gus won. Click on the hyperlink in the first sentence to see Gus receiving it!)


tirer (teer-ay)

    : to pull, to draw, to close...

Word etymology: Related to tear. Alternatively from a reduction of Old French martirier (to torture). -Wikipedia   

Thank you all very much for your helpful and very encouraging feedback. I'm deeply touched! Your comments inspired me to be more consistent in posting all sections of this French language journal. Here is one section that fell by the wayside, years ago: Expressions. Another section was "Word Etymology"...and another "Quotes"...  Though it is not always possible to get everything in, owing to time constraints, I will try a little harder. Sometimes it is impossible to include every part (ex. no sound file when Jean-Marc is away). But I am finding ways around some of these challenges... (now only if my dog Smokey could speak French! But then he'd need a smartphone to record the words....)

tirer au sort
= to draw lots, to draw a number i.e. for a prize
tirer à pile ou face = to toss a coin
tirer la langue = to stick out one's tongue
tirer un trait = to draw a line
tirer son épingle du jeu = to make it out unscathed

AUDIO FILE: Listen to Jean-Marc: MP3 or Wav

Tirer au sort: Les gagnants de ces prix sont tirés au sort.
To randomly choose: The winners of these prizes are chosen randomly.

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

You may be wondering: Why is Kristi having all these prize giveaways all of a sudden? Well, sit back and let me tell you une petite histoire...

A few years ago, while photographing Smokey in front of my Wall of Keys, it occured to me: tu pourras en donner une.... You could give one of these away (a key, not my dogs!)


It was exciting to think that a centuries-old clé would soon be travelling far away: to a reader in Perth? or maybe even someone in Phoenix? I hurried to my computer to post the giveaway at my blog, adding a suspenseful twist:

"The trésor is currently a secret," I wrote, "but here's a hint: anyone would love it: young or "wizened", man or woman. If you like French antiques, you'll love this historic memento, one from my collection... one I adore and would love to offer you!"

A total of 1537 readers entered the giveaway, after following these simple instructions:

"To win this antique simply leave a greeting here, in the comments box, along with your city. Example:  'Hola from Jules in Puerto Vallarta!'"

How exciting it was to see my comments box come to life. One by one, readers delurked!:

...Hello from Rio de Janeiro! hi from Nova Scotia! Salut from Manchester, England! Hello from sunny Melbourne!  Best wishes from Cape Town! Bonjour de Sidi Bou Said, Tunis, Tunisie... and from Alabama, New Jersey, Illinois!!!...

And then came the first critic. As go most vitriolic messages, this one came privately, in my inbox:

"Quit self-promoting!" the reader complained. "And unsubscribe me now!" 

The words stole my breath away. Next they pierced to the core,  producing a bubbling up of doubt. Then my curiosity crept in, and I googled the email address of the person who had sent such an abrupt and upsetting note. 

I discovered the complaint came from a published writer... of French-themed books (the same genre that I write). Looking at her book listed at Amazon I thought, What a shame. My readers would have enjoyed this person's work. Rather than writing me off, why didn't this author at least GET something out of me--if not a "thrice-weekly" vocabulary word. She might have written in asking me to mention her book in my blog's sidebar--where I list French-themed books). 

Meantime, self-promotion? Was that was this prize giveaway was, après tout? Did I have an ulterior motive--apart from livening up my comments box? I had to think about all this. And I did, for three long years during which time I never mentioned another prize giveaway.

And then, little by little, my skin began to thicken. This morning, while preparing today's post, I clicked back to that first giveaway, and tried once again to see where I might have offended anyone. What had I done to provoke such a reaction from this person? 

My eyes pored over the post. And then it struck me. I had book-ended the update with pictures of myself! The angered reader wasn't criticising the giveaway, she was irritated by my portrait. (Gosh, even I was irritated by my portrait, now that I look at it. If you didn't know me personally you'd swear I didn't like hugs or mud or roller skates! 

Then again, qui sait? Who knows what the critic thinks? We can't always understand what causes people to lash out. Meantime, we've got to go ahead with our own party! And as long as most people are dancing, chances are c'est une bonne fête!   

There will be lots more rumba around here -- confetti and prizes and who knows what kinds of surprises. There will be dull and awkward moments too. Whatever the mood, please stay for the ride. Your seat balances this writing vessel, and your words and comments (or silent positive thoughts) are the steam that moves it forward. 



P.S. I never got to the question I set out to explain: Why all these prize giveaways? Answer: Just making up for lost time! I hope you are out there doing the very same thing today.  Thank you and bonne journée!

To leave a comment about today's post, click here. 

Provence Dreamin'? Maison des Pelerins, Sablet. A Vacation Rental Dream in the heart of the Côte du Rhone. See photos here


petit, petite = little
une histoire
= story
tu pourras (pouvoir) = you could
une clé = key
en donner un(e) = give one away
amicalement = warmly
bonne journée = have a good day

I noticed some confusion in the recent comments, what with all those "have a nice time with Mom in Mexico" wishes. (Thank you!) I returned to France last Thursday, after a lovely visit with Mom in Puerta Vallarta... and my sister in Denver:

Here is Heidi making me another delicious meal... but it was hard to quit eating all these crackers (hard to come by in France. Update: try My American Market!)
That a seed blew from one of the sunflowers, landed in the gravel and sprouted is hard enough to believe. That it is about to bloom in December is absolutely incroyable!

Capture plein écran 10122014 085506

Behind The Scenes of this French Word-A-Day

These photo stories continue at Instagram or Facebook or Twitter. (And now at Tumblr, too!)


No giveaway prizes today. In life, everything needs a balance and it's time to recharge. When you buy a copy my book, your purchase is a great support to this free language journal.

"Faire d'une pierre deux coups"
Please consider buying a copy as a gift for someone this holiday season--and "kill two birds with one stone" (much prefer the gentler French expression above!): support this educational blog and tick off one more item on your gift list!

View a selection of my books. You can even buy all three in the "Frequently Bought Together" section--and tick three loved ones off your gift list! Three gifts at under $50!


CLICK HERE TO ORDER KRISTI'S BOOKS Mille mercis! I greatly appreciate your consideration and support. 

"Indognito," or when Smokey wears his sunglasses in public. Did they fell off when he tried to raid that ice cream stand? Smokey, I told you they were closed for winter!

See you next week with the BIGGEST giveaway yet.... meantime please share this post. It's good luck!

A Message from KristiFor twenty years now, support from readers like you has been an encouragement and a means to carve out a career in writing. If my work has touched you in any way, please consider a donation. Your gift keeps me going! Thank you very much.

Ways to contribute:
1. Send a check (to this new address)
2. Paypal or credit card
3. A bank transfer via Zelle, a great way to send your donation as there are no transaction fees.

Or purchase my book for a friend, and so help spread the French word.
For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety