Learning the alphabet is such a significant step for young children, their teachers and parents. However, I do not have clear memories of learning my alphabet while the moment I could read is still etched on my mind.

I do remember, though, moments of hesitation when I learned the alphabet when I took English classes at school.

The French letter G, for example, reads as the English J and vice versa. W is double V in French while it’s double U in English.

Whether pronounced in French or in English, for four years during the month of April, I honored these 26 letters.

This year I didn’t join the A to Z Challenge and I admit missing it.

So this short post is simply for each and every one of you who participated. I know of the challenge but also of the fun and the feeling of accomplishement when reaching the final line.

So on this last day of April and so close to the lovely month of May, one French proverb feels appropriate.


En Avril Ne Te Découvre Pas D’un Fil.

En Mai Fais Ce Qu’il Te Plait.

Literal translation:

In April don’t shed one thread (of clothing).

In May do whatever pleases you.


April weather being finicky, don’t pick light clothing when you dress.

In May wear whatever you want.

Congrats if you are an A to Z Challenger!

Happy month of May!

Reflections Post 2018 A to Z Challenge


The 2018 A to Z is over!

Whoever writes every day knows that it’s not an easy task. Posting for 26 days, following the alphabetical order, can be quite a challenge. What do you say about the last letters of the alphabet, people?

It’s now time to wrap up the 2018 A to Z Challenge and to highlight a few of the bloggers who not only finished the challenge but went far beyond most others, either through unique themes, outstanding research, or gorgeous photos. Often, all of the above.

Here they are.

In alphabetical order, of course:


This year Claire featured Literary Maps in Children’s Books. She shared classics as well as outstanding atlases and books that help children gain a spatial understanding of the world. As a traveler who has trusted maps more than her phone far longer than the majority I loved Claire’s theme. Her research is impeccable and her selection of books pretty awesome. Don’t miss this unique journey through the land of maps.

Through poetry and fiction, Mona’s blog Life Between the Sheets (of Paper) reflects her Mexican heritage. For this 2018 A to Z Challenge she blogged about all things Latino, specifically culture, language, music, food, in her Mexican American heritage. She specifies that her writing reflects her family, not the entire Mexican American or Chicano or Latino experience. Don’t miss Mona’s A to Z Series filled with stories, gorgeous photos and food. Oh the food…


I was meant to find Stepheny’s challenge. For a month she wrote about bookshops located in the States and occasionally abroad. The research behind her theme is quite phenomenal. Her photos made me want to browse through each and every shop she described. In fact, Stepheny’s challenge triggered a new challenge idea for me 🙂

Though I will likely return, at least for another year, to the French expressions I love so much and sometimes think I’ve forgotten. In fact, as soon as I start writing them down, more pop up, just waiting in the deep layers of my memory.

Susanna lives on Martha Vineyard where she works as an editor and also writes fiction. This is the reason why she keeps two blogs. For the 2018 challenge she combined the theme of her blog From the Seasonally Occupied Territories (Life on Martha’s Vineyard) with the theme of Write Through It (writing and editing): How living on Martha’s Vineyard has affected her writing. And that was a pretty cool challenge to follow.

In addition, Susanna blogs sporadically about the license plates spotted on the island. It’s a year round project with the goal to complete the map of the United States. Along my road trips through the USA I play the game too 🙂


As a final note:

When I wrote about the French singer and composer Jacques Higelin’s death, Sabra commented that she enjoyed listening to the song Pars but wondered what Higelin sang about. Unfortunately I’m only Evelyne and not Higelin, so the translation is what it is: a translation.


PARS by Jacques Higelin

Pars, surtout ne te retourne pas

Leave, but please don’t turn around

Pars, fais ce que tu dois faire sans moi

Leave, do what you must do without me

Quoi qu’il arrive je serai toujours avec toi

Whatever happens I will always be with you

Alors pars et surtout ne te retourne pas

So leave, but please don’t look back

Oh pars,

Oh, leave,

mais l’enfant…

but the child…

L’enfant? Mais il est là

The child? But he’s here

Il est avec moi

He’s with me

C’est drôle quand il joue

It’s strange, when he plays

Il est comme toi, impatient

He’s like you, impatient

Il a du cœur, il aime la vie

He has a good heart, he loves life

Et la mort ne lui fait pas peur

And death doesn’t scare him

Alors pars

So, leave

Surtout ne te retourne pas

But please don’t look back

Oh pars

Oh, go on, leave

Mais qu’est ce que t’as?

But what’s wrong?

Oh pars, et surtout reviens-moi vite

Oh leave, but please come back to me soon


From A to Z, Twenty-Six Funny, Weird, Vivid French Expressions




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Literally: the ball at zero

Best equivalent: shaved head


In popular French la boule designates the head. Maybe soccer fans remember the French soccer star Zidane’s infamous “coup de boule” that earned him a red card.

Back to the expression du jour: A shaved  head with no hair left can be described as having la boule à zéro.


While doing this 2018 challenge I gathered so many expressions that I can already promise to be back next year for another round of 26 funny, weird, vivid French expressions.


Meanwhile I want to thank each and every one of you SO, SO MUCH for sticking with me as I plowed my way from A to Z through the alphabet!

From A to Z, Twenty-Six Funny, Weird, Vivid French Expressions



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Literally: playing yo-yo with the coffee maker

Best equivalent: to have a screw loose


In French une cafetière is a coffee maker, but in slang it designates the head or the brain. Yoyoter is a fabricated verb based on the yo-yo game, described as simple. By extension, a person with a simple mind, someone who says strange things can be portrayed as yoyoter de la cafetière.


See you on Monday for the letter Z, the last letter for the A to Z challenge!

Meanwhile, enjoy your weekend!

From A to Z, Twenty-Six Funny, Weird, Vivid French Expressions





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This expression is impossible to translate

Meaning: counting down the very few days left until the end


That’s a tricky one to explain, especially because I didn’t know this expression .

I knew each expression I picked for this 2018 challenge. To test their popularity in France, I asked my French blogger friend Simone for her approval or suggestions. She helped me beyond reasonable last year.

She and I, however, were stuck with the letter X this year.  I owe a big thank you to my husband for finding the expression X Au Jus. Still a challenge to explain 🙂

Jus in popular French can designate a coffee. For example, a weak tasteless coffee will be called jus de chaussette or socks’ juice. As a kid, I remember my mother asking neighbors if they wanted to stop by pour boire un jus, meaning to drink a cup of coffee.

The expression X Au Jus, however, puzzled me. It was used when the military draft was still in use in France. Young men were counting the days spent at the barrack until the last day finally arrived. The countdown was done using the breakfast coffee as a mark. Military coffee being not the best it was mostly called jus.

The expression can also be used for someone who is doing time in jail and is reaching the end of the sentence.

A more familiar term to describe the end of the mandatory military service or of a sentence in jail is la quille. Which by the way is as stricky to explain since la quille in nautical parlance is the keel. Go figure!



See you tomorrow for the letter Y, part of the A to Z challenge!

From A to Z, Twenty-Six Funny, Weird, Vivid French Expressions




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Literally: Waterloo, gloomy plain

Best equivalent: dreary outlook


The expression goes back to the battle of Waterloo, fought on June 18, 1815 in Belgium between the British army helped by the Prussian army against the French army led by Napoléon the First. The French army was defeated, but neither Napoléon nor anyone who fought said “Waterloo, morne plaine.”

Victor Hugo, however, wrote this poem about the battle of Waterloo.

Due to the poem and to the French defeat at Waterloo, when the French say, “Waterloo, morne plaine,” they depict a dreary outlook.

One of my numerous cousins, younger than me, told me the other day that she doesn’t use this expression and didn’t even know it. Surprised, I’m now asking my French readers.

Une de mes nombreuses cousines, sept ans plus jeune que moi, m’a dit récemment qu’elle n’utilisait pas cette expression et ne la connaissait pas. Je suis surprise, mais je veux savoir 🙂


See you tomorrow for the letter Y, part of the A to Z challenge!

From A to Z, Twenty-Six Funny, Weird, Vivid French Expressions




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Literally: some green and some unripe

Meaning: to tell or to listen to unpleasant excessive remarks

Best equivalent: ?

Your turn, please!


In the 15th century the French adjective vert designated the color green, but was also used to describe jokes or unpleasant remarks. Mûr(e) means ripe and pas mûr(e) unripe. A green, unripe fruit leaves an unpleasant taste on the tongue as listening to excessive, harsh remarks does.

To tell des vertes et des pas mûres means making unpleasant comments to someone. Someone can also listen to des vertes et des pas mûres. The expression can also be used to describe a rough life: she or he has seen des vertes et des pas mûres.



See you tomorrow for the letter W, part of the A to Z challenge!

From A to Z, Twenty-Six Funny, Weird, Vivid French Expressions





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Literally: one of those fours

Best equivalent: see you around


Depending of the sources, the expression draws its origin from the four limbs, the four seasons or still the four cardinal points.


See you tomorrow for the letter V, part of the A to Z challenge!

From A to Z, Twenty-Six Funny, Weird, Vivid French Expressions




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Literally: to fall in the apples

Meaning: to faint

Best equivalent: ?

Yet another French expression that takes roots in the Middle Ages. The earliest version was Tomber dans les pâmes, from the verb Se pâmer, which still means to faint. Pâmes slowly morphed to pommes (apples in French) in this expression. Se pâmer is now more often used in a figurative way of speech.

Se pâmer for someone or something means to fall for someone or something extremely great. It implies a strong feeling of admiration close to fainting.

When the expression Tomber dans les Pommes is still very current, se pâmer is old fashioned and carries a note of irony.


See you tomorrow for the letter S, part of the A to Z challenge!

From A to Z, Twenty-Six Funny, Weird, Vivid French Expressions




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Literally: to tell salads

The equivalent I found seems too British to me: spinning yarns

Your Turn!

What do you say?


See you on Monday for the letter T, part of the A to Z challenge!

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