From Mexico to France. Mom, out walking Smokey R. Dokey along the boardwalk in St. Cyr-sur-Mer. Following our big move south, the dog leashes are still packed.... I know they're around here, somewhere. For our Sunday stroll by the sea, belts doubled as dog laisses, or leashes. (I thought to use the belts on our bathrobes, but 14-year-old Jackie said something like, "la honte!" (or how humiliating to been seen walking the dogs... with the help of terry-cloth leashes!)
une laisse (less)
Merci de tenir vos chiens en laisse.
Please keep your dogs under control by using a leash.
A Day in a French Life... by Kristin Espinasse
After I finished setting up Mom's room, I stood back and had a look at the overall effect. The scene looked uncannily like that of my childhood salon, where Mom had her bookcases, a low-lying canapé, and all her favorite babioles. It is funny how we sometimes recreate, if unconsciously, cozy corners of the past. Do you think Mom will be snug and comfortable here? I put out a fresh bowl of fruit, to sweeten things.
Mom's room will revert to my office, in three week's time , when Jules returns to Mexico. Not thinking about that, now....
I'm a little slow going these days. Adjustment blues. In the kitchen I turn in circles... when suddenly there's a rap on the window. It's Mom--absolutely brimming with enthusiasm I LOVE YOUR HOME! I LOVE YOUR HOME! Mom's mood is contagious and I can't help but break out in one great smile.
We were on our way to the la pépinière, to buy more mulch and some dill that I wanted to plant--when we got off track and ended up at the chair brocante's... we found two powder blue crapauds anglais--those cozy English chairs that one sips tea in while eating finger sandwiches (just a wild guess). "Mom, we can't drag those home." Mom: Sure we can! And so we did.
"Always keep a deck of cards out," Mom suggests. "It will liven up this corner." Mom is right, that petit coin was a little sleepy before that deck came out!
Meantime... Donne la patte. Gimme your paw, Smokey! Mom trains our golden. (Side note: see the room beyond? That's the TV room. You can just spot one of Mom's paintings. It has already moved. We're just trying things out, Mom says, rearranging paintings, bibelots, and the rest. We're also trying out the powder blue chairs--but are considering making covers for them (Jean-Marc doesn't like the color).
Mom and I take a break from decorating, and head upstairs (just past the TV room) to my bedroom. There's a balcony there... convenient for reaching the tree top! I pick a couple of figs for la goûter.
Mom eats les figues... washing them down with Bandol rosé! (The wonderful black recliner belonged to Maggie's father, a Scottish man, who moved into this mas in the 60's. See a photo of Maggie and Mike, who sold us their home, here). Maggie's father loved this chair. I hope he would be pleased to know Mom loves it, too. It has wheels! I'm just waiting for Mom to ask me to push her around--wheee! (The answer is non!--those wheels are not for racing.)
Jean-Marc says the crapauds are comfortable. Now I won't worry anymore about the spontaneous purchase. How much do you think the old chairs cost? Leave your best guess here, in the comments box.
Outside the cabanon de cochon, Jules is giving Smokey etiquette lessons. Mom can't speak French, but she's learned a few commands:
donne la patte (gimme your paw)
assis! = sit
couché = lie down
là-bas! = scram! (literally "(go over there!")
Jean-Marc and Jules look at boats. The colorful ones, there, are known as "pointus"--they are the classic fishing vessels of yesteryear. Perfect for catching daurade or loup... but not so practical should you want to cruise over to the islands of Frioul. Do you want to visit the island of Frioul? Pack a picnic... throw in the anchor... go for a swim among the rocky island coast....
Voilà. It's time for me to think about lunch, then pick up Jackie to share it with. Au fait, here she is with Grandma Jules, shopping in Sanary-sur-Mer. Jackie didn't end up with the mustard yellow vest, but it sure looked cool on her! We didn't buy anything (on a fait du lèche-vitrines), but gathered ideas for her upcoming 15th birthday, on September 18th!
If you are new to this word journal, bienvenue! You can read more about Jules and Jackie and our Franco-American family in the books Words in a French Life and Blossoming in Provence. Thanks for reading!
To comment on any of these picture-stories, click here. You may also submit a correction--there's bound to be an error or two in here somewhere! Thanks in advance.
le salon = living room
le canapé = sofa
le canapé-lit = sofa-bed
la babiole = knick-knack
la pépinière = plant nursery
le crapaud = toad
le fauteuil crapaud = squat armchair
la brocante = second-hand shop
le petit coin = small corner (also toilet room)
la goûter = snack time
le cabanon = stone Provencal hut
le cochon = pig
une oreille = ear
la daurade = sea bream
le loup de mer = sea perch
voilà = so there you have it
on a fait du lèche-vitrines = we went window shopping (literally "we licked windows")
au fait = by the way
bienvenue! = welcome!
ça y est = that's it
Ça y est. Jackie is the tallest female in our house! To comment on any of the photos or items in this edition, thanks for using this link.
Thank you for the time you've spent reading my column. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that ongoing support from readers like you helps me continue doing what I love most: sharing these missives from France. Your support is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is fast and easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi