Cairanne, France, roman numeral ancient antique Clock "E Paget et Cie" Morez-du-Jura(c) Kristin Espinasse,
A clock in Cairanne. It is time to put this word journal on automatique—but only for the next three posts. Beginning Wednesday, we will revisit the word-a-day archives—in time for our family to take a mini-break. I am already looking forward to telling you more stories dans un petit semaine.

percer (pehr-say) verb

    to pierce

percer quelque chose à jour = to see right through something
percer ses dents = to cut one's (baby) teeth
percer la foule = to force one's way through a crowd
se faire percer les oreilles = to have one's ears pierced

Verb conjugation: je perce, tu perces, il perce, nous perçons, vous percez, ils percent => past participle

Audio File & Example Sentence: Download Wav or Download MP3

Le vétérinaire a percé l'abcès.
The veterinarian pierced the abscess.

A Day in a French Life...
Kristin Espinasse

Bright and early this Monday morning I found myself barking at an elegant French woman. Talk about out of character... and how we just cannot predict our behavior from one day to the next. Mostly, like a three-ring circus, we surprise and outdo ourselves with each subsequent act, no matter how unrehearsed... There we are, dragged along with the drama of life, kicking and barking -- mouths muttering and ajar.

"ERrrr-uff. ERrrr-uff! Like that," I explained to the veterinarian. Next, I watched expectantly... only the vet just tilted her head.

There she stood, that French woman, in her black high heels and hose with her doctor's frock covering her elegant clothes. Blond locks fell in curls around her shoulders. Her eyes were a sparkle of blue powder and black mascara. Her skin was a-glow with self-control.

After another round or two of barking, I stopped to catch my breath. The veterinarian again tilted her head, this time to the opposite side.

golden retriever puppy, face, months old (c) Kristin Espinasse,
It was then that I realized to what extent our beloved animals transform us. One day we are carefully picking the lint off our shirt—tak tak tak—and the next day we are carelessly covered in puppy fur, having lost track.  We let down appearances... and become real, if only for a splendid instant; thus does our well-kept façade fall off, peel by peel.

There, in an impeccably clean office, I stood barking beside my puppy, who sat sagely on the examining table. "He is so quiet these days", I said, of our chiot.* "Since the attack, he hardly talks at all."

"ER-ruff! ER-ruff! He barks like this at feeding time. ER-ruff! ER-ruff! -- apart from that il est silencieux."*

The véto* stood, head tilted, studying me as a doctor does a troubled patient.

"C'est fini, ses soucis," His worries are over, she assured me. As for the golf-ball size abscess (which appeared just last night!) it was nothing to worry about. The vet pierced the lump and I watched, dumbfoundedly, as it disappeared. She then prescribed another round of antibiotics and assured me not to worry another minute about it. Il va bien, notre Smokey!* she said, lovingly.

I was so relieved that I felt like barking my thanks. Instead, I selected a few carefully chosen words from my well-dressed human vocabulary: Merci beaucoup!

On the way out of the vet's office, I patted Smokey's head appreciatively. I'd get my chance to bark blessed thanks to him... once we were safe, in our sound-proof car -- on the road to recovery again.

*   *   * 

Update: After the vet removed a half-dozen staples last week, she noted that Smokey's face was broken: his cracked cheekbone and brow bone would eventually heal on their own (this meant his face would be less round, slightly fallen on one side). As for his tongue, which has hung out since we found him passed out, post accident, it may stay that way forever: it turns out his jaw was displaced during the attack. I guess all this just gives "our Smokey" more character. He is awfully sweet to look at, crooked or not.

Thank you for your thoughts. All responses to this story are welcome in the comments box.

French Vocabulary
le chiot (m) = puppy; il est silencieux = he is silent; le véto (vétérinaire) = veterinarian; il va bien, notre Smokey = our Smokey is doing well

Pizza herbes

Herbes de Provence (Special for Pizza) in Crock:
Herbes picked in Provence with a blend of oregano, thyme, basil & marjoram

Pre de Provence Lavender Soap. Imported from France: Pré de Provence, literally translated, means "Meadow of Provence." Transport yourself there with this triple milled savon.

Un, Deux, Trois: First French Rhymes:
...a collection of 25 traditional nursery rhymes for children

French Exambusters Study Cards:
Over 1500 questions and answers written by certified teachers and professional translators with a focus on exam preparation. Highlights the essential French grammar and vocabulary you need to know to test well. Prepare for quizzes, tests, AP, PRAXIS II, SAT II, CLEP, and N.Y. Regents Level I-III. Helpful for travelers!


Cairanne, La Petite Jeannette, superette, window shutters (c) Kristin Espinasse,

La Petite Jeannette superette in Cairanne, Vaucluse, France

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