les bagues
les restes


Watermelon Red and laundry on the line reminds us of summertime. Photo (c) Kristin Espinasse
Guess where this photo was taken? More photos in tomorrow's Cinema Verite!

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P.Q. (pay kew) noun, masculine

    : papier queue (toilet paper)

In Comments:

hi : maybe PQ is papier- cul (au lieu de papier queue) Q is the phonétic " word" for cul in this case. best regards. jean-marc (english student)

Thanks, Jean-Marc!

Audio File & Example Sentence: Download WAV or MP3

Qui, parmi nous, quand il n'y a plus de papier queue va chercher le sopalin? Who, among us, when there's no more TP, goes and gets the paper towels?

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

You know the saying: "What goes around comes around". "Around," one might add, like a roll of two-ply toilet paper....

You remember those low murmured high jinks, played out as a kid? Well, where I grew up we had toilet paper in our arsenal of "farce-inal".

We called the bad deed "TPing." (not "T-Ping" as in "I Ching"—would that we sneaks were not so unerring—no such thing! " TPing" as in the verb: "to tp"—the adjective a "tp'd" house.  Let's see, what would that make the noun... a teepee? No, that would be a Native American structure made not of two-ply paper, but peau... I dunno.)

Forget grammar, let's get back to our "goes around comes around" story.  Yesterday was pay back day for the farce I played on friend of a friend, Margo, years ago. Truthfully, it wasn't at all my idea to toilet paper her yard... her orange tree, or the buissons that lined her home's entry... No, peer-pressure pushed me to it...

Never mind adolescent intimidation—for it is useless to try and get sympathy from the correctional Powers That Be. Those Payback Powers That Be disguised themselves, recently, as our four-month-old puppy... whose new favorite "toy" is, can you guess?, TP...

...or papier queue, mind you. But back to minding me... those Powers That Be came back to correct my former "farcery," this via a flurry of chewed, soggy TP.

Indeed, I woke up the other morning with a start... and reached the escalier in time to witness the last perforated square float gently down to le rez-de-chaussée.* Our kitchen, our hall, our living room... all were quilted with a layer of lavatory paper.

I watched, mystified, as the last square of "two-ply" landed like a feather before my very eyes. With that, the Powers That Be (disguised as no other than our prankster puppy) put a new two-ply twist on an old saying to which I now get the gist:

What goes around comes around... with the help of a karma-keeping canine.


Comments welcome here

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French Vocabulary

une farce (f) = practical joke; la peau (f) = skin; le buisson (m) = bush; le papier queue (m) = toilet paper; un escalier (m) = staircase; le rez-de-chaussée (m) = ground floor

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A Day in a Dog's Life...
by Braise and Smokey

Smokey says: Forget toilet paper... I'm going to "petal" the parquet, "flower" the floors... and spread snapdragons everywhere—joie de vivre galore!

First, however, I think I'll eat one or two... wouldn't you?

Photo taken December 11th.

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Bill in St. Paul

I don't like being one of the first to comment because I don't always get back to read the other comments but today is a special day (tongue out of cheek): Kristin's new book is supposed to arrive today and her first book arrived yesterday from Amazon (yes, I admit it, I was cheap and was waiting to have enough to order so I got free shipping). I was left hanging after viewing Kristin's talk in Paris as to why Jean-Marc bought her a one-way ticket back to the US - now I know.

I've only read a couple of chapters/days in the first book but, like this blog, I'll treat them like a box of expensive chocolates, eaten slowly, one at a time (except I always have at least two).

Winter is here, it was -5 degrees F on the drive in to work, clear, with a high of 10 expected, 6" of snow on the ground.


You are so very lucky to have snapdragons in December! I am green with envy. Had to bring in my rosemary because it would have been forever lost under the mountain of snow!!


Have a great weekend... (picking up the TP?) :)

Karen - Maryland, USA

I love how you "set the scene"!!

Something tells me that with the attention that was required in Smokey's healing, he will be pulling these little pranks for your attention his whole long life. And thank God for that.

So, after you saw that last perforated sheet hit the floor was he sitting at the bottom of the stairs with that :"gotta love me" look on his adorable face???

Catherine Burnett

Funny topic and great set-up to the finale. I, too, TP'd a neighbour's house in Phoenix--orange trees and all--except irrigation happened later that night, and the 4 of us who did the act, had to pick up soggy, dripping masses of papier-mache after we were caught. Lesson learned!

I was sadly disappointed that there were no photos posted of Smokey's artistry. I needed a morning laugh (most of us dog owners have had one instance of a dog who decorated our homes with PQ!) The photo of his sweet face with the snapdragons is gorgeous. He is such a handsome boy, isn't he?

Catherine Burnett
27F/-3C in Leesburg, VA


Where is the picture of the TP'd room? That scene brought back memories of when I left my husband "home alone" to "babysit" our 18 mo old son. He decided to fix some water problem in our bathroom and was not watching the baby and when I walked into our apartment, there was TP and baby powder adorning every surface, as though it were New Years Eve! What a mess! And the Daddy was unaware of it all! Hmmm, guess that wasn't a very smart thing to do - leave him with his Dad! Jeanne


I was the unhappy receiver of a "tping" a few years ago, and I was 60 at the time. There was a teenage girl living across the street, and her trickster friends got the wrong address. She never acknowledged the mistake so I was left to clean it up myself. Told the neighbors I had a young admirer, but I don't think they believed me.


Bill: thanks so much for buying both books and for the very helpful feedback!

Karen: you described the exact look on his face. It is as if he was waiting for applauds and hadn't I noticed his creative objet d'art.

Catherine: "irrigation happended" RHV (Rire Haute Voix... LOL!)

Jeanne: oh those "home alone" husbands. Je sympathise.

Jackie: I say we all head over to your place tonight and pay back the pranksters (hopefully they still live in the vicinity?). Wouldn't that be fun. I know Jules will join us.

renee lerner

Une petite correction: "un farce" à "une farce" dans Le Vocabulaire Français d'aujourd'hui.


Thanks, Renee. Glad to have that "une" :-)


Perfect title for the wonderful photo of Smokey's sniffing the snapdragons..."stop and smell the flowers."
How apropos for this time of the year.
41 and expecting rain in the swamps of south Louisiana. Bonne journee chere Kristin.

Barbara Andolsek Paintings

Isn't Smokey just the cutest thing as Sally from the Peanuts gang would say.


hi :
maybe PQ is papier- cul (au lieu de papier queue)
Q is the phonétic " word" for cul in this case.

best regards.
(english student)

Jean Pierre

What a fun tale today and lovely photo of Smokey and snaps. My cat is the TP culprit in our house--destroys the roll on or off the roller. I have to keep it in the cupboard. We love our pets! -6 this am in the Mpls. area; only evergreens alive outside.


I was going to say the same thing as Jean-Marc. Many years ago an elderly friend told me that before WWI they were taught in schoolto recite the alphabet saying "N-O-P-'la méchante lettre'" because it was naughty to say "Q" thus "cul." Given the slang meaning of "queue," though, you're better off with "cul."

Jules Greer

Hi [email protected],

Well, what a great surprise for me to find you here at the "Comments Cafe" putting in your two cents worth. I have told Kristi for years she needs to market her blog to the French!!! I remeber just my last visit telling her the French would love her blog because they could practice their English and meet wonderful people that truly love and adore the French people. I am hoping you will tell all your friends at school to follow Kristi and please keep on commenting, we all want to get to know you.




Thank you, Jean-Marc. I've update the blog post with your helpful note.

Mary: too funny about the recitation and "la méchante lettre"!

Cindy: Stop and Smell the Flowers it is :-)

Great comments, thanks so much!


P.S.: Just saw my mom's note to Jean-Marc; she writes exactly what I think! Thanks again, Jean-Marc—and Jules!

Kristine, dallas

I love this story! It is a whipping to clean up a TPing but I would imagine it is a bit less aggravating when it has been done unknowingly!

And YAY me! My book arrived yesterday and was waiting for me on my front porch!

Merci Kristin for sharing your life with us that have not chosen the path less traveled.

P.S. Overcast and around 37F. Hoping for some sun over the weekend!

Kristine, dallas

P.S. As usual Jules is right! :)

Candy Witt

When I was little our poodle always had to the be the center of attention and his favorite prank to play on unsuspecting visitors was to prance through the living room (how did he always know just the right moment to do so?!) trailing the PQ as he went. He was quite adept at that! My little "CoCo" (my rescue poodle) loves to play with the empty roll. I was beginning to think it was a poodle thing. I love that Smokey enjoys it too. A beautiful crisp cold sunny morning in SW KS. (I'm a little late reading emails this morning as last night was opening night and I slept in!)


I think it is "papier cul" and not "queue," though I suppose one could wipe one's "queue" with it as well (sorry) C

Marianne Rankin

We have three cats, and we learned long ago to put the toilet paper on the roll "backwards" (unrolling from the back), so that when the cats try to unroll it, they can't.

What a beautiful picture of Smokey with the snapdragons! My concern is, some plants are poisonous, to animals and people. Be careful what you let him eat.

It's 26 degrees F. in the Maryland suburbs of D.C., and windy, but sunny and pretty.


I think it is "papier-cul", you can say as well "pécu". (french speaker) and as a french, I love your blog!


Today's story was quite on target today because yesterday when I returned home after being gone all afternoon I had a thousand little bits of kleenex and other paper from the WC trashcan to pick up. With the cold weather my own four-footed babies aren't getting enough play time outside so they make their own fun inside.

Kristin, I listened to the audio file at least half a dozen times. To my untrained ear it sounds like you are saying "parmi vous" instead of "parmi nous." Am I just mis-hearing (entirely possible).

A balmy 25 degrees and sun in St. Louis, MO (at least the wind stopped).

Kathryn Gower

That is a gorgeous picture of Smokey! And taken just today. Wow! Modern technology serves us well.

Jacqui McCargar

A favorite prank of my 3 Pomeranians also, although I'm not sure which one to blame as being the instigator...probably Soleil!!
They also love to play with the empty PQ roll and come running when they hear it being changed.
Rainy day in Northern California, 42 degrees...expecting a week of rain..ugh!!

JeanMarc (l'autre)

The PQ perpetrator at our house is my two year old calico kitty. It is truly amazing how much volume can be achieved by one roll with a little (ha) shredding and fluffing. And then the innocent "What?" look...

I think we are the parents of the four most spoiled - and loved - pets on this Earth. Three cats and a chihuahua... all rescued.

Bill in St. Paul

I was so excited to get Kristin's books that I forgot to comment on the TP "incident". I've never (and I don't think my wife has) TP'ed anyone, but we have benefitted from others' TP'ing. My wife walks first thing in the morning and often comes upon a TP'ed house. Often there are half rolls of TP that never made it into the trees, etc. so she brings these home for use in the basement bathroom which is used primarily by (who else) me.

My resolve not to get another Golden is fading.

Leslie in Massachusetts

I agree with Julie. I'm pretty sure Kristen said "vous" not "nous". But mois, I would plutôt chercher un mouchoir, because I think that a sopalin would be mauvais for the plumbing. We're having our first truly cold weather here in Massachusetts, near Boston, and have snow on the ground.


Of course Little Smokey will forever be allowed to do whatever he wants, he so darling! And I learned some important words today! : )

Thank you Kristin and bon voyage!


joie  carmel,ca

ah yes, Abigail, my GHS did that not only with the P.Q., but once with 2 skeins of yarn up and down the hall....but the best, and watch out for this one since Goldens are also bird dogs.... two of my down pillows. I just wish I had been there to see it as the room look like snow!
Carmel, warming today.


Salut Anne-Lyse. Great to see more Francophones here and thank you for your help.

Leslie and Julie: you are correct: I did say "vous" then changed it to nous... but forgot about the sound file!

Bill: Your wife will soon have a fan club here. That'll be the day--that I can stop and pick up a tp roll--then casually walk home with it. Of course I would want the roll... but wouldn't have the gumption to get it.

After reading all the pet/PQ stories, I realize that Smokey's got friends... just think of the yards (and interiors) they could decorate! So that we don't find out any time soon, we'll have to try Marianne backward roll trick.


The younger of my two Bichon Frisé chien, Keesha (now 11), was the one who loved to chew as a puppy. She would get into the wastebasket and happily munch & shred the contents (ugh!) and one of her favorite tricks was to grab the end of the TP roll in the hall bath, and run through the house with it. It was so funny we had a hard time scolding her for it.

One of the reasons j'adore le chien is because, in addition to their unconditional love, they are a source of constant amusement. :-) Their antics brighten up any day.

D'Neal in a very cold Keizer, Oregon
(temperature last night was 17°F)

Bill Facker

I tried TPing the neighbors house, but we were poor and the Sears pages just didn't do the job properly ...

Bill Facker

Kauai is so beautiful today that "She" defies weather descriptors! Aloha All!

Bill Facker

Jules, the weather report was an after-thought just for you .. I'm sure Puerto Vallarta is awesome as well .. Happy Winter from one Tropic to another!

Bill in St. Paul

Kristin, when I said my wife walks first thing in the morning, I meant early, like 4am (now you know why I'm at the office by 5:30am). There is nobody to see her carrying home the TP, except for the paperpeople whom she all knows.


One of my dogs used to chew/ shred TP as well- usually when he was about to loose a tooth. As I finished collecting all the shreds I usually found a small tooth in the middle of all the mess. Enjoy your furrball while he's small!


The link shows some out-takes from the Andrex adverts - don't know if the brand is common elsewhere - but the ads are so funny.


From a sub zero and foggy Ecosse.

Bob Safier

Kristin, your photo of Braise and Smokey sleeping was priceless. I'd like to have permission to use it for a non-commeercial Christmas greeting card - with appropriate credit.

Patty Beynet

Thanks Fiona for the puppy link. There is nothing cuter than a puppy except a puppy with a baby!


Hi Kristin,

Your story reminded me of my Long Island neighbor's German Shepherd, Britta, who was calm and lovely while they were at home. However, when they left her alone in the house for any length of time that she thought excessive, the odd papering events began. She would either pull tissues from the box one at a time and lay them on their bed (only there!) or, more amusing to us neighbors, was when she would gently take the toilet paper from the upstairs bathroom roll and pull it along as she went down the stairs and in and out of every ground floor room. When they returned home, she would be lying quietly in a corner with the 'Who me?' look in her big brown eyes.

Best regards,


My book arrived yesterday but my husband is going to give it to me for Christmas so I'll have to wait to read it (as if I had time right now). I would love to see pictures of the inside of your house covered with TP (what fun we had in high school with those pranks). Smokey pictures make my day. It's rainy and very chilly in Southern California.

Linda Chandler

I'm learning why Goldens are so popular. Braise and Smokey are irresistible. Thanks for the wonderful pictures, and yes, I definitely would eat the blossoms too, Smokey, dear.

Pat Cargill

Bill Facker - I am laughing my ----off at your comment: "tried TPing the neighbors house, but we were poor and the Sears pages just didn't do the job properly" -- screech!! Where did you grow up?! I remember this - joke or no-joke. I'll never tell.

Kristin - lovely pic of Smokey the Snapdragon sniffin' impster!

Christine Jackson

Oh Bill: Sign me up as the #1 member of your wife's fan club! A woman after my own heart. That is great.

When I was in a college statistics class and looking for a statistics project, my project-partner and I decided to place a bunch of bananas in the middle of the street to see if people would go around to the left, right, or straight over the bananas (ever searching for something creative). Well, after about 3 minutes and a few tallies, a car slowed down, opened the door, drove away and the bananas were gone! I don't think I've ever laughed so hard. Back to the store for another bunch of bananas! We included the stolen banana incident in our write-up and it got rave reviews from our professor. A+ grade and he even read it to the class and said it was the most entertaining statistics project he'd ever seen in his many years of teaching. (Made my boyfriend in the class mad since he spent much more time writing a "serious" statistics study.) Could that have been your wife????

Christine, from Salt Lake City, where it's way too cold (2 degrees this morning-brrr!)

Christine Jackson

Oops, I meant: "Could that have been your wife in the intersection? Wouldn't want to waste a perfectly good bunch of bananas!

Jules: Did you see my post about Ogden?


Valerie: now that you mention it, I did find a little tooth. I was distracted at the time (trying to unpry Smokey's toothy grip from my arm) and remember thinking, "funny, that looks like a tooth on the ground..."

Christine: the banana-swiper story is hilarious.

Bob: permission granted!

Thanks for all the funny stories, Sears pages and all :-)


Your books arrived yesterday and they are beautiful!!! Did you advise on the design??

One is definitely going to my new dog-loving daughter-in-law and maybe even my mom. : )

joie  carmel,ca

you should have a blog also...and as a fellow trying to be artist(again)....if ever you are in California near Carmel...would love to share some wine and you could stay and vist and paint. We do have quite a large artists community here...starting way back with the Bohemian entourage that came from San Francisco in the early 1900's...

Jennifer in OR

Brought back memories of my high school days, sneaking out one night before the big rivalry game with the opposing high school in town. We (myself and a dozen friends, of which I was by no means a ring-leader but a follower!) TPd the other high school and were promptly caught the next day and all called into the principal's office, one at a time!

I distinctly remember being called out of my FRENCH class, quietly collaborating my story with my friend in the hallway before making the dreaded walk through the halls to the office. Letters were sent home. Still a cherished memory. :-)

Jules Greer

Hi Joie in Carmel,

Thanks for the wonderful invitation - I will keep this in mind in case I hit the road again. As I am a Bohemian at heart I'll fit right in. What medium are you painting - oil??




Christmas paper!!!
Christmas paper everywhere discovered not 15 minutes ago! Five rolls destroyed, ripped, shredded,and scattered across the floor of my room where i have been secretly wrapping treasures while the house was quiet! SANTA'S LITTLE HELPER NOT PUPPY!!!!


Our french friends tell us one should always use papier hygenique in polite company!


The year is 2020, i found this post of 2009 while studying french listening to a corona virus parody song. Your blog was more useful than google translator that didnt told me what PQ was haha.

Kristin Espinasse

Thanks, Chris. It is a joy to see your comment, which revives the archives! 

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