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la tempe

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la tempe (lah tomph)

   :  temple (anatomy)

la tempe grise = gray temples

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

"Gaining and Losing Gray Matter: a Story in two Sequences

Première Partie....

At Mas des Aigras (restaurant), where we are celebrating 20 years together, my husband is staring at me over a plate of French sushi. I follow the slant of his glance before reaching up to swat my temple.

"What are you looking at? What is it?! "
"Les tempes grises," says he.
"I quickly tousle my hair, trying to camouflage the white above my ear.
"Je n'ai plus 20 ans," I say, looking away. Next, I notice all of the young women in the room before turning back to my husband, questioningly.

"J'adore tes tempes grises," he smiles, and I realize, malgré le gris, that he is noticing only me.

Deuxième Partie....

I am late fixing dinner again. I forage through the fridge to the cabillaud I'd made... I'm not sure when...

I open a can of salmon and add a little to each of four plates. Hungry eyes watch, wondering Will it be bouillabaisse?

"Fish is good for the memory!" I explain, hoping to draw attention away from the sloppy presentation.

The four of us sit down, the last one guiltily so.

"Fish is good for the memory," I point out.
My son looks up, giggles, "Yes Mom, we know...."

Four forks poke and push and pause.
"Fish is good for the memory!" I say, hoping to get my family to eat... and not sit lock-jawed.

Instead they laugh and then it hits me--
What with all this "Fish is good for the memory"...
It sounds as if I were forgetting things...

Perhaps that's true, perhaps it's not.
What is sure is that I've gone gray at the temples
as for "les oublis" I'm giving salmon and cod a shot.


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Ce ne sont pas les tempes grises. Qui m'empêcheront de t'aimer encore... It isn't gray temples that will stop me from loving you again... (lyrics from George Chelon's "L'Amour C'est Bien Beau")

la première partie = the first part
le Mas des Aigras = hotel-restaurant near Piolenc
les tempes grises = gray (white) temples
J'adore les tempes grises = I love gray temples
malgré le gris = in spite of the gray
la deuxième partie = the second part
le cabillaud = cod
la bouillabaisse
= fish soup
les oublis = memory lapses

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 A Day in a Dog's Life... by Smokey "R"Dokey

Check out my new thumbnail gallery! You'll see Ma and My's (is my's a word?) morning routine: It's called "keeping little Smokey clean!"

Here I am already 7 months old and Ma can't stop fussing....


P.S.: sorry about the funky colors. Gramma K is "flash" phobic. She tries to use natural light... which might have worked in this instance had she changed her ISO settings...

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The photos of Smokey and his mum are just lovely. It's wonderful to see he's recovered so well. Snow here again in the Limousin - getting very boring now...

Jens, Copenhagen, Denmark

Dear Gramma K,

I understand your "flash" phobia and the result proves you're right: Today's photos of the fussy "mother hen" have a beautiful, natural light. The motive would have been flat and the colours without nuances with the camera flash.

Cynthia M

Kristin, I'm trying not to worry so much about "things forgotten". This 48 year-old recently stood in the vitamin and supplements aisle for several moments before remembering she was there to buy Ginkgo Biloba! When I got home, I poured myself a glass of wine and toasted the new "season" of my life. At least passing through another season means I'm still alive and kicking!

Bill in St. Paul

I'm not a fussy eater, but your comment about the cabillaud you'd made, but weren't sure when, reminds me of dinner last night when my wife gave me warmed up Moroccan chicken and I was trying to remember when we had it the last time, but couldn't recall when.

Great pictures of Smokey getting some love from his Mom.


It sounds as though your anniversary was recently. Happy anniversary! My husband and I just celebrated 20 years together last Sunday. I certainly hope yours have been as happy as ours.

As for those photos of Smokey and Braise ... I've fallen in love all over again, especially with that mother and son photo at the end (the verticle). How special is that!

Bright, sunny and brisk here on the east end of Long Island.

Mike Hardcastle

I have a theory about memory and age. I think that with each year you gather more information and gradually your storage capacity fills up. You remember the old things more easily because you have remembered them more often. The new things haven't been remembered enough times to come to mind quickly. I guarantee that in ten years (or more) time you will remember what you did today more easily than you will remember what you are currently doing, or saying.

Super pictures of the dogs, and I think you are right not to use flash. With animals the first use of flash means the end of natural pics. And never use flash with horses, it really spooks them.


Abby Nelson

Love the way Mum is caressing Smokey - just where life had given him a blow and left its mark. Is the love there much different than a husband's for his beloved's gray hair? Not only to accept but to cherish...


I just discovered your blog today. What a gorgeous life you have: a 20 year marriage, children, dogs, and a farm in France. As for the les temps gris, who cares? Women of all ages are ravishing and alluring. It is their presence and joie de vivre that illuminate their radiance. Sounds like your husband already knows this. But as a yoga instructor I firmly believe inversions and a solid practice will refine the aging process and keep you strong, supple, and vital.


The photographs of the dogs are gorgeous, and the shadows surrounding them only make their fur and dark eyes and wet noses and red tongues all the more beautiful. Your Grandma is right!


We all just love OUR Smokey R. Dokey and Mom too, but of course. This year seems to be a big anniversary year for many of us. We are clebrating our 20th in May as well, perfect. Celebrating with you Kristen, and Claudia, I'm feeling rather special and in great company and may I say Happy Anniversary to you both. PS - love that natural light Grandma K. Sunny (as usual) in the High Sierras of CA.

Suzanne, Monroe Township, NJ

Ah, graying temples come with experience, wisdom, growth, depth, memories (even if we sometimes are forgetful). Isn't it nice to age slowly and gracefully with someone you love and who loves you! I like Mike's explanation of memory loss. I've often said, when a thought just goes away in mid-sentence, that my memory chip needs replacing.


Happy Anniversary! 20 years: that's awesome! That's a true gift for your children, too!

Kristin Espinasse

Thanks for the anniversary wishes! This was the anniversary of our meeting in Aix (we were married in 94).

Marianne Rankin

I have been pleased to discover, with every passing year or decade, that I feel younger at a given age than I expected to feel when I was younger than that age (does that make sense?). After one reaches, say, 25, or even the milestone 50, if not before, a year is just a year. I tell friends older than I am that we should look upon ourselves as fine wine or cheese, many of which improve with age.

Keep the French proverb in mind: "On a toujour vingt ans dans quelque coin du coeur."

Last night I was at the D.C. wine-tasting and dinner, where I met Jean-Marc and the Domaine Rouge-Bleu wines. For anyone able to order them, I recommend that you do; you will like them. It was a most pleasant evening, and I met a number of folks whom I've gotten to know through this blog.

The weather yesterday was ideal for traveling to the wine events, sunny and at least 60 degrees. It is cooling off, and rain is forecast for the next few days, but it seems spring is on the way.


With the snow on your vines and the hoarfrost in our yard and your celebrating 20 years together, it seemed the perfect time for me to begin preparations for a plan in summer of 2011 to bring six couples, all celebrating 40+ anniversaries next summer, to Provence for a reunion. I've located two houses in Bedoin that will be just right and I'm starting to annotate a google map of the area. Of course I will include Domaine Rouge-Bleu!

I'm too embarrassed to tell all the details when I ran to the store in Carpentras and confused morue (salt cod) with cabillaud (cod). In my recipe for cabillaud, the morue produced more than lock-jawed expressions from my guest!


Remember when you were very little kids and in a restaurant? Would your mom wet a napkin with water glass water and lean over and clean a spot off your face? My Mom would embarrass me so much when she did this. Reminds me of Braise and Smokey.
Congratulations on your anniversary and 20 years of love.

Betty Bailey

My husband and I celebrate 50 years in June but I have no gray temples because my hairdresser takes care of them nicely every 5 or 6 weeks. I hate the time it takes, but I want to see color when I look in the mirror. My daughters are great with their encouragement as my age advances, assuring me that 60 is the new 40, 70 the new 50.
That, of course, would make them each about 25 all are happy!

Happy anniversary, Kristin.

Michael Wrenn

Bonjour Kristin,
Enfin, moi aussi à 42 ans, j'ai des tempes grises. Heureusement, most of you dames ravissantes don't have to accept a thining head of hair with the gris. I looked at myself in the mirror the other day. When I started teaching I had a full head of hair and no gray. Today 14 years later, the forehead is higher than ever, thin on top, graying at the temples. Am I allowed to blame it on the kids who despite all my efforts still can't conjugate avoir or être? Haha. Ironically on the local public radio this morning commentator Brenda Peyton was speaking about her gray hair as well. She has decided to refer to it as silver. Des tempes argentées. C'est très élégant, non? Greetings to all from the heart of the Napa Valley where it is cool and sunny this morning.

Kristin Espinasse

Looking forward to seeing you, Gary, and friends, in 2011!


Bonjour Kristin,

So sweet of your husband to say that. Je n'aime pas mes tempes grises and no one can convince me qu'elles sont jolies! : ) However, I am sure they look lovely on you... you make everything look so good!

Smokey and mom are most adorable and seeing them made my day...that is a picture of pure happiness!


Anthony Quinn

Kristen, I just met your husband last night as he did a wine-tasting for our customers @ Cleveland Park Wines & Spirits, 3423 Conn. Ave. N.W. Washington D.C. 20008 ( 202-363-4265, [email protected] ) and it was a wonderful success thanks in large part to the wonderful team you both seem to make where you complement one another. It was really a treat for me to watch this two-hour period unfold as people arrived and were all happy to be chez nous au magasin en fin! They had arrived : navigating Washington D.C. et la mauvaise circulation peut etre tres dificile. And yet everyone arrived safely and the only mistral awaiting them was that of the delicious ROUGE-BLEU 2007 vintage. By the way, yesterday in Washington D.C. was in the 60's and wonderful - simply marvelous to quote Billy Crystal of the old Saturday Night Live days ...

It was Jean-Marc's first visit to Washington D.C. and he mentioned this at least twice to me if not more. I loved that. He had a smile on his face the second time he mentioned it : he was feeling good and relaxed et " chez nous en ce moment " and I liked that. C'est comme il faut a mon avi.

Sounds like it is the same way " chez toi ". I like the story of the salmon and the way you intersperse both the French and the English/American, really. We haven't spoken English in years according to Rex Harrison. That's okay.

I had never heard of you before and as I am walking to the restaurant DINO to catch up with Jean-Marc and the rest already there ( by the way, I had his lap-top in my hands and ready to return as I know he would have missed it later ) - quel catastrophe! Anyway, I'm talking to Karen my photographer friend that tells me she has a copy of your book ( what a small world this really is ) and so I learn more about you through Karen as we approach the restaurant et je dis " a la prochaine Karen, et merci pour ton assistance avec ma projet du jazz avec les videos et tous les fotos digitale. "

I got a chance to talk a bit to Jean-Marc and I think we hit it off nicely as we exchanged nos histoires , les vignettes et nos impressions de l'etat des vins en notre monde moderne. C'etait bien passe - trois heures que nous avons partager a Washington D.C. with a group of people that really enjoyed the three wines including the new dry rose with 2% Roussanne to add " quelque choses du bien, d'importance dans de melange, ce danse, ce fete, cette ballet des gouts liquides qui pouvent nous transporter comme une reve, comme le mistral, comme tous les vents entre le soil , le ciel, la terre et les vignes qui poussent avec un energie/une vie folle et sangle pour arriver - pour survivre - pour avoir la possibilite de mous donner nos sourires et nos joie cacher en fond de nous mais toujour pretes a sortir avec un peu de vin coome le votre rose sec et bien sur votre salmon d'hier.
Merci/thanks for you nice vignettes - bonne continuation and sorry for my mistakes with the French language. Back in the 70's in Paris and Royan I learned to speak it but not really write it even though I pretty much love everything French - surtout les vins et la nouriture. Cheers, Anthony ( TONY ) Quinn

Suzanne, Monroe Township, NJ

I forgot to mention in me earlier post that I saw Jean-Marc at the wine tasting on Monday night in Brooklyn. It was good to see him again and to meet Ruth and Charles and his wife. There was wonderful energy in the room as we sampled the wines. The 2009 rose is wonderful and have ordered a case! For those of you who have not tasted it yet you are in for a treat.


Why do we tell people congratulations on their anniversary? I'm not sure, but what I do wish you both is many more happy years together!!


I read an article on a memory study which agreed with your theory. The more we remember and relate events from our past, the easier it is to remember them the next time. It also said that every time we remember a specific event, we do it a little differently than before.

Love the pictures of Smokey & Braise--they are always so photogenic.

Shannon, Alexandria, VA

Oh, Kristin, where was I??! I didn't know that Jean-Marc was in D.C.!! (I've been so busy at work!) Oh!! Quelle dommage I didn't walk over to meet him!! Well, I look forward to the next time he's in D.C.; hopefully you'll be there with him! Until then, I'll definitely check out that wine store on Connecticut Ave to purchase some bottles of his wine!!

Happy Anniversary to you both!! Cheers to 20+ more blissful years together!!


Maybe instead of calling this "la tempe," you should have called it "l'amour" -- mother-dog love for child, husband for wife, writer for herself and her age. Wonderful pictures of Braise and Smokey R. The flash would have washed out the soft sepia tones. And on a personal note, I've made my hairdresser promise to tell me when it is time to stop touching up la tempe grise. I never want to look like one of those ladies who foolishly hang on to their youth long past what nature intends.


my husband and i have enjoyed 67 years of marriage! still happy and still holding hands.

cynthia in the french alps

Happy 'Meeting' Anniversary!
The thing that struck me about your post is that you can get away with serving canned salmon for a meal at your French house. If I did that my French husband would have a cow. It's three-course meals, two meals a day at my French house and I hate it. How do I get any work done? An American, like me, trying to start several businesses in a foreign country just doesn't have four hours a day to give to the kitchen! I'm envious. Your family must be half-American in more ways than one! Cynthia in the French Alps

Nicole Lidji

Happy 20th ! Les temples grises adoucissent le visage !


Kristin, I have to laugh, the anniversary of our meeting was 20 years ago and in fact, we got married in July of '94! What a coincidence.


I am flash phobic too! The dogs are precious

Bob Haine

Toujours ensemble, apres 20 ans,c'est formidable! Ma femme et moi, on est ensemble depuis 32 ans, toujours amoureux, malgre les tempes grises: "On ne voit bien qu'avec le coeur. L'essentiel est invisible pour les yeux."

Kristin Espinasse

So happy to read your still holding hands note, Muriel :-) Thanks for sharing.

Jennifer in OR

Jean-Marc is such a sweet soul to love your gray temples! Praying blessings over his travels.

Kristin Espinasse

What a coincidence, Claudia! JM I were married on July 4th (Town Hall) and Sept 24th (Church).
Cynthia, oh yes, I am so lucky! JM and the kids are very forgiving when it comes to my meals :-) :-)
...perhaps this is why Max is so desperate to learn to cook?...


My oh my, we were married July 9th! This is a coincidence!


Hello Kristin,

It was late, last night, when I read your Newsletter. As my eyes were going through the first sequence, I kept saying: “Non, non, non -- pas encore”! ( 'Oh Noooo -- not yet'!). I was referring to --> “les tempes grises” Jean-Marc mentioned twice.

The reality is that you most probably have “quelques cheveux blancs” (a few white hair), which is quite normal at 42. Having said that, I can't possibly think your temples are 'grey all over'. “Pas encore”! ('Not yet'!)

All right Jean-Marc noticed “quelques cheveux blancs”, more particularly around your temples, but the 'eyes' of his imagination must have made him jump ten years ahead, when your temples, then, have more white hair than now, justifying -then- a qualification of “tempes grises”.
All these nuances are leading me to a very useful French verb in this context: "GRISONNER". ("s" sounding like "z" makes it a very soft and gentle word)

If you say: “je grisonne”, you are telling me you are getting a few more white hair... and it is noticeable - your hair is turning grey (US -> graying?) but still a long way before being completely white. I believe you could happily say: "oui, je grisonne un peu" , or: "Je commence à grisonner".

The adj ”grisonnant(e)” qualifies all the stages your hair is going through, between having a few noticeable white hair, right up to the stage where the colour white has nearly taken over.
- describing temples: les tempes grisonnantes
- describing hair: les cheveux grisonnants
- describing a beard: la barbe grisonnante.

Back to “les yeux de l'imagination”: Thanks to such eyes, plus the special (romantic?) lighting in the restaurant, I'd like to think Jean-Marc admired the sparkles of some very fine silvery threads.
"Les tempes grisonnantes sont très séduisantes".

Stacy, Applegate, Oregon

Thank you, dear Kristi, and all your amazing readers, for never failing to brighten my day.

Your blog is so much more than words. Though many words come to mind: Lovely! Kind! Inspiring! Compassion! Beautiful! Wondrous! Light! Love! MERCI!

Mike Hardcastle

I didn't post anything about your greying hair before but I truly believe that if you believe that you are attractive (and not just to the opposite sex) then you are. We all just need someone to tell us from time to time.




I am so sorry I could not make it to the wine tasting to meet your husband Tue. I had to work. I do still want to try his wine.

It is so funny that you mention memory. Mine has been so bad lately. I used to have a memory some have said, was too good. I am only 42....I hope it doesn't get worse.

The other day at work, someone thought I had paint in my hair; I had been painting the night before, at home. Then he said, no its just a gray hair (on the temple). I said, Thanks!!

Happy Anniversary; 20 years is a great accomplishment.

Take care,



Newforest....I love how you add to this blog. Thank you for your knowledge!

Linda Chandler

Sweet Braise. Once a mommy, always a mommy.

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