entretenir de grands espoirs


       The laurier-rose is in season... and blue shutters never go out of style. 

 frimousse (free moos) noun, feminine

    : sweet little face

A Day in a (DOG'S) Life... by Smokey "R" Dokey

Occasionally, Smokey says, I get fan mail. It's kind of embarrassing—enough to make my frimousse turn as red as my tongue (having snatched a bottle of forgotten ketchup on the dinner table....).

Here's a lettre d'admiratrice that I just received from Carol, in Belgium. Don't miss the clever wordplay:
Bonsoir Chéri Smokey-Joli,

J'adore te voir et je ne me lasse pas d'admirer ta jolie frimousse ! ( un peu fatiguée sur cette photo, non?)
I love to see you and never get tired of admiring your good-looking and sweet face (a little tired in the photo, no?) 

 Alors ces ragondins? "Ragondinpeu"... Tu les as mis à plat ou tu les as mis au pas? So tell me about the nutrias (coypus)? "Ragondinpeu"... Did you flatten them or did you bring them to their feet?
J'ai "entendu-lire" quelque part que ces mignons coquins font pas mal de dégâts dans la nature! I "over-read" somewhere that these cute little rascals make quite a mess out in nature!


C'est très bien Monsieur Smok-écolo de préserver notre écosystème. Sois vert et aboie !   ("Sois belle et tais-toi"..... film avec Mylène Demongeot, grande amie des animaux.) That's very good, Mister Smok-ecolo, to preserve our eco system. Be green and bark! ("Be pretty and shut up".... a film with Mylène Demongeot, a great friend of animals.)

On aime ton "ô verdure" d'esprit (ouverture d'esprit ;-) 
We love your open mind.



   DSC03650 DSC03656  DSC03661

Kristin adds: thank you, Carol, for your endearing play on words. I will need help from readers to fix any mistakes I might have made in translation, as well as to point out and explain some of the fun and invented terms that you shared with us.  Click here to respond to Carol's letter or to my translation.




Exercises in French PhonicsExercises in French Phonics is... 
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In film:  Paris Je T'aime Paris I love You.


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Karen (in Towson, Md) Whitcome

Dear Smokey-dokey. I wish I could reach through this laptop and et "t'embrasser". You have won so many hearts with your sweetness. Thanks for sharing that "lettre d'admiratrice" with us.

Kristin and Carol, I lack the education needed to pick up on todays word-play and can't wait to be enligtened!

Peggy S Baker

We love Smokey here in Barrington, Illinois. Because our (MY) economy has not allowed us to return to France since 2004, these French Word-A-Day emails, stories, photos and all things France touch my heart more than words can describe. Amazing how such simple things can bring so much pleasure to a weary soul.
Are also still mourning the loss of our two brother Basset Hounds, so Smokey lifts me up and thank you for this site. God Bless you all, and hopefully we will eventually join you in our retirement years.


FYI: The French translation of "Funny Face," the 1957 Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire film, is "Drôle de frimousse." I remembered that as soon as I saw the word.


Candy in SW KS

How lovely! The photos, the letter, the linguistic beauty of the French language. What a wonderful way to start my day! Merci, Kristin et Carol. Peggy, so sorry to hear of your loss. I know the pain of losing your precious babies. It's CHAUD here in SW KS! Happy summer solstice a tous!

Herm Meyer

Salut tout le monde,

I like the word play with the phrase "over read" for "over heard", but I'm confused by the phrase "entendu-lire" which in my limited French translates to heard-read. Maybe someone can enlighten me. Merci

Herm in Phienix, AZ


Jeanne, I hadn't realized it was the first day of summer. Happy summertime to you, too, and to everyone reading.

Peggy, I join Candy in sending sympathies to you for the loss of your sweet dogs. Count on more photos of Smokey and more cheer to lighten your heart.

Herm, "entendu-lire," though not an official expression, is a fun rhyme for the actual phrase "entendu-dire" (to hear said or to have heard). Because Carol read (instead of "heard" about the ragondin, she uses this play on words.

Philippa, Great to learn the translation of the film "Funny Face". Thanks!

gail bingenheimer

J'adore te voir et je ne me lasse pas d'admirer ta jolie frimousse ! ( un peu fatiguée sur cette photo, non?) I love to see you and never get tired of admiring your good-looking and sweet face (a little tired in the photo, no?) I thought you said I love to see you and don't get tired of admiring your good-looking and sweet face. If you wanted to say never would you replace pas with "jamais" ou "rien". Please help! gail


Bonjour du Nouveau Mexique, Albuquerque! I wonder if "entendu-lire" was meant to be "entendu-dire", which means "I heard (said)", so "I heard" or "I've heard that.... Or "people say that..."

J'adore lire vos histoires. Thank you for keeping us in touch with life in France.


It looks like Smokey is wearing a flower in your photo. How sweet for a sweet, lovable, handsome dog. I can't wait to meet him.


I don't understand this translation. Maybe its the tenses. Are the dogs ok, I understand she misses them. And what is flattened. His ears or flowers in the window boxes. All dogs are handsome and my cat has a sweet face. back to my dictionary to allons-y

joie  carmel,ca

Le solstice heureux d'ete a tous.

Danse au-dessous des arbres.
Boit le van des dieux. (et Jean-Marc)
Faire l'amour sous les etoiles.

L'ete peuvent des amener journees chaudes, une abondant recolte, et les couers rempoli avec joie.

"happy summer solstice to all"
Dance beneath the trees.
Drink the wine of the gods. and Jean-Marc
Make love under the stars.

May the summer bring warm days, a plentiful harvest and hearts filled with joy.

Sandy Maberly

For the first day of summer here in Lannion, France, the town celebrates with a music festival. All over the city centre you will find choirs, bands, ensembles, drum groups, dancers, etc....celebrating the longest day of the year and the beauty of music. This is one custom that would be wonderful to pass along to the USA.

Herm Meyer

Salut Sandy,

Music sounds like a great custom to start in America. I’m curious as to whether there are any bluegrass bands playing at your festival in Lannion. I'm a bluegrass fan. Even shuck hands with the “Father of Bluegrass Music", Bill Monroe when he was alive.

Enjoy the festivities,

Herm in Phoenix, AZ

joie  carmel,ca

In 2001 my sister and I were in a small village (passing through)in the Pyrenees near Beziers (I think) on the summer solstice. There was music and dancing in the streets and the local people pulled us in and made us family. We ate and I tried conversing with my French and my sister used her hands and the few words I taucht her. This went on with much vin into the wee hours of the morning and then someone gave us a free place to stay the rest of the morning. It was wonderful....and at the time I was 55 and would do it in a second again. The free spirit and honesty of France, and Italy beckons me. So, viva la France. Joie....and yes I am at least 1/4 French, 1/4 Swiss-Italian and the rest a smattering of French, Dutch, English and American Indian.

Bill in St. Paul

I almost missed this on my day off (doing 4 tens this summer). Smokey and Blaise look great and Smokey knows how important ketchup is to keeping ones sanity (just ask Garrison Keillor).


Smokey sure has come a long way. Both your dogs are so sweet. Thanks for today's word. I now have a new word to describe "mes chats."

Pat Cargill

Oh, this was the perfect post for le premier jour d' ete...if I said that correctly. This is so true:

"J'adore te voir et je ne me lasse pas d'admirer ta jolie frimousse !"

Thank you, Carol, for this post and, always to you, mille mercis, aussi, Kristin.


Oh Smokey is so cute. Glad someone mentioned Audrey & Fred in Funny Face translation... This is a word (of many) that I "lost" - thank you for giving it back. :) Like someone above, I have a new(ly) remembered word to call my little Giulia (la Gattina).

ciao & happy belated first day of summer (but it's still midsummer celebrations...)


Hi Carol,
just been catching up and enjoyed reading your letter to Smokey! Great fun!

Hard "g" becoming hard "c" --- "d" becoming "t", and that's it... You magically produced "Ragondinpeu" --> for: "Raconte un peu" (Tell me a bit about it)
Oh! I love that one!

"l” becoming “d” and so, “lire” for "dire"
"entendu lire" --> for "entendu dire"... Fancy that!

"plat" and "pas"
"mis à plat" in parallel to "mis au pas" … Ahah!

Brilliant confrontation of opposite meanings: "tais-toi" (shut up) / "aboie" (bark)

As for "Sois belle et tais-toi" ... addressed to women with beauty and no brain ... things are changing, aren't they? Fifty years after the title of that film, women have now been urged to defend their position - the more modern motto being:
"Sois femme et impose-toi"!
(Be a woman and impose yourself!)

Ragondins, as Smokey knows them (?)


What about you dear Smokey?

You must have heard:“Sois vert et aboie", and diligently put those words into action as soon as you understood that “les ragondins sont de nuisibles rongeurs” (dangerous rodents). So, you did bark and fight to preserve our ecosystem against those furry little mammals that destroy it! Well, how brave of you!

Carol admires your "green" attitude, your great fighting spirit and 'open' mind - your "Ô" verDure d'esprit - (Bravo for that one, Carol!) I think your devoted Belgian admirer, so inspired by you, had a brilliant time playing with sounds and ideas.

May I tell you I noticed her affectionate "Bonsoir chéri Smokey joli". Oui, "joli". She might mean “beau", you know ... Yes, you are Smokey “Le Beau”, aren't you? even Smokey “Le Bel”, as Philippe IV de France who was called Philippe “Le Bel”, because he was sooooo handsome!
Neither “beau”, nor “bel”, rhymes with “chéri”, I know, so, accept you are "joli" (= pretty) but be sure you are as famous as a king for lots and lots of readers. You showed us you could behave like a king with a lion's heart, like the famous “Richard Coeur de Lion”!

So far, I haven't mentioned your “jolie frimousse” just in case it annoys you to be considered as 'a puppy with a cute little face'. For us, human beings, all 'babies' and very young children have “une mignonne petite frimousse”! For you, Smokey, your Puppy days have long gone (haven't they?) and you're getting so grown up! I suppose your dear friend Carol doesn't want to say (well, not yet) you've got “une belle gueule”... so, there you are.

Oh, by the way, I love that red stylish bandana around your neck! It suits you so well.

Bill Facker

It occurs to me a most special characteristic of Kristins blog is the wonderfully creative, impassioned, & intelligent group of individuals I am priveledged to read .. wish I could gather all of you together and listen to the conversation as we enjoy a glass of Jean-Marcs creation! "Kristin the Catalyst" -
"Kristin the Conduit" - Excellent!! I feel as if I'm sitting in a room full of true thinkers when I come to this place. You've truly created something special Kristin .. Excellent!! Aloha to All, Bill Facker


Hi Gail Bingenheimer,

--> Carol said:
Je ne me lasse pas d'admirer ta jolie frimousse

--> Kristin's translation:
I NEVER get tired of admiring your good-looking and sweet face

--> Your question:
If you wanted to say “never” in French, would you replace “pas” by “jamais”? Ou “rien”? Please help!

--> Answer:
You would use “jamais”.
"pas de" becoming "jamais de", so here:
Je ne me lasse JAMAIS D'admirer ta jolie frimousse.

--> By the way:
“rien” means “nothing” (or negative + anything) so, wouldn't be used to translate “never”

Is it clearer now?

Herm Meyer

Hi Bill Facker,

Great idea! 27,000 plus readers and still growing...c'est un trop grand nombre. We could all meet at Kristin's. What a time we would have!

What's do you think, Kristin?

Herm in Phoenix, AZ


Hi Kristin,

Here is a some French Vocab that may be useful for this newsletter:

--> un admirateur, une admiratrice = an admirer
--> une lettre d'admirateur(trice) = a letter from an admirer

--> être à plat / être épuisé =
- to be run down
- to be knackered

--> mettre quelqu'un à plat / épuiser quelqu'un =
- to wear somebody down
- to get someone physically (and mentally) extremely tired

--> mettre quelqu'un au pas =
- apply strong discipline to make someone follow (or return to) a strict way of life
- to bring someone to heel
- to force someone to obey, to conform

Thanks for the photos, specially the one with the red bandana around Smokey's neck and the dark red petunias above the little wooden gate with an open heart!


Kristin Espinasse

Aloha Bill and Ami(e)s,

Bill, Im so glad you wrote what Mom and I spend so much time talking about: It occurs to me a most special characteristic of Kristins blog is the wonderfully creative, impassioned, intelligent group of individuals I am priveledged to read .. wish I could gather all of you together and listen to the conversation as we enjoy a glass of Jean-Marcs creation!

Herm, Wouldnt it be fun to have such a meet up? :-)

Newforest: I was counting on you for those explanations. Thanks, for example, for translating Carols witty ragondinpeu (raconte-un-peu). You have brought her words to life via your English translations. And merci beaucoup for adding the vocab section. 

To echo Bill in Hawaiis words: I learn so much by reading the words of this intelligent group of people. Thank you so much for the comments that you leave.

Marcy Alexander

Oh my, what a terrific blog made even sweeter with Smokey's sweet face presenting 'frimousse.' I am a dog-lover and will be visiting France next spring - so I am brushing up on my fractured French - what a delightful resource I found in your French Word-A-Day.

I put up the permalink to this page on my Facebook profile. Hope iot generates some happy traffic back to you. Love, love, love your site!

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