How to say "wise" in French?
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Fetch with smokey

So good to be back!  Celebrating with another giveaway! Enter to win the beloved, the exquisitely made French Country Diary. Simply answer this question: What are you celebrating this month? Click here to answer.


luxer (loox-ay)

    : to dislocate

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En promenant Smokey en laisse, Kristi s'est luxée le coude droit.
While walking Smokey with a leash, Kristi dislocated her elbow.

French Gift Idea: Contact our friends Phyllis and Tim at French Country Wines, or stop into their Houston wine boutique, for a selection of excellent vins! Email [email protected]

A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE... by Kristin Espinasse

The night before I was to leave on a three-flight, four airport journey home I dislocated my elbow! 

I should have listened to my daughter when she said, "Reste à la maison!" But no, I wanted to watch her and her father play tennis our last day together! I had packed my suitcase and was ready for my 3:30 a.m. wake-up call. A little exercise before the long journey would be  good! I would bring Smokey along and, after a brisk walk around the tennis club, the two of us would watch the father-daughter match.

I had a strong premonition as Smokey and I wandered forth into unknown territory. Looking around le voisinage that circled the tennis courts I noticed the houses, each with a tall fence enclosing its yard. What sorts of dogs lived behind those fences? What if one of them began to bark? My gut told me to turn back, but it was a pity to miss this chance to give Smokey some needed exercise.

Approaching a cul-de-sac at the top of the road, I was relieved to have an excuse to turn back. But wasn't it strange that not one of the houses we'd passed had a dog? What a quiet neighborhood! A little too quiet.  I wound my wrist around Smokey's leash, to tighten my grip and to assure my unquiet mind....

No sooner had I secured the leash than Smokey began to bolt, taking me hurtling towards an angry dogue de bordeaux--or what some call an English Mastiff! The dog was barking like mad from behind a tall fence.

My first thought was how am I going to land? Currently I was hurtling towards a wire fence, the gravelly ground below me getting closer and closer. This was going to be a painful meeting. Would I land face first?

A split second before the face-plant, Smokey made a hairpin turn. Because my wrist was wrapped so tightly around the leash, I made the hairpin turn right along with him! No longer was my head in danger, given my new direction (still downward!), I might break my hip--and never make tomorrow's flight!

Instinct kicked in and I threw out my arm to break the fall. Only, when my hand hit the ground--followed by the rest of my body--something snapped. I looked up to find my forearm twisted gruesomely away from me!

It was surreal to see my arm so deformed. Given the unusual angle in which it rested, I thought, It must be broken! In my current state of shock my brain overrode my usual tendencies. The tendency to depend on someone else! Besides, there was no one else! No one around to ask "What do I do? How to fix this? Help!"

My body seemed to know the answer. Quickly, my left arm grabbed my right forearm and flung it back toward my rib cage. That's when I heard the pop. The elbow snapped right back into place!

Cradling my arm I scooted across the road like a snake. And when I reached the fence I began to began to moan. Smokey ran up and I managed to used use my free hand to lace his leash through the fence opposite the mastiff (who was safely behind his own fence).

Once my elbow and my dog were secured, reality hit: something was very wrong with my arm and this meant I would not be travelling to see my family tomorrow!

NO! NO! NOOOO! I shouted, wailing from the pain and the loss. NOOOOO!

A neighbor, who turned out to be the dog's owner, ran up and began to assist me. Her husband arrived next.

"Réspirez! Réspirez!" the kind-faced woman said, when I complained of nausia.

"Je crois que je vais vomir," I said. The woman's husband ran inside to get a down coat, returning to lie it over me. Crying from the pain and apologetic for the chaos, I tried to tell them how to reach my husband. The rest was babbling: vous êtes gentils. merci. désolé. mon chien! aïe! ça fait mal... qu'ils arrivent vites!

I could now hear the speaker on the tennis courts, just behind the couple's house: "Monsieur Espinasse. Vous êtes demandé à la reception...." But when Jean-Marc arrived the question remained: How to transport me to the emergency room? What to do with Smokey? We couldn't all four of us ride to the urgences

The tennis court manager, who had accompanied Jean-Marc, suggested calling les pompiers. "It's a bumpy road all the way to the hospital, better for her to ride in an ambulance...."

Three fireman arrived next. They placed what looked like a deflated raft beside me. On the count of un, deux, trois I was lifted into the "raft" (located on a gurney). One of the firefighters began pumping air into the contraption which began to hug my entire body.

"There. Do you feel secure now? Can you move your hand?" The pompier wanted to know. 

Entombed inside the inflatable body-brace, only my front sticking out, I felt like a swadled baby. Looking down I tried to wiggle my fingers and saw that they could move.

At ER I was wheeled to the x-ray room where nurse asked me to lift my arm up onto an x-ray table and I informed her I could not move it. 

"Well I don't know the reason for which you are here!" she said, in her defence.

The rest of the staff were just as sympathetic, and when my x-rays finally arrived on the attendant-doctors desk I watched, in amazement, as she tossed them across her desk!

"I don't have time for all this now!" she complained. 

From my gurney in the ER entry, facing the giant window behind which the doctor and colleagues processed the paperwork, I watched her storm off.

Seeing my son walk into ER was a great soulagement. Then came the tears. The sum-total of this freak accident hit me. I looked at the clock which crept toward the dinner hour. I should be getting up 8-hours from now... getting on my flight.

"You have a flight tomorrow?" the doctor said, when she finally arrived with the x-rays. "Well, your arm is back in place, but you shouldn't be travelling like this. Is your trip for business or for pleasure?

"I'm going home to see my family..."

"Well, it's up to you but I would not recommend it," the doctor concluded, with a reminder that I should be seeing a specialist the next day, one who would review the x-rays and examine my arm--beneath which my tendons were flairing from pain. (The codeine only made me more nausious.)

After stopping at the pharmacy to buy a sling, or un gilet d'immobilisation d'épaule, Jean-Marc and I rode home. On the way, my husband kept assuring me I'd be just fine, each time I voiced my doubt about flying with an elbow of frayed tendons and a giant sling. But the constant encouragement to go ahead and fly tomorrow was beginning to sound suspicious.

"Do you happen to have any plans this week?" I asked, fishing for an answer to my doubts. 

"No," Jean-Marc said. "Apart from seeing all my girlfriends," he joked.

" Seriously, you seem intent on getting me on that flight tomorrow. Are you sure you don't have any plans at all this week?"

"No, there's nothing in particular..."

*    *    *  

(To be continued... Dear Reader, please excuse any mistakes in today's edition. I just arrived home and am catching up on a lot of stuff... but wanted to be sure an get this post out to you!  

Whether you respond to today's story or answer the question, below, you will be entered in today's drawing for the delightful French Country diary. Click here to comment.

French country diary 2015

Enter to Win
Tell me what you are celebrating this month and automatically enter to win a copy of this delightful desk diary. Click here.


reste à la maison = stay home
le voisinage = neighborhood
réspirez! = breath!
je crois que = I think that
je vais vomir = I'm going to vomit
aïe = ouch
ça fait mal = it hurts
qu'ils arrivent vite = (I hope) they hurry!
soulagement = comfort, relief
les urgences = ER

les pompiers = firefighters
un, deux, trois = one, two, three
un gilet d'immobilisation d'épaule = sling for dislocated shoulder

Brassica with smokey

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gail bingenheimer

I'm celebrating Advent.


We are celebrating the purchase of our home and move to Boueysseix, France from Michigan!!!!!!!!!!


Becoming a great-aunt :)

Jackie Sand

We are celebrating the 1st birthday of our 1st grandson who was born 7 weeks early on 12-10-13. We are also celebrating our 39th wedding anniversary, marking 42 years of a loving respectful and joy-filled marriage.
We are celebrating friends' 66th, 63rd (2 of them), 70th and 75th (a couple who taught with me at my first French teaching position in 1968!) birthdays. We are celebrating good health, long lasting friendships, and the love of our newly expanded family. So much to be grateful for.


Christmas with the family skiing in the Pyrenees.

Maureen Porter

I am celebrating Christmas with my family/grandchildren,I could not want for anything more

Jackie Sand

So sorry about your crazy accident. I hope you are already feeling much less pain. Quelle horreur! Dare I wish you a "Bon Voyage" nevertheless?


We are celebrating our life in transition, we are now living in the beautiful green mountains of VT after living in New York City for 30 years. We are celebrating our newly found retreat from the hustle and bustle. Not having TV is bad news..:)

Pamela Bain

We are enjoying the beauty and joy of this Season. We will celebrate with family and friends, including three birthday ladies and our anniversary! We love December and the New Year, with all the promises of surprises and lessons learned!


I am celebrating time with my family.

Bonnie Meadows

I am celebrating my 80th birthday this month.


We are celebrating our son's birthday.

Betty tuininga

So sorry about your mishap. Hope that you are recuperating comfortably. Spending Holidays en solo this year, but have plenty to keep me occupied.

Dottie Bennett

I am celebrating the birth of the Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth. "For unto you is born this day in the city of David the Savior, who is Christ the King." Joyeux Noel!

Grace McKee

Being alive, healthy and content!
Having three wonderful and talented children!
The Christmas season of loving and giving.
Our 29th wedding anniversary and a loving husband.
Our 18 month anniversary of moving to France.
The list is endless...

Jennifer Jones

We'll be celebrating my son's return home after his first semester of college (which included a wonderful French class).

Linda Frank

Hanukkah and time with family!

David Simmons

Two words of advice from an orthopedic surgeon: 1) See the specialist to determine if there is a related joint fracture that might require surgical treatment 2) Ask about doing early motion exercises. In adults with dislocated elbows, there is a significant risk of loss of joint motion if the elbow is immobilized too long. (The situation is unlike what occurred with your husband's shoulder; recurrent dislocations of the elbow are rare.
Good luck,

G. Brown

all of the greatness of humanity.

Kathryn Kabat

I am elebrating the dénouement of another wonderful year shared with great friends and family and filled with exciting travel, as well as the hopeful prospect of another such year to come!

Eric Guran

We are celebrating 30 wonderful years together!
6 years of cancer remission!
The birth of our grandnephew, Jack
The new home of our son and his fiancée.
The memories of 3 weeks in Provence this past Mai!
The joy of love this Christmas Season!

Susan Paul

The Christmas holiday with the family including my beautiful 3 year old grandson and 1 year old twin granddaughters! We are truly blessed with health and happiness.


I am celebrating the anniversary of the arrival on earth of the only God who came down to visit mankind in order to pay the price for them to have eternal life :)

Deborah J

So many wonderful things to be grateful for -- I'd have to say I'm just celebrating life!

Terry littman

Celebrating that my family is healthy and thriving, despite a challenging year. Thankful no physical mishaps have kept me from traveling!


I'm celebrating the one year anniversary of when my then boyfriend, now husband, asked me to marry him!

Nancy Stilwagen

This month I am celebrating my mother's 100th birthday, and traveling to be with her.

Bren Allen

We are celebrating Christ's birth! xoxo


Hi Kristin!
In addition to everyday celebrations of my many blessings (family, good friends, fur-baby), I'm celebrating:
my 55th birthday,
retirement from a 31 year career,
20 years of hosting a Christmas party for my mother, her sister, my dad's four sisters, and my sister. I call it "fete de Noel des Soeurs"
And so much more!! including the fact that you're on the mend :-)

David Kelly

I am celebrating feeling so well 8 weeks to the day after having quadruple bypass surgery!!!!


Celebrating Chanukah for all eight days....Festival of Lights....First night....December 16


I'm celebrating this Holiday Season with family and friends in Central Texas!

Jackie Durham

I am celebrating Christmas with my family and friends. Good luck on your healing.And blessings in the new year.

Guadalupe Seoane

I'm celebrating Gratitude. Being thankful for all i have and that we can share with others. From material things to most important things like friendship and love.

Barb friedman

I am going to celebrate Hanukkah, festival of light! Barb Friedman

Jacqueline Staebell

I'm celebrating my beautiful growing family and our good health as the older I get the more I realize just how precious those two things are!

Joy Greenidge

I am celebrating Jesus Christ, every day.

Janet Marquardt

I'm celebrating the beauty of winter in New England where I've finally moved after dreaming of living here for more than 50 years and where I am within a two hour's drive to either of my childen. I'm celebrating the joy of wonderful new neighbors, generous colleagues, rich cultural resources, and the means and leisure to research and write full time. You'll appreciate that! Hope the elbow mends good as new. Enjoy the holidays.

Robbie Smith

I am celebrating "Joyeux Noël" and all it means!

Andrea  Adams

Celebrating ...well maybe not, but Commemorating the 40th Anniversary of Cyclone Tracy which devastated Darwin, at the Top End of Australia, on Christmas Eve and Day, 1974. Our family rode out the cyclone through the night while our house was torn apart around us. While 66 people died, we survived and are thankful. We still live in Darwin, a beautiful rebuilt tropical city, and yes, we still experience cyclones but nothing with the fury of Tracy.


So sorry to hear of your accident. I wish you speedy recovery.
I am celebrating the possibility of a new grandchild! I am celebrating Jesus' birth and all that means. I am celebrating with beloved family (and beloved dog!).

Patricia Hair

I'm celebrating being alive. I can't wait to wake up each morning to begin my day!


I am celebrating my 58th birthday at the Columbus Zoo with Colo, the oldest gorilla born in captivity. We were both born on December 22, 1956. Since I don't have a human sister, I consider her my "younger by a few minutes" sister. (Happy birthday to you on that day also, Kristi!)

Emily K.

I'm celebrating Chanukah!

Sandra Hemsworth

I am celebrating being alive after being resuscitated in the operating theatre after a pacemaker lead pierced my heart.

Johnette LaBorde

celebrating life!

Tracie Corbett

I am celebrating my 46th birthday the day after Christmas, and my Grandson's first Christmas

Deborah crawford

Not only will we be celebrating Christmas, but also celebrating the return home of a family member who has been serving overseas - he will be home for Christmas!

nora van der Kam

We are celebrating the good recovery of my heart aortic valve replacement & 2 by-pass, so I feel better & on the way to great health, also Christmas is coming with my birthday on Christmas Eve, so I am happy. Have =a great holydays.

Elizabeth Inserra

Celebrating the slow but sure recovery of our beloved uncle.


I am celebrating the Word that became flesh and dwelt among us!

Blaise Pascal once wrote, “The incarnation shows man the greatness of his misery by the greatness of the remedy he required.” Christ became what we are, that He might make us what He is.

"Il est ne, le divin enfant..."


Joyeux Noel!

Lacie E.

I am celebrating the birth of Jesus, family and all that is to come ! Merry Christmas all 🎄

Linda Roll

My husband and I are celebratting our 51st wedding anniversary on the 27th.


Sorry about your accident with Smokey. I also have a dog I walk on least everyday. And when she gets it in her head to run at a rabbit or mouse I'm like a rag doll. I try to be very careful and alert at all times as she has pulled me down a couple of times but luckily I haven't suffered as you. I am celebrating Christmas, my brother's birthday and a cousin's birthday. Thanks for offering this giveaway.


We are celebrating Christmas with our family, one granddaughter's birthday, and remembering her uncle with whom she shared a birthday. We lost him in 2013, but he is always in our thoughts and our hearts.


Denise Morgan

Celebrating the birth of Christ who came to earth to be the fulfillment of the scriptures. His birth, death, burial and ressurection paid the price for my sins. By my acceptance of His gift of forgiveness I am saved by his grace alone. Praise you Lord Jesus !


The wonderful new man in my life!


Christmas! Time with family. Another month to improve my never ending acquisition of the beautiful French language. Too many wonderful things to list.

Kristine Moore

We are celebrating the birth of our dear Lord Jesus. Christmas! Hallelujah!

Torrie  Jossef

Celebrating LIFE and everything BEAUTIFUL it has to offer; family, friends, life experiences; the good, the bad and the magnificent. The reality and that fantasy, being very GRATEFUL along the way.


My birthday, my grandson's birthday, and Christ's birthday.

Adrienne Kinkaid

I'm celebrating the holiday season and plans made for a trip to Paris and Bordeaux October 2015!

Barbara Bullington

The holidays, the end of the semester and some time off of work to read and relax, and capping off a great year with my great family.


Christmas! Completion of radiation! A new granddaughter! The wedding of a nephew! Licensure of ma beau fis! So many blessings!


My 75th birthday. Oui, ç'est vrai. Je devain soixante-quinze!

Irene Sietmann

I am so sorry to hear of your accident. I learned years ago to heed the voice in my head instead of forging ahead with what I thought was a good idea. I broke a bone in my spine on a toboggan ride trying to "make myself like winter." I still dislike cold. Take care of yourself and do the exercises the doctor recommends. I am celebrating Christmas with my family.

Eileen Kennedy

I am celebrating my retirement after 45 yrs of a nursing career, with 32 of those years taking care of our veterans. I look forward to traveling in France with my husband and spending time with my kids and grandkids.

Amy Cole

I am celebrating the change of the season, finally! (it takes a while to change in Texas!) and my husband's birthday. I'm so lucky to have him!


I'm celebrating the Hanukkah & Christmas season with good friends! (I follow you on Instagram & my RTing Twitter & I was aware of this awful mishap, Kristin. I'm so glad you're okay & home now.)




You poor thing! In so much pain, and the hospital staff's attitude couldn't have helped. I know you did go on that trip to see your family...hope your elbow is healing nicely. Bet the dogs were overjoyed to see you back home again!


Ruth Degenhardt

I am celebrating Christmas, with family and friends.

I'm sorry to hear about your accident - on the mend, I hope?
Best wishes to you and your family, including Smokey and his Mama!


Une petite foute - "devien"!


We are celebrating Christmas, a season of advent, the end of a very challenging year and the beginning of a new one filled with hope.


We celebrate several things:
- Advent
- Lights (candles and fire in the fireplace)
- Christmas TWICE (on the 24th in honor of my Danish heritage, and the 25th in honor of my American husband. LUCKY kids... )
- My oldest daughter's birthday on Dec. 31.

judith bryant

We are celebrating family and friends and the warmth of the hearth when cold winds blow outside during the holiday season! Bonnes fetes!

Marsha Splenderosa

We are celebrating in Houston, giving thanks for all the blessings of our Lord. The holidays are celebrated in the most traditional of ways at our home and with all our friends.


Celebrating optimism and good cheer.

Pat Herkal

The birth of our first grandchild.

marilyn watkins

I am celebrating the holidays with my precious family and dear friends!

Jocelyn Limpert

I'm celebrating the fact that I can do so much of my shopping online and avoid the crowds.


I'm celebrating my birthday on Dec. 17!
So glad you are back, too, Kristin, I've missed you and your newsletters!


We are celebrating my mother's 98th birthday

Lis Steeden

We'll be celebrating Advent, where we light a candle every Sunday in Advent, along with enjoying the Danish Christmas tradition of lots of wonderful Glogg and aebleskiver - not to forget lots of candles! Then we'll celebrate our Danish Christmas on the 24th and our English Christmas on the 25th! Before those two dates - on the 23rd we'll be collecting someone very special, little Max (short for Maximus)born 31/10/2014, he's a beautiful little white Golden Retriever, yezzz, finally we are getting a Golden again, we cannot wait...18 days to go! Yes, it's going to be a wonderful Christmas... :)


We are celebrating 41 years of marriage.
Cancer in remission 14 years.

Cynthia Gillespie-Smith

Quel cauchemar! I'm celebrating LIFE!

Frances Anamosa

I am so sorry to hear you fell right before your trip. That must have been so awful. Last year, I fell and broke both of my elbows, and it was a very difficult time and took awhile to recuperate. I hope you had lots of assistance as you traveled and get to see a doctor soon. Best, Frances


I am celebrating having been reunited via Facebook with a love from long ago and amazingly the feeling from 20+ years ago are still there, unchanged and intact. I am over the moon. It's complicated now for both of us but I think this time we will never let go.

judi dunn

Kristin... I hope you are feeling better each day. I love your blog and hope your elbow will not hinder your creatitivy. I am celebrating my now 30% heart function! July 3rd i had an echocardiogram and my heart was at 30%.. up from 25% from 5 years ago! On the 4th of July ( ruined my picnic plans, but what the hey!) , my carcio MD put a new pacemaker/defib in and one month later I was on a plane to CDG! and then drove to the Dordogne for a month! I had cortizone shots in my knees on August 5th so I was really raring to go! Then a month in England hoofing it everywhere! So.. I am celebrating my new lease on life and my good health! lt's all relative, isn't it? Joyeuses Fetes et Bonne Annee a famille. Judi Dunn, Tallahassee, Fl.

judi dunn

..Ahhhh yes, and breast cancer in remission for 5 1/2 years... I am the luckiest woman I know! Happy Holdays and Merry christmas to all... Judi Dunn. Tallahassee, Fl.


My brother returning from deployment, just in time for Christmas!


My birthday! Along with Christmas music (singing in concerts for 2 choirs) and cookie baking!


Wishing you quick healing - ouch! Take care, Kristin!!

Linda D.

Well, since you're typing, Kristi, I can only assume you are well on the road to recovery after your accident. I know how painful a dislocation can be, so I am greatly relieved that you are improved.

As for celebrations, I have far too many to count this season. Yes, we have suffered losses these last months, but I've been surrounded by love, support and laughter. So, I will say I am celebrating Life: Where there is breath, there is hope. Where there is hope, there is resilience. Part of why I love your blog so much is that I sense that same resilience in you. Your lovely photos and stories lift my heart.

Blessings of the season on you and yours!

Al the best,


We celebrated my son's 23rd birthday on the 1st, we are celebrating Advent now, then end of the semester the week of the 15th for my daughter and myself, Christmas, then my husband's birthday on the 30th, and finally New Year's Eve. December is a very full month!

Deb Locke

Celebrating Christmas in Arizona, re-uniting with friends old and new as we make the journey across the U.S.A. to Tucson and our first winter without snow.


I will be celebrating 2 weeks off for the holidays! Can't wait :)


I will be celebrating Noel ensemble avec ma famille, as well as my birthday toward the middle of the month!

Ed Baquerizo

I'm celebrating the close of another year of good income, good health, and a happy family!

Gail Deel

I Am Celebrating Love, My Beautiful
Family, sharing Wonderful Life !!!
I Am so Grateful and so Blessed !!!

Mari Mann

My husband and I were married on Christmas Day, 1991, in The Love Chapel of the Smokies in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. So we'll be celebrating our anniversary with a bottle of champagne!

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