en l'occurrence - such a useful expression!
Adieu, Monsieur Thé. Homage to Steven Smith

"Dodo" and things that go bump in the night!


Smokey, a  kid at heart, about to prance beside a carpet of anemones. Today's word is part of a very useful list of French baby talk. See it here (including a recording of each word).

dodo (doh-doh)

    :  beddy-bye, night-night

Paris Monaco Rentals

France and Monaco Rentals: short-term holiday rental properties throughout France. Click here for pictures.

 Listen to Jean-Marc: 
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Fais dodo, 'Colas mon petit frère...
Go to sleep (Nicholas), my little brother...

                                             -from a well-known comptine, or nursery rhyme

Improve your French pronunciation with Exercises in French phonetics. Click here. 

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

Dodo, from the French "dormir," brings back so many memories, including sleepless nights or les nuits blanches. How many times did we sing this golden oldie to our children:

Fais dodo, Colas mon p'tit frère Fais dodo, t'auras du lolo...

Now that the kids are grown, sleepless nights should be a thing of the past. But when the lights go off Chez Les Espi, our house is as lively as ever!

A grand slam of her upstairs door means our daughter is ruffled once again...

"Mais qu'est-ce qu'il y a!" Jean-Marc shouts.

"Eteins la lumière!!!" our daughter complains. Jackie can't stand it when we leave the hall light on. It filters in beneath her bedroom door, distracting her from sleep. Owing to our bathroom's location (down three sets of stairs and across two rooms), Jean-Marc and I flip on the light switch a few times each night as we make our way safely across the house.  Invariably one of us forgets to switch off the light during the two-minute aller-retour. On the way back to our room, we get a startling reminder when the door slams shut (it's Jackie, turning off the light herself).

By the time we crawl under the bedcovers, the tone is set for the night. And we work out our frustrations in dreamland... 

It must have been 4 a.m. when last night's debacle began. "Quit talking about plants!" I begged. "Enough going on about plants, plants, plants!"

Jean-Marc was mumbling something back, when he sat up and turned to me. "C'est toi! C'est toi qui parle des plants." You're the one talking about plants! And with that, I woke up to the amusing conversation we were having.

It was both funny and revealing... Lately, the scales are falling from my eyes and I am beginning to see clearly how the things I accuse my family of are sometimes my own doing (it wasn't Jean-Marc who misplaced my new pot-holder. It was I who left it under a stack of dishes! It wasn't Jackie who took my brush... I see I'm the one who left it in the car... And it wasn't one of our dogs who ate the rest of the yogurt cake....)


                                 (Don't miss the yogurt cake recipe, here.)


Bon, back to today's headline: Things That Go Bump in the Night, or les monstres qui surgissaient dans la nuit. If it isn't loud doors it's loud snores and things outdoors that keep us awake....

Last night something poked at my ribcage. When it happened a second time I turned over and naturally stopped snoring (but before I fell back to sleep, I smiled, impressed about how Jean-Marc's new tactic had worked! Instead of saying "Chérie, tu ronfles!" (a phrase that was keeping me awake all night long!) he now gets the message across silently.

But once the whistle of my breathing stops, the eery sounds of the forest keep us awake. One in particular makes our blood curdle. ..

"On dirait quelqu'un en train d'être égorgé!" Sounds like someone is being strangled! Jackie says, trying to pinpoint the exact sound. This particular high-pitched cry is as chilling as any Hitchcock film. Come to think of it, maybe it's a bird cry? Or, in keeping in theme with today's word... a dodo bird?

I think on that a bit as I try to fall back to sleep, only this time it isn't sound keeping me awake, it's that nightly tug-o'-war! My husband is yanking the covers again! But he WON'T get them all this time, no! I've carefully tucked in the entire length of my side of the bed! And, for extra protection, I've tucked in my half of the end of the bed. There!

And just when we begin to nod off, our 19-year-old rolls in--back from the nightclub at 5 a.m. Now, if we could only get some sleep around here...



A cat in La Ciotat. Can you see the "upside down dog," third shadow over?Don't miss all the photos I took this week. Follow me on Instagram . I'll be posting more pictures soon!

To comment on this post, click here and many thanks for reading!

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My very dear friend Tess is opening her farmhouse for her Paint in Provence workshop. You will be picked up from the airport and fed homemade meals during this relaxing and inspiring getaway to France. Check out the dates and see photos here! And I will see you in May and June, when Tess drives workshop attendees to our vineyard, for a painting day in the olive orchard. 

 The first time I ever picked tarragon was at my friend Tess's farmhouse. She was making poulet à l'estragon and would I mind collecting a few branches from the garden? she asked, her wooden spoon pointing toward the potager. I couldn't tell an herb from a weed, then, but by some stroke of luck I returned to the kitchen with the correct aromatic branch. Stoked, I went on to plant the versatile herb in my own kitchen garden, enjoying it with chicken, in salad dressing and more. But by the end of winter it seemed clear the plant was dead (an annual, after all?). Only a few dried, leafless sticks remained. And then, sometime last week... I noticed the budding fuzzy green carpet, above!

Tessa's tarragon chicken, with cream, onions, peppercorns, and l'estragon.

Snail mail in the town of Pélissanne, north of Aix-en-Provence.

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