Droit au but: Smokey update
Coursier: Delivering my dog's tumor to the post office...

Get well soon, in French + photos from our winetasting!


 I pick up Smokey from the clinique in half an hour! His operation went well to remove the tumor and we will have results back in two weeks. Thank you for the thoughtful wishes you've sent in, including this exquisite note from my favorite calligrapher, Joy Fairclough, based in the South of France. See her Studio French Blue !)

bon rétablissement

    : get well soon!

 AUDIO FILE: Listen to our son Max pronounced these French words:
Download MP3 or Wav

Bon rétablissment. Bon rétablissement, Smokey
Get well soon. Get well soon, Smokey

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

I had this idea, before yesterday's wine tasting, that all our guests could line up for a photo with Smokey, our 5-and-a-half year-old golden who is underwent surgery this morning.

In my mind, I pictured a makeshift photo booth (we would use the loveseat in front of all those daisies...) and, one by one, have our portraits taken with The Wonderdog! (Can you just picture it now?) Kind of like the following photo, where I am standing in for Smokey....

My friend Michele, left. More here and here and here and here. And a video here!

But things never turn out quite as imagined. As it was, Smokey stayed inside to rest, and Jean-Marc and I hurried with finishing touches before our guests arrived.

...That is, one of us was hurrying. The other was still standing there in his grubby jeans after wrangling with his tractor for the last hour.

"Jean-Marc, shouldn't you get in the bath, now? Our guests will be here any minute."

"It is 2:30," my husband reminded me. "We have half-an-hour."

As torturesome as it is to watch my husband move so slowly... when I myself could just bolt into the future, I let go. After all, he'd pulled all those weeds this morning, planted the lavender, then vacuumed the three visible rooms in the entryway. I could not continue, now, to dictate his dressing schedule. Let him live with the consequences of his judgment!

I waved him off through gritted teeth. "Well, OK! I'm leaving to get Jacqueline at the train station. Keep your ears open for a knocking at the door, as I won't be here to answer it!"

There. Hopefully that would perk him up. Hélas, when I turned around to see if my words had any effect, all I saw was my barechested husband checking his emails. There was nothing to do but to try to see the current épreuve, or trial, for what it truly was: an opportunity to practice, once again, letting go of control.  

Looking into the rearview mirror as I drove out of our driveway, I saw the bright side, or how our combined efforts had paid off : our home and garden looked warm and welcoming and the sun was now breaking through the clouds highlighting several new blossoms on the lilac bushes!

I shook my head, a little ashamed at my behavior. My husband is right. I just need to relax, and trust the natural order of things.

Halfway down the dirt driveway, I saw the bright blue car arriving from the opposite direction. He was wrong!  Mr. Relax was wrong! 

As the car approached our home, I pictured Jean-Marc undressing near the entry (our bathroom is opposite the front door, which I had left open...) I grabbed my phone to alert my husband... when a devilish thought popped into my mind. Yes, let it be. Tee-hee!

Pulling my car over to let the blue car drive by, I rolled down my window and saw four lovely women smiling back at me. "Oh, hello Michele! Hello Ladies! Wonderful, to see you!"

"Are we too early?"

"Oh, no! No not at all. Jean-Marc is home! I'll just be a few minutes picking up a guest from the train station. Just go right on in, Ladies!"

Michele blew me a kiss and the ladies waved enthusiastically as the car lurched forward, disappearing into the surprising future!

And then another car entered our driveway.... It was Terry and Alex from Nashville! As I easily waved two more innocent guests by, a guilty feeling snuck in, lingering ever so briefly!

"Ah, they'll all work it out, don't worry so much about everybody!" I thought, remembering my husband's words from my nervous past. The question now was, will those same words assure him?

Mwahaha! ;-)

*    *    *

Jean-Marc somehow managed to throw on a beautiful white linen top and be all presentable to the guests. Here is the scene I encountered on returning from the train station. Just look how relaxed he looks! And Breizh is sleeping like a baby. I will never know what happened. And it just goes to show, how beautifully things turn out... when you let go!

Don't miss this fun photos!


Here is my new friend Tanja, who I met here on Instagram. Her husband, Marc, took these photos.

 photo by Jacqueline Morstad

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Tish Tyler

Thank you so much, Kriste, for the update. I have been waiting to find out the latest news on Smokey. I have everything crossed (fingers, toes, etc) for the best news possible when the results are in.
In the meantime, all my hugs and kisses to Smokey!

Micki Simms

What a beautiful piece of calligraphy!

Smokey, you're so clever and thoughtful! :)

How fabulous that your surgery went well! Waiting eagerly to
hear that all is well with and for you and your family. Love to all
from you Texas friends,

Micki ♡ and Chami 🐾

Jane Hoppe

Lovely calligraphy. Praying good news for dear Smokey. And Kristin, you have no idea how many times I've nervously made your "let it be" decision. As I read about your drive away, I actually clapped my hands in glee. The more you do it, the freer you'll feel, but oh my, at first ... yikes. Glad it all worked out. :-)


Wonderful news about smokey coming home to loving family...sendi.ng more positive energy his way... As always, love the photos!

Holly K

Beautiful photo of your home!!
Do you ever wonder if Jean Marc dawdles on purpose just to push your buttons? My own husband does that and I pulled the same stunt you did, let him reap the consequences. He acted like he didn't care, but after I let him take his knocks a couple of times, he straightened out. They're grown men, but sometimes I think we get into this power play, where they cast us as "Mom" and themselves as young rebels. What works with my kids, works with Hubby. Assume he will behave like a mature adult and usually you are not disappointed!

Cynthia P. Lewis

So glad you had a lovely day for your wine tasting gathering. Thanks for including everyone by posting so many beautiful photos and a video, too.

Bon rétablissement, Smokey! You are in the hearts of so many who wish you well.

catharine ewart-touzot

so glad the tumor is gone and Smokey is resting peacefully..seems the wine tasting also went well..things looked lovely

Heather in Arles

This is great news that the surgery went so well. Beautiful SmokeyDoke, I am sending such thoughts to him and to your family, Kristen. And of course, I am happy that the wine tasting was such a success but that is no surprise at all...

Praying for great results...


Our dear Kristi,
What a wonderful day,in such a beautiful setting(!)And made all the sweeter by the presence of both of your four pawed angels.
Our prayers are and have been many,and we thank God for his grace in hearing them.
Our week is off to a fantastic a stick start!
Natalia. Xo

Jeanne Asakura

Oh my goodness, Kristi, you were speaking the words that ever so frequently come into my mind and out of my mouth! I have a husband who wears a watch religiously from get up to lie down yet fails to use it for it's intended purpose. I, too, have a hard time trying not to manage his life as well as my own. He has missed many appointments and been late for meetings but he has finally started using his smart phone as a calendar and alarm, so things are improving.......slightly, lol!


I loved the tasting and discovering the beauties and workings of your home, gardens and vineyards but perhaps the highlight of my day was spending a few moments giving hugs and caresses to Smokey, the wonder dog! 😍 🐾🐾

Trina, St. Petersburg, Florida, USA

Ah, yes, we all want to be able to let go (no wonder the "Frozen" song became so popular with the younger set! :) Though, often, très difficile. Good for you, Kristin! Thanks for sharing both your fears and your growth.

edie schmidt


Hope all goes well for Smokey! We love our pets and they are so much a part of our lives.
Your wine tasting looks like such fun. Wish I was there. I too have a husband who is slow moving when I want to go fast. But, you're right, it usually works out in the end.
Some times it's hard to "go with the flow."

Edie from Savannah

Eileen deCamp

Hi Kristin,

Looks like such a fun time! It would have been funny if Jean Marc had been surprised shirtless!

Get well Smokey!

Robin Katsaros

Absolutely lovely Calligraphy. I have book marked the sight. And seeing Jan-Marc on the video and hearing his voice really made me miss him. And seeing the photos made me miss you too. I guess I just miss you both. Glad Smokey is on the way to recovery and we will all anxiously await the results of his tests from the surgery. xo rk


Another beautiful life story! I'm so glad to hear that Smokey's surgery went well!! Bon retablissement, Smokey! And, I bet your maman can breathe a lot easier now! - both your mamans, Breizh and Kristin!!! Kristin & Jean-Marc, your house and garden look so beautiful. I will get there one day! Enjoy your wine tastings - meeting, making new friends!

Here's to absolutely the best test results for Smokey. May you all be well!

Wendy Dewar Hughes

I was just reading this morning about slowing down and how some people just manage to live at a slower pace and not get ruffled.

I lived in Provence many years ago near Lambesc. We home-schooled our children while caretaking an 18th Century estate and exploring the countryside. I do miss those slow days, so thanks for the reminder of what my life in France was like. (I know it's not always slow, but it can be, right?)

Bill Facker

So right on the mark, Kristin .. isn't it amazing how the majority of us speed through life so we might one day "slow down and take it easy". Healing thoughts to Smokey! Aloha

Faye Stampe in Gleneden Beach, OR

Thanks for the wonderful post & photos. Hope to attend one day!

Stay well!

Faye Stampe in Gleneden Beach, OR

Oh! And get well quick Smokey-----you are such a lovely pup!



How I can related to the husband story. I, like you, am constantly after him to get ready, but I think that I would have been fearful to pull out of the driveway.
Good news about Smokey. Yeah! I hope that they got it all. I love that guy.


Chris Allin

Dear Kristi,

Your story made me chuckle as I make a daily effort to be elusive to the effort someone puts forth to manage moments in my life. It has almost turned into a joke and thankfully he is often able to "let it go".

An absolutely gorgeous setting for a gathering and wine tasting. Jean-Marc seems truly committed to his vines and his wine~his enthusiasm can be contagious. Like so many others, we too wish we we could have been there.

Smokey must be home by now, where healing can take place with much love and tender care. Hoping that his lucky star sprinkles magical stardust as he recovers.

Andrea Hughes

Healing thoughts for Smokey! I hope he recovers quickly from his surgery so that he can be himself again!!

Skip Bins Now

Really glad to hear Smokey's operation went well :)


So glad Smokey's surgery went well! I hope he will heal quickly. And I love the story of Jean-Marc's laid-back attitude. It's true that when we let go of worry, things do somehow work out. It may not be the way we had planned, but it will be the way it's meant to be. I find that one the days when I just go with the flow, allowing life to lead me, trusting, and approaching each situation with a sense of humour, everything works out beautifully.

Julia ~ Falling Off Bicycles

I just love that image from behind the lilacs! Perfect.

Thinking of sweet Smokey and sending my love.



Prayers, positive thoughts, crossed fingers and love for Smokey. He's always been such a little trooper! Let's hope the news is GOOD!

Diane Young

Hooray for Smokey! When I first started reading ODAT, I thought Braise was Mama Dog's name. Now it's Breizh???

Kristin Espinasse

Diane,  I began writing Breizh,  as the French spell it,  when someone noted: Smokey and Braise... Are you by chance a cook?

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