le déchet : What the tourists regularly toss into our garden
A colorful way to say "I'm so hungry!"

The French word for Puppy (see Smokey and his 5 sisters when they were baby goldens)

Our Smokey turned 9 last week (here he is with 2 of his 5 sisters, in 2009). Following the previous post, I received several emails about our golden "showing his age." Funny, I didn't notice the gray in his beard or his eyebrows..until now. And it's all got me thinking about how we need to treasure every day with him. 

We'll keep the rest of this post light, with a look back at Smokey and his sisters. You'll meet Braise, too, Smokey's mama. We got her from the dog pound before we moved to the first vineyard. She passed in 2015, at the same age Smokey is now. We really do need to treasure every day from here on out!

Today's Word: le chiot

    : puppy, pup

A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE by Kristi Espinasse

Kids! Every parent knows that caring for them can be an all-consuming activity, that is, when the kids are not busy consuming you.

Yesterday, Braise and I, exhausted after 7 weeks... and 14 years (respectively) of child-rearing, decided to GIVE IN.  And so we collapsed on the front porch and put up our figurative white flags.

With that... the puppies rushed forth in victory!


After getting our ears, noses, fingers, and toes chewed on... and our shirts and fur slobbered on... on a eu assez!... That's when we decided to play dead in order to get these puppies off our heads!

(Photo, below: Braise, in the background, feigns la mort. I follow suit, protecting my face just in case...)



Braise is a natural. Just look at her play dead...


In my case, the puppies aren't buying it -- though one stops to feel my pulse with her paws.....


After a bit of ceremonial concern (short-lived sympathy on their part) ... the puppies now esteem that it is time to revive the drama queens.

Let's get their ears! Let's pull on their hair! (Braise, in the background, continues to play dead, unfazed by the toutou torture...)


The victor! (Actually, there were six of them. Each got his/her turn to rise to the sky as Champion, glorified

le chiot =
puppy, pup
on a eu assez = we'd had enough
la mort = death
le toutou = doggie (from this list of French baby talk)
Le Seigneur = Lord (from last photo caption, below) 


Smokey griffes de sorcieres
Smokey, finding a cool spot during the heatwave, as he snoozes on a bed of griffes de Sorcière (witches claws!)

Smokey and bougainvillea
Seigneur, remind me of my priorities, including spending more time with my dog!

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We've had two goldens also. The first one's face started turning white when he was only two! He lived to age 13. The second one, Crosby, kept his face color till about age 6. He's about to turn 11 and still has some gold left on his face--but not much!

The older they get, the less they demand of you, the more they sleep, and the harder it is to remember to spend more time with them as that time shortens. I try to remember to sit down on the floor with Crosby every evening and go over our day. Sometimes we do an extra walk in the evening when it has cooled down. He loves to just noodle and sniff. But too often I forget or get distracted. I'm thinking about setting an evening reminder on my computer calendar.

How fortunate that you found a golden in a pound. I can't imagine giving one up willingly, they are such sweethearts. And how lucky for Braise that you came along.

Suzanne in Monroe, NJ

It was 9 years ago that I met you and Jean-Marc in September when I was staying in Sablet with my mother and sister. I have photos of us tasting wine at your table under the tree and holding a few puppies. We have a 10 year old Westie and just got une chiot on Saturday. She is 9 weeks old and a Westie also. As we train her not to bite with those sharp puppy teeth, it’s hard to imagine that one day she’ll be 9 years old and slowing down. They give us so much happiness. I was glad that I saw Blaise again in 2013. She was very sweet.

Eileen deCamp

Hi Kristi,

I just love this post and all the sweet photos! I still miss our Lab Buster. Maybe one day I will convince my other half that we need another toutou!

Ellen A.

Adorable photos. Must have been hard to choose which pup to keep. How did you decide on Smokey? You and Jean-Marc are lucky to have his love and companionship still. The life of a dog is a through line for big events in our lives.


It was 9 years ago this summer I met Smokey and his mom when the kids and I visited you and Jean-Marc at the vineyard and like so many ate your wonderful tomato tart under the mulberry tree. Where has the time gone?? I too cherish the moments we have with our husky, Ove. I dread the day when he isn’t with us. He is nearly 12. He still has a spring in his walk, but you can tell his hips hurt when he goes to lay down at times. An anti-inflammatory helps that. I think I will take him for a walk before it gets too hot. Enjoy your day with Smokey. I know you too love your walks together.


Bonjour, Kristi, Today’s blog reminds me of the 13 and 1/2 Years I had Albi, short for Tomasi Giovanni Albinoni.
It is unbelievable how much love that dog gave to us. I think of him now as a working dog. He was always working on us to love each day and every moment. Yes, you should cherish your Smokey time.


What a delightful start to my day. Thank you for sharing your Smokey and Braise with us. My two, Yogi and Goldie , send love to Smokey. Scratch his ear for them.


Our dear Kristi,
This is absolutely one of your most adorable and endearing posts;another which absolutely wraps itself around our hearts,and! makes us remember why Dog is God spelled backwards!
We can learn so much from our(forever!)fur babies:
Love,devotion,patience,acceptance...the list is long and so worth accepting them as our examples.Especially!Treasure every day,every moment together.
Tomorrow is three months that our beloved Lissy died in my arms.Your words and pictures replaced my tears with smiles and happy memories.
Thank you,dear Kristi.
Natalia. Xo

Cerelle Bolon

I know how you feel. My dear poodle is now 13 and she has some grey around her muzzle and her eyes have become cloudy. She is still full of pep, but at her age..and mine...we need to treasure every day, and I DO. You might want to take Smokey in for a good check up, as the vet may want you to change diet, add some medications, or check for some other things. This could prolong and improve his life. Good luck..we ALL love our dogs and they are truly a part of our family. Hugs...


Such sweetness and light! Time is just so precious. Your post is a great reminder to cherish every moment, be it with a beloved animal or a beloved person! Off to kiss my daughter! Loved the great pictures and your telling of your dear, dear four-legged members of your family, past and present!

Cynthia Lewis

These endearing photos are perfect for lifting one's spirits ... like the pup you are holding up to the sky! Thanks so much. My best to each of you and especially to Jules as she settles in to her new surroundings with new adventures on the horizon.


Oh my goodness. The tears in my eyes now .... How cruel it is that our beloved pets have such short lives compared to ours. But you are so right to remind us to treasure all the time that we have. It's true too of people, n'est-ce pas? Carpe diem - seize the day. I'm 79 and find that fact unbearably sad. But I frmly remind myself of all those who never got anywhere near that great age. I think one of the problems - or is it simply the joys? - is that I find life so very interesting. I am too nosey to go quietly into the great beyond. We cannot stop time but we can all, no matter what, seize the present moment and hug someone, do a kind thing, or - as I did just now - stroke and thank the feral cat who has adopted us and is just the sweetest thing, a creature changed entirely by good food and kindness, a living miracle.

Shane K. Bernard

>le toutou = doggie

In Louisiana French there is the expression "ma tout-toute" ("tout-toute" is sometimes spelled phonetically as "toot toot"), which means "my everything" and is used as a term of endearment. In fact, there was a hit zydeco song (black Creole accordion-based tune) from south Louisiana many years ago called "My Toot Toot" -- see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/My_Toot_Toot

judith dunn

...Shane.. We have the zydeco CD with the very guy singing tht song on it! We love the whole CD! J. Dunn

Loulou Dunaway

Bonne Anniversaire, Smokey!!! From Loulou.

Judith Dunn

... Kristi... a wonderful tale and photos Smokey's family and history! Our pets ar our family just as our children and relatives are. I know we cherish them just as much. Maybe when Smokey departs you could think about 'deus les chiots'... one for you all and one for Jules to liven! Just sayin...... Judi Dunn, Tallahassee, Fl.


Hi Kristi, I am sooo glad that our pets go to Heaven when they leave us!! The puppy pictures are ever so sweet!! Thank you!! God bless you, C-Marie

Robert & Angela

Hi Suzanne in Monroe, NJ -- Remember us? We were sitting at the other side of the table nine years ago. Robert had a nice conversation with your mother, Portia.

Ahulani McAdam

Here's a link to him playing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SHlhJL3IlsQ


how we all loved Albertina,a dalmair (a dalmation/airedale! What character! She was named after my Dad's cousin, Albert, and the Albertina Museum in Vienna.

Dawn Johnson

My frenchie Amelie is nine this year also. It seems like I just got her a year ago. I’m thankful she has been so healthy and she still loves to go on walks and bike rides with me every day. I notice how gray she is getting and wish I could just dye her fur around her face dark again so I don’t have to be reminded that she is getting up in years. It I do try to treasure my time with her. It’s just never long enough with our fur babies.

Leslie NYC

This is a post to treasure. So much love, play, silliness, celebration, open-heartedness.
And gorgeous pups with their mama Braise.
I returned from the vet with my cat yesterday. She tangoed with a groundhog two weeks ago, and was scratching at her wounded neck. She was fitted with a short plastic cone, which has worked well to keep her from injuring herself.
I think she will probably be fine, but I have been a wreck!
I leave to work the harvest in Burgundy in 10 days and have to weigh whether to go now.
A friend said to take it day by day, which is sage advice.
Not easy, though!

stephen sam

Lots of people are love their pet animals more and more.

Marcelle Ray

Where does it say how to pronounce these French words? I guess I'm missing that.

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