Almond Trees (c) Kristin Espinasse

       Almond trees, "lemons", or jalopies... near the town of Orange, France.

fugueuse (foo geuhz) noun, feminine

    : a runaway

=> the masculine is fugueur (foo guer)
=>Also: la fugue: running away ; faire une fugue or fuguer = to run away ; le fugitif (la fugitive)

Sound File: Listen to American-accented French... in today's audio file (the Francophones in the house are doing la grasse mat* or "the sleep in"...):
Download MP3 or Download Wav

Braise, "la fugueuse", est rentrée avant hier après un l-o-n-g périple!
Braise, the runaway, returned day before yesterday.... after a l-o-n-g journey

*faire la grasse matinée = to sleep in  

A Day in a French Life... by Kristin Espinasse

"A Sensational Walk in the Country"

There's plenty of time to collect a branch or two of almond flowers alongside the path, or sentier... for our dog, Braise, is dragging and I have to slow down and turn around several times to egg her on.

"Qu'est-ce qu'il y a, Fugueuse?" I tease our 5-year-old runaway. "Trop fatiguée? Et ben, je me demande pourquoi?!"

Our dog's recent escapade was enough to tire out my very tear ducts! Who knew that tear ducts could ache? A day and a half! One entire night! It was her longest disappearance.

What is sure is that our golden girl needs more exercise, more adventure... and it is up to us to get her out and about every day... else suffer another anguishing all-nighter!

Mmanm's photo's 269

"Come on!" I call, heading out to the river. The surrounding grapevines are leaf-bare and a blurry man is pruning them. I squint my eyes but he still won't come into focus, and so I do the wave: the big friendly whoever-you-are-I-salute-you! wave. It works and the stranger returns the greeting!

Braise would like to be even more amicale... she'd like to mosey over and discover just what's in the farmer's casse-croûte... but her roaming days are over (!) and I shout for her to follow us (not that Smokey is following along any better: he's taken along a picnic of his own in the form of one chewy oreille de cochon).

Between Braise's dragging feet and Smokey's smokey treat (he is obliged to pause every two minutes to lie on the ground and chew), ours is a slow stroll.

There is time to collect several branches of wild rosemary, the purple-blue flowers looking unusually true. After a despairing night, my senses are strangley "bright", so that when the noisy mallards glide out of the ruisseau... I am thunderstruck. I stop to watch in awe as the ducks fly off. 

Quickly, I step over to the stream, which is filled with irises -- soon the yellow flowers will pop out. But I am no longer searching for first flowers... it is the canetons that I'm interested in. When will the baby ducks appear?

Ma and Pa Canard are now circling cautiously above our heads and I understand only too well their concern...

I call after our furry fugueuse and our trio walks on amid flowering trees and morning song. It is time for us to return home from this sensual balade. So much to be grateful for. Yes! Thank God, Braise is back! 

Le Coin Commentaires
Join us here, in our community corner. Respond to today's story, offer a correction, or ask each other questions about French or France! Click here to enter the discussion or simply to learn from it.

And here's a recent comment from the What to do in Lyon edition. Margie writes: Wow! This was wonderful reading and many fabulous ideas for Lyon. Could we possibly ask same question but substitiute Strasbourg for Lyon? 

 Hi Margie. Yes, definitely! Stay tuned for the What to Do in Strasbourg - Que faire à Strasbourg edition :-) Meantime, Readers, get your ideas ready... and save them for the upcoming post!

Jean-Marc's USA Wine Tour: Meet Chief Grape and taste his wines in New York this Monday March 7th at Vestry Wines from 4 to 7 PM and in many other US cities !

French Vocabulary

le sentier = path

qu'est-ce qu'il y a = what's up? what's the matter?

fugueuse (fuguer) = runaway

trop fatiguée? = too tired?

et ben, je me demande pourquoi? = well! I wonder why?

amical(e) = friendly

le casse-croûte = snack

une oreille de cochon = pig ears (dog treats). These, and more pet supplies here

le ruisseau = stream

le caneton = duckling

le canard = duck

une balade = walk, stroll


Capture plein écran 01032011 193918 The Paris Wife: Chicago, 1920: Hadley Richardson is a quiet twenty-eight-year-old who has all but given up on love and happiness—until she meets Ernest Hemingway and her life changes forever. Following a whirlwind courtship and wedding, the pair set sail for Paris, where they become the golden couple in a lively and volatile group—the fabled “Lost Generation”—that includes Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, and F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald. Read the reviews, here.

Also see:

Nintendo's My French Coach :

Provendi Revolving Soaps The practical and very neat Provendi revolving soap fixtures have adorned public school washrooms throughout France for years. Now they're turning up in the most chic places. Order here.
It's All About Braise!
Since Smokey, below right, gets most of the blog space... it is time to shine the light on his Mama Braise! Here she is above, in Sept 2009, with Smokey and sisters... 


And though she lets others jump higher... she is the strongest of all!


She saved her son... on that fateful day in October, when two dogs attacked and left him for dead. She barked and barked, chasing them away.

But that doesn't mean she's not une chipie, or "a little devil", ever ready to elope with Smokey's dad, Sam (and ain't he "glam", that Sam (above, left)? Don't miss the story "Lost in Marseilles", when she and her boyfriend almost... almost took the train to Venice for "une fugue amoureuse", or elopement. Click here for the story.

Ongoing support from readers like you helps me continue this French word journal, now in its 18th year! If you enjoy these posts and would like to help keep this site going, please know your donation makes a difference! A contribution by check (click here) or via PayPal (below) is greatly appreciated. Merci!
♥ $10    
♥ $25    
♥ Or click here to send the amount of your choice

You can also support this journal by purchasing our book-in-progress, click here.


Photo of the puppies (beneath my son's legs) with their little identity tags (having just returned from the vet). Read today's picture story "Puppy Fodder" in which Braise-The-Dog and I offer up our ears, fingers, and toes to the Puppy Gods... before they go. (This is their last week with us...)

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le fourrage

    : fodder

Audio File and Example Sentence Download Wav or MP3

Le fourrage est, en agriculture et élevage, une plante, ou un mélange de plantes, cultivée pour ses parties végétatives... Fodder is, in agriculture and breeding, a plant, or a mix of plants, cultivated for its vegetative parts. (Example from French Wikipedia)

A Day in a French Life... by Kristin 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

Have you ever let a band of puppies run all over you? Comment here. If not, I urge you to add this to your 10 things to do in 2010 list! (You are making that list aren't you? Why not share a few of the items with us, here? I could use a few ideas for my list. Thanks in advance for the inspiration!)

Gview Also: if you are planning on attending the American Library in Paris event this Wednesday, Oct 7th, then please be sure to let me know so that I might look for you!

~~~~~~~~~French Vocabulary~~~~~~~~
on a eu assez
= we'd had enough; la mort = death; toutou = doggie


Ongoing support from readers like you helps me continue this French word journal, now in its 18th year! If you enjoy these posts and would like to help keep this site going, please know your donation makes a difference! A contribution by check (click here) or via PayPal (below) is greatly appreciated. Merci!
♥ $10    
♥ $25    
♥ Or click here to send the amount of your choice

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Comme Si de Rien N'Etait

After a spell in Marseilles (Hex in the City?) the dogs are hanging out now, like angels, at the farm. That's the seductrice (winking). Sam "The Man," the gentleman gigolo, is looking camera shy. Click to enlarge this photo.

comme si de rien n'était

    : as if nothing had happened

Sound File & Example Sentence
Download MP3 audio clip

Les chiens nous regardent, comme si de rien n'était.
The dogs look at us, as if nothing had happened.


A Day in a French Life...
by Kristin Espinasse

(Note: The following story is continued from Wednesday's post.)

We wake up to the sound of barking!
Rushing over to the bedroom window, we see no dogs in the cours* below. Hearing more aboiements* I look up to the sky. It is the seagulls that are calling. Cursed seagulls!

The sun is shining brightly, comme si de rien n'était.* The night had the nerve to end, the next day, to begin, sans chiens.*

"What are we going to tell Jackie?" Jean-Marc asks.
Our daughter sleeps, each night, with her hand dangling from the bed, to the floor, where it rests with reassurance on her dog's soft back.

I made two handmade tags and quickly attached them, with twisties, to their collars. We will have new médailles made "illico presto"!

I do not know how to answer my husband's question. I keep opening my mouth, but only the letter "I" comes out. 

"Je vais faire un tour,*" Jean-Marc decides, putting on his T-shirt.
"Wait for me!"

During the ride over to the commissariat,* I see a caniche* on a leash, its owner trotting along, light on her feet.  My face feels so heavy--as if anchors were drawing down the sides of my mouth; it is a strange sensation: the palpable weight of a frown.

I was not brought up to be so negative! "What You Say Is What You Get!" was the only other elixir in the medicine cabinet of my American childhood--that--and a bottle of Pepto-Bismol. There were no cures for lost dogs even then.

*     *     *

At the police station, the droplets of blood have been wiped away. The comptoir is clean and behind it one of the officers is telling us there have been no reports of missing dogs.

We are turning to leave when another officer speaks up: Attendez une minute*... golden retrievers? Ça me dit quelque chose*... Yes, last night... at the train station--il y avait deux chiens goldens en train de s'amuser sur la pelouse.*

"Ce sont nos chiens!"* My husband shouts, his back already to the police officers as we hurry toward the exit.

*     *     *

At la Gare Saint-Charles a man is passed out beneath a tree, beer bottles surrounding his head like a halo. Jean-Marc and I step around the SDF*. There are no dogs playing on the grass, some twelve hours after the last sighting. We head up the famous sky-high stairs.

I see spots of blood on the steps--the same sanguine spots that Braise had left across the kitchen floor last week, before going into heat.
"Braise!" Jean-Marc shouts across the upper esplanade. A few disheveled men, beer in hand, look over to the shouting man. "BRAISE!" he calls out, with force. The men set down their bottles and study the newbie wanderer. 

Braise come here! my husband commands, to the empty air before him, as if our dog would appear, comme ça.* And why not?
"BRAISE, Braise viens*!" I join in, zigzagging forward, looking here, there, in search of a miracle.

I see another homeless man sleeping on a filthy mattress beneath the train station. I hope the dogs slept here, à côté de lui,* so that all might find comfort.

"Let's go back to the B&B and get something to eat," Jean-Marc finally decides.

Driving out of the parking lot, Jean-Marc turns right--changing direction at the last minute. 
"We'll just have a look over here," he explains. The car climbs to the upper-level, behind the train station, where a small square is empty... but for a couple of wayward travelers who are perched, side by furry-side, at the top of some steps, three or four meters from the street.

Ils sont là!* The tired travelers look over at us... comme si de rien n'était.

*     *   *

Once the dogs are locked into the car, with the windows slighly ajar, I turn to thank the hero. "You are king. KING!" I shout, having once mistaken my husband for the King of Spain,** once upon a time....

"I would marry you all over again!" I say, wrapping my arms tight around him, rediscovering the palpability of passion. And a kiss never tasted so good.


Update: Don't miss SAM'S version of this story (in French, of course!)... over at the blog Entre Gris et Rose.

Words in a French Life: Lessons in Language and Love King of Spain: please don't miss the Gallic love story of how I met my husband... and mistook him for un roi. Read the introductory chapter to my book Words in a French Life: Lessons in Love and Language.

An attentive amour.

French Vocabulary
Would some of you like to help define these words in the comments box? Merci!

comme si de rien n'était
sans chiens
je vais faire un tour
Attendez une minute

ça me dit quelque chose
il y avait deux chiens goldens en train de s'amuser sur la pelouse
ce sont nos chiens! = those are our dogs!
comme ça
à côte de lui
ils sont là

Braise, left, and her dashing, doting, date for the night in Marseilles.

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MAP of the Misadventurers' path

View Larger Map

Ongoing support from readers like you helps me continue this French word journal, now in its 18th year! If you enjoy these posts and would like to help keep this site going, please know your donation makes a difference! A contribution by check (click here) or via PayPal (below) is greatly appreciated. Merci!
♥ $10    
♥ $25    
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Now that you know the ending to our lost dog story, we can slow down a bit -- and learn the middle part! (Click on the photo to enlarge... and please excuse the marchand de sable or "sandman" in Sam The Man's eyes, but you'll allow him the excuse of complete exhaustion, won't you?!)

crevé(e) (kruh-vay) adjective

    : exhausted, dead beat

Audio File & Example Sentence
Download & listen to "creve" MP3

Les chiens, qui se sont échappés, sont complètement crevés.
The dogs, who had gotten away, are completely exhausted.

A Day in a French Life...
by Kristin Espinasse

(Note: To read Part One of this story go here).

At the commissariat de police along the Canebière, Jean-Marc and I step up to the comptoir.* I go to rest my arms on the counter-top... when I see gouttelettes* of blood on its surface. My hands drop to my sides and I look over to Jean-Marc, who is already pleading with les policiers*:

"S'il vous plaît... on a perdu deux chiens...."*

Three officers fix expressionless eyes on us. They must think we are crazy. Here we are, looking for a golden retriever in heat... when the person in line ahead of us had been injured. But weren't our own hearts bleeding? Could the officers see the injury inside of us?

They could. Earlier, at Stalingrad square, it was another officer, stationed in a fourgonnette,* who had suggested we stop into this, the Noailles, police station. I had run up to the police truck, after nervously crossing over tram tracks and traffic lanes, to ask whether anyone had reported a missing dog. Only, as the policeman leaned over to the truck's window, to hear me, a few more frantic citizens arrived. The man now standing behind me was drunk--and the woman standing beside him, angry.  "Bon,* I will let you get back to work..." I said to the policemen, wondering whether, to the authorities, domestic anger might constitute a more pressing situation. That's when the officer shouted over my shoulder, to the man and the woman: "Would you two keep your voices down, please?!" Next, he pulled out a notepad.

"Were the dogs tattooed?"
"Yes!" I remembered with a sigh of relief.
"Were they wearing médailles*?"
"Yes... I mean, no! Both dogs recently lost their tags..."
"Have you called the SPA*?"
"Yes--but we got a recording!" I remembered my husband's cynical remark, after hanging up the phone: "Et, bien sûr, ça ne répond pas!"*
"Are the dogs méchants*?"
"No! No, no!" This was the third time that we were asked this question, which still took me by surprise. I had not realized that golden retrievers might pose a threat to anyone! Unless... out of desperation... or in response to what might feel like a threat... Oh, Seigneur!* What if a couple of kids found the dogs and tried to drag them inside, by their collars--when the hungry animals wanted to find their way home? My mind began to draw up disaster.

"Is there a number where we can reach you?" the policeman asked, putting a stop to my imaginings. After carefully noting down the information, the officer suggested we stop into the Noailles police station.

*     *     *

Back at Noailles, I stare at the droplets of blood on the counter, wondering where oh where is our dog--and is she in pain? I hear Jean-Marc's voice, and see that he is turning to leave. "Merci," he thanks the officers, who wish us bonne chance.*

On the corner of Canebière and Boulevard Garibaldi we see Jean-Noël, Sam's owner. He is standing alone, which answers a pressing question. Jean-Noël reports that he has spoken to his wife, Sabine. She confirms that no street accidents--involving dogs--have been reported. Oh, mon Dieu--it is only a matter of time!

"Chances are, the dogs are still roaming..." Jean-Noël says, on the bright side, and I am touched by his hopeful heart. My own heart sinks at the thought of Sabine and Jean-Noël losing their dog--all because of us! "Sam" their golden retriever of eight and a half years... is one of the reasons that travelers flock back to their charming B&B, where the golden host adds so much to the cozy atmosphere.

"I'll head north," Jean-Noël tells us.
"Okay," Jean-Marc says, "We'll head west."

Braise (foreground), limping, Sam her saviour nearby I try not to think about how the dogs may be heading east, or south--advancing in the opposite direction. The situation is hopeless and the dogs--helpless! It is the helplessness and the innocence of the animals that torture us the most. How to explain the nauseating sentiment? It feels as if my own five-year-old child--and his little sister!--had wandered onto a freeway! I can almost hear the cars screeching to a halt, as the "toddlers" toddle across seven lanes of traffic. God help them!

I do my best to keep my thoughts tied up, for fear I'll let loose the wrath of WHY: Why did we bring Braise to Marseilles?! Why didn't we have her spayed?! Dammit, Dammit, Dammit! Maybe if I displace the heavy blame from my heart that is being crushed... I will find relief?

The wrath of WHY continues: Why did we choose this weekend to come to Marseilles! Why did I let my family talk me into getting this dog? I knew she would break our hearts one day... one day....

One. Day. One. One... Focus your mind! One. Love... Love is all. Be loving. There is no use pointing fingers. What we are to do is to love each other through this pain. I reach over to put my hand on Jean-Marc's back, which is wet through his T-shirt with worry. He is weaving in and out of traffic, looking left, to my looking right--our eyes endlessly scouring the crowded boulevards and side streets of Marseilles. I look under the parked cars, up the stairs to the church.... inside the open garages. They could be anywhere--anywhere at all.

*     *     *

Fast forward. It is 2:30 a.m. the next morning....

"Let's do another tour around the neighborhood." Jean-Marc says. The tears in my throat wet my vocal chords so that I do not recognize my own voice. It is a low, slow, slur that comes out: I do not know how to tell Jean-Marc that I want to go to sleep now. I feel too guilty to admit to this. How can one ever stop looking for a lost love?

"I think that's enough for tonight," I say.
"You don't want to do one more circle around the block?" my husband asks, point blank.
"I don't know. I can't make a decision! I want you to decide."

"Ne me mets pas dans une situation embarrassante!" Jean-Marc's words strike back.
"But, I--"
"Ne me mets pas dans une situation embarrassante!"

I am stunned by his unexpected reaction, until I begin to try to translate the French: "Do not put me in an uncomfortable position." It is then that I feel compassion instead of defensiveness. It wasn't fair to ask him to end the search.

And so I end it.

"Let's go in now." And we do, but not before unlocking anxious eyes from the sidewalks, the alleyways, the parks, the gardens and the squares. Oh, Braise--Sam!--are you somewhere out there? Goodnight.

Inside our rented room I ask one last question. "Veux-tu me prendre dans tes bras?"* And I hope my husband's arms will strangle the worry inside of me, in time for us to fall to sleep.


Read the final chapter of this story.

Note: this story continues on Friday. Comments



~~~~~~French Vocabulary~~~~~~~
Would some of you like to help translate these terms in the comments box? Merci beaucoup!

s'il vous plâit... on a perdu deux chiens....
Et, bien sûr,
ça ne répond pas!
oh, Seigneur!
bonne chance
Veux-tu me prendre dans tes bras?

May she never fly off by the wings of her ears (see how they're ready to go!) again!

In books: The Rose Cafe: Love and War in Corsica

Rose cafe Starred Review by Publishers Weekly. Avoiding military service in Vietnam, American author Mitchell spent six months working in the kitchen of the Rose Café on the French Mediterranean island of Corsica, a season of which he recollects in this powerful memoir.

Ongoing support from readers like you helps me continue this French word journal, now in its 18th year! If you enjoy these posts and would like to help keep this site going, please know your donation makes a difference! A contribution by check (click here) or via PayPal (below) is greatly appreciated. Merci!
♥ $10    
♥ $25    
♥ Or click here to send the amount of your choice

You can also support this journal by purchasing our book-in-progress, click here.

chien perdu

Our beloved dog, Braise. Photo taken one month ago...


    : LOST DOG

Audio File
Download Chien "perdu" MP3 file

A Day in a French Life...

by Kristin Espinasse

A terrible thing happened at the breeder's in Marseilles: the dogs escaped.

Jean-Marc and I arrived at the boarder's (who, I now admit, were not really brothel owners at all--but a sympathetic couple who run a charming bed and breakfast near the Gare St. Charles). We had met them--and their dashing golden retriever, Sam--last year, when we rented a room, chez eux,* for the night. When they graciously agreed to welcome Braise for the weekend--at the height of her chaleur*--we couldn't believe our luck.

And now, somehow, that luck has gone terribly amuck. Sabine, the B&B owner, met us at the door of the historic building in the heart of Marseilles. That is when we heard the bad news: "Ils se sont échappés."* The dogs had disappeared.

Sabine was white with worry, having just returned from an initial street search. "Je ne comprends pas!"* she said. How could the dogs have possibly gotten loose? Sabine & Jean-Noël's B&B, an ancient bonneterie,* is located off the busy street, beyond a towering row of sky-high buildings which flank La Rue de la Libération. To enter their home, one has to pass through three doors, one entry hall and a courtyard. How the dogs made it through all of these barriers, to the street, beyond, is one great mystère.*

There was no time to figure it out. Jean-Marc and I turned on our heels and headed back out the door. We had this naive notion that we might find our golden retriever--as one might find a needle in a golden haystack--by sheer chance.

*     *     *

The "haystack" that is Marseilles is nearly two million inhabitants strong. Stepping back out onto the Rue de la Libération, I watch, horrified, as the cars lurch, screech, and speed by. Our Braise, who was reared in the countryside, is accustomed to dirt roads. The most dangerous "wheels" in our area belong to tractors--which occasionally putt-putt past by our farm, a haven that she rarely ventures away from.

DSC_0093 My God, Marseilles. Of all places to be lost! Please God, please God...

I begin questioning the pedestrians. "Excusez-moi... vous n'avez pas--par hasard--vu des chiens?"* Incredibly, a man and his daughter have seen the dogs sans laisses*:

"Two long-haired dogs? Yes, we saw them around 3 o'clock. They were headed that way."

I thank the monsieur, allowing the bad news to register. 3 o'clock? That was 3 hours ago! Just how much distance could two dogs cover in 180 minutes? I look down the crowded street, innocently searching for the dogs -- before it dawns on me that they had been headed toward the crowded Canebière on this saturated Saturday afternoon. 

"Come on!" Jean-Marc says, "We had better take the car." As I begin to cross the street, I feel my torso jerk backward. Instinct. A car honks, angrily, sparing me. Beyond, more cars reel by, jumping lanes, erratically, ever eager to get ahead of the next guy.

*     *     *

As we make our way down the boulevard, I notice how hard--at times impossible--it is to see the sidewalk, where the dogs might still be wandering. The cars, which line the trottoir,* are packed so closely together that they block our view of what might lie beyond.

Lie beyond... Oh mon Dieu!* What if the dogs were lying somewhere in the middle of the street?

Our search on wheels begins. Jean-Marc pulls over the car again and again. "Run in and ask the barman... Hop out and ask the coiffeur*... Go and check with the greengrocer... There's a policeman!" Meantime he throws his head out the window to question pedestrians: have you seen two dogs--goldens? On a perdu deux chiens*... Headshake after headshake, they haven't.

As we drive up one narrow street and down the next, busy boulevard I see many dogs. Each and every one on a leash--lest it be crushed by a car or a tram! I look down to discover, for the first time, the chaotic tracks of man and machine. Looking up again I see a tram rushing forward. Even the homeless people, who almost fade into the background of the busy streets, have their scrawny dogs secured with leashes--and for good reason!

I have never seen so many people in one place in all my life. If the cubbyholes and pockets of this crowded city aren't hiding our dogs--the people are--via one great human patchwork curtain. The absurdity of our search settles in--and seizes us. I feel a lump growing in my throat as shock steals my voice, strangles the breath of hope. We continue our search in silence, here beneath the sun that soon will set.

*     *     *
Continue reading Part Two of this story.


~~~~~~~~~~~~French Vocabulary~~~~~~~~~~~
chez eux
= at their place; les chaleurs = heat (dog's heat); Ils se sont échappés = they escaped; je ne comprends pas = I don't understand; la bonneterie (f) = hosier's / lingerie shop; le mystère (m) = mystery; Excusez-moi... vous n'avez pas--par hasard--vu deux chiens? = Excuse me... you haven't--by chance--seen two dogs?; sans laisses = without leashes; oh mon Dieu = oh my God; le coiffeur (m) = the hairdresser; on a perdu deux chiens = we have lost two dogs


My mom, Jules, and Braise playing together last Spring, in the Vauclusian countryside, not a car in sight.

Ongoing support from readers like you helps me continue this French word journal, now in its 18th year! If you enjoy these posts and would like to help keep this site going, please know your donation makes a difference! A contribution by check (click here) or via PayPal (below) is greatly appreciated. Merci!
♥ $10    
♥ $25    
♥ Or click here to send the amount of your choice

You can also support this journal by purchasing our book-in-progress, click here.


I've lived on funny-named streets before ("Never Mind Trail" back in Carefree, Arizona...) but this one takes the cake: "Rue des Emmerdeurs" (un emmerdeur/euse = a pain in the neck).

*     *     *

Please excuse the temporary change in format. Your editor is feeling very much like a rebel *without* a cause today. (And, Mom, if you are reading this, don't be too mad about my swiping your unfinished painting (see below). I didn't have any other "hooker" photos on file (after my computer crashed last March, remember?) to illustrate today's journal entry. Note: ALL of my mom's paintings are for sale because of the Swine Flu fiasco in her adopted country of Mexico. (Mom's husband has been out of work for several months now! Pray for him and her). Bon, while I'm on a roll now--writing down things that I shouldn't normally speak of--let's see, what else can I share... How about a brothel story?

*     *     *

"Le lupanar" is a synonym for bordel French. Another synonym is "maison de tolérance" (house of tolerance) and the humor is not lost on me as I go about putting together this unexpected edition...

Lupanar... loop... loopy... it is how my brain feels after over-thinking the subject of animal procreation--and ethics--this, after an unexpected response to Wednesday's story column ("tryst"). Against (or following?) my own animal instincts, I offer the following "micro missive".

A Day in a French Life...

Kristin Espinasse

"Stripteaseuse" a painting by my mom, Jules. To inquire about a painting, contact my Mom via Facebook (look for "Jules Greer") We are shipping Braise off to a brothel in Marseilles this morning (room, board, and amour in exchange for one case of Côte du Rhône rouge*). That's right, wine for would-be chiots*--evidence that troc* is alive and well in modern France!

I was going to write a story about our dog's unlikely** journey to motherhood... until some unexpected courier arrived in my inbox, this, in response to a recent journal entry.

And now, in a strange reversal of roles, it is *I* who have performance anxiety.

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PS:  The economy is bad everywhere. The Madame in Marseilles (who runs the brothel I mentioned) tells me they're down to one client: Sailor Sam (the seven-year-old Golden Retriever who happens to be a perfect match for our Braise). Wish 'em luck.

Note: I realize today's vignette might be more maladroit than funny. Comic relief (if only for myself) was my intention. When writing an on-line journal, sharing one's personal life is often a hit-or-miss operation. What's important is to aim with the heart.

Thanks again for tuning in to life here at the vineyard. It is a dream come true to share it with you. I wish never to offend--or to step on anyone's toes--only to capture and share French life... as it ebbs, as it flows.

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Comments, corrections--and stories of your own are still, and always, welcome!

~~~~~~~~~~~French Vocabulary~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
côtes du Rhône rouge = Rhone slope reds (see our Domaine Rouge-Bleu wine ); le chiot (m) = puppy; le troc = (see here)

**Braise's unlikely (journey to motherhood) : Normally, Braise would have been spayed (if I'd have had my way). Note: any further contrarious commentary should be directed to Monsieur Espinasse. (Merci beaucoup! But please go gentle on him... he's still healing from an épaule luxée. Oh, what a week it's been!)

"Stripteaseuse" a painting by my mom, Jules. To inquire about a painting, contact my Mom via Facebook (search for "Jules Greer").


Parisian Bistro Chairs (c) Kristin Espinasse
What could be more delightful than a French town named "Orange"? Photos of a French town called Orange. Don't miss at least 15 pictures in tomorrow's Cinéma Vérité.

Three Random Words:
un épulche-légumes (m) = vegetable (potato) peeler
une olivette (f) = plum tomato
un pressoir (m) = wine press


Ongoing support from readers like you helps me continue this French word journal, now in its 18th year! If you enjoy these posts and would like to help keep this site going, please know your donation makes a difference! A contribution by check (click here) or via PayPal (below) is greatly appreciated. Merci!
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rendez-vous galant

Cabanon & Flower Field (c) Kristin Espinasse
Love Shack. I took a dozen photos of this dreamy field and dashing farm hut, located outside the town of Orange. See several of the images in Saturday's Cinéma Vérité. Updating the French photo site, each weekend, is both a privilege and a pleasure--I hope it brings you as much enjoyment! Check out what CV members have to say, here (at the end of the page).

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rendez-vous galant (rohn-day-voo gal-ohn) noun, masculine

    : tryst (amorous)

un lieu de rendez-vous galant = a trysting place

Audio File & Example Sentence
Listen to my daughter, Jackie, pronounce today's word & example sentence:
Download Rendez-vous galant mp3

Braise-La-Chienne est partie pour un rendez-vous galant dans les vignes.
Braise-The-Dog took off for a tryst in the vines.

Book events: Jill Jonnes (author of Eiffel's Tower) will be speaking at the charming & marvelous Red Wheelbarrow bookstore at 7pm!

A Day in a French Life...
by Kristin Espinasse

The thunderstorms have ceased, the sol* is cool and dry, wet beneath the surface. Jean-Marc and I are having lunch in the front yard, under the Chinese mulberry tree-sans-mulberries. Unlike the mûrier* we picked on Saturday morning, our tree is fruitless. But Dame Nature* has a way of evening the score--the reproductive scoreboard, that is--even when we'd rather be on the losing end.

"Tiens, tiens, tiens...."* Would you take a look at that? Jean-Marc remarks.

My eyes leave a plate of aubergines,* halved, roasted with garlic, tomato, and drizzled with local olive oil. I look across the lawn and see a familiar form in the tall wheat-colored grass beyond. The outline, oddly, amounts to a Scottish terrier.

Oh, terror! I now remember the conversation I had with my daughter last week, after she informed me that our dog, Braise, was en chaleur.*
"We'll see about that later!" I had said to Jackie, not wanting to believe that we were about to attack another round of Dogs in Heat; we had only just recovered from the latest one, after the September grape harvest!

I still can't believe Braise is back in heat--can't believe how blind I can be to all the signs--like those sanguine spots that kept appearing (and disappearing) across the kitchen floor.... Turns out Jean-Marc had been cleaning them up this time.

Back at the picnic table, my anxiety sets in, with every seductive step of the terrier trespasser.
"Calme-toi,"* Jean-Marc suggests. Next, I listen, astonished, as my husband's own blinders go on: "Nothing's going to happen," he chuckles. "That dog is too small!"

"Ha! On peut t'étonner,"* You'd be surprised! I say, unsure of my French, certain of my suspicions.

I watch the terrier-terror tiptoe forward, trying his luck... and I notice, with relief, that Braise isn't reacting--but is busy combing her golden retriever coat with her coarse tongue.

"See. I told you not to worry," Jean-Marc points out.
"T'as raison.* I guess it's not that time yet... her hot-to-trot hormones haven't kicked in."

And just as we sit back and settle in, Braise's hormones begin to spin! With that, we watch, mouths agape, as Braise jumps to her feet, leaps across the lawn to greet Don Juan and, illico presto,* our "demure" demoiselle is long gone!

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Post note: As if a mother and wife hasn't enough to worry about... I watch, with fright, as my newly-crippled husband hops onto his bike! Off he pedals, his upper body in a sling, one-hand on the bar. The bike zigzags and bounces over the soft, sometimes muddy earth, into the feverish field beyond. "Braise!" the broken man shouts, "Reviens!* Bon sang!* R-E-V-I-E-N-S!"

Comments, corrections--and stories of your own--are always welcome and appreciated. Merci!

~~~~~~~~~~~~French Vocabulary~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
le sol (m) = ground; le mûrier (m) = mulberry tree; la Dame Nature (f) = Mother Nature; tiens, tiens, tiens = well, well, well; une aubergine (f) = eggplant; en chaleur = in heat; calme-toi = calm down; on peut t'étonner = you'd be surprised; t'as raison = you have a point; illico presto! = right away!; reviens! = come back!; bon sang! = dammit!

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Name that Flower...

Ever feel like the odd one out? PS: Does anyone know what kind of flower this is (the blue one, that is!) and do you know what it is used / farmed for?

Three Random Words:
= to gossip
un soubresaut = jolt; start (fearful start)
un trublion = troublemaker

Ongoing support from readers like you helps me continue this French word journal, now in its 18th year! If you enjoy these posts and would like to help keep this site going, please know your donation makes a difference! A contribution by check (click here) or via PayPal (below) is greatly appreciated. Merci!
♥ $10    
♥ $25    
♥ Or click here to send the amount of your choice

You can also support this journal by purchasing our book-in-progress, click here.


First radish harvest. The leaves are a bitten, the vase (an old roof tile) is chipped, but the flowers are thriving.

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interdire (eh-tehr-deer) or (un-tair-deer) verb
  to forbid, to prohibit, to ban

:: Audio File ::
Listen to my daughter, Jackie, pronounce today's word and recite the verb's conjugation: j'interdis, tu interdis, il (elle) interdit, nous interdisons, vous interdisez, ils (elles) interdisent:
Download interdire.mp3. Download interdire.wav

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The last five French words: guetter, seuil, deuil, pipette, brouette

by Kristin Espinasse

Braise-The-Dog has been banned from the garden after a series of "neck-breaking" no-no's (that is, if vegetable stems can be said to have necks). Bref,* here's a recap of her recent crimes:

She lay down on the lettuce -- Cric!*
Set her fesse* down on the courgettes* -- Crac!
...and rolled herself right over a bed of radishes -- Croc!

"Sors! Sors! Sors!"* I shouted, frantically waving a handful of just-picked radis.* "That's it! Basta!* You're out!"

And off trotted Braise,
...strut, strut, strut,
lettuce leaves still sticking to her lazy butt.

bref = briefly; Cric (as in "Cric! Crac! Croc!": the Canadian French equivalent of Snap! Crackle! Pop!): http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cric,_Crac_et_Croc ; fesse(s) (f) = bottom; la courgette (f) = zucchini; sors! (sortir) = out!; le radis (m) = radish; basta! = enough!

Easy French Reader: A fun and easy new way to quickly acquire or enhance basic reading skills


More than eighty of the loveliest, most tranquil, and sometimes hidden places in Paris are celebrated in this charming guidebook

In film: Into Great Silence Nestled deep in the postcard-perfect French Alps, the Grande Chartreuse is considered one of the world s most ascetic monasteries....

Refreshing mosterizing mist: vine therapy by Caudalie

Ongoing support from readers like you helps me continue this French word journal, now in its 18th year! If you enjoy these posts and would like to help keep this site going, please know your donation makes a difference! A contribution by check (click here) or via PayPal (below) is greatly appreciated. Merci!
♥ $10    
♥ $25    
♥ Or click here to send the amount of your choice

You can also support this journal by purchasing our book-in-progress, click here.