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Friday, August 28, 2009


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Hi Kristin,

Thanks so much for the puppy pictures. They will be appreciated at home...

I think the actress's name is Sophia Loren - she's Italian, you know.

Annette Bush

Good story and well-told, Kristen. I csn only imagine the same story from 'their' point of view!


Annette and Jens: thanks for your note and help. Off to fix my mistake now...


P.S.: Annette, I'd love to read their version of the story -- I think....

Bill in St. Paul

Yes, great story, Kristen. The puppies are very cute, but I still remember house-breaking our Golden and I'm not yet ready to do it again. Besides, as I've said, we have grandchildren now and they take up much of our time. I think the plan now would be to get one of our children to get a dog then we'd have the best of both worlds: grandchildren and a dog to love and care for when needed but yet the freedom to travel when we wanted to.


The puppies are adorable - it takes me back to the litter (of 7) we had a few years back. I hope you are prepared for the stage when you have to feed them and they become mobile: the mess, the noise, the trying to contain them (continually doing a headcount!). I wasn't prepared for the noise - folk phoning us would ask what was happening in the background!
We would breathe a sigh of relief when they would all fall asleep in one big gently moving heap, after a period of activity - usually spent trying to escape from whatever we had tried to contain them in!
It was enjoyable mayhem, but thoroughly worthwhile - we kept one of the puppies which I think you mentioned you might do too.

Jane Robinson

I have enjoyed your writing for several years now. We have traveled to France and Italy for the past 10 years and keep trying to make it to Croatia. We are now looking at May 2010. How did you get from Italy to Croatia. I believe you drove through Italy? Did you take a ferry? I would love more information if possible.
Thank you.


Bill: enjoy those grandchildren -- and eventually "the best of both worlds". Re the house-breaking, this brings me to Fiona's comment...

Fiona: oh, yes! I am aware of the upcoming mess and -- oh what's that word... *cacophony* that will echo from the stairwell throughout the house. And I'm already wondering how we will "contain" those puppies! We'll be out in the field, at some point (harvesting) so the saying "while the cats away the mice will play" comes to mind... and makes me a bit uneasy! How long did your puppies nurse?

Jane: merci! And we drove from the Vaucluse all the way to Croatia. We stopped overnight in Italy, followed by a 14-hour drive (traffic) the next day. I hear, as you say, that the ferry is an option (the train, too). We needed our car to continue our drive to Austria.


On the topic of being welcoming, there is a nice little blog:

On that site was once a wonderful quote by John Muir:

"Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul."

I think it's interesting that Adriana and her family work, live, play off of their natural environment much like the Espinasse family!!

and... speaking of blogs (kinda) - Have you seen Julie & Julia?


Thank you so much for inviting us with you into the charming home of "Sophia" and son. How nice it was, albeit a half-world away, and days later, to share my morning coffee with them and you (while Jean-Marc knocked back the grappa -- revenge is divine). I wonder how the catch was today?

The puppies are precious -- hope there is no Cruella De Vil lurking nearby to sweep into your home with hopes of a new fur coat (although I have noticed there have been quite a few "Cruellas" who have sept onto your blog to steal your joy)! Pet and kiss each one for me, please? :-)


I so enjoyed your vignette on the fishermen(women). We should all be so lucky as to enjoy life simply and take pleasure in the unexpected, whether it shows up on our doorstep (or in this case, garage), in the market or walking along a country lane. Forget high blood pressure and stress....let's all sit down with a cuppa and really enjoy the world around us!

Jules Greer

Hi Diane,

You are too much, I now feel at peace, thank you for expressing my feelings in your great comment (Cruella's).




Kristen, loved your story today.
I want to tell you how we dealt with 10 little chocolate labs. Initially we used a little plastic swimming pool. Then we converted a small "mud room" into the puppy home. We bought a piece of linoleum (scrap piece) to put on the floor first then did the traditional many many newspapers to soak up waste. After the pups started "exploring" we used a baby gate in the entry of the mud room. We would lead the little troop of chocolate mischief makers outside to play (placing a gate to prevent them from entering the rest of the house) in our big yard but oh my, how many times we counted to nine... or eight, or seven and had to go find the missing. Loud, exhausting but oh so much fun & laughter at their antics while we had them. Their mom has regular reunions with most of her children when the adopters come to visit. I hope you get to enjoy it too (wear earplugs)!


Karen: I enjoyed the quote and the link (but have not yet enjoyed Julie & Julia. Soon....)

Diane: I'll kiss those puppies for you tonight!

Sandy and Mom : so nice to see your notes -- wish we could all sit down for a cuppa

Linda : wish we had one of those mudrooms... and a newspaper subscription! Oh, we're going to have to get creative... what about burnt (hay-like) grass. We have plenty of *that* after the heatwave! I'll take heart knowing that you had *10* to look after (we only have the 6).

Gina Liuzza

You have the same generosity of spirit as the fisherwoman and her son -- you invite us into your home and life several times a week... you, too, are a treasure. Thanks for sharing with all of us!


Thank you Kristin for the delightful story, and ooooh those puppies, not to forget the bright white kitty!



All I can say is that if I were in France, the female puppy would be marked for me! I lost my dog of 14 years about a month ago. She was a puppy to the last day, and I miss having spring will be a good time. After my hopefully 3 month soujourn to France and Switzerland.


LOve the pictures of Braise and the puppies! sweet, oh to cuddle those sweet plump bundles of fur. Are the children loving this experience? They can now learn how to raise are delegating responsibilies, oui?

Your stories just keep getting better, Kristin...Cheers to the lovely people in Croatia


I can't believe I've just found your blog! I'm really looking forward to reading your upcoming posts. A bientot!

Jennifer in OR

I'm not a bit surprised that your visit reached the ears of your landlord. If I had been the fisherman and woman to receive the surprise visit from yourself and Jean-Marc, I know I would have told whoever crossed my path about this amazing and lovely Franco-American couple! What a blessing that must have been to their day. I do hope that Adriana's husband can return to them soon and someday make a living again at fishing in their village.

Carol Squires

Thank you for sharing such warm, loving pictures of your puppies!

Susan Radatz

Apologies in advance to contact you with a correction, but here goes. "If the little fishing village in question was sans tourists, . . ."

I believe the subjunctive is needed here. Perhaps the correct sentence would be:
"If the little fishing village in question were sans tourists, . . ."

I never understood this in English, but when I studied French, it made sense.


Christian Louboutin Platforms

In Dutch it's called a 'kapje' which literally means 'little hood' or 'hat', i.e. the top (whichever way you hold it). I suppose that makes sense as it 'tops' it all off!
By the way I can't believe all those people out there who throw away their "kapjes"

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