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Friday, August 20, 2010

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Bill in St. Paul

Great story, Kristin, that I can relate to as ma belle-mère is quatre-vingts-sept and VERY unsteady on her feet. Many a time I've helped her navigate the eleven steps up to our house. It's led to many discussions between my wife and myself about our troisième age and what comes afterwards. I think with advancing medicine and longer life there is a quatrième age which is where we become more home-bound and doctor/medicine dependent - a state that not all of us may want to be in.

Good luck, Smokey. Hope the vet can get that wound to close up.

Roseann

Thank you, Krisitin for a lovely story- Would that we all have a Kristin to hold our elbows in our troisieme age.

Karen W  (Towson, Maryland)

Lovely story. She is fortunate that you are patient and understanding and you are fortunate that she still makes the effort to accompany you through the antiquated streets of France. We see charm - she sees danger.

At 54, I have already taken several tumbles that have fortunately only caused me embarrassment, sciatica and twisted ankles.

Alas, je suis une femme d'un certain age. I call it my "slow dancing" phase. I'm not yet ready, though, to call myself a senior citizen.

Poor Smokey. I'll bet he knew SOMETHING was up. I wish him a quick recovery - poor guy. Keep us posted.

Lovely photo, Kristin. It's so nice to have you back. And a big thanks to JM for lending his voice (albeit a reluctant one?)

Mindy

I think this one was written from the heart!!!

Jeanne

I just turned 64 and received the Beatles song of the same subject, "Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I'm 64?" I asked my husband. A quel âge commence le troisième âge? Not at 64! Unless of course, you are going to the movie theater where you get a discount if you're over 60!!

Elaine, VA

A day without Smokey R Dokey is a day without sunshine! Bon chance Smokey.

Eileen deCamp

Sweet story Kristin! I also love the sweet faces of Braise and Smokey as they snooze on the floor.

Joyce Hoover

I, too, love the ooze of love coming from the page. Oh, damn, I am sooooo homesick I can't stand it. Love Joyce Hoover

Mona

Oh my goodness… what a lovely gilded site to start the morning with! I’m a new commenter… and let me say… the charming city photos, your beautiful golden babies, the sweet writing… all so energizing and cheering. My best wishes to Smokey. I'm sure he can be nothing but brave as he faces surgery... and you nothing but loving as he comes home to heal.

Patricia Anzalone

You'll do great Smokey -- You're ONE after all -- a big boy. With all you've been through, this is a stroll in the fields!
Patricia in sunny Virginia

Mary St. Mary

Smokey--best wishes are coming your way from Buffalo, NY and my three Pekingese. Be good for the vet and heal quickly. Special prayers to St. Francis for you today!

Candy in SW KS

A wonderful story, Kristin. I decided when I turned 55 that I was only willing to be a "senior citizen" if it meant a discount on something. Otherwise I'm 39! ha! I feel blessed that I'm able to be here in KS at this time to help care for my mom. I can see all sides of this aging issue! And thanks for the update on little Smokey. I hope all goes well for the precious little guy. We've been routing for him for a long time and I, personally, always look forward to updates on him and his lovely maman. Especially when told by you, chere Kristin!

Fred Caswell

Chere Kristi, it was sad yet a pleasure to imagine being the recipient of your caring arm and concern for your belle-mere for this trosiemme age is but a few steps from needing such care, vraiment.. Comme toujours (et wondering?) Fred

Cheryl in STL

This is a wonderful story! And I'm right there with Candy--the discounts are fine and I will take them, but the age of my heart and mind is more like that 39! (Until until I remember that I have a son who is 30 himself!!)

Fred Caswell

Une correction, "troisieme".

Erin

Good luck, Smokey! Wish you all the best and a speedy recovery, sweet boy.

XO

Erin in Atlanta

Coffeedog

I hope Smokey Dokey recovers quickly!

Bunny Freidus Steel

What a lovely story! Your belle-mere is most fortunate to have you as part of the Espinasse clan. As a 67 year old who just took two tango lessons last week with her 75 year old husband, I urge you to make sure she never give up dancing until she can no longer walk!

Sorry to hear Smokey had to have another operation. Best wishes for a speedy recovery.

Georgia Catasca

My husband and I rented the house in the Loire Valley for the month of June 2011- in about a year. It has 4 bed rooms and I know it will be wonderful. We got this from YOU - WORD OF THE DAY. It is a small village of 700 people and is within ten minutes from chateaux.

We are troisieme.!! Our children will be with us for one week - and the other weeks, we will have friends visit us.

I look forward to your messages and your philosophy. Thank you.

Georgia Catasca

Joan Linneman

That was touching... I loved your segue from Elvis to David Bowie to "ground control."
Joan L.

Missy

I remember feeling blue at 48 about turning 50. When a Dear 84 year old friend smiled and sighed, "Ah, 50! The old age of youth, and the youth of old age." So I figure I'm starting into my second childhood right?
It is an adventure that seems to take some of us by surprise. After all, in my head I'm still 16, its just my body that's starting to give me raspberries, that and a slight hitch in my get along 0.o

Wishing Smoky "R" a speedy recovery!

OXOX
Missy

Aunt Janet

Your story today brought back memories of my two beloved mothers-in-law. They both inspired me to try to be the best in-law I can be, in their honor. Thanks for a lovely post, and best wishes to Smokey.

Julie Schorr

Lovely story, Kristin. Your Belle-mere is so fortunate to have you in her life. I was wondering something about Smokey. Did the owners of the dogs who attacked him on your property ever take responsibility for the attack? I wish Smokey a full and speedy recovery. He is precious!!

Julie
(By the way, I loved that song by David Bowie too!)

Anne Wirth

Hmmmm,I am in that delicate age range, I guess. It is a pain but I am glad I made it.
You are a wonderful daughter (and in law)and so I can imagine you when you are old and how wise and beautiful you will be. Something to look forward to.

Hope all goes well with Smokey. Hope his recovery goes well.

Anne

Linda

Thanks for this, Kristin! A lovely piece filed with humor, connection and love. My parents - both in their eighties - have come for a visit, and I am delighted to find them both healthy, happy and still as mischievous and active as they were fifty years ago. Dad was telling me they just bought a new mattress for their bed. The salesman was trying to sell them an expensive one exclaiming, "This model will last twenty five years!" My dad, who was reading the fine print on the tag, peered over his glasses. "How about something a little less expensive that will last...oh, fifteen years or so?" I hope I will be as active,healthy and alive as they are thirty years from now!
Smokey, we are all pulling for you! I know you will come through with flying colors!
Love and hugs,
Linda and Co.

Linda C.

Dear Smokey, I'm sure the vet will fix it this time. It might hurt a bit after the surgery, but I'll bet there will be pills to help with the pain. Let's hope this heals the wound once and for all. We'll be thinking of you in Bisbee, Arizona. Love, Linda C.

Cerelle

It's been a while since I have commented, too busy I suppose, but this one caught my heart and tossed it into my throat! As one of the troisième age, (still healthy, lucky me) I see too many friends passing away, and have spent much of the summer taking meals and solace to dear friends who are dying of cancer. Not easy, this getting older, and how blessed is your belle-mère to have you there for support, both physical and emotional. Enjoy every minute of every day..my motto! Hugs and the best of life to you!

Hilda Brooks

Pls. let us all know asap when Smokey is out of surgery and beginning his recovery. Special love to him today.

Kate Johnson

Yes, today's story was one of your best. We were there with you and your belle-mere! I am so sorry that the brave Smokey has to have another surgery, but we all hope and pray that this may fix everything, and he won't have to go through any more. He has the kindest eyes, eyes that have known their share of suffering and can empathize. What a special creature! Much love and healing energy for him, Kate in Minneapolis

Mona

Lovely story and good luck Smokey! We wish you all a great weekend!

xx

Mona

Newforest

Hi Kristin,

I'm "back" (mmm, more or less) and would like to use the "Coin Commentaires" to answer your call for help with the FRENCH VOCAB LIST.

First of all, tous mes meilleurs souhaits pour que tout aille bien avec Smokey!

Allez Smokey, ca ira
et tout se terminera au mieux pour toi.
Sois patient, et tu verras!
---------------------------

Let's start with the French word of the day in the title:

---> enchanté(e)
= enchanted. It's used for a forest / a castle / a garden, in fairy tales
Ex: "la forêt enchantée" = the enchanted forest

= delighted
Ex: “enchanté(e) de vous rencontrer” = delighted to meet you)


---> troisième âge = the elderly, the senior citizens


---> J'étais “fine comme un haricot”.
A picturesque way to say: J'étais très mince! = I was very thin
-> I was as thin as a stick / as a rake / as a toothpick.

Here, the “haricot” in question is a “haricot vert” (in England, the long green and very thin pods are called “French beans"!.. and in the US? )


--> danser = to dance (careful, in French, you dance with “S”, not with “C” ...
-> je dansais = I danced / I used to dance / I would dance


---> "Ne me fais pas crier “Manon” dans toutes les langues!"
-> crier = to shout
-> Ne me fais pas crier "..." = Don't make me shout"..."
-> dans toutes les langues = in all languages

Interesting point to notice:
Look at the amusing and exquisite substitution here (“Manon” → for “mais non”)
-> "Ne me fais pas crier “MAIS NON!” dans toutes les langues!"

“Mais non”, expression used as a negative reaction to any advice or suggestion, shows a disagreement. It is like an emphatic 'NO'/ of course not!
So, what happened?
The sound “è” of “mAIs” (casually) turned into the sound of the French vowel “a”, and this is how "mais" became "ma". To “MA”, add “NON”...
et voilà, you can now hear “Manon”, the very sweet name of a lovely French young lady.

For those interested: “Manon” is the title of a charming XIXe century “opéra comique” by Massenet, based on Manon Lascaut, an XVIIIe century novel by Prévost.


Kristin, if this appears twice, (technical hiccup, sorry!) would you please remove the first version and keep this one. Merci bien!

a bit more dans quelques minutes....

Herm in Phoenix, AZ

Salut Kristin,

Thanks for the humor. As an eighty old, I can sure relate to your story. Fortunately, I’m still very active physically.

The one problem I do have is that when I go for a hike in the desert now days, the buzzards start circling overhead and that’s sort of annoying!

Gwyn Ganjeau

Kristin, Kristin, Kristin. You took my breath away. I think this post was you on a page--sweet, smart, insightful, soulful, thought-provoking and funny. It was a privilege to read.

This story made me think about the gentleness and tenderness with which we interact with babies and those of vintage years, aware of the fragility of those days. But in truth, all the years in between are also fragile--and I will try to cradle more heads and support more forearms. Thank you for leading me to that.

(Jules, how are you? I miss you!)
Gwyn

Kristin Espinasse

Dear Hilda and friends, thanks for asking for an immediate update! Smokey is back home now and just ate three kinds of pie (dont tell the vet). When he didnt refuse the first bite, other sweets were tried, savored, and appreciated. They say hunger is a good sign for humans, why not for dogs? 

He looks in good form, has a half-dollar size mark on his cheek with staples and stitches -- all covered with some kind of silver ointment. We are relieved to see him doing so well after this small surgery. Will keep you updated. Thanks for your caring notes.


Newforest: Merci beaucoup for this informative vocab section! Wonderful to see mais non / Manon, though I wonder if I heard my belle-mère correctly. It seems, from reading your notes, that all is fine with the Manon substitution :-)


Thank you all for these lovely notes! How refreshing on this hot summer night.
Happy weekend to all.

Kit Wilson

Ground control
to Smokey "D":
may your healing
PERFECT be!

with love and admiration from your human, feline and canine fans in Guelph, Ontario, Canada

ps -- Best regards to your lovingly concerned famille too!

bev

You've given us such a tender and caring vignette. When I look at the picture your belle-mére she looks little older than I am. And though I too don't want to fall and break anything I don't want to think I've reached le troisième âge yet either. I still need to take the arm of my own belle-mére sometimes.
Love and good wishes, Smokey. I hope everything goes perfectly.

Suzanne, Monroe Township, NJ

Kristin, Today's story brought back memories of assisting my mom last autumn as we navigated up to our rental in Sablet, up to the Medieval section of Vaison, through the narrow streets of St. Remy! She did just fine and can hardly wait for our trip this year. Looking forward to seeing you at the end of September and seeing a healthy, healed Smokey Dokey.

Eileen

I can't find the meaning of "yuss" in my dictionary

Stacy, Applegate, Oregon

Heartfelt story, beautifully written! Today, my heart goes out to dear sweet Smokey and family --- wishing he is home soon and for a complete healing of his wounds. What a treasure he is!

Heidi

Glad to hear Smokey is home and doing well so far!

Your belle-mere is lucky to have such a belle-fille! :-)

Marguerite

Sweet Smokey--such a trooper! I hope the surgery is successful and he is home soon!

Karen from Phoenix, AZ

So glad to hear Smokey is doing well. Sox says Woof! Woof!

Herm in Phoenix, you always make me laugh.

Yes Jules where have you been miss you too!

Way to hot here in sunny Phoenix, AZ

Newforest

Kristin, here is the second part of the French Vocab List for this "troisième âge" newsletter - now, I can see the proper title put at its proper place! (et j'en suis "en-chan-tée")


---> accompagna[teur] / accompagna[trice]
→ in music = accompanist
→ in travelling (with children) = an accompanying person (adult)
→ in travelling with adults = courier, accompanying person


---> la nostalgie = nostalgia
Ex: “Elle a la nostalgie des années 60” = She feels nostalgic for the 60s (yes, this does apply to your belle-mère!


---> le/la complice
= accomplice, companion, partner in crime


---> espagnol(e) adj & noun
→ “le balai” being a masculine noun, the adjective “espagnol” qualifying “le balai” is masculine too (hence, no “e” at the end of “espagnol”)


---> la parole = speech
→ les paroles (of a song) = the words of a song, the lyrics
-----------------

Many thanks!
I love the way the musical background creates a link between the different parts of the story, between past and present, between dancing at high speed and now, walking slowly and carefully, in need of a support.
I can visualise the frentic "twist" of the "yéyé" 60s in France, when your belle-mère used to dance and dance “avec vigueur et enthousiasme”. The walk on the worn out steps & cobblestones, "bras-dessus bras-dessous", rocking and nearly rolling over is such a strong reminder of the frailty of "le troisième âge" - and of life in general, whatever your age!

Marianne Rankin

The picture of Smokey looking at you is great- he appears both happy and trusting.

I keep saying age is a state of mind. I do what I can to stay in shape in le troisieme age, which apparently is 60+. If we stay active, it will help with our sense of balance, etc.

Yes, the belle-mere is lucky to have you, both for physical support, such as holding your arm, and companionship.

Bill & Lee Mears

We especially love the stories about Smokey R Dokey. Those wonderful photos also! What beautiful creatures. Hugs for Smokey and a quick recovery. Bill & Lee

Herm in Phoenix, AZ

Karen in Phoenix.....If you live in Moon Valley we might be neighbors. Send me an e-mail from my blog (click on my name)

Susan Carter

Love all your stories Kristen even though I don't get to them all the same day they're sent. So glad Smokey is doing so well--I'm sure he will be an even handsomer fellow (if that is possible) now. The dog pictures are terrific and really make me smile. Your pictures of France make me nostalgic and homesick for my favorite place.

Ron Cann

Actually what I thought was the most interesting aspect of today's post was your response to your husband's comment: "Non, non.....non,non,non." (Tu es devenue vrai francaise!)

marjorie

For the sweet article about senior citizens, the verb is "danser," so the conjugation would be "je dansais."

Dianne

I love that beautiful French word Belle-Mere!! such a soft expression.
I attend the U3A here in Adelaide which is the "University of the 3rd Age"
it is a fabulous way for Seniors to go back to study. I have loved the classes History of Art: French: Italian: Astronomy and music. I think this organisation commenced in France and I am forever grateful for it.
~Dianne~

Newforest

---> "FaiS-le" = 'Do it', with S and a hyphen in between
"Fais-le toi-même" = Do it yourself

---> "Je danSais! Mais JE DANSAIS"!
Remember that in French,
you always dance with “S”, not “C”


by the way, here are a few more useful clues:

-> In French, your carrots need only one “R” but an extra “T"
-> your envelopes prefer a double “P”

-> French exerciCes? mais oui, mais oui,
Always, always with a “C”

“Ainsi soit-il” (= Amen)

---------------------------

A la belle-mère de Kristin,

Yes, I can imagine you dancing "le twist" at great speed! Unforgettable 60s, n'est-ce pas?
Thanks to Kristin's writing, we've shared your feeling of nostalgia and enjoyed Elvis's songs 'piping in on the loud speakers of our minds', specially if/when we feel 'old and feeble'.
Do take care, will you?
and enjoy your time "en famille"!

"Merci mille fois" for the recipe of your very own "gâteau au chocolat".
Looking forward to your own "tapenade" recipe... one day ...
"Un grand MERCI" ("à l'avance")

---------------------------

To anyone interested in Michèle-France's Chocolate Cake, you'll find her recipe
* on page 107
* First edition of French Word-A Day, Summer 2009 stories, by Kristin
or
* in the Second edition of the same book,
* on page 105, following a wonderful illustration of the cake sprinkled with icing sugar and superbly presented on a Belgian faïence dish!

Diane W. Young

Chere Kristin,
What a great message today. Mon mari is in a short-term rehab center from too many falls (fortunately no broken bones) and, at 79, he is workingt hard for an early Sept homecoming. His roommate is a recoverng stroke victim who's been trying since June to get in good enough shape to go home. Sometimes he cries with frustration and it affects me, my husband, the daughter and grandchildren to see him like that. God has blessed us with this experience in our life. We eat dinner with some other folks, patients and family members, and have a really good time. One of the servers says we party every night,. My husband has made so much progress and we see others having the same experiences and it is so encouraging. Your belle-mere is very blessed to have you, a sweet ange.
Smokey - it's going to be okey-dokey. You are a class act and we all love you, mon petit chien.

Patricia Flournoy

Hi Kristin,
Keep taking such good care of your Belle Mere..And give Smokey a big hug and tell him he is in our thoughts for a speedy recovery...Hang in there, Smokey!
a bientot...

Ophelia in Nashville

A late post!

What a kind and compassionate belle-fille you are.

Hope Smokey is recovering well....

maryplsn@yahoo.com

You certainly got a response from this story Kristin! only you could make a dance out of this walk with someone dear to you. I also had the honor of " dancing" with my Belle Mere.
Keep "dancing" you two. Its a beautiful sight!
Hugs and kisses to Smokey.

Violette

I love when you can bring a tear to my eyes and laughter from my heart all at the same time ...Merci Becoup and may we always
choose to dance ....

Alexis

Kristin,
I LOVE the way you cherish your belle-mere! Enjoy her and dancing while you can.

Christine

Kristin,

You are clearly a very considerate belle-fille!

I just came across the term "la troisieme age" fairly recently. I like the sound of it much better in French. I didn't think of it as translating as senior citizen!

Poor Smokey has been through a lot. I hope the surgery is successful and that he will be good as new.

Julianna P.

Blessings to you for your love and compassion ... you and your belle mere are both so blessed, as is beautiful Smokey. Bon chance (sp???) to all!

Newforest

Petite correction

Back to my first comment earlier on, I said, about
---> J'étais “fine comme un haricot” that it was a picturesque way to say:
“J'étais très mince” = 'I was very thin'


mince, for a person = SLIM
so, better to translate “J'étais très mince” by:
'I was very SLIM'


for a person, 'thin' = MAIGRE
BTW, there is a French expression with “maigre”
→ être maigre comme un “clou”
= to be as thin as a 'nail'

Joanne Johnson

So glad to hear that Smokey came through the surgery okey-dokey. May he continue to recover perfectly. I love photos and stories of him and his beautiful mother, and I'm touched by your love and compassion for him, for your belle-mere and all your family. What a blessing you are, Kristin!

Jon-Henri

I think you should write a children's story and call it "Smokey and the Bees" that dog seems to have lots of adventures. In fact, I think he should send a bottle of your wine to David Liebovitz, the food writer who lives in Paris. Now I am going to try and make an apple tartin I read about on southern fried french.

Julie Dufaj

Your tender solicitation toward your belle-mere and her fiery teasing response touched a chord with me today, Kristin.

A friend of mine once asked his 86-year-old uncle, "What is it you would like young people to know about people of your age?" Uncle sighed deeply and touched his breast, answering, "The tragedy of old age is that we are still 18 in here!"

Jo Ellen

Sweet story, Kristin! As someone who is also caring for an elder, my 92 yo mo in law, who is frail and lives with us part of the time, it made me stop and think about the challenges of being so dependent when you are used to being so autonomous. Your bellemere shows a lot of grace as she copes with the changes of age...wish her bonne continuation!
Bises,
Jo Ellen

Candice

Poor little Smokey R Tokey, still suffering from that brutal attack. I hope this treatment is the last of it for him.

Loved the story of your Belle-Mere. She's so lucky to have you. I hope she realizes that!

Kristin

Merci encore for the most lovely messages!

Julie, forgot to answer your questions about whether or not the owners of the dogs that attacked Smokey are helping with expenses: yes, so far their insurance is covering it.

Newforest, thank you for the additional vocabulary and for the "yéyé" 60s! (Also, I just noticed a few mistakes that need fixing... will see about that next!) P.S.: thank you for the book mention!

Bon courage to all who have family in need of care. Thank you for sharing your stories. Re my belle-mère: I'm lucky to have her too!

Maureen Winterhager

...sorrry, Kristin, but I think the names and race of those dogs should be made public - at least where you live. Next time it might be a child. It happens so often here in Germany that "those" types of dogs: pitbulls, mastiffs, German Shepherds attack and kill small children who fall over.......even the very own family dog. As you say, ultimately their instinct triumphs over training......

Millie

Kristin, This post is old but I just read it. I feel happy everything is now ok with Smokey. I just like to comment that I love the way you describe things. Reading your stories, I often could imagine the scenes in my mind and here, I have the feeling that I was there, watching your belle-mère and you, walking, la main dans la main, with her mostly talking about her youth. Pour tous les gens du troisième âge, il y a toujours la nostalgie. Looking at her photo now and imagining her, aussi fine comme un haricot, dansant le twist makes me smile. Lovely anecdote, Kristin.

Ronni Ebbers

My belle-mère made me laugh, touched my heart and loved to gossip. As she grew older and disabled with crippling arthritis it was my pleasure to visit and help with her shower, her breakfast ... and without fail make sure she got to cocktail hour on time.

Enjoy every minute.

Ronni

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