Friday, August 20, 2010
Stair-painting in Provence = creativity in the Midi. Share some arm-chair travel with a friend or a family member: send someone a free subscription to French Word-A-Day. Click here.
troisième age (twa zee em ahze)
: senior citizen
(a little behind the scenes clip today in which I demonstrate to Jean-Marc how I want him to pronounce today's phrase. Can you hear him tell me "(why not) do it yourself, then" (fait le toi-même): Listen Download Wav file or Download MP3
A quel âge commence le troisième âge?
Senior citizen. At what age does one become a senior citizen?
A Day in a French Life... by Kristin Espinasse
"Elvis in ancient France"
Ah, if only you could have seen me dance! My mother-in-law sighs as we walk arm in arm in the land of olives: Nyons, France.
J'étais fine comme un haricot! You can't imagine it. Je dansais! Mais JE DANSAIS! My belle-mère insists.
"Careful! Hold on! Use the arm rail!," I order my belle-mère, who responds with one of the many moxie mouthing offs that she carries up her stubborn sleeve, even in sleeveless summertime:
"Ne me fais pas crier Manon dans toutes les langues!" she barks, soliciting stares from passersby. What they don't know is that the loose-lipped woman hanging onto my arm is only teasing me. Do not fire up my temper! she is saying, in so many colorful French words. But her technicolor temper doesn't scare me.
The truth is, she is happy for the fussing over by her American accompagnatrice. As I guide her up the ramp and down the smooth and sloping-with-centuries stairs, my belle-mère feigns indignation, though it is hard to hide that frustration of dependency and need--especially for one who used to dance the twist at high speed. And don't get her started on The King of Rock:
"J'ai adoré El-veece! How do you pronounce his name?" She wants to know, her thoughts dancing with nostalgie.
"El vuss," I answer, steering my belle-mère over to the hand rail with a strong suggestion that she uses it. We are climbing the village stairs for a view of the red-tiled rooftops.
"You probably are too young to remember him," she sighs, admiring the hilly housetops below with their range of red tiles, some missing, some cracked, some covered with mold.
I racked my brain for memories. Elvis was alive in the 70s of my American childhood, but I was too busy listening to David Bowie....
Ground Control... presently that is our goal as we navigate the uneven floor of France. Tripping over so much as one cobblestone might put my complice in the hospital. Surely Elvis would sympathize were he watching the two women advancing with caution. If I listened closely I could hear an angel's voice: the King himself singing tenderly to us:
When I'm growing old and feeble
stand by me...
I cradle my belle-mère's forearm and listen as she spills her heart. Fear, she explains, has consumed her in this, her troisième age. She tells me about the recent freak accidents of her women friends "of a certain age": Catherine was pouring detergent into the washing machine when she lost her balance, fell, and shattered her knee. And Sabine was strolling through some foreign town when, slip.... what followed for both women were months and months of rehabilitation.
I thought about my own mom whose life took a turn after she slipped. One moment she was mopping the floors with her balai espagnol... and the next she was lying helpless on the cold wet tiles. She had broken her hip. She came to France to heal only to learn she had breast cancer. A double mastectomy followed.
My belle-mère falls back and I just catch her elbow in time for a discreet "save". By the way we rock and nearly roll over the ancient cobblestones, you might think we were dancing. DANCING! And what with Elvis's paroles piping in on the loudspeakers of our minds, That's All Right Mama, I like to think we were. We can turn our frailties in to footloose and fancy free, if only in our make believe.
That's my belle-mère, on the right.
Le Coin Commentaires
Questions, corrections, and stories of your own are welcome here in the comments box. Click here to leave a message. Merci d'avance!
French Vocabulary (any help with the vocab section is much appreciated. Do you know the definition to one of the French words in today's story? Thank you for sharing it here, in the comments box!
Correct Your French Blunders: How to Avoid 99% of the Common Mistakes Made by Learners of French. Speak and write French as if it were your native tongue! New and used copies available here.
A French standby. Strong, durable, all Emile Henry cookware can be taken directly from the freezer to the hot oven, can go under a broiler and in the microwave; freezer and dishwasher safe. The natural clay is unsurpassed for conducting and retaining heat.
Rosetta Stone French Level 1, 2, & 3 teaches you a new language naturally, by getting you to think, live and breathe the language. Read customers reviews here.
A Day in a Dog's Life... by Smokey "R" Dokey
Smokey says: "I'm no line cutter... but try telling that to the Pinscher, the Rottweiler, and the Samoyed, all of whom watched, beady-eyed, this morning as the veterinarian whisked me away from the salle d'attente into the lurky murky non beef jerky room beyond....
What the impatient patients didn't know was that I was going straight into surgery... while they were waiting for vaccinations. (I'd rather be getting vaccinated!)
But today is the day to re-stitch things. My wound never closed and when a bone began to stick through the opening, alarm bells rang!
Wish me luck! (That's Kristin explaining to me a little about today's procedure and how all will work out.... Do I look as though I am believing her? I hope I am!) Comments welcome here.
Read the story about Smokey's attack and see a photo of him at nine weeks old, stapled back together.
A Message from Kristi: Ongoing support from readers like you keeps me writing and publishing this free language journal week after week. If you find value in this website and would like to keep it going strong, I kindly ask for your support by making a donation today. Thank you very much for being a part of this community and helping me to maintain this site and its newsletter.
Ways to contribute:
1. Paypal or credit card
2. A bank transfer via Zelle, a great way to send your donation as there are no transaction fees.
Or purchase my book for a friend, and so help spread the French word.
For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety
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.
Posted by: Bill in St. Paul | Friday, August 20, 2010 at 01:17 PM
Thank you, Krisitin for a lovely story- Would that we all have a Kristin to hold our elbows in our troisieme age.
Posted by: Roseann | Friday, August 20, 2010 at 01:26 PM
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?)
Posted by: Karen W (Towson, Maryland) | Friday, August 20, 2010 at 01:49 PM
I think this one was written from the heart!!!
Posted by: Mindy | Friday, August 20, 2010 at 01:52 PM
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!!
Posted by: Jeanne | Friday, August 20, 2010 at 02:12 PM
A day without Smokey R Dokey is a day without sunshine! Bon chance Smokey.
Posted by: Elaine, VA | Friday, August 20, 2010 at 02:27 PM
Sweet story Kristin! I also love the sweet faces of Braise and Smokey as they snooze on the floor.
Posted by: Eileen deCamp | Friday, August 20, 2010 at 02:45 PM
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
Posted by: Joyce Hoover | Friday, August 20, 2010 at 02:56 PM
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.
Posted by: Mona | Friday, August 20, 2010 at 03:03 PM
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
Posted by: Patricia Anzalone | Friday, August 20, 2010 at 03:04 PM
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!
Posted by: Mary St. Mary | Friday, August 20, 2010 at 03:04 PM
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!
Posted by: Candy in SW KS | Friday, August 20, 2010 at 03:50 PM
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
Posted by: Fred Caswell | Friday, August 20, 2010 at 03:57 PM
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!!)
Posted by: Cheryl in STL | Friday, August 20, 2010 at 04:01 PM
Une correction, "troisieme".
Posted by: Fred Caswell | Friday, August 20, 2010 at 04:03 PM
Good luck, Smokey! Wish you all the best and a speedy recovery, sweet boy.
Erin in Atlanta
Posted by: Erin | Friday, August 20, 2010 at 04:38 PM
I hope Smokey Dokey recovers quickly!
Posted by: Coffeedog | Friday, August 20, 2010 at 04:38 PM
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.
Posted by: Bunny Freidus Steel | Friday, August 20, 2010 at 04:43 PM
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.
Posted by: Georgia Catasca | Friday, August 20, 2010 at 04:45 PM
That was touching... I loved your segue from Elvis to David Bowie to "ground control."
Posted by: Joan Linneman | Friday, August 20, 2010 at 04:55 PM
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!
Posted by: Missy | Friday, August 20, 2010 at 04:55 PM
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.
Posted by: Aunt Janet | Friday, August 20, 2010 at 05:00 PM
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!!
(By the way, I loved that song by David Bowie too!)
Posted by: Julie Schorr | Friday, August 20, 2010 at 05:04 PM
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.
Posted by: Anne Wirth | Friday, August 20, 2010 at 05:06 PM
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.
Posted by: Linda | Friday, August 20, 2010 at 05:26 PM
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.
Posted by: Linda C. | Friday, August 20, 2010 at 05:27 PM
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!
Posted by: Cerelle | Friday, August 20, 2010 at 05:34 PM
Pls. let us all know asap when Smokey is out of surgery and beginning his recovery. Special love to him today.
Posted by: Hilda Brooks | Friday, August 20, 2010 at 05:50 PM
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
Posted by: Kate Johnson | Friday, August 20, 2010 at 05:54 PM
Lovely story and good luck Smokey! We wish you all a great weekend!
Posted by: Mona | Friday, August 20, 2010 at 05:54 PM
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:
= enchanted. It's used for a forest / a castle / a garden, in fairy tales
Ex: "la forêt enchantée" = the enchanted forest
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....
Posted by: Newforest | Friday, August 20, 2010 at 06:12 PM
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!
Posted by: Herm in Phoenix, AZ | Friday, August 20, 2010 at 06:29 PM
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!)
Posted by: Gwyn Ganjeau | Friday, August 20, 2010 at 06:32 PM
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.
Posted by: Kristin Espinasse | Friday, August 20, 2010 at 06:38 PM
to Smokey "D":
may your healing
with love and admiration from your human, feline and canine fans in Guelph, Ontario, Canada
ps -- Best regards to your lovingly concerned famille too!
Posted by: Kit Wilson | Friday, August 20, 2010 at 06:39 PM
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.
Posted by: bev | Friday, August 20, 2010 at 06:40 PM
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.
Posted by: Suzanne, Monroe Township, NJ | Friday, August 20, 2010 at 06:41 PM
I can't find the meaning of "yuss" in my dictionary
Posted by: Eileen | Friday, August 20, 2010 at 06:43 PM
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!
Posted by: Stacy, Applegate, Oregon | Friday, August 20, 2010 at 06:46 PM
Glad to hear Smokey is home and doing well so far!
Your belle-mere is lucky to have such a belle-fille! :-)
Posted by: Heidi | Friday, August 20, 2010 at 07:36 PM
Sweet Smokey--such a trooper! I hope the surgery is successful and he is home soon!
Posted by: Marguerite | Friday, August 20, 2010 at 08:22 PM
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
Posted by: Karen from Phoenix, AZ | Friday, August 20, 2010 at 08:47 PM
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
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!
Posted by: Newforest | Friday, August 20, 2010 at 09:17 PM
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.
Posted by: Marianne Rankin | Friday, August 20, 2010 at 09:21 PM
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
Posted by: Bill & Lee Mears | Friday, August 20, 2010 at 10:52 PM
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)
Posted by: Herm in Phoenix, AZ | Friday, August 20, 2010 at 11:02 PM
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.
Posted by: Susan Carter | Friday, August 20, 2010 at 11:05 PM
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!)
Posted by: Ron Cann | Friday, August 20, 2010 at 11:34 PM
For the sweet article about senior citizens, the verb is "danser," so the conjugation would be "je dansais."
Posted by: marjorie | Friday, August 20, 2010 at 11:42 PM
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.
Posted by: Dianne | Saturday, August 21, 2010 at 12:26 AM
---> "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
* 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!
Posted by: Newforest | Saturday, August 21, 2010 at 01:57 AM
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.
Posted by: Diane W. Young | Saturday, August 21, 2010 at 04:57 AM
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!
Posted by: Patricia Flournoy | Saturday, August 21, 2010 at 08:51 AM
A late post!
What a kind and compassionate belle-fille you are.
Hope Smokey is recovering well....
Posted by: Ophelia in Nashville | Saturday, August 21, 2010 at 02:01 PM
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.
Posted by: [email protected] | Saturday, August 21, 2010 at 03:13 PM
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 ....
Posted by: Violette | Saturday, August 21, 2010 at 04:28 PM
I LOVE the way you cherish your belle-mere! Enjoy her and dancing while you can.
Posted by: Alexis | Saturday, August 21, 2010 at 06:32 PM
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.
Posted by: Christine | Saturday, August 21, 2010 at 07:51 PM
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!
Posted by: Julianna P. | Saturday, August 21, 2010 at 09:13 PM
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'
Posted by: Newforest | Sunday, August 22, 2010 at 03:47 AM
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!
Posted by: Joanne Johnson | Sunday, August 22, 2010 at 06:13 AM
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.
Posted by: Jon-Henri | Thursday, August 26, 2010 at 03:52 AM
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!"
Posted by: Julie Dufaj | Thursday, August 26, 2010 at 09:25 PM
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!
Posted by: Jo Ellen | Thursday, August 26, 2010 at 10:23 PM
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!
Posted by: Candice | Friday, August 27, 2010 at 05:29 AM
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!
Posted by: Kristin | Friday, August 27, 2010 at 06:18 PM
...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......
Posted by: Maureen Winterhager | Friday, January 21, 2011 at 04:37 PM
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.
Posted by: Millie | Sunday, April 10, 2011 at 05:49 AM
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.
Posted by: Ronni Ebbers | Thursday, July 19, 2012 at 12:23 AM