Aviner: a French verb having to do with winetasting
ceci et cela

des en peluche


The exact meaning and origin of "fuzzy dice" is unclear, but one theory holds that U.S. pilots in World War II used dice in their cockpits for good luck, and they continued the practice when they came home from the war. (Text & image from Wikipedia)

dés en peluche (day on peh loosh) noun, masculine

    : fuzzy dice

Audio File: Listen to Jean-Marc pronounce these French words: (Download MP3 file)

dés en peluche. Fuzzy dice... ce sont les dés en peluche suspendus au rear view mirror. Fuzzy dice... they are plush dice suspended from the retrovisor.

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

"Trying to Wrestle a Sou Out of You-Know-Who!"

I am wandering aimlessly through an auto-parts store, killing time. I arrived a day late to pick up a repaired pneu, but the man behind the comptoir tells me: ce n'est pas encore prêt.

My eyes travel over to la salle d'attente, where a few aluminum chairs and a stack of curdled car magazines are about as inviting as a baseball dugout. On second thought, I'll roam the field....

I travel up and down the aisles of the auto-parts store, quite unsure of what I'm looking for. I begin to wonder whether this may be, after all, the store's sales strategy:

...when wide-eyed woman comes to collect repaired item... indicate the "waiting room" (pointing out the hard chairs, coffee-cups strewn floor, and sticky motor magazines)... and watch her run for the pricey auto-parts aisles!

The ploy works and before I know it I am shopping for items that have never seen the doodled pages of my shopping list: car tattoos, escape hammers, and fuzzy dice.

Fuzzy dice! They have those here in France?! Suddenly I am transported out of a foreign land of auto parts... and into a universal meeting ground. Though I have never owned a pair, I can somehow (in the vague recesses of my mind) relate to fuzzy dice, or "les dés en peluche". Is it an American thing?... or is it something kitsch (like lava lamps and garden gnomes--which also exist in French homes and gardens)?

I stand for several nostalgic minutes, filled with fuzzy, dicey memories of times past, but in the end the ploy does not work (...though I almost, just almost, buy one of those "head lights": a battery-powered lamp on a hairband. Is it for staring into the car's engine? Or part of a survival strategy? (...to go along with the escape or "life hammer", which, by the way, doubles as a seat-belt scissor in the event of entrapment!!!)
Anyway, I might have purchased the headband-lamp-majig (and used it to read in bed at night)... had not the man behind the counter shouted "à vous, Madame". Turns out my tire is ready...  

I fix triumphant eyes--batting lashes and all--on the salesmen behind the counter... if theirs was a money-digging ploy... well then it's no dice, les gars! I have all I need today.

Le Coin Commentaires
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Update: For those of you wondering just what were the rare wines tasted during Monday's visit to Burgundy... check out the answer in the comment's box to that "aviner" edition. (P.S.: don't forget to come back and read the rest of this edition... with photos and a note from my Mom.)

French Vocabulary

un sou = a cent (centime)

le pneu = tire (tyre)

le comptoir = counter

ce n'est pas encore prêt = it's not ready yet 

la salle d'attente = the waiting room

à vous, Madame = your turn, ma'am

les gars = guys

Michel thomas
Michel Thomas method for learning French: learn at your own speed--listening, speaking, and thinking through the language. Order 10 CD program here

"My Boys": Max and Smokey-Doo


For Jules... a new photo of her grandson... 

The following soapbox happens when your mom is a regular in the comments box! My mom, Jules, writes:

Regarding MAX'S day-beau (I know I have slaughtered that word, but spellcheck is dumber than I).

I believe you must have run down to the cellar and stuck the microphone in his face around 6 a.m. demanding his help. He looks shocked and cold and sleepy - what a great sport he is to put up with you.

I, of course being Max's #1 fan, think you should make him a regular on your blog...give him a little warning before you place him in front of 40,000 people and better yet, have a little conversation plus the word.



 *Note: Mom is referring to the video (seen at the end of this post) that Jean-Marc made of Max. And Mom's right: Max was dragged out of bed in time to be pushed in front of the video camera (this, after he swiped my own microphone the day before... making "ideal working conditions" impossible for this fly-by-the-seat-of-her pants publisher!)

Time for another read? Would you like to learn a few more French words, in the process. I hope you'll take a minute to read my story about passing the French Drivers Test!

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For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety