How to say lawn chair in French
How to say mermaid in French?

Tarpin! A slang word in French meaning "so" or "very" or "super"

Patissier enseign sign Pastry maker in Orange (c) Kristin Espinasse

Random photo... and nothing to do with the BIG FAVOR I want to ask you--except to butter you up. (Will pastry butter do the trick?) I've just joined Goodreads, a site where bookworms hang out and share what they're reading. I invite you to connect with me there and (here's the favor part) add my books to your "want to read" list--but only if you really want to read them! And thanks if you've done so already, helping to highlight the books' existence in a crowded sea of reads. Mille mercis!
tarpin   (tar-pahn)

    : very, so, too (i.e. very kind, so kind, too kind)

 Elle est tarpin sympa! She's so nice!

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

I'll start this series of mini-anecdotes with  a word learned from my 15-year-old:

I read somewhere recently that teens are growing weary of Facebook. It looks like my days of gleaning French vocab from my daughter's FB timeline are numbered... meantime, enjoy these:

  1. tarpin! It's a regional (southern) word and a synonym for "very"--i.e.  Elle est tarpin a-d-o-r-a-b-l-e! (She's so adorable!)
  2. peuchère is defined here
  3. mdr = mort de rire (French equivalent of LOL, or laugh out loud) 

Go Like This

For those of you who envy our relationship, you should know that Mom and I do get on each other's nerves. My controlling side grates on her (i.e. "Mom, how many cups of coffee have you had this morning?" and "You can't ask that stranger for a cigarette! Where's your Nicorette? What's that? You've stuck it on the rim of your wineglass so that you could eat your crème brûlée? But you can't do that with your gum at a restaurant!).

As for me, I get flustered by Mom's fussing....

"Go like this!" Mom says, scratching the side of her mouth. I reach up to swipe another crumb off my face.

"Go like this," Mom says, this time pointing to her front tooth. It seems I've got tapenade stuck between mine.

"Go like this," Mom motions, running her fingers through her hair.

"Mom!" I object. "Laisse moi tranquille!

"I think it's an ant, Honey. Let me get it for you."

And on I go, slapping my head, swatting my cheeks, and brushing my finger across my teeth

(Does your Mom do this? Or your wife?)

 After Mom missed her flight to Mexico (Yea! won another precious day together), she gladly volunteered to help Jean-Marc prune a great almond tree in the garden, taking the opportunity to teach him some English (the lively exclamation Timber!) Only, it was another word that flew out of Jean-Marc's mouth as a giant branch came rushing down--sideswiping my husband, who landed--with the branch--on the ground. As he cursed the diable for another dislocated shoulder (his 5th!), it was now our time to learn some French. Putain de MEEEERRRRDDDDDE!

Rushing JM to ER, I steered clear of a sensitive topic (bricolage or DIY hazards). JM seemed grateful for my silence and didn't dare whimper during the bumpy ride to the ER--no matter how painful it is to luxer son épaule!

Max passed his driver's exam and now I'm sharing my car with our 18-year-old!  One kid's freedom is a parent's limitation and I will need to keep a closer eye on my schedule or end up stranded at home when I really need to be at the centre d'équitation, to pick up my daughter from her riding lesson!

Sun-lounger (or "lawnchair," as we say back home)
Here's the photo I forgot to post in the chaise-longue edition, causing some confusion ("Weren't chaises-longues the kind of chairs where you could put up your feet?" you say (and not like the chair featured in the opening photo"?). Yes indeed:


Stylin Smokey golden retriever in felt fedora hat (c) Kristin Espinasse
Join me on Twitter for the latest, such as this morning's update: Sweetpeas for breakfast--plucked straight from vine that climbs dog pen. Hope Smokey didn't have sweet "pees" before I showed up to harvest....

(Now to get a photo of those sugar snap peas, or mangetouts--and quit confusing you with photos that don't match the subject!)

  Pinhats or pin the hat on the ear, Smokey Dear (c) Kristin Espinasse

"Fascinators" (and I thought they were called "pin hats"). By the way, all those stylish pin hat fascinator-wearers have nothing on Smokey, who managed to balance his trilby on the side of his head, like an English duchess.

Capture plein écran 05062013 120806In books: Paris-Chien: Adventures of an Ex-Pat Dog 

Golden retriever pea gravel Charming! (c) Kristin Espinasse
To leave one of those photo "thought bubbles" for Smokey, click here and share it in the comments box.

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


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Tom B, Jersey City

So sorry about Jean-Marc's shoulder! Wishing him a speedy & as pain free as possible recovery.

Karen  W   -    Towson, Md. USA

MDR!! I loved the "Go like this." story (I know I do this with my kids!) as well as all of the words todays!! I feel so up-to-date now with French hip lingo.

Smokey immediately brought to mind Jimmy Durante and his "Ha Cha Cha Cha" vaudeville style.

Kristin Espinasse

Thanks Karen! Smokey and I enjoyed that and will watch this one next

Pat Cargill

"Hey, Babe, where you been all my life?" says the essence of charm, Smoky R. Dokey. He is too cute, Kristi, and we can never have too many shots of him! Ou est sa maman?

Mothers! Daughters! Quelle tango, bien sur! Tarpin challenging, but balanced by beaucoups love! Hope your shoulder is better, J-M. I swore years ago that I would stay off ladders when a ceiling fan whacked me in the back of my head. Needless to say, I have not lived up to that promise. I love climbing - ladders, the roof of the porch. Yet I know it is becoming more foolhardy. I SWEAR I will stop at 67, next birthday!

Jane Robinson

The secret of a good relationship or friendship is that you can get on each others last nerv and still communicate and love and enjoy each other. Yes, you are blessed.

Bill in St. Paul

Don't all partners try to make the other a better person by "helping" point out things like lettuce caught in your teeth, don't wear those shorts - you look like a raggamuffin, etc., etc., but that's why we love them, they're only trying to get us to a state of perfection.

Lee Mears & Bill Mears

Thank you for the very charming photos of that "man-about-town" Smokey. I agree with Pat Cargill, we can never have too many shots of him and his beautiful maman. The photos of your windows and wall came at a good time, as I'm painting & decorating some birdhouses and using a French theme on one of them. Our art group is participating in a fund-raising project with a sale to be held in Oct. Fun thing to be doing here in Bradenton, FL while the weather is hot and humid. Lee Mears

Patricia Lenny

I am not on Goodreads, but my husband is so he has just added your books to his "to read" list. Love the hat!


Cruisin: my husband and I have a great way of keeping track of our one vehicule. We print out a calendar of the current and next month and keep it on a clipboard. Each person then writes on the calendar what time they need the car on a particular day. Since my husband and I are EQUAL partners in ownership of the car, we work to negotiate and make adjustments to our schedules to minimize conflicts. In your situation, try to keep in mind that it is really YOUR car, and that Max is merely authorized to drive a vehicule, not to disappear with yours whenever he wants. You should never be left without transportation. It is he who must make adjustments to his schedule and learn not to take advantage of his mother and her good nature!


Please a pic of your sweetpeas!! I adore them and am trying to get them going on my balcony. Last year I had a measly BUT perfumed harvest (nothing like the scent of them!) AND the same vines have shot up again this year. Waiting impatiently for the flowers..... Lovely anecdotes of you and your Mum again.....not that I am pleased that you daughter and I do too. It did just seem for a while that you and your Mum had that perfect relationship we ALL think other mums/daughters ALWAYS have and we ourselves don't! Lol....L'herbe là-bas est plus verte qu'ici?

Trina, St. Petersburg, Florida, USA

Still in the hospital with my maman, and these shots of Smokey made me smile. Thank you for that.

Herm in Phoenix, AZ

Smokey’s Poetic Thoughts:

Seems when ever that camera comes out
And she sees me a hanging about
I find myself posing in a weird position
It’s getting to be a family tradition!

Now isn’t this hat thing the last straw
Maybe, I could also wave with my paw
Stay! Don’t move! Say cheese! Click!
The photo sessions are never over quick!

I guess it really a fair price to pay
In return for a nice home to stay
I’m treated well and the food is good
It’s been that way since early “puphood”

So . . . .I guess I’ll stay right where I am
Lights, camera, action . . . Madame!

Faye Stampe, Gleneden Beach, OR

Just joined Goodreads & added your books. Very interesting site.

Love the photos of Smokey --- what a charmer!

I love the mother-daughter dance ----- we all have experienced it. You will be doing the same with your daughter. I tried so hard not to, but I still say just what your mom said to you to my 2 daughters -----and to my grand kids. Ha.

Be well!

joyce bass


You are more beautiful than any flower in the garden!


Our dear Kristi,
Wonderful post today (beautiful pictures!)--as always!
Love hearing about the conversations you and dear Jules share. So reminds me of my own wonderful maman,whom we lost in 1967. So miss her! But thanks to you, I can relive some of our 'discussions'!! (MDR!)
Keeping Jean Marc in our prayers to feel better soon and heal quickly!
Natalia XO
PS Kristi, I don't belong to Goodreads! Will pass on to friends who do!

Bill Facker

BRAVO on yet another great post! All the best to JM as he recovers. Aloha, Bill

Ellen from BH

Smokey as Maurice Chevalier: "Sank 'evvens for leetle girls...." ;-)

Kristin Espinasse

Thanks for the charming poem, Herm!

I hope this comment is posted. A few have disappeare, as well as Bill Fackers comments. Anyone else?

Heather in Arles

Oh my goodness, Kristin! I just got lost for two hours! Between your faboo post and the discovery of Goodreads...!!
But I have never heard 'tarpin' in Arles...hmmm...will keep an ear out for it now...
Am very late for cooking dinner but it was so worth it!!!

Thank you for being you and yes, my Mom is also a magnet for specks of food in her hair, on her skin...I have always thought it was a little balance for such beautiful women as you both are--even if it only makes you all the more charming!
PS. Don't even get me started on Smokey...

Kathleen from Connecticut

Hi Kristin,

A smokey comment......I lam a great Jazz sing! Don't you recognize me?


Betty Tuininga

Well Kristin you sure made me chuckle when i read your recounting of your less than perfect mother-daughter relationship. You realize my dear it was your wonderful storytelling that had us believing that you and Jules had the relationship we we all wanted with our daughters...get real..we loved the story and the occasional peek into your visit, but realistically ideal is boring. I am happy to know that you both have your wonderful little quirks, the kind that make people magnificiently interesting!

Happy to included your book on Goodreads and will connect as well.

Hope that JM is recovering from his nasty collision with the tree branches.
love, bj

Wells Edmundson

There once was a chien juste named Smokey
And in his chapeau looked Okey-dokey
He awoke from a nap
And muttered "what is 'dat"?
"This hat is really a little hokey"


Louis Armstrong, Jimy Durante and Smmmokee....dadadada boom boom boom!!!! Wonderful!
(Have to watch Kristin's clip ;-)!!)

Kristin Espinasse

Heather, I cant believe you just discovered Goodreads! Happy to connect with you there and thank you so much for the very kind compliment. P.S. after spending so many hours at the site, like you did, I went to sleep with a splitting headache and had a fascinating dream about comparative (sp?) literature. 



Diane Young

Smokey is one sexy dude! Glad you had such a long visit with Jules and relieved to read that you're both human. I used to feel ashamed that my mother and I didn't seem to have your relationship. Thank you for letting us know you two are normal. Best wishes to Jean-Marc for a quick recovery. I finally had to give up DIY after falling flat on my back while standing on the bed trying to change a ceiling light bulb. At Jean Marc's age I was still climbing on the roof. Don't do the Books thing but wish you bonne chance with that.

Eileen deCamp

Thanks for the post today! Cute pic of Smokey and his chapeau!

Stacy ~ Sweet Life Farm ~ Applegate, Oregon

Dear Kristi,

You are tarpin adorable! Loved reading this post...glad to have the internet back for gems like this; been a week without.

Thank you for reminding me of the richness of this wonderful life. Lots of love to you dear friend.


Loved the story of you and your mom! I don't care how much daughters and mothers love each other we all get on each others nerves.

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