All this growing animus toward the French based on their recent geo-political stand has me reflecting on my own experiences with French people. After several years of high school French, at which I excelled, I decided to take a year off between high school and college and go live with a French family as their live-in au pair. Suffice it to say that I only stayed with the family for 8 weeks instead of the agreed upon one year. They were rude, condescending, nitpicky, and treated me like their red headed stepchild. They openly ridiculed my lame attempts to speak the language and constantly belittled American culture. They were beastly. They were also blatant racists, something I discovered to be much more common among France's educated class (they were both doctors living in Paris) than America's.

I didn't give the French much more thought until my senior year of college when I fell in love with and subsequently married a guy who grew up in the U.S.,but whose parents are French. My in-laws, Jean-Pierre and Barbara, are some of my favorite people, so my views have softened somewhat over the years, but I've kept my distance from the actual country. Although my children have traveled to France with their grandparents several times, I've never been back.

And now that so many Americans are really irritated at the French, I'm advising Henry, Jane, and Elliot to keep their dual citizenship under wraps. Hmm... Maybe now would be a good time to change our last name from Granju (pronounced "Gron-joo") to something more American, like "Grainger" or "Graham."

(Just kidding, Jean-Pierre ;-))