It has become clear that I am not getting some of the email people are sending me via my AOL email address. So if you need to email me and you would like to be sure I actually get your message, you might do better to send it to

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 ;-))


Today is the first time since we separated that my husband has our children staying with him for two whole weekdays and nights. I thought I would feel liberated and enjoy two full child-free days in a row. Instead, I feel a bit like a mother cat whose kittens have been moved. I find myself pacing around the house, absently walking in and out of their bedrooms.

And I keep sending him emails like this one (actual text):

" Did you remember to treat Elliot's warts and ringworm before he went to bed last night? The wart medicine was in the suitcase but I forgot to tell you that the ringworm ointment is in the outside pocket."

If you haven't had little kids in your life recently or ever, you may not know that, despite your best efforts, they periodically get really nasty conditions, like impetigo and lice (been there, done those). Elliot, my five year old, has two such conditions at the moment. Warts on his little hand and a ringworm spot on his tummy. Our pediatrician says he probably got the ringworm from our horse (apparently common carriers) . Elliot says the warts came from a toad he found, but I think he got them from his big brother, who is now blissfully wart-free.


You've gotta love any parenting magazine with a permanent section entitled "Driven to Drink." The online 'zine Raising Hell is way funny. Here's how one of the publisher/editors describes himself:

"Father of two girls, 5 and 13 ... My current parenting strategy is a combination of overt benign neglect and secret support, together with reasoned logical arguments, scare stories and ruthless manipulation. My oldest daughter's friends think I'm cool. I'm hoping that is a good thing. My youngest daughter thinks I can do magic."