Wednesday, June 8, 2011


Add to Google Reader or HomepageWow, it has been about six weeks since my last blog entry. In that six weeks,  Sarah Palin has provided a new interpretation of Paul Revere’s role in American history, a Congressman has added his name (and body part image) to the list of notables on the “What could he have been thinking?!” list, and our Michigan governor gave a big tax break ($1.3 billion) to businesses at the expense of low-income residents and senior citizens’ retirement incomes (read “ours”).

I am honored that people read and comment on my blog entries – some even comment on the frequency (or lack thereof), reminding me that it is time for another entry.

Life goes on and may be spinning out of control but our focus has been on nesting: recreating our space at our US home. Our wonderful tenants and dog caretakers have moved out and we are making the house ours once again. Though all was well-cared-for in our absence, for the past three weeks we have been cleaning, reorganizing cabinets, adjusting furniture, as well as adjusting ourselves to the switch from one culture to the other. It is a gentle hit-upside-the-head reminder that perceptions and values are very different when comparing France to the US—and vice versa.

Before leaving France, we hosted our good friends Marge and Charley, showing them some “new finds” since the last time they were in Vaison la Romaine together in 2007. Since they were hard at work setting up our newly-acquired apartment on their last working visit, we were determined to eat well, taste/drink the wonderful wines of the Côtes du Rhône and generally enjoy spring in Provence. Mission accomplished!

Our friends in France gave us great send-offs and we enjoyed two end-of-year class parties with our two French language study groups. A bittersweet aspect of our class parties was saying goodbye and merci bien to our devoted and talented professor, Michelle Paris, who is retiring from her volunteer teaching commitment after nearly ten years. How fortunate we were to have her for our first three half-years in Vaison! 

Spring was beautiful with vines covered with green leaves and orchards already producing cherries and flowers everywhere. Ellen was so pleased to enjoy the early spring in Provence and the spring in Michigan after our return that she doesn’t think of it all the time as suffering through allergy season twice! She and Charley could commiserate through their sneezes and runny eyes over a soothing glass of wine.

With spring, Catherine reopens the Musée du Vigneron, located between Roaix and Rasteau, where one can see a vast collection of ancient winemaking implements and old vines that tell the history of winemaking. The winemaking family of Domaine de Beaurenard has been in business since the 17th century and their family collection shows vividly the tools and methods used over the years. An audio tour available in several languages, including English, enables understanding. And what is not to like about having their success illustrated by tasting and enjoying the fine wines of Domaine de Beaurenard! Their Chateauneuf du Pape and Côtes du Rhône Village Rasteau are award winning wines—and we like them, too..

Only one day after our return to the US, we travelled to PA for Ellen’s nephew Will’s wedding to his dear Deanna. Since our return to Lansing we have hosted a US reunion visit from Marge & Charley and also enjoyed a long-overdue visit from our friends Ellen & Bob and their now adult son Jeremy. We last saw Jeremy when he was about 10 years old so it was a treat to again meet this recent Yale grad on his way to a Ph.D. program at the U of Michigan in the fall. One of the pleasures of being at home in Lansing is that it offers us space to entertain and to have visiting friends stay overnight with us. On the other hand, I love that I can clean our whole apartment in Vaison la Romaine while practically standing in one spot (as per Dan S.)! It could be said that we enjoy the best of both worlds, couldn’t it?


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  2. Outstanding! Yes! The best of both worlds as long as you don't dwell on the insanity of those "what could he have been thinking?" politicians. I must go to AppleJack's liquor store to see if the best of France is on the shelf. Hmm! Not quite the same as that audio tour and wine tasting "en place." (Or, should it be "sur place?" Oh! My! Maybe I need to return to Vaison la Romaine for the wine and some French lessons. Soon!!!

  3. I was worried about you when you didn't post for so long. Glad to get an update. Sorry you won't be in Vaison when we return to Sablet in a few weeks.