Glaçon: A Wife's Revenge + Ratatouillaisse recipe
Devoiler: The Secret My Husband Kept from me

Vendange + Hostile? (Please don't sign off after reading this!)


Readers call him anything from "Hunk of Burning Love" to "Chief Grape" (and some other things, read on...). Here is my husband in his vines, at this morning's unofficial harvest.  More pictures will be posted, soon, at Instagram (see here).

Today's story includes sensitive material (and the F word). Please do not be offended or sign off for this transgression. And if I have made a horrible mistake, in this emotional state, please allow a second chance just as you  sometimes need one too!

la vendange (von-donzh) noun, feminine
  1. grape/wine harvest or vintage; grapes (harvested); grape crop

vendanger (von-don-zhay) verb
  1. to pick or to harvest grapes

Comme les vendanges, les amours tardives sont les plus délicieuses. / Like the grape harvest, love gathered late is the most delicious. --Jean Amadou

:: Audio File ::
Listen to my daughter pronounce today's word & quote:
Download vendange.mp3 or Download vendange.wav 

A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE... by Kristin Espinasse


In an ideal world, my husband would be married to a vigneron - or at least a woman who drinks wine. She would love the sun, love to travel and thrive on the unexpected.

I was once like that--back when Jean-Marc married me. Lover of wine, sun and travel. They say people don't change. But I did. Partly for the better. Partly for the worse.

Weeks like this one bring out the worst in me. The flurry of the unknown: the wine harvest and the house change-over (we are leaving our home to my brother-in-law and his family on Friday, while we go on vacation. But first, I would like to find all the cobwebs, the rings around the sinks, and the dustbunnies and remove them--along with all our dirty sheets--before my houseguests arrive to spend the day with us...lunch and dinner...and before my husband, our kids, our dog, my husband's bike and I leave them and pile into my brother-in-law's small car (we've sold ours) and drive through the night to the west coast (where we will pass the time until our rental home is available at 4pm (but where will we go for shade, and what will we do with our dog?)

I am nervous about finishing the housework, nervous about what to cook for family, Friday, nervous about the overnight drive (is it safe? Will we stay awake? and Friday's family lunch, dinner what will I make?). Each question is another tick in a time bomb.

Last night I exploded. And every deep-seated fear and insecurity inside of me poured out, onto my equally-riled husband. He was unable, then, to take me into his arms at a time when I needed it the most. (Well, would you hug a volcano? Would a volcano hug a volcano?)

This all reminds me of an upsetting email I received.  David writes:

When I read the post in which you noted that one of your readers had formed the opinion that JM is a "jerk", my thought was "of course". Despite your conscious mind's extollling JM's virtues in your blog, your disguised and sublimated hostility to your husband has been a feature of your blog since I first started reading it several years ago. Highly likely that some readers will form negative feelings toward JM as they sense your sublimated hostility to him.  Before your confession I thought maybe you just had contempt for Chief Grape's being a dirt guy instead of city guy. Although that might be a factor in your subconscious too.

Your 'confession of being a recovering alcoholic seemed to fill in your pattern of hostility, to wit: that JM should change professions to become a winemaker could easily be interpreted by someone in my profession as being the ultimate passive aggressive act against you.

Your ambivalence re: writing your memoir on-line has been interesting to observe. You are 'in the weeds' and you know it, but haven't yet had the insight as to why.

Waking up this morning alone in my daughter's bed, the following words jogged through my brain as they do each and every morning for as long as I can remember (ever since I discovered how uncourageous I truly am, some 13 years ago): 
Thank you God. Thank you. Thank you God. Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy....(I fall asleep and wake again...) Forgive us our trespasses... This is the day the Lord hath made.... Forgive me. Forgive me Lord. Thank you. Thank you God. Keep my kids and husband safe. Smokey. My mom safe. John safe. My dad and Marsha safe. My sister, Brian.....Michèle-France...

When I am done pleading with God,  I lie there frozen, wondering. What will happen today?

Of course no one can know what will happen. I did not know, two days ago,  that I would find another lump on my dog.  I am helpless to change the course of life, but I am capable of standing up for myself and for others while innocents fall.


I will begin by answering David's email. And I am sincerely sorry, Dear Reader, if the following words offend you as they do me (and I pray my Aunt--or anyone she knows--is not reading):
Dear David,
FUCK YOU! You don't know my husband, or me, or my family.

Bon débarras!

Post Note:
I was supposed to write about our unofficial grape harvest. But all of this was ticking inside of me. Everything is okay now. And if you were driving past our vineyard early this morning, amidst the leafy vines laden with grapes, you saw a man and a woman in a deep embrace:

"Désolé pour hier soir."
"No, It is me who is sorry."

Smokey knows the secret to enduring love. Meantime, we are packing up our precious dog and taking a one-week leave. See you in September!

(not hostile. Only human)

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