November 2005 Newsletter

Getting it right in the Livret

There will be a print-out of the information for our membership directory available in the Fireside Room on Friday, November 4.  PLEASE come by and check your entry for accuracy before we go to print next week. We plan to distribute this year’s Livret at the Membership Meeting.

Membership Meeting to be held November 11

The fall membership meeting of La Causerie Française will be held on Friday, November 11th, from 10 to 11 a.m.   All classes will be held that day, except those scheduled for 10 a.m., so that all members and instructors will be able to attend this important meeting. A light breakfast buffet will be provided by Gourmet Grocer Catering.

Please plan to come so that you can be informed about your club and help make decisions that are critical to our operations.  This mid-day meeting format is an experiment in encouraging more members to take part in their organization’s work. 

There is important organizational business to be conducted at this one-hour meeting, including:

La Causerie Calendar: Looking Ahead

Nov 4, 2005     French program at noon
                        Professor Ted Johnson of KU will speak on the animals in French poetry from the 12th century to the present.
                        Lunch afterwards.

Nov 11, 2005   Annual Membership meeting
                        10 – 11 a.m. light breakfast provided
                        All classes are held except 10 a.m. classes

Nov 18, 2005   Italian program at noon
                        Relive the exciting days following WWII when 350,000 Italian citizens left for the US
                        (after Churchill gave Trieste to Tito in Yugosolavia) through the eyes of Trieste native Bennie Debrevi.
                        Lunch afterwards.

Dec 2, 2005     French or Spanish culture program in English

Handicapped Parking

Handicapped parking is available in the circle drive at the front of the church.  Enter the front door and take the elevator to the basement for classes.  People in the church office are glad to help you find and operate the elevator.                

Have a suggestion related to your class?

Then tell your department chair.  This year the Board has appointed language department chairs.  Since this is a new concept, their specific responsibilities are evolving, but the Board expects them to include a lot of listening—to you!  They will check in with students and teachers about how classes are going, raise issues that need some action (class schedules, class offerings), take suggestions and assist in hiring of teachers (when that need arises).  Here’s who they are and how to contact them:

Department Chairs:

The taste of Italy was great…now it’s France’s turn!

The Italian group was in charge of treats the first three weeks of October. Thanks to everyone who brought snacks.

Now the French department is in charge of treats from October 28 to November 11. The sign up sheet is posted on the bulletin board in the Fireside Room.  The Spanish department will bring treats November 18 and December 2 and 9. The Spanish sign up sheet will be put on the bulletin board in two weeks.

This year we have asked two people to sign up for snacks each week one savory (like cheese or fruit) and the other a sweet treat. Additional snacks are always appreciated, especially if it is a week your language group is in charge. Many of you checked this volunteer option on our survey—so now’s the time to get involved.

Can you volunteer a half hour on Friday morning?

Anastasia needs help with set-up and clean-up of snacks. This takes one person about 10-15 minutes, just before 9 a.m. (or Thursday afternoon), then again at noon on Friday. All our supplies are on a rolling cart in the Spanish room (across from the Fireside Room). Our coffee supplies are in a plastic bin on the cart along with tablecloths, baskets and signs. You do not even have to bother with coffee making or cleaning, as the caterer takes care of that.

You need to be able to set up the tables set before 9 a.m. (at the latest) and clean up at noon before the cultural lectures. Please sign up in the Fireside Room, or contact Anastasia Thompson at or 913-851-2507.

A little foreign language humor…

From “Metropolitan Diary” in the New York Times on October 24:

Dear Diary:

Last month I spent a day as an extra in a comedy being filmed at the Comic Strip on Second Avenue.  At every break in filming, two female background actors would speak loudly to one another in French.  They were asked to keep quiet by the film crew, but still continued to talk.  We all endured this in silence until someone said: “Hey, this is New York.  Speak Spanish.”                  Pamela B. Guthrie

Change in Book Purchase Policy

The Executive Board met on Saturday, October 22 and took an action they want to share with you at this time.  Given increased access to the Internet (and the availability of local booksellers who can easily order books for us), the Board has decided that La Causerie will stop buying books for students next year.  An exception might be to stay involved in purchases in which we get a considerable group discount, (like Acquerello Italiano and Champs Elysees).

The Assistant Secretary will head up a committee dedicated to helping those members needing individual assistance to buy their books (either through the Internet or by ordering through a local bookseller).  However, the member survey found that more than 60% of returning students have ordered books on the Internet and felt that they could locate books on their own. Of the 49 returning members, 36 were comfortable that they could purchase their own books, provided that they knew the ISBN number and book titles well in advance of the start of classes. 

The role of La Causerie in the purchase of textbooks has been a point of considerable board discussion over the past three years.  There are many issues that have caused concern for the organization:

In addition, the money students pay for books counts as income and it puts us closer to an IRS reporting ceiling that the organization would prefer to avoid.  More details on this (including tallies of responses to all survey items) will be available when the complete survey report is published prior to the November 11 membership meeting.

Snow Policy (yes, it’s that time!)

La Causerie Française follows the Shawnee Mission School District practice on snowy or icy days.  If the Shawnee Mission District closes its schools due to bad weather, La Causerie will also be closed.  In case of inclement weather, please listen to the list of school closings on television and radio. 

Executive Board Members 2005-2006

President:    Inez Pennington    816-353-4596    zeniatzenidotnet

First VP:      seeking a candidate      

Second VP:  Anastasia Thompson (also Chair of Social & Hospitality)    913-851-2507    thomsearchataoldotcom

Secretary:    Cerise Harris    816-353-8905    rharris90atkcdotrrdotcom

Asst. Secy:  Dalene Bradford    816-523-6812    dbradfordatkcdotrrdotcom

Treasurer:    Thad Carver    913-236-8688    carveratkcdotrrdotcom

Asst. Treas:  Mary Lew McCarty (also Chair of Book Sales)    913-345-2089    marylewmccartyathotmaildotcom