October 2010 newsletter

We’ve begun the year with enthusiasm, and our program chairmen already have programs scheduled ‒ one Spanish program (October 22) and two French programs (November 12 and December 3) described below. Be sure to save the time on your calendar. Two more Spanish programs will be announced soon.

We have 200 members registered for classes (and most are fully paid — we appreciate that). For those who haven’t, Amanda will have a box on the table marked “tuition” for payment drop offs.

Thanks to the many volunteers from the board and from our membership who arrived early to direct traffic, troubleshoot and generally make this a smooth start.

Spanish Films featuring Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz at Plaza Library

Los Lunes al Sol (2002) on October 17 at 2 p.m. A group of shipyard workers lament the lot that life has given them, as their unofficial leader (Javier Bardem) tries to rally their spirits to make a change. Rated R. (113 min.)

Volver  (2006) on October 24 at 2 p.m. This drama stars Penelope Cruz as an assertive and self-reliant young mother whose fearful family seeks reconciliation. Directed by Pedro Almodovar. Rated R. (121 min.)

Spanish Program October 22 at Noon

Rocio Dumsky will speak on the Bicentenary of Independence in Mexico. She will also
talk about politics and other issues relating to Mexico.

Rocio is from Guadalajara, Mexico. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Guadalajara, and a Master’s Degree in Environmental Engineering from the University Technologic of Monterrey Campus Guadalajara. She has studied Italian and Arts in Florence, Italy, has traveled in several countries, and speaks Spanish, English a little Italian and French.

French Program, November 12 at Noon

This is a presentation geared toward beginning and intermediate level French students by veteran Pembroke Hill School teacher Ann Miller. Join her to examine two iconic French paintings and learn about what they have to tell us about French culture. This very interactive presentation will compare:

Together the group will explore the social context in which these two works were painted and see how this helps us understand them.

Then we will discuss la composition, la symétrie, les lignes diagonales, le réalisme, etc. What was happening in France at the time they were painted which helps to explain them?

Participants will get to review dates and numbers. We will have lots of visual cues to aid in understanding and to help in expanding your vocabulary.

Ann Miller is a retired French teacher, tour organizer and French translator. While she has geared this presentation to beginning and intermediate students, others are welcome to attend.

French Program, December 3 at noon with Cyprienne Simchowitz

In this session the group will watch a 12-minute French film entitled “Français langue étrangère,” which unfolds in a French for foreigners course. A heated debate arises between two Muslim women over the right to wear a veil during class and they try to engage their professor, but he wants to teach, not enforce rules about apparel, even if the government requires him to do so.

After the narrative is finished, the actors meet out of character to talk about this charged subject. Cyprienne will lead a similar discussion with La Causerie participants.

NOTE: The film is subtitled so French students of all levels of experience are invited to sit in on the first half hour. The discussion that follows will take place in French.

New Student Resource

Doug Eikermann has started an Internet blog for Spanish students at http://www.1stspanish.com.  There, you’ll find grammatical explanations, exercises, a Palabra del Día, and an Expresión del Día.  You can sign up to an RSS Feed or simply bookmark it so that you can look at the new word and expression posted each morning.  The sample Spanish sentences and their English translations are designed to bring your attention to any unique grammatical problems.

Julia M. Boutross

We have received word that long-time La Causerie member, Julia Boutross, passed away on July 20. Until her death at age 94, she was an associate member and a supporter of La Causerie. Julia was devoted to the study of the French Language and Culture. She will be missed by her friends.

Helpful Information


Please fill out a nametag each week. Blank nametags and markers can be found on the table at the top of the third floor stairs. Our teachers want to be able to call you by name. This also helps you get acquainted with your classmates so you can have a more enjoyable and personal experience.

Label your books

Please put your name in all your textbooks and reference books. If you ever leave anything behind, you’ll be happy you did. You can find lost items in Room O.


We have a Suggestion Box on the table at the top of the stairs on the third floor. Feel free to use it.

Layer in cool weather

As fall weather changes, we suggest that you dress in layers for class. Remember that we meet in a very large church, whose heating and cooling systems cannot turn on a dime. If it gets really cold Thursday night, it may be cold in the church on Friday morning (even though it’s sunny and warm outside that next day). And vice versa, temperatures often vary from classroom to classroom. It’s easier for you to adjust layers of clothing than it is for us to adjust the church’s HVAC system (although they try really hard for us).

Remember Our Website Address

Program information

Throughout the year, we will have program information on our website, lacauserie.org, so if you have forgotten when a program is, which language it is in or what the subject matter is, you’ll be able to find it there under the calendar tab. We’re delighted to have a new Italian program chair, Marti Moore. She’ll be planning programs for Italian language speakers. If you have suggestions for her, she can be reached at martim@everestkc.net .      

Homework assignments          

Also on our website, you can find a tab on the top menu bar named “Wiki.” This is where our instructors post weekly homework assignments. If you miss a class, or forget the details of an assignment, check the WIKI site. There are a few people who had to miss the first few classes. We suggest that you check the Wiki right away, so you can be on top of things and ready to participate next week.

Our Wiki is open to the public. You do not have to join (although there is a JOIN button at the top). If your teacher fails to post an assignment, you can do it yourself, too! This is your club. Make it work for you and your colleagues.

Coffee and Snack Service

Having tasty snacks to get us through our Friday morning studies depends on our members. Please sign up in the Social Room for a day or two that you can bring snacks.

You don’t have to feed the entire school—three or four other members will contribute, too. Both sweet and savory snacks are appreciated. Homemade stuff is terrific, but our hungry members will eat most anything.

Bring your snacks whenever you arrive. If you don’t get to class until 10 or 11 you can bring something long-lasting, like biscotti, a week before “your day.” We’ll save it and put it out for you the next week.

We ask for donations for coffee or tea, which are provided by La Causerie. Leave a bill or two in the basket and you’ll help pay for this service.

 2010 ‒ 2011Calendar

October 22              Spanish program at noon

October 29              Spanish program at noon

November 5            Fall business meeting

November 12           French program at noon

November 26           No class (Thanksgiving holiday)

December 3             French program at noon

December 24, 31      No class (Christmas holiday)

January 7                Classes resume

March 18                 No class (Spring Break)

April 29                   Last day of classes


Executive Board Members 2010-2011

Do you have a question? The first contact in case of a question is our trusty Board Assistant Amanda Hasset at 913-538-6238. If she doesn’t have the answer, she can direct you to the right person.

President                                               Martha Hogerty 

1st Vice President (Membership Chair)      Inez Pennington

2nd Vice President (Social Chair)               Joan Adam

Secretary                                              Gail Clair

Assistant Secretary (Newsletter)              Judy Pearlstein

Treasurer                                              Christie Lohmeyer 

Assistant Treasurer (Textbook Chair)       Dalene Bradford

Board Assistant                                      Amanda Hassett