December 2010 Newsletter

Get your Livret insert (and your Livret, if you haven't already)

The Faculty section of the Livret, our roster, was inadvertently left out of recent printing. Attached to this email is a copy of this important information. Please take this opportunity to print it out and insert it into your Livret. If this doesn’t work for you, we’ll have printed sheets available to pick up.

If you haven’t picked up your copy of our annual roster, called Le Livret, they will be available in the upstairs hall this Friday. Please check your name off of the list nearby so that we know you’ve received a copy and remind your classmates to pick up theirs.

The roster contains contact information for all our members. It also has our calendar, by-laws, history, and other key information. 

Please Note: December Parking

On December 3rd, the Trolley Trail parking lot that runs parallel to Brookside Boulevard will be closed.  An annual event for the Children's Center for the Visually Impaired is taking place at Aixois. Please keep in mind that Crestwood merchants have asked us NOT to park in parking spaces directly outside their shops.


French Program, December 3 at noon with Cyprienne Simchowitz

We will watch a 12-minute French film (with English subtitles) called “Français langue étrangère.” It is a drama that unfolds in a French for foreigner’s 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 in the argument. But he wants to teach, not enforce rules about apparel, even if the government requires him to do so.

After the film ends, the actors meet out of character to talk about this highly 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.

Spanish Program, December 10 at noon                   

Artist Paula Mitre will speak about Posadas -- Christmas parties.

Paula was born in Monterrey, Mexico. She started painting at a young age and has Bachelor’s in Fine Arts from Universidad de Monterrey. She was the Curator for the Museo de Historia Mexicana en Monterrey. In 1955, Paula moved to the United States.
She continues developing her professional career as an artist exploring different art techniques, particularly Painting and Printmaking. She enjoys studying Art History, particularly Pre-Columbian and Modern Mexican Art.

Let your teachers know how they’re doing

Teachers will be giving students class evaluations to fill out on December 10. Please fill them out because the teachers welcome this info and find it helpful. It has been suggested by both students and faculty that we institute an evaluation system for our classes, and the Board has approved this process. It will help the school identify any gaps in the curriculum or bring to light any problems that may have arisen. In the past, La Causerie has relied heavily on our suggestion box, but these new evaluation forms will canvass all of the students, and will help immensely by letting us know how we are doing. Thank you in advance for taking a few minutes of your day to help us out on this. We suggest choosing one person in each class who will turn forms in to Amanda or email to Martha.

Holiday Fête scheduled for December 17

We look forward to all members joining us for the annual Holiday Fete at noon on December 17th, following classes. Meet us in Fellowship Hall (the large room on the first floor of the church) to enjoy some social time with fellow members and sample a great range of excellent food provided by our members.

Each member is requested to bring finger food to be shared with the group—hors d’oeuvres, snacks, fruit, desserts, especially foods and breads from countries where our three languages are spoken. We’ll provide drinks, plates, and silverware.

If you can help out with setup or cleanup, please email Joan Adam. All help is greatly appreciated, especially take-down!

Fall Membership Meeting

The Fall Membership Meeting for La Causerie was held on Friday, November 5 at noon. Approximately 15 members participated in a short meeting that included a financial report from Assistant Treasurer Dalene Bradford.—Thanks to all who came.--In the discussion that followed, several suggestions related to our operating reserves were discussed, providing good feedback for the board to consider in their next meeting. Other items discussed (and under consideration by the board) are an Italian Travel Class of approximately 10 sessions, and offering some configuration of summer classes. Board members welcome your opinions.

The next membership meeting will be the Annual Spring Meeting on April 17 at which officers are elected.

Shop and Support La Causerie

You can help support La Causerie (at no extra cost to you!) when you shop online at for your holiday gifts. To support La Causerie you must access Amazon through any of our links at In return for the promotion we give them on our site, they send us a small percentage of their profit. Every little bit helps us to keep your membership fees low.

Link through our site to and you give to friends, families, and La Causerie. 

Study Tips for the Holiday Break

We’re all busy during the holiday break, with little time for studying. But there are ways to keep up and even hone your language skills during this time. Listening to radio stations that broadcast in the language you’re studying is helpful and fun. You can find a directory of more than 3,000 European radio stations which stream live on the Internet at The stations are listed by country and by genre. You might also try visiting the websites of major newspapers in the language you’re studying. You can read about familiar news stories, get a different perspective, and learn about important stories not covered here. Go to and click on the box marked “Europe” to find the country of your choice.

Spanish Study

Doug Eikermann, one of our Spanish instructors, has started an Internet blog for Spanish students at There, you’ll find grammatical explanations, exercises, a Palabra del Día, and an Expresión del Día. You can sign up to an RSS Feed (which will send regular updates right to your email account) 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.

Important Upcoming Dates:

December 3             French program at noon, Cyprienne Simchowitz, Speaker

December 10           Spanish program at noon, Paula Mitre, Speaker

December 17           Holiday Fête from noon to 1 p.m.

December 24, 31      No class (Christmas holiday)

January 7                Classes resume

March 18                 No class (Spring Break)

April 29                   Last day of classes

Snow Policy: La Causerie 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 or check the District’s website, To be automatically notified by e-mail of school closings due to inclement weather, click here (under the “parents” tab) to sign up for the SM Alert text and e-mail messaging system.

Note: Email addresses and phone numbers are omitted from our website at Please refer to the e-news or Livret when these are needed.

Executive Board Members 2010-2011

Do you have a question? The first contact in case of a question is our trusty Board Assistant Amanda Hassett 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