Today in My History
2001:Something with Chicken In It
2002: The Danger of Getting Cocky
2003: The Hours Crepe On Apace
2004: Famous Last Words
2005: It's Really Over...Sigh
2006: Everybody's Doing It
2007: No Place Like Home
2008: Necessity is the Mother of...Spending!
IN MY OPINION
Gem of the Ocean Books Read in 2008
"The Black Echo"
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BON JOUR!9 February 2009
Friday night was the first "getting to know you" gathering for the group of people who will be taking a 2-week tour through France and Italy in June. (For those who are interested in reading the itinerary, I posted it here.) I went to the dinner with Char and two of her daughters, Jenny and Tavie. We met her other daughter Dana and Dana's daughter Kimberly there. We'll all be traveling together, which is so cool, since Jeri grew up with Tavie, Dana and Jenny and I'm tickled that they'll have two weeks together.
I brought my Boeuf en Daube in the crock pot and deposited it in the kitchen, got myself a bit of wine and wrote out a name tag. I walked into the hall and the first person I encountered said "You're Bev! I've been reading your blog for years!" Her name was Sheri. She had Char had worked together for many years and even Char didn't realize she read my blog. She had been surprised when she contacted her about this trip, thinking Sheri might like to come with her daughter, when Sheri said "I know all about it--I read Bev's blog." What a delightful surprise, and a delightful lady whom I look forward to getting to know better through this whole trip process.
I sat with a couple of women I had not met before and we compared notes on how we happened to know about the trip. I explained that I knew Char. I thought everybody knew Char, but they had a blank look until I explained that she was Tavie's mother. Oh! That explained it. Tavie teaches with Jennifer, the woman who is organizing the trip and everybody knows Tavie. The torch has obviously been passed.
There was a slide show playing in a loop on the television. Beautiful photos of a trip Jennifer had organized with students last year. The organization hosting this trip is ACIS (American Council for International Studies), which is really for student groups, but Jennifer has previously taken a group of adults on the same trip. I noticed that a lot of the photos were of food, beautifully prepared dinners, fancy pastries, fruits and vegetables at a farmer's market, bins of spices, and a mouth-watering chocolate dessert that practically melted off the screen.
The two women and I talked about the pictures on the screen. Neither of them had been out of the country before. Our hostess, I learned later, is only going for one week and will leave at the end of the France portion because she's never been away from her house for longer than a week and doesn't want to be away from her little Maltese dog, Buddy for two weeks.
Another woman has been on all of Jennifer's student trips, so is a seasoned traveler with ACIS.
Dinner was served, and a sumptuous feast it was. We had all been charged with bringing something French. I had made the Boeuf en Daube (which was delicious, even if I do say so myself).
There was (from lower right and going around the table): some potato slices, quiche, brie baked en croute with cranberries, the OTHER Burgundy Beef, coq au vin, MY Burgundy beef in the tall crock pot, a salad with chicken in the middle of the table and another salad to the right of that. At the end, two people had brought chocolate mousse and they layered them in a cup, so we got the taste of both. Really yummy, all of it!
When we had finished, Jennifer, the tour organizer, got up and traced our route through France.
Then she showed her own slide show and talked about the itinerary. We are staying mostly at 3-Star hotels, so we can be in the center of the towns in which we are staying. In Paris we are, she says, two blocks from the Paris Opera House. There is an optional gourmet dinner in Paris (that sounds so cosmopolitan) a 4-course meal at a place she describes as "like having dinner in Versailles." It ain't cheap, by a long shot, but we all decided that if we're going that far, what the hell. It's only money.
It's really very exciting, and a little daunting. I'm especially worried about the town of Eze (rhymes with "Fez") which is a medieval town which sits atop what looks like a very high, steep hill, access to which is on foot. I'm going to have to set the slant of my treadmill to much steeper if I'm to prepare for THAT little trek!
[I should point out that the question was asked about internet access in these various locations (which apparently we will have at some places, so it won't be 2 weeks without journal entries), and I was not the one to ask the question, Char was!]
We will be meeting again to go over the Italy part of the trip and I'm looking forward to that too. We were given lots of hand outs about the itinerary, what to pack, and what to watch for. I picked up two copies of everything...and naturally I have lost it all. I hope there will be more copies when I go to the second dinner.
This is the first real step on this journey. I came home and paid my bill in full, so I guess I'm all set to go now! I've signed up for a French podcast, joined Livemocha, which helps you learn new languages, and have a French game for my little Nintendo so I hope to at least start feeling comfortable in French again (I used to be a French major). However, I'm hoping there is someone like me for the Italian part of the trip!!! I think learning two languages between now and June is a bit unrealistic!
(Check the "sleeping" photo I added to yesterday's entry...found it too late to be included!)
Also, read Steve's blog entry about the horrible fires in Australia. We aren't getting news reports about them around here. I'm very relieved that Peggy is in Western Australia, though feel so terrible for the poor folks in SE Australia.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
MILES TO NOWHERE: 94.5 miles