Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Ready, Set, uh oh

I didn't go to Washington. This is very disappointing. I was all excited about it and there was a big delegation going. Unfortunately, a volcano in Iceland disrupted plans for me, several other delegates, and thousands of other passengers.
Last week started on a sad note, with Christine's funeral. I wrote afterwards to Ken, Sandy and their network of shared friends with the Touzés:

"We went to Christine's funeral today. We've been to quite a few neighbors' funerals there and have never seen it packed as full as it was today. St. Saturnin is one of the biggest churches in our department. It was quite something. But knowing Christine and how she was, it was not really surprising. We saw friends, former neighbors, current neighbors, her colleagues, probably some patients all grown up and some parents of her patients. Steve came, for Julien, and Rosette because of fond memories of Christine. And family. Christine's sisters spoke, Emmanuel prepared something but had someone else read it because he just couldn't. It was, indeed, very moving. Christine died just on the eve of his birthday. Julien and Jacques also spoke, and if they did not break down, I think we nearly did. She will be missed. You already know and feel it.
"We came home and I immediately made a batch of my cracker brownies and as soon as they were cool enough to cut, we went over to the Touzes' with them. The house was bursting at the seams with people, but since it's a beautiful spring day, the garden took the overflow and is as beautiful as always. 
"By the way, Julien and Gaetan are expecting a baby girl towards the end of May and they are moving back to France. They've found a place in Montreuil."
Tuesday was Anne's birthday, but since it was Tuesday, we didn't get together. She had dinner plans with friends. I went from the library, at 6:00, to the AARO board meeting across the river, which I left a little after 7:00 to return to the library for the movie night. In the series of cinema adaptations, she presented Schindler's List. A little background story of how the book got written, how the movie got made, comparisons between the book and movie with some reading and a few scenes from the movie. What can I say. With just a few scenes, the whole movie came back to me and I wasn't the only person in the audience with tears. 
Wednesday was a day to take care of me: hair, nails,etc. And packing! Thursday and Friday were taken up entirely with the STC France and STC Trans-Alpine chapters' Content Strategy Forum. This was the first time that I wasn't so involved with organizing the event. It was a great conference. The workshops and conference sessions were fully booked. In fact, they had to add 20 additional seats and could have probably filled more. (http://www.regonline.co.uk/builder/site/Default.aspx?eventid=766137) I didn't get to really attend anything as I was volunteering at the registration desk. I did get to two conference sessions as room monitor. I did get to see many friends, including David Farbey, who wrote a great review of the conference and Mike Hamilton, who manned the MadCap table. Mike came with his wife and I hope they had a good stay in Paris before heading to Amsterdam. I hope they are able to fly back home to California without any problem.
Rahel Bailie, one of the keynote speakers, was stuck in Paris. We spent some time online on Saturday to find a hotel room and then we met on Monday for some fun. We met at Denfert-Rochereau and walked north, through the Jardins de Luxembourg and St. Germain des Près to the Louvre, where we took the metro to the Grand Palais. There we went to see two exhibits: The way of Taoism and Turner and his painters. Well, I thought the jade carvings were extraordinary, but the silk paintings looked all very much alike and, of course, I couldn't read any of the texts. Since I know very little about Taoism, I was intrigued but not enough to spend a lot of time. Then, we went to the Turner exhibit. I'm not a great Turner fan, but I do see how he could be a considered a precursor to the Impressionists. In this exhibit, his paintings are side by side with painters who influenced him, such as Le Lorrain, and later, by those he influenced. I preferred the painters who influenced him in landscapes. It's not until you get to the really late paintings that you get those fantastic skies of his.
Today, I was planning to go on the Ile de France walks hike, but I ended up on the wrong train. Stupid me. So I came back to Paris and hiked home from the Bibliothèque François Mitterand, through the Bois de Vincennes.

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