Sunday, November 25, 2012

Thanksgiving done

First I just want to say how much I admire people who manage to post something every day. You know who you are. I just manage these summaries every few weeks!
Sacha and his other grandmother!
We had a wonderful Thanksgiving lunch yesterday at Anne's. Her oven, not to mention her kitchen, is too tiny for a turkey, so I stuffed and cooked the bird and kept it as warm as possible for delivery to her apartment. This was a perfect venue because Emma was leaving from the Gare de Lyons, just a couple of minutes from Anne's, right after lunch. And it's convenient enough for Louis and Gwen to bring Sacha via public transport rather than have to drive. Gwen prepared the vegetables, a tsimis (looks like I've got them hooked on that), much better than my own last attempt on that. Anne made cornbread and pumpkin pie. I thought I had cranberries in the freezer and was going to make a sauce, but they were no where to be found, so I was going to substitute with my neighbor's chutney made with gooseberries from our yard. But I forgot to put it in the bag with the turkey. Luckily, Anne had a jar of mango chutney, which was excellent with the turkey. Sacha ate before us: tsimis purée and chicken -- almost the same meal as ours! And he slept soundly while we ate. He's absolutely adorable. And last week, we had a family lunch with Gwen's parents (the photo is one of Anne's) after which we went for a digestive walk to the Jardin Tropical in the Bois de Vincennes. No one ever goes there; the entrance is along the Nogent border, so not really where people can find it easily if they are in the Bois. Such a shame; it's not taken care of and is in the process of disintegrating!
Last time I wrote it was just after the election in the States. I wrote about how frustrated I was, not so much with the process, but with the incorrect information. After reading the post, one of my kids wrote me that she hadn't sent in her write-in ballot because of the mis-information on the PA website. She was not happy about missing an election. 
It turns out the AARO had scheduled a meeting with Susan Dzieduszycka-Suinat, the president and CEO of Overseas Vote Foundation so I was even more determined to attend. I had filled out the post-election survey on the process and I had entered a report on the PA mis-informative website. It turns out that the report was bumped up and it was Susan, herself, who had replied to me. We didn't have the turn-out we had hoped for. Maybe because we were using a locale our attendees are not accustomed to, maybe because the meeting was a little later than usual, maybe because of election fatigue. I don't know. Because there were fewer people, the presentation served more as a backdrop for a large conversation with Susan and all the attendees. It was very interesting to note how Overseas Vote Foundation has grown and improved and is serving ever more voters, even if the exact number could not yet be announced. (The research team at the foundation has not released its numbers, yet, and OVF is not the only site overseas voters use to get their information or process their requests.) What was confirmed is that it's more than in the last presidential election cycle. There are a lot of young voters abroad and they are not neglecting to vote; that's wonderful. The overseas absentee registration and ballot request process is so much more efficient than what is going on in the country, it might become the model for voter reform. Still, not enough overseas voters vote. Many still do not know they can vote; many do not understand that the absentee ballot request is not the same as for local absentees, and there are quite a lot who just prefer to remain off the records, all records. Susan is remarkable; this is an exhausting job and she has a family and other work. I really enjoyed going to dinner with her after the meeting.
And that brings me to taxes. There's another meeting this week about end-of-year things to do regarding our US taxes. It looks like that meeting is drawing more people; it's at the Mona Bismarck American Center and a little earlier in the evening.
As I said, we did not celebrate Thanksgiving on Thursday. It's a regular work day here. I went to painting. We're supposed to be working on the inspiration of one of two poems. We're not supposed to be using any photos as support. Well, I am not following instructions. A few weeks ago, Jon forwarded to me the link to some photos taken in Boston during a rowing competition Tobi was in. So, I'm using one of those photos as my inspiration. (I think it's one of those, but it could be from somewhere else, as I haven't really classed these photos.) There's a bridge spanning the river. There's the crew in their boat. And I'm adding a couple of airplane trails in the sky. I'm really trying to deal with the bridge structure and perspective.
And that brings me to the Hopper exhibit. I went back to see it on Wednesday with Rita. I love the geometry of the structures and shadows. There are also some pretty fabulous paintings and sketches by artists who influenced Hopper or who were influenced by him. I love the Degas, A Cotton Office in New Orleans:



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