Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Back in the Swing of Things

Ah, September! I think I mentioned all the things that are due in September: taxes, registrations, and so on. Well, we're now in full swing. I've been to the newly refurbished American Library and renewed my membership and the family membership for L's kids and I've taken C to the "Toddler Time", which is the new name for the "Lap-sit". The work at the library was almost finished two weeks ago and I hope it is done the next time. They've moved the circulation desk, again. Where it used to be, there's now a wide staircase leading to the basement, where they've created a reading room and study area. They've opened up book space down there, too. They've moved more books up to the mezzanine, also, and put in an elevator that goes to both the basement and the mezzanine. The big reading room had been soundproofed and there are electrical outlets all over the place for laptops. The children's library has not changed. There are no DVDs anymore. Not for adults, not for kids. Even though they were donations, it seems that the library was not allowed to lend them out without paying some fee or tax.
I'm typing on the new computer. I'm still a bit frustrated as I cannot seem to access my external hard drive. Every time I get the prompt to enter my password, and I do that, it does not recognize it, so it won't let me in. I can still get to it online, so I'm downloading to this computer, which has lots of space, still, and if I have to reformat the external drive and lose what's on it, I will and then start over. It's frustrating. Another program is giving me a hard time. I use Quicken and and loaded it up to this computer. I recovered the old files. It keeps asking me to register, but gets stuck in the process -- maybe because it's already registered from the time I bought it. In any case, I finally found the trick to stop the registration prompts, but when I want to download the account info from the banks, it still asks me to sign in with my Intuit password -- another hoop to jump through. This new computer comes with MS Office, of course, but I got hooked on Open Office and now need to decide whether I want to continue with that, but have to choose between Libre Office and Apache Open Office, which have diverged since Open Office, itself, was discontinued.
With the new computer, I picked up a new printer. No matter how much I cleaned the rollers of the old one, I couldn't get the paper feed to feed the paper properly.
I'm taking watercolor painting this year, not oil painting. Since the watercolor class will involve lots of drawing, too, it's the only class I signed up for. There's was a first session where we did not touch any water or color, just drawing. I bought some, but not all the stuff on the list of materials -- it's going to be an expensive class, I think. I missed last week, which seems to be a repeat of the previous session, so I didn't miss much. Several of my "buddies" from the drawing class are there, but we are all a bit disconcerted. There's the same set-up in the room and an invitation to draw it again, from a different angle, for an hour. Then, we get to the color, but the talk is all theory. I get that we must set aside white space, but I'd like some help determining, on my drawing, what that space should be. Then, we are told to create three grays: dominant yellow, dominant red, dominant blue. Fine. I know how to do that, but some in the class do not know what he's talking about. I know how to put oil on canvas and gouache on paper, but I feel intimidated with watercolor. How much water? Wet paper? Dry paper? If wet, how much? What about colors running into one another? What if you color a space you intended to leave white, but forgot? One friend in the class has now left, for good. She got her check back. She's an experienced watercolor painter who does lots of landscape painting in workshops during the summer. She showed us her paintings from the summer. She did a workshop in the Gers, not really far from where we were. The bastides were very similar. She did not like the imposed drawing of a subject with no interest -- neither did several of us, including me. She did not like the approach of the teacher. She left. I'll miss her. I'm sticking it out, at least for now, because I really want to tackle the medium.
There's a group on Facebook, Americans in France, with lots of people fairly newly arrived in the country. They have the usual administrative headaches that any immigrant has. In addition, they want to make friends. It seems to be a major concern, making friends. Well, the average person on the street, in the shops, or behind the window in an administrative office is not looking for a new friend. It doesn't make them unfriendly or rude, but the judgment of many in the group is that the French are snobs and standoffish. The complaints are commented on with more complaints feeding even more comments. I think they feel they should be welcomed with open arms, that somehow they are not just immigrants like any other immigrants. They wonder, after 16 years in France, why they should have a French drivers license and not renew their state license. (The argument that by getting their state license renewed, they are, in fact, declaring residency in the state and opening themselves up to local and state taxes, doesn't seem fair to them. They want the state license and not have jury duty or state and local taxes.) Why should they have to comply with the rule that states you need to present a clean record for your permanent residence papers? Why should they have to have their papers translated by court-certified translators? I think I'll take a break.

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