"HEY! The 11th is OKAY!"

photo: l to r, bill, kathi, chris, marilee, nellie, don, marilyn, nancy

Bill, Kathi, Chris, Marilee, Nellie, Don, Marilyn and Nancy refuse to do any Mardi Gras steps.

Chocolate Frogs - Forget It

Paris:- Thursday, 27. February 2003:- Last week at this time the weather here came out of a slump, and it stayed unslumped until yesterday. It was great - sort of like the kind of weather Paris doesn't get in any month for a whole six days - but it couldn't last forever, because this is Paris and nothing lasts, especially if it is good weather.

I am looking at the forecast in Le Parisien - made last night - and trying to square it with tonight's TV-weather news. Here's the real news - the two don't match, except for temperatures which are predicted to remain in the 'mild for February' zone. About 15 degrees.

Le Parisien says the coming weekend will have highs of ten - only ten? - and the TV-weather news didn't disagree. It didn't predict any weather for beyond Saturday, or Sunday. Playing it cagey. No forecast for March. It's a difficult month.

Instead of writing my usual 'weather-notes,' I scribbled the forecast on top of Le Parisien's maps. This isn't tidy but it's good enough. Tomorrow might be faintly sunny if you aren't west of Paris.

Le Parisien says you are going to get good and watered on Saturday, although this isn't too clear fromphoto: soup of the week, cafe creme their map. My 'scribble' shows it clearly enough though. The paper says 'frog-type' weather is expected for Sunday. It says you should wear a frog-suit if you go out to stroll around.

This week's 'Soup of the Week' is half café.

From the TV-weather news, I drew a weak sunball on Paris for Sunday, between walls of rain in the west and east. To sum up, the paper does not agree with the TV-weather people and I doubt both. This doesn't mean I think it will be cloudy but with no rain, or the temperature will be 12.5 - I just 'doubt.'

At the moment there is no doubt that it is warmer than it was. If today had a high of 15, this is a 50 percent improvement over ten days ago.

But today's skies are not an improvement over yesterday's. Today's skies are boringly grey. It is a good sky for the poster photos. A bit less contrast is better. Unfortunately I only come across one shootable poster on the way to the club. It shows a kid about to eat plaid spaghetti.

At the club's café La Corona nobody is taking advantage of its several hundred free chairs on its two terraces. Nobody much is inside either, but one of the Monsieur Naudans says there are waiting club members.

They are not officially 'waiting' until after 15:00, and I am sitting down by then. The 'Waiter of the Week' helps me find them - in the club's area - but in an obscure corner. The club's official area is so grand that it includes 'obscure corners.' This is unintentional.

Kathi Callinan and Bill Ligerzewski are from Long Beach, New York. This is either the 'City of the Week' or the 'Island of the Week.' For it is both a city and an island, off Long Island - really pretty close to Queens' Far Rockaway, but really an island, right out in the Atlantic Ocean, almost closer to Porto in Portugal than to San Francisco.

When I lend Bill one of the club's pens to fill in his particulars in the members' booklet, he asks "Is this a two-pen club?" when he sees I keep the other one for writing vital 'report' notes.

Nancy Macklin arrives from Illinois. Because of what follows I do not notice that she has omitted her hometown's name. It is therefore not a candidate for 'City of the Week in Illinois.'

At this point, about seven minutes into the meeting, its gentle course through the next two hoursphoto: beer of the week comes to an abrupt end with the arrival of long-time member Marilyn Burke, who has Chris Caruso for company - to help carry a lot of unwieldy brick-a-brack picked up in the hardware department of the BHV.

Some of the stuff looks like fishing rods, but it is not. It gets stuffed in several free corners, and Marilyn tells us all about it. Well - she hasn't been at a meeting for quite a while and she is pretty excited.

This week's 'Beer of the Week' is half beer.

It is catching. I forget to write down much. Kathi says Marilyn is coming off a session of 'retail therapy.' Don Smith arrives and gets smothered in the flow, but is careful to keep his hat on. Nellie is with Don. They are both noted in the members' list as having joined the club in September of 2000, but Don came to a meeting four months earlier without the secretary noticing.

While Kathi and Bill had two feet of snow out on Long Beach, there was more in New Jersey. Member Jim 'Exciting Count-down' Auman has written to me about this too. Snowblowers couldn't throw new snow higher than the drifts.

Chris Caruso is a neighbor of Marilyn's in New Jersey. She says the best thing to do was stay home. "We baked brownies," she says.

Marilyn, who may have a bigger, hungrier, family, says, "What you do, you take pancakes and throw goulash in them." Bill agrees that this is a very sensible thing to do, especially if the goulash is very Hungarian.

Nancy is taking a careful look at the member's booklets one and three. She is discovering that she knows other members. "Bernie is my cousin," she says to Marilee McClintock - who has also arrived - who knows 'Bernie' but has never met her.

Nancy turns mor pages and turns up Liz Krekorian's name. I have to explain about the phone call for Liz, and how Liz is incommunicado in Arizona or Wyoming. Marilyn says it is all this 'six degrees of separation' business. As far as the club is concerned, I am starting to think so too. What will happen if all the Louisianians show up at once?


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