Monday, September 4, 2017

Stateside Memo

Stateside Memo
05 September 2017

Hello there... Rodger French here.

Since A.J. and I are nearly finished with home leave, I thought an update might be in order. Cue the highlight reel.

Making Plans - Attended a four-day retirement seminar at the Foreign Service Institute in Arlington, VA. Lots of useful information, although I still have yet to hear a satisfactory explanation of Medicare Part B.

Cinema Review 1 - Went with R & D to see “Wonder Woman” and enjoyed it very much. Gal Gadot and Chris Pine are talented and impossibly attractive, and the story/script/direction were more than acceptable for a summer action movie.

Vaudeville Rules - Spent five days in Asheville, NC at ROOTS Week, mostly working on Vaudeville presentations, both academic and performance. Got to pull together a band, which is my absolute favorite thing to do. We rehearsed our asses off, helped organize an epic Vaudeville show, and exited covered in glory.

Moving Day - I once owned a one-room schoolhouse not far from Hot Springs, NC (at the original site of Allanstand, actually), but recently sold it to a dear friend who lives in the area. She very graciously let me keep some things there, so I rented a U-Haul and packed up a bunch of stuff that we subsequently stashed in a storage unit in Fairhope, AL. Had a good run at the schoolhouse and am relieved it’s in good hands.

(It’s a long, yet boring story, but when all our baggage catches up with us in the spring of 2020, the subsequent yard sale will be off the hook.)

The ATL - Parked the U-Haul in Candler Park for a couple of days while we checked in with friends and took care of bidness. Our thoughtful hosts C & D threw a lovely party for us, and it was a treat to hang with a few of our old chums.

And, yes… the traffic in Atlanta is even more heinous than I remember or you can imagine.

Home to LA - That would be Lower Alabama. And, if anyone asks, Fairhope in the summer can be just as wretched as Yangon. Luckily, our house, which is paid for and awaiting pre-retirement improvements, is cool and comfortable. In addition to the usual running about trying to get our affairs in order before moving to Italy, we’ve been doing some quality visiting/dining with A.J.’s family.

Cinema Review 2 - “Dunkirk.” Good movie, although insanely overhyped. And, in my opinion, composer Hans Zimmer’s scores have lately become relentless, ponderous, and intrusive. And actively annoying. And fucking loud. That’s a directorial prerogative, of course, and it doesn’t matter so much in the case of a bad film, say, the recent Batman v Superman disaster. But “Dunkirk” deserved better.

Orlando - Took advantage of a few days with no appointments, cashed in some SkyMiles, and scooted via airborne cattle car over to Orlando, where I spent some quality time with LaBanana and her familia. Even got to sit in on a couple of gigs with Big Tiki and the Mai-Tais, an up and coming ukulele band. Really.

I also caught up with my dear cousin and his wife, who have settled not far from Ocala and have been dealing with a multitude of health issues for quite awhile. They are really nice people and it was very emotional seeing then again. I hope they finally catch a break and get to enjoy their retirement once more.

Another Literary Milestone - The fourth in this correspondent’s series of postings from exotic locales is now available at a ridiculously reasonable price:

I’m sure you will recall that there are three previous volumes:

Collect the set. And coming soon: “Reflections From Rome.” Where we’ll arrive just in time for “water outages.” Merda.

Finally, as always, thanks and all best wishes to family and friends who generously accommodated us, making our final home leave a great success. We are deeply grateful and love you madly.

Fino all'Italia. Onward.