Nate's ears must have been burning--just hours after I'd explained to some curious younger friends about my past living situations in DC, this nice former housemate of mine messaged me to ask if I'd serve as a sort of character reference for him for potential female renters of the basement apartment in the house he now owns (clearly, infectious disease research pays better than history). I assured him that I'd vouch for his upstanding character. He's still playing rugby, and is working at a DC-area university, determined that his students will actually absorb some ability to made reasonable deductions based on principles taught, not merely parrot rote answers. The quality--or at least the independent thinking abilities--of the undergraduates is getting his knickers in a twist. It was good to hear from him after some seven years' silence. Apparently his rugby team, in concert with the Australian Embassy, is holding some sort of social evening soon to raise awareness of prostate cancer, and he urged me to attend if I were in the area at the time. He said there would be a lot of large muscular men with Aussie accents there. Tempting...but I truly have no idea what I would say to other guests at such an event...
I gave away only four pears out of the five gallons I picked Saturday, so this evening I got out my rotary hand-cranked apple-peeler/corer and dispatched the remainder in about an hour, putting the naked spirals in my huge copper pot and cooking them down to sauce. I sampled a spoonful and it's yummy without any sugar added. I'm hoping a bit more of the water (I didn't add any--the fruit was moist enough to boil in its own juices) will evaporate before I freeze the sauce in small packs.
My arms are sore from digging a six cubic foot trench in my back yard yesterday. I ended up having to use a hatchet on the hard clay when my shovel was only able to shift small pieces below the thin layer of plant-worthy soil. It took hours. But when I was finally satisfied (and too tired to keep chipping downward), I filled the trench with potting soil, sand and manure, and put in three blueberry bushes (two that had not yet fully drowned, and a replacement for the one that had). Then I spent hours straightening the garage. And then I wrote out price-tickets for a third of the jewelry still cluttering up my living room floor. So, I am actually getting tasks accomplished!
I got a note early this afternoon from a person trying to arrange ESOL tutoring for a recently-arrived Russian speaker, a gig which I would love to get! My friend June and I are formulating our individual lesson plans for the overseas teaching application we've been working on. I'm brainstorming about American holidays, and what sorts of associated traditions we have, and how to explain these to foreigners. Would Korean elementary school students like to make hand turkeys to illustrate Thanksgiving? Or maybe they could paste together paper masks for Halloween? Or should I sing Christmas carols--thereby damaging their delicate ears? I need to be able to engage the younger set in thinking about special annual events, and the food, themed decorations and activities that go with them.
Suggestions and descriptions from other Americans about what holidays mean the most to you and why are very welcome!