Thursday, December 8, 2011

Continuing Education

This January, I'll be leading my first poetry workshop, at the Cambridge Center for Adult Education. I'm very excited about it and intrigued as to what kinds of students my course on formal poetry might attract. It is Cambridge after all, so it's fair to assume I'll be teaching an eclectic assortment of characters that might include any or all of the following: MIT physicists, freegans, retired opera singers, cutters, Tea Party enthusiasts.

I will be paid a very small sum, but can take a class for free as part of my payment. Here are some of the options I'm (somewhat) seriously considering:

French Regional Cooking

Enjoy a hands-on introduction to traditional dishes from many different provinces in France. We'll prepare recipes showcasing the widely different styles and tastes of provincial cooking. Learn to make mussels with hard cider and cream from Normandy, kirsch soufflé from Alsace, tapenade from Provence, coq au vin from Bourgogne, pork with prunes from Périgord, potato gratin from Dauphiné, and clafoutis (cherry flan) from Limousin. In each class, we will prepare a complete meal from appetizer to dessert. At the end of the evening, we will share the meal and stories of France.

Zut alors! That all sounds delicious. I have no stories of France really to share, except about the time several members of my a cappella group contracted scabies from a hostel in Paris. Probably not the best dinner conversation.

Fine Wine on a Tight Budget

Yes, you can get a great-tasting bottle of wine for under $10. Learn how to evaluate the mystery wines in the 2-for-$16 bin, pick through the closeout rack, and recognize a bargain when you see one. The instructor will share his favorite discount wine sections and the secret wine graveyards where the great wines go to die. Italy, Chile, Argentina, South Africa, Spain, and Portugal all offer prospects, but so do France, Germany, and the United States. We'll sample a variety of wines; please bring three wine glasses to class.

This class would make navigating the bargain tables at Blanchard's easier. If anyone tries to make me drink Yellowtail Shiraz, however, I'm out.

Divorce in Massachusetts: With or Without a Lawyer

The class would probably be dull, but it might be a swinging place to meet men and/or lawyers. Though actually, the last time I dated a lawyer, it didn't turn out so well. Never mind.


The class will give an overview of urban beekeeping, covering a brief history of beekeeping, bee biology, and getting started in urban beekeeping. We will go over the basics of beekeeping, types of bee hives, equipment needed to get started, locating the hive, options for getting bees, starting the hive, first-year activities of the beekeeper, products of the hive, and resources available to new beekeepers, with the ultimate goal of participants being able to start keeping bees on their own next spring.

This appeals mainly for the randomness and because of how funny it would be to add beekeeper to my growing list of professions (teacher, waitress, poet, beekeeper). Also, pretty excellent for the Special Skills section on a resume -- I'm awesome at Powerpoint, Excel, Word, oh yeah, and BEEKEEPING.

White People Challenging Racism

Examine the impact of white privilege and how being unaware of that advantage helps perpetuate racism. We'll discuss short readings and share everyday situations in which we did not speak up against racial bias. Using role-playing, we'll develop effective ways to respond. We'll focus on the role of white people in dismantling racism and building a just society. You'll develop specific plans for challenging racism in your workplace, organizations, community, and personal circles, as well as be encouraged to find other people in your life who can provide support and serve as allies in your efforts.

I'm just flummoxed that such a course exists. The title implies that the class is only open to white people...if only there were a word to describe prejudice based on race...OH WAIT. Knock, knock: who's there? Irony.

Intentional Travel: Where in the World is Your Life Telling You to Go?

Where do you need to travel, be it by armchair or hitting the road? The places you need to visit for personal history, spiritual grounding, or fulfillment may not be where tour guides take you. We travel to have our perceptions altered and to discover what we didn't know we were searching for. We may travel in pursuit of a personal vision based on our life story. And we travel to be surprised and delighted by a latent self waiting for this moment to arrive! We'll share travel experiences, research specific destinations and itineraries, and design maps of future travels. Bring a travel-related book and journal.

...Intentional travel as opposed to unintentional travel, like being sent away to prison? My life is definitely not telling me to go to this class. I honestly think the person who wrote this might have been high. My "latent self" is very amused.

In all honesty, I'm leaning towards either taking a class on Moby Dick because I've never read it (and might never read it on my own) or an intermediate cooking class. My parents actually met in a class called "Cooking for Singles" so perhaps I'll also fall in love while learning some snazzy knife skills and how to poach pears in wine.

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