Friday, E and I were off to the Homeschool Geography Club. This month, Russia was our educational destination. Seeing as I had 1) contributed zip, zero, nada to last month and 2) actually had some personal experience, having visited the Soviet Union in 1988, it was time we, and by we, I mean I, made a presentation. It was actually really easy - I just brought in pictures, complete with 80's hair, and some souvenirs I had and spoke off the cuff.
I had plenty of stories but I was surprised at the things I had to explain. One guy we knew had traded, jeans I think, to get a full Soviet military uniform. When he was leaving the country, the authorities found it and he was questioned and later he, and his entire family, were banned for life. Here is the rub, I had to explain how back then, it was very unusual to have such tight luggage screening. Most of these kids had no or few memories of air travel pre 9/11.
But a few unexpected explanations aside, it seemed to go well. And Eion had a ball showing the other kids all the rubles and kopecks I had saved from the trip. I told them that I had actually smuggled out a paper ruble, not allowed at all, but had lost it in the ensuing years. My lawlessness, along with my massive base of Star Wars knowledge from an earlier conversation, definitely gave me street cred with the older kids.
Next month: Ireland. I have to say I am going to lobby hard for someplace with better cuisine for April. After Iceland, Russia and Ireland, I will have had my fill of root veggies and cabbage.
In other news, I finally made it to a "punch" class. While I never had any doubt that beating up on things would suit me just fine, I had never made it to a class. The Friday class routinely conflicts with tennis and the Saturday class is at 8am. I'm generally up by then but being up and to the gym, on a Saturday, by then was a stretch. But I was complaining about how I had been slacking lately to a friend who teaches at the gym and she told me I really should come this week. As I lay in bed this morning, thinking about how I had no desire to get up, I knew she was expecting me. It was worth the effort. Though if I continue, I will have to get my own gloves, pink of course. The ones you can borrow are nasty.
And lastly, after being quite embittered by my chili cook off loss last year, I vowed to to work hard, experiment and not stop until I had the best chili ever for the following year. Well, the following year is tonight and the number of experimental chili batches I have made? None. So we are going entirely experimental and making one up this afternoon. What we really need is a great name....