John Heaton (jheaton) wrote,
John Heaton

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Friday and Saturday with the Internationals

Last night was the annual English Conversation Time Halloween Party. I'm not normally much for Halloween parties or Halloween in general, but I decided that I could take one for the team for the sake of showing the Internationals what a typical American Halloween is like. Using my favored costume planning strategy of "what do I already own?" I pulled together a beach bum outfit: straw hat, sunglasses, an aloha shirt, swim trunks, and Crocs. Good enough! And everyone knew what I was supposed to be, unlike the last time I went to a Halloween party, when I dressed as Jake Blues but almost everyone thought I was one of the Men in Black. The fedora should have given it away, though in fairness it was a kids' party, and too few kids have seen The Blues Brothers.

I also made a snack for the party: pumpkin dip! It was super simple: blend together cream cheese and powdered sugar, mix in two cups (or one can) of pumpkin puree, add a tablesppon each of cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice and a teaspoon of frozen orange juice concentrate, and serve with graham crackers and/or vanilla wafers. It's really good! And also really sweet, thanks to the two cups of powdered sugar. The OJ would have tempered it a bit, I suppose, had I remembered to add it, which I didn't.

Me at Second Harvest holding an apple
Me at Second Harvest holding an apple, March 2013
This morning was the semi-annual International service project at Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin. Second Harvest gets most of its donations in bulk, and relies on teams of volunteers to break those bulk items down into manageable sizes for distribution to area food pantries. More example, they recent got a donation of forty 1,000-pound boxes of miniature fudge-striped shortbread cookies, and one team was scooping cookies out of the large boxes and placing them into individual bags.

Our team was assigned to sort fruits and vegetables. Second Harvest receives large shipments of produce from Walmart and other retailers, and the volunteers sort through the donations, separating the good from the bad and repackaging the good as necessary. Pretty simple, and less taxing than the project we worked on the last time we went to Second Harvest: sorting and repackaging apples. Which sounds pretty much the same, but the crates of apples we were slinging around were generally heavier than the crates of mixed produce. It also helped that we ended up taking a somewhat lengthy break in the middle of our shift, after we cleaned out the room and had to wait for more produce to be brought in for us. We were too fast for them!
Tags: religion, wisconsin: madison

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