A few updates:
Re the tree - it appears the general consensus, both here and at a tree forum I posted on, is that it's an oleandar. Oleandar's are poisonous to kids & animals, so I'm not keen on keeping it around. Hubby can pull it up and throw it away.
Re my commitments - I decided not to go ahead with teaching for next term. I'll see how I'm feeling later in next term, but I probably won't even decide to put in a course for Term 1 next year either. I have enough else in my life that I want to be doing. I have 2 more nights to teach this term and then that's it.
In the meantime, I taught a full-day course at a different community college (prior commitment), and when they asked me if I'd go back, I declined for next term but left it open for the possibility for a couple of one-day courses next year if they don't find someone in the meantime.
I've also tentatively made a decision about not continuing with something else that I do, but I will see out the year. I'm being deliberately vague on that one until I let people know that need to know :)
Re my education - I haven't updated for a couple of weeks, but I am still firmly committed to this goal. The trouble is, I have so many books on the go that I haven't finished any of them lately!!
As well as reading, I've also been watching a free lecture series from Yale University on Introduction to Greek History. I'm halfway through the 2nd lecture and really enjoying it (although the intro was a bit long-winded at times).
I've decided for now that I'm going to focus my attentions in 2 areas - I'm going to give myself a "virtual" Bachelor of Arts Degree, majoring in Ancient History and English, from the "prestigious" University of Kez :)
For Ancient History, my first "subjects" are:
* Overview of World History
I'm currently reading a wonderful book called A Little History of the World - it's meant as a kid's book and tells world history as a fascinating story. I am almost ashamed at some of the historical connections I had never made before.
We're also still watching The Teaching Company's Big History course.
Also on my list is Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything. This is more science-based I think, but I'll give it a try anyway.
* Ancient Greece
I'm watching the Introduction to Greek History lectures, and reading the associated textbook. I also have some Greek historical books and myths here that I'll attempt as well.
For English, I'm doing a "literature study of classics" - ie reading books that I regard as classics, and then following up by reading a biography or autobiography of the author.
So that should be enough to keep me busy, you'd think!