Sunday, December 26, 2010

I Hope You Had Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

Hi all,

A mere 10 days, it's looking up, hmm? Keep in mind that I spent at least 30 hours of that last week in play rehearsal. SO GLAD that it's OVER. Not that I didn't enjoy it, I mean, it did involve singing in public. To a crowd of over 200. And I messed up the first song, like I always did in practice. Anyhow, the show was still hailed as being a success and I really had a great time being in it. I would say I'm never doing one ever again, but it's a requirement/built into the seminar course thingy I'm doing.
However, I do have some good quotes stored up, and the first relates to something the four year old said when I came home from the first dress rehearsal/small performance crowd, with traces of my glittery "angel" makeup on me:

"Steph...whys you got...sprinkles on your face?"


Another quote came from our Christmas day meal of Turkey. Hum asked Franklin where he wanted his gravy (potatoes, meat, veggies...) and he replied:

"On Top!"

Fair enough.

I went to the gas station and picked up tobacco for Hum, and was carded. The foreign cashier looked long and hard at my ID, and finally asked:

"Is Minnesota a part of the United States?"

Um, yup. Right next to N and S Dakota...Honestly, we are closer to Canada than MN currently, so I shouldn't be quite so surprised.

Last quote (other than the 1.5 year old adorableness, which involved her patting me on the knee and saying "What's wrong, Tephanie?" with the most earnest expression ever)

Maria seemingly discovered her leg hair...
Me: "Yup, we ALL have hair: arms, legs, heads...everywhere!"
Her: "...Like a gorilla, right?"

Pretty much, yeah.

Anyhow, I had a really nice Christmas. Gifts kept coming, which was a joy and slightly mortifying. I like to really put thought into my gifts, and I kept being surprised. It's much easier when you have a real budget to work with. Anyhow, I got LOTS of chocolate (yummmmm!), and some very practical gifts: I was honestly extremely happy to get 7 pairs of socks! I also got some beautiful things, including a wonderful pashmina from my parents, a salt lamp from the house parents and a gorgeous pair of earrings from my brother. I was pretty much thrilled with everything I got: my mother even sent my stocking, which was packed full with Sixlets and other goodies.

But Christmas really isn't about the presents, is it? Hum asked our newest villager how his first Christmas away from home was, and I asked Calvin about his, and then referenced mine. It was fine to be here, but had a little bit of an emotional disconnect. I really missed being with my family, the talking, teasing, games and tasty food. I suddenly really got the whole "I'll Be Home for Christmas" song, and the emotions behind it. It was my first Christmas away from family, and probably won't be my last. But I hope that they will be few and far between, because it's just not the same without them.

Hope all is well,

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Wait Until I Get to the Wookie

Hi all,

Yes, yes, it's been a long time. Last time I tried to blog it was on the second half of Thanksgiving break...
This was:

Hi all,
So, the rest of the trip to Maine was fabulous...I did have to leave at 6 am to get back around noon on Monday, but you can't have everything. That was the start of my "Bad Things Come in 3" justification.
Things were  going great, I was able to go shopping with Buttercup and get things all together and not too late to pick her and one of the guys up. The other guy was an hour late. This posed problems...

My computer then crashed, as I discovered the power outlet I was using wasn't working. Anyhow, we were about 1.5 hours late to getting to the resort, and the other people had made plans to jet out of there. Needless to say, they didn't do an extremely good job of making the hand-over, and I ended up doing a serious double-dosing of someone's meds. I had to call the nurse on duty, who called poison control. Luckily, it wasn't as serious as it could've been and we just had to skip the next day's dose. Talk about a stress. The next morning ( I was sleeping on the pull-out bed...long story) and was wide awake early in the morning, as the 2 people downstairs had walked through to the bathroom at least 12 times during the night...with one proceeding to get lost the first 4-5 was straight shot...

I had realized that if we wanted to get pies AND the turkey done (it was Thanksgiving), that I had better get started ASAP. Unfortunately, while I was preheating the oven and opened it to adjust the rack a huge billow of smoke rushed out and set off the fire alarms. Good Morning Everyone! So that took a bit of airing out, and was the third stressful occurrence.

But we had a wonderful time. A great (and completely amazing) Thanksgiving meal happened, with only a few corners cut on pie crusts and stuffing. Buttercup was in charge of the turkey and she pulled it off despite it having no "dummy button" and no meat thermometer. It was mouth-wateringly tender and we had enough leftovers for soup for several days. No one was disappointed. The rest of the week was comprised of shopping on black Friday, Tangled 3D, several museums, going out to eat, swimming, news watching, and smorgasbord breakfasts. We did pancakes, french toast, clafouti, cinnamon rolls, name it.

We had a few memorable instances...

We made pizza one night, and we were going on seconds. The guys were dishing up seconds, and I'd asked for the one last piece (of the not so fresh stuff) several times. Buttercup re-announced my request to them, as she was further down the table. Yet one of them still scooped it up and put it on someone else's plate. This guy is a horrible listener, and just likes to tune people out from habit. So I yelled at him in (regrettably poor) German. Well, THAT got his attention. He was genuinely bewildered at first but then had the grace to look chastened. And then he almost causes another outrage by scooping the piece onto my plate. We averted that crisis. The other German guy thoroughly enjoyed this little exchange and remarked that we should have more conversations in German. Buttercup, who gets pretty pissed when they go off in German in front of people (it's explicitly frowned upon/forbidden in the handbook), was rather ok with it.

Another event was at the dinner table - it really was our center of activity and conversation. We usually had the same man blow out our candle. Once, however, he did it with such great gusto that the wax (it was a 3 inch diameter tower candle...) flew everywhere! Luckily it flew around his face, but a good portion flew across the table and even coated his water glass somehow. It was a little one of those "you had to be there" moments, but was somehow hysterically funny.

We got everyone home shortly before 3 - lunch took longer than anticipated since my GPS insisted that the restaurant we'd chosen at random (first chose closed for Christmas Decorating...arg) that the restaurant really was in that empty field...behind the industrial section. So we went to Olive Garden.

Since getting back a lot has happened. I've frantically been scrambling to get Christmas presents together...and lots will probably get there late. I got myself involved in the Christmas play...ending up as the Angel...who yes, has to sing 2 short solos. The original score calls for me hitting (and sustaining....) a high F. Yeah, right. That's now been turned into a D. Much better for my alto voice. The practices have been brutal, and have lasted up to 3 hours. Didn't get done until 11 on Tuesday.

Plus, I've been sick.

My mother and grandmother and aunts came to NYC for the first weekend of December. Months ago I'd arranged to have it off and I arrived on the train around 12:30 on the 4th. I started walking with no real plan, but was overjoyed to see the NY public library. Even better, they have a coat and bag check, so I was able to wander around for a few hours unladen with my backpack. I toyed with the notion of getting a card, but it wouldn't be very practical and I'd be hard pressed to assert my NY state residency, as I'm maintaining my MN one. My license photos is simply too nice to happen again by fluke, so I'm making the best of it!

Anyhow, after a few hours there and a few pastries from a Japanese restaurant/supermarket, I trouped down 5th street and found my way to the condo my family was renting. They were running a bit late, but the receptionist allowed me to sit in the lobby until they came. We went up the condo, which wasn't exactly what they were expecting (like toilet paper and hand towels, for example) and tried to formulate a plan. It's nice just being along for the ride. Or walk, as that's what we did.

We went to dinner at Famous Dave's (not everyone is an experimental eater) and then wandered around trying to plan hitting a show or visiting Ellen's Stardust Diner. We didn't do either, due to crowds, but we took in the window displays on 5th Ave and saw the Rockefeller tree. We then walked back and had a glass of wine and played cards. A lot of fun.

At some point in the early morning, I got to re-experience dinner. It seems I'd caught the stomach bug that had gone around in the village during break. I struggled through the rest of the day, mostly non-nauseous. I managed to eat at Ellen's SD Diner, which was pretty fantastic, and a fun experience. Then we went to the Cirque du Solei "Wintuck" performance. I had a separate seat, and it was pretty full. The plot line wasn't the strongest, and I wasn't feeling the best, but I still really enjoyed all the amazing acts. Annoyingly, the man in front of me was incapable of using his neck to turn his head, and I had to zig zag mine so frequently that after intermission I found a seat in the back row (3-4 rows back) that was open and I was able to watch in peace. We walked to Time Square, and I wasn't feeling very well again. So I said my goodbyes and my mother sent me back in a taxi to Grand Central Station to wait for my train. I languished in the Starbucks for a while, and was happy to collapse into fitful unconsciousness on the train. I made my transfer, and found there was another person from the village coming back. It's hard to say if the next part is funny or not.

It wasn't especially funny at the time, but I still managed to laugh at the situational humor. After 15 minutes of waiting, it became apparent that both of our rides had forgotten to come pick us up. Now, I'd been feeling bad, and had forgotten that I should perhaps call and remind Julia to come. It was 10:05 at night, after all. The poor other girl didn't even have a cell phone. Since I'm not sure if the house numbers are in the payphone telephone book, it might've been an extremely bad night for her. I ended up calling Julia and she said "Oh my gosh! Do you need a ride? And **** forgot to pick her up?? I'll try calling him to see if he's on his way!"

He wasn't.

So, we ended up trapped in the unheated shelter (made of 90% glass windows...great!) until 11:30. The other co-worker is from South Korea, and had barely seen snow before. So the poor thing wasn't properly dressed and I had to instruct her to keep moving...especially her toes. She would've just curled up on the pavement otherwise ( did I mention there weren't any chairs either??). So, that was fun.

Julia, like a saving angel, arrived with another co-worker to pick us up. It was such a relief, after every 5 minutes in the cold had seemed like an eternity. She went on a mini spiel of "I can't believe he forgot both of you!..."
"Uh, well, he didn't..."
"Well, who was supposed to pick You up then??!"

Then she felt terrible.
But really, I should've called, I know that everyone has a lot on their minds...myself as no exception...I probably would've forgotten as well.

We both spent the next day in bed - and Julia was wonderful, bringing over DVDs and her hot water bottle. My symptoms went more into "cold/flu" mode, and though I dragged myself out of bed, never really got better. So yesterday morning I went to bed, and have pretty much been there ever since. I have a nice cough, and a sore back from coughing. But I'm feeling quite a bit better from before.

Now, to end on a lighter note.

This last Saturday I was on, and house cleaning went well. Hum had been sick for the last 3-4 days, and still wasn't up - battling a more serious case of what I have. The 1.5 year old got quite bossy and told me exactly how I should mop. It was tremendously cute, actually, until I turned around and caught her drinking the mop water. I had to tell her to stop, twice. Eww. I also turned my back for ten seconds to answer the phone, only to discover her making a puddle the size of a large hula-hoop spanning 2 rooms. So then I shut her out of the kitchen.

Sunday I had off and Buttercup and I went to a silly paper-cutter's exhibit (much promise, failed to impress) and we went out to a cafe. I was back in time for some play practice and then we went to "Love and Other Drugs" which was actually quite good. Quite depressing if you're single, but good. We also ate at the little diner in town. It was a nice day off.

At the seminar dinner on Tuesday night, one of the more "enlightened" members of our group was going on about how we had 100% freedom living in the community. Several of us who have been here longer rolled our eyes. Freedom is a concept that you more willingly give up, in a concept of working based on "need". To make matters better, he ended with a quote from Obi-wan in Star Wars "You must do what you feel is right". I quite randomly blurted out:

"Shave the Wookie!"
(Because honestly, what do you think a bald Wookie would even look like?)

So that got plenty of chuckles, although the more serious end of the table was ignoring us (I'm not often on that end...) and someone blurted out loudly:
"I really don't agree!"

(Too good to pass up!)
"Well, some people like them hairy!" I nonchalantly remarked to my end.

"Are you calling me hairy?" The perplexed girl asked, looking somewhat stunned...

"And, who knows, maybe some would prefer we: Wax the Wookie!"

So several of us lost it for quite a few more minutes. Eventually I explained, and of course, it's never as funny the second time round. But now we can obliquely reference it, and probably get all sort of disgusted looks if we lean over to whisper:

"Have you waxed your Wookie?"

Hope all is well - and healthy!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Vacation Time = Posting!

Hi all,

Once again, I'm aware of my negligence. The last few weeks have been the whirlwind of every day life, mixed in with a seminar retreat, the completion of an Americorps project, several doctor's appointments, Martinmas, and a scramble to help throw the Thanksgiving trip (plus my own vacation!) together.

So here I am, sitting on the coast of Maine, on a nice little island thoughtfully equipped with internet. No, it's actually a bunch of quite nice homes, and I'm visiting my former housemom. It's wonderful. The children have changed a fair bit in the last six months. The youngest is still his sunny self, while the middle has definitely found a place for herself and now it's the older who is in those tough pre-teen years. But they're all quite lovely still. And housemom is still housemom. Hard to describe really, except she's definitely a lot more relaxed and healthy looking... must be the island air?

I arrived Saturday night, managing not to strike any moose. I was welcomed warmly and enthusiastically, and after a good chat with housemom I snuggled down with the kids on the couch to finish the rest of the film "The Secret of Roan Inish"... which brings back childhood memories of my own. After a lovely dinner and bedtime for the kids, housemom and I sat around for hours talking about life changes, friends of ours, the future, etc. I think we both were up until about 12:30!

The next morning we had blueberry clafouti for breakfast, which was amazing, as usual. Then housemom did something I hadn't ever seen...she whipped out her guitar and soon everyone was singing. Housemom had mentioned she'd had time for music now, and I could see how much she missed it. Afterward, we bundled up and went to the local (huge) toystore, to drop one of the kids off for a play date. Then we went to their cafe, and then I finally got to go to the illustrious prison shop. The program's been going for 80 years, and it makes me wonder why all states don't have a helps support the costs of the prisoners, gives them a skill and a trade that is valuable in the outside world and produces nice products at a very affordable price. Then we went over to the grocery store before finally picking up the kid.

We went home and a music friend of housemom's came by to practice a few songs. Their voices complement each other well, and it was fun to listen to. We had a nice filling dinner of stew and bread, and had some more chatting before bed.

I slept in ridiculously late (10:30! It was so quiet!!!) while housemom took the kids to school and did her morning job. I got up and had some breakfast and did some reading, and then ended up curled up on the couch with Callie. Who's a complete snuggler, so we stayed curled up (she likes to tuck her face against arms...or the floor if nothing else is available) and were quite comfy for a 1.5 hour long nap. Such luxury I have missed! And a good choice too, as Max, the other cat is recovering from a recent skunk-spraying and is still rather fragrant at close proximity! We went for a nice, rainy walk around the island and then picked up the kids, after playing and dinner we tucked them in and waited for the sitter. We went out to one of the local bars for a Blues band. It was pretty good, although the average demographic was 60 and slightly toothless, so we got a lot of laughs in. A personal highlight for housemom was the 60+ plus guy in a kilt...oh dear.

Anyhow, I suppose I could catch you up on my Americorps project: I took one of the villages (an especially endearing friend of mine) to the local community college to talk to 2 classes about the village and Americorps. Now they both want to take tours! In between the classes we went to several of our suppliers and had lunch. It was Veteran's day, and so we saw some interesting men, one had his mustache twisted out 6 impressive sight, I must say. We had a good day and got back in time to help close the co-op early for the Martinmas celebration...which was a short skit and a lantern walk However, completing the project now means that I can exit the term and re-enter on my second. Which I will do shortly.

Strange to think that I've been here for almost a year...

Hope all is well,

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Dear God, it's only 3 AM!

Hi all,

Lately, the very thought of blogging put me into overload...I had all my home stuff to do and everything just kept piling up and up and I give up. You can see from the pictures that I had an amazing time at home, I cooked a German feast, was surrounded by the friends and family that I love. I got to go riding, I visited my grandma and got to cuddle with her dog and make/tear lots of lefse. I ate pie for breakfast. I said goodbye to my brother who was leaving to basic. I visited some friends. I lived.

And then I came back.

Drama, drama, drama. Most of it not concerning me. However, the Co-op has been having trouble with people using it outside business hours as a snackatorium and leaving messes. So Buttercup (yay...a name for my co-op partner, who also really loves Princess Bride!) and I went to the higher ups. And we got attention. And so we've been having meetings and meeting and more meetings in the past few weeks. On top of this I've been trying to help organize the second half of the Thanksgiving trip, plan my "vacation" the first half to see Housemom, arranging my external Americorps project and being a part of other more normal meetings for village life and Americorps...

Did I mention the Dr. appointments???

I was thrilled to get a GPS from my parents as an early Christmas present, and I hope they really realized it. Anyhow, I had done a visit to the neighboring community to make up a paper that I missed the week I was gone (ah yes, 1st year seminar is in full swing!), and Hum hadn't realized - despite a conversation earlier and my signing out the car for the agreed time - that I'd have the car back in time for her to do the school pick up. She hadn't scheduled the appointment with enough time beforehand to do the school run. So I spent the next hour calling around to various houses to find a van for us to use. I was taking Maria and Franklin to an eye doctor appointment, but I couldn't get a signal for the gps, so I headed out in the direction that Hum had told me it was in. The GPS kicked in 20 minutes with that fatal phrase: "As soon as possible, turn around". So yes, after some sorting out, it turns out we were actually supposed to go in the OPPOSITE we were a 1/2 hour late. But it worked out. Except I didn't get any lunch, and went straight to work when we got back.

I thought that the week's drama was behind me, but I found out not so the very next day. Maria's dentist appointment had been re-scheduled since it occurred when I was at home on vacation. God forbid they attempt to find someone else to do it. I had contacted a co-worker about letting them know when I had to pick her up, but the message wasn't carried through, or they plain forgot. I was there on time, and there was NO Maria. Shit. So I went from green house to green house, to fields to finally back to the co-worker. We found her in the barn, of all the stupid places....near the door so she wouldn't gag a bunch - perfect for right before a trip to the dentist!

So we were 10 minutes late, because I took the back road. 5 minutes in the waiting room and I was called back...NOT standard operating procedure! Well, she was freaking out...not holding still, gagging before they even got close to her I had to talk her through it. They finally put on a movie - but it had a dog like her's at home. She was so happy that she burst into tears...bewildering the poor and frazzled technician. Then she forgot that she was happy and wondered why she was sad if she was crying...Sigh. We had to have me sing, bring up Michael Jackson, keep a running dialogue and keep telling her to lean back and open up, all to get the minimum cleaning done! We were all at our emotional wit's ends by the time it was all finished. The technician then presented me with a free toothbrush!

Needless to say, we needed some therapy after that...we cranked up the radio and hollered along..."The tide is highhhhhh and I'm hollllllldin' onnnnnnnnn...."


However, I had the great fortune to go on a quick overnight camping trip with Julia last night. We stocked up on junkfood and liquid refreshment and went and set up her tent in pitch darkness. Daylight revealed us to be next to a veritable junkyard of tetanus-inducing farm equipment with a treacherous slope (and evil picnic bench...ouch) with ginormous fire pit, near a slimy water pit thing. In the dark we built up a beautiful fire, talked our heads off...destressing, ranting, and LAUGHING...a typical us experience. It was wonderful...and then we went to bed...before 10. Cheap dates, the both of us!

We tossed and turned all night long on the extremely cold, hard and slightly tilted ground. The only thing I'd forgotten was my contact case. We were both awake at the same time, when she had to go out to the bathroom ( past the scary lived-in 15 seater converted van...) I looked at my watch and exclaimed in dismayed tones: "It's only 3!" We both lost it...and continued to toss and turn. At about 4-5 my feet started to get cold, and I was more than happy by the time 8 rolled around. We packed up in record time, laughing and relieved. We'd been woken several times by car doors slamming - apparently it's deer season here. Julia heard someone remark that they weren't sure it was ok for us to be there, but she refrained from chiming out that we'd gotten express permission from the park ranger. All in all, quite an experience that we polished off with a large brunch.

Then I came home and slept for 3.5 hours. And then did seminar homework and tidied my room, doing laundry. I will reward myself (and everyone else...) with a shower soon...very exciting.

Hope all is well,

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Pictures from Home and Today...

New Living room

Stocked Fridge! Obviously in Empty-Nester Denial Mode

Fluffy Butt!



Schnitzel Cook!


No Complainers...


Maternal Cow...Not. The Farmers Picking Up The Slack Today!

In our Mailbox....Arigope...Harmless to Humans

Mostly She pulled it along by its tail...



Trail Ride!

Ecu, Boss and Mom :  )

Monday, October 25, 2010

11 Days of Not Posting...

Hi all,

So, I'll admit, it was a completely blissful 9 days home. My flights went smoothly, and I arrived in time to even drop of my dress with Ecu before the rehearsal dinner! Yes, I'm realizing that I don't have nicknames for some of my closest friends because I'm usually far away from them! Anyhow, Kit's rehearsal went smoothly and it was very simple. We went to the groom's parents for a catered/cooked in meal. It was fantastic...along with the open bar. Actually, the most divine aspect was the coconut jumbo die for!

We left relatively early, although Ecu kept me up until 1 or 2 trying to figure out how we were going to do our hair. That sounds incredibly girly. I was pretty much a girl that weekend though, so you'll have to pardon me. We were up bright and early the next morning with Ecu and I working out way to wear our hair (she almost panicked and went to a salon...) and we ended up not going with Kit when she got her hair done. We wouldn't have had time! Ecu did my makeup (see!?!), and she was busy also doing the flower girl's (9 going on 24) nails. We had time for a few quick Bellinis, which made the 3 hour photo shoot seem a lot shorter. After more primping and yanking (depending on how well one's dress was altered...), we were ushered here and there, in and out, for many photos...which I don't possess. But I will soon! (ish).

The wedding itself breezed by (literally, my brothers timed it in at 18 minutes: short and sweet), and soon I was surrounded by the entire family (minus pets). So naturally we now have this Christmas' card picture. We then boarded the stretch Hummer Limo, and I discovered the joy of blueberry hard lemonade. We then took more photos, but more casual ones, so they were fun. We finally ended up back at the hotel where we promenaded in and took our spots at the head table. Fortunately, we got to eat soon, as there'd been quite a few drinks on an empty stomach!

The rest of the evening was a few short speeches, and quite a lot of dancing. And it was only semi-awkward. I got to rock out with all my brothers, and spent a lot of time with the family. It was precious, not knowing the next time that will happen. Makes for a bittersweet memory.

Then next morning I brunched with the family before driving back home with Ecu. We only got semi-lost and I met an interesting potter.

Ok. That's enough of the weekend recap...a quick funny story from today:

An older villager lady: I just went to work..but no one was there!"
Me: "Ah, well, I'm sure they'll be back soon! You can just wait a few minutes there..."
"Why? They weren't there!"
Me "Well, if you don't go back...they might get worried about you..."
"WHY? I'm not worried about them!"

Fair enough.

But she still went back to work.

Hope all is well,

Thursday, October 14, 2010

I'm Going Home

Hi all,

I can't tell you why I haven't been blogging. It's a combination, I think, of many factors. The need to put myself out there in order to vent has diminished as my familiarity has waxed on village life. I have a better support system now. The house is no longer complete chaos. It's still hard, but you adjust. Also, things aren't new, and so the wonder it takes to inspire me is harder to find. Not that I don't find a lot of joy in the day-to-day things, but I think that would probably bore you all. The trees do look as though they've caught on fire here, the oranges and scarlets are a true wonder to behold. Breathtaking.

I've been busy hounding Wisp to finish altering my darn dress. But it's finished, packed up as neatly as possible in my carry-on and as good as it'll get. I finished the jewelry last weekend. The earrings are super cute, and after the wedding I'll upload some pictures.

I've been busy learning a lot too. We had our first full day of "Seminar" which was a writing workshop. It was weird to have that semi-school feeling again. It was nice, but too long for sitting. Not used to it since high school! We've also been having care courses on Wednesday evenings, which are pretty much a "better late than never" sort of thing for me and Schmee. But it's with the seminar group, and I've been enjoying them as well. There's so many aspects of life here that I've noticed, but not had explained to me.

Anyhow, I need to go to bed now...up early for the plane tomorrow!!!
Hope all is well,

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

It's Not Much, But it's Something

Hi all,

Things that Irritate Me:

The boot-room being a total mess.
Slick being a typical 17 year old with few social boundaries.
The fact that my dress isn't finished being tailored yet...
The updated blog format...the line breaks are annoying.
Being a bad blogger.
Neighborhood meetings instead of rest time.
Not knowing what I'll do the first half of Thanksgiving break...
(dear god, will it ever stop????)

Things I like:
Feeling a bit more on top of the co-op.
Finishing up on the wedding jewelry...yes, pictures WILL come...
My amazing fellow co-op to come...
Slick when he's being helpful.
Calvin...he's come so far and is really helping things stick together.
Waking up a few hours before my alarm and getting to snuggle back into the covers!
Crunchy leaves of brilliant autumnal colors.
Getting to start to plan leading the Second half of the Thanksgiving trip.


All in good time,
Hope all is well,

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Dragon Tales

Hi all,

Happy St. Michaelmas day!

Yes, it was a crazy-long "festival day" = more work! Got to sleep a bit later but made up for it with pie baking and organizing things. Everything got done, although it was weird. We were told it would be a community meal, but each house just ended up eating the food they brought. How community-minded...not.

Anyhow, the play went well, with the kids stealing the show as the forces of evil. The teen girls enjoyed themselves immensely, apparently. We got to sneak peeks through the curtain, as we'd never rehearsed everything. We had one miscue, but it turned out fine. I almost wish there was a video, as I'm sure it was quite amusing and cult-ish seeming. Eurythmy and the whole nine yards. But it was a relief to have done it well and to a receptive audience.

Now, the boys played a "dragon" and this caused lots of questions later on.

Maria: "Do dragons bite?"
Me: "Maria do dragons bit-"
Maria: "If you stick your finger in their mouth they'll bite!"

Then the 4 year old (who had missed this conversation) also brought it up:
"Mommy, why didn't the dragon bite the people?"
Hum: "Well, maybe he was a good dragon" (he was pretty much no...)
"Why wasn't he hungry?!"
"He just wasn't?"
"What do dragons eat?"
-Everyone chimed in with "Ham, sheep, etc"

His dad then wandered in and was asked (he's German...)
"Dragons eat knights"

"What is knights??"

He was then told he would find out in Kindergarten this year. Priceless.

Hum then related a conversation from the falls, where they were high above another group of people:
"Mommy, look! Little People!"
"Yes, I see them..."
"...Are they - real?!?"
"...Do they live in Gnomey houses?!"

Obviously a Waldorf child!

That's all. We had to eat on hay bales, which made me itch and now I'm totally stuffed up and ready to call it a night...

Hope all is well,

Monday, September 27, 2010

I'm Getting Terrible, Aren't I?

Hi all,

I know, I know, 6 days. I could make the usual excuses (ie, I'm holding the house, going to practices and basically hoarding sleep as a precious commodity), but I'm just going to get on with it!

Notably, I was asked by D'Artagnan to drop him off at a retreat center that his gf is working at. It was about 9:30 by the time we left (the house went out for dinner and a movie - the owl one - Legend of the Guardians, the Owls of Ga'hoole - in 3D!), and it took about 40 minutes to get there. We went down a back road, which was twisty, but seemed simple how to get home.

It wasn't.

After a half an hour of driving lost, I drove into North Park...a town I'd never heard of. There was no map in the car, and so I tried calling Calvin. No answer. Then Schmee. No answer. So I'm afraid I left slightly-hysterical messages on their phones. I hate being lost - especially alone and in the dark! If I'm not driving, I become the logical one and I'm usually ok. But it was almost 11 and I just had to succumb to a few tears. 5 minutes later I determined which way was north, and continued on a road I'd at least heard of. A few minutes later I saw a "Taconic Parkway" sign, and knew I'd be ok. A very concerned Schmee called me soon thereafter and googled my location and said I should be ok as well. I hit an accident area (and was helped by a policeman to find the right route back onto the road...think I might've once again sounded a bit hysterical...should probably work on that...) but was soon on the Taconic. It took me 1.5 hours to get home...

The next morning took the cake, however, as Slick, the 17 year old German doing a "Practicum", which is like an internship that Waldorf students do, asked how drunk I'd been the night before. Apparently Yeshe had poor reception and played the message at a large gathering and had decided that I must've been drunk and lost. Obviously I wasn't pleased. I'd told him where I was going, and even if I was lost and drunk, a friend should still try to find you! Even more so! But he's young and hasn't had a lot of experience in that area, and promised to rectify that rumor. We'll see...

Saturday we did a bunch of cleaning and I had play rehearsal. I also did the flowers in the hall. Totally not my thing...but they didn't look horrible. Then I covered dinner so the family could get out. They got back late, and the almost 4 year old only made it 2 steps up the stairs. His mother was a little frustrated (the baby had cried the entire time...and she was already carrying the 1.5 year old) and so I swooped him up. I think the cuteness of sleeping kids is probably the only thing that keeps their parents from murdering them...

Sunday I was in Hudson in the morning and then stayed in the house the entire day. I worked on the last necklace and made TONS of phone calls. I probably spent 4-5 hours on the phone catching up with some people. And still didn't connect with everyone! But it was a really great way to spend my day...out in the hammock at times! Those days are drawing nearer to an end, as the leaves are quickly changing and fluttering down. My poor tomato plants are practically dead...

Today I was busy doing the order in the morning and ended up having an Americorps meeting that lasted through a lunch provided. It was fine, but I felt bad dumping on the co-worker that's in the co-op now. I really need to find a name for her too...sigh. Anyhow, I took Slick (who spent part of Saturday in the ER, as he'd sliced his thumb open trying to cut a pumpkin: 14 stitches... = new workplace...) with me to Hudson to pick up stuff from 2 of our smaller suppliers. It was nice to have company for the ride, although his taste in music conflicts terribly with mine. He likes "experimental techno beat" or something like that. So that was interesting.

We made it back to the co-op by 4 and got a little work in before going home. And that was pretty much my day...

Hope all is well,

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

NYC Chaos

Hi all,

So, after all the chaos of home, the chaos of NY was perfect.

The 6 am wakeup, however, was not. But I made it into Hudson with another person where we joined up with Schmee, Carey and one of Carey's friends who was visiting. We drove to Schmee's parent's house for a quick visit and then hopped on the train to the city. We made it about twenty minutes before 11. We met up with another previous co-worker and a friend of one of the new Germans who was with us. He'll get a name eventually...yup.

We wandered to Bryant Park, and then decided to split off for a while. My group of Schmee, Carey and her friend - later to be joined by a friend of that friend (complicated, I know, but we were a pretty great group!) at the MET. I'd never been to the Metropolitan Museum of Art before, although it was familiar to the Museum in Boston that I'd been at. I had trouble getting in at first, as they found my bottle of ginger brew. So I had to sit outside and drink it.

When I came back in (and for another bag-search), I got sucked into conversation about my "Dune" - Frank Herbert - book.

"Hey. That looks old"
"It is old..."
"First edition?"
"Um, no says it was printed in 1965 and doesn't list previous printings..."
"...You interested in selling it?"
"You interested in buying it??"
"Ah. Uh, I only got 12 dollars on me...don't suppose that would do it?"
"Nah, but thanks anyway..."
"Ok, worth a try. Check your bag around the corner please"

Now, I've since discovered that it is not a first printing, but hey, I haven't finished it yet! Had he offered me more money, I might of considered it, but once again...I haven't read it yet...

A girl has to keep her priorities in check...

We were really close to Central Park, so we had lunch there - picnic packed. It was a good time, sitting in the grass and discussing things beyond village life. The friend of the friend even let out a shriek, which was hilarious. A kid had gotten clocked by the base ball glove his dad had tried to toss to him (he was like 3, and it knocked him right over), I'm pretty sure everyone in the little field heard! We then wandered around the park for over and hour, and I suddenly realized that this was the best part of NYC. I could literally move to the city and have a once-weekly blog entitled "Saturday in Central Park". People watching was awesome, and where else could you find an association for dancing on skates?

We went down to Broadway and enjoyed the street fest going on there, swinging by Daffy's. We had fun browsing and all ended up with a pashmina. Have I ever mentioned my love of pashmina's before? Yup.

Then we went to Chinatown, but steered clear of an extremely packed Little Italy. We picked a Thai/Malaysian/Chinese restaurant for dinner which was both reasonable and tasty. We then did a quick trip to Time Square (where Carey traded a hug for a CD with a rapper claiming to be going on tour with Kanye and Justin Timberlake...although he may need more than 39 seconds on his demo...yup) and got turned around getting back to Grand Central Station to ride home. But we made it...with a whole 2 minutes to spare...

We got home late, but luckily I got to sleep in the next morning even though I was working - since I was doing brunch.

But that was my great day in NYC. I'll try to get photos to stream at some point...

Hope all is well,

Monday, September 20, 2010

Smokey Plum Jam

Hi all,

It sure sounds better than: "I burned the crap out of the plums-jam" right? Unfortunately, you can definitely taste it. So that's about 15 pounds of plum jam no one is going to enjoy. Sigh.

So, yeah, been almost a week since I last posted. Sad, right? It was a horribly hectic week. Chaos at the workplace and disorder at home. It really starts to get to you. It's exhausting to get up at 6:55, do breakfast, have a quick rest after breakfast, but do teeth and send off, go to work, come back and finish up lunch (Calvin's still got a lot to learn, but at least he's willing!), rush off to play practice, go to work again, come home, make dinner, and then put to bed about 1.5 hours later. Or, make jam. At any rate, it's pretty crazy.

Work was really frustrating this past week. The apples I ordered through a local farm didn't get delivered correctly and so it took about 5 phone calls to figure out a maybe. I finally got them 4 days later, mostly by accident. MESS! I spent the rest of that afternoon on the phone talking to suppliers. One had been giving us consistently crappy produce and had made a costly substitution, so I really laid it out for them about our expectations. Well, something like that. Then we had a call from the bakery - one of their flour bags had bugs in it. A call to another supplier. Finally, the gouda that we cut into had mold: a third supplier. So, nothing actually even got done that I had on my list and I felt pretty useless afterward.

But someone had to do it!

The next day someone came in to help show me how to do profit/loss reports. His example worked out beautifully, but when I tried to do the next month's it was completely off! He came back today to ask how things were going, and I was somewhat relieved to find out that something was wrong in the system, so it wasn't actually that I was too stupid to do it. So that was somewhat reassuring.

And I'm not even going into the craziness of Calvin Friday night...I was majorly peeved!

So, need I say how happy I was to have Saturday off?

So, after all that chaos, I went into NYC for some more. I decided one could have a blog called "Saturday in Central Park" and probably get a million hits.

However, I will hold you in suspense about my day off until tomorrow.

I need sleep.

But it was awesome*

Hope all is well,

*OOoooooh, a cliff-hanger!!!