Friday, April 30, 2010

And the Fun Goes On

Hi all,

Ok. First - the score update: Karaoke:2, Steph:1. Although it was a very reluctant one point, and another co-worker was the driving force behind getting me up there again. And very graciously asked the DJ if they had it, and then sang it with me. Thankfully, no one was really paying attention, which helped. It was a complete "Go Me" moment.

Getting ahead of myself, aren't I?

So Thursday started my transformation into a Twilight Vampire. As I came into the sunlight after the glass shop, I was sparkling. Well, twinkling, at the very least. I did end up breaking one more piece (since 5 and 14 were outlined on the same piece of glass, and the angles for breaking turned out the be problematic, apparently...) but it turned out to be for the best. I found an even better color, and finished cutting them all. I then got to move onto the grinding stage. This makes them look a lot prettier and kind of gives me hope.

Friday was a long morning. After a stressful morning in the kitchen, I managed to pull off 2 pans of lasagna and bread. Even with interruptions! My favorite part was when Sam (who'd earlier professed a dislike of lasagna...??) walked in the door and I pointed at my beautifully cheezy and oozing pans and said: "How can you look at that and not want to eat it?!?'
"Well, I just don't find"
"Uh. Hmm. I think...that we'd say - maybe -...'attractive'...but probably not sexy"
"Oh, I know. I chose this word on purpose. Don't you ever find some foods sexy?"
"Um. No..."

Sometimes it's just time to smile and nod.

Friday afternoon was very laid back in the co-op. We got two different shipments in and methodically trudged through them - getting only one done. In all fairness, we were short a co-worker and had only one villager, so it's not too surprising. Friday was a relatively laid back night, I introduced Polo to "The Princess Bride". Honestly, it's pretty much the amazing dialogue that carries the film, and so for a non-native English speaker to find it funny is quite the accomplishment, I think.

I slept in until 10 on Saturday, had breakfast and then went on a roadtrip with Bean and Schmee. Bean and her GPS (Pegasus), kept us on the straight and narrow (and twisty turns), and we went to Kingston and New Paltz. New Paltz was very cute and funky, and we had some great ice cream. It was a melting 93 degrees! We had fun poking around and searching for the comic book store. May 1st is National Free Comic Book Day. Bean finds this very exciting, and I support her excitement. We later went out in Hudson.

Today was very laid back. It was a sweltering 80 degrees and felt like 80% humidity at 9 this morning. I wasn't in charge of brunch, so I had a good chunk of the day to just relax. I made some phone calls, hung out with the house and discovered my new favorite way to eat avocados (although I love guacamole!). Friday, someone had stopped by the co-op and told us to try a pudding. It was nutty and chocolate-y and I just couldn't place it. Yup, Chocolate Avocado mousse. Here's my base recipe (she told us the ingredients, and so I recorded my amount):

6 Avocados
7 TBSP Maple Syrup
6 TBSP Cocoa Powder
5 TBSP Sucanat (Sugar Cane Natural)
3 tsp Tamari
3 tsp balsamic vinegar
2 tsp vanilla extract

Puree the crap out of the avocados and mix in the rest. You get a smooth, creamy and delicious mousse. Went great with some unsweetened whipped cream! Everyone in the house loved it, except housemom, who couldn't get over the savory/sweet combo.

We ate dinner late, (well, myself and Beau) because there was the first village softball game. Maria, Beau and I went, although Maria only watched. A few of the German guys were trying to organize it, but we got off to a late (1/2 hour) start. My team ended up "winning", but the playing was just a lot of fun. Beau really likes baseball, so if he got a ball he'd try to pitch. This was almost as suicidal as playing pingpong with him, but I and a few others still managed to get a hit off of him! I also made a double-play. Nice, right? Definitely a lot of fun, and something to look forward to on Sunday nights!

Hope all is well,

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

4 Hours of Sleep, 4 Cups of Coffee, 2 Talks about Emotions...

Hi all,

Today was not a good day. But first, yesterday. Doing housework in the morning was fine - I do enjoy the work group, and I tried not to take my disappointment out on them. Since we didn't cook for lunch we did a lot of errands and cleaning. During rest hour I went with Flo to Hudson to do errands with him. He's just easy to be with and I appreciate his friendship.

I appreciated it a little less at 3:30AM this morning though.

However, we had a good trip, got the errands done and were back by 3:30. It was nice of the workmaster to let me go since Tuesday we get our big order in, but we all try to support people when they ask for a little time. It's nice to have that flexibility. At night we had the weekly stitch 'n bitch session, although I tried not to stay as long as usual. Highlights included Flo not having heard of the expression "your ears must have been burning" in reference to being talked about and then showing up. Also, it's rather hard to explain why it makes any sense. Got to love the English language. (Although Flo is American...)

So, back to 3:30. We got to Albany at about 5 - so we had time to go to McDonalds (yerg, but options are limited). I'd decided to bite the bullet and make it a coffee day. Caffeine and Steph are not a pretty combination, but I knew that otherwise it could be a pretty bad day. So...first cup of coffee at 5:15, then 7, 10:30 and 1:30. It's now 9:45 and I'm still jittery.

I was incredibly chipper at breakfast (or twitchy, you choose...) and Sam was a little freaked out. And I was talking even faster than normal. Interesting. We had millet cakes with leeks and roasted walnuts for lunch. Well, the house did, as I got a last-minute invitation out for lunch. It's always flattering since it hasn't happened that often and housemom has been encouraging us to go out and experience other houses.

However, it was pretty much just a very awkward meal (again). I made it only about 5 minutes early as I was scrambling to get the meal done because housemom chose this morning to spring my (belated) 3 month review on me. Obviously, even though she tried to balance the good with the bad, there's always stress involved. After my "1 month review" in Turkey, it now has a higher level of dread than what's probably practical. Of course there's always things to work on, but I hate feeling inadequate. It's hard to hit a wall where you vow to try to try harder, but find that you just can't bring yourself to the level that you're aspiring to. It's as humbling as it sounds.

But I rallied past it. However, as we passed through stilted preliminary conversation (including a lecture on cooking, which was probably (?) kindly meant), I was relieved to sit down to the table. Then everyone stared at me. Unsure what was going on, I glanced around until I finally thought "Well, maybe they're expecting me to lead the blessing?!?". Apparently. However, they just started without me. To make matters better, they use a blessing that our house doesn't use. So they all stared again as I sat there silently.

The questions started off normally enough (family, home, college, etc), but then turned to house business that hasn't been publicly announced yet. Housemom has asked me not to comment on certain things and I have been trying to honor this - especially in front of villagers. However, it's hard to be tactful when they're just not taking the hint. And completely inappropriate and uncomfortable. Definitely stress that I wasn't looking for.
I helped with doing the dishes and so was late for the neighborhood meeting.

Afterward we had another "support" group meeting, which was a lot less awkward than the last one. However, I still got to admit I was having a hard time (and was thus urged to share my "emotions"...urg) which is always fun in front of a large group. Though it drew some suggestions, which was helpful, it was just so hard to do on the limited sleep and caffeine jitter I was developing in a hardcore manner. Someone later commented that they could tell I was on the verge of tears - which of course made me feel even better.

Though I've never been a big "sharer" on feelings, I do have my outlets. I talk with my parents and friends (including some here and some not), and of course enjoy my rants here on occasion. Housemom is pretty open, but it's hard to say that I can just say "No" when her catchphrase is "Well, this is just something that has to be done" or "It's just the way it has to be". I don't feel it'd be constructive to argue in this point (because then I'm not being flexible, apparently...), so I usually just drop it with a sigh. Which, may be a bit passive-aggressive, but is pretty much my equivalent of saying "I don't like it, but will do it and not argue". Not to mention the "Maria is so sensitive to your moods...can pick up anything negative."

Well, it's not like I can control how I feel! If I get all falsely cheery, I'm not respecting her as an adult. However, if I ask in a normal tone, then I'm not being encouraging enough. There's only so much enthusiasm I can muster for a simple request to scrape the next plate, every single day.

Anyhow. Yup.


The afternoon was a good place to re-balance and come home feeling a bit more centered. I made it through a shower night, dinner and a small pillow fight in the living room (well, pillow whomping...highly therapeutic and hilarious) and tried to nap from 7-9 while Maria was out for a therapy. Too hyped up on caffeine still. Someone was planning on stopping over to watch an episode or two of a series, but got caught up in other things, so I'm just going to bed now - which is probably a better idea, actually.

Tomorrow will be a better day. And hopefully a sunny one.

Hope all is well,

PS The Rooster was relocated to a farm that he "picked out himself" according to housemom. It was enigmatic as the 4 year old was he might be soup...but we'll assume a nice Disney ending, right?

Monday, April 26, 2010

Hi all,

It was a wet and rainy day today. Rather gloomy, and prone to sudden and sporadic showers that were just light enough to make wearing a raincoat barely worth it. This morning I used the leftovers (frozen) from my mushroom and barley soup to make a mushroom risotto. When Sam came to take a peek, he exclaimed in dismay: "Why is it purple?!?"

Well, from the red wine, of course. Although I was then told that risottos is made only with white wine, this was impossible as we only had red on hand. Not to mention that I'd made the soup with red wine, so it was more practical to continue with it. It turned out ok, a little gummy after setting, but had pretty good flavor. I also had to raid the seed room for cabbage, as the co-op's supplier didn't get their shipment of lettuce, and so neither did we. So, risotto and coleslaw for lunch!

After lunch I trekked over to the woodshop to meet Flo to work on the planters. He'd also made a box planter, although after putting some screws in (which went every which way...not looking too pretty at this point...), it isn't lining up right anymore. The one with the angles is looking pretty good, and hopefully they'll both be "finished" by Wednesday. As long as they hold dirt...

Our orientation outing was canceled due to the rain. We were apparently supposed to be scraping paint off of a building. One co-worker raised the question (finally) of why we were doing all these jobs - what did they have to do with "orientation"? So after a half an hour of some manual labor - we seemed to be getting farmed out for this a lot lately - we sat down and had a discussion over what we thought it should be like. It lacks cohesion and a purpose, and hasn't really helped to "orientate" us to anything. So hopefully this will prompt some changes.

Since housemom changed the seating arrangement, I've noticed how little she noticed how much and even how Maria interacts at the table. At dinner I always did a "1 piece of bread and then more after soup" since housemom is always talking about meeting nutrition requirements. So it was almost funny to see her struggling to get Maria to finish her bowl of soup after she'd let her have 2-3 pieces of bread first. Not to mention she was talking about how we have to maintain her weight, and I don't quite think she believed me when I was telling her how often I have to remind Maria to just eat. Her child-like wonder can get her so revved up on questions that she just doesn't think about it.

I'm a little irked that tomorrow I'm going to have to stay home so housemom can take her youngest into the ER. He's been having a reoccurring problem for the last 2-3 weeks (not life-threatening, but painful) and she should've done it then. It's probably petty to resent being kept from going to something I actually really look forward to (since I'm really starting to get into the real work at the stain glass workshop) and she treats it as though it's not important. Yet she's always going on about the value of work, no matter how small it is. Housedad has an appointment tomorrow himself, so you'd think that would somehow be able to work out. Apparently not. It's just frustrating that I have to keep picking up the pieces. It's clear that her children are her first priority, but that does shift a lot to me. Housedad and Sam share a lot of the work for their care, while I was pretty much taking sole care with Maria. It's true housemom does a lot of behind-the-scenes stuff, but it's sometimes hard not to feel as though I'm taken for granted.

I know it's great that I get to be out of the house at all in the mornings, but it's just disheartening to finally have a chance to do something I feel I can be passionate about and then get it taken away - it doesn't inspire confidence that I'll be able to stick with it.

Hope all is well,

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Rooster Saga Continues

Hi all,

So, I got a rather irate phone call from a certain scottish housemom this morning. Apparently it is unhygienic, rude, disrespectful and not funny to put a rooster in someone's room. Yup, someone definitely had her panties in a twist. Not to mention that her brogue comes out way more when she's pissed. I listened to what she said, said ok a lot, and hung up. She also mentioned "next time, just leave it outside". Excuse me?!? NEXT TIME?!?

There will be no next time.

Not to mention, they let their rooster run amok in my neighborhood. Where's my damn thank you?! They weren't the ones losing any sleep over it, and it was totally their responsibility. And, it wasn't her room anyway. And none of their co-workers were up.

And, if you're raising your roosters non-hygienically, it's totally not my fault.

When we had a rooster dying from mites, it lived in our boot room, and none of us suffered for it. This was a healthy rooster they were all prepared to ship off to get returned to them neatly slaughtered and to be eaten. I hardly think that it could cause a major problem in a cat carrier. It's not as though I let the darn thing run around in his room!

Housemom got very upset, and drove over to their house to reclaim the cat carrier. She came back and claimed she had to "clean it out". She apparently changed her mind about kidnapping it totally and letting it go, as she returned with it. (Much to my annoyance, as it of course just had to crow during my rest She left a note in the house saying she expected a thank you, and that she'd be willing to either hand it over or buy from them and find a new home for it far away. They never showed up today, so I guess it's ours to dispose of as we wish. It's also locked up where I can't hear it now.

The rest of the day was pretty uneventful. I made bacon and broccoli quiche with roasted potatoes for brunch and had a lazy afternoon. I did a lot of "catch-up" calling, but hardly got a hold of anyone. So, some fun phone tag in the future, it looks like. Now I'm just waiting for Sam to come back from a Walmart run, he picked up some CDs for me.

Tomorrow I'll hopefully get the planters finished before Flo leaves on vacation on Wednesday. More math - but hopefully a finished product!

Hope all is well,

Saturday, April 24, 2010

No Harm, No Fowl

Hi all,

Well, definitely an eventful day! I was up at 6:30 (well, really 5:45, but I'll elaborate later...) to drop Sam and Pix off at the train station. They were off to the city to pick up one of Sam's closest friends. Yawwwn. So, an early start to the day. I got back exactly at 8 to set out cold cereal breakfast, and made it through morning cleaning. I did some planting and after lunch we set off for our excursion.

We went to Bash Bish Falls, which straddle the Massachusetts and New York border. Beau latched onto me and practically dragged me up the 3/4 mile path (all uphill, and housemom thought it was only a 1/4 mile). Maria whined the whole way about ice cream. We're not in a good space together right now. Anyhow, as Beau went along, he would cheerfully wave to people and sometimes say his short little "hi!". People find him cute, and generally respond. However, about half way up he started having some gas issues, and after waving to a couple, managed to squeeze out some good loud ones. I think they found that substantially less cute. I found it hilarious.

However, by the time we made it to the top (and me to the bottom of the falls), it was clear he and Maria both had to use the bathroom. So then I got hurried along back. We made it in time, but it took for forever for the rest of the group to meet us back at the van. Connie apparently took a trip down the stairs and banged up her knee quite impressively. She decided to soldier on and still have us go out for dinner. Which was a mistake.

The children were definitely not on restaurant behavior, and stirred up Maria and Franklin into being incredibly loud at times. Plus, I was seated right across from Maria and any time I made eye contact I got 1 million plus questions, to which she already knew the answers. To top it off, on the way home the youngest decided that speaking at top volume and then screaming would be fun. So I moved seats, housemom had to pull over and give him a talking to, and the drive was agonizing. So that was fun.

There was a Mother Fletcher concert tonight, but I called ahead to my potential ride to say I wouldn't make it. Housemom had her hands full putting the kids to bed, it was a shower night for Maria and I had to help Beau since Sam was off and housedad is gone. Again.

However, my night did end on a bright note.

The last few days we've been plagued by a rogue rooster. His story will pluck at your heart strings: he and 4 other roosters were tagged to be slaughtered. Somehow, against the odds, he managed to escape. He managed to evade capture for a good 4-5 days now, flaunting his speed whenever Ole (the co-worker who was supposed to be in charge of the slaughter operation) tried to catch him. Sounds like a disney movie, right? Well, it's not that cute when the damn bird is crowing at 5 in the morning (hello, this morning...), provoking other roosters into following. From the back yard, and then the front yard. And then, he decides to do it during rest hour as well. That was the last straw. I vehemently told housemom yesterday that I was going to get that rooster taken care of. This morning at 5:45 was the last straw. I had lost my faith completely in Ole and others and decided to take it into my own hands.

My genius idea came from Roald Dahl. In one of his books, they catch birds by soaking raisins in brandy and essentially getting the birds drunk by eating them. However, with a no-alcohol tolerance at the commune, it's slightly scarce. And would be hard to explain later. The neighbor suggested we hunt down his roost at night (which I strongly suspected to be in the garden shed...), although housemom said it wasn't likely we'd find it. So I told her my last resort was to call up someone I knew who had a gun (one of the housedads). She immediately said she'd help me tonight.

So tonight rolled around. We trekked down to the garden shed (housemom, her oldest and myself) at 9:20, carrying a flannel sheet, gloves, a cat carrier and some mesh net. Sure enough, the wily fellow was perched by a rafter near the front of the big (enough room for 3 decent-sized John Deer farmer tractors) - about 12 feet up. Housemom was afraid that if I poked it down with a stick that it would get hurt and suffer until Ole took care of it. My sympathy had run dry. After consulting with the same neighbor, we decided to wing it.

I climbed a bent and rickety ladder we found hanging on the wall (yes Bean, I put it back...), and housemom and her oldest held the sheet and net in ready. There is no wall on one side of the garage, so it wasn't a very sure thing. I poked him towards them, only to have him tenaciously cling onto the beam. Another poke sent him the opposite direction, towards the middle of the garage. Right on top of a big piece of Styrofoam. So I took the stick (well, shove handle) and gave it a great big push or two. The rooster flew/fell/fluttered to the floor near the back of the shed, where the oldest and I cornered it behind a cart. She held the net in front of it and I tossed the sheet on it. She, having far more experience with her pet chickens, swooped in and captured the bundle. Housemom got a peck on her gloved hands, but we got him safely (for us...) stashed in the cat carrier.

Oh, but it gets better.

Remember the Mother Fletcher concert?

I walk over to Ole's house, hoping to find a co-worker. Housemom made an impassioned plea on the rooster's behalf, claiming that since he was able to evade death she would be willing to honor his karma (exact words...) and release him far, far away to live out his days. Or until something else ate him. Anyhow, I trekked over to his house, but it was almost 10 and so everyone was in bed - and not a co-worker to be found. While wandering the halls (I'd never been inside this house before...), I stumbled upon a room with his name on the door. Hating to intrude (but what the heck else am I going to do with the rooster? Leave it out for some villager to free in the morning? Uh, no.), I slipped in and wrote him a note. I left the carrier in plain sight, although housemom said I should've hid it and let it wake him up at 5 tomorrow morning. I'm not sure how that would effect "Rocky" 's karma though...

At any rate, he will be in for a rather big surprise either late tonight or early tomorrow. I'll keep you posted about his fate. Don't feel too bad for him, I (literally) won't lose any sleep over it!

Hope all is well,

Friday, April 23, 2010

Millet Pizza, Karaoke and Adrenaline: Oh, MY!

Hi all,

So, obviously I've been a huge blog slacker lately, and mostly that's because I've been lacking sleep. The last three days running I've been up until midnight. But I'll start with Wednesday and run you through it...

Wednesday morning was a flurry of activity surrounding my millet-crust pizza. I have a bunch of pictures, that hopefully I will be able to upload. I'll play them in the slide-show, although I'm not sure if the tags/comments will pop up then. Just have to check it out, I guess! Anyhow, the pizzas turned out delicious, and we had almost a whole one left at the end. My highest praise from Sam: "Wow, this is the best American pizza I think I've had here...not bad!"

Did I mention I think he might have a slight death wish?

Seriously though, you couldn't even tell there was millet in the crust, although it was about 1/3 of the crust. After lunch we had a neighborhood meeting and then the "support" meeting for my house, although the format isn't too promising, so they're going to change it. Honestly, except for finding out when I might be going over how to run expenses for the villagers, I didn't get much out of it.

Wednesday night I introduced Polo to the joy of "Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog". I then spent a majority of the evening with Flo, in the woodshop. Flo has a slightly lackadaisical style of running around in the workshop, which sometimes didn't inspire much confidence. But his willingness to simply give it a go (and his knowledge of how to work the machines, which was pretty flawless) made it work. We're working on a box planter (a rectangle with tapered ends: BAD IDEA!!! MATH!), and that is present tense. After 3 hours, we still aren't done - knocking off around midnight. My favorite quote of the night:

(Before Flo starts using the table/round saw thing)
Me: "Uh, shouldn't you wear goggles?"
Flo: "Naaaah, that's just for in the videos!...You just close your eyes!!!"
Flo: "Uh, don't tell *housedad* I said that, mmk?"

Anyhow, even though we didn't get it close to finished (silly math, and angles and stuff), but I had a great time. I learned how to use the joiner, the planer and the band saw. And I still have all my fingers!

Thursday had a great morning. I went to the glass shop and was delighted to find out that I got to start a project to learn how to do it from start to finish. I got an outline of a 6 by 8 inch rectangle. I was told to fill it in with lines, with a few slight curves. So I did. Then I found out I'd be using up scraps (totally ok with!), but it complicated things, as many of them are quite tiny. So my piece will be predominantly blue and green - unless I keep breaking the pieces (which took me an hour to find the 18 of them initially), and so the joke is that it will end up yellow and red. I'll post pictures later...when I'm done.

So I was a happy girl coming home. The afternoon went by swiftly, and although I'd planned on going to bed early, I got myself roped into "Barryoke" again. Mistake. Sam initially wanted to go, but when he found out that we'd be leaving in 10 minutes, he decided he couldn't shower in time. So I said I'd give him 15 minutes, which he agreed to. Then, he suddenly was all "Oh! I don't have anything to wearrrrrr. As we looked into his closet I pointed out something - "No! That's black!" (okkkkk?). Then, seeing he had a pair of clean "trousers" (British English that he learned keeps popping up...he also says "Kawn't" instead of "can't"), he decided he might be able to make it work. I told him he was a such a girl.

So I picked up the other 3 people that were going (managing to get surprised and then run into a very poky and sturdy rosebush: bruise), get some gas and come back for him. He was almost ready...seriously...

Anyhow, Barryoke was a complete catastrophe for me. 1. I was stone cold sober 2. The song "Breathe" is sung by about 3 different people, apparently. And the song I knew was NOT the first two. I got up by myself (legs almost gave out), and stared in horror as the wrong lyrics came up. After 1 minute of trying, I made my apologies and basically ran away. Luckily, the rest of the group I was with jumped right in. Afterward, it got explained that it was the wrong song, yada yada yada, and I went back again.

Guess what?

Yup. Not the right song. Better yet, I'd never even heard this one before. Luckily, the only people around really were from the group (or worse??), and so they got to suffer through 3:37 of song that Steph didn't know. Highly humiliating. I mean, I don't claim that my voice is great, but I can do o.k. if I know the lyrics. But I didn't. Do you know how long 3:37 can seem? The best part was that someone suddenly said "Oh! I know the's by Anna Nalick!" Yup, also called "Breathe" (2AM). However, I think I am now done with Barryoke forever - or at the very least, a single act. I have conceded defeat, and now have a cringe-worthy karaoke story.

Moving on. Phew.

Today I made spaghetti an meatballs (frozen from last time) and a funny bread recipe that involves very little yeast (1/4 teas), no kneading, 18-22 hours to set and you bake it in a dutch oven. It turned out the way it was supposed to, although I wasn't sure at the time. It was a crunchy, moist dough that the 2 co-worker lunch guests also seemed to enjoy. I had to do the village town run afterward, and due to car misunderstandings, I was almost late. And the post office was closed. And a prescription wasn't filled. And the post office was closed. And, I didn't get a nap for the 3rd day in a row. Whine Whine Whine.

The co-op was good in the afternoon though. Food Processing came in with their hummus, and in honor of Wendy (favorite dinner guest), they labeled the batch "Roasted Bahummus". Very cute. She thought it was hilarious (although she thinks she's saying "hummus" and doesn't really get the joke, but she's such a sweetheart!). Tonight I had some of the evening off while the villagers and Sam went to a dinner/performance. The children were out with their father, and housemom was out too. So I had some quiet time, and transplanted some of my tomato seedlings. They're shooting up like crazy, but I haven't any place to put them (cue the

Anyhow, up at 6:30 being nice to drive Sam to the trainstation. I'm a total glutton for punishment. But I swear I'll get a nap tomorrow...

Hope all is well,

Monday, April 19, 2010


Hi all,

A quick funny-story share that I forgot on Friday. My favorite dinner guest comes Friday night, and she rolled up a little late (walker)...but we had to get started because of the play. Maria was all excited she could see her coming. Housemom leads the blessing in the evening, and instead of a usual one, she launches straight into "She'll Be Comin' Round the Mountain". Sam's face was pretty much priceless as the rest of us joined right in. Clearly a "Crazy Americans..." moment. But hilarious.

Sunday was a rather restful day. I'd been up late the night before talking to some people online, but thanks to my handy dandy new and industrial-strength earplugs, I was able to sleep until 10:40!!! AMAZING. I met up with Flo (he may smite me for that nickname...) and he accompanied me to Hudson. We stopped downtown at a store, but our main stop was - sadly - Walmart. I needed to get affordable clay pots and one or two other things not available locally...and on a Sunday. We ended up eating cheap Chinese food while discussing life in general. Definitely a lovely Sunday afternoon.

Flo's a DYI nut, having previously made cheese that tasted, in his own words: "Like Feet". Yum. However, I admire his drive and ended up "helping" him make homemade toothpaste and shampoo. He needed Calcium carbonate, and so it's basically just calcium supplement. However, they were quite pricey, and so we ended up getting Rolaids, which are purely calcium and a bit of magnesium and had the added bonus of already being mint-flavored. We crushed them with a hammer (still should vacuum my rug, come to think of it...), added baking soda, a little salt, mint extract and some glycerin. (Scarily enough, the toothpaste called for more than triple than that of the shampoo...) We should've used a coffee grinder for the tablets, but other than some chunks, it was actually ok and felt like it was cleaning your teeth.

Next came the chamomile shampoo. Which was basically creating an "infusion" (ie, tea) and combining with "soap flakes" (ie, a finely grated part of a soap bar), more glycerin and water. Apparently it thickened up to a rather interesting consistency, and Flo's not too sure about it. It was decided that making your own toothpaste and shampoo was probably not economically savvy (the glycerin is pretty pricey), and probably not worth the hassle.

But fun to do once.

Also, Flo works in the woodshop and has agreed to help me make some wooden planters! So that's my plan for late Wednesday night. It is much needed, as the tomato seedlings are starting to poke the top of the planter and must be transplanted before they become leggy nightmares.

Movin' on to Monday... I spent the morning running the work crew and making my tasty tofu dish. Not that I got to eat it, as I was at Polo's house for lunch. A way different atmosphere. It was very strange, as the housedad pretty much completely ignored me the entire time, and I was sitting to his left, albeit with an empty seat. Not even a "welcome to lunch" comment. Very strange, as usually people seem to interrogate (in the nicest way possible, of course) lunch guests here. At least, we do at my house. Hmmm...

Oh, and we had leftovers.


We were supposed to work in the healing plant garden in the afternoon for the orientation class. Or we could go to an Alzheimer's lecture given by a villager's mother who is an expert. I was going to go to the garden (despite the somewhat chilly breeze), until I found out we'd be working on a rock wall. I draw the line there. If I'm working in a garden, I want to be learning about the garden. Not stacking rocks. The presentation was ok, although she was really focusing on Alzheimers and Downs Syndrome. Which, although we have a small population of Downs, they are by no means anything close to a majority. Plus, most of the materials weren't formulated for people with developmental disabilities. If I ran Maria against the checklist, she'd have 10/13 and 5/10 of the first two stages of Alzheimers symptoms. Which, is quite impossible, it's just that she doesn't function at a level where you would be able to measure against for changes. But interesting never the less.

This evening I taught Sam how to play cribbage, and he trounced me. Well, skunked me. I'm definitely calling it beginner's luck...and never, ever playing him in poker.

I'm also supposed to have a skype date with a friend right now, but my internet has just died. So who knows if that'll happen, or if this will get posted. Retroactively cross your fingers for me, please.

Hope all is well,

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Funny Bunny Business

Hi all,

Imagine that, several good days in a row! Inconceivable! Well, apparently not...

Friday got off to a long start with cooking. I was making my grandmother's Italian meatballs and sauce recipe. Only I ended up tripling the amount of meatballs, because housemom said she'd love some for the soup. Plus we could freeze extras. Have you ANY idea how many meatballs 6 pounds of meat can make?!? Probably close to 200. So, between the sauce, the french baguettes (of dubious taste, but sopped sauce great), and the meatballs and salad, I was pretty swamped.

It's just me and Franklin Friday mornings (he lives in the house, and is Beau's roommate), and so it's usually pretty relaxed. We got a surprise visitor, however, when there was a spat next door between 2 villagers (something about a birthday snub???) and one trundled over to our house - without telling the co-worker. So I got it sorted out that they stayed and putzed a round the house, occasionally holding the phone to my ear as I was covered in meatball gunk for several hours. The lunch turned out fantastic, and everyone loved them. The extra sauce and meatballs (I saved out about 50 non sauced ones as well...they're now frozen) became the soup for the night. We also now have a plot to invite one the co-workers that is kind of quiet to dinner for lunch next Thursday. However, he seemed a little intimidated when I asked and I didn't get a confirmation. We will see...

After lunch we went to a neighbor's house, bringing the "Orange Truffle" and "Chocolate Mocha Walnut" cakes for a co-worker's birthday that housemom baked. I'm not the fastest of friends with said co-worker, so I slipped in to be polite, but before I could slip out I was interrogated by the housefather (in the kindest manner possible). He's Irish, but has a similar wicked sense of humor...

"You look like you need more cake..."
"I look like I need to go plant some seeds and take a shower"
"Plant some seeds, eh? Is that like when D'Artagnan says one thing but really means another?"
"Uh, no. It pretty much means I need to plant some seeds (seedlings, actually) and then take a shower..."
"Well...if you say so..."

So I went home, transplanted some seedlings...and took a shower.

I'm all tricky and devious like that...

The co-op was rather low-key. We only have 1 villager, who was a bit of a mess - she fell asleep while wrapping up the bulk cheese! We had to get quite firm with her, and eventually sent her home. Polo and I had a good time chatting with an abnormally large amount of co-workers who ended up dropping by and it was a good end to the week.

After dinner we went to see the production of "Harvey" that the neighbor's daughter was in. She has a bigger role tonight, and I wish I could have seen her in it. There were several spectacular actors, and the ones playing Elwood (who "sees" Harvey) and his sister were both pretty hilarious and quite good. Maria, as predicted, spent the majority of the time looking for "Harvey". She still seemed to enjoy it. Unfortunately, we were there for 3 hours...ugh. So we didn't get home until almost 11. A very late night for us, and completely destroying any plans for socialization. Oh well.

Today was a pretty typical Saturday. I did cleaning (bathroom, fridge), a co-op and town run and kept busy for the morning. Lunch was leftovers and after a far too short rest hour we went over the rec center at the neighboring community. Unfortunately, the ping pong table was broken, and Beau was pretty disappointed. We still managed to play around, especially with the large exercise/yoga ball, which was fun to bounce. Since it was a rainy afternoon, it was a good day to be inside. The children became rather cranky, and so it was good to escape them before Bible Evening. It was rather lack-luster, the story didn't strike any strong chords.

Anyhow, I have to leave in about a half an hour to pick up a friend/co-worker at the train station. Not that I've driven there, but it shouldn't be too hard. Probably easier to find at night, plus I have her cell number. A lot of people are going out to celebrate a birthday, but I'll probably get back too late for that. However, the sound on my computer is working, so I might just watch a film instead.

Hope all is well,

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Domestic Debby

Hi all,

Housemom walked in on me this evening in the kitchen, grinding away making oat flour and using the cookbook holder (hangs from the cabinet) to read Brisingr simultaneously. She immediately exclaimed over how domestic I'd been today. Although I've done this several times now, I'd never had such a party. My workmaster dropped off our milk can (whoops. but not my bad this time...), stayed to chat and try out the grinding and grab some hummus, two staff kids/teens came by and also had to join in and so we had a lively gathering.

And after hot cocoa we ended up having a balloon war. It was hysterically funny, with the balloon careening around the kitchen catching everyone unawares, even Connie was in peals of laughter. A fun, and very silly, 15 minutes!

But back to the beginning of the day...

This morning housemom finally realized that when I said "tomorrow" I meant that today I would start in the stain glass shop (I'd told her last week too about the possibility...). It wasn't a problem, and I got to the shop on time. I spent the beginning time helping a villager put together what will become a mosaic. There's this great looking owl, and I pieced it together over the wood board with an outline to guide me and glued it in place. Then I learned how to cut glass...what a humbling experience!

It requires a lot of finesse, since the "blade" is a rotating wheel set in a pen. You have to press just hard enough to sound like you're ripping silk. I didn't manage to do it once properly, although it still cut. Then you have to grasp with pliers along the edge and bend to get it to snap off cleanly. This, of course, didn't go so well. Luckily, the workmasters (a married couple) were very supportive and just laughed off my mistakes and encouraged me to keep going and helping out occasionally. After cutting the long strips off a flat plane of glass, I had to score them into cubes to make the tiles. The male workmaster just snapped them off by hand, which was a challenge...until one decided to go into my hand. I stared at the thin line and thought "huh. I would've thought that would make me bleed..." and then the blood came.

Not the best way to end the day. It's not a serious cut, but it is on the finger used for pressure for the cutting. Nicely done, right? Well, hopefully it will be mostly healed up by next Tuesday...

So, I was very pumped up afterward and enjoyed lunch and rest hour. Although I spent most of rest hour planting mint that Sam had brought home - extra cuttings from the garden. Now we'll see if it'll grow. On a more positive note, the seed tray has started to show some signs of life, and I'm sure that after tomorrow most of of the spots will have tiny sprouts poking out to meet the world.

Tomorrow will be a big day for cooking - spaghetti with meatballs from a family recipe. PLUS some french baguettes...yum!
(IF all goes well..cross fingers out there...)

Hope all is well,

PS - Congrats to my youngest brother on reaching state speech!! Very proud!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Why Do Cows Have Gutters?

Hi all,

Living with Maria never has a dull moment. She followed up this gem with: "Do cows have seizures?". True, cows were the hot topic of the day, as they moved some into the field by our neighborhood - but I'm not exactly sure where the seizure question came from.

Maria has some unique qualities, her sense of ever-present wonder is one of them. And vastly unappreciated before and during breakfast, unfortunately. The most common phrases are:

"What's it's name?"
"What does it sound like?"
"Is it ----- or is it -------?" (insert any word, and then repeat...she likes to give you the semblance of a choice, kind of...)

Eventually, I've realized that certain topics must just not be mentioned until the last minute, such as: doctor's appointments, visitors, phone calls, mail, and any special events. Because she can fixate like no other. Fortunately, I can tell her that we're going to drop a conversation, and that works for a few good hours, usually. That, and avoiding eye contact at the table, because then the stream never stops...

Today was a good day.

Aren't you glad?

This morning was pretty low key, and after my surprise success with the yogurt last night (it turned out beautifully after a spell on the warm dryer), I was emboldened to attempt hummus. I'm not sure how great it was in comparison to other types of hummus, but I liked it...

I made Mexican Millet for lunch, with nachos with cheese and beans. The millet turned out the best yet. Not only did I not burn it to the pan, I had some red pepper and it really helped it to taste great. It was hard to believe it was millet!

We had a neighborhood co-worker meeting (boo for lack of nap...) where I did get some chain work in during the mostly extraneous-to-Steph (and the house for another month or two...they're planners here...) information. Apparently I will be getting a crash course on doing the finances for the villager's personal accounts (how we give them their money to pay for things and how to account for it) - which pretty much boils down to: Math.

And we all know how much Steph loves math.

Work was interesting the co-op. I learned how to do invoices and deposits through the computer system and helped with some normal food stuff. I ran the shift mostly by myself, but it was a pretty uneventful day.

Oh. I did forget: I got the news at the meeting - I'm Going to the stainglass workshop tomorrow morning!!!

Not that I'm at all excited about it. Well, maybe you can't tell because FB doesn't show the bolding. But the exclamation points should help...

Hope all is well,

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


Hi all,

I have to admit, that today lacked any of the drama of yesterday. This for me, of course, is a good thing. Although I am pretty sure that my first attempt at doing yogurt from start to finish ended up being a spectacular failure. I'll have to go check after I post. However, 5 hours after I put it on the dryer to set, it was still all watery. So, probably not a good thing.

Tuesday is Garden Market, and I was relieved to find carrots and onions. We go through an average of 2-4 onions a day, and carrots can be good fillers. It's harder to fill the mornings when I don't have to cook, but by doing this and that I managed and kept the work crew pretty busy.

Lunch was pretty terrible. After one bite of the amorphous (but similar to creamed mashed potatoes) entree, I resigned myself to eating the 6 bites of salad and choking down the grainy tapioca. Honestly, I would have been pissed to pay $8 for something that tasted like that. That's a decent budget (especially considering the dessert is usually pudding of one sort or another...), and you could make some really good stuff. But I don't think the person who runs it is overly fond of her job, because the meals are usually rather lackluster. Thankfully, there were leftovers to heat up when I got home.

Rest hour sucked because the children were running around and screaming like hellions. Since housedad is back, I think both parents are trying to foist them off on eachother. NOT happy to be surrounded by their shrieks. It also bugs the villagers who also like to nap during this time. I don't think I'm being too unreasonable here, either.

Today we got our big weekly shipment in, so the co-op was busy putting things away. We also got the 100 dozen eggs that will get delivered by the bakery tomorrow. I'm still not sure why they come to us first, but there's probably some reason. Perhaps not a good one, but one somewhere...

After dinner (Maria and Connie were out with their workplace for a dinner...nice!), I did a run to the barn on the house bike. It was interesting as the brakes are practically non-existent. I almost didn't make a turn. Additionally, while housemom said the milk can fits in the basket, I wasn't sure how much of it should be slopping out. Not much did, but it was hardly reassuring.

I'm looking forward to going out for Stitch 'n Bitch tonight. We've been rotating houses, which is kind of fun. I really haven't been in the one we're going to be at tonight, and it's always interesting to see other peoples' house. I just had a thought though, it's too bad that I'm the only one doing chain maille - or we could call it "Maille and Rail". Catchy, no?

Hope all is well,

Monday, April 12, 2010

Shuffles and Hows

Hi all,

I got an e-mail yesterday telling me what we'd be doing for the orientation course. We were going into Hudson to work on a garden for the house there. It was funny though, because the e-mail asked us to bring "shuffles, hows and rakes". Of course, it's from a non-native English speaker, and it just made me smile. It came really early, so he probably wasn't totally awake yet. It's a nice feeling to know that even after being in a country for many years, it still takes a long time to get down every aspect. Hope for my German...

Anyhow, we did go, although I was a little vague on how to best help. I settled for picking up the cardboard they'd put down to keep weeds out (didn't work) and separating out the packing tape and broken glass shards. The guys pretty much manned the shoves in order to dig out the paths to elevate the beds. I wasn't feeling up to taking any crap though, although I did manage to turn the tables on the silly German who figured I'd be afraid of a gardener snake. Right, as if I didn't have 3 brothers and spend a good amount of my childhood searching for them.

However, the day wasn't my best. I managed to have my first official minor meltdown...over tofu. It pains me to write that. Although I'd gotten 8 hours of sleep, I think I was still on edge over yesterday. We had 3 guests for lunch, including one I'd had to reschedule. So I knew exactly what I was going to make. It's happened before that we've run out of something (both at home and the co-op) and I've just moved on to the next thing. However, the fact that there wasn't any tofu in the village (I called numerous houses...), the cars were ALL booked and that both housemom and dad were taking the youngest to a doctor's appointment hit me hard. Normally if I get upset I can run to my room, have a minor freakout, and compose myself in about 2 minutes. Or walk around the house ranting to myself. Not so much an option. Housemom started to go on with what I could do, but I had to gesture that I needed 5 minutes and get a quick cry out.

Yes, I can cry.

So there.

Anyhow, I got it out of my system, feeling quaky and made it downstairs just before they left to the appointment. Her suggestion was pretty good, and her comment of "You'll probably find this funny this afternoon..." was apt. Although I found it funny about 20 minutes later.


Anyhow, I decided to rally myself and also make apple crisp. Halfway through I read a variation with Walnuts and thought "Hey...that might be good" and then I realized-

"Oh, only if I wanted to kill Polo!" (Co-op coworker who came to lunch today)

He's allergic to certain nuts and fruits.

Of course, I realized as I put the crisp in the oven, that apples would indeed be on that list of things he can't eat.

Go Steph.

So I called him to run through a list of what he can't have, and it turned out that he can have most things if they're cooked. So I toasted the crap out of the almonds for the salad.

Things turned out very well for the meal, although I'm thinking there was a bit too much kale in the kale/mushroom/broccoli/leek/onion/garlic/butter/white wine and noodle dish. But it wasn't anything to be ashamed of, and everyone liked the crisp - including Sam who has something against cinnamon...of all the crazy things!

So, that was a fun morning. Well, it turned out all right at any rate. Especially as we had ice cream for tea break...

Hope all is well,

Sunday, April 11, 2010


Hi all,
Between several medical issues this week, it was a long one. Today took the cake, however, as Housemom had an allergic reaction to some meds and ended up going to ER. I’d managed the house all morning- doing brunch and was sinking comatose into a nap when I got woken up twice. Once by Sam, and the second by the 4 year old who was literally SCREAMING AT THE TOP OF HIS LUNGS. “Mom! MOM! MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM!” Over, and over, and over again. I swear the whole neighborhood, and probably several others, heard him.

It turns out she was at the neighbors, and returned with a co-worker who said she had to lie down. Now, the children had 2 friends over and were expecting another, and so I agreed to do some child-watching. I took the 4 year old and Maria into the cow field and flew his kite. Apparently it’s pretty much like riding a bicycle. Plus, the kite was an interesting design with no sticks, kind of reminded me of a jellyfish. Although it wasn’t terribly windy, we had it up for quite some time. Probably spent a good half hour to 45 minutes.

When I got back, chaos reigned.

Housemom was gone to the ER (although I had no idea why or when she’d be back/what to tell the children/ how serious it was/ etc). Plus, none of the neighbors knew. This was very un-housemom-like and made me intensely uncomfortable. I refused to believe it could be anything really serious, because I couldn’t afford to freak out. And then housedad called, wondering if he should try to book it home – although it would take 8 hours or so.

Luckily, one of the neighbor staff kids came over and we took most of the kids (2 went to another house) went down to the creek – to catch tadpoles, I thought. It turned into a “let’s take a mudbath!” when I had turned around. So yeah, we literally had to hose off the kids…so that was a lot of fun…not.

Then there were baths, de-mudding clothing, and dinner to get together. Then the children decided it was time to freak out completely and called the neighbors to go over. They were even contemplating eating nettle soup. Plus, Sam had the day off, so he was completely out of the picture for this. I have to admit I was completely envious.

So we had a dinner of 3, having sent the children out with plates to the neighbor’s daughter who built a fire and I was completely dead.

Luckily, housemom returned and after hearing how horrifying her symptoms were I had nothing left. I put on a movie for Maria and retreated to my room. The internet, of course, is being incredibly fickle and so who knows if I’ll be able to post this. I almost lost it when I saw a funny comment on a link, and so I know I’m pretty close to an edge. Needless to say, I’m looking forward to about 10 hours of unconsciousness tonight!

Tomorrow will be a better day!

Hope all is well,


Saturday, April 10, 2010

Pathetically Lazy

Hi all,

No excuses. Thursday night I was out past midnight at karaoke again. I was the DD, so it wasn't quite as fun as last time - although we had a bigger group. We had a little trouble with organizing everyone (what's new?), but it seemed to be a pretty big success. The bar was a lot fuller this time, and not all the singers were horrible - several were quite good. Unfortunately, they seemed to favor old school rap (like Salt-N-Pepa - which I just had to wikipedia to spell correctly...) and country. One of the co-workers that went this time was a huge crowd-pleaser. He had the Michael Jackson microphone twitch down, the stand-twirling action, dramatic gestures and a pretty good voice. The karaoke guy's comment: "Wow, that was like a whole Broadway production..."

So, a lot of fun.

We arrived home in time to just avoid getting soaked in a late-night/early-morning downpour. Success.

Thursday was a day for running errands around the village and outside, so it was a nice way to end the day. (Plus, getting to snuggle up with a big new stash of library books!)

Friday was a pretty typical day. I did a good chunk of cleaning, we had spaghetti for lunch, and I finished the bills in the co-op for the household accounts. We did the dinner/music in the cafe fundraiser for some of the staff kids, and I went to the film with our 2 villagers. The other two are having family visits right now, so I'm pretty jealous of Sam since it's just the ladies remaining.

I have the day off today so I'm planning on going into Millerton to buy some seeds and start a mini-garden by the house. Some herbs, tomatoes and sunflowers I'm thinking. We'll see once I find out how much room I'll have and prices. Should be fun.

Hope all is well,

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

80+ Degrees in April?

Hi all,

Not that I'm complaining, mind you, but it is slightly ridiculous! It was another bright and sunny day, although I barely spent any time outside. After breakfast and rest time, my first job of the day was to do a quick co-op run. As previously noted, millet would be helpful for millet day. Housemom took the kids out for the morning for some errands and free time, so I was manning to 2 person work crew. They both worked pretty hard, and so it didn't take a whole lot of supervisory effort.

The lunch turned out pretty well, I was especially pleased with my rich and thick cheese sauce. Although, really, with 3 cups of cheddar how can you go wrong? I mixed the millet with quinoa and a little garlic and fried up leeks, broccoli and carrots and topped with the sauce. I would never pay for the meal, but it was definitely a few steps above "edible" and not in the realm of "interesting". The coleslaw I made to go with it was also popular. I held the meal down myself, since Sam was out to lunch. Connie was raring for a fight but I had some stern words and layed out my expectations beforehand and she did reasonably well. Still dominated the table and repeated everything, but wasn't bossing people around as much.

The co-op was another thrilling day of billing. But it's important, so that helps. I also talked to one of the workgroup/neighborhood housemoms and discussed the possibility of me apprenticing to the stain glass artisan. I mentioned that I knew it probably couldn't be until summer's end, but she surprised me by leaping into it and asking if I had mornings off (Tuesday for cafe and Thursday because I make soup) - and then proposing I start as soon as possible! Now, I'll need to talk to the workmaster, but my own Housemom has given me the green light. I was also told that I may need to be on standby to sub in the food processing, but only on a temporary basis. The first changeover of co-workers will start happening in June, so there will be someone then.

Anyhow, my charge has returned and we have a co-worker house meeting tonight.
Hope all is well,

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Problem With Millet

Hi all,

The problem with Millet is that it basically sucks. Especially since I just remembered I used it up last week. run tomorrow. Anyhow, I should probably be looking up a recipe right now, but I'm feeling very unmotivated. We're having a "Stitch 'n Bitch" session again tonight, but I'm "hosting".

Connie has be atrocious today and we're kind of at our wits' end. She can't let anyone have a separate conversation. Not that she needs to add to it, mind you, but just repeat what you say with an "I know..." in front of it. Yes, I know what I cooked today too. Strange, isn't it? Although medication is extremely regulated here, there's only so much you can do when the relatives won't consent. I say ship her home for a few months and then see what they say!

Well, that was slightly vindictive, wasn't it?

The day was gorgeous this afternoon, after a few morning showers. The morning was funny, as Sam didn't hear his alarm and shot out of bed exclaiming German. I'm not sure if I answered in English or not (since the German is pretty close), but it was funny because I didn't realize he wasn't speaking English at first. Breakfast went pretty smoothly anyway. The children have a break this week, so they slept in. Housemom is going to be a very tired woman, although she plans to take some time off to take the children out. So that will be good.

Work was pretty good today, despite Connie. I was busy computing invoices using an excel sheet that Bean had set up. It seems as though the co-op had been completely lackadaisical before the current co-worker took over and made attempts (with lots of help) to get a system down. A part of me (the "insane" part, as my jewelry instructor would gladly tell you) thinks I should attempt to write a sort of manual. However, with all the constant changes, and all the work, this seems to be rather unfeasible.

Oh, and props to my youngest brother for getting a great scholarship and settling on a college. Very proud of him!

Hope all is well,

Monday, April 5, 2010

Stuffed Full of German Food

Hi all,

Today was a long day of rest. I did some errands in the morning between breakfast and cleaning and let Sam have a sleep-in. I went after lunch and had a nice nap, and that and an hour or two this evening was the extent of my free time.

However, I did spend most of the afternoon with Sam learning how to make kaese spaetzle (German egg noodles with cheese...yum!), a pork roast with gravy, and we cheated on the sauerkraut. It was definitely a process and we just pushed our way through in parts. The noodles come from an extremely sticky dough and you use a press lowered into boiling water to cook them, an interesting process. Sam had also made sachentorte (a special cake from Vienna, which turned out pretty well and was delicious), so we all were absolutely stuffed. Now we'll need the next few months to recuperate!

It was marvelous weather again for most of the day, until it suddenly down-poured right in the middle of us doing dishes after dinner. This spoiled my plan of time out in the hammock. Oh well, there will be other days!

In other news, I should've done laundry, more room cleaning and several other small things today...but time just was not allowing for it. It will be a relief to get back to normal days tomorrow!

Hope all is well,

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Feel The Burn

Hi all,

The sunburn, that is. I was in a sundress today, and it was probably during the brunch. I only got a touch of color - so I'm taking it as a warning. However, it was an extremely gorgeous day today!

Breakfast was stupidly early because of a hall event - honestly, what's wrong with the normal time?!? And then we had neighborhood brunch with another house. There was delicious Pashka (a Russian sweet/soft cheese...mmm), challah bread, ham, fruit and cinnamon rolls. Housemom's recipe is terrific, and I helped to roll them out, I'll definitely need the recipe. The best part was sitting with some of the other co-workers I don't see so often. Rapier wit and horrible puns and sarcasm were cutting across the table. Sam shares this sense of humor, but culture plays a large role sometimes.

After lunch we had some quiet time, where I got a nice little nap in. Then I hiked off to a house to borrow a spaeztle maker (German egg noodles...yum!) and enjoyed the nice walk. We basically hung around the house socializing with anyone who dropped in, while housemom corralled the children and baked her special spring lime cake. I wasn't up to having my slice tonight, but I'm looking forward to it tomorrow. We had dinner a little late because of yet another hall event, but it was simple "bread and spread" affair.

Tomorrow I'll have parts of the day off (Sam and I are being flexible with this, this won't be a normal thing) and so I'm looking forward to that. Hopefully a quiet day, I know that they might go out for a walk as a house. Should be nice, but I'll be happy to get back to a regular work schedule on Tuesday!

Hope all is well,

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Of Cabbages and Kings

Hi all,

Yesterday was a pretty intense day. We had a play in the afternoon to go to (one by the founder of Anthroposophy, it was a little obvious, to be honest) and along with other household things we ended up keeping busy. Dinner was at about 7, while we were aiming for 6:30. We had all three of us cooking at the same time, so it was pretty chaotic. Sam pulled off a light cole slaw, Housemom did the garlic mashed potatoes, and I masterminded the fish. There was probably over a pound of butter involved with frying them...but they were amazing. Keep in mind that I don't like fish...

I have the recipe from when I was working at a restaurant this summer, and so it finally came in handy. True, it wasn't walleye, but the talapia fish was soooo tender. The breading held well, although the children didn't like it. Silly littles.

I could barely clear half the food off of my plate, and we had enough fish leftover for lunch today!

We were going out to celebrate someone's birthday, and it turned out to be a huge mess. Rides were confusing, as always, and I ended up having to drive. Although it's really not a major thing. The barkeep was a complete bitch, and wouldn't let the birthday girl drink with her temp (which acts as a legal, as they take the other away), her social security card, a picture id and her mom! Her mom bought everyone a shot, and we waited until she was able to come back and get her passport (ridiculous for an American citizen...they also did it to a dual citizen...hello harassment...). The night ended with a window being broken, but through no expected way. A bench against the wall was completely warped and when someone attempted to use it as support (who was, ironically sober) it tipped him completely off balance and knocked his head into a window. Fortunately he wasn't hurt, although things got a bit ugly with one drunk old guy demanding to know who pushed who and the drunken proprietor flipping out and raging against all of us (who had brought him good business with no other problems to that point, really). So that was fun.


It made for a really late night, and was definitely an experience.

Fortunately, today was a bit lower-key. We didn't go to the service, but stayed home to help do chores (I have blisters on my hands from beating out the never-removed-from-the-van-before floor rugs...ouch) and to get lunch done so we could go out. We went to Kingston, stopping at Poets' Park to do a little hiking, tag and sunshine time, since it was at least 80 degrees and sunny! We went to Barnes and Noble, and then out for dinner for pizza. We got back too late for the night event, and with well-worn out children. Yay for screaming.

I got to talk to some family tonight, which was nice, especially as a relative just passed away. A great uncle who was a great guy and always fun at the family gatherings. So a bittersweet gathering for my family.

Tomorrow will be a full day, so...

Hope all is well and have a Happy Easter!

Friday, April 2, 2010

No Blog Post...April Fool's!

Hi all,

Yesterday and today were momentously long days. I managed to catch Sam in one April Fool's joke (they don't have the faucet sprayers in Germany, so the rubberbanded one worked took him about 10 seconds to realize what was happening...nice). I made hot chocolate for breakfast, and except for about 1 minute with Connie, it went over spectacularly well.

Lunch was another matter.

However, we got to the hall very early to do our run-through and then do the actual skit. The voice choir messed up and I was left to soldier on and it ended up doing pretty well. Maria was supposed to recline her head on "Jesus'" shoulder, but the bossy co-worker who was "producing" us spoke so harshly to her that I knew she wouldn't do it. And she didn't.

I didn't get back to the house until 10:30 and had to catch up on chores before starting lunch. However, since the falafel recipe called for putting everything into the food processor, I wasn't too worried. I was after it became apparent it would take about 5 different steps that I knew I was in trouble. Plus the fact that housemom was out and not coming back, along with two lunch guests. Luckily, Sam pitched right in when he got home and helped me finish them and lunch was only 15 minutes late. Not bad for the first time in 3 months, right?

But stressful.

I spent the rest of the time doing lunch dishes, only taking about 20 minutes to have a coffee (yes, dire situation here...) before going to work. We were doing fish for tonight's dinner, so it had to be weighed out and delivered to the houses. It went swimmingly and we got to enjoy the gorgeous afternoon that appeared out of nowhere after lunch.

We had a "green dinner" with challa bread (amazing...yum!), which consisted of pea shoots - very tasty - and a rather gross chard soup. Had I known the green's fate, I would've gotten kale...

Anyhow, going out now...more about tomorrow.

Hope all is well,