Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A Bouncy Baby Girl...and Only a Mere 10.5 pounds...

Hi all,

So yes, my house now has a new addition. And definitely a way easier time to experience living with a newborn without having to have it myself! (Yurg.) Hum went in and the baby was born sometime this morning/afternoon. The kids already got to meet her, and apparently both are doing well. Seems hard to complain about my day being eventful...

But it's my blog.

Sooo. After breakfast I went with the new co-worker...yes, I still need a name for him...and we went to the vegetable market. Then I went to work and waited until the delivery truck came. At 12:15 I got a call from another lost and new driver, although he was relatively close. He showed up about 10 minutes later. It was just myself and a guy - a villager who wasn't supposed to lift much - and over 5,000's worth of food. So that was a wonderful 2 pallets to unload, containing about 1400 pounds of bulk dry goods alone. Yup. It took us until 12:50, although I called the cafe to save me a plate. I hadn't done money, so charged us all and sorted that mess out tonight - and then did meds when I got back.

I was a little overwhelmed by the huge order, but luckily Sam dropped by and said he could probably get off work to come help. So a majority of the order did get done and the bakery came and picked up 1200 pounds of what they'd ordered. So that was really great. The workmaster also came back from vacation, and stopped in briefly - luckily he'll be there tomorrow. Dinner was a lot of fun, we had jokes running the whole time. I think the stress of waiting for the baby's healthy and safe arrival had weighed on everyone a bit.

After dinner, I had the neighbor keep an "awareness" for us, and Sam, myself and the new co-worker went to the young co-worker meeting. It was nice to see the new ones, although we were missing a fair amount of people. Nothing too interesting was discussed, but it was good to discuss some minor things and feel people out.

Sam is leaving in a week, which means we should probably plan something for him. Or, rather, that I should. Not really sure how I can fully include everyone if Hum will be in the hospital until 5-6 days from now. We will see...

Hope all is well,
Steph

Monday, August 23, 2010

Honestly, I blame the Internet

Hi all,

The internet was down for a good day or so. I wasn't able to post yesterday, though I actually tried. It rained all of yesterday, stopping only when we went to see "Eat, Pray, Love" - with Julia's house. It was a pretty good film, and had an elephant in it, so Maria loved it. Beau and Franklin are both apparently huge Julia Roberts fans, and Beau loves anything centered around food. We had 9 villagers between us (hello? Although I only had 3/4 counting Maria, but poor Julia!), so that was a little chaotic. But we survived, and then had dinner next door. My first official meal there. We made cheese bread with tomatoes and a little watermelon. It was actually a very nice afternoon!

In other news, the baby still hasn't come, although he/she will be making an appearance tomorrow, I believe. When you have nearly 11 pounds of baby to deliver, it's not something you really want to put off.

Oh, and I'm tired.

Not that that's likely to change anytime soon, but I thought I'd put it out there. The house will not be a lot more work to handle, and we have lots of friends to lean on.

Oh, and the Bridesmaid's dress is in the mail...yikes!

Hope all is well,
Steph

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Hum is Overdue...and Not on Library Books!

Hi all,

Hum's due date has come and gone now...and she's really ready to have this baby! Actually, I think we all are. People keep asking me if she's had it, and when I say "No, not yet..." they immediately ask "Well, when is it coming?!"...whenever it wants to! We also had a random conversation that somehow wasn't so out of place...

Hum "Well, apparently you're the opposite gender in your previous life..."
Me: (because I genuinely was curious..) "Uh, what does it mean if you're a hermaphrodite?"
Hum: "Oh don't go there! I don't know! It probably means you were...a jellyfish then! Really Steph..."

I then took the opportunity to share my knowledge (gained from the public library!) that a group of jellyfish is called a smack. The next day at lunch we had our Thursday regulars and she asked if the baby was a boy or a girl. When Hum said it had to be one or the other, I couldn't help but to quip in:

"Unless it was a jellyfish last time!"

Luckily, she found this somewhat humorous.

Things have been somewhat crazy lately. We got our new co-worker who will be Sam's replacement, and so far Beau has really taken a shine to him - even playing little jokes with him. I hope he keeps that good frame of mind when Sam leaves. : (

I've also been pretty much alone in the co-op, except that the new co-worker has been temporarily helping out. He helped with some stuff and to keep the villager that's in on afternoons right now on task, and I tried to order. Talk about failure. I ended up (after 2 long, drawn out attempts) to just order from my laptop for next week. It'll be a big one!

I also took a while longer to get over the jetlag. But I've been busy in my evenings as well. Wednesday night we played Apples to Apples and I met some of the new co-workers. Thursday night I gave a co-worker (female) a haircut. It was...interesting. But I did a pretty decent job, but her hair bounced out funny when she washed it the next day and so she pretty much shaved it down to 1/2 inch. She still looks beautiful - she's just one of those people!

Last night I did ordering "fun" and met up with a co-worker in the co-op that I seldom see. We had a good discussion and I once again realized that the co-op is really a community place and it's nice to be able to see people that you normally wouldn't!

Today I had the day off and so I went for a hike this morning with Julia and then we chilled at Guilden Pond. It was not an extremely nice day, so we didn't end up swimming. I went to go with Bean swimming, but it was too cold and we ended up in a restricted (but beautiful) area. Unfortunately, there was a special event in the area and the rangers were super-vigilant. So that was slightly awkward...but a good adventure. Honestly, if you know it's dangerous but it's public property, I think you should be allowed to take your own risks. There were some nice and calm pools for swimming (although ungodly cold!) and so I was slightly resentful. Oh well.

And of course, we went and got ice cream.

Hope all is well, and I try to be better at posting!

Steph

PS I got my first ripe tomato! It was delicious!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

I'm Back in the Country

Hi all,

And I'm trying not to feel to bad about it. However, I'm rather jetlagged right now and so this will be a quickie (20 hours of traveling yesterday, got back to the village at about 12:45...yup.)

Got surprised when picked up by Sam and Julia because our new co-worker showed up 4 days early. Found out through the village newspaper thingy. Met him at lunch time at the cafe, seems to be a nice guy. Will need a nickname, I suppose. Hm. Anyhow, ate lunch with D'Artagan who is settled into his new (temporary) house. He was sitting next to a woman who started to flip out and said "He's going to bite me!" So we switched seats and I told her I would bite her if she didn't mind her manners with him at the table. We got served lunch, which would've been ok had not the zucchini patty things not been severely charred. The same woman declared: "It's ok. I Like them burnt! They're healthy for me."

After relaying this story to Bean (who works with the same woman in the garden) she told me a story where the woman use to blame all the farts in the garden on the basil plants. She less charmingly now blames them on Bean.

I hung out with Bean a little bit tonight, which was nice. But now I'm really tired and feeling the jetlag...so goodnight!

Hope all is well,
Steph
And yes, I may recap parts of my vacation later!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Hofreite-Schnitzel mit kochkäse





(OOOH! PHOTOS!!!)


Hi all,


You may have no idea what that means, but it was delicious. True, I skipped a beer in order to avoid a harder time with jetlag (slept for 12 hours last night, but woke up tired because it was 2am NY time...), but it was pretty much perfect. Oh, and the 'German Art' - which I was told not to call it - was sitting on our table...


Anyhow, getting to Germany was a 24 hour affair. Because of a last minute offer, I was able to leave the village at 6AM, taking the 6:50 commuter train. I actually have a little written about it...as I was in Iceland for 7 hours. Or the airport, at any rate. So maybe I'll just post that later! Anyhow...Benny and his sister and father met me at the airport - after a long wait for my suitcase - and it took us a mere half hour to get to their house. Which is very nice - and the third German house I've been in.


I was able to stay awake until amost 9 pm. At first there was quite a bit of English, which was appreciated, but we slowly lapsed into German. Even though my accent is terrible and my endings almost always wrong, I can get my point across. And of course Benny can always translate when we get stuck. When my brother arrives tomorrow, we may have to do a bit more English, but probably not as much as he thinks! Anyhow, we had fun talking, getting to know eachother, and I handed out presents. I also got a sweet t-shirt - and Sam's suggested plaid shirt was a HUGE success for Benny although mainly his girlfriend : p


We were up by 9 today to eat breakfast to leave at 10. We picked up Benny's aunt and little cousin (cute as a button) and went with his mother and sister for a riding lesson. I will be feeling said lesson for the next week, I believe. Ow. That's mainly the instructor's fault though, she had us sitting for the trot for WAY too long instead of posting. I thought it was weird at the time, and found out later that it was. I've only ever ridden English a few times, so I wasn't sure. Benny's sister assured me the lesson would be given in English (since it is an English riding lesson), but apparently not. This would've gone better if my horse - Gaston - hadn't been the strongest lead horse. I found out that I definitely can't concentrate on German and riding a new style at the same time. Oh, and I'd never used a whip before either. But it went all right:


video


We got back around 1 and had lunch. Then Benny asked if we could play spoons. So we did...for over an hour. So much fun. Then they took me out to a nice restaurant (with the cousin) and I got to have the schnitzel. YUM.



Anyhow, I'm going to try to stick it out another hour or so before bed...we will see!



Hope all is well,



Steph

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

They call Me "Deth"

Hi all,

Ok, so "they" is actually the 1.5 year old. And it tickles me pink. Anyhow...Sunday recap...

Hum had serve-yourself-breakfast and the service send-off, so I got to sleep in a little bit. Hum and Hather and the kids went out for brunch and the afternoon. I took us out to the Cupcake deli restaurant and we had a great bunch. At a 4:1 ratio, it wasn't very ideal, but since I know 3 out of 4 really well and the fourth seems to be a sweetheart for the most part, it worked out great. We then trekked over the Guilder pond trail - although the car ride there was a lot longer than I recalled from with Julia. The weather wasn't ideal so we only spent about 45 minutes there total. Then we went into Great Barrington to the SoCo Creamery and got icecream. We got home around 4ish.

Then I became a barber. I took out the clippers because Beau had been pointing to his head and asking for a haircut. So naturally Maria wanted one too. And then the house further away in our neighborhood's housemother came up and asked if I'd do one of their ladies as well. They've all gotten compliments from people who didn't know I did it, so it must not've looked too shabby!

On Monday things got a bit crazy. I was in the Co-op in the morning, after running to the bank and all around the village to get news out about karaoke and about getting a ride for Friday morning. I had to hurriedly do an order list, and I know I forgot one or two things...but it was the best I could do. I processed the bad bananas into bags to freeze for banana bread in the afternoon and did some billing. In the evening I showed my crazy side. Around 7 I went over and got the lowdown on jam-making. Since we had 40 pounds of peaches, this was important...

After about 15 minutes I felt informed (the housemother nextdoor is a canning-goddess!) and started making applesauce (because it has high-pectin content and is good filler with the peaches) - slicing, boiling until soft and then putting them through a hand-cranked mill. We have lots of apples, and Hum was happy to see them being used. Bean came over shortly before 8 and jumped in with her jars and peaches. We ran them through the dishwasher and then started blanching the peaches. Yeah. That was painful. After a while we stopped to peel and then chop/squish them. We got about 20 cups and mixed in 5 of the applesauce. We brought it to a boil with lemon juice and the calcium phosphate powder and then added 7.5 cups of sugar with 19 tsp of pectin mixed in and brought that to a boil. And then the shit hit the fan...

We were having an interesting time with taking the "sterilized" jars out of the oven. We then poured the peach mixture into them (or Bean did, rather), and then pressed the tops on and then screwed them down with the round things. The first two went beautifully, the seal was inverted. The next two popped immediately. Frustrated, we tried again and again, until remembered we needed to wipe around the rims to make a good seal. Still didn't help...So when Sam and another co-worker came in, we were having a slightly-hysterically funny semi -break down thing. Between our 4 degrees...Anyhow, we then realized that they would seal themselves with the heat...duh. And sure enough, we had 19 little jars this morning with perfect seals! Which Hum very nicely labeled...good for the house. Not so good for poor Bean who had her named mispelled and was planning on labeling them for Christmas presents. But a very appreciated gesture. Oh, and they taste good.

But it was a little crazy.

Anyhow, today was along a similar vein. Sam went to help the vegetable gardeners to harvest, and so I made the muesli. It was extra-yummy with peach, coconut and a little applesauce in it. After breakfast I did cafe money and generally ran around. I went to the Co-op and saw my workmaster and we went over some more ordering information. It's slowly coming together. Thankfully, he informed me that he will be phasing out, but it wont happen until after Septemberish - at least totally. So that's quite reassuring. After a quick cafe lunch I went to a Dr's appointment and got back at around 4:15. With a quick Walmart run for paper bags and small cups for tonight.

After dinner I ran to the hall and co-op to get things ready. Thankfully, Sam had already gotten the machine set up - so I only had to get the popcorn going. I also had some help. Commun(e)ity karaoke was a huge hit, or so I heard. I did a little singing with Maria and Sunny (both times interesting), but between the music, dancing and snack there was a lot of fun going on.

Now I'm tired...after a quick dip with Julia!

Hope all is well,
Steph

PS Still have to pack...