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!!!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Wrapped Up in My Own Little World

Hi all,

Don't feel bad if you feel as though I don't have time for you anymore - I don't have time for myself either! Today was incredibly hectic, but I suppose productive as well. I had to go to a gathering (that will be singing in the weeks to come) at 8, which knocked out my morning rest time. We played games, and minus one good slip and flattened-on-the-floor moment, it went pretty well. You could tell the purpose was to unify. We played a reverse game of "Never, never have I ever", and at the end, I asked "Step into the middle if you've been feeling homesick". While I'm excited to go home and see people, I wouldn't consider myself to be. It was surprising (well, not so much as the Germans have been here a shorter period) that only an American and some of the South Koreans and a Japanese person stepped into the middle.

At any rate, then I went and helped set up a bank account with Carl, and went to work for a while. My old workmaster has very graciously offered to help out on Tuesday mornings so we can get the deliveries in while the trainings are happening in the next 3/2 weeks. Anyhow, before the truck came I did have to go in for renewing my CPR test. While it took about 3 hours total for my first aid/CPR class last time, this time it took at least that long for the CPR. But it's always good to get a refresher. We did the choking maneuver as well, and of course I got partnered with a giant. I could barely (with much struggling and blanket sliding) get him turned over!

I had about an hour for lunch and resting, although the house was out for cafe lunch (oh yeah, I got the money prepared for that too...) and so I made myself a cheese/tomato omelet. Not too bad. But not really much time to relax. I'd had to call houses to tell people to come later (although one didn't pass on the message...sigh, cranky villager...), and was contemplating leaving a few minutes early to post a sign when I got put on band aid duty for Beau. Poor man keeps sanding his fingers - but refuses to wear gloves and does it so sporadically that it never becomes a real issue.

I went and worked on getting the 1000 pounds of dry goods (and the rest of the order) into the storage room at the co-op when I got back at about 3:30. We got it all in eventually and I got things priced and mostly put away (although just the fridge and freezer and a few things we were totally out of) by 5:30 - just in time to do meds for dinner.

Although Calvin is finally a medicine giver, and he's a great and enthusiastic help.

We were supposed to have a learning agreement meeting with the house and a neighbor housemother, but we are all simply too exhausted to do it tonight. So we'll try again for Thursday.

Yesterday I had a play rehearsal for the Michaelmas play (yes, I don't know it for Pete's sake) and it was really hot - I was sweating the the sweater that I'd needed in the morning. And then it poured in the afternoon = welcome Fall! Anyhow, Monday was certainly less busy with me getting a lot of ordering and billing/paperwork accomplished now that we have several co-workers. It seems like it will be a totally viable work situation - although I had trouble with one of the villagers in the afternoon, who got into a bit of a snit. But we all have our off days, and many tradeoffs with our various personalities.

Sunday was (see, I'm going backwards here!) pretty calm. I was up surprising early and after some laundry I went and hung out with Lana. I'm a little sheepish that I've never mentioned her in my blog by "name" before, but we're seeming to bond together a bit more now that most of the people we've known (she came in February) have gone. We had tea and I made a cheesecake for D'Artagnan - whose birthday was on Monday. (They've both moved houses and now Lana is living in Bean's old room. Kind of weird...)

I talked to Bean recently and it's weird that she actually has a life now. Y'know as much as a life one can have while living with parents. But it's just a phase and she has plans beyond it, so that's pretty cool. I admire that she's really putting herself out there and plans to go abroad to teach English.

Anyhow, Sunday afternoon I took a group of the new Germans (6, to be precise) to Hudson. They all had their cameras, and I'm afraid it was a tad bit disappointing for them. We walked the downtown area and then did the ever-needful Wal-Mart run and then had dinner. We had to be back in time for a 7:30 meeting (on my day off = crankiness!) for a skit thingy and presentation of the classes.

And that's been that last few days...
Hope all is well,

Friday, September 10, 2010

I'm Just Here for the Money

Hi all,

Yes, yes, you may stare at your screen reproachfully. But I'm Catholic and thus immune to you guilting me. In fact, I even have a t-shirt idea about it. But I can't tell you or someone will steel my sheer-brilliant design, it's just that good.

Anyhow, I digress.

We had an orientation session on Tuesday and got to play a rousing round of "interview your partner". This is always more fun with people who are non-native English speakers. One of the first pairs declared that his partner had come to get away from his girlfriend. The other retorted that the other guy wasn't into the women here. I think that was quite a surprise for at least one girl in particular. Ha ha ha....Nope.

My partner and I were ready to go:

"Should I go first, or would you like to?" He asked.
"Go for it. I don't mind"
"That's first!"

So I promptly launched into his introduction. I really just didn't find it terribly funny, joke or no!

In retaliation, he summed up my explanation for how I came to the village by coming through the Americorps program as: "She's just here for the money".

However, I was also described as "The feminine core of her family". Which is one way to put it, I suppose. Although he clearly doesn't know me and my sometimes slightly aggressive tendencies. Three brothers will cultivate that in a girl...

I also got to hear a conversation between Carl (new villager= name!) and the 3.5 year old. I came in on the phrase: (well, I was in my room...)
"Only boys have penises!"
3.5: "I know! My sister has one"
"No she doesn't! She's...female....That means she's a girl - and girls don't have penises!"
"But...I saw her pee on the floor!"

Apparently girls can't pee because one needs a penis to pee.

Good to know.

Anyhow, the house has been crazy this week, with houseparents out of the loop pretty much. Calvin (name!) has been struggling valiantly to do the best he can, and his cooking has been far from inedible. A lot has to be learned for time management and house-running, but I know it definitely took me a while - plus I had housemom there for support - until I nicely asked her to just let me cook. He'll get there too.

Anyhow, I have a meeting I have to get too. I shall endeavor to post a bit more often...

Hope all is well,

Monday, September 6, 2010

Eat, Spit and Make Music

Hi all,

Before addressing today's title, I'd just like to note the glorious day off I had yesterday. I managed to get a load of laundry done, a little crafting and a lot of reading. I also fled to another house to hang out for most of the day. Just getting out is fantastic. Also, Julia came back Saturday night, so that helps a lot too. It's disconcerting to be around so many new faces...again!

Today started at nine for me. I got up and while throwing together pancake mix, I realized I could also make quiche. So I did. One of the household is allergic to a crapload of things, but I managed to get around all of his allergies. True, it had to have a rye/oat flour crust, but it was definitely not terrible. I didn't have time to fully bake it before putting the liquid/bacon/onions in, but it still turned out quite tasty. New co-worker (hey, it's hard to think up names...I don't want to give him a bad one!) helped come down and finish pancakes o time, and so we had brunch by 10:40. Not so bad, I think! We also had berries and whipped cream, and so it was truly quite the feast. Then we had a nice long rest time.

Afterward, we went up the seed workshop and I helped chop up yellow watermelons. Since we had the day off for Labor Day, a whole chunk of the community showed up in order to eat (and spit out seeds from) watermelon, in order to get seeds for next year. The watermelons were a yellow variety and had an excellent flavor. There was also a special "bean dancing" where we were invited to stomp on bean shells in order to get the beans inside out. Of course, I have pictures, and should probably get them up. And the Boston trip pictures too, sometime.

Sigh. It'll be sometime soon.

I hope.

Anyhow, after everyone glutted themselves on watermelons, the new German co-workers all clustered together for safety. We bite, you know. No, I can remember being intimidated when I came but things will redistribute once seminar and the different groups sort themselves out. With the responsibility I've undertaken, I find myself in a unique position. I can understand house parents a lot better now, but still have a perspective from someone with real little power to change things. I'm also kept incredibly informed through many sources (working in the co-op alone does that) and so I often have the answers that people are looking for. Obviously I try not to blab personal things, but relaying on meeting times and such makes me seem on top of the ball...

Anyhow, it was a lovely afternoon. Beau had fun hanging out with the musicians who brought their instruments to play on while people "bean danced" and improvised on a watering can that he alternately banged with a stick and pretended to water with. Connie walked around "asking"/demanding people to take pictures of her, Maria ate watermelon and hovered while Franklin was his usual social self and hung out with a good buddy.

We had a joint barbecue with one of the neighbors for dinner, and then I had a skit practice. And now I'm going to bed...finally.

Hope all is well,

Saturday, September 4, 2010

...And then I Ran Over the Squirrel...

Hi all,

So, it was an eventful last few days. Thursday was pretty much a day for traumatic events. I went to an important meeting that I somehow got myself lassoed into, although it opened up some very interesting dialogues and we didn't get yelled at once. Imaginations can be deadly.

Then I went to a Dr's appointment with Franklin, and as one of the nurses so succinctly: "He has the bedside manner of a troll". I think he traumatized me worse than Franklin, thankfully, but it was the last thing either of us needed. We got home to lunch on time, but lunch was then late. So I had to run to my next meeting and give my account of the confusingness that is the co-op currently. (Not to mention the state of co-workers...But at this rate I'm just accepting that people are coming and that the work group will sort everything out eventually - and it gives me time to do papers, inventory stuff at the last minute, ordering and trying to organize finances...)

The co-op was blessedly uneventful and after doing dinner I had a few minutes for myself. I went to the glass workshop and finally got to do some more work on my project. More tomorrow is on the line, as I get a day off. Which I 100% need at this point! Anyhow, I had to run into town to do a bank deposit and then went to the hall to lock up. And found a nice spurting leak from a hot water boiler. My mind went blank and I ran next door (because turning knobs is equal to potential exploding things in my mind...) to get help and call the guy for maintenance emergencies. So that was fun.

Then I tried to go to the swim pond for a potentially unmodest dip, only to be thwarted by a huge group of people - most new. And by this point I was completely overwhelmed. And then there was the snapping turtle. I splashed at the hump in the water and it disappeared, so I'm going with turtle and not ginormous water snake. Yup. Then I went home and crawled into bed...and fervently hoped Friday would be better.

It started out ok, and I picked up our new co-worker's gf at Hudson during the afternoon rest hour. We were almost home when a squirrel darted across our path. I've never hit one before, but I slowed down a little - gauging that it would make it no problem. It then turned around, but still had plenty of time. It was back to the grass when it made a kamakazi dive towards the car. I braked but it was too late: thumpedy thump thump. I was extremely surprised- squirres always get out of my way! Then I looked over and saw tears leaking from the gf's eyes.


The absurdness of the last 24 hours caught up with me and I had trouble not laughing. What are the odds of me hitting an animal with someone so tender-hearted that they'd actually cry? At somewhat of a loss, I asked "Oh, you must be a vegetarian then?" Nope, she's too picky of an eater to give up chicken. This really was a struggle to maintain a somber expression and I resigned myself to deliver her in tears. The last part was, as she was about to get out of the car, she asked in a horrified tone if I thought it could still be wedged in the tires. Since both the wheels had thumped, I was pretty sure we were safe, and tried to tactfully tell her so. So that was also great.

D'Artagnan said that I should do an audio blog so people know my speech mannerisms and can fully appreciate the flavor of my words. So, maybe, when the fiber optic system comes in (supposedly December...?) I could do that. I suppose I could do it now, but at the upload pace, it'd probably take that long anyway.

Today I cleaned...and cleaned...and cleaned. From about 8:50 to 10:50 when we went to the hall to clean for another hour. Hum was incredulous about what all I'd managed to do by myself and the house. We got the downstairs completely vacuumed, the kitchen mopped, the stove wiped, both bathrooms done, cubbies cleaned, a under-the-weather-Beau looked after and hydrated, some walls wiped, plants watered, a few loads of laundry done and a few outside tasks done by Hather. But I still ended up doing lunch meds and bringing up Beau's lunch.

After a too-short rest hour, the new co-worker and I (even though it was his day off...his gf left) went to the Columbia County Fair with Franklin, Clyde (look...finally a new name for the newest villager...) and Maria. We had a treat, I rode a rickety "Zipper" ride with Clyde (and only screamed a moderate amount...), moseyed around the animals and watched a sheep show. There was one unfortunate girl who could not keep her sheep under control. Although, if I was also a novice 4H sheep show-er, I would've been in the same place. It got completely out of control at the end when it bolted and slipped the rope halter she had on it and the judge had to lunge after it to get it. Poor girl.

It was exhausting and I'm glad I didn't go alone...wouldn't have worked out well. We got back shortly before Franklin was due to go out for bible supper and managed the rest of the evening uneventfully. I locked up the hall and was getting concerned about not hearing from Julia and when to pick her up when she was dropped off by some friends. So it was really nice to see her!

And I had a really nice time with Schmee and Carey last night - it was pretty much exactly what I needed...a nice girl's night in.

Hope all is well,