Monday, January 24, 2011

Full Circle

Hi all,

So, one must be rather careful for what one wishes for. True, I got the 3 feet of snow, but the ice "storm" (it rained...and froze) was a bit much. It WAS gorgeous to look up and see the tree branches waving and scintillating in the sunlight, with a beautiful clinking like delicate glass chimes in the wind until until they ice pieces slid off to dash themselves against the grown, but it got pretty treacherous and I ended up on my butt once. Everyone uses the "yak traks" here, but I mostly do just fine in just boots. Thanks to Benny. Anyhow, it looks like a proper winter now.

In celebration of being here a year, I finally got myself a dentist appointment. I don't want to talk about it.

On a more positive note, Julia celebrated her birthday. I met her on the night before her birthday last year, and it's amazing how our friendship has grown. She was typically gushy, but explained she wasn't going to apologize because, after all, it was her birthday. I got invited to her birthday table, and it was lovely. First time having steak (in steak form), in the village as well. Yum! I'd found a book called "How to Repair Food", which is quite funny - and incredibly useful. I mean, who knew you could turn sour cream back into cream??? This led to an interesting story about south africa, where apparently it's cheaper to buy butter, freeze it, and then thaw it and put it through a machine to turn it back into cream when you need it. Weird, huh?

Anyhow, it was a lovely evening, and a good end to a very long weekend. I'd had to get re-certified in a course that was held at a neighboring community at the lovely hour of 8 am. We got done 1.5 hours early - would starting at 9 kill them?!? It was a good time though. We had cafe and giftshop duty, because we'd swapped with a house having a christening. I had to change my off time on Sunday, because I ended up having to do giftshop on that day as well. Paled in comparison to eating glass though.

Somehow, many (quite large) splinters of glass ended up in the 1/2 of a cheesecake that we were going to serve at cafe on Saturday. Luckily, for others, I had a piece/bite and discovered this. Unfortunately, half of the cheesecake had already been served the prior week....and not thrown away! So that was fun.

Anyhow, for the big news: on Saturday the house went out to dinner and I informed them that I'd be moving on the 7th to help co-run a house (with Schmee and another young co-worker!) whose houseparent needed to step out for a while due to health reasons. No one seem too concerned. This is pretty typical, as people get used to comings and goings - and I'm not even leaving the village. I think Beau will be the most upset, and he's the one I will miss the most. I'm leaving on good terms with Hum and Hather, and knew that this day would be coming months ago. It will certainly bring some new challenges, but I find I'm mostly excited. The weight of it is still settling, but I have hope.

I have a rough 2 weeks to get through first though. Both Calvin and Buttercup are leaving on vacation, meaning that I'll be very short and work and at home - since I'll be picking up 90% of Calvin's work. Plus packing in there.

Need I mention that I'm sorry I've been a little too overwhelmed to blog lately? I hope things will settle down soon, although Seminar events are picking up and I'm rather behind. And rather unmotivated. It will come. Plus, I'm waiting to hear back on my Jet application, which should happen within the next week. So, a little more stress.

Basically, I'd like to sleep the next 2 weeks. A mini-hibernation.

It will get better.

Hope all is well - at least I'm healthy!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Frozen Mice

Hi all,

Yes, I can't wait for the hits that this blog title will probably get. Anyhow, it's been a busy 8 always. First news is to explain the post: in the co-op we have lots of interesting lists that we see. We get a fair amount of German, some Korean, and sometimes completely nonsensical if the villager was entrusted to write it (and can often read it, so fair enough!). However, we got a very nice, small and neatly written list. Buttercup started to laugh and silently handed over the list for me to scan. Check, check, check...frozen mice. As clear as can be. Okkkkkk. Upon a follow-up call, where we were adamant that we chucked out any mice that stumbled into our traps, we discovered that it was supposed to be frozen maize. We did have frozen corn, but the joke has been running. Tasty little appetizers, with tails just right for slurping...

The co-op was an interesting place this last week in general. We haven't had internet for a week (found out our router was kaput, while the light fixture simply needed a new bulb - embarrassing, but the damn thing has had parts replaced the last 3-4 times, so we weren't going to touch it!) and so I had to order in Hudson at a cafe on Sunday. We had a nice little blizzard and got about 8-10 inches of snow and had work canceled on Wednesday. This was great, as I and Buttercup still went in and we had the order finished by Wednesday. Wonderful! We also got our new ramp in (courtesy of the wood workshop) and it worked beautifully. So that was nice.

Last Saturday Calvin, myself and another co-worker took the house into the CITY. It dawned on me in the train, after a horrible 15 minutes fighting with the ticket machine..., that I was kind of running the show. After a little directional confusion we got right into the flow of things. We had an early lunch at "Ellen's Stardust Diner" - where the music by the Broadway wannabes was totally amazing. It was better than the last time I went, because I think they were stretched thin during the holidays. It was a more relaxed atmosphere. We went for a walk down Broadway afterward, looping into Central Park a bit. We had a snack at an amazing gelato shop: Grom's uses recyclable napkins and dishes, and biodegradable spoons. It has all organic components, with free trade and single origin ingredients. It was obviously insanely expensive, but totally delicious! In fairness, it was cheaper than the restaurants close to the Colosseum, and all that was special there was the view! Then we went to the 2:30 showing of "Million Dollar Quartet" and it was phenomenal! The Elvis was the understudy, but the musicianship was amazing. It was a great time and everyone loved it. We got back to the trainstation in time to buy a quick dinner to eat on the train. Beau managed to lock himself into the bathroom ont the train (second time that day, really, since he did it at the theater too), trying to get out. The "ductor" (Marie) thought this was rather funny. We got home by 8:30 and everyone had a fantastic time.

Marie has been a bit trying this week. Clothing has been a problem, long underwear even made an appearance OVER jeans one morning. And Calvin screwed up when I asked him to tell her to put her clothes into her hamper when she went to bed: she put all her DIRTY clothes into her closet instead. SO that was fun. But you can never actually stay mad at her, there's too much joy in everything she experiences. A humbling experience. Makes you feel like you should be a better person. That's not always not annoying though...who likes to see their faults?

Today I told one of the class mentors that I needed to report co-worker abuse. I was in the glass workshop this morning, admiring the newly-and-painstakingly-restored large piece that was getting a final once-over by the workmasters. They're exactly what I want. He teases, but obviously adores her. And she rolls her eyes and chides, but adores him right back. And they've been married for probably over 40 years. So happy it makes you a little sad. Surely they've had horribly tough times, but that love has endured and is so plain. Anyhow, I digress. They were in the middle of some banter about the piece, and the wife didn't notice me come up from behind. She exclaimed "Oh...Henry!" and took a little absentminded swat at his general direction, but missed. Hitting me lightly. She was completely oblivious until I squeaked from surprise, and then it was her turn to look astounded. It was priceless. "Henry", of course, found this hilarious, and we were soon all laughing.  "Henry" was bored today, and later was terrorizing us all by flicking giant rubber bands around. I almost got him back though...

A good morning in the workshop.

Anyhow, changes are on the horizon, but I can't really share yet. I'll keep you posted...
Hope all is well,

PS The almost-2-year old, came out of the bathroom as I walked by today and cheerfully announced that she had stuck her hands in the toilet. She was quite happy about this...

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

A New Year, Another Year

Hi all,

I can't wait for the Holy Nights to be over! True, I've gotten a few good naps in, but I'm more tired than ever, it seems. Of course, some of that is self-inflicted.

New Year's was a quiet affair. We met as a neighborhood with a fellow neighborhood and had a dinner of Chinese and Pizza take out together. We played some silly games, and I witnessed the most ridiculous 2 rounds of musical chairs known to mankind. The usual things happened during the rounds: people forgot to get up, people wandered away even though a chair still existed, and people doubled up. The first round it came down to Sally (exuberant cat-lover from next door) and a house father. Sally went crazy around the chair, and looked like she was defending it from making a pass. So naturally she won. The second round, the housemother from next door was pitted against a young staffkid. Under 10, definitely. The housemother thought the music was ending so she slid towards the chair, and in the process hip-checked the girl to the floor...and the music played on...needless to say she didn't make much of a struggle when the music finally ended. Pretty hilarious.

After then night's festivities, I drove Calvin and his girlfriend to Hudson and we watched Black Swan. I only had to cover my ears a few times. Afterward, we met up with the Korean contingent at Applebee's, and I got drilled on why I didn't have a boyfriend. That's a fun conversation with a language barrier. Then we rang in the new year (my first time watching the ball drop in the correct time zone) and wished the Koreans happy birthday, since they legally get a year older every Jan 1st. I had to giggle when I explained that we do the same thing with horses, they did find that amusing.

The next day I finally had a day off. I got to sleep in and then headed off to Kingston with one of the Koreans. We poked around Barnes and Noble and the mall, and got dinner out. I think we'll be meeting occasionally to have English conversation practice. I've asked several of the Koreans what they do for fun/hobbies. I've heard music and practice/study English. Obviously, they're the party animals of the community.

I also had to say a goodbye this week, which really drove home the fact that (as of today!) I've been here an entire year. The other girl actually came a bit later than I did, but she's one of the last people that came when I did/ from the previous year's group of people. It's sad, the number is dwindling. Luckily, four people did stay for additional time, but those goodbyes will be even more brutal now, I'm afraid.

The future is starting to pop up in my mind now. It's both exciting and a little scary. I know I'll need to get out for a while, but would really prefer to have something that I'm looking forward to going to for when I do leave. It brings up other key life questions as well, but I'm not going to bore you by going into them. I'll wait until I'm in a proper mood for it!

Anyhow, I hope all is well - and happy new years!