Archive for September, 2009

>On Friday, I…

>This was a busy week. On Friday, I…

Woke up at 6:30, had coffee, and biked to work.
Went to Mandt training for a few hours, which is training on how to manage crisis situations.
Learned how to release myself from holds.
Went back to the Salcido.
Met John for lunch at the Poverello, the shelter. Shared a lovely meal over meatloaf.
Tried subtly to avoid a client who hasn’t bathed in a month and kept sitting down beside me.
Watched a woman spend her first 24 hours after being raped on our couch.
Listened to a woman’s story about becoming homeless after her husband died.
Picked up a clean load of laundry.
Was asked by a client if I had any vodka on me.
Had someone drop off sandwiches left over from a picnic.
Listened to two clients get in a fight over capitalism vs. socialism.
Listened to a story of how someone became an alcoholic.
Listened to someone whose fiancee just broke up with him because he drank too much.
Cleaned. Cleaned. Cleaned.
Forgot to lock our patio.
Came home to a lovely meal of leftover vegetable soup revamped with rice and turkey that Karen had cooked.
Watched The Informant.
Passed out asleep.
So that’s what I do when I’m not baking bread. Long day. Luckily, yesterday I went to Helena and for Carroll College’s homecoming. I hadn’t been to a live football game in forever, and it was great fun!

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>Its a cold morning. At 8:00, the sun has still yet to come out from under its cover of clouds. I walk down the stairs into the center and the clouds sneak in behind me as the door closes. In the basement of the center, the depression hangs thick in the air. It is one of those days. One of those days I would read about before I started working here, a day where all would seem lost until one brief, shining moment would make all this challenging work seem worthwhile.

A man comes up to the desk, “Can we watch a movie?”
“No, we start the movie at 9. It’s only 8:30.”
He shuffles back to his seat; I return to the morning paper. One of those days.
I try to find the lesson in this. That moment that makes all the work seem worthwhile. The touching story. The moment of hope. But this is not one of those days. It is simply a day to abide, a day to be. A day where all we can offer is a cup of coffee, stale donuts, a place to sit and not much more.
And for today, that’s enough.

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>Bread of life

>I remember throughout college thinking I could never stomach a 9-5 job. The monotony, I would think, with a shudder. 

Now, I realize, I was right. 9-5s are not fun. You can never go to the bank. Nor the post office. And luckily, I no longer work 9-5. I work 7-7 three days a week. Yes, that’s right. I work 3 days a week. Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. (To be fair, I do have meetings and trainings in addition to this, so I am still getting my 40 hours a week average in). 
These 4 days off a week have led to lots of bread making. So far I’ve tried:
Chocolate bread
Oatmeal breads
The bagels by far were the biggest hit, though I have trouble shaping them to look like real bagels. I got the recipe from “The Art of Bread” by the Cooking Club of America. It’d be great if I could just do all of our bread making for the week on my days off, however, we lack a good bread knife for slicing sandwich bread. Also, fresh from the oven bread rarely last longer than a day, I’ve realized. 
Now if you’ll indulge my tendencies for over-simplistic romanticized views of the world for a moment, I have a thought on food:
All plants come from seeds, water, sunlight, and soil. How amazing is that these simple, simple, ingredients give us everything from lemons to wheat to asparagus? I’m amazed.

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>Simple living

>I think simplicity can be one of the most frustrating and fulfilling parts of the JVC. Before I go any further, let me say this:

I am ready for a real paycheck. I am not a martyr. The day I see a paycheck with more than $80 on it, I will be thrilled. 
Simple living scared me more than the other values before I became a JV. How would I make it on $80? (including our community stipend, I really live on about $430 a month, plus I get health insurance.) In reality, the stipend is one of the smaller parts of living simply.
For one, there is simplicity of time. I make a conscious effort not to over commit myself. Which can be hard to do coming straight out of college. But I value my quiet time. I walk to work most days because it takes longer than biking. And thus I have more time to be silent, pray, call friends and family. 
There is simplicity for the environment’s sake. Sure I like bananas. Do I need to buy bananas? Well, they are shipped across countries, where as apples I can pick from my neighbor’s trees. 
There is simplicity in my spiritual life. I don’t need to join a bible study and a young adults group and read this book and that, even though those are all good things. I can also sit and be still.  Which is something I rarely did before JVC, and since has brought me much peace. Its taken a long time for me to warm up to this. In college I always had something else to be doing. Now, I’m not as overwhelmed, and enjoying silence is must easier.
I’m beginning to appreciate the little things in life much more. Where my food comes from. How long it takes to make a pair of mittens. How much more I see of a city when I’m walking. How easy and delicious canning really is. 
I’m beginning to enjoy this simple life. When I go slower, I see more and therefore appreciate more. I always thought if I slowed down I’d lose focus. But now, its hard to see how I’d concentrate otherwise.

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>A River Runs Through It


Laura’s wedding:

Priest Lake, ID:
John and I at Hempfest in Moscow, ID:
Spokane during Bloomsday:

I just relived “A River Runs Through It” this weekend. 

I spent Labor Day weekend fly-fishing with John and his dad at their families cabin, circa 1930s. What John didn’t tell me in all the many times that he told me how great the cabin is and how its one of his favorite places, is that all of the women in the family refused to spend the night at the cabin.
(Which is fair: there was no running water/electricity, but there was a mouse)
But really, it was pretty fun. Nice to get away, enjoy the sun, see the mountains. And I even caught my first fish! First fly-fished fish anyway. 
Here is a pic of Missoula, not mine though, I just stole this one:


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