Archive for February, 2010

>Men anpil chay pa lou

>Many hands make the load light. – Haitian proverb

The other day at work, one of our clients (who happened to be hungover) stumbled over to the coffee pot and grumbled,

“Wow. Someone else besides me made coffee. I’m the only one who ever makes coffee.”

He’s not. Usually he’s just the only one who wants a pot of coffee at 3 o’clock in the afternoon.

But it made me think about how often I grumble about being the “only one who ever…” It’s especially tempting in community. If you were living by yourself, of course you would be the only one who ever cleaned the oven, took out the trash, made dinner. In community, you share the burden. But for some reason, instead of being appreciative about having people to share the burden with, it becomes easier to notice when someone isn’t carrying their load. And to begin to pat yourself on the back and remind yourself about how you are the “only one who ever…” For some reason, its harder to notice that you are the “only one who never…”
For instance, I love to cook. I hate doing dishes. I know this. I shirk dish duty more than I should. And I know that if I lived alone, I would just suck it up and do my own dishes. Community is a blessing and a temptation. The blessing of sharing the load, the temptation to shift your share onto someone else.
I wish I could say that I’ve gotten better at this, but I don’t think I have. Maybe I step up a little more often, but I still get pouty when I think I’m working harder. Maybe that’s what they should tell us during orientation:
“Yes, you will be, without a doubt, the person who does the most work in your house. You will be the only one who does the dishes, the only one who never leaves their dishes. You will never be loud at night, and your job will probably be the hardest. Good for you, now get over yourself.”
Disclaimer: All my housemates are great, and I think we do a really good job with our chores. (Overall, anyway). I’m just saying this is something I know I’ve been tempted by often!

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I have been putting off writing this cause I was gonna upload pictures. Still haven’t, so I guess that’ll come later.

This weekend we had our Social Justice retreat at Waitts Lake Camp in Washington, north of Spokane. It was facilitated by a couple, Carol and Vicki, who work/teach at Portland State University. The community from Hays stayed the night with us the night before, but left early the next morning. We left around mid-day, just as the gray skies were starting to clear in Missoula. It’s been dark and dreary here for about the past week, so we were pretty bummed that we missed seeing blue here for once.
It was only a five hour drive, but we took our time to get there. First we stopped at St. Regis, a travel center that features a real-live-free trout aquarium! It really doesn’t get any better than that. I, personally, love St. Regis. It has the most ridiculous, giant collection of moose-themed, cowboy-themed, fly-fishing-themed kitsch collection. Wonderful.
Next we stopped at Cataldo, a Jesuit mission church in Idaho. (Picture, upper right, not my own). It’s a beautiful church built back in the 1800s. The contrast between the Jesuit cathedral and the mountains which had long been the cathedral of the Coeur d’Alene can’t be ignored. It’s good to remember the history of the Jesuits in the Northwest, many wonderful things, and many things that were done inappropriately and insensitively. I hope (and think) it’s improving though.
Last we stopped in Spokane at my old house. It was good to see it again, and to show my housemates where I used to live. We had forgotten about the time difference and had time to spare.
The retreat itself was wonderful and relaxing. We did an exercise on the stations of the cross, and had the opportunity to reflect on the individual stations with a few people from different areas, and talk about how our work and community life were related. All in all, it was a great chance to get away, refocus, and see other JVs.

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>Day in the Life of a JV, Tuesday

>My housemates might hate me for this, but I love having Tuesdays off. It’s like a little extra gift, Monday night, thinking “Oh yeah…I don’t have to go to work tomorrow!” It’s as if I have a snow day once a week. Of course, I’m not as grateful on Thursday, Friday or Saturday.

But this Tuesday was a particularly good Tuesday, if I say so myself.
9:00 Slept in and bummed around. Enjoyed a cup of tea.
10:00 Had some quiet time. I’ve been reading the book of Tobit because it kept turning up in the marriage prep materials. Good story.
11:00 Got ready, ran to catch the bus.
12:00 Met Bridget, our support person, for lunch at the Catalyst. It was pretty good.
1:00 Caught the bus to good will.
1:30 Found: a new shirt from Target ($4.00), a flannel shirt half off ($2.00), a box of Pirates of the Caribbean valentines with tattoos!
3:00 John came over so that we could take pictures for our “Save the Date” cards.
4:00 Realized we’d need someone else to take the pictures. Went to bug Jen at work.
6:00 Back home, heated up a big old plate of leftovers.
7:00 The Biggest Loser! I don’t know why we watch this show, but we do.
7:30 Decided to make cinnamon raisin bread. Misread the directions and didn’t see there were 3 separate risings, so I didn’t realize how late I’d be up!
8-11: Hung out with housemates, baked, etc.
11:30 Woke Karen up with the smell of cinnamon raisin bread. I thought it was the smoke that woke her up, since the cinnamon filling spilled over onto my oven and burnt. But it was good, and well worth it. Our oven needs cleaned anyway. One day…

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This is a picture of the Clark Fork River at night.

Since I work 4 days a week, I usually have my weekend Sunday-Tuesday. It’s a bit odd, and not my favorite having my “Monday” be on Wednesday!

Yesterday, I slept in. I wasn’t feeling too great, so my morning/early afternoon mainly comprised of lots of tea and rest.
I worked on some crafty projects for a bit, read for a bit (Kavalier and Klay), then I remembered I still hadn’t cleaned the bathroom and it was my turn.
4:00 Cleaned bathroom. With baking soda and some all natural cleaners we have.
5:00 Laundry. 9 times out of 10 I line dry my clothes outside or in the basement, but since I wasn’t feeling great, I went with the dryer.
6:30 Began cooking dinner. We had “Three sister’s at the four corners” stew from my Moosewood cookbook. The three sisters are squash, corn and beans. The recipe called for butternut squash, but we only had winter squash leftover from the food bank. It wasn’t bad.
8:15 Ate dinner. One of my housemates was running a little late.
9:00 Sat down for spirituality night. We read an excerpt from 1 John chapter 3 and also an essay entitled “Every Day Should be Earth Day,” by Ann Lovejoy. The theme of both was loving through your words and actions. We discussed Gandhi’s quote “Be the change you want to see in the world” and what that actually meant for us.
10:00 Hung out, watched more Law and Order, and went to bed!

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Worked. Work work work work. Saturdays tend to be fairly long and boring days at the Salcido.
6:00 Meet my housemates at the Break, a coffee shop. We used to be able to pick up an internet signal at the house, but that is no longer the case, so we must go to coffee shop for internet.
7:00 Go to Five Guys, Burgers, and Fries for a community dinner. Delicious. Unfortunately, one of my clients was there, passed out in front of the bathrooms. (The place is right next door to a hotel that many homeless people stay at). They had to call the cops on him.
9:00 Law and Order is on. One of my housemates is obsessed with it and its becoming part of our routine.
10:00 Mass with John at St. Francis Xavier, a Jesuit church in Missoula that’s about a block from the Salcido. It’s a beautiful church, but I’m not sure its where I’ll continue to go. I did want to go to a Jesuit church while I am a JV this year, since I didn’t last year.
11:00 Heartbreaking miscommunication. Usually I start salivating for the donuts after communion, but my housemates and I had planned to make pancakes after mass, so I skipped. What I didn’t realize is that they were all going to 11am masses elsewhere instead of 10am. So when I got home at 11:30, there was no one around and I had to leave at 12:30. Sad….no donuts, pancakes, or community mates. I did have a creative brunch though: cheesecake leftover from Friday’s dinner, half a grapefruit from John’s mom, and shrimp scampi leftover from Friday. I’m realize this probably isn’t the best week to showcase what being a JV is like seeing as how it’s been a fairly un-simple week so far!
1:00 John and I met with the church’s marriage counselor. There are many forms to fill out to get married in the Catholic church!
4:00 Meet at Dan and Erin’s (Erin is a Former JV and Dan is John’s uncle) to go to a super bowl party at their friend’s house. Dan and Erin gave us tickets to see Wilco, so this was the pre-party.
7:00 See Wilco!
11:30 Leave Wilco very, very dehydrated and exhausted, but happy. It’s nice having FJVs who support you.

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Friday, February 5th

Wake up, go to work, all that jazz.
8:00 Someone decides they are interested in their GED so I give them the first part of the pre-test. Usually that’s a pretty intimidating step for most people. He remembered he had a doctor appointment after the first part so he left. I kinda think there might not have been a doctor’s appointment…a few months ago we got through the first part of the pre test then he disappeared for a few months.
10:00 Another volunteer comes in. I’m never that sure about what to get volunteers to do, so I just introduced her to a few clients and let them chat.
12:00 Its very quiet.
1:00 Out of there! I only work in the mornings on Fridays. Go over to John’s to eat leftover Chinese food for lunch. And…most exciting news of the day, Father Fitts, a retired Jesuit priest in Spokane, WA returns John’s call and agrees to do our wedding! Fr. Fitts always goes to the JV orientations, would stop by and visit our house in Spokane last year, and worked at House of Charity (John’s placement). So now our date is official. We’re super excited to have someone who means so much to us and has been such a part of JVC.
2:30 Go to Big Sky brewery. They have free tastings at the brewery, which is one of Missoula’s 3 local microbreweries. This is an exercise in simplicity for several reasons. 1) Free beer. 2) Local brews don’t tend to support the drinking-in-excess/subjugation of women as other companies do, 3) You can fill up a growler of beer instead of buying bottles which results in less waste. Glass isn’t recyclable in Montana.
4:00 Go home and start baking some bread for dinner tonight. Karen invited some of her coworkers over. One of them goes duck hunting and offered to give us some duck if she cooked! 7:00 Company comes. We had a huge feast. Community doesn’t just involve the people in the house, but it extends to the larger community. Its great remembering that, especially when things get tough inside the house.
9:00 Dinner’s over. Dishes and bed!

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So, I thought I’d do a couple days of describing what its like to actually live day to day as a JV, and how we try to incorporate values of community, simplicity, spirituality, and social justice. Its fun to me to reflect on how those values influence my day to day decisions, and how some decisions I decide to choose another path. Hopefully it’s not too boring.

Thursday, Feb 4th.

6:45 AM Alarm goes off
6:45:30 Hit the snooze
6:50 Reluctantly get out of bed. We keep our house around 64, which unfortunately means its about 58 in the basement where my room is. Making it very, very difficult for me to get out of bed in the morning. My bed is plenty warm…once I put 5 blankets on it, sleep in flannel pants, a sweatshirt and a sweater. I’ve actually heard you sleep better when its cold.
6:52 Get dressed. JV style – my pants are from a thrift store and my shirt is a hand me down.
7:15 It’s super snowy out. Catch a ride to work with one of my housemates. This is questionably simple. Yes, it means my commute for work has no additional impact on the environment. Taking the bus is much more an exercise in solidarity.
7:25 Arrive at work
7:30 – 9 Do all the set up, making coffee, etc.
8:00 My turn for coffee. We have terrible coffee. I think people don’t rinse out the coffee pot before they pour water back in, so we’re making coffee with burnt coffee. Delicious.
8:30 A nurse from Public Health shows up. She is looking for one of our clients. “It’s not contagious, though, don’t worry.” Her card says she’s a specialist in infectious disease. Not suspicious at all.
8:45 A lady from St. Patrick’s hospital comes once a month to do mental health outreach. Usually several people talk to her, but not that many today.
9:00 Put in a movie. We show a movie every morning around this time, and its usually something pretty bad. Today it was The Game.
10:00 Two clients are starting to yell at each other. One begins to take off his jacket and say, “let’s take this outside!” I ask him to leave on account of making threats. He backed down immediately, but still had to leave. A few minutes later both of the clients come back in saying they had worked it out and it was a misunderstanding. While it was encouraging to see them resolve it, I explained we still had to create an atmosphere of safety for everyone and needed to uphold the no violence rule.
10:45 A volunteer from UM comes in.
11:30 Things slow down…I look at bridesmaid dresses on the computer.
1:30 Go on my lunch break. It usually consists of 20 minutes eating lunch at the Poverello, 20 minutes of going for a walk or running errands and 15 minutes of quiet time. For that I’ll go down by the river, or into St. Francis for a chance to reflect on the morning and geared up for the afternoon. Lunch at the Pov wasn’t the best. Pot roast, lukewarm chicken noodle soup, and gravy and rice. Usually there is salad but it was already gone today.
3:00 Things get quiet in the afternoon usually. I work on the crossword. And eat stale brownies that grocery stores donate.
3:30 One of our clients chucks a pop bottle at her friend. I ask her to leave. Her friend says its okay, that she doesn’t have to go. I say its not his decision. She opens the pop bottle, which spews all over our floor. I ask her to clean it up and she refuses, so I ask her to leave for a week. I hate when things go like that.
4:00 Help a client fill out a housing application. He’ll get denied as he has no source of income. His SSI was cancelled. I try to tell him this politely but he still wants to go ahead with the application.
4:15 Tried to decide if I should go home for dinner or not. Usually we eat together about 4 nights a week. The last couple weeks have been hectic for all of us, plus we have a fridge full of left overs, so we’ve been taking things easy this week and just eating leftovers whenever anyone is home. One of my housemates is out of town, another has choir practice, so I text and say I’m gonna miss out on dinner tonight.
4:45 Try and convince people last minute to fill out our Montana Housing Status surveys. It’s the last day for them. The purpose is to give a point in time picture of homelessness in Montana. The weird thing is they define homelessness is staying at a shelter/transitional housing or a motel on a voucher or outside. Usually it includes people staying with friends or family, and staying at a motel.
5:00 Put the news on.
5:45 One of our clients comes in who is a former medic. He asks to speak to me in private so he doesn’t “alarm the men. One of the brothers is outside. He got beat up by the cops. He’s bleeding everywhere.” I rush upstairs, phone in hand ready to dial 911. It looks like he had fallen and his glasses had cut his nose. Another former army medic decides to help. (To paint this picture, the former is drunk, the latter is high.) I think there “help” gave them more of a sense of purpose than they’ve had in a long time though. I convince the guy to come inside to wash up, but he’s too drunk to make it to the bathroom. So then he’s sitting on a chair well past closing and we have to threaten calling the cops to get him to leave. I probably shouldn’t have gotten him to come inside.
6:45 Finish cleaning. Busy day! Walk over to John’s.
7:15 John has an Alaskan Amber in the fridge for me. That’s why I love him. Their winter beer is my favorite beer in the world. Usually John and I or my housemates will watch Parks and Recreation, The Office, and 30 Rock on Thursday nights. At John’s, I had gotten used to his DVR recording, so we didn’t turn it on right away. We had forgotten to record it though! Oops. We watched the dog whisperer instead. Oh, and 19 Kids and Counting. (Well, I watched that. John grumbled…he got sucked in though.)
8:45 Decide to order Chinese. It’s Missoula though, so virtually every place closes at 9. This is not simple living, really. However, I owe John $50 for my grad school application, so I pay. $25! That’s more than a week’s worth of my stipend. He says we’re even though.

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