Sunday, November 30, 2008


Oh yeah, and we had Bible Evening last night and it was fine. Quaker-type silence for 20 minutes and a different prayer before the meal that i really liked, then the meal which was slightly fancier than usual, then we cleared the table and pulled out a few bibles and Nick read the passage which was about the apocolypse or something and it ended up being the Nick Poole Show a bit as these things tend to be, but that's just cuz he's like, really well learned and such. I said a few things about looking within ourselves but balancing it with looking outward and being in touch with the earth so we don't become too self-absorbed.

I slept this afternoon, then woke up for a shower and supper and everyone but Paule, Emily (who had a "rest day" to hopefully prevent her from refusing to get up on Monday) and Anthony went to the hall for a lecture. Being the first of Advent, I thought it would be about looking within ourselves and reflecting and preparing for Christmas, in which the birth of Christ represents the birth of our own inner-christ-being (or in Quaker terms, our inner light) and we take that inner light and kindle it during Advent and then hold it inside ourselves for the winter and in the spring take it out and plant it like a tree or something. It's kinda nice. I mean, sometimes its a bit too much religion for me, but it's nice religion I think. No fire and brimstone nonsense, although the Bible is a big part of it, and it's all very positive and how can we better ourselves so we can in turn better the world. Anyway, the lecture turned out to be totally boring and about Steiner and the guy rambled on forever but there was nice cello/violin music and eurethmy at the end.
Nighty night.


micha called me last night to say there was a gathering in the high farm barn and i was like shit it's gonna be freezing but i wanna hang out with peeps and drink. so i went and it turned out to only be jojo and gino, these two staff kids (jojo is cool but gino is annoying) and then this chick maisa who is also annoying sometimes showed up, and then ben (who i was SO happy to see at this point) showed up, and micha never even came because apparently she was um, busy, with Ben Abel, this other staff kid who lives in her house. so it sucked. then i spent all of this morning cooking and the meal was late and badly coordinated and yeah, pizza potatoes and red cabbage don't go together, but i didn't know what else to make and its only the second time i've cooked in my whole fucking life. the villagers enjoyed it, but i dont think paule did. she offered no sympathies towards my apologies. she also had a meeting to go to at 2:00 and we didnt eat until 1:30, so maybe thats why she was mad. but whatever. nick was nice and said it was very well done for a second try. then i had to do all the dishes while anthony and felicity tried to kill each other. so now i'm chillin in bed and feeling a bit blue and failureish. meh. time for nap and CSI and reading.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Shake n Bake

A lovely day. The sun managed to melt about a third of the frost, and by three o clock a huge fog rolled in and turned the air to soup. I spent the morning cleaning and doing laundry, and of course having tea break. I did Emily's hair for her after her bath, and for lunch we had Botton burgers and rice with stewed veggies on top. It was delish. Botton burgers are made from Botton cows and Botton garlic...makes me feel all sustainable and warm inside. Of course I said a little thank you in my mind to the lovely cow I was eating, hoping it had a speedy and painless death and wishing it a lovely afterlife in cow heaven.

After lunch I decided to experiment with gluten-free cookies, knowing that we don't have any xanthum gum. One recipe called for applesauce, and we didn't have any so I made some! I peeled and chopped some apples and threw them in a pot with some water and cinnamon and ground cloves and cooked them a bit and then whipped them with an immersion blender. Mom, you should get yourself one of these things for Xmas, they are the shizzz. So then I made the cookies. And boy howdy, it was interesting. This is the recipe I used: Vegan Oatmeal Raisin Cookies. I substituted almond flour for the rice protein powder, cream of tarter for baking powder (because the baking powder I found contained gluten), sultanas for raisens, and 1.5 cups of 'gluten free baking flour' for 1/2 cup potato flour 1/2 cup rice flour and 1/2 cup tapioca starch. The first batch came out dry, so I threw in an egg. Bad plan. Then they were really awful. So then I discovered gluten free baking powder in the larder and threw in another teaspoon of that, and they came out thicker but still falling apart. So the answer is...get some xanthum gum. You gotta have it. They taste fine, but I think I'll crumble them up in the apple sauce or something. The applesauce is bitchin' I', definitely making that again!

Tonight we have bible evening, and Paule has been decorating the house for advent with beautiful blue and white ribbons and candles and wall hangings of fresh greenery...there's a fire in the stove and the house smells like oatmeal raisin cookies. Yum. Time for a shower and some yoga, and then down to help Paule with supper. Peace.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Almost Advent

Frost over the dale lasted all day. Beautiful, but also slippery. Many villagers are terrified of slipping, and today their fears were quite legitimate. I fell on my ass on the sidewalk while taking the compost from the food centre to the gardeners. Luckily no one noticed as I'm sure it looked ridiculous.

Everyone is preparing for advent. The First of Advent celebration is Sunday night in the JoA Hall and I'm excited to see how this all works. I think it will be quite beautiful.

I think I forgot to say before that I've started learning how to milk the cows. The first step Justin has taught me is how to clean the teats. I know it sounds lame but it's kinda fun and it's sort of funny how you end up getting very familiar with the teats, like for example, Siskin's back two are very close together, Holly's are all really far apart and her udder's are super hairy because she won't allow anyone to shave her, Red Start has six nips cuz she got like, mutated or something, Whimbrel's are really nice and usually clean, and Violet has a big wart on one of hers.
We baled the last of the hay today up at High Farm and we got to some moldy dusty bits and I couldn't breathe at all and got totally wheezy and had to sit out for a while. And it was effing freezing it wasn't so fun. I'm super tired and snuffly, but not really all that sick so I dont feel like I could lie in bed all day without feling like an idiot.

Oh, did I mention that castrated the calf yesterday? It's a different kind of castration where you just put a rubber band around the nuts and they eventually fall off. It's way less painful than using the clippers. Anyway...what else...oh I had another heart bubble a few minutes ago, that sucked. I think I need to see a doctor next week. Crap. I'm sorry these blog entries are turning into a "what ails me today" kind of thing, but these things are really bothering me. I'm trying to be all "I am not this pain" mind over matter and all but it's seriously painful when it happens and I've never had it happen so frequently before. Anyway. Moving on.

Paule has asked that I prepare supper on Wednesdays and Sundays except for the Sundays when I cook lunch, and that's totally fine. I'm also putting Em to bed Mondays and Fridays because those are the only nights I don't have somewhere to be (choir, foundation course, shepherds play rehearsal, volleyball). I'm officially in the Shepherd's Play, playing one of the shepherds, "Huckle." Or is it "Muckle?" Phil is another one of the shepherds so we an run lines together. This is one of three Christmas/Advent plays that are in the whole Steiner/Waldorf world, and kids from Waldorf schools have seen them tons of times. Justin keeps spouting lines from it, his way of getting in the holiday spirit I suppose. I've worked out Christmas gifts, now I just need to go buy them! Mamma Mia posters for Emily and Steph, gardening gloves and the Amelie soundtrack for Paule, a James Bond poster for Flips, tea for Anthony, the Beatles 'Love' album for David (burned from my computer), Amadou and Mariam (from my computer again) for Phil, aaaand I kind of want to do some kind of gag gift involving dieting for Nick, or a Michael Pollan book. I don't know what to do for Katie, since she doesn't eat anything chocolate won't work, and I don't really know what she likes. Luke keeps saying he's getting me something, so I think maybe I'll make him a mixed CD, and do the same for everyone else I work with. Justin is really into alternative older stuff like Garbage, so I think I can come up with something. Okay I just had the worst heart bubble yet and actually knocked on Nick an Paule's door to possibly get some assistance (although I don't know what anyone could do) and I could hear some music and Nick didn't answer even though I knew he was in there so I poked my head in and he was zoning out with some headphones on so I said his name a few more times and waved my arms a bit but he didn't see me and by that point the bubble had popped and it was going away and I could breathe normally. I went downstairs, had some tea and watched the second half of the film people were watching in the sitting room. Afterwards I told Paule about the heart thing and she said she'll make an appointment for me to see Marcus (the doctor) on Tuesday morning. He comes to the village then, so it won't be an extra trip.
Okay whoa I just found my answer online. Hooray for the internet.
Pre-cordial Catch Syndrome
Shit there's no cure. Shit. I'm so mad. I'm going to sleep. Shit.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

I saw the physical therapist today and she said there's basically nothing wrong with me but i'm "hyperextensive" and naturally more flexible than most people and my body is sore because i haven't been stretching the muscles enough and i'm doing all this intense manual labor and i've lost some range of motion and the pain is my body's way of saying it wants the flexibility back. does that make sense? Anyway she gave me some exercises to do. The heart thing happened in my sleep last night and woke me up and again in the barn this afternoon. Soo...i dunno. I feel like a hypochondriac, or like people are gonna think that i am but this pain is so real and so potentially bad that i really should get it looked at. but it feels like such a hassle to people. meh. Happy Turkey day to all ya'll who have one. I totally forgot about Thanksgiving. Oops.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Had two more heart bubble occurences today. The first while picking mangol roots for the cows and the second while walking down the stairs. Nick noticed the one on the stairs because he was coming down after me and all the sudden I stopped an had ragged breaths and clutched my They're not brought on by physical exhertion because I ran from Bracken to the village school (see map) and then played volleyball for two hours and was fine aside from a twisted ankle due to stupid things being on the ground behind me. Yeah that's about it. Oh and Lisa and I kept laughing because the instructor said "cheers" like six dozen times. Oh and I think there is something wrong with Micha cuz she was at volleyball for like a second and then left without saying anything, and she said she didn't come to foundation course this morning because she didn't feel like I'll have to check up on her. K. Me and my sniffles are going to bed. I would just like to state for the record that i am not a hypochondriac and I am super pissed that these things keep happening (the cold is just a cold and it's annoying but it's fine). No heart problems please, and stronger joints would be super. Can I ask for those things for Christmas?

Shoutout to Westtown

The dishwasher in the food centre. I freaked out when I saw this and Magda was like wtf is wrong with you.

Woke up this morning

with a cold. Yuck. Snot. Gross. Gotta go do some Eurethmy.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

An Item of Concern

Here's one for the parents: um, there is something definitely wrong with my body. Perhaps I should milk England's free health care system for all it's worth and get a full body scan or something. Let me explain my sudden desire for medical attention: so sometimes I get chest pains, you know, like those kind of "fake heart attacks." But today in the byres I had the most horrible one I've ever had. At first I just couldn't take a deep breath without that little hitch in my chest (so maybe it's my lung) but then I could hardly breathe at all without really intense pain and then there was this feeling like a bubble bursting or popping and then the pain was gone and I could breathe normally. I was like, "what. the hell. was that." And that is on top of my ever persistent joint pain...can I NOT be 85 years old please? Okay, thanks.
Just had lunch at High Farm and told Claire about the whole thing and she was super cool and reassured me about the new family transition thing and said that considering what happened I was really mature and brave. Woot. Hooray for Botton Friends. I went to the weavery to get some yarn for a scarf and Emily was out of control misbehaving and threw an apple at another villager's head, so I walked her home and now I'm sending her back at Beirgut's request. Beirgut is the head of the weavery and her name sounds like Beer Gut. Heehee. She's really nice, but very stressed because she just took over the weavery and is a new hosue parent and all that. Anyway, time to send emily back and go to work on the farm. I got an hour off so I could chat with Claire.

Monday, November 24, 2008


I'm really tired, so this will have to be quick.

After lunch today I talked to Paule about what happened. At first it was really really bad and she said my note was a total character assassination, which, now that I think about it, I was definitely too harsh, and I tried to emphasize that I had written it when I was really upset. She said that she could do the same to me and my character, but she wont and if I am really so unhappy here there are two houses that desperately need a co-worker and I could move. I was thinking "shiitttt nooo" but instead I said, "I'm sorry I was so harsh in my note, I don't think you're stone cold. What I should have said is how much I admire you. You have sacrificed so much to be a house mother, I can't even imagine--your privacy, your posessions, and the only thing you have that is really yours is your routines and the way you do things. I have a lot of respect for you, and I don't want to leave, I want to learn from you how to be better." Yeah, Georgie I totally stole one of those lines from you, but it was so spot on I couldn't help it! After I said all that she calmed down a lot and we were able to talk more as equals. I said that it's hard because I'm not home a whole lot, but really if there is anything I can do to keep her stress levels down it would be better for everyone. She said that there isn't really anything more I can do and that I'm doing the same amount as the other co-workers she has had, but that her stresses are external, the main one being Nick's health, and the other being Emily's psycho parents and the process of essentially dismissing her from Botton. Sometimes I really love Em, but she needs more attention than we can provide, so she really can't stay. Okay, and then Paule dropped a bomb on my head. She said, "Well, if you are unhappy, you won't have to live with us much longer. Nick and I are leaving Bracken in February." WHAT?! Yeah. You hear that noise? That's my mind blowing. Basically they have been asked to step down as house parents and are being somewhat forced into retirement. I thought that she would be happy to retire after ebing a house mother for 30 years, but she said she is not ready. I suppose that makes sense as well. It would be hard to do one thing for so long and then suddenly be told you have to find something else to do. Paule hasn't even met the new family who will move in, but they have a 12 year old daughter and an 18 year old son. Whoa. Talk about different. And we'll have a new villager after Emily's insane! I'm gonna have to totally re-adjust to this new family, and the villagers will to, and I'm gonna have to be there for them and help the new family get to know everyone! It's so huge. The villagers don't kow yet, and I think they will be told after Christmas or something. Anyway, yeah. Crazy stuff. After a meeting about CVT in the hall tonight I went to Ben's with Ben and Lisa's and we ate chocolate and talked about life for an hour or so. It was nice. And now I'm sleepy and the weather outside is frightful. Slushy snow and hail. Blech. Goooodnight.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Oy. So. I took a shower and then went down and started preparing supper. I noticed that we didn't have any rolls, which we usually have on Sunday nights, and I knew Paule was in the sitting room, and I thought, "Shit. I'm gonna have to talk to her. Shit. I'm scared." So I went in and said, "Paule I couldn't find any buns, should I do bread for supper?" And she looked up and said cheerily, "Oh yes I think we ate them all at the Bible evening; do we have enough bread?" She was acting totally normal, like nothing had happened. So I went along with it. We went about preparing supper together and acting cheerful and damn Paule is either a really good actress, or she is actually fine after what happened. I had to leave in hte middle of supper to go to choir rehearsal for the Evening for Those Who Have Died that happened tonight. I was late already, but I ran into Ben and Liza on the way and when they asked me why I wasn't at the party last night I told them everything. Ben had a lot of trouble in Nook House and eventually moved out, so he could totally relate. Liza was just like whooaaa shit. I got to the hall really late but found out that the rehearsal was actually at 6:00, so I REALLY missed it! But I figured out what we would do and then did it. It was just two songs (the horrid Japanese song about eh end of the world, and a nice one called Who Stands at the Threshold) and then we sat down. It was lovely. There were several Eurethmy performances accompanied sometimes by Timothy Edwards doing what I think was Speech Eurethmy, which is like...I can't describe it. Sometimes it was in a different language and sometimes it was in English, but there were a lot of rolled r's and it was almost like it had a melody but not quite. Very cool. And the others were accompanied by beautiful cello violin and piano music. Afterwards I saw Andreas in the foyer and he asked why I wasn't at the party and I said, "Got an hour?" He said, "Yeah." So we went outside and talked/smoked (I know, I know, I promise not to get cancer) for like two hours in the freezing cold. He's the best person to talk to ever. We like, have the same brain or something. Except his is german. Anyway I came home and talked to Phil about it all (he had seen and heard it all anyway) and he said he had seen it coming for a long time. I was like, wait, am I stupid or something? Has Paule been pissed at me for a while and I somehow didn't notice? But he said no, she's just been getting more and more stressed out and the whole Bible evening affair was exceptionally stressful because for her everything has to be perfect. And I'm like, that's so fucking stupid! What a completely inane thing to be stressed out about! In the grand scheme of things, who gives a shit if your bible evening isn't perfect? She just causes more stress for herself than necessary I think it is so ludicriss when people stress themselves out over little tasks, but it's even worse when they take it out on others. Laaame. Phil said she fights with Madeline like that too...which is kind of a relief to hear. I've heard all this stuff about how Madi and I are supposedly really similar and I've been thinking, "Ok, so does Paule yell at her like that?" And the answer is yes.
I think things will be okay. I thought of a good plan tonight, and that is that I want to have a day with Paule where she can show me how to do some of the things she does so perfectly, like slicing the bread and the cheese and the meat in these perfect slices and really talk to her about what happened and why and how she feels about the note I left her (which I noticed is no longer on ehr door, meaning she must have read it by now), but I don't know if she wants to talk about it. It's a big problem if she doesn't. Sweeping it under the rug doesn't do anyone any good. So I'm going to go to High Farm tomorrow and talk to Claire as well. I feel like I've recited this story a million times by now and it still feels like a bad dream.

Excuse Me While I Scream.

I might have to come home soon. Let me explain:

Yesterday after lunch it was very quiet in the house. Nick and Paule and Phil were nowhere to be found, when Mickey, the house mother from Nook called. She wanted to know if we were having supper in our house because everyone in Nook was going somewhere for Bible Evening. This week's bible evening was different; usually each house has its own, but this week we would be meeting in the same saturday night groups we've been meeting in to discuss life in Botton. As I understood it, bible evening involves a supper followed by discussion of a passage from the bible. So naturally, I assumed it happened at 6:30 and I would be the only one here, preparing and hosting supper for Stephanie Anthony and Katie, who haven't been participating in the Saturday night discussion groups. So I told Mickey that we would be happy to have one of Nook's villagers here for supper. I went for a walk up to a rock cliff on the top of the moor behind Dalehead (see map) and left a note in the kitchen saying I would be back by 5:00. It was snowy and snowing and lovely. I do love exploring around here.

When I got back I looked around for Nick so I could help him set up the hall and Katie told me he already went over to set up and I thought, "crap!" and ran over to the hall but no one was there. I played the piano for a bit and when Nick didn't show up I went back to the house. I found him there and we went back to the hall and set up. As we were setting up we talked about the Bible Evening and how it works and how no one is trying to convert me or anything and I said I don't believe in the bible as a holy book and he said that's fine, even in the group they just read a passage and talk about how it can be helpful to us today. So it's totally fine. Nick also explained to me the timing of the Bible evening. It doesn't start until 7:45, and the meal is at 8:00! Okay, I thought, so Mary (from Nook) and the rest of us will eat at 6:30 and everyone from Bracken will still be there. No problem.

I went back to Bracken and the minute I walked into the kitchen I saw Paule storming around the kitchen, clearly angry. I don't remember the exact words but she was pissed that I had invited Mary over for supper without asking. I said, "But no one was here! And I knew we were having supper here, so I didn't see the problem!" She said, "What do you mean no one was here?!" It was like she didn't believe me! She kept yelling at me about it, saying I should have written that she was coming in the note I left, but I figured I would see her again before supper and could tell her then. I apologized and went upstairs. I was feeling a bit shaky, but I went back down. I looked in the sitting room and saw that the dining room table was set for a lot of people. I asked Katie what that was for and she said "Paule's bible evening group." I thought, "Shit," and asked her where we would eat. She said the kitchen. I went back into said kitchen and asked Paule if I could help with anything. She was busy making food for her bible evening, which I assumed was in the college because that's where her saturday evening group had been meeting. She yelled, "You know what, use your eyes! Look around for once in your life!" I went into the larder and started crying. She came in a few minutes later and snapped, "Yeah, that's right, stand here and cry. Very mature." I looked up at her, completely in shock, and said "I'm sorry! I didn't know you were having Bible evening here! I thought you would be at the college!" And she yelled, "Because you never listen! You are always talking talking talking but I realize that you never listen you have no idea what's going on around you! So now you are in here crying like a baby!" And she walked out. I stood reeling for a moment and then ran out of the larder and slammed the door and ran upstairs crying. She called after me, "Robin! That is no way to behave! If you are going to act like a child you can just pack your bags and leave!" I ran into my room and cried until I puked. Then I started packing. I started formulating a plan. I grabbed a notepad and pen, some clothes and other things and as I was doing so there was a knock on my door. I was silent. After a few more knocks Paule said, "robin, they are waiting for their supper. Please come down and give them their supper." I opened the door and said, "And then I'm leaving." And she said, "Great."

So I went down and gathered the non-bible-evening-goers into the kitchen and told them to dig in. I was so confused and shaky and terrified I didn't eat a thing. I tried to put on a good face for the villagers who, thank god, are not so great at perceiving emotions. I kept thinking, "What if this is the last time I see Steph? And Anthony? Am I leaving? What's happening?" When everyone had finished we blessed the meal and cleaned up and when we had finished I went back upstairs and grabbed my bag threw on my coat and walked to the barn. I made a nest in the straw loft and hunkered down for a cold night. I had brought my book light and got it out and wrote a super long note to Paule saying that I don't want to leave and I want desperately for us to be friends and for this to work but she has GOT to stop expecting the same level of perfection she achieves from me. And I told her that it is extremely hard for me to relate to her because back home all the women in my life are kind and sweet and affectionate and compared to them she is stone cold. And that no adult has ever spoken to me like she did tonight and she may think I'm childish, but that was the most immature reaction I've ever seen from a grownup. I told her that from day one I have been trying my best, but my best never seems to be good enough for her, so I push myself harder and harder, working so hard on the farm that I'm in constant pain, and doing everything I'm asked to do in the food centre and doing it well, but she doesn't see those things. I'm not home very often, but even then I'm doing everything she asks and asking her if she needs help all the time and not just doing things because I don't want to screw something up. I have never worked so hard to gain someone's approval before, mostly because my best has always been good enough, great even.

So after a while in the barn I realized I was gonna freeze to death so I snuck into Honey Bee Nest and slept in Luis's bed. He was at Ben's for the night and in the morning he came in and was like "what? what are you doing here?" So i told him everything and he was like..."shit." He said I could hide in his room for as long as I want. But around 2:00 I was so hungry and fed up with inaction I decided to go face the music. I went back to Bracken and taped my note to Paule's door. Then I went down to the kitchen and made tea and toast and hung out with Stephanie. I felt so weird, like it wasn't my house anymore. I mean, Paule had told me to get out. So it was like I was in some stranger's house eating their food and using their I was completely unwelcome. I could hear Paule in the next room and I knew she could hear me too, and walked by once but neither of us said a word. I've been in my room ever since, writing this and hanging out with Steph, who is sitting at my desk with her coloring book. We're listening to the Mamma Mia soundtrack. I plan on telling Paule I slept in the barn if she asks. I want her to feel bad about kicking me out. I actually didn't want to come back for days and make her scared and regret what she'd done, but at the same time I figured she would take my running away as yet another sign of my immaturity, so I came back. And now supper is soon, and I need a shower and I think I'll make the supper because Paule will be pissed no matter what so I might as well try to ease her bad mood and help her out. Jesus I want to go home where people are nice. But that would make me more of a failure than I already am. I mean *I* don't think I'm a failure, Paule does. But leaving here would make me feel like one. Okay. Here goes.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

stupid stupid stupid stupid stupid

Shitshitshitshitshit. Uuuugghhhh!!!! Okay so I'm pissed. Last week after the Saturday evening groups I told Nick that I didn't want to go to the Bible evening that would happen the following Saturday (tonight). I said that I am very spiritually confused as it is and I can't handle any more input and my brain is too crowded with complex thoughts about what I believe; he said it was fine, he would just need some help setting up in the hall but I didn't have to stay. So then 20 minutes ago at lunch the topic came up again and Nick reminded me that he would need my help setting up even though I'm not going. Paule asked me why I wasn't going (in her usual condescension-tinged tone) and again I explained that I am very spiritually confused as it is and more input is very overwhelming. She said, "Well it's okay for this time I suppose but we have Bible evening every week here (in Bracken) and you are expected to go." I said, "Yes, well I'll need to talk to you about that." She went on to say that I must have known that I was coming into a Christian Community based village and I "must have read the papers they sent you." I said I never recieved any papers detailing the religious life of Botton and I knew only what the website described and what I heard from Georgie. She insisted that papers must have been sent to me, and pointed out that I don't have the excuse of not being able to speak English. I gritted my teeth and said, "Yes, that's true. But I don't remember seeing any papers. All I got was a map and pamphlet about the workshops." Paule said that I hadn't even been to a Bible evening yet so I don't know what they're like, and I said that I am certainly not one to dislike something I had never been to and I will go to one at some point. Nick compared the situation to someone coming to Botton and refused to do the washing up because they didn't like it which is RIDICULOUS because the washing up isn't a BELIEF. We're talking about BELIEF here people, not fucking sudsy water. Jesus christ I hate shit like this. I hate the bible and christianity. Okay that's less than true...I respect other people's beliefs, but I can't fucking stand it when those beliefs are foisted on me. I don't think the Christian Community is very fire-and-brimstone based, but I think the bible is total shit and I would have an anurism if I had to sit around and talk about it. Mostly because I wouldn't agree with any of it but force myself to keep my mouth shut, which is hard enough as it is. Ugh. Stupid religion.


yeah that's about it.

Friday, November 21, 2008

In Kneed of a Day Off

So I didn't go to the doctor today. Upon waking my knee felt better and I walked around doing the breakfast only noticing pain if I straightened my leg all the way. But by the time breakfast was over I could tell that by walking around I had made it worse. I didn't really want to go back to bed (I know, shocking) because it would make me feel lazy and useless, so I asked Paule for a lift to the food centre. It started snowing (!!!!!!!!!!!) when I went out to the car, and until lunch time the dale was covered in a light dusting of white. It was a very quiet morning in the food centre, sitting around scraping and peeling labels off of jars.
Got a lift home from Peter Shvitezer (he's german...i wont even pretend like I know how to spell his last name, that's just how it's pronounced), and did the washing up after lunch. I saw Justin while I was waiting for my lift and told him I would't be on the farm and he said he had assumed as much by my limp. So after lunch I asked Paule if there was anything I could do around the house that involved minimal knee use and she asked me to clean the bathroom. So I did that, and then played with Selma, Paule's granddaughter who is 11 months old. She is SO cute. Like, the cutest sweetest makes-you-want-one kind of baby. Then I worked on my foundation course booklet and futtzed with my computer and then took a really nice long hot bath and read Travels with Charley and rubbed Arnica ointment on all my joints. I did some yoga after my bath and while transitioning from "child pose" to "cat pose" my knee went POW! and now it doesn't hurt when I walk but the clicking is way louder now and it still hurts when I fully straighten my leg, so I have no idea if the loud pow noise was good or not. We'll see. But now I am bored and want to go hang out with people but the idea of walking to the centre is rather daunting simply because it is so effing cold outside. Actually it's the walking back part that sucks. Anyway. We'll see. Cheers.


Hey sorry about the lack of postage, I've been a "busy lady" (that's what Howard calls Magdalena sometimes). Yesterday we had out co-worker stuff in the morning and it was uneventful. Micha invited me over for a movie/sleepover type thing and I said yesyesyes because she's been really great and I so needed some girl time. In the afternoon we baled hay at High Farm and it was really cool working with the big noisy baler and it reminded me of Hank and Sheryl and how bad-ass they are. We went back to Honey Bee to have "lady time" as Ben likes to call it, meaning we put the cows out in the yard and mucked out the byres, and then Justin took Ben and I back to High farm to load the bales onto the wagon and bring them to HB and then we unloaded them into the barn while Luis did the milking and then we finished up with the barn chores and it was time for supper but Ben and Luis and I all volunteered to help Justin with another load from High Farm, so we all piled illegally into the tractor and went back up and got another load. When we got to the barn we realized that six bales had fallen off, but luckily they weren't too far away. So then Justin Ben and Luis went in for supper and I fed White Bean (who is now in the birthing stall) and locked up the chickens. By the time I got back to Bracken it was 7:00 and I was half an hour late for supper...and starving. I apologized and explained that we had had a lot of work to do on the farm and the way Paule reacted I may as well have been taking a nap and overslept! It was so annoying! I barely managed to down two rice cakes when she said, "we're clearing now," and then all the food was taken away! So I worked my ass off and then got like, no food. It sucked. So then as I was putting the stuff away I told Paule that I had signed up to participate in a volleyball class (which I had, a week or so ago, and I forgot to tell her until then) and I told her that the first class was "tonight at that okay?" And in response I got "well I guess I don't have much of a choice now do I?" Okay yes, I should have told her before. But she was kinda rude. Anyway I was totally late already and I still had to brush Steph's teeth, so I packed my overnight bag and did her teeth and ran out the door. Another problem: the class meets in the village college. Look at the map. I practically ran there and I was still about half an hour late. But it was awesome! SO much fun, and I have no idea where all my energy came from. It was nice to be athletic! The coach was really nice and there were three people from outside the village in the class as well and we ran some drills and learned some skills and then played a game and it was great but also painful because when you're not used to having a volleyball smack into your forearms over and over it starts to hurt soooo bad.

So on my way up to Micha's (Old Botton Farm) I met this cat on the path, and he was big and fat and squishy and purring and I picked him up and started carrying him with me and he climbed up onto my shoulders and I walked at least 500 yards with a cat on my shoulders, which is like, one of my life goals.

We (Micha and I, not the cat and I) watched Calendar Girls, and if you haven't seen so! It was so cute. Before we went upstairs Micha grabbed me a bag of rice cakes and some jam since I mentioned I hadn't eaten much supper.Then we had girly bonding time and then we went to sleep. She forgot to ask her houseparents if I could stay over, so I didn't go to breakfast. She brought me some tea (I was like a stowe-away or something) in the morning and I had another rice cake. I looked like a zombie and my stomach groweled non-stop, but I got through the morning in the food centre. At tea break I went to the coffee bar and told Maisa I was hungry because I missed breakfast and she snuck me some cheese and a banana.

On the farm in the afternoon we walked all the way to the fields past the village centre and harvested potatoes and it SUCKED. It was freezing cold and muddy and Luke was pissing me off and being his usual rude antagonizing self and my whole body was aching from baling the hay and walking in wellies all the time. Eventually we walked back to the farm and had lady time and then tea break and then Justin started teaching me how to milk. Basically it's really simple, but there ae like a million steps and you have to remember it all so he teaches it in phases. Phase one, which I learned today, involves going around wiping the teats and squirting some milk out to get it flowing and flush out any dirt or bacteria. So I finally milked a cow! Well I squirted out a few squirts...still. Woot.

Anyway, the main thing is that I was walking around the byred when suddenly my knee started clicking and slipping around in the kneecap and I was like, "whoaaa shit! Help, ouch, help." Justin felt it and said, "Um, knees shouldn't do that. That's not good." So I hobbled around giving White Beany her food (still no calf yet) and bedding to Half Pint and Full Pint and brushing the muck off the cows. By the time I came in the door at Bracken I was close to tears it hurt so badly. I went in the kitchen where Paule was putting groceries away. She asked how my afternoon was and I squeakd, "Well, I'm gonna need to go to the health centre tomorrow...and I'm gonna need a lift." I explained about my knee and she was very concerned and said she would set up a doctor's appointment because the health centre can't help with knee injuries. she gave me some Arnica ointment for the meantime. I was supposed to have gone to choir tonight, but there was no way I was walking to the JoA Hall. So we all watched Amelie instead. It really is the best movie ever. And watching it again I realized just how well Aimee and I (okay it wa definitely mostly Aimee and her artistic touch) replicated the feeling of Amelie's room in our dorm room.

So hopefully tomorrow I'll go to the doctor's. Because seriously...ow. But for now, time for sleep. Gotta make breakfast tomorrow.

Monday, November 17, 2008


A dreary day began with a splitting headache. Called Magdalena and told her I could come in at tea break but needed time for the ibuprofen to kick in, but she said she could manage without me and I should go ahead and take the morning off. So I slept. Got up for lunch and another one of Emily's incidents. This makes four "problem Mondays" in a row. Today she got up and went off to work in Martin House with no troubles but apparently sat on the floor and refused to work after tea break. Alan, the house father in Martin House, drove her back to Bracken and dropped her off outside, where she stood in the freezing cold mist and refused to come inside. It's hard to describe this properly. Most people would think this was kind of sad and like, why didn't we go outside and coax her in. But the thing is, it's SO annoying because she KNOWS she should come in an eat lunch, and she just stands there saying "Emily, why don't you go inside where it's warm?" to herself. Eventually she came in and spent the rest of the day in her room. I went to work in the afternoon and we cleaned out the upper barn some more and did the ladies (milked the cows) and cleaned up Whimbrel a bit because she's supposed to be white and her whole backside is almost black with muck and she has mucousy blood hanging in strings around her tail from her miscarriage.

We played some games at the neighborhood meeting and then I hung out in the kitchen at Honey Bee Nest and talked with Tracy (house mother) and Luis. The end.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Time for Bed

But I should say that I just added, at Rick's request, this lovely map on the right hand side of the blog. Hope it's helpful!

Partied at High Farm last night and played a drinking game in which one attempts to pick up a spinning two-pence coin with one's fingers, and upon missing gets flicked in the knuckles with the coin by one's opponents. Needless to say, my hand hurt this morning. Slept the morning away and then went to the coffee bar after a big lunch of Botton chicken and veggies. Grabbed some chocolate covered marzipan (my latest vice) and a bottle of pineapple juice and hiked up to the top of the moor behind Faulken Farm. Didn't quite get all the way to where I wanted because..well it gets dark at 4:30. But it was nice to be alone with my thoughts in the fresh air. Actually I hiked up there yesterday too...I'm enjoying hiking and thinking and humming and listening and being quiet and alone. Feeling generally mercurial. Very social, and yet very anti-social. For example, I went to the barn dance in the Joan of Arc Hall tonight to experience the barn dance scene, and I danced a few dances, but I just wasn't feeling my usual enthusiastic self. Whatever, maybe I'll be normal tomorrow. Night.

Friday, November 14, 2008

almost forgot

A strange thing...had a conversation with someone today about miscarriages and then found out in the afternoon that Whimbrel miscarried her calf! Luis found it in a bloody puddle of placenta in the byres this morning. A few days ago I noticed a big string of discharge coming out of Whimbrel and I asked Justin about it. He said it rarely means anything bad...but I was right! Anyway she wasn't due until March, so the fetus was sized, according to Luis. Kinda sad, and also means that Whimbrel is totally useless as a milker for about a year. She'll stay at Honey Bee Nest until the spring, and then she'll probably go to Stormy Hall (another Botton farm). Sorry if I just grossed anyone out.

nothing happening tonight

so i'm just sitting in bed waiting for the latest episode of Grey's to load and passing the time playing Phil's guitar (which hasn't left my room in a week) and memorizing the human cardiovascular system. I feel so out of touch with the book I've forgotten everything I learned in school. Poof. It sucks, I feel so dumb! I need to read a biology textbook and home-school myself and do some math so that when I go to college I'm not like HOLY SHIT I DON'T KNOW WHAT HEMOGLOBIN IS. I still do, but for how long? Hence the studying. I found a tomb of a book in the library about human anatomy that's like 3000 pages. I think I might check it out and read the whole thing. Why humans and not animals you ask? Because...I think maybe I want to be a doctor? Maybe? Who effing knows. The human body is just so nice and big and full of big squishy organs and blood and muscle and bone and things to be sliced and sewn and fixed and I'm worried that the vet business won't give me so many thrills. As Felicity would say, "Oh gawsh."

just got back from the pub

so my spelling might not be so acurate. just putting it out there. so how did i eend up at a pub? it's great. this morning at th food centre magdalena asked what i was doing tonight and i said nothing so she said that linde and bridget (two staff kids who are super cool and i met at the party in skylark and are about to embark on an epic six month journey to australia and brazil) want to go to the local pub with some people and since we can only take one van/bus thingy, only some people are invited--and i'm one of those people!! I'm like, a cool kid! i felt so special :P like i got picked for the good team or something. i only just met/really talked to them last saturday and then i wooed them with my singing (jk) and now, yay, pub invite. so the rest of the day went on without incident. we cleaned out a room in the barn on the farm in the faternoon and it was nice inside work because it was raining and such outside and blech i didn't feel like working i was so tired. so after supper (which was very long and yummy) i got money from paule and ran to choir practice in Sherwood and i was late but Solara, the real choir leader, was back fomr her holiday and she is a way better choral director than Claire and it was good up until we started singing that awful japanese song about the apocolypse and then i was like sweet i'm leaving and i peaced out. i went to the joan of arc nall and read an anatomy book for a bit an then went outside and eventually everyone showed up (we were meeting there to go to the pub) and we drove around botton for a bit looking for this guy tommy who was supposed to come with us bbut we didn't find him so we went without him. we went to the fox and hounds in danby and it was the coolest cutest little perfect pub with a few locals sitting aroun the bar when we came in. we got our drinks and got a whole room to ourselves, complete with a pool table! ordering a drink was SO fucking cool. i felt...all growed up lol. i brought my passport with me jus in case she thought i looked like i was twelve but i didn't get carded at all. so then we sat around chatting an laughing and going out for smokes and it was WONDERFUL. so nice and bondy. andreas and i had this huge conversation about life and sciene and learning and spirituality and talking to animals and it was so fucking cool to be like "i talked to my cat when she was dying and she talked back," and have someone reply with a story about getting a cow ready for slaughter and having it say "please don't kill me." it was just generally amazing. i love the people here. we are all so different and coming from such different places, even thoug most of them are german lol. so we were there for a few hours and then magda drove us all back. SO nice of her to be our deisgnated driver. it feels so late but really its ony actually i'm going to sleep earlier thn usual! i should go out mroe often!s-= sooo now it's time to sleep. except i have to make my bed. crap. okay. nighty nights.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

It was grand...Grand Mal that is!

I had the worst dream in the history of dreams last night. I killed Lucy. I was at home, in the field next to the garden and I took a big knife and cut her down the middle ad stabbed her over and over and then I was screaming and crying and confessing to mom what I had done and it was supposedly because she had rabies and I had forgotten that there is a cure. I vaguely remember waking up afterward feeling very sweaty and wondering what time it was before falling back to sleep. The next time I woke up I looked at the clock and it was 8:20; I had slept right through breakfast and my alarm. Probably what happened was that when I woke up the first time I turned off the alarm but I don't remember it at all. Also I wasn't wearing a shirt and I don't remember taking it off. So I threw on some clothes, ran downstairs, dumped some cereal down my throat and ran off to the Joan of Arc Hall for eurethmy. As part of the foundations course we have to do an "artistic group," and I signed up for eurethmy. It's fine...kind of like Thai-chi meets Quaker ice-breaker games. I was late, and the whole morning I couldn't get the nightmare out of my head. I told Ben about it and we tried to analyze it but decided it probably had more to do with the fact that yesterday I told some people a story about a woman who was attacked by a rabid raccoon (heard on This American Life podcast). During tea break I ran to the food centre and chatted with Magdalena and confirmed that I would be going to her house, Skylark, for lunch. So after our Foundations lecture on genetic disorders I had a lovely gluten-free meal. Anne Fibbs, a villager in Skylark, also has Coeliac disease, worse than I do, and she seemed pleased that someone shared her fate.

On the farm in the afternoon we hiked up the moor to a blocked drain that Justin has been digging up for weeks. A quick lesson on drains: it rains here. A lot. There are drains running underneath the fields that were built hundreds of years ago by Quakers (HOLLA) and are made of rocks. They have a tendency to collapse and are slowly being replaced by plastic pipes. If the drains are blocked, the water goes into the fields and stunts the growth of the grass and promotes the growth of this scabby reed stuff that the cows don't eat. Okay, onto the story.

So we dug away and I worked my ass off and probably hurt my back again but I refused to switch off with Luis because I hate standing around and doing nothing because it makes me feel like a slacker and I hate that. We dug and pulled out rocks and clay and mud for two hours, and then we went back to the byres and took out the cows and started cleaning.

We were almost finished, and Ben and I were the only one's left in the byres when he suddenly made a funny noise. I turned to look at him and he was turning his head really far around, bending his neck at a bizarre angle. His eyes were unfocused and he started stumbling around. I thought, "Oh great! No one told me he had seizures! Thanks a lot!" but as I was thinking that I went into total...I don't know what kind of mode to call it, I was just super focused and like, "okay, I know what to do." I ran over to him and caught him as he slumped against the wall. Unfortunately he had slumped into the corner where we keep the pitchforks and shovels and things, so I steered his head away from those and held onto it, keeping one hand in between his head and the wall as he went completely rigid and quaked all over. Neil came in and saw the scene and called for Justin. Oddly enough I hadn't thought to call for help. So Justin came in as Ben lay on the floor foaming and spitting blood onto his arm because he had bitten his tongue. Justin moved the tools out of the way and kneeled down beside Ben and he was SO calm and casual about the whole situation because he's seen it so many times. He said that Ben's papers specifically said he did NOT have grand mal seizures, just little ones. "Never trust a piece of paper," he said. After a few minutes the seizing ceased. Justin asked Ben if he and Luis could move him to the hay bales to sit down and I realized Luis was standing behind me. I stepped back and let them pick him up and place him on the bales. He looked completely disoriented and still had bloody saliva around his mouth. Justin asked me to open the gates so they could walk him to the house where he would rest for a while. Only after they had gone into the house did I realize my hands were shaking uncontrollably...I hadn't felt scared or stressed or anything when he had the fit, but now I was all shaky and hyped up. Probably the adreniline rush. Maybe I should be a doctor. I don't think vets get the same kind of action. I am soooo Christina (that reference is for mom). Anyway it was intense and I'm glad it happened because it made me realize I can handle a crisis quite easily and, (I realize this is a bit sick, and probably a good reason for being an ER doc or something) I kind of liked it! All the excitement, frenzy, and even a bit of blood! I'm not saying I hope someone severs their femoral artery so I can save them, I'm just saying...maybe I should be a doctor!

So all in all, a very intense day. Dog killing, grand mal seizures, oh and then I brought the cows back into the byres by myself because I had a total brain lapse and thought we brought them in before tea break when really we do it after. Two of the cows went to the wrong spots and the cow's whose spots they were in got mad and there was lots of scuffling and it was a actually more nerve racking than Ben's seizures. Eventually Luis came in because he wondered where I was at tea break and I felt like an idiot for doing it wrong. Also, before Ben's episode, I got really pissed again because I got the wheelbarrow out and started doing one of the many mucking out jobs in the byres and I was pitching the straw/muck into the wheelbarrow and then taking it outside and pitching it onto the muck heap and Luis asked if he should do it "because of your back" and it made me mad at myself for not being able to do it as fast or as easily as he can and I KNOW it's not my fault I weigh 110 and have no upper-body strength but it makes me mad and I put that anger into heaving big steaming piles of muck onto the muck heap and then I hurt myself. Cool. Not.

So now I'm very sore and tired from the digging and the seizing and the pitch-forking and all that, and must definitely go to sleep. Nighty night. Here's to hoping that nightmare isn't a recurring one...

oh, today

bad afternoon. intense farm work involving lots of mud/pulling/stopping/hyperventilating/crying/pulling/stopping/falling/crying/hyperventilating/you get the idea. i get pissed at myself for not being able to do things even though it is so not my fault i weigh 110 pounds and have no upper body strength, and then i get pissed when people help me or think i need help when really i do need help i just don't want to admit it and then hurt myself or cry instead. also i think i'm PMSing. that would explain the spontaneous tears that happened like ten times today. i smelled a horse's forelock and burst into tears...THAT was weird. brought back all kinds of weird/sad/confusing feelings since i haven't smelled a horse in like four years. i felt really bad for stopping horseback riding when i went to i abandoned the horses. when i went home i always felt like i should visit them, and i did a few times, but then i stopped. i've always felt gulty about that for some reason and i guess smelling the horse created this weird flashback sensation. anyway. the forelock smelling came after the intense farm work was finished and justin asked if i was okay because I looked pissed off and I said i was fine but then handed my jacket and hat and gloves to Luis and said I would meet them back at the byres because I had to do something. I took off my wellies and walked barefoot up to Mickey's horses and, well, all the emotional weirdness happened. So, still barefoot, I walked back to the byres and, still barefoot, helped with the mucking out. I felt better, calmed down. Justin noticed my lack of footwear and I said, "I'm actually usually barefoot, but because of the whole 'set a good example' thing, I haven't been since I got here." and he said its totally not a problem and he worked with someone once who never wore shoes. eventually, after tea break, my feet were a bit numb with cold, so i went back to bracken and washed them off and put my socks and wellies back on.

Luis and i walked and talked our way to the co-worker supper and supper was yummy and then i went to the cottage with Micha and Maisa to do wool pictures for our craft group as part of the foundation course. Christiana, the woman who led it, is a bit cooky. she was correcting people's pictures and telling them to do it a different way and i'm thinking, um, it's art. chill out. but it was nice, and the walk back was long (the cottage is up by New Botton Farm on the other side of the village) but the moon was full and I didn't have a torch so it was pretty.

now i'm up too late again. balls.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Asleep by 9:45 last night. Um, still tired. Want more sleep.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Up Late Again

So i think i'm starting to go into insomniac mode again...i keep thinking "okay i'll go to sleep now," but then i just lay in bed forever and am bored and then have to wake up at 7:20 and work all day and at the end of the day i should be totally exhausted but instead of going to bed I stay up and talk to Phil in the kitchen over three ups of tea and then fiddle around on my computer and read Travels with Charley and get the idea.

Anyway last night there was a party in Skylark and Luis and Shelia and I walked there together and about halfway there the steady rain became a torrential hurricane-like downpour with horizontal drops soaking us to the core. We got to the house and realized we would have to hang out in our underwear because there was no way we could sit on the furniture or anything. So Luis was a genius and decided we should go to the Botton Boutique and grab some random trousers to wear for the evening. Yeah, I said trousers; and the Botton Boutique is a little room full of second-hand clothing from the village and it's always unlocked just like everything else in the village. So we ran there, grabbed clothes and ran back to Skylark and put on these ridiculous trousers. Mine actually fit, which was pretty awesome considering i just looked at them and guessed they might fit. So it was a lovely gathering and I finally met Linde, a good friend of Georgie's (my Australian life-saver who lived in Botton two years ago) and she is SO cool and nice, as is Bridget, another staff kid. The party was for the two of them because they're leaving next week to travel the world. Sounds like a very exciting trip. I was talking about music with Andreas and I saod something about how Christina Aguilara is actually really talented and has amazing range and control and such and he said something like "you must sing or something to know this stuff," and i was like "welllll yeah," and he said "prove it" and suddenly there was a guitar and i was singing "Let him Fly" which for some reason is always the first song i sing to people. It was really nice to play again and everyone was so cute and sleepy (it was around 3:00) and they were like, "keep singing, keep singing sing us to sleep!" so i kept going and it was nice except i couldn't remember shit and had no idea what to play and people would ask if i knew a song, and when it comes down to it, I really don't know shit about music and I really know like five songs by heart. Magdalena was super super nice and gave us Honey Bee Nesters a ride home so we didn't have to drag ourselves home at 5:00 in the rain.

So this morning I got up at....noon. And had a huge lunch as usual (mom and dad, seriously you should see me eat, I eat a plateful and then ask for seconds and eat the same amount again) and then did the washing up and then got dressed and ready for going to the cinema to see James Bond. Luis's house isn't going (most of the houses already went--as a side note I must say that there are two universal obsessions in the village: Abba and James Bond; the two couldn't be more different, but almost every villager one meets loves either one or both of these things) so he came with us. I was worried that people in the "real world" would be mean or rude to the villagers (Steph, Anthony and Felicity) but everyone was very nice. Of course some people made curious glances and a few gawked a bit, and I'm sure people wondered what Luis and I were doing with a middle aged lady and three mentally challenged adults of various ages. I felt a little funny. It was just such a stark contrast. It's kind of hard to explain...part of me felt a bit embarrased to be perfectly honest. I saw all these kids my age getting popcorn and laughing and chilling with their friends and just being teenagers, and here I was having to be a grownup and take Anthony to the men's room and help Steph buy some candy. So I was a little envious of the sheer carefree attitude. Another part of me felt proud for being mature and helping people and giving back and all that. And part of me just wanted to be elsewhere. Going into the real world...kind of sucks. Being surrounded and bombarded with materialism and capitalism and all this shit just makes me wanna hug a tree and sleep in a field and plant some flowers and snuggle with a cow. I'm such a fucking hippie. Nice. Anyway I think I'll NOT go to sleep now. Ta. Oh I think the time displayed at the bottom of the blog posts is wrong every time. It's currently 12:50 AM. 'Night.

Friday, November 7, 2008


So I had this really nice entry for yesterday but then it was deleted (annoying) so now I'm just going to say that I was sick in bed all day with crampy painful stomach/chest/gut/who knows feelings and woke up and fell asleep over and over. At one point I woke up to total darkness and assumed I had slept through supper, but the clock read 4:45. A persistent mist hs hung around the dale for the last three days, blocking out the sun, and the change in latitude alone creates a shorter day. I got up for supper and again felt queasy after eating (wtf is wrong with me!) but we had a lovely evening together in the sitting room. Paul reading Country Living Weekly, Nick and I reading the newspaper, Felicity and Steph working away on their coloring books, Anthony staring at the coffee table, silently willing someone to make tea, David puttering in and out of the room while Nick poked fun at him, and Emily singing a happy birthday song about baked beans and soggy sausage sandwiches (the girl has a serious food obsession). Phil had fallen asleep in his room but appeared a while later. Paule eventually went into the kitchen and came back a few minutes later with a tray of tea (much to Anthony's delight) and a basket of chocolates. This is my favorite thing we do. I think some of the other houses don't hang out as much as we do; in this respect we're very much a family. Anyway we all gathered round and picked out a chocolate and basked by the fire in the stove and laughed merrily and it was all very cute.

Today I went back to work (after staying up until 3:30 because I slept all day) and had a very tiring but normal day. Oh and Howard burst into "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" and ran right into "Eidelweis" and then "Yesterday," much to everyone in the food centre's delight. And I got it all on film. When I told him to bow at the end of his stunning performance, he gave me the silliest bow I've ever seen, it was really more of a head-bang! Anyway, tomorrow night there's a party at Skylark, Magdalena's house, and tonight I'm going to sleep nice and early in order to stay up super duper late tomorrow and drink and be merry.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

I'm Crying

because I'm so happy. Finally had a moment for myself in a hectic day of first aid training and I'm completely overcome with hope and patriotism and love and all these things that make me wanna say "hell yeah i'm from America! And we have Barack!" like we picked the best quarterback for our lineup or something. i miss america. i love america. go america.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

i am TOTALLY on edge

about the election. With the stupid time difference I'll have to stay up all night to get the results as they come in. So I'll just get up early and check it out. Mycha and I are both freaking out a bit. Not much...Magda and I slacked off in the food centre, just washing up some of the tubs and bins and trays and then taking a very long tea break to chat and hang and increase our risk of lung cancer. Had to run out after lunch to be in the library at 1:45 for fire training, which was really just this guy who looked like the Colonel from KFC with a Yorkshire accent telling us not to put out electrical fires with a hose. Then I worked on the farm scraping shit off the walls and mucking out the byres until six and then Luis and I went to the co-worker supper and then we had an induction course meeting on food hygiene. We watched the most rediculous film I have ever seen in which they demanded that we be insanely sterile and wear hair nets and use different sinks for washing our hands and washing our food and no pets allowed int he kitchen and dont touch the trash can and the whole time everyone was laughing because not one person in Botton cooks like that. We are so unsanitary...the cats sleep in the kitchen (in fact thats the only room they are allowed in) and we wash the dishes in hot soapy water but they're definitely not sanitized. Anyway, it was funny. And now I've had my yogurt and am very sleepy but listening to live streaming NPR election coverage and am desperate to find some scrap of solid information about the election. Nighty night. Gobama. Ooo i made a new word.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Quite Possibly the Best Digital Pictures I've Ever Taken II

Quite Possibly the Best Digital Pictures I've Ever Taken

The New Guy

Essentially an uneventful day. The new villager in Honey Bee Nest is fine so far, I just met him this afternoon. He'll be working on the farm with us every day. He needs things to be explained to him like half a dozen times before he can do it, so that'll need to be fixed. He's more intelligent than Luke in some ways, like I think he can read a bit and he doesn't repeat the same things over and over like Luke, and even though he has trouble understanding instructions, he understands conversation. That's about it. Cleaned the hall with the neighborhood and ate an inordinate amount of yogurt and now I'm stuffed and sleepy. Night.

Out and About

My cake is in the oven--no wait, it's in the agar, and I have no idea what temperature it's at. 350 degrees F is 176 degrees C, and Paule says the bottom drawer is "something like that." Um, okay. I'm paranoid enough about my cooking skills!

Anyway, yesterday was nice, and last night was awesome. I went to see the nurse in the morning about my toe and I told him that I tried to "fix it myself" and he was like, "what exactly do you mean by 'fix?'" So he put some anti-infection stuff on it and wrapped it up all fancy like and that was that. All morning in the food centre Magda and I made Halloween decorations for the coffee bar. Justin came in to get the apple compost for the cows and I asked him if I could have the afternoon off so I could rest my weary toe. He said that would be fine. I had lunch at High Farm with Claire, my Botton Friend, and it was delicious. After cleaning up Claire and I sat in the mud-room with a momma cat and her week old kittens and talked about how things are going so far. Our conversation was cut completely short by some guy who Claire hadn't seen in ages and they went to school together and such. I thought she would ask him to come back in half an hour, or at least apologize to me and say we would finish our conversation some other time, but I got neither--it was like I suddenly wasn't there! It was super awkward and she completely ignored me and I basically just let myself out and was like, "Um, thanks for lunch." I mean, everyone has their problems, and I think this is just how Claire is. It's like a very specific ADD or something; she gets completely distracted and doesn't go back to the original thing.

So back home I told Paule I had the afternoon off and she asked me to clean the bathroom really well, so I did, and now it's spotless. Then I lay around in my bed and fiddled with my computer and showered and got a little costume together for the party. I decided to go as a cat, so I drew on my face with eyeliner and wore all black and wore a black headband with paper ears pinned to it. After supper and cleaning up I made some gooey pasta and ran to the coffee bar. It was awesome. The villagers were all so excited and Marc Antone led songs and told stories and there was a spooky walk through the inner gardens where people jumped out at the villagers and the Magda and Liza and Mycha and I worked the "What is THAT?" station where the villagers put there hands through holes and into bowls of flour, porridge, gooey pasta and this weird cherry instant pudding stuff that was so slimy and gross. Aterwards I helped clean up and was fiddling around on the piano and playing On the Radio and Ben and Marc Antone came over cuz they recognized the song and they said I have a nice voice. Woot.

So then Mycha invited me to come watch a movie with her and Maisa up at New Botton Farm (Mycha's house, the farthest you can get from Bracken), and even though I was exhausted, I couldn't pass it up. So we watched a really bad chick flick called Trust the Man and drank tea and then I had to walk all the way back to Bracken in the rain. It was fun, but also not the best idea.

Saturday morning I did all my usual chores and on friday Ben had invited me to go to Middlesborough with him and a few others, so I met up with everyone (Mycha, Shojin and Ben) at the carpark and we got a ride to the train station and met Nastasia (another lovely co-worker from Germany; she and Mycha are best buds) there and we all went to Middlesborough together! It was lovely. Ben knew his way around pretty well cuz he's been here for like three months, and we went all around the mall (the outside kind) and shopped for all the things we needed. Ben got shoes and I got posters and we all got alcohol. It's so funny to go into the grocery store and buy vodka. And kaluah. And gin. And beer. And rum. And coconut and pineapple juice. Partayyyy!! And partay we did. After we got on the wrong train and had to call for a five-seater's cool how these things don't bother me. I mean, I can't even say it sucked that we got lost money since we had return tickets and we had to pay 7 pounds each for the taxi (which I thought was amazingly cheap since it was a 40 minute drive!). I'm just very go-with-the-flow about these things...I think I get it from mom and dad, especially dad, being all zen and such :-). Anyway, we got home eventually, and after supper and another round of excruciatingly boring "groups" Luis and I walked to Rowan, Ben's house, for the "gathering." Ben had sent out a paper to every house inviting all the co-workers to Rowan for some much-needed bonding...aka drinking! His house is designed so that the noise from where we were, in the kitchen dining room and sitting room, isn't heard by the rest of the house, so we didn't have to worry about noise level too much. I met a bunch of the staff kids too, and this one girl, Johanna, was so cool and nice and talked just as much as I do, and everyone was like, "Oh man, look at them go!" cuz we were talking a mile a minute about every detail of our lives and we had just met.

The party was great, and I'm not gonna say I got trashed, but it wasn't my most sober performance :-). It was nice to be uninhibited and goofy, and I certainly was--I told Andreas I was so happy that he was nice to me and I wrote in my blog that I had made a friend and I gave Mycha the biggest hug and said, "I'm so glad you're from America!" because we talked a lot on the train to Midd. about all the anti-american crap we get. Anyway, it was super. Except that Luis got too drunk towards the end, and walking back to the neighborhood he was in that whiny mopey state of drunkenness that annoys me to no end. But other than that it was lovely.

It was like 3:30 by the time I fell asleep, and I slept through breakfast by accident, but got up and showered and started cooking by 10:00. It went okay for a first time. Paule was baby-sitting for her granddaughter Selma (Paule's daughter Emily and her husband are Ben's house parents in Rowan) so she was available if I couldn't find something or had a crisis. Basically it was unorganised and late, but it tasted great. The soup was wonderful and the pasta (which I made WAY too much of) with the roasted veggies was good but Paule said I should have made a sauce or something and even though everyone complimented me she said things like, "actually you could have done more veggies and skipped the pasta because there are potatoes in the veggies so we don't need more carbs, and then you wouldn't have needed to make a sauce," and i hadn't made a sauce so....whatever. I was really most worried about her opinion; she's a really good cook and I wanted to live up to her standards, so I was really anxious about what she had to say, and it wasn't totally positive, so that sucked a little. I mean, I was still proud of myself for pulling it off, and I thought it tasted amazing. The cake was also really good, served with cream poured on top of each slice. After lunch I slept until supper, and after supper I was putting everything away and getting the breakfast tray ready while Paule did the washing up and I was randomly putting things away and putting dirty dishes by the sink for her to wash and I gave her an empty jar of jam and she got totally snippy with me and said, "it would be nice if you were aware of what's going on around you." I was like WHAT?! Fuck you I'm helping! She had drained the sink already, and I think she was pissed that I hadn't given her the jar sooner or something. I didn't say anything, just finished doing my work, occasionally banging things down on the counter harder than necessary.

For the rest of the evening I puttered around, read the newspaper and did my laundry and tidied my room and talked to Phil over a drink. Then I came up here to my room and started writing this, only to be interrupted by Paule, who apologized for snapping at me. Then we had a huge conversation about everything. She said it takes her while to get to know someone and feel comfortable with them and she doesn't want me to feel under-appreciated but today was hard because I didn't come to breakfast and since Phil had surgery on his hand he can't do the washing up and so she did it at all three meals today. I told her that she should have asked me to do the washing up because I would have been happy to do it, and that it's hard for me to find the balance between working too hard and not enough. I told her about how hard I work on the farm and that I've been over-compensating for being a girl and at the end of the day I'm exhausted and in pain but I still feel like I don't do enough in the house and I think SHE doesn't think I do enough in the house and I don't want her to think I'm lazy. She also said that when she listens to me talk I SOUND more confident and competent than I actually am. That was a pisser. It was a bit of a tense conversation at first, but then we came to an understanding and started talking about Emily and how she might be sent home soon because she flipped shit on Friday in the garden and was kicking and spitting and cursing at people...among other things. Then we talked about Christmas and gingerbread houses and that was that. I'm glad we established how we feel about things. Well, most things. In time I think we'll understand each other more, but we are really REALLY different people. Now I've stayed up way too late again. The internet isn't working so I'll post this tomorrow. Nighty night.

P.S dear god please let obama win love robin