Thursday, January 29, 2009

An Old Group Pic

(L-R) Luis, Se-jin, Yungju, Seo-jin, Monic, Minae, and Yukari.

The Lisa's.

On the left is Lisa Marie from Tourmaline, and on the right is Lisa from Rowan. Just so you can have an idea of who I'm talking about...

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Notes from Tuesday's Anthroposophy Lecture

The Fourfold Human Being

-We're all the same, but all different

-we often make judgements based on the first four, stopping before we know the person's self

1. Heredity
2. Conditioning
-influence from parents/environment/social class/education
3. Reincarnation
-your spirit body comes in and out of the world

Mineral: no cyclical rhythm, inorganic

Plant: cyclical, organic, evolving

Animal: parent/child relationship, evolution, cyclical

Human: has roots in non-material place, evolves by making something out of life on earth and using it in next life (Karma)

4. Zodiac
-animal circle
-the "I" is outside the animal, "looking down" so to speak, the ego never comes to earth, so animals are pure, unburdened. But every animal has personality, preferences, character, and are certainly not inferior to humans (perhaps they're better, we can envy them in some respects)

Questions: can cows reincarnate? Can a palm tree? Where is the line?

I LOVE ANTHROPOSOPHY. But I'm chewin' on it, don't worry.

God and Good Eatin'

So I finally went to Meeting! Ruth Caplin, a longterm co-worker currently managing the Cottage, picked me up at Bracken on Sunday morning. Already in the van was Charlie, Matt, and Celine. The drive to Great Ayton was beautiful, but basically everywhere one drives around here is bound to have some gorgeous scenery. A cute little town, Great Ayton once played host to a large Quaker school. The school has closed down and been turned into flats, but the Meeting house remains.
It's strange how across an ocean, Quakerism remains a constant. I'm sure it's like this with most religions, but I was awe-struck by just how similar this Meeting was to ours at home. I mean, the people were just British versions of the people in State College! There was such warmth in that place, in the people's eyes and hearts. The building structure was completely different than any meeting house I've seen, but the feeling, the vibe, was certainly..."Quaker flavoured."

After a few introductions we went into the Meeting room and spread ourselves out among the benches, which had one thick cushion at either end, and foot stools underneath. The benches could easily fit more than five people, but since there are so few people in attendance (usually 9 or 10), there are only cushions for two. Floor to ceiling windows made up one wall, looking out into a graveyard with dozens of identical graves, none of which had any writing on them. Huge trees full of personality and character loomed over the yard.

Two women spoke, but I didn't quite understand what the second message was about. The first was about the BBC and its coverage of Israel/Palestine and how sometimes when we try to cover things up they end up being more obvious than before. I thanked this woman for her message afterwards and we got to talking all about the meeting and Quakerism and just how Quaker am I and oh the trees are beautiful and oh yes I think so too but people are getting in such a twist about them and I'm on this committee to sort it out and oh yes those Quaker committee's take ages don't they and oh dear let's go get some coffee before it gets cold. This lady was great. Portly with a puff of grey hair going white and a face full of make-up. And a brightly colored outfit to boot.
After much socializing and coffee-sipping with the members, we departed with many a "do come back!" and "we certainly will!"

Then we drove back to Botton, picked up two villagers from Ruth and Matt's house who would otherwise be without Sunday lunch, and drove to a local pub called the Blakey. The Blakey sits at the highest point on the moors and is often referred to in conversations about the weather. "Ay, 'twas nigh minus six upata Blakey! Bloody 'ell ya shoulda seen the snaw, twas up to me bleedin' ears! And the wind was blowin' sommat ferocious!" No I'm dead serious that's how the locals talk. I love it so much.

I'd never been to the Blakey before, so I was really excited; and my excitement was appropriate! The place is amazing. Stone walls, room after room after room through so many passages and turns, all filled up with tables of people and a bar with all the trimmings and candles on every table and oriental rugs. And the food. There was so much food. Nobody does food like Yorkshire. The portions are enormous, even the "child sized" Sunday lunch would satisfy the appetite of say...Cody Abbot. Weird example, but I was trying to think of someone who eats a lot and loves meat, and Cody came to mind. Anyway, the prices are amazing too! The Sunday Lunch Menu had a few starters (Yorkshire pudding, melon with fruit, soup of the day, prawns with sauce, etc) and below it the main meals were as follows: Lamb, half a chicken, pork roast, beef steak, or nut roast, all of which come with two vegetables plus two kinds of potatoes. The child sized portion cost £8.50 and the normal size was £13.50. I went with the child-sized portion as I was told it would be more than enough, and I got melon and berries for a starter, followed by a giant chicken leg with two kinds of potatoes, beet root and mashed parsnip. And then Matt and Charlie gave me some nut roast. Oh, and at the bottom of the menu is stated, "Help yourself to the dessert table." So I did. There were custard parfaits, cakes and muffins and puddings and fruits and after my first piece of tiramisu cake I said, "Um, does 'help yourself' mean you can go back for seconds?" We agreed that is does, so I had some key-lime cheese cake minus the crust since I didn't want to OD on gluten. And I wasn't even grossly full, I was nice and contentedly full! Which I found a bit bizarre since I hadn't done anything but sit all morning. I suppose all the spirituality exhausted my body or something.

So that was that. The rest of the afternoon I hung around at home and ironed my clothes and prepared supper and chilled out.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Bad News Blues

Saturday was a good day for the most part. After lunch I rode my bike to the coffee bar and hung met up with Ben and Lisa. They invited me for supper in Rowan, and I called Paule and she said that's fine. So I didn't have Bible evening, which was pretty nice. We hung out in Rowan around a fire and read papers and talked until supper, which was delicious. After supper we helped Ben prepare some food for Sunday lunch so he didn't have to do it all Sunday morning and could therefore sleep in. Around 10:15 we started walking down to HB Hall for a party. We got Marietta from Lusmore and Ben grabbed a group of people from High Farm and we all went down together.

About 10 minutes into the party Luis told me, "Ah, something very sad...Violet broke her leg and will have to be--(killing motion)" He likes to pull my leg about these things sometimes, so I didn't believe him at first, but then he explained what had happened. Violet is in heat, and two of the biggest cows jumped on her at the same time. Her legs just buckled out from under her. We were in a crowd of smokers outside the back door of the hall, and as we weaved through everyone and headed up to the byres Lisa Marie saw us and ran to catch up. Luis explained, and she came along. It was so sad to see her in so much pain. She was standing, breathing shallowly and drinking a lot. Her leg wasn't obviously bent at an odd angle or anything, but she wasn't putting any weight on it either. I stood with her and tried to connect with her and let her feel some love and peace for a bit. I cried a lot.

The rest of the party was not so fun cuz my mind was completely with Violet. So I came home around 1:00 and went to bed.

The next morning I went to a Quaker Meeting in Great Ayton, and that was WONDERFUL. I'll tell you all about it later, but now I have to go to work.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

An Explanation of Thursday

Thursday was somewhat eventful.
Magdalena had to leave the food centre early to go home and cook lunch for her house because her house mother was at the hospital with her house's new villager who dislocated his elbow and broke his arm slipping on ice. So from 10:30 on it was just me and the villagers, which I'm used to by now and feel confident about it. Stephanie was ironing and I went into the wash room to check on her and she was super clingy and wobbly and said she had pains in her head again. It looked exactly like what happened last week, this sort of internalized fit in her head that makes her go all wobbly and mute and floppy, so I turned the iron off and took her by the arm and we sat down in the tea break room. She leaned over me onto my lap and after 10 minutes of her groaning and wimpering and her glazed eyes seeing nothing I asked Andrew (another villager who can luckily read) to dial the Health centre and hand me the phone. He did so, and a nurse came up shortly. By the time she got there Steph was coming around but was still wobbly, so I called Nick and asked him to come pick us up. It was nearly 12:00, so I told the other villagers they could go home for lunch. Nick came and got us, and at home I got Steph in bed for a rest.

I brought her some lunch and she was looking better. Nick had to be in the press for the afternoon, and Paule wouldn't come back until 7:30-8:00, so I called Justin and let him know I would be home for the afternoon. I thought it would be a quiet afternoon at home, puttering around and tidying things and cleaning the bathroom and doing little useful things, but around 1:50 Steph stumbled into my room and showed all the signs of another fit thingy. I walked her back to her room and layed her down and told her to just rest and try to relax, but she kept grabbing onto me and being totally clingy and not letting go and I was actually getting pretty annoyed by it. I eventually detached from her and told her to stay in bed and I would come check on her in a bit. The rest of the afternoon was crap. She kept getting out of bed and coming to find me in the house even though she could barely walk, and at one point I found her sitting up in bed putting her slippers on and I very sternly said, "Stephanie WHAT are you doing. I told you you have GOT to stay in bed; you have to REST. I'm sorry this is happening, I know it's not fun, but there isn't anything anyone can do about it right now." She just stuck her arms out and wimpered at me and tried to grab my hands for a hug and I was just so fed up I told her that she was a grown woman and she didn't need to hold my hand and hanging on me was not going to make her feel better at all. And then I figured out she needed to go to the bathroom so I walked her there and she was so beyond wobbly I went in with her and helped her with everything but in the end she didn't have to go so that was a waste of time and the whole situation was just stressing me out and also making me very annoyed because she couldn't talk she would just nod her head at yes or no questions but not consistently and I was getting so frusterated with her because over and over she got out of bed, one time just to come downstairs to the kitchen to tell me she needed to go to the bathroom, and when I asked her if she could manage on her own she said yes! And I'm like, "Then why did you come down here?! Stephanie, the ONLY thing that you can do right now is rest. STOP coming to find me, I will come check on you! If you need to go to the bathroom and you can do it yourself then GO! You don't need to come tell me about it!" She seemed to get the message, because she went to the bathroom and then bak to bed and I didn't hear a peep for a while. I went to look in on her and she was laying in bed and I asked her if she wanted tea or water or anything and she said no, as she had all the times before.

I had a bit of peace and quiet then, sitting on the aga reading my book. Ben works in the press in the afternoons and saw me through the window on his way home. He came in and we talked about maybe going to the pub after supper. The phone rang, and it was Steph's mom on the other end, calling to talk to Paule about coming to pick up Steph for the weekend to go to the pantamime. She didn't know about Steph's recent head pain/fit things, so I told her about them (the incident last week and the one in the food centre, and the seemingly continuous one of the afternoon). As we were chatting I heard footsteps on the stairs and then Steph was before me, looking obviously better. Her eyes were clear, she wasn't wobbling, and when I handed her the phone she carried on a conversation with her mom.

I prepared supper with her leaning on the aga, and everyone came in from work. She went back up to bed and I brought her some soup and bread for supper. Paule was due back around 8:00 with Emily, so I wasn't sure if I should go to the pub or not. I felt like I should be home for Emily's return and chances were Paule would be really tired and I could put Em to bed. Andreas called and said he had the car booked for 8:30 and he would come over when he got the car and we would see then if Paule was back whether or not I would go. Paule was back by 8 with the Sauerkraut and she was still amazingly chipper and said she would put Em to bed. So I went to the pub with Ben, Andreas and Lukas, the new farmer at High Farm and a friend of Andreas's from when they were here together four years ago. It was really nice; we sat around the little fire in the Fox and Hounds and I had a rum and coke which I always thought was yucky (tastes of mom's made me wrinkle my nose and say ew), but I seem to have developed a fondness for alcohol and found it quite enjoyable. We were there pretty late, and I haven't been sleeping well for a week or so; I wake up four or five times a night worrying that I'm late for breakfast or missing something or I forgot something and shit like that, so I was really exhausted yesterday.

Briefly, Friday I was asleep on my feet all day but managed. Got a lift to the centre in the morning with Terry Bogg, this guy who drives people around all day and looks exactly like one of the bad guys from 101 Dalmations but is actually really nice. Walking still sucks, I think I need to see a doctor this week. Business as usual in the food centre, High farm for lunch and a chat with Claire. I told her about my conversation with Paule and then helped her with her lines for the Mystery Drama play she's in. Harvesting swedes on the farm in the afternoon we had Lisa Marie (Tourmaline Lisa not Rowan Lisa) helping us and got to watch two guys Justin hired search and destroy rabbits. They had four ferrets, a black and tan welsh terrier, a whippet, rifles and belts of amo. Hardcore. I didn't actually see them kill the rabbits which is weird cuz they were literally ten yards away from us, but suddenly there were four dead bunnies in a pile. I asked them if I could have one to dissect and they said they were going to eat them. I tacked on the "I want to be a vet" explanation so they didn't think I was crazy, and then told Lisa that my dad sometimes talks about how great rabbit fur lined underwear would be. Hehehe.
I milked and almost got kicked in the face again by the same cow who apparently just doesn't like me, and now I'm permanently scared of getting my lights punched out and every time I go for a teat I'm thinking oh god oh god oh god please don't kick me you are a beautiful cow, good cow, nice cow, be nice. So that sucks. White Bean's mastitis is so gross, this one teat, the one you always need two hands for, is so full of gunk; you pull/squeeze the udder and then the teat in one motion, and out comes these big yellow strings of infected milk stuffs and curdled milk. Poor girl, I'm sure it's not comfortable. Luis got 27 pounds of milk out of Lassie and he's so proud of himself. When I put the machine on her I was like come on girl, let's beat Luis! Gimme 28 pounds girl, you can do it!! But I only got 20. Poop. She's a "more in the morning" kinda girl anyway.
After supper Nick gave me a lift to the centre and I spent a few hours in the coffee bar singing folk songs with Marc Antoine and Peter Van Vliet (Magdalena's house father) and playing the guitar. I didn't do any solo songs, just strummed a few chords along with Marc Antoine. I'm missing a large portion of my right thumbnail, which is not exactly condusive to guitar playing. Afterwards I went to the school with Maisaa, Gabby, Lisa Marie, Ruth (eurethmy student) and Jan (yan) and Rafael, a new french co-worker who is SO cool and such a hippie and she plays the acordian SO well and it is SO amazing and it reminds me of Aimee! We had a little dance party at the school with Lisa on the viola and Rafael on the acordian and Gabby made rice pudding and we danced around the room like idiots except Ruth is actually an amazing dancer so WE all looked stupid and she looked graceful. Rafael even played a song from Amelie and I was like oh maaaan Aimee would love this.
Time for lunch!

Thursday, January 22, 2009


For a while I've been wondering how Paule has been feeling about me. Sometimes we have moments where we connect and bond and things seem to be fine, but other times I've felt a wall dividing us. Last night I milked and didn't get home until ten past six. I changed my clothes and then went down to the kitchen where Paule had started preparing supper. I could tell she was cross, and as I started to help her she said, "Aren't you supposed to prepare supper on a Wednesday?" And I said yes, but that I had just come in at ten past from milking. She said something like, "I know you think I'm a cold bitch, but I don't ask for much," or something to that effect, and I was totally taken aback and told her that I don't think that at all and I'm sorry I said that stuff before but I've changed my mind completely and I actually really like her! Then Nick came in and the subject changed and it was over.
We had a normal supper, and afterward in the kitchen I told Paule we should talk more and she said she had to prepare a soup for today's lunch and we could talk then. So a little while later I went down and sat on the aga (big british oil heated stove/oven thingy with a warming plate perfect for warming your bum) and waited for her. She came in and I peeled veggies for her while we talked. She said she feels like I'm judging her all the time and she can't be herself or relax around me because she feels so observed. And I said oh nooo I'm not judging you I'm gauging how you're feeling! So basically what she thought was me judging her was me trying to figure out how stressed she is and whether or not I need to be more actively helpful or something. So she seemed relieved to hear that and I think/really hope she believes it's sincere because it is! Then we talked about Emily coming back and how she's really dreading it and her parents are actually lying to us and the social worker about stuff and it's just all really stressful and annoying and she keeps thinking she can do as much as she used to but in reality she's getting older and actually isn't as able as she used to be, and she and Nick are going away for two weeks in February for a big family holiday to celebrate her sixtieth birthday and her and Nick's 30th wedding anniversary and she's worried about Emily being here and how thats gonna work without her, and I just felt this big relief to have her tell me these things and really get everything out in the open so it's not some big shock at my review, which is coming pretty soon. Then I went over my 'yellow book' (Foundation course workbook) with her and she signed things and now I can hand it in to Allan and get that off my back.
On another note, Steph is having fit after fit today and I'm spending the afternoon home with her since Paule is away getting Emily and Nick has to work in the press. I'll explain later....

Monday, January 19, 2009

cute moment of the day

Flips is growing on me like a pretty green moss. She is just so cute. She was so late to supper cuz she had to walk all the way from the woodwork shop and today the weather was disgusting ("like a misery") and the paths got really slippery and slushy. It rained/snowed/sleeted all day long, and I think it will freeze tonight...nice, Yorkshire, really nice. Anyway, she was about 20 minutes late and she came in completely red faced and pathetic looking and went straight to Paule and hugged her and apologized for being late! Oh it was precious, Paule and Nick and I were all like "awww Flips it's okay! Oh you poor thing, walking all that way." It is a common trait among people with Down's syndrome that they love to be treated like kings and queen and being fussed over, so with Felicity and Kathryn Parker I just love to fuss over them cuz they get so cute and happy. Gotta limit it though, and I still have to be clear when they do something wrong and not be afraid to get cross with them and make them unhappy!

This afternoon Ben and Luke and I unloaded a trailer-full of muck up at Nook Farm. Ben and Luke threw it down and I made the most beautiful muck pile in the history of muck piles. It's truly an art. Then we mucked out and I milked and was a bit forgetful but didn't make any big mistakes. I'm getting the hang of it, it's just a matter of practice now.

We played Skittles for neighborhood tonight, and we came in third. Skittles is like bowling with small pins and three small balls and you have to hit the middle pin or you don't get squat. Pretty entertaining. Then I ate some yoghurt and chilled with the villagers in the kitchen, then I came upstairs and had a glass of wine and watched some more of the World Series documentary mom got me :) It's funny even though I know the Phils won I get so excited and nerve-racked about it.

Now I sleep.

Seven Pounds

Will Smith's latest film. I absolutely insist you go see it right now if it's still out in the US. Andreas was taking Jojo back to school last night so Lukas (the new young farmer at High Farm who Andreas knows from four years ago),Ben, Lisa, Minae and I came along as well and we went to the cinema in Middlesborough. They had Ben and Jerry's fair trade ice cream in the theatre. Cool.

Napped the morning away, ate lunch, washed up, ironed my laundry (my new favorite activity--seriously! :)), then went on a giant window washing binge and cleaned the kitchen windows and then went into the boot lobby and realized how disgusting the floor-to-ceiling windows were. Imagine driving through a Louisiana bog in the evening in midsummer...all those bugs spattering the windshield. That is what these windows looked like. So I cleaned them too.
Got a nasty cough and am never smoking again. I blame the buggers for the cough.

Friday, January 16, 2009

As the Days Go By

A pretty good day. Got a lift to the centre from the house father next door. Cleaned the toilets and ran some store errands for Magdalena, then helped her clean the drains and look after the villagers. Sam, the new villager living in Magda's house and working Weds-Fri in the food centre, is adjusting now. We found some work that he enjoys and can do independently, so that's a relief.

Had a huge lunch at High farm of roast chickens and rice and beetroot and brussel sprouts and leeks, and had a nice chat with Claire afterward. Then I went back to the centre to get money from the office, feeling stupid for not having done this on my way to lunch and saving my shin some walking. My toe was fine in the Uggs, but my shin splint absolutely killed. I had met Justin in the morning and he told me to come at 4:00 again today because the rest of HBN went to the Pantamime so it would just be the two of us. I wondered vaguely where Wilfred (10 months old) would be.

I got home at three and did some yoga and had some tea and played the guitar and at four I went out to the byres. I noticed Rufus messing with something in the yard and went to investigate, and Justin walked out of the top barn pushing Wilfred in a stroller! He was all bundled up and adorable as usual and he just chilled and made little baby noises while Justin and I put the cows out and mucked out and then Justin milked and I did all the calves and went the extra mile and threw down some fresh bales of straw and hay. Somehow we finished earlier than usual! Granted, we did skip tea break, which gave us an extra half hour.

Prepared supper when I got home, and Paule had to rush out to Castle House because a lot of shit has hit the fan with some villagers and I'm not privledged to know what's going on, but I know it's bad and very stressful for those involved. Anyway, she was gone until after supper and I assumed she had had something to eat there, but when she got home she made some toast for herself--she didn't even get supper! So I'm a little worried her stress is gonna make her explode, and I'm trying to be hyper-aware of everything and tomorrow I'll do everything I can to make things easier for her.

Oh, and I forgot to mention that Steph had a fit Wednesday night! It was really strange; she knocked on my door, which she does so often I sometimes ignore her, but this time I told her to come in. She did, and she stood there not saying a word (which is also not uncommon, it can take her ages to get a sentence out) and she was kind of half-crying without tears, so I spent several minutes trying to figure out what the hell was wrong with her. I asked her if she was in pain, if she was homesick and missing her sisters, if she was just sad, and then it occured to me that maybe she was going to have a fit! The thing is, she supposedly only has them aorund breakfast time, and they are grand mal seizures like the one Ben had. So I asked her if she could make it back to her bed and she shook her head, so I laid her down in my bed and rubbed her back and she lay there totally stiff and breathing shallowly and looking spacey, and I kept expecting her to start shaking quaking jumping and jiving but after 7 minutes or so she seemed to come around and her eyes focused and I asked her if it was over and she said "yeah." So it was a completely internalized fit, something that's never happened to her before, so it was a bit scary for her I'm sure. But afterwards she was totally fine and came downstairs and had some tea! I told Paule what had happened and she told I should have gotten her. Next time I certainly will, but I felt I had the situation under control; I didn't want to go get her and leave Stephanie, and I felt that yelling for her might scare Steph into thinking something was really wrong. So I handled it, and if Paule thought I was being irresponsible or unaware or something, well, that's her problem.
But anyway, big day tomorrow, lots to do.
Nighty night all.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

I think the Universe is trying to tell me something

I am getting so fed up with this shit. Here's the thing: my toe is still broken and painful. I am taking arnica tablets and putting arnica cream on it and taking Symphytum tablets and doing it all homeopathically. The problem is that my Uggs are the only shoe I can comfortably wear, but they're so floppy and making my feet turn in and are bad for my back and actually gave me fucking shin splints from their lack of arch support so I went back to wearing my trainers, which have wonderful support but squish my toe and make it hurt like hell. So I went to the health centre this morning and asked for painkillers, but they don't have any. The nurse said I could get some from the co-op, but really I should just walk less, because the fact that it is still hurting means it's not healing and I have to allow it time to heal. But the shit thing is that in this village you have to bloody walk!!! I have to go from Bracken to the food centre every morning (see map) and then back, and on the farm I wear wellies which squish my toe as well, and I'm on my feet the whole friggin day! So I am really pissed. And it is so hard here to get out of walking! I don't want to just sit around and do nothing, that's just stupid and makes me feel lazy and useless, so I need to figure out if there are some days I can stay home until 4:30 and just milk instead of doing full blown farm stuff. Apparently someone gets a lift to HBN every morning and then the transport goes back to the centre, so I will see if I can go to HBN at 9:00 and get a lift to the food centre for a week or so.
This afternoon I called Justin and asked to come at 4:30 and just do the milking and he, as usual, was totally cool with it. I asked Paule if there was anything I could do at home and she said no, nothing that doesn't involve walking, so I read and napped until 4:30. And then the fun began...
I went up to the byres and cleaned the machines and got everything all ready before the cows were even in because everyone else was still at tea break. I wanted to get it finished really quickly because Paule said she would give me a lift to the coffee bar for my supper/meeting with the social gatherings group I'm in. SO then we brought the cows in and I got started and I was the only one in the byres while everyone else sorted out the calves and did other things, and as I was cleaning Holly's teats she was perfectly fine as usual until I got to the last one and out of NOWHERE her hoof flies up and she kicks me in the face. I dropped the strip cup and fell back and grabbed my face and found my hands covered in blood! I've never had such a bloody nose. And I was alone! I kind of yelled but all that came out was a "nnggg!!" so I went outside and yelled for Luis and he came to where I was hunched over on the ground crying and he told me later he thought I was having a fit or something but then he remembered that I'm not epileptic lol. He was so confused until I pulled my hands away from my face and he saw all the blood, and he went and got Justin and some paper towels. I rapidly came round to realize that it actually didn't hurt so bad and I started laughing at how dramatic it looked with so much blood and just how fucking ridiculous it was. Justin asked if I was alright and I looked up to the sky and said, "If my nose is broken I am going to be SO MAD!!" So then I was fine, and Justin said, "right, before we do anything else--" and I said, "oh, right, I should wash my hands." Um, wrong. He wanted to know which teat I had touched that made her kick me, so I showed him, and when he went for it she tried to kick him too! Twice! As soon as she did he grabbed her tail and pushed it up, which hurts them quite a bit and is what we do to teach them not to do things. But then he felt around the teat and got milk out of it and there was nothing wrong with it at all, and no reason for her to kick me! Luckily she's pretty small and bony. Later when I was milking White Bean Luis said, "I think when she kicks you, your nose is definitely broken." Beany's a big girl.

So I carried on milking and went home and showered and Paule took me to the centre and I had supper and a meeting in the coffee bar with Maisaa, Andreas, Ben, Micha and Jana about our co-worker gatherings and making new guidlines and where can we have parties and we want a space for these things that can be really just ours but is that possible and what can we do for now and blah blah blah. We went in circles a bit, but in the end we got some things down. Then Ben and Andreas and I went to the co-op for some things (I got ibuprofen, which will hopefully prevent me from looking like a raccoon tomorrow), and then to the pub. I had a really nice Italian rose pinot grigio...and yo, wine is so expensive! It's so uncool! A pint of beer is like 2.50, and my glass of wine was 3:10! And it's like, half as much liquid! But it was really nice and cozy and we sat by the fire and talked for ages. The only problem is that my nose is totally clogged with dried blood and I can't breathe or smell. Okay, enough complaining. Sorry.

Monday, January 12, 2009


Let's see...

Saturday was supposed to have really nice weather and I had all these plans to go hiking after lunch but the weather SUCKED so instead I went to the coffee bar. At the coffee bar I found Andreas, who had come down with the same tummy bug I had and was feeling crappy but was also in need of some beverages. I myself was short on alcohol, and with Ben's birthday party in Rowan that night, we figured a quick trip to the Castleton Co-op was in order. So we did that, and then we watched Swordfish, and I came to the conclusion that Halle Barry is a shite actress. Then I came home for bible evening, which was of course just Nick talking the whole time about things I have no clue about. But he's still on my cool list. Have I mentioned that I'm quite fond of him? I am. He's cool. And also extremely well learned, so I learn tons of little things from him.
Anyway, then around quarter to 11 I walked to Rowan in a windy rainy mess and stopped on the way to rescue some floundering chickens whose coop door wasn't locked and inside was a whirlwind of feathers and sawdust and chickens with bad grip.
The party was really nice, not too big or too small, and nice and diverse. Some girls who are usually in the non-alcoholic group (the 'wallflowers,' if you will) came, and the Koreans showed us a really funny Korean drinking game where you go around the circle and say a number and then everyone holds up one, two, or no thumbs, and then you count the thumbs and if it turns out to be the number you guessed, you get to smack everyone else on the wrist with two fingers that number of times. It was hysterical cuz the boys didn't want to hit the girls, and these girls who are usually really quiet had no problem hitting them! I was the last to leave after having some QT with Ben and Lisa, and I got home and in bed by 3:30.

Slept in on Sunday, read and ironed all my clothes in the morning, and went to Wilfred's christening at 3:00. Wilfred is Justin and Tracy's beautiful baby. He is so handsome I can't get over it every time I see him I'm just like WHOA that is the most beautiful baby ever. The christening was brief, I came home and...I don't remember. Oh yeah I watched Gossip Girl online. Niccceee. Then we had supper, then rushed off to a concert in the hall. Lovely piano/cello sonatas by Chopin, Bach and Rachmaninoff played by a world class cellist and his incredible accompaniast. I was expecting old people, but these guys were in their early thirties/late twenties!

It's my week to make breakfast, so I did that this morning. Then off to the food centre, where I pushed orange peels through a grinder all morning. I went to the Health Centre to get some arnica tablets at tea break cuz today I wore my sneakers for the first time in ages and it absolutely killed my toe. I've been wearing my Uggs cuz they're loose and squishy, but they're not exactly waterproof, and it's very wet outside now. Also they're bad for my posture and arches and back and, okay, Uggs are just bad for your body. So at the Health Centre I explained to Alma about my toe and she gave me some Arnica and a container of Symphysite (I think that's what it's called...something close to that at least) which she says is a bone-mender, which reminded me SO much of Harry Potter and Skelo-gro and Madam Pomfry.

Tidying up around the farm in the afternoon, then harvesting swedes, then mucking and milking. And oh! I had given my overalls to Justin on Friday so they would be washed with the others, and I went to get them today from the washroom in HBN and I couldn't find them, but I DID find a pair that fit me! It's so wonderful! They're blue and all the buttons work and only one pocket is messed up and best of all they're ME SIZED!! :) The others were montrous and I struggled with them on a regular basis. So I'm a happy farmer. And also a sleepy one! I had two cups of coffee today and I am still totally wiped out! Actually I don't usually drink coffee, and then today I had those two maybe this is a sign that I shouldn't drink coffee. Cuz it was a pretty normal day, I shouldn't be so exhausted! I yawned my way through supper and practically fell asleep in the sink when we cleaned the kitchen in HBN Hall.
So now I will go to sleep.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Ladies Night!

Magdalena, Minae, Sejin, Moniq, Rie and I went bowling for a food-centre-co-workers outing, and Christine, the housemother from Dalehead, tagged along too. It was so fun! Christine is great and has a fabulous scottish accent, and we bowled and had drinks and some not-so-gf-food and I didn't suck at bowling!! I was actually really quite good in the beginning (especially considering the last time I went bowling was on my very first date with a boy in 7th grade and I dropped the ball on his foot), but there was an obvious correlation between how much I drank and how much worse I got! But I only had a pint of cider and a glass of wine...and it was cool to have proper cider, and I realized the stuff we made in the food centre was not cider at all! Oh well...

Always fun to go to Middlesborough. The people are so ridiculous, one might as well be going to the zoo for all the oggling and laughing at the expense of others one does.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

that was so cute.

Flips just said, "nigh robbi" outside my door so I opened it up and she said "goodnigh my dahli'!" and gave me a kiss on the cheek! I love when she's cute like that cuz at first I thought she didn't like me. Well, maybe she didn't. But now she does and we laugh a lot together and she is just lovely. Unless she's being bossy.

Soooo let's see...todaaay. Not much happened. Food centre was normal chatted with Magda a lot and sorted bottles and had two packets of crisps at tea break to curb a major salt craving. Although I guess that's not curbing, that' into it. Whatever.

Stopped at the Botton Boutique on the way home and scored a Nike hoodie and a really nice blue jumper. Yeah, I said jumper. That means sweater. Nice lunch, but I've noticed that my appetite is totally bust since Monday when I got sick...I just can't eat very much, and after I eat I feel SO full. Phil said he's been feeling the exact same way, so maybe it's like...the new bug.

Made it into my wellies and to the farm, where we worked on moving the muck heap for what felt like ages. I really notice the difference in my back and arms. I had gotten to a point where it wasn't hurting or bothering me anymore, like I'd built a set of muscles specifically for throwing muck, but since we haven't done it in a while it's REALLY painful! All those muscles have turned to flab! So that's crummy....and SHIT! Know what else is crummy?! I lost my friggin glove! One of my black ones that I wear every day to work on the farm! I know, Mom and Dad, they weren't intended for farm use, but the only damage done was that they (when there were two) smelled permanently of muck, no matter how much I washed them. I have no idea where this glove could have gone. It was in my overall pocket in the byres, and then I walked home and it wasn't! I re-traced my steps five or six times, but it is GONE. I'm so friggin mad!

So after a really nice supper full of many a joke and giggle and light conversation, I dashed off to choir (yes, I can dash now! the toe is very forgiving when it comes to walking, even running, but I still can't bend it some ways without severely regretting it) and sang some songs, and then came homeand made some lemon tea because said songs are extremely high pitched and hard on this mezzo soprano's voice. And then I helped Steph with her teeth and she was complaining of a sore bum from falling on the ice, so I gave her the rest of my arnica to put on it. I did have a few thoughts about, 'o, maybe there are rules about this kind of thing,' but then I thought, 'bah, it's only arnica, not ibuprofen of something.' But in case she had to mark it down or something, I went to tell Paule and found her cutting and ironing bits of fabric for a quilt, which reminded me of you Mom, and she said actually we aren't allowed to share medication, even if it is only arnica. She said they used to be able to get away with all kinda of things regarding medication, but now there are so many rules and regs it's ridiculous. Then we got to talking about her quilting and she said it helps her think and find solutions and it's one of the few things she does because she wants to, everything else she has to do. So we had a nice little bonding chat.

Oh. And get this. Remember how Katie is totally annoying and starving herself? Well when she was on holiday, according to her parents she ate like a horse but didn't talk. She came back yesterday and didn't come to supper, then this morning at breakfast she said "I think my appetite has gone again!" As if it were funny or something. She didn't come to lunch until Paule went and got her, and then she wouldn't eat and Paule told her she couldn't leave the table until she finished her food. She didn't eat it all (and it wasn't much to begin with) but we kind of had to clear in the end. It's just so fucking ridiculous! It's like she has some personal vendetta against us! Maybe she wants to move house and this is her twisted way of expressing it...but regardless, it is so annoying. We're trying to give her more attention to see if that gets her to eat more because we thought maybe the not-eating shit was because she feels starved for attention (no pun intended) because Emily demands all our focus.

And on that note, I am reminded that we haven't heard a word from Emily's parents about when she's coming back from her holiday. And we're kind of tempted to not say anything and hope they keep her.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Learning new tabs

So Phil's guitar has what is beginning to be a permanent residence in my room, and thus, I am learning more Patty Griffin songs. There's like a million of them, but I'm working on Icicles and When it Don't Come Easy.

I made it to the food centre and back this morning and worked on the farm this afternoon, going for the "no pain no gain/what doesn't kill you makes you stronger" approach, and silently wondering if my toe will eventually give up and fall off.

Went to the coffee bar with Luis and met up with Andreas and Lisa (Rowan) and had a laugh or two and then went back to Botton Farm with Andreas and we watched a film with Ben and Valeska (Laura's cousins) and some of their villagers. It was a great documentary about this french guy who walked a tightrope between the World Trade Centre towers. Forget what it was called, but you should all see it!

And now I go to sleep.

natives and outsiders!

Iz was a Map!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Um, I'm a Mermaid.

Crazy costume party last night to celebrate the birthdays of three natives, Isobel, Mark, and Joanna. I went as a mermaid (it had to start with an I M or J) and just wore blue leggings and flowy dress and a bright blue bra on top of it, and one of Madi's old wigs. I don't have any pictures of myself, but here are some of the party itself. Oh yeah, and last night I kicked the rock that holds open the larder door and I broke my pinky toe. Its soooo purple and painful and swollen and in 45 minutes I have to put my wellies on and go to the farm and I am NOT looking forward to that. And I'll actually put up the pics later cuz i'm sleepy now.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Also BTW my hair is getting SO long!!!

Johanna got excited.

New Year's Party at the Back of the Dale

New Year's Party in the College

(L-R, Hannah, former co-worker visiting for the holidays; Isobel and Natalie Adams, natives; and Peppy, daughter of a eurethmy student)

I Love Food.

Basically I ate all day. Again.

Breakfast here at 8:30, then to Rowan at 10:00 to have breakfast with Ben and Lisa since Ben left today to go home for a week. So the three of us, plus Pat, one of the villagers in their house, ate and chatted and had a nice time. Also Joan Tukman, this REALLY old lady from Trefoil (one of the houses in my neighborhood), stopped in on a walk around the village (more like a hobble) and sat down and had coffee with us and babbled on about things. So Botton.

Then I called home to say I wouldn't be home for lunch but Madi told me it was sausage and bacon and sauerkraut and potatoes and I was like, "Oh yum, never mind! See you for lunch!" Okay it sounds gross, but I've been craving those things for like two weeks. So I ate lunch. I spent from 2-4 making a video of clips I've taken of Botton; half of it is all Pride and Prejudice Sountrack peaceful niceness, and then the song changes to "Alright Alright" by Sahara Hotnights and it's all clips and pictures of parties. I'm pleased with it. But it's too big a file to upload here, so you'll all have to wait till I get home to see it!

Anyway, farming this afternoon: mucking out and then doing all the calves/teenagers/Rufus and Saffron with food water and bedding while Justin milked. Ben wasn't feeling well, and since Justin and Tracy both just had the stomach bug, we sent him inside to rest.

Everyone except Nick and Phil and I went elsewhere for supper, so I fended for myself. It was bloody brilliant. I ate leftover chicken curry straight from the pot, then found an over-ripe avacado and made some guacamole and ate it with corn crackers and a big glass of milk, and topped it all off with an enormous belch and a bowl of yoghurt. Then I played the guitar and tried to put a tune to a song I wrote this summer but all that came out were nice licks that didn't go with the song at all.

Tomorrow night is Isabel Mark and Joanna's joint birthday party (natives), and I have to dress up as something that begins with an I, M, or J. I'm thinking Joni Mitchell but I have nothing to wear! Or Jasmin from Aladdin. But seriously, I'm kinda limited when it comes to costume design....

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Exhale...and do it again!

So I won't go into much detail this time since I have so many days to cover, but it's been a really busy/fun/nice few days, the kind where you can't tell if it's moving nice and slow or way too fast but there definitely aren't enough hours in the day.

Christmas day was lovely. Woke up at half five to muck out/milk at our farm, then go over to High farm to muck out, then on the milk run, all with Justin and Neil and Ben. Then an appropriately sized breakfast at HBN, which I felt I had earned. Had to dash to get to the hall by 10:15 to rehearse our church songs a bit more, then to the service, which was the Act of Consecration of Man which happens every day during the Holy Nights and is the same service as the midnight one I went to the night before. So we sang and I fell asleep in between songs cuz, please, I'd hardly slept four hours, and it was beautiful and went really well.
Paule cooked all morning and was in a very good mood and at 3:30 we ate a HUGE meal. The biggest turkey I've ever seen with parsnip/carrot mash and stuffing and brussel sprouts sauteed with all kinds of things and christmas pudding for dessert and there were party poppers on the table and after we ate we shot them off at each other and broke open these little party favor things and told lame jokes and Felicity gave a toast to James Bond and cheeks flushed with wine we laughed and laughed. A few hours later we sat down to open presents, and I was a bit nervous but everyone seemed to appreciate what I gave them. Especially Felicity! She got so many nice things but the whole time she pored over the James Bond calendar!
After singing and present opening and chocolates and tea I got in touch with mah peeps and ended up at the pub with Ben, Andreas and a whole bunch of staff kids home for the holidays. The pub was absolutely packed, and a bit frat-like at times, but we all had a really nice time.

And the last few days have consisted mainly of eating, farming and partying. Very little sleeping makes its way into my schedule. I'm on the farm at 9 and 4 every day with the exception of Tuesday, which was my day off. But not really, cuz I had to go these meeting about Botton and Botton's future and I thought it would be really boring but it was actually really nice. I met with a few houseparents and villagers and we talked about "Botton as a Care Provider" and brought up all these things I never even thought about, like the fact that a huge number of villagers are approaching old age and where are we going to put them all when they need extra care?!

Yesterday I mucked out the byres and then nabbed a lift from Madi and Phillip to the church for Ben and Valeksa's wedding!! They're already officially married, but they never had a proper service, so they wanted to do that. It was really nice, very simple and almost Quaker-like but with a bit more ritual and Jesus talk. Valeska looked so beautiful and all the kids were giggling and grinning and we all made and arch with our hands and they ran through it and into the mini-bus which Andreas and Janna and Ian (a villager from New Botton Farm (NBF)) and Andreas's mom and I had made decorations for the night before. They even put tin cans on strings hanging off the back! It was so cute.

For supper last night (New Years Eve! So funny to me that it was the new year for me before it was for you guys...) we had fondue! But Paule came down suddenly with the tummy bug and went to bed before supper. I was surprised the bug is still around, I hadn't heard of anyone getting sick for a week or so, but this morning Nick said she was sick all night. :(
So anywho, it was New Year's Eve, and after filling my belly to the brim with cheese and bread (gluten free of course, who wants gas on New Years?), I went out. Oh but first I told Phil I was out of alcohol so he gave me some whisky and ginger beer...such a role model. :P I spent a large part of the evening figuring out where the hell everyone was! First I went to the school, where the village party was, but it was pretty lame and I didn't see anyone there, so I went to NBF and found Andreas and Janna (Yanna) and they were going to the hall to the sober and spiritual service thingy cuz they had volunteered to ring bells at it. So I went with them but when we got there I was like eff this I wanna party so I went back to the school, and by this time the dancing had kicked in and the co-workers were slightly intoxicated and there were tons of staff kids ("natives") and then some outsiders came (oooo!) and it was suddenly a smashing good time! Drinking and dancing and squealing and laughing ensued among co-workers and villagers alike. At midnight everyone counted down the seconds and then there was much hugging and kissing and mirth and then a few fireworks outside, followed by more dancing. Eventually the people from the sober service showed up and gradually people made their way to other parties. Ben and Andreas and Natalie and Isabel and Hannah (natives) went to High farm, decided the party was lame, and then went on to the Back of the Dale party, which, trecherous hike aside, was very nice. Big fires inside and out to keep us warm, merry drunken carol singing and more new people to meet. Stayed there till around 4:30, then in bed by 5:00 and slept till 11. Paule was in bed all day so I made lunch with Phil and have had a surprising amount of energy all things considered. But now I'll have a little siesta before going to the farm.
Happy New Year!

Oh, the title means basically that things have been so busy and they wont let up soon cuz there are more parties to attend and things to do and people to see and all that.