Thursday, January 28, 2010

Honestly, a real time update, with TACOS!

We start with a few photos completely unrelated to the post from Giant's Causeway:

Chelsea: Well hello everyone! This is a real time update, not another thing I have been working on for weeks and am just now posting. Here is what is on my mind today.

On Monday, the whole life changes. Our kitchen in Rainbow house is being re-done into this beautiful model-home kitchen. We already know what it will look like because there is a twin home here, called Sunrise, and they have already finished their kitchen. There will be a beautiful tile floor, five (count em, FIVE) sinks which incidentally each have specific purposes under health code, granite counter tops, a new window, a new larder, new cabinets, better lighting, and a copper fume hood. Custom made dish sinks made to fit people more generally so that we do not have to bend over to do the dishes. We will still have the aga, but they're also putting in a range with an oven (read: proper temperature regulation for baking). Finally, a dish washer. If anyone can imagine doing dishes by hand for a family gathering or party of 12-20 people, then imagine doing that three times a day, you have an idea of how excited I may be for a dish washer.

This big change brings about all sorts of little ones. Our cooking crew is shifting over to Sunrise and their new kitchen, and Jill will no longer be in the crew. She will move to another house so that Catherine can cook in Sunrise again. What I hear is that Catherine is a wonderful cook and very efficient, so I am excited to see what we can do together! In reality I am only really cooking three days a week now. The bakery makes us pizza one day, a support worker (employed by the community to help out) cooks on Sundays, and I have a big meeting every Wed. so Christina has to cook on her own... more on home group meeting later. Besides cooking changes, we also are all spreading out over different houses for our lunch meal. Lucky for us, Jeff and I at least still get to eat together, and then run back home for a little R and R.

Home group. This has been slowly ramping up as one of my additional responsibilities. Wednesdays are a funny day for me. I attend this meeting, which is all about every big or little thing that needs talking about in the community, with the home coordinators of each house. These are the mover and shaker people who really run the administrative side of Clanabogan. They do not make every decision alone, but most things at least start in this meeting. I am learning a lot about the way things work here, and tucking tidbits away for future use. Later in the day we head to Introductory Course with all the young co-workers, and I get the other very basic side of things-- what is respect, how do we ensure safety in the tub, antidiscrimination policies etc. So I find myself a unique bridge between these two groups. I am quite comfortable in the young crowd meetings, and generally feel a need to help those meetings along with participation. My footing in home group was initially tenuous, but I am starting to feel the ground there and I am speaking up more when I have options or opinions. There is this funny thing that I think can be found in many do-gooder non-profits everywhere... do-gooders are not always so practical. We weave and tip around subjects, someone forgets their point, another brings a new one in the middle of a current point, someone brings us back to center... repeat. No kidding, it took us 25 minutes to figure out where everyone from our house could eat. So I find myself often drifting between daydreaming and bringing up poignant ideas that are often solutions. Oh, inefficiency mingled with efficiency mingled with bleeding hearts on everyone's sleeves.

Tonight we are celebrating my birthday with tacos. Old El Passo has a complete monopoly on the Mexican fare here, so you can imagine exactly what we will be eating. Add to those staples home made guacamole and salsa, and I am quite excited. We are having our house dinner early because two guys from the house, David and Christopher, are leaving tomorrow to visit home for the weekend. It was absolutely crushing to David that he would miss my birthday dinner (because he thinks everyone wants sausages and chips on their birthday), so we moved it up. In a wonderful but completely unnecessary gesture, his mother drove 20 minutes from Kesh to bring a gift for me. Likely, a tin of chocolates. We are still working on the tins we got at the holidays! After supper, I have a distinct idea that Jeff is taking me to a Jazz ensemble and dinner (second dinner). Maybe I have this thought because I told him it would be a nice idea for my birthday. Perhaps I will even get him to dance with me. We will see! More on all that next time. I leave you with a few completely unrelated photos:

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Here is a very old post that I meant to send along but never did. New one coming with updates in a day or so.

January 4th, 2010
Christmas Season
Greetings in the new year! Many, many things have happened since that last posting, what with the holidays and all. Here is a brief update on the facts, and some fun as well.

1. We moved into the house over boxing day and have since welcomed everyone home from their holiday breaks with their families. The house is remarkably calm after such a big switch, considering how difficult it is to accept change sometimes. The rooms are nice and we can sleep a little longer in the morning.
2. A new co-worker is moving in, a Dutch guy named Gawan. He is 19 and his mother is very concerned that he gets enough to eat here—I do not think that will be a problem, seeing as one of his “responsibilities” will be to attend three meals a day and be served by yours truly.
3. Another person is moving in as well, Lukas. He grew up here, and his dad already lives in Rainbow. He is taking on more responsibility with the house and will be here over night with us, which will be helpful if Jeff and I want a date night. Unlike Gawan, he already knows the house well and will not need an adjustment period.
4. Christmas was interesting. We are perhaps more tired now than we were before! Jeff and I were Mary and Joseph in the play in the barn on Christmas Eve, complete with calves which pushed out of their pen at the end of the play (and then stood in the hall, very unsure of what to do!). We had a big meal both Christmas Eve and Christmas, lots of cultural events since then, a New Years game night put on by yours truly, and now we are celebrating Three Kings and singing lots. Yikes. The weavery is calling my name.

So. We have two conflicting desires right now. The general theme of the season and holiday is rest, and we are resting. But we are also feeling the urge to get going here, and organize ourselves. The day to day stuff is old hat to us, because we have experienced most of that since October. However, there are administrative things that we are learning now, and part of that is organizing the house so that we can understand it and administer! The office needs a clean-up (overhaul?), medicine needs attention, monthly reports, and all the Christmas refuse needs to be dealt with. When we return to work on Thursday, I will be in the house cooking and doing what needs doing in the morning, and Jeff will technically be “in the house” in the afternoons. For him, that means organizing things, running errands, being nurse if someone is sick, and otherwise going to work in the garden if there is nothing here to do. Anyway, we will both have loads of time to do what needs doing here, and somehow I cannot believe that we will actually need all of that time. So we are trying to resist the urge to get moving, enjoy the relaxing time, and use the time allotted to us later.

Weather—feels like home, which is to say, incredibly cold and snowy for people here. There is an arctic air mass blah-de-blah and its cold. The irritating part of this is that there is still ice on the roads and it can be quite “slippy” in places. So the community has made the decision that none of the “villagers” should go walking about unaccompanied until further notice. Jeff and I both raised our eyebrows at that. Right now, there are two of us here and five people who are to be escorted everywhere. It is not practical, and most often not necessary. One would have to try pretty hard to slip on the path we take to and fro. So that has been annoying, but we are too-proud Minnesotans who know how to walk (and even drive!) on ice and we should remember it, so we have kept out mouths shut. Meanwhile, our people often “forget” that they need one of us with and walk to the hall alone anyway.

This reminds me. There are no inbetweener aged people here. Either you are 20 or 50, or a child of a person who chooses to live here. This is a general problem in Camphill, finding people to carry the torch if you will. Anja, our mentor here and a really lovely woman, has been making sideways comments about us staying on for life here. Beyond us, there is one guy in his 20s like us who may stick around in community for a while, but that’s it. Stagnataion.

Well, that is all for now. Happy winter!