Sunday, September 30, 2007
This evening, Jeremy and I went on a date to Pizza Hut - our local date place from the looks of it. Afterwards, we went to Milagros Coffee House. They were having open mic night. It was fun to sit and listen to music and poetry - some good, some not so amazing ... either way, people are courageous to get up in front of people and share.
At work, the manager at Rainbow's End Alamosa is resigning. This changes my job at La Puente. Steve (one of my bosses) said that he would like me there in the afternoons for quite awhile helping out. I am a little leery of this because I didn't love the retail side of things previously, but we'll see what I end up doing. I think that he wants me to create the order for Ten Thousand Villages area of the Boutique. I am going to hopefully be able to order things that many people will want to purchase. Steve has some great ideas for some updates and changes as well. I think it could be fun to be a part of that. I'll keep you posted
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Rhonda has been sick both Monday and Tuesday, so it was just me holding down the fort. It wouldn't be so bad, but it has been so quiet there. I wonder if it is less quiet when there is someone there to share the lulls with you. I think that she will be back today; hopefully, she will be fully recovered because I don't feel like catching anything. We have received a number of donations from the big mailing we sent out. This means that I get to open each donation and then write a receipt and thank you letter. I don't necessarily mind this; it just hurts my hand. I am enjoying parts of my job, but not feeling like it stimulates my mind much. It is actually pretty basic work - at least the part I'm doing. I am trying to think of other things I could do that may help me feel more challenged. The advertising/marketing is challenging because I have no clue, but I am also not very motivated to care about learning the techniques. I am thinking about talking with Fanny at the Adelante program (2 year transitional housing). They have the PALS program which works with children ages 4-16 (I think) during an after school program from 3 - 6pm. I think that part of this program is tutoring right when they get off the bus. I believe that I would enjoy this, if she could use any help and if it would work alongside what I am doing now. I have said that I would either enjoy just tutoring kids one-on-one or doing office work; this would give me an opportunity to do both. We'll see what comes of that. I think that I need more people interaction - besides sorting and handing out clothing at Re-Threads - and this may provide that.
Jeremy is still working at finding things to do at his job. For awhile, he was working on a website, but then that wasn't really what Mike wanted him to do - they had had a website developed and he wanted Jeremy to figure out how to just implement that one. That became pretty complicated for some reason - I don't think it would load right, or there wasn't enough storage on the free site they had. Now, Mike said that Jeremy could just go ahead and start from scratch; so, now he has a mission.
Sunday, September 23, 2007
Saturday... Jeremy and I hung out and cleaned in the morning. I went to the bank and talked to the lady in line behind me. Her name was Ana, she is a beautician in town. I asked her price ($20) and took her number, telling her it may be awhile because I only make $50 a month because I am a volunteer. She said, if I was doing good for others, she may as well give me my first cut FREE! That was such a nice offer; I think I'll take her up on it. At noon, Jeremy and I left for Creede to see the play we missed on Wednesday night, Leading Ladies. The drive to Creede is about 1-1/2 hours and is beautiful. The mountains there are very chiseled, more canyon-like. (If we would have the camera, I would show you some pictures.) The theatre is this small little place with probably only 100 seats or so. We laughed so hard during it. It is always funny to see men dressed as women trying to be deceptive, and it's not really working. We definitely enjoyed it. The acting was excellent. USA Today said, it is one of the "10 great places to see the lights off Broadway." (See webiste for more info: http://www.creederep.org/) After we got home, we put on old, warm clothes and headed out to El Sagrado Farm where we get our vegetables and eggs from. It is the CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) in the area. The event was a end-of-the-season potluck with live music and bonfire. It was great food and fairly good music - lots of accordian! We only made it to about 9:30pm.
Sunday... Jeremy and I woke up and went to the 8am service at church. It is called the "informal" service. There were about 10 people there. It was okay, but who knows. We kinda just lounged around the rest of the day. I talked to my mom - finally (we had been having trouble catching each other) - for about 1-1/2 hours. It was good to catch up on life back home. I hear my neice, Lilli, is a crazy, walking machine; I would love to see her go. I had seen her only take about 2 very tentative, almost not real, steps before I left. I can't imagine what she'll be like by Christmas. Likewise with my other neices and nephews, they seem to change so much so fast!
Work starts tomorrow and I think that will be good. We'll see how the week goes and what new things I get to do. I'll keep you updated.... of course!
Saturday, September 22, 2007
I'll blog more later about weekend events - movie night, Creede Theatre, Harvest Party. Until then... have a great Sunday.
Friday, September 21, 2007
Jeremy went to South Fork today to work with Lori on some surveying. It had been awhile since he had driven out there, but I think the drive still feels a bit long. Lori took him out for lunch - how nice :)
We received an email from our renter. I'll just say that I would never choose to be a landlord again. I actually felt physically sick to my stomach as I read her email. We did call in the evening, and I feel like there was some resolve. However, we would still covet your prayers for us and the situation.
The weather update.... no snow, but some heavy frost early some mornings. Yesterday was gray and rainy and cold (maybe 60s??) all day. I used to think that it never rained. Maybe the rain is an indication of the winter. Someone said it means we are going to have a cold winter... then again, somebody always knows some wives' tale when it comes to weather! I think that's it on the daily update. I hope each of you reading this blog has a great Friday and weekend.
Thursday, September 20, 2007
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Today at La Puente office we did almost nothing because there was a guy working on our server. So no deposits could be posted, which meant no thank you notes for me.
Jeremy came over to the shelter for lunch today. We had road kill... yes, road kill. More specifically, we had elk steak that was donated to the shelter from the Department of Wildlife, which means that it is road kill. I will say that it was pretty tasty served in strips with a gravy over rice. I had never eaten elk before and enjoyed the opportunity.
I went to work at Re-threads today since there wasn't anything going on in the office. It is good to practice my poor Spanish-speaking skills and see people smile. One woman came in today that had just lost everything to a house fire. Many others came in who farm "papas" (potatoes). There were also a number of adorable kids. Even though I don't always like hanging up clothes, I do enjoy the interaction with people.
Jeremy's work notes....
There are a lot of spur of the moment opportunities at Jeremy's work. Today Mike let him know that there was a conference call 10 minutes before it happened. Then, he called Lori (in South Fork) to confirm there outing tomorrow to do some surveying; she said she had other plans for a boat ride - necessary part of the job when looking at the Rio Grande. So, Jeremy thought he wasn't supposed to go, but then Mike said it may be good for him to go. If I were Jeremy, I would've wanted to scream at all the criss-crossed lines. Fortunately, Jeremy rolls with things much better than I do and is handling this all pretty well.
I did a favor for Guy who manages the food bank today - filled a truck up with gas. The food bank people are sometimes called the "Food Bank Mafia" because they trade favors with people (and maybe not in the most admirable ways - although never violence!). So, in exchange for filling up the truck, Guy gave me 2 (FREE) tickets to the Pagosa Hot Springs!!!! Yea! I didn't ask where/how he got them; I will just enjoy the free date with my husband.
We also received 2 (FREE) tickets for the train from Alamosa to La Veta which is supposed to be the big tourist thing around here. We will probably go in the next week or so to see the fall colors. We got these tickets from Rhonda, who got them from Guy for doing a favor, and she didn't want them.
Finally, Lance (the executive director of La Puente) was schmoozing with people with money at Rural Philanthorpy Days. (This is a three day event held every 4 years.) In the process, he was given FREE tickets for the show at the Creede Theatre. It is a comedy called Leading Ladies - similar to the movie, Some Like it Hot. I have never seen that movie, but it is supposed to be good, I think?? So, tomorrow (Wednesday) the whole house is invited to go to Creede for the show along with other La Puente volunteers. I am pretty excited to 1) go to a show because I don't do that very often, 2) visit another part of the state, and 3) have FREE tickets! Maybe there are perks to being a volunteer :)
Monday, September 17, 2007
Sunday, September 16, 2007
On Friday, we went to a bonfire/potluck for volunteers at a previous Americorps volunteer's home. It was fun to just sit around the fire, but a little difficult to cultivate friendships. There are a whole lot of Americorps volunteers here that are really fun people. The difficulty is that they share four houses and have all that bonding time. Then, the Mennonites (as we are known) come to the gatherings, but without the existing bonds they have. So, it is still fun to go socialize - and I see a lot of them at work (I think they all volunteer at La Puente) - but it is a little difficult to feel like you have found new friends. We'll see what happens as the year progresses.
On Saturday, we worked at rearranging the house and making it "ours." It was fun to decide what the purpose of each room would be and how we, as a unit, wanted it to look. Claire (a Notre Dame alumni) took a break to watch the Michigan vs. Notre Dame f-ball game. While that was on, Emmy and I went to Alamosa to get groceries for the week. I came home and mopped the large kitchen floor with Jeremy's help. It feels so good to walk and not get crumbs stuck on your feet... we'll see how long that lasts. In the evening, Claire and Jeff made supper and then we just hung out in our new newly arranged rooms.
On Sunday, we worked - I'll just come out and say we worked... even though I don't really like to do much work on Sunday. We wanted to get the greenhouse/sunroom and the two sheds cleaned up. We did. We have a pile of old paint cans and random other things that need to go to a dump/toxic drop-off location. It is so nice to have some order around this place and feel like we have taken some ownership.
At the Bible study, I met a girl from Adams State College who said they play sand volleyball Sundays at 1pm while the weather's warm. I might try to check it out next week... I hope it will be fun and I will not be the old one who dies on the court :)
Friday, September 14, 2007
- I was taught how to do daily summaries - journal entries about the finances of each business. I know to most of you this sounds boring, but I enjoyed another task to help in the office. I also liked to race myself to see how fast I could type numbers - I know, I'm a geek, but so are some of you :)
- I met with the college kids at Milagros Coffeehouse - as well as Randall (manager) and Steve (my afternoon boss) - about advertising and marketing. I think it will be a pretty good relationship. The advertising class will get to design an ad for "The Grizzly" (Adams State College's paper) about the month of November being "Adams State College Appreciation Month" where students will get a 20% discount all month. I think the students will be excited about that.
- I think that I will - for the most part - be working out of the main office on advertising (i.e. flyers, brochures, etc) for the businesses. Then, I can help Rhonda (office manager) out in the office with various things.
- Today (Friday) and yesterday Rhonda and I worked on getting a mass mailing out (5,000 pieces of mail). I know this sounds easy, but it's not. There are some people that stuff the envelopes by matching the name on the letter to the name on the envelope. Then they are passed onto us. We have to sort the mail by 1) Valley mail, 2) Colorado - out of the Valley - mail, and 3) out of state mail. This is a pretty tedious thing and my eyes are a little bleery from looking at all the zip codes. Crazy, but a fun race against the clock. This is a picture of my desk. I have a pile for out of state, Colorado, Alamosa, La Jara, Monte Vista, Del Norte, the Valley, and the unsorted mail tray. It is hard to take a break when you are totally surrounded. We have 1,000 more to do on Monday. I would not want to do this everyday - be sure to thank your postmaster for the work s/he does!
He promises to write more about the meeting the other night, but we have been busy. He has been having a great time at work, but is starting to get a bit sick of driving. He has been out in the field (South Fork area - about 45 min) almost everyday this week and will be most of next week as well. He needs to get the 15 sites checked out before it gets to cold outside. (People say it can snow by the end of September and the first big snow hits at Halloween.) He can make it to about 2 sites a day is all. So, work, work, work in the field. I hope he gets his fill because I don't know how much he will go out in the winter.
We had our first house meeting. It was good to gather together as the unit for the year and discuss how we wanted the house to run. We are planning on having a house meeting weekly, which will, most weeks, not be too long. After the meeting we are going to have game time or Bible study/worship time on alternating weeks. I am excited about this because I think it will be one more step to bringing everyone together. We'll eat meals 3 times a week together and fend for ourselves the rest of the week, which means that I only cook one night and clean up one night. FANTASTIC! We also picked our chore for the year - unless we get tired of doing it. My chore is "kitchen facilitator" :) I love that title. It just means that for the most part I sweep and mop floors and make sure the fridge is wiped out, but if there needs to be a big cleaning day, I am allowed to ask others to help. Jeremy is "yardwork facilitator" and trash man. He is in charge of taking out the trash weekly and keeping an eye on the yardwork. If there is a large task, he shoudl ask others to help. Claire is dusting and watering plants; Jeff is in charge of keeping all floors clean - except the kitchen. So, anyway, I think things went well, and I look forward to being an official unit.
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
I worked in the office all day today, which was nice for me. I do have a little consistency to my afternoons - or, I should say, one afternoon. On Wednesdays, I am going to be at Re-Threads working from 1-4pm. I am hoping that I can just leave at 4pm to go to the gym to work out rather than finding miscellaneous work to do for an hour. We'll see what happens.
Jeremy went to a round table discussion meeting this evening from 5-8pm (which is why we didn't do anything for his birthday). Apparently, he met a lot of important people. I told him he needed to blog because I wouldn't remember all of the details he told me. I think he met people such as the State Rep, U.S. Senator, and other power people. I'll remind him to blog tonight.
Monday, September 10, 2007
Oh, how I love Mondays! (do you hear a little sarcasm???) I was beat from all the work and hiking we did this weekend. I had sore muscles, sore knuckles from gripping hammers, and tired eyes. We started off the morning with a trip to the bank so that we could finally be signers on the MVS account. This had been a frustrating aspect (and will be a little longer until we get our debit cards) because we were having to pay for groceries, prescriptions, etc with our own money and get reimbursed. Being reimbursed would work out great, except that there are no National City banks out here and no way to actually deposit money into our account back home. Bummer! So, Jeremy and I opened a new account here to have a place to put some of our stipend (you know, the big $50 a month we get paid) or any reimbursement checks.
Jeremy headed on to work, and I went with Emmy to the meeting about the ESL classes. Yes, I have been sucked back into the teaching world already. I decided that I would be an ESL tutor for 1 hour a week, 1 night a week. Emmy is actually teaching class on Monday and Thursday nights. I am just tutoring on Thursdays. I'll let you know how it goes. Emmy and I headed into work about 11am. I worked in the office until 1pm. Then headed to Hunt Avenue Boutique for the rest of my day. Funny story....
Today, I arrived at Hunt Avenue Boutique and was told that I would be working by myself. The store is connected to Rainbow's End thrift store, but not so that you can interact much with who is there. So, I sat alone, reading the "best" magazine in the world - NEA Today (actually, the only thing I had to read in my bag). When I looked at the clock, it said 1:00, and I thought "Are you serious? I can't believe how long this day is!" Then, Sue (the manager) came and gave me permission to put sticky dots on items and inventory them. So, I worked diligently for what felt like forever. I ran out of space to continue inventory-ing and had to quit. I looked at the clock and it said 2:00. Again, I thought, "You have got to be kidding me! I cannot make it 3 more hours!" I had made three sales, totalling about $25 so far that day and was bored out of my mind. I went back to reading my magazine for lack of anything better to do. My cell phone rang, and it was Jeremy. I said, "I am soooo bored. I am not going to make it for..." pausing to glance at the clock (2:15), "3 more hours!!"
He said, "What are you talking about it is 4:30?"
I started laughing and said "Praise the Lord! I could not have done this any longer!!!"
He was laughing hysterically by this time. It was at this point when I realized that the clock in the store needed some TLC and had fooled me all day long. (I realize as I write this that it is not nearly as funny when typed as when told in person; I hope you found at least some amusement in it nonetheless.)
Our last activity of the day was finding the second part of the geocache. On our way back out to our car, we hiked off the trail, up a steep hill to a cave-like area. Hidden there was the treasure we had been searching all day for.... see how valuable this treasure was in the picture to the right.
Finally, we arrived back at camp - weary from hiking - to indulge in homemade cinnamon rolls, saved from the morning brunch for us to eat. They were delicious and although we only had one, I think we would have happily eaten at least two each.
We traveled home via 285S for a prettier - but longer - ride. It was beautiful, and we were able to see a lot of the towns people keep talking about - Saguache, Salida, Buena Vista, Center, etc. What a great weekend!
When we arrived home, we welcomed Claire - the last (we think) member to our household. She seems nice, and I think she will fit in well with the group. It relieves a lot of fears about who would be coming.
On Friday night, we went to REI (an outdoor store that is amazing!). I needed to purchase a backpack/lumbar pack of some sort, so I could feel like a real hiker - or at least a prepared one. I looked and debated a long time between a lumbar pack that goes around the waist and had quite a bit of packing space, as well as space for 2 Nalgene bottles (32 oz each), or a camelback daypack. I opted for the daypack that would hold 3-L (or 100 oz) of water and some space for rainjacket, snacks, etc. While there, we joined REI and are now part of the co-op with a lifetime membership. It got us a discount and allows us to shop at the member-only sales that happen twice a year - all the items that were returned are sold for 40-60% off! The sale is coming up at the end of September ... can we afford to go shopping for hiking/biking/camping gear???
We got into camp around 10pm and basically, went straight to bed.
Friday, September 7, 2007
This week I worked in the office in the morning, as usual. This is the only regularly scheduled part of my day right now. I enjoy it. I like the people I work with here and the things I get to do - which are limited right now, but will hopefully entail more as the year goes on. Basically, I just give Rhonda, the office manager, a chance to get out to run all the errands that need done each day. In the afternoons, I figure it out day by day....
- On Tuesday, I drove to Rainbow's End, Monte Vista. It is a smaller town about 20 miles west of Alamosa. I think the town has a cute, old-fashioned look. The store there is smaller, but nice. I hear they get donations from South Fork, a town even farther west; apparently, South Fork is a richer community, so the quality of donations is better. It is also more tempting to buy things, especially with the buy 1 get 1 free sale they have!
- On Wednesday, I was putting tiny little price stickers on items for the Hunt Avenue Boutique - a off-shoot of the thrift store with nicer things. I worked with Bill, who is the assistant manager. He is an older man who looks like a grump, but he is really fun and has a great sense of humor.
- On Thursday, I went to work at Rainbows End (Alamosa). When I arrived, Sue (the manager) sent me with a Spanish speaking customer to Re-Threads to find some clothes. I opened up the building for one man and when I looked up after finding the form for him, I saw a line of people out the door. So, again for about 2 hours, I worked at Re-Threads. It was 2 hours of Spanish language practice; it was fun! There are a lot of migrant farm workers here at the shelter right now. Many of them came to Re-Threads to get some clothes. They are pleasant and patient. The rest of the afternoon, I was running the cashier at Rainbow's End, Alamosa. It was a good day.
Jeremy's work... I know some, but not nearly as much as he could tell you. He has been working to get the website up and running for the Rio Grande River Restoration Foundation (or something close to that - it is such a long name, I usually mess up some part of it). He went to Monte Vista to meet with the EPA lady, Lori. He talked to the biologist there for awhile to learn how to collect samples. Then, yesterday he went to Wolf Creek and collected a variety of bugs - he could tell you what kind; I don't really remember the names. If I had been thinking, I could have taken pictures of the bugs in the viles he was keeping them in - just so you could enjoy them as well.
Well, this is a lot of reading and so few pictures (well, no pictures). We are headed to Rocky Mountain Mennonite Camp to work (and hike) this weekend. I will post pictures and info on Sunday night or Monday. Until then, have a great weekend!
Tuesday, September 4, 2007
Sunday, September 2, 2007
So, this weekend we were thinking about going to Rocky Mountain Mennonite Camp and helping with bathroom demolition for the new bathhouse, but we are going to do that next weekend. We decided to just enjoy this area for Labor Day weekend. Here is the start of our weekend - be prepared for lots of pictures! :)